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Fire - USS Bonhomme Richard LHD-6 - 12 Jul 20

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Fire - USS Bonhomme Richard LHD-6 - 12 Jul 20

Old 16th Jul 2020, 13:58
  #141 (permalink)  
 
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Apologies for another thread drift post. Unlike Chugalug2's father, mine survived to wear the Pacific Clasp on his Burma Star and I hence feel able to play the ball not the man. Also as far I remember TBM's posts are normally measured, if sometimes reflective of the Aussie tendency to give it to you straight.

TBM - (The article is) a wonderfully myopic piece of Pommie bashing, however, it is a historical view Britons should be more aware of. In December 1941 Britain was on a knife edge of survival as the Battle of the Atlantic was beginning to swing back to the Germans, the Battle of Britain a respite, victory at El Alamein was nearly a year away. Defeat could only be stopped by an influx of American manpower and machinery. The Royal Navy had lost more than third of major units it began the war with. Low spending since WW1 meant many ships were worn out and obsolete. Throughout the war British tactics designed to keep down casualties continually frustrated the Americans but were a necessity due to the constraints of available manpower and resources. Churchill like any good war leader was merely accepting reality in private while attempting to maintain morale in public, don't forget Churchill had expressed the intention to fight on and recover the UK from German occupation if necessary but I am sure realised the remaining Empire couldn't or wouldn't do it. Territory can be regained, lives can't.
RN 1939 Losses end '41
Capital Ships 15 5
Carriers 7 4
Cruisers 63 13
Destroyers 184 59
Submarines 60 36
Total 329 117
Doesn't include 4 RCN/RAN losses and new builds.

Until it flip flopped in the 1920s Britain expected its ally Japan to protect its colonies and protectorates in the Indian and Pacific Oceans - don't forget the USA planned how to fight an Anglo-Japanese enemy. In November 1941 Churchill's policy was still one of deterrence, using limited available resources to persuade Japan not to enter the war. He knew Britain could barely fight a war on one front never mind three (Europe, South Asia, Pacific) and frankly India, Ceylon and Burma were more important and had the manpower. He was reaching out to Stalin as there was no formal co-operation - the outcome of the Russian front was uncertain.

In December the US's recent forced entry into the war had changed things but as that had come via a Japanese attack he had, naturally, to ensure the Pacific didn't become the main or sole focus or Britain might cease to exist. Just before the Arcadia Conference the RN had just lost two of its three major units in the Indian/Pacific theatre, HMSs Prince of Wales and Repulse, and was to lose the remaning one HMS Exeter not long after. This is reflected by General of the Army George Marshall's views, who though sympathetic to Britain's need for war materiel before the Pearl Harbor attack was deeply concerned that the US was transferring what it would shortly need itself to a lost cause.

Fleet Admiral Ernie King, brilliant though he could be, was a rampant anglophobe, and had spent his entire career studying how to fight a war against Japan. Roosevelt had to overrule him to make him accept the British Pacific Fleet even when the resources were available. His initial reponse to the U-Boat war was a disaster as he refused to accept British advice on convoys and seaboard blackouts until losses were unacceptable. Don't forget there was a strong belief among many leading Americans, including George Marshall, that the conduct of the war should hamper any attempt by Britain to regain its colonial positions. By the time the resources were available the US didn't want them all - my father's ship, HMS Newcastle, reached NSW only to be sent away as surplus to requirements.

Last edited by SLXOwft; 16th Jul 2020 at 19:50. Reason: table treated as image - spelling and clarity
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 14:46
  #142 (permalink)  
 
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Not sure what point you are making here SLXOwft. My point is that Australia was not 'abandoned' by anyone. It was the obvious jumping off point for rolling back Jap occupation of the territories that lay to its north. The USA took command of that under General MacArthur, hence the US reinforcement presence in Australia. You might just as well say that Egypt was 'abandoned' by the US when it was clearly the responsibility of the Brits to defend it. If TBM's attitude is widespread then all the more reason to call it out. The important thing was to achieve victory over the Axis powers, not to avoid offending anyone's finer feelings. Oh, and I 'played the man' as you put it because he saw fit to do his 'bashing' in a thread that has nothing to do with the Brits, WWII, or Australia.

Can we close this mega drift off now, before the wrath of the Mods falls about us all?
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:26
  #143 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Mariner9 View Post
Contrary to what's been suggested earlier in this thread, heavy fuel oil (bunker) tanks can certainly explode. (Over the course of my career, I've surveyed many ships on which this has happened). The flash point of HFO is usually specified at 60C minimum but typically around 70-100C. If the fuel is heated in excess of this by adjacent fire, flammable vapours will be produced, and the mixture in the tank ullage space will tend towards the flammable range. If an ignition source is then introduced, there will be an explosion.
One for any firefighters here. Would such an explosion be considered a BLEVE, or is that term reserved for pressurised fuel like LPG? During a GDT lecture many years ago we were shown film of a derailed railway tanker truck suffering this fate. I think the remains of the truck were found several hundred yards away!
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:37
  #144 (permalink)  
 
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I crave the Mods indulgence for a clarification and apology.

Chugalug2, please accept my apologies, I was aiming a nudge at Georg1na. I felt your loss gives you a right to be aggrieved. However, honestly I thought you did play the ball.

I was offended by the post but accept all countries have their myths based on different perceptions of the facts, what I was trying to say was Britain was in no position to provide additional help to any of the Dominions or Colonies threatened by the Japanese but had an ally in the US that was. The intention was to hold the line much further North - MacArthur only ended up in Australia because the Japs kicked him out of the Philippines. The war was a global one and required each ally to uses it resources where it could to best effect. Frankly, the UK was losing at that point and the defeat of Germany was as you imply essential. To Australians, obviously, the defence of Australia was paramount; to Churchill it was one issue among many and I suspect he felt the threat of invasion was limited and quite probably intelligence was available that confirmed it. One of my wife's grandfathers served in the SANF defending Durban from the threat of Japanese attack. It may seem ridiculous to us now but at the time the threat was felt to be real.

British casualties in the Gallipoli campaign were: Killed 3 times ANZAC losses and Wounded 10 times ANZACs, more Frenchmen were killed than Aussies. I suspect most in all three Commonwealth countries don't even know that British and French troops were involved.

Last edited by SLXOwft; 16th Jul 2020 at 19:45. Reason: losing not loosing and removing grocers' apostrophe
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:53
  #145 (permalink)  
 
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Back to the thread. I wonder if the Presidential election will have an influence? Could the current POTUS feel a commitment to rebuild or name LHA-9 BHR bringing forward it's construction with a stated intention to build additional America would appeal beyond his core vote? Would a Biden victory mean all bets are off regarding USN force numbers?
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:57
  #146 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin View Post
Indeed, well said.

One thing - suspect Halon is for machinery spaces only. Where the fire allegedly started (Well deck) is usually covered by HPSW-fed AFFF, as is hangar. Highly likely that due to nature of the works and the timing in refit, the HPSW system had not yet been set to work and that the AFFF containers not in-situ. That will be a major part of the swiss cheese and a likely change in Navsea instructions idc.

Apologies for not stating up front that I recognize the ship was not in wartime configuration, so that normal fire fighting methods were not available.
That does not explain why the maintenance procedures instituted obviously totally compromised the safety of the vessel, which looks to be a total loss.
The spread of the fire indicates the ship was stuffed with flammables, presumably maintenance related materials. If that is SOP, it is asking for disaster.
Does no one accept that maintenance intervals are the time things are most likely to go wrong and prepare accordingly?

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Old 16th Jul 2020, 16:41
  #147 (permalink)  
 
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Isnít it possible to express a technical response without resorting to personal insults?
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 00:40
  #148 (permalink)  
 
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https://www.cpf.navy.mil/news.aspx/1...DUn8zIzZjo6FU4

Time to see what its fate will be and what adjustments will be made to fill the gap.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 01:01
  #149 (permalink)  
 
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Actually, she was built in Pascagoula, Mississippi at Ingalls Shipyard.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 01:30
  #150 (permalink)  
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July 16 Press Conference:

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Old 17th Jul 2020, 04:19
  #151 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Tanker View Post
If you had read the entire thread you would have learned that a ship in shipyard maintenance is different than a ship at sea. Most of the hatches couldn't be closed due to cables running between compartments, a situation which wouldn't happen at sea. Additionally, and most important, the Halon fire extinguisher system was not operational due to it also undergoing maintenance, Again a situation which wouldn't have happened at sea. So to summarize if the ship had been at sea when the fire occurred all the hatches would have been closed to isolate the fire and the halon fire extinguishing system would have been activated to put the fire out.
A ship at sea could be compartmented and a decision made to deploy Halon knowing all in the section will die from it. In port there is no way that decision could be made. It is standard everywhere to switch off halon when workers are in the area. Many have died because this was not done.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 14:08
  #152 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by harrryw View Post
A ship at sea could be compartmented and a decision made to deploy Halon knowing all in the section will die from it. In port there is no way that decision could be made. It is standard everywhere to switch off halon when workers are in the area. Many have died because this was not done.
Not quite, I did not, nor others in the same area. (Nov 1st 1984)
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 14:37
  #153 (permalink)  
 
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quite a few assessments here of why the ship burned so long. But loosing resources that way isn't the navy way. So what is going to be done to correct that?
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 15:02
  #154 (permalink)  
 
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Is the navy even responsible for the care and control of a ship while undergoing major refit, or does that belong to the contractor?
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 15:58
  #155 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by J.O. View Post
Is the navy even responsible for the care and control of a ship while undergoing major refit, or does that belong to the contractor?
Seen that this happened in a Navy facility, it was surely a Navy responsibility.
That said, you point out a very possible dilution of authority, the contractor crews must have freedom to do their work but are not Navy.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 16:04
  #156 (permalink)  
 
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"That does not explain why the maintenance procedures instituted obviously totally compromised the safety of the vessel, which looks to be a total loss. The spread of the fire indicates the ship was stuffed with flammables, presumably maintenance related materials. If that is SOP, it is asking for disaster."

if you've ever been in a shipyard when a ship is being worked on you wouldn't be surprised at all - as I pointed out earlier the same thing happens with buildings and civvie ships. The workers want the maximum amount of open space , they want to be able to move things around easily, they don't want enclosed spaces with fumes where people all to often die.. You have cutting, welding, painting, wiring all going on. The client wants the job done as fast and as cheaply as possible and lacks the detailed knowledge to supervise and control the work (anyway that's the shipyards job). You do have risk assessments but the devil here is always in the small details.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 16:33
  #157 (permalink)  
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CNO visiting San Diego today to view the damage and no doubt discuss the future.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 22:53
  #158 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by wetbehindear View Post
Re shipyard ****-ups.

A civilian shipyard, one side of a bulkhead full of water for integrity test, other side removing the bulkhead by cutting it out with torches. Bulkhead collapsed and number of people drowned.
One of the ships I served in came out of refit with the oily water separator hooked up backwards. When turned on fresh water went into the sullage tank and oil went over the side. QHM was very unimpressed ......
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Old 18th Jul 2020, 00:37
  #159 (permalink)  
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Update from CNO - 17 Jul 20:

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Old 18th Jul 2020, 04:59
  #160 (permalink)  
 
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Very well spoken senior officer who hits all the right notes.
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