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"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
I knew a Gunner's Mate Chief on the USS Iowa that talked about the attempt to use a digital fire control computer. It was no better than the original. In the intervening years, some key parts of the fire control computer had degraded....and the Navy had to rebuild those parts. Said GMC noticed that those parts were round...and exactly the size of silver dollars. So that's what he used. Can't do that with a digital computer.
Tam, check the comments on that Ars article for a link to a full-length training film on the concepts and methods for that ballistic computer.Or I can just paste it here, I suppose.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1i-dnAH9Y4I enjoyed every minute of it, even with the brassy music.
Oooo... thanks for the heads up on Raising Steam.With Pratchett's Alzheimer's surely progressing, there won't be too many more forays into Discworld. Gotta treasure the ones that we get. People keep asking me what I'm reading when I'm reading through one. I think it's all the laughing I'm doing. Then I look like a maniac when I can't really explain it to their satisfaction. Maybe it's just my twisted mind that makes me think "If complete and utter chaos was lightning, then he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armor and shouting 'All gods are bastards!'" is one of the best lines ever penned, anywhere.
The Ballistic Plotting room is part of the tour on the USS. N. Carolina. It's a thing of mechanical beauty! If you're curious about ships, I highly recommend this tour; the best one I've been on. (Granted...I haven't been on that many.)I'm hoping someday to get to tour an Iowa class ship to the same degree the N. Carolina is open. Anyone know if they've opened up the Wisconsin to tours? The last time I was there all you could do was walk around on the Deck.Or should I just head to Hawaii to see the Missouri? :-)
An workmate had the dubious "pleasure" of being in Beirut when the USS New Jersey was rearranging Syrian emplacements in the heights.Needless to say the Syrians soon saw the reason of returning the downed Navy flier.
"Raising Steam"This blog is a conspiracy to empty my wallet ...
Cargosquid.....I'm on the Iowa crew. Several of the people I "work" with served on the ship during her refits. The Navy wanted to update the Ford mechanical analog computer used for dire control, and had HP, Honeywell, and IBM out to look at it. After spending several months analyzing it, they told the Navy "We can't even do it that good, let alone improve it".Since that was over 20 years ago, the technology might have improved, but day-um....pretty good for a 1940's design!
They are doing guided tours of the interior of Wisconsin now. Not sure if Fire Control is part of it. My Dad was on "Wisky" from 51-55. He said they were told every 16" fired downrange was equal to the cost of a new Cadillac. Dad also said a 40mm crew managed to sever the cable of an towed aerial target once. If I were a young marine about to go into harms way and I could have 10 Zumwalt class ships or just 1 Iowa class for fire support, it would be a no brainer. I'd want an Iowa class ship every time.
Sigman,No doubt the shells cost as much as a Cadillac...they were almost as big!!! :-)I don't think we'll ever see anything like the big 16's again. Good thing I'm not King, cause I would have kept all of the Iowa class ships active "just because". "Flying the flag" with those big guns in foreign ports would be worth the cost to me. And they proved during the first Gulf War that they were good strategic assets, able to reach far out beyond the 16’s range with a heavy load of cruise missiles. And with their armor they’d be durned hard to sink.I've loved the "Mighty Mo" since I was a kid...got a book on her from the Scholastic Book Club in school.
We had mechanical ballistic computers on tanks, too, simpler, less capable, put perfectly happy taking rangefinder and ammo selection inputs and adding the necessary superelevation to the sights for first-round hits out to 4400 theoretical meters.MC
Had friends that were Fire Control on Jersey and Missouri in the 80's and early 90's. I got to tour Missouri with one of them during Seattle Sea Fair. Nice part about being an FC I got to see stuff that the civilians were kept out of, mostly for safety but also for lack of security clearance. Took me two days to stop grinning. While not an Iowa class the USS Mobile in Mobile,Alabama is worth a tour.
Forester has a lovely description of the on board gun directing system in action in "The Ship".
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