Storage of ammunition

Storage of ammunition

Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

August 14th, 2004, 1:58 pm #1

I was thinking about the storage of ammunition aboard LSTs. From reading the deck logs and talking with all of you, I know that often the main deck and tank deck weren't filled with just vehicles, but many, many different kinds of ordanance. I'm sure that it was packed properly and had been transported safely to the ship.

Then I think about the instability created by climate conditions, the movement of the ship (especially if in a storm). I know that if it was loaded for a specific invasion that it may not have been aboard for all that long of a time period, but long enough. I read about magazines and shell rooms..but there weren't enough of those areas when you were the ones taking in replenishment supplies for others.

Anyone care to share how your ship handled situations like this? Did you do extra inspections (securement of and the shells themselves)? Extra fire drills?
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Joined: February 23rd, 2004, 8:24 pm

August 15th, 2004, 1:01 am #2

Military explosives are formulated to be shock proof,but there is always that one. The USS MT Hood, Port Chicago Ca, and West Loch, are just examples of what can go wrong. Ship magazines have sprinkler systems, and if necessary can be flooded. When the magazines are flooded you have real problems. On carriers the mess decks were the transfer level(changed elevators) and a 500 pounder can really ruin the entree.We always had magazine alarms for flooding and if a fire in one was called away, that end of the ship became deserted real fast. The explosive in shells and bombs is poured in as a hot liquid and in a fire the casing can crack and the explosive will run out and just burn. I will bet Brolly has used C4 for cooking fuel(just can't stomp it out). Dropped or miss fired ordance is dumped over the side then!

Flt-tech
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Joined: August 26th, 2003, 7:37 am

August 15th, 2004, 2:22 am #3

In the 1950's when on the final survey of the DEW Line, we used to use C-4
to cook our lunch when on the beach. Burns just like Sterno, nice blue flame and great for cooking food very fastly. Scared the hell out of those guys on the team that did now know what we were doing.
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

August 15th, 2004, 4:31 am #4

Bob, I would've been 'one of those guys' scared to death...

Wonder if CSC Perrella would use this in a pinch? (I can hear all of you now - NOT ABOARD THE 325!!!!!!! and I agree! Smile...)
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Joined: July 8th, 2003, 4:49 am

August 15th, 2004, 6:06 am #5

In the 1950's when on the final survey of the DEW Line, we used to use C-4
to cook our lunch when on the beach. Burns just like Sterno, nice blue flame and great for cooking food very fastly. Scared the hell out of those guys on the team that did now know what we were doing.
<font face="comic sans ms" color=navy size=4>I've got a LOT more experience with airplanes than I do with ships. We had 8,000 and 10,000 gal. refueling trucks. (Most of our fueling was done via hydrant trucks using underground feeds, but we had many occasions to use the big portable "tankers.")

We had to refill them at the "fuel farm," where we had big booms to fill them through hatches on the tops of the trucks.

It was ALWAYS a gas (pardon the pun) to have a trainee along with, and then throw a burning match right into the tank. Those of us with experience knew it was safe. Jet A fuel (almost pure kerosene) has an extremely high flash point, and won't burn or explode from just a match. But the trainees didn't know that, and they almost always jumped sky-high, and had an a-number-one "heart check!"

Of course, you can only do that with a FULL tank. If you try it with a partial tank containing fumes, you gotta bend over and kiss your you-know-what a fond goodbye first! The fume vapors will bite ya big-time, and send you to meet Saint Peter face-to-face. But I'm still here to talk about it ...

More about Jet A: (1) good for burning in the old-fashioned kerosene lamps (although it doesn't smell too good unless you're used to it); and (2) for us former smokers, it was an adequate emergency fill for our Zippo lighters.

Now that I'm done with airplanes, I will return you to our normal network broadcasting ...
</font>


http://www.LSTMemorial.org
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Joined: August 16th, 2004, 4:13 am

August 16th, 2004, 4:13 am #6

I was thinking about the storage of ammunition aboard LSTs. From reading the deck logs and talking with all of you, I know that often the main deck and tank deck weren't filled with just vehicles, but many, many different kinds of ordanance. I'm sure that it was packed properly and had been transported safely to the ship.

Then I think about the instability created by climate conditions, the movement of the ship (especially if in a storm). I know that if it was loaded for a specific invasion that it may not have been aboard for all that long of a time period, but long enough. I read about magazines and shell rooms..but there weren't enough of those areas when you were the ones taking in replenishment supplies for others.

Anyone care to share how your ship handled situations like this? Did you do extra inspections (securement of and the shells themselves)? Extra fire drills?
After the war our LST 387 was put to the task of hauling old ammo out to sea in 12000 ton loads with tank deck full and also topside. We did have many moments of high stress and one in particular was when we arrived at our dump site and unable to open the bow doors (because of high seas)for dumping and went to use the elevator. It was loaded with about 3 ton and I was on duty in the Aux egine room ramping up additional generators to hand the load and as the elevator reached main deck the cables broke and it came crashing down to the tank deck.
The noise was like a huge explosion and I went up the escape shaft like a bullet and I am certain I never touched a rung. The loading crew all paniked and most could be found later trying to crawl back from the 18" overhead ammo space where in their panic they had tried crawing to safety - some having crawled up to 125 feet back over the top of the ammo.
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

August 25th, 2004, 2:41 am #7

is what I would've been trying to do... The noise itself would have been alarming, but knowing what they were removing at the time would have made it even more frightening. If it was old ammo, then there was also the chance that it was unstable?

Even after the war was over, danger was still present for all of you...

Thanks for sharing your memory, Mr. Ness!
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