Archive for the 'World War I' Category

Jun 12

The Sinking of the USS President Lincoln, 31 May 1918

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 12:01 AM

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Painting by Fred Dana Marsh, 1920, depicting the ship sinking after she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-90 on 31 May 1918

May 31st marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the troop transport USS President Lincoln. Formerly a German ocean liner of the Hamburg-America Line, the Navy had commissioned her in 1917 to ferry young men and equipment over to the Western Front. In 1918, her luck ran out when she was torpedoed by the German submarine SM U-90.  In 1922, her commanding officer at the time of the sinking, Commander P. W. Foote, USN, wrote his remembrances of the fateful day for Proceedings. It is excerpted and illustrated here.

 
Jun 8

Frankenships: HMS Zubian and USS Wisconsin

Friday, June 8, 2018 9:14 AM

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HMS Zulu + HMS Nubian = HMS Zubian

When the Royal Navy commissioned the thirteenth Tribal-class destroyer in on 7 June 1917, it unleashed a floating Frankenstein’s monster. HMS Zubian was actually stitched together from the best parts of the class’s tenth and twelfth destroyers after both had suffered heavy damage while serving as part of the Dover Patrol to prevent German vessels from entering the English Channel. HMS Nubian was torpedoed during the Battle of Dover Straight in October 1916 but had remained mostly intact and suffered no casualties. As she was being towed back to port, heavy winds caused her to breakaway and run aground on… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 6

The Battle of Belleau Wood: a Devilish Overview

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 2:00 PM

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(Photo: Pritzker Military Museum & Library)

June 6th, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Belleau Wood. This three week long engagement between German infantry forces and the 4th Marine Brigade helped forge the culture of the Corps over the past century. Perhaps most significantly, the Germans gifted the Marines with one of their favorite nicknames: the Devil Dogs, but that is not even close to the most interesting part of the battle. Let’s take a closer look at what Belleau Wood was when it was fought and what it left in its wake.   If the Marines did not win the Battle, the… 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 »

 
Nov 8

Japan’s Victory in World War I

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 12:01 AM

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Japanese delegates to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

In marking the 100th anniversary of World War I, a review of Japan’s role as a principal victor of the war highlights critical lessons from naval history. Although Japan suffered about 2,000 casualties in the war, fighting took place outside of the country, which remained largely unscathed. The war resulted in Japan’s acquisition of territory, economic boom, and emergence as a great power with a primary seat at the table during the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919.[1] Western views critiqued Japan’s participation in the Great War as opportunism. However, Japan deployed its navy to its limit,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 20

Reflecting on the Jutland Centennial

Monday, March 20, 2017 11:10 AM

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Layout 1

The Battle of Jutland—where my grandfather, Sir John Jellicoe, commanded the British Grand Fleet on 31 May, 1916—was, and has remained, one of the most controversial battles of all time. Britain’s expectations of a second Trafalgar were hopelessly unrealistic but fed by a very active press. Britain’s navy had basked in its glory for more than one hundred years, thought and acted as if it were invincible and received a rude shock on the day. When an easy-to-understand victory, ready packaged for the national media to exploit was not achieved, the search for scapegoats began. My grandfather became the scapegoat…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 21

The Great Mine Barrage

Friday, October 21, 2016 4:18 PM

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Mk 6 mines, with floats attached and resting on box-like anchors, are ready to be dropped from a U.S. minelayer into the North Sea. As each mine went over the stern, another would be raised from below and placed on tracks at the end of the line. (U.S. Official Pictures of the World War)

When the United States entered World War I, the Allies viewed America as the world’s leading industrial power and a vast source of fresh manpower. Much of the U.S. contribution to the naval side of the conflict would be in line with the first view, of the United States as the home of mass production. The best-known examples are the floods of merchant ships, intended to make up for losses to U-boats, and of destroyers and subchasers. Less well known was an imaginative U.S. naval initiative to produce and lay a mine barrier to close off U-boat routes out of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 12

The Great Naval Act of 1916

Friday, August 12, 2016 3:27 PM

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President Woodrow Wilson addresses a crowd in January 1916 during the period he was lobbying hard for his naval-expansion legislation. (Library of Congress)

  A century ago President Woodrow Wilson signed into law what at the time was the largest expansion of the U.S. Navy. In previous years, Congress had generally appropriated, say, two battleships and a destroyer flotilla, which left the Navy lobbying in vain for the cruisers that the battleships needed to scout for them. Now, at one stroke, Capitol Hill and President Wilson promised the service 10 battleships, 6 battleship-sized battle cruisers, 10 light cruisers, 50 destroyers, and 30 submarines, plus lesser ships. The origins of the act are traced to pressures generated by World War I. As a major… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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