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Old May 24, 2006, 07:58 PM   #149
4V50 Gary
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Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 16,993
Be careful of what you ask for...

After the James River Squadron was stymied at Drewry's Bluff, Commodore Charles Wilkes, the new squadron commander, wanted a means to conduct reconnaisance to determine the Confederate defenses along the James River. He wrote the Navy asking for armored scout canoes. Intended to be fast, light and agile, the armor was suppose to be proof against rifle fire.

The New York Navy Yard took the order and began construction. When the scout canoes arrived, Wilkes looked at them in disgust. Instead of a slim, fast craft, what he got were rowboats that were covered with boiler plate. As unwieldy as they appeared, he decided to test one by launching it.

The boat capsized immediately... and then sank. Somehow someone in the Navy Yard either couldn't read or wasn't very good at engineering. Either way, Wilkes was so frustrated that he never revisited the idea.
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