USS Shaw (DD-373) Burns

USS Shaw (DD-373) burns in the floating drydock YFD-2, after a bombing attack by Japanese planes on 7 December 1941. USS Nevada (BB-36) is at right, on fire from bomb hits as well. Photographed from Ford Island, with the stern of USS Avocet (AVP-4) partially visible at left. From her veritable ringside seat, Avocet witnessed the sortie of Nevada, the only battleship to get underway during the attack. Seeing Nevada underway after clearing the berth astern of the burning battleship Arizona (BB-39), dive-bomber pilots singled her out for destruction; twenty-one planes attacked her from all points of the compass. Avocet's captain, Lt. William C. Johnson, Jr., marveled at the Japanese precision, writing later that he had never seen "a more perfectly executed attack." Three bombs hit Shaw by the bow almost at the same time, causing a tremendous explosion. Avocet's gunners added to the barrage to cover the battleship's passage down the harbor, but the bombs and a single torpedo had opened too many leaks in Nevada's hull and superstructure. She was beached at the stern near Hospital Point. Avocet had to move at 1045 Hours to avoid the burning oil from Battleship Row. Avocet expended 144 rounds of 3 inch (76.2 mm) and 1,750 of .30 caliber (7.62 mm) ammunition in the battle against the attacking planes, and had suffered only two casualties: a box of ammunition coming up from the magazines had fallen on the foot of one man, and a piece of flying shrapnel had wounded another. Avocet fought fires on USS California (BB-44), then Nevada, before assisting USS Raleigh (CL-7) through the night of December 7-8. After a refit, Avocet spent the rest of the war in the Aleutian Islands.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
National Archives and Records Ad
Archival Identifier: 
Date Photographed: 
Sunday, December 7, 1941
Pearl Harbor
United States of America