Jun 30

Ships of the U.S. Air Force

Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:01 AM

By

USAFS General Hoyt S. Vadenberg

Though the United States took a keen interest in the development of ballistic missile technology after the close of World War II, it was not until the Soviet launch of the satellite Sputnik in October 1957 that a new urgency in the matter. Within a matter of months the Navy launched its own satellite (Vanguard 1) into orbit, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created, and spurred the United States Air Force to invest in a series of ships. Since 1950 the Air Force had exclusive jurisdiction over the Long Range Proving Grounds — the Atlantic and Pacific Missile… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 29

Salty Talk: Posh

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 12:01 AM

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Cartoon by Eric Smith. U.S. Naval Institute

Many have heard the term “posh,” used to mean something fancy or luxurious — swanky. The word has its origin in the operations of the Pacific and Orient Steamship Company of nearly a century-and-a-half ago. The P. & O. line made voyages principally between England and British Empire ports on the rim of the Indian Ocean and in the Far East. Its steamers traveled south across the Bay of Biscay, east through the Mediterranean, south again through the Suez Canal and Red Sea, and then fanned out across the Indian Ocean to such places as Bombay, Calcutta, Trincomalee, Singapore, and… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 28

Our Readers

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 12:01 AM

By

80-G-217817

The best compliments are often the most unexpected. When a member or reader lets us know what we do here at USNI is valued it puts a smile on everyone’s face. Below is an email Mr. Keith Quilter sent us on 1 June 2016 that we loved so much we decided to share it. I have just finished watching the video at the end of the description of “Harnessing the Sky” the biography of Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell by his son and a grand-daughter. I was so completely fascinated by the presentation given by the co-authors and the memories I have… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 20

A Gun to Counter the Dive Bomber

Monday, June 20, 2016 12:01 AM

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A gun crew practices on a quadruple 1.1-inch mount at Dam Neck Training Center Virginia. Note the large, cumbersome magazines. (National Archives)

The quadruple 1.1-inch machine cannon, affectionately known as the “Chicago Piano,” was the first medium-range antiaircraft gun adopted by the U.S. Navy.1 Engineered and built by the Naval Gun Factory during the Great Depression, it was designed specifically to combat dive bombers. The four-barreled weapon fired a one-pound explosive shell that was fused to explode on contact with the thin doped fabric that covered the wings of the era’s biplanes. The resulting shrapnel would tear through the wing, causing loss of control. The need to provide the Fleet with a new antiaircraft gun became evident in the late 1920s in… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 16

Cruise of the USS U-111

Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:11 PM

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U-111 flying the American flag and German ensigns. Courtesy F A. Daubin. Naval Institute Photo Archive

“In 1919,” Rear Admiral F. A. Daubin reflected in 1957, “Diesel engine designing and production in our country was in swaddling clothes, barely creeping. Trucks, power plants, and railroads equipped with Diesels were not even a dream, and our Diesel-powered submarines were not sufficiently trustworthy to go to sea without the services of a nearby tender.” At the time of which he wrote of, Daubin was the assistant to the captain in charge of the submarine section of the Chief of Naval Operations. He suggested to his commander that “the Germans had good engines in their submarines. They cruised all… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 15

Lighthouses of Virginia

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 12:01 AM

By

Old Point Comfort

Anyone who has grown up or vacationed on a coast has visited and climbed a lighthouse. As a child, my family toured one, where we discovered my fear of heights. The Naval Institute has a unique photo collection of lighthouses, organized by state. To share this collection with the public, we will begin with the lighthouses of Virginia. In 1792 John McCombe Jr. built the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse from stone. It is the oldest lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay, and served the area for nearly a century before it was deemed unsafe and a new lighthouse was commissioned. The structure… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 14

Salty Talk: The Blazer

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 9:57 PM

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HMS Blazer by Eric Smith

Uniforms for naval officers-their cut, color, and adornments specified by regulation-began appearing in the 18th century. Ordinary crew members had to wait about another century before they were similarly provided for, although navies were making available clothing of a simple, common pattern well before that. In every ship, one boat provided a captain’s personal means of transport. It was called a gig. Over time, captains-especially successful or rich ones-took to decorating their gigs to suit their personal tastes and to make them unique (rather like people today customizing their cars). They also took to outfitting their gigs’ crews with special… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 10

Contrasting Battlecruisers

Friday, June 10, 2016 11:42 AM

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Joining the German High Seas Fleet in 1911, the battlecruiser MOLTKE featured a longitudinal bulkhead, 15 watertight compartments, and a double bottom. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

On 10 August 1904, at the Battle of the Yellow Sea during the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese discovered that the armaments of their armored cruisers were outranged by those of the Russian battleships. The Japanese response was swift. While the war still raged they laid down new armored cruisers armed with 12-inch guns. The first, the Tsukuba, carried the same armament as contemporary battleships, was two knots faster than them, but had belt armor two inches thinner than most battleships’. The Tsukuba could be regarded as the first battlecruiser. In March 1905 the U.S. Congress authorized the new “all-big-gun” Michigan-class… Read the rest of this entry »