Naval Rudders in WW2

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Andy H
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Naval Rudders in WW2

Post by Andy H » 05 Jan 2011 01:25

I admit that the title is hardly the sexiest but my interest was piqued by the following extract from
The Kelly's (British J,K & N Class Destroyers of WW2) by Christopher Langtree

Pg166
Van Galen had noticed problems with her rudder and put into Exmouth Bay on January 2nd ('43), to have it examined. Surprisingly, it was found that during her short period of service her plating had rusted away exposing the wood filling, a great deal of which had disappeared, leaving just the frame and nothing filling gaps


Well for whatever reason I had assumed, wrongly it seems, that rudders on warships (WW1&2) would be all metal and that there would be no wood involved.

So my question is this-Does anyone know if this was common practice to have a wooden filling in the general construction of warship rudders? or was this specific to the RN or a few other navies?

As an aside was the Bismarcks rudder of the same construction when it was damaged?

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Andy H

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Re: Naval Rudders in WW2

Post by phylo_roadking » 05 Jan 2011 01:40

Andy, I doubt larger ships' would have been of solid metal....and surely they'd need some sort of filler of they were metal skinned over a metal frame - if only to stop cavitation from the prop wake caving in the plating?
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Andy H
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Re: Naval Rudders in WW2

Post by Andy H » 05 Jan 2011 16:55

phylo_roadking wrote:Andy, I doubt larger ships' would have been of solid metal....and surely they'd need some sort of filler of they were metal skinned over a metal frame - if only to stop cavitation from the prop wake caving in the plating?


Hi Phylo

Well from this modern picture, it seems that a 'filling is still used
http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/one-of-the- ... /index.htm
and in an age where cavitation is more concerning, then maybe the filling has moved on from plain timber?

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LWD
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Re: Naval Rudders in WW2

Post by LWD » 05 Jan 2011 17:18

I asked over on kbismarck (http://www.kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopi ... =37&t=3458)
and got this reply:
German balanced rudders were (almost) empty. There was a little cement in the lover part of the rudder to guarantee that condensed water flows to the lower end of the shaft. The rudders were drained either by being pumped out through the shaft or by using an additional drain bolt, which was located under the lower end of the shaft in case of Bismarck. The plating and inner framework of Bismarck's rudder was made by ST 52 steel. (It seems to me that Tirpitz's rudders were made of ST 42). The rudders were filled with so called "hydrolene" for cavity sealing and drained after 24 hours. The filling hole for this purpose was on top of the rear end of Bismarck's rudder.

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Re: Naval Rudders in WW2

Post by JamesL » 07 Jan 2011 16:38

A few years back I had some dealings with US submarines. I noticed that the diving planes were filled with what appeared to be concrete.

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Andy H
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Re: Naval Rudders in WW2

Post by Andy H » 08 Jan 2011 12:26

Hi LWD

Many thanks for asking that question over on the other forum, much appreciated.

I'm guessing that balancing rudders are not the same as the main rudder on a ship?
Also what was the reasoning for there different fillings or lack thereof?

Hi JamesL

Thanks for the snippet on submarines and the possible use of 'concrete' within there rudders

I did find an article about a Washington ferry called the MV Rhododdendron in 2005 being drydocked for various repairs and checks, and within it, it stated the following
The rudder voids are filled with yellow pine wood and hydrolene


Onward, though I'm not sure my missues understands my interest in rudders :lol:

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Andy H

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Re: Naval Rudders in WW2

Post by JamesL » 08 Jan 2011 20:12

It was an 'old model' 688 class. One needs to remember that one type of ship is designed to float whilst the other is designed to sink!

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Re: Naval Rudders in WW2

Post by nota » 10 Jan 2011 08:43

""I'm guessing that balancing rudders are not the same as the main rudder on a ship?
Also what was the reasoning for there different fillings or lack thereof?'''''

no balanced is a type of main rudder with some fin/blade area in front of the pivot point/rudder shaft
they are easier to turn as the front bit helps turning effort and quicker turning
most are not 50/50 center balanced but more like 20/80 or 30/70

the other type the shaft is at the very front
they track better [want to self correct strait ahead]
so more used on merchant ships

I would guess fillers are to keep them from denting
you want smooth flow on a rudder surfaces

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