Monday, June 28, 2010



The Japs had their strategy for Pearl Harbor carefully worked out.  They would swoop down on the warships at Pearl Harbor and before we could get up they would overtake all the strategic bases in the central, south and west Pacific areas.  Under their iron boot heels they would drive all the natives of Guam, the Solomons, the Philippines, and other islands so that we could not use them to extend our supply lines.  They would finally come to the United States to dictate the peace in the White House.

That's what the Japanese master minds figured on.  And, that's where they went oh so wrong.  One reason for their failure was that we uncovered an amazing, two-fisted organization of cargo handlers - stevedore battalions, each as big as the construction battalions which were formed to build bases on far-flung fighting fronts, and each determined to build a supply line as strong as the chain of factories which fed it.

Well folks here is more or less the untold story of that "Two-Fisted Organization"...a behind the lines look at how the fighting man in the foxhole was provided his ammo, socks, food....and even right down to the toothpicks he well as the big stuff...bulldozers, cranes, trucks, heavy lifters...etc...  All from a unit of the "Seabees".....if you want to give this 10 pager or so a read...just click:  HERE

Enjoy the article

Bud Shortridge

Friday, June 25, 2010



HMS Argonaut....with her new "lend-lease" bow
The Berlin radio announced one morning during the war that His Majesty's ship Argonaut, a new light cruiser, had been sunk by a daring U-boat skipper in the Mediterranean.  For once in its lie-filled life-time, radio Berlin had every reason to believe it was telling the truth.  By most naval standards, a thin-skinned 5,500-ton cruiser is a "one-torpedo" ship - meaning that one well-placed fish will sink her. The Argonaut, no sturdier than her frisky sisters, was blasted stem and stern by two heavy submarine torpedoes.  Nearly 40 percent of her hull was completely blown away or torn beyond repair.  Yet she lived to fight another day, and many times after that, against both the Germans and the Japs.

If you would like to read how the HMS Argonaut struggled in overcoming this ordeal....just click HERE

Bud Shortridge

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Of all convoy runs, Atlantic or Pacific, there is one that has become wardroom and fo’castle legend wherever men of the sea gather to sway yarns. It has been told and retold by those that lived through to tell it. And the men that had been on it are considered a little higher in the echelon of veterans - whether they be the brass hats of the escort ships, or the humblest merchant seaman tending boilers in rusty old teakettles that could scarcely keep pace in the convoy parade. It is the “Murmansk Run.”

Men - and boys - who had never seen salt spray in there lived returned for on Murmansk Run seasoned veterans of both the sea and the war.

German armies were at the gates of Moscow by the end of 1941. Relief, in American war supplies, simply had to get through to the Soviet forces. The shortest practicable route was over the Arctic Circle and around the North Cape of Norway down to the port of Murmansk, or into the White Sea to Archangel. But bitter weather and a ruthless, vigilant enemy combined to make this the most dangerous of all wartime voyages.
This is a somewhat personal accounding of an Armed Guard unit 'doing their thing' on a North Atlantic convoy run...what they encountered, how they dealt with it....all the way from the seasoned merchant man to the seasoned sailor of the Armed Guard paints a picture of the how ugly it was...and the laughs inbetween ....
If you'd care to read the 10 or so pages of this voyage.. of which I'm sure you'll not be disappointed....just click on this title: MURMANSK RUN  and it will take you right to the article.
Hope you enjoy the read
Bud Shortridge

Friday, June 18, 2010



ROCKETS!!!....the so called "Secret Weapon" has been around in one form or another for a good number of years....if fact they were fooled around with back in the beginning of the 1800.  Actually if you really want to go back further you'll find a rocket-propelled arrow that 'was said' to be used in and around that is going way back!!!

Then there was this Chinese scholar named let me tell you folks this guy was really 'into' the early variety of 'rockets'..... So much so... It has been said that ole Wan-Hoo attached a whole bunch to a chair....and to the chair was attached a bunch of kites.....and to get this experiment 'off the ground' ole Wan-Hoo..he had had a side-kick ignite this mess....  Well folks after the roaring flame...and god awful smoke cleared...Mr. Wan-Hoo went to visit his great ancestors....yep!! you got it he vanished forever.
So...this is how rockets were "born" ....but from this point to the rocket being accepted by the British ...and later by the U.S. a very interesting story, of which I've banged out five or six pages on. 

The article takes you from the above point to a point in time just a few years beyond WW II....I think you'll be surprised at how long it took for the Navies other than the British to accept this 'Secret Weapon'   If you'd care to give it a can just click on the title: EARLY NAVAL USE OF ROCKET WEAPONS  and this link will take you right to the article.

Hope you enjoy the read

Bud Shortridge

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


When sailors come ashore ti is a stange jargon they speak.  Like any lodge member - or perhaps like the great majority of Americans who cannot be satisfied with any name as it is - they delight in strange , colorful substitutes or pseudonyms for the stern official verbiage of the Navy.  Nowhere does their fancy take bolder flight than in the nicknames for their ships.

It is so much more satisfying, and impressive, when surrounded by a congenial group, to point out: "Good old Bill, who was a mess-mate of mine on the 'Swayback Maru'" ; or "I know him, too, we shipped out of Panama together on the 'Prune Barge.'"  Which is simply sailorese for cruiser Salt Lake City, and the battleship California.

There will always be the cook, boasting of the prowess of the "Ridge Runner" (battleship Tennessee), and the boatswain who can be properly patronizing to any Army shellback who asks what the "Spud Peeler" (Idaho) or the "Milk Wagon" (Milwaukee) might be.

These are rather obvious labels, with the flavor of the region from which the ship's original name sprang.  Some are even simpler, such as "Arky" for Arkansas, "Old Miss" for Mississippi, "Pensy" for the Pennsylvania, and "Misery" or "Big Mo" for the Missouri.  It is easy enough to divine Witchita and Galveston, the cruisers, from "Old Witch" and "Old Gal."

But the origins of "Cheerup Ship: for the Nevada, and "Tea Kittle" for the Brooklyn, are somewhat more obscure.  The Nevada's nickname, however, proved an invaluable asset at Pearl Harbor, where she was one of the battleships damaged by the Japs.  Signs, on which "Cheerup" appeared frequently, spurred repair crews on during the dark days, and the Nevada was the first of the damaged battlewagons readied for sea after the attack.

Even more mysterious is "Blue Beetle" for the Drayton, rarliest nemesis of Jap subs, until it is recalled that the Drayton was the guinea pig for Navy camouflage' brightest ideas - including a brilliant blue color scheme which later was abandoned.

So many ships have been called "Old Lady" that it migh almost be said to be a universal label, as well as a term of affection, especially when some overage craft outsmarts or outsails newer competitors.  One ship, however, has been "Old Lady" to its men almost since the day it was commissioned - the great carrier Saratoga, also known to the Pacific as the "Sara Maru."

Under the heading of miscellaneous would be "Reluctant Dragon for the Boise, "Old Ironsides" for the Marblehead, "Busy B" for the Brooklyn, "Can Do Ship" for the Cincinnati, "Honest John" for the Pope, "P.J." for the Paul Jones, "Battleship X" for the South Dakota, "Old Nick" for the New York, "Bonny Dick" for the Bon Homme Richard, "Big Ben" for the Franklin, "Covered Wagon" for the Langley, and "Big E" for the Enterprise.

And there is the inevitable last-word naval humorist who prophesies that all this will be changed in the next war.  Then all our ship well be named for good old American our enemies can't see them!


Bud Shortridge

Tuesday, June 15, 2010



One of the closet guarded secrets of the war.....the rubber companies played in the United States’ “illusionary warfare”.....was unveiled by the War Department soon after WW II. The story of a giant deception that caused the Germans, just before D-Day, ti see fleets of invasion craft that didn’t exist, loaded with weapons that never were forged, and pointed for attacks that never were planned. PT boats complete with armament, and landing craft and barges carrying tanks, field artillery and other combat equipment, appeared and disappeared overnight and in great numbers along the English Channel coast in the hectic days preceding June 6th, 1944, much to the confusion of Germans observers and the high command.

The “Tanks” above....sure enough are just “blow-ups” that pretty much resemble the ‘real-deal’ when just a few feet away......just think what these would look like to an enemy flying overhead...looking down...a vast fleet of “rubber ducks” setting in any bay...or along any shore sure would get attention....real fast!!!!

This huge ruse was made possible by production, with great speed and under highest priorities, of pneumatic, balloon-fabric models of the craft and equipment required for this vast decoy operation. Built to size, and with a close resemblance to the real thing that made them,when inflated, utterly deceiving to German reconnaissance pilots, these “ships” and their cargos were allowed to be seen in the waters of British ports from which Allied supreme headquarters had no intention of launching an attack.

Having served their confusing purpose in one locality, they were deflated and moved by truck to another false base, again to distract enemy attention and further muddle his defense preparations. The companies involved quickly adapted themselves to the project when called upon by the Army and Navy to fashion psychological weapons of war out of the same fabrics and skills that in peace-time had produced gargantuan figures for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and for other parades.

Landing craft of various kinds, PT boats and barges, tanks, tank destroyers, field and heavy artillery, combat vehicles and other equipment with which to load them were designed and patterned on drawing boards. As fast as the dummies were completed they were turned over to the Army and Navy for shipment to Europe, deflated and folded and with a minimum demand upon precious cargo space. The last shipment, with D-Day knocking on the door, was rushed to England by plane.

Inflated Bofors guns, airplanes, half-tracks, and tanks also were designed by Army camouflage experts to create the illusion, from the air, of actual mobile armament. Thus it was possible for tacticians to place an “entire army” in the field at some point which would serve to confuse enemy observers, while the actual armed unit moved under cover of darkness or camouflage to some point isolated from the illusionary army of balloon-like equipment. Companies which participated in the decoy program included Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, General Tire and Rubber Company, United States Rubber Company, and Dunlop Rubber Company.


Monday, June 14, 2010



If your a reader of Naval history I'm sure you've heard of the "German Submarine Wolf Packs" that prowled the Altantic during WW II.  They were in search of the long lines of convoys that transported the much needed supplies to the fighting crews in the far off lands.  Actually they were extremely effective for a good long time.

The "Wolf Packs" was so useful that we [U.S. Navy] took a long hard look at developing our own "Wolf Pack" program with our own subs in the Pacific.  The U.S. had to come up with a way to slow down or stop the Japanese convoys that was feeding supplies and troops to the many islands that we were attempting to take over or hold on too.  So "Wolf Packs" had been an on going research project....but it was hindered in getting off the ground due to the lack of ships and the extensive areas to be patrolled.

Well along about 1944 everything came together....and the U.S. Navy did in fact put together "Wolf Packs" but the U.S. Navy developed them "One Better"  in 'Tactics' than what the German's had....

I have an article that you can 'click' on an it will explain to you the 'Tactics' use by the U.S. Submarine Force that was in the was truely awesome.  The title of the article is: U. S. WOLF PACKS: DOING IT THE AMERICAN WAY.  [Just click on this title and it will take you to the article]
In this article I provided 'three' examples how this U.S. Wolf Pack concept more or less crushed the Japanese convoys in the Pacific

Hope you enjoy the article

Bud Shortridge

Saturday, June 12, 2010



It was not long after WW II that the Navy disclosed they and the Allies had used "Sonar" effectively to sink over a 1,000 German and Japanese submarines.  At that time "Sonar" was still somewhat of a 'hush-hush' thing with the U.S. Navy.....yeah it was being used....but they didn't wish to seat and have a long discussion about the details of how it worked and all that rot.

But, some of the things that did come out in the discussions were how 'Musicians" and "Shrimp Beds" was used in the development of this somewhat newly developed weapon.

Well I have a short article....only 2 pages long on just how this all came if you'd care to take a few minutes to give it a can click on this link: MUSICIANS, SHRIMP BEDS....BIG FACTORS IN WW II SONAR  and it will take you right to how all this came about.

Hope you enjoy the short article

Bud Shortridge

Friday, June 11, 2010



Have you ever wondered just what inspired the Japanese to use "Kamikazes"?  Well actually...contrary to general public opinion....these suicide planes were not.....and the key word here is "not" the desperate measures of an enemy facing doom.

What they did make it dog-gone rough for our carriers in the Pacific Fleet.  Our carriers was known as "Soft Tops"...their unarmored flight decks made them perculiarly susceptible to air attack.  If they did get hit....and believe me they were taking a good many hits....they had a 7,000 mile voyage to either Pearl Harbor or the West Coast....and that my friends pretty much took them out of the action for at least three months.

So the article: A "DIVINE WIND" THAT BLOWS NO GOOD  I  hope to explain the :  "Why the Kamikazes....What were the reasons behind throwing away a life...How were we ....(we being the U.S. Navy) going to stop them....and when is that going to happen?......[just click on the above link and it will take you to the article]

If you have a comments after you give the article a going over....never hesitate to put it down and send it my way.....always enjoy other opinions.


Bud Shortridge


Thursday, June 10, 2010



Did you ever wonder just how the U.S. Navy was able to get mail to ever sailor during the war??  Really, think about it.  Here we have 100's of ships going to this task force..or carrying war supplies to some  Marine unit that is fighting to hold a position on some remote island.  So how did the Navy keep track of where these ships were, and on top of all that how in the world did they keep track of "who" was on "which" ship??

But....yet they did.  Yes, the U.S. Navy Postal Service was one of the best.  It was devoted to get the mail to the sailor, in a reasonable time frame...and there were times when the mail would beat the sailor to where they was suppose to be....the mail was waiting for them when they arrived to shell a beachhead.  There was nothing more important to a sailor than to have that touch from 'home' that letter from mom and dad, girlfriend, wife...or just a friend...yes, oh so important.

At one Naval postal one month they received 3,500,000 pounds of mail ....they not only handled it ..they sorted it and got it to each individual in a matter of days....  Now I realize I stated 'pounds'....well there is approximately fifty letters to a you do the math and I think you'll see what a huge undertaking this was...and this was just "one" month.

What I'm telling you about here is just a 'tip of the iceberg' of this huge undertaking the U.S. Navy Postal service provided....and how they accomplished it.  I have a 9 or so page article on this whole Naval Mail event ...that took place during WWII.  Yes there is some 'dry' areas of reading...but I think you'll simply be astonished when you find out how that postal service was able to get the mail to each and every sailor in a timely fashion....  The title,of the article, which serves as a link as well to the full story.... is: LISTEN UP: MAIL CALL!!!!  so if your interested in this undertold story of how the Navy got the mail from point A to point B....just give it a'll be surprised.

And hey...if you have a comment....don't be afraid to let me know....more than happy to hear your opinion.


Bud Shortridge

Tuesday, June 8, 2010



You know we all seem to "not realize" in our modern computer world that even early man had to "have it altogether" as we say in our day.  They had to provide for their familes as we do to compare..."Yes" they may have had to do it with much fewer "bells and whisles" but still they had to do it.  So...early man he used the 'sea' and his 'ships' as well as we are using, to help provide for all things that make life comfortable in our life, as well as his. 

The 'key' word here is 'ships'...before early man could get his buns from point "A" to point "B"...ships needed to be designed and bult....

So...lets for example talk a bit about the Greeks.  The Greeks traded to and from colonial settlements which they set up in Italy, Sicily, southern France, North Africa and the Black Sea.   Now this last colony is most interesting in our example...not only was its wheat producing area, which supplied most of the homeland of Greece, but there was 'gold' in the rivers.

The method of extracting the gold from the fast moving rivers was to pin down sheepskins on the river beds to catch the rains of gold that was washed down by the currents.  And here my fellow readers we find the basis of legend of the Golden Fleece, the Argonauts and their ship , "Argo."

Now this is what is interesting, that is if your into 'ships'....actually there is quite a bit about the "Argo" that is known.  She was built of pine felled on the slopes of Pelion, the pine trunks being shaped into planks with an axe.  She was built as a "galley" and her top strakes were pierced for fifty oars.....yep you read right...50 of them suckers....  Her whole hull was covered with pitch...inside and out....except for her bows which were painted vermilion, the standard coloring for all Greek ships, and on either bow there was the traditional "eye," so that the ship could see her way across the waters.

Ok.....That is all I'm going to describe here....there is much more to this article....which if you click on this link:   Early Warriors of the Sea   it will take you to the that article with pictures and a ton of interesting well as just some down right interesting reading.....and get a load of the amount of oars and manpower that had to be used on these ships....

If you have a comment....or and opinion about the article..or any of my articles....never hesitate to made a comment...good, bad....or whatever....

Bud Shortridge