20 November 2010 - Naval History and Heritage

Readiness and Care of Vessels in Inactive Status (1945)

After victory in World War II, the United States Navy initiated a complex process to migrate portions of its massive armada into inactive status. This 1945 ...


remember what happened to the fleet after World War one our ships and gear were laid up with heavy coatings of preservatives and yet they rusted and costly equipment became useless for five sometimes six months were needed to get these ships back in condition thus when World War two broke out the fleet was not ready but through hard work against time these ships and hundreds of new ones were added to the active fleet until today we have the world's greatest fleet what to do with it it would be a pretty good idea to have it around ready for unpredictable future needs but let's be realistic a nation at peace spending most of its money for peacetime purposes not to maintain a big fleet and the men who had man no ships working at peaceful arts and skills how under these circumstances can we keep the fleet ready for a possible blitz war that's our problem in a general way the solution is to keep the ships and work out a method of keeping them with the fewest men and least money of course a few of them can be scrapped but only the obsolete ones a great many remain good ships worth hanging on to these good ships will be

divided between active and inactive fleets the active ships will have two tasks some will make up the regular Navy others will be used primarily for training purposes the rest of the ships will be the inactive fleet ships will move from the active fleet to the inactive or from the inactive to the active according to needs in the event of trouble the active fleet would spearhead our defense and the inactive fleet would quickly become active and do its part here's the plan that would support our country's policy of preparedness against future Wars there will be two inactive fleets one for the Pacific and one for the Atlantic each inactive fleet will back up an active fleet the inactive fleet will be divided into divisions and placed at inactive fleet birthing areas each division will consist of ships of the same type large combatant vessels and certain large auxiliaries will remain in commission in reserve that is they'll be manned by a skeleton crew on other vessels all except one in each division will be out of commission in reserve they will have no crews aboard but will be maintained by the skeleton crew of the one ship in

the division that is in commission in reserve now if these ships are really to back up the active fleet they must be ready a crew must be able to come aboard and hit the sack on the ship the very first night the chow line must be in operation the day they come aboard the boilers and engines must be fully assembled and ready to operate in short order the same goes for all other machinery and electrical gear the ship must have its full allowance of spare parts and tools and consumable supplies records and charts must be on board ready for use the hull must be in good condition in other words as shipped in the inactive status must be practically ready to join the fleet except for taking on a crew ammunition provisions and supplies that deteriorate rapidly or that are highly inflammable like gasoline and alcohol she has to be ready for shake down in 10 days if she's in commission in reserve 30 days if she's out of commission in reserve that's a tall order but a ship in the inactive status will be ready in that time if it is not allowed to go to pots while in the inactive status and it won't do that

if the Navy's plan is followed here's how the plan would work out in practice the ship gets orders to be placed in the inactive status if urgent major repairs are needed the ship puts in a tea art after overhaul the ship proceeds to the designated berthing area there the regular crew continues to make all repairs within its ability they inventory all equipment tools spare parts and consumable supplies they turn in all supplies that are dangerously inflammable or that are perishable on a three-year basis and they requisition supplies needed to complete allowances so far all well and good with the ship in such a condition it could quickly be prepared for operational use if and this is a big if it is kept in good condition more than any other one thing that means protecting the ship from moisture which causes paint to peel steel to rust brass copper and bronze to tarnish and rope and textiles to milled you and dropped so moisture protection measures are taken by the crew under the guidance of technical men who have the know-how paint the superior preservative is applied to all surfaces where it is

suitable a rust preventive compound is put on all kuroda balsamic ation systems and on surfaces protected from the weather and still another on surfaces normally in contact with water important topside gear is packaged with strippable film or in metal containers and the air of the entire interior of the ship is dried and kept dry by means of what is called dehumidification a space that cannot be open to the interior of the ship is dehumidified by placing a drying agent called a desiccant in the space this desiccant adsorbs moisture or the air can be dried by means of a dehumidification machine which circulates dry air through compartments that can readily be open to each other so the crew must install one or more dehumidification machines and they must dry out the entire ship and see that it stays dry in other words the ship with its gear must be buttoned up tight so that it can't be damaged by moisture when that is done and not before the crew can be detached the ship is now in the inactive status and is maintained by the skeleton crew of the one ship of the division that is in commission in reserve it is the task

of these men to see that the preservative measures continue to protect the ship if they do their job well the ship will be ready for action whenever needed you

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