Archive for the 'Artifacts' Category

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 »

 
Sep 26

Origins of Valor: The History of the Navy Medal of Honor

Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:47 AM

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By the end of the Civil War, the Union’s Armed Forces lot some 365,000 men, with more than double that in total casualties suffered during the four year-long “War Between the States.” With such widespread violence plaguing the divided country, acts of heroism and bravery on the part of fighting men were becoming more and more commonplace. However, this same violence caused concern in the ranks of the Navy very early on in the war. Would enough men be willing to enlist for service, put their lives on the line for their country? Various awards for distinguished service in the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 16

Scuttlebutt: Thanksgiving 1943

Friday, November 16, 2018 12:09 PM

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The Naval Institute Archive was recently the recipient of a lucky find by Bill Foley of Boston who came upon some USS Hermitage (AP-54) papers left behind in an attic of a house that a friend of his purchased. Among those papers was a stack of “Scuttlebutt” newspapers, which kept the crew up to date on news around the world and included lighter pieces that were presented in an entertaining way. “Scutttlebutt” was published daily, and I’m sure it was appreciated much as our modern day sailors enjoy digital content to connect them to the world beyond their ship at sea.

 
Nov 10

The Corps' Parris Island Museum

Thursday, November 10, 2016 1:31 PM

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Men who enlist in the Marine Corps east of the Mississippi River and all women joining the Corps must first report to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, for four hellish months of physical training and conditioning. If they make it through, they emerge as Marines. An important teaching tool there is the Parris Island Museum, where raw recruits—and visiting civilians—can learn about the service’s heritage and the rich history of the island where Marines leave behind civilian life and become warriors. The museum is located in a circa-1951 building that once housed an enlisted recreation… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 7

Mine Over Matter

Thursday, April 7, 2016 12:01 AM

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On the evening of 14 April 1988, Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) was steaming though the Persian Gulf when her forward lookout spotted several ominous spherical canisters with floating on the surface: sea mines! Though the crew managed to stop the ship in time to avoid the ones they saw — it was one that was not spotted lurking just below the surface with which guided-missile frigate collided. 253 pounds of TNT detonated, blowing a huge hole in Roberts’ hull, flooding several compartments, and sending several sailors to the hospital. The mines were identified as being put down by the previous… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 14

A Story in a Spoon

Thursday, January 14, 2016 12:01 AM

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“Our country is at WAR,” read the memorandum to the employees of Republic Metalware Company in Buffalo, New York, shortly after the United States declared war against Germany in April 1917. Some of our boys are in the Army or the Navy; others will go when called for. The rest of us—women and older men—will fight the enemy in Buffalo. How shall we do this? War is not only a series of battles between armies or fleets. It is a conflict in which the whole strength of a nation . . . fights the whole strength of another nation. Everyone… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 18

Naval Academy Granite, Old and New

Friday, September 18, 2015 6:00 AM

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Seal-Greenbuy.

The old NSS Annapolis, otherwise known as the Naval Communications Station Washington, D.C., Transmitter, at Greenbury Point on the Severn River to the west of Annapolis, is not a place where one might expect to begin a discussion on monuments. But sometimes the most curious and intriguing of things are found in overlooked and unexpected places. The three red-and-white radio towers on the wooded peninsula, once used to communicate with submerged submarines are the most prominent reminders of what was once a bustling and active radio transmitting facility. Though it is still a gunnery range and part of the NSA… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 11

The Other Secret Weapon of World War II

Friday, September 11, 2015 9:16 AM

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USNI VT fuze.

As a young officer, Admiral W.H. P. Blandy, USN, had a keen interest in gunnery. Writing for Proceedings in 1920 (“Director Fire a Century Ago”) and 1925 (“Possible Improvements in our Gunnery Training”), then–Lieutenant Commander Blandy understood well the history of fire control and what could be done to improve its effectiveness. Ever forward-thinking, Blandy noted elsewhere in 1925 of what a remarkable device a fuze that would detonate based on its proximity to the target would be. It was not until 1940 that his initial proposition began to take shape, when the National Defense Research Committee took up the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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