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VT-84 | Torpedo Squadron EIGHTY-FOUR | "Wolf Gang"


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VT-84 | Torpedo Squadron EIGHTY-FOUR | "Wolf Gang"

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)


Commissioned 1 May 1944 NAS San Diego
Decommissioned 8 October 1945


Aircraft: TBM-3 Avenger


Insignia: Wolf holding torpedo superimposed over green silhouette of devil's head.


Decal on leather. This is the only example I have seen of this rare insignia.


During the first five months of 1945, Torpedo Squadron EIGHTY-FOUR, as part of Air Group 84, conducted its activities as follows: 1.) Concluded its training in San Diego with a total of 10,000 hours of flight time; 2.) Embarked on Bunker Hill at San Francisco; 3.) Preceded almost directly to Tokyo, with only a one night stop at Pearl any three day stop at Ulithi; and, 4.) Thereafter continued active participation with Task Force 58 in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns until 11 May when the Bunker Hill was attacked and struck by two bomb carrying kamikazes which necessitated retiring to the states. Air Group 84 was scheduled to be relieved when the Bunker Hill put in at Leyte towards the end of May which means that the VT-84 combat tour was practically completed despite the attack on its parent carrier. A total of 60 missions, including 603 individual sorties, were carried out against Japanese targets including Tokyo, Iwo Jima, airfields on Kyusu, Kure, Okinawa, Minami Daito, Tokuna, Kikai, and the battleship Yamato.


On 24 January 1945 the squadron embarked in Bunker Hill (CV-17), departing from San Francisco arriving at Pearl Harbor on 29 January, Ulithi on 7 February. Tactical flights off Guam, Saipan and Tinian occurred 11-12 February. Successful strikes against the enemy occurred 16-17 February against Tokoya Ota and Masushuni aircraft factories; 19 February, two strikes against Iwo Jima; 21 February, two strikes against Iwo Jima; 25 February, Koizumi aircraft plant at Tokyo. On 14 March the squadron departed Ulithi on Bunker Hill, a period of 60 continuous days at sea commenced. On 18 March the squadron completed two strikes against Kyusu attacking airfields at Myazaki and Omura, on the 19th Kure, against ship and installations at a naval base; and 23-24 March four strikes against Okinawa.

On 7 April VT-84 made its first all torpedo load mission, against a large enemy task force, nine torpedo hits were observed on the BB Yamato out of 13 torpedoes dropped. One plane was shot down before reaching the release point. Despite adverse weather conditions and no fighter support and much anti-aircraft fire of all calibres this attack mission is the highlight of the VT-84 combat tour.

Airstrikes and support flights continued through 11 May when Bunker Hill was struck and badly damaged by two bomb-carrying kamikazies. VT-84 lost 15 planes, 10 pilots, and 16 men. The heavily damaged Bunker Hill arrived at Pearl Harbor on 25 May. Torpedo Squadron EIGHTY-FOUR was reformed on 12 July at Los Alamitos, California and training commenced. It was decommissioned on 8 October.



An interviewed veteran said that all pilots shared the same aircraft. There were no markings on the planes other then the arrow on the tail and the number. You were given a number on a plane to fly and you had to locate it on deck. Prior to their first combat sorties on 16 (&17) February, against targets near Tokyo, the yellow cowling was used because they were so close to the Japanese mainland the Navy wanted an easy way to identify friendlies coming back from the raid.


TBM Avengers of VT-84 return to BUNKER HILL following strikes against mainland Japan on 16 February 1945




TBM 3 Avengers #306 and #313 in formation CV 17 Bunker Hill Feb 1945



Damaged TBM-3 #301 of VT-84 after it landed aboard the carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) February 19, 1945




CV-17 USS Bunker Hill

During 1943-1944 she took part in many engagements in the Pacific including strikes against Rabaul, operations over Gilbert Islands, Tarawa, Bismarck Archipelago, Marshall Islands, Marianas, Palau, Truk, Battle of the Philippine Sea, Caroline Islands, Okinawa, Luzon, and Formosa. During 1945 she participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima, Battle of Okinawa.

On May 11th, 1945 while supporting the Okinawa invasion, Bunker Hill was hit and severely damaged by two kamikazes. This was the single most deadly kamikaze attack on a U.S. ship during World War II. She went for repairing.

Task Group 58.3, under Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman, departs Ulithi on 10 February 1945. Seen from USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) are USS Cowpens (CVL-25), left, and USS Essex (CV-9), center.


Task Force 58 conducted attacks against the Tokyo area (16–17, and 25 February) both to neutralize the enemy's air power before the landings on Iwo Jima (19 February) and to cripple the aircraft manufacturing industry.


In 1945 Bunker Hill was the flagship of Task Force 58, commanded by Vice-Admiral Marc A. Mitscher. Commodore Arleigh Burke was his Chief of Staff, and the admiral's staff all were accommodated aboard the carrier.









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