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Early Flightline Friday April 30, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Flightline Friday, fun, history, silliness, Society, Victory.

“Murderer’s Row,” Ulithi Atoll, December 8, 1944.


This famous photograph shows the awesome striking power of a good chunk of Third Fleet riding at anchor in the huge anchorage at Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands.  5 Essex Class aircraft carriers dominate the center/right of the photo, with USS Enterprise (CV-6) in night camouflage to the upper left.  Two light fleet carriers of the Independence Class are also present.

All told, almost 700 aircraft would be embarked on those 8 carriers.

Because the US Navy’s carrier aviation had become so utterly dominant by the latter half of 1944 over their Japanese adversary, and particularly in the air combat arena, this anchorage became known as Murderer’s Row.  By this point in the war, US Navy fighters achieved a better than 12 to 1 kill ratio against the sad remnants of the Imperial Japanese Navy that had rode so high in 1941 and 42.

Also present in the background is a South Dakota class battleship, probably ol’ Battleship’X’ herself:


One of the incredible capabilities the US Navy acquired during WWII was the ability to operate for months at a time away from any home port.  As the war advanced, the US set up incredible logistical facilities in the western Pacific, with floating drydocks, repair shops, tenders of all kinds, ammunition dumps, etc.  Fuel was taken onboard fast tankers at Pearl Harbor and the West Coast and typically transferred from ship to ship.  This let the USN keep a huge forward presence without having to return to port, save for the most extensive repairs.  That made a huge difference, and was a capability no other navy had.  As the war progressed, the US advanced its anchorages steadily west.  The first was Majuro, then Ulithi, and the final one was at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.

While few Americans ever heard of Ulithi, for seven months in 1944 and 1945 it was the busiest anchorage in the world.

Another fantastic capability the US developed to a high art in WWII, and still uses constantly today, was underway replenishment.  In this system, stores, munitions, fuel, and everything needed for war is transferred between special cargo ships and warships while steaming in formation at high speed.  The British were absolutely floored when the saw the degree to which the US Navy could operate for weeks at a time away from even forward anchorages like Ulithi.

USS Missouri (BB-63) in company of USS Shangri La (CV-38) takes on fuel from fast oiler Neches (AO-47) July 1945

USS Wisconsin (BB-64) in company of USS Shangri La (CV-38) takes on fuel from fast oiler Neches (AO-47) July 1945

Sometimes in unrep, one warship tops off another.  USS Missouri refuels USS Iowa (BB-61):


Yes, Virginia, there were such things as kamikaze’s (the attack did little damage, although some of the anti-aircraft crew pictured were burned to death by burning fuel):


This is more of a Full bore Friday than Flightline Friday.

Ah, well……



1. Mike aiello - April 30, 2014

That famous picture of the aircraft carriers was dubbed “murderers row” a play on the 1944 New York Yankees. How God has blessed out nation. Almost no damage in the war while Europe, Asia and parts if Africa were utterly devastated.

Now our country is leading the rebellion against God. What may I ask is in store for such a disobedient nation?

tantamergo - April 30, 2014

I thought it was the ’27 Yankees?

2. Bill D. - April 30, 2014

It’s funny how fast this can break down into a baseball discussion.

tantamergo - May 1, 2014

Doesn’t everything?

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