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Thread: Ask An Expert- Naval Forces

  1. #31
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Just something to play with for reference (Gato class).SS319 Becuna.
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  2. #32
    Senior Contributor DonBelt's Avatar
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    Is that an armored cruiser behind the Becuna?

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    Senior Contributor DonBelt's Avatar
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    Okay- I see that it is the Olympia after a quick google. Which brings a question to mind. In what kind of condition are most museum ships? Do any of them have functioning plants or are capable of being put under way? I know of companies that maintain and operate historic aircraft and military vehicles for use in film making and documentaries, are there any companies or associations that do the same with naval ships? It seems there are many ships around, but probably not cost effective?

  4. #34
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonBelt View Post
    Okay- I see that it is the Olympia after a quick google. Which brings a question to mind. In what kind of condition are most museum ships? Do any of them have functioning plants or are capable of being put under way? I know of companies that maintain and operate historic aircraft and military vehicles for use in film making and documentaries, are there any companies or associations that do the same with naval ships? It seems there are many ships around, but probably not cost effective?
    Cost effectiveness is a big factor in keeping up a warship in operable condition just to appear in a few scenes of a movie every few years.

    Usually, the Navy donates most major warships to museum groups with the condition that the donee cannot reactivate the propulsion plant, navigational system or the galley in case the ship has to be recalled. Oddly, by ommission, there is no restriction to reactivating the guns.

    Also, most museum ships are not maintained properly (mostly due to lack of money) and many dedicated people working on them are volunteers who may not have been in the Navy and not really know anything about how warships are built and have to learn by trial and error how to operate some systems for comfort of guides and visitors.

    Tanks, trucks and airplanes are relatively "easier" to maintain and/or restore because of their smaller size. They can be put in a garage, workshop or hangar for weather protection and restoration. However, some variations are hard to get (or don't exist anymore) and other similar variations must be used. For example, the German Tiger tanks in "Kelly's Heros", "Saving Private Ryan" & "Band of Brothers" were highly modified Soviet built T-34's as there is perhaps only one Tiger Mk VI in the world that's actually in running condition.

    When Audie Murphy made his film of his combat experience "To Hell and Back", he accepted the fact that an M-41 Walker Bulldog had to be used as a German tank (as in dozens of movies and TV shows) as long as it was seen at a distance. His biggest gripe was that the scene where he won the Medal of Honor shows him on top of an M-4 Sherman firing a .50 caliber machine gun to cover his unit withdrawal. He wanted an M-18 Hellcat which was what he was really on in the actual combat in WW II. But, there were no Hellcats around any more (though a few have been restored but only very recently) so he had to settle for the Sherman.

    In the movie "Under Siege", the only shots of the real Battleship Missouri were stock aerial shots. The rest of the movie was shot aboard the Battleship Alabama in Mobile. Their museum submarine was also used for that movie.

    However, thanks to CGI almost any warship can be recreated again such as in the (so-so to me) movie "Pearl Harbor". Prior to CGI, large models were used. When Ivan Tors made "In Harm's Way", his model ships were large enough to actually have a person inside operating it which is often safer than remote radio control.

    An example of this was the P-51 Mustangs on their fly-by in "Empire of the Sun" were actually radio controlled models (pretty large ones though) but often did not go the right direction, sometimes hitting each other. The problem was that each plane was controlled by a separate person and when one started drifting off, they didn't know if it was their plane or not and the wrong plane would be "corrected" while the errant plane went "uncorrected".

    When "Tora Tora Tora" was made, Forster Design welded three barges together to build a nearly full size mock-up for the Battleship Nevada for close up scenes. All other Battleships in the movie were 40-foot long wood models of which only the one of the Nevada exists today and is stored at Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. It was privately owned but when the owner died, it has been more or less saved by the employees at the Station and used in various military parades.

    To my knowledge, the only operational ship of WW II vintage in California is the MS Lane Victory and has been used in a number of movies, TV shows and TV commercials. About 2 or 3 times a year she takes visitors out on a ride to Catalina Island (26 miles off shore) and back. They not only provide lots of food, they also provide a bit of action when anywhere from one to four "Messerschmidts" attack the ship and the Sea Scouts aboard fight back "firing" their 20 mm machine guns (actually they run on compressed air -- just as many "guns" do in the movies).
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  5. #35
    Senior Contributor blidgepump's Avatar
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    Real or artistic license

    Mr. L, you make a compelling statement addressing the artistic license taken by movie directors when creating illustrations for military films.

    When a director uses stock film for emphasis ( some of the better worn sequences are in no specific order) a Republic P-47D filmed in black & white diving on a ground target with eight - .50cal's blazing away in the opening days of the USofA entry of WWII, , or the stock film of a M-4 Sherman breaking through a hedgerow during Operation Torch chasing the AFRICA Corp , or a Fletcher class DD rolling ashcan's on a U-boat in 1940 , ; each scene causes me to reflect that a director's budget must of been near the breakng point during that stage of filming.

    When I first watch Audie blazing away with that MA2 as a kid in the early '60's one saturday afternoon on the family's Zenith, I thought nothing about the Hellcat. Now 50-years later, I cringe.

    My point being, at least the new CGI & FX used by the film industry numbs the pain of the gross abuse of stock film footage in today's military films.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship View Post
    When "Tora Tora Tora" was made, Forster Design welded three barges together to build a nearly full size mock-up for the Battleship Nevada for close up scenes. All other Battleships in the movie were 40-foot long wood models of which only the one of the Nevada exists today and is stored at Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. It was privately owned but when the owner died, it has been more or less saved by the employees at the Station and used in various military parades.
    A lot of the battleship models for Tora Tora Tora were stacked in a bullpen on the Mole for years and years. The SIMA building on the Mole was built where that bullpen was.

  7. #37
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ytlas View Post
    A lot of the battleship models for Tora Tora Tora were stacked in a bullpen on the Mole for years and years. The SIMA building on the Mole was built where that bullpen was.
    That's correct, though I think it was only four models. Other models were purposely "destroyed" in making the movie. When the shipyard closed, they were all sent to Seal Beach NWS. Somehow at least the Nevada model was acquired by a former Navy Chief and he put it on display at air shows and the opening ceremony at our Navy Memorial Park behind the Aquarium. It was also in a number of Parades. We used it in the 2009 Veteran's Day Parade in North Long Beach (I rode in the truck towing it) but it was unavailable for Long Beach in 2010 as Seal Beach had its parade the same weekend and the model was used in it.

    The other three models had no takers so they were set on fire and turned into ashes.
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    Dear experts on US Naval forces,

    If the USA's geopolitical policies were premised on a more purely defensive posture, rather than the advanced defense postures we currently have, what would our Navy's fleets look like? Where would we base those fleets and what would the vessel composition of Navy look like?

    One more question...in terms of bang for the buck, which class of ships in our fleet currently gives us the highest defensive return on investment?

    I realize, of course, that a fleet needs different classes of vessels, so that followup question mostly pertains to the more purely defensive posture proposed in the first question.

  9. #39
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    I am not an expert but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express a few times....

    More attack submarines and land based Naval air. The USAF would have increased anti-surface weaponry and capabilities.
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  10. #40
    Senior Contributor blidgepump's Avatar
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    Ankeny Iowa

    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship View Post
    That's correct, though I think it was only four models. Other models were purposely "destroyed" in making the movie. When the shipyard closed, they were all sent to Seal Beach NWS. Somehow at least the Nevada model was acquired by a former Navy Chief and he put it on display at air shows and the opening ceremony at our Navy Memorial Park behind the Aquarium. It was also in a number of Parades. We used it in the 2009 Veteran's Day Parade in North Long Beach (I rode in the truck towing it) but it was unavailable for Long Beach in 2010 as Seal Beach had its parade the same weekend and the model was used in it.

    The other three models had no takers so they were set on fire and turned into ashes.
    In the early 1990's two brothers put on an air show in the community of Ankeny, Iowa ( north of Des Moines on I-35). The event presented scale model aircraft plus North American T-6 's modified to look like Zero's from the Confederate Air Force. Unique was the venue which featured a flooded area in front of the reviewing stand. There where large scale models of IJN carriers and warships that would move on dollies across the 6-inch deep ocean to simulate ocean sorties.

    The perspective was such that the model's would dogfight close to the reviewing stand while the real life size birds flew a few hundred feet farther out from those seated. In the smoke the IJN craft would appear from behind an "island" and launch model aircraft. I was told the "ships" were from Tora, Tora Tora, but the information presented here makes me wonder if they were from the John Wayne movie, In Harm's Way.

    I remember the crew flying a model B-29 over the pond and dropping the bomb after the simulated air battle. The heat from the fuel oil used to recreated the atomic bomb was very intense for those sitting in the bleachers. A slight burning sensation of exposed flesh lingered after the Des Moines Bomb squad ignited the "bomb". I doubt that one could afford to recreate the event with today's oil prices.
    Last edited by blidgepump; 31 May 11, at 17:06.

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    Senior Contributor DonBelt's Avatar
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    Just got back from Battleship Cove in Fall River and had a couple of my questions answered. The Joseph P. Kennedy was towed out into the sound to play herself and another destroyer in the movie "13 Days". Surprisingly the gun turrets do still work and were used. However the power plant is not functional. Additionally the shaft bearings are welded to seal them, preventing the shafts from turning even if the plants could be fired up. All the radios on board the Kennedy and the Massachusetts work and are used regularly.

  12. #42
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonBelt View Post
    Just got back from Battleship Cove in Fall River and had a couple of my questions answered. The Joseph P. Kennedy was towed out into the sound to play herself and another destroyer in the movie "13 Days". Surprisingly the gun turrets do still work and were used. However the power plant is not functional. Additionally the shaft bearings are welded to seal them, preventing the shafts from turning even if the plants could be fired up. All the radios on board the Kennedy and the Massachusetts work and are used regularly.
    Awesome! Did you take any pictures? Are the radio rooms on Massachusetts in the tour?
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  13. #43
    Senior Contributor DonBelt's Avatar
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    Yes, they are accessible to the public. You can wander freely thru out the ship, if you're lucky there will be a radio operator using the radio set. He uses the morse key to contact other museum ships and ham operators. If you stay onboard overnight they have morse lessons as well as other programs. Many of the volunteers are former crewmen and if you are a vet and talk to them you may get a chance to see some of the equipment closer up. On the Joseph P. Kennedy DD 850, the vet who gave us a talk took me thru some of the shops where they continue to maintain some of the comm equipment and disassembled the ship's stable element to show me. Since I was a fire controlman, he also showed me the mk 1a fire control computer, a collection of servos, synchros and resolvers with dials and knobs- a bit before my time. I do have some pictures, but they are mostly of my scouts sitting in front of the 16 in guns. I will post them if I get a chance. Very definitely a good site to visit, the Massachusetts BB 59, the USS Joseph P Kennedy DD 850, the USS Lionfish, the Hiddensee a Tarantula class missle corvette given to the US for evaluation in the 90's by the former East German Navy and 2 PT boats.

  14. #44
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    Awesome! Did you take any pictures? Are the radio rooms on Massachusetts in the tour?
    One day out of the year all of the museum ships talk to one another. All classes via HAM. This one just passed June 2nd 2011.

    BB's, CV's, DD's, CA, SS and foreign ships as well.

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  15. #45
    Senior Contributor DonBelt's Avatar
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    They also communicated with memorials such as the USS Indianapolis memorial in Indianapolis. I don't know what kind of facility they have there, but certainly there is no ship.

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