USS Wasp (CV-7)
The eighth USS "Wasp" (CV-7) was a
United States Navy aircraft carrier. She was the sole ship of her class. Built to use up the remaining tonnage allowed to the United States for aircraft carriers under the treaties of the time, she was built on a reduced-size version of the "Yorktown" class hull.
"Wasp" was a byproduct of the
Washington Naval Treaty. With the construction of away, on the same course as the Americans.
In any event, if they had been in search of a German raider, they did not make contact with her. "Wasp" and her escorts anchored in the
Gulf of Paria, Trinidad, on 2 September, where Admiral Hewitt shifted his flag back to "Savannah". The carrier remained in port until 6 September, when she again put to sea on patrol "to enforce the neutrality of the United States in the Atlantic."
While at sea, the ship received the news of a German
U-boatunsuccessfully attempting to attack the destroyer USS|Greer|DD-145|2. The United States had been getting more and more involved in the war; American warships were now convoying British merchantmen halfway across the Atlantic to the "mid-ocean meeting point" (MOMP).
"Wasp"'s crew looked forward to returning to Bermuda on 18 September, but the new situation in the Atlantic meant a change in plans. Shifted to the colder climes of Newfoundland, the carrier arrived at
Placentia Bayon 22 September and fueled from USS|Salinas|AO-19|2 the following day. The respite in port was a brief one, however, as the ship got underway again, late on the 23d, for Iceland. In company with "Wichita", four destroyers, and the repair ship USS|Vulcan|AR-5|2, "Wasp" arrived at Hvalfjörður, Iceland, on the 28th. Two days earlier, Admiral Harold R. Stark, the Chief of Naval Operationshad ordered American warships to do their utmost to destroy whatever German or Italian warships they found.
With the accelerated activity entailed in the United States Navy's conducting
convoyescort missions, "Wasp" put to sea on 6 October in company with "Vincennes" and four destroyers. Those ships patrolled the foggy, cold, North Atlanticuntil returning to Little Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, on the 11th, anchoring during a fierce gale that lashed the bay with high winds and stinging spray. On 17 October, "Wasp" set out for Norfolk, patrolling en route, and arrived at her destination on the 20th. The carrier soon sailed for Bermuda and conducted qualifications and refresher training flights en route. Anchoring in Grassy Bay on 1 November, "Wasp" operated on patrols out of Bermuda for the remainder of the month.
October had seen the incidents involving American and German warships multiplying on the high seas. "Kearny" was torpedoed on 17 October, "Salinas" on the 28th, and in the most tragic incident that autumn, USS|Reuben James|DD-245|2 was torpedoed and sunk with heavy loss of life on 30 October. Meanwhile, in the
Pacific, tension between the United States and Japanincreased almost with each passing day.
"Wasp" slipped out to sea from Grassy Bay on 3 December and rendezvoused with USS|Wilson|DD-408|2. While the destroyer operated as plane guard, "Wasp"'s air group flew day and night refresher training missions. In addition, the two ships conducted gunnery drills before returning to Grassy Bay two days later, where she lay at anchor 7 December 1941 during the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor.
War in the Atlantic
Meanwhile, naval authorities felt considerable anxiety that French warships in the Caribbean and
West Indieswere prepared to make a breakout and attempt to get back to France. Accordingly, "Wasp", USS|Brooklyn|CL-40|2, and two destroyers, USS|Sterett|DD-407|2 and "Wilson", departed Grassy Bay and headed for Martinique. Faulty intelligence gave American authorities in Washington the impression that the Vichy Frencharmed merchant cruiser "Barfleur" had gotten underway for sea. The French were accordingly warned that the auxiliary cruiser would be sunk or captured unless she returned to port and resumed her internment. As it turned out, "Barfleur" had not departed after all, but had remained in harbor. The tense situation at Martinique eventually dissipated, and the crisis abated.
With tensions in the West Indies lessened considerably, "Wasp" departed Grassy Bay and headed for Hampton Roads three days before Christmas, in company with USS|Long Island|AVG-1|2, and escorted by USS|Stack|DD-406|2 and "Sterett". Two days later, the carrier moored at the Norfolk Navy Yard to commence an overhaul that would last into 1942.
After departing Norfolk on 14 January 1942, "Wasp" headed north and touched at NS Argentia, Newfoundland, and
Casco Bay, Maine. On 16 March, as part of Task Group 22.6, she headed back toward Norfolk. During the morning watch the next day, visibility lessened considerably; and, at 06:50, "Wasp" 's bow plunged into "Stack" 's starboard side, punching a hole and completely flooding the destroyer's number one fireroom. "Stack" was detached and proceeded to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where her damage was repaired.
"Wasp", meanwhile, made port at Norfolk on the 21st without further incident. Shifting back to Casco Bay three days later, she sailed for the British Isles on 26 March, with
Task Force 39under the command of Rear Admiral John W. Wilcox, Jr., in USS|Washington|BB-56|2. That force was to reinforce the Home Fleetof the Royal Navy. While en route, Rear Admiral Wilcox was swept overboard from the battleship and drowned. Although hampered by poor visibility conditions, "Wasp" planes took part in the search. Wilcox' body was spotted an hour later, face down in the raging seas, but it was not recovered.
Robert C. Giffen, who flew his flag in "Wichita", assumed command of TF 39. The American ships were met by a force based around the light cruiser HMS|Edinburgh|C16|6 on 3 April. Those ships escorted them to Scapa Flowin the Orkney Islands. While there, a Gloster Gladiatorflown by Captain Henry Fancourtof the Royal Navy made the first landing of the war by a British plane on an American aircraft carrier when it landed on "Wasp".
While the majority of TF 39 joined the
British Home Fleet—being renumbered to TF 99 in the process—to cover convoys routed to North Russia, "Wasp" departed Scapa Flow on 9 April, bound for the Clyde estuary and Greenock, Scotland. On the following day, the carrier sailed up the Clyde River, past the John Brown Clydebank shipbuilding facilities. There, shipyard workers paused long enough from their labors to accord "Wasp" a tumultuous reception as she passed. "Wasp"'s impending mission was an important one—one upon which the fate of the island bastion of Maltahung. That key isle was then being pounded daily by German and Italian planes. The British, faced with the loss of air superiority over the island, requested the use of a carrier to transport planes that could wrest air superiority from the Axis aircraft. "Wasp" drew ferry duty once again.
Having landed her
torpedo planes and dive bombers, "Wasp" loaded 47 Supermarine SpitfireMk. V fighter planes of No. 603 Squadron RAFat Glasgow, on 13 April, then departed on the 14th. Her screen consisted of Force "W" of the Home Fleet—a group that included the battlecruiserHMS|Renown|1916|6 and antiaircraft cruisers HMS|Cairo|D87|6 and HMS|Charybdis|88|6. USS|Madison|DD-425|2 and USS|Lang|DD-399|2 also served in "Wasp" 's screen.
"Wasp" and her consorts passed through the
Straits of Gibraltarunder cover of the pre-dawn darkness on 19 April, avoiding the possibility of being discovered by Spanish or Axis agents. At 04:00 on 20 April, "Wasp" spotted 11 Grumman F4F Wildcatfighters on her deck and quickly launched them to form a combat air patrol(CAP) over Force "W". Meanwhile, the Spitfires were warming up their engines in the hangar deck spaces below. With the Wildcats patrolling overhead, the Spitfires were brought up singly on the after elevator, spotted for launch, and then given the go-ahead to take off. One by one, they roared down the deck and over the forward rounddown, until each Spitfire was aloft and winging toward Malta.
When the launch was complete, "Wasp" retired toward England, having safely delivered her charges. However, those Spitfires, which flew in to augment the dwindling numbers of Gladiator and Hurricane fighters, were tracked by efficient Axis intelligence and their arrival pinpointed. The Spitfires were decimated by heavy German air raids which caught many planes on the ground.
As a result, it looked as if the acute situation required a second ferry run to Malta. Accordingly, Prime Minister
Winston Churchill, fearing that Malta would be "pounded to bits", asked President Roosevelt to allow "Wasp" to have "another good sting." Roosevelt responded in the affirmative. Rising to the occasion, "Wasp" loaded another contingent of Spitfire Vs and sailed for the Mediterranean on 3 May. Again, "Wasp" proceeded unmolested. This time, the British aircraft carrier HMS|Eagle|1918|6 accompanied "Wasp", and she, too, carried a contingent of Spitfires bound for Malta.
The two Allied flattops reached their launching points early on Saturday, 9 May, with "Wasp" steaming in column ahead of "Eagle" at a distance of convert|1000|yd|m|-3. At 06:30, "Wasp" commenced launching planes—11 F4F-4s of
VF-71to serve as CAP over the task force. The first Spitfire roared down the deck at 06:43, piloted by Sergeant-Pilot Herrington, but lost power soon after takeoff and plunged into the sea. Both pilot and plane were lost.
Undaunted by the loss of Herrington, the other planes flew off safely and formed up to fly to Malta. Misfortune, however, again seemed to dog the flight when one pilot accidentally released his auxiliary fuel tank as he climbed to convert|2000|ft|m|-2. Without the tank he could not make Malta. His only alternatives were to land back on board Wasp or to ditch and take his chances in the water.
Sergeant-Pilot Smith chose the former. "Wasp" bent on full speed and recovered the plane at 07:43. The Spitfire came to a stop just convert|15|ft|m|0 from the forward edge of the
flight deck, making what one "Wasp" sailor observed to be a "one wire" landing. With her vital errand completed, the carrier set sail for the British Isles while a German radio station broadcast the startling news that the American carrier had been sunk. Most in the Allied camp knew better, however; and, on 11 May, Prime Minister Churchill sent a witty message to the captain and ship's company of "Wasp": "Many thanks to you all for the timely help. Who said a "Wasp" couldn't sting twice?"
War in the Pacific
Early in May, almost simultaneously with Wasp's second Malta run—
Operation Bowery—the Battle of the Coral Seahad been fought, then the Battle of Midwaya month later. These battles left the U.S. with only two carriers in the Pacific, and it became imperative to transfer "Wasp".
"Wasp" was hurried back to the United States for alterations and repairs at the Norfolk Navy Yard. During the carrier's stay in the Tidewater region, Capt. Reeves—who had been promoted to flag rank—was relieved by Capt.
Forrest P. Shermanon 31 May. Departing Norfolk on 6 June, "Wasp" sailed with TF 37 which was built around the carrier and the new battleship USS|North Carolina|BB-55|2 and escorted by USS|Quincy|CA-39|2 and USS|San Juan|CL-54|2 and a half-dozen destroyers. The group transited the Panama Canalon 10 June, at which time "Wasp" and her consorts became TF 18, the carrier flying the two-starred flag of Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes.
San Diegoon 19 June, "Wasp" embarked the remainder of her complement of aircraft, Grumman TBF-1s and Douglas SBD-3s, the latter replacing the old Vindicators. On 1 July, she sailed for the Tonga Islandsas part of the convoy for the five transports carrying the 2nd Marine Regiment.
Meanwhile, preparations to invade the
Solomon Islandswere proceeding apace. Up to that point, the Japanese had been on the offensive, establishing their defensive perimeter around the edge of their " Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere."
On 4 July, while "Wasp" was en route to the South Pacific, the Japanese landed on
Guadalcanal. Allied planners realized that if the Japanese operated land-based aircraft from that key island, then it immediately imperiled Allied control of the New Hebridesand New Caledoniaarea. Rather than wait until the Japanese were firmly entrenched, they proposed to evict the Japanese before they got too deeply settled. Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley—who had attained a sterling record in London as Special Naval Observer—was detailed to take command of the operation; and he established his headquarters at Auckland, New Zealand. Since the Japanese had a foothold on Guadalcanal, time was of the essence; preparations for the invasion proceeded apace with the utmost secrecy and speed.
"Wasp"—together with the carriers USS|Saratoga|CV-3|2 and USS|Enterprise|CV-6|2—was assigned to the Support Force under Vice Admiral
Frank Jack Fletcher. Under the tactical command of Rear Admiral Noyes, embarked in "Wasp", the carriers were to provide air support for the invasion and initiation of the Guadalcanal campaign.
"Wasp" and her airmen worked intensively practicing day and night operations to hone their skills to a high degree and, by the time the operations against Guadalcanal were pushed into high gear, Capt. Sherman was confident that his airmen could perform their mission. "
D-day" had originally been set for 1 August, but the late arrival of some of the transports carrying marines pushed the date to 7 August.
"Wasp", screened by USS|San Francisco|CA-38|2, USS|Salt Lake City|CA-25|2, and four destroyers, steamed westward toward Guadalcanal on the evening of 6 August until midnight. Then, she changed course to the eastward to reach her launch position convert|84|mi|km|0 from
Tulagione hour before dawn. At 05:30, the first planes from "Wasp"'s air group barreled down the deck, and at 05:57, the first combat air patrol fighter took off.
The early flights of F4Fs and SBDs were assigned specific targets: Tulagi,
Gavutu, Tanambogo, Halavo, Port Purvis, Haleta, Bungana, and the radio station dubbed "Asses' Ears."
The F4Fs lead by Lt. Shands and his wingman, Ens. S. W. Forrer, swung down the north coast toward Gavatu. The other two headed for the seaplane facilities at Tanambogo. The Japanese appeared to be caught flat-footed, and the Grummans, arriving simultaneously at daybreak, shot up all of the patrol planes and fighter-seaplanes that were in the area. Fifteen Kawanishi flying boats and seven Nakajima floatplane fighters—the seaplane derivative of the Mitsubishi "Zero"—were destroyed by Shands' fighters that flew almost "on the deck." Shands himself bagged at least four Nakajima single-float fighter seaplanes and one four-engined flying boat. His wingman, Forrer, bagged three floatplane fighters and one patrol plane. Lt. Wright and Ens. Kenton bagged three patrol planes apiece and destroyed a motorboat apparently attempting to tend the flying boats; Ensigns Reeves and Conklin each bagged two and shared a fifth patrol plane between them. In addition, the strafing F4Fs destroyed an aviation fuel truck and a truck loaded with spare parts.
The SBDs, too, laid their bombs "on the money". Post-attack assessment estimated that the antiaircraft and shore battery sites pinpointed by intelligence had been destroyed by the dive bombers in their first attack. So complete was the Japanese's unpreparedness that none of Wasp's planes was shot down. Only one plane from the 16 Grummans failed to return, and, in that case, its pilot, Ensign Reeves, put her down on board "Enterprise" after having run low on fuel.
At 07:04, 12 Grumman TBF-1s, led by Lt. H. A. Romberg, rolled ponderously down the deck, loaded with bombs for use against land targets. Having encountered resistance, the initial landing forces called for help. Romberg's dozen Avengers blasted Japanese troop concentrations east of the nob of land known as Hill 281, in the Makambo-Sasapi sector, and the prison on Tulagi Island. "All enemy resistance", the official report later stated, was "apparently effectively silenced by this flight."
The first day's operations against Guadalcanal had proved successful. Some 10,000 men had been put ashore there and met only slight resistance. On Tulagi, however, the Japanese resisted stoutly, retaining about one-fifth of the island by nightfall. "Wasp", "Saratoga", and "Enterprise", with their screens, retired to the southward at nightfall.
"Wasp" returned the next morning, 8 August, to maintain a continuous CAP over the transport area until noon. These fighters were led by Lt. C. S. Moffett. Meanwhile, she also launched a scouting flight of 12 SBD-3s led by Lt. Comdr. E. M. Snowden. The Dauntlesses searched a sector to a radius of convert|220|mi|km|-1 from their carrier, extending it to include all of the
Santa Isabel Islandand the New Georgiagroups.
The Dauntless pilots sighted nothing that morning and made no contact with the Japanese during their two hours in the air. But that was soon to change for the flight leader. At 08:15, Snowden sighted a "
Rufe" some convert|40|mi|km|-1 from Rekata Bay and gave chase. The Japanese airman pulled up and attempted to use the clouds for cover. Snowden finally pulled within close range, and, using his two fixed .50-caliber guns, fired a short burst that hit home, causing the "Rufe" to spin into the Solomon Sea.
Meanwhile, a large group of Japanese planes approached from Bougainville, apparently bent upon attacking the transports off
Lunga Point. Upon learning of their approach, Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turnerordered all transports to get underway and to assume cruising disposition. The Americans accordingly cleared the decks for action. "Wasp"'s planes took part in the melee that followed-some planes by accident.
Lt. Comdr. Eldridge—again leading a formation of SDB-3s from
VS-71—had led his planes against Mbangi Island, off Tulagi, the site of some still fierce Japanese resistance. Eldridge's rear seat gunner, Aviation Chief Radioman L. A. Powers, suddenly spotted a formation of planes coming in from the northeast: but thinking them to be a relief flight, Eldridge continued on his present course. The Americans did a double-take, however, and discovered that the planes were, in fact, Japanese. At that instant, six "Zeroes" showed up and bounced the first section, but showed remarkably little skill in the attack, for they made 12 firing passes but could not down any of the Dauntlesses.
Meanwhile, the leader of the last section of VS-71, Lt. (jg.) Robert L. Howard, spotted a cluster of twin-engined G4M1 "
Betty" bombers heading for the American transports. Howard dove to the attack; but, in his excitement, failed to flip his armament switch to "on." After two runs during which his guns had failed to fire-thinking that the guns needed to be recharged—he discovered his error—but too late to do anything about the Mitsubishi bombers. At that moment, four "zeroes", escorts for the bombers, attacked the single SBD.
Howard's rear gunner, Seaman 2d Class Lawrence P. Lupo, kept the Japanese fighters at arm's length, scoring several hits on them as well. After about eight passes, one "Zero" veered up sharply and made a head-on run that Howard met with simultaneous fire from his fixed .50s. The "Zero" caught fire, passed close aboard the Dauntless' left wing, and crashed in flames amidst the American landing craft far below. At the same time Howard was downing the "Zero" ahead, Seaman Lupo was firing on another "Zero" making an attack from the stern. Lupo kept the Japanese away, but he had to shoot through his own plane's vertical stabilizer to do it. Eventually the Japanese tired of sporting with the SBD and retired to leave Howard and his squadron mates in VS-71 to return safely to their carrier.
At 18:07 on 8 August, Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher recommended to Ghormley, at Nouméa, that the air support force be withdrawn. Fletcher, concerned by the large numbers of Japanese planes that had attacked on the 8th, reported that he had only 78 fighters left (he had started with 99) and that fuel for the carriers was running low. Ghormley approved the recommendation, and "Wasp" joined "Enterprise" and "Saratoga" in retiring from Guadalcanal. By midnight on 8 August, the landing had been a success, having attained the immediate objectives of the landing. All Japanese resistance—but a few snipers—on Gavutu and Tanombogo had been overcome. Early on 9 August, a Japanese surface force engaged an American one in the
Battle of Savo Islandand retired at very little cost to themselves. The Allied force suffered loss of four heavy cruisers off Savo Island, including two that had served with "Wasp" in the Atlantic: "Vincennes" and "Quincy". The early and unexpected withdrawal of the support force, including "Wasp", when coupled with Allied losses in the Battle of Savo Island, jeopardized the success of the operation in the Solomons.
After the initial day's action in the Solomons campaign, the carrier spent the next month engaged in patrol and covering operations for convoys and resupply units headed for Guadalcanal. The Japanese, while reacting sluggishly to the initial thrust at Guadalcanal, soon began pouring reinforcements down to contest the Allied forces.
"Wasp" was ordered south by Vice Admiral Fletcher to refuel and did not participate in the
Battle of the Eastern Solomonson 24 August 1942. That engagement cost the American force the use of the valuable "Enterprise". "Saratoga" was torpedoed a week later and departed the South Pacific war zone for repairs as well. That left only two carriers in the southwest Pacific: USS|Hornet|CV-8|2—which had been in commission for only a year—and "Wasp".
On Tuesday, 15 September, those two carriers and "North Carolina"—with 10 other warships—were escorting the transports carrying the 7th Marine Regiment to Guadalcanal as reinforcements. "Wasp" had drawn the job of ready-duty carrier and was operating some convert|150|mi|km|-1 southeast of San Cristobal Island. Her gasoline system was in use, as planes were being refueled and rearmed for antisubmarine patrol missions; and "Wasp" had been at general quarters from an hour before sunrise until the time when the morning search returned to the ship at 10:00. Thereafter, the ship was in condition 2, with the air department at flight quarters. There was no contact with the Japanese during the day, with the exception of a Japanese four-engined
flying boatdowned by a "Wasp" Wildcat at 12:15.
About 14:20, the carrier turned into the wind to launch eight fighters and 18 SBD-3s and to recover eight F4F-3s and three SBDs that had been airborne since before noon. The ship rapidly completed the recovery of the 11 planes, she then turned easily to starboard, the ship heeling slightly as the course change was made. The air department at flight quarters, as they had done in earlier operations, worked coolly at refueling and respotting the ship's planes for the afternoon mission. Suddenly, at 2:44, a lookout called out, "three torpedoes ... three points forward of the starboard beam!"
A spread of six
Type 95 torpedoes, fired about 1444 from the tubes of the B1 Type Japanese submarine warship|Japanese submarine|I-19, churned inexorably closer. "Wasp" put over her rudder hard-a-starboard, but it was too late. Three torpedoes smashed home in quick succession about 1445. In an odd occurrence, one torpedo actually broached, left the water, and struck the ship slightly above the waterline. All hit in the vicinity of gasoline tanks and magazines. Two of the spread of torpedoes passed ahead of "Wasp" and were observed passing astern of USS|Helena|CL-50|2 before USS|O'Brien|DD-415|2 was hit by one at 1451 while maneuvering to avoid the other. The sixth torpedo passed either astern or under "Wasp", narrowly missed USS|Lansdowne|DD-486|2 in "Wasp"s screen about 1448, was seen by USS|Mustin|DD-413|2 in USS|North Carolina|BB-55|2's screen about 1450, and struck "North Carolina" about 1452.cite journal|author=Blee, Ben W., CAPT USN |title=Whodunnit |publisher=United States Naval Institute Proceedings |date=July 1982]
In quick succession, fiery blasts ripped through the forward part of the ship. Aircraft on the flight and hangar decks were thrown about and dropped on the deck with such force that landing gears snapped. Planes triced up in the hangar overheads fell and landed upon those on the hangar deck; fires broke out almost simultaneously in the hangar and below decks. Soon, the heat of the intense gasoline fires detonated the ready ammunition at the forward antiaircraft guns on the starboard side, and fragments showered the forward part of the ship. The number two 1.1 inch mount was blown overboard and the corpse of the gun captain was thrown onto the bridge where it landed next to Capt. Sherman.
Water mains in the forward part of the ship proved useless, since they had been broken by the force of the explosions. There was no water available to fight the conflagration forward; and the fires continued to set off ammunition, bombs, and gasoline. As the ship listed to starboard between 10 and 15 degrees, oil and gasoline, released from the tanks by the torpedo hit, caught fire on the water.
Sherman slowed to convert|10|kn|mph km/h|-1, ordering the rudder put to port to try to get the wind on the starboard bow; he then went astern with right rudder until the wind was on the starboard quarter, in an attempt to keep the fire forward. At that point, some flames made central station untenable, and communication circuits went dead. Soon, a serious gasoline fire broke out in the forward portion of the hangar, within 24 minutes of the initial attack, three additional major gasoline vapor explosions occurred. Ten minutes later, Capt. Sherman consulted with his executive officer, Comdr.
Fred C. Dickey. The two men saw no course but to abandon ship, as all fire-fighting was proving ineffectual. The survivors would have to be disembarked quickly if unnecessary loss of life was not to be incurred.
Reluctantly, after consulting with Rear Admiral Noyes, Capt. Sherman ordered "abandon ship" at 3:20. All badly injured men were lowered into rafts or rubber boats. Many unwounded men had to abandon from aft because the forward fires were burning with such intensity. The departure, as Capt. Sherman observed it, looked "orderly", and there was no panic. The only delays occurred when many men showed reluctance to leave until all the wounded had been taken off. The abandonment took nearly 40 minutes; and, at 4:00—satisfied that no one was left on deck, in the galleries, or in the hangar aft—Capt. Sherman swung over the lifeline on the fantail and slid into the sea.
Although the submarine hazard caused the accompanying destroyers to lie well clear or to shift position, the "tin cans" carried out the rescue efforts with persistence and determination until had 1,946 men embarked. The abandoned ship drifted with her crew of remaining dead. The fires greedily traveled aft; four more violent explosions boomed as night began to fall. "Lansdowne" drew the duty of destruction, and was ordered to stand by the carrier until she was sunk. "Lansdowne"s
Mark 15 torpedoes had the same unrecognized flaws reported for the Mark 14 torpedo. The first torpedo was fired at a range of 1000 yards and set to run 15 feet under "Wasp"s keel for maximum damage with the magnetic influence exploder. When no result was observed from an apparently perfect wake, a second torpedo was fired at keel depth from a range of 800 yards. Once again, an apparently perfect shot produced no results; and "Lansdowne" had only three more torpedoes. "Lansdowne"s torpedomen disabled the magnetic influence exploders and set depth at ten feet. All three torpedoes detonated, but "Wasp" remained afloat in the orange flames of a burning pool of gasoline and oil. "Lansdowne" nervously zig-zagged silhouetted in the fire's glow until "Wasp" sank by the bow at 2100.cite journal|author=Smedberg, William M. III, VADM USN |title=As I Recall..."Sink the "Wasp"!" |publisher=United States Naval Institute Proceedings |date=July 1982]
"Wasp" received two
battle stars for her World War II service.
List of aircraft carriersand list of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy
List of World War II ships
List of U.S. Navy losses in World War II, for more Navy ships lost in World War II.
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-w/cv7.htm Navy photographs of "Wasp" (CV-7)]
* [http://www.spitfiresite.com/1942-defence-of-malta.htm Combat History of the Supermarine Spitfire - The Defence of Malta (1942)]
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