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On This Day…April 16th

On 16 April, during an Okinawa air raid, a Japanese aircraft made a suicidal dive (see video below) for the USS Intrepid’s flight deck, hitting it so hard that the aircraft’s engine and part of her fuselage penetrated right through, killing eight men and wounding 21. This was one of five kamikaze attacks on the Intrepid (CV-11), the most sustained by any US Navy ship. In less than an hour, astonishingly, the aviation gasoline had been extinguished, and only three hours after the crash, aircraft were again landing on the carrier deck.

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B-24J Liberator A72-36 7 Operational Training Unit, Tocumwal, New South Wales, Australia. 16th April, 1945.

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Hellcats of VF 16 on USS Lexington (CV-16) prepare for strikes on the Japanese home islands on April 16th, 1945 (thanks, Tom…)

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Miss Elsie Yeats working on the nose section of an Avro Lancaster Bomber. England, 16th April, 1943.

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USS Essex (CV-9) departing San Francisco Naval Shipyard, California, United States, 16th April, 1944, wearing camouflage measure 32 design 6/10D.

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On the 16th April, 1943, 327 aircraft (197 Lancasters and 130 Halifaxes) were sent to bomb the Skoda armaments factory at Pilsen in Czechoslovakia. A total of 18 Lancasters and 18 Halifaxes were lost in a disastrous mission, a full 11.0% of the raiders lost. One Canadian squadron alone (No 408) lost 4 of its 12 Halifaxes dispatched.

(408 squadron, 1942)

This took place by the light of a full moon, and in a complex plan, the main force was ordered to confirm the position of the Skoda factory visually; the Pathfinder markers were only intended as a general guide.

In the event, a large insane asylum 7 miles away was mistaken for the factory, and blown apart and only 6 crews brought back bombing photographs which were within 3 miles of the actual target, the Skoda factory remaining untouched.

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General Herman Balck in a Panzer III in a ‘Panzerbefehlswagen’ (Command Tank) in Greece, April 16th, 1941. The photo (colourised) shows the General at the foothills of Mount Olympus. If you look closer, there is a British PoW in the back of the Panzer.


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Jagdtiger crew surrendering at Iserlohn, near Dortmund, April 16th, 1945.

Below, the rest of 1/s. Pz Jg Abt. 512 end their war – surrendering to 99th US infantry division…

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British soldiers celebrate their liberation from Stalag 11b (Fallingbostel, Germany) on the morning of April 16th, 1945.

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British troops pose with a V-2 missile abandoned on a railway carriage on April 16th, 1945.

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12 responses to On This Day…April 16th

  1. Great write-up, David.

    I particularly like the B-24 pic.

    Thanks!!! Keep up the good work!

  2. So those aren’t airplanes all over the entire deck of the Essex….it’s a camo scheme?

  3. Oh, boy – that made me laugh out loud. And just for a moment…

    Anyway, for those who like ‘carrier porn’, here’s more photos of the Essex on the same day, different angles – just to show all those hellcats are real. The last photo is during shakedown exercises.

  4. That destroyer looks quite low in the water. I wonder if she was running real heavy, or perhaps making a starboard turn at speed. Any ideas?

  5. David, thanks for posting all those carrier photos.

  6. One of my few vices, carrier porn. Looks like the Lex maybe turning into the wind by pitch of the deck.

  7. Fabulous pics of the kamikaze.

  8. It must have been great to have been in Europe after the final surrender of Germany, great set again Dave.

  9. Essex took all those airplanes and delivered them to Hawaii. On May 9, Air Group 15 landed aboard and commenced the most successful deployment of any carrier air group of the war, becoming the top-scoring CVG of the war with their CAG, Dave McCampbell, becoming the Navy ace of aces. That turnaround in San Francisco in March/April 1944 was the only time Essex returned to CONUS during her entire wartime deployment.

    The VF-16 photo apprears to be a case of the Caption Gremlins striking again. CVG-16 was aboard Lexington until just after the Marianas Turkey Shoot, from their original deployment aboard the ship on commissioning in 1943, one of the longest air group tours of the war. April 16 1944 is the second strike against Truk – the Navy didn’t strike the Home Islands until February 1945.

  10. That was my mistake, Tom – I posted the year as ‘44 when I knew it was ‘45 – now rectified – cheers…again!

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