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The critical analysis of I.M.Korotkin's book  "Battle  Damage  to
Surface Ships", "Sudpromgiz" Publishing House, 1960  (Chapter  6.
"Damage to Ships  from  Nuclear  Bursts").
Part  1.  Paradoxical Comparisons.
   At the end of World War II the  Americans  obtained  the  most
terrible kind of weapon - a nuclear  explosive.  And,  since  the
conditions of the peace agreement obliged them to destroy a  part
of captured ships from the  Japanese  and  German  fleets,  there
appeared a temptation to use the ships for testing the new  means
of war, in other words to repeat almost the same experiments that
were made after World War I, when  they  subjected  the  captured
German  battleship  "Ostfreesland"  alongside  with  their    own
outdated battleships to air bombing. But  unfortunately,  of  the
experiments, this time no one investigated the outcomes of  these
tests  properly,  no  one  understood  of  the  reasons  of   the
destruction of the ships. And no proper conclusions as to how  be
improved have been made up to now.
   Let us analyze once again the published reports on the  damage
inflicted to some of these "guinea-pig" ships that lay closest to
the epicenter  by  the  first  Japanese  light  cruiser  "Sacava"
(displacement 6000 t, built in 1944). At the moment of the  burst
the ship lay at the distance of 350 m  from  the  epicenter.  The
ships hull was heavily destroy portside and sunk 25  hours  after
the burst.
   2. Destroyer "Anderson" (displacement 1570 t, built in  1942).
The ship lay 500 m away from  the  epicenter,  having  her  stern
oriented directly  at  the  c  up  from  the  detonation  of  the
shipboard artillery ammunition and sunk.  It  was  also  assumed,
that the intensive heat caused  the  detonation  of  one  of  the
ships  torpedoes.
   3.  Destroyer "Lamson" ("Mahen" class;  displacement  1450  t,
built in 1936). The ship  was  oriented  at  90  degrees  to  the
epicenter and only 350 M away from it. She capsized  and  sunk  6
hours later.
   4. Transport ship "Wyilem"  (displacement  6900  t,  built  in
1944) 200 m away from the epicenter,  the  ships  hull  ruptured
vertically in two cross-sections, inflamed and sunk  immediately.
   5. Transport ship "Carleil" ("William"  class).  Being  400  m
away from the at once due to the heavy destruction of  her  hull.
   6. Light aircraft carrier "Independence"  (displacement  11000
t, built in 1943). The ship was 700 m  away  from  the  epicenter
facing it portside. Hi was demolished, 25 aircraft were blown off
the flight deck. The flying-off deck skewed, the hangar deck  got
heavily  deformed,  and  wing  bulkheads  in  the  hangar    were
destroyed. The gasoline in the fire spread  aft  and  caused  the
explosion of the torpedoes stored there.  These  internal  blasts
within a closed space  heavily  destroyed  the  ships  stern  and
forced sections of the deck several ship suffered  was  estimated
as the heaviest among the ships that stayed afloat.
   The  Amazing  Survivability  of  "Independence"
Fig.1.    The photograph of "Independence"
   Having read these li got convinced in the terrific destructive
power of nuclear weapons. Hardly anyone of them noticed that some
of Korotkinĺs assertions about the damage were false.  Therefore,
we will have to make an in-depth analysis of the text to open the
readers eyes to the reality.  We  can  start  from  the  aircraft
carrier "Independence" that suffered "the heaviest damage". It is
no surprise that all the aircraft were blown off the flight deck:
simply not anchored to it. According to the  pre-war  regulations
of aircraft land parking that were  in  force  not  only  in  the
Pacific zone, where strong winds are frequent, but even in the mi
winds occur very rarely, the airplanes had to be anchored for the
night to special ground pins with  ropes.  The  velocity  of  the
shock wave generated by an air explosion is 333  m/s,  while  tha
only 40 m/s. No wonder the unanchored  aircraft  were  blown  off
from the flight deck of "Independence" by the nuclear burst  like
feathers. The force of the shock wave, however, rapidly decreases
for comparison, the aircraft carrier "Saratoga" that lay  2.5  km
away from the epicenter suffered no damage at all, with  all  her
aircraft staying on deck. Here is what  Korotkin  wrote,  "A  lig
with patches of  the  wooden  deck  burnt  away  (rather,  simply
charred - O.T.). The aircraft on deck were left intact." In other
words, the fact that the aircraft were  blown  off  the  deck  of
"Independence" that the force of the shock wave generated by  the
nuclear burst was that great.
   Moreover, having examined the photograph  of  this  ship  made
after its "corporal punishment", a clever  and  attentive  reader
may notice to his or her surprise that the island  superstructure
of "Independence" was neither demolished, nor even  damaged!  The
point is that the aircraft carrier was  photographed  from  below
her port side, and the superstructure can hardly be seen at  such
an angle, because it is where it should always be - on starboard.
Only an attentive eye can notice at once the islands edge  rising
slightly over the flight deck. So, left intact just  exactly  the
same way as were the ships  funnels  that  were  very  small  and
short, which was characteristic for this class of ships,  shorter
even than the  superstructure.  That  the  ships  starboard,  the
intact funnels cannot be seen in the photograph at all. All  this
gave  Korotkin  a  false  ground  to  write  that  "the    island
superstructure was demolished". One can also see it  crane  rises
intact too. Since long  and  high  structures,  like  cranes  and
masts, are first to break under the impact of a shock wave, which
is well known to any specialist in structural strength, the above
facts prove that the shock wave was rather weak.  The  case  when
even the shipboard crane withstood the blast  (the  impact  could
not even turn its boom) shows that the burst was not as strong as
everyone imagined it.
   How  could  Korotkin  b  so  inattentive  when  studying   the
photograph and concluding  that  the  island  superstructure  was
demolished? Any schoolboy could easily  catch  him  in  the  lie.
Millions of people, with hundreds o among  them,  read  Korotkins
book, but unfortunately not a single  one  of  them  noticed  the
fraud for 37  years.. PRIVATE  "TYPE=PICT;ALT=Picture  1"
  The destruction of transverse bulkheads  and  flight  decks  on
"Independence" were the  result  of  the  explosion  of  gasoline
vapor, rather than the effect of the shock wave. Few people  know
that common gasoline produces a much stronger explosion than  any
the explosive substance, simply because there is a plenty of  it.
For example, an explosion  of  aircraft  fuel  vapor  annihilated
large aircraft carrier "Taiho",  as  well  as  American  aircraft
carrier "Lexington".  This  is  how  it  happ  case  of  "Taiho",
"ůdespite the relatively small damage inflicted by torpedoes, the
gasoline vapor  from  the  damaged  tank  and  ruptured  gasoline
pipelines filled  literally  each  compartment  of  the  aircraft
carrier 90 minutes after the torpedo salvo from "Albacor" "Taiho"
was  ripped  into  pieces  by  a  monstrous  explosion..."  (from
D.Horikoshi, M.Okumii "Zero", 1998, p.258).
   The force of the explosion of gasoline is  approximately  five
times is hi than that of the same amount  of  any  other  organic
explosive, for example, TNT. It  happens  because  all  kinds  of
explosives are chemically fueled by ordinary atoms of carbon  and
hydrogen. This fuel amounts to only about 20 % (or one-fifth)  of
the total weight of the explosive,  whereas  the  main  component
that consists of oxidizer - atoms of oxygen - amounts to as  much
as 80 %! Gasoline, however, is a 100% chemical  fuel  composed  o
hydrogen only. It does not explode unless it gets mixed with  air
that supplies it with oxygen. Once such mixture  is  on  hand,  a
small spark can trigger a very strong explosion. That is why  the
a closed space is so dangerous. I remember one case that happened
in 70-s at a small ship-building plant in Gorokhovets.  For  some
reason, the workers who painted a tugboat brought a  bucket  have
spilled the gasoline or tried to wash something with it,  anyhow,
a sudden explosion of terrific force banged.  As  a  result,  the
tugboat was warped  to  such  a  degree  that  it  could  not  be
restored. And that was an  explosion  caused  by  one  bucket  of
gasoline only, whereas in case of "Independence" a  whole  hanger
tank exploded heated by fire!  No  wonder  the  hangar  deck  was
deformed, the flight  deck  skewed  and  the  internal  bulkheads
destroye In other words, the extensive damage  of  "Independence"
resulted  from  an  internal  explosion  of  a  large  amount  of
gasoline, rather than from the  nuclear  burst,  as  many  people
think. The third explosion on the aircraft carrier was caused  by
the detonation of shipboard  torpedoes  in  the  depot.  One  can
imagine what a vast destruction it invoked! It is  quite  obvious
that it was not the impact from the nuclear burst that  detonated
  They were simply brought to red heat by the  raging  flames  of
tens of tons of spilled gasoline and exploded only due  to  this.
This case seems to be usual - everything happened the way it shin
spite of this explosion "Independence" remained afloat!
   In the sea battles of World War II a  lot  of  light  aircraft
carriers hit by a single torpedo suffered extremely heavy  damage
or even 20, 1944 the above-mentioned "Independence" was hit by  a
single torpedo launched from an aircraft and returned to her base
with great  difficulty,  while  "Ark  Royal",  a  large  aircraft
carrier o having taken a hit of one torpedo only. "Taiho  "  sank
from one torpedo, "Sekaku" -  from  three,  "Hiyo"  -  from  two,
"Formidable" - from two bombs. "Princeton", an  aircraft  carrier
of the same c by one bomb. So, it would be  very  interesting  to
compare the destructive strength of a torpedo  that  explodes  in
water against ship's side with that of the tens of the same  type
torpedoes store one  must  know  the  exact  number  of  aircraft
torpedoes stored on "Independence". But  the  organizers  of  the
test failed to do so simple a  thing,  as  to  send  a  competent
sailor aboard to count the test.
   But we can do even without this data, suffice  it  to  compare
"Independence" with Japanese heavy cruiser "Mikuma". The point is
that they are fundamentally rather similar ships, at  lea  class,
since "Independence" was originally designed and built as a heavy
cruiser, but in the process of construction was modified into  an
aircraft carrier. Thus, the part of "Independence" of a  cruiser.
The standard displacement of the both ships was almost the same -
10,000 tons.
   And here is what happened to Japanese  cruiser  "Mikuma":  she
was hit by several bombs dropped from US bo caused a  great  fire
in her torpedo  depot.  As  a  result,  the  torpedoes  exploded.
Surprisingly, the torpedo warheads did not detonate at once (they
are often stored away from torpedo bodies), fire. Only  about  80
minutes after the bomb hit the  warheads  detonated.  There  were
total 24 warheads onboard, and they  caused  such  a  very  heavy
destruction to "Mikuma" that the  cruiser  became  the  inflicted
damage, the ship sunk only eight  hours  later.  Now  it  becomes
clear how weak the explosion of 24 torpedoes  was.  Many  readers
might think that the  author  went  nuts  to  maintain  that  the
explosion of 24 Japanese torpedoes of 61-centimeter caliber, each
carrying 850 kg of explosive, which was at least twice as much as
in any foreign torpedo (for example, US torpedoes carried 330  kg
of explosive) can be weak. The actual explosion on  "Mikuma"  was
equal to 50 ordinary torpedoes!
   And still the explosion was relatively weak, because its force
in the air (in the ships  space  above  her  waterline)  is  much
weaker than the detonation of the same amount of explosive  under
water. Remember how the hit of a single Japanese  torpedo  easily
ripped sterns off US cruisers.
   The explosion on "Mikuma" was equivalent to the  blast  of  50
ordinary torpedoes, but the s  break  into  halves,  because  the
torpedoes  exploded  in  the  air.  This  fact  proves  that  the
explosion of torpedoes in the air does not mean an instant  death
to a ship, though the formidable blast due to  the  vulnerability
of mechanisms that are usually ripped off their foundations). So,
it was simply amazing that after the explosion equivalent to  the
explosion of  50  foreign  torpedoes  afloat  for  another  eight
   Yet, that is not all! "Independence", staying afloat after the
blast of tens of her shipboard torpedoes, was left  in  the  test
range and a month later was exposed this time  to  an  underwater
one. But the ship persisted in her loathness to  die.  She  still
lay with no heel or  trim  as  if  nothing  happened.  Inspection
parties could not detect any leak. And the ship actually survived
four terrific explosions: the first air nuclear burst followed by
the explosion of tens of tons of gasoline and the  detonation  of
tens of shipboard torpedoes, and finally the  underwater  nuclear
burst. If we compare burst with the explosion of  torpedoes,  the
conclusion is obvious: the latter is more powerful; any  ship  of
this class with the displacement of 10,000 tons could have  never
survived four torpedoes hitting her from one side.
   In other words, this fact shows that the ship could  withstand
nuclear bursts quite easily. What was really  dangerous  for  her
were the secondary effects of the burst., i.e., the explosions of
gasoline and torpedo warheads. Anyhow, there  is  no  doubt  that
before sinking the ship withstood quite a lot of  impacts  of  fo
power. If we take into consideration that  during  World  War  II
similar aircraft carriers quickly perished  having  been  hit  by
one, two or three torpedoes, we have to acknowledge as  true  the
following paradoxical conclusion: ships  can  survive  a  nuclear
burst much easier compared to an underwater torpedo explosion.
   My opponents are likely to state that both the inflammation of
the air fuel, and the detonation of torpedoes were the results of
the nuclear burst, i.e. in the long run, the actual cause of  the
destruction of "Independence" was still a nuclear charge. No, the
main reason for all the destruction of the given ship wer of this
aircraft carrier. Firstly, the hangar gasoline  tank  was  placed
inside the ship under her deck. So, neither the shock  wave,  nor
luminous radiation were  able  to  directly  act  upon  the  tank
occurred only because gasoline pipelines or the tank itself broke
under the blast, the gasoline spilled, and  its  vapor  exploded.
The designers should have foreseen such a case  and  should  have
taken measures to  prevent  the  tank  and  pipeline  walls  from
breaking. Even  at  that  time  the  fact  that  gasoline  is  an
extremely dangerous substance was  well  known.  So,  the  hangar
tank, for example, should have been installed on shock  absorbers
a pipelines should have been made from rubber hoses  that  easily
withstand shock loads, rather than from  thin  steel  pipes  with
their walls less than 2 mm thick, or on the contrary, from  durab
Had these measures been taken, the hangar  tank  would  not  have
broken under the impact of the shock wave, thus causing fire  and
the explosion of all shipboard torpedoes. Now I hope everyone of
the gasoline tank and torpedo  storage  cellars  were  much  more
destructive than any nuclear burst. It is only sufficient to have
a look at the photo of "Independence" with her nose absolutely of
the nuclear burst just stroked it lightly.
   On the contrary, the middle section of "Independence"  in  the
area of her aircraft hangar, where the  fire  from  the  aircraft
fuel raged, turned  lit  her  stern,  where  the  torpedoes  were
stored, is almost completely ruined. However, look closely at the
photo: despite such violence of destructive forces "Independence"
is not even going to sink. She shows neither roll, nor trim!
   Try to understand the paradox of the situation:  there  was  a
nuclear burst, "Independence" caught  a  terrible  gasoline  fire
that nobody tried to extinguish, (since there was  nobody  aboard
the ship), later tens of shipboard torpedoes detonated and  again
nobody tried to plug the holes, or to drain the  water.  But  the
long-suffering ship still  did  not  sink.  This  fact  gives  an
obvious proof that only underwater torpedo hits are dangerous for
a ship, while the explosions of gasoline and shipboard torpedoes,
though inflicting heavy damage to the ship's  freeboard,  do  not
bilge the hull.
   Just compare how quickly other ships perished in similar circu
carrier "Courageous" took two portside torpedo hits and  sank  20
minutes later.
   Aircraft  carrier  "Ark  Royal"  was  torpedoed  by  a  German
submarine, taking one starboard torpedo hit. The  shi  almost  at
once. Eight operating drain pumps produced poor  effect,  and  14
hours later "Ark Royal", abandoned  by  the  crew,  capsized  and
sunk. Compare this event with the case of "Mikuma" that  remained
afloat for 8 hours  after  her  24  torpedoes  of  61-cm  caliber
   Aircraft carrier "Eagle" was attacked by  a  German  submarine
near Malta and was hit by 3-4 torpedoes. As a  result,  the  ship
sunk within a short period of time.
   On September 15,  1942  "Wasp"  was  attacked  by  a  Japanese
submarine and took three  starboard  torpedo  hits  in  her  nose
section. The ship's torpedoes detonated  causing  gasoline  fires
followed by internal  explosions.  The  crew  had  to  leave  the
burning and listed ship that was sunk in a short while by several
torpedoes launched from a US destroyer.
   In this connection, I would  like  to  draw  an  analogy  with
Russian cruiser "Ochakov", which also suffer  of  her  freeboard,
but remained afloat. At that time the ship was taking part  in  a
revolt lying out of Sebastopol. She was shot  at  by  anyone  who
felt like shooting: ground artillery with  its  3-inch  with  its
11-inch guns, battleships of  the  Black  Sea  fleet  armed  with
12-inch major caliber guns. The shells literally riddled the ship
through. The cruiser burnt  for  two  days.  Since  the  crew  no
struggle for her survival: no one tried to extinguish the fire or
to drain the water. But, despite of  the  fact  that  the  ship's
freeboard was riddled with holes, she had no underwater holes.  S
out  from  within,  but  remained  afloat.  Later  "Ochakov"  was
repaired and sailed the seas for  many  years.
   This  torture  was  very  similar  to  the  one  suffered   by
"Independence". The latter had her burnt in raging flames  for  a
long time with no one onboard to struggle for her  survival.  And
yet, the outcome was the same -  the  aircraft  carrier  remained
   This amazing survivability of the ships of  different  classes
and different times is explained not by their high strength,  but
by  the  fact  that  all  of  them  -  "Independence",  "Mikuma",
"Ochakov" suffered only freeboard damage. The conclusion  is:  an
air nuclear burst is to sink a surface ship laying as near as 700
meters from the epicenter.

World War , ship, battleship,  cruiser ,  Destroyer,  sank, aircraft carrier ,  Pacific, sea,  Saratoga,  torpedo, bomb,  waterline,  tank,  gun, epicenter,  flight deck

   At the end of World War II the  Americans  obtained  the  most
terrible kind of weapon - a nuclear  explosive.  And,  since  the
conditions of the peace agreement obliged them to destroy a  part
of captured ships from the  Japanese  and  German  fleets,