Author Archive

Jun 16

Cruise of the USS U-111

Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:11 PM

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U-111 flying the American flag and German ensigns. Courtesy F A. Daubin. Naval Institute Photo Archive

“In 1919,” Rear Admiral F. A. Daubin reflected in 1957, “Diesel engine designing and production in our country was in swaddling clothes, barely creeping. Trucks, power plants, and railroads equipped with Diesels were not even a dream, and our Diesel-powered submarines were not sufficiently trustworthy to go to sea without the services of a nearby tender.” At the time of which he wrote of, Daubin was the assistant to the captain in charge of the submarine section of the Chief of Naval Operations. He suggested to his commander that “the Germans had good engines in their submarines. They cruised all… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 19

“Herman the German”

Thursday, May 19, 2016 1:32 PM

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USS YD-171 lifts another crane. . Naval Institute Photo Archive.

Engineers at the Terminal Island Naval Shipyard in Long Beach, California, had a problem on their hands: how does one reassemble one of the tallest and largest cranes in the world? That was the situation in January, 1948 as the U.S. Navy worked to erect the gigantic, floating Schwimmkran Nr. 1, taken from Germany as war reparations at the end of World War II. The gigantic crane, “naturalized” after the war as USS YD-171, was one of four built by Demag A. G. in 1941 in Bremerhaven, Germany to lift U-Boats out of the water for repair and for other heavy-lifting tasks…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 12

On the Digital Frontier in Bosnia

Thursday, May 12, 2016 10:58 PM

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Airman First Class Michelle Leonard, 1st Combat Camera Squadron, Charleston, South Carolina, deployed to Sarajevo,  photographs the war-torn city with an early digital camera.

Working in an archive, one can sometimes make unexpected discoveries in the materials that have accumulated over the course of years. Hidden by the sheer volume of materials, or locked away in a forgotten drawer, we have heard over the years of spectacular discoveries like original compositions by Mozart, or important letters about Abraham Lincoln. And oftentimes these “discoveries” are hidden in plain sight, much like Edgar Allen Poe’s Purloined Letter. Sitting on a shelf in the Naval Institute’s Library is a remarkable set of digital images on CDs from the Bosnian War, produced by the Department of Defense’s Joint… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 9

Boo to the U.S. Navy for getting rid of USS Barry (DD-933) at the Washington Navy Yard

Monday, May 9, 2016 11:32 AM

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Barry as a display ship at the Washington Navy Yard in the 1980s.Naval Institute Photo Archive.

Chris Cavas, Naval Warfare Correspondent at Defense News, was right on target when he used the word “boo” in a tweet about the display ship Barry’s departure from the Washington Navy Yard on Saturday, 7 May 2016, with no plans for a replacement. Mr. Cavas is being polite, in my humble opinion. “Disgraceful” comes to my mind. A U.S. Navy Museum in the nation’s capital without a Navy ship is ridiculous and borders in the criminal. Can you imagine an Air Force Museum without airplanes or a U.S. Army museum without guns and tanks? Me neither. If anyone ever needed… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 5

The Elephant in the Archive

Thursday, May 5, 2016 12:01 AM

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Naval Institute Photo Archive.

It was in 218 B.C. that the Carthaginian commander Hannibal famously marched some 30 elephants across the Alps and over the Rhône River by boat to attack Rome during the 2nd Punic War. In the millennia that have followed, the use of elephants in naval warfare has not accounted to much — certain films, of course, excepted. But that has not stopped pachydermous photographs from appearing in the Naval Institute’s Photo Archive for one reason or another. The selection that follows shows some of the interactions naval personnel have had over the years with the elephants they’ve encountered in their… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 21

Surprise in the Archive: A Distinctive ‘do in ’62

Thursday, April 21, 2016 12:01 AM

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A distinctive 'do. Naval Institute Photo Archive.

Sometimes in the routine work of the photo archives, you come across something surprising. In this case, in the process of sleuthing out information enough to adequately describe a group of uncaptioned and undated photographs from the U. S. Coast Guard Academy revealed a surprise amidst a crowd gathered aboard USCGC Eagle (WIX-327). Though one man’s face was hidden, his very distinctive hairdo unveiled the context of the otherwise an uncaptioned scene. That hair was recognized as belonging to President John F. Kennedy. Armed with that knowledge, the story of the photo quickly unrolled itself. It was warm and cloudless… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 14

Taming Atalanta

Thursday, April 14, 2016 12:01 AM

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Atalanta alongside Ericsson, New London, Connecticut, October, 1926. Naval Institute Photo Archive.

Hail thou: but I with heavy face and feet Turn homeward and am gone out of thine eyes. — Algernon Charles Swinburne, “Atalanta in Calydon” Atalanta of Greek mythology was a swift-footed huntress who, unwilling to be tethered down by marriage, only agreed to marry he who could outrun her in a footrace — but those whom she overtook in the race, she killed. But Melanion, who was “so peerless in love of toil,” knew he could not beat her by speed alone, and he finally bested her by using her own temptation against her. Three golden apples were her… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 8

Survey Results: What is The Greatest Warship of All Time?

Friday, April 8, 2016 12:01 AM

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USS Constitution is shown in a 1931 photograph shortly after her recommissioning in July of that year after an extensive restoration. Naval Institute Photo Archive.

This is cross-posted from USNI News. USNI News asked its readers, “What is the greatest warship of all time and why?” Though what makes a warship great is highly subjective, our readers offered their education and expertise to put forth their ideas as to what the answer to that question should be. And with nearly 900 reader-generated answers and more than 26,000 votes, the results are in.

 
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