Monday, November 22, 2010

HMS Audacious, The Titanic's sister ship, and the first (and most embarrassing) British naval disaster of the First World War

On the 27 of October, 1914, the Battleship HMS Audacious struck a mine while on gunnery exercises. The King George V class battleship soon started to settle by the stern. Her captain thought that if towed, the ship could be beached. The problem with this was that there were no ships big enough to do so, as they had retired for fear of submarine attack! when a suitable ship finally arrived ( White Star's Olympic, sister ship of Titanic ), it was too late. when Olympic tried to take the battleship in tow, the cable broke, and soon the Audacious was abandoned, her full compliment being taken on board the Olympic. Although no lives were lost, the sinking was very embarrassing, and the admiralty tried to keep it a secret in spite of the American passengers of Olympic who had seen it happen! Even though everyone knew about the accident, the admiralty kept her on the Navy rolls for the remainder of the war.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Combat Flight Simulator 3

CFS3, by Microsoft gaming studios, is one of my favorite games. You can play as Britain, USA or Germans. In Campaign mode, you start out in early 1943,with the allies on the verge of invasion. As a British or American player, your goal is to invade the continent and go on to Berlin. But watch out, if you fail to complete too many of your goals, the Germans might invade Britain! As a German player, you will try to do just that, London being the goal this time around. One of the more annoying aspects is the glitches. Sometimes, the goals will take a long time to appear, and other times, they don't even show up at all! This is a fun and exiting game, and although it can sometimes be tricky, things like the front line make this one of my all time favorites. If you are a lover of easy to figure out games like the Mario series, this game is not necessarily for you. But if you like flight simulators, or are simply a history buff, you might just like it.

Weegie

Weegie will eat your Soul!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mitchell's challenge

In the 1920s, the United States had no air force. Its airplanes flew with the army. But there was one man who wanted to change all that. Billy Michell, an Army Air Corps officer wanted to prove once and for all that warplanes could be a superlative force independent of army and navy. He proposed using his airplanes to bomb some old Pre-Dreadnought target ships. The navy said yes, and Michell's bombers got to work. Their success was astounding, considering that they were somewhat awkward biplanes. The navy now gave Michell another, better target. The Kaiserlichmarine dreadnought Ostfriesland had been ceded to the US after WW1, during which she had participated in the Battle of Jutland. Michell pounded and pounded the ship, but still refused to sink(if a US or British dreadnought had been used, it would not have taken so long, for the Germans had some of the best-protected battleships anywhere because they designed their ships to stay afloat, not to have great speed or firepower) Michell went all out and ordered a continuous bombing of the Ostfriesland and eventually, she wnt down. These tests did not prove much in the way of actual combat, but they made a big impression on the higher-ups, and although we would not get a separate air force until after WW2, they made a step forward to accomplishing that goal, and moreover to abolish the Battleship's last speck of super-weapon dreams. But the worst was yet to come. That would have to wait about 20 more years and half a world away.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the battle for France

It was May 10, 1940. The BEF and the French armies were engaging the Germans in the low countries, and Hitler's trap was about to roll across the Meuse. That day, the Luftwaffe attacked Sedan on the Meuse river, coinciding with a Wehrmacht attack against the same city. The French were soon pushed back further and further until the Germans reached the sea. They soon gained air superiority, with which they could not lose. The BEF and the French soon evacuated all the troops they could from Dunkirk, even though many troops had to be left behind. After this, the Germans struck south, gaining Paris and shoving through southern France until that country surrendered in June.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nintendo 64

I got an N64! It is a gaming system from 1996, sort of a "middle ground" between being new and retro. Thus, N64s are some of the cheapest consoles on the market. Behind the skin of cheapness, the Nintendo 64(to use its full name) is a great system and has an equally good library of games. The Wii Virtual Console does not carry very many games for it. Ocarina of Time, for example has put the word "ocarina" into common speak.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Washington coup

In 1921, the world was locked in a naval arms race that posed an even bigger threat than that of 1914. Germany had been destroyed by world war one, and Britain had been nearly bankrupted. And yet she was sucked into an even greater arms race than before. On one side was the burgeoning power of the United States, and on the other was the then-allied nations of Britain and Japan, whose alliance was vital for both countries. Then, that year, the proposed winner of the race, America, formulated a treaty to limit naval arms! This was a carefully concocted document that would leave the U.S. as the world's leading naval power. The aim of this was to break Britain's alliance, causing civil turmoil in Japan and causing Britain to lose her eastern ally. These goals were achieved by the 5-5-3 ratio, in the order Britain ,US, Japan. Britain, although allotted an equal fleet to the US, had a much larger empire, so her fleet was mitigated. Japan had much less land than the USA, so the US gave Japan a smaller fleet. The Americans, however only had land on one continent, and the only major threat to her integrity was in the far east, so we were able to concentrate our forces on Japan.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Penny Packets and Blitzkriegs

In 1940, the world was given a shock. France, before thought to be the greatest power in Europe, lay broken before the German army. Her armies cut off or evacuated, she had no choice but to surrender. How was France, powerful France, brought down in only a few short months? Our answer lies in the dark days of the previous decade. Back in the early thirties, things were changing. Armor and airplanes had changed everything, and many armies, including that of the French, misinterpreted them. But ironically, it was a French strategist who finally got the equation right. He advocated mass use of armor and airplanes, working together with infantry to form spearheads for the complete destruction of the enemy. In France, the ideas were labeled as being unethical and a breach of chivalry, but in Germany, the ideas were hailed as the new form of war. Blitzkrieg, as it was called, was capitalized by General Guderian's book "Achtung Panzer!", and the rest of the Nazis picked it up from there. In contrast to Blitzkriegs, the French used a soon to be outdated concept called "Penny Packets", which advocated the use of small pockets of tanks to support infantry. Penny packets, as it turned out, were the death of the French armies, as was the use of a "swinging door" strategy that relied on one hinge: The "impenetrable Ardennes". Soon, the world would by shown just how penetrable they really were. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Scapa Flow and the end of Germany's fleet

On Nov. 11, the Germans had to hand over their surface fleet to the Allies. The once-proud fleet was in a state of great disarray. Shattered by mutiny, and left in disrepair, the fleet had sat in port since Jutland. The fleets reached scapa flow for internment soon after they met. But a German admiral was left in charge of the fleet, a grave mistake for the allies. In spring, 1919, the British fleet was away on exercises. People looking at them must have seen a change come over the German fleet. They may have noticed some of the ships sinking gradually into the water. Whatever the case, a loudspeaker probably confirmed that the germans were sinking their own fleet. By the time the British arrived, it was too late. Grossadmiral Tirpitz said that Germans did not understand the sea, and to brace themselves for the darkness of the future, whatever it may have been. The darkness of the future would, in only 20 years, come crashing down on Germany and the battleship.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Kniaz Suvarov's bizzare escapade

The Kniaz Suvarov ( Suvarov for short) was a Russian battleship of the Borodino class, a disasterous class of modern pre-dreadnoughts that, through bad handling and Japanese gunnery,saw all four of its units present captured or sunk at the Tsushima Strait. The Suvarov, flagship of the Russian fleet, came under fire first, quickly turning into a blazing mess along with another battleship, the Oslyabya,which was the first modern battleship sunk by gunfire alone. Her commander mortally wounded and her admiral, Rozhestvensky, lying dead on her deck, the Suvarov, with blown off steering gear, twirled through the battle. At points when ships were being annihilated the strange sight of a burning battleship blindly floated past. At last, the Japanese turned their attentions back to the Suvarov, sending torpedo boats after her and sending her to the bottom so fast that to my knoledge, no one escaped.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Taranto

In 1941, Britain stood alone. There were no allies, only a little island in the north Atlantic. Then came Greece. Greece had been attacked by the Italians, who had been driven off. Then, desperate for a toehold in the continent, the Brits pulled many vital troops and tanks out of Africa. But this could not have been done without the HMS Illustrious. She was the starting point of operation "Judgment". This operation meant to knock out the Italian fleet, so that Mediterranean convoys could be all the safer. So it was that the Illustrious was sent out to attack Taranto. Soon the swordfish torpedo planes had spotted the Italians and went into the attack. In the battle that followed, three battleships, including the modern Littorio, were sunk and the Italian fleet was thrown into confusion. This attack was closely watched by several nations, but one nation in particular found the aftermath very favorable for an attack of their own. Indeed, when the target's fleet was visited by the British battleship Warspite, a Fleet Air Arm veteran of Taranto noted "Blimey, you can't miss!". This target was, of course, the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, and the aggressors were the Empire of Japan. The Battleship was about to meet its nemesis. But that's another story.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Lord of the Rings

The name of these books are The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, and they are the ultimate fantasy titles. First, a little background. The world of middle earth was thought up by a shell-shocked J.R.R.Tolkien in 1917, his first ideas eventually condensing into the Silmarillion (an unfinished work). After the War, Tolkien was appointed professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. In his spare time, he made a story to tell his kids about a small creature called a Hobbit, namely Bilbo Baggins. While the story was full of adventure, Tolkien never got around to finishing the story until his publisher found out about it. After that, Tolkien  finally wrote an ending to the tale. The Hobbit was very popular, and people practically demanded a sequel. And so the Lord of the Rings was born. The Fellowship of the ring is the first book and naturally this is where the plot begins. Or is it? (WARNING! to actually understand this series, you must read The Hobbit.) The initial setting is at Bilbo's birthday party, where Bilbo has planned a surprise. He plans to leave Hobbiton forever, giving his estate to Frodo, his nephew. Even his magic ring. Ever since his encounter with Gollum, Bilbo has treasured the ring, and somehow finds it hard to part with the curious thing. But finally, when the day comes, Bilbo overcomes himself and puts his ring in an envelope for Frodo. the party comes and goes, and Gandalf's spectacular fireworks wow the crowd. Bilbo disappears as planned and Frodo takes up possession of the Ring.
    This is the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Frodo Baggins is the protagonist of the story, although the Ring is almost as much a protagonist as he is. Frodo  is Bilbo's nephew, whose education was taken up by Bilbo. The Ring is a little gold object with Elvish written on it in fire. The Fellowship's main theme is the defeat of evil, like in many good fantasy stories. The mood is dark, but with a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of this evil is brought on by Sauron and the Ring. These books are so good that I cannot think of any weaknesses! Overall, this series is very good and is highly recommended. Overall, the Lord of the Rings is the ultimate in fantasy, and it is chock-full of action. That is all.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Warsaw the Second

I am building a new Lego sub. It uses pieces recycled from the old Warsaw, and shares the name and the nameplates. But the similarities end there. At this point it looks more like an actual size 6 inch( yes, it does have a diameter of approx. 6 in) torpedo! It will be a submarine that has nuclear power, ICBMs, and a teardrop shaped hull, a so-called Boomer. It may or may not be armed with torpedoes. And yes, it is in Minifig scale.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunk!

The Warsaw has been sunk. Its pieces will be used as scrap metal.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jane's Battleships of the 20th Century

This book is an illustrated guide to battleships. It has very nice pictures, the bulk of which are in color. It also includes many black and white photos. There are many specifications on battleship classes. The main downside of this book is the exclusion of many classes, the WW1 KGVs for example. The pre-dreadnought sections are extremely lacking, seeing as over half of the German ships are not included! The same goes for the UK, the USA, and France. This book is organized by country.
  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kentucky

I have a new ship! The Kentucky is its name. I have built it in pre-dreadnought fashion but it comes out looking a bit like the Graf Spee. I do not have much time for a post, but I will try to finish this one. It is supposed to represent a coast defense ship, even though it is fictional.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cerberus

The HMVS Cerberus is an Australian Monitor built in 1870. She is the last ship of the pre-modern Australian Navy. She is also the last remaining breastwork Monitor. She sailed from England in 1870, but after encountering a storm she was sent back. She sailed again for Australia and this time succeeded in reaching her goal. For additional info and pics of and about the Cerberus, go to http:// www. cerberus.com/au or Friends of the Cerberus. Save the Cerberus!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Original Naval annals

I mentioned them in the last post, but did not actually tell anything about them(The Finnish Archipelago Fleet may be exiting, but I decided not to write about it today). They are patterned around a constant state of war between two countries, The Dreetan State( capital: Fort Augsburg) and the Great and Powerful Empire of the Cronans ( Capital: Cronansburg). The two fleets ( the fleet for D. S. and the Tagus Marinus for the G.P.E.C.), constantly clash in little and big trafalgars, the last of which being the Battle of the Gulf, all happening in support of the armies. The fleets have many battleships. Strangely, instead of making sand castles in my sandbox like normal people, I make sand ships and sand fleets! And that is all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the ship by Bjorn Landstrom

This is a very good book. I obtained it from the Lakeway library, liked it, and got my hands on a copy. It is about the development of ships throughout the ages, much like my battleships series of posts. It is organized from Sail to Steam. Examples are taken from each century and examined. The book has limited space and thus cannot go into every type with great detail, particularly towards the twentieth century and the end of the book. It is also rather old, being made in 1961. It has been very inspiring and is perhaps my best overall reference. Its pictures may also have inspired my own original Naval annals. It has a good section about sixteenth-seventeenth century ships. It is probably the only book that I own with a section about the Finnish Archipelago fleet.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Poland



I have plans for a new Battleship! My fleet ( shown on right) needs another large ship to operate with. The new addition, Poland, is still being formulated. A design is on the left. The Poland will be of the Pre-Dreadnought type.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

SMS Viribus Unitis

The Viribus Unitis was an Austro-Hungarian battleship launched in 1911. She was part of the Tegetthoff class of dreadnoughts, built in response to Italy's Dante Alighieri. In WW1, she was in the failed Otranto raid, where her sister Szent Istvan was sunk. After this the Austrians thought the Italians had discovered their plans and went back to port. She was sunk by an Italian manned torpedo in Pola harbor, thus ending her career.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Andrea Doria

The SS Andrea Doria was the pride of the Italian Line. Launched in 1951, she and her sister were quite successful and by 1956 she had made almost 100 crossings. Off the US East Coast she ran into fog, wherein the confusion she was rammed by the SS Stockholm. She had a tendency to list when struck, especially with her fuel tanks low on fuel, like at the end of a voyage. And to make things worse,this time she had actually been pierced. She took a surprisingly long time to sink, finally going down 11 hours after the collision. The casualty list numbered 46.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

USS Cavalla: random submarine time

Today's sub is the Gato class boat Cavalla.Commissioned on Feb. 29. 1944, the Cavalla had a major kill on one of her first patrols, bagging the carrier Shokaku, whose planes had bombed pearl harbor. Earlier that year, data from her first run had contributed greatly to the victory at the battle of the Philippine Sea. She also helped the damaged British sub Terrapin. After the war, she was converted to a Hunter-Killer sub and was decommissioned on 30th of December, 1969. She is a great museum (visit HTTP://www.cavalla.org for her web page)Please visit her at seawolf park!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Random Submarine Time no. 1

Today's sub is the USS S-27. A boat of the S-1 or "Holland" type, The S-27 was commissioned into the USN on Jan. 22, 1924. She served through her first year of service at two stations before being called to California. There she stayed during the rest of the decade and most of the 30s. in '39 she was transferred to the training school where she was when on Dec. 7 Pearl harbor was attacked by the Japanese. While sailing off Kiska, she grounded and was left as a hulk by her crew.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Invincible

At Jutland on May 31, 1916, the HMS Invincible was hit in the turret and exploded. The battlecruiser had been shooting very fast, doing great damage to her foes, when the mist shrouding the peninsula cleared. Many of the German ships launched salvos at the ship, and she was a sitting duck. Her fast shooting worked against her, and when one of the shots hit P turret, the resulting fire spread to the magazine, causing first it to explode and then another and another and another until soon all the ship's magazines burned. The ship took with her many of her crew and split in half, the two sections remaining vertical for some time until they sank into the North Sea.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Gar



The Gar is my new fleet submarine. It is named after a fish because in the USN, many older boats were named after fish because of their sub-surface capabilities. My particular sub is an original design,although she does have some influences. Her design is mostly influenced by the early wartime Gatos, although I had some help from my type VII U-boat my uncle made me (it's only a model.)



Friday, August 27, 2010

Empress of Ireland

The Empress of Ireland was a Royal Mail Ship built in 1905. She had Two funnels and two masts, and was quite a bit smaller than the Titanic. Nevertheless, when she was struck by the SS. Storstad, she became the worst disaster in Canadian maritime history, losing eight more passengers than the earlier RMS Titanic. Her captain, Henry Kendall, survived the sinking. Total losses were 1,024.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Titanic




I have mentioned many ships in my posts that ought to be famous. Now I will have a post on one that has become part of the English language. We say the phrase "titanic disaster" and take the word "titanic" to mean some colossal disaster, not simply a huge object, not because it is an old part of speech, as it used to mean "large", but because in 1912 a colossal liner sank in the north Atlantic. I am, of course talking of White Star's Titanic. The disaster that gave her undying fame could have easily been avoided. With such a large piece of steel sailing at high speed though iceberg country, a disaster was bound to happen. She should have gone to full stop until morning. After all, the passengers would not have cared much, as she was a floating palace rivaling the best hotels in Europe. She probably should not have even been that far north, as she could have just sailed right across the open ocean. Murdoch could have kept going at full speed toward the Iceberg so his ship could turn faster. Also, if the ship had rammed the iceberg straight on, she could have still limped to Canada. And obviously, she should have had more lifeboats. But as things turned out, the Titanic did strike an iceberg, and the lesson was learned, and never again would a liner carry too few lifeboats.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lusitania


The Lusitania was a very famous liner, whose end is usually thought to have brought the US into world war 1. This is not actually the full case. While her violent end contributed to the US' entry into war, it was not actually the last straw. That was the Mexican telegram. But the Lusitania is still worth mentioning, as she is, along with the Titanic, one of the most famous liners of all time. Her last photograph, strangely enough, resembles the last full photos of the Titanic as she sails into history, and the Hood as she goes to engage the Bismark. The Lusitania was the first passenger ship to be equipped with Turbines, and is the first liner I know of to be sunk by a U-boat. She had many so-called fans who were certain that she was the most comfortable ship afloat, despite the advent of White Star's Olympic, Titanic and Britannic. Lusitania, unlike Titanic, has not entered the English Language.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Timeline of Tanks, pt. 1

Let's start with the earliest tanks. Little Willie is the first tank, and thus the ancestor of all tanks( except the lozenge tanks, they will be dealt with in a later post). Next in the line of development is the Renault FT 17, the first tank to go into production with a revolving turret. Then the line splits into three parts, one being the French Infantry support tanks which were designed using the same doctrine through the 30s. This line was killed by the German invasion. The second line was the British half-breeds, using experience with Whippet mediums as well as improvements from FT 17s. These led to the Infantry tanks and combining with the Cruiser line developed into the Centurion, and thus to modern British tanks, making this second line the only one to survive into the 21st century. The third line was the American tanks developed as prototypes in the 20s and 30s, eventually leading to the M3 and M4, both of which were designed using similar principals to the British and Japanese.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Landship Overload

Battleships, Frigates, Cruisers... these were all names the Brits thought they could apply to tanks. One of the stranger things brought on by this was tanks with up to five turrets, like the A1E1 Independent. The Americans and the Polish went so far as to use two turrets on their light tanks! The Russians actually put their multi-turret tanks, the t-28 and t-35 into service. The earliest tank with multiple turrets was the French Char 2c, whose two turrets and three hull mounted MGs were, if my guess is right, brought on by WW1 experience and not the concept of landships.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Achtung, Panzer!

The Blitzkrieg is usually thought of as a German concept. But it was actually British colonel Fuller who laid down the basis for it. Fuller was one of the first people to realize the full potential of tanks. He advocated the use of such vehicles en masse, with supporting infantry, not vice versa. But the army did not listen, instead splitting them up into so-called "Penny Packets" at various points along the front. Such spread out tactics meant that tanks were not easy to maintain, many being lost because they ran out of fuel! So it came to pass that the Nazis, not the allies, came to first use the massed armored formation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The First Tanks

Around the beginning of the first world war,many people had an idea. An armored tracked vehicle, also known as a tank. Leonardo Da Vinci invented something like the tank, but his design was never built, at least for war service( There is a replica in Israel). But the British were the first to actually build one. The Royal Navy actually were the supporters of the idea, even going so far as to create a "Landship Committee" for them! While Little Willie was the first tank, Big Willie was the first to be accepted. The Tank Mark One entered service in 1916, scaring enemy soldiers it encountered out of their wits. Many Mark 1s were built, but they were quickly followed by the marks 2 and 3. The Mark 4 was the classic model of what now became known as the Rhomboid or Lozenge Tank.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Enter Germany

Two hundred years ago, there was no such thing as a united German state. There was just a shambles of what were in many cases hardly anything more than city-states. The city of Hanover was owned by Britain, as 96 or so years before 1810 the Elector of Hanover was asked to be the king of England, thus preventing the catholic Stuarts from taking over. Prussia was a great kingdom but it had recently been humbled by Napoleon, as had Austria-Hungary, the erstwhile Holy Roman Empire. The breakup of that nation by Bonaparte had left the Germans a heap of tiny countries. But the Prussians eventually sealed them all into one kingdom. But some aspects of this made it seem like it was done with masking tape, the Prussians going so far as to retain the kings of some of the incorporated nations! And this was the nation that fought the First World War! But shambles or not,the Germans managed to make a very strong Army, and to make a fleet that almost rivaled Britain's. They had awesome warplanes and infamous flyers. And most of all, they managed to make a stand against the Allies for four years of total war.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

HMS Little Belt 2

I forgot to write about my finished sloop! She can mount 20 guns along a single gun deck. I named her after the HMS Little Belt, a 22 gun sloop that was attacked before the war of 1812 by the USA, partially in revenge for the explosive Leopard-Chesapeake incident of 1809. Those events took place when HMS Leopard, 50 guns attacked USS Chesapeake, 38 guns for not giving up "British deserters" some of whom may even have been American. The British statement had some truth in it as the words "Nelson and "Trafalgar" were painted on some of USS Constitution's gunports in her battle against the Guerriere! The Little Belt 2 is about two feet long.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Trafalgar

On Oct.21,1805 HMS Victory was given a signal indicating that the Franco-Spanish Combined Fleet was coming out of port. The Victory's reply: "England Expects that every man will do his duty" followed by "engage the enemy". Admiral Collingwood in the Royal Sovereign was the first ship to go into action, exchanging shots with the Fougueux. Soon both squadrons had cut through the French line, with the northerly ships all giving their deadly greetings to the French flagship Bucentaur. The Victory became locked in combat with the Redoubtable, one of the latter's sharpshooters mortally wounding Nelson. The Belleisle was surrounded with combined fleet ships, and she fought courageously until other British ships came to the rescue.The Santisima Trinidad soldiered on for hours. A British ship saw her colors obscured by rigging and asked for the Trinidad's surrender. they were politely sent back to their ships, the Trinidad holding out for another few hours before finally surrendering. She sank after the battle but there is a reconstruction of her in Malaga, Spain. It is full size. The Redoubtable was very badly damaged and had to surrender after many hours sandwiched between Victory and Temereire. One of her sharpshooters killed Lord Nelson. Soon the battle had ended, but not before a French ship exploded and sank. Unfortunately for the crews, a storm destroyed most of the prizes, the Spanish later taking back one of theirs. Back in England one person described the scene as this: "the only signs of a great victory are posters saying alas, poor Nelson". After this, the Combined fleet was crushed, and any French hopes of invading England were dashed on the rocks off Spain.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Ship of the Line

In the 18th century, the most powerful ship in most fleets was the ship of the line. They fought huge battles like Trafalgar and Cape st. Vincent. They were First Rates, of 100 guns or more, Second Rates, of 80 to 98 guns, and Third Rates, usually carrying 74 guns. The Spanish owned a warship of around 144 guns, the Santissima Trinidad, which was sunk at Trafalgar. The usual ship in the British fleet was the Third Rate. Only one example survives in full to this day, and that is the HMS Victory. She is a museum in Portsmouth.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Uncle Sam's Dreadnoughts

In 1905 the USN authorized the construction of two all big gun battleships before the Dreadnought. These ships, North Carolina and Michigan, were four years building when finally completed in 1909-10. Soon, the USN had completed its dreadnoughts laid down after them, and soon had six. The Wyoming class that came next had one more turret than the Delawares and the improved Floridas, making for a six turret layout. The following New York class were completed in 1914 and authorized in 1910, so if one counts a ships history from authorization day onward, the Texas is 100 years old. The USN built five classes of dreadnoughts armed with 14-inch guns, among them the New Yorks. The West Virginia class had its last member quelled by the Washington Treaty of 1921.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Challenge of a Continent

In 1865, the United States had one of the most powerful fleets in the world. But it was soon to fall into ruin in the wake of the violent tearing apart and pasting together of the United States. There was more to think about than an oceanic fleet. But it did leave the country open to attack by foreign powers, and even Brazil and Chile had finer ships. But out of the internal struggle the United States had truly been formed as a nation. It has been less than fifty years since the effects of the southern society were finally quelled, and as evil as they were many elements remain with us today. But from all this we emerged a bag of gold sitting on the road, just waiting to be stolen. But in the 1880s, that image changed. We evolved a powerful fleet. And then we felt prepared for anything. Suddenly, in Havana harbor, one of the most powerful ships in the fleet, the battleship Maine, was destroyed by an explosion, taken to be connected to Spanish sabotage. The fire was later found to be a coal dust related accident, but intentional or not it still changed world history. We destroyed the Spanish fleet and took their empire. This was the end of one empire and the beginning of another. The road to the bomb was started. The American Empire had begun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Warsaw



I have built a Lego battlecruiser! Its name is the Warsaw(it is Polish) and it is huge! It's at least six feet long and is armed with eleven 13.5 inch guns(in Lego scale of course). It also took two weeks to build. It does not yet have its secondary armament or tops for some of its turrets. It is modeled after the Derrflinger class battlecruisers. Its admiral's bridge is also not fitted.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

the empires

Around the turn of the 19th century, a little island was added to the British Empire. Ireland had long been a territory of england, but had yet until then been an official part of the empire. This in my mind started the Imperial Age, in which random European upstarts and the USA rushed to grab land from locals and destroy the old empire, Spain. After the armada Spain had started to crumble, bereft of funds because of the desperate failure to destroy England. Her facade looked magnificent, but inside she was growing old and weak. The wars of the 18th and early 19th centuries helped to destroy her, and along with this her colonies broke away from her, leaving only the Philippines and Cuba. But another country was already setting its eyes on those possessions. The USA soon captured them in the Spanish-American war. Soon countries all over Europe had grabbed possessions in Africa and Asia if they hadn't done it already. Soon rivalries were formed that would tear Europe apart.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jutland: the battlecruiser is dropped... for the time being

Off Denmark in 1916, a ship called Invincible was hit on its P-turret, starting a fire that spread to her magazines. The ship was blown in half, the two torn ends resting on the seabed, their points sticking out of the water like steel icebergs. Eventually, the pieces came to rest in their entirety on the seabed, the A- turret's roof blown completely off. For many, the four battlecruisers sunk during the course of the huge battle mark the beginning of the end for the concept. But there is a catch. one of four light battlecruisers under construction, Furious, was taken in hand for a series of modifications that would change history. But the effect upon the battleship was, on the outside, minimal. No Dreadnoughts had been lost by either side. But there's the rub. battleship-versus-battleship combat, with the addition of the dreadnought factor, is indecisive unless one side drastically outnumbers the other. With combat between battleships and the descendants of Furious the results would be different. The dome was broken. That was the effect of Jutland.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Glass Dome

Apart from Jutland, most of the Naval Engagements were fought between Battlecruisers in the First World War, thus keeping alive the notion of Battleships as the supreme weapons. This also preserved the idea that Battleship warfare could affect the balance of war. There had been minor actions, like the encounter between Yavuz Sultan Selim ( a Turkish Battlecruiser) and the pre-dreadnought Russian Black Sea Fleet. Also, a British pre-dreadnought was briefly involved in the Battle of the Falklands. At the Dardanelles, Allied Battleships pounded Turkish Forts. But it was Jutland that, if those who were totally obsessed with the idea were right, would decide the Naval War 1914-18, and as it turned out its results would shatter the dome of supposed invincibility that shrouded the big gun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Christopher Forum, July, 1910

The Royal Navy And the High Sea Fleet are engaged in an arms race that may even lead to war. Sir John Fisher has also retired from his post as First Sea Lord. But the USA is caching up and has just authorized the first of a new class of battleship to be called the Texas. The Imperial Japanese navy is also expanding, and the naval bug seems to be catching on all around the World. The Balkans are splitting off from the Ottoman Empire, and so are the Greeks. Greece has ordered a powerful Armored Cruiser to harass Turkish shipping. Stay tuned,this is The Christopher Forum.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The two Battlecruisers

In 1908, it was announced that, due to the new German dreadnought program, the royal navy would embark on a program that would result in no less than eight Battleships and Armored Cruisers. From 1906, the Royal navy was working on a new type of Armored Cruiser that would eventually not only replace the Battleship, but replace the Battleship concept itself, possibly the oldest military concept of all. Its name is Invincible, and it lies on the seabed where it was destroyed in 1916 during the battle of Jutland. Although they were lightly armored and as ships they seemed to be failures, their German adversaries being strong and powerful ships, in my mind at least the British concept wins the day, for out of it rose the first of a kind that would destroy the age old clash of surface fleet vs surface fleet. There are two kinds of these ships, those deemed failures by many interested in the subject. The first is ships like Invincible, those that carry heavy guns. The second has examples all over the world, prowling the seas in peaceful and violent operations alike. Today, I will examine the sole example of what is usually called an "Aircraft Carrier" that I have seen, the USS Lexington, a museum ship in Corpus Christi, Texas( Please Visit!) Lexington was commissioned in 1943, and served with distinction in the Pacific Theater of World War Two. Originally to be named Cabot, she was renamed in honor of the CV-2 sunk in 1942. She served under Halsey at Leyte,and thus engaged Ozawa's decoy squadron. She also has the distinction of being hit by a Kamikaze. That is all, Christopher.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fisher's Revolution

On October 21, 1905, the hundredth anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar, the British announced to the world their laying down of a Battleship that would change the course of not just battleship history but the history of the twentieth century. HMS Dreadnought was not the first all-big-gun design, or for that matter the first ship of that type to be laid down. But as it turned out , she was the the first one to be completed, otherwise her type would be known as "Satsumas" instead of "Dreadnoughts"( the Satsuma, by the way, was laid down by the Japanese before Tsushima even happened, but was completed a Pre-Dreadnought). Jackie Fisher, the brilliant first lord that dreamed up Dreadnought, was a very Eccentric man. He had once commanded one of the most powerful ships in the fleet, which was scrapped in 1903. Eventually becoming the first lord, he scrapped most of the out dated ships in the Navy, starting the development of the modern Royal Navy, and indirectly setting an example for many other navies all over the world.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tsushima

On May 27, 1905, a huge Russian fleet steamed through the mist off the coast of Korea, where unbeknown to them a Japanese fleet lay in anticipation of battle. The two countries had been at war for over a year, and the Russians were sailing for Vladivostok to replenish their pacific fleet, which, although it was more powerful had been almost totally destroyed. Soon the battle-squadron, with the battleship Kniaz Suvorov leading the first division, Oslyabya leading the second, and Nicolas 1 leading the third, was met by the Japanese. First, the Mikasa and Asashi zeroed in on the Suvorov, the rest engaging Oslyabya, which was quickly set on fire. She was the first battleship of the Modern Era to be sunk entirely by gunfire. Worse, admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky aboard the Suvorov was wounded, throwing the Russian fleet into disorder. The Japanese, however, still had full command in their fleet and eventually sank most if not all of the Russian Battleships.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the Rising Sun

Tsushima: a legendary battle with no less than 8 Russian battleships lost! Combine that with the number of Russian capital ships lost earlier in the war and the grand total comes out to be 15! How did this happen so fast? and who made it happen? Japan was not colonized by Europeans like China and India, so it was very isolationistic. But then, perhaps wanting to grab a valuable piece of Asia for itself, the USA sent over commodore Perry to open up Japan to trade and Colonization. His only mistake was to bring steam frigates! The Japanese, being a culture with Samurai couldn't get enough of these new weapons! After Perry left, the Shogun tried to keep things the way they had been but failed, civil turmoil eventually leading to the Meiji Uprising and the end of the old way of life. The new emperor had a great desire to modernize Japan, introducing new cutting edge weapons systems unheard of 20 years before, and by the late 1880s they were ready to take on china and win, and win they did. Now they were firmly established as a country not to pick on, Japan started ordering Battleships from the Kings Of Battleships: Vickers and Armstrong and the British steel industry in general. Soon, she would take on Russia in the first pre-dreadnought war: the Russo-Japanese War, a war that would make Battleship history.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Influence Of Seapower upon History

The battleships of about 1888 to 1905 are known as Pre-Dreadnoughts because they were the classes that immediately preceded HMS Dreadnought. They were the most powerful ships yet seen, dominating waters worldwide, and being the centerpiece of the arms races that had been going on for centuries, the most obvious of these being between Britain and France. But a bit before the era even started, a manuscript was published by a little-known US naval officer, Captain A.T. Mahan, that would change the world balance dramatically, eventually resulting in the passing of the torch from the old world to the new. In many countries, but especially Germany, this booklet was taken very seriously. In that country, battleships started to be built that would eventually start to pose a threat to Britain, switching its opponents from France and Russia to Germany, although there were some perceived threats from those two countries. But then there was a conflict that would change world history and decimate the proud fleet of the Russian Empire: the sun was rising in the far east and shining on Japan.

Monday, June 28, 2010

From Broadside Ironclads to Pre-Dreadnoughts

The Warrior was only the beginning. There would be many more of her type, like Affondatore. Eventually, Broadside Ironclads would change into Battery Ironclads, like Majestic. But this was not the chain of development for modern battleships. That started with Monitor. She fought a duel with Merrimac that I will not go into here. The main reason to mention her was her revolving turrets, meaning her guns could turn without the ship itself also doing so, giving her an advantage over other ships even though she had only two guns. She was the ancestor of such ships as Dreadnought and Yamato. Soon, most navies had picked up the idea and incorporated it into their ships, eventually turning it into the Pre-Dreadnought.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Steam and armor

The ship of the line was still the battleship used by the fleets as as factories destroyed the livelihoods of people all over the world. Their designs had gotten some upgrades but their basic principals were the same: Two to three decked wooden sailing ships of usually 74-120 guns, although this era saw the most prolific use of four-deckers, namely the Valmy and Pennsylvania. But things were about to change. The Valmy, while she was powerful, was the last sailing ship of the line built for France. The next ship on their agenda, the 92 gun Napoleon, was powered by steam. The British soon followed suit, and sail was outmoded. The French, having built some floating casemate batteries during the Russian War, soon after that built a ship that would finally force the royal navy and consequentially every other major navy to drop the use of the oldest shipbuilding material forever: the Gloire. The British then built the Warrior, a sixty gun frigate made of iron. No more would the graceful ships of the line be the unchallenged masters of the sea. No more would sails be of any real importance. And no more would that material that made up all the great ships in the British fleet past and present be used: wood.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Royal Navy vs. the world

The Royal Navy, while it seemed powerful, was wasting away in its seeming time of glory. While its ships were new, designed by Sir Tomas Slade, its tactics were an even more regulated and twisted version of Fighting Instructions. Its Leaders didn't dare defy its garbled rules, even if it was just because they were there. Until John Clerk. It was his tactics that Rodney used, if only partially, at the battle of the saints. His tactics that were the basics of those used by nelson. And speaking of Nelson, you can see his flagship at Portsmouth, England. If you want more on Victory, I'll do an entire post on her one of these days, so tune in for that! That's all,Christopher.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fighting Instructions

Oliver Cromwell, the man who caused, at least partially, the execution of Charles the first, is known for that deed and the protectorate. But what is not usually connected with him is the rebirth of the English Battleship, which he caused. It had started in the first dutch war. The English captains bungled many battles because they all used their own tactics, and with ships darting in between their fellows, friendly fire became a real hazard. What Cromwell eventually came up with was the new ranking system to go along with the tactics of a book called "Fighting Instructions". Now that I'm on the subject, let me introduce you to a little monster called fighting instructions. The book was meat to be taken literally, because it told you how to fight(and constrained your ability to fight). It had very strict rules, catching many officers in traps from which it was nearly impossible to escape, and indeed, many did not even try. But fortunately, some people, whether in the navy or outside it, were willing to try and, for a few of them, succeed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Great Armada

While the English did not really have any sort of rank, the Spaniards seem to have paid attention to regimentation. Their fleet had Galleons, Carracks, Pataches, Urcas, Galleys, and Galleasses. Today I will examine the first, and most famous, type on the list (which, by the way, comes from the Seafarers about my topic),the Galleon. Sometimes, people do not consider the main Spanish ships to be Galleons. Actually, their Galleons were great warships, and indeed, the explanation of the English caution to attack them (and they were very cautious) could be stemmed from the size of these warships. However,these ships had one fatal flaw. The English ships were much faster than the Spaniards meaning the English ships could pop in and out with ease, their tactic being to let loose their ragged broadsides into the Spanish ships' sterns. Nevertheless, the only Galleons lost were sunk by collision or grounding.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Vikings

The very name of the famed Northmen would come to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies. Like the Greeks,they too had a complex system of rank involving ships like drakkars and longships. But they were important because their ships would successively evolve into the ships of today. This was the true genesis of the modern battleship. The Middle Ages had only one great sea fight that I can think of, the battle of Crecy. All the powers in the High Middle Ages except the Byzantines did not have rank. In fact, The all-important system of regimentation was lost in the English fleet until the days of Oliver Cromwell.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

3. Imperial Roman Battleships

With the Romans it was the same. The first warship they had was a wrecked Carthaginian Quinquereme( a large four-banked Polyreme, the classification for anything with more banks of oars than a Monoreme,the class including Moneres.) But then everything changed. It started with the Bireme losing its outriggers. Eventually, the little Bireme would evolve into first the Liburnian, then with the addition of the lateen sail they would come to equal the Trireme and then replace it as the ruler of the Mediterranean sea. In fact, the Dromons and Sealanders of the Byzantines could all trace their ancestry right back to the Biremes. But apart from these ships, the world of the early Byzantines was devoid of information until some raiders from the north established their name: Vikings.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Battleships pt. 2: the Greeks

But the Greeks were different. Unlike the Egyptians,who had just big galleys and small galleys, they had ranks of galleys depending on their oars. For example: Monoremes,Biremes, and Triremes. Today, I'll take a look at the main ships: Triremes, which were the first ships that I think could be called battleships. These were the main ships in fleets all around Greece and beyond. Ships in the fleets 1: Triremes. The Trireme was so named for its three banks of oars, identifying it as a large galley. Its huge ram was made not out of iron but bronze, being harder than copper or wood. They were tall,but not to tall as to impair their fighting ability.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Christopher History of the battleship: battleships in ancient days Part 1

The Battleship. A powerful name which came to mean(for many people that is) any large ship with guns. But that, as you shall see, is not the true meaning of the word. For me, the word "battleship" is the main fighting ship in any given navy from the the Greeks to the 1960s.1: The Pre-Greek warship. In my intro, I could have said from the Egyptians onwards. Why the Egyptians I will explain in this chapter,and why onwards shall be dealt with in the last chapter. The Egyptians had a strong fleet, BUT theirs was not,I believe a system of ship ranks. This is what made the Greeks special. tune in next time for that, Christopher.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yomicon

I'm going to a manga festival ( aka con)! There are (obviously) going to be many manga fans there(including my sister and my friend Ella,who,no offense, are quite enough fans for me). My brother really really does not want to go. I do not actually care either way. BOOK TIME!!! if you are like me then you must read the Seafarers series!YOU MUST!!!!!!!! they are a super awesome time-life series from the latest 1970s and early 1980s. I repeat: YOU MUST READ THESE BOOKS!!! they are SOOO GOOD!!! GET ONE OF THEM NOW!!! That is all,Christopher.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ships

I just learned a new trick to drawing ships of the line! All you must do for a beak-head is make the front of the stem look like a flat beak-head and then widen it out into the 3d shape. Willem van de Velde the elder and the younger were a Dutch father and son team of fantastic ship artists. In the late 17th century, they painted many fine works for Dutch patrons. Eventually moving to England,they did the opposite of what they had done for the Dutch: painting English victories during the Dutch wars. That is all, Christopher. PS. I got my Van de Velde info from the book from the time-life series The Seafarers called The Men-At-War.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lego ship

I forgot to post the completion of my Lego ship on May 29! For shame! She has 20 guns,a stern gallery and is totally huge! Unfortunately, her hull extends down to the keel, meaning she must be supported by two other Lego ships. She does not have any rigging. I went to violin today! I can now play with the bow! That is all, Christopher.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Airship Game

Me and my friends play a complicated game called the Airship Game. We are sky pirates who raid enemy merchants for past grievances. Pat(my brother) is Captain Jack Harckness, a character from Doctor Who and Torchwood.I am a character called Richard,of my own invention. Afton is a time lord,and Marina is the Captain of the ship. Afton and Marina are two of my friends. My character can travel through time and goes many different places. That's all for now, Christopher.

Airship Game

This post is a goof so sorreeeee! (nois lois Desmund Des.) If you want more on the airship game, go to the next post.

Monday, June 7, 2010

HMS Conway

HMS Conway was a Royal Navy ship of the line. She was designed in the 1820s by Sir Robert Seppings, the great naval architect(and one I do not know much about). Her original name was HMS Nile. Sadly, she was wrecked in whales as the school Conway in 1953. If this had not happened, she would accompany Victory as a ship of the line( although if you still count it her wreck,although burnt to the waterline,can still be seen at the place she sank when the tide is low.

Friday, June 4, 2010

more on dumb guys

Huggles says tis him coo. He is a Dumb Guy(and he made a cameo appearance in my last post). By this time you may be asking: what is a Dumb Guy? Well, they are very stupid stuffed animals that(I just realized this) can be classified into many groups: first off,the the basic groupings,store bought and homemade. Homemade Dumb guys are sown at home, while the second group is bought at a store or over the internet(duh). BUT, those two groups can be broken up into many smaller groups(My brother's mamegoma Porkins says hi). Speaking of Porkins, let's explain the store bought groups first. the first main group is the Nikkis(mamegoma). it includes True Nikkis and Higgenses. They are Japanese toys(CUTE!!!). The second are the Fofedesmuffs. They include the Desmonds, Fofins and Miffys. The Desmonds include true fwushes and pseudo-fwushes. The Miffys include miffys,cicis and shamoos.This post is long enough to be a two-parter(and my brother wants to use the computer)so I guess that's all for now,Christopher.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Archie



I got a new Mamegoma(Japanese plush seal)! His name is Archie(or to give his full title,Archibald the Dolphin)! Unfortunately, he is very stupid. His image should appear next to this post. Over to you Archie! Hi. I is duh. Tis him coo sometimes. Tis him Super Archie sometimes.KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Christopher: See what I mean? Well, I guess that's all for now, Christopher(Huggles the mamegoma says tis him coo).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Yesterday was Jutland Day! On that day in 1916, three British battle cruisers and one German battle cruiser were destroyed in one of the greatest(and most indecisive) sea battles of all time.They were:HMS Queen Mary,HMS Invincible(not so invincible as its namers would like to think!),HMS Indefatigable, and SMS Lutzow(the Lutzow was German).Christopher fact time! The Santissima Trinidad,a Spanish Ship of the line,had four gun decks and 144 cannon! Not surprisingly, She was the largest ship of her day.That is all,Christopher.

Friday, May 28, 2010




I built a lego ship! Well, not totally. But it is doing well! My mom uploaded these photos. Christopher Fact Time! Did you know that the USS Constitution in addition to the Guerriere captured the Java in 1813 and the Cyan and the Levant in 1814? Oh, and yes the 1812 war lasted from 1812(obviously) to 1815. That is all, Christopher.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Christopher Fact Time!

The B-17 is awesome! It's cool and Forties and all! But wait,is it really a Forties airplane? No, the B-17 is actually a product of some of the greatest aeronautical minds of the 1930s. What!? The B-17 is that big WW2 bomber that's all bad-ass! You know, the Flying Fortress! Actually, that's partially true. I said PARTIALLY true. The most famous model, the G, was indeed a Forties model. But the first model,the Boeing Model 299 was made in 1935.That Is All.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jutland Day!

May 29 is Memorial Day.Duh.BUT,May 29 is also Jutland Day!Wait, what!? Jutland Day? What's Jutland Day? Only the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland! The largest battleship fight in history! DUH! You don't know about Jutland Day(or at least I think you don't)? But I'm getting ahead of myself. I should post something about Jutland on Jutland Day, not the eve of the eve of the eve of the eve of Jutland Day! Double Duh! I should be talking about stuff that happened today, not on May 31,1916! I went to my first violin lessons today! It was fun,except for the fact that all I did was hold the violin.(sigh.) Oh yes, and we went to the library! I got lots of books from the Time-Life series The Seafarers. They are about naval history. Duh.(Why do I say Duh so much?) Well, that's about it. Bye for now,Christopher.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Bloody 100th

I do not own a Lego B-17. I want to own one but I do not.Them and Libs (B-24s to you and me) were both at Regensburg, at least I believe they were.THIS IS AN INTRODUCTION TO THE AIRPLANES, NOT THE BATTLE.B-24s had 8 crewmembers (at least I believe they did.)B-17s had a crew of 9.Both had four engines.I cannot tell any more because of time difficulties and I deeply apologize for that. THAT IS ALL.

Dunkirktoo

Dunkirk. Dunkirk Dunkirk Dunkirk.What shall I write about Dunkirk? The allied armour was poor before they withdrew, and after that, it went so far as to be non-existent.I own a Lego french tank from the time of Dunkirk.I built it myself a few months ago.It is a Char B1 Bis.

PS.I used the British spelling for "armor".
Tune in later for more on Dunkirk,THAT IS ALL.

Monday, May 24, 2010


70 years ago the Germans stopped their panzer divisions at gravelines, opening a huge gap for the allied forces to go through. This was the true beginning of the Dunkirk operation. My question about this is: why did the germans let them go? I guess we will never know. Speaking of military operations, I made a lego tank a few weeks ago. I also have some ideas about a WW1 biplane out of wire and canvas. THAT IS ALL.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

75th anniversary of the Flying Fortress


The B-17 Flying Fortress was a 4 engine bomber devised in 1935. Its first flight was on July 17, 1935. On July 17 of this year, it will be the 75th anniversary of this flight. Happy Fortress Day!