Archive for the 'Wars' Category

Jan 12

Naval Air Station Queenstown, Ireland 1918

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 12:01 AM

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H.H. Jalbert's photo album (Photographed by Melissa King)

Located in the U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive is a record of a long-forgotten naval base, a naval aviation base to be precise. Perhaps the reason Naval Air Station Queenstown—situated at Aghada, four miles from Queenstown (present-day Cobh), Ireland, in County Cork—was forgotten is because it existed for less than a year. Established in 1918, after the United States had entered World War I, the antisubmarine base closed a few months after Armistice Day. Queenstown was one of four naval air stations the United States established in Ireland under the command of Navy Commander Francis McCrary. It consisted of six… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 11

The Soda-Bottle Shaped Shell Guns

Monday, January 11, 2016 12:01 AM

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While IX-inch Dahlgren shell guns mainly were used in broadside, XI-inchers, such as this one on board the Union sloop KEARSARGE, were generally pivot mounted. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

At 0400 on 17 June 1863, the powerful Confederate ironclad ATLANTA steamed from the Wilmington River into Georgia’s Wassaw Sound to attack ships of the Union South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Barring her way were two U.S. Navy PASSAIC-class monitors, the WEEHAWKEN and NAHANT, each armed with one XV-inch and one XI-inch Dahlgren shell gun and under the overall command of Captain John Rodgers Jr. The casemated ATLANTA, captained by Commander John Webb, mounted four Brooke rifled guns: two 6.4-inchers in broadsides and two 7-inchers in pivot mounts capable of firing to either side. She also had a bow-mounted percussion spar torpedo.

 
Jan 7

Snakebite!

Thursday, January 7, 2016 12:01 AM

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The inside of the kit, showing its compact arrangement.

In the Pacific Campaign of World War II, Navy medicine was forced, to paraphrase author Jan K. Herman in his Battle Station Sick Bay, to practically reinvent itself. The Pacific islands were far from the paradises that many had read about in popular literature, ranging from atolls of jagged coral to perpetually wet, stinking equatorial jungles filled with deadly creatures and terrible tropical diseases — not even to mention the Japanese troops against whom the Marines, soldiers, and sailors were fighting. Navy corpsmen, accompanying the Marines, in particular faced a formidable task. Often on the front lines far from field… 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 »

 
Jan 4

On Naval History’s Scope

Monday, January 4, 2016 11:17 AM

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Cover-JF-16

Twenty-five years. It’s hard to believe Operation Desert Storm was so long ago. Perhaps that’s because the United States seemingly has been at war in that part of the world ever since. Or maybe because images of the conflict’s high-tech U.S. weapons in action were so indelible. Like many of you, I clearly recall being glued to the TV for much of the conflict. Otto Kreisher, on the other hand, witnessed the war firsthand as a journalist accompanying the U.S. Marines into Kuwait. A former enlisted Leatherneck, Kreisher is the author of the January/February Naval History cover story about the… 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 10

A Midget Submarine Emerges

Thursday, December 10, 2015 12:01 AM

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current hoist

Monday last marked the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Much indeed has been written about the attack, which killed 2,403 US servicemen died, as did 64 of the Japanese attackers and 35 civilians. One particular area of interest has been the operations of the Japanese midget submarines during the attacks. For several decades after the attack, many mysteries surrounded the efficacy and fate of the two-man submersibles. With 9/10 of their crews having perished in the attack, one man (and his vessel) being captured, very little could be found to piece together just what had happened… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 9

Midwatch in Surigao Strait

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 12:01 AM

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Roy West and his shipmates on the McDERMUT escaped being sunk by Japanese torpedoes in the Battle of Surigao Strait. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

On the night of 24–25 October 1944, Torpedoman’s Mate Third Class Roy West and the other men manning a torpedo mount on the destroyer USS McDERMUT (DD-677) did not know the details of the battle plan, but they did know that a large Japanese force was coming north through Surigao Strait directly toward them. The lifejackets and helmets that always seemed a burdensome nuisance during drills now brought a mixed sense of foreboding and comfort as the minutes ticked slowly by. Sometime after 0200 a quick look at the gyro repeater confirmed that the ship had turned south. West heard… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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