68F on November 13, 2011

The Location: The front porch, Oak Park.

The Drink: Bourbon and ginger ale.

The Book: Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea: The Daring Capture of the U-505, by Daniel V. Gallery. A pal, a former destroyer officer as it happens, gave me this book with the highest possible recommendation. Rear Admiral Gallery was a salty character. He gives excellent and colorful and opinionated explanations of all aspects of the war against the U-Boats, with many anecdotes. A most educational read, and a page-turner. As of page 130/338 I can recommend it to all who are interested in such matters. If you visit Chicago, you can see the U-505 at its permanent berth at the Museum of Science and Industry, where it came to rest after Gallery’s men captured it.

We won’t get many more nice days like this one this year. Today is pretty much an aberration. I am expecting a severely cold winter this year, based on pure guesswork and gut feel, speculation about sunspot activity and its effect, contrarianism about global warning, general pessimism, and not much else.

(Below the fold, Gallery on the conning tower of the captured U-505, via Wikipedia.)

7 thoughts on “68F on November 13, 2011”

  1. Admiral Gallery — ages ago, I had something or other on the Brief, which solicited many suggestions as to books to read which had the military experience down right, and several of the Navy commentors suggested his book called “Cap’n Fatso” – which was about an LST mistakenly set adrift in the Med, under the command of a tough old Bo’son’s Mate … who basically takes care of business.
    I got a copy off Amazon –
    It’s funny as hell, sort of a sea-going M*A*S*H, save that the protagonist loves the military service.

  2. I’ve been to the museum of Science & Industry; in fact years ago my sister worked there. Don’t see how those seaman lived in the cramped quarters of that U Boat – if I am not mistaken our WW2 subs seems spacious by comparasion and I wonder how our guys lived in those ;-) – That museum – and the Smithsonian Air and Space – and its annex – I could spend weeks roaming…

    If I am not mistaken this is where we captured the first Enigma machine? Fascinating story behind that and the breaking of the code…

  3. re Enigma – this was not the first submarine capture. The Brits managed to capture U-110 in 1941 (captained by Fritz-Julius Lemp, who had sunk the Athenia (the first passenger liner sunk in WWII)). The British already had the machine, as versions had been smuggled out through Poland early on in the war, but there were critical code books and such acquired with the capture.

  4. Surprising to me that you choose to live in Oak Park, where even the expressway exits are all on the far left. Other than that it’s a nice town.

    A coincidence. I watched U-571 last Friday. Good sub film.

  5. I remember going through U-505 when I was a cub scout from LaGrange, and weighed about half of what I weigh now. Even then, to me, the boat seemed ‘close’. I don’t think we were allowed to go up to the conning tower, just take a gander from the lower deck, and were limited to coming in one end, going from compartment to compartment, and then out the other. At that time, ca. 1957, it was outside the museum building, and had just been drug in from the lake the previous year.
    The sailors who boarded the boat had brass cojones. The boat was down by the stern, and taking on seawater. It was only luck that the coverplate was nearby to the opened seacock fitting, and could be restored. I don’t think I have the fortitude it took to board.

  6. I watched it being brought across the Drive to its resting place by the museum. When I was 10 or 12, we spent whole weekends in that museum. It may be where I got my interest in engineering. I hope it is still full of curious boys these days. Do they still hatch chicks in the farm ?

  7. I remember seeing it as a kid in Kokomo.

    As to “knowing” that’s its to be a hard winter, there’s the lod joke about the local Indian who had developed quite a track record in predicting the upcoming winter, whether it was to be long and cold, or short and warm.

    When a local white asked him how he made his predictions, he replied, “When white man makes big wood pile in summer and fall, winter will be cold.”

    We humans do seem to have an inate sense of climate, don’t we?

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