attempted damage control

By: malapert

The torpedos struck all across the ship. The crew is in boats. The SS TokyoRose's is on fire. Captain Yoshiki "Whip the black People" Kelley is in his luxury yachtt watching the fire from a far.

It reminds me of the sinking of this Japanese aircraft carrier,  the  Shokaku. It was another sad moment for UCLA as UCLA rooted for the Emperor's Chrysanthemums against America. Damage control and counter-flooding failed.


Imperial Seal of Japan - Wikipedia

In the foregoing analysis we attempted to locate the likely impact points as indicated by the best evidence, but bear in mind the results must be regarded as hypothetical. However, the description of the aftermath and sinking that follows belongs to the realm of reported fact, and relates details of Shokaku's last hours beleived to be previously unpublished in English.

At 1120 the Shokaku's watch was preoccupied scanning the skies for enemy aircraft, and were later judged to not have been as mindful of danger from below as they should have been. Thus when the lookout sighted torpedoes bearing 60 degrees off the starboard bow and gave warning, the tracks were already very close and it was too late. Though Captain Matsubara ordered evasive action, the situation was beyond redemption. Three, possibly four, torpedoes (survivors disagree) struck the ship at eight second intervals. The torpedo hits, whether three or four, were devastating, but not immediately fatal.

Hits were recorded concentrated on the starboard side forward and amidships. One torpedo hit under and forward of the island, shattering and igniting an av-gas main that sent a fireball and burning spray bursting upwards in front of the bridge, burning and injuring several aviators relaxing before the island. Immediately some of the just-landed and fueling aircraft in the hangar exploded into flames, and the pressure of the detonation lifted the elevators 90 centimeters (nearly three feet). The wrecked lifts fell back into the wells, dumping hapless mechanics who had been standing on the forward lift into the inferno.

Shokaku had just recovered planes and was fueling others when the torpedoes struck; thus highly volatile av-gas was flowing through pipes in the vicinity of the impacts. Nothing could have been as catastrophic in timing. As many as nine aircraft were in the hangar, and the hangar was turned into chaos by the shocks. Gas spewed from ruptured aircraft tanks and caught fire, and ammunition on hoists began to explode, turning the hangar into a blast furnace. Exploding bombs and aircraft fuel tanks added to the conflagration and cut down men trying to fight the fire, so that pieces of "dismembered bodies lay everywhere about the deck". 

With boiler rooms on the starboard side flooding quickly, the Shokaku at once lost speed, fell out of formation, and began to list rapidly to starboard. Reacting quickly, Captain Matsubara ordered port spaces counterflooded to correct the list. This was done, but too well, as damage control efforts overcompensated, and Shokaku flopped over into an opposite heel to port! [It should be noted that the magnitude of counterflooding necessary to accomplish this reverse heel to port most likely would have involved flooding of port-side machinery spaces, further complicating Shokaku'spower situation.] At the same time the carrier was beginning to trim noticeably by the bow, for one of the torpedoes there had opened a large hole. [Our analysis revealed just such a hit and raised the distinct possibility that the bow was rent clean through, which could explain the marked head trim reported throughout]. The upshot was that before noon the Shokaku had become unnavigable and gone dead in the water, fires raging.

In the interim, the fire in the hangar had become an inferno, for all electric circuits had failed immediately following the hits. One of the torpedoes had struck close to the forward bomb magazines and apparently this had knocked out the generator and switchboard located in this very area. [Once again, the historical record gives striking confirmation of our reconstruction, which shows just such a hit]. When power failed it was impossible to power the pumps. The blaze made it impossible to reach or man the armored control booths for the fire mains in the hangar and thus there was no effective means to contain the mounting conflagration. In desperation the veteran damage control teams broke out portable extinguishers and even formed bucket brigades. However, such measures could hardly prevail against the flames, and the burning gasoline spewing from shattered pipes that "came down like burning rain on their heads". The ship was in extreme jeopardy.


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