This post was first published in 2014. It would be interesting to see if any current submariners have an update on the change in watch rotation.
Watches in the military have been around since the beginning of recorded time.
The Jews, like the Greeks and Romans, divided the night into military watches instead of hours, each watch representing the period for which sentinels or pickets remained on duty. The proper Jewish reckoning recognized only three such watches, entitled the first or “beginning of the watches,” La 2:19 the middle watch, Jud 7:19 and the morning watch. Ex 14:24; 1Sa 11:11 These would last respectively from sunset to 10 P.M.; from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M.; and from 2 A.M. to sunrise. After the establishment of the Roman supremacy, the number of watches was increased to four, which were described either according to their numerical order, as in the case of the “fourth watch,” Mt 14:25 or by the terms “even,” “midnight,” “cock-crowing” and “morning.” Mr 13:35 These terminated respectively at 9 P.M., midnight, 3 A.M. and…
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