Subject: ACTION DAMAGE REPORT
From … THE COMMANDING OFFICER, H.M.S. “VICTORIOUS’
Date … 24th May, 1945
To … FLAG OFFICER COMMANDING, FIRST AIRCRAFT CARRIER SQUADRON, BRITISH PACIFIC FLEET
The following report on damage sustained in the two Suicide air attacks on 9th May, 1945, is forwarded in accordance with C.A.F.C. 2489/42.
SECTION I – NARRATIVE OF EVENTS
(i) Task Force 57, operating off SAKISHIMA GUNTO, was attacked by suicide aircraft at about 1700 on 9th May, 1945
(ii) Four Zekes made suicide attacks within about six minutes. The first two attacked VICTORIOUS and both hit; The third, attacking HOWE, missed, being brought down in flames, and the fourth hit FORMIDABLE.
(iii) The first attack on VICTORIOUS developed from the starboard quarter and though the “Kamikaze” was brought under heavy fire, it continued its attack and hit the flight deck on the accelerator abreast B.2 turret, disintegrating as the bomb which it was carrying detonated.
(iv) The second attack on “VICTORIOUS” also developed from the starboard quarter about 2 minutes after the first. This attacker was flamed by gunfire at a range of about 500 yards. It continued its attack, to crash through the after aircraft park, bouncing off the flight deck and diving into the sea in flames about 200 yards off the port beam. No bomb was seen or heard to explode, and the damage did not indicate that a bomb was released.
SECTION II – GENERAL (a) refers to first attack, (b) refers to second attack
(i) Both attacks carried out by Zeke “Kamikaze” in a shallow dive; a bomb exploded on impact of the aircraft in the first attack, but not the second.
(ii) Not applicable
a. Flight Deck, 31 station port, between fore aircraft lift and B.2 turret.
b. Flight Deck, 135 station port.
a. Bomb detonated on Flight Deck
b. Aircraft bounced off deck and entered water clear of ship.
(v) Not applicable
a. Major damage confined to area 12ft by 13ft on flight deck and frames and bulkheads immediately below on uppery gallery deck in B.2 turret working space.
a. Minor damage extended over area about 500 sq.ft. on flight deck and in B.2 turret working space, port forward fore and aft passage and port lift motor room on upper gallery deck.
b. No structural damage
a. Blast blew open the blast plates in B.1 gunhouse but not in B.2. Both turrets were trained on Red 45 at the time.
b. No blast effect.
a. Splinter effect from the bomb explosion was confined to the external sides of B.1 and B.2 turrets, barrels and jackets. Slinter effect inside the ship was caused by pieces of 60lb deck plating and other plating breaking off under the force of the explosion.
The area thus affected was localised to spaces immediately under the hole in the flight deck.
b. No splinter effect, though minor damage caused by pieces of debris.
a. No plating pierced by bomb splinters. The 3 decks below through which the piece of 60lb deck plating penetrated were all of 14lb plating.
a. Bomb judged to have detonated completely. No fragments of bomb were identified.
a. Ship fully operational as a Carrier with the accelerator out of action and one 4.5” gun out of action.
b. Fighting efficiency unimpaired
SECTION III – DAMAGE CONTROL
(i) The Damage Control organisation was in the First Degree of readiness, doors and hatches in the action state, firemains isolated and in the action state. As soon as the first hit was felt Nos. 1, 2 ad 3 emergency diesel fire pumps were started up and speed of all electric Fire pumps increased in order to boost fire main pressure.
(ii) Not applicable
(iii) Not applicable
a. Fire on flight deck consisted of debris and flotanets surrounding B Turrets and paintwork, electric leads and debris in the turret Working space.
Foam and “Rockwood” fog nozzles were brought to bear on the flight deck fire but as no petrol fire developed, the foam was stopped and an additional fog nozzle brought to bear. “Rockwood” jet/spray and fog nozzles were used for small fires in the turret working space and the fore and aft passage. All fires were quickly extinguished.
b. Small debris fires on flight deck and in Smith’s Shop below on U.G. deck. Fire fighting equipment at this point was destroyed but two fog nozzles were brought to bear from starboard side of flight deck. Fire was quickly extinguished.
(v) There was no lack of materials for dealing with damage and for affecting temporary repairs.
(vi) Emergency lighting and floodlamps were required on U.G. deck due to severing of electrical light leads; supply was adequate.
(vii) Damage Control communications were satisfactory but the position and nature of the damage did not call for much reporting to Damage Control Headquarters or for the issuing of orders from Damage Control Headquarters. The first intimation of the hits giving their exact position was to the Damage Control Headquarters by the “foof-spotter” – a specially stationed rating of the Damage Control organisation – on the A.D.F by direct S/P telephone. All outgoing orders from Damage Control Headquarters were passed on the T/C system.
(viii) Damage control parties were hardly involved as the majority of initial fire fighting was carried out by the flight deck fire parties. The composition of the parties and their distribution and organisation was satisfactory, and adequate.
SECTION IV – MACHINERY
No damage to machinery was sustained.
SECTION V – GUN ARMAMENT
(A) First attack.
i. The immediate effect of the attack was to place “B” Group out of action. Casualties were caused in this group and a small fire was started in the vicinity of a R.U. locker in B.2 turret. Remaining members of both crews shaken by the shock.
ii. The fire was quickly brought under control. After the casualties and debris had been removed, all director circuits were checked with both turrets and found correct. Both guns of B.2 wer eprovisionally condemned because of the splinter damage to the external surfaces of both jackets and barrels. The sealing right of the right gun had been completely ripped off and there was a heavy splinter gash through the jacket at this point; the sealing ring of the left gun had been damaged and there was in addition a splinter gash in the jacket.
iii. When imminent danger of attack was over, the guage, plug bore, was successfully passed through all guns except the right gun of B.2, which on further examination showed signs of bulging of the rifling in the position of the splinter gash by the sealing collar. This gun was condemned, and the left gun sentenced serviceable.
iv. Damage inside “B” Group. The effects of the explosion were localised to the area immediately under the hole through the 60lb deck plating. One 4.5” R.U. locker in this position was pierced by splinters or distorted beams of ship’s structure. The top of the endless chain hoist in B.2 turret was put out of action, the top casting being seriously fractured, and the gearing box and top parts of chain being distorted. One liftinghead had split open. The whole hoist was jammed and immovable.
v. Ammunition. One 4.5” R.U. locker, containing 18 rounds of H.E. fuzed V.T. Mk33, was immediately under the explosion and its top was pierced by splinters. It was on fire externally from petrol and burning debris falling through the hole in the deck. The fire was quickly extinguished, the ammunition in the wake of the destruction and the fire being thrown overboard.
vi. From interrogation of the gun’s crews, the following facts were gathered:-
a. No ammunition exploded or caught fire
b. One V.T. Mk.33 fuze was destroyed, described as “burnt right through”;
c. A few V.T. Mk.33 fuzes were reported to be “sparking”; it is considered that this was the wax preservative ?????ing (S.F. a candle)
d. A few cartridge cases were holed by splinters.
vii. Some ammunition was sprayed and drenched from fire-main hoses and all this and the damaged ammunition was thrown overboard by the gun’s crews as an immediate safety precaution.
viii. Blast. Blast plates in B.1 turret were blown off; those in B.2 turret, which received the full force of the hit, were not. The turrets were trained on a bearing of Red 45 at the time.
ix. General. No director circuits or fire control instruments were damaged. Neither was any damage done to the revolving structure nor to the pressure systems of either turret. Ventilation trunking and miscellaneous H.F. electrical circuits were destroyed in the immediate wake of the hole through the flight deck.
(b) Second attack
This “Kamikaze” bounced in flames off the flight deck over the port 40mm twin mounting and its Mk.51 director and thence into the sea.
i. The director was destroyed, the rotating and elevating part being distorted and the Mk.XIV sight being ripped overboard. The pedestal and electrical circuits inside were undamaged.
ii. The 40mm twin mounting was undamaged and ready for immediate action in local control.
SECTION VII – ELECTRICAL
SECTION X – AIR MATERIAL
1. Flight Deck. Deck was pierced at edge of 3” armour and depressed over an area of 12ft at 31 station port side between forward lift and “B” Turret. Fairing plates for accelerator were torn and distorted over an area of 500 sq. ft.
Accelerator. Type BHIII(3) accelerator rails were torn and distorted for a length of 50ft and both accelerating and retarding ropes were damaged.
Operation of aircraft. Ready to land on immediately. Ready to fly off Corsairs in about 1 hour. Ready for full operation (without accelerator) in 12 hours (i.e. at down 10th May).
2. Lifts. Both lifts were at flight deck level. Control wiring to port motor of forward lift was cut in several places, and stool of No.3 port chain gearing slightly distorted. Lift was immediately available on one motor and within 24 hours both motors were in use and lift fully operational
3. Hangars were unaffected.
4. Hangars were unaffected.
5. Fuelling of aircraft on the flight deck was in progress when the attack developed. Fuel system was immediately put to “safe”. Port forward fuelling point abreast “B” turrets was slightly damaged and fuelling hoses were cut. Petrol lead from main to this fuelling point was cut by piece of 60lb deck plating which penetrated down to upper deck. No petrol was spilt and no petrol fires developed.
6. Bombs, Warheads, etc. Not applicable
7. Not applicable
8. Aircraft damage. Two Corsairs in the after deck park on deck were damaged beyond repair when the second suicide passed through the park; 1 further Corsair sustained damage beyond capacity of ship’s staff and 3 Corsairs received minor damage, repaired in 12 hours.