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The problem of effecting temporary repairs to damaged ships was encountered frequently during World War II and was handled with varying degrees of success. It was never feasible to make complete repairs to seriously damaged vessels in the forward area. Accordingly, repair work ordinarily was limited to that which would enable the ship to proceed to a larger repair activity and eventually to a shipyard. Repairs to machinery and electrical equipment were in most instances limited to rerouting piping, installation of spare parts, preservation and baking out of intact equipment that had been in flooded spaces, or repairs normally considered within the capacity of the ship's force. These types of repairs are treated thoroughly in manufacturers instruction books, the Bureau of Ships Manual, training instruction books and other readily available sources. Comparatively little data is available, however, concerning the more important repairs to seriously damaged structure which are required to enable a ship to withstand the hazards of a voyage in the open ocean.

Examples of repairs made during World War II are presented to familiarize repair activities with types of problems with which they may be confronted and to facilitate their solutions of them. The selection of examples has been influenced by the desire to include representative types of damage, the availability of information concerning the repairs made and the effectiveness of the repairs. In most instances, the action of the repair activity was soundly conceived and executed. The cases of O'BRIEN and ERIE are included in contrast to emphasize the serious consequences of inadequate repairs or poorly conceived procedures. For the sake of brevity, details of procedures for unwatering flooded spaces, making attachments between original and replacement structures, removing damaged structure and the results of stability and strength calculations are presented only for selected examples. However, these phases are of paramount importance in all cases of damage repairs.

Ideally, repairs should restore the ship to her condition before damage. Usually, sufficient plans are available aboard a ship to indicate the scantlings of essential structure. In the event no plans are available, it is possible to obtain measurements from adjacent structure. However, limitations of time, manpower, materials and facilitiex`s usually will necessitate some compromise with the ideal. Nevertheless, it is imperative that the repairs, even though temporary, embody sound engineering principles and practices, be adequate to permit safe passage of the ship and be accomplished safely and without hazard to the ship or personnel.






Design Data for plating and stiffeners is contained in the Bureau of Ships pamphlets listed below which are included in the technical files of every repair activity. The standards prescribed in them represent sound practice and should be followed insofar as possible when repairing damaged structure.

     (a) Design Data for T Section Beams and Stiffeners. C&R No. 002213-A.
(b) Design Data for Tee Type Beam and Stiffener Brackets. BuShips No. 015025.
(c) Formulae for Determination of Scantlings for Flat Plating and Stiffeners subject to Water Pressure. C&R No. 002213.
(d) Design Data for Tee Stiffeners. Proportions for Lateral Stability and Requirements for Lateral Support to Prevent Tripping. BuShips No. 017969,

     The principal features illustrated by the included cases are:

1.   Stability During Repairs.

This problem is discussed in considerable detail in Chapter 88 of the Bureau of Ships Manual. Before repairs are begun on any ship that has appreciable flooding, a careful estimate of stability should be made. A continuing analysis should be made of the effect on stability of moving, removing, or adding stores, equipment, floodwater, ammunition, structure, etc. ERIE provides a most serious example of the result of failure to make these calculations. The care taken to maintain continuous knowledge of the stability condition of RENO throughout her repairs provides a welcome contrast.

2.   Restoration of Longitudinal Strength.

Ordinarily, there will not be sufficient data on hand in the forward area to permit a complete strength calculation. However, it is comparatively easy to calculate the moment of inertia of a section incorporating planned repairs and compare it with that of the intact section. Such a calculation will establish the adequacy of planned repairs. Failure to provide sufficient replacement structure to restore the loss of strength resulting from damage and to provide adequate continuity of the replacement structure was responsible for loss of O'BRIEN which was not severely



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damaged by the initial explosion. The wide dissemination given this case aided in preventing similar occurrences during World War II. The cases of RENO, CANBFRRA, HOUSTON, WADLEIGH and NEWCOMB illustrate more effective repairs to longitudinal strength.

3.   Replacement of Local Strength.

     Repairs to restore local strength and support for large weights are provided in the cases of RENO and SELFRIDGE. The goal of this type of repair is to insure continuity of support for massive items down to the shell.

4.   Watertight Integrity.

     Repairs to restore lost watertight integrity are discussed in detail in Chapter 88 of the Bureau of Ships Manual. They figure in every case of primary damage to the underwater body and in many cases where the primary damage occurred above the waterline. This feature is illustrated particularly in the Cases of NEWCOMB, CANBERRA, RENO and HOUSTON.

5.   Temporary Bow Structure.

     The case of SELFRIDGE is used to illustrate this type of repair which was required on many ships of destroyer and cruiser types.

6.   Temporary Stern Structure.

     The case of FOOTE illustrates this type of repair to damage that was experienced in several instances by destroyers.

7.   Temporary Steering Facilities.

     The adverse effect of loss of deadwood aft was frequently observed in attempts to tow damaged ships. The fixed fins installed on FOOTE were very effective in reducing yaw during towing operations. In other cases of such damage to destroyers, temporary movable rudders that could be positioned by chain falls or by training of a gun mount proved equally effective. INTREPID was able to maneuver satisfactorily by use of her engines despite a damaged rudder that was positioned off-center. When the rudder was removed, however, the ship became unmaneuverable. A temporary rudder, positioned by cables that were run to the stern winch, restored her ability to maintain course within reasonable limits.





8.   Use of External Cofferdam.

Underwater repairs to KEARNY were made in Iceland when no drydock facilities were available. A cofferdam that was positioned by hogging lines and secured to the ship's side by water pressure was used in this instance. Plans were made for repairing WADLEIGH by the same method. After the cofferdam was built, however, drydock facilities became available, so the cofferdam was not used.

9.   Steel Repairs to Wood Vessel.

The completely satisfactory repairs to VIBURNUM exemplify the practicability of this type of repair







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National Archives & Records Administration, Seattle Branch
Record Group 181, Entry 59A-271 "13th Naval District Bremerton, Washington" General Correspondance 1947-1958
"Structural Repairs in Forward Areas During World War II" -BuShips Booklet dated December 1949.

Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.

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