Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Ebar, Sep 15, 2006.
3inch deck armor versus 1000lb bomb:
Which ship? Could be armoured or not, but looks a bit modern to be an I class
Who said it was I class? It is the flight deck of the USS Forrestal.
Just from the context...
What hit her (presumably not an airdropped bomb)?
And was it armour or steel?
Nothing hit her. A 1000lb bomb on an aircraft on her deck detonated in a fire. See the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. The approximately 3 inch steel flight deck is described as an armored flight deck but I don't know it's metallurgical characteristics. It wouldn't likely matter. 3 inches of armor plate cannot stand up to a 1000 lb bomb detonating against it surface.
Saw a bit on the TV about that a couple of nights ago. Certainly lessons learned the hard way.
Of course if a stationary bomb going off can knock a hole in the plate one coming down at speed will be much worse.
What source credits Forrestal with a 3in flight deck?
Finding a credible source may be difficult. The specifications were classified at the time and I'm not sure that they have ever been released.
FYI the reason that they were classified relates to the construction techniques in making the flight deck the strength deck rather than the hangar deck as in previous US designs.
The three inch figure is one that I recall being mentioned after the incident by sailors that were aboard at the time.
I don't consider this source linked below to be authoritative as it doesn't footnote a source but for what it's worth:
Also, if you look closely at the first photo and at the portion of the deck in the foreground on the bottom photo you will see that the deck was not thin but quite substantial. Nor surprising since it was the strength deck for the ship and also had to stand the strain of landing planes in excess of 50,000 lbs.
Note that on this page at the top where specifications are listed that armor is listed as unknown:
My reading of Friedman indicates the thickness was more like 1.75 inches.
That is possible. Can you link a source? As I stated, it was considered classified so the actual figure may be open to debate since I don't know of any sources that claim to have taken measurements. In any case neither 1.75 inches nor 3 inches of armor will withstand a 1000 lb bomb detonation against it's surface AFAIK.
I don't know of anything posted online. The best source is Friedman's US Aircraft Carriers book.
I saw a film about the FORRESTAL fire when I was in Navy boot camp. It was a "How NOT To Fight A Shipboard Fire" kind of thing. About the only thing the ship's company did right during this incident was to go to General Quarters when the fire first broke out. It was downhill from that point. The main point was that much of the ship's damage resulted from the crew's rather inept efforts to put the fire out. For example, it took several tries to get a layer of foam down because the guys manning the hoses kept washing it away. Also, the hoses were continually directed into the hole in the flight deck because smoke kept issuing from it, even after the fire there was actually out. This reulted in water damage to several million dollafrs worth of electronic equipment, all of which had to be replaced. It was also noted that a large number of the flight deck crew were working shirtless; you can imagine what happened to them when the fire broke out.
I believe one of the big problems was when the first bomb cooked off it killed or wounded most of the ships trained firefighters. After that the USN decided everyone including the ships cat would learn how to deal with fires.
iirc this is true ,the fire fighting team was dealing with the burning jets when a bomb cooked off... clearing the deck of all trained fire fighters..this was captured on a tv camera, one second fire crew everywhere ,the next a white out ,then the deck empty of men...then a new scratch crew...
As a point of information, the fire started when a Zuni rocket went off and struck a group of parked planes while FORRESTAL was preparing to launch an air strike. Life proceeded to get very interesting from that point onwards. And everybody in the USN now has to attend firefighting school (I know I did!).
Yeah me too. At Quantico. It was a very interesting experience, especially the smoke chamber where we had to don our OBAs (oxygen breathing apparatus). I was almost more afraid of the OBA than the fire and smoke. If you pulled the lanyard to light off the magnesium candle to start the chemical reaction and the cannister wasn't fulled seated it could explode out the side which was , of course strapped to your body. IIRC if you got water into the cannister it created poison gas. Of course we were using water to fight the fire. And if you got petroleum products into the cannister it could explode like a grenade.
The air you breathe when you start the reaction in the OBA was at about 150 degreees F which added to the clautrophobic feeling of being inside the black dark smoke chamber.
It was one of the more interesting schools I attended as I recall :grin: