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some comments, answers

January 25 2012 at 8:04 AM
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Nelson  (no login)
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Response to SS President Grant-Circa 1942

> I do not know if the P-10 is related to APL in some way. You are right the Ship class is 502 (length of ship). >

Post-WWI, in the early 1920s, pursuant to plans from the U.S. Shipping Board, two classes of merchant ships were built that would have a sizable impact on American shipping lines between the wars. There was, however, inconsistency in the manner in which they were designated: the longer 535 Class, which were 535 feet in length overall, AND the 502 or 522 Class, 502 feet in length between perpendiculars (LBP) and 522 feet in length overall (LOA). Why this confusing distinction in determining class length, I dunno. The shorter 502/522 Class were powered by old-fashioned triple expansion, reciprocating steam engines, whereas the longer 535 Class were powered by more modern geared steam turbines. There was a similar dichotomy in the WWII Liberty and Victory ships: the former powered by triple expansion engines, using either coal-fired (British) or oil-fired (American) boilers, and the latter by geared turbines or diesel engines. My point here is that the smoky ol' Centennial State/President Adams/President Grant may have been a coal-burner, but I'm not certain. It may have simply been her age and the state of her propulsion system.

> One more question; does the "FP1" Convoy designation mean anything? It appears on the movement cards. >

In the most general terms, the convoy coding included letters denoting origin and destination, e.g., see

One problem is that in the SW Pacific and the Indian Ocean, there were numerous ports with identical first letters, e.g., B as in Batavia, Bombay, Brisbane; C as in Calcutta, Capetown, Ceylon/Colombo; D as in Darwin, Durban; M as in Malaya, Melbourne, Mombasa; S as in Singapore, Soerabaja, Sydney; etc., so substitute letters had to be devised for many of these origins and destinations. I THINK as time went on, although the double letter-cardinal number convoy designations persisted, the letters diverged from their actual names, so the route could not be as easily identified. That said, I don't know what FP-1 meant. Do you know if Auckland was the actual origin and Noumea was the final destination of this convoy?

> By the way my veteran retired COl. Adams of the 214th CA(AA) still holds that there were dummy INJ AA gun (of singapore origin) emplaced around the Guadalcanal airfield-(Fighter Strip I)in January 1943. >

Okay, but I don't think either the marines or the army strolled onto Henderson Field, to discover 40mm AA guns already emplaced there (Merillat's The Island and numerous other sources report only larger caliber AA guns--75mm--and MGs in place). The 40mm guns, apparently with their Indian gun crews, were brought in by the IJA rather later. I suppose some were captured in early 1943, put onto landing craft, and re-emplaced around Henderson. Sure as heck the guns in the photos that drew heated discussion awhile back were NOT British-made or captured from the Japanese. They were American-made pieces, without doubt.

> Are you a history professor, publisher, author? >

Not a history professor, but much of my professional life was in academia. In getting my B.S. (biology), I had a split major in mathematics and history. Have a Ph.D. in cell biology and electron microscopy (worked on the ultrastructure and biochemistry of cyanobacteria, a.k.a. blue-green algae). There is a connection between my past and present lives: blue-greens synthesize a unique (and weird) protein composed of only two amino acids, on which I wrote a tongue-in-cheek essay that won a prize and reinvigorated my writing career (longish story, won't bore). I've written two newspaper columns, numerous magazine articles, one book (so far), often coupling my writings with photography, as well as been an editor, deliver lectures on various topics, largely historical nowadays, etc. Militarily, I must stay constantly and sharply alert lest my lurking kitty kat ambush me. The little devil does give me lots of ideas, I'll give him that.


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  • hrrrrmph - Nelson on Jan 25, 2012, 8:18 AM
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