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Lexington(CV-2) and Taiho Question

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One thing that these two carriers experienced were MASSIVE internal explosions that doomed them. so how is it that Lexington suffered fewer loss of her crew in contrast to Taiho? Was it just pure luck or skill of the damage control teams?

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Lexington was under air attacks and so the crews were on high alert also there were multiple explosions on Lexington not just a single massive explosion that doomed the ship.

 

Taiho's fate was due to poor damage control management (that basically turned Taiho into one big bomb), poorly trained crew, and the design of the ship that allowed such a critical condition to occur with the gas vapors accumulating.

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3 hours ago, Vader_Sama said:

Lexington was under air attacks and so the crews were on high alert also there were multiple explosions on Lexington not just a single massive explosion that doomed the ship.

The explosions that rocked Lexington came hours later. The real difference was that the damage control team recognized the impending problem, but were not able to fix it. Informed of the danger, the officers got non-essential personnel up top.

 

The loss of the Lexington taught the USN a valuable lesson. Someone on board the Yorktown nearby came up with the solution of flooding fuel lines with CO2 gas. This made the CV less volatile during non flight operations or when an attack is incoming.

The Japanese never really learned this lesson. The Japanese were also forced to use unrefined oil because the US kept sinking the tankers. The oil they used was extremely flammable.

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20 hours ago, Prothall said:

The explosions that rocked Lexington came hours later. The real difference was that the damage control team recognized the impending problem, but were not able to fix it. Informed of the danger, the officers got non-essential personnel up top.

 

The loss of the Lexington taught the USN a valuable lesson. Someone on board the Yorktown nearby came up with the solution of flooding fuel lines with CO2 gas. This made the CV less volatile during non flight operations or when an attack is incoming.

The Japanese never really learned this lesson. The Japanese were also forced to use unrefined oil because the US kept sinking the tankers. The oil they used was extremely flammable.

from what i gathered Lexington suffered a total of 3 big massive internal explosions before going down. were they as bad as the "big one" on Taiho or considered "minor" in comparison?

i mean looking at this reminds of Taiho's explosion which look pretty bad

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Large_explosion_aboard_USS_Lexington_(CV-2)%2C_8_May_1942_(80-G-16651).jpg

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you'd really need to see film of the explosion.

A picture is simply an image caught in a single moment. Yes some can be very impactful, but they dont give a full story. Add in that the camera man would have to take that photo at the right moment, and really who knows right when something is going to explode?
 

 

As for the explosions themselves, by the time Lexington was really exploding she'd been pretty much abandoned. The fires were pretty much out of control.

Lexington did experience multiple explosions, but was still able to launch and land aircraft after the first explosions. It was only after the explosions that took out the forward elevator and power systems that she began to have problems. Another explosion took out the pumping systems rendering fire fighting efforts ineffective. The uncontrolled fires forced the evacuation of the ship. Multiple explosions occurred after that, but even then they had a DD fire torpedoes at her to finally get her to sink.

Taiho was the more violent of the two as because of the flawed damage control measures, gas vapor was spread across the ship. When it found that spark, she went up. The flight deck bulged upward, the sides were blown out, and she began to sink. It was only after the Admiral left the ship that a second explosion occurred and the ship sank.

 

 

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7 hours ago, The_Big_Red_1 said:

from what i gathered Lexington suffered a total of 3 big massive internal explosions before going down. were they as bad as the "big one" on Taiho or considered "minor" in comparison?

i mean looking at this reminds of Taiho's explosion which look pretty bad

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Large_explosion_aboard_USS_Lexington_(CV-2)%2C_8_May_1942_(80-G-16651).jpg

That's one of the explosions about an hour after they evacuated the ship. 

There is also of course design - something people forget is CV 2 Lexington was not started as a carrier, but a battle cruiser. Her hull was far more solidly built to start. Taiho not so much, part of why the explosion ripped it apart the way it did. The other is that her elevator wells were the top of her fuel tank, which had almost no protection, all below the water line and her lower hanger was barely above it. 

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The first explosions and initial fire in Lexington happened in spaces like the forward elevator well that were not normally occupied so there was little loss of life  the crew fought the resulting fire as it spread.  More serious but not fatal detonations occurred as the fire spread.  But there was no magazine explosion and when it became apparent the ship was doomed the crew abandoned it and were picked up by escorting ships. 

That Lexington was lost at all is mostly due to some known flaws in the design that were fixed in Saratoga like the widespread use of cast iron piping.  This was replaced in Saratoga by welded steel pipe in the long refits that she went through.  Refitting the ship to reduce vulnerability was a major reason the Saratoga spent so much time in the yards.  Lexington would have done likewise if she'd survived returning from Coral Sea.

In Taiho's case, the damage control officer, a junior officer (normal for the IJN) with little experience and training in damage control (also common)  wanted to keep the carrier operational so he sealed the inoperable forward elevator opening and had that shored and boarded over to make the flight deck usable, something the admiral aboard agreed with.  The Taiho much like Lexington, had an enclosed hanger bay.  As the torpedo damage had ruptured some of the avgas fuel tanks, fumes spread and had nowhere to vent to.  The DC officer ordered the ventilation system and many hatches to be opened to try to vent the fumes but this spread them to more areas of the ship.  Once they built up to explosive levels in the elevator well and hanger, they detonated and the ship became an inferno.  While the crew tried to put the fires out, their efforts were ineffective and its likely an ordinance magazine detonated sinking the ship rapidly.  This combination led to the heavy loss of life.

Edited by Murotsu

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On 7/28/2020 at 8:37 AM, Murotsu said:

The first explosions and initial fire in Lexington happened in spaces like the forward elevator well that were not normally occupied so there was little loss of life  the crew fought the resulting fire as it spread.  More serious but not fatal detonations occurred as the fire spread.  But there was no magazine explosion and when it became apparent the ship was doomed the crew abandoned it and were picked up by escorting ships. 

That Lexington was lost at all is mostly due to some known flaws in the design that were fixed in Saratoga like the widespread use of cast iron piping.  This was replaced in Saratoga by welded steel pipe in the long refits that she went through.  Refitting the ship to reduce vulnerability was a major reason the Saratoga spent so much time in the yards.  Lexington would have done likewise if she'd survived returning from Coral Sea.

In Taiho's case, the damage control officer, a junior officer (normal for the IJN) with little experience and training in damage control (also common)  wanted to keep the carrier operational so he sealed the inoperable forward elevator opening and had that shored and boarded over to make the flight deck usable, something the admiral aboard agreed with.  The Taiho much like Lexington, had an enclosed hanger bay.  As the torpedo damage had ruptured some of the avgas fuel tanks, fumes spread and had nowhere to vent to.  The DC officer ordered the ventilation system and many hatches to be opened to try to vent the fumes but this spread them to more areas of the ship.  Once they built up to explosive levels in the elevator well and hanger, they detonated and the ship became an inferno.  While the crew tried to put the fires out, their efforts were ineffective and its likely an ordinance magazine detonated sinking the ship rapidly.  This combination led to the heavy loss of life.

makes me wonder what would have happened if Lexington had not sunk at Coral Sea but was instead heavily damaged like Yorktown.

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1 hour ago, The_Big_Red_1 said:

makes me wonder what would have happened if Lexington had not sunk at Coral Sea but was instead heavily damaged like Yorktown.

Likely Lexington would have headed for the West Coast after temporary repairs at Pearl Harbor to take Saratoga's place in the yards for upgrades and permanent repairs.  If you think about it, the repairs would take several weeks due there being torpedo damage, so Lexington would likely miss Midway anyway.  Saratoga was coming out of the yards and headed back into the Pacific so the Lexington most likely goes to Bremerton for permanent repairs.

Edited by Murotsu

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