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Thread: Ask An Expert- Battleships

  1. #31
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    The AEC made a wise choice. Different safety measures used for T-hawks and silver bullets because of the different warheads. The nuclear arsenal is all about two things. Reliability and Safety.

    One broken cable causing a large void where the Jersey use to be, with a large mushroom cloud above isn't worth it.

    I worked on/around the B-33. That type of warhead doesn't do rough handling well.

    But speaking of wasted money. One of the best museums I ever went to had every type of nuclear device that the US Navy/Marine Corps had. Included an example of a War reserve round with a mock up of the environment it would be fired from ( Gun turret, field environment attachment point of various aircraft, silo), a training round and a cutaway of each type. It was awesome. It was located at NWTGP I would bet less than 50 people on base knew it was there or had access at any given time.

    Goes without saying, No photography (or note taking) allowed.

    Whisky,
    The fact that the Marine was armed, or the area was restricted would not have depended on if the ship had special weapons on board or not. When you neither confirm or deny the presence or absence on board any military instillation you also don't give off key indicators that a certain ship has one on board. So you act as if it does at all times.

    The difference would have came if you tried to keep going. If you got beat within an inch of your life than there probably wouldn't have been a device present. If he pumped rounds into your lifeless body till it quit twitching chances are one was on board.
    Last edited by Gun Grape; 14 Jan 11, at 21:03.

  2. #32
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    The AEC made a wise choice. Different safety measures used for T-hawks and silver bullets because of the different warheads. The nuclear arsenal is all about two things. Reliability and Safety.

    One broken cable causing a large void where the Jersey use to be, with a large mushroom cloud above isn't worth it.

    I worked on/around the B-33. That type of warhead doesn't do rough handling well.

    But speaking of wasted money. One of the best museums I ever went to had every type of nuclear device that the US Navy/Marine Corps had. Included an example of a War reserve round with a mock up of the environment it would be fired from ( Gun turret, field environment attachment point of various aircraft, silo), a training round and a cutaway of each type. It was awesome. It was located at NWTGP I would bet less than 50 people on base knew it was there or had access at any given time.

    Goes without saying, No photography (or note taking) allowed.

    Whisky,
    The fact that the Marine was armed, or the area was restricted would not have depended on if the ship had special weapons on board or not. When you neither confirm or deny the presence or absence on board any military instillation you also don't give off key indicators that a certain ship has one on board. So you act as if it does at all times.

    The difference would have came if you tried to keep going. If you got beat within an inch of your life than there probably wouldn't have been a device present. If he pumped rounds into your lifeless body till it quit twitching chances are one was on board.
    Thank You Gun Grape,

    That makes perfect sense. I have no doubt the Marine was fully capable of either option. I do suspect that the aft launchers were the location the specials if they were to be carried, since it was a more secure location. Those old warheads could potentially detonate when dropped, I can see that. It is documented that a little boy subassembly was inserted after take off on the Enola Gay - for good reason. According to public information the US has no gun Assembly types in its inventory and hasn't for a long time. I would love to spend a day at that museum.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
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  3. #33
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    I wonder how they got the nuclear Tomahawks loaded without a suspension system? Maybe they didn't? They aren't going to tell us, since that is policy, not confirming there are nukes aboard. When I was aboard the BB64 in 1991 I walked toward the aft launchers and was met by a Marine with his hand on his gun, he told me to turn around and go back the way I came, I was duly impressed and did just that. He had a big lanyard on that Berretta in case he dropped it, he could reel it back and keep shooting. I wondered if that didn't indicate they had "specials" in the launchers, they let me inspect the midships launchers, which had missiles in them.
    When nuclear warheads (air dropped or in a missile) were developed to be almost totally shock resistant, the AEC eased up on some of it's restrictions. It was not the nuclear material inside but the self-destruct conventional charge that was the most worrisome. If a shell broke its lowering wire, it might plunge 3 or 4 decks down and if it hits bottom just right the self-destruct charge would blow up the warhead. It would not set off a nuclear explostion but would spread radioactive material all over the place.

    Now, Tomahawk and Harpoon cruise missiles can be loaded onto a ship from a dockside crane. The missiles are delevered in AUR's (All Up Rounds) already secured in their launching tubes which is inside a special coffin-like carrier.

    The Harpoons are lifted out of the carrier and set directly down on the launcher rack that is at a permanent 35 degree angle. You cannot see the missile at all as it is already inside its launcher tube. On the BB's the Harpoon tubes were about 2-inches thick of aluminum for fragmentation protection.

    The Tomahawks were also set on deck inside their "coffins" if the ship was equipped with a Rube Goldberg type loading frame to do the actual loading. Generally the missile in its round tube (looks like a gigantic paper towel roller) could be put aboard ship by a dockside crane and land it directly on to the loading tray. The loading trays were built into the armored box launchers. After opening the "front" doors of the ABL, any one of four trays could be extended out like a drawer shelf. The AUR was then set on it and the assembly pushed back in for the hook up of wiring.

    As I said, the AUR cannisters looked simply like a 2-foot diameter cylinder about 20 feet long. Some years ago my wife and her friend went down to the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station to relax by their swimming lagoon and have lunch at a PX type snack bar. Our friend had a pass to get onto any Military Reservation as her husband was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the USAF.

    As they were leaving, they made a wrong turn and drove down pierside where a crane was loading such "carboard" tubes onto some ship. On their way out, base police pulled them over to check their IDs and vehicle passes. They were warned not to be in any area where loading of ships is being done.

    He let them go and they told me about it that night. Our friend's husband was also over at our place for dinner and both of our wives compained about being pulled over for such an insignifacant event of seeing some big pipes loaded on a ship. I asked them if they looked like cardboard cylinders about 2-feet in diameter and about 20-feet long.

    They answered "yes" and I said, "Good for that cop. You definitely should not have been there." Our friend asked, "Do you know what is in those cannister?" All I answered was "Yes I do." She asked what was in them. I answered "The reason you were pulled over." My wife turned with a wide smile to her friend and told her to drop the subject.

    Our friend's husband was sitting at our bar with me at the time with a big grin on his face. He knew exactly what I was talking about.

    Well, you gotta have SOME fun SOMEtime.
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  4. #34
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    Great stuff!

    Field- Armor
    Question- U.S. carriers in WW2 had wood decks, and IIRC the decks on U.S. BB's were teak. Why? Doesn't this make the ship infinitely more vulnerable to plunging fire? Is plunging fire considered low-risk due to accuracy issues? A shell fired ballisitcally, very high (like a mortar), would seem to be insanely inaccurate compared to normal direct fire, although I know in the latter the shell still follows a ballistic path.

    Anyway, insights into the "why's" of a teak deck (rather than at least some armor plate) would be appreciated.

  5. #35
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Aircraft Carriers had wooden decks so they could be repaired quickly. The armor was on the main (Hanger deck).

    One of the reasons for teak decks on the BBs was that steel decks were too slippery so they attached teak to the armored deck.

  6. #36
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Teak was also very fibrous (in addition to being slip resistant, hard and seawater damage resistant) and didn't create splinters as much as other wood types (wood splinters were a feared "shrapnel" on naval ships, the ships boats, decks, and wood trim could be transformed by an enemy hit into deadly "splinters"), it resisted dents from ammo handling as well, finally: its extra weight didn't matter on the BB. It was applied on top of an armored "bomb deck", 1.5" thick on the Iowa class - which served to detonate bombs or decap projectiles. The main armored deck was the deck below the weather deck and was about 6" thick and had a 5/8 - 3/4" splinter deck about 3' below it (the last two, BB-63 & BB-64, had the thicker version).

    Note: Carriers were expecting to be protected from enemy gunfire (their decks needed to be repaired quickly after bomb damage or aircraft accidents so they could continue to fight), battleships expected to survive heavy gunfire damage and give back better then they got. Repairing their upper decks was not important during a battle.

    On earlier battleship designs the main armored deck was deeper in the ship - since the purpose was to deflect shells, bombs had not become as much of a threat - yet, for example the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the KMS Bismark (her armor layout was not up to contemporary standards - but was very high quality in its implementation, and optomized for short range gun duels) had their main armored decks two decks below the weather deck.

    About the names for the decks: each nation had its own naming scheme for the decks - so the main deck on one nation's ship didn't necessarily correspond to the same deck level on another nation's ship.
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 15 Jan 11, at 18:08.
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  7. #37
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    The teak decking also offered a manner of insulation to below decks spaces keeping the below spaces warmer in the colder weather and also keeping it cooler in the hotter weather. It also offered good assistance with humidification.

    And in agreement with Rusty above. For instance, The Main deck on the Iowas is the Main Deck, but the hatch labeling from the upper handling room for the 5" mounts to the Main deck (as we know it) calls it the Weather Deck. Just an example of some differences.

    The funny thing about the Splinter Deck is that it is only accesable through "trunks" otherwise you never see it or even know that it is there. Its not as visable as the 1.5 deck armor or the 6" armor visable on your hatch ways as you go below it or below the Main Deck.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 15 Jan 11, at 18:20.
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  8. #38
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    To put together some of the answers above (and maybe add a little more info) Teak decking served three purposes:
    One was to provide a smooth deck surface covering up the Riveted butt straps on the deck. These straps are 5/8" thick and 15" wide. Perfect tripping hazards.

    Secondly the decking provided a smooth surface for rolling dolly racks of ammunition during loading procedures.

    Thirdly they did provide some insulation to the compartments below.

    Douglas Fir decking on the older Aircraft Carriers received a lot of heavy pounding from landings of its own planes and/or damage from enemy hits such as bombs and Kamikazes. Fir was cheaper and easy to replace.

    Originally all Battleships and Cruisers had teak decking on them for the above purposes. The original specifications was to use Burmese Teak. Unfortunately during WW II we could not get any teak out of Burma because there were too many guys there carrying Arisaka rifles and/or Nambu pistols. So we substituted Burmese teak with similar or equal forms of hard wood that had the same water resistant properties.

    The decking was generally called "American TeaK" but technically it was either Plantation Teak from Brazil or Locust Wood from the eastern part of the United States.

    However, as welding procedures and filler rods were improved, most ship's decks were (or are now) welded steel. Also insulation materials have been greatly improved. Finally for traction, special formulas of non-skid paint were developed. Even modern Aircraft Carriers no longer have wood decking on their flight deck.

    Most of the old BUSHIPS TYPE or STANDARD drawings have been lost through age and probably during the move of NAVSEA from Crystal City to the Washington Navy Yard. However, about 10 years ago I converted all of those decking drawings into new drawings created in Corel Draw when I set up my own company called "Dreadnaught Consulting". Then a few months ago I was contacted by the Navy via the organization I am now with, asking if we knew of anybody experienced in wood decking. I got a real nice thank you email back from the Navy for not only restoring the drawings but upgrading the List of Materials and MIL-SPECS as well.

    Sorta nice to still be appreciated.
    Last edited by RustyBattleship; 15 Jan 11, at 18:38. Reason: grammarical errors
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  9. #39
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Rusty, we appreciate you. I am glad the Navy has finally offered some!

  10. #40
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    Subject: USS Illinois (BB-65)
    Question: Did the hull actually survive until 1958 before being dismantled at the PNSY? I read this account in various naval books and journals. Why would the USN have waited so long? The ship was canceled in August 1945.
    Last edited by Archdude; 16 Jan 11, at 03:07. Reason: typo and add question

  11. #41
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archdude View Post
    Subject: USS Illinois (BB-65)
    Question: Did the hull actually survive until 1958 before being dismantled at the PNSY? I read this account in various naval books and journals. Why would the USN have waited so long? The ship was canceled in August 1945.
    For the most part, neither the Illinois or the Kentucky were ever in the water. Kentucky's lower bow section was cut off to repair the Wisconsin's bow. Later, Kentucky was floated out to make way for the Missouri's dry docking. Illinois never left her building ways and was therefore never subject to cathodic corrosion of the sea water.

    The two incompleted ships were kept in hopes of electronic improvements to make them missile carrying ships. But as found out on Canberra, the firing of the main guns usually knocked out some of the vacuum tubes that controlled the missiles. The shock through the ship, even with Canberra's guns that were much smaller than a BB, was almost negligable to a human being but disasterous to a vacuum tube.

    Remember, this was long before a frustrated electronics engineer threw his project into a glass of water. The gizmo worked for a bit and he continued on to make the diode. Nowadays the only electronic equipment you can find that still uses vacuum tubes are in museums (or stuffed somewhere in the back of my garage).

    If they had solid state circuit boards and computer micro-chips in the mid-fifties, the ships may have been finished and would have been super missile carriers still using the big guns for close in work. The idea and intent was there, but technology had not caught up to it yet. So both ships were scrapped in 1958 with Illinois still being on the building ways.
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  12. #42
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archdude View Post
    Subject: USS Illinois (BB-65)
    Question: Did the hull actually survive until 1958 before being dismantled at the PNSY? I read this account in various naval books and journals. Why would the USN have waited so long? The ship was canceled in August 1945.
    according to the US Naval register:
    Remarks: CONSTRUCTION WAS CANCELLED WHEN 21.0% OF CONSTRUCTION WAS COMPLETE AND BROKEN UP
    AT THE BUILDER'S WAYSIN 9/1948.

    ILLINOIS
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 16 Jan 11, at 03:53.
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  13. #43
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    I have a question about the electrical systems on the Iowa Class BB's, more specifically the generators/power plants. Did they till use the original one's in the 80's? I'd imagine if they did those systems were pretty taxed with the new A/C systems, radars, and electronics. Also, if all the boilers were to go out and all there was to rely on were the diesel generators, was that enough power to train the turrets and use them?
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  14. #44
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigan_Guy View Post
    I have a question about the electrical systems on the Iowa Class BB's, more specifically the generators/power plants. Did they till use the original one's in the 80's? I'd imagine if they did those systems were pretty taxed with the new A/C systems, radars, and electronics. Also, if all the boilers were to go out and all there was to rely on were the diesel generators, was that enough power to train the turrets and use them?
    Yes.

    We still used the steam turbine generators and when necessary the two Emergency Diesel generators. The steam turbines in the engine rooms were designed to power generators that would light up all of San Pedro if necessary.

    That is the concept of warships --- redundancy. If one supply of the system is knocked out, one or two more back up supplies were built in to take over. It just took a well trained crew to turn the correct valves or flip the correct switches to use the back up system so the ship could keep on fighting.

    Some years ago, somebody did a study on the ten most complicated items ever designed and built by man. Of course, the Apollo Moon program was at the top of the list. I forget the placing, but a Naval warship was 2nd or 3rd because of the intended built in redundancy of all systems of electrical, mechanical and piping for propulsion to weapons opeerations and even down to sewage disposal.

    A Swiss watch was at or near the bottom. What was in between, I don't know but I think it had to do with understanding women.
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  15. #45
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    Some of the sources I read state it was 1958; maybe it was a typo. I do think it is possible for some of the material to have survived that long.

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