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Old 07-29-2019, 02:07 AM
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Default Maritime Steam Engines

Here's a thread for these beasties; their installation, design, operation and upkeep.

Last edited by ChalkLine; 07-29-2019 at 02:59 AM.
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:27 AM
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Crewing:

The thing to remember is that coal-fired and wood-fired engines require extensive crewing.

First off, most of the historical steam engines pressed into service are completely out of date in regards to modern engine design and stem from a very early period of engine manufacture. This means they probably don't even have things taken for granted today such as enclosed engines and so require constant cleaning or a sump so they require constant oiling simply to operate.

The cleaner is called a 'Wiper' and is the lowest rung on the engineering ladder. His job is to clear away the build up of soot, oil and other gunk that permeates the old engine rooms. Note that you'd have to wear breathing filters to operate in those spaces now.
After that comes the 'Oiler'. A fairly technical job that requires extreme vigilance, on bug engines you can't have part-time Oilers or you risk engines breakdown or destruction. As the engines didn't have an enclosed sump to lubricate bearings this rating cycled around the various parts of the engine.
Then comes the 'Motorman' who actually operates the engine under supervision of an Engineer. Engines required constant adjustment to operate which is the duty of this position.
Now you've got the engine simply operating now you need to actually get it to do the work, this is the job of the 'Engineers'. These are the first engine-room officers. They calculate how many revolutions-per-minute are required to translate into vessel speed. They also oversee all other aspects of the engine-room.

That's just the engine.
The fuel for the engine wasn't automated as it is now either, and you had three ranks who operated and oversaw the process of turning fuel into energy.
The first is the 'Coal Trimmer' who physically brings up the fuel from the coal bunker to the fire box. This rating also ensured the fuel was evenly distributed to ensure trim of the vessel and put out the spontaneous fires that erupted in the fuel bunker. It was these ratings who also loaded fuel off and on to the vessel.
Secondly you had 'Stokers' (or 'Firemen') who fed the boiler with the actual fuel. Fuel has to be evenly distributed inside the firebox for effective operation and too little fuel could put out the fires and too much could endanger the boiler or make the engines over-run.

The other residents of the engine-room who can be lumped under boilermaker/machinist/fitter. This series of ratings repaired and fabricated everything else on the ship made of metal including plumbing, air-conditioning and structural assets in addition to the engines, boilers and generators. This is another constant job as maintenance was an ongoing job and not just on those periods when all the engine-room assets were taken offline for repair and upkeep.

Important maintenance crew are the Shipwright/Carpenter and the Electrician. Even entirely metal ships require a carpenter but normally the shipwright is also an experienced structural welder. With dedicated generators as part of the engineering section ships are one of the few installations in the Twilight War that benefit from abundant electricity, the Electrician oversees these operations. On smaller vessels these positions may not be full-time.

Last edited by ChalkLine; 07-29-2019 at 04:03 AM.
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:48 AM
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What's down in there?

Well, to start with the engines need fuel.
The Fuel Bunkers are either tankage or open. Open fuel bunkers need the crew position Coal Trimmer as noted above to load, level, drain, clean and transport the fuel forward to the Boilers. The Bunkers need a clear access way to the Boilers but must must be separate to avoid catastrophic fires. Usually they are separated by a sturdy sliding hatch that lets the Coal Trimmer through with their wheelbarrows. The bunker must be accessible to the exterior for the loading of fuel and cranes should be nearby. There must be firefighting gear available to extinguish fuel fires and pumps to drain water out of the fuel as it settles (must fuel arrives wet to some degree).

The Boilers supply energy to the Engines. Boilers are subject to catastrophic pressure explosions and should preferably be placed below the waterline to avoid enemy fire. Boilers are a pressure vessel and feed their energy to the engines by high pressure steam-lines. On smaller vessels the engines are sometimes directly coupled to the Boiler but this is not the preferred practice on large installations. The Boilers exhaust thick dirty smoke via an exhaust stack but also through the open hatch to the firebox and this greasy smoke coats everything on the vessel, raising maintenance requirements for all items. The Boiler Room requires firefighting equipment, pumps to remove water and ventilators to feed fresh air to the boiler and the crew.

Then there is the Engine Room. The engine translate energy from the boilers to the propeller shafts and the generator(s). Do not overlook the abundant electrical energy available to ships. The Engine Room is the simplest but most vital part of ship. The Generator Flat may or may not be part of this area. Once again firefighting equipment and pumps are vital.

Workshops(s) may be either included in the Engine Room or should be adjacent. The engines and boilers require constant supply or parts and maintenance provided from and fabricated in this area. There should be access to the exterior for introduction of raw materials.
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:59 AM
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There will be three rough categories of fuel available to the engines: wood, coal and oil.

Wood: Available everywhere there are trees and Twilight 2000 helps out by killing most of them. The best wood is clean, dry and cut into lumps about the size of a lunchbox. This is rare. Most wood is damp and needs drying or a very hot firebox to use. An overworked GM can simply mandate that the firebox is started on coal and then fed wood, giving a fuel consumption of 10%coal and 90%wood. Dirty wood covered in mud is usually at least 50% of your fuel load and cleaning this off can either add 50% time to your gathering of fuel or require another Coal Trimmer to each engine. Wood is susceptible to thermal spontaneous combustion, especially when drying.

Coal: This stuff is almost always wet but it drains readily. Like wood coal is susceptible to thermal spontaneous combustion and a constant watch on the fuel stores is vital. Coal is usually broken to the correct size for burning prior to loading. Poland, by the way, was an important source of coal in the late 20th century.

Oil: Requiring tankage oil is preferable for steam operation in nearly every way. The supply to the boilers is entirely automated and can be overseen by the engineers operating the engines. Fuel oil will not normally explode but does spread on the surface of water making shipwrecks more dangerous, especially is the oil is ablaze.

Last edited by ChalkLine; 07-30-2019 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 07-29-2019, 04:01 AM
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Here's an image that shows the significant reduction in cargo capability and just how much room a historical steam installation takes up.
In most cases a retro-fit (such as that on the Vistula Queen) simply wouldn't be possible

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Old 07-29-2019, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChalkLine View Post
There will be three rough categories of fuel available to the engines: wood, coal and oil.

Wood: Available everywhere there are trees and Twilight 2000 helps out bu killing most of them. The best wood is clean, dry and cut into lumps about the size of a lunchbox. This rare. Most wood is damp and needs drying or a very hot firebox to use. An overworked GM can simply mandate that the firebox is started on coal and then fed wood, giving a fuel consumption of 10%coal and 90%wood. Dirty wood covered on mud is usually at least 50% of your fuel load and cleaning this off can either add 50% time to your gathering of fuel or require another Coal Trimmer to each engine. Wood is susceptible to thermal spontaneous combustion, especially when drying.

Coal: This stuff is almost always wet but it drains readily. Like wood coal is susceptible to thermal spontaneous combustion and a constant watch on the fuel stores is vital. Coal is usually broken to the correct size for burning prior to loading. Poland, by the way, was an important source of coal in the late 20th century.

Oil: Requiring tankage oil is preferable for steam operation in nearly every way. The supply to the boilers is entirely automated and can be overseen by the engineers operating the engines. Fuel oil will not normally explode but does spread on the surface of water making shipwrecks more dangerous, especially is the oil is ablaze.
It's worth noting that Poland's coal is bituminous and lignite, which are lower in energy density than anthracite. Lignite's actually less energy dense than dry hardwood. I don't think Poland has much (if any) anthracite, which is slightly less energy dense than fuel oil, but more energy dense than gasoline.
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