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Curtiss

The seaplane tender (large type) AV No. 4 Curtiss was built by New York S. B. Corporation and commissioned on 20 April 1940. Her displacement was 8,625 tons, length overall 257 feet and beam 69 feet. She was armed with four 5-inch guns and 14 40mm anti-aircraft guns. She was capable of carrying 25 aircraft. On 7 December 1941 she was anchored south of Pearl City where Middle Loch meets East Loch, across the channel from Utah which was close to Ford Island. At 0836 Curtiss sighted a periscope to starboard, in the channel between her and Ford Island, at about 700 yards and three minutes later she opened fire with Nos 2 and 3 guns and with machine guns. The third 5-inch round hit the conning tower and the destroyer Monaghan took up the attack with an attempt to ram. At 0853 Curtiss's anti-aircraft guns were in action and at 0905 she, as well as half a dozen others, was able to claim a bomber shot down. It was the aircraft of Lieutenant Mamoru Suzuki, flying a Valdive-bomber from Akagi. When hit and on fire, he flew, possibly deliberately, into Curtiss, crashing onto No. 1 crane. At 0910 a further attack by dive-bombers resulted in a bomb striking close to No. 1 crane, passing through the deck and exploding in the hangar space, setting fire to the ship and killing 21 men. Three minutes later the still active anti-aircraft gunners claimed a further two kills. At 0925 three more bombs came close, but fortunately all missed. A second Japanese aircraft crashed onto the battered ship, hitting the fantail, the projecting stern. At 0936 the fire-fighters brought the blaze under control and by 1012 the list Curtiss had developed was corrected. In the afternoon, at 1508, another submarine sighting was reported. Although afloat and able to fight, the ship was severely damaged (damage assessment/actual) and repairs were not completed until May 1942.

See also: Akagi; damage assessment/actual; Ford Island; midget submarine; Monaghan; Utah; Val