Archive for the ‘American’ Category

U.S. Navy WW II Combat Narratives

July 11, 2018

These publications form “… a series of twenty-one published and thirteen unpublished Combat Narratives of specific naval campaigns produced by the Publications Branch of the Office of Naval Intelligence during World War II. Selected volumes in this series are being republished by the Naval Historical Center as part of the Navy’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of World War II.”

Originally printed in 1942-43, these slim volumes relied on available primary source materials augmented with selected interviews of the main participants. Although superseded by successive tomes that were based on years of scholarly research, these were at the time instructive and informative précis of major battles. The reprinted titles mostly deal with the Pacific war; a couple are in the ETO.

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Trails West: Primary and Secondary Sources

June 20, 2018

Across the Plains, Mountains and Desert is a bibliography of almost 4500 items of primary and secondary sources dealing with the overland trails from 1812 to 1912. (Where available, links are provided to the full text document.) As is stated in the preface “This bibliography does not discriminate against fur traders, Frenchmen,soldiers, expressmen, merchants, miners bound for Pikes Peak or Montana, or Mormons bound for Utah. If a man, woman, or child left an account of their experiences crossing the northern overland route across the Great Plains, whether going of east or west, I hope it appears here.” (8) Other more specialized sites include Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, Travels in America, 1750 to 1920, Mountain Men and the Fur TradeThe Gold Rush of California: A Bibliography of Periodical Articles, “California As I Saw It”: First-Person Narratives of Early California, 1849-1900, Oregon Trail Emigrant Resources, and the Merrill J Mattes Collection (trail diaries).

The Latest National Maritime Heritage Grant Recipients Announced

May 24, 2018

The National Park Service has recently posted the latest beneficiaries of its re-vitalized National Maritime Heritage awards program. More than $2.6 million will be disbursed in this go-round to dozens of worthy projects. Many do not realize that the NPS also preserves and promotes maritime locations; it is simply not the custodian of land-based sites. An extensive listing of maritime-related national parks is available. Program background is here; you might be interested in how funding for this program is generated.

China’s Naval Modernization

May 9, 2018

This CRS report details the plans China has to upgrade its naval forces and the implications this has for the United States Navy. Hundreds of references add to the utility of this 100+ page document. Also recommended are Beijing’s Strategy to Build China into a Maritime Great Power,  Naval War College Review, 71(#2, Spring 2018): 17-48;  and China’s Evolving Surface Fleet from the U.S. Naval War College.

Nathaniel Bowditch

May 2, 2018

 

Nathaniel Bowditch was an accomplished autodidact whose contributions to mathematics were so influential that he was offered a chair at Harvard but he declined. What is of more interest, at least as far as this site goes, are his immense contributions to navigation. His corrections to the standard work at that time – The Practical Navigator (9th ed, 1791) – were so extensive that subsequent editions were labelled New American Practical Navigator (2d ed, 1807). This compendium is still used today and is referred to as Bowditch; it is carried on every American ship. Various volumes from 1822 to 2002 are found here; the 2017 edition, now called American Practical Navigator is also available online.

Here is his chart of the Salem coastline.

A finding aid to some of his papers can also be accessed online as well as his translation of the four volumes of Laplace’s Celestial Mechanics.

His son left us his Memoir of Nathaniel Bowditch.

Also of interest is Eulogy on Nathaniel Bowditch, LL.D., president of the American academy of arts and sciences; including an analysis of his scientific publications. Delivered before the Academy, May 29, 1838.

His house still stands.

“Ships Through the Ages”

April 25, 2018

Is a series of murals that depict the evolution of ships from the sailing era to modern times.

“Maritime Heritage of Massachusetts”

April 18, 2018

This site is one of the wonderful “itineraries” constructed by the National Park Service. It is engagingly presented and features scores of sites with well-informed descriptions/histories. Maps, additional links, and bibliographies accompany this presentation. One can lose oneself in this site; I recommend that you do.

The USS Lexington Has Been Found After 76 Years

March 6, 2018

The “Lady Lex” took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea, was seriously damaged, and finally sunk by US torpedoes. For more information, read about this battle in a 1943 Combat Narrative. You can read excerpts from the Lexington’s logbook here; you can view photographs and read the captain’s after action report as well.

A brief video shows the remarkably good condition of this ship after all these years.

 

“Ice Pilots”

February 26, 2018

This article explains the above job – navigating a US Coast Guard cutter through the ice floes.

Naval Takeaways from 2018 Defense Budget

November 9, 2017

The combined House and Senate Armed Services Committees have vetted the administration’s defense budget request. Naval highlights include:

“Authorizes multiyear contract authority and advance procurement for up to 13 Virginia-class submarines.

 Authorizes multiyear contract authority and advance procurement for up to 15 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to procure the first polar-class heavy icebreaker and includes a review of Navy capabilities in the Arctic region.

Codifies at least a 355-ship Navy with the optimal mix of ships as U.S. policy.

Authorizes limited aspects of the Department’s proposal to recapitalize the Ready Reserve Force.

Expands the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund to include multiyear procurement of critical components.

Directs reports of maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting; defense of combat logistics and strategic mobility forces; the acquisition strategy to recapitalize undersea fixed surveillance systems; Los Angeles-class submarine service life extensions; and mine warfare readiness.” (Committees highlights report, 5) 

Page 4 presents a breakdown of what authorizations are included for shipbuilding, among them “… $30 million for preliminary design of a smaller aircraft carrier….”

Defense News has an analysis of this approval.