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 Author  Topic: Sextants on PT Boats?
29navy

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of 29navy  Posted on: Aug 29, 2010 - 1:48pm
Hey guys,

I was at the Archives on Friday looking through the log books of PT-81 and stumbled onto this entry:

March 31, 1944 - Telescopic sight for sextant returned from optical shop No. 3.

So it seems they had a sextant.

Charlie

Charlie

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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 31, 2010 - 11:23am
Hey thanks Charlie! Also to Ted for that info. I was looking at this websites News Section and under the heading "Artifacts Donated" it says the following:

see below:

"Here are a few items we would like to acquire: Radio and Radar manuals, Compass, Sextant, Barometer, Volume 1 Building the Navy's Bases, Abandon Ship Kit, Torpedo Director MK31, Pistol Signal AN-M8, Coffee Maker Silex type A, Anchor (25 lb)."

So I guess the PT Boats Inc Museum also wants a Sextant! I will keep my eyes open for others that become available. Jerry



Jerry Gilmartin

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BobPic

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Aug 31, 2010 - 4:37pm
I very seldomr saw a sextant in serious use on board a PT Boat. I considered myself capable of using a sextant, promotions contained that capability and officers respected that a QM could navigate with the stars if necessary. Inherent in celestial was a xery accurite timepiece. The Chronominator was that timepiece. It was highly accurite when kept so but most of them could not be suddenly used along with a sextant should one suddenly located.. So a Chronometer was a good watch to hsve, but a sextant was only good soviinir f you had the guts to try to steal one..


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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 31, 2010 - 7:27pm
Thanks BobPic! I was hoping to hear from the PT veterans that were there! I really appreciate your response. Most of the PT Boater veterans I have spoken to personally were not QM's so your point of view as a QM is especially pertinent. Thanks again. Jerry

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: Nov 7, 2010 - 4:03pm
Update: Photo of Sextant and Chronometer recently donated to PT658 along with updated historically correct Chart board

We were donated these items by some local PT Boat enthusiasts. The chart on the chartboard was donated by Frank J Andruss. (This is a laminated copy, the real one is stored in a safe place.) I just wanted to show you how they look on board the PT Boat! Thanks to all of you on the message board for your help in deciding if this was the right stuff! Jerry

Sextant and Chronometer


Chartboard with Elba Island Invasion chart used on PT Boat.


Jerry Gilmartin

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BobPic

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Nov 8, 2010 - 12:12pm
Jerry, I have touched on this subject before as a "default navigator".There were a few navigational quality swxtants arounnd but NONE were used within the squadrons for navigation. They were used by the base to fix the exact location of operations aand by the sea bees in planning and laying out bases, docks, etc. Why? Using a sextant requires a very steady platform from wiich to take accurate readings. Can't be done from the deck of a PT underway. A sextant even used by a skilled navigator can not be relied on for an accuracy of better than 8-10 miles.Not good enough. A good star fix takes too much time. A very precise clock is required. Most PT's provided with chronometers did not properly care for them. I am very sure there were some sextants around, mostly as officers toys, but they were never used for boat navigation. Subject to superior intelligencs and higher authority, I say now that NO sextants were ever used as a tactical device in the PT boat service.


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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: Nov 8, 2010 - 12:38pm
Thanks Bob!
I agree with you sentiment, but I was not going to "look a gift horse in the mouth". I understand the fact that Sextants were seldom used on board the PT Boats, but I did find (along with this message board's help enough instances where they were used (although rarely as you state), more like an officers toy. However, I have read more than one PT Boat deck logbook that states every day "Wound the Chronometer" (See PT 127 logbook and PT171 Dyna-Mite" logbooks. This begs the question, why did they even have a chronomter if they did not have a sextant to go along with it? You cannot perform celestial navigation without both instruments. Plus the sextant (eg Taking a star sight or a sun sight) is mentioned as required training for PT Boat Officers at Melville.Sextants are also used as the primary example of Title B equipment that should be placed in the custody of the PT Boat Quartermaster in the "Motor Torpedo Boats Tactical Orders and Doctrine" Manual. So yes I am sure that 99% of all PT Boaters never actually had the occasion to use the Sextant, but at least a few may have been around on different boats. Thanks for posting your comment. Jerry PT658 Portland OR


Jerry Gilmartin

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