We damn near lost a battle on points.
The images of that Day of Infamy, of the burning ships settling in the mud, the slumping foremast of sunken battleship Arizona engulfed in smoke and roaring flame, smashed and ruined aircraft, grainy images of Japanese aircraft lifting off the pitching decks of the carriers, blaring headlines on the day's newspapers, these are all seared into the consciousness of anyone who cares to know how we got here, today, at this point in our history.
Three quarters of a century ago, barely, now, within living memory, powerful forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked United States military installations on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Wheeler Field, Hickham Field, Ewa, Schofield Barracks, and of course the Naval Station at Pearl Harbor would feel the destructive power of the IJN's Kido Butai. Three hundred fifty Japanese aircraft in two waves had caught the American installations nearly entirely unprepared, despite the political and military signals which may have portended the attack.
In the end, 180 US Navy, Marine, and Army aircraft were destroyed. Four battleships, Arizona, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and California, were sunk. Four others were damaged, Nevada severely. Target ship Utah was also sunk, as were a handful of auxiliaries and tenders. Two destroyers in dry dock, Cassin and Downes, were damaged beyond salvage. Several ships suffered varying degrees of damage. More than 2,400 US military personnel (and 68 civilians) were killed in the attack, most on Arizona and Oklahoma, and more than 1,100 were wounded. West Virginia and California eventually would be raised, repaired, and returned to service. Oklahoma was righted, also, in a two-year project, but she would be written off due to extensive damage and obsolescence. Utah, and of course, Arizona, remain where they settled. The hull of the latter is still visible from the beautiful memorial which spans her, honoring the more than 1,100 Sailors and Marines who died aboard her that day and remain entombed still.
The United States, slow to anger and reluctant to go to war, was on 8 December a nation incensed. As the US grieved her dead, Roosevelt's famous request for a declaration of war against Japan summed up the mood of the greatest industrial power on the globe. When the war against Japan ended with unconditional surrender in August of 1945, the Japanese Navy had been completely destroyed. Much of her army had been killed, pushed back, or left to starve on island outposts across the Pacific. Her industry lay in ruins, as did many of her cities. Two of those cities would vanish beneath nuclear detonations. Such was the price of Japanese aggression, and for the atrocities in captured lands that took the lives of millions of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Chamorro, and Papuan civilians, as well as US, Australian, British, Dutch, and Filipino prisoners of war.
But all that was yet to come on the morning of December 7th, 1941. Seventy-five years ago today. URR here, BTW.
Oh, Canada! That is quite the "coverage", as it were. (URR here.)
The programme is broadcast six days a week, with 25 minute bulletins showing the women carrying out interviews and presenting the big news stories of the day completely starkers.
Female anchors read the news fully nude or strip as they present their segments.
That might be the only way you could get me to watch Erin Burnett on CNN.
By November of 1942, the Japanese supply situation on Guadalcanal was desperate. The Japanese Army pleaded with the IJN to increase efforts to supply the Army forces on the island. Ongoing resupply by submarine was barely enough to keep the garrison from starvation.
In response, the IJN began an effort to resupply Guadalcanal with high speed overnight runs by destroyers. The destroyers would jettison barrels filled with food or medical stuffs, to be towed ashore by the garrison.
On 29 November, the US Navy decrypted a message that indicated the IJN would attempt a supply run on the night of 30 November. Eight Japanese destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral Tanaka would make the run from the Shortlands Islands to Guadalcanal.
Vice Admiral Halsey ordered Task Force 67, under the command of Rear Admiral Carelton H. Wright, to intercept and destroy the convoy.
TF 67 consisted of four heavy (8” gun) cruisers, one light (6” gun) cruiser, and four destroyers.
Wright had a sound tactical plan. The destroyers would scout ahead of the cruisers, make contact with the Japanese convoy with their SG surface search radar, and then launch a stealthy torpedo attack, before retiring to allow the cruisers to destroy the convoy with gunfire. The task forces cruiser float planes were to operate from Tulagi, and support the operation by illuminating the Japanese with flares.
Indeed, on the night of the 30th, the van of destroyers did make radar contact. But permission to launch torpedo attacks was very slightly delayed. What should have been an ambush was instead a missed opportunity. By the time permission was granted, the US destroyers were out of position, and all 20 of the torpedoes they launched missed.
Concurrent with the US torpedo launch, Rear Admiral Wright ordered the cruisers to open fire. Unfortunately, virtually all the cruiser gunfire was focused solely upon the IJN Takanami, leaving the other seven Japanese destroyers unmolested.
Rear Admiral Tanaka was nobody’s fool, and had anticipated a possible night action. Immediately after the cruisers opened fire, Tanaka’s first four ships slipped quietly past the American cruisers, then turned and launched torpedoes. The trailing three destroyers reversed course, laid smoke, and launched their own salvoes of torpedoes.
The cruiser gunfire quickly wrecked IJN Takanami, leaving her sinking.
But the Japanese Type 93 Long Lance torpedoes were once again cutting through the dark waters off Guadalcanal, as they had to such effect on the night of 8 August 1942.
Torpedoes would strike and eventually sink USS Northampton. USS New Orleans, USS Pensacola, and USS Minneapolis would all take torpedoes with great damage and heavy loss of life. Of the US cruisers, only USS Honolulu would escape unharmed.
What should have been a decisive ambush by US forces was instead a stinging tactical (though not decisive) defeat.
The Imperial Japanese Navy had spent 20 years planning, training, and equipping their forces to fight an win night torpedo engagements.
The US, absolutely committed to the superiority of naval gunfire, had allowed night tactics to atrophy, and fallen behind in torpedo technology.
Furthermore, US Navy leaders were still not fully cognizant of the strengths, and more importantly, the weaknesses of the nascent technology of radar.
And finally, the US Navy stubbornly refused to believe, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that the Japanese were possessed of a torpedo capable of the performance they saw time and again in the Solomons campaign.
There would be many more night engagements against the tough, capable ships of the IJN in the waters of the Solomons before the war moved on. And it would be quite some time before the US Navy was able to demonstrate a mastery of night fighting on a level approaching that of the Japanese.
As a mitigating factor, in spite of the tactical victory of Rear Admiral Tanaka, the IJN was increasingly convinced that the cost of resupplying the Army garrison on Guadalcanal was too high, and eventually convinced the cabinet and the Emperor that the garrison should be withdrawn. In February 1943, the last Japanese forces quietly left the island, leaving the US in control.
(URR) Actor Ron Glass, whose most famous role was that of fastidious Detective Ron Harris of the 12th Precinct in the magnificent sitcom series Barney Miller, has died at 71.
Ron Glass was an accomplished actor, appearing in dozens of television series and programs, and was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Detective Harris in the underrated Barney Miller. Despite the passage of forty years, give or take, each episode of that series remains as entertaining as the day it was aired. The humor of the caricature and absurdity of life inside the drab confines of the station of Greenwich Village's Finest had a gentility and intellectual aspect that is almost entirely absent from today's mean-spirited and crude insult that passes for "humor".
The series, which ran for seven seasons (1975-82) featured such talent as Jack Soo, Abe Vigoda, Max Gail, James Gregory, Hal Linden, and Steve Landesberg, each playing quirky and offbeat characters which made every episode worth the watch. Chief among them, however, was Glass as the impeccably dressed and groomed Harris.
In one memorable scene, in which Captain Miller hears that Harris had pursued on foot and wrestled a suspect to the ground, he is surprised to find Harris looking dapper in his tie, vest, and jacket, like he just stepped out of a fashion magazine.
Barney says "After all that, I thought you'd be a little more, I dunno, disheveled." To which Harris replies with flawless deadpan, "Can't do it, Barn." Brilliance.
Ron Glass, RIP You will be missed.
Not just any porn. Hard-core tranny porn. So the Independent tells us.
It's not immediately clear if the incident was a simple mistake—though it's hard to imagine how getting porn on air would be simple—or if it was the work of a rogue individual. It is also unclear how the unscheduled programming was allowed to stay on the air for 30 minutes.
CNN has not had the best of weeks, being slammed on Tuesday for running an "If Jews Are People" headline.
"If you've forgotten what it feels like to be satisfied with your entertainment provider, now is the time," the homepage for RCN reads, in an excerpt it's now hard not to read as double entendre.
At least someone had a sense of humor about it.
Beavis and Butthead, call your office.
From all the staff here at Bring The HEAT, may you and yours enjoy the holiday, and give thanks to God, from whom all blessings flow.
For an interesting look at Thanksgiving during World War II (and how it even became a partisan political issue!), check out this link.
The commanding general of 2nd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. John Love, described these plans during a speech to Marines at the Marine Corps Association Ground Dinner this month near Washington, D.C.
The proof-of-concept tests, he said, included Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, which began an Integrated Training Exercise pre-deployment last month at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.
Suppressing a .50cal sounds like a bit of a challenge, but the rest makes a fair bit of sense.
There's a very slight penalty in weight, but the ability for small unit leaders to control their elements will be greatly increased.
Further, it will make it somewhat more difficult for the enemy to precisely locate friendly forces.
And at an estimated cost of about $700,000 to equip one battalion, well, that's pretty damn cheap.
The use of copper sheeting to prevent boring mollusks from ruining the wood of ships was a relatively new technology at the birth of the US Navy, but was quickly adopted world wide.
England’s Royal Navy began experimenting with copper-cladding its warships in the early 1760s and found it extended the life of the ships by preventing boring mollusks from destroying the wooden hulls. Below-the-waterline copper sheathing also allowed for greater ease in cleaning barnacles and crustaceans from ships’ bottoms. USS Constitutionand the other five frigates of the original U.S. Navy were each copper-clad before launching, per the instructions of Joshua Humphreys, the frigates’ designer.
When coppered in the summer of 1797, Constitution‘s lower hull required “12,000 feet of sheet copper” and thousands of copper nails. There is no 18th century plan of the layout of the copper sheathing, but it is probable that the workers at Edmund Hartt’s shipyard began at Constitution‘s stern, down at the keel, and worked their way both forward and upward with row upon row of copper. Each sheet would have overlapped one inch on all sides, with the vertical joints between the sheets facing aft. This created a smooth “fish scale” affect to the hull, thereby preventing the sheets from being lifted by the action of the water. It is understood that the Royal Navy laid its warship copper with the horizontal joints facing upwards and it is possible that Constitution‘s copper was so installed, as depicted in the illustration below.
One minor bit of trivia that always amuses me- the US Naval Surface Weapons Center at Crane, IN, maintains a section of white oak specifically to support repairs to USS Constitution.
Ask any Iraq War veteran about Jersey, Alaska, Texas, and Colorado and you will be surprised to get stories not about states, but about concrete barriers. Many soldiers deployed to Iraq became experts in concrete during their combat tours. Concrete is as symbolic to their deployments as the weapons they carried. No other weapon or technology has done more to contribute to achieving strategic goals of providing security, protecting populations, establishing stability, and eliminating terrorist threats. This was most evident in the complex urban terrain of Baghdad, Iraq. Increasing urbanization and its consequent influence on global patterns of conflict mean that the US military is almost certain to be fighting in cities again in our future wars. Military planners would be derelict in their duty if they allowed the hard-won lessons about concrete learned on Baghdad’s streets to be forgotten.
A very interesting look at the use of concrete in Iraq not simply for fortifications, but as a tool to enable the scheme of maneuver.
The 1967 sinking of the Israeli destroyer Eliat by a SS-N-2 Styx cruise missile greatly increased international interest in defense against such weapons. Existing destroyers and cruisers with long range guided missile systems were one obvious answer. But the problem was, such systems were far to expensive to build in the numbers needed. And such systems were vulnerable to being overwhelmed by a saturation attack, where the enemy simply launched so many missiles that some where bound to get through.
A couple of different answers to the problem arose. First, more ECM and chaff launchers for surface combatants.
Second, lightweight, short range guided missile systems were mounted on a variety of ships. Such missiles include the British Sea Cat and the US Sea Sparrow.
But even then, there remained a desire to counter a threat detected at the very last moment.
In the US Navy, this lead to the development of the Phalanx Close In Weapon System, or CIWS. A radar aimed 20mm gatling gun would send a stream of bullets to any incoming cruise missile.
The loss of HMS Sheffield in 1992 convinced the Royal Navy that they too needed a CIWS system. While some RN ships would eventually carry Phalanx, they also looked to the Dutch, who were developing and fielding a CIWS system built around the massive GAU-8 Avenger cannon that is famous for being the main armament of the A-10 Warthog.
The GAU-8, mounted on a General Electric EX-83 gun mount, and coupled with Dutch radar systems would eventually reach the ships of several European navies as Goalkeeper.
Here’s a look at a demonstration of the gun in action, while a possible short ranged land based air defense variant was being pitched.
With URR’s excellent weekend posts of covering the turning of the tide of the Solomon’s Campaign at the 1st and 2nd Naval Battles of Guadalcanal, let’s look at another grim moment in the campaign. This one took place three weeks prior, and at the time, was seen as a defeat. Indeed, the battle of Santa Cruz would set the stage that would lead to the November battles URR chronicled.
The pattern of the Solomons campaign was that surface warfare groups of destroyers and cruisers and occasionally battleships would operate daily (or rather, nightly) in the waters east of Guadalcanal, in the famed “Slot” of the Solomon Islands chain. Major operations, such as reinforcement convoys, either US or Japanese, would receive wide ranging support from carrier task forces attempting to provide air superiority. Intelligence services on both sides tended to note when such surges occurred, meaning that if our forces sortied carriers, the Japanese would surge theirs as well.
In late October 1942, while the issue ashore on Guadalcanal was very much in the balance, and the Japanese planned a major offensive by ground forces on the island to pierce the American lines. Supporting the operations ashore, the Japanese planned a major naval effort. The US Navy moved to counter this effort.
On 26 October, 1942, north of the Santa Cruz Islands, the Japanese and American carrier fleets would clash. During the battle, the USS Hornet, the newest carrier in the fleet, would be left a smouldering wreck, to be later sunk by Japanese destroyers.
One of the most amazing aspects of this battle was that the attack on Hornet was actually filmed by Navy combat camera crews.
The other US carrier, USS Enterprise, would be heavily damaged. Of the eight carriers the US Navy built before the war began, only three would survive the war. USS Saratoga, USS Ranger, and USS Enterprise. Ranger was in the Atlantic, readying for the invasion of North Africa, and Saratoga was in drydock for repairs after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in August. USS Enterprise, badly damaged in the Battle of Santa Cruz, was repaired in forward waters. For a brief time, the US simply had no available carriers.
But while the US was losing carriers at an appalling rate, they also had literally dozens of fleet and light carriers under production.
The US Navy grasped that, but that was cold comfort when the Japanese Navy still possessed a force of several excellent fleet carriers.
What the US Navy soon grasped though, was that the heart of Japanese Naval Aviation wasn’t the carriers, but the naval aviators. The US Navy had a stupendously large training establishment that would churn out thousands upon thousands of well trained aviators. The Japanese, on the other hand, had a small, elite cadre of exquisitely trained carrier pilots. Unfortunately for Japan, the sustained operations since Pearl Harbor, and the very heavy losses of the Battle of Santa Cruz had gutted the ranks of aviators. The remaining Japanese carriers simply had no one to fly from their decks.
The Japanese Navy would spend the next 18 months struggling to train aircrews for their carrier fleet. But lacking the investment in training resources the US could apply, they managed to produce numbers, but not quality.
The shortcomings of Japanese training would be apparent when, a year and a half later, the US invaded the Marianas. Officially the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot would see the results of 18 months of training utterly devastated by well trained US carrier air wings in possibly the greatest one sided aerial massacre of all time.
To this day, the US Navy spends a ridiculous amount on training its aviators. And it is worth every penny.