He's Dead, Jim. Leonard Nimoy, 83

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Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played the iconic Star Trek character Spock, has died at age 83.  His was a remarkable life and career.  He appeared in countless television and movie roles, including in Combat, The Twilight Zone, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and even Get Smart.  He narrated In Search Of, which was a great program.  He also had a sense of humor about himself, voicing his animated self on The Simpsons a couple of times.  Nimoy was also a Veteran, serving as a Sergeant in the US Army in the late 1950s.

He lived long, and he prospered.  RIP Spock.

So Let's Let 'Em Have Nukes!

…what a great idea.

After all, just because they conduct naval maneuvers to practice sinking US warships is no reason to think they are hostile toward the United States.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=698f0uYzswU

Just like threatening to wipe Israel off the map is no indicator of any latent dislike of our ally.  More diplomatic success for our anti-American President.

Suribachi

Four days after the bloody struggle to come ashore on Iwo Jima’s fire-swept black volcanic sand beaches, a patrol from 28th Marines was ordered to the top of the sullen volcanic lump that dominated the six square miles of sulphur and rock.  The seven-man patrol under the Executive Officer of Easy Company, 28th Marines raised a small flag.  The flag, difficult to see from the beach, was replaced by a larger one retrieved from one of the LSTs offshore supporting the landing.  Five Marines and one Navy Corpsman labored under fire to plant the larger colors into the rocky ground. The raising of the second, larger flag was captured by Joe Rosenthal, and became the most iconic and reproduced image in the history of photography.

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Many commonly believe that the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi signaled the end of the fight for Iwo Jima.  In reality, twenty-two more days of relentless and ferocious savagery lay ahead.  It was not until 26 March 1945 that Iwo Jima was declared secured.  Of the six men who raised the flag on Suribachi, three, Sgt Mike Strank, Cpl Harlan Block, and PFC Franklin Sousley, would die on the island, along with more than 6,800 others, mostly Marines.  A fourth flag raiser, Second Class Hospital Corpsman John Bradley, was among the more than 19,000 wounded.   The man who took the motion picture footage from the same vantage as Rosenthal, Marine Combat Cameraman Bill Genaust, was later killed in one of Suribachi’s hundreds of caves.

Bradley received a Navy Cross for his actions in combat on 21 February, and Strank a Bronze Star.  Bill Genaust also received a Bronze Star.

The above movie is the approximately 20 minute production called “To the Shores of Iwo Jima”.  Well worth the time, as it is a grim and unvarnished look at the titanic struggle for Iwo.  Seldom have the words of a senior officer been so accurate, or heartfelt, as when Admiral Chester Nimitz described the fight for the island.

Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue

Carrier Think Pieces Today

We first saw this looooong piece at USNI from Professor Moore.

Just four days ahead of the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy announced its intention to award Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc (HII). approximately $4 billion to construct the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) super carrier, the second vessel of the new Gerald R. Ford-class of carriers. The cost has raised eyebrows, as the Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) experienced cost overruns of 22 percent.

Additionally, debate is raging over the utility of the aircraft carrier and whether it’s even relevant anymore in the face of China’s new, lethal anti-ship missiles. It’s a debate worth having, but it needs to be rooted in realistic naval principles and war precedents, not politics and hype.

And addressing that piece is none other than Bull Halsey! We suspect that might be a nom de plume.

“The New Strategic Realities of U.S. Carrier Operations.”  As much of the East Coast naval establishment sits at home with their Snuggies and bottles of craft beer (or for some, sitting in a tree stand freezing your keester off), this is sure to be heavily forwarded around the web (thanks, Al Gore).

Moore’s piece touches a particular nerve with me:  the American aircraft carrier and how Americans use her.  It is no longer self-evident and requires a generation of both young and old aviators and ship-drivers to safeguard.

First, our ability to justify the existence of the aircraft carrier beyond the battles of WWII is essential.  It’s great to talk about Coral Sea and Midway, but those events took place more than seven decades ago, and for a force that pegs itself as an innovative one, able to counter the threats of today and tomorrow, it strikes as unimaginative.  There are at least hundreds of examples of CVNs providing critical support or comprising the sole option for offensive or defensive American military operations in the many decades that have followed WWII.  Let’s talk about them candidly.

For the most part, US aircraft carriers have been used as supplemental airfields for power projection in our nation’s wars since World War II. What they haven’t much been called to do is act in the sea control role. Or, if you will, fighting a war at sea. Some, but not much.

The primary reason for that is not that carriers are bad at war at sea. Instead, they’re so good no one has realistically been able to challenge our fleet for many years. The Soviet Union was the only nation to come close to mounting a credible threat of parity, and that was through a sea control fleet that couldn’t realistically project power to our shores, whereas the whole point of the Lehman/Watkins Maritime Strategy was to project power against the Soviet Union itself.

Moore spends a good deal of time discussing the threats to modern carrier operations, and not surprisingly, Halsey adds a rebuttal:

Second, the author paraphrases Robert Haddick’s dire swarm supposition of hundreds of Chinese ASCMs descending upon an unsuspecting aircraft carrier.  The problem with Haddick’s logic–and Moore’s, by association–is that it presupposes a sort of inevitable willingness on the part of the People’s Republic to launch such costly attacks that would result in unquestionable war.  Though we all remember Pearl Harbor, we also remember the children’s tale of the “boogeyman” in the closet.  We must not allow the fear of a missile whose very use would be loaded in incredible geopolitical meaning to be the tail that wags the dog.

Of course, that’s a political consideration, a subject that Halsey spends a fair bit of time on, rightly.

What isn’t sufficiently addressed, to my lights, is the actual difficulty China (or anyone else) would have massing missile attacks on a fleet. Probably no other organization in the world has as robust a maritime ISR capability for targeting a surface fleet than the US Navy, and even we can have trouble finding our own carriers.

Alfred Thayer Mahan would find this debate about the threat of shore based ASCMs and missile armed fast attack craft little different than the Jeffersonian vision of gunboats and coast artillery defending the shores from the line of battle of the Royal Navy. The technology has changed much, and the ranges are greater, but the fundamental concept of a fleet in being able to sail to the enemy shore at the time and place of his choosing to impose his will is very much still the case.

And while our skills seemed to have diminished somewhat from lack of practice, it’s not like we didn’t used to know how to place entire carrier task forces well within the range of an opponent shore without them even knowing it.

Control of the air is a prerequisite for success in battle today, and only the carrier can provide that for substantial naval forces far from our shores. Further, the carrier remains the centerpiece of our ability to execute both sea control and power projection in the maritime space. Carriers alone are not sufficient to successfully challenge the Chinese or any other near peer power at sea, but absent the carrier, the any challenge is simply impossible.

Vice Admiral Rowden's Message

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You can read the text of it over at Salamander’s place.  Micromanagement?  Possibly.  Necessary?  Some folks, among which is a guy named Greenert, seem to think so.  From where I sit, it seems there is some serious concern (finally) on the part of Navy leadership from the CNO on down, including SURFPAC, that our numbered Fleet Commanders don’t know how to fight their fleets, that Task Force Commanders do not know how to fight their task forces, nor Battle Group Commanders their Battle Groups, or individual COs and Officers, their warships.   There is, it is suspected, a lack of understanding of warfighting at all levels.  From the Operational Arts, to doctrine and tactics, down to techniques, and procedures, there is an alarming lack of understanding in areas for which we should strive for mastery.  In addition, it is likely that there is serious question about the true state of readiness of our fleet and the ships and aircraft (and Sailors) which comprise it.  Maintenance, training, proficiency, mindset, all these are suspect.

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I think SURFPAC’s message is a very good step in the right direction.  It may also shake out the most egregious impediments to training for war, both self-inflicted and externally imposed.  This includes peripheral tasks that take up inordinate time and attention, maintenance and manpower shortcomings that render weapons and engineering systems non-mission capable, and jumping through burdensome administrative hoops required to perform the most basic of combat training.

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I cannot say whether or not VADM Rowden dislikes Mission Command.  I hope that he does not, because the ability of junior commanders to take the initiative and act boldly across widely-flung battlefields in the absence of orders has been the critical element of success for many centuries.  But Mission Command requires junior leaders who are positively imbued in their craft, and senior leaders who understand what must be done and can clearly express their intent (and then have the courage to trust their subordinates).   The entirety of the US Navy, more so perhaps than the other services, must rely on such leadership for its survival in combat with an enemy.  Unfortunately, the Navy may be the service that has become the most over-supervised and zero-defect-laden bastion of micromanagement in all of DoD.

Gunnery training aboard U.S.S. Astoria (CA-34), spring 1942.

Vice Admiral Rowden’s message has an almost desperate tone to it.   As if, to quote Service, Navy leadership realizes that it is later than you think.  One cannot help but be reminded of the myriad comments from US cruiser sailors in 1942.  Following initial and deadly encounters with a skilled and fearsome Japanese Navy in the waters off the Solomons, many deckplate sailors swore they would never again bitch about the seemingly incessant gunnery and damage control drills that interrupted their shipboard lives.    Like 1942, a Naval clash against a near-peer who can muster temporary advantage will be a costly affair where even the winner is badly bloodied.  Unlike 1942, there is no flood of new warships on the slips which can make good such losses.

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Words from an earlier post of USS Hugh W. Hadley, on the picket line off Okinawa, reinforce the importance of what VADM Rowden wants:

LESSONS LEARNED, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

                      1.  It must be impressed that constant daily drills in damage control using all personnel on the ship and especially those who are not in the regular damage control parties will prove of  value when emergencies occur.  The various emergency pumps which were on board were used effectively to put out fires.  Damage control schools proved their great value and every member of the crew is now praising this training.

                      2.  I was amazed at the performance of the 40 and 20 guns.  Contrary to my expectation, those smaller guns shot down the bulk of the enemy planes. Daily the crews had dinned into their minds the following order “LEAD THAT  PLANE”.  Signs were painted at the gun stations as follows “LEAD THAT PLANE”.  It worked, they led and the planes flew right through our projectiles.

Not the things of (fill in the blank) History Month or of SAPR or “diversity” training….

North Korea Fires Russian SS-N-25 Switchblade ASCMs

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Yesterday, the Korean People’s Navy (KPN) successfully fired three supposedly indigenously-developed anti-ship cruise missiles into the East Sea out to a range of approximately 200 km.  While the DPRK may claim the missiles are a home-made design, analysts say they are in actuality Russian export-variety Kh-35E Uran ASCMs (NATO codename SS-N-25 Switchblade).  The Kh-35 series is a close equivalent to the US AGM-84 Harpoon missile, being slightly smaller and with a lighter warhead (360 lbs) than the Harpoon (488  lbs).

It is possible that the newly-cultivated relationship between Putin’s Russia and the DPRK is bearing fruit for both entities.  This weapon system, if successfully integrated into the DPRK arsenal, represents a significant and problematic upgrade to North Korea’s offensive and defensive capabilities.  The SS-N-25 Switchblade has a seeker head very comparable to the deadly 3M-54 Klub (NATO codename SS-N-27 Sizzler), with both a radar homing and anti-radiation ability which can acquire out to 50km.

The fielding of significant numbers of SS-N-25s represents a multi-generational upgrade for the DPRK, the majority of whose ASCM inventories consist of obsolete SS-N-2 Styx and smaller (and shorter-ranged) C 801 and C 802 systems.  It is likely that the new capabilities will be employed in shore-based systems, greatly expanding both range and lethality of DPRK coastal defenses.  In addition, the plentiful but obsolescent smaller ships and craft of the Korean People’s Navy (corvettes, PTG/PG and Fast Attack Craft) configured to carry the SS-N-25 suddenly multiply exponentially their combat potential in a surface fight.  Ditto the obsolete IL-28s and other older aircraft of the Air Force, should they be configured to carry the Switchblade.

Should it come to pass that the SS-N-25 eventually comprises a major part of the DPRK ASCM inventory (courtesy of the Russians), a hard problem just got harder.   Just in time to shrink our Navy below 250 ships.

The Army’s Nuclear Ship

Wired has a piece on the almost billion dollar cost of a mid life overhaul of a Nimitz class carrier. It’s pretty interesting. Not only does it involve refueling the ship’s two nuclear reactors, but the RCOH pretty much rebuilds everything from the bulkheads in. Think of all the plumbing and wiring in a ship  designed to last 50 years. The RCOH is the one big opportunity to rebuild a lot of that stuff.

Now, you say, XBrad, that’s nice and all, but what does it have to do with the title of this post? Well, bear with me a bit.

The dawning of the age of nuclear power, as exemplified by the sailing of the USS Nautilus led to something of a frenzy in terms of nuclear power.

For a while, it seemed that in the very near future, everything would be nuclear powered. Heck, the Air Force was researching using nuclear reactors to power bomber aircraft, and actually flew a working reactor aboard a B-36.

The Army, which has always had a strong interest in prime power generation, saw nuclear power as an answer to the challenge of providing prime power in remote locations with little or no infrastructure, especially those that would be difficult to supply. And so it began research and experimentation with very small reactors. Most Army reactors were very compact, and designed to use Highly Enriched Uranium. All of the reactors under the Army Nuclear Power Program (ANPP) were one of a kind prototypes. Powerplants were used in Greenland, Wyoming, Alaska and even Antarctica.

As the wiki entry notes, a lot of the ANPP actually seemed more a solution in search of a problem. But there was one plant that actually helped solve a vexing problem.

The only ANPP plant that didn’t use HEU was the topic at hand. The Army often operates close to shores and ports, for obvious logistical reasons. And again, the need for prime power is often on the mind of the logistician. And so, someone had the idea that the Army could utilize a barge mounted reactor, not for propulsion, but for electricity and fresh water generation.

Rather than building a barge from scratch, the Army took possession of a surplus Liberty ship, and removed the steam boiler and engine, and build in its place, via its contractor Martin Marrietta, a 10 Mv Pressurized Water Reactor with Low Enriched Uranium and associated turbines and distillation machinery. The contract was signed in 1961, construction began in 1963, and by early 1967, the vessel, known as Sturgis (MH-1A) went critical while moored near Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.

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While the Sturgis was being built and tested, an actual use for it was found, one that was, in fact, somewhat urgent.

The Panama Canal, was, of course, of strategic interest to the US, and at that time under the administration of the US. The locks of the canal are operated by gravity fed water from Lake Gatun, the body of water in the center of the isthmus when the canal was built. It’s normally replenished by the torrential rains there. Fresh water from the lake fills the locks to lift ships, and then is allowed to flow out into the ocean when the locks are lowered.

Electrical power for the Canal Zone was also powered by water from Lake Gatun, via a hydroelectric station.  The combined outflow of water via the locks and the hydro power station meant that during the dry season, the water level in Lake Gatun would fall to unacceptable levels. Power was required just to operate the Canal Zone, and the locks. That meant ship traffic through the canal itself had to be restricted. But if power could be provided without having to use the hydro plant, obviously that water would be available for the locks, increasing throughput of the canal.

And so, after a few months of testing and training at Ft. Belvoir, Sturgis was towed to Panama, and from 1968 to 1975 provided its power to the Canal Zone. It’s estimated that the water savings provided by Sturgis allowed an additional 2500 ship transits per year.

By the mid 1970s, conventional powerplants were built along the eastern and western termini of the canal, and Sturgis’ power was surplus to needs. Furthermore, since she had a one of a kind plant, parts and training were uneconomical. She was returned to the US, defueled, and put into storage in the James River fleet, where today she awaits decommissioning** and disassembly.

 

*Highly Enriched Uranium is, of course, more “power dense” than Low Enriched Uranium, but it still below weapons grade enriched uranium.

**Decommissioning in this case has a somewhat different meaning than for a warship of the US Navy.

Our Jihadist President

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The Daily Caller outlines a very disturbing notion emanating from the White House regarding our Constitutional liberties and Barack Obama’s predilection to render them void any time he sees fit.

“The president … will not now be shy about expressing a view or taking the steps that are necessary to try to advocate for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform” whenever journalists’ work may provoke jihadist attacks, spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at the White House’s daily briefing.

“Steps necessary” up to and including disemboweling our First Amendment rights, apparently, for some notion of “protecting” our armed forces.  You know, the ones who risk and give their lives to uphold that First Amendment?  Yeah, them.   One should not be shocked at the criticism of free speech by this Administration, nor the rationalization of the violence perpetrated by the militant Islamists.  Despite the usual platitudes about how such violence is never justified, Obama and his minions have consistently provided just such justification by siding with the Jihadis in their public condemnation of criticism of Islam.

Obama’s willingness to pressure media outlets, to quit defending First Amendment rights and also to mollify jihadis, reflects Obama’s overall policy of minimizing conflict with militant Islam.

He also repeatedly praised Islam and Muslims, and criticized criticism of Islam. “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” he told a worldwide TV audience during a September 2012 speech at the United Nations.

This President wishes to disarm law-abiding Americans and abrogate our Second Amendment rights, ostensibly so we can all be “safer”, leaving the government with a monopoly on violence and a citizenry without a last redress against tyranny from that government.  Now, Obama wants to stifle the Press, and one presumes, other manners of free expression that criticize Islam, once again for the “safety” of our men and women in the armed forces.   The intellectual fascism of the Leftist Establishment will be codified as a legitimate power of government.

The chilling effect* on free speech by the actions and threat of actions by government at any level, long identified as unconstitutional, will be a cornerstone of Barack Obama’s erosion of our liberties.  It will be a favored tool used for the stifling of political and social dissent not just by leftist social organizations and academic institutions, (and Hollywood), but also by a government already practiced in these six years in using regulatory and statutory powers as extralegal coercion to suppress political dissent.   Hillary Clinton’s remarks in the wake of the Benghazi terrorist attack smack of such suppression.  Martin Dempsey disgraced his uniform and forfeited his credibility by doing the same.

Of course, Barack Obama could protect our armed forces by halting the willful destruction of the moral fiber of those who serve our country with social experimentation, and ceasing the blunting of the readiness of our operating forces in order to feed yet more tens of billions into a $1.7 trillion dollar welfare furnace.  But he will not.  In fact, he will not even name America’s enemy, militant Islam.  Instead, the only term his Administration will use to describe those who actively seek our destruction, “violent extremists”, is applied as liberally to the Left’s political opposition as it is to those Islamic extremists who would perpetrate another 9/11.

Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech was exactly what it sounded like.  It was a klaxon to our Islamist enemies that one of their own was now in charge.  He will not criticize them because he is philosophically one of them.  The frequent visits by members of the Muslim Brotherhood to the White House, a foreign policy more accommodating to Iran and Cuba than Israel and Britain, and an undeviating record of foreign affairs decisions resulting in maximum damage to US power and prestige have long since passed the point of being viewed as coincidental blunders.   How do we know?  Because Barack Obama claims the power to keep American citizens from saying so.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

(*The chilling effect occurs when any Constitutionally-protected activity is unduly discouraged by actions or threats of action by the government against those individuals and groups as a consequence of exercising that activity.)

Lexington's Incomplete Modernization and Her Sinking At Coral Sea

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When the massive hulls of battlecruisers Lexington (CC-1) and Saratoga (CC-2) were designated to be completed as aircraft carriers  under provisions of the 1922 Washington Treaty, they represented a multi-generational leap forward for aircraft carrier design.  Eight hundred and eighty-eight feet long and displacing more than 44,000 tons loaded, these sleek monsters were capable of 33+ knots (some tales that Sara and Lex reached 40 knots during Fleet Problems in the late 1930s have never been verified) and could carry almost ninety aircraft.

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They were, in fact, far more modern in the 1920s than the fragile and short-range airplanes they carried.  Other than the mammoth IJN Shinano (built on the hull of the third Yamato), which never operated with aircraft, Lexington and Saratoga were the largest aircraft carriers built until the Midways entered service post-war.  They were 12 knots faster than the battle fleet, and potentially capable of powerful, far-ranging strikes not conceived of before they entered service.

USS Lexington Class Firing

The design of Lex and Sara was still largely experimental, and contained some oddities that time and experience would either correct or eliminate.  Famously, these two aircraft carriers were armed with a heavy cruiser’s guns.  Each carried eight 8-inch/55 caliber Mk IX naval rifles in specially contrived twin mounts.  The gun housings lacked armor, consisting of little more than splinter shields, in order to save topside weight.  (While the mounting of heavy caliber guns seems in retrospect an anachronism, doubts about the ability of aircraft to actually engage and sink surface ships who might cross paths with the carriers were well founded in the early 1920s.  Despite Billy Mitchell’s experiments, the age of dominance of air power had not yet arrived for the world’s navies.  Indeed, the loss of HMS Glorious in 1940 and the sinking of three more aircraft carriers by gunfire over the course of the war might give more justification to the heavy main battery than commonly believed.)  The aligning of the centerline of the flight deck with the hull centerline was discovered to necessitate significant ballast to port to offset the weight of the island.  All future designs, starting with Ranger (CV-4) would have the appropriate offset of flight deck centerline on the hull.

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Both vessels were given what was for the time a massive anti-aircraft battery.  Twelve of the new 5″/25 caliber Mk 10 AA guns were fitted, six on each side in single mounts, and controlled by the then-state of the art Mk 19 director.   A number of .50 (12.7mm) caliber machine guns installed in 1929 comprised the sole light AA capability.   As the size, speed, and lethality of carrier aircraft increased through the 1930s, however, it was soon clear that the .50 caliber machine guns were of dubious utility, and the development of the heavier 1.1″ (27.6mm) quad mount machine guns began.  Design delays in the 1.1″ AAMG were the impetus for the mounting of a number of 3″/50 caliber AA cannon until the design was ready for fielding, which occurred in early 1941.  The 1.1″ AAMG turned out to be a mixed bag.  When working properly, the 1.1″ proved effective in action, but maintenance and reliability issues, and the obvious requirement for a heavier projectile in the AA role against modern aircraft, led to the shipping of the famous twin and quad 40mm Bofors AA cannon beginning in mid-1942 on most US warships.

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However, that decision was still in the future when plans were drawn up in 1940 to modernize Lexington and Saratoga as Pacific war clouds gathered.   It was planned to remove the 8″/55 Mk IX mounts on both vessels, and replace them with four twin Mk 12 mounts carrying the highly effective 5″/38 caliber dual purpose gun mated to Mk 37 gun directors, two mounts per director.   The 5″/38 was more accurate than its predecessor, and had an effective ceiling of 37,200 feet, 10,000 feet higher than the 25 caliber gun.  In addition, the plans called for the replacement of the elderly Mk 19 directors, first developed in 1925, with the newer Mk 33.  The Mk 19 was incapable of computing for dive bombing, and was almost entirely ineffective at tracking 250-knot aircraft now fielded by the Japanese, further restricting the effectiveness of the 5″/25 to under 17,000 feet.

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The coming of war in December of 1941 meant that Lexington would be a desperately needed asset, and indeed she was active for the first four months in the Pacific war as a part of Task Force 11.  During a brief refit in late-March, 1942, Lexington’s 8″/55 mounts were landed, but the Mk 12 5″/38 mounts (and Mk 37 directors) to replace them were not installed, as Lexington was desperately needed in the fight against the Japanese Navy.  In addition, the Mk 33 directors destined for the older 5″/25 batteries were likewise not fitted.  In place of the planned 5″/38s, a temporary installation of more 1.1″ AAMGs and some 20mm Oerlikon cannon was instead completed.

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Photographs of Lexington as she steamed into the Battle of the Coral Sea are noteworthy for the absence of her familiar 8″/55 mounts, and omission of the 5″/38 mounts which Saratoga would receive while being repaired from torpedo damage a couple of months later.   What Lexington was left with for anti-aircraft defense was a heavy battery of older 5″/25 guns whose effectiveness was hampered by outdated fire control, and light AA in insufficient numbers to effectively defend her.   Whether this made any difference in the loss of Lexington is anyone’s guess, but the possibility certainly exists.  The mating of the 5″/38 with the Mk 37 director was the most lethal anti-aircraft combination to go to sea in World War II.   Perhaps such a combination could have caused the Japanese torpedo and dive bombers who fatally struck Lexington on 8 May 1942 to have missed, or might have destroyed them before they struck the ship.   What is indisputable, however, is that Lexington was sent into action against a modern and capable enemy with equipment and weapons that were known to be obsolete and lacking in combat effectiveness.  Operational tempo had restricted the US Navy’s ability to sufficiently modernize a capital ship to acceptable standards to meet the requirements of combat at sea.  Despite the very recent rapid expansion undertaken in America’s shipyards, the United States went to war in the first six months in the Pacific with the Navy it had, not the one it would require to fight and win.

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There is a lesson in there, somewhere.