Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vince Lombardi on Fire Fighting

OK, it isn't Vince Lombardi (PBUH), but it is Grampa Bluewater over in comments at USNIBlog. That is close enough. Reality based thinking - you know - the kind you can't fit on a PPT.
... I know about about fixed marine fire fighting systems from magazine flooding, sprinklers and CO2 to HYFOG, Halon replacements and the rest. You ducked the point.

They all assume a degree of structural integrity to work at all. They work fine in a sealed isolated space with delivery piping in place. ONCE, for the most part. In a running fight with multiple hits that is a rosy scenario indeed. Fire fighting in a battle on a battle damaged ship is done with hoses, hose teams, bunker gear (fire fighting clothing ensemble), AFFF cans, in line foam proportioners and pick up tubes, HV and LV fog and OBAs/SCBA's. And Guts.

You crawl down ladders that will scorch the skin off you without the gloves and fire suit, sqeeze through scuttles you can't see for the smoke in spaces where ambient temperature approaches the inside of a toaster oven, lugging the very breath of life on your back. You wade through ponds of shifting scalding water you applied to the fire moments before and clouds of scalding steam from the same source. You use every firefighting tool you have as fast as you can get it to the scene, because the fire doubles every minute. The key is isolation, which assumes structural integrity, to stop the fire, force it back, force down, and force it out. You exhaust the sailors you don't loose to burns, scalding, incoming ammunition, internal flareups, or
heat stroke establishing and maintaining the fire boundaries and backup boundaries. Most of the gee whiz stuff you cite is used up, shot up, or screwed up and didn't work. THAT is how you fight fires.

Can I get an AMEN!


  1. Byron07:02

    On an all-aluminum ship, if you can't get the fire put out fast, you are screwed. Just look at the history of aluminum superstructures and fire. They melted, they sagged and the wire way runs (on Starke) allowed fires to smolder and run for a long time. Aluminum is light...but like steel, it will oxidize like crazy. This shipfitter has made a good living repairing aluminum.

    And before anyone says it, Aluminum has never "caught fire". It's an urban myth that this happened on Sheffield. Did.Not.Happen.

  2. SWOINATOR08:08

    Read the report on the STARK.  Only one of 2 EXOCETs had their warhead explode, the other just burned.  It was the "dud" that caused the most damage via the class D aluminum fire, NOT the explosion.  Of note, the fire team was unknowinlgy kicking the unexploded warhead while fighting the fire down the STBD p-way on the DC deck (found after the fact).  A nerviuos moment when that was discovered, I am sure.

    Having survived through 2 no-kidding main spaces, and one near miss from a high pressure oil leak, it is properly trained, properly equipped and properly manned people who fight fires, not the equipment.

  3. Butch08:26

    It seems nobody at NAVSEA has read the STRAK report, never mind any of the WWII damage reports.

  4. Leadership By Example09:03

    <p><span><span>The USS Belknap collision in 1975 and the subsequent melting of the aluminum superstructure seems to bear out the fact that warships comprised of aluminum have structural integrity problems/failures when faced with adversity like high heat as expected in actual combat outside of a bean counting computer simulation scenario. Aluminum is vastly inferior and this might scare the PC and diversity aficionados to ever think that something is inferior on its face. However, theory to practice reveals that facts are facts. <span> </span></span></span></p>

  5. Byron09:13

    There was no Delta fire. It simply melted and by conductivity, caused other flammables like paint, lagging, wireways, etc. to light off. Trust me, if the aluminum had ignited to a true Delta fire, the only way to put it out would have been to sink the ship.

  6. JimmyMac09:57

    Just an observation on content. 

      This is the type of subject matter that attracts professionals to this blog.  Not the hate-mongering, name-calling, "pc" baiting, drivel that constitutes the vast majority of the modern day scribble on the bulkhead...aka, "internet".  This type of blog, and the comments, brings me back.  "Diversity Thursday", and its ilk, drives me away....    

  7. Nice picsof an aluminum superstructre after a fire...

    But thats ok... It was a long time ago.

    Grandpa isn't up with the times.

    Things are different now y'all.

    LCS needn't worry about such things cause itds was built light to go FAST!!!


    Oh, and lets not forget about the Amazons and their light aluminum ladders. Can't remember if  itwas one of the export ships of a Brit one, but during a fire the ladders melted, impeding access to the fire.

    What was it the then PEO said ina interview (in which the current head of NAVSEA was in attendance)?

    Hmm, here it is... It will live on, even though the NAVSEA link is back down again.

    RADM Hamilton: As you know from reading the requirements documents, the survivability piece on LCS is different than DDG 51 or DDX or several of our other combatants. And what we’ve chosen to do here is couple high speed and maneuverability and situational awareness in ways that allow LCS to be in the right place at the right time and to be out of the right place at the wrong time. Okay?
    We have some modeling and simulation of the designs and know what effects different weapons might bring to those particular designs. But again, because our desire for speed gets us to alternative and lighter materials, the damage tolerance for large cruise missiles for example are not the same as those on a DDG 51.

    See? They don't have to live by those same time tested rules.

  8. UltimnaRatioRegis10:52


    Incredible as it may seem, exchanges of ideas include viewpoints you might not agree with.  Perhaps you should spend some time in a place where there is real "hate mongering" and get back to us later.

  9. UltimaRatioRegis11:25

    It is descriptions like this that have sparked my admiration for the US Navy Officer and that unsung hero, the Bluejacket.  Men risking their lives and fighting their fears to save their vessel and keep it in the fight. 

    When I see a US Navy in decline with a force diluted by social engineering and distracted from its warfighting training, with men o' war not designed to absorb damage and continue the fight, it is sad indeed.

  10. Byron11:28

    JM, Sala talks about the hard questions that face the Navy. Hard questions always bring out impassioned response, not all of which are made in an unemotional manner. Still, they need to be talked about. I'm right there with you on Diversity Thursday, but if you sea-going professionals want to know what's weakening your service, then you for sure need to know about those things like the Diversity Directorate and mids getting a pass because they are outstanding backs on the football team.

  11. Byron11:31

    And what was not spoken but understood is that LCS is a floating death trap for our sailors. Anyone remember the mortality rate on PT boats during the Solomons?

  12. Leadership by Example11:44

    <p><span>A sudden spark (no pun) of illumination reveals that warships might be under design to match the same PC pussification and neuterization program standard to make “warriors” impotent? </span></p>

  13. UltimaRatioRegis12:32

    Geez, Byron,

    It hurts to read that.  But you're right as rain.

  14. Arleigh Burke12:55

    <span>J Mac: 
    Any military operation should be simple enough to be consolidated into a 5 paragraph order: S-M-E-A-C (Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration, Command & Signal).  To quote General Dave Petreaus, "HOW DOES THIS END?"  When do we declare victory on diversification of the fleet?  Is this a never ending process?  If you have a problem with how diversity is being covered in the blog, defend it.  Just don't say that having the discussion is "wrong." 
    So, enlighten us.  I have yet to hear anyone tell me--be it the CNO, SECNAV, Diversity Directorate, etc--tell us when we can declare victory.  What it looks like.  What it means for the Navy and its Title 10 responsibilities. 
    Plain and simple, if we can NEVER declare victory or achieve Diversity, then our leadership is damning all non-whites to be classified as Second Class Citizens forever (which, sorry, they don't have that much juice), and further they are sending a message to the entire fleet that NOBODY will EVER get a fair shake in discipline, promotions, mentorship, and ascensions.</span>

  15. the business of aluminum not catching fire is not quite right.

    take the lowly chainsaw. a great number of them are made of aluminum, magnesium and steel. in a fire situation (good old western montana forest fire) if the fuel in the saw catches fire and starts the magnesium,  that will set off the aluminum. the resultant is a bright white fire that puts out huge amounts of dense white smoke. the temperatures are high enough to melt the steel parts of the saw. very much like a railroad flare.

    there is an industrial technique called "thermite welding" where a mixture of aluminum powder, mag powder and iron oxide are "started" and the ensuing fire provides enough heat to melt adjacent steel and thereby welds the adjacent parts together.

    the railroad people use this to weld rail sections together in the field.

    in the shipboard world we have proposed an aluminum ship carrying missiles (with their solid fuel rocket engines).........

    you get my drift????


  16. Anthony Mirvish13:24

    Fire-fighting also requires you have a large enough crew to do it (less any initial casualties) and that they all possess the requisite physical strength and endurance.

  17. Cupojoe13:41


  18. ewok40k14:58

    Two Amazon class (aka type 21) were lost in the Falklands, HMS Antelope and HMS Ardent. Ardent was lost to fires, while Antelope had her back broken by  unexploded bomb when defusal attempt went wrong. Probably the ladder was on the Ardent.

  19. a second thought:

    back in the day the army types developed a bazooka round and an anti tank round called a "shaped charge".  this thing developed a torch like chemical flame that was used to melt its way through tank armor.

    my question is this:

    1.   would one of these set naval structural aluminum on fire?


    2.   is this type of warhead wide spread in naval weapons circles?


  20. The Brickmuppet16:45


  21. Byron16:56

    In response to your wonderful post, I have to points in rebutal

    1) regarding the " if we can NEVER declare victory or achieve Diversity, then our leadership is damning all non-whites to be classified as Second Class Citizens forever ": Horse puckey. That's right up there with one of the stupidest statements I've ever read. NO ONE at this mil blog or any other is advocating making non-whites into "Second Class Citizens". What utter drivel.

    2) Give ADM. Burke his name back. You sure as hell don't deserve to use it.

  22. Byron16:56

    To each his own...

  23. Arleigh Burke17:20

    Byron.  Then you tell me what J Mac wants.  The diversity industry insinuates that non whites are incapable of rising to the top on their own without specific, directed intercession on the part of leadership.  How is this not creating second class citizens?  I have worked for almost all non-white Captains, Commanders and Admirals.  They got their on their own.  The diversity industry todays says that can't happen.  HOW IS THAT NOT INSULTING TO THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENT?!

    Second, ADM Burke requires no period after the rank.

    Third, you are demonstrating that the liberal left has no room for disputes.

    If this disagreement qualifies for drivel, well Sir, you must be spending your time reading nothing but Shakespeare.  I surmise, however, that you spend most of your nights watching MSNBC and screaming at the Drudge Report.

  24. Arleigh Burke17:21

    Great point.

  25. Rhode Islander18:00

    I know that all LHA and LHD superstructures are made of 100 percent aluminum.  And I've heard they have some Kevlar layers also throughout each side of the deckhouse.     Anybody know what that massive deckhouse for USS ZUMWALT DDG-1000 is made of ?

    In other words,  will the next generation DDG/CG have some sort of deckhouse construction that will also burn like wildfire when hit ?    I've read where DDG-1000 deckhouses absorb heat easily and will be challenge to keep the insides air conditioned, especially when deployed to Persian Gulf in summertimes.

    How are our oldest AEGIS CG cruisers holding up ?  right along the areas where ALUMINUM superstructures meet the steel decks ?   Some CG-47 class are approaching 30 years old soon.

  26. Arleigh Burke18:08

    Zumwalt's superstructure is made out of a composite material.  What you have read is somewhat true.  The special radar reflective paint coatings are designed to also reflect some of that heat to hopefully alleviate some of the concerns about heat conductivity.

  27. The fire I am talking about was long before the Falklands...

  28. doc7518:47

    sid, it's interesting to see the Belknap photos. Considering there were no fire barriers installed. It's amazing anything was left. Interestingly, fire barriers did exist or were under development but the Navy had not installed them. Stark did have them at least. Otherwise (as the Belknap photos show) it would have been far worse.

    Rhode Islander, the DDG-1000 deckhouse is composite. Two issues with that. First, not only does it absorb the heat from the sun as you point out, but it also keeps in the heat from radars and electronics. Second, much of the discussion here is about the low melting point of aluminum. But the composites in the DDG-1000 deckhouse have issues with flammability, toxicity and still have the loss of mechanical properties at elevated temperatures. Considering that DDG-1000 is supposed to go even further in harm's way, it is worth considering.

    I notice a lot of discussion on ladders but aren't they all steel now even on aluminum ships or steel ships with aluminum deckhouses?

  29. Tom Mowry19:05

    Here's some diversity for you, everyone is haze gray and extremely religous when the ship she is a sinking.

  30. Tom Mowry19:15

    AMEN!! Let me add that you will be stinking and sweaty. You will just want to take a shower and have a cold beer when it is all done, but before that you will not rest, you will not sleep, you will not stop, till the fires are out and the flooding is stabilized. You will do things that you would never do on any other fine Navy day; remove hot rounds from a magazine with a fire raging on the other side, try to keep your ship together with cables. You will literally take the shirt off of your back and give it to someone else because theirs is wrapped around a plug somewhere in a hole. There is a lot of wisdom in Grampa Bluewaters words.

    No Higher Honor

  31. Tom Mowry19:20

    Sid is talking about the Belknap incident, bad things happen when you get too close to a carriers elevator and rip a fuel line.

  32. Tom Mowry19:24

    With all due respect to the Admiral, he has gone Loco. Did the LCS team watch The Men Who Stare at Goats one too many times.

  33. Tom Mowry19:39

    Thank you for mentioning the lagging issues Byron. Here is another fine example. When we struck the mine (FFG 58) the good news was that it happened in the MER and we had natural vents for the over pressure; the uptakes and exhaust for the GTM. The bad news was that flaming debris was sent into those same vents. Then ensuing fire was on the opposite side of the aft bulk head for the 76MM magazine. In accordance with Murphy's Law the IR rounds were stored in the racks against that bulkhead posing another danger to the ship. Lagging and wire runs make excellant conduits for fire to move.

  34. Byron21:03

    Thankfully the forward bulkhead to the intakes (which is the after bulkhead in 76 Mag) has no wire way penetrations until you get to the very bottom for the one light. There is no Kevlar against the after bulkhead like there is on the house side and overhead in the Mag. If there's fire in the intake, then it's time to turn the sprinklers on, open the escape scuttle and start passing rounds out and over the side.

    Now the Starke, on the other hand, had about a million wire ways between the main deck and the 0-2 deck. Fore, aft, inboard, outboard, up, down. There's one in the port p-way that's so big that when we had a job to weld in the overhead, we simply took the saddles off the hangars and let the wire way sag down. A welder weighing 200 pds just laid in it to weld (of course the wires were all protected from hot work). CIC has a false deck that is full of cables and pipes. So is RICER below. So when the fire in the berthing started sending heat up, things went south in a hurry.

    Tom, do you know who the guy was that kept the forward side of BHD 100 cooled down with the P250?

  35. whose idea was it to rig the cables to keep her from breaking in two?


  36. doc7521:13

    "Sid is talking about the Belknap incident, bad things happen when you get too close to a carriers elevator and rip a fuel line."

    Wow. That's a lot of avgas. That will turn anyone's day bad.

    For a land based example of a fuel-fed fire (for all the lubbers out there), let's remind ourselves of this:


    And by the way, the material was steel.

  37. Grandpa Bluewater22:13

    For those in the peanut gallery who would like to read some findings of fact in a real world bad bad day...go to jag.navy.mil, and look at the JFK/Belnap Investigation download II, pp 757-759.

  38. ewok40k04:40

    1.termite grenades were developed, and were used with great success in sabotage since WW2.
    They would burn through bulkheads all the way to the bottom ala China syndrome or movie Aliens acid... all the way setting things ablaze. Get a saboteur with backpack of those in a ship and you have loads of trouble.
    2.Shaped charges in classic style are absent in antiship warheads, but I've heard some warheads include explosively - formed projectiles (German Kormoran had this feature AFAIK) - think mini-shaped charges on the warhead surface forming high speed and density fragmentation - this should be easily enough to ignite aluminum. Plus in the littorals you cant exclude tank rounds lobbed in your directon, ATGMs, or even RPGs, all of these use shaped charges commonly.
    3. Shaped charge warhead for ASW torps was suggested once against Soviet Oscar/Typhoon class behemoths, but I dont know if it was put into reality and on which torps. This is probably irrevelant but for completeness of related information I included this.

  39. The Eurotorp MU90 ASW Torpedo has a shaped charge warhead.

  40. Tom Mowry05:29

    pk I believe it was the Captain and the BMCS, it was the BMCS who came up to us with the cables. OI division had been assigned crack watch once things were stabilized on day 2. My friend Mark Rajotte and I ran the cable and tightened the turn buckles. We had lots of input as to where to run them believe me. Out GMCS was ticked that we connected to the lift points on his gun. I don't know if that helps. The general idea was to try and prevent the seas from working the crack. We had one of those nice slow rolling seas, nothing to high but enough to flex the ship.

  41. Tom Mowry05:33

    Byron are you talking about us or Stark? If it was us I don't know but I can find out. We are getting together on 4/11 for the annual boom day party.

  42. Byron06:21

    Same thing was done to the S.E. Morrison when she damn near cracked in half during an Adriatic storm. Two big, really big aluminum I beams with 1-1/2" thick steel cables hooked to ginormous turnbuckles.

    Tom, got my ships confused, Starke sent a sailor down to cool BHD 100 forward of berthing  using a hose off a P-250. There were a lot of concerns about the heat and the missile mag.

  43. doc7506:38

    It is interesting to note that there has been times when survivability was traded for something else. Example: VLS. A single point of failure for the whole ship from a survivability standpoint. You probably won't have to worry about fire and DC cause there won't be anything left.

    Why? Why choose VLS knowing it will be a survivability nightmare?

  44. Anthony Mirvish09:33

    Shaped charges were used in many large Soviet/Russian ASCMs, specifically for their ability to penetrate deep into a large ship. 

    Back in the late 70s, when smaller CVs were being discussed, and the issue of carrier vulnerability was raised, there were hearings in Congress at which it was testified that magazine protection could be provided against such weapons at some cost in capacity.  Norman Friedman talks about this in his design history of US carriers. 

  45. Anonymous10:08

    No...The Amazon class fire happened in the early '70s...

    Will cite later.

    I will say now though, that the Amazons represent the befginning of thew rend in designing warships unable to take the requisite punishment.

    But in the late 60s, it can be argued the sentiment was war would go nuclear quickly, so it  didn't really matter.

    Times have changed...

    And while, many frame us LCS critics as folks who resist change (really ironic given what I am sneaking away from doing at the moment) its those who are still thinking that building warships that can be disabled by a blunderbus is an ok thing to do that need to catch up.

  46. The fire I was thinking of was on the Amazon herself in 77...

  47. ewok40k12:35

    At mach 3 you dont need shaped charge to penetrate deep - in fact you penetrate deeper with HE warhead than with shaped charge that has at best meter or 2 of penetration.

  48. SWOINATOR13:46

    Thanks - I stand corrected.  However, I bet the brits have a thing or two to say about D fires as they lost the Shefield.

  49. Tom Mowry17:23

    no problem Byron

  50. Tom Mowry17:24

    sorry sid my bust

  51. Anthony Mirvish18:00

    The kinetic effects from supersonic missiles are significant and I agree with you on that, but it's also a fact that a shaped charge warhead can penetrate many times times its own diameter in armor.  The objective was to hit the magazine with the jet of molten material.  Of course, the Soviets went for lots of redundancy in their weapons design:  large warheads, high speed, fuel to start fires etc.

  52. Al L.01:06

    First let me say I know I'm late to this discussion but I  still must say what I've been thinking.

    Second let me say that I do not wish this to be in any way a comment on those in the Navy who have done the the type of actions Grandpa B. describes. We own  them gratitude.

    There is in all things the need for a concept of relative returns and proportionality.

    The late WWII destroyer weighed about 3000 tons, cost 4.5 - 7 million dollars and was crewed by 300+ many of whom were relatively low skilled conscripts.
    A P-51 mustang cost about $51000  and had 1 pilot
    The destroyer cost between 88 and 137 times as much as the P-51. The crew of the ship is about 1.5 times the crew of the fighters. 

    A modern 3000 ton corvette or frigate built in the U.S  for the U.S.  Navy would cost at least  400 million, with a crew of 100+, most all highly trained difficult to replace volunteers.
    A modern fighter costs at least 80 million .
    The ship is 5 times (or less perhaps only 2 times) the cost of the fighter. The ship's crew is 10-20 times the size of the the crew of the fighters.

    Don't we need to consider that the idea of saving these ships after substantial damage is perhaps much less important than saving the crew?
    Would it not be better to to adopt a strategy to abandon early and have ships sitting in port waiting for the skilled crew to take over?

    Would we be worse off as a nation if our Navy's crews punched out like pilots, and jumped on the next ride than if they saved the burned hull for a  risky trip to the dry dock half way around the world? Particularly when one considers that no matter how many guns or misslies, etc. a ship carries these days its a dead duck once the antenna farm goes down. 

  53. Byron04:07


  54. ewok40k06:34

    AFAIK, the diameter/penetration value of shaped charge does go down significantly with increase of warhead... something with jet of molten metal losing coherency after some time (think anti-RPG Israeli additional perforated armor on tanks/APC), so warhead detonating on outer hull would probably not penetrate deep... anyway with 1 ton warheads that is quite less relevant as with that size damage would be anyway enormous. Plus they would be great against USN BBs when there were yet those in active service. Thanks for the info :)

  55. SCOTTtheBADGER10:04

    If we make it so that the crews can "bail out", so to speak, that unfortunatley is a double plus good for the enemy. Once it is known that we will abandon a severely damaged LCS, and it wouldn't take much to severely damage one, it would be a simple matter for the enemy to apply some cluster muntions to the area, and reap the benifit of not only sinking the ship, but killing the entire crew. 

      Added to this, would be the blow to the crews of the rest of the LCS fleet, who would reaize that going into combat in an LCS would be a death sentance.

    Much better to build a ship to warship standards, with a crew large enough, and well trained enough, to both fight, and do DC, to save themselves, thier ship, and perhaps still carry out thier mission.   See USS HOEL, USS JOHNSTON, and USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS for ships that survived long enough to carry out thier mission. 

  56. Anthony Mirvish10:12

    Why is it always assumed that WWII (or earlier) era sailors were relatively unskilled?  I'd suggest that the average citizen of that era a) was relatively well-educated (public schools were pretty good back then), b) had a better handle on the details of machinery and the actual inner workings of daily technology than many do today, and c) certain skills (e.g. navigation, ship-handling etc) all had to be performed without the aid of things like GPS.  A sailor from the WWII era could actually fix (probably make) much of the equipment aboard.

    Today's education system graduates a lot of people who actually lack critical skills and are often under-educated but well-credentialed.

    These comments would also apply to even earlier eras.  A bunch of dummies would not have been able to sail USS Constitution.

  57. Anthony Mirvish10:16


    I hadn't heard that the penetration value decreases with diameter but there are some published formulas, so I will check.  Some stuff that I've come across in the open literature suggests penetration at 3-8x diameter. The jet of molten metal does start to break down after some time.  How far into the ship it carries and how close it gets to magazines remains the question.

  58. Grandpa Bluewater14:44

    Criticisms of cost must take into account the effects of long term inflation, and generally don't. If it cost 100,000 in 1969, it costs a million now. If it cost a dollar in 1900, it costs over a hundred now.  It doesn't help that the standard measures of inflation have been tinkered with repeatedly in the last 30 years for political reasons.

    Then there is the old game of dividing costs to the point of starting construction across the entire production run, or charging them to to first unit off the line. Politics again.

    I don't think the first Mustang with a Rolls-Royce power plant got charged for the development of the Merlin engine in the 1930's.

    Measure things in terms of per cent of GMT.  How much in medical expenses did the government pay in 1940? The dole?  There is where the money went, growth of the reach of the USG.

  59. Tom Mowry17:35

    Well said the Battle off Samar is an excellant example.

  60. Tom Mowry17:39

    You are comparing apples and oranges. If you want the crew to survive the best bet is to prevent the ship from sinking. Sailors in life boats die faster.

  61. Byron20:18

    That's what Chiefs are for, Anthony. Their primary purpose in life is to grow sailors and keep officers from screwing up too badly. Speaking of which, Happy Birthday, CPOs!

  62. Byron20:22

    On damn near every ship I've worked aboard over the past (mumble mumble) years, I've read this:

    1. Keep your ship water tight
    2. Do not violate material condition
    3. Have confidence in your ship's ability to withstand damage
    4. Know your way around - even in the dark
    5. Know how to use and maintain damage control equipment
    6. Report damage to nearest damage control repair station
    7. Keep personal articles properly secured
    8. Practice personal damage control; protect yourself so you can protect your ship
    9. Take every possible step to save the ship as long as a bit of hope remains
    10. Keep cool, don't give up the ship.

    Those last five words resonate back to the earliest days of the US Navy. "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!" And Captain Jones did exactly that. So did the crews of Hoel, Johnston, and Roberts. It was a losing fight for them, but not until their mission was complete. Something the designers of the LCS seemed to have forgetten.

  63. ewok:

    the modern battle ships of WWII had a central citidel. that was where the main armor was. most of it was on the horizontal axis of the ship but some was for descending projectiles.

    some distance away was what was called (in the vertical axis) the splinter deck. this was about an inch and a half thick and was supposed to set off the contact fuse of an armor piercing round so that it had exploded before it reached the armored deck.

    on the sides they had a series of compartments that were alternately filled with water and air (the order was a considerable point of contention between the various navies and in fact was a state secret for many of them). this was called the mine/torpedo defense. if a mine or torpedo exploded then the blast had to fight its way through at least two sets of air chambers and two sets of alternating water chambers.

    the mine/torpedo defense was very hard to see, however if you looked at the hull on the main deck it seemed to be quite wide but in the engine/boiler rooms the ship seemed to be much narrower than expected. this was due to the space taken up by the compartments.

    on a boat like lcs1 the mine defence would probably take up more than half the width of the ship and we would then have a minus engine room as the defenses would overlap.

    anyone who has stayed with me this long except ewok should now shut down and perform the right arm excercise at the local club.

  64. Al L.22:53

    The Hoel and Johnston were damaged in a ship on ship battle at visual range.  Please tell me which Navy in the world is going to use such tactics today. The answer is "none". The ship will be damaged by a ship or air lunched missile over the horizon. And while the brave crew is trying to save the burning ship the enemy will use the enhanced  thermal  and radar signature to hit it again and again.

    The SBR hit a mine.  During a tanker escort operation.  Please  do tell what strategic advantage would have been lost if it sunk? The  result would have been the same: operation praying Mantis. And our ship builders would have received a contract for a replacement ship. 

  65. Al L.23:12

    Firstly, you explained the issue yourself, " A sailor from the WWII era could actually fix (probably make) much of the equipment aboard"
    They could fix it because it was less complicated. I did all the work on my first car, cant even dream of it today. Hell the guy who  runs the shop who repairs my cars has a 4 year engineering degree. Technology just ain't the same. In my opinion people were smarter in many ways back then. But machines were also much simpler.  
    Secondly there's this fact: conscripts are relatively inexpensive. Volunteers are expensive. It just wasn't as costly to put bodies in a ship then as it is now. There is no denying our military is as trained as any we have ever had and perhaps more trained than any in history. All that training is expensive  and time consuming to replace.  

  66. Al L.23:15

    Do you have some statistical study to support that assertion or is it a gut feeling? When you say "sailors" do you mean individually or as a crew? I doubt 100 sailors  dispersed in 10 rafts die faster than 100 sailors in a ship headed for the bottom.

  67. Al L.23:19

    My replys to the replys are posted 2 comments behind. I hate these blog commentary formats. They're all glitchy. I wish I could get paid for such half-ass product.

  68. Al L.23:33

    " It was a losing fight for them, but not until their mission was complete"

    I disagree. You are right on about Hoel and Johnston. You can't be farther off on SBR. H+J's mission was to defeat the enemy. To the point they could contribute to the fight with even 1 shot and not slow down their fellow ships they were completeing their mission.
    The mission of the SBR was to protect shipping. The minute they hit the mine the ship became a liability to the mission. The SBR crew deserves our unending gratitude for their dedication, but they certainly didn't complete their mission.

  69. Tom Mowry06:14

    then you should read naval history or actually try to find someone lost at sea, once you are in the life raft you have limited food and no communications gear, you are exposed to the elements, if you go over the side you risk being dragged down with the ship by the suction of the ship sinking, so no it is not a "gut feeling", talk with the survivors of the Indianapolis, or any of the survivors of the battle off Samar, or google it and you will see that the numbers that went over the side was much higher then then number recovered

  70. Tom Mowry06:23

    al the reason the guy who runs the shop you go to can't fix your car is because he has an engineering degree, a four year education does not guarantee competence

  71. Tom Mowry06:27

    ithat would have been lost if we had sunk is this. The Iranians would have had a huge PR gain. The images of a sinking ship, and the dead sailors returning to Dover would have been a huge blow, it would further emboldened the Iranians to continue with thier own strategy of cutting off the gulf

  72. Tom Mowry06:33

    <span>Al I believe that Byron might be refering to the first SBR DE 413 which was also present at BOSAR, however I will attempt to respond to your question what strategic advantage would have been lost if we (FFG 58) had sunk. First we did not strike a mine while escorting tankers so let's dispel that myth right now. We had dropped off a convoy several hours earlier and we were headed to a scheduled unrep with the USS San Jose. As for the advantage lost, the Iranians would have had a huge PR gain. The images of a sinking ship, and the dead sailors returning to Dover would have been a huge blow to the US, it would further emboldened the Iranians to continue with thier own strategy of cutting off the gulf</span>

  73. Anonymous08:01

    Would we be worse off as a nation if our Navy's crews punched out like pilots, and jumped on the next ride than if they saved the burned hull for a  risky trip to the dry dock half way around the world?

    Al...Who -pray tell- would conduct the SAR effort?

    All an enemy need do is damamge one of these ships, and the commander will be forced to abandon whatever offensive plans that may have been in the works to effect the rescue.

    At likely great cost.

    Also...If you want to win battles at sea, and that includes the Littorals, you need:


  74. Anonymous11:37

    I have removed it a question