History Podcasts

Vought UO-1 being lowered from USS Memphis (CL-13)

Vought UO-1 being lowered from USS Memphis (CL-13)

US Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45, Mark Stille .Covers the five classes of US Navy light cruisers that saw service during the Second World War, with sections on their design, weaponry, radar, combat experience. Nicely organised, with the wartime service records separated out from the main text, so that the design history of the light cruisers flows nicely. Interesting to see how new roles had to be found for them, after other technology replaced them as reconnaissance aircraft [read full review]


Vought UO-1 being lowered from USS Memphis (CL-13) - History

Among the many artifacts at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, there are several that are seldom noticed. These artifacts, located in the Cold War Gallery, concern the USS Scorpion (SSN 589), a Skipjack-class nuclear attack submarine that was considered revolutionary in her day. Pieces include a commissioning plaque for the submarine and her Navy Unit Commendation pennant. Also included are two items more personal in nature, a uniform name plate and a set of Scorpion-crested his and hers cigarette lighters. These personal effects were donated by Navy Capt. Mary Etta Nolan, the daughter of Chief Torpedoman’s Mate Walter W. Bishop, Scorpion’s Chief of the Boat (COB). These artifacts seem commonplace and ordinary, but the story of the submarine they are representative of is anything but.


USS Raleigh (CL-7)

USS Raleigh (CL-7) was the fourth  Omaha-class light cruiser, originally classified as a scout cruiser, built for the United States Navy. She was the third Navy ship named for the city of Raleigh, North Carolina. The first being Raleigh, a 32–gun frigate built in 1776, during the American Revolution, and captured by the British in 1778. The second was the protected cruiser Raleigh, commissioned in 1894, and decommissioned in 1919.

Raleigh spent most of her pre-war career in the Atlantic. Her first duty was to assist in the USAAS's first aerial circumnavigation of the world in 1924. In 1936, Raleigh joined Squadron 40-T in neutrality patrols during the Spanish Civil War where she would serve until 1938, when she would be transferred to the Pacific. This led her to be fatefully moored at berth F-12 on the morning of 7 December�, where she took a torpedo in her No.2 boiler room and claimed five victories with her anti-aircraft batteries with no loss of life.


Naval/Maritime History 22nd of June - Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History

Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
11 June 1798 - Maltese ship San Giovanni, captured on the stocks in 1798 by the French and launched and commissioned as Athénien.


HMS
Athenienne was a 64-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She was the former Maltese ship San Giovanni , which the French captured on the stocks in 1798 and launched and commissioned as Athénien. The Royal Navy captured her at or prior to the surrender of Valletta, on 4 September 1800, and took her into service as HMS Athenienne. She was wrecked near Sicily, with great loss of life, in 1806.


French career
The Knights of Malta were constructing San Giovanni for their navy at her building site in Valletta when the French occupied Malta. She was launched four months later, and the French took her into service as Athénien. They appointed her to the medical services of the fleet, and in that capacity carried out research on the diseases affecting the French fleet in the Mediterranean.

The British acquired Athénien in connection with the capture of Malta. Although the capitulation only took place in September, Athenian was among the British vessels at Malta that shared in the prize money for the capture of Courageux on 29 March 1800.

The Royal Navy brought Athénien into British service as HMS Athenienne.


A model of an 18th century third-rate of the Order of Saint John, similar to the San Giovanni

British career
In December 1800, Sir Thomas Livingstone assumed command of Athenienne. He then accompanied Rear Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren to the coast of Egypt in search of a French squadron under Admiral Ganteaume, which was east of Sardinia. The French squadron escaped.

Athenienne then joined the squadron under Lord Keith off Alexandria until she sprang a leak and returned to Malta for repairs. In 1850 the Admiralty awarded the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Egypt" to claimants from the crews of the vessels that had served in the navy's Egyptian campaign between 8 March 1801 and 2 September, including Athenian.

Thereafter she was sent to cruise the island of Elba until the Peace of Amiens led to her to being recalled.

Athenian left Gibraltar on 25 August 1802, arrived in Portsmouth on 11 September, and was placed in quarantine. On 24 September she sailed into Portsmouth to be paid off. Her officers and crew were paid off at Portsmouth in October 1802.

Athenienne underwent fitting at Portsmouth between January and March 1804. Captain Francis Fayerman commissioned her there.

Voyage to China (1804-1805)
On 9 June 1804, Athenienne, left St. Helens, Isle of Wight, as escort to nine East Indiamen of the British East India Company bound for China. The Indiamen were Perseverance, Neptune, Taunton Castle, Ceres, Royal Charlotte, Alnwick Castle, True Briton, Arniston, and Cuffnells.

The fleet arrived at Rio de Janeiro around 14-18 August. It then passed the Cape of Good Hope. From here, rather than passing through the Indian Ocean and the Straits of Malacca, the fleet sailed south of Western Australia and through Bass Strait. The objectives were two-fold: to avoid French ships reported to be in the Indian Ocean, and to improve the charting of Bass Strait.

The ships then sailed to Norfolk Island, which was the next rendezvous point after Saint Paul Island, for members that had separated. Taunton Castle had separated in the South Atlantic and although she arrived at Norfolk Island three days after the fleet had sailed on, did not rejoin the rest of the fleet until she arrived at Haerlem Bay, in China.

The arrival of the Athenienne and the East Indiamen at Norfolk Island sowed panic among the colonists there who feared that a French flotilla had arrived.

The fleet arrived at Whampoa in mid-January 1805. The fleet then returned to England via the Straits of Malacca. Arniston, for example, crossed the Second Bar on 14 February, reached Malacca on 21 March and St Helena on 30 June, and arrived at Long Reach on 15 September.

Subsequent service
In October 1805 Captain John Giffard replaced Fayerman. He sailed Athenienne to Gibraltar with stores and supplies for the fleet after the Battle of Trafalgar. on 21 April 1806 Sir Sidney Smith took command off Palermo of a squadron that included Athenienne. She subsequently took part in the reinforcement of the defense of Gaieta (41°13′N 13°34′E), the capture of Capri, and frequent forays to the coast of Calabria.

In the capture of Capri on 12 May Athenien's marines landed and captured the heights, which forced the French to surrender.

In August 1806 Athenienne was in the Mediterranean under Captain Edward Fellowes.

Fate
On 16 October 1806, Athenienne sailed from Gibraltar for Malta under the command of Captain Robert Raynsford, with a crew of 470. In the evening of 20 October, she ran aground on a submerged reef, the Esquirques (37°47′N 10°46′E), in the Strait of Sicily.

The crew cut away ship's masts to prevent her rolling on her side, but nevertheless she flooded to the lower deck ports within half an hour, then rolled over. Captain Raynsford had had an improvised raft constructed. Unfortunately two of the ship's boats were swamped when launching and two others deserted the wreck after much trouble the ship's launch was freed and got into the water. Over 100 survivors were crammed into her and she was picked up the following day by a Danish brig. In all, 347 people died, including Captain Raynsford, while 141 men and two women were rescued

HMS Athenienne (1800) - Wikipedia

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Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
11 June 1865 - The Naval Battle of the Riachuelo
is fought on the rivulet Riachuelo (Argentina), between the Paraguayan Navy on one side and the Brazilian Navy on the other. The Brazilian victory was crucial for the later success of the Triple Alliance (Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina) in the Paraguayan War.


The Battle of the Riachuelo was the biggest naval Battle fought by two South American countries and a key point in the Paraguayan War. By late 1864, Paraguay had scored a series of victories in the war on June 11, 1865, however, its naval defeat by the Brazilian Empire on the Paraná River began to turn the tide in favor of the allies.


The Battle of Riachuelo by Victor Meirelles

Battle plan
The Paraguayan fleet was a fraction of the size of Brazil's, even before the battle. It arrived at the Fortress of Humaitá on the morning of June the 9th. Paraguayan dictator Francisco Solano López prepared to attack at Riachuelo the ships supporting allied land troops. Nine ships and seven cannon-carrying barges, totaling 44 guns, plus 22 guns and two Congreve rocket batteries from river bank located troops, attacked the Brazilian squadron, nine ships with a total of 68 guns. The Paraguayans had planned a surprise strike before sunrise since they were fully aware that the gross of Imperial Brazilian troops would offboard their steamers in order to sleep on land, leaving thus a small garrison of men to guard and watch their fleet. The original plan had been that, under the dark of the night, the Paraguayan steamers would sneak up to the docked Brazilian vessels and board them outright. No confrontation other than the one carried out by the boarding party was planned, and the Paraguayan steamers were only there to provide cover from the inland battling forces.

Description of battle

Brazilian steamers crushing the Paraguayan Navy.


Battle of Riachuelo, stage 1. In this stage, we can see: a) Brazilian fleet goes downstream to meet the Paraguayan fleet b) Amazonas goes out of the fleet for some reasons, and Jequitinhonha follows her. Then Amazonas returns to the fleet, and Jequitinhonha is heavily attacked by the infantry and artillery on the cliff c)Due to the absence of Amazonas and Jequitinhonha, Belmonte' becomes an easy target, is heavily attacked and drifts downstream d) Brazilian fleet then turns around (keeping upstream in order to maintain the stability of the vessels), while Panaiba comes to the aid of Jequitinhonha.

The Paraguayan fleet left the fortress of Humaitá on the night of June 10, 1865, headed to the port of Corrientes. López had given specific orders that they should stealthily approach the docked Brazilian steamers before sunrise and board them, thus leaving the Brazilian ground forces bereft of their navy early on during the war. For this, López sent nine steamers: Tacuarí, Ygureí, Marqués de Olinda, Paraguarí, Salto Guairá, Rio Apa, Yporá, Pirabebé and Yberá under the command of Captain Meza who was aboard the Tacuarí. However, some two leagues after leaving Humaitá, upon reaching a point known as Nuatá-pytá, the engine of the Yberá broke down. After losing some hours in an attempt to fix it, it was decided to continue with only the remaining 8 steamers.

The fleet arrived at Corrientes after sunrise, however, due to a dense fog, the plan was still executable since most, if not all, Brazilian forces were still on land. However, not following López' orders, Captain Meza ordered that instead of approaching and boarding the docked steamers, the fleet was to continue down the river and fire at the camp and docked vessels as they passed by. The Paraguayans opened fire at 9:25 am.


Battle of Riachuelo, Stage 2


Battle of Riachuelo, Stage 3

The Paraguayans passed in a line parallel to the Brazilian fleet and continued downstream. Upon Captain Meza's order, the entire fleet opened fire on the docked Brazilian steamers. The land troops hastily, upon realization that they were under attack, boarded their own ships and began returning fire. One of the Paraguayan steamers was hit in the boiler and one of the "chatas" (barges) was damaged as well. Once out of range, they turned upstream and anchored the barges, forming a line in a very narrow part of the river. This was intended to trap the Brazilian fleet.

Admiral Barroso noticed the Paraguayan tactic and turned down the stream to go after the Paraguayans. However, the Paraguayans started to fire from the shore into the lead ship, Belmonte. The second ship in the line, Jequitinhonha, mistakenly turned upstream and was followed by the whole fleet, thus leaving Belmonte alone to receive the full firepower of the Paraguayan fleet, which soon put it out of action. Jequitinhonha ran aground after the turn, becoming an easy prey for the Paraguayans.


Battle of Riachuelo. The Brazilian corvette Amazonas rams and sinks the Paraguayan Jejuy.

Admiral Barroso, on board the steamer Amazonas, trying to avoid chaos and reorganize the Brazilian fleet, decided to lead the fleet downstream again and fight the Paraguayans in order to prevent their escape, rather than save Amazonas. Four steamers (Beberibe, Iguatemi, Mearim and Araguari) followed Amazonas. The Paraguayan admiral (Meza) left his position and attacked the Brazilian line, sending three ships after Araguari. Parnaíba remained near Jequitinhonha and was also attacked by three ships that were trying to board it. The Brazilian line was effectively cut in two. Inside Parnaíba a ferocious battle was taking place when the Marquez de Olinda joined the attackers.

Barroso, at this time heading upstream, decided to turn the tide of the battle with a desperate measure. The first ship that faced Amazonas was the Paraguarí which was rammed and put out of action. Then he rammed Marquez de Olinda and Salto, and sank a "chata". At this point Paraguari was already out of action. Therefore, the Paraguayans tried to disengage. Beberibe and Araguari pursued the Paraguayans, heavily damaging Tacuary and the Pirabebé, but nightfall prevented the sinking of these ships.

Jequitinhonha had to be put afire by Paraguari and Marquez de Olinda. In the end, the Paraguayans lost four steamers and all of their "chatas", while the Brazilians only lost the Jequitinhonha, coincidentally the ship responsible for the confusion.

Aftermath and consequences
After the battle, the eight remaining Brazilian steamers sailed down river. President López ordered Major José Maria Brúguez with his batteries to quickly move inland to the south to wait for and attack the passing Brazilian fleet. So the fleet had to run the gauntlet. On August 12, Brúguez attacked the fleet from the high cliffs at Cuevas. Every Brazilian ship was hit, and 21 men were killed.

The Paraguarí, which had been rammed by the Amazonas, was set ablaze by the Brazilians however, the ship had a metal hull. A few months later, López ordered the Yporá to retrieve the hull, tow it to the Jejui River and sink it there.[8] Also, under orders from López, one month after the battle, the Yporá returned to the scene and, again under the cover of the night and stealthily so as to not alarm another Brazilian steamer which was in the location, boarded the remains of the Jequitinhonha and stole one of its cannons.

Meza was wounded by a gunshot to the chest on June 11, during the battle. While he did leave the battle alive, he would die eight days later from this wound while at the Humaitá hospital. López, who upon learning of Meza's death said "Si no hubiera muerto con una bala, debia morir con cuatro" (Had he not died from one gunshot, he would have to die from four), gave orders for no officers to attend his burial.

Manuel Trujillo, one of the Paraguayan soldiers that took part in the Riachuelo battle recalls "When we sailed down river on full steam, passing all the Brazilian steamers on the morning of the eleventh, we were all shocked since we knew that all we had to do was approach the steamers and 'all aboard!'". He also recalls that, during the battle, the land troops who had been taken on the steamers in order to board the Brazilian fleet were shouting "Let's approach the steamers! We came in order to board them and not to be killed on deck!".

Barroso had turned the tables by creatively ramming the enemy ships. The Brazilian navy won a decisive battle. General Robles was effectively stopped in Rio Santa Lúcia. The threat to Argentina was neutralized.


Order of battle
Brazil


Battle of the Riachuelo - Wikipedia

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Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
11 June 1913 - General Concha, a General Concha-class Cañonero (gunboat), wrecked


General Concha was a General Concha -class Cañonero (gunboat) or more technically "Third Class non-armored Cruiser" of the Spanish Navy which fought at San Juan, Puerto Rico, during the Spanish–American War.

Technical Characteristics
General Concha was built at the naval shipyard Esteiro at Ferrol in Spain, working order #169. She had an iron hull with bow ram, a single funnel, and a light schooner rig. She was the first ship of a class of four gunboats ordered by Admiral Francisco de Paula Pavía y Pavía during his third term as Ministro de Marina (Minister of the Navy). The design was made in Spain. The keel was laid down on 1 May 1882 and the ship was launched on 28 November 1883. The 600 hp engine with two boilers was constructed by La Maquinista Terrestre y Maritima SA in Barcelona at a final cost of 312,000 pesetas and was constructed directly aboard the ship, after being towed from Ferrol to Barcelona by merchant vessel José Pérez. Bunker coal stock capacity was 70–80 tons having an average consumption of 10 tons per day.

Initially, weaponry was led by three main 120 mm "González Hontoria" guns (a heavy armament for a gunboat, which made her being technically categorised as "Cruiser, Third Class" in spite of being a standard gunboat in all other aspects) and three Nordenfelt-type machine guns, 2 x 25 mm and 1 x 11 mm, but sometime after late 1899 the ordnance was changed to a lighter four rapid-fire 42 mm Nordenfelt guns and two 25 mm Maxim machine guns.

She was named after Spanish Navy Brigadier Don Juan Gutiérrez de la Concha, governor of the intendency of Salta del Tucumán, then part of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, and explorer of the Patagonia in a 1779 expedition. He was executed by the first independent Argentine government in August 1810, near the city of Cruz Alta, Córdoba, along with Santiago de Liniers and other counter-revolutionaries.

Operational history
After becoming fully operational and ready for duty the General Concha was assigned to the then Spanish colony of San Juan, Puerto Rico where she served mainly as a coastal surveillance vessel until the Spanish–American War began in April 1898.

The U.S. Navy soon established a permanent blockade of San Juan on 18 June 1898. On 22 June 1898 General Concha, cruiser Isabel II, and destroyer Terror came out of port to test the blockade, resulting in the Second Battle of San Juan (1898). Auxiliary cruisers USS St. Paul and USS Yosemite moved in, resulting in a short, running gun battle, from which the Spanish quickly broke away. Isabel II and General Concha had a poor top speed of 11 knots Terror made a torpedo run on St. Paul to cover their retreat, and was badly damaged by gunfire from St. Paul, but all three Spanish ships made it back into port at San Juan. Two men had been killed aboard Terror, the only casualties on either side suffered during the battle.

On 28 June 1898, General Concha, Isabel II and gunboat Ponce de León left port again to assist a Spanish blockade runner, the merchant steamer Antonio López, trying to make its way into San Juan's harbor with an important cargo of war supplies. The Yosemite intercepted the Antonio López and attacked it making her run aground in nearby reefs. The General Concha arrived first and engaged the Yosemite, thwarting the efforts of the Americans to disrupt the undergoing salvage operation. The three Spanish warships exchanged long-range gunfire with St. Paul, Yosemite, and cruiser USS New Orleans, with neither side scoring any hits.

After the war the General Concha returned to Spain and her armament was refitted to four rapid-fire 42 mm Nordenfelt guns and two 25 mm Maxim machine guns. She was assigned to the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, as part of the effort to interrupt piracy and arms smuggling by the local cabilas, usually patrolling the area between Melilla and Alhucemas.

Wreckage
On 11 June 1913 General Concha sailed from Almuñécar, Granada in mainland Spain to Alhucemas, a Spanish stronghold in the Moroccan coast. On command of the ship was the Capitán de Corbeta Don Emiliano Castaño Hernández and aboard was (as a passenger) Colonel Basterra. Upon reaching the Moroccan coast the ship encountered dense fog and continued inbound to Alhucemas at slow speed, but lack of sight from coastal references after some time led the crew to misinterpretation of the position of the ship and some five miles out from her destination she violently ran aground near the cove of Busicú at 07:40 local time. This area was de facto controlled by the Bocoy cabila, a group of Morocco rebels fighting the Spaniards.

The ship was trapped among rocks with her bow pointed to the coast, so immediately an anchor was moored from the stern to try to free her, unsuccessfully. A rowboat was lowered to closely evaluate the extent of the hull damage. All bow compartments, the pantry and some engine room sections were flooded, and all rifles stored in the bow armory room were reallocated to the officers' room amidships. The armed boat nr.2 was launched, with eight seamen led by the Alférez de Navío Don Luis Felipe Lazaga with the mission of reaching Alhucemas to communicate the distress of the vessel and also evacuate Colonel Basterra.

The local insurgent forces soon realized the compromised situation of the Spanish vessel and began harassing the crew of the General Concha with spare rifle shots from the nearby cliffs. The crew was forced to fight the attackers and undergo repairs in the damaged bow section at the same time. The bow 120 mm. gun turned out to be inoperative, being partially below waterline. During this first shooting came the first casualties for the crew, Seaman José Piñeiro and Gunner Benítez were hit and died several other men including the Alférez de Navío Don Rafael Ramos Izquierdo y Gener were also wounded. The doctor, Don Manuel Quignon, improvised a "medical room" in a compartment inside the ship. With a rope he wrapped around himself a mattress as improvised protection and came to the outside deck, exposed to fire, dragging all the wounded and dead to the inside of the ship for treatment.

An attempt was made by three men to reach the aft 120 mm. gun to fire back but now the whole outer deck was well covered by abundant rifle fire and two died (2nd Constable Don Pedro Muiños and a Gunner) and the third one (Gunner Corporal Francisco García Benedicto) was badly wounded. The rest of the crew were forced to stay inside the ship.

About 12:30 h. the attackers left their positions and began an assault on the wrecked ship, boarding her by the partially submerged bow section and taking several prisoners here. But in the aft section the Alférez de Navío Ramos had rallied all remaining and able crew (some 20 or 25 men), most armed with rifles and some others with revolvers and even with axes, and shouting hails to Spain and the King they launched a fierce, desperate counterattack as a last chance to maintain control of the ship, forcing the looters in the bow to withdraw from the deck back to their row boats with many casualties. However they took a total of 11 crew men with them. The commander, D. Emiliano Castaño, was hit two times in the neck and the collarbone and died, and Alférez de Navío Izquierdo had to take command of the remainders of ship and crew.

Having now a bargaining element with the captive men of the crew the pirates ceased the attack and withdraw except for some remaining snipers on the cliffs. A few hours later one of the crew prisoners, Sailor Francisco Estensa, was freed and sent back to the wrecked General Concha with instructions from the rebels to surrender the ship in exchange for spare the lives of prisoners and crew, otherwise they would blow the ship with dynamite. The proposition was considered but not accepted nor answered by the Spanish officers, being the ship already damaged beyond repair, so Sailor Estensa joined the ship crew again. Both parties engaged again in an exchange of rifle fire from fixed positions, as the attackers did not make any further attempt to directly assault the boat.

Finally at 17:00 h. Spanish reinforcements arrived (gunboat Lauria and Steamer Vicente Sáenz) and took the crew to safety.


Vought UO-1 being lowered from USS Memphis (CL-13) - History

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    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    “Starting MSRP” price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See “Build and Price” section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See “Features & Specifications” and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    "Starting MSRP" price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See Build and Price section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See Features, Specifications and Options pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    "Starting MSRP" price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See Build and Price section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See Features, Specifications and Options pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    "Starting MSRP" price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See Build and Price section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the “Build and Price” section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See Features, Specifications and Options pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    Make the most of any drive with an available turbocharged engine and available AWD. 1

    Upping the ante on all out performance. 2

    There’s nothing like it because there’s no one like you. 3

    "Starting MSRP" price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See "Build and Price" section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the "Build and Price" section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See "Features & Specifications" and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    Explore with confidence and control, with available All-Wheel Drive on the Seltos.

    "Starting MSRP" price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See "Build and Price" section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the "Build and Price" section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See "Features & Specifications" and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    Available AWD offers more traction, more control, and more fun. 1

    "Starting MSRP" price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See "Build and Price" section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the "Build and Price" section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See "Features & Specifications" and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    Wherever the road takes you, Sportage offers the confidence of All-Wheel Drive—optional on all trims. 2

    "Starting MSRP" price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See "Build and Price" section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the "Build and Price" section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See "Features & Specifications" and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    Available All-Wheel Drive gives Sorento 3 refined power and improved control.

    "Starting MSRP" price is manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest model trim. See "Build and Price" section for MSRP of model shown. MSRP excludes destination and handling charges, taxes, title, license fees, options, and dealer charges. Vehicles shown with optional equipment. Actual price set by dealer and may vary. The applicable destination and handling charge per model are provided in the "Build and Price" section. See dealer for details. Some features only available as part of packages. See "Features & Specifications" and "Options" pages for details. Kia America, Inc. reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Not responsible for typographical or computer errors.

    Available Active On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) 4 with AWD Lock and Snow Mode for optimal traction.


    Vought UO-1 being lowered from USS Memphis (CL-13) - History

    For second time, we share the work of WW2 Colourised Photos (World War Two Black and White photos that are researched and colourised in detail by Doug and other artists from the 'Colourisehistory Group'). We hope you love it as much as we do! Our most heartfelt thanks for these great Masters of the colourisation.

    In this ocasion, we focus in Allied Warbirds. Enjoy!

    F6F-5 'Hellcat' Nº23 flown by Ens. Ardon R. Ives crash lands on the USS Lexington, Feb. ཀྵ (Ives survived the crash but died in a dogfight in May ཀྵ)

    USMC. 2nd Lt. William Magill DFC is shown in his F-4U Corsair fighter. For 15 months in the Pacific he flew the plane on 89 combat missions, as represented by the bombs painted on its side. He saw action in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands in the Central Pacific from December 1943 until March 1945, receiving two Distinguished Flying Crosses, as well as five Air Medals.
    (Feb.24 1919 - Jan.26 2011 he died aged 91).

    South African Pilot Officer Albert Gerald Lewis DFC (aged 22) - Hawker Hurricane (VY-R) P2923 - 85 Squadron RAF - 1940

    RAF Pilot Officer James Harry 'Ginger' Lacey DFM and Bar (credited with 28 enemy aircraft destroyed), hard at work on a model aeroplane in Nº501 Squadron's dispersal hut at Colerne airfield, Wiltshire, England, 30th May 1941. (he died exactly 48 years later on the 30th May 1989 aged 72) IWM.

    F/O William T Lane - Spitfire Mk.IX - RCAF 403 Squadron, Kenley - May ཧ ( KIA 15/5/43 aged 21)

    The Navigator and Wireless Operator of a Vickers Wellington bomber over the desert in North Africa, April 1941

    Vickers Wellington Mk.1c, No.301 (&lsquoPomeranian&rsquo) Squadron RAF. 1941 (IWM)

    US.Navy Grumman TBF Avenger Pilots, 1943

    Soviet Air force Iyushin il-2m3 Sturmovik (Deputy commander of the 568 th Attack Aviation Regiment, Major MI Kassimov in the cockpit)

    Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 324th Bomb Squad, 91st Bomb Group, 8th Air Force en route to their target over Tours in France on the 5th January 1944. On the left is B-17F 42-29837 'Lady luck' (DF-A) the replacement for the 'Memphis Belle' after it had completed its tour. On the right is the B-17F 41-24490 'Jack the Ripper' (DF-C)

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by John Winner from America)

    B-17 Flying Fortress "MEMPHIS BELLE". 2nd Eighth Air Force WW II Bomber to complete 25 Combat Missions & return to the United States

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised and Researched by Mike Gepp from Australia)

    Group Captain A G "Sailor" Malan, Officer Commanding No. 145 Wing based at Merston, climbing into the cockpit of his Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb (AGM) before taking off from Appledram, Sussex. 1944 © IWM (CH 12859)

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tinus Le Roux from South Africa)

    B-17F-50-DL 42-3352 - 'Virgin's Delight', piloted by Lt. R E 'Dick' Le Pore of the 410th BS/94th BG and photographed by Capt. Roy D Miller, the BS Flight Surgeon

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Nils Hagemann and Ben Nightingale)

    Heinkel He.III H-I (Wk.Nº 6853) IH+EN, previously of - II/Kampfgeschwader.26. Seen here in British markings after being forced down on the 9th February 1940 near Dalkeith in Midlothian, after combat with a Spitfire of 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, it was repaired, given RAF roundels and the serial number AW177 and then used for testing purposes by 1426 Flight at Duxford.

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tom Thounaojam from Imphal in India)

    Lt. Edward H. &ldquoButch&rdquo O&rsquoHare in his Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat giving a thumbs up at the Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii. 10 April 1942. Note the &ldquoFelix the Cat&rdquo insignia of Fighting Squadron Three (VF-3) and five Japanese flags representing the five enemy bombers he was credited with shooting down.

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Mike Gepp from Australia)

    US. Lt. Ralph "Kidd" Hofer in his P-51 Mustang "Salem Representative" with his pet dog "Duke".

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Mike Gepp from Australia)

    Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941. Sailors stand amid wrecked planes at the Ford Island seaplane base, watching as USS Shaw (DD-373) explodes in the centre background, 7 December 1941. USS Nevada (BB-36) is also visible in the middle background, with her bow headed toward the left. Planes present include PBY, OS2U and SOC types. Wrecked wing in the foreground is from a PBY

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

    Supermarine Spitfire Mk VB (R6923, QJ-S) of Nº92 (East India) Squadron RAF based at Biggin Hill, Kent, UK. Flown here by Fl.Off. Alan Wright on 19th May 1941. On the afternoon of the 21st June ཥ it was flown by Sgt. G.W.Aston on a bomber escort run over France and shot down a Bf 109 before it too got hit and had to ditch in the sea. Sgt. Aston survived and returned for duty that same evening.

    Flying Officer J B Burnside, the flight engineer on board an Avro Lancaster B Mark III of No. 619 Squadron RAF based at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, checks settings on the control panel from his seat in the cockpit. February 1944

    Two U.S. Navy Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bombers of bombing squadron VB-1 in the landing circle of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) in July 1944. Ready to land, this SB2C pilot has lowered the tail hook of his aircraft.

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tom Thounaojam from Imphal in India)

    American pilots of No.71 'Eagle' Squadron "scrambling" to their Hawker Hurricanes at RAF Kirton in Lindsey, Lincolnshire - 17/3/41. In the foreground is Eugene Quimby "Red" Tobin of Los Angeles, he was one of 11 American pilots who flew with RAF Fighter Command between 10 July and 31 October 1940, thereby qualifying for the Battle of Britain clasp to the 1939&ndash45 campaign star. On the 7th September 1941, Tobin was killed in combat with Be109's of JG 26 on 71 Squadron's first sweep over northern France, one of three Spitfires shot down. He crashed into a hillside near Boulogne-sur-Mer and was buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France. He was 24 years old

    Admiral Somerville visited HMS Ark Royal to congratulate the officers and ship's company after the successful engagement with the BISMARCK, October 1941. Officers and ratings who were decorated for the part they played in the sinking of the BISMARCK (on 24th May 1941), in front of a Fairey ('Stringbag') Swordfish aircraft. © IWM (A 5826). Left to right: Lieutenant P D Gick, RN, awarded DSC Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde, RN, awarded DSO Sub Lieutenant V K Norfolk, RN, awarded DSC A/PO Air L D Sayer awarded DSM A/Ldg Air A L Johnson, awarded DSM. all from 825 Squadron, HMS Victorious. Some nine months later on 12th February 1942, Esmonde and Johnson would both die attempting to stop the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen from making the 'Channel Dash'. Norfolk was KIA over Cherbourg 17/9/42. Both Gick and Sayer survived the war.

    Supermarine Spitfire Mark VCs of No. 2 Squadron South African Air Force (SAAF) based at Palata, Italy, flying in loose line astern formation over the Adriatic Sea while on a bombing mission to the Sangro River battlefront. Oct-Dec 1943. (© IWM CNA 2102)

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tom Thounaojam from Imphal in India)

    "Operation Tidal Wave". Ploesti, Rumanian oil refinery bombing mission. August 1st 1943 (U.S. Air Force photo)
    This aircraft is "The Sandman" of the 345th Bomb Squadron, 98th Bomb Group "The Pyramiders", 9th Air Force. She was a 'Liberator' B-24D-55-CO S/N 42-40402, later lost on a mission to Augsburg,Germany on December 19th 1943.

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

    Major George Preddy, USAAF (February 5, 1919&ndashDecember 25, 1944) was a United States Army Air Forces officer during World War II and an American ace credited with 26.83 enemy air-to-air kills, ranking him as the top P-51 Mustang ace of WWII and sixth on the list of all-time highest scoring American aces. (Photo taken on the 7th August 1944, after he had been accredited with six downed enemy fighters in a single mission).

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised and Researched by Mike Gepp from Australia)

    20-year-old Flying Officer Harold 'Birdie' Bird-Wilson, Nº17 Squadron RAF Debden. June/July 1940. This photo was featured in a Time Life magazine in March 1941. In September 1938 he survived an aerial accident but was badly burned and lost his nose. He underwent plastic surgery at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead and was one of the earliest aircrew &lsquoguinea pig&rsquo patients of the famous, pioneering plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe. For some months &lsquoBirdie&rsquo walked around without a nose whilst McIndoe rebuilt it for him he subsequently became the No 2 member of the famous &lsquoGuinea Pig Club&rsquo. During the 'Battle of Britain' he was shot down by Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland on the 24th September 1940 in a dog fight over the River Thames but baled out and was picked up by a riverboat. (Galland's 40th victim). Wounded with shrapnel from the guns of Galland&rsquos Bf.109 embedded in his body and suffering from burns for the second time in his flying career, he recovered and returned to duty after two months recuperation.

    Maureen Dunlop (aged 24), an Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) pilot, in front of a Fairey Barracuda dive bomber, featured on the front cover of the 'Picture Post' magazine 16th September 1944.

    Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson VC. DSO and bar DFC and bar. (12 August 1918 - 19 September 1944). He was the first CO of the Royal Air Force's 617 Squadron, which he led in the 'Dam Busters' raid (Operation Chastise) in 1943, resulting in the destruction of two large dams in the Ruhr area, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. On September 19th 1944, Gibson and his navigator, Squadron Leader Jim Warwick, departed RAF Hemswell in a De Havilland Mosquito Mk.XX to serve as the Pathfinder Master Bomber for a large raid on Rheydt and Mönchengladbach. Executing the mission and ordering the bombers home, Gibson was not heard from again. The remains of his Mosquito were located near Steenbergen, Netherlands.

    Boulton Paul 'Defiant', British and New Zealand pilots and gunners of No 264 Squadron RAF, pass the time with a game of draughts while waiting at readiness outside their dispersal tent at Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire. Summer 1940. (© IWM CH 868)

    Lt. Samuel 'Ted' Hutchins of Port Charlotte, Fla. climbs out of his Chance-Vought OS2U Kingfisher spotter-plane after coming back aboard the Battleship USS 'South Dakota' off Okinawa, January 22nd 1945. Ensign Stark, in the rear cockpit, had just been rescued after his Hellcat fighter plane was shot down.

    USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24). Burning aft after she was hit by a Nakajima B6N 'Jill' Kamikaze, while operating off the Philippines on 30 October 1944. Flight deck crewmen are moving undamaged TBM torpedo planes away from the flames as others fight the fires. USS Franklin (CV-13), was also hit during this Kamikaze attack.

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

    A U.S. Navy Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless of bombing squadron VB-16 flies an antisubmarine patrol low over the battleship USS Washington (BB-56) en route to the invasion of the Gilbert Islands, 12 November 1943. The ship in the background is USS Lexington (CV-16), the aircraft's home carrier. Note the depth charge below the SBD.

    'Flying Fortress' 1942. December 1942, a year after Pearl Harbor. "Production. B-17 heavy bomber. A nearly complete B-17F 'Flying Fortress' at Boeing's Seattle, Washington plant." Photo by Andreas Feininger for the Office of War Information.

    A pilot of No. 175 Squadron RAF scrambles to his waiting Hawker Typhoon Mark IB at B5 Airstrip Le Fresne-Camilly, Calvados, France following a call from the Group Control Centre ordering an air strike. 24th July 1944. (© IWM CL 570)

    Pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit of their Nº.149 RAF Squadron Vickers Wellington bomber, at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, 1941. The pilot is Flight Lt. David Donaldson, who was promoted to Wing Commander in 1943 at the age of 28. (Photograph by Cecil Beaton) (© IWM D 4737)

    This Avro Lancaster is from an RAAF Squadron (Australian), probably Nº463 or Nº467 (the nose art shows an Australian flag over a British Bulldog on a German swastika flag and each bombing mission is represented by a Kangaroo).

    Inauguration of "Birdie Schmidt A.R.C" B24 Liberator. 392nd Bomber Group, 8th Airforce, Wendling Air Base, Norfolk, England. August the 8th 1944

    Group Captain Adolph Gysbert "Sailor" Malan in the Spitfire Mk IX (FY-F) of Australian Squadron Leader Hugo 'Sinker' Armstrong, CO of 611 Squadron RAF at Biggin Hill on the 2nd January 1943. Armstrong was shot down and killed in this Spitfire a month later, on 5th February. He was 'bounced' by eight Fw 190s of 5/JG26 over Boulogne. (© IWMCH 8119)

    Tangmere, Sussex, July 1944: in front of a Spitfire IX of 332 (Norwegian) Squadron, a standard 45 gallon Typhoon/Hurricane &lsquoTorpedo&rsquo jettison tank modified for use on the Spitfire (because of an expected shortage of 45-gallon shaped or slipper tanks) is filled with PA ale from two wooden casks supplied by the Chichester brewer Henty & Constable, for flying over to Normandy while an RAF &lsquoerk&rsquo writes a cheery message on the tank. The pilot sitting on the wing is wearing a Norwegian Air Force cap-badge.

    'The rear gunner in his position in a Vickers Wellington bomber'. Probably of Nº 149 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall in 1941

    Ensign Robert "Bob" T. King in his damaged TBM-3 'Avenger' White 113 of VT-82, USS Bennington (CV-20), 18th of February 1945.

    Eleanor Lettice Curtis, a British Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) climbs into a Spitfire (probably a Mk IX) ready to ferry it to a front line squadron.

    Stanisław Skalski DSO, DFC and two Bars (27 November 1915 &ndash 12 November 2004) was a Polish fighter ace of the Polish Air Force in World War II, later rising to the rank of Generał Brygady. Stanisław Skalski was the top Polish fighter ace of WW II and the first Allied fighter ace of the war, credited, according to official list, with 18 11/12 victories and two probable. Some sources, including Skalski himself, give a number of 22+ victories

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tomek Iwanowski from Poland)

    Flight Lieutenant James "Ginger" Lacey DFM & bar, being congratulated by other members of RAF Squadron 501 (Hurricanes) based at Gravesend in Kent sometime in July 1941.

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

    US Navy pilots, (in front) Lieutenant (jg) Henry H. Dearing of Cleveland, Ohio, Ensign Charles W. Miller of Houston, Texas and Lieutenant (jg) Bus Alder of San Mateo, California walking toward their Grumman F6F-3 'Hellcats' aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) on the 5th November 1943. (photo by Lt. Wayne Miller of the U.S. Navy Combat Photo Unit)

    An American Douglas A-20G 'Havoc' bombs the forest near the village of Le Molay-Littry, a municipality in the region of Lower Normandy on the 7th June 1944. The area and it's V-1 and V-2 rocket launches were under the control of Generalleutnant Dietrich Kraiss of the 352nd. Infantry Division.

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

    Bell P-400 Aircobra "Sun Setter", 35th Fighter Squadron, 8th FG., Fifth US Airforce at Milne Bay, New Guinea. September 1942 - February 1943.

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Leo Determann from the Netherlands)

    "Tuskegee" airman Edward Creston Gleed from Lawrence, Kansas, Class 42-K, with two unidentified crewmen adjusting an external seventy-five gallon drop tank on the wing of a P-51/D Mustang, "Creamer's Dream" (generally flown by 1st.Lt.Charles White) 301st FS, 332nd Fighter Group air base in Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945.

    Squadron Leader Brian 'Sandy' Lane, CO of No. 19 Squadron RAF (centre) confers with Flight Lieutenant Walter 'Farmer' Lawson (left) and Flight Sergeant George 'Grumpy' Unwin at Fowlmere near Duxford, 21st of September 1940.

    Royal Air Force 'Thunderbolt' Mark I. (P-47D-22-RE USAAF s/n 42-26228, RAF HD173 "A" nearest) of No. 135 Squadron RAF, lined up at Chittagong, India, while being overflown by three other Thunderbolts. September 1944 - June 1945 (© IWM CF 201)

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tom Thounaojam from India)

    Colonel Robert L. Scott Jr. (Macon, Georgia) Commanding Officer of the 23rd Fighter Group, US 14th Air force. He stands besides his Curtiss P-40 at Kunming airfield, Southern China, before his departure back to the USA. 4th January 1943.

    Supermarine Seafire L.IIIs of RNAS 808 Squadron on the deck of the escort aircraft carrier HMS Khedive (02), entering the Grand Harbour of Valletta in Malta. July 1944

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

    Close port-side view of a CAC CA-13 Boomerang fighter aircraft, serial no. A46-128, of No. 5 (Tactical Reconnaissance) Squadron RAAF, piloted by 407056 Flight Lieutenant Donald Howard Goode of Port Pirie, South Australia. The aircraft is coded BF-N with the nicknamed "U-Beaut 2" and is flying from Mareeba, Queensland. 18th of March 1944

    Ground Crew applying "Invasion Stripes" to a Martin Marauder B-26 of 553rd Bomb. Squadron, 386 Bomb. Group at Great Dunmow air base in Essex, England sometime between the 3rd and the 5th of June 1944. In the background is the Marauder 131577 AN-Y "Elmer" (which crash landed in France 31st July 1944)

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

    Lt. Robert Roger Marchi standing on his Yakovlev Yak-3 of the Free French "Normandie-Niemen" 1st Squadron. GCIII Normandie (Groupe de Chasse) No.III. East Prussia, March 1945

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tom Thounaojam from India)

    A group of pilots of No. 303 Polish ("Kościuszko") Fighter Squadron walking toward the camera from a Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 (possibly F/O Jan Zumbach's RF-F V6684) after transferring from RAF Northolt for a well earned rest period. Left to right, in the front row are - Pilot Officer Mirosław Ferić Flight Lieutenant John A. Kent (the CO of 'A' Flight) Flying Officer Bogdan Grzeszczak Pilot Officer Jerzy Radomski Pilot Officer Witold Łokuciewski Pilot Officer Bogusław Mierzwa (obscured by Łokuciewski) Flying Officer Zdzisław Henneberg Sergeant Jan Rogowski Sergeant Eugeniusz Szaposznikow. In the centre, to the rear of this group, wearing helmet and goggles is Pilot Officer Jan Zumbach. RAF Leconfield, Beverley, North Humberside, UK - October 1940

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tomek Iwanowski from Poland)

    The Consolidated B-24 'Liberator' waist gunner c.1944

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised and Researched by Mike Gepp from Australia)

    T/Sgt. Benedict "Benny" Borostowski, ball turret gunner of Capt. Oscar D. O'Neil's B-17 Flying Fortress "Invasion 2nd" (serial 42-5070) of the 401st Bomb Sq, 91st BG.

    Wing Commander James Edgar 'Johnnie' Johnson DSO & 2 Bars, DFC & Bar, commanding No. 144 (Canadian) Wing, on the the wing of his Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX with his Labrador retriever 'Sally', at Bazenville Landing Ground in Normandy. 31st of July 1944

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    Fl.Lt. Dudley S.G. Honor, Nº 274 Squadron RAF poses by a Hawker Hurricane of the squadron at Gerawala, Egypt, on rejoining his unit following his rescue

    Lt (JG) Tom &lsquoTK&rsquo Killefer of US Navy fighter squadron VF-17 (the original 'Jolly Rogers') standing on his Vought F4U-1A Corsair while waiting for an engine change on Nissan Island Airfield. 5th of March 1944

    Fairey Battle Mk.I 63-M K7650 RAF 63 Squadron over RAF Benson, South Oxfordshire. November 1939

    22 Tuskegee Airmen Class 45A - Single Engine, pose in front of a Curtiss P-40 'Warhawk' on the occasion of receiving their pilots wings at Tuskegee Army Air Base, Alabama. 11th March 1945

    US Navy personnel freeing a PBY-5A 'Catalina' aircraft from frozen waters in the Aleutian Islands at Kodiak Bay, US Territory of Alaska, sometime during the period between June 1942 and January 1943

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

    USAAF Capt. Dewey E. Newhart. "Mud N' Mules" Republic P-47D-15-RE Thunderbolt LH-D s/n 42-76141. 350th Fighter Squadron, 353rd Fighter Group, 8th Air Force

    North American P-51 Mustang "Fools Paradise IV" (tail Nº 413309) of the 380th Fighter Squadron, 363rd Fighter Group, 9th USAAF at Maupertuis Airfield near Cherbourg in France. July/August 1944

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    Flight Sergeant Kazimierz Artymiuk and Sergeant Bronislaw Godlewski both of Nº305 Polish 'Ziemia Wielkopolska' Bomber Squadron. c. June 1943

    Pilot Officer Henri Albert Picard (Nº 87693) of No. 350 (Belgian) Squadron, on the wing of his Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb "Luvungi" MN-S at Kenley, London. July 1942

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Johhny Sirlande from Belgium)

    Supermarine Spitfire. 80 years ago, in January 1935, the Air Ministry formalised a contract for the Spitfire prototype.

    Two Duxford-based Battle of Britain pilots. Squadron Leader Douglas Bader, commanding No. 242 (Canadian) Squadron, with Major Alexander 'Sasha' Hess, CO of No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, outside the Officers Mess building, Duxford, Cambridgeshire. October 1940

    Student pilots of the Royal Canadian Air Force watch aircraft manoeuvres before taking off, Initial Training School, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden, Ontario, 30 July 1940

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised and Researched by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    An American Mechanic working on the Tail Fuse of a AN-M64 "Carpetbagger" General Purpose 500lb bomb in the Forward bomb bay of a Boeing B-29 Superfortress. (Nb the B-29 could carry 32 x 500lb GP Bombs)

    Gilberts Operation, November 1943. A Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighter makes condensation rings as it awaits the take-off flag aboard the Essex-class Aircraft Carrier - USS Yorktown (CV-10), 20 November 1943. The plane is from Fighting Squadron Five (VF-5). Yorktown was then hitting targets in the Marshall Islands to cover the landings in the Gilberts

    Flight Lieutenant Denis Barnham, Spitfire Vc (Trop) BP955, 601 Squadron RAF with Flight Commander Mike 'Pancho' Le Bas. Luqa, Malta. Late April 1942

    On the 11th of June 1944, F/O H.G. Garwood of 412 Squadron was flying VZ-S (MJ 255) MK IXc Spitfire when it suffered an engine failure* near Tilly-sur-Seulles, France, during the allied invasion. He was forced to execute a wheels-up landing which tore the port wing off as it looped in the grass. Fortunately Garwood was able to make it back to his base unharmed

    Alex Vraciu, who was just 25 when he reigned as the US Navy&rsquos top World War II fighter ace after downing 19 Japanese aircraft and destroying 21 more on the ground in only eight months in 1944, died on January the 29th 2015 in West Sacramento, Calif. He was 96

    A Supermarine Spitfire Vc 'Tropical' JK707 MX-P serving with 307th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group operated by 12th USAAF. The regular pilot was 1st.Lt. Carroll A. Prybylo, but when lost it was flown by Capt. Virgil Cephus Fields, Jr.

    Consolidated B-24 H Liberator, s/n 42-95379, 'Extra Joker' in the last photo taken of her on the 23rd of August 1944. She belonged to the 725th Bombardment Squadron, 451st Bombardment Group. 15th US Air Force

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

    A Chinese Nationalist soldier guards a row of Curtiss P-40 'Warhawks' flown by the 'Flying Tigers' of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) July, 1942

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tom Thounaojam from India)

    Boeing B-29 Superfortress 42-24592 &ldquoDauntless Dotty&rdquo. 869th Bomb Squadron, 497th Bomb Group, 73rd Bomb Wing, 20th Air Force. 24th of November 1944

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Leo Courvoisier from Argentina)

    Soviet Air Force officers, Rufina Gasheva (848 night combat missions) and Nataly Meklin (980 night combat missions) decorated as 'Heroes of the Soviet Union' for their service with the famed 'Night Witches' unit during World War II. They stand in front of their Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes

    Squadron Leader J.A.F. MacLachlan, the one-armed Commanding Officer of No 1 Squadron RAF, standing beside his all-black Hawker Hurricane Mark IIC night fighter, 'JX-Q', at Tangmere in West Sussex, England

    US Air Force pilot 2nd Lieutenant Robert Wade Biesecker with his crew of the 569th Bombardment Squadron, 390th Bomb Group, US Eighth Air Force, standing by 'Honey Chile', their B-17 Flying Fortress bomber (serial 42-31027), at RAF Framlingham, a US Eighth Air Force Bomber Command station in England, 18 October 1943

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised and Researched by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    F/L J. F. Thomas and the crew of Avro Lancaster Bomber 'B' MkI 'Victorious Virgin' RF128 QB-V of RCAF 424 Squadron "Tiger" Squadron on the 21st of March 1945. (probably taken at the Skipton-on-Swale, North Yorkshire airfield)

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Tom Thounaojam from India)

    "An American soldier cradles a wounded Japanese boy and shelters him from the rain in the cockpit of an airplane during the Battle of Saipan while waiting to transport the youngster to a field hospital. Saipan, Mariana Islands. July 1944." Image taken by 'Life' Magazine photographer -Peter Stackpole. The Aircraft is a Stinson L-5 Sentinel Liaison Light-plane

    Flying Officer Philip Ingleby 137140, the navigator of an Avro Lancaster B Mark III of No. 619 Squadron RAF based at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, seated at his table in the aircraft. February 1944

    Squadron Commander, Captain Alexander G. Pronin and Major Sergei Stepanovich Bukhteyev aboard an American lend lease Bell P-39 'Airacobra' of the 102nd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment at the Levashovo airbase, near Leningrad. c. Spring 1943

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Olga Shirnina from Russia)

    The Crew of Avro Lancaster Mk.I HK576 AA-G - 1944/45

    RAAF Short Sunderland being anchored at Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour, Australia. c.1944

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

    28th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron &ndash In front of one of their first photo reconnaissance planes in the Marianas Islands

    An unidentified New Zealand Flying officer from Timaru, Canterbury in a Vickers Wellington Mk 1C bomber, named "Der Oberhund II" most likely belonging to the RAF 37 Squadron and located at an RAF station in Egypt (possibly Kabrit). c. 1940-42

    Flight Lieutenant Anna Leska-Daab, (b. November 14, 1910 - d. January 21, 1998) was a ferry pilot of the British Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) a commander of a women&rsquos squadron and the sole ATA pilot to receive the Royal Medal. Seated here in the cockpit of a Spitfire at White Waltham Airfield, Berkshire, 12th of February 1943

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Anna Marjańska from Poland)

    Pilot Officer Albert Gerald Lewis DFC (aged 22) in his Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 (VY-R) P2923 with 85 Squadron RAF at Castle Camps, RAF Debden's satellite airfield in Cambridgeshire. July 1940

    Curtiss SB2C Helldivers of the Bombing Squadron Two (VB-2) from the USS Hornet (CV-12) Fast Carrier Task Force 58 are seen midair on a mission over Saipan, in the Mariana Islands, 24th of August 1944

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    New Zealand, Flying Officer E J Kain of No. 73 Squadron, standing in the cockpit of his Hawker Hurricane Mark I "Paddy III" at Rouvres, in the Île-de-France Region in north-central France

    Flight Nurse Dorothy O'Rourke christening "Miss Fit", a Consolidated B-24J Liberator, s/n 44-40557, of the 30th Bomb Group, 392nd Bomb Squadron, 7th US Air Force, by breaking a bottle of beer on the aircraft's nose guns, Marianas Islands, Octgober 1944

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    A Northrop N-3PB of No. 330 (Norwegian) Squadron, RAF. The Squadron was formed at Reykjavik, Iceland on 25 April 1941 from Norwegian personnel who had managed to escape from Norway and then undergone training in Canada. They initially flew with RAF Sunderland crews but in May aircraft ordered by the Norwegian government prior to the German invasion arrived in the form of Northrop N-3PB seaplanes. The Squadron was attached to Coastal Command and operated from bases in Iceland and Scotland, tasked mainly with anti-submarine patrols

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colorised by Rui Manuel Candeias)

    Yekaterina Ryabova (July 14, 1921 - September 12, 1974) was a Russian military pilot, awarded the title of Heroine of the Soviet Union on February 23, 1945. She attained the rank of senior lieutenant as a member of the 46th Guards Night Bomber Regiment. She flew 860 night missions in her career as a Polikarpov Po-2 navigator

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colorised by Olga Shirnina from Russia)

    "Scramble!". RCAF pilots race to waiting Hawker Hurricane Mk.Is at RAF Northolt. 'Battle of Britain' 1940

    Vickers Wellesley Mark I (L2673 KU-C) of No. 47 Squadron RAF based at Agordat in flight over the rugged landscape of Eritrea. c. April 1941

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colorised by Rui Manuel Candeias)

    Squadron Leader Karun Krishna "Jumbo" Majumdar, born in Calcutta September 6, 1913. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross - the first to be awarded to an Indian Air Force officer - for the gallantry and leadership he displayed while serving as the commanding officer of No 1 Squadron, Indian Air Force, during the retreat from Burma in 1942. He was subsequently awarded a Bar to the DFC in recognition of his courage and skill while serving as a tactical reconnaissance pilot with 268 Squadron No, RAF, during the liberation of France in 1944. Majumdar was the only pilot in the IAF to be decorated with a Bar to the DFC., he would have been destined to reach the topmost position in the Indian Air Force, that of the Chief of Air Staff, if fate had not intervened. Wing Commander Majumdar was killed in a flying accident on February 17th 1945

    Factory delivered P-47D-25-RE 'Thunderbolts' of the "1º Grupo de Aviação de Caça - 1º GAVCA" (1st Brazilian Fighter Squadron), attached to the 350th FG, Tarquinia, Italy. October 1944

    The crew of 'Our Gang', a B-17 of the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, USAAF, posing with their two mascots, Windy and Skippy, at Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, England, 15 June 1943

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    "The Few" who flew in the Battle of Britain 10th July - 31st October 1940 (shown here are D.Bader, A Hess, A.G.Lewis, E.J. Kain, L.Haines and S.Lane) (Nb. E.K. "Cobber" Kaine was KIA in France 7th June 1940, so would not have 'qualified as a 'BoB' pilot). Pilots and aircrew of fifteen nationalities flew in the "Battle of Britain". They were: Americans - Czechoslovakians - Poles - Australians - Free French - Newfoundlanders - Belgians - Irish - New Zealanders - British - Jamaicans - South Africans - Canadians - Palestinian - Southern Rhodesians

    A Dutch Fokker T. V twin-engine bomber displaying the unique tricolour camo scheme and bright orange ID markings used by the Dutch Air Force on the onset of WW2

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colorised by Rui Manuel Candeias)

    First Lt. John Franklin "Jack" Bolt, Pacific Theater 1943. (May 19, 1921 - Sep. 8, 2004). U.S. Marine Corps Aviator. In mid-1941, he enlisted in the Navy, later earned his wings in Pensacola and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Marines. He became a member of Marine Fighter Squadron 214, nicknamed the "Black Sheep Squadron," led by legendary aviator Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. During the Solomon Islands campaign, he flew 94 missions in an F-4U Corsair fighter and was credited with six kills, all of Japanese Zero fighters

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colorised by Johhny Sirlande from Belgium)

    W. McKnight, Canada&rsquos highest scoring ace during the Battle of Britain. Squadron Leader Douglas Bader, commanding No. 242 (Canadian) Squadron, with Pilot Officer William Lidstone 'Willie' McKnight and Acting Fl.Lt. George Eric Ball outside the Officers Mess building, Duxford, Cambridgeshire. October 1940

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Mark at Canadian Colour)

    Czechoslovak pilots of No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron RAF and their British flight commanders grouped in front of Hawker Hurricane Mark I, P3143 'NN-D', at Duxford, Cambridgeshire

    Sergeant Bohumír Fürst of No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron is greeted by the squadron mascot on returning to RAF Duxford after a sortie in his Hawker Hurricane Mk I Hurricane P3143 'NN-D', 7 September 1940

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    B-17F-25-BO "Harry the Horse" S/Nº 41-24548 Field Nº 167. Tadji Airfield, West Sepik Province Papua New Guinea. May 1944

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Allan White from Australia)

    The often forgotten Squadron Ground Crew. Members of No.1 Squadron RCAF ground crew tend to a Hawker Hurricane. While Leading Aircraftman P.J. Thurgeon removes the port wheel, because of faulty brakes, Sergeant Bob Fair checks to see if the craft should go into maintenance to be repaired. Often forgotten, No.1&rsquos ground crew worked tirelessly to keep the aircraft in good repair without them the squadron could not have flown. July 1941

    A pilot of No. 175 Squadron RAF scrambles to his waiting Hawker Typhoon Mark IB at B5 Airstrip Le Fresne-Camilly, Calvados, Normandy in France following a call from the Group Control Centre ordering an air strike. 24th July 1944

    The rear gunner of a USMC Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber mans his tool of trade allowing for a clear view of the 0.30 in (7.62 mm) Browning machine guns&rsquo mounting

    Two members of the 14th Air Force hang around one of their mounts somewhere in China, unknown date. In the foreground a P-51C or D &lsquoMustang&rsquo, and in the background a P-51C in olive drab

    Boulton Paul Defiant Mk Is (including L7026 PS-V and N1535 PS-A) of No. 264 Squadron RAF based at Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire, late July 1940

    F4U-1 Corsair #252 (possibly that of 1/Lt. William 'Bill" Boshart). VMF 224, Marine Corps 4th Marines Aircraft Wing, Majuro Airstrip, Marshall Islands. Planes being readied for fighter patrol due to radar picking up Japanese bombers headed for the Palau Island group, Peleliu, September 19th 1944

    De Havilland Mosquito Mk II of No. 157 Squadron RAF refuelling at Hunsdon, Hertfordshire. 16 June 1943

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    Maria Dolina (1922&ndash2010) was a Soviet pilot and acting squadron commander of the 125th &ldquoMarina M. Raskova&rdquo Borisov Guards dive bomber Regiment. She was active primarily on the 1st Baltic Front during World War II, performing 72 sorties in the Pe-2 Petlyakov light bomber, dropping a total 45,000 kg bombs. In six aerial combats Maria and her crew shot down 3 enemy fighters (in the group).
    On August 18, 1945 Dolina was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colorised by Olga Shirnina from Russia)

    Quick dedication to the last surviving Dambusters pilot, Sqn.Ldr. Les Munro, who has died at the age of 96. The legendary 'Dambusters Operation' of RAF 617 Squadron flew from RAF Scampton, near Lincoln, in 1943 and successfully used "bouncing bombs" to attack German dams. There are now only two surviving crew members of the Dambusters missions

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Royston Leonard UK)

    Rouvres airfield, France, winter of 1939/40. On a cold, misty day, Sergeant T. B. G. &lsquoTitch&rsquo Pyne, a British pilot serving with 73 Squadron, smiles as he watches two armourers rearming the .303 Browning MGs of his Hawker Hurricane Mk I

    First Lieutenant William N. Case of Marine Attack Squadron 214 (VMF-214), known as the 'Black Sheep', at Russell Islands, 5 October 1943

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

    A 20mm Hispano light anti-aircraft gun crew of an RAF Regiment at the Nidania ('George') beach airstrip on the coast of Bengal, India, wave to a Hawker Hurricane Mark IIC/D of No. 20 Squadron RAF after it had taken off on a sortie against the Japanese in Arakan, Burma. January 1944

    Wellington Mark X HE239 of No.428 Sqn. RCAF, after its rear turret was blasted off by German flak, April, 1943

    (Via WW2 Colourised Photos, Colourised by Mark at Canadian Colour)


    The Army’s new rifle qualification is more realistic

    In 2019, the Army approved a new rifle qualification and individual weapons training strategy. The old qualification, the automated record fire, was developed back in 1956. Since then, the Army’s battles and the way it fights them have changed. The new qualification, the rifle and carbine qualification, was developed with the same principle as the Army Combat Fitness Test. It more holistically assesses a soldier’s ability to employ situational awareness, safe weapon handling, and core marksmanship competencies.

    A 10th Mountain Division soldier shoots the new qualification (Miguel Ortiz)

    Due to COVID-19 considerations, full integration of the new rifle qualification in 2020 was slowed. However, more and more units in both Forces Command and Training and Doctrine Command are starting to test their soldiers on the new standards.

    Training and evaluation for the rifle and carbine qualification is broken down into six tables: preliminary marksmanship instruction and evaluation, pre-live fire simulation training, magazine and shooting position drills, grouping and zeroing, practice qualification, and qualification. “Soldiers start by receiving a series of classes on how to properly zero the rifle, whether it’s a bare rifle or with optics,” said Staff Sgt. Tadeysz Showers, assigned to the 25th Sustainment Brigade. “Soldiers received classes on laser bore sight, Minute of Angle (MOA), zeroing process, windage, ballistics, and also received EST training and practiced position changes before going to a live range.”

    The rifle qualification consists of four firing phases for which soldiers will employ four magazines with 10 rounds each. 40 targets will pop up on their own or in groups for varying lengths of time depending on their distance. Soldiers will fire from the standing unsupported, prone unsupported, prone supported, kneeling supported, and standing supported positions. A barricade is used to simulate cover and provide a more stable shooting position for supported fire. Transitioning between positions and changing magazines are integrated organically into the course of fire in order to more closely simulate real-world combat situations. “The old rifle qualification did not help in combat situations, so they incorporated magazine exchanges and position changes by yourself to represent combat,” said Staff Sgt. Tadeysz Showers, assigned to the 25th Sustainment Brigade. “No matter the military occupational specialty (MOS), any MOS can teach a Soldier how to do this new weapons qualification.”

    A soldier of the 25th Infantry Division engages targets from the kneeling supported position (U.S. Army)

    Whereas commanders could previously dictate whether or not their soldiers could shoot “slick” without their body armor and helmet, the new rifle qualification requires soldiers to wear them. Magazines are retained on the soldier’s gear rather than laying ready on the ground or on a sandbag in order to more closely simulate a combat situation. The first shot of the qualification will be on a close-range target from the standing unsupported firing position. From there, soldiers will transition into the prone unsupported firing position and engage the next nine targets through a port in the bottom of the barricade. The last 30 targets will appear in three waves of 10 with soldiers conducting magazine and firing position changes on their own in between.

    The new qualification also includes guidance for night and CBRNE shooting. Soldiers will be expected to utilize night-vision goggles, IR lasers, and gas masks to engage targets under adverse conditions. The inclusion of these variables reflects the Army’s return to training for a near-peer fight against conventional armies. Additionally, soldiers will no longer be given alibis. Previously, if a soldier experienced a weapon malfunction during their course of fire, they could be given the opportunity to re-shoot. Now, soldiers will be expected to assess and clear the malfunction during the course of fire and continue to engage targets. Any missed targets during this time will count against them. While this can make the qualification more difficult, it encourages soldiers to build the muscle memory necessary to address such variables under stress.

    Some aspects of the old rifle qualification have carried over though. Soldiers are still required to hit 23 of the 40 targets in order to qualify. 23-29 hits earns a Marksman qualification, 30-35 hits earns a Sharpshooter qualification, and 36-40 hits earns an Expert qualification. “This new weapons qualification is more combat oriented with changing positions, changing magazines and engaging the targets,” said Sgt. Octavius Moon assigned to the 25th Sustainment Brigade. “This will help Soldiers shoot better as well as make ranges faster and have more Soldiers qualified. It helps Soldiers become more knowledgeable about their weapon as well.”

    A 10th Mountain Division soldier conducts the new qualification while wearing cold weather gear (Miguel Ortiz)

    Nomenclature of USN Cruisers

    Omaha class scout cruisers (1920)

    The Omaha were the first American cruisers after a very long eclipse dating back to 1907 (the Chester). They were originally designed in 1919, originally to take the squadrons of large-scale destroyers (Wickes and Clemson) from the end of the Great War. Like them, they had this hull flush-deck and were recognisable “oven pipers”. Their artillery was original, with an arrangement of two double turrets and pieces in barbettes, an unlikely mix that illustrated their transitional nature. They were launched in 1920-23 and completed in 1922-24, bearing the names of southern American cities (Omaha, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Raleigh, Detroit, Richmond, Concord, Trenton, Marblehead, and Memphis).

    Built lightly, they relied on speed and were part of this generation of what were called tin-clad cruisers, relying on speed as their only protection. lower on the water and in heavy weather in the North Atlantic, they loaded so much sea water that the sailors used to joke that their machines did not run on oil but with water from the sea. Atlantic … More poorly isolated, they were icy and wet in winter, furnaces in the summer sious the tropics. Their anti-submarine protection was very advanced and their active service was very active and long.

    These ten ships received in 1936 a new main telemeter, their front mast was reinforced, and a more modern DCA was added to them in 1939, consisting of several double cal.50 (12.7 mm) machine gun carriages. In 1942 with the war, they were taken in hand for a deep modification of their DCA, modernized notably with new 127 mm pieces and a very reinforced light armament (see specifications). Those sent to the Pacific as those assigned to the Atlantic served as escorts.

    At min-1942 a radar was added to them, and what they had left of torpedo tubes (four quadruple benches, originally 16 tubes) were removed to improve their stability, as well as the catapults for seaplanes that fitted some of them. . In 1944, the Milwaukee was transferred to the USSR as a lease-loan becoming the Murmansk, to provide escorts from that port. None of these were sunk during the war. They were all scrapped in 1946, except the Murmansk, returned in 1947.


    The USS Milwaukee in June 1942, departing for Guadalcanal. The camouflage of the time was quite complex but well adapted to the landscape of South Pacific islands.

    Characteristics (in 1942)

    Displacement: 7050 t, 8950 T FL
    Dimensions: 172 x 16.2 x 7.25 m
    Propulsion: 2 propellers, 2 Westinghouse turbines, 2 BW boilers, 70,000 hp. and 32 knots max.
    Armor: 90 mm belt, 25-50 mm blockhouse, bridges and CT.
    Armament: 10 x 152mm guns (2ࡨ, 6ࡧ), 6 x 127mm guns, 2ࡪ x 40mm, 8 x 20mm, 8 Mitt. 12.7 mm, 2ࡪ TLT 533 mm.
    Crew: 750

    Pensacola class heavy cruisers (1928)


    The USS Pensacola in March 1945, in support of Okinawa. Note the evolutions with the original design – see below.

    When the treaty of Washington was ratified by the great naval powers in 1922, the nomenclature of the types was modified and somehow concepts, consecrated. Among these changes, the most notable was the appearance of a new class in its own right, the “Washington Cruiser” which in fact was the typical form of the heavy cruiser, a new category with almost intangible, 10,000 tons – Eight 8-inches (203 mm). If the British, French and Italians chose the double turret configuration, the Americans from the beginning adopted a triple turret configuratiosn already well initiated for their dreadnought. It appeared natural to adapt it for their cruisers, while maintaining a configuration in four axial turrets.

    The Admiralty had thus in this design choose a compromise with the most powerful artillery possible (ten pieces) crammed on a strictly limited tonnage. Like other navies, welding construction technique was adopted to save tons of steels rivets. But these choices were paid later in practice and throughout their careers. For reasons still unclear the triple turrets were placed in superfiring positions rather than the contrary.

    In addition, this was compounded by the adoption of tripod military masts, both tall and heavy, to suppoer the fire control posts, and a tall bridge blockhouse. With a limited beam and a lightly built hull, this caused a dangerous overweight and the Pensacola cruisers were quickly seen as excessive “rollers”. So excessive in fact that from trials, captain voluntarily limited their evolutions and turns in particulars. Each time these manoeuvers needed to be made a a lower speed than the operation required. Morover their pitch was high due to flush deck hull too short, narrow and overloaded in the front, making these ships ploughing excessively and disturbingly, in heavy weather.

    The Pensacola class was quasi-experimental. USS Pensacola twin, USS Salt Lake City, was launched in 1930 and completed in 1931. Both ships received already counterkeels in 1939 to improve their stability, but in 1942 their superstructures were massively lightened, and the massive tripod masts were removed. This did dot resolved completely their problem, but having their turrets swapped for example or the superrfiring ones removed seemed not to have been an option. They received a radar, new fire control systems, and a powerful AAA. This settled some of their deficiencies and they participated in the major pacific operations before being removed from active service in 1947.

    Their example helped to define the next class, the Northampton. It must be said that the last class of “heavy” cruisers in USN service dated back to the Saint Louis of 1908. This partly explains many theoretical deficiencies leading to the blueprints for these ships, a true novelty in the US Navy.


    The USS Salt Lake City in 1939. These over-armed sailors were so severely weighted in the highs that they were rebuilt in 1942.


    The USS Pensacola in March 1945, in support of Okinawa. Note the evolutions with the original design

    Characteristics (in 1939)

    Displacement: 9100 tons, 11,500 tons FL
    Dimensions: 178.5 x 19.9 x 5.9 m
    Propulsion: 2 shaft, 4 Parsons turbines, 4 WF boilers, 107,000 hp. 32.5 knots
    Armor: Turrets 165, belt 63, blockhouse and casemate 105-50 mm, bridge 51 mm.
    Armament: 10 x 152mm guns (2ࡨ, 2ࡩ), 4 x 127mm guns, 8 Mitt. 12.7 mm, 2ࡩ TLT 533 mm, 4 seaplanes.
    Crew size: 631

    Northampton class heavy cruisers (1930)


    Succeeding to the Pensacola, the Northampton class improved many points. The very poor behavior at sea was compensated by a raised bow and forecastle instead of a flush deck, three triple turrets instead of four mixed, an increased width, and lowered superstructures. However, speed remaining a priority, their armor was sacrificed, only capable against destroyers shells, and their subdivision, especially for parabolic shells, was insufficient. These were the USN “tin-clad cruisers”. The class included six ship built at Newport News and New York’s arsenal respectively: USS Augusta, Chicago and Houston, Northampton, Chester and Louisville.

    The war quickly imposed the adoption of an AAA more convincing than single 5-in (127 mm) mounts and 0.5 in (12.7 mm) HMGs with nothing in between. One of their side TT bank was sacrificed for four additional 5-in and four twin 0.5 in mounts. Their aft superstructure was lightened, and from 1943, a new drastic overhaul of the superstructure occured, which were lowered and lightened, but better armored. Subsequently survivors of Guadalcanal in late 1943 saw the replacement of their 0.5 in by quadruple 40 mm and single 20 mm (in 1944, typically twenty 40 mm and thirteen to twenty 20 mm Oerlikon). Houston, Northampton and Chicago were sunk around Guadalcanal, USS Chester was badly damaged in never repaired, while the other two survived and left the active lists in 1949.


    USS Houston in march 1942, with an early navy blue camouflage measure, in the Solomons.

    Characteristics (in 1941)
    Displacement: 9,006 t, 11,420 T FL
    Dimensions: 182.96 x 20.14 x 5.9 m
    Propulsion: 2 shafts, 4 Parsons turbines, 4 WT boilers, 107,000 hp. and 32.5 knots max.
    Armor: Turrets 50-60, belt 76, blockhouse and casemate 95-20 mm, bridge 25 mm.
    Armament: 9 x 152mm (3ࡩ) guns, 8 x 127mm guns, 8 Mitt. 12.7 mm, 2ࡩ TLT 533 mm, 4 seaplanes.
    Crew: 670 (1941) 850 (1944).

    Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)


    USS Portland, colorized by Hirootoko JR.

    Designed after the Northampton, the two new heavy cruisers, Portland and Indianapolis, were contemporary of the New Orleans which on their side improved on many points and mainly that of protection. Spacious, larger and heavier than the Northamptons, they were nonetheless also the last of the “tin clad” cruisers. Their tonnage was already 10,260 tonnes standard, so there was no additional armor margin possible within the limitations.

    Some areas were protected against 6-in shells at certain angles, but 8-in shells could pass through them without problem. Torpedo tubes were removed and AAA increased in compensation. Among their originality, the front mast was much lower, as well as the rear one, lighter and cleared of projectors, relegated to footbridges behind the funnel, for a better stability. Their large accommodations make them ideal to serve as command ships.

    Until May 1943, these two ships were taken over for a redesign, among other things to clear the bow for more AAA, which more than doubled. The superstructure were rebuilt, lightened and lowered, with an open deck, and the tripod mast removed in favor of a mast-lattice in front of the rear funnel. AAA went up to four quadruple carriages, and four twin 40 mm and 12 singles 20 mm Oelikon. These two ships were heavily engaged in the Pacific. These modifications were the prototypes of the subsequent Northampton class reconstruction.

    USS Portland (CA33), was very active and deployed during most major naval operations of the Pacific, and several times damaged. She survived the war and was broken up in December 1959. In 1945, USS Indianapolis was doubly (in)famous. First for delivering the A Bomb (“Little Boy”) at Tinian, where a B29 bomber named Enola Gay, carried it to sow apocalypse in Hiroshima.

    As a kind of stroke of fate (or celestial vengeance for the Japanese), the cruiser on her return on July 29 was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The last USN major loss in this war. She sank quickly, taking with her a large part of the crew, the others having to survive through the burning oil, and later isolation and fatigue, shark attacks for several days before being collected. The last ship of the allies to be sunk during the Second World War was the centrepiece of a drama that inspired a movie, USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage in 2016.


    USS Indianapolis en 1945, at the time she delivered the atomic bomb, sunk soon after on her way back.

    Specifications
    Displacement: 10,258 t. standard -12,755 t. Full Load
    Dimensions: 185.9 m long, 20.12 m wide, 6.40 m draft
    Machines: 4 propellers, 4 Parsons turbines, 8 Yarrow boilers, 107,000 hp.
    Maximum speed: 32.5 knots
    Shield: Belt 57, turrets 65, bridges 160-50
    Weaponry: 9 guns of 203 (3 × 3), 8 of 127, 8 ML 12.7 mm AA, 4 aircraft
    Crew: 917

    New Orleans class heavy cruisers (1933)

    No doubt the “tin class cruisers” of the previous Washington designs, imposed by the tonnage limit forced the office of construction and repair within the Admiralty to review its copy by gaining weight where it was necessary for a better distribution and improve protection. The “tin clad cruisers” period was drawing to an end in Europe, Italy unveiling the Zara class and France the Algérie. Also it was no longer claimed that the range and firepower of 8-in artillery made any protection superfluous. From 1929 a plan called for 20 new cruisers, and very quickly the admiralty was interested in well-balanced European designs.

    The bureau studies demonstrated that by restricting dimensions and weight distributon it was possible to maintain good protection, sufficient horsepower and reasonable speed while remaining within the required tonnage limit. But that implied also a slower speed. This design work led to the definition of an internal compartmentation with an internal armor extending only around the superstructures and main turrets, called the “immune zone” using the all or nothing scheme already tried on battleships, and inspired from ancient protected cruisers.

    In addition to this redistribution, lighter and still powerful machines were used, while torpedo tubes were eliminated from the design. The hull was also shortened and lowered. This allowed a 5.5 in (130 mm) armour thickness overall on the central cell and belt. Machine rooms were protected by an extra 3.5-in (90 mm) and the decks by 2.5-in (64 mm).

    The US Navy used this class, first called Astoria after the lead ship (which sank later), to test variations on a design that remained broadly similar. There are three series, the New Orleans, Astoria and Minneapolis, for the first, the Tuscaloosa and San Francisco for the second and the Quincy and Vincennes for the last. Blueprints were revised between each series and a difference of 600 tons existed between the first and last. These were test benches and the direct ancestors of all upcoming American cruisers. The turrets received 0.9-3 in (25-70 mm) and the barbettes 7-in (170 mm). The blockhouse was protected by 5.5-in also. But speed remained very comfortable at 33 knots. On their time, the New Orleans were probably among the world’s most successful heavy cruisers, although protection (as shown by events) was still not optimal.

    On the other hand, anti-aircraft artillery was entrusted to eight 5-in (127 mm), way too slow to deal with modern strafing aviation, alongside eight 2.5 in way too short in range. This was largely compensated during the war, with many quadruple Bofors 40 mm and fifty or so single oerlikon guns. They also received radar and new targeting and firing controls, while their superstructure was lightened again, reworked but “bunkerized”. USS Astoria, Quincy and Vincennes were famously destroyed during the battle of Savo in August 1942, and the others participated in many hard engagements but survived the war.


    USS San Francisco in March 1945, the horizontal livery in effect since the end of 1944, of light gray/medium gray/dark blue

    Characteristics (in 1941):
    Displacement: 9,950 t, 12,400 T FL
    Dimensions: 179,27 x 18,82 x 5,9 m
    Propulsion: 2 shafts, 4 Westinghouse turbines, 8 B&C boilers, 107,000 hp. 32.7 knots max.
    Armor: Turrets 30-70, belt 120, CT 130 and casemate 80 mm, decks 60 mm.
    Armament: 9 x 203 mm (3ࡩ), 8 x 127 mm, 8 x 12.7 mm, 4 seaplanes

    Brooklyn class heavy cruisers (1936)


    The signing of the Treaty of London, then a report from the US Naval Attaché to Japan which noted that the IJN Admiralty with the Mogami was working on a new type of cruiser combining low displacement and great firepower, presided over the design of Brooklyn class ships. They were by tonnage heavy cruisers, with a displacement of nearly 10,000 tons, but “light cruisers” as armed with fifteen 6-in (152 mm) guns of a new semi-automatic type, twice as fast as 8-in guns. Distribution was also in five triple turrets to achieve the greatest possible firepower.

    On the other hand, this passage to fifteen guns took place at the cost of a drastic reduction of armor compared to New Orleans. The hull was nevertheless of a new model, more massive and roomy, especially with a near square stern, incorporating a hangar for 4 seaplanes. Compartimentation was stronger, compensating the lack of armor by dissipating the rounds energy. As a result, the superstructures were also reduced to allow the installation of the five axial turrets.

    Just like the previous class, seven of the Brooklyn class were built between 1935 and 1938. USS Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Savanah, Nashville, Phoenix, Boise, Honolulu, St Louis, and Helena. The latter two had their machines rearranged, and new 5-in/38 in the brand new twin turret instead of the previous single unprotected mounts, while their superstructures were revised behind the aft funnel.


    USS Brooklyn 1942

    In 1942, they all received a new open gangway, with lightened superstructure, the CT removed, and portholes largely welded shuts. They were later supplemented by a massive AAA, reaching its maximum at the end of 1944 with four quadruple and six twin 40 mm carriages, and twenty 20 mm AA in twin or 18-20 in single mounts.

    They were all well engaged in combat with mixed success, in Europe for the most part, especially in the Mediterranean. In 1943, in July, the USS Helena was sunk by German guided flying bombs. It was proved that her AA did not have sufficient scope. This was the only loss of this class, and only USN cruiser sunk by missiles. After the war, those who were not broken up in 1960 had been sold to the three “naval powers” of South America, Brazil (StLouis), Argentina (Phoenix, Boise), and Chile (Brooklyn), Nashville). They were still in service in the 1980s, with little change.


    USS Philadelphia

    Characteristics (in 1941):
    Displacement: 9,767 t. standard -12 207 t. Full Load
    Dimensions: 185.42 m long, 18.82 m wide, 6.93 m draft
    Machines: 4 propellers, 4 Parsons turbines, 8 B & W boilers, 100,000 hp.
    Maximum speed: 32.5 knots
    Shield: Belt 127, turrets 155, bridges 25, blockhouse 127
    Armament: 15 guns of 152 (5 × 3), 8 of 127 mm, 30 of 40 mm AA (4 × 4, 6 × 2), 20 of 20 mm, 8 mitt. 12.7 mm AA, 4 aircraft
    Crew: 868

    USS Wichita (1937)


    USS Wichita and USS Wasp at Scapa Flow by April 1942

    This heavy cruiser, derived from the Brooklyn class, shared the hull with its square stern, and was authorized under the Treaty of London, for the fiscal year 1935. A Brooklyn derivative was proposed, with better equipment and space available for its onboard aviation, and superstructures revised to release additional firing arc, and a more modern secondary armament in single DP turrets, a higher freeboard, better stability, and new turrets, more spaced, plus a much better protection, while exceeding the 10,000 tonnes limit.
    The Wichita entered service in 1939, and she was an important milestone in the design of USN heavy cruisers of the 1940s: The Baltimores class studied in 1940 were closely inspired by the Wichita.

    However, as the boundaries of the treaty flew away at the beginning of the conflict, engineers became free to add additional 5-in turrets and largely reinforce the AAA, now including 40 and 20 mm guns (8 of 40 mm and 15 of 20 mm). Wichita was little modified until 1944, gaining a radar while her bridge was lightened and rebuilt in the same standard as other cruisers.
    USS Wichita spent most of her career in the Atlantic, escorting convoys with the Royal Navy. In 1948, the office of ships and repair conducted a study for her conversion into a missile cruiser. In the end Baltimore class units were preferred and she joined the demolition yard in 1959.


    Author’s illustration of USS Wichita in 1945

    Characteristics (in 1941):
    Displacement: 10,589 t. standard -13 015 t. Full Load
    Dimensions: 185,42 m long, 18,82 m wide, 7,24 m of draft
    Machines: 4 propellers, 4 Parsons turbines, 8 Babcock and Wilcox boilers, 100,000 hp.
    Maximum speed: 33 knots
    Shield: Belt 152, turrets 203, bridges 57mm
    Weaponry: 9 guns of 203 mm (3 × 3), 8 of 127 mm, 8 ML 12.7 mm AA, 4 aircraft
    Crew: 929

    Atlanta class AA cruisers (1941)

    At the end of the 1930s, the concept of “super destroyer” became fashionable. The Admiralty also sought to define a new type of light cruiser to replace the old Omaha class from the 1920s. The concept had resulted in a lightweight generic ship exclusively armed with the new standard 5-in (127 mm) dual purpose, twin turrets. Semi-automated, these had excellent anti-aircraft capabilities as well as anti-ships and became widespread on the USN.

    To survive in front of heavier ships, the Atlanta class had to rely on their speed. The displacement being limited to 6,000 tons was the result of the second treaty of London in 1936 for extra tonnage cruisers. Initially only four ships were ordered, followed by four others much later, and war broken out in the meantime, and so they come as completely redefined in the 1940s with a new rearmament program in a serie of 11 vessels, later curtailed.


    USS_San_Diego_Yokosuka_30_August_1945

    From USS Oakland, they differed by an open deck and additional light AAA instead of their side turrets. Due to the increase of AAA during the war many modifications were imposed, including the addition of ballasts, removal of TTs, new lightened superstructures, more concentrated, seen on the last launched in 1944-46, USS Juneau (2), Spokane and Fresno. They did not participated in the conflict unlike the other eight completed in 1942-45, USS Atlanta, Juneau, San Diego, San Juan, Oakland, Reno, Flint, and Tucson. They were all named after major Texan cities.

    The first four, accepted in emergency in January-February 1942 were immediately thrown into the hell of the Salomon Islands: Two did not return from it, USS Atlanta and Juneau, sank together on November 13 near Guadalcanal. They were the only losses of the war.

    The others served as AA escorts for the large Task Forces of the Pacific. Their characteristics made them relatively unhelpful vessels (like the British Dido class), as their engines proved to be disappointing, speed and manoeuvrability very inadequate. As squadron destroyer leaders they proved a little more useful. They remained in service between 20 and 25 years, disarmed 1962-66, even 1973 for USS Spokane.


    USS Juneau in 1942, showing her particular camouflage

    Characteristics (in 1941):

    Displacement: 6,718 t. standard -8,340 t. Full Load
    Dimensions: 165 m long, 16.21 m wide, 6.25 m draft
    Machinery: 2 shaft Westinghouses turbines, 4 B & W boilers, 75,000 hp.
    Top speed: 32.5 knots
    Shielding: Max: 90 mm
    Armament: 16 guns of 127 (8 × 2), 16 of 40 mm AA (4 × 4), 8 of 20 mm, 8 TLT 533 mm (2 × 4), 80 grenades ASM
    Crew: 623

    Cleveland class light cruisers (1942)


    USS Denver Underway, circa December 1942. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

    The Cleveland-class cruisers formed series of ships which became the most prolific ever for cruisers. With 29 completed out of 52 keels laid down, 13 cancellations and 10 converted into fast aircraft carriers (USS Independence class), this was the new standard of USN “light” cruisers. They were “light” only in contrast with the Baltimore, as their wartime tonnage reached 12,000 tonnes empty and 14,000 fully load, above Washington limits.

    Among these units, two will be completed on a different design, the USS Fargo and USS Huntington. This revised 1942 design was to give them a better arc of fire for their AAA by adopting a more compact superstructure, entirely reviewed and simplified, plus a single funnel.

    The attempt to respect the treaty fell out at the outbreak of the war, and to save time, the Cleveland were chosen for mass production. Their limited size and the hunting of excess weight made their protection insufficient. The original project, defined in 1939, was to include 5 twin turrets of the new semi-automated 6-in, but development time meant that we relied on the proven triple model of the Brooklyn class instead, while the model was ready for the next Worcester.

    The Cleveland were more Brooklyn than Wichita in concept, which rather inspired the Baltimore. As expected, the Cleveland had a little more machine space and integral power supply that made portholes obsolete as source of waterways. The AAA artillery differed between ships, 28 x 40 mm and 21 x 20 mm for both Fargo subclasses in 1945.

    The Cleveland class ships were laid down between 1 July 1940 and 20 February 1944 and launched between 1 November 1941 and 22 March 1945. Some were completed too late to participate in the war: the USS Manchester, Galveston, Fargo and Huntington, who did not have the opportunity to assert the relevance of their new design in operations. But they were deployed both in Korea and Vietnam.
    After the conflict, this force was of course largely involved in many support operations, and some were later converted into hybrid missile launchers. Some were dropped from the lists after 1960, and others survived until 1970-78. The USS Little Rock is one of those. She has been preserved and is currently a museum ship, only surviving example of the class, but not in her original state unfortunately.


    USS Birmingham in 1944, soon after the battle of Leyte where she was badly damaged by the explosion of the carrier St Lo

    Characteristics

    Displacement: 11,744 t. standard -14 130 t. Full Load
    Dimensions: 185.9 m long, 20.22 m wide, 7.47 m draft
    Machinery: 4 propellers, 4 GE turbines, 4 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 100,000 hp.
    Top speed: 32.5 knots
    Armor: Belt 127, turrets 165, bridges 51, inner casemate 127-152 mm
    Armament: 12 guns of 152 (5 × 3), 12 of 127 (6 × 2), 28 guns of 40 (4 × 4, 2 × 2), 10 of 20 mm AA, 4 aircraft
    Crew: 273

    Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)

    The Baltimore class cruisers were not to be the last or the largest conventional cruisers built, followed after the war by the Worcester and the Des Moines, but they are certainly among the best. The Clevelands had been criticized for their lack of space. The Baltimores were to resume studies with the USS Wichita and push their advantage in a more massive hull while paying particular attention to protection.

    Peacetime had long been forgotten, since at full load a Baltimore reached 17,000 tons, which was quite considerable, and placed them at the head of allied cruisers in size. The Baltimore class was to have 24 units, but 6 were cancelled on August 12, 1945. The remaining 18 were admitted for service, but after the conflict for six of them. Those who had time to participate were 12: The USS Baltimore, Boston, Camberra, Quincy, Pittsburgh, St. Paul, Columbus, Chicago, Bremerton, Fall River, Los Angeles and Macon. They were launched in 1942-44 and completed in 1943-45.

    Their main features, apart from their huge hull, were their artillery in three 8-in triple turrets, as for the Wichita, a secondary AA artillery made of standard 5-in twin turrets, and a much higher light weaponry . The experience of the conflict had made it possible to mount such a concentration of guns around the central redoubt that each ship could set up a veritable “wall of steel” impassable to the torpedo bombers, and later to the Kamikazes.

    A simple comparison makes it possible to get an idea of ​​it: The USS Wichita, when it entered service in February 1939, had 8 pieces of 127 mm and 8 machine guns of 12.7 mm. With the Baltimore, we went to 12 of 127 mm, 48 of 40 mm, 24 of 20 mm in 1942, and much more in 1945. Another peculiarity of these ships was the adoption of a better distributed shielding, and new shells for their 203 mm pieces. These much heavier ones could in parabolic trajectory cross the thickest armor of Japanese heavy cruisers in service.

    During the war, these ships registered no losses, despite their presence in very hard commitments. But in 1944, the situation in Japan was such that the only threats to be feared were Kamikazes and pocket submersibles of the coastal defense or suicide boats. As for the Cleveland, attempts were made to further improve their arc of fire by reducing the superstructures, while reviewing the distribution of the armor.

    This culminated in the sub-class Oregon City, launched as her two sister-ships Albany and Rochester in 1945 and completed in 1946. Soon enough for the Korean War. These ships had a brilliant career after the war, forming the backbone of the US conventional fleet until 1970. Many served as fire support and command ships in Vietnam, and five of them were completely rebuilt in missile cruisers including two, the USS Chicago and the USS Albany was still in service in 1980. They have been put in reserve since.

    Characteristics

    Displacement: 14,472 t. standard -17 030 t. Full Load
    Dimensions: 205.26 m long, 21.60 m wide, 7.32 m draft
    Machinery: 4 shaft GE turbines, 4 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 120,000 hp.
    Top speed: 33 knots
    Armor: Belt 152, turrets 203, bridges 76, inner casemate 127-155 mm
    Armament: 9 guns of 203 (3 × 3), 12 of 127 (6 × 2), 48 guns of 40 (11 × 4, 2 × 2), 24 of 20 mm AA, 4 planes.
    Crew: 723

    Alaska class large cruisers (1944)


    USS Alaska, colorized by Hirootoko Jr.

    The Alaska class were the great white elephants of the US Navy. Their conception goes back to the beginning of the war, when all the treaties of limitation became obsolete. The US Navy therefore only released itself to study a new standard of conventional heavy cruiser (the term “conventional” designated during the cold war a ship not armed with missiles, but having artillery like main weapon.). The heavy cruiser genre was then brought to a logical degree of “upsizing” taking into account the reality that applied to all warships, ever larger and more powerful. A cruiser from 1880 rarely exceeded 100 meters and was limited to 5000 tons.

    The Baltimore rose to 17,000 tons at full load, and with Prinz Eugen German, to 20,000 tons. However their main armament still remained 8 or 9 pieces of 203 mm. With the Alaska, the Admiralty intended to pass directly to the caliber 305 mm, that in force on the ships of line since 1890 and until 1916. Their distribution and the general physiognomy brought them much closer to the contemporary American battleships, so that they were sometimes placed in the obsolete category of “battle cruisers”, which took into account their speed -33 knots-and their armor-relatively light.

    The influence of President Roosevelt on their design is often cited. Enthusiastic like the other Theodore of the beginning of the century by all that touched the navy, he wanted for the fleet a type of ship similar to that which made the pride of the Royal Navy, like Hood. It was also intended to make, like the German Germans, an invulnerable pirate of this “super cruiser”.

    The Alaska class was to have 6 buildings, but soon, when it became apparent that the concepts underlying them were totally out of date, the other three, which should have been started in June 1943, were canceled. Two units were completed, Guam and Alaska launched in 1943, and Hawaii in March 1945, but only the first two were completed in June and September 1944. They proved in operation that they were a pretty bastard concept, finally, and having no adversaries after their war, expensive maintenance and in any case outclassed by missiles, these dinosaurs had no place in the fleet. They were put in reserve since 1961.

    Characteristics

    Displacement: 29,780 t. standard -34 253 t. Full Load
    Dimensions: 246.43 m long, 27.76 m wide, 9.70 m draft
    Machinery: 4 propellers, 4 GE turbines, 8 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 150,000 hp.
    Top speed: 33 knots
    Armor: Belt 220, turrets 315, bridges 80-100, blockhouse 270 mm
    Armament: 9 guns of 305 (3 × 3), 12 of 127 (6 × 2), 56 guns of 40 (14 × 4), 34 of 20 mm AA
    Crew: 1,417


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