Preston: Worst warships of all time

Naval and military history books, recent releases, magazines, related documents, articles, etc.
User avatar
hammy
Senior Member
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:52 pm
Location: by the Norfolk Broads , England .

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby hammy » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:31 pm

In their original guise , Furious , Courageous + Glorious were optimised to provide heavy naval support to an allied army landing on the shoal shores of Prussia , in the Baltic , and to be faster and stronger than any German oponent they might meet there ( Light cruisers) .

Quoting Fisher ( or was it Churchill ? ) " They were designed to frighten Armies , not battleships "

While the 4 inch triple secondary gun mountings were considered to be cramped for the crews to operate fully efficiently , they cant have been hopeless , as
A ) they would have been tested before being put onto a ship in the first place , and
B ) they were still fitted to the premium unit Repulse as late as 1942 when she was lost off Malaya .

The 15inch Main armament removed from C + G was fitted later into Vanguard .
As this was essentially the same weapon system fitted to the Queen Elizabeth and the R class , one presumes it must have worked quite as well .
Furious only recieved one of the intended two 18 inch 30 cal guns , but apart from the slow rate of fire , ( I think about one shot per minute ) this gun was a fairly conventional design with a fairly short barrel , and I never heard it proved to be lacking .

All three ships operated as carriers with the same original propulsion plants , and I know of no major problems with what were entirely conventional power plants .

That the British Army , bogged down in head to head operations against the German Army in France , could spare no resources for a substantial seaborne descent onto the shores of Pomerania was not the fault of the ships , nor was the rapid development of efficient aircraft so that by 1918 the thing was impossible to do .
( Although the hankering to do it lingered , Churchills proposal in 1939 to rip two turrets out of some of the "Rs" , plaster them with extra bomb"proof" armour and fit massive new bulges to them to shallow the draught and increase the torpedo defence was a proposal to create the nucleus of a task force to do the same thing )

I dont see how the suggestion that the ships had major failings stands up , in the context of their intended role .
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

User avatar
hammy
Senior Member
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:52 pm
Location: by the Norfolk Broads , England .

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby hammy » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:18 pm

Gary wrote:Perhaps the British Monmouth class armoured cruisers of 1901 deserve a mention.

Her heaviest gun was 6 inch, many of which were located too near to the waterline meaning that they became unusable (effectively) in all but a calm sea.
Her armour was thin for an Armoured cruiser.
These explain Monmouths loss at Coronel a few years later.
Whatever possessed the Royal navy to purchase 10 of these I dont know?


Well that is probably a little bit unfair . The intended role at the time they were designed , 1895 or so , was trade protection on the worlds shipping lanes , at a time when radio barely existed and aviation was still a dream .
As steel "middleweight" developments of the big sailing frigates of the days of Admiral Nelson , Armour took a back seat compared with the need for Habitability and endurance , something we see much later when looking at the British
" County " class of WW2 and the Hipper class .
With twin 6 inch in turrets fore and aft , and five single 6 inch ( in casemates fore and aft , and three in shields between )
on each beam , the broadside was still 9 guns from 14 , and I would say that the class seem to be well enough for their role , and compared with their contemporaries .
Dont forget that Kent , a sister , was in sucessful action in the aftermath , at the Falklands .

At Coronel it was her bigger squadronmate , Good Hope , with single 9.2 inch at each end in turrets and 8 x 6 inch guns in casemates in two tiers on each beam which could not work the lower tier in the seas , and which lost her fore turret to an early hit , reducing her to 1 x 9.2 + 4 x 6 inch .
With only the Light "Town" class cruiser Glasgow for company (mixed 6 inch and 4 inch battery) + an armed passenger liner ,
It is little wonder that they succumbed to two armoured cruisers firing 6 x 8.2s apiece and the three light cruisers with their
combined broadside of 15 to 18 x 4.1s , especially as sunset light conditions highlighted the British squadron while helping to make it difficult to spot the fall of shot against the German force .
Kit Craddock , the British Admiral , couln't have run though . Not after what had happened to Admiral Troubridge after Goeben + Breslau had been let escape untouched into the Dardanelles .
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

User avatar
hammy
Senior Member
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:52 pm
Location: by the Norfolk Broads , England .

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby hammy » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:41 pm

Bgile wrote:My least favorite US ship class is probably the Omaha class cruisers. They were designed at just the wrong point in cruiser evolution and their gun battery was obsolete when they were completed. They were cramped and just not a very satisfactory design IMO.

You can see the same thing with the Dutch pair , Java and Sumatra , excellent for 1916 , hopelessly antique just four years later .
The USN was particularly weak in Light cruisers in the run up to WW1 , so the designers were coming from way behind . There was no tested design for turreted guns in the 5 inch and 6 inch calibres , hence mounting them in casemates , and an appearance that looked well out of date , not helped by the decision to give the Omahas four seperate funnels .
The twin turrets fore and aft were not part of the original design .
As conceived their job would be to scout for the US battlefleet , and then to lead shoals of the fourfunnel flushdecker destroyers into the attack . Having to do this in the great spaces of the Pacific meant a ship of considerable size , much bigger than the flotilla leader/scout types developed by the HSF and RN for the North Sea .
One Omaha ended up in Northern Russia in late WW2 with a load of other surplus naval junk , when Stalin was yelling for a share of the Italian Fleet in 1943 , and I wonder what the Russians made of her . The photos show her with radar outfits still in place , so I suppose their techies could study that while not chipping rust .
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

Thorsten Wahl
Senior Member
Posts: 641
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:07 pm

Borodino Class
5 ships built, 5 ships lost (4 losses in the yellow sea battle 1904)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borodino_class_battleship
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7490
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby RF » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:12 am

hammy wrote:Quoting Fisher ( or was it Churchill ? ) " They were designed to frighten Armies , not battleships "

That the British Army , bogged down in head to head operations against the German Army in France , could spare no resources for a substantial seaborne descent onto the shores of Pomerania was not the fault of the ships , nor was the rapid development of efficient aircraft so that by 1918 the thing was impossible to do .

I dont see how the suggestion that the ships had major failings stands up , in the context of their intended role .


I would suggest that their intended role, at that time, was a major conceptual failure. I find the idea of a CV intended to frighten armies rather bemusing - now what do armies understand about naval affairs?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7490
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby RF » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:15 am

hammy, readsing your comments about Corenel above don't forget that Craddock had expected the old battleship Canopus with its four 12 inch guns to be in company with him, only it had insufficient speed to keep company with the rest of his force.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7490
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby RF » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:20 am

hammy wrote:Furious only recieved one of the intended two 18 inch 30 cal guns , but apart from the slow rate of fire , ( I think about one shot per minute ) this gun was a fairly conventional design with a fairly short barrel , and I never heard it proved to be lacking .


I wonder if Marschall would have continued his attack on Glorious if it had opened fire with 18 inch guns, or would he have broken off the attack? Somehow I still think Glorious would still have been sunk.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
hammy
Senior Member
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:52 pm
Location: by the Norfolk Broads , England .

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby hammy » Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:32 am

RF wrote:
hammy wrote:Quoting Fisher ( or was it Churchill ? ) " They were designed to frighten Armies , not battleships "

That the British Army , bogged down in head to head operations against the German Army in France , could spare no resources for a substantial seaborne descent onto the shores of Pomerania was not the fault of the ships , nor was the rapid development of efficient aircraft so that by 1918 the thing was impossible to do .

I dont see how the suggestion that the ships had major failings stands up , in the context of their intended role .


I would suggest that their intended role, at that time, was a major conceptual failure. I find the idea of a CV intended to frighten armies rather bemusing - now what do armies understand about naval affairs?


Which Time ?
At the time they were conceived , the start of WW1 , the idea of an invasion on the Pomeranian coast , just 150 miles from Berlin , was a bold bit of initiative in which Britain would use it's traditional strength at sea to deliver it's army as a limited expeditionary force into the back door of it's enemy , thus carrying out an attack strategy that had worked before and was well understood by the (then) two armed services high commands . With the German Army already stretched between the massive effort to carry through the (modified) Schlieffen plan in the West against the might of France , and trying to hold off the early strong assault made by the Russian Army in the East into East Prussia , the British force would have an effect far greater than it's small numbers could otherwise achieve .
With little left to face them except Landsturm ( older troops classed as unfit for reserve service ) , Base depot training cadres , Naval Marines , Fortress garrison troops , troops on ceremonial duties and the sick , AND with little by way of specialist units and equipment to support this scratch force , necessarily one or other of the Major fronts must have been weakened in an effort to beat off this new thrust just a few days march from the Imperial capital .
I'd say that was trying to fight smart , and you can hardly blame the people in charge for not foreseeing that the Russian effort would be smashed at Tannenburg and the repeated debacles thereafter , nor that in the West the conflict would settle down to a protracted siege for four years , nor that the situation would not get better and allow the original plan to happen , nor that aircraft would develop so fast so as to make the thing impossible to do .
In the end the situation in France was so bad ( the latter part of the retreat from Mons and the lead up to 1st Ypres and the battle of the Marne , in 1914 ) , that the whole strength of the British Army was put into an ongoing head on battle on the Western Front , where , sideshows like Mesopotamia and Gallipoli apart , it would remain .
The conversions into CVs took place , in the case of Furious , initially , in furtherance of her original purpose , the Baltic plan , and the full conversion , and that of the other two , after the end of WW1 , when it was plain their original purpose was then redundant .
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

User avatar
hammy
Senior Member
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:52 pm
Location: by the Norfolk Broads , England .

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby hammy » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:01 pm

RF wrote:hammy, readsing your comments about Corenel above don't forget that Craddock had expected the old battleship Canopus with its four 12 inch guns to be in company with him, only it had insufficient speed to keep company with the rest of his force.

Well I think I'm right in saying that he actually sent Canopus away , as being more of a liability than a help , and as she was reduced to being used as a beached static battery ( a la Tirpitz ) at port Stanley in the Falklands just a few months later , he was probably right .
The Russian predreadnoughts at Tsushima had shown that they could be effectively engaged by Armoured cruisers , and a Canopus v Scharnhorst/Gneisenau duel would be likely to be a rerun .

Again at Coronel , do you notice the fluky "bad luck" element , the early hit on Good Hope that knocks out the main gun . Just like the magazine in Hood / Compass platform in PoW , or the fire control towers in the "twins" , tiny targets that seem to attract an unlikely hit .
( Posiedon/Neptune has a sense of humour it seems !)
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

User avatar
hammy
Senior Member
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:52 pm
Location: by the Norfolk Broads , England .

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby hammy » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:21 pm

RF wrote:
I wonder if Marschall would have continued his attack on Glorious if it had opened fire with 18 inch guns, or would he have broken off the attack? Somehow I still think Glorious would still have been sunk.


I think that if any substantial unit had been there to oppose him , even a single heavy cruiser , the attack would have been more circumspect . In the event , with her deck jammed with Hurricanes so she couldn't fly off a strike , Glorious was easy meat .
If you are positing an original design Glorious vs WW2 Scharnhorst/Gneisenau then its 4 x 15 inch guns on a light hull ,
vs 18 x 11 inch + 12 x 5.9 inch in German style battlecruiser hulls , both sides about the same max speeds .
No contest , the German pair win , though one at least gets a hit or two .
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Bgile » Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:03 pm

hammy wrote:
RF wrote:hammy, readsing your comments about Corenel above don't forget that Craddock had expected the old battleship Canopus with its four 12 inch guns to be in company with him, only it had insufficient speed to keep company with the rest of his force.

Well I think I'm right in saying that he actually sent Canopus away , as being more of a liability than a help , and as she was reduced to being used as a beached static battery ( a la Tirpitz ) at port Stanley in the Falklands just a few months later , he was probably right .
The Russian predreadnoughts at Tsushima had shown that they could be effectively engaged by Armoured cruisers , and a Canopus v Scharnhorst/Gneisenau duel would be likely to be a rerun .

Again at Coronel , do you notice the fluky "bad luck" element , the early hit on Good Hope that knocks out the main gun . Just like the magazine in Hood / Compass platform in PoW , or the fire control towers in the "twins" , tiny targets that seem to attract an unlikely hit .
( Posiedon/Neptune has a sense of humour it seems !)


Bismarck also lost her MFC early in her last battle.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:46 am

To lwd, Bgile and yellowtail:

I was in vacations so it is not until tonight that I was able to get in the forum again. Must tell that I was wondering not to open it at all, for peace sake. But, the issue on South Dakota is taken, but all of you, out of the context:

1. I was not refering, in principle to the electrical failure but to South Dak´s complete failure of hitting anything at the beginning of the night action, using the RDFC. It is a historical fact. Please read Lundgren´s article if other sources are not enough. Of course this initial action is not given the appropiate weight as the USS Washington´s action on Kirishima is given.

2. The electrical failure is other issue. If South Dak was not accompaigned by Washington it´s fate could have been much, much worse. After all it was heavily hit.

3. We all know that Kirishima´s shells were not the appropiate ones, in principle, to maul South Dak.

4. Even Admiral Lee recons that the withdrawing South Dak from action that night was the only inteligent course of action. If the theater CO thought that was because he had good reason to fear for South Dak´s fate then. In case of doubt ask USS Washington´s crew about their opinion on South Dak´s perfomance that night.

Yellowtail: this issue is independent on my opinion of Bismarck, or Hood, or Yamato, or KGV or whatever. Is independent. You must recognize that no all people think that US made stuff is "Non Plus Ultra". Some is, some is not. USS South Dakota is clearly not the best, as Iowa is not neither. USS Montana could have been.

Best regards,
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

User avatar
hammy
Senior Member
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:52 pm
Location: by the Norfolk Broads , England .

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby hammy » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:55 pm

Re the Guadalcanal campaign naval actions , look at what CS Forester ( the "Hornblower" author ) wrote about close night actions in "The Ship" his fictionalised account of the action at Sirte in the Med campaign .

" To engage Battleships at close range with light cruisers in a night action would be foolhardy , like staking Guineas against shillings ."

Especially as the IJN , casting about for means whereby the built-in inferiority in numbers/tonnage imposed by the Washington Treaty on them , as opposed to the USN , could be compensated for , had selected night action as one of these levelling tactics , and had drilled their crews for years to do this effectively as a standard battle plan .

In a situation where both navies were tied to trying to exert sea control in the narrow waters of an archipelago in the course of support for land operations at a fixed point , and where both navies were coming into contact at the geographical limit of their present areas of sea control , the sort of shifting melee , whereby one side has an advantage on one day , only to suffer a reverse on the day after , was inevitable , as were the heavy losses incurred .
Who pulls what switch in the chaos , or which ship finds itself pounded at point blank range by several different enemies ( and sometimes friends , by mistake ) cannot really be used as an evaluation of ships optimised to cruise at 15 miles apart while battering each other with ponderous deliberation in pre-envisaged style .
Anyone unfortunate enough to come under sustained attack in similar circumstances is going to catch it big time . I expect that the simple USS Monitor design of the 1860s would have done "better" , being a far smaller target without light structure to smash or set afire , but you wouldn't argue that was a better ship , would you ?
" Relax ! No-one else is going to be fool enough to be sailing about in this fog ."

Byron Angel

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Byron Angel » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:57 pm

Lee had lost contact with SODAK during the battle, which withdrew independently after being mission-killed. Lee likewise withdrew WASHINGTON, as it was alone in the battle area facing an unknown remaining Japanese torpedo threat.

User avatar
Gary
Senior Member
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:37 pm
Location: Northumberland

Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Gary » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:16 pm

Admiral Lee was probably also worried about the possibilty of SoDak and Washington clobbering each other in the dark and confusion.
He was completely right to call it a day and withdraw.
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst


Return to “Books and Reference”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest