Friday, July 20, 2018

USS San Diego Hits Mine-- Part 2: Or Was It Torpedoed?

The USS San Diego was recommissioned April 7 for use in World War I.  At first it operated in the Pacific before being ordered to the Atlantic.  Once there, the main job of the ship was to escort convoys across the North Atlantic to Europe.Ir was based out of Tompkinsville, New York, (Staten island) and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

An 18 July 1918, the San Diego was going to escort a convoy to France and its commander, Captain Harley H. Christy, ordered a zig-zag course with everyone on full alert for a submarine attack.  At 11:05 the next day, the ship was off Fire Island Lightship, N/Y/, when there was an explosion on the port side , well below the waterline.

Captain Christy thought his ship had been struck by a torpedo.  The San Diego began sinking rapidly and went below the water in 28 minutes.  Six men were killed.



Thursday, July 19, 2018

World War I Chronology-- July 1918: USS San Diego Hits Mine and Sinks


The armored cruiser USS San Diego hits a mine and sinks off Fire Island, New York, with the loss of six lives.

The USS San Diego was originally the USS California (ACR-6) and later renamed USS San Diego to free up the name California for a new battleship.  Commissioned 1 August 1904.  503 feet 11 inches length, beam 69 feet 6 inches.  Main armament four 8-inch rifles, fourteen 6-inch rifles.

Was renamed USS San Diego on 1 September 1914 in order to free up the name for the battleship USS California (BB-44) which was later at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked in 1941.

Served in the Pacific fleet until a boiler explosion in January 1915 put her at Mare Island.  Ensign Robert Cary and Fireman Second Class Telesforo Trinidad received Medals of Honor for the event.  Afterwardsshe was a popular attraction at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, Ca. 1 January 1915 to Jan. 1, 1917.

She was put into reserve status shortly thereafter until the beginning of World War I.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Second Battle of the Marne July 18 to August 6, 1918: Began 100 Years Ago

The previous post mentioned this battle as the Aisne-Marne Offensive.

This was the last major German offensive on the Western Front during World War I.  The attack failed when an Allied counterattack, supported by several hundred tanks, overwhelmed the Germans on their right flank, inflicting many casualties.

The German defeat marked the beginning of the relentless Allied advance that resulting in the Armistice with  Germany about 100 days later.

There were, on the Allied side, 44 French, 8 American, 4 British and 2 Italian divisions,408 heavy guns, 360 field batteries and 346 tanks,

German strength:  52 divisions, 609 heavy guns and 1,047 field batteries


France:  95,165 dead or wounded
Britain:  16,552 dead or wounded
USA:  12,00 dead or wounded
Italy:  9,00 dead or wounded


139,000 dead or wounded, 29,367 captured, 793 guns lost

Some Jawdropping Numbers.  --DaCoot

World War I Chronology, July, 1918 (100 Years Ago):



U.S. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 26th, 28th, 32nd  and 42nd Infantry Divisions, as well as the 41st Infantry Division Artillery and 83rd Infantry Division elements participate, a total of 250,000 Americans.

U.S. casualties:  6,992 KIA,  25,6644 WIA.

JULY 18-19


4th Marine Brigade throws back the last German offensive of the war, sustaining 1,972 casualties in 48 hours of fierce fighting.

Americans In the Thick of It.  --Cooter

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fort Washington-- Part 5: The Site Today

The site of Fort Washington is now Bennett Park on Fort Washington Avenue between West 183rd and West 185th streets. in the neighborhood of the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.  The location of the fort's walls are marked in the park by stones, along with an inscription.

Nearby is a plaque indicating that the schist outcrop is the highest natural spot on Manhattan Island which was a big reason the fort was sited there in the first place.

Bennett Park is located a few blocks north of the George Washington Bridge.  Along the banks of the Hudson River along the Henry Hudson Parkway is Fort Washington Park and the small point of land alternately called Jeffrey's Hook or Fort Washington Point, which is the site of the Little Red Lighthouse, a famous New York City point of interest.

The Little Red Lighthouse That Could.  --CootWash

Monday, July 16, 2018

Fort Washington-- Part 4: Molly Pitcher?

Margaret Corbin of Virginia was at the battle.  She has been recognized as the first female soldier to fight for the American Army.

She was married to James Corbin of the First Company of Pennsylvania Artillery.  When her husband was killed in the assault on Fort Washington, she loaded and fired her husband's cannon.

Although severely injured, Margaret Corbin survived the battle but never fully recovered from her wounds and was unable to use her left arm.  She is at least one of the women, if not the woman, who inspired the legend of Molly Pitcher.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

World War I Chronology, July 1918: Champagne-Marne Defensive

JULY 15-18, 1918


The 3rd, 26th, 28th, 41st (artillery)42nd Infantry Division and 369th Infantry (93rd Infantry Division) participate in the action.  The 3rd Infantry Division holds at the Marne (where they got the name "Rock of the Marne").

At Mezy, the 30th and 38th Regiments make a heroic stand.    St. Agnan, LaChapelle-Monthodon, Viezy and Missy-aux-Bois are recaptured.

Three days later, Americans capture Priley an La Grenouillieres farm.  Chateau-Thierry, Beray-le-Sec, and Mont St. Pere fall next.  U.S. forces capture Grimpettes Wood, Serignes-et-Nasles and take Cierges and Hill 230.

U.S. losses 1,485 KIA and 5,551 WIA.

Big Action for the AEF.  --Cooter

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fort Washington (NY)-- Part 3: Only 800 of 2,838 Americans Captured Survived

The British were immensely helped in their attack with information given them by one of Col. Magaw's officers, William Demont, who had deserted November 2 and had given detailed information on the fort.

American losses were 53 killed and  and 96 wounded in addition to the rest of the garrison being captured.  The British and Hessian troops had 132 killed and 374 wounded.  2,834 Americans were captured and marched through the streets of New York where they were jeered by a pro-British crowd.

Most of them were interned in British ships in the harbor where they were deliberately starved or died of disease in the really cold winter.  At the exchange, only 800 had survived.

These were the conditions that James McHenry (who Fort McHenry was named after) protested as he was also captured at Fort Washington.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Fort Washington (NY)-- Part 2: Washington Escapes and the Fort Falls

General Washington realized he would have to defend New York from the British, but didn't think he could hold it.  An escape route was very necessary.  When it became necessary to abandon the city, this is exactly what he did, crossing the Hudson between Fort Washington and Fort Lee (which was commanded by General Charles Lee, hence the name).

Fort Washington was commanded by Colonel Robert Magaw, who refused to surrender and notified the British that he would fight to the last extremity.  British General Howe ordered Hessians and other British troops, numbering 8,000 against the badly outnumbered Americans.

The fort fell on November 16, 1777, and the British captured 2,818 prisoners and large amounts of supplies.  They renamed the fortification Fort Knyphausen (after the commander of the Hessian troops).


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fort Washington (NY)-- Part 1: On Manhattan Island

I have been writing about James McHenry in my Not So Forgotten War of 1812 blog.  Fort McHenry was named after him.

He was a surgeon in the Continental Army in the American Revolution and was captured at Fort Washington in New York by British forces.

I'd never heard of this battle or fort before so did some research.


Fort Washington was a fortified position near the north end of Manhattan Island) now part of New York City).  The fort was located on the highest part of the island.

During the American Revolution, it was part of George Washington's defense of New York.  Fort Washington and Fort Lee (on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River were built to prevent the British from going up the river and to provide a secure escape route for the American Army is needed.


Ships By the Name USS Missouri-- Part 4: SSN-780 (and Ships Named USS St. Louis)

Back in the 1900s state names were given to battleships.  Now, they are given to submarines.

The 5th USS Missouri (SSN-780) is a Virginia-class attack submarine. commissioned  31 July 2010.  In 2016 it was home ported at Pearl Harbor.

In addition, five U.S. warships have been named the St. Louis (Wikipedia lists seven):

USS St. Louis 1828 sloop  Civil War
USS St. Louis  1861  Ironclad  Civil War

USS St. Louis  1898   troop transport
USS St. Louis (C-20)  protected cruiser  1906-1922

USS St. Louis    (CL-49)  light cruiser 1939-1946  At Pearl Harbor
USS  St. Louis  (LKA-116)   Amphibious cargo ship 1969-1991
USS St. Louis  (LCS-19)  Littoral Combat Ship

Also there have been two ships with the name USS Kansas City.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ships By the Name USS Missouri-- Part 3: The Most Famous One

The 4th USS MISSOURI  (BB-63) by far was the most famous ship of the name.  Commissioned in 1944.

45,000 tons

Nine 16-inch guns in main battery, capable of throwing a 1,300  pound shell thirty miles.

The Japanese surrendered on this ship to end World War II.

This battleship is a museum ship in Pearl Harbor, moored by the USS Arizona.  Together they bookend World War II for the United States.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Ships By the Name of USS Missouri-- Part 2: 3rd One Was a Battleship


Commissioned December 1903.  Cost $5 million.  Main armament of four 12-inch guns able to throw a shell weighing 870 pounds almost eight miles.

The ship went around the world with the Great White Fleet from 1907-1908.

It was the second ship to pass through the Panama Canal.

It was scrapped in 1922.

The ship's punch bowl is at the governor's mansion.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Ships By the Name Missouri in the U.S. Navy-- Part 1: CSS Missouri

From the June 18, 2018, News Tribune  "Perspective:  A History of the Missouri Navy" by Sam Bushman.

I wrote about the CSS Missouri in my Running the Blockade Civil War Navy blog earlier today.

These ships had the name USS Missouri in the United States Navy:

1st.  USS Missouri was a paddlewheel frigate built in 1841 at a cost of $570,000.  In 1843, while a part of the Mediterranean Squadron, the ship caught fire and blew up in Gibraltar.

2nd  CSS Missouri.  See today's Running the Blockade blog.


Battle of Hamel in World War I

From Wikipedia.

In Saturday's post I wrote about this battle.

Took place July 4, 1918.  Successful attack by Australian and American infantry against German positions around the northern French town of Le Hamel.

Many of the tactics employed, such as the use of combined arms, illustrated the evolution of military tactics, from the massed attacks used earlier in the war.  All of the Allied goals were achieved in just 93 minutes.

Sixty of the new, highly maneuverable British Mark V tanks were used.  A creeping artillery barrage by over 600 Allied cannons was also employed.  Much effort went into coordination.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

World War I Chronology, July 1918: Allied Cooperation in Amiens Sector



First instance of U.S. (33rd Infantry Division)- British (Australian) close cooperation.

They captured Hamel and repulse three counterattacks.

First real use of British tanks and machine guns as close infantry-support weapons.

Strength of the two sides:  Germany:  5,600  Allies:  7,000
Casualties'  Germany:  2,000 killed,   1,600 captured    Allies:  1,400 killed or wounded


Friday, July 6, 2018

Nine Things You Didn't Know About the Fourth of July-- Part 4:

7.  Celebrating with fireworks is as old as the holiday it self.  At the first celebration in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, 13 cannons were fired, one for each colony.  That night, 13 fireworks were shot off in the city commons.

The tradition of fireworks has gotten bigger since then.  In 1934, American Arctic explorers set off fireworks even though it was 33 degrees below zero.

8.  And today, fireworks are a massive industry.  The American Pyrotechnics Association, Americans spent over $1 billion for fireworks in 2017.  That number has tripled over the last twenty  years.

Judging just by the folks around our subdivision Saturday and last night, I'd say a WHOLE lot of it was spent here.

9.  July 4 is the biggest hot dog day of the year.  Americans consume roughly 150 million hot dogs on July 4, enough to stretch from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles five times.

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, which is a century old, takes place every July 4.  The record, currently held by Joey Chestnut, is 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Have a Dog On Me.  --RoadHot