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HeibgesU999
05-05-2004, 01:39 PM
I think in the merchant ship art looks fantastic. Especially the rust on the hulls of the ships.

For the next screenshots could we maybe see a BIG CONVOY.

The BIGGER the BETTER.

I've been sighting those 12 ship convoys for nearly 20 year now, and I'm ready for the big dog convoy now.

ty

HeibgesU999
05-05-2004, 01:39 PM
I think in the merchant ship art looks fantastic. Especially the rust on the hulls of the ships.

For the next screenshots could we maybe see a BIG CONVOY.

The BIGGER the BETTER.

I've been sighting those 12 ship convoys for nearly 20 year now, and I'm ready for the big dog convoy now.

ty

Shan_Hackett
05-05-2004, 05:24 PM
Convoy structure:

Based on the fact, faced with submerged attacks, the quicker passage is made past the position of the submarine the less the exposure to danger, convoys always adaopted a "Broad front" formation whenever possible. Obviously this could not be done in confined waters such as a swept channel, off the East Coast of Britain for example, and in those conditions safe navigation became the prime factor governing the formation.
In the extreme, an eight-ship ocean convoy would form in line abreast, designated as eight columns of one ship each. The most usual formation would be between six and nine columns of ships with upto five ships in each column. Early ocean convoys usualy comprised approximately "35" ships; indeed, the opinion of many Commodores in the early years was that more than this number could not be properly handled in Atlantic winter conditions.
Ships were allocated their position prior to sailing, indicated by a number individual to the ship.
Columns were numbered from the port hand column (1), consecutively to starboard; ships were numbered within each column from 1, at the head of the column. Thus a ship allocated the number "23", was the "Third" ship of the "Second" column. If the number allocated was a three-figure number, then the first two digits were the column number, e.g. "123" would be the "Third" ship of the "12th" column from the port side of the convoy.
For obvious reasons, position numbers within a column could not progress beyond "9", and infact only "Five", in some 3,500 ocean convoys ever had more than 9 ships in any column, then the "10th" ship was numbered "9A" and the "11th", "9B".

The largest convoy ever to sail, "HX 300", between North America and Britain, contained "167" ships in "19" columns of which fourteen contained nine ships and three with ten ships. This and several other very large convoys that crossed the North Atlantic in the spring of 1944 were due to the need to withdraw Escort Groups for the Normandy invasion. In consequence the number of convoys at sea at any one time had to be reduced to match the remaining available Escort Groups.
Accordingly the slow ONS and SC convoy series were suspended and the ships from them absorded into the ON and HX codings for some months, resulting in a considerable increase in convoy size.

In column, ships steamed at "Two-Cable" (400 yard) intervals, until 1943. Increasgly inexperienced Merchant Officers, particularly in American ships, were unwilling to maintain this close interval. As there was no real cure for the problem, column spacing was increased to "Three"-and later "Four-Cable" during 1943.
The original distances between columns of three cables by day, and four cables by night, was also investigated by OR scientists. They showed that the five-cable spacing of columns presented a lesser, more open, target and the formation was accordingly amended.
All convoy sailing plans indicated the masthead height of each ship. The officer on watch was then able to use his sextant to maintain station, both in column, and between columns, by taking the relevant angle from a known height. At night, shaded blue stern lights were burned and in fog it was usual to stream a fog bouy (an empty cask or float on a appropriate lenght of line) to ease station keeping.

The convoy formation was issued by the NCS to each Master prior to sailing, thereafter the Convoy Commodore was responsible for ordering such alterations as were required or as he thought necessary. For example, a poor stationkeeper would be relegated to the rear of its column to avoid annoyance to ships astern of it.
Motor ships, whose diesels made small variations in speed difficult or impossible, were not usualy appointed to lead columns. Simular conditions applied to coal burners, where variations in quality of coal, capability of stokers and the periodic need to clean fires, made maintenance of a consistent speed difficult.
All Masters were required, before sailing, to notify the current constant speed capability of thier ships; obviously this varied due to loading, time out of dry-dock, etc. Ships were then allocated to a fast or slow convoy accordingly.

HeibgesU999
05-05-2004, 06:19 PM
ty. great info.