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USS Enterprise CV-6
The Most Decorated Ship of the Second World War

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Operations Manual Chapter 9 - Ship Control

Besides containing considerable detail on steps to be taken to maintain control of the ship through various emergencies, this chapter of the ship's Operations Manual also contains useful information regarding Enterprise's performance characteristics.

Operations Manual provided courtesy of CDR Art Burke (U.S.N. Ret).

  1. Tactical Data
    1. Rudder angles are designated as follows:
      • Standard Rudder - 8 to 10 degrees (depending on force and direction of wind).
      • Full Rudder - 32 degrees.
    2. Except in an emergency rudder angles greater than twenty-five degrees shall not be used while backing at full speed.
    3. A table showing the tactical diameter, advance and transfer of the ship at various rudder angles and speeds, both in going ahead and in going astern, and distance moved in bringing the ship to dead-in-the-water shall be kept on the navigating bridge for the use of the Officer-of-the-Deck.
  2. Gyro Compasses
    1. There are two master gyro compasses, one in the central station and the other in the after gyro compass room. Underway both compasses shall be kept running. Normally, both will be shut down at anchor.
  3. Numerical Designations of Engineering Units
    1. The ship's engines and shafts are designated by numbers as follows:
      • Number 1 - Forward starboard, outboard.
      • Number 2 - After starboard, inboard.
      • Number 3 - After port, inboard.
      • Number 4 - Forward port, outboard.
    2. The boilers are numbered as follows:

      The amidship fire rooms, containing boilers 1, 4, and 7, are the control firerooms.

  4. Speed Control
    1. The speed RPM curve of the ENTERPRISE for normal displacement is as follows:
      RPM RPM
      KNOTSStandard1/32/3 KNOTSStandard1/32/3
      6541836 2118963124
      7632142 2219966130
      8722448 2320869136
      9802754 2421872142
      10893060 2522775148
      11983365 2623778155
      121073672 2724780160
      131163978 2825783166
      141244283 2926786173
      151334589 3027689180
      161424895 3128692185
      1715151100 3229695192
      1816054107 3330998200

      Unless otherwise ordered:-

      • Full speed is 5 knots more than Standard.
      • Flank speed is 10 knots more than Standard.
    2. Standard speed shall be established or changed only on verbal orders from the ship control station. As an executive signal for adopting a new standard speed, the engine order telegraph shall be rung. The correct phraseology when a change of standard speed is made will be, "The next time we ring the Engine Order Telegraph, standard speed will be ( ) knots.".
      1. The Engine Order Telegraph shall be considered the primary, and the Revolution Telegraph the secondary, of the two order systems.
      2. Any movement of the engine telegraph automatically cancels the revolutions indicated on the engine revolution telegraphs. Any particular number of revolutions then desired must be reset on the revolution telegraph and shall be followed by the engine room.
      3. If a casualty to the engine order telegraph renders that system inoperative, the revolution telegraph may be used to replace it. In such a situation the use of the following signals are prescribed:-
        Revolution IndicatorMeaning Revolution IndicatorMeaning
        000Stop 906Back one-third
        001Ahead one-third 907Back two-thirds
        002Ahead two-thirds 908Back full
        003Ahead standard 909Back emergency
        004Ahead full 
        005Ahead flank 
      4. It is desirable to emphasize that the engine order telegraph is the primary system and that the revolution telegraph is merely a convenience to the conning station. As a matter of custom, the conning station should, after manipulation of the engine order telegraph, reset the revolution telegraph to the number of revolutions required. The resetting of the revolution telegraph after a change of engine order is not made an absolute requirement because to do so might interfere, while maneuvering in restricted waters, with expeditious transmission of orders to main engine control.
  5. Changes in Speed
    1. The Officer-of-the-Deck should inform the engine room of prospective changes in speed and should give the engine room at least three (3) hours notice prior to anchoring, in order to light-off and cut in additional boilers if required.
      1. Maneuvering: - While maneuvering when getting underway with engines stopped, the Standard speed, unless otherwise ordered, will be 15 knots. Until the required RPM's are reached, the following steam pressures will be carried using No. 1 by-pass and nozzle No.8.
        • Ahead 1/3 - 40 pounds on H.P. Chest.
        • Ahead 2/3 - 80 pounds on H.P. Chest.
        • Ahead Standard - 140 pounds on H.P. Chest.
        • Ahead Full - 250 pounds on H.P. Chest.
      2. If RPM's corresponding to standard speed are reached they will thereafter be maintained.
      1. Backing:- Pressure in the astern steam chest rather than actual RPM's will govern when backing the main engines. When a backing bell is received, throttlemen shall open the astern throttle and admit a shot of steam into the astern chest to start rotors revolving. Then throttle down and maintain the following pressures :-
        • Back 1/3 - 50 pounds on Astern Chest.
        • Back 2/3 - 75 pounds on Astern Chest.
        • Back Full - 150 pounds on Astern Chest.
        • Back Full Emergency - Use all steam available up to 300 pounds on Astern Chest.
      2. When the RPM's corresponding to Standard speed are reached they will thereafter be maintained.
    2. Emergency:- Ringing the engine order telegraph three (3) or more times in rapid succession indicates an Emergency. The engines will answer the signal, as shown on the engine order telegraph as quickly as possible, being careful not to lower the steam pressure below 350 pounds.
  6. Acceleration of the Ship
    1. The following are the maximum accelerations permitted when two or more aircraft carriers are in formation (See BuEng letter CV/S41 (9-Yd) of 11 December, 1935) :-
      Speed Acceleration
      0 - 12 knots 4 knots per minute
      12 - 15 knots 1 knot per minute
      15 - 18 knots 3/4 knot per minute
      18 - 24 knots 1/2 knot per minute
      24 - 28 knots 1/4 knot per minute
      28 - 30 knots 1/9 knot per minute
    2. The following maximum accelerations are prescribed for the U. S. S. ENTERPRISE when acting singly. These shall not be exceeded except in an emergency.
      0 - 12 knots 3 knots per minute
      12 - 15 knots 1 knot per minute
      15 - 22 knots 1/2 knot per minute
      Over 22 knots Work up slowly not to exceed 1/5 knot per minute.
  7. Engine Casualties
    1. In case of a casualty in the Engineering Department necessitating the stopping of one engine, the engine room shall notify the bridge over the Maneuvering Circuit (1-JV or X-1JV) and increase speed of the remaining engines 10% in order that the resultant speed of the ship will be maintained. The Officer-of-the-Deck will then, if required, change the revolutions to maintain position.
  8. Orders to Engines
    1. The Order is in three parts. The first part defines which engine, "starboard", "port", or "all engines". The second part defines the direction, "ahead" or "back". The third part defines the amount. The term "both" shall not be used because of the similarity in sound to "port". The term "astern" shall not be used in referring to the engines.


      • "Starboard engine, ahead standard".
      • "Port engine, back one third".
      • "All engines, back full".
    2. An order repeated three or more times in rapid succession on the engine room telegraph means "Emergency."
    3. As soon as the engine room has correctly answered the telegraph as indicated by the telegraph and the shaft revolution indicator, the telegraph man shall so report.
  9. Steering Casualty Bill
    1. General
      1. A casualty to the steering system which in any way involves loss of control of the rudder must obviously be handled with the greatest possible promptness, and particularly so in confined waters or in the company of other vessels when the immediate safety of the ship may be at stake. The essential nature of adequate preparation to meet, this casualty is shown in recent instructions of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, which require, as a training drill, that during each watch underway steering control shall be shifted to one of the emergency stations except when the Commanding Officer considers such procedure to be inadvisable.
      2. There are five stations from which the ship can be steered, as follows:
        Pilot HouseBridgePilot House
        Conning TowerConning TowerConning Tower
        Secondary Ship ControlBattle TwoAfter end Navigation Bridge
        Central StationCentralA-535-C
        Steering Engine RoomTrick WheelD-524-E
      3. Communications can be had with all steering control stations over:
        1. Battle phone circuits (1-JV).
        2. Sound power phones (X-1JV)
        3. Ship's Service phones.
        4. In addition, orders to the trick wheel can be given over the general announcing system and the steering telegraph.
      4. A steering emergency alarm, which consists of a siren in central station and in steering engine room, can be operated from the pilot house, conning tower, secondary ship control, and central station. Steering engine room takes control immediately when this alarm is sounded.
    2. Loss of Steering Control

      Supercedes Articles 909, 910, and 911 G.O.B.

      Subject: Ship Control Casualties.

      1. Loss of steering Control. Steering control must be regained immediately. The procedure shall be as follows:
        1. Steersman:
          1. Actuate steering emergency alarm. (This alarm is a siren and the lever should be held down at least 10 seconds to insure sounding.)
          2. Sing out to 0.0.D., "Lost Steering control"
          3. Start indicating desired rudder angle with steering telegraph.
          4. Turn wheel until mechanical pointer is amidships preparatory to taking control again when the casualty is corrected.
        2. Steering Engine Room Watch.
          1. When siren sounds take control at once, regardless of rudder angle and without further orders.
          2. Apply rudder as indicated by the steering telegraph. Later, if so ordered by O.O.D., steer course specified.
          3. Start up standby unit and shift to that unit if necessary. If unnecessary to shift, stop the standby unit.
          4. When casualty is corrected, and when directed by O.O.D., place rudder amidships and relinquish control.
        3. Officer-of-the-Deck.
          1. Conn through steering telegraph.
          2. At discretion, order Steering Engine Room to steer specified course.
      2. Failure of Engine Order Telegraph or Engine Revolution on Telegraph.
        1. In case of casualty to either of these circuits, orders to the Forward Engine Room shall be given over the Maneuvering Circuit (1-JV or X-IJV or the SS Phone, informing the Forward Engine Room to disregard the telegraph
      3. Controlling Station Obliterated -

        Bomb or shell hit on bridge: no personnel remaining to handle casualty. Ship Control must be transferred quickly to another station under the direction of the Executive Officer.

        1. Executive Officer (in Battle Two).
          1. Sound steering emergency alarm.
          2. Order Steering Engine Room to steer a specified course. (Use 1-JV, X-1JV or SS phones).
          3. Direct Central Station to "Shift ship control to Battle Two". (Use 1-JV, X-1JV or SS Phones.)
          4. Order Steering Engine Room to relinquish steering control.
          5. After Battle Two has Ship Control (engine controls, steering control, and rudder angle indicator control), the Executive Officer may take station in or near the conning tower and shift ship control to the conning tower, as desired.
        2. Steersman, Battle Two:
          1. Turn wheel until mechanical pointer is amidships preparatory to taking steering control.
        3. Steering Engine Room Watch:
          1. When Siren sounds, take control at once and steer course directed by Executive Officer.
          2. When directed by Executive Officer, place rudder amidships and relinquish steering control.
        4. Central Station Watch:
          1. When ordered by Executive Officer, shift ship control to Battle Two.

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