Category Archives: Military History

Old Naval Mines Still Floating Around

I just read a news article about an old moored training mine washing up on a North Carolina beach (Figure 1). I am amazed at the number of mines that still wash up on beaches around the world. Figure 1 shows the mine that washed up on a North Carolina beach recently. Stories like this seem to happen frequently after severe storms. Fortunately, this training unit (i.e. inert) did not pose a hazard to the people who came upon it, but some explosive-laden mines still wash up on beaches (example). Continue reading

 
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WW2 Tank Production Comparison Between Combatants

Quote of the Day At least you figured it out. My first two husbands never did. — Female employee told me this after I mentioned that my wife's nickname for me was "The Paycheck" – this nickname was a joke … Continue reading

 
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US Navy Warship Mix

While driving home after watching the eclipse, I listened to the news talking about a collision between a US Navy destroyer, the USS John S. McCain (Figure 1), and a commercial tanker.  A previous collision also involved a destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald. These stories have made me curious about how many of these ships the US Navy has.  Continue reading

 
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US WW2 Submarine Tonnage Sunk Database

While answering a recent question about the tonnage sank by the top US submarine skippers during WW2, I realized that I had not made available my conversion of the JANAC data for vessels sunk by US submarines. The JANAC records are considered the official records because they were cross-checked with information from Japanese records. Continue reading

 
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Personnel Count of US Special Operations Forces

I have a son who lives in Butte, Montana – the home town of Robert O'Neill, a famous US Navy SEAL. We were discussing Mr. O'Neill's exploits one night and started to wonder about the size of the different US special operations forces. I quickly looked up some 2014 data from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and put the data into a pivot table (Figure 1). I was a bit surprised at the numbers involved – it does not surprise me that the Army has the largest contingent, but the size of the Air Force's contingent was a surprise. Continue reading

 
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Visualizing US vs IJN Aircraft Carrier Numbers During WW2

I watched an interesting lecture on American History TV this weekend called Japanese Perspective on the Battle of Midway by Anthony Tully. The most interesting part of the discussion occurred when Tully began showing how the US production of aircraft carriers eventually overwhelmed the Japanese ability to build carriers. He used some simple graphs to show the relative carrier strength of the US Navy versus the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) over time. In this post, I will come up with my own graphics to visualize this information. Continue reading

 
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Recoil Calculation Example

I have been reading about the US Air Force's battle to retire the A-10 Warthog (Figure 1). The USAF has never cared for the A-10 and has made a number of attempts to replace it with either the F-16 or the F-35. During my reading, I saw the following statement about the recoil of it 30 mm Gatling gun, and the impact of this recoil on the A-10's speed. Continue reading

 
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Royal Navy Losses in WW2

I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately on WW2 naval actions, and I have been putting together tables that show me ship losses by year. This information gives me a feel for the tempo of battle during the war. I first looked at US naval losses (link) and am now looking at the Royal Navy losses (Figure 1). Continue reading

 
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Some PT Boat Statistics

I was doing some reading about President John F. Kennedy (JFK) and was surprised to learn that he actually commanded three PT boats: PT-101, PT-109, and PT-59. His service on PT-101 was very short. His next command, PT-109, became famous because of its ramming and sinking by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. Continue reading

 
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Demise of the Pearl Harbor Strike Force

I just watched a wonderful BookTV presentation by three authors on the WW2 attack on Pearl Harbor, which occurred 75 years ago today. While I am generally familiar with what happened during that attack, I had not looked at the details of the attack. In particular, this show motivated me to look at the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) attack force composition and what happened to these ships over the course of the war. The fate of these ships reflects what happened to the rest of the IJN during the Pacific War. Continue reading

 
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