Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Using Slave Labor is Never a Good Idea"

An interesting and illuminating convergence of my interests and hobbies  occurred this week...

Today, I was visiting X-Ray Delta One's Flikr archive to see what was new, and found this very powerful artwork (full size here):

Source: X-Ray Delta One

The masterful use of ink (is it pen [probably], blockprint or scratchboard?) only makes the subject more powerful. The illustration, especially the defiant man to the left, instantly reminded me of what I found the other day while I was looking into the background of several key players in the A-7/A-10 selection and development story. Lt General Howard Fish's recollection of WWII service (Video) led me to off track to other bomber stories (you know how it goes), where I found this on the EAA website:

Elmer Bendiner, B-17 navigator during World War II, tells this story of a bombing run over Kassel, Germany, and the unexpected result of a direct hit on the plane's fuel tanks.

Our B-17, the Tondelayo, was barraged by flack from German anti-aircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit. Later, as I reflected on the miracle of a 20-millimeter shell piercing the fuel tank without touching off an explosion, our pilot, Bohn Fawkes, told me it was not quite that simple. 
On the morning following the raid, Bohn had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of unbelievable luck. The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell but 11 had been found in the gas tanks; 11 unexploded shells where only one was sufficient to blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. A near miracle, I thought. Even after 35 years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn. 
He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up. They could not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer. 
Apparently when the armorers opened each of those shells, they found no explosive charge. They were as clean as a whistle and just as harmless. Empty? Not all of them! One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured our base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually they found one to decipher the note. It set us marveling. Translated, the note read: 
This is all we can do for you now... 
Using slave labor is never a good idea.   


Thursday, October 17, 2013

DD-1000 Update: Wow! Indeed

Great pics HERE.
(Note: Still working on next installment of the CAS Series, but this couldn't wait)

The USS Zumwalt now looks like a real ship. I tried to leave a comment in response to first commenter who parroted a cliché I'm sure he's heard from some other naysayer. He snarked:
With the 19th century bow design, this class of ship is going to spend a lot of time under salt water. There was a good reason why this bow type went away over 100 years ago. Good luck.

I tried to post a response:
The seas aren't any more violent than they were in 1900, and seakeeping gizmos are certainly more  effective these days. The DD-1000's better center of buoyancy vs center of gravity arrangement, overall lower mass distribution (remember a lot of the superstructure volume above the bridge is empty space) higher freeboard, higher fineness ratio (length to beam) and overall much larger size of the Zumwalts should mean these ships will have very little in common with the experiences of the Pre-Deadnought, wave piercing/tumblehome designs

But the thread wasn't taking my comment. At least I couldn't tell if it was taking (not even a 'thanks, a moderator will review..." kind of feedback).

Just HOW different is the DD-1000 Class from the 'old' designs?

Here's the SMS Brandenberg, circa 1902:
SMS Brandenberg Source: Wikipedia
Here it is shown relative to the DD1000 in profile (all waterlines at the red line shown):
DD1000 vs SMS Brandenberg  Comparison 
Here's the French warship Jauréguiberry:
French warship Jauréguiberry; Source Wikipedia
 Here is the Jauréguiberry of 1897 shown relative to the Zumwalt:
DD1000 vs Jauréguiberry Comparison 

Last example...
Here's one of the larger Pre-Dreadnoughts, Russia's Andrei Pervozanny. A wave-piercer, but (comparatively) only slightly tumblehome:
Russian Pre-Dreadaught Andrei Pervozanny ; Source: Wikipedia
 And here is the Andrei Pervozanny  compared to the Zumwalt in profile:
DD1000 vs Andrei Pervozanny Comparison 

  The beams (width) of all these hulls vary less than you might think. The skinniest is the Brandenberg at 64 ft, the widest (only slightly so) is the Zumwalt at 80.7 ft.  The really big 'dimensions' difference is found in hull fineness (ratio of length to beam), the absolute height of the decks above waterline, and the distances between the forward armament and bow. The DD-1000 should shake off seas that would rock-and-roll the 'oldies'

Hull Fineness Comparison