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Lest We Forget: DM-357 TCG Muavenet


On 2nd October 1992, 11 minutes past midnight, during the NATO’s Display Determination ’92 naval exercise, two Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles fired accidentally from the aircraft carrier CV-60 USS Saratoga, hit the bridge of the Turkish destroyer DM-357 TCG Muavenet. 5 sailors including the commander of the ship were killed instantly and 15 badly hurt. A fire broke out on board. At the time of the incident two ships were 3 miles apart and were streaming north in the Aegean.

One of the missiles hit the ship approximately after a flight of ten seconds. The first missile hit the front of the ships bridge and destroyed it. The second missile exploded in the air probably because the blast of the first missile and peppered the ship with shrapnel. Ships radar antenna, forward gun turrets, hedgehog launcher suffered from the shrapnel damage. The pieces of the second missile penetrated the forward gun turret, cabins of the supply officer and XO.

A fire started at the ammunition chamber of the Hedgehog system. The explosion of the Hedgehog rounds would have caused the loss of the ships. After the hits general quarters were sounded and the fire fighting teams started to tackle the fire. On the other hand the damage control teams were throwing the ready ammunition in the forward gun turrets and other explosives near the fire over the board as a safety measure.

The fire was under control in 10 minutes but the water caused damage in the decks that were not harmed in the initial blast.

The extend of the damage resulting both from missile impact and fire is obvious. It was quite a skill to bring the fire under control before reached to the gun turret in B position. If the fire has spread further to the turrets and ammunition chambers of the guns, the she would not have survived.

All the fire fighting and damage control efforts were done in the absence of the commander of the ship. This fact speaks for the professionalism of the officers and the bravery of the whole crew.

They simply did not give up the ship.

Commander Kudret Güngör
Ensign Alertunga Akan
Petty Officer 3th Class Serkan Aktepe
Sergant Mustafa Kılınç
Private Recep Akan

Paid the ultimate price for the defence of their country.

 

For further reading:
US Navy Court of Inquiry

Turkish Navy Court of Inquiry

Wikipedia

An interesting but technical legal article about why USA did not paid indemnities to the Turkish sailors

 

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Where An Epoch Lies

Nusret

“Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground, You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies.”

18 March 1915 must have been an unforgettable day for a ship spotter.

A mighty Allied fleet consisting of HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lord Nelson, HMS Inflexible, HMS Prince George, HMS Triump, HMS Ocean, HMS Majestic, HMS Swiftsure, HMS Vengeance, HMS Irresistible, HMS Albion from Royal Navy, Gaulois, Charlemange, Bouvet, Suffren from French Navy were ready to fight the forts protecting Dardanelles.

The Royal Navy and French warships tried to force their way through the Dardanelles to affect the capture of Istanbul then capital of Ottoman Empire. This, it was hoped, would take Turkey out of the war and enable the Allies to shore up the Russian war effort on the Eastern Front, so relieving pressure on the Western Front.

Most of the ships of the Allied Fleet were old or made nearly obsolete with the fast advance of the new ships of the Dreadnought area. The first class capital ships were kept at home to protect it.

Nevertheless it was a fine and powerful Fleet and an epoch changing fight.

Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.00 on March 18, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. The old battleship had struck one of the mines laid ten days earlier by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a matter of minutes. After a very short time, HMS Inflexible and shortly later HMS Irresistible also struck mines planted by Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulois had to be beached at the nearby island of Tenedos, in order for their men to be rescued. Suffren was heavily damaged by Turkish guns and later had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allies to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture it and so remove the lethal gun barriers. It led bloody trench warfare and many thousands of dead on both sides.

As it dissipated over the waters the words of a famous Turkish poem that honors then sacrifice of the Gallipoli Campaign and its role in establishing nationhood rang through the minds of many who were there. One verse in particular seems to perfectly express Remembrance and the epic nature of the events experience by all nations who fought at Gallipoli, but especially the Turkish people:

‘Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground
You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;
Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound
Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.’

Where An Epoch Lies

Nusret

“Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground, You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies.”

CDY_6757

This is the replica of the Ottoman mine layer Nusrat. Her mines made a history. This small ship with her few mines had an impart on the history beyond her size.

One hundred and one years ago the idyllic town of Çanakkale was the center of a very fierce and bloody fighting, which shaped the directly the future of Turkey, which became a modern, secular state after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

A mighty armada of Royal Navy and French warships tried to force its was through the Dardanelles to effect the capture of Istanbul but then capital of Ottoman Empire. This, it was hoped, would take Turkey out of the war and enable the Allies to shore up the Russian war effort on the Eastern Front, so relieving pressure on the Western Front.

After the initiation of hostilities in mid-February 1915, the Allied armada effectively silenced the Ottoman outer defences on the both sides of the Çanakkale Strait. Next they would try to silence the inner forts and clear as many mines as possible.

The battleships were arranged in three lines, two British and one French, with supporting vessels on the flanks and two ships in reserve.

Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.00 on March 18, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. The old battleship had struck one of the mines laid ten days earlier by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a matter of minutes. After a very short time, HMS Inflexible and shortly later HMS Irresistible also struck mines planted by Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and FNS Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and FNS Gaulois had to be beached at the nearby island of Tenedos, in order for their men to be rescued. FNS Suffren was heavily damaged by Turkish guns and later had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allies to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture it and so remove the lethal gun barriers. It led bloody trench warfare and many thousands of dead on both sides.

As it dissipated over the waters the words of a famous Turkish poem that honours then sacrifice of the Gallipoli Campaign and its role in establishing nationhood rang through the minds of many who were there. One verse in particular seems to perfectly express Remembrance and the epic nature of the events experience by all nations who fought at Gallipoli, but especially the Turkish people:

‘Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground
You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;
Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound
Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.’

18 March 1915: Çanakkale Is Impassable

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The battlefield of the naval battle on 18 March 1915

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Fort Hamidiye under enemy fire during the battle on 18 March 1915

 

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A 381mm dud shell from dreadnought HMS Queen Elisabeth

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Fort Çimenlik in Çanakkale after the enemy bombardment

100 years ago the idyllic town Çanakkale was the center of a very fierce and bloody fighting. This fighting shaped the directly the future of Turkey, accelerate the end of the Romanov dynasty and created an unique Australian identity  following the war.

On 18 March 1915 when the Allied Armada made up of 18 battleships and numerous of cruisers and destroyers tried to forced her way up the Dardanelles. Their destination was Istanbul, the capital of Ottoman Empire.

Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.0, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. This old battleship had struck a mine. One of the mines laid ten days ago by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a very short time.

In a matter of a couple of minutes first HMS Inflexible and shortly  later HMS Irresistible struck to same mines from Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulios had to be beached at the near by small island in order to be rescued. Suffren heavily damaged by Turkish guns had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs..

Winston Churchill defined those mines as the reason for the prolonging of the war and the enormous casualties, in the interview he made with “Revue de Paris,” in 1930.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allied forces to land troops ob Gallipoli peninsula which led to long and bloody trench warfare.

The legacy and the heroism of the defenders of Çanakkale will never forgotten. Çanakkale geçilmez.

Lest We Forget: The Minelayer Nusret.

nusretn16

TCG Nusret. A swimming replica of the original.

There are a few ships, that directly influenced the history. The small minelayer Nusret is one of them. Perhaps the smallest of them.

Today is the 98th anniversary of the victory of Turkish forces over the Allied Fleet in the Dardanelles. It is the proper time to remember this small minelayer constructed in Germany  in service of Ottoman Navy as the mines she has planted changes the course of the history.

Known as the Çanakkale Naval Victory, in Turkey, this battle effectively sunk (no pun indented) the hopes of the British Admiralty and Churchill to force the Turkish Straits and a quickly dash to Istanbul to occupy it. This Turkish victory forced the Allies to use ground force in order to bring Dardanelles under their control and led to the merciless Gallipoli Campaign.

Churchill realized that if Allies could eliminate Ottoman Empire from the war, they could help Russia via Black Sea and could pressure Central Powers from the east as well.

While the main of the British Army deeply entrench in Belgium and France and the most potent s capital ships loitering in the North Sea Allied Forces had few forces to spare for such a secondary and diversionary front.

The plan of the British Admiralty was to bombard the forts that were protecting the shores of Dardanelles to annihilation and later clean the mines to open the way for Allied warships to sail to Istanbul.

The order of the battle for the Allied fleet consisted of HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lord Nelson, HMS Inflexible, HMS Prince George, HMS Triump,  HMS Ocean HMS Majestic HMS Swiftsure HMS Vengeance HMS Irresistible, HMS Albion from Royal Navy, Gaulois, Charlemange, Bouvet, Suffren from French Navy.

The fighting began at around 10:00 in the morning. Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied forces until at around 14:00 a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the Bouvet. She had struck a mine. The ship was in Erenköy Bay a part of the Strait previously cleared by Allied minesweepers and used by larger ships for maneuvering during previous engagements.

In the night of 8th March Nusret created a single line of 20 mines in the Erenköy Bay. This line was unique as she was parallel to the shore. This new single mine line consisting of 20 mines, changed the whole history.

During the heat of the action the Allied forces are not able to determine whether Bouvet hit a mine or was hit by a shell from a cannon ashore.

At 16:00 first HMS Inflexible, 5 minutes later HMS Irresistible struck to mines laid in Erenköy Bay. HMS Ocean was ordered to tow the now abandoned HMS Irresistible. But she too hit a mine at around 18:00, followed moments later by a shell that penetrated to a magazine below the water line.

Of the 16 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulios had to be beached at the near by small island in order to be rescued. Suffren heavily damaged by Turkish guns had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

Winston Churchill defined those mines as the reason for the prolonging of the war and the enormous casualties, in the interview he made with “Revue de Paris,” in 1930.

This Turkish victory forced the Allies to use ground force to occupy the hills commanding Dardanelles in order to destroy the forts protecting the straits and mine fields. This campaign was too destined to be a defeat for the Allies.

>The Legendary Mine Layer Nusret, In Active Duty Again!

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N-16 TCG Nusret

There are a few ships, that directly influenced the history. The small minelayer Nusret is one of them. Perhaps the smallest of them.

She was a German built mine layer in service of Ottoman Navy when she laid 20 new mines to a bay which was used previously cleared by Allied mine sweepers. This bay was used to maneuver Allied battleships when they were bombarding the forts along Dardanelles at the beginning of March 1915.

These latest mines of Nusret were laid parallel to the shore as an exception.

On 18 March 1915 when the Allied Armada forced her way up the Dardanelles, everything seem to be on their  side. until at around 14:00 a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the Bouvet. This old French battleship had struck a mine. One of the mines laid ten day ago by Nusret. Bouvet sank in a very short time.

A few hours later first HMS Inflexible and shortly  later HMS Irresistible struck to same mines from Nusret.

Of the 16 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulios had to be beached at the near by small island in order to be rescued. Suffren heavily damaged by Turkish guns had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs..

Winston Churchill defined those mines as the reason for the prolonging of the war and the enormous casualties, in the interview he made with “Revue de Paris,” in 1930.

The original Nusret was sold to a private company after her decommissioning from Turkish Navy in 1962. An unprecedented example of bureaucratic myopia and stupidity. She was used till late 80’ies when she sunk in Mersin Harbor. She was salvaged and bought by the Municipality of  Tarsus and restored. But as she was not  seaworthy anymore, she was placed on land.

Turkish Navy constructed a copy of the Nusret in Gölcük Naval Shipyard and launched her in September 2010. She was commissioned into the Turkish Navy on 11 February 2011 with the pennant number N-16.

N-16 TCG Nusret. A sailing legend.

Earlier this month she cruised under her own power from Gölcük to Çanakkale where she will serve as a floating museum. She took part in the remembrance and celebration of the victory against the Allied Fleet in 18 March 1915.

I wish her calm seas and friendly winds.

>Lest We Forget: DM-357 TCG Muavenet

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DM-357 TCG Muavenet

On 2nd October, 18 years ago Turkish Navy experienced one of its worst friendly fire incidents.

On 2nd October 1992, 11 minutes past midnight, during the NATO’s Display Determination ’92 naval exercise, two Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles fired accidentally from the aircraft carrier CV-60 USS Saratoga, hit the bridge of the Turkish destroyer DM-357 TCG Muavenet.

Five on the bridge were immediately killed including the commander of the ship. The fire caused by the impacts was taken out before it ignited the ammunition of the B turret or the Hedgehog ASW system just aft of the turret.

The stricken ship was able to reach Çanakkale under her own power, later she was towed to Gölcük Naval Base.

DM-357 TCG Muavenet was a special ship for me. This picture of hers, which I have taken back in 29 October 1989, was my very first photo to be published in Jane’s Fighting Ships in 1991 edition.

To commemorate the accidents anniversary, I have asked a couple fellow bloggers who where in US Navy at that, about their personal experiences following the incident. Xformed from the Blog Chaotic Synaptic Activity was kind enough to share his experience about the aftermath of this incident on US Navy.

The rest of this post is from xformed.

On Oct 2nd, 1992, the day of the USS SARATOGA (CV60)/TCG MAUVENET (DM57) incident, I had been at my job for 2 1/2 years. I was assigned as the Combat Systems Assessment (CSA) Officer for Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Atlantic (CNSL), but we were in the process of reorganizing into the Afloat Training Group (ATG) command, as the combat Systems Training Group (CSTG). My specific duties included the management of the process by which surface ships (this being a US Navy distinction, where aircraft carriers, and submarine tenders were not considered “surface ships” organizationally, as they “belonged” to the aviation or submarine Type Commanders respectively). I had played a significant role in redefining the inspection process, making it less of a material and safety look, and more of an operational/functional look, which put not just the crew’s capabilities in the spot light, but also how the chain of command handled internal training in combat systems/operations. My interaction with the events of that day did not being until Feb of 93. Background:


As the Department Head for the CSA shop, I most regularly was aboard two ships a week, in the Atlantic Fleet area (from Newport, RI, to Mayport, FL), but we were based out of Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, VA. My team, comprised of my own departmental personnel, and augmented by subject matters experts from the warfare training departments, was nominally about 12 – 15 enlisted, and one other officer as my assistant.


The CSA Inspection had been formally modified the prior August to have use first inspect the watchbills of the ship, followed by validating the proper qualifications in selected watchstander’s service records. We provided the same look at the ship’s combat Systems Training Team (CSTT), ensuring they had been properly training and qualified to train their shipmates. We also looked at key administrative programs and operational documents. I normally would check the ship’s use of the Personnel Qualification Systems (PQS), and LT Wycoff would inspect the use of the Explosives Handling Program/Qualification Certification Program (EHPQCP), which was put in place as the result of the fires aboard the USS FORESTAL (CV-59) and USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) off of Vietnam many years before. PQS had grown out of the Vietnam era as well, beginning in the Engineering world to standardize training and qualification methods aboard ship. As the impetus to create both of those programs were founded as a result of major fires aboard carriers, and many deadly engineering casualties, we treated them as foundational programs, necessary to safe and effective combat operations. My other team members reviewed many other programs and all of us would walk the major combat systems equipment and operational spaces, checking for safety issues.


Once completed, we would then (usually after lunch) begin the practical portion of the inspection, with the ship’s CSTT briefing the exercises they had planned for the watch teams. In addition to basic assignments of the CSTT members, they were required to specifically list what actions by the watchstanders would be simulated, and how they would be simulated. In addition, what safety considerations/procedures would be put in place during the exercise to make sure accidents didn’t occur, and everyone was fully aware of what would happen live, and what would be approved to “have been carried out.” While our goal was to ensure the ship’s operated well as individual units (my team’s charter), we took our mission seriously in regards to safety. Thankfully, across three years of inspecting, it was a rare occasion where my team or I had to stop things for safety reasons. Our advantage was the years and depth of experience that went aboard each inspection with me, or another senior officer. We had seen things, been trained in things, and brought that view to all we did. While we did not represent the captain’s CSTT, we were there to pass along how it was done, so the ship’s company would be able to operate as my team did.


Beyond safety, the myriad of other procedures used were apart of our daily emphasis: Combat Systems Doctrine, operational watchstanding and communications, Battle Orders, and Rules of Engagement (ROE), and the technical capabilities of the weapons and sensors used in combat operations.


Now, to catch up to my involvement. In early February 1993, CAPT Phil Balisle stepping into my office and told me I had been assigned to visit every Atlantic Fleet ship that had NATO Sea Sparrow installed, and to validate the crew’s understanding of the safe and effective operation of the equipment in a tactical scenario. Assigned to me were LCDR Don Diehl, presently attached to USS GEORGE WASHINGTON as the CDC Officer. FCCS(SW) Goss from Naval Guided Missile School, and FCC(SW) Dann of my office, CSTGLANT. FCCS Goss and FCC Dann were 1157 NSSMS technicians, which included the operator qualifications for using NSSMS.


I was put in touch with my counterpart from the Pacific Fleet, and within a few days, we had standardized the re-certification process. I pushed for and got, the conduct of a simulated engagement, run by the ship’s CSTT, to allow use to gauge the future capabilities of crews to properly maintain training and readiness.


Other included checks would be the qualifications of the watchstanders and the CSTT members, safety checks on the equipment, review of the EHPQCP records for completeness, and oral exams of the watchstanaders.


This was done, by my team, on all ships in the Atlantic Fleet, this time to include aircraft carriers. we ended up inspecting and certifying all of the units, with only one, the USS SEATTLE (AOE3), needing a reinspection, based on the records of qualifications not being properly documented. That earned the team a second visit to Naval Weapons Station Earle, NJ.


While not every inspection was perfect, the results of single ship redo was good. The highlight, I recall was the USS MOOSBRUGGER (DD-980) under then CDR Mike Moe, who had been a shipmate of mine years before, but his team was well trained and exceptionally competent in their operations and qualifications.


During the conduct of the oral examinations, LCDR Diehl, who had been flown to Naples to provide subject matter expert testimony to the Court of Inquiry, heard the entire testimony. He indicated, as is shown in the formal JAGMAN of the incident, that a lack of understanding of a the terminology “arm and tune” seemed to be the point where communication broke down, and then to belief this was to be an actual firing worked it’s way into the series of orders and actions. He also indicated, not covered in the report, that the FOC and ROC operators had been rousted out of their racks, in a non-routine schedule, about 2345, and told to get up and man their equipment right now. The confusion of such a significant request, at an odd hour seemed to Don to not have helped any in the assessments each sailor was making that night, leading to the mis-communications.


COMNAVAIRLANT had not adopted a formal establishment of the CSTT concept, which had been a Surface type commander requirement (by formal instruction) for several years. Some carriers had them, to some degree or another, and a few did not formally use the concept.


Following all of this, COMNAVAIRLANT (and I’m sure COMNAVAIRPAC) added a formal instruction for the establishment and organization of CSTTs on their units. When this accident occurred, my first thoughts in 92 were “I wondered how the CSTT let that happen?” The implementation of the CSTTs, then on surface ships and later on the aviation ships, was a safety measure to help prevent such occurrences. The simulation of actually firing the weapons, given the time of day (0002 L) would have been briefed, and the crew would have been required to verbally describe how they would have placed the system in a firing state to several of the CSTT members (one in the NSSMS Equipment room, and at least one in CDC withe the TAS Operator and SWC and TAO).


While none of this provides consolation to those who lost family members, I spent the next four months, traveling all the way to Hurgada, Egypt in one case, to validate the Fleet’s understanding of this important issue of safely training and operating. Deployed ships were not spared from a visit from an inspection team, and only the USS O’BANNON (DD-987), then in overhaul, did not get visited by my team. If I recall, there was an action item for a visit from the CSTG when the ship became operational again.


The use of many training methods, well entrenched in the Surface Ship Community, and with mostly in the Aviation Navy, had been able to keep such accidents from happening all along, and certainly have helped in preventing them since. As with our own internal experience with the fatal fires aboard USS FORESTAL (CV-59), lives were lost, but it gave rise to a long standing qualification process of weapons handling, to reduce our chances of such occurrences again.

>Lest We Forget: TCG Dumlupınar

>On 4 April 1953, Swedish freighter Naboland collided with Turkish submarine TCG Dumlupınar. She and her sister boat TCG 1. İnönü were returning from NATO exercise Blue Sea. At 02:15 in the morning Naboland rammed TCG Dumlupınar from starboard forecastle just aft of the forward diving planes. The submarine rolled to port with force of the impact and sunk immediately. 5 submarines that were at the sail at the time of the collision survived. Rest of the crew 81 men, were trapped inside. She sunk at the narrowest point of Dardanelles at 85 meters. Submarine rescue and salvage ships were rushed from Gölcük after the incident but all efforts to reach the submarine by divers failed cause of very strong water currents.

22 sailors trapped in the aft torpedo compartment were able to release the submarine’s sunk buoy. Rescuers above the water tired to give hope and moral but time was an enemy. The last words from the sumbarime, before the currents tore the cable of bouy were: For our country.

Since that fatefull day, on every 4th of April we remember those that have a watery grave were no rose will grow.

CNNTurk has an article and a video

>Lest We Forget: Nusret. The Little Ship That Changed The History

>

Today is the 95th anniversary of the Turkish forces over the Allied Fleet in the Dardanelles.

Known as the Çanakkale Naval Victory, in Turkey, this battle effectively sunk (no pun indented) the hopes of the British Admiralty and Churchill to force the Turkish Straits and a quickly dash to Istanbul to occupy it. This Turkish victory forced the Allies to use ground force in order to bring Dardanelles under their control and led to the merciless Gallipoli Campaign.

Churchill realized that if Allies could eliminate Ottoman Empire from the war, they could help Russia via Black Sea and could pressure Central Powers from the east as well.

While the main of the British Army deeply entrench in Belgium and France and the most potent s capital ships loitering in the North Sea Allied Forces had few forces to spare for such a secondary and diversionary front.

The plan of the British Admiralty was to bombard the forts that were protecting the shores of Dardanelles to annihilation and later clean the mines to open the way for Allied warships to sail to Istanbul.

The plan had two important mistakes:
1) It grossly underestimated capability, strength and sprit of the Turkish forces, assisted by Germany.
2) It did not take Lord Nelson with his oft-quoted dictum: “A ship’s a fool to fight a fort” into consideration.

The order of the battle for the Allied fleet consisted of HMS Queen Elizabet, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lord Nelson, HMS Inflexible, HMS Prince George, HMS Triump, HMS Ocean, HMS Majestic, HMS Swiftsure, HMS Vengeance, HMS Irresistible, HMS Albion from Royal Navy, Gaulois, Charlemange, Bouvet, Suffren from French Navy.

The fighting began at around 10:00 in the morning. Everything seem to be on the side of the Allied forces until at around 14:00 a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterwards, came out of the starboard quarter of the Bouvet. She had struck a mine. This mine was laid ten day ago by Turkish minelayer Nusret, in an area that was previously cleared by Allied minesweepers and used by capital Allied ships for maneuvering. This new single mine line consisting of 20 mines, changed the whole history.

Winston Churchill defined those mines as the reason for the prolonging of the war and the enormous casualties, in the interview he made with “Revue de Paris,” in 1930.

At 16:00 first HMS Inflexible 5 minutes later HMS Irresistible struck to mines. HMS Ocean was ordered to tow the now abandoned HMS Irresisteble. But she too hit a mine at around 18:00, followed moments later by a shell that penetrated to a magazine below the water line.

Of the 16 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulios had to be beached at the near by small island in order to be rescued. Suffren heavily damaged by Turkish guns had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

This Turkish victory forced the Allies to use ground force to occupy the hills commanding Dardanelles in order to destroy the forts protecting the straits and mine fields. This campaign was too destined to be a defeat for the Allies.

Today where the littoral warfare is the buzz word there are many lessons to be learned or re-learn from the naval battles of Gallipoli campaign.

During Gallipoli campaign all kind of naval action took place that can be expected today as well. The shore bombardment, the shooting of ships from land sites, submarine operations, ASW operations, attacks from fast and swift ships to larger and ungainly capital ships, mine warfare just to name a few.

For further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_operations_in_the_Dardanelles_Campaign

>Lest We Forget: DM-357 TCG Muavenet

>

I have missed the anniversary of the incident of TCG Muavenet being hit.

On 2th October 1992, 11 minutes past midnight, during the NATO’s Display Determination ’92 naval exercise, two Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles fired accidently from the aircraft carrier CV-60 USS Saratoga, hit the bridge of the Turkish destroyer DM-357 TCG Muavenet. 5 sailors including the commander of the ship were killed instantly and 15 badly hurt. A fire broke out on board. At the time of the incident two ships were 3 miles apart and were streaming north in the Aegean.

According the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit the fatefull events unfolded as follows:

“On October 1, 1992, the Combat Direction Center Officer aboard the Saratoga decided to launch a simulated attack on nearby opposition forces utilizing the Sea Sparrow missile system. After securing the approval of the Saratoga’s Commanding Officer and the Battle Group Commander, the Combat Direction Center Officer implemented the simulated assault plan. Without providing prior notice, officers on the Saratoga woke the enlisted Sea Sparrow missile team and directed them to conduct the simulated attack.

Certain members of the missile firing team were not told that the exercise was a drill, rather than an actual event. As the drill progressed, the missile system operator used language to indicate he was preparing to fire a live missile, but due to the absence of standard terminology, the responsible officers failed to appreciate the significance of the terms used and the requests made. Specifically, the Target Acquisition System operator issued the command “arm and tune,” terminology the console operators understood to require arming of the missiles in preparation for actual firing.

The officers supervising the drill did not realize that “arm and tune” signified a live firing. As a result, the Saratoga inadvertently fired two live Sea Sparrow missiles at the TCG Muavenet. Both missiles struck the TCG Muavenet, resulting in several deaths and numerous injuries.”

According to a report prepared by Turkish Naval Military Prosecutor’s Office on November 11, 1992 the Saratoga was with the visible horizon and the launch of the missiles were observed on TCG Muavenet.

One of the missiles hit the ship approximately after a flight of ten seconds. The first missile hit the front of the ships bridge and destroyed it. The second missile exploded in the air probably because the blast of the first missile and peppered the ship with shrapnel. Ships radar antenna, forward gun turrets, hedgehog launcher suffered from the shrapnel damage. The pieces of the second missile penetrated the forward gun turret, cabins of the supply officer and XO.

A fire started at the ammunition chamber of the Hedgehog system. The explosion of the Hedgehog rounds would have caused the loss of the ships. After the hits general quarters were sounded and the fire fighting teams started to tackle the fire. On the other hand the damage control teams were throwing the ready ammunition in the forward gun turrets and other explosives near the fire over the board as a safety measure.

When the situation was under control TCG Muavenet was towed to the Gölcük Naval Base. And the exercise continued as planned.

The damage to the old ship was extensive. She was not useable anymore therefore she was decommissioned right away. Later US gave Knox class FFG-1093 USS Capodanno as compensation.

The fire was under control in 10 minutes but the water caused damage in the decks that were not harmed in the initial blast.

These two photos were taken after TGC Muavenet was towed to Gölcük Naval Base.

The extend of the damage resulting both from missile impact and fire is obvious. It was quite a skill to bring the fire under control before reached to the gun turret in B position. If the fire has spread further to the turrets and ammunition chambers of the guns, the she would not have survived.

All the fire fighting and damage control efforts were done in the absence of the commander of the ship. This fact speaks for the professionalism of the officers and the bravery of the whole crew. They simply did not give up the ship.

Commander Kudret Güngör
Ensign Alertunga Akan
Petty Officer 3th Class Serkan Aktepe
Sergant Mustafa Kılınç
Private Recep Akan

Paid the ultimate price for the defence of their country.

For further reading:
US Navy Court of Inquiry

Turkish Navy Court of Inquiry

Wikipedia

An interesting but technical legal article about why USA did not paid indemnities to the Turkish sailors

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