Reconnaissance, Selection and Occupation of the Position

It’s interesting that so much doctrine, in spite of any changes in terminology and technology, remains relatively constant. I’m mostly sharing this for the benefit of URR, and any other arty types interested. The tactics, techniques, and procedures used by the Infantry or Armor are significantly different. Then again, there are a lot of similarities.

For you non-artillery types, do please note that almost right from the bat, they designate Baltimore as Hostile. If you’re worried about Jade Helm 2015 designating Texas as Hostile, please note that the Army has been doing this sort of thing for a long, long time. It’s not that Baltimore, or Texas, is truly considered hostile. It’s just that for training, you almost by definition need to invent an enemy force or objective.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0Yv7I4Pku0]

Battleship Texas

A while back, friend of the blog Aggiesprite went to visit the Battleship Texas Memorial, and kindly shared a few pics with us. I thought I’d posted them, but they got stuck in draft limbo somehow. I was reminded when our other friend of the blog Zekexas posted pics of his trip to BBTXM today.  Zekexas is a pretty good photog, so go take a look.

At any event, since Aggie went to all the trouble of taking pics of the old grey gal for me, I should post them.

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USS Texas, BB-35, was commissioned in 1914, and served in both World War I and World War II. She was decommissioned and stricken from the register in 1948.

She’s the only American example of a Dreadnought battleship remaining. At the time, the 27,000 ton New York class battleships were among the largest warships ever built. Mind you, today the  Gerald R. Ford is under construction, and will weigh in around 100,000 tons. And huge numbers of merchant ships displace far, far more.

Still, her ten 14”/45cal guns, in five twin turrets, were quite powerful, and were put to good use fighting during the invasion of North Africa in 1942,and the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944.  In 34 minutes of sustained fire, she placed 255 14” shells on the Pointe du Hoc emplacements thought to contain a battery of 155mm guns. The Rangers assault on Pointe du Hoc is one of the more famous events of that incredible day.

Texas would also engage in a duel with the shore batteries of Cherbourg*, the Dragoon invasion of Southern France, and the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Texas was an innovative ship. She was among the second generation of US Dreadnought battleships, shifting from 12” to 14” guns. She also was the first to implement modern fire controls such as rangefinders, directors and rangekeepers** She was the first US battleship to operate and airplane, and was a pioneer in the use of aircraft as spotters for gunfire, greatly improving accuracy at long ranges. She was also an early adopter of radar, mounting the Navy’s first operational air search set, the CXAM-1.

Almost immediately after the war, the state of Texas sought to turn their namesake into a museum. By 1948, she’d been pulled out of reserve, towed to Texas, laid up.  But time has not been kind to the flagship of the Texas Navy. She languished in disrepair until by 1988, she was in great danger of sinking. Indeed, when she was under tow to a drydock, leaks were so bad she was almost unable to be docked. A two year refurbishment brought her back to a much better state, but her advanced age and riveted hull means she still suffers from significant leaks, making the battle to keep her open an ongoing and costly one. Currently Texas is trying to convert her to a permanent dry berth, which hopefully will be complete by 2017.

In the meantime, at 99-1/2 years old, she’s still proud to represent Texas.

For some interior shots, MurdocOnline went on the rare hard-hat tour of her back in 2007.

*She was hit twice by 240mm shells, with 11 wounded, one later succumbing to his wounds.

**A rangekeeper was an early analog fire control computer used not just to plot the present location of a target, but to predict its future range and bearing to account for the time of flight of the ships guns projectiles.

Load Heat

Once again, we dip into the well that is Joss Whedon’s talent pool. It’s narrow, but deep. Amy Acker played for several seasons on Angel. She was pretty much a geek on the show. She also had a role on Alias. And she’s again on a Whedon show, this time Dollhouse, where she plays a nerd, one with scars. Now, she was always cute and all that. But we never thought she would be up to our high standards here. Imagine my surprise when we did go looking for a photo of her (for unrelated purposes). We should have known. She’s a Texan. Well, anybody that good looking gets her own week here…