Tuesday, September 28, 2010


DID YOU KNOW...Early in WW II...the Navy had a 'brain storm" to modify three new Fletcher-class destroyers to carry catapult-launched seaplanes.....???

Actually the Seaplane idea came from an idea that did come about back in the 20's when destroyers were more or less just overgrown torpedo boats and airplanes were covered in doped linen.  So 'somebody' got the hair-brained idea to bring out the same idea in 1943 and give it another 'go.'...but actually it was again doomed to fail...but it was tried on three Fletcher-class destroyers.

Well the truth be known...the talk was that FDR himself....thought up this scheme due to the fact that these relative new 'Fletcher' destroyers were faily fast on there comparison to a cruiser or battleship.

Also when you read this article you need to keep in mind that ole FDR he really liked his warships, and in fact usually occupied special quarters aboard a heavy cruiser when he was out and about in visiting America's wartime Allies.....and so in this 'scheme of things' a seaplane would be a pretty neat thing to carry VIPs, like himself away from trouble in case a cruiser was disabled or in trouble in any manner....

So....this article will give you some idea of the history of this 'idea' that involved three destroyers...USS Pringle (DD-477), USS Stevens (DD-479), and USS Halford (DD-480)......and show you just how 'unacceptable' this idea was to the crews of these vessels.

Ok...well if I've tickled your 'Interest' in this tad of U.S. Navy history...and if you wish to give this 8 or so pager a 'look see' all you have to do is click on this title:  DESTROYERS WITH WINGS   and it will take you right to this screwed up attempt to put seaplanes on destroyers.

Hope you enjoy


Saturday, September 25, 2010



The unsung hero's of the attack on Hitler's Fortress Europe
"Thirty Words that Changed the World"

On 12 February 1944, just over 60 years ago, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander of Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF), fresh from a strategic meeting with President Roosevelt of the USA and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom was given a cryptic 30 word order. “You will enter the continent of Europe and, in conjunction with the other United Nations, undertake operations aimed at the heart of Germany, and the destruction of her armed forces.” - there could be no mistaking this order as being anything other than the much hoped for massive assault on what had become known as the Atlantic Wall, Fortress Europe, or in Nazi propaganda the impenetrable wall of Festung Europa.  Of course, the Allies had already pieced various other corners of Hitler’s Festung Europa - up through Italy, and by this point in the war, the Soviet Armies were quickly moving forward rather than falling back along the Eastern front.

Ok folks the above is the 'lead-in' to this next article....if you think it is a subject that you'd care to read more about....all you have to do is click on this title: OPERATION NEPTUNE OVERLORD   and it will take you right to the 8 or so pages that describes it all.

Hope you enjoy the article.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Even when ships at sea are not 'at war' there is always a danager lurking, and that is why there are 'drills upon drills' in "What-to-do 'IF'".
Below is the "Lead-in" paragraph to the article that not only describes what happen on one such incident.....there is also dianamtic pictures that is actually shocking.
Carrier-escort collisions during flight operations are one of the most prevalent accidents as sea. The probability of this type of accident is greatly enhanced during night operations as it’s the overall damage to the ships and loss of personnel. On the evening of November 22, 1975, the missile cruiser USS Belknay (CG-26) collied with the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) in the Ionian Sea 68 miles east of Sicily. The result was predictable. The Belknap was very nearly destroyed and the carrier emerged with minor damage. This was not the first accident of this nature nor will it be the last. In the late night of April 26, 1952, the USS Hobson (DMS-26) was literally run over by the carrier USS Wasp (CV-18) and sliced in half. Both halves of the destroyer minesweeper quickly sank with 176 of her 237-man crew. Most were asleep and died immediately. Similarly, the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) was cut in half by the Australian aircraft carrier Melbourne (R-21) on June 2, 1969, while on exercises in the early morning hours. In less than two minutes the bow section containing 74 men slid under the Pacific. In both instances the primary blame rested on destroyer officers who were not fully attentive to the hazards of operating in close quarters with fast ships that are many times larger less responsive.

Ok....if you haven't read about the above misshap that occured in Nov. 1975 between the John F. Kennedy and the may wish to click on this "title:"  ON A COLLISION COURSE

This will open your eyes at just how dangerious it is in operations when ships are in close situations....and how quickly situation can go deadly wrong!!!

Hope the article is informative and provides some insight of the ever present danager that is always present at sea.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Yes Sir.....Mr. Daniel K. Ludwig....he made his mark as a "Super Tanker" builder, and he was darn good at doing what he knew best.

Actually Daniel Ludwig started at a very young age in his first nautical the age of nine he bought a sunken 26-ft boat....raised that darn thing...repaired it....and chartered it for twice what he paid for it.

As he got older he broadened his scope of business ventures as far as the shipping trade goes.  He had a few ships in and around the 1920's that were hauling lumber and barrel staves....which he was doing "ok" at...but he heard that hauling oil was where the money was really he got involved in hauling oil for the U.S. Navy.

Well one thing led to another....more oil needed to be hauled, so bigger ships needed to be leased or acquired why not build them?

So Daniel Ludwig got involved in building tankers....and he also studied the 'system'...and got to understand the Merchant Fleet Corp. (MFC)..which was a division of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce...once he done his 'homework' Mr. Ludwig knew how to "play" the system to purchase ships, sell them, and how to take parts from one ship and apply to another...  Believe me Mr. Ludwig took advantage of every 'corner' to enhance his companies...which all were connected with 'building tankers.' 

At the height of his career...Mr. Daniel K. Ludwig had an estimate wealth of $1.2 billion dollars....and it was all due to his "Knowing How to Play the System" of Government and his own Private Shipping Company.

So if you'd care to get some insight on how the government and the private shipping companies 'wheeled and dealed' this would be an excellet article to take a gander at, and the leader of these guys was Mr. Daniel K. Ludwig.

If you 'click' on this title:  MR. DANIEL K. LUDWIG  it will take you right to the article....

Hope you enjoy!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


             "THE "BOOM BOYS"
          THE UNSUNG HEROES!!!  
Few knew what they did and even fewer knew why.  They labored around the clock performing the most underrrated of all wartime tasks - protecting warships at anchor by keeping the harbor defenses secure.

These guys on thse 'funny' looking ships ...the ships with the "horns" coming out of the bow.....they were the men of the "Net Navy"...a select group of rugged individualists whose sole unheralded purpose was to open, close, rig, and maintain the underwater steel nets....that kept out the subs....and torpedoes.

Laying these 'nets' so as the protected ships and her crews could 'rest easy' was not a light hearted an outsider....or to a new recruit 'net laying' was a took seamanship and a "marline-spike" type of sailor to work with the blocks, tackles, knots and splicing of this whole involved task.

Actually anti-submarine nets were used in WW I.  The British strung 600-mi of steel netting across 85 of their harbors and bases all over the world.  The British called them "Boom Defenses"....and the word "Boom" in British terminology includes protection both surface adn underwater attack.  Those men in England that tended the highly efficient nets were affectionately known as "Boom Boys."

This article provides you with some insight into just what these vessels and there crews could do....history of the "Booms" or "Net Laying"....also a tad of info on where they trained the sailors that kept the ships safe from those underwater "tin-fish."

If I've generated some interest ....well you may wish to give this 13 page a going over.  If you click on this red title: THE BOOM BOYS OF THE NET NAVY   it will take you right to the article....hope you enjoy the read....and if you'd care to comment....please do!!!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010



One minute I was as free as a bird weaving through a bank of puffy clouds. The next I was scared witless, upside down, drowning in the cockpit of cockpit of a sinking airplane fast plunging to the bottom of Tampa Bay! This is it, I remember thinking, Norm boy, you’ve had it. You’re going to die!”

Today, more than 60 years later, former WW II Navy pilot Norm Galler grins when he reflects on the incident that saw him unceremoniously dunked into the Gulf of Mexico during a 1943 solo training flight in a Navy SNJ trainer. One of thousands of military pilots hurriedly taught to fly during the war, Galler still vividly recalls the emergency ditching in Tampa Bay, Florida, which very nearly put an end to his flying career. “That engine just packed up and quit cold. Miles behind me was the shore - too far to stretch the glide of the 3-ton advanced trainer - leaving no choice but to bail out or ditch. At that moment, the broad expanse of the azure blue Gulf never looked more ominous. I was going for a swim whether I like it or not.
Yep....ole "Flight Training" was not a "walk in the park" some would lead you to believe....  This article offers you some 'insight' into just what these young pilots went thru to learn what eventually became second nature to them.....and we all are grateful that they honed there flying skills well.
So...if you'd care to give this one a read...just click on this red title: ONE-A-DAY IN TAMPA BAY  and I think you'll enjoy an interesting read.

Saturday, September 11, 2010



On April 9th, 1940....the Germans invaded and quickly conquered Norway and Denmark.....well if you know just a tad about history you'll remember that along about this same time Great Britain's Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain resigned, and then along came Winston Churchill.

Prime Minister Churchill immediately had alot of problems to deal in his attempt to lead his nation through a really tough times, but the toughest of them all was "How to protect British merchant shipping at sea against formidable German U-boat forces."

You see Britain is and was an island nation, and it required massive imports of food and other raw materials to support its citizens and burgeoning war economy.  In fact before the war Britain had imported over 59 million tons of food and raw materials a year, including about 'all' its petroleum....most all of this came across the North Atlantic. 

The German U-boat commander Grossadmiral Karl Donitz established submarine basses on the French Atlantic coast.....which was an ideal location in which to 'control' the North Atlantic.   But, Donitz also succeeded in gaining operational control from the Luftwaffe over a group of four-engine, long-range Focke-Wulf Fw 200C "Condors".  This my fellow readers is where this story begins.

The "Condors" would fly out into the North the incoming convoys laden with supplies to Britain...they would communciate their location to the U-boats and then they would move in and take care of business.

So this is the beginning of how Britain came into designing "CAM" and "MAC" ships.....developed from the FCS well as how the Sea Hurricane plane became a part of all this......
Interesting????....oh my yes!!!  A tough fight, but Britain did in fact conquer in the long term

Ok if your into learning just a tad of history....just click on this title and you are in for one excellent military history here: SCOURGE OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC   

Hope you enjoy the read.


Thursday, September 9, 2010



   The USS Benevolence (AH-13) entering the channel of San Francisco Bay

Yes, many of you don't remember this unfortunate incident....but it did take place on August 25, 1950, and the 'Hospital Ship' did in fact sink.

As I stated above this 'sinking' took place on the above date when the USS Benevolence (AH-13) was coming into the San Francisco Bay channel....and so was the freighter 'Mary Luckenbach.'

Now this particular area of the channel in the Bay has it's problems...that is just a given to the captions of any vessel that used this channel on a regular basis....and especially so to these two skippers.  But on this day there was heavy fog in the Bay area....and this increased the danger ten fold.

In any regard the Mary Luckenbach rammed the Hospital ship...not only once but twice.

As the data shows there was over 500+ aboard the USS Benevolence (AH-13) at the time of the sinking..... you now are aware of scant detail of what took place...if I tickled your interest you can read the entire document, which includes pictures, of this entire incident by clicking this title: LOSS OF USS BENEVOLENCE  

This is not a long drawn out article....but it is interesting that such events take place and few individuals actually know of it.....
Anyway...hope you enjoy the article

Monday, September 6, 2010




Both the North....and the South...both sides had an extremely difficult time in acquiring ships during the years of the Civil War....they more or less would beg, borrow and steal them...[actually they would buy some, convert a few for the purposes of war, and then when all else failed they would build some.]

But that was only half the problem...once they had these 'corks in the water' .....getting a warm body to man these so called vessel was another matter entirely.  Here again ...they would beg, borrow...and take any warm body, and that included young boys....and I do mean help with running there vessels. 

So...this is what this article is all the North and South obtained these "crewmen" well as once they were on board...."what was daily life like on these war vessels???"  Well it was not like being on a holiday...of that you can be sure.

Now folks this is a "TWO PART" article....the title is: LIFE AT SEA IN THE CIVIL WAR.  To start off with....that is if your on this: PART I    Then if you really like it and you wish to continue....come back here and click on this: PART II 

[if for any reason the above two links do not connect you to the articles....please do not hesitate to give me a heads up at  ]

Ok folks I sure do hope you enjoy the article....I'm sure you will be enlightened at what these young crewmen had to endure in this early internal war of the United States]






Below is the "lead-in" to a subject that does not get alot of attention....and that subject is "Mules"...  "Yes" mules were an important factor in WW II....but this involved transporting those 'mules' from point A to point that is the basis of this article.

Between July 1941 and April 1945, then British ships were specially fitted to carry a total of 4,179 mules from the United States to India for use by British and Indian troops operating in Burma, and later on for American and Chinese forces operating in that country. From late 1943 a total of thirteen American-flagged Liberty ships were also converted to this purpose:William S. Halstead, Santiago Iglesias, Peter Sylvester, Zona Gale, Charles W. Wooster, Alcee Fortier, Henry Dearborn, Joshua Hendy, William J. Palmer, Cyrus W. Field, John J. Crittenden, Samuel H. Walker, and Jose Navarro.

Such was the importance of these animals in jungle warfare that their well-being during long sea voyages was a major concern. The British shipments from the States were at first accompanied by British Army veterinary officers and later by officers and men from the American Quartermaster and Veterinary Corps, and when that source dried up, Canadian officers were used. Among the British ships concerned in this traffic were the Richmond-built Ocean Vista and the Canadian-built Fort Crrevier. None of the British ships were lost while carrying mules, although the Edgefield, an old American freighter purchased by Britain in 1941 was sunk after her mule-carrying days were over. On 1 July 1943, and by then called the Empire Ibex, she sank after a collision in convoy with the British Empire MacAlpine.

Now to read the entire article....just fill up the coffee cup, grab another slice of that danish....and click on the title: IMPORTANT CARGO MULES  your in for an enlightening read.

[If anyone encounters a problem with any of the links to 'any' article ....never hesitate to let me know]