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NargilFenris

USS Smith DD-378 and the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands

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NargilFenris    552

Quick little history of the heroic action of the USS Smith during the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands.

During the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands the USS Smith was struck in the forecastle by a damaged kamikaze torpedo bomber, resulting in fires and severe damage to the ship from the front gun mount to the bridge.

http://www.history.n...0000/g33333.jpg

http://www.history.n...0000/g30622.jpg

The captain, now commanding from the aft of the ship due to the loss of pilot house control, ordered the Smith in the wake of the battleship USS South Dakota. By running through the South Dakota's wake the Smith was able to douse her flames allowing the crew to extinguish her fires. Despite the damage and the loss of 57 crew members the Smith was able to rejoin the battle.

http://www.history.n...0000/g33379.jpg

For these actions the Smith was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, which reads:

"For outstanding performance during action against enemy Japanese forces off Santa Cruz Islands, October 26, 1942. Although a hostile torpedo plane crashed on her forecastle and exploded at the height of the battle, the SMITH, with her forward topside abandoned and aflame, gallantly held to her screening position on an aircraft carrier and fought off attacking planes until the fire could be extinguished. Her survival is a distinctive tribute to the invincible fighting spirit of her officers and men."

Truly a great example of the enduring spirit of US Navy sailors.

http://destroyerhist...later/usssmith/

http://en.wikipedia...._Smith_(DD-378)

http://en.wikipedia....ta_Cruz_Islands

Edited by NargilFenris
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xthetenth    148

Pretty sure the Japanese weren't using kamikazes then, it was probably an out of control plane that was going down anyway, but other than that great story.

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Crag_r    1,276

View Postxthetenth, on 21 September 2012 - 02:01 AM, said:

Pretty sure the Japanese weren't using kamikazes then, it was probably an out of control plane that was going down anyway, but other than that great story.

They only started to use them in 44, but before them there were a few individuals that took it upon them selves to use the tactic when the realized they could no longer make it back to the carrier or even finish off an attack.

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NargilFenris    552

Several articles did state it was damaged before making its suicidal dive, so it wasn't intended to be a kamikaze attack but did become one.

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