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Thread: The Alaska's: Battlecruisers or Large Cruisers?

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and post Tony DiGiulian's article in its entirety.
    I don't know Mr. DiGiulian but he touts "the engineer in me" after saying some things that lead me to question his knowledge of practical naval main propulsion engineering. Primarily, he talks about 20% design overload. That's pretty much standard in US Navy designs, but it's not the main engines that are the endpoint of plant efficiency (it is, but only as the very last point on the scale). The real concern is overload of the boilers. That's why the boiler safeties are set to lift at some point ABOVE 20% overload. That's so no one does anything stupid like tying safety valves down in order to go faster. There are lots of different ways to go faster, in a ship like Missouri, and they don't start with offloading weight in order to improve displacement. At all times think boiler loading and what you can do to improve that picture. Here's the thing though; in order for a "full" or "high" (they are different things, and mean one thing to one group of bean counters, and something else again to another) power run to be accepted as kosher by the Type Commander (COMNAVSURFPAC in this case), it has to be done for a given electrical load, with a given fuel load, at a given depth, and with a hull that is only so many months removed from its last cleaning, whether waterborne or in dry dock. In other words, one is not allowed to cheat. The other thing that obviates speed across the finish line is red line readings. If your gear isn't running within design parameters, the speed doesn't matter because effectively, it didn't happen.

    Just to put this to bed, because I know someone will ask, a "high" power run is simply that; a speed trial done at a high power load, but not necessarily at "full" power. A "full" power run is just that; you are maxing out at design parameters on purpose. The high power run was done in the presence, when we still existed, of the Fleet Commander's Propulsion Examining Board (PEB). We wanted to see the plant run at high power for one hour. If that achieved the ship's maximum speed, fine, but that's not what we were looking for. We wanted to see the plant operate at high power without a bunch of gauges red lined. The full power run was done for the Type Commander and went into determining things like Battle E awards, etc., and it was also done in the presence of the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). Between the two, INSURV is what matters as that is a statutory board established by the Congress to inspect the material readiness of every ship in the fleet every three years and report its status to Congress. It totally bypasses the Navy and DoD Chain of Command. The Navy gets a "just thought you'd like to know" letter from the President of the Board, who is usually a highly regarded two-star who is nonetheless not going any further. In other words, someone who can't be hurt, and in turn, doesn't care who gets hurt by his bad report to the Congress. For about 15 years, that person was this guy:



    If you don't know Johnny Bulkeley's story, you really ought to, because it really is "one for the books." In fact, the very first personal award I ever received was done by his hand. A Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Why? Because during our INSURV inspection, the bulk of my gear actually worked. He carried several of those things around with him, believe it or not, in his coveralls, and handed them out when he was pleased. This was aboard Constellation. I was lucky. He showed up on a good day.

    Regardless, the checks in the block that go into a successful four-hour full power trial are voluminous to say the least, and achieving one successfully is not done as often as you might think . . . or wish.

    All of which gets me around to the speed I saw Missouri do with my own eyes while sitting near the main engine console for Number One Main Engine during a one-hour high power trial for her Operational Propulsion Plant Examination (OPPE) conducted in April or May (maybe even June; it all runs together after a while) of 1990, between Pearl Harbor and Long Beach. It was 30 knots and she wasn't breathing too hard, but there were some bearings here and there on Forced Draft Blowers and Main Feed Pumps, running pretty warm, albeit not yet "hot." Had they gone more than an hour, they would have been hot soon enough. The relatively warm sea injection temperature around Hawaii had a lot to do with that. Off of Southern California, she probably would have been fine, and you might have even gotten another knot out of her, but I doubt it.

    Anyway, Mr. DiGiulian does his readers a disservice by not relating all of that information about what constitutes a successful, acceptable, full power trial for INSURV purposes, because as far as the Navy is concerned, that's the only one that REALLY matters. All of the rest is just bovine excrement for bragging purposes, and for old docents to relay while leading a bunch of wide eyed people around the deck plates. They are meaningless where it counts. He also does his readers a disservice by not really understand the whole "overload" paradigm. Like I said, think boilers at all times, and you can never go wrong. Main engines? They are basically stupid. Boilers are smart, and therefore dangerous. Keeping them happy is always the best medicine.

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    I think the purpose of the article was, rather than describing practical speeds obtained during trials or normal operation, to present an absolute-balls-to-the-wall-best-case-scenario top speed.

    As he put it: "Since I did my original essay on "Fastest Battleships" awhile ago, I've heard at least twenty claims that the Iowa class battleships could achieve even higher speeds than what I have in the essay. In about ten of those cases, I've gone to the trouble of tracking down the supposed source of the claim. In every case that I've investigated, there either proved to be no such source, the book in question made no such claim, the person was conveniently not available, or (my personal favorite) someone mistook a mile-per-hour value for a NAUTICAL-mile-per-hour value (the Iowa's designed top speed of 32.5 knots is 37 MPH).

    In the hope of reducing the number of such claims that I get in the future, I decided to spend a little time determining: "How fast could the Iowa class battleships really go?"


    So, it was apparently an attempt to limit the, as you accurately described it, "bovine excrement" claims of super-high speeds that the Iowa's were capable of, that were floating around the Internet (hell, probably still is) circa 1999 when the article was written.

    Of interest is another article written by a rider during Iowa's sea trials, which can be found here Speed Thrills V
    Last edited by TopHatter; 01 Apr 14, at 19:31.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I think the purpose of the article was, rather than describing practical speeds obtained during trials or normal operation, to present an absolute-balls-to-the-wall-best-case-scenario top speed.

    As he put it: "Since I did my original essay on "Fastest Battleships" awhile ago, I've heard at least twenty claims that the Iowa class battleships could achieve even higher speeds than what I have in the essay. In about ten of those cases, I've gone to the trouble of tracking down the supposed source of the claim. In every case that I've investigated, there either proved to be no such source, the book in question made no such claim, the person was conveniently not available, or (my personal favorite) someone mistook a mile-per-hour value for a NAUTICAL-mile-per-hour value (the Iowa's designed top speed of 32.5 knots is 37 MPH).

    In the hope of reducing the number of such claims that I get in the future, I decided to spend a little time determining: "How fast could the Iowa class battleships really go?"


    So, it was apparently an attempt to limit the, as you accurately described it, "bovine excrement" claims of super-high speeds that the Iowa's were capable of, that were floating around the Internet (hell, probably still is) circa 1999 when the article was written.

    Of interest is another article written by a rider during Iowa's sea trials, which can be found here Speed Thrills V
    I believe the "boiler room fan" he was referring to was one of the Forced Draft Blowers that provide combustion air to the boilers. That would stop such a trial in its tracks, whereas a simple vent fan would not.
    Last edited by desertswo; 01 Apr 14, at 21:04.

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    Ninja driving a Fire engine red Triumph.....

    Quote Originally Posted by desertswo View Post
    The Navy gets a "just thought you'd like to know" letter from the President of the Board, who is usually a highly regarded two-star who is nonetheless not going any further. In other words, someone who can't be hurt, and in turn, doesn't care who gets hurt by his bad report to the Congress. For about 15 years, that person was this guy:



    If you don't know Johnny Bulkeley's story, you really ought to, because it really is "one for the books." In fact, the very first personal award I ever received was done by his hand. A Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Why? Because during our INSURV inspection, the bulk of my gear actually worked. He carried several of those things around with him, believe it or not, in his coveralls, and handed them out when he was pleased. This was aboard Constellation. I was lucky. He showed up on a good day.
    Sir I heeded your direction and read the bio of Bulkeley's career.
    You could make a movie out of this!
    Wait a minute... I think they did, or at least the part about escaping the Philippines!

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    Quote Originally Posted by blidgepump View Post
    Sir I heeded your direction and read the bio of Bulkeley's career.
    You could make a movie out of this!
    Wait a minute... I think they did, or at least the part about escaping the Philippines!
    Yeah, they did, on which he was the technical adviser while home on leave during the war. It was called, "They Were Expendable," and was directed by John Ford I believe. Robert Montgomery played Bulkeley, only they changed his name to "Brickley," and John Wayne played his faithful sidekick. Let me just say from personal experience (having been in the Admiral's presence three times), that Montgomery played him a whole lot calmer than he really was. I believe that if you looked up ADD in the dictionary, you'd find his picture next to the definition. That guy was climbing main masts and all that stuff as President of the Board well into his 70s. He dragged COs all over their ships to show them how screwed up they were (even if they weren't), and his "just thought you'd like to know" letters to the CNO were the stuff of legend. He was asshole buddies with Rickover too, and the two of them would go together and tag team Congress, making them all look like fools. He really was a piece of work, but also the real deal. He'd kill you as soon as look at you. I think he's one of those guys for whom WWII never really ended.

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    Coincidence - History's Raiders on now on the Military History Channel are talking about the then Lt John Bulkeley and his part in the PT Boats in the Pacific War. He is just like you say, based on what they have shown of him.

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    "They were expendable" is one of the best war movies ever made. Especially compared to so many others made during and just after WWII.

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    Quote Originally Posted by desertswo View Post
    Shallow water should not result in faster speed. In fact, you set up a rather dangerous situation if the water is too shallow. When in close proximity to the bottom, the velocity of the water passing beneath the hull of the ship and the bottom creates a Bernoulli effect that causes the stern to squat pretty noticeably. I did this at the carrier pier in Pensacola on a frigate when I kicked it in the ass just off the pier with the stern facing the pier at a 90 degree angle. I gave everyone on the pier a shower, which was my intent (long story, good friends, and a little fun while ship driving) but I also squatted like a hound dog about to take a dump and came very close to dinging the screw on the bottom. Lesson learned. Anyway, one should always be mindful of speed in shallow passages as it can get you into trouble in more ways than one.
    Just ask the bridge crew of QE2 about their grounding incident someplace off Martha's Vineyard. I read that "squat" as they called it caused her to drag bottom and tear a lot of shell plating. Oops!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SharkPilot View Post
    Just ask the bridge crew of QE2 about their grounding incident someplace off Martha's Vineyard. I read that "squat" as they called it caused her to drag bottom and tear a lot of shell plating. Oops!
    Yeah, it's not something you mess with. The other way in which Bernoulli can get you in trouble is when alongside a delivery ship and doing stores or fuel transfer. The underwater shape of the two ship's hulls when in close proximity (say, about 100 to 140 feet) look in cross-section suspiciously like a convergent-divergent nozzle, otherwise known as a De Laval nozzle. Water moving between the two ships, which are each doing 14 to 16 knots, picks up velocity, and not surprisingly, creates our good friend Mr. Bernoulli. Much like rust, this little formula, ρ1A1v1=ρ2A2v2, never sleeps. Throw in the two bow waves, which are additive in terms of force, and you have the bow waves push the bows apart, which in turn, pushes the sterns closer, which in turn makes for an even better Bernoulli effect which actually sucks the two hulls together. Add the tensioning of the span wire on the STREAM gear and you have a recipe for two ships going "Bump" in the night. It's never happened to me thank God, but it's happened often enough that we all learn to keep a weather eye out for it. I've felt the effects, and adjusted for it, but it can make for an interesting period of watch standing.

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    After reading this entire thread a few weeks ago, I remembered my contempt for the Alaska class. They cost nearly as much as an Iowa class Battleship with nowhere near the same capabilities against land or sea opponents. The Alaska's did however have an effective AAW battery. Had they not been built, in my opinion, the Navy would have continued with the last two Iowa's, the Illinois and Kentucky. We would therefore have had six Iowa class ships completed by 1950.

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    Who knows we may have had 1 Iowa still in a WWII config if they had been finished (I think they could have squeezed one more Iowa to an 80's config but that's if Congress wouldn't drag they're feet appropriating money). Would have also been cool to see one of the Alaskas as a museum too, decisions decisions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBSupporter View Post
    After reading this entire thread a few weeks ago, I remembered my contempt for the Alaska class. They cost nearly as much as an Iowa class Battleship with nowhere near the same capabilities against land or sea opponents. The Alaska's did however have an effective AAW battery. Had they not been built, in my opinion, the Navy would have continued with the last two Iowa's, the Illinois and Kentucky. We would therefore have had six Iowa class ships completed by 1950.
    No they wouldn't have.

    Notice when Kentuckys building was suspended. June 1942. Can you tell me what significant events took place up to that point? The Navy saw that the Day of the BB was over.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    No they wouldn't have.

    Notice when Kentuckys building was suspended. June 1942. Can you tell me what significant events took place up to that point? The Navy saw that the Day of the BB was over.
    Battle of Midway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    Battle of Midway?
    That's the one. They got a glimpse of the future just before with Coral Sea, but Midway crossed the "T" and dotted the "I."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    No they wouldn't have.

    Notice when Kentuckys building was suspended. June 1942.
    Where did you see that? I've looked through 4 sources on that and 3 show her being laid down on 7 March 1942 but after that the suspension date is all whacky but earliest shows August 1946. Info on Kentucky and Illinois is sketchy at best though so who knows.

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