The USS Franklin (CV-13) and her carrier Air Group are accredited with extensive combat operations in Iwo Jima, Guam, Bonin and Mariana Islands, Saipan, Rota, Yap, Peleliu, Okinawa, Luzon, Philippines , Formosa, Leyte, the "Formosa Air Battle", and the Japanese mainland. This'CONFIDENTIAL' World War II Pacific Ocean Area operations map titled "Saipan ISELY AIRFIELD" comes from an extremely rare and unique collection of target approach maps from a U. Carrier pilot from the USS Franklin (CV-13). As per military classification guidelines at the time, it states, "It is recommended that "Top Secret" material - Operation Plans and Orders - be reclassified downward to "Secret or Confidential prior to the start of an operation by a sufficient length of time to permit of adequate and timely distribution to subordinate officers and pilots concerned.Only when in that area of combat theater can maps, reports, and plans be re-classified as "Restricted" to be used in combat and in the field. Commissioned in January 1944, the USS Franklin served in several campaigns in the Pacific War, earning four battle stars.
Over the course of WWII, the USS Franklin (CV-13) was heavily damaged by multiple successful Japanese kamikazee attacks. She was badly damaged by a Japanese air attack in 1945, with the loss of over 800 of her crew, becoming the most heavily damaged United States carrier to survive the war.
This map was specially created to be carried in U. Carrier-based fighter planes to help pilots navigate. USS Franklin Full Combat History. The Bonin and Mariana Islands On the last day of June 1944, she sortied for carrier strikes on the Bonin Islands in support of the subsequent Mariana Islands assault.On 6 July, Franklin began strikes on Guam and Rota Island to soften them up for the invasion forces that were going to land on Guam, and those strikes continued until the 21st when she lent direct support to enable safe landing of the first assault waves. Two days of replenishment at Saipan permitted her to steam in Task Force 58 (TF 58) for photographic reconnaissance and air strikes against the islands of the Palau Islands group. The Franklin departed on 28 July and headed for Saipan, and the following day she was shifted to TG 58.1. Although high seas prevented taking on a needed load of bombs and rockets, Franklin steamed for another raid against the Bonins.
A period of upkeep and recreation from 9-28 August ensued at Eniwetok before she departed with Enterprise, Belleau Wood and San Jacinto for neutralization and diversionary attacks against the Bonins. Peleliu On 4 September, Franklin took on supplies at Saipan, and then she steamed in TG 38.1 for an attack against Yap Island (3-6 September) which included direct air coverage of the Peleliu invasion on the 15th. The Task Group took on supplies at Manus Island from 21 to 25 September. On 9 October, she rendezvoused with carrier groups cooperating in air strikes in support of the coming occupation of Leyte Island.
At twilight on the 13th, the task group came under attack by four bombers, and Franklin twice was narrowly missed by torpedoes. An enemy plane, a harbinger of the coming kamikaze campaign, crashed on Franklin? S deck abaft the aircraft carrier's island, sliding across the deck and into the water on her starboard beam.
Early on the 14th, a fighter sweep was made against Aparri, Luzon, following which she steamed to the east of Luzon to neutralize installations to the east prior to invasion landings on Leyte. On the 15th, Franklin was attacked by three enemy planes, one of which scored with a bomb that hit the after outboard corner of the deck edge elevator, killing three men and wounding 22.
During the initial landings on Leyte (20 October) Franklin? S aircraft attacked surrounding airstrips and launched search patrols in anticipation of the approach of a reported enemy attack force. On the morning of 24 October, in the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, her planes formed part of the waves that attacked the Japanese First Raiding Force (under Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita), in so doing helping to sink Musashi south of Luzon, damage Fuso and Yamashiro, and sink Wakaba.
As further enemy threats seemed to materialize in another quarter, Franklin - with TGs 38.4, 38.3, and 38.2 - sped to intercept the advancing Japanese carrier force and attack at dawn. The distant carrier force was actually a sacrificial feint, as by that time the Japanese were almost out of serviceable airplanes and, even more importantly, very short on trained pilots, but the admiral in charge, William Halsey, took the bait and steamed furiously off after them without communicating his intentions clearly, leading to the infamous "the world wonders" communications debacle. S strike groups combined with those from the other carriers on 25 October in the Battle off Cape Engaño to damage Chiyoda (she would be sunk by American cruiser gunfire subsequently) and sink Zuiho. She was underway about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) off Samar on 30 October, when enemy bombers appeared bent on a suicide mission. Three doggedly pursued Franklin, the first plummeting off her starboard side, the second hitting the flight deck and crashing through to the gallery deck, killing 56 men and wounding 60; the third discharging another near miss by Franklin, before diving into the flight deck of Belleau Wood.Both carriers retired to Ulithi Atoll for temporary repairs, and then Franklin proceeded to the Puget Sound Navy Yard, arriving on 28 November 1944 for repairs of her battle damage. In the meantime, on 7 November, Captain Shoemaker was relieved by Captain Leslie E. Gehres as the carrier's commanding officer. Franklin departed from Bremerton on 2 February 1945, and after training exercises and pilot qualification operations, she joined the TG 58.2 for strikes on the Japanese homeland in support of the Okinawa landings.
On 15 March, she rendezvoused with TF 58 units, and 3 days later launched sweeps and strikes against Kagoshima and Izumi on southern Kyushu. Japanese Mainland - 1945 Before dawn on 19 March 1945, Franklin, which had maneuvered to within 50 miles (80 km) of the Japanese mainland, closer than any other U. The Franklin crew aboard had been called to battle stations 12 times within six hours that night and Gehres downgraded the alert status to Condition III, allowing his men freedom to eat or sleep, although gunnery crews remained at their stations.
The damage analysis came to the conclusion that the bombs were 550 pounds (250 kg), though neither the "Val" nor "Judy" had the attachment points to carry two such weapons, nor did the Japanese single-engine torpedo bombers in horizontal bomber mode. The accounts also differ as to whether the attacking aircraft escaped or was shot down. However, the Aichi B7A "Grace" had this capability.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. The forward gasoline system had been secured, but the aft system was operating.
The explosion on the hangar deck ignited the fuel tanks on the aircraft, and gasoline vapor explosion devastated the deck. Only two crewmen survived the fire on the hangar deck. The explosion also jumbled aircraft together on the flight deck above, causing further fires and explosions, including the detonation of 12 "Tiny Tim" air-to-surface rockets. Franklin lay dead in the water, took a 13° starboard list, lost all radio communications, and broiled under the heat from enveloping fires.Official Navy casualty figures for the 19 March 1945 fire totaled 724 killed and 265 wounded. Nevertheless, casualty numbers have been updated as new records are discovered. A recent count by Franklin historian and researcher Joseph A Springer (author of INFERNO: The Epic Life and Death Struggle of the USS Franklin in World War II) brings total 19 March 1945 casualty figures to 807 killed and more than 487 wounded.
When totaling casualty figures for both Franklin cruises numbers increase to 924 killed in action, the worst for any surviving U. Warship and second only to that of battleship USS Arizona.
Certainly, the casualty figures would have far exceeded this number, but for the work of many survivors. Among these were the Medal of Honor recipients Lieutenant Commander Joseph T. O'Callahan, the warship's Catholic chaplain, who administered the last rites, organized and directed firefighting and rescue parties, and led men below to wet down magazines that threatened to explode; and also Lieutenant JG Donald A. Gary later organized and led fire-fighting parties to battle fires on the hangar deck and entered the No. 3 fireroom to raise steam in one boiler.
The Santa Fe rescued crewmen from the sea and approached Franklin to take off the numerous wounded and nonessential personnel. Aircraft were both more numerous and heavier than originally planned for, and thus the flight deck had been strengthened. The aircraft carrier, therefore, displaced more than originally planned, her freeboard was reduced, and her stability characteristics had been altered.
The enormous quantities of water poured aboard her to fight the fires further reduced freeboard (exacerbated, on her starboard side, by the list), and her stability was seriously impaired, such that her survival was in jeopardy. Franklin had suffered the most severe damage experienced by any U. Fleet carrier that survived World War II.