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Hornet near miss Santa Cruz Oct 42.jpg (19871 bytes)
Near miss on Hornet at Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, 26 October 1942
USS Hornet

Yorktown Class Aircraft Carrier

One of three Yorktown class carriers (the others were Yorktown CV 5 and Enterprise CV 6), USS Hornet CV 8 had a short but illustrious history. Commissioned in late 1941 and rushed into service, she launched fifteen B-25 medium bombers in the famous Doolittle raid on Tokyo. This April 1942 mission, while largely symbolic, had a great effect on US morale. Shortly thereafter she was a participant at Midway, the pivotal naval battle of the pacific war. The end for Hornet came at the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, October 26, 1942. Repeatedly bombed and torpedoed by Japanese carrier aircraft of the Guadalcanal Supporting Force, she was abandoned. To hasten her sinking the US destroyers Mustin and Anderson put an additional nine torpedoes and 300 5" rounds into Hornet. Aflame stem to stern, she still would not sink. The coup de grace was administered the next day by four torpedoes from the Japanese destroyers Makigumo and Akigumo.

Devastator.gif (12324 bytes)The USS Hornet's Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) flew fifteen TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bombers at the Battle of Midway. These slow and vulnerable aircraft, already obsolete when the war started, lacked air cover when they encountered both Japanese fighters and withering naval AA fire. All fifteen were shot down. Twenty-nine of VT-8's thirty pilots and air crew were killed in action at Midway.

USS Hornet (CV 8)
Vital Statistics

Commissioned: 20 October 1941
Displacement: 23,507 tons (25,484 full load)
Length: 824' 9" oa, 770' wl, Beam: 83'3" wl, 109'6" extreme
Armament (1942): eight 5"/38 (8x1), sixteen 1.1" (4x4), 23 20mm
Performance: 32.5 knots maximum

Aircraft: 85 (various combinations of
Wildcat, Avenger, Dauntless, and Devastator)
Complement: 306 officers, 2,613 enlisted

Note that there were external differences between Hornet and her sister ships Yorktown and Enterprise.
Among other things, Hornet's flight deck was 16' longer and she was equipped
with the heavier MK 37 director, which necessitated a less prominent mast structure
than that of her sister ships.

Click thumbnail image to view full size picture

Hornet late 41 after completion 02.jpg (53475 bytes)
Late 1941 shortly after commissioning
Hornet late 41 after completion.jpg (106360 bytes)
Late 1941 shortly after commissioning
Hornet launches B-25.jpg (52424 bytes)
Launching a B-25 in Doolittle raid
Hornet 30 Apr 42 Pearl.jpg (46925 bytes)
Arriving at Pearl 30 Apr 1942 after Doolittle raid
Hornet 15 May 42.jpg (27282 bytes)
15 May 1942
Hornet 26 May 42 after Coral Sea.jpg (38650 bytes)
Returning to Pearl from Coral Sea 26 May 1942
Hornet about to be hit Santa Cruz Oct 42.jpg (85015 bytes)
Diving "Val" about to crash into Hornet's island

(Santa Cruz October 42)
Hornet after being hit Oct 42.jpg (106845 bytes)
Damage from Val crashing into Hornet