Sunday, April 30, 2006

Analyst Frothing About "SSUN"s or Are Submarine Developments Brewing?

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Analyst stresses importance of UUV to US maritime supremacy -From Jane's Information Group (Abstract): Robert Work, senior US analyst from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) argued that instead of building diesel submarines as the Chinese are, the US would do better to invest in technologies its potential opponents are not. At the moment, it is more important to protect the design base than the industrial base. "The US ought to be making bold moves so that in 15 years from now the country can upset the money the Chinese have been ploughing into their [conventional] programmes," said Work.

Mr. Work contends that a wise approach toward maritime supremacy would place more emphasis on UUVs and small manned submarines, such as the French concept of a mother submarine taking two smaller manned submarines into an area of operations. (emphasis added)

What could this U.S. analyst (an ex 27-year Marine Corps officer who held a range of command and leadership positions and also earned advanced degrees from the US Naval Postgraduate School, the University of Southern California, and Johns Hopkins University) be hinting about future investments? Here are a few possibilities:

-1a- From CSBA draft: "...FPMs (ed. Flexible Payload Modules) may effectively convert the SSGN to a 'SSUN:' a covert UUV tender capable of operating and controlling swarms of UUVs in a contested littoral (ed. battle)"

-1b- From New Mexico State University: RioRoboLab, is working to develop tiny robotic submarines that imitate swarm behavior and intelligence. Swarm intelligence and behavior are exhibited naturally by ant colonies, bees, flocks of birds, herds of wild animals on an African safari and a multitude of biological systems including schools of fish, according to graduate student Matthew King. Groton submariners may remember the schools of untold thousands of tiny fish completely encircling the hull of your pierside vessels. In an instant the direction of all the fish would change inexplicably from CCW to CW or vice versa. "Small, radio-controlled submarines will be placed inside of a large fish tank to mimic a school of fish. The submarines should be able to move in a coordinated fashion inside the fish tank without running into each other or the walls of the tank," King said.

-2- From September 2005 (Molten Eagle) here: The not so obvious advantage of reduced force size (with U.S. submarines of significantly greater flexibility and endurance) is added stealth. That could be tremendous to forward positioning in areas such as the South China Sea. It will require a radically different playing of today's submarine "shell game." Subs could eventually be deployed much longer (over a year?), rotating smaller crews and provisioning as necessary via a submerged tender (mother sub in each theatre) while SUBMERGED. Yes, it may be more practical for DSRV-type subs to ferry between the mother sub and the patrolling SSN/GN/XN.

Submarines, always silent and strange.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Canadian Submarines: Surfaced for Green?

CANADA: Defence Department to delay repairs to fire-ravaged submarine until 2010
Delaying repairs to HMCS Chicoutimi another four years saves millions of dollars. Peter Haydon (Centre for Policy Studies in Halifax) tied the ultimate timing of extensive fire repairs to Chicoutimi to a scheduled, two-year refit availability. Sources inside Canada's navy expressed serious concern over the future of Chicoutimi, which was supposed to be back in operation by 2007 (now 2012), however. Damage repairs have been estimated as high as $100 million.

The four, used British-built subs have been plagued by assorted problems, including power buses, rust, flooding, and faulty valves. HMCS Corner Brook and HMCS Victoria are also out of service. Only one of the subs, HMCS Windsor, is still seagoing.

Readers may note that the 2012 completion year and the $100 million damage estimate coincide with possibilities to replace the Victoria Class fleet with modern AIP subs.

Submarines, always silent and strange.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Supercavitating Naval Mine Fields

The military utility of Shkval-type, supercavitating rocket torpedoes has been minimized by many analysts and observers including this one. However useful this torpedo may be (besides type 'E' Shkval's ability to generate export revenue for Russia), more clandestine application is not beyond possibility.

China's unguided, EM52 rocket-propelled mine is laid on the sea floor to blast surface vessels. Russia's PMR-2 rocket mine is a seabed weapon capable of firing a homing rocket upwards with similar purpose. Great depth, wide target engagement zone and fast strike deprive targeted enemies of any opportunity for countermeasure or evasion.

The CAPTOR (enCAPsulated TORpedo) mine is an American anti-submarine weapon from the Cold War. It consisted of a Mk46 torpedo with enough passive sonar to detect differences in acoustic signatures of ships and submarines.

Is the supercavitating torpedo—a rocket-propelled weapon enveloped in nearly frictionless gas bubbles the latest update to deadly seabed mines?

Imagine 6x6 seabed arrays of acoustically directed, HE-tipped supercavitation rockets (perhaps 1/5 the 27-foot length and 1/6 the 1.75 foot diameter bulk of Russia's VA-111 Shkvals). MSCRs (Mini Super Cavitating Rockets) would mightily protect engagement zones up to about 2-4 square miles. Vessels like MV Dolores Chouest or AS-28 could use remote controlled submarines for placement, periodic maintenance retrieval and replacement. Has the U.S. deployed such mines? - Probably not since the long war on terrorism does not call for such measures.

Countries like the Koreas, Taiwan, Japan and Venezuela, just to mention a few, may have different outlooks on their defensive needs and perhaps the capital to pay for MSCR arrays.

Submarines are always silent and strange.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

AIP to the Rescue: SSN Standoff Kills ASDS?

The U.S. Navy abandoned its 65 foot-long ASDS (Advanced Seal Delivery Systems) submarine April 6 due to cost, performance and reliability concerns with the Northrup Grumman project. Originally, ASDS cost was projected to be $80 million. The StrategyPage.Com reports the current estimate at $300 million per copy with daunting reliability problems. Thus far, over $460 million dollars has been spent on the program. "The ASDA did spend some time in the Persian Gulf for testing and training. But more problems were discovered."

Debbi McCallam, a Northrop Grumman spokeswoman, said vibration, noise and battery problems were identified, addressed and fixed last summer, according to the article, but in October 2005, the ASDS experienced a propulsion-related failure, and the Navy decertified the ASDS from operational test readiness.

The U.S. Navy had expected its first ASDS to enter service by the end of 2005. Instead, officials hope it will be fully operational by 2008.

Congressional heat even came from U.S. Rep. Robert Simmons (R-Conn), who stated “It worries me greatly that the Advanced SEAL Delivery System, which is something our special operations forces drastically need, is 700 percent over budget, 12 years behind schedule and still hasn’t delivered a workable first SEAL delivery system.”

There also appears to be a fatal flaw in the ASDS delivery concept. Designed to ride piggyback on Los Angeles-class submarines Greeneville and Charlotte, the boxy, 8-foot-diameter ASDS is designed to maneuver close to shore with two crew and up to 16 SEAL commandos. (The fact that the 55-ton ASDS is also air transportable by a C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster or sea deliverable by a landing craft are moot for most stealth objectives). That is exactly where the current delivery concept seems to have fallen apart. Read ASDS open source specs at SECRET DELIVERY: Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) here.

Author/Analyst Joe Buff wrote, "Capture of the DISSUB and/or its crew by the enemy would represent a major intelligence and propaganda coup for the aggressor regime. Rescue of the crew, removal or destruction of crypto gear and other sensitive materials, and retrieval or safe demolition of the DISSUB itself, would be extremely high priorities for American naval forces."

Author/Analyst Norman Polmar writes in last week's Back to the Future, "But the realities of U.S. submarine costs and the future littoral battlefield may cause a reappraisal." And, "a construction program, it was estimated, could lead to a production run of two or three submarines per year while providing Employment for up to 7,000 shipyard workers and supporting-industry workers in the United States."

The diesel submarine issue was intensified by the Falklands conflict of 1982. The inability of British nuclear submarines to effectively support commando operations forced the dispatch of the diesel-electric submarine HMS Onyx from Britain to the South Atlantic, a distance of some 7,000 nautical miles.

Former SecNav John Lehman observed, "The ability of a modern diesel-electric submarine to engage a naval task force that is essentially stationary while operating in a specific area is not surprising. These submarines are extremely quiet when operated at low speeds..."

If you took the time to read the ASDS specifications, you see it carries 16+/- commandos, their mission equipment, and a crew of only 2. AIP subs typically crew with 16 (skeleton) to 24. How can AIP be of any help? As a delivery vehicle for the ASDS successor, AIPs can probably get much closer to shallow waters and loiter without detection better than SSNs. This probably goes a long way toward minimizing the disabled, commando submanrine risk. The U.S. mother sub (AIP) would be about half as large as the Greeneville, somewhat larger than the little Gotland.

Does this mean SSNs are obsolete? Absolutely not. In my opinion, their number will probably be minimized (actually, this is what the Navy, not coincidentally, has already planned, isn't it?) From now onward, I would not expect new nuclear subs to be very much alike (short of a WWIII).


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Submarine Related "Downdates"

We all know that "updates" are advisories containing more recent information.

Downdates and downdating are the opposite (rather than notorious rumors of social arrangements sought by a few ancient sailors in remote ports of call).

In researching Tracking The Gotland: The Attendant Mysteries some interesting, unclassified facts came to light from the 1997 era (HMS Gotland had been commissioned in 1996, you may remember). Here are some examples:

The fire control (system) power requirement for the HMS Gotland was 75 kW in 1997. The related power requirement for the 688I class subs was 550 kW. (GE engineers say the electric power requirement for my gas range is 1.8kw).

Bubblehead and I have blogged about the Navy facility at Pend Oreille in the past, but did you know there is another facility, more accessible to San Diego, at the Behm Canal. Hawkbill (SSN-666) was the first Sturgeon class sub to run the Behm acoustic range in Alaska.

Undermatched welding for HY 100 pressure hull applications had been approved. Future testing would still be necessary before HSLA 100 could be approved. (Disclaimer: I don't know what "undermatched" welding means, but I hope its not like dating chimpanzees).

The surface roughness of 1997 U.S. submarines was about 200 microns (compare that to your five o'clock shadows; good but not good enough).

Off-hull mine reconnaissance systems will either be tethered or nontethered, will be preprogrammed, and will have search rates of 30 square nautical miles per day with an endurance of several days by 2010. (I think some of this has been operational: UUVs in the Gulf).

Finally, there is United States Patent 4333169 (Apparatus for suppression of water flow noises in connection with a keel mounted sonar dome): A solution of water soluble polymer is ejected through a series of holes along the leading edge of the sonar dome under forward movement of the ship. The concentration and flow rate is chosen to "bathe" the dome in a very dilute dispersion (10 parts per million by weight) of the polymer. Full-scale testing has shown that polymer ejection not only reduces submarine self-noise, but it will also decrease hull drag and propulsor-generated radiated noise. Speed increases of 10 to 15 percent and reductions in self-noise exceeding 10 dBs (decibels) at certain frequencies for a given speed are possible. (polymer reservoirs [tanks] on DDXs?)

Want to read more? Here is Chapter 4: Submarine Platform Technology.

Submarines, always silent and strange.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Tracking The Gotland: The Attendant Mysteries

The 200-foot Swedish submarine HMS Gotland represents an emerging threat of ultra-quiet, diesel submarines. Incorporating sound-silencing technology, it stays submerged for weeks at a time thanks to AIP. AIP can be retrofitted into existing diesel submarine hulls by insertion of a new hull section. The Gotland and her crew (25 - 30) have been playing electric rabbit in joint exercises with the U.S. Navy, which could extend its opposing force services for another year, the military said Wednesday. North Korea, India, China and Iran, have diesel submarines that stay close to beaches and are very quiet when they run on electric power underwater. HMS Gotland's small size (displaces only 1,490 tons compared to 6,900 for a 360-foot Los Angeles) also minimizes sonar echo cross section.

Mystery One: Capt. David F. Steindl, commander of the U.S. Destroyer Squadron Seven, said earlier this year that his sailors found ways to track the Gotland during their exercises, though he declined to say how. The mystery is how such detections were accomplished.

Speculation: Sonar and seabed anchored electromagnetic flux detection.

Mystery Two: Since detections were successful, an obvious mystery is why consider continuing the exercises for another year?

Speculation: Time is obviously needed to upgrade and retest detection hardware and software.

Mystery Three: Sweden, a country of 9 million residents, has not engaged in war since 1814. Yet, it not only deploys submarines, Kockums has built them for other countries. Certainly, Sweden will learn the detection weaknesses of its Gotland class from these joint-US exercises. The mystery is when will it sell upgrades?

Speculation: First the DOD sees the big advantages to deploying AIP subs in the U.S. fleet. Unit cost is closer to $100 million than over $2 billion for the latest Virginias. Operating costs are much lower, as well, without nuclear power. While U.S. companies will build these subs, Sweden will not sell upgraded stealth technology to foreign countries, because Sweden will provide AIP and perhaps other key hardware to Electric Boat. The U.S. boats will be between 236 and 256 feet in length, around 3,000 tons displacement and still crewed by 30 sailors (with room for 20 or so SEALs or mission hardware).

Final speculation: The name and hull designation for the new class will be as unorthodox as SSN-21 Seawolf was. Perhaps, SP-50 Lehman class.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Revolution in Undersea Warfare"

Analyzing the analyst-

Unmanned subs would revolutionize warfare, analyst says By Megan Scully here.

"To counter China's rapidly strengthening submarine fleet, the United States should spur a revolution in undersea warfare by focusing greater attention and resources on developing advanced unmanned underwater vehicles, a top naval analyst said Tuesday. Such a move could make China's submarine investments "worthless" and secure the Navy's place as the world's premier maritime fleet, said Robert Work, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Struggling domestic shipbuilders, who are urging Congress to increase submarine purchases to two a year by 2009, are capable of changing "the rules of the game" in naval warfare, Work said."

What is wrong with the analyst's opinion? Politics, of course:

Last year, the Navy planned four classes of the unmanned vehicles ranging from 25 pounds to 25,000 pounds. The plan set nine missions for UUVs including: serving as extensions of manned vessels to help conduct intelligence; surveillance; or, reconnaissance missions; performing mine countermeasures; or functioning as communication; navigation; or antisubmarine warfare platforms.

A July 2005 Congressional Research Service report questioned whether the Navy is adequately funding UUVs, and recommended congressional oversight (political interference?).

Analyst's Bottom line: "Such a move could make China's submarine investments "worthless" and secure the Navy's place as the world's premier maritime fleet, said Robert Work, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Struggling domestic shipbuilders, who are urging Congress to increase submarine purchases to two a year by 2009, are capable of changing "the rules of the game" in naval warfare, Work said."

Real Bottom Line: UUVs were used in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Naval Special Clearance Team (NSCT) One, the Royal Navy and Australian forces on March 24, 2003, performed exploratory mine hunting and countermeasures for incoming humanitarian shipments. NSCT One used Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUV) at Az Zubayr and Karbala, Iraq.

If UUVs could make China's "submarine investments worthless", they would, by extension make the United States submarine investments highly questionable. The same fallacious merit was once attributed to mines, torpedoes and submarine netting. Patently wrong then and now.

At any rate, submarines are expensive (target $2-billion a copy) and in the eyes of many in congress the money for each one could be better used in the employment of another 2,000 lawyers for one year. The analyst's comments hardly fit undersea warfare reality until one accepts that it is just another utterance in the perennial, political battle over defense dollars.

Expect smoke and mirrors in the always silent and strange world of submarines.

more: Navy Launches Final Development of Bluefin 21 UUV

But let's not forget that torpedoes are UUVs, too.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Revealing Submarine Info: Gulf Crowded and ...

Consider the implications of these recent (and unrelated) news statements:“When we had submarines in the Gulf,” said Florida’s Chief of the Boat, Command Master Chief (SS) Harold Miller, “it’s a huge waterspace management issue to have multiple submarines in this area. If we had two of the [SSGNs] there, we could have launched more missiles and still not had the waterspace issue that we had.” source: Multimission-Capable Sub Readies for Full Operation

Add to the above Bubblehead's opinion: I will say that they are technically right when they say that "military experts opine that Iran has up to six Russian-built SSK or SSI Kilo-class diesel submarines prowling the Gulf." "Exactly three" could be included in "up to six", I suppose;

Who else's subs could be in the gulf? One thing is fairly certain -not Nigeria. Turkey, of course, would be around and the UK has also been working on blue colored subs for that type of environment. The Russians have had a few there, from time to time, also. And, there is this: Leading off the always lurking and deadly wolfpacks is Israel's fleet of Dolphin-class submarines, each carrying U.S.-supplied Harpoon cruise missiles - armed with nuclear warheads. source: Silent Nuclear Submarines Add to Iran Tensions. Again, if one beleves the writer has been careless with his source(s) as Bubblehead pointed out, there is little reason to believe Israel's boats are equipped with American-made Harpoon missiles modified to carry small nuclear warheads [10] . Except for the fact that Israel has proven it is not careless with its security.

Submarines are always silent and strange.


Submarine Force establishes CSCO: Oh, CISCO! Uh oh, Hugo!

Commander Naval Submarine Forces activated the Cell for Submarine Counter-Terrorism Operations (CSCO) March 17 to maximize the Navy submarine force's contributions to the Global War on Terrorism. How do you think that little acronym (CSCO) is pronounced? Let me guess, "Cisco", as in the Cisco Kid. Let's guess why CSCO is headquartered on the East Coast, El Presidente Hugo Chavez. Perhaps a commander for the suspected IV Fleet has at last been assigned. Could it be Rear Adm. Mark Kenny? Made up of personnel from CSG2 and a cross-section of he Submarine Force, Naval Security Group, and Naval Special Operations Commands, CSCO's primary role is synchronizing the "sub force's efforts in the GWOT.
source: Submarine Force establishes CSCO

The first new fleet since prior to WWII will be Roman-numeralled 'IV' (as in the missing 4th fleet). In a departure from Arabic numeralled fleets, the IV fleet will be phonetically referred to as the IV Fleet (as in Invade Venezuela). There are no firm plans to overthrow Chavez or invade Venezuela, but Venezuelan water temperature are conducive to relatively easy training, maintenance, and swim call activities. So Chavez will not be unduly frightened, Fleet IV will appear to be a demonstration and test fleet only. For the time being, live munitions will be unnecessary, so the IV fleet will have a lighter overall look (LOL) for VIP show and tell purposes, as well as operating savings.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sub Commander T'Pol and New Zealand's Figurehead

Coincidence? You be the judge.

Jolene Blalock is the actress known best for her role as Sub-Commander T'Pol, the Vulcan officer in Star Trek: Enterprise. In 2151, Subcommander T'Pol joined the crew of the Earth Starfleet vessel Enterprise NX-01. According to her own biography, Jolene's father would take her and her brothers surfing, in what became a regular family sport.

How did this American actress become the model for the ship's figurehead displayed at New Zealand's Wellington City and Sea Museum? Wellington is located on a bay surrounded by mountains. Naturally, it has had an intimate relation with the sea. The treacherous Cook Straight, where the Pacific and Tasman Sea meet between North and South Islands, was the site of the Wahine disaster during the worst storm in Wellington's history.

The indigenous language and ancestry of New Zealand is Maori. The word māori means "normal" or "ordinary" in the Māori language and denotes mortal beings as distinct from the gods. A Maori proverb says He tini nga whetu e ngaro I te kapua iti (Translation: Many stars cannot be concealed by a small cloud).

There is also an historic "Vulcan Hotel" in the NZ goldmining town of St Bathans.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Woman Attached To US Submarine

Molten Eagle has opined about the advisability of women crew on submarines in the past, including Underlying Problem (Australia), the WWII British WRNS, and Female Sub Crew Advisability.

Let me say that the U.S. submarine service was deservedly considered an elite branch in my day. There are politicians and fawning accomplices in the military, uncaring of the lessons of human nature and history who want to change that status.

Do not let anyone tell you women and men in the United States are interchangeable. Have you been to a golf course lately?

For decades, there have been red tees marking the shorter distances from which women typically drive. The white tees were for ordinary male duffers, and the blue tees for the male professionals (or those who can break 90 from there). Today, there are black (or gold tees) for real professionals, ladies still use the red (mostly), blue use has not changed, but the white ones are now referred to as "the old men's tees." Women's tees are closer to the holes, although women don't have to use them.

What about LPGA (lady) professionals? Tour officials/tournament committees set the tees and hole distances, obviously, shorter for women than men. As a very general rule, with many exceptions, women professionals play the white tees.

One lady (Calpublican) observes: " with lousey half-swings who reverse pivot and everything else under the sun, but they can still hit the ball twice as far as the best lady golfers with the finest form. They can get away with a lot simply because of superior upper body strength. That reason alone makes it reasonable for men to have an exclusive club if they so desire. "

Let me suggest that proponents of female crew want to make submarines "the old men's" tee-equivalent. They are prepared to sell out the history of a service they do not appreciate fully. They already believe that submarine duty is nothing special (perhaps because they were never called upon to do anything special in it).

I remember having to lift and move a collapsed torpedoman (he weighed 20% more than I). No sweat. There were heavy watertight doors and hatches to secure, ladders to climb and emergency actions to take. There was no substitute for the guy who carried the man overboard bag topside in several emergencies, either.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Taiwan Stiffs US Navy -Not! Reading Between the Lines

China considers Taiwan part of its national territory and has vowed to bring the self-governed democracy of 23 million people back to its fold by force, if necessary.

While the United States recognizes the legitimacy of mainland China's government, the U.S. obligated itself to help Taiwan remain independent of the Peoples Republic.

In 2001, the Bush administration offered Taiwan an arms deal including eight diesel-electric submarines and 12 P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft. Since then, the Chinese have ramped up their own submarine production. But now, Taiwan's Nationalist Party, known as the KMT or Kuomintang, has blocked Taiwan's President Chen in his efforts to appropriate the $12 billion for the deal (50 times over the past year). The KMT fears the deal could provoke Beijing.

In Daily Briefing Megan Scully reports Navy works to stall submarine deal with Taiwan :
"Last summer, the U.S. Navy billed the Taiwan government $2.5 million to cover the cost of a little-known operation dedicated to helping Taipei close a ground-breaking arms deal to acquire eight American-made diesel submarines. But after investing about $8 million since 2001, Taiwan refused to pay, despite Navy warnings in two August 2005 memos that it would shut down its submarine "pre-selection" operation without more money, a move sure to trigger long delays and higher costs."

And what is wrong with this reporting?
"But on this side of the Pacific, Navy officials have played a central role in actively stalling the deal. Their resistance to diesel submarine exports has been tacitly accepted by Pentagon and other administration officials, whose growing indifference has helped to lock the deal in neutral."

First, the Navy only exports diesel, not nuclear subs (e.g. USS Tusk and USS Cutlass transferred to Taiwan). Secondly, U.S. Pacfleet subs have been ramped up, too (compare Guam now, and in 2001, for instance).

Secondly, with the superpower U.S. committed to help Taiwan defend itself, why should Taiwan be in a big hurry to provoke the People's Republic? (hardly either politic or practical).

Thirdly, the notion that the Navy's "resistance to diesel submarine exports has been tacitly accepted by Pentagon and other administration officials" shows that something very interesting (different from our public perception) could be going on regarding State strategy towards China. Perhaps some major, diplomatic inroad will be announced. Perhaps China's currency will soon begin to imitate other countries in its degree of float.

Connecticut Representative Rob Simmons' district just happens to include General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard which builds submarines for the U.S. Navy. Did you know that Rep. Simmons also happen to be a Chinese-speaking former intelligence officer who served in Taiwan back in the 1970s (before Washington extended diplomatic recognition to Beijing)?

Taiwan reverted to Chinese control after World War II. Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1946 constitution drawn up for all of China. Diplomatic representation from the US: none. Size: about the land area of Maryland and Delaware combined.


Monday, April 03, 2006

More Noise in Britain's Silent Service?

First, there were charges against a submarine commander Robert Tarrant reported in: Are All Modern Submariners Really Pampered Wimps? Court To Decide. As predicted, the court decided the charges were, well, a bit eggagerated. Now, more serious assault charges have been brought against two senior instructors. - Probe at Deepcut-on-sea reported in the Sun Online here.

The two warrants are accused of abusing young staff during at-sea training. One of the two senior sailors, in the first of two police probes, is alleged to have sexually assaulted a female crew member while berating her on board a major warship. The second is being investigated "for punching in the head a young officer, who was at the controls of a nuclear submarine."

Senior officers had to restrain the instructor from deliverying more blows, sources told The Sun. The instructors were each engaged in the roles of “wreckers” (boarding vessels during war games to create mayhem for crews) when the alleged offenses occurred.

My prediction this time? Like their forebearers of the sailing age, modern generation recruits lack the discipline of Cold War Era sailors. The Cat O' Nine Tails (also called the captain's daughter) will not be brought back into British use, however.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

My Belated Apologies to Forendy!

Regarding my March 27th posting, Broadside of Submarine HMS Torbay's Sail, Molten Eagle had asked readers "To which side of the vessel is the object actually attached?"

The next day forendy (a torpedoman in Her Majesty's submarines) attempted to stand me straight:
"I think you may have been suckered on this one Vigilis, if you look at the dentology and the shroud inlet you should be able to identify that the protruberance is on the starbord side only. Not interchangeable.Us Brits have enough dificulty getting it to fit correctly without adding further complications.Good try though!!! "

Whereupon ME persisted in his error: "With all due respect, Forendy, other photos show it portside based on ship's heading. Please take another look at Blue Boat here: Steely Blue."

After closer examination, forendy had it right all along, and I am wiping egg from my face.
At least I was correct about this (which has always been posted at the top of this blog):

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool." -Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988) Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics 1965.