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Royal Navy became oil-addicted thanks to Churchill

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 6:43 pm
by KilonBerlin
He made the famous "dreadnoughts", but once I have read somewhere, that also older ships which are not worth ("liners" which were not build as warships, so an upgrade is not worth), however I read that they used a method of "soaking" (?) the coal into oil or the oil to be sprayed somehow with crude oil, in both cases of course to have an piece of coal which absorbed oil and would burn longer and with more energy/heat...

I even had for 1 class details, for example:

fuel: 470 tons of coal, 30 tons of oil or so...

anyone got further information about it? No question it was the reason which gave the allies in WW 1 an large advantage against the coal fired German "Kriegsmarine", and Germany like in World War 2 never could get even close enough oil to act like the US or British Empire (back than in WW 1 it was still a super power)... Germans would never have flown the maximum distance with reduced bomb amounts to reach targets, but the US aircrafts did so in some cases, the almost unbelievable amount of the bombers made it... today hard to think about since some smaller countries give orders for 6 to 12 modern jets or so... and these turboprops in WW 2 were produced each by ten thousands, the successfull ones, and B-17 or B-24 I think both had 4 engines... so I think over 200,000 engines + reserve/depot engines were made for one of these 2 bombers.... oil was sooo important in these wars...

I have no numbers for WW2, but for WW 1 at the beginning consumption has been 100,000 barrels per day worldwide! At the end of World War 1 this increased to 300,000 bpd... at the end of WW2 I think the world production was around 10 million barrels daily already, and the US have been the "Saudi Arabia" for ~100 years (~1859 to the 1950's)... and after WW2 another over 25 years prices close to 1 US-$ a barrel, no wonder we are addicted to oil so heavy....

Re: Royal Navy became oil-addicted thanks to Churchill

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 8:22 pm
by OpanaPointer
You should read Dreadnought, you'll be interested in the contents.

Re: Royal Navy became oil-addicted thanks to Churchill

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 10:31 pm
by tommy303
I could be mistaken, which of course would not be the first time, but I have been under the impression for quite a few decades, that the oil carried in coal burning ships was largely used to help light up the boilers, but i suppose could be sprayed into an already lighted up boiler fire box to produce hotter combustion in emergencies.

If one thinks about it a bit, the 30 tons of oil in your example actually would not go very far if used for other than lighting up the steam plant.

Re: Royal Navy became oil-addicted thanks to Churchill

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 10:42 pm
by Maciej
Oil was supplied to all dreadnoughts. At last they were capable of taking it.
I'm not sure about older ships.
Coal was sprayed by oil, and such "wet" coal was put into boilers. Of course firing coal only was possible. Firing oil only not.
Oil was for two reasons - add max speed in real need, and increase in range.
I don't remember exactly, but Dreadnought had capacity of 1000+ tons of oil ( + 2000+ tons of coal ) with full load.

Queen Elizabets were first British battleship with oil only machinery.
Decision to switch fuel was not so easy. Coal was available domestically. Oil not.

Re: Royal Navy became oil-addicted thanks to Churchill

Posted: Thu May 26, 2016 5:15 pm
by tommy303
In some navies, such as the German Imperial Navy, larger ships frequently had a mix of oil and coal fired boilers--i.e. Derfflinger for instance had 8 oil fired boilers and 14 coal fired ones. This arrangement was planned for the RN R class battleships, but the idea was nixed by Fisher who insisted on all oil fired boilers instead. England of course was converting to oil fired under the influence of Fisher during Churchill's term as first lord of the Admiralty, while the USN started all oil fired battleships with the laying down of the Nevada class in 1912. Interestingly, the oil shortage in England during the world war prevented the USN from deploying its best ships--Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Arizona to reinforce the Grand Fleet.

Re: Royal Navy became oil-addicted thanks to Churchill

Posted: Fri May 27, 2016 7:10 pm
by Maciej
With Queen Elizabeth British switch to oil firing only on large ships ( on lighter oil firing only was done some time before ).
For Germans it was inacceptable. Advantages of oil fuel was numerous and obvious. But with specific geopolitical situation in Germany switch to oil only firing, could easy result resting in harbour due lack of fuel.
At first some boilers were capable of alternate firing - oil or coal ( including oil only ), rest coal only.
On most modern designs ( non actually build ), some boilers were oil fired only and most coal fired only.

Re: Royal Navy became oil-addicted thanks to Churchill

Posted: Sat May 28, 2016 12:20 am
by OpanaPointer
Considering that oil-fired boilers are more efficient and have greater cruising range I don't see the RN having a choice about transitioning to bunker fuel.

Re: Royal Navy became oil-addicted thanks to Churchill

Posted: Sat May 28, 2016 7:16 pm
by Maciej
From pure ship design point of view, after mastering procedure of firing oil ( and storing, transfering and so one ) there were little to choose.
But coal was common in use. There were coal ewerywhere. Thausands of private coilers ( from smallest to really large ) were available, so if really need, possible to be taken by Royal Navy ( or just payed to transport coal ).
Pre WWI Oil had virtually no use in Britain, so Royal Navy was practically one serious receiver of oil.
Oilers could not be so numerous, whole bases, storage, infrastructure had to be build from begin ( and oil source found ). And virtually no private oilers at all. So with serious war, some problems with oil supply could be expected. So decision was not so easy.
And those problems arose for some time in WWI. No danger of stopping whole fleet, but something to be worry about.
There was reason why US battleships transfered to Grand Fleet during Great War, were all coal fired.

For Germany in real war, lack of oil was a "must", so making whole fleet only oil fired was even more difficult.