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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Operation Crossroads: Bikini Atoll

 

0900 Through Protective Goggles on the USS Appalachian
Grant Powers #14
Watercolor, 1946
88-181-N

 

USS Appalachian (AGC-1) was the press ship from which most of the observers watched the bombs. Goggles were worn during the initial phase of the explosion--when the fireball was brighter than the sun--but then taken off later as the protective glass was too dark to view the rest of the bomb phenomena.

 

How We Looked to the Atom Bomb
Grant Powers #1
Watercolor & pencil, 1946
88-181-A

 


And now for something completely different...

 

3:25 Carrier Independence Burning
Grant Powers #12
Watercolor, 1946
88-181-L


The blast touched off fuel and munitions stored inside USS Independence (CVL-22) and blew off or destroyed the planes parked on her flight deck. The blast also severely damaged the island superstructure and destroyed parts of the flight deck.

 

Navy Tug Fighting Deck Fire on Target Ship
Grant Powers #15
Watercolor, 1946
88-181-O


USS Independence (CVL-22) was not the only ship to catch fire, and the rest of the day was spent fighting fires on 23 of the target ships. Ironically, the water pumped from the lagoon to put out those fires led to more extensive contamination than that caused by the explosion.

 

Japanese Cruiser Sakawa Sinking
Arthur Beaumont #3
Watercolor, 1946
Gift of the artist
88-169-C


The former Japanese cruiser Sakawa sank in frothy green waters the day after test ABLE. Damaged battleships USS Nevada (BB-36) and Nagato are in the background.

 

Operation Crossroads, Joint Task Force One, Bikini Atoll "Able Day" Plus 1
Arthur Beaumont #2
Watercolor, 1946
Gift of the artist
88-169-B

 

A panoramic view of the fleet after test ABLE sketched from the bridge of USS Arkansas (BB-33). The ship in the middle is the scorched USS Nevada (BB-36), with Nagato behind and Sakawa sinking in the foreground.

 

The Independence in Tow
Arthur Beaumont #4
Watercolor, 1946
Gift of the artist
88-169-D

 

The thoroughly battered and twisted USS Independence (CVL-22) under tow to shallower water in preparation for test BAKER. She survived that second test, was later towed to California for study and eventually scuttled in 1948.

 

USS Arkansas
Arthur Beaumont #8
Watercolor, 1946
Gift of the artist
88-169-H


A view of USS Arkansas (BB-33) following test ABLE. As can be seen in this watercolor, the battleship suffered considerable damage to the masts and deck from this atmospheric detonation. She did not survive the second test, falling victim to underwater damage after the BAKER detonation.

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01 August 2001