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Topic review - USS Tecumseh controls
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  Post subject:  Re: USS Tecumseh controls  Reply with quote
Absolutely, the lever controls the rotation of the turret from within the turret. The possibility we might consider is that the turret could also be aimed by the captain from his vantage point, up high in the pilot house.

The first test of the idea would be to imagine yourself as the captain, standing next to your helmsman in the pilot house. You and the helmsman are the only two people aboard with an overview, through slits, of your own position, speed, direction -- and those of the enemy. It would seem the most natural thing in the world to turn a wheel and aim the guns.

The second test of the idea would be to ask if it is plausible mechanically. It does seem workable.
swash -- from below.jpg
swash -- from below.jpg [ 52.66 KiB | Viewed 634 times ]
The control linkage inside the turret, like this one from the original Monitor, requires a "swash plate". In the Tecumseh, the central shaft is fixed but the turret-- and the linkage -- rotates around it. The linkage inside the turret acts through rollers to raise and lower the swash plate. The swash plate itself just slides up and down the central shaft -- it does not rotate. It would be a simple matter to connect the rack and pinion in the pilot house to this same swash plate, raising and lowering it from above. (The rack and pinion could also be connected at some point below the turret to the same effect.)

Below the turret there is additional linkage, not fully shown, which connects the up and down motion of the swash plate to the reversing gear of the turret engine. This part of the system would be common to either control input -- the lever inside the turret or the handwheel in the pilot house. Note that if a crewman pulled the lever, the handwheel in the pilothouse would turn. If the Captain turned the handwheel, the lever in the turret would move, traversing part of its range.

Why have dual controls? Redundancy. But also, from accounts of Hampton Roads, we know the men inside the turret were disoriented by its constant turning. They quickly lost their sense of how the turret was turned relative to the ship's centerline, and never had a good sense of the ship's direction.

Controlling the turret and thus aiming the guns from the relative calm of the pilothouse seems to be a cooler solution. The Captain's point of view is fixed, solid, not rotating. The view is much better -- slitted, but a full 360 degrees.

I still like the engine telegraph idea, or even a direct engine control. But this other possibility exists and I thought I would throw it out there.

It may be a question of what should be accomplished with shouting (e.g. "all ahead full!" Or "Fire!") and what should be accomplished with direct tactile control -- such as the rotation of the turret and the precise pointing of the guns.

The Captain would need a visual aiming reference, a gunsight essentially. Maybe a stanchion mounted above the muzzles. Michael
Post Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:21 pm
  Post subject:  Re: USS Tecumseh controls  Reply with quote
Possible, but wouldn't the gunners aim the turret as they would more have 'their finger on the pulse' so to speak on when to turn, fire and turn to reload?

There is a lever at the back of the turret in this cross-section that I've always took to be the turret rotating lever (look at the linkages down to the machinery).

Then again, if you see the vertical tooth gear next to the helm, I've taken that to be an engine telegraph system. What if it is a locking device for the turret?

Post Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:12 pm
  Post subject:  USS Tecumseh controls  Reply with quote
Here is yet another hypothesis about Tea Monster's pilothouse controls mounted in his USS Tecumseh, shown here:

Maybe the handwheel, and its associated rack and pinion, was used by the captain to aim the turret?

Post Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:52 am

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