Saturday, April 23, 2016

Today -100: April 23, 1916: Of suicide machines, lost mail, and sinking Portugals

The Mexican venture is not going well for the US air force (which is still a sub-division of the Signal Corps). Of the 8 planes sent down to Mexico, only 2 survive, barely (the pilots call them “suicide machines” given their condition). Even a little service reduced them to junk and their weak engines (less than 90 horsepower) did not stand up to air currents in mountainous regions. The engines of wrecked or otherwise unflyable planes are removed and sent back to the US by truck; the rest of the plane is burned. The US is way behind Europe in producing warplanes (and I believe none will be used in World War I, American pilots flying French planes).

Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels gives the Senate the letter sent him in November 1914 by then Aid for Operations Rear Admiral Bradley Fiske saying that the Navy was too small to fight a war. Daniels says he never saw the letter, it was just kind of filed & forgotten, but he blames Fiske for never mentioning it to him.

Headline of the Day -100: 

A Russian hospital ship sunk by a Turkish submarine, not the Iberian country.

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