Death of a Battleship

Lest We Forget

25 November 1941

HMS Barham, torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 55 officers and 806 ratings.

This vid clip is one minute and eleven seconds long. In these 71 seconds, the Royal Navy battleship, HMS Barham, rolled over on her beam ends, explodes, and then sinks. At the end of the vid clip, the ship is gone, disappeared beneath the sea.

In the time it takes to watch it, fifty-five officers and eight hundred six ratings died–men who were fighting against “a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime,” as the Nazis were so aptly described in their evil by Prime Minister Winston Churchill on 13 May 1940 in his first speech to Parliament as Prime Minister.

Incredibly, the sinking and explosion was caught on film by a news reel cameraman from Gaumont News. The cameraman who caught the sinking and explosion, John Turner, was standing on the deck of the nearby Royal Navy battleship, HMS Valiant, which was on station close to Barham.

You can read accounts by the crew members who survived here:

http://www.hmsbarham.com/ship/accounts.php

HMS Barham in the Royal Navy fleet anchorage of Scapa Flow circa 1917. (US Navy photograph)

Women Doing “Men’s Work” At Sawmill Because of Labor Demands of World War Two

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Turkey Pond, near Concord, New Hampshire. Women workers employed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture timber salvage sawmill. Florence Drouin and Mrs. Elizabeth Esty, pond women, use regular logging pikes to bring the logs into place on the slip. (June 1943. Photo by John Collier, US Office of War Information, courtesy of the Library of Congress).

Many social movements including equality of women, equal rights for African-Americans, Hispanics, even gay people, were given new impetus because of dislocations in traditional society caused by the Second World War.

Many young people, especially males, whose parents or grandparents had never left their home county, ended up in foreign countries or huge industrial cities mixed in with Americans from all over. This widened the vistas of tens of millions.

Turkey Point USDA June 1943

Turkey Pond, near Concord, New Hampshire. Women workers employed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture timber salvage sawmill. Florence Drouin, using a regular logging pike, pushing up onto the slip logs which the pond men have just towed in. (June 1943. Photo by John Collier, US Office of War Information, courtesy of the Library of Congress).

As we would say now, people were “empowered” because of the simple reason that they were needed. Almost 12 million males served in the armed forces of the US during the Second World War along with 400,000 women. To replace these millions of young men and find enough workers to run farms and factories, millions of women began to hold jobs which in the past had been described as “men’s work.”

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June 1943. Turkey Pond, near Concord, New Hampshire. Women workers employed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture timber salvage sawmill. Norman Webber, front, and Ruth De Roche taking the finished boards from the conveyor and piling them according to size in the “pit”. (Photo by John Collier, US Office of War Information, courtesy of the  Library of Congress).

By doing jobs previously held only by white men, heretofore marginalized groups proved they could do much of the same work. After the war, although life went “back to normal”  it actually didn’t. Powerful social movements had been reinvigorated.

Pit-women relaxing after lunch, New Hampshire, June 1943

June 1943. “Turkey Pond, near Concord, New Hampshire. Women workers employed by U.S. Department of Agriculture timber salvage sawmill. Ruth DeRoche and Norma Webber, 18-year-old ‘pit-women,’ relaxing after lunch.”  (June 1943. Photo by John Collier, US Office of War Information, courtesy of the Library of Congress).

(I think these women could have drunk some of my frat brothers under the table).

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Turkey Pond, near Concord, New Hampshire. Women workers employed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture timber salvage sawmill. Mrs. Elizabeth Esty and Florence Drouin, “pond women,” pulling up logs towed in by the men.  (June 1943. Photo by John Collier, US Office of War Information, courtesy of the Library of Congress).

 

US Navy Destroyers Are Newest Hybrid Vehicle on Market

 

110918-N-BC134-014  PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 18, 2011) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transits the Pacific Ocean. Halsey is conducting a three-week composite training unit exercise in preparation for a deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Grandin/Released)
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PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 18, 2011) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transits the Pacific Ocean. Halsey is conducting a three-week composite training unit exercise in preparation for a deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Grandin/Released)

 

Hybrid power trains are most commonly associated with fuel efficient passenger cars. It was once a novelty, but you can get hybrid versions of many cars out there, from family sedans to luxury cars, and even sports cars. You can now add U.S. Navy destroyers to that list of hybrid-equipped vehicles.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer is the mainstay of the U.S. Navy’s surface combatants. There are 62 active destroyers of this class, and up to another 42 planned. Each packs more than 90 missiles, as well as other weapons systems. In addition to our super carriers, they represent a key component of the United States projecting its power around the globe. And they are about to get a little greener, with the addition of hybrid electric drives.

Starting in 2016, the Navy will start to convert 34 of the newest boats in the class to hybrid drives. This will be accomplished by integrating an electric motor into the ship’s main reduction gear. It will be able to operate on fully electric power at speeds below 13 knots. Above that, it will continue to run the quartet of General Electric gas turbine engines.

 

https://www.yahoo.com/autos/s/u-navy-converting-guided-missle-destroyers-hybrids-190044721.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma

Russian Soldiers Dancing Like Crazy Ivans

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Russian soldiers in World War Two uniforms prepare to march through Red Square
(photo courtesy Financial Times)
“Must be drunk, Herr Oberleutnant. They’re dancing around like lunatics.”

While retreating through Rumania in World War Two, sentries for a German unit notice something very odd going on in a nearby village occupied by Russian troops. For reasons unknown, the Russian soldiers suddenly begin to dance around like fools. German troops, peeking out of their foxholes, start laughing as the Russian troops in the distance run around like they are mad, jump up and down, roll on the ground, swat themselves all over.

Most of the Russians begin shouting so loudly the sound carries as far as the German line and the German troops double up with laughter. Incredibly, the Russian soldiers manning the defense perimeter along the side of the village facing the Germans, jump out of their foxholes, shrieking, and waving their arms in the air. Are the Russians drunk the Germans wonder?

All of a sudden,

…a bunch of Russians are running directly toward us, as if they are being chased by the very devil. As they’re running they’re flapping their arms all about, as if trying to fly.

The German soldier witnessing this event is just about to open fire with his machine gun when his officer tells him to hold fire because the Russians are unarmed.

The Ivans run madly through the German lines, leaping over German foxholes while flapping their arms and shrieking. A swarm of mad bees had attacked the Russian soldiers and stung them so many times they would do anything to get away, even throwing down their firearms and running in the direction of the German line.

(Source: Blood Red Snow: the Memoirs of a German Soldier On the Eastern Front by Gunther K Koschorrek)

 

Russian soldiers dressed in Red Army World War II uniforms prepare to parade in Red Square in front of a backdrop of St. Basil Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Thousands of Russian soldiers and military cadets marched across Red Square to mark the 72nd anniversary of a historic World War II parade. The show honored the participants of the Nov. 7, 1941 parade who headed directly to the front lines to defend Moscow from the Nazi forces. The parade Thursday involved about 6,000 people, many of them dressed in World War II-era uniforms. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian soldiers dressed in Red Army World War II uniforms prepare to parade in Red Square in front of a backdrop of St. Basil Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Thousands of Russian soldiers and military cadets marched across Red Square to mark the 72nd anniversary of a historic World War II parade. The show honored the participants of the Nov. 7, 1941 parade who headed directly to the front lines to defend Moscow from the Nazi forces. The parade Thursday involved about 6,000 people, many of them dressed in World War II-era uniforms. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(Courtesy of London Financial Times)

http://blogs.ft.com/photo-diary/tag/wwii/