Comments from Steve Thomas

[Steve may just be the ultimate living historian about all things PTF and DaNang.Note if you are going to email him, use a HUGE font as his eyes are failing and that's what it takes for him to read your questions- Dan]


"Hau swik a-tee" was explained to me as a phonetic approximation of something a Vietnamese would have heard Jackie Gleason say on American TV -- "How sweet it is". I'm not certain who gave me that explanation, but it might have been either my counterpart, LCDR Quang, or LT "Pete" Duc.


When asked about the drydock in DaNang:   It was very similar, if not identical, to the ACB-1 drydock at Coronado where we docked #13 after she struck an unidentified floating object in the channel just east of San Clemente during a DD-op in early 1969. We never found any evidence to indicate what it might have been. The impact at about 1600 RPM warped the port shaft, bent the strut, mangled the screw, and cracked one rib under the wardroom so badly that the chief snipe (I think he was Ed Barnhardt.) fitted two three-quarter-inch aluminum sister plates. He wanted to send her to Subic for permanent repair, but ComPhibTraPac said "No. fix it yourselves as best you can." The plated were still there when they fitted her as a target drone for Harpoon trials. - Steve

(12/04/02)  Somewhere here in the apartment there is a set of general arrangement drawings for the Osprey class that I managed to salvage from a disposal stack just before I left BSU-1 in 1971. It must be 20 years since I looked at them. 

Trivia: Osprey, like Swift, was a Sewart Seacraft design name that the Navy adopted unofficially. Just as Rolls-Royce used birds of prey names for its piston aircraft engines, and rivers for its turbojets, Sewart used seabird names for its designs. 

According to Lee Mansi, the Osprey was originally designed for an inline CODOG installation, but someone decided to substitute Deltics. Commonalty of tools and spares may have been a factor, or the question of how they were going to maintain gas turbines in the field when Deltics were proving a major problem. In any event, the extra 15' needed for the intended CODOG plant permitted a conventional inline arrangement of engine and propeller shaft with a Mitchell thrust block instead of the Nasty's V-drive. One carry-over from the original design was the large structure abaft the bridge that carried the mast and the radar antenna. It was originally to have been a plenum chamber (whatever that is) for the turbines' air intakes. 

It was in some ways analogous the situation that arose with the DH-9 of WW I notoriety. An official list of desired modifications to the magnificent DH-4 produced the DH-9, described by the pilots as "a DH-4 that has been officially interfered with." I think it quite likely that some of the structural problems Chip mentioned in connection with the aborted PTF-25 conversion later on were due in part to the fact that from the outset the Osprey was never designed for the prolonged operation at the high vibration levels associated with what were, in effect, two 36-cylinder engines. Turbines would have been vibration-free, and vibration from the low-powered diesels at cruising and loitering speeds would have been negligible. 

I also used to, and may still for that matter, have thermofax copies of the gunboat, torpedo boat, and minelayer deck arrangement from the builder's handbook for the Nasty type. They are on my in-house search list 

I assume everyone knows that there actually was an MTB named Nasty; built as a private design to meet the needs of the RNN in the early sixties, she so impressed the powers that be that after trials she was purchased and a production run of slightly modified boats was ordered. They were just sufficiently different that Jane's and Weyer's always listed Nasty separately from the others. - Steve

(12/04/02)  I got my decades wrong. NASTY was built in 1958, not the "early sixties." Hull dimensions and full load displacement were the same as the TJELD class (the production run) but she had the earlier 2500 HP Deltics and carried a heavier gun armament, 2 - 40 MM in addition to the four tubes. NASTY was stricken in 1967 and all 16 of the TJELD class were either gone or for sale by 1982. 

West Germany and Turkey each operated two TJELD class units, but they were the same boats. The Germans had HUGIN and MUNIN built with the NASTY armament in 1960 for evaluation purposes. After it was determined that the design did not meet their operational requirements, West Germany turned the two over to Turkey in 1964 as war reparations. Turkey operated them as DOGAN and MARTI, respectively, until 1973. 

My guess is that the milder sea and weather conditions found in the Baltic and the Mediterranean seas are what allowed the Greek and German/Turkish boats to retain the heavier armament of the prototype, while the harsher conditions on the Norwegian coast required that either guns or torpedoes be reduced. The all-gun extended-range configuration was an American development entirely.

PTF HISTORY: (1) Only 13 Nasty-type went in country, not 14. PTF 13 remained at Coronado as a training boat for American personnel prior to their being deployed to Danang or Subic, and to provide training services for destroyers headed for Yankee Station or Sea Dragon duties. 

THE MAP: (2) In 1969 and 1970 (and both before and after that, I am sure), the floating drydock and its compressor barge were located at the head of Pier 4. The compressor barge was a standard CB causeway pontoon section. The dock was assembled from causeway pontoon components with a ballasting and blowing system and wing walls for stability during the ballasting and de-ballasting stages and for warping the boat into the docking cradle. By means of portable components the same cradle could handle either a Nasty or an Osprey. When I left in 1970, we were preparing to ship the drydock to Subic for docking and major repairs, and providing info to NSA so that their projected synchro-lift installation would be able to accommodate Nasty's both for repair and for periodic drying out. 

(3) Alongside the road leading from Danang East to Lower Base, just about opposite the NSA ammo and LST ramps was a small bunkered structure which served as a magazine for MST. I forget what types of ammunition and explosives we stored there, but I do recall being concerned when on one of my inspections I found that some of the wooden ammo boxes had been badly damaged by termites and dry rot. 

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures as illustration. I may still have a slide taken from seaward showing the drydock in place with a Nasty draped in tarps. A ceremony at the VN Navy "junk" base was receiving major press and photo coverage, so we had to put scratch US crews on all the boats that were capable of getting underway and taking them out to sea until the ceremony was over. This must have been in 1970, because I didn't have enough officers to put one on of each boat and one boat had to go out with a Chief Damage Controlman in charge. I think his name was Powers. We spent a couple of hours playing hide and seek (coastal ambush training) among the islands where the Sacred Sword League camp was located. We covered the boat that was up in the dock with every tarp we could find. - Steve