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


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


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.