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  #1  
Old 19-02-2014, 23:38
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Default Warship Collisions, Groundings, Fatal Events

The are of course many mentions of Naval Disasters throughout the Forum.

I intend to post for members details of some of these unfortunate events.

I hope that they will be interesting and add to our knowledge ,

Brian
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  #2  
Old 21-02-2014, 10:38
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Marshall Islands Campaign, Jan.-Feb. 1944 --
USS Washington and USS Indiana Collide, 1 February 1944

In the pre-dawn darkness of 1 February 1944 the battleship Indiana turned to leave the cruising formation of Task Group 58.1. Consisting of three aircraft carriers, three battleships, a light cruiser and nine destroyers (**: ships are listed below), TG 58.1 was steaming at ninteen knots through the Marshall Islands, supporting the invasion of Kwajalein Atoll. Indiana was under orders to refuel four destroyers, to be done at night to ensure a full anti-submarine screen during the following day's combat operations.

Indiana announced by radio at 0420 that she was turning towards the left and slowing to fifteen knots. However, her Commanding Officer, based on a "seaman's eye" evaluation of the situation, apparently thought better of that course and a short time later changed direction toward the formation's right.

This was not reported to the rest of the ships and, about seven minutes after she began her turn, Indiana was seen close ahead of the battleship Washington's port bow. The latter ordered her engines to "back, emergency full" and put her rudder hard left. Indiana also maneuvered in an effort to avoid a collision. However, in about a minute the two big ships ran together, with Washington's bow scraping down the after portion of Indiana's starboard side.

Both ships were damaged enough to require shipyard repairs, taking both out of combat at an inopportune time. Indiana's starboard hull side was dished in and ripped open. Above deck, her after sixteen-inch gun turret rangefinder was damaged, several machine guns were destroyed, and her starboard aircraft catapult and a seaplane were torn off. Some sixty feet of Washington's forward hull was ground away, causing its deck to flap down into the water. Ten lives were lost in this accident, six killed or missing on Washington and four on Indiana. The latter's Commanding Officer, whose actions were severely criticized by the ensuing court of inquiry, was relieved of command and not again employed at sea.

In contrast, Washington's Officer of the Deck was commended for "prompt and seamanlike action which almost averted the collision and definitely minimized the consequences." To reduce future risks of such collisions, the court of inquiry also recommended changes in the training of heavy ship captains, officers of the deck and combat information center watch officers.

As an indication of wartime industrial capabilities and priorities, both battleships were back in action rather quickly. Indiana, repaired by the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, was able to participate in late April 1944 raids on the Japanese base at Truk. The more seriously injured Washington went to the Puget Sound Navy Yard, which fabricated and installed a new bow in less than three months. She was back in the combat zone by the end of May, in time to take part in the June 1944 Marianas campaign.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg indiana damage.jpg (109.9 KB, 107 views)
File Type: jpg indiana damage2.jpg (93.3 KB, 104 views)
File Type: jpg uss indiana.jpg (78.5 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg uss wshington damage.jpg (89.4 KB, 111 views)
File Type: jpg washington bow.jpg (116.8 KB, 88 views)
File Type: jpg washington bow2.jpg (159.3 KB, 118 views)
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  #3  
Old 21-02-2014, 14:53
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Just to remind members that we do have a large and popular designated thread for pictures of Sunk,Sinking and Damaged Warships in the photo galleries.

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forum...ead.php?t=2172
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  #4  
Old 25-02-2014, 15:51
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Quote:
Indiana was seen close ahead of the battleship Washington's port bow. The latter ordered her engines to "back, emergency full" and put her rudder hard left.
Presumably she was trying to turn and cross behind, hence hard left. Would be interesting to know
a) how much going full astern slows the rate of turn by disturbing the flow over the rudder
b) the relative positions and headings of the two ships to know why she tried that rather than turn to starboard
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  #5  
Old 26-02-2014, 10:38
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
Presumably she was trying to turn and cross behind, hence hard left. Would be interesting to know
a) how much going full astern slows the rate of turn by disturbing the flow over the rudder
b) the relative positions and headings of the two ships to know why she tried that rather than turn to starboard
Hi Rupert

Agree Washington was trying to pass astern of Indiana. Obviously 'hard left' was the quickest way to try and avoid a collision.

Going 'Full Astern' was correct to reduce the closing rate and the collision impact. That would not affect the rate of turn immediately. Depending on her initial speed it would take some time for the astern props to have any effect.

Agreed it would be good to know the exact positions. But I would say that the ships were so close that a turn to starboard would have caused a much more serious collision.

Interesting that the CO of Indiana was a protege of Admiral Nimitz.

Brian
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Old 01-03-2014, 21:41
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

CONVOY AT-20

One day out of Halifax in August 1942, the ships of Convoy AT-20 were in the fog trying to keep station on a buoy streamed by the ship just ahead. With approximately 50,000 soldiers and supplies bound for Scotland, it was designated a ‘Fast’ convoy with an expected 15 knots speed of advance

Troop convoys were the highest priority carrying Army units to Britain. As such the battleship USS New York and the light cruiser USS Philadelphia provided the Ocean Escort for Convoy AT-20 to cover for any attacks by Nazi surface raiders. Embarked in USS Philadelphia was Commander Task Force 37, Rear Admiral Lyal Davidson. The screen was increased in number to nine destroyers to cover any U-boat attacks. Screen Commander for AT-20 was Captain John B. Heffernan, ComDesRon 13, in USS Buck. The convoy of ten ships plus New York and Philadelphia were in four columns, 1000 yards apart, each column contained three ships. The distance to be maintained between ships in column was 600 yards. Six destroyers patrolled from 4000 to 6000 yards from the nearest convoy ships. The other three remaining destroyers were in formation 7 miles ahead .

Convoy Formation (Port)
→ → → → → → → → → → → →
USS Chemung SS Awatea USS Philadelphia Column 1
SS Duchess of Bedford SS Strathmore SS Leticia Column 2
SS Ormonde SS Winchester Castle USS New York Column 3
SS Polaris SS Reina del Pacifico USAT Siboney Column 4
→ → → → → → → → → → → →

USS Buck was on the port bow of the convoy, USS Ingraham was abeam to port, both at 4000 to 6000 yards from the nearest convoy ships.

Fog forced the Convoy Commodore to slow the convoy and to order the ships into a tighter formation, each ship launching towing buoys which the ship astern was using to maintain station. AT-20's 10-ship troop convoy was pretty well formed up and standing eastward from Halifax.

Just before 1800, troopship Letitia reported a radar contact which USS Swanson and Ingraham investigated. Sonar noise, possibly porpoises, delayed their return and they were unable to determine the source of the original radar contact. At 2200 fog added to the complexity of a convoy attempting to resume its original alignment, which had been altered during the sweeps by the two destroyers.

Sighting of a ship to port led to an emergency 45 turn to starboard.. The ship identified herself as USCG Menemsha, and a second emergency turn of 45 degrees was made to port to return to the base course. The failure of merchant ship Letitia to respond to these course instructions given by flag hoist prompted Admiral Davidson to send Buck to go close aboard Letitia and escort her to her assigned station 1,000 yards on Philadelphia's starboard beam. With visibility now near zero, and with the only station-keeping resource being the towing buoys streamed, Buck actually would have to get into bull horn range of Letitia, the leading ship in column 2. This put in motion the chain of events, which in an under-evaluated fog condition, led to the disasters of the evening.

Buck attempted to penetrate Column 1 in a crossing situation and testimony reveals that she momentarily slowed her engines to avoid hitting Philadelphia's towing buoy. That would have been 400 yards behind her and the next ship in line was to keep station 600 yards behind Philadelphia Buck knew this, but, because of a false sense of security about visibility, and not seeing Awatea, assumed she was in fact not 200 yards behind that buoy but even further back.

At 2225, now in a crossing position in a convoy column, a Buck lookout's shout was too late, as the transport Awatea, suddenly visible at 30 yards, rammed Buck's starboard quarter. The steep bow of Awatea nearly severed Buck. A 300 pound depth charge from one of her K-guns dropped over the side and exploded, damaging her port propeller. Buck broke away, badly hurt, and helpless.

Ordered to investigate "collision in the convoy", ( later determined to be the collision of Buck and Awatea) Ingraham, in that same blinding fog entered the convoy's path, got close ahead of the Navy oiler USS Chemung, whose bow cut Ingraham nearly in two. Lying nearly on her side, Ingraham blew up with an orange flash of such intensity that it cut through the fog and was visible on Edison's bridge.

Bristol and Edison were sent to investigate the situation, Bristol found Buck dead in the water with men trapped in the after steering engine room. The hatch to this space was ‘dogged down’ as normal when the ship is at General Quarters. Water could not enter the compartment but the hatch was now underwater. Buck's difficulty was quite severe and in attempting to overcome it, more tragedy occurred. One propeller shaft had been severed and the screw had gone to the briny deep. Buck made the effort to see if the remaining propeller could be turned over. That proved to make things worse. The partly severed stern vibrated off and plunged into the deep. Not only did this take the after steering engine crew down with it, but the 600 pound roll off charges in the stern racks exploded when they got to their set depth.

Edison found Chemung on fire in her bosun’s stores in the forward hold. The flammables here were mostly boatswain's stores, ropes and the like. That she was a tanker, and had a mixed cargo of flammable petroleum derivatives, was certainly on the mind of her skipper. She was almost dead in the water. Edison personnel had no idea then of what had gone wrong in the convoy therefore, when dealing with the Chemung, they could not even equate the huge ball of orange to the loss of the Ingraham. Chemung asked Edison to come close aboard and put out her fire. Edison's CO and XO conferred briefly. The CO then told Chemung to "get your own fire out, and do it quickly so we can both get underway."

Chemung had more than adequate fire fighting equipment aboard, certainly more than a destroyer had, and she had men trained to fight even more dangerous fires. Her deck crews quickly moved fire fighting equipment and pumping equipment forward and attacked the fire vigorously They had a stubborn type of stores fire under control before dawn. Edison and Chemung got underway toward Bristol and Buck, not too far away.

Patches of clear sea began to emerge from the fog shortly after midnight. Bristol and Edison were assigned to stay with the damaged ships while the convoy moved on. A mini-convoy was quickly made up, in which Bristol and Edison screened the damaged Chemung towing the USS Buck, now shorn of both of her screws, back to Halifax. Course was set and even with their slow speed of advance, they were back off Halifax in less than two days. Bristol and Edison turned their injured charges over to patrol boats out of Halifax, and made their way back to AT-20 at high speed. Calm seas prevailed, yet it took nearly four days at 25 knots for Edison to resume station in its assigned sector with AT-20

Awatea, with her 5,000 troops embarked, and bow damaged, did not return to AT-20 but as a fast ship, sailed alone to Halifax.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg awatea.jpg (149.2 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg USS Buck DD420.jpg (36.1 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg USS Ingraham.JPG (156.4 KB, 45 views)
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  #7  
Old 02-03-2014, 19:24
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

[quote=Old Salt;10107814]

Interesting that the CO of Indiana was a protege of Admiral Nimitz.
---------------------------------------------------------------

Brian brings up an interesting point. Captain Jame Steele had been on Admiral Husband Kimmel's staff during Pearl Harbor, and it was he who made many of the early entries in the CINCPACFLT war diary known as the "Gray Book," just recently digitized by the Naval War College.

Steele went on to serve under Admiral Nimitz, and was selected by Nimitz to play "devil's advocate" on many occasions -- and particularly the Midway operation -- to provide some common-sense "what ifs" to the Staff's plans and actions regarding fighting the war. He well earned assignment to a plum battleship command, and it is a shame he lost it due to the collision. While he was one of Nimitz' proteges, one notes Nimitz had no problem at all in relieving him of sea-going command. He also moved him out of the Pacific Fleet entirely, which was about all he could do to relieve the burden on Captain Steele.
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  #8  
Old 03-03-2014, 00:23
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Brian: This is a fascinating story about just how badly things can go without any enemy involvement.

Brian
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2014, 01:08
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Wentzell View Post
Brian: This is a fascinating story about just how badly things can go without any enemy involvement.

Brian
Brian

Quite so. A number of questionable decisions and wrong assumptions. As usual, they tend to compound.

Brian
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Old 03-03-2014, 13:20
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Brian:

Your statement is so true.

Have a great day!

Brian
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:58
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

A 45 yr reunion for those involved in the HMAS Melbourne/USS Frank E Evans is to be held in Sydney this year.
There will be at least 8 attendees from the US and a 3 day programme, commencing on 1st June, includes a memorial service in the Garden Island Naval Chapel, a harbour cruise and a lunch and tour provided by the Australian Maritime Museum which includes a display in the US section of the museum.
I will be flying down to Sydney for the reunion.

If anyone here was involved and wishes to be part of the reunion, please contact Tony Horton ( Melbourne's navigator at the time) at thorton@bigpond.net.au

Regards
Chris
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Old 04-03-2014, 20:00
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Surely one of the most famous warship collisions was between HMS Victoria and HMS Camperdown? Even got parodied in the classic Ealing comedy "Kind Hearts and Coronets"!

Interesting when HMS Victoria's wreck was rediscovered she was found to be almost completely vertical,buried up to her turret in the seabed.Worth a google as is some fascinating footage of her.
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Old 04-03-2014, 20:25
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualF View Post
Surely one of the most famous warship collisions was between HMS Victoria and HMS Camperdown? Even got parodied in the classic Ealing comedy "Kind Hearts and Coronets"!

Interesting when HMS Victoria's wreck was rediscovered she was found to be almost completely vertical,buried up to her turret in the seabed.Worth a google as is some fascinating footage of her.

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forum...ght=camperdown
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Old 05-03-2014, 02:57
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASSAIL View Post
A 45 yr reunion for those involved in the HMAS Melbourne/USS Frank E Evans is to be held in Sydney this year.
There will be at least 8 attendees from the US and a 3 day programme, commencing on 1st June, includes a memorial service in the Garden Island Naval Chapel, a harbour cruise and a lunch and tour provided by the Australian Maritime Museum which includes a display in the US section of the museum.
I will be flying down to Sydney for the reunion.

If anyone here was involved and wishes to be part of the reunion, please contact Tony Horton ( Melbourne's navigator at the time) at thorton@bigpond.net.au

Regards
Chris
Thanks Chris, I would love to be there but unfortunately cannot.
Was it really 45 years ago ?! And I can still remember every detail of that night (I was OOW HMNZS Blackpool) I will be posting my stuff about that in due course.

Brian
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Old 05-03-2014, 03:11
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualF View Post
Surely one of the most famous warship collisions was between HMS Victoria and HMS Camperdown? Even got parodied in the classic Ealing comedy "Kind Hearts and Coronets"!

Interesting when HMS Victoria's wreck was rediscovered she was found to be almost completely vertical,buried up to her turret in the seabed.Worth a google as is some fascinating footage of her.
Hi Virtual F.

I would not call any collision 'famous' nor would I turn one into comedy.
When lives are lost, careers ruined, ships lost or wrecked and reputations go down the drain I fail to see any comedy. Perhaps 'Well known' is about right.

Brian
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Old 05-03-2014, 15:02
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Hi Virtual F.

I would not call any collision 'famous' nor would I turn one into comedy.
When lives are lost, careers ruined, ships lost or wrecked and reputations go down the drain I fail to see any comedy. Perhaps 'Well known' is about right.

Brian
Im not sure how to answer this but I will give it my best shot.

Perhaps "infamous" would be a more apt.If I was honest I toyed with infamous before typing "famous",but decided on the latter.A question of english I suppose but I don't think I should receive 9 lashes of the cat for it!

As for the "comedy" I think its worth pointing out that the actual film (made in the 40's) was a black comedy in which a wronged man sets out on a quest to knock off his relatives to inherit the family title and fortune. One of the heirs is an admiral at sea (which the narrator acknowledges would be very difficult to scupper) who makes an inexplicable order,despite protestations from the crew resulting in two pre-dreadnought battleships colliding with each other.

Hence the reference.Such was the notoriety of the incident it made it into a very well known (and accepted British classic) film.There are not many (if any) examples like this in films that I can remember off the top of my head( unless it was an actual film about the incident itself such as Titanic,Sink the Bismarck etc).

Regards

Matt

Last edited by VirtualF : 05-03-2014 at 15:06. Reason: Spelling
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Old 05-03-2014, 15:30
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

There is whole range of words to describe collisions at sea,ranging from the somewhat mild "Unfortunate" through "Fateful" to "Tragic" and "Catastrophic" dependent on the result of the collision

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Old 07-03-2014, 10:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualF View Post
Im not sure how to answer this but I will give it my best shot.

Perhaps "infamous" would be a more apt.If I was honest I toyed with infamous before typing "famous",but decided on the latter.A question of english I suppose but I don't think I should receive 9 lashes of the cat for it!

As for the "comedy" I think its worth pointing out that the actual film (made in the 40's) was a black comedy in which a wronged man sets out on a quest to knock off his relatives to inherit the family title and fortune. One of the heirs is an admiral at sea (which the narrator acknowledges would be very difficult to scupper) who makes an inexplicable order,despite protestations from the crew resulting in two pre-dreadnought battleships colliding with each other.

Hence the reference.Such was the notoriety of the incident it made it into a very well known (and accepted British classic) film.There are not many (if any) examples like this in films that I can remember off the top of my head( unless it was an actual film about the incident itself such as Titanic,Sink the Bismarck etc).

Regards

Matt
Matt

Every man to his own taste, no lashes needed. The primary concern of a ship driver is ship safety. This was my reason for studying collisions and groundings. . The Manuals tell you what to do and sometimes things to avoid. My interest was to see the causes and results from doing the wrong thing. It stood me in good stead driving ships at sea and later when teaching young Midshipmen. I was present at the Melbourne /Evans collision .......first hand experience ..... there was nothing anyone smiled about that day ........ it proved that driving ships can be a dangerous business and the more you know, the better.

But I do get a laugh from Gilbert & Sullivan
Brian
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:02
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Matt

Every man to his own taste, no lashes needed. The primary concern of a ship driver is ship safety. This was my reason for studying collisions and groundings. . The Manuals tell you what to do and sometimes things to avoid. My interest was to see the causes and results from doing the wrong thing. It stood me in good stead driving ships at sea and later when teaching young Midshipmen. I was present at the Melbourne /Evans collision .......first hand experience ..... there was nothing anyone smiled about that day ........ it proved that driving ships can be a dangerous business and the more you know, the better.

But I do get a laugh from Gilbert & Sullivan
Brian
No offence was meant Brian.In retrospect I probably should have been less clumsy with my english!

The Victoria/Camperdown collision is one of the most inexplicable accidents in naval history I would imagine.I don't know if you have read "The Rules of the Game" by Andrew Gordon? It goes into great detail about the accident itself and the net result of effects on the Royal Navy as a whole.Very interesting read,which I would say is on a "must list" for any personal library. Tyron was a very capable,well respected Admiral, yet ended up being the critical factor in one of the Royal Navy's most catastrophic peace time accidents.

Regards

Matt
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Old 08-03-2014, 13:10
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Another well known event, which would have been hilarious, were it not tragic, was "The Battle of May Island".
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:24
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No offence was meant Brian.In retrospect I probably should have been less clumsy with my english!

The Victoria/Camperdown collision is one of the most inexplicable accidents in naval history I would imagine.I don't know if you have read "The Rules of the Game" by Andrew Gordon? It goes into great detail about the accident itself and the net result of effects on the Royal Navy as a whole.Very interesting read,which I would say is on a "must list" for any personal library. Tyron was a very capable,well respected Admiral, yet ended up being the critical factor in one of the Royal Navy's most catastrophic peace time accidents.

Regards

Matt
Matt

I have not read that book, but will keep an eye out for it. Turning ships towards each other at reduced distances apart in those conditions was incredibly disastrous. Why such a fine seaman as Tyron should order this inwards turn is beyond me. The maths of turning circles and distance apart simply did not add up

Perhaps that book has the answer ?

Brian
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:30
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Another well known event, which would have been hilarious, were it not tragic, was "The Battle of May Island".
Thanks for reminding me about that . It was indeed a shocking affair. As you have introduced it would you like to post the story ? If not I will be glad to do so.

Brian
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Old 09-03-2014, 22:41
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There is already a thread on that: http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10125&highlight=battle+of+may+isl and

As well as in another thread:
Re: Oh! to be a Submariner. "BATTLE" OF MAY ISLAND-SOME BRIEF DETAILS-Further to the Previous Post
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Old 10-03-2014, 02:36
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

Thanks for that, two I won't need to research !!

Brian
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“A collision at Sea can ruin your entire day.” Thucydides 471-400 B.C.

Last edited by Old Salt : 10-03-2014 at 02:37. Reason: typo
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Old 11-03-2014, 03:40
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Default Re: Warship Collisions, Groundings , Fatal Events

HMS Amazon – collision with Osprey

HMS Amazon was a new ship, commissioned in 1856 by Commander James E. Hunter, first of a new class of armed steam sloops of high speed with more powerful guns. She was on passage from Spithead to Halifax, Nova Scotia, having been appointed to the North American station.

The ship was approaching Start Point at 0100 on 10 July 1866 on her voyage down Channel. The night was clear, and the weather fine, with a light breeze.. One of the lieutenants was on watch, and regulation lights were brightly burning. A steamer was reported about two points on the starboard bow. She proved to be the screw steamer Osprey.

As the vessels closed, Amazon put her helm hard to starboard and exhibited the green light but Osprey put her helm hard to port and exhibited the red light. The ships were too close and the result was that as Amazon was turning to port , Osprey came across her fore-foot. Amazon’s prow pierced Osprey on her port quarter, striking her about one third of her length from the stern, creating severe damage above and below the waterline. Osprey sank within five minutes, the crew were rescued but ten passengers lost their lives.

It was soon discovered that Amazon was making water fast at the prow, and though all the pumps were set to work, she was sinking fast. By 0330 the boats were filled and lowered. A heavy fog now came on and Amazon disappeared from view. The boats made for the English coast, and safely arrived at Torquay.

A naval court-martial was held 18 July 1866 at Portsmouth, for the trial of Commander Hunter and the officers and crew of Her Majesty's late screw sloop Amazon, for the loss of that ship by collision with the merchant screw steamer Osprey. The court found Commander Hunter not guilty for the loss, but the officer on watch was found guilty and sentenced to be dismissed from the Navy. His action in turning to port was contrary to the regulations.
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