Kicking British Butt Aboard Old Ironsides

The USS Constitution was nicknamed "Old Ironsides" because of her thick, damage resistant hull.

Although our countries may be the best of friends today, during the infancy of the United States our nation had no greater enemy than Great Britain, between us fighting not one but TWO wars upon both land and sea.

During the War of 1812, when it came to administering a waterborne whoopin' to the Brits, the USS Constitution was unmatched. Launched in 1797 as one of the U.S. Navy's six original frigates, the heavily armed and sturdily built Constitution would defeat five British warships over the course of her career. One such victory occurred 202 years ago today as the HMS Java had the misfortune to tangle with the Constitution off the Brazilian coast. The Java landed the first blow when she fired a broadside into the Constitution's rigging and mauled her steering wheel. Properly pissed off, the rest of the fight was all Constitution (aka "Old Ironsides" because her hull was seemingly impervious to British cannon)At the end of a three hour struggle, the defeated and dismasted Java was too damaged to carry off as a prize, so the American captain (Bainbridge) was prompted to burn her.

"Are you not entertained!"

Constitution's victory came on the heels of a triumph over the HMS Guerriere and would be followed by similar thrashings of the HMS Pictou, Cyanne and Levant. Old Ironsides would eventually crown her career by dispatching WWE pro wrestler British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith with a folding chair to the head at the culmination of Summer Slam '93.  

Over the passage of time, Britain and the United States have managed to patch things up, but when next you're in Boston, consider giving the Constitution a visit as this antique English a** kicker exists today as a floating museum and the oldest, still active vessel in the US Navy.