Blogs > Cliopatria > Military History Digest #153

Mar 22, 2011 9:23 pm

Military History Digest #153

Selections from around the web.


Early Modern

1. American Revolution: British Stun at the Saintes by n/a

"Moving to capture Jamaica in the spring of 1782, a French fleet led by the Comte de Grasse departed Martinique in early April. Eager to prevent this and halt French aggression in the region, Adm. Sir George Rodney pursued the enemy as it sailed north towards Guadeloupe. After a minor encounter on April 9, the two fleets met three days later. Steering for the French center, Rodney's van passed along the bulk of the French fleet inflicting heavy damage before the wind shifted slightly. This shift, along with smoke from the fighting, forced de Grasse's ships to lose formation and..."

19th Century

1. The Collapse of the Confederacy by Brooks D. Simpson

"In explaining Union victory and Confederate defeat, James McPherson once pointed out, historians tend to emphasize either internal factors (why the Confederacy lost) or external factors (why the Union won). I happen to think that the management of the Union … Continue reading ..."

2. German Type 212A U-Boat by Charles McCain

"Wilhelm Bauer (December 23, 1822 - June 20, 1875) Interestingly, the Type 212A was designed and built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (“HDW”) and Italian subcontractor Fincantieri for both the German and Italian Navies. The German firm, HDW, whose roots extend to 1838, actually built its first submarine in 1850. German engineer, Wilhelm Bauer, designed this primitive submersible for the purpose of ending the Danish naval blockade of the coastline of north Prussia, which he observed during one of the periodic dust ups between various German states and the Kingdom of..."

3. The Great Train Raid of 1861 by Craig Swain

"Pulling a train along the Valley Turnpike? Now that is a unique reenactment! From the Great Train Raid of 1861 event site: A spectacular two-day event culminating with reenactment of Col. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s infamous overland relocation of railroad rolling stock … Continue reading ..."

4. The Bottle and Grant by Craig Swain

"I guess like a fine brandy, a post from Dr. Brooks Simpson a few days back has properly aged in my thoughts. Addressing the topic of General U.S. Grant and alcohol, Simpson takes on the line that Grant controlled his … Continue reading ..."

5. Introduction to Army 32-Pdr Seacoast Guns by Craig Swain

"Slowly since the start of the year, I’ve introduced the cannons used at Fort Sumter and Charleston in 1861. Thus far I’ve presented the 42-pdr seacoast guns, the 8-inch columbiads, and some time back discussed the 24-pdr flank howitzers. Now … Continue reading ..."

6. Lincoln and the 13th Amendment (1861 Version) by Donald R. Shaffer

"Disunion in the New York Times recently described Abraham Lincoln early in his presidency as a “Rookie Executive” and it was true. Lincoln had no real executive experience before becoming president, and even in his law partnership he tended to concentrate on litigation and not administration. Yet despite his inexperience, early on Lincoln demonstrated he would be diligent in handling his executive duties. A good example is the 1861 version of the 13th amendment–or the Corwin amendment as it is often called–that had passed Congress on March 2, just before his taking office. On March 16, 1861, Lincoln..."

7. Alexander H. Stephens’ Cornerstone Speech by Donald R. Shaffer

"When historians want to cite evidence of the Civil War being about slavery, they often make use of Alexander H. Stephens’ Cornerstone Speech. As Civil War Emancipation has demonstrated ad nauseum there is plenty of other evidence on this point. So why the attention to Stephen’s speech, which he gave in Savannah, Georgia, on March 21, 1861? Well, for one thing, by then Alexander H. Stephens was Vice President of the Confederacy. He was never really active day-to-day in the Confederate government, but Stephens was still a high-ranking and influential figure. And since the speech was extemporaneous..."

8. A Black Confederate General That We Can All Embrace? by Kevin Levin

"I trust that after this post no one will accuse me of dismissing any and all evidence for the existence of black Confederate soldiers. Better yet, I give you at least one black Confederate general. The interesting question is whether the Sons of Confederate Veterans and others will accept him as one of their own. [...]..."

9. "Civil War at Sea" Symposium at the Navy Memorial by (Matthew T. Eng)

"In honor of the first year of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, there will be a Civil War Navy Symposium co-hosted by the Navy Memorial and Naval History and Heritage Command at the Navy Memorial's Heritage Center. The event, which will be highlighted by keynote speaker and acclaimed Civil War historian Craig Symonds, will also show living history demonstrations, displays, and activities for all participants who attend. Seating is limited, so if you plan to attend, please RSVP by emailing CWN 150 Coordinator Matthew Eng, HRNM Historian and Daybook Editor Gordon Calhoun, and CWN150 Undergraduate..."

10. "Flames Beyond Gettysburg: the Confederate Expedition to the Susquehanna River, June 1863" by (Drew@CWBA)


11. Highland Shaw Warner by Steve Soper

"Highland Shaw Warner was born in 1835 in Cattaraugus County, New York, or perhaps in 1833 in Ohio, the son of James (1811-1855) and Sarah (Shaw or James, 1812-1869). (The 1860 census lists New York as Highland’s birthplace and his age as 24, whereas the 1850 census lists his age as 17 and his birthplace as Ohio.)Highland’s father was born in Vermont and his mother was born in Massachusetts and they were married in either New York or Vermont in 1834. (James was the grandson of Col. Seth Warner of Vermont.) In any case, the family eventually..."

12. River Blast 2011 Day 1 by (Seaman Rob)

"A week ago, fellow CWNS Blogger Matt Eng provided reports from the Battle of Hampton Roads event in Virginia. He inspired me to do the same for the 2011 River Blast event held at the Port Columbus Museum of Civil War Naval History in Columbus, GA the weekend of 12-13 March.12 March 20119:00 AM. Arrived on-site and found the other guys of my unit that came up from Florida for this event. We had a display in the navy encampment with other units and volunteers from the museum.10:00 AM. Wow! I was"drafted" to..."

13. River Blast 2011 Day 2 by (Seaman Rob)

"13 March 20119:00 AM. Arrived back at the site. Since Sunday morning was a bit slow, in terms of visitors, I took some time to roam through the Port Columbus museum. In yesterday's post, I mentioned a few of the things the museum features. It is a treasure trove of artifacts, exhibits, displays, artwork and information on the US and CS Navies in the Civil War. The museum boasts one of the largest collections of jacks and flags flown on ships of both navies. Exhibits include a full-size replica of a portion of the hull of the USS..."

14. 32-Pdr Seacoast Gun Model 1829 by Craig Swain

"With some 1,222 ordered, these represent the largest make and model of seacoast guns produced before the Civil War. Until the arrival of the Rodman guns at the eve of the Civil War, the 32-pdr Model 1829 was the mainstay of the American coastal defenses...."

15. Heritage v. History (Redux) by Kevin Levin

"The heritage syndrome, if I may call it that, almost seems to be a predictable but certainly a non-conspiratorial response–an impulse to remember what is attractive or flattering and to ignore all the rest. Heritage is composed of those aspects of history that we cherish and affirm. As an alternative to history, heritage accentuates the [...]..."

16. Archibald Washburn by Steve Soper

"Archibald Washburn was born on May 29, 1831, in Milton, Chittenden County, Vermont, possibly the son or grandson of Phineas (1788-1868) and Sylvia (Wright?).New York native Phineas served the Fourth Regiment (Williams) of Vermont Militia in the War of 1812, probably along with his brother (?) Reuben. In any case, Phineas settled in Vermont and married Sylvia around 1810, possibly in Vermont where they resided for some years. In fact, Phineas was residing in Fairfax, Franklin County, Vermont in 1830, and in Milton, Vermont in 1840. Phineas reportedly married his second wife Vermonter Lucinda Godwin (b. 1804) in 1842..."

World War I

1. From Our Archive: “Keep Our Navy Strong” by Captain Luke Mcnamee, U.S. Navy, Director of Naval Intelligence, 1923 by admin

"Proceedings, May 1923, Volume 49, Number 5, Whole Number 243 When I was informed by Colonel Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, that I was to be invited to go to Boston and speak to this distinguished audience I must confess to experiencing a feeling of dismay such as I have rarely felt in the presence of much graver danger. This feeling was prompted not so much by my sense of inexperience in public speaking, or doubt of your kindly forbearance, as by the thought that while this would be a wonderful opportunity to present the case for the Navy..."

2. Extra! Italians Bomb Libya! by Charles McCain

" Italian dirigibles bomb Turkish positions on Libyan Territory. The Italo-Turkish war of 1911-1912 was the first in history in which air attacks (carried out here by dirigible airships) determined the outcome. In 1911 the Kingdom of Italy attacked the Ottoman Empire in what is known as the Italo-Turkish War and seized most of modern day Libya. Unexpectedly, the Italians introduced a new concept in warfare: they dropped a bomb from an airplane; in this case on Turkish troops. Dropping bombs from aircraft during wartime had never been done before. [Image courtesy of Wikipedia.]..."

3. Nicholas Murray: the Red Sweet Wine of Youth by (Tim Kendall)

"Nick Murray is a fantastic poet, a gifted novelist, an authoritative biographer, a small press publisher, and an entertaining blogger. He writes engagingly on Victorian travellers and on Liverpool. Somehow, he also finds time to assess the poetry of the First World War. The Red Sweet Wine of Youth, published by Little, Brown late last year, is a trade book which sits between biography and literary criticism. Murray has not written primarily for specialists, but the thoroughness of his research makes it a valuable resource for all audiences.The first chapter, 'The West End Front', establishes the state of poetry in..."

4. The First U.S. Naval Ship Powered by Electric Motors by Rene Tyree

"The first U.S. Navy surface ship powered by electric motors was the USS Jupiter.She was later converted into the first aircraft carrier (see image below) and renamed the USS Langley.According to MIT’s site on electric ship history here, “the early electrically powered naval vessels employed two electrical systems: one for propulsion and the other for services such as lights, radar, sonar, cargo pumps, cranes and any other required systems.” After the 1940s most electric-drive ships fell out of favor because of the inefficiency of having two separate electric systems.This from the Naval History and Heritage Command site here.“USS..."

World War II

1. Monday, 17 March 1941 by Brett Holman

"Today the Glasgow Herald returns to what has been the predominant theme of the last week, America's increasing commitment to the Allied cause, here represented by a 'world broadcast' made by Roosevelt on Saturday (5). Fearlessly he castigated the Axis partners --"these modern tyrants" with their"stuff and nonsense" about the master race. Their"new order," he said, was neither new nor order -- it was a system imposed by conquest and based on slavery. Roosevelt says that the Nazis are not looking for 'mere modifications in colonial maps or in minor European boundaries'; they instead wish to 'eliminate all democracies..."

2. Tuesday, 18 March 1941 by Brett Holman

"By recapturing from Italian forces Berbera, the capital of British Somaliland, a small part of the British Empire has been restored. Royal Navy warships landed Army troops at the port, suffering 'negligible' (Glasgow Herald, 5) casualties. RAF armoured cars assisted too. This adds to the Allied offensive against Addis Ababa: 'British Empire troops are now steadily closing in on the heart of the Italian Empire from 13 points', according to a military representative in Cairo. The Herald noted that when the Italians attacked British Somaliland, they spoke of 'the"expulsion of the British from the Western shore of the Red..."

3. Wednesday, 19 March 1941 by Brett Holman

"Lead item in today's Glasgow Herald is a report that 'a German U-boat is believed to have reached waters somewhere off the North Atlantic coast of America' (7). Slow news day? Not really; the real story is the way the war is creeping ever closer to America, and vice versa. The U-boat news was announced shortly after Churchill's speech in honour of the new US ambassador, John Winant. Churchill said that Not only German U-boats but German battle cruisers have crossed to the American side of the Atlantic, and have already sunk some of our independently routed..."

4. German Light Cruiser Karlsruhe by Charles McCain

"I have written about the German light cruisers previously including the Karlsruhe. The Karlsruhe was the second of the three 'K' class light cruisers built. The K class light cruisers suffered from many design problems since they were designed and built in the late 1920's and had to adhere to the strict limit's imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. As the design problems became increasingly apparent, the duties of the ships were limited to compensate and they increasingly failed to serve in the role they were intended to. The Karlsruhe took part in a few world tours..."

5. Extra! Italians Bomb Libya! by Charles McCain

" Italian dirigibles bomb Turkish positions on Libyan Territory. The Italo-Turkish war of 1911-1912 was the first in history in which air attacks (carried out here by dirigible airships) determined the outcome. In 1911 the Kingdom of Italy attacked the Ottoman Empire in what is known as the Italo-Turkish War and seized most of modern day Libya. Unexpectedly, the Italians introduced a new concept in warfare: they dropped a bomb from an airplane; in this case on Turkish troops. Dropping bombs from aircraft during wartime had never been done before. [Image courtesy of Wikipedia.]..."

6. Profile 46 - Satan's Chillen Update by (JSM)

"Regarding the picture above - on the left is my wretched pencil-work of the nose art of Satan's Chille'n. The boxing bomber-dude didn't appear on the airplane - it's actually the 613th Bomb Squadron mascot - I just scribbled it for something to do.On the right, however, is a 401st BG photo of what the art really-might-have looked like. No photo of the specific B-17 is known to exist; only this nearly-70 year old photo of someone's flight-jacket, which may or may not have been anything like what it actually looked on the bomber*.The struggle..."

7. Women in World War Two: the Raf Air Transport Auxiliary by Charles McCain

" The front cover of Picture Post dated 16 September 1942 using a photograph of First Officer Maureen Dunlop to highlight The Story of the ATA. It is odd to hear debates in the US Congress about permitting women to serve in the combat infantry or do other dangerous jobs in the US military. Put them in supply units or other jobs"in the rear with the gear" seems to be what is often said. Yet as we learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, the front line in modern warfare can be very fluid. Supply columns in the rear are attacked..."

Cold War

1. Mark Moyar's Tendentious 'Triumph Forsaken: the Vietnam War, 1954-65' by Thomas E. Ricks

"I finally got around to reading Mark Moyar's Triumph Forsaken, an interesting revisionist take on the first 10 years of our involvement in the Vietnam War. (His response will follow tomorrow.) I think his book is more right than wrong. For example, my bet is that he is correct in concluding that the American reporters in Vietnam, especially early in the war, probably were off base, especially in their coverage of the Diem government. He also does a good job on the Ap Bac battle. Scorecard report: His villains are John Paul Vann, American journalists, Henry Cabot Lodge, the State..."

2. Diary Entry 46: Saigon, Friday Night, 20 August 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Friday Night, 20 August 1965Since 9 p.m. have been over at MACV I in the J-3 shop huddling with Brigadier General DePuy. We have some good-sized operations now underway and it was necessary to examine the original plans closely, and to be sure that there are adequate backup resources ready to go. In the end we had a real good argument on use of airlift, and he let me win one. He’s a real fine gentleman and in my opinion one of the best soldiers over here. But I wouldn’t want to work for him. We are..."

3. Diary Entry 47: Saigon, Saturday Night, 21 August 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Saturday Night, 21 August 1965Spirits high, because this has been kind of a “fun” day. The day has seemed pretty much like a day-long comedy. Reckon the comedy really started last night in some conversations with General DePuy, but I was unable to recognize it as the beginning of an amusing series of experiences. It happened this way:Last night I went over to MACV I to discuss some airlift plans with General DePuy. One of the points of discussion was a very large number of airlift requirements requested by the Army guys (I wear a “purple” uniform as..."

4. Diary Entry 48: Saigon, Sunday Night, 22 August 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Sunday Night, 22 August 1965Been busy working since 8 a.m. today and though I’m a little tired now, this is pretty early for me to be through so some progress must be being made. Had my whole shop in to work today as the office is quieter on Sunday than it is on most days. So we got a good bit of work done.In order to get more work done in my branch, am starting a series of staggered duty hours whereby half of my people come to work at 7 and work until 7 p.m. and the other..."

5. Frequently Mentioned Persons: Brigadier General William Eugene Depuy, U.S. Army, Macv J-3 by (J.R. Clark)

"One of the most influential and contentious figures in the MACV headquarters, and in Clark's diary, was Brigadier General William Eugene DePuy, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations (J-3).  Brigadier General William E. DePuy, U.S. Army, left. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army.) DePuy was born in 1919 in Jamestown, North Dakota. He was an ROTC graduate of South Dakota State University and the Army commissioned him a second lieutenant in 1941. He served with the 20th Infantry Regiment and the 90th Infantry Division during World War II, from the D-Day invasion through the Battle of the Bulge. DePuy..."

6. From the Editor:"the Situation Seems So Crazy That I Want to Get to the Bottom of It" by (J.R. Clark)

"On 22 August, Clark wrote: Major Dughi may be getting himself in some deep trouble over here. He appears to have gotten quite indiscreet in his relationship with his “friend.” He is being seen much too frequently at the BOQ mess halls, on the streets, and she calls him too much at the office. Think Colonel Plate is getting irritated about it. He [Dughi] also seems to spend a lot of time away from work and on the weekends, Colonel Plate can’t seem to find him when something important comes up.I sure don't understand the situation. He writes to..."

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