DRIVING Cimarron's

Fun New Stuff.
from: Capt. Patrick Moloney

 I can validate most of the ship driving observations in book above except for me, they applied to TALUGA.

When I was on MISPILLION she had been jumboized long before and in the process, converted to twin rudder configuration.  As you can see in the photo below, the rudders are angled out from vertical.  I'm working on getting the general plans from the mothball fleet.

The 143's were also single rudder twin screw and you had to bull them around using the props (called twin screwing,...really).  They had bigger rudders than the old CIMARRON Class and lots more horses under the funnel, so to speak, so they were much more maneuverable in close quarters.  For backing you just give her a good belt of half astern and it really put the brakes on.

I remember with TALUGA when you were approaching the pier and you wanted to back down, you started way sooner than you did on other ships.  I don't remember that on MISPILLION, but I never drove her to a pier; I was only 2nd mate.

When the PacFleet 105's got the jumbo conversion, two got the twin rudder mod.  One did not.  I'm thinking it was PASSUMPSIC, but not sure.       M/  12-20-2011

The photo below was taken on 1-6-2012 as Mispillion's Last Voyage is under way.

from: Lary Harris - LTJG on Kawishiwi 1975-78 - Engineering Division Auxiliaries / Liquid Cargo Officer

Even though I was mostly a "snipe", I did my share of bridge watches and became a qualified SWO on the Kawishiwi.  She was a bit different in her handling characteristics than the Mispillion class oilers.  The 143's had a much higher free-board, so boarding seas was greatly reduced and the tank deck (i.e. main deck) was pretty safe in anything less than a full typhoon.

The draft forward would decrease much more dramatically as cargo was pumped out, to the extent that, when empty (i.e. entering the shipyard for instance), the forefoot would be completely out of the water.  There was never a problem, that I recall anyway, with the screws leaving the water in any sea state or any condition of loading. 

The 143's had more than twice the horsepower of the Mispillion, which gave them a couple of knots advantage in top speed, and better acceleration.  I am not able to compare how well the 143's answered backing bells compared to the Mispillion class, but I do know that the 143's were poor backers at best.  While the forward turbines provided a total of about 30,000 horsepower, the astern turbines totaled only about 7,000 HP. 

I remember entering Singapore harbor, with a local pilot embarked.  We were approaching a pier on our starboard side, with another Royal Navy ship tied ahead of us.  The pilot had ordered a 2/3 back bell, but we were still approaching the stern of the moored ship with some speed.  Finally our XO (a Kings Point graduate and great ship handler) leapt to the telegraph and ordered full astern about five times.  Amidst a great cloud of black smoke, the Kawishiwi shuddered to a stop about 5 feet short of the moored ship's stern.  The pilot remarked in broken "English" that "Last month Ponchatoula here, she not back too good either!" 

On one of the other 143's that I sailed on (can't remember if it was Ponch or Hass) in MSC, one wag engineer had removed the face plates from the engine room telegraphs and used the two blank spaces in the "ASTERN"  portion of the telegraph pie to neatly letter in "EXTRA BALLS" and "GAME OVER".   It was not uncommon to see one of these settings requested during a docking situation. 

While the Mispillion may have been cursed with small rudders, at least she had TWO of them.  The 143's had but a single centrally mounted rudder.  It was moderately large, but it only acted on one screw at a time.  Additionally the two screws were pretty close to each other so that they enjoyed comparatively little leverage when using them in a turning situation.  Essentially the 143's behaved like single screw ships, but with the added complexity of two engines and reduction gears.  Their ability to twist, turn, back in a controlled direction, or any other maneuver that a twin screw ship might accomplish was virtually non-existent. 

There was one notable exception, however.  Around 1976, while Foster S. "Tooter" Teague (of "Top Gun" fighter school fame) was the skipper and we were deployed to WESTPAC, we were part of a fleet exercise.  The object for the Kawishisi (part of the bad guy forces) was to stay hidden for a couple of days, then to sneak up and surprise the good guys and sink them.  Hiding and sneaking up were not traits normally associated with something of Kawishiwi's size and radar signature.  Tooter, however, studied the local charts (of the zillion or so islands in the Philippines) and found a secluded harbor that he thought might accommodate the Kawishiwi.  With a good deal of arm twisting, he got the XO (formerly mentioned Kings Point Graduate LCDR Art Tuttle) to agree that it was at least conceptually possible that the Kawishiwi MIGHT fit into this lagoon.   The wind was light as we made the entrance to a generally circular harbor about 1,000 yards in diameter.  About the time that the stern cleared the entrance, the Port anchor was dropped, and full left rudder applied.  Just like in a text book,  the Kawishiwi swung around the dropped anchor and came to rest pointing out of the harbor, with not more than a couple hundred feet to spare during the maneuver.  The winds remained light to calm during the two days we stayed there, enjoying lots of swim calls and fantail cookouts.  On the appointed day we got underway, and shortly after leaving our tiny lagoon, the weather turned absolutely foul with high winds and thunderstorms.  Late that afternoon we emerged from a big storm cell right in the middle of the carrier battle group flashing "GOLF GOLF GOLF" and "MIKE MIKE MIKE" (Guns & Missiles) on the flashing lights, successfully surprising the carrier and scoring a major coup for Tooter Teague.  No sane person would have ever considered entering such a restricted area without at least a couple of attendant tugs, but Tooter got away with it.  It is much better to be lucky than smart!

During that same time frame, (end of the Carter administration, extreme budget cuts, ships still in very poor material condition, never having recovered from the Viet Nam war abuses)  All of the 143 class oilers were having trouble with the steering gear.  There was a magic part called a "MAG AMP" (magnetic amplifier for short) that was part of the electric telemotor steering control.  This thing was not much larger than a doorbell transformer, and not a great deal more complex.  But, these MAG AMPs were failing at an alarming rate, to the extent that all three of the 143's in Pearl Harbor had fried all of their operational MAG AMPs, and expended all of the spares in the Naval Supply system.  There was but one remaining functional MAG AMP in all the world.  They were out of production, but the manufacturer had promised to create some new ones (within six months).  So, for the next six months, the Kawishiwi, Hassayampa and Ponchatoula "took turns".  When it was the appointed time for one of the 143's to get underway the precious remaining MAG AMP would be carefully soldered into the telemotor circuitry.  As soon as she returned to port the MAG AMP would be carefully extracted and transferred to the ship who was appointed to be next at bat.  At long last, the manufacturer coughed up the requested transformers and things returned to normal, but those were dark days indeed.  Thanks for the memories.    Lary Harris  12-21-2011

It's Interesting that Capt. Maloney regarded the 143's as excellent backers and very maneuverable!  I would certainly regard him as the duty expert in this regard, as my ship handling experience is limited indeed.  Us regular navy types are undoubtedly spoiled by the responsiveness of the "small boys" (destroyers), which could be thrashed about with gusto.  There is no doubt whatsoever that the 143's were the most generously powered replenishment oilers ever built for any navy.  I'm sure that the current breed of oilers are much more economical to operate, but the 143's could make 21 knots all day long.  Sometimes more, if Tooter Teague wanted to get to the Cubi Point O-Club in time for happy hour.  :-)     Lary Harris  12-22-2011

Vern, that’s a great new page at top here, and it makes the Mispillion experience all that more personal.  I like what you did with the article too.  I’m proud to be Hank Munson’s son, and I’ll carry the flag forever.  CHRIS  12-21-2011