Category Archives: military history

Making like 1914

Recently seen in London, via the Ministry of Defence, HQ Household Troops:

In a series of stunning photos which could have been taken at the turn of the 20th century, the horses and riders of the Queen’s Birthday Parade showed off their movements and equestrian skills as they paraded around Horse Guards for their Mounted Review this morning.

Over 350 horses drawn from The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery conducted the same movements they will do at Trooping the Colour, just without those on foot to distract them (or the horses), to enable them to focus on the timings and commands required for the historic day.

In their khaki No.2 Service Dress, they looked like they could be off to the front lines of the First World War with the WWI-era QWF 13-pounder guns drawn by the King’s Troop just adding to the effect.

Save for the helmets, it could pass for the early 1900s. The men in the background are from the Blues and Royals. The Blues and Royals wear blue tunics while on ceremonial duties and metal helmets with red plumes. The Life Guards, seen in the foreground, wear scarlet tunics and white plumed helmets.

Almost like one of those old uniform plates, showing a variety of officers milling around posing for the artist. Note the Life Guards on the left, and Blues & Royals to the right. The Royal Horse Artillery is at the caissons and an assortment of guards officers, including two in bearskins, are in the center. 

All you are missing is a Kitchener poster

When is the last time you saw a full squadron’s worth of horse-mounted cavalry on parade, with four classic troops in formation? This evokes memories of the Sudan, the Crimea, or even Waterloo. Besides headquarters and training cadres, the Blues and Royals, taking up the rear as they are “younger” consist of a half-strength horse-mounted saber squadron that contains two “divisions” which are troop-sized (one subaltern and 24 troopers) while the more senior Life Guards have the same strength. Of course, as you see, the entire combined force is still just the size of a Great War-era squadron of four troops. All told, the force is termed the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR), authorized at 341 members and 250 horses. 

Cutty-Capa of the Northwest

In a move illustrating the shoe-string kinds of ops the Coast Guard has to pull off, the recently decommissioned 110-foot Island-class patrol boat USCGC Cuttyhunk (WPB 1322), which was just removed from active duty after 34 hard years, mostly in the Pacific Northwest, still has an ounce of life to give.

Cutter Cuttyhunk, paying off. Note her forward 25mm gun has been removed

Instead of heading off to different assignments, the crew of “The Pest of the West” sailed their old boat to Ketchikan, Alaska. There, they have taken possession of the sidelined classmate USCGC Anacapa (WPB-1335), which was previously stationed in Petersburg, Alaska.

Commissioned 13 January 1990, Anacapa is actually just a little older than Cuttyhunk but is in apparently better material condition– except for the engines. So with that, the crew of Cuttyhunk, along with dockside help, are turning the 2,100~ bolts required to remove the two diesels (both mains and generators) of both ships, and doing a transplant, moving Cuttyhunk’s old suite to the hollowed-out Anacapa. It seems the best way to get some spare Paxman Valenta 16-CM RP-200Ms is to take them from an old cutter. 

“We have a long road ahead of us, but we are having a great time doing it,” noted the ship’s social media.

After that, Anacapa will be shifting homeports to Port Angeles to continue to serve the Pacific Northwest, with Cuttyhunk’s old crew, engines, and generators, until further relieved.

Maybe the 17th Coast Guard District will spring for new oil for the engines, although since it’s going back to the 13th District in Washington, odds are Cuttyhunk had to bring that up to Alaska as well. 

Keeping up with traditions

Newport News Shipbuilding welded a time capsule inside the flight deck control room of PCU John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) in April. The time capsule – which contains letters to future ship leaders, miscellaneous coins, and memorabilia– will be opened during the aircraft carrier’s mid-life refueling and complex overhaul, an event tentatively planned for 2050ish.

This reminds me of the time they dismantled the Todd-built FFG7-class frigate HMAS Sydney in Australia a couple of years back and recovered a bottle of blended MacNaughton Canadian whisky, which had been wrapped in pipe insulation in the forward starboard leg of the mainmast back in April 1982.

Schneller Adler, Guest Starring the Kings!

Last week some 200 German marines from the Seebataillon were on maneuvers for a major non-combatant evacuation exercise, Schneller Adler, or Swift Eagle. Together with the Dutch Corps Mariniers, Feldjäger, and an electronic warfare specialist team, they operated from aboard the Dutch Navy dock landing ship Rotterdam (L800). At the same time, the German and Dutch armies trained on land, supported by the Luftwaffe.

Bundeswehr/Nico Theska

In all, a total of around 2,000 soldiers and other participants took part in the regular exercise this year.

Of note to observers on this side of the pond is a familiar old girl in the form of SH-3 Sea Kings on deck and still in front line service.

Bundeswehr/Nico Theska

Bundeswehr/Nico Theska

Bundeswehr/Nico Theska

The German Navy’s Marinefliegerkommando unoffically traces it origins to the old Kaiserliche Marine’s Zeppelins and rascals like Kapitän Gunther Plüschow. More officially, they date to 1956 when West Germany’s Bundesmarine Federal Navy was founded. During the Cold War, the Marineflieger consisted of not only P-3 Orions and two whole wings of anti-ship capable Tornado strike aircraft, but a sea-going force of Sea Lynx and Sea Kings.

The old West German Navy had no less than 112 Tornado IDS models for anti-shipping and marine reconnaissance roles, carrying AS.34 Kormoran anti-ship missiles. Here one is seen at NAS Fallon at 1989.

Built on license from Sikorsky by Westland in the UK, Germany ordered 22 Mk 41 Sea Kings with an enlarged cabin arrangement similar to the Westland HC4 Commando in 1969 to replace Grumman HU-16 Albatross flying boats in a SAR/transport role. Lacking ASW gear or the capability to drop torpedos, they were later fitted with a Ferranti Seaspray radar in a nose radome (which they still have) to aid them in carrying up to four British Sea Skua AShMs (which have since been retired).

Bundeswehr/Nico Theska

These days, 19 German Kings are left, flying operationally for Marinefliegergeschwader 5 out of Nordholz. Showing their age, they are set to be replaced by 18 NHI NH90 Sea Lions within the coming decade.

Besides the Germans, Egypt, India, Norway, and Pakistan still fly the old bird, an aircraft that ended production in 1995.

Speaking of which, India just test-fired a new helicopter-launched anti-ship missile from a Sea King this week. The missile is known as the “Naval Anti-Ship Missile-Short Range” or NASM-SR.

Go, Kings!

Darby et al, get the Gold

U.S. Army Rangers assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, including some in vintage WWII-era uniforms of Darby’s 2nd Rangers, climb the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, in Cricqueville en Bessin, France June 4, 2019, in commemoration of D-Day. (U.S. Army photo)

Between June 1942 and the end of WWII, the Army formed from volunteers 6 Ranger Infantry Battalions (numbered 1st-6th) and 1 provisional Ranger battalion (29th, from Army National Guardsmen of the 29th ID).

S.1872, legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the United States Army Rangers Veterans of World War II, was passed by Congress on 11 May 2022 and goes to the President next.

“This bill directs the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to arrange for the award of a single gold medal to the U.S. Army Ranger veterans of World War II in recognition of their dedicated wartime service.”

Introduced by U.S. Sen. Jodi Ernst (R-Iowa), it is broadly bipartisan with 74 Cosponsors (36 Republicans, 36 Democrats, 2 Independents). Nice to see such a thing still exists.

If you ever wanted your own Spitfire

Looking for a Merlin-powered 1943 Supermarine Spitfire IX with just 10 hours on it since a complete zero time restoration? Well, looks like one just popped up.

Photo credit: Darren Mottram: Aviation Spotters Online

Photo credit: Darren Mottram: Aviation Spotters Online

Photo credit: Darren Mottram: Aviation Spotters Online

Via Platinum Fighter Sales:

Built for the RAF, MH603 rolled off the Vickers-Armstrong production line in Castle Bromwich during the spring of 1943 and delivered to 39 MU (Maintenance Unit) on 15 October that same year. She then passed onto 405 RSU (Repair and Salvage Unit) at Croydon on 25 October 1943. The Spitfire commenced Operational Service with 331 (Norwegian) Squadron on 3 January 1944 and served operationally coded FNB (as she is marked today) and flown by Capt. Bjorn Bjornstad, then transferred to 274 Squadron and coded JJK on 2 June 1944 where she was flown by Warr Off O.S.G Baker. The Spitfire is noted as going to Fighter Leader’s School, FLS Millfield on 21 August 1944 and then to the Central Fighter Establishment (CFE) Tangmere on 1 June 1945. Following its operational service, the aircraft passed through a number of training and maintenance units.

Post war – In 1949, MH603 was sold to the South African Air Force and following retirement in 1955 passed on to South African Metal & Machinery Co, Salt River, Cape Town as scrap until the remains were recovered by the South African Air Force Museum and stored at Snake Valley.

During 1989, the Spitfire was recorded in the UK with Steve Atkins of Rye, Sussex and then with John Sykes of Oxford, UK. In 1993, the Spitfire was sold to Joe Scogna of Vintage Air, Yardley, PA, USA. During this period, the Spitfire was under restoration with Ray Middleton of Fort Collins, CO, USA until sold to Provenance Fighter Sales in 2008 and then on-sold to Pay’s Air Service of Scone, NSW, Australia in 2009.

Vintage Fighter Restorations (a division of Pay’s Air Service) Aviation completely disassembled the aircraft and has completed a 100 point restoration to the highest standard over an eleven year period.

All original British hardware has been utilized, along with many NOS (new old stock) components and the fitting of new wing spars. MH603 was placed on the Australian civil registry as VH-IXF on 28 July 2011 with her first post-restoration flight pending during 2021.

The Spitfire is available for immediate purchase with delivery upon completion of test flight program during the first quarter of 2022.

The asking? £3,500,000.

Prices have gone up just a bit from 1965.

 

Of note in the Spitfire’s description, its first pilot was an interesting character.

Bjørn Fredrik Bjørnstad was an 18-year-old high schooler at the start of WWII when the Germans invaded neutral Norway, but went off to fight with his father, a recalled reservist, and saw his pop fall in battle against the invader. Captured and escaped, young Bjorn made it to the West and by Feb. 1941 was in pilot training in Canada. Serving first in early model Spits with No. 129 Squadron RAF, he made his way to 331 Squadron– a unit staffed by Free Norwegian forces– and finished the conflict flying buzz-bomb busting Hawker Tempests with No. 80 Squadron RAF. During the war, he was credited with 5.5 kills, an ace, and earned both the British DFC and the Norwegian St. Olavs Medal (w oak). 

Post-war, he flew for DNL and SAS. Retiring in the Lillehammer area, he passed in 2013 at age 91. Insert the quote about hard times and tough men.

Bjørnstad. One of just 19 Norwegian fighter aces and one of just 13 that survived WWII. 

Warship Wednesday, May 11, 2022: The Dirty D

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, May 11, 2022: The Dirty D

Nordisk Pressefoto via the M/S Museet for Søfart- Danish maritime museum. Photo: 2012:0397

Above we see a beautiful period photo of the Danish skoleskibet Danmark with a bone in her teeth, the tall ship’s canvas fully rigged and speeding her along, 18 white clouds mastering the sea. Just seven years old when she was caught up in WWII, she would find a new home and wartime use in Allied waters while the Germans occupied her country.

A tremastet fuldrigger in Danish parlance, the big three-master went 212-feet overall from her stern to the tip of her bowsprit and 188 feet at the waterline, with a displacement of 790 BT. Her mainmast towered 127 feet high. Constructed of riveted steel with 10 watertight bulkheads, she was designed in the late 1920s to be a more modern replacement for the lost schoolship København, whose saga we have covered in the past.

Laid down at Nakskov Skibsværft, part of the Danish East Asian Company (Det Østasiatiske Kompagni or just ØK), a giant shipping and trade concern that at one point was Scandinavia’s largest commercial enterprise, while Danmark was a civil vessel, many of her officers and crew were on the Royal Danish Navy’s reserve list and many of her cadets would serve in the fleet as well.

Skoleskibet DANMARK under konstruktion på Nakskov Skibsværft.

She was christened on 17 December 1932 by one Ms. Hannah Lock.

Young Ms. Lock was striking, and likely the daughter of a company official. The company’s bread and butter were both passenger and freight lines between the Danish capital, Bangkok, and the far east, so it was no doubt an exotic and glitzy affair.

Due to low tide, she was not officially launched until two days later.

Skoleskibet DANMARK søsættes 19. december 1932. På grund af lavvande blev skibet først søsat to dage efter dåben.

On her maiden voyage, photographed from the schoolship Georg Stages.

Picture from Danmark’s Capt. Svend Aage Saugmann’s photo album shows Danmark at Ponta Delgada in the Azores on 27 February 1936. 2013:0126

The Drumbeat of War

In the summer of 1939, with Europe a tinderbox, the Danish government had pledged to send the country’s largest naval warship, the 295-foot coast defense cruiser Niels Juel, to participate in the World’s Fair in New York. However, as misgivings set in, it was agreed that Danmark would make the trip instead, complete with a mixed group of naval and mariner cadets.

Arriving in New York in August, Danmark’s cadets were hosted by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to a Yankees baseball game as part of the general festivities. Once Germany invaded Poland, followed by the Soviets, then Britain and France joined a growing world war, Danmark was ordered to remain in U.S. waters until things cooled down. With that, she cruised to Annapolis, spent the Christmas 1939 holiday in Puerto Rico, then arrived in Jacksonville, Florida in early April 1940. There, they met with Danish Ambassador Henrik Kauffmann, who announced the ship was returning home after her nine-month American exile.

The school ship Danmark lying in St. John’s River near Jacksonville, Florida, during early World War II. Note her neutrality markings. 723:63

With Poland long since occupied and divvied between Berlin and Moscow, and the latter ceasing hostilities with Finland, coupled with the quiet “Phony War” between Britain/France and Germany, things were expected to calm down.

Well, you know what happened next.

WAR!

On 9 April 1940, the Germans rolled into Denmark without a declaration of war, ostensibly a peaceful occupation to keep the British from invading. The German invasion, launched at 0400 that morning, was a walkover of sorts and by 0800 the word had come down from Copenhagen to the units in the field to stand down and just let it happen. Of course, the Danes would stand up a serious resistance organization later in the occupation, as well as field viable “Free Danish” forces operating from Britain, but for the time being, the country was a German puppet state.

Ambassador Kauffmann, however, decided to cancel Danmark’s return home and kept the ship in Florida.

Via the U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office:

Anchored off the Coast Guard station in Jacksonville, Danmark became a ship without a country. The Danish Embassy in Washington arranged for a monthly stipend of $10 for the crew, but Danmark had no other support. On the morning of April 10, Capt. Knud Hansen was greeted on the pier by a group of Jacksonville citizens and two large trucks. They brought 17 tons of food and supplies. Hansen did not turn them away, although there was no space on board for all of it. Each morning thereafter, women brought cookies, pies, and men brought tobacco and other items. Even an anonymous shipment of summer uniforms arrived, much to the crew’s delight.

The Danmark had become a foreign vessel lying idle in American waters. It had remained in Jacksonville from early April 1940 until late 1941, or nearly 20 months. Many of the ship’s Danish cadets decided to transfer to the Merchant Marine and 14 of them would die serving Allied forces. Ten of Danmark’s original crew remained aboard, including Hansen and First Mate Knud Langevad.

With a long history of using tall ships to train new sailors, VADM Russell Waesche, Commandant of the Coast Guard, visited occupied Denmark in the summer of 1940 and began talks with the Danes to purchase the vessel as a training ship. The negotiations dragged on throughout the next year, with the U.S. government offering about half what the ship was worth, and the White House balking at even that amount.

Then, the morning after Pearl Harbor, with the U.S. firmly in the fight and no longer “The Great Neutral,” Hansen fired off a telegram to Waesche’s office.

In view of the latest days’ developments, the cadets, officers, and captain of the Danish Government Training Vessel Danmark unanimously place themselves and the ship at the disposal of the United States government, to serve in any capacity the United States government sees fit in our joint fight for victory and liberty.

With the offer accepted, she was rented for $1 per year, paid via silver coin to the Danish Embassy, then was escorted to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, still with her crew under control, and commissioned on 12 May 1942– 80 years ago this week– as USCGC Danmark (WIX-283). Her remaining professional crew would be in USCG service for the duration, accepting ranks in the USCGR.

In a nod to her “rented” status, she flew the Dannebrog and U.S. ensigns simultaneously.

The Red White and Blue on her mast

Under sail while in USCG service, with a U.S. ensign flapping above her mast. Note the bluejackets in cracker jacks on deck. Photo by Kevin Bechen. Via the M/S Museet for Sofart. 2017:0214

Danmark in USCG service, USCG photo

Danmark in U.S. Port WWII. Note her Neptune figurehead. Photo by Kevin Bechen. Via the M/S Museet for Sofart. 2017:0209

From the USCG H’s O:

Each month, new Coast Guard cadets embarked Danmark for training. The Danish officers had many challenges before them–everything that a Danish cadet learned in six years, plus what he learned to qualify as a Danish navy officer, had to be taught the American cadets in four months. No American officers served aboard and, to avoid attack by U-boats, the tall ship never sailed beyond Martha’s Vineyard or the southern tip of Manhattan.

Dubbed the “Dirty D,” cadets scrubbed the Danmark at least three times a day with rainy days devoted to cleaning out lifeboats and sanding oars. The wheelhouse was varnished frequently. It was lights out at midnight when the ship’s generator shut off. If the last liberty boat returned late to the Danmark, the cadets had to undress, sling out hammocks and climb into the hammocks in total darkness.

USCG Furling Sail, 4.11.1942 Ellis Island. Danmark possibly 026-g-056-040-001

Cadets in Rigging, 3.24.1943 Coast Guard likely Danmark 026-g-001-036-001

Going Aloft, 4.15.1942 Coast Guard likely Danmark 026-g-056-041-001

CG Cadets on DANMARK

An immigrant of sorts helping her adopted country, appropriately enough She often called at Ellis Island. During the war, the station was a USCG training base, schooling new Coasties who would go on to man Navy ships around the globe.

Via the NPS:

From 1939 to 1946, the United States Coast Guard occupied Ellis Island and established a training station that served 60,000 enlisted men and 3,000 officers. They utilized many buildings on the island. For example, the Baggage and Dormitory Building served as a drill room, armory, boatsman storeroom, carpenter’s shop, and machine shop. The Kitchen and Laundry Building was utilized as a kitchen and bakeshop. Lastly, the New Immigration Building provided dormitories for the men. After their time at Ellis, the enlisted men and officers were largely responsible for manning transports, destroyer escorts, cutters, and submarine chasers during World War II.

In all, over 5,000 Americans were trained directly on Danmark during the war, including 2,800 who would go on to receive their butter bars in assorted U.S. maritime services.

Finally, with the world at peace again, on the birthday of Danish King Christian X, 26 September 1945, the Stars and Stripes were hauled down and the Dannebrog shifted to the top again.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Danmark (WIX-283) USCGC Danmark in September 1945 just before her return to the Danes 

On 13 November, Danmark finally headed home again.

Epilogue

Since returning home, Danmark has continued her service over the past 75 years.

Post-war, probably 1946 during her Pacific cruise, looks like the Marin highlands in the distance under the Golden Gate (thanks Alex! & Steve) Note she has a U.S. flag on top and is trailing her Dannebrog. Photo by Kevin Bechen. Via the M/S Museet for Sofart. 2017:0216

Photograph from 1947 by Kronborg, photographed from the north, with the school ship Danmark and Georg Stage. The photo was taken in connection with the saga film “The White Sail.” Donated by Carl-Johan Nienstædt. Via the M/S Museet for Sofart. 2016:0050

1947 linjedåb Line Crossing ceremony on Danmark

Ivar’s with Danmark Sailing Vessel via SPHS 1946 Seattle

School ship Danmark is at sway and a scheduled boat is passed from Centrumlinjen M / S SUNDPILEN. By Karl Johan Gustav Jensen. M/S Museet for Sofart. 2003:0119

Kiel Tall Ships event: Segelschulschiff DAR POMORZA (poln.), davor Segelschulschiff EAGLE (amerik.). Jenseits der Brücke mit Lichterkette über die Toppen Segelschulschiff GLORIA (kolumbian.), davor im Dunklen Segelschulschiff DANMARK (dän.), ganz vorn Segelschulschiff GORCH FOCK.

HMS Eagle (R05) passes a sailing ship Danmark in Plymouth Sound, 1970

Danish Air Force SAAB Draken overflies the schoolship Danmark pre 1998

She is, naturally, remembered in maritime art.

“Coast Guard’s Seagoing School, 9.29.1943 Danmark” by Hunter Wood 026-g-022-040-001

Painting by James E. Mitchell, showing the ship during the Bicentennial “The Tall Ships Race” on the Hudson River on July 4, 1976.

She still carries the same Neptune figurehead.

Danmark’s Neptune figurehead, July 2017. By Per Paulsen. M/S Museet for Sofart. 2017:0283

As well as a marker celebrating her service abroad with the USCG.

Memorial plaque with thanks from U.S. Coast Guard January 1942- September 1946, July 2017. By Per Paulsen. M/S Museet for Sofart.

She has returned to her home-away-from-home numerous times, a regular fixture in New York, Boston, Baltimore, and New London over the decades.

The barque USCGC Eagle (ex SSS Horst Wessel) in service with the USCG in 1954, sailing along Danmark off the East Coast.

Skoleskibet DANMARK under bugsering i New York Havn, 1974. 

Today, as part of Besøg MARTEC, the Danish Maritime and Polytechnic University College in Frederikshavn, Danmark is still busy.

She just completed her regular 5-year inspection and certification and looks great for having 90 years on her hull. 

Skoleskibet Danmark drydock May 2022

Every summer she takes aboard 80 new cadets along with a 16-strong cadre of professional crew and instructors, and they head out, covering subjects both new and old in the familiar ways that WWII Coasties would recognize.

Specs:

Tonnage- 1,700 gross (1942)
Length- 188′ 6″
Beam- 33′ mb
Draft- 14′ 9″ (1942)
Machinery
Main Engines- 1 diesel
Propellers- Single
Armament- N/A

***

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A brutal season, 80 years ago today

There are dozens of photos taken by the assembled escorts of the stricken aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) as she underwent her death throes on the morning of 8 May 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea, but this one– probably the great explosion from the detonation of torpedo warheads stowed in the starboard side of the hangar at 1727 hrs– always caught my attention.

USS Lexington explodes while being scuttled following the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-16651

In the above photo, the smaller carrier, USS Yorktown (CV-5), can be seen on the horizon in the left-center, while the destroyer USS Hammann (DD-412) is at the extreme left.

To further punctuate the viciousness of the first year of the Pacific War, both Yorktown and Hammann, a Sims-class destroyer, would be lost in the same torpedo salvo at Midway less than a month after this image was taken. Likewise, Hammann‘s class-leader, Sims (DD-409) was sunk at the Coral Sea the day before Lexington was lost.

Before 1942 was over, Yorktown‘s sistership, Hornet (CV-7) would also rest on the bottom of the Pacific as would two other Sims-class tin cans, Walke (DD-416) and O’Brien (DD-415). In 1943, the tide turned, but there would still be years of hard effort to go.

Speaking of the Coral Sea, check out this great NHHC graphic that was just released.

Happy 500th, Marinen!

Tracing its lineage to that time the scrappy hövitsman Gustav Eriksson (later Gustav I, later Gustav Vasa) purchased a dozen ships from the Hanseatic town of Lübeck for the princely sum of 7,600 marks on 7 June 1522, the Swedish Navy predated old Gus’s 37-year reign, one that didn’t begin till the summer of 1523 after he licked the Danes– with the help of said ships.

Principal among the vessels purchased from the Germans was Lybska Svan, aka the “Svanen från Lübeck,” or the “Swan from Lubeck,” a plucky little 20-gun brig.

Lybska Svan via the Swedish Naval Museum. The ship fought in nine sea battles in its short career, and it hosted the Denmark capitulation in 1523 that paved the way for Sweden to become an independent state. To Sweden, it is a combination of the USS Missouri and Independence Hall.

For those with basic math skills, that means the Marinen is fast approaching its 500th anniversary.

PostNord Sverige has just released a set of three 26-kroner stamps to celebrate the Swedish Navy’s 500th anniversary this year.

One stamp depicts an advanced Saab A26 AIP hunter-killer submarine, currently being built for the force, and the commemorative sheet also shows a Saab CB90 Next Generation patrol boat in action as well as a UH-46/KV-107, which the Swedes used for SAR and ASW from 1963-2011. For a throwback, the Lybska Svan is depicted, of course.

Hamilton to Bertholf

Check out this great view of Coast Guard Island in Alameda, taken 30 years ago this month, showing five immaculate USCG high endurance cutters:

USCGC Boutwell (WPG-719; WHEC-719) in the foreground; then directly starboard of Boutwell is the USCGC Jarvis (WHEC-725) which is moored ahead of the USCGC Munro (WHEC-724). Munro is astern of Jarvis and inboard of the Morgenthau (WHEC-722)–note the Harpoon launchers on Morgenthau directly behind her main battery; and finally, the USCGC Sherman (WPG-720; WHEC-720) is directly astern of the Munro; USCG PACAREA photo; photo no. #PA 051892(01)-34A; May, 1992; photo by PAC R. L. Woods.

The top of the line in 1960s warship technology, the dozen New Orleans-built Hamilton-class of High Endurance Coast Guard Cutters or “378s” as they are referred to by the branch, were the go-to workhorses of USCG for five decades. They replaced a host of WWII (and earlier) cutters and stood on the line against the Soviets, ready to escort convoys to Europe if the balloon ever went up. They saw a real-live shooting war in Vietnam, providing naval gunfire support to the troops ashore. Mostly based on the west coast, today the class spends most of its time in Alaskan and Hawaiian waters.

Above you see five in 1992 in San Diego (Alameda). This is just after they were FRAM’d with Harpoon missiles (only Morgenthau so equipped) 76mm guns, CIWS, and modern torpedo tubes using Mk50s.

Of these five today, all are still in hard use around the Pacific rim and the Indian Ocean. Sherman transferred to the Sri Lanka Navy in 2018 as SLNS Gajabahu (P626). Munro decommissioned last April and is slated to transfer to the Vietnam Coast Guard where Morgenthau has been serving as CSB 8020 since 2017. Boutwell transferred to the Philippine Navy in 2016 as BRP Andres Bonifacio. Meanwhile, Jarvis has served the Bangladesh Navy since 2012 as BNS Somudro Joy (F-28).

The Hamiltons have all since been replaced by the new Bertholf-class National Security Cutters and four– USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750), Waesche (WMSL-751), Stratton (WMSL-752), and Munro (WMSL-755)– are all stationed there. 

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