August 2009's Lane Victory Adventure Begins (Page One)
Boarding ship promptly at 7:00 am for an 8:30 departure.
Did you know? - Built in 1945, here in Los Angeles, CA, the S.S. Lane Victory served with distinction during World War II, The Korean War, and the Vietnam War as well as in times of peace as part of the merchant fleet. After years of deterioration in mothballs, it took countless hours of restoration to put her back into her original condition by volunteers of the United States Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II. A nationally recognized historic landmark, the S.S. Lane Victory now serves as a living museum and memorial to the service and sacrifices of all Merchant Marine sailors and Navy Armed Guardsmen. Several times each summer she sails into the past on one of her "Victory At Sea" cruises where "old salts" can reminisce, about adventures past, and younger generations can catch a glimpse of bygone times.
Did you know? - A junk is a Chinese sailboat design dating from ancient times and still in use today. Junks were originally developed during the Han Dynasty (220 BC–200 AD) and were used as ocean going vessels as early as the 2nd century AD. They were further evolved in the later dynasties, and were built and used throughout Asia for extensive ocean voyages. They were found, and in lesser numbers are still found, throughout South-East Asia and India, but primarily in China, perhaps today most famously in Hong Kong. Also, found more broadly, is a growing number of modern recreational junk-rigged sailboats.
The word junk comes to English from Malay jong, ajong, which is from Chinese án, boat, ship, junk. The Chinese word for an ocean-going junk is cáo.
Did you know? - The battle at Bari lasted 20 minutes. Seventeen ships were sunk or damaged beyond all repair: Testbank, Devon Coast, Fort Athabaska, and Laps Kruse (British); Barletta, Frasinone, and Cassola (Italian); John Bascom, John L. Motley, Joseph Wheeler, John Harvey, and Samuel Tilden (American Libertys). Damaged ships were the Lyman Abbott (American Liberty); Christa, Fort Lajoie, and Brittany Coast (British); Odysseus (Dutch); and Vest (Norwegian).
One of the most costly engagements of the war in the Mediterranean and one seldom mentioned in World War II histories, occurred at the Italian port of Bari, on the Adriatic coast, the night of 2 December 1943. At that time the British 8th Army was pushing the enemy back along the coast, and 30 freighters and tankers were at the brilliantly illuminated docks in Bari, discharging ammunition, bombs, gasoline, and other supplies needed in the drive north. About 2030, aircraft engines were heard, and winches stopped as stevedores searched the moonlit sky. Guns on all the ships were manned, and gunners waited for the command to open fire; ships at Bari were instructed not to fire on attacking aircraft until a designated gun ashore opened the action by firing tracers. The next moment parachute flares lit the harbor and the planes were overhead. On the John Bascom, Ensign Kay Vesole decided they had waited long enough and said to Captain Heitman, "It looks to me like it's time to start shooting." Heitman agreed: "Start firing.
Seaman James Mongel sailed into the
harbor just after the disaster!
Jan and Jim Mongel are our dancing friends from the Phoenix Club, Starlighters, and Toppers. Paul send this webpage to Jan and when Jim read it, he was returned back almost 60 years as he was there! Jim remarked how the urgency to use the port was so high that they built the docks over the sunken ships to loading and unloading could continue!
Jim also told us of a story that when he was a radio operator on one of the Victory Ships he heard a very loud SOS (... _ _ _ ...) so he got up, went out on the deck and saw the ship behind his sinking into the ocean. It got hit amidships where the engine is and broke into two pieces going immediately to the bottom.
Through a tragic coincidence intended by neither of the opposing sides in World War II, Bari gained the unwelcome distinction of being the only European city to experience chemical warfare in the course of that war.
On the night of December 2, 1943, German Junkers Ju 88 bombers attacked the port of Bari, which was a key supply center for Allied forces fighting their way up the Italian peninsula. Several Allied ships were sunk in the overcrowded harbor, including the U.S. Liberty ship John Harvey, which was carrying mustard gas; mustard gas was also reported to have been stacked on the quayside awaiting transport. The chemical agent was intended for use if German forces initiated chemical warfare. The presence of the gas was highly classified, and authorities ashore had no knowledge of it. This increased the number of fatalities, since physicians — who had no idea that they were dealing with the effects of mustard gas — prescribed treatment proper for those suffering from exposure and immersion, which proved fatal in many cases. Because rescuers were unaware they were dealing with gas casualties, many additional casualties were caused among the rescuers through contact with the contaminated skin and clothing of those more directly exposed to the gas.
On the orders of allied leaders Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower, records were destroyed and the whole affair was kept secret for many years after the war. The U.S. records of the attack were declassified in 1959, but the episode remained obscure until 1967. Indeed, even today, many "Baresi" are still unaware of what happened and why. Additionally, there is considerable dispute as to the number of fatalities. In one account: " Sixty-nine deaths were attributed in whole or in part to the mustard gas, most of them American merchant seamen;" Others put the count as high as, "more than one thousand Allied servicemen and more than one thousand Italian civilians." Part of the confusion and controversy derives from the fact that the German attack, which became nicknamed "The Little Pearl Harbor" after the Japanese air attack on the American naval base in Hawaii, was highly destructive and lethal in itself, apart from the effects of the gas. Attribution of the causes of death to the gas, as distinct from the direct effects of the German attack, has proved far from easy.
The remains of the John L
The affair is the subject of two books: Disaster at Bari, by Glenn B. Infield, and Nightmare in Bari: The World War II Liberty Ship Poison Gas Disaster and Coverup, by Gerald Reminick.
Introduction - Bari was an old city dating back to the Middle Ages, and located on the Adriatic with a population of about 200,000. It had become the main supply base for Montgomery's Eighth Army, plus the new Headquarters for the US 15th. Air Force.
On the 2nd. of December 1943, the port was crowded with 30 Allied ships. One of these, the Liberty ship John Harvey, carried a secret load of 100 tons of mustard gas bombs, a precaution in case Hitler decided to invoke the use of chemical warfare. The seeds of the ensuing disaster were planted, merely waiting to germinate.
Chaos at the port of Bari. The German raid closed the port for three weeks
The Port of Bari, all hustle and bustle - Absorbed with the task of bringing the US 15th. Air Force into reality, with Major General James Doolittle in command, the Allies gave little thought to a German air raid on the bustling port of Bari. The harbor was crammed with shipping, stuffed with supplies, including aviation fuel for the US bombers crowding the Foggia air base 75 miles away.
Come sunset, on the evening of the 2nd. of December in 1943, with the urgent need to hasten the unloading of ships filling the port, the harbor was brilliantly lit so that cargo might be unloaded throughout the night.
German reconnaissance flight during the afternoon of the 2nd. of December 1943 - 1st. Lieutenant Werner Hahn had flown his Messerschmidt ME-210 over Bari at 23,000 feet on the afternoon of the 2nd. of December 1943. Unmolested by any AA fire, he made a second pass of the port, and turned North for home, to report that the proposed target was crowded with unloading ships, perhaps 30 plus.
Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen, in command of Luftflotte 2, had suggested to his boss, Field Marshal Kesselring, that an attack on Bari could slow down the advancing 8th. Army, and retard attacks from the newly arrived US 15th. Air Force.
He thought he might manage to gather 150 JU 88's for the attack, in the event, 105 was all he could muster. His aircraft were ordered to fly east to the Adriatic, then turn and approach Bari to the west, the Allies no doubt would anticipate any German air raids to come in from the North. The aircraft would drop Duppel, thin strips of tin foil to confuse the defensive Radar. Parachute flares would be dropped to light up the targets in the harbor at about 1930 (7.30 PM) then the JU 88's, would attack at a low altitude, hoping to avoid Allied Radar installations.
German JU 88, used in the raid on Bari
Mustard gas in Liberty Ship SS John Harvey. - The Captain of John Harvey was not officially informed that his ship would carry a load of lethal mustard gas bombs. These were 4 feet long, 8 inches in diameter, and each held 60/70 pounds of the chemical.
Mustard gas forms blisters, irritates the respiratory system, leaving the skin burnt, with raw ulcers.
On board John Harvey, 1st. Lieutenant Howard D. Beckstrom and his six man team from the 701st. Chemical Maintenance Company were on hand in case of trouble from this deadly cargo. The ship had crossed the Atlantic Ocean without running into any U-Boat problems, then had stopped at Oran in Algeria, thence to Augusta in Sicily, until it made it into Bari on the 26th. of November. Her cargo including 2,000 M47A1 gas bombs filled with mustard gas, which remained a secret, meant she was not given any priority to unload, she must wait her turn.
The German air attack. - Arriving on schedule at Bari, Flight Lieutenant Gustav Teuber, leading in the first wave of bombers could not believe his eyes, the scene below, brilliantly lit, cranes busily lifting cargo from ship's holds, the east jetty crowded with ships.
A flight of German JU 88's in the raid on Bari, December 1943
The attack was a complete surprise, Liberty Ship Joseph Wheeler exploded from a direct hit, John Motley was hit in No. 5 hold, John Bascom next to her, shattered by a rain of bombs, was abandoned.
John Harvey on fire, suddenly blew up, disappearing in a mighty fireball, casting pieces of ship and her deadly cargo of mustard gas all over the harbor. Mustard gas gives off a garlic odor, and now it combined with oil in the harbor, a deadly and volatile mixture. People were noticing a smell of garlic in the air, already doing its deadly work.
Another Liberty ship, Samuel Tilden was sunk.
In all, 17 ships were lost, 5 American, 5 British, 2 Italian, 3 Norwegian, and 2 Polish, another 7 were heavily damaged. Here is a list of the 17 ship losses and those damaged in the raid.
John Harvey (US Liberty, 7177 gt)
John L. Motley (US Liberty, 7176 gt)
John Bascom (US Liberty, 7176 gt)
Joseph Wheeler (US Liberty, 7176 gt)
Samuel J. Tilden (US Liberty, 7176 gt)
Fort Athabasca (British, 7132 gt)
Fort Lajoie ( British, 7134 gt )
Testbank (British, 5083 gt) ***
Lars Kruse (British, 1897 gt)
Devon Coast (British, 646 gt)
Bollsta (Norwegian, 1832 gt)
Norlom (Norwegian, 6412 gt)
Lom (Norwegian, 1268 gt)
Lwow (Polish, 1409 gt)
Puck (Polish, 1065 gt)
Frosinone (Italian, 5202 gt)
Barletta (Italian, 1975 gt)
*** SS Testbank collided with SS Ceramic off the coast of South West Africa, ( now Namibia ) on the 11th. of August in 1940, forcing Ceramic to seek repairs at Walvis Bay. Ceramic herself was later sunk by U-Boat U-515, in the Atlantic on the 7th. of December 1942, and now Testbank is sunk in this raid on Bari, indeed two ill fated ships.
Heavily damaged ship list.
Grace Abbott (American, 7191gt)
John M. Schoefield (American, 7191gt)
Crista (British, 2590 gt)
Brittanny Coast (British, 1389 gt)
Vest (Norwegian, 5074 gt)
Cassala (Italian, 1797 gt)
Odysseus (Dutch, 1057 gt)
Casualties - There were over 1,000 military and merchant marine casualties, some 800 were admitted to local hospitals. 628 suffered from the mustard gas, of whom, 69 died within two weeks.
The port was closed for three weeks, it had been rendered into rubble.
Secrecy about the mustard gas - Although US records did mention mustard gas, Winston Churchill insisted all British Medical records were purged and mustard gas deaths were merely listed as the result of: " Burns due to enemy action."
No doubt his insistence of secrecy could have caused more deaths, as victims, especially Italian civilians might have sought proper treatment for their injuries, had they known the real cause.
Conclusion. - This Bari raid was a disaster on two fronts. It was a Second Pearl Harbor, with 17 ships totaling 75,936 tons sunk, and another 7 ships with a tonnage of 27,289 tons heavily damaged by this sneak air attack by German aircraft, one of the Luftwaffe's success stories.
The Bari raid produced the only poison gas incident associated with WW2, made worse by the perceived need for secrecy in wartime.
Allied ships burn at Bari, December 1943
Tugs Are Here So It Is Time To Depart
Did you know? - A tugboat (tug) is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them. Tugs move vessels that should not move themselves alone, such as ships in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal, or those that cannot move themselves, such as barges, disabled ships, or oil platforms. Tugboats are powerful for their size and strongly built, some are ocean-going. Some tugboats serve as icebreakers or salvage boats. Early tugboats had steam engines; today diesel engines are used.
Did you know? - Jeep is an automobile marque (and registered trademark) of Chrysler. It is the oldest off-road vehicle (also sport utility vehicle - SUV) brand, with Land Rover coming in second. The original vehicle which first appeared as the prototype Bantam BRC became the primary light 4-wheel-drive vehicle of the US Army and allies during the World War II and postwar period. Many vehicles serving similar military and civilian roles have since been created by many nations.
Sea Cadets stack the lines
"Let's go for a spin!"
The AN/PRC-90 is an emergency UHF transceiver tuned to two preselected frequencies for voice and beacon transmissions. It has no secure or low probability of intercept capability. Because the enemy can intercept its signal, isolated personnel should limit radio transmissions and use code words until the recovery or extraction phase.
We Are On The Move
MS Majesty of the Seas is a Sovereign Class cruise ship owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International. She was built at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyards in Saint-Nazaire, France, and placed in service on April 26, 1992. Her Godmother is Queen Sonja Of Norway.
Harbor Seals were visiting the ship
Did you know? - The Common Seal (Phoca vitulina), also known as the Harbor Seal or alternately spelled Harbor Seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern hemisphere. They are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as those of the Baltic and North Seas, making them the most wide-ranging of the pinnipeds (walruses, eared seals, and true seals).
Common seals are brown, tan, or gray, with distinctive V-shaped nostrils. An adult can attain a length of 1.85 meters (6.1 ft) and a mass of 132 kilograms (290 lbs). Females outlive males (30–35 years versus 20–25 years). Common seals stick to familiar resting spots, generally rocky areas where land predators can't reach them, near a steady supply of fish to eat. Males fight over mates underwater. Females mate with the strongest males, then bear single pups, which they care for alone. Pups are able to swim and dive within hours of birth, and they grow quickly on their mothers' milk. A fatty tissue called blubber keeps them warm.
Angels Gate Lighthouse
Did you know? - This historic lighthouse has marked the entrance to the port since 1913. The breakwater is 9,250 feet long and contains nearly three million tons of rock, brought over from Santa Catalina Island. Designed differently than any other California lighthouse, Angel's Gate is situated on a forty-foot concrete square. Built to withstand rough seas, the framework is structural steel, with steel plates to the second floor. The lighthouse is so well-constructed that, after a five-day storm in 1939 sent violent seas smashing into the building, the 73-foot Romanesque tower leaned slightly toward shore, but still stood defiantly, as it does to this day. The lighthouse was automated in 1973, thus eliminating the need for keepers.
The two note blast of its foghorn every thirty seconds is a familiar sound to local residents. Mariners entering Angel's Gate are guided by the lighthouse's rotating green light. Whenever a deep sea vessel arrives on her maiden voyage in Los Angeles Harbor, the master is presented with a plaque etched with the likeness of the light, an official greeting from the City of Los Angeles, and the lighthouse that watches over the entrance to her harbor.
The band sets up for a day of music
The porpoise cameo visit
Did you know? - Porpoises are small cetaceans of the family Phocoenidae; they are related to whales and dolphins. They are distinct from dolphins, although the word "porpoise" (pronounced /ˈpɔrpəs/) has been used to refer to any small dolphin, especially by sailors and fishermen. The most obvious visible difference between the two groups is that porpoises have flattened, spade-shaped teeth distinct from the conical teeth of dolphins, and shorter beaks.
A Living Memorial
Our mission is to ensure that future generations always remember the sacrifices of men and steel that now reside on bottom of the worlds oceans; the ships and men who were the "bridge of ships" that supplied the allied war machine that went on to victory in the European and Pacific theaters of World War II. The S.S. Lane Victory is a living memorial to the 1554 merchant ships and 9300 crew lost during the war. On every summer cruise, a memorial service for one ship and her crew is held on the port rail. A carnation is cast into the sea for every crewmember lost and a wreath is laid in honor of the ship. A plaque listing the ship and her crew is then hung in the corridors of the S.S. Lane Victory's mid-ship's house.
The decks is clear in preparation
The colors are presented
The porpoises also participate in the ceremony
Did you know? - Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aero phones using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes have historically been found throughout Europe, Northern Africa, the Persian Gulf, and the Caucasus.
Heading For The Engine Room
Resting in line awaiting the engine room tour
We get an explanation of steam power before we go below
Did you know? - A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid. The idea of using boiling water to produce mechanical motion has a long history, going back about 2000 years. Early devices were not practical power producers, but more advanced designs producing usable power have become a major source of mechanical power over the last 300 years, enabling the industrial revolution, beginning with applications for mine water removal using vacuum engines. Subsequent developments using pressurized steam and conversion to rotary motion enabled the powering of a wide range of manufacturing machinery anywhere water and coal or wood fuel could be obtained, previously restricted only to locations where water wheels or windmills could be used. Significantly, this power source would later be applied to prime movers, mobile devices such as steam tractors and railway locomotives. Modern steam turbines generate about 80 percent of the electric power in the world using a variety of heat sources.
Did you know? -
An Oily water separator (OWS) is a piece of shipboard equipment that allows a vessel's crew to separate oil from bilge water before the bilge water is discharged overboard.
Bilge water is an almost unavoidable product in ship operations. Bilge water that is generated in proximity to shipboard equipment (such as in the engine room) often contains oil. Direct discharge of this water would result in undesirable transfer of waste oil to the marine environment. By international agreement under the MARPOL convention, most commercial vessels need to be fitted with an oily water separator to remove oil contaminants before bilge water is pumped overboard.
Oily water separator equipment has been a shipboard requirement since the 1970's but recently it has become evident that oily water separators have not been as effective as had been assumed and actual, and alleged, improper operation (sometimes called a Magic Pipe) of this equipment by shipboard crews has resulted in criminal prosecutions of engine room crew members in the United States and to a lesser extent in Europe.
Did you know? -
In a steam power plant, particularly shipboard ones, the condensate pump is normally located adjacent to the main condenser hot well often directly below it. This pump sends the water to a make-up tank closer to the steam generator or boiler. If the tank is also designed to remove dissolved oxygen from the condensate, it is known as a Deareating feed tank (DFT). The output of the DFT supplies the feed booster pump which, in turn, supplies the feed pump (feedwater pump) which returns the feedwater to the boiler so the cycle can start over. Two pumps in succession are used to provide sufficient Net Positive Suction Head to prevent cavitations and the subsequent damage associated with it.
Condensate is not pure water. If it is being condensed from an air stream, it may have dust, microbes, or other contaminants in it. If it is condensed from steam, it may have traces of the various boiler water treatment chemicals. And if it is condensed from furnace exhaust gases, it may be acidic, containing sulfuric acid or nitric acid as a result of sulfur and nitrogen dioxides in the exhaust gas stream. Steam and exhaust condensate is usually hot. These various factors may combine (along with local regulations) to require careful handling or even treatment of the condensate and condensate pumps used for these services must be appropriately designed.
Did you know? - A drive shaft, driving shaft, propeller shaft, or Cardan shaft is a mechanical component for transmitting torque and rotation, usually used to connect other components of a drive train that cannot be connected directly because of distance or the need to allow for relative movement between them.
Drive shafts are carriers of torque: they are subject to torsion and shear stress, equivalent to the difference between the input torque and the load. They must therefore be strong enough to bear the stress, whilst avoiding too much additional weight as that would in turn increase their inertia.
347 turns of the shaft equate to one mile of forward travel with the 17 degree prop
A cool day in the engine room
Come on Vince!