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Aphrodite, Desperate Mission. Jack Olsen. Putnam's Sons, New York The story of the mission to send radio-controlled war-weary bombers full of explosives after hard targets in France such as sub pens and V-bomb sites. Navy Lt Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Can Do! Stratford Press Although kind of a "Rah Rah" wartime piece, this is a great book about the men who built the facilities that took the fight to the enemy.

The Project Gutenberg eBook, The British Navy Book, by Cyril Field

Some very interesting photos of landing methods developed by the Seabees. A detailed account of the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the investigations that studied the reasons for our unprepared condition. Hornfischer, Bantam Books The story of the engagement between Taffy 3, a task force of destroyers and escort carriers, and a superior Japanese force off the Philippine Island of Samar in October With no other option but to attack, they did so, in a battle that made history.

This battle saw the first US vessel sunk by a kamikaze, and the first US carrier sunk by naval gunfire. The aggressive fight that Taffy 3 took to the Japanese prevented them from interrupting the invasion at Leyte.

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Thank you for subscribing! Please check your email to confirm your subscription. Our Stores. Apply Filter Remove Filter Categories. All the latest offers delivered right to your inbox! We Accept. The ship was equipped with two tall masts raking forward [45] and carrying large lateen sails. At the summit of each was a gabie or fighting-top. Altogether it will be seen at once that here was a real sea-going ship, very different from the open boats, manned by giants, of the seals and manuscripts illustrations.

It is not always easy to convey the impression of size by mere figures, but if we bear in mind that the famous old Victory , now lying in Portsmouth Harbour, and which many of us have seen at least once, is only about twice the length of those thirteenth-century ships, we shall be able to form some idea of their not unimportant dimensions. When the French king Charles VI fitted out a great naval armament at Sluys, in , for the invasion of England—which did not come off, by the way—Froissart tells us that "gold and silver were no more spared than though it had rained out of the clouds or been scooped out of the sea".

One young noble covered his mast with gold-leaf. Whatsoever any lord could devise for their pleasure was made on the ships: and the poor people of the realm paid for all; for the taxes were so great, to furnish this voyage, that they which were most rich sorrowed for it, and the poor fled for it.

Our own Henry V had rather "loud" tastes in his ship decoration. In the year he had a ship painted red, decorated with collars and garters of gold surrounding fleur-de-lis and leopards, as well as gilded leashes looped round white greyhounds with golden collars. All these were selections from the royal badges. Her mast was red also.

ISBN 13: 9781591148401

The Good [46] Pace of the Tower [6] was red too, but her upper works and stern were of a different colour, and she carried a gilded eagle with a crown in its mouth on her bowsprit. The Trinity of the Tower was another red ship, elaborately adorned with coats of arms, while the Nicholas of the Tower was black, "powdered" with "Prince of Wales's Feathers", with quills and scrolls in gold.

The King's own particular ship, the "cog" John , carried the royal crest, "the Lion standing on the Crown", at her masthead, besides other decorations. The Genoese in painted their war-ships white, spotted all over with red crosses, so Henry perhaps only followed the fashion after all; but, generally speaking, red was the favourite colour, though black at times ran it pretty close in favour as groundwork for various patterns of ornamentation.

But the continually growing decoration in the way of flags, standards, pennons, and streamers must by no means be overlooked.

The standard or pennon of the owner or commander of the ship—and it must be remembered that he was in those days not a seaman, but always a soldier—was planted at the foremost corner of the poop or after-castle, on the starboard side. A ship called after a saint would have, in addition, the banner of that saint, and in the case of the Cinque Ports we may be sure that their arms, "three lions with half a galley in place of tail and hind legs", were displayed on some portion of the vessel.

In royal ships there were other banners with the various royal badges, and there were hosts of streamers, pendants, and guidons as well. Galleys, in addition, had a small staff with a pendant attached to the loom of every oar on such occasions. Observe the capacious hull, the heavy mast, the way the sail is made fast in the middle as well as by the sheets at the corners, the crane for hoisting missiles to the top, and the darts ranged round it; also the way the main-yard is spliced in the middle. Nor must we overlook the ornamental nature of the sails in the times of which we are writing.

It was no uncommon thing for the whole of the big square mainsail of a "cog" to be decorated with the arms of her owner. Generally sails, often themselves [48] of the richest colouring and material, were adorned with badges or devices, but sometimes merely with stripes of different colours.

Note the diminutive figure-head, the two shields amidships—probably placed there for decorative purposes, as the ship appears to be "dressed" with many pennons and streamers. The smallness of the tops is unusual, also the square port-hole and the double-gabled cabin.

The end of the fifteenth century saw the development of the carrack into the caravel, such a ship as the Sancta Maria , in which Columbus sailed to the West Indies in As her original plans were found in the dockyard at Cadiz, and a replica of the famous original was built from them by Spanish workmen in the arsenal of Carracas in for the [49] Chicago Exhibition, which took place in the following year, we know exactly what she was like. She was just over 60 feet long on her keel, and had a length over all of 93 feet, with a beam of nearly 6 feet.

She had a displacement of tons when fully laden and equipped. She had three masts, but only the mainmast had a top-sail. The mizzen carried a lateen sail.

She was considerably smaller than many ships of her day, but in general appearance and rig she approximated to the smaller ships of the Elizabethan epoch, and she and her class may well be considered as forming a connecting-link between the old single-masted "round ships" and the square-rigged, many-gunned line-of-battleship, which from the time of Henry VIII to Queen Victoria formed the mainstay of our battle fleets. So much for the ships of the Middle Ages.

But before we go on to take stock of their crews it will be as well to attempt some description of the way they were fought. Nowadays the ship armed with the heaviest and longest-ranged guns—if her gunners know their work—seems to be able to "knock out" a slightly less powerfully gunned opponent before she can get in any effective reply. The present war has given us many illustrations of this fact.

The Scharnhorst —a crack gunnery ship—with her heavier broadside, was able to sink the Good Hope with little or no damage to herself, and in her turn she was simply demolished by the heavy guns of the Inflexible and the Invincible off the Falkland Islands. But in the Middle Ages there was nothing like this. All decisive fighting was practically hand to hand and man to man, except for the use of the ram by galleys and the exchange of arrows and stones at comparatively close quarters.


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But victory was only achieved, as a general rule, when the [50] enemy's ship was boarded and her crew defeated in a bloody tussle, at the end of which no one but the victors remained alive, unless, perhaps, some knight or noble who was worth preserving for the value of his ransom. The military portion of the crew, the archers, men-at-arms, and their knightly leaders, carried the usual arms of their day. The seamen, who were in the minority, probably used knives, short swords, and spears, and made themselves very useful in hurling big stones, heavy javelins called "viretons", unslaked lime, and other disagreeable missiles from the "top-castles" at the head of the mast or masts.

We have already mentioned the fore and after fighting-stages, or, as they later on became, poops and forecastles, that were erected when a ship was going on the war-path. We may note, in passing, that in the earlier part of the period we are dealing with, these were so often and so generally required that "castle-building" afloat became a recognized trade, until, in the process of evolution, poops and forecastles became integral parts of the ship. We may add that, in addition to the fore and after fighting-platforms, special fighting-towers were not infrequently erected, certainly in the Mediterranean, and we may therefore assume that they were not altogether unknown in Northern waters.

These towers were generally built up round the mast, and provided with loopholes and battlements, and sometimes protected by iron plates or raw hides. The reason most probably was that a cross-bow could be fired through a loophole by a man crouching under cover of the bulwarks or shield-row, [51] whereas a long-bow could not be used in this way.

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Nevertheless the cross-bow did not succeed in ousting the long-bow in the British Navy, since, in , in the course of a public disputation between the heralds of England and France as to the claim of the former country to the domination of the sea, the French herald claimed for his countrymen that they were more formidable afloat because they used the cross-bow.

Your English archers, on the other hand, cannot let fly their arrows except above-board and standing clear of cover; fear and the motion of the ship is likely to distract their aim. Still, as we shall see in a later chapter, the cross-bow was a most formidable weapon afloat, and the French herald's argument was a sound one. In the place of artillery the ships of the earlier Middle Ages were provided with mangonels, trebuchets, espringalds and other mechanical instruments for hurling heavy projectiles, which, according to some authorities, were made or imported as the result of the experiences of Richard I and his crusading companions in the Mediterranean.

Personally, I should say that they had been known long before that time. A contemporary chronicle of the siege of Paris by the Northmen in mentions that, to cover the Danish stormers, "thousands of leaden balls, scattered like a thick hail in the air, fall upon the city, and powerful catapults thunder upon the forts which defend the bridge". The knowledge of the heavy war-machines of the Ancients had never died out.

The catapult was the old Roman onager, and consisted of a [52] long arm or beam, of which one end was thrust through the middle of a tightly-twisted bundle of hair-ropes, fibres, or sinews stretched across a solid frame. At the other end was either a sling or a spoon-shaped receptacle for the projectile.