In the interest of, Happy Friday, here is this May 1945 U.S. Army Signal Corps image of an M4 Sherman tank crew from the Library of Congress.
“A tank sunk in 5 feet of water waits for towing equipment. The Tank Commander gives vent to his feelings with a string of unprintable phraseology, while his driver uses a helmet to bale out the interior. Okinawa.”
HMS Prince of Wales (R09), second of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth-class carriers maneuvered out of the basin at Rosyth Dockyard yesterday and into the Firth of Forth. From there, she will wait for the time when the tide is right to head out to the North Sea and begin her contractor sea trials.
It will be the first time since 1941 that a British warship with the name has been at sea. Although the Royal Navy has previously used the moniker no less than six times going back to 1765, the last HMS Prince of Wales (53) was a King George V-class battleship that famously duked it out with SMS Bismarck, although still incomplete, only to be sunk by land-based Japanese bombers immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Let us hope the seventh Prince of Wales will see a much more happy career.
So last week, Colt signaled they were getting out of the consumer rifle market, at least for now, which basically means they weren’t going to sell AR-15s to the public. This set about much hand-wringing by some pro-gun advocates who called the company all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons and some high-fiving from anti-gun groups who all thought it fit their agenda of fewer guns in fewer places until that number is 0/0.
Sure, it was a big move. But it was one that you could see coming from a mile away.
Long the only game in the AR-15 market, Colt had exclusive rights to the platform for a generation after they bought the program from the Armalite Division of Fairchild Aircraft in 1961. However, once the basic design passed into the public domain, dozens of AR-specific companies such as Bushmaster, Daniel Defense, Eagle, and Olympic sprouted up, nibbling away at Colt’s dominance of the market.
More recently, traditional gun makers such as Remington, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Savage, and Smith & Wesson all jumped on the ever-growing domestic AR train, effectively crowding Colt out of its own niche. This has seen the company switch gears and return to popular offerings it long ago put to pasture, such as revolvers.
Then, on Wednesday, the other shoe dropped with the Pentagon saying that Colt had just won a $42 million M4 contract in the form of Foreign Military Sales to several U.S. overseas allies.
“Our warfighters and law enforcement personnel continue to demand Colt rifles and we are fortunate enough to have been awarded significant military and law enforcement contracts,” said Dennis Veilleux, Colt’s president and Chief Executive Officer, in a statement Thursday. “Currently, these high-volume contracts are absorbing all of Colt’s manufacturing capacity for rifles.”
So will Colt return to the consumer market once their military orders are filled? As long as they can be competitive, you can bet your sweet bippy they will.
And the beat goes on…
The Boeing/Saab T-X was selected on 27 September 2018 by the Air Force as the winner of the Advanced Pilot Training System program to replace the aging Cold War-era Northrop T-38 Talon. The downright cute little twin tail trainer will, in all likelihood, be around for decades provided it is successful.
The USAF currently has some 500~ T-38A/B/C models in inventory, with the newest example coming off the lines in 1972. It is envisioned that some 351 new T-X aircraft and 46 simulators are to be supplied by Boeing as part of the $9 billion program to put the venerable Talon to bed.
The T-X could also go on to be a sweet little scooter for budget air defense/COIN if given underwing hardpoints, after all, Saab runs the Gripen and in the past developed the Viggen, Draken, Lansen, and Tunnan, which all had a solid pedigree.
The T-X does look pretty sweet though.
While I suggested “T-60 Peashooter II” as a name update, in honor of Boeing’s last cute little combat-ish trainer, I have been overruled and the U.S. Air Force has named it the T-7A Red Hawk to honor the Tuskegee Airmen who famously flew the red-tailed North American P-51 Mustang in World War II (after working their way through P-39s, P-40s, and P-47s). The “Red Tails” of the 332nd Fighter Group were renowned for their work plastering Axis ground targets and successfully escorting B-17s and B-24s in the ETO in 1944 and 1945.
Which is better than the Peashooter II anyway.
British Lt. Jack Reynolds, aged 22, with LCPL George Parry in the background, gives the classic British two-finger salute to a reportedly grinning German Wehrmacht cameraman as he is captured near Arnhem, The Netherlands 19 September 1944, during the start of the worst chapter of Operation Market Garden, some 75 years ago today.
Reynolds, (SN 190738), joined the colors as a signaler in the Sussex and Surrey Yeomanry in 1939 and served in the Coastal Artillery during the Battle of Britain, exchanging fire with German big guns across the Channel in Dover. He later volunteered for the new glider-borne infantry with S coy, 2 Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment (“South Staffs”) being stood up in 1942, which became part of the 1st Airlanding Brigade in the 1st Airborne Division.
He earned a battlefield commission by 1943, leading the company Recce platoon as part of Simforce through Operation Ladbroke, an element of the Allied invasion of Sicily, where he picked up the MC.
This officer with his party of nine men landed at 2225 hours some four miles south of the Battalion Rendezvous. He led his party throughout the night to Waterloo Bridge encountering stiff opposition on the way during which six of his nine men became casualties. On the way up he collected several stragglers, forming them into an organised group, eventually assisting in the defence of the Bridge, during which two more of his men were killed and another missing.
Throughout the fighting this officer set a very high example of courage and leadership in the face of heavy odds.
Leading S coy’s Mortar Platoon at Arnhem, and facing being overrun after two days of fighting after Allied armor failed to make it to the town in time to save them, Reynolds and his remaining men tried to break out westwards towards Oosterbeek and only took the reluctant decision to surrender after being pinned down and running out of ammunition and water.
The British 1st, 3rd, and 11th Parachute Battalions, along with the South Staffs, had made it to Arnhem but were so mauled that, when the survivors of the four units amalgamated near Oosterbeek on 20 September, they only counted about 450 combat effective members. The rest had been killed, captured, or were still holding out to the East in little pockets.
As for Reynolds, he spent the rest of the conflict in Germany as a prisoner of war, until his liberation in 1945. He was demobilized from the army in 1946.
Jack passed away last month, on 21 August, aged 97.
Vale, Lt. Reynolds.
And of course, remember the entire 1st (British) Airborne this week, who were sent epically “a bridge too far.”
For more on the battle, a great and amazingly comprehensive book about Market Garden is The Battle of Arnhem by Anthony Beevor.
A pair of Russian Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO: Blackjack) heavy strategic bomber this week took a cruise around the Baltic Sea. Dubbed the “White Swan” by the Russians, just 14 or so of the big variable-wing aircraft, with their 177-foot wingspan, are in service– all with the 121st Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment in Saratov– making one, much less two of the planes airborne at the same time, a rare sight.
Therefore, the sortie was well-attended by NATO and Baltic state fighters.
From the Russian MOD:
Two Tu-160 strategic missile carriers performed a scheduled flight over the neutral waters of the Baltic sea.
The flight duration was more than 7 hours.
At some stages of the route, long-range aircraft were escorted by F-16 fighters of the Belgian [on a NATO Air Policing Mission out of Lithuainia], Danish and Polish Air Force, F-18 of Finnish Air Force, JAS-39 Gripen of Swedish Air Force. After the flight program, the crews of the Russian Aerospace Forces returned to the airfield.
And of course, state-owned Russian media played it up, shocked at the fact that people come out on the porch whenever you have a parade along their front lawn.
Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019: The Red-Shirted Scourge of the Ottomans
Here we see the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) armored cruiser (incrociatore corazzato), Giuseppe Garibaldi around 1904. She had a curious, if brief career, and could be taken as a bridge between 19th and 20th Century naval warfare, as she tangled with both Civil War-era ironclads and deadly U-boats.
Garibaldi came from a large and interesting class of cruiser designed by Edoardo Masdea, with good speed for the 1900s (19 knots), decent armor (up to 6-inches in sections) and a hybrid armament of one 10-inch gun forward and two 8-inch guns aft, along with a varied mix of casemate guns of all types, a quartet of torpedo tubes, and a ram bow.
They were handsome ships, with orders quickly made within a decade from Argentina, Italy, Spain and Japan (who picked up two from Argentina’s contract). As a twist of fate, the first delivered was to Argentina, who named their new cruiser, ARA Garibaldi, after the famous Italian red-shirt-wearing patriot. This have the twist that, at the same time in the 1900s, Rome and Buenos Aries both operated sisterships with the same name.
Further, the first Italian-service Garibaldi was sold before entering the fleet to the Spanish, who were eager for new warships to unsuccessfully defend their overseas Empire from Uncle Sam in 1897, thus making our subject Garibaldi the third such ship of the same class to carry the name.
To help visualize the mess, here is the fortune-cookie-sized-overview of name, country, chronological order year, with our feature ship *asterisked to keep her straight:
-ARA Garibaldi ordered from Argentina 1895
-ARA General Belgrano from Argentina 1895
-ARA Pueyrredón from Argentina 1895
-ARA San Martín from Argentina 1895
-Giuseppe Garibaldi for Regia Marina 1895, sold to Spain as Cristóbal Colón 1897 (sunk 1898)
-Pedro de Aragon, ordered for Spain 1897, canceled 1898
-*Giuseppe Garibaldi for Regia Marina 1898
-Varese for Regia Marina 1898
-Francesco Ferruccio for Regia Marina 1899
-ARA Bernardino Rivadavia from Argentina 1901, sold to Japan as Kasuga 1903
-ARA Mariano Moreno from Argentina 1901, sold to Japan as Nisshin 1903
Our vessel was constructed at Gio. Ansaldo & C., Genoa, and commissioned 1 January 1901 and, soon joined by her two twin sisters in Italian service, Varese and Ferruccio, were a common sight in the deep-water ports of the Mediterranean from Alexandria to Gibraltar and back, often serving as division flagships.
It was while carrying the flag of RADM (later Grand Admiral/Naval Minister) Thaon di Revel, that Garibaldi joined in the naval bombardment of Ottoman-held Tripoli just four days into the Italo-Turkish War in October 1911. She sent a company-sized landing force ashore, one of the first modern Italian marine ops, to disable the Turkish big guns at Fort Hamidiye. It was part of a much larger assault, one of the most unsung in amphibious warfare history, and would leave the Italians in control of Libya until 1943.
Still under Revel, Garibaldi and her two sisters would go on to give the Turks grief off Tobruk, in Syria, and the Dardanelles, as well as in the Aegean and the Levant. The biggest tangle of these would be in Ottoman-held Beirut. On 24 February 1912, Garibaldi and Ferruccio sailed into the Lebanese harbor and engaged a Turkish torpedo boat Ankara and the old ironclad Avnillah.
Built in England in 1869, the 2,300-ton central battery gunboat had fought in the Russo-Turkish War some 35 years previously and, while her original black powder muzzleloaders had been replaced with modern German Krupp 5.9-inchers, she had been stationary for a decade.
In the end, it was no contest and Garibaldi started the engagement with her 10- and 8-inch guns at 6,000 yards then moved in to finish off the old ironclad with a brace of Whitehead torpedoes at close range. Avnillah, rolled over and settled on the harbor floor, ablaze, losing half her crew. Ferruccio, meanwhile, accounted for Ankara. During the fracas, several civilian craft were also damaged while hundreds of the city’s residents were killed or injured. The Italians suffered no injuries and sailed away to leave the locals to pick up the pieces.
Avnillah’s hulk was still visible inside the harbor mole four years later when the Royal Navy raided Beirut during the Great War.
Speaking of WWI, Italy was officially an Austro-German ally on paper as part of the so-called Triple Alliance but entered the conflict tardy and on the other side, which gave both Vienna and Berlin a bit of heartburn. On 23 May 1915, nine months into the war, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary followed by declarations of war on the Turks that August, Bulgaria in October, and Germany in 1916.
Just three weeks into Italy’s war against the Austrians, on 17 July 1915 a group of warships under the command of RADM Trifari, whose flag flew from Garibaldi, sailed from Brindisi on a mission to interdict the railway line between Sarajevo and Herceg Novi by shelling the railroads at Dubrovnik.
While offshore of Croatian coast near Molunat, the task force was discovered in the early morning of 18 July by the Germaniawerft-made U-3-class submarine SM U-4, commanded by Linienschiffleutnant Rudolf von Singule of the K.u.K. Kriegsmarine. Singule, who had previously managed to put a fish into the British RN cruiser HMS Dublin without sinking her, was luckier when he pumped a torpedo into Garibaldi and she sank reportedly in minutes, taking 53 of her crew with her.
Her sinking became memorialized in maritime art of the era.
Garibaldi’s flag was saved, as were 90 percent of her crew, and has for generations been a treasured relic of the Italian navy. Today it is held on public display at the Sacrario delle Bandiere del Vittoriano in Rome.
Of Singule, the Austrian who slew the mighty Italian flagship, he chalked up 22,000 tons of shipping while in the K.u.K and was recalled to serve in the German Kriegsmarine in WWII in a training role. He was reportedly “killed attempting to protect a woman from drunken Soviet soldiers on a street in Brünn (Brno, Czech Republic) five days before the German surrender,” in 1945.
Today, Garibaldi is at 122m just off the coast of Croatia, making her an advanced but reachable dive.
As for her 10 sisters, the Spanish Pedro de Aragon was never built while Cristóbal Colón was sunk by the Americans in the Spanish-American War. The Americans likewise sunk the Japanese Kasuga in 1945, which had long been turned into a training hulk, while the IJN Nisshin was expended in the 1930s as a test target. Of the Italian sisters, both survived WWI and served as training ships for naval cadets until they were replaced by the purpose-built sail training ships Amerigo Vespucci and Cristoforo Colombo. The original four Argentine sisters endured in one form or another through the 1930s with ARA Pueyrredón even remaining in the fleet till 1954, at which point she was pushing 60.
The name “Garibaldi,” naturally, was reissued to the downright lucky WWII-era Duca degli Abruzzi-class light cruiser Garibaldi (551), and, since 1985, to the 14,000-ton harrier carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi (C-551), both of which also served as fleet flagships.
Displacement: 7,350 tons, full load 8,100 tons
Length: 366 ft
Beam: 59 ft
Draft: 24 ft.
Engine 2 triple vertical expansion steam engines, 24 Niclausse cylindrical boilers, 14,713 ihp (trials), 2 propellers
Speed: 19.7 knots
Range 5,500 miles at 10 knots on 1,200 tons of coal
1×1 254 mm/40 caliber
1×2 203 mm/45 caliber
14 152 mm/40 caliber
10 76 mm/40 caliber
6 Hotchkiss Mk I 47mm/50 caliber 3-pdrs
2 Maxim MG
4 17.7-inch torpedo tubes
Armor, hardened steel, Harvey system:
bridge from 38 to 50 mm.
belt from 50 to 150 mm.
50 mm batteries.
turrets from 100 to 150 mm.
tower from 50 to 150 mm
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