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Footage of Kamikaze Attack on US Ships

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The video from British Pathe shows actual World War II footage of Japanese kamikaze attacks on US ships in the Pacific Ocean. A battle ensues where gunners bring down the Japanese planes, which are seen crashing into the sea. One hits the USS Bunker Hill, however, resulting in an explosion and a large fire. The USS Bunker Hill lived to fight again.

The USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers commissioned by the United States Navy during World War II. She was manufactured at the Bethlehem Steel Company in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was named for the Battle of Bunker Hill that took place during the American Revolutionary War, and was commissioned in 1943 with Captain J.J. Ballentine at the helm.

The ship was sent to San Diego, Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theater of Operations, where she participated in multiple battles in the Southwest and Central Pacific, as well as drives through Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She also took part in air raids on Japan.

While on duty during the invasion of Okinawa, the Bunker Hill was struck by two kamikaze fighter planes in succession, as seen in the video. There were over 600 casualties in the incident, with 346 dead and 43 missing. It was the second heaviest loss of life on any carrier that survived the war, surpassed only by the Franklin.

Bunker Hill was returned to the US mainland for repairs, and remained there until the war was over. Afterwards, Bunker Hill was deployed to bring American servicemen back home from the Pacific, before she was decommissioned in 1947. Bunker Hill and Franklin were the only ships that were never recommissioned after World War II.

The ship served as an electronics testing site in San Diego Bay for many years, before she was sold off for scrap in 1973, despite efforts to turn her into a museum ship.

 

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