Flatcar Load: Conning Tower Tube


Bob Chaparro
 

A photo from Flickr:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kheelcenter/5279257017/sizes/o/

Caption:

Midvale Company produced conning tower tube for Brooklyn Navy Yard, order #85809, weight 188,060 lbs being transported by railroad, October 6, 1943.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


Bruce Smith
 


Tim O'Connor
 


A better link

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kheelcenter/5279257017/



  PRR F22 #435332.  Reweigh P57, 8/43.  So here we have another use for the PRR gun flat singlets!
  Regards Bruce Smith


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Bruce Smith
 

​This cargo is really puzzling. Conning towers in surface ships were phased out at about this time because the presence of a hugely heavy steel cylinder in the superstructure of a surface ship was beginning to be seen as a disadvantage. So I looked to see what might have been under construction at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, because the Iowas, the last American battleships, were done by this date. Even the 5th and 6th Iowa class BBs had been canceled. I can find no record of any heavy ship being constructed at this date at Brooklyn that this would be destined for.  It also seems a bit narrow for a surface ship conning tower and is clearly not a submarine conning tower. The date seems reasonable given the reweigh on the car... so I really have no idea what this cargo is...


Regards,

Bruce Smith

Auburn, AL


From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...>
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2018 2:58 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Flatcar Load: Conning Tower Tube
 

A better link

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kheelcenter/5279257017/



  PRR F22 #435332.  Reweigh P57, 8/43.  So here we have another use for the PRR gun flat singlets!
Regards 
Bruce Smith
Midvale Company produced conning tower tube for Brooklyn Navy Yard, order #85809, weight 188,060 lbs being transported by railroad, October 6, 1943.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Tim O'Connor
 

Bruce isn't it possible that it could be for REPAIRS to a damaged ship?

This cargo is really puzzling. Conning towers in surface ships were phased out at about this time because the presence of a hugely heavy steel cylinder in the superstructure of a surface ship was beginning to be seen as a disadvantage. So I looked to see what might have been under construction at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, because the Iowas, the last American battleships, were done by this date. Even the 5th and 6th Iowa class BBs had been canceled. I can find no record of any heavy ship being constructed at this date at Brooklyn that this would be destined for. It also seems a bit narrow for a surface ship conning tower and is clearly not a submarine conning tower. The date seems reasonable given the reweigh on the car... so I really have no idea what this cargo is...


Regards,

Bruce Smith

Auburn, AL
--
*Tim O'Connor*
*Sterling, Massachusetts*


gd3006
 

Note the "BB-63" stencilled just above the weight- this would have been for the USS Missouri. IIRC, the Missouri
was launched at Brooklyn in early 1944, and commissioned about mid-year, so the 10/1943 date of this photo
seems about right.
Graham Dean


Daniel A. Mitchell
 

I concur that this is a “puzzlement”.

I don’t know what the repair schedule for armored ships was in this time frame. The old “Pearl Harbor” battleships were rebuilt and returned to service (less the Oklahoma), but the tube pictured is just way too small to be the conning tower of any WWII battleship.

It may be an unarmored base for a range-finder or gun-director of some cruiser or battleship, but these are not “conning towers”. It’s also too small and too heavy to be any likely part of the pressure-hull of a submarine (and once again not a “conning tower”).

I can’t think of any other use for a large heavy tubular component like this in ship construction. Most such in ship’s superstructures are just sheet metal fabrications (stacks, fire-control towers, etc.).

So …?

Dan Mitchell
==========

On Sep 30, 2018, at 7:18 PM, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:


Bruce isn't it possible that it could be for REPAIRS to a damaged ship?


This cargo is really puzzling. Conning towers in surface ships were phased out at about this time because the presence of a hugely heavy steel cylinder in the superstructure of a surface ship was beginning to be seen as a disadvantage. So I looked to see what might have been under construction at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, because the Iowas, the last American battleships, were done by this date. Even the 5th and 6th Iowa class BBs had been canceled. I can find no record of any heavy ship being constructed at this date at Brooklyn that this would be destined for.  It also seems a bit narrow for a surface ship conning tower and is clearly not a submarine conning tower. The date seems reasonable given the reweigh on the car... so I really have no idea what this cargo is...


Regards,

Bruce Smith

Auburn, AL



--
*Tim O'Connor*
*Sterling, Massachusetts*





Daniel A. Mitchell
 

Ah! I didn’t notice this. Thanks for the observation!

If it’s for BB-63 it would likely be the base for some large (probably rotating) component like a rangefinder, or gun-director (optical or radar). In any event, it’s only about half the diameter of a “conning tower”, and just not heavy enough (these things were 18” thick), and in an Iowa-class BB they were not round, but oval shaped.

Very interesting!

Dan Mitchell
==========

On Sep 30, 2018, at 7:53 PM, gd3006 <gbd99@...> wrote:

Note the "BB-63" stencilled just above the weight- this would have been for the USS Missouri. IIRC, the Missouri
was launched at Brooklyn in early 1944, and commissioned about mid-year, so the 10/1943 date of this photo
seems about right.
Graham Dean


O Fenton Wells
 

The first sub I served on was the USS Amberjack (SS 522) commissioned in 1945.  Still in service in 1962.   It was the only sub I served on with a conning tower and it looked nothing like that.  Conning towers were not used on any subs after the WWII designs.  The Fast attack diesel boats in the 50's had no conning towers but they had control rooms and of course the nukes were without conning towers.
Not sure what this might be sued for.
Fenton Wells

On Sun, Sep 30, 2018 at 6:19 PM Bruce Smith <smithbf@...> wrote:

​This cargo is really puzzling. Conning towers in surface ships were phased out at about this time because the presence of a hugely heavy steel cylinder in the superstructure of a surface ship was beginning to be seen as a disadvantage. So I looked to see what might have been under construction at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, because the Iowas, the last American battleships, were done by this date. Even the 5th and 6th Iowa class BBs had been canceled. I can find no record of any heavy ship being constructed at this date at Brooklyn that this would be destined for.  It also seems a bit narrow for a surface ship conning tower and is clearly not a submarine conning tower. The date seems reasonable given the reweigh on the car... so I really have no idea what this cargo is...


Regards,

Bruce Smith

Auburn, AL


From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...>
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2018 2:58 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Flatcar Load: Conning Tower Tube
 

A better link

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kheelcenter/5279257017/



  PRR F22 #435332.  Reweigh P57, 8/43.  So here we have another use for the PRR gun flat singlets!
Regards 
Bruce Smith
Midvale Company produced conning tower tube for Brooklyn Navy Yard, order #85809, weight 188,060 lbs being transported by railroad, October 6, 1943.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts



--
Fenton Wells
250 Frye Rd
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-8106
srrfan1401@...


gd3006
 

 This tube serves as a pedestal to support the manned portion of the conning tower, which is, indeed, oval, and
substantially larger than the tube- but still a very tight space. Despite the armor thickness, I wouldn't want to be
inside when a heavy projectile hit, even if it didn't penetrate...
Graham Dean


Tim O'Connor
 

Dan

BUT ... the other stencil is CT-8. If that doesn't mean Conning Tower...

Could be a tube that is INSIDE the tower, and as you say it could be to support
something heavy that rotates.



Ah! I didn't notice this. Thanks for the observation!

If it's for BB-63 it would likely be the base for some large (probably rotating) component like a rangefinder, or gun-director (optical or radar). In any event, it's only about half the diameter of a conning tower, and just not heavy enough (these things were 18" thick), and in an Iowa-class BB they were not round, but oval shaped.

Very interesting!

Dan Mitchell
==========


Note the "BB-63" stencilled just above the weight- this would have been for the USS Missouri. IIRC, the Missouri
was launched at Brooklyn in early 1944, and commissioned about mid-year, so the 10/1943 date of this photo
seems about right.
Graham Dean

--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


CJ Riley <cjriley42@...>
 


Gee, I regularly watch the "boomers" (missile subs) pass by on the way to Bangor WA and they all have what would be called conning towers by the uninitiated. 


Marty McGuirk
 

They’re technically referred to as “sails” on modern day nuclear subs. 


On Oct 1, 2018, at 3:58 PM, CJ Riley via Groups.Io <cjriley42@...> wrote:


Gee, I regularly watch the "boomers" (missile subs) pass by on the way to Bangor WA and they all have what would be called conning towers by the uninitiated. 


Daniel A. Mitchell
 

“Uninitiated” for sure.

The correct term today is “sail”. It serves to house the upper end of the sub’s periscopes and retractable antennae, and as an observation point while the sub is surfaced. On many recent subs it also mounts the sub’s forward diving planes, but the most recent subs again mount these back on the hull. Sails are getting smaller, and may disappear altogether on future subs.

The modern sub is conned from inside the main hull at the base of the sail, though a watch crew may be on duty atop the sail when surfaced.

In WWi and WWII subs there was usually a small pressure-protected chamber mounted above the main pressure-hull that was the control-room. This was the location from which the sub was conned, so could be said to be the “conning tower". A sheet-metal shed containing it was part of the sub’s visible superstructure when surfaced, a sort-of deck-house. As on a modern sub, it helped house the retracted periscope. It also usually carried radio antennae, various small anti-aircraft guns, and provided a location for the lookouts and deck crew when the sub was surfaced. It also had one or more watertight hatches that could be used to pass ammunition to the crew of any deck-guns if so fitted (forward or aft of the conning tower, on the main hull’s deck).

In WWI and early WWII subs often surfaced to attack unarmed ships with deck-guns. It was a lot cheaper than using torpedos. During WWII it became far more dangerous for a sub to surface … mainly due to radar and aircraft patrols. By the end of WWII deck-guns were largely out of favor as torpedo attacks became more effective. The guns also caused a lot of turbulence (drag and noise) when the subs were running submerged. Gradually the subs were streamlined to improve underwater speed and make them quieter (harder to detect). The subs were now far more effective when submerged, and the guns were more trouble then they were worth. When nuclear-powered subs were developed, submarines rarely surface at all so deck-guns became worthless.

Dan Mitchell
==========

On Oct 1, 2018, at 3:58 PM, CJ Riley via Groups.Io <cjriley42@...> wrote:


Gee, I regularly watch the "boomers" (missile subs) pass by on the way to Bangor WA and they all have what would be called conning towers by the uninitiated. 


Bill Welch
 

Dan, I have always wondered how they kept the deck guns in condition to shoot given Salt Water=Rust/Corrosion

Now awaiting to be jailed for asking non-freight car question.

Bill Welch


Benjamin Hom
 

BIll Welch asked:
"I have always wondered how they kept the deck guns in condition to shoot given Salt Water=Rust/Corrosion"

Simple.  Gunners' Mates doing lots of maintenance, both preventive and corrective, plus practicing with them regularly.  Now back to freight cars.


CDR Ben Hom
US Navy Surface Warfare Officer, 1989-2017


Ralph W. Brown
 

Hi Ben, et al.,
 
Additionally, some deck guns, particularly the 5”/25, were made of a rust-resistant steel and pressure tight fittings, but we digress . .
 
Pax,
 
 
Ralph Brown
Portland, Maine
PRRT&HS No. 3966
NMRA No. L2532

rbrown51[at]maine[dot]rr[dot]com
 

From: Benjamin Hom
Sent: Monday, October 1, 2018 6:06 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Flatcar Load: Conning Tower Tube
 
BIll Welch asked:
"I have always wondered how they kept the deck guns in condition to shoot given Salt Water=Rust/Corrosion"
 
Simple.  Gunners' Mates doing lots of maintenance, both preventive and corrective, plus practicing with them regularly.  Now back to freight cars.
 
 
CDR Ben Hom
US Navy Surface Warfare Officer, 1989-2017


CJ Riley <cjriley42@...>
 

I am aware of the modern nomenclature but it's the same thing.


Benjamin Hom
 

Ralph Brown wrote:
"Additionally, some deck guns, particularly the 5”/25, were made of a rust-resistant steel and pressure tight fittings, but we digress . ."
Rust resistant steel...rusts. Still need to maintenance to the weapon...if you believe otherwise, I've got some Atlas "Rebuilt USRA boxcars" to sell you.
Ben Hom


Ralph W. Brown
 

Hi Fenton, Bruce, et al.,
 
Regarding the load, there are three drawings, including a longitudinal section, of the Missouri on the Missouri Memorial website.  The longitudinal section drawing may be found here: https://ussmissouri.org/learn-the-history/the-ship/as-built-blueprints.  If one examines this drawing, a tube labeled “Conning Tower Tube” runs vertically five decks from one deck below the main deck up to the O4 deck to the “Ship Conning Station” and the “Fire Control Station” above it.  I suspect that this F22 load is the bottom section of that tube.
 
Regarding submarine conning towers, they were typically and necessarily larger both in length and diameter.  I was assigned to the USS Skipjack (SSN-585) (“The first, the fastest, and the finest nuclear powered teardrop hull,” a great boat with a great crew) in the early 1960s, when she was part of Squadron 10 (SUBRON10), which at the time also included USS Nautilus (SSN-571), USS Sailfish (SS-572), USS Seawolf (SSN-575), USS Skate (SSN-578) and, I think, USS Halfbeak (SS-352) as she was often moored with us at the State Pier in New London.  In any event, Seawolf, unique among nuclear subs primary because of her liquid sodium cooled reactor, did as I recall also have a conning tower.  She was definitely an odd duck.
 
Pax,
 
 
Ralph Brown
Portland, Maine
PRRT&HS No. 3966
NMRA No. L2532

rbrown51[at]maine[dot]rr[dot]com
 

From: O Fenton Wells
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2018 8:15 PM
To: main@realstmfc.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Flatcar Load: Conning Tower Tube
 
The first sub I served on was the USS Amberjack (SS 522) commissioned in 1945.  Still in service in 1962.   It was the only sub I served on with a conning tower and it looked nothing like that.  Conning towers were not used on any subs after the WWII designs.  The Fast attack diesel boats in the 50's had no conning towers but they had control rooms and of course the nukes were without conning towers.
Not sure what this might be sued for.
Fenton Wells