Sunday, June 27, 2021

good morning jeremy





One year prior to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor

Prime Minister Winston Churchill sent a telegram

imploring President Roosevelt for increased 

American participation in their catastrophic 

European war. 


Here are Churchill's main points:

The safety of the United States, as well as the future of our two democracies and the kind of civilization for which they stand, is bound up with the survival and independence of the British Commonwealth.





The form this war has taken does not enable us to match the immense armies of Germany.




The first half of 1940 was a disaster for the allies

and for Europe.



The decision for 1941 lies upon the seas.  Unless

                    we can feed our nation, move our armies to

                    where Hitler and his confederate Mussolini

          must be met - we fall by the wayside. 


And the time needed by the United States

to complete her defensive preparations

may not be forthcoming. 



The enemy commands the ports all around 

the coast of France.


Our only effective route of entry to the British Isles

is increasingly concentrated with enemy U-boat action.


The Japanese are believed preparing five good divisions

for possible use as an overseas expeditionary force.

We have no forces in the Far East capable of 

dealing with this.


In the face of these dangers we must build up

our supply of weapons, particularly of aircraft.


The prime need is to limit the loss of tonnage

on the Atlantic approaches to our island.


The United States could give supreme and decisive help 

to our common cause.  A large number of American vessels

of war, above all destroyers, already in the Atlantic is

indispensable to maintaining the Atlantic route. 


Would you consider upping your production of combat

aircraft by an additional two thousand a month?  This 

highest possible proportion of these should be 

heavy bombers, the weapons on which we depend 

to shatter the foundation of German military power.


I am grateful for the arrangements you have made

to equip an additional ten of our divisions with 

American weapons - in time for the campaign of 1942.


The more rapid and abundant the flow of munitions

and ships which you are able to send us, the sooner

will our dollar credits be exhausted.  The moment

approaches when we shall no longer be able

to pay cash.


If, as I believe, you are convinced, Mr. President, that

the defeat of the Nazi and Fascist tyranny is a matter

of high consequence to the people of the United States

you will regard this letter not as an appeal for aid,

but a statement of the minimum action necessary

to achieve our common purpose.

Winston S. Churchill




©  Tom Taylor


Sunday, June 20, 2021

good morning justin



USS North Carolina aka "Showboat"

The battleships' final iteration.

Rows of cannon of various size

pointing in all directions.

 The fantail features a crane

designed for the recovery of small seaplanes

that were primarily used to find the location

of one's enemy - another battleship or cruiser

lurking in the vastness of the Pacific.

Scouting was the primary mission

of the Kingfisher floatplane but

it also could give a bird's eye report 

on the results of one's gunnery...

drop a hundred meters - and such directions

as needed in order to strike the enemy.

A dozen water-logged sailors

once crammed into that glassed-in space

behind the pilot in a daring

rescue at sea.

 In 1940, when the North Carolina was completed,

most admirals thought naval power

was still all about the big guns.

barrel length:          60 feet

bore diameter:       16 inches

projectile weight:    2,700 pounds

range:                     20 miles


             Have your barrel replaced or relined after 400 firings. 

Three turrets of 16 inch guns.

Nine guns in all.

That's a broadside of nearly 

twelve tons of explosive

wrapped in armor-piercing steel

coming your way in one punch.

 North Carolina's sister ship, the Washington

sank the Japanese battleship Kirishima

in a night action off Guadalcanal in late 1942.

The Washington used its radar to close in on its target

while the Kirishima had only human eyes in darkness

for warning.

 Radar provides direction and distance to its target

while an analog computer inside the turret

determines windage and the effects 

ocean humidity has on the shell's flight.

This is home.

Get comfortable with that thought.

You'll be called upon to keep it afloat.

If you're not up to the task

you and everyone else 

are now in the drink.

Drowned or dismembered.

Take your pick.

Beneath the big gun,

along the far reaches of the ship's narrow-slung bow,

stands a grouping of machine guns

all facing skyward.  The first sign

something is amiss.

Who'd a thought a few

miserably cheap planes 

could sink a ship 

with 2,000 souls aboard.

Things quickly got out of hand what with

Pearl Harbor now sunk up to mud at battleship row.

Your problem isn't just dispatching a pilot

intent on shooting you.

You must also dispose of three tons of machinery

headed your way at two hundred miles an hour.

Well here it is.  

The Swedish made

40 mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun

with convenient foot-peddle firing 

and easy to use elevation crank.

Everything's disfigured with a Bofors.

Note the carbon age fuel stacks

amidst the assorted tube 

purveyors of carnage.


When not used for shore bombardment 

these five inch guns would provide a field

of flak, shrapnel, overhead to ward off

attacks from enemy pilots thinking of 

making a quick run at the ship.

Here's the tale of the tape.

The North Carolina shot down 24 planes.

The ship bombarded 9 islands.

And it sank a troop ship.

Naval power was now 3D chess.

Battleships became an important part

of the carrier's air defense

as opposed to leading the big parade.

An example of reality once again

mocking our best-laid plans.

She was a fast battleship at 28 knots.

But carriers could go 32.

So the Iowa class battleship was born.

In one configuration after another

they survived into the 1990's, 

eventually firing cruise missiles

at targets during the first Iraq war.

A cofferdam was recently used 

to make the memorial an onsite drydock

so needed maintenance could be done 

below the waterline.



©  Tom Taylor


Sunday, June 6, 2021

good morning jack


OTR drivers, Over The Road, are paid 

by the mile and go where  

the freight goes - anywhere

in the 48 contiguous states.

Waiting for a load at a truck stop

doesn't earn you a dime.

Drivers can be away from home 

three weeks at a time 

heading to God knows where.

OTR truckers drive as a two man team -

10 hours on, 10 hours off -

driving nonstop 24 / 7 so long as 

you have freight to deliver.

Owning your own truck means 

paying out of pocket for diesel

at 4 miles to the gallon.

Then there's your tire and maintenance costs -


Breakdown means a several hundred dollar

tow and a trailer filled with freight

your customer was promised

delivery of yesterday.

Try staying alert while driving at four

in the morning when you have no regular

sleep pattern.  Still, truck driving gets

in your blood with a high up windshield

that feels like a big screen TV for 

watching the world go by.

I recommend Texas where there are cafes

in the middle of nowhere and parking

is in an open field where you have

no problem putting your 

seventy-two foot rig.



©  Tom Taylor