Archive for February, 2020

Feb 27

Pearl Harbor’s Second, Secret Disaster

Thursday, February 27, 2020 11:30 AM

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The attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 was not the only fiery tragedy that befell the bustling Hawaiian hub throughout the duration of the Second World War. Some 3 and a half years following the deadly Japanese-led strike, Pearl Harbor found itself in the midst of another deadly inferno that tore through the previously untouched West Loch, destroying six LSTs, killing 163 personnel, and injuring a further 396. Despite the large loss of life, knowledge of this explosive catastrophe was and continues to be limited, as an immediate press blackout surrounding the incident was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 21

The Evolution of Naval Wargames

Friday, February 21, 2020 2:05 PM

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  Naumachiae: Sea Battles in the Colosseum The Romans always enjoyed a good game, especially if it was extravagant and resulted in multiple gruesome deaths. Historical accounts from the reign of Emperor Titus detail spectacles known as naumachiae (Latin for “naval combat”) in which arenas such as the Coliseum were flooded and prisoners were then forced to reenact famous sea battles by fighting from scale-model ships. The easily bored Romans occasionally spiced up the games by added specially trained bulls that could fight in water. The Fred Jane Naval War Game In the 19th century, several games were produced for… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 18

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 7

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:01 AM

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This blog begins on 10 June 1944. My grandfather, Seaman Thomas Schreck, joined his ship the USS Sway (AM-120) an Auk class minesweeper in Bizerte, Tunisia at the end of May. The ship just spent the last nine days undergoing refitting and maintenance and was now about to get underway once again to resume operations off the coast of Italy. Before returning however, they stopped in Malta to prepare the ship for the dangerous job of clearing mines. Before getting into the ship’s operations, I want to provide some information on the USS Sway. The Sway belonged to the Auk class of fleet going minesweepers…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 14

Letters From Home

Friday, February 14, 2020 10:52 AM

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  On Valentines Day, I’m reminded of how much a nice long letter used to mean to me when I was stationed away from family and friends. Times have changed as text messages, email, FaceTime, Google Duo & social media have advanced the speed at which one can receive news from home. As a bit of nostalgia, I pulled some photos from the Naval Institute archive for you to enjoy. Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company. ~Lord Byron What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 11

The Antiaircraft Fire Control ‘Shoebox’

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 12:01 AM

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In the spring of 1941, the staff of the fire-control section in the newly reorganized Bureau of Ordnance’s Research and Development Division was struggling with the problem of how to provide fire control for the heavier antiaircraft machine guns that were just entering production, such as the 40-mm Bofors and the 1.1-in machine cannon. Although a series of development contracts had been awarded to the traditional suppliers of fire-control directors, none of the devices submitted to date lent themselves to quantity production, none had proven to work, and all were deemed too difficult to maintain afloat. Unbeknown to anyone in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 6

Reflections of ADM Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.)

Thursday, February 6, 2020 12:01 AM

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Admiral Stansfield Turner, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

  In this excerpt, Admiral Stansfield Turner reflects on his interactions with Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and Zumwalt’s service as CNO. After growing up in the Chicago area, Turner spent a year at Amherst College prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1943. His class of 1947 graduated a year early because the academy’s curriculum was shortened in World War II. After brief service in the escort carrier USS Palau (CVE-122) and the light cruiser USS Dayton (CL-105), he was in England as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University from 1947 to 1950. In 1966, he attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 4

The Strike Cruiser

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 12:01 AM

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In the 75 years since the end of World War II only two countries have constructed major surface combatant ships other than aircraft carriers. The Baltic Shipyard in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) built four nuclear-propelled battle cruisers, completing the 28,000-ton warships of the Kirov class from 1980 to 1996.[1] These massive warships were fitted with the latest weapons and electronic systems. Earlier, the U.S. Navy built the nuclear cruiser Long Beach (CGN 9), completed in 1961. The most capable surface combatant of her era, the Long Beach at 16,250 tons was significantly smaller than the Soviet giants. But the Long… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 1

“Sixteen Minutes from Home” Willie McCool’s Memorial

Saturday, February 1, 2020 12:01 AM

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Commander William C. McCool, USN gave his life on 1 February 2003 while piloting Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-107. Foam from the external fuel tank broke off and struck the shuttle’s left-wing during take-off. The seemingly minor damage led to the shuttle’s disintegration during reentry over two weeks later. McCool has several schools, tracks, parks, and buildings named in his honor. There are even memorials to him spread across the solar system. There is Asteroid 51829 Williemccool and McCool hill on Mars. One of the most personal memorials, however, resides on the U.S. Naval Academy Cross Country Course in Annapolis,… Read the rest of this entry »