Need help solving a small mystery...

jamesgpobog
6th March 2012, 01:01
Yesterday I made a post then had to delete it because I found something that shot down my theory, but I am going half crazy trying to figure this thing out. I will start by re-posting my original theory.

I'm trying to nail down a bit of arcana about the 8 jumboized USN fleet oilers.

These ships were built to 2 different types:

There were 3 T3-S2-A1 ships, Ashtabula (AO-51), Caloosahatchee (AO-98), and Canisteo (AO-99).

Then there were 5 T3-S2-A3 ships, Mispillion (AO-105), Navasota (AO-106), Passumpsic (AO-107), Pawcatuck (AO-108), and Waccamaw (AO-109).

There is an oddity that pops up and I think I have figured it out. Every single one of the ships went to Jumboization and along with their increased cargo capacity, had their single rudders replaced with a double rudder setup.....that is, all of them except one.

That one is, I believe, the Navasota.

I have looked online and while nothing addresses this directly, there are a couple of hints that have led me to this conclusion.

First, is this entry from Wikipedia (I know, I know....it's Wiki...) "A major modification was made to the stern, including a new counterbalanced rudder, new stern casting and struts, and new shorter propeller shafts and stern tubes."

And then I thought I noticed something.

The jumbo oilers all have something that I had always thought were propeller guards, but are in fact, rudder guards. And they all have them, except one...Navasota.

Then there is one last little piece of the puzzle. Navasota was the first of the ships to be jumboized.

So here's what I think happened. Navasota was jumboized, and even with it's trick new counterbalanced rudder, it didn't handle worth crap, so all the following jumbos got the twin rudder setup.


So what threw me for a loop is that I had missed pix of one of the oilers, Waccamaw. And when I looked at Waccamaw post jumboization, I saw what I had seen on Navasota; no rudder guards.

Damn...there goes my idea.

But wait....might this even deepen the mystery? Because when I look at the history of the jumbos, I find that Waccamaw is the second ship to get the treatment and that then forces me to ask the question "Is it possible that there are in fact two of the 8 jumbos that have single rudders?" Does this mean that when the supposed crappy handling of Navasota necessitated the change, but the design was not ready until Mispillion (the 3rd to be jumboed)?

Any help on this will be appreciated.(Whaaa)

jamesgpobog
7th March 2012, 08:17
I may have solved it, at least with about 95% probability.

I believe that the ships are as I postulated. I got an email from a former Waccamaw crew who said that yes, Waccamaw had a single rudder.

So I think the description of Navasota as having received "a new counterbalanced rudder", the confirmation that Waccamaw was single rudder, and the lack of rudder guards on the two ships seems pretty solid ground on which to base my claims.

Now I'd like to find out why 3 of the jumbos (Ashtabula, Canisteo, and Caloosahatchee) all have enclosed well decks...

DAVID ALCOCK
2nd April 2012, 10:12
as you have said ao51 /98/99 were a separate class and were done first,this may explain the well decks; ao107, at least, was jumboed with helideck forward, on many photos the only sign of this is lack of foremast,hope this is some help

jamesgpobog
2nd April 2012, 15:16
as you have said ao51 /98/99 were a separate class and were done first,this may explain the well decks; ao107, at least, was jumboed with helideck forward, on many photos the only sign of this is lack of foremast,hope this is some help

The 5 '105-class' jumbos all had forward helo decks and originally also had forward kingposts too, this was the avgas station. After the ships went to MSC, they eventually had the forward kingposts removed.

As far as the 3 with enclosed well decks, I'm thinking now that the original concept was for them to work the Atlantic fleet. Only Ashtabula ever did work in the Pacific.