Saturday, October 20, 2012


     No one dared guess that the large number of mess attendants and cooks on the decks of the sub Gudgeon were actually Filipino guerrillas embarking on a dangerous mission in the Japanese-occupied Philippines.  This was the start of a series of daring missions in Japanese-occupied territory

     Anyone happening to glance towards the American fleet-type submarine USS Gudgeon (SS-211) during the night of Sunday, 27 December 1942, as she lay moored to the dock at Fremantle, Australia, might have observed an unusual sight. Seven mess boys boarded the submarine, saluted the colors, and then Immediately proceeded down the hatch. No sooner were they below decks than the Gudgeon, captained by L/Cmdr. William Stovall, Jr., slid away from the dock and quietly maneuvered out to sea.

If this sounds as if it will get your "reading juices" going....then just click: HERE


“The Polish State has refused the peaceful settlement of relations which I desired, and has appealed to arms. Germans in Poland are persecuted with bloody terror and driven from their houses. A series of violations of the frontier, intolerable to a great Power, prove that Poland is no longer willing to respect the frontier of the Reich. In order to put an end to this lunacy, I have no other choice that to meet force with force from now on.” (Chancellor Hitler’s Proclamation to the German
Army, September 1, 1939)

With the above words Hitler announced the invasion of Poland. In a matter of days the weight of Nazi military strength was to crush the Polish state. On September 17, Russia invaded Poland from the east, and between them Germany and Russia partitioned the conquered country. By September 30 all that remained of Polish independence was a provisional Polish government in Paris.  Faced with the necessity of abandoning its capital, what had this exiled government managed to salvage? Of those items necessary to continued resistance, what number had escaped? Unlike men-o’-war which prepare in advance an abandon ship bill, few nations are prepared to deliver their essentials to safety if the state must be abandoned.

Perhaps the best example of this lack of an “abandon nation” bill is found in the chaos
that accompanies the attempts of an invaded state to rescue her treasury, the monetary backing
without which her currency is void, her foreign credit nit, and her ability to fight back crippled.

HERE is that story

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Talk about the “Great White Fleet” and chances are that the listener/reader will think of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous deterrent gesture a century ago when he sent the entire U.S. Navy’s armada on a world cruise. The voyage was intended to drive home a message to Japan that we were usually a peace-loving nation but if goaded into action, we were a force to be reckoned with. The ships, normally battle-gray, were painted white on that occasion because it presented a more snappy appearance.

There was, however, another “Great White Fleet” that received the self-same moniker even earlier than the time - 1907 - 1909 - when its Naval namesake set sail. These were the United Fruit Company’s (UFC) cargo-liners that are known today as the “banana boats” and were instrumental in helping to establish what is popularly known today as the Banana Republics (not to be confused with the trendy apparel chain). There were numerous ships sailing for UFC under a variety of flags and fleets. To describe all of these would involve a lengthy, unsystematic account. I would like to concentrate here on what I consider to be the most notable and important ships that ever sailed for United Fruit - the baker’s dozen ships in the Atenas-class
5,000-tonnes of the first decade of the 20th century - the ships built expressly for UFC’s requirements. But first, it’s necessary to look at the evolution of the fruit carrier industry of Central American and the Caribbean.



Sunday, October 14, 2012


In war, everything is a compromise and some programs are destined to produce disappointing results.  Such a program was the ambitious endeavor to build a fleet of submarine-hunting frigates in maritime shipyards.

One of the best examples of Isaac Newton's incontrovertible theory that objects in motion tend to stay in motion was the highly controversial building program of patrol frigates for the US Navy during World War II.
A totally unnecessary warship that offered too little too late, like Newton’s law, the PF [Patrol Frigates] program seemed impossible to stop once it had begun. Plagued with design flaws, shipyard labor dissension, endless delays, and government investigations of gross mismanagement, a program that never should have been approved in the first pace, or stopped early on in its execution, ultimately saw 96 warships of questionable worth delivered at a cost of $2,530,000 each; nearly double their original estimate to build. Even wore, once launched and commissioned, the Navy had no idea what to do with these hulking 1430-ton submarine hunters for it already had more than enough brand-new 1350-ton destroyer-escorts on hand to destroy the last of Hitler’s undersea marauders.

Click HERE to give this one the once over.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


The evolution from sail to steam power was rife with danger and uncertainly as man learned how to master the strange elements of a totally new science.

In 1819, a small packet ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Savannah, Georgia, to Liverpool,
England. It was a rather unremarkable voyage by what was for all intents and purposed a sailing packet of 380-tons burden carrying the normal suite of sails. The most notable aspect of this little ship was that she was fitted with a rudimentary auxiliary steam engine, which was utilized to a small extent on the crossing. This passage has habitually been hyped as the inauguration of the steam age in nautical history.

This is a "TWO PART" article




Thursday, October 4, 2012


With targets few in the latter stages of the Pacific War, American submarines secured their torpedoes and went after Japan's coastal barges and sampans with a vengeance using their hard-hitting deck guns.

Not everyone in the US Navy's brass liked this idea, there was a lot of expressing of views by the Sub Captains.  This is what makes this such an interesting article.

Click HERE if you wish to 'give it a go.'

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Two thousand five hundred people are estimated to have been saved from death and another 3,000 from injury, while millions of pounds' worth of damage to property was avoided, by the use of a system of military and industrial decoy targets as a defense against the Luftwaffe.  Now is a good time to review just what took place....and how it worked.....and actually 'How Well it Worked!"

In reading the article make sure you click on red Link "STARFISH" to the in-depth details.
Link to article HERE 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Some 70-yrs after the construction of the first US Version, two World War II-built Landing Ship Tanks remain in commercial service.  A third became a museum ship because of its long commercial career.  Some 1051 Landing Ship Tanks were built at various shipyards in the US during WW II.  The last US Navy-owned, self-propelled WW II-era LST Hull was decommissioned in 1989, and scrapped in 2007.   A few still serve in Asian Navies.  Many of the amphibious ships that replaced the WW II-and 1950s- built LSTs have already been scrapped, or are soon scheduled to be.

A short article of "Where did some go"


The date was 16 August 1942.  The location San Francisco, California.  With America at war for only nine-months, war jitters were almost a daily occurrence for citizens of the city by the bay.
Rumors of Japanese submarines, reprisal attacks for the Doolittle Raid, and constant fear of Japanese spies among the city's large oriental population all added to the atmosphere of fear.

The sight of an airship silently coming out of a fog bank at near-by Daly City only caused these fears to increase.  Soon, calls were flooding police and military switchboards as the airship sank lower and lower as its envelope began to noticeable deflate.  Sirens filled the streets of Daly City and police and military vehicles sped to the area and began to follow the path of the airship.
Click HERE for this very interesting article

Monday, October 1, 2012


This is the least as much as I could gather on the Dona Aurora.....and her tangle with an Italian Submarine on Dec. 25, 1942.

Why the Sub kept three of the crew as POW's is somewhat of a least to me.  The Captain strongly attempted to have the sub take him....but they didn't believe him...hmmmmmm  strange!!!

HERE is the story behind the sinking of the MV Dona Aurora


Think the Titanic was the world’s greatest marine disaster? Or maybe it was the Lusitania? Would you be surprised to learn that the M/S Wilhelm Gustloff a German ship that sank in the Baltic Sea cost twice as many lives as both British ships combined?  And chances are you've never heard of the loss of the luxury liner Cap Arcona with approximately 4,500 lives.  Or the Thielbek with about 2,800 dead.  On the stricken General Von Steuben 3,500 suffered death by drowning.  On the Gustloff alone more died than in the combine sinking's of the entire British and Spanish amada's in the 16 century.  Yet very little has been written about it.

HERE is your chance.