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Thread: Ask An Expert- Battleships

  1. #1561
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    Albany Rifles's Avatar
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    Thanks gang. Appreciate the info. It all makes logical sense. I have read lots of books on the Navy in World War 2 (both fiction & nonfiction) and of course you can't help but read stories about DC. But never thought where they stored the gas bottles. Cleared that right up for me.

    And while I started to think about the hazard aspect I also started to remember that as a Rifle Company Commander I had 1800 rounds of 7.62mm ammo strapped to the outside of my Bradley turret...which I was sticking my head out of!

    2 things caught my eye when looking at the USS Honolulu...

    1. Like Dick, I noticed the milk jugs.

    2. The Chicago Piano...aka the 1.1"/75 Caliber Gun Quad AA Guns. I wonder in her 2 major yard refits (she was hit twice by torpedoes) if they ever swapped thewm out for Quad or Twin 40s?
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
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  2. #1562
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Thanks gang. Appreciate the info. It all makes logical sense. I have read lots of books on the Navy in World War 2 (both fiction & nonfiction) and of course you can't help but read stories about DC. But never thought where they stored the gas bottles. Cleared that right up for me.

    And while I started to think about the hazard aspect I also started to remember that as a Rifle Company Commander I had 1800 rounds of 7.62mm ammo strapped to the outside of my Bradley turret...which I was sticking my head out of!

    2 things caught my eye when looking at the USS Honolulu...

    1. Like Dick, I noticed the milk jugs.

    2. The Chicago Piano...aka the 1.1"/75 Caliber Gun Quad AA Guns. I wonder in her 2 major yard refits (she was hit twice by torpedoes) if they ever swapped thewm out for Quad or Twin 40s?
    Try punching up this link -- http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/ -- It often gives you other links that record the history of special ships or at least that class of ships.
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

  3. #1563
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    Was the rebagging of the propellant for the 16" guns done before or after the New Jersey's '83 use off Lebanon? Is it true that the rebagged charges were discarded after that and replaced with original unblended bags?

  4. #1564
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnet View Post
    Was the rebagging of the propellant for the 16" guns done before or after the New Jersey's '83 use off Lebanon? Is it true that the rebagged charges were discarded after that and replaced with original unblended bags?
    I was never cut in on that phase of the "incident". But I do know a lot of WW II vintage ammo was used in Viet Nam. I recall an article where a soldier in a mortar team noticed a note on the cardboard box of his mortar round saying (something like) "If you want a real hot date soldier, call me at {phone number)". He noticed the date on the box was around 1943 or so.

    After returning to the States, he did some deep research into who that "Rosie the Riveter" really was. Of course, she was well beyond his age for a date, BUT he did locate her and gave her the ammo box back and told her it really lifted his spirits and gave him a good laugh.

    If old ammo can be properly preserved, it's still good as new. Back in the mid-fifties or so I traded an ammo box of lead cuttings from some nuclear shielding we were doing for a box of .30-06 AP with a gunsmith I knew then. Since you can't find National Match anymore, I found that AP prints the same (with the exception of one round of about 25 may be a tad too hot and print high - with a tougher recoil to match). Going through my ammo last year, I found much of it growing black spots from finger prints, etc. (I now use only plastic boxes). So I went to Harbor Freight, bought a double drum polisher and its good as new.

    For example, while up on some land we have in Oregon, I tested one of those AP rounds from my M-1 Garand. Interesting. It went through 2 1/4" (3 plates 3/4" thick each) of Resin Impregnated Kevlar Armor and if there wasn't a rock behind them that AP core would still be going.

    I'll stick to steel, thank you.
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  5. #1565
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship View Post
    On the New Jersey, I think the grey bottles would be an inert gas of Nitrogen used in silver soldering copper. They are very close to frame 115 where we have an expansion joint running up the P&S weather bhds and across 03 level. It was back in those days when ther "flexible" trough for the expansion joint before rubber was used. I recall the Old Timers complaining about the hours they had to spend silver soldering cracks in that copper sheeting.

    On the Honolulu, the only "bottles" that caught my attention were 7 (possibly 8) "silvery" milk jugs stacked up 01 level for unloading. I suspect UNloading as a couple of the jugs are just tossed upon each other. Hopefully their replenishment jugs have already been loaded and stowed in their reefers.

    Well, being from Wisconsin, I've seen HUNDREDS of milk jugs like that. Also, being from Milwaukee I am 100% positive they are not beer barrels.
    After reading Albany Rifles post where he said milk jugs I was going what! You know when I pulled out that picture I can't say the milk jugs, at the top of the ladder, even made an impression on me. I was focused of the gas tanks behind that ladder. Took those two posts for me to take a look to see WTH are these two talking about.

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    Rusty, out of respect for you, I have avoided asking about the 'incident', [I have read all 105 pages of this thread] and wasn't asking about that.

    What I was really wanting to get at is what are the relative merits of reblending propellant--especially if the old stuff is still good--versus manufacturing new stuff vs. sticking with the tried and true? What are the pros and cons and cost benefits?

  7. #1567
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnet View Post
    Rusty, out of respect for you, I have avoided asking about the 'incident', [I have read all 105 pages of this thread] and wasn't asking about that.

    What I was really wanting to get at is what are the relative merits of reblending propellant--especially if the old stuff is still good--versus manufacturing new stuff vs. sticking with the tried and true? What are the pros and cons and cost benefits?
    Sorry. Being one of the Configuration Managers of BB's at the Planning Yard, the incident always comes to mind first before anything else. See Chapter 29 of my book and you can feel my emotions about it. PLUS the fact the Iowa is only a 20 minute drive from my house.

    But back to your general question about aging of munitions. Well, everything gets old. But some things age better than others. Modern rifle and pistol ammo is well encased and can be very effective many years later if stored PROPERLY. I've seen films of demolition teams retrieving poorly stored munitions (up to and including .50 caliber ammo) that were exposed to the weather too long of a time. They stacked it all up in a wide hole (about the size of crater a 155 mm would make), set a couple of satchel charges on top and blew it all up.

    But be careful. We had a woman draftsman (drafts "person"?) who had an interest in antique guns. She brought in the powder flask one day to show off the quality of construction and design. When I picked it up, it didn't feel empty. So I poured just a little bit of that 000 black powder into an ash tray and lit it off. Yup! It was in that flask for 2 or 3 hundred years and still was usable. I flushed the rest down the toilet in the Men's Room.

    Oh, but there is one way to make even modern ammo totally useless. Clean your all-up rounds with a dry cloth or a dry tooth brush if there is any green oxide starting to form around the primer.

    NEVER EVER oil the bases of the ammo ESPECIALLY around the primer. The oil will seep in and kill the primer material. All you will get is a CLICK if you try to fire it. If you can get the book "Shots Fired in Anger" the author relates to an incident on an Island in the South Pacific (WW II) while on patrol they heard a "click, click, click, click, click" behind them. They turned around and a Japanese soldier had been hiding behind a tree when the patrol passed. Somehow he had gotten a Colt .45 Single Action revolver and cleaned it up very well and oiled it INCLUDING the ammo. Well the oil penetrated the primer and rather than having the pleasure of killing Americans with a museum quality American gun, he met his honorable ancestors instead.
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  8. #1568
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    Watched the Iowa turret crawl video on Youtube. That was fascinating and is the only source I've found that fully explains how the powder and ammo move from the magazines to the gun room. I hope they do one on the propulsion system.

    I placed an order for you book, I look forward to reading it. Any specific book recommendations on the evolution of US battleships focusing on the period between the New York class and the Iowa class fast battleships?

  9. #1569
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnet View Post
    Watched the Iowa turret crawl video on Youtube. That was fascinating and is the only source I've found that fully explains how the powder and ammo move from the magazines to the gun room. I hope they do one on the propulsion system.

    I placed an order for you book, I look forward to reading it. Any specific book recommendations on the evolution of US battleships focusing on the period between the New York class and the Iowa class fast battleships?
    Thank you very much. By the way, the New Jersey has created an excellent video of their turret procedures.
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

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    Regarding the Iowa turret video....the floors in there looked nasty. Since the guy was wearing plastic over his shoes, I assume that's all the preservative gunk he's standing on?

  11. #1571
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pacfanweb View Post
    Regarding the Iowa turret video....the floors in there looked nasty. Since the guy was wearing plastic over his shoes, I assume that's all the preservative gunk he's standing on?
    Yes for TWO reasons. One is, of course, for preservative. The other is for "skidding" the 16" shells along the deck to the hoists. Rather than the Gunners Mates also skidding, the projectiles are par-buckled over. That is using blocks and tackle. A third GM may be along an outer edge with his hands on the nose to help keep balance, but that is only when the ship is pitching and rolling.

    On a dry deck (such as the main deck when the rounds are first delivered). A heavy duty dolly is used to roll them up to the strike down scuttles. Ummm, now how do you get a 1,900 lb (or even a 2,700 lb) "bullet" to "stand upright" when it is shipped aboard horizontal with two per pallet?

    Strange thing about the center of gravity of those rounds plus their curved shape. It only takes two men (in better shape than me) to grab the round by the "nose" (it usually has a steel nose cap for protection AND grip) and stand it straight up onto the dolly's plate. If the strike down system is running a bit slow, it only takes two men to literally "walk" that round in over toward the strike down scuttle like moving an oil drum.

    I inspected a full load out of the New Jersey at Seal Beach, and man, can those GM's move steel around. Hundreds of tons of projectiles, propellant cases (16" AND 5") and 20mm CIWS ammo. They start right after breakfast and are finished up by supper.

    It takes longer to load up the Cruise Missiles (Tomahawks and Harpoons) where the ship HAS to be tied to a pier and a steady gantry crane loads them -- one at a time.
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

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    On the NJ's forward tower there is is a platform at the level on the top of the "ears" that extends forward with prominent bracing underneath.

    Mounted on that platform is an object that looks like a giant room fan. Does anyone know what that is?

  13. #1573
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigjimslade View Post
    On the NJ's forward tower there is is a platform at the level on the top of the "ears" that extends forward with prominent bracing underneath.

    Mounted on that platform is an object that looks like a giant room fan. Does anyone know what that is?
    That is a special type of antenna (remember, I'm not an electronics expert -- I only needed to know the weight so I could design a strong enough platform for it). It is shaped more like a big wash tub than a fan. During our 2nd gunnery trials I got a report that there was damage to the platform. The sea was a bit rough that day so I waited until the next day when the ship pulled into the leeward side of San Clemente Island. Then I climbed up there and out onto the platform. The platform was in perfect shape. But the cast aluminum mounting frame (that came with the antenna) had a crack in it.

    All we had to do, after returning to Long Beach later in the week, was replace the factory supplied mounting frame and made notes not to fire a 16" gun at that particular angle again.

    As an aside, that platform originally mounted the ship's whistle. I wanted to keep the ship's fog horn mounted on the starboard side, but it was too loud. When we did the finishing touches on her in 1968, we reactivated that fog horn. I was walking out to Pier 6 when the mechanics tested that steam powered fog horn.

    I kid you not. My knees buckled because that dude was so loud you could hear it on Santa Catalina Island - 26 miles away.
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  14. #1574
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigjimslade View Post
    On the NJ's forward tower there is is a platform at the level on the top of the "ears" that extends forward with prominent bracing underneath.

    Mounted on that platform is an object that looks like a giant room fan. Does anyone know what that is?
    Picture of the area would be helpful
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    Might this help?
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