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Wondering about how sailors went on/off the battleships

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by Jsullivan15, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Jsullivan15

    Jsullivan15 recruit

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    Watching some of the Pearl Shows on TV during the anniversary I was stuck with a simple thought. Prior to the attack what were the logistics of moving sailors from the battleships moored at Ford Island to the main base? Conservatively we are talking over 7,000 sailors when the battleships were in Pearl coming and going from a location that provided no direct access to the base other than by shuttle launch or ferry. In 1941 the enormity of moving sailors back and forth must have required a substantial resource of boats and crews to provide these services. Add in the thought of the sailors of the battleships moored inboard having to traverse across the decks of the outboard ships to board and unload must have been quite a process. In watching some of the newsreel you can note the number of small covered whale boats going back and forth that must have been part of the shuttle fleet. Anyone out there have any understanding of how this actually worked? Most Liberty shifts were coordinated with large numbers of sailors going and coming in groups at a regular timing which must have been quite a bottleneck. Or, was there some other way they could have been transferred from the ships to the base without having to use the boats?
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Mostly they used the ship's boats. The reason for this was two-fold. First, the sailors would get sick in the boats before arriving at the ship in most cases. Second, the bosuns were always training in small boat handling and "milk runs" were the best way to break in new coxswains. Note that the tin cans were in nests away from shore on the day. There was usually one ship that provided boat service for the nest, that ship being one of the outboard ones.

    Caveat, this system was described to me about forty years ago, so it may be somewhat faulty. Or I could just be a daft bastard. Either one.
     
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  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I would tell you they used the 'transporter' but that is still highly secrect, and now I must hunt you down and kill you. Sorry for the inconvience :)

    A shipped docked at Ford Island would keep half or more of the crew aboard at any time. Moving them by whaleboat or something similar would be seen as worth the trouble compared to advantage of keeping undesirable's such as civillian's, reporter's, hooker's and oh yeah spies from getting on.
     
  4. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I must not type what I'm thinking...
    I must not type what I'm thinking...
    I must not type what I'm thinking...

    To be fair OP knows his stuff, and I know I am a daft bastard.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Mrs. OP just said she knows what you were thinking.
    First day of Engineman school, Great Mistakes Naval Training Center, Illinois, 1969. The instructor walks in with an oar over his shoulder.

    "If you people don't do your job right, you better know how to use one of these."
     
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  6. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Opana Pointer, as usual, is right on the money.
     
  7. ResearcherAtLarge

    ResearcherAtLarge Member

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    A correction of sorts; the ships were large enough and far enough away from Ford Island that there was plenty of room for each to use their own boats. If you look at this photo shot during the attack you can see West Virginia's embarkation ladder on the starboard stern (almost direct center of the photo) as well as some boats next to Tennessee by her forward Quay. This photo shows boats aft of the stern quays of both Nevada and Arizona (starboard side). I've got a high-res scan of this photo and it's clear that the battleships have boats out and tied off on both sides, as well as the cruisers (There are a couple of nests of 2-3 cruisers where both / all ships have boats tied off on the aft boat booms.
     

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