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 (

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

07/17/2011 - Steamboat Square, 20 MM

The Madison Ave Exit from 787 is closed because of repairs to the Dunn Memorial Bridge. It a little difficult to get to the USS SLATER from the north. If you're visiting from this direction it would probably be a good idea to call ahead and get directions (431-1943).

Sunday was a hot day. Started nice, but got very hot in the afternoon. I gave two tours.

I had a problem with the 1st group. A number of people came after I was showing the video in the briefing room. When I exited from the briefing room, without any prompting for me people waiting for the NEXT group tagged along with my group. When I got aboard the ship I found out that I had a huge group. It was just too large to get into all the spaces. When I tried to separate the people who tagged along, this lead to a protest. I let it slide and made do with the large group. In retrospect I should have asked for help from an intern and split the group into two.

In the second tour we had a VERY inquisitive young visitor. He was a great visitor - very well behaved and quite entertaining. Whenever I could I made him part of the show. We had fun at the 40mm. He was too small to move the mount by himself, so I helped him. When I did he would happily exclaim - "It's working!" But after a few seconds he would want to do it himself. Then the mount would stop and he would exclaim sadly that "It's not working!". We repeated this procedure several times. Very entertaining.

Where was Steamboat Square?

Between one of the tours, I was asked where Steamboat Square was in Albany. Basically it was by the underpass of 787 (at the foot of Broadway), perhaps a 1/4 of a mile north of where the USS SLATER is moored. This is also the site of the old Fort Orange.

I dug up the slide show (mostly from Library of Congress Photos) that shows Steamboat Square and a collection of views of Hudson River Steamboats. These boats were very graceful and quite fast. I'm guessing that most of these boats were faster than the USS SLATER (21 knots). The Hudson River Day Liner Steamboats left New York City at 8:00 AM and arrived in Albany at 6:00 PM. This is a distance of 140 miles. During the trip they made 8 or 9 stops. Doing the math, allowing about 20 minutes on average for a stop, they would have to average roughly 18 knots during the rest of the trip. The last trip was made in 1948.

How long did it take to change a 20mm magazine?

While I was a Gunners Mate, I never fired a 20mm. I managed to dig out a video of a 20mm being fired in a training exercise. Looking at this, I would guess that a magazine could be changed in about 4 seconds.

I also found another interesting video showing a 20mm being fired at night. When fired at night you get a good impression of the arc and speed of a 20mm shell.

Here are some interesting links on 20mm:

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