Allied Warships

USS Wasp (CV 7)

Aircraft Carrier of the Wasp class


USS Wasp as completed

NavyThe US Navy
TypeAircraft Carrier
ClassWasp 
PennantCV 7 
Built byBethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. (Quincy, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down1 Apr 1936 
Launched4 Apr 1939 
Commissioned25 Apr 1940 
Lost15 Sep 1942 
Loss position12° 25'S, 164° 08'E
History

While in operations off Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, the Japanese submarine I-19 (offsite link) scored three hits on the carrier. Wasp (Captain Forrest Percival Sherman) burned stem to stern as she listed and sank with 194 killed and 485 wounded/injured in position 12º25'S, 164º08'E. The anti-aircraft cruiser USS Juneau (CL 52) picked up some of her 1,969 survivors.

Another aircraft carrier, of the Essex type then being built, was renamed Wasp in honor of the performance of this ship in the Solomon's battles in 1942.

 

Commands listed for USS Wasp (CV 7)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. John Walter Reeves, Jr., USN25 Apr 194031 May 1942
2T/Capt. Forrest Percival Sherman, USN31 May 194215 Sep 1942

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Notable events involving Wasp include:


14 Apr 1942

Operation Calender.

Spitfire fighters to be flown off to Malta.

Around 0700/14, ' Force W ' made up of the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Commodore C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier USS Wasp (Capt. J.W. Reeves, Jr., USN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), USS Lang (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Seay, USN) and USS Madison (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Ammon, USN) departed the Clyde for a mission to fly off Spitfire fighters to Malta.

At 2020/15, ' Force W ' made a 90° emergency turn to port as HMS Partidge had obtained an A/S contact and attacked it with depth charges. The original course was resumed a little over 20 minutes later. At 2045/15, HMS Partridge dropped more depth charges. ' Force W ' then commenced zig-zagging. HMS Partridge rejoined the screen at 2305/15.

Around 1915/17 all destroyers were detached to refuel at Gibraltar after they had been relieved, temporary, by the destroyers HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) and HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN). These destroyers had departed Gibraltar around 0001/16.

HMS Inglefield, HMS Echo, HMS Ithuriel, HMS Partridge, USS Lang and USS Madison arrived at Gibraltar around 1500/18. After fuelling they departed to conduct an A/S patrol to the east of Gibraltar and then rejoin ' Force W '.

Around 0700/19 the original screen rejoined from Gibraltar as did the cruisers HMS Cairo (A/Capt. C.C. Hardy, DSO, RN) and HMS Charybdis (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN) also coming from Gibraltar. The cruisers had departed from Gibraltar at 0145/19 and joined with the destroyers that were on A/S patrol at 0230/19. HMS Antelope, HMS Westcott, HMS Wishart and HMS Wrestler were detached around 0630/19 to return to Gibraltar where they arrived at 1100/19. HMS Vidette for now remained with ' Force W '. She left the formation at 1900/19 and proceeded to Gibraltar independently.

After fuelling HMS Antelope and HMS Westcott departed Gibraltar to rejoin ' Force W ' at 1415/19 as did HMS Wishart and HMS Wrestler at 1545/19. They rejoined ' Force W ' around 0900/20.

At 0500/20, in position 37°30'N, 03°20'E, USS Wasp commenced flying off 11 F4F Wildcat fighters to provide a combat air patrol whilst the Spitfires were launched. At 0545/20 the flying off of 47 Spitfires commenced. All were successfully launched and the combat air patrol landed on around 0715/20 when ' Force W ' reversed course and steered for Gibraltar.

At 1620/20, HMS Vidette arrived at Gibraltar to fuel. She sailed again to rejoin ' Force W ' at 0130/21.

At 0250/21, HMS Cairo, HMS Inglefield, HMS Echo, USS Lang and USS Madison arrived at Gibraltar. After fuelling they departed again at 0625/21 to rejoin the USS Wasp at sea.

At 1630/21, HMS Renown, HMS Charybdis, HMS Antelope, HMS Vidette, HMS Westcott, HMS Wishart, HMS Wrestler, HMS Ithuriel and HMS Partridge arrived at Gibraltar after playing their part in Operation Calender.

USS Wasp now escorted by HMS Cairo, HMS Inglefield, HMS Echo, USS Lang and USS Madison set course for Scapa Flow.

Around 1645/25, the destroyers USS Plunkett (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Standley, Jr., USN) and USS Wainwright (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Gibbs, USN) joined. Shortly afterwards HMS Cairo parted company and proceeded to Bangor Bay near Belfast, Northern Ireland arriving there around 0800/26.

USS Wasp, HMS Inglefield, HMS Echo, USS Lang, USS Madison, USS Plunkett and USS Wainwright arrived at Scapa Flow around 1200/26. (1)

29 Apr 1942

Operation Bowery.

Spitfire fighters to be flown off to Malta.

On 29 April 1942 the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (Capt. J.W. Reeves, Jr., USN), destroyers USS Lang (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Seay, USN), USS Sterett (T/Cdr. J.G. Coward, USN) and the escort destroyer HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN) departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde.

On 30 April 1942, USS Wasp, USS Lang, USS Sterett and HMS Blackmore arrived at Greenock where USS Wasp embarked Spitfire fighters for Malta.

Around 0600/3, USS Wasp, USS Lang, USS Sterett, HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Lewes, DSC, RN) departed the Clyde on operation Bowery.

At 0001/5 the destroyers HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) and HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to make rendesvous with USS Wasp and her escorting detroyers. They joined around 1730/6. USS Lang, USS Sterett, HMS Echo and HMS Intrepid then parted company and proceeded to Gibraltar fuel. They arrived at Gibraltar around 1800/7.

Around 0130/8, ' Force W ' made up of the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Commodore C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN) and the destroyers USS Lang, USS Sterret, HMS Echo, HMS Intrepid, HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, RN), HMS Georgetown (Lt.Cdr. P.G. MacIver, RNR) and HMS Salisbury (Lt.Cdr. M.H.R. Crichton, RN) departed Gibraltar to join USS Wasp and her escorting destroyers. They joined around 0800/8 after which HMS Antelope, HMS Westcott, HMS Wishart and HMS Wrestler were detached to fuel at Gibraltar. They arrived at Gibraltar at 1250/8 except HMS Wrestler which only arrived at 1425/8. After fuelling the departed as follows, HMS Antelope and HMS Westcott at 1720/8, HMS Wishart at 1800/8 and finally HMS Wrestler at 2205/8. They were to rejoin ' Force W '.

Around 0945/8, HMS Georgetown was detached to return to Gibraltar with defects (excessive vibration). She arrived at Gibraltar at 1630/8.

Between 0630/9 and 0800/9 a total of 17 Spitfires were launched from HMS Eagle and 47 from HMS Wasp. Course was then set to the westwards. One aircraft had crashed on taking off, one returned to USS Wasp, one landed in North-Africa and one landed on the sea near Malta.

At 1030/9, HMS Antelope, HMS Westcott and HMS Wishart rejoined ' Force W '. HMS Wrestler presumably joined later.

At 1130/9, HMS Intepid, HMS Echo and HMS Salisbury parted company with ' Force W ' to proceed to Gibraltar.

At 1300/9, USS Lang and USS Sterret parted company with ' Force W '.

Between 0015/10 and 0100/10, HMS Intrepid, HMS Echo, HMS Salisbury, USS Lang and USS Sterett arrived at Gibraltar to fuel. En-route to Gibraltar HMS Salisbury had attacked an A/S contact with depth charges.

At 0120/10, HMS Ithuriel was detached to Gibraltar.

Around 0330/10, HMS Eagle and HMS Wrestler parted company. They arrived at Gibraltar around 0500/10.

Around 5000/10, HMS Intepid, HMS Echo, HMS Salisbury and USS Lang departed Gibraltar to rejoin ' Force W '. USS Sterett was unable to sail with them due to defects. She departed at 1100/10. HMS Intrepid, HMS Echo and USS Lang rejoined ' Force W ' around 0815/10 followed one hour later by HMS Salisbury. Around 0815/10, HMS Vidette was detached to Gibraltar followed by HMS Partridge, HMS Antelope, HMS Westcott and HMS Wishart around 0945/10. Around 1200/10, HMS Charybdis was detached to Gibraltar.

At 0645/11, USS Sterett rejoined.

At 0915/12, HMS Salisbury was detached to proceed independently. She was unable to keep up with ' Force W ' in the current weather conditions without sustaining more damage then she had already did up to that point.

' Force W ', HMS Renown, USS Wasp, HMS Echo, HMS Intrepid, USS Lang and USS Sterett arrived at Scapa Flow around 0700/15. (1)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/662

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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