Final Navy Report



12-1 HUGH W. HADLEY with EVANS (DD552) participated in a notable engagement with Japanese aircraft on 11 May 1945 while on radar picket duty northwest of Okinawa. During the action approximately 100 enemy planes were destroyed through the coordinated efforts of the combat air Patrol and the picket ships under the direction of the Fighter Director Team embarked in HADLEY. Both destroyers were severely damaged and immobilized by Kamikaze attacks. Following the action, accompanying small craft towed both ships to the lee of le Shima. After temporary repairs in the forward area, HADLEY was towed back to the United States and later stricken from the Navy list. Her initial report stated that the major damage had been caused by a Baka or piloted bomb, but subsequent information obtained after the vessel was docked did not indicate that this weapon was involved. Nevertheless, HADLEY’S case is of more than usual interest because it was one of the most strenuous tests of the powers of survival of our 692 Class destroyer.

12-2 On the morning of 11 May 1945, HADLEY and EVANS were assigned with three LCS(L)’s and one LSM(R) to a radar picket station about 30 miles northwest of Ie Shima. The sea was calm with a light breeze, visibility unlimited to the north and east but obscured with mist and clouds in other quadrants. Large groups of enemy aircraft approaching from the north were picked up by radar about 0740. General Quarters stations were manned, Material Condition ABLE set and speed increased to 27 knots. Starting about 0745 five large raids totaling about 150 aircraft commenced attacks which lasted until 0930. Despite the heroic efforts of outnumbered Marine fighter pilots who continued to break up attacks after all their ammunition was expended, several Kamikazes finally scored hits on these two destroyers. About 0920 an enemy plane tore through HADLEY’s rigging and crashed close aboard to port. A few minutes later a second Kamikaze, apparently the one mistaken for a Baka bomb, crashed into the starboard side at the waterline in way of the after fire room. The second plane’s bomb apparently passed under the bottom and detonated some distance below the keel. A heavy explosion occurred simultaneously without smoke, flash or noise other than a dull thud. Extremely severe flexural vibrations ran through the ship for 20 seconds following the hit.

12-3. The three after engineering spaces flooded immediately to the waterline. The ship lost headway and commenced to take a starboard list, settling by the stern. Soon afterward, a third Kamikaze approached from astern, dropped a small bomb which struck in way of No.4 40mm mount and then crashed into the superstructure aft No.2 stack, starting an intense fire in way of officers country aft and the 40mm clipping rooms. Shock, fragment damage blast and smoke rendered the ship’s 5-inch and 40mm batteries entirely inoperable. Flooding spread to the shaft alleys and the machine shop (starboard side aft, first platform). As the starboard list increased, the Commanding officer, fearing capsizing, ordered: “Prepare to abandon ship.” The SG and SC radars, ECM and LEF gear were thereupon rendered inoperative and the registered publications were weighted and jettisoned.

12-4 Damage control personnel gave first attention to the fire. Employing all available pumps, portable and installed, eleven hose streams were directed on the flames. LCS(L)83 and LSM(R)193 came alongside to starboard and to port, respectively, and assisted with their firefighting facilities, putting seven additional hose streams on the fire and providing additional foam, pumps, axes etc., to HADLEY personnel. The fire was brought under control by 0945 and abandon ship preparations were then secured. The fire was finally extinguished about 1030.

12-5 As soon as the fire was under control, attention was focused on reducing the 7-degree starboard list which had increased from an initial 5 degrees. Fresh water in the starboard wing tanks B-7-W and B-9-W with an off-center moment of approximately 380 foot-tons was pumped overboard and depth charges along the starboard side were jettisoned. All torpedoes were also jettisoned and ammunition was thrown overboard as fast as it could be brought topside. Neither the total weight jettisoned nor the effect these measures had on the list or the freeboard was reported. However, after these steps were taken the danger of capsizing was no longer a matter of concern to the ship.

12-6 Unsuccessful efforts to reduce flooding were undertaken during the morning. Five submersible pumps were rigged to take suction in the machine shop and after engine room through holes burned in the main deck. Very little progress was made, however, until after the ship anchored that evening in the lee of Ie Shima. Meanwhile, TAWAKONI (ATF114) came alongside to port at 1355 and sent a well-equipped salvage crew aboard. LSM(R)193 began towing from ahead at 1403 with the ships alongside assisting in controlling the tow. About 1700 DELIVER (ARS23) came alongside to starboard relieving LCS(L)83 and sent her salvage party to assist HADLEY.

12-7 After anchoring in Ie Shima about 1900, bulkheads 92-1/2 and 148 were heavily shored. To raise the stern, C-7-F, C-8-F, C-9-F, and C-10-F were pumped out. The hatch in the machine shop leading to the starboard shaft alley was shored shut and the machine shop then pumped dry with a P-500 pump. The port shaft alley was also pumped cut. On 14 May TAWAKONI towed HADLEY thirty-seven miles to Kerama Retto for docking and underwater repairs. During the six weeks before a dock became available, divers installed soft-patches and other flooded spaces were pumped out; details of this work have not been reported, but drafts reported when HADLEY docked were normal, indicating much of the flood water had been removed.

12-8 HADLEY docked in ARD28 on 24 June and remained in dock until 27 July. During this period ARD28 was towed 50 miles to Buckner Bay with HADLEY on the blocks. The unusual extent of the structural repairs required had not been anticipated despite the extensive underwater work accomplished prior to docking. Virtually complete restoration of longitudinal strength in the shell and longitudinals from frame 90 to 135 was necessary. This work was accomplished by the ship repair unit personnel in ZANIAH (AG7O). The excellence and thoroughness of these repairs were proved later when HADLEY safely rode out typhoon winds and seas while proceeding under tow to Saipan.

12-9 The character of the missile which caused the major damage in HADLEY will never be established with certainly. Reference (a) quite specifically identified it as a Baka bomb, stating that the bomb was observed to be released from a BETTY astern at an altitude around 600 feet and struck the starboard side at about frame 105. The following data subsequently discounted this information:

(a) Debris found in way of where the Baka was reported to have struck included an aircraft engine.

(b) The impact damage indicated the approach had been from forward of the beam rather than from astern.

(c) Baka releases were normally made at high altitudes, 20,000 feet or higher, so that the glide approach of the Baka could be made at a speed exceeding that of intercepting aircraft and such as to throw off the control of anti-aircraft fire.

Reference (d) stated that the damage was caused by a suicide plane and its bomb. A 12-inch diameter tail assembly was recovered from the wreckage, representing a bomb which the reference estimated to weigh about 500 pounds. The 12-inch diameter tail assembly corresponds to that carried by a 83 Kg GP bomb; but the extent of structural damage incurred greatly exceeded the disruptive powers of even the 250 Kg GP type.

12-10 Possibly the missile identified as a Baka was an Influence torpedo, or a very large bomb perhaps as great as 800 Kg which detonated deep under the ship simultaneously with the suicide crash. EVANS reported narrowly avoiding one torpedo about 20 minutes before HADLEY was disabled. In any event the explosive charge involved was at least in the order of 600 pounds of TNT and was so fused that the detonation occurred at a considerable distance below the keel. This was evidenced by the absence of a large hole or even fragment holes in the bottom. The keel was hogged, however, to a maximum height of 55 inches near frame 114, the hogging extending a length of nearly 100 feet in the midbody. MAYRANT (1500 tons standard displacement) suffered damage of nearly equal severity following a near miss by a 500 Kg OP German bomb. Cases of comparable damage in heavier destroyers include MEREDITH (DD726), WADLEIGH (DD689), CHAS. J. BADGER (DD657), and RENSHAW (DD499), all involving heavy underwater ordnance.

12-11 The bomb which detonated at frame 145 in way of the No.4 40mm mount was probably the usual 63 Kg GP type. The planes which crashed HADLEY were not identified other than being single engine types. Many types were present. EVANS identified among her attackers ZEKE, VAL, OSCAR, JILL, KATE and TONY.

12-12 The structural damage critically reduced the strength of the hull girder. The impact of the second Kamikaze tore a hole 9 feet high and 12 feet long In the starboard side with its upper edge about 6 feet below the main deck in way of bulkhead 110. The shock of the underwater explosion hogged and buckled the shell amidships in what appeared to be a compression failure. The ship was reported “to jump out of the water.” This explosion amidships under the bottom set up a flexural vibration that caused shell failure in line with the after end of the skeg. Here the discontinuity of hull structure was manifested in circumferential buckling between frames 180 and 190. The main deck arid superstructure around frame 56 also showed buckling. Ripples were noted in the main deck from frame 66 forward and from frame 80 to 170. Bulkhead 110 and 130-1/2 suffered compression failure and resultant buckling, as well as ruptures in way of the shafting which whipped. The starboard shaft sheared two forward couplings permitting the propeller to slide back until It jammed against the starboard rudder. The port shaft also parted at a forward Coupling and slid aft 4 inches. Both after struts were thrown out of line due to the sag of the stern. The deckhouse between frames 114 and 170 was largely demolished by the impact, blast and fire following the third Kamikaze hit.

12-13 While the slowly increasing starboard list caused considerable alarm as to the stability characteristics of the ship, the 2200-ton class may be considered a four-compartment ship; that is, four main compartments may flood to the waterline, yet the ship retain appreciable positive GM and freeboard. No exact computation of the GM in HADLEY after damage is practicable due to incomplete data; however, an approximation using pessimistic assumptions for missing data; gives 1.2 feet positive. For the ship before damage, GM was approximately 3.3 feet. The 5-degree initial list was due to off-center flooding and was not unusual. Possibly the increase to 7 degrees was due to the free surface effect of firefighting water which may have collected on the first platform deck aft. The danger of capsizing, however was at no time serious.

12-14 About 1900 on the day HADLEY was damaged the wind suddenly became gusty, but the ship by this time was fortunately in the lee of Ie Shima. Had she still be in unprotected waters the working of the weakened structure would have been extremely hazardous and would very likely have led to complete failure of the ship’s girder with resultant loss of the ship.

12-15 The firefighting problem was greatly simplified by the availability of the two emergency electric fire pumps operated by the emergency Diesel generators. The forward pump fed two 2-1/2-inch hoses and three 1-1/2-Inch, while the after pump fed two 2-1/2-inch streams. In addition, two 1-1/2-inch hoses were led from the P-500 pump and one also from each of two handy-billies. The fire was mainly fed by gasoline from the Kamikaze crash, 40mm ready service ammunition and clothing and bedding in officers’ quarters aft. Foam was extensively used in the firefighting. Assistance from the vessels alongside was extremely helpful since access fore and aft in HADLEY was cut off. The expeditious action of the firefighters undoubtedly prevented the conflagration from spreading disastrously to adjacent magazines, torpedoes and depth charges. This was accomplished despite extensive ruptures in the fire main in way of the after engineering spaces. It should also be noted that the volume of water applied to this fire was very large, being several times that employed in any other case in this report.

12-16 No flooded spaces were unwatered until after the ship was anchored. The measures taken underway to pump out flooded spaces were ineffectual. In addition to the ship’s five submersible pumps, large capacity Diesel and gasoline salvage pumps with eductors provided by TAWAKONI and DELIVER were employed in an effort to reduce the water level in flooded compartments. It was finally determined that the pumps were merely circulating sea water and pumping efforts were suspended until after anchoring. At that time the hatch in the machine shop deck was shored shut and the space was then readily pumped out with a P-500 pump. The port shaft alley was pumped dry soon after. Subsequently, while at Kerama Retto, diving parties succeeded in securing soft patches which apparently permitted all flooded compartments to be pumped out, thereby improving trim and reserve buoyancy prior to docking.

12-17 Machinery damage obviously was so severe as to be beyond the scope of casualty control. The forward fire room remained intact; however, the other three engineering spaces were not only flooded immediately, but machinery therein was damaged by shock to such an extent that little was repairable except in the after engine room. All bearings were completely wiped and journals badly scored on the forward main turbines. The forward reduction gears were stripped and galled, all bearings wiped and journals scored and the casing sprung. Starboard shafting was sprung, spring bearings were pulled of their foundations and stuffing boxes pulled out of the bulkheads. The port unit was apparently undamaged, however, except for submergence. Small diameter piping was extensively fractured and distorted. The master gyro was thrown heavily against its dome which was shattered by the concussion. The ship’s service electric power generation and distribution system was completely knocked out, but both emergency Diesel generators supplied power through the emergency boards.

12-18 Ordnance equipment throughout the ship was thrown out of alignment and damaged by the violent flexural vibrations. Hydraulic piping in all 5-inch mounts developed numerous leaks. The two after 40mm quads were demolished by direct hits. Torpedoes in the after mount did not add to the conflagration despite heavy fragment attack and severe roasting.

12-19 Radio equipment suffered extensively from shock. TBK, TBL and TAJ antenna were carried away by the first Kamikaze crash. Only the battery operated SCR610 remained operable after the attack. The ship was not specially fitted for picket duty except for the portable gear transferred from BROWN (DD546) by the Fighter Director Team a few days before the action.

12-20 HADLEY was so severely damaged that her fighting effectiveness was almost completely destroyed. Her hull strength amidships was reduced in such degree that structural failure was a major hazard. Restoration of either propulsion plant required several months work in a shipyard. An intense gasoline fire which cut off access fore and aft had to be combated despite extensive damage to the fire main and submergence of most of the pumps. Nevertheless the ship survived. Many destroyers with much less damage have been lost. The most important factors in HADLEY’s survival were probably the following:

(a) An adequate reserve of buoyancy, stability and hull strength.

(b) An adequate duplication of essential services and dispersion of vital equipment.

(c) Confident, competent firefighting personnel who had adequate equipment with which to work.

(d) Satisfactory subdivision and maintenance of watertight integrity.

(e) Prompt and effective assistance from salvage and repair facilities.