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.

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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, 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).

 

The Massive Work That Goes Into Remodeling an Old Aircraft Carrier

from Wired Magazine 

by Kathertine Kornri

 

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F/A-18C Hornets assigned to the Vigilantes of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151 fly in formation above the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Official US Navy Photo

 

AIRCRAFT CARRIERS ARE complicated. They’re floating cities and mobile airbases, housing thousands of sailors and airmen, tens of aircraft, multiple nuclear reactors, and their own hospitals, barbershops, chapels, and zip codes. Carriers support defense and humanitarian efforts worldwide and can travel upwards of 100,000 nautical miles each year. Each United States aircraft carrier—there are 10 in active service—is designed to last 50 years. But the only way they get there is with a massive remodeling effort conducted once in the middle of its lifespan to update its technology and infrastructure.

Because “remodeling” is a term more often applied to home kitchens and bathrooms, the multi-year, multi-billion dollar process of modernizing the ship and readying it for at least two more decades of service is called Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH).

US Navy sailors and shipyard workers work together to update, clean, and restore nearly every square foot of a carrier: They refuel the nuclear reactors, overhaul living spaces, replace catapult systems used to launch aircraft, and repaint the hull, among other things.

In 2013, the ship was placed in drydock in Newport News, Virginia, the same shipyard that laid down its keel in 1984. “We have dozens of shipbuilders that worked on Lincoln during new construction 25 years ago who are working on the RCOH. These shipbuilders have a level of expertise and a bond with the ship that you cannot find anywhere else in the world,” says Bruce Easterson, construction director of Newport News Shipbuilding.”‘

the rest of the article is here:

http://www.wired.com/2015/02/massive-work-goes-remodeling-old-aircraft-carrier/

 

150827-N-IJ275-015  NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Aug. 27, 2015) Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Casey Boatner participates in pipe patching training aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Abraham Lincoln is undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ciarra C. Thibodeaux/Released)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Aug. 27, 2015) Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Casey Boatner participates in pipe patching training aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). Abraham Lincoln is undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ciarra C. Thibodeaux/Released)

 

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/

Federal regulators to require registration of recreational drones

White House drone pic US Sec Ser

Recreational drone which landed on the White House lawn in January of 2015

Glad someone has been contemplating what damage or disaster would result from a collision between a recreational drone and an airplane. In the recent fires in California, there was an hour or so when the planes dropping fire-retardant chemicals couldn’t take off because of recreational drones.

 

From the Washington Post

1:32 PM October 19th 2015

 

By Craig Whitlock

“Federal regulators said Monday that they plan to require recreational drone users to register their aircraft with the government for the first time in an attempt to restore order to U.S. skies, which have been invaded by rogue flying robots.

U.S. officials said they still need to sort out the basic details of the registration system but concluded that they had to take swift action to cope with a surge in sales of inexpensive, simple-to-fly drones that are increasingly interfering with regular air traffic.

“The signal we’re sending today is that when you’re in the national airspace, it’s a very serious matter,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters.

Pilots of passenger planes and other aircraft are reporting more than 100 sightings or close calls with rogue drones a month — a significant increase just in the past year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. 

[FAA records detail hundreds of close calls between airplanes and drones] Link

 

Under FAA guidelines, drone owners are not supposed fly their aircraft above 400 feet or within five miles of an airport without permission. But the rules are widely flouted, and officials have been largely powerless to hunt down rogue drone operators.

Requiring drones to be registered will be of limited use for investigators unless the remote-controlled aircraft crash and a registration number can be found. Most drones are too small to appear on radar and do not carry transponders to broadcast their locations.

But regulators hope that forcing owners — many of whom are aviation novices — to register their drones with the government will at least make them think twice about their responsibility to fly safely and the possibility that they could be held accountable for an accident.”

The remainder of the article along with additional stories and additional links is here:

Feds to Regulate Recreational Drones WashPost

 

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US Air Force drone firing missile

No Bathing Facilities on U-Boats Led to Constant Outbreaks of Skin Diseases and Horrible Smells Inside of the Boats

“It stinks in here!”

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This still photo from the German film “Das Boot” gives you an idea of how cramped was the interior of a U-boat. This particular shot is of the engine room with the two 12 cylinder MAN diesels usually found in German U-Boats of the era. “Das Boot” translates as “The Boat.” In German, “boot” is pronounced “boat.”

Because they were unable to bathe, most U-Boat crewmen developed skin rashes, boils, and all other manner of skin diseases. The UBootwaffe had a special medical department which did nothing but study the skin diseases of Uboot crewmen. (Tuberculosis was also a major problem due to the constant damp.)

Also contributing to skin diseases among the men was the sickening miasma of air inside the uboat which clung to their skin and often infected their lungs. When boats returned from patrol and the flotilla engineers went aboard to make an inspection, they usually vomited because of the horrible smell.

U-boats were not well ventilated so when they were on the surface, the only way to get fresh air into the boat was to keep the bridge hatches open, close the outboard air intakes to the diesels, open the e-motor interior hatch and interior engine room hatch. This allowed the diesel engines to draw air from the outside through the open hatchways.

This arrangement didn’t help as much as one might think since there was no way to vent the bad air except by opening the engine room deck hatch or the forward hatch to the deck in the crew compartment. This was never, ever done at sea except in an emergency.

So the fresh air coming in helped but it did not expel the bad air. The author of every U-Boat memoir I have ever read remarks on the horrible fugue of noxious air and the the disgusting smell which no one ever completely adjusted to.

This smell was a combination of the body odor of 45 or more unwashed men, their exhalations, rotting food, diesel oil, cooking odors, and worst of all, the smell of urine and excrement in the bilges.

While the most common types of uboat, the type VII and type IX had two toilets or water closets, one was always used for storage and wasn’t available. So one toilet had to suffice for more than 45 men. The controls were so difficult to operate that each boat had one man especially trained in how to work the controls and he was known as “the toilet fuhrer”). Below 25 meters the toilet did not work because the water pressure was such that one could not open the outboard toilet valve to discharge the contents of the toilet.

Even if you could manage to open it, doing so was forbidden since it would create a weak spot and comprise the water-tight integrity of the boat. So the men used cans or buckets to urinate or defecate. As you might imagine, in the heat of action or action drills, these containers were often kicked over or in an emergency dive tipped over, spilling their contents.

Being in a Uboat was like serving time in a public latrine that was never sanitized in spite of constant efforts by the crew to keep the interior of the boat clean.

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As an aside, the founder of the U-Boot Archiv in Cuxhaven, the late Horst Bredow, an officer in the UBootwaffe, had made one war patrol in the last months of World War Two. He had to be hospitalized upon returning to port because he had developed a skin rash covering his entire body. Another officer replaced him on his Uboat. The boat was sunk with all hands on her next war patrol. (The Archiv has changed its name from “U-Boot Archiv” to Deutsches U-Boot Museum.)

The link to their site is here:  http://www.dubm.de/home.html