Technology and Operations  
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RE: U-Boat Propulsion
Posted by: Don Baker ()
Date: July 25, 2000 05:43AM

Hello Rainer

Here is a little more information in response to the questions you have asked:

1. Cdr. Trosino was awarded the Legion of Merit for his part in the salvage of U-505. He retired a Rear Admiral and is now 94 years old. He is not in the best of shape but still manages to attend our yearly reunions.

2. So far as I know there was only the main entrance to Hamilton in Bermuda during the war. I never heard of the "cut". The entrance channel was fairly narrow and there was not a great deal of room to manuever. We were coming in one time when we met some Brit civilians in their gorgeous sailboat in the main channel. Of course according to the rules of the road a sailboat has the right of way but there wasn't much we could do. The Brit insisted on his "right of way" and we dismasted him. A classic example of disaster resulting from an insistence on unrealistic "rights". I never heard so much swearing in my life accompanied by the sounds of his splintering mast as he disappeared under our catwalks. Oh well - thats what they got for burning Washington!

3. Re the tow - the original plan was to have Pillsbury do the tow. In manuevering to come alongside she got in too close and took a bow diving plane through her side plates flooding two compartments. It was then decided Guadalcanal would do the tow. Trosino slowed the sub and she almost went under when the bouyant effect of her diving planes was lost. We backed down on her and got a 1 1/2 inch towing cable through her bullnose and started towing. She was hell to tow. Chatelains depth charge attack had jammed her rudder hard over to starboard.When we took up on the tow line and began towing U-505 sheared way off to our starboard quarter and we were in effect towing her almost sideways through the water. The towline was vibrating like a guitar string and it did part that first night. The best speed we could make was about six knots. The sub's rudder needed to come amidships but at that time Trosino could not get into the manual steering located in the aft torpedo room which was believed to be flooded.( The 14 kt towing to charge the battery came several days later after the rudder was finally put amidships.) However we conducted flight operations continuosly all through the salvage operation. Launching and landing aircraft from an escort carrier at six knots in a dead calm is not the nicest way to do it makes the pilots nervous. I have a photograph of a TBM just touching down while we were simultaneously refueling from the tanker Kennebec lashed alongside and towing U-505 just astern. I don't think that particular trick has ever been pulled off before or since in anyones navy. Trosino finally got the rudder straightend out and towing became less of a problem.

The Casablanca class escort carriers were powered with two 5-cylinder Skinner Uniflow reciprocating steam engines that looked somewhat like huge diesel engines ... a 1912 design; why? ... a shortage of steam turbines. (Henry Kaiser shipbuilder when told he couldn't have any steam turbines put together an engine plant right in his shipyard, made those Skinner engines, and proceeded to turn out 50 Casablanca class carriers in a years time using welded mass production techniques similar to the way automobiles were manufactured.) Yes - those engines worked hard. However, about five or six days into this scenario the tug Abnaki arrived on the scene and took over the tow for the remainder of the trip into Bermuda and we got back to being an aircraft carrier again.

Best regards to all,
Don B

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Subject Written By Posted
U-Boat Propulsion Robert Eno 07/21/2000 12:44PM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Rainer Bruns 07/21/2000 02:31PM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Rainer Bruns 07/21/2000 04:01PM
XXI propulsion system. SuperKraut 07/27/2000 09:58PM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Robert Eno 07/21/2000 09:42PM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Don Baker 07/23/2000 07:05PM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Rainer Bruns 07/24/2000 01:40AM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Don Baker 07/24/2000 11:54PM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Rainer Bruns 07/25/2000 01:31AM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Rainer Bruns 07/25/2000 01:46AM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Don Baker 07/25/2000 05:43AM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Rainer Bruns 07/25/2000 01:02PM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Robert Eno 07/24/2000 12:31PM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Garth 07/24/2000 06:57AM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Andrew Hetherington 07/24/2000 08:16AM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Rick Mann 07/25/2000 09:38PM
RE: U-Boat Propulsion Don Baker 07/27/2000 01:00AM
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