Snark SP-1291 - History

Snark SP-1291 - History

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(SP-1291: 1. 62'4"; b. 11'2"; dr. 1'6"; B. 20 k.; cpl. 9;
a. 1 1-pdr.)

Snark (SP-1291) was built in 1917 by the Herreshoff Mfg. Co., Bristol, R.I. The motor boat was acquired by the Navy from its owner, Mr. Carl Tucker of New York City, on a free lease basis and commissioned on 30 August 1917.

Snark was assigned to the 5th Naval District and performed patrol duty until 29 March 1919. On that date, she was struck from the Navy list and returned to her owner.

The Day They Lost the Snark

The Snark may not have distin-guished itself in its first 61 test flights, but No. 62 certainly was one for the books.

It came during the Cold War 1950s. The Northrop Aircraft B-62 (later SM-62) Snark, an unmanned, nuclear-capable aircraft, was America’s first long-range cruise missile. The huge (48,000-pound) aircraft was launched from a mobile platform by two boosters and then was powered by a jet engine. Strategic Air Command pressed for its deployment.

However, Snark testing, which started in New Mexico and moved to Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, Fla., was bedeviled with problems. In its first launch at the Cape, the test Snark crashed after only 15 seconds of flight its drag chute deployed prematurely. The next to go up rejected steering commands five minutes into flight, went out of control, and was destroyed.

In 1954 and 1955, Northrop launched 11 “recoverable” Snark A and B models. It actually recovered zero.

Snark C models were deliberately flown into the Atlantic waters. Failures and deliberate “dumps” caused workers at the Eastern Test Range to refer to the area as “Snark-infested waters.”

The D model was used to evaluate the Mk 1 inertial guidance system. The first three flights were programmed to fly a southeasterly course, turn around over Grand Turk Island (Atlantic Missile Range Station 7), and come back. This they did. The third Snark D, equipped with skids, even landed on a Cape runway.

Then came the fourth flight in the guidance test series.

This particular Snark—Northrop No. N-3309, USAF tail No. 53-8172—was launched Dec. 5, 1956, from Launch Complex 1. Its mission was to fly to the area around Puerto Rico, make a turn, and come back.

The Snark took off and set a course toward Puerto Rico. Technicians minding the telemetry said they were receiving a signal until the Snark dipped over the horizon. Then, tracking radars picked up the flight.

However, a problem developed. The radars showed that the Snark had begun to drift to the right off the proper flight path. The rate of error was eight miles for each 100 miles of flight.

That wasn’t the only problem. Soon, the wayward Snark began refusing commands that were sent in an effort to get it back on course.

By the time the Snark reached Mayaguana Island in the Bahamas (Range Station 6), the problem was obvious. Station 6’s range safety officer was told to terminate the flight. Destruct signals, however, had no effect. The vehicle continued on its cruise into the Caribbean.

Island radars at Station 7 (Grand Turk), Station 8 (the Dominican Republic), Station 9 (Puerto Rico), and Station 10 (St. Lucia) were told to track the runaway Snark. Stations 7, 9, and 10 did acquire track, but the commands had no effect.

Officials at the Air Force Missile Test Center contacted Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, asking that USAF scramble fighters. By the time they got airborne, it was too late to catch it.

Realizing that the vehicle could crash anywhere south of Puerto Rico, AFMTC officials alerted the State Department, whose reaction is not recorded.

Station 10 was the last to have a radar track. It would be the last to have a crack at the Snark.

In the central control building, USAF had installed four operating consoles—one for the USAF station commander (also the range safety officer), one for the station manager of the prime contractor, Pan American World Airways, one for the RCA Service Co. instrumentation manager, and one for the Snark field engineer.

Not long after l’affaire Snark, Station 10 personnel regaled a visitor with descriptions of the scene that day. As they told it, all four technicians formed a kind of “conga line” and marched around the range safety console, each stopping to take a desperate stab at the destruct signals. Nothing worked.

When last seen, the Snark was off the coast of Venezuela, flying a southeasterly course toward the vast expanse of Brazil’s Amazon jungle. It simply vanished.

Where did it go? Evidently, no one knows for sure. (A definitive account may exist, but, if it does, it has been beyond the reach of a reasonably long and diligent search.)

There are reports that the Snark was found by a farmer in Brazil in the early 1980s. (See “Pieces of History: The Cruise of the Snark,” May, p. 176.)

Another report held that the missing Snark was found by a group of hunters in the state of Maranhao, in northeast Brazil, and that a local television station aired footage of the find.

One assumes the Snark carried enough fuel not only for a 1,900-mile Cape Canaveral-Puerto Rico round-trip but also for one extra hour of flight—enough to cover about 550 miles. This was routinely done to allow flight-test officials to compensate for wind or to check responsiveness to commands before landing.

Thus, the Snark’s maximum range would be about 2,450 miles.

If so, the Snark would not have had enough legs to reach Maranhao, which is 2,800 miles from the Cape. It would have been able to reach only the Brazilian state of Amapa (see map), on the border with French Guiana and Suriname.

Records show that USAF conducted a postflight analysis of the event. It reported that the flight-termination system failed because the missile bus-bar voltage dropped below the minimum needed to switch the destruct system to emergency battery power.

Later-model Snarks were equipped with a second power bus to prevent similar escapes.

The Snark went on to become the first US intercontinental-range missile when, on Oct. 31, 1957, it flew from Florida to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. On March 18, 1960, the 702nd Strategic Missile Wing placed the first Snark on alert at Presque Isle AFB, Maine.

Unfortunately for fans of the Snark, ballistic missile technology advanced rapidly. Both the Atlas and Titan ICBMs went operational in the early 1960s, and the Snark was deactivated soon thereafter. Though the program has been dead for four decades, one Snark, at least, lives on as a little Cold War mystery.

Paul Pless wrote:
>in 1917 Herreshoff in Bristol Rhode Island built 9 of these patrol
>boats for Naval Reserve volunteers. They were ordered and paid for by
>members of the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead. Each boat cost 19,000

These boats were designed by A. Loring Swasey with input from A. S. deW Herreshoff (who appears on the photo posted by Mr. Pless) and built by Herreshoff. Eight identical vessels were built for members of the Eastern Yacht Club for use by the U.S. Navy. A ninth vessel, War Bug, was independently sponsored by Max Warburg of New York.

Their names were:
Daiquiri later named SP-1285 (1917-1920)
Snark later named SP-1291 (1917-1919), Safety First (1920-), White Lyne (1950s)
Apache later named SP-729 (1917-1919), Arrow (1919-1921), AB-2 (1923-1925)
Inca later named SP-1212 (1917-1919), Romance, Just Tom, Camid (1930s), Williwaw (1950s)
Ellen later named SP-1209 (1917-1919), Harpoon (1920-)
Kangaroo later named SP-1284 (1917-1923), AB-6 (1923-1932)
Commodore later named SP-1425 (1917-1919), [Aumdere? Aumbere?]
Sea Hawk later named SP-2365
War Bug later named SP-1795 (1917-1919)

The Rudder published a short note about them in 1917:
"Members of the Eastern Y. C. some time ago placed orders with the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company for eight 62-footers [#310p, #311p, #314p - #319p] for use as submarine chasers. The designs of these boats were approved by the Navy Department and four have been delivered and are on patrol duty. The commander of this unit is Richard S. Russell and his flagship will be an 80-footer [#312p Stinger] which is now nearing completion.
The first of the 62-footers is named Apache and is commanded by Robert F. Herrick, the Harvard rowing coach. All of these boats are named and hold their names until they have satisfied the Government inspectors that they are able to do the work to which they are assigned, and then the names give way to numbers with the letters S. P. --- scout patrol --- in front of the numerals.
The power of these boats consists of Model F, eight-cylinder Sterling engines of 200 h.p. The contract speed was 24 1/2 miles per hour, and the actual speed over a measured mile course was in excess of 25 miles. This is the sustained speed and it will probably be somewhat increased as the engines see more service, making more of a success of the type than was expected even by the most optimistic.
With the exception of a small rear cockpit, the entire boat is cabined. The forward deck is high and but slightly crowned. It is accessible both from the conning tower and from the runways on each side of the main cabin. A novel departure is the entrance to the engine room and forward quarters through the stack, while the design of the tower is both original and quite militaire. Boats of this design are apparently setting the style in submarine chasers and their increasing sturdiness of build is becoming more noticeable as they demonstrate their usefulness. These boats will meet incoming steamers, examine their papers, search if necessary, do patrol duty, tend nets, act as messengers, and perform the various services, necessary in war time, the omission of which might allow incendiary damage to harbors and cargo steamers." (Source: Anon. "Eastern Y. C. Patrol Boats." Rudder, September 1917, p. 594.)

Sea Hawk, which disappeared on the night of September 9 and 10, 1919 during a hurricane at Key West, was the first of these boats to be lost, but some of them survived quite long. Snark was still listed in the 1960 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts, while Ellen was reported to have opened her seams and sunk enroute to Puerto Rico in about 1959 or 1960. The last one to survive was apparently Williwaw ex-Inca which was still listed in the 1979 List of Merchant Vessels of the U.S.:
Name Former Name(s): Williwaw Camid, Just Tom, Romance, Inca
Owner: William Peter [PO Box 702 Portland, OR 97207] Port: Portland, OR
Official no. 215373

By 1989 they were almost forgotten as evidenced by this quote from Joseph Garland's History of the Eastern Yacht Club:
"If details are few on the role of the [Eastern Yacht] clubhouse as a naval training station, they are no more than clues that a part may have been played by some members at sea --- as tossed out by John Parkinson in his History of the New York Yacht Club: 'A group of Boston yachtsmen, which included some NYYC members, built a one-design division of fast patrol boats at their own expense before their country entered the war. They were about 50 feet long and proved useful.'
The 1917 EYC Yearbook lists eight powerboats, all 62 feet overall, 61 feet waterline, and 11 feet beam, except one 58 feet overall, 57 feet waterline and 11 feet beam. All were under construction for single and multiple owners, including Maximilian Agassiz, John S. Lawrence, Herbert M. Sears, Oliver Ames, Charles F. Ayer, Francis S. Eaton, Charles P. Curtis, and Charles A. and Henry A. Morss. Nathaniel F. Ayer was building the 58-footer. There is no further reference to them. Philip Bolger heard that Ralph Winslow claimed to have designed them while working as Loring Swazey's draftsman. On the other hand, one wonders whether these or the fast patrol boats mentioned by Parkinson --- considerably elongated --- are the same as those alluded to by Devereux Barker in The Eastern Yacht Club Story many years later:
'Shortly after the Declaration of War, the Government asked yachtsmen to subscribe for power boats to be used for submarine patrol. They were to be built by Herreshoff, be about 40 feet long, and cost $ 18,000. The added inducement was that the owner would be commissioned as an ensign and command his own vessel. This inducement was shortly annulled, but in any event, the delays in the yard were so great that few, if any, of the craft were delivered in time to be of any use.' " (Source: Garland, Joseph. The Eastern Yacht Club: A History from 1870-1985. Camden, Maine, 1989, p. 143.)


The player can obtain an egg sack containing 5 Snarks which can be used as weapons. While held, Snarks have an unlimited lifespan, but still show aggressive tendencies (as two comical idle animations show one animation with the Snark struggling in Gordon's hand, and the other with it snapping at Gordon as he teases it with his finger). Once thrown, the Snark's twenty-second "attack mode" begins, and it will immediately charge at the nearest living thing and attack it. If there is nothing for them to attack, they will turn around and attack Gordon instead, which is why the player should always be sure to throw them from a higher vantage point, or only use them if there are enemies to throw the Snarks at. The Snarks will remain in this frenzy until they fall apart and die, which clearly originated as an emergency defense mechanism to protect their nests in the wild.

In multiplayer deathmatch games, Snarks provide a useful way of distracting other players (particularly multiple players), facilitating escape or a means of a more leisurely kill. It is not uncommon for a player to be seen running through the map while being chased by a pack of Snarks.

Xen forces have learned to use Snarks to their advantage. In the chapter "Forget About Freeman!", there are Snark Mines that hang in the air with the use of webbing. When shot or tripped, the lasers on them will release snarks to attack the player and slow down the player's progress, acting like biological tripmines.

Not a Hairpin to Be Found

The Great Bobby Pin Shortage is felt keenly on these low-budget productions.

There are so many things wrong with Inside the Tower of London: Crimes, Conspiracies, and Confessions (2001). So I’m limiting it to this lame-ass presentation of Lady Jane Grey, who they apparently plucked from the admin pool 5 minutes earlier.

This Elizabeth: Killer Queen (2013) documentary is almost violently against putting anyone’s hair up. EVER.

Despite having historical evidence IN THE SHOW to the contrary. HELLO. Elizabeth: Killer Queen (2013)

Amy Robsart is a pathetic enough figure in history, what with being ignored by her husband Robert Dudley and dying tragically. Don’t give her a sad modern hairstyle too. Elizabeth: Killer Queen (2013)

A new Elizabeth I (2017) documentary, but the same old problems! No hairpins! I’m also not impressed by these dresses — the fabrics aren’t all that period and the fit sucks.

What’s with the braids? Elizabeth I (2017)

Snark: Being a True History of the Expedition That Discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock … and Its Tragic Aftermath

I started this one earlier in the year at my sister&aposs place. I don&apost know why I couldn&apost finish this at the time - just needed my own space to give this book the attention it deserves.

And this timing was really fortuitous- we have a big Steampunk Festival in our town in November. I always do a Steampunk read, but the novel I selected - - was a dud. It didn&apost strike me first time round, but the illustrations in this book have a tinge of Steampunk.

I started this one earlier in the year at my sister's place. I don't know why I couldn't finish this at the time - just needed my own space to give this book the attention it deserves.

And this timing was really fortuitous- we have a big Steampunk Festival in our town in November. I always do a Steampunk read, but the novel I selected - - was a dud. It didn't strike me first time round, but the illustrations in this book have a tinge of Steampunk.

And from the teapot races yesterday

David Elliot has a great imagination & has created a really detailed back story. The drawings are just beautiful. This would be the perfect gift for an imaginative child.

I have to admit I enjoyed this much more than Carroll&aposs original poems! There are three layers to this story: the narrator (Elliot) describes how he discovered a journal in an old hatbox after a rival book collector dies and his collection is auctioned off. Elliot talks about how he equivocated about making the controversial journals public, but in the end decided to go ahead and publish them. This framing device surrounds the Boot&aposs journal, with a backstory of how the journals had been kept hi I have to admit I enjoyed this much more than Carroll's original poems! There are three layers to this story: the narrator (Elliot) describes how he discovered a journal in an old hatbox after a rival book collector dies and his collection is auctioned off. Elliot talks about how he equivocated about making the controversial journals public, but in the end decided to go ahead and publish them. This framing device surrounds the Boot's journal, with a backstory of how the journals had been kept hidden away as the prologue, and pages of explanatory notes and scholarly insights at the end of the book.

The journal itself is a collection of beautiful watercolours and sketches accompanied by a prose description of a long, convoluted and bizarre nautical expedition in search of the Snark. The journals are kept by Boots, and he describes the captain and his crewmates on their ill-fated trip. Embedded within Boots' journal are Carroll's poems - The Hunting of the Snark and Jabberwocky. Boots' descriptions and story go a long way to explaining lots of Caroll's nonsense, and Elliot's notes at the end do the rest.

It's a clever and delightful exploration of Carroll's poems, and much more engaging than I ever found the original texts. . more

Northrop SSM-A-3/B-62/SM-62 Snark

The Snark was the only intercontinental surface-to-surface cruise missile ever deployed by the U.S. Air Force, but was operational for only a very short time because it was already made obsolete by the new ICBMs.

In October 1945 the U.S. Army Air Force began an ambitious long-term program to study and develop a large family of guided missiles, and in January 1946, Northrop submitted designs for turbojet-powered long-range cruise missiles. In March 1946, the USAAF awarded Northrop a development contract for project MX-775, covering the subsonic Snark (MX-775A) and the supersonic SSM-A-5 Boojum (MX-775B). In late 1947, the missile designator SSM-A-3 was assigned to the Snark. Initially the first flight tests of the XSSM-A-3 (Northrop Model N-25) were scheduled for 1949, but because of a reduced project priority and technical difficulties, the first successful launch (after two failures) did not occur before April 1951.

Photo: Northrop

The XSSM-A-3 was powered by an Allison J33-A-31 turbojet, and launched from a rocket-powered sled. It had a radio-command guidance system, and was controlled in flight by commands from a DB-45 director aircraft. The XSSM-A-3 could be recovered with the help of a skid-type landing gear and a drag chute.

During its flight test program in 1951, the XSSM-A-3 validated the basic aerodynamic design of the Snark. However, by that time the USAF had significantly increased range and payload requirements for Snark, which lead to a revised and enlarged design, the Northrop Model N-69. The N-69 was powered by an Allison J71 turbojet, and launched from the ground by two solid-propellant rocket boosters. Also in 1951, the Air Force started to assign aircraft designations to its guided missiles, and the Snark became the B-62. The initial XB-62 models (N-69A and N-69B) were performance test missiles, which validated the basic flight characteristics of the new Snark design. These tests began in August 1953, and although a similar recovery system as in the XSSM-A-3 was used, only few N-69A/Bs survived their missions to fly again. The designation QB-62A had been allocated in 1952, and it's possible that it referred to recoverable Snark prototypes. The XB-62 warhead delivery test vehicle (N-69C) began to test the terminal dive characteristics in September 1954. However, initial tests showed that the planned supersonic dive was unfeasable because of control and stability problems. The alternative was to use a detachable nose section which would be separated from the main airframe for a supersonic ballistic drop on the target. Modified N-69C vehicles first tested the new delivery method in September 1955.

Photo: Northrop
XSM-62 (N-69C)

In early 1955, the Air Force introduced a new designation system for its guided missiles, and the XB-62 was redesignated as XSM-62. The projected XRB-62 reconnaissance version, which was later cancelled, became the XRSM-62.

The J71 turbojet of the N-69A/B/C showed to be troublesome and not up to specifications. It was therefore replaced by a Pratt & Whitney J57 in subsequent N-69D/E models, which were designated XSM-62A. The N-69D (which was recoverable like the N-69A/B), tested the Snark's guidance system, and first flew in November 1955. The SM-62 was to use a 24-hour (day/night) stellar-inertial navigation system, where the INS information is updated by tracking the relative position of bright stars. The N-69D was the first model to use underwing fuel tanks to test the guidance system at full range. However, the system had numerous reliability and accuracy problems, and all Snark test flights over a distance of more than 3400 km (2100 miles) averaged a CEP of no less than 20 miles! Even the most accurate shot came down more than 7.5 km (4.7 miles) from the target, which was barely acceptable even for a missile with a thermonuclear warhead in the megaton class.

Photo: Rob Svirskas, CCAFS Virtual Tour
XSM-62A (N-69D)

The last test model was the N-69E (possibly designated YSM-62A), which served as the prototype of the production Snark. The N-69E flight program ran from June 1957 to September 1958, and included the first Snark flight to a range of more than 8000 km (5000 miles). Further guidance test flights of N-69D missiles followed until the test program ended in December 1959.

In early 1959, the USAF activated its first (and eventually only) Snark missile wing, and the first SM-62A production missiles, fitted with a W-39 thermonuclear warhead (4 MT), were delivered in May that year. The first SM-62A launch occurred in November 1959, and in February 1961, the unit was declared fully operational with 30 deployed missiles.

Photo: © Mark Wade, Encyclopedia Astronautica

The severe reliability and accuracy limitations of the SM-62A, together with its significantly larger vulnerability to air defenses when compared to ballistic missiles, meant that the Snark could never be more than an interim emergency weapon. However, in 1961 the SM-65/CGM-16 Atlas ICBM was already operational and the larger SM-68/HGM-25 Titan in advanced development, making the Snark an obsolete system. Therefore the USAF's only Snark unit was deactivated in June 1961. About 100 N-69/SM-62 missiles of all versions were built.

The Hunting of the Snark

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The Hunting of the Snark, in full The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits, nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll, first published in 1876. The fanciful eight-canto poem describes the sea voyage of a bellman, boots (bootblack), bonnet maker, barrister, broker, billiard marker, banker, beaver, baker, and butcher and their search for the elusive undefined snark. A dedicatory poem that Carroll attached to the work contained an acrostic on the name of his then-favourite child friend, Gertrude Chataway, whose name is also found in the first words of each stanza of the poem: Girt, Rude, Chat, Away. While scholars have attributed to the work hidden meanings from political subversion to existential agony, Carroll maintained that it was intended simply as nonsense.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Kathleen Kuiper, Senior Editor.


The Snark is a 90° stable glider reflector discovered by Mike Playle on April 25, 2013. Ώ] It is made up of two eater 1s, a block and a 31.4, the "heart" of the Snark. It is currently the fastest and the smallest 90° stable glider reflector, both in terms of the population and the bounding box. Another commonly-used stabilization of the catalyst is 34 bits, and many other variants are available. For a color-changing one, see the reflector in the stable reflector article, or a periodic bouncer .

The base reaction was discovered by Dietrich Leithner about 1998, but it consumed another block. ΐ] A catalyst that could restore the block was found with Bellman, a program for searching catalytic reactions developed by Mike Playle. Prior to that, some attempts like p4 reflector were made with periodic sparkers.

Given its small repeat time, the Snark enabled adjustable glider loop oscillators of previously unknown periods of 43 and 53 to be constructed. Α] It also made most large symmetrical Herschel loop guns obsolete, since it is now possible to make use of the Herschel gliders with a shorter path of the Herschel track itself. Β]

Make, snark, repeat.

Hey, I'm looking for a sweatshirt/hoodie PDF sewing pattern that fits a 48" bust and 54" hip, ideally with D+ cup sizing. Have browsed a TON and found lots of options but feel shmeh about most of them. What patterns have YOU tried and liked?

Facebook sewing group rant

I hope this is ok here, I've been stewing over it for a few weeks and just found this sub today.

Why do sewing groups allow photos of kids in swimsuits/underwear? Yes it's showing off a project you've completed but sharing a photo of a 5 year old where her ass is the main subject just isn't a good idea! It was literally a close up of her ass. When I commented that maybe it wasn't entirely safe or appropriate I got flamed by users and admin. It's a huge group, statistically there's people on there who is a predator. Not even that, all someone had to do was screenshot it for inspiration and send it to someone who sends it to someone.