WW1 battleships

From the birth of the Dreadnought to the period immediately after the end of World War I.
paul.mercer
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WW1 battleships

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:19 pm

Gentlemen,
looking at old films of WWI RN battleships they all seem to have diagonal 'strakes' down each side, what were these for?

Byron Angel
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by Byron Angel » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:06 am

paul.mercer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:19 pm
Gentlemen,
looking at old films of WWI RN battleships they all seem to have diagonal 'strakes' down each side, what were these for?

Hi Paul,
Re those "diagonal strakes", my guess is that you are referring to the numerous anti-torpedo net booms in their stowed positions along the sides of the ship. These nets were featured in both the British and German navies of the era. IIRC, the RN dispensed with them, but the IGN retained them at least through Jutland.

B

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:58 pm

...and the anti-torpedo booms were present also in all other Navies of the late XIX century ships and in the ones that fought at Tsushima in 1905:
this is Imperator Nikolai I, built in 1889 and captured by Japanese, showing the booms at her side some time before the Japanese-Russian war (colors are from before the battle, when the Russian battleships were painted black).

RUS_Imperor_Nikolai_I.jpg
RUS_Imperor_Nikolai_I.jpg (24.54 KiB) Viewed 4219 times

Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:19 pm

Hello everybody,
I must amend my previous post, the ships of the Third Pacific Squadron (Nikolai I was the flagship) were apparently not all painted black at Tsushima (First and Second Squadron were), therefore the image posted above can have been taken just before her last "mission".

Here the evidence with a photo taken just after the ship surrender at Tsushima:

ImperatorNikolaiI1905.jpg
ImperatorNikolaiI1905.jpg (16.32 KiB) Viewed 4171 times

Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

HMSVF
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by HMSVF » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:17 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:06 am
paul.mercer wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:19 pm
Gentlemen,
looking at old films of WWI RN battleships they all seem to have diagonal 'strakes' down each side, what were these for?

Hi Paul,
Re those "diagonal strakes", my guess is that you are referring to the numerous anti-torpedo net booms in their stowed positions along the sides of the ship. These nets were featured in both the British and German navies of the era. IIRC, the RN dispensed with them, but the IGN retained them at least through Jutland.

B

I believe the reasons for the RN ditching the anti torpedo booms was two fold.

Firstly, torpedoes ended up with net cutters that allowed the torpedoes to go straight through the nets. HMS Majestic whilst off Gallipoli had her nets deployed.It didn't stop her from being sunk for the above reason. If you look at the famous picture of her sinking you see she her booms and the netting still in position has she rolled over to starboard.

Secondly, there was concern that if damaged they could foul either the screws or the rudder.


Best wishes


VF

Byron Angel
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by Byron Angel » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:10 am

Agree with respect to both your cited cases.

Also, IIRC, for deployed anti-torpedo nets to be effective, the ship had to maintain a speed of not more than about 12 knots.

B

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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by BuckBradley » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:43 am

So gents I am pretty sure that the USN contemplated these torpedo nets at the time but as far as I know they never adopted them. Anyone know why?

Thanks,

BB

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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by Byron Angel » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:15 am

BuckBradley wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:43 am
So gents I am pretty sure that the USN contemplated these torpedo nets at the time but as far as I know they never adopted them. Anyone know why?

Thanks,

BB

Hi Buck,
Anti-torpedo nets were heavy, cumbersome, posed a fouling risk if damaged while the ship was under way and proved ineffective at speeds much above 9-10 knots due to a tendency to trail near the surface rather than remain fully suspended. I just checked my copy of Reilly & Scheina's "American Battleships 1886-1923 - Predreadnought Design and Construction" and could find no imagery (photo or diagram) of any US ship so fitted.

Ultimately, paravanes proved a far superior solution.

B

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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by OpanaPointer » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:46 am

And who sweeps in front of the minesweepers? :lol:

I actually got to watch the USN sweep the Suez Canal. Helos first. Not so much "tap dancing in a minefield" that way. :whistle:

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wadinga
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by wadinga » Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:39 pm

Fellow Contributors,
Ultimately, paravanes proved a far superior solution.
I'm a bit confused about Byron's observation, as paravanes have nothing to do with torpedo defence, their tow wires and cutters are meant to deflect and shear moored mine cables. Confusion may have occurred since Pedestal convoy merchant ship Port Chalmers by pure fluke tangled an aerial torpedo in her paravane.
13 August: Air Attacks: An aerial torpedo caught in the paravane wire of the PORT CHALMERS. The ship could not slow down to free the torpedo for fear that it would explode against the ship's side. In the end the whole paravane fitted was ditched and the torpedo exploded harmlessly on the bottom.
https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item ... /205087786

I don't think the US Navy did ever use torpedo nets although pictures of the US built Russian pre-Dreadnought Retvizan show her with booms but they may have been fitted on arrival by the Russian navy.

The lead ship in the minesweeper group which maintains en echelon formation all with sweeps out to one side is supposed to operate outside the minefield. It's sweep protects the next ship in, whose sweep protects the next ship in and so on. Well, that's the theory, unfortunately there are a lot of sunken minesweepers where that didn't work.

I know today they use helicopters to sweep for mines but it must be quite a shock when you hit a cable. BTW You weren't the guy the news channels kept showing standing on the bow "looking for mines" with a rifle were you?

Byron, does your book show rows of square fittings about 5-6 foot above the waterline on the 1901 USS Maine? Are they really 20 X 6 pounder gun ports? I thought they were boom fittings, but they correspond with the location of these small guns in Jane's 1905.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:31 am

Hi Wadinga,

Re paravanes -
My apologies - logic disconnect.

Re USS Maine -
According to "American Battleships 1886-1923; Predreadnought Design and Construction" by Reilly and Scheina, USS Maine as completed -

"The Maine carried her main battery of four 10-inch guns in two twin turrets. Turret I was placed to starboard, in echelon to Turret II, placed to port. Both turrets were placed so far outboard that their barbettes overhung the ship's side. Her entire gun armament was placed on or above the main deck. The main-deck superstructure was arranged from bow to stern along the centerline to allow the 10-inch guns to fire forward or aft. The intermediate battery of six 6-inch guns was emplaced on the main deck, two each in man deck casemates in bow and stern with the remaining two amidships. On the superstructure deck above were sited seven 6-pounders and four 1-pounders. Two more 1-pounders were mounted in small casemates at the extreme stern. In each of the two fighting tops, one each on foremast and mainmast, were mounted a 1-pounder and a Gatling gun. On the berth deck below were arranged four Whitehead torpedo tubes.
<snip>
The Maine underwent no modifications during her short career."

Note - The book features several good quality photos of the ship' s side, one from fairly close up. A series of squarish-appearing ports do appear at main deck level, but the close up photo shows them to be square top-hinged "port lids" with portholes in the center of each; no guns whatsoever are evident ... perhaps ports able to be opened up for ventilation in good weather?

Hope this helps.

Byron

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wadinga
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by wadinga » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:19 am

Fellow Contributors,

Hi Byron,

Sorry confusion all round. I suffered from brain fade too. I should have been talking about a pre-dreadnought class comprising Kearsarge and Kentucky built 1898. (Yes it should be in another section and I misremembered and said the 1901 -built Maine with 3 funnels not the "Remember the Maine", Maine, blown up in Havana).

Anyway K & K have 20-6pdr guns and the disposition on the overhead plan on the Jane's page lines them up with tiny square "hatches" about 6ft above the waterline. They do not seem to be conventional casemates, a four sided box projects from the ship's hull a short distance, far enough to cast a shadow. These are what I thought might have been boom fittings. On the subject of weird gun installations these are the ships with the 8" turrets mounted on top of the 13" ones.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

Byron Angel
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by Byron Angel » Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:50 am

wadinga wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:19 am
Fellow Contributors,

Hi Byron,

I should have been talking about a pre-dreadnought class comprising Kearsarge and Kentucky built 1898.

Anyway K & K have 20-6pdr guns and the disposition on the overhead plan on the Jane's page lines them up with tiny square "hatches" about 6ft above the waterline. They do not seem to be conventional casemates, a four sided box projects from the ship's hull a short distance, far enough to cast a shadow. These are what I thought might have been boom fittings. On the subject of weird gun installations these are the ships with the 8" turrets mounted on top of the 13" ones.

All the best

wadinga

Hi Wadinga,
I checked back with Reilly and Scheina on the Kearsarge (BB5) and Kentucky (BB6) -

"The Kearsarges each carried a secondary battery of fourteen 5-inch rapid-fire guns. These were mounted, seven to each side, in main-deck broadside casemates, an arrangement inspired by the 5.5-inch casemate battery of the French Charlemagne class. Eight 6-pounder Hotchkiss guns were carried in berth-deck hull casemates forward of Turret I and aft of Turret II. Twelve more 6-pounders on shield mounts were carried in broadside embrasures on the upper deck, above the 5-inch battery."
<snip>
"In foul weather the 5-inch broadside guns were unusable."
<snip>
"During these ships' first nine years, only minor changes were made in their secondary armament. Their nearly unusable casemate 6-pounders were removed, as were their torpedo tubes."

Byron comments -

[ 1 ] The casemate 6-pounders and above water torpedo tubes were on the berth deck; the berth deck was only about five feet above LWL.

[ 2 ] The status of 6-pounders aboard Kearsarge and Kentucky as follows:

> Kearsarge
1900 = 20
1906 = 12
1912 = 4
1915 = 0

> Kentucky
1900 = 20
1908 = 12
1912 = 4

[ 3 ] On page 93 of Reilly and Scheina there is a photograph of USS Kearsarge in company with two Majestic class predreadnoughts in 1903. The Majestics make the Kearsarge look like a heavily armed river excursion boat.

[ 4 ] If you are deeply interested in US predreadnoughts, the afore-mentioned volume by Reilly and Scheina is IMO a terrific resource. For depth of information, I'd compare it to R A Burt's fine volume on British predreadnoughts.

FWIW.

B

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wadinga
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by wadinga » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:42 am

Hello Byron,

Thanks for all that splendid information, a fine response. So no fittings for booms then. Just unnecessary "holes in the hull" just above the waterline. I hope the gunports were a better seal than the Mary Rose or the Vasa's :shock:

I think the "net from vessels' own hull type barriers" were a response to the earliest fairly weedy torpedoes, that were to be launched from the side of enemy vessels' picket boats at short ranges, after sneaking into an enemy harbour like a Napoleonic "cutting out" operation. Even by WWI the torpedo was vastly more powerful and capable of breaking through a net light enough to be carried by a warship as an auxiliary defence.

The torpedo net defences like those around Tirpitz in the later war were much more robust, tended by specialized vessels. A lightweight development of the Bouncing Bomb usied against the Ruhr dams, and called Highball, was developed to bounce over torpedo net defences, but never made it into action.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

OpanaPointer
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Re: WW1 battleships

Post by OpanaPointer » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:01 pm

Sorry if this is redundant, but are those torpedo net booms on Mikasa?

Image

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