The service today began the public process of searching for a company who can bring three airmen killed in the line of duty – on November 29, 1942 – back home to U.S. soil.
The difficulty is that the three men, two from the Coast Guard and one from the Army, are encased in ice, 40 ft. below the surface near Koge Bay, Greenland, in their amphibious J2F-4.
“The United States Coast Guard has located a downed J2F-4 Grumman Duck aircraft in the arctic of Greenland that was lost during World War 2,” reads the sources sought notice in today’s Federal Business Opportunities website. “The aircraft is in a remote region of the arctic and buried under 40 feet of ice.” Onboard, presumably, are Coast Guard Lt. John Pritchard, Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Bottoms and U.S. Army Air Force Cpl. Loren Howarth.
Keep reading at Aviation Week
Never let it be said that the U.S. Coast Guard doesn’t take care of its own in addition to others.
Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out 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.
- Christopher Eger
Here we see the light carrier USS Independence (CV/CVL-22). Began as the light cruiser USS Amsterdam (CL-59) in 1940, she was converted while still at New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J to help fill the urgent and pressing need for fast carriers after Pearl Harbor. A 30/30 ship, she could make 30+ knots and carry 30+ aircraft while having legs long enough to cross the Pacific and operate on her own for a few weeks before she needed to find an oiler. While she was much smaller than a regular fleet carrier such as the Enterprise that could carry 80-90 aircraft, she could still put a few squadrons in the air.
In effect, she was good-enough.
Above you see a scale model of the USS Duluth (CL-87) compared to the USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) both are directly related to the Indy. The Duluth is a Cleavland-class cruiser and is what the Indy was originally ordered to be. The Belleau Wood underwent to same conversion that Indy did. Notice the similarity in the hull. Both ships only differed above the 01 deck.
When Independence was commissioned on January 14th 1943, the only other carriers in the fleet of the original 8 that started WWII were the Enterprise and Saratoga who were fighting for their lives off the Solomons, and the small USS Ranger which was up to her ass in U-Boats in the Atlantic. The new USS Essex had commissioned just a couple of weeks earlier and was in shakedown. The old carrier Langley, converted to a seaplane tender, had been lost early in the war, the huge Lexington was sent to the bottom at the Battle of the Coral Sea, Yorktown lost at Midway, Wasp and Hornet (stricken literally the day before Independence was commissioned from the Naval List) lost in the Solomons.
In short, the Indy came just in time and she was put to hard work fast. Before the year was out she was conducting raids off Marcus Island, Rabaul, and the Gilberts– tying down Japanese forces needed elsewhere. It was in these raids that the Indy picked up a torpedo (one of a half-dozen fired at her) in her starboard quarter. As this was repaired, she received a new air-group, an additional catapult, and a new mission– that of a night carrier.
The first full-time night Air Group was Air Group 41, established through the drive and persistence of Lt. Commander Turner F Caldwell. He commissioned VF(N)-79 in January 1944, training at NAAF Charlestown, Rhode Island. While at Charlestown Caldwell sold his idea of an ‘pure’ night air group to anyone who would listen. With the availability of the CVL Independence Caldwell got his wish. VF(N)-75 was dissolved and reformed as VF(N)-41, with an enlarged TBM contingent designated as VT(N)-41. Total size of the Air Group was 14 F6F-5N’s, 5 F6F-5′s and 12 TBM Avengers. Independence sailed for Eniwetok at the end of July 1944 to join Task Force 38. Air Group 41 finished it’s tour in January 1945. In that time it had claimed 46 kills, but lost ten of it’s 35 night fighter pilots in action, A further three were lost to operational causes – a tribute to the high training standards and skill of the group. The CVL Independence was the only light carrier to be completely equipped with a Night Air Group. Later in 1945 several large carriers and even a much smaller Jeep Carrier (CVE-108 Kula Gulf) went to Night Groups including Enterprise, Saratoga and Bon Homme Richard– but the Indy was the first.
By the end of the war she held 8 battlestars.
The Japanese couldn’t sink her, so the Navy decided to use her for testing. Since the USN had dozens of brand new fleet carriers of the Essex types, it didn’t need the old Indy anymore. Therefore, she was only 1/2 mile from ground zero on 1 July 1946 when the A-bomb went off in the Bikini Atoll tests. When she didn’t sink, they used her again for another A-bomb test three weeks later. Still afloat, she was only scuttled in 1951 off the coast of San Fransisco. Five of her remaining sisters pressed on and were used during the Cold War as transports, anti-submarine carriers, and as the first modern carriers that the French and Spanish navies had– one, the former USS Cabot, even tested the first Harriers at sea.
In the end you can say that the Indy had a hard life in her eight years above water to say the least.
Today, even after being under 3100-feet of seawater for 60 years, she is still on the job. You see ,she took down 70,000 sealed barrels of 1940s radioactive materiel with her which she is guarding in the forever night of the deep ocean and is forbidden to dive on using any means.
In a way, she is still a night carrier, with a very dangerous cargo.
Displacement: 11,000 tons standard; 15,100 tons full load
Dimensions (wl): 600′ x 71′ 6″ x 26′ (max) / 182.9 x 21.8 x 7.9 (max) meters
Dimensions (max.): 622′ 6″ x 109′ 2″ / 189.7 x 33.3 meters
Armor: no side belt (2″ belt over fwd magazine); 2″ protective deck(s); 0.38″ bridge; 5″/3.75″ bhds; 5″ bhds, 2.25″ above, 0.75″ below steering gear
Power plant: 4 boilers (565 psi, 850°F); 4 geared turbines; 4 shafts; 100,000 shp (design)
Speed: 31.6 knots
Endurance (design): 12,500 nautical miles @ 15 knots
Armament: 2 single 5″/38 gun mounts (soon removed); 2 quad 40-mm/56-cal gun mounts (in place of 5″ mounts); 8 (soon 9) twin 40-mm/56-cal gun mounts; 16 single 20-mm/70-cal guns mounts
Aviation facilities: 2 centerline elevators; 1 hydraulic catapult
Crew: approx. 1,560
If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO)
They are possibly one of the best sources of naval lore http://www.warship.org/naval.htm
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!
Past Warship Wednesday subject Mohawk will be getting a diver-viewable photo gallery installed.
“In May, Austrian photographer Andreas Franke plans to hang a series of photographs on Mohawk Veterans Memorial Reef, thus creating a temporary art exhibit only accessible to divers. Helping on the project will be the Lee County Division of Marine Sciences and Joe Weatherby, founder of Reefmakers LLC, a Key West-based company that specializes in sinking ships as artificial reefs.
On July 2, 2012, county scientists and Reefmakers scuttled the 165-foot World War II Coast Guard cutter Mohawk 30 miles off Redfish Pass.”
The News Press also has a great interactive graphic of the Mohawk herself.
Today women are standing tall in the realm of the shooting sports, but nearly a hundred years ago they were rarely seen. This remarkable photo shows us that there were then as now those who were enamored with the sport and willing to give it a shot (pun intended)
Above we see the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry Female Rifle Team of 1925.
These well-equipped and stylish young women are armed with what appear to be (from left to right) a Springfield Armory 1922 NRA Target rifle with Lyman 48 Receiver sight, a Winchester Model 52 Target Rifle, another Model 52 with a wrapped stock, a Winchester 1885 Low Wall single shot, 1922 Springfield again, and finally in the great coat another Low wall. Any one of these pieces were known to hold sub-MOA groups if the user did their part.
Read the rest in my article on Firearms Talk.com
The great Tom Knapp, perhaps one of the greatest exhibition shooters of all time, has passed away at age 62. He was an ambassador for the sport and just a legend in the gun community.
Tom doing some trick shooting and crediting it all to the Benelli. It is like a magician crediting the hat for the rabbit. Rest in peace Mr. Knapp. Millions of clays (and a few golfballs and balloons) are sleeping easier this week.
You are a 19-year old US sailor in the Pacific in 1944 and you hear the characteristic drone of an approaching radial engine fighter aircraft cuts through the thick heat of the salt air. You look up and see the red ‘meatball’ markings on the wings and your heart sinks as you realize it’s one of ‘theirs’ and, more importantly, it’s a racing strait towards you at over 300-miles per hour. Luckily, you have a mother-freaking gorgeous 20mm Oerlikon pressed against your shoulders and the most advanced gun sight of its day to help make sure the kamikaze doesn’t run right down your throat
Back in 1918, German arms engineer Reinhold Becker came up with a 20x80mm round that fired using primer ignition blowback in a very large machine gun to fire at 300-rounds per minute. This gun was to be used to help sweep the sky of the Western Front of those pesky thousands of American, British, and French biplanes in the last year of World War 1. Too bad for Becker, (not to mention the Kaiser) the guns were never made in enough numbers to affect the war and his design was shelved.
In 1934 the Swiss based company of Oerlikon Contraves (Oerlikon being the name of the town the factory was located in and contra-aves being Latin for “against birds”) dusted off Becker’s design and super-sized it to be able to better shoot down the more modern fighters of the 1930s.
This gun, typically just referred to as the 20mm Oerlikon, became perhaps one of the most effective AAA (antiaircraft artillery) cannons of World War 2.
Read the rest in my column at GUNS.com
Sad that this happens in the town I was born in but it seems that some band of ghouls has taken to robbing the private cemtetary maintained by the American Legion Post in Augusta. The Old Cemetery there houses soldiers from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and WWI.
May they catch the Spanish Flu of 1918 from thier new found wealth and then die before passing it on!
One of the largest personal collections of fully automatic machine guns in the world is up for grabs. The collection, that of well-known firearms buff Richard Wray, consists of some 191 lots and includes some of the rarest machineguns in the world. The good news is, if you have the scratch, everything is transferrable.
Richard ‘Dick’ Wray was a former soldier (82nd Airborne in Korea) and successful Ohio businessperson. He was the president of Wray Electric, a company that filled several lucrative construction projects that included wiring Nike Missile sites during the Cold War. Over a fifty-year period, he scratched this itch for military firearms often and at one point, his collection had over 400 machineguns. This is more than the US Army entered WWI with!
This one auction is like a kid in a candy store
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk.com
Ted Gundy, 86 year old sniper, awarded the “black hat” one of the highest awards of the marksmanship unit, the black hat awarded to 86 year old ww2 sniper, Ted Gundy, The veteran is given the opportunity to hit a target at 1,000 yards with modern day equipment.
In 1944, Ted Gundy was an army sniper fighting World War II in Europe with the famous 99th “Checkerboard” Divison. The 99th played a strategic role in the Battle of the Bulge when its inexperienced troops held fast on the northern shoulder of the German advance, refusing them access to the vital northern road network that led into Belgium.
Today, Gundy’s gait might be uncertain, his hands shaky and his hearing electronically enhanced (but not always quite enough), but when he settled behind “his” 03 Springfield A4 sniper rifle, none of that mattered.
When Ltc. Daniel Hodne presented Gundy with his own black cap – given only to AMU elite shooters – he and his unit gave a heartfelt thank you to the generation of warriors that came before them