Russians find an old G-5

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation announced they have discovered and identified torpedo boat AKA-76 in the Black Sea off Cape Panagia. The G-5 (Г-5) type boat was sunk 17 November 1943 by German aircraft during the Kerch-Eltigen landing operation, taking 10 personnel with her.

Not much left…

Designed in the late 1920s by famous aircraft designer AN Tupolev, the 61-foot duralumin vessels, powered by imported Italian Isotta-Frascini diesels (and later M-34 water-cooled piston aircraft gasoline engines– yikes!) were very light and could top 50+ knots at max speed on smooth water. Carrying a pair of 533mm rear-launched torpedoes and two 12.7mm Dshk guns for self-defense, they had a six man crew (with the fact that AKA-76 had 10 aboard being indicative that she was probably a control boat for the landings). They could float in just 32-inches of water when fully loaded and, at speed, pass through areas even more shallow.

Торпедный катер

Some were shipped to the Republicans in Spain as military aid in the Spanish Civil War, thought they proved ineffective.

Though 329 were completed, and at least 70 lost in WWII, these boats did not claim many anti-shipping victories other than a few smallish Romanian and German vessels in the Black Sea and some Finnish ones in the Baltic. A swarm of G5s  reportedly (Soviet legend) harassed the German cruisers Leipzig, Emden and the destroyers T-7, T-8 and T-11 enough that the Kriegsmarine abandoned an initial assault on the Estonian island of Saaremaa in 1941.

The G-5s did prove very good at helping demine coastal areas and harbors while infiltrating raiding parties and supplies behind enemy lines, as well as in racing close during landings and letting their Dshk guns do the heavy lifting alongside small-arms equipped crew.

No less than 28 Heroes of the Soviet Union, including Aleksey Afrikanov, earned their decorations in G-5s, with the aforementioned officer doing so with a group of torpedo boats that suppressed German artillery positions at close range in Tsemess Bay and Novorossiysk on the night of 10 September 1943, just before the start of the landing operation, thus ensuring a successful landing of troops from the sea.

During the Korean conflict, three DPRK-crewed G-5s attacked the cruisers USS Juneau (CL-119) and HMS Jamaica off Chumunjin on 2 July 1950, without much success. All three were splashed at long range.

More on the class (in Russki)

A Lil Jeep and a lot of swagger

Capt. Forrest F “Pappy” Parham in front of the famous shark teeth of Little Jeep, a P-40 Warhawk when a member of “Chennault’s Sharks” the 23rd Fighter Group in the China-Burma-India theater of WWII. He went on to make ace with the 75th Fighter Squadron flying P-51s.

The Saskatchewan-born Parham was reared in Minnesota and began his career as an Army enlisted man but retired a full bird colonel in the U.S. Air Force having served through the Korean War. He retired after 28 years, carried the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Unit Citation, Soldiers Medal and two Bronze Service Stars.

He died in Louisiana in 2002 at age 85. As you can tell, he enjoyed a good pipe and an ivory-handled 1911.

When you visit just 1 museum ship, you visit many

Floating museum ships around the world take to searching for missing parts and items from their vessel as they often received the ship after decades in mothballs where they were cannibalized to keep units still in the fleet “in the fight.” Others had equipment stripped from them before transfer.

This leaves museums looking for parts from all over.

I know on a visit to the USS Alabama (BB-60) I found Dutch Navy-marked 20mm cannon components. On visiting the USCGC Ingham, there is an amalgam of other 327′ Treasury-class cutters as well as gear from across the Coast Guard. On visiting the USS Kidd (DD-661) in Baton Rouge, they have an unrestored compartment they will show you that illustrates how the ship was received in 1982 after sitting in mothballs for 20 years.

This week the volunteers of the museum ship USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr (DD-850), decommissioned 2 July 1973, detailed some of the work put in to “Joey P” over the past several years in scouring other tin cans coming up for dismantling or destruction to salvage what they could to make the old Gearing-class destroyer a more complete specimen of her species. The donors range from Fletchers and Shermans to Adams and Farragut-class guided missile destroyers.

ex-USS Barney (DDG-6), moored along two mothballed FFG7s. Barney decommissioned 17 December 1990 after 28 years of service and was sold for scrapping in 2006.

From the group:

As early as 2001, much of the original items needed were missing to make her the period authentic display she is in 2017. Two main groups, the 1970s and the 2000s team have acquired just about all that she needed. From Mexico, California, Virginia, and Pennsylvania came literally tons of equipment from DASH drones to sound powered phone handset cradles. Our crew removed items with respect and honor to those who served on the ships we removed the items from. The history of these ships live on today.. Here is a list of some of the destroyer types ships we acquired items from or a part originally came from:

USS Nicholas DD449
USS The Sullivans DD537
USS Caperton DD650
USS Van Valkenburgh DD656
USS William M. Wood DD715
USS William C. Lawe DD763
USS McKean DD784
USS Basilone DD824
USS Myles C Fox DD829
USS George K. Mackenzie DD836
USS Glennon DD840
USS Perry DD844
USS Robert L. Wilson DD847
USS Harwood DD861
USS Steinaker DD863
USS Stribling DD867
USS Brownson DD868
USS Newman K. Perry DD883
USS Orleck DD886
USS Forrest Sherman DD931
USS Barry DD933
USS Bigelow DD942
USS Radford DD968
USS Peterson DD969
USS Caron DD970
USS Briscoe DD977
USS Connolly DD979
USS John Rodger DD983
USS Thorn DD988
USS Lawrence DDG-4
USS Claude Ricketts DDG-5
USS Barney DDG-6
USS Sampson DDG-10
USS Sellers DDG-11
USS Farragut DDG-37
USS Luce DDG-38
USS Macdonough DDG-39
USS Dahlgren DDG-43

And that’s just the destroyers, the group says they have another list of auxiliaries and cruisers they have been able to salvage gear from.

There may very well be a couple Garands afloat in the Navy until 2067

In watching the footage and imagery coming from the commissioning of the largest aircraft carrier ever built, the brand new USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) on Saturday, the below struck me as a great image.

NORFOLK, Va. (July 22, 2017) — USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) color guard member Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Miguel Monduy departs the hangar bay after retiring colors during Ford’s commissioning ceremony. Ford is the lead ship of the Ford-class aircraft carriers, and the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cathrine Mae O. Campbell)

LS3 Monduy’s rifle, of course, is a U.S. rifle, caliber .30, M1, best just known as a Garand. The rifles, though officially withdrawn in the 1970s, are still floating around for ceremonial use and in this case has been chromed, but as Ford has an expected lifespan of 50+ years, these shiny M1s could be aboard her for some time.

The Navy’s railgun’s rate of fire is now up to 2 rounds in 10 seconds, which is a lot of joules

The Office of Naval Research quietly released footage of the all-electric railgun spitting out a couple of rounds back-to-back at Mach 6.

The undated footage comes from Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, named after the famous 19th Century admiral whose “Dahlgren Gun” changed naval warfare leading to his nickname as the “Father of American naval ordnance.” And the electromagnetic railgun may be just as revolutionary.

If they can just get the rate of fire up high enough and the gun’s battery pack with a small enough footprint..

More in my column at Guns.com

Netherlands goes deeper down the Glock trail

The Dutch Armed Forces (Koninklijke Landmacht, Koninklijke Marine, Koninklijke Luchtmacht and Koninklijke Marechaussee) is reportedly doubling down on the Glock 17, buying another 10,000 Gen 4 models to augment 6,300 guns ordered last year. They will be replacing older Gen 2 guns bought in 1994 which in turn replaced the venerable FN Browning Hi-Power adopted just after WWII and used through the fighting in Indonesia and the Cold War.

The Browning Hi-Power was the NATO standard for more than 40 years with all but a few larger members (U.S., Italy, France, and West Germany who all used domestic designs) adopting the Belgian 9mm. Now they all seem to be going Glock with the same list of exceptions.

The Dutch, which have used Glocks extensively in operations abroad in counter drug operations in the Caribbean as well as in Afghanistan, is in the process of upgrading their small arms and has notably deployed the Dutch rotation for the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania with upgraded Diemaco (now Colt Canada) C7NLD rifles.

The mosquito boats at Midway

While the huge carrier task forces get all the attention at Midway, there was also an unsung fleet of plywood boats who took part in the battle as well.

As part of the local defenses at Midway were 11 early model PT boats (Elco 77′ PT’s 20-31) of the 1st Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron. Dispatched to Midway from Pearl Harbor in May, the nearly 1,400nm trip is often regarded as the longest open-water PT boat sortie of the war (though they did rendezvous with seaplane tenders for gas twice on the trip).

On June 4, as some 60 Japanese Navy planes attacked Sand Island (part of Midway) the PT boats were ready to meet them. MTB RON 1 had already had a bit of experience shooting at Japanese planes– at Pearl Harbor six months prior.

PT Boats and Zeros Painting, Oil on Canvas; by Griffith Baily Coale; 1942; Unframed Dimensions 10H X 20W Accession #: 88-188-AF On the brightly colored waters of the lagoon, the PT’s are skimming about, darting here dodging there, maneuvering between the rows of machine gun splashes, incessantly firing their twin pairs 50 caliber guns.

According to PTboats.org:

As the dive bombers pulled out over the lagoon, the PT’s opened with all their guns. PT’s 21 and 22 concentrated their fire on a low-flying Zero, which crashed in the trees on Sand Island. Another Zero came out of a steep dive to strafe PT 25. The 25 took 30 small-caliber hits above the waterline; 1 officer and 2 men were slightly wounded by shrapnel. Several times planes started to dive on other boats, but swerved off as soon as the PT’s opened fire.

After the raid they picked up five USMC Marine pilots and two enlisted who had bailed out and returned them to shore.

They also made the epitaph to the great naval battle out to sea on the 5th .

At 1930 all 11 PT’s got underway to search for damaged Japanese carriers reported 170 miles to the northwest. The weather was squally, with poor visibility. These conditions, excellent for PT attack, also made it difficult to find targets. Unable to find anything by dawn, the PT’s turned back to Midway. On the way, PT’s 20 and 21 sighted a column of smoke 50 miles to the west. They sped toward it at 40 knots, but when they arrived all they could see was a large expanse of fuel oil and floating wreckage, apparently Japanese. Probably no Japanese carriers were left afloat.

On the 6th, they put to sea with flag draped coffins of Marines and Japanese killed in the raid two days prior.

Sinking Sun Painting, Oil on Canvas; by Griffith Baily Coale; 1942; Framed Dimensions 54H X 63W Accession #: 88-188-AB Marine stands at parade rest on the bow of a PT boat as she moves slowly out to sea from Midway to give decent burial to Japanese fliers shot down on the islands during the battle. The red ball of the rising sun is prophetically repeated by the round disc and spreading rays of the sinking sun.

 

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