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Never bring a grenade to a cannon and missile fight

I'm trying to think of just how much damage one can do to a Burke-class destroyer or a Ticonderoga-class cruiser with a rocket-propelled grenade, and I keep coming with the same answer: "not much."

That didn't keep a bunch of pirates from taking on two US warships in the Indian Ocean, though...

It's little remembered by the general public, but the US Navy's first real challenge was against Muslim terrorists in the form of the Barbary Pirates -- where we defied Europe's policy of appeasal and complacency. But the Navy and the Marines remember their roots -- "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli" refers not to the Libya of Muammar Quadafi, but those battles in the dawn of the 19th Century.

The Navy remembers all too well.

Hats off to the crews of the USS Gonzalez and the USS Cape St. George.


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Comments (13)

John Paul Jones might try t... (Below threshold)
Mrs. Davis:

John Paul Jones might try to convince you that the Royal Navy was a real challenge and Stephen Decatur, William Bainbridge and Thomas Truxton might suggest the French were the second. We didn't really go after the Barbary Pirates until 1801, by which time they were very sloppy thirds.

Nonetheless, Well Done Gonzales and Cape St. George.

Well, since RPG's were desi... (Below threshold)
JohnW:

Well, since RPG's were designed to be anti-tank weapons, and current warship design does NOT emphasize armor to any degree (unlike WWII & prior ship designs), I would have to assume that a RPG round would penetrate the hull, and if it struck a fuel tank, or magazine there would indeed be some significant damage!

Strikes to machinery spaces could similarly disable an engine, electrical equipment, or at the least, cause personell casualties.

I would love to see the vid... (Below threshold)
JAT:

I would love to see the video of this exchange.

Check out today's Washingto... (Below threshold)
sissoed:

Check out today's Washington Post spin-version of this story: in the first para it ways that our ships fired merely when the occupants of the little boat "brandished" their weapons -- not until some ten paragraphs later does the Post contradict its own story by saying that the opponents fired on our ships, and then we returned fire with small arms. In the intervening ten or so paragraphs, the Post gives us lots of information about the armament of our ships -- weaponry we did NOT use in the incident. Plainly the Post spin is: heavily armed Americans who deserve no praise for courage bully small boat operators who merely were holding their weapons. No doubt that is what the Post reporter and his editors thought the story was, when it ought to be plain that fact number one is that Americans were fired upon with military weapons, and fact number two is that we did not fire until after we were fired on. Any paper staffed by people who don't see those two facts as the most important facts to state in paragraph one is not a paper that any American should rely on for reliable reporting.

Well they won't be doing so... (Below threshold)
Lew Clark:

Well they won't be doing so much back slapping on those ships after the ACLU files it's lawsuit. Those people were engaging in their culture! Who are we to impose our Judeo-Christian morality on a long and proud tradition?

Too bad the Navy doesn't br... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Too bad the Navy doesn't bring back another great ol' tradition and hang the pirates from a yard arm (or radar mast; you take what you can get). Talk about the ACLU having a hissy!

That just proves ... (Below threshold)
subhunter:


That just proves you can't fix stupid!!!!

We could bring back the tim... (Below threshold)
John S:

We could bring back the time-honored tradition of walking the plank -- in shark infested waters.

I say keelhaul 'em.... (Below threshold)
fatman:

I say keelhaul 'em.

In true Navy tradition, The... (Below threshold)
JD:

In true Navy tradition, The Stupid Shall Be Punished.

JohnW, an RPG would have li... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

JohnW, an RPG would have little effect on the armor. Navy ships aren't as fragile as you are making them out to be.

As for attacking a destroyer and a cruiser with a fishing boat and an RPG....well....there is the whole Darwinism concept...

JohnW, just to clarify (and... (Below threshold)
BrianOfAtlanta:

JohnW, just to clarify (and not pile on), an RPG is a HEAT weapon. It detonates on contact and a jet of hot gases caused by the explosion burns a hole through the armor plating. It's the same concept as the German panzerfaust and US bazooka. The easiest way to defeat a HEAT round is to mount a light, thin metal plate or mesh a few inches outside of the armor plate. The HEAT round explodes on the thin plate or mesh, and the jet of armor-burning gases, finding no armor to contain the jet, dissipates in the area between the thin metal/mesh and the armor plate.

Therefore, unless the sensitive or explosive part of the ship was mounted directly to the outer hull, an RPG would have no more than a nuisance effect. Burn a small hole through the hull and stink up the interior a bit.

The Destroyer should have b... (Below threshold)
virgo:

The Destroyer should have boiled the infidels right out of the water.. and than posted the video on al quazeera..




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