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 »
Archive for the 'Artifacts' Category
“Our country is at WAR,” read the memorandum to the employees of Buffalo, New York’s, Republic Metalware Company 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 helps… Read the rest of this entry »
By Jon Hoppe
On 28 June 1967 Commander (later Vice Admiral) William P. “Bill” Lawrence was the flying the lead plane of the flight of 36 aircraft from VF-143 of the USS Constellation. Theirs was an attack mission on transshipment points in the city of Nam Dinh in North Vietnam. His F-4B Phantom II was part of group of 8 F-4s flying as flak suppressors for the other aircraft. As he he streaked in at over 500 knots, Lawrence remembered thinking “Boy, I won’t have to sweat the missiles today, because we’ll be outside the missile zone.” As he was rolling on target,… Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
By Jon Hoppe
As a young officer, then-Lieutenant Commander (later 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”), LCDR 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. The key would be to find a way to trigger the shell to that its fragmentation pattern would be effective,… Read the rest of this entry »
By Jon Hoppe
In Greek Mythology, the prophet Tiresias was blinded by the gods as punishment for revealing their secrets. He begged the goddess Athena to restore his sight, but she could not. Instead, she gave him the gift of foresight, and Tiresias spent the remainder of his days spouting prophesy. Tiresias had seen too much and had paid the price for it. Such too may be the case of a battered US/C-3 infrared signalling telescope that came into this writer’s care for restoration.
Electronic warfare and surveillance are increasingly becoming topics of discussion. The nature of that type of warfare (and indeed combat itself) calls for a certain amount of creativity. To see, but not be recognized or seen oneself, begs for innovation and novel solutions to life-threatening problems. But even the most brilliant plans can be rendered moot if one builds an idea on a false assumption. Such is the nature of the ingenious yet flawed TURDSID.
By Jon Hoppe
In honor of the United States Coast Guard, which turned 225 years old this week, the Naval History Blog offers a selection from a speech delivered by A. Denis Clift, Vice President for Planning and Operations at the United States Naval Institute. In 2002, the United States Coast Guard formally entered the United States Intelligence Community, building on a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, defense, and myriad other maritime operations. In this October 2000 speech, as president of the Joint Military Intelligence College, Clift told the cadets at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, of the… Read the rest of this entry »