Doomed to fail

General naval discussions that don't fit within any specific time period or cover several issues.
User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 2381
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by wadinga »

Hi All,

OK Arbuthnot is zipped.

However, I think we have done good work in identifying HMS Duke of Edinburgh as the ship in the mystery photo (at least to my satisfaction), and linking it to the LCS account. I intend to annotate my copies of Liddle and McCartney.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
HMSVF
Senior Member
Posts: 345
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:15 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by HMSVF »

Thanks for an interesting read! I suppose my views have been tainted by what happened at Jutland,the Goeben affair,Coronel and the "Live Bait Squadron"! I just find them a bit of an anachronism,I suppose that they were overtook by technology yet were "hulls in the water" at a time where numbers counted.

Ironically enough my mother who has been researching her family tree discovered very recently that we had a relative who died on HMS Black Prince. Only 18 or 19. Pretty sobering tbh. Especially after reading Innes McCartney's paper on her wreck and the discovery that it appears that she had prepared to fire torpedoes just before she sank.
Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 1449
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by Byron Angel »

HMSVF wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 9:49 pm Thanks for an interesting read! I suppose my views have been tainted by what happened at Jutland,the Goeben affair,Coronel and the "Live Bait Squadron"! I just find them a bit of an anachronism,I suppose that they were overtook by technology yet were "hulls in the water" at a time where numbers counted.

Ironically enough my mother who has been researching her family tree discovered very recently that we had a relative who died on HMS Black Prince. Only 18 or 19. Pretty sobering tbh. Especially after reading Innes McCartney's paper on her wreck and the discovery that it appears that she had prepared to fire torpedoes just before she sank.

Hi HMSVF,
I have McCartney’s analysis of the wreck of HMS Defence, but was unaware that he had done a companion piece on Black Prince. Where might I find/obtain a copy?

Update - for reference, I do already have McCartney's book.

Byron
HMSVF
Senior Member
Posts: 345
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:15 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by HMSVF »

Byron

Apologies, I think I've confused Defence with Black Prince (in regards to papers). I definitely remember reading that Black Prince had a torpedo bar deployed and her course appeared "away" from the course of the HSF (as known) with the torpedoe tube being on the correct side to open fire . It's in his book though!
Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 1449
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by Byron Angel »

HMSVF wrote: Sat Sep 24, 2022 2:13 pm Byron

Apologies, I think I've confused Defence with Black Prince (in regards to papers). I definitely remember reading that Black Prince had a torpedo bar deployed and her course appeared "away" from the course of the HSF (as known) with the torpedoe tube being on the correct side to open fire . It's in his book though!

No worries, HMSVF. Your post inspired me to read (re-read?) McCartney’s book chapter on Black Prince. I don’t think I ever read it closely. Thank you.

Byron
User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 2381
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by wadinga »

Hi All,

It was interesting reading the McCartney chapter on Black Prince and sad to think of the emotional trial for the relatives of crew members as the ship had just "disappeared" with no-one on the British side knowing of her fate, and the horrible dawning realisation when the first German reports came through that all hope was indeed lost.

McCartney mentions the controversy over how many casemate guns were moved to the upper deck in BP and DoE and references Brown "Warrior to Dreadnought" where it observes the 6" gun muzzles in their casemates were a mere ten and a half feet above the still waterline.

HMSVF, I'm a little surprised you included a question mark about armoured cruisers at Coronel. After all they won. They just happened to be German ACs.

HMS Cochrane went to Russia late in the war, acted as a flagship and had a big enough crew to put ashore men to fight Bolshevik troops. There were still valuable roles for such ships but not in a battlefleet context.

There were some interesting US ACs. The last-built Tennessee class at 14,500 tons were big ships and had 4x10", 16x6" as well as an unbelievable 22x3" and 12x3pdr! Commissioned between 1906 and 1908, the new battlecruisers would outgun and out speed them. They had to give up their "State" names for new battleships, and the name ship of the class became USS Memphis. Her fate was most surprising. She was moored offshore in the harbour of Santo Domingo in Haiti in August 1916 whilst American troops suppressed a rebellion in this US protectorate. Typical AC duty projecting force overseas, just like Cochrane.

However, whilst moored she was hit by a monstrous wave, coming out of nowhere, apparently 75ft high and which broke over the ship's deck and funnels, rolled her her beam ends and drove her ashore, tearing her bottom out. Initially thought to be a tsunami, lack of any indications of seismic activity suggest she was actually the victim of a rogue wave generated a by a hurricane far offshore and magnified by the relatively shallow water of the harbour.

Then I have just seen a TV documentary mentioning the fate of the last US AC, Commissioned in 1893, formerly USS New York, she was renamed USS Rochester, again to free the name for a battleship. She lingered on in the Philippines, long after her classmates were scrapped and was still afloat when the Japanese attacked in 1941. She was taken out into Subic Bay and scuttled to avoid capture, and the wreck lies there today.


All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
HMSVF
Senior Member
Posts: 345
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:15 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by HMSVF »

Evening!

Your right about the German AC's at Coronel - I was too British focused! That said the British AC's were of the White era and I'm sure that Fisher said of one of the classes (County class from memory) that "White had designed them but forgot the armament" (or similar). AGainst ships of their own vintage the German AC's did exactly what they said on the can. When they came up against bigger, newer vessels well it turned out differently.

I suppose that the issue was the dramatic pace in naval technology. Once you have vessels with turbine engines everything looks a little slow. 23knots was good in the pre-dreadnought era but pedestrian post 1906. What always amazes me is how big some of these ships were - up to 14000 tons in some cases, not that far off the Invincibles. They were moving towards a uniform gun battery but prior they were very much a mixed bag. A shed load of 6 inchers and a couple of ship smashers like the 9.2 inch.

Very beautiful, but belonged to the previous age.
Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 1449
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by Byron Angel »

Allow me to recommend a very useful FREE research website. Google "British Library ethos login"
This is a searchable digital repository of several hundred thousand UK PhD theses covering a galaxy of subjects. Almost all are available for free download. What will you find there? Well, John Brooks' original doctoral thesis on Dreadnought Gunnery for one.

Register yourself as a user.

Enter a search topic - I use very broad and generic phrases - "British Army" and "Royal Navy", for my searches and just go through the entire listing; you never know when and what something interesting will turn up. I go hunting every three or four months. I was on last night and found a new one -

"The Significance of Royal Navy Cruiser Procurement for British Naval Policy 1904-1914"

Just select the document desired and follow the download instructions (very fast D/L too!). I have acquired numerous studies there over time, so newcomers will find that a bit of time devoted to industrious searching will almost surely prove fruitful.

Byron
Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 1449
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by Byron Angel »

HMSVF wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 6:49 pm Evening!

Your right about the German AC's at Coronel - I was too British focused! That said the British AC's were of the White era and I'm sure that Fisher said of one of the classes (County class from memory) that "White had designed them but forgot the armament" (or similar). AGainst ships of their own vintage the German AC's did exactly what they said on the can. When they came up against bigger, newer vessels well it turned out differently.

I suppose that the issue was the dramatic pace in naval technology. Once you have vessels with turbine engines everything looks a little slow. 23knots was good in the pre-dreadnought era but pedestrian post 1906. What always amazes me is how big some of these ships were - up to 14000 tons in some cases, not that far off the Invincibles. They were moving towards a uniform gun battery but prior they were very much a mixed bag. A shed load of 6 inchers and a couple of ship smashers like the 9.2 inch.

Very beautiful, but belonged to the previous age.

Hi HMSVF,
When the construction expenses, manning requirements and maintenance costs of the big armored cruisers are compared to their battleship contemporaries, the differences were actually pretty small. Armored cruisers were expensive "specialty" ships.

Byron
HMSVF
Senior Member
Posts: 345
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:15 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by HMSVF »

Byron Angel wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 7:43 pm
HMSVF wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 6:49 pm Evening!

Your right about the German AC's at Coronel - I was too British focused! That said the British AC's were of the White era and I'm sure that Fisher said of one of the classes (County class from memory) that "White had designed them but forgot the armament" (or similar). AGainst ships of their own vintage the German AC's did exactly what they said on the can. When they came up against bigger, newer vessels well it turned out differently.

I suppose that the issue was the dramatic pace in naval technology. Once you have vessels with turbine engines everything looks a little slow. 23knots was good in the pre-dreadnought era but pedestrian post 1906. What always amazes me is how big some of these ships were - up to 14000 tons in some cases, not that far off the Invincibles. They were moving towards a uniform gun battery but prior they were very much a mixed bag. A shed load of 6 inchers and a couple of ship smashers like the 9.2 inch.

Very beautiful, but belonged to the previous age.

Hi HMSVF,
When the construction expenses, manning requirements and maintenance costs of the big armored cruisers are compared to their battleship contemporaries, the differences were actually pretty small. Armored cruisers were expensive "specialty" ships.

Byron

I suppose as "specialty" ships they were more vulnerable to the "winds of change"? The wind of change being the battlecruiser?
paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 1156
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by paul.mercer »

Hi HMSVF,
Re part of your post which stated 'Once you have vessels with turbine engines everything looks a little slow. 23knots was good in the pre-dreadnought era but pedestrian post 1906', isn't it amazing that the RN went on to build the 'QE', 'R' and the 'Nelson' classes with the same or just a little more speed!
User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 2381
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by wadinga »

Hi Paul, HMSVF et al,

The Nelsons aren't a fair comparison, the Washington Treaty limited displacement and to get the guns and armour required the power which could be installed (at that time) was extremely limited.

The QEs were a nominal 25 knot design, 4 knots faster than previous Dreadnought designs although they never quite made that speed in service. The Rs lower performance reflected supply nervousness about being totally oil-fuelled.

According to Friedman the WWI Counties were considered for a retro-fit of larger turret-mounted guns fore and aft but it was not feasible.

23 knots in a reciprocating engine ship was was a rattling vibrating hell by all accounts which could only be kept up for a limited amount of time before something broke. The turbine promised smooth relatively predictable and reliable high speed performance. The RN let the commercial users like Cunard and White Star pioneer turbines for big ships (often with British Govt subsidies) and when convinced of the benefits were quick adopters of the newly-proven technology. It is surprising to visit the engine room of USS Texas (commissioned 1914) in Galveston and see she is still a reciprocating engine ship, with enormous connecting rods and crankshafts that used to thrash about.

As was discussed elsewhere, the Invincibles out-evolved their armoured cruiser ancestors and competitors with the injection of Dreadnought DNA of all big guns and turbine power, but they and their successors were still called armoured cruisers up until 1911/3. Fisher's obsession with speed at all costs meant his new super armoured cruisers were always at the action first, even if they didn't always survive it!

He wrote in 1906/7:
The commonest aspect of our old naval wars is a British Fleet endeavouring to force an unwilling enemy to action by an attack in general chase. It is superior speed that is the essence of success in such warfare, and no probable superiority in tactics can ever give so great an advantage as superior speed.....However venerable may be the maxim that the speed of a fleet is that of its slowest ship, it is not universally true. It is broadly true of a fleet trying to avoid action but for a chasing fleet it is the converse of the truth.....for a chasing fleet the speed is that of the fastest ships. By their means-provided they have enough battle strength to hold their own for a while - a battle fleet of lesser speed can reach out and grasp the flying enemy by the tail, and hold him until it has time to get him firmly in his grip. For this purpose no ship was ever designed so deadly as the Invincibles...It is the very type that all the old men from Hawke to Nelson sighed for, but never obtained.
All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
HMSVF
Senior Member
Posts: 345
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:15 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by HMSVF »

paul.mercer wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 3:31 pm Hi HMSVF,
Re part of your post which stated 'Once you have vessels with turbine engines everything looks a little slow. 23knots was good in the pre-dreadnought era but pedestrian post 1906', isn't it amazing that the RN went on to build the 'QE', 'R' and the 'Nelson' classes with the same or just a little more speed!
True, but then you had "heavy cruisers" post WW1 that could do anywhere between 30 and 35 knots (37 + if you don't fit the turrets or make them out of cardboard!) restoring the speed gap.
Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 1449
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by Byron Angel »

HMSVF wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 2:42 pm
Byron Angel wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 7:43 pm
HMSVF wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 6:49 pm Evening!

Your right about the German AC's at Coronel - I was too British focused! That said the British AC's were of the White era and I'm sure that Fisher said of one of the classes (County class from memory) that "White had designed them but forgot the armament" (or similar). AGainst ships of their own vintage the German AC's did exactly what they said on the can. When they came up against bigger, newer vessels well it turned out differently.

I suppose that the issue was the dramatic pace in naval technology. Once you have vessels with turbine engines everything looks a little slow. 23knots was good in the pre-dreadnought era but pedestrian post 1906. What always amazes me is how big some of these ships were - up to 14000 tons in some cases, not that far off the Invincibles. They were moving towards a uniform gun battery but prior they were very much a mixed bag. A shed load of 6 inchers and a couple of ship smashers like the 9.2 inch.

Very beautiful, but belonged to the previous age.

Hi HMSVF,
When the construction expenses, manning requirements and maintenance costs of the big armored cruisers are compared to their battleship contemporaries, the differences were actually pretty small. Armored cruisers were expensive "specialty" ships.

Byron

I suppose as "specialty" ships they were more vulnerable to the "winds of change"? The wind of change being the battlecruiser?

Hi HMSVF,
Apart from operation and upkeep expenses, my opinion is that their demise was driven by the advent of very large high-speed trans-atlantic liners around the end/turn of the century. These ships were capable of making trans-oceanic passages at very high sustained speeds (see the Blue Riband trans-Atlantic prize records). These liners were of such a great size that they could accommodate VERY powerful and reliable long stroke, low rpm triple-expansion engines that were MUCH more reliable than the low-profile, short stroke, high rpm triple-expansion engines that powered naval cruisers (and other warships) of the era. As a rule, an armored cruiser could not continuously maintain full speed (as opposed to flank speed!) for much more than about four hours before requiring maintenance/repair. The fastest of the big modern trans-Atlantic liners could maintain the equivalent of an armored cruiser's flank speed (23kts) or better for their entire passage.

These liners were also typically subsidized by their national governments in exchange for their use as merchant cruisers in time of war. Opinions differ on this forum, but IMO it is clear that the threat posed by these big high-speed liners to the imperial sea trade lanes not only spelled the end of the line for the armored cruiser as a class, but was also the principal motivation behind the design of its successor in RN service - the Invincible Class battle-cruiser.

Byron
User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 2381
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Doomed to fail

Post by wadinga »

Hi HMSVF,

You posed the question:
I suppose as "specialty" ships they were more vulnerable to the "winds of change"? The wind of change being the battlecruiser?
However there was no such thing as a Battlecruiser until 1912/13!

As I have already mentioned, everything built from Indomitable to Queen Mary was officially designated "armoured cruiser" since their role was exactly as Fisher describes it:
By their means-provided they have enough battle strength to hold their own for a while....grasp the flying enemy by the tail, and hold him until it has time to get him firmly in his grip.
This was the role for which the evolving armoured cruiser as a component of the battlefleet had been designed since the Cressys. Armour enough to maybe stand a chance against battleship guns, weapons enough to discomfort a heavy enemy. Fisher had a design for an all 9.2" armed vessel but the ingestion of Dreadnought DNA produced the Invincibles and the intermediate design roughly equivalent to Blucher never materialised.

Just as there was no comparison between the Cressy with two 9.2" guns and the larger, Black Prince with six or Defence with two 9.2" and ten upper deck turreted 7.5", so the continuing evolution through Invincible and onwards outmatched the previous incarnations. Every step in this evolution was more expensive than the last.

The end of the line for the armoured cruiser as a role is hard to define IMHO. When Somerville chased the Italians with his fast but flimsy Renown in the hope that his slow battleships would be able to catch up later, when he had "grasped the flying enemy by the tail" and slowed him down, he was doing the armoured cruiser role, as defined by Fisher. Only when engineering advancements and displacement increases allowed well armoured and armed battleships like the Iowas, Bismarcks, Littorios and maybe Vanguard tto operate at the highest practical speeds in likely sea conditions, was the armoured cruiser role truly over.

By the way, I have always loved the dash, elan and heroism of the battlecruiser concept. "Get there fastest with the mostest." Looney Tunes 1960 (Not General Nathan Bedford Forrest)


All the best

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