Sunday, May 16, 2010

Move Over Mac and Let A Guy Sit Down

I hope some of you are admiring the submarine artwork with which I have embellished the blog today. I think that's a nice painting of the Nautilus, don't you?

Some of the pictures along the sidebar were painted for the Navy Department by Thomas Hart Benton during World War II. I've always admired his work. For those of you that haven't spent time on submarines, I'll tell you one thing they really got wrong. There is a sense of spaciousness in these paintings that is not there in real life. The spaces are small, dark and cramped, the overheads low and the passageways narrow. There's one picture down there that shows nine guys in a pigboat conning tower and they are still pretty spread out. Gimme a break. Five guys in a conning tower, everybody's touching and feeling like they're short of breath. The crew's mess was about it, for spacious. About the size of the dining room at your mom's house, with a lot less headroom and that was on the 575, an early Nuc. You get about fifty guys benched down in there with heads in the trough and a couple or three messcranks slingin' the slop. Gracious living.  Diesel subs of the WWII era and after never had anything that nice, maybe a table with a couple benches bolted down next to the galley. Probably only Chiefs got to sit there. Everybody else take your tin plate and find some place to squat.

I never was bothered by claustrophobia while serving. After I got out, I developed some symptoms for a few years. I didn't like the dark or close, crowded spaces. Maybe it was a post traumatic stress thing. I should have applied for disability benefits, huh? I got over it.

1 comment:

Buck said...

I like the Nautilus painting. Spent many hours aboard her as a tourist now that she's tied to the pier in Groton. The Submarine Museum is pretty nice.

I crack my head every time I go aboard her. Same for Clamagore, Bowfin and Croaker. Tight and low.

Did a tiger cruise on a VIRGINIA. The rack seemed smaller than on NAUTILUS. I'm 6-3 and it was OK. Slept very well. Loved feeling the boat come to PD when in the rack, don't know why exactly, but it still sticks with me long after the memory of amines faded. The torpedo room is huge though. A good place for a rider to stay out of the way of working sailors.