Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Blackhawks move West

The 86th Infantry Division was my dad’s unit, at least the one he went into combat with in 1945.  He didn’t start out with the Blackhawks, but returned to the infantry when the Army Air Forces drastically reduced the number of pilot candidates.  In the summer of 1944, dad and the division completed their field training in the Louisiana maneuver area at Camp Livingston just outside Alexandria.  Next on the agenda was amphibious training in California.  That was scheduled for Sep 44 -Feb 45, which would have made them available for Operation Iceberg, the invasion of Okinawa in April of 45.  Adolf and von Rundstedt intervened in Dec of 44 though and caused a shake up in deployment plans as additional forces were rushed to the European Theater.  The Blackhawks were one such unit, diverted from their amphibious training in Jan 45 before it was complete. 

Looking for the move to Boston in the division records now at the National Archives at College Park, I didn’t find anything on that move.  But I did find three administrative memos that described preparations for the move west.  These memos were the instructions to the division components about which units and how many members and what equipment would be on which train on what date.  This was at least the second set of memos about the move as memo #30 of 2 Sep 44 rescinded and replaced memo # 25 of 21 Aug 44.   That earlier memo didn’t make it to the file box in the archives, so I can’t tell you what changed, or even if it was the first cut at the plan or the third one.  But we do have a record in memos 29 and 30 of what was carried out as evidenced by memo 1A issued on 9 Sep 44 at Camp Cooke detailing drivers to meet the twenty incoming troop trains.

So what did the Blackhawks move and how?  What did it take to move an Infantry Division in 1944?  What did they NOT take?  The division moved 9146 people (650 Officers, 8496 Enlisted) and their weapons in twenty one passenger and two freight trains.  They used 464 rail cars to make up those trains: 28 Standard Pullmans (26 Officer Capacity), 221 Troop Pullmans (39 EM Capacity), 43 Baggage, 42 Kitchen, 62 Box and 68 Flat cars.  On the first freight, 3 flats took 9 armored cars of the Reconnaissance Troop, 15 took 57 M10 trailers of the Division Artillery, 14 took all of the 37mm guns, 2 took 3 small arms repair trucks of the Ordnance Company, and one carried the Signal Company’s SCR-339 radio with trailer and the HQ company medium sedan.  The second freight carried 12 flats with 12 155mm howitzers and 12 M5 tractors of the 404th Field Artillery Bn.; 15 with the 36 105mm howitzers of the 331st, 332nd, and 911th Field Artillery Bns.(Link to militaryresearch.org 1944 TO&E 12 guns/Bn); and 6 with 4-ton trucks of the 404th Field Artillery and 311th Engineer Bn.  What they didn’t take was their trucks, half-tracks and jeeps.  Those evidently were assigned to the training centers and remained in place for the next division to roll through.  The Blackhawks would use the vehicles assigned to Camp Cooke for their next phase of training.

The advance party made up of 67 officers and 331 enlisted from elements of the division departed on 3 Sep 44 and arrived prior to 9 Sep.  They say an Army travels on its’ stomach and a portion of memo #29 bears that out, detailing who was to set up and run the two messes in the kitchen cars on the train and that the mess assignments would continue at the destination, Camp Cooke, until released to their respective messes upon the arrival of their respective units at the new station. 

The Army and the railroads choreographed the move to minimize congestion enroute.  All trains had to depart Livingston on the Missouri Pacific (SIMMS) and arrive Cooke on the SP.  In between, they took different routes.  Three Trains, numbers 1, MAIN 36485; 5, MAIN 36489; 12, MAIN 36496 CAMP LIVINGSTON -MP(SIMMS) - ALEXANDRIA-SP(TNO) - EL PASO - SP - CAMP COOKE
Five Trains, numbers 2, MAIN 36486; 4, MAIN 36488; 11, MAIN 36495; 15, MAIN 36499; 17, MAIN 36501: CAMP LIVINGSTON -MP(SIMMS) - KINDER -GCL - HOUSTON - ATSF - LOS ANGELES - SP - CAMP COOKE
Five Trains, numbers 3, MAIN 36487; 8, MAIN 36492; 14, MAIN 36498; 16, MAIN 36500; 18, MAIN 36502: CAMP LIVINGSTON -MP(SIMMS)- ALEXANDRIA - L&A - SHREVEPORT - T&P - EL PASO -SP - CAMP COOKE
Train number 6, MAIN 36490: CAMP LIVINGSTON -MP(SIMMS)- ALEXANDRIA - L&A - SHREVEPORT - T&P - FORT WORTH - CRI&P - AMARILLO - ATSF - LOS ANGELES - SP - CAMP COOKE
Two trains, numbers 13, MAIN 36497; 19, MAIN 36503: CAMP LIVINGSTON -MP(SIMMS) - ALEXANDRIA - L&A - SHREVEPORT - T&P - FORT WORTH - FW&DC - AMARILLO - ATSF - LOS ANGELES - SP - CAMP COOKE
Four Trains, numbers 7, MAIN 36491; 20, MAIN 36504; F1, MAIN 4843; F2, MAIN 4761: CAMP LIVINGSTON -MP(SIMMS) - ALEXANDRIA - LONGVIEW - IGN - SAN ANTONIO - SP(T&NO) - EL PASO -SP - CAMP COOKE
Train 9, MAIN 36493: CAMP LIVINGSTON -MP(SIMMS) - ALEXANDRIA-T&P - FORT WORTH - FW&DC - AMARILLO - ATSF - LOS ANGELES - SP - CAMP COOKE
Train 10, MAIN 36494: CAMP LIVINGSTON -MP(SIMMS) -ALEXANDRIA - L&A - SHREVEPORT - T&P - LONGVIEW - IGN - SAN ANTONIO - SP(T&NO) - EL PASO -SP - CAMP COOKE
The different routings resulted in this list of departure and arrival times:

Livingston
Cooke
ADV
ADV
31000
ADV
6????
F1
4843
71800
1
36485
111730
1
36485
80800
3
36487
112359
2
36486
81400
2
36486
120105
3
36487
81800
4
36488
121825
4
36488
90800
5
36489
122300
5
36489
91300
F1
4843
122359
6
36490
91900
6
36490
130545
7
36491
100800
8
36492
131830
8
36492
101300
9
36493
132245
F2
4761
101800
7
36491
132300
9
36493
101800
11
36495
142355
10
36494
110800
10
36494
150055
11
36495
111300
12
36496
150400
12
36496
111800
13
36497
151345
13
36497
120700
14
36498
151830
14
36498
121300
F2
4761
152359
15
36499
121800
15
36499
160515
16
36500
130900
16
36500
161430
17
36501
131300
17
36501
162355
18
36502
140900
18
36502
171430
19
36503
141300
19
36503
172015
20
36504
151000
20
36504
190030


I’ve compiled a spreadsheet showing the details of the trains and posted it to Google Drive.  You may download it by clicking here: 86 ID Livingston-Cooke.XLS.  Click here for copies of the de-classifiedadministrative memos.

I hope that you will find these tables both interesting and useful.  It took a lot of rolling stock to move a division, even one without its organic vehicles and just its weapons.  Also note that the division did not yet have its attached tank or tank destroyer battalions, only its recon troop of armored cars. The Freights were scheduled for 128 hours enroute.  The 20 passenger MAIN trains averaged 83.4 hours ranging from a 79.5 to 90.9 hours enroute.  



John Barry
Lovettesville VA
1102 JST 9 Aug 2019
44 years to the hour of the second event that saved my dad’s bacon in WWII.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

MI 2574


From files at the National Archives in Record Group 336, Records of the Office of the Chief of Transportation is a Government Bill of Lading for a dedicated military equipment train moving the guns and vehicles of the 941st Field Artillery Battalion in September 1943.  GBL# WQ12812080 documents the shipment of 24 4.5 inch guns, 25 4 ton trucks, 45 2½ ton trucks, one wrecker, and 67 trailers from Camp Polk, LA to the Desert Training Center, Freda, CA.  The shipment originated on the KCS and terminated on the Santa Fe.  The routing on the GBL was KCS CRIP ATSF.  Camp Polk is at Leesville, LA served by the  KCS.  Actual route traveled was very likely Camp Polk-KCS-Howe, OK-CRIP-Amarillo-P&SF-Clovis-ATSF-Belen-ATCL-Freda.  On the Santa Fe, the train would have operated Amarilo-State Line on the P&SF Plains Division thence ATSF Plains Div to Clovis then Pecos Division to Belen, ATSF Coast Lines Albuquerque Div to Seligman, Arizona Div to Cadiz then the branch line to Freda.








Commanded by 1st Lt Robert Fine, a force of two Sergeants, two Corporals and 21 privates guarded the shipment enroute.  The train was a dogs breakfast of cars consisting of one unknown DT&I car, 2 drop end gondolas, and 48 flat cars of various lengths ranging from a large Santa Fe Ft-T at 60 feet to a diminutive 33 foot D&H car.  Gilbert-Nelson distribution was not evident in the make up, nor was the typical home rode percentage.  PRR provided 6 flats, RI 5 (just under 10% of home road cars while on the Rock), CNW and CP 4 each, MILW 3.  Eight roads provided two cars each: ACL, ATSF, CTSE, GN, NP, SOU, NYC and UP.  Fifteen other roads had single cars in this movement. 

For those of you interested in modelling military equipment, the Bill of Lading shows the Army Vehicle registration numbers so you can get the right deuce and a half on each flat car.  I’ve also attached a link to a spread sheet of the cars and loads.  Click here to view/download

John Barry,
Lovettesville VA
1 August 2019,
20 years to the day after I entered the Air Force Retired List.

Update as of 2258 EDT 4 August
Thanks to a note from Jim Betz, I've updated the text above to reflect the correct owner (KCS) of the trackage at Leesville, LA.  In the wee hours of the morning, I had conflated the L&A at Alexandria from my research into another move from Camp Livingston.

Answering a query from John Thompson, I discovered I missed a NYC car in the spreadsheet I originally posted, there really were 52 cars in this shipment.  I've uploaded a corrected copy that also has a second page with the vehicle registration numbers.  I made two corrections of apparent typos on the GBL to more closely align the 2.5T truck serials with the pattern present with the others shipped.  Also, one of them seems to be missing a digit. No way to infer a correction for that. 

In answer to his question, the 2.5T trucks are probably the "closed cab" variant of the GMC CCKW as the "open cab" version was just coming into production in 1943.  Not sure whose 4T truck would have been used at this point in the war.  Modelling suggestions for the vehicles and flats welcomed.  For the ATSF Ft-N, you can use the original length Sunshine kit, not the stretched 53 ft versions.  I Know of no available source for the 60 foot Ft-T.  Bowser has a PRR F30a.  F&C has a twofer kit of the PRR Fm.

John Barry
Lovettesville, VA
2019082300EDT


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Car Cards for the North Bay Lines



I’ve had a pleasant day giving Raisin his Christmas treat of apple cider and working on the blank forms for my car cards. 

It turns out that both Car Card & Waybill (CC&WB) and Tack on car are prototypical car forwarding methods used by the Santa Fe.  Yard clerks did tack route cards onto the 1:1 scale box cars, so an appropriately labeled thumb tack on an HO car would at least have a basis in prototype reality.  That said, that thumbtack looks grossly oversize and detracts from the visual appeal of the model.  Don’t think I’ll be using that method. 

Which brings us back to CC&WB.  Most of us are used to the Old Line Graphics CC&WB system with the two/four sided way bill sliding into a car card pocket.  I’d like to use more prototypical paperwork for my car forwarding, along the lines of what Tony Thompson and others have been advocating over the last decade or so. As it happened, Santa Fe, used an Empty Car Bill and Home Route Card, Form 1850 Standard, to get those pesky foreign freight cars off the railroad and back where they came from.  The destination agent was responsible for filling out the 1850 from the inbound waybill so the car could be properly routed home.  Using a bit of modeler’s license, I am shifting that responsibility to the originating or junction agent so the card can take the place of the Old Line Graphics car card and always move with the car. 



Form 1850 Standard

I am fortunate that the 1944 version is among the forms published in the Warbonnet a few years back.  I have duplicated it at ½ scale in Word and can print a sheet of eight blanks on a letter size sheet of cardstock.  In the same issue they also published a 1944 Meat Car Card. 



Form 1390 Standard

I have a few meat reefers that will originate off layout on the SP at South San Francisco.  The original was a little shorter than the 1850, so I was able to fit twelve into the same letter sized sheet.  And like the original, I will use green cardstock, which will help prioritize getting the empties home for another load.

Next, is a card for Consigned Empties.  The original Form 1851 Standard is white cardstock with green ink, something I can duplicate on a color printer.  That’s the good news, as is the twelve blanks on a sheet.  The bad news is that this form wasn’t in use during 1944, nor was it in the 1947 index of blank forms and the published example dates from 1965.  It is useful, though, for cars in assigned service and was a good idea.  Plus, it makes things more obvious to the casual operator, so with a bit more modeler’s license, I created a version as it might have appeared in 1944 by combining the elements of the 1965 version with the look of the 1944 Form 1850. I will use this version for the auto parts cars bringing Jeep components to the Ford plant in Richmond’s Inner Harbor.



Form 1851 Standard

(My interpretation of what could have been)
Next is a bit of speculation.  The 1947 index has a Form 1391 Standard, Empty Tank Car Card, listed right after the Form 1390, Meat Car Card.  I’ve not seen a real one, but would like to confirm my assumptions.  I modified the format of the 1390 to include the last contained lading, important for empty tanks, and eliminate the MCB classes, as a tank is a tank.  I’m not sure what color cardstock to use, green, buff, white, or some other color.  Below is my interpretation of how I think this Tank Card might have looked.  And yes, they were supposed to return on non-revenue waybills, but this specialized card could have served that purpose.



Form 1391 Standard




For now, I’ll run with black ink on green cardstock.  That gives the same sense of urgency and differentiation that the Meat Reefers get and facilitates the prompt return of a scarce, in-demand freight car.  In future posts, I’ll describe how I plan to implement the waybills to go with these car cards and also explain the Santa Fe way of labeling the myriad of forms that made the railroad run.  I think that using the specialized car cards that the prototype actually used makes a lot of sense and will contribute to that sense of time and place that I'm trying to achieve as the US gears up to defeat the Japanese Empire at the close of 1944.  Now if I can find suitable prototypes for locomotive and caboose cards . . .

Merry Christmas!

John Barry,
Lovettsville, VA

Thursday, November 29, 2018


In search of the Bx-35

Santa Fe purchased 500 single sheathed auto cars from the Pressed Steel Car Co in 1930.  They were essentially 50 foot versions of the Bx-11 and 12 variants of the ARA single sheathed 40’ box car design.  The cars had 4-5 recessed Dreadnaught ends with square corners, radial steel roofs, ARA steel underframes, hat section Pratt truss side frames, KC air brakes, Ajax geared hand brakes, double 6-7-6 Youngstown doors over a 12’ opening, and Dahlman 1-level trucks.   
Below is an in service photo of 66299 with a re-weight in San Francisco of 9-36.


Bob’s Photo

Santa Fe converted the entire class into Bx-35 box cars in 1940 when nearly all of the Fe-U’s became single door cars.  The seventeen cars in engine loading service remained as Fe-Us till 1943 when they too were converted.  All 500 Fe-U’s survived to become single door box cars. 
After the war, Santa Fe re-built the Bx-35s with steel sides and 8 foot doors and they ended up looking very much like the Fe-21s.

It’s been difficult to find photos of the single sheathed Bx-35 and so far, I haven’t found one of a complete car.  Absent a full body roster shot, the next best thing is a Jack Delano photo of an Fe-22 at the KC team tracks in 1943.  This shot shows a partial view of the A end of 150312.  The aux door is visible and appears to not have been changed from it’s Fe-U days, but may have been welded shut. 


Library of Congress, Jack Delano Photo 8d15156v



If any one has a more complete single sheathed Bx-35, please contact me at NorthBayLines@att.net.

John Barry
Lovettsville, VA
29 Nov 2018


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Santa Fe's San Francisco Fleet Handouts

I presented a clinic last week at the Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeler's Society at their 38th annual convention in Chicago.  I promised to provide the handouts electronically then had connectivity issues.  Well, that has been solved and the link to the San Francisco Fleet folder on Google Drive is below:


There you will find three PDF files with listings of the vessels and boat flats along with some selected slides from the talk that include a number of deck plans and other drawings. 




John Barry
Lovettsville, VA

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Railway Accounting Codes Revisited


Thanks to the new job I took in the fall of 2014, I now work about a mile from one of the best, most complete libraries in the world.  I learned about the Accounting Codes from Tony Thompson’s blog back in 2012 http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/08/railway-accounting-code-numbers.html.  Tony linked a PDF of the 1950 codes which I downloaded and cross referenced with the 1922 version I found on Google Books to come up with my best guess as to what was in effect during my modeling era of 1944 I previously wrote about them in 2014 http://northbaylines.blogspot.com/2014/01/interline-codes-what-are-they-and-where.html and posted a spreadsheet of those results linked in that post.

Recently, I obtained a 1949 edition of the Railway Accounting Rules and discovered the richness of the additional information in these volumes.  Seeing the changes of the Code list from 1949 to 1950 set me on a path to see if I couldn’t get my guestimated 1944 list validated or replaced with something more accurate.  Al Daumann was kind enough to send me copies of the waybill form from his 1946 edition, which was subtly different than those of my 49 edition.  That got me even more interested in finding the exact “right” stuff.  Google Books turned up a 1921 version which I downloaded and Hathi Trust had darned good search only coverage for my year of interest.  I was about to make an interlibrary loan request when I remembered that great institution up the Hill from work.  Capitol Hill that is.  Doing an online search of the Library of Congress told me that they just might have what I was looking for.  Detouring through the Jefferson Building on my way to Union Station (I ride the MARC into the city) I was able to request the 1940 through 48 editions and set up my card for online requests.  The reference librarian cautioned me that all of them might not be available, but ask for what I wanted.  When I went back two days later to view them two days later, waiting for me were the 1941, 42, 43, 44,45, 46, 47, and 48 editions.  All in pristine condition with tight spines and no wear. 



I came prepared with my DAD (Digital Acquisition Device, aka Canon 30D DSLR) and proceeded to photograph the Code Pages of several copies before the reading room closed and I had to catch my train.  I repeated with additional additions the next week, then discovered the book scanner.  I now have good quality PDFs of the Code listings and the Waybill forms by year.  More on the forms in a later post.

Well how did I do on the interpolation?  There were 705 Codes effective 1 Nov 1944 of which I got 497 correct.  I had 18 that had errors, 10 incorrect names and 8 wrong code numbers.  Three of those were kind of important for my RR C&O, SP, and Bamberger had differences in the Name and would have thus had incorrect waybill headers.  I included 11 that didn’t come until later, including the Oakland Terminal where some of my traffic originates.  And I missed 192 railroads with codes, the most important ones to my layout were the Alton, Yosemite, and Virginia & Truckee. 
I have entered the data into Excel and the correct 1944 Accounting Codes can be found at:
If you are interested in the codes for additional years between 1936 and 1950, let me know and I may be able to provide additional lists.

John Barry
Lovettsville, VA

NorthBayLines@att.net