A Japanese Kongo-class battleship (probably the Kirishima) is captured in the glare of US searchlights during the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, November 13th, 1942. The photo was likely taken from the USS San Francisco (CA-38).
Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900)
“The Battle of Sinop” (1853)
Oil on canvas
The Battle of Sinop was a naval battle that occured on November 30, 1853, at Sinop, a sea port in northern Anatolia. A squadron of Imperial Russian warships struck and destroyed a squadron of Ottoman ships anchored in the harbor. The battle was part of the Crimean War, and a contributory factor in bringing France and Great Britain into the conflict. This was also the last major battle between fleets of sailing ships. The battle is commemorated in Russia as a Day of Military Honour.
“During the Battle of Midway, Yamaguchi sparred with his superior officer, Admiral Chūichi Nagumo, when a reconnaissance plane discovered an American aircraft carrier (USS Yorktown) near Midway. At the time, the Japanese carriers′ planes were armed with bombs. Nagumo wished to switch the armament to torpedoes. Yamaguchi demanded that no time be wasted and that the planes be launched to attack the American carrier with bombs. Nagumo rejected this; shortly afterward, American carrier aircraft destroyed all the Japanese carriers except Yamaguchi′s flagship Hiryū. Yamaguchi quickly ordered two successive attacks on Yorktown which crippled it. Shortly afterward, another carrier air strike against Hiryū resulted in hits by aircraft from USS Enterprise.”
Tamon Yamaguchi was born in the Shimane prefecture in Japan in 1892, and graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1912. In 1918, as a navigation officer, he was exposed to naval aviation while escorting German submarines en route to be delivered as repatriation payments. Between 1921 and 1923 he studied American History at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, though did not pursue a formal degree; instead, he returned to Japan and completed his studies at the Naval Staff College in 1924. However, he was described as enthusiastic about the American university. After participating in the London Naval Conference in 1929, the diplomatic Captain Yamaguchi was Japan’s last naval attaché to Washington D.C., which lasted from 1934 to 1937. He returned to Japan for sea-bound service once again, filling the role of Chief of Staff to the Japanese 5th Fleet from 1938 to 1940. In 1940, he was promoted rear admiral and assigned the 2nd Carrier Division which consisted of the Hiryu and the Soryu. By this time, he was often understood as the successor to Isoroku Yamamoto for the position of the commander of the Combined Fleet.
Commonly credited as being perhaps Japan’s most gifted carrier admiral, Yamaguchi was astute, aggressive, and ambitious. Unfortunately for Japan’s war effort, he was also heavily steeped in the Bushido Code, which meant that he was pretty much obligated to do away with himself after having lost his carrier Hiryu during the closing stages of the Battle of Midway. “He was, in short, the epitome of the traditional samurai - hot tempered, aggressive to a fault; a man who valued honor as the ultimate virtue”, as described in the book Shattered Sword; or as Japanese navy officer Masatake Chihaya said, the “Oriental Hero Type”. When he determined that Hiryu was unsaveable, he gathered the 800 men who were still aboard the ship, including the wounded, on the flight deck near the bridge, and led them in yelling banzai three times toward Tokyo, followed by the playing of the national anthem. After the ceremony, the order to abandon ship was issued. It was recorded that Yamaguchi and Tomeo Kaku (Hiryu’s captain) had this exchange as they shared naval biscuits and water while the ship being abandoned, the exchange signifying how much the two officers had in common.
“Let us enjoy the beauty of the moon”, Yamaguchi said to Kaku.
“How bright it shines,” Kaku responds.
“It must be in its 21st day.”
The foundation of the decision to go down with the ship probably was established when his top pilot Joichi Tomonaga bravely headed off to attack the carrier Yorktown in a damaged torpedo plane that carried too little fuel for a return trip. “I will gladly follow you”, Yamaguchi said to Tomonaga before the pilot boarded the plane. He probably could have saved himself to fight another day, but that was not the Bushido way. His idealistic devotion to Bushido was likely one of the key reasons why Japan, after three fleet carrier on the verge of sinking (and eventually would sink), was unable to steer Hiryu from the same fate. Yamaguchi placed Hiryu in increasingly more dangerous positions by sailing toward the enemy, therefore eventually sacrificing assets for his personal honor instead of preserving the strength for his country in a later fight.
Seventy-five years ago on 10 December 1941, three days after the Empire of Japan struck the United States Naval Station of Pearl Harbor, Japanese aircraft launched 49 torpedoes against two British warships in the South China Sea. At approximately 12:30 midday, the battlecruiser Repulse which had dodged 19 torpedoes so far, rolled over, within six minutes of three simultaneous hits.
At the same time the relatively new battleship Prince of Wales also took three torpedoes, leaving her in a dire situation. With a torpedo having already taken out two shafts earlier in the attack, she was now left with just one. Between this and somewhere north of 10,000 tonnes of seawater on-board, her speed was massively reduced. However, not yet slain her crew took up the fight with high level bombers as she clawed her way home. From that final wave of attackers, one lone 500lb bomb fell as the final nail. Slowly rolling over to port, she settled by the head and sank at 13:18.
Repulse and Prince of Wales were the first capital ships actively defending themselves at sea to be sunk by aircraft alone. Any doubts which remained after Pearl Harbor were killed that day - aircraft and aircraft carriers ruled supreme in naval combat. When a major British fleet returned to the Pacific three years later it revolved around six armoured fleet carriers, escorted by two sisters of Prince of Wales.
‘In all the war, I never received a more direct shock… As I turned over and twisted in bed the full horror of the news sank in upon me. There were no British or American ships in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific except the American survivors of Pearl Harbor, who were hastening back to California. Over all this vast expanse of waters Japan was supreme, and we everywhere were weak and naked.’ - Winston Churchill.
Top 10 Favorite Historical Female Figures in History: (Requested by Anonymous & Not in Order).
1.Artemisia I of Caria: She was the ruler of Helicarnassus and Cos, and was a commander of 5 ships during a naval battle (Battle of Salamis) in 480 B.C during the 2nd Persian Invasion of Greece. She was famous enough to warrant the Greeks ordering her capture which did not occur.
2.Philippa of Hainault: She was the Queen of England as consort to Edward III. She was a wise and competent Queen, serving as regent on behalf of her husband during his war campaigns. She also famously pleaded for mercy in 1347 for the lives of the Burghers of Calais and was successful.
3.Margaret I of Denmark: She ruled as regent on behalf of her son Denmark, and then later Norway and Sweden. Margaret was a successful ruler and was in power even after her son came of age. Her political maneuverings and warfare lead to the Kalmar Union in 1397 which bound the three countries together until the early 16th century.
4.Margaret of Anjou: She was the Queen of England as consort to Henry VI. With the decline of her husband, her power increase and when he was deposed she fought on behalf of him and her son, Edward of Westminster, successfully re-installing them in 1470 though they were deposed the following year. Margaret was a ruthless yet formidable foe even though in the end, she suffered defeat.
5.Isabella I of Castile: She was the Queen Regnant of Castile and Leon and consort in Aragon as the wife of Ferdinand II of Aragon. She was a successfully ruler, establishing a joint rule with her husband in which she shares the accomplishments which included the end of the Reconquista when Granada fell in 1492, and sending Christopher Columbus to the New World.
6.Caterina Sforza: A ruthless and powerful Italian Noblewoman and through marriage the Countess of Forli and the Lady of Imola. She also served as regent on behalf of her son. A passionate war woman, she even once attacked a fortress, while she was heavily pregnant. She is infamous for her defiance against Cesare Borgia at the Siege of Forli.
7.Katherine of Aragon: The Queen of England as the consort and 1st wife of Henry VIII of England. She served as regent in England in 1513 and was the first female ambassador in Europe. When her husband proceeded with trying to obtain and annulment, Katherine defied him every step of the way until the very end of her life.
8.Mary I of England: She was the only child of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon that survived into adulthood. During her parents troubles, she sided with her mother, refusing to give up until after her mother’s death in 1536. She was the first Queen Regnant in England, and she was able to hold her position until her death. She is most widely known for restoring the Catholic Church during her reign.
9.Anna Nzinga: Anna Nzinga also known by her full name of Ana de Sousa Nzingha Mbande, was Queen of Ndongo and Matamba. Her reign was long, and during it she engaged in conflict with the Portuguese. She is known for her political acumen, and military prowess, dying at the age of 80 in 1663.
10.Catherine the Great: The 18th century Empress of Russia, who continued the modernization of Russia. She came to power after a coup in which her husband was deposed. Under her reign, the border of Russia expanded, arts, education, and literature was supported, and her reign was known as the Golden Age of Russia.
Note: I made this post on my old account, so this is a repost, but I have changed the gifs.
December 11, 1916 - Italian Battleship Regina Margherita Strikes Mines and Sinks
Pictured - The battleship, named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, had a sister ship named Benedetto Brin that was also destroyed in September 1915.
Numbers and geography gave the Entente the upper hand in the Mediterranean, but German and Austrian tactics could still take their toll. They did on December 11, 1916, when the Italian battleship Regina Margherita struck two mines off Valona and sank. 675 men drowned, only 270 survived. Although the Mediterranean was somewhat of a British lake in the early 20th century, the French and Italian navies patrolled in during the war to allow the Royal Navy to concentrate in the North Sea. The Central Powers inflicted the occasional major blow such as this but could not risk a major naval battle with the Austro-Hungarian Navy.