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August 04, 2003

I have not yet begun to fight!

Newsweek editor and Inside Washington regular Evan Thomas appeared in an MSNBC to promote his new book John Paul Jones : Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy:

The British ship swung open her gun ports. Jones grimly took the measure of the black iron muzzles that thrust out: among her forty-four guns, HMS Serapis had a battery of twenty 18-pounders, ten to a side. At close range, a cannonball from one of these guns could smash through the thickest bulkhead of a warship and keep on going right through the other side, if it did not obliterate a man or a gun in the way. Jones had his doubts about the reliability of his own half-dozen 18-pounders, which were old. French cannon had a bad reputation for bursting.

I went looking for John Paul Jones material on "the internet" and found, amongst other things, an image of the standard he flew when he took HMS Serapis. This lead me to a website detailing unofficial ship flags starting with the earliest days of the United States Navy (this cheeky story of a British riposte will amuse many Flea-readers).

The heroism of American WWII submariners is particularly moving. Also impressive were the flags of USS Barb, USS Harder and USS Jack which showed me once again the Simpsons have an astonishing grasp of history.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 4, 2003 09:39 AM