Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater. A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. I plan on walking on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. You can contact me at:

More on the USS SLATER (

Monday, July 20, 2009

07/19/2009 - Quiz the Docent

The USS Slater has been real busy this year. Someone in the PR department is doing great job. I need to start an informal poll to see why business has been so good.

Today the weather was fine, a little on the warm side. It was a bright sunny day. This makes it a little tough below decks and in smaller compartments like CIC. It gives you a good incentive to keep the group moving forward.

On Sunday I gave three tours. I
t was non-stop except for a brief interlude, while we showed the seven minute video introduction. At least the groups were good size. I was able to get everyone into all the compartments.

During one tour I was asked a lengthy series of very detailed stories. It seemed like the visitors were playing a new game - "Quiz the DE Docent". I enjoyed the mental exercise.

40mm Manuals

One very tough question, what was the load rating of the recoil springs for the 40 mm guns? I checked all my resources and I don't think I'm going to find a definitive answer. However, I can make an educated guess! Surprisingly, there is Internet access to two excellent sources of info on the 40mm: the Service Manual (40 MM Antiaircraft Gun, OP 820, 1943); and the catalog of Naval Weapons (Gun Mount And Turret Catalog, Ordnance Pamphlet 1112, 1945).

Before writing this post I read these manuals. I can now tell you that the spring in question is a Recoil Spring, part # 298666-1. I can tell you how to assemble/disassemble the spring (described on page 82 of OP820. ) And, I can tell you that to assemble/disassemble the recoil spring, you need a Spring Compressor Tool (298860).

The primary means of slowing down the recoil of the 40 mm gun is not the recoil spring, but the recoil cylinder (Described on Page 86 of OP820). The primary purpose of the recoil spring is to provide counter-recoil. Counter Recoil is the process of returning the gun to it's firing position. If we turn to the catalog of Naval Weapons (Pamphlet 1112) - Section on 40mm twin mounts, we can see that the weight of the oscillating assemblies is 2,300 pounds (for two guns). Since the spring is used to return a 1,150 pound oscillating assembly to a neutral position I would say that this has to be it's minimal load rating. And, I doubt that the tension would be a great deal higher since this would slam the assembly into the stop when the gun returned to it's firing position. So the load rating of the spring is probably in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 pounds.

Sorry I couldn't come up with a definitive answer. That's about as close as I can come!

How many Cooks were on Duty?

A little while ago I wrote a post about the shipboard organization of a Destroyer Escort. Here's a link to the 1944 DE Organization Table (USS Stewart). The table refers to a DE that was slightly smaller than the Slater. It notes that there were 3 cooks assigned (1st class, 2nd class and 3rd class). They were supplemented by 8 mess cooks. During the tour I believe that I guessed that there would be 2 cooks supplemented by 5 or 6 mess cooks (while the ship was at sea). Based on the shipboard organization link, I think that this guess was basically correct.

How many loaves of bread were baked each day?

This is a recurring question. I believe that there is a local professor/teacher that assigns a tour of the USS Slater as an assignment (btw - thanks for the business!)

I searched and had trouble finding any published account on the Internet. I'm going to ask around and when I come up with an answer I'll publish an account. I asked around on Sunday and on Tuesday and no one had a good answer. One guide noted that when he was asked the question, he answer "they baked enough to feed the crew!"

Regarding the baking of bread, I remember it being baked in the morning. However, a few accounts mention it being baked my night after dinner. Since I was a Gunnersmate my only involvement with bread was eating it. Perhaps my recollection is wrong. I'll check this out as well.

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