The USS North Carolina was the first of the Navy's modern fast battleships. During World War II the USS North Carolina's primary mission was to support fast carrier task force operations. This mission was made possible by the ship's engineering and propulsion plant, which was capable of delivering a maximum speed of 28 knots.
The engineering division also provided the ship with electricity, drinking water, fire protection water, refrigeration for food storage, compressed air, and air conditioning for CIC and the magazines.
Living history engineers man three compartments during Battleship Alive weekends. These are the engine room, the machine shop, and the after steering compartment.
Fig 2 The main propulsion unit is shown on the right. The ship's four main engines delivered a total of 133, 000 shaft horse power.
Fig 3 One of the great joys of serving on the living history crew is meeting and working with veterans from the ship's World War II crew. The veteran pictured at right served as a fireman stoking the ship's boilers. The ship's veteran and the living history engineer are discussing the oil burner that fired the ship's boiler.
The machine shop (not pictured) provided the ship with the repair capability to remain at sea for extended periods. This was vital to the ship's wartime mission of supporting combat operations in forward areas. The machine shop was capable of turning out precision replacement parts from raw bar stock.
The engineering division also maintained the ships rudder and steering gear (not pictured). The steering compartment was manned during battle stations by the engineering and navigation divisions. These sailors monitored the hydraulic rams operating the rudders, and were ready to effect emergency repairs. In an emergency the ship could be steered from the after steering compartment.
Fig 1 Featured at right is an engineer manning the main engineering and throttle controls. The engineering control panel receives and executes orders from the bridge directing the ship's speed. The engineer on watch also monitors steam and oil pressures to maintain proper operation of the propulsion plant.