Author Archive

Jul 21

The Bennington Disaster

Sunday, July 21, 2019 12:01 AM

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One half of a steroview showing the Bennington beached after the explosion.

All seemed well on board the USS Bennington (Gunboat No. 4) as the sun rose over the hills of San Diego, California on Friday, 21 July 1905. The gunboat was laying at anchor just west of the Coronado ferry crossing, having arrived on the 19th after a 17-day voyage from Pearl Harbor. The crew were undoubtedly disappointed, for their long-awaited shore leave in the city was cancelled when the gunboat was ordered to tow the Wyoming to Port Hartford after the monitor blew a gasket on her main engine. Down below, the “black gang” stoked the fires to prepare the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 28

The Iowa-Class Battlecarrier: A Design that Never “Took Off”

Friday, June 28, 2019 9:07 AM

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Concept model of the USS Missouri (BB-63) fitted as a VSTOL-capable interdiction/assault ship (Courtesy Martin

The history of naval architecture is replete with designs that, however innovative, never made it out of the concept phase. Some, like the Large Surface Effect Ship, seemed promising but could not deliver their designed performance even as smaller prototypes; others, like the Sea Control Ship escort concept, were cancelled because of budget cuts; still others, however mercifully, never made it off of paper. Such was the Iowa-class interdiction/assault ship, a late-1970s proposal which would have transformed the four battleships into “battlecarriers”–one-ship power-projection forces with a landing deck for short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft operations.

 
Jun 19

Marianas Turkey Shoot—Plus Seventy-Five

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 12:01 PM

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Air Battle Of The Philippine Sea by John Hamilton

An Allied armada hoisted anchor on 6 June 1944 and departed its base to force a landing on a hostile shore. The result would prove decisive to the outcome of the World War II and would free an enslaved population from years of brutal oppression. That day the world’s attention was focused on the north coast of France, where Allied troops were pushing inland in the largest-ever amphibious assault. While Operation Overlord would become the one and only D-Day in the public’s mind, in truth there were many other D-Days, many other H-Hours on many beaches throughout the world. From… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 7

Carrier Carrier Pigeons

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 12:01 AM

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Letting the carrier pigeon loose from the seaplane while in air. U.S. Naval Station, Anacostia, Washington, D.C.

Admiral Alfred Melville Pride‘s early interest in aviation was followed by his enlistment in Naval Reserve for World War I in 1917, aviation training, and brief overseas duty in France. In 1922, Pride joined the commissioning crew of the United State’s first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley (CV-1), as one of her aviators. Pride recalled many years later one of the little-known facts about the earlier carrier—that when the Langley was built equipped with a carrier pigeon loft. Admiral Pride explains why in an edited excerpt below.

 
Mar 12

They Became Banana Boats

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:01 AM

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Broadside view of the motor fruit carrier Truxtun, ex-USS Truxtun (DD-14)

Shortly after the cessation of hostilities of World War I, the United States found itself with a number of obsolete craft from the beginning of the era of the all-steel Navy. Now no longer needed, U.S. Navy disposed of its original torpedo boat destroyers that had entered service shortly after the end of the Spanish-American War. The three boats Truxtun class were bought by private shipping interests. The Truxtun (DD-14) and her sisters Whipple (DD-15) and Worden (DD-16) were refitted with diesel engines for the first experiment in making small, fast, shallow draft banana carriers. As Commander John D. Alden, U.S. Navy (Retired) recounts below, they… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 17

Moser’s Naval Photo Logs — ‘Just the Thing’

Thursday, January 17, 2019 10:15 AM

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Battleship Vermont in a storm, by N. Moser

Norbert George Moser was born in Pierceton, Indiana, to the immigrant German merchant Gabriel Moser and Illinois native Anna Miller on 18 September 1885. Shortly after completing high school in 1904, Norbert enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became an electrician’s mate, working with the new wireless radio technologies. He served in such varied assignments as the USS Virginia (Battleship No. 13) stationed out of Hampton Roads in 1910 and, when he married Julia Hall in 1914, he was serving in the same capacity at the Chelsea Naval Hospital. It appears that Moser had grander designs than working the wireless set. At the expiration of his… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 8

This Day in History: The Trent Affair

Thursday, November 8, 2018 12:01 AM

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Trent affair engraving

November 8 marks the anniversary of the Trent Affair of 1861. During the opening months of the Civil War, the U.S. Navy stopped the British mail steamer RMS Trent and seized two Confederate diplomats bound for England in the hope of negotiating diplomatic recognition for the secessionist states. The Trent Affair itself threatened to achieve exactly that and brought the United States and Great Britain close to war. Author James D. Hill wrote extensively of the Trent Affair and one of its main players—Captain Chalres Wilkes, U.S. Navy—in the July 1931 issue of Proceedings. It is excerpted here.

 
Aug 14

Today in Naval History: The Capture of the U.S. Brig Argus by H.M Brig Pelican

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 10:15 AM

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Kimball Argus Burning commerce

Two hundred and five years ago today, on 14 August 1813, the U.S. Brig Argus, under command of Captain William H. Allen, fought her final battle with the HMS Pelican off the coast of England during the War of 1812. During the early-morning battle, Allen’s right leg was shot off, but he remained on station until fainting from a loss of blood. As Pelican‘s men boarded, Argus struck her colors. Allen died four days later. Writing about the incident in the May 1939 issue of Proceedings, Prof. Wilbur E. Apgar gave a thorough summary of the events. His summary is excerpted here. The amazing lack of concern… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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