topics_01In the course of reading Robert Kaplan’s article in the Wall Street Journal, I had to back up and read this twice.

The Japanese navy boasts roughly four times as many major warships as the British Royal Navy.

Wait … what?

OK, that reality has sunk in over the last decade – but we are still a bit of an Anglophile navy, and even with the Pacific Pivot, we still give the mother country a lot of heft for historical and emotional reasons.

In their constitutional quasi-isolation, Japan’s very real power has

Here is the context;

… in Asia. Nationalism there is young and vibrant—as it was in the West in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Asia is in the midst of a feverish arms race, featuring advanced diesel-electric submarines, the latest fighter jets and ballistic missiles. China, having consolidated its land borders following nearly two centuries of disorder, is projecting air and sea power into what it regards as the blue national soil of the South China and East China seas.

Japan and other countries are reacting in kind. Slipping out of its quasi-pacifistic shell, Japan is rediscovering nationalism as a default option. The Japanese navy boasts roughly four times as many major warships as the British Royal Navy. As for Vietnam and the Philippines, nobody who visits those countries and talks with their officials, as I have, about their territorial claims would imagine for a moment that we live in a post-national age.

The disputes in Asia are not about ideology or any uplifting moral philosophy; they are about who gets to control space on the map.

Silly Transformationalists … dreaming is for kiddies. Get ye back to your history books!

Back on topic though; yes, the facts are clear.

Though you can find +/- difference depending on source, definitions, and recent com/decom; here are the numbers:
Royal Navy:
Helicopter Carriers: 2
Amphibious Ships: 2
Destroyers: 7
Frigates: 13
Submarines: 6-SSN, 4-SSBN

We’ll call that 24.

Japanese Navy:
Helicopter Carriers: 2 (technically 4, all of which are helicopter carrying destroyers. The SHIRANE Class of 2 are only half decks and are really just destroyers. HYUGA Class of 2 are no-kidding helicopter carriers. Two more much larger 19,500 ton ships on the way this decade as well).
Amphibious Ships: 5
Destroyers: 40
Frigates: 6
Submarines: 16-SS

We’ll call that 67. If you are what Salamander defines as “major combatants” then you have 2.8 times, not 4x, but there are lots of ways to count. Perhaps they are looking at smaller ships as well. By either definition though, it should give one pause not only to reflect about the decline of the Royal Navy – but more importantly – the latent and potential power of the Japanese Navy.

Anyone who has worked with the Japanese will agree with me as well that from a professional point of view, they are an exceptionally quality force.

Here is the tie in.

Did you catch this little memo?

Japan’s Defense Ministry will request a second boost to its military budget, according to reports, just a day after the government announced the first Defense budget increase in 10 years.

The boosts, although relatively modest compared with Japan’s overall defense spending, coincide with increasing tensions in the Asia Pacific region.Japan’s Defense Ministry intends to ask for 180.5 billion yen ($2.1 billion) from a government stimulus package – on top of an increase of more than 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) to its military budget announced earlier this week – in order to upgrade its air defenses, according to the BBC..

Good. Japan needs to continue to do this, and we should welcome the move as long overdue (though don’t get too excited, their larger budgetary problems are even greater than ours). Europe fades, Royal Navy withers … where can the USA look for its major partner at sea?

We don’t have to look far. With the tweaks they are on the road to make in their Constitution – Japan is right there.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Hard Power, Navy
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  • ‘Were I to die at this moment “want of frigates” would be found stamped on my heart.’ – Nelson

    • In Nelson’s era, I believe Frigates were comparatively larger than those of today. Woody

      • BJ Armstrong

        Comparatively larger? That might require some definition since a wooden and steel warship don’t really compare well in size or weight.

        Now, if we compare purpose and capability. Using the USN to provide a model, the most powerful surface ship today (arguably) is an American CG, not really a cruiser but more like the modern version of a battleship…or for the Nelson comparison a full on 100 gun First Rate Ship-of-the-Line a la HMS Victory. Next would be the Burke Class DDG not really a “destroyer” at all, and just slightly fewer weapons than a CG, so maybe a 74 gun Ship-of-the-Line. Generally Frigates came after the 64 gun Ship-of-the-Line, meant for scouting for the Fleet and for independent patrol and presence ops…so…yeah, a frigate is kinda still a frigate.

      • vtbikerider

        BJ– look at it this way– the American frigates were mission specific– long range protection of trade routes, a large, robust hull to carry stores, the capability to defeat anything that could catch them and the ability to outrun anything that could defeat them. Something along the lines of a WWII heavy cruiser. Today, frigates are more for ASW work, though they’ve also ventured into ASuW work as well.

        Try taking the term “JMSDF” and changing it to “JN” and there’s a difference in tone. “Self Defense Force” isn’t too martial, but “navy” certainly is. The JN certainly could operate within the bubble of land-based air cover and not have to worry about power projection.

      • I think of the big American frigates as conceptually similar to the German pocket battleships like Graf Spee, except that they were just as fast or faster than the British ships that chased them. I think the Brits ended up “cutting down” some ships of the line to counter them.

      • The USS Constitution, a large frigate by most accounts, is 2,200 tons and 175 feet long at the waterline according to Wiki. Don’t know if that is “comparatively” larger, but it actually is pretty small for an ocean going, go any where cruiser–they as well as smaller ships like sloops and brigs were also referred to as cruisers at the time.

      • Valcan321

        The Constitutions were a special breed compared to most frigates, Faster, more powerful, with larger guns instead of more as well as thinner in the waist.

      • Also larger, with a larger crew, and more guns (44 vs 28-36) than the typical British frigate, although the Brits had some equally large frigates by the end of the War of 1812

      • Wow! By using one word, I have set off a treasure trove of comment. I “thought” that Frigates in Lord Nelson’s era were smaller compared to most other British “Ships of the Line,” but large enough to engage many warships of other nations alone. I do not think modern Frigates(smaller than destroyers) would have that capability. Thus, Nelson’s ships were “comparatively larger.” I certainly could be wrong.

  • KazuakiShimazaki

    I think you are under-estimating the forces of pacifism in Japan, which is still very strong. Even if Abe gets the Constitution changed, it would be a VERY long time, if ever, before the Japanese will support America militarily like Britain would.

    • RightCowLeftCoast

      It’s not about Japan joining the United States in any future potential offensive operation. As Japan learned by our submarine operations during World War II, and as the UK has always known, as an Island nation its of vital national defensive importance to keep open her sea lines of communication.

      Even looking at her reason to drive into Southeast Asia at the start of World War II, it was for Imperial Japan to reopen the resources there for her continued war with China. These resources were denied to her by trade embargos by Western nations. Not saying that I agree with Imperial Japan’s actions in 1941 (far from it, my family comes from Zambalas and Bataan), but I understand their reasoning.

  • M. Thompson

    It’s the best sea control navy in the world. The Japanese learned well what happens when you let the enemy slowly strangle your lines of communication, and ignore the strangulation.

  • RightCowLeftCoast

    The Post-World War II JMSDF is as much a testiment to what Japan has learned from its former foe and now ally, as much as the Pre-World War II IJN was a testiment to what Japan had leanred from the Royal Navy who she learned much from. That is not to say that the credit for the present JMSDF isn’t a credit for the nation of Japan herself.

    That being said, with a return to the traditional stance of China being the dominate regional power in East Asia, Japan finds a resurgent China as a threat to its vital maritime interest, and more importantly her sea lanes of communications (which like the United Kingdom, it needs to supply her people’s mouths and nation’s industries). In actively disputing the Senkaku Islands, China not only seeks to claim the potential seabed resouces around them, but also potentially controlling the shipping routes coming from Southeast Asia. Therefore, it makes sense that her defense focus shifts away from Hokkaido to the south towards Okinawa.

  • KS, it is more important to evaluate present and future capabilities, than present intentions.

    • robert_k

      But placing current and future military capabilites into the broader political context is also important.

  • Murgatroyd

    Not sure that just counting hulls is an accurate representation of capability. What about training, support and operational experience? The Japanese have a lot of ships, but no aircraft carriers (the RN has 2 x 65,000 ton carriers under construction) or SSNs, which are both major weaknesses. The RN has gone for a small number of high capability vessels whereas the JMSDF has gone down the numbers route. Incidently, the RN has 5 amphibious ships and 7 SSNs, not 2 and 6 respectively as stated here.

    • hokie_1997

      Brits have essentially zero maritime ISR capability now that they have retired Nimrod. In contrast, JMSDF has an awful lot of P-3s.

      • Murgatroyd

        Nimrod will be replaced in the longer term – the version cancelled was not fit for purpose and should never have been approved. RN lack numbers but still has excellent ASW capability. Astute SSNs are vastly superior to Japanese SSKs.

      • hokie_1997

        Britain’s long term plans for MPA are anybody’s guess. MOD is mortgaging a lot of its acquisition budget on CVF and JSF.

        True enough – RN SSNs are very good. But there will only be seven. I’d probably rather have the 21 JMSDF diesels boats, a growing number if which are AIP.

      • Murgatroyd

        Back in the 1990s, the RN had the choice of smaller numbers of SSNs or larger numbers of SSKs (ditto French Navy). Given the requirements of the RN, this was the correct decision. SSNs are far more capable than SSKs for the tasks the RN is likely to undertake.

      • hokie_1997

        True enough – SSNs were a wise and appropriate decision for UK. They will let RN punch well above its weight even as its overall naval force structure declines.

        My statement was more as an ally of US in any future conflict. If I had to choose an ally, I’d probably rather have 16 SSs than the 7 SSNs. Particularly if the fights in the Pacific

        Fortunately – we don’t have to choose!

    • TransformerSWO

      Both the JMSDF and the RN have the types of ships appropriate for them. If the RN didn’t have CVs and SSNs that would be a major weakness – they depend on global presence and power projection. But for the JMSDF, for the fight they’d have to fight and where it would likely be, they don’t need the global reach. If you look at their destroyers, they have not “gone down the numbers route” – they have superb ships. And their training, support and operational experience are first rate. But as someone else said, I’m glad to have them both on “our” side.


    One can hardly blame the JMSDF for taking the threat of the PLAN seriously. Bringing back the Kido Butai would put the Fear of God in the PLAN.

    • hokie_1997

      Kido Butai had virtually no ASW capability. Pretty ships, but a modern navy equipped with modern-ish SS and SSN (ie the PLAN) could sink it pretty handily.

      Fortunately, modern JMSDF not committing same mistake as their grandfathers. Lots of ASW frigates, helos, and MPA.

      • RightCowLeftCoast


  • @
    Murgatroyd • “The RN has gone for a small number of high capability
    vessels whereas the JMSDF has gone down the numbers route.”

    The Japanese do not have SSNs or SSBNs which have to count for a lot, but the Japanese certainly have not discounted quality for quantity. They have Aegis Destroyers equal to those of the US. Their diesel subs may be the best in the world, and until the Queen Elizabeth is completed, their Hyuga Class “Helicopter destroyers” are at least equal to the UKs big deck ships and the second pair they have begun will be even larger at 27,000 tons.

    If you take a look at some of their “training ships” you will see that they are either built with clear military capabilities or are still useful destroyers and frigates repurposed for training and no longer counted as warships, but retaining a military capability.

    Then look at their Coast Guard. They have more cutters than the USCG and some of them are very large an have significant military potential.

    • hokie_1997

      Their naval air forces (mostly MPA and helos) are both numerous and of very high quality.

      • Murgatroyd

        As I point out below, Nimrod will be replaced in the longer term and RAF is easily capable enough for any conceivable scenario. The UK is in one of the safest parts of the globe and there is no nation which poses a direct threat to their national security.

      • You are right. The UK has no existential threat, so its naval power has been allowed to decline. In fact, in terms of personnel the Royal Navy is now smaller than the US Coast Guard, but what is does have is of high quality. The UK scrapped their MPA. The UK no longer has any fixed wing Naval air capability. The results of that decision should not be taken as a slight, it is a decision they have made. They could have a larger Navy, but have chosen not to. The UK has proven a steadfast ally and made major contributions in the Gulf War and Afghanistan.

        Japan is a regional power and the third largest economy in the World. They choose not to go outside their neighborhood, but they are capable. They don’t have an independent strategic deterrent. But right now they have more naval air than the UK and that is likely to remain the case for some time. If they choose to go with the F-35B they will have four decks that can use it, (seven if you count the little Osumis) not one operational and one in extended readiness.

        “You pays your money and you takes your chances.”

      • Murgatroyd

        The UK does not have any fixed wing capability at the moment, but once the QE class ships enter service (and it looks as of BOTH, not just one, will be operational) the situation will be very different. Scrapping the Harrier GR9s in 2010 was the correct decision as savings had to be made and they were only a token capability.

        The JMSDF Osumis could not operate F35Bs, and I understand that the first pair of Hyugas would also have issues here due to design constraints (heat/strength of deck/deck layout). So only the two larger Hyugas would be able to embark a limited number of F35Bs (8-12?), which is very limited in comparison to the QE class.

      • I think the point I believe you were making, that the UK is and will continue to be a reliable ally with a world wide reach, while Japan can only be counted on to help us when it is in their own interest is a valid one. I just found your characterization of the quality of the Japanese Navy incorrect.

        I would not be surprised to see the Japanese make even larger carriers in the not too distant future–for defensive purposes only, of course. It also would not take them long to produce nuclear submarines if they chose to.

    • Murgatroyd

      But the JMSDF is intended to protect national security whereas the RN is designed for limited power projection to protect global interests.There is no nation which poses a direct threat to UK national security, which is not true in the case of Japan. The JMSDF SSKs would be no match for modern SSNs and the lack of fixed wing naval aviation means that they could not operate out of area against a capable opponent, regardless of how many escorts they have. Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales will both commission and be vastly more capable than the Hyugas. Even if the JMSDF gets some F35Bs for them in the future, 27,000 tons is still too small to operate a wothwhile carrier air group.

      • Whose modern SSN’s would the Japanese diesel boats be fighting? You don’t have to be so much of a blue water force when you’re fighting in your own neighborhood with the guy next door. They don’t really need to be offensive – just stop the Chinese from being offensive with Patriot and surface to surface anti shipping missiles from their southern islands.

      • Murgatroyd

        Japan is resource poor and has an export-orientated economy. They rely on energy shipping and maritime trade. If they needed to operate outside area to protect their interests against a capable opponent, SSNs would be a lot more useful than SSKs. This is why the RN and the French Navy had mixed SSN/SSK fleets during the Cold War.

      • Doubtful you’ll see the JMSDF on any blue water deployments to the IO for SLOC patrols (even when / if the consititution is changed). In the even of war in Asia, the JMSDF’s main purpose (after protecting the home islands) will be to keep the PLAN occupied in the waterspace from Okinawa north while we kick the PLAN in the rear. For that mission, the JMSDF is more than capable. Also, the Japanese economy is much more like the US’s now, centered on financial and design services. They have manufacturing facilities (and access to raw materials) the world over. And they have us on their side. Could they build an SSN? Sure, but why?

  • Everything I have ever leaned about the nation of Japan has told me 3 things(words.) ISLAND. MARITIME. NATIONALISM. The United States of America should do everything possible to insure alliances with Japan–educational, cultural, military, political, trade, resources, financial, etc., etc.,etc.,etc. Oh! and language. Joe Rochefort learned Japanese in that country before WWII.
    Woody Sanford

  • Valcan321

    The Japanese have a grade A Navy. Not only in training and maintanence but a large number of ships. Combat ships. Many of those destroyers are basicly Burkes just changed around some.

    The Brits are great but that welfare state is taking its toll and no offense i dont trust the EU to ever stay loyal or stand up for us when we need it most of japan i can say that. Individualy we have alot of good friends in europe as a whole they are strangled by a political system and caste at best grudingly allies.

    And those numbers matter. Having really powerful ships is nice……but they done matter if they aint there when needed.

    • mandb

      Just remind me how much support Japan gave in Iraq and Afghanistan? Nil if I recall. Your untrustworthy Europeans were there in support throughout with casualties across every country except Switzerland. Beware of talking down your allies, you never know when you will need then, despite their relative size.

      • You recall incorrectly. They stretched about as much as they could given the Constitution we wrote for them. As for the Europeans – not all are the same. You can put GBR, NLD, DNK, EST and perhaps one or two other in one pile; you can put FRA, BEL, ESP, ITA, DEU and most of the rest in another.

  • WireguidedMarine

    I agree about Japan’s navy being an overlooked asset to many Americans.

    Part of that is Japan’s pacifism and focus on their region, whereas the UK has global commitments. The Royal Navy is the only navy to have a real conflict at-sea since 1945 – the Falklands. While a SSN might improve the JMSDF capabilities, the diesel subs they have are good enough for their limited area of the Pacific. The same has been true for their helicopter carriers; although that is beginning to change.

    The new DDHs in service and under construction are a real step toward having fixed-wing naval aviation should the PLAN’s build-up and the Japanese public’s reticence on “offensive” weapons warrant a change. Japan is already a partner in the JSF program and should easily be able to order F-35Bs if they decide to turn the key and have real aircraft carriers. The approach they are taking is similar to the DDGs; with large-scale integration and close collaboration with the USN. They now have destroyers with genuine BMD and ASAT capacity.

    Another navy with growing strength is the RoK Navy. They too will make a great partner in the “Pacific Pivot”.

  • LoFlyer

    I doubt the RN can even handle Argentina and hold the Falklands, much less compare with the JMSDF. Socialism has effectively cut the RN down to a purely defensive force.
    China is the dragon in the Asian arena, expanding their territorial claims to ridiculous limits. flush with cash, determination, and working hard to develop a “blue-water”‘ Navy. Japan has nothing comparable to the current Chinese carrier, and nothing in the works to offset the next generation of PLAN carriers. The Japanese have a professional AF to back up for the lack of naval assets, but their range only extends so far.
    India is probably the largest player, and has displayed “blue-water” power projection with their light carriers.
    South Korea and Taiwan probably line up next, They both have their own issues, but have creditable forces.
    Australia has a professional navy, but too small except for coastal defense.
    Viet Nam has a small navy and is coastal bound, they do know how to fight though.
    Then we have the vast number of Asian countries with Coast guard capability or incompetent in naval warfare.
    I suggest that the USN reduce support of the last group to bare minimum and concentrate on joint exercises with the countries with enough moxey and fire power to effectively engage the PLAN.
    I profess to know little about Asian politics except on a broad scale. What I do know is that the USN is going to receive a lot less funding over the next years.
    I will also recommend all to observe the history of combined fleets and their defeats. Especially at the start of WWII Make your own decisions

  • JAFO35

    It obvious,you armchair warriors don’t know what you’re talking about lol.I mean you guys sound like a bunch of children.Lets look at the facts,shall we.
    The RN is no longer a global bluewater navy.The RN couldn’t even pull off another falklands invasion.The RN gets it’s power from the US wake.Otherwise,the RN couldn’t pull off any invasion.Name a World Power the RN could invade???I’m not talking about Argentina,i’m talking about a World power.The RN could invade a banana republic,like Hati or Cuba lol.Argentina or the Falklands would be out of the question,and here is the reason why:The RN no longer has logestics to muster such an invansion.
    In laymans terms:The RN can only follow the US wake.Thats the new role it’s been set up for.The RN has around 24 offensive ships.But,the RN does have around 50 logistical ships,with no means of defense.
    These ships can carry a 800 strong RM force to a beach head.Oh,and refuel the RNs 24 offensive ships lmfao.
    The US Navy has over 250 offensive ships with 30 others being built in the next 5 years lol.Oh,and over 800 logistical ships,if you count the merchant marines and ready reserves,which are part of the US Navy lol.Needless to say,the US Navy is so big,it makes the RN look bigger than it really is.
    Take the US Navy out of the equation.Hey,lets just pretend the USA doesn’t even exist for a minute,okay.Well,now take that 24 offensive navy and place it in the ocean with all of the World threats lmfao.Well,the RN doesn’t look that big anymore lmfao.It’s an optical illusion my British limey gents lol.
    Your empire has fell,and it’s fallen.Your countrys economy has also just been surpassed by France,Italy,and Brazil.Soon Russia,Canada,S-Korea,and Mexico will surpass the UK lol.This will place the UK out of the top 10 World economys.These carriers you are building,will be sold to France,or better yet transformed for national emergencys.Hence,you will not be able to afford much,when you fall out of the top 10 Nations of the World braket.The USA already knows this,and this is why the USA has pulled of of Europe,and looking abroad for better allies for the future.The Aussies,Japs,and Koreans will soon have better economys and fresh military budgets to rivial China.
    It’s all about China now ladys,it’s no longer about the Soviet Union or Europe.When common sense finally sinks in limeys,you’ll soon realize:The UK can’t reach that far anymore lmfao……..Oh,and the Common Wealth of Nations pact is funny.I doubt the Aussies give a flarn fart if the UK caught on fire lol.

    • Some student

      The RN may be a shadow of what it once was and that of the USN, there is no argument about that you do no need to prove anything, however the United Kingdom is no longer an imperial power, it does not need to spend billions of maintaining a navy to project its power, it simply needs to protect Britain’s interests. The UK has no need to have a force that could single handedly invade any superpower on earth because the age of imperialism in the civilised world is over, It is my opinion that America has turned into what it hated most about the ‘limey’s’ and it is blind to its self hypocrisy. I find your comment on the Commonwealth very insular, the commonwealth spreads democracy, human rights and civil liberty, and unifies a great range on nations, in a peaceful and diplomatic manner, same cannot be said about American attempts, which to date have mostly failed and resulted in the use of force, (which in itself is a failure of democracy) so I guess my point to you is look at the bigger picture, yes its grand a mighty to have a powerful imperial navy, and armed forces for that matter, but as a nation you will not be fully respected until you no longer have a need for them.

      • JAFO35

        Britian has no foreign policy anymore.Hence,when the USA speaks first,the UK will soon follow.It’s now all about:following the leader.I can’t belive you would place the UK as this peaceful country,lmfao.The UK killed millions and raped it’s way to gain it’s commonwealth.It wasn’t given to the UK.Also,Canada and Australia are now countrys,they’re not under British rule.The rest of the educated World can see how you made your empire.Now you just parade float with your Navy to take a peek once in awhile.You also still have a Queen and soon a future Queen,lol.Thats a country based on fairy tales.Atleast we can vote freely,and we don’t have a ruler that serves unlimited terms.The UK is a joke in 2013,son.
        You claim to spread democracy,but you follow the US wake.I’m sorry,but I think you’re choking on your own foot.I find your rebuttal very British.You’ll also find my rebuttal very American.So,we should stop here.I really think this argument has headed into biased waters.

      • JAFO35

        Hence,the Queen and future King on paper still has unlimited power.However,they don’t use this power as much,so don’t tell me the King and Queen are like Christmas decorations,lol.The Queen has disolved the Canadian Parliment 3 times in the last 6 years,lol.She can do this in Britian,Australia,New Zeland,and ect when she see’s fit.She has alot of power through her foreign Gov Generals.
        Don’t say the USA is a war nation,because you blokes are always right behind us on the action.Hence,Iraq and Afganastan.Also,Iraq was an illegal war conjured up by the British.Iraq was an illegal war,and it was your war as much as it was our war,lol.You’re about as peaceful as the USA.Otherwise,you would’ve condoned the illegal war in Iraq.France,German,Russian,and almost the rest of the World condoned it.But,you were right behind us,lmfao.Spreading democracy my butt,lol.Your rebuttal makes about as much sense as fish icecream,hey the Japs love it,lol.
        I’m sorry,but i’m finished with this convo.Have a nice day.I was drunk when I wrote my former post.Now you know.

    • whatever

      you refer to everyone else as “sounding like children” yet you can’t even construct a sentence properly? I think you’re late for class (god knows you need it!) you stupid yank child!

      • Floridaman4948

        You can’t, even, capitalize the first word of a sentence and your grammar is pathetic!! I’m thinking, 4th grade. Who are you to criticize? It’s obvious, you took these comments to true heart. Yet, you couldn’t even challenge them or dispute them. Instead, you resort to name calling. Stupid Yank Child? My God. I thought you Limeys were better than that.

      • Floridaman4948

        I have an idea, kiddo. Put a pen in your nose, and slam your head on a desk. You can’t offer anything useful in context. So, you’re one less resource the World has to worry about. Besides, you still live with mum in her flat. You’re not very productive, are you? Go on and do it. It might be fun, kiddo.

      • Floridaman4948

        Work on your English, kiddo!! It’s pretty bad. And it’s an insult to Britain.
        Or, go play with your Barbie Dolls.
        Either way, stay off this fourm, kiddo. Because you’re a bona fide hypocrite.

  • JD

    Does anybody remember what happened the last time we ignored the Japanese naval build-up ? Seems we had to sink a lot of their ships before they called it quits — and then as now, we thought they’d be fighting those pesky Commies (union members every last one of them) but ‘lo they attacked ……… um …… well ………. the United States instead.
    OK so that was a bit tongue-in-cheek.
    Does anybody want to admit exactly what Amelia Earhart was doing just before she “disappeared” — or why she had an extra 2000 nautical miles of fuel for that leg of her journey — or why she had to remove 70 pounds of “non-essential” weight on that leg? (things like her flight log and keep-sakes) I wonder what kind of camera plus associated film and equipment weighs 70 pounds?
    Lost at sea, you say? They had just navigated through torrential storms so severe they had to have the plane repainted in Lei — only 200 feet of visibility yet they found that air-strip on the first try — and they had fitted a lot of experimental navigation equipment and high output military engines.
    Best navigator in the world, she had.
    She also had her Navy wings – I’ve seen the official photo of her in uniform – and the paperwork – reconnaissance.
    Hate to make the same mistake twice, you know.