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"Question for ex-naval officers ..." Topic


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545 hits since 25 Sep 2017
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Comments or corrections?

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 6:49 a.m. PST

At Tassafaronga, Adm Wright's orders read in part:

"Cruisers will form on line of bearing normal to the general bearing line, distance, 1,000 yards. Destroyers will form at 4,000 yards 30 degrees on the engaged bow of the cruiser line."

I am familiar to the meaning of "normal to" in engineering practice, but this confuses me. In particular, what is the "1,000 yards" referring to, the spacing between ships in the cruiser line?

Mark H.

Personal logo D6 Junkie Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 7:11 a.m. PST

Sorry reposted

Murvihill26 Sep 2017 9:24 a.m. PST

I believe normal in this case means the ships will be strung out along the bearing the TF is headed in. So the formation course is 270, the second ship is 090, 1,000 yards astern of the flagship, etc. The destroyers would start 240, 4,000 yards. The flagship could change course without changing the formation bearing, leaving the ships travelling parallel to the flagship, or have them conform to the new bearing, meaning each ship would turn at the same place in the ocean, leaving the formation still in a column but with ships all astern of the flagship.

Or I could be completely wrong, it's been a long time.

Lion in the Stars26 Sep 2017 11:33 a.m. PST

Not a naval officer (and I was a submariner, so what's this formation stuff?).

However, I was a helmsman for a long time.

I read that as the task force forming up line astern, with 1000 yards between ships. The destroyer screen would also be in line astern, 4000 yards from the cruisers and at the 11 or 1 o'clock position (depending on which side of the fight they're on) relative to 'their' cruiser.

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