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Thread: Destroyers - Fletcher Class

  1. #3511
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlankDestroyer View Post
    Here here!

    Indeed the 445s were fine looking ships and my favorite "looker". The Charles Adams DDG class would be next? The 692/710s did have basically the same propulsion performance. Although post treaty Destroyers, the Fletchers and the following Sumners, were not really clean slate designs in the sense that production constraints were just as important as war fighting. However the United States did an admirable job of balancing production with best of breed war capabilities and the Fletchers are testimony to that. And we built some 175 of them! Frankly as best as I can remember only one mass production USA war machine, the Sherman Tank, was not near the top of the rung on the war fighting ladder.

    The 692s did pickup some modest but significant upgrades on the engineering front to include more electrical power and an additional emergency diesel generator. Importantly they crammed in an another evaporator as well. Water on a steam ship is important I hear! The twin mount ships could also turn better with twin rudders although after the War the Fletchers were configured with a larger rudder. The 710 did have some much need gas...handy for the Pacific.

    While automatic boiler/combustion controls (ABC/ACC) did not make it to the destroyer M types these destroyer could be managed by hand/eye. We found out later the "superior" 1200 psi plants all but made these ABC systems mandatory as humans for all intents and purposes could not keep up with the boiler ... so hand checking was over! On other ships, to a smaller degree some boiler/feed water control was added to the venerable M type years later. Many wonder if the 1200 follow on plants were really an advantage all things considered. Boiler Techs (BTs) paid the price for the new technology almost like the NSFO cleaning days.
    Well Flank Destroyer I must second your motion of the 692-710 destroyer upgrades of electrical power, water and the egg (emergency diesel generator up FWD. May I add to what you presented, I feel the speedy development of electronics need for power far outstripped the conventional source provided by the Fletchers, and the EVAP reduced the need for "WATER HOURS" the bane of every crews existence! The EDG (emergency diesel generator) was born out of experience in early WWII. I think we must face it like everything else warfare is an evolutionary process, after all warfare changed considerably during WW2 which brought about the Gearing and Sumner electronic suits those big box looking things ahead and alongside #1 stack. The Fletchers were a compromise,as you said a balance, a darn good one at that! Perhaps this can all be considered a natural progression of naval warfare. Striving for better and better.
    Now with your permission I shall again second your motion of the Charles Adams class, they were also beautiful well proportioned ships, one could consider them "Eye Cand" full of power hungry electronics. The Navy developed the 1200PSI 950degree superheat boiler from a merchant "D" design uncontrolled superheat, where all steam leaving the boiler was superheated, with some of the steam going back into the "mud drum" through a "desuperheater" to bring the temp of the steam back down to an acceptable temp-levels for auxiliaries and "hotel" steam. This boiler design lent itself to automation, since all that needed to be controlled were FDB (Forced Draft Blowers), the burners for steam pressure, and feed water delivery, which necessitated FP (feed pump) and BP( booster pump) automation. The 1200psi plants were difficult to maintain as well as touchy to steam. Many BT's were scared of them. If the truth be known the Navy had many problems, especially in the beginning. Extensive welding of the system, new valve design (seal ring valves or commonly called "silver seal" valves) metallurgy changed with a whole host of new and scary things. One example is that due to the welded main steam system most of the valves had to be repaired in place. One machine used to reface valve seats was a "Dexter Grinder", worked well if one could figure out how to use it, but before you could use it, one had to remove the "bonnet" (removable section of the valve where the valve stem protrudes beneath the valve wheel) from the valve body.... no simple task on one of those valves by any stretch of the imagination and often times turned into a nightmare for the BT or the MM! However in the end these plants proved themselves worthy. On the Fletchers most info all valves were flanged and gasket, therefore removable and taken to a work bench or to a repair ship and overhauled, brought back and reinstalled in the system--Hopefully in the correct orientation : )

    However the 1200 pounders were not faster than the Fletchers, but then again they were larger, with greater displacement and extensive electronics so with all that said perhaps the were perhaps comparable to the Fletchers.

    Sorry I digress hope I did not confuse the issue to much, I steamed a 1200 pounder for few years, when she was in tune just sit back and watch it happen, when out of tune a nightmare!!
    One can guess which there was more of

  2. #3512
    Senior Contributor blidgepump's Avatar
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    So many topics ....

    Wow!

    That last submittal to this thread brought about several topics I hope to cover and a few questions.
    Again, I'm on the road and working from a laptop so I'll try to bang out some worthy responses.
    The electrical upgrades on the Fletchers ( i.e. Post WW II) were extensive.
    The older "Knife switches replaced by Modern Breakers" & the contrast of a "bare metal ( i.e. No paint) environment of WWII vs. a detailed painted museum ship are examples which might can confuse the historian trying to follow the evolution of DD development.

    So to lead off with a "softball" question. Are all modern USN engine spaces well maintained with spotless paint and clean diamond tread?
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  3. #3513
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    Wouldn't know since I've never been on an active duty ship… but I'll be they try. One of my instructors at Michigan State when I was training to be an industrial arts teacher was a retired chief engineer of capital naval ships. Besides being a great teacher and a wonderful mentor, I'll be his engineering spaces were as good as they could be. He was the person who convinced me to go into teaching when I was floundering around after leaving my industrial design major. He basically changed my life… and for the better.

  4. #3514
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    BITD (1980s) I was aboard USS Belleau Wood in June 1988. She had just come out of the yard so she looked pretty sharp. Didn't get far down into the engine spaces but everything looked clean. The USS Pegasus came into Savannah and tied up on the waterfront downtown. She looked a little rugged. She had just come off a patrol in the Caribbean. I was also aboard a couple of USNS vessels. I could have eaten off the deck of the USNS Denebola.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  5. #3515
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    Quote Originally Posted by blidgepump View Post
    So to lead off with a "softball" question. Are all modern USN engine spaces well maintained with spotless paint and clean diamond tread?
    I would be it can vary depending on the person in charge. If you can remember in the distant past, when the good Captain was with us, he commented about how he would seek out the Chief, in his office, and kick him in the butt so to speak. Some issue about small leaks in an engine room. I'll never find it but I sure remember it. Plus, during his time it was mostly all steam and oil down there vs. today in many of our ships being gas turbines.

  6. #3516
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    First - BP, thanks for those excellent photos - really shows off the engineering space well!! I served on 4 ships from 1966-69 - 2 DDs, 1-DE, and 1-BB. I was in the engineering spaces on my first ship a couple times and it was what I would classify as "clean" - no obvious dirt or oil spills, etc. The crew kept things quite ship-shape probably due to the chiefs who were from old-school and didn't tolerate a messy space. The 2nd DD and the DE I never got into the engineering spaces and then I was transferred to NEW JERSEY - she was also as I recall "very clean" - had the occasional visit down on Broadway to visit the main radio room and usually stopped in to speak to some of the MMs & ENs I kept up with as well as one of the BTs who played a big role later in the leadership group of the NJ Vets. organization. I would say that our ship could hold its own when it came to keeping things neat and tidy. But, the top of the lot was one of the older (1950s vintage) diesel boats that I went aboard while refueling at Midway Island. The main diesels - which had a walkway fore & aft above each unit - was clean enough to eat from, no joke! Yea, smelled heavily of diesel oil (well, duh!!!) but that was the only seemingly negative things about the boat. We toured most space that were allowed and all were totally ship-shape! Can't recall the boat's name but was glad I had gone aboard. I've never been on board any of the warships in service that I could say were "pigs" or "nasty". But....we high lined from a NATO DD (either French or Spanish, can't recall the actual nationality) and you could smell that damn thing 1/4 mile away. Totally rank, that's the best I can describe. We were glad that when we closed on them the wind was blowing away from us towards them and spared our noses further damage!!! I would say that ship was "nasty".


    But, I can also say that during our 6 month yard period in Long Beach in 1967 while on board STODDARD, the LA smog and dirty air certainly had a negative affect on the ship and interior spaces - every morning at reveille when sweepers were called, the dirt in the air had settled and there was approx. 1/8"-1/4" of actual smelly dust all over everything. And it smelled rank - so, keeping the ship clean was a must for sanity's sake alone! We were high & dry along with INGERSOLL in the same drydock. While I enjoyed Long Beach etc. I was glad when we got back to sea and our homeport in San Diego. When I returned to Long Beach in Sept. 1968 to join NEW JERSEY, it was very much the same but her A/C units seemed to handle things better than those on the DD a year before.

  7. #3517
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    Quote Originally Posted by blidgepump View Post
    Wow!

    That last submittal to this thread brought about several topics I hope to cover and a few questions.
    Again, I'm on the road and working from a laptop so I'll try to bang out some worthy responses.
    The electrical upgrades on the Fletchers ( i.e. Post WW II) were extensive.
    The older "Knife switches replaced by Modern Breakers" & the contrast of a "bare metal ( i.e. No paint) environment of WWII vs. a detailed painted museum ship are examples which might can confuse the historian trying to follow the evolution of DD development.

    So to lead off with a "softball" question. Are all modern USN engine spaces well maintained with spotless paint and clean diamond tread?
    Bilgepump thank you for the pictures to answer your Soft Ball Question in a nut shell. Yes they are very clean even the bulkheads and overheads and of course the bilges! this is done first and foremost for safety, if you have unkept machinery flinging oil or water or what ever medium around your engine room will get very dangerous, very fast, in port, at sea but especially especially in heavy seas anyone who has taken a header in the engine room slipping on grease or oil know what I am talking about. The bilges shall remain pumped and all trash removed. Bulkheads are wiped down to remove dirt and oil film. We also used to polish the diamond plate that was at the Chiefs discression and how badly one may have fired him up! They used diamond plate instead of grating ad creating gets very hard on your feet and if you fall it can be nasty. Some people may say it is only an engine-room true but it is also your home and when the ship gets back you want to go home! The common thread here safety and fire prevention Main Space fires can be deadly and disastrous, the first stage of prevention is accomplished by cleaning my engine room! Any way a clean engine room allows the operator to find that Nasty leak they have been looking for. Although Gas turbines are put in trailer like containers for safety that to must be kept clean as well. Diesels are inherently leaky and dirty it does not make any difference who manufactured them they all eventually develop oil, coolant, raw water and exhaust leaks because there are so many parts that are bolted together, eventually vibration loosens them and they leak. ND (navy Distillate) or F76 is real nasty when it gets to burning. I have seen the results and they are not pretty, so keeping an engine room clean is the first step in fire prevention and a long day for the lower rated people! The main space is painted white with bright explosion proof florescent lights every corner lit up. I think it was mentioned before that the engine-room is painted white to reflect light, black or dark colors absorb light, this is true. So color in engine rooms is only used to id system with the exception of Machinery Grey. Aux machinery, motors, boiler furnace fronts are painted are also painted machinery grey. Heat reflecting silver on remote small steam lines that cannot be lagged such a remote water level indicators. The Breakers today are automatic push button or lever action and some automatic.

  8. #3518
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    bevet l I think it also gave the machinery room crew a sense of pride and camaraderie the ships you describe were either crowded or cramped or very large in any case it was not easy to keep them clean.

  9. #3519
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    BR9,

    It did - of course, and - not to take a cheap shot (but I will!!!) at today's ridiculous circus crowd that is called a "crew" - we were still "old Navy" - i.e., males only afloat (the way it SHOULD be!!) and didn't have the social stigmas and immense problems the fleet is forced to contend with today. Comradery was paramount within each division and their assigned spaces. And YES! keep those cramped ships clean was a full-time job - all hands evolution, as it was.

  10. #3520
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbvet View Post
    BR9,

    It did - of course, and - not to take a cheap shot (but I will!!!) at today's ridiculous circus crowd that is called a "crew" - we were still "old Navy" - i.e., males only afloat (the way it SHOULD be!!) and didn't have the social stigmas and immense problems the fleet is forced to contend with today. Comradery was paramount within each division and their assigned spaces. And YES! keep those cramped ships clean was a full-time job - all hands evolution, as it was.
    There is a lot of truth in what you say bbvet! In addition believe the navy has changed, the ships have changed, automation has come in, and the crews have changed. I want to believe comradely is still there just not the way or form we knew it. If I do not believe that I loose faith in not only the navy but the armed forces I despise the term military! Just my thoughts and opinions and we all know what opinions are! All have a great night!

  11. #3521
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    BR9,

    Agreed, there is some form of comradery, I suppose. When I retire early next year the last vestiges of my "forced" acceptance of these ridiculous ideologies will be over - I'll choose whether to accept the stupidity of the masses or NOT! However, while the rest of the country/world goes to pot (literally, in some states now) I will go about my business just as I always have and if others don't like it, they can suck air!

    Maybe we need a new topic (sub-forum) - WHY They Were The Right Stuff!!!


    But, this is a digression - we need to get back to DD Engineering Spaces 101 - and I'll sit back and learn something!!!

  12. #3522
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    bbvet no problem life is good and you will find it is even better when you soon move on to be next career! congratulations, although I will admit I do miss it at times! All opinions , suggestions, corrections feed back are welcome and appreciated. I have some back up stuff I collected over 47 years 20 Navy 27 MSC however the being the world is forever changing I can and often times are wrong so I appreciate any correction or feedback anyone can offer. Back to the engine room coating system the bilge paint is today, an epoxy coating bright and shiney red. it is a take off of the old red lead days when they preserved steel with reeled or white led normally red lead and it was used up to the mid 1960s when it was outlawed. it contrasted nicely with dirt and garbage made made that stuff easy to see. The great images presented by bilgepump showing the propeller shaft and the bilge paint will give you an idea of what I mean even in low light. Another worry about fire was the steam lines that traveled through the bilges al be it not many but there were some such as the bottom and surface blow systems from the boilers. No line below the deck plate on the lower level no matter what it carried was lagged. This for obvious reasons. Therefore no-one was allowed in the bilges with a boiler lit off. Unless an emergency and then with permission of the top watch. A steam burn can be horrendously painful. At times very disfiguring those who disobeyed some paid a high price.

  13. #3523
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    Memorial Day .....

    The "Greatest Generation" became one less this month with the passing of Bill Rock.
    I note his contribution to sharing his knowledge of being a "Snipe" on a Fletcher-DD.
    His recitals about "forced draft fans" kept my attention as a child when he would point to a model of his DD.
    When I tour WWII era ships I always make a point to ask a leading question about FD's to check on the "tour guides" knowledge.

    If you get to Baton Rouge to inspect "The Kidd", there is an accurate scaled "cutaway model" of a Fletcher-DD with a view of FD # 1.
    Check it out!
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    Last edited by blidgepump; 25 May 18, at 11:54.

  14. #3524
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    BP, et al...

    Thanks again for the great photos of the engineering spaces. Looks like the caretakers have some work cut out for them (middle photo)! Last fall I purchased the BIW Engineering Drawing CD from Tin Can Sailors (Nat'l Assoc. of Destroyer Sailors) which is the entire set of Bath Iron Works drawings used for constructing a FLETCHER class DD. As a modeler, I figured that a few of these drawings might help in my eventual modeling of STODDARD in her 1966-68 configuration. As these are the drawings "as built" they do not represent the ships in later years. However, as a student of shipbuilding and so forth - these drawings show you just the enormous amount of work that goes into designing these ships. I'm pretty sure I came across the FD fan drawings somewhere in that set. That drawing CD is worth many times over the money I spent on it - but, I guess you have to be interested in this sort of engineering documentation to appreciate it.

  15. #3525
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    I had a chance to "steam" by BIW this week. They built a lot of Fletchers of course. However regretfully, I did not get a chance to poke around much in the adjacent Maine Maritime Book store as we were worried about the shift change at BIW.

    Interesting comments about the FD Fans. I never heard them called that although that is exactly what they are of course. We always referred to them as Forced Draft Blowers or FDBs.
    Last edited by FlankDestroyer; 25 May 18, at 18:47.

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