United States Navy Armed Guard


United States Navy Armed Guard
Insignia of the United States Armed Guard.

United States Navy Armed Guard units were established during World War I in an attempt to provide defensive firepower to merchant ships in convoy or merchant ships traveling alone. This was done because of the constant danger from enemy submarines, surface raiders, fighter aircraft and bombers, and because of the shortage of Allied escort vessels necessary to provide the merchant vessels with adequate protection.

Contents

Unit composition

The United States Navy Armed Guard (USNAG) were U.S. Navy gun crews consisting of Gunner's Mates, Coxswains and Boatswains, Radiomen, Signalmen, an occasional Pharmacist's Mate, and toward the end of the war a few radarmen serving at sea on Merchant Ships.

Armed Guard crews served on Allied merchant marine ships in every theatre of the war. Typically the crew was led by a single commissioned officer, but earlier in the war chiefs and even petty officers had command.

Hazardous duty considerations

The assignment as an Armed Guardsman was often dreaded because of the constant danger and because the merchant ships were among the slowest to receive updated equipment. Early on in the war some ships only had a few machine guns and painted telephone poles to replicate the barrels of larger guns. The most common armament to be installed on merchant ships during the war were the MK II 20mm machine gun and the 3"/50, 4"/50, and 5"/38 deckguns.

Cross-training for crew members

When practicable, the Navy Armed Guard aboard a merchant ship would provide cross-training to merchant crew members in the use of the guns in the event the Navy personnel were killed or injured.

Scheduling

The Navy Armed Guard unit would travel with the merchant ship to its destination and return Stateside on the same ship, or another, depending on convoy schedules.

First use in convoy to Russia

The first merchant ship to make the eastbound convoy to North Russia (PQ-8 out of Iceland) with a Navy Armed Guard was the 3800-ton freighter SS Larranga. At the insistence of the ship's master, Captain Cameron Dudley Simmons, she was installed with a Navy Armed Guard consisting of Ensign H. A. Axtell, Jr. and eight enlisted men under his supervision. Ordnance placed under their charge on the SS Larranga was one 4-inch gun and eight 30-calibre machine guns. The Armed Guard crew of the SS Larranga has the distinction of being the first to fire on an enemy submarine from an armed merchant vessel.

Cinematic dramatic description

The movie film Action in the North Atlantic, issued in 1943 and featuring Humphrey Bogart, Raymond Massey, and Alan Hale, illustrates the importance of the Naval Armed Guard and how it interfaced with the Merchant Marine crew who were in charge of their merchant vessel.[1]

See also

References

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • United States Navy Reserve — Emblem Logo …   Wikipedia

  • United States Navy — USN redirects here. For other uses, see USN (disambiguation). United States Navy Un …   Wikipedia

  • United States Navy Chaplain Corps — Chaplain Corps emblem Jewish Worship Pennant …   Wikipedia

  • United States Navy officer rank insignia — Contents 1 Rank categories 2 Rank and promotion system 3 Commissioned Officer Ranks …   Wikipedia

  • United States Navy in World War II — Main article: Military history of the United States during World War II The United States Navy grew rapidly in World War II (1941 45), and played the central role in the war against Japan, and a major role in the wars against Germany and Italy.… …   Wikipedia

  • United States Navy SEALs — SEAL redirects here. For other uses, see SEAL (disambiguation). For the animal, see Pinniped. Navy SEALs redirects here. For the 1990 film, see Navy SEALs (film). Navy seals redirects here. For military uses of seals and sea lions (the animals),… …   Wikipedia

  • United States Navy Mark 14 Mod 0 Enhanced Battle Rifle — Infobox Weapon name= Mk 14 Mod 0 Enhanced Battle Rifle caption= Mk 14 Mod 0 rifle origin= flag|United States type= Battle rifle is ranged=yes service=2004 [http://www.imageseek.com/m1a/M14RHAD060113%20web%20site.doc M14 Rifle History.] Retrieved… …   Wikipedia

  • United States Navy in Vieques, Puerto Rico — Vieques, Puerto Rico, from the Air The United States Navy used Vieques, Puerto Rico for naval training and testing from 1941 to May 1, 2003. Some current studies show drastic increases in health problems which may or may not be related to toxic… …   Wikipedia

  • United States Navy shore activities during World War II — During World War II, the United States Navy had a large contingent of operations based on land. Contents 1 Academies 2 Advisors 3 Air Centers 4 Air Facilities …   Wikipedia

  • United States Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland — The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland is one of six subcommittees within the Senate Armed Services Committee.JurisdictionThe Airland Subcommittee has primary jurisdiction over all issues related to the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force,… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.