"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

New Info

Yahoo, in their infinite wisdom, has made itself unusable for reliable e-mail.
New e-mail:
Of course I still check the Yahoo account. They just suck for the day-to-day stuff.

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov

USS Yorktown making 17 1/2 knots astern.

USS Yorktown making 17 1/2 knots astern.
parallel parking comes next.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Monday, November 16, 2015

What the Hell, Boat Post

I've raved before about the drop-dead coolness of torpedo boats and our topic is kinda like on of those. It looked the part anyway. 
USS Katahdin wasn't really a T-boat since it actually possessed no torpedoes nor armaments of any kind save four, quick-firing, six-pounders.
  for a while anyway
Read: "Deck guns" like this one on USS Oregon, taken at about the same time.
Although, the pictured gun is a Hotchkiss, the one animated on the link above is a Nordenfeld. We need to be clear about these things.

 No, Katahdin was a whole different breed of cat.
She was a "Harbor Ram". Of course, the six-pounders bad-assed as they were, were only defensive. The Katahdin was expected to put down any battleships - and yes they were her intended target - that may have slipped into her AO by ...  running into them
You saw it first here, ladies and gentlemen.

This was big news in 1893. The above drawing and accompanying text were given pride-of-place - on page 8 of the San Francisco Call - next to all the pressing advertisements of the day.
We'll go on a brief, pictorial romp before we go on with Katahdin's service and undignified end.
Here are the stats:
  • 2,190 tons displacement. about a third that of the concurrent, USS Maine (Remember?)
  • Two-hundred and fifty feet long and about forty-five across, she drew only fifteen feet of water. Hence the "harbor ram" designation; 
  • "Run your battleship into MY harbor and expect to be sunk forthwith by my pointy nose, shallow draft, impressive ass-pounds and kick-ass, fast engines.
Or not. Although her credentials and construction (Presumably) were solid, her engines, although more powerful than had been specified, had failed to bring her to the requisite speed of 17 knots.
But, so bitchin' cool was she that special legislation was passed to accept her as is - which was certainly adequate to the task given the likelihood of hostile battlewagons menacing our vulnerable harbors.
 A fantasy lithograph of what might have been...
Of the three ships pictured, only the rearmost, the gunboat Machias  had actually been commissioned in 1893 and our mate, Katahdin front-and-center, never rocked those, Great White Fleet colors.
Here's a close-up that solidifies in my mind why it must have sucked big-time to serve in Katahdin.
Notice the ship's gangway; such as it is, welded steps onto her "turtleback".
Now there's no brain-strain to figure out the purpose of said construction. This vessel plans on spending, at least some, time under water.
Not to worry, the lads were safe because the turtleback served its purpose and kept the lower decks sealed away nicely from the the deadly wet stuff.
But, notice the stack. Check out the size of this thing, easily six feet in diameter. that's because Katahdin burned coal. With fifteen, vertical feet of her below the waterline, she must have cozy indeed when underway.
She actually did her job during the Spanish-American War, patrolling harbors from New England to Shit City (Norfolk).
Alas, no Spanish warships appeared for her to fearlessly puncture with her pointy bow so we'll never know if she was a good idea or not.
She got shuffled around and ignored for a while until her final orders came (Dramatic, innit?).
The sixteen years between her launch and her demise were chaotic to say the least. Roosevelt built and outfitted his "Great White Fleet" and sent it on a round-the-world show-the-flag cruise.
Then, before they'd even gotten back home, virtually all of his battleships were rendered obsolete by the Brit upstart, HMS Dreadnought.
Now it was all about guns - big guns and lots of them.
Dreadnought changed the game with five pairs of 12" guns.
Now, just three years later, The Navy ordnance folks were cranking out brandy-new 14" guns.
Like these on USS Texas, circa 1918:
It was the testing of these new wonder weapons that brought Katahdin back into action. Very brief action.
If you hadn't noticed, just to the north of our happy Texas shipmates was a page from the NY Daily Tribune from October 1909. It's a breathless account of how agog, simply agog they were about the Navy's new 14" 450 caliber rifles.
Shoehorned in among vast praise for manufacturing and ballistics, Katahdin is mentioned, blocked out in grey above.
Here's the quote:
"...as if robed for the sacrifice..." What a line of shit.
And she cost a million dolllars! WTF?
That's about twenty-six million in modren money so, by present standards, she was a bargain.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Armistice Day!

Teeth. What's the expression... "just ignore them. They'll go away"?
Speaking for my own self; me and the chompers have had a rocky relationship.
In general, they don't fuck with me and I stay away from Snickers and the like at bedtime. It seems to be a workable relationship.  So far, so good.
But enough of this dental discourse. We're here to celebrate the ninety-seventh birthday of the temporary  cessation of hostilities in what had been, to that point, the most deadly, pointless and stupid attempt to change the world in history.
Thanks, Kaiser Bill.
That's not what this is about. This is about a need, a legitimate need, being felt by that most vulnerable and fragile of the population, the rich.
Back in the day, sweet stuff was hard to come by for hunter-gatherer types so finding something like a honey comb was a huge occasion.
Well, being the smart folk we are, after we've had ample time to civilize ourselves, along comes this deadly white substance, sugar.
Suddenly - this wondrous powder appears and no more having to just luck-out and find a honey tree - or spend extra energy chewing on cane just to get a tiny fix.
You can just buy it and then put it on everything.
Problem was:You could buy it - if you had the cash.
End result: All the "hep cats" and members of the "in group", with all their pastries and whatnot, ended up with their precious, rich-person's teeth rotting in their heads!
All that was needed was a way to make fake teeth! Then Buffy and Skipper could munch down the Ho-Ho's without the worry that they'd hit the social scene with mouths that looked like the rotting pilings of an abandoned pier.
Now; there were teeth and there were teeth. I can't speak to the quality of Mr. Stanton's  work (Above) but he seemed to have had an advertising budget in any case. Based on that I assume he was on the upscale end. You'll notice as well: He lists a "per tooth" price.
The low end of the market was occupied by ivory and ivory-based dentures such as those pictured next, the ones with those oh-so-comfortable springs.
The lower looks to have been carved of-a-piece while the upper has ivory teeth mounted in gold. They don't look bad. They just don't look like teeth.
Unlike these bad boys. One piece, hand-carved ivory and very expensive but still; not quite it. Know what I mean?
There were options of course for those long in the dollar but rotten in the tooth.
For example: A gold frame could be set with the genuine article: A new/used, recycled tooth that looks just like the original.
Pretty sweet! 

Brief sidebar while I explore the utter weirdness of this: Back during my one of my intermittent clumps of college time, I took a poetry class wherein, one day the professor read a poem somehow inspired by the sensations of wearing his dead granddad's vest. Upon discussion of this later, one of my classmates said: "Wear  a dead man's clothes? No way!").

So, he wouldn't wear a garment from a dead relative, how might he feel about having dead folks teeth grinding up his dinner for him.
Now the next pictured is an admittedly funky example from the 1870's. It's upside down as it consists of the four middle teeth (Thank you for your service!) of... somebody else, maybe a couple somebody elses', mounted in a ... thing carved out of hippo ivory. Possibly they were made for a warthog and those holes were for tusks - I don't know.
Harvesting teeth off of people who weren't using them any more is an old practice, It's just the supply was sporadic at best.
If you were in the tooth trade, you'd need to have gotten friendly with the executioner, whoever managed the morgue or potter's field and any unscrupulous doctors that might be willing to hook you up.
Even though this was early on, when the pricing was high due to scarcity of supply, the quality of said supply was marginal. You might get the teeth of someone who'd died from syphilis or any number of things.
Of course you could hook up with some resurrectionists, the cheery folk who dig up other, less cheery folk who just happen to dead and buried.
It was looking bleak. The makers of quality dental prostheses had no access to quality chompers and the suffering, rich sweet-toothers were paying top dollar for teeth that they may get sick from.
But something happened that turned everything sunny-side-up in the early 18th century.
All of a sudden, enough teeth to make everybody happy and the beauty part: Nearly all of said teeth came from people in the prime of life.
  That would be: The Napoleonic wars.
Who'd have thought that this sawed-off, pot-bellied Frenchman and his European ramblings would have any spillover bennies for our poor tooth-hunters and their sad clientele.
"Waterloo teeth" became a thing.
  Seriously, if you were in the business of finding replacement teeth, this was like striking gold.  
The word got out - all over Europe - fifteen-thousand full sets of teeth (Mostly) just laying out on the ground, somewhere up in Belgium.
They, the tooth-pickers, had probably clued up to this well before Waterloo and had following the bonanza trail ever since the sovereign nations first began to kill one another with all that modren technology, leaving all that toothy goodness out there for the picking.
Waterloo was the name that stuck and the proud tradition of pulling dead men's teeth for money was carried on in the aftermath of subsequent conflicts.
Gettysburg teeth, Antietam teeth, whatever. They're always called Waterloo teeth.
Now, I have nowhere else to go with this so; Happy Armistice Day!
Let's enjoy  Siegfried Sassoon's:

To The Warmongers

"I'm back again from hell
With loathsome thoughts to sell;
secrets of death to tell;
And horrors from the abyss.

Young faces bleared with blood
sucked down into the mud,
You shall hear things like this,
Till the tormented slain

Crawl round and once again,
With limbs that twist awry
Moan out their brutish pain,
As the fighters pass them by.

For you our battles shine
With triumph half-divine;
And the glory of the dead
Kindles in each proud eye.

But a curse is on my head,
That shall not be unsaid,
And the wounds in my heart are red,
For I have watched them die."

Okay, we can't quit on a downer like that. Let's have at the Royal Scots Greys and their charge at Waterloo.
Lot's of teeth in that picture.

Monday, October 05, 2015


What bridge?
The Brooklyn bridge, although it's not called that yet. In fact it's not even a bridge, indeed it's hardly visible above the waterline of the East River at this stage.
Wait, what?
Most of what you see above is stone and steel. What could have possible caught fire?
And thereby hangs a tale.
Of the two granite towers, the Brooklyn and the Manhattan, the Brooklyn side was started first because the river bottom on that side was rockier and harder digging. The thinking being: If this is going to fizzle due to the unworkability of digging tower foundations, it would be best to find out early.
As you may recall from your school days, the foundations beneath the river were dug in caissons.
When first developed, these were just tubes that kept the water out of the work area and sank as they were undermined - like a self-contained cofferdam. Easy-peasy.
Illustration to the left is from 1846 and shows a very simple and shallow example.
The water in the scenario pictured isn't deep - three feet or so. Different problems arise when the water is deep, said problem being; keeping the water out - it being heavy and liquid.
The Eads Bridge, built across the Mississippi at St. Louis, was one of the first to use "pneumatic caissons" which, as the name implies, keeps the water from intruding by filling the space with compressed air of a pressure sufficient to counterbalance the weight .
Of course, the caisson will need a roof now, unlike our pictured example.
With me so far?
The Eads Bridge was one of the first times that "caisson disease" was noticed. Now we call it "the bends" or decompression sickness.
Official Brooklyn Bridge genius,  Washington Roebling, often consulted with Eads concerning his project, happening at the same time, the projected "East River Bridge", which would use the deepest caissons ever sunk.
On top of that, Roebling's caissons were to serve not only as work chambers but later, as the ultimate foundation of the tower.
And these were big items.

Launching Size and weight of Brooklyn Caisson: 168 x 102 x 14.5 feet; 3000 tons
Of course, upon launching still more courses of timber were laid until the total over the heads of the workers in the caisson totaled fifteen feet. Apologies for the shitty quality of the next image. I had to scan it from a book since all the Internet shitheads have taken these public domain prints and are monetizing them to sell prints.
The book: "The Great Bridge". Excellent read but don't buy it from Amazon. Fuck that guy.
The upper of the two shows the completed caisson before it was floated down to its new home.
So, since a granite tower was to be erected topside, Roebling's caissons had to be closed at the top. Rather like a big, thick, wooden box open at the bottom.
The lower picture: The layout of the caisson. I'll dispense with any description of the multitude of details relative to the how of things and just say this: What you see above the heads of the happy workmen toiling at the bottom - and below the masonry a'building above - represents fifteen feet of solid, southern yellow pine. Twelve-inch square timbers laid in alternating directions until the full height was reached.
Yellow pine was chosen due to its high resin content, in fact the sticks Roebling used would hardly float due to their density.
Movie break!
Dave Matthews was going to provide the soundtrack but bailed at the last minute. 
As the riveting footage above illustrates, the other side of the rot inhibiting character of such resinous wood was...  Anyone?
Now Roebling was no idiot and was well aware of the dangers of a compressed-air work area and the need to be careful with open flames.
The work progressed apace and on December 2, 1870 the Brooklyn caisson was almost forty-three feet below the river bed and very near to where it was going to be for the rest of eternity.

But, whadya know, fire.
It seems that, in spite of the diligent pointing of all the joints between the timbers, one area in the roof of the caisson was missing an inch of two of mortar so the oakum caulking was exposed.
Probably no biggie except that just below this spot a fella had nailed a box to the partition  to keep his lunch in. In looking into said box, he would put his candle on top of the box and...
A most unspectacular catastrophe indeed. There was no smoke, no flames, nothing but a hole a few inches across through which was visible an inferno of glowing coals a foot or more wide and possibly seven feet long.
Up in that fifteen feet of criss-crossed yellow-pine timber with a huge fuel supply and all the combustion air a fire could want. Compressed even.
Short version: This fire wasn't going away on its own.

Assholes were jumped through and bricks were shat.
They stuffed rags and mud into the hole. They threw buckets of water up into it and they shot steam into it for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then two big cylinders of CO2.
None of it worked. It would work well enough - until it didn't. When the steam was shut off or the gas ran out, the fire was back.
This was a serious problem being that there was now approximately 28,000 tons of stone piled on the ceiling of this structure which now had a supercharged fire burning the guts out of it.
Roebling had been there since half an hour after the fire was discovered and was by now exhausted. He was on his way home, feeling sick to begin with but then got word that the drilling that had been going on into the roof of the caisson had discovered more fire.
Back he came and the monumental decision to flood the caisson was slowly but finally arrived at.
This wasn't as easy as it sounded. There were odd parts of the interior that were lower than the outside rim and the interior partitions. These were the water shafts which served as an air-lock for the clam shell buckets to pick up material from.
A few problematic boulders beneath the water shafts and the perimeter had to be dealt with and even then it was a gamble.
Prior to this, the caisson had never rested anywhere with none if its weight unsupported. Ever since it was launched it had been full of air and buoyant. It was only supposed to be down settled on the bottom after the bedrock had been reached.
The short version is: There was nothing else for it. The compressors were shut down and water was pumped into the caisson. 
It was left flooded for two days and survived with some minor damage.
With the water gone, the gamble was deemed a success being that no traces of the fire were evident. The only indication that there had even been a fire was the small opening in the roof, just above the partition.
That was such a nothing-burger that everyone immediately assumed that the damage would be minor, probably just sticking to the edges of the timbers leaving lots of meat there to support this half of the bridge.
Good news indeed, especially since during and after this drama played out, the preparations for finally settling the caisson into its new home were nearing completion. Brick piers were built to support the weight above for the time ahead when the air pressure will be shut off so the remaining space could be filled with concrete.
About this time, strong smell of turpentine is detected at the top of the caisson along with a frothy brown liquid.
Back to panic mode. Roebling and his chief mechanic took another look at the fire damage and realized that it may reach farther than they'd expected. In any case, it was obvious that lots of compressed air was being lost through the timbers.
The thought was this: They'd pump concrete (a grout really) into the main hole as well as the two-hundred holes that had been drilled up into things over the past few weeks.
Roebling devised a pump with a cylinder and a piston that, when a screw jack applied pressure, the grout would be forced through a 1/4" pipe and into the void.
Slow going as you may imagine. When all was said and done, they'd pumped six-hundred cubic feet of concrete. Those in the trades would refer to this by cubic yards, in this case, twenty two and change. 
Another way to look at it: It's just a little shy of four mix-trucks worth - or forty-five tons
Trucks like this one.
A giant, collective sigh of relief was expressed and, since the caisson was finally at its destination and the brick piers were in place, Roebling decided to cut off the compressed air so they could all bask in their handiwork.
He then ordered that a six-foot hole be cut into the ceiling of the caisson so that the effects of the fire and its brilliant repair could be examined.
Turned out - the concrete had been very effective. It had completely filled-in all the labyrinthine passages that the fire had eaten - but it'd left a nice, crunchy, structurally-unsound, charcoal layer an inch of two thick around it all.
Out came those forty-five tons of mud and the task then became "gigantic dentistry".
All the charcoal had to be scraped out and the voids filled.
For three full months, eighteen carpenters worked 'round the clock clearing away the charcoal and filling in the gaps.
Small spaces would be filled - again - with concrete while the larger were filled with timber.
The ragged edges were chiseled square and new sticks - again southern yellow pine, 12"x12",  in lengths of eight to ten feet - were snaked up into the mess above and bolted in place.
So, even though the caisson was virtually in its home since December, the final repairs weren't  finished until March 6, 1871.
Five days later, the caisson was filled with concrete and that end of the great bridge was settled.
Apparently, it's still there. But, as they used to say: "I ain't never lost nothing in New York" so I can't personally verify.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A tale of two 2X6's or - We don't grow 'em like we used to

 In 1987 I bought a house, a dirt-cheap shitbox, 31739 C. G. Lorane Rd. (Folks with a better computer than mine - ie everybody - can probably look at a picture).
Anyway, bought the joint on a land-sales contract for $25,000. I said shitbox.
During the seventeen years that I owned the property, I did much remodeling and ultimately sold it for $125,500 (!!!) in 2004.
These two chunks of wood represent two different generations of Oregon framing lumber as well as two distinct periods of my remodeling.
The top one was original to the house which was built in 1947 or so. The smaller piece dates from some work I'd done circa 1989-ish.
Same species. Douglas Fir, God's most perfect structural lumber. Hell, they may have come from the same hillside although forty years apart.
Let's have a look at the older of the two:
At about the mid-point of this cross-section, the growth rigs represent roughly fifty years of growth - all compressed into an inch-and-a-half.
Contrast that with the newer one which made the same amount of fragile, weak timber all in the space of six years.
Which is the stronger chunk?
Paradoxically, if we were talking about oak, the fast grown one would be the stronger. Doug fir isn't a ring-porous species so it's different and we're not talking about oak anyway.

This is the tree that the entire Pacific Northwest was covered with until we avaricious, industrial humans ("Human" being used loosely) decided that they all needed to be mowed down 'cause Progress.
It wasn't about "the poor little spotted owl" or any such bullshit. It was greed,plain and simple.

The stronger of those two chunks of wood represents, in the eyes of the timber industry, an "over-ripe tree". Read: We could have made money off this two-hundred years ago. WTF?
Thing is: In the '80's these swine were busy cutting down the big trees and sending lots of them to Japan for the construction of tea houses many of them as raw logs ("Colonies are the only ones that export raw materials").
Full marks to the Japanese for recognizing superior timber. You can still get it. It's just called VG fir (Vertical Grain) and has nothing like the densely packed growth rings that this 1947, lumberyard 2x6 had.
In our hall of shame we have to mention Murphy Logging. They were busted in the '80's for selling raw logs overseas beyond their quota.
Fucked up but my favorite thing about them is the bumper sticker I saw on a Murphy crummy a few years back:
"Clear-cut it and burn the damned thing!"
With the Murphy Co. trademark shamrock.
Classy - like Donald Trump.
No need to freak out though. They grow back. It just takes four-hundred years or so.
Americans are nothing if not patient and we can wait.

No - we can't but we weren't always this stupid and short-sighted.
Take those stodgy Brits.
Oxford's New College (Founded 1379) has a dining hall with a roof supported by oak beams two feet square and forty feet long.
In the 1860's it was discovered that the beams were riddled with the burrows of powder-post beetle larva. Not surprising but what could they do?
Turned out that Oxford University had, on property it owned, oak trees of sufficient size to replace the spongy oak beams. They weren't even planted on purpose for the project. They just happened to be there.
I'm ready to rant so I should rein it in now.

To the left, please find: A time line covering the fifty-some years it took for our Truman era board to grow that inch-and-a-half of thickness.
Of course the dates are bogus.
The arc of the rings says that this stick wasn't anywhere near the inner - or outer portion of the log. As opposed to the modern version where the pith of the log is included (which makes it unstable and prone to split but... PROFITS!)
So, in all likelihood my chronology could easily be two-hundred years off but it still represents half a century of growth and a chunk of time that we can't wait because... big house! Toilet paper!
We need this stuff and it's just growing out of the ground.
Be a shame to waste it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Trolling, Trolling Over The Bounding Main

"I'm busting, Jerry. I'm busting"
George Costanza

Got some Facebook buddies dating from my past in Montana that have been waxing stupid re Muslims, the world, reality and of course, the internet.
One re-posted someone's stupid photo of a Muslim institution supposedly wanting to destroy America.
Dumbasses didn't know that it came from this wonderful website.
I went there and made my own to counter it. The result is below.
Well, mistakes were made, time was wasted by someone with too much of it (Buy some knives, Damn it) because it was major fun.
My other trolling efforts follow.
Feel free to rip them off.
Bit 'o arcana there.
Trolling at its best.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lightening the load.

My load specifically. To that end I'm having a house-cleaning sale. Everything must go!
Everything on this page that is.
Check  it out. You may find something you can't be without.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Buy one here!  With a trailer! Adorable.
This was a wonder of WW2 engineering that I completely glossed-over in my hit-and-miss diatribe on the Deuce-and-a-half earlier. Sorry.
To make up, this is about every one's dream party-boat, the DUKW.
It'd be nice to imagine that this handy acronym meant something - and, since it also sounded kind of like "Duck" - and that some poor Nobody at the acronym dept. had to come up with a tac/term (tactical terminology. I just made that up) to designate a seagoing truck.
No, this was corporate America's terminology and we'll fall victim to the incredible nomenclature system used by GMC later on.
GMC sent this particular truck on its way designated as follows:
  • "D", designed in 1942
  • "U", "utility"
  • "K", all-wheel drive
  • "W", dual rear axles
That's almost an acronym for "duck". Close enough.
Besides, "duck" rhymes with "truck".
Fuck! It writes itself.
In its simplest terms, it was just a standard, Army 6X6, a GMC, CCKW.  Follow that link to further unravel the GMC code (Hint: It's alphabetical).
The duck was just one of those but with a boat built around it.
And not one of those "Hey look at me, amphibious-convertions that would swamp in a heavy dew - like those D-day "floating Shermans" which were hampered, not only by their weight - 30 ton-ish - but also by the fact they were a tank (Sort of) first and a boat (A poor one) second.
its dubious ability to navigate water was a sorry-ass band-aid.

The duck was the real deal.
Ripped from the pages of Wiki:

"The DUKW was designed by Rod Stephens, Jr. of Sparkman & Stephens, Inc. yacht designers, Dennis Puleston, a British deep-water sailor resident in the U.S., and Frank W. Speir, a Reserve Officers' Training Corps Lieutenant from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[8] Developed by the National Defense Research Committee and the Office of Scientific Research and Development to solve the problem of resupply to units which had just performed an amphibious landing,"

I was just going to say that.
You may recall from the earlier deuce-and-a-half discussion, that the prototype ducks were built on the chassis of the ugly/adorable AFKWX

  Embrace the koan of the GMC acronym system. Therein lies peace.
Regarding the first ducks, it seems no-one in the military was much interested in them. The big-brain thinking was more along the lines of landing craft and all the other related getting-the-stuff-to-the-beach-in-a-big-hurry hardware.
Thing was, the issue that the duck addressed - and that no one else seemed to pay any attention to - was this:  Here was a vehicle that could be loaded directly off a ship - anchored several miles offshore - and could be loaded to the the tune of 5000 pounds-worth ("GMC, We are professional grade"). 
It could then could take said cargo and motor it into shore, over any reefs, seawalls... whatever. Then, without a pause - hereby bypassing the place where guys customarily were blown up transferring shit from ship to shore - continue into the back country as far as you'd want to go because... it's a truck. 
It's a deuce-and-a-half.
The  question of seaworthiness was the big one but it was proved out early in the game and the incident concerned pretty much settled the issue.
A USCG patrol craft had found itself grounded on a sandbar near Provincetown, Massachusetts. 
60 knot winds and heavy surf kept any conventional craft away and rescuing the grounded crew was proving to be a head-scratcher. 
Now, this was a vessel of the saltiest of America's services. Nobody deals with the big ocean in little boats like the Coasties do and they would most certainly have gotten their lads back on land...   It just turned out, they didn't have to.
Apparently this fella, Rod Stephens (mentioned earlier) knew which was the pointy end when he'd undertaken to built a boat/Halloween-costume for the butt-ugly AFKWX.
I seems that one of these early Ducks happened to be tooling around in the same area as our hapless Coasties and... saved the day. 
From then on, the Duck was a go project.
They exist in the here and now. Someone, please buy them and save from the tourists.

Lest any think that the saltiness factor spoken of in the above story may have been an anomaly, go here:
The Ducks, they got around...
Dong their thing, ship to shore.
And sometimes hot-shit personages would avail themselves of the Duck's wonderful versatility.

Visiting the Normandy beachhead are General Marshall, General Eisenhower, and Admiral King (all holding the rail in the DUKW), 12 June 1944.  
Here's a Brit DUKW transporting American troops across a French river a few months past D-Day.
The last big operation in Europe where the Ducks were instrumental was the crossing of the Rhine into Germany at the end of March 1945.
370 DUKWs were used in this operation moving men and supplies.
How about the other side of the world.
Like Burma, here with the Brits again.
We'll close with an action shot - and the question: Why can't we make anything simple, reliable and functional anymore?
Somewhere in the Pacific. A Duck coming in with both fore and aft splash-guards up.
 They call them "surf boards" in this video, which is some Army PR schtick but some good tips if you've got twenty minutes to kill.

Locations of visitors to this page