Friday, July 22, 2016

Fullbore Friday

Great lessons from both sides - but the most important is the results of two naval mindsets; the defensive mindset vs. that offensive mindset.

History shows which usually wins.

New, fast and modern forces with a defensive mindset against old, slower - but aggressive.

The results? OPERATION JUDGEMENT; The Raid on Toranto.

Going to war in your SDBs, what's not to like? What were they looking at?
A last line of early warning was offered by 13 sound-detection devices placed at strategic points around the harbour. These were capable of detecting aircraft out to 25 nautical miles (29 miles or 46km). This was sufficient to bring to alert the searchlight and gun crews, though not enough for an effective air-defence scramble.

Then there were the 22 searchlights strung out around both harbours in the hope of catching attacking ships and aircraft in their beams to provide easier sighting for the array of defending guns.

Defending the base was 21 gun batteries of dual-purpose – though World War I vintage - 4in guns. On the shore were 13 mounts, while the remaining eight were installed on immobile barges anchored along the boundary of the Mar Grande.

Close-range protection was offered 84 20mm Breda anti-aircraft guns and 109 13.2mm Breda machine guns. These were in a mix of single and twin mounts.

Finally, there were the guns and searchlights aboard the warships themselves.
Read the whole thing over at ArmouredCarriers. Just superb.

If you are lazy, wedge out most of an hour for the below videos.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ode to a Frigate

The USS THACH (FFG 43) represented the PERRY Class frigate well. OHP's proved it actually combat conditions with Sammy-B and STARK that they could take a hit. 

Even alone, without her Sailors to help her - at the RIMPAC SINKEX the THACH showed what the class was made of.

Well done.

Monday, July 18, 2016

SECNAV, When You've Lost ViceNews ....

This sad little vanity project is well known to the folks here on the Front Porch, but it appears that the smell could not be contained.

As reported by Justin Rohrlich at Vice;
In an October 2009 speech at the Naval Energy Forum, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who had taken over the post six months before, unveiled five energy targets he wanted the Navy to hit over the course of the following decade.

"Energy reform is a strategic imperative," he said.

One of the targets involved the deployment, by 2016, of what he called the Great Green Fleet, a carrier strike group "composed of nuclear ships, surface combatants equipped with hybrid electric alternative power systems running biofuel, and aircraft flying only [on] biofuels."

Three years later, following a vicious battle with Republican legislators over the initiative, a 50/50 blend of chicken fat and conventional petroleum successfully powered two destroyers and a cruiser for two days during a month-long warfare exercise in Hawaii. The feat required 450,000 gallons of biofuel at a cost of $12 million;
We should all give credit to Rep. Duncan Hunter The Younger (R-CA) for his clarity on this topic;
For 2016, the Navy has purchased just under 80 million gallons of the 10/90 biofuel blend, about 6 percent of the 1.3 billion gallons of fuel the Navy uses annually. The Navy paid $2.05 per gallon, which is roughly in line with the cost of regular marine diesel thanks to robust biofuel subsidies from the US government, though that hasn't satisfied the program's detractors.

"There's more important shit to spend money on in the military, period," says US Representative Duncan Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran and Republican congressman from San Diego, principal homeport of the Navy's Pacific Fleet.

He describes the decision-makers behind the Great Green Fleet as "all the smartest guys that went to the John F. Kennedy School of Smart People," and calls their interest in biofuels "just stupid."
This adds no value to our Navy and actually is counter-productive;
A recent analysis by Transport & Environment, a European conservation group, found that biodiesel made from palm oil leads to three times the overall CO2 emissions of regular petroleum-based diesel. Therefore the biofuel the Navy took on in the Mediterranean earlier this year arguably enlarged its carbon footprint.

"The Department of Energy is investing a lot of money into algae-based fuels, which are promising, but often the greenest fuels are also the most expensive ones," says Emily Cassidy, a research analyst at the Washington, DC-based Environmental Working Group.

The Navy has paid as much as $424 a gallon for algae-based biofuel in the past…

Biofuels need to be created from something, and according to a report released last year by the nonpartisan World Resources Institute, a Washington, DC-based research group, meeting 20 percent of global energy demand using plant-based biofuels by 2050 "would require humanity to at least double the world's annual harvest of plant material in all its forms.... Therefore, the quest for bioenergy at a meaningful scale is both unrealistic and unsustainable."
In the end, this isn’t just a wasteful vanity project by the SECNAV, but embarrassing for all the good people whose professional lives are impacted by supporting it.
Somerville says that "the Navy is essentially doing, well, I don't really know what they're doing. I suppose they're making a statement that they want renewables."

Hunter's take is that a "green [Navy] sounds great to a large part of the population that votes a specific way."

And Heinberg says it's due to nothing short of an existential crisis.

"[Navy officials] see the future of oil as bleak, and without oil, how do they stay in business? There is no real answer," he says. "They've got to grasp at some straw or another, and this is the one that's nearest.... But just because people need something doesn't mean it exists."
What a boondoggle.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Russia in 2016 with Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg - on Midrats

From the sacking of the Baltic Fleet leadership, fighting in Syria, to developments from Central Asia to the Pacific - Russia in 2016 is on the move.

To discuss the who, what, where, and why of Russia in 2016, our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg, Senior Analyst, CNA Strategic Studies, an Associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, an author, and host of the Russian Military Reform blog.

Dr. Gorenburg focuses his research on security issues in the former Soviet Union, Russian military reform, Russian foreign policy, ethnic politics and identity, and Russian regional politics. He is also the editor of the journals Problems of Post-Communism and Russian Politics and Law and a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project. From 2005 through 2010, he was the Executive Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Scarborough Shoals - the Musical

Would it be possible to commission this work by the USNA Men's Glee Club?

Anyway - just because. As sung to the tune, "Scarborough Fair" by Simon & Garfunkel;
Are you going to Scarborough Shoals?
Sand, militia, lawfare & drones
Remember they were once pristine coral reefs
Well below mean highwater lines

Tell her to make me a barong shirt

Sand, militia, lawfare & drones
(Making a bunker of crushed coral sand)
Without no SAPR nor observance months
(Diesel and youtube a fish of 9-dashed lines)
Then she’ll be a territory of mine
(Anchors unaware of the changing tide)
Tell her to find me another small reef

Sand, militia, lawfare & drones
(Plow the oceans with so many lies)
Between the salt water and the sea strand
(A soldier cleans and polished a gun)
Then she’ll be a territory of mine

Tell her to reap it in a sickle of bamboo

Sand, militia, lawfare & drones
(Admirals order their Sailors to kill)
And to gather it all in a bunch of dredges
(And to fight for a cause they’ve just now invented)
Then she’ll be a territory of mine

Are you going to Scarborough Shoals?
Sand, militia, lawfare & drones
Remember they were once pristine coral reefs
Then she’ll be a territory of mine

Hat tip Tom Ricks.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fullbore Friday

A minor ship in a minor action - but for every Sailor lost at sea in combat, all are equal.

Loss of USS Magpie, 1 October 1950

Brief narrative report of loss of USS Magpie while on Minesweeping duty off Chusan Po, Korea. Ship’s forward portion exploded and after section settled by the head when Magpie struck a mine. 12 survivors.
10 October 1950
USS Dixie (AD 14)
From: CARPENTER, Vail P., BMC, 393 08 57 US Navy
To: Secretary of the Navy
(1) Commander Mine Division Fifty-two
(2) Commander United Nations Blockading and Escort Force, Far East
(3) Commander Naval Forces, Far East
(4) Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet
(5) Chief of Naval Operations
Subject: Loss of the USS MAGPIE (AMS25)
Reference: US Navy Regulations 1948, Article 0778
1. As senior survivor of the USS MAGPIE (AMS25), my version of the MAGPIE loss is as follows: At about 1700, minus 9 zone time, 1 October 1950, I was on watch on the fantail, during mine-sweeping operations. The starboard sweep gear and magnetic tail were streamed. Three hundred fathoms of sweep wire was in use. We were in approximate position latitude 36-30 N., longitude 129-30 E., off Chusan Po, Korea, and on a southerly course. Steaming at ten knots. The USS MERGANSER (AMS26) was stationed about five hundred yards astern and to starboard of the MAGPIE. At about this time there was a tremendous explosion forward and the entire forward portion of the ship, forward of the stack, appeared to explode. The remainder of the ship immediately started to settle by the head. During this period I took shelter under the towing winch but could see forward. After the debris stopped falling I assisted in launching the port after ten-man life raft. After that I proceeded as far forward as I could to the break abreast of the stack, on both port and starboard sides, with the view of assisting any survivors or saving the ship. I encountered no one. After this inspection I abandoned ship, port side, to assist BENNETT, 365 32 49, EMFN, USN, who was in the water and shouting for help. BENNETT was injured and unable to adjust and inflate his life jacket. I assisted BENNETT to the raft and both of us boarded the raft. After being in the water and on the raft for a period of about thirty minutes, the USS MERGANSER (AMS26) Wherry towed us to the MERGANSER.
2. There were twelve survivors: CARLOCK, Dale T., 344 79 03, FN, USN; CARPENTER, Vail P., 393 08 57, BMC, USN; DOBBS, Thomas D., 325 16 58, ETSN, USN; ESPINOZA, Leo L., 369 20 83, SN, USN; KEPFORD, James W., 345 02 15, FN, USN; McCLAIN, James H., 569 02 59, FN, USN; HARRISON, William E., 234 41 27, GM3, USN; BENNETT, Alex W., 365 32 49, EMFN, USN; BENSON, Richard B., 325 74 34, SN, USN; BLASSINGAME, Henry A., 581 07 35, CSSA, USN; KASTENS, Howard L., 344 82 35, USN; SANDERS, Howard W., 570 94 48, QM3, USN. The first seven survivors are now quartered on board USS DIXIE (AD14). The last five were transferred by USS MERGANSER to USS REPOSE (AH15) at Pusan, Korea for treatment. I do not know what disposition was later made of them.
3. To the best of my knowledge all records and logs were lost, except pay accounts which were on board the USS DIXIE (AD14). Pay account of HARRISON, W.E., 234 41 27, USN, were lost with the USS MAGPIE.
4. It is understood that Commander United Nations Blockading and Escort Force, Far East, had ordered an investigation to inquire into the circumstances resulting in the sinking of the USS MAGPIE and the injury or loss of the members of her crew. – (signed) VAIL P. CARPENTER

LT. (jg) Warren R. Person, USN, Pacific Grove, CA
LT. (jg) Donald V. Wanee, USN, Gardena, CA
ENS. Robert E. Wainwright, USN, North Andover, MA
ENS. Robert W. Langwell, USN, Indianapolis, IN
Robert A. Beck, BMC, USN, Richmond, CA
Richard D. Scott, BM1, USN, Peru, IN
Seth D. Durkee, QM1, USN, Cashmere, WA
George G. Cloud, EN1, USN, Oakland, CA
Lloyd E. Hughes, CS1, USN, Ottawa, KS
Roy A. Davis, HM1, USN, Russellville, KY
Cleveland G. Rogers, SO2, USN, Foxworth, MS
Richard A. Coleman, YBN3, USN, Lewistown, MT
Vincente Q. Ferjaran, SD3, USN, Asan, Guam
Charles R. Bash, RDSN, USN, Dixon Valley, PA
Theodore A. Cook, QMSN, USN, Sacramento, CA
Stanley L. Calhoun, EMFN, USN, Pembroke, KY
James C. Dowell, EMFN, USN, Stockton, CA
Harry E. Ferrell, ENFN, USN, Cleveland, OH
Charles T. Horton, CSSN, USN, Columbiana, AL
Eugene P. Krouskoupf, SN, USN, Zanesville, OH
Most Sailors who are lost at sea are never found. Their families have no body to honor or lay to rest.

Well, ENS Langwell;
welcome home.
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
U.S. Navy Ensign Robert W. Langwell, of Columbus, Ind., will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on July 12. On Oct. 1, 1950, Langwell was serving on the minesweeper USS Magpie when it sank after striking an enemy mine off the coast of Chuksan-ri, South Korea. Twelve crewmen were rescued, but Langwell was one of 20 men lost at sea.
In June 2008, personnel from the Republic of South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense Agency for Killed in Action Recovery and Identification (MAKRI) canvassed towns in South Korea in an effort to gather information regarding South Korean soldiers unaccounted-for from the Korean War. An elderly fisherman, interviewed in the village of Chuksan-ri, reported that he and other villagers had buried an American serviceman in 1950 when his body was caught in the man’s fishing net.

The MAKRI located the burial site on April 28, 2009, where they excavated human remains and military artifacts. The burial site was approximately three miles west of where the USS Magpie sank in 1950. The team turned the remains and artifacts over to U.S. Forces Korea, which sent them to Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command for analysis.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, JPAC scientists used dental comparisons in the identification of Langwell’s remains.

With Langwell’s accounting, 8,025 service members still remain missing from the Korean War.

This FbF first posted July 2010.