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MP Maritime Base

Page history last edited by Michael 1 year, 10 months ago


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     This is a generic description of the reasonably-standard base for Project landing ships and harbor-clearance equipment.




     This facility provides a safe storage environment for 100 persons, a landing ship, other small vessels, and equipment useful to the Project's goals -- in this case:


  • prompt coastal and riverine transport for the Project

  • clearing channels and returning docks to service

  • removing, refloating, and (if possible) returning pre-Atomic War vessels to service

  • security operations for Project and recruited personnel during the above

  • coordination with regional Science, Recon, Engineering, Agricultural, and MARS teams




     In 1979, the first prototype fusion generator became available to the Project, with regular production expected to begin in two years. Even before any fusion generators were mass produced, plans were made to incorporate nearly-limitless electrical power into every step of the Project's plans.

     After extensive surveys, four locations (two on the west coast, and two on the east coast) were identified and acquired by the Project.

     Initial excavations began in 1981; the rough internal shape of each base was complete in 1984, with the construction of structures and systems -- living quarters, fusion generators, environmental service systems, elevators and ramps, storage areas, cryosleep chambers, etc. -- beginning before the excavation was complete. The bases were finished and sealed in 1985.




      The dock level has the largest volume, and is several hundred meters long. The outer end of this level opens to the sea (once the base is fully activated); it's designed to store, and service, a landing ship and several other Project watercraft. Most of the supplies stored in the base are on this level.

      Above the dock level is a six-story structure, mounted on shock absorbers, and otherwise equipped to ride out earthquakes (and the Atomic War). The two elevator shafts are separated by the width of these levels -- there's a complicated bit of engineering to keep the elevators standing in the event of a major shock.


Excavation and Basic Structure

while this is a specific base, most of the layout is the same for all four bases


     The construction of each base required the removal and disposal of several hundred thousand cubic meters of rock; some of the rock was melted and fused along the sides of tunnels -- most of the rest was ejected into the sea. Each base also used twenty thousand cubic meters of reinforced concrete  -- mostly pumped in from outside the excavated cavern, with purified water produced from sea water. The concrete pumping took a couple of weeks, and could only reach up to 70 meters above sea level.


Somewhere there was a smallish ship (Liberty ship sized) with a concrete mixing and pumping system installed.


     Three enormous 6-meter thick concrete plugs were placed to keep the dock dry for at least two decades. The planners allowed for up to 2 meters of sea level rise in their scheme, along with storm or tsunami surges; the normal tidal range is about 2 meters.


this image shown at half-size

Click here for the full-size version;

note the 10 meter patrol boat to the left of the landing ship, and the V-150 on the dock;

the slanting dotted line is the rough course of the water pipes connecting to the sea,

and the vertical dotted lines show the location of the main elevator shafts. When viewed

at full scale, one of the basketball backboards can be seen.


Entrances and Openings


     There are five ways out of the base, but only one way in until the staff unblocks some sturdy barriers.


  • The underground dock tunnel does not extend all the way to the ocean -- it stops about 15 meters from the natural surface at the high-tide level. Twenty demolition chambers were cut into the rear of the remaining rock, to allow it to be blasted out when the base is activated post-War.


Looking inwards from the sea; note human figure for scale;

the overhead bridge crane has a 200-ton capacity.


    • The dock tunnel extends 34 meters above the pre-Atomic War mean sea level -- to accommodate wave action, tides, an estimated 2 meter rise in sea level, or a lightly-loaded ship. Designed water depth is 6 meters, so the actual excavated height is 40 meters. The water is 26 meters wide; with dock extensions on either side of the dock, the tunnel itself is 38 meters wide.

      • One extension is 10 meters wide, the other is 2 meters wide. The outer end of the 2-meter wide extension is a metal stair that climbs up to the level of the dry dock gates, where a metal catwalk continues to nearly the first of the concrete blast plugs; a ladder leads down to the floor of the tunnel.

    • A pair of dry dock gates, each 28 meters tall, can close off most of the interior; a Resistweave curtain above the gates allows the base to be reasonably (not perfectly) protected against contaminated air from outside.

    • The dock working surface, for vehicles to move on, is 8 meters above mean pre-War sea level (with the highest point of the ceiling 26 meters above the floor); the dry dock gate extends up to the height of the traveling crane. An electric winch and cable reel is built into the floor at the top of the "seaplane ramp".

    • an overhead traveling crane has its hook at 13 meters above the dockside floor, and the underside of its support beam 15 meters above the floor (thus 23 meters above the pre-Atomic War water level).

  • A 7.5 meter diameter entrance tunnel (though the roadway surface itself is only a bit over 6 meters wide), leading from the dock and logistics level, with a slight upwards slope for several hundred meters inland. The initial excavation for this tunnel (only about 3 meters in diameter) was the first part of each base to be constructed. At the inland end of the tunnel, a substantial steel, concrete and rock plug keeps inquisitive hikers and nuclear blasts out of the tunnel. A combination of winches, diversion holes, and pre-formed segments in the plug allow the base staff to open this tunnel (over a period of a few days).

    • a gravel-filled emergency cofferdam exit leads vertically upwards about 100 meters from the outer end of the big entrance tunnel.

  • A vertical shaft extends upwards to a low concrete bunker on the surface, camouflaged as an environmental monitoring well. There is a disguised hatch here, which can be opened in various ways. Two elevators serve this shaft:  one for exiting the base, and one for entry.

    • There's another gravel-filled emergency exit which leads off diagonally from near the top of the exit shaft.


     Several electrical conduits lead to locations on the surface at high ground above the bases, for the staff to install antennas and surveillance equipment after they are woken up. These end in concrete utility enclosures (similar to those found in sidewalks), buried a few feet below the pre-War surface.

     Two VLF receiving antennas are installed just below the ground surface, at separate locations.

     Similarly, ventilation shafts extend to within a few meters of the surface; but there is nothing above ground to indicate their presence. They would be opened with lasers once the base is in full operation.

     The rock disposal tunnels had several heavy stainless steel pipes installed in them, for filling or emptying the dry dock, and for cooling the base reactors; the tunnel was then filled with concrete and rubble after these pipes were installed. Heavy-duty valves, manifolds, and pumps are connected to the pipes at their upper end, on the dock level.






     At the dock level, there are two 50 megawatt Mk 3 fusion generators; on level 1, there is a a 3 megawatt Mk 2 fusion generator. The smaller reactor is used only for emergency power production once the base is activated -- when in "sleep" mode the base only requires about 1 megawatt of power, and the main generators are shut down.




VLF Radio


     There are two separate but identical VLF receivers. The base cannot (usefully) transmit VLF signals.


Satellite Radio


    A number of satellite communication transmitters and receivers are available, including man-portable systems such as the PSC-3. None of these can be used until the base is "opened up" (they don't work from underground). At least one 5 meter dish is intended to be installed on the highest point of local terrain.


Strategic Radio


     The base has about any likely sort of radio gear that could be useful, including direction finders. None of it functions until the antennas are brought out from the base and assembled.


Other Radio


     Besides the usual Project radio systems (such as the PRC-70), there are large (installed underground, with antennas to be brought up after the base is opened) and small (vehicular, or man-portable) radios, antennas and accessories (such as direction-finding systems). These systems cover military, marine, aviation, police and emergency, industrial, etc. channels and configurations.




     Before the base is "opened", it's a sealed environment; there's quite a large volume of air, and the power system can break down oxygen from water. Amine scrubbers, to remove carbon dioxide, are also available -- however, the base commander and medical staff would decide whether those were needed.

     The vehicle entrance and the dock tunnel both have "water curtains" to help remove external contamination from entering (or exiting!) vehicles.




     Dozens of Morrow Project PCs are provided. At least a couple of the other, more specialized computers (the Gavilan and the Compass) are also provided.

     A collection of every sort of laserdisc book library is available, plus a fair amount of "analog" books and documents, and a dozen or so laserdisc players.


Level Descriptions


     In order from top to bottom, the base's levels are:


  • Level 1:  security monitoring, fire fighting, emergency power (a 3 megawatt Mk 2 fusion generator), brig, and the decontamination chambers for entering the base from above.

  • Level 2:  the armory and other military functions

  • Level 3:  science and medical facilities:  this includes half-a-dozen multi-function laboratories, a pharmacy, three operating rooms, a radiology department, an isolation ward, a Bio-Comp, and four Med Units. There are 30 beds "built in", but equipment for another 100 patients is present in storage; they can be accommodated in open wards elsewhere in the base.

    • most of the cryoberths in the base are on this level.

  • Level 4:  administration, archives, planning, offices, minor technical shops (electronics and small fabrication).

  • Level 5:  living quarters, mess hall, laundry, and other habitation functions.

  • Level 6:  water supply, refrigerated storage, and environmental services.


Dock Level


     This level is divided into the "center bay" (with the actual dock), the "north bay" and the "south bay" (designations of the side bays change depending on the orientation of the base). There are two 50 megawatt Mk 3 fusion generators, pumps for the dry docks and two deep wells, two machine shops, a vehicle repair shop, and the tunnel for ground vehicles to enter or exit the base.

     The north bay and south bay each have a 200-ton capacity overhead bridge crane -- while it wasn't likely that anything quite that heavy would be lifted, having three sets of the same components made maintenance planning easier. They each have a floor space of about 11,000 square meters.

     A full-size basketball court spans the width of the dock hall; the backboards swing out of the way when not in use.

     Along one side of the central floor, there's a dock office area, and men's and women's shower and washrooms. All over this level are yellow telephone boxes, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, fire hose reels, first aid kits, etc.

     Both sides of the dock edge (where ships would tie up) have connection points for providing electrical power, fresh water, septic tank drains, etc.; along with the usual bollards and fenders for keeping ships or boats in place.


This image is also uploaded at Shipbucket scale.




     There are 420 cryosleep berths in each Maritime base, on level 3. The following is the "design" staff -- any actual base might vary a bit.


  • Ground vehicle crews total 112 persons

    • of which 53 are MARS-trained, 21 are in the Science branch, and 38 are in the Engineering branch.

  • Watercraft crews total 136 persons for the "assigned" vessels (including 5 MARS-trained and 7 Science-trained), and 40 more to be employed on projects along the coast (and as replacement crew for the base's boats and ship).

  • Medical staff consists of 25 Science-branch persons -- 10 doctors and 15 nurses, including pharmacists and other medical specialists. Many have multiple degrees and specialties. The staff are expected to manage 130 patients needing bed care. 

  • Engineering staff (including maintenance workers) total 30 persons, including an 18 member salvage team.

  • There are 15 persons on the supply staff (also part of Engineering branch).

  • The science department has 20 persons.

  • Finally, command, control, communications, administration and support staff total 16 persons (non-Branch).

  • There are 12 MARS-trained staff as "base security".

  • 14 people carried as "Omega team". This number is likely to vary downwards, as Omega assignment was always rather random.


     A generic base thus has a total of 70 MARS, 73 Science, 10 Omega, 247 Engineering, and 16 non-branch personnel.

     If Recon teams are added, they will usually reduce the number of Engineering- or MARS-branch personnel assigned to ground vehicles or watercraft.




     While not primarily supply depots, these bases contain equipment to support their coastal transport and peacekeeping role.




  • community housing:  96 small inflatable concrete shelters, 24 of the larger shelters; along with the accessory kits (lockable doors, stove jacks, vents, etc.) and four electric inflation fans per chamber

  • housing equipment (cots, blankets, heaters, air conditioners, field telephones, light fixtures, some tents, toilets, etc.) for 1000 persons.

  • infrastructure equipment - kitchens, freezers, water and power distribution, sanitation, showers, fire extinguishers, sewage treatment, repair shop, two survival libraries in jeep trailers, and a selection of took kits and hand tools for putting the equipment to use. Thus hammers, sledges, hand drills, squares and levels, saws, wrenches, pliers, etc. ... probably enough to equip a dozen or more "workers".

  • medical equipment:  surgical equipment, x-ray machines, autoclaves, etc. to fit out a 200 bed MASH-type hospital (12 large shelters, 24 small shelters)




  • TOW missiles

  • 81mm mortar rounds

  • 20mm cannon rounds

  • 90mm cannon rounds

  • .50 caliber ammunition



     Note that the main portion of explosives and other hazardous materials that might threaten the bases are buried in several inland caches within a few kilometers of the base -- these caches resemble normal Project boltholes (as in, they have a door in front), but only have minimal systems installed.


Ground Vehicles


     Vehicle nicknames are for one of the west coast bases; the base staff choose the names.


  • one SK-5 hovercraft, transport configuration, slightly disassembled (into three units - the main fuselage, and two side sections); nicknamed "Tai Fun" ... 2 total crew 

  • one Quequod laboratory hovercraft, nicknamed "Cousteau" ... 4 total crew (Science branch)

  • three V-150S APC, one is nicknamed "Peterbilt", the other two don't have nicknames ... 9 total crew

  • two V-150 20mm armored cars, nicknames "Heckle" and "Jeckle" ... 10 total crew (MARS)

  • two V-150 with TOW missile launchers, nicknamed "Javelin" and "Trident" ... 8 total crew (MARS)

  • two V-150 with 81mm mortars, each with an ammo trailer; nicknamed "Donder" and "Blitzen" ... 10 total crew (MARS)

  • two V-150 recovery and repair vehicles, nicknamed "Smokey" and "Bandit" ... 10 total crew

  • three V-150 command vehicles (nominally one Science, one MARS, and one Engineering), one is nicknamed "Hotshot" ... 15 total crew

  • three V-150 command vehicles, filled with communications gear, nicknames "KMP", "Mighty Morrow Radio" and "XEMP" ... 12 total crew

  • six XR-311, nicknames "Rat One" to "Rat Six" ... 12 total crew (MARS)

  • four Commando Scouts with 20mm cannons, two are nicknamed "Zig" and "Zag", the other two are un-named ... 8 total crew (MARS)

  • four Commando Ranger ambulances ... 12 total crew (Science branch)

  • two Commando Rangers (no roof hatch, mostly empty interior), no nicknames ... no permanent crew assigned, these are "pool" vehicles

  • two amphibious battery-powered ATVs

  • twelve electric motorcycles

  • two MW24C fusion-powered scoop loaders

  • two fusion-powered Case model M4K articulated rough-terrain forklifts 4.4 tons each, top speed 32 kph. Loaded on lowbed trailers originally.

  • six M818 five-ton semi-tractor trucks, converted to fusion power. They are each 7.3 meters long. These use the same 14x20 "5 ton truck" wheels and tires as the V-150, and share some other mechanical components. They don't have any "team equipment", but just basic items:  pioneer tools, tow cable, breaker bar, vehicle jack, snow chains, etc. They do carry a single spare tire.

  • twelve M870 lowbed semi-trailers, 40-ton capacity, 2.9 meters wide, 12.8 meters long. They use 11x20 tires, but don't have spares aboard. Seven of them had loads aboard:

    • two Mark 2 fusion generators, ten Mark 1 fusion generators (two trailers)

    • two fusion-powered M4K forklifts (see above),  (two trailers)

    • thirty-two 14.5x20 Commando Special runflat tire and wheel sets, for M818 tractors and Commando vehicles (one trailer)

    • 70 wooden utility poles, 13 meters long, 540 kg each (one trailer)

    • fourteen 1.68 m diameter aluminum spools of electrical transmission wire (8 km per drum), and other transmission system components, for camp construction (one trailer)

    • other stuff (TO BE DETERMINED) (five trailers)

  • one M1098 5000 gallon semi-trailer water tanker, with hoses, a filtration system and an electric pump. 9.3 meters long; it has an 11x20 spare tire attached. Note that a very nice refugee camp will provide 20 liters (about 5 gallons) per person per day; a crummy camp, only 8 liters (2 gallons). Thus this tanker can provide one day's supply to the nominal "1000 person camp", but the Project expects to gather other tanker trailers, etc. from the post-Atomic War world.

  • one automated trauma unit; 4 wheel, 1 ton; nicknamed "El Seed":

    • contains a Bio-Comp and a Med Unit, along with various medical consumables, a small water treatment system (same as on the usual Project Recon vehicles), etc. 

  • six M971 van semi-trailers, 10.8 meters long (personnel door on right side, A/C or window openings on front end, water, electrical and telephone fittings inside for use as shop or lab van, two 11x20 spare tires carried underneath). They are pre-loaded with supplies:

    • trailer 1:  ten sets of "shelter assistance" cache contents

    • trailer 2:  about 60,000 LRP ration meals

    • trailer 3:  five sets of "neighborhood defense" cache contents, two resupply cache contents, and one each of the universal, operations "A", operations "B", and operations "C" cache contents

    • trailer 4:  720 TRW Low Maintenance Rifles, with 6 magazines each; 720 resistweave coveralls (various sizes, no markings or patches), and 260,000 rounds of 5.56mm ball ammunition

    • trailers 5 and 6:  command, communications and control trailers, with Project PCs, library data sets, line printers, radios, telephone switchboards, ~100 military field telephones, etc.

  • three "demolition" dump semi-trailers, 10.4 meters long, with convertible doors (swing up or side-opening), 47 yard (36 cubic meters) capacity, 8mm thick steel body. They each carry one 11x20 spare tire.

    • each is filled with thousands of empty sandbags and four spare 11x20 tires on wheels

  • eight Allis-Chalmers electric forklifts, capacity 4000 kg (NOT fusion powered, they are battery powered for use at the depot initially).

  • two double-lock diver decompression chambers; each has a bunk and a bench for three persons (plus two more persons can use the lock chamber), or 9 persons if they're jammed in. These are shipped in ISO-size containers, on standard container semi-trailers, with accessory equipment stored in the rest of the container. Length 4.5 meters, diameter 1.5 meters, height 1.7 meters, weight 4.3 tons (not including container). Four Project vehicle batteries are built-in, and will keep the chamber running for about 12 hours.




  • five Airscouts, fitted with bush tires

  • one dual-control trainer Airscout, with bush tires but no armament 

  • two STOL transport aircraft; floats are provided for both aircraft. Note that the wings are not any sort of "quick detach" type; the concept is for the aircraft to be carried outside aboard the landing ship, or launched with their floats fitted. 




  • landing ship (which includes some LCVPs, a 7 meter RIB, four pontoon barges, etc. in its own equipment) ... 80 total crew

  • four 7 meter RIB ... no crew assigned (pool vehicles)

  • two 10 meter patrol boats ... 8 total crew

  • two 20 meter patrol boats, fitted as yard diving boats (two cranes, no heavy weapons)

  • two dive support boats ... 12 total crew, plus 6 more divers

  • two LCM-8 light salvage boats ... 16 total crew, including 8 divers

  • one LCU medium lift salvage boat ... 14 total crew, including one doctor

  • many, many P-series pontoon components


Salvage Gear


  • a lot of equipment and supplies for marine salvage:  pumps, inflatable pontoons and buoyancy bags, structural steel, steel plates, timber, etc. etc.




Comments (3)

Kirk said

at 12:11 pm on Oct 31, 2018

"an estimated 2 meter rise in sea level" ruh-roh!

Michael said

at 12:26 pm on Oct 31, 2018

And even that was an "extreme caution" estimate. Some of the "nuclear winter" predictions expected enlarged icecaps and glaciers, leading to lowering of sea levels!

Michael said

at 2:22 pm on Oct 31, 2018

... heh, a seven meter *lowering* of sea level would have made this base ... less useful!

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