October 01, 2021

Open Thread 88

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

First, apologies for not doing a meetup in September. I've been busy, but we'll do one next Saturday (October 9th) at 1 PM Central.

Second, the blog's 4th anniversary is approaching, and I'm finding myself getting burned out. So I'm going to put it on hiatus during November, and maybe into December. I'll still do the regular OTs, but if there's to be other content, it's going to have to come from you guys. Email me at battleshipbean at gmail if you want to contribute a museum review, book review or other naval/military related thing.

2018 overhauls are Secondary Armament parts one, two and three, Battlecruisers Part 3 and my reviews of Mystic Seaport and Albacore. 2019 overhauls are Fouling, Naval Ranks - Warrant and Enlisted, my account of my first visit to Iowa, River Warfare - China Part 1, the McKinley Climatic Laboratory and HMS Warrior. 2020 overhauls are the Arleigh Burke class, Territorial and International Waters, Falklands Part 24 and my pictures of Iowa's aft living spaces.


  1. October 01, 2021Neal said...

    I know Bean touched on this a few months ago, but I had not seen the movie yet. Last evening we finally caught up with Greyhound.

    Please tell me, from a Naval perspective, that this film was not truly as bad as we found it to be. Not to beak on Hanks, but while I thought the supporting actors did very well a 63 year old man playing a guy who was 40 at tops (wasn't the real guy USNA '26 or somewhere around there?) just was not believable. Perhaps as a master on one of the freighters, but not a destroyer.

    I concede that Hanks funded/produced this and thus gets to star in it and I realize that it is an homage and pastiche and has to compress a lot into ninety minutes. I appreciate his dedication to history...but some of this was just execrable—certainly embarrassing at best. The U-Boot skipper taunting the Greyhound over a radio frequency? Seriously? The sub trying to take a tail shot and so you turn and to give even more profile to sub crew for a target solution? Seriously? Most of us have read about this aspect of the war, but the film did not set it up well. I can imagine serious confusion for many viewers.

    The bleeding feet directly mirrors the shaking hand in Saving Private Ryan. Hey, at 60 I admit it is tougher every day, but then at my age I am not commanding a Fletcher class destroyer in wartime convoy duty. I think the last straw was when he called to form up on a starboard echelon but the shot was of the ships on the port side. I realize the Navy has it own’s conventions but left is port and right is still starboard no?

    What was the deal in having a chat with the British skipper over the TBS? Want to give any more details in the clear Tom? Perhaps the signalman could even spell it out for the Germans with the Aldis lamp? That was downright cringe-worthy or maybe COMMSEC was not a big deal over the North Atlantic with the enemy near at hand.

    And what of the cheering on the troop ship just because they had reached the other side of the air gap? I would think they would do any celebrating only after getting in past the breakwater in Liverpool and not where subs could, and definitely did, still ruin your day.

    I did enjoy hearing how they relayed messages around the bridge and did the ASW plot work. Cool stuff there and I can imagine the tension when under attack or in the hunt. I know this was not a documentary, but that was the best part of the film for me.

    Perhaps I am jaded after having recently watched Das Boot again, but I fear that we might not ever see a truly exceptional war movie again. Yes, Hanks should be commended for his appreciation of history and this is Hollywood and not a master class in the war, but given the stage that Hanks is afforded I expect much better.

    Am I just seeing it wrong?

  2. October 02, 2021ike said...

    I hope you feel better soon boss.

  3. October 03, 2021Neal said...

    @Ike I know...sounds pretty grumpy and cranky, but if I had the resources at hand that Mr. Hanks does, I would try to aim a bit higher.

    He, and others ranging from Hollywood raconteurs to rigorous historians can challenge rising generations by fostering an interest in these topics. I think we all agree that the actual history is more than compelling in its own right and needs little to no embellishments.

  4. October 04, 2021bean said...

    Re Greyhound, I certainly don't think it's a great movie, but it's a decent one that managed to avoid annoying me. That's a very high bar to clear, and the only place they fell down was the depiction of the ship itself. And that's a case where I'm almost willing to give them a pass, as filming aboard Kidd was certainly much easier than trying to build an early-war ship, and the vast majority of the audience couldn't tell the difference.

    A lot of the elements you cite (bleeding feet, radio intrusion) are from the book. Krause isn't supposed to be a great captain. He's new and still figuring this whole thing out, hence mistakes like turning the wrong way and giving the sub a better target. As for COMSEC, that was pretty realistic, AIUI. Exploiting tactical comms like that is pretty hard, and the decision was that the tradeoff was worth it. But I don't have detailed information on this.

    And what of the cheering on the troop ship just because they had reached the other side of the air gap?

    At various times in the war, the U-boats moved around. There were definitely periods when they basically just hung around in the air gap. Also, I don't think those were troopships.

    On the whole, I think you might be being too picky on this. I know you don't like Hanks, but on the whole, I'd argue that they did a pretty good job. Could it have been better? Yes. For one thing, I don't think The Good Shepard was the best book to adapt, given that it's at least 50% about what's going on in Krause's head, and that's really hard to translate to the screen. But it at least was better than most of what we get these days.

  5. October 04, 2021Neal said...

    Fair points @Bean and I appreciate the thoughts as I knew the film would get a more objective and knowledgeable, thus fairer, hearing from you and your readership than I was granting it as I watched. I should go back and revisit the book as it has been ages.

    I have always found the Cruel Sea to be the standard as I always appreciated Monsarrat's writing style, but I can't fault Hank's for not telling that specific story. I wish he might have mentioned it in his interviews as I am not sure he or is staff read it. No great shake if they didn't, but it is a fine narrative.

    On the watch list next are The Eternal Zero and Isoruku. Belated indeed, but they were recently recommended to me as I am interested in how they were crafted and filmed.

  6. October 04, 2021Doctorpat said...

    I fear that we might not ever see a truly exceptional war movie again.

    Dunkirk was only 4 years ago. Hardly the stuff of ancient legends that we can not hope to match in these benighted times.

  7. October 04, 2021echo said...

    Hope you enjoy your break. Been amazed you've kept pumping out content so steadily for years--everyone needs time off from thinking about something no matter how enjoyable it is.

  8. October 05, 2021Neal said...

    There is also, @Doctorpat, the 1958 version of Dunkirk with John Mills if one is not pleased with modernity and wishes to go back into the mists of time.

    What's that old saw? A pessimist is consigned to being so often correct and is pleasantly surprised when not. I will gladly eat my hat (so to speak) should another great one come to the big screen.

    There have indeed been any number of good war and war related (Parade's End for example in the latter category) films in recent years. The opening scene in Unbroken was quite nicely shot.

    If anything bespeaks hope for a cracking good war tale to appear however, it would be the competition that is extant among the production companies these days. It is almost a golden age of content so let's hope for the best.

  9. October 06, 2021quanticle said...

    Continuing Brazil's long and dishonorable tradition of overspending on warships that it doesn't need, it looks like Brazil will be [url=https://www.economist.com/the-americas/brazil-might-get-nuclear-powered-submarines-even-before-australia/21805075]acquiring a nuclear-powered attack submarine[/url], possibly even before Australia gets its boats.

  10. October 06, 2021quanticle said...

    Whoops, I forgot that it's DataSecretsLox that uses BBCode formatting, while Naval Gazing uses Markdown. Here's the link properly formatted.

  11. October 06, 2021bean said...

    Oh, right. Not everyone tracks world naval programs like I do. The Brazilian SSN program was publicaly announced a couple years ago. It's slightly weird, but probably more useful than the battleships they bought.

  12. October 08, 2021Ian Argent said...

    Will Brazil buy enough torpedoes to put one in every tube?

  13. October 08, 2021quanticle said...

    It’s slightly weird, but probably more useful than the battleships they bought.

    I would be interested in reading a brief defense of the Brazilian nuclear submarine program, if anyone cares to write one. From my perspective, it looks like a total boondoggle. What sort of threat or challenge would this SSN counter, and why would it be better for meeting those needs than a conventionally powered submarine?

  14. October 08, 2021Mike Kozlowski said...

    ...I know I'm a little late to the party, but ran across something that might be food for a future thread: The PROPOSED National Museum of the United States Navy.

    From 1945:



  15. October 09, 2021Anonymous said...

    Brazil is a great power (or at least wants to be one) and great powers have real submarines.

    Honestly that's probably the best anyone can do but in all seriousness the superiority of nuclear power at long ranges still holds and Brazil doesn't really have any threats close by (or far away for that matter).

  16. October 09, 2021bean said...

    I kind of think that the SSNs are a philosophical replacement for their carriers. Remember that while today there are only two navies (US and France) operating CATOBAR carriers, when there used to be three, the third was Brazil. So if carriers are off the table because nobody has used ones to sell them and new ones are too expensive, then SSNs are the next best option because someone will sell them. And yes, a lot of it is "we're a great power" posturing, but SSNs are useful creatures.

  17. October 10, 2021quanticle said...

    TIL Brazil had a CATOBAR aircraft carrier. I didn't realize that the Foch had a second life after it left French service.

  18. October 12, 2021megasilverfist said...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8NZMYTZx9g Interesting look at some military locks. Also, the top comment is from one of the manufactures and has some interesting stuff on procurement from the vendor side.

  19. October 15, 2021Ian Argent said...

    Argentina still wants to be a CATOBAR navy as well; per oblique references in the Falklands War articles

  20. October 15, 2021Anonymous said...

    Wanting something and deciding you can afford it are often two different things.

  21. October 15, 2021bean said...

    They still occasionally land their planes on a transiting CVN. But it's pretty clear that they aren't actually going to go back to having a CATOBAR capability.

  22. October 18, 2021Ian Argent said...

    "It's nice to want things"

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