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 Author  Topic: Sextants on PT Boats?
  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Aug 23, 2010 - 7:42pm
Hello everyone! I was wondering if either Elco or Higgins were supplied with a Sextant for the boat and also with a Boat Chronometer? I looked at the "PT Tactical Orders and Doctine" Book and the "Elco Builders Specifications" books on the HNSA website, but I could not find any listing of either. I know the Chartboards were supplied with a Parallel Motion Protractor (PMP) as well as Parallel Rules and Navigators Instrument set, (Dividers etc) but have never seen them listed anywhere either for that matter. I have seen photos of the PMP and Rulers being used on PT Boats however, by the QM but not a Sextant. Is there a list somewhere that shows all of the equipment that would have been supplied on board the newly built PT Boats? (Kind of like a modern day COSAL?) One thing I did see on You Tube was the old PT Boat Propaganda Movie called "Devil Boats" it shows the main character, the Officer "Bob" learning how to use a Sextant while he is at the Melville Training Center. So let me know if you have any ideas about this! We want to add this sextant to our list of needed equipment if it is accurate. Thanks Jerry PT658 Portland, OR

Jerry Gilmartin

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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Aug 25, 2010 - 6:14pm
Hey! I was hoping somebody would have an answer for me? How about Earl or CJ or Ted? Or Dr Ross? Frank? Will? Garth? Steve Nugent, Jim Stanton? Does anybody have any ideas about this? Please? I dont even know where to look for the answer without your help! Jerry

Jerry Gilmartin

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Allan

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Allan   Send Email To Allan Posted on: Aug 25, 2010 - 6:23pm
Jerry:

The boats had chronometers provided by the Bureau of Ships. They may not have been assigned to the boat but rather to the Quartermaster .I am not sure. But, just as important, each Quartermaster had a "comparing watch" also issued by BuShips. I have photos of both from the Quartermaster of PT 113 in Division 17, the first US Navy contingent into New Guinea in December, '42. The chronometer was mounted into a very nicely made wooden box, probably Philippine Mahogony, with a nicely fitted cover, as well. The comparing watch was in a simple chamois type sleeve within a cardboard box. Navigation required such precision that the comparing watch, as I understand it, was used to verfy the accuracy of the chronometer. I suppose if there was a descrepancy, then the QM would have to determine which, if either, was correct. But, I'm no navigator.

I think I remember a reference to the sextant in a book by Lent called simply P.T. Boat. I looked quick but there is no Index so I'll check again within the text asap.

Allan


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alross2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of alross2   Send Email To alross2 Posted on: Aug 25, 2010 - 7:32pm
The MTB Manual mentions a sextant in passing. Rappleyea, in NAVIGATION WRINKLES FOR COMBAT MOTOR BOATS (published by Higgins) talks about the use of sextants. This cartoon shows a sextant being used:

A sextant would probably be a Title B item, which would be listed on an Allowance List. I have allowance lists for ordnance, but not the general equipment list. Mavbe Germantown has a copy.

Al Ross


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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Aug 25, 2010 - 9:11pm
Thanks you guys! Al I loked in that MTB Manual http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/PT-Manual/index.html and searched for the word "Sextant" and also for "star sight"and thats how I found it! Thanks so much for the help. It does indeed list it under examples of Title B Materials, along with a Chronometer and etc. The MTB Manual also has a section that requires Officer Trainees to be able to "shoot a star sight or if no opportunity shoot a sun sight" I think it is in the appendix 1 of the book.

Here is the part: on page 304
SECTION B. INSTRUMENTS USED IN PILOTING AND THEIR OPERATION (6) The Sextant: Sextants are used mainly for celestial navigation. However, they are useful in piloting for the measurement of horizontal angles between objects, after which the angles are laid off on the chart to fix the ship's position. Occasionally, vertical sextant angles are taken to determine the ship's distance off a chartered object.

Also in the Stores Section of Part 1 it talks about Title B Material

MTB officers, in the course of routine duties, are principally concerned with Title B articles.....the officer custodian may then use the copies retained on board to turn over custody to appropriate members of his crew. For example, the quartermaster should take custody of the SEXTANT, chronometers, and navigational instruments. The men who take custody sign the copy of the card in the provided space, and are then responsible to the officer custodian. ....In PT boats, an inventory of all Title B equipment will be made by each boat captain once each quarter and entered in the deck log .

Then in Appendix 1 EXAMINATION FOR QUALIFICATION FOR MOTOR TORPEDO BOAT DUTY it lists the following:

II. Seamanship and Navigation Practical factors.--
* Get under way from the dock and make a landing.
* Plot, satisfactorily, a 100-mile cruise on a chart in coastal waters, noting compass courses to be steered.
* Take a star sight, identify star, and work out for line of position (sun sight if no opportunity exists for taking star sights)--officers only.
* Demonstrate how to tow another PT boat.
* Anchor a PT boat.

So I think this is a pretty good indication that they actually did have a Sextant on the PT Boats! Thanks again for you guys response! Jerry

SO my question is still, especially for the WW2 PT Boat veterans out there (especially QM!) did you ever use or see used a Sextant on your boat?

Thanks again!

Jerry Gilmartin

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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Aug 26, 2010 - 1:27am
Jerry

I have never heard of a sextant being used on a PT BOAT. They did teach the use of a sextant at the MTBSTC, but I do not think they were used after that. In my contact with Arthur Frongello, he had mentioned to me that small boats used Piloting (in sight of land) and dead reconing (propeller turns coverted to knots and compass heading over time to determine position). Many boats would use Radar at times to bounce the signals off known mountain peaks. Many used dead roconing and radar most of the time. By the way Arthur mentioned to me that he never saw a sextant after training. I guess this does not speak for every boat, but at least for PT-302 when Arthur was aboard............


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  Will Day

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Will Day   Send Email To Will Day Posted on: Aug 26, 2010 - 11:27am
So what else is new with the PT Navy? Some had sextants, some didn't, etc., etc. I seem to remember a story by Kelly about getting a hard stare from an admiral aboad the 34 boat during the breakout when he used the crook of his arm to shoot a "bow and beam" bearing off a nearby island (or something)...

Will

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Allan

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Allan   Send Email To Allan Posted on: Aug 26, 2010 - 2:21pm
Strictly for Those Who Collect Trivia:

The term "dead reckoning" comes from very early sailing terms as found in ships' logs of the time, where the entry being made was shortened in the interests ofboth time and effort, overall. The actually entry referred to "deduced reckoning" but was often abbreviated to "de'd. reckoning".

Beleive it or not!

Allan


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TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Aug 26, 2010 - 5:22pm
Jerry;
I have to agree with Franks explanation, while celestial was taught at Melville; I don't believe it was used afterword, except by those that enjoyed it and were comfortable with it. In Jack Searles book, he mentions the trip (Melville - Panama) he did taking 59(Mills), 60(Searles) and 61(Warfield) down to RON 2 and 3(2). Warfield was into celestial and thats the way they went on that trip. I also know Ed Hoagland RON 24 used a sextant and did celestial navigation.
As for out in the Zone,I am sure some did it simply because it is a use it or lose it skill. But they mainly did DR or Radar, which was fine for their work around the islands, the open ocean transits they did, like moving from New Guinea to the Philippines, were usually in company of a tender, so for practical purposes all they really had to do was follow the big ship.
Take care,
TED
P.S.
If your asking for PT 658, I wish you asked this 2 years ago, I had a sweet/mint 1943 sextant with all attachments and original green felt lined case that belonged to my Dad, I would have been happy to send it to you guys.




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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Aug 27, 2010 - 10:45pm
Thanks you guys! I found a guy who is willing to donate one next thursday! I guess it is good to keep asking! We also have a line on a PT Boat Chronometer! I will take photos and post them when it becomes a reality. Jerry


Jerry Gilmartin

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