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21 of the Deadliest Warships The World Has Ever Seen

Cynthia Brooke

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The Industrial Age of naval warfare did away with the varied craftsmanship of different shipyards, and introduced the idea of warship “classes.” A “class” refers to a series of vessels constructed to the same design specifications – a feat which was unimaginable before the Industrial Revolution. Read on to learn about 21 of the most lethal warship classes that have sailed the seas since then.

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1. Turtle, Colonial America – The Turtle was the world’s first submersible with a documented use in military combat: during the REVOLUTIONARY WAR! She was built in 1775 (!), to be used for attaching explosive charges to harbored ships, specifically British Royal Navy vessels in North American Harbors during the war. President George Washington was doubtful of the submersible’s abilities when he saw the sketches, he provided funding for its building and testing. Unfortunately, all attempts to use the Turtle to attach explosive to the bottoms of British warships failed. She sank, and although claims of finding the Turtle were made, her final whereabouts are unknown. Several replicas can be found in museums worldwide, such as the Connecticut River Museum.

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2. H. L. Hunley, Confederate States of America – This Civil-War era vessel was the first combat submarine that succeeded at what it was designed for: sinking a warship. Its barbed spar torpedoe was embedded into the hull of the Union Army’s USS Housatonic, and was detonated, sending the ship and and five of her crewmen to the bottom of the sea five miles offshore of Charleston. The H. L. Hunley itself sunk three times in her short career, taking 21 Confederate crewmen with her in all. She finally sank for good in 1864, after downing the Housatonic. She remained at the bottom somewhere in Charleston’s outer harbor until finally being raised in 1995. The H. L. Hunley is now on display at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center on the Cooper River in North Charleston, South Carolina.

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3. Type U 31 Class Submarine, Imperial Germany – In the first year of World War I, or 1917, Germany decided that submarines needed to be used for naval warfare. Previously, the invention’s purpose was uncertain; but Imperial Germany put them to work in an attempt to drive the United Kingdom from the war. Eleven of the U-31s were built between 1912 and 1915. Each displaced 800 tons and had four 20-inch torpedo tubes – two fitted into the bow, two into the stern. Most vessels also had one or two 3.5 inch deck guns, later replaced by 4.1 inch guns. Type U 27 came before this class, and Type U 43 came after.

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4. Kagero Class Destroyer, Imperial Japan – The Imperial Japanese Navy introduced the Kagero class of warships in 1941. The Kageros, eighteen in all, each had three twin turrets, holding 6 5-inch guns total. This was better gun power than all but France’s destroyers, which weren’t found in the Pacific, anyway. A Kagero’s torpedoes – called “Long Lances” or Type 93s – could go as far as 40,000 yards! Only one Tagero, Yukikaze, survived World War II. She took Chiang Kai Shek to Taiwan near the end of the Chinese Civil War, defended Taiwan from the Chinese. and finally was scrapped in 1970 after getting run aground.

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5. Town Class Cruiser, United Kingdom – The Town Class Cruisers served in all important battles of World War II. Fighting for the British Royal Navy, each light cruiser had twelve six-inch guns, and displaced 12,000 tons. There were ten ships in the class total. The Town Class was divided into three sub-classes, with each sub-class adding on more weaponry: the Southampton, Gloucester, and Edinburgh classes. The vessels were designated as light cruisers by specifications set forth in the London Treaty. In World War II, the Town Class saw lots of infamous fighting action, such as the sinking of the German battleship Scharnhorst. Four Town Class ships were sunk in World War II; the remaining vessel fought in the Korean War. The ships were rebuilt heavily after the Second World War, and again after the Korean War. One Town Class, the HMS Belfast, has been a museum ship (part of the Imperial War Museum) moored on the Thames River near Tower Bridge since 1971.

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6. Zumwalt-Class Destroyer, United States – The newest class of guided missile destroyers in the U.S. Navy, the Zumwalt-class had been born in response to the decline of America’s relations with Russia of late. There are three of them, intended for naval gunfire support. These are “stealth” ships – the first for the U.S. Navy – whose angled, flat features were designed to reduce detection by radar. Don’t think that “stealth” equals “small,” however: at displacement of 14,000 tons and 610 feet long, they are the largest destroyers in U.S. Navy history. Yet, they have the radar signature of a small fishing unit!

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7. Kirov Battlecruiser, Russia – What are the Zumwalts up against? The Russian opponent is the Kirov, which has been around since the 1980s. They are nearly as long as the biggest World War II battleships from any nation, but weigh far less, at only 24 thousand tons. They can make speed of up to 32 knots – 2 knots more than the U.S.’s Zumwalts. Each Kirov carries 20 huge P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles.

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8. Virginia Class Submarine, United States – This submarine, introduced to the U.S. Navy in summer 2015, is seven thousand eight hundred tons, 337 feet long, and cost $2 billion. It has 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and two MK48 torpedoes on each side. It’s made to keep approximately 135 sailors out at sea for long periods of time. Virginia Class vessels are replacing the older Los Angeles class submarines (see number 10,) and are expected to stay in service past 2060 (some may last through 2070, having a slightly different, updated design.) Each submarine is expected to make fourteen to fifteen deployments during its thirty-three year service life.

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9. Seawolf Class, United States – Only three Seawolf Class vessels were built; they are the predecessor to the John Warners, and they cost twice as much! They are the second most expensive submarine class ever commissioned, after France’s SSBN Triumphant class, at $3 billion apiece. There originally were meant to be 29 Seawolfs built, but that number dropped down to 12, and then 3, as the Cold War came to a close.

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10. Los Angeles Class, United States – Also known as the 688 class, these vessels debuted in the U.S. Navy in 1976. 36 of the original class are still in service, but are nearing the end of the designated lifespan they were made for. 26 are already retired, having been laid up halfway through their projected service term because their midlife reactor refuelings were canceled.

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11. Triomphant Class, France – The most expensive submarine class ever built, the Triomphant class cost $4 billion each to build. There are four of them. They entered service in 1997, 1999, 2004, and 2010, respectively. Each vessel carries 16 M45 SLBM or M51 SLBM Missiles, with sixteen submarine launched ballistic missile launching tubes. The home port for these submarines is Ile Longue, Brest, in Western Brittany.

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12. Essex Class Aircraft Carrier, United States – USS Essex entered into service with the United States Navy in December 1942, during World War II. 24 of the ships were built in total. Each Essex displaced twenty eight thousand tons, and could carry 90 aircraft units. The offensive carry load was known as the “Sunday Punch”: 36 human fighters, 36 dive bombers, and 18 torpedoe bombers. There were long hull and short hull versions. Thirty-two of the ships were originally commissioned, but as World War II began winding down, 8 were canceled – two after construction had already begun on them. The USS Essexs continued to be the heart of the US Navy until the the 1970s. Many of them were used actively in the Cold War and Korean War. They were used in the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as Quemoy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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13. Queen Elizabeth Class Battleship, United Kingdom – The five Queen Elizabeths fought for Britain in both World Wars. These were the very first battleships to be armed with 15-inch guns. Three of them were majorly renovated and “modernized” (for the time) before entering the Second World War. By 1948, all of the Queen Elizabeths had been broken up in battle.

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14. Forel, Russia – A midget submarine, meaning its weight is under one hundred fifty tons, the Forel was originally built experimentally as a private venture by a German, who hoped to attract a contract from the German Imperial Navy. The German navy was unimpressed … but the Imperial Russian Navy purchased the Forel in 1904. Intended for use in the Russo-Japanese War, Forel was never used in combat, but its acknowledged presence had a psychological effect on the enemy. It had two Whitehead Torpedoes.

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15. SM U 20, Imperial Germany – The SM U-20, a Type U 19 vessel, changed the course of WWI dramatically by sinking the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania in 1915. There were 1,198 casualties. In its one and a half years of service, this class sunk approximately 35 enemy warships.

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16. Chang Bogo Class, South Korea – This is a South Korean update of the Type 209 German diesel-electric attack submarines, the original version of which were designed by the German Navy in the ’60s. Versions of the Type 209 have successfully been exported to 13 countries. The South Korean variant is particularly notable, because South Korea freaks out much of the rest of the world. South Korea is the only other country besides Germany currently offering Type 209s for sale to other countries.

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17. Prestonian Class Ocean Anti-Submarine Escort Frigate, Canada and Norway – These frigates were converted from River-class frigates of British design that were placed on mothballs at the end of World War II. The 21-vessel class served with the Royal Canadian Navy between 1953 and 1957, and with the Royal Norwegian Navy from 1956-1957.

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18. Littorio Class Battleship, Italy – Three of the four battleships in this class were completed in time to serve in the Regia Marina, the Italian Navy. Each ship’s main battery comprised nine 381 mm L/50 Ansaldo 1934 guns, within three triple turrets. Their secondary battery consisted of twelve 6 inch L/55 Ansaldo Model 1934 guns within four triple turrets.

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19. Minas Geraes Class Battleship, Brazil – These two battleships were built for the Brazilian Nvzy early on in the twentieth century. Completed in 1910, they instigated a South American naval arms race. They helped crewmen demand the abolition of corporal punishment in Brazil’s Navy, assisted the squandering of a revolt at Fort Copacabana, and served as harbor defense ships in Salvador and Recife during WWII (as they were too old to fight actively by then.)

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20. Espana Class, Spain – These were three dreadnought battleships (the predominant type of battleship in the early 20th century) that the Spanish Navy built between 1909 and 1921. The two ships that remained after the Rif War, in which they supported Spanish ground forces in North Africa, ended up fighting on opposite sides of the Spanish Civil War, and were destroyed doing so (both in 1937.)

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21. Evstafi Class Battleship, Imperial Russia – This pair of pre-dreadnought battleships were in service for the Imperial Russian Navy between 1911 and 1918. They were 379 feet long at the waterline, and had two pairs of 12-inch 40-calibre Pattern 1895 guns, four eight-inch 50-calibre 1905 guns, 12 6-inch 1892 45-caliber guns, 14 3-inch Canet Pattern 1892 50-calibre guns, and two 17.7-inch torpedo tubes….Whoa. The class fought in World War I.

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History

Here Are 5 Facts About The “Band Of Brothers” That You Did Not Know!

Anjali DeSimone

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Since its initial airing back in 2001, the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers has only continued to gain in popularity. Now that later generations are accessing the miniseries on their favorite apps and devices, the men of E Company have become a regular topic of discussion.

They answered the nation’s call as members of the 101st Airborne Division (506th Parachute Infantry Regiment). They were one of the elite forces of World War II but there is still much to be learned about each of these brave men and the battles that they fought. Read on to learn some little known facts about each of these soldiers…..

1. Captain Ronald Speirs

The series and book spent some time focusing on the role that Speirs played in the Brecourt Manor attack. German cannons had been firing on the troops at Utah Beach prior to this counterattack. While the series hinted that he was responsible for the killing of a German POW platoon, this was not likely.

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He was also one of the few men in the army to have made a combat jump in Korea and in World War II. Many do not know that Speirs served as a Red Army liaison as well. After this assignment was complete, he also served as a liaison to the Royal Lao Army before the Vietnam War broke out. 

2. Albert Blithe

Those who have read the book remember the story about Blithe losing his eyesight. He was shot in the neck during a Normandy patrol but the series and book were both incorrect when it came to addressing his fate. The book and series implied that Blithe died as a result of this wound.

In fact, he lived on after World War II and even served in Korea as well. Blithe was also not a southerner, as the series portrayed. He was actually from Philadelphia and did not speak with a southern accent. 

3. Edward “Babe” Heffron

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“Wild Bill” Guarnere was a close friend of Babe’s, as the two men both hailed from the city of Philadelphia. After the series aired, Babe and Wild Bill began to give tours of the famous battle sites together. The actor who played Babe looks nothing like him, though.

Robin Laing is a Scotsman with a gentle appearance. Meanwhile, Babe looks like more of a tough guy. The real Babe even makes an appearance in the actual series. He had a cameo as a Dutchman who was seen drinking wine during the Eindhoven liberation. 

4. Herbert Sobel 

Brilliantly played by none other than David Schwimmer of Friends fame, Sobel was detested by the other men in the E company. They viewed him as a coward who was too interested in going by the book. The famous scene where Sobel sends the men up Mount Currahee after a massive pasta dinner is 100 percent true.

However, Sobel is also credited by many of the men in the company for his unorthodox training techniques. They did not like him but they certainly respected him. He survived a suicide attempt in 1970 that cost him his eyesight and died in a VA facility of malnutrition 17 years later.

5. “Why We Fight”

One of the most famous episodes of the series, “Why We Fight” focused on the E company’s liberation of an SS camp in Germany. The episode concludes with German citizens assisting the men in burying the dead, forcing them to confront the true horrors of the regime that had risen to power.

There was just one issue: the men had never liberated any such camp. The producers added the liberation as a means of conveying the horrors of this war. They did not wish to solely focus on the experiences of the E Company.

If these facts were as amazing to you as they were to us, be sure to pass them along to your friends and loved ones. Let’s all do our part to keep our nation’s war history alive and well in the years to come! 

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History

The MOH Marine Who Carried An Aircraft Machine Gun On Iwo Jima

Cynthia Brooke

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There is no doubt the United States marines are all heroes that should be celebrated but some of them take their patriotism and heroic acts to a higher level. Unfortunately, not all these heroes are celebrated the way they should be celebrated and some of their achievements only get noticed or publicized after their demise.

One of such heroes is Corporal Tony Stein who can best be described as the hero of Iwo Jima. He virtually single handled took out a lot of Japanese soldiers who had laid siege for American troops in Iwo Jima in 1945 during the Second World War. Since this article is meant for casual readers, it has been written in a simplified form devoid of too many military terms. Corporal Tony Stein recently received the Medal of Honor posthumously. The medal was given to his widow. However, not many are aware of why he was nominated for the award. 

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This is why this article has been written to bridge the knowledge gap. Stein was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1921 to Jewish immigrants from Austria. He was enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserve shortly before his 21st birthday. He initially served in the Marine Corps paratrooper unit. Thereafter, he fought in the Pacific Theater on several occasions. During this period, he had started exhibiting some extraordinary courage, intelligence, and patriotism that are worthy of emulation. 

One of his impressive achievements was taking out five Japanese snipers in a single day. Tony Stein was definitely a handful for the Japanese troops. For his military prowess, he got promoted to corporal in 1944 shortly after the paramarines were disbanded and was assigned to the 5th Marine Division where he was the assistant squad leader.

One of the most effective weapons then was a variant of M1919 that was meant to be used on patrol aircraft and bombers. Although it is a lighter version of M1919, it is much more destructive than M1919. While M1919 could output 400 rounds per minute, this improved version could do up to 1350 rounds per minute and Corporal Tony Stein was astonishing with it.

Due to its level of destructiveness, the weapon was dubbed “The Stinger” and there were only six of them but Stein was in custody of one them. And you bet it was utilized to capacity by the young marine. In fact, it was his mastery of the use of this machine that won him the highly coveted Medal of Honor.

He made the best of the beast when his unit hit Iwo Jima on February 1945. He singlehandedly wiped out several Japanese troops with the weapon. When he ran out of ammunition, he would run back to the beach to resupply himself without his boots and helmet so that he could run faster. He made 8 of such trips and during some of them, he would help a wounded marine get back to safety. In some cases, when they had to lie low to avoid continuous enemy fire, he would courageously stand up and take some destructive shots at the enemies’ location to obliterate them and he often did it successfully with his stinger.

To underscore how close he was told death, in Iwo Jima, his stinger was shot out of his hands twice but he would pick it up and continue to do what he did best until the Japanese troops had to retreat in defeat. 

Unfortunately, Corporal Tony Stein was taken out by a sniper not long after. He was being treated when he heard that his unit had been pinned down so he left the medical facility to join them. May be it was because he wasn’t fully fit or it wasn’t just his day. The great Corporal Tony Stein was taken down by a Japanese sniper.

It is quite heartwarming that his achievements, courage and patriotism didn’t go unnoticed and unrewarded. His Medal of Honor was presented to his widow about a year ago. The least you can do to celebrate this war veteran is to share the story of his sacrifice and contribution to America. 

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History

Our Real Life Hero Sergeant Snorkel

Kelsey Freeman

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Beetle Bailey and Sergeant Snorkel were actually based on real-life people. The comic strip may have been embellished upon to add to the humor, but the real Sergeant Snorkel did possess many of the same characteristics. His daughter Griffen wished that her father Octavian N. Savu had known that the comic strip was based on him. He would have enjoyed knowing that.

Octavian Savu had been born to parents who had immigrated from Romania. Savu was born in Indiana and raised in St. Joseph MO. When he began school, his teacher had misunderstood his name when she was told it was Tavi, so he remained being called Tom or Tommy. He later attended Park College, Junior College and the University of MO.

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When he turned 21 years old, in 1935, he joined the service. He was sent to the US Army at Fort Leavenworth Kansas. He was in the 17th infantry. This was the beginning of a decade long career for Savu.

In 1940, he married the love of his life, Margo. Around this time, he began to climb the ranks slowly in the military. He first became a Reserve Officer Trainer in Iowa, at the Abraham Lincoln High School. He taught the young recruits map reading skills, first aid, marksmanship and also combat tactics.

When he and the wife moved to St. Louis, he began a position at St. Louis’ Washington University. He was the overseer of soldiers in that school’s Army Specialized Training Program. These were twelve-week courses between 1943 and 1945. The courses later became known as “Engineering, Science and Management War Training Program”. This is where he met Mort Walker, an already known artist. Walker came from Kansas City and was a World War 2 draftee. In later years, Mort Walker would become the creator and artist of Beetle Bailey comic fame. The world would later learn that Sergeant Snorkel, the character in the comic strip, was actually based on Octavian Savu. Before leaving Missouri in 1944, Walker had given Savu a hand-drawn caricature of Savu.

Savu was then assigned overseas in France. He was a First Sergeant. Octavian Savu was there from April until August 1945. He served as an Administrative Sgt. with the 14th Reinforcement Depot. He was discharged early and sent home on a disability discharge on September 21, 1945. He was diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and later it was found that he was diabetic. 

Octavian and Margo Savu adopted two daughters and moved to Colorado. He became an employee specialist at the Air Force Accounting and Finance Services. When the girls were still young, Savu had his first heart attack. He then began gardening and became known for his lawn and his roses. He was also a commander in his local VFW post.

In April of 1968, the family took a vacation and headed to where Mr. Savu had grown up. He showed the girls his family home where he had grown up. They also visited with family friends. As the vacation neared the end, they began to drive home. They stopped for the night in Omaha and obtained a hotel room. Savu had his third heart attack and passed away in the hotel room. The daughters were 14 and 11 years old.

Octavian N. Savu was given full military honors during his funeral. He was then buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.

His daughter, Griffin has stated that “He possessed many of the characteristics of Sergeant Snorkel. He was a compassionate man. He was tough but fair, and he was full of character. That is quite possibly why the troops loved him.” She also stated that to her and her sister, he was not just dad; he was their hero and their mentor.

Mort Walker spoke very highly of Savu also, before he himself passed away. He recalled when the Sergeant had written a poem and given each one of the men a copy by placing it on their pillows. The poem was called “My Boys”. Walker had stated that that was the point that they had realized he had a heart. 

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