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Incredible Shipbuilding Capacity of the US in WW2

Discussion in 'Atlantic Naval Conflict' started by gusord, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. gusord

    gusord Member

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    I recently visited in Massachussetts near Boston in Cohassett where one of my daughters live. The
    next town over in Hingham lies the remnants of Bethlehem Steel Hingham Shipyard. My father worked
    during ww 2 as a welder on the second shift . The shipyard was started from scratch in January 1942
    and was producing destroyer escorts and LSTs by May 1942. This shipyard alone built 227 ships in
    three years and there was 20,000 men and women working there. They built a complete DE in 25
    days. The DEs and LSTs were 300 feet long. The Royal Navy used quite a few of the DEs on the
    north atlantic convoys and said they were a good ship and very durable in the rough seas.
    Just down the road in Quincy was the Fore River Shipyard with at least 30,000 people building
    carriers, DEs, cruisers, and other ships. The Boston Navy Yard had 50,000 people and built DEs,etc
    plus repairing battle damaged ships from the north atlantic. Bath Iron Works in Maine built more
    destroyers than the japs. Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine and Electric Boat in Groton, Conn.
    built a huge amount of submarines during ww 2. These are just a small segment of the production
    records by US shipyards in ww 2. I was an employee of Boston Navy Yard from 1967-1973.

    gusord
     
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  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    100,000 people were working in those three shipyards alone. Those are staggering numbers when compared to the population of the NE states in those years.
     
  3. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Ace

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    Welcome aboard, and :S! to you and your father for y'all's contributions to the defense of this nation and freedom everywhere.
     
  4. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Gusord, I once had a very long conversation with a merchant seaman and vet of the Atlantic Convoys.

    He told me that many of these "Liberty Ships" built in American shipyards by the Henry Kaiser method were of inconsistent quality. He, himself, personally witnessed more than one liberty vessel break apart into these same prefabricated sections as the result of not only torpedo attacks, but even in heavy weather. He also claims that a great many of these same vessel had to be drydocked to fix the many problems that the very speed of their construction gave rise to. He most certainly did not believe that they were of even quality at all, with a good many of them being 'monday morning' vessels, thrown together in great haste and launched before proper testing or even a 'shakedown' cruise to iron out the bugs.

    Just wondering whether any other members here have heard this line of conversation before or read anything that substantiates the claims of this particular individual.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    There was a problem with the welds just forward of the deck house, IIRC. This was, I believe, fixed by adding an extra layer of metal over that weld. This was a cold weather problem for the most part.
     
  6. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    It was more due to the steel than anything else. "Brittle" steel they called it. If you look at shipwrecks on the Great Lakes (where the waves are just as high, but you have nowhere to run) many of the documented breaks have been attributed to the poor quality steel. In November of 1966 the Daniel J Morrell broke apart in a hell of a gale on Lake Huron....when her sister ship the Edward Y. Townsend stopped for fuel, she was running a few hours back of the Morrell, they found a 12-18 in crack in her deck, due to poor steel quality and the "working" of the hull in the waves.
     
  7. namvet

    namvet Member

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    not to go off topic but my mom helped build the B-25 Mitchell bomber during the war. I never asked her how long it took to make one. she's up there in years but im gonna ask anyway
     
  8. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Following "US Rustungsproduktion wahrend des Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945",the US built the following GRT of merchant ships:
    1939:376,419
    1940:528,697
    1941:1,032,974
    1942:5,479,766
    1943:11,448,360
    1944:9,288,156
    1945:5,839,858
    Total:33,993,230
    Also :
    141 aircarriers
    8 battleships
    48 cruisers
    349 destroyers
    498 fregats,etc
    203 submarines
     
  9. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    With that kind of production, quality issues notwithstanding, did Germany and Japan have a prayer? And this is not even accounting for similar land and air warfare production.
     
  10. Chariot Whiskey

    Chariot Whiskey Member

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    After my Father's two years as an Armed Guard gunnery officer in the Atlantic he was given shore duty in San Francisco. One of his jobs was to sign for ships built at a shipyard on the Sacramento River in Richmond, Calif. He said that this one particular yard launched a Liberty ship every day of the week plus a tanker on Tuesday's and Thursday's
     
  11. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    Chariot Whiskey, do you know how many slips that yard hard? Geeze?!

    And TD Tommy: No, they never did. Honestly, Germany never had a chance of winning the war at sea, even against England alone for reasons having as much to do with Geography as production. The simple fact that they couldn't get anything out to sea without running the RN gauntlet was going to stop them no matter what they built.

    Japan's a different issue, though. They really were just buried under US Ships. The only way Japan could possibly have won would have been if the US didn't want to fight an extended war and settled early. (And they even knew that going in, more or less. Given more recent history, I'd say that they weren't really far wrong. The Navy Department itself estimated that the US would only have the will for about a two year war against Japan, which was a problem that worried them right up to the actual outbreak of hostilities.)
     
  12. Chariot Whiskey

    Chariot Whiskey Member

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    Kaiser had four shipyards in Richmond. I don't know how many building ways there were. These yards produced 787 ships during the war. My Father arrived in San Fran in 1944 towards the end of Liberty ship production as the yards shifted to Victory ship production. . A Liberty ship took, I have read, about two weeks to build. As a stunt Kaiser built one in a single day!
     
  13. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    That's . . . incredibly impressive. And that's just four yards in one particular city. I was aware of the one day stunt, but I'd not seen the totals. They certainly make your ship a day yard look quite feasible. Must have been one heck of a plant. Thanks CW.
     
  14. gusord

    gusord Member

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    Just to add a few facts many destroyers built during ww2 and in 1946 were still around in the late 1960s. We worked on a lot of these at the BOSTON NAVY YARD . We also worked on carriers from ww2. The LEXINGTON CVT 16 was converted to a training carrier at BOSTON NAVY YARD in 1969 - 12 months of work. I worked on the arresting gear overhaul and new sheaves, seals, etc installed. Also worked on the INTREPID CVS 11 arresting gear twice in 1970 and 1973.
    The Lexington was around until 1991 at Pensacola serving as a training carrier for new pilots. 1943 to 1991 with major overhauls throughout its long career.

    gusord
     
  15. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    what part of the arresting gear? can you be more specific?? that sounds interesting....the BBs were around in the 90s...participated in the Gulf War.... still using the big guns then.......yes, the manufacturing of the US was almost unbelievable...
     
  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The CGC Storis was built in 1942 at Bath, Maine. It served until 2006. I was stationed on it in Alaska in the 90's and we went through some awful storms with no problems at all. During the war it was part of the Greenland patrol, sub hunting and chasing down German weather stations that were dropped off by Uboats.

    Even in my day it still had one of the WWII era 3 inch 50's mounted on the rear superstructure. During the war it had another 3 inch forward and some kind of AA gun (never been able to determine the type). And just to make it really crowded and insane, it had a seaplane on the rear deck.

    View attachment 23098 View attachment 23099
     

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  17. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    That looks like a Grumman Duck without its wings in the second picture. I wonder what the story was there.
     
  18. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    great story!.....it must've rocked and rolled a lot!? I'm very surprised they last so long...very close living conditions
     
  19. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The plane was lifted off into the water to take off and then back on deck when it returned. They were patrolling for subs and for weather stations along the Greenland coast to partially close that mid-Atlantic gap in air cover. The deal with the weather stations was that the only way the Germans could get accurate weather was to know what was happening west, blowing into Europe. Think of D-Day - the allies knew that break was coming in and the Germans didn't. That's why Rommel was home in Germany and everyone was stood down when the invasion happened. Bad weather = no allied landings. Submarines would drop off drop off four or five man teams with a meteorologist in southern Greenland who'd radio detailed observations back to Europe and the coast guard would find them and shut them down.

    A number of Coast Guard cutters were stationed out of Greenland. They'd supplement convoys as they passed and patrol the rest of the time. There's some interesting stories about those weather teams. They'd try to triangulate the positions of their weather broadcasts and send patrols ashore, but the Germans knew that and moved frequently. They did capture all of them eventually. I don't think any of them ever fought - it was just "OK, you got us."
     
  20. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It sure did rock and roll! It had an icebreaker hull which meant it rode like a bathtub - no deep keel like a normal vessel to keep it from rolling. You get used to it and adapt.

    View attachment 23100
     

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