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Ship: USS KEARNY (DD 432)
Cause of Damage: Submarine Torpedo (One)
Date: 17 October 1941
Place: North Atlantic
Standard Displacement: 1630 tons
Length Overall: 348' 4"
Beam:  36' 1"
Draft Before Damage: Not known
Launched: 9 March 1940


1.     While KEARNY was escorting a convoy in the North Atlantic, a torpedo detonated at frame 72, starboard, about 8 feet above the base line. The explosion caused a hole in the shell about 20 feet long by 16 feet high (Plate 27, Photo 56). The 17-pound sheer strake was dished inward, but did not fracture. The 25-pound starboard deck stringer plate bulged upward, but did not break. The strake of 8-pound plate inboard of the deck stringer was blown out. Fresh water tank B-5W was destroyed. The forward portion of B-7W, adjacent to the shell damage, was badly torn, but the remainder was substantially intact and the after portion was only moderately distorted. Structure on the port side of the ship was not damaged. After the attack, wind and sea conditions were favorable and KEARNY was able to proceed under her own power at a speed of 10 knots to Iceland, distance of 400 miles.

2.     When informed of the damage and that KEARNY was proceeding to Iceland, VULCAN made plans for using a cofferdam to make repairs. An estimate was made concerning the material required for constructing a cofferdam and restoring hull strength. That on hand was insufficient for these purposes, therefore, plates and shapes were obtained from other ships present, and a few random size shapes and plates and 100 18-foot lengths of 4" x 8" yellow pine were obtained from sources ashore. The damaged side of KEARNY was brought alongside VULCAN on 19 October so that diving operations could be conducted in the 1ee between the two ships. The next few days were occupied with removing debris, water, fuel oil, etc. in preparation for repairs and to rehabilitate the damaged living quarters. The draft in way of the forward fireroom was reduced 12 inches by removing ammunition, stores, one anchor and chain. Diving operations were conducted as permitted by weather conditions and work on other ships. A section of the bilge keel in way of the after end of the caisson was cut away with an underwater cutting torch. Dimensions for






templates of the two ends and bottom of the cofferdam were lifted. The templates were constructed and checked to insure proper fit to the distorted shell plating.

3.     The material available for constructing the cofferdam consisted of 100 18-foot lengths of 4" x 8" yellow pine, a limited supply of 1/2" wool felt, crews mattresses, canvas and odd lengths of various structural shapes. Over 1500 bolts, varying in length up to 18", were manufactured from 1/2" to 1" stock. Details of the cofferdam are shown on Plates 28 and 29. The outboard side was 4 feet from the shell plating at the top and 3 feet at the bottom. The space within was wide enough to permit plates to be lowered and to allow welding on the outside of the shell. The caisson was 36 feet long, with main frames every 9 feet. Planking was bolted to the frames and end sections. Brackets fabricated from 4" x 4" x 1/2" angle were bolted to the planking at intervals. One lifting pad backed up with 15-pound plate was bolted to the inside of each end of the caisson. Three straps fabricated from 3/8" plate were installed at the bottom for securing hogging lines to hold the cofferdam against the hull. Similar straps were provided at the top of the caisson at both ends. Turnbuckles, approximately 5' long, were secured to these straps and to pad eyes welded an the shell in order to adjust the cofferdam and hold it against the hull. Two longitudinal trusses were bolted 2 feet and 7 feet from the top of the caisson (Plate 29). They were fabricated mainly from 4" x 4" x 1/2" angle, but other available material also was used. Six braces of 2-1/2" x 4" x l2" channel, formed to fit the inside curvature of the cofferdam, were bolted to each plank. A tension rod of 2" x 1/2" strap was welded between the ends of each brace. All seams were caulked with oakum and the three bearing edges were covered with a three inch thick gasket made from felt or mattress stuffing covered with canvas. Wood two by fours, extending about three feet beyond each end of the cofferdam, were nailed in place and staging was provided at the lower edge for use of the divers.

4.     After the caisson was completed and favorable weather conditions prevailed, KEARNY was breasted out by using a large camel and the ship was listed 18° to port. The cofferdam which weighed 11 tons was lifted, hogging lines were secured to the lower edge and water ballast was added. Chain falls rigged on the main deck, port side, were used to pull taut the hogging lines. When in position, the turnbuckles were shackled to the pad eyes on the side of the ship and the cofferdam was pulled tight. Divers, sent down to verify the correct position of the caisson,found that B strake in way of the lower edge of the cofferdam was



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bent inward. Accordingly, a template was taken and a wedge 12' long and having a maximum width of 3" was made from felt covered with canvas. This was secured in place by strips of 4" x 1/8" plate, nailed with 5" boat nails. After this wedge had been installed, seven 200 GPM submersible pumps and one fire and bilge pump were started and the cofferdam seated immediately. The water level was lowered to just below E strake and staging was erected in the cofferdam. Once the water level was established, only one submersible pump was required to control the leakage. However, water pressure caused 5-inch deflection of the cofferdam. Therefore, when E strake had been fitted, a 6" x 12" wood shore was run between one of its supporting longitudinals and the steam drum of boiler 1. A second 6" x 12" wood shore was installed between the outside of the plating and the cofferdam, and wedges were used between the shore and cofferdam to remove the deflection.

5.     The extent of repairs to shell plating are shown on Plates 29 and 30. Strakes F and G, which were above the waterline, were repaired while the cofferdam was being constructed. Strake E was installed after the first lowering of water inside the caisson. Welding on the inside of strakes F and G proceeded simultaneously with that on the outside of strake E. When welding on strake E was completed, the water level was lowered so that work could proceed on strake F. Plates in this strake were rolled, and small fairing plates were used at the ends to connect to the new plating. All plates were tack welded and the bottom edges were held in place by chain falls secured to pad eyes. Welding was commenced at the center of the strake and proceeded towards the ends. When it had been completed, the caisson was pumped dry and work began on the closing strake C. Plates were lowered and pulled into place by chain falls inside the ship. After welding had progressed sufficiently to hold the plate rigidly, templates were lifted for the framing. Web frames were installed at frames 67, 70,74 and 77. Intermediate frames and longitudinals were installed to duplicate the original structure as nearly as possible within the limits of the material available. The completed repairs were inspected for tightness as the caisson was filled slowly.

6.    Repairs to the main deck (Plates 30 and 31) were undertaken after completion of those to the shell. A 25 pound stringer plate, stiffened by three 10" x 5" x 15#/15# built up I beams, was installed between frames 66 and 85. The next inboard strake was replaced by 15-pound plate.






7.    Simultaneous repairs had been made to rehabilitate living spaces, overhaul machinery, restore the weathertightness of the deck house, replace damaged piping lines and establish communications throughout the ship. Bulkhead 67 was repaired. KEARNY attained a speed of 25 knots on a post repair trial and proceeded to the United States in company with a fast convoy.

















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Photo 56: USS KEARNY (DD 432)
Damage to shell plating and main deck.
Plate 27: USS KEARNY (DD 432)
Torpedo Damage
Plate 28: USS KEARNY (DD 432)
Plate 29: USS KEARNY (DD 432)
Plate 30: USS KEARNY (DD 432)
Frame 74, Looking Fwd.
Plate 31: USS KEARNY (DD 432)
Replaced Main Deck Plating

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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