Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wanted: Cardiff home for a Soviet submarine


South Wales Echo
By Gareth Rogers
March 28, 2006

Foxtrot B-39 (U 475) was built in 1967, and used
specifically for training foreign submariners -
Libyan, Cuban and Indian.

A cold War Soviet submarine owner wants to bring his vessel to Cardiff Bay as a tourist attraction.

Businessman John Sutton bought the ex-Soviet Navy submarine, formerly nuclear-powered, in 2000.

It is currently docked in Strood docks on the River Medway, in Kent, but Mr Sutton says he would love to transform it into a floating museum based at the graving docks at a personal cost of £130,000.

Mr Sutton, 41, who is originally from Cwmbran but now lives in London and hires the submarine out for films, fashion shoots and James Bond parties, said that as well as continuing to let it out for corporate hire, he would also like it to become an education resource for local school children.

He said: 'Cardiff is an ideal location for the submarine.

'It would be great for school children to teach them some of the history. It's a relic from the Cold War - there's not many of these things around.'

Mr Sutton first approached Cardiff Harbour Authority with the idea three years ago but has said he has been disappointed with the reaction.

'I travelled to Cardiff recently and took a walk around the graving docks, as I have done on numerous occasions in the past three years, and I thought what a complete waste of valuable dock space. I am sure that if the council had asked local businesses three years ago if they would welcome something like a submarine as a semi-permanent attraction and until a future was decided for the graving docks, they would have had very few objections.

'All that has happened in the past three years is that the graving docks have remained virtually unused and earning no revenue for Cardiff whilst the council have dithered with decision making.'

Simon Howells, operations manager of leisure and tourism at the Cardiff Harbour Authority said that the future of the graving docks was uncertain pending a decision on plans for a white water rafting centre in the Bay.

But he added: 'Once we have a confirmed position on the future use (of the graving docks) we would investigate options for vessels at that point.

'This is likely later this year but I cannot confirm that at this stage.' Mr Howells added that berthing a feature vessel in the docks was being considered.

Cardiff council planning chief Elaine Cripps said the white water rafting centre would be located in the Sports Village therefore freeing up the graving docks again in the future.

But Mr Sutton said he is also considering three other locations in Glasgow, London and Chatham Dock, in Kent, as potential sites for his submarine.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In the Bleachers...

By Steve Moore
March 27, 2006


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ST. MARY'S SUBMARINE MUSEUM: Submarine museum sails to success after 10 years

By Gordon Jackson
March 26, 2006

Submarine museum director John Crouse is responsible for more
than 20,000 items -- from pictures and scale models to a surplus
periscope -- at the facility, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary
on Friday. Photos by CHRIS VIOLA/The Times-Union

What started as an uncertain project has become a large and unique collection and a popular attraction for visitors.

The St. Marys Submarine Museum opened with about 500 artifacts in 19 mostly empty display cases and a goal to become a viable, self-sustaining tourist attraction.

A decade later, the museum has so many items -- an estimated 20,000 -- the cases are filled with artifacts from not only the U.S. Navy, but from Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Peru and nations from the South Pacific.

The walls inside the two-story building have so many artifacts, it's difficult to see the paint.

Museum officials are preparing to commemorate the 10th anniversary on Friday with a daylong celebration.

John Crouse, the museum's first and only director, said he expected the facility to make it 10 years, but he never expected to have such an extensive collection of artifacts.

"We're not a normal museum," he said. "There a lots to things you can touch. We've got a little bit of everything."

The Navy donated some of the more popular items seen by visitors, such as a working Type 8 periscope, which at the time was the most modern working periscope on public display in the nation.

Perhaps the most significant individual donation came in 2003, when a Connecticut man, Ben Bastura, donated what was described as the nation's largest private collection of submarine memorabilia, which included World War II submarine reports.

The museum's collection of these submarine reports -- many of them classified at the time -- is so extensive, Crouse said submarine historians from across the nation visit the museum for their research.

"Now, we have written history from everything in the Navy," he said.

No funds from city

When the idea of a submarine museum was first floated before the St. Marys City Council in November 1994, the proposal was greeted with enthusiasm and one stipulation -- the city would not pay to renovate the building or pay operation expenses.

Sixteen months later, on March 30, 1996, the St. Marys Submarine Museum opened after organizers raised $60,000 and a group of enthusiastic volunteers to renovate the 85-year-old Arthur Lucas Memorial Building.

The building had been used as a general store, apartments, the St. Marys Post Office, a movie theater and a youth center.

Jerry Brandon, mayor of St. Marys in 1994, said the museum "has been a great attraction for tourists."

Crouse said museum officials have never had to ask the city for financial help.

Private donations, fundraisers and museum visitors have kept the museum running without debt since it opened.

A diver's signal plate and a broken
navigation light from the ill-fated
Russian submarine Kursk are two
of the rare items at the St. Marys
Submarine Museum.

Alternative to base visit

Museum president Tony Cobb said he never expected the museum to have as many items on display or have the number of visitors it's seen in the last decade.

"I look around at the volume of artifacts we have and it's unreal," he said. "We have so many, we can't display them all at one time. We're rotating what we put up."

Many items donated to the museum are on display at nearby Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, Cobb said.

Ed Buczek, a spokesman at Kings Bay, said the museum fills an important void because public tours of the Trident submarine base are not offered.

The museum is a good way for people to learn about the base's role in national defense, he said.

"You can't come on base, but the museum is there to show people what the Navy is all about," Buczek said. "There is an excellent relationship between the museum and the base."
Anniversary celebration
The St. Marys Submarine Museum is celebrating its 10th anniversary Friday.The museum will be open for extended hours that day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A ceremony to commemorate the anniversary will be held at 5 p.m. Friday at the Howard Gilman Memorial Park, about one block from the museum. Guest speakers include many people who helped make the museum a reality, as well as Capt. Mike McKinnon, commanding officer at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, and retired Rear Adm. Albert Konetzni.

Visitors planning to attend the ceremony are asked to bring lawn chairs. For more information, call (912) 882-2782.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Flood of memories about Go-Boat sub


The Daily News
By Jennifer Taplin
March 20, 2006

DARTMOUTH - She's the Go-Boat O-Boat, and will be lovingly remembered by the submariners who served on her.

HMCS Onondaga will be towed out of Halifax Harbour this summer on her way to be installed at the Musee de la Mer de Pointe-au-Pere in Rimouski, Que.

Two of the captains -Capt. (Navy) Larry Hickey, and retired Cmdr. Peter Kavanagh - who commanded Onondaga during her 39-year run, reminisced about chasing Russian submarines and emergency surfacings.

Onondaga was one of three Oberon-class (O-Boat) submarines built for the Canadian navy in the 1960s.

There was always a running joke among submariners about the subs now tied up in Dartmouth: Ojibwa (the oldest), Onondaga (the middle), Okanagan (the youngest), said Hickey. The Olympus was added to the fleet in 1989 as a training vessel.

"So we used to talk about the No-Boat, the Show-Boat, and the Go-Boat. Onondaga was always the Go-Boat, the Okanagan was the Show-Boat and the Ojibwa was the No-Boat." Ojibwa had morale problems, said Hickey.

Torpedo practice

Asked what he remembers about his time aboard the Onondaga between 1986 and 1987, Hickey recalls torpedo practice in the Caribbean and chasing Russian subs in the midst of the Cold War.

"In those days, the Russians used to put a lot of their ballistic missile submarines to sea and it was our job ... to try and detect and keep an eye on where these submarines were," said Hickey. "We didn't want them to be hidden from us."

In November 1986, the Onondaga was sent hunting north of Newfoundland, and Hickey found out the Russians weren't the only threat.

"Once we got into the open water in the Atlantic in November, it was scary. It was rough, we're talking 30- to 40-foot waves," he said. "What I remember of that was just holding on for dear life at periscope depth trying to battle more the elements than trying to get in contact with the submarine."

Did they catch the Russians? Well, after a few beers and chatting with friends, Hickey will say he did.

"We'll always say we did, and whether we did or not doesn't matter."

Kavanagh captained the Go-Boat from 1994 to 1996, when they were testing experimental sonars. Kavanagh remembers pitting his little diesel/electric sub against an American nuclear-powered sub in a training exercise.

"In 1996, the sub was 30 years old and they sent us against a brand new American nuclear submarine and we beat the pants off them. So we knew what we were doing," said Kavanagh.

"We had to be smarter, because we didn't have the endurance and the speed of the nuclear submarine and our sonar wasn't as good as the nuclear submarine.

Well-trained crew

"The crew was so well- trained at that point, because we had been together two years. It just goes to show you just what you can do if you're trained well."

Kavanagh worked his way through several floods on the Onondaga. He said for some reason, she always rolled to port when they did an emergency surfacing.

Museum home fitting – captains

Two former sub captains are pleased that HMCS Onondaga is going to be preserved in a museum.

"All through my naval career, I would hear stories about people becoming attached to their ships or their submarines they served on, and I always thought that was a bit silly," said retired Cmdr. Peter Kavanagh, who lives near Ottawa.

"But it's true that any one of us that served in those O-boats, we crossed that bridge, and see all four of them resting there, (and) it is a kind of a sad thing to see."

The Oberon-class submarines have been resting dockside, gutted and rusting, ever since they were decommissioned in 2000.

"So, this is good news for sentimental sailors like me."

Around the world, nations have set aside submarines in museums and Canada hasn't - until now, said Capt. (Navy) Larry Hickey.

"We're the only nation that hasn't seemed to treasure the history of our submarine service," said Hickey.

Both said they would like to see their old sub when it's open to the public next year at the Musee de la Mer de Pointe-au-Pere in Rimouski, Que.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Aussies to rescue Civil War sub


The Australian
By Mark Dodd
March 20, 2006

AUSTRALIAN experts have been called on to help salvage a rusting American Civil War hand-powered submarine -- one of the world's first submersibles -- 130 years after it was beached on a remote island off Panama.Before being identified in 2002, the rusting hulk lying on the tide line off the Island of Pearls was believed by Panamanians to be a World War II Japanese midget submarine.

The 18m Explorer was originally intended to be used by the Union navy and was built by an immigrant iron worker, Julius Kroehl, for $75,000 in 1865, a time when a mid-level public servant earned $200 a year.

The submarine came too late to play a decisive role in the Civil War and it was sent to trawl for pearls in the Gulf of Panama.

But after collecting 10 tonnes of pearl shell in 11 days on its maiden trip, the sub was abandoned after the divers on board succumbed to the bends, known in those days as "the fever".

The West Australian Maritime Museum's iron ship specialist Mike McCarthy, just back from visiting the wreck, said yesterday that after the submarine was abandoned the owners went bust.

"What's really interesting is it then enters the Pearl Island legend as a Japanese World War II boat," Dr McCarthy said.

Following its rediscovery by James Delgado of the Vancouver Maritime Museum, corrosion experts from around the world, including Ian MacLeod and Neil North from the Fremantle-based maritime museum, were invited to join a survey of the wreck to advise on its restoration.

Dr MacLeod and Dr North came to prominence with their cutting-edge 1985 conservation work to preserve a historic "trunk engine" used to power Western Australia's first coastal steamer, SS Xantho. That engine will soon be on display in Fremantle.

The same Australian expertise will now be applied in the restoration of Kroehl's Explorer.

Previous articles in this blog about this subject here and here.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Teacher's historic submarine a part of Paterson lore

By Justo Bautista
March 17, 2006

Growing up in an aging manufacturing city like Paterson, there were plenty of attractions for a youngster like Bruce Balistrieri.

The one he marveled at the most was the big brown cigar-shaped boat behind John F. Kennedy High School in West Side Park, where he went fishing with his father.

Balistrieri knew it was a submarine. He was a big fan of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," a popular TV show in the mid-1960s.

But unlike the Space Age hotel-size submarine Sea View on the TV show, the crude-looking contraption in the park was only 31 feet long.

"We were in a city, and there was a sub," he said, recalling his boyhood fishing outings. "I had no idea what it was doing in Paterson and who built it."

Balistrieri has learned a lot since then about the submarine -- the Fenian Ram -- and its historic connection to Paterson. The 44-year-old William Paterson University graduate has been curator of the Paterson Museum at 2 Market St. for the past 17 years.

The Fenian Ram was built by Irish immigrant and Paterson schoolteacher John Holland and tested in the Passaic River. It is considered the world's first modern submarine and has been housed in the museum since 1980.

This spring, the museum will make history by hosting a delegation from Holland's hometown, Liscannor, a village in County Clare on the western coast of Ireland. The delegation will help celebrate the 125th anniversary of the launching of the Fenian Ram, Holland's second submarine.

Details for the May 1 celebration, are still being worked on, but Balistrieri said the delegation will designate Paterson its sister city.

Previous Holland ceremonies have been attended by World War II submariners and naval groups.

"I wanted to make this a much bigger event," said Balistrieri, who reached out to Liscannor resident Tony Duggan to get the ball rolling.

Duggan contacted the museum two years ago when Liscannor was holding its own Holland celebration. The museum sent Duggan pictures and information about Holland's submarines.

Holland taught at a Christian Brothers school in County Clare and immigrated to America in 1872.

A music and math teacher at St. John's School in Paterson, Holland was also interested in the science of submarines.

He tried to interest the Navy in his plans, but it initially turned him down. That's when the Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish-American revolutionary group that wanted to oust the British from Ireland, got involved, financing several of Holland's submarines.

The brotherhood paid $7,000 for Holland's first submarine, and contributed $60,000 for The Fenian Ram, a three-man sub capable of ramming a wooden ship after launching a torpedo.

One night in 1883, a faction of the brotherhood stole the Fenian Ram and a smaller Holland submarine, towing them from an East River pier in New York, hoping to ship them to Ireland. The smaller submarine sank in the East River. The Fenian Ram was towed to Connecticut, where the hapless thieves couldn't figure out how to operate it.

The Fenian Ram was never used in battle. The smaller sub is still at the bottom of the East River, probably buried under 123 years of sediment.

"It would be a fantastic find," Balistrieri said.

From 1927 to 1980, The Fenian Ram was displayed on a concrete base in West Side Park, where it became a curiosity piece and metal canvas for political statements -- especially during the Vietnam War, Balistrieri said.

It received better treatment from Paterson Museum officials, who sandblasted its 38 layers of paint and restored it to a battleship gray.

Each year, about 8,000 students, mostly fourth-graders from all over New Jersey, visit the museum, where the Fenian Ram and Holland's first submarine are on display.

Balistrieri is thrilled by their interest, and his own luck at being the museum's curator.

"In my wildest dream, I never thought I'd be in a museum," he said. "I'm a part-time teacher, a part-time philosopher and I get to play with wonderful historical artifacts every day."


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Museum buys Cdn. submarine for $4

March 17, 2006

DARTMOUTH, N.S. - Decommissioned Canadian navy submarines are going cheap.
For just $4, a Quebec museum has purchased one of the Oberon-class subs sitting dockside in Dartmouth.

The Musee de la Mer de Pointe-au-Pere near Rimouski, Que., paid the $4 - plus tax - in October.

HMCS Onondaga will be towed out of port this summer to its new home.

It's slated to open to the public June 1, 2007.

Annemarie Bourassa, assistant director of the museum, says they think the sub will be a big draw.


Friday, March 17, 2006

New links in DEEP DIVE. Check them out!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Enigma project cracks second code


March 15, 2006

The final Enigma code is taxing
the network of computers.

Online codebreaking enthusiasts working to solve a series of German World War II ciphers have cracked the second of three codes.

Thousands of users around the world have joined the M4 Project, using spare computing power to crack the codes.

The messages were encoded using the German Enigma machine, and outfoxed wartime experts at Bletchley Park.

Project leaders have already failed to crack the last remaining message, but insist it can be broken.

The three messages were unearthed by amateur historian Ralph Erskine, who submitted them to a cryptology journal in 1995 as a challenge for codebreakers.

Found nothing on convoy's
course 55°, [I am] moving to
the ordered [naval] square.
Position naval square AJ 3995.
[wind] south-east [force] 4, sea
[state] 3, 10/10 cloudy, [barometer]
[10]28 mb [and] rising, fog, visibility
1 nautical mile

Last crack
They were sent in 1942, during a period when the Allies were unable to crack German codes because of the introduction of a new code book and a more complex version of the Enigma machine.
Stephan Krah, a German enthusiast, wrote the M4 Project software - named after the M4 Enigma machine used to encode the messages - in an effort to unravel the codes' mystery.

The first code was cracked on 20 February, and was confirmed as a message from the commander of a German U-boat, Kapitanleutenant Hartwig Looks.

The second resolved code was less dramatic than the first, which detailed the aftermath of a clash with an Allied vessel.

The newly-deciphered code is little more than a status report and a confirmation of position.
Confirming the break on the M4 Project website, Stefan Krah said efforts would now shift back to the last message, actually the first of the three original submissions.

Previous efforts to crack the code exhausted the combinations available on German army and three-ring Enigma machines, but did not try all combinations relevant to the complex four-ring Enigma used to encode the messages.



Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New Batfish director right at home


Muskogee Phoenix
By Cathy Spaulding
March 14, 2006

Tobi Ledbetter recalls spending her first summer in college giving tours of Muskogee’s submarine, the U.S.S. Batfish

“We did not have a museum then, just a little building with a cash register,” said Ledbetter, now 47. “And we had no air conditioning, so it was very hot, but very fun.”

Now, 30 years later, Ledbetter is director of the Batfish, located just east of the Muskogee Turnpike by the Arkansas River. She started work March 1.

The submarine also is getting air conditioning this summer, she said.

Commissioned in 1943, the U.S.S. Batfish sank 15 enemy ships and damaged numerous others during two years of service in the Pacific.

It moved to Muskogee in 1972 and attracts hundreds of people to Muskogee each year, especially during reunions and Memorial Day.

“A lot of people in Muskogee don’t really know about it,” Ledbetter said Monday. “Most of the visitors are from out of town. “We’re closed today, but we had some people coming in from Texas.”

She recalled working a booth about Muskogee tourism at a recent boat show.

“And people would see the pictures of the submarine and ask how did the submarine come to Muskogee and why is it there,” she said.

“We got more interest in the submarine than we did other attractions like the Five Tribes Museum.”

Before taking over as director, Ledbetter was youth director at First Presbyterian Church and before that was event coordinator of The Castle of Muskogee.

One of the first things she plans to do at the Batfish is to work with other Muskogee attractions putting together a pass-book.

“It would be a pass-book of free one-day passes to area attractions,” she said. “We plan to kick it off during the Azalea Festival.”

Starting this year, visits to the Batfish won’t be so hot because of a new air conditioning system, she said.

“We are installing air conditioning in existing ducts,” she said, adding that the system will not alter the historic integrity of the vessel.

“We are inspected by the U.S. Navy every year and they have maintenance plans for the sub,” she said.

About The Batfish
• Open to the public from March 15 to Oct. 15.
• Commissioned May 5, 1943. Decommissioned, Aug. 4, 1958.
• Came to Muskogee in 1972.
• Information: 682-6294.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Lost, then found

By Herb Meeker
March 10, 2006

Former Mattoon resident among those who died aboard submarine more than 60 years ago

MATTOON --A Michigan woman is reaching out to this community to help memorialize a sailor who died aboard an American submarine nearly 61 years ago off the coast of Thailand.

A former resident of Mattoon, James Henry McDonald was one of 86 sailors and officers aboard the USS Lagarto, which was sunk by a Japanese depth charge in May 1945 during an attack on a Japanese Navy convoy in the Gulf of Siam. A diving expedition last year discovered the Lagarto 200 feet beneath the South China Sea with the help of fishermen’s reports of snagged nets and archival accounts from the Japanese Navy citing a submarine being sunk in that area.

On May 5-7, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, in Manitowoc, where dozens of U.S. submarines were built during the Second World War, will host a memorial service for the Lagarto crew. It will take place aboard a World War II submarine permanently moored at the museum in honor of the city’s contribution to the war effort.

“The story of the Lagarto is coming full circle with the ceremony in Manitowoc where the sub was built,” said Nancy Kenney, whose father was one of the Lagarto’s crew. “We’re expecting about 100 families. I’m told this will be the largest gathering of this kind for families of MIAs in the United States.”

Naval historians believe a Japanese minelayer attacked the sub, and damage visible to divers indicates the ship scored a direct hit with a depth charge, Kenney said. The ship was listed as missing when it did not arrive back to port in Australia. Family members received word that relatives were “missing and presumed dead” in the summer of 1945, but with the hope for finding survivors on islands or in Japanese prison camps, the official determination that no crew member escaped alive came in 1946, she explained.

“The letter from the government in 1946 is the last notice I know of the families receiving,” Kenney said.

Crew members from the Lagarto came from more than 30 states so the search for family members to inform them of the submarine’s discovery has become a national effort for researchers like Kenney, whose father, Bill Mabin, was also a crew member. From her home in Leelanau, Mich., Kenney has been contacting relatives of the Lagarto crew by phone, mail and e-mail. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for her each time she makes contact with another relative -- she has contacted kin of 41 crew members so far.

“I feel I know these men now,” Kenney said. “This has been a very difficult experience. I know when I found out about the sub being found I cried because I finally knew what happened to my father. It is overwhelmingly rewarding and sad as you contact families. Many of them recall how devastating this was on their grandparents, parents or aunts and uncles. I’ve had one man sobbing over the phone when he recalled what this meant to his family.”

Kenney said there are more questions on James H. McDonald now than answers. That is why she contacts local newspapers. They have helped inform families of the Lagarto discovery and they eventually reach her.

In Mattoon, McDonald’s name is listed on the war memorial with dozens of other names in front of City Hall. A James McDonald is also shown as a junior with light hair and a caught-by-surprise smile in the 1942 edition of the Mattoon High School Riddle Yearbook, but he is not listed with his classmates in the 1943 Riddle as a graduating senior, one classmate said.

“You know a lot of guys left for the military before they graduated so he might have been there for graduation,” said Don Hutton, an MHS 1943 graduate, who now lives in Charleston. “I have to say I just don’t recall anything about James McDonald.”

Three other classmates contacted this week said much the same. No relatives came forward when a letter on McDonald’s tie to the Lagarto was published recently in the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier.

Kenney said her research indicates McDonald’s military record listed a grandfather, Henry McDonald. Henry was listed in the 1942 Mattoon city directory as a conductor for the New York Central Railroad. But an American Legion record of local war dead in the Local History Room at Mattoon Public Library listed Andrew McDonald as a father. Birth records at City Hall are not open to non-relatives.

“I’m wondering if he was an orphan with the listing of his grandfather as next of kin,” Kenney said.

So Kenney and others are hoping relatives or friends of McDonald come forward to offer more information on his background. In addition, she hopes someone can come to the May memorial service in Manitowoc. McDonald is one of six men from Illinois who served on the Lagarto, a figure that matches Michigan as the second-most number of crew members from one state. Kenney’s father had ties to Illinois in LaGrange so she wants to complete the family searches for McDonald and other Illinoisans from Chicago and Rockford lost in 1945.

“I’m determined to find as many of the Illinois men as possible,” she said.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Enigma-E: Recreating The Nazi Code Machine Electronically


Retro Thing
March 08, 2006

Wars have a way of fostering incredible research and development. Unfortunately, much of that R&D is usually dedicated to figuring out how to exterminate each other more effectively. Still, armies have always needed a way to communicate in a relatively secure manner. Historically, many used substitution cyphers to make sure that messages stayed secret even if the messenger was intercepted or bribed.

During WWII, the German military made extensive use of Enigma coding machines (with mechanical rotors) to encipher their communications. They were confident that the technology was unbreakable. A team of British code breakers at Bletchley Park -- along with some Polish mathematicians who had been able to get their hands on an Enigma before the war -- were able to crack the code and eavesdrop on German communications for years.

The Enigma-E kit is an electronic simulation of a classic M3/M4 Enigma cypher machine. It comes complete with a 65 page instruction manual that details its construction and use. It even features an optional Morse-code output, just in case you want to communicate with a nearby submarine flotilla. Order yours directly from the BP museum shop for £119.99 + postage (the wooden case is by Paul Signorelli in the USA and will cost an extra $100). Or save yourself the postage and visit Bletchley Park in person when they reopen on April 1, 2006.

Enigma-E Cypher Machine Kit


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy

By Forest Garner

Japan had what was easily the most diverse submarine fleet of any nation in the Second World War. These included manned torpedoes, midget submarines, medium-range submarines, purpose-built supply submarines (many for use by the Army), long-range fleet submarines (many of which carried an aircraft), submarines with high submerged speed, and submarines that could carry multiple bombers.

Because of the vastness of the Pacific, Japan built many boats of extreme range and size, many of which were capable of cruises exceeding 20,000 miles and lasting more than 100 days. In fact, Japan built what were by far the largest submarines in the world, indeed, the only submarines over 5,000 tons submerged displacement, or submarines over 400 feet in length until the advent of nuclear power. These same boats were credited with a range of 37,500 miles at 14 knots, a figure never matched by any other diesel-electric submarine. These large boats could each carry three floatplane bombers, the only submarines in history so capable. Japan built 41 submarines that could carry one or more aircraft, while the vast submarine fleets of the United States, Britain, and Germany included not one submarine so capable.

During the Second World War, there were 56 submarines larger than 3,000 tons in the entire world, and 52 of these were Japanese. Japan built 65 submarines with ranges exceeding 20,000 miles at ten knots, while the Allies had no submarine capable of this feat. By 1945, Japan had built all 39 of the world's diesel-electric submarines with more than 10,000 horsepower, and all 57 of the world's diesel-electric submarines capable of 23+ knots surface speed.

The Japanese navy also built submarines with the fastest underwater speeds of any nation's combat submarines. They employed 78 midget submarines capable of 18.5 to 19 knots submerged, and built 110 others capable of 16 knots. As the war was ending they completed four medium-sized submarines capable of 19 knots submerged. This exceeds the 17.5-knot performance of the famed German Type XXI coming into service at the same time. As early as 1938, Japan completed the experimental Submarine Number 71, capable of more than 21 knots submerged.

Japanese submarines employed the best torpedoes available during the Second World War. The Type 95 torpedo used pure oxygen to burn kerosene, instead of the compressed air and alcohol used in other nation's torpedoes. This gave them about three times the range of their Allied counterparts, and also reduced their wake, making them harder to notice and avoid. The Type 95 also had by far the largest warhead of any submarine torpedo, initially 893 pounds (405 kg), increased to 1210 pounds (550 kg) late in the war. All Japanese torpedoes made during the war used Japanese Type 97 explosive, a mixture of 60% TNT and 40% hexanitrodiphenylamine. Most importantly, the Type 95 used a simple contact exploder, and was therefore far more reliable than its American counterpart, the Mark 14, until the latter was improved in late-1943. Japan also developed and used an electric torpedo, the Type 92. This weapon had modest performance compared to the Type 95, but emitted no exhaust and, therefore, left no wake to reveal its presence. Similar electric torpedoes were used by several nations.

Given their size, range, speed, and torpedoes, Japanese submarines achieved surprisingly little. This was because they were mainly employed against warships, which were fast, maneuverable, and well-defended when compared to merchant ships. Japanese naval doctrine was built around the concept of fighting a single decisive battle, as they had done at Tsushima 40 years earlier. They thought of their submarines as scouts, whose main role was to locate, shadow, and attack Allied naval task forces. This approach gave a significant return in 1942 when they sank two fleet carriers, one cruiser, and a few destroyers and other warships, and also damaged two battleships, one fleet carrier (twice), and a cruiser. However, as Allied intelligence, technologies, methods, and numbers improved, the Japanese submarines were never again able to achieve this frequency of success. For this reason, many argue that the Japanese submarine force would have been better used against merchant ships, patrolling Allied shipping lanes instead of lurking outside naval bases. Bagnasco credits the Japanese submarine fleet with sinking 184 merchant ships of 907,000 GRT. This figure is far less than achieved by the Germans (2,840 ships of 14.3 million GRT), the Americans (1,079 ships of 4.65 million tons), and the British (493 ships of 1.52 million tons). It seems reasonable that an all-out blitz of the American west coast, the Panama Canal, and the approaches to Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia and India would have caused the Allies more difficulty than did the naval deprivations that were actually achieved. Losing a significant number of merchant ships, and also needing to spread meager defenses even more thinly along two coasts, would surely have had some substantial consequences for the United States in 1942.

The Japanese did, of course, make some attacks on merchant shipping in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but these were the minority of missions. Frequently, they waited for fleets that were never seen, supported spectacularly brave but inconsequential reconnaissance flights, or toted midget submarines about, all of which achieved rather less than was possible with so valuable a resource as the Japanese submarine fleet. Worse from a naval perspective, Japanese submarines were increasingly employed in running supplies to the starving garrisons of isolated islands. The Japanese expended hundreds of sorties in this way, which might have otherwise been used offensively against the Allied war effort. A submarine's cargo capacity was much less than that of a relatively inexpensive freighter. However, Japan was understandably reluctant to let island garrisons starve. Additionally, many practically unarmed submarines (including 26 built for Army use) were built specifically for the supply role, consuming production resources as well.

For their disappointing achievements, Japanese submarines paid heavily. Japan started the war with 63 ocean-going submarines (i.e., not including midgets), and completed 111 during the war, for a total of 174. However, three-quarters of these (128 boats) were lost during the conflict, a proportion of loss similar that experienced by Germany's U-Boats. Most of the surviving boats were either dedicated to training roles or were recently completed and never saw combat. Of those which saw significant combat, the toll was very grim indeed. For example, of the 30 submarines that supported the Pearl Harbor attack, none survived the war.

Compared to German submarines, Japan's huge boats were relatively easy to sight visually and with radar, slow to dive, hard to maneuver underwater, easy to track on sonar, and easy to hit. Japanese hulls were also not as strong as those of German boats, and therefore could not dive as deeply nor survive such rough treatment. Also, they lacked radar until the first sets were installed in June 1944, and never had sets as good as the Allies possessed.

Compounding these deficiencies, Japan was at war with the United States and the United Kingdom, two nations embroiled in a vast conflict with hundreds of U-Boats in the Atlantic, and hence two nations which poured lavish resources into anti-submarine warfare (ASW) research and development. As an example of the fruits of this research, in June 1944 the US Navy sank the I-52 by using code-breaking to discover her schedule, finding her at night with radar-equipped carrier-based aircraft, tracking her underwater with sonobuoys dropped by those aircraft, and sinking her with acoustic homing torpedoes dropped by the same aircraft. The Japanese could achieve none of these technological feats at that time.

In the face of such disadvantages, morale declined within the Japanese submarine force. This is reflected in a post-war report prepared by the US and British Navies which states, "It was frankly impossible to believe that submarines could spend weeks on the US west coast 'without contacts,' or spend more than 40 days running among the Solomons during the Guadalcanal campaign 'without seeing any targets.' Even the Japanese commanding officers could not disguise their embarrassment when recounting these tales. Further enlightenment is found in the extremely large number of times the target was 'too far away to attack.'"


Polmar, Norman and Dorr B. Carpenter. Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Conway Maritime Press, 1986.

Boyd, Carl and Akihiko Yoshida. The Japanese Submarine Force and World War II, Naval Institute Press, 1995.

Bagnasco, Erminio. Submarines of World War Two, Naval Institute Press, 1977.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Confederate Submarines and Torpedo Vessels 1861-65


The primary Union strategy during the American Civil War was a massive naval blockade of the entire Southern coastline of the Confederacy, and it was in the effort to counter this blockade that the Confederates developed their first submarines and torpedo boats.

This book traces the development of these new technologies, including the CSS Little David and Hunley - respectively the first torpedo boat and submarine to sink an enemy warship.

The wreck of the Hunley was raised in 2000, and this is the first book ever to integrate details of its recovery with an account of Confederate submarines in action.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Civil War re-enactment draws 2,000 students


The Kingston Free Press
By Michael Abernethy
March 04, 2006

John Dangerfield was never much of a history student.

The lifeless names, dates and places in the books put him to sleep.

But as part of the Friends of the Hunley, an organization devoted to preserving the C.S.S. Hunley in Charleston, he helped bring history to life for about 2,000 students from Lenoir, Greene and Craven counties Friday.

Dangerfield tugged a full-scale replica of the Confederate submarine to the site of this weekend’s Battle of Wyse Fork re-enactment, wowing students of all ages with the craft‘s working pumps, gears and port-holes.

“I never liked history as a kid. It was boring in the books. But this isn’t boring,” Dangerfield said.
“I get a kick out of talking to kids and adults and setting the record straight on a lot of things.”
Dangerfield wasn’t the only one getting kicks out of history Friday.

One just needed to take a step to stumble into one of the hundreds of wide-eyed students watching blacksmiths, surgeons and sutlers share and compare their antiquated handiwork with today’s technology.

Fifth-grader Jeremy Davis enjoyed watching blacksmith Ray Britt fashion metal tools and repair weapons Friday.

“The kids have had some really great questions that a lot of people don’t normally ask,” Britt said. “This is great. It brings history off the two-dimensional page and into the three-dimensional world where they can interact with it.”

A mock-cavalry skirmish amazed fifth graders from Banks Elementary, who stood on the sidelines as two Confederate re-enactors rounded up a Yankee on their saddles with sabers drawn.

“The horse fight was my favorite part because they knew all the bugle calls,” said Andrew Garrison, a fifth-grade student from Banks. “I thought it was cool that they would save the horses in battle.”

Teachers and students alike found value in the lively demonstrations of history in action.

“The opportunity and rewards of something like this are almost unlimited,” Rick Pollard, a Pink Hill counselor, said as he escorted students between expositions. “This is bringing something 150 years old into today.”

But it was the words of fifth grader Lindsey Gallo that put the event into perspective for everyone at the battlefield. The living-history day helped Gallo and other students find their place in history.

“We see that people back then thought it couldn’t get better than what it was then, and now we think it can’t get better than it is now,” said Gallo, a Banks student said. “But it did and it will.”


U-BOAT'larda kullanılan Enigma kırıldı.


Olympos Security
March 06, 2006

Dünya savaşı sırasında kullanılan Enigma makinası ile şifrelenmiş bir mesaj dağıtık bilgi işleme metodu (Distrubuted Computing) ile kırıldı.

Geçtiğimiz Ocak ayında amatör bir şifre bilimci olan Alman Stefan Krah tarafından başlatılan projesi, 2.dünya savaşı sırasında İngiliz şifre kırıcılar tarafından ele geçirilmiş ancak ünlü şifreleme enstütütsü Bletchley Park'da bulunmasına rağmen hiç kırılamamış 3 mesaj üzerinde çalışmaya başlamıştı.

Bletchley'de bulunan aralarında Alan Turing'inde bulunduğu bir ekip insan zekası, tahminetme gibi temellere dayanan "Bombs to decipher message" teknolojisini kullandılar.

Ocak ayı içerisinde Krah veb sayfasından Unix ve Windows üzerinde çalışan açık kaynak kodlu dağıtık bilgi işleme metodu ile çalışan programları yayımlamıştı. Çalıştığı bilgisayarda kullanıcıyı rahatsız etmeyecek şekilde arkaplanda çalışan bu programlar, şifre kırma işlemini gerçekleştirmekteydiler.

Şubat ayının 20'sine Krah ilk mesajın kırıldığını . Orjinal mesaj aşağıdaki gibi görünüyor:


Şifreleme tersine çevrildiğinde ise:
"F T 1132/19 Inhalt:
Bei Angriff unter Wasser gedrückt.
Wabos. Letzter Gegnerstand 0830 Uh
r AJ 9863, 220 Grad, 8 sm. Stosse nach.
14 mb. fällt, NNO 4, Sicht 10.

detaylı bilgi için:


Monday, March 06, 2006

2006 LAGARTO Rememberance Day


The Sub Report
March 05, 2006

When: 05-07 May 2006

Where: Wisconsin Maritime Museum,Manitowoc, Wisconsin

The Manitowoc Chapter of US Submarine Veterans of WWII and the Wisconsin Maritime Museum is proud to announce that this year’s ceremony to honor the LAGARTO will include:

* RADM Jeffrey B. Cassias, COMSUBPAC as the Keynote Speaker
* Welcoming by WI Governer Jim Doyle
* Guest Speaker Jamie MacLeod, the diver who discovered the wreck

If you wish to attend this year’s ceremony, reservations must be made through the musuem.

For further information, please contact the museum’s Event Coordinator, Karen Duvalle, toll-free at 1-866-724-2356 of by email at


Sunday, March 05, 2006

LBT residents want anti-submarine net removed from beach


Press of Atlantic City
March 03, 2005

LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP — Some residents and township officials are fed up with what they call the band-aid approach to dealing with a stretch of rusty metal spikes of an anti-submarine net that erosion occasionally reveals embedded in the beach in Holgate.

Commissioner Robert Palmer said authorities laid the ancient-looking anti-submarine net onto the beach here to hold the sand in place after the devastating northeaster of 1962. He said Friday this is the second time in six years that erosion brought on by storms has revealed the net.

Anti-submarine nets, intended to keep submarines out of harbors during the world wars, were made of steel hoops hooked together, Steve Finnigan, curator at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Conn., said in 2001.

The nets were draped across the mouths of harbors to catch unwelcome submarines, whose propellors would become tangled in the nets.

There is already a sign at the end of the parking lot, just before the roughly 75-foot by 100-foot affected area, warning beachgoers that swimming or walking in the area is forbidden.

“A dangerous condition exists that may cause puncture wounds cuts scratches,” the sign ominously warns.

But residents Bill Kunz and Bill Hutson said that the sign is not enough. The two called on township officials at their caucus meeting Wednesday to cordon off the area and have the metal wires extracted to prevent an accident. Commissioner Ralph Bayard said the township might install plastic orange fencing around the area.

Kunz and Hutson — as well as Bayard and Mayor DiAnne Gove — were especially upset because Palmer, who oversees Public Works, instructed his department Wednesday from Florida, where he was on vacation, to dump sand on top of the material. Palmer said that is standard practice.

On Friday, only a handful of rigid spikes, so rusted they looked like thin, dark driftwood, breached a few inches above the sand.

Bayard called the thorny mess a safety and health hazard, and Gove said she agreed completely with Hutson and Kunz.

But Palmer, who was not at Wednesday's meeting and returned from vacation Thursday, said removing the material for good is impossible.

“There's no way to remove each one because there's hundreds of them and they're in different areas,” Palmer said Thursday. “There's no other
possible way you could protect people. … The solution is to keep them covered.”

On Wednesday, Kunz put the onus on Gove, asking her when, as mayor, she would take responsibility and take action without Palmer's permission.

“God forbid someone gets impaled on this metal,” Kunz said. “I'd have someone park the bulldozer on top of it,” instead of dump sand on it.

Bayard and Gove said they will ask Police Chief Michael Bradley to cordon off the area.

Ted Stiles, the president of the Holgate Taxpayers Association, said he's been urging the township to implement a permanent solution for the problem for the last 10 to 15 years. He said he helped raise $3,000 in 1994 in a grassroots effort to fix the problem because the township would not take action. But the township refused the money, which was eventually donated to charity, he said.

“We're trying to get them off their butts and do it,” Stiles said Friday. “All it takes is for someone to go down there with a backhoe and heavy cutters.”


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Naval Undersea Museum celebrates Discover E-Day


The Northwest Navigator
By Angela Grube Josn
Friday, March 3, 2006

Photo by Angela Grube
Hannah McVay, 6, and Ben Eckert, 8, enjoy the
buoyancy exhibit during Saturday's festivities.

Kids from all over NBK visited the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport for the annual Discover E-Day Sat.

The event is the single largest event of the year at the museum. Director of Education at Naval Base Keyport Museum, Joyce Jensen, said they expected from 600-900 visitors to circulate the museum throughout the day.

“It’s great because it brings the families from throughout the community to the museum,” said Jensen. “Here they can learn about the different scientific technologies and also about our Naval history. We are an official Navy museum and our primary goal is to preserve naval undersea history.”

The excitement surrounding the event was evident. Children were ready and waiting at the entrance ten minutes before opening. The doors were opened promptly at 10 a.m. allowing the Discover E-Day event to commence.

Once inside, the E-Day exhibits were spread through out the museum. Exhibit Director Ron Roehmholdt greeted the kids with his display just past the front doors. He said he was happy to be involved and the children are a big part.

“I enjoy the fact that all the children and their parents are here, because my favorite part of E-Day is interacting with them and teaching them how science is in our every day lives,” said Roehmholdt. “I show them how science may be as simple as a door opening inward because there’s a bar across it and out when there is a handle.”

Several Naval Reserve members stationed at Keyport also volunteered to help run the exhibits.

Capt. Vince Rothwall was there for his third year. He said once a child overcomes their fear of science, they discover many of its more fun aspects. “Sometimes engineer projects can seem overwhelming and scary to younger children, but when they look at it from an easier approach it peaks their curiosity and is fun.”

Navy Cmdr. (ret) Dan Papineau said he came to enjoy the fun with his family is proud of how the U.S. Navy is reaching out to the people.

“I think it’s great how the museum provides this experience every year,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun for the kids and always great when the Navy can get them involved.”


U-boating through history


The CS Monitor
By Jim Regan
March 01, 2006

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – When you consider that there are only four museums worldwide that can count an intact World War II German U-boat among their collections, it only makes sense to do everything possible to ensure the long-term survival of such rare artifacts. And when the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago recently took the step of removing its U-boat from the great outdoors and relocating it in a custom-made, underground exhibit hall, it also made sense to revamp and expand the entire exhibition related to this national memorial. Fortunately for those of us who can't get to the museum in person, that revamped exhibition also includes an online companion, and the U-505 Submarine website is, as they say, the next best thing to being there.

Opening with an image depicting the submarine's capture by US Naval forces (U-505 was the first enemy ship captured by American forces since the War of 1812), the site is basic in its technical design, but delivers its content in a digestible, visually rich presentation that uses images as much as menus to move from one part of the production to the next. (Text-based aids are also present, just in case you find yourself in a navigational dead-end.) Photographs are given as much screen space as text in the various segments of the virtual visit, and while they don't link to high-resolution mirrors, they are large enough in their posted form to serve their purpose.

As with the physical exhibit, the U-505 website first guides visitors through a bit of historical context related to the main attraction - with brief introductions to the various "beginnings" of World War II, the U-Boat Menace in the Atlantic Ocean, the US Navy's response in the form of Hunter-Killer Task Groups, and the role of Intelligence and code breaking in the war against the subs. A six-part series on Capturing the U-505 follows, and then surfers are introduced to the sub's postwar history - first as a touring war bonds advertisement, and then in its original installation as an outdoor exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in 1954.

While this early material is delivered in a straightforward text and photos format, some of the latter exhibits also use more dynamic media to impressive effect. First, Restoration and Relocation uses a series of time-lapse QuickTime movies to record the U-505's move from its outdoor location of roughly half a century to the pit that - when finished and enclosed - would become its new indoor home. Much more effectively than still images or technical specifications, these video clips give a tangible sense of scale to the submarine, as well as an appreciation of just how mammoth an undertaking it was to move the boat out of the elements and into climate-controlled comfort.

Then, after the viewer gets a sense of how large an artifact the sub is, a QuickTime panoramic Virtual Tour (QTVR) of the interior powerfully demonstrates just how small a home it made for the crew. You may have thought things looked cramped in "Das Boot," but these QTVR files are extraordinary in their claustrophobic impact. Even the ability to pan up and down, and see the hatches above and below you as you "stand" in the conning tower, do nothing to make the space feel larger, and when combined with the chaotic assortment of wheels and gauges in the control room, it leaves one wondering what the German Navy's equivalent of a "Section 8" might have been. (If you spin one of these QTVRs around in circles for a few rotations, you'll probably get an idea of how some members of the crew must have felt from time to time.)

Between these two extremes of scale, other, more conventional mini-exhibits look at some of the interactive displays available at the Chicago location, as well as some of the smaller artifacts that make up the U-505 exhibition (such as a mouth-watering image of a can of bread). Period photographs complement glimpses of Life On Board and How a Submarine Works, while an interactive diagram of the boat's exterior offers a few additional Sub Facts related to design and operation.

Beyond the tour proper, a series of "On-Line Activities" feature an interactive timeline of the Capture of U-505 (including video interviews with veterans of the event), and a pair of online games to acquaint the surfer with both sides of the U-boat war. Find the U-505 explains, and then has the surfer employ, such tools as code breaking and radio direction finding to locate and attack the U-505, while Command the U-505 gives visitors the chance (though not much of one, as the game seems stacked in the Allies' favor) to try to sink a destroyer or dive to safety. Both games offer side features with more details about the methods being used, and Find the U-505 also drops in a few more modern-day interview clips with members of the original American crew. Finally, Resources provides links to a few FAQs about the physical exhibit, external websites and teaching resources, a reading list, and downloadable desktop wallpapers.

While the design is generally basic (this isn't a complaint; it suits the needs of the site just fine) there are the occasional touches of something a bit out of the ordinary - such as an aircraft that flies out of its photograph and into a diagram during an interactive demonstration, and the Capture feature's use of a navigational interface that will be familiar to anyone who uses the Apple OSX operating system. On the down side, the navigation for the site in general is such that while it's easy enough to backtrack and retrace your steps, in most cases you can't immediately move to specific pages within the mini-exhibits, and some links can be difficult to read due to occasional unfortunate pairings of text and background colors. Still, these are minor points when compared to the overall presentation, and anyone with even a passing interest in this corner of history will find a visit well worth the virtual trip.

The online version of the U-505 Submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry can be found at here.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Maritime Museum To Reopen


The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum in North Little Rock is getting ready to reopen to the public.

The USS Razorback and other crafts have been closed since January, so they could be placed in their permanent locations on the Arkansas River.

The museum's director, Greg Zonner, says volunteers have been working thousands of hours improving ship interiors, putting up new displays and moving artifacts.

Zonner says, “Once we kind of get open, we still have a lot of work to do. We have the museum yet to be moved down here from the other building, but with that said, it'll be exciting to get everything opened all in one place at the same time."

Zonner says it's been a project four years in the making.

The museum will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. until just before dark.


Civil War submarines, World War II bomber remain elusive prey


The Shreveport Times
By John Andrew Prime
March 01, 2006

Civil War submarines known to once be in Shreveport but unseen since that conflict continue to elude searchers.

"The submarines look like they will stay an enigma for a while," said Ralph Wilbanks, the diver who led underwater efforts that found the Confederate submersible Hunley off Charleston Harbor in 1995. "We have looked in the bayou and we didn't see anything we didn't see last time."

Wilbanks, together with fellow Hunley discoverer Harry Pecorelli III and diver Darrell Taylor, has spent the last week in Shreveport, dragging side-scan sonars and magnetometers in countless lanes on mapped grids on the Red River, Cross Bayou and Cross Lake, looking for nagging mysteries from the Civil War to World War II. They may wind up their dives today.

As with Wilbanks' first visit to Shreveport in 1999, the current survey was underwritten by best-selling author Clive Cussler and his nonprofit, volunteer National Underwater and Marine Agency. Cussler said his decision to send Wilbanks and his crew back to Shreveport was based on "new data where the river changed course ... Apparently nothing was found again."

Wilbanks thinks the submarines were abandoned and salvaged after the Civil War.

"I think it's reasonable to think they may have just melted (them) back down and made steel out of (them)," he said.

Wilbanks and his crew also made scanning runs over the site of the suspected grave of the Civil War warship Grand Duke, out in the middle of Red River just north of Cross Bayou.

They got some hits there. That was where Pecorelli dove Tuesday. Results were inconclusive, with the sources of strong magnetometer readings under tree stumps and driftwood.

"There are some targets in the river and some very strong targets on the Bossier side," said Shreveport cartographer and historian Gary Joiner, whose Blanchard Place office has been the divers' nerve center this visit. "Some of the targets in the river are currently protruding above the channel floor a few feet. The Bossier side is currently very shallow in this area and we could not get the instruments near it."

While here, Wilbanks decided to spend a few days scanning Cross Lake to try to find a World War II B-26 bomber long rumored to have belly-landed and sunk into the muck.

"We decided, since we were coming all the way out here, we'd look for this plane, too," Wilbanks said.

While the Red River work took up most of Thursday and Tuesday, Sunday and Monday were spent running scores of tracks up and down the lake, searching but not finding.

"Finding what you're looking for, that's the most exciting part," said Pecorelli. He's worked with Wilbanks since the mid-1990s.

"Most of the time you find out where things aren't," Wilbanks said. "You very seldom find where things are. The other thing is, you either find it in the first lane or the last lane."

Precedent has shown that these historic treasures do exist and are just waiting to be found.

Several decades ago, a fisherman on the Red River noticed something sticking out of a crumbling bluff. It turned out to be a dugout canoe, several millennia old, and one of the area's richest historical finds.

Known wrecks of Civil War-era vessels include the transport Kentucky, just south of LSU-Shreveport, and the Union ironclad Eastport, near Montgomery.

Friday morning was spent crunching Thursday's data.

Wilbanks and Pecorelli gazed intently at sonar runs through the day, pieced pictures together to present a full view of the targeted river and bayou areas, and correlated these to the magnetometer survey results. At one point the team used seven computers and a plotter to examine the data. The afternoon was spent visiting people and places that might be helpful in the search, including the Cross Lake Patrol, Lowe-McFarlane American Legion Post 14 on the lake, and conferring with Shreveport police Sgt. Mike Day, who once worked with the SPD dive team and knew a B-26 pilot who remembered the bomber.

"Monday, we went back out on the lake and looked at a couple of other areas for the plane," Wilbanks said Tuesday. "We found some cable and potentially an old house site. We surveyed all the areas around Squirrel Point, the area most associated with the airplane, and found nothing."

Monday, Joiner learned from fellow historian Eric Brock that a photograph in a local archive shows the plane silhouetted in the lake. Joiner plans to search for the photo today, and if found, the divers may return to the lake. Otherwise, they'll head back to South Carolina.

Tuesday, Wilbanks said, "we went back to the Red River and dived on three sonar targets. They were like log jams. So we did a little more magnetometer work and sonar work and ruled those out."

Even though the survey didn't turn up the subs or the airplane, it has increased the store of knowledge of the Red River and its tributaries.

For years, Joiner has thought the submarines might have been scuttled in an area near the old Battery Walker, which is now under dry land at what Bossier City calls Cane's Landing. Using ground-penetrating radar might be the next step here, he said, but that area was used as a dump for many years, and items from the intervening 14 decades would shield the Civil War material from detection.

These searches are tremendously important in terms of adding to the store of history, Joiner said.

"We are practicing forensic history. We are using the best technology available today in this research. We are working with some of the best known researchers in the world ... . Shreveport is, at this time, one of the focal points for this advanced research because it was important during the Civil War and the research and development then might exist today. If found, these artifacts will be profoundly important for scholars."

Related link: Visit Clive Cussler's underwater search site,


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Help sought to break final Enigma codes


By Iain Thomson
February 27, 2006

The M4 project started on 9
January and the first message
has now been decrypted.

The four messages that foxed Bletchley
Scientists are appealing for help to break the last three coded World War Two messages sent by the Germans using the Enigma code.

Four of the thousands of messages picked up were originally unbroken, all sent from the North Atlantic in 1942.

The project, dubbed M4 after one of the Enigma machine types, started on 9 January and the first message - a report from the submarine U264 - has now been decrypted.

The message reads: "Forced to submerge during attack. Depth charges. Last enemy position 0830h AJ 9863, [course] 220 degrees, [speed] 8 knots. [I am] following [the enemy]. [Barometer] falls 14 mb, [wind] nor-nor-east, [force] 4, visibility 10 [nautical miles]."

U264, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hartwig Looks, only ever sunk three ships and was eventually destroyed by the British sloops HMS Woodpecker and HMS Starling in 1944. Even then 52 of its crew survived and were interned.

Three remaining messages will be decrypted by a brute force attack and the use of a special algorithm.

The team has developed software that uses spare computing run cycles to help with the project and report the findings, much like SETI.

The software is available for Windows 98, 2000 and XP, along with Unix systems that can be downloaded from the website.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Birthday to The Sub Report!


The Sub Report, the best submarine news site, has turned one!

Congratulations Eric.


Riddle of the U-boat


Detroit Free Press
By Marta Salij
February 26, 2006

Community book choice goes below to solve a WWII mystery
It's hard for me to imagine risking my life to satisfy my curiosity, but explorers do it all the time.
Especially scuba divers. Go deep enough, and the water is dark and cold and heavy. Your life depends on some sophisticated machinery and its gauges, which tell you how much air you have left, how much time you've been down and even which way is up.

If the gauges fail, or you read them wrong, or you lose your head or your way in the cold, dark deep, you're no longer an explorer. You're a corpse.

All of which makes it clear how dangerous an adventure is undertaken in "Shadow Divers" by Robert Kurson, the true story of an unusual underwater exploration.

In "Shadow Divers," two salvage scuba divers, who dive shipwrecks for fun and for loot, discover what seems to be a World War II U-boat off the coast of New Jersey. It's very deep, more than 200 feet underwater, which makes it an especially perilous dive.

The problem is, no one -- no government, no maritime historian, no experienced diver -- has ever heard of a U-boat going down in those waters. In other words, what Richie Kohler and John Chatterton believe they've found couldn't possibly exist. End of story?

That's where the curiosity kicks in. Not only do Kohler and Chatterton refuse to give up when they find their U-boat in 1991, they spend six years diving the wreck repeatedly, trying to figure out exactly which submarine they've found. It turns out to be a very tricky detective story, because neither the waterlogged sub nor the land-locked bureaucrats are eager to divulge their secrets.

Both Kohler and Chatterton pay a significant price for their curiosity. And some of the diving colleagues they involve in their adventure pay with their lives.

Kurson tells Kohler's and Chatterton's stories in his detail-rich narrative, but it doesn't stop there. After the divers identify the sub, they recreate the lives of some of the crew members -- which Kurson adds to his book, to make this more than a mere adventure tale.

Everyone's book
"Shadow Divers" is this year's pick of the Everyone's Reading community program, in which libraries throughout a metro area agree to sponsor readings and events around a single book or author. This is Everyone's Reading's fifth year.

Nineteen local libraries are sponsoring the program.

Author Kurson will be reading at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham and at the West Bloomfield and Canton libraries on April 4 and 5, during National Library Week.

But other events, such as discussions of U-boat history and showings of the "Nova" documentary that spurred Kurson's research, are also planned at different libraries. Please check with your local library for its events or see for a complete list.