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H-GramAttachment 4. Navy, and was the first of four in that class to be commissioned, on 22 February Although the Japanese super-battleships Yamato and Musashi were heavier and had larger guns nine Porter accidentally fired a live torpedo at Iowa. Porter has been credited with a of other incidents and accidents while escorting Iowaat least some of which appear to be apocryphal, and, contrary to legend, her skipper was not relieved after being suspected of trying to assassinate the President: Walter retired as a rear admiral.
Although there were no deaths among the crew, the ship could not be saved despite three hours of valiant damage control. During the surface action off the Japanese stronghold at Truk on 16 February see H-GramIowa and her sister New Jersey with Vice Admiral Raymond Spruance embarked assisted in sinking the Japanese light cruiser Katori and dodging several Japanese torpedoes in the process.
Iowa suffered minimal damage during Typhoon Cobra in December and, near the very end of the war, bombarded steel mills on the Japanese home islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. Iowa also served as the flagship for Admiral William F. Halsey during the formal Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on 2 September Iowa was decommissioned in during the precipitous U.
However, upon the North Korean invasion of South Korea in JuneIowa was brought out of reserve and re-commissioned on 25 August She was decommissioned again in Iowa was re-commissioned on 28 Aprilthe second of the four to do so New Jersey had been re-commissioned briefly during the Vietnam War——69—and had a head start. Nevertheless, the years had taken their toll, and Iowa had numerous challenges being brought back into service. Secretary Lehman overruled the recommendation, but directed that the discrepancies on Iowa and her sisters be fixed.
Such experimentation had been authorized by an individual at Naval Sea Systems Command who was not authorized to do so, the fact of which Moosally was misled. In Januaryin one of the experiments off Vieques, Puerto Rico, a inch shell fired from Iowa achieved a distance of The turret officer in Turret 1 reportedly considered these experiments to be unsafe and Turret 1 refused to participate, a fact of which Mossally was also unaware.
At 19 AprilIowa was located nautical miles northeast of Puerto Rico in the open ocean for a main battery gun shoot. According to plan, Turret 1 was to fire first, but suffered a misfire. Moosally then ordered Turret 2 to load and fire a three-gun salvo, which was not in accordance with SOP that the misfire should be resolved first. The left and right guns on Turret 2 reported being ready to shoot, but a series of communications via phone circuit indicated that there was an undetermined problem with the center gun and that it was not ready. There are quotes of what was said that can be found in different sources on the web; however, they are not contained in the official investigation reports.
Since the primary explosion was determined to have occurred within the center gun room, the focus of the investigation was properly directed to that location. The tragic loss of personnel within turret II and adjacent ammunition handling spaces precluded a precise causal determination since the personnel most knowledgeable of actions and intentions were those who lost their lives…. The point of ignition was most probably between the first and second bags.
Exhaustive technical tests have ruled out the following possibilities which constitute the most logical inadvertent causes: burning ember, premature primer firing, mechanical failure, friction, electromagnetic spark, propellant instability, and personal procedural error. Although deficiencies in training documentation, weapons handling procedures, and adherence to safety procedures were found within the weapons department, the exhaustive tests and duplication of the type of blast that occurred have conclusively demonstrated that these shortcomings did not cause the explosion….
The critical controlling station within turret II to allow the aforementioned factors to occur was the center gun captain. These factors, when combined with circumstantial evidence associated with the individual manning that gun captain position at that the time of the explosion, strongly suggest that an intentional human act most probably caused the premature ignition. I further concur with the investigating officer and subsequent endorsers that the preponderance of evidence supports the theory that the most likely person to have introduced the detonation device was GMG2 Hartwig.
Atlantic Fleet Admiral Powell F. Nevertheless, the and egregiousness of the discrepancies create an impression of laxity and disregard that will cloud the investigation in the minds of non-expert critics for the foreseeable future. Donnell appointed Rear Admiral Richard D. While none of these factors have been determined to be the cause of the explosion, or provide an ignition source, they cast the proper operation of gunnery systems in USS IOWA BB 61 in a very poor light and generate doubt. What the above means is that the center gun in Turret 2 and the other guns as well were firing an unauthorized non-standard load.
D powder NALC D was powder from —44 that was deed and intended for use with 1,pound shells. Among other things, Milligan would discover that all the gun turrets were ificantly undermanned, and of those many were ificantly lacking in experience. Of 51 positions in Turret 2 that called for PQS- personnel qualification standard qualified personnel, only 13 were manned by PQS-qualified personnel and Turret 2 was in better shape than the other two turrets in this regard. Of the four personnel manning the center gun, all but the gun captain lacked experience, and the rammer man had never done a live gun shoot before, nor did he have any experience ramming a non-standard powder load.
Hartwig had been taken off the watch bill due to his impending change of station orders, and was only ordered back on the watch bill as center gun captain the night before due to concern about the lack of experience of the center gun crew. Milligan also discovered that the ram in the center gun had been over-extended by 21 inches, but it was not possible to confirm the speed with which this had been done. The ram had a higher speed for ramming the projectile and slower speeds for ramming the powder bags. This would become a factor in later investigations. There is strong evidence however, to support an opinion that a wrongful intentional act caused this incident.
The NIS investigation of Hartwig gave some additional cause for suspicion. Besides the life insurance policy, Hartwig possessed a couple magazines such as Get Even: a Guide to Dirty Tricks which reportedly included information on how to make explosive devices, and he had experimented with explosive devices and detonators in the past. He also reportedly frequently talked about different ways of dying, had a fascination with ship disasters, had had a falling out with his close friend, had attempted suicide in high school, and had discussed in the weeks before the accident that he wanted to die in the line of duty and be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
According to the leaks and subsequent reports on NIS lines of questioningthe working assumption was that Hartwig had deliberately placed an electronic device between the first and second powder bags the origin of the first explosion as a suicidal act due to a homosexual affair with the life insurance beneficiary gone bad. However, no actual evidence of a homosexual affair was found. One Iowa sailor, under intense NIS questioning, implicated Hartwig, but then recanted his testimony as soon as he was asked to.
Nevertheless, this recanted testimony shows up in later documents and congressional testimony without reference to it being recanted. Donnell recommended against judicial action or detachment for cause with respect to the commanding officer and executive officer, but that the numerous deficiencies would be documented by way of special reports of fitness. This forensic evidence would subsequently be challenged.
On 7 SeptemberMilligan and the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Edney, briefed reporters on the of the investigation, laying out key elements of the case against Hartwig including displaying the two publications, Getting Even and Improvised Munitions Handbook that had been in his possession.
The VCNO acknowledged that there was no proof of homosexual relations and denied that leaks to the press had come from Navy sources. The briefing included the announcement that the investigation had determined that the Iowa -class battleships were safe to operate, and that the powder was stable and safe to use. Things went downhill from there. Some of the press accused the Navy of scapegoating a dead man to cover up serious operational and safety deficiencies in the Iowa -class battleships, which were being rushed into service.
Many news stories were extremely negative, and criticism from congressional quarters rapidly increased and led to several congressional inquiries and hearings, with the first commencing in November The Sandia independent technical inquiry commenced on 7 December Sandia then proceeded to conduct drop tests of actual powder bags to simulate an over-ram scenario and, on the 18th test 24 Maythe powder exploded, destroying the test apparatus.
Some Navy technical experts argued that the drop tests were irrelevant and did not accurately simulate a true over-ram scenario or explain exactly how such an over-ram would have occurred. Over-ram tests continued using actual powder and full scale mock-ups in June and July of In one test, an explosion occurred in the breech. Additional over-ram tests produced four more powder explosions. Tests on the missing shells revealed the same iron fibers and chemicals as were found on the center gun projectile, further negating the chemical igniter theory. This conclusion appeared to be reached based on very technical discussions that centered on the position of the ram in the center gun.
The Sandia tests appeared to show that a high-speed over-ram of 24 inches could produce an explosion in some bags of powder, but the ram was found over-extended at 21 inches. There was no good explanation for how such an over-ram might have occurred unless it too was deliberate.
Sandia submitted their final report to the Senate in August On 17 OctoberAdmiral Kelso held a press conference in the Pentagon. And indeed, despite the Sandia theory and almost two years of subsequent testing, a substantial body of scientific and expert evidence continue to support the initial investigation that no plausible accidental cause can be established.
She was decommissioned on 26 Octoberas by then Secretary Lehman was gone, and the battleships had been deemed too expensive to man and operate, especially since the fall of the Soviet Union suggested a ship Navy was no longer needed.
Nevertheless, Wisconsin and Missouri deployed to the Arabian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm and, during January and Februarythe two battleships fired 1, inch rounds at Iraqi targets without mishap. Numerous procedural improvements resulting from the Iowa investigation had been incorporated before Desert Storm. Primary source for this H-gram is the official U. I find it intriguing that the official reports posted at jag. Alternative non-official views that are highly critical of the U. Navyby Greg Visteca Back to H-Gram Overview. Naval History and Heritage Command. Print Friendly.
The Sextant. Social Media. Toggle left Nav. Toggle Menu. Toggle. Navy Installations Historic Former U. Navy Women in the U. Navy Hispanic Americans in the U. Navy Contributions of American Indians to the U. H-Grams ». Roberts H Plaque from Samuel B.
Cold WarGulf War. Related Content. Document Type. Photograph Historical Summary. Navy Communities. File Formats. Location of Archival Materials. Author Name. Place of Event. Recipient Name. Note concussion effects on the water surface, and inch gun barrels in varying degrees of recoil DN-ST H-GramAttachment 4 Samuel J.
Navy web site.Bb Iowa looking for a load
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Iowa class battleship