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OT ?: Building Liberty ships for the war effort, 1941

And to think....all those people who did that were racists born into white privilege and evil to the core.

So much nope. Many of those ships were welded by women and black folks. Those ships were built to *fight* racism and the original white supremacist movement.
We won. The white supremacists were the losers in that conflict.

After the war many of the liberty ships were mothballed on the Hudson River, just north of Stony Point. It was called the 'mothball fleet,' the idea being if another global conflict happened they could be put back in service. I remember seeing them as a kid years ago. The have since been broken up for scrap, but there is a monument to them, and the men who sailed on them, at the site. A pair of huge crossed anchors.

Hudson River Reserve Fleet - Wikipedia

The picture is pretty good, it's what I remember the scene was like that The west shore RR is still there, but the ships are long gone. A fair amount of USN 'memorabilia' is now in the area.
I knew a lady (tiny little grandma lady) who was a welder at the yard here. She told me they had little motorized carts the welder would lay face down on, the cart moved at the correct rate for the weld.
They started her on days, moved her to nights. One night she fell asleep and the little cart dumped her into the pluff mud past the end of the platform they were on.
She figured her husband was overseas in the army, and she needed to do her bit to help.
My dad was on the USS Culebra Island (ARG-7)in ww2. It was a internal combustion repair ship with a complete machine and electrical shops. In a real twist of fate the ship was scraped by Zidell in Portland. This was the same time we started up a motor rewind shop and Dad bought all of the rewind equipment he had used in ww2, and as a gift to me I received the radio receiver form the radio room and I got to see the ship my Dad was on in ww2...wish I could go back...Phil
An amazing example of the industrial might the USA used to have. Thousands built and many sunk, so we just made more. The McDonalds of the war effort...

One little problem - the grade of steel used in early ships wasn't very good at low temperatures, as you'd find in the North Sea. Not very encouraging when your ship splits in half without a U-boat anywhere nearby.

History of the Liberty Ships from World War 2: The Fatally Flawed Ships - Bright Hub Engineering

Actually I think the problem occurred farther north than that and the solution was a "belt" of additional steel in the middle. We had one, the S.S. John Brown, visit Boston some years back and it became part of the local attractions for the harbor cruises where they told passengers some of the history of Liberty Ships. AFAIK only three left in the world. They were lightly built and not meant to last.
The Liberty Ships were one of the first examples of mass-produced welded ship construction. Welding of ship's hulls was a relatively new practice, and there was an amazing man named Omar Blodgett who was quite an authority on welding engineers. Blodgett had quite a distinguished career in the welding industry, and he developed a lot of the weld procedures and practices that were used in the construction of the Liberty ships and subsequent welded ships.

The matter of Liberty ship hulls, as well as the T-2 tankers (also a WWII ship) breaking in two was a well known thing. Various factors were blamed for it. One was the fact that the long welded seams in the ships' hulls produced a lot of post weld stresses. Some welded ship hulls did sustain major cracking right in the yards where they were built, and some had it happen at sea. The fix was to 'break the weld seams' with a rivetted splice running perpendicular to the seams. Another factor blamed was the quality of steel, it being an open hearth steel and possibly prone to brittle failures, particularly in very cold waters. Still another factor was the practice known as 'slugging a weld'. When the plates were fitted up for a welded seam, particularly where welded modules of hull sections were brought together on the buildin g ways, there was often an excessive gap across the area of the welded seam. All sorts of boilermaker's tricks using 'steamboat' ratchets (screwed binder) and lugs welded on either side of the joints were used. Heating, beating, and jacking were commonplace to get the edges of the plates to line up for a welded seam. When the gap was just too wide for a root pass, some shipyard workers would 'slug the weld'. This practice consisted of finding any handy pieces of steel to throw into the bevelled vee of a weld seam that was too wide for the root pass. Pieces of welding rod with the flux beat off of them, bolts, scraps of steel the burners had trimmed off other plating, baling wire, nails, or anything else handy would be thrown into the 'valley' formed by the bevelled edges of the plates. The welder then cranked up the heat on his or her machine a bit, and 'burned it all in', hoping to puddle the whole mess together with the arc as well as tying it into the base metal. This practice produced some wicked weld defects such as lack of fusion, porosities, and cold lap. The welders buried the mess made by slugging a weld under the hot and cover passes. The problem is that the slugging extended into the root of the welded seam. It was usually just a question of time and how heavy the seas were before the slugged welded seams cracked and let go.

When I reported to work at the powerplant some 30 years ago, the then-head of the mechanical department was a nice gentleman from Maine. He told me a few stories of his life, and we got on quite well. One day, I assigned some mechanics to do some welded fabrication. As I watched them work, they had a sloppy fitup on one joint. They were about to throw some scraps of steel into the weld prep. I stopped them and told them this was 'slugging a weld', and was something I forbid anyone doing. They replied that the 'bull' fitter/welder in the plant 'did it all the time', and that the head of the mechanical department said it was Ok to do. I had a word with the head of the mechanical department about that. He told me that during WWII, he had been a HS student in Portland, ME. There was a shipyard in South Portland, building Liberty ships. This fellow arranged to work a 'split shift', going to HS for part of the day and working- as he put it- with all the women- on his split shift in the shipyard. He said they routinely slugged seam welds on the hulls, saying that there was a push to get the hulls launched as quickly as possible, and they were also paid by the inch of weld laid down. This same guy would have the mechanics at the plant save bent nails and straighten them for re-use and do other similarly crazy things.
Needless to say, the practice of slugging welds stopped right then. I found out the mechanics had even slugged welds on piping when the fitups were a bit too sloppy to get a root pass in.

On the matter of racism in the shipyards, there is an excellent museum dedicated to the WWII shipyard workers in Richmond, CA. I went there with my Mom when she was in her 99th year. The interpreter or presenter at that museum is a woman of color who was one of the shipyard workers during WWII. She told quite a story of what it was like to be a woman of color and work in the yards during WWII. She said there were two boilermaker's union locals- one white, one colored. Two different pay scales, and blacks were often assigned to the heaviest, dirtiest and most menial of the jobs. She told us that the idea that everyone was 'in it together' to work for Victory, was kind of a myth as there was always an undercurrent of racial tension in the yards. This woman was into her 90's sharp as a tack, and quite a good presenter. It's worth the trip to that museum, and hopefully, that woman is still able to make her presentation.

In a similar occurence, my cousin George went to work at Federal Shipbuilding in Kearny, NJ during WWII. George had welded in smaller shops and had an ASME welder qualification for pipe welding in the 6 G position. George had also boxed as a lightweight during the Great Depression as a means to feeding his family. George reported to work at Federal Shipbuilding on the night shift. The foreman told George that, as a new hire, he would be paired up with an experienced hull welder to learn the ropes before he'd be allowed to test as welder. George was introduced to his working partner. The working partner heard George's last name and said: "F--k you, I ain't working with no sheeney bastard." George needed the job, so took that insult. They went to the ship they would be working on, and the partner kept throwing anti-semitic insults at George. At one point, the partner hollered at George to get his welding lead pulled up and brought to where they were going to be working. George pulled the welding lead and when he got the bitter end of it, there was a twist lock connector. George whipped the lead and the connector caught his working partner in the face. No serious damage done, but the partner told George he was dead meat and was going to clean the parking lot with him when the shift ended. George said that was just fine with him and he was looking forward to it. Word spread through the shipyard like lightning that there was going to be a fight in the parking lot come quitting time. George's partner was a big ox of a man and everyone figured he'd make short work of George. Come quitting time, they met in the parking lot and the men coming off shift formed a ring. George said his partner was a big slabby guy, slow moving but with plenty behind his punches and a long reach. So, George, being a lightweight, used his footwork and danced around the guy, who failed to really connect. When George saw his opening, he took it, using a combination of punches to deck the guy and KO'd him. The antisemitic ox was down for the count. Funny thing about fist fights like this (having been in a similar situation). All the toadies and people who were taking the side of the bully or local tough guy often 'flip' and want to buddy up to the winner- even if they were openly knocking him or at least not being particularly welcoming or helpful to him prior to the fight. George said that is just what happened. The ox was laying in the cinders of the parking lot and the guys who'd been rooting for him and assuring each other that George was going to get carried out feet first were suddenly befriending George.

George came into work the next night and was told he was suspended for 10 days for fighting. The foreman said this was a formality, and that when George came back, he'd have a much better partner and no further problems. George welded at Federal Shipbuilding thru WWII. He was a bit crazy, and used to keep a couple pair of boxing gloves hanging in his business (he got into auto glazing after WWII). He'd offer to put the gloves on and go a few rounds with anyone crazy enough to entertain the idea.
On another occasion, George was in his auto glazing shop when a tough local hoodlum came in, calling George a Jew Bastard and similar epithets, demanding George pay 'protection'. George told the guy where to get off. The guy pushed George against a workbench before George could throw a punch. George grabbed a mallet off the bench and swung a nice overhand blow, hitting the hoodlum in the collar bone. The hoodlum hit the floor screaming in pain. George picked him up, dragged him to the door of the shop and threw him out onto the sidewalk, then came out and literally kicked the guy's ass into the gutter. A few days later, some guy in a nice suit paid George a visit, apologized for what had occurred and told George to come over to where he hung out and have coffee anytime.

George like to smoke cigars. When I was a teenager, I noticed he cut his cigars into two halves, putting one half in his shirt pocket. I asked George why he did this. He told me he developed the habit working in the shipyards. He loved his cigars, and he cut them in two so he could keep half of his stogie clamped in his teeth to chew on or smoke when he threw his shield down.

George lived to be 86, despite his wilder ways. When he died, his family put a bottle of his favorite whisky and a box of his favorite cigars into his casket. Not a bad run for a tough sometime boxer and sometime shipyard hull welder.

Sometimes, it takes force to teach bigots a lesson. More often, just getting on a job and doing it the best way you can without bitching or fuss, and being the best in the shop or department or plant is what it takes. Bigots begin to see that the person they were against working with is just there to do a job and not looking for any advantages or special treatment.

I was at a local shipyard just this morning to test a welder for them. Being an American Welding Society Certified Welding Inspector, I have a lot of fun in my 'retirement'. The shipyard called me because they have a job to build an elevated pilot house for a tugboat. The pilot house and supporting structure are being fabricated out of aluminum, and the customer as well as the American Bureau of Shipping, want to see a qualified weld procedure and records of welder qualifications.
I got to the yard and was introduced to the welders. One is a recent immigrant from South America, the other is an American man of color. I had them running their rest plates in vertical and overhead positions using GMAW (also known as MIG). These guys were great to work with and excellent welders. I will likely do the guided bend tests on their plates in the next day or two. I am awaiting the actual 'procedure qualification' test plates which one of the welders will run for me. Those plates go to a lab for lab testing including a tensile test and macroetch. Shipyards are still a place where the work is heavy, dirty, and potentially dangerous. This particular yard now uses a system of inflatable rubber cylindrical bags to launch large barges and tugs that they build, to haul them out of the water. They also have an incredible plate shop with a CNC cutting table as well as a CNC plate seam welder which can sub arc weld plates 40 feet wide in something like 14 minutes per side.
Vaccuum grabs for the bridge crane to handle the large plates. Instead of gantries and hammerhead cranes like the WWII or traditional yards used, construction type cranes which include a Manitowac Vicon crane and a Manitowac 'Ringer' are in use as well as a number of rough terrain hydraulic cranes.

Needless to say, I enjoyed myself working with the welders at the shipyard this morning. It is kind of the story of our country, seeing the diversity of people in the yard, and seeing them all working at something 'real'.


I had occasion to visit Yancey Machine Tool Company in Portland, Oregon some years ago. We were buying a LeBlond heavy duty 25" x 96" lathe from them. Their shop was located just up the street from where Ziddell's yard had been. Unfortunately, the area was getting yuppiefied, and Zidell's site was being redeveloped into trendy shops and eateried. Yancey was likely going to have to move out as they leased their building.

I did see a youtube about cleaning up the waterfront in that area of Portland. Amidst the muck and debris on the bank there was a section of a connecting rod from a Liberty ship's main engine, cut across the shank of the rod with a torch. The portion laying on the bank was the lower (big) end of the rod, which has a flat flange to which the crankpin brasses had once been bolted. Sad to see that kind of workmanship cut asunder and used as fill material.
Today was a nice day for a ride, so I rode out to the former site of the mothball fleet and took a few snapshots. The anchors, are not crossed, they sit alongside a large rock with a bronze plate that tells a story. In one of the photos you can look across the Hudson River to the east, and see the containment domes for Indian Point two and three. Indian point one was originally housed in a long low structure that is now the spend fuel pool. In one shot you can just barely see the tracks for the West Shore railroad, which is clearly seen in the wikipedia article above. That must have been shot in the winter - there's no vegetation hiding the tracks as in my pictures.

Without any further eloquence:


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I was fortunate in getting to know Bob Yancey, however briefly. The man was amazing, and I learned a great deal from him. One of his most interesting and amazing feats was to develop a machine for the in-place machining of the turbine runners (aka 'water wheels') for the Three Gorges hydro project in China. The runners were too big to be machined in the turbine builder's works, so were shipped in pieces to the 3 Gorges site. There, the runner sections were welded together. Voith Hydro (if I recall correctly), the turbine builder, asked a German firm to submit a proposal for an in-place machine tool to turn the outer diameters on the runners as well as machine the shaft bore and do a static balancing. The German builders submitted a proposal, as well as a lead time, that was astronomical. I forget how Bob Yancey got into the picture, possibly thru a Canadian hydro turbine building firm in Lachine, Quebec. Mr. Yancey came up with a very interesting in-place machining center, using parts of old US WWII era machine tools and some new parts.

The way it worked was as an arm which rotated around the runner, kind of like a VTL or vertical boring mill in which the work was stationary and the rail and tool slide revolved around the work. Mr. Yancey used a bed section from a WWII naval gun lathe, the tool slide and some other parts from a planer, and the table from a large gear hobber. The gear hobber table spun the lathe bed section as the 'beam' off which the rail and tool slide hung. The center of the hobber table was fastened into the rough bore of the runner. Once the outer diameters were machined, these were used to setup off of and clamp the hobber table and drive on a kind of 'spider', so that the shaft bore could be machined. When all the machining was done, the static balancing was done with the same machine tool. The runner had been set on a stand with 4 legs, and a load cell was under each leg. The load cells gave the load on each leg. This was input to a computer program, and the program then drove the cross feed of the machining center. The machining center machined extra meat off the crown of the runner, as required to achieve static balance- all 4 load cells reading equally. The actual shape of the machining to get static balance was a continuous curve, getting lighter over the areas where the load cells showed the runner to be heavy, and vice versa.

Mr. Yancey showed us a video of the machine working, and it was amazing. He was a humble man, and not one to blow his own horn about it. I found him to be an incredible person at all levels, a real fine old time gentleman, and he was always there to help us out of we needed him. We bought two LeBlond lathes through him, one being a wide bed LeBlond which swings work 60" over the cross slide- now up at Cardish Machine Works in Watervliet, NY. We also bought a used planer mill (Cincinnati Hypro) with two Yancey milling heads on it- which is how I made Mr. Yancey's acquaintance.

Another of Mr. Yancey's favorite sort of projects was to get hold of US made planers, the bigger and heavier the better. He and his shop would rebuild these planers and convert them into CNC machining centers to suit customer's needs. One type of modified planer that he built was a CNC machining center to handle heavy structural steel, machining some special connection surfaces, and also CNC drilling the connecting bolt holes.

Mr. Yancey's shop had built their own milling heads for use on planers, making them into planer mills. These heads were a combination of backwoods ingenuity meets the Pacific Northwest. The motors on the heads were special saw arbor motors used in lumber mills. The primary reduction gearing were new ring and pinion sets used in the rear ends of Dodge trucks. The speeds on these milling heads were changed very much like the 'quick change' rear end gearing used in 1/4 mile dragsters. Yancey Machine Tool produced their own hobbed spur gears and had them heat treated. In order to change spindle speeds, you opened a gasketed door and simply slid the gearing on or off splined shafts to get the speed you needed. There was an interlock so the spindle motor could not be started if that door was opened. There was a small high pressure oil pump which sprayed oil on the gearing, hence the need for a gasketed door. The milling heads had a 50 spindle taper and were quite rugged.

Mr. Yancey told me a bit about his life, and it is worth repeating here. He was born in rural Arkansas, and one of his first jobs as a boy was to go around with his uncle in a mule-drawn wagon, collecting edible garbage from restaurants. This was fed to hogs they were raising. Mr. Yancey got his start hanging out at the local blacksmith shop, and learned from the blacksmith. As a boy, he wanted to make a hunting knife, and the blacksmith was visited by a travelling salesman who sold supplies. I asked Mr. Yancey if he was referring to a 'drummer', and he laughed and said that was the case. The drummer sold Mr. Yancey a piece of good tool steel. Mr. Yancey forged his knife under the tutelage of the smith, who taught him about forging and heat treating. He worked as a mechanic in the area, and when WWII broke out, took a job in Bremerton Naval Shipyard. I asked if that is where he learned the machinist trade and developed his knowledge and love for heavy machine tools. Mr Yancey explained he actually worked as a diesel mechanic on the busses which transported shipyard workers and naval personnel within the yard. When he had a spare moment, he would go hang out in the heavy machine shops, watching, learning, and asking questions. He apparently soaked up an incredible amount of knowledge. When the war ended, he stayed on the west coast and worked his way through some machine shop jobs to the point of owning his own shop. The business grew, and it was always run by Mr Yancey, his wife and two sons with a few other employees. Mr. Yancey was a man of the highest ideals and principals, and he was one of those people whose word was as solid or moreso than a written contract. He was unsparing in his advice and help when we needed him, and a square shooter at all levels. We don't see his type any too often, and even less so as the years have passed. We are the poorer for it.
The book, "Freedoms Forge" goes into great detail about the design and build of the Liberty ships. The book stated that the ships were designed and built for just a single crossing of the Atlantic. The main reason was that the vast majority were never expected to make one crossing due to the U-boat menace. And, as it turned out, they might have sunk on their own. The book also goes into great detail of the lives of Henry Kaiser, the father of the Liberty ships and William Knudsen, the architect of the American industrial war effort. It was aid that "Fightin'" Bill Knudsen also kept a pair of boxing gloves in his office to settle arguments on the shop floor. He was a professional boxer before becoming a top notch tool and die maker, paving his way to become Henry Fords' right hand man before being stolen by General Motors and then the President of the United States to run the industrial war effort.

Emmet Blodgett.....I have a copy of one of his older (when still in Duluth)
articles, explaining about low impact numbers for 6012 rod.

BTW ever read the charpy numbers for 6010 rod "as welded" weld deposit ?
The numbers are lower using straight polarity.
The amazing thing about the liberty ships wasn't just building them. Its also the lead up to being able to make them, they had to build the entire ship yards from scratch, and build entire steel plants to produce enough plate to make them. Then they needed engines... Its mind boggling what they got one in the time frame they did.

The book, "Freedoms Forge" goes into great detail about the design and build of the Liberty ships.

Fantastic book, a must read.
Far as I know,the idea of the Liberty ships came from a British contract to build a class of standardised ships in US yards,using the $500 million line of credit the British had obtained from US bankers....cost was around $5 M each ....the money was needed for arms too,and soon ran out.....so the US decided to take over the program ,but with a drastically changed design......The British had demanded a ship built to commercial/Lloyds survey standard,the US govt simplified that with a design that was basically a box with one sharper end ,and made as cheaply and quickly as possible.
That originated from the US Neutrality Act of 1937. After WW1 congress was pretty hard on the arms dealers, public opinion pushed the US to be neutral so the Dept of War suffered. Once things started to get crazy in Europe a new act was passed by Congress in 1937 which allowed foreign nations at war to purchase materials (except for arms) at the Presidents discretion so long as they were paid for in cash and exported on non US vessels. And so was born the "cash and carry" standard. The ink was hardly dry when Churchill started a buying spree. Time passes and the act was revised again in 1939 to allow arms. In late 1940 Churchill had to admit to Roosevelt that the British treasury was going to become insolvent and very shortly would no longer pay cash (gold) for their orders. That is when FDR got Lend-Lease passed.
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I found an interesting youtube of a documentary film: "Shipbuilding in WWII- Birth of Victory". It is about an hour long and give a history of the Kaiser-Richmond (California) shipyards. These yards were built on marshland and tidal flats in record time. A fourth yard was added, requiring levelling an outcropping of land. The building of Liberty Ships is touched upon, with the record breaking build time of the SS Robert Peary. The bulk of the film focusses on the production building of the Victory Ships, as well as touching on the building of troop ships and LST's.

The film is a kind of "sanitzed" documentary, touching on the high points. The number of people employed in those shipyards at peak was something like 94,000. There are shots of the various administrative offices- payroll, War Bond Sales, health care benefits (from which Kaiser Permanente emerged to survive to this day in California). There are also some shots of the welding of the hull sections, and the narrator notes that 'a shipyard welder could be trained in as little as 6 days' for simpler work'. Long flat seams were submerged arc welded, but the greater bulk of the welding was all done by stick welding. Batteries of the old Lincoln motor-generator welders may be seen in some of the sequences. Hot riveting is also shown as it was still used for certain seams on the ships. This was probably the riveted transverse bands to 'break' the running weld stresses. The automated and semi-automated oxyacetylene cutting of the steel plates is also covered in the film.

I found myself wondering about the whole shipyard, from human resources to the actual building processes. Acres of drawings produced by legions of draftsmen, translated into templates in the mold loft so the plates could be burned to shape and formed as needed. So much depended on individual human beings. Tracking a person's employment record, training, payroll, or tracking materials and equipment to build a ship, let alone the manual skills required is something we cannot imagine in this day and age. Computers and information technology made most of the 'front office' obsolete. CAD made the draftsman and the acres of drawing boards, let alone the acres of paper drawings and the 'blueprint department' obsolete. CNC added to thermal cutting (such as plasma arc vs oxyacetylene), also made a number of people and pieces of equipment obsolete. Perhaps the greatest gain would be in the hull welding. Imagine what a shipyard like Kaiser, building those same hulls, could have done if the welders were using processes such as FCAW (flux cored wire arc welding) ? They would have been laying MILES of weld seam, and with less problems from heat affected zones and resulting weld stresses.

Of course, OSHA would have a stroke at what went on in those yards. People 'riding the loads' was seen often in the documentary. In one yard, ships were being built in a graving dock (similar in principal to a canal lock). When the ship was ready for launch, the graving dock was flooded so the end gates could be opened to the harbor.
A large 'scale box' containing all the dignitaries, the sponsor of the ship, brass from the Maritime Commission, and probably a clergyman or two, bedecked with bunting, was swung off a whirly crane. This 'scale box' was swung into position over the water and at the bow of the ship for the sponsor to break the traditional bottle of champagne. Scale boxes to transport people on jobsites have been outlawed in the USA for some years now. The only way to lift personnel with a crane is in a 'manbasket'- an OSHA approved small 'cage' which includes a test weight pinned to its bottom. Before anyone can be lifted and transported in a manbasket, the basket plus its test weight has to be lifted by the crane that will be lifting it for working purposes. Once the test lift is made, the basket is lowered to the ground, weight unpinned, and the people needing transport in it can board. They must all be wearing fall protection harnesses, with their lanyards made up to the hook of the crane.
Imagine about 50 people in suits and dresses and dress uniforms all in a scale box with a roof over it (per OSHA as protection from stuff falling on them), all in fall protection harnesses with lanyards all clipped to the hook of the crane. A tangle would be an understatement, a clusterf--k would be more precise.

We rose to meet the need for ships in WWII, just as we rose to meet the need for war material, ranging from uniforms, rations and small arms to tanks and artillery and so much else. I know there is some doubt of the USA could perform a similar feat in these modern times, since so much of our industry is offshored, and major industrial units in the USA are foreign owned. I tend to be optimistic, believing that with modern manufacturing methods, let alone the different requirements of modern warfare, we could again mobilize and meet the needs. Remember that in WWII, the USA was coming out of the Great Depression. People were anxious to get a good job in a place like the shipyards or other defense related industries. People were available and willing to relocate. With modern manufacturing methods, let alone the changes in warfare, nowhere near the numbers of defense plant or shipyard workers would be required.

The biggest need we rose up to meet was the need for people for our armed forces. There was a draft, but record numbers of people volunteered for military service.
Yamamoto summed it up best, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Realizing the US Navy's carriers, which was the real target of the attack, were out at sea, Yamamoto knew the war was going to be a long, hard fight. He had studied in the USA, and knew more about the USA than many of his compatriots. His remark was: "We have awakened a sleeping giant". The 'giant' that was the USA woke up quickly, and responded even quicker, as this documentary about the building of Kaiser Richmond Shipyards brings out. Without today's hydraulic excavators and all terrain hydraulic cranes, without 'total station' surveying instruments, and seemingly without even chain saws, the shipyards were build in record time. The film shows men using two-man crosscut saws to cut timber pilings, which a chainsaw would have made short work of. There was no shortage of willing workers and willing members of the armed forces, which was the real "sleeping giant" that Yamamoto referred to.