December 29, 2012

Pass Of Balmaha

In 1888, a 245 foot tri-masted windjammer was handed over to those who commissioned it, the Harby Steamship Company.  Built in Scotland, it was nevertheless an American vessel, weighing in at 1571 tons. Operated by a Boston-based cotton company as a freighter, this vessel was named the SS Pass of Balmaha.  She mostly sailed the Atlantic trade routes, her steel hull serving her well when the weather became violent.

A proud ship, and one that well-served its masters into the 20th Century.  It was something of a pleasant-looking anachronism as World War I began... a ship of sail in a world of Dreadnaughts and armored cruisers.  However, as the First Great Mistake got cranking, the United States was neutral and non-aligned, and King Cotton had to be moved, so the Pass of Balmaha kept at it... until June of 1915.


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December 28, 2012

Name This Mystery Ship XXII

I found out about this particular vessel a little over two years ago, and have been keeping it under wraps for a time when I've needed a mystery ship.  Now is the time.  THIS: the ship.  As is always the case, I've photoshooped out any obvious recognition marks, but otherwise left the picture alone.  The unofficial rules, as always, apply: no imagesearching or anything like that.  That's cheating and makes Wonderduck cry.  One guess per customer.  Don't be a jerk.  I am the Law.  CXT and FDM, you two are in the Master's Level so no guesses from you until I give the say-so.  The winner gets a post on a topic of their choosing from your humble owner/proprietor of The Pond, moi.  No politics, religion or pr0n, however... this here's a fambly blog.

Get to guessin'!

UPDATE: Brickmuppet has already guessed that the ship was the HMS Zubian.  Unfortunately, my response broke the formatting of my "edit comments" page, so when the latest wave of spam came through, I couldn't delete them.  So, instead, I deleted the original post, which corrected the problem.  Yay me.

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December 27, 2012

90 Years

There are ships from World War II whose names ring down through the ages for their great deeds.  Names like Enterprise,  names like Samuel B Roberts, names like Tang and Wahoo.  Then there are ships who have generated a legend for other reasons.  Ships like Yamato, or Bismarck, or the lamented Arizona.  But there are other ships, ships that are known only to historians and grognards.  Ships that left a lasting legacy that only the truly attentive would be aware of, ships like the one that was commissioned 90 years ago today.

If you've read The Pond for any length of time, you know that I'm a fan of the underdog, and much more interested in the "supporting cast" than the star actors.  Everybody knows about the big carriers, for example, but nobody pays any attention to the escort carriers.  The Mustang, Spitfire and Zero get the headlines, but the Vindicator is what I'll be happy to read about for hours.  Which is why this ship is one of my favorites.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the the first aircraft carrier designed and built from the ground up, the Hosho.

Commissioned December 27th, 1922 into the Imperial Japanese Navy, the Hosho was never to be a top-of-the-line fleet carrier, even when brand new.  She could only carry 15 planes in 1922, that number decreasing rapidly as aircraft size and weight increased.  Only 552 feet long from bow to stern, she was only slightly longer than an average American escort carrier built 20 years later.  She was also very lightly built, weighing in at under 9700 tons at full load.  For comparison, the USS , a light cruiser commissioned in 1938, weighed in at 10000 tons.

But her size was not to be her main value to the Imperial Japanese Navy.


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December 07, 2012

71 Years

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