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USS Aaron Ward

Solomon Islands

 USS Aaron Ward

Gleaves-class destroyer, 2090 ton, 106m long, laid down on the 11th February 1941. Capable of speeds of 35 knots powered by 4 boilers, twin propellers.

Her main role was to screen transports unloading men, and materials off Guadalcanal.

She was sunk my aerial dive bombers. Sighting a dogfight over Savo Island, Aaron Ward tracked a closer group of Japanese planes heading south over Tulagi; while swinging to starboard, the ship suddenly sighted three enemy planes coming out of the sun. Surging ahead to flank speed and putting her rudder over hard to port, Aaron Ward opened fire. Bombs from the first three planes struck on or near the ship, and the mining effect of the near-misses proved devastating; the first bomb was a near miss, which tore holes in the side of the ship, allowing the forward fire room to ship water rapidly; the second struck home in the engine room, causing a loss of all electrical power on the 5 inch and 40 mm mounts. Shifting to local control, however, the gunners kept up the fire. A third bomb splashed close aboard, holing her port side, near the after engine room. Having lost power to her rudder, the ship continued to swing to port as another trio of dive bombers loosed their loads on the now-helpless destroyer. While none of these bombs hit the ship, two landed very near her port side. Twenty men died, 59 were wounded, and seven went missing.

Aaron Ward sunk stern first in 70m of water on the 7th April 1943.

 

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