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I learned something today I never knew about and never noticed on ship photos before.  Between WWI and the beginning of WWII all battleships had these "clocks" on the main mast.  But if you look closer they only go to ten.  They are range clocks.  The small hand pointed out thousands of yards and the large hand hundreds of yards.  After the optical range finders determined the range the figures went to the range clocks.  As the ships started shooting at each other when a ship got a hit the other ships could look at the range clock and determine the range of the successful hit and adjust their ranges to the same distance.  Primitive radar and secure ship-to-ship radio communications made range clocks obsolete early in WWII.


Edited by Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933
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Larsen, thanks very much. I had completely forgotten about these range clocks. I learned about them in Gunnery School but the discussion on the was literally a paragraph description. 

Anyway, here is some more info. 





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