On This Day...November 13th.
The HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed on the 3rd November, 1941 by German submarine U-81 just off Gibraltar in the Med where she had been engaged in reinforcing Malta’s defences. Remarkably she was lost with the death of just one crew. The aircraft carrier had been reported sunk many times by German propaganda and was becoming famous for surviving many near misses. It was on her return from Malta that she was hit by a single torpedo that exposed some design faults.
The first shipboard take off was achieved by civilian named Eugene Ely, a native Iowan who was almost completely self-taught as a pilot. Ely gained his reputation working for Glen Curtiss, the aviator giant who held U.S. pilot license number one.
As part of a grand experiment in Norfolk, an eighty-three-foot-long wood platform was built over the forward deck of USS Birmingham (CL-2). The platform was sloped slightly downward to provide a speedier descent on the takeoff run. Quite unbelievably the wheels of the aircraft dipped into the sea before rising.
On this day in 1943 the 8th Air Force introduced a new tactic when they were accompanied on the 750 mile round trip from England to Bremen by P-38 Lightnings and P-47 Thunderbolts. Up until now the Fortresses were only accompanied for part of the journey; it was the arrival arrival of the long range P-51 Mustang at the end of 1943 that really changed the game. Here, the B-17’s are seen ‘radar bombing’ Bremen through cloud on November 13th.
The USS Juneau (CL152) was part of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. She was lost on the 13th of November, 1943. Her sinking was tragically worsened by events impacting the crew. After the ship was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-26, 115 Americans survived but were not immediately rescued. In the ocean for eight days, before help arrived, all but ten eventually died.
Five brothers – ‘the Sullivans’ – were among the dead. Their motto had been: “We stick together.”