April 28, 2023

Open Thread 129

It's time once again for our regular open thread. Talk about whatever you want, so long as it isn't culture war.

I'm going to designate this the occasional "tell bean what you'd like to read about" thread. As always, no promises, but I will take what is suggested under advisement.

Also, this is your reminder that signups for the LA meetup in June are still open.

Overhauls are Continuous At Sea Deterrent, Falklands Part 21, A Brief Overview of the Chinese Fleet and for 2022 Heligoland Bight and Nuclear Winter.

April 23, 2023

A Visit to Texas

The battleship Texas was handed over to the State of Texas in 1948 (instead of going to Bikini like most of her contemporaries) and has been a museum ever since. Unfortunately, the state of the art in warship preservation back then wasn't particularly good, and she's been in bad shape for a long, long time. In 2019, the Texas State Legislature finally passed a $35 million funding round for the preservation of the ship, and turned her over to a nonprofit tasked with her long-term preservation. That would involve drydocking her to remove corroded structure, most notably the torpedo blisters added in 1925. Oh, and they run tours of the drydock for the sort of massive nerds who find that kind of thing interesting. So of course Lord Nelson and I decided to go to Galveston and see.

It was very cool. We showed up at the entrance to Gulf Copper, where some of the ship's company waited for us. After a safety briefing and the issue of hard hats, we were taken into the yard, where the drydock was tied up. Texas was far from my first battleship, but she was the first out of the water, and it was cool to see her entirely out of the water. She first went into dock back in August, so most of the structure has already been removed on both sides of the ship, and the majority of the new starboard blister is in place. But we still got a good overview of the work, and the chance to see a bit of the battleship that very few people get to see. Read more...

April 19, 2023

34 Years Ago

34 years ago today, while conducting gunnery exercises off the coast of Puerto Rico, Turret II exploded aboard Iowa. 47 members of her crew were killed. Every year, a memorial ceremony is held for them, and I was able to attend in 2019 and honor the men who died.

  • Tung Thanh Adams - Fire Controlman 3rd class (FC3) Alexandria, VA
  • Robert Wallace Backherms - Gunner's Mate 3rd class (GM3) Ravenna, OH
  • Dwayne Collier Battle - Electrician's Mate, Fireman Apprentice (EMFA) Rocky Mount, NC
  • Walter Scot Blakey - Gunner's Mate 3rd class (GM3) Eaton Rapids, MI
  • Pete Edward Bopp - Gunner's Mate 3rd class (GM3) Levittown, NY
  • Ramon Jarel Bradshaw - Seaman Recruit (SR) Tampa, FL
  • Philip Edward Buch - Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTjg) Las Cruces, NM
  • Eric Ellis Casey - Seaman Apprentice (SA) Mt. Airy, NC
  • John Peter Cramer - Gunners Mate 2nd class (GM2) Uniontown, PA
  • Milton Francis Devaul Jr. - Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3) Solvay, NY
  • Leslie Allen Everhart Jr. - Seaman Apprentice (SA) Cary, NC
  • Gary John Fisk - Boatswains Mate 2nd class (BM2) Oneida, NY
  • Tyrone Dwayne Foley - Seaman (SN) Bullard, TX
  • Robert James Gedeon III - Seaman Apprentice (SA) Lakewood, OH
  • Brian Wayne Gendron - Seaman Apprentice (SA) Madera, CA
  • John Leonard Goins - Seaman Recruit (SR) Columbus, OH
  • David L. Hanson - Electricians Mate 3rd class (EM3) Perkins, SD
  • Ernest Edward Hanyecz - Gunners Mate 1st class (GM1) Bordentown, NJ
  • Clayton Michael Hartwig - Gunners Mate 2nd class (GM2) Cleveland, OH
  • Michael William Helton - Legalman 1st class (LN1) Louisville, KY
  • Scott Alan Holt - Seaman Apprentice (SA) Fort Meyers, FL
  • Reginald L. Johnson Jr. - Seaman Recruit (SR) Warrensville Heights, OH
  • Nathaniel Clifford Jones Jr. - Seaman Apprentice (SA) Buffalo, NY
  • Brian Robert Jones - Seaman (SN) Kennesaw, GA
  • Michael Shannon Justice - Seaman (SN) Matewan, WV
  • Edward J. Kimble - Seaman (SN) Ft. Stockton, TX
  • Richard E. Lawrence - Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3) Springfield, OH
  • Richard John Lewis - Fire Controlman, Seaman Apprentice (FCSA) Northville, MI
  • Jose Luis Martinez Jr. - Seaman Apprentice (SA) Hidalgo, TX
  • Todd Christopher McMullen - Boatswains Mate 3rd class (BM3) Manheim, PA
  • Todd Edward Miller - Seaman Recruit (SR) Ligonier, PA
  • Robert Kenneth Morrison - Legalman 1st class (LN1) Jacksonville, FL
  • Otis Levance Moses - Seaman (SN) Bridgeport, CN
  • Darin Andrew Ogden - Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3) Shelbyville, IN
  • Ricky Ronald Peterson - Seaman (SN) Houston, MN
  • Mathew Ray Price - Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3) Burnside, PA
  • Harold Earl Romine Jr. - Seaman Recruit (SR) Brandenton, FL
  • Geoffrey Scott Schelin - Gunners Mate 3rd class (GMG3) Costa Mesa, CA
  • Heath Eugene Stillwagon - Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3) Connellsville, PA
  • Todd Thomas Tatham - Seaman Recruit (SR) Wolcott, NY
  • Jack Ernest Thompson - Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3) Greeneville, TN
  • Stephen J. Welden - Gunners Mate 2nd class (GM2) Yukon, OK
  • James Darrell White - Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3) Norwalk, CA
  • Rodney Maurice White - Seaman Recruit (SR) Louisville, KY
  • Michael Robert Williams - Boatswains Mate 2nd class (BM2) South Shore, KY
  • John Rodney Young - Seaman (SN) Rockhill, SC
  • Reginald Owen Ziegler - Senior Chief Gunners Mate (GMCS) Port Gibson, NY

They came to the Navy as strangers. Served the Navy as shipmates and friends and left the Navy as brothers in eternity. - George H.W. Bush

April 16, 2023

Museum Review - Titan Silo

For the finale of the Tucson DSL meetup, we headed south, to the Titan Missile Museum. This is exactly what it sounds like: a silo that held a Titan II missile from the early 60s to the early 80s, and which has been converted into a museum.

The missile from above1
Type: Missile silo museum
Location: Tucson, AZ
Rating: 4.4/5, Very cool if you like nuclear systems.
Price: $16.50 for normal adults

First, some logistical details: the silo is only accessible on a guided tour, and slots are limited. Same-day availability may be limited, particularly on the weekends. You can still see the gift shop/small museum that has been added to the complex, and they'll sell you a $7 tour of the above-ground section of the museum, but this is absolutely worth the full tour, so book in advance. Read more...

April 14, 2023

Open Thread 128

It's time for our regular open thread. Talk about whatever you want, so long as it isn't Culture War.

Not a whole lot new this time around. Reminder that the LA meetup is coming up, and you should come.

Overhauls are Early Dreadnoughts, WWII ASW - Sensors, my review of the Iowa, and for 2022, are ships delicious, Sea Sparrow and The FY 23 US Navy Budget.

April 09, 2023

Museum Review - Pima Air & Space Museum

I recently went to Tucson, and finally got a chance to see one of the best air museums in the country. I'd been trying to get to the Pima Air and Space Museum for several years, but various things had thwarted my efforts. Finally, the DSL meetup gave me the chance to see what is probably the best private air museum in the country, and with people to follow me around, too.

A look out over the airplane park at Pima2
Type: Large Air Museum
Location: Tucson, AZ
Rating: 4.8/5, One of the best air museums in the country
Price: $20 for normal adults

Pima is right next to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the place the US military has chosen to keep planes it is not using at the moment, which allows them to have a massive outside collection that most museums couldn't support. You will probably see the rows of planes gleaming in the sun as you drive in, and be struck by the scale of the place. The only air museum that I've been to that felt like this, with cool planes around every corner, was the Air Force Museum in Dayton. Of course, being a mostly-outside museum in Arizona does have its downsides. We were there in mid-March, so it wasn't terribly hot, but it's a lot of walking in dirt with little shade (except when very close to the bombers). If this is a priority destination for you, don't try to go in the summer. And whatever the time of year, make sure you have sunscreen, water, and a hat. Read more...

April 01, 2023

How many Bulbasaurs could fit on this ship?


While the JMSDF has existing guidelines for evacuation of the general population of Pokemon, in the event that there is a disaster in the Bulbasaur Land (previously known as the Galar region, before a breeding program released enormous numbers of Bulbasaurs that pushed all other species out) it would be helpful to have more precise data on the requirements for the carriage of Bulbasaurs alone.

We also discovered that some Bulbasuars assume a different form during sea transportation3


We measured an ISO Standard Life-Size Bulbasuar, which had a footprint of 23"x16" (58.4 cm x 40.6 cm). If packed as tightly as possible, each Bulbasaur would have a footprint of only .237 m2. In practice, packing them that tightly would be cruel, and we suggest a planning basis for full-size Bulbasaurs of at least .5 m2 each. Thanks to the square-cube law, dwarf Bulbasaurs are able to stack, and based on a visit to a Bulbasaur breeder appear to not mind even being stacked several levels deep.4 We also conducted a weight sample of Bulbasaurs belonging to the breeder, and while weights ranged from 4.04 kg to 11.12 kg, the average weight according to the Pokedex is 6.76 kg. Read more...

March 31, 2023

Open Thread 127

It's time once again for our regular Open Thread. Talk about whatever you want, so long as it isn't Culture War.

First, I am planning to book the house for the meetup this weekend, which I am tentatively slating for 6/10-6/12. Further planning discussion will be on the Discord (see link in sidebar).

Second, a few OTs back ike suggested I put together an Amazon wishlist to let people buy me books. Given that I am a sucker for books, this seemed like a good idea. I have plenty of money (and plenty of books), so don't feel under any obligation, but I figured I should give you guys the option.

Overhauls are Southern Commerce Raiding Part 6 and Nuclear weapons are not as destructive as you think.

March 26, 2023

The Cod Wars

At sea, the line between war and peace has always been thinner than on land, a fact nowhere better illustrated than the waters off Iceland in the middle years of the 20th century. British fishermen had been taking advantage of the rich fisheries off Iceland since the late Middle Ages, and had found themselves in conflict with the rulers of Iceland (Denmark up until WWII) over where they could fish for almost as long. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, Denmark repeatedly tried to expand their control over the waters around Iceland past the 3 mile limit, while Britain, driven by the importance of their fishing fleet, successfully pushed back.

Things began to change in the postwar world. Iceland, newly independent, was more willing to go to the mat over the issue, while Britain was no longer the world's leading superpower. The first clash came in 1952, when Iceland attempted to expand its control over offshore fishing from 3 miles to 4. The British responded by prohibiting the Icelandic fishing fleet from landing its catch in Britain, its largest export market. The Soviets, seeking power in the growing conflict with the West, stepped in to buy the Icelandic fish, a move the US countered by entering the market for Icelandic fish and bringing Italy and Spain in as well. This essentially nullified the British embargo, and by 1956, Iceland had won a clean extension of its control. Read more...

March 19, 2023


Probably the biggest question I currently have about warships in the WWII era is how to understand the ships between the battleship and the classical treaty-type cruisers. A surprising number of navies investigated these, although only the USN built ships that fall at the core of this type.


In a lot of ways, the progenitor of the type were the Deutschland class Panzerschiffe, built under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. These limited Germany to ships of 10,000 tons and armed with 11" guns, with the obvious intention of Germany being able to build a few coastal defense ships to replace the pre-dreadnoughts they had retained after the war. The Germans decided to do something quite different, building what was known at the time as a "Pocket Battleship", with two triple 11" turrets, a speed of about 28 kts and an armored belt of 6-8 cm. The most unusual feature was their propulsion, provided by diesel engines, which gave the ships very long range. Ultimately, instead of being built to defend Germany's coasts, they were commerce raiders, intended to be capable of defeating anything that could match their speed with the exception of a trio of British battlecruisers. In practice, this didn't work as well as the Germans had hoped, with Graf Spee doing significant damage to Exeter at River Plate before being scuttled thanks to damage, while Lutzow was driven off by British cruisers during an attack on a convoy in the Barents Sea in the only other major action fought by the type. Read more...