Sep 16

Cruisers: Interwar Roles and Limitations

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 11:52 AM

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Friedman-F4-SO-15

An excerpt from “The Fleet’s Ambiguous, Versatile Warships,” by Norman Friedman, in the October issue of Naval History magazine With the end of World War I, U.S. naval policy turned from concentration on Europe to concentration on the Far East and Japan. Even so, supporters of continued U.S. naval construction exploited widespread anti-British feeling in the United States by suggesting there was a U.S.-British naval rivalry. This was despite the fact that the United States and Great Britain were given naval parity in the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty while the far more likely enemy, Japan, was given the short end… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 11

The VT Fuze: The Other Secret Weapon of World War II

Friday, September 11, 2015 9:16 AM

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USNI VT fuze.

As a young officer, then-Lieutenant Commander (later Admiral) W.H. P. Blandy, USN, had a keen interest in gunnery. Writing for Proceedings in 1920 (“Director Fire a Century Ago”) and 1925 (“Possible Improvements in our Gunnery Training”), LCDR Blandy understood well the history of fire control and what could be done to improve its effectiveness. Ever forward-thinking, Blandy noted elsewhere in 1925 of what a remarkable device a fuze that would detonate based on its proximity to the target would be. The key would be to find a way to trigger the shell to that its fragmentation pattern would be effective,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Sep 3

Target Practice!

Thursday, September 3, 2015 8:00 AM

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img074

Anyone who has had the pleasure (or should I say frustration) of searching through an archive knows you never know what you are going find. Looking through box #15 in the USNI Archives I found a unique series of photos featuring the ex-Iowa. Seeing the caption “ex” is perhaps the reason I stopped to look closer. The USS Iowa (BB-4) was originally commissioned in June 1897 and saw action in the Spanish-American War. She then spent time with the Pacific Squadron, the North Atlantic Fleet, and the South Atlantic Squadron before being decommissioned in March 1919. She was renamed Coast… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 27

Monument of the Month: The Naval Academy Skyhawk

Thursday, August 27, 2015 6:00 AM

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A4D-2 Skyhawk

One chilly December night in 1976, nearly the entire Naval Academy Cass of 1980 gathered in front of the Halsey Field House, dressed in their white works and sweats. It was the week of the Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia, and spirits were running high after the 38-10 trouncing the team had given the Army’s squad. They were a class with a purpose. The object of their mission: the A4D-1 Skyhawk on display by Worden Field. The Skyhawk was a high-visibility target, having been placed by the parade grounds specifically for its visibility. One midshipman produced a saw, and soon the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 18

‘The Stern Hit the Water with a Jar’

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 9:53 AM

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Literally a flying aircraft carrier, the USS Macon (ZRS-5) featured a hangar that accommodated four scout planes.

For the first time since 2009, undersea explorers, with support from the NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, today are investigating the secret wreck site of the U.S. Navy airship Macon (ZRS-5). Remote-controlled vehicles from Robert Ballard’s exploration vessel Nautilus are mapping the site, located within Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and evaluating the condition of the remains of the airship and her F9C-2 Sparrowhawk scout planes. The future of the Navy’s ambitious rigid-airship program was uncertain even before the 785-foot Macon crashed on the night of 12 February 1935. The USS Shenandoah (ZR-1) had gone down in 1925,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 14

Landing the Planes

Friday, August 14, 2015 11:12 AM

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Lieutenant Robin M. Lindsey, USS Enterprise landing-signal officer, epitomized leadership on the flight deck. (USS Enterprise CV-6 Association)

An excerpt from “‘The Big E’ Leadership Factory,” by Barrett Tillman, in the October 2015 issue of Naval History. Leadership also was evident on the Enterprise’s flight deck, never better demonstrated than during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands at the height of the Guadalcanal campaign. The ship’s landing-signal officer was Lieutenant Robin M. Lindsey, assisted by the air group LSO, Lieutenant (junior grade) James G. Daniels. Lindsey had been on board since July 1941 and learned the “paddles” trade under the tutelage of prewar LSOs. Daniels had survived Fighting Squadron Six’s debacle in the night sky over Pearl… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 13

Restoring the US/C-3 Infrared Signalling Telescope

Thursday, August 13, 2015 2:15 PM

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Bottom view

In Greek Mythology, the prophet Tiresias was blinded by the gods as punishment for revealing their secrets. He begged the goddess Athena to restore his sight, but she could not. Instead, she gave him the gift of foresight, and Tiresias spent the remainder of his days spouting prophesy. Tiresias had seen too much and had paid the price for it. Such too may be the case of a battered US/C-3 infrared signalling telescope that came into this writer’s care for restoration.

 
Aug 10

The Dropping of the TURDSID in Vietnam

Monday, August 10, 2015 7:00 AM

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TURDSID

Electronic warfare and surveillance are increasingly becoming topics of discussion. The nature of that type of warfare (and indeed combat itself) calls for a certain amount of creativity. To see, but not be recognized or seen oneself, begs for innovation and novel solutions to life-threatening problems. But even the most brilliant plans can be rendered moot if one builds an idea on a false assumption. Such is the nature of the ingenious yet flawed TURDSID.