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US Navy Navigation collection


River Rat 1

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In the old days the US Navy use to do Navigation the old fashion way no GPS. For a while I heard the US Navy stopped training Officers in the US Navy Academy old fashion Navigation a bad move what happens if the Russians or Chinese take out GPS satellite's or block there signals and you got officers who don't know were the hell they are. You never forget the past you teach it as back up. Here some Navigation stuff from WW2. A Hamilton model 22 chronometer and a WW2 Naval chart cool to look at you see countries that don't exist any more, and a Hamilton comparing watch. The navigator will set the time with the comparing from the chronometer go on deck with watch and sextant and do a navigation fix. I was told most ships had 2 or more chronometers one on the bridge and one in another location incase the bridge gets taken out. That way you had one chronometer that survived that's how important they were for navigation. GPS dependence in weapons systems and navigation by all the US Military a bad move they should teach the old fashion way of the past or they will be in deep trouble one day.

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Very nice grouping. You certainly make a valid point. In my last four years of teaching tactics at the Command & General Staff College, they turned to computers to help in decision making. My question was the same as yours while I was there. They need to test brain skills in analysis and assessment should the computers be taken out. It was a lost cause. Jack

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Very nice grouping. You certainly make a valid point. In my last four years of teaching tactics at the Command & General Staff College, they turned to computers to help in decision making. My question was the same as yours while I was there. They need to test brain skills in analysis and assessment should the computers be taken out. It was a lost cause. Jack

 

Do you know if they still teach land navigation. In Special boat unit XI this was in the early 1990's we went to camp parks for a land navigation course they had these letters in cement blocks at various locations on a hill. We had a little class room work then given a map and compass and you had to find those blocks. Also when I went to a combat skill course at camp Pendleton in 2002 we had a land navigation course but we had to find numbered ammo cans no hand held GPS device just a compass. I do use a hand held GPS device when I go backpacking but all way have a compass as back up. If they went to total hand held GPS device some one in the military had a brain fart.

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I hate doing this since it is Hollywood based but relevant to the topic at hand. I'm a Bond lover and in the movie, The World Is Not Enough, the evil doers send a RN warship off course via satellite manipulation. In the movie they relied solely on GPS, I'm sure most know of the movie plot. So the question I had was , do they not utilize physical charts and navigation anymore? as a checks and balances tool. Are modern Navies completely reliant on computerization?

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Last time I stood watch on the bridge in 1984 they still used charts but they have been doing some short cuts. Like the signal man and quarter master rate have been combined. The quarter master did the navigation and took the helm steering the ship in restricted maneuverability situations when I was in . So I guess using GPS mite be why they combined the rate ?

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GPS is phenomenally cheap, that's why. And even though I learned celestial navigation I never used it because in the days before GPS there was LORAN C (a radio-navigation system). I imagine if our satellites got knocked out we could fairly quickly implement a similar system for shipboard navigation, but all the weapons systems that use GPS are SOL. Remember the very complex terrain matching system the old Tomahawk had? Back then it took weeks to plan a TLAM mission, not minutes. As always, we remain well equipped to win the previous war.

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Two years ago, they began teaching celestial navigation at the Naval Academy (again).

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia

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  • 1 year later...

A few months ago I picked up this Hamilton Model 21 chronometer. Before WW2 the US Navy and our Merchant Marine bought all there chronometers from Europe. But whn WW2 started the supply dried up in Europe. So the USA had to start making there own. The navy ask US watch co's to make a few prototypes only Elgin and Hamilton submited one and Hamiltons won the contract. Hamilton made more in one month than Europe made in one year before the war. Been wanting one for years just had it serviced only a few in the USA that I would trust to work on these rare things. This one was most likely on a merchant due to the marking and was made in 1945.

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A larger photo of the dial. Just wished this forum had a better way of posting photo's I would love to post more. A lot of stuff has changed in the collection and with out photo's it's worthless. There ether two small or just ight when you down size them. Most forum you don't have down size them your self.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a little info of the ship this Hamilton Model 21 chronometer came of off I think.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cygnus_%28AF-23%29

http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/06/0623.htm

 

The repair receipt has the name of the ship after it was returned to civilian duty. Reminds me of this ship in this movie Mister Roberts

 

and my old ship the USS Mauna Kea AE-22.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mister_Roberts_%281955_film%29

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The key had a one way ratchet mechanism in the handle. Seven half turns to the right to wind the mechanism. Wound between 1100 and 1130 every day to ensure the same tension on the main spring. This was done to help ensure the predictability of the daily time gain or loss rate for those days when you could not or did not get a radio time check.

 

A time honored custom required that the off going 0800 to 1200 Quartermaster would bring the navigators 1200 position report to the C.O. and report that the chronometers have been wound..

 

In early 1966 I was a Seaman at a Lifeboat Station at Cape Canaveral, Florida. In the watch room were three tall pendulum operated 'grandfather" type clocks. These were the control clocks for the marine radiobeacon that was a part of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse operation. The radiobeacon operated in a chain with 5 other stations. Each was assigned a one nimute slot to transmit its morse code character. It would send a morse character for 50 seconds and then a continuous dash for 10 seconds. The long dash gave the navigator time to home in on a precise bearing for a line of position. When the next station in the chain started, the navigator went through the same process. Some offshore lighthouses had their fog horn synchronized with the long dash. Start a stop watch when you heard the long dash and stop it when you heard the fog horn. Simple math gave you the distance off from the light and a radio beacon bearing to the light. You were not lost..

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Also read out of the book Military timepieces by Whitney if the quartermaster forgot to wind it possible captains mast it was that important to wind it when there was no GPS like we have today.

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Thanks for sharing! Didn't know they didn't teach traditional non-electronic nav anymore. That isn't smart. Shouldn't make everything rely on the grid or comps. Reminds me of the part in "Hunt for Red October" where the sonar guy goes past his computer because he is positive the comp is wrong. In the end, he's right! No comp can equal a real brain when it comes to logic.

 

I LOVE the pics of the old nav equipment! My Sis has always been totally nuts about old naval navigational instruments!

 

 

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" So the question I had was , do they not utilize physical charts and navigation anymore? as a checks and balances tool. "

 

A great many of the worlds maritime safety regulators are of the opinion that the computer/GPS navigation systems cannot fail and there is a strong effort out in the maritime commerce world that they should be able to eliminate the requirements for ships officers to be proficient in ' traditional navigation skills'. Trust the computer, nothing can ever go wrong. They international regulators are currently mulling over eliminating the requirements to even have no crew members on merchant ships .. Think that sounds good the next time two or three super tankers approach your coastline with no one looking out the window..

 

A small item a few years ago noted that a couple of computer weenies from some 'cow college' somewhere managed to hack into the navigation system of a mega yacht in the Mediterranian Sea, She was east bound for Italy and they managed to get her redirected north bound towards France. It took a day or so before the crew even noted that the sun was no longer rising off the bow, but rather off the starboard side. But the computer had them heading to Italy..

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