❤ Sharing Folkworthy Stuffs ❤
3 Comments | Vintage
Colloquially, the escort carriers’ CVE designation stood for "Combustible, Vulnerable, Expendable" and that came to be true for St. Lo. After surviving the harrowing Battle Off Samar and performing admirably, scoring at least 3 confirmed hits on pursuing Japanese heavy cruisers with her stern-mounted 5-inch gun while her airgroup was essential in forcing the Japanese force to retreat, it looked like she would survive with only minor damage. Unfortunately for St. Lo though, fate had other plans in store.
At 10:51, an A6M2 Zero struck her flight deck, its bomb exploding along the port side of her hangar and starting a gasoline fire which caused a chain reaction of exploding planes, fuel, and ammunition. She quickly became a blazing inferno, and would sink 30 minutes later with 143 casualties out of her crew of 889.
That’s a crazy shot.
Like the plane diving would be so loud. A mosquito you can’t fwap away.
But lining the capture up with a 1944 camera, knowing you’re watching your brother’s die.
Hearing the ocean, smelling the iron of the ship and the salt of the water, cool steel under your feet possibly across your waist as your brace yourself. The inevitable mosquito boom and then the heat wave and perhaps later the smell of the burning fuel. Screams, sirens and yelling echoing across the water. Helpless, holding a camera.
Capturing moments that we’d never see otherwise.
My father’s ship, the Bismarck Sea, CVE-95, was another Casablanca-class escort carrier sent to the bottom by suicide planes. She was sunk off Iwo Jima in early ‘45 by two Kamikazes. Here’s a pic of Dad that I posted awhile ago.