merry Christmas 2022

Wishes for a merry Christmas season to all readers of wwiiafterwwii.
Below is Christmas 1945, the first after peace came, aboard the WWII attack transport USS Selinur (AKA-41).

xmas(photo by Richard LeDonne)

Santa Claus has exchanged his red cap for a US Marine Corps campaign cover.

USS Selinur was an Artemis class attack transport. The Artemis class could not beach itself but could put 264 troops directly ashore via LCVPs and LCMs. They also transported 980t of supplies. The 426′-long Artemis class displaced 7,080t fully loaded however the hullform was optimized with a full draught of only 16′, allowing it to get close to shore during amphibious assaults and also use minor staging ports in the Pacific. They had one Mk12 5″ gun, four Mk2 twin 40mm AA guns, and several 20mm light guns.

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(USS Selinur in the Marshall Islands during August 1945, when the final invasion of the Japanese home islands was being planned.) (photo via navsource website)

USS Selinur commissioned on 21 April 1945. A peaceful Christmas after WWII’s end in September 1945 was probably extra-welcomed by the ship’s crew as it had been slated to participate in operation “Olympic”, the first amphibious landings in the Japanese home islands; set for either the end of 1945 or early 1946. The US Navy expected heavy amphibious ship losses and was probably correct. Postwar interviews with Imperial Japanese Army pilots revealed that, with the sea war already effectively lost, they were going to ignore American battleships and cruisers and instead direct everything against amphibious ships.

Instead, USS Selinur ended WWII repositioning forces in the Philippines and landing occupation troops in Japan.

USS Selinur and the Artemis class overall had a very limited career after WWII, other than two ships sold to the Chilean navy. The US Marine Corps was downsizing after WWII and correspondingly there was a lesser need for ships to move them. USS Selinur decommissioned in 1946 after only 13 months of service, an expensive thing seeing little use which was common in the late-1940s US Navy.

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(USS Selinur being deactivated at Philadelphia, PA in 1946. The small WWII subchaser tied up was presumably also doing the same.) (photo via Philadelphia Evening Bulletin newspaper)

The disarmed ex-USS Selinur was loaned to the Pennsylvania Maritime Academy as T.S. Keystone State for training merchant sailors. It only served one year in that role, before being mothballed in 1947. It was never reactivated and scrapped in 1968.

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“jumboized” WWII warships

After WWII the US Navy modernized war-built vessels to various degrees for many reasons. Many options were available: new weapons, new radars and sonars, enlarged superstructures, new radios, adding or removing aircraft capability, replacement engines, layout changes, and so on.

Normally one thing that couldn’t be changed was the physical size of the hull. Things could be added, moved, replaced, altered, or rebuilt inside or atop the hull; but at the end of the day the WWII hull was what it was.

In the examples below, extremely dramatic “surgery” actually changed the length and size of the entire ship.

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(Not a case of seeing double: the bow and stern sections of USS Navasota (AO-106) pointed in opposite directions during the WWII warship’s 1960s “jumboization”.)

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(The WWII submarine tender USS Proteus (AS-19) cut completely in half during 1959. This “jumboization” was one of the most complex engineering jobs ever done prior to the computer age.)

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MG 151: post-WWII use

The guns arming WWII warplanes were usually of limited general interest, just a component of the overall aircraft and leaving service with the planes they were installed in. Germany’s MG 151 on the other hand, had an extremely long and varied career after WWII, being used in any number of roles in the air, on the ground, and even on the sea; all around the world for many decades.

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(MG 151 being serviced on a Luftwaffe fighter during WWII.)

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(French MG 151 crew on a “Pirate”, or up-gunned H-34 Choctaw, during the Algerian War.) (photo via tenes.info website)

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(Image from a 1980s South African VHS video promoting Vektor’s helicopter mount of the MG 151.)

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last voyage of HTMS Sri Ayudhya / the Manhattan Rebellion

Thailand’s two Thonburi class warships of WWII were very unique and interesting designs, but very little has been written about them.

The second ship of the class, HTMS Sri Ayudhya, was later sunk in one of the strangest situations of post-WWII naval history; a big-gun capital ship fighting in the downtown of a major inland city. Outside of Thailand even less has been written about that. So, perhaps this will be of value.

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(The Thonburi class as they appeared during WWII.)

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(The old dredge Manhattan, which lent its name to the failed 1951 rebellion which resulted in the loss of HTMS Sri Ayudhya.)

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cruiser Nürnberg: post-WWII service

The most famous German surface warship to survive WWII was the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, studied by the US Navy after WWII and then expended as a nuclear target.

The only large WWII German warship to see active duty in its intended role during the Cold War was the light cruiser Nürnberg, which served on in the Soviet navy.

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(The light cruiser Nürnberg of the WWII German navy.)

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(The Soviet light cruiser Admiral Makarov, the former Nürnberg, during the mid-1950s.)

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six years of wwiiafterwwii / the Dirty Harry aircraft carriers

I neglected to make an intended “anniversary” post for one year of being online, and later two years, and five years, and 100 subscribers, and then finally the number of days WWII ran. As you can tell I am not well with remembering events. So belatedly, this is the sixth anniversary of wwiiafterwwii, now longer than the war itself lasted.

I thank all readers / commenters for the knowledge shared over the years.

While I just write these for general enjoyment, I do try to keep the atmosphere at least plausibly scholarly and thus avoid “silly” or irrelevant topics. So, normally I would not touch on something like the below. But I figure, just once can not hurt, so here is a bit of “lighter reading”.

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WWII warships as “floating White Houses”

In August 1945, the USA’s two atomic bombs hastened the end of WWII. Four years later the USSR tested its own atomic bomb. As the American military adjusted to the new reality, many new concepts came about. Some were tried, successful, and retained. Others were just tried.

NECPA (National Emergency Command Post Afloat) was a concept to use two WWII warships as a refuge for the President during times of great tension, either prior to a nuclear war with the USSR or as one was already starting.

nhlate(USS Northampton (CC-1), an unfinished WWII cruiser, was one of the NECPA ships.)

wright1967

(USS Wright (CC-2), formerly a WWII aircraft carrier, was the other NECPA ship.)Read More »

sunset of naval netlaying after WWII

Some changes to the US Navy after WWII were both readily apparent and abrupt. The carrier-based warplane replaced battleship gunnery as the most potent offense at sea. Smokescreen-laying, an important art for destroyer captains in 1939, was more or less moot ten years later due to the near-universal fitting of radar on warships. And so on.

The decline of naval defensive nets after WWII was neither fast, nor with a simple explanation. In the US Navy the discipline sort of just quietly went away, slowly, over a period of about 15 – 20 years…yet, the decline was unmistakable even as soon as WWII’s end in 1945.

Little is said as to how or why naval nets vanished, or what happened to the US Navy’s many net warfare ships after WWII. So perhaps this will be of value.

pinoncherbourg

(USS Pinon (AN-66) hauls in a German anti-submarine net at Cherbourg, France following the city’s liberation during WWII.)

butternut

(An inert Polaris ballistic missile being launched in 1963 from a buoyant test cylinder tended by USS Butternut (AN-9), a WWII veteran net ship.)

seperacion1990s

(The Dominican Republic navy’s Separación, which had been USS Passaconaway (AN-86) during WWII, during the 1990s.)

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