ATA: Size Didn't Matter

24th September 2012, 22:48
The big "battlewagons" and all the other fighting ships that helped win the wars we were involved in.....when you get right down to it are only as good as those that keep them seaworthy and in fighting trim.

Oh yes...the "Big Boys" are in the news...they get the eyes of the public, throwing there huge shells seveal miles inland to pound the beachs and dug-in pill boxes....but what happens when they are 'hit'....or a serious mal-function happens with her power-plant....they can't manuver to stay out of harms way??? Most of the time when this takes place they are thousands of mile from established bases that can offer to assistance to "fix the problem"....and put them "back to what those fighting ships do best"....

So....some how those battlewagons has to get from point A to point B....Point B being that haven of a repair base....well low and behold ....this is where the "mighty of the mighty show up....the "fleet tugs" as they were called or "ATAs".

So....this is what this article is all about....first there were the ATF's [kind of a 'Jack-of-all-trades' tug]....then this led to a smaller version....and 89 of these might migets were deck space, could not carry much in food for the crew...[most of the time they would run out of provisions in under a week]....and limited in 'bunks'...crew had to 'hot bunk' (share beds in shifts)....but despite all this...they got the job done.

So...if you'd care to give this article a read....just click: HERE ( to read the article

25th September 2012, 03:55
another great read Bud.

7th January 2013, 03:32
Nice read, indeed !! Thank you.
Now a question from an Engineman.
Wiki says there were 102 MSO's built, and although I forget the exact numbers, some of them appear to have had Cleveland Diesel engines (GM, Winton, whatever). Does anybody know what model?
I know the early ones, and one later class had Packards, maybe model 1D1700 (?). They account for most of the MSO's. The first one had a 16 cyl; the rest of the Packards were 12.
The YMS's had 8-268A engines, which brings the question--did they have aluminum blocks or heads? I know the Packards were party non-magnetic in construction.
Were the Cleveland engines in the MSO's also non-magnetic?
The Irex had Fairbanks-Morse 38D8-1/8 engines; the Gilmore had Cleveland 12-248 auxiliary and 16-248 main engines, and a GM 6-71 aux generator set.
OOPS !! Sorry, I realize now I probably should have put this question in a new thread. I found the link here, and just ran with it. Moderator may oblige if so desired.

Wallace Slough
7th January 2013, 06:48
A good read Bud! I worked one summer in 1964 as a deck boy on Scripps Institute of Oceanography's research vessel R/V Horizon which you mentioned in the article. Red Stack Tugs in San Francisco also had a couple of ATA's whose names I believe were the Active and the Ranger. They all had long and useful careers.

7th January 2013, 08:21
An excellent article and I touch my forelock to them! I still look back to my time on the old coal burning tugs when I first emigrated with very happy memories. Tug Masters like Adam Traill and Harlech Jones taught me my trade and the old maxim of 'he will need you before you need him' when a Pilot was coming in too fast or worse still cutting the corner and getting too close to the concrete! When I first went Piloting I was again reminded of 'you judge your speed by watching the tug coming in to 'pick you up' and you make sure you have left him enough room through the entrance!' I was the better Pilot for the tug training.