Gun Directors: TEXAS-Style
Posted by Matty on October 18, 2013, 13:14:09, in reply to "TEXAS - that's what!"
-- Originally Posted 9/2/13-- |
[Editor's Note: The following discussion, while perhaps more trivial for some, is nevertheless accompanied by numerous reference pics showing just about everything you would need, to depict Texas in any of her various fits during WWII.]
Fire-control devices on USS Texas varied greatly through WWII. The following is a photo-analysis of exactly which Main- and Secondary-Battery Gun Directors were fitted, and where on the ship, for her quartet of (most) historic missions: fire-support for the amphibious landings at North Africa (TORCH), Normandy (D-Day), Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Operation TORCH: 11/8/42
Notable from photos of Texas August, 1942 (awesome camo!) and 3/15/43 (as well as a second 3/15/43), is the complete absence of gun directors from the foremast, mainmast or (anywhere around) the bridge - at least, none enclosed in any type of cab/turret.
In the above, the lone, yet prominent enclosed FC unit is a highly-chiseled-looking, rectangular device that I will call (because Revell's Arizona instructions do - though I am not at all sure this is correct) a "Large Range Finder", as seen to excellent advantage on Texas' sister New York, 2/18/45. On Texas herself, prior to June, '43 (see below), the sole such unit appears only atop the roof of "D"-turret (of the 14-inch-gun Main Battery: the higher turret, aft, fitted also with a prominent RangeFinder Bar, of its own), offset to the turret's port side. A closeup of this specific unit (viewed side-on, rotated to port) can be glimpsed in a LIFE Magazine "1942" pic, very possibly dating to (the pre-dawn hours of) Operation TORCH, itself.
In any case, the above was certainly the fit of Texas' fire control devices (note also the two prominent Mk8 FC Radar antennae, directing her Main Battery) for the TORCH landings of November, 1942.
D-DAY (Normandy): 6/6/44
The Viking1:350 (resin) kit of Texas reputedly depicts her as fitted between the end of June, 1943 and February, 1944 - a period during which (AFAIK) she logged nothing much of historical import, and from which (perhaps accordingly) I found but a single pic, dated only "between 6/30/43 and 2/44". It reveals a Mid-Sized type director now fitted to the starboard (as, undoubtedly, also the port) bridge wing (exactly as seen on New York, above). Whether or not Texas still retained her "D"-turret-roof unit is unclear, however by the time of a pic taken "between March - May, 1944" (as above, but at higher-resolution), the Large RangeFinder is gone from the roof of "D"-turret (replaced by 20mm tubs), while the units on each bridge wing (now viewed from port) remained. This, then, was the arrangement of Texas' gun directors for the D-Day landings off Normandy, 6/6/44.
Not until Texas' return to New York Navy Yard by 9/14/44 - and refitting there, ending 10/14/44 - did she receive any larger-type directors: one just ahead of the foremast, and another aft, in a tub atop the mainmast - as first appear in a pic taken 11/1/44 (and in another, dated simply "11/44" - possibly even from the same photo-shoot).
These roughly cylindrical, stump-like director cabs - notably lacking any (significant) range-finder arms - are those of Mk50 Directors, as explicitly labelled in this drawing), from an excellent USS Texas website, and (pretty much) as illustrated by the following, (brilliant, for its day) apparently retouched-photo art.
Note there were some differences: the Mk50-type cabs on Texas were clearly somewhat more flat-sided than in the above artwork depicting a true, smoothly-cylindrical cab. Also the cab-roofs appear more sharply stepped - as opposed to sloping, in the above artwork. This is even more apparent for (at least the aft Mk50-type director on) Texas' sister USS New York, on 11/14/44. Finally, in contrast to both those of New York and the artwork above, Texas' Mk50s do not (yet) have the small radar dish protruding from the roof centerline of each, but instead a more blunt, peg-like protrusion offset to port. Thus, all these various configurations of Texas' earliest "Mk50-type" directors could well have had different Mark numbers, in official records.
IWO JIMA (Bonin Islands): 2/3/45
By the time Texas went to support the Iwo Jima landings, as seen here (at lower-resolution) on the first day - 2/3/45 - each "peg" atop her Mk50 Directors had been supplemented by the radar dish, above. On the forward Mk50 there appears possibly even to be a third rooftop protrusion - though this may very well be simply an open hatch (or similar). However in any case, note the bridge-wing Mid-Sized Directors remain unchanged - and now the large, bedspring radar is apparent (uncensored) on the MainMast, in this, her fit at Iwo Jima.
OKINAWA (Ryuku Islands) 4/1/45
The invasion of Okinawa, coming (less than) only two months after Iwo, seems likely to have seen Texas' fit completely unchanged from the above. On the other hand, before War's End her Mk50 Directors were again reconfigured, as seen on her return to Los Angeles 45oct15, and shortly thereafter, in NYC on Navy Day 10/27/45, when they retained only the single, centerline radar dishes, as in the artwork shown earlier.
In any case, note her Large RangeFinders on the bridge wings remain, such that these and the Mk50-type Directors, in just these locations, had comprised her larger-caliber Gun Director fit, continuously since 11/44.
I hope the above proves helpful/interesting. If anybody out there has anything(s) to add and/or to correct, do pipe up!