Archive for the 'Wars' Category

Jul 6

A ‘Rough-House’

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 4:27 PM



In the 1908 Lucky Bag, the college yearbook of U.S. Naval Academy graduates, one of the midshipmen was described by his classmates as “a black-eyed, rosy-cheeked, noisy Irishman who loves a rough-house.” This “noisy Irishman” was Thomas Cassin Kinkaid, who in coming to Annapolis was following in his father’s footsteps. His seagoing career began with Theodore Roosevelt’s “Great White Fleet” as it made the historic voyage around the world, showing the American flag and proclaiming U.S. naval power in the new century. As befitting a genuine “rough-houser,” Kinkaid spent most of his subsequent career in naval gunnery, with sea tours… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 1

John Bradley’s Account of the Iwo Flag Raising

Friday, July 1, 2016 2:11 PM


Pharmacist's Mate Second Class John Bradley points to one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers he claimed was himself. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

In preparing each issue of Naval History, one of the staff’s regular stops is the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. During a visit there several years ago I came across an account by Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class John Bradley of his role in the famous Iwo Jima flag raising on Mount Suribachi—the subject of Joe Rosenthal’s immortal, iconic photograph, which was the basis for the Marine Corps War Memorial. When news broke questioning Bradley’s role in the flag raising—and presence in the photo—I remembered that account, the transcript of a Navy interview with the corpsman recorded less than three… Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 28

Our Readers

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 12:01 AM



The best compliments are often the most unexpected. When a member or reader lets us know what we do here at USNI is valued it puts a smile on everyone’s face. Below is an email Mr. Keith Quilter sent us on 1 June 2016 that we loved so much we decided to share it. I have just finished watching the video at the end of the description of “Harnessing the Sky” the biography of Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell by his son and a grand-daughter. I was so completely fascinated by the presentation given by the co-authors and the memories I have… Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 20

A Gun to Counter the Dive Bomber

Monday, June 20, 2016 12:01 AM


A gun crew practices on a quadruple 1.1-inch mount at Dam Neck Training Center Virginia. Note the large, cumbersome magazines. (National Archives)

The quadruple 1.1-inch machine cannon, affectionately known as the “Chicago Piano,” was the first medium-range antiaircraft gun adopted by the U.S. Navy.1 Engineered and built by the Naval Gun Factory during the Great Depression, it was designed specifically to combat dive bombers. The four-barreled weapon fired a one-pound explosive shell that was fused to explode on contact with the thin doped fabric that covered the wings of the era’s biplanes. The resulting shrapnel would tear through the wing, causing loss of control. The need to provide the Fleet with a new antiaircraft gun became evident in the late 1920s in… Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 16

Cruise of the USS U-111

Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:11 PM


U-111 flying the American flag and German ensigns. Courtesy F A. Daubin. Naval Institute Photo Archive

“In 1919,” Rear Admiral F. A. Daubin reflected in 1957, “Diesel engine designing and production in our country was in swaddling clothes, barely creeping. Trucks, power plants, and railroads equipped with Diesels were not even a dream, and our Diesel-powered submarines were not sufficiently trustworthy to go to sea without the services of a nearby tender.” At the time of which he wrote of, Daubin was the assistant to the captain in charge of the submarine section of the Chief of Naval Operations. He suggested to his commander that “the Germans had good engines in their submarines. They cruised all… Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 10

Contrasting Battlecruisers

Friday, June 10, 2016 11:42 AM


Joining the German High Seas Fleet in 1911, the battlecruiser MOLTKE featured a longitudinal bulkhead, 15 watertight compartments, and a double bottom. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

On 10 August 1904, at the Battle of the Yellow Sea during the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese discovered that the armaments of their armored cruisers were outranged by those of the Russian battleships. The Japanese response was swift. While the war still raged they laid down new armored cruisers armed with 12-inch guns. The first, the Tsukuba, carried the same armament as contemporary battleships, was two knots faster than them, but had belt armor two inches thinner than most battleships’. The Tsukuba could be regarded as the first battlecruiser. In March 1905 the U.S. Congress authorized the new “all-big-gun” Michigan-class… Read the rest of this entry »

May 30

In Respect to Their Memory and Admiration of Their Valor

Monday, May 30, 2016 12:01 AM


Commdore David Porter

The ornate, allegorical Tripoli Monument is a memorial to six U.S. naval officers’ ultimate sacrifice during the Barbary War. On the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, sandwiched between Leahy Hall and Preble Hall, lies an unlikely looking military memorial. Its elaborate, asymmetrical appearance, however, belies its rich martial past. In fact, the white marble statuary is the United States’ oldest military monument, built to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of U.S. naval officers during the Barbary War against Tripoli and originally funded by their fellow officers. The monument was the idea of David Porter, who would rise to become a… Read the rest of this entry »

May 19

“Herman the German”

Thursday, May 19, 2016 1:32 PM


USS YD-171 lifts another crane. . Naval Institute Photo Archive.

Engineers at the Terminal Island Naval Shipyard in Long Beach, California, had a problem on their hands: how does one reassemble one of the tallest and largest crane in the world? That was the situation in January, 1948 as the U.S. Navy worked to erect the gigantic, floating Schwimmkran Nr. 1, taken from Germany as war reparations at the end of World War II. The gigantic crane, “naturalized” after the war as USS YD-171, was one of four built by Demag A. G. in 1941 in Bremerhaven, Germany to lift U-Boats out of the water for repair and for other heavy-lifting tasks…. Read the rest of this entry »

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