Big mast´s clock

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Karl Heidenreich
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Big mast´s clock

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:19 pm

I saw in a lot of pictures a "clock" pending from the top of the American Battleships. I believe I saw it on the Arizona´s.
Years ago, in this same forum, someone explained to me that it was a comunication device to tell the ships tailing the leader where to go and who to shoot at in the middle of the smoke and caos of a battle.
But, after some exams to other photos, this "clock" doesn´t appear on other fleet´s masts. Only Americans used this device?
How it really worked? :think:

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marcelo_malara
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Post by marcelo_malara » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:20 pm

I understand that the clock shows the range to the enemy in thousands of yards plus 10000. If the clock shows 5 means 5000 yards plus 10000= 15000 yards.

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Re: Big mast´s clock

Post by ostriker » Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:35 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote: But, after some exams to other photos, this "clock" doesn´t appear on other fleet´s masts. Only Americans used this device?
How it really worked? :think:
It is a good question. I never see any explanations before!

For the other navies, french used it im sure, i think the italian too :?: :think:
, but it doesnt still appaear on pictures...

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Wed Jul 19, 2006 6:46 pm

Hi Karl.

The clock is also clearly visible on the "Old Cowboy" USS Texas

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marcelo_malara
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Post by marcelo_malara » Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:13 pm

The clock is supposed to be used only in fleet fire, where the range can be seen from other ships as a crosscheck.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:01 pm

Hi!

There is something here, about this clock. In the photos that I had seen before the clock is always facing back, to the stern. But in these photos, of the French and American BBs, they´re facing front, to the bow.

Marcelo says that the clock was meant for cross check during fleet fire, so it´s logical that the flagship was the one signalling the others where to fire. If the flagship is at the head of the column, then the clock must be facing stern to signal all the ships that are following (or at least the one behind that will signal in turn to the one following it). Then, why having one facing to the bow, wasn´t there something to confuse things a little bit more during a fire exchange?
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_Derfflinger_
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Post by _Derfflinger_ » Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:35 am

I believe there was one on each mast, so one faced forward, one to the rear.

This is a relic of the old "ships in a battleline" world. Don't know how well it worked - I guess it couldn't hurt to be able to see what range the fellow ahead of you or behind you was firing on.

Derf

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Post by ufo » Thu Jul 20, 2006 2:11 pm

An all time classic that question :D

Bob Henneman has a fine article on that topic on his pages:
http://www.bobhenneman.info/Rangeclocks.htm

As addons to the article:
- Battleships of the Imperial Highseas Fleet used them as well. I think there is a picture of SMS Kaiser often seen in the net with a clock in her mast. Well ilustrated books on Imperial German Battleships show much more examples.

- At the onset of WWII they were still quite common in French ships. The sad pictures of the Fleet at Toulon show many a cruiser with a clock still in place.

Ciao,
Ufo

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Karl Heidenreich
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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Jul 20, 2006 8:29 pm

Hey guys!

Great information about the clock. I always wondered about that... thing!
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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