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Light Cruiser Crew Divisions


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Evening gents,

I was wondering if any of you know what the Brooklyn-class Light Cruiser's "manning documents" say as to how their Gunnery divisions were set up?

I have a partial crew roster for the U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42... and according to it, she had NINE separate numbered divisions under her gunnery department aboard ship. I'm trying to figure out what divisions would have serviced what weapons?

I know that each division is broken into four sections, which is broken into two watch sections one and three for the starboard watch and two and four for the port watch aboard ship. The 1940 Bluejackets Manual gave little info into this realm unfortunately.

I'm just wondering if since the U.S.S. Savannah had five turrets would the first five divisions have been turrets one through five? Or what?

Any information or insight will be GREATLY appreciated.

Regards,
FRISCAN


 

"The Galloping Ghost of the North African Coast"

TC1c James F. Dunigan, III
Gunnery Division 4, U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42

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I am not sure how well I will come out on this issue as my knowledge base is more modern and smaller platform in nature. You may be going in the wrong direction in respect to division makup. The 43 BJM in respect to divisions page 157 " Gunnery.- All gun, torpedo, and fire control divisions including marines. Each gun division includes, as far as possible, only one class of guns." Each of those divisions would be manned by the Gunners mates, Turret Captains, Torpedomen, and Firecontrolmen. The guns and turrets would have technicians assigned by division but the operation of the guns would be augmented by members of other divisions through the Watch Quarter & Station Bill page 149 such as Seamen, messcooks, storekeepers, ships servicemen etc. The big turrets would be a division, 5" mounts would be a division, Anti aircraft guns would be one or maybe more by caliber, Fire control would be one, torpedos would be one mines would be one depth charges would be one and so on. I think the answers you really want would have been restricted at the time and now hard to actually find now.

As to the Port and Starboard watch sections, this is how the minimal manning is setup for for Peacetime inport, wartime inport, peacetime steaming, wartime steaming "modern terms" by the time you reach General Quarters your gunmount is fully manned and port and starboard is no longer relevant .

The manuals you need may be at NARA and maybe in the personal documents of a gunnery DIVO or dept head.

 

Others will add to this and I hope you find what you need.

John

 

John

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Well,

The Brooklyn's had...

1938 - 1944:
5 - 6" In. /.47 Cal. Mk. 16 Triple Gun Turrets
8 - 5" In. /.38 Cal. Mk. 37 Single Mount Anti-Aircraft Guns
24 - 20 mm Anti-Aircraft Guns
5 - 1 Pdr. (37mm) Guns

1944 - 1947:
5 - 6" In. /.47 Cal. Mk. 16 Triple Gun Turrets

8 - 5" In. /.38 Cal. Mk. 12 Turrets
6 - 40 mm/56 Bofors (Quad Mounted)
24 - 20 mm Anti-Aircraft Guns
5 - 1 Pdr. (37mm) Guns

So, just figuring out these divisions is the trick now...

Regards,

FRISCAN


 

"The Galloping Ghost of the North African Coast"

TC1c James F. Dunigan, III
Gunnery Division 4, U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42

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No torpdeos. Fire Control, not sure... I'll have to check my rosters tomorrow as they're at my workplace and see if there are any fire control men on the rosters. I suspect there are but, I'd think they'd be under their own division but, I'll check tomorrow first thing.

Regards,

FRISCAN


 

"The Galloping Ghost of the North African Coast"

TC1c James F. Dunigan, III
Gunnery Division 4, U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42

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Checked the rosters... the one most telling was the casualty roster for the U.S.S. Savannah from September '43 after her bomb hit. The casualties were spread out over the Turrets One through Three. All but twelve in Turret One, all but nine in Turret Two and all of Turret Three were killed.

Among the lost turret crews only six Fire Controlmen are present. The same number of Gunners Mates are also present. The vast majority of the killed amongst the three turret crews were Seaman First and Seaman Second Class many of which were spread over both the active duty Navy sailors and many who were reservists.

This now being the case I don't see why Turrets Four and Five would have been different. There are so far no Turret Captains present aboard the U.S.S. Savannah but, plenty of Gunners Mate First and Second Class. They were perhaps, I would think, qualified to serve in the capacity of Turret Captains. If not most likely I would think Ensigns would have been in charge of the turrets?

Regards,
FRISCAN


 

"The Galloping Ghost of the North African Coast"

TC1c James F. Dunigan, III
Gunnery Division 4, U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42

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Don't confuse being in charge, and Being IN CHARGE! There was a reason a Turret Captain was a GM1/c first. As for the Gunnery divisions, each main gun would be a division, including it's magazine crews, remembering that the non designated men were from the Deck Department. Next would be the 5 inch guns (and mags). AA battery (and mags), Fire Control (directors and turrets). Finally, possibly Marines or weapons repair which would include small arms.

 

You will often find ships of the same class organized slightly differently.

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Well, in WWII a Turret Captain is higher than a GM1c. They have separate ratings. I've seen Ensigns doing the job of a Turret Captain on a heavy cruiser. However, a GM1c would make total sense on a light cruiser.

According to the casualty list... the turrets weren't manned by many Fire Controlmen. In Savannah's case, S1c and S2c were the majority.

If I'm in Turret Four as a GM1c then I'm most likely doing the job of a TC in the ships 4th Division under the Gunnery Department... correct?

Regards,
FRISCAN


 

"The Galloping Ghost of the North African Coast"

TC1c James F. Dunigan, III
Gunnery Division 4, U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42

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I am sorry, you can I suppose scratch the FC's I thought you were interested in the makeup of all the divisions in Gunnery. Do the casualty lists give the individuals gun mount assignment? You are going to see higher casualty rates of S1cl and S2cl because more of them manned the less protected smaller caliber guns, you sometimes see a S1cl wearing the Gun Capt mark on his jumper. I am not familiar with this ship, how much damage did the turrets sustain?

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OK, this is where the Navy gets really confusing for Army people. The Navy has two typws of authorith. "Official", granted by rate (rank in the Army), and "Positional", granted by what you are doing. That is why a PO3 Shore Patrolman has authority over all Naval personnel (in theroy, be very careful with a Chief). A Turret Captain is Not "Higher" than a GM1/c. They are the same grade. You had to be a GM1/c and LATTERALY convert to TC1/c So, same grade. Inside the turret, the TC is incharge of everything that happens in that turret. The GMs are maintainence and repair of the actual guns, and serve as "Gun Captains", supervising the Gun Crew for their gun, which is made up mostly of S1/c, S2/c and assorted others from various deck divisions. They also verified ammunition was correct and ready. Other people in the turrets were Fire Control men who worked the sights and verified the info from the directors and "Gun Plot". They could also fire the guns from "Local Manual" if needed. There were also others assigned to the gun for Battle Stations such as Elec\tricians. My father was a Turret Electrician for Turret 3, 8 inch mount, USS St. Paul, CA-73 and Turret Electricial for Turret 1, 16 Inch mount, USS Iowa, BB-61. The guns were electric. I seem to recal him mentioning Pipe Fitters and Ship Fitters to deal with any damage to hydrolic plumbing and such, but would not swear to it.

 

The Turret Officer (Ensign) is the Division Officer. He is over all "Responsible for the gun and crew. He is there to ensure the safety and correct oppeation of the mount and basically to learn how to be an officer and how to work with enlisted Sailors so he can progress up the ladder to command. Ensigns rotate through the various "Line" departments on a ship to get experience with all the operations of the ship. Those officers commissioned from the enlisted ranks such as LDO, and Warrants are the technical experts and stay in their fields.

 

Any way, to your original question, the TC commands the Turret, a GM would command individual guns in the turret and the Ensign sits in Gun Control and cooridinates efforts and looking for mistakes that the TC or GMs may not see, an extra set of eyes

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OK, this is where the Navy gets really confusing for Army people. The Navy has two typws of authorith. "Official", granted by rate (rank in the Army), and "Positional", granted by what you are doing. .........

 

 

 

Ditto to what Steve said.....

 

Another example, if you were aboard my workboat as passengers wearing an anchor or bars you may be 'in charge' of your own sailors (divers, landing party, work party, etc.) and I would respect the rank and authority. But in my position tasked as coxswain, on the way to the beach or back to the mooring it was my boat and I directed my crew.

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Another example, I was assigned to a garcia Class Frigate, USS Bradley, FF-1041 as an SM3. Due to manning shortages at the time, I was assigned as a loader in a 5 inch MK 38 gun mount, Mount 5-1. Our Mount Captain was a BM1. We had a GMG1 in the crew as repair GM. The BM was in charge of the gun. The GM could step in if there was something wrong or he saw an issue beginning to happen, but BM1 ruled the gun.

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Topdcnut,

The casualty roster doesn't show what mounts they were assigned too. However, they would have been held solely to the first three forward turrets as they suffered specifically in the damage suffered at Salerno. Also, the vast majority of those three turrets were manned by S1c and S2c personnel... they comprise the bulk of the killed.

Sigsaye,

So, if there are no Turret Captains, it would be the senior most GM1c that would assume the roll and do the job of a Turret Captain in the absence of a Turret Captain?

Guys, I want you all to know I REALLY appreciate the help in this matter because, I have been doing U.S. Army WWII living history interpretation for near eighteen years. I now work at the Ships of The Sea Museum and I'm in the infancy stages of learning everything dealing with life and duties aboard combat vessels in WWII(specifically light cruisers)and putting together a U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42 kit for 1939 - 1945 aboard ship as a Gunners Mate 1st Class. Trying to find anything everything dealing with the Mk. 16. 6" In. / .47 Cal. Triple Gun Turrets is as hard as trying to find hens teeth.

Thanks again guys!

Regards,
FRISCAN


 

"The Galloping Ghost of the North African Coast"

TC1c James F. Dunigan, III
Gunnery Division 4, U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42

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The casualties are what would be expected. Gun crews, even today, are made up of Non designated Seamen (S1/c, S2/c) Yes, if there is no rated Turret Captain, then a GM1/c would be most likely in that position, who ever had the most experience in that type od turret. Now that I understand what you are doing, I would most strongly suggest that you search the navy archives for the Rate Training Manuals (RTMs) for GM, from Third Class to Chief. These will lay out for you EXACTLY what the duties and responsibilities of a GM were (go back to the late 1930s). Also, the RTM for Turret Captain First and Chief. And, I'd also look at the Seaman RTM, and what ever they had for "Basic Military Requirements" and "Naval Orientation". these will give you the background knowledge you need for the impression. To interpret A Sailor of a specific time, you need to understand the life and culture of the navy at the time.

 

Now, I have never looked at the Manning Document for this class of ship, do you know that Turret Captains were even assigned to light cruisers? I thought they were only 8 Inch and larger. I could be wrong.

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Thanks a TON Sig!

As to the Turret Captains... I'm really do not know whether they were assigned to her. What rosters I have (which are incomplete) bear out so far that there were no Turret Captains aboard.

Would you happen to know where I may be able to easily locate the RTM's for the GM's and Seaman?

Regards,
FRISCAN


 

"The Galloping Ghost of the North African Coast"

TC1c James F. Dunigan, III
Gunnery Division 4, U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42

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I have the manual for the 5" In., /.38 Cal. Gun, Single Mount lol. :D I couldn't pass it up for $30 + $5 Sh. Its '43 dated.

I'll take a look around on line for them.

Thanks.

Regards,
FRISCAN


 

"The Galloping Ghost of the North African Coast"

TC1c James F. Dunigan, III
Gunnery Division 4, U.S.S. Savannah, CL-42

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  • 4 weeks later...

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