Torpedo Attack Near Formosa
On 13 October, only 90 miles off Formosa, close to the enemy and far from safe harbor, Canberra was struck below her armor belt at the engineering spaces by an aerial torpedo which blew a huge, jagged hole in her side and killed 23 of her crew instantly. Before damage control could isolate the compartments, some 4,500 tons of water rushed in to flood her after fireroom and both engine rooms, which brought the cruiser to a stop. Then began one of the most notable achievements of the war in saving wounded ships. Canberra was taken in tow by Wichita (CA-45). The task force reformed to provide escort for her and Houston (CL-81) who had been torpedoed on the morning of the 14th. Retiring toward Ulithi, Cripple Division 1 fought off an enemy air attack which succeeded in firing another torpedo into Houston. Admiral Halsey (CTF 38) attempted to use the group, now nicknamed Bait Division 1, to lure the Japanese fleet into the open, but when the enemy sortied from the Inland Sea, air attacks from the rest of TF 38 roused enemy suspicions of the trap, and the Japanese force withdrew. Canberra and her group continued unmolested to Ulithi, arriving 27 October, 2 weeks from the day she was hit.