Friday, August 25, 2017

Fw: TheList 4530



The List 4530
To All,
I hope your week has been going well. More history items today
Regards,
Skip
 
This Day In Naval History - August 24
1814 - British invasion of Maryland and Washington, D.C.; Washington Navy Yard and ships burned to prevent capture by the British
1912: The collier, USS Jupiter, is launched. The vessel is the first electrically-propelled Navy ship. She is renamed USS Langley in April 1920 with the designation of aircraft carrier CV-1 and a few months later becomes the Navy's first aircraft carrier in March 1922 following conversion.
 
1942 - U.S. carrier aircraft begin 2-day Battle of Eastern Solomons where Japanese task force defeated and one Japanese carrier sunk. Japanese recall expedition to recapture Guadalcanal.
1960 - USS Bexar (APA-237) deploys to Pangahan Province in response to emergency request for aid from the Province's governor.
1992 - USS Essex (LHD 2) is commissioned without ceremony from Pascagoula, Miss., in order to take part in an emergency sortie to avoid Hurricane Andrew. After transiting through the Panama Canal, USS Essex is officially commissioned Oct. 17 at Naval Air Station, North Island, San Diego.
 
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August 24
79
Mount Vesuvius erupts destroying Pompeii, Stabiae, Herculaneum and other smaller settlements.
410
German barbarians sack Rome.
1542
In South America, Gonzalo Pizarro returns to the mouth of the Amazon River after having sailed the length of the great river as far as the Andes Mountains.
1572
Some 50,000 people are put to death in the 'Massacre of St. Bartholomew' as Charles IX of France attempts to rid the country of Huguenots.
1780
King Louis XVI abolishes torture as a means to get suspects to confess.
1814
British troops under General Robert Ross capture Washington, D.C., which they set on fire in retaliation for the American burning of the parliament building in York (Toronto), the capital of Upper Canada.
1847
Charlotte Bronte, using the pseudonym Currer Bell, sends a manuscript of Jane Eyre to her publisher in London.
1869
Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York, patents the waffle iron.
1891
Thomas Edison files a patent for the motion picture camera.
1894
Congress passes the first graduated income tax law, which is declared unconstitutional the next year.
1896
Thomas Brooks is shot and killed by an unknown assailant beginning a six year feud with the McFarland family.
1912
By an act of Congress, Alaska is given a territorial legislature of two houses.
1942
In the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the third carrier-versus-carrier battle of the war, U.S. naval forces defeat a Japanese force attempting to screen reinforcements for the Guadalcanal fighting.
1948
Edith Mae Irby becomes the first African-American student to attend the University of Arkansas.
1954
Congress outlaws the Communist Party in the United States.
1963
The US State Department cables its embassy in Saigon that if South Vietnam's president Ngo Dinh Diem does not remove his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu as his political adviser the US would explore alternative leadership, setting the stage for a coup by ARVN generals.
1975
The principal leaders of Greece's 1967 coup—Georgios Papadopoulos, Stylianos Pattakos, and Nikolaos Maarezos—are sentenced to death for high treason, later commuted to life in prison.
1981
 Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life for murdering former Beatles band member John Lennon.
1989
Colombian drug lords declare "total and absolute war" on Colombia's government, bombing the offices of two political parties and burning two politicians' homes.
1989
Baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti bans Pete Rose from baseball for gambling.
1991
Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; Ukraine declares its independence from USSR.
1992
Hurricane Andrew makes landfall in Florida. The Category 5 storm, which had already caused extensive damage in the Bahamas, caused $26.5 billion in US damages, caused 65 deaths, and felled 70,000 acres of trees in the Everglades.
1994
Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) create an initial accord regarding partial self-rule for Palestinians living on the West Bank, the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities.
2004
Chechnyan suicide bombers blow up two airliners near Moscow, killing 89 passengers.
2006
Pluto is downgraded to a dwarf planet when the International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines "planet."
2010
The Mexican criminal syndicate Los Zetas kills 72 illegal immigrants from Central and South America in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
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Thanks to TR
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean in P-51B Mustang 'Berlin Express' | The Vintage Aviation Echo
An amazing accomplishment.  
Great aviation story for my flying friends
 
 
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Makes you think-I hope it won't hurt ;-).
Thanks to Bob and Dutch R.
 
* If you attempt to rob a bank you won't have any trouble with rent/food bills for the next 10 years, whether or not you are successful.
 
* Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned?  

* What if my dog only brings back my ball because he thinks I like throwing it?
  

* If poison expires, is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?  

* Which letter is silent in the word "Scent," the S or the C?

* The letter W, in English, is called double U.   Shouldn't it be called double V?  

* Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and It just takes 75-100 years to fully work.  

* Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.
 

- The word "swims" upside-down is still "swims".

- Intentionally losing a game of rock, paper, scissors is just as hard as trying to win.
 

- 100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses.
  

- Your future self is watching you right now through memories.
   

- The doctors that told Stephen Hawking he had two years to live in 1953 are probably dead.
  

- If you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them.

- Many animals probably need glasses, but nobody knows it.

- If you rip a hole in a net, there are actually fewer holes in it than there were before.

- If 2/2/22 falls on a Tuesday, we'll just call it "2's Day". 
 
 
(Save this until 2022 – because it does fall on a Tuesday!!)
 
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Thanks to Bill
Why the Russian Navy Is a More Capable Adversary Than It Appears
By Michael Kofman and Jeffrey Edmonds, National Interest, 22 August
 
Russia still depends on the remnants of a blue-water navy inherited from the Soviet Union, but a new force is slowly rising to take its place both above and beneath the waves. This navy will be different, with a strategy of its own. The United States should not fear the Russian Navy, but it should respect and study what Moscow is trying to do with its naval forces. Failure to understand an adversary's capabilities, and the logic behind them, is a good way to someday become unpleasantly surprised by them. Learning from that kind of experience usually comes at the expense of lives.
 
Imagine in a not so distant future a group of Russian Kalibr missiles closes in on a U.S. destroyer at supersonic speed, sprinting to target in their terminal phase. In this moment the captain will find little comfort in the stack of articles behind him arguing that the Russian Navy is no more. That Russia had spent so little on the corvettes that fired this salvo, and the United States so much on the ship about to receive it, will leave a great deal to reflect upon in the aftermath.
 
Analysis of Russian military capabilities tends to either portray the Russian military as a giant or as though it were on the verge of disappearance. These narratives trend towards the factually incorrect and profoundly unhelpful. This is why we study adversaries: to understand their strategy, doctrine, and the capabilities they're investing in so as not to speak nonsense to power, but instead offer sound analysis and perspective.
 
The modern Russian Navy is not designed to compete with the U.S. Navy, but instead to counter it, and to support the strategy of a twenty-first-century Eurasian land power. Russia may be far less powerful than the Soviet Union, but it remains a great power nonetheless, with a military capable of achieving overmatch on its borders. Russia's armed forces are strong enough to impose substantial costs in a conflict, and the country fields a capable nuclear arsenal that it won't shy from using. The Russian Navy plays an important role in that strategy, and should not be overlooked despite its shortcomings.
 
The Russian Vision
 
Things would be simpler were Russia engaged in a futile attempt to compete with U.S. Navy, overspending on ships it can't afford, pursuing missions that make little sense given the country's geographical position and economic constraints. The recently signed Russian Naval Doctrine through 2030 makes bold claims about Russia's desire to maintain the status of the world's second naval power. While the Russian nuclear submarine force still holds second place in capability, and its ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) fleet in particular, there is no shipbuilding plan to turn the navy into a global competitor with the United States or China.
 
Such pronouncements reflect the tradition of Russian leaders looking to the navy for status projection on the international arena, as a prominent symbol that Russia is a great power, able to show the flag far from its geographical confines. We need to look skeptically at official statements designed to make the Russian Navy feel more secure about its relevance (and budget), instead analyzing the strategy and procurement driving changes in the force. The Russian Navy is coalescing around four principal missions: defense of Russia's maritime approaches and littorals, long-range precision strike with conventional and nuclear weapons, power projection via the submarine force, and defense of the sea-based nuclear deterrent carried aboard Russian SSBNs.
 
Alongside these missions is the traditional requirement for naval diplomacy for which Russia will always keep a few capital ships, even if they are as unlucky and unreliable as the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier. Upholding Russia's status in international politics is one of the Russian Navy's most important roles. Status projection might rank on par with power projection. Indeed, during the hard times of the 1990s and 2000s, the Russian Navy did little other than flag waving trips and ports of call. Naval diplomacy, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, remains one of its chief tasks.
 
The Russian vision is to build a navy that can successfully keep the United States at arm's length and integrate with layers of defenses, long-range anti-ship missiles, ground based aviation, submarines, coastal cruise-missile batteries and mines. In this manner Russia wishes to deny the United States access from the sea and make forced entry operations costly. Next, the Russian Navy is increasingly positioned to conduct long-range attacks with conventional weapons against fixed infrastructure targets, and plays an important role in nuclear escalation if called upon. The latest doctrine explicitly states the navy's role in both long-range conventional fires and nonstrategic nuclear-weapons delivery as a means of deterring adversaries and shaping their decision making in a crisis. While the numbers of current cruise-missile shooters may be relatively small, the next state armament program, GPV 2018-2025, intends to spend more on the missile count.
 
Russia's demands for power projection are quite low. Its armed forces don't play away games, and are geared towards fighting just across the street. That's where Russia's core interests and priorities lie. As such, long-range aviation can handle missile strikes at considerable distances from the country's borders. The submarine force, however, simply has to help defend SSBN bastions and present a credible threat to the United States. This is of course easier said than done, but Russia is probably by far the most technologically sophisticated adversary the United States faces in the undersea domain. Incidentally it also has the world's second largest nuclear-powered submarine force.
 
How the Russians Plan to Get There
 
Russia began with a corvette and frigate construction program-in part because it's what the shipyards could reliably build-in the hopes of moving on to larger ship classes later. This was a logical approach to reviving the shipbuilding industry, the worst of Russia's defense-industrial enterprises.
 
That said, there's much more to these ships than meets the eye. One thing the Russians have learned is that one does not need a lot of tonnage to pack a potent missile system. The surface combatant force is not being organized around platforms, but around an integrated family of capabilities. These include vertical launching system (VLS) cells with Oniks (SS-N-26), Kalibr (SS-N-27A/30), Pantsir-M for point defenses, Redut VLS cells for air defense, and Paket-NK anti-torpedo systems. Larger ships will carry Poliment-Redut air defense, phased array radar and be more versatile in the roles they can perform. A Russian corvette comes with a seventy-six-millimeter gun or a one-hundred-millimeter gun, close-in weapon systems (CIWS) and typically eight VLS cells. These ships tend to be low endurance, but the firepower-to-price ratio is a bargain, and they can comfortably do their job while just outside port.
 
Russian frigates, both the Admiral Grigorovich-class (four thousand tons) and the new Admiral Gorshkov-class (5,400 tons) ran into trouble because they depended on Ukrainian gas turbines. Cut off in 2014, Russia was set back five to seven years with engines for just three Grigorovich frigates and two Gorshkovs. Since then, Russia's defense industry has already restored the ability to repair gas turbines and built the testing facility to develop its own design. The delay cost Russia's shipbuilding program about five years, but it spurred a crash effort to produce an indigenous gas turbine, which seems to be making rather good progress.
 
Similar problems encountered with the cutoff of German MTU diesel engines, used in some of the new corvettes, were worked around with domestic analogues or Chinese variants. Russia's shipbuilding program is through the worst of the delays caused by sanctions and the breakdown of defense cooperation with Ukraine. The shipbuilding industry as a whole has been going through a difficult recovery period, having taken a twenty-five-year hiatus, but it would be wrong to assess this unpleasant past as inherently representative of the future. For example, Russia has been building a large new shipyard in the east, called Zvezda, with the assistance of the Chinese. Intended for commercial production, this shipyard just installed a 1,200-ton crane, which is a necessity for modular construction and no small leap for Russian shipbuilding.
 
Older Ships Can Kill Too
 
Currently held views on Russia's naval capabilities are decidedly dated. In reality, Russia's Navy has probably not seen operational tempo and readiness levels like this since the mid-1990s. Russian ships, including notoriously unreliable ones like the Sovremenny-class destroyer, are conducting increasingly longer voyages, while the force as a whole is spending much more time at sea than in the two preceding decades. A large part of the fleet is still Soviet inheritance, requiring tug boats to escort small groups, but this supposedly rusting navy is maintaining presence while the submarine force is also no less active. Nowhere is that more visible than in the resurrection of the Black Sea Fleet after the annexation of Crimea and the constant rotation of ships through the Eastern Mediterranean. The oft-unacknowledged truth is that the Russian Navy is a lot more operational now than it has been in many years.
 
The surface combatant force remains an eclectic mix of legacy Soviet platforms serving alongside new frigates and corvettes. Over 30 percent of the Soviet-era ships are receiving major modernization programs, but a good deal will be phased out in the 2020s. Russia will likely keep the Kirov-class and Slava-class cruisers for quite longer, as flagships and status bearers, especially when Admiral Nakhimov completes its expensive modernization. Beyond that, much of the inherited Soviet force is expendable, especially the ancient tank landing ship (LST) fleet, which is hardly required for expeditionary operations and needs little to no modernization. Russia supplied the bulk of the tonnage for its operations in Syria with four used Turkish cargo ships that it probably bought at a pittance-so much for the Russian Navy being unable to sustain expeditionary operations without dedicated capacity. Necessity is not always the mother of procurement, sometimes organizations innovate.
 
Russia couldn't get the frigates it wanted, and so it is doubling down on larger and larger corvettes until the engine problem is solved. When it comes to ship classes much can get lost in translation. Often when Russians say "corvette" they mean the firepower of a frigate, and when they say "frigate" they mean the firepower of a destroyer. There are also signs that older Soviet ship classes, like Udaloy-class anti-submarine destroyers, will be armed with Kalibr VLS cells. This would adapt Soviet hulls to better serve the strategy and vision behind the new navy Russia is trying to build, and thus extend their utility.
 
However, the Russian surface force still suffers from "distributed classality," a disease inherited from the Soviet Union. Its chief symptom is building too many different ship classes with too few ships in each class. This, of course, is not a problem but a feature of Russian procurement, since it allows the Ministry of Defense to keep shipyards busy and employed building countless corvette variants, most of which will feature the same families of weapon systems. Part of the problem is also that the Russian Navy is learning what it wants-and what works-by building three to four ships in a class and then determining that changes should be made. The transition, like all remodeling jobs, is messy and will continue to look this way into the 2020s.
 
The Russian Navy Looks Best Underwater
 
Like the Soviet fleet, the Russian Navy's best ships are submarines. This force is perhaps one fifth the size of its Soviet predecessor. Russia's SSN roster includes ten Akulas, eight Oscars, three Victor IIIs, and perhaps three Sierras. The SSBN fleet has six Delta IVs and three Delta IIIs, along with three of the eight new Borei-class being built. The diesel-electric force consists of fourteen Project 877 kilos, six improved Project 636.3 kilos in the Black Sea Fleet, with another six being built for the Pacific Fleet.
 
While some of these submarines will begin to age into the 2020s and 2030s, several have had life extension and modernization packages already applied, and most have seen little in terms of operations through much of the 1990s and 2000s. Currently, a number of Russia's SSNs and SSGNs are sitting in slipways receiving upgrades. Many of these subs have not been ridden very hard, and given Russian naval strategy centered on defending maritime approaches, they don't have to venture far from home.
Some believe that Russia's submarine fleet is quickly approaching the end of its collective life span by 2030 and can't be replaced in time. On the off chance they're completely wrong, anyone thinking about forced-entry operations, or an easy trip into a Russian SSBN bastion, should probably bring life rafts.
 
Russia plans to upgrade some Akulas and Oscars, perhaps half, with new systems and missiles. In the case of the Oscar SSGNs, the conversion will produce a seventy-two missile package, with Kalibr or Oniks loaded. The rest will be retired, probably leaving Russia with four to six Akulas, four Oscars and no Victor IIIs by 2030. Sierra-class submarines will stay on since their titanium hulls are likely to outlive most of the readers of this article. Meanwhile Russia is building five more Borei-class SSBNs, and is completing the second ship of the Yasen-class SSGN (known in the United States as Severodvinsk-class), the Kazan. The Kazan (Project 885M) is an improved version of the Severodvinsk and the true lead ship in this class. Five more have been laid down, although given the submarine's high cost, Russia is unlikely to build all of them, and might cap the class at a total of six or seven.
 
Despite the problems in Russian shipbuilding, submarine construction has actually fared quite well. Russia can produce a diesel-electric Kilo in about eighteen months, and can complete an order of six quite quickly. The entire diesel-electric fleet could be replaced with upgraded Project 636.3 submarines in eight to ten years. These submarines are cheap, quiet and can range much of the critical infrastructure in Europe with their Kalibr missiles. Success with air-independent propulsion continues to elude Russian engineers, but the 677 Lada-class is still going ahead in limited production as a tentative improvement on the Kilo.
 
The eight new SSBNs are due to be completed by 2021, and seven Yasen-class SSGNs by 2023. Assuming these deadlines slip to the right, as they always do, it would probably still leave Russia with eight new SSBNs and six advanced SSGNs by the mid-2020s. The refit packages on Akulas and Oscars will make Russia's submarine fleet more multipurpose and versatile, allowing the same ships to perform new missions.
 
In the interim, Russia is designing a fifth-generation submarine that will serve as the base for a new SSN, SSGN and follow-on SSBN. These ships are intended to be modular, and the SSN variant particularly cheap to produce. Russia currently has twelve nuclear-powered submarines in construction or laid down. Not all are being worked on, but it's evident that Russia can build quite a few nuclear-powered submarines at the same time. Assuming the first fifth-generation submarines are laid down by 2023-2025, Russia could begin recapitalizing retiring Soviet submarines by early 2030s. Most likely the Russian Navy will have thirteen less SSNs and SSGNs by 2030, made up for by six new Yasen-class SSGNs along with whatever additional submarines are built between 2025-2030.
 
The Yasen-class is of special note, since it is integral to Russia's strategy of holding the U.S. homeland at risk in the event of a conflict. According to official statements, the submarine is the most technologically advanced adversary the United States faces in the undersea domain. Yes, Russia can only afford to build a handful, but this should bring little comfort and no cause for cheer. A single Yasen-class in the Atlantic can deliver thirty-two nuclear-tipped Kalibr missiles to the east coast. This is not a submarine one needs to have in large numbers.
 
Russia also has another navy, the one less heard from, called the General Directorate of Undersea Research (GUGI). This fleet has special purpose submarines based on modified Soviet designs, like the Podmoskovye Delta-stretch SSBN. Some are meant as motherships for smaller submarines, others perhaps to deploy drones, new weapon systems, or engage in innovative forms of undersea interdiction. Belgorod, a modified Oscar II, is currently under construction for this fleet as well. You may not spend much time thinking about GUGI, but GUGI is probably thinking about you.
 
Looking over the Horizon
 
The Russia's defense industry still has plenty of problems to work through, from dysfunctional air-defense systems that struggle with integration, to air-independent propulsion that refuses to work. Nevertheless, there are interesting trends afoot based on the past several years of shipbuilding. Russian ship classes are staying the same in name, but the ships themselves are getting bigger. Note the Stereguichy corvette started at 2,200 tons when it was Project 20380, then it became 2,500 tons as Project 20385 (Gremyashchiy), and then it was laid down for 3,400 tons when modified to Project 20386 (Derzky). Similarly, rather than build some obscene nuclear-powered seventeen-thousand-ton destroyer, the Russian Navy seems set to expand the Gorshkov frigate class into a "super" Gorshkov. This might become a pocket destroyer, with one thousand to two thousand additional tons of displacement and more firepower. Corvette designs are also shifting towards "heavy" corvettes in the 3,500-4,000 ton range.
 
At first glance the Russian Navy appears to be the loser in the upcoming state armament program, soon to be announced in September. In reality, it will lose fairly little. The inane super projects like nuclear-powered destroyers and LHDs were unfunded, saving the Russian Navy from its occasional indulgence of maritime power megalomania, and instead focusing it on more pragmatic spending. Russia's frigate program will continue once the gas-turbine problem is solved, but likely with a substantial redesign. The countless new systems introduced with the Gorshkov class all need to be worked out anyway.
 
In the interim the Russian Navy will remain a mess, but one that is slowly being cleaned up. The "kalibrzation" of the Russian Navy will continue, more Kalibr missile shooters, larger magazines and higher missile counts in storage. Russia will continue pumping out diesel and nuclear-powered submarines and refitting some of the existing Soviet platforms with current generation offensive systems as a cost-saving measure.
 
While the coming years will be spent on system integration and working out the problems in shipbuilding, new generation weapon systems-like hypersonic missiles-are already in development. For all its woes, the Russian Navy is actually in better shape than it ever has been in the post-Cold War period. Today ships and submarines are staffed entirely by contract servicemen, with conscripts used for shore duties. On the whole this is a service trying to recover from some of the worst decades in its history, but the Russian admiralty has room for cautious optimism.
 
There are still plenty of deficits to point to, but the Russian Navy isn't going anywhere; when you look at the trend lines over the near to midterm, they are actually positive. Russia is building a navy that makes sense for its strategy. It is transitioning to a green-water force by design, while retaining and investing in capabilities that will allow it to deter or threaten stronger maritime powers for decades to come. So the next time you hear that the Russian Navy is disappearing, Russia is running out of people, out of money, or out of business, and want to test this theory, just remember to pack a life raft.
 
Why the Russian Navy Is a More Capable Adversary Than It Appears
By Michael Kofman and Jeffrey Edmonds, National Interest, 22 August
 
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The Valor of the Asiatic Fleet; Lest We Forget – This continues the article from list 4528 and 4529
 
H-003-3
20 Feb 17
S.J. Cox
 
Lest We Forget: The Valor of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet   
 
   The following is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion of every noteworthy act of valor by a ship of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet.  There are too many to choose from. Among those I don't discuss include the light cruiser USS Marblehead (CL-12) and her extraordinary damage control after crippling bomb damage in the Flores Sea on 4 Feb 42, and her epic solo return voyage to New York City via the Indian Ocean.  Another is the destroyer USS Peary (DD-226), which barely survived the bombing at Cavite, barely survived numerous other encounters with Japanese aircraft, subs, and ships, but had the misfortune to be the largest warship in port Darwin, Australia when 188 Japanese planes from four carriers attacked, yet she went down with guns blazing.  And then there was the USS Stewart (DD-224,) put into the drydock at Surabaya, Java to repair battle damage, only to topple off improperly set blocks and subsequently subject to destruction by demolition charge; however, the Japanese salvaged and repaired her and put her in their own service, leading to numerous mysterious sightings of a U.S. four-piper destroyer far behind Japanese lines during the war.  Nor do I discuss the multiple U.S. submarines that endured incredible poundings by Japanese depth charges, for little result; some survived, but USS Sealion(SS-195) was lost at Cavite to bombs; USS Shark (SS-174) was lost with all hands, and USS Perch (SS-176) was lost, but all hands were rescued by the Japanese and taken prisoner.   In particular, it is important to note that in numerous cases, acts of valor are unknown because there were few or no surviving witnesses.
 
USS Isabel (PY-10) – LT John W. Payne, commanding
 
    On 3 Dec 1941, ADM Hart received orders from President Roosevelt himself to dispatch the armed yacht USS Isabel, by name, to conduct a reconnaissance of Japanese shipping gathering off Cam Ranh Bay, Japanese-occupied French Indo-China (Vietnam) despite the fact that Hart's PBY reconnaissance aircraft had been accurately tracking the Japanese ships for days.  Two other vessels were also ordered to conduct similar missions, but were not ready before the start of the war.  The reason for Roosevelt's order remains a mystery, leading to years of conspiratorial speculation that the mission was intended to provoke the Japanese into "firing the first shot," which in this case might actually be true.  The Isabel was recalled just as she came in sight of the Vietnamese coast.
   For the next three months, the Isabel was assigned all manner of hazardous tasks, such as leading destroyers at night through poorly charted waters; leading destroyers at night through unfamiliar minefields; sent alone without air cover to deliver critical translators to the Dutch RADM Doorman's strike force; sent to rescue a large personnel transport under attack by a Japanese submarine, and sank the submarine; sent on numerous other wild-goose chases, and by accident, became the last ship of the Asiatic fleet to leave Java, evading a major Japanese force and surviving a tropical cyclone in a successful escape  to Australia.  Neither the skipper nor the ship received any kind of commendation whatsoever, except the one battle star awarded to all ships of the Asiatic Fleet.
 
USS Whippoorwill (AM-23) -- LCDR Charles A. Ferriter, commanding
USS Pigeon (ASR-6) -- LT Richard E. Hawes, commanding
 
    During the devastating Japanese air raid on Cavite, the only major U.S. Navy base in the Far East, lack of fighter cover and lack of AAA that could reach the altitude of the 54 Japanese bombers, enabled the Japanese to systematically destroy virtually the entire base on 10 Dec 41.  The result was an immense conflagration along the entire waterfront.  Although ADM Hart had dispersed most of the Asiatic Fleet, the destroyer USS Peary (DD-226) was in repair status, and was immobilized by bomb damage that killed or injured many of her crew, including the commanding officer.  Braving the inferno (and that fact that somewhere in the inferno, the ammunition dump had not yet gone up; the ammo dump seemed to be the only thing the Japanese missed), the minesweeper Whippoorwill made repeated, and eventually successful, efforts to pull Peary away from the quay.
    On the other side of the small peninsula, the submarine USS Seadragon (SS-194) was trapped between the raging fires and the outboard submarine USS Sealion (SS-195) sinking as result of Japanese bomb hits.  Like the Whippoorwill, the USS Pigeon made numerous attempts to pull the Seadragon free, despite the danger, and succeeded.  After a frustrating first patrol, due to faulty torpedoes, Seadragon evacuated the members of the Intelligence/Code-breaking center (Station Cast), including future VADM Rufus Taylor, from Corregidor to Australia.
 
USS Canopus (AS-9) -- CDR Earl L. Sackett, commanding
 
    With the rapid achievement of Japanese air superiority, ADM Hart's plan to operate submarines from Manila Bay from the submarine tenders became untenable, and the tenders USS Holland (AS-3) and USS Otus (AS-20) were ordered withdrawn much further south.  USS Canopus drew the short straw, and was ordered to the Bataan Peninsula where she provided extensive repair and machine shop capability to U.S. Army forces tenaciously defending the peninsula.  After being damaged in an air attack, the Canopus was deliberately given a significant list, with painted damage, and smoke pots; giving her the appearance of being sunk to forestall further bombing; the crew did their work afloat at night, and as much on shore as possible.  For the most part, the ruse worked.
    When a significant Japanese force made an amphibious landing behind U.S. lines, the Army counter-attacked and trapped the Japanese, who holed up in significant numbers in caves along the shore that could not be hit from landward.  In response, the crew of Canopus created "Uncle Sam's Mickey Mouse Battle Fleet" consisting of several launches fitted with armor plate and field guns, to hit the Japanese from seaward, which worked, although the "Mickey Mouse Battleships" eventually succumbed to air attack.
    About 150 of Canopus' crew, were combined with plane-less ground crews, and some Marines to form the Naval Battalion, which performed surprisingly effectively by spooking the Japanese into thinking it was some kind of suicide unit, because they thrashed about the jungle in brightly colored uniforms (whites boiled in coffee comes out as mustard yellow,) while drawing Japanese fire by talking loudly and smoking cigarettes at night.  More importantly, the Navy battalion did not realize that it was supposed to withdraw when flanked, instead holding their ground and sweeping up infiltrators in the morning, confounding the Japanese.  When Bataan was surrendered in April 42, the USS Canopus was scuttled, and her crew fought valiantly in the last-ditch defense of Corregidor Island. 
 
USS Heron (AVP-2) LT William L. Kabler, commanding
 
    On 31 Dec 41 in the Molucca Sea, the small (950 ton) WWI-vintage seaplane tender, USS Heron came under eight hours of near continuous Japanese air attacks, initially by one four-engine flying boat, then six four-engined flying boats (dropping as many as 12 100lb bombs each in repeated runs), and then by five twin-engine land-based bombers.  With a speed of only 11 kts, and only two obsolete 3" guns and 50 cal. machine guns for protection, the Heron managed to avoid all bombs, even damaging several Japanese aircraft, before a bomb finally hit on top of the mainmast, seriously damaging the ship, killing two and wounding 28, almost half her crew.  Despite the damage and heavy casualties, the crew continued to fight valiantly as three more four-engined flying boats closed in for a textbook "Hammer and Anvil" torpedo attack (one plane attacking from the port bow, one from the starboard bow and one from the port quarter, so that no matter which way the ship turned to evade, she would bring her beam to at least one torpedo.)  And yet, the Heron skillfully evaded all three torpedoes, and so damaged one of the flying boats that it was forced to land on the water.  Heron then sank the massive flying boat with her guns, while being strafed by the other two, and even attempted to rescue eight surviving Japanese aircrewmen, who refused to be rescued.
 
Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron THREE -- LT J.D. Bulkeley, commanding
 
    Although historian RADM Samuel Eliot Morison considered the performance of the six PT-Boats of MTB -3 to be over-rated, given the severe handicaps that they operated under, the crews of MTB-3 acquitted themselves with distinction.  With virtually no maintenance capability, no spare parts, limited fuel that was frequently bad, lack of ammunition, operating regularly at night in poorly charted shallows, torpedoes that repeatedly ran hot in the tubes (often more a danger to themselves than the Japanese,) under constant air attack, and surrounded by fast Japanese destroyers that could run down a PT-Boat (as PT-109 learned later) just surviving was a major accomplishment.  Yet, the PT-Boats repeatedly harassed the Japanese.
    By April 1942, all six boats had been lost to grounding or enemy action, but not before General MacArthur decided he would rather take his chances on a PT-Boat than a submarine, when he was ordered by President Roosevelt to leave the Philippines.  In a harrowing journey beginning 11 Mar 42, two PT-Boats carried MacArthur, his wife, maid, senior staff, much luggage, and RADM Rockwell (senior Navy officer still in the Philippines) from Corregidor to Mindanao for further onward flight by plane.  The two boats then went back to a different island, and evacuated Philippine President Manuel Quezon (Although the Philippines was not independent, it had already been granted substantial autonomy by the U.S., a factor that significantly affected MacArthur's decision-making on the first day of the war, although that is another story.) 
 
Patrol Wing TEN -- CAPT F.D. Wagner, commanding
 
    Patrol Wing TEN, suffered some of the highest casualties of any U.S. Navy unit in WWII.  Initially starting with 28 PBY Flying Boats and ten utility aircraft of varying types, PATWING TEN was reinforced over the next three months; of the 44 PBY's that served in the squadron, all but five were lost, and all but one of the utility aircraft were lost.  Many PBY's were shot down or destroyed at anchor in the opening days of the war, resulting in a critical loss of operational situational awareness by U.S. commanders.  As a result of the PBY losses, ADM Hart was forced to evacuate from the Philippines to Java via a submarine, loosing ten days of command and control in the process.
    Despite severe losses, the PBY's repeatedly attempted reconnaissance flights, and after the surviving Army Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress bombers were withdrawn, the PBY's were pressed into service as bombers, with high losses.  With a full bomb load, the PBY's could only fly about 85 Kts and could not climb above Japanese AAA.  In one attempted raid against a Japanese shipping concentration at Jolo, Philippines, on 26 Dec 41, four of six PBY's were lost.
    Amongst numerous epic studies in survival by downed PBY crews was the one involving a PBY piloted by LT Thomas Moorer, future CNO and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Launching from Darwin on 19 Feb 42 on what was supposed to be a routine mission, Moorer was jumped by Japanese fighters escorting an inbound raid of 188 aircraft from four aircraft carriers.  With his radio shot away, Moorer was unable to warn Darwin of the impending devastating attack. Although wounded, Moorer skillfully ditched the disabled aircraft, and his crew abandoned it before it was strafed and destroyed.  Moorer and his crew were subsequently rescued by a Filipino freighter that had been chartered to take supplies to Corregidor (by then a suicide mission if there ever was one.)  That ship was then bombed and sunk.  One of Moorer's crew was killed in the water by a Japanese near miss.  Moorer found himself in charge of the ship's lifeboats, navigated his way to an island off the Australian coast, attempted an aborted foot march across the island, before being rescued by an Australian patrol boat, which was also bombed, but fortunately not sunk.
 
USS Langley (AV-3) -- CDR Robert P. McConnell, commanding
 
    In response to intense political pressure from the Netherlands Government-in-Exile, the U.S. agreed to send a shipment of P-40 fighter aircraft, with pilots and ground crew, to Java.  The U.S. Navy's first aircraft carrier, by then converted to a seaplane tender with half her flight deck removed, the USS Langley was given the mission to carry 32 assembled P-40's from Australia to Java in late Feb 42.  The mission was by then too little too late, but no one would call it off.  By then the Japanese had complete mastery of the air over Java, and had even shot down 40 allied aircraft in a single day.  But the situation was so desperate, that Dutch VADM Helfrich (in charge of allied naval forces after ADM Hart's recall) ordered the Langley to make a daylight run into the south Java port of Tijilatjap on 27 Feb 42.  VADM Glassford, commander of U.S. naval forces under Helfrich, concurred with the suicidal order.  Tijilitjap did not even have an airfield, and would require bulldozing of buildings in the port city to widen the roads to get the aircraft to an open field, where they might be able to take off.  Japanese bombers solved that problem.
     Although not very maneuverable, and unstable due to the load of fighters, the Langley's CO adroitly avoided the first bomb runs, but the Japanese were skillful too, and the Langley was hit in quick succession by five bombs.  Although the crew tried valiantly to save the ship, it became apparent that the Langley would never reach the port, so the ship was abandoned.  Subsequent attempts to hasten its sinking with friendly torpedoes and gunfire failed, and the ship was left adrift to eventually sink on its own.
    The great majority of Langley's crewmen, and the Army pilots, were rescued by U.S. destroyers, before being transferred to the oiler USS Pecos, which was then bombed and sunk by 36 aircraft from four different Japanese carriers.  The destroyer USS Whipple (DD-217) attempted to rescue as many survivors as possible, in between attacks on a Japanese submarine, but was forced to break-off the effort during the night.   Some 230 survivors were rescued, but over 400 were left behind in the water, of whom all ultimately perished.
   After the events, VADM Glassford's report stated that CDR McConnell's actions in failing to save his ship were not in the best tradition of the U.S. Naval Service.  ADM Ernest J. King, never known to be merciful, reviewed the report, non-concurred with Glassford's findings, and ordered that McConnell's record be expunged of any derogatory material.
 
USS Pope (DD-225) -- LCDR Welford C. Blinn, commanding
 
    The USS Pope (DD-227) missed the Battle of the Java Sea due to an engineering casualty.  Because Pope still had a full load of torpedoes, she was assigned to escort the damaged British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter. The four surviving U.S. destroyers from the Java Sea battle, their torpedoes expended, were ordered to leave the Java Sea via the Bali Strait (too shallow for Exeter) which they did after a brief firefight with several surprised Japanese destroyers.
   The Exeter, Pope, and the British destroyer HMS Encounter, attempted to take a circuitous path just south of Borneo and then to the Sunda Strait in an effort to avoid Japanese surface combatants.  Instead, at daybreak on 1 Mar 42, they ran into four Japanese heavy cruisers (including the two victors of the Java Sea Battle, which were low on ammunition) and several destroyers.  In an hours-long chase, Encounter and Pope repeatedly attempted to keep the Japanese at bay with torpedoes and guns, until Exeter received a crippling mobility kill.   The CO of Exeter ordered Encounter and Pope to try to escape.  Encounter refused the order and stood by Exeter until the very end, and both ships went down together.
    After several more hours, subject to repeated near misses from Japanese aircraft that put the Pope in sinking condition, coupled with a boiler casualty that greatly reduced her speed, and with all torpedoes expended, and all but 20 rounds of main gun ammo expended, the CO ordered the ship abandoned and scuttled; miraculously, Pope's only KIA of the battle was due to the demolition charge to destroy the ship's communications gear.
    In what would become an increasingly rare display of chivalry, all of Pope's 151 survivors were picked up by a Japanese destroyer (as were almost all the survivors of Exeter and Encounter) and treated relatively well.  Once ashore in the prison camps the hell began and only 124 of Pope's crew survived captivity, including LT Richard "Bull" Antrim who was awarded a Medal of Honor for risking his life to save other prisoners.
 
USS Edsall (DD-219) -- LCDR J.J. Nix, commanding
 
    On 1 Mar 42, the powerful force of Japanese aircraft carriers, battleships, and heavy cruisers operating south of Java to destroy Allied shipping attempting to flee from Java, received a report from a scout plane that the force was being "pursued" by a lone Allied ship.  A Japanese force of two battleships, IJN Hiei and IJN Kirishima, and two heavy cruisers, IJN Tone and IJN Chikuma were sent to investigate, discovering that the pursuer was the destroyer USS Edsall, which had received orders to transit north toward Java in a vain effort to escort some allied ships.  In the running battle that followed, Edsall returned Japanese fire and launched torpedoes, narrowly missing the Tone.  The Japanese fired over 1,300 14" and 8" shells at the destroyer before calling in air support from 26 carrier-based Kate bombers, before the Edsall finally lost power and was smothered in an avalanche of shells and bombs.
   A short film clip and later "still" from the film (attachment H-003-6), taken from Tone, shows Edsall's last moments as she is literally being blown out of the water.  Misidentified in subsequent Japanese propaganda films as "HMS Pope," the famous picture has subsequently been misidentified in many other books as the "USS Pope," her sister, lost the same day.  Eight of Edsall's survivors were rescued by the Chikuma, but all were subsequently executed while in Japanese prison camps.  None of Edsall's 185 crewmen survived the war. 
 
USS Pillsbury (DD-227) -- LCDR Harold C. Pound, commanding
 
    On the night of 2 Mar, south of Java, a Japanese force of battleships and heavy cruisers was perplexed into indecision by the bizarre and unexpected behavior of what they identified as a lone Omaha-class light cruiser (like the USS Marblehead (CL-12)) heading directly toward the vastly superior Japanese force, making no attempt to take evasive maneuvers.  Like the U.S., the Japanese regularly over-estimated the size of opposing ships.  The Japanese hesitated, awed by the "samurai" behavior of the lone ship, before opening fire at close to point-blank range. The unidentified ship returned fire before being smothered by 170 8" rounds.  The ship was the USS Pillsbury (DD-227), heading toward a rendezvous with the U.S. light cruiser USS Phoenix (CL-46.)  It's possible the Pillsbury mistook the lead Japanese heavy cruiser for the Phoenix, and Japanese sources state that Pillsbury immediately turned away when they opened fire, which would support that contention.  It is also possible that the Pillsbury, realizing that she could not outrun such a force, attempted to close for a surreptitious night torpedo attack (holding gun fire as at the Battle of Balikpapan until after expending torpedoes – Pillsbury had previously severely damaged the Japanese destroyer IJN Michishio.)  Given how other U.S. ships responded when faced with hopeless odds, I'd prefer to give the crew of the Pillsbury credit for an attack.  But the answer will never be known, because there were no survivors.
 
 
 
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