Enclosure “C” to letter No. A1/4 of 18th December 1914.
DAMAGE CAUSED TO H.M.S. INVINCIBLE BY GUN FIRE, IN ACTION OF 8th DECEMBER 1914, WITH REMARKS AS TO GERMAN PROJECTILES.
(1) Amour plating on starboard from stem to No. 10 station at water line fractured and distorted; framing and plating behind armour fractured and distorted; framing and plating behind armour fractured and bent inwards; stem casting fractured; No. 10 bulkhead buckled, compartment above lower deck flooded - Caused by 8.2 inch shell bursting on armour at No. 4 station.
(2) Port bow at station No. 17 armour plate dented, rivets and margin angle of No. 17 bulkhead shorn off and bulkhead buckled girder rivets shorn off, by shell bursting on armour belt.
(3) Top plate armour struck by (?) shell at 68 station, starboard, tearing of part of the covering plate.
(4) Bulkhead margin angle rivets shorn off at station No. 81, starboard, above lower deck in wake of side armour, due to shell bursting on amour belt.
(5) Starboard side plating at middle of Ward Room holed by 8.2 inch shell which burst, completely wrecking and destroying everything in Ward Room, bursting up deck above, and holing deck under, also all bulkheads, coal shoots, stanchions and funnel casings near, and bulging ship's side.
Shell burst two feet inside skin plating, no fire caused, but devastation extraordinary.
(6) Side plating and frame blown in at station 89 - 90 main deck, starboard side, by 8.2 inch shell burst, which also wrecked mess gear in stoker’s messes, and holed casing to boiler room.
(7) Side plating immediately below armour belt holed, about 4 feet by 2 feet at top streak, having fracture extending through adjacent plate under. Frame behind blown away at Station 115 to 117 port side. Bulkhead No. 115 buckled and dented; caused by 8.2 inch shell exploding just inside plating, flooding No. 5 lower bunker.
The fragments of shell are large, and rather present the aspect of a partial rather than a complete burst or detonation. The coal was washed out of the hole by the sea, until its level came well below the hole.
(8) Forecastle deck holed by 5.9 Inch shell bursting at Fore Dynamo Hatch, destroying hatch coaming, deck plating, and girder under, also splintering mushroom top and tearing away ventilation trunk beneath.
(9) “A” turret apron holed by blast from detonating 5.9 inch shell which struck turret armour between guns.
(10) No. 1 boiler room ash hoist hit by 5.9 inch shell which entered through forecastle deck starboard side and on bursting in Admiral's lobby holed mast, strut, spiral ladder, and upper dock, plating, and all adjacent bulkheads.
(11) Ward room pantry, No. 8 cabin, and adjacent screen bulkheads wrecked by 5.9-inch shell which burst on entering through forecastle deck. Upper deck plating under also holed.
(12) Forecastle deck and ships side holed by 5.9 inch projectile which entered through deck before “P" turret, port side, in No. 7 cabin and passed out without bursting.
(13) Forecastle deck and ships side holed by 5.9 inch projectile which entered deck above Chaplain's cabin, going through Paymaster’s cabin - wrecking furniture and money chest - and passing out without bursting.
(14) Forecastle deck at port side at station 85 to 87 badly torn and holed by 8.2 inch shell which burst on entering deck, tearing away girder and beams and holing extensively upper deck under; holing watertight bulkhead and door, funnel casings, drinking tank, and damaging money chest, also smashing port fore coaling derrick and riddling superstructure side plating. Some splinters holed the top of forward funnel, and boat on booms.
(15) Starboard bower anchor grazed by projectile, which cut out piece of anchor crown.
(16) Starboard strut to foremast at No.1 4-inch gun house struck by 8.2 inch shell which entering strut from starboard side, bursting inside strut, tearing away 10 feet of port side of strut, and also after end and side of gun house, riddled and distorted fore funnel extensively, and shattered ladder to bridge deck.
(17) No.2 4-inch gun starboard. Struck by capped amour piercing 8.2 inch shell which broke gun at middle, destroyed gun shield and holed deck under, distorted gun support, passed through forecastle deck wrecking painted canvas room, passed through upper deck and screen bulkhead to Admiral’s storeroom, port side, in which it was found unexploded in a cupboard. The cap was knocked off at No.2 4-inch gun, and point of shell slightly damaged. Shell has been opened and closely examined on board and will be sent to Woolwich.
(18) After Conning Tower support partly blown away, fresh water gravity tank holed and helm signal gear damaged by 8.2 inch shell which burst on entering conning tower support from starboard.
(19) Sick Bay wrecked, and ships side, main deck, watertight bulkhead and door holed by burst of 8.2 inch shell which entered Sick Bay through Upper Deck from starboard at ventilating trunk before “X” turret port side.
(20) Canteen wrecked, deck under and above holed, scupper pipe and vent trunk blown away by 8.2 inch shell which burst on entering upper deck abreast “X” turret starboard side, and splinters of which holed sailing launch extensively.
The canteen was nearly full of groceries at the time.
(21) Prisons wreaked, decks above and under, and watertight bulkhead and door holed, fire main pipe holed, which caused electric store be flooded also fresh water stowage tank, port, caused by 8.2 inch shell bursting on entering from upper deck.
(22) Seamen's heads partly wrecked by 8.2 inch shell which destroyed girder and beams to deck on entering from upper deck aft, also holed over paint shop which was flooded from damaged fire main pipe.
Дополнение от предоставившего отчет:
(23) There was a 23rd hit not included in the official post-battle report as it was only discovered in Gibraltar Dockyard the following January. Unfortunately I can’t find the official report I originally read regarding this hit, but the basic details are that an 8.2-inch shell fell short, spun around upon entering the water and adopted an underwater trajectory which caused it to enter backwards through the hull plating below the belt. It passed through a 13 foot wide coal bunker before being stopped by the torpedo bulkhead shielding a magazine. It hit with enough force to dent the bulkhead. Whenever I do come across the official report, I will try to remember to edit this post to add it in.
Damage to deck also caused from blast of “P” and “Q” turrets, deck beams being distorted and planking broken across extensively.
The capped 8.2 inch shell that was recovered complete has been carefully opened and examined; it appears to be filled with T.N.T., and as its design, and the method of filling and fusing may present new features, everything will be sent to Woolwich for inspection. The angle of descent of this shell as measured by the line of holes made the various in the various decks is 48˚.
Several different types of projectiles were fired, and portions of at least one nose fuzed shell was recovered.
Most of the effective shell appear to have detonated and the pieces of shell vary in weight from about ½ an ounce to two or three pounds, and several complete base plugs have been found with threads completely stripped.
The shell which penetrated No. 5 bunker appears to have broken up, and not burst, after passing through the bottom plating, as the pieces recovered are not large and all show crystalline fractures.
The caps of two 8.2 inch shell and one 5.9 inch shell have been found.
The incendiary effect of the shells was small, this was particularly noticeable in the Ward Room where all the furniture such as sideboards, sofas, chairs and tables, was split to fragments. There was however no trace of fire other than a deposit of black smoke on everything. In no case did paintwork catch fire.
The shell which hit the starboard strut of the foremast caused severe blast to be felt in the control top. The blast appeared to pass up the inside of the strut and into the mast, for it blew open the door leading into the control top, knocked the control officer down, unshipped the Mk. VI Dumaresq which was well fastened down, and also rendered the Rate Transmitter useless.
A considerable number of shell, generally 5.9 inch did not burst at all.
The fumes from the shell were black, choking, and of a sweet taste.
FIRES SUSTAINED IN ACTION OFF FALKLANDS ISLANDS
Enclosure “B” to letter A1/4 of 18th December 1914.
FIRES IN ACTION
On the whole fires were few, and trivial, but one serious fire in the Sick Bay was put out by prompt measures.
Several small fires occurred in the funnel casings, due to hard steaming. The soot and the paint on the casings smouldered and smoked, and in one or two cases burst into flame.
One effect of the enemy’s shell was to extinguish the auxiliary lights and so add to the difficulties of getting about at a fire.
The respirators recently supplied were of great use and were used wherever a fire occurred; they became stained and useless after serving out, and a much larger supply is needed.
The fire in the sick Bay was due to some beds catching alight and causing a very dense smoke which was drawn into the Port Engine Room by the fans; the fire was unapproachable on account of smoke until men using respirators and dressed in fearnought, sea-boots, and leather gloves, got to work and quickly had it under control, in some cases they had to crawl along the deck to get more air.
An oil fuel filling pipe passes through the Sick Bay and this was fractured, so that a few gallons of oil drained out of the pipe and might have accentuated the fire, but the latter was got under before the oil became heated.
The fire mains were allowed to run in different parts of the ship and this in some respects is a menace, as the enemy’s shell fire, as well as breaking several mains, caused so many large and small holes in the decks and injuries to several watertight hatches and doors, that several compartments filled with water.
In general although the shells burst well and created great havoc, they were not incendiary to any degree, and in no case did paint catch alight. A number of small fires amongst bags occurred.
Recommendations: Each section of Fire Brigade should have:
(i) A respirator for each man.
(ii) Spare hoses and branch pipes.
(iii) Repair outfit for burst mains.
(iv) Candles and lanterns.
(v) At least one man dressed in a complete suit of fearnought, and wearing leather sea-boots and gloves.
(vi) One or two whistles for scouts.
GUNNERY NOTES AND EXPERIENCES IN ACTION OFF FALKLAND ISLANDS: INVINCIBLE
The most immediate results of the experience obtained in the Action off the Falkland Islands has been gent in my telegram No.28.
The "INVINCIBLE" and “INFLEXIBLE” fired a greater number of rounds than has been used in any previous action, and attention is called to the detailed report made by the Captain of “INVINCIBLE”.
Ever since I hoisted my Flag in the “INVINCIBLE” there have been continual partial failures which have had to be dealt with by the Ship's Staff; fortunately nothing serious occurred during the Action but the general fittings cannot be considered entirely satisfactory.
2. I fully concur with the Captain of “INVINCIBLE” submission for an improvement in the arrangements for embarking ammunition as detailed in "INVINCIBLE's” letters of 6 February 1914 & 4 June 1914, and referred to in Admiralty Letter G. 14363/14/9271 of 21 April 1914 and telegram No. 9 from Admiralty G, of 8 July 1914 to the Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth.
I would also submit that the approved alterations to the Hydraulic Machinery mentioned In Admiralty Letter G. 9779/14 24148 of 3 November 1914 may be taken in hand at the earliest opportunity.
Enclosure “A” to letter No. A1/4 of 18th December 1914.
The following remarks are forwarded very fully as it is thought there may be many points of use and interest.
I consider that firing "P" and "Q" turrets across the deck is a mistake, and except in an emergency shall not permit of It in future.
On the whole I am of opinion that Director Firing would have been most valuable; every endeavour was made to avoid hampering the Fire Control by funnel smoke, and with small success.
At no time during the action was my view of the enemy from the Conning Tower obscured in any way, but the after turret, and at times the midship turrets were very much hampered. From time to time for short periods only, was the Fore Control hampered.
The jar of the left gun firing caused the breach control lever of the right gun to jerk over to close, with the result that the breach closed before the spoon tray was clear. The rear corner of the spoon tray indented the obturator pad and was between breech screw and the rear side of the mushroom head, so that, the breach could not be worked till it was cleared. A spare obturator and lock were shipped, but the gun misfired at intervals owing the vent stalk being slightly bent.
Delay of 30 minutes was caused to the right gun by this accident.
The turret was hit between the guns and the explosion caused the apron to be pierced and considerable blast was experienced in the working chamber. The apron being bent down acted as a brake, and stopped the turret from training. This defect was quickly overcome.
The fuse cap of a lyddite shell dropped down the trunk and got underneath the right main cage. The right cage on descending, could not, in consequence, free the interlocking gear and allow the shell and cordite doors to be opened. The right gun was put into secondary loading, projectiles being taken from the working chamber shell bins, and the cordite up the auxiliary hoist from the handing room. The Gun loading cage being used as before.
The cap came off when a shell was being rammed from the main cage into the gun loading cage. The accident occurred just before the end of the action.
The air blast pipe on the gun was shaken out of its slip, and was broken by the recoil. The left gun had to cease fire as the turret was filled with suffocating smoke. A new flexible pipe was rigged, but by the time this was done "Cease fire” had been ordered.
This was the only hitch of any kind which occurred to the left gun which fired 109 rounds.
The left breech 'became difficult to open, and had to be assisted by levers; probably due to a tube becoming bent through not being properly inserted. The link actuating lock was slightly distorted. As the gun was still in action no immediate action was considered necessary.
Securing pin of locking plate of tilting gear of right main cage sheared with the result that the projectile tray tilted slightly and fouled the tip of the waiting tray.
The blast from “P” turret when "P" turret was firing starboard was severe and made communication with sight setters by voice pipe very difficult owing to deafness.
The pin securing the clutch connecting the shell and cordite rammers shook out, with the result that the shell rammer went forward without the cordite rammer. It was quickly replaced.
The cordite occasionally jammed in the gun loading cages owing to the cordite levers jamming out of centre. The cages were sent to working chamber and quickly cleared. As this jam had occurred on previous occasions the flash doors on the gun loading cages had been previously taken off to facilitate the clearing of a foul cage.
A nut falling on the flash door in the gun loading hoist prevented the door opening fully with the result that the gun loading cage came down on the edge of it bent it. It was quickly straightened, and the gun only out of action for a couple of minutes.
Severe blast was experienced when “Q” turret was firing port side, Gun layers, Trainers, and Sight setters were deafened, dazed, and had their heads banged and against adjacent projections. Trainers had to be relieved constantly as they were too dazed to train on the enemy properly. Orders in Gun-house had to be shouted in men’s ears as all were deafened.
Shortly before ethe end of the action the intercepting valve of the working chamber transfer rammer of the left gun failed to allow the pressure to get to the rammer control valve. This was due to the adjustable connecting rod shaking out of adjustment.
The shell and cordite were transferred from the main cage the gun loading cage by hand till the end of the action.
General Remarks on Turrets:
A large quantity of water was used by the wash-out squirts, and leaks, but it was not necessary to use salt water. Pressure appeared to be rather low occasionally, and this fall may have been due to all the turrets being fired and guns all run out more or less at the, same time.
All three pumps were in use.
The turret machinery worked well, and no breakdowns occurred beyond those mentioned in the detailed report on the turrets. No breakdown of a serious nature occurred, and all guns were in action at "Cease fire".
The air blast was very satisfactory, and the air flasks in the turrets did not have to be used at all. The fitting of the system of using air pressure from the ship's main ring was only completed by the ship’s staff two days before the action. The air pipe of the left gun of “A” turret breaking showed clearly the vital importance of the air blast to clear the guns of smoke. There are practically no means for gun smoke to escape from the turrets; and the failure of this air blast quickly put a turret out of action.
Fire Control Installation:
The Fire Control worked well, and no portion of the electrical fire control ceased working during the action except the Rate Transmitter in the Fore Top which was blown off its brackets and rendered useless.
A certain amount of damage was done to the voice pipes. The 3-inch pipes from the Fore Top to the Fore Transmitting Station were crushed in by an 8” projectile just above the transmitting station. One of these , however, could be used, and was used for control during the last two hours of the action.
The majority of the temporary flexible voice pipes leading into the Conning Tower were destroyed by the explosion of a shell which hit the starboard strut of the foremast on the level of the Conning Tower. The blast from this shell knocked the Control Officer, and several men in the Fore Top down, tore the Mark VI Dumaresq from its platform, and knocked over the Rate Transmitter in the Fore Top putting it out of action.
Two 3-inch voice pipes were broken just under the control top, and squashed flat, probably by splinters.
Fore Top Range Finder was in correct adjustment previous to the action, but was found to be much out shortly after fire had opened.
Range taking was impossible during the greater part of the action, due to funnel smoke, gun smoke &c.
Range finder was on several occasions covered with spray from shell bursting short and sending up quantities of water into the Fore Top.
“A” turret reports - Range taking was most difficult. Owing to great range and elevation of guns, the muzzles fouled the range finder.
Glasses were continually obscured by spray.
The use of lasin on the glasses was found very effective.
"P” turret reports - Range taking practically impossible owing to smoke chiefly from funnels.
“Q” turret reports - impossible to use the range finder during the long period of smoke interference.
“X” turret reports - Range taking was impossible owing to smoke from our own ship.
General - Some means should available to clean spray from range finder windows, without sending men on top of the turret. It is thought that a 6-inch round hole might be cut in the roof of the turret under each window, so that a man can put his hand up and wipe over the window.
Control of Fire:
Fire was controlled from the Fore Top generally, but on three occasions turrets had to be put into local control, on one occasion primary control from “A” turret was resorted to. These periods only lasted for two or three minutes each, and were due to the target being entirely obscured by funnel smoke from the Fore Top.
During these periods the turrets report that they had great difficulties firing, and that spotting was practically impossible.
During each lull in the action “Check fire" was ordered from the Fore Top to all turrets, and opportunities were taken to make good minor defects.
The control of fire was generally most difficult due to the following causes:
1. Funnel smoke, and gun smoke from our own ship, which at times completely obscured the target.
2. Spray from short shot occasionally covering all glasses with salt water.
3. Considerable shaking of the mast whenever “A” turret was fired – this was chiefly due to the starboard strut of the foremast being much damaged.
4. Spotting voice pipe to Fore Transmitting Station being put out of action; the pipe that was being used was also crushed, and orders had to be shouted down and constantly repeated.
5. Dumaresq and Rate Transmitter being knocked down, made it necessary to shout rates down the voice pipe.
6. The Control Party in the Fore Top were twice knocked down by blast of bursting shell, but no one was injured.
7. Considerable spread of our own fall of shot, apparently due to the Gun-layers and Trainers of “P" and “Q” turrets being much dazed by blast when turrets were fired across the deck, and also to the laying being (reported by all Gun-layers except “A”) very difficult owing to own funnel smoke, and also splashes of enemy shell falling short.
8. Great difficulty in keeping the shot on the target, due to the rate constantly changing. This appears to have been due to the enemy zig-zagging, and at the long range these alterations of course, in and out, I could not be detected by eye or by rangefinder. This zig-zag appears to have been at least two points each side of the enemy’s normal course, and the alteration of course to have taken place every three or four minutes.
9. The range was generally 12,000 to 14,000 yards. Fire was opened at 16.000 yards with the guns at their maximum elevation.
Except at the close of the action the range was outside 10,000 yards.
10. It was often very difficult to see overs, or hits, unless a bright flame accompanied the hit. This was especially the case Towards the end of the action when there was some mist.
1. A number of pins of caps of lyddite shell were very difficult to remove probably due to the transfer rammer in working chamber bearing on the caps when ramming the shell into the gun loading cage.
Special hooks had to be made for these pins, and pliers were also provided.
Some pins could not be removed at all, and shells were fired with their caps on.
2. Total number of 12” rounds fired 513.
3. The only damage consequence to the gunnery equipment of the ship is that done to No.2 4-inch gun, starboard, which was cut in half by a shell. The other damages to guns and mountings are all of a trivial nature, and can be repaired by ship’s staff.
Arrangements for embarking and readjusting ammunition.
At the end of the action the following amount of ammunition remained in the four turrets:
“A” 12 rounds.
“P” 112 rounds.
“Q” 104 rounds.
“X” 29 rounds.
It therefore became urgently necessary to equalise what was left as quickly as possible.
The rearrangements for embarking, and therefore for making the above mentioned re-adjustment of ammunition are however badly designed, very slow, and not without danger, and it is urgently submitted that the proposals put forward in “Invincible’s” letters of 6th February 1914 and 4th June 1914 (referred to in Admiralty letters G. 14363/14/9271 of 21st April 1914 to Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth) may be reconsidered.
“Invincible” will shortly have to embark approximately a ¾ outfit, and in the circumstances of war it is most necessary that this shall be effected quickly and safely.
In a large ship there should be at least four smoke helmets; there being only one in this ship caused much inconvenience, and as a help in entering dense smoke, or fumes it use is undoubted.
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