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.

 

 

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the experimental USS Timmerman

Largely forgotten today, USS Timmerman was the last Gearing class destroyer built, being completed to an experimental design years after WWII ended and the rest of the class had entered service.

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(Clipping from the September 1953 edition of All Hands, the US Navy’s magazine.)

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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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Mk13 torpedo during the Falklands War

Argentina used a variety of WWII items during the 1982 Falklands War, ranging in complexity from a Brooklyn class cruiser to M1 helmets. The most surprising, and least known, was an effort to resurrect the Mk13 anti-ship torpedo that nearly made it to use.

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(US Navy Mk13 air-dropped unguided torpedo of WWII.)

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(Argentine IA-58 Pucara attack plane with a Mk13 in 1982.)

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the forgotten MiG-13

During WWII some long-standing military disciplines (biplane fighters, battleship duels) went extinct. Others (submarines, radar, jet engines) were in a basic state in 1939, then highly developed during WWII and important afterwards. Still others (ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons) were entirely developed during WWII and important thereafter. Many, many other technologies were experimented with during WWII, failed for whatever reason, and were abandoned.

There is a final category that might be considered. This is a very tiny number of technologies which were developed entirely during WWII, actually worked, but were already overtaken by the time WWII ended.

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MiG’s unique late-war fighter project would fall into this final small category. This plane was originally called project “N”, then I-250, and finally MiG-13.

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