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Why the Confederacy's General Albert Sidney Johnston Was a Flop

The National Interest - Sun, 24/05/2020 - 20:00

Warfare History Network

History, Americas

Here's how it all went wrong for him.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis considered his old West Point classmate Albert Sidney Johnston “the greatest soldier, the ablest man, civil or military, Confederate or Union, then living,” and it is safe to say that no other general in either army began the Civil War with a more glittering—or fleeting—reputation.

High Expectations

The towering expectations surrounding Johnston’s Civil War service began even before he joined his first command. As a transplanted Texan, Johnston chose to stick by his adopted state when it seceded in February 1861. Resigning his post as commanding general of the Department of the Pacific two months later, Johnston headed east to meet with Davis in Richmond, Va. Breathless news reports of Johnston’s progress followed him every step of the way, and he was greeted as a hero before he ever set foot in the capital.

Inevitably, perhaps, Johnston could not meet the sky-high expectations. Amid all the hoopla, one salient fact was overlooked—Johnston had never commanded an army of his own. To make matters worse, he was given an assignment that even the most experienced of generals would have found daunting. With less than 50,000 troops at his disposal, Johnston was tasked with defending a 500-mile-long border stretching from eastern Kentucky to western Missouri—an area equal in size to western Europe. Complicating his task was the fact that three major rivers wound their way through his defenses, at the mercy of industrious Union gunboats.

It was sure-fire recipe for disaster, and Johnston was not long in adding to his own cup of woe by failing to adequately safeguard the Confederate strongpoints at Forts Henry and Donelson. In February 1862, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant easily captured both forts, along with 12,000 Confederate troops. That feat set Grant on the way to becoming the North’s leading commander, and put two large dints in Johnston’s previously spotless suit of armor. Still, his old friend Davis continued to support him. Responding to one Confederate congressman’s complaint that Johnston was “no general,” the president tartly replied, “If Sidney Johnston is not a general, the Confederacy has none to give you.” He angrily refused to remove Johnston from command.

“We Must Use the Bayonet”

Besides, Johnston had a plan for recovering both his reputation and the territory he had lost. Massing his army at Corinth, Miss., he organized a counterattack on Grant’s Union forces encamped around Shiloh Church in southwest Tennessee. On the morning of April 6, 1862, Johnston prepared to lead his army into battle. Picking up a tin cup, he sportively clinked his men’s bayonets. “These will do the work,” he assured them. “We must use the bayonet.” He added, for whatever it was worth, “I will lead you.” Earlier, he had rejected worries that the Union forces were too numerous to attack. “I will fight them if they were a million,” he asserted.

As it was, he did not fight them for long. Sitting astride his horse, Johnston suddenly reeled in the saddle and fell into the arms of Tennessee Governor Isham Harris–on hand that day as a civilian aide. “General, are you hurt?” cried Harris. “Yes, and I fear seriously,” Johnston replied.

Unnoticed in the heat of battle, Johnston had been struck behind the right knee by a Union bullet. Ignoring the wound, the general continued directing the battle while his boot filled with blood. The bullet had severed his femoral artery, and Johnston bled to death in a matter of minutes.

Ulysses S. Grant later rendered his own verdict on his slain opponent. “I do not question the personal courage of General Johnston, or his ability,” Grant wrote in his Personal Memoirs. “But he did not win the distinction predicted for him by many of his friends. He did prove that as a general he was over-estimated.” It was a verdict that Johnston did not live long enough to appeal.

This article originally appeared on the Warfare History Network.

Image: Wikimedia

Autonomous Navy Ships Could Revolutionize Amphibious Assault

The National Interest - Sun, 24/05/2020 - 19:30

Kris Osborn


The notion of a disaggregated, yet interwoven attack force, less vulnerable to enemy fire, will be launched to hit “multiple landing points” to exploit enemy defenses.

Here's What You Need To Remember: While this emerging Navy strategy is, of course, intended to implement a far more effective attack strategy, it is also, by design, intended to save more lives when launching dangerous assaults into heavily-defended enemy areas.

The future of amphibious attack may consist of thousands of disaggregated manned and unmanned surveillance boats, armor-carrying connectors, minesweepers and small attack vessels operating in tandem as the Navy and Marine Corps refine a new strategic approach and continue their pivot toward a new, great-power threat environment.

The concept is to configure a dispersed, yet “networked” fleet of next-generation connectors and other smaller boats launched from big-deck amphib “mother ships.” The larger host ships are intended to operate in a command and control capacity while bringing sensors, long-range fires and 5th-generation air support to the fight.

“We envision fleets of smaller, multi-mission vessels, operating with surface warfare leadership. People talk about a 355-ship Navy, how about a 35,000-ship Navy?,” Maj. Gen. David Coffman, Director of Naval Expeditionary Warfare, told an audience at the Surface Naval Association Symposium.

Coffman explained it as a “family of combatant craft, manned and unmanned, integrated in a distributed maritime operation.”

Since potential adversaries now have longer-range weapons, better sensors, targeting technologies and computers with faster processing speeds, amphibious forces approaching the shore may need to disperse in order to make it harder for enemy forces to target them. Therefore, the notion of a disaggregated, yet interwoven attack force, less vulnerable to enemy fire, will be launched to hit “multiple landing points” to exploit enemy defenses.

“This does not mean we give up the bigs, it means we use them more effectively. They are a big part of our ability to project combat power,” Coffman explained.

New ships, such as future Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC), Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV), Amphibious Combat Vehicles, ship-launched undersea drones and even newly up-gunned PC boats, are expected to empower the emerging strategy to introduce a new, more effective and lethal “over-the-horizon ship-to-shore” attack ability.

Future LCAC replacements, such as the now-under-construction Textron-built Ship-to-Shore Connectors, are expected to figure prominently in these anticipated missions. They introduce an unprecedented ability to transport 70-ton Abrams tanks to war and bring an integrated suite of new technologies to amphibious attack missions.

Execution of this new strategy is, depending upon the threat, also reliant upon 5th-generation aircraft, Coffman said; the Corp F-35B, now operational as part of Marine Corps Air Ground Task Forces aboard the USS Wasp and USS Essex, is intended to provide close-air support to advancing attacks, use its sensors to perform forward reconnaissance and launch strikes itself. The success of an amphibious attack needs, or even requires, air supremacy. Extending this logic, an F-35 would be positioned to address enemy air-to-air and airborne air-to-surface threats such as drones, fighter jets or even incoming anti-ship missiles and ballistic missiles. The idea would be to use the F-35 in tandem with surveillance drones and other nodes to find and destroy land-based enemy defenses, clearing the way for a land assault.

The entire strategic and conceptual shift is also informed by an increased “sea-basing” focus. Smaller multi-mission vessels, according to this emerging strategy, will be fortified by larger amphibs operating as sovereign entities at safer distances. Coffman said these ships would operate as “seaports, hospitals, logistics warehouses and sea-bases for maneuver forces.”

A 2014 paper from the Marine Corps Association, the professional journal of the US Marine Corps, points to sea-basing as a foundation upon which the Navy will shift away from traditional amphibious warfare.

“Seabased operations enable Marines to conduct highly mobile, specialized, small unit, amphibious landings by stealth from over the horizon at multiple undefended locations of our own choosing,” the paper writes.

In effect, future “ship-to-shore” amphibious attacks will look nothing like the more linear, aggregated Iwo Jima assault. A Naval War College essay on this topic both predicts and reinforces Coffman’s thinking.

“The basic requirements of amphibious assault, long held to be vital to success, may no longer be attainable. Unlike the Pacific landings of World War II amphibious objective areas could prove impossible to isolate,” the paper, called “Blitzkrieg From the Sea: Maneuver Warfare and Amphibious Operations,” states. (Richard Moore, 1983)

The essay, written in the 80s during the height of the Cold War, seems to anticipate future threats from major-power adversaries. Interestingly, drawing from some elements of a Cold War mentality, the essay foreshadows current “great-power” competition strategy for the Navy as it transitions from more than a decade of counterinsurgency to a new threat environment. In fact, when discussing its now-underway “distributed lethality” strategy, Navy leaders often refer to this need to return its focus upon heavily fortified littoral defenses and open, blue-water warfare against a near-peer adversary - as having some roots in the Cold War era.

The Naval War College essay also seems to anticipate modern thinking in that it cites LCACs as fundamental to amphibious warfare, writing that LCACs can “land at several points along an enemy coastline, seeking out enemy weaknesses and shifting forces.”

LCACs can access over 70-percent of the shoreline across the world, something the new SSCs will be able to do as well. Designed with over-the-horizon high-speed and maneuverability, LCACs are able to travel long distances and land on rocky terrain and drive up onto the shore. Referring to a more dispersed or disaggregated amphibious attack emphasis, the Naval War College essay describes modern attack through the lens of finding “surface gaps” to exploit as a way to bypass or avoid “centers of resistance.”

Dispersed approaches, using air-ground coordination and forward positioned surveillance nodes, can increasingly use synchronized assault tactics, pinpointing advantageous areas of attack. Not only can this, as the essay indicates, exploit enemy weakness, but it also brings the advantage of avoiding more condensed or closely-configured approaches far more vulnerable to long-range enemy sensors and weapons. Having an SSC, which can bring a heavier load of land-attack firepower, weapons and Marines, helps enable this identified need to bring assault forces across a wide-range of attack locations. None of this, while intended to destroy technologically sophisticated enemies, removes major risks; Russian and Chinese weapons, including emerging 5th-generation fighters, DF-26 anti-ship missiles claimed to reach 900-miles and rapidly-emerging weapons such as drones, lasers and railguns are a variety of systems of concern.

New Amphibious Attack Platforms

The effort to integrate large numbers of multi-mission smaller craft, naturally hinges upon the continued development of vessels enabled by newer advanced technologies. Textron's upgraded Ship-to-Shore Craft includes lighter-weight composite materials, increased payload capacity, modernized engines and computer-automated controls. Also, SSC’s new Rolls Royce engines have more horsepower and specialized aluminum to help prevent corrosion. Textron engineers also say the SSC is built with digital flight controls and computer automation to replace the traditional yoke and pedals used by current connectors. As a result, on-board computers will quickly calculate relevant details such as wind speed and navigational information, according to Textron information.

The Navy’s 72 existing LCACs, in service since the 80s, can only transport up to 60-tons, reach speeds of 36-knots and travel ranges up to 200 nautical miles from amphibious vehicles. The first several SSCs, which have been built and launched on the water, bring a new level of computer networking, combat-power transport technology and emerging elements of advanced maritime propulsion systems. The new SSC's have also moved to a lower frequency for ship electronics, moving from 400 Hertz down to 60 Hertz in order to better synchronize ship systems with Navy common standards. Along with these properties, the new craft uses hardware footprint reducing advances to lower the number of gear boxes from eight to two.

As part of this overall attack apparatus, the Corps is preparing to deploy new BAE-built Amphibious Combat Vehicles by 2021. By integrating a new, more powerful engine, large weapons and digitized C4ISR systems, the ACV is expected to bring new mechanized firepower to amphibious assaults - when compared to the existing AAV - Amphibious Assault Vehicle. BAE is now beginning Low-Rate Initial Production as part of a Marine Corps plan to build hundreds of the new vehicles. Unlike existing tracked AAVs, ACVs are eight-wheeled vehicles engineered for greater speed, maneuverability and survivability. By removing the need for torsion bars, a wheeled-vehicle such as the ACV can build a v-shaped hull for additional protection, BAE Systems developers say. "The Marine Corps went from tracked to wheeled because of advances in automotive technology," said John Swift, Director of Amphibious Warfare.

These vehicles, if upgraded with advanced AI-enabled networking and computer technologies, could help identify threats, protect SSCs and of course bring needed firepower to amphibious landings. BAE and the Corps are now preparing to fire weapons at the new vehicle until the live-fire attacks achieve "total destruction," as a way to prepare the vehicle for combat, Swift said.

Mine Threat:

Coffman also explained that he envisions unmanned, yet networked LCACs as something which, among other things, can limit risk to Marines from a range of enemy attacks such as deep-water mines.

“We have significant gaps in our capability to defeat 100,000 Russian and Chinese mines which will not be laid in shallow water,” Coffman said. When accompanied by a fleet of small attack and reconnaissance vessels, SSCs will operate with more protection from mines and other enemy threats.

While this emerging Navy strategy is, of course, intended to implement a far more effective attack strategy, it is also, by design, intended to save more lives when launching dangerous assaults into heavily-defended enemy areas.

“Amphibious landings are marked by extremely high costs and heavy casualties, and are considered among the riskiest and least desirable operations to conduct,” the Marine Corps Association essay maintains.

Kris Osborn is a Senior Fellow at The Lexington Institute. This piece was first featured in January 2019 and is being republished due to reader's interest.

Image: Reuters

Post-Coronavirus Asia: A Land of Great Power Tensions Set to Boil Over?

The National Interest - Sun, 24/05/2020 - 19:00

William R. Hawkins

Security, Asia

Discussion has flourished about what kind of "new" world will emerge after the coronavirus pandemic recedes. There is nothing new about hoping a global crisis will generate peace and cooperation, and nothing new about how it will turn out. The world will go on as before because nothing has changed geopolitically in the last few months other than major trends have accelerated. A quick tour around the Indo-Pacific region shows continued tension and conflict.

Discussion has flourished about what kind of "new" world will emerge after the coronavirus pandemic recedes. There is nothing new about hoping a global crisis will generate peace and cooperation, and nothing new about how it will turn out. The world will go on as before because nothing has changed geopolitically in the last few months other than major trends have accelerated. A quick tour around the Indo-Pacific region shows continued tension and conflict. 

On May 8, a gun battle erupted when Chinese troops crossed the border into Muguthang Valley in Sikkim province, a long-disputed region under Indian control but which Beijing claims is being illegally occupied. Tensions have been rising since January. In April, a Chinese “surveillance” ship rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat in a disputed area of the South China Sea. Both countries claim sovereignty over what Hanoi calls the Hoang Sa archipelago and Beijing calls the Paracel islands. Besides sitting across vital shipping lanes, the islands also mean access to potentially rich undersea energy and mineral resources. Beijing has claimed Sikkim and the entire South China Sea as its territory based on the long past historical domination of these areas by Imperial China. 

On May 4, the Ministry of National Defense confirmed that China will establish an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea, to match the one they have in the East China Sea where they have disputes with Japan. An ADIZ requires all aircraft to identify themselves, the point of which is to acknowledge the official expansion of Chinese airspace over the expanded maritime domain it claims. 

The United States, along with other maritime powers including Japan, India, the United Kingdom, and France have conducted "freedom of navigation" operations to demonstrate their rejection of Beijing's territorial claims. On April 28, the People’s Liberation Army boasted it had “expelled a US warship that trespassed into Chinese territorial waters off the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea.” The story in Global Times, the media outlet of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, featured a photo of a Chinese warship firing a missile, but no shots were fired in the confrontation.  By its own accounts, all the PLA did was “organize naval and aerial forces to follow the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Barry.” They warned it to leave the area and claimed it had been expelled when all it did was complete its transit through the area. A bold PLA claim for propaganda purposes that further raised tensions. As the Global Times story asserted, “US warships and aircraft have been frequently operating in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Strait recently. Chinese troops will resolutely fulfill their duty, safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea.” In Beijing’s view, it is the United States and its allies who are provoking conflict by upholding international law.

The Taiwan Strait deserves mention as tensions are mounting there in the wake of the re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen. She leads the Democratic Progressive Party which is based on Taiwanese nationalism. The DPP has been growing in strength as younger generations have come to identify themselves as Taiwanese, not Chinese. Taiwan has been governed from Beijing for only four years (1945 to 1949) out of the last 125. A May 11 article in the South China Morning Post claimed that Beijing was trying to tap down rising “nationalist fervor” on Chinese social media calling for an invasion of Taiwan. The article also noted, “recently a number of commentators and retired military commanders have called for Beijing to retake control of the island….Some former military leaders have argued that the United States – which is bound by law to help the Taiwanese government defend itself – is presently unable to do so because all four of its aircraft carriers in the Pacific have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.” After the U.S. aircraft carriers Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan had to return to port to handle flu cases among their crews, China sent its carrier Liaoning with its escorts through the “first island chain” into the Pacific to demonstrate it was the local superpower. The United States responded by bringing in reinforcements and stepping up its operating tempo to counter any perception of weakness. 

A previous SCMP article cited Chinese strategists as fearing an invasion of the democratic island would be too costly and that Beijing will have to mobilize greater strength to do so. However, a lengthy essay published on May 12 by the PLA reported “The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has carried out combat readiness patrols in the Taiwan Strait region on many occasions…since February this year” and that its troops “are determined and capable of thwarting all ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist activities.” The article carried a direct threat to America at its conclusion, stating in bold type. “The Taiwan question is China's core interest and the bottom line of China that cannot be challenged” and that if the United States “repeatedly probes and even breaks through China's bottom line, it will eventually bring fire to itself.” President Xi Jinping is adamant that Taiwan “must and will” be absorbed into the mainland and during his tenure in office if possible. 

Further north, Japan has released its 2020 East Asian Strategic Review. The report proclaims a "free and open Indo-Pacific" that goes beyond the Japan-U.S. alliance to expand military cooperation with South Korea, Australia, India, and within ASEAN. It has already signed “Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements” with the armed forces of Australia, the UK, Canada, and France. Another is pending with India. It also uses military aid to build ties within Southeast Asia. These efforts are all meant to build a coalition to contain a China that is threatening islands that form a strategic link between Tokyo and Taipei.

The carrier Ronald Reagan, which is based in Japan, is now back at sea. And to fill in the gap while the carrier Theodore Roosevelt recovers in Guam, the amphibious assault carrier America (which now embarks F-35B fighters) and the guided missile cruiser Bunker Hill have been operating off the coast of Malaysia near an area in dispute between Indonesia and China, and also showing the flag off Vietnam. China’s aggression in Southeast Asia is not confined to the sea. Beijing has built a series of dams at the headwaters of the Mekong River to produce electricity for southern China. But these dams also give Beijing leverage over Southeast Asian lands which depend on the Mekong for rice irrigation and fishing. Food security is already jeopardized by drought and has been further endangered by erratic water flows from the Chinese dams.

China has reacted strongly to an Australian demand for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus outbreak. Beijing is threatening trade with Canberra. The Global Times stated on May 13 how China views commerce as a part of foreign policy, “When the world enters the buyer's market, China has the right to select trading partners that can maximize its interest.”   

The United States has increased its backing for those resisting Chinese aggression since “the pivot” from the Middle East to the Pacific Rim instituted by the Obama administration. President Barack Obama was, however, reluctant to strike at the economic roots of Beijing’s rise. President Donald Trump has focused on international economics, targeting the outsourcing of American jobs and production capacity to China and Beijing’s theft of intellectual property. He has based his case on national security grounds. The pandemic has highlighted to the American public the dangerous dependency the United States has fallen into with China for a variety of strategic goods starting with medicine and including electronics, steel, auto parts and a host of critical supply chains. Efforts to decouple from China in key areas are underway led by the State and Commerce departments.

It is hoped that many of these industries can be brought back to America but even if they are merely diverted to trading partners who are allies or otherwise aligned with the United States, the gain to security will be substantial. New Delhi is putting itself forward, sending out invitations to 1,000 American firms doing business in China asking them to shift operations to India. Trump has been actively courting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a variety of high-tech projects and arms sales. India has been designated a Major Defense Partner of the United States.

The Japanese government is also offering incentives to its firms to shift critical production out of China. Business firms may resist efforts to put national security ahead of private profits. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce still says its “policy and advocacy efforts are guided by the belief that commercial engagement and the expansion of trade and investment ties between the United States and China benefit both countries and their business communities.” However, just as the pandemic has postponed the Chamber’s eleventh China Business Conference, the international situation will require commerce to follow the flag and adjust to a world that will operate on the basis of great power competition for the foreseeable future. 

William R. Hawkins is a consultant specializing in international economic and national security issues. He is a former Republican staff member on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Image: Reuters.

Instead Of Retiring, America's F-5E Tiger Is Flying To Brazil

The National Interest - Sun, 24/05/2020 - 18:30

Charlie Gao


An amazing export success.

Here's What You Need To Remember: Brazilian experts stress that the FAB’s capability gap with neighboring air forces was only narrowed by the upgrade and that the F-5EM still remains an outclassed fighter in modern air combat due to its shortcomings and old-school design. Regardless, it was the best the FAB could do on a limited budget and the resulting craft was quite good for the money spent.

The F-5E “Tiger” is one of U.S. aerospace industry’s largest export successes. Designed as a budget lightweight fighter, the F-5E is still operated by many nations around the world despite the availability of more modern fighters.

Its continued service is enabled by miniaturization of electronics, which allows for more powerful radars and more systems to be integrated into the same spaces as the original system. This approach is exemplified by the F-5EM operated by Brazil, one of the most advanced variants of the F-5E flying today.

Brazil first acquired F-5Es in 1974 after comparing it to rival NATO light fighters like the Harrier, Jaguar, Fiat G.91 and A-4 Skyhawk. Forty-two units were purchased originally, followed by twenty-six more in the 1980s.

These aircraft served in without much modification until CRUZEX I aerial exercise in 2002. The exercise simulated conflict between the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and a French Armee de l’Air force equipped with Mirage 2000s with E-3 Sentry AWACS support. The results were abysmal, with France expected to take air superiority in a real conflict despite some good simulated kills by FAB Mirage IIIs.

This sparked a significant push to modernize the FAB’s capability to defend Brazil’s airspace. Modernization of the Mirage III was explored but deemed to be cost ineffective. The F-5E showed much more promise.

In the 1990s, Chile, facing a similar need to modernize, created their own variant, the Tiger III Plus with assistance from Israel Aircraft Industries. A similar program with newer technology could be done with the FAB’s F-5Es.

The program began in the 2000s when a contract was awarded to the Brazilian firm Embraer to modernize forty-six F-5Es with European and Israeli technology. The key aspect of the modernization was to “extend” the legs of the F-5E from being a short-range “point defense” fighter to something that could cover more ground over Brazil’s rather large borders.

To this end, the radar was upgraded to the SELEX Grifo-F, which involved lengthening the nose cone of the aircraft to account for the larger radar antenna. But while the new radar was better, the F-5EM was designed with a secure data link to connect to FAB E-99 AWACS aircraft and ground radars, which were envisioned to vector the F-5s onto a target.

The role of the data link in FAB doctrine is significant. In addition to the dominance displayed by the French Mirages working with E-3s during CRUZEX, the FAB always favored vectoring their fighters from more powerful radars due to poor experience with the original F-5E radar. During a night intercept of a British Vulcan bomber in 1982, the F-5E’s onboard radar was unable to effectively search for the massive aircraft, the fighters were reliant on ground radar.

To take advantage of the additional range given by the data link and radar systems, the Israeli Derby active-radar medium-range air-to-air missile was integrated into the F-5EM. While lighter and shorter ranged than heavier missiles like the AMRAAM and R-27, the missile gave the FAB much-needed beyond-visual-range capability in air-to-air combat, the third nation after Chile and Venezuela to gain such capability.

Many other systems were added or upgraded on the F-5EM. In addition to the Derby, Israeli Python III short-range missiles were integrated. The Israeli DASH helmet mounted display was installed in the cockpit to cue those missiles, making the F-5EM a formidable close range fighter.

A radar-warning receiver, onboard oxygen generation system, hands-on throttle and stick, and INS/GPS navigation are all included. The addition of all these systems came at a cost though. The starboard M39A2 20mm cannon was removed to make space for electronics in the jet.

Finally to address the F-5E’s meager internal fuel capacity, provision for air-to-air refueling was added.

The F-5E modernization program continued through the 2000s and 2010s, with the final jet being delivered in 2013. Eleven additional F-5Es were acquired from the Jordanian Air Force in 2009 to increase the number of the type in FAB service.

The type is expected to serve on to 2025, with the integration of the new A-Darter beyond visual range air-to-air missile expected to happen soon. The new Gripen Es being acquired by the FAB are expected to supplement the shorter ranged F-5EMs.

Brazilian experts stress that the FAB’s capability gap with neighboring air forces was only narrowed by the upgrade and that the F-5EM still remains an outclassed fighter in modern air combat due to its shortcomings and old-school design. Regardless, it was the best the FAB could do on a limited budget and the resulting craft was quite good for the money spent.

Charlie Gao studied political and computer science at Grinnell College and is a frequent commentator on defense and national-security issues. This article first appeared earlier this year.

Image: Wikipedia.

Coronavirus Temperature Checks: Sued If You Do, Sued If You Don't

The National Interest - Sun, 24/05/2020 - 18:00

Walter Olson

Politics, Americas

Coronavirus liability or civil liberties lawsuits?

Last week in this space I noted that many businesses are faced with puzzling dilemmas as they try to reopen with social distancing without running afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act. One issue I didn’t mention: if they require the wearing of face masks as a condition of entering the premises, they may run into some customers who claim to have non‐​obvious disabilities which entitle them, as an accommodation under the ADA, not to have to wear a mask. Even if they strongly suspect such a customer of pulling a fast one, it may seem the less risky legal course just to back off, given that the law confers on business no right to demand medical documentation.

One issue I did mention last week is that the ADA creates legal risks should a business screen those who enter the premises for fever using some method such as a contact‐​free temperature gun. (Amazon announced last month that it was checking more than 100,000 employees a day this way, and checks at store entrances are familiar in some Asian countries.) Two new articles make it clear that this is one of those situations where you can look forward to being sued if you do and sued if you don’t.

Consider first a Slate article arguing against legislation to protect businesses from lawsuits related to COVID-19. The gist of its argument is that we already have a litigation system under which “liability is not likely to present a huge problem” or pose “burdensome difficulties” for businesses that “take reasonable action to keep their customers safe.” Welcome news, and so simple too!

But now that you think of it, how do we identify in hindsight a business whose safety efforts have fallen short of what is reasonable? The Slate article has some ideas on that:

A business that might be considered to have properly reopened can still find itself liable to customers for failure at the level of implementation of whatever safety protocols are required. …. what if a reasonable business would do more, such as taking the temperature of each customer as they enter the business? (Even though that’s not being widely done in the United States right now, it’s an easy precaution to take — and can at least bring down the rate of transmission.)

In sum, then, if someone sues you claiming to have contracted the virus at your business establishment, and their lawyer’s main theory is that you should have been doing front‐​door temperature checks, Slate is going to nod and say the system is working as it should.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the venerable American Civil Liberties Union has issued a new report that is strenuously critical of temperature‐​sensing technologies as a screen against contagion in public places, even when done by businesses on private property. (You may wonder how the ACLU came to see pushing back against private business practices as part of its mission — especially when it lets slide so much rights‐​mangling activity by governments — but that’s another, and sadder, story.)

The ACLU report makes much of various facts that hardly anyone disputes — temperature sensors are far from ideally accurate, some people return “hot” results who do not have COVID-19 while others who do have it are not running a fever, and so forth. The argument for sensors has never been that they are perfect, but that by detecting at least some potentially contagious arrivals, they shift the odds and thus reduce overall spread of the disease in conjunction with de‐​crowding, mask use, and other measures. The report concludes that temperature sensing should go forward only if public health authorities affirmatively call for its use, and it flags possible theories, from data privacy to disparate racial impact, by which lawyers might trip up unwary businesses that go forward with it absent such a mandate.

In its wisdom, the American legal system does not give you a way to avoid legal exposure, with all its costs and miseries — but at least it gives you some choice as to which set of lawyers you will have to face off against.

This article by Walter Olson first appeared in CATO on May 20, 2020.

Image: Reuters.

Airbus' Eurofighter Typhoon Could Become Germany's Next Air Defense Killer

The National Interest - Sun, 24/05/2020 - 17:30

David Axe


The German air force will select its new fighter aircraft in early 2020.

Here's What You Need To Remember: With Russian and Chinese air-defenses proliferating and improving in capability, more countries are considering acquisitions of SEAD aircraft. Beside Germany and Finland, Canada, India and Switzerland also are considering Super Hornet purchases. Boeing reportedly considers the EA-18G a viable add-on for each country.

Airbus is offering Germany a version of the Typhoon multi-role fighter aircraft that can perform the suppression of enemy air-defenses, or SEAD, mission.

The SEAD Typhoon would be a new variant of the twin-engine plane and would require extensive modification of the basic Typhoon design.

Germany currently operates a significant portion of the dedicated SEAD fleet in Europe. Forty of the Luftwaffe’s 93 Tornado fighter-bombers are electronic combat/reconnaissance, or ECR, variants. The Italian air force possesses 15 Tornado ECRs.

The German air force plans to replace all 85 Tornados with a new fighter starting in the 2020s. Just two designs are in the running for the multi-billion-dollar acquisition: the Typhoon and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet from American plane-maker Boeing.

Notably, Boeing already builds a SEAD version of the Super Hornet called the EA-18G Growler. The company reportedly is seeking permission from the U.S. State Department to export the Growler to Germany. The State Department in early 2019 cleared the company to offer the EA-18G to Finland.

The German air force will select its new fighter aircraft in early 2020, German minister of defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer announced in late September 2019.

The plane will replace the Luftwaffe’s Tornados and complement the service’s roughly 140 Typhoons. Berlin recently eliminated the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter from the competition.

Defense News called the move “not altogether surprising.”

Berlin for some time has officially favored an upgraded version of the fourth-generation Eurofighter Typhoon — built by a consortium of Airbus, Leonardo and BAE Systems — as the Tornado replacement. The main argument is to keep European companies involved in building combat aircraft and, perhaps even more importantly, staying clear of disturbing Franco-German momentum in armaments cooperation.

In offering a SEAD version of the Typhoon, Airbus clearly anticipates that Germany will want to preserve its niche defense-suppression capability. Aside from Germany and Italy’s Tornado ECRs, the only dedicated SEAD aircraft in the NATO inventory are the roughly 150 EA-18Gs that Boeing is building for the U.S. Navy.

Australia also operates 11 EA-18Gs alongside 24 F/A-18E/Fs in a mixed fleet that Boeing sees as a model for other potential Super Hornet operators, including Finland and Germany.

Typically, a SEAD aircraft features a two-person crew, radar-detectors, radar-jamming pods and a radar-seeking missile of some type. The SEAD Typhoon is no exception.

“The ECR/SEAD configuration shown by Airbus comprises a pair of escort jammer pods on the underwing stations currently typically used to carry drop tanks, while three 1,000-liter tanks would be carried on the centerline and two inboard underwing pylons,” Jane’s reported.

“These three stations are currently 'dry,’ and would need to be plumbed to carry fuel tanks. The aircraft is also shown carrying the SPEAR-EW weapon recently showcased by [missile-maker] MBDA as a future SEAD weapons system, wingtip emitter-locator stations and both short- and long-range air-to-air missiles.”

“The ECR/SEAD Eurofighter would ‘almost certainly’ be a twin-seat aircraft with the rear cockpit devoted to operating the complex mission systems,” Jane’s added, citing an Airbus official.

With Russian and Chinese air-defenses proliferating and improving in capability, more countries are considering acquisitions of SEAD aircraft. Beside Germany and Finland, Canada, India and Switzerland also are considering Super Hornet purchases. Boeing reportedly considers the EA-18G a viable add-on for each country.

The U.S. Navy meanwhile wants to buy up to 48 more Growlers in order to boost, from five to as many as 11, the number of SEAD planes in each carrier air wing.

Giving the Typhoon a SEAD role helps the European fighter to compete with the F/A-18. Typhoon users including the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

But there’s still one major capability the Typhoon design lacks. The German air force as part of its commitment to NATO must contribute tactical fighters to the alliance’s plans for “tactical” nuclear warfare. Under the NATO scheme, fighters from across the alliance would drop American nuclear bombs.

The Tornado is compatible with nukes but neither the F/A-18E/F nor the Typhoon can carry atomic weapons. German officials have asked Airbus and Boeing to explain how they would add nuclear capability to their fighters so that the Luftwaffe can continue to honor its atomic obligation to the trans-Atlantic alliance.

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels  War FixWar Is Boring and Machete Squad. This article first appeared last year.

Image: Wikipedia.

QD-OLED: Samsung's Plan To Crush OLED One and For All?

The National Interest - Sun, 24/05/2020 - 17:00

Ethen Kim Lieser


In LCD and OLED, we have two of the basic TV panel displays on the market today. Each has its pros and cons in its underlying technology and some higher-end models can get quite expensive. So, where do we go from here? Why not take the best qualities of each panel type and create a new groundbreaking, modestly priced hybrid TV?

In LCD and OLED, we have two of the basic TV panel displays on the market today. Each has its pros and cons in its underlying technology and some higher-end models can get quite expensive.

So, where do we go from here? Why not take the best qualities of each panel type and create a new groundbreaking, modestly priced hybrid TV?

It appears that Korean tech giant Samsung has already gotten a head start in pursuing this next-gen venture.

As the world’s biggest TV seller, Samsung has relied mostly on LCD, not OLED, for its panel displays. But news out of Korea has indicated that Samsung will halt the production of traditional LCD displays by the end of the year. Driven largely by a supply glut and falling demand, the company is now turning its full attention toward its fast-growing portfolio of TVs that utilize quantum dot technology.

All would be fine and well, but in recent years, Samsung has been stuck in an unusual position of having to look up at its Korean archrival LG, whose OLED offerings have become the darlings of the ultra-competitive TV market. Tests after tests have shown that LG’s OLED panels have better overall image quality, contrast ratios and off-angle viewing than LCD TVs that are enhanced by quantum dots.

These quantum dots are microscopic particles that when hit by light, emit a certain different colored light. The source of this light is the LED backlight, and that light must pass through more layers, such as the LCD layer, to produce the images on the screen. On the other hand, OLED TVs don’t need a separate backlight, as each pixel you see is a self-contained source of color and light.

By combining quantum dots and OLED, you could cull the best strengths of both technologies. In short, the panel design of such a QD-OLED hybrid would simplify the light conversion process—having OLED create blue light and then relying on quantum dots to convert some of the blue into the colors red and green. This could also finally put an end to those pesky issues of image retention and burn-in. Moreover, by using only one OLED color, it could theoretically save on manufacturing costs.

With its sights set squarely on the TV promised land, Samsung has committed $11 billion over the next five years on a new factory in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, that will focus chiefly on QD-OLED hybrids. The new Gen. 8.5 QD line is scheduled to start production in 2021 and will manufacture at least 30,000 units of QD display panels of 65 inches or larger. 

The other new tech from Samsung and others is MicroLED, which boasts many of the same picture-quality strengths as the QD-OLED hybrid with no danger of burn-in.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. He currently resides in Minneapolis.

How The USS Goodhue Survived Kamikaze Attacks During The World War II Battle Of Okinawa

The National Interest - Sun, 24/05/2020 - 16:45

Warfare History Network

History, Asia

The attack transport USS Goodhue endured a day of misery off the coast of Okinawa. Read on for more.

More than 60 years ago, in April 1945, the war in Europe was winding down to its inevitable conclusion. Prospects for victory in the Pacific were looking brighter, but the war was far from decided. The Americans had the Japanese on the ropes and the ever-shrinking Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was now limited to the Ryukyus and the home islands of Japan. However, for the American sailors aboard the Bayfield-class attack transport USS Goodhue, the war had yet to begin.

This is the story of one eventful day in the life of the Goodhue during the Pacific War. The officers and ratings of the ship were about to participate in the last great campaign of World War II, the capture of the strategically important island of Okinawa. This sanguinary campaign cost the United States 36 ships sunk, with the loss of nearly 10,000 sailors dead or wounded. The Army lost 4,675 dead and nearly 19,000 wounded. The Marine Corps, which bore the brunt of the fighting on the island, lost almost 19,000 dead and wounded. This was the price that America paid for taking a small piece of real estate that would serve as a springboard for an invasion of the Japanese home islands. If the Japanese resistance was this intense on and around Okinawa, what would it be like in the invasion of the Japanese mainland?

Opposing Operation Iceberg: Japan’s Kamikaze Waves

Planning for the campaign that would be known as Operation Iceberg began in the fall of 1944, about the same time as the commissioning of the USS Goodhue. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had evaluated all of the plans that had been discussed to bring about the final Japanese defeat. Which plan was better: bypass the Philippines, advance in China, or occupy Formosa? The Joint Chiefs adopted a strategy involving a landing in the Philippines as well as on the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Following the costly victory on Iwo Jima, and while operations in the Philippines were ongoing, U.S. forces landed on Okinawa on April 1, 1945. Thoughts of hope for the future would be on the minds of the American servicemen in the Pacific that Sunday, but the only thing that was on the minds of the Japanese was to stop the American advance at any cost. Countless thousands of Japanese sailors and airmen would die in the attempt to halt the American juggernaut.

Japanese strategists discussed the best way to defend Okinawa. It was first argued that an aggressive attack against the Americans after they landed was the best strategy. Then, the idea was put forward that it might be better to let the Americans land and then grind them down in a battle of attrition. Then there was the darker alternative: that of the massed waves of suicide planes and boats known as the kamikaze. It was the latter two options in combination that American soldiers and sailors would confront at Okinawa.

The USS Goodhue

Scattered kamikaze attacks on American warships had occurred as early as 1943. Vice Admiral Takajiro Onishi had developed the concept of the kamikaze as a desperate suicidal effort to inflict serious damage on warships of the U.S. Navy, particularly its aircraft carriers. In doing so, it was hoped that the American tide would be slowed or even stopped. Although the kamikaze were not unknown to the Americans, the fury of the massed attacks thrown at the fleet off Okinawa was something that had not been previously experienced.

Ward McDonald, a 17-year-old signalman from Seattle, Washington, described the Goodhue’s shakedown cruise off San Pedro, California, in December 1944. “One early morning we got underway for our shakedown cruise … down the coast of California. A gunnery practice at a towed target proved our ability to have a shell from the ship’s 5-inch guns get within a quarter mile of the target. We swung compass, did a few maneuvers as well as swab the decks of vomit as the boys from Nebraska would leave go of their breakfasts. What a sight. I was wondering if they would even allow us to join other ships for a wartime effort. Somehow we made a successful shakedown.”

The Goodhue had two 5-inch dual-purpose gun mounts fore and aft, two single and two twin 40mm antiaircraft guns, and 18 20mm guns with which to protect the 51 officers and 524 enlisted men aboard. The ship was able to carry all the equipment necessary for an amphibious landing, including 1,200 troops and 15 landing craft. Powering everything was one General Electric geared drive turbine that could raise 8,500 horsepower.

“A day or so later during the loading of ammunition, food stuffs, fuel and the like, I noticed large boxes of foul weather gear coming aboard,” remembered McDonald of the days immediately following the shakedown cruise. “It appeared we were headed for a cold climate.” Days later, when the Goodhue was steaming southwest instead of north, McDonald observed, “The foul weather gear had been a ploy…. The military needed to make it appear obvious that we were heading north.”

The Goodhue had loaded her cargo in California and sailed away from the West Coast on January 4, 1945. She arrived at her first destination in the Admiralty Islands on January 21, where the ship picked up more cargo and passengers. Reaching Hollandia, New Guinea, on February 4, the Goodhue received her new commander, Captain J.L. Allen. Under Allen’s command, the ship took its place as the flagship of Transport Division 51. This meant that in any action they would be encountering, the Goodhue would be at the head of the column and most vulnerable to attack.

The Goodhue sailed to Leyte Gulf in the Philippines from February 4 to 12, carrying supplies to bases in the area. The officers and men underwent vigorous amphibious training exercises until February 25. By the end of the month, the Goodhue was loading troops and supplies for the coming campaign against Okinawa. There were more practice landings, and then it was time for the real thing. The ship got underway for Okinawa on March 21, but there would be one more stop along the way.

The small islands of Kerama Retto, just south of Okinawa, were to be secured to serve as a staging area for the invasion of Okinawa itself. A mighty American armada, which included the Goodhue, put troops ashore on March 26 to secure the island group. Compared with what was in store for them, the landings at Kerama Retto were a cakewalk.

Even so, McDonald voiced the opinion of many American servicemen in the area when he said, “March 26, 1945. Hell was upon us in every fashion. From the water we had the dreaded suicide boats, from the air the deadly kamikaze and on the beaches we had the fanatics. There was not to be a breather for anyone…. We encountered 82 air attacks in the next 30 days alone, most of them kamikaze. The reason for all this attention was we were getting very close to the main Japanese strongholds…. They would throw everything they had at us.”

As the kamikaze attacks against the American fleet intensified, the sailors aboard the Goodhue improved their defenses by bringing up on deck several of the Army’s field guns that they were transporting. “They just seemed to appear out of nowhere,” said McDonald of the suicide boats, “and if you weren’t alert they would get beneath your gunnery field and … the charge would blow a sizeable hole in the side of the vessel at the waterline.”

Airborne Attack on the Convoy

The Goodhue was anchored off Kuba Shima when the main landings against Okinawa went in on April 1. More than 1,300 vessels had assembled off the island, and the landing craft had been lowered and were circling in the water while the prelanding barrage softened up the beaches beginning at 5:30 am. Sixty-four American aircraft from the nearby carrier group also attacked the island before the landing craft hit the beach. By the end of the day, a 15,000-yard beachhead was secured and thousands of troops had landed.

At 4:15 pm on April 2, the Goodhue was underway from its anchorage at Kuba Shima to deliver the 307th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 77th Division to its destination on Okinawa. Cruising in a three-column formation of transports, the Goodhue led the right column with the transports Telfair, Mountrail, Drew, and Montrose falling in behind at 1,200-yard intervals. The distance between the columns was 600 yards. The Goodhue kept pace with the guide ship Chilton, which was leading the center column, and Henrico, which led the left column. As the vessels approached the combat zone, they began to zigzag to avoid enemy submarines.

At approximately 6:30 pm, a dozen kamikazes attacked the small armada of transports and supporting destroyers. The Goodhue’s log noted, “1837 [we] commenced firing with after starboard 20 millimeter guns and 40 millimeter guns on enemy aircraft attacking the convoy from abaft the starboard beam … 1840 … Henrico seen to be hit in midship section … 1842 … Telfair seen to be grazed by suicide plane.”

The Goodhue and her sister ship Telfair were attacked by three planes. The Telfair gunners combined with the firing from the Goodhue to destroy one of the attackers in midair. A second plane rammed into the starboard and port kingposts of the Telfair, then fell over the side of the ship. The third plane was headed straight for the Goodhue.

Hit by a Kamikaze

Radioman Second Class Jack Kenewell recalled the result of the third Japanese aircraft’s attack against the Goodhue: “After knocking one Betty [Mitsubishi G4M bomber] out of the air with a salvo from our 5-inch aft, a Jap suicide plane came in over our bow only seconds later. We didn’t have a chance. He hit our crow’s nest and did some damage … I was bleeding badly with a wound on my chest, neck and feet.”

The Goodhue’s log recorded, “1848 … one enemy plane observed paralleling our course to starboard at 3,000 yds. Plane was seen to change to an approach course at … 1,000 ft. The plane was taken under fire by the forward 5”/38 gun at a range of 1,500 yds.”

The aircraft attacking the Goodhue was a Kawasaki KI-45 Toryu, known as a “Nick” to the Allies. This was a twin-engine, long-range escort and reconnaissance fighter. It was most likely armed with two fragmentation bombs carried under the wings.

The combined fire from the Goodhue and the other transports hit the Nick in the port engine and cockpit area, setting it on fire. The Goodhue’s log reads, “1850 … suicide Japanese plane crashed into the mainmast at the cross trees level. One part continued and exploded over the fantail, the other containing cockpit and at least one bomb, swung over the port side and exploded at about deck level … most of the plane fell flaming into the water.”

McDonald vividly recalled the attack of the kamikazes: “As soon as I stepped out onto the main deck I looked right into the cockpit of a kamikaze approaching us on the starboard side … I watched wide-eyed as the Jap plowed into the starboard side of the USS Henrico … blowing a hell of a hole completely through the superstructure … I was looking at the crew [of a 5-inch gun] about 10 feet away when their eyes grew huge and an expression of fear struck them all…. From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a huge ball of fire and mass descending upon me…. I instinctively turned to my left and was ducking.”

In the brief moments described by the ship’s log and the narratives of Kenewell and McDonald, 27 men were killed and 117 wounded. Although the impact of the kamikaze had struck and knocked down the Goodhue’s 30-ton cargo boom, the majority of the dead and wounded were hit when bomb fragments and shrapnel rained down on them as the plane disintegrated. The Telfair, Henrico, and Chilton had also sustained major damage. The destroyer Dickenson had taken a direct hit on its bridge, killing 53 sailors, including the captain. The ship was so seriously damaged that it later had to be scuttled.

The Henrico had also taken a direct hit from a suicide plane, later identified as a Frances (twin-engine bomber). This kamikaze had plowed into the superstructure, killing the captain, a colonel of the 77th Division, and scores of Navy and Army personnel.

“Hundreds of Kamikaze Planes.”

Stunned but not wounded, McDonald was taken below for a time. When he came to his senses, he went back out on the deck. “When I stepped out on the after deck, I found death and destruction everywhere I turned,” he recalled. “The first thing I noticed was the after 5-inch gun placement was out of kilter and there were no identifiable body parts of any of the gun crew. They were just gone … screams, moaning, orders being given and bodies everywhere…. As I peered over the top of a ladder onto the deck, I saw a finger with a gold ring still on it … just a mass of flesh everywhere.”

Radarman Third Class Samuel Keels Brockington was drafted into the Navy from Kingstree, South Carolina, in March 1944. He was assigned to the Goodhue that summer. “The man in the crow’s nest where the plane hit was just wrapped in metal,” he remembered, “and pieces of the plane were on the boat.”

Damage control parties extinguished several fires and then began the grim task of collecting the dead and wounded. Radarman Third Class Howard G. Hobbs was assigned to this detail, and the memories of the sights and sounds of that evening haunted him for his entire life. Motor Machinist Mate Third Class Francis “Red” Nagle was in charge of piloting one of the landing craft used to ferry troops and supplies to Okinawa. On the day the Goodhue was attacked, he recalled looking into the sky and seeing “hundreds of kamikaze planes.”

164 Ships Damaged by Kamikazes

The Goodhue’s loss had been severe. With 21 dead and more than a hundred sailors wounded, the transport had lost one-quarter of its crew. Twenty-four soldiers from the 307th Regiment also became casualties. At least five of the 15 attack transports that left Kerama Retto that evening sustained damage from kamikaze attacks. During the Okinawa campaign, 27 of the 36 U.S. ships sunk had been attacked by suicide planes. A total of 371 U.S. ships were damaged at Okinawa. Of that total, kamikaze attacks were estimated to have accounted for 164.

After the attack of April 2, the Goodhue withdrew with a destroyer escort back to the Kerama Retto anchorage for repairs. Along the way the dead were buried on the small island of Zamami Shima, and the wounded were loaded onto hospital ships for treatment.

“That night I worked on the injured doing everything I could,” said Brockington. “The next day they were sent to the hospital ships. I helped sew canvas bags for those who were dead. The evening before the attackn our ship, which was the evening of the invasion on Okinawa, I was talking to a guy from Tennessee. He said, ‘Brock, if we get home let’s do so and so.’ I told him that the invasion that morning had gone well and instead of saying ‘if we get home’ let’s say when we get home. He said that sounded like a good idea. I sewed his body bag the next day.”

Kenewell, who had received some serious wounds when the Japanese plane struck the ship, recalled the condition of the sailors on the hospital ship around him. “I saw some horribly mutilated men, some with shrapnel all over their bodies, others with burns. Undoubtedly these were the worst cases, some with no chance of recovery, dying by inches … some with their eyes burned right out of the sockets. They would never really recover.” After several days of rest at the anchorage, the troops aboard the Goodhue eventually splashed ashore on Okinawa.

The USS Goodhue‘s Battle Star

The USS Goodhue received one battle star for its participation in the Okinawa campaign. The ship was decommissioned on April 5, 1946, and sold to the U.S. Maritime Commission for commercial service in 1947. Renamed the Hawaiian Citizen, she plied the Pacific Ocean for another 34 years, 21 of those as a container ship. The Hawaiian Citizen was finally scrapped in Taiwan in 1982. The ship is gone, but many of her veterans are still around. They gather every year for a reunion and mourn the shipmates lost in the previous year.

The ordeal of the USS Goodhue is not unique among the U.S. Navy warships subjected to the ferocious kamikaze assaults off Okinawa. However, it is representative of the battle that took place there and of the carnage that could well have been expected if an invasion of the Japanese home islands had been necessary.

Duane E. Shaffer is a library director in New Durham, New Hampshire. His late father-in-law served aboard the USS Goodhue.

This article first appeared at the Warfare History Network.