The eighth USS Wasp (CV-7), an aircraft carrier, was built on a reduced size version of the Yorktown-class hull. The Navy sought to squeeze an air group onto a ship with nearly 25% less displacement than the Yorktown-class. Wasp was constructed with low-power machinery, no armor, and - most significantly - no protection from torpedoes. The end result was a ship with major
inherent design flaws. These flaws, combined with the crew’s lack of damage control experience in the early WW II, would prove to be fatal on 15 September 1942, in the South Pacific.
It would be a race against time as the 10,000 ton warship made an agonizing 16,000 - mile trek around tip of South America hoping to do battle with the Spanish and win glory for the U.S. Navy.
This ship has many stories to tell about this journey ....and many have already been told. I'm not saying this article is a "tell all"...but hopefully if your interested in this vessel and what it accomplished...you may find a tad of data that you have not uncovered before.
They went by many names: ‘The Black Cats....The Hunter-Killers..Night Torpedo men...and just plain Night fighters. Naval Aviators that flew in the night...that gained well-earned pride in WW II.
These men....these carrier and shore based attack pilots was un-excelled in achievement or individual excellence in World War II. This gratifying event....not withstanding, the story of night air combat in the U.S. Navy bears repeating since it is replete with lessons which could easily be learned at sickening cost in another war in a type of flying which is its natural descendant, all-weather air combat.
One of the greatest ocean mysteries of the 20th century was the fate of a fleet tug of the U.S. Navy which vanished with all hands while on a routine peacetime voyage to a new home port. A number of clues to her disappearance existed, but no one knew how to read those clues - and, unfortunately, no one seemed to care.
The year was 1921, a time of frustration for the Navy. Still smarting from the disappearance of the collier Cyclops with 309 men in 1918, it was now doing battle with Gen. Billy Mitchell of the Army's Air Service who was trying to sink the Navy's battleships, literally and figuratively. In the midst of that damage to its freputation, and pride, the Navy was forced to work its way through the disappearance of an additional ship which vanished from the face of the earth that year - the USS Conestoga.
Slipping down the builders' ways in inter-war western Europe, the schooner St. Christopher survived World War Two while flying a German flag, lost all her masts along with her original name and worked as a tramp steamer for decades, changed names again, sailed the Caribbean as a tall ship under a host of swashbuckling owners and finally survived being grounded by a hurricane -twice.
Now this ole girl she really gets around....and as far as I know is still around today.
She served in every major US Naval action of the European War and in the last great action of the Pacific. She even survived a Kamikaze attack. In her career, she had received six Battle Stars and a Presidential Unit Citation. Still, the destroyer Hobson received little public acclaim until, in peace time, she was sliced through by the aircraft carrier Wasp.
On 12 May 1952, Life magazine carried a three-page story headed “Wasp splits the Hobson.” Illustrated with a drawing of a carrier ramming a smaller ship and photos of oil blackened survivors, it detailed a disaster off the Azores where the 27,000-ton Wasp collided with the 16,000-ton Hobson.
You know if you are anywhere near being a 'reader' your eyes probably 'dance' over words or letters that you really don't have a clue how they came to be.
Well some years ago I developed an interest in the history of works or 'letters' such as "G.I." wondering....now just where did this come from. Well Mr. Reader you would be very surprised....and I'm just talking about "one" set of letters or words.
So...since my interest or 'hobby if you will' is nautical or military, try wrapping your mind around this.
OLD, BATTERED AND BRUISED BY TOO MANY NEAR MISSES WITH DEATH, THE CREW OF THE SUBMARINE S-34 KNEW THAT DETERMINATION AND SKILL WERE OFTEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN UP-TO-DATE EQUIPMENT ALSO THAT THE "S" IN THEIR DESIGNATOR STOOD FOR "STAMINA" NOT "SUGAR."
The last submarines built by our Navy to be designated by a combined letter and numeral were the S-class - the so-called S-boats. They started building them way back in 1916, and before the program was completed, 51 of these sturdy craft had slid down the ways. The Navy's later types of undersea ships were given names of fish or other aquatic dwellers. At the same time they were laying keels for the S-boats, they also built 27 R-boats, but they were relatively small, and useful mainly for coastal patrol.
A former Navy collier, USS Alexander, may have slipped through the pages of history had she not attained a degree of mysterious celebrity when she promptly vanished without a trace after being retired.
Her new life as a merchant ship was full of ambiguity. Within a year after leaving the Navy, this ship was under charter to the German Navy in the early days of WW I when she was seized as a prize by the British; a year later, she was loading a cargo of construction material to be taken to the Far East, a move that was generally regarded as assisting the Allied cause. After departing from the Pacific Northwest on this voyage, she was never heard from again.
If you would care to give this article a go...just click HERE
According to official government figures issued in 1946 the British Merchant Navy suffered 30,248 known fatalities during the war with another 4,654 reported as missing. This enormous combined total of 34,902 deaths (some authorities place the figure even higher than that) was a far higher proportion of its total strength than that of any of the Allied armed services except possibly the Russian Army. A further
4,707 British seamen were wounded, and 5,720 became prisoners of war. The first of the deaths came within hours of war being declared on 3 September 1939 when the liner Athenia was sunk with the loss of 128 passengers and crew. Despite these huge losses and the call-up of merchant seamen, especially officers, into the Royal Navy Reserve during the war, the Merchant Navy did not suffer many manpower shortages except during the early days of the naval call-up and during particularly bad periods. If it can be said that from 1942 onwards American had a surfeit of ships but a dearth of seamen to man them, then it can be said that with the British it was the other way round.
Though the military history of the great passenger liners is littered with wreckage of vessels that did not survive their Naval service, none had as much potential, or died as pointlessly, as the elegant and revolutionary Normandie. The pride of France and, for a short time, the undisputed queen of the North Atlantic, the ship was lost not to the torpedo, bomb or shell that claimed others of her breed, but to a pier-side fire directly attributable to the catastrophic carelessness, stupidity and neglect of those who stood to profit and most from her martial possibilities. The story of her untimely and unnecessary death is thus one of the saddest yet most instructive events in maritime lore.
Today they are one of the most popular weapons sought by military arms collectors and aficionados. Those in good firing condition often command prices of more than $20,000. Even one that has been demilitarized (non-working) will fetch $3,000 to $5,000, or better. Yet, few of today’s military buffs are aware of the dramatic role it played in two major world conflicts. The object in question is the forgotten gun of WW II - the famed Lewis Automatic machine gun that shot down more planes in WW I than all of the Vickers and Spandau guns combined. They also became standard issue infantry weapons in the Belgian and British armies which purchased more than 135,000 of them
from 1914 to 1918.
If your into military guns....you'll love this one....click HERE
Had the mighty Japanese vanguard of ships not been stopped by a handful of hard-pressed American warships, the US Marines would have been pushed into the sea by Japan’s reinforcements.
During the months of September and October 1942, the Japanese High Command made repeated unsuccessful attempts to reinforce their troops on Guadalcanal.
In the early part of November, American reconnaissance aircraft observed a heavy enemy Naval concentration beginning to assemble in the Shortland Islands. Many large transports were also noticed which indicated that the Japanese were possibly planning a large scale landing operation on Guadalcanal.