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Good deal on slightly used minesweepers, some assembly required

If you are in the market for some pre-owned warships, the Royal Australian Navy wants to make a deal. Working through a commercial service, the Navy advertised the HMAS Hawkesbury and HMAS Norman for sale “Sold As Is Where Is.”

The 172-foot long mine hunters have composite hulls designed to “flex inwards if an undersea explosion occurs nearby,” which is always a good thing.

HMAS Hawkesbury left, and HMAS Norman are Huon-class coastal mine hunters commissioned in 2000. They have been in reserve for the past seven years. (Photo: Royal Australian Navy)

Built in 2000 as part of a six-ship class to an Italian design (Lerici-class, the same as the U.S. Navy’s short-lived Osprey-class MHCs) both Hawkesbury and Norman were laid up in 2011 and have been in storage ever since while the other four ships have remained with the fleet.

Sadly, it looks like their DS30B 30mm Bushmaster cannons and M2 .50-cal machine guns have been removed, but the vendor offering them for sale suggests they could be turned into luxury yachts or charter vessels.

The vendor suggests they could be converted to charter vessels or yachts. (Photo: Grey Online)

Not mentioned is a Jacques Cousteau/Steve Zissou-style recycle.

No price is listed but the vendor, Grays Online, does caution that the ships have had their shafts and propellers removed and would have to be towed off by the buyer, saying, “inspection is highly recommended.”

Nasty making it back

Official caption: “MACV/SOG Naval Advisory Detachment: Two Nasty-class PTF’s returning at dawn from a sea commando mission into the DMZ area in 1971. This was a particularly successful mission, with no friendly casualties.”

From the Frederick J. Vogel Collection (COLL/5577) at the Archives Branch, Marine Corps History Division

With the hundreds of wooden PT boats all liquidated shortly after WWII ended, the Navy in the 1960s found themselves in need of a handful of small, fast, and heavily armed craft for “unorthodox operations” in Southeast Asia.

These wooden-hulled Norwegian-designed 80-foot boats, powered by a pair of Napier Deltic turbocharged diesel engines, could make 38-knots but, with a 40mm Bofors single, an M2 .50 cal/81mm combo, and 20mm cannons, they could deal some hurt.

Crew members man a 40mm Bofors gun on a PTF Jan. 5, 1973. Photo by Fred Maroon. NARA DN-ST-88-07400

Gunnery exercises aboard PTF

Some 20 were acquired in the early 60s (numbered PTF-2 to PTF-23), six lost in combat, and, laid up at Subic after 1973, retired by 1981.

PTF Nasty boats laid up at Subic Bay

More on the Nasties here

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018: The Quilt City Slugger

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time 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, Nov. 14, 2018: The Quilt City Slugger

Bain News Service Collection, Library of Congress photo LC-B2-11-14

Here we see the Dubuque-class gunboat USS Paducah (Gunboat No. 18) of the U.S. Navy on a sunny Spring day, 28 May 1912, while assigned to the Caribbean Squadron. This humble 200-feet of rock and roll served Uncle in both World Wars and kept on chugging post-1945.

Designed at the turn of the century as a slow (12 knot) but decently-armed (2 4-inch, 4 6-pounders, 2 1-pounders) steel-hulled gunboat capable of floating in two fathoms of brackish water, the Dubuque-class gunboats were both built at the Gas Engine and Power Co. and Charles L. Seabury Co., Morris Heights, N.Y.

Both class leader Dubuque and sister Paducah were the first U.S. Navy warships named after those mid-sized river cities, which seems appropriate as the ships themselves could be used in rivers, bays, and lakes otherwise off-limits to larger men-of-war of the day. Still, they were handsome ships with a pair of tall stacks, twin masts, and a raked bow, and fast enough for what they were intended for.

With their armament pumped up while under construction from a pair of 4″/40cals as designed to a full set of six of these guns (rivalling light cruisers of the day) and augmented by a Colt M1895 Potato-Digger machine gun for landing duties, they were well-suited to wave the flag in far-off climes on the cheap and patrol out-of-the-way backwater ports in Latin America, West Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Yes, they were the Littoral Combat Ships of 1905!

USS DUBUQUE (PG-17). NH 54576

Commissioned 2 September 1905, Paducah was soon dispatched to the Caribbean Squadron “to protect American lives and interests through patrols and port calls to the Caribbean and Central and South American cities.”

Patrolling Mexican waters in the aftermath of the Vera Cruz incident through the summer of 1914, she then returned to her Caribbean operations, performing surveys from time to time.

At the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, prior to World War I. NH 42990

Group portrait of ship’s baseball team, prior to World War I. Description: Courtesy of Mr. Jacoby. Catalog #: NH 42993

In dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, prior to World War I. Description: Courtesy of Mr. Jacoby. Catalog #: NH 42991

In dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire, prior to World War I. Gunboat astern is either MARIETTA or WHEELING. Description: Courtesy of Mr. Jacoby. Catalog #: NH 42992

In dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard New Hampshire, September 1916. On left is USS EAGLE, 1898-1920. Description: Courtesy of John G. Krieger, 1967 Catalog #: NH 43475

When the U.S. entered WWI in 1917, Paducah was tapped to perform overseas escort and coastal patrol duties in Europe, reaching Gibraltar 27 October. Based from there, the plucky gunboat escorted convoys to North Africa, Italy, the Azores, and Madeira.

She logged an attack on an unidentified U-boat 9 September 1918 after it had sunk one of her convoys, and was credited with possibly damaging the submarine, although this was not confirmed by post-war audits. Her sister Dubuque spent the Great War investigating isolated harbors and inlets in the Caribbean and on the coasts of Venezuela and Colombia to prevent their use by German submarines, an ideal tasking for such a vessel.

After post-WWI survey duty in the Caribbean, Paducah was re-engined with twin 623.5ihp vertical triple-expansion engines, and her armament reduced. She then transferred to Duluth, Minn in May 1922, to serve as a training ship for Naval Reserve forces in the 9th District. Sister Dubuque likewise pulled the same service, taking Reservists on cruises from her home port of Detroit into Lakes Superior and Michigan every summer, and icing in for the winter. Good duty if you can get it.

Photographed during the 1930s, while serving as a training ship for Naval Reserves on the Great Lakes. NH 76516

When WWII came, both Paducah and her sister returned to the East Coast in early 1941, and, based at Little Creek, Va. throughout the conflict, trained Armed Guard gunners in Chesapeake Bay for details on merchant vessels. Some 144,970 Armed Guards served during the war, trained at three bases, with over 1,800 killed or missing in the conflict. Witnessing a staggering 1,966 air attacks and 1,024 submarine attacks, 467 guard crews participated in destroying enemy planes in addition to engaging surface raiders and submarines.

USS Dubuque, 12 December 1941 Norfolk, VA Photo caption: “Looking down from the crow’s nest toward the bow of the U.S.S. Dubuque, which is now being used to train gun crews for U.S. Armed Merchant ships. In the foreground, is a rangefinder, while crews move about two slim, deadly looking guns similar to those being used on merchantmen.” International News Sound photo via Navsource http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/09017.htm

Decommissioning 7 September 1945, both transferred to the Maritime Commission 19 December 1946 and Paducah was sold the same day to one Maria Angelo, Miami, Fla. Then came a second career for Paducah as Dubuque was sent to the breakers.

Purchased for a song by the Israeli group Haganah and renamed Geulah (Hebrew: Redemption) a scratch crew of mostly-American volunteers sailed her first to France and then Bulgaria, taking aboard an amazing 2,644 Ma’apilim refugees for passage to Palestine through the British blockade.

Fitting out as a Palestine immigrant blockade runner, probably at a Florida port on 5 March 1947. She was renamed GEULAH for that role. Courtesy of Paul H. Silverstone, 1983 Catalog #: NH 94973

The British trailed her off Palestine and raided the vessel in Haifa harbor, impounding the ship among others used by the Israelis until the new government formed. (See fellow Warship Wednesday alumni Gresham).

SS GEULAH, ex-USS PADUCAH (PG-18) Arriving off Palestine with Jewish immigrants on 2 October 1947, being intercepted by HMS Mermaid. Courtesy of Paul H. Silverstone, 1983 Catalog #: NH 94972

Geulah being boarded by British troops after she had been towed into the port of Haifa, during the night of 2 October 1947. Photo from “The Jews’ Secret Fleet” by Murray S. Greenfield and Joseph M. Hochstein, Gefen Publishing House, Jerusalem, and New York Via Navsource http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/09018.htm

Later the Israeli Navy was able to reclaim Paducah/Geulah in 1948 after independence, but following inspection, the desperate organization realized they were not that desperate, and, after a brief stint as a tramp steamer, sold her for scrap in Naples in 1951.

The only other Paducah commissioned in the Navy was the 109-foot large harbor tug, YTB-758. Built at the Southern Shipbuilding Corp., Slidell, La., she joined the fleet in 1961 and was decommissioned 1970. Struck from the Naval Register, 25 June 1999, she is in commercial service today in Connecticut as Patricia Ann, berthed at New London.

The large harbor tug USS PADUCAH (YTB-758) nudges the attack carrier USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CVA-67) toward pier 12, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia. Catalog #: K-61228 National Archive. Photo by JOI TOM Walton Wed, Oct 30, 1968

The silver punch bowl from the old gunboat Paducah, donated to the Quilt City in 1946 by the Navy, is on display at the city’s Market House Museum.

Specs:

USS DUBUQUE (PG-17) and USS PADUCAH (PG-18) Drawing by F. Muller, circa 1902 NH 54575

Displacement 1,237 t.
Length 200′ 5
Length between perpendiculars 174′
Beam 35′
Draft 12′ 3″
Propulsion: Two 235psi Babcock and Wilcox boilers, two 500ihp Gas Engine Power Co. vertical triple-expansion engines, two shafts, 200 tons coal
1921 – Two 630ihp vertical triple-expansion engines.
Speed 12 kts, as designed
1921 – 12.9 kts.
Complement 162, as designed
1914 – 172
1921 – 161
Armament:
(1905)
Six 4″ (102/40) Mk VII mounts (replaced by newer 4″/50s in 1911)
Four Driggs-Schroeder Mk II 57mm 6-pounders
Two 1-pounders
One .30-06 cal. Colt machine gun
(1921) Four 4″/50 rapid fire mounts and one 3″/23 mount
(1940)
One 5″/38 dual-purpose mount
Two 4″/50 gun mounts
One 3″/50 dual-purpose mount

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/membership.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.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

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Coasties are running SAGs these days

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ensign Kiana Kekoa

The Coast Guard Cutters Hamilton (WMSL-753), Harriet Lane (WMEC-903), Northland (WMEC-904), Dependable (WMEC-626), Spencer (WMEC-905) and Richard Snyder (WPC-1127), as part of the Surface Action Group South are moored up in Mayport, Florida Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 in preparation for Hurricane Florence response efforts. The cutter Hamilton oversaw five Coast Guard cutter in the Surface Action Group in North Carolina during Hurricane Florence response efforts.

For those keeping score, that is a new 413-foot National Security Cutters, three 1980’s vintage 270-foot Bear/Famous-class Medium Endurance Cutters, a 1960s-era 210-foot Reliance-class Medium Endurance Cutter and a new 158-foot Sentinel-class patrol craft (Fast Response Cutter). A pretty decent sized task force.

Hamilton oversaw five cutters in the SAG during the Florence response efforts and conducted post-storm damage assessments of the Cape Fear River, Ports of Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina as well as assisted in the reconstitution of Coast Guard Stations Oak Island and Fort Macon.

The above reminded me of the below image of a pack of 45-foot Response Boats huddling in the Intercoastal Waterway during our recent Hurricane Gordon drama on the Gulf Coast.

Warship Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018: The last of the Royal Navy’s peculiar may bugs

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, Oct. 3, 2018: The last of the Royal Navy’s peculiar may bugs

Here we see the Insect-class of “China” or “Tigris” river gunboat HMS Cockchafer (P95, P83, T72) of the Royal Navy. The hardy gunboat would give long service and be both the last of her class and the last of four RN warships over two centuries to carry the name.

The dozen vessels of the Insect class, some 237-feet long and 635-tons displacement, were flat-bottomed ships designed by Yarrow to operate in shallow, fast-flowing rivers, with a shallow draft of just four feet and enough muscle (2,000IHP plant on Yarrow boilers and twin VTE engines and three rudders) to make 14 knots, thus capable of going upstream against the flow as needed. While ordered as a class in February 1915 for emergency war service in Europe (e.g. to fight on the Danube against Austrian river monitors), the consensus is that they would, after the Great War had wrapped up, see China service on the Yangtze and similar large waterways to protect the Crown’s interests in the often lawless region.

These guys: Two Austro-Hungarian river monitors of the Danube Flotilla, in 1916. The closer vessel is a Körös, a Kovess class monitor, while the other appears to be one of the ‘Sava’-class.

They were well-armed for such endeavors, with a BL 6-inch Mk VII naval gun forward and another one in the rear (to poke holes in said Austrian river monitors), a group of six modern Maxim water-cooled .303 machine guns in a central battery, and a couple of smaller QF Mk I 12-pounders.

According to the excellent site on these ships, maintained by Taylor Family Collection:

Their steel plating was thin by warship standards – only five-sixteenths of an inch amidships tapering to about one-eighth of an inch at the ends. The decks were strengthened in the vicinity of the main armament mountings with steel doublers three-eighths of an inch thick and a three quarter-inch steel doubler was also fitted on the sheer strake over the mid-ships section as extra stiffening. Beyond this they carried no armour and had no double bottoms unlike most ships.

That their armour was so minimal is not surprising given that these were essentially “kitset” ships specially designed to be broken down and reassembled. Heavy armour plating or additional construction “stiffening” was counterproductive. Active service with the Tigris Flotilla however resulted in rearming – a 2 – pounder pom-pom added, four of the .303 – inch maxim guns removed and a 3 – inch anti-aircraft gun installed in their place. All were fitted for towing kite balloons (to carry artillery observers). Initially sandbags were built up around the battery deck for protection of personnel, but later a 5 – foot shield made of ¼ inch chrome steel plate was built all around this deck as can be seen in the photos.

HMS Tarantula (1915); Fighting vessel; Gunboat; Shallow draught river gunboat
Read more at http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/67390.html#gRgFTCqgIPYgJP2e.99

All were named for insects (Mantis, Aphis, Scarab, Moth, Gnat, Bee, Cicala, Cricket, Tarantula, Glowworm and Ladybird) as befitting their role and, to speed up delivery, were ordered simultaneously from at least five different yards. The hero of our tale, Cockchafer, was one of four built at Barclay Curle, Glasgow, Scotland. The name, a common term for a particular may bug or doodlebug that was almost eradicated in the 20th Century has been around in the Royal Navy for a long time before these emergency gunboats.

This guy.

The first HMS Cockchafer was a 5-gun schooner– previously the American schooner Spencer— captured during the War of 1812 and put to good service by the Brits.

Watercolor by Warren showing the May 1814 engagement by the British schooner HMS COCKCHAFER, 5 guns (1 long 12-pounder and 4 12-pounder carronades) and 22 men, Lieutenant George Jackson, cruising off the Chesapeake, against the American letter-of-marque JAVA, 8 long 9-pounders and 22 men, which Jackson captured. USN 902808

Then came two other purpose-built gunboats of the Albacore-class and Banterer-class, respectively, that carried the Cockchafer name for the rest of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

While most of the Insect-class were sent to the Med or to fight the Ottomans in Mesopotamia on the Euphrates when completed in 1916, Cicala, Cockchafer, Cricket and Glowworm instead were assigned to defensive duties in British Home waters, remaining there quietly through the Great War.

HMS COCKCHAFER (FL 22629) Underway in the company of HMS CRICKET, HMS GLOWWORM, AND HMS CICALA. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205121724

Cicala was based at Hull, Cockchafer at Brightlingsea, Cricket at Norfolk ports and Glowworm at Lowestoft. Their two 12-pdrs swapped out for QF 3-inch 20 cwt anti-aircraft guns, they were deployed in the air defense of Britain against German bombers and Zeppelin raids.

An Insect-class gunboat with shells exploding overhead by William Lionel Wyllie via National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Read more at http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/114226.html#Q1C9LuTkg7wCMhHa.99

Then, in late 1918, the four gunboats, along with monitors M.23 & M.25, sailed to Russia as part of the North Russian Expeditionary Force in the Murmansk-Archangel area lead by White Russian Gen. EK Miller. As part of this expedition, they penetrated the Northern Dvina river, where both Glowworm and Cockchafer were severely damaged due to an ammunition barge explosion in May 1919.

Postcard & caption – Dvina River Flotilla, Bolshevik Campaign, 1919 (Left to Right) “Hyderabad”, “Humber”, “Cicala”, Seaplane Barge, M.31. (c Abraham 1241) Reverse handwritten note – 375 Versts up the River Dvina, N Russia, Aug 1919 off Troitsa Via WWI At Sea http://www.worldwar1atsea.net/WW1z05NorthRussia.htm#10

This service soon over as the British withdrew from the region, in January 1920, Cricket, Cockchafer, Moth, Mantis, and Cicala (Glowworm was scrapped due to her Russian damage) all set out as a group for China.

HMS Cockchafer on passage from England to Shanghai January to July 1920

Our subject was soon settling in on the Yangtze River where she became hotly involved in the so-called Wanhsien Incident in 1926 against local warlords.

HMS Cockchafer at Hong Kong. Note her extensive awnings she would carry for her 30+ years of China service. Via Australian Naval Historical Society

As noted by the December 1984 edition of the (Australian) Naval Historical Review:

Typically, these gunboats…carried two officers and sometimes a doctor; six or seven petty officers and leading seamen, plus 17 able seamen. The remainder of the 50-odd souls aboard were Chinese servants, cooks, seamen, and black gang. Obviously, British ability to mount a landing force fell well below the capabilities of the ‘new six’ US gunboats, with their 4 line officers, doctor, and about 50 US enlisted. However, the British POs enjoyed more responsibility and authority than the American, as all RN officers could be off the ship at the same time.

Still in Chinese waters in 1939, the Brits transferred Cockchafer (minus her local auxiliaries) to the East Indies Squadron where, in June 1941, she took part in operations in the Persian Gulf in support of landings at Basra.

Bandar Shapur, Iran, 1941-08. HMS Kanimbla, manned by an Australian crew, bows on with the following vessels alongside, L To R:- Two Anglo-Iranian Oil Company tugs, HMS Arthur Cavanagh (trawler), HMS Snapdragon (corvette) And HMS Cockchafer (river gunboat). AWM 134371

Transferred to the Mediterranean in 1943 after the Persian Gulf was well in hand, Cockchafer took part in support of assault landings in Sicily (Operation Husky) and remained in the theatre until late 1944 when it was decided she head back to the Far East, sailing for Trincomalee and the Burma Theatre. Returning to Singapore after VJ Day, she was paid off and put in reserve until being sold locally for breaking up in 1949.

As such, Cockchafer had a better WWII experience than most of her class. Ladybird was sunk at Tobruk by German aircraft in 1941. Gnat was effectively knocked out of action by U79 at Bardia the same year. Cricket was lost off Cyprus in 1944. In the Pacific, Cicala was sunk by Japanese aircraft just before Christmas 1941 at Hong Kong only days after Moth was scuttled by own crew to avoid a similar fate. The Japanese later salvaged Moth, repaired her and, commissioned as Suma, was mined on the Yantzee in 1945. Besides Cockchafer, only sisters Aphis and Tarantula were still in active RN service on VJ Day, and they were soon disposed of.

The last of her class, Cockchafer is remembered in maritime art by Tony Bryan, being featured as she was in 1926 at Wanhsien on the cover of the 2011 Osprey book Yangtze River Gunboats 1900–49.

Specs:

Displacement:625 long tons
Length: 237.5 ft
Beam: 36 ft
Draught: 4 ft
Propulsion:2 shaft VTE engines, 2 Yarrow type mixed firing boilers 2000 IHP, 35 tons coal + 54 tons oil
Speed: 14 knots
Complement: 54-65
Armament:
(1916)
2 × BL 6-inch Mk VII guns
2 × QF 3-inch 20 cwt
6 × .303-cal Maxim machine guns
(1945)
2 x QF 6 inch /40 naval gun,
2 x 1 – 76/45 Mk II
2 x 1 – 40/39 Mk VIII

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/membership.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.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Ukraine picks up a couple scratch-and-dent 110s

Last week the U.S. Coast Guard transferred a pair of two former 110-foot Island-class patrol boat cutters, the ex-USCGC Drummond (WPB-1323) and ex-USCGC Cushing (WPB-1321), during a ceremony at Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.

Note the racing stripes are gone

Attending were Coast Guard VADM Michael McAllister, Deputy Commandant for Mission Support and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko. Although it should be noted that the actual transfer will take place in 2019, after some maintenance, and training of their new Ukrainian crews.

Poroshenko is the gray-haired guy on the stern, looking toward the camera.

On the same day as the transfer, Poroshenko tweeted, “Having faced a opposition on the land, Russia is testing waters for a possible offensive from the sea. Like a hooligan at the street, Moscow makes a blow, if no reaction follows then it makes another blow. The task is to reassure Kremlin of our resolve to protect Ukraine’s shores.”

Cushing, long homeported in Atlantic Beach, was decommissioned last March after 29 years’ service. Drummond, who spent a very busy career in the Florida Straits as she was stationed in Miami Beach, struck last year after 30 years working for Uncle. They aren’t the first 110s sent to the Black Sea, as Georgia picked up a pair in 2016.

Distributed lethality & Naval Strategy 2025: More aircraft, more missiles, more platforms, less money

A lot of people worry that there could be a great power naval war sometime in the next generation. As such, the “fleet you have,” which last fought a live-fire fleet engagement with a near-peer opponent in 1944, may not be the “fleet you want” but some easy fixes could help.

Marine Col. Thomas X. Hammes (Ret), now a PhD and heavy hitter on the military of the future, has an interesting take over at Task & Purpose on how to bring a lot of missiles and airframes to the naval engagement of the near-future: pick up gently used container ships for peanuts and convert them into haulers for combat-capable UAV’s and containerized missile systems. It’s a lot cheaper than risking a traditional CVBG or repackaging an LHD to use F-35s. Such a vessel could be fielded with a much smaller crew than a big-deck CVN.

As pointed out by Hammes: “a carrier and air wing alone cost $20 billion and 5,000 Americans live aboard. This is an enormous investment of eggs is a possibly fragile basket,” and that “Suggesting the use of amphibious big decks is not a different way – it’s just a very similar but much less capable basket.”

The alternative:

Thinking differently, we could envision any container ship – from inter-coastal to ocean-going as a potential aircraft carrier. It could carry from a couple dozen to thousands of cruise missiles as well as hundreds of autonomous drones ranging from short to long range and both reusable and expendable. And, of course, the containers could also be land based — with nearly unlimited basing and hide sites.

More here.

USS Sicily (CVE-118) at New York City, September 1947. Courtesy of The Marines Museum, Newport News, Va. Ted Stone Collection. Catalog #: NH 66791. Escort carriers were commercial hulls converted to flattops in WWII and proved remarkably effective. Today’s version, fitted with combat UAVs and containerized missiles could be as well

Also for your consideration is LCDR Daniel Wiltshire, USCG, and his take in the latest Proceedings that the Navy should man up and put anti-ship missiles on the new Offshore Patrol Cutters and National Security Cutters, some 35~ frigate-sized warships without frigate-equivalent weapons. A large part of his case is, since the Coast Guard often gets sent into harm’s way with the Navy, it should be able to keep its promise of being war-like.

Some will argue that cutters are not optimized for high-intensity combat. While it is true that the NSC and OPC were not designed for high-intensity combat, the distinction between high and low intensity becomes meaningless during a great power conflict. It is a distinction predicated on the luxury of being able to choose when, where, and with whom to fight and which ships are deployed to do the fighting. Great power conflict at sea affords no such luxury and typically entails a whole-of-fleet approach.

More here

USCGC Mellon fires a Harpoon missile back in the Cold War. It used to be a thing. It can be a thing once again

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