While “salvage operations” aren’t normally stories the perseverance and ingenuity, the plot of brave sailors and also officers after ~ the Pearl Harbor assaults formed a miracle that is legitimately surprising. When the battleships Utah, Arizona, and also Oklahoma were permanently shed after the Pearl harbor attacks, seven combat ships the were sunk in the raid went on come fight Japanese and German forces roughly the world and at the very least three non-combat ships experienced further organization in the war.

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In all, 21 ships were labeled damaged or sunk after ~ the attack. Nine of them were still afloat and were either easily repaired for frontline duty or sent out to the U.S. West coast for repair and new equipment. But an additional 12 were sunk and also some the those were even asserted lost. Before the war closed, seven of the sunken ships would watch combat and also another three offered in peacetime roles.


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The USS West Virginia burns top top December 7 thanks to Japanese attacks. It would certainly go top top to punishment the Japanese forces across the Pacific. (U.S. Navy)

 

USS West Virginia was asserted lost three years prior to entering Tokyo Bay

The USS West Virginia was one of the worst hit in the raid. The “Weevie,” together it was called, had actually been hit by up to 7 torpedoes, yet no one can be specific exactly how countless torpedoes fight it, really, since the damage was so severe. At least two torpedoes flowed with holes in the hull and exploded inside versus the reduced decks.

Salvage crews were forced to create large patches that were held in ar with underwater concrete. As seawater was pumped out, the was supposed that the ship’s electrical drive would be unusable or would need comprehensive repairs but, surprisingly, that turned the end that seawater hadn’t got to the main propulsion plant. The alternators and also motors to be repaired, and the ship headed for Puget Sound navy Yard.

The ship obtained much much better anti-aircraft armament and defensive armor and also headed earlier into the fight in the Pacific. In ~ the battle of the Surigao Strait, Weevie fired ninety-three rounds right into the Japanese fleet. It later on hit Japanese forces ashore on Leyte, offered at Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, and was the an initial of the enlarge battleships come sail right into Tokyo Bay to witness Japan’s surrender in 1945.


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The USS show explodes at Pearl harbor on December 7. It later fought across the Pacific. (U.S. Navy)

 

USS Shaw attacked Guadalcanal, Leyte, and the Philippines

The destroyer USS shaw was only 6-years old once the Pearl Harbor strike began, but the contemporary warship was in overhaul top top Dec. 7, 1941, and had every one of its ammo stored listed below decks. So it was unable to defend itself together dive bombers to win it, shredding the deck near gun number 1, severing the bow, and rupturing the fuel oil tanks. Every this damages led to a huge fire in the forward magazines i beg your pardon then go out up.

The shaw was claimed a total loss, however the Navy uncovered that much of that is machinery was still good. Damaged part were cut off, a false bow to be fitted, and also the delivery steamed to Mare Island in California for long-term repairs simply two month after the attack.

The overhauled USS show fired ~ above Japanese pressures at the fight of Santa Cruz Islands, Guadalcanal, Leyte, and also the southerly Philippines. It served out the war before being decommissioned in October 1945.


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The USS Nevada fires its firearms at the Normandy shore throughout D-Day in June 1944, about 30 months after the ship was sunk at Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy)

 

USS Nevada shelled Normandy

The USS Nevada was among the few ships in the harbor that was all set to struggle on December 7, and its main reports indicated that the crew very first opened fire in ~ 8:02, about 60 secs after the strike started. It had the ability to down in between two and five foe planes, however still took one torpedo and also six bomb hits the doomed the ship. An admiral notified the ship to coast itself to defend the channel and the delivery from additional damage.

While Adm. Chester E. Nimitz was pessimistic as to the Nevada’s chances, salvage leader were rather hopeful. Most of the holes were small enough come patch through wood rather of steel. That took considerable work to obtain the ship capable of sailing to the West Coast. When it arrived at Puget, the received brand-new anti-aircraft guns and also a full overhaul.

The Nevada took component in the Aleutian Islands campaign just one year ~ Pearl Harbor prior to going on come fight at Normandy top top D-Day. It headed earlier to the Pacific and fought at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.


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The battleship USS California sits in drydock in 1942 together crews prepare to begin major repair operations. (U.S. Navy)

 

USS California slammed a Japanese Fuso-class battleship with shells

The California crew to be able to gain into fighting place as Japanese bombers closed in, yet that just left police officers in perfect position to watch the monitor of the torpedo that hit the ship in the opening minutes. Together damage regulate got underway, a second torpedo hit the ship adhered to by a single bomb. Every this to be made worse when the crew had actually to give up ship together the fires from the USS Arizona floated about the California.

But the crew came earlier and retained the delivery afloat for three days before it lastly sank into the mud. Salvage operators had actually to develop cofferdams to start repairs so that crews could accessibility previously flooded areas. As the ship emerged from the water, caustic services were supplied to eliminate corrosion and also seawater. It sailed for the West coastline in October 1942.

By the moment the California left the Puget Sound marine Yard in late 1943, the had nearly all new parts, native the engine to plenty of weapons. It supplied these come fight at the Marianas, bombard Saipan and also Guam, and then slam a Fuso-class battleship at Surigao Strait through over 90,000 pounds of munitions.


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The USS Downes top top left and also USS Cassin, capsized on right, sit on the partly flooded floor that Drydock No. 1 ~ above Dec. 7, 1941, after suffering multiple bomb hits and also internal explosions. (U.S. Navy)

 

USS Cassin

The destroyers USS Cassin and USS Downes were in drydock top top December 7. So they were basically impossible to damages with torpedoes, yet were extremely susceptible come bombs. Guess: v what Japan struggle them with? Bombs passed totally through the Cassin and explosive on the drydock floor, and both pearl were collection on fire and also struck by tons of fragments. Cassin even toppled turn off its blocks and also struck the drydock floor.

The USS Cassin’s keel and also hull were warped by the damage, and the hull was filled v holes. The shell plating to be wrinkled. Crews disassembled the ship and also sent most everything but the hull to Mare Island wherein they were installed in a brand-new shell. Despite the entirely new hull, the Navy taken into consideration the resulting ship to still it is in the USS Cassin.

The Cassin was sent against Marcus Island, Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Luzon, Iwo Jima, Palau, and the Philippine Islands. Yeah, it had actually a quite busy battle for a delivery “lost” ~ above December 7.

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The USS Downes sails away from Mare Island to serve against Japan in people War II top top Dec. 8, 1943, nearly exactly a year after ~ the Pearl harbor attack. (U.S. Navy)

USS Downes

The Downes arguably endured worst 보다 the Cassin in drydock as the fires brought about sympathetic detonations in the Downes’ torpedoes and also other weapons. It was also twisted by damage, and it had huge holes from the explosions. Downes had actually aluminum plating ~ above its deckhouse the was totally destroyed.

Like the Cassin, the Downes had actually its hull scrapped and most that its innards installed in one more hull in the shipyard ~ above Mare Island.

This brand-new and enhanced USS Downes dealt with at Saipan, Marcus Island, and also Luzon. Favor the Cassin, it had actually been claimed lost after ~ the Pearl port damage.


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The USS Oglala is visible in the foreground, mainly submerged top top its side as other ships melted in the lift on December 7 in ~ Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy)

 

USS Oglala

The minelayer Oglala technically didn’t endure a fight on December 7, however a torpedo happen under it and also hit the USS Helena. The blast from the crippled the old Oglala which had actually been constructed as a civilian ship in 1906. The crewmembers take it their weapons to the marine Yard Dock and set them approximately provide more defenses. Castle also collection up a very first aid terminal that saved the lives of West Virginia crewmembers.

The ship endured horribly, ultimately capsizing and also sinking until simply a couple of feet that the ship’s starboard side remained above water. It was declared lost, and the marine even considered blowing the up through dynamite to clear the dock it had sunk next to. But the decision to be made that it could destroy the dock, so the Navy had actually to refloat it. At that point, the made sense to drydock and repair it.

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After repair and also refit at Mare Island marine Yard, the Oglala was re-launched as a fix ship and also served throughout the west Pacific. It in reality joined the naval Reserve Fleet after ~ the war and wasn’t scrapped till 1965, nearly 60 year after its building as a civilian passenger liner.

(Author’s note: many of the details for this short article came native The navy Department Library’s virtual copy that Pearl Harbor: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and also Final Appraisal by vice Admiral Homer N. Wallin. It have the right to be found online here.)