Warship Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019: Nimitz’s first Ranger, or, the wandering ghost of the Nantucket coast

laststandonzombieisland

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.- Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019: Nimitz’s first Ranger, or, the wandering ghost of the Nantucket coast

Collection of Francis Holmes Hallett via NHHC NH 93484

Here we see “Sunset on the Pacific,” a colored postcard circulated around 1910 showing the Alert-class gunboat USS Ranger (PG-23) at anchor looking West. The bark-rigged iron-hulled steamer would have an exceptionally long life that would see her serve multiple generations of bluejackets of all stripes.

One of…

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February 20, 1945 Falling on Grenades: the Indestructible Jack Lucas

Today in History

In the days and weeks following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, enlistment and recruiting offices across the nation were flooded with volunteers. Birmingham Alabama saw 600 men in the first few hours, alone. In Boston, lines snaked out the door as men waited for hours, to volunteer.

But for his age, Jack Lucas would have been right there with them.

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At 5’8″ and a muscular 180-pounds, Jacklyn Harrell “Jack” Lucas was big for his age. On August 8, 1942, Lucas forged his mother’s signature on parental consent papers and claimed to be seventeen, enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. He was fourteen years old.

A letter to a girlfriend from V Amphibious Corps at Pearl Harbor, revealed his true age of fifteen. Military censors had Lucas removed from his combat unit and nearly sent him home, but Jack was vehement.  He was assigned to driving a truck, but this…

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THE DEVIL’S GUARD: HITLER’S WAFFEN SS (PART 3)

The Deadliest Blogger: Military History Page

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Few military organizations or formations in history have evoked such fear, loathing, or grudging respect as the Waffen SS! Hitler’s elite private army, their role and history are highly controversial to this very day. This multi-part series is neither an attempt to glorify or to condemn the Waffen SS; but to examine the military record of this elite organization as objectively as possible, and to present the facts in a balanced fashion.

(To read the previous installment, go here. To read Part One, go here.)

From the start of the war in 1939 to the beginning of operations in 1943, the main formations of the Waffen-SS earned a reputation for bravery, audacity, and tactical innovation second to none in the German armed forces. However, they also developed a reputation for reckless courage and tenacity that led to a higher-than-necessary casualty rate. Worse, they reflected the darker, sinister side of…

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February 19, 1807 Burning Ambition

Today in History

What would it be like to turn on CNN or Fox News, to learn that Former Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew had been party to a duel, and he was near death after being shot by Vice President Mike Pence.

The year was 1804. President Thomas Jefferson’s Vice President Aaron Burr, had a long standing grudge against Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington.

GettyImages-515414860-E Aaron Burr

The animosity between the two went back to the Senate election of 1791, and escalated during one of the ugliest election seasons in American history. It’s been called the “Revolution of 1800”, the election pitting Democratic-Republican candidate Thomas Jefferson, against one-term incumbent John Adams, of the Federalist party.

Both sides were convinced beyond doubt, that the other side would destroy the young nation. Federalists attacked Jefferson as an un-Christian deist, a populist whose sympathies with the French Revolution would…

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De Ruyter

Originally, this blog was just a Facebook Page with a restriction to just myself so that I could bookmark articles that I wanted to read later as my prep time for the show often involves numerous eMails and articles that I don’t really have time to enjoy until later. It still is a Facebook Page, although I opened up for public viewing because I found that a lot of my friends and acquaintances like history.

I also have this fantasy that I will contribute to the volumes of history by writing about things that interest me. That never seems to work out, between the show and just my general life, there is little time for writing.

But I have this week off for a variety of reasons, most of which involve my health and long term plans. So I began perusing history… and this is a great example of how my mind works…

On February 19, 1674, England and the Dutch Republic signed the Treaty of Westminster which ended the third Anglo-Dutch War. The war was really more of a war between Sweden, which had an ally in the Dutch, and France, who for reasons that aren’t as much of a historical anomaly as you might think, was allied with England. Charles II had secretly negotiated a treaty with France to allow England to subjugate the Dutch, but it wouldn’t be as easy as Chuck thought it would be.

The Dutch Admiral, de Ruyter, turned out to be a pain the English butt, defeating the Royal Navy four times and stopping the English from being able to land troops on Dutch soil. Parliament found out about the secret treaty and figured that is was really a trick to try and make England Roman Catholic again, so they forced the King to end his quasi-secret campaign against the Dutch, who also wanted an end to the fighting so that they could get on fighting the French.

The Dutch sent an emissary (a trumpeter) to Harwich to carry letters proposing the Peace, which happened to happen before King Charles let it slip that he too wanted to end the fighting. Knowing a good public relations coup when he saw it, Chuck took the initiative and made it seem as if the Dutch Republic was suing for peace and demanded terms that “punished” the Dutch for their insolence of defeating England.

As a part of the settlement of the war, The Dutch Republic handed over New Amsterdam to the British, who, as you know, renamed it, New York. Which is cool because I have this fantasy that I could live in New York. I’ve watched Seinfeld and Friends and The Odd Couple and figure that I have that odd mix of elegance and grit that defines New Yorkers.

Then I drive to Bremerton and realize that I want nothing to do with City living. Sigh.

Anyway, in 1942, the ABDA* fleet met its heroic end off the Island of Java trying to stop one of the Imperial Japanese offensives early in the war. At the end of the month, the Flagship of Admiral Doorman was a Cruiser (although the categorization is rather liberal) named “De Ruyter” after the great Dutch Admiral who embarrassed the British into convincing the Dutch into giving up New Amsterdam 268 years earlier. The ship was torpedoed and sunk with heavy loss of life. The whole ABDA* experiment was a sad moment in both Naval history and among the Allies, it started questions as to whether or not they could actually work together. By the end of the war, it would be obvious that they could.

While the heroic crew of De Ruyter met their tragic end, the name was not forgotten. As of 2002, a new Dutch Frigate sails the seas carrying the name, honoring both Admiral de Ruyter and the men of the Cruiser lost in the Java Sea, February 28, 1942.

None of which has anything to do with what I started to read about, but was quite a journey through the history of a ship name…

*American, British, Dutch and Australian Fleet

A deep diving dog? There’s something you don’t see every day.

theleansubmariner

The equation is simple. The number of surfaces must equal the number of dives in order for a submarine to be considered successful in its mission. There are very few other finite measurements that can be applied to submarines throughout our long history.

But that doesn’t mean that the time beneath the surface or in some cases on top are smooth or calm. Since the early days, man’s ability to overcome the many obstacles that help him to operate a submersible have been daunting to say the least. The seen and the unseen forces that work tirelessly to challenge the submariner are often found at the most inopportune time.

Submarine technology at the beginning of the twentieth century was primitive and a lot of trial and error discoveries challenged the assumptions that the engineers would make. Submariners around the world found this out all too often. The entire idea of…

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February 18, 1817 The Awful Tragedy, of Friends at War

Today in History

Armistead is a prominent name in Virginia. The family goes back to colonial days. Five Armistead brothers fought in the war of 1812. Major George Armistead commanded Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, the inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner.

Major Armistead became an uncle this day in 1817, to Lewis Addison Armistead, the first of eight children born to General Walker Keith and Elizabeth Stanley Armistead.

“Lothario” or “Lo” to his friends, Armistead followed the family footsteps, attending the Military Academy at West Point. He never graduated. Some say he had to resign after breaking a plate over the head of fellow cadet and future Confederate General, Jubal Early. Others say it was due to academic difficulties, particularly French class.

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Lewis Addison Armistead

Be that as it may, Armistead’s influential father gained him a 2nd Lieutenant’s commission awarded in 1839, about the time his former…

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