Archive for the 'Wars' Category

Apr 24

John Paul Jones and the North Channel Naval Duel

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 12:01 AM

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The USS Ranger and HMS Drake engaged in battle in the North Channel.

Dear reader, have you heard of John Paul Jones? Prior to working at the Naval Institute, I would have an easier time discussing Davey Jones than John Paul Jones. The first time he came up in conversation I could only nod my head and feign understanding, making a mental note to trawl the internet for information later. Thinking back on all the American History I’ve absorbed in every level of schooling, I cannot recall a single mention of John Paul Jones and that is a detriment to education. Jones is a fascinating character in history. Today, April 24, is the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 19

Side Glances at Operation Crossroads

Thursday, April 19, 2018 5:21 PM

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USS New York (BB-34) being hosed down by USS ATR-40 after the Baker test.

One of the benefits of digitized archives are the ability to call up pieces of the past that are physically apart from each other and see them all together in context. This ability to make connections can often lead to interesting glances not shown in context together before. Scattered throughout the Naval Institute’s roughly half-million photographic subject files are many that deal with Operation Crossroads in 1946. These famous nuclear tests, whose iconic images of mushroom clouds exploding out of an over the Pacific Ocean would cement the awesome destructive power of nuclear weapons in the minds of the world… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 5

World War II Submarine Commanders

Thursday, April 5, 2018 12:01 AM

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Captain Slade D. Cutter, USN (Ret.) (1911-2005)

The United States Naval Institute Oral History Archive features the reminiscences of the legendary Captain Slade D. Cutter.  Cutter turned down a music scholarship at an Illinois college to attend the Naval Academy, where he became an All-American football star and standout on the boxing team. Following graduation in 1935, Cutter embarked on a career heavily intertwined with sports. His first duty was as football coach for the team of the battleship USS Idaho (BB-42). After submarine school he coached football at the Naval Academy with collateral duty in the USS S-30 (SS-135). World War II found him in the crew of the USS Pompano (SS-181),… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 29

Flying the Rubber Cows

Thursday, March 29, 2018 10:54 AM

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A kite balloon, viewed from the deck of a battleship ca. World War I. Naval Institute Photo Archive

This article by Alan L. Morse originally appeared in the February 1984 issue of Proceedings. What’s in a nickname? Today’s Goodyear Blimp was named after the fat, fictitious British Army Colonel Blimp. But one of its ancestors – the World War I kite balloon – was whimsically christened the “rubber cow,” and went to sea tethered to a “tin can.” They were the least glamorous of World War I pilots. Their aircraft were unlovely, unromantic, uncomfortable, and unpowered. They fought no aerial duels with the Red Baron or skimmed the trees on reconnaissance missions. These pilots never fired a shot… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 15

Seaplanes Go To War

Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:01 AM

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PBY Catalina Sights IJN Fleet 6/42 by John Hamilton

World War II for the flying boats started sooner than many. PBY Catalinas and PBM Mariners, a newer flying boat built to complement the PBY, were sent to Iceland, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and other bases as part of the Neutrality Patrol where they searched for German U-Boats. In May of 1941, Lieutenant Leonard Smith was helping train RAF pilots in PBY operations when he took part in a mission that spotted the German battleship Bismarck, which led to its sinking. The seaplanes escorted the Marine contingent to Iceland in July of the same year.[1] When hostilities commenced, the seaplanes were there…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 6

Meeting “Butch” O’Hare

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 12:01 AM

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Admiral John S. "Jimmy" Thach, USN (Ret.) (1905-1981)

In this excerpt from his 1970 Oral History Interview with CDR Etta-Belle Kitchen, USN (Ret.), then-Admiral Thach recounts his first first meeting with future Medal of Honor recipient and fighter ace Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare in 1940. The complete oral history is a delightfully told memoir from the man who was probably the Navy’s foremost fighter plane tactician of World War II. He is best known as the inventor of the “Thach Weave,” whereby U.S. fighters could successfully combat Japanese Zeros. Thach tells of devising the maneuver at home with kitchen matches. In a series of enjoyable tales, Thach describes his Naval Academy… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 1

Rocket Ships: A Pictorial Overview

Thursday, March 1, 2018 11:43 AM

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Resembling a fireworks display, a five-inch rocket is launched from the USS Clarion River (LSMR-409) on a night mission.

Experience by British, American, and Allied forces during the early parts of the Second World War underscored the need for effective close fire support and beach bombardment. It soon became clear the most effective method for providing this much-needed capability was not to develop specialized platforms for the task, but to modify the ships and craft that already had the capability to get close-in to shore in medias res. The answer was landing craft. Much as the Soviets had done with their Katyusha on land, the British Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy began modifying their existing and planned landing… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 14

Richard Wainwright: USS Maine survivor & supporter of the Naval Institute

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 12:22 PM

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1849-1926

  When the USS Maine exploded 120 years ago on February 15, 1898, Lieutenant Commander Richard Wainwright, one of the Naval Institute’s staunchest supporters, was the Maine’s executive officer. Fortunately, he survived. Wainwright’s numerous contributions to Proceedings magazine began as early as 1882. He continued writing and contributing to Proceedings until his final article, “The Dacia Dilemma”, was published in August 1925 not long before he passed in 1926. Wainwright explored a variety of topics including the Graydon torpedo thrower, Fleet Tactics, The Naval Defense of the United Kingdom, Navy Coast Signals, The Merchant Marine, Gun-Making, Search Curves, and Speed… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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