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Topic: Midget C condition, Current internal condition of HA-19< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 22 2003,9:09  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The HA-19, perhaps better known as Midget C to Pearl Harbor historians, is presently on display inside the Bush Gallery of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

I was allowed inside Midget C last week for a quick inspection, photos, and a few measurements. Here are a couple of the photos in the control room:


Midget C Control Room, looking straight up into Conning Tower


Midget C Control Room, taken from FWD Battery Compartment door

Overall, the boat is just a shell without equipment. A long metal tube that is empty, because the Navy gutted the boat when she was captured in December 1941. They placed two dummies inside the boat, cut viewing windows in the sides, and sent the boat around the country on a war bond drive.

The two dummies are still inside the boat, but precious little else is.

She was on outdoor display for many years in Florida, and in the past few years has been moved inside for her (hopefully) more permanent display location.

The exterior of the boat is in fairly decent shape, having received fresh paint that should last many years inside the building.

However, the interior of the boat is not in good shape. 60 years of corrosion, particularly in the bilges, needs to be addressed in the next few years to stabilize the vessel.

The corrosion is (in places) through about 10%-15% of the base metal (hull strakes that are 1/4" thick). The 1/4" carbon steel plates are also known as 10# (10 pound) plates since one square foot of it weighs just over 10 pounds. The original SUBRON 4 Inspection and Salvage Report has a typo which says the hull strakes are 10" rather than 10# plate, which was repeated in James Delgado's HA-19 Report for the National Park Service.

This corrosion is not all as bad as it sounds, since I have seen far worse on ships and submarines that are still active. But it does need to be addressed.

The corrosion, and all internal surfaces, need to be cleaned back to bare metal by mechanical means. I would not recommend sandblasting, which can cause further errosion of the base metal (it eats into the metal) as well as other probelms. Bead blasting or even using crushed walnut shells would work however.

Once all corrosion is removed, the interior should be primered and painted using an approved paint (i.e., mil spec) in accordance with Navy directives, since the Navy technically owns the boat.

Once this is done the vessel will be stabilized and preserved for at lease a decade or two.

I don't believe there should be any attempt to restore the boat, since most of the original equipment and piping is gone anyway.  Restoration, rather than preservation, would mean removing all traces of viewing windows (for example).  Yet those are very much part of her history now.

Anyway, my opinion based on last week's quick inspection is that the boat is in reasonable shape but needs internal preservation to keep the bilges from eventually rusting through.

It is a wonderful exhibit, by the way, and I would encourage everyone to visit the National Museum of the Pacific War. They have an amazing variety of artifacts, including a piece of the USS Arizona, ADM Kimmel's sword, a very rare Japanese float plane, and personal items from men and women who served across the Pacific.

Edited by Ken Hackler on --

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Tracy White Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 22 2003,4:07 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Did the museum indicate that there might be effort soon to stabilize her? If I lived in the area I'd volunteer... I got lots of experience dealing with corrosion working out in Hawaii =P

What is that hanging from the walls in the first picture, paint or some sort of wallpaper equivilent?

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Let's see what this does...

Tracy White
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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 22 2003,5:51 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tracy,

I'd help also if I still lived in Texas. It would be nice to work on a sub again after having done so for nearly 20 years in the Navy.

As for what is hanging, it was a piece of canvas. The periscope tube (portrayed in the photo by a dummy tube) was raised and lowered by an electric winch. As it went up and down through the stuffing box you see at the very top of the photo, a small amount of water leaked in around the packing and dripped onto whomever was sitting there. The canvas merely caught the drips. It is now in shreds and just dangling as you see.

Someone went into the boat in the last few years with a spray gun and painted everything in there white, including that piece of canvas. They also painted over all the rust rather than removing it.

The museum staff did not say there is a specific plan in the works for preservation, but I know they would like to do so based on conversations with them over the past two years.

Edited by Ken Hackler on --

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