HMS Royal Oak early in her career, likely during 1916 shortly after her commissioning in May of that year. She would fire her first shells in anger just 30 days after commissioning, at the Battle of Jutland.
Mutsu, second battleship of the IJN’s Nagato class, sits at anchor alongside both sisters of the Ise class during the early 1930s.
USS Massachusetts continued her fire on Casablanca, her shells mostly wreaking havoc on the merchant and passenger ships on the opposite side of the Quai Delande, the Môle du Commerce. But around 08:00 she began to walk her fire back towards Jean Bart; one of her first victims on the side of Quai Delande was a floating drydock, exited just moments before by Le Conquérant, the last surviving submarine in the harbor. Some six minutes later, Wichita shifted her fire from the coastal battery Oukacha to the harbor, while Tuscaloosa continued pounding the submarine dock. At 08:06, Tuscaloosa ceased fire, while the destroyer L’Alcyon slipped out of the harbor; in the same moment, one of Massachusetts’ heavy shells slammed into the 90mm sub-caliber gun mounted on the port side of Jean Bart’s Turret I. This hit carried off the 90mm gun and did not explode, but it did force the turret glacis, itself protecting the void between turret and barbette, down far enough to jam Jean Bart’s 380mm guns in place. She could no longer fire, despite not having done so for 47 minutes prior.
Another shell from the same salvo penetrated Jean Bart’s forecastle, was deflected off the barbette of Turret II, and proceeded to bounce out and around Turret III (152mm, not installed) before finally coming to rest adjacent the junior officer’s wardroom near Turret V (also not installed). At 08:10, the battleship received her 7th and final hit, a 16” shell that penetrated diagonally into her stern and blew up in a ballast tank beneath her steering compartment, holing the hull and allowing water to flow in. Somewhere in this ten minute span, another of BB-59’s shells had struck the contre torpilleur Malin, moored along the main jetty for a refit. This shell failed to explode but nevertheless killed seven while also knocking out a boiler room and causing a list of 13.5°. Maimed in the harbor was the merchant Ile de Noirmoutier, hit by a 16” shell at 08:10 that caused the vessel to flood. The Italian freighters San Pietro and Schiaffino were also sunk by the American bombardment, plus six smaller fishing vessels; Fauzon took another 16” shell at 08:15 but did not sink.
USS Oklahoma (BB-37) during 1917 painted in an experimental camouflage. By the time she departed for convoy duty in August of the following year, she would be painted in an overall grey scheme. The design shown, purely intended to disorient a visual observer as to course and speed, may have been intended as protection while the battleship worked up on the east coast during 1917. This is the only photo I have found which shows her in this pattern.
At 06:10 on the morning of 8 November, the heavy cruisers USS Wichita (CA-45) and Tuscaloosa (CA-37) began launching their SOC Seagulls for spotting and ASW. Wichita put three birds in the air while CA-37 managed four. About five minutes later, TG 34.2 began launching a total of 18 Wildcats from both USS Ranger (CV-4) and Suwannee (ACV-27). These planes were tasked with suppressing the Salé airfield at Rabat, which housed 13 LeO 45 bombers. Fifteen miles offshore at 06:18, TG 34.1’s USS Massachusetts (BB-59) launched her first OS2U Kingfisher, followed by a second two minutes later. Activities continued apace as another wave of carrier aircraft took to the sky in the form of 17 SBD Dauntless and 8 more Wildcats as a CAP; though more would follow later, this initial complement of nine spotters, 26 fighters and 17 dive-bombers would be enough to start the battle in the sky.
The spotters immediately located and reported the movements of four French submarines out into the roadstead, also noting the destroyers of the 2nd Light Squadron had gotten up steam. But Casablanca’s AA defenses came to life as the American birds buzzed over the harbor; within moments, French Hawk 75As from Cazès airfield attacked. Two of Tuscaloosa’s Seagulls were driven off, with the rear gunner of one claiming a kill against the French. Other Hawks chased several spotters back out to sea, with BB-59’s Kingfishers diving close to their ship in the hopes the battlewagon’s AA would peel the enemy off their tails. One Kingfisher was downed regardless, while the other escaped. Wichita’s Seagulls pulled a similar maneuver, with the cruiser knocking one Hawk out of the sky; equivocally, one of her SOCs had to crash land.
At 07:00 as aerial hostilities intensified, TG 34.2 put a further two waves of Wildcats into the air; 18 were tasked with assaulting Cazès, the bulk of Casablanca’s air power lay, while an additional 16 were to support the landings at Fedala. Suwannee also put up seven TBF Avengers to attack shipping, with an 8th crashing on take-off. In mere minutes big guns would roar to life. Here, an F4F prepares to launch from Ranger during the Operation.