Friday, July 17, 2009

Fullbore Friday

What is guaranteed? What is given? What is honor? What is gained and lost? In the end, what matters?

Consider this war record.

In 1894, [he] followed his father's career into the Austro-Hungarian Navy, entering the naval academy at Rijeka (Fiume). He graduated four years later and completed two years of follow-on training voyages including a trip to Australia. In 1900 he was assigned to the armored cruiser Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia and was decorated for his performance during the Boxer Rebellion. In 1902 he passed the officer's examination.

[He] was fascinated by submarines, and in 1908 he seized the opportunity to be transferred to the newly-formed U-boot-Waffe. In 1910 he was given command of the newly-constructed U-6, which was christened by Agathe Whitehead, granddaughter of the Englishman Robert Whitehead, inventor of the torpedo.[2] He commanded U-6 until 1913.

On April 22, 1915, [he] took command of U-5 and conducted nine combat patrols. While in command of the U-5 he sank:

  • The French armored cruiser Léon Gambetta at 39.30N, 18.15E on April 21, 1915, 15 miles south of Cape Santa Maria di Leuca

He captured:

  • The Greek steamer Cefalonia off Durazzo on August 29, 1915

... June 8, 1916 [he] was transferred to the U-14.

On October 14, 1915 he was transferred to the captured French submarine Curie, which the Austrian Navy redesignated U-14. While in command of the U-14, he sank:

  • The British tanker Teakwood at 36.39N, 21.10E on April 28, 1917
  • The Italian steamer Antonio Sciesa at 36.39N, 21.15E on May 3, 1917
  • The Greek steamer Marionga Goulandris at 35.38N, 22.36E on July 5, 1917
  • The French steamer Constance at 36.51N, 17.25E on August 23, 1917
  • The British steamer Kilwinning at 35.26N, 16.30E on August 24, 1917
  • The British steamer Titian at 34.20N, 17.30E on August 26, 1917
  • The British steamer Nairn at 34.05N, 19.20E on August 28, 1917
  • The Italian steamer Milazzo 34.44N, 19.16E at on August 29, 1917
  • The British steamer Good Hope at 35.53N, 17.05E on October 18, 1917
  • The British steamer Elsiston at 35.40N, 17.28E on October 18, 1917
  • The Italian steamer Capo Di Monte at 34.53N, 19.50E on October 23, 1917

He conducted ten more war patrols, until, in May 1918, he was promoted to Korvettenkapitän (equal to Lieutenant Commander) and given command of the submarine base in the Gulf of Kotor.

At the end of World War I, [his] wartime record stood at 19 war patrols, 11 cargo vessels totalling 45,669 tons sunk, 1 cargo vessel captured, the French armored cruiser Léon Gambetta (12,600 tons) and the Italian submarine Nereide (225 tons). Among other honors, he received the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa.

What a great movie that career would make. Of course, you all know who he is don't you?
Georg Ludwig Ritter von Trapp was born in Zadar, Dalmatia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now in Croatia. His father, Fregattenkapitän August Trapp, was a naval officer who had been elevated to the Austrian nobility in 1876 which entitled him and his descendants to the style of Ritter von in the case of male and von in the case of female offspring. August Ritter von Trapp died in 1884, when Georg Ludwig was four. His mother was Hedwig Wepler. von Trapp's older sister was the Austrian artist Hede von Trapp. He also had a brother, Werner von Trapp, who died in World War I in 1915.

Korvettenkapitän Georg Ludwig Ritter von Trapp (April 4, 1880 – May 30, 1947) headed the Austrian singing family portrayed in the heavily-fictionalized musical The Sound of Music. His exploits at sea in World War I earned him numerous decorations, including the prestigious Military Order of Maria Theresa.
Too bad we only have this movie instead.

There are many lessons you can take from the good LCDR, but running from hopeless political problems isn't one of them. We don't have a George Ludwig von Trapp option.

Mark Steyn
is right - this is where you make your stand. You have nowhere else to go.

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