The real “fighting Irish” deciphered. Bone strikes and palm strikes, not the knuckles. Makes sense.
National Firearms Museum:
These scaled-down Mannlicher-Carcano pattern bolt-action carbines were intended for Italian Fascist Youth training, ssed by the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB), 1926-1937 and the follow-on Gioventù Italiana del Littorio (GIL) through WWII. Intended to only fire a 6mm blank cartridge, these diminutive “ballila” pieces were also fitted with an equally small folding bayonet at the end of their 14-inch barrel.
The youngest of these groups intended to receive training were only 6-8 years old and were mustered as units called Figli del Lupa (Children of the She Wolf.)
The seed corn. Their motto: Libro e moschetto, fascista perfetto (Book and rifle, perfect Fascist)
U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and Coast Guard Station Rockland Me training with an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and 47-foot motor life boats.
The Jayhawk helicopter is painted yellow to represent the “chrome” yellow paint scheme that Coast Guard and Navy helicopters used in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Examples include the Sikorsky HO3S-1G used from 1946 to 1955 and the Sikorsky HO4S used from 1951 to 1966.
It is one of 16 aircraft in the country during the centennial celebration of Coast Guard aviation. Altogether, three different Coast Guard aircraft types, including the Jayhawk and Dolphin helicopters as well as the HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane, are receiving historic paint schemes representing various eras of Coast Guard air power.
The first Marine Corps snipers in Vietnam often found themselves using rifles forwarded from stateside shooting teams, such as this classic Model 70 with it’s huge 14x Unertl Sniper.
While Marine snipers after WWII were stuck with Korean War-vintage M1C Garands with offset mounted 2x optic, competitive rifle teams in the Corps eschewed the M1C for special order target model rifles such as the Winchester Model 70, for use in National Match events.
The example Ian with Forgotten Weapons above has a serial number that places it in the 1956 era and was owned by a retired Marine colonel who was Captain of the Marine Corp rifle team at Camp Pendleton around that time.
One Marine who came from just such a rifle team environment and went to Vietnam, where he used a similar Model 70 (with an 8x Unertl) for a time was Gunnery Sgt. Carlos N. Hathcock II, who won the Wimbledon Cup trophy at the 1965 National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio with a M70.
SOGNEFJORDEN, Norway (Oct. 2, 2016) Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) ships ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbón (flagship), NRP Alvares Cabral, and FGS Ludwigshafen am Rhein sail through the Sognefjord in Norway.
The Spanish Navy’s Almirante Juan de Borbón (F102) is the second ship of the new F-100 class of air defense frigates and is well-equipped with a SPY-1D phased array “mini-Aegis” radar suite, 48 VLS launch cells and a 5-inch gun in a compact 5,800-ton package (how come we couldn’t have ordered 48 of these for the LCS design!?).
The Portugese Navy’s 3,200-ton NRP Alvares Cabral (F331) is a Vasco da Gama-class fast frigate of the popular German MEKO 200 type and is more modestly equipped for ASW and ASuW action with a suite of guns, torpedoes and Harpoons.
As for the German Navy’s FGS Ludwigshafen am Rhein (F 264) she is a handy K130 Braunschweig-class ocean going corvette of some 1,800-tons. Armed with a 76mm gun and RBS-15 antiship missiles, she is a modern day fast attack craft and would surely prove her worth in combat among a craggy coastal littoral such as the Norwegian coast.
As noted by NATO: SNMG1 is one of four multinational, high readiness groups composed of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participation in exercises to operational missions. These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability and help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits and enhance interoperability among Allied naval forces. They also serve as a consistently ready maritime force of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).
Of course, it reminds me of this painting of a very different time, but the same coast.
“Task Force of Two Navies” Watercolor by Dwight Shepler, USNR, 1943, depicting U.S. and British warships in the Pentlant Firth during an operation toward the Norwegian coast, coincident with the Sicily invasion, July 1943. USS Alabama (BB 60) is in the lead, followed by HMS Illustrious and HMS King George V. Three British carrier-based fighters (two “Seafires” and a “Martlet”) are overhead.
Let’s face it: the U.S. Coast Guard has an icebreaker crisis that has been brewing since the 1970s. From WWII through the Ford Administration, the U.S. had the largest military ice-breaking fleet in the world. Then came the inevitable retirement of a host of 8 aging breakers, built for the Navy and armed like destroyers, which were to be replaced by four new 399-foot Polar-class ships.
Well, those four became only two as a result of 1970s budget crisis and they linger on as broken down occasionally functional vessels. Icebreakers take a beating.
Instead of building new heavy icebreakers to military spec, one Congressman wants the Coasties to buy the 12,000-ton Aiviq, an American ice-hardened anchor handling tug supply vessel owned by Edison Chouest Offshore.
Completed in 2012, the commercial vessel is pretty sweet, but in the end had trouble in Alaska trying to do its thing to the point that the cutter USCGC Alex Haley, a medium icebreaker, had to step in as a safety net.
Now, with Shell’s decision to halt Arctic oil exploration, the owners want to sell the gently used $200 million vessel to Uncle Sam for $150 million and a Republican (who has gotten some pretty big contributions from those involved with the ship) is all about it for the Coast Guard– even though the ship isn’t really an icebreaker, isn’t built to military specs, and failed in its only deployment.
“It’s my belief that the Coast Guard would benefit greatly from the initiative taken by Congress to provide funding—without drawing from existing Coast Guard priorities—to minimize the vessel gap, by leasing a medium icebreaker,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, pimping the Aiviq.
Coast Guard Adm. Charles Michel isn’t impressed and said of the vessel, “This is not a pick-up game for the Coast Guard. We have very specific requirements for our vessels, including international law requirements for assertion of things like navigation rights. … This vessel does not just break ice …”
However, money talks, so there’s that.
Meanwhile, the Duffel Blog nails it:
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 October 19, 2016: Der Zerstörer von Uncle Sam
Here we see the Type1936A (Mod)-class destroyer USS Z-39 (DD-939), formerly KMS Z-39 of the German Kriegsmarine, underway off Boston, Massachusetts, 22 August 1945, just 106 days after the end of the war in Europe.
As part of the general naval buildup of the Third Reich, the Germans needed destroyers (Zerstörers) and needed them bad since the Allies left them with zero (0) after 1919. This led to a rush build of some 22 ships of the Type 1934/1934A and 1936 classes commissioned by 24 September 1939.
The thing is, almost all of these were destroyed in the first few months of the war, with 10 of these new ships slaughtered by the British at Narvik alone.
Never fear though, as the Germans already had a new and improved 15-ship class of vessels, the Type 1936As, on the drawing board, which would be almost 1,000-tons heavier than the Type 1934s (3,700-tons vs. 2,800-tons) and carry larger 150 mm (5.9 inch) guns rather than the legacy 127mm mounts of the preceding design.
With the earlier destroyers carrying names, the Kriegsmarine reverted to the traditional Teutonic practice of giving them numbers only and class leader Z23 was laid down at DeSchiMAG Bremen, 15 November 1938. Eight were laid down pre-Narvik and then after the battle improvements to the design were worked into new construction with Z31 onward being referred to as the 1936A (Mob) variant.
The hero of our story, the plucky Z39, was just such a 1936A (Mob) ship. Capable of a blistering 37.5-knots on her geared turbines, she could float in 15 feet of water. With lessons learned in Norway, they were the most heavily armed German-built destroyers of the war that made it to fleet service, carrying five rapid-fire 5.9-inch guns and 32 20mm/37mm AAA barrels– most with a very high elevation. For close in work, they had eight torpedo tubes and could leave behind 60 mines or a brace of depth charges in their wake.
Z39 was laid down by Germaniawerft Kiel, 1940 and commissioned 21 August 1943, as Germany was quickly losing the war after Stalingrad, El-Alamein, Kursk and Sicily. And to further complicate things, all of the destroyers of her class had turbines that were cranky and their large guns often too wet to be of use (in the end several, including Z39, only had four guns left, losing their forward most single mount.)
Her skipper, KK Loerke, was the only German one she would know and she spent her war in the Baltic.
Z39 operated at Jutland for a short time until it was send to the Baltic Sea at the beginning of 1944. On 23.06.1944 it was damaged by Soviet bombers and send to Kiel for repairs where it got another bomb hit. It took until 16.02.1945 until the ship went operational again and it was not used very much after that anymore. Decommissioned on 10.05.1945.
Meh, unexciting, but she did survive the war and was still afloat at the end of it and able to make steam– a feat very few German warships pulled off.
After the war, she was captured by the British, who made it to Kiel first, with a LCDR Forsberg (RN) placed in command of her on 6 July 1945.
Just 11 days later, the Brits handed Z39 over to the Americans along with her sisters Z34, and Z29. After evaluating the trio, the USN found Z39 to be the best of the lot and, selecting a few souvenirs from Z34 and Z29, sank them off the Jutland coast.
As for Z39, she sailed for the Boston Navy Yard, arriving there in August under the helm of CDR. R. A. Dawes, Jr., USN. There, she proved a splash just over two months after VE Day and with VJ Day right around the corner.
She was extensively documented, after all, it was the first chance to get that close to a functional German destroyer stateside since 1941 without taking cover.
She got underway several times in the next few weeks for performance inspection trials.
With the U.S. Navy done with their German tin can (and hundreds of their own domestic models already in mothballs) Washington decided to give Z29 away as continued military support to ally France– who had several of her sisterships and could use the destroyer for spare parts if nothing else.
As such, she was stricken from the Naval List 10 November 1947 after slightly over two years of service and transferred to France as FNS Leopard (Q-128) in 1948.
She did not see much time at sea and eventually was utilized as a tender and floating pier. She was ultimately scrapped in L’Orient, February 1964, the last of her class afloat.
The Navy, however, did not forget Z39 (DD-939) when it came to issuing hull numbers in the 1950s. They made sure to skip her between USS Jonas Ingram (DD-938) and USS Manley (DD-940) when they christened the Forrest Sherman-class destroyers after Korea.
What became of the rest of her sisters? As we already mentioned two other war survivors that were given to Uncle Sam were quickly deep sixed. Five others were war losses. Those that were left were split between France, Norway, the Soviet Union, and the Brits and had largely disappeared before 1960.
Among the longest living was ex-Z38, which became HMS Nonsuch (R40) in typically dry British humor. She was scrapped after she broke apart in testing. Did we mention these craft were in poor condition?
Anyway, there is always the extensive collection of images in the U.S. Navy archives to remember Z39– which has helped scale model designers over the years keep the design in steady production (and provided a income for maritime artists for box cover images):
2,600 tonnes (standard)
Length: 127 m (416 ft. 8 in)
Beam: 12 m (39 ft. 4 in)
Draught: 4.65 m (15 ft. 3 in)
Propulsion: 2 × Wagner geared turbines, 70,000 shp, 2 shafts, 6 boilers
Speed: 37.5 knots (69 km/h)
2,240 nautical miles (4,150 kilometers) at 19 knots (35 km/h)
Complement: 330 officers and men, less than 200 in USN
4 15 cm guns (1×2 & 2×1)
14 37 mm guns
18 20 mm guns
8 533 mm torpedo tubes
4 depth charge launchers
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