Archive for the 'Ships' Category

Mar 14

The Navy’s ‘Smashers’

Monday, March 14, 2016 10:57 AM

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One of the 1826-pattern replica carronades on board the USS CONSTITUTION. When fired, the gun and its slide recoiled back along the stationary skid and against the breeching, the heavy rope through the carronade's loop. Side tackles were used to traverse or run out the gun. (USS CONSTITUION, Naval History and Heritage Command)

Introduced in the U.S. Navy at the beginning of the 19th century, the carronade saw extensive service in American warships during the War of 1812. The Carron Company in Scotland had produced a prototype of the weapon, designed for the protection of merchantmen, in 1776. The success of early carronades resulted in the Royal Navy placing large orders for the guns, and other naval powers soon copied the basic design. Henry Foxall, superintendent of the Eagle Foundry on the Schuylkill River at Philadelphia, cast the first American versions, but probably not until 1799. Certainly he cast the majority of the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 10

The Log of the Cristóbal Colón

Thursday, March 10, 2016 12:01 AM

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Christobal Colon.

A year before the U. S. Naval Institute would publish its very first book, Lieutenant-Commander (and enthusiastic Naval Institute member) Richard Wainwright’s Log of the U. S. Gunboat Gloucester, the Naval Institute published in its Proceedings an abstract of another log related to the Battle of Santiago de Cuba: that captured from the Spanish protected cruiser Cristóbal Colón. With the destruction of the USS Maine in February 1898, the tensions between Spain and the United States erupted into war. The Americans knew much about that fast and modern cruiser and the Spanish fleet as a whole; sheets distributed to the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 25

Wood That it Were

Thursday, February 25, 2016 10:42 AM

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A Japanese ukiyo-ye woodblock print of the battle.

The ramifications of a battle can extend far beyond its immediate impact on the conflict at hand. Sometimes, the greatest impacts are on the technology and tactics of war-fighting. Such was the case of the Battle of the Yalu River, the largest naval engagement of the first Sino-Japanese War on 17 September 1894. In the battles for control of the Korean peninsula, the larger Chinese Beiyang Fleet was met by the Japanese Navy. The Chinese fleet was one of the most powerful in Asia, consisting of modern, European-built, steel, pre-Dreadnought ships. The Imperial Japanese Navy was also armed with several… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 8

Telling Sea Stories

Friday, January 8, 2016 12:01 AM

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9781612514161

I’ve learned some things about writing nonfiction since Adak, the Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot was published by the Naval Institute Press in 2003, the first of what have since become seven books from NIP about maritime history. The first thing I learned since then is that it takes me some 3,300 hours, or the better part of two years, to research and write a 300-page book. This means that the first person my budding story has to interest is me. The second is NIP’s acquisition editor, once Tom Cutler and now Gary Thompson. A second lesson learned is that I… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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 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 19

The Measure of the Sierra Madre

Thursday, November 19, 2015 12:01 AM

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An undated photo of the amphibious BRP Sierra Madre the Philippines have used as an outpost in the South China Sea.

On the 9th of May, 1997, the Philippine Navy’s dilapidated tank landing ship BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57) ran aground on a reef near the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands. She was stranded — but good — and it was certain the ship could not be removed under her own power. Six days later, two Chinese frigates are said to have steamed into the area, and to have trained their guns on the stranded hulk. It was alleged that no assistance was offered by the Chinese ships. But supposing they had, their assistance would neither have been desired nor… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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