Archive for the 'World War II' Category

Mar 17

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 8

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 12:01 AM

By

The previous blog left off at the end of June with my grandfather’s ship, the USS Sway (AM-120), operating in Italy and preparing to return to combat after undergoing refitting and repairs. In my search of naval records I was unable to find any entries for the ship’s war journal for the month of July. The ship’s history, however, shows the month was spent traveling back and forth between Italy and Tunisia. This entry will pick up in August 1944 with the Sway in Naples, Italy and unless otherwise noted the entries will be from the ship’s war diary as my grandfather stopped keeping a… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Mar 10

Suicide at the Top, Remembering RADM Don P. Moon

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 12:01 AM

By

As we remember and observe the 75th anniversary of Operation Dragoon, the Allied amphibious landing in southern France on 15 August 1944, it is worthwhile to reflect on one high ranking casualty just prior to the invasion, RADM Don P. Moon. Sadly, RADM Moon committed suicide ten days prior to the assault. In light of the recent suicides of VADM Scott Stearney, commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, on 1 December 2018[i], and Army CSM Noel Foster, the Fort Campbell Garrison CSM, on 1 September 2017, RADM Moon’s case is worth studying to understand how the pressures of command and… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 27

Pearl Harbor’s Second, Secret Disaster

Thursday, February 27, 2020 11:30 AM

By

The attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 was not the only fiery tragedy that befell the bustling Hawaiian hub throughout the duration of the Second World War. Some 3 and a half years following the deadly Japanese-led strike, Pearl Harbor found itself in the midst of another deadly inferno that tore through the previously untouched West Loch, destroying six LSTs, killing 163 personnel, and injuring a further 396. Despite the large loss of life, knowledge of this explosive catastrophe was and continues to be limited, as an immediate press blackout surrounding the incident was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 18

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 7

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:01 AM

By

This blog begins on 10 June 1944. My grandfather, Seaman Thomas Schreck, joined his ship the USS Sway (AM-120) an Auk class minesweeper in Bizerte, Tunisia at the end of May. The ship just spent the last nine days undergoing refitting and maintenance and was now about to get underway once again to resume operations off the coast of Italy. Before returning however, they stopped in Malta to prepare the ship for the dangerous job of clearing mines. Before getting into the ship’s operations, I want to provide some information on the USS Sway. The Sway belonged to the Auk class of fleet going minesweepers…. Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 11

The Antiaircraft Fire Control ‘Shoebox’

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 12:01 AM

By

In the spring of 1941, the staff of the fire-control section in the newly reorganized Bureau of Ordnance’s Research and Development Division was struggling with the problem of how to provide fire control for the heavier antiaircraft machine guns that were just entering production, such as the 40-mm Bofors and the 1.1-in machine cannon. Although a series of development contracts had been awarded to the traditional suppliers of fire-control directors, none of the devices submitted to date lent themselves to quantity production, none had proven to work, and all were deemed too difficult to maintain afloat. Unbeknown to anyone in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 31

World War II’s 13-Year-Old “Baby Veteran”

Friday, January 31, 2020 1:31 PM

By

On the night of 14-15 November 1942, sailors aboard the USS South Dakota (BB-57) found themselves in the midst of one of World War II’s most legendary naval battles: The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The South Dakota was no stranger to enemy action. Her gun crews had already earned themselves a reputation of being “wild-eyed and quick to shoot” (Smithsonian), and her captain, Captain Thomas L. Gatch, already had his jugular severed and arms permanently damaged in a prior attack less than a month before. (Yes, he did in fact return to his ship that quickly). By the time the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 28

The Incredulous Adventure of Ensign George William Denby, USNR

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 10:07 AM

By

Every once and a blue moon, a piece of history crosses my desk that immediately drives me to tell its story to everyone and anyone who will listen. Which is what I did this Fall, when I told my fellow archivists, the photo historian upstairs, and my friends about this story from World War II. This story has still stuck in my brain, however, which is why I’m going to share it with you all right now. Here is the strange but true story of Ensign George William Denby, USNR:   Ensign George William Denby, USNR (of Van Nuys, California)… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jan 16

The Life & Service of a World War 2 Mine Warfare Sailor. Part 6 Sea Stories Part 1

Thursday, January 16, 2020 12:01 AM

By

This blog begins with my grandfather, Seaman Thomas Schreck, shortly after joining his ship the USS Sway (AM-120) an Auk class mine sweeper. He arrived in Bizerte Tunisia at the Karouba Air and Sea base a few days earlier. The Sway spent the first nine days of June undergoing refitting before returning to Italy where it continued to serve as part of the ongoing operations there. My grandfather stopped writing upon joining the ship as per orders from his Commanding Officer. This blog and future blogs will use a combination of the ship’s war journal, a few entries he did make, an… Read the rest of this entry »

 
« Older Entries