a Gato under the Rising Sun

During WWII, the Imperial Japanese Navy’s submarine force was more advanced than it is often given credit for today – mostly, due to it being overshadowed by the successes of American and German subs during the war.

Japan’s submarine force ceased to exist with the end of WWII. That it was later resurrected during the Cold War was by no means a certain thing, nor was it easy. The rebirth of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) undersea wing is largely forgotten today, and even more so that it started with a submarine which itself had fought against the empire during WWII.

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(The US Navy’s Gato class of WWII.)

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(The JMSDF’s first submarine, the Gato class Kuroshio, ex-USS Mingo of WWII.)

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flow of WWII weapons after the war

Since starting wwiiafterwwii, I have wanted to do something on this topic but was unsure how to approach it. I am interested in how WWII weapons performed in battle against Cold War replacements. But also, it is fascinating to consider how they ended up where they did after WWII……how did a Garand built to fight Imperial Japan end up in the Somali desert in the 1970s, or how did a Waffen-SS sturmgewehr end up in 21st century Damascus?

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(An ex-Wehrmacht NbW 42 Nebelwerfer with Interarms markings in the 1960s.)

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Merry Christmas

To readers of wwiiafterwwii, I would like to wish a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season.

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Above is the Christmas mess deck menu of USS Culebra Island (ARG-7), a Luzon class engine repair ship, for Christmas 1945, the first after peace returned.

Commissioned on 19 May 1944, USS Culebra Island participated in the liberation of the Philippines and supported operations on Borneo during WWII. Immediately after the war’s end, USS Culebra Island participated in operation “Magic Carpet”, the mass sealift of servicemen back to the United States.

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USS Culebra Island‘s pennant number used an experimental new font intended for the postwar fleet, which in the end was never adopted by the US Navy. On 18 December 1946, USS Culebra Island was declared surplus to the needs of the peacetime military and decommissioned into reserve. The ship remained stored in the Suisun Bay, CA reserve anchorage until 10 December 1973, when the badly-rusted hull was auctioned off as scrap. The WWII-veteran ship was broken apart at Portland, OR in early 1974.

 

 

WWII weapons in Tanzania

Formerly one of Great Britain’s eastern African colonies, Tanzania used WWII-era equipment throughout the later 20th century including a late-1970s war against Uganda.

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(Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest point of Africa and the only part of Tanzania to receive snow. East Africa Railways continued in dwindling existence after WWII, including the wartime Garratt steam locomotives. The defunct company’s rail lines were a great logistics asset to Tanzania during the 1978-1979 Kagera war.) (photo via internationalsteam.co.uk website)

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(WWII-vintage PPSh-41 submachine gun of the Tanzanian army.)

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putting cruise missiles on WWII battleships

Photos of USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin firing 16″ rounds at Iraqi targets in 1991 are well-known as the last instances of battleships in combat. Less widely known is their operations with Tomahawks during that war, and even less, about how cruise missiles ended up on WWII battleships in the 1980s to begin with.

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(USS Wisconsin during WWII.)

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(USS Wisconsin firing a BGM-109 Tomahawk during operation “Desert Storm”, four and a half decades later.)

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the V-2 in the USSR after WWII

The US Army’s tests of captured V-2 missiles after WWII in New Mexico is fairly well-known. Much less famous is the Soviet Union’s involvement with the world’s first ballistic missile after WWII.

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(Left: A German V-2 missile being readied for launch during WWII. Right: It’s postwar Soviet copy, the SS-1 “Scunner”.)

The USA had no intention of using the V-2 as an actual weapon, no intention of directly copying it, no intention of producing it themselves, and only saw it as a useful research aid. The Soviets on the other hand, put no such restrictions on themselves.

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