Steve Crandell wrote:What I don't understand is when this topic was stated to include "combat vessels", but then the point is made that USN "battleships" didn't take a lot of damage so there was no indication of their ability to do so. What about all the cruisers and other ships that were heavily damaged and through good damage control survived to fight another day? Aren't those "Combat Vessels"?
This seems like a good idea but it looks as if it may be quite hard to reach comprehensive conclusions. I tried to look at large cruisers, roughly those above 8,500 tons standard displacement, which were hit by torpedoes. What I found was that cruisers from most navies seemed to be able to survive single torpedo hits although some were immobilized by single hits. A second torpedo hit was less clearly survivable but most cruisers survived at least for a time. All the cruisers hit by three or more torpedoes sank.
Naturally, I don't think that this data actually proves that such cruisers will survive single hits. For example, on 15th June 1942, Trento's magazine blew up when she was hit by a second torpedo. However, the same hit would presumably have sunk Trento if it had been the first hit. What may be significant is that both Pola and Trento were immobilized by single hits, suggesting that Italy should have chosen unit machinery for such two screw designs. For completeness, Trieste, Duca degli Abruzzi and Giuseppe Garibaldi survived single hits and Bolzano twice survived single hits.
Their RN opponents suffered torpedo hits mostly to light cruisers rather than to their heavy cruisers, except for HMS Exeter and HMAS Canberra, which were sunk by shells and torpedoes. Newcastle, Birmingham, Nigeria, Trinidad and Kenya all survived single hits although Trinidad was sunk after a further bomb hit. Liverpool twice survived single torpedo hits. Manchester was scuttled after two hits but could have been saved had the waters not been dominated by the Luftwaffe by day. Edinburgh survived two hits but sank after a third.
The IJN heavy cruisers which suffered one or two hits included Myoko, which was hit by one torpedo on 24th October 1944 and again hit by one torpedo on 13th December 1944, after which she needed to be towed. Nachi was hit by two torpedoes 5th November and immobilized. She was then sunk after several further hits. Takao survived two hits on 23rd October 1944 and Kumano was hit by one torpedo on 25th October 1944 and then by two torpedoes on 6th November 1944 after which she was towed to port. One could add that Chikuma was apparently in little danger of sinking after a single hit on 25th October 1944 but sank after further hits.
The USN experience was similar. During the Guadalcanal Campaign, Chicago survived a single hit at Savo Island, at Tassafaronga, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and Pensacola survived single hits while Northampton sank after two hits, and Chicago initially was immobilized by two hits off Rennell Island before being sunk by further hits. Later in the battles of Kula Gulf and Kolombangara, St. Louis and Honolulu (and Leander) survived single hits but Helena sank after three hits. Finally, off Formosa in 1944, the Cleveland class Houston and the Baltimore class Canberra survived single torpedo hits