ACTION DAMAGE REPORT
THE COMMANDING OFFICER, H.M.S. INDEFATIGABLE
9th April, 1945. No.107/1274/C0199
THE FLAG OFFICER COMMANDING, FIRST AIRCRAFT CARRIER SQUADRON, BRITISH PACIFIC FLEET
The following report is tendered in accordance with C.A.F.C 2489/42, Paragraph 5, in continuation of my signal 040400Z.
The ship was engaged in Operation “Iceberg” on 1st April, 1945. At ???? a Flash Red was received and at 0722, bogeys were reported bearing 346 degrees xxx 16 miles. At 0724, eight Seafires were scrambled, and about 0727 a ???? was observed carrying out a front gun attack on KING GEORGE V, fine on ???? port bow. The ZEKE then made a feint diving attack on our starboard side, during which he was engaged by a Seafire. The ZEKE turned inside it and executed a dive towards out port quarter. He hit abreast the foremost barrier a the junction of the flight-deck and the island. In the final dive the Seafire again engaged, but broke off when it seemed likely that he would follow the enemy into the ship.
3. Briefly, the effects of his attack were to smash the foremost barrier stanchion and deck fittings, and render the other two barriers, and the flight-deck, temporarily unserviceable. The siren pipes were cut, pneumatic tubes shattered and the Type 78B receiving office and H.F.F were wrecked, together with the No. E R/S Office. Two Type 86M sets were put temporarily out of action. The bomb, which appears to have been instantaneous nose-fuzed, bent the flight-deck armour some 3”, wrecked the Flight-Deck Sick Bay and Briefing Room, and started a small fire in the roof of “B” Hangar. Minor damage was caused by blast and splinters.
4. There were a number of casualties, 8 immediately fata, of which 3 were officers.
5. At 0742, fires in the island and hangar were reported under control and the after barrier was in action by 0800. At 0816, landing-on re-commenced.
6. Detailed reports of damage required by Sections II-XII of C.A.F.C. 2489/42 follow, Sections V, VI, IX and XI being blank.
7. Five copies of six photographs taken shortly after the explosion are attached.
SUBJECT. ACTION DAMAGE REPORT.
(INDEFATIGABLE’s No 107, 1274/001 dated 9 April 1945.)
1. Estimated 250 K.G. Japanese Naval G.P. Bomb on ZEKE suicide bomber.
2. 45 degree power dive from about 1200 feet.
3. Inboard side of Island Structure at Flight Deck Level. Frames 77-81.
4. Burst on impact with flight deck armour.
5. Not applicable.
6. Within frames 77-81, the full width of the Island, containing the First Aid Station and Briefing Rooms, divided by minor bulkheads and a passage way. Hole in size approximately 12 feet by 6 feet 9 ins. The interior, (dimensions 16 feet by 20 feet by 7 feet) gutted. Deckheads over holed and distorted and beam fractured. Flight Deck plating (120 lbs N.C. Armour) adjacent, indented, 1 Bulkhead distorted and boundary angles fractured. 77Bulkhead containing arched Openings undamaged.
7. Minor bulkheads, immediately above this space, and access ladder to deck above distorted, Gashes and abrasions in side plating approximate 16 inches long abaft main damage caused probably by cannon and propeller of enemy plane.
8. Distortion of minor bulkheads referred to in (7), blast rising through ladder access from lobby at after end of compartment. Sliding Steel Access doors to each side of Island approximate 10 feet and 16 feet forward of explosion blown off. Scupper to Barrier Sheaves in ‘B’ Hangar fractured by blast through openings in Flight Deck for sheaves. Wooden doors and framework to Cabins and Offices damaged or destroyed throughout Island forward of 71 Station.
9. Outboard Bulkhead of Island Structure (77-81), and plating of bulwark forming boundary of platform outside 81 bulkhead, Crown of Compartment ‘A’ Deck, bulwark Port side of Admiral’s Bridge, and baffle plates Port side ‘D’ Deck, damaged by splinters.
10. Outboard bulkhead containing explosion of 17 bs (7/16”) D.K.M. plating, bulwar plating, 2 feet from this bulkhead. Crown of compartment ‘A’ Deck 10lbs (1/4”) D, 81 bulkhead 15 lbs D.K.M, bulwark Port side Admirals’ Bridge 12 lbs (516”) D approximate 12 feet above and 40 feet forward of explosion, baffle plates ‘D’ Deck 3/26” plating 30 feet above and 4 feet forward.
11. Complete – Splinter off nose of bomb about 10” X 4”, few other splinters 4” x 2”.
12. Surprisingly little. See narrative.
13. & 14. A serious fire might have occurred through burning petrol running into ‘B’ Hangar through the sheaves casings of No I barrier. Fortunately, only a little got through and a small fire in the overhead hangar stowage was quickly put out.
The incidents reported following the explosion were: -
“fire in the Island”, and “fire in “B” Hangar”.
The explosions severed siren steam pipes inside the Island at flight deck level and the resulting escape of steam at full boiler pressure, although alarming, undoubtedly assisted in getting the fire rapidly under control and eventually extinguished.
The fire in B Hangar was apparently only a single flash from the explosion which came through the slot in the flight deck for the starboard sheaves of N. 3 Safety Barrier. Fire curtains were dropped, and hangar ventilation shut off but sprayers were not operated.
A supply of shovels is required by damage control parties for clearing away debris. An establishment of 18 shovels for this purpose should be adequate.
The only machinery damage suffered was the shattering of siren steam and drain valves and associated piping immediately at the site of the explosion. All piping between flight deck and Island “A” deck requires removal but it is probable that most of the valves can be refitted.
SECTION VII – Paragraphs 18(a).
i) High and Low Power systems were in the action state and all electrical were closed up.
ii) No shock effect was felt remote from the explosion.
iii) The damage was confined to the cutting of branch cables and damage to distribution boxes. One branch breaker opened on overload due to the cover of a junction-box dishing and shorting across the emergency connection “U”-pieces which were inverted.
viii) Temporary loss of power in radar set Type 79
ix) A small number of temporary feeds to lighting, ventilation etc.
SECTION VII – Paragraphs (b) and (c).
SECTION VIII – Communication.
Number 2 R/T Office is immediately above the scene of the explosion and suffered heavily from blast and splinters. The equipment in the office consisted of :-
a) Two Type 86M and associated power units
b) Four complete sets of ???? for the above sets
c) Motor Generator for THS & (???? ????)
d) One of the Type 86N was completely wrecked by a piece of flying metal. Seven batteries were ruined, the plates being buckled by blast. The Motor Generator for TAB 4 was also hit by a splinter.
2. The wiring of this charging circuit for the batteries in No. 2 R/T Office which runs from the Offices to the ???? situated forward of the Island sick bay was ripped away by the explosion. This will require complete re-wiring.
3. The W???? Telephone control box, Patt. 1861, in the boatswain’s mate’s sea position was completely wrecked by the explosion.
4. Two Loudspeakers Type 8? 8A in the briefing room were smashed, One T.T.C. Type Loudspeaker (Commander (F) broadcast) on the side of the island was blown over the side.
5. The port lower VF lantern was broken by splinters.
6. Other effects caused by blast were as follows :-
a) All connections between the AP aerial and their feeders on the foremast were shaken apart and in one ??? the male plug was broken off.
b) Number 1 R/T Office, “B” Deck of the island. The gate switches of two of the 87M transmitters were broken as were also three rectifying valves (VUV2).
c) The control table of the 78? Beacon was put out of action because the glass top broke and filled the works with broken glass. It is suggested that it is not necessary to have the top ???? of glass.
d) In the beacon transmitter itself, sixty feet above the explosion, glass valves were broken (????, ??? 25)
SECTION VIII – Radar
1) WAS ( R ) and H.F.F. Office
Door blown out by blast. Deck and after Minor Bulkhead buckled. Two J??????on Boxes blown off after bulkhead and wires pulled out.
Power Distribution Boards A.P. X. 445A and K4475, buckled and unseated from Deck. But electrically serviceable. All cables to type 243 from Msscellaneons cut. Receivers P.11 – one valve NR54 broken and one small ????tion broken. Height Filter table and plots and Perspex covers broken. Large metal container with spare valves in it crushed – valves broken. One F.F. 3 Design A, unserviceable, presumed due to shock. Type 243 securing bolts sheared, lighting cables damaged.
2) Office was temporarily repaired in approximately 3 days, but set has since exhibited numerous small faults.
3) Type 285 – W.C. Office
Set was put out of action at the time due to a component failure in I.F. Amplifier in L.95 Panel. Several additional small faults in F.51 receiver and 1.V Amplifier were subsequently discovered, probably due to shock. No valves broken.
Report of damage to Flight Deck Machinery
Aircraft and bomb struck the deck between the Island and No.3 Starboard Barrier Stanchion.
The armoured deck between the Island and the stanchion was bend downwards and the stanchion buckled beyond repair. All stanchion hold down bolts were wrenched from the deck and the guide rails torn away. The barrier net main receiving wires were severed adjacent to the vertical deck sheaves and these sheaves badly buckled. Spare parts are carried and can be fitted by ship’s staff but packing pieces will be required to align the gear to the dent in the flight deck.
As a result of damage to the main receiving wires of No. 3 barrier net, No.2 Barrier was also put temporarily out of action. No. 1 Barrier and Tr??kle Wire were immediately available for landing on aircraft.
No. 2 barrier was brought into action after about one hour’s delay, by anchoring the undamaged port side of No.3 barrier main reeving wires to the flight deck , and by anohiring the damaged starboard side of No.3 barrier main reeving wires to their own deckhead sheaved in the Upper Hangar. Builldog grips were used to clip the wires together.
No other damage was suffered by the Arrester or Barrier gear on this occasion.
Operation of aircraft was only delayed while debris etc., abreast the Island was cleared away and ditched. Seafires had to be landed on shortly after the attack using No.1 barrier only.
2. Both lifts were up at flight deck level and suffered no damage. Handling of aircraft not affected.
3. No damage caused to hangars, armoured doors, or fire curtains. Manoeuvring of aircraft was not affected. Flash which came down sheave opening by No.3 Barrier Stanchion (starboard) cause some scouring rope in an overhead stowage in “B” hangar to catch fire and smoulder. This was quickly put out. Overhead stowage was slightly distorted.
4. Hangar sprays were not used nor were any fire appliances except that mentioned in paragraph 3 above. Fire curtains at forward end of “A” Hangar and after end of “C” and “Z” Hangars were fully down. At after end of “A” Hangar starboard fire curtain was down and port fire curtain 3 feet above the deck. At after end of “B” Hangar port fire curtain was fully down and starboard fre curtain 3 feet above the deck.
5. No damage to petrol installations.
6. No damage to bombs or warheads.
7. Not applicable.
8. No aircraft damaged in hangars. On flight deck following damage occurred to aircraft in deck park aft:-
2 Avengers slightly damaged by splinters
1 Firefly slightly damaged by splinters.
This damage was repaired within eight hours
1. Damage to Medical Centres
The Island Sick Bay was completely demolished and nothing was salvaged with the exception of a few dressings and bandages.
The Flight Deck Medical Officer was killed and also a Fleet Air Arm Pilot who was with him at the time. No further damage to Medical Centres of Personnel was sustained.
The Island Sick Back is considered too vulnerable for use during action, is too expose for the present type of enemy attack, to be manned by a Medical Officer of for the stowage of important medical stores.
It is suggested that in future the Flight Deck Medical Officer should carry a First Aid Haversack and have the use of the Fighter Ready Room at Flying Stations. He should transfer beneath the Flight deck at a Red Warning.
The Flight Deck Medical Party stationed at First Aid Post No.7 in the Guns Crews’ Mess should do likewise.
The Flight Deck Medical Officer and Medical Parties are at had to deal with Flight Deck action casualties should they occur and not await the event in an exposed position.
2. Medical Organisation
All casualties occurred in the Island structure and on the Flight Deck. There were none below this level.
There was a delay of a few minutes in a Medical Officer arriving on the scene, this was due to the Flight Deck Medical Officer being killed and that no information was passed to other Medical Officers or Medical Centres.
A Medical officer was quickly detailed to the spot, the site being ascertained by hearsay. It is suggested in future that information be broadcast or failing this relayed by messenger.
The casualties were removed from the Flight Deck quickly and efficiently by mobile medical parties and transferred to No.3 and No.9 First Aid Posts on the Upper Gallery Deck where immediate first aid was rendered.
Transferences of individual casualties by the forward bomb lift directly to the Lower Gallery Deck was not carried out as originally planned as it was considered essential to get the casualties below the Flight Deck as soon as possible by Neil Robertson stretchers as further enemy action was imminent.
The number of casualties having been ascertained, the more serious ones were transferred to Neil Robertson stretchers to the Starboard Mess which is the receiving centre for the Forward Medical Distributing Station on the Lower Gallery Deck.
Here further investigation and assessment of injures were carried out as further shock treatment given where necessary, such as Blood Plasma Transfusions.
The Forward Medical Distributing Station was able to accommodate all the serious cases, the less seriously injured being transferred to the Warrant Officer’s Mess which is adjacent.
After action, all Medical Officers were available for rendering further treatment and all Sick Berth Staff on hand to carry out their duties.
The number of casualties sustained made it practicable to use one Medical Distribution Station with the adjacent Warrant Officer’s Mess.
Should the number of casualties have been greater further distribution could easily have been effected, use made of further First Aid Posts and Medical Distributing Stations in accordance with the Medical Arrangements already in operation.
Generally the procedure went according to plan and was promptly and efficiently carried out by all Medical Parties called upon, particularly the Sick Birth Staff.
After the casualties were dealth with, the dead were removed by detailed Medical Parties to the Forecastle for disposal.
Date: - 17.4.45
From: - R.A. Flt Train.
Recd: - 1409
To:- C. in C. B.P.F.
Following is a repetition of INDEFATIGABLE’s 040400 dispatched to you by air on 12th April begins:-
Admiralty: A.C.L. B.S.L. R.A. Flt. Train. C. in C. B.P.F.
From: - INDEFATIGABLE.
C.A.F.C. 2489/42 para. 5
a) Suicide dive bomber attack 1st April 1945.
b) Island structure on board Flight Deck level frames 77-81.
c) Flight Deck, Sick Bay and Briefing Room gutted. S.A.2 Radar Office and Bridge Mess damaged (A deck)
d) Flight Deck Plating (120 pounds N.C. Armour) Adjacent dented. In board side of Island holed out board plating 81 bulkhead A deck and Minor Bulkheads of W.A.2 Office and Bridge Mess distorted
g) No serious damage.
h) One type 85M transmitter-receiver, one motor generator for T.B.S. 4, one warning telephone Control Box Pattern No. 1641, seven batteries Patter No.W. 1469, one battery Pattern No.603A. All damaged beyond repair.
i) Group of steam and drain valves and pipes at Flight Deck Level damaged. Alves (sleeve packed type) can probably be refitted. New piping required approximately as follows: Cold S.D. Steel (800 pounds test) 1-1/2 inches bore? By 0.16 inches thick – 40 feet. (Ditto) – ¾ inch bore by 0.16 inch thick – 25 feet. S.D. Copper (50 pounds test) -3/4 inch bore by 14 L.S.G. – 30 feet.
k) Junction boxes pattern 7177B two in number. Distribution boxes pattern 5137A three in number. Fans 5inch two in number. Fans 10 inch one in number. All damaged beyond repair.
l) Gyro repeated in Commander Flying position damaged beyond repair.
m) One strake of 17 pounds D.T.M. Side Plating 15 feet by six feet nine inches destroyed. One strake 20 feet by 6 feet 9 inches holed in several places.
n) Number three safety barrier starboard stanchion wrecked. Ship’s staff can ship spare. Following additional items required:-
1) Two sheaves for main reeving.
2) Various packing pieces (steel) to re-align gear due to dent in flight deck. Radar type 79B Pattern X445A and X474B, boards, distributing, upper and lower, buckled. Some equipment in W.A. 2 office and height finder position requires re-mounting