IJN Chikuma Fires at USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73)

IJN Chikuma (circled ship) fires 8-inch salvoes at USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73). This is one of the few photographs showing American and Japanese ships in combat in the same view. Photographed from USS Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) Gambier Bay was holed near the waterline at 0820 Hours that reduced her to one engine. Despite frantic efforts by American aircraft and destroyer escorts, Gambier Bay was hit about every other minute from 0820 to 0907, with a total of twenty 8-inch shells and many other smaller caliber. She capsized to port and sank. At 0853 TBM Avengers from Taffy 2 attacked Chikuma, scoring a torpedo hit that severs off her stern and a propeller and temporarily disables her steering. She drops from 35 to eighteen knots and then can only make nine knots by 0930. Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita abandoned the attack on Taffy 3 and headed north at 1020. Still under air attack, Chikuma was hit twice by Kitkun Bay Avengers at 1105, who open her engine spaces to the ocean. Later that afternoon, three torpedoes from Avengers flying off Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) strike Chikuma's port side amidship. IJN destroyer Nowaki rescues over 1400 of Chikuma's crew before the cruiser sinks at 1430. Captain Saiji Norimitsu goes down with his ship. He is posthumously promoted to Rear Admiral. Nowaki is sunk by cruisers of Task Force 34.5 on October 26. Only one member of Chikuma's crew survives that sinking.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
United States Navy
Date Photographed: 
Wednesday, October 25, 1944
Battle of Samar