Early in 1943 when we ran around the Coral Sea with the North Carolina and Saratoga, we had a problem with the hydraulic power drives on the 5 inch gun mounts when they were put into automatic they would oscillate wildly. At one time we had seven out ot the ten mounts acting up. C.P. Royce at that time 2nd class fire controlman (called home La Jolla, CA I believe) DeRose (Fairmont, WV) S1c at that time and myself, also S1c worked with the gunners mates tearing into the system searching for the problem. The oil was drained and we took apart the receiver regulators and cleaned the fine pilot pistons with pink lady (alcohol rendered unfit for drinking) it didn't work, it left a pink film on the valves and shortly the mounts again began to oscillate. Royce decided we needed pure grain alcohol to clean the valves. Gannarelli at that time a Warrent Gunner was custodian of the alcohol and was probably reluctant to release any but we finally got a little and it did not work either. No one drank any either, to the best of my knowledge. Well, finally a factory represenative from Ford Instrument Co. was flown out there (Neumea, New Caledonia) and he discovered the oil was contaminated with an acid. The gunner mates drained the oil and we recleaned the valves and new hydralic oil was put into the drives with no more problems with oil.
Whitner Livingston Griffin, Jr., Fire Controlman 1c, FA Division
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When I went aboard in Newport News or Norfolk, (I don't remember which), I was assigned to the Sixth Division, and was assigned to Mount 10 where I spent my entire cruise the next four years or more. The Chief Gunners Mate over me and I got along pretty well as I had pretty extensive hydraulic equipment experience prior to the Navy so I had plenty to keep me busy the first few months. On those 5" twin mounts the control valves and hydraulic motors were mounted in the girders below the mount deck which meant all of the valve blocks and motors had to be worked on from the upper ammo handling room deck. This meant every hydraulic motor and valve block was over your head and oil, that is free oil, always runs down hill which meant to me that I probably drank more hydraulic fluid than I ate beans for breakfast. When you work on any Navy equipment you are extremely limited as to what you can do or not do to correct any problems. These five inch guns were primarily AA batteries. The upper hoists for the shells had to be very exacting in their operation and I had a couple of hoists that did not want to operate that way. They would continually fail to stop until the jumped the detent latch and that would mean that the gun was out of business until I could get down off my mount captains perch or stand and back them up by hand to put them in firing order again. The Gunnery Officer would not let me increase to a heavier size spring so I had that problem whenever we fired AA fire. In fact I spent the entire time on the shake down cruise to Maine working on that problem. When we left Virginia for Panama I had one hoist apart and unworkable.
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