Page 1 of 113 12345678910 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 1685

Thread: Ask An Expert- Battleships

  1. #1
    Staff Emeritus
    Military Professional
    Contrary by Nature.
    zraver's Avatar
    Join Date
    22 Oct 06
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    14,528

    Ask An Expert- Battleships

    This is a thread for members to ask specific questions of the experts who will then reply if the question is in their specialty. Non-expert members may not answer, I will delete them.

    Opsec is in effect- don't ask for classified information or trade secrets.

    Follow on questions may not be rebuttals of the answer provided, but you may ask for clarification.

    question format (sample)

    Field- Gunnery

    Question- How much explosive filler did the average 16" HE round actually have?
    Last edited by zraver; 04 Jan 11, at 01:53.

  2. #2
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 Jan 06
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    6,042
    According to Bureau of Ordnance drawing number 440559 for a 16" projectile (H.C.) Mk 16 Mod O dated 28 May 1945 the weight of the bursting charge is (I think as the copy is blurry) 158.57 lbs of Explosive "D" with a density of 1.46. The volume for the bursting charge is 2,670.58 cubic inches.

    The projectile body alone is 1,571.50 lbs. Weights of rotating band, base plug, container & nose, adapter, container charge, base fuze with tracer, time fuze, auxiliary detonating fuze and gaskets brings the total weight of the projectile up to 1,900.00 lbs.

    I have other BUORD drawings of a few other projectiles as well but the question is not asking me to dig them ALL out (thank goodness).
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

  3. #3
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 May 05
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA.
    Posts
    14,728
    Mr.L. is spot on. I have it as 153lbs of High Explosive for the HC round. This may have changed in the late 1980's or early 1990 as the USN was still working on shells that would be incorporated into the BB's inventory had they stayed in service longer.

    This is also why the HC (HC High Capacity) OR "shore bombardment" round blew the huge craters in the ground measuring approximately 20 feet deep x 50 feet in dia and would also defoliate the trees such as in the Vietnam era.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 04 Jan 11, at 17:39.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

  4. #4
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
    Join Date
    05 Dec 08
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,434
    I wonder what kind of explosive would have been used in a modern version of the projo. Explosive D is pretty old stuff. My guess would be a balenced blend of modern HE, fuels and oxidizers in a more advanced casing.

    I was looking into it and found this interesting little side bar article on Explosive D.
    CBC News - Nfld. & Labrador - Beachcombing Labrador family carries home wartime explosive
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

  5. #5
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 Jan 06
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    6,042
    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    I wonder what kind of explosive would have been used in a modern version of the projo. Explosive D is pretty old stuff. My guess would be a balenced blend of modern HE, fuels and oxidizers in a more advanced casing.
    Explosive "D" is considered to be the safest to use in Artillery shells as it is not overly sensitive to the shock of enertia as it goes from 0 to 1700 miles per hour in only 66'-8" feet.
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

  6. #6
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
    Join Date
    05 Dec 08
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,434
    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship View Post
    Explosive "D" is considered to be the safest to use in Artillery shells as it is not overly sensitive to the shock of enertia as it goes from 0 to 1700 miles per hour in only 66'-8" feet.
    That is quite an accomplishment for an explosive, I suppose "if it isn't broke - don't fix it" applies here.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

  7. #7
    Contributor
    Join Date
    18 Oct 09
    Location
    Howell, NJ
    Posts
    481
    Topic - BB shells
    When was the last time that 16 inch shells and powder charges for the Iowa class manufactured? Where were they manufactured? Since the Iowa's have been stricken from the naval register and there is no chance they will see service again, is the navy still storing surplus shells? Could any existing shells be dated as far back as the 40's?

    Only particular subject I could think of at the moment.

  8. #8
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
    Join Date
    05 Dec 08
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_NJ View Post
    Topic - BB shells
    When was the last time that 16 inch shells and powder charges for the Iowa class manufactured? Where were they manufactured? Since the Iowa's have been stricken from the naval register and there is no chance they will see service again, is the navy still storing surplus shells? Could any existing shells be dated as far back as the 40's?

    Only particular subject I could think of at the moment.
    As I have read: the powder charges were the primary problem item, old powder is dangerous, it can become sensitive due to improper storage, some old powder stored on a barge which got too hot was blamed for the Iowa accident. Most old powder needed to be remanufactured to make it safe, and ramming procedures needed to be improved - ram very gently. Old projectiles are less of a hazard, during the 1st Gulf war, some WWII projectiles were used - I was told this by the gunners on USS Wisconsin in 1991. Our Iowa class experts will probably be able to illiminate this question better than I can, I am more of an acedemic battleship generalist as opposed to the directly involved, hands on Iowa class specialists like Rusty and Dread.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

  9. #9
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 Jan 06
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    6,042
    As for the Iowa, we all know that the deflageration (often called "explosion") was caused by five reduced service bags of propellent igniting while the gun breech was open. There have been too many arguments and speculations as to what caused it. So many that they all contradict each other. So I will not go any further than that except for the following comments on reduced service charges.

    My main problem with it is that some people just REFUSE to learn from history or REFUSE to read it. Turret I of Iowa already had some misfires before that incident. Why? Apparently nobody read Paul Stillwell's book on the USS New Jersey's Viet Nam tour.

    Reduced service bags (55 lbs each) are smaller in diameter than the full service bags (110 lbs each) and even if firmly packed tend to tip over when the barrel is elevated. Thus the primer charge misses the red patch of black powder that in turn ignites the main propellent. Paul's book shows an excellent photo of a misfire on NJ with a hole burned into the silk bag with the propellent granules totally intact. Admiral Schneider (then Captain of the Big "J") ordered that reduced service bags were never to be used again.

    Unfortunately, that experience and advice was lost 15 years later and the ships again were being supplied with the smaller diameter bags for short range firing. It's sort of like putting a .44-40 into a .45 long colt and hoping the firing pin will hit the primer.

    Now for the general question: The main explosive in the warheads of projectiles can last for many years. I recall reading a news article of a Mortar crewman in Viet Nam using ammo made in WW II. On one of the boxes had the name and phone number of the woman who packed it. After returning to the states, he looked her up and gave her the box back.

    The biggest problem with the warheads are the fuses. It depends upon what type of explosives are used for the striking primer and the ignition charge. They could be age sensitive and may have to be replaced. On some of the older models of 16" shells, they had a problem of the base fuse spinning itself out halfway between the USS Massachuessets and the Jean Bart. The AP shell credited for breaking the stern casting of the French BB did not explode but went deep enough and hit hard enough to cause the ship to start settling in the water. Also, one of the "fuseless" shells rolled down a street in Casablanca and I've been told it is still on display (though the explosive has been removed).

    I had a cousin who was a "supervisor" in a weapons factory up in the Saugus Hills area (spread out among several valleys with high hills in between). His "supervisory" duties were merely to walk the assembly lines, report any problems and call in the right mechanical team to fix the problem. All of the weapons loading personnel were women. Women pay much more attention to detail and do not get bored with redundancy as often as men do (ask anyone who has had to reload hundreds of rounds of ammo for a pistol range). They also all wear white coveralls with white hoods. Overhead is a series of copper rods. Each person wears a copper bracelet with a copper wire running up to a copper ring-hook on the rod overhead. This grounds them out so their own static electricity wouldn't make one of the Valleys in Saugus bigger.

    But as he said, it wasn't packing in the main charges that was the most hazardous, it was the fuse assemblies. Even with the patience and detail attention of women, they were given long breaks while another team would come in.

    On a smaller scale I bought some old .22 long rifle ammo for only a penny a round. But it was so old it would hang-fire almost every time. They all fired, but sometimes the powder did not ignite for half a second or so while the primer in the rim started to burn faster.

    On a slightly larger scale, I had some .30-06 Military ball ammo that dated back to almost 1906. I could fire it in my bolt action 03-A3 Springfield and eject the cases just fine. But the rapidity and strength of my M-1 Garand extractor would rip right through the case rim and I would have to use a cleaning rod to knock it out. It wasn't the problem with the powder or the primer, but the brass case age-hardened and was too brittle to withstand the ejector of a Garand.

    Finally I had a learning experience of old ammunition with an 11 mm Remington rolling block I had. The ammo was very old, dirty and dated back to about the Civil War days. Some rounds were so tight, I almost had to hammer them into the chamber. Those cases split every time as there was no room for expansion. However, after buying new ammo from a company in Canada (Dominion), every one fit properly and fired properly with no split cases. The old 11 mm cases actually expanded over their last century, probably due to heat in the old Arsenal on an Island back east that had tons of Civil War stuff.

    So, where does this all lead to? Old ammunition from .22 rimfire on up to 16" ammo must be carefully inspected, measured and thoroughly tested before issue and use.

    As Murphy's law says: "If anything can POSSIBLY go wrong, it WILL."
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

  10. #10
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
    Join Date
    05 Dec 08
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,434
    an article on the Iowa accident
    Battleships: United States ... - Google Books

    good general info on the bags and projectiles
    http://www.eugeneleeslover.com/USNAVY/CHAPTER-3-1.html
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 06 Jan 11, at 04:12.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

  11. #11
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 Jan 06
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    6,042
    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    an article on the Iowa accident
    Battleships: United States ... - Google Books

    good general info on the bags and projectiles
    CHAPTER-3-1.page
    Interesting. I've read all this before. It was my job.

    Don't forget, Long Beach Naval Shipyard was the Planning Yard for the Battleships. As one of the project leaders, I had a very, very busy morning the next day. Chapter 29 of my book tells what we went through and some of the eerie history before that. But it does NOT devulge any opinions of what caused the incident.

    I am associated with certain organizations and we have been requested NOT to make public any PERSONAL opinions of what we THINK may have caused the incident.

    I am perfectly comfortable in following that request. I apologize for even giving the curt answers I gave above but it just bugged the hell out of me that after all the problems the ships have had with the undersized bags that the Navy continued to use them.

    Therefore I would prefer this subject be dropped and we go on to other technical questions that some of us "hands on" experts can answer and forego "theories".
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

  12. #12
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
    Join Date
    05 Dec 08
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,434
    I understand and agree. This subject is off the table.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

  13. #13
    Contributor
    Join Date
    18 Oct 09
    Location
    Howell, NJ
    Posts
    481
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_NJ View Post
    Topic - BB shells
    1)When was the last time that 16 inch shells and powder charges for the Iowa class manufactured?
    2)Where were they manufactured?
    3)Since the Iowa's have been stricken from the naval register and there is no chance they will see service again, is the navy still storing surplus shells?
    4)Could any existing shells be dated as far back as the 40's?
    Very interesting information as usual!!! So there could be shells from the 40's still in storage at Earl NWS or another facility. Don't think 1-3 were really answered though. Did I miss something?

  14. #14
    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 Jan 06
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    6,042
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_NJ View Post
    Very interesting information as usual!!! So there could be shells from the 40's still in storage at Earl NWS or another facility. Don't think 1-3 were really answered though. Did I miss something?
    As far as question number 3 is, I personally do not believe any Iowa class Battleship will ever see active service again. The first clue I got was when the Navy was "ordered" to put two of them back into class B reserve and they picked the New Jersey and Iowa. Based upon my personal and professional knowledge of the ships, the Missouri and Wisconsin would have been my picks as they had the latest upgrades and were in the best overall condition.

    The selection of the Iowa, however, did give it the opportunity to be towed to the West Coast (now among the "Ghost Fleet" in Benecia, California) so at least one Battleship (of ANY class) could be set up as a museum/memorial on that side of the Continental United States. The East Coast has FOUR Battleships, the Gulf Coast has TWO and Hawaii has ONE. There are only a couple of Aircraft Carriers (Hornet & Midway), a Destroyer (Turner Joy) and a Submarine (name escapes me) on the West Coast.

    So, I'm afraid the days of the big gun Battleships are over. Unless the Navy wants to design a new one. If so, the line forms behind me.
    Last edited by RustyBattleship; 07 Jan 11, at 18:17. Reason: Too many BB's in Gulf Coast - my bad.
    Able to leap tall tales in a single groan.

  15. #15
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 May 05
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA.
    Posts
    14,728
    Got your message Mr. L. will return.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 2 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 2 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. What if battleships, fictional
    By USSWisconsin in forum Battleships Board
    Replies: 92
    Last Post: 09 Jun 13,, 00:29
  2. How many battleships were built?
    By USSWisconsin in forum Battleships Board
    Replies: 153
    Last Post: 06 May 13,, 22:42
  3. Are battleships obsolete?
    By Canmoore in forum Battleships Board
    Replies: 211
    Last Post: 02 Aug 06,, 20:34
  4. American Battleships
    By Gio in forum Multimedia & Jukebox room
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 26 Aug 03,, 13:11

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •