Lost World War 2 Aircraft Carrier Found After an Epic Search

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tags: military history, naval history, World War 2, aircraft carrier, warship

...On the afternoon of Sept. 15, the Wasp was in the Coral Sea, escorting a convoy of United States Marines bound for Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, when it was hit by torpedoes fired at close range by a Japanese submarine. Explosions immediately rocked the ship. Many men were killed instantly. The ship’s magazines and fuel stores detonated like bombs. The hangar deck, where most of the planes were stored, was soon entirely ablaze. At the same time, water rushed into the breaches in the ship’s hull, and the Wasp lurched 15 degrees to its starboard side, like a boxer buckling at the knee after a body shot.

The commanding officer of the Wasp, Capt. Forrest P. Sherman, swung the ship around, so that the flames and smoke blew toward the ocean rather than across the deck, but it made no difference. More than 300 feet of his ship, from the bow to the central “island” containing the bridge, was subsumed by an uncontrollable inferno. Within minutes, the Wasp had become a vision of hell.

Half an hour after the strikes, Sherman realized the situation was hopeless. He made the order to abandon ship. The worst-injured were loaded onto rafts. Many other survivors simply jumped into the flaming waters around the ship with only life preservers, flotsam or mattresses to keep them afloat...

Read entire article at New York Times

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