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Re: Did the NYNY have capabilities that other...
I suspect that with Franklin, they knew her repair would take a considerable amount of time due to the amount of damage sustained. Franklin was hit on 19 March 45, and the looming invasion of Japan would be uppermost in the minds of the decision makers, thus the need to keep a lot of dry dock space on the west coast available to repair combat damage sustained during that invasion. NYNY was a good choice for Franklin's repair, in that they had built and were then building some of Franklin's sister, so they were very well qualified for a rebuild job that essentially was from the hanger deck up on Franklin.
With Marblehead, she was next to useless in the Pacific for the 1942 campaign, but could be very valuable in the Atlantic for escort and anti-raider duties. Plus a bunch of heavies were at the same time coming from the Atlantic to the Pacific, so it might have nothing to do with the amount of damage sustained, or the particular talents of NYNY, but merely a measure undertaken to balance the fleet.
Generally the more seriously damaged ships went to the east coast, the least to Pearl Harbor and those in between to the west coast. It seems they were balancing transit and repair time. There would have been specific repair criteria as well.
yards did not have? It seems that most heavily damaged ships, Marblehead or Franklyn, were sent there.
The WWII life and death of the USS Houston is best covered in this book the Java Sea Campaign of 1941–42.
After the damage of Makassar the Marblehead was no longer an operational combat vessel, due to popped rivets used in her construction her sea worthiness was very much in doubt until arrival at the Brooklyn naval yard for repairs. Indeed, after her eventual arrival for repairs in the USA in May of '42 it took 5 months for the rebuild and she never returned to the Pacific.
The Houston was still a viable combat asset. Her remaining fire power still made her equal of the HMS Exeter . The reasons for her keeping on station was Houston was the flagship of the ll fated US Asiatic Squadron and her fate is described in the book Java Sea Campaign of 1941–42.
As was noted by other posters, with the exception of the stern 8" turret the Houston was operational.
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