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Topic: Midget C (HA-19), Her exterior condition< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Chris Johnson Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 02 2002,11:11  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Everyone-

What else can I say other than my experience with Midget C or HA-19 as the Nimitz Museum refers to her as, was wonderful, yet sad in some respects such as her rusted condition in some places.

The way they have her set up is in two different ways.

There is the major display is inside the museum. Here the sub is displayed as if she is on the deck of her mother sub getting ready to launch. Its not lit very well, so photographs of the entire sub really didn’t turn out. You are looking at her port side and I was under the assumption going down there that you would be ten feet or so away from her as you walked by, but no. You can walk right up to her and touch her if you like. She is up a bit off the floor (deck) as if on her mooring/launching blocks. The conning tower is really poorly lit, so I took along a flood light (1,000,000 candle power) to brighten it up a bit. The sub is painted in a semi-gloss dark black paint. You can really only walk on one side of her as the other side, the starboard side, is partially hidden behind a wall from about the forward battery room back to the middle of the aft battery room. The part of the starboard side that is not hidden behind the wall isn’t easy to get to. But if you walk around the torpedo guards or the props you can see the backside. Back there it is rather dusty and in somewhat poor shape. There are numerous spots on the underside (mainly starboard side torpedo room) that have the outer hull rusted through. Also there are areas back near the stern and on the vertical and horizontal stabilizers that are rusted away. In fact, the starboard horizontal stabilizer, the bottom of it is hanging on by a couple rusty threads is all.

The other way she is displayed, is that on the outside of the museum, there is a separate entrance and exit to a room that is set up to resemble the sub as she was out on her war bond tour in ’42-’45. In here you are looking at the middle third of the starboard side of the sub (the part that was behind the wall in the other display). Here you can climb up three steps onto a platform and peer into the viewing holes the Navy cut for the war bond tour. The Nimitz museum cut ten of these open again so you can peer into the control room and after battery room. Three windows in the control room and seven in the aft battery room. (Personally I wasn’t happy to see these opened up again, but it does allow people to see inside her). There really isn’t too much to say about this display other than the museum did take off the patch (once installed to cover it up) on the aft base of the conning tower to show the actual damage from where the navy wrapped a wire around the tower to try and pull her into shore, and it started to tear the towers base. The tear is 30” long and is 7” high at the tallest spot. I was able to stand on the railing and peer deep into the “cut” and the vent shaft that is located back in this area wasn’t damaged at all. The metal wasn’t torn away either. It was just torn and “rolled up” so to speak into the tower.

Now moving back inside the museum to the other display mentioned earlier. If there was any major rusting or such on the outer hull or sides, the museum must have patched them up in a way you couldn’t tell. (I did find documents later on in the museums files stating they were going to do this prior to opening the display). The torpedo guards that came off the Monaghan sub and installed on her here, are in a so-so shape. The top part is fine, the bottom half is not circular, but  rather in an egg shape and twisted. From pictures one can see that this is the way it came off of the Monaghan sub. The torpedoes of course were removed, and in their place two wooden “fakes” were inserted. All they are, are smooth, round and black. There isn’t any firing mechanism or ornamentation like the originals had.  She still has her forward clearing wire, but the back one was lost sometime after she was placed in Florida in ’46. The attachment lugs and turnbuckle still remain and are in great shape. There are various vents along the hull. Some are still clear and open, while others are painted or rusted shut.

On the conning tower, the two step holes are in excellent condition. (One on each side) They are in good shape with only minor rusting on the inside of them. There are two eyeholes on the tower too. One on each side as well. The eyehole on the port side has been closed. There is a patch that has been inserted into it. This hole is roughly a little forward of the center of the tower, about a third of the way up (or just below the step). The hole on the starboard side is still open (missing the glass) and is in the same spot as the other eyehole, just in this one, its located about a foot from the top of the tower. These eyeholes were located inside the conning tower chute.

Also on the conning tower, there was no evidence of draft marks being welded on. So Tracy I would assume that they were painted on. However, I did not come across any hard evidence either on the sub itself or in the files in the museum.

The joints of the three sections were nice and smooth. I was worried about this for some unknown reason. So after the numerous times being taken apart and put together hasn’t seemed to damage the joints.

The conning tower hatch had rusted shut and has been for many, many years. The only other way inside the sub is an access hatch in the top of the hull in the aft part of the engine room. This is where I had to get in and out of her from. This was an original hatch that was there from the start. I was told that it was cut by the Navy right after the capture, but that’s not true. The engine sat so close to the sides of the sub, that they needed a way to get in and service behind it. It’s a VERY tight fit. The hole is 22”x14”. But its not a perfect round shape. Its egg shaped, and so hard to fit into. More on that on my posting of the interior condition. Between the conning tower and this hatch, on the top of the sub, someone has soldered into the hull “W.A. 1942”. Its about 4’ in length. Whether this is one of the inspectors initials or what, I haven’t been able to determine.

The props are in good condition. Like the torpedo guards, they are from the midget the Monaghan sunk. They aren’t set right next to each other like they should be. The aft prop is a little bit aft of where it should be (a few inches) and it has one blade that is bent back a little bit. I presume the props were taken off her one time and not properly reinstalled. The prop guard isn’t in the best of condition at all. It appears to have been cut into four sections over the years, and then welded back on. But it was welded back on in a fashion that the parts don’t line up at all. It’s very noticeable too. It would be a simple fix to correct this.

Over all, the sub seems to be in good condition. Especially after being outdoors for 58 years and most of them in the salt-air of southern Florida. Now that the Nimitz Museum has her inside in an enclosed structure, I think the safety and protection of her is assured.

If anyone has any particular questions on her condition or appearance, let me know. I took 120+ photos of her outside, and about the same amount of her interior. I will post a write up here shortly about her interior and what I found inside. It was amazing.

Regards!
Chris

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Chris Johnson
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David Aiken Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 02 2002,4:37 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow Chris,
You made my day! My own interior shots were  extemely limited and I only had a 100 watt bulb to get some light...

The drawings measure about six feet in length...the interior still has some problems, which you might give me guidance...the exterior is just the basic [I have not yet tackled the bow, stern, and 'sail' details].

Cheers,
David
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Chris Johnson Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 03 2002,2:38 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

David-
If there are any areas of the sub that you need a closer look at, I can get you copies of any photos you need. Quite a few are close up and detailed.

Are you doing a six foot detailed drawing of the sub?

Regards!
Chris

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David Aiken Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 03 2002,5:09 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi Chris,
That is what I said...exterior/interior; top/side/ends just like a long 'box'... I have been a technical illustrator for 36 years, and the midget sub is a "natural" topic...I just could not get into the sub... just not skinny any more... too many days at the drawing table...which caused a bad case of TBS to set in!

Opportunity of help is greatfully appreciated!
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David
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Tracy White Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 06 2002,4:23 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for looking for the draft lines!

That's interesting about the aft hatch you mentioned; the model I'm building has that opened, or looking like it's a grill of some sort, probably due to the company not knowing what it was. My model's already painted but I guess the next one will have that corrected =)

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Let's see what this does...

Tracy White
http://www.ResearcherAtLarge.com
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4 replies since Oct. 02 2002,11:11 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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