Chapter 30 Organization and communications
A. Battle organization
B. communications
                                                              B. Communications

30B1. Introduction

The organizational outline contained in the first part of this chapter has made it clear that efficient utilization of the ship’s battery is dependent to a great extent upon efficient communications. Not only is this necessary for transmission of orders, but, as indicated in the chapters on fire control systems, communication is also necessary between the various stations cooperating in control of a single battery or group of guns. Because of this separation of elements, and because individual stations such as turrets are both sizable and noisy, the unaided human voice is not to be depended upon for reliable communication aboard a warship in action.

One method of communication is the synchro transmission system between the fire control instruments. However, synchro transmission is limited to such angular quantities as sight angle or gun train order, and is not adequate for the transmission of all types of orders or communications. Some means must be provided for spoken communication between the various elements of the fire control system and for communication by audible signals.

30B2. External communications

The fire control party is greatly concerned with the results of external communications. It is not, however, charged with the responsibility of conducting such communications. In most cases communications from outside the ship which are of interest to the fire control organization will be received by the communications organization or by CIC and relayed to the gunnery organization. There are a few exceptions to this general rule: when fire is being controlled with the assistance of a shore fire control party or with the assistance of spotters in aircraft, voice radio transmitters and receivers may be directly available to gunnery personnel. This equipment, however, comes under the cognizance of the Operations Department and is made available to Gunnery for specific use and on specific occasions.

30B3. Interior communications (IC)

The maintenance of interior communications systems is not the responsibility of the Gunnery Department aboard ship, but comes under the cognizance of the electrical division of the Engineering Department. Many of the IC circuits, however, are of primary interest to the Gunnery Department. These systems and their standard symbols are:

1. Battle telephones (JA, JB, . . . JZ).
2. Ships service (dial) telephones (J).
3. Battle announcing circuits (MC).
4. Call signals (E).
5. Train warning systems (TW).
6. Salvo signals (VB).
7. Cease-firing signals (U).
8. Turret alarms (RA).

In addition to these IC circuits, ships still use the oldest interior communications device, the voice tube. It has its limitations as to maximum practical length, and its efficiency falls off rapidly every time the tube goes around a corner, but it is simple and reliable. An example of the current use of a voice tube is to connect the mount captain’s station and the upper ammunition handling room in certain dual-purpose mounts. Voice tubes are rarely used below decks, as they seriously impair watertight integrity.

Other less important types of interior communications include the teleautograph and pneumatic tubes. Even hand signals are important in some cases. They are normally used between pilot and catapult officer, by landing-signal officers in carriers, and for communicating between control officers and talkers during action.

30B4. Battle telephone systems

The most important set of interior communications circuits is the sound-powered battle telephone system. In this system the energy that creates the current which transmits the message is supplied entirely by the speaker’s voice. No outside source of power is required. This system is therefore more reliable in emergencies than any of the other circuits listed above all of which depend upon the availability of externally supplied electric power.

Battle telephones are set up as groups of connected stations rather than as individual stations. When a telephone is plugged into its jackbox it is automatically connected with all the other stations on that circuit which are at that time plugged in. The connected groups are called circuits. Circuits in turn are organized into systems. The three systems of battle telephone circuits are (1) primary circuits, (2) auxiliary circuits, and (3) supplementary circuits. A standard method of designating individual circuits in these systems is in effect. It is not necessary to learn the names and circuit designations of the large number of circuits which will be found in a major ship. Gunnery personnel will, however, find it appropriate to know the circuit designations of all circuits at their individual stations and of all circuits directly concerned with their own battery. On all except the largest ships they will probably find it expedient to know all primary circuits on the ship.

There is a standard method of designating by symbols every circuit in each of the three systems. This method is as follows: The letter J indicates that the circuit is a telephone system; primary circuits are assigned individual letters following J as, for example, JA, JB, etc. The second letter designates the function of the circuit.

Typical letter dual combinations are as follows:

JA-Captain’s Battle Circuit.

.JC-Battery Control Circuit. JK-Fuze Setters’ Circuit.

JW-Range Circuit.

Numerals preceding the two letter designations are used to identify individual circuits with the same function but pertaining to different batteries, or similar subdivisions in the case of non-gunnery circuits. For gunnery circuits, number 1 so used indicates the main battery; number 2, the dual-purpose battery; number 4, the heavy machine-gun battery, etc. Numbers following the two letters are used to indicate the group within a battery in such circuits as are divided into battery groups. Thus the total designation of a primary circuit may be, for example, 2JW2, indicating Dual-Purpose Battery Range Circuit, group 2.

Auxiliary battle telephone circuits are assigned circuit numbers similar to their primaries, but preceded by the letter X; for example, XJA for the Captain’s Auxiliary Battle Circuit, or XIJC for the Auxiliary Turret Control Circuit. Circuits of the supplementary telephone system are assigned designations such as X1J, X2J, etc., through X407J.

30B5. Primary circuits

Primary circuits are the main channels communication for controlling armament and maneuvering the ship. When the ship is at general quarters, each station on a primary circuit is normally manned by either the officer in charge of the station, one of his assistants, or a telephone talker reporting to the officer in charge of the station. These men normally wear headsets, so that they may maintain a continuous watch on the lines. In addition to those headsets which are plugged into individual circuits, control officers may wear headsets which are connected to selector switches which enable them to cut into any one of several circuits in which they are directly interested. At other stations control officers may have available to them handsets with which they may intermittently communicate personally on one or more circuits normally covered for them by talkers.

All primary circuits for the ship’s armament can be controlled and interconnected by means of switch-boards located in the plotting rooms, as well as by the selector switches noted above. By means of these switchboards, control circuits may be shifted to parallel the transmission of information or orders by synchro. They also make it possible to tie circuits together, as may be done during wartime cruising when not all stations are fully manned, or to provide emergency communication facilities between stations not normally connected, and to isolate circuits or individual stations when necessary as, for example, in case of casualty.

In the plotting room one fire controlman is normally assigned to the fire control and battle telephone switchboards. When control is shifted from on station to another, he will reset both boards. For example, suppose that the Gunnery Officer aboard a cruiser has ordered that the forward main battery be assigned to the control of the dual-purpose battery director. This involves not only changing over the synchro and indicator circuits of two turrets to connect them to the dual-purpose battery synchro and indicator circuits, but also connecting part of the main-battery control telephone circuit (lJC) with the forward dual-purpose battery control circuit (2JCl). This is done by making cross-connections on the switchboards. The crew in the plotting room takes care of the plugging and switching involved. Personnel in the director and in the turrets know what is going on, but they play no part in the actual switching operation. The switchboard crew would also take care of interconnecting other affected circuits, such as the two fuze setters’ circuits (1 JK and 2JK), and the range circuits (IJW and 2JW), as required.

30B6. Auxiliary circuits

The auxiliary battle telephone system is a standby system which parallels the most important primary circuits and is intended for use in case the latter become inoperative. It does not have switchboards. Therefore, in case of a casualty at the switchboard, the auxiliary circuits may still be available for use. As the auxiliary battle telephone circuits are not ordinarily continuously manned, they are generally equipped with handsets rather than headsets.

30B7. Supplementary battle telephone circuits

Supplementary circuits are those either not important enough or not extensive enough to be included in the primary system. Most supplementary circuits include only two or three stations. They are equipped with handsets and are usually accompanied by circuit-E buzzer systems. In mounts and turrets most supplementary circuits are concerned with ammunition service. Thus the supplementary circuit found in 5-inch enclosed mounts is the X17J, which connects the top and bottom of the lower ammunition hoists. Turrets may have more elaborate supplementary telephone circuits for internal use. The Salem Class 8-inch turret has nine supplementary circuits. One of them connects the Turret Officer with gun positioning and sight-setting personnel, and the others connect various stations of the ammunition supply system with the Gun Captains and Turret Officer. Supplementary battle circuits have no switchboards, but in some cases there are switches available which can be used to interconnect different supplementary circuits or to tie them into primary circuits.

Emergency communications systems are usually provided on board ship. These consist of telephone lines with sound-powered telephones attached. This emergency equipment is generally kept on reels located at strategic points throughout the ship, and the phones may be unreeled to serve as a stand-by in case of failure of normal sound-powered communications.

30B8. Care of instruments

In order that sound-powered telephone equip-merit may be ready for any emergency, it must be kept in good condition and handled properly at all times.

There are two types of sound-powered phone sets, the handset and the headset. The handset telephone looks like a “French type” telephone, except that in the middle of the bar connecting the transmitter and receiver is a push button which must be held down whenever the user is speaking or listening. This instrument is used as an emergency phone and also as a service phone (on supplementary - circuits) between such places as the bridge, the wardroom, and ship’s offices.

The headset telephone is the standard battle telephone. It consists of a pair of earphones and a transmitter. The earphones are on a spring-metal clamp or fabric harness that fits over the talker’s head. The transmitter, held in an adjustable yoke, is mounted on a breastplate. The breastplate is hung on a strap around the talker’s neck. Also there is on the breastplate a small box where the wires are joined together. One of the leads is short and goes to the mouthpiece. The other two leads go to the earpieces. Connected to the breastplate is a long, heavy lead at the end of which is a metal plug which is inserted into the appropriate jackbox to connect the phone to the rest of the circuit. In case of a casualty to the transmitter on a headset phone, it is possible to speak into one earpiece, while listening through the other one.

When the headset telephones are in use, the leads should never be permitted to carry the weight of the instrument or of any part of it. When securing phones, the following standard procedure is used:

1. Remove plug from jackbox. Never yank the plug out by the cord.

2. Screw the cover on the jackbox; otherwise moisture, spray, and dirt may cause a short circuit.

3. Remove the headband and hang it over the transmitter yoke.

4. Coil the plug lead from the phone to the plug clockwise, about eight to ten inches in diameter.

5. Wind the neck strap around the coil and headband, and secure the ends to the breastplate, keeping back of breastplate together with headband and coil.

6. Put the phones in the stowage box provided, making sure that no part of the phones or cords sticks out of the box.

30B9. Battle telephone procedures

Efficient fire control communications are not attained merely by the installation of a satisfactory system of telephones. It is also necessary for all personnel using telephones to follow standardized procedure. Enlisted men who are to be used as telephone talkers are given careful training. In a fire control organization, however, many officers and ranking petty officers man telephones personally, and it is just as necessary for them to use correct procedure as it is for them to train the talkers in delivering and transmitting messages properly.

Fire control telephone circuits are party lines providing communications between numerous stations. On some of these circuits there may be as many as 12 parties on a line at the same time. When any one officer or talker transmits a message, all the others receive it. Under these circumstances each transmission must be of the utmost brevity consistent with clarity. In action or at any other time, conversation in the usual sense has no place on a battle telephone circuit.

The demand for brevity has resulted in the development of numerous stereotyped phrases and modes of expression. They constitute what may be termed the “fire control language.” Familiarity with this language can be acquired only through actual experience, but certain elements may be learned as a preliminary to such experience.

30B10. Call and acknowledgment procedure

An important feature of the fire control language is the manner of calling a station and of replying or of acknowledging. Ordinary practice on a telephone conversation is to call a person by name and to await acknowledgment before proceeding with the message. This is logical when the party calling has no assurance that the party called is listening. On a fire control circuit this question does not exist. The first step in manning battle stations is establishing communication. While the ship remains at general quarters, communications must be maintained as long as communication lines remain intact. If one station has information to transmit to another, it is unnecessary to call that station and receive an acknowledgment before proceeding with the message. It is presumed that all stations are on the circuit and listening continuously.

In originally establishing communication, the officer or talker at the controlling station (usually the senior station on the line) will ask whether other stations have their telephones manned. To do this he transmits, “All stations; Control (Plot, Sky Forward, etc.); testing.” Each station on the line acknowledges in a standard order “Turret One; aye, aye,” “Turret Two; aye, aye,” etc. If a station does not answer after a brief pause, the next station will acknowledge and the station omitted will come in at the end of the sequence or will report upon manning its telephone.

Once a circuit is manned, if it is desired to address a message to any one station, the correct procedure is to give the call of that station, followed by the identification of the station transmitting and then followed, without pause, by the message. The station called acknowledges by repeating his own call followed by “aye, aye,” which means, “I have received the message transmitted, understand it, and will comply to the best of my ability.” For example, a dual-purpose battery Director Officer may transmit, “Mount fifty-two; Sky One; train centerline.” The Mount Captain will answer, “Mount fifty-two; aye, aye.”

If the station transmitting the message does not receive acknowledgment immediately, it repeats the call and message. If, after several repetitions, no acknowledgment is received, the calling station will establish communication by some other means and determine the casualty. If the message is heard by the station addressed, but not understood, that station should say at once “Repeat,” and the transmitting station should then repeat both the call and the message. When a message is addressed to several stations simultaneously, the procedure is the same as for a single station except that a collective call, such as “All Mounts,” or the individual calls of the several stations precede the message; acknowledgment is made in proper sequence as soon as possible. During stand-by intervals, it may be desirable to communicate with a station for the purpose of testing the circuit. If a station is addressed solely for test, the procedure is to speak the call as usual, followed by the word “testing.” The acknowledgment is made in the usual way.

No station ever gets off the circuit, even temporarily, without reporting to the controlling station. When necessary to interrupt communications, a station will transmit such a message as “Control; Sky Two shifting phones,” and will wait for an acknowledgment from the controlling station before effecting the shift. When at the end of an alert or drill period permission is given by the controlling station to secure the telephones, each station reports as it goes off the line in this manner, “Director Forward; Plot securing phones.”

30811. Circuit discipline

It is the responsibility of the controlling station to see that the circuit is always clear and available for emergency use. ‘The officer or talker at the controlling station monitors the circuit and is expected to stop unnecessary conversation by transmitting the phrase “Quiet on the line.” This same phrase may at times be used by other stations when it is necessary to interrupt another transmission in order to pass an emergency message.

All messages on the circuit must be made in official language. The use of unauthorized expressions, including slang, seriously interferes with the speed of transmittal of information. Such courtesy words as “Sir” and “please” are not used. Letters are not spoken as letters, but should be referred to by their names in the Navy phonetic alphabet. Numbers are spoken differently, dependent upon their meaning, as set forth in the next article.

30812. Transmission of numerals

The manner of speaking numerals is varied in order to indicate more clearly whether the number transmitted is an expression of bearing, range, or position angle.

1. In transmitting bearing, all ciphers are pronounced “zero”; for example, “bearing zero eight zero,” or “bearing three one zero.”

2. In transmitting range, ciphers are pronounced “oh,” or when appropriate, are indicated by use of the word “hundred” or “thousand,” as shown in the following examples:

Range 700..................“Range seven hundred.”
Range 3,000............... “Range three thousand.”
Range 3,500............... “Range three five hundred.”
Range 10,200..............“Range one oh two hundred.”
Range 3,750................“Range three seven five oh.”
Range 21,050..............“Range two one oh five oh.”

3. In transmitting position angle, all numbers are spoken as in ordinary conversation, thus “POSIT thirty-five.” “POSIT twenty” or “POSIT thirty-five”.

30B13. Rules for talkers

Talkers hold very important positions, yet they cannot be expected to possess the experience and judgment of the officers for whom they are acting. In order that there may be no possibility of having the substance of a message altered as a result of misinterpretation by a talker, the responsibility for framing a message rests with the officer originating it. Once delivered to a talker, it must be transmitted in exactly the same words, and the talker receiving the message at the other end must repeat it to the officer concerned in the exact form in which it is heard. In brief, there are two primary rules governing fire control communication through talkers.

1. The person originating the message must state it in the exact words in which it is to be transmitted.

2. The talker transmitting the message must repeat the exact words of the originator, and the talker hearing the message must repeat word for word what he hears.

Acknowledgments belong in the same category as messages. An acknowledgment signifies that the message has been heard and understood. It is the responsibility of the person addressed, not of his talker, to understand the message, and it is he who must originate the acknowledgment. A partial exception to this rule applies in the case of the transmission of data, in which case the acknowledgment consists of a repetition of the message. For example, Sky One transmits the target angle to Plot. The correct message is “Target angle two seven zero,” and the correct acknowledgment is an exact repetition of the message.

Another exception applies when a message is not heard distinctly, or not understood. If a talker does not hear a message distinctly, he must call for “repeat.” If the person addressed does not understand the message, he must also call for “repeat.” It is to be noted that the responsibility for understanding a message does not rest with the talker, and as long as the talker hears a message distinctly, he must repeat it exactly as heard, whether or not he comprehends its significance It is the duty of the person addressed to determine whether or not the message is intelligible. Much confusion and loss of time result from talkers asking for a repeat on messages which they do not understand, but which would probably be clear to the officer addressed. Of course it is highly desirable that talkers should understand all messages that they are likely to transmit and receive; the handling of messages thereupon becomes much more accurate and rapid.

30814. Ship’s service telephones

The ship’s service telephone system or automatic telephone (circuit J) is operated like the conventional dial telephone system found ashore. It is electrically powered, and has a central switchboard and dialing apparatus for making connections between stations. Because in general only two stations can be on one circuit at one time, and because the system is vulnerable to power failure, the ship’s service telephone system is not to be depended upon under battle conditions. However, there are ship’s service telephones in most fire control stations and in most of the larger mounts and turrets. They are useful for administrative traffic.

30815. Battle announcing systems

There are two characteristic types of battle announcing (MC) systems. One of these is the central amplifier system, consisting of one or more microphones and variously situated loud speakers. The other type is the intercommunications system, which is designed to provide two-way transmission of orders and information between stations. Both types are dependent upon electronic amplification.

The main announcing system for the ship is the 1MG, or General Announcing System, operating under the authority of the Officer of the Deck, over which word can be passed to all parts of the ship. Other central amplifier systems of particular interest in fire control include the 11MG to 16MG which provide for transmission of turret control orders and information between the Turret Officer and each gun station, the machinery deck, the projectile-handling deck, and the powder-handling deck. It also provides for a tie-in to circuit 1MG for automatic transmission of general alarm and chemical-attack alarm signals to turret personnel. Circuits 11MG to 16MG are installed in turrets 1 to 6 respectively, as applicable. The dual-purpose battery announcing system, I7MC, provides similarly for transmission of gun-control orders from dual-purpose battery director stations to dual-purpose gun mounts. Its reproducers can also be tied in with circuit 1MG and, in addition, they are used for the transmission of salvo and cease-firing signals to the gun mounts.

Central amplifier-type MC systems have the advantage over telephone communication in that they transmit orders or information simultaneously to all personnel at a station. Since, however, their continued use results in excessive noise levels, they are normally employed only for urgent and simple messages.

Intercommunicating systems of particular interest to gunnery personnel are as follows:

Captain’s Command Announcing System, circuit 21MG. This system provides for two-way transmission of ship control orders and information between interested key stations, including the primary and secondary conning stations, main-battery control stations, air defense stations, Combat Information Center, and others.

Combat In formation Announcing System, circuit 20MG. This system provides for the transmission of combat information, especially radar warning information, between GIG and conning stations, battery control stations, and the plotting room.

Sonar Control Announcing System, circuit 27MG. This system provides for two-way communications between sonar equipment stations and between these stations and CIC, the bridge, and the ASW attack station.

Intercoms, like general announcing systems, have the advantage of attracting the attention of all hands at a station simultaneously. They similarly have the disadvantage of raising noise levels, although this disadvantage is lessened by the fact that messages are heard only at the one station to which addressed. They are used to parallel telephone communications in the case of urgent and short messages, and are also frequently used to regain communication when a station fails to answer on a battle telephone circuit.

30B16. Signal systems

Telephone and announcing systems are primarily voice communication systems. Besides these, modern naval armament is equipped with several systems of signals for special purposes:

1. Train warning signals. Safety regulations require that before any turret or enclosed mount is moved in train, a warning signal must be sounded so as to inform personnel to keep clear. The only exception is that the signal need not be sounded during general quarters. The train warning signal circuit is independent of all other IC circuits, and consists of a push-button control switch at the Mount Captain’s station, bells outside the mount, and the necessary wiring and power supply.

2. Call-signal system. The call-signal system (circuit E) parallels the supplementary battle telephone circuits and voice tubes. It is not used independently; it always parallels a voice communication line. It consists of power-supply units, push-button switches, and buzzers or bells so interconnected that, to attract the attention of a man at the other end of a voice tube or unmanned telephone, one may press the button to sound the signal at the distant station.

3. Cease-firing signal. The order to cease fire is normally given by sounding a special signal consisting of a loud, low-pitched, penetrating buzz produced by an electrically driven device, in addition to transmitting the order in words. This signal may be transmitted over independent reproducers at the mounts or turrets, or, as in the case of dual-purpose mounts, over the same loud speakers as those used for the 17MC. In certain machine-gun systems this circuit can be so interconnected with the headsets of gun crews’ telephones that they will hear the cease-fire signals in their phones as well as over the reproducers installed at the mounts.

4. Salvo signals. The salvo signal is a variable-pitch buzz produced electrically by special apparatus. In turrets, salvo-signal reproducers are installed where they can be heard by the crew in the gun compartments. In dual-purpose battery mounts the signal is transmitted through the 17MC reproducers. There is no salvo-signal circuit for the machine-gun battery, as machine guns do not fire in salvo.

5. Intraturret emergency alarm. The intraturret emergency alarm is an independent circuit used to issue warning of danger or of serious casualties in a turret. It consists of a number of small electrically driven sirens which can be set in operation from any one of several stations in the turret. The Turret Officer’s booth has a switch for silencing the sirens after they have been set off.