Archive for the 'Wars' Category

Nov 19

The Measure of the Sierra Madre

Thursday, November 19, 2015 12:01 AM


An undated photo of the amphibious BRP Sierra Madre the Philippines have used as an outpost in the South China Sea.

On the 9th of May, 1997, the Philippine Navy’s dilapidated tank landing ship BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57) ran aground on a reef near the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands. She was stranded — but good — and it was certain the ship could not be removed under her own power. Six days later, two Chinese frigates are said to have steamed into the area, and to have trained their guns on the stranded hulk. It was alleged that no assistance was offered by the Chinese ships. But supposing they had, their assistance would neither have been desired nor… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 17

From Our Archives-Tattletales

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 12:01 AM


Soviety Minsk 117 with Kiev 060 in background, from the deck of the USS South Carolina in the Mediterranean, Fall 1978

The United States Naval Institute has the largest private collection of sea service photographs in the world including some rare Cold War era images. A sizable number of photos of Soviet ships & submarines are within the collection. A sampling of images of Soviet vessels shadowing U.S. Navy ships are below. An example of a war fought without a front line.            

Nov 16

The Ubiquitous 5-inch/38

Monday, November 16, 2015 12:01 AM


A 5-inch/38-caliber gun in a twin mount on board the USS New Jersey (BB-62) fires on a North Korean target in 1951. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

Designed to fulfill the needs of battleships as well as destroyers, the 5-inch/38-caliber dual-purpose gun became one of World War II’s best regarded and most versatile naval weapons. It was the conflict’s iconic U.S. destroyer gun as well as the Navy’s workhorse on board capital ships, cruisers, and auxiliaries. Many more 5-inch/38s were made than any other World War II medium-caliber naval gun. In the 1920s, the Navy used different guns to deal with aircraft and with surface targets. U.S. battleships and some destroyers were armed with high-velocity 5-inch/51s (the second number refers the length of the barrel in multiples… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 11

Ripley at the Bridge

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 12:01 AM


Charles Waterhouse’s painting depicts Captain John Ripley dangling from the bridge to thwart the advance of the North Vietnamese Army.

As a young man I was fascinated by a tale from ancient Roman history that told of a warrior whose courage was beyond all reason, yet was inspirational as an ideal worth trying to live up to. It is a story, often recounted by Roman authors and later preserved for English literature in a poem by Lord Macaulay that tells us of an Etruscan army marching on Rome, headed for a bridge across the Tiber River that, unless destroyed, would give the enemy access to the capital city itself. Their van will be upon us Before the bridge goes down;… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 10

Wrangling a Runaway U-Boat

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 12:01 AM


Captain Daniel Gallery (left) stands with Lieutenant (j.g.) Albert David, who received the Navy Cross for his role in the in-tact capture of U-505. (National Archives)

One of the U.S. Navy’s most celebrated feats of World War II was the 4 June 1944 capture of U-505, complete with enigma machines, codebooks, and bags of official communications. Much of the credit goes to Captain Daniel V. Gallery, commander of Task Group 22.3—a “hunter-killer” group composed of his flagship, the escort carrier Guadalcanal (CVE-60), and five destroyer escorts. After TG 22.3 sank U-515 on 9 April 1944, Gallery planned to capture the next U-boat he encountered and ordered that each of his group’s ships organize boarding parties.1 What follows is an excerpt from Captain Gallery’s account of seizing… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 9

‘It Still Takes My Breath Away’

Monday, November 9, 2015 12:01 AM


"During the war, my dad was working in southwestern South Dakota at an ordnance depot on an Army base that held a garrison of Italian prisoners of war. The Army was testing ammunition out on the prairie and storing it there. Those are my earliest memories of the military," recalled Tom Brokaw, pictured in 1944. (Courtesy of Tom Brokaw)

An Interview with Tom Brokaw     Scheduled to deliver the Third Annual Haydn Williams World War II Memorial Legacy Lecture on 10 November at the National Defense University in Washington is Tom Brokaw—certainly no stranger to the U.S. Naval Institute and Naval History magazine. Since joining NBC News in 1966, he has won every major award in broadcast journalism. The former anchor and managing editor of The NBC Nightly News met in Washington with then-Naval History Editor Fred Schultz about how and why he came to write his well-known book The Greatest Generation. Naval History: Since you’ve had no… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 6

U.S. Navy Faced Challenges Protecting America’s New Sailor in Chief

Friday, November 6, 2015 12:01 AM



The United States Navy faced a new and very different set of challenges in protecting President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who loved the sea, spending more days afloat than any American president. It was not uncommon for America’s new sailor in chief and his crew of amateur sailors to take to the sea in a small sailboat, sometimes for days at a time. He would skillfully—and with a great deal of delight—evade his Navy and Secret Service guards, sailing his schooner, Amberjack II, into secluded coves and narrow reaches where Navy and Coast Guard vessels—FDR called them “our wagging tail”–could not… Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 1

On Naval History Magazine’s Scope

Sunday, November 1, 2015 12:01 PM


CDR Robert Dunn stands in front of his A-4C Skyhawk before an Operation Rolling Thunder mission. (courtesy of retired VADM Robert F. Dunn, USN)

As the Navy attack group and supporting fighters headed west over North Vietnam, small gray puffs blossomed in the clear sky—antiaircraft fire. More appeared, joined by black bursts from larger AA guns and tracers from light guns. The flak quickly thickened, engulfing and buffeting the aircraft, while far below long orange flames indicated missiles headed skyward. The scene, as observed by then-Commander Robert F. Dunn from his A-4C Skyhawk, “was a maelstrom of sights and a cacophony of noise with warnings and voice calls. It reminded me of an orchestra with, at first, a few violins and other strings, then… Read the rest of this entry »

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