Jump to content

Recommended Posts

It seems to me that in the selection of names for military hardware Americans leave a lot to be desired. Now we Brits are alleged to be the cold, dour, unemotional, stiff upper lip and downright dull people but damn it, at least if we intend to kill anyone with a machine we pay the victims the complement of giving it a 'proper' name. Think about it. Scimitars, Challengers, Sacerens the list is endless and all names that give off the 'clang' of history. But. I was watching Mark Ezra's excellent videos yesterday and this was the lead in to one.

' You have a LAV ATGM Section, a LAV 25 A2 Scout Platoon and your HQ LAV C2A2 with the XO's LAC 25 A2 in support.' This isn't even a recent phenonemon. In days past the Brits had Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters. What did the Yanks have? P47s, P51s and B17s. Please!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 74
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Yeah, I think you guys have us cold on that one. Ship names is probably the biggest mismatch.

In the U.S. military, it falls to the actual troops to give the names we really use. Aircraft get great "working nicknames" (I've always been partial to "Jug" for the P-47) and what the sailors call their ships is usually more amusing than their official name.

Link to post
Share on other sites

British aircraft and ground equipment do have numerical designations, but they are rarely used.

P1127 = Harrier

Type 300 = Spitfire

FV4034 = ???

Nowadays the infantry is probably the worst offenders for alphanumeric soup, with AGLs, GMGs, L85s, L115s and LASM. Somewhat ironically, the key named system is the American FGM-148, or Javelin.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, I think you guys have us cold on that one. Ship names is probably the biggest mismatch.

In the U.S. military, it falls to the actual troops to give the names we really use. Aircraft get great "working nicknames" (I've always been partial to "Jug" for the P-47) and what the sailors call their ships is usually more amusing than their official name.

US working nicknames are generally quite good and make up for a lot. I particularly like "Bone" (B-1b) though the old "Buff" (B-52) is not bad either.

Link to post
Share on other sites
'Just the sort of bloody silly name that they would give it' - Reggie Mitchell's response when he heard what Vickers had decided to name his aircraft.

Personal favourite: 'Warspite'

One to avoid: Calling anything 'Invincible'

I once crossed paths with an insufferable Brit who was convinced that the RN was absolutely tops in everything and the USN was lower than gum on the sole of your shoe. So I used to take great delight in mocking him with made up names for RN ships, like HMS Incontinent, HMS Deplorable, HMS Incorrigible, etc. The possibilities are endless and it was always fun to watch him totally lose his cool.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites
US working nicknames are generally quite good and make up for a lot. I particularly like "Bone" (B-1b) though the old "Buff" (B-52) is not bad either.

I think "Warthog" for the A-10 takes the all-time prize. Worn with pride by the guys who fly them. Who will ever remember the official name of Thunderbolt II? What a silly idea that was...

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a few decent US attempts, but their preference for naming things after old dead dudes doesn't really lend itself to romance. Abrams is ok, Stryker? wtf?

Some of the missiles and air defence systems are cool though. I'm a big fan of "Javelin" considering what it does. Sidewinder, Phalanx, Stinger, Hellfire are all great names.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sherman, Pershing, Stuart, Lee, Patton, Abrams, Bradley..

Shilelagh, Javelin, Dragon, Stinger,

Voodoo, Walleye, Valkerie, Thunderbird, Starfighter, Galaxy, Hercules, Starlifter, Mule, Blackbird, Black Widow, Mustang, Warhawk, Corsair, Wildcat, Hellcat, Helldiver, Dauntless, etc....

Come on, those are cool names (mostly)

And I agree..NEVER name anything Invincible.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I once crossed paths with an insufferable Brit who was convinced that the RN was absolutely tops in everything and the USN was lower than gum on the sole of your shoe. So I used to take great delight in mocking him with made up names for RN ships, like HMS Incontinent, HMS Deplorable, HMS Incorrigible, etc. The possibilities are endless and it was always fun to watch him totally lose his cool.

Michael

If we're making fun of Royal Navy names, I might as well mention my personal favorite, HMS Cockchafer. An Insect class gunboat that I promise I did not make up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did someone mention ship names and I get to do the Japanese ones?

Oh joy:

(from http://www.combinedfleet.com/ijnnames.htm)

Hosho class

Hosho: "How a phoenix dives", implies power

Kaga class

Kaga: "Increased Joy", a province name (Kaga was originally laid down as a battleship)

Akagi class

Akagi: "Red Castle", a volcano in the Kanto area (Akagi was originally laid down as a battlecruiser)

Ryujo class

Ryujo: "Such as a dragon builds", "Sacred Dragon"

Soryu class

Soryu: "Blue-gray dragon"

Hiryu: "Dragon Flying in Heaven"

Zuiho class

Zuiho: "Lucky or Auspicious Phoenix"

Shoho: "Luckbringing Phoenix"

Ryuho class

Ryuho: "Dragon and Phoenix"

Shokaku class

Shokaku: "Crane Flying in Heaven" (also "Happy Crane")

Zuikaku: "Lucky or Fortunate or Auspicious Crane"

Hiyo class

Hiyo: "A Falcon Flying Away"

Junyo: "Wandering Falcon"

Taiho class

Taiho: "Great or Greater Phoenix"

Link to post
Share on other sites

bruce90,

You're still not quite there yet. It's "Saracen."

Michael Emrys,

Too funny! How well I remember being literarily taken in irons when reading a Hornblower novel as a boy and running into the then utterly incomprehensible and not much more pronounceable H.M.S. Indefatigable. Off to the dictionary I went, only to quickly revisit after running into H.M.S. Bellerophon. Same thing happened when I first read about the Battle of Flamborough Head, pitting the Bon Homme Richard against H.M.S. Serapis.

Other Means,

I like the Japanese destroyer names, so lyrical, but I really must give the Russians the palm for naming artillery for flowers: Akatsiya (Acacia, 152mm SP), Giatsint (Hyacinth, Very long range 152mm), Vasilek (Corn Flower, 82mm automatic mortar), Tyulpan (Tulip, 240mm SP mortar). Totally, delightfully twisted!

Regards,

John Kettler

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sherman, Pershing, Stuart, Lee, Patton, Abrams, Bradley.

I think Sherman, Stuart, and Lee were all originally given by the British. Don't know about the Pershing.

...Thunderbird...

That's a Ford. Unless you are confusing the name of the USAF Demonstration Team with the planes they flew.

...Starfighter...

There were also the Starfire and the Shooting Star. Lockheed was big on "Star" names.

...Warhawk...

I think the Brits came up with that first too, along with Kittyhawk.

Corsair, Wildcat, Hellcat, Helldiver, Dauntless, etc....

Lightning, Thunderchief, Stratojet, Stratofortress, Tornado, Privateer, Avenger, Vindicator, Banshee, Panther, Cougar, Skytrooper, Skytrain, Bearcat, Tigercat, Cobra, Apache, as the man said, etc.

You can't find any romance in any of those? Tsk, tsk.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

hoolaman,

The Stryker, whose name looks like something straight out of an SF war novel, is in fact named for not one, but two Medal of Honor winners, one from WW II, the other from the Vietnam War.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stryker

Michael Emrys,

Error! Error! There IS and was a military Thunderbird, the one you know now and this

http://www.fsplanet.com/20062006.htm

and this

http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2049251970046674741eOVpYe

This distinguished pilot flat out calls his plane an F-84D Thunderbird, and this was BEFORE the precision Air Force flying team was born, during the Korean War!

http://www.highironillustrations.com/rogues/ad_brown.html

Tut! Tut! Someone forgot to list the darling of the ladies--the Vultee Vibrator!

http://www.warbirdalley.com/bt13.htm

And what about the Curtiss Hawk? This plane showed everyone the true potential of dive bombing--including the Germans!

http://www.historynet.com/curtiss-sb2c-helldiver-the-last-dive-bomber.htm

Then there's the Curtiss Sparrowhawk, the world's first parasite fighter plane.

http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/ac-usn22/f-types/f9c.htm

Hawks galore here, including a Tomahawk and a Mohawk!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtiss_Hawk

No poetry? Martin Marauder? Douglas Havoc, Devastator? Which is scarier to hear: a Grumman Avenger or a Fairey Fulmar? Had to go to the dictionary on first encounter with that latter item, but hard to top Swordfish as a torpedo bomber's functional description. For ASW, we send a Viking or an Orion. The Brits send a....wait for it...a Nimrod (AKA **** in colloquial American English)! Now, I know the Bible well enough that "Nimrod was a mighty hunter," but these days, it's right up there with with the Chevy Nova fiasco south of the border (Nova = no va = doesn't go, in Spanish). And what was the plane built in greater numbers and carrying more bomb load than it's high profile rival, the B-17, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator?

Personally, what gives me heartburn is naming our aircraft carriers for live pols, starting with the shameless pandering of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson. Not in the same league with naming them for famous American battles: Saratoga, Oriskany, Lexington, Yorktown, etc. Talk about no poetry! The old naming conventions circa WW II made sense, with battleships named for states (Arizona), cruisers for cities (Atlanta), destroyers for famous American warriors (Reuben James)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Reuben_James_(FFG-57)

, ammunition ships, appropriately enough, for volcanoes (ever seen one go up?), but my favorite is the little minesweeper/minelayer Oglala at Pearl Harbor, which means "egg layer" in one of the Native American tongues, want to say Ojibway. Submarines were fish, many of which I'd never heard of before (Hagfish--ick!); some of some which weren't even fish. Cuttlefish = squid. Now, I grant that American torpedo names are

devoid of poetry Mk-14, Mk-48 ADCAP, as opposed to Spearfish, Tigerfish. Of course, the Japanese topped everyone with the says it all Long Lance!

Regards,

John Kettler

Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh, I think that the Brits had some silly names (as well as some decent ones) for ships too. They had some effective ASW vessels named after flowers: HMS Pansy, HMS Snowdrop, HMS Daffodil etc. not exactly terrifying. Still if any Uboat survivor actually found out that he had been sunk by the 'Pansy', oh the humility.

Shipwise the Japanese win hands down for 'romance'. Who wouldn't want to serve on 'Moon Visible As Day Joins Evening', or 'Wind From The Sea After Sunrise'...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, what gives me heartburn is naming our aircraft carriers for live pols, starting with the shameless pandering of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson.

This is exactly what I had in mind, too, though I was thinking of the John C. Stennis.

And, as per my earlier comment, Wikipedia has the following nicknames for the Vinson: Starship Vinson, The Gold Eagle, San Francisco's Own, America's Favorite Carrier, Chuckie V, U.S.S. Chuck Wagon, The Carl Prison, Cell Block 70.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Emrys,

Error! Error! There IS and was a military Thunderbird, the one you know now and this

http://www.fsplanet.com/20062006.htm

You'll note that that is a skin for a flight sim. And that it is done up in the colors of the flight demonstration team of that name.

And this, I think, refers to the name of the squadron to which this particular plane belonged. In any event, the early F-84s (the straight winged version) were called Thunderjet. The later F-84F (the swept winged version (actually almost a total redesign, but that's another story)) was called the Thunderstreak. Its photorecon derivative, the RF-84F, was called the Thunderflash.

So there.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...