Document: Illustrious, April 6, Damage (Bomb & Shell)

Subject:- ACTION DAMAGE REPORT – C.A.F.O. 2489/42


DATE …… 25th. April, 1945                              No.129/2.


                With reference to the attack by a suicide aircraft on ILLUSTRIOUS on 6th. April, the following report gives details as required by C.A.F.O. 2489/42 of action damage sustained by ILLUSTRIOUS.

                It is not proposed to forward the reports required by paragraphs 3 and 4 of the C.A.F.O. as the Type 272P is being replaced by Type SG One.

Section I.                             Narrative of Events.

                The following is an extract from one of ILLUSTRIOUS’ reports on operation ICEBERG describing this incident :-

                At 1710 on Friday 6th. April, while at Condition 1, Flash “Red” being in force, unidentified aircraft were reported approaching the fleet. Orders were passed to the armament to maintain sector and look up, as cloud was estimated as ten/tenths at 2,000 feet. Radar gave unidentified aircraft approaching the ship on the port beam and another unidentified on Green 10. Echoes were lost inside ground wave after report “Five miles Port Beam” was received on the A.D.P.

2              An aircraft was spotted diving at the ship in a 40 degree dive, coming through the cloud base at a range of 2,500 yards Red 80. It was clearly radial engine with a short wing span and no dihedral. Target was indicated at once by Tracer Lewis gun-fire from the A.D.P. and all close range armament that would bear, were ordered on to the target. Fire was opened by Bofors, Pom-poms and Oerlikons with considerable accuracy. Hits were observed early on the tail by this ship, and confirmed by C.S.4 in “Swiftsure”. Further hits were seen in Radial engine and on port and starboard wings.

3              Several bits of the aircraft were observed to fall off it as it approached the ship. As it crossed the ship the port wing came off and the aircraft generally broke up. The starboard wing-tip hit 272 Lantern and the aircraft crashed into the sea 50 yards clear of the starboard side, followed closely by an explosion as from a bomb and the ship whipped considerably. The aircraft was visible for 8 to 9 seconds until it crashed into the sea and was under fire for 7.5 seconds of this time. Estimated speed – 350 knots.

4              ……….  Approximately 700 rounds of Pom-pom, 25 rounds of Bofors and 600 rounds of Oerlikon were expended in this attack. Aircraft was recognised as a radial engined JUDY.


Section II                             General.

                Section II of the report is inapplicable: except as stated below no damage was done to the ship.

Section VIII                         Communications

                                                Radar Equipment Damaged.

I               1.            WS Radar type 272P put out of action by the attacking aircraft, whose starboard wing cut through the aerial lantern.

                                a) Perspex lantern shattered by impact
                                b) Distortion has jammed the pedestal fore and aft.
                                c) Lower reflector assembly badly smashed by wing tip, part of which remained wedged inside.
                                d) All electric cables to the pedestal torn completely away.

                2.            Damage not repairable by ship’s staff. Replacement not desirable, as type SG One is being progressed, and can be completed in a little longer than would be required to replace the 272P aerial array and rewire its cables run to the office.

II             1.            “X” type 285(P)4 aerial array suffered extensive mechanical damage due to a Corsair on deck being blown against the director by blast.

                2.            “X” type 285 remains serviceable. Normal defect procedure will cover repair of the damage.

Section X.                            Air Material

(a)    1-7.                Not applicable

8.    Two Corsairs on deck with engines running waiting to scramble damaged by blast and heavy fall of water from splash. Aircraft were easily moved.