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» Forum Name: PT Boats - General
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» Topic: PT 109 Depth Charge Placement
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EDITED April 12th, please see my post on page 2.


Finally, I've seen some refer to the foot rails as toe rails. This photo shows it is indeed a foot rail as well as its proper usage:

jQT30.jpg


Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: Apr 8, 2018 - 2:48pm
Total Posts: 1704 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am



Just to add to Jeff's post...

Photo of Ken Prescott's PT-61. He describes being tied up next to the 109. The depth charge location supports that claim.

[image]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/873/40616457094_5ca9b7a051_b.jpg[/image]


This photo adds a little more definition to the depth charge. You can see the cables from the rack wrapping around it.

[image]https://farm1.staticflickr.com/784/39520195810_2641fa7fe4_b.jpg[/image]

Dave


David Waples

Posted By: David Waples | Posted on: Apr 8, 2018 - 6:05pm
Total Posts: 1574 | Joined: Jan 2, 2007 - 9:55pm



Toe rail or foot rail, that is the question... If I remember correctly, ELCO uses the term foot rail on their plans. In common nautical parlance, however, they are generally referred to as toe rails. Just stirring the pot...



Posted By: alross2 | Posted on: Apr 9, 2018 - 5:25am
Total Posts: 897 | Joined: Oct 30, 2006 - 8:19pm



Toe rail or foot rail, that is the question... If I remember correctly, ELCO uses the term foot rail on their plans. In common nautical parlance, however, they are generally referred to as toe rails. Just stirring the pot...



Posted By: alross2 | Posted on: Apr 9, 2018 - 5:25am
Total Posts: 897 | Joined: Oct 30, 2006 - 8:19pm



Thanks David, I forgot about that photo. It looks like it might be a little farther forward than what I came up with? Maybe over the next frame forward assuming they centered the DC's over frames. That would put the mounting flanges of the rack close to the next frames fore and aft. I'll try camera matching the 61 photo and see what it looks like. I also recreated the photo of the crew on the chart house and found that the DC's would not be visible if they were mounted by the cleats.

One detail I found interesting when mocking up the torpedo tubes was that the heights of the fore and aft tubes above the deck, at the mounting points, were all different. I thought the tubes were parallel to the deck and the same height.

You're right Al, Elco titles the drawing as a foot rail. But that doesn't mean it follows the "official" Navy term which is probably a better name. Elco did the same with the "dead light" drawing, I found out the term is properly used for the blackout covering over windows. I think Elco also calls them "deck lights" in some drawings.




Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: Apr 9, 2018 - 6:48am
Total Posts: 1704 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am



Jeff,

I've always maintained that the 109's depth charges, when JFK had her, were closer to the forward tubes than just about any model or drawing I've ever seen, evidenced by the photo of the 61 taken from the 109's foredeck.

Although the photo is at somewhat of an oblique angle, the ashcan and the port forward tube are very close, and the depth charge does not look - to me - that far away from the edge of the deck. I personally think they were just aft of the forward cleats..

Dave Waples did a sketch a few years ago on a topsides line drawing of the 109, showing the port forward tube cranked out for firing and the relation of a launched torpedo (using lines drawn from the tube) clearing the two possible positions of the port depth charge.

One position was very close to the fore end of the tube, but set back from the toe rail. The other was farther forward, and at the very edge of the deck. I'd have to say, although I've always thought the charges were at the very edge of the deck, that Dave's first position - closer to the fore end of the tube - is the more probable one, due to the photo of the 61 taken from the 109.



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Apr 9, 2018 - 11:58am
Total Posts: 1236 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am




Hey Jeff . . .

I’ve included some photos that have been posted before, over the years, they might afford some guidance - maybe, or just confuse the issue.

My guess, since there are no facts as to when, where, and method of install, anywhere you place them would be correct!!! However some practical prudence might better help the placement. Kind of like all the outlandish installs of the 37mm, why believe “Ensign George 'Barney' Ross” description - off subject, but entertains the crap out of me - back to the issue. In other words I guess I would simply crank the tubes out to firing angle then project the torpedo from the tube until it clears the deck, then measure forward from clearing the deck point a foot or two and use that as a good starting point. Kinda like a bad pool shot, missing the eight ball and scratching.

I was surprised to notice on the photos the Cans seems to be back from the edge some difference, much more than the practice on Cans place midship or aft. Where they are clearly on the edge of deck.

Sorry I can’t add much [b]real[/b] help.
Dick . . . .


jQU9c.jpg

jQ2ut.jpg

jQ0ZT.jpg

jQkI3.jpg






Posted By: Dick | Posted on: Apr 9, 2018 - 4:30pm
Total Posts: 920 | Joined: Aug 27, 2006 - 6:36pm



They stuck a variety of those depth charge racks all over the place. I especially like that one on the 103 boat. It looks like a catapult! My favorite location was on the stern. I still wonder if they were ever used in anger and if they did any good.

I like Jeff's rendering at the top. I think it sits back a little further though. But that's all speculation. Photos can fool you. Here's the drawing I made some time ago but I don't believe this is correct.

jZzaf.jpg

I think it sits farther forward than the aft depth charge in my drawing. Remember the photo shows the torpedo tube in its stowed position. What's that? Did I hear Al say "get over it!" [:-grin-:] It's a fun exercise.

If I Google "foot rail" I see a bunch of rails at bars or where you rest your foot. If I Google "toe rail" I see a lot of what we're referring to on these boats. But if Elco named it "foot rail" then I guess it's a foot rail. [:-cheers-:]

I need to get back to my taxes. [:-rdo-:]



David Waples

Posted By: David Waples | Posted on: Apr 9, 2018 - 8:46pm
Total Posts: 1574 | Joined: Jan 2, 2007 - 9:55pm



Commander Montgomery claimed, that when PT-60 was being chased by a destroyer, he ordered the empty smoke generator overboard fallowed by two depth charges set shallow. He claimed the destroyer Captain immediately came to a full stop. He then saw them poking around for the smoke generator, while the 60 boat made good their escape. Maybe not as intended, but still used!



Posted By: Stearman | Posted on: Apr 9, 2018 - 9:40pm
Total Posts: 25 | Joined: Nov 1, 2017 - 9:38pm



True story - some 35 or so years ago when I did the drawing of 109 that Dave shows above, that's how I arrived at the placement of the depth charge rack. With the tube cranked fully outboard, I estimated the minimum distance the torpedo would need to clear the rails on the rack. I figured the rails would be at or beyond the deck edge, as the charge would hit the deck otherwise. Thus, the placement of the rack.

Al



Posted By: alross2 | Posted on: Apr 10, 2018 - 9:08am
Total Posts: 897 | Joined: Oct 30, 2006 - 8:19pm



True story - some 35 or so years ago when I did the drawing of 109 that Dave shows above, that's how I arrived at the placement of the depth charge rack. With the tube cranked fully outboard, I estimated the minimum distance the torpedo would need to clear the rails on the rack. I figured the rails would be at or beyond the deck edge, as the charge would hit the deck otherwise. Thus, the placement of the rack.

Al



Posted By: alross2 | Posted on: Apr 10, 2018 - 9:08am
Total Posts: 897 | Joined: Oct 30, 2006 - 8:19pm



True story - some 35 or so years ago when I did the drawing of 109 that Dave shows above, that's how I arrived at the placement of the depth charge rack. With the tube cranked fully outboard, I estimated the minimum distance the torpedo would need to clear the rails on the rack. I figured the rails would be at or beyond the deck edge, as the charge would hit the deck otherwise. Thus, the placement of the rack.

Al



Posted By: alross2 | Posted on: Apr 10, 2018 - 9:08am
Total Posts: 897 | Joined: Oct 30, 2006 - 8:19pm



Thanks for the input guys, I've been using it to go at it again. This time I'm simulating an old 35mm film camera which changes the view markedly. I didn't notice I had them set to a "flat" perspective which doesn't show the view a real camera would capture.

Thanks for the story Stearman, it sounds like a DC was put to good use at least once! Does anyone know of other occasions when they were used?

Dave reminded me of this one, the free rolling across the deck for several feet looks a bit sketchy to me. Dave also pointed out that they moved the cleat forward quite a bit:

jQ8Mw.jpg

That is a unique setup Dick! It looks like it is leveled. I can't tell if the tracks go all the way to the edge:

jQzBH.jpg

All this and as far as I know we don't really know if she still carried DC's at the time she went down. Somebody posted a book quote of the torpedo / DC incident once, does anyone remember the thread it was on?


Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: Apr 11, 2018 - 7:59am
Total Posts: 1704 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am



Jeff,

I think I posted the detailed quote from Al Cluster about the 109 torpedo smacking the depth charge from the book "John F. Kennedy: War Hero" by Richard Tregaskis, an expanded edition of the Landmark book "John F. Kennedy and PT 109."

If I can't find the thread, I'll post it again.



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Apr 11, 2018 - 11:57am
Total Posts: 1236 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am



Jeff . . . .

I've never seen this image before great shot - I hope the sea is very calm when they let that looses and let it roll off the deck ! ! ! ! ! ! My goodness . . .

Dick

jZSKa.jpg

Reminds me of this rack setup:. But at least the rack runners seems to go to the deck edge, unlike above.

j4hc7.jpg





Posted By: Dick | Posted on: Apr 11, 2018 - 12:09pm
Total Posts: 920 | Joined: Aug 27, 2006 - 6:36pm



Thanks Drew, I appreciate that.

Now that's an interesting rack Dick, I wonder how they released it! A crewman standing by with a really sharp knife?

Here's the full photo Dick, PT 143: [url]https://i.imgur.com/vB7SzWQ.jpg[/url]

And a (partial) view from forward, note the 4 forward torpedoes *cough*: [url]https://i.imgur.com/MJ5StwT.jpg[/url]




Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: Apr 11, 2018 - 6:43pm
Total Posts: 1704 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am



Thanks Jeff . . .

Nice torpedoes!

Either a really sharp knife or really good and fast at untying knots.

[b]Typical Launching Procedures:[/b]
1.) [b]The Ready Position:[/b] stand in front of the DC bracing your knees against it to keep it from rolling.
2.) [b]Launch Activation:[/b] Sever the launching rope or quickly untie the knots, all while securing the DC from rolling with your knees.
3.) [b]Launch DC:[/b] When instructed (signaled) by the skipper, quickly step to the side without stumbling, preferably to the aft.
4.) [b]Launch Success:[/b] If launch was successful, return to your quarters and change your underwear!
NOTE - [b]Proper Attire:[/b] Heavy duty steel-toed boots with traction soles and thick rubber knee pads.

What is astounding to me is not only the imaginative launching system, but, as you see the rope is only keeping the DC from rolling down the rack, not securing the DC to the rack itself. In other words pray for calm seas, cause I can imagine what might happen as they plane the waves at high speed and hoping for no big wave slaps.

Dick . . .



Posted By: Dick | Posted on: Apr 12, 2018 - 9:16am
Total Posts: 920 | Joined: Aug 27, 2006 - 6:36pm



The quote from Al Cluster about the PT 109 torpedo-depth charge incident (Cluster was at the wheel and throttles of the 109) from Richard Tregaskis's "John F. Kennedy: War Hero" is as follows:

"I got to going quite fast to try to stay on top of the waves, but I miscalculated and finally plowed into one at high speed. The port forward torpedo came charging out of its tube (not all the way) with its turbine going full blast and building up pressure in the tube.

"Lenny Thom, Jack's exec, took toilet paper and stuffed it in the impeller mechanism of the warhead so that the torpedo would not arm itself if it went into the water.

"About this time, the pressures of the exhaust in the tube built up and launched the torpedo straight into the forward depth charge (fortunately unarmed), driving it right through the plywood deck, where it fell through the crew's living quarters and went through two empty bunks."

Tregaskis ends with: "The launched, but not armed, torpedo then slithered off the deck and into the water, churning away at full speed."



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Apr 12, 2018 - 2:58pm
Total Posts: 1236 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am



Hah Dick, I doubt that made it to the doctrine book!

Thanks Drew, so this happened before JFK took command.

I was able to match the 109 images fairly well using a view that imitates a camera, as far as I can tell I was wrong about them being a mix of before and after the torpedo incident. I edited my post to avoid confusion. What I came up with is very close to what David figured out. Nice work David!

From what I can tell the cockpit shots were taken by a crewman standing on top of the day cabin.

It looks like they leveled out the racks going by the 1st image (mine is about parallel to the deck), makes sense so that they would roll off freely. As long as they were going slowly in a calm sea...:

jhBm4.jpg

They may not have needed to cut out the toe rail, the rail was less then 3/4 taller than the gap under the rack. Some 1 pads would have done the trick:

jhjN6.jpg

Edited to show clearance for the toe rail if a 2 inch pad was used under the rack. And to correct the bass ackward toe rail:

jh48S.jpg

Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: Apr 12, 2018 - 5:19pm
Total Posts: 1704 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am



Jeff,

No -- JFK was in command of the 109 at the time of the torpedo/depth charge incident. I thought that much was clear. Cluster had been patrolling in PT 48 along with JFK's 109 in the open ocean west of the Russells.

Cluster's 48 had a patch staved in on his port bow by the rough seas, the boat started going down by the bow, Cluster radioed for help, JFK and the 109 ran over to a U.S. destroyer and got a pump which they brought it back to the 48, Cluster's crew couldn't get the pump to work, Cluster and JFK maneuvered over to a small island named Buraku just north of the Russells (Cluster backing the 48 all the way), Cluster radioed Tulagi for a repair boat to come out and fix the 48.

Cluster then boarded the 109 and, continuing to quote from Tregaskis's book:

"Cluster, riding in the cockpit with Kennedy, was full of questions about the 80-footers. His own boat, and all the previous boats he had commanded, had been the older, 77-foot type, and he was very curious. He finally asked Kennedy if he could try the wheel.

Being essentially a sea-cavalryman like most good PT men, Cluster couldn't resist the temptation to try out the maneuverability and speed of the 80-footer. He swung into several turns, and then, as he later related the incident..."

The rest is the quote from Tregaskis's book I posted previously.

A shorter, less detailed version of this incident is also contained in Donovan's "PT 109 - John F. Kennedy in World War II."



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Apr 13, 2018 - 2:38pm
Total Posts: 1236 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am



Thanks Drew, don't know why I'd think Cluster was skipper of the 109. I'll blame it on post-3D work brain fog.

I see I forgot to take into account the 3/8" retaining cable that would be between the DC and toe rail in my chute pad height.

I guess I'll include a full rail and either a short or gapped version in my 3DP part.




Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: Apr 13, 2018 - 3:13pm
Total Posts: 1704 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am



.Jeff,on some pictures I once saw-but didn't save,silly me
[:-rdo-:]- the DC racks are held in position by butterfly nuts.
I think this would also have been the case for the 109 to ensure easy removal during torpedo reload.
Greetings

Posted By: Daniele Klay | Posted on: Apr 13, 2018 - 11:15pm
Total Posts: 126 | Joined: Jun 23, 2015 - 12:43pm



Yes Daniele I remember seeing that. I wonder how long they could leave a torpedo in the tube before it needed maintenance.

It looks like they took the bare minimum out of the toe rail for this installation:

jhZWY.jpg




Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: Apr 14, 2018 - 3:02pm
Total Posts: 1704 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am