Monday, August 31, 2009

Webcam is Down

We have been advised that the problem with the webcam is a mechanical problem, not a computer problem and it will have to be replaced. Unfortunately, the replacement cost is prohibitive and, given the current fiscal realities, will not happen in the near future.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Memoriam - USS Pompano (SS-181) - Sunk 29 August 1943

After leaving Midway on 20 August 1943 to start her seventh war patrol, USS Pompano (SS-181) was never heard from again.

Her orders were to patrol off the east coast of Honshu, the Japanese home island, from 29 August to 27 September and then to return to Midway.

Examination of Japanese records after the war revealed no recorded attack that could have caused Pompano's loss, nor any attacks by Pomano on Japanese shipping.

It is probable that Pompano was sunk in an unrecorded attack, since the Japanese records are understandable incomplete. Other possibilities include loss to a mine, as the waters in Pompano's operational areas were heavily mined. A circular run of one of her own torpedoes cannot be ruled out, as at least two other American submarines are known to have suffered the same fate. Finally, some kind of operational accident, such as a fire, or some other peril of the sea could have claimed Pompano. It is likely that we will never know her true fate or final resting place.

For more information, including a list of the officers and men lost aboard USS Pompano,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

In Memoriam - USS S-39 (SS-144) - 16 August 1942

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

USS S-39, a 211-foot long submarine commissioned in 1923 and armed with only four torpedo tubes, conducted peacetime operations as part of the Asiatic Fleet during the 1920s and '30s, remaining in the Far East as WWII approached. During the war, she attempted to curtail Japanese minelaying efforts and waylay their logistics ships, but experienced little success. During her third war patrol, she managed to sink the Japanese oiler Erimo.

During the summer of 1942, S-39 operated out of Australia, patrolling near the Lusiade and Soloman Islands. On her fifth war patrol, she accidentally ran aground near Rossel Island on 08 December 1942. Due to the heavy surf pounding on her hull, the decision was made to abandon ship. Two sailors, Lieutenant C. N. G. Hendrix and W. L. Shoenrock, CCStd, volunteered to swim to a nearby reef and rig mooring lines to it. Using these lines, most of the crew reached the safety of the reef before the Australian minesweeper Katoomba arrived to collect the entire crew.

The submarine was left to be destroyed by the sea. The crew were all rescued without loss of life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Kid's Bridge to Play With at the Museum

Here at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum (AIMM), while we would like to think that a submarine would be pretty fun by itself, we know that there is always room for improvement.

In order to add to the educational experience while also improving the "fun" side of the museum, especially for the younger kids, we have added a replica ship's bridge.

The bridge has a combination of controls from an ocean going ship and a river tugboat.

The helmsman's wheel spins, the four rudder controls move, as do the valve controls and both throttles.

This project was made entirely from donated items, including the helmsman's wheel. AIMM would like to thank everyone who donated time or materials to make this project possible.

The kid's bridge has been dedicated in the memory of Captain Glen R. "Pappy" Sears, USN (ret), Razorback's former Commanding Officer.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Brief Career of CSS Arkansas Ended 147 Years Ago Today

Originally laid down near Memphis, TN in October 1861, CSS Arkansas was supposed to be delivered to the Confederate Navy three months later. By the time she actually entered service on 12 July 1862, the Union Navy controlled much of the Mississippi.

Arkansas saw combat almost immediately, engaging Union ships three times on 14 July as she made the dash from the Yazoo River to the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, then under seige by Union naval forces. Her presence at Vicksburg forced the Union ships to keep up steam constantly (rather than remaining at anchor and being vulnerable to attack) and this drain on their resources eventually forced them to withdraw, breaking the siege. Arkansas' career ended when she set forth from Vicksburg to support a Confederate attack on Baton Rouge. On 06 August, 1862, her engines failed during an engagement with the Union ironclad Essex. She ran aground and was intentionally burned to prevent her capture.

In 21 days, CSS Arkansas was in five battles with Union ships. She badly damaged many of her opponents and established a fearsome reputation during her short career.

More information about CSS Arkansas can be found on the US Naval Historical Center website, or by visiting the new exhibit "We Fought Them" at the museum, which will run through September.