World War II
Naval Damage Reports & Photos
1,014 pages of reports and photographs of damage done to U.S. Navy vessel during World War II.
Much of this material was classified until 1994. The War Damage Reports classification was cancelled by authority of OPNAVINST S5513.16 on 12 September 1994.
During World War II, when a ship sustained battle damage or any other type of mishap occurred (e.g., collision, running aground, explosion, fire, heavy weather damage), a War Damage Report was required. At the first opportunity, a follow-up, detailed, preliminary shipboard inspection/damage assessment at sea of the affected space(s) was conducted for a required, descriptive War Damage Report. This report was to be signed by those officers performing the inspection assessment and the commanding officer. The requirement was to report date, time, and location or area of operations; personnel casualties (name, rate/rank, branch, and service number); a brief description of damage; and mission impact. If the complete damage analysis assessment could not be conducted and completed at sea while underway, a more detailed inspection would had to be conducted at anchor in a safe harbor or in port.
On smaller ships (e.g., DDs, DDEs, LPAs, AOs, ARSs, AEs, LSDs, LSTs), the formal inspection was conducted by the Assistant Damage Control Officer (ADCO/DCA) (1st Lieutenant), Chief Engineer and Executive Officer. The appropriate department heads -- deck, medical, gunnery/weapons, supply and operations -- were required to assist in the inspection of damaged spaces under their cognizance to provide systems data descriptions/mission impact for the report. The inspection team was assisted by two yeomen and one photographer, who would create the report in accordance with existing fleet instructions. In some cases, where the ship remained operational after sustaining damage, flag staffs would embark in ships in their squadron to conduct the War Damage Report Inspection Assessment, as smaller ship's crews were overwhelmed with the tempo of operations and maintaining the ship at sea. In those cases, every hour was crucial to those crewmembers after battle damage. If a significant number of the crew had been lost, remaining crewmembers were needed for standing watches -- there was no one else qualified (or who could qualify) to steam the plant -- and preparing the ship for another possible encounter with the enemy. The threat was continuous, as long as the ship remained in the War Zone of Naval Operations in WWII.
On larger ships such as Flag Ships (e.g., BBs, CVs, CAs, and CVEs), this formal inspection was conducted by embarked staff officers. These officers were assisted as required by the ship's company, including the ADCO/DCA (1st Lieutenant), Chief Engineer and Executive officer, and appropriate department heads, such as air, deck, medical, gunnery/weapons, supply, communications and operations. The inspection team was assisted by three or four yeoman and two photographers, who would create the report in accordance with existing fleet instructions.
The results of formal inspections were submitted immediately by a top-priority, classified message to the Navy Department for immediate review, Fleet Readiness Assessment, and appropriate actions, with a serial number assigned and dated. Distribution was according to existing directives and filing.
TORPEDO AND BOMB DAMAGE REPORTS
793 pages of written reports of torpedo and bomb damage reports related to Naval vessels.
Destroyer Report - Gunfire, Bomb and Kamikaze Damage Including Loss in Action - October 17, 1942 to August 15, 1945
This report analyzes cause, effect and countermeasure of damage received in action during World War II U.S. destroyers. This report embraces damage caused by gunfire, bomb and Kamikaze attack. The purpose of the report was to present, after sifting the great volume of destroyer war experience, information of lasting value to damage control and engineering personnel aboard destroyers and subsequent vessels of which they are the prototype, to salvage and repair activities, and to those responsible for the design and outfitting of similar vessels.
Eleven cases of destroyer damage have been taken up in detail in this report and are grouped as follows: three cases of damage by gunfire, five exclusively by bombs and three by Kamikaze crashes. The cases chosen are typical of damage incurred by destroyers from each of these three types of attack. The sequence of cases, within each group, is chronological. It will be noted, therefore, that the latter cases of each group involve ships of later and improved design and probably more adequately trained crews, the two factors together accounting for the greater resistance of later destroyers. The text of each case includes a narrative describing the action, the damage and the damage control measures including a resume of salvage or interim repair procedure, a discussion of the ordnance material which inflicted the damage and also such conclusions as may be drawn regarding material design and damage control technique. For the sake of brevity, the discussions of ordnance, communications and medical problems in the damaged ships have been limited to those phases which directly concerned the ship's survival.
Escort Carriers Gunfire, Bomb and Kamikaze Damage and Loss During World War II Excerpt.
An excerpt from this report covering kamikaze damage Off Luzon on 4 and 5 January 1945 of the U.S.S. Ommaney Bay (CVE79) and U.S.S. Manila Bay (CVE61).
OMMANEY BAY and MANILA BAY were two of six CVE's comprising Seventh Fleet Task Unit 77.4.2 for operations related to the landing of the U.S. Sixth Army in Lingayen Gulf in January 1945. During the preliminaries of this landing, the carriers were subjected to frequent well-executed Kamikaze attacks.
Submarine Report - Depth Charge, Bomb, Mine, Torpedo and Gunfire Damage, Including Losses in Action - December 7, 1941 to August 15, 1956 Excerpt
An excerpt from this report covering the U.S.S. Tang (SS306). On 24 October 1944, during her fifth war patrol, TANG was sunk in Formosa Strait as a result of the malfunctioning of one of her own torpedoes which made a circular run and returned to strike the hull abreast the after torpedo room. The resulting detonation caused the ship to plunge by the stern within a few seconds.
SUMMARY OF WAR DAMAGE - U.S. Battleships, Carriers, Cruisers and Destroyers, October 17, 1941 to December 7, 1942
This summary was intended to present the results of the first year of war, it also includes cases of damage which occurred prior to 7 December, 1941. The dates thus are 17 October, 1941 to 7 December, 1942 inclusive.
Other broad coverage reports include:
SUMMARY OF WAR DAMAGE - U.S. Battleships, Carriers, Cruisers, Destroyer and Destroyer Escorts, December 8, 1942 to December 7, 1943
SUMMARY OF WAR DAMAGE - U.S. Battleships, Carriers, Cruisers, Destroyer and Destroyer Escorts, December 8, 1943 to December 7, 1944
SUMMARY OF WAR DAMAGE - U.S. Battleships, Carriers, Cruisers, Destroyer and Destroyer Escorts, December 6, 1944 to October 9, 1945
WAR DAMAGE TO BRITISH NAVAL VESSELS - Summary of Damage by Bombs to September 2, 1941
Vessel mention in these summary reports include: AARON WARD (DD483), ABNER READ(DD526), ALBERT W. GRANT (DD649), ALLEN M. SUMNER (DD692), AMMEN (DD527), ANDERSON (DD411), ARIZONA (BB39), ASTORIA (CA34), ATLANTA (CL51), AULICK (DD569), BAILEY (DD492), BALDWIN (DD624), BARR (DE576), BARTON (DD599), BELLEAU WOOD (CVL24), BENHAM (DD397), BENNION (DD662), BIRMINGHAM (CL62), BLAKELEY (DD150), BLUE (DD387), BOISE (CL47), BOYD (DD544), BRAINE (DD630), BRISTOL (DD453), BRUNNSON (DD518), BUCHANAN (DD484), BUCK (DD420), BUCKLEY (DE51), BUNKER HILL (CV17), BUSH (DD529), CABOT (CVL28), CALIFORNIA (BB44, CANBERRA (CA70), CASSIN (DD372), CASSIN YOUNG (DD793), CHAMPLIN (DD601), CHESTER (CA27), CHEVALIER (DD451), CHICAGO (CA29), CLAXTON (DD571), COGHLAN (DD606), COLORADO (BB45), CONVERSE (DD509), CONY (DD508), CONYNGHAM (DD371), COOPER (DD695), CORRY (DD463), CUSHING (DD376), DAVIS (DD395), DeHAVEN (DD469), DENNIS (DE405), DENVER (CL58), DICKERSON (DD157), DONNELL (DE56), DOWNES (DD375), DRAYTON (DD366), DUNCAN (DD485), DYSON (DD572), EDSALL (DD219), ENTERPRISE (CV6), ESSEX (CV9), EVERSOLE (DE404), FANSHAW BAY (CVE70), FARENHOLT (DD491), FECHTELER (DE157), FISKE (DE143), FLUSSER (DD368), FOOTE (DD51l), FRANKLIN (CV13), GANDY (DE764), GLENNON (DD620), GWIN (DD433), HALL (DD583), HAMBLETON (DD455), HAMMANN (DD412), HANCOCK (CV19), HELENA (CL50), HELM (DD388), HENLEY (DD391), HEERMAN (DD532), HERBER C. JONES (DE137), HOEL (DD533), HOLDER (DE401), HONOLULU (CL48), HORNET (CV8), HOUSTON (CA30), HOUSTON (CL81), HUTCHINS (DD476), INDEPENDENCE (CVL22), INDIANA (BB58), INTREPID (CV11), IOWA (BB61), JACOB JONES (DDl30), JARVIS (DD393), JOHNSTON (DD557), JUNEAU (CL52), KALININ BAY (CVE68), KALK (DD611), KEARNY (DD432), KENDRICK (DD612), KILLEN (DD593), KITKUN BAY (CVE71), LAFFEY (DD459), LAMSON (DD367), LANSDALE (DD426), LaVAlLETTE (DD448), LEARY (DD158), LEOPOLD (DE319), LEXINGTON (CV2), LEXINGTON (CV16), LISCOME BAY (CVE56), LUDLOW (DD438), MAHAN (DD364), MARBLEHEAD (CL12), MARYLAND (BB46), MASSACHUSETTS (BB59), MAYO (DD422), MAYRANT (DD402), McCOOK (DD496), MENGES (DE320), MEREDITH (DD434), MEREDITH (DD726), MINNEAPOLIS (CA36), MOALE (DD693), MONSSEN (DD436), MONTPELIER (CL57), MUGFORD (DD389), MURPHY (DD603), NASHVILLE (CL43), NELSON (DD623), NEVADA (BB36), NEW ORLEANS (CA32), NICHOLSON (DD442), NORMAN SCOTT (DD690), NORTH CAROLINA (BB55), NORTHAMPTON (CA26), O'BANNON (DD450), O'BRIEN (DD415), OKLAHOMA (BB37), PATTERSON (DD392), PEARY (DD226), PENNSYLVANIA (B638), PENSACOLA (CA24), PERKINS (DD377), PHELPS (DD360), PHILADELPHIA (CL4l), PHOENIX (CL46), PILLSBURY (DD227), PLUNKETT (DD431), POPE (DD225), PORTER (DD356), PORTLAND (CA33), PRESTON (DD379), QUINCY (CA39), RALEIGH (CL7), RALPH TALBOT (DD300), REID (DD369), RENO (CL96), REUBEN JAMES (DD245), RHIND (DD404), RICH (DE695), RICHARD M. ROWELL (DE403), RINGGOLD (DD500), ROSS (DD563), ROWAN (DD405), SALT LAKE CITY (CA25), SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (DE413), SAN FRANCISCO (CA38), SAN JUAN (CL54), SANGAMON (CVE26), SANTEE (CVE29), SARATOGA (CV3), SAUFLY (DD465), SAVANNAH (CL42), SELFRIDGE (DD357), SHAW (DD373), SHELTON (DE407), SIMS (DD409), SMITH (DD378), SPENCE (DD512), SOUTH DAKOTA (BB57), ST. LOUIS (CL48), STERETT (DD407), STEWART (DD224), STOCKTON (DD646), STRONG (DD468), SUWANNEE (CVE27), TENNESSEE (BB43), TEXAS (BB35), VINCENNES (CA44), WADLEIGH (DD689), WADSWORTH (DD5l6), WALKE (DD4l6), WASP (CV7), WASP (CV18), WEST VIRGINIA (BB48), WHITE PLAINS (CVE66), WICHITA (CA45), and YORKTOWN (CV5).
Reports covering individual vessels include:
U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-2), Bomb and Torpedo Damage - Coral Sea, May 8, 1942 (LOST IN ACTION)
On 7 May 1942 search planes reported contact with an enemy carrier task force, and Lexington's air group flew an eminently successful mission against it, sinking light carrier Shoho. Later that day, 12 bombers and 15 torpedo planes from still-unlocated heavy carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku were intercepted by fighter groups from Lexington and Yorktown, who downed nine enemy aircraft. On the morning of the 8th, a Lexington plane located the Shokaku group. A strike was immediately launched from the American carriers, and the Japanese ship was heavily damaged.
The Japanese penetrated to the American carriers at 1100, and 20 minutes later Lexington was struck by a torpedo to port. Seconds later, a second torpedo hit to port directly abreast the bridge. At the same time, she took three bomb hits from Japanese dive bombers, producing a seven degree list to port and several raging fires. By 1300 her skilled damage control parties had brought the fires under control and returned the ship to even keel. Making 25 knots, she was ready to recover her air group. Then suddenly Lexington was shaken by a tremendous explosion, caused by the ignition of gasoline vapors below, and again fire raged out of control.
At 1558 Capt. Frederick C. Sherman, fearing for the safety of men working below, secured salvage operations, and ordered all hands to the flight deck. At 1707, he ordered, "abandon ship!", and the disembarkation began, men going over the side into the warm water, almost immediately to be picked up by nearby cruisers and destroyers. Admiral Fitch and his staff transferred to cruiser USS Minneapolis (CA 36); Captain Sherman and his executive officer, Cmdr. M. T. Seligman insured all their men were safe, then were the last to leave their ship.
Lexington blazed on, flames shooting hundreds of feet into the air. The destroyer USS Phelps (DD 360) closed to 1500 yards and fired two torpedoes into her hull. With one last heavy explosion, Lexington sank at 1956 on 8 May 1942 at 15º 20' S., 155º 30' E.
U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-5), Bomb and Torpedo Damage - Midway, June 4 to 7, 1942 (LOST IN ACTION)
U.S.S. YORKTOWN was hit by three bombs and two aircraft torpedoes on the afternoon of June 4, 1942. Numerous fires were started by the bombs. These were brought under control in one hour. The two torpedoes produced extensive flooding which resulted in a list of about 230 to port at the time the ship was abandoned. Later the same afternoon a salvage crew was organized and returned on June 6. Two degrees of the list had been removed when a submarine torpedo attack occurred. The first torpedo from this attack struck HAMMANN which was alongside assisting in salvage operations. Almost immediately thereafter two torpedoes hit YORKTOWN on the starboard side. This reduced the list to 170 but internal flooding caused the ship to go deeper in the water. Finally, on the morning of June 7 YORKTOWN capsized to port and sank.
U.S.S. HELENA (CL-50), TORPEDO DAMAGE - Kula Gulf, Solomon Islands, July 6, 1943 (LOST IN ACTION)
In the summer of 1942, Helena was sent to the South Pacific, where she participated actively in the Guadalcanal campaign. She rescued survivors of USS Wasp (CV-7) when that carrier was sunk by an enemy submarine on 15 September. Twice, in the 11-12 October Battle of Cape Esperance and the 13 November 1942 Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Helena engaged in night surface combat, making important contributions to thwarting Japanese bombardments of vital Henderson Field. In January 1943, late in the Guadalcanal campaign, she twice shelled Japanese bases on New Georgia and Kolombangara islands.
Following a quick overhaul at Sydney, Australia, Helena returned to the combat zone in March 1943. She again bombarded enemy positions before and during the invasion of New Georgia and Rendova. In the early morning of 6 July 1943, Helena was part of a task force that fought Japanese destroyers in the Battle of Kula Gulf. Hit by three torpedoes in that action, the cruiser was broken into three parts and sunk, with the loss of nearly 170 of her crewmen.
U.S.S. PRINCETON (CVL-23), BOMB DAMAGE - Battle for Leyte Gulf, October 24, 1944 (LOST IN ACTION)
On 24 October 1944, Princeton was off the northern Philippines, taking part in attacks on Luzon airfields to support the Leyte invasion. That morning, she was hit by a Japanese dive-bombing attack and set afire. The blaze could not be contained, and in mid-afternoon a bomb magazine exploded. The after part of the ship was wrecked and severe casualties inflicted on the crew of USS Birmingham (CL-62), which was alongside helping to fight the fires. After her remaining crewmen were removed, USS Princeton was sunk by her escorts
U.S.S. QUINCY (CA-39), U.S.S. ASTORIA (CA-34) and U.S.S. VINCENNES (CA-44), GUNFIRE AND TORPEDO DAMAGE Battle of Savo Island, August 9, 1942 (LOST IN ACTION)
Following an overhaul, Quincy transferred to the Pacific Fleet in June 1942. The next month, she was sent to New Zealand, where she joined the forces preparing for the invasion of the southern Solomon Islands. On 7 August 1942, Quincy bombarded Japanese installations on Guadalcanal in support of the U.S. Marine Corps landing there. During the night of 8-9 August, she was one of three heavy cruisers stationed in the northern approaches to the invasion zone and was sunk there by a force of Japanese cruisers in the disastrous Battle of Savo Island in the early morning darkness of 9 August 1942.
During the early hours of 9 August Vincennes was patrolling westward from Tulagi with her sister ships Astoria (CA-34) and Quincy (CA-39) when a force of Japanese cruisers attacked. In a brief, intense gunfire and torpedo battle, the three American cruisers were utterly devastated. Vincennes and Quincy sank within an hour. USS Astoria succumbed to her wounds shortly after noon, sinking into the depths of a body of water that would soon be called "Iron Bottom Sound", in recognition of all the ships that were lost there.
U.S.S. SARATOGA (CV-3), FINAL REPORT - TORPEDO DAMAGE - January 11, 1942
USS Saratoga, a 33,000-ton aircraft carrier, was converted from the battle cruiser Saratoga (CC-3) while under construction at Camden, New Jersey. Commissioned in November 1927, as the second of the Navy's initial pair of fully capable aircraft carriers, Saratoga spent the years before World War II taking part in exercises, training aviators and generally contributing to the development of carrier techniques and doctrine. She was in the Pacific when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and took part in the abortive Wake Island relief expedition later in that month. While operating in the Hawaiian area on 11 January 1942, she was struck by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine, necessitating several months of repairs, during which her eight-inch guns were replaced by the more useful 5"/38 dual purpose type.
Other vessel covered in individuals reports include: U.S.S. ALCHIBA, U.S.S. BLOCK ISLAND (CVE-21), U.S.S. CHESTER (CA-27), U.S.S. LISCOME BAY (CVE-56), U.S.S. MARBLEHEAD (CL-2), U.S.S. NECHES (AO-5), U.S.S. NEW ORLEANS (CA-32), U.S.S. Randolph (CV-15), U.S.S. RENO (CL-96), U.S.S. SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), U.S.S. SAVANNAH (CL-42), U.S.S. SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57), U.S.S. STERETT (DD-407), U.S.S. WAKEFIELD (AP-21), and U.S.S. WASP (CV-7).
Reports of damage done at Battle of Guadalcanal, Coral Sea, Midway, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Battle for Leyte Gulf, Gilbert Islands, Battle of Savo Island, Java Sea, Lunga Point, and Gulf of Salerno, Italy.
IMAGES OF VESSEL DAMAGE
221 pages of excerpted images from damage reports, of photos and diagrams, and Naval Historical center photos of damage suffered during World War II. The pages contain 289 discernable images.
Includes images from the reports covering the vessels: U.S.S. YORKTOWN, U.S.S. LEXINGTON (CV-2), U.S.S. BLOCK ISLAND (CVE-21), U.S.S. CHESTER (CA-27) U.S.S. HELENA (CL-50), U.S.S. LISCOME BAY (CVE-56), U.S.S. MARBLEHEAD (CL-2), U.S.S. NECHES (AO-5), U.S.S. PRINCETON (CVL-23), U.S.S. Randolph (CV-15), U.S.S. SARATOGA (CV-3), U.S.S. SAVANNAH (CL-42), U.S.S. SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57), U.S.S. WAKEFIELD (AP-21), and U.S.S. WASP (CV-7).
Images cover damage done at Battle of Guadalcanal, Coral Sea, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Gilbert Islands, Java Sea, Battle for Leyte Gulf, Gulf of Salerno, Italy, and Singapore.
Images can be resized and rotated.
As a finding aid for this title, all convertible text in the documents have been transcribed and embedded under the page image as text. All text capable of being converted can be searched.