Harbor Mine Planter

L-82 from the collection of Steve Moreau
[Official US Navy photograph, from ALL HANDS, October, 1954]


Modified Distribution Box Boat

On 16 August 1948, this Section was assigned a project to service test the modified Distribution Box Boat L-73.

The Distribution Box Boat L-73 is a small diesel-operated vessel of 30 gross tons, 64 feet long, 18-foot beam and 6- foot draft. It is capable of raising an assembled Distribution Box from the bottom of the ocean and placing it on deck.

A 2-ton traveling crane (fore and aft) and a capstan are installed on the forward deck to handle the equipment described above.

 The following approved modifications to the standard Distribution Box Boat L-73, have been made in a
local Shipyard in the San Francisco area:

-- Reducing the dimensions of the pilot house and deckhouse to gain working deck space on the
main deck both forward and aft.

-- Removing and replacing the capstan with one of higher horsepower.

-- Installing a duplicate set of steering and engine controls on top of the pilothouse to provide increased visibility for control by the coxswain during mine planting operations.

-- Other minor space and machinery modifications related to the foregoing.

The present distribution box boats (L-Type) were first issued to the service beginning in 1940. It was basically a satisfactory vessel, but as a result of World War II experience, certain deficiencies became apparent which limited its usefulness and at times made its operation in the mine field hazardous.

The most important of those deficiencies was lack of working deck space particularly in the forward areas of the vessel. As a result, personnel and the equipment were congested when working around the distribution box. There also existed the danger of losing personnel overboard during certain stages of the planting cycle.

Similar criticism is applicable to the afterdeck space to a lesser degree. The visibility from the pilothouse was not satisfactory when working around floating equipment close to the boat. More power on the capstan was also required in some instances.

The L-73, which was delivered to this Section 7 September 1948, is undergoing test in all phases of work in the mine field. Other portions of the service test will include observations to determine if:

-- Deck platform is reasonably stable under all working conditions.
-- Handling characteristics of vessel underway have changed.
-- Space and equipment are adequate under service conditions.
-- Heating facilities are adequate for colder climates.

Reference: Antiaircraft Journal, VOL. LXXXXII January-February, 1949 NO.1, page 67

[Reference material courtesy of Ramon Jackson]


Derick S. Hartshorn - 2009-present
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