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Ship: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Cause of Damage: Torpedo
Date: 12 November 1943
Place: Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville Is.
Class: FLETCHER DD 445
Standard Displacement: 2100 tons
Length Overall: 376' 5"
Beam:  39' 7"
Draft Before Damage:  13' 1" (Estimated)
Launched: 11 October 1942


1.     At 0301, 2 November 1943, a torpedo (probably launched by the Shiratsuyu class destroyer Samidare during the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay)detonation at about frame 203 on the rudder skeg destroyed all structure aft of frame 196, deflected upward the hull remaining aft of frame 182, and bent both propeller shafts so that the engines had to be stopped immediately (Photo 66, Plate 33). The main deck was wrinkled deeply and cracked in six places between frames 166 port and 170 starboard. These wrinkles continued in the shell plating down to the turn of the bilge, and there were similar deep wrinkles in the shell plating at frame 163 (Photo 67). Considerable damage to shell plating near the stern tubes resulted before the shafts could be stopped (Photos 67, 68). Minor structural failure occurred at frame 30. Within two minutes, extensive flooding aft reduced the draft forward to 6' and caused a 5° port list that brought the deck edge aft of frame 172 flush with the water. By 0600 damage control measures undertaken by F00TE had removed the list and restored 6" freeboard aft. F00TE was taken under tow at 0638 and arrived at Purvis Bay, Florida Island, Solonon Islands at 1500, 4 November. Enroute, the freeboard aft had been increased 2" by cutting away 75 square feet of damaged main deck plating and jettisoning damaged equipment.

2.     At Purvis Bay, where no drydocking facilities were available, WHITNEY (AD 4) made temporary repairs to improve strength and make FOOTE seaworthy for tow. Divers examined the underwater body thoroughly and established that the hull was intact forward of frame 157. Other measures undertaken were:

       (a)  Reduction of trim by stern. All forward fuel tanks and peak tanks A-1W and A-501W were ballasted. Five hundred 5" powder cans, filled with water, were placed forward of frame 30. Outboard shafting and propellers were removed. Most of the damaged structure aft of frame 182 was cut away (Photo 69). 5"/38 gun and mount






  No. 5, and 5"/38 gun 4 were removed. 5"/38 and 40 mm ammunition were removed from the after magazines. All removable equipment, including eiectrical wiring, was taken from compartments C-203L and C-204L. Salvageable equipment, stores and spare parts were stowed forward for ballast.
       (b)  Restoration of buoyancy and watertight integrity. Simultaneously with the efforts to increase freeboard aft, the flooded compartments on the lst platform were unwatered and made tight by welding, use of wooden plugs, etc. C-304M was unwatered and made watertight; C-301M was unwatered and leakage was reduced to about 50 gallons per hour, which could be controlled by available pumping facilities. Bulkhead 182 was made watertight above the lst platform by welding a plate over the doors; installing additional welded stiffeners and shoring. Bulkhead 170 above the lst platform was made tight by welding a plate over the doors and shoring. Bulkheads 157, 163, 170, 175, and 182 in the after magazines were shored.
       (c)  Restoration of longitudinal strength. 4" x 3"-20#/20# welded T stiffeners with tapered ends and web brackets were installed in way of damaged structure on the main deck and sheer strake, frame 154-176 (Plate 34, Photo 67). Four 3" x 20# flatbar stiffeners were welded on the main deck, frame 26-32.

3.     FOOTE was taken under tow for Espiritu Santos on 23 November. Enroute, FOOTE yawed excessively, apparently as the result of removing the damaged structure aft. At Espiritu Santos, FOOTE was placed in drydock and the following repairs were made by DIXIE (AD 14).


       (a)  Additional longitudinal strength members were installed on the main deck (Plate 34).
       (b)  A stern cofferdam was added aft of bulkhead 182 (Plates 34 and 35, Photo 70).
       (c)  Two fixed fins were installed to improve towing characteristics (Plate 35, Photos 70 and 71). These fins were effective in preventing excessive yawing during tow to San Francisco.
       (d)  Flush patches were welded over the damaged shell in the stern tube areas (Plate 36, Photo 72).
       (e)  Bulkheads 157, 170, and 182 were made watertight.



- 78 -

Photo 66: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
View from starboard quarter after arrival - Purvis Bay, Tulagi .
Photo 67: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Wrinkles in shell plating frame 163, port. Damaged plating in way of port shaft can be seen at lower right corner. Note external longitudinal stiffener on sheer strake installed at Purvis Bay.
Photo 68: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Damage to shell caused by starboard shaft.
Photo 69: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Condition of stern after repairs by WHITNEY. Taken in drydock at Espiritu Sento.
Photo 70: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Looking forward at completed 10# bulkhead of stern cofferdam. Note termination of skeg at frame 177. Note 15# fins stiffened on inboard side by two 4" L, five 12" x 15# brackets to shell, two 3 1/2 pipe struts to keel. See Plate 36.
Photo 70: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Looking inboard at port towing fin.
Photo 70: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Flush patch over starboard stern tube./TD>
Plate 33: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Torpedo Damage
Plate 34: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Reinforcement of main deck & sheet strake
Plate 35: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Stern Cofferdam
Plate 34: USS FOOTE (DD 511)
Detail of repair to shell in way of starboard shaft.

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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