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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:46 pm 
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Yes the letter that Adm. Hart sent was dated 6 December 1941. But the last couple of paragraphs state that the upper works were or had been painted over with Cavite Blue on Asiatic Fleet ships. Which ships in the Asiatic Fleet completed that task prior to the attack may never be known. But, I would assume that Adm. Hart would have had his flagship follow his directive. Such a repainting wouldn't take long, involving relatively small areas of the ship. Although on parts more difficult to access. The only Ms 1 painted with 5-D Asiatic Fleet units would be ones that had Stateside Overhauls/Yard Periods during the Spring-Fall of 1941. Hence, likely USS HOUSTON and USS MARBLEHEAD were painted in Cavite Blue, but USS BOISE not. I'm not sure about the destroyers.

This memo enlightened me to where Cavite Blue fit into the spectrum of USN paints applied in late 1941 and gave an understanding to the few available photos.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:54 pm 
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Yes, the same CINCAF message was also reproduced in an old issue of Warship International many years ago, which is how I first came across it...

CA-30 had 200 workmen aboard her for much of the final month [Nov 1941] at NY Cavite doing the last-minute stuff, so it's possible she was painted at that point. But, I've never read of anybody who was there saying they remembered painting her then, or later. In view of the alterations to her at that stage, I think repainting might have been problematic, but that is just speculation. They were definitely working w/her searchlights & the platforms for those, along with the 1.1" guns & those areas, and may have been fiddling again w/her degaussing gear.
By Dec 6, she was at Iloilo, and no one ever recalls painting her there/then.
However, I do not claim to be authoritative on this mysterious subject, which has gone on now for decades.

One may draw one's own conclusions from the last good images of her--those taken at Darwin.
Attachment:
USS Houston (CA-30) Darwin 42.jpg
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Photo from USSHouston.org via John Bradford.

I have seen original photos of her being repainted at Cavite in the P.I. after she became flagship again, and the darker gray is quite noticeable. That it became so light by later in '41, or during the war, as shown in the few images of Houston that survived tells us much about how lacking in durability the Cavite Blue really was.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:55 pm 
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It is hard to say. I know there are images of HOUSTON available from the Australian War Museum. I just have no idea if the dates are accurate for any of them.

The photo you posted shows that parts of her have been repainted (forward section of the hull is really noticeable) at some point. But, as you say, the upper works do not appear to be repainted. Painting and touch up painting was so routine and done often and sailors hated the routine, that I suspect they would rather forget about it.

This image has less contrast between the upper works and the rest of the ship.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:12 am 
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Something interesting if you have not seen it. Reconstructed Deck Logs of USS HOUSTON's movements from lat November 1941 to February 1942. HOUSTON visited Darwin several times starting on 28 December. So when specific photos were taken is in question and may explain why photos vary.

... https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/sh ... html#Enclb ....


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:11 pm 
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https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/sh ... html#Enclb

This link does not work for me.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:14 pm 
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Thanks for that.
I have HOUSTON's deck logs for Nov '41 through the end of Jan '42 and a hardcopy of the reconstructed log as well. (Also her logs going back at least to mid '40, for that matter.) But, many other Asiatic Fleet ship's NEI-period logs, too, including all of EDSALL's surviving logs (Dec-Jan) because she was often w/CA-30 in the Darwin-Torres Strait convoys, etc.
Now, we can determine when PEARY came alongside HOUSTON. Moreover, I have known a CA-30 officer who visited w/a classmate on PEARY during the last visit in February at the time of the Timor Relief Convoy, just hours before the destroyer was sunk.
PEARY was never alongside CA-30 when the cruiser was at Darwin in late December--in fact, DD-226 does not appear in CA-30's log then at all--so we can rule that date out.
And she was never alongside CA-30 in January when they were both at Darwin--which was not very frequently. So that can be ruled out.
I feel pretty certain the pix are all from February, but pinning down a precise date & time is not something I've tried to do from my other AF ships' logs...and just haven't the extra time or energy for that right now.

AWM photos are replete w/significant captioning errors--and these find their way into online sources such as Wiki, where they become incredibly difficult to root up & correct. And NavSource suffers from this problem, too, but I cannot fault them too much.

For me personally, three glaring examples spring to mind:

1) On CA-30's Wiki page is a shot that purports to be CA-30 with the Timor Relief Convoy, but the cruiser is clearly & unmistakably a 'swayback' type which means it is PENSACOLA and the Pensacola Convoy.
2) On DD-219's Wiki page, a photo from AWM claims the flushdecker is escorting HOLBROOK off Java on Feb. 15, 1942...but, they were never together off Java at any time, and they were absolutely not together on Feb 15, 1942.
3) NavSource's CA-30 page shows the famed image of MARBLEHEAD pulling alongside CA-30 at Tjilatjap in early Feb '42, and states that the cruiser(s) received bomb damage in an attack in "the Bangka Strait"--but, of course they were never in, or even near, Bangka Strait in their time in the NEI campaign...or, not "closer" than, say, ~300 km.

Will these ever get corrected? I don't know, but it would be nice...


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:42 pm 
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You can correct the Wikipedia entries - just log in and create an account. But please include your references!

Wikipedia is notoriously inaccurate! I just ran across an article about the RIM-8 Talos missile that had about two dozen errors! Some were simply absurd. It was obviously written by someone who knew nothing about the missile or it's history, but was given the assignment to write something. The author used information off my Talos web page so I know they were trying, but a lot of it got scrambled in the process. Now I am trying to correct it.

I found an error in another Wikipedia entry and corrected it, but someone keeps going back and restoring the error. It is frustrating!

Phil

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:45 am 
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Fantastic discussion in here.

A question for you guys: does anyone know the exact mark and mod of the 8" gun directors fitted to the NORTHAMPTON class? I can't find any specific information on it in Friedman's - all he mentions is how the General Board wanted to add Mark 31 directors to these ships (the type used aboard the NEW ORLEANS class) but that didn't happen, apparently.

Director in question, cropped from 19-N-39220 (dated 14 Dec 1942 during CHICAGO's last refit at Mare Island):

Image

I've uploaded some high-res photos downloaded from NHHC here: http://imgur.com/a/YX79I

At first, I thought this director might be the Mark 27 type fitted to the PORTLAND class but I don't think it is... it looks slightly different. It definitely isn't the Mark 18 fitted to PENSACOLA and SALT LAKE CITY. I'm at a loss - any ideas?

Cheers
Ian


---

Another question. What are the tall objects under the canvas and the directors covered in dials in this photo: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/ ... nknown.png

This is cropped from NH 70719 of CHICAGO (CA-29) at Mare Island in 1931 and shows the platform just aft of the number two stack. I think the directors with all the visible dials next to the small gyro repeaters are torpedo directors, but I don't know the mark/mod etc. Friedman mentions this platform as having "altimeters" for anti-aircraft directors (???) before the introduction of the Mark 19 director on these ships, sometimes in this same area (or in other cases atop the mainmast). The drawing of HOUSTON (CA-30) in Friedman's Cruisers shows what look to be short-base rangefinders in this area, but as usual I can't find anymore detail than what's in the photos. Any ideas?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:04 pm 
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I would guess that the "tall objects" are guns, but I don't recognize the bases on the guns. Whatever they are, they obviously can be elevated to a high angle - probably anti-aircraft guns.

It was common to bag the 20mm guns like this on the Clevelands. It makes them easy to count in whole ship photos.

Phil

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:09 am 
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Another possibility is that the canvas covered objects are rangefinders. Many of the earlier rangefinders were hinged on one side and could be swung up for stowage. The early destroyers had smaller versions of these and in some references are miss-identified as guns.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:55 pm 
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They look like rangefinders with the arms tilted skyward - the canvas seems to suggest that they're in some sort of storage position. Does anyone know if the Booklet of General Plans or any builder's plans exist of this class? I have a feeling those might have more info, but I'm also worried they might just say "12' rangefinder" as the BOGP often do.

Any ideas?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:10 am 
They had the MK 24 MB directors.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:20 pm 
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Excellent - thanks. Friedman makes mention of the "Mark 24" director in some of the text about the BROOKLYN class so I'll have to go back and read in detail.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:59 pm 
P. 472 of Friedman names this mark as the type carried by the NORTHAMPTONs.

BOISE (& BROOKLYN class) carried MK 34.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:20 pm 
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Colosseum wrote:
Another question. What are the tall objects under the canvas and the directors covered in dials in this photo: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/ ... nknown.png

This is cropped from NH 70719 of CHICAGO (CA-29) at Mare Island in 1931 and shows the platform just aft of the number two stack. I think the directors with all the visible dials next to the small gyro repeaters are torpedo directors, but I don't know the mark/mod etc. Friedman mentions this platform as having "altimeters" for anti-aircraft directors (???) before the introduction of the Mark 19 director on these ships, sometimes in this same area (or in other cases atop the mainmast). The drawing of HOUSTON (CA-30) in Friedman's Cruisers shows what look to be short-base rangefinders in this area, but as usual I can't find anymore detail than what's in the photos. Any ideas?

The MK-19 director, as first installed, had two parts. There was what Robert Stern called the range/bearing element, which was the uncovered part in your photo. Then there was the "altimeter". There is a good photo of one in Stern's Lexington Class Carriers book on the bottom of page 99. Here are the range/bearing elements on Northampton herself before the altimeters were installed. http://www.navsource.org/archives/04/026/0402626.jpg On the Northampton's, the range/bearing element was closer to the stack with the corresponding altimeter aft of it. On the Lexington's, that same arrangement was seen aft of the stack, but on the foretop, the range/bearing elements were toward the middle of the foretop with the altimeter's outboard. (I have seen these altimeters labeled as machine guns in some publications.) On the Northampton's, both elements were later combined in a single housing. But even so modified, they lacked the speed to effectively track the aircraft of the second world war.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:37 pm 
The fact that the upgraded MK19 could not begin to track a/c until they were within 15,000 yds was also a significant drawback.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:14 am 
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Dick J wrote:
Colosseum wrote:
Another question. What are the tall objects under the canvas and the directors covered in dials in this photo: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/ ... nknown.png

This is cropped from NH 70719 of CHICAGO (CA-29) at Mare Island in 1931 and shows the platform just aft of the number two stack. I think the directors with all the visible dials next to the small gyro repeaters are torpedo directors, but I don't know the mark/mod etc. Friedman mentions this platform as having "altimeters" for anti-aircraft directors (???) before the introduction of the Mark 19 director on these ships, sometimes in this same area (or in other cases atop the mainmast). The drawing of HOUSTON (CA-30) in Friedman's Cruisers shows what look to be short-base rangefinders in this area, but as usual I can't find anymore detail than what's in the photos. Any ideas?

The MK-19 director, as first installed, had two parts. There was what Robert Stern called the range/bearing element, which was the uncovered part in your photo. Then there was the "altimeter". There is a good photo of one in Stern's Lexington Class Carriers book on the bottom of page 99. Here are the range/bearing elements on Northampton herself before the altimeters were installed. http://www.navsource.org/archives/04/026/0402626.jpg On the Northampton's, the range/bearing element was closer to the stack with the corresponding altimeter aft of it. On the Lexington's, that same arrangement was seen aft of the stack, but on the foretop, the range/bearing elements were toward the middle of the foretop with the altimeter's outboard. (I have seen these altimeters labeled as machine guns in some publications.) On the Northampton's, both elements were later combined in a single housing. But even so modified, they lacked the speed to effectively track the aircraft of the second world war.


This is fantastically helpful - thank you so much!

I can spot the altimeter arms pointed skyward in several photos of LEXINGTON and SARATOGA before their eventual upgrades. Very cool indeed.

Guest wrote:
P. 472 of Friedman names this mark as the type carried by the NORTHAMPTONs.

BOISE (& BROOKLYN class) carried MK 34.


Thanks for the page reference - not sure how I missed that in the table of details in the appendices. My confusion stems from a passage on page 184 about the BROOKLYN class, shown here: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/ ... nknown.png

"Note that, although she is fitted with the first of the Mk 24 main-battery directors, hers does not yet have a rangefinder or spotting glass incorporated in it, and thus differs from later versions".

I wonder if the impeccable Dr. Friedman made a typo in this passage.

edit:

Found a good close-up of the early Mark 34 installations on BROOKLYN (CL-40) which I've placed into the appropriate thread here: viewtopic.php?f=48&t=32971&p=721881#p721881


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:49 am 
A simple typo indeed, IMO.

The original MK19 director with its associated altimeters on CA-30, for example, was changed long before she received her enlarged 5" battery or any 1.1" pompoms. According to her own air defense personnel the new MK19 was not particularly well-liked, and seems to have suffered from rushed or sloppy installation as well as poorly calibrated scopes, etc.

Almost all of the older prewar photos of the PENSACOLAs and NORTHAMPTONs show the original layouts w/separate RF/altimeters. It should be noted for model builders that the Sumrall drawing of CA-30 is incorrect in this aspect, as it shows scopes still in place next to the new Sky Aft MK19. There were definitely not scopes there, but bolted down aerial observer chairs...

CA-30 also had a portable scope of some type--I am not sure exactly what it was for, but seems to have been a temporary installation-- atop her aft searchlight control station (just forward of Turret 3). I wonder if it was utilized due to CAPT Oldendorf's documented dislike for the MK19 Sky Aft siting, and the notoriously useless scope in the Battle II (Secondary Conn) position below Sky Aft.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:18 pm 
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Interesting to note about the small rangefinder being moved around - maybe it was for navigation? Friedman states (somewhere) that the short-base tactical rangefinders were used for navigation in the days before radar. Wish I could remember exactly where this was written.

Anyway, I wanted to post my drawing of HOUSTON (CA-30) here for you guys to get your opinions on the ultimate fit/finish and especially the coloration. I've drawn the ship with four 1.1" quads in the tubs abeam the bridge and Battle 2 (the aft conn just abaft the number 2 stack). My understanding from reading this thread is that the 1.1" battery was fitted first at Mare Island (two guns) and then later in 1941 at Cavite (two additional guns). These guns replaced King Board stopgap 3"/50s - is this correct?

Re: the camouflage scheme, I mainly based the application of the light grey on the Darwin photo posted earlier, though I can't tell if the light grey was also applied to the fore funnel - the photo makes it look like it might have been, but as always I don't know for sure. The "light grey" on the upper works is not the usual Light Grey (5-L) of later ships but the #5 Standard Navy Grey - I assumed the earlier pre-war grey would have been on-hand at Cavite (or wherever they repainted the ship).

I also removed the main top based on the Tjilitjap photo which clearly does not show it. Anecdotal evidence also indicates to me that the foretop was also removed (meant to clear sky arcs, I assume).

Link to the drawing: http://test.shipbucket.com/drawings/3989/file

---

PS: I hope it's OK with the users of this forum for me to post these drawings here. I value this board greatly for the high-quality research discussed here and these drawings (where I attempt to show ACCURATE configurations of ships that are often poorly drawn in other official sources) is (to me) my humble contribution to the discussion.

Cheers
Ian


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:18 am 
Hello,

Very nice. Now here are some things to corrrect:

1) The lighter gray was not used on the new MK19 directors...They were the darker hue. The line for the lighter color was the funnel tops--above that.
Flying bridge, pilot house/chart house level were all dark.
Very briefly (I think) CA-30 had her fore-funnel cap painted gray rather than black, but I don't know when it was repainted again. I have a great image of her at Cavite in that scheme.

2) On the mainmast the searchlights were darker gray and the lighter shade used above their tops on the mast itself and aft .50cal platform.

3) It is a murky area, but looks like they had one (1) 1.1" quad put on at Mare Island in 1940, and the others at Cavite in late 1941 just before they left for Iloilo. 3"/50cals were on the ship, yes, in the interim.

I would not have March 1942 on your drawing either, since she was only above the water for about 45 minutes that month...and certainly looked nothing like she had in November 1941, as the pics at Darwin in mid-Feb. show. (I have a photo of her on the Timor Relief Convoy which, while of poor quality, shows her paint job had already degraded.) It would make more sense to date your image December 1, 1941, perhaps.

Keep up the good work. And in case you do not know it, the Houston Maritime Museum has a splendid little room dedicated to HOUSTON with quite a bit of good material & images, etc.


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