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Of duck hunter camo and recycled popguns “somewhere in the Pacific”

“After the Marines captured this mountain gun from the Japs at Saipan, they put it into use during the attack on Garapan, the administrative center of the island.”

National Archives Identifier: 532383 Photo by Cpl. Angus Robertson, ca. July 1944 USMC 27-GR-114-83270.

The bayonet, in reflection

[Unidentified soldier in Union sack coat and forage cap with bayonet scabbard and bayoneted musket] LOC 2010650281

From Capt. Henry Thweatt Owen, Company C (Nottoway Rifle Guards), 18th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Battle of Gettysburg, as related in Rifle Shots and Bugle Notes, Grand Army Gazette, 1883:

“We were now four hundred yards from the foot of Cemetery Hill, when away off to the right, nearly half a mile, there appeared in the open field a line of men at right angles with our own, a long, dark mass, dressed in blue, and coming down at a “double-quick” upon the unprotected right flank of Pickett’s men, with their muskets “upon the right shoulder shift,” their battle flags dancing and fluttering in the breeze created by their own rapid motion, and their burnished bayonets glistening above their heads like forest twigs covered with sheets of sparkling ice when shaken by a blast…”

Owen went on to take command of the decimated 18th Virginia after Gettysburg as the seniormost officer still able to walk. When the 1,300-billet unit surrendered 5 April 1865 at Sailor’s Creek, only 2 officers and 32 men remained. Owen died in 1929 and his papers are preserved at the Library of Virginia.

Attack of the clones…

So a baker’s dozen of these cute little fellas attacked Russian bases in Syria lately

Carrying these:

Modded mortar bombs?

Via Russian Ministry of Defense:

Security system of the Russian Khmeimim air base and Russian Naval CSS point in the city of Tartus successfully warded off a terrorist attack with massive application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) through the night of 5th – 6th January, 2018.

As evening fell, the Russia air defence forces detected 13 unidentified small-size air targets at a significant distance approaching the Russian military bases.

Ten assault drones were approaching the Khmeimim air base, and another three – the CSS point in Tartus.

Six small-size air targets were intercepted and taken under control by the Russian EW units. Three of them were landed on the controlled area outside the base, and another three UAVs exploded as they touched the ground.

Seven UAVs were eliminated by the Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile complexes operated by the Russian air defence units on 24-hours alert.

The Russian bases did not suffer any casualties or damages.

The take away: swarm drone attacks are 100% going to be a staple of the modern battlefield. Also, the Russians have drone scramblers, likely much like the Battelle V1 and V2 DroneDefenders the U.S has been using for years.

As for where the drones came from? Russian state media, of course, says the U.S. funded the op and coordinated it. The Pentagon scoffed at the allegation, and the more likely explanation is that its just low-tech asymmetric warfare in 2018. Ready player one…

Warship Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018: Meiji’s favorite cruiser

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 their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018: Meiji’s favorite cruiser

Photo by famed Boston Herald cameraman Leslie Jones via The Boston Public Library, colorized by my friend and the most excellent Postales Navales https://www.facebook.com/Postales-Navales-100381150365520/

Here we see the lead ship of her class of Japanese armored cruisers, IJN Asama, leaving Boston harbor for New York, 26 September 1927, during a happier time in Japanese-U.S. relations. She held her head high in three wars, taking on all comers, and in the end, from her award date to the time she was broken, she gave the Empire a full half-century of service.

Ordered as part of the “Six-Six Fleet” in the days immediately after the Japanese crushed the Manchu Chinese empire on the water in 1894-95, Asama (named after Mount Asama) and her sistership Tokiwa were ordered from Armstrong Whitworth in Britain.

Some 9,700-tons and carrying a mixture of Armstrong 8-inch/45cal main guns and Elswick 6″/40 secondaries, these two 21-knot cruisers were meant to scout for the new battleships also ordered from her London ally to counter the growing Imperial Russian Navy’s Pacific fleet– remember at the time the Tsar had just cheated the Japanese out of Port Arthur and was eyeing both Manchuria proper and Korea as well. They were designed by naval architect Sir Philip Watts as an update to his 8,600-ton Chilean cruiser O’Higgins.

Asama shortly on trials, 1899 NH 58986

ASAMA (Japanese cruiser, 1898-1947) Starboard bow view taken in British waters soon after completion in 1899. Description: Catalog #: NH 86665

Completed within six weeks of each other in the Spring of 1899, the two Japanese first-class cruisers were considered a success from the start– Asama made 22.1 knots on trials– and arrived at Yokosuka by Summer. Emperor Meiji himself, the nation’s 122nd, used Asama for his flagship during the Imperial Naval Review in 1900 and the ship was dispatched back to Britain two years later for the Coronation Review for King Edward VII at Spithead.

photograph (Q 22402) Japanese Cruiser ASAMA, 1902. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205262917

When war came she was in the vanguard.

The very first surface engagement of any significance, besides the opening raid on Port Arthur itself, saw Asama and a host of other cruisers under RADM Uryū Sotokichi confront the Russian cruiser Varyag and the gunboat Korietz in Chemulpo Bay, Korea on 9 February 1904.

Nihon kaigun daishori Banzaii! Battle of Chemulpo Bay 1904 Russian protected cruiser Varyag and the aging gunboat Korietz ablaze and sinking. Japanese cruisers Asama (foreground), Naniwa, Takachiho, Chiyoda, Akashi and Niitaka (by Kobayashi Kiyochika)

The action did not go well for the Russians, with both of the Tsar’s ships on the bottom at the end of the fight and no “official” casualties reported by the Japanese.

Asama later engaged the ships of the 1st Russian Pacific Squadron at the Battle of the Yellow Sea in August and the 2nd and 3rd Squadrons (the former Baltic Fleet) in the much more pivotal carnage of Tsushima. In the latter, she traded shots with the Russian battlewagon Oslyabya and came away with three 12-inch holes in her superstructure to show for it. Following the war, Meiji once again used Asama to review his victorious fleet in Tokyo Bay despite more powerful and modern ships being available for the task.

Her next war found Asama searching for German surface raiders and Adm. Von Spee’s Pacific Squadron in August 1914, a task that brought her across the Pacific and in close operation with British and French allies– as well as cautious Americans. In was in Mexican waters on 31 January 1915 that she holed herself and eventually grounded, her boiler room flooded.

Photographed off the Mexican Pacific coast (possibly Mazatlán) from aboard USS RALEIGH (C-8, 1892-1921). The original caption states, “RALEIGH standing by until ASAMA leaves harbor” and also that the ASAMA was aground. ASAMA does appear slightly down by the head here. Description: Catalog #: NH 93394

ASAMA (Japanese cruiser, 1898-1947) Port beam view. Probably taken during salvage operations in mid-1915 after ASAMA had grounded in San Bartolome Bay, California. Catalog #: NH 86657

It wasn’t until May that she was refloated with the help of a crew of shipwrights from Japan and, after more substantial repairs at the British naval base in Esquimalt BC, she limped into the Home Islands that December, her war effectively over until she could be completely refit and given new boilers, a job not completed until March 1917.

After the war, the historic ship was converted to a coast defense vessel to take away her cruiser classification (the Naval Treaties were afoot) with the resulting removal of most of her 8-inch and 6-inch guns. She then was tasked throughout the 1920s and 30s with a series of long-distance training cruises which saw her roam the globe– that is where our Boston picture at the top of the post comes from.

Photo by famed Boston Herald cameraman Leslie Jones via The Boston Public Library, showing Asama in Boston Harbor in front of the Custom House Tower, Sept 1927. This was during Prohibition and several USCG 75-foot cutters are seen in the foreground.

ASAMA (Japanese cruiser, 1898) Photographed during a visit to an American port between the wars. Note Naval ensign, also 8″ guns. National Archives 80-G-188754

ASAMA (Japanese cruiser, 1898-1947) Overhead view taken during coaling operations between 1922 and 1937.NH 86666

ASAMA (Japanese cruiser, 1898-1947) Caption: Starboard beam view took off Diamond Head, prior to 1937. Description: Catalog #: NH 86650

Then came the night of 13 October 1935, when, while operating in the Inland Sea north north-west of the Kurushima Strait, she ran aground again and was severely damaged. Though repaired, her hull was considered too battered to continue her training cruises and she was converted to a more sedate pierside role at Kure as a floating classroom for midshipmen.

When her third war came in 1941, she was used as a barracks ship and largely disarmed, her guns no doubt passed on to equip new and converted escort craft. She avoided destruction by the Allies and was captured at the end of the war, eventually stricken on 30 November 1945.

ASAMA (Japanese training ship, ex-CA) At Kure, circa October 1945. Collection of Captain D.L. Madeira, 1978. Catalog #: NH 86279

The old girl was towed away and scrapped locally in 1947 at the Innoshima shipyard.

Her sister, Tokiwa, was converted to a minelayer and sowed thousands of those deadly seeds across the Pacific. Up armed with batteries of AAA guns and air search radars, she made it through the war until 9 August 1945 when she was plastered by dive bombers from TF38 while in Northern Japan’s Mutsu Bay and beached to prevent losing her entirely. She was scrapped in Hokkaidō at the same time as Asama.

Specs:

ASAMA Port beam view. Probably taken between 1910 and 1918. Ship in background is cruiser TSUKUBA. NH 86654

Displacement: 9,514–9,557 long tons (9,667–9,710 t)
Length: 442 ft. 0 in (134.72 m) (o/a)
Beam: 67 ft. 2 in (20.48 m)
Draft: 24 ft. 3 in–24 ft. 5 in (7.4–7.43 m)
Installed power:
18,000 hip (13,000 kW)
12 Cylindrical boilers (replaced by 16 Miyabara boilers in 1917)
Propulsion:
2 Shafts
2 triple-expansion Humphry’s, Tennant steam engines
1406 tons coal
Speed: 21+ knots (39 km/h; 24 mph), 19 by 1904, 16 by 1933
Range: 10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 676-726
Armament:
2 × twin 20.3 cm/45 Type 41 Armstrong naval guns
14 × single QF 6 inch /40 Elswick naval guns
12 × single QF 76mm (12 pounder) 12 cwt Armstrong naval guns
8 × single QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss guns
5 × single 457 mm (18.0 in) torpedo tubes, (1 bow, 4 beam) (removed 1917)
Armor: Harvey nickel steel
Waterline belt: 89–178 mm (3.5–7.0 in)
Deck: 51 mm (2.0 in)
Gun Turret: 160 mm (6.3 in)
Barbette: 152 mm (6.0 in)
Casemate: 51–152 mm (2.0–6.0 in)
Conning tower: 356 mm (14.0 in)
Bulkhead: 127 mm (5.0 in)

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!

Ward, who fired Pearl Harbor’s first shot, located after 73 years

New video in from the Philippines of Paul Allen’s RV Petrel exploring and documenting the remains of the Wickes-class destroyer, USS Ward (DD-139/APD-16).

USS Ward fired the first American shot in World War II on December 7, 1941, and of course is a past Warship Wednesday alumnus.

In a twist of fate, she was lost December 7, 1944, in Ormoc Bay and is now found and announced to the world again on that, now hallowed, date.

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017: The bruised-up U-boat bruiser of the Outer Banks

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 their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017: The bruised-up U-boat bruiser of the Outer Banks

Photo NOAA

Here we see the brand-new steel-hulled fishing boat Cohasset in Feb. 1942, just before she assumed her military guise as U.S. Navy Patrol Vessel, District (YP) #389, an anti-submarine trawler, and sailed off into a fateful, if one-sided battle.

Laid down at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts for R. O’Brien and Company of Boston as hull #1512 along with three sister ships on the eve of the U.S. entry into World War II, the 110-foot trawler was meant to ply the fishing grounds off Gloucester and the Georges Bank.

R. O’Brien was reportedly a top-notch operation, and one of the first in the country to equip their whole fleet with R/T sets in the 1930s, and they landed in excess of 20 million pounds annual catch at the canneries in the area.

When war seemed unavoidable, the four new boats were quickly evaluated to be useful to the Navy and on 6 December 1940 the sister trawlers Salem, Lynn, Weymouth and Cohasset were signed over to the federal government in lieu of taxes by O’Brien and delivered under their ordered names as they were completed throughout October and November 1941. Cohasset was taken into custody by the Navy in February 1942 as a coastal minesweeper, USS AMc-202. This was changed to YP-389 on 1 May and she was refitted into a patrol craft at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Armed with a single 3″/23cal deck gun taken from naval stores, two Great War-era. 30 cal. Lewis machine guns, six depth charges on a gravity rack and assorted small arms, she was placed under command of one LT. R.J. Philips, USNR who sailed her with a crew that consisted of two ensigns and 21 enlisted (none higher than a PO1) with a mission to keep the U-boats terrorizing the Eastern Seaboard at bay– though she did not have sonar, ASDIC or a listening device of any kind.

(List of USS YP-389 crew and their disposition after the events of 19 June, 1942. Courtesy the National Archives)

In June 1942, USS YP-389 headed south to North Carolina with the primary duty to patrol the Hatteras minefield on her economic 6-cylinder diesels– just 9 knots when wide open.

There, in the predawn hours of 19 June, she came across Kptlt. Horst Degen’s Type VIIIC submarine, U-701, of 3. Unterseebootsflottille operating out of the pens at La Pallice, France.

The battle should have been over before it started, as the patrol boat’s 3-inch popgun was out of operation with a broken firing pin and Degen’s 88mm and 20mm guns far out-ranged the 389‘s Lewis guns. Still, the surface action took place over a 90-minute period and saw the small patrol craft resort to dropping their depth charges set as shallow as possible in the U-boat’s path in an unsuccessful effort to crack its hull.

In the end, the trawler-turned-fighter was holed several times and sank in 320-feet of water, carrying five of her crew with her to Davy Jones’ Locker some five miles off Diamond Shoals. The crew of YP-389 had fired more than 24 drums from her Lewis gun as the gunners took cover behind trawling winches, answered by 50 shells of 88mm. In all, she had been in the Navy for just five months, most of that undergoing conversion.

The 18 survivors and one body floated overnight, with no life rafts or lifebelts, until they were rescued by Coast Guard picket boats (CG-462 and CG-486) the next morning. Four required treatment at Norfolk Naval Hospital.

In 1948, a Naval Board found that her sinking was in large part avoidable, as she was ill-fitted and suited for the detail assigned to her and, in effect, never should have been there.

Here is how Degen described the action to Navy interrogators a few weeks later:

On the night of June 17, U-701 surfaced off Cape Hatteras close to a U-boat chaser which challenged her with a series of B’s from a signal lamp. Thinking he was going to be rammed, Degen put about and drew away, without answering the challenge. The following day he saw what he thought was the same cutter escorting a tanker and a freighter in line ahead. Degen believed the cutter had made contact with him in passing, for as soon as the convoyed ships were out of range, the cutter returned and dropped depth charges near U-701. Degen said that on this occasion he did not hear the “ping” of Asdic.

The next night, June 19, U-701 surfaced off Cape Hatteras and again sighted what Degen took to be the same cutter. He opened fire with his 8.8 cm gun to which the cutter replied with machine-gun fire. U-701 expended a large number of shells. Apparently, the gun crew, groping over-anxiously in the dark, seized every available shell in the ready-use lockers without discrimination. Thus, fire was an unorthodox mixture of SAP, HE and incendiary shell, but it sank the cutter. Prisoners considered this a wasteful and “untidy” piece of work, and the captain gave the impression that he was ashamed of it.

Degen said he approached to look for survivors with the intention of putting them ashore, but he found none. He said he thought the crew made off in a boat. Prisoners gave the position of the attack as near the Diamond Shoals Lightship Buoy.

The 389 was not the only YP lost during the war and no less than 36 were destroyed while at least 17 earned battle stars (one, USS YP-42, the ex-Coast Guard cutter Gallatin, picked up three battle stars on her own). Though many of those lost foundered in heavy weather, sank after collisions, or were written off due to grounding, a number matched our YP’s combat service:

YP-16 (ex-CG-267) lost in Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands
YP-17 (ex-CG-275) lost in Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands
YP-26 destroyed by undetermined explosion in the Canal Zone, Panama, 19 November 1942.
YP-97 lost due to Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands
YP-235 destroyed by undetermined explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, 1 April 1943.
YP-277 scuttled to avoid capture east of Hawaii, 23 May 1942.
YP-284 (ex-San Diego tuna clipper Endeavor) sunk by surface ships off Guadalcanal, 25 Oct 1942.
YP-345 sunk southeast of Midway Island, 31 October 1942.
YP-346 sunk by surface ships in the South Pacific, 9 September 1942.
YP-405 destroyed by undetermined explosion in the Caribbean Sea, 20 November 1942.
YP-492 sunk off east Florida, 8 January 1943.

Cover art for David Bruhn’s book provisionally titled, “Yachts and Yippies: the U.S. Navy’s Patrol Yachts and Patrol Vessels.” The painting by Richard DeRosset, titled “Night Action off Tulagi”, depicts the destruction of USS YP-346 by the Japanese light cruiser HIJMS Sendai and three destroyers off Guadalcanal on 8 September 1942. Three Navy Crosses were awarded for this action. Via Navsource

As for U-701?

Commissioned 16 Jul 1941, her career lasted but 12 months and, after claiming YP-389 and 25,390 GRT of merchant ships, was herself sunk on 7 July 1942 off Cape Hatteras by depth charges from an A-29 Hudson patrol bomber of the 396th Bomb Sqn, taking 39 dead to the bottom in 100 feet of water. Degen and six survivors suffered at sea for two days and were taken into custody and interrogated by Naval Intelligence extensively.

U-701 (German Submarine) Survivors are rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard, after their boat was sunk off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on 7 July 1942. She was lost just three weeks after she claimed YP-389, ironically just a few miles Diamond Shoals, where her victim rested. NH 96587

Horst Degen, Kapitänleutnant. C. O. U-701 as POW. U.S. Navy Photo

Known to researchers looking for the lost USS Monitor since the 1970s, in 2009, NOAA announced they had verified the wreck of YP-389, and documented the patrol boat and her combat as part of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photomosaic of USS YP-389 wreck site. Photo: NOAA, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

Photomosaic of USS YP-389 wreck site. Photo: NOAA, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

U-701 rests near her and is a popular dive attraction in the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Both ships are protected.

Sonar visualization of the U-701 wreck site. Image ADUS, NOAA

Multibeam survey of U-701 wreck site taken by NOAA Ship Nancy Foster, 2016. Image NOAA

Diver taking images of U-701’s conning tower. Photo NOAA

Specs:


Displacement: 170 long tons (170 t)
Length: 110 ft. oal, 102.5 wl
Beam: 22.1 ft.
Propulsion: 4 6cyl diesel engines, 1 × screw
Speed: 9 kts, max.
Crew: 3 officers, 21 enlisted (1942)
Armament:
1 × 3 in (76 mm)/23 cal dual purpose gun (broken)
2 × .30 cal (7.62 mm) Lewis light machine guns
6 depth charges
small arms

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!

Remember, today is not about how much you can save on bedding

“Infantryman” by Capt. Harry Everett Townsend, American Expeditionary Force to France, 1918, via U.S. Army Museum/CMH

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…

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