Category Archives: military art

Flip Trihey and The Irish Rangers (of Montreal)

On 2 February 1916, General Order 69 authorized the 55th Regiment “Duchess of Connaught’s Own” Irish Rangers with recruiting starting in mid-March, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

In fact, to help drum up recruits among ethnic Irish in Quebec for the Overseas Battalion, the Montreal St. Patrick’s Society and the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society held a concert for the nascent unit on March 17th. It followed in the wake of the 110th Irish Regiment (now the Irish Regiment of Canada), which had been stood up the year before in Toronto.

Another public draw for recruits was the fact that the unit’s commander was Lt. Col. Henry Judah “Flip” Trihey, O.C., a lawyer and well-known center forward and team captain with the Montreal Shamrocks when they won the Stanley Cup back-to-back at the turn of the century.

Trihey’s name was printed on all of the recruiting posters, and a special “Sportsman’s Company” was raised, drawn from local lacrosse, track and hockey enthusiasts. 

Added to the unit’s leadership was Capt. William James Shaughnessy, the son of Canadian Pacific Railway president, Lord Thomas Shaughnessy, the latter an important donor when it came to funding Canadian units. Lord Shaughnessy had already lost his younger son to the Germans, Alfred, who fell in France with the 60th Battalion just a month after he arrived. 

Group of officers from the Irish Canadian Rangers, May 1916. Trihey and Shaughnessy are up front.

The unit shipped out as the 199th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), aboard the liner/troopship RMS Olympic on 20 December, consisting of 33 officers and 860 enlisted.

Arriving at Liverpool on Boxing Day, the only “service” performed by the unit as a battalion was to take time off of training for a rambling two-month tour of Ireland, where it was used to help drum up additional recruits to “take the King’s shilling” and show goodwill.

Irish-Canadian Rangers in Cork in 1917

Irish Canadian Rangers, O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, 1917.

It should be remembered this was just after the April 1916 “Easter Uprising” and finding either was hard. 

Returning to England, the Irish Rangers were basically dissolved, amalgamated into the 23rd Reserve Battalion, CEF on 11 May 1917, forming the disingenuous 23rd Canadian Reserve Battalion (199th “Duchess of Connaught’s Own” Irish Canadian Rangers), and would never uncase its colors in France. Its men were sent out piecemeal as replacements for other Canadian units on the Western Front, resulting in Triley and several of the other senior officers resigning their commissions in protest.

Officially disbanded on 15 September 1919 and then reborn intermittently as a militia battalion, the unit’s history, along with several others created over the years in “The City of Saints,” is somewhat perpetuated by The Royal Montreal Regiment, whose flag carries 28 Great War, four WWII, and one Afghan battle honor.

As for Trihey, after the war he remained affiliated with assorted Canadian hockey teams and served as Commissioner for the Montreal Harbor Commission, passing in 1942, aged 64. He was posthumously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950 and is recognized as “the first man to utilize the three-man line and he also encouraged defencemen to carry the puck.”

Scouting Force

Some of the heaviest of heavy sluggers in the Pacific War were the Pensacola and Northampton classes of heavy “treaty cruisers.” Below is a rare snap of seven of these vessels all in one place at one time, 90 years ago today. Of note, two of the seven were lost in combat during WWII.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph #80-G-451164, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, Oahu, Hawaii – Scouting Force ships at, and off, the yard, 2 February 1933. Cruisers tied up at 1010 Dock are (from left to left-center) heavy cruisers USS Augusta (CA 31), Chicago (CA 29), and Chester (CA 27). USS Northampton (CA 26) is alongside the dock in the center, with USS Kane (DD 235) in the adjacent Marine Railway and USS Fox (DD 234) tied up nearby. USS Louisville (CA 28) is in the center distance. Moored off her bow and at the extreme right are USS Salt Lake City (CA 25) and USS Pensacola (CA 24).

Importantly, note the quartets of floatplanes visible, especially on Augusta and Chicago. Having seven cruisers able to put up to 28 observation/scout planes in the air at any one time gave the fleet some decent over-the-horizon ability, especially in the days before long-range surface search radar. 

At the time these would most likely have been Vought O2U/O3U Corsairs. With a range of 680 miles– giving a combat radius of 300– they could carry a trio of flex and fixed ANM2 Brownings and up to 500 pounds of bombs.

The U.S. Navy heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29) at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California (USA), in 1931 (looking aft from the top of the forward fire control station). Note the Vought O3U-1 Corsair floatplanes on the catapult deck. Cruisers in the U.S. Navy often carried as many as 5-6 aircraft between on-deck storage and their hangar (NH70721)

USS Northampton (CA-26) at anchor 1930s. Note four floatplanes amidships.

Northampton-class heavy cruiser USS Louisville (CA-28), Pensacola-class heavy cruiser USS Salt Lake City (CA-25), USS Northampton (CA-26), and USS Chicago (CA-29/also Northampton-class) turning in formation to create a slick for landing seaplanes, during exercises off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 31 January 1933. Planes are landing astern of the middle cruisers. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-451165

USS Portland (CA-33) during the fleet review at New York, 31 May 1934, with four floatplanes amidship, likely Vought O3U-1 Corsairs with Grumman floats (Photo: NH 716)

Most famous for knocking the original King Kong off the Empire State Building, the O2U gave the fleet some serious eyes. After 1935, they would be replaced with the Curtiss SOC Seagull, a floatplane with better performance that the cruisers would often use well into WWII. 

Besides scouting, the cruiser force’s floatplanes performed a much unsung service in picking up those lost at sea, light transport of personnel and packages from ship to ship and ship to shore, as well as the all-important task of correcting distant naval gunfire missions.

Moto in Miami

Always been a sucker for well-done unit photos and this one from Coast Guard Air Station Miami, showing five airborne MH-65D Dolphins hovering in unison behind five tarmacked EADS HC-144 Ocean Sentry patrol planes– the station’s entire airframe complement– is great.

Photo by USCG Aux Joey Feldman

As noted by the station:

When exceptionally hard work meets opportunity. This photo would not have been possible without the hard work of our Aviation Engineering department. They worked tirelessly to make all ten of our aircraft available in a very short time window and on top of that, they made sure all five of our MH-65 Dolphins were operational to provide an amazing backdrop for our 2023 unit photo. To our AvEng department, be proud of this accomplishment. Your hard work has paid off. Bravo Zulu!!

Coast Guard Air Station Miami first opened in June 1932 at the old Navy seaplane base on Dinner Key in Biscayne Bay next to the Pan Am station, originally flying Fokker PJ Flying Life Boats as the Coast Guard’s first “modern” aviation unit, and celebrated its 90th-anniversary last summer– a span that included flying armed Vought OS2U-3 Kingfishers on ASW patrols and CSAR during WWII.

“Coast Guard planes from the Coast Guard Air Station Miami, Florida, greeting new 165-foot patrol boat/subchaser USCGC PANDORA arrival December 6, 1934, to take station.” Top to bottom: Fokker PJ Flying Boat ACAMAR, Douglas RD-1 Amphibian SIRIUS, and Fokker PJ Flying Boat A. 

For those curious:

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Miami employs a highly trained and exceptionally motivated crew of 339 personnel, comprised of 71 Officers, 255 Enlisted, and 13 Civilians. Its fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft conduct a variety of Coast Guard missions from Charleston, S.C. to Key West, and throughout the Caribbean Basin. Air Station (CGAS) Miami is located at Opa-Locka Executive Airport.


130 Years Ago: Boxing up the Queen’s Own

The below image details Queen Liliuokalani’s 272-man Royal Household Guard being disarmed by Col. John Harris Soper, late of the California National Guard and a former Marshal of the Kingdom of Hawaii, following the overthrow of the monarchy in January 1893, while outgoing Captain of the Guard Samuel Nowlein looks toward the camera beside the bowler-hatted Soper. The Hawaiians stacked arms, turned over equipment, and list to “The Authority” notice read by Colonel Soper, who had been appointed commander-in-chief of military forces of the Provisional Government of Hawaii the day before.

Hawaii State Archives: Call Number: PP-54-1-001

Note the Union Army-style sack coats and kepis over white canvas trousers, and stacked “Trapdoor” Model 1873 Springfield breechloaders with Mills-style cartridge belts atop.

A small force of about 16 men were left to provide a ceremonial detachment to serve Liliuokalani in exile for another year or so.

Royal Guards in front of the house of Queen Lili’uokalani (known as Washington Place), circa 1893. Pictured here is the “fallen Queen’s house,” Washington Place, and the guard of sixteen, plus their captain. Photograph by Hedemann, 1893. It appears Nowlein is to the left, armed with a sword. Courtesy of the Bishop Museum.

Souper’s force also had the backing of the U.S. Navy, in particular, the Atlanta-class protected cruiser USS Boston, soon to be of Battle of Manila Bay fame.

As outlined by Lillich, on the Forcible Protection of Nationals Abroad, in International Law Studies, Vol 77, Boston’s Marines and Bluejackets were landed under the old “protection of lives and property” pretext:

When Queen Liliuokalani informed her cabinet that she planned to promulgate a new autocratic constitution by royal edict, some of her ministers informed the prominent American residents of the islands. These Americans requested the support of the U.S. Minister, John H. Stevens, and the protection of the U.S. Navy. Stevens arranged to have a detachment from the fifth USS Boston, a protected cruiser, land at Honolulu on 16 January 1893, for the ostensible purpose of protecting American lives and property. Curious to their stated purpose, the Americans were not stationed near American property, but rather were located where they might most easily intimidate the Queen.

The American presence served its function and on 17 January, Liliuokalani’s opponents deposed her and established a provisional government under the presidency of Sanford B. Dole. The provisional government requested that the United States assume the role of a protectorate over the islands. Mr. Stevens complied with the request and raised the American flag on 1 February. The Boston landed another detachment of Marines that same day, increasing the number of American forces in Honolulu to about 150 men. Subsequently, there was a change of administration in Washington, with President Cleveland disavowing the actions of Mr. Stevens.

On 1 April 1893, the American flag was hauled down and the landing force withdrew.

Sources: Baily 429-33; Ellsworth 93; Offutt 72-73

Fine screen halftone reproduction of a photograph of the USS Boston’s landing force on duty at the Arlington Hotel, Honolulu, at the time of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, January 1893. Lieutenant Lucien Young, USN, commanded the detachment and is presumably the officer at right. The original photograph is in the Archives of Hawaii. This halftone was published prior to about 1920. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. NH 56555

Going further down the rabbit hole, the dour Soper, aged 46 in the top image, would become Adjutant General and Chief of Staff of the National Guard of the Republic of Hawaii and then the Hawaii Territorial Militia in 1900 when the islands were formally absorbed by the U.S., retaining that post through 1907 when he retired at the rank of brigadier general. Of note, he managed Soper, Wright & Company, a large sugar plantation on the Big Island.

The National Guard of Hawaii, formed to serve the Hawaiian Republic from 1893-1898, was a battalion-sized unit comprised of two companies of mostly whites recruited in Honolulu (most of the former Honolulu Rifles), one company of Portuguese volunteers, and one of Germans. Hawaii State Archives

As for Nowlein, the native Hawaiian and devoted monarchist would later play a big role in the so-called Wilcox Rebellion in 1895, named such due to its leader, Robert William Kalanihiapo Wilcox, a surveyor with experience in the Italian Army. Nowlein’s and Wilcox’s ~500-man force of Royalists would fight the much-larger Republican Hawaii National Guard, which was augmented by two companies of U.S. Army regulars and a battalion of local Citizen’s Guard volunteers, in three pitched battles across three days, ultimately failing. Pardoned of most of a resulting five-year prison sentence, the last Captian of the Queen’s Guard died in 1905.

In 1916, the U.S. Army’s 32nd Infantry Regiment was first organized at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. At its activation, it was known as “The Queen’s Own” Regiment, a title bestowed by the deposed last queen of Hawaiʻi, Liliʻuokalani. Although it long ago left Hawaii (1/32 has been part of the 10th Mountain Division in New York since 1996), it still retains the nickname as part of its lineage. 

32nd Inf memorial on Fort Benning. Note the islander’s “Kamehameha” war cap and “The Queens Own” scroll

The Royal Guard would remain disbanded for 70 years. 
In 1963, the state enrolled a small ceremonial guard, outfitted in pith helmets and Trapdoor Springfields, to be the Royal Guards of Hawaii. Drawn from members of the Hawaiin Air National Guard, each of its 42 volunteers has to be of full or partial Hawaiian descent. 
As noted by the state: 
They were re-established on November 16, 1963, marking the beloved 19th-century monarch King Kalakauka’s birthday celebration. Members of the unit go to great lengths to maintain period-correct uniforms, even refurbish original helmets all on volunteer hours, and use the Hawaiian language to call commands during their drills and ceremony. The members of the Royal Guard help the state and its Guard members to connect to their unique place in history serving as reminders of the heritage and history of their forbearers. 

Hawaii Air National Guardʻs Royal Guard posts ceremonial watch on the anniversary of refounding, November 16, 2021. (US Air National Guard Photos by Master Sgt. Andrew Lee Jackson)

Desert Rat Wake Up Call

80 years ago this week. Official caption: “A Daimler armored car opens fire in the gloom of early morning at the start of the Battle for Tripoli, 18 January 1943.” The car is likely of the famed 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own), attached to the 7th Armored Division’s “Desert Rats,” who both used them in North Africa and were present in the Tunis campaign.

Photo by Keating G (Capt), No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit, IWM collection E 21333

Note the infantrymen behind, their .303 SMLEs at the ready. They would need them. Over the course of the next five days, Montgomery’s 8th Army would fight one of their last battles with the Afrika Korps and enter Tripoli on the morning of 23 January after Rommel abandoned the town.

When it comes to the Daimler armored car, the company made almost 2,700 of these light (7.6 ton) 4x4s during the conflict. Clad in just 7-to-16mm of steel plate, they were only proof against small arms rounds and shrapnel but were toast to anything .50 caliber or above. Nonetheless, they we fast, capable of 50 mph on good roads and handy both in the open and in built-up areas due to their size. 

Canadian Daimler Mk. 1 Scout Car, Sallenelles, France, LAC 4233182, original color

They proved effective in their standard (40mm Ordnance QF 2-pounder) and Mk I CS variants (with a 76mm gun) enough to remain in use with the 11th Hussars in Northern Ireland as late as 1960 and with Commonwealth and Middle Eastern countries until at least 2012.

‘Home port Yokosuka’

Caption: “Painting by Arthur Beaumont, 1961. USS Duncan (DD-874) leads USS Mansfield (DD-728) and other destroyers into the Yokosuka, Japan, naval base. In the background is the aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CVS-18).”

Naval History and Heritage Command Catalog #: NH 73366-KN

If you aren’t aware of Mr. Beaumont’s work, the NHHC and Navy Museum have lots of it digitized, most suitable for framing. A true maritime artist, he could make even life on a weather-beaten icebreaker or a slow-poking minesweeper seem just as exotic and stirring as serving on a cruiser with a bone in her teeth– just add humble local sailing craft or penguins.

USS Glacier (AGB 4) passes Beaufort Island, Arthur Beaumont. U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. 428-GX-KN 1388

USS Prime (MSO 466), artwork by Arthur Beaumont. U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Photographed from small reference card. 428-GX-K-42971

NH 94735-KN (Color). USS Providence (CLG-6). Watercolor by Arthur Beaumont, 1965

Warship Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023: The Grounded Shrine

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1954 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, Jan. 11, 2023: The Grounded Shrine

Colorized period photo by Atsushi Yamashita/Monochrome Specter, original in Naval Historical Command archives, NH 58997

Above we see the lead ship of her class of Italian-made armored cruisers, HIJMS Kasuga, making a temporary stay in Tsukushi on its way from Yokosuka to Kure, circa 1904 (Meiji 37). Sourced from a cash-strapped Latin American navy while still under construction and named in honor of a famous Shinto shrine in Nara, this cruiser would endure until the final days of the Empire. 

Spaghetti cruisers

Built around the turn of the Century by Gio. Ansaldo & C shipbuilders, Genoa, Italy, as an updated version of the Giuseppe Garibaldi armored cruiser class, the ship that would become Kasuga was designed by Italian naval architect Edoardo Masdea as a vessel only smaller than a 1st-rate (pre-dreadnought) battleship of the era, yet larger and stronger than most cruisers that could oppose it.

The Garibaldi class was innovative (for 1894,) with a 344-foot long/7,200-ton hull capable of making 20 knots and sustaining a range of more than 7,000 nm at 12 when stuffed with enough coal. Although made in Italy, she was almost all-British from her Armstrong batteries to her Bellville boilers, Whitehead torpedoes, and Harvey armor.

Armored with a belt that ran up to 5.9-inches thick, Garibaldi could take hits from faster cruisers and gunboats while being able to dish out punishment from a pair of Elswick (Armstrong) 10-inch guns that no ship smaller than her could absorb. Capable of outrunning larger ships, she also had a quartet of casemate-mounted torpedo tubes and extensive rapid-fire secondary batteries to make life hard on the enemy’s small ships and merchantmen.

These cruisers were designed for power projection on a budget and the Argentine Navy, facing a quiet arms race between Brazil and Chile on each side, needed modern ships. They, therefore, scooped up not only the Garibaldi (commissioned in 1895) but also the follow-on sister ships General Belgrano and General San Martín (built by Orlando of Livorno in 1896) and Genoa-made Pueyrredón (1898) to make a quartet of powerful cruisers. These ships, coupled with a pair of battleships ordered later in the U.S., helped make the Argentine navy for about two decades the eighth most powerful in the world (after the big five European powers, Japan, and the United States), and the largest in Latin America.

The design was well-liked, with Spain moving to buy two (but only taking delivery of one in the end, the ill-fated Cristóbal Colón, which was sunk at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish American War) and Italy electing to purchase five further examples of the type.

Why all the talk about Argentina and Italy?

Well, because Kasuga and her sistership Nisshin were originally ordered by the Italians in 1900 as Roca (#129) and Mitra (Yard #130), respectively, but then sold while still on the ways to Argentina to further flesh out the fleet of that South American country’s naval forces, who dutifully renamed them, respectively, Rivadavia and Mariano Moreno.

At some 8,500 tons (full), these final Garibaldis were 364 feet long overall and were roughly the same speed, and carried the same armor plan (with Terni plate) as their predecessors.

However, they differed in armament, with Mitra/Rivadavia/Kasuga carrying a single 10-inch EOC gun forward and twin 8″/45s aft, while Roca/Moreno/Nisshin carried the twin 8-inchers both forward and aft.

Stern 8"/45 (20.3 cm) turret on armored cruiser Nisshin on 24 October 1908. Ship's officers with USN officers from USS Missouri (B-11) during "Great White Fleet" around the world cruise. Note the landing guns on the upper platform. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 82511.
Stern 8″/45 (20.3 cm) turret on armored cruiser Nisshin on 24 October 1908. Ship’s officers with USN officers from USS Missouri (B-11) during “Great White Fleet” around the world cruise. Note the landing guns on the upper platform. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 82511.

Of note, the same 8-inch EOC guns were also used on other British-built Japanese armored cruisers (Adzuma, Asama, Iwate, Izumo, Tokiwa, and Yakumo) so they weren’t too out of place when Japan took delivery of these ships in 1904 instead of Argentina.

Armstrong 1904 model 20.3 cm 8 inch 45 as installed on Japanese cruisers, including Kasuga

Both Mitra/Rivadavia/Kasuga and Roca/Moreno/Nisshin were launched, fitted out, and ran builders’ trials in Italy under the Argentine flag.

Armada Argentina crucero acorazado ARA Moreno, at 1903 launch. Note Italian and Argentine flags. Colorized photo by Atsushi Yamashita/Monochrome Specter
Nisshin Running trials under the Argentine flag, probably in late 1903, just before her purchase by the Japanese NH 58664
Running trials under the Argentine flag, probably in late 1903, just before her purchase by the Japanese. The photo is credited to her builder Ansaldo. NH 58665

From the same publication as the photo of Nissen, above, NH 58998

Kasuga (Japanese Armored Cruiser, 1902-1945) Photographed at Genoa, Italy, early in 1904 soon after completion by Ansaldo’s yard there. The lighter alongside the ship carries a warning banner reading “Munizioni”– munitions. Courtesy of Mr. Tom Stribling, 1987. NH 101929

With the Japanese and Imperial Russia circling each other tensely in late 1903, and Argentina not really wanting to take final delivery of these new cruisers, Buenos Aries shopped them to the Tsar’s kopeck-pinching Admiralty only to be rebuffed over the sticker shock, leaving Tokyo to pick them up for £760,000 each– considered a high price at the time but a bargain that the Russians would likely later regret. The Argentines would later reuse the briefly-issued Moreno and Rivadavia names for their matching pair of Massachusetts-built battleships in 1911

With a scratch British/Italian contract delivery crew, Kasuga and Nisshin set sail immediately for the Far East and were already outbound of Singapore by the time the balloon finally went up between the Russians and Japanese in February 1904.

Kasuga in Italian waters, Source l’Illustration dated 16 January 1904

Japanese Crews embarking at Genoa Italy on Kasuga, Source l’Illustration dated 16 January 1904

The sisters were soon in the gun line off Russian-held Port Arthur, lending their fine British-made batteries to reducing that fortress, and took part in both the ineffective Battle of the Yellow Sea in August 1904 (where Nisshin was lightly damaged) and the much more epic Battle of Tsushima in May 1905.

Carrying the flag of VADM Baron Misu Sotarō, Nisshin fired something on the order of 180 heavy shells during Tsushima, exchanging heavy damage with the 15,000-ton Russian battleship Oslyabya and others– taking several 12-inch hits to show for it. The Japanese cruiser had three of her four 8-inch guns sliced off and a number of her crew, including a young Ensign Isoroku Yamamoto, wounded. The future commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II had the index and middle fingers on his left hand shorn off by a splinter, earning him the wardrobe nickname “80 sen” as a manicure cost 10 sen per digit at the time.

The forward gun turret and superstructure of the Japanese armored cruiser Nisshin following the Battle of Tsushima, showing 8-inch guns severed by Russian 12-inch shells

Oslyabya, in turn, was ultimately lost in the course of the battle, taking the Russian Squadron’s second-in-command, Capt. Vladimir Ber, and half of her crew with her to the bottom of the Korea Strait.

Death of the battleship OSLYABYA in the Battle of Tsushima. (by Vasily Katrushenko)

As for Kasuga,, fifth in the line of battle, she would also engage Oslyabya, though not to the extent that her sister did, and would also land hits on the Russian battleships Imperator Nikolai I and Oryol. All told, Kasuga would fire 50 shells from her 10-inch forward mount and twice as many from her stern 8-inchers, in exchange for minor damage from three Russian shells. 

Armoured Cruiser Kasuga pictured post the Battle of Tsushima at Sasebo in May 1905

For both Kasuga and Nisshin, Tsushima was their brightest moment under the Rising Sun.

Kasuga dressed for peacetime flagwaving. NH 58671

Oct.10,1908 : Armored-cruiser Kasuga at Yokosuka.Colorised period photo by Atsushi Yamashita/Monochrome Specter

Greatly modified in 1914 with Japanese-made Kampon boilers replacing their Italian ones, along with a host of other improvements, Kasuga went on to serve as a destroyer squadron flagship in World War I looking out for German surface raiders and escorting Allied shipping between Australia and Singapore.

On 11 January 1918, some 105 years ago today, Kasuga ran aground in the Bangka Strait off Java in the Dutch East Indies. After much effort, she was eventually refloated in June, repaired, and returned to service. The event mirrored that of one of the Emperor’s other warships, the armored cruiser Asama that embarrassingly ran aground off the Pacific coast of Mexico in 1915 and took two years to free. 

Kasuga later took part in the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War and would tour the U.S. on a world cruise in 1920, calling in Maine and New York.

Treaty Ship

Disarmed to comply with international naval treaties and largely relegated to training tasks, both Nisshin and Kasuga were put on the sidelines after the Great War, replaced by much better ships in the Japanese battle line.

Armoured Cruiser Kasuga in Japan in the early 1920s graduating cadets

Hulked, Nisshin was eventually disposed of as part of a sinkex in the Inland Sea in 1936, then raised by Shentian Maritime Industry Co., Ltd, patched up and sunk a second time in 1942 during WWII by the new super battleship Yamato, whose 18.1″/45cal Type 94 guns likely made quick work of her.

Kasuga, used as a floating barracks at Yokosuka, was sunk by U.S. carrier aircraft in July 1945 and then later raised and scrapped after the war.


Incidentally, the two Japanese Garibaldis outlasted their Italian sisters, all of which were disposed of by the 1930s. Their everlasting Argentine classmates, however, lingered on until as late as 1954 with the last of their kind, ARA Pueyrredon, ironically being towed to Japan for scrapping that year.

ARA Pueyrredon in Dublin in 1951. At this point this pre-SpanAm War vet was pushing her sixth decade at sea.

Of note, the British 8″/45s EOCs removed from Nisshin, Kasuga and the other Japanese 1900s armored cruisers in the 1920s and 30s were recycled and used as coastal artillery, including four at Tokyo Bay, four at Tarawa (Betio) and another four at Wake Island once it was captured in 1941.

Japanese Special Naval Landing Force troops mount a British-made, Vickers eight-inch naval cannon into its turret on Betio before the battle. This film was developed from a Japanese camera found in the ruins while the battle was still on. Via
Destruction of one of the four Japanese eight-inch EOC guns on Betio caused by naval gunfire and airstrikes, 1943. Department of Defense photo (USMC) 63618

While the Japanese have not recycled the name of Kasuga, one of her 10-inch shells, an anchor, and other relics are preserved in and around Tokyo. 

Meanwhile, a builder’s plate that took shrapnel at the Battle of the Yellow Sea is preserved in the Argentine naval museum. 

For those interested, Combrig makes a 1/350 scale model of the class. 


Jane’s 1914 entry, listing the class as first-class cruisers

Displacement: 7,700 t (7,578 long tons) std, 8,500 full
Length: 366 ft 7 in (o/a), 357 wl
Beam: 61 ft 5 in
Draft: 24 ft 1 in, 25.5 max
Machinery: (1904)
13,500 ihp, 2 vertical triple-expansion steam engines, 8 Ansaldo marine boilers, 2 shafts
Speed: 20 knots at 14,000 shp, although in practice were limited to 18 at full load.
Range: 5,500 nmi at 10 knots on 1316 tons of coal, typically just 650 carried
Complement: 600 as built, 568 in Japanese service.
Armor: (Terni)
Belt: 2.8–5.9 in
Deck: 0.79–1.57 in
Barbette: 3.9–5.9 in
Conning tower: 5.9 in
2 twin 8″/45 EOC (classified as Type 41 guns by the Japanese)
14 single QF 6″/45 Armstrong “Z” guns
10 single QF 3″/40 12-pdr Armstrong “N” guns
6 single QF 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns
2 Maxim machine guns
2 landing howitzers
4 × 457 mm (18 in) torpedo tubes in casemates
4 single QF 6″/45 Armstrong “Z” guns
4 single QF 3″/40 12-pdr Armstrong “N” guns
1 single 76/40 AAA


Ships are more than steel
and wood
And heart of burning coal,
For those who sail upon
them know
That some ships have a

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“If you’re not shippin’ green you don’t deserve sea pay…”

This was recently posted on the social media page maintained by the frigate-sized Legend-class National Security Cutter USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752). Stationed at Alameda, California, and assigned to the Coast Guard Pacific Area, she is currently on a Bering Sea patrol.

On the way to the Arctic, CGC Stratton transited north through some heavy seas off the Pacific Northwest. At times, the sea spray reached as high as CGC Stratton’s mast, which is nearly 150 feet tall.

Built at Pascagoula alongside Burke-class DDGs like all her sisters, Stratton joined the fleet in 2012.

Importantly, Ingalls is getting close to the end of the road with the class, as the future USCGC Calhoun (WMSL-759), NSC 10, just recently christened and is expected to commission later this year.

The final ship, USCGC Friedman (WMSL-760) would end the nominal 11 ship class although some Long Lead Time Materials funds for a 12th hull have been allocated. As the class was ordered to replace the 12-vessel Hamilton-class cutters built in the 1960s, it would only seem correct to run the full dozen. 

Warship Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023: Diving the New World

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1954 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, Jan. 4, 2023: Diving the New World

Via Peru’s Dirección de Intereses Marítimos which has a great collection of period images from the submarine’s construction digitized. Image 00631-15

Above we see the early French Creusot-built submarine BAP Teniente Ferré of the Peruvian Navy, nestled inside the transport dock ship Kanguroo in the summer of 1912. The first operational diesel-electric boat in Latin America, she was of an interesting design that just screams “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and, while she never saw overt combat, ushered in a long tradition of submarine operations for Peru– one that has lots of ties to the U.S. Navy.

Peru arguably had one of the first attempts at submarine combat in Latin America. The country started off its involvement with subs back in the 1880s when one Federico Blume y Othon came up with a small hand-cranked Toro Submarino submersible equipped with a cable-laid torpedo (more of a mine) that was neat but not successful, although it was an interesting footnote to the War of the Pacific between Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

Fuente: Museo de la Marina de Guerra del Perú, sección de Submarinistas, via Superunda.

Following the wholesale destruction of the Peruvian Navy in the War of the Pacific, the country went into a slow rebuilding process that, by 1904, brought in a French naval mission led by Commander Paul de Marguerye. The Peruvian Naval Academy was stood back up and new, modern warships were ordered from Europe including the scout cruisers BAP Almirante Grau and BAP Coronel Bolognesi (3,100 tons, 24 knots, 2×6″ guns) from Vickers in Britain, the old French armored cruiser Dupuy de Lome (6,300 tons, 20 knots, 2×7.6in, 6×6.4 in guns, launched 1890) which was intended to be brought into service as BAP Comandante Aguirre, and two submarines from Schneider & Cie Le Creusot.

This brings us to Teniente Ferré and her sister, BAP Teniente Palacios, both named for young naval officers killed heroically at the Battle of Angamos in 1879.

Ordered in early 1909, French naval engineer Maxime Laubeuf designed them—the man who had designed France’s first submarines (the Narval and the Aigrette) and was one of the first pioneers to realize that two different propulsion systems (for surfaced running and submerged) were needed for a submarine to be practical.

At 151 feet overall and with a submerged displacement of 440 tons, the Ferres could make 13 knots on the surface with a pair of Schneider-Carels diesels and eight submerged on two electric motors arranged on two shafts. While not huge craft by today’s standards, they were large compared to contemporaries such as the American Holland class (110 tons, 64 feet) and British A-class (200 tons, 105 feet). Further, no country in Latin America at the time had anything comparable.

BAP Teniente Ferré at builder’s yard in France, April 1909. DIM 00750

BAP Teniente Ferré at builder’s yard in France, Oct 1909. Note her bow and inner hull. DIM 00631-07

BAP Teniente Ferré close to launching, noting flags and her very ship-like bow/hull form. Of interest, the two stacks are a breather and exhaust for her diesels as well as each holding a periscope. The class could therefore snorkel while her decks were awash, albeit dangerously. DIM 00631-06-1

When it came to armament, rather than the confusing Drzewiecki drop collar external trapeze framework favored by the French and the Russians at the time, the Peruvian submarines would carry a brace of four forward 450mm torpedo tubes that, if loaded, could have a further four torpedoes stored for a reload inside the hull. There was no provision for a deck gun.

Capable of diving to 100 feet, they carried enough diesel oil to cruise on the surface for 2,000 nm at 10 knots.

BAP Ferre engine compartment, with César A. Valdivieso and David C. Maurer. DIM 00631-04-1

BAP Teniente Ferré test dives off Saint-Mandrier-Sur-Mer near Toulon, the summer of 1912. Note the French ensign. DIM 00631-10-scaled

BAP Teniente Ferré test dive off Saint-Mandrier-Sur-Mer, summer of 1912. DIM 00631-12-scaled

BAP Teniente Ferré test dive off Saint-Mandrier-Sur-Mer, summer of 1912. DIM 00631-11-scaled

The two submarines were completed by early 1911 and it had been decided that the best way to deliver them was via an innovative transport dock, dubbed the aptly named Kanguroo.

Built to another of Laubeuf’s designs, the curious 305-foot, 2,500-ton monster was a simple hermaphrodite steamship built around a central 120,000 cubic foot floodable well deck with watertight doors on its bow that allowed it to carry loads up to 185 feet in length and weighing as much as 3,700 tons– just perfect to carry a submarine on globe-trotting excursions.

Plan and drawing of Kanguroo. Via the 19 July 1912 issue of Engineering.

More on the details of Kanguroo. Via the 19 July 1912 issue of Engineering. “Besides serving for the transport of submarine boats, the main object for which she was built, the Kanguroo is to be utilized also for carrying heavy and bulky loads such as turbines, boilers, and so forth, which can be lowered into the hold amidships after lifting off the movable deck panels which cover it.

Kanguroo was launched by Forges et Chantiers de la Gironde on 12 April 1912 then began loading Ferre on 28 June at Saint-Mandrier-Sur-Mer and departed for Callao with the boat aboard on 30 July.

BAP Teniente Ferré in Kanguroo 19 July 1912 issue of Engineering a

BAP Teniente Ferré in Kanguroo 19 July 1912 issue of Engineering 

Note the cradle to hold Ferre inside Kanguroo. Via the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF)

The bow of Kanguroo had to be disassembled to load and unload floating cargo, a process that took the better part of a week and needed good weather in a sheltered harbor. Via the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF)

Ferre approaching Kanguroo. Via the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF)

Entering Kanguroo’s flooded well deck. Via the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF)

Via the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF)

A Johan and the whale moment. Via the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF)

Via the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF)

She arrived in Peru on 19 October, via São Vicente, Cape Verde, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo, and it took ten full days to disgorge the submarine, as Kanguroo’s bow had to be disassembled for the process.

Freed from her marsupial mothership, Ferre made her first dive in Peruvian waters on 5 November 1912.

BAP Teniente Ferré, including On deck, the engineer David C. Maurer, 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Caballero y Lastres, César A. Valdivieso, and J. Besnard. DIM 00631-03-1

Sobre cubierta el Teniente 2° Daniel Caballero y Lastres y Enrique Mazuré.

Kanguroo would go on to deliver Ferre’s sister ship, Palacios, in 1913, along with the Italian Fiat-built submarine F1 (300 tons, 150 feet oal, 2x450mm TT) to the Brazilian Navy. Ironically, the three Brazilian Fiats were ordered in direct response to the Peruvian boats, which were the first modern submarines operated by a Latin American fleet.

BAP Palacios DIM 00632-01

BAP Palacios DIM 00632-02

Peru BAP Ferre class, 1914 Janes. Note the image is from French trials off Toulon.

Palacios made her first dive in Peruvian waters on 5 November 1913, the first anniversary of Ferre’s inaugural plunge.

With both of Peru’s new subs delivered and operational in home waters, the Great War caught up to them and the French military mission was recalled to take part in the conflict. Likewise, this cut off the supply of spare parts, batteries, and specialized equipment to keep Ferre and her sister working, greatly reducing their time underway throughout the war.

In related news, the old cruiser Dupuy de Lome/BAP Comandante Aguirre would spend the war in French waters and would never actually make it to Peru. Her planned advance crew sailed home on a freighter. 

The most interesting footnote to Ferre’s service was an October 1915 collision with the interned German four-master cargo ship Omega (ex-Drumcliff). While the submarine would limp home with her scopes ripped nearly horizontal for extensive repairs, and Omega was later taken into service with the Peruvian Navy as a training ship, it was as close as Ferre would come to combat. 

Omega as Drumcliff, circa late 1880s. She would go on to be operated by Reederei Hamburger AG under a German flag until 1918 when the Peruvian Navy seized her to serve as a schoolship. Sold in 1926 to the Compañía Administradora del Guano in Callao, she would operate until 1958 when she was wrecked– at the time, the last tall ship in the guano trade. State Library of Victoria image SLV H99.220-2845

Ferre and Palacios would linger in their limited service until 1921 when they were ordered disarmed and subsequently disposed of. 


Ferre and Palacios would be remembered in a series of maritime art and postage stamps in their home country throughout the years. 

As for Kanguroo, the submarine-carrying dock ship, requisitioned by the French Navy at the outbreak of the Great War, she was torpedoed and sank at Madeira’s Funchal Roads on 3 December 1916 alongside the French gunboat Surprise (680 tons) and the elderly British cable layer SS Dacia (1,850 tons), by the famed U-boat ace Max Valentiner aboard U-38, who then leisurely bombarded the city’s submarine cable station and the electricity generators for two hours.

These exploits earned KptLt Valentiner the Blue Max, only the sixth U-boat commander awarded the Pour le Mérite.

Kanguroo (foreground) sinking, 3 December 1916, via the Museu de Fotografia da Maderia

Meanwhile, Ferre and Palacios would be far from the last Peruvian submarines.

To replace the two cranky French boats, the country ordered a quartet of gently larger U.S.-made vessels, sparking a long run of close U.S-Peruvian submarine partnerships. Those four 187-foot R-class submarines— BAP Islay (R-1), BAP Casma (R-2), BAP Pacocha (R-3), and BAP Arica (R-4)— were ordered from the Electric Boat Company in Connecticut, and delivered in the mid-1920s.

The four Peruvian R-class subs. Built during Prohibition in Connecticut, they remained with the fleet until 1960

Carrying four torpedo tubes, these diesel-electric subs were involved in both the Colombian-Peruvian War and Peruvian-Ecuadorian War before being upgraded back at Groton to extend their life after WWII, at which point they were probably the last 1920s-era diesel boats still in front-line service. 

The crew of the Peruvian submarine R-2 in Newport, Rhode Island on October 26, 1926.

Peruvian submarine R-1 in Newport, RI, United States, in 1926.

Peru R class submarines BAP R-4, BAP R-3, BAP R-2, and BAP R-1. The photograph was taken before 1950 at the Callao Naval Base

Of note, the U.S. Navy used some 27 R-class boats of their own.

R-1 Class (Peruvian Submarine) Caption: Two of four ships, R-1 to R-4, were built in the U.S. in 1926-28 and scrapped in 1960. Probably photographed in the 1950s. Description: Courtesy Dr. R. L. Scheina. Catalog #: NH 87842

To replace these were four more Electric Boat-produced modified U.S. Mackerel-class submarines ordered in 1953. Termed the Abtao-class in service, the quartet– BAP Lobo/Dos de Mayo (SS-41, BAP Tiburon/Abato (SS-42), BAP Atun/Angamos (SS-43), and BAP Merlin/Iquique (SS-44)— remained operational in one form or another into 1998.

Peru then picked up a pair of aging U.S. Balao-class diesel boats in 1974–  BAP Pabellón de Pica/La Pedrera (SS-49), ex-USS Sea Poacher (SS/AGSS-406) and BAP Pacocha (SS-48), ex- USS Atule (SS-403)— which they kept in service as late as 1995.

BAP Dos de Mayo, Peruvian submarine

Peru has since acquired six German-built Type 209 (1100 and 1200 series) boats, commissioned starting in 1974:

BAP Angamos (SS-31)
BAP Antofagasta (SS-32)
BAP Arica (SS-36)
BAP Chipana (SS-34)
BAP Islay (SS-35)
BAP Pisagua (SS-33)

The evolution looks like this, including the domestic design, two French boats, 10 American boats, and six German boats, spanning from 1880:

And have effectively been the U.S. Navy’s designated West Coast SSK OPFOR team for the past twenty years. 

Peruvian Type 209s have deployed to Naval Base Point Loma as part of the Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) program no less than 18 times since 2001, typically a 2-3 month deployment that sees the submarino both serve as a “target” for ASW forces and work alongside surface assets to better interoperate in multi-national task forces.

“Each year, Submarine Squadron 11 looks forward to DESI and we are thrilled this year to be working with our Peruvian counterpart,” said Capt. Patrick Friedman, CSS-11 in 2019. “By having an SSK operate and train with us, it allows us to practice on a platform that has a similar signature to our adversaries. Not to mention, there is a great deal of diplomatic goodwill that is fostered through these engagements.”

140923-N-ZF498-067 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sep. 23, 2014) Peruvian submarine BAP Islay (SS-35) pulls alongside the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Islay participated in a maneuvering exercise with Theodore Roosevelt, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Winston Churchill (DDG 81), USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), and USS Farragut (DDG 99). Theodore Roosevelt is currently out to sea preparing for future deployments. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Seaman Anthony N. Hilkowski/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 1, 2019) An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter from the Magicians of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35 conducts a hoist exercise with the Peruvian navy submarine BAP Angamos (SS-31) off the coast of San Clemente Island. HSM-35 is conducting antisubmarine warfare training to maintain readiness by utilizing a live submarine. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick W. Menah Jr./Released)

Ships are more than steel
and wood
And heart of burning coal,
For those who sail upon
them know
That some ships have a

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Now THAT is how you do a Recognition Test

I just love ship, aircraft, and vehicle recognition tests and flashcards, something I dug ever since I was a kid and saw the posters on the walls of Cary Grant’s cabin in the WWII Coastwatcher comedy Father Goose.

I can’t tell you how many different decks of these I have on the shelf! And don’t even get me started on how many dusty old volumes of Jane’s Fighting Ships I have.

However, as anyone can tell you from actual spotting work, those flat diagrams and silhouettes leave much to be desired when it comes to actually being able to tell things apart in real life.

Enter a recent NATO exercise in the Baltics as part of the Iron Spear armored gunnery competition saw 34 teams from 13 NATO countries deploy to Latvia to strut their stuff. With so much dissimilar equipment on hand, it seemed the perfect time to do some real-world up close and personal recognition training.  

How many can you identify?

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