Author Topic: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread  (Read 57623 times)

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Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #195 on: March 05, 2015, 02:57:25 PM »
In hindsight, I was wondering about concussions and air pressure when noticing all those old machinegun posts near the main battery guns of the Missouri. Those were 16 inch guns, weren't they?

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #196 on: March 05, 2015, 06:18:17 PM »
In hindsight, I was wondering about concussions and air pressure when noticing all those old machinegun posts near the main battery guns of the Missouri. Those were 16 inch guns, weren't they?

Yeah. Nine 16 inch.   The 18.1 inch guns on the Japanese threw shells at the same velocity, but 25% heavier.

The American 16" armor-piercing shells had an explosive charge of 165 lbs, and a total weight of 2,700lbs. So, sort of like an explosive man driving a Ford Fiesta.

As far as the shockwave and concussion on the 16", I don't know. I haven't heard or read of sailors being harmed by it, and they used the Iowa  class for more years than ships normally last, form WWII through Desert Storm, so they must have worked that problem out. Well, actually, I understand that even on museum duty, the Iowa and the Wisconsin are considered mothballed, and could presumably return to active duty in 90 days if required.

I heard that the broadside pushes them sideways 9 feet, but I don't know what the truth is.
Also, the main armament wouldn't normally be used at the same time as the other weapons, so maybe the anti-aircraft guys were ordered below during firing.

Whatever the case, I think 16" is the practical limit.  The Montana class was to have 12 of them. So they didn't intend  to go bigger, or go back to 14"

Offline Lord Avalon

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #197 on: March 05, 2015, 08:42:06 PM »
Also, the main armament wouldn't normally be used at the same time as the other weapons, so maybe the anti-aircraft guys were ordered below during firing.
Seems to me if the ship were in a naval battle while also being attacked by planes, it would be all hands on deck.
Your agonizer, please.

Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #198 on: March 05, 2015, 09:10:37 PM »
Also, the main armament wouldn't normally be used at the same time as the other weapons, so maybe the anti-aircraft guys were ordered below during firing.
Seems to me if the ship were in a naval battle while also being attacked by planes, it would be all hands on deck.

And the 5" guns at the side doubled as AA guns as well. Plenty of machine nests around those turrets.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #199 on: March 05, 2015, 09:29:08 PM »
It's honest speculation.

I agree with all hands on deck during air attack, but I honestly don't know how often that happened during a bombardment.

The Battleships never traveled alone in wartime. They were ringed by other ships , destroyers, light cruisers, etc.  The Iowa class was prized for keeping pace with carriers.  So they had some protection and early warning of air attack.

I've seen pictures/film of the main batteries firing, but I can't remember sailors on deck. Likewise, I don't recall the main guns firing during air attack.

 I know it would be much safer to keep the powder and shells locked in the magazines then.  Likewise it would be much easier to see the planes to shoot at without all of the fire and smoke from the 16" batteries.

But to be clear, I don't really know how they managed the concussion problem, although I imagine that the guys in the 5" turrets were protected from the shock, and those would remain manned.


Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #200 on: March 10, 2015, 02:54:40 AM »
Finished another WWI aviation book. I hadn't read any memoir from the French perspective, so I gave this a try.

FIGHTING FOR FRANCE
With the American Escadrille at Verdun by James R. McConnell

This is the story of an American who went to France in 1914 as an ambulance driver, because he wanted to see the War, and be of some use. While he was heroic, he felt like a shirker. He decided to stand up to the Germans by volunteering to become an aviator for France.

The French welcomed him with open arms and treated him like he was special. I think there was a propaganda factor- France wanted more American help, if not outright involvement.

The book goes into some detail about pilot training at the time, basically they started with a low powered plane with stub wings that couldn't fly, to learn the controls, and went through a series of progressively more powerful airplanes learning new techniques at each stage.

The American Escadrille was a Neiuport squadron. It had ex-ambulance drivers, Foreign Legion members, and fresh volunteers. It made sense to have the qualified pilots flying fighters rather than observation planes or bombers, which would probably require better communication skills than these non-native French speakers had.

When describing the artillery barrages, he mentioned that planes had been cut in half by shells.  He also said that when a plane is shot down, you can hear the sound of bones breaking below.

Here's one of his early impressions in 1915-

We have the honour of being attached to a bombardment squadron that is the most famous in the French Army. The captain of the unit once lost his whole escadrille, and on the last trip eight lost their lives. It was a wonderful fight. The squadron was attacked by thirty-three Boches. Two French planes crashed to earth--then two German; another German was set on fire and streaked down, followed by a streaming column of smoke. Another Frenchman fell; another German; and then a French lieutenant, mortally wounded and realizing that he was dying, plunged his airplane into a German below him and both fell to earth like stones.

McConnell, James R. (2011-04-06). FLYING FOR FRANCE: With the American Escadrille at Verdun [Illustrated] (pp. 122-123). Cherry Lane Ebooks. Kindle Edition.

These writings were mostly from 1915. The author was shot down in 1917, and was dead before he hit the ground.

**************************
This is as good a place as any to discuss machinegun ammunition. Fighter pilots were always frustrated when they were sure they hit a plane, but it didn't go down. The Germans used a mix of exploding and hardened bullets. Well, the exploding bullets made a mess of the pilots, killing them with hits that they would have survived from normal bullets. The French wanted to kill downed German pilots found with such ammunition.

I think the German intent was to destroy airplanes. The hardened bullets were for wrecking engines, the exploding bullets were for lighting fuel tanks. The trouble is that the hardened bullets frequently pierced the gas tanks, causing only a leak. Richtoffen made a point of shooting gas tanks. He thought it was the best way to be sure of a kill. He also thought it was the best psychological weapon, that seeing one's  messmates perish in flames would intimidate his enemies.  To that end he encouraged and insisted other members of his circus aim for the gas tanks.

Allied pilots used the same jacketed bullets in their machine guns that the infantry did, although  with more tracers. They found that destroying hydrogen filled observation balloons utilized by the Germans worked better with  a mix of tracers and bullets fired into them at an oblique angle, so that the bullets released the gas to mix with the air, and the tracers ignited it.  The higher concentration of tracers made a shot through a Fokker's gas tank more likely to catch fire. Sort of ironic. 

The Allies tended to aim for the pilot and gunner. But since the dogfights were mostly behind German lines, planes could keep flying with dead or wounded pilots. Some of the more successful pilots employed deflection shooting, approaching at an oblique angle, and leading the target,  so that the burst would likely strike both engine and pilot. Those were more likely to crash directly.

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Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #201 on: March 10, 2015, 03:09:29 AM »
Interesting.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #202 on: March 10, 2015, 04:37:59 AM »
The German balloonists always wore parachutes. Their duty was over after the 3rd jump. It was determined that after escaping from his third balloon, an observers nerves were shot  and he was more focused on approaching aircraft than spotting for artillery.

Sometimes their pilots wore parachutes,too. Maybe that's why they Allies tended to shoot pilots rather than planes, thinking the pilot would come back for revenge if he escaped.

Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #203 on: March 10, 2015, 08:18:26 AM »
I'd think a pilot's nerves would be shot after escaping such a flaming inferno twice.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #204 on: March 10, 2015, 05:47:15 PM »
I don't think they had many relaxing assignments in WWI, even when you're not being shelled, gassed, or bombed, you're worried about catching the Spanish Flu.

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Historians ponder future of Revolutionary War relic
« Reply #205 on: March 15, 2015, 12:26:37 AM »
Quote
Historians ponder future of Revolutionary War relic
Associated Press
By WILSON RING  6 hours ago



In this Aug. 18, 1991 file photo, a replica of the Revolutionary War gunboat, the Philadelphia, fires guns during its launch on Lake Champlain in Vermont. A similar gunboat, the Spitfire, has been on the bottom of the lake since it was sunk in 1776 during the Revolutionary War, while being used by Benedict Arnold to help hold off the British in the key naval Battle of Valcour Island. Historian Art Cohn is developing a management plan for the future of the Spitfire, fearing the possible threat of an invasive species that could destroy the wreck if it is not raised and preserved. (AP Photo/Craig Line, File)



MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — When it was built late in 1776 the gunboat Spitfire wasn't meant to be the pride of the American fleet. It was built to fight and fight it did, helping slow down the larger British fleet that sailed south out of Canada onto Lake Champlain as part of an effort to crush the colonial rebellion.

The 54-foot Spitfire sank a day after the critical Oct. 11 Battle of Valcour Island, settling into deep water where it went unseen for more than 200 years.

Now the historian who led the search that found the Spitfire nearly two decades ago is developing a management plan for the future of the boat that today sits on the lake bottom, its mast upright and its bow cannon pointing straight ahead, just as it was when it was abandoned by its crew.

"This is not a sexy boat," said Art Cohn, the emeritus director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum who is now writing a management plan for the Spitfire that he will submit to the U.S. Navy. "It was relatively small, flat-bottomed and quickly built, but that's not its value."

"The principal value, in my opinion, is it connects us to 1776 and the formative years of this country," he said.

For years, the bottom — Cohn won't say exactly where the Spitfire rests or how far down — has been thought of as the safest place for the Spitfire, thanks to the protection of the cold, deep water above it. Now the fear is of a looming threat from the invasive species quagga mussels, which could destroy the wreck. They haven't arrived yet in Lake Champlain, but experts fear it's only a matter of time.



In this June 30, 1997 file photo, a replica of the Revolutionary War gunboat Philadelphia floats at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vt., Monday, June 30, 1997. A similar gunboat, the Spitfire, has been on the bottom of the lake since it was sunk in 1776 during the Revolutionary War, while being used by Benedict Arnold to help hold off the British in the key naval Battle of Valcour Island. Historian Art Cohn is developing a management plan for the future of the Spitfire, fearing the possible threat of an invasive species that could destroy the wreck if it is not raised and preserved. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)


Cohn's plan will include recommendations for the future of the Spitfire, including possibly leaving it where it is or raising it, preserving it and then displaying it in a museum. He hasn't chosen a course yet, but his worry over the mussels is clear.

"Our concern over the length of this study has really been elevated based on what we're learning about the implications of the mussel invasion. That information is sobering and a concern," Cohn said. "As we move toward final recommendations our goal is to try to develop a strategy so that this shipwreck survives for future generations."

The 50-man Spitfire was part of a small fleet that was assembled in the late summer of 1776 by Benedict Arnold before he turned traitor. The fleet was built at Skenesborough — now Whitehall, New York — to counter the larger British fleet being built on the Richelieu River in Quebec.

The British commanders intended to sail down the lake as part of a broader campaign to split New England from the rest of the fledgling United States of America and end the rebellion. Arnold anchored his fleet on the western side of Valcour Island, just south of Plattsburgh, New York, forcing the larger British force to attack him in the narrow confines between the island and the shore.

By all accounts the battle was a British victory. In the dark of night after a day of heavy fighting, Arnold famously slipped his remaining fleet through the British lines and retreated south. It was during that retreat that the Spitfire, leaking badly, was abandoned and sank, not to be seen again until 1997.

Even though the British won the day, the battle delayed their advance down the lake until 1777, giving the Americans much-needed time to prepare for the assault, ultimately leading to the American victory at Saratoga. That battle led to French recognition of the new country, key to the eventual defeat of the British.

Paul Taylor, a spokesman for the Navy's Naval History and Heritage Command, said the organization was looking forward to receiving Cohn's management proposal.

The usual preference is to leave vessels, especially in cold, fresh water, on the bottom where they will be preserved. Taylor said he was unaware of the mussel threat, but the Navy agrees with the need to protect its historic resources.

"We take preserving the history of our Navy very seriously," Taylor said. "The history of the Navy is the history of the nation."
http://news.yahoo.com/historians-ponder-future-revolutionary-war-relic-175819985.html

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #206 on: March 15, 2015, 05:46:13 AM »
Well, hopefully they can send a robot sub  down and film and computer map the thing while it's still unaffected.

I think it would be a problem to raise and transport. On the other hand, I rode a train down the west side of the lake in the 80s, so maybe there's still rail access to bring stuff in or haul it out.

I knew about the battle, but not the replica, or the knowledge of the wreck.
Thanks! :)

Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #207 on: March 15, 2015, 07:24:41 AM »
Definitely not a pretty boat to look at, if the replica is any resemblance to the Spitfire.

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Japanese warship broke up as it sank near Philippines, researchers say
« Reply #208 on: March 15, 2015, 05:55:28 PM »
Quote
Japanese warship broke up as it sank near Philippines, researchers say
Reuters
By Alex Dobuzinskis  March 13, 2015 7:56 PM



(Reuters) - Some of the first video taken of the sunken Japanese battleship Musashi, newly discovered by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's exploration team, reveals that the vessel broke apart before coming to rest on the sea floor near the Philippines in 1944, researchers said on Friday.

Footage of the wreck was shot this week by a remotely operated underwater vehicle exploring what remains of the World War Two battleship, one of the largest ever built, at the bottom of the Sibuyan Sea.

The research team, sailing aboard Allen's yacht, the M/Y Octopus, used historical records, detailed undersea topographical data and advanced technology to find and photograph the Musashi on March 2, ending a decades-long mystery about the shipwreck's exact location, according to his website.

The discovery attracted international attention because the Musashi and its sister ship, the Yamato, to this day rank as the heaviest and most heavily armed battleships ever built.

Historians had expressed interest in how much of the ship had remained intact.

The latest findings indicate that the Musashi rests in multiple pieces on the sea floor, and the size of the debris field shows it broke up during its descent, a spokeswoman for Vulcan, a company founded by Allen that is handling the expedition, said in an email.

The impact of torpedoes caused the breakup, according to the spokeswoman, Alexa Rudin.

U.S. forces sank the Musashi on Oct. 24, 1944, killing more than 1,000 Japanese, or about half the vessel's crew. The sinking occurred at the outset of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval engagements in history, pitting American and Australian forces against the Japanese.

The Musashi, named after a province in Japan, was commissioned in August 1942. It measured 863 feet (263 meters) in length and weighed nearly 73,000 tons when fully loaded with nine main guns, along with aircraft and other features.

The Yamato was sunk on April 7, 1945. Its wreckage has been photographed a number of times over the years.

Allen and his research team are mindful that the wreckage is a war grave and they have worked with the governments of Japan and the Philippines to ensure the site is treated with respect, Rudin said.

Allen, who had been searching for the Musashi for eight years, was not present on his yacht when the team aboard the vessel discovered the Musashi, according to the billionaire' s website.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Will Dunham)
http://news.yahoo.com/japanese-warship-broke-sank-near-philippines-researchers-235634010.html

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Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #209 on: June 02, 2015, 09:01:41 PM »
Quote
Wreck of 18th-century slave ship confirmed
The discovery of the São José, off the coast of South Africa, is believed to be the first sunken slave ship ever recovered.
Christian Science Monitor
By Henry Gass  June 1, 2015 3:41 PM


In late December 1794, the Portuguese ship São José-Paquete de Africa found itself caught in a storm rounding the southern tip of the African continent. Seeking protection from the fierce winds the ship hugged the coastline, but this was ultimately its undoing, as the São José crashed into a submerged reef and broke apart in a matter of hours.

The captain and all his crew survived the shipwreck, but 212 slaves perished – roughly half the number of people who had been packed into the São José at Mozambique 24 days earlier.

Historians and archaeologists from around the world have been working quietly since 2010 recovering artifacts from the São José, after a years-long search to identify the ship and its cargo. The discovery will be announced at a ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa, tomorrow, and various artifacts from the ship will be displayed in museums around the world over the coming months.

Some of the artifacts are destined for the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will open on the National Mall in the fall of 2016.

The São José is believed to be the first slave ship ever discovered that wrecked while carrying slaves.

"They have found ships that were once slave ships but didn’t sink on the voyage. This is the first ship that we know of that actually sank with enslaved people on it," said Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the museum, in an interview with the Smithsonian Magazine.

The wreckage was first discovered by treasure hunters in the 1980s, who misidentified it as the Dutch merchant ship Schuleynburg, which had sunk in 1756. The divers had to report their findings to the South African government, per the regulations at the time, and this alerted historians from around the world to the ship's existence.

But the true history of the ship – and the cargo it had been carrying – wasn't confirmed until just a few years ago.

The discovery was led by the Slave Wrecks Project, a coalition of researchers from George Washington University, the Iziko Museums of South Africa, the South African Heritage Resource Agency, the US National Park Service, and others. Divers have been quietly excavating the wreckage – which lies barely 100 meters from the South African coast, near Cape Town – since 2010. Their work had to be kept secret, they said, so more treasure hunters wouldn't come to the site.

That year divers found copper fastenings and copper sheathing in the wreckage, artifacts that hadn't come into common use on ships until the late 18th century, meaning it couldn't be the Schuylenburg.

The biggest clue, however, was the discovery of iron blocks in the wreckage. Jaco Boshoff, a maritime archaeologist with the Iziko Museum, found the blocks himself in 2012. He said he "knew immediately" the significance of the find, according to The New York Times.

The blocks were used at the time as ballast to counterbalance the variable weight of human cargo, which can shift up and down over the course of a long Atlantic voyage as some slaves die and others experience weight fluctuations. The more living cargo a ship carries, the more ballast it needs.

"That people were calculating the weight of human bodies that way – it’s difficult to imagine," said Stephen Lubkemann, an associate professor at George Washington University and a member of the Slave Wrecks Project.

By 2012, researchers for the Slave Wrecks Project had found the São José's manifest, which detailed the ship's departure from Lisbon to Mozambique. According to the manifest, the ship had left Europe with 1,500 iron blocks of ballast destined for Mozambique, a relatively new market compared with the West African coast, which slave traders had been visiting for centuries. The ship left Mozambique Island with between 400 and 500 slaves, according to records from the time, and was destined for Maranhão on the Brazilian coast. The voyage ultimately lasted 24 days.

"The Sao Jose slave shipwreck site reverberates with historical significance and represents an addition to our underwater heritage that has the potential to advance knowledge and understanding of slavery, not only at the Cape but on a global level," said Rooksana Omar, CEO of Iziko Museums, in a statement.

The ship was so close to shore it was able to fire off a cannon blast to signal for help. During a court inquest into the wreck – discovered by researchers in 2011 – the ship's captain, Manuel Joao Perreira, described the ship being torn apart in the turbulent coastal waters. The captain and crew worked to save as many slaves as they could. Some were able to reach the shore on a barge, but the fierce weather prevented the barge from returning, he testified.

In all, some 212 slaves died. Two days later, the surviving Africans were resold into slavery in the Western Cape.

The press conference on Tuesday will be preceded by a memorial ceremony, for both the people who perished in the shipwreck and those who were resold into slavery afterward. Divers will also place soil from Mozambique Island on the underwater site, memorializing those who drowned and representing their last footfall on the continent before the São José went down.

"We hope to bring the memory of those enslaved Africans back into consciousness,” said Paul Gardullo, historian and curator at the Smithsonian African-American museum, in an interview with  Smithsonian Magazine.

Bunch, who will attend tomorrow's ceremony, said there is likely still more to find at the site. The turbulent surf that helped sink the São José has complicated the recovery process, researchers say. The waters are so rough divers said working on the site was like working in a washing machine. Some objects were buried six to eight feet under the sand. Items would be uncovered, documented, and then covered over by sand again just a few hours later.

The artifacts – which will include some of the iron blocks used as ballast – will be on a 10-year loan to the African-American museum, according to the Smithsonian Magazine. The museum, he added, will be part exhibition, part memorial, to "help people get a better understanding of the slave trade."

"It’s really a place where you can go and bow your head, and think about all those who experienced the middle passage, all those who were lost," said Bunch. "It’s both a scholarly moment, but also, for many people, it will be a highly personal moment."

Kamau Sadiki, vice president for the National Association of Black SCUBA Divers, who worked with the Slave Wrecks Project, described his experience as "extremely emotional [and] humbling."

"Just to be able to dive that site, to find a tangible piece of artifact, or information, something to raise their silent voices, to tell their story, is an extraordinary thing," he said on a video on the Slave Wrecks Project web site. 
http://news.yahoo.com/wreck-18th-century-slave-ship-confirmed-194158060.html

 

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