USS Bonhomme Richard on Fire

The roughly 1 million gallons of fuel remaining onboard is being isolated with fire crews working flat out to see that remains unaffected.

Seems the potential for this to get worse remains. Two other ships, the USS Fitzgerald and USS Russell, have move away, threatened by the burning Bonhomme Richard. One around 1 p.m. and the second 30 minutes later.

The fire migrated to the ship's island superstructure with its bridge seen engulfed in flames, the ships island cntains the ship's most critical electronics, radars, electronic warfare arrays, along with many of its communications systems, alongside that the structure that houses half of the ship's Rolling Airframe Missile and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile launchers.

Both have been engulfed with flame and now seen to be leaning. It is seeming more and more unlikely that this will be a salvageable event, a serious loss to the USN USMC.

 
Last edited:
I’m curious, what would be the minimum crew needed to move a destroyer under her own power the other side of the harbour? My guess would be OOW, helmsman, lookouts on the bridge, comms bloke, mooring crews fore & aft, team in the engine room. Maybe 15-20 or so overall?

To what degree are ships in port kept at readiness to move? Say a three week leave period at home port, is there a crew on board at all times with the minimum skills to move the ship in the event of something like this? Not much good if you have 15 blokes on board and they’re all weapons engineers, medics and chefs and the flat top down the quay goes up like this. Or is that just a risk that the Navy lives with and ships blokes in to move ships if necessary? I’d imagine it would take a bit of time to make sure the ship is ready to move, there could be all kinds of stores unsecured, take time to spin up the engines and generators etc.
Normally when you go alongside you’ll shut down to a certain Notice for sea. Often 24 hours. During a maintenance period or Upkeep period it would be longer. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t cold move quicker If you needed to. If they were available you just bung a generator on the switchboard instead of shore power and bobs your uncle. Berthing teams close up and tie up tugs then let go all lines. I seriously doubt the DDGs hot moved under their own power on a Sunday morning. Possibly if the grown ups got back onboard quickly after the BHR fire was evident they could have but I think they are Gas Turbine and gearbox power plants so there is a period of time needed to warm through the gearboxes before sailing. If it was too bad they could even move dead ship with everything turned off and tugs doing the moving.

The duty watch is generally a cross section of all departments, trades and ranks. You’ve got engineers of both flavours, dabbers, loggies etc. Not sure how similar the USN is as they tend to be more specialist in role.

Historical note: It used to be a fairly standard question on promotion boards for engineers to ask, “it’s Sunday morning and just the duty watch are onboard. You get instructions to ready the ship for sailing. What would you do?”
 
The roughly 1 million gallons of fuel remaining onboard is being isolated with fire crews working flat out to see that remains unaffected.

Seems the potential for this to get worse remains. Two other ships, the USS Fitzgerald and USS Russell, have move away, threatened by the burning Bonhomme Richard. One around 1 p.m. and the second 30 minutes later.

The fire migrated to the ship's island superstructure with its bridge seen engulfed in flames, the ships island cntains the ship's most critical electronics, radars, electronic warfare arrays, along with many of its communications systems, alongside that the structure that houses half of the ship's Rolling Airframe Missile and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile launchers.

Both have been engulfed with flame and now seen to be leaning. It is seeming more and more unlikely that this will be a salvageable event, a serious loss to the USN USMC.


I hate it when the Indian Navy gets the chance to take the piss...
 
Both have been engulfed with flame and now seen to be leaning. It is seeming more and more unlikely that this will be a salvageable event, a serious loss to the USN USMC.

The damage to the steel structure would, by now, make it impossible to save for re-fit. The heat will not only buckle the steel but it would change the tensile strength, weakening it significantly.
Having said that, Knock Nevis/ Jahre Viking was heavily damaged by fire in the Iran/ Iraq war and sunk but returned to service, scrapped about a decade ago.
 

RBMK

Old-Salt
Did anybody notice a bloke in a purple cloak and a whiff of sulphur in the air just before the fire?
 
The damage to the steel structure would, by now, make it impossible to save for re-fit. The heat will not only buckle the steel but it would change the tensile strength, weakening it significantly.
Having said that, Knock Nevis/ Jahre Viking was heavily damaged by fire in the Iran/ Iraq war and sunk but returned to service, scrapped about a decade ago.
How safe would it have been in combat? Cost?

Sometimes a bitter pill has to be accepted.
 
Historical note: It used to be a fairly standard question on promotion boards for engineers to ask, “it’s Sunday morning and just the duty watch are onboard. You get instructions to ready the ship for sailing. What would you do?”
What's the correct answer? Does it start with 'order big eats'?
 
The ship’s been in commission for 22 years, and the fire has burned for 24 hrs, consuming the bridge, aft island CIWS platform, gone from end to end and is currently doing the below. I am going to take a wild guess here and say the next America class will be called Bonhomme Richard, and an additional ship will be ordered.

 

theinventor

Old-Salt
There must come a point when a "controlled sinking" is your best hope of extinguishing the fire. Just a question of whether to do it in harbour or drag her out to sea, either way lots to clean up later.
 

philc

LE
Exactly what I was wondering. Would it have survived two or three hits by Chinese C802 missiles, for example?
Depends, ship closed up for action stations, damage control parties primed and ready, where missiles hit, above water line, upper deck and if war head does go off. Lots of variables.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
This site has some excellent hi-res photos:
The one below is a snip as it's too big to load here.

View attachment 489417
Actually, very sad to see.

I echo the comment up-thread: my heart goes out to the captain and crew, this must be absolutely gut-wrenching.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top