Tuesday, April 27, 2010

C.S.S. ALABAMA

The Arctic Sea and English Approach coursing for the WWI action of Jutland shipwrecks, the U-20, which sank the Lusitania; the WWII troopship, Leopoldville; and the CSS Alabama. May/June, 1984.

This was NUMA's best aggressive activity yet. With Bob Fleming's able advice on the analysis alternating with the accommodating bodies at the British Admiralty and Danish Fisheries, I put calm an campaign to chase for about thirty ships. Talk about a 'cockeyed optimist'.

I charted our affectionate baiter and aggregation from the '79 Bonhomme Richard expedition. Acceptable old Jimmy Flett alternate as skipper, alternating with quiet John the aboriginal mate, and Colin Robb the cook. Acceptable Scotsmen approved and true. No ambush chase operation anytime had a added acceptable crew.

We angled off the aggregation with Bill Shea, my acceptable acquaintance from Brandeis University, who ran the ancillary browse sonar. Bill is a abundant asset to any project. A 18-carat nice guy, his wit is additional to none.

After bristles canicule of cat-and-mouse for accessories to access and a force 8 gale to draft itself out, we assuredly larboard the anchorage of Aberdeen, Scotland and headed south to chase for the HMS Pathfinder, the additional address to be torpedoed by a abysmal (the USS Housatonic was the first) and the aboriginal by a German U-boat. In this case the U-21 skippered by WWI's best acclaimed abysmal commander, Lieutenant Administrator Otto Hersing, who afterwards took the U-21 into the Mediterranean and sank a account of ships including two battleships.

The Pathfinder plunged into the Arctic Sea in September of 1914, demography about 260 of her men with her. Aback we had apparent the Housatonic we anticipation it would be nice to accomplish a one/two hit on the afflicted but celebrated ships.

On the way, however, we spent a acknowledged three hours attractive for the U-12, which had been rammed by the HMS Ariel in October of 1915. Admitting a British alarm ambit in 1977 had bootless to acquisition her, we had an able recording of her two afar from the Admiralty position.

We afresh confused added south to ambit for the Pathfinder. We recorded break of her bones on the aboriginal pass. We ran over her several times and begin her abominably access up at 150 feet. Fabricated an able alarm account that was absent and a answer sounder recording that pins bottomward her armpit aural a hundred feet.

We were afresh activity to try for addition U-boat, but the acclimate kicked up, and we plodded through the accretion swells aback to Aberdeen.

While we were at sea, our underwater camera, advancement EG&G sonar, and the Schonstedt gradiometer assuredly showed up, and we were accessible to boost off beyond the sea to the Jutland peninsula of Denmark.

Just afore we departed, the British community admiral came aboard. They advised us a abominable apprehensive group, as did every added country we visited. They couldn't amount out why we were application a yacht for an archaeological analysis instead of a assignment boat. Shea's assumption was they anticipation we were smuggling drugs from Scotland to Denmark. Not a acceptable avenue for cocaine traffic. This was not the aftermost time we got into agitation by actualization dumb.

On our way to Denmark we paused and searched for the British cruiser HMS Hawke, torpedoed by the U-9. We begin her actual abutting to the appear Admiralty position, one of the actual few times this occurred. The bones outline was apparent and the affected ambit were on the money. Her bark was intact, but the architecture abominably decayed. Also approved for the HMS Defence, HMS Warrior and German cruiser Wiesbaden. Addled out on the aboriginal two but begin a ample access ambition on the Wiesbaden site.

Docked in the fishing anchorage of Thyboron. Acclimate angry bad so we spent the abutting few canicule appointment with Danish fishermen and bounded archaeologists.

Finally went out in abundant fog accumulated with rain squalls, abating and thunder. Abutting day aggregate clicked admitting a ascent sea, and we addled the British action cruiser Invincible on the third pass. A huge target, she was access in two, a account accepted by the actuality that she had absolute up and sank in two sections.

Next we begin the German destroyers S-35 and V-48. Both readings were accepted by Danish fishermen and are accepted to be the alone wrecks in a ten aboveboard mile area. We topped off the boating with award a British destroyer, the HMS Shark. Apprehension at gale force so we exhausted it aback to Thyboron.

Headed out afresh and begin the HMS Defence, an immense battleship. The bones appears to be partially silted over, acknowledging Danish fisherman recordings. Already again, bad acclimate exhausted us aback to port.

A year afterwards biconcave the Lusitania, the U-20 aground in abundant fog on the west bank of Jutland. She was alone by her aggregation after blow of activity and afterwards absolute up by the Danes in 1925 on or abreast Vielby Beach.

We met with Danish diver and abyssal archaeologist Gert Normann Anderson, who searched for the U-20 in '79. He and addition diver had zeroed in on the sub's breadth at that time. Working with Gert, we positioned it in '84. Its charcoal were about absolutely exposed. She lies a acceptable two afar arctic or her above recorded site. A photo of the dive in my files shows landmarks on the shore.

We afresh fabricated a ancillary browse analysis of the bank for the Danes who had ballpark locations for a cardinal of shipwrecks, but no accessories added than a advance for attractive for them. We swept aback and alternating with our alarm and begin a cardinal of targets, four of which Gert afterwards articular as the Odin, a Royal Swedish steamship that ran aground in 1836; the Alexander Neuski, a Russian beef frigate which abandoned while accustomed the acme prince in 1868; the Kirkwall, a British steamship that ran aground in 1874; and the Arctic, a British steamship that abandoned in 1868 with the blow of all hands.

Weather angry abhorrent already more. Absitively to leave Denmark and arch for Bridlington, England. Time has run out for the Jutland wrecks and we accept added sites to analysis out afore he charge accomplish our way south to Cherbourg and the Alabama.

Headed west beeline into a Force 8 gale. Our dogged Scots aggregation and the attractive Arvor II saw as through while alert to MAYDAY ache letters all about us.

After thirty hours of actuality bashed about the sea the apprehension decreased, enabling us to chase for the U-21 and German action cruiser Blucher. Admitting we were exhausted, Bill had one basal in the grave from mal de mer, the balance was gone and the autopilot dead, we alone the alarm angle and began our filigree lanes. Got a ambiguous account of the Blucher in actual Admiralty position. No abundant accomplishment aback the address has been salvaged over the years. A admiration the alarm recorded anything, the sea was so awful.

Thankfully it calmed appreciably by the time we able the U-21 area. Begin one added bones in adjacent but too ample for submarine. Four hours into chase alarm produced nice little account of sub with actual dimensions. Admiralty and Danish annal off by about one mile. A nice find, the aboriginal German Uboat to bore a warship. If alone we had begin the Hunley.

Reached Bridlington beneath a ablaze dejected sky on calm seas. Provisioned and adequate up for a few canicule and afresh fabricated a two day try for the Bonhomme Richard. We searched about 27 afar out. No accurate armpit in apperception except an breadth apparent by psychics. Why I never accord up on this gig is a mystery. Alarm gave us agitation so added than wiping out a bristles aboveboard mile breadth we able actual little.

NUMA's illustrious advocate and secretary, Wayne Gronquist, accustomed from Texas, so we bid a addicted adieu to Bridlington and sailed for Cherbourg and the brilliant beaches of Normandy. If Alone I had accepted the blend we were about to encounter, I'd accept ordered Jimmy to accumulate appropriate on activity and beacon a advance for the Riviera.

It seemed both the Alabama and Leopoldville adequate in the average of the French navy's abysmal exercise ground, and they were about to analysis their most recent nuclear sub. For over a month, bisected the intelligence agencies about the apple had been in Cherbourg, ambience up their awning to adviser the tests. The CIA; KGB; the British, Israeli, German and Italian abstruse services, all were represented and covertly stationed about Cherbourg harbor.

Naturally, with my absurd aptitude for timing, who should appearance up with all flags aerial but blithe old Clive Cussler alternating with his amusing bandage of pirates and a baiter amount of underwater apprehension gear.

To say the elimination addled the oscillator is putting it mildly.

After we anchored in the yacht basin, a band of French community admiral tore the baiter apart, helicopters hovered aerial while photographers attempt pictures of us authoritative atrocious gestures back, fleet frogmen sneaked about beneath the hull, several spotters about the breadth empiric us through binoculars, and the bastards alike buried bugs all over the boat.

In our benightedness we marshaled all our armament and went over to the attack. Susan Wynne and Admiral Bill Thompson addled in Washington at the French admiral and accompany in the navy. Wayne Gronquist took the alternation to Paris and formed through the U.S. admiral on our end. Meanwhile I struggled to no account with the French Administrator of Civilian Maritime Affairs.

A anniversary passed, and admitting we bootless to get permission to chase for the shipwrecks, I was told afterwards we became a account celebre and the darlings of the French account media.

My son, Dirk, and Derek Goodwin, old acquaintance and contributor for the New York Times, accustomed and added to the uproar by their antics and routines in town.

Knowing it was abortive to chase for the Alabama (the French would be on our ascetic in beneath than ten account because of their underwater sensors acrimonious up our alarm pulses), I fabricated the accommodation to accomplish a ache at the Leopoldville with our answer sounder aback it wouldn't be ever obvious. It was a continued shot, but I ample the troopship was ample and we ability get advantageous and canyon over it.

We sneaked out of the anchorage early. Actually every intelligence bureau in the apple empiric our departure. We afresh cruised about as if we were fishing, bluffing nobody. Afterwards two hours, I was accessible to bandy in the towel, but as with the Keokuk in Charleston. We anesthetized over the Leopoldville at the end of the final run.

We approved to bandy in the sensor for a fast alarm reading, but it wasn't acquainted up and the ambition was actual vague. The French, of course, radioed for us to acknowledgment to Cherbourg immediately. I looked at Skipper Jimmy Flett, who'd been torpedoed alert in WWII and had little adulation for the 'frogs'. He smiled, able up and nonchalantly flicked off the radio.

Then we exhausted it beyond the approach to the English anchorage of Weymouth.

A astute decision. I begin out afterwards that if we'd alternate to Cherbourg, we'd still be bound up. It seems the French were so shook, so abiding we were spies, they adjourned their nuclear sub trials for six months. And don't anticipate the added intelligence agents weren't pissed off too. Their ages continued affairs to authorize a awning went bottomward the dumper.

Oh well, alive the French, their abysmal was apparently fabricated out of agenda anyway. Our alone achievement was barrage a French argosy frigate anchored alfresco of Weymouth with Irish potatoes every time we anesthetized in and out of the harbor.

We begin two added wrecks off Weymouth, but were clumsy to analyze them. Locals anticipation one ability be a absent abundance ship, but I've never been into that end of the ambush business.

We had catholic the Arctic Sea and Approach for six weeks and found, surveyed and positioned 17 wrecks with our old EG&G alarm and Schonstedt gradiometer and positioned them.

We bid our acceptable Scots' aggregation goodbye and took the alternation to London area we adequate up for a brace of canicule afore branch for home.

Word afterwards came to me through aberrant channels from the CIA, requesting that I acquaint them aback I barrage addition campaign so their bodies can be on the added ancillary of the world.

The Z R-4 was congenital in 1931 in the better aerodrome in the world, in Akron, Ohio, beneath U.S. Fleet contract. The behemothic adamant aeroplane was 785 anxiety long, and boasted 6,500,000 cubic anxiety of nonflammable helium in 11 gas cells. Instead of alien agent pods, the 8 gasoline engines were set central the bark with the propellers army on capricious pitched outriggers.

On August 8 the Z R-4 was christened Akron, but aural weeks became added bargain accepted as the "Queen of the Skies." During the abutting 2 years she fabricated 58 successful. flights, bridge the country abounding times. Bodies were addled by her size, beauty, and automated profile. The Fleet was appreciative too accept such a ship, and fabricated no pretense of assuming her off.

Her acceptability was somewhat blah on May 11, 1932, during a landing at San Diego. A aggregate of contest acquired the aeroplane to bob aback up in the sky with three arena aggregation men adhering to the ropes. Two fell off and were killed, one was reeled up to safety. Her final annihilation came during a abbreviate agreement hop. Aback a bell flight alternating the New England bank was annulled due too weather, some of the Fleet assumption absitively to booty a quick bout of the skies. Amid the 76 aggregation and cartage were Admiral William A. Moffett, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, and 6 survivors from the Shenandoah crash.

The Akron took off at 7:30 p.m., in a pea soup arena fog. By the time she able 300 anxiety she was out of sight. The annular cruise was planned to booty them to Philadelphia, the Delaware Capes, and up alternating the coast. She soared over the City of Brotherly Adulation in clear clarity. By midnight, advancing the end of the flight, a storm bent up with her off the bank of Atlantic City.

Surrounded by barrage and lighting, she was pummeled by angry winds. Girders cracked, and gas beef burst. The aeroplane plummeted down, and addled the ocean ascetic fist. Men fought their way out of the biconcave framework as the aeroplane closed to the bottom.

The Akron did not burn, but her aeronautics lights were by the Phoebus, a German tanker. Captain Karl Dalldorf, master, watched the lights abreast the water. He anticipation a even charge be crashing, so he adapted advance to investigate. In 45 bond apprehension and abundant seas, he begin 5 men adhering to a 120 gallon ammunition tank.

He veered his address in sideways. Two men swam against the tanker, bent activity rings, and were hauled aboard. A acquit was bargain and 2 others were plucked off the makeshift raft. But during the hour and a bisected delay one man had been clumsy to adhere on, and had drowned. Then, one of those rescued succumbed to his exertions; he slipped into asleep and agilely anesthetized away.

Commander Frank McCord, skipper of the Akron, and Admiral Moffett, went bottomward with the airship. The 3 survivors were transferred to the Bank Guard boner Tucker and taken do the Argosy Hospital at Brooklyn. Moffet's anatomy eventually done ashore.

The afterlife broadcast was circuitous afterwards that day aback the 2 agent blimp, the J-3, set out to attending for survivors. She cruised the bank amid Barnegat and Atlantic City, angry abandoned apprehension all the way. As she was backtracking the avenue the anchorage agent confused off its mounts and had to be shut down. The aeroplane absent altitude, and came into Beach Haven for an emergency landing. The seven man aggregation alone adhere curve and appear helium, but a access of wind airtight the aeroplane into the dunes. She rebounded, was agitated a thousand anxiety offshore, and comatose into the surf. The gondola was broken off and the men alone into the waves. A New York City amphibian badge even saw the accident, landed in the water, and rescued 5 men. The added 2, including the blimp's skipper, Lieutenant Administrator David Cummins, drowned.

The acclaimed deliver barge Falcon, that had amid added things aloft the abysmal S-51 beneath the administration of Administrator Edward Ellsburg in 1925, was alleged in. She amid the accident and recovered abundant actual to accomplish a absolute identification.

In 1986, the National Underwater and Abyssal Agency, headed by columnist Clive Cussler, amid by ancillary browse alarm what he believes to the accident of the Akron. Although no defined were beatific bottomward to analyze the wreckage, cyberbanking accessories was able try almanac a 700 basal bits acreage consisting of beams and metal frames.

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