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CHARACTERISTICS OF SODA LIME

154. Soda-lime is a mixture of the two alkalis popularly known as quicklime and caustic soda.

155. In the presence of carbon dioxide these alkalis break up that gas and are themselves converted into salts popularly known as bicarbonate of soda or cooking soda and carbonate of lime.

156. When these alkalis are thus converted into salts they become inert; and as salts are useless for purification of air.

157. Quick lime and caustic soda attack the skin, clothes, leather, and organic material. When placed in containers they are apt to corrode the containers. and cause breakage.

158. The amount allowed the S-4 is about 2,000 pounds or about 10 barrels. In actual practice this amount is placed in 50 pounds metallic containers and distributed where possible.

159. The problem of stowing 10 barrels of soda-lime in a submarine has been constantly studied for many years and has not yet been satisfactorily solved. Its stowage means a sacrifice of living space, food supply or efficient machinery and affects the comfort of the crew.

160. The Bureau of Construction and Repair's Manual directs that if submergence is for a greater period than 17 hours, soda-lime purifications should be employed on vessels of the S class.

161. The most recent medical opinion holds that with 7 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air, human life can not be maintained in the average person; that until the per cent of CO2 can be markedly reduced below 7 per cent neither ordinary air nor oxygen added thereto will support human life. Moreover, that with the oxygen below 16 per cent the removal of the excess CO2 is valueless.

162. That the free air contained in the torpedo room would normally support life in six men from 65 to 72 hours, and in the engine and motor room would nor mally support life in 32 men for about 25 hours.

OPINION

COLLISION

1. The collision was caused by failure on the part of the S-4 to take proper action, after the Paulding had changed course to 94° true, to clear that vessel; and by failure on the part of the Paulding to sight and to recognize as a submarine the S-4 in time to take action necessary to clear her.

2. The cause of the failure of the U. S. S. S-4 to take proper action prior to the collision (when the destroyer was 75 yards away) can not be determined absolutely.

3. The cause lies with the commanding officer of the S-4, due either to his lack of vigilance; or to the quality of his observations while the Paulding was approaching from 2,000 yards to 75 yards, from which observations flowed an action which by an error of judgment (possibly as to the speed and distance of the Paulding) failed to insure the safety of the vessel.

4. The inefficient lookout on the Paulding, whereby the S-4 was not sighted until only 75 yards away, was due to the lack of a proper lookout solely charged with that duty, especially at a time when the Paulding was approaching at a high rate of speed the submarine trial course.

5. It is elemental in navigation and in good seamanship, and it has been repeatedly so held by the court, that a proper lookout must have no other duties than that of lookout and must be so stationed as to have an unobstructed view. 6. Under the weather conditions existing at the time of the collision the Paulding could and should have sighted the periscopes and the wake of the periscopes of the U. S. S. S-4 in ample time to have avoided the collision.

7. The actions taken by the commanding officer of the Paulding after sighting the U. S. S. S-4 were proper and correct; but at that time the collision was inevitable.

8. Standardization trials over the Provincetown course offered no unusual condition or hazard. A tender showing a submarine warning flag in the vicinity of the S-4 operating submerged on that course was neither desirable nor necessary. 9. The legend on the monthly pilot charts published by the Hydrographic: Office of the Navy relative to submarine warning flags may be misleading.

10. The bodies of two men of the U. S. S. S-4 are still missing. Six others are believed to be in the torpedo room, and they probably lost their lives by exposure, lack of food and water, and asphyxiation by carbon dioxide.

11. The 32 men whose bodies were found in the engine and motor rooms were unconscious before 1.30 p. m., Sunday, December 18.

12. These 32 men probably died by asphyxiation from carbon dioxide; though it is possible that asphyxiation by immersion was a contributing cause in some

cases.

13. The water had reached the floor plates of the engine room and motor room before 7.30 a. m., December 19.

14. The death of all the 40 men on board occurred in the line of duty and not as a result of their own misconduct.

RESCUE

15. That prompt and appropriate action was taken

(a) By the commanding officer of the United States Coast Guard destroyer Paulding in reporting the collision to higher authority, in lowering a boat to save life if possible, and in marking the wreck.

(b) By the Coast Guard officer and crew at Wood End Station in attempting to save life and to mark the wreck from 3.37 p. m., December 17, until 11 a. m., December 18, when the grapnel which they had hooked to the U. S. S. S-4 was turned over to the U. S. S. Falcon and diving operations begun by the Navy.

16. The commandant, first naval district, most expeditiously took all possible steps to assemble at the scene of the disaster rescue personnel and material.

17. The commandants of the third naval district, of the navy yard, Portsmouth, and of the submarine base at New London, and the commanding officer of the torpedo station, Newport, and the commander of the control force all dispatched with the greatest possible expedition all appropriate personnel and material available under their respective control to the scene of the disaster.

18. The Navy Department assembled at Provincetown in the shortest time possible all officers and men in the Navy best qualified in deep-sea rescue and salvage operations, including Mr. Ellsberg, the foremost expert in the United States and probably in the world on deep-sea rescue work, who had promptly volunteered his services.

19. The operations to rescue the crew of the U. S. submarine S-4 were logical, sound, and the most promising of early success.

20. No known devices or equipment not employed in the rescue operations, either in the Navy or owned by commercial organizations, could have saved the lives of those on board the S-4.

21. Everything was done to save the lives of those on board the S-4 that could have been done under the weather conditions that existed; but rescue under those conditions was beyond human power.

22. The continuous bad weather with rough seas and wind, gale force, which prevailed from 10 p. m., December 17, until 6 a. m., Wednesday the 21st, made diving first hazardous and then impossible, and consequently the crew of the S-4 could not be saved by any known external device.

23. The personnel of the U. S. submarine S-4, from some undetermined cause, were driven from the central operating compartment very shortly after the collision. They were, therefore, deprived of the use of practically all of the ship's facilities for raising the vessel themselves or for aiding in attempts at their rescue. 24. The air purifier requested by the commanding officer but not yet installed on the S-4 would have been of no avail, as the accident had rendered the power plant useless.

25. Though the court is not able to determine with certainty whether or not soda lime was used by the crew of the S-4, such use would not have saved any life, but might have prolonged the lives of some for a few hours The allowance list of the S-4 provides for 50 pounds of soda lime per man, and it is available for issue at the navy yard, Portsmouth, from which yard the S-4 departed but two days before the collision. Because of its strong corrosive effect and the difficulty of stowing it on submarines, mostly for emergencies, the value of such large quantities is considered by many submarine officers to be outweighed by its objectionable features.

26. The use of soda lime was developed as a war need where submarines went on a station or patrol and were forced to remain submerged for many hours for safety. By use of soda lime they could remain down several hours longer. Soda lime is primarily a war allowance; a rescue allowance is indeterminable.

27. Finally, the court is of the opinion that safety lies, and lies only, in the constant care and attention to minute details by officers in command of these boats and being in this duty ably supported by their crews.

RESPONSIBILITY

The court finds that the commanding officer of the U. S. S. S-4, the late Lieut. Commander R. K. Jones, United States Navy, and the commanding officer of the U. S. Coast Guard destroyer Paulding, Lieut. Commander John S. Baylis, United States Coast Guard, are jointly responsible for the collision between the Paulding and the S-4 and that serious blame was incurred by them. The court recommends that

1. In view of modern practice the submarine warning flag and legend now on Monthly Pilot Chart be omitted from future publication of that chart as misleading.

2. Trial courses used by submarines be plainly indicated on all charts and buoy lists of those areas with a warning to mariners to approach such trial courses with caution.

3. A conference be held by the Navy Department and the Treasury Department to consider the exchange of information concerning the movements of vessels under their respective control and to draw up any additional regulations deemed necessary or desirable.

4. A copy of the proceedings, findings, and recommendations of this court of inquiry be furnished the Secretary of the Treasury for his information and such action as he may deem appropriate.

5. A technical board be appointed to study the subject of rescue and salvage fittings, safety devices, and equipment and recommend such changes in or modifications of submarines, tenders, and rescue vessels as may be deemed advisable.

6. Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy, has been in command of the control force, including all submarines in the Atlantic, since August 1, 1927, and was in command of the forces employed in rescue operations on the S-4 from December 18, 1927, until such operations were discontinued. Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby's testimony before this court showed that he had not the familiarity with the essential details of construction of submarines and the knowledge of rescue vessels, and the knowledge of the actual work being carried on by his subordinates necessary to direct intelligently the important operations of which he was in charge. While the plans he approved, conceived by an expert staff of which Captain King was the senior, were logical, intelligent, and were diligently executed with good judgment and the greatest possible expedition, yet Rear Admiral Brumby failed to contribute that superior and intelligent guidance, force, and sound judgment expected from an officer of his length of service, experience, and position. The court therefore recommends that Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy, be detached from the command of the control force.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

Washington, D. C., February 6, 1928.

Present: Rear Admiral R. H. Jackson, United States Navy; Rear Admiral Julien L. Latimer, United States Navy; Capt. Joseph V. Ogan, United States Navy, members; and Commander Leslie E. Bratton, United States Navy, judge advocate.

The record of the proceeding of the fourteenth day of the inquiry was read and approved, and the court having finished the inquiry, then at 5 p. m., adjourned to await the action of the convening authority.

R. H. JACKSON,

Rear Admiral, United States Navy, President.
LESLIE E. BRATTON,

Commander, United States Navy, Judge Advocate.

104672-285

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From: The Judge Advocate General.

To: The Chief of Naval Operations.

Via: The Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.

Subject: Court of inquiry to inquire into all the facts and circumstances sur rounding the loss of the U. S. S. S-4 which occurred off Provincetown, Mass. on December 17, 1927, as a result of the collision between that vessel and U. S. Coast Guard destroyer Paulding.

1. Forwarded for consideration and recommendation.

2. It is noted that paragraph 6 of the recommendations of the court of inquiry reads as follows:

"Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy, has been in command of the control force, including all submarines in the Atlantic, since August 1. 1927, and was in command of the forces employed in rescue operations on the Sfrom December 18, 1927, until such operations were discontinued. Rear Admira Frank H. Brumby's testimony before this court showed that he had not the familiarity with the essential details of construction of submarines and the knowledge of rescue vessels, and the knowledge of the actual work being carried on by his subordinates necessary to direct intelligently the important operations of which he was in charge. While the plans he approved, conceived by an expert staff of which Captain King was the senior, were logical, intelligent, and were diligently executed with good judgment and the greatest possible expedition, yet Rear Admiral Brumby failed to contribute that superior and intelligent guidance, force, and sound judgment expected from an officer of his length of service, experience, and position. The court therefore recommends that Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy, be detached from the command of the control force."

It is also noted that Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy, was not made a defendant before the court of inquiry. In view of the adverse nature of the recommendation quoted above, it is the opinion of this office that the court of inquiry erred in not making Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy, a defendant before the court, espcially in view of the fact that paragrpah two of the convening order gave the court full authority to inquire "into all circumstances attending the subsequent rescue operations" of the U. S. S. S-4.

3. In view of the above, it is the opinion of this office, that in accordance with section 1041, Naval Courts and Boards, 1923, no disciplinary action should be taken against Rear Admiral Frank H. Brumby, United States Navy, other than trial by general court-martial, should such be decided upon until the record of proceedings of the subject named court of inquiry has been referred to that officer for such statement as he may desire to make.

4. Subject to the above remarks, the proceedings, findings, opinion, and recommendation in the attached case are, in the opinion of this office, legal.

E. H. CAMPBELL.

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

BUREAU OF NAVIGATION, Washington, D. C., February 14, 1928.

[Second indorsement]

From: Chief of Bureau of Navigation.

To: Secretary of the Navy.

Via: Chief of Naval Operations.

Subject: Court of Inquiry, U. S. S. S−4.

1. The court of inquiry in the case of the U. S. S. S-4 has placed the responsibility for the collision between the U. S. S. S-4 and the Coast Guard destroyer Paulding, which resulted in the sinking of the S-4 with the loss of all persons on board, jointly and personally upon the commanding officers of the two vessels, the late Lieut. Commander Roy K. Jones, United States Navy, and Lieut. Commander J. S. Baylis, United States Coast Guard. It considered that serious blame was incurred by each.

2. While the failure of the Paulding to sight and to recognize as a submarine the S-4 in time to take action necessary to clear her, as found by the court, contributed to this disaster, it is the opinion of this bureau that the presumptive major responsibility rests properly on the S-4 for the following reasons: First, under the weather conditions existing, there is a strong presumption that the lookout on the S-4 should have more easily sighted the Paulding than the Paulding should have sighted the periscopes of the S-4 at a safe distance; second, it was the duty of the S-4, under the International Rules of the Road for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea, to keep clear of the Paulding; and, third, under the Doctrine Governing the Operations of Submarines, it was the duty of the S-4 to avoid surface crafts.

3. The bureau can not, however, concur in the finding of the court to the effect that there is a personal repsonsibility for the collision resting on the late Lieut. Commander Roy K. Jones, United States Navy, for, in the opinion of the bureau, it is not shown with the requisite definiteness that the late Lieutenant Commander Jones was directly and personally responsible for the share in the collision that is properly attributable to the S-4.

4. Under Navy Regulations, a commanding officer is always responsible for the safe conduct of his ship. There is a strong presumption in this case that the late Lieutenant Commander Jones was exercising his authority as such. However, this bureau can conceive of situations where, due to accident, sudden illness, or other justifiable emergency, the officer regularly assigned to command may not have been exercising these functions. There are other conceivable situations which may have arisen in the attempts of the operating personnel to maneuver the S-4 in accordance with their responsibilities under the law and which; were they established as facts, might be sufficient to relieve the commanding officer of any culpability. There is no one to give testimony on these matters. The ship itself can not be properly examined at this time. It is not now known what actually transpired on board the S-4 immediately prior to the collision. In the absence of any testimony on this most material point, it appears that any attempt to place a personal responsibility for this collision on any of the officers or crew attached to the S-4 would necessarily be within the realm of surmise rather than of fact. Until these possibilities have been examined and exhausted this bureau can not concur in the placing of the responsibility on any one individual of the S-4 personnel.

5. Referring to paragraph 6 of the Recommendations of the Court of Inquiry, dealing with the character of the testimony before the court of Rear Admiral Brumby and with his performance of duty in charge of the rescue operations, the important and even vital point to be kept in mind is the manner in which he discharged his duty in command of the force engaged in the rescue operations. The court states that the rescue plans adopted and prosecuted under this officer's orders and directions were "logical, intelligent, and were diligently executed with good judgment and the greatest possible expedition."

6. However, after giving expression to this high praise, without a single comment on his conduct of the control force as distinguished from the rescue operations, and without according to him his rights as a defendant in accordance with the provisions of section 1041, Naval Courts and Boards, the court of inquiry recommends the detachment of Rear Admiral Brumby from the command of the control force.

7. Inasmuch as the findings of facts submitted by the court do not appear to support its opinion and recommendation in regard to the officers named above, this bureau recommends that the court be reconvened for the purpose of setting forth with completeness and particularity its reasons on which the opinion and recommendation above referred to were based. It is believed that the nature and importance of this case warrant a full expression from the court on this subject.

[Third indorsement]

From: The Chief of Naval Operations.

To: The Secretary of the Navy (Judge Advocate General).
Subject: Court of inquiry, U. §. S. S-4.

R. H. LEIGH. FEBRUARY 17, 1928.

1. The Chief of Naval Operations concurs in the opinions expressed and recommendation made by the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation in the second indorsement.

C. F. HUGHES.

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