Pieter Bruegel the Elder.Armed Three-Master on the Open Sea Accompanied by a Galley from The Sailing Vessels, Netherlands, c. 1563.


The Turtle Ships of Medieval Korea,

In 1592, the de facto ruler of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ordered the  invasion of Korea.  Hideyoshi, the successor to Oda Nobunaga, had grandiose plans which began with the conquest of Korea and ended with the conquest of Ming Dynasty China.  Little did he know that the Koreans would fiercely resist their invasion, nor did he know that the Koreans had weapons technology far more advanced than that of Japan.  Among that advanced technology was a heavily armed and armored warship called the “turtle ship”, a tough and mighty gunboat that better resembled a floating tank rather than a ship.

Invented by the Korean Admiral Yi Sun-sin, the turtle ship was named as such because it resembled a turtle.  Unlike other vessels of the day, the turtle was enclosed in an armored shell.  Around 100 to 120 feet long, the turtle ship featured a large armored roof to protect its crew from arrow or musket fire.  While some suggest the armor may have been iron plate, thus making the turtle ship the first ironclad, most historians disagree.  Regardless the roof was armored with strong materials as well as anti-incendiary materials.  The roof was also lined with metal spikes to prevent boarders from climbing on to it.  While the turtle ship had two sailing masts, primary propulsion in combat was from oar power.  Crew numbered to around 130, with 80 oarsmen and officers, and another 50 marines.

While the Japanese had firearms, Korean technology had developed far past Japan’s due to their contact with China.  The key to the turtle ship’s power were its heavy cannon, about a dozen mounted on each side.  The Japanese, who never mounted guns on a boat or ship, preferred to get in close and board the ship, fighting in hand to hand combat.  Against the turtle ship, this wasn’t a very good idea as the cannon, with a range of 300-600 yards, pounded away at the Japanese ships from a distance.  The front of the turtle ship also sported a dragon’s head, which typically concealed a flamethrower.  A sulfur gas thrower was also available to create a smokescreen to hide the ship from the enemy.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Korea with a force of 158,000 soldiers and Samurai.  However, all of his men and equipment had to be shipped across the Sea of Japan.  Thus, Hideyoshi needed tremendous naval power to support the invasion.  Although heavily outnumbered, Korea’s fleet of 40 turtle ships, as well as hundreds of other warships, harassed and decimated the Japanese fleet.  At the Battle of Hansan Island, Admiral Yi Sun-sin ambushed a Japanese fleet of 133 ships with his fleet of 3 turtle ships and 52 panokseons (a traditional battleship wihch was also armed with cannon).  In the ensuing battle, 60 Japanese ships were sunk.  The Koreans lost no ships of their own, with casualties numbering only 19 dead.

Despite the might of Korea’s fleet and the power of the turtle ships, eventually the Japanese were able to overwhelm the Koreans with superior numbers.  The Japanese invasion was a success, but a short lived one as the Chinese intervened, pushing out the invaders with a superior army.  Hideyoshi attempted a second invasion in 1597, but by then the Koreans had strengthened their defense and reformed their military.  The second invasion quickly ground down into stalemate, a stalemate which would be ended once against with Chinese interventions.

Pillars of the Fleet….

One of the United States Navy’s newest submarines, USS Washington (SSN 787), returns to port in Norfolk, Virginia….as the Virginia-class attack sub continues fine-tuning onboard systems and crew training following her October 2017 commissioning into the active Fleet.

Other pillars of the Fleet….two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser….await her arrival pierside.

             The distinctive ship’s crest of USS Washington (SSN 787)


>>CLICK the top photo for a better look….

This aerial photograph of Pearl Harbor was taken three days after the attack. The black streaks are oil leaking out of the sunken ships. The USS Arizona is on the bottom right.

(Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives)

Likely taken during Operation Tungsten, a sailor of the Royal Canadian Navy looks aft from HMCS Algonquin’s deck, toward what would be the King George V-class battleships HMS Duke of York and HMS Anson - ca. April 1944.

Sourced from: Department of National Defence, Library and Archives Canada.

Composite photo of French warships firing their guns near Cherbourg, France, 1858. By Gustave Le Gray.

Source: Sotheby’s.

The Era of the Astute Approaches

Three Astute submarines sit in a giant construction hall alongside one another, destined for the sea. HMS Anson, the fifth now joins her two sisters as they undergo completion for service in the Royal Navy.

Artful and Audacious flank her. The former of which will launch early this year to join HMS Astute and HMS Ambush (Possibly one of the most appropriately named submarines ever) that are already in service.

The seven Astute classes are of the top tier in the world’s submarines and mark over a decade of development. They have gone up against the world’s leading submarine, the US Virginia class and come away as equals. Part of it stemming from their world beating sonar and being one of only two classes of submarine to combine the advantages of a diesel electric submarine with nuclear propulsion.

Once in service they will carry out sea and land attack missions, confident in the knowledge that even in the foreseeable future, no country has anything on the cards yet that could match Astute or Virginia in their ability.

Time passages….

PHILIPPINE SEA (April 28, 2017) – The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Ashigara (DDG 178), foreground, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) transit the Philippine Sea.

From once bitter enemies, bent on total destruction of the other 75 years ago….

                            ….to fast and respected friends and allies….

                                      The United States and Japan.


>>CLICK the photo for a much closer look….

>>Photo:  Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Z.A. Landers, USN


HMS Queen Elizabeth: £3.1 billion (inc. R&D); capable of 110 sorties a day; crew 1,500; range 10,000 miles with friendly ports all around the world (*cough* Empire perks.); escorted by Type 45 destroyers, capable of tracking a mach 3 tennis ball at 250 miles and controlling air traffic for Charles De Gaulle, Paris from Portsmouth dockside, England - hence U.S. carriers (and currently the French) in the Gulf are frequently escorted by one. On top of that Merlin helicopters will provide an added, independent AEW and ASW capability.

USS Gerald R Ford: £8.6 billion (not inc. R&D); capable of 160 sorties a day; crew 4,660; range unlimited; E-2 Hawkeye and Aegis escorts provide early warning defence, dating from the 1960s and ‘70s respectively.

Both ships will fly off F-35s in the B and C variant. Both aircraft are fifth gen stealth fighters with a departure boundary far in excess of the F-16 and beyond visual range capability far in advance of any other naval fighter at sea or on the horizon.

Both ships will go wherever the fuck they want and hit whatever the fuck they want, incredibly hard. The only thing that will stop them is a well commanded submarine - and one of those will stop anything at sea. On Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, catapults would have been nice but they take up a lot of room, are noisy as all hell and everything they’d allow the use of is decidedly old technology. Except drones, but then only America is happy to quietly bomb the shit out of a sovereign state with them. To say that catapults offer advantages is one thing, to write off any carrier without is bullshit.


The Battle of the Denmark Strait - 24th May 1941.

Diagrams showing hits sustained by capital ships involved, roughly in chronological order. Hit to Hood at 6:00 (am) caused catastrophic magazine detonation, penetrating main deck armour while closing range. Hood was in the process of a turn to port at that moment, to bring her aft guns and main belt armour to bear. Interesting to note that Prince of Wales was prior to that already scoring damaging hits to Bismarck, which did indeed take on a 9° port list and trim down by the bow of 2 meters - to the extent that her props began to protrude from the water astern. Counter flooding could and did correct this, but that compromised torpedo defences and had a running gun battle ensued, in which Hood would soon have found her range, the two heavy cruisers HMS Suffolk and Norfolk were closing from 28,000 and 21,000 yards respectively, Suffolk carrying torpedoes.


United States warships active during WWI.

1. USS  San Diego 1915

2. USS Birmingham 1908

3. USS Chauncey

4. USS Delaware 1917

5. USS Florida 1917

6. USS Michigan 1910

7. USS Minnesota 1911

8. USS Tennesse 1908

9. USS Wyoming 1910

10. US Submarine K.5 1919