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Thread: Destroyers - Fletcher Class

  1. #3481
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    I agree about the stated reason for the black stack caps.
    My entire time in the fleet was aboard one ship, USS Mississippi CGN 40. Being nuclear powered, she didn't have stacks. She had "macks", a word resulting from combining "stack" and "mast". She had a forward mack and an after mack, and they were both painted completely gray. We used to joke that our macks were gray because we didn't blow soot, lol. There was a "sometime" exception to them being completely gray, though. As seen in pictures taken over her lifespan, her largest radar (AN/SPS-48, I think) was sometimes painted black, and sometimes gray. I don't know why. In hindsight, I speculate as to whether that was at the discretion of someone; such as the Captain, Division Officer, or whatever.

  2. #3482
    Senior Contributor blidgepump's Avatar
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    Macks ....

    Cruiser another learning moment... I had to go read up on your ship !
    Your words painted a picture and I wanted to appreciate what you were sharing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cruiser View Post
    I agree about the stated reason for the black stack caps.
    My entire time in the fleet was aboard one ship, USS Mississippi CGN 40. Being nuclear powered, she didn't have stacks. She had "macks", a word resulting from combining "stack" and "mast". She had a forward mack and an after mack, and they were both painted completely gray. We used to joke that our macks were gray because we didn't blow soot, lol. There was a "sometime" exception to them being completely gray, though. As seen in pictures taken over her lifespan, her largest radar (AN/SPS-48, I think) was sometimes painted black, and sometimes gray. I don't know why. In hindsight, I speculate as to whether that was at the discretion of someone; such as the Captain, Division Officer, or whatever.
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  3. #3483
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    Always wondered about the cap color and figured that soot was the reason.

    Like this pic of the USS Colorado: The aft cage mast, the upper part is painted black...or is it covered in soot?

    Name:  USS Colorado.png
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  4. #3484
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    Old school...

    Yes that is a good illustration of the "black tipped funnels" on a USN warship.
    Very classic photo I might add with a dramatic background.
    i wouldn't mind having that enlarged and framed as a man cave office photo.... very much "old school".

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacfanweb View Post
    Always wondered about the cap color and figured that soot was the reason.

    Like this pic of the USS Colorado: The aft cage mast, the upper part is painted black...or is it covered in soot?

    Name:  USS Colorado.png
Views: 100
Size:  905.6 KB

  5. #3485
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    The difference in soot with the new fuels was profound. As I mentioned earlier with a 600 psi/M type boiler we used to blow tubes every watch/four hours. With the new fuels we moved to once a day or even less and there was considerably less ash/soot even then. With NSFO fuel, often we had to maneuver to minimize the "fallout" across the weather decks etc. The soot impact on aircraft was very worrisome to many on Carriers as well.

    I am not sure how many of the Fletchers actually got the fuel conversion as there problems with leaky tanks and mighty DD-445s were at the end of their service life. The Gearing and Sumner classes had more life left in them and had some modest engineering improvements (plus FRAM) which added to their service window. But all in all a pretty resilient plant though!

  6. #3486
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    Conversion...

    Flank,

    That's an interesting discussion topic that has yet to be brought forth, addressing the lighter fuels used by the USN. I've not read about lighter fuels in the Fletcher DD's except for the approved mixing of Diesel from the emergency Genset to be blended with Heavy Navy crude thus extend the operating range of a DD when refueling was difficult or not available.



    Quote Originally Posted by FlankDestroyer View Post
    The difference in soot with the new fuels was profound. As I mentioned earlier with a 600 psi/M type boiler we used to blow tubes every watch/four hours. With the new fuels we moved to once a day or even less and there was considerably less ash/soot even then. With NSFO fuel, often we had to maneuver to minimize the "fallout" across the weather decks etc. The soot impact on aircraft was very worrisome to many on Carriers as well.

    I am not sure how many of the Fletchers actually got the fuel conversion as there problems with leaky tanks and mighty DD-445s were at the end of their service life. The Gearing and Sumner classes had more life left in them and had some modest engineering improvements (plus FRAM) which added to their service window. But all in all a pretty resilient plant though!
    Last edited by blidgepump; 15 Apr 18, at 04:38.

  7. #3487
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    Quote Originally Posted by blidgepump View Post
    Flank,

    That's an interesting discussion topic that has yet to be brought forth, addressing the lighter fuels used by the USN. I've not read about lighter fuels in the Fletcher DD's except for the approved mixing of Diesel from the emergency Genset to be blended with Heavy Navy crude thus extend the operating range of a DD when refueling was difficult or not available.
    Flank and Bilge Pump the fuel discussion is interesting. I worked as a Boilermaker for many years in the navy and a Boiler Inspector for quite a few years after that before I retired in 85. Any how the navy burned a blend of black oil called NSFO (Navy Special Fuel Oil). Burning NSFO required much skill, fuel to air ratio (top watch and burnermen aimed for an "economy haze"), all NSFO was pumped through a fuel oil heater which brought the temp up past 150 degrees F to give the oil the proper burning viscosity(this measurement varied within a range),final operating temp could be relatively high. ...eveidenced in the amount slag in the furnace or on the back wall. As Flash pointed out NSFO produced a significant quantity of ash and soot, which was reduced by blowing tubes once a watch except in port....that was the "midnight special" hoping you did not get caught! one could sure anger a deck watch especially in the summer time in their whites! I digress..NSFO also caused brick work issues a major one was slag or a surramic coating over the brick face which destroyed the brick work, another was spalling or the brick cracking and peeling off to name 2.....I disliked intensely each and every brick I ever layed and I played many thousands of them in my career and most of them in fletcher boilers!
    sorry again I digress. soot in those days was particularly bad because water washing of fire sides was still practiced in the 60's. water and soot form sulfuric acid which eats away the tubes. Normal maintenance was every 600 hrs clean firesides, mechanically clean the accessible tubes and air lance the remaining with the supply vents turned up high and the exhaust vents off pushing all the dust and soot out the stack, actually didn't get to far past the economizer until they lit off again and every 1200 clean watersides with a turbine wire brush after one took out all the boiler internals. Water side maintenance and chemistry is probably better left to another time. The M type boiler was a labor intensive pressure vessel which served the navy wel,l as long as manpower stayed high. As the navy was developing the 1200psi D type, (they had many growing pains with the original 1200lb boilers) and they were developing the gas turbine power plant. so they started a program called F-76 which switched the navy to a universal fuel for all of its ships, took about 5 years or so. and many of the old NSFO ships did it themselves. Essentially clean the tanks flush the system and install new rotating elements in the FO xfr pumps and the FO service pumps. The fire room crews of those ships were remarkable in their adaptability and inventiveness. they also blanked off or discarded all the fo heaters and the tank heating systems as F-76 burned cold. Oh forgot they need to acquire a new set of sprayer plates. The benefits of F-76 (specially formulated diesel fuel) far outweighed the cost, just in boiler maintenance alone. Still had to open out the boiler and inspect firesides but little work needed to be done a little repair work now and again clean a few tubes once in a while but all in all firesides were as clean as a whistle! some that were 5 yrs old looked bran new! Brickwork was lasting a decade or more and tubes had minimal outside corrosion. Bottom line boiler firesides stayed clean. If a Fletcher was in active reserve status at the time of FO conversion then yes they received it or they were hastily deactivated. One can readily tell if one of the museum ships received it by going to the upper level alongside #2 and #4 boiler if the large fo heater is gone then it is reasonable to assume that the conversion was done. another telltale sign is if the brickwork is not slagged over.

  8. #3488
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    Time to pause and reflect...

    Boilermaker that is an interesting recital about fuels, and the impact on fireboxes.
    I've attached two photos that I captured while inspecting a Fletcher class DD.
    Perhaps you could offer some information as to the condition and anything else you notice?



    Quote Originally Posted by Boilermaker9 View Post
    Flank and Bilge Pump the fuel discussion is interesting. I worked as a Boilermaker for many years in the navy and a Boiler Inspector for quite a few years after that before I retired in 85. Any how the navy burned a blend of black oil called NSFO (Navy Special Fuel Oil). Burning NSFO required much skill, fuel to air ratio (top watch and burnermen aimed for an "economy haze"), all NSFO was pumped through a fuel oil heater which brought the temp up past 150 degrees F to give the oil the proper burning viscosity(this measurement varied within a range),final operating temp could be relatively high. ...eveidenced in the amount slag in the furnace or on the back wall. As Flash pointed out NSFO produced a significant quantity of ash and soot, which was reduced by blowing tubes once a watch except in port....that was the "midnight special" hoping you did not get caught! one could sure anger a deck watch especially in the summer time in their whites! I digress..NSFO also caused brick work issues a major one was slag or a surramic coating over the brick face which destroyed the brick work, another was spalling or the brick cracking and peeling off to name 2.....I disliked intensely each and every brick I ever layed and I played many thousands of them in my career and most of them in fletcher boilers!
    sorry again I digress. soot in those days was particularly bad because water washing of fire sides was still practiced in the 60's. water and soot form sulfuric acid which eats away the tubes. Normal maintenance was every 600 hrs clean firesides, mechanically clean the accessible tubes and air lance the remaining with the supply vents turned up high and the exhaust vents off pushing all the dust and soot out the stack, actually didn't get to far past the economizer until they lit off again and every 1200 clean watersides with a turbine wire brush after one took out all the boiler internals. Water side maintenance and chemistry is probably better left to another time. The M type boiler was a labor intensive pressure vessel which served the navy wel,l as long as manpower stayed high. As the navy was developing the 1200psi D type, (they had many growing pains with the original 1200lb boilers) and they were developing the gas turbine power plant. so they started a program called F-76 which switched the navy to a universal fuel for all of its ships, took about 5 years or so. and many of the old NSFO ships did it themselves. Essentially clean the tanks flush the system and install new rotating elements in the FO xfr pumps and the FO service pumps. The fire room crews of those ships were remarkable in their adaptability and inventiveness. they also blanked off or discarded all the fo heaters and the tank heating systems as F-76 burned cold. Oh forgot they need to acquire a new set of sprayer plates. The benefits of F-76 (specially formulated diesel fuel) far outweighed the cost, just in boiler maintenance alone. Still had to open out the boiler and inspect firesides but little work needed to be done a little repair work now and again clean a few tubes once in a while but all in all firesides were as clean as a whistle! some that were 5 yrs old looked bran new! Brickwork was lasting a decade or more and tubes had minimal outside corrosion. Bottom line boiler firesides stayed clean. If a Fletcher was in active reserve status at the time of FO conversion then yes they received it or they were hastily deactivated. One can readily tell if one of the museum ships received it by going to the upper level alongside #2 and #4 boiler if the large fo heater is gone then it is reasonable to assume that the conversion was done. another telltale sign is if the brickwork is not slagged over.
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  9. #3489
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    Quite an interesting thread by all involved. I don't recall seeing/hearing any of the FLETCHER class ships still in commission on the west coast in 1969 as having made a transition to the distillate fuel oil (although it could have taken place). My old ship DD-566 was decommed in late '69 and then resurrected in the mid-70s as a Phalanx Block 1 test bed (using two HUGE outboards on the stern) - she was the last FLETCHER to serve in any capacity in the Navy. NEW JERSEY (as did the other IOWAs) was refitted in the early '80s for the distillate fuel system, but we did not have this modification in the late 1960s when I served in her.

  10. #3490
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    I was on a Sumner Class that did the conversion in 1969 during a yard availability. We did this fuel swap in concert with adding probe refueling (instead of pigtail in a trunk). Maybe that is a quick way to discern if the Fletchers had the conversion? I suspect there were very few if any 445s that got the fuel change as I outlined earlier. The money went to the Sumner/Gearing Class conversions as they had a longer shelf life.

    Basically do you want to spend the money if you are going to decommission in the near term? Probably not!

    Beyond the soot, one of the prime advantages of the fuel was Boiler Technician (BT) retention as the workload and nature of the work changed somewhat with the reduced maintenance requirements. As a side note we lost some range with the fuel conversion and obviously more refining is more expensive.

  11. #3491
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    Quote Originally Posted by blidgepump View Post
    Boilermaker that is an interesting recital about fuels, and the impact on fireboxes.
    I've attached two photos that I captured while inspecting a Fletcher class DD.
    Perhaps you could offer some information as to the condition and anything else you notice?
    Great Pictures bligepump of the saturated side furnace of an "M" type boiler, which were installed in all the Fletchers, and all the "capital ships" built for the Navy for and during WWII with the exception of the GEEP Carriers and DE's which were built with Mostly D type boilers commonly used in US merchant propulsion plants. The navy wanted a boiler of universal design, that was all mechanical, could be operated and repaired by anyone out of a power plant or a local hospital, or a tall building in NYC, Chicago or San Francisco all that was required was basic technical skill and a few weeks training. The Navy needed a superheat controlled unit for greater efficiency and better "gas milage". Superheat not needed at low speeds. Babcox and Wilcox won the contract and supplied the for mentioned "M" type Boilers. throughout WWII. The 2 major differences between the Destroyer Boiler and say a BB or carrier boiler was the number of tubes installed with the accompanying larger drums, and the # of burners installed. other than that they operated nd repaired the same. The following is B&W training image and a "M" boiler description of that I found on the internet, on the USS Oklahoma web page. It will give you some idea what they look like overall. https://www.okieboat.com/Copyright%2...er%20small.jpg. It also gives a description of the propulsion plant which is also very similar to the Fletcher. This was so to make it easy for the operators could go between classes of ships with little or no training and get right to it. Plus the Navy was not into automation and sophistication back then. Now what I see in the Photos; Note; the upper photo is presented side ways so I will refer to the bottom as left and top as right. The description I give is for one boiler each Fletcher had 4 identical boilers. The Photos appear to be of the saturated furnace, either #2 or #4 Boiler as the superheater screen tubes are on the left and the generating tubes are on the right. They were taken from an "air register" opening in the front wall of the boiler it is a good overall view of the furnace interior. In my day we had to crawl into the furnaces through the access doors just below the deck plates. One needed to be a contortionist to gain access! In the upper photo the first thing that stands out is in keeping with the discussion above. It appears she did not have the conversion, notice the back wall is slagged and on the bottom it is pretty thick where it melted down. Slag once formed will melt and run down giving the " water fall " appearance, exposing new brick surface for slag to form. As one can see it is very difficult to distinguish individual brick. This condition was all but eliminated with the conversion to F-76. There is also on the left middle what looks like a Peep hole, it appears the refractory was removed exposing the white insulating block. The Navy removed most of the peep holes, as there was minimal benefit and lots of problems. The generating tubes on the right consisted of 2'' screen tubes, which are seen in the photos, but behind them were about 1000 or so 1"generating tubes. These tubes went from the "Mud Drum" up to the "Steam "Drum". All tubes in these boilers were rolled mechanical steam tight joints. The appearance of the rust indicates that the tubes were at least wire brushed at some time passed, exposing the steel of the tube which allowed the rust to form. The fire brick on the slope under the screen tubes, is in much better shape. On the back wall next to the screen tubes, fingers of "Black Slag" surrounded by a greenish tint slag indicates that the burners were out of adjustment the last time she was fired this is supported by the blackish areas of the tubes in the same relative location.
    On the left in the upper photo there is the superheater screen tubes these protect the superheater when the superheater furnace is not lit off. The tubes are studded half way up and the refractory is a miserable concoction called "Plastic Chrome Ore." if one does not wear gloves working with it one is doomed to the wisdom of that decision and lucky to come away with loosing only 2 layers of skin after about 5 minutes! Darn awful stuff! About the only time "Chrome Ore" needed replacement is when the screens were removed and reinstalled. Superheater Screen tubes went from the "center wall" header to the steam drum. There was an identical set of studded screen tubes in the superheater furnace, not shown in the photos, that also went from the centerwall header to the steam drum. Also in the superheater furnace, not shown in the photo are side wall /roof tubes which formed the side wall and roof of the superheater furnace. These went from the side wall header to the steam drum. All of these tubes were studied and packed with chrome ore. The lower photo is a closer look at the rear wall slope and Generating screen tubes but nothing additional stands out. These were great boilers for their time and the general arrangement of the propulsion plant was generally the same through out the classes of the DD,CA, Cl, Air Craft Carriers and BB built during the war. Those ships lasted way into the 70s some went on to another career in foreign Navies and lasted to the 80S and 90s. Speaks well for the Design and construction os these ships and the machinery that made them go!
    another thing I did not care for with these boilers was chasing superheater tube leaks! You could spend days chasing them before you finely got it and your hands were raw and bruised from working inside the headers all day! It was double miserable when the other boiler was lite off! Hot Darn Hot!

  12. #3492
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    Fireroom heat ....

    The world of a "snipe" in the fire room was no doubt a special breed of sailor.
    I was fortunate to gain a pass to visit the nooks and crannies of both a decommissioned and robbed for parts fire room ( Forward) and a restored fire room aft on this Fletcher class - DD.

    Artifacts of past sailors were discovered as well behind a steam gage removed long ago... July 24, 1945 is the earliest date I can make out; August 1964 the newest.
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  13. #3493
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    Superheater No. 3 ...

    and some more pictures...
    The good, the pretty & the robbed...
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  14. #3494
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    Boy am I glad I was in the Army!

  15. #3495
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    BP,

    Nice photos! I think the same can be said for the machinery spaces on NORTH CAROLINA - items taken by the public (and staff) for souvenirs which is why they installed fencing along the tour path to keep hands from walking off with the rest of the ship!

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