Victory at Sea: S-boats and Armor
Posted by Matty on April 16, 2011, 11:17:20
The pics below probably do not include all the S-boats - and certainly nowhere near all the amphibious-related armored vehicles - to be found in the Victory at Sea DVDs, however, coming under the heading "miscellaneous pics", I want to post these before they sort of "go stale", in my filing system: |
This first of which is of course neither an S-boat nor armored vehicle, but an Omaha-class CL (other than the famed Marblehead, as far as I can identify), appearing just before some S-boats (below) - on the 3rd DVD, Vol. 20: "Return of the Allies", about 2 minutes in - concurrent with the narration: "Cavite, on Manilla Bay - headquarters of the United States' Asiatic Fleet. The false calm that shrouded Pearl Harbor lulls Cavite."
I realize the narration on these over-50-year-old "documentaries" is hopelessly corny - even sappy, and often jingoist/propagandist, if not historically revisionist (i.e., lying). However, whenever they also show a picture appearing to be authentic to the actual time- and place being discribed, as above, the effect becomes (IMHO) profoundly compelling: a snapshot window directly back to that time - including how our fathers and grandfathers, and "the folks at home" (insights as well as ignorances, prejudices and all) were thinking, feeling and acting. (My opinion - anyway, I think it's cool! )
And what's also cool - also for modelling, particularly my S-37 build - are the pics which came next:
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FULL RESAt about Minute = 2:09, these clips make fleeting appearances: the top showing a lineup of all-black S-boat bows - the heavy, stepped light post on one identifying it as in the mid-'30s-early WWII fit - and at bottom, amidships views of presumably the same boats, at the same time, all apparently identical to the nearest, which is definitely an S-18 class - again, in the '30s-to-early WWII fit. Note at top, the tube protruding from the tip of each bow is revealed to be not just a bullnose or fairlead, to guide mooring lines as on later USN subs, but an actual hawsepipe, passing a heavy, pintel-link anchor chain - apparently in every case, having bashed and dented the former mercilessly - as it passes back up towards the foredeck, for purpose(s) unknown. This was certainly not the standard rig, as the anchors in the S-18 (if not every S-boat) class were located in recessed wells on the other (starboard) sides, the chain paying out directly from the hull there. Even if these pics are reversed (always a distinct possibility to look out for, in these Victory at Sea clips) still the chains are angling back too high to be going to the starboard-side anchors, which were down at the waterline: instead, they appear to indicate the anchors lying on the foredeck (not shown). This can only be seen as some sort of alternate rig, with the only thing coming to mind being a storm/hurricane emergency preparation - such that the anchors could be simply and quickly dumped right off the bows, without even going below decks. Otherwise, I'm stumped!
In any case, for modelling the main thing we get from the above is apparent confirmation, once again, that the PI S-boats began WWII still in their '30s fit, and painted uniform, all-black (presumably, "chocolatey"!). Which overall-black paint job is again seen on an S-boat early (at about Minute = 5:00) into Vol.21: "Full Fathom Five", also on the 3rd Victory at Sea DVD:
Click on Image to EnlargeThe shape of the stern, apparent sheer (upsweep) of the foredeck as well as subtle features of the island reveal this not to be an S-18 class boat, but apparently (at least consistent with) the refitted S-1 class - though the poor exposure and resolution prohibits any conclusive ID. Still, it does appear authentic from the early-war, as portrayed, and note the camouflage is again all-black.
And - going back to "Return of the Allies" (Vol. 20) on the same (3rd) disk - a few more memorable shots of armor:
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__FULL RES___FULL RES___At left, a (105mm?) self-propelled gun grinds ashore (top) onto what looks like a pontoon dock at the Lingayen Gulf (or a later Philippine) landing, and a little later (bottom), again it - or one just like it - is seen cruising through a village, ashore.
Similarly, at right a clip gives some very good views of the front of a Stuart light tank - parading through possibly even the same village - with its crew hanging out of all its hatches, showing just how small a vehicle it was.
And lastly, two great pictures of the packing of various armor onto- and into LSTs:
Click on Image to Enlarge
FULL RESFrom the 2nd Victory at Sea DVD, Vol.13: "Melanesian Nightmare", at top amtraks are parked diagonally on deck which, it can be seen, would allow each to move out one at a time, squeaking between both its opposite number and the nearest ventilation stack - presumably to go down the foredeck ramp (not seen) and out the bow doors (also not visible). Being the lightest among tracked vehicles, amtraks were suitable for carriage on deck - even so, however, note what look like (somewhat busted-up) wood planks, or palletes, protecting the deck plates under the nearest amtraks.
At bottom, a rare pic shows the interior-packing of an LST - where all the heaviest, tracked vehicles were stowed. Foremost are a trio of half-tracks, behind which are, to port a pair of Stuart light tanks, and to starboard something with the same hull/chassis but a different type of turret, followed by a solid row of Shermans - with only inches to spare, between them: obviously the design criterion for the beam of an LST. Ahead of those appear to be (at least) another Sherman, to starboard, and possibly something(s) smaller, like a self-propelled gun to port, and/or further forward, to starboard. Note how much the LST bow tapers inward, towards the narrow and heavily-treaded loading ramp: clearly, each piece of armor had to maneuver carefully to make it out (and even more when loading in(!)) without bashing against the ship, or its deckmates.
So, those are some pretty cool pics (IMHO) - you can see why I wanted to document them - and there are yet more, which I'll post shortly.