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  • Bombing of U.S.S. Franklin 1945 Castle Films Newsreel; World War II

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    Silent newsreel.

    Public domain film from the Prelinger Archive, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.

    see also:
    Aircraft Carrier CV13 USS Franklin “The Saga of the Franklin”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7xYhTiD6KM

    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

    The USS Franklin (CV/CVA/CVS-13, AVT-8), nicknamed “Big Ben,” was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy, and the fifth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in January 1944, she served in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, earning four battle stars. She was badly damaged by a Japanese air attack in March 1945, with the loss of over 800 of her crew, becoming the most heavily damaged United States carrier to survive the war. Movie footage of the actual attack was included in the 1949 film Task Force starring Gary Cooper.

    After the attack, she returned to the U.S. mainland for repairs, missing the rest of the war; she was decommissioned in 1947. While in reserve, she was reclassified as an attack carrier (CVA), then an antisubmarine carrier (CVS), and finally an aircraft transport (AVT), but was never modernized and never saw active service again. Franklin and Bunker Hill (damaged by a kamikaze) were the only Essex-class carriers not to see active service as aircraft carriers after World War II. The Franklin was sold for scrap in 1966…

    Before dawn on 19 March 1945, Franklin, which had maneuvered to within 80 km (50 miles) of the Japanese mainland, closer than had any other U.S. carrier during the war, launched a fighter sweep against Honshū and later a strike against shipping in Kobe Harbor. Suddenly, a single aircraft — possibly a Yokosuka D4Y “Judy” dive bomber, though other accounts suggest an Aichi D3A “Val”, also a dive bomber — pierced the cloud cover and made a low level run on the ship to drop two semi-armor-piercing bombs… One bomb struck the flight deck centerline, penetrating to the hangar deck, effecting destruction and igniting fires through the second and third decks, and knocking out the Combat Information Center and air plot. The second hit aft, tearing through two decks.

    At the time she was struck, Franklin had 31 armed and fueled aircraft warming up on her flight deck. The hangar deck contained 22 additional planes, of which 16 were fueled and five were armed…

    Franklin lay dead in the water, took a 13° starboard list, lost all radio communications, and broiled under the heat from enveloping fires. Many of the crew were blown overboard, driven off by fire, killed or wounded, but the hundreds of officers and enlisted who voluntarily remained saved their ship. Official Navy casualty figures for the March 19, 1945 fire totaled 724 killed and 265 wounded…

    Franklin was taken in tow by the heavy cruiser Pittsburgh until she was able to raise enough steam to reach a speed of 14 kts (26 km/h), and then she proceed to Ulithi Atoll under her own power for emergency repairs. Next, she steamed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where repairs permitted her to steam to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, via the Panama Canal, where she arrived on 28 April 1945…

    Despite severe damage, Franklin was eventually restored to good condition…

    While Franklin lay mothballed at Bayonne, she was redesignated as an attack aircraft carrier CVA-13 on 1 October 1952, an antisubmarine warfare support carrier CVS-13 on 8 August 1953 and, ultimately, as an aircraft transport AVT-8 on 15 May 1959. However, she never went to sea again, and was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 October 1964. She and Bunker Hill – which also had sustained severe damage from aerial attack – were the only carriers in their class that never saw any active-duty postwar service, though their wartime damage had been successfully repaired…

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