A Naval History of the Peloponnesian War – Ships, Men and Money in the War at Sea, 431-404 BC – Marc G DeSantis – Review

Apart from reading Great Battles of the Classical Greek World by Owen Rees, at the same time I was also reading A Naval History of the Peloponnesian War – Ships, Men and Money in the War at Sea, 431-404 BC published by Pen & Sword Maritime in 2017, ISBN 978 1 47386 158 9.

The book is the result of DeSantis’s research for his previous book, Rome Seizes the Trident, where he looked at Rome’s eventual defeat of Carthage at sea by the application of simple tactics against a more skillful opponent along with steadfast resolve. The Athenian fleet (skillful mariners) were brought low by Syracusan blunt force, prow-to-prow tactics.

The Peloponnesian War was largely decided by battles and a strategy at sea. When Athens’ control of the sea crumbled, so did its empire. The classical sources used for the book are Thucydides, Plutarch, Diodorus and Xenophon.

The Naval History of the Peloponnesian War commences with a number of maps of the area of operations as well as a map of the Battle of Arginusae. The book is then divided into 5 main parts parts 3 to 5 consisting of the usual split of the war:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Trireme
  3. The Archidamian War
  4. The Sicilian Expedition
  5. The Ionian War

There are also a Preface, Conclusions, Notes, Bibliography and Index. The itself book covers the naval history of the 27 years of conflict that was the Peloponnesian War.

DeSantis outlines the struggle in the Introduction, noting that Sparta supported by Persian gold eventually overcame Athens although it was the loss of the Athenian fleet at Syracuse that signaled the end for Athens rather than any action of Sparta.

DeSantis traces the war from the sources, first looking at the causes of the war presented by Thucydides as he saw it and he mostly relies on Thucydides’s narrative to 411 BC. Xenophon picks up the tale from then along with Diodorus of Siculus. Plutarch of Chaeronea writing some 500 years or so later in his Parallel Lives looks at the biographies of the Athenians Themistocles, Cimon, Pericles, and Alcibiades along with the Spartan Lysander. Lastly the Hellenica Oxyrhynchia also mentions wartime events including the Athenian seaborne campaign in Asia Minor in 409 BC and the Battle of Notium in 406 BC. These then are the classical references used by DeSantis.

DeSantis covers the economics of the naval build-up of Athens, noting that the 100 talents (600,000 drachmae) in silver extracted from the Laurium silver mines was sufficient to build 200 triremes. He then notes that Pericles estimated the same cost for each year of war against Sparta.

In the second section the author examines the trireme (triers in Greek) with Thucydides identifying Corinth as the first to construct a trireme although there is a competing theory that the trireme may have actually originated in the east with the Sidonian of Phoenicia (trikrotis naus) or the Phoenicans themselves constructing the first such vessels.

The construction of the triremes of Athens is covered including details of where the wood and pitch was sourced from along with the number of men required to move a trireme up the 1 in 10 ramp into its shed (140) as well as take it back into the water (110). One thing that had not occurred to me before but perhaps should of is that there were different quality triremes. The best were known as exairetoi (selects) while others were identified as first, seconds or thirds. Old vessels were converted for troop transport – with a converted trireme able to transport 85 soldiers.

Tactics are covered with discussions of sailing with the wind and under the power of oars. Masts and sails were generally taken down before battle and preferably left on shore to lighten the load in the trireme prior to battle. The main battle manoeuvres are described, being the diekplous and the periplous. Less skillful fleets relied on coming alongside and boarding the enemy.

Rounding out his review of the trireme, DeSantis covers shipboard fighting, funding a fleet, the officers on board, payment on campaign, and propulsion.

DeSantis then moves on the Archidamian War which started when Corcyra and Corinth came to blows over Epidamnus. He looks at:

  • The Battle of Sybota
  • Potidaea
  • The Athenian empire and rival coalitions
  • The Battle of Chalcis
  • The Battle of Naupachus
  • The Attack on Piraeus
  • The Revolt at Lesbos
  • The Second Battle of Sybota
  • Pylos and Sphacteria
  • Strait of Messana engagements
  • Expeditions to Corinth and Corcyra
  • Attack on Nisaea
  • Delium
  • Brasidas’s campaign
  • Amphipolis
  • Meude
  • The Peace of Nicias
  • The Fate of Melos

The next part covers the whole hubristic disaster for Athens that was the Sicilian Expedition.

Lastly the Ionian War is examined. After the defeat in Sicily, the Athenians were spurred on to lock down their Ionian allies, and ensure Euboea in particular remained within the empire. The author looks at:

  • Alcibiades’s seduction of Timaea, the wife of King Agis
  • Alcibiades’s undermining Persian efforts to assist the Peloponnesians
  • The Battle of Cynossema
  • The Battle of Abydos
  • The Battle of Cyzicus
  • Alcibiades and the Athenian plundering expeditions
  • Action off Mytilene
  • The Battle of Arginusae
  • The Battle of Aegospotami

DeSantis concludes with the eventual defeat of the Athenian Empire.

While there were many land battles throughout the Peloponnesian War, it was at sea that Athens was at first strong, then later faltered.

I very much enjoyed this book, especially as I was reading it at the same time as Great Battles of the Classical Greek World. There was some overlap between the two books so taking an alternate view on some matters was a benefit.

If you are a naval tragic like me, and an ancient history addict as well, this book will serve well as an overview of the Peloponnesian War from the naval perspective. Thucydides and Xenophon are still the main sources to read but DeSantis’s book is both easy to read and factual.

This is a good book providing a good amount of detail and covering one the more exciting stories from Ancient Greece. I am now looking for my copy of Thucydides to read further into this conflict again, one that I have not looked at for about 30 years. Recommended.

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Great Battles of the Classical Greek World – Review

A book I received some time ago and have been slowly reading is Great Battles of the Classical Greek World by Owen Rees, published by Pen & Sword Military in 2016, ISBN 978 1 47382 729 5. The book is divided into four familiar main subject areas and a conclusion. Each of the parts are then split into between three and six Chapters covering various significant battles:

  1. The Peloponnesian War
    • The Battle of Olpae (426/5 BC)
    • The Battle of Delium (424 BC)
    • The Battle of Amphipolis (422 BC)
    • The First Battle of Mantinea (418 BC)
  2. The Spartan Hegemony
    • Battle of the Nemea (394 BC)
    • Battle of Coronea (394 BC)
    • The Battle of the Long Walls of Corinth (392 BC)
    • The Battle of Lechaeum (390 BC)
    • The Battle of Leuctra (371 BC)
    • The Second Battle of Mantinea (362 BC)
  3. Siege Warfare
    • The Siege of Plataea (429-427 BC)
    • The Sieges of Pylos and Sphacteria (425 BC)
    • The Siege of Syracuse (415-413 BC)
    • The Siege of Drilae (400 BC)
  4. Greco-Persian conflicts
    • The Battle of Marathon (490 BC)
    • The Battle of Plataea (479 BC)
    • The Battle of Cunaxa (401 BC)
  5. Conclusions

I have run across some of Owen Rees’s writing before in the Ancient Warfare magazine. Rees’s narrative style makes this book easy to read with discrete footnoting at key points through each chapter. The footnotes are presented as endnotes and so do not distract from the narrative but still enable the reader to check source material or other references at leisure.

The first two parts of the book examine battles in two key areas of Classical Greek military history – the Peloponnesian War and the Rise and Fall of Sparta. The third part examines Greek Siege Warfare whilst the fourth section deals with the Greco-Persian conflicts. Including this the fourth section was a decision by Rees because it is clear that “the Greeks did not fight the Persians in the same manner in which they fought one another, but placing this conflict at the beginning allows a false image to arise concerning Greek battle, and Greek tactics in turn” (Rees, 2016, p. xvi). Rees therefore covers the internal conflicts of the Greeks first to develop an image of Greek warfare before dealing with their interaction with the Persians.

The structure of each of the chapters is consistent with the first section being the background and identifying the classical sources used for that battle. This is then followed by a description and location (where possible) of the battlefield. The armies are then examined followed by a description of the battle itself, with specific references to the sources as well as maps outlining the probably deployment of the forces present. The last section is the aftermath of the battle.

For example, chapter 3 deals with the Battle of Amphipolis (422 BC). The Background identifies the sources for this battle as Thucydides, (IV.70, 78-88, 102-V.3) and Diodorus (XII.67.3-68.6, 72-3). The Battlefield is identified as outside the walls of Amphipolis and Amphipolis is located by Rees in a U-Bend of the River Strymon. The armies are discussed and any assumptions about troops presented. So for the Battle of Amphipolis, Brasidas’s army is noted as a conglomerate force of allies under his command, some 6,500 men strong. The size of Cleon’s army is not known but it appears that his force was roughly the same size, or a little larger.

The battle itself is then described with the references for that being Thucydides V.6-11 and Diodorus XII-74. The battle description includes three maps representing the three phases of the battle. The Aftermath of the battle is then discussed:

After Brasidas fell in battle, he was dragged back into the walls of Amphipolis where he held on to life, waiting to hear news from the battlefield. A messenger was sent to inform the city of the Athenian rout and, with victory ringing in his ears, Brasidas was able to release his final breath in the knowledge that his legend had been cemented in the history of his beloved Sparta.

Clearidas brought the army back into Amphipolis and, in full armaments, they buried their commander in a tomb at the front of the agora. This spot became the focus of a hero-cult dedicated to the man the Amphipolitans appointed their new founder of the city – replacing the true founder, Hagnon the Athenian.

For Athens, the defeat, alongside the defeat at Delium, was too much for them to consider continuing the war. Similarly the Spartans were still trying to recover from their embarrassing defeat at Pylos and no amount of success in Chalcidice was enough to compensate for this. A ten-year peace was finally agreed and, although in fact it only lasted seven years, this gave both sides time to recover from their tragic losses (Rees, 2016, p. 40).

Apart from the five parts mentioned above, the book also contains a glossary covering technical words from the book, a section of Notes (endnotes) from each chapter, a bibliography, an index and six useful URLs for further research.

Overall, Rees’s book is well supported with tactical diagrams through each chapter. Rees is also willing to challenge popularly held beliefs, such as the invincibility of the Spartans.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book to those interested in Classical Greek Warfare or the development of Hoplite tactics. The short chapters make the book the perfect companion with a fine coffee and a spare 20 minutes. The book itself has inspired me to look further into Greek warfare again and to start a collection of Ancient Greek armies to wargame these battles.

World War 2 Start Date

I picked up a copy of the Osprey’s Battles of World War II Poland 1939 last week. It is the first in a series of 52 publications covering the major battles of World War 2, battles such as Okinawa, Leyte Gulf, Caen, Kursk and Crete amongst others. Interestingly, this series of titles starts with the invasion of Poland and notes next to a picture of the German battleship, the Schleswig-Holstein,

it is usually credited with firing the opening shot of the war when it began bombarding the Polish garrison on Westerplatte in the early hours of 1 September 1939

I wondered why we credited the start of World War 2 with the invasion of Poland. Or was it that we accept that the first shot of the Second World War was the one that was fired then with the actual war starting earlier, maybe with the annexation of the Sudetenland.

I wondered why we didn’t credit the opening shot with the battle between Japan and Russia at Khalkhin-gol (Nomonhan) which was over the period 11 May – 16 September 1939 or perhaps, even the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War which started on 7 July 1937. A pity too that Osprey Publishing didn’t start their series with Khalkhin-gol at least – early tanks, two slightly different tactical doctrines and two antagonists that had locked horns before.

Khalkhin Gol or Nomonhan

From 11 May to 16 September 1939 Japanese and Manchurian forces clashed with Mongolian and Soviet forces on the border of Mongolia and Manchuria (at that time called Manchukuo by many nations) around the village of Nomonhan near the Khalkhin gol (Khalkhin River). Having spent time in Mongolia my office at the bank used to look out on Jukov Square, next to the Jukov Museum. Jukov is the Mongolian spelling of Zhukov, as in Georgy Zhukov (well, it’s the Mongolian spelling when it’s Latinised). Zhukov, having given the combined Mongolian Soviet Army a victory over the Japanese is a hero in Mongolia. For the record, the Mongolians fought with the Russians during the Second World War with Mongolian troops marching into Berlin as part of the Red Army forces in that campaign.

It all started when a Mongolian cavalry unit of about 90 men went searching for grazing in the area between Nomonhan an the river. Manchukuo cavalry attacked the Mongolians and then forced them back over the Khalkhin gol. Two days later the Mongolians returned in greater numbers and the Manchukuans were not able to force them back this time.

The next day elements of two Japanese army arrived and forced the Mongolians out. Then a combined force of Mongolian and Soviet forces surrounded the Japanese causing many casualties. It all escalated. The 2nd Japanese Air Brigade then launched an unauthorised air attack on the Soviet air base at Tamsak-Bulak in Mongolia losing some aircraft but destroying more Soviet aircraft.

Lt. Gen. Georgy Zhukov then arrived to take control of the Soviet-Mongolian forces and so began a battle that lasted until 31 August with the defeat of the Japanese in the area. I’ll provide more detail about individual engagements at a later time. The battle though was significant as it was the first reverse the Japanese Army took in World War 2. At the same time, the result of this battle was that Japan looked southwards for the future which released valuable Soviet (and Mongolian) divisions to the fighting in the West.

Some selections from the Canberra Times about the fighting in Manchukuo and Mongolia.

The Canberra Times Tuesday 4 July 1939

JAPANESE DEMANDS ON BRITAIN AND FRANCE

Threat of Force to Achieve Objectives

LONDON, Monday.

A message from Peking declares that the Japanese controlled Chinese Government dispatched to the English and French Embassies a list of demands for a basis of settlement at Tientsin, and said that the Japanese army in North China supported them.

The Japanese spokesman declares that no compromise regarding the demands would be accepted and force may be used to obtain the objectives.

They include demands that the English and French Concessions support the new Japanese currency; secondly, that the Peking Government be allowed to inspect banks and business houses in the Concession; thirdly, that a rigorous control be exercised over publications and organisations acting contrary to the policy of Peking, and fourthly, that, a Chinese – speaking Government be appointed to control the Concession.

The army spokesman announced that gendarmes are holding in custody Mr. E. T. Griffiths, a British engineer from a British steamer, allegedly for insulting the Japanese army.

He added that the reported stripping of John Anderson at the Concession barricades yesterday was being investigated.

Renewed Fighting in Manchukuo

DARIEN, Monday.

It is officially announced that the Japanese army launched an offensive against the Soviet-Mongolian forces with the object of expelling them from Manchukuan territory.

The British United Press reports heavy fighting on the western border of Manchukuo and Outer Mongolia. Tanks, machine guns, cavalry and planes are engaged.

The Canberra Times Tuesday 18 July 1939

RUSSIAN AIR RAIDS IN MANCHUKUO

TOKYO, Monday.

Eight Russian planes dropped bombs in the vicinity of Nalunarshan railway station, 30 miles inside the Manchukuan frontier, and injured four Manchukuans, as well as destroying four carriages and setting fire to a number of buildings.

The Japanese have protested to Moscow.

In an earlier raid on Sularki station, 180 miles north-west of Harbin, seven were injured.

The Canberra Times Thursday 27 July 1939

MANCHUKUO

JAPAN CALLS UP TROOPS CONTINUED TROUBLE ON BORDER

TOKYO, Wednesday.

In “view of continued trouble on the Manchukuan border, the Government has announced the reinforcing of forces throughout the Japanese Empire.

An army communiqué claims that 59 Soviet war planes were brought down on the Manchukuan frontier on Tuesday.

Japanese artillery heavily bombarded the Soviet position on the west bank of the Khalha River throughout the day.

and lest we forget that the Japanese were fighting the Chinese at the same time, this piece followed in the same issue of the Canberra times the following article was found:

Japanese Claim Major Victory

TOKYO, Wednesday.

The Japanese north of Hankow claim lo have trapped 30,000 Chinese as a result of a fierce offensive launched on Tuesday.

Supported by aircraft, the Japanese are advancing to the north along he Pekin-Hankow railway.

A second force is manoeuvring in order to cut off the Chinese retreat.

From the Canberra Times Thursday 31 August 1939

TO MANCHUKUO

Effect of Russo-German Pact

TOKYO, Wednesday

Large forces are being sent lo Manchukuo as the result of the Russo-German pact

The Premier (General Abe), in a nation-wide broadcast viewed with delicacy the international situation, and stated that the Government was establishing independent diplomacy, and also taking measures at home and abroad with the Chinese incident
as a focal point.

General Abe appealed to the nation for co-operation.

The four Chinese, who were arrested at Tientsin, are to be handed over to the Japanese on August 31.

From the Canberra Times of Tuesday 11 June 1940

SOVIET AND JAPAN AGREE ON FRONTIERS

TOKYO, Monday.

The Foreign Office issued a communiqué that Mr. Toga and M. Molotov, Ambassadors for Japan and Russia, reached an agreement yesterday on the precise demarcation of the frontier of Nomonhan area with mutual recognition of interests.

by special arrangement: Reuter’s World Service in addition to other special sources of information is used in the compilation of the overseas intelligence published in this issue and all rights therein in Australia and New Zealand are reserved.

I’ll give more detail on the battle and the Orders of Battle of both sides of the conflict in a later post.

Franco-Thai War of 1940-41

It was back on 2 January 2007 in an earlier version of Thomo’s Hole that I noted:

Er, and for consistency, have you heard this o­ne before?


I still have that research o­n the French-Thai War of 1940-41 – just not with me at the moment. It is done – just the articles need to be written. Aircraft in 1/300th scale have been purchased for this as well. The research I have with me. The aeroplanes are still in Australia. I will get to this eventually. I had pressed my Old mate Bill in Boston into service in this regards too and hopefully I will be able to bring up an article o­n the Battle of Koh Chang as a starter. I almost made it to Koh Chang this Christmas to have a look around … next holiday down this way.

Well, I need to add to that:

  1. Er, I did not get to Koh Chang … although it is still on my list of places to visit
  2. I do still have all my research notes for this
  3. I do still have the 1/300th scale aircraft – they are under the house at mum’s and I will get them out for some paint this year … maybe
  4. I do have access to the appropriate Conway’s for ship details as well so will get around to writing that up as well. I’ll also look for appropriate ship models to allow the Battle of Koh Chang to be recreated on the tabletop … perhaps with it being a little less one-sided this time
  5. And maybe, just maybe, I might do something based around Blitzkrieg Commander for some land battles (which really never occurred apart from the odd artillery bombardment near as I can see but which would make an interesting addition for a wargame).

So yes, Gunna Thomo will get around to it … honest!

More Blog Searches

There have been some more interesting searches here in Thomo’s Hole … although the number of times folks are searching here and not finding something is getting smaller. Seems my readership is still a mix of general readers, friends, acquaintances, the boss and wargamers.

So, what were the unsuccessful searches over the last two weeks or so? Some interesting ones this time:

  • hms ashanti
  • korean schools
  • Naval engagements Danish-Prussian War
  • Naval engagements First Schleswig War
  • Naval engagements Second Schleswig War
  • Puma IFV

So, some interesting ones there and ones that will have me doing some research this weekend. HMS Ashanti is a fairly easy one … that would be a Tribal class British destroyer and rather a well known one so that will probably be first article off the ranks.

The Puma IFV will also be fairly quick as well.

Korean schools is an odd one I guess. Not sure if this is for Korean schools in Australia or Korean schools in Korea. I am guessing that it may be the first one and if it is, then as far as I know, there are no specific Korean schools in Australia. Most Korean school students in Australia seem to head to Australian schools but I’ll check with my Korean friends. Of course, it could also be someone searching for Korean language schools in Australia and if that is the case, then try looking at http://en.askedu.net/Australia/Korean_1.htm

Now, the remaining searches. They are really interesting ones and are fascinating questions for me, knowing so little as I do about those particular wars. I mean I know they occurred and have a general idea what happened but I have never really read about them in any detail. I can see I shall have to spend more time on this. A trip into Conway’s for the Schleswig Wars will also be necessary as I am sure that there may have been something – and the second Schleswig War was fought in 1864 so Conway’s volume 1 will cover that time period.

The Danish-Prussian War was in 1849 and I believe it was in 1824 that Henri-Joseph Paixhans developed explosive shells which were used in Naval vessels (and unlike the previous explosive shells which needed to be fired from howitzers, these could be fired over flat trajectories – such as a gun on the side of a wooden warship fired). Of course, explosive shells and wooden warships are a combination where the only winner is going to be the shell. I believe these shells were used in 1849 (remember, La Gloire and Warrior did not come along until 1859 and 1860 and the true steam powered ironclads a few years after that). So, there was naval combat in the 1849 Danish-Prussian War, so I will need to look that up.

OK, looks like there will be some interesting pieces coming up here in the near future as well.

The Battle of the Java Sea

IJNS Haguro running at speed
IJNS Haguro running at speed

I was walking through the city today on the way to a meeting next to Martin Place and there was a commemorative service occurring around the Cenotaph. Ex-servicemen and the Navy band, governor-general (I think) as well as representatives of the Dutch, English and American forces as well. The reason? Today is the anniversary of the Battle of the Java Sea, the battle that occurred on 27 February 1942.

The battle is important to Australian military tradition, especially in regard to the loss of HMAS Perth a couple of days later. Perth’s captain, Hector Waller, was a childhood hero of mine as I read about the way the Perth, all ammunition expent, was firing practice rounds at the Japanese ships that she was fighting. Waller also was the commander of HMAS Stuart in the Mediterranean, one of the member’s of the Scrap Iron Flotilla.

Continue reading

De Grasse

The last unsuccessful search term from the unsuccessful searches here at Thomo’s Hole was De Grasse. Now this is an interesting one as there are a number of nautical De Grasse’s in particular and I am not sure whether the reader of the blog was looking for the Admiral or the ship. Well, true to form, I’ll give you both.

Admiral de Grasse

François Joseph Paul, marquis de Grasse Tilly, comte de Grasse
François Joseph Paul, marquis de Grasse Tilly, comte de Grasse

François Joseph Paul, marquis de Grasse Tilly, comte de Grasse (1722 – January 14, 1788) was a French admiral. The potted history of de Grasse really starts in 1776, during the American Revolution. The French Navy was assigned to assist the Americans and de Grasse was a commander of a division. He served under Louis Guillouet, comte d’Orvilliers at the First Battle of Ushant from July 23 to 27, 1778.

In 1779, he joined the fleet in the Caribbean under the command of Count d’Estaing. De Grasse distinguished himself in the battles of Dominica and Saint Lucia in 1780 and Tobago in 1781. He was involved in the capture of Grenada and fought against Admiral Rodney in the Battle of Martinique, where the French were commanded by Guichen.

De Grasse came to the aid of Washington and Rochambeau when he brought 3000 men from Saint-Domingue, landing these reinforcements in Virginia. He then won perhaps his greatest victory when he defeated the British fleet in the Battle of the Chesapeake in September 1781.

His later fortune was somewhat less successful however, being defeated at the Battle of St. Kitts by Admiral Hood and then being defeated and taken prisoner by Admiral Rodney at the Battle of the Saintes.

De Grasse – the Ships

The French Frigate, D612 De Grasse, a frigate of the F67 Type
The French Frigate, D612 De Grasse, a frigate of the F67 Type

There have been five ships carrying the name de Grasse, two in the French Navy and three in the US Navy.

French De Grasse 1

The first French vessel carrying the name De Grasse was an anti aircraft cruiser of the Coubert class. This cruiser was designed in the late 1930s, of a similar design to the preceding La Galissonnière class cruisers although heavier and with improved anti-aircraft equipment. The other two ships of this class, Chateaurenault and Guichen were cancelled.

De Grasse was launched eventually in 1946, commissioned in 1956 and finally scrapped in 1974.

The general characteristics of De Grasse were:
Displacement: 9,389 t (9,241 long tons)
Length: 199.3 m (653 ft 10 in)
Beam 21.5 m (70 ft 6 in)
18.6 m (61 ft 0 in) w/l
Draft: 5.54 m (18 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2 × Rateau turbine groups from Chantiers de Bretagne, 27,000 hp (20,134 kW) each
4 × boilers
Speed: 33.8 knots
Complement: 70 officers
160 warrant officers
750 men
Armament: • 8 × twin turrets 127 mm AA
• 10 × twin turrets 57 mm Bofors (later removed)
Armour: Belt: 100 mm (3.9 in)
Deck: 38 mm (1.5 in)

French De Grasse 2

The Second French vessel carrying the name De Grasse is a type F67 frigate, still in service. This vessel is the one illustrated above and was laid down in 1972, launched in 1974, commissioned in 1975 and went into service in 1977. The De Grasse is still in service in the French Navy.

Tourville class frigate

Details of the vessel are:
Class and type:
Displacement: 4580 tonnes (6100 tonnes fully loaded)
Length: 152.75 m
Beam: 15.80 m
Draught: 6.60 m
Propulsion: 2 Rateau steam turbines, double reduction
4 multitubular boilers
Fuel: Gazoil
Propelers : 2 fixed propelers
Power : 58000 hp (42 MW)
Speed: 32 knots
Range: 1900 nautical miles (3500 km) at 30 knots
4500 nautical miles (8300 km) and 18 knots
Complement: 24 officers
160 non-commissioned officers
115 men
Sensors and processing systems: 1 DRBV 51B surface sentry radar
1 DRBV 26A air sentry radar
1 DRBC 32D targeting radar
2 DRBN 34 navigation radar
1 DUBV 23 hull sonar
1 ETBF DSBV 62C sonar
1 DSBX 1 tugged sonar
1 Syva torpedo alert system
Electronic warfare and decoys: 1 ARBB 32 jammer
1 ARBR 16 radar interceptor
2 Syllex decoy launchers bubble belt SENIT
3 SEAO/OPSMER HF, UHF, VHF and SHF liaison systems Syracuse 2 Inmarsat
Link 11
Armament:
Anti-air * 1 Crotale EDIR system (8 missiles on launcher, 18 in magazine)
* 2 x 100 mm turrets (1968 model)
* 2 x 20 mm cannons
* 4 x 12.7 mm machine guns
Anti-surface
* 6 Exocet MM38 anti-ship missiles launchers
Anti-submarine
* 2 x L5 torpedoe launchers, 10 torpedoes on board (L5 mod 4)
Aircraft carried: 2 Lynx WG13

And yes, I have my Conway’s back 🙂

American De Grasse 1

The first De Grasse in the US Navy was the yacht shown below, in service in 1918. Details of this vessel are sketchy and there is no listing for this vessel in Conway’s. The US Naval Historical Center notes:

USS De Grasse, an 81′ 2 1/2″ long section patrol boat, was built in 1917-1918 at Neponset, Massachusetts, as the steam-turbine powered pleasure craft of the same name. Though ordered taken over for World War I Naval service in June 1917, she was not placed in commission until her construction was completed about a year later. De Grasse briefly served in mid-Atlantic coastal waters before being returned to her owner, J.L. Redmond of New York City, in early November 1918.

The yacht, USS De Grasse in 1918
The yacht, USS De Grasse in 1918

American De Grasse 2

The second US Navy vessel to bear this name was a Crater Class Cargo vessel during World War II. With a displacement of 4,023 tons this Liberty ship was active in the Pacific Theatre from November 1943 until decommssioned in April 1946, going on to serve as a general cargo vessel after that date until being scrapped in 1970. The De Grasse was awarded three battle stars.

American De Grasse 3

The third US Navy ship to bear this name was the USS Comte de Grasse (DD-974), named for Admiral Francois-Joseph Paul, Comte de Grasse (1722-1788), was a Spruance-class destroyer built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries at Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was laid down 4 April 1975, launched 26 March 1976 and commissioned 5 August 1978.

General Characteristics:
Class and type: Spruance-class destroyer
Displacement: 8,040 (long) tons full load
Length: 529 ft (161 m) waterline; 563 ft (172 m) overall
Beam: 55 ft (16.8 m)
Draft: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Propulsion: 4 × General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, 2 shafts, 80,000 shp (60 MW)
Speed: 32.5 knots
Range: 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) at 20 knots
3,300 nautical miles (6000 km) at 30 knots
Complement: 19 officers, 315 enlisted
Sensors and processing systems: AN/SPS-40 air search radar
AN/SPG-60 fire control radar
AN/SPS-55 surface search radar
AN/SPQ-9 gun fire control radar
Mk 23 TAS automatic detection and tracking radar
AN/SPS-65 Missile fire control radar
AN/SQS-53 bow mounted Active sonar
AN/SQR-19 TACTAS towed arrayPassive sonar
Electronic warfare and decoys: • AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
• AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
• Mark 36 SRBOC Decoy Launching System
• AN/SLQ-49 Inflatable Decoys
Armament: 2 x 5 in (127 mm) 54 calibre Mark 45 dual purpose guns
2 x 20 mm Phalanx CIWS Mark 15 guns
1 x 8 cell ASROC launcher (removed)
1 x 8 cell NATO Sea Sparrow Mark 29 missile launcher
2 x quadruple Harpoon missile canisters
2 x Mark 32 triple 12.75 in (324 mm) torpedo tubes (Mk 46 torpedoes)
2 x quadruple ABL Mark 43 Tomahawk missile launchers
Aircraft carried: 2 x Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters.

De Grasse was decommissioned and struck in 1998, eventually being sunk as a target in 2006.

USS Comte De Grasse (DD-974) entering port at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia
USS Comte De Grasse (DD-974) entering port at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia

Korean War Memorial Museum

Jeffro has done it again and got the gallery back in Thomo’s Hole. That means that the Korean War Memorial Museum exhibits I’d photographed are able to be viewed again. I’ll back these up over time to a cloud service somewhere and post alternate links, however, in the interim, https://thomo.coldie.net/gallery/v/museums/korean_war_memorial/ will take you to those albums, the albums covering the Koryo, Three Kingdoms and Chosun periods of Korean history.

Also there is some images from the Righteous Army times in the early 20th, late 19th centuries.

Henry Ebery or Henry Every

Woodcut of Henry Every
Woodcut of Henry Every

Every so often I go through the search results of Thomo’s Hole – it is quite enlightening seeing what terms people are searching for in the Hole. It also tweaks my interest and leads to some posts. Of course, if you’d like something specific you only need ask and I’ll try and accommodate.

Anyway, it was a hot weekend in Sydney, very hot, so I thought I’d add to the heat by researching unsuccessful searches to Thomo’s Hole. I came across two search terms in the logs, namely, “Henry Ebery” and then immediately after that, “Henry Every”.

Well, I may not be an intellectual genius but I do type a lot, and whilst I am not a touch typist (more chopsticks style), I am savvy enough with a keyboard to notice that “B” and “V” are next to each other and that probably the search for Henry Ebery was really someone searching for Henry Every.

The other thing I know, having been a Googler for many years now, is that search engines still are not really all that bright – unless you tell them exactly what you are looking for. So, if you search Thomo’s Hole with the terms “Henry” and “Every” in the search box, the search engine here will return an article about H.M.S. Mæander (because the Captain’s name was Henry Keppel and because (to quote from that post)

I don’t always have information about every ship that sailed however the name of this ship fascinated me

See how a search on Henry Every returns something apparently unrelated? The other article it returned was Busk’s Navies of the World – 1859 – The French I because there was mention of an Henry in there as well as an every.

Now, if a search was made for “Henry Every” – that is, with both terms inside double quotes, then the search engine would return nothing as there was nothing about Henry Every in Thomo’s hole … up until now that is 🙂

Popular Image of Every's flag
Popular Image of Every's flag

I searched for both “Henry Every” and “Henry Ebery” on the Internet. Now I am sure that my readers are not all that interested in Henry Ebery. There is a record in the 1881 census of young Henry Ebery, born in West Bromwich, Stafford in 1873, father Eli Ebery. There is also a Henry Ebery in Wales listed in the 1891 census as Henry Ebery, boarder, age 43, born in Shropshire, cattle dealer. The reference was from the census of the Hotel Keeper at 10 Lewis Terrace – the Commercial Hotel, also known as Cambrian Hotel in Alexandra Road, Aberystwyth in Wales. That is also not the type of character my readers are normally interested in. Now, if he was a cattle duffer ((rustler for those who do not understand the Australian term)) then it would be a whole lot different

However, all is not lost. Henry Every was born in Plymouth in 1653 and was a somewhat famous pirate – the picture of the woodcut here is Henry himself. He was also known as John Avary, Long Ben, and Benjamin Bridgeman. Now this is more like it for the readers of Thomo’s Hole.

What distinguishes Henry Every from most of the other pirates? Two things really. One was the taking and plundering of the Moghul ships, the Fateh Muhammed and Ganj-I-Sawaithe of around £650,000 of gold, silver and other plunder. the other was that Henry actually appears to have retired from pirating and managed to live off the fat of his jolly rogering, even allowing for the Whigs having commissioned Captain William Kidd as a pirate hunter and set him on Every’s trail (amongst others)

Every is remembered in the Shantyman song “The Ballad of Long Ben”:

In ’94 we took the Charles and set Gibson ashore
And set a course for southern seas, to sail for evermore
Round the Cape in a hurricane with the devil on our beam
And clear to Newgate London Town you could have heard us scream:

Here’s to gentlemen at sea tonight, and a toast to all free men
And when the devil comes to take us home, we’ll drink
To old Long Ben!

Now off the coast of Hindoostan we spied a musselman
She’d 60 guns and musket men, but still away she ran
“Ho!”, cried Ben and ran the grinning skull atop the mast
“I’ll wager half my share me lads, there’s not a ship this fast!”

Here’s to gentlemen at sea tonight and a toast to all free men
And when the devil comes to take us home, he’ll drink
With old Long Ben!

We ran her down off Malabar as she lay becalmed
And there beneath the burning sun stood Al Ibrahim Khan
He twirled his ‘stache and raised his sword and gave a might roar
Then cowered like a dog below and hid amongst his whores

Here’s to gentlemen at sea tonight, and a toast to all free men
And when the devil comes to take us home, we’ll drink
To old Long Ben!

We turned the Fancy from the wind and ran out 40 guns
And soon the sky was filled with smoke that hid us from the sun
Then up and down the ship we fought, until the decks ran red
And when the fight was done we drank and this is what we said:

Here’s to gentlemen at sea tonight, and a toast to all free men
And when the devil comes to take us home, we’ll drink
To old Long Ben!

For thirteen days aboard the Ganj, we made a merry sport
A thousand pounds of Mughal gold, and whisky, rum and port
Some men we shot and some we walked and some of them did hang
And while we made free with the girls, well this is what we sang:

Here’s to gentlemen at sea tonight, and a toast to all free men
And when the devil comes to take us home, we’ll drink
To old Long Ben!

Now there is something about Henry Every 😆