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Commanding Officers
8 Battle Stars
Mission Statement
Free Records / Medals
Guest Book

  PAGE 4

July 16, 1943
Flight deck mechanics working on plane.

April, 1943
SBD Dauntless being catapulted.

Oct 10, 1943
F6F Hellcats on deck, turning up, while waiting turn to be brought forward to catapult. Note special radar on right wing for night operation.

April 1943
SBD Dauntless dive bomber being catapulted.

Edward Henry O'Hare, Lieutenant, USN. Better known as Butch O'Hare in F4F Wildcat. O'Hare field in Chicago, IL is named after him. The Wildcats were on the Independence only a short time. Like the SBD's, their wings did not fold and took too much space on the flight and hangar deck. Air Ordnance did not like the F4F because the guns had to be charged by hand instead of hydraulically like the F6F Hellcat.
April 1943
SBD Dauntless dive bomber being catapulted.

Oct 8, 1943
Planes on flight deck during refueling operations. A lot of work for the Airdales.
The F6F Hellcat was a secret weapon at the time this photo was taken. Notice the circle on the bottom of the wing. This is a mock up of the wheels of a F4F Wildcat. The enemy thinks he is fighting a F4F, giving the F6F pilot a distinct advantage during a dogfight.
The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp manufactured many products for the WWII effort. Most notably was a succession of fighter planes which was called "The Cat Family". Here is that Family Tree:
F3F Fighter:  was a bi-plane which served as a training plane during the first part of the war.
F4F Wildcat: 1200 HP , Max speed 318 MPH. One of our earliest shipborne fighters.
F5F Skyrocket: a twin engine version of the F6F Hellcat. Max speed 383 MPH. Never went into production.
F6F Hellcat: fighter/bomber. Main shipborne fighter for the US Navy for 2 years. Max speed 376 MPH. 12,272 were built.
F7F Tigercat: A twin engine fighter, 2100 HP each engine Max speed 435 MPH.
F8F Bearcat:   20% lighter and 50 MPH faster than the F6F. Came too late in the war to see action. Designed to sit on the deck in full readiness. When radar spotted an enemy plane (which was called a "bogey"), the Bearcat would take off and engage the enemy before it could reach the fleet. It sported a Pratt & Whitney 18 cylinder radial engine, 2400 HP.

Oct 10, 1944
Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bomber being launched from the left catapult. Essex class carrier in background.

Oct 6, 1944
Damaged aircraft after typhoon. This photo was taken in the fall of 1944, before the "big" typhoon of Dec 17 and 18, 1944. It shows a small part of the damaged aircraft (F6F Hellcats) on the hangar deck a day or so after the first of the typhoons that the Independence survived. This one caught the ship partially unprepared. Much damage was done because while the planes were lashed down, the hydraulics of the landing gear had not been drained, the planes thus stretched their lashes and broke loose in many cases. On the left airplane there is an air ordnance man working on the starboard guns, possibly replacing one or more if they were damaged.

This photo depicts the "palisades" that were erected on the forward end of the flight deck when we were undergoing heavy weather which precluded all flight operations. Note how the planes are lashed carefully to the flight deck cleats. The palisades were designed to break up the force of the wind down the deck, which varied considerably depending on the ship's heading. Some unthinking sailors made a game of standing in front of the palisades to see whether they could withstand the force of the wind. Not many lasted very long, but no one went over the side.


UPDATED  Monday April 20, 2015
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