WASP Special Delivery by Gil Cohen

The time: Late Autumn, 1944.
The place: The tarmac of the Lockheed Aircraft Plant in Burbank, CA

A group of four Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) are gathered around their flight leader. She is kneeling and pointing to a significant rendezvous point on an aerial map, reinforcing the path of the WASP flight plan. Their mission is to ferry five P-38 Lightning fighters to a port of embarkation where the planes will be shipped to bases overseas.

(click to big up)

(click to big up)

During WWII the WASP organization was largely made up of the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAF). It was formed to free male pilots for combat duty overseas. Of the 25,000 women who applied, fewer than 1,900 were accepted. In addition to ferrying aircraft from factories, their duties included towing targets for anti-aircraft practice, simulated strafing and transporting cargo. During this time they flew nearly every type of military aircraft. In the course of performing their duties, 38 women lost their lives.
More here

Do you get the most of your XD at the range?

With the current price of ammo and the ever-pressing need to get everything accomplished in our world, range time can be both expensive and hard to find. Taking this in mind, I developed an easy, 1-hour, 50-round session that I try to stick to in an effort to get the most from my experience

IMG-20140820-01188
Read the rest in my column at XD Forum.com

Hunter Nubbs “The No Hand Shooter”

You have to admit, Hunter has become very adept at his weapon’s manipulation skills.

He does mag swaps better than several of the officers I have trained.

He also does a pretty good Instructor Zero imitation

Whats your excuse?

H/T Easy Bake Gun Club

Warship Wednesday August 27, the plucky Perch, hardy frogman steed

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.

- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday August 27, the plucky Perch

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Here we see the Balao-class submarine USS Perch (SS-313) as she appeared in the late 1960s off Pearl Harbor with her crew in summer whites. This hardy vessel made seven war patrols during WWII then remained one of the last operational smoke boats in the U.S. Navy, seeing hot service in both Korea and Vietnam.

The 128-ship Balao class were classic 311-foot, 2500-ton ‘fleet boats’ designed to roam the Pacific on patrols that could last some 75-days due to their 11,000-nm range. Capable of making over 20-knots in a surface attack, they carried a staggering 10 torpedo tubes for which they stocked two dozen steel fish, as well as a reasonably well-armed battery of deck and AAA guns to sink smaller vessels like sampans and defend themselves against aircraft. We have covered ships of this class in the past here at LSOZI but don’t complain, they have lots of great stories.

Laid down 5 January 1943 at Electric Boat in Groton, she was commissioned 367 days later and departed for Key West for training. Needed for service in the Pacific, she arrived in Pearl Harbor at the beginning of April 1944. Just three weeks later she left on her first war patrol. For the next year she conducted a total of 7 patrols in enemy waters, often working as part of a small U.S. submarine wolf-pack, chasing down the few Japanese merchant and warships that remained afloat. She lurked in the South China sea, trading an attack on an oilier for a counter attack by a Japanese sub buster. Perch managed to send a few small trawlers and coasters to the bottom in surface gunfire actions while plucking Navy Corsair pilots and USAAF B-29 crews from the Pacific.

In a sign of things to come, she was used to land an 12-man Australian commando force of the famous Z Special Unit on a reconnaissance mission to Balikpapan Bay, Borneo, Indonesia (then in the Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies). The ill-fated force under the renowned Aussie commando leader Major John Stott was lost through no fault of the Perch.

Ending the war off the coast of Imperial Japan, Perch was decommed and placed in reserve in 1947. However, unlike many of her class she was soon dusted off and in May 1948 she was converted to a Submarine, Transport (SSP-313, later ASSP-313, then APSS-313, then LPSS–313, all with basically the same meaning) then recommissioned.

Aft view of the Perch (SS-313) off Mare Island after completion of conversion to a troop transport. Note the large dry deck shelter for equipment and small boats. US Navy photo

Aft view of the Perch (SS-313) off Mare Island after completion of conversion to a troop transport. Note the large dry deck shelter for equipment and small boats. US Navy photo

Soon after the balloon went up on the Korean peninsula, Perch was used for landing British Commandos on raids behind North Korean lines. These were so successful not to mention hazardous, that Perch’s CO was made the recipient of a Bronze Star, the only such sub commander to win one in action during the Korean conflict.  The sub herself was added a fifth battle star to her record to go with the four she earned during WWII.

Broadside view of Perch (ASSP-313) off Mare Island on 6 May 1954. She was under going repairs at Mare Island from 8 December 1953 to 13 May 1954.     US Navy photo # 21035-5-54, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

Broadside view of Perch (ASSP-313) off Mare Island on 6 May 1954. She was under going repairs at Mare Island from 8 December 1953 to 13 May 1954. US Navy photo # 21035-5-54, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

Except for a 20-month period when she was laid up (1960-61), Perch spent the next 15 years shuttling around the Pacific from the Aleutians to the Gulf of Siam landing groups of Navy UDT teams, Army Green Berets, and Allied troops upto company-sized on exercise beaches under all conditions. While equipment was stored in an external dry deck shelter bolted to the outside of the hull aft of the conning tower, the embarked commandos had to hot bunk with the crew. Since there were some 70 enlisted berths, this meant an additional 70 foot soldiers could be taken aboard, if uncomfortably.

Perch (ASSP-313),during exercises with reconnaissance troops from the 1st Marine Division off the coast of California. In addition to many internal changes, the Perch's conning tower structure had been extended and additional masts and shears added by January 1957, when this photo was taken.USN photo and text from The American Submarine by Norman Polmar, courtesy of Robert Hurst via Navsource

Perch (ASSP-313),during exercises with reconnaissance troops from the 1st Marine Division off the coast of California. In addition to many internal changes, the Perch’s conning tower structure had been extended and additional masts and shears added by January 1957, when this photo was taken.USN photo and text from The American Submarine by Norman Polmar, courtesy of Robert Hurst via Navsource

Yes, this IS a submarine with an Amtrac aboard. Perch (ASSP-313) preparing to launch an LVT amphibious tractor during a 1949 exercise. The vehicle could be carried in the cargo hangar and launched by flooding down the submarine. USN photo and text from The American Submarine by Norman Polmar, courtesy of Robert Hurst.

Yes, this IS a submarine with an Amtrac aboard. Perch (ASSP-313) preparing to launch an LVT amphibious tractor during a 1949 exercise. The vehicle could be carried in the cargo hangar and launched by flooding down the submarine. USN photo and text from The American Submarine by Norman Polmar, courtesy of Robert Hurst.

While many of her class had been upgraded or decommissioned, Perch remained largely in her WWII configuration, even retaining some of her deck guns in an era when most submarines in the fleet had removed theirs.

Then came Vietnam. From August 1965-October 1966 she landed UDT troops as well as South Vietnamese commandos up and down the coastline, performing classified “Deck House” beach reconnaissance missions and “Dagger Thrust” amphibious landings. You see these old smokers could come much closer to shore than many other warships, capable of floating in 17 feet of seawater when surfaced. This made them popular for these littoral missions conducted in the dark of night, especially in areas without much enemy ASW capability.

 

Perch was more or less a dedicated frogman ride from 1948-1967.

Perch was more or less a dedicated frogman ride from 1948-1967.

It was during this Indochina service that Perch became the last U.S. submarine to conduct a surface gunfire action.

The last gun-armed US Submarine in commission was USS Perch APSS-313. She was armed with a wet mount 40MM cannon on a sponson forward of the bridge and a 40MM cannon on the cigarette deck. Her last battle stations gun-action took place on August 20, 21, 1966 near Qui Nhon viet Nam. Perch opened fire with both 40MM’s and .50 Cal machine guns to assist extraction of a UDT team that was receiving Viet Cong fire from the beach. On the night of August 21, 1966 lying to on the surface 500 yards from shore she again opened fire with her deck guns and machine guns on enemy troops moving into position around a small ARVN force on the beach. Several secondary explosions of VC ordnance was observed. The ARVN force was extracted. USS Perch was relieved by USS Tunny APSS-282 the following month. Perch returned stateside for decommissioning. Tunny had several members of her crew trained for rigging topside to allow UDT teams to concentrate on the mission, and a portion of the crew trained as a “reaction force” to assist UDT extraction, or repel an enemy vessel. Tunny carried .50 Cal Machine Guns as did many smoke boats that operated in that area. Source–SEALS, UDT/SEAL Ops in Viet Nam, T.L. Bosiljevac, Ivy books New York, 1990.

Her third war over, Perch was sent back home and used as a training and auxiliary vessel, rarely getting underway after 1968. On 1 December 1971 she was decommissioned and, at age 27, stricken. She was sold for scrap in 1973.

The Homecoming, original painting of a Balao class sub by artist John Meeks

The Homecoming, original painting of a Balao class sub by artist John Meeks

While Perch no longer exists, of her 121 other Balao-class sisters, one (Tusk) is still in some sort of service with the Taiwanese Navy while at least eight are preserved in the U.S.

Please visit one near you if you can and remember the old Perch.

USS Batfish (SS-310) at War Memorial Park in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
USS Becuna (SS-319) at Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
USS Bowfin (SS-287) at USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park in Honolulu, Hawaii
USS Clamagore (SS-343) at Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
USS Ling (SS-297) at New Jersey Naval Museum in Hackensack, New Jersey.
USS Lionfish (SS-298) at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts.
USS Pampanito (SS-383) at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.
USS Razorback (SS-394) at Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Specs:

Balao Class Submarine
(As built)
Displacement: 1,526 tons (1,550 t) surfaced
2,424 tons (2,463 t) submerged
Length:     311 ft 9 in (95.02 m)
Beam:     27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)
Draft:     16 ft 10 in (5.13 m) maximum
Propulsion:
4 × General Motors Model 16-278A V16 diesel engines driving electrical generators
2 × 126-cell Sargo batteries
4 × high-speed General Electric electric motors with reduction gears
two propellers
5,400 shp (4.0 MW) surfaced
2,740 shp (2.0 MW) submerged
Speed:     20.25 knots (38 km/h) surfaced
8.75 knots (16 km/h) submerged
Range:     11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 knots (19 km/h)
Endurance:     48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged
75 days on patrol
Test depth:     400 ft (120 m)
Complement: 10 officers, 70–71 enlisted. After 1948, 75 commandos for short periods.
Armament:     10 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
(six forward, four aft) 24 torpedoes
1 × 5-inch (127 mm) / 25 caliber deck gun, Oerlikon 20 mm cannon (Removed 1948)
Bofors 40 mm

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find http://www.warship.org/

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Tribute to a true aviation historian

As a kid, I read The Day the Red Baron Died by imminent professional wordsmith Mr. Dale Titler, SR. 

Since then I have visited several of his works, crafted in the 1960s and 70s, often from first hand accounts of the last of the great remaining World War One veterans.

Mr. Titler, who lived locally to me and members of his family I consider close personal friends. They have now wished him well on his next, and greatest of adventures.

DSCN9403

Dale Milton Titler, Sr. age 87 of Gulfport, passed away on August 20th, 2014.

Mr. Titler was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania on August 25th, 1926, the son of Guy Edwin Titler and Helen Catherine (Bockel) Titler. He was a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Altoona. He lived most of his adult life in the South, but he never lost his love of his home state.

He served with the Army Air Force during World War II and his life-time work was in the fields of aviation and military history. He attended Penn State and was a graduate of the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics and the Altoona Aviation Corporation School of Flight.

Mr. Titler was an academic instructor in aircraft engineering with Graham Aviation, a USAF Pilot Training contract school in Greenville, MS and Marianna, FL. He instructed in Crash Firefighting, and Rescue Operations at Greenville AFB and in Electronics and Personnel Training at Keesler AFB. In 1978, he became the Keesler Center Historian, a position that he held until his retirement in 1989.

Mr. Titler wrote several non-fiction books released by major publishers. One was translated and published in the French language and one in the Japanese language. His military publications included eleven volumes of Keesler Technical Training Center history which spanned the years from 1977 to 1988; two monographs on early Keesler: Inception to Pearl Harbor and The War Years. He also wrote a special study: Major Hurricanes and Their Effects on Keesler Technical Training Center. His literary accomplishments were recognized in 1991 when he was honored by the City of Biloxi as Historian of the Year.

Following his retirement, he continued his work as a serious researcher and practicing historian in the field of aviation history. He is listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, Contemporary Authors, International Authors and Writer’s Who’s Who.

Mr. Titler is survived by his wife, Helen Ruth Titler; a son, Dale M. Titler, Jr.; two daughters, Barbara Gail Titler Ishee (Don), and Helen Catherine Titler; three grandchildren, Dale M. Titler III (Trey), Rachel Ishee, and Katelyn Ishee, all residents of the Gulf Coast.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to the Humane Society of South Mississippi, 2615 25th Avenue, Gulfport, MS 39501, Salvation Army, 575 Division, Biloxi, MS 39530, or to a church or charity of choice.

Interment will be at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens, Gulfport. View and sign register book at www.bradfordokeefe.com.”

Farewell Mr. Titler, and godspeed on your journey. May you have unlimited visibility on your ascent.

The new Edge Arms Reliant : Holy Mossberg Brownie, Batman!

It seems that the latest thing in personal defense guns is a return to the derringer. In recent years, we have seen double and single barrel pocket guns make a resurgence going as big as pocket shotguns and .223 caliber offerings. Well it seems like there is a new player on the block that looks to be taking a chip off the old block and reforming it to give the people what they want.

We give you the Edge Arms Reliant!

BlackspeedaV4l2014.250

What is it?

According to the website:

“The Reliant is specifically designed for concealed carry, combining the reliability of a revolver with the profile of a 1911 pistol. The contoured grip is comfortable for all shooters its small size makes it easy to conceal. The Reliant is ready the moment you put your finger on the double action trigger. With no external action, it can be fired from ‘deep cover,’ from inside a jacket pocket or other concealment. Reliant’s innovative design represents a true revolution in personal defense and is perfect for both a primary weapon or a backup gun for shooters of all experience levels. “

As such, you have a four-shot 5.25-inch long, 16-ounce derringer-style pistol with no moving action to jam, feed, or eject rounds from. This makes the gun inherently reliable and unlikely to experience an ammunition-based failure, which has kept the derringer concept valid and in production for the past 150-ish years. Size-wise, if you do the math, the Reliant is just a hair bigger than the 5.16-inch/9.40-ounce Ruger LCP .380 semi-auto.

Further, it looks like something we have seen before…

brownie eig
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk

Going loud with a 1902 Mountain Gun

Ian, my homie over at Forgotten Weapons, a man who probably has forgotten more about obscure guns than anyone has ever known, does it up with a Model 1902 Krupp-made 50mm Mountain Gun made for the Kingdom of Siam. Well worth under five minutes of your time. (If not, the money shot is at about 3:45)

Whatever

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