A Brief History of U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers
Attack on USS Franklin (CV 13)
Sources: United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1970 [NAVAIR 00-80P-1]
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
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Mar. 19, 1945 - USS Franklin (CV 13), which had maneuvered closer to the Japanese homeland than any other U.S. carrier, had launched a pre-dawn strike against the island of Honshu as well as a later strike against shipping in Kobe Harbor. Suddenly, a single Japanese plane came through the cloud cover, made a low level run on the ship and dropped two armor-piercing bombs. One struck the flight deck centerline, penetrating to the hangar deck which it devastated. The bomb also ignited fires through the second and third decks and knocked out the combat information center and air plot.
The second bomb hit aft and tore through two decks, fanning fires which detonated ammunition, bombs and rockets. Franklin, within 50 miles of the Japanese mainland, lay dead in the water, took a 13-degree starboard list, lost all radio communications and was enveloped by fire. Many of the crew were either blown overboard, driven off by fire, or killed or wounded. Remaining were 106 officers and 604 enlisted, who by sheer valor and tenacity, saved the ship. Casualties totaled 724 killed and 265 wounded. Franklin, the most heavily damaged aircraft carrier during the war, remained afloat and after a tow from USS Pittsburgh, proceeded under her own power to Pearl Harbor for repairs.
Last Update: 15 June 2009