The battle for Saipan

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 1142
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

The battle for Saipan

Post by paul.mercer »

Gentlemen,
On one of the 'Freeview' TV programs last week it featured the US attack on Saipan and the Japanese attack on their ships by Kamakasi aircraft in which a US battleship (Washington or South Dakota I think?) was hit, while there is plenty of evidence of the damage caused to US carriers because of their wooden decking are there any reports of the damage caused to the battleship or would her heavy armour have prevented it?
OpanaPointer
Senior Member
Posts: 374
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:00 pm

Re: The battle for Saipan

Post by OpanaPointer »

Pros and cons frequently debated. RN armored flight decks protected the hangar decks beneath. AND we would have had two carriers instead of three at Midway if the USN used the same system.
Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 1426
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: The battle for Saipan

Post by Byron Angel »

paul.mercer wrote: Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:22 am Gentlemen,
On one of the 'Freeview' TV programs last week it featured the US attack on Saipan and the Japanese attack on their ships by Kamakasi aircraft in which a US battleship (Washington or South Dakota I think?) was hit, while there is plenty of evidence of the damage caused to US carriers because of their wooden decking are there any reports of the damage caused to the battleship or would her heavy armour have prevented it?

Hi Paul,
Following is taken from an obscure book "The Sacrificial Lambs", which deals with the Kamikaze campaign against the USN. The book is focused upon the experiences of the USN destroyers, but references the experiences of just about every ship struck. I've included the BBs and large CVs below (list is not all-inclusive) -

CV USS FRANKLIN - 13 Oct 44 - Hit by 1 a/c (no damage details); remained on station.
CV USS INTREPID - 30 Oct 44 - Hit by burning Zero (portside gun tub - 10k 6w); remained on station.
CV USS LEXINGTON - 05 Nov 44 - hit by 1 a/c ("island" superstructure - mostly wrecked); to Ulithi for repairs.
CV USS INTREPID - 25 Nov 44 - hit by 2 a/c (65k); to San Francisco for repairs.
CVL USS CABOT - 25 Nov 44 - hit by 1 burning a/c + near miss by 1 burning a/c (62 k&w); to Ulithi for repairs.
CV USS ESSEX - 25 Nov 44 - hit by 1 a/c on flight deck among fueled and armed a/c (15k 44w); repair situation unkown.
BB USS COLORADO - 27 Nov 44 - hit by 2 a/c on deck (19k 72w); to Manus Island for repairs.
BB USS MARYLAND - 29 Nov 44 - hit by 1 a/c between fwd turrets (31k); to Pearl Harbor for repairs.
BB USS NEW MEXICO - 06 Jan 45 - hit by 1 a/c on bridge (29k 87w); stayed on station for 3 days, then to Pearl Harbor for repairs.
BB USS CALIFORNIA - 06 Jan 45 - hit by 1 a/c (44k 155w); stayed on station until 23 Jan 45, then to Bremerton for repairs.
BB USS MISSISSIPPI - 06 Jan 45 - hit by 1 a/c on w/l; remained on station.
CV USS TICONDEROGA - 21 Jan 45 - hit by 2 a/c: first on flight deck w/ bomb exploding over hangar deck; 2nd on stbd side near island; heavy damage and loss of life; to Ulithi for temporary repairs, then to Bremerton for major repairs.
CV USS SARATOGA - 21 Feb 45 - hit by 1 (or 6!?) a/c (123 k&w); to Bremerton for repairs.
CV USS RANDOLPH - 11 Mar 45 - hit by 1 twin engine a/c on stbd side aft (25k 106w); remained on station.
CV USS HORNET - 18 Mar 45 - hit by 1 a/c (no casualty figures); de-commissioned in Bayonne NJ.
CV USS FRANKLIN - 19 Mar 45 - 2 bomb hits with catastrophic damage (724k 265w); towed back to US for major repairs.
BB USS NEVADA - 27 Mar 45 - hit by 1 a/c, disabling after turret (11k 49w); remained on station.

This only brings us up to Okinawa. But I'm tired of typing :wink:

B
User avatar
R Leonard
Junior Member
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:13 pm

Re: The battle for Saipan

Post by R Leonard »

Don't know what gave you the information that USS Hornet (CV-12) was hit by a Kamikaze on 18 March 1945 (or any other date for that matter), but that is simply not true. There were, in fact, no USN ships hit by Kamikazes on that date.

The damage that took USS Hornet out of the war was sustained during a typhoon on 5 June 1945 which collapsed the forward 25 feet of the flight deck Although the ship continue operations for several days, initially by flying off aircraft over the stern and later over the bow after cutting vents in the collapsed portion of the forward deck. The ship was detached from TF-38 on 13 June 1945, returning to Bremerton NSY for repairs which were completed oy 13 September 1945.

Hornet's service life ended in 1970 with her final decommissioning at Puget Sound, on the west coast, nowhere near Bayonne NJ. The closest Hornet got to Bayonne NJ was when the ship was temporarily decommissioned for the purpose of a SCB-27A upgrade between May 1951 and September 1953 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, across the bay and up the East River from Bayonne.
Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 1426
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: The battle for Saipan

Post by Byron Angel »

Hi R Leonard,
I took the data from the book "The Sacrificial Lambs - US Destroyers vs Japanese Kamikazes" by a Mr Bill Sholin, published in 1989 - and was focused upon illustrating the intensity of the Kamikaze effort during that period of the war. This book appears to have been self-published by Mr Sholin, who had served aboard USS Wren (DD-568) in Japanese home waters during the period addressed by the book. I happened upon the book and bought it: (a) for the first person accounts it contained; (b) because my father had served aboard USS Lardner (DD-487) in the PTO during that period of the war; (c) I have a deep interest in PTO history.

When I transcribed the data into my post, I did not cross-check Mr Sholin's data against other references. The book reference (pg. 124) reads as follows -
"USS HORNET, CV12, and USS WASP, CV18, MARCH 18,1945
March 17 to 23, reported to be one of the busiest times for Fleet Carriers in their history; turned out to be a fateful time for both ships. While under almost continuous air attacks, they were on the offense. Hornet was hit by a Kamikaze and Wasp took bomb hits, but they both inflicted heavy damage on the enemy. April 13, Wasp returned to the Puget Sound Navy Yard for repairs, then proceeded to Bayonne, N.J. where she received the bow of the de-commissioned Hornet."


When I came across your post of today, I cross-checked the entire body of transcribed data in two official NAVSHIPS reference works -
NAVSHIPS A-3, Summary of War Damage, 8 Dec 1943 - 7 Dec 1944
NAVSHIPS A-4, Summary of War Damage, 8 Dec 1944 - 9 Oct 1945
- and found the following discrepancies:

Sholin indicates INTREPID as having been damaged on 30 Oct 1944;
NAVSHIPS lists the date of INTREPID's damage as 29 Oct 1944

Sholin indicates MISSISSIPPI as having been damaged on 06 Jan 1945;
NAVSHIPS lists the date of MISSISSIPPI''s damage as 09 Jan 1945.

> Sholin indicates HORNET as having been damaged on 18 Mar 1945;
NAVSHIPS lists INTREPID as having suffered minor damage from a Kamikaze splash very close aboard on the 18th of March and WASP taking two bad bomb hits on the 19th.

I suspect that Mr Sholin may have mixed up aircraft carriers, writing in HORNET when he meant INTREPID. Just a guess, though.


Hope this did not inconvenience anyone.


Byron
User avatar
R Leonard
Junior Member
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:13 pm

Re: The battle for Saipan

Post by R Leonard »

Extract from Intrepid's war diary for 18 March 1945
Extract USS Intrepid War Diary 18 March 1945.JPG
Extract USS Intrepid War Diary 18 March 1945.JPG (54.97 KiB) Viewed 889 times


Extract from Intrepid's AAR for 18 March 1945
Intrepid AAR Extract for 18 March 1945.JPG
Intrepid AAR Extract for 18 March 1945.JPG (82.54 KiB) Viewed 889 times

and just for laughs, extract from Hornet's War Diary for 18 March 1945 -
Extract USS Hornet War Diary 18 March 1945.JPG
Extract USS Hornet War Diary 18 March 1945.JPG (84.27 KiB) Viewed 889 times


From my perspective, Hornet, as we've established, was not hit and Intrepid was splattered by pieces-parts of a near miss crash, not an actual hit. I suspect that someone at some point picked up on the words ". . . by the screen against the plane that struck the INTREPID . . ." in the AAR and called it a hit when it really was not, only close aboard.

FWIW anyway.
Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 1426
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: The battle for Saipan

Post by Byron Angel »

Hi R Leonard,
Thanks for posting those AAR's. I've been largely focused upon the night surface actions of the Solomons/Bougainville campaign and not really pursued this sort of material for the 44/45 Kamikaze period.

Byron
User avatar
R Leonard
Junior Member
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:13 pm

Re: The battle for Saipan

Post by R Leonard »

Byron -

Not really my field either, but I'm very comfortable playing there. Specialty of the house is USN naval aviators 1939 to 1946, who, where, and when; current list in somewhat more than 61,000 individuals . . . grows a little bit every day.

Rich
Post Reply