A few questions that I pondered over!

Discussion in 'History' started by seafarer1939, Feb 1, 2009.

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  1. 1.In 1922 the Washington Naval conference gave us permission to build two new battleships of no more than 35000 tons with weapons no more than 16".
    The result was HMS Nelson and Rodney.
    Why did we need permission?we ruled the seas after the war who said we were limited to which ships we could build?and why did we accept it?

    2.What was the advantage of Admiral Fisher building pocket battleships,or commonly called Battle Cruisers,like HMS Hood when in fact they were heavier than battleships?
    I know, it was supposed to gain more speed with the armour lessened,yet it was with great cost to the Hood and with others,earlier, at Jutland,so,
    Why did we build ships the same tonnage and weapons yet less armour?

    3.In WW2 the old Indie was hit,on the flight deck, by a 500 pound bomb kamakazi and,much to the amazement of the Yanks the damage was superficial as it was armoured,did the Yanks not have armoured flight decks?if not why not?

    4.In the Dreadnought days they devised a system of running the exhaust gasses from the engines up thu the masts,they quickly saw the gasses corroded all the upper mast installations and discarded it so!!!
    Why did they do it all again on the Leopard class? I was on the Puma as GA2 aimer for the 40mm behind the mast,did I ever see the target drogue due to the fumes?not a chance!
    We had to ask the pilot to come in at a certain angle so the exhaust fumes were away from my sight line,difficult whilst steaming ahead.
    Pretty glad the Puma never went to the Falklands as the gasses destroyed all the Radar on a regular basis plus all other tech things they have up the mast'also if the Argies came in behind the exaust gasses, we were knackered.

    Who invented the STAAG?I was also aimer on the Chichester on one,what a heap of garbage that was, even to a young gunner,we never shot any drogues down with it.

    Easy with hindsight I reckon but, some things like the exhaust gasses were proved wrong before so there is no excuse.

    Begs the question if we don't learn from mistakes in the past we are bound to repeat them,at cost!

    5.As a young watchkeeper at Chatham in'57 I was sent to the Aisne,I thought then and do now, the Battle class destroyers were the finest looking destroyers ever built,Darings were good but the Battles looked menacing and ready for business,real greyhounds of the sea.
    Living quarters looked grim though.

    Also spare a memory for the brave Naval Brigade at Isandhlwana they fought with cutlasses against the Zulu assegais and died,never hear much about them nowadays but they should be remembered,one AB held off a number of Zulus with a cutlass before being pinned to a waggon wheel with an assegai.Brave Sailor.
    Got some questions there to pass the time on,Cheers.
  2. Hms AISNE was are guardship 66/67 Hms Victorious. For the Far east commish, she was a beautifull looking ship, but she was very badly damaged on transit, by the weather conditions. Spent a very long time in Singapore dockyard, being repaired
  3. 1. Because if WE weren#t building anymore, nor was anyone else, which kept costs down all round and kept us on top.

    2. They WERE faster and had better range - Jutland is a bad example, Beattie was an idiot. Speed and range, that is key with battle-cruisers - they can stay out of range of battleships, and outgun cruisers - its all about picking their fight. At the Battle of the River Plate a battlecrusier squadron anihilated a german squadron by exactly this method. Plus you must remember we were an empire. Fast impressive looking ships did an excellent job protecting the mechant sealanes and 'flying the flag' - but when used as a battering ram, like at jutland, then of course they will get sunk.

    3.The Americans did have armoured decks, just not on the older carriers.

    4. good job, then

    5. Couldn't comment, i'm just a Sprog Military History Student :p Although looking at pics online... i'm inclined to agree!
  4. USN wooden flight decks as opposed RN armoured, less top weight, bigger hangers can carry more aircraft, vunerable to bombs and burning fuel spillage.

  5. In answer to point 1.

    The battleship was a bit like the ICBM of it's day after WWI. A new arms race started which looked like it could signal the start of a new world war a little down the line. To put an early end to this the Washington Naval Treaty was signed. Britain got quite a good deal out of this. We couldn't really afford to compete with the US navy in a protracted arms race because of lack of funds. This treaty ensured that we would have the joint equal most powerful navy in the world, with the other being an ally. Furthermore, France and Italy's fleets were only allowed to be 1/3rd the size of ours.

    Japan got a very raw deal. The US decrypted a secure message from Japan to their Embassy which detailed the minimum tonnage they would accept from such a deal, the effect of this was that Japan walked away with that minimum tonnage. (This probably contributed to Pearl Harbour) Shortly after signing the treaty, the Japanese began breaking it!

    Most of the 5 contributors broke the treaty in their own way mind you.
  6. According to my JFS reprint, the first Yank carriers to have armoured flight decks were the MIDWAY, CORAL SEA and FDR, although the ESSEXES did get them on rebuilding, to cope with jet fighters.
  7. Wrong Aisne it seems from the answer,I was on the original Battle class destroyer, not the modern one from the 60's which I do remember.
    She was in mothballs at Chatham 1957 and I was the watchkeeper before breaking her.The lines were all built for speed and battle,I have a photo of her somewhere just wanted to see if others agreed with me how deadly she looked.Lean and threatening whereas the Darings looked great but not as menacing to me IMO thanks anyway.
  8. Seafarer1939

    They were one and the same, in 1959 the Old or as constructed was converted to a Radar Picket Destroyer, FB double 965 ariel on top of her Main mast tubes and some weapons removed.



    You may have to cut and paste to get the pic.
  9. Yep thats her :wink: :wink: remember the chamfered type turrets . fresh bread rolls daily. Courtesy of the Bakery and aircrewman :wink:
  10. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    The catastrophic loss of three battlecruisers at Jutland was not directly due to their construction but to their (presumably either on the orders of or with the connivance of Chatfield, Beatty's Flag Captain) breaking all the rules about cordite handling in order to increase their initial rate of fire. Hood as I understand it was listed for improvements in a refit that never happened, for want of money. Haporth of tar one could say, 1500 men dead.

    Re the R Plate action, our three were not battle cruisers but cruisers pure and simple, Exeter 8" and Ajax and Achilles 6". Tactics and courage and a bit of luck and a superb deception operation afterwards won the day against the 11" armed Spee.
  11. I think he means Sturdee's defeat of Graf Spee off the Falkland Islands in WW1 Seaweed.

  12. Sorry about that,was told it was going for scrap and after 12 years in the mob never saw her again.Thanks for the info
  13. The USS Yorktown (cv10) at Patiots point near Charleston South Carolina has a wooden flight deck and an armoured hangar deck. An Essex class built during WW11 and only decommisioned in the 70`s.

    The hanger deck is huge with jet aircraft displayed there but I dont know if it ever operated them.

  14. Wrong war matey, he means the earlier WW1 scrap when INVINCIBLE and INFLEXIBLE had a long chase of a sea battle with Von Spee's squadron. This was a classic example of the 'why' behind their building. They were fast ships with big guns to hunt down these raiders and smaller ships. Their other role was as 'scouts' for the fleet battering through any enemy light forces to scout the enemys main fleet BUT they shouldn't have been expected to slug it out toe-to-toe with battleships.

    How about b'cruiser v b'cruiser fights? There is a school of thought that it was British cordite handling procedures and slack anti-flash prevention that was the cause of the loses at Jutland. Even German b'cruisers had turrets burn out (Seydlitz at Dogger Bank) but it seems like our lads liked to store un-cased cordite bags along the passages and in the handling rooms ready for laoding in a hurry... or a hot splinter from an enemy shell.

    Had all British b'cruisers followed LIONs cordite and magazine handling procedures... indeed the Admiralties own rules, we may just have lost turrets and areas and not whole ships.

    It's not that the b'cruisrs were 'under-armoured', they were fine ships but were let down by eager crews and officers and the lack of main armament training facilities.

    As to the original question as to why b'cruisers where bigger and heavier than the contemporary battleships of that years estimates, one word 'speed'. LION had 42 boilers in a long sleek hull and could reach an unforced 27-28 knots with about 70,000 shp on a displacment of 29,700 tons, the ORION class had 18, developed 27,000 shp and could do 21 knots on a approx. 25,000 tn displacment. They also had 2 more 13.5" guns and a 3" heavier armour belt and were 119 ft shorter on the same beam and approx. the same draught (there's a foot in it).

    It's the extra boilers that made them bigger.
    Thanks for asking.
  15. Up to a point Lord Copper.

    It depends on who/what you believe.

    2. There is credible eveidence that Fisher got to build the battlecruiser because he promised that by doing so he would make the battleship obsolete. He argued that a smaller number of bc could do the same job as was then being done by the ships of the line, and cheaper. In return, the Liberal govt had to make him 1SL.

    Conspiracy theories aside what is known is that alot of it comes down to geography and history. So many bc were lost at Jutland partly becuase of the cordite as discussed above, but also because of fundamental differences between the British and German philosophies of construction.

    The British were building for a Fleet based around Imperial protection. Consequently, they needed great range, and, the fact that they would be on station abroad for long periods, much attention was paid towards what today would be called habitability. Note also the fact that, even when a ship is alongside, our lads tend to live on them.

    Further, having had the biggest navy in the world for so long, we had had the support fabric for that for an equally long time. Ship size, and how much belt armour could be fitted on the largest bc, was constrained by the size of the dry docks available to support them. I know about the couple that we built up at Rosyth, but that was in the context of a naval arms race where bases facing Germany were at a premium. It doesn't take into account the sizes available at Pompey, Guzz, Gib, Singers, HK, wherever.

    So, where am I going with this? Germany started building up her Navy through the 1880s/90s after unification. She was explicitly intending to challenge the RN. All her dry docks were built from scratch in support of this aim. Hence, they could get the length of the British bc, but also put on the armour belts that ours lacked. Also, they were gearing up for a fight in the North Sea, not imperial policing. German practice was for ships' company to live ahore in barracks and then man up to go to sea for short periods. Consequently, living arrangements on board centred around short term hammock space- ergo, more space for armour and armament than the UK equivalent.

    End result Jutland. Bc of 2 nations built for fundamentally different purposes come up against each other and we come off worse. The Falklands, as has been correctly stated, is the only real example of the bc concept being carried out- they achieved exactly what they were designed to do (race across the world, destroy enemy forces at range and then back home for tea and stickies.

    Interestingly, if we had just sorted out the AA fit in the inter war years, a second example could have been offered by the REPULSE and Force Z in 1941. However, cheese paring got in the way.
  16. Battle Cruisers as a class of ship had in reality a very short life as they were made effectively obsolete by the QE class of fast battleship that actually fought with Beatties battle cruisers at Jutland. The Hood ended up as a anique oddball halfway between the battlecruiser and the fast battleship. I am sure if the RN had been able to afford another Nelson/Rodney that the Hood would have been scrapped

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