Archive for the 'World War II' Category

May 2

Tenth Patrol of the USS Silversides (SS-236)

Thursday, May 2, 2019 12:01 AM

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RADM John S. Coye Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.)

In this audio excerpt from his oral history, Rear Admiral John Coye describes the tenth war patrol of the USS Silversides (SS-236) and the sinking of three Japanese ships off the Marianas in May 1944. After graduation from the Naval Academy in 1933, Admiral Coye served in the cruiser USS Northampton (CA-26) and destroyer Monaghan (DD-354). Submarine school in 1937 was followed by service in the submarine USS Shark (SS-174) as engineer until 1941. He then helped put the mothballed submarine USS R-18 (SS-95) into commission and succeeded to command during patrols off Panama. The highlight of his career came during… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 30

The Brotherhood of the F.B.I.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 12:01 AM

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For the men, Iceland was a bleak and often inhospitable place to be. Navy air crews of Patrol Squadron 84 (VP-84) endured seemingly endless flights over thousands of square miles of ocean often under appalling weather conditions. Life for pilots of the 342d Composite Group stationed at Keflavik Air Base patrols were occasionally enlivened by encounters with Luftwaffe Condors or Ju 88 bombers flying from bases in Norway. As hard as it was for the troops and flight crews, the escort ship sailors had it worse. The anchorage in Hvalfjödur (a.k.a. Valley Forge) proved as dangerous as the open ocean…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 25

The Strange Navy That Shipped Millions of Japanese Home

Thursday, April 25, 2019 9:50 PM

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When Japan formally surrendered on board the USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945, there still were seven million Japanese soldiers and civilians scattered throughout the Pacific and Asia with no way of returning home. The Allies had so devastated Japanese shipping during the war that few transports remained. There were some grumblings among U.S. officials who thought that it was Japan’s problem to rectify, but it was quickly recognized that after suffering under Japanese occupation for years, countries such as China and the Philippines should be relieved of the burden of stranded Japanese troops. There was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 18

Reflections on Admiral Yamamoto

Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:01 AM

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On this date in 1943, U.S. Army Air Forces P-38 Lightning fighters, acting on U.S. Navy signals intelligence, shot down a bomber carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet and architect of the Pearl Harbor attack. Yamamoto’s death was a devastating blow to Japan’s war effort. Commander Edwin T. Layton, intelligence officer on the staff of Admiral Chester Nimitz, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander-in-Chief, played a key role in the events that led to Yamamoto’s death. Ironically, Layton had gotten to know the Japanese admiral while serving as assistant naval attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 16

Swimming Goes to War

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 12:01 AM

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World War II saw a great leap forward in military technology from things like sonar to jet aircraft. However, one basic human activity became “weaponized” and a very valuable addition to the U.S. Navy’s arsenal. Swimming grew from simple physical training and life saving into a war-fighting skill designed to overcome German and Japanese beach defenses and insure success in numerous amphibious invasions around the world. A major center for preparing such combat swimmers for action was the Amphibious Training Base in sunny Fort Pierce, Florida.[i] Here the Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs), later organized into larger Underwater Demolition Teams,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 11

Diplomatic Exchange with Japan — 1942

Thursday, April 11, 2019 1:50 AM

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MS Gripsholm carrying prisoners of war, loads Red Cross supplies in New York Harbor.

While cataloguing photos for the Naval Institute’s digital image collection, one of our archivists brought this photo to my attention. I was intrigued, and started to search our content for the story behind the picture. It didn’t take me long to find the fascinating story related in a first person account by Captain Henri Harold Smith-Hutton, U.S. Navy (Retired) in his oral history transcript from interviews conducted by Captain Paul Ryan at Smith-Hutton’s home in Palo Alto, California in 1973. Captain Smith-Hutton was serving as Naval Attaché in Japan at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In Captain… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 26

Sinking and Submerged: Emergency Escape Equipment for Submarines

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 7:49 AM

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When I picture a naval rescue operation, my mind turns to men in life preservers, huddled together in a lifeboat as they watch their vessel sink beneath the waves. At least, that’s what I thought of until last week, when a stack of World War II naval rescue images crossed my desk, ready for research and processing. There was a good number of the images I was expecting: men in lifeboats; men soaked to the skin wearing life preservers; and men bobbing on the surface of the water, ship sinking in the background. Then, at the bottom of the stack,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 21

Sinbad – The Dog Behind the Legend

Thursday, March 21, 2019 12:01 AM

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Throughout the centuries many ships have had mascots – cats, dogs, monkeys, parrots – and during World War II there were a profusion of them. Many were adopted as part of the ship’s crew, but somehow none ever achieved Sinbad’s stature or lasting fame. His fame extended to sailors of all countries whose ships plied the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea and spread ashore to American cities far inland. It all started on a winter’s evening in late 1937, Blackie and his friend Ed Maillard returned from Liberty to the Cutter Campbell in Staten Island, New York. Blackie was carrying… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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