Archive for the 'Navy' Category

Jan 5

The First Surface Action

Tuesday, January 5, 2016 12:01 AM

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Action Report

U.S. victories were few and far between during the early months of the Pacific war, especially for the hard-pressed and understrength U.S. Asiatic Fleet, which along with other Allied forces was attempting to stem Japan’s conquest of the Dutch East Indies. Nevertheless, four Asiatic Fleet CLEMSON-class destroyers share the honor of winning the first surface action of the Pacific contest, a tactical victory that was of little strategic importance. In the early hours of 24 January 1942, the flush-deck four-pipers attacked a dozen Japanese transports assembled off Balikpapan, Borneo, prior to the invasion of the oil center, sinking four of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 29

The Launch of Navy Radar

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 10:41 AM

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The frame just above the pilothouse of the USS NEW YORK is the antenna for the XAF, the prototype radar set developed by the Naval Research Laboratory. Installed in 1938, it was the first to be used on board a U.S. warship. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

The rectangular frame-like object seemingly fastened above the pilothouse of the USS New York (BB-34), above, wasn’t an oversized mattress spring or an early-model solar panel. It was the antenna for the XAF, the first radar set installed on board a major U.S. warship. Successful tests of the new device—including three months of 20-hour-a-day operation for aircraft detection, navigation, and gunnery practice—convinced the Navy that radar would be a godsend. The awkward-looking, 17-foot-square antenna could reliably detect aircraft as far as 100 nautical miles out and spot surface ships 15 miles away. And it could track projectiles and falling shot… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 14

German Admirals on Trial

Monday, December 14, 2015 12:01 AM

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Did famed U-boat commander Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz escape justice at Nuremberg? (National Archives)

The 22 German leaders who stood trial at Nuremberg 70 years ago included Grand Admirals Erich Raeder and Karl Dönitz. In addition to conventional war crimes, for which they were separately charged, the admirals were accused of engaging in aggressive warfare. Conceived in an effort to encourage nations to renounce war, the unprecedented aggressive warfare charges were criticized by some as ex post facto law. Having participated in a prewar conference during which German Führer Adolf Hitler made known his war plans, and having later recommended to Hitler the invasion of Norway, Raeder was heavily exposed by the aggressive warfare… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 3

From the Archive: Leonardo and the Airship

Thursday, December 3, 2015 12:01 AM

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updisedown

Paging through Naval Institute’s photo archive, one can come across some unexpected and surprising images — ones where you know there has to be some sort of story behind them. Such is the case of the image featured here. The unusual scene shows the Italian airship M.6 floating over the upturned hull of the sunken battleship Leonardo da Vinci with an angle indicator attached to her rudder. How did such a bizarre scene come about? The story is recounted in a 1921 Proceedings article by Lieut. Colonel A. Guidoni of the Italian Navy, in which is excerpted here below: “The night… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 1

Old Ironsides

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 12:01 AM

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10

In the U.S. Naval Institute’s archives I recently found a publicity brochure for Old Ironsides tucked away in a box. Premiering in 1926, the film dramatically conveys the story of the USS Constitution at the Battle of Tripoli. Filmed in magnascope, an early version of widescreen, it follows the adventures of a young man—known only as “the boy”—desperate to join the the Constitution‘s crew. Along the way he is shanghaied, finds love, and gets captured by pirates before ultimately joining the heavy frigate for the infamous battle at Tripoli. Enjoy the climatic battle scene here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90TeKcgBuHk Profits from the opening… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 17

From Our Archives-Tattletales

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 12:01 AM

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Soviety Minsk 117 with Kiev 060 in background, from the deck of the USS South Carolina in the Mediterranean, Fall 1978

The United States Naval Institute has the largest private collection of sea service photographs in the world including some rare Cold War era images. A sizable number of photos of Soviet ships & submarines are within the collection. A sampling of images of Soviet vessels shadowing U.S. Navy ships are below. An example of a war fought without a front line.            

 
Nov 16

The Ubiquitous 5-inch/38

Monday, November 16, 2015 12:01 AM

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A 5-inch/38-caliber gun in a twin mount on board the USS New Jersey (BB-62) fires on a North Korean target in 1951. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

Designed to fulfill the needs of battleships as well as destroyers, the 5-inch/38-caliber dual-purpose gun became one of World War II’s best regarded and most versatile naval weapons. It was the conflict’s iconic U.S. destroyer gun as well as the Navy’s workhorse on board capital ships, cruisers, and auxiliaries. Many more 5-inch/38s were made than any other World War II medium-caliber naval gun. In the 1920s, the Navy used different guns to deal with aircraft and with surface targets. U.S. battleships and some destroyers were armed with high-velocity 5-inch/51s (the second number refers the length of the barrel in multiples… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 6

U.S. Navy Faced Challenges Protecting America’s New Sailor in Chief

Friday, November 6, 2015 12:01 AM

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9781612515014

The United States Navy faced a new and very different set of challenges in protecting President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who loved the sea, spending more days afloat than any American president. It was not uncommon for America’s new sailor in chief and his crew of amateur sailors to take to the sea in a small sailboat, sometimes for days at a time. He would skillfully—and with a great deal of delight—evade his Navy and Secret Service guards, sailing his schooner, Amberjack II, into secluded coves and narrow reaches where Navy and Coast Guard vessels—FDR called them “our wagging tail”–could not… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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