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 Author  Topic: HIGGINS TRAIN
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: Jul 23, 2014 - 7:06am
Frank;
From all the photos I have seen, around the Higgins plant, it seems link they worked by the "there is more room out in the water" concept.
but that's just my idea.
Take care,
TED


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Michael Vorrasi

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Michael Vorrasi  Posted on: Jul 23, 2014 - 9:57am
A question for the group regarding the early Higgins configuration. Did any see service that way or were all modified before the Navy's acceptance? Also, what was the reason, weight reduction, or some other cause? Looks like the starboard 50 cal tub is a bit farther forward than the port one. Is the reasoning here to give both tubs a crack at direct broadsides targets?

Mike

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Frank Andruss

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank Andruss   Send Email To Frank Andruss Posted on: Jul 23, 2014 - 11:31am
I don't know Ted, I mean I can tell just how Elco ran their assembly of the boats, but it seems like so much work to Crane the boats onto trains for another stage of assembly, where did they go once they were on the trains, I wouldn't think that they would be doing so much topside work out in the Weather, but in a photo that Al posted, you can clearly see many boats in the water that clearly need assembly for completion.


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Dick

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Dick   Send Email To Dick Posted on: Jul 23, 2014 - 2:03pm

By reviewing all the Higgins photos on Genes site and published photos in Franks first and Frank Johnsons books, it becomes easy to see that the boats are being built in some type industrial building. Various photos from Genes site show at the very least boats 74 through 86 roughly, being built indoors to the early configuration. Additional photos in Johnsons book shows PT 71 and 72 in water with this early configuration and stated to be assigned to and photo taken at Melville (Ron 4). We also know that the Navy/BuShips requested changes to this early configuration by removal of weight, design changes and equipment rearrangment, resulting in the earlier boats to be reconfigured in the more familiar look as we know Higgins boats to be.

With the above in mind it would make plain sense the boats completed and already launched be hoisted on shore locally and modified as requested. This would make more sense, time and logistically, then transporting the early configured boats back by rail car to one of Higgins plant's building PTs (Higgins had seven plants). Add to this, the actual plants already had boats (of either configuration) in production and it would be hard to find manufacturing slips to be place in. In the photo of PT 87 on shore, you can see two other boats to the far left, floating, without turrets (possibly already stripped of discontinued components) and maybe waiting their turn for landing.

On Als photo, I see no work being done on any of the boats. I do see what appears to be possibly a naval officer near the stern of CG-7206, but no workers. I don't believe weather in New Orleans would be a real issue, plus most boats/ships are probably built or worked on in the weather. The Higgins were all buttoned up by the time they were launched, then returned/ordered to be reworked.

As to which boats were or werent reconfigured, is rather hard to determine. With a description in Frank Johnson's book of PT 71 & 72 already assigned to Melville in their early configuration and the mention the two boats were transferred from Ron 4 to a specially assembled squadron Ron 2(2) Commanded by John Bulkeley. The squadron was formed with these two boats along with PT 199 and became the smallest squadron assembled and was assigned to the O.S.S. for English Channel duty. My assumption is these boats remained unchanged. As to other boats reconfigured, Gene (on his website) comments The necessity for alterations meant that Squadron Thirteen's first six boats did not leave New Orleans for the first leg of their Aleutian adventure until November 30, 1942, and the second six did not leave until December 17. Suggesting PTs 73 through 84 were reconfigured. We also see in photos PT 87 and 88 reconfigured.

All of this remains a WAG (wild ass guess) since In not aware of any published information regarding any of these above situations. If anyone has any documents pertaining to these subjects other than the photos reviewed, please share.

As reference to photos please visit Genes site at: http://pt-king.gdinc.com/PThigginsfactory.html



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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: Jul 23, 2014 - 3:18pm
Frank and Dick;
Taking all that into consideration, what I meant was, when the boats got to a certain point, say 95% complete they were p[laced into the water for final outfitting(ie; weapons installation, radar, electronics suite, etc.) I sure appears in the few photos we have that space was at a minimum, and all this while LCVP/LCPL construction was also going on, it must have been a very crowded place. I would like to see aerial photos of the entire factory complex. I wonder if it was as large as ELCO was. One would think it should be larger, since land at the time was cheaper in the south, but with the few photos I have seen, it appears to be the contrary.
Take care,
TED
P.S. I am also employing the WAG method when I come to the ideas above.
P.P.S. Dick I too have seen the photos on Gene's website, and they were on my mind when I wrote Frank's reply, I agree with all you posted,

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Frank Andruss

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank Andruss   Send Email To Frank Andruss Posted on: Jul 23, 2014 - 4:06pm
Dick that is a great WAG let me tell you, we know that Elco sent boats from the factory to Fife's Shipyard for installation of armament and other Navy Specs, maybe, just maybe, the HIGGINS boats, with engines installed, were sent by rail to St. John Bayou , and placed into the water for Engine trails then, as Dick suggest's put back on rail cars for more assembly work. Ted, I will send you a few over-head shots of HIGGINS.


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Dick

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Dick   Send Email To Dick Posted on: Jul 23, 2014 - 4:38pm

Ted . . .

Your completely right about additional work after the machinery, hull and deck is completed as well as the super structure in place. Additional material and armament installation could be easily done in the water or make-shift dry dock.

With the reconfiguration of the early dozen or so boats requiring many design item changes, at the very least the upper structures completely remodeled as well as removal of the aft sampson post, removal of aft hatch, and the hatch just forward of the aft hatch moved forward. All this and maybe more would be a little more involved and would require some type of cradled work place such as the crane's landing.

This was all taking place approximately in the summer of '42, and probably taxing what little facilities existed by then. Keep in mind Higgins was a one building - fifty employee company that had to expand to seven plants and over 20,000 employee at the height of the war. However by viewing Gene's photos Higgins at that time already had some gigantic buildings.



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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: Jul 23, 2014 - 7:53pm
To get a feeling for the actual area around the Higgins plant, go here on Google Earth

30 00 37.48 N 90 01 45.64 W

This will put you right on the roof of the existing main building.

Al Ross


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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: Jul 23, 2014 - 8:33pm
Al;
Nice, I see the blue gray cranes are off in a junk/scrap area a little further down the cut. looking at Google Earth, it sure looks like they used all the area between both bridges. the "path" where the tracks were is still visible too. I wonder if they used both sides of the cut, it certainly looks like they did. sure wish we could find a 1944-45 aerial photo of the plant.
Thanks.
Take care,
TED


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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: Jul 23, 2014 - 10:03pm
Frank;
I was surfing around and found some photos of the Higgins plant you posted, the 78' Higgins in the photos is on a railway flat car.
your post is: HIGGINS BOATS DEC 27, 2008.
Take care,
TED


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