Sunday, May 13, 2012


This is coolbert:

From that previous blog entry, the RN HMS Dauntless made totally impotent for a matter of minutes, a fuse costing ten English pounds when blown the ship for that moment made a floating and inert non-functioning hulk.

The loss of all power during wartime while a vessel in actual combat and even during peace time maneuvers creating a situation that might very well be fatal for all.

A situation for which there is precedent.   

From the Second World War: Guadalcanal & Fourth Battle of Savo / Island!

Thanks to various sources in this instance, the American battleship South Dakota BB-57 while actually engaged in night combat losing for a period of three minutes all electrical power rendered for a brief but very dangerous period a floating steel hulk blind and more or less helpless!


First from the wiki we have the bland pronouncements and verdict not so very judgmental:

"That night, an error in engine room switchboards left South Dakota powerless: without her radars, she no longer had a grasp on the complicated tactical situation. South Dakota, under fire from at least three ships, took 42 hits, causing considerable damage. Her radio communications failed, radar plot was demolished, three fire control radars were damaged, there was a fire in her foremast, and she had lost track of Washington."

Human error and violation of all known procedures, practices, protocols more correctly understood as:

"the South Dakota's Chief Engineer, contrary to established procedures, had tied down her circuit breakers, which had the effect that of putting the whole electrical system in series."

That engineer in a vain effort to isolate one problem created an even greater difficulty with almost calamitous results!!

"The concussion of 5-Inch hits [Japanese rounds hitting] and internal shocks of firing her own batteries overloaded the circuits and everything went out- radar, fire control stations, turret motors, ammo hoists and radio’s, leaving South Dakota blind."

ONLY the intercession at quick response of the USS Washington saving the South Dakota from oblivion and destruction!! So it would seem.

ALSO, from the previously classified C O N F I D E N T I A L report [as of 1942] it being realized that sailors when in combat having becoming so reliant on electronic apparatus for situational awareness that failure by loss of electrical power creates a very unhealthy  "psychological effect" combat personnel at the exact wrong moment becoming helpless, unable to respond to enemy threat!!

"The trust-and faith in the search radar equipment is amazing. After this ship lost both SG and SC equipment, the psychological effect on the officers and crew was most depressing. The absence of this gear gave all hands a feeling of being blindfolded."

As it was in 1942 so let us hope IT IS NOT NOW!!


No comments: