October 27, 2019

Navy Day 2019

Today is the traditional day to celebrate the United States Navy, even if it has been deprecated in recent years thanks to a conspiracy of a mustache-obsessed CNO and pro-Air Force elements in the Pentagon. OK, that was mild hyperbole. Officially, Navy Day was deprecated in favor of Armed Forces Day at the order of Lewis Johnson, SecDef to Truman, who tried to gut the Navy in favor of the Air Force. The ceremony was partially recreated when historical research showed that the Continental Navy was founded on October 13th, 1775, and Elmo Zumwalt ordered celebrations to be held on that day, which cannibalized unofficial Navy Day celebrations. But I'm a traditionalist, so I'm going to celebrate it today.

Missouri and Renshaw during Navy Day 1945

It's also the second anniversary of Naval Gazing as an independent blog, and an excellent year it has been. I've continued to enjoy writing, particularly with the recent reduction in pace, and interacting with my readership in the comments. Seeing people reading my stuff and thinking about it is one of the great joys of doing this.

A number of people deserve to be acknowledged for their contributions. First, Lord Nelson, for her work as proofreader, asker of questions, sanity checker, reviewer, contributor and wife. Said Achimz has continued to host me and provide technical support. Dndnrsn and Nornagest also proofread, catching typos and generally making the posts better. I've also gotten a lot of reader contributions this year. Megasilverfist, Inky, dndnrsn, and Alexander all reviewed museums I won't be able to reach for years, if ever, while Neal Schier gave his perspective on airline issues. I also appreciate all of the engagement on the RTW2 threads. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do any meetups this year, but I'll try to do one next year.

Going forward, I plan to continue the current schedule, which has proven much more manageable to write given my other commitments. I also plan to continue overhauling posts, both 1 year old and 2 year old.

I also have one question for my readers. What sort of topics do you want to see more of/less of? Should I spend more time on technical details of battleship systems? On stories of long-ago battles? Discussions of how a modern navy/warship works? Picture galleries of Iowa? Something else?


  1. October 27, 2019Alsadius said...

    Congrats on the blogaversary!

    I'm always gung-ho to see more of the strategy and economic sides of warfare. Also, the super-detailed tech discussions, though I know that you probably can't do too many of those in practice(what with the requirement for super-detailed tech knowledge and all).

    Also, I still owe you a couple museum reviews from England, even a year later. I haven't forgotten, I'm just terrible at following through. Hopefully I'll get them to you in time to be recognized in the third blogaversary.

  2. October 28, 2019JoachimSchipper said...

    FWIW, this lurker enjoys the discussions of a modern navy and historical battles the most.

  3. October 28, 2019cassander said...

    For my money, I can find as much material as I like on older ships and technology. Keeping up with the modern stuff is much tougher. Though I did get some advice on that front recently from our resident asia expert and, it turns out, naval buff.

  4. October 28, 2019Alex said...

    I also really appreciate the modern stuff, although my real advice would be to just keep writing about whatever you feel really excited about.

  5. October 28, 2019Chris Bradshaw said...

    One thing that I enjoy that I haven't seen mentioned yet is the "what could have been" scenarios. Stuff like N3/G3 ships, Amagi, the 20s SoDaks, Lion, Sovetsky Soyuz.... Those canceled vessels and how they would have performed against each other.

  6. October 29, 2019Lambert said...

    Which museums have you been to?

  7. October 29, 2019bean said...

    Thanks, all. I'm definitely not making any promises about doing this stuff, but I do think there will be something of a pivot towards more modern topics. (Of course, my definition of modern is "anything since 1945".)

  8. October 29, 2019Lambert said...

    I like the 'History of $TECHNOLOGY' miniseries. (miniserieses?)

  9. October 30, 2019cassander said...


    If you want those questions answered, try going here:


  10. November 01, 2019Alsadius said...

    @Lambert: Belfast (moored in the middle of London), and the Portsmouth historic shipyard.

    Short review: Belfast was fantastic, and very well organized - not an important ship(just a random WW2 CL), but a great museum. Probably 4.5/5.

    Portsmouth had two of the most important ships ever with Victory and Warrior, which is super-cool. They weren't bad in terms of display, but not as good as Belfast. There's a lot of smaller things there too, some of which we saw, some we didn't. The Mary Rose is also there, but it was an extra ticket, and we spent a full day there without paying the extra, so I can't review it. We also had a cameo by the brand-new carrier Queen Elizabeth, because the active military port is just across the water. At least 4/5, maybe 4.5/5 if you like history more than the average naval geek.

    And my wife is remarkably patient with my dorkiness. I'll give her a solid 5/5 review.

  11. November 01, 2019Chris Bradshaw said...

    Hey, Belfast definitely punched above its weight when it helped bring down Scharnhorst, although I would have preferred if they had saved Warspite.

    I definitely agree that Portsmouth was the finest naval museum that I've ever seen. I was a little disappointed that HMS Victory had her topmasts removed for repairs but once you were on board, you could smell the history around you. I did shell out for Mary Rose, which was in a very nifty and very dark museum gallery, although all of my photos are of atrocious quality. Many of the artifacts recovered from the site were also on display, from coins and pots to 7-foot longbows and cannons. Those bows are actually the only remaining longbows of the era, which makes their pristine level of preservation even more impressive. Did you get a chance to see M33 and the Jutland exhibit as well?

  12. November 01, 2019Alsadius said...

    I walked past M33, didn't go in. Skipped Jutland. I did check out part of the museum, and the figurehead collection was pretty impressive, but the rest seemed a bit weak. (I think we hit one of the less interesting bits of it, tbh).

    If I were a local, I'd totally go back for a second day, because I feel like there was a lot I probably missed, even aside from Mary Rose. But my wife had already been on a day and a half of naval history tours at that point(half a day at Belfast and a day at Portsmouth including the train to and from), and it was only a week-long trip. I expect I'll make it back to England a few times in future years and decades, so I'll probably head back someday and see what they've added.

  13. November 02, 2019Alexander said...

    I'm glad the blog continues to be fun for you, since it is much appreciated by me (and all your other readers). I'm interested in historic battles and modern developments, as well as hypothetical past or future conflicts. I generally prefer plenty of text to each picture, since I'm not great at studying a photo if it's not made clear what I'm supposed to be noticing. Pretty planes and ships excepted of course.

    I visited the UK's national space center a while ago (around the anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission). I didn't put up a review, since it didn't really have a link to anything maritime or defence related, but I did have a fun time. The number of artifacts on display did rather reflect the extent of our space program, but there were some cool US and Russian pieces, including a Soyuz, to see.

  14. November 03, 2019Lambert said...

    The one in Leicester? I've been there once, but that was many years ago.
    If we're talking more broadly about defense, the must-see museum is Bletchley Park (including the colossus, which is technically a separate museum), IMO.
    Also the tanks at Bovington, RAFs Hendon and Duxford etc.

  15. November 03, 2019bean said...

    My interest in museum reviews is broader than what I'd write about as blog posts, and I'd be happy to have the space center, too. It's within the cluster that I think a lot of readers are interested in. If nothing else, I am.

  16. November 03, 2019Lambert said...

    Oh, and the Needles on the Isle of Wight.
    It was a gun battery from the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries.
    Then it was used to test Bristol-Siddley Gamma engines for the UK space programme.
    Just learned the other day that they burned a hypergolic mix of HTP and RP-1. Not a combination that's been used much.

    I went to all these places rather a long time ago, but if I go to any more relevant museums, I'll make sure to take notes. (p.s. anyone else got weird stuff going on with the typeface here?)

  17. November 03, 2019Alexander said...


    Yep, that's the one. I've visited a few more museums in the past, including Duxford, Cosford, Yeovilton and HMS Belfast, and if I go again I'll be sure to get some photos and write a review. I really should go to Portsmouth some day too.

Comments from SlateStarCodex:

Leave a comment

All comments are reviewed before being displayed.

Name (required):

E-mail (required, will not be published):


You can use Markdown in comments!

Enter value: Captcha