February 27 This day during the World War ll

February 27, 1942 – American seaplane tender USS Langley with 32 P-40 fighters aboard, en route to Java, was sunk by Japanese Navy land-based aircraft. On the same day, at the Battle of the Java Sea, Japanese fleet sank Allied 2 cruisers and 3 destroyers without any losses. USS Langley (CV-1/AV-3) was the United States Navy’s first aircraft carrier, converted in 1920 from the collier USS Jupiter (AC-3), and also the U.S. Navy’s first electrically propelled ship. Conversion of another collier was planned but canceled when the Washington Naval Treaty required the cancellation of the partially built battlecruisers Lexington and Saratoga, freeing up their hulls for conversion to the aircraft carriers CV-2 and CV-3. Langley was named after Samuel Pierpont Langley, an American aviation pioneer. Following another conversion, to a seaplane tender, Langley fought in World War II. Langley went to Fremantle, Australia to pick up Allied aircraft and transport them to Southeast Asia. Carrying 32 P-40 fighters belonging to the Far East Air Force’s 13th Pursuit Squadron (Provisional), she and a convoy departed Fremantle on 22 February. Langley left the convoy five days later to deliver the planes to Tjilatjap (Cilacap), Java. In the early hours of 27 February, Langley rendezvoused with her anti-submarine screen, the destroyers USS Whipple and USS Edsall. At 11:40, about 75 mi (121 km) south of Tjilatjap, nine Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive bombers[17] of the Japanese 21st and 23rd Naval Air Flotillas[18] attacked her. The first and second Japanese strikes were unsuccessful, but during the third, Langley took five hits and 16 crewmen were killed. The topside burst into flames, steering was impaired, and the ship developed a 10° list to port. Unable to negotiate the narrow mouth of Tjilatjap harbor, Langley went dead in the water, as her engine room flooded. At 13:32, the order to abandon ship was passed. The escorting destroyers fired nine 4 in (100 mm) shells and two torpedoes into Langley, to ensure she didn’t fall into enemy hands, and she sank. After being transferred to the USS Pecos, many of her crew were lost when Pecos was later sunk en route to Australia. Thirty-one of the thirty three pilots assigned to the 13th Pursuit Squadron on the Edsall were lost when the she was sunk on the same day while responding to the distress calls of Pecos.

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