Checking out the wreck of USS Independence (CVL-22)

The U.S. light aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVL-22) afire aft, soon after the Able nuclear bomb test at Bikini on 1 July 1946 (Operation Crossroads). The bomb had exploded off the ship's port quarter, causing massive blast damage in that area and progressively less further forward. The carrier did not sink during the tests and was finally sunk as a target off San Francisco, California (USA), on 27 January 1951.

The U.S. light aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVL-22) afire aft, soon after the Able nuclear bomb test at Bikini on 1 July 1946 (Operation Crossroads). The bomb had exploded off the ship’s port quarter, causing massive blast damage in that area and progressively less further forward. The carrier did not sink during the tests and was finally sunk as a target off San Francisco, California (USA), on 27 January 1951.

USS Independence (CVL-22) was the lead ship of a class of WW2 light carriers built from converted cruiser hulls. FDR was a fan of light carriers but Navy studies showed that smaller carriers were not nearly as effective. Pearl Harbor and the Essex-class construction schedule, even after accelerating it, meant that an interim solution was needed and light carriers got their chance. The Independence-class was built using Cleveland-class cruiser hulls and were rather limited ships, with an air group of only about 30 planes.

The Independence survived the war but post-war reality and the coming jet age doomed the class. The ship was used as a target in the Operation Crossroads nuclear weapons tests. It survived the operation and was studied before being scuttled in 1951.

Check out photos of the ship’s current condition at Live Science.