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USS Hornet

Listing USS Hornet (CV-8) is abandoned in the late afternoon of 26 October 1942. U.S. Navy photo. Public Domain.

It looks as if RV Petrel has turned up USS Hornet:

The research vessel Petrel is perched on a spot in the South Pacific Ocean that was anything but peaceful 77 years ago. Then, it was the scene of a major World War II battle between the U.S. and the Imperial Japanese Navies. For the U.S. aircraft carrier, Hornet, it would be her last battle.

Now, researchers are revealing Petrel found the wreckage of the USS Hornet in late January – exactly what they were looking for. The ship was found more than 17,000 feet below the surface, on the floor of the South Pacific Ocean near the Solomon Islands. The USS Hornet is best known for launching the important Doolittle Raid in April of 1942 and its role in winning the Battle of Midway.

Hornet was the third and last of the pre-war Yorktown class carriers that enabled the US Navy to hold the line in the first two years of the Pacific War.  On April 18, 1942 she was the primary platform for the Doolittle Raid; in June she and her two sisters defeated the Combined Fleet at the Battle of Midway.

In October, at the Battle of Santa Cruz, Hornet was disabled by three bombs, two torpedoes, and two disabled aircraft.  Another attack by torpedo planes resulted in one hit, wrecking repair efforts.  Admiral Halsey ordered the ship scuttled, and two accompanying destroyers did their best by hitting Hornet with 9 additional torpedoes and 400 5″ shells.  As was the style at the time, many of the torpedoes did not explode.  US forces abandoned the area when IJN surface ships arrived, but Hornet was too far gone to give the Japanese any hope of taking her as a prize.  Four 24″ torpedoes finished Hornet off.

See some photos here.  Hornet was as torn to pieces as any ship that fought in the Pacific, but much of interest remains.

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