The Ship - All Hands - Decorations - Remembrance
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The blast of the first bomb tore large holes in the second and third decks. Watertight doors 2-173-1, 3-157-1, 3-173-1 and 3-186-2 were blown open and wrecked. A few fragments pierced the shell plating in D-305-L, D-303-1L, D-419-3A and D-521-A. The maximum distance traveled by a fragment was 56 feet after which it pierced the 3/8-inch medium steel plate of bulkhead 157 above the third deck. The maximum thickness of plating penetrated was the 5/8-inch medium steel shell plating below the fourth deck, at a distance of 16 feet.
The fourth deck was dished down in D-419-3A from the starboard shell to the inboard bulkhead. Compartment D-419-3A was partially flooded. A small hole in the forward bulkhead of D-419-3A permitted D-417-A to flood to a depth of about one foot on the starboard side. The addition of this water caused a list of approximately 3° to starboard. Trim aft was increased by 11 inches. The increase in mean draft was negligible. An estimated 245 tons of water flooded the ship.
The shell was opened in way of the waterline by the detonation and fragments from the first bomb hit. As a result D-521-A was completely flooded. Water and foamite used to fight the fire caused by the second bomb collected in the exhaust vent trunk leading directly from the two steering motor casings in steering motor and control room D-524-E to the gun gallery. The starboard steering motor was flooded and its motor stopped. Consequently, the rudder jammed at 20° right an hour and a half after the second bomb hit. A rescue party put the port motor in operation restoring steering 38 minutes after it had been lost.
While the ship was heeled to starboard in a left turn, a bomb detonated abreast frame 193 about 12 feet from the ship's port side. The detonation caused general flexural vibration of the ship of low frequency but of relatively high amplitude. The Commanding Officer estimated that the stern was lifted bodily 2 or 3 feet.
The column of water thrown up by the detonation deformed the flight deck upward about 8 inches. Four of the flight deck longitudals were bent and two broken. The force of the detonation dished in the hull between frames 188 and 196 from the first platform to the main deck.
Flooding through the holes in D-521-A and D-419-A was stopped by constructing a cofferdam between frames 169 and 173, from the third deck down to the shell. The cofferdam was constructed of 2-inch by 6-inch planking set vertically into slots formed between 3-inch by 6-inch by 18-foot planks laid on the third and fourth decks. Wire mesh was laid over the large hole and mattresses, blankets and pillows were packed down between the shell and the cofferdam, which was then wedged outboard, forcing the packing materials tight against the hull. Although a speed of 25 knots and many course changes made construction very difficult, the cofferdam was completed in eighteen hours.
The skill shown by the personnel of Enterprise in coping with serious damage and controlling fires and flooding attests to the serious attention given to careful preparation of equipment and to study of war damage to Lexington CV-2 and Yorktown CV-5.
Diagrams derived from Bureau of Ships, Navy Department, blueprints provided courtesy Arnold Olson, Public Affairs Officer, USS Enterprise CV-6 Association. Narrative derived from War Damage Report No. 59, "U.S.S. Enterprise (CV6) War History", Bureau of Ships, Navy Department.