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USCG WHEC cutters in Cold War situations

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  • USCG WHEC cutters in Cold War situations

    I originally posted this under sims, but i want other thoughts on the subject so i posted here as well
    -----------

    Recently the group that I do naval simulations with have started a major naval war during the 1960’s era; you know that all famous “Cold War” stuff. So I decided I would do something different then I usually do last night, and that was to do some convoy interdiction work in the Atlantic, so I chose to use two Soviet submarines as my pieces for the action last night. The types chosen were a Whiskey V and a Romeo. I has these vessels on patrol off the Chesapeake Bay. I know I probably would have found more targets up around New York and so on, but I chose here because I thought the waters would be challenging for both sides of the “game”.

    Well it was the Whiskey V that found the enemy convoy first, and I decided to make an attack while I was waiting for my Romeo to get into position. He had 40nm to close to the convoy, and this was in heavily patrolled water that was being guarded by P-2 and P-3 aircraft, as well as a few surface ships.

    My passive sonar gave me positions on the convoy so, I came to periscope depth to get a quick radar fix, and then dived the boat to about 60 meters and started to work the distance and so on. I had six 53-51 pattern following torpedoes in my tubes ready to go. This weapon has a range 3nm, but can be fired using a Bearing Only Launch (BOL) attack, but I still needed to get within 2nm to hit anything. I was at the 3.5nm approximated, when I found I had two torpedoes entering the water near my boat. I had to break off the attack and make a run for it, but the two Mk 44 Mod 1 torpedoes found my boat while I was still outside the range to launch my weapons, I fired my decoys and ran deep and started to jig, but I couldn’t shake the torpedoes and the Whiskey V was gone, both torpedoes found the mark.

    Well that said, when we talked over the actions with the Whiskey V, I found out that what attacked my boat was a US Coast Guard “Hamilton” class high endurance cutter. He actually picked me up on his passive sonar and he put his “DASH” into the air, and he dropped his fish on the bearing of the GOBLYN, He actually dropped just behind me at 4nm and the fish acquired me and the race was on. (Don’t full yourself, I know DASH was a troubled system, but if it was handled right it could kill you). Once he had me running he turned down the bearing was preparing for a “Hedgehog” attack using his Mk. 11’s. I found myself in a very bad way. He showed me on his papers where he picked me up on his SQS-36 sonar when I was about 6nm out. That dame DASH closed the distance fast and dropped on me.

    It was a good exercise on making a surface attack and for the other guys ASW as well. I know people say it was a submarine that had the advantage in those days, but I personally believe that it was an even game. Both sides needed a lot of luck, and I didn’t have it last night.

  • #2


    Ok I have found a new respect for the shallow water sailors. That damn Hamilton class cutter was designed to work law enforcement, search and rescue, and assistance at sea duties during piece time. I had never really given its wartime capabilities much thought, but ever since last night I have checked my references on this design. This thing from the start was meant to be an escort and it could do it well. These ships had an excellent sonar; the SQS-36 was a good solid-state sonar in the late 1960’s. It could perform all the tasks that you might expect the SQS-23 to do, but it was more compact, and with much less range. It was more akin to the SQS-11 sonar, but with twice the range at 6nm. Now mix that with the weapons systems carried for ASW the ship could be considered an excellent ship for handling escort. Her weapons for ASW included two Mk. 11 “Hedgehog” forward firing mortars (each firing 24 round salvos), 2 Mk. 32 triple ASW torpedo tubes (carrying MK 44 Mod 1 torpedoes at this time), and of course the ship had facilities to operate DASH (though only one). This put her nearly on par with some of the FRAM II destroyers. Her main gun was a 5 in/38 Mk 30 for use against surface and air targets.

    All in all she was a decent ship for the operations she would have been asked to do.

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    • #3
      is this sim you were playing a computer style sim or a DnD style tabletop sim? just curious.
      the answer is on the floor- john roseberry

      A tiger dies and leaves his fur,
      A man dies and leaves his name,
      A teacher dies and teaches death.
      Seikchi Toguchi 1917-1998

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      • #4
        We use table top for this series of match ups, but we also do some computer action. We use the last published set of Harpoon rules. (still one of the best)

        Comment


        • #5
          The biggest problem with Hamilton class (Secretary class) was that when the ship was designed and considered for use as an escort in time of war, her planed aviation asset was that she was designed to carry and operate one QH-53C drone helicopter (DASH) so this really left her with a very small hanger not really capable of supporting anything larger from the ship. That said her flight deck was heavy enough to take landings from Sikorsky HH-3 Pelican SAR choppers. this also meant the deck was strong enough to take landings from the SH-3 Sea Kings as well.

          So in the 1970's, and after DASH was eliminated from inventory, the ships under went pretty much the same treatment as many of the Garcia class frigates. They had the hanger enlarged by adding a telescoping addition to the them and then were able to support the SH-2 Seasprite chopper for ASW work, but still they weren't able to maintain the large SAR birds, but with the introduction of the HH-60 these ships were finally able to handle their own attached choppers in the 1980's.

          Also in the 1970's the ships were modified to ship with Harpoon missiles. they also lost their Mk 11 "Hedgehog" mounts, but the ability to operate SH-2 offset this loss considerably.

          With the complete FRAM received in the 1980's, these ships proved to be a good investment that was able to be kept up to date...

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          • #6


            Even the Treasury class cutters found themselves, in their final modernization in the mid 60's found themselves being geared to the same weapons arrangements as the Secretary class. Their final arrangements were that they lost all their depth charge equipment (racks that dropped Mk 9 depth charges and two depth charge throwers that fired Mk 6 charges) and the SQS-4 sonar was replaced with SQS-11. After the refit they shipped to sea with two Mk 11 "Hedgehog", two 12.75 inch Mk 32 triple TT, and the ability to operate two DASH QH-53C drones.

            The electronic suite was also enhanced with the fitting of WLR-1 ECM gear and fitting of SPS-29 and SPS-52 radars.

            Except for the lack of speed, these ships were comparable to the Sacretary class. Sacretary class ships could make 29knts while the old Treasury class ships struggled to make 18knts.

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            • #7
              Both of these classes make for good combat vessels in escort work I am learning...

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              • #8
                lol well i'd hope that our cutters would be good for those roles.

                don't think our modern cutters are good for too much other than scaring the **** out of drug smugglers. lol
                the answer is on the floor- john roseberry

                A tiger dies and leaves his fur,
                A man dies and leaves his name,
                A teacher dies and teaches death.
                Seikchi Toguchi 1917-1998

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cowboy31a View Post
                  Both of these classes make for good combat vessels in escort work I am learning...
                  They should. That is a traditional role for the Coast Guard in wartime, protecting the merchant fleet.

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                  • #10
                    This one came up on a FB group today...

                    LOL.
                    Thought I would share this info.
                    Just had a guy try to get on the page. Told me he retired as a Lt.Col. from the Coast Guard. Also, he was in the CG until 1967 then the Army drafted him. Had to leave the CG and go into the Army. Did 5 combat tours in Nam while in the Army. Then he went back into the CG again then retired as a Lt. Col.
                    ROFLMAO.
                    Another post tried to cite a FF incident...

                    The cutter was strafed by two
                    Phantoms while on war patrol and 18 Coast Guardsmen lost their lives and there were also some wounded in the incident!!
                    I'll be the first to admit the CG did good work off the coast of SVN but, according to the information I have, only 7 CG lost their lives from 66-72.

                    Jeez, these were good men serving in good ships and I find it tough to read this crap.
                    Skip

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by General_Jacke View Post
                      lol well i'd hope that our cutters would be good for those roles.

                      don't think our modern cutters are good for too much other than scaring the **** out of drug smugglers. lol
                      Why do you say that?

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                      • #12
                        To be accurate in this posting I should point out, that DASH wasn't carried during peacetime patrols. The standard Coast Guard choppers during this era of operations were the Sikorsky HH-52 Seaguardian, that was deployed aboard the high endurance cutters, and the HH-3 Pelican that was used at Coast Guard Air Stations in the 1960's.

                        Evan though the ships were rigged to operate DASH, I seriously doubt it was ever used aboard the cutters.

                        Maybe during operations with the Navy.

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                        • #13


                          Like the prewar cutters of the Treasury Class, the war-built Owasco class of ships proved to be a good investment for the Coast Guard. When they were constructed during World War II, they were designed as Gunboats, with a heavy armament of two 5in/38 twin mounts and with a limited ASW suite. Picture evidence of the time only shows the ships carrying one depth charge rack when first launched. She also carried eight 40mm AA guns at the time of design.



                          With the Coast Guard's wartime responsibility being identified in the 1950's as being protections of convoys the class underwent it first major modernizations in the 1949. These rebuilds were designed toward improving the ASW capabilities of the ship. This meant the main armament was reduced to the forward twin mount. This left the aft of the ships able to take a larger load of depth charges with the increase to two depth charge racks and two DC projectors. The ships were also fitted with two Mk. 11 ""Hedgehog" mortars ahead of the bridge. The wartime sonar was replaced with an SQQ-14 active sonar. This was a sonar designed to hunt mines, but it did have an ASW capability.



                          As the 1960's approached it was decided that these ships should be brought up to the same standard as the Treasury class, so a major modernization was begun on the class. The modernization included replacing the sonar with SQS-11 sets, DASH facilities installed on the aft, and two Mk 32 Triple ASW TT sited amidships.

                          To compensate for weight all depth charges and 40mm guns were landed and they shipped out with .50 cal and 20mm guns for the secondary battery.

                          The main battery was also reduced to one 5in/38 cal gun by replacing the twine turret with a single gun turret.

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