The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) arrives in New York Harbor to celebrate Navy Day at the end of WWII, 27OCT45. Enterprise was one of three Yorktown-class aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the only one to survive the first year of the war. For a time she was the only U.S. fleet carrier in the Pacific, leading some to comment that it was the Enterprise vs. the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Three Naval Aircraft Factory N3N primary trainers fly over Manhattan in February 1941. The N3N was one of the primary flight trainers in U.S. Navy service, pilots referred to it as the “Canary” or the “Yellow Peril” due to its high-visibility paint scheme. (NASM Rudy Arnold collection)
A beautiful portrait of the Manhattan skyline taken from Jersey City by Charles Cushman in 1941, showing the ever-present ferry and barge traffic in the harbor. Coupled with the ocean going shipping it was a very busy port.
USS Franklin (CV-13) arrives in New York on 28APR45. On 19MAR45 she was on the other side of the world, just fifty miles off the coast of Japan when she was hit by two 550 pound bombs which engulfed the after portion of the ship in raging fires. Over 800 of her crew were killed, but she managed to steam home under her own power.
A view aft from the Franklin’s island in the East River showing the devastation on the flight deck. The bombs landed among fueled and armed aircraft preparing for a strike, the numerous holes visible in the deck were caused by the planes own bombs detonating in the fire. Franklin was the most severely damaged aircraft carrier to survive. While she was fully repaired, she never went to sea again and was decommissioned on 17FEB47.
The Fletcher-class destroyer USS Renshaw (DD-499) alongside the USS Missouri (BB-63) for Navy Day celebrations, October 1945. Missouri was the site of the Japanese surrender ending WWII on 02SEP45 in Tokyo Bay, having been selected for the honor by President Truman who was from the state of Missouri.
President Truman departs the Missouri aboard the destroyer USS Renshaw. Flying above are formations of Navy aircraft.
The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42) commissioning at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, 28OCT45, dwarfed by the monstrous hammerhead crane. In the background the USS Franklin (CV-13) is undergoing repair.
USS West Point (AP-23) enters New York Harbor with the Statue of Liberty in the background, returning U.S. troops from Europe in July 1945. She was the former liner SS America, converted into a troopship for the war. She set a record for the largest total of troops transported during the war at 350,000.
Salvage operations on the USS Lafayette, the former French liner Normandie which sank at her moorings after a fire at Pier 88. Although she was refloated, she never returned to service.
Part I here:
A Douglas DC-3 of The Great Silver Fleet over Manhattan before the war. The DC-3 is a classic design, adapted as the primary air transport type of the U.S. and Allied services under a wide variety of designations. Many still fly today.
A fireboat welcomes the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) to New York Harbor in 1958. Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, and the first submarine to travel submerged to the North Pole under the arctic ice sheet.
Another submarine from a different era, USS Plunger (SS-2) underway off the Brooklyn Naval Yard. In September 1905 Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to submerge in a submarine aboard Plunger. In 1909 she was commanded by Ensign Chester Nimitz, who would rise to the rank of Fleet Admiral in the Second World War.
A Y1B-17 flies over New York with Manhattan in the background. The US Army Air Corps almost did not order Boeing’s B-17 into production, some officers favoring the less expensive and less radical Douglas B-18 Bolo instead.
A beautiful photograph of the ill-fated French liner SS Normandy entering New York Harbor with the Manhattan skyline in the background. This view would be seen by thousands of U.S. soldiers and sailors leaving for and returning from the war in Europe.
A NYC police officer directs traffic as a US Army M-7 Priest self-propelled howitzer navigates an intersection. The M-7 received its nickname because of the round “pulpit” with machine gun for the vehicle commander.
The USS Saratoga (CV-60) seen leaving New York Harbor. The automobiles on the flight deck indicate she is transiting to a new home port, the crew being allowed to take their cars with them as deck cargo.
The crew musters on the deck of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) for her commissioning ceremony on Navy Day, 27OCT45. She was the second of three Midway class aircraft carriers, which were half again as big as the previous Essex class carriers but too late to see action in WWII.
The Iowa class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) silhouetted against the Manhattan skyline. Missouri was the site of the formal Japanese surrender which ended the Second World War on 02SEP45.
The Douglas DC-4E prototype over Manhattan. This aircraft was evaluated by United Airlines during 1938-39. The design was later refined with a shorter wingspan and more conventional tail as the DC-4, and was adopted by the USAAF as the C-54 transport. Japanese Airways bought the DC-4E prototype, which was reverse-engineered by Nakajima as the unsuccessful G5N “Liz” bomber.
Part V here:
In May of 1935 the French liner S.S. Normandie set the world’s record for the fastest trans-Atlantic crossing of 4 days, 3 hours, and 2 minutes. At the beginning of the Second World War the French Line kept the Normandy berthed in Manhattan, fearing German U-boats. After the attack on Pearl Harbor the U.S. took possession of the ship, renaming her the USS Lafayette.
The US intended to use the Lafayette as a troopship and began conversion work. Shipyard welding started a fire which quickly got out of control. Efforts to extinguish the fire eventually flooded enough of the ship to capsize her, and she sank at her moorings at Pier 88.
The hulk of the USS Lafayette was stripped and re-floated, but she proved to be beyond economical repair and was eventually scrapped in 1946. Here a US Coast Guard Grumman J4F Widgeon is seen above the wreck in late 1943.
The battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) was built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Here she is seen on the East River in New York City returning from sea trials on Christmas Day, 25 December 1916.
A beautiful photograph of the battleship USS Colorado (BB-45) off Manhattan in 1932. Colorado was the lead ship of her class, her sister ships were USS Maryland (BB-46), and USS West Virginia (BB-48). The USS Washington (BB-47) was cancelled while under construction under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty and sunk as a target. The Colorados had turbo-electric propulsion and were armed with eight 16”/45 main guns.
Sisterships USS New York (BB-34) and USS Texas (BB-35) light up the night sky with their searchlights while visiting New York City for the World’s Fair, 03 May 1939. The Empire State Building can be seen in the background to the right.
A fine study of the Dornier Do-X transferring passengers in New York Harbor, 1931. The Do-X arrived in New York on 27 August 1931 after several mishaps and a ten-month journey. She was to remain in New York for another nine months while her engines were overhauled.
The airship Hindenburg passing over Manhattan on May 6, 1937 on her way to Lakehurst Naval Air Station, shortly before the disaster. Her explosion was captured by several news photographers sent to document her docking after crossing the Atlantic. Remarkably, 62 of the 97 people on board survived the fire and crash of the Hindenburg.
Two Boeing Y1B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 96th Bombardment Squadron seen over New York, 28 March 1937. The US Army Air Corps operated thirteen Y1B-17s, for a time they were the only heavy bombers in the USAAC inventory.
The US Navy airship USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) seen over Battery Park in 1930. She was built as reparations for the First World War at Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH in Germany. She served the US Navy from 1924 to 1932 when she was decommissioned.
Part II here: