Oct 21

The Great Mine Barrage

Friday, October 21, 2016 4:18 PM


Mk 6 mines, with floats attached and resting on box-like anchors, are ready to be dropped from a U.S. minelayer into the North Sea. As each mine went over the stern, another would be raised from below and placed on tracks at the end of the line. (U.S. Official Pictures of the World War)

When the United States entered World War I, the Allies viewed America as the world’s leading industrial power and a vast source of fresh manpower. Much of the U.S. contribution to the naval side of the conflict would be in line with the first view, of the United States as the home of mass production. The best-known examples are the floods of merchant ships, intended to make up for losses to U-boats, and of destroyers and subchasers. Less well known was an imaginative U.S. naval initiative to produce and lay a mine barrier to close off U-boat routes out of… Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 7

American Independence and the Naval Factor

Friday, October 7, 2016 4:08 PM


A Royal Navy fleet bombards Fort Sullivan, near Charleston, South Carolina, on 28 June 1776. (Alamy)

It is now no longer necessary to bemoan a lack of maritime perspective on the American Revolution, and yet the naval war still does not receive the recognition that is its due. It is, without question, the largest and most significant naval war of the 18th century; a war that is crucial in helping us to understand the path of the 18th century and the nature of revolutions; and a war that enables us to question—and in many cases answer in some detail—the very nature of sea power and its relationship with history. Indeed, no other war in the entire… Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 4

Views from Somalia: 23 Years Ago

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 12:37 PM


As Somali men work to the unload cargo nets of sacks of wheat, a U.S. Marine CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter delivers another load to a field outside the Somali village of Maleel Jan 23, 1993. The helicopters are flown by the famous "Red Lions" of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 of Tustin, Calif. (Combat Camera Photo by PHCM Terry C. Mitchell, USN)

Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu, which saw 18 servicemembers killed and many more wounded in the raid on a Somali marketplace to capture two lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid. United Nations Operations in Somalia had been ongoing since early 1992 in an effort to stabilize the region wracked by civil war, but the fallout from the mission, chronicled in Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, ultimately led to the reevaluation of the United Nations Operation in Somalia and to the eventual discontinuation of that international intervention. The instability and… Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 1

SURVEY: Who is your favorite character from naval fiction?

Saturday, October 1, 2016 12:01 AM



Horatio Hornblower, Ahab, Jack Ryan, Jack Sparrow—in books, movies, or television, some of the most colorful characters in fiction have sailed the high seas. The Naval Institute Press is curious…who is YOUR favorite character from naval fiction? Participate in this fun survey. Results will be gathered until 12 October. Once the results have been tabulated, we’ll share our findings!

Sep 16

An Immersive Battleship Experience

Friday, September 16, 2016 4:33 PM



In 1916 the U.S. Navy had visions of commanding the world’s greatest fleet—and a big naval appropriations bill that promised the construction of ten battleships armed with 16-inch guns. But the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty ended those dreams for the foreseeable future; only three of the battlewagons were completed. After a building hiatus of more than a dozen years, the keels were laid for a pair of modern 16-inch battleships, the North Carolina (BB-55), namesake of the two-ship class, and the Washington (BB-56). The ships were commissioned within five weeks of each other in the spring of 1941 and went… Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 12

‘Nurse’ in Iconic WWII Kiss Photo Dies

Monday, September 12, 2016 11:46 AM


(courtesy of Greta Friedman)

Greta Zimmer Friedman, the woman in one of history’s most memorable photographs, passed away on 8 September at age 92 after suffering a number of ailments, according to her family. On 14 August 1945, she was a dental assistant who had wandered into Time Square when news broke of the Japanese surrender. Famed photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of Zimmer being kissed by a stranger, Petty Officer First Class George Mendonsa, indelibly captured the celebratory mood in New York City and throughout the country. Many have claimed to be the sailor and the “nurse” in the photograph, but the most thorough study of the impromptu embrace–Lawrence Verria… Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 2

Tales from a Tarawa Marine

Friday, September 2, 2016 3:05 PM


Roy Elrod was a first lieutenant when he led his four-gun 37-mm antitank platoon ashore on Tarawa Atoll's Betio Island.

In the course of my duties as the oral historian for the U.S. Marine Corps History Division, I interview Marines, all ranks and all time periods. I was made aware of Lieutenant Colonel Roy H. Elrod in an unusual manner: through family friends from Muleshoe, Texas. This is where I grew up and, coincidentally, where Roy grew up, but about 30 years apart. Now Roy and I live within five miles of each other, but more than 1,500 miles from Muleshoe, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I was quite impressed when I met Roy. Here he was 93 years old; he lived… Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 12

The Great Naval Act of 1916

Friday, August 12, 2016 3:27 PM


President Woodrow Wilson addresses a crowd in January 1916 during the period he was lobbying hard for his naval-expansion legislation. (Library of Congress)

  A century ago President Woodrow Wilson signed into law what at the time was the largest expansion of the U.S. Navy. In previous years, Congress had generally appropriated, say, two battleships and a destroyer flotilla, which left the Navy lobbying in vain for the cruisers that the battleships needed to scout for them. Now, at one stroke, Capitol Hill and President Wilson promised the service 10 battleships, 6 battleship-sized battle cruisers, 10 light cruisers, 50 destroyers, and 30 submarines, plus lesser ships. The origins of the act are traced to pressures generated by World War I. As a major… Read the rest of this entry »