Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Historic Naval Ships Association

The HNSA is a sort of online clearinghouse for information about museum ships and related facilities. As they put it on part of the website:

We promote visiting the world’s historic naval ships and advocate for the need to save these important vessels for future generations so that they may continue to proudly serve their countries in honor of those who served and continue to serve at sea.

There’s information about preserved ships around the world. In a brief visit, we saw that this rare (2 built) classified-until-2011 OSS infiltration semisubmersible boat codenamed Gimik, is just two hours away in Massachusetts…


…but we also looked at pages for other vessels, like BAP Abtao, a sub that was built by Electric Boat for Peru and is on display in that Andean nation after a career that included over 5,000 dives and the rescue of the crew of another Peruvian sub sunk by collision.

We particularly like their reference library.

So what’sknow-your-pt-boat there? How about the text and some illustrations of a 1945 PT Boat manual, Know Your PT Boat. Written in a style reminiscent of the German Panzerfibel with cartoon illustrations, it gives the sailor newly assigned to PT Boats an overview of its systems and operations. Unfortunately, this version has been slightly bowdlerized; cartoons that made racist caricatures of Japanese have been removed. (And some haven’t).

Know Your PT Boat even deals with maintaining the refrigerator:

Your refrigerator can make ice cream, ice cubes, and frozen delights (especially good is frozen fruit cup). Once a Jap bullet punctured a refrigerator unit and drained it of all its freon. Several of the boats then decided to put armor plate about the refrigerator. So you see it’s really very important, for it contributes to the living comforts which are all too few in the Area. Your refrigerator pump and motor need servicing. Don’t let them wear down or overheat. To keep meat, your refrigerator must be in top shape. It is rare to have fresh meat and when issued it comes in 100-pound quantities. Hence the necessity for a good freeze or reefer. Have a drip pan properly placed or the meat juices will leak into the bilges and in a week you’ll be accused of carrying a dead Jap around in your bilges.

Of course, readers will probably be most interested in the gunnery.

Don’t be like one boot who ducked down inside his “armored” turret during an attack and then later when he discovered that the turret was made of 3/4″ plywood he fainted.

Aside from the actual firing of the guns the important thing is the preparation. Everything must be in perfect operating order. “Be Prepared” is not just a Boy Scout motto, it is the watchword of every fighting ship. You can make no excuses to the Japs for a jammed 50, a weak drive spring, or a 20-mm. magazine with no tension on it. The guns must fire when you want them. They will, only if you have done your drills so that you can do everything automatically. Strip your guns regularly, exercise the springs, and make other routine checks. Then you will know in times of action how to put tension on a magazine and how to blind load.

37-mm. Gun.-To the “Barge Hunters” this is a fondly loved gun. Its flexibility, ease of firing, destructive power, and flat trajectory make it a grand gun against targets at moderate range. A 37-mm. seldom jams of itself. The few jams that do occur are usually traced to faulty ammunition.

20-mm. Gun.-This gun is so powerful that it has earned the name “cannon.” When you hit something with a 20-mm., you really do some damage. Not small punctures but gaping holes are the marks left on the enemy by this powerful shell. Aside from the usual preparation and care of a 20-mm., the following are helpful hints:

  1. Precaution must be taken in clearing a 20-mm. jam. Always have a bucket of water on hand. When a jam occurs, souse the breech and barrel. If you cannot get the projectile out in a few seconds, secure the gun for about 5 minutes. In any case, never stick your nose or fingers into the breech. Keep clear and use your ram rod.
  2. Practice cocking of the 20-mm. It is a tricky operation and should be done speedily and with ease, especially in the dark. It is the only war to clear a jam, and to get the gun set to fire again.
  3. The loader must get a rhythm in his task and eliminate groping at night. The gunner and loader who drill in the daylight with their eyes closed are doing a wise thing. The magazine is quite heavy. On a high trunnion gun, the loader should be both strong and tall.20mm-spring-cartoon
  4. Be sure that prior to any imminent action all magazines are on full tension at 60 pounds. If your magazines have been in use a long time, it is wise to pull out a few rounds before loading, but be sure you still have on the full tension. This precaution will give the last few rounds in your magazine an extra push and will prevent jamming.

There’s a lot more in Know Your PT Boat, but it’s only one of the features to be found on this site.

13 thoughts on “Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Historic Naval Ships Association

  1. Aesop

    Kind of pointless (as only our own security apparatus can be) to classify something until 2011, when the narco-cartels have been building their own semi-subs since circa 2000 or so, generally with nothing more advanced than the ability to lay up fiberglass sub hulls in the Columbian jungle, and drop a handy marine diesel into them.

    But nice to know our own engineers were on the case way back in the day, learning from the Japanese use of same only since 1941.

  2. Jim Scrummy

    One of my favorite plastic models I built from Revell was the PT-109. I thought PT boats were the coolest things since sliced bread (JFK is/was way over-rated). Thanks everyone for the treasure trove of PT manuals, not much is going to get done today…

  3. Larry Kaiser

    After reading the manual I can better imagine the feelings of the PT crews when their boats were run up on the beach and set on fire at the end of the war. Or perhaps I am still bummed out from finding out that my rate GMG (gunners mate guns) is going to be done away with. Thanks Hognose. Only upward from here!

  4. Cap'n Mike

    Great website.

    Those gunners mates must have spent hours every day just trying to keep the rust off of those weapons, especially after dumping a bucket of saltwater on that hot 20MM

    How much did the PT Boat crews love those Refrigerators in the South Pacific?

    For those of you brave enough to make a trip to the peoples Republic of Massachusetts, Battleship Cove (where the Gimik submarine is currently) is a must see.

    I have been a dozen times, and I still haven’t seen everything. The 2 PT Boats and the thousands of PT Boat artifacts are worth the trip alone, never mind the WW2 Battleship and submarine, a destroyer from the cuban missle crises and an East German Corvette.

    I slept overnight on the Battleship with my sons Cub Scout Pack a few years ago and it was an awesome experience.

  5. Scott

    End cut off?

    There’s a lot more in Know Your PT Boat, but

    I’m assuming a read the whole thing thingy was to follow?

    1. Mike_C

      Tam’s recent “Purity Check” post just tapered off after a comma as well. MY theory is that the Gun-Blogger Rapture has happened, and those of us left behind are merely unworthy.

      Purity Check: I only have a single point (Arc’teryx), unless one gets a point for each garment?

      1. Cap'n Mike

        I have way more points then necessary to be a tactard.
        In fact I had a hard time finding stuff in my closet that didnt get me a point.
        One of the unfortunate side effects of being in uniform for my entire life.

  6. Blackshoe

    HNSA also has the last known Ship’s Camouflage manual from 1953 (link in handle), with a discussion on what works and what doesn’t (which goes a way too explaining why we don’t use a pattern more complex than “Haze Gray” these days). And why Dazzle failed.

Comments are closed.