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Discussion Starter #1
I've just been reading US wartime regulations regarding ship blackouts. It states that all "navigation lights" must be extinguished as well.
In those pre-radar days, and in multi-ship convoys, how did ships avoid each other on dark / stormy nights with nil visibility ?
Especially when zig-zagging. Turning a 50 ship convoy through a 45 deg. course change with nil visibility must have been some feat.
 

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I think in practice, navigation lights were dimmed but not extinguished. In restricted visibility one method of keeping station was by using fog buoys. These were towed behind each vessel in the convoy. The fog buoy would pick up seawater in a scoop and send a plume up from the buoy. A forward lookout advises the bridge of bearing and distance of the buoy. Basically, you keep close to the buoy thus keeping station. Don't know how effective these were, I have seen them but never used them.

In a convoy, the powers that be may require Merchant Ships in the convoy to have no electronics running eg radar, fog buoys were certainly around post radar

regards
Dave
 

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Ships had a blue stern light to keep a distance also they had a fog buoy which sent up a spout of water, so that you could see that, before you saw the ship, and thats how you kept the distance between each ship.
 

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I have never heard of a fog-buoy before. I take it a buoy that made a visible 'fog'. Not too effective by design otherwise the enemy would have used it for the same purpose!

(Evidently not. Some definitions on the web and all suggest a buoy streamed from ship ahead to give following vessel guidance in fog. Nothing about putting up a spray).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
But if you can't see a ship-sized object on a pitch black night, or in a dense sea fog, how can you see the disturbance created by a fog buoy ?
 

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Should you find yourself in a convoy situation there is all sorts of claptrap supplied to you by the admiralty. Loads of extra signal lights as I can remember, and blackout material for all ports. Fogbuoy was included but didn't have to use it thankfully.
 

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I have never heard of a fog-buoy before. I take it a buoy that made a visible 'fog'. Not too effective by design otherwise the enemy would have used it for the same purpose!

(Evidently not. Some definitions on the web and all suggest a buoy streamed from ship ahead to give following vessel guidance in fog. Nothing about putting up a spray).
Here is a link to a photo of a fog buoy in Liverpool Maritime Museum.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mackworth_fog_buoy,_Merseyside_Maritime_Museum.jpg


In the description underneath the photo it mentions the spray of water. If you Google "Fog Buoy" there is a photo of a ship towing one which shows the disturbed water it causes.

Howard
 

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I've seen the fogbuoy used(as a demonstration), on a NATO convoy. It threw up a tall plume of water, much like a bow wave, without a ship behind it. It must have been very useful in WW2 convoy conditions.
 

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Here is a link to a photo of a fog buoy in Liverpool Maritime Museum.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mackworth_fog_buoy,_Merseyside_Maritime_Museum.jpg


In the description underneath the photo it mentions the spray of water. If you Google "Fog Buoy" there is a photo of a ship towing one which shows the disturbed water it causes.

Howard
Thank you for that. It looks from the towing point (if that is what it is) that it might 'sit-up' like some sort of municipal "Keep off the grass" sign.

Also for the link to the photo. I did eventually see one amongst the many snaps. Hopefully clearer to the following vessels than it was to me! When I mused that it would have been useful to the enemy, too, if very effective I had not envisaged it in the way that this excerpt from Wiki illustrates:

On one occasion, while escorting two merchant ships to Dutch Harbor, Prince David encountered a thickening fog. Captain Godfrey deployed a fog buoy as a precaution. SS Elias Howe, one of Prince David's charges, immediately sounded an emergency signal of six blasts on her whistle. Thinking that it was a periscope, she opened fire on the fog buoy streaming from Prince David's stern. After the event Prince David's commanding officer' with commendable objectivity, complimented Elias Howe on her "fine degree of alertness".[23]
 

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I've seen the fogbuoy used(as a demonstration), on a NATO convoy. It threw up a tall plume of water, much like a bow wave, without a ship behind it. It must have been very useful in WW2 convoy conditions.
I wonder that they were not mentioned on the coding and anti nuclear warfare afternoon (during which I remember we were shown a film of the washing down that, despite the emphasis given by the PO instructor to the necessity of starting it before the fallout arrived, started only after the expected radiation was detected). The only exercise I enaged in was a communications drill which the old man (John Gatherer) insisted on handling alone. As I recall we were in port and the message arrived from the port authorities and so didn't even ruffle my Junior's feathers to take it by W/T.
 

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D.V.

We had our convoy conference in Estoril, Portugal. An army barracks I think. The OM, a real gent(Dave Dickson), asked me, his right hand man, what he should wear. I insisted he wear a suit, collar and tie. After the initial talk, the masters remained, while we ROs went to another room for our pep talk. The usual re radio silence etc. After that we were told to go to the wardroom(if that is the correct term), for refreshments. I was second last in and saw most of the others had coffee, tea, softies, etc. When I was asked what I would like, I took one look at the gantry, and asked for a large scotch and a glass of beer. The barman didn't bat an eyelid, but served it up. He asked the Norwegian RO behind me what he'd like. He promptly said, the same as him!

When we got back on board, the OM thanked me for insisting he wear civvies. Only the Cunard OM and RO, wore uniform.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
On warships we tested our nuclear fallout counter-measure washdown procedure about every 12 months. A consort ship sometimes stood off and reported any gaps in the fog spray thrown up so the sprinkler heads could be re-adjusted. When working correctly only the tip of the mainmast could be seen.
On a sunny day it was interesting to see a ball of fog zipping across the ocean at 30 knots.
 
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