Historical semantics question: "bridge" vs. "pilot house" on WW2 destroyers

  1. My general understanding is that there is very little difference. The pilot house is where the helmsman is (the guy who drives the actual boat) while the bridge is the room where it is commanded from. They usually are the same place. You would have to look at schematics to be absolutely sure of one design over another. I personally cannot think of a situation that would benefit separating the two.

  2. A pilot house is the enclosed structure where the controls are, and can be on the open air bridge. On warships, they are generally the same, but pre- A/C ships often were not. Think of Iowa class BBs, with the controls inside a two foot thick, armored enclosure. The entire area is the bridge, but inside the armor is the pilot house.

  3. During my time in, bridge and pilot house were generally interchangeable. As previously explained, the Pilot House was where the ship is being helmed, while the bridge is where the ship is being commanded from. Underway, this is most likely the same location.

  4. ARS Bolster Class Savage Vessels. On my last 2 ships while standing BMOW I would call out that "Captain is on the Bridge" when he came up into the Pilot House. So the pilot house is the structure and bridge is the area.

  5. I was a quartermaster on both an frigate and a carrier during the 1990's. Pilothouse and bridge were both used to denote the same thing - the term bridge was used more on the carrier. If you want a fairly good source (because none of us served during WWII), is watch the movie Greyhound with Tom Hanks. 90 minutes of WW2 wartime bridge action.

  6. Practically speaking, in the modern day, there is no difference they are places the ship is navigated from (note: 'navigated from' is not the same as 'combat operations are directed from').

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