Wreck of USS Hornet, WWII Aircraft Carrier, Found After 76 Years

February 12, 2019 Updated: February 12, 2019

The wreck of the World War II-era USS Hornet was discovered off the coast of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

The carrier, also known as the CV-8, sunk in October 1942 during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands by Japanese bombers, torpedo planes, and ship-launched torpedoes.

“Wreckage of the USS Hornet was discovered in late January 2019, nearly 17,500 feet below the surface, resting on the floor of the South Pacific Ocean,” the R/V Petrel team, which discovered the sunken ship, said in a statement.

One of the most important aircraft carriers in WWII history has been located thanks to efforts from the crew of Paul…

Gepostet von Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum am Dienstag, 12. Februar 2019

“We had the Hornet on our list of WWII warships that we wanted to locate because of its place in history as a capitol carrier that saw many pivotal moments in naval battles,” Robert Kraft, the head of subsea operations for Vulcan, said in the announcement.

“Paul Allen was particularly interested in aircraft carriers so this was a discovery that honors his memory,” Kraft added. Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and who backed R/V Petrel, died last year.

The USS Hornet is best known for the Doolittle raid on Japan in April 1942. The attack took place in the wake of the Pearl Harbor bombing, said the Naval History and Heritage Command website, which added that it was the first raid on the Japanese homeland by American forces in the war.

In the raid, the USS Hornet was set to transport B-25 bombers to the east of Tokyo before the planes “would then proceed to either the east coast of China or to Vladivostok in the Soviet Union,” said the history website.

“However, Soviet reluctance to allow the use of Vladivostok as a terminus and the Stalin regime’s unwillingness to provoke Japan compelled the selection of Chinese landing sites,” the website said.

The Hornet was eventually sunk during the battle of the Santa Cruz Islands that went from Oct. 25 to Oct. 27, 1942.

Crew members of the aircraft carrier were forced to abandon ship after relentless Japanese attacks, said Allen’s organization. More than 100 American sailors died when it battle.

“Although her service was short-lived, it was meteoric. In the dark days following the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, she and the Doolittle Raiders were the first Americans to punch back at Japan, giving hope to the nation and the world when things looked bleakest,” said Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran, reported USNI.

The USS Enterprise, another carrier, also suffered extensive damage in the battle.

“With the loss of Hornet and serious damage to Enterprise, the Battle of Santa Cruz was a Japanese victory, but at an extremely high cost,” stated Rear Admiral Samuel Cox, director of Naval History and Heritage Command, to Fox News.

He added: “About half the Japanese aircraft engaged were shot down by greatly improved U.S. Navy anti-aircraft defenses. As a result, the Japanese carriers did not engage again in battle for almost another two years.”

A survivor of the Battle of Santa Cruz Island said that when the Japanese forces left, they “were dead in the water.”

“They used armor-piercing bombs, now when they come down, you hear ’em going through the decks … plink, plink, plink, plink … and then when they explode the whole ship shakes,” Richard Nowatzki, who was a gunner on the ship and survived the battle, told CBS News.

RECOMMENDED
TOP VIDEOS