Moments in History, Uncategorized

“LEFT FULL RUDDER!”

Carrier donuts

Carrier donuts

U-turn!

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) – the 3rd and final ship of the WWII era Midway class Aircraft Carriers, shows off with a demonstration of just how incredibly maneuverable these ships were, 1953.

Along with her older sisters USS Midway (CV-41) and USS Franklin D Rosevelt (CV-42), these triplets were the US Navy’s first “Super-carriers” as they were then known, a superlative that would eventually come to describe the much larger Forrestal design, and even more so those that followed. But for nearly a decade, these three remained the largest and most capable warships in the world.

They had some inherent sea-keeping issues such as a low freeboard – the flightdeck wasn’t very high so bluewater (unbroken waves) would regularly crash over the bow in high seas. And they tended to bob like corks… especially the Midway which had its hull widened to address the freeboard issue, only to create an even bigger monster with a fast roll center, which also caused the ship to corkscrew in rough weather.  It was such a wild ride our system’s gyros would regularly go on the fritz during storms, necessitating a trip up the aft radar tower to fix them, in the rain, in the dark, with only a red penlight to see with, trying not to short anything out or electrocute yourself while planes tried in vain to land down below you. Good times!

These 3 sisters were known to cause the sea-legs of even the saltiest sailors to wobble as they chewed on crackers, even more so than the smaller escort ships that accompanied her (which we joked went over one wave, then under two). They certainly put hair on the chest of all who sailed upon her decks.

BUT, they could also turn on Neptune’s dime.

Nearly 40 years after the lead photo was taken, in February 1991 we would have some fun with that maneuverability Continue reading “LEFT FULL RUDDER!”

Military-Grade Awesome, Moments in History

Track and watch the USS Iowa on her final voyage!


The Iowa dwarfs the shipyard cranes that inspired the Starwars AT-AT transports on a last night of rest before her final journey

(UPDATE: The tow has been delayed on a day-by-day basis due to a storms system off the California coast that would make the tow dangerous)

This afternoon (20MAY2012) at 12Pm PST (DELAYED), the last Battleship USS Iowa BB-61 is scheduled to depart her temporary berth in the Richmond California shipyard and begin making her way south enroute to her new home at the Port of Los Angeles to become a floating museum.

This marks what may well become her last voyage at sea for the old warrior, and possibly the last “at-sea” for a battleship of any kind.

AND, thanks to the power of the intertubes and the kind people at PacificBattleship.com you can track the Iowa in real time on her voyage! Continue reading Track and watch the USS Iowa on her final voyage!

Military-Grade Awesome

Battleship, 16 Inch Gun Training Film

Fresh on the heels of yesterday’s USS Iowa Post, comes this period training film on the loading and firing of the Iowa class’s massive 16 inch/50 cal Mk7 gun. Here you will see the inner workings of the turret, as well as projectile and powder-bag handling. This may come in handy someday if you suddenly find yourself on a re-commissioned WWII battleship.

Hey, it could happen. You gotta be prepared.

Below is a cutaway diagram of the major parts and general arrangement. It’s kind of like an angry flaming iceberg, where you only see a small part above the surface… if you can call 3 gigantic 16 inch diameter 66 foot long guns “small”. Continue reading Battleship, 16 Inch Gun Training Film

Military-Grade Awesome

USS Iowa BB61, a visit to the Last Battleship

USS Iowa, BB-61 in distance dwarfs nearby railroad tankers

Last weekend Super-Spouse and I visited the USS Iowa Battleship as she sat in the docks of Richmond, California, being prepared to be towed south towards her new home in the Port of Los Angeles as a floating museum. I say the “last battleship”, because of all the battleships to have ever been built (that are not resting at the bottom of the sea), the Iowa is the last functional “Big Stick”, and is just now emerging from the Naval Reserve Fleet to be donated as a museum. Her sister ships USS Wisconsin (BB64), USS Missouri (BB63), and USS New Jersey (BB62) have already opened to the public as attractions in Norfolk VA, Pearl Harbor HI and Camden NJ respectively. This isn’t really the end of her official career however, as congress has ordered that the Iowa be maintained in such a way that if needed in a national emergency, the ship can be returned to active duty.  Continue reading USS Iowa BB61, a visit to the Last Battleship

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