Tanker Drops

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Saturday Supplemental


The Backbone Fire

It turned into a Type 1 incident on Saturday with 20,000 acres burned and the cities of Pine and Strawberry, Arizona under evacuation orders. Upgrading the fire to Type 1 means that they can get air tankers in to drop retardant.

It’s at a lower altitude, but fire among the risks of living in a pine forest. As of this writing, it’s about a mile from the town of Strawberry. I don’t think that it’s taken any homes yet. It’s following Fossil Creek. Friends evacuated with their horses. It’s thirty-five or so miles from the White Wolf Mine. Thunderstorms and lightning strikes mean that it could happen to anyone.

Road closures mean that it’s tough to get around. I find it strange that there are still campers arriving to escape the heat in Phoenix. The sheriff is turning them around – and there will be more road closures because of them.


A Military Haircut?

18-year old Arnold Schwarzenegger during his time as an Austrian Army conscript, serving as a driver for the M47 Patton tank.

Decades later he found the very same tank he served in and bought it for his personal military vehicle collection.



IJN aircraft carrier Kaga in 1928. You can see the original 200 mm (8 in) guns near the waterline and the long funnel extending aft below the flight deck. She plunged to Davy Jones in the waters off Midway Island.

When they built the early aircraft carriers, they still clung to the notion that they needed big guns in the event that they needed to duke it out with enemy surface ships.

23 thoughts on “Tanker Drops

  1. We got a really nice rain storm through Preskitt today around 12:30. Three tenths of an inch in about an hour. Loved every second of it.

    1. It’s very dry. Every drop helps. We got about half an hour of steady rain on the Rim.

    1. There is usually significant wind that accompanies the onset of monsoon and there is a fear that they could create a firestorm. At present 100% of fire assets are focused on defending the towns of Pine, Strawberry. The fire is 0% contained and is burning out of control elsewhere. There are outside threats to the cities of Payson and Camp Verde depending on the wind direction and intensity. I realize that the cities I’m mentioning don’t mean anything to most of this blog’s readers.

      Suffice that there are significant wildfires in Arizona and that one is in the mountain region where I live.

      1. I know where all those places are. I have several friends who split to AZ about the time we came here.

    1. It took some time for navies to come to terms with the fact that the sun was setting on the big gun battleships. The actions around Guadalcanal and in the Philippines showed that there were still roles for battleships, but airpower and submarine warfare eclipsed them. Lexington, CV-2. had 8″ guns too, in that same time period.

      1. In the period, carriers were thought to be primarily useful for strategic scouting, and would be used behind, but fairly close to the scouting cruisers and battlecruisers. Thus the cruiser-caliber gun outfits, in case of miscalculation and a surface action with enemy scouting forces.

        Airplane capabilities grew faster than most probably expected, and the roles for carriers changed.


  2. Friend of mine just sold their place at Pine earlier this year. Hopefully the new owner doesn’t lose it. Re the tankers, ‘interesting’ flying, to put it mildly. Lots of former Navy pilots doing that.

    1. No structures have been lost. Right now Strawberry is threatened seriously – Pine adjoins Strawberry so if fire destroys homes there, Pine is next.

      Those tanker pilots fly very aggressively in difficult visibility and dangerous terrain with winds that complicate everything.

  3. Be careful…

    And for goodness sake, what’s with those haircuts? Of course these days it’s rainbow flags, so we’ve devolved, bizarrely.

    1. I wonder if the Austrian Army is as loose with grooming now as they were 50 years ago when Arnold was a young recruit? If it was the US, they’d be trying to get him to “transition”.

  4. Praying for favorable conditions forthcoming….too early for this stuff. Inciweb was updated 3 minutes ago, 17+k acres, not good, and tough terrain.

    1. Lightning strike – and those come at random. Sometimes they hit something very dry and BOOM, sparks everywhere and it’s off to the races. Part of the problem with this situation is that the resources are devoted to saving the city – as they should be, and 50,000 campers in the surrounding area are on their own, trying to get out, while at the same time, campers still are arriving to camp. – goat rope.

  5. Wildfires are one of those things that are hard to understand unless you live where they’ve happened, like here, or where you live, LL.

    Somewhat similar to earthquakes in SoCal, and tornadoes in Illinois.

    The guys that fly the tankers clank when they walk….

    1. There is a $440K grant to thin trees, and I jumped onto that with my property, so the forest service has marked trees to be cut and saved with a lot of small trees thinned and being taken out. Unfortunately, it’s been too dry to cut – fire danger. Once that happens, I’ll be far less at risk. The area around Pine/Strawberry has far more brush than I do. Here, it’s mostly tall trees with almost no underbrush. Payson is even worse when it comes to brush.

  6. Part of the reason you end up with big guns on some of the early aircraft carriers is that they were converted from existing almost built cruisers.

    So, on the Kaga, you have an old pattern of secondary turrets along the waterline.

    Like on the USS Lexington, a converted heavy cruiser, she retained her 4 dual 8″ turrets, moved to the side in front and to the rear of the island. Where they, apparently, caused lots of issues by firing off the centerline and totally disrupting aviation activity. Though, well, could have been good if provided with a beehive round like the 18″ guns on the Yamato (yes, giant 18″ shotgun shells… for shooting down aircraft, interesting idea.)

    The early carriers were all evolutionary experiments.

    No islands, like on the Langley, which sucked rocks and didn’t work, and one really needs a tower to watch and control activity on the deck.

    Under-flight deck funnels, because funnels take up deck space. But, well, having a conventional stack puts less draft issues with the funnels and you don’t have the rear of the flight deck obscured by smoke.

    Island forward, creates too much turbulence over the deck.

    Island rearward, makes it hard for the Helm to see, unless you push the island up high, then you end up with a high-profile sail above the deck and that makes it hard for planes to land.

    Knife-blade narrow island, well, just sucks for the people that have to live or work in the island.

    And so forth and so on. Not even getting into elevator placement, stores placement.

    As to the Jap carriers, never liked those low profile bows with the cagework supports for the flight deck. Not efficient or desirable in high-wave, foul weather environments. Much prefer the more sexy clipper bows found in the US fleet and light carriers (not the escort carriers converted from or based on a merchant hull which means slow and ugly hull-shape.)

    Now, the sexy hull of the IJN Shinano was beautiful and made a beautiful target…

    1. Add to the problem of small islands on the IJN fleet carriers, the even greater problem of command and control when the commanding admiral’s staff is embarked (Akagi, for instance).

      IJN Shinano started as a sister hull to Yamato and Mushashi, which gave her a lot of space, but too little, too late, and by the time she sailed, there was the USS Archerfish, hungry, waiting, and it’s all history.

      If there was a lesson in that encounter – it is for the present and the need for escort submarines to take out the enemy submarine threat when we sail aircraft carriers – anywhere.

      Neither the Japanese, the US/Brits, or the Germans perfected submarine-based ASW then. I’m just saying that the submarines are dangerous and are best hunted by other submarines. (Old NFO may take issue with me on that one.)

      1. A quibble, Beans – Lex and Sara were under construction as battlecuisers (sometimes called command cruisers here in the US), not CAs. Their main guns were to be 16″ in four twin turrets, and secondaries were to be 6″ in casemates. The 8″ twin turrets originally aboard when completed as CVs were quite similar to the pair of twin mounts on the Pensacola class, but IDK if they were actually the same.


    2. The aviation-related oddities of those earlier Japanese carriers were striking, as well. Three flight decks, two hangar decks, and an third auxiliary hangar were features of the Kaga and Akagi. Early US carriers, at least through the first six Essex-class ships, had a transverse hangar deck catapult. Early types of most any type of gear are fascinating for the novel approaches designers come up with, especially when no one really knows for sure what’s most important and what will actually work in practice.

  7. When you live in a sea of grass like the flint hills, just east of me which stretches in a belt from Nebraska south into northern Oklahoma, all the way across Kansas for the most part 50 miles wide, or just southwest of here in the gypsum hills near Medicine Lodge, things can get real spicy really quickly. Our fire department is a member of two different task forces which draw resources from several different departments and respond when requested, with the thought of not depleting all local resources. With Kansas legendary south winds, a person needs to jump on the suppression quickly and aggressively. Historically underfunded fire departments in rural areas really need to be creative in building apparatus to combat these threats.

  8. I wonder what Arnold put down on the illicit drug question on the ATF Form 4473 he had to fill out for the gun on that turrant.

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