Tag Archives: Air Power

Friday night movie: Sink the Bismarck! (1960)

Here’s tonight’s movie:

IMDB mean rating: [7.2/10]

Description:

In 1939, the Nazi Germany’s largest and most powerful battleship, Bismarck, is launched in a ceremony at Hamburg with Adolf Hitler attending. The launching of the hull is seen as the beginning of an era of German sea power. Two years later, in 1941,British convoys are being ravaged by U-boats and surface raider attacks which cut off supplies which Britain needs to continue the war. In May, British intelligence discovers the Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen are about to break into theNorth Atlantic to attack convoys.

The man assigned to coordinate the hunt is the Admiralty’s chief of operations, Captain Jonathan Shepard (Kenneth More), who has been distraught over the death of his wife in an air raid and the sinking of his ship by German ships commanded by Admiral Günther Lütjens (Karel Štěpánek). Upon receiving his new post, Shepard discovers Lütjens is the fleet commander on the Bismarck. Shepard’s experience of conflict with the German Navy and his understanding of Lütjens allow him to predict theBismarck‘s movements. Shepard is aggressive to his staff but comes increasingly to rely on the coolness and skill of his assistant, WREN Second Officer Anne Davis (Dana Wynter).

Below are the combatants.

The German battleship Bismarck:

The Bismarck (click for larger image)
The Bismarck (click for larger image)

The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal:

HMS Ark Royal (click for larger image)
HMS Ark Royal (click for larger image)

I think this battle signaled the end of battleships as the best naval unit.

So why did battleships become extinct? Well, you can get a lot more range and striking power out of several squadrons of bombers and torpedo bombers than you can out of 16 or even 18 inch guns. In fact, you’ll see the torpedo bombers of the HMS Ark Royal face off against the Bismarck in the movie. Today, naval warfare is conducted with surface-to-surface missiles like the Tomahawk and the SS-N-27 Sizzler, etc. as well as air-to-surface missiles fired from land and carrier based strike aircraft. The range of these missiles is far greater than the range of the deck guns on any battleship. However, there is work being done on rail guns which may force a return to conventional deck guns, especially for operations like shore bombardments where you want to use cheaper munitions!

Happy Friday!

Friday night movie: Sink the Bismarck! (1960)

Here’s tonight’s movie:

IMDB mean rating: [7.4/10]

IMDB median rating: [7/10]

Description:

In 1939, the Nazi Germany’s largest and most powerful battleship, Bismarck, is launched in a ceremony at Hamburg with Adolf Hitler attending. The launching of the hull is seen as the beginning of an era of German sea power. Two years later, in 1941,British convoys are being ravaged by U-boats and surface raider attacks which cut off supplies which Britain needs to continue the war. In May, British intelligence discovers the Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen are about to break into theNorth Atlantic to attack convoys.

The man assigned to coordinate the hunt is the Admiralty’s chief of operations, Captain Jonathan Shepard (Kenneth More), who has been distraught over the death of his wife in an air raid and the sinking of his ship by German ships commanded by Admiral Günther Lütjens (Karel Štěpánek). Upon receiving his new post, Shepard discovers Lütjens is the fleet commander on the Bismarck. Shepard’s experience of conflict with the German Navy and his understanding of Lütjens allow him to predict theBismarck‘s movements. Shepard is aggressive to his staff but comes increasingly to rely on the coolness and skill of his assistant, WREN Second Officer Anne Davis (Dana Wynter).

Below are the combatants.

The German battleship Bismarck:

The Bismarck (click for larger image)
The Bismarck (click for larger image)

The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal:

HMS Ark Royal (click for larger image)
HMS Ark Royal (click for larger image)

I had some fun on Thursday night watching military documentaries, which is one of my favorite things to do. In addition to watching a documentary about my beloved Challenger 2 tank and a clip on reactive armor, I found this documentary on battleship evolution from World War 1 to World War 2, and this documentary on the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck and this documentary on the German battleship Tirpitz. The documentary on battleship evolution even mentioned Army Air Service Brig. Gen.  Billy Mitchell, the air force pioneer who warned American military planners that battleships were being eclipsed by aircraft carriers. And he was right about that, though no one listened to him. No one, that is, except one Douglas MacArthur! If you watch nothing else, click through and read the story of Billy Mitchell and how he bravely spoke out in favor of air power, and took his lumps for it.

So why did battleships become extinct? Well, you can get a lot more range and striking power out of several squadrons of bombers and torpedo bombers than you can out of 16 or even 18 inch guns. In fact, you’ll see the torpedo bombers of the HMS Ark Royal face off against the Bismarck in the movie. Today, naval warfare is conducted with surface-to-surface missiles like the Tomahawk and the SS-N-27 Sizzler, etc. as well as air-to-surface missiles fired from land and carrier based strike aircraft. The range of these missiles is far greater than the range of the deck guns on any battleship. However, there is work being done on rail guns which may force a return to conventional deck guns, especially for operations like shore bombardments where you want to use cheaper munitions!

Happy Friday!

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US Air Force decides not to close F-22 Raptor production plant

Great news from Politico. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

The Air Force will hang on to its F-22 tooling at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Ga., production plant even after it stops making the fifth generation fighter jet in 2012, according to Flight International’s Stephen Trimble. Though the Air Force has said in the past the goal would be to provide a long-time service plan for the jets, “the decision also implicitly preserves the option to restart production if future administrations decide that the USAF needs more than 186 F-22s,” Trimble writes.

The Weekly Standard explains:

The Air Force originally planned for 750 Raptors — at the time called the Advanced Tactical Fighter — as a replacement for the venerable F-15 Eagle. Strategic shifts, like the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the infantry-heavy war on terrorism, steadily decreased the fleet’s planned end-strength until Congress settled on 187 airframes in 2006.

As Russia and China continue their steady defense buildups and America’s aging fighter fleet continues to decay, the need for the “finest fighter jet ever built” only grows. Keeping that Lockheed assembly line open may seem like mundane news today. But it could end up saving the military big bucks down the line, as the peer threat looms larger.

Now that the JSF is facing substantial delays and rising costs, we need to have the option of restarting production on the F-22 when Obama loses in 2012. This is really important. We need to keep our edge in the sky. There are bad people in the world who threaten peace, prosperity and liberty. We need to make them believe that any aggression they consider will be costly. We need to deter aggression.