During Okinawa

8-12-18

I am “polishing up” A Bird’s Eye View (for many reasons).  This is an interesting process for me.  I wrote this book about the Boston first, relying on Frank Studenski’s amazing diary and research from whatever I could find on the internet.   In retrospect, it is a good chronicling of the (Central Pacific) War and Task Force 58 and 38.  I am on the Okinawa months, during which the Boston headed stateside and was docked in San Pedro, CA for overhaul and radar / weapons control upgrades.

From a damage – injury – loss of life perspective, CA-69 was a lucky ship.  Many other ships were not so lucky.  The Japanese tactic of “kamikaze defense” was in place routinely by the latter days of the Philippines Campaigns.  There were some incidences during Iwo Jima.  However, during the last-ditch desperation of the Okinawa invasion, Japan unleashed wave after wave of savage one-way “floating chrysanthemums” attacks against US ships and landing forces.   The numbers of ships and men lost are staggering.

3-19-45.    Men on cruiser Santa Fe look on as the heavy carrier Franklin lists. 1,700 men were evacuated to other ships, 260 men were wounded and 724 sailors perished in fiery explosions below deck as enemy bombs ignited planes and aviation fuel.

5-11-45.  Kamikazes hit the flight deck of heavy carrier Bunker Hill, fully loaded with gassed-up planes ready to take off. 389 men perished, 264 men were wounded. TF Commander Marc Mitscher was not wounded, but he lost 14 of his staff. The ship was so badly damaged it never returned to the War.

Just a few examples.  The Boston was truly a “lucky ship.”

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