1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"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"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

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
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Somebody must have gotten his ass chewed...


Ladies and gentlemen, meet US Navy submarine, H3.
She's obviously not at her best in this photo.
In December of 1916, the H3 ran "hard aground", just off Eureka, California.
After that she seems to have gotten crosswise to the surf and then was rolled on in to shore.
In considering the options in the freeing of the stuck boat, the Navy ultimately rejected all the bids from civilian, salvage contractors, deciding that - they being The Navy after all - they ought to be able to pull such a tiny little ship off a simple beach.
Enter the hapless USS Milwaukee.

Milwaukee was a good-sized cruiser who'd spent the past eleven years sailing up and down the west coast.
Over the course of her service, being asked to tow a smaller vessel out of trouble would have been a fairly common request, I should think.
Anyway, the program was well thought-out.
The Milwaukee would pull the bow of H3 while her own bow would be kept in position, against the surf and load on the line, by two other boats, a tug and the monitor, Wyoming (which is how I got here in the first place. More about the Wyoming later).

The source, damning with faint praise, stated that the officer in charge, a Navy Lieutenant with no experience in big boats - or marine salvage (He wasn't the Captain. Why was he there?), was cautious - as one ought to be on the Pacific coast.
Short version: It didn't work. It's a great story and if I tried to tell it better than these folks, I'd just be writing the same thing.
The Milwaukee got sideways to the surf, rolled over and, after a few hours, her hull opened up and she became a "wreck" vs a "stranded ship".

In the end, the contractors ended up towing the H3 off anyway.
After that, she sailed on for another six years.
I say again: Somebody must have gotten his ass chewed. I just hope it wasn't the Lieutenant of the Milwaukee.
All info and pictures from one of the most interesting websites your tax dollars pay for;
The Navy Historical Center.

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