Wandank II ATA-204 - History

Wandank II ATA-204  - History

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Wandank II

(ATA-204: dp. 860; 1. 143'; b. 33'; dr. 14', s. 14 k.;
cpl. 46; a. 1 3"; cl. ATA-121)

The second Wandank (ATA-204)—originally projected as ATR-13l, a steel hulled rescue tug—was laid down as A TA-204 on 25 September 1944 at Port Arthur, Tex., by the Gulfport Boiler and Welding Works, launched on 9 November 1944; and commissioned on 18 January 1945, Lt. (jg.) Vernon L. Ryan, USNR, in command.

Following her shakedown in the Caribbean, ATA-204 got underway on 23 February for the Panama Canal, en route to the Pacific. The auxiliary ocean tug operated with the Pacific Fleet through the end of hostilities, performing services at locales ranging from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to the Marshall Islands. After hostilities ended, she returned to San Francisco, Calif., late in August 1945 and soon shifted to the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash. She operated in the 13th Naval District until she was decommissioned on 26 November 1947 and placed in reserve.

The onset of the Korean War gave the vessel a new lease on life, however, triggering the expansion of the United States Navy to maintain a posture of global readiness. ATA-204 was reactivated on 17 April 1952 at Astoria, Oreg., for assignment to the 14th Naval District. Recommissioned at Pearl Harbor on 3 May 1952, Lt. William A. Walden in command, the auxiliary ocean tug received the name Wandank and retained her ATA-204 designation.

For the next three years, Wandank operated out of Pearl Harbor, providing tug and tow services for the Pacific Fleet, and occasionally deployed to Samoa and other Pacific isles with tows. On 9 September 1955, the tug was transferred to the Marianas. There, she towed barges of supplies, stood ready to assist in search and rescue (SAR) operations, provided target services for gunnery and torpedo exercises, and conducted local surveillance missions out of Guam into the 1960's.

During this deployment, the ocean tug supported scientific operations in addition to her more routine duties. In January 1960, for example, Wandank served as communication relay and support ship for the bathy-scaphe Trieste in Project "Nekton." She towed the underwater craft some 260 miles from Guam to the vicinity of the Challenger Deep, where, on 23 January Trieste descended to 37,000 feet. Four years later, in November 1964, Wandank conducted a survey of the Solomon Islands in a joint project sponsored by the University of Hawaii's Institute of Geophysics and the Office of Naval Research. During the course of this operation, she measured the earth's gravity in the area.

On occasion, Wandank's operations nonetheless assumed a dangerous character during tropical tempests. During one of these storms, which occurred late in 1963, Wandank was trapped between two typhoons while en route to her annual buoy maintenance duty at Chichi Jima in the Bonins. In the heavy seas, her tow line parted, leaving YCV-18 adrift. During the ensuing recovery operations, the tug's first lieutenant, J. B. Clark, was knocked overboard by a heavy wave and swept from sight.

In July 1966, Wandank rendezvoused with Japanese merchantman Yeiji Maw, which had been experiencing engine trouble, and escorted the distressed ship to Guam. Later that year, she towed SS Old Westoury to a safe haven, relieving Sunnadin (ATA-197) which had run low on fuel on 11 November.

The year 1967 passed with much the same routine and, in 1968, the ship participated in her first operations in connection with the Vietnam War. She towed a gasoline barge, YOG-131, from Guam to Danang South Vietnam, from 3 to 15 January. After returning from Vietnamese waters, she performed island survey duties in the Western Carolinas and subsequently helped to search for floating drydock AFDM-6 which had broken loose from her civilian tow vessel. Wandank next participated in special operations into the summer before making a second voyage to Vietnamese waters, towing APL - O to Vung Tau, Vietnam, from 16 August to 1 September.

Wandank commenced the year 1969 with more island surveillance missions in the central Carolines, sending a landing party ashore from her crew to ascertain the needs of the islanders who lived under the care and protection of the Trust Territories. She conducted a training mission to Yokosuka, Japan, in February and March before returning to a schedule of surveillance operations in the northern Marianas. She trained for possible participation in Project "Apollo" in April before she towed three barges from Sattahip, Thailand, to Vung Tau, from 13 April to 8 May.

Upon returning to the vicinity of the Marianas and Carolines soon thereafter, she conducted local operations through the end of the year. Wandank interrupted this duty only long enough to tow LCU-1488 to Ponape Island and LCU-1497 to Majuro from 25 November to 4 December. During her final full year of naval service, 1970, the ship conducted local operations out of her home port of Apra Harbor, Guam.

She got underway from Guam on 20 January 1971 for Hong Kong and then escorted three Asheville-class patrol gunboats to Subic Bay and Camranh Bay, serving as a communication back-up vessel. She later escorted two gunboats from Camranh Bay to Hong Kong before returning to island surveillance duties.

Decommissioned at Guam on 1 July 1971, Wandank was simultaneously turned over to the Department of the Interior for service in the Trust Territories, her old habitat. Returned to the Navy on 22 May 1973, Wandank was adjudged unfit for further service and accordingly struck from the Navy list on 1 August 1973. Subsequently returned to the Interior Department, she serves in the Trust Territories on island surveillance and local towing duties.

Wandank was awarded three battle stars for her Vietnam War service.

Sunday Ship History: Deep Diver

Forty-nine years ago, when I was kid living on Guam on a drive down to the Navy base, I saw something unusual on one of the piers - an odd looking cylinder painted, as I recall, white and orange. My mother, used to Air Force secrecy as a SAC wife, told me it was some "Navy thing" and not to worry about it. Later the local paper reported what the cylinder was and why it was on Guam.

It was all pretty low key - low key then and low key now, but little noted on January 23 was an achievement that ought to be remembered along with the first climb to the highest point on earth, the breaking of the speed of sound, the first men sent up briefly into space - but perhaps you missed it, Jan 23 marked the 49th anniversary of the first men to dive to the deepest point of the ocean - the dive of the the Trieste to the bottom of the Challenger depth near Guam. As set out here:

The Navy's bathyscaph Trieste again set a world's diving record when she probed 37,800 feet to the depths of the Marianas Trench, deepest known hole in the world's oceans, Jan. 23.

Lt. Don Walsh of San Diego, Calif., and Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard. . . made the descent. No difficulties were experienced during the dive, during which the Trieste was subjected to a pressure of 16, 883 pounds per square inch (more than a thousand times greater than the pressure at sea level).

This depth program has been named "Project Nekton" and, according to a Navy announcement, provides "scientific knowledge of sunlight penetration, underwater visibility, transmission of man-made sounds, and marine geological studies." The Trieste had previously made two record-setting dives, the last on Jan. 7 when she descended to 24,000 feet.

There was light outside the Trieste until about 800 feet, according to Lt. Walsh. At about 6000 feet, the chill from the water forced both men to don warmer clothing. The entire descent required 4 hours and 48 minutes. Once done, about 20 minutes was spent on the bottom making observations and recording data. Lights enabled the men to see living and moving objects. The return trip to the surface was made in 3 hours and 17 minutes.

ADM Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, sent congratulations to the two men. He termed their record-breaking feat an accomplishment that " may well mark the opening of a new age in exploration of the depths of the ocean which can well be as important as exploration in space has been in the past."

On January 23, 1960 — the day of Trieste's historic dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench — the waves were 5 to 6 feet high in the ocean when Jacques Piccard (Auguste's son), and Navy Lt. Donald Walsh boarded Trieste from a rubber raft. They were housed in the white sphere at the bottom of the vessel. Reportedly, it was so packed with equipment that there was barely room for the men to sit in.

The Department of the Navy described Trieste as "the underwater equivalent of a lighter-than-air craft, much like a blimp operating in reverse. It consists of a 50-foot hull, 12 feet in diameter, filled with gasoline to make it buoyant, since gasoline is lighter than water. Beneath this hull is suspended a sphere 6.5 feet in diameter, which easily holds two men and scientific equipment."

Trieste had weights (9 tons of iron shot) to help it descend to the deepest point on the seafloor. The bathyscaphe's air tanks also were flooded with seawater to help make it sink. Trieste descended at a rate of 3 feet per second until it reached a depth of 27,000 feet, when its operators put on the brakes to slow its descent to half that rate.

The nearly 7-mile descent to the deepest known point on Earth took 4 hours and 48 minutes. Piccard and Walsh stayed on the bottom for 20 minutes, eating chocolate bars for sustenance, their teeth chattering in the 45°F cold cabin. Outside the bathyscaphe, the ocean temperature was 37.4°F. The mercury-vapor lamps on Trieste were the first to shine a light in this deep, dark place, illuminating a small, red shrimp-like creature and proving that the deep ocean had enough oxygen to support marine life.

At a depth of nearly 7 miles, the pressure is crushing, exceeding 16,883 pounds per square inch (more than a thousand times greater than the pressure at sea level). During the dive, an outer Plexiglas window cracked, which fortunately did not cause any problems other than some anxiety for the divers! They released two tons of iron shot to begin their ascent to the surface. The return trip took three hours and 17 minutes. When Piccard and Walsh surfaced, they officially entered the world record books.

The Trieste passed through many thermal layers. When it came to the dense cold layers, it stopped. "We sat on them like going down steps," said Lieut. Walsh. The crew had to release some of the buoyant gasoline in its upper hull before it resumed its dark, downward voyage.

Only contact with the surface was a telephone that transmitted their voices in sonar waves to a listening device on the mother ship. Part way down, it conked out, and the Trieste men drifted on down, utterly isolated from outside contact. Probably the mother ship had drifted sideways and the sonar waves were not strong enough to penetrate at an angle. When the bathyscaphe reached bottom, contact was re-established. From seven miles down, Walsh's voice reached the listeners, faint but clear.

At 30,000 ft. a sharp crack rang through the ship, shaking it violently. The water pressure outside was more than 6 tons per square inch., and even a slight fracture in the hull would have meant certain death. It proved to be only an outer Plexiglas windowpane which had splintered under the pressure. The inner hull remained watertight. "A pretty hairy, experience," admitted Walsh.

When the Trieste finally settled on the bottom, it raised clouds of fine white silt. Dr. Andreas B. Rechnitzer, the scientist in charge of the dive, identified the "dust" as diatomaceous ooze, the silica skeletons of small sea creatures, often used as scouring powder. In effect, the Trieste landed in a cloud of Bab-O.

Clearly visible when the dust settled was a white flatfish about one foot long. It seemed healthy and it had eyes, although the nearest trace of sunlight was more than seven miles overhead. Swimming six feet above the bottom were a shrimp and a jellyfish, neither of them bothered by the enormous pressure on their bodies. The very fact that these creatures were living and healthy proved that the water had oxygen in it. Therefore it must circulate, because if it were stagnant in the trench, its oxygen would long since have disappeared. One immediate conclusion: ocean trenches are not safe places for dumping radioactive wastes, since their water does not stay put.
The Trieste stayed on the bottom for 30 minutes, but Piccard and Walsh could use its powerful lights for only short periods because the heat they generate made the water around them boil violently. In later dives the Trieste will carry more instruments, take more pictures, and collect water and living creatures from the depths. Says Dr. Rechnitzer: "We'll go up and down like a Yo-yo."

After receiving his doctorate at Scripps, Dr. Rechnitzer joined the Naval Electronics Laboratory (NEL) (which became the Naval Ocean Systems Center) in San Diego. He was the Deep Submergence Research Program Coordinator and Oceanographer.

While at NEL, Dr. Rechnitzer recognized the tremendous research potential of the bathyscaph Trieste. The Trieste was built in Italy by Swiss Professor Auguste Piccard and his son, Jacques Piccard. The Office of Naval Research put together a rather distinguished team of specialists to travel to Italy to evaluate the Trieste. Dr. Rechnitzer was one of those marine scientists. He studied the theory, engineering and maintenance procedures of Trieste. Dr. Rechnitzer and other U.S. scientists made several deep dives in the Trieste in the Mediterranean Sea. He saw the many advantages of scientists and engineers diving in the bathyscaph to further their individual research specialties.

Dr. Rechnitzer was instrumental in proposing that the U.S. Navy buy the Trieste. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) agreed and bought the bathyscaph for $250,000. The Office of Naval Research assigned the Trieste to NEL for operations.

ONR appointed Dr. Rechnitzer to be Technical Director and Scientist-in-Charge of Trieste in 1958. The Navy immediately established Project Nekton to modify Trieste and make a series of deeper dives in Trieste. Led by Dr. Rechnitzer’s vision, the Project Nekton Team conducted a wide range of ocean science studies that were of strong interest to the U.S. Navy. There were many questions to be answered about what happens deep under the ocean and how that affects submarines and surface ships.

Dr. Rechnitzer assembled a very dynamic, progressive small team of 16 specialists. These were unique individuals, because they all had two or three specialties and they worked very well together as a team. The Project Nekton Team included Lt. Don Walsh (Officer-in-Charge and Pilot), Lt. Larry Shumaker (Assistant Officer-in-Charge, Pilot and Chief Engineer) and Master Chief John Michel (Crew Chief). Jacques Piccard, the son of the inventor, was hired as Technical Advisor on Trieste.

Following a series of dives off San Diego, the Trieste was modified and shipped to Guam for even deeper dives.

As head of the Trieste Team, Dr. Rechnitzer made many dives in the Trieste, down to depths of 18,150 feet (a world record dive at the time).

Dr. Rechnitzer was the Scientist-In-Charge and Technical Director when the Trieste made her historic world record dive to 35,800 feet off Guam on January 23, 1960. The water pressure was 15,931 pounds per square inch. We have a little less that 15 psi on the surface of the ocean.

Pilot of the Trieste on this deep dive was Lt. Don Walsh (later Capt. and Ph.D.). Jacques Piccard was the Technical Advisor aboard the Trieste during the deep dive to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Lt. Larry Shumaker was topside, providing engineering services and acting as Operations Officer for the dive. Master Chief John Michel did some ingenious last minute engineering and machine work to make Trieste ready for the deepest dive.

The entire Project Nekton budget was a little less than $250,000. That meant that the purchase and operations of Trieste through the deep dive was done on a modest combined budget of $500,000.

For their contributions to the advancement of deep ocean research, Dr. Rechnitzer, Jacques Piccard, Lt. Walsh and Lt. Shumaker were honored personally by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a White House ceremony. Dr. Rechnitzer was recognized by President Eisenhower for his leadership as Technical Director and Scientist-in-Charge of Project Nekton. President Eisenhower presented Dr. Rechnitzer with the Distinguished Civilian Service Award.

In addition to Wandank, the destroyer escort USS Lewis (De-535) provided support for the dive. She can be seen in the background of the photo above which was taken right before the dive.

Trieste was later used to locate the lost submarine Thresher.

A record that can never be broken is pretty cheap at $500,000. The value of the experience and the bravery of the crew, though, priceless.

And I remember it was a day like any other on Guam, except.

UPDATE: According to this wonderful NASA site, Trieste can be found at the Navy History Museum at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC.

Kriegsmarine M1 Minesweeper

Figure 1: Starboard broadside view of the Minensuchboot M1, an M35 class German minesweeper from World War II. The M35 class was the backbone of the Kriegsmarine’s minesweeper force during World War II. M1 was the lead ship in the class. This illustration is from Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces, by Gordon Williamson and illustrated by Ian Palmer, published by Osprey Publishing in 2009, page 9. This book gives an excellent account of the German minesweeping forces, as well as all of the other coastal warships used by the Germans during World War II. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 2: Overhead view of Minensuchboot M1. This overhead view shows the rails running along the afterdeck, along which mines were rolled and dropped over the stern. This illustration is also from Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces, by Gordon Williamson and illustrated by Ian Palmer, published by Osprey Publishing in 2009, page 9. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 3: Actual photograph of M1, date and place unknown. The wartime censor attempted to disguise the ship’s pennant number 𔄙,” but the number can still be seen in the picture. The number is located on the hull just below the forward 4.1-inch gun turret. Courtesy Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces, by Gordon Williamson and illustrated by Ian Palmer, published by Osprey Publishing in 2009, page 8. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 4: German coastal vessels were almost always under the threat of being attacked by British aircraft. This is the bridge of an M35 minesweeper and it shows the number of aircraft shot down or damaged by this particular ship. There are nine plane silhouettes, all dated 1941 or 1942. Six are in solid black, three show outlines only, and two at the tips of the arc-shaped display are twin-engined aircraft. In the center of the arc is a white outline of what looks like a British motor gunboat, or MGB. Courtesy Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces, by Gordon Williamson and illustrated by Ian Palmer, published by Osprey Publishing in 2009, page 11. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 5: German sailors undergo training on the forward 4.1-inch gun of a minesweeper. Later versions of this gun were fitted with a protective turret. Operating an open gun mount like this one while steaming in the rough North Sea or Norwegian Sea probably took a terrible toll on the gun crews, so the addition of a protective turret must have been welcomed by the sailors on board this class of warship. Courtesy Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces, by Gordon Williamson and illustrated by Ian Palmer, published by Osprey Publishing in 2009, page 7. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 6: Three German M35 minesweepers at sea, date and place unknown. These ships not only performed mine-clearing and mine-laying duties, they also escorted small coastal convoys and were used for anti-submarine patrols as well. Note the life raft attached to the bridge of the nearest ship. Courtesy Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces, by Gordon Williamson and illustrated by Ian Palmer, published by Osprey Publishing in 2009, page 11. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 7: Each German minesweeper carried a paravane (seen here on the left) which resembled a tiny aircraft or winged bomb. Paravanes were towed on cables from either side of the minesweeper, their vanes being set to steer them away from the hull of the ship on each side to form an arrowhead-shaped swept area. They were designed to snag the anchor cables of enemy mines, which slid down the tow cables into a cutting mechanism on the paravane. Once the mine popped up to the surface, it could be detonated from a safe distance by gunfire. In the above illustration on the right is a standard German mine from World War II. It was usually attached by cable to a small trolley which also acted as its anchor. Once it was dropped from the minelayer, the cable would unreel, allowing the mine to rise to just below the surface. This illustration is from Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces, by Gordon Williamson and illustrated by Ian Palmer, published by Osprey Publishing in 2009, page 9. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 8: A small flotilla of German M35 minesweepers at sea, date and place unknown. German Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

The German Kriegsmarine’s 870-ton M1 was the lead ship in the M35 Minensuchboot, or minesweeper, class. M1 was built by the HC Stülcken Sohn Shipyard at Hamburg, Germany, and was commissioned on 1 September 1938. The ship was approximately 223 feet long and 28 feet wide, had a top speed of 18 knots, and had a crew of 107 officers and men. M1 was armed with two 4.1-inch guns, one 37-mm gun, two 20-mm guns, and four depth-charge launchers, and could carry 30 mines. Later on in the war, the anti-aircraft armament was increased by replacing the 20-mm flack guns on either side of the bridge with twin mounts, as well as replacing the single 37-mm gun with a quadruple 20-mm gun mount. Several light machine guns were also carried by all of these ships.

When the German Kriegsmarine was established in 1935, there was an urgent need to replace the few old minesweepers that remained in service from World War I. As a result, the M35 class of minesweepers was created that same year. They turned out to be some of the best minesweepers ever built. These tough, versatile, and very seaworthy vessels were powerfully armed for ships of this type. They were also assigned a wide variety of tasks, including coastal convoy escort, anti-submarine warfare, and mine-laying, along with their normal minesweeping duties. Their major drawbacks were that they were fairly complex and expensive to build and they had to be maintained by skilled technicians, which were hard to come by towards the end of World War II. In addition, the M35 class possessed oil-fired boilers, which was a problem due to the massive fuel shortages in Germany by the end of the war. None of these minesweepers had names, only a pennant number with the letter “M” (for “Minensuchboot” or minesweeper) before it.

M1 was used primarily as a minesweeper and as a coastal escort vessel during World War II. M1 was built from steel (although her superstructure and bridge were made of light alloys) and she had twelve watertight compartments plus a double-hulled bottom, making her a tough little ship to sink. M1 served with the 1. Minensuchflottille and 4. Minensuchflottille during World War II and she operated in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the Baltic Sea. Although her battle history is sketchy, from September to October 1939, M1 probably participated in the German invasion of Poland around Danzig Bay as a unit of the 1. Minensuchflottille. She was initially used for minesweeping and general patrol duties, but later was assigned to anti-submarine missions.


All or our various diving commands have very and varied colorful, interesting, and intriguing histories. This section is reserved to record those histories.

I have been receiving the following "Today in Naval History" articles from CAPT James Bloom, Ret, for the past several months and thought I had better begin sharing. CAPT Bloom generally includes references in his articles and I have not included those, for space only. Should you have a desire to see references, let me know and I will include.


6 - 23 AUGUST 1864

One of the more successful efforts of the Confederacy during the Civil War was their campaign against Union commercial shipping. CSS TALLAHASSEE was one such raider, a sleek and fast cruiser built in England as the cross-channel steamer ATALANTA and transferred to Wilmington, North Carolina, in the summer of 1864. Her five guns included an 84-pounder stern pivot that was mounted high enough to be identifiable in her silhouette. Similarly her two closely mounted stacks amidships made her readily recognizable. Jefferson Davis' nephew, CDR John Taylor Wood, CSN, was named her captain, and after several attempts to negotiate sand bars at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, Wood set to sea on 6 August 1864.
He coursed northward, where ship traffic to New York and New England would be heavy. His success was remarkable from the start. On August 11th, 80 miles off Sandy Hook, New Jersey, he captured the brigs A. RICHARDS and CARRIE ESTELLA, the schooners SARAH A. BOYCE and CARROL, the bark BAY STATE, and the pilot boats JAMES FUNK and WILLIAM BELL. All except CARROL were rifled for medicines, food, instruments, charts and other items of value, then burned. CARROL was bonded as a cartel ship to carry the captured crews to New York. On the 12th Wood captured five more, burning three. On the 13th he took the brig LAMONT DUPONT and the schooner GLENAVON.
The same day news of TALLAHASSEE's raiding reached CAPT Hiram Paulding, commander of the New York Navy Yard. He sent three ships in immediate pursuit. These were quickly supplemented by Union Navy warships out of Hampton Roads and Boston. Regardless, from 14-17 August, Wood took 15 more defenseless freighters bound to or from New York. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles was furious as insurance rates for trans-Atlantic shippers began to rise.
Now with nearly a dozen Union warships on her tail, by this day, 18 August, TALLAHASSEE was running short on coal. Wood shaped a course for Halifax where the American Consul, Mortimer M. Jackson, protested to Lieutenant Governor Richard G. MacDonnell the sale of any coal to the Confederate. As a neutral port Halifax was not thus constrained, although local authorities agreed to sell Wood only enough coal to make his homeport of Wilmington--60 tons. Jackson also notified Welles, who dispatched LCDR George A. Stevens in USS PANTOOSUC from Eastport, Maine. Stevens reached Halifax at 0600 on the 20th to learn he had missed the raider by only seven hours. He turned north anticipating Wood would next harass the fishing fleet in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
But Wood had turned south. His coal still short he ran the blockade into Wilmington on the 25th. In a fortnight's cruising he had taken 31 freighters in a remarkably effective sortie.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Despite Consul Jackson's efforts, Wood actually purchased 120 tons of coal in Halifax--more than agreed, but still not enough to sustain further cruising.
Wood's cruise indirectly led to the capture of seven subsequent blockade runners. TALLAHASSEE had commandeered all of the hard coal available in Wilmington before her cruise. That left only softer anthracite coal, which produces half the speed and twice the smoke.
By the date of TALLAHASSEE's departure the South was "on the ropes" in the American Civil War. Wilmington was the only remaining port open to blockade runners as RADM David G. Farragut had closed Mobile Bay, Alabama, the day before when the "damned the torpedoes." By virtue of her situation a distance up the Cape Fear River, Wilmington was immune from direct attack by sea, and the impassable Fort Fisher at the Cape Fear's mouth barred Union entry. In January 1865 the Union would attempt to close Wilmington with an assault on this last Confederate fortification--but that is another story for another day!
TALLAHASSEE was to escape the Wilmington blockade twice more for guerre de course raids, in October 1864 under the name CSS OLUSTEE and two months later in December 1864 as CSS CHAMELEON.
A "cartel ship" is used in time of war to exchange prisoners or carry messages between belligerents. The ship must not carry cargo, ammunition, or weapons, except a single gun for signaling.


12 AUGUST 1814

In the Summer of 1814 the Americans and British each had but a few brigs and schooners to patrol Lake Erie. Even so, American warships drove the British out of the Lake and down the Niagara River that drains into Lake Ontario. CDR Alexander Dobbs, RN, the captain of HMS CHARWELL, 16, was chased as far as Queenstown below Niagara Falls. US Army troops then occupied Fort Erie at the outlet of Lake Erie with the schooners USS SOMERS, 2, PORCUPINE, 1, and OHIO, 1, anchored a pistol shot away. Eager for revenge, CDR Dobbs and LT Charles Radcliffe of HMS NETLY, 16, set out from Queenstown with 75 British sailors and Marines manhandling the gig from CHARWELL across the 20-mile portage to Frenchman's Creek above the Falls. Here they met over a hundred British militia with five additional batteaux. From Frenchman's Creek they cut a wagon road eight miles through the Canadian woodlands to the shore of Lake Erie west of the fort. On the night of 12 August they pushed off, toward the three US schooners.
PORCUPINE, SOMERS and OHIO were anchored, as usual, on Fort Erie's flank just inside the mouth of the Niagara River, and shortly after 2300 this night Dobbs' boats were spotted approaching OHIO. The OOD's hail was answered with the ruse, "Provision boat!" US Army supply barges usually passed back and forth through the anchorage at night, and the trick allowed Dobbs to approach within yards. OHIO's hawser was cut, and in a moment the British surrounded the schooner. Simultaneously LT Radcliffe and the other barges massed upon SOMERS, whose moorings were also cut. American sailors turned to and stumbled to the deck, but not in time to prevent the enemy from swarming across. Acting Sailing Master Alexander McCally aboard OHIO was struck at the outset with a shot through his thigh and a bayonet to the foot. OHIO's skipper, LT Augustus H.M. Conckling fended off a rush on the quarterdeck until a musket ball disabled his shoulder. The story aboard SOMERS was the same, with the exception that LT Radcliffe was felled by a pistol shot as he bounded over SOMERS' quarter. He, an Able Seaman, and four wounded were the only British casualties.
In very short order the British overwhelmed the 35 sailors of each schooner. But during the attack the vessels drifted with the river's current beyond Fort Erie. Dobbs wisely chose to retire leaving PORCUPINE calmly at her moorings. American losses in addition to the warships were one killed, eight wounded and nearly 60 captured. The British renamed SOMERS and OHIO, HMS SAUK and HMS HURON, respectively. Despite the captures the continued American occupation of Fort Erie assured the status quo on Lake Erie until Oliver Hazard Perry's stunning victory a month later.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: A batteaux is a long, flat-bottomed rowboat with a sharply pointed bow and stern commonly in use in the North American wilderness of that day. In modern times the Canadian government has preserved the site of Fort Erie. It can be visited in the town of Fort Erie on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, opposite Buffalo, New York.

Project Nekton, the challenger deep

23 JANUARY 1960

In the 1950s Swiss professor and balloonist Auguste Piccard began applying his experience in high-altitude ballooning to the problem of deep sea exploration. He constructed a series of bathyscaphes culminating in TRIESTE, a craft that featured a five-inch-thick, manned, steel sphere suspended from a 58' boat-shaped "balloon" or float. The gasoline-filled float provided the buoyancy to descend and ascend freely, without cables. In the Cold War race to exploit the deep ocean, our Navy became interested in Piccard's invention. She was purchased by the Office of Naval Research in 1957 and shipped aboard Antares (AK-258) from the Mediterranean to the Naval Electronics Laboratory in San Diego.
On 5 October 1959 TRIESTE was shipped to Guam aboard the freighter SS Santa Mariana as part of "Project Nekton," an attempt to plumb the deepest reach of the ocean. With final preparations completed, in January TRIESTE was towed out to the Marianas Trench by Wandank (ATA-204) and Lewis (DE-535). On the Saturday morning of 23 January the pilot, Jacques Piccard (son of the inventor), and Navy LT Donald Walsh boarded TRIESTE for the momentous dive. At 0832 the odd-looking vessel submerged.
For several hours they fell at three feet/second into the blackness. At 4200 feet Piccard and Walsh were alarmed when a small dribble of seawater entered around a cable lead-through, but the descent continued. An hour later, now at 32,400 feet, the sphere was shaken by a strong muffled &ldquopop.&rdquo The source could not be identified, but again, as the sphere appeared to be working, they dove onward. Initial fears that the bottom would be an indistinguishably thickening ooze into which the sub would forever disappear proved false at 1306 they slowly eased onto a distinct bottom at 5966 fathoms (35,880 feet). In switching on the aft light the cause of the earlier explosion was discovered. A thick plexiglass window in the access tunnel leading from the float's deck (external to the sphere) had cracked under the extreme pressure--but appeared to be holding.
Desiring to be back on the surface before nightfall, their planned 30-minute stay on the bottom was shortened, and at 1326 Piccard released 800# of lead ballast to lighten the craft. She rose for the next three and a half hours, breaking the surface at 1656. She was spotted in the fading light by two Navy jets, who dipped their wings in salute.
This success was greeted with public cheers, especially in balance to the recent Russian "Sputnik" success. Walsh was awarded the Legion of Merit by President Eisenhower, who also presented Jacques Piccard with the Navy Distinguished Public Service Medal.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: The discovery of the deepest spot in the ocean is a story unto itself. During WWI the German cruiser Emden stumbled onto a deep hole in the Mindanao Trench off the Philippines, the same trench in which USS Cape Johnson (AP-172) plumbed a deeper spot (34440 feet) during WWII. Several years later the Scripps Institute of Oceanography research vessel Horizon found what was then the deepest spot, 34880 feet deep in the Tonga Trench. Then in 1951 the survey ship HMS Challenger II located the 35800-foot Deep that bears her name 260 miles southwest of Guam.
When Piccard and Walsh boarded TRIESTE this morning to begin the dive they were surprised to discover that the tow from Guam through heavy seas had carried away the sub's surface telephone and damaged the tachometer and vertical current meter. In the first thousand feet the bathyscaphe hit three strong themoclines that stalled her descent. Rather than wait for the gasoline in the float to cool and reduce its buoyancy, Piccard valved off enough to continue the descent. Surprisingly, neither of these set-backs were reason enough for Walsh to call off the dive. After her purchase, TRIESTE was commissioned into our Navy and normally flew both the American ensign and the Swiss flag, out of respect for her inventor, a Swiss native. On her historic dive however, she flew no flags.
The broken window in the access tunnel could have had much more dire consequences. Normally, this tunnel, which was the only access into or out of the sphere, filled with water during a dive. Upon resurfacing it was blown dry with compressed air. Should the cracked window leaked compressed air the clearing of the access tunnel would have been precluded, and Walsh and Piccard would have been trapped in the sphere for five days during to tow back to Guam.
Previous to this dive, the deepest penetration of "inner space" had been to 23,000 feet, dive also made by TRIESTE off Guam.
TRIESTE's float was a 12 chambered affair whose middle 10 chambers held 34,200 gallons of aviation gas. The terminal two chambers were air filled on the surface and flooded for diving. The sphere, forged at Krupp ironworks in Germany, was 5" thick and contained an internal diameter of 6' 4.5". The sphere weighed 13 metric tons. In diving, the float contracted so much that paint chips rained from her sides on ascent. Also the expansion of the gasoline on rising cooled this liquid. When she reached the surface this day, the temperature of the gasoline was 10o Fahrenheit, though this did not freeze pipes coursing through the chambers.

ATA - Automotive Technology

Introductory course to familiarize students with the history of the automobile. Students will learn basic service shop organizational skills, basic vehicle inspection, multi-meter use, light duty vehicle maintenance, proper vehicle lifting, proper use of hand and power tools required for entry level automotive positions, and how to navigate online service manual information. Students will also learn about career options within the automotive industry and how to write a resume.

Course studies principles of automotive ignition and fuel systems. Topics include diagnosis, analysis, repair, and test procedures.

Course studies the principles of automotive electrical systems. Topics include detailed operation and servicing of batteries, starters, generators, alternators and regulators. Emphasis is placed on Ohm’s Law, and diagnosis and repair of the automotive electrical systems.

Course studies fundamentals of passenger car and light duty truck brake systems. Topics include hydraulic systems, component identification, power brake systems, self-adjusting systems, and Anti-Lock Brakes.

Course content includes fundamentals and principles of front end alignment, tire repair and balancing. Course also focuses on diagnosis and replacement of suspension and steering components per manufacturer’s procedures and specifications. Manual and power steering are also discussed.

Course content includes fundamentals of light and medium duty vehicles. Topics include safety, basic diesel engine operation, engine component terminology, cooling and lubrication systems, and air induction.

Course covers basic operations of the automotive engine. Emphasis is placed on engine components, measurement of engine components, disassembly and assembly of the cylinder head. Classroom discussions also includes engine oil, coolant, intake and exhaust valve operations, and complete valve repair.

Course studies different engine block configurations, their internal components, and materials used to make engine blocks and components. Students disassemble, inspect, clean, check engine blocks and components for defects, take measurements, make repairs, and reassemble the engine.

Course examines the theory and operational principles behind the front and rear wheel drive clutch systems. Students will use these principles to learn the operations and power flows of different models of front and rear wheel drive transmissions, driveline and axle assemblies. Students will also use these principles to repair and troubleshoot these systems.

Course teaches basic principles and theory of automotive heating and air conditioning. Focus is on the diagnosis, servicing, and replacement of both heating and air conditioning system components.

Course teaches operational principles and theory of automatic transmissions. Topics include internal components, internal power flow, torque converter operation, repair and troubleshooting of front and rear transmissions.

Course content includes examination of fault analysis of onboard computers and OBDII Emissions with the aid of advanced scan tool diagnostics. Diagnosis of fuel injection, computer controlled EI, DI, COP ignition systems are also covered.

Course continues studying automotive electrical systems, discusses different types of communication networks and how they connect to the vehicles data link. Students will learn how to use and make applicable adjustment to oscilloscopes, graphing multi-meters and graphing scan tools. Cranking, Charging, Lighting and Signaling Systems, as well as Driver Information and Navigation Systems will also be covered.

Course continues studying fundamentals of light and medium duty vehicles. Topics include low and high pressure fuel systems, emissions, hydraulic nozzle injector, Hydraulic Electronic Unit Injection (HEUI) systems, and rail high pressure injector systems.


Batyskaf Trieste byl navržen švýcarským vědcem Augustem Piccardem a postaven v Itálii. Na základě zkušeností byl postupně upravován a přestavován, takže se měnily i jeho technické parametry, i když základní koncepce zůstávala zachována.

Původní batyskaf Trieste byl postaven pro ponor do hloubek kolem 6 km s tím, že koeficient bezpečnosti byl stanoven na 4.

Skládal se z plováku naplněného benzínem pro vztlak a na něm zavěšené tlakové koule. Toto uspořádání (nazvané Piccardem "batyskaf") dovolovalo volné ponoření lépe než předchozí uspořádání batysféry, při kterém byla tlaková koule spuštěna do hloubky a vyzvednuta zpět na loď lanem. V době projektu Nekton byl Trieste více než 15 m dlouhý, většinu objemu zabíraly komory o objemu 85 m 3 naplněné benzínem a vodní zátěžové nádrže nacházející se na koncích lodi. Přepážky mezi komorami byly pro lepší orientaci zvenku označeny černými pruhy. To umožnilo při přepravě správně umístit opěry.

Vpředu a vzadu na plováku byly jímky se zátěží 9 tun železných broků. Zátěž byla ovládána elektricky z kabiny. Uzávěr fungoval na elektromagnetickém principu: pokud protékal proud cívkami u uzávěru, zmagnetizované broky uzavřely otvor. Při přerušení proudu se broky sypaly z jímky. To bylo i bezpečnostní opatření - při přerušení proudu by se batyskaf automaticky odlehčil a vyplaval na hladinu.

Wandank II ATA-204 - History

One of the places I dreamed about visiting all my life is a place on Earth less visited by man than the surface of the Moon!

This Place is the Challenger Deep the deepest surveyed point in the oceans, located in the Mariana Islands group at the southern end of the Mariana Trench.
This is the story of one of my heros, Jacques Piccard one of only 2 men to ever reach this place.
Jacques Piccard (born July 28, 1922) is a Swiss explorer and engineer, known for having developed underwater vehicles for studying ocean currents. He is the only person (as of 2008), along with Lt. Don Walsh, to have reached the deepest point on the earth's surface, the Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench.

Jacques Piccard was born in Brussels, Belgium to Auguste Piccard, who was himself an adventurer and engineer.
On January 23, 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh reached the ocean floor in the Challenger Deep with his bathyscaphe Trieste. The depth of the descent was measured at 10,916 meters (35,813 feet), later more accurate measurements in 1995 have found the Challenger Deep to be less deep at 10,911 m (35,797 ft). The descent took almost five hours and the two men spent barely twenty minutes on the ocean floor before undertaking the 3 hour 15 minute ascent.
The Challenger Deep is the deepest surveyed point in the oceans, with a depth of about 11,000 metres (about 36,000 feet). It is located in the Mariana Islands group at the southern end of the Mariana Trench. The closest land is Fais Island, one of the outer islands of Yap, 289 km southwest and Guam 306 km to the northeast. The point is named after the British Royal Navy survey ship HMS Challenger, which first surveyed the trench in 1951.

The maximum surveyed depth of the Challenger Deep is 10,923 meters (35,838 feet) or 6.7875 miles. (National Geographic puts the depth at 10,920.07 meters (35,827 feet) below sea level.) The pressure at this depth is approximately 1,095 times that at the surface, or 110 MPa.

The HMS Challenger Expedition (December 1872 – May 1876) first sounded the depths now known as the Challenger Deep. This first sounding was made on 23 March, 1875 at station 225. The reported depth was 4,475 fathoms (8,184 m, 26,850 ft), based on two separate soundings.

A 1912 book, The Depths of the Ocean by Sir John Murray, records the depth of the Challenger Deep as 31,614 feet (9,636 meters). Sir John was one of the Expedition scientists, a young man at the time. Page 131 of Murray's book refers to the Challenger Deep. All of the original reports of the Challenger expedition can be viewed on the web at the Challenger Library.
In 1951, about 75 years after its original discovery, the entire Mariana Trench was surveyed by a second Royal Navy vessel, also named HMS Challenger after the original expedition ship. During this survey, the deepest part of the trench was recorded using echo sounding, a much more precise and vastly easier way to measure depth than the sounding equipment and drag lines used in the original expedition. HMS Challenger measured a depth of 5,960 fathoms (10,900 m, 35,760 ft) at [show location on an interactive map] 11䓓′N, 142䓏′E.

On 23 January 1960, the Swiss-built Bathyscaphe Trieste, acquired by the U.S. Navy, descended to the ocean floor in the trench manned by Jacques Piccard (who co-designed the submersible along with his father, Auguste Piccard) and USN Lieutenant Don Walsh. The descent took almost five hours and the two men spent barely twenty minutes on the ocean floor before undertaking the three-hour-and-fifteen-minute ascent. They measured the depth as 10,916 metres (35,813 feet).
In 1984, a Japanese survey vessel using a narrow, multi-beam echo sounder took a measurement of 10,924 meters (35,838 feet).

On their 1960 descent, the crew of the Trieste noted that the floor consisted of diatomaceous ooze and reported observing "some type of flatfish, resembling a sole, about 1 foot long and 6 inches across" lying on the seabed. The fish sighting has since been questioned by some, however, with suggestions that it may possibly have been a sea cucumber. The video camera on board the Kaiko probe spotted a sea cucumber, a scale worm (a type of bristle worm) and a shrimp at the bottom.

An analysis of the sediment samples collected by Kaiko announced the discovery of large numbers of simple organisms at 10,900 metres water depth.[8] While similar lifeforms have been known to exist in shallower ocean trenches (>7,000 m) and on the abyssal plain, the lifeforms discovered in the Challenger Deep possibly represent taxa independent from those in shallower ecosystems.

Out of the 432 organisms collected, the overwhelming majority of the sample consisted of simple, soft-shelled foraminifera, with four of the others representing species of the complex, multi-chambered genera Leptohalysis and Reophax. Overall, 85% of the specimens consisted of organic soft-shelled allogromids. This is unusual compared to samples of sediment-dwelling organisms from other deep-sea environments, where the percentage of organic-walled foraminifera ranges from 5% to 20% of the total. As small organisms with hard calcated shells have trouble growing at extreme (10,000 m) depths because the water there is severely lacking in calcium carbonate, scientists theorize that the preponderance of soft-shelled organisms at the Challenger Deep may have resulted from the typical biosphere present when the Challenger Deep was shallower than it is now. Over the course of six to nine million years, as the Challenger Deep grew to its present depth, many of the species present in the sediment died out or were unable to adapt to the increasing water pressure and changing environment. The remaining species may have been the ancestors of the Challenger Deep's current denizens.

Trieste was a Swiss-designed deep-diving research bathyscaphe ("deep boat") with a crew of two people, which reached a record-breaking depth of about 10,900 metres (35,761 ft), in the deepest part of any ocean on earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, in 1960. The dive has never been repeated, and presently no crewed or uncrewed craft exists capable of reaching such depth.

Trieste departed San Diego on October 5, 1959 on the way to Guam by the freighter Santa Maria to participate in Project Nekton — a series of very deep dives in the Mariana Trench.

On January 23, 1960, Trieste reached the ocean floor in the Challenger Deep (the deepest southern part of the Mariana Trench), carrying Jacques Piccard (son of Auguste) and Lieutenant Don Walsh, USN. This was the first time a vessel, manned or unmanned, had reached the deepest point in the Earth's oceans. The onboard systems indicated a depth of 11,521 metres (37,799 ft), although this was later revised to 10,916 metres (35,814 ft), and more accurate measurements made in 1995 have found the Challenger Deep to be slightly shallower, at 10,911 metres (35,797 ft).
The descent took 4 hours and 48 minutes before reaching the ocean floor. After passing 9,000 meters one of the outer Plexiglas window panes cracked, shaking the entire vessel.The two men spent barely twenty minutes at the ocean floor, eating chocolate bars to keep their strength. The temperature in the cabin was a mere 7°C (45°F) at the time. While on the bottom at maximum depth, Piccard and Walsh (unexpectedly) regained the ability to communicate with the surface ship, USS Wandank II (ATA-204), using a sonar/hydrophone voice communications system. At a speed of almost a mile per second (about five times the speed of sound in air), it took about 7 seconds for a voice message to travel from the craft to the surface ship, and another 7 seconds for answers to return.

While on the bottom, Piccard and Walsh observed small soles and flounders swimming away, proving that certain vertebrate life can withstand all existing extremes of pressure in earth's oceans. They noted that the floor of the Challenger Deep consisted of "diatomaceous ooze".

After leaving the bottom, they undertook their ascent, which required 3 hours, 15 minutes. Since then, no manned craft has ever returned to the Challenger Deep. A Japanese robotic craft Kaiko reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep in 1995. This craft was lost at sea in 2003, leaving no craft in existence capable of reaching these most extreme ocean depths.
Surely this is t he stuff of Dreams?

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First Descent to the Deepest Part of the Deepest Ocean, 1960

The year 1960 saw the culmination of a series of deep ocean submergence tests using small manned vessels near Guam in the western Pacific under the American navy’s Project Nekton. On January 23, a bathyscaphe (BA-thi-skaf, “deep ship”) called the Trieste piloted by explorer USN Lieutenant Don Walsh and engineer oceanographer Jacques Piccard (son of the boat’s designer, Auguste Piccard) descended to the lowest part of the world’s oceans, the Mariana Trench, entering into a still lower valley cut out of the southern part of 1500-mile long trench called the Challenger Deep. Named for the city where it was built in 1952, the French navy operated the Trieste in the Mediterranean Sea before the USN purchased it for undersea research in 1958 for $250,000. The craft was about sixty feet long and weighted fifty tons. It was retrofitted by Krupp Steel Works of Essen, Germany with a pressure compartment attached to the middle of the underside of the main hull, built of five-inch thick walls to withstand more than the anticipated 17,000 psi at maximum depth, and room for only two people.

The dramatic dive was effected by a variety of floats in the craft’s design and batteries powered onboard instruments. Piccard and Walsh communicated with the support ship, the USS Wandank (ATA 204), through a sonar/hydrophone system. It took almost 5 hours to reach the ocean floor at a rate of about 3 feet per second, and the journey was mechanically uneventful except for the cracking of one of the plexiglas windows which shook the craft at a depth of 10,000 yards. The bathyscaphe recorded an astounding final depth of nearly 37,800 feet, a mile deeper than Mt. Everest is high, and rested there for just twenty minutes before the ascent to the surface that took a bit over 3 hours.

Relative Depths of Challenger Deep and Everest

The men carried no sophisticated scientific equipment and conducted no experiments. They simply proved the dive could be done.

The lowest spot in the ocean floor, the Challenger Deep, was named for the British vessel, HMS Challenger, that first surveyed the area in the years 1872-76 and was said to catalogue over 4000 previously unknown species in its post-exploration report. The expedition helped to lay the foundation of oceanography. Keith Scott in The Australian Geographic Book of Antarctica (New South Wales, 1993) quotes the supervisor of the report, John Murray, as considering the Challenger voyage to have caused “the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the celebrated discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries” (Scott 193). Walsh and Piccard continued this advancement of in knowledge of the Deep in their description of a sea floor covered with “diatomaceous ooze” and observed what resembled shrimp, and “flatfish” like flounder and sole — indeed, vertebrates living under the enormous weight of 6000 fathoms that no one thought possible before the Trieste dive.

The achievement of Piccard and Walsh would stand for 52 years. Not until Canadian film director James Cameron’s 2012 solo dive to the bottom of the Trench in the Deep Sea Challenger would the manned voyage of the Trieste be repeated.

After this historic dive in 1960, the original Trieste was retired. In 1963, however, the US Navy transported a rebuilt Trieste from San Diego through the Panama Canal to the New England coast to search for the remains of its most advanced attack submarine, Thresher (SSN 593) that sank east of Boston in April. Search and recovery ships assisted by the Trieste found the remains of Thresher in six sections scattered over thousand of square yards of sea floor in 8400 feet of water. The recovery operations exposed limitations in the navy’s deep submergence capabilities and led to the creation of the Deep Submergence Systems Project (DSSP). Between the years 1965 and 1966, Auguste Piccard’s original Trieste underwent so many changes and redesigns that all that remained was the general shape of the vessel, which was christened Trieste II, the first of a new class for the Navy designated DSV-1 (“Deep Submersible Vessel”). Trieste II saw service in the recovery of the attack submarine Scorpion (SSN-589) lost in 1968 west of the Azores and various CIA covert operations in the early 1970s. The Trieste class was replaced by the less-deep capable but more maneuverable Alvin class (DSV-2) of submersibles which used titanium in construction, saw thousands of research dives, and was operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. At the same time, Reynolds Aluminum and General Dynamics teamed up to build the world’s first aluminum research submarine, Aluminaut, used by the US Navy and marine biologists such as Jacques Cousteau. Both were commissioned in 1964, and both famously helped find a 1.45-megaton atomic bomb lost in the western Mediterranean Sea during a training exercise by the the Air Force over Spain January 17, 1966.

For a marvelous first-hand scholarly account, see R.S. Dietz & Jacques Piccard, Seven miles down: the story of the Bathyscaph Trieste (New York: Putnam, 1961). Dietz was a pioneer in confirming the idea of continental drift, and coined the phrase “seafloor spreading.”

Use image in Challenger Deep article (WIKI) of Mariana Trench map — licensure black and white shot of Trieste I

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