Normandie Final Voyage photos


Status
Not open for further replies.

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
THe same photographer, Ralph Stein, returned from his European Tour at the end of the summer aboard the Normandie. Several of his other photos, taken from the tender, were posted earlier in this thread. In this shot, the Normandie demonstrates her famed roll, on a fairly calm sea. We can also see, at the end of the superstructure, just how visible the occupants of the ship's two most expensive suites, Deauville and Trouville, had become to anyone on the Tourist Class Sports Deck who cared to peer in their windows.
50872.jpg
 
May 12, 2002
211
1
183
Hi Jim,

That roll is incredible! It makes me wonder why anyone would sail on her (I've never been seasick yet, thank god, but that looks like it might have done it!)

Cheers

Paul
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
At that point in her career it was the vibration aft of the third funnel which kept bookings low in Tourist and Third class. The roll didn't really get a chance to discourage potential travellers until 1937 when a new propeller design eliminated the constant irritating vibration and gave passengers the opportunity to concentrate on the lateral motion.
happy.gif


But, seriously, there has been much written on the respective rolls of the Normandie and the Queen Mary over the years. Technically, I can't explain it, and the following is all paraphrased from sources which might not be entirely objective. The principal difference was that the Normandie was designed by a former designer of warships and had a below the waterline form emulating certain aspects of 1930s battleship design, which gave her the ability to roll with the waves but immediately recover, and to move forward through high seas without substantially reducing speed. Her roll, in short, was a sign of her built-in stability. The Queen Mary, on the other hand, had the tendency to hang on a roll and recover slowly due to a differing hull form. There are several classic accounts in print, written by frightened passengers and crew, of what happened aboard her during her first large storm- it did not seem like a fun experience- and the not well documented account of when she nearly capsized at sea during WW2 with a full compliment of troops aboard.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
If the experiences of the Italian Liners converted into aircraft carriers (Roma, for instance) are any indication, she would have had a brief unspectacular career.
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,668
881
563
Easley South Carolina
Like the Italian carriers, I don't think Normandie would have had a career at all as an aircraft carrier. This isn't to say that the conversion couldn't have been done. The Japanese did it with at least one of their liners that I know of and it was quite common to rebuild cruisers and even battleships as carriers, even to make conversions while still on the building slips.

The issue here is time.

The Navy would have had to raise the ship, repair the damage, completely redo the interiors for aviation repair faclities, storerooms, crew berthing, weapons magazines and handling areas, fuel bunkerage, and then add on the hanger and flight deck facilities and equipment that make a carrier what it is. By the time they could have done this, the war would have been over or so close to resolution that the ship would never have seen combat.

Besides, with the Essex class in production and the three Midway class ships in the graving dock, there was nothing a Normandie conversion could have offered that couldn't have been offered by a platform designed for the perpose that was already in production and combat proven.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
And would not the Normandie's dimensions (1021'X 118') have made her unsuitable for a carrier? I am not well-versed in that department, but I am assuming that carriers would have to have broader hull, in proportion to length, than the dimensions of the Normandie, for reasons of stability. I can't imagine that a ship which rolled to the extent that Normandie did in calm seas (as in the photos) would have made for an ideal landing strip.
 
Y

Yannick KERSERHO

Guest
Concerning the deck just near the windows of the appartement de Grand Luxe, it is important to notice that this space was allowed only for the persons travelling in this appartement de Grand Luxe; named "Promenade Particulií¨re"(cf official map of Normandie).

I don't think, Jim, regarding the Soucis of Details of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, that the passengers will pay a great price for having curious looking in their windows to see the inside bathroom LOL !!!

Concerning the change of propellers, just after the trial made after the change, a dive was ordered by commandant Le Thoreux and it was discovered that a propeller was missing. A wind of panic blown cause Normandie was schedule to leave Le Havre next day. It was immediatly decided to re-put an old propeller instead of the missing one and the vibrations, less strong than originaly, came back.
Later in 1937 new propellers with a new design were put on Normandie and the vibrations dissipear definitely.

But the important point is also that each great big liners had knew rolling problems. Normandie didn't escape to this rule...LOL !!!

Yannick
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
No, the passengers who would have rented Deauville and Trouville did not care for the arrangement at all. There is a reliable account relating how Marlene Dietrich crossed in one of the Sun Deck suites after the addition of the deckhouse and emerged on her first morning at sea to discover a large proportion of the Tourist Class passengers lining the rail three feet away from her awaiting her arrival. Being a good sport about such things I am sure that her immediate reaction was gracious- but I also notice that from that point on she travelled in the slightly less costly but considerably more private Rouen and Fecamp suites. If you look at photos from after 1937 you can see that the terraces were all but enclosed by some sort of structure which made them more like sun rooms than private decks. This assured privacy, but also sealed off most of what remained of the view- and the natural light- from the dining and living rooms of the two suites.

The construction of the Tourist Class Lounge deckhouse during the long refit of 1935-'36 was probably the most questionable decision CGT made concerning the Normandie. The rationale at the time was that the original lounge was inadequate, and that its space could be used for an additional 20 cabins once the improved upper deck lounge was completed. Of course, with her low passenger totals for 1935 (993 per voyage, which got worse in 1936- 908 per voyage) one wonders what caused them to think that there was not enough room in Tourist class. Might not the fact that tonnage was measured by enclosed space and the new deck house would allow CGT to advertise Normandie as not only being longer than the new Queen Mary but also larger have been a factor? Anyhow, the immediate flaw the deckhouse presented was that it took away the terrace from behind the Cafe Grill, and also blocked off most of its view- eventually the blocked windows were plated over. The long term flaw was that the people who rented the two most expensive suites had to deal with the fact that they were on full view of the new Tourist Class sports deck and in aural range as well. I've uncovered two 1937 letters in which occupants complained not so much about the lost view and the lost privacy but about the noise of having a functional and very active play area almost directly outside their windows.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
Here is a blowup from a photo I posted earlier on the thread which illustrates the problem. On the right we have two women on the Deauville private terrace for which they paid the equivalent of 5 years average American yearly salary (1936 when the photo was taken) and on the left, three or so feet away from them across a narrow areaway are two Tourist Class passengers watching them, or perhaps trying to see into The Most Expensive Suite Afloat. This was taken during a brisk September voyage- one can imagine the same scene when all 685 Tourist Passengers were out enjoying the summer weather.
50901.jpg
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
And if you look in the background on this otherwise unspectacular shot taken later on the same voyage, you can see (at the rear) to the right of center a lone woman looking in to the open windows of the Trouville Suite, while on the left, visible behind the young man playing Rings, two people look into Deauville, which suggests what daylight hours and warm evenings held for the occupants.

Also, if one looks at the faint horizon line directly above the hat of the woman sitting at the left, one can see that the Normandie was still rolling at this point in the voyage.

50908.jpg
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,668
881
563
Easley South Carolina
The Essex class carriers had a length to beam ratio of something like 8.81 to 1 whereas Normandie's was more like 8.65 to 1 which gave her a reletively beamier hull. I think any topweight issues would have been dealt with in the conversion had it been carried out. They would have to be for obvious reasons of aviation safety, especially when some carrier aircraft weren't all that forgiving, and some were downright dangerous to fly in their own right. Check out the history of the SB2C Helldiver for more on that. It wasn't called "the Beast" and "Son of a B***h Second Class" for nothing. A pilot trying to land a plane notorious for lateral stabilty problems doesn't need to deal with an excessively rolling deck.

But again, the real bugaboo was time.

Why bother converting a damaged vessel when undamaged perpose designed ships were already in full production and shipyard space was at a premium?
 

Dave Moran

Member
Apr 23, 2002
253
2
183
Remember that at the time she burned in 1942, the Americans were short of carriers, and at one point by the ned of the year only Saratoga was in full commission, with Enterprise reparing and most of the others sunk. It was also strongly belived that this was going to be a very long war - 1946 was the optimistic belief, IIRC.

Accordingly, the suggestion that Normandie was to be converted may have been to bolster morale - that more carriers were on the way and that she still had a useful role. The work does not appear to have pushed on with any speed, so it w as probably not terribly seriously contemplated.
 
Oct 28, 2000
3,242
550
388
Sow's ears can be created out of silk purses. On the Great Lakes the U.S. Navy converted two sidewheel passenger vessels into aircraft carriers. They served the Great Lakes Naval Training Station throughout the war. Many pilots got their first thrill of a carrier landing on one of those unusual ships.

-- David G. Brown
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,113
37
398
The aircraft carrier conversion was floated, so to speak, before the fire as well. John Maxtone-Graham talks about it at some length in The Only Way To Cross, but I have not found the source from which he drew that information. Since the rest of the book is well researched I don't doubt him on that point.

Today, if one passes through the the NYC passenger ship terminal atop the former Pier 88, one can find a tasteful plaque mounted on the Northeast wall of the waiting room commemorating the Navy divers-in-training who salvaged the Normandie on that site, which ultimately proved to be the Normandie's principal contribution to the war effort.
 
Y

Yannick KERSERHO

Guest
Thing promised is a thing due as we say in France. So here it is my little contribution to your great american forum and to you, that I consider as real very high specialist of Normandie. All my acknowledgment especially for Jim. This few total informations came from French books made with officials French sources of Information…

Concerning the total of passengers per voyage, it is important to notice also that the capacity of 3rd class space of Queen Mary was largely superior to the Normandie which was for CGT a "Haut de gamme" product very benefit also for the others ships of the fleet (in consideration of about 1340 passengers for Queen Mary against 953 for Normandie). The financial side of Normandie was never negative if you take the informations given by Mr C. Offrey showing that the primary product was better years after years.

From May 1935 to September 1939 Normandie has made 139 crossing (69 and half voyage cause the last one was without come back).The total is 45 765 tons of load and 132 508 passengers. This give aproximatly 330 tons of loads and 953 passengers per crossing. Mr C.Offrey add that anyone can be surprised by the low total of load but explains it was regarding the limited size of forward hold and accelerated rotations at the harbor head line.................
 
Y

Yannick KERSERHO

Guest
.....................

1935 : 18 crossings : % about 992 passengers per crossing (must be considered the 6 months, october 35 to april 36 of repairs)
1936 : 30 crossings and % about 909 passengers per crossing.
1937 : 36 crossings and % about 1042 passengers per crossing (37 542)
1938 : 34 crossings and % about 913 passengers per crossing. (31 075)
1939 : 21 crossings and % 891 about passengers per crossing (18 727)
For the last crossing regarding the coming war : 1477 passengers.
(For 1939Normandie was stopped at very beginning of September 1939 in New York)


As you can notice the difference of passengers regarding the number of crossing per year were not so dramatic as it was pleased to be wrote and said everywhere !!!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads

Similar threads