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Wednesday, July 12, 2017


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Timerover51 last won the day on August 11

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  1. The following appeared as part of an article in War History Online. It concerns the US Navy Mark 14 Torpedo during World War 2. Is it more than a bit inaccurate. First, every nation that used torpedoes in World War 2 understood ant a large number would miss their intended target. It is inherent with the use of a torpedo against a moving target. No navy could show a high percentage of hits from submarine torpedoes, or surface torpedoes, or aerial torpedoes. A submarine would fire a spread of torpedoes at a target, assuming that one or more of the spread would hit. Sometimes that was the case, and sometime not. Even the vaunted Japanese Long Lance torpedo had a less than stellar hit rate, problems with gyroscopic control, and a problem with duds. With respect to the idea that the magnetic exploder might cause a circular run, especially in 1944, is impossible. In June of 1943, the magnetic exploder was ordered inactivated for all submarine in the Central Pacific, and in the spring of 1944, for all submarines in the South West Pacific. The Tullibee suffered its circular run in March of 1944, in the Central Pacific, where the magnetic exploder had been deactivated for nine months. A circular run is caused by a malfunction gyroscope within the torpedo, and is still a potential problem. The magnetic exploder, even when operational, would have had no effect on the gyroscope. As for its development being underfunded and its testing period too short, the following comes from the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance history for World War 2. While assisting the English author, John Winton, in his research for his book, Ultra in the Pacific, we came across message intercepts from the Japanese indicating that they had recovered torpedoes with magnetic exploder warheads from beaches in the Philippine Islands and also Wake Island. Clearly the exploder was compromised quite early in the war, and over-guassing of ships, similar to what was done to explode magnetic mines at a safe distance, was distinctly possible. For a full discussion of the problems with the Mark 14, I would recommend you read the following chapter of the Bureau of Ordnance history, which available from Hyperwar. There are a few typos, but nothing serious. I have the history in hard copy in my library. https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/Admin-Hist/BuOrd/BuOrd-6.html
  2. 1. THE NEW MITSUBISHI-NAGOYA ZERO FIGHTER Early in July, a wrecked Japanese plane was found on Akutan Island. Examination revealed it to be a heavier, more powerful edition of the Mitsubishi Zero Fighter. Known as the Mitsubishi-Nagoya Zero, this plane has a longer and thinner tapered wing than its shorter and stubbier predecessor. Like the earlier Zero fighter, it is a low-wing monoplane with retractable landing gears and is powered by a twin-row 14-cylinder radial, air-cooled engine. Its normal range of about 500 miles can be increased by the use of detachable belly tanks to 850 or 1150 miles, depending on the size of the tanks. Its supposed maximum ceiling is 33,000 feet. Heavier and faster than the previous Zero Fighter, its reported maximum speed is 344 miles per hour. There follows a detailed report of the Mitsubishi-Nagoya Zero: Low-wing, all-metal, single-seat monoplane, single engine, pronounced dihedral, flush riveting used throughout, well streamlined, shows excellent construction. The plane is Zero type, No. 1, Carrier fighter plane, Model 2, put into service February 19, 1942. Fuselage. About 23 feet long. (Ed. Note: Correct length is about 30 feet). Wings. Pronounced dihedral, 40-foot wingspread, swept back on leading edge, tapered on trailing edge, about 24 inches of wing tips which fold up for stowage, split wing flaps, round wing tips; wings riveted solidly to fuselage. Wings 8 feet, 3 inches wide where they join fuselage. Place provided for bomb rack on each wing. When wing tips are horizontal, but not locked, a red tab projects to warn pilot. Much improvement is shown over our planes in the manner in which the lights on wings and tail are faired into the wing and tail. Tail. Horizontal tail fin has slight negative dihedral, and is placed above center of the fuselage. It is tapered on both edges, but mostly on the leading edge; about 6 feet 8 inches long from fuselage to tip and 4 feet 9 inches wide next to the fuselage. The vertical fin is tapered about 45 degrees on leading edge. Motor. Made by Nakajima, 14-cylinder, double-row, air-cooled radial. Motor is fastened with four bolts. Quick-change power plant assembly. Propeller. 3-bladed, constant speed, spinner over propeller hub. Made by Sumitomo Metal Works Corporation, Propeller Manufacturing Plant. Landing gear. Retractable, hydraulic system; when wheels are retracted, recess is covered with flaps; tire size, 600 x 175; tail wheel and arresting gear are retractable; tail wheel is solid rubber about 6 inches in diameter. Armament. Two 20-mm. guns, one in each wing, about 60 rounds of ammunition for each; air-cooled; derived operating power by means of the Oerlikon method based on the "blow back" principle. The Japanese guns have a 30-inch barrel, pneumatic cocking device, pneumatic trigger motor, sturdy three-point suspension, a flash hider constructed as part of the barrel. Estimated muzzle velocity is 1,800 feet per second. Ammunition is stored in a sixty-round container. Ammunition was similar to our 20-mm. although the cartridge case was considerably shorter, and the type of fuse different. Several types of ammunition were known to be used. Although the guns examined were exposed to severe climatic conditions for almost five weeks, no signs of corrosion were evident. The guns gave every indication of precise workmanship and extremely careful maintenance. Two 7.7-mm. recoil-operated guns, are synchronized to fire through the propeller; 500 rounds per gun; guns are type 97 made by Nippon Manufacturing Corporation; fixed machine gun, type 3, revision 2, 1942. Three sizes and shapes of 7.7 ammunition are loaded in the following manner: 1 tracer, 1 armor-piercing, 1 incendiary, 1 armor-piercing, 1 tracer. The tracer is semi-boat-tailed. Others have square bases, but are not the same size or shape. Cartridges are about 1/4 inch shorter than 30-06, and wider at base. They are not rimless. The primer is much larger than normal, and is made with two firing points inside. The jacket is cupro-nickel. The cartridge will chamber in M 1, but will not fire because of rim and wide base. One bullet examined had flaw where jacket was incomplete. Equipped with electric gun sight; No.. 150; shows 16, month 12 (December, 1941). Manufactured Sendaida Optical Works Corporation. Gas Tanks. Detachable plywood belly tank, streamlined, about 18 inches in diameter, and 6 feet long. It is divided into compartments with splash boards, and sets nearly flush against the plane. It is fastened with one casting just aft of its landing gear. Apparently the belly tank holds only about one half of its rated capacity of 150 gallons, There is a gas tank of welded and riveted aluminum in each wing, believed not to be leakproof. Armor. No armor on any part of the plane. Cockpit. Single seat, with pilot strapped to seat in three places; no armor; cockpit cover resembles plexiglass. Automatic flight control. Plate inside cockpit has following information: Place of manufacture—Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co., Nagoya Airplane Manufacturing Plant. Name, Zero type Model, type A6M2 engine; Nakajima NK 1; weight, 1,715.0 kilograms (3,782 lbs.); carrying capacity, 650.3 kilograms (1,434 lbs.); entire weight, 2,365.3 kilograms (5,216 lbs.); the year, date, and month of completion, was February 19, 1942. Radio. Two way radio; radio mast aft of cockpit is of streamlined wood, hollow with copper wire inside. 96 Type air, Number 1, wireless voice transmitter, type 1. Receiver No. 976, January 1942. Manufactured by Toyo Electric Corporation. The radio compass was made by Fairchild Aero Camera Co., New York City. Aerial #429. (Ed. Note: Emphasis added.) Loop located in pilot enclosure just in back of pilot's seat. Controls located on right hand side of cockpit. L or R meter located on instrument dash board. This equipment looked as though it had been used before it was installed in this plane. Frequency range, 170 to 460 and 450 to 1200 KC. Switch was located in the 450 to 1200 KC position when gear was removed. The radio receiver has 5 Japanese-made tubes of the following types: one 6C6 RF amplifier, one 6A7 1st detector and oscillator, one 6C6 IF amplifier, one 76 second detector, one 76 audio stage. Receiver is super-heterodyne with a crystal-controlled oscillator to determine the frequency of the receiver. It has a beat oscillator for CW reception. One dial to tune antenna and 1st detector stage. Frequency can only be changed by changing the crystal which plugs in the front of the panel. Both transmitter and receiver were using 4145 KC crystals. No other crystals were located in or about the plane. Radio was made by Toyo Electric Corporation in January 1942. Dynamotor is marked generator, air Model 1, revision 1, input 12.5 volts, 13 amps; output for sending 500 volts, 0.12 amps; output for receiving 150 volts, 0.03 amps. No. 302360; weight, 6.8 kilograms (15 lbs.) Made February 1942 by Koana Manufacturing Corporation. The radio transmitter has power of about 10 watts, crystal controlled, voice of C.W. Frequency range approximately 2,000 KC to 6,000 KC. Frequency can only be changed by removing crystal and inserting another. Has a neon bulb for indicating resonance in the plate circuit and an antenna ammeter with maximum reading of .8 of an ampere. Power supply is in the 12 volt plane battery and a dynamotor supply of about 600 volts, D.C. Transmitter uses one Japanese 503 tube for oscillator and one Japanese 503 tube for modulator. These tubes seem to be the equivalent of an 807 RCA tube. There were 3 dynamotors on the plane, one each for transmitter, receiver, and radio compass. They were located aft of the cockpit. The generator taken from the Fairchild Radio Compass was an Eclipse made in the United States. (Ed. Note: Emphasis added.) Engine Oil Tank. Weight, 7.400 kilograms (16.3 lbs.); capacity, 60.0 liters (15.7 gals.). Aileron. 130 inches long; 16 1/2 inches wide next to the fuselage, 8 inches wide at outside end. All control surfaces are of fabric. Bomb Load. Place provided for a bomb rack on each wing. Arresting Gear. Retractable; hook on arresting gear can be released by pilot. Insignia. Insignia on top and bottom of wings; insignia on both sides of fuselage are much brighter than those on the wings; yellow stripe around after part of fuselage. Parachute. Type 97 (1937) Parachute, Model 2; number of manufacture, 1490853; manufactured, September 9, 1939, at Fujikura Heavy Industries Corporation. Remarks. All parts are marked with name plates. The plane is light gray in color. All the inside metal surfaces are finished with blue coating. The electric gun sight was repaired with friction tape. This was the only part that showed wear. Editor Note: This is an accurate, if slightly annotated, transcript of the intelligence report. The use of American-made equipment should be especially noted. This was the first intact Zero recovered by the United States and it was restored to flying condition. The above was taken from the report Tactical and Technical Trends No. 5 August 13, 1942, produced by the Military Intelligence Service of the U.S. War Department, pages 1 to 4.
  3. Attached is one of the most famous recipes of the US Army in World War 2. Interestingly enough, it is a favorite at WW2 veteran reunions. I suspect that it brings back the memories of when they were soldiers. I should add that as my family was not exactly wealthy, I grew up eating this as well, and still like it.
  4. Chosin Retreat

    I finally got to the Marine Corps University History Division. US Marine Corps Official Histories for the Korean War can be found here. https://www.usmcu.edu/historydivision/frequently-requested/publications/korean-war-1950-1953 Marine: The Life of Chesty Puller by Burke Davis also has a good account of the Marines at Chosin.
  5. Pacific Battle Jungle Combat Exp

    Makin was an Army show, while Tarawa was Marines. Neither was heavy jungle, with Tarawa being an airstrip surrounded by a fringe of beach with coconut palms. Guadalcanal was not all heavy jungle, but Cape Gloucester was really nasty. Eniwetok was another coral atoll with no heavy jungle, while Saipan was a combination of fields, some forest, and a lot of rugged terrain that had not a lot of growth. Check out some of the World War 2 footage on archive.org for some idea of what things were like. The Marines did not participate in the New Guinea campaign.
  6. Chosin Retreat

    First, never tell a Marine that they retreated at Chosin. As General Smith said: "We're just attacking in another direction." You can also find a lot of information on the Korean War at the Center for Military History website and at the Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library. http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm/ http://www.history.army.mil/index.html
  7. Mex Rev WW1 to 1920s

    The Thompson was not developed until after World War 1 in the early 1920s, and to the best of my knowledge was first used military forces by the US Marine Corps in Nicaragua in the late 1920s. It was used by criminals in the US before that. From looking at some photos of Mexican rebel forces, I would say most were using single shot rifles of fairly large caliber. The likelihood of Mexican forces using Browning Machine Guns is just about nil, along with the 1903 Springifields. The Browining was developed in 1917 and saw limited use in World War One, but was not available to any other military besides the US, while the US was not able to produce enough Springfields for our own military in World War One, and so produced the M1917, commonly referred to as the Enfield, converting a rifle being produced for the British to the rimless .30-06 caliber from the British .303 rimmed cartridge. I would say that the movies are using what weapons that they have available to them without any concern for historical accuracy. The US Army Center for Military History has recently published a very good account of the Pershing Expedition, which can be downloaded here: http://www.history.army.mil/catalog/pubs/77/77-1.html There are some addition accounts of the Pershing Expedition on the Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library, under General Military History. http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm/
  8. Here is a condensed version of the full National Geographic documentary on the search. I was the one that identified the wreck, about 3:24 into the video. There is more footage on YouTube as well, including the preview at the Kennedy Library.
  9. While in the Solomons looking for PT-109 with Dr. Robert Ballard, I had a chance to spend some time talking with Dick Keresey, who commanded PT-105 that night. He did not know that Japanese destroyers were involved until he saw the bow wake of one of them departing the drop-off cove on Kolombangara, They had not been briefed about destroyers and thought that the Japanese would be in landing barges. The orders were that once a boat fired its torpedoes, it was to immediately return to the base at Rendova. The boats that fired torpedoes first were the four equipped with radar, and as soon as they fired, they headed for home, leaving the remaining boats dependent on the Mark One Eyeball and the Mark One Ear for detection of any Japanese. It was not a particularly well-planned operation. Having been on Vella Gulf and Blackett Strait at night, I would put the maximum detection range of PT-109 of the Amagiri at 400 yards at best, with the Amagiri doing about 30 knots.
  10. What was the worst mistake made by Germany in WWII?

    Fighting the Japanese with the British is far different than fighting the Germans and Italians with the British. Considering that the destroyer USS Kearny had been torpedoed by a German submarine in the fall of 1941 and the USS Reuben James sunk by a German submarine on October 31, 1941, there was still very strong sentiment in the US not to get involved in another European War. That did include a far number of Senators who were strongly isolationist. FDR might have gotten a declaration of war through, but not without massive debate, and a clearly divided country. There were no treaties that requires us to support the United Kingdom anywhere in the world prior to December 7, 1941. Both General Marshall and Admiral Stark were horrified when FDR froze Japanese assets and ended all trade with Japan following Japan's taking over of Indo-China. They wanted to avoid a clash with Japan at close to all costs, and felt that the US needed at least another year before we would be ready go fight anyone.
  11. Low Level Ploesti Attack

    On August 1, 1943, 5 bomber groups of B-24 Liberators attacked the Ploesti Oil Refineries at low-level, roughly 50 to 200 feet. Fifty-four B-24s were lost on the mission. Five Medals of Honor were awarded. More to follow.
  12. Attached is an analysis of US Army infantry operations during the early months of the Korean War. The study was prepared by Brig. General S. L. A. Marshall, and contains a large amount of information in US infantry weapons used in Korea, all of which except for the recoiless rifles were widely used during World War 2. It makes for very interesting reading. Infantry Ops-Korea.pdf
  13. Attached are the official U. S. Navy performance charts for the straight-wing F9F Panther and the F4U-4 Corsair, as flown during the Korean War. Happy reading. f9f.pdf f4u-4.pdf
  14. What are you currently reading?

    Presently I am reading, in conjunction with the World War 2 class that I am teaching the following books. The Ciano Diaries, by Count Ciano, Mussolini's Foreign Minister and also son-in-law. The Italian Navy in World War 2 by Cmdr. Marc Bragadin 100 Best True Stories of World War 2, by various. It includes an account of Rodger Young's final action. Corregidor: The Saga of a Fortress, by Belote and Belote and for a change of pace, Merchant Ship Types by A. C. Hardy.
  15. Those are three very, very good aircraft.