Discussion:
Monetary costs of German weapons
(too old to reply)
v***@gmail.com
2007-01-26 00:10:23 UTC
Permalink
I'm looking for some internet information and can't find it. I need the
monetary cost of the Bizarck battleship and other weapons costs for
comparisons. And for speculation, what-if Germany gives up the 2
larger battleships what other items might the Kreigmarine get?


John Freck
David Thornley
2007-01-26 02:11:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@gmail.com
I'm looking for some internet information and can't find it. I need the
monetary cost of the Bizarck battleship and other weapons costs for
comparisons. And for speculation, what-if Germany gives up the 2
larger battleships what other items might the Kreigmarine get?
That depends partly on when the decision is made to not build
them, and why. It seems to me that the only other thing the
Kriegsmarine might want would be submarines. Doubtless several
more submarines could have been built, but I'd really doubt it
would be on a basis of equal tonnage.

At the time Bismarck was completed, the surface raiders were still
having a considerable effect, and Tirpitz tied down a lot of British
naval strength, so they were still quite useful.

If you do find cost information, please post. I have some cost figures
for US ships, but after that my notes get awful scanty.



--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
Louis C
2007-01-26 10:25:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
That depends partly on when the decision is made to not build
them, and why. It seems to me that the only other thing the
Kriegsmarine might want would be submarines. Doubtless several
more submarines could have been built, but I'd really doubt it
would be on a basis of equal tonnage.
Peacetime constraints are not the same as wartime constraints.

In peacetime, time is not really a factor, cost and personnel are
serious problems. A battleship has very long lead time, it requires
less personnel, particularly it requires less specialists, than an
equivalent tonnage of smaller ships (or tanks - you can't build
airplanes with steel so they can't really compare) and costs less per
ton.

That's why navies tend to build their large ships in peacetime, and
focus on the lighter stuff once they're at war, when they have lots of
personnel and money is no longer an issue but you need the stuff to be
available relatively quickly.

Another point to be considered is that naval programs require a huge
cost in infrastructure, some of that cost is part of the price tag for
Bismarck and Tirpitz but it doesn't mean that not building them would
have recouped all these expenses, unless no capital ship whatsoever had
been built after the 3 pocket battleships. So for real savings, the
Germans would need to do away not just with Bismarck, Tirpitz and Graf
Zeppelin but probably Scharnhorst and Gneisenau as well, not to mention
some of the heavy cruisers. Doing that and saving on infrastructure
expenses means more money is available elsewhere, on the other hand it
also telegraphs other countries that there will be no real surface
force for the next decade. This means that other countries in turn can
make savings: the British might decide not to build all 5 KGVs, the
French would most certainly not start building 3 Richelieu-class
battleships, etc.


LC
JP
2007-01-26 05:38:34 UTC
Permalink
I found the following numbers from this draft thesis posted on the internet
(Adam Tooze University of Cambridge 2006
http://www.hist.cam.ac.uk/academic_staff/further_details/tooze-arming-reich.pdf)
in regards to the Bismarck class, (of which two, the Bismarck and the
Tirpitz were completed) that each ship cost approximately 200 million
Reichsmarks and five years to complete (a figure the author says compares to
1,500 fighter aircraft) and that even smaller craft such as the standard
Mark VII U boats cost approximately 2.5 million Reichsmarks and took 10
months to complete.

The second question is harder to answer because the interwar strategy of the
Kriegsmarine was initially to build a "fleet in being", ships that could
meet the technical limitations of the Versailles treaties in actual tonnage,
but would be faster and better armed and that could be used more to disrupt
British naval shipping rather than as capital ships that would fight a
Jutland style conflct (paraphrasing from Kirk and Young "great Weapons of
WWII) so the Bismarck class had already been designed by the start of the
thirties and construction started in 1935 just after Hitler took power.
From other accounts I have read Hitler was totally disgusted with the
compromises in armor/tonnage and armament of the Bismarck class and the
underlying strategic concept under which they had been designed and he
ordered the navy to begin building capital ships closer in size and function
of the Royal Navy, the Americans and the French. but the envisioned time
frame to complete that change over would be 1947.

Of course once the war started it was obvious to all that air power put all
capital ships at risk and that aircraft carriers and submarines were far
more effective weapons, but by then the money and resources used to re-build
Germany's naval forces had already been spent and it is only in hindsight
that the Kriegsmarine (and in fact most navies) had misdirected their
resources.
--
Jonathan
I'm looking for some internet information and can't find it. I need the
monetary cost of the Bizarck battleship and other weapons costs for
comparisons. And for speculation, what-if Germany gives up the 2
larger battleships what other items might the Kreigmarine get?
John Freck
L2007
2007-01-26 16:41:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by JP
Of course once the war started it was obvious to all that air power put
all capital ships at risk and that aircraft carriers and submarines were
far more effective weapons,
That was not obvious all in the first years of WW2. German aircraft made
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941. In the Dunkirk
evacuation the RN faired well considering the Germans did not have much
opposition in the air. The Bismarck was sunk by torpedoes from a HMS
Gloucester not aircraft, U-Boats were mainly commerce raiders (an idea taken
up from the US Civil war when the South, with mainly two ships the CSS
Alabama and CSS Shenandoah, decimated the north's merchant fleet - with
mainly British crews). U-Boats sunk a WW1 ship at anchor and an empty old
aircraft carrier (both were more ineptitude from the RN than skill from the
Germans). The sinking of the old slow WW1 HMS Barnum was a great success for
the U-Boats.

Only when the Prince of Wales and the Repulse were sunk were battleships out
of favour - and those sinkings were incompetence by the commander who never
took his vessels to Australia when ordered and was patrolling the shore in
shallow waters with deep water vessels. The Japanese bombers were at the
limit of their range. RAF planes were in range but never called in to
oppose. Even then, the two ships were swamped by unopposed in the air
bombers, which was though an atypical situation. Recall the two battleships
were supposed to have had an aircraft carrier with them - it went aground in
the Caribbean and was under repair. Would the Japanese bombers had been so
effective against the two battleships at their range limit being opposed by
fighters? I doubt it.

Overall U-Boats were more effective than aircraft against large armoured
ships. Battleships were vulnerable later in the war as more advanced
aircraft and weapons came about.
Bob Martin
2007-01-26 19:09:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Germans). The sinking of the old slow WW1 HMS Barnum was a great success for
the U-Boats.
HMS Barham
Bill Shatzer
2007-01-26 19:17:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by JP
Of course once the war started it was obvious to all that air power
put all capital ships at risk and that aircraft carriers and
submarines were far more effective weapons,
That was not obvious all in the first years of WW2. German aircraft made
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941.
Hows that again?

Sunk by air attack:

Cruisers 3 (Calcutta, Fiji, Glouscester)

Destroyers 8 (Diamond, Greyhound, Hereward, Imperial, Juno, Kashmir,
Kelly, Wryneck)

Plus the cruiser HMS York finished off by air attack after being damaged
by Italian motor torpedo boats.

That was an appreciable portion of the Royal Navy forces involved.

In addition, several other RN ships were damaged by air attack
sufficiently to require dockyard repairs - including HMS Orion which
suffered over 200 casualties and was out of action for repairs over 8
months.

Something more, I would submit, than just "little effect".

Cheers,
L2007
2007-01-26 20:57:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by L2007
Post by JP
Of course once the war started it was obvious to all that air power
put all capital ships at risk and that aircraft carriers and
submarines were far more effective weapons,
That was not obvious all in the first years of WW2. German aircraft made
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941.
Hows that again?
Cruisers 3 (Calcutta, Fiji, Glouscester)
Destroyers 8 (Diamond, Greyhound, Hereward, Imperial, Juno, Kashmir,
Kelly, Wryneck)
Plus the cruiser HMS York finished off by air attack after being damaged
by Italian motor torpedo boats.
That was an appreciable portion of the Royal Navy forces involved.
In addition, several other RN ships were damaged by air attack
sufficiently to require dockyard repairs - including HMS Orion which
suffered over 200 casualties and was out of action for repairs over 8
months.
Something more, I would submit, than just "little effect".
The point was Battleships. How many BBs were lost 1939-41 to air and U-Boat
attack? In the final analysis destroyers and cruisers are expendable. The
RN was massive and could sustain losses of small ships.
Nik Simpson
2007-01-26 22:54:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
The point was Battleships. How many BBs were lost 1939-41 to air and
U-Boat attack? In the final analysis destroyers and cruisers are
expendable. The RN was massive and could sustain losses of small ships.
If you read any good histories of the fighting around Crete, you would
know that the RN largely kept it's battleships well south of Crete which
meant they were out of range of German air attacks. The only ships they
risked in the waters north and/or east of Crete were the more expendable
cruisers and destroyers. When Warspite and Valiant strayed in range they
were both damaged.
--
Nik Simpson
Bill Shatzer
2007-01-27 05:24:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by L2007
Post by JP
Of course once the war started it was obvious to all that air power
put all capital ships at risk and that aircraft carriers and
submarines were far more effective weapons,
That was not obvious all in the first years of WW2. German aircraft
made
Post by L2007
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941.
Hows that again?
Cruisers 3 (Calcutta, Fiji, Glouscester)
Destroyers 8 (Diamond, Greyhound, Hereward, Imperial, Juno, Kashmir,
Kelly, Wryneck)
Plus the cruiser HMS York finished off by air attack after being
damaged by Italian motor torpedo boats.
That was an appreciable portion of the Royal Navy forces involved.
In addition, several other RN ships were damaged by air attack
sufficiently to require dockyard repairs - including HMS Orion which
suffered over 200 casualties and was out of action for repairs over 8
months.
Something more, I would submit, than just "little effect".
The point was Battleships. How many BBs were lost 1939-41 to air and
U-Boat attack?
Off the top of my head and considering air attacks only, somewhere
between five and eight. Oklahoma, Arizona, Prince of Wales, Repulse, and
Conte di Cavour for certain.

Plus Bismarck which was a combined air/surface "kill" and West Virginia
and California which were technically sunk although they settled upright
in relatively shallow water and were refloated and repaired.
Post by L2007
In the final analysis destroyers and cruisers are
expendable. The RN was massive and could sustain losses of small ships.
Not in 1941 they weren't. Britain was desperately short of escorts -
see, for instance, the bases for destroyers deal - while it probably had
more battleships than it could gainfully employ.

Still, through 1941, battleships didn't often come within range of
land-based air - due to a well-founded apprehension about their
survivability. Crete and Force Z are about the only two examples I can
think of; neither one of which turned out particularly well for the
battleships.

At Crete, Cunningham had four battleships - HMS Barham, Valiant, Queen
Elizabeth, and Warspite. Barham, Valiant, and Warspite were all hit by
aerial bombs and Barham was out of action undergoing repairs for two
months while Warspite was a -major- dockyard repair and was laid up for
over seven months.

That's a "mission kill" of at least 25% on Cunningham's battleships -
I'm not sure how badly Barham was damaged but Warspite was definitely
out of the fight.

Cheers,
Andrew Clark
2007-01-27 12:49:37 UTC
Permalink
"Bill Shatzer" <***@comcast.net> wrote

(snip agreed stuff)
Not in 1941 they weren't. Britain was desperately short of escorts - see,
for instance, the bases for destroyers deal - while it probably had more
battleships than it could gainfully employ.
While Britain was certainly short of ASW hulls in 1941, the
destroyers-for-bases deal did not in fact increase the number of such hulls
available. As Britain knew perfectly well, converting the WW1 destroyers for
ASW duties was more costly and labour-intensive than simply building a new
corvette or frigate. This is why very few of the 50 destroyers was ever used
for ASW or convoy escort duties; most were given away or used for
miscellaneous duties like aerial targets.

The deal was a political manoeuvre, not a military one.
JP
2007-01-27 18:00:05 UTC
Permalink
Just a quick reading of this article in Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_class_destroyer proves to me that you
really seem to reply to topics in here without ever bothering to do the most
cursory investigation.

As the article states I'm sure the Royal Navy crews assigned to these
obsolete ships were less than pleased, but all you have to do is go down the
list to see many of the operations these vessels were involved in that
included convoy duties, engagements with specific U-boats (both sinking them
and being sunk by them) to see that your observation is less than generous.

And don't worry, if the US still uses any of the transfered bases the 99
year leases will expire in 32 years I believe.
--
Jonathan
"Andrew Clark" <***@nospamstarcott.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message news:***@giganews.com...
This is why very few of the 50 destroyers was ever used
Post by Andrew Clark
for ASW or convoy escort duties; most were given away or used for
miscellaneous duties like aerial targets.
The deal was a political manoeuvre, not a military one.
Andrew Clark
2007-01-27 20:32:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by JP
Just a quick reading of this article in Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_class_destroyer proves to me that you
really seem to reply to topics in here without ever bothering to do the
most cursory investigation.
Actually, what it proves is that the authors of Wiki articles are often less
than accurate.

I have previously posted in this NG a service history of every hull which
proves the point I made, viz: "This is why very few of the 50 destroyers was
ever used for ASW or convoy escort duties; most were given away or used for
miscellaneous duties like aerial targets". Try Google Groups.
Geoffrey Sinclair
2007-01-28 06:13:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by JP
Just a quick reading of this article in Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_class_destroyer proves to me that you
really seem to reply to topics in here without ever bothering to do the
most cursory investigation.
Actually, what it proves is that the authors of Wiki articles are often
less than accurate.
I have previously posted in this NG a service history of every hull which
proves the point I made, viz: "This is why very few of the 50 destroyers
was ever used for ASW or convoy escort duties; most were given away or
used for miscellaneous duties like aerial targets". Try Google Groups.
When you do find the Google groups listing you will find Andrew's ideas
quite thoroughly refuted. Note the lack of definition of "very few" and
miscellaneous duties done include laying mines. Simply put the service
the ships did in the 1941 to 1943 period is ignored. They were certainly
largely retired from escort duties in 1943, as the DE program came on line.

Note the ships did usually need a refit before being used in service.
They were also prone to collisions.

Annapolis, used in Canadian waters.

Bath minelaying escort then 5th Escort group, sunk on 19 August 1941.

Belmont 3rd EG August 1941, Canadian waters in November, sunk in
January 1942.

Beverley, 6th Escort group, then 4th EG, sunk 11 April 1943.

Broadford, big refit to Long Range Escort then 43rd EG, paid off in
May 1943 because of too many defects (had a collision in 1942)

Brighton, 1st Minelaying squadron, rebuilt as air target ship in November
1942.

Broadwater 11th EG, sunk October 1941

Broadway, 11th EG, 3rd EG, 17th EG, became an air target ship in 1943.

Burham 12th EG, sent to Canadian waters October 1941m 3rd EG until
October 1943 then air target ship.

Burwell 12th Escort group, Air target ship October 1943.

Buxton, Local escort in Canada, then B6 group, then Western Local
Escort Force (WLEF), static training ship August 1943.

Caldwell 5th EG, WLEF in May 1943, to reserve December 1943.

Cameron bombed in harbour just after arrival, used for explosives trials.

Campbeltown, 7th EG, 27th EG, expended in St Naizaire raid March 1942.

Castleton 17th EG, 1st Minelaying squadron March 1941, UK east coast
escort January 1944, air target ship October 1944.

Charlestown, minelaying and Iceland convoy duties, paid off December 1944.

Chelsea 17th EG, 6th EG,, WLEF in 1942, to USSR in 1944.

Chesterfield, 11th EG, 3rd EG, 18th EG, 23rd EG, 26th EG, battle damage
repairs for most of 1943 then used as air target ship.

Churchill 3rd EG, 18th EG, B5 group in West Indies in 1942, laid up in
February 1944 then to USSR.

Clare 17th Flotilla, Long Range Escort (LRE) conversion in 1941, 41st EG
fire on board during refit in late 1943, used as air target after repairs.

Columbia, 4th EG, local escort in Canada, hit cliff in February 1944 and
hulked.

Georgetown, 4th EG, 27th EG, Special escort division, WLEF, into reserve
in November 1943 then to USSR.

Hamilton, no details of service 1940 to 1943, became RCN training ship
December 1943.

Lancaster 1st Minelaying squadron (which also did Iceland convoy duties),
Gibraltar run September 1942 to January 1943, minelaying and East Coast
Escort, then air target February 1945.

Leamington 2nd EG, troop convoy escort, WLEF, to UK December 1943
then to USSR.

Leeds East Coast convoys, paid off April 1945.

Lewes bombed April 1941, repairs to February 1942, East coast convoys,
air target in 1943, to Ceylon then Australia, paid off November 1945.

Lincoln, 1st EG, WLEF, to UK December 1943 then to USSR.

Ludlow, east coast convoys, paid off May 1945.

Mansfield 6th EG, Liverpool Special escort division, WLEF, Western
Support Force W7, paid off November 1943.

Montgomery 7th EG, 4th EG, WLEF, West Indies February 1943, into
reserve December 1943.

Newark 17th Destroyer Division, 1st Minelaying squadron, East coast
convoys, into reserve July 1945.

Newmarket 8th EG, Air target May 1942, lots of defects.

Newport 43rd EG, 7th EG, May 1943 to target ship.

Niagara to RCN, Newfoundland escort force (NEF), WLEF, became a
training ship in January 1944.

Ramsey, 5th EG, NEF, 22nd EG, B6 group, air target ship from July 1943.

Reading Liverpool escorts, 8th EG, NEF, 23rd EG, Air target ship from
November 1942.

Richmond, NEF, 17th EG, 27th EG, WLEF, laid up December 1943 then to
USSR.

Ripley, 5th EG, B2, B7, local UK escort, into reserve January 1944.

Rockingham 8th EG, then air target ship December 1943.

Roxborough 2nd EG, 4th EG, WLEF, into reserve December 1943 then USSR.

St Albans, 1st Minelaying squadron, 7th EG, WLEF into reserve in 1944
then to USSR.

St Clair RCN, 4th EG, WLEF, depot ship in January 1944.

St Croix RCN, NEF, 21st EG, MOEF, sunk September 1943.

St Francis RCN, 4th EG, NEF, 9th EG, WLEF, depot ship in October 1943.

St Marys 1st Minelaying squadron, reserve February 1944.

Salisbury 2nd EG, 4th EG, special escort, WLEF, laid up December 1943.

Sherwood 12th EG, 2nd EG, 22nd EG, MOEF (From St Johns, Newfoundland)
C2, classified as beyond economic repair April 1943 and used as target.

Stanley, LRE, Liverpool, 40th EG, sunk 19 December 1941.

Welles 1st Minelaying squadron, UK coastal convoys August 1943,air
target ship October 1944.

The RN passed on 9 of the old US destroyers to the Red Navy.

Transferred to USSR 7/44 Leamington, Chelsea, Richmond, St Albans,
Churchill, 8/44 Lincoln, Brighton, Georgetown, Roxburgh.

They were, respectively ex USS Twiggs, Crowninshield , Fairfax, Thomas,
Herndon, Yarnell, Cowell, Maddox, Foote. According to H T Lenton.

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
JP
2007-01-28 21:02:09 UTC
Permalink
LOL

I seriously doubt that.
--
Jonathan
Post by Andrew Clark
I have previously posted in this NG a service history of every hull which
proves the point I made, viz: "This is why very few of the 50 destroyers
was ever used for ASW or convoy escort duties; most were given away or
used for miscellaneous duties like aerial targets". Try Google Groups.
Don Phillipson
2007-01-28 21:02:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by JP
And don't worry, if the US still uses any of the transfered bases the 99
year leases will expire in 32 years I believe.
IIRR the last 1940/41 US base on Commonwealth
was Argentia, Newfoundland, vacated and closed
approx. 20 years ago. Others were in Jamaica,
Bermuda, etc. (These bases were created under
very different conditions, when some ASW escorts
could not cross the Atlantic without refuelling en route.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
David Thornley
2007-01-27 21:56:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
While Britain was certainly short of ASW hulls in 1941, the
destroyers-for-bases deal did not in fact increase the number of such hulls
available. As Britain knew perfectly well, converting the WW1 destroyers for
ASW duties was more costly and labour-intensive than simply building a new
corvette or frigate.
Actually, they were pretty much usable as handed over. They were far
from being good convoy escorts without a lot of work, but they were
usable pretty much as delivered.

A good refit would have been to remove about half the engines, replacing
them with oil tanks; removing the 4" guns (the ones handed over generally
had 2-4) and replacing them with AA guns; adding sonar/asdic (I haven't
found much about US deployment of sonar before 1941, but it wasn't
all that common). Torpedo tubes could be removed or retained depending
on the desire for more or less topweight.

This would give a fairly good ASW ship, better and worse in some
respects than a corvette.

Bringing frigates into the discussion is rather beside the point
here, as the River-class frigates were not available at the time of
this deal. The British did have some excellent escort sloops, but
they were also fairly expensive to build.


--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
Andrew Clark
2007-01-28 14:30:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
Actually, they were pretty much usable as handed over. They were far
from being good convoy escorts without a lot of work, but they were
usable pretty much as delivered.
Not as ASW or Atlantic convoy escorts, they weren't.

In fact, with limited range, no AA defence, poor manoeuvrability and no
sonar, they were pretty much useless for most of the active combat roles
which existed in 1940-41, other than local coastal convoying - which is what
they did in fact do a lot.

One thing that has to be stressed is that the turning circle of these
destroyers was so huge as to make them insufficiently agile for ASW duties
whatever the refit.

(snip undisputed stuff)
Joel Shepherd
2007-01-28 21:00:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by David Thornley
Actually, they were pretty much usable as handed over. They were far
from being good convoy escorts without a lot of work, but they were
usable pretty much as delivered.
Not as ASW or Atlantic convoy escorts, they weren't.
As ever ... I'm confused. I'll admit to being no expert on this subject,
but in what little reading I've done about it, there didn't seem to be
any representation on the part of the US that the ships _were_ suitable
for such operations, mid-ocean. They were well known to be old
destroyers. Surely both navies would have known their limitations. Is
there documentation that suggests otherwise: e.g., that the RN believed
it was getting destroyers suited as convoy escorts?

The USN had trouble protecting its own coast. Did the RN seriously
believe that the USN had 50 modern destroyers to hand over?
Post by Andrew Clark
In fact, with limited range, no AA defence, poor manoeuvrability and no
sonar, they were pretty much useless for most of the active combat roles
which existed in 1940-41, other than local coastal convoying - which is what
they did in fact do a lot.
Presumably freeing up other ships better suited for the more demanding
duties you mention. The opportunity cost of keeping more modern warships
tied down with menial coastal patrol duties would be pretty high I
suspect. There'd be considerable benefit to replacing those ships with
cheaper, less-capable ships, and then using them to protect high-value
convoys in open ocean.
Post by Andrew Clark
One thing that has to be stressed is that the turning circle of these
destroyers was so huge as to make them insufficiently agile for ASW duties
whatever the refit.
I'm not seeing the point in denigrating the service provided by the old
destroyers, which (as you hinted and Geoffrey Sinclair documented) was
considerably more than serving as practice targets, well into 1943.
Freeing up more capable ships for more demanding operations seems like
quite a valuable service.
--
Joel.
Andrew Clark
2007-01-29 22:36:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joel Shepherd
As ever ... I'm confused. I'll admit to being no expert on this subject,
but in what little reading I've done about it, there didn't seem to be
any representation on the part of the US that the ships _were_ suitable
for such operations, mid-ocean. They were well known to be old
destroyers. Surely both navies would have known their limitations. Is
there documentation that suggests otherwise: e.g., that the RN believed
it was getting destroyers suited as convoy escorts?
The USN had trouble protecting its own coast. Did the RN seriously
believe that the USN had 50 modern destroyers to hand over?
Sorry, I never wanted to imply that the RN didn't know exactly what they
were getting.

Some background:

On 15 May 1940, with German troops on the Channel, Churchill cabled
Roosevelt with an urgent plea for assistance. Top of the list was
"destroyers", meaning modern hulls, if necessary serving USN ships reflagged
to the RN. Roosevelt refused to supply any hulls on 16 May; on 17 May
Lothian, British Ambassador to the US, met Roosevelt and pressed him
further, warning that, if Britain fell, the US could not defend both the
Atlantic and Pacific against a combined German-Japanese attack. This general
line was pressed over the next few weeks; on 27 May the War Cabinet resolved
to make it clear that Britain would not sacrifice its own interests in any
peace settlement which might be forced upon it by Germany to defend those of
the US if the US did not give Britain immediate aid. This was code for
saying that the Fleet might be bargained away to Germany, against US
interests.

Notwithstanding this, by 30 May Roosevelt told Lothian that he was confident
that, if the UK fell, HMG would send the Fleet to Canada to defend North
America whatever the US did. On 5 June, Churchill warned Mackenzie King
against allowing Roosevelt to believe this. This bore some fruit, as
Roosevelt started instructing his officials to find away to supply arms and
military supplies to Britain but, on the matter of ships, Roosevelt refused
to give way.

On 16 & 17 June, Lothian pressed Roosevelt to make a statement in Congress
about the Fleet and the two-ocean dilemma; Hull advised Roosevelt that this
would be political suicide. So, Lothian exposed the issue himself in his
speech at Yale on 19 June, pointing out that even if Britain evacuated the
Fleet from the UK in the case of a successful German invasion, few ships
would come to American aid, given probable losses and the need to reinforce
Australia and India as well as Canada. This was partially
counter-productive: by painting a gloomy picture, it made Roosevelt's
political position more delicate and exposed him to the idea that there was
no point transferring ships to the RN if their likely fate was simply to be
added to the Kriegsmarine.

Roosevelt thus continued to refuse any transfer of ships to Britain, causing
Lothian - who was personally deeply depressed and far from convinced that
Britain could survive a German invasion - to start very overtly pressing
London to start evacuating support units and supplies. By 27 June, Lothian's
attitude was well known in Washington, blocking the supply of ships and
supplies even if there had been a will to do so. Marshall in particular was
firmly convinced that Britain would fall and that no aid other than obsolete
stockpiles should be sent. The attack on the French fleet also did not help
matters, by making the German threat to the US less credible. It became
clear that the US would not now aid Britain militarily unless it became
clear they were reinforcing a British success.

On 29 June, with the invasion fear receding, Cabinet finally resolved that
nothing should be given to the US by way of aid or bases unless reciprocal
aid was received from the US.

During July, the Churchill-Roosevelt debate abated. In this pause in
negotiation, Churchill and Lothian sought to make a deal possible by putting
together a package of potential British aid to the US, mainly technical and
intellectual, such as sonar, radar and nuclear physics secrets, new ship and
weapons designs, some material aid with scarce commodities like tungsten,
and of course the offer of three limited-facility US bases on British
Caribbean possessions. Lothian worked closely with Knox, Morgenthau and
Stimson about the details of what the US most wanted.

On 29 July, Cabinet approved a renewed request from Churchill to Roosevelt
for "at least 50 [modern] destroyers" and lesser numbers of other modern
weapon systems in return for the three bases; on 2 August Lothian formally
communicated details of the bases (the rest of the British package was to
negotiated separately). Prompted by Lothian, Knox pressed Roosevelt to agree
to a deal. Roosevelt, having received assurances from Congress that a deal
might be agreed, then set about improving the US position.

On 7 August, he insisted on an explicit public statement in Parliament that
the Fleet would be sent abroad in the event of an invasion of the UK (ie not
bargained away); asked Britain for seven full-scale bases in the Caribbean,
rather than the three limited-facility sites offered, and critically
downgraded the destroyers from the modern or refurbished hulls requested by
Britain to the old WW1 hulls which Marshall and Knox were prepared to
certify as no longer essential to US defence needs. This bargain was
lopsided - 50 old hulls were not worth to Britain the massive benefit gained
by the US of 7 base sites plus a guarantee of major naval aid.

Churchill therefore backed away from a bargain, as did Cabinet. They asked
on 14 August for the bases and destroyers to be offered by each side as a
gift, rather than as a transaction. Roosevelt declined, quoting Congress and
US law but in reality - as the British knew - he had the power to make the
destroyer gift by Executive Agreement, as he had with the old rifles already
dispatched. It was another example of needless US humiliation of Britain

It was at this time, late August 1940, that the Admiralty sent experts to
the US to examine the destroyers and compile their report on their
operational utility and the cost of their refurbishment. That report to
Cabinet of 29 August, clearly concluded that, in terms of the urgent needs
of the RN, the old destroyers were a Trojan horse - worse than no gift at
all.

In the end, Churchill forced his colleagues to accept the rather pathetic
compromise that Britain would publicly offer the bases freely as a gift,
although covertly regarding the matter as a deal, while Roosevelt accurately
publicly represented the deal as a transaction. As the paperwork shows, only
two base sites were offered as gifts, the other five (plus a further one in
Antigua) were formally exchanged in return for the destroyers.

Timing is also very important. In May 1940, Britain had only around 65
operational destroyers in home waters (ie for anti-invasion duties, fleet
escort, coastal convoying and Atlantic convoying); by 1 July, this fell to
48. Given the possibility of invasion, this was a gigantic shortfall. But by
15 August, transfers from the Med and Far East, plus new construction, had
raised the number back to over 75 - not ample by any means, but by no means
the critical situation of June. Alternative vessels such as armed light
craft in the Channel, converted trawlers and the corvette were either in
place or building. By the time the US was ready to deal - early August -
Britain no longer had quite such a critical need even for modern hulls, and
still less for old hulls needing extensive work before being ready for
service.

All facts have cited academic sources, available on request.
Post by Joel Shepherd
Presumably freeing up other ships better suited for the more demanding
duties you mention. The opportunity cost of keeping more modern warships
tied down with menial coastal patrol duties would be pretty high I
suspect. There'd be considerable benefit to replacing those ships with
cheaper, less-capable ships, and then using them to protect high-value
convoys in open ocean.
Yes. But the Admiralty did not tie down destroyers on this duty: from 1938
onwards they converted the hundreds of thousands of coastal and oceanic
trawlers in the British fishing fleet. An ASDIC set, a couple of machine
guns and a few depth charges were enough to convert a trawler into a low
grade but nevertheless worthwhile coastal and even oceanic escort platform -
the corvette design was not much more than this. Converting a trawler (which
came complete with most crew members) was far less costly than refurbishing
the old US destroyers. In fact, a new corvette could be built in pretty much
the same time as the refit.

And, incidentally, while Atlantic convoys have the glamour, many of the same
ships once arrived at the UK ended up going around the coast to other major
ports. Their protection on that journey was just as important.

(snip)
Alan Meyer
2007-01-30 05:43:06 UTC
Permalink
...
Sorry, I never wanted to imply that the RN didn't know exactly what they were getting.
...
... Converting a trawler (which came complete with most crew members) was far less
costly than refurbishing the old US destroyers. In fact, a new corvette could be built
in pretty much the same time as the refit.
...
Andrew,

What in your view was the value of this deal from the British point
of view?

Was it propaganda - aimed at drawing the American public into
support for Britain, or aimed at making the British public feel
safer?

Were the bases actually of no special value to Britain?

Was the very limited value of the destroyers still worth a lot?

Thanks.

Alan
Andrew Clark
2007-01-30 09:41:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Meyer
Andrew,
What in your view was the value of this deal from the British point
of view?
Was it propaganda - aimed at drawing the American public into
support for Britain, or aimed at making the British public feel
safer?
Were the bases actually of no special value to Britain?
Was the very limited value of the destroyers still worth a lot?
The value of the destroyers may have been minimal, even negative, but the
deal itself was immensely valuable to British national interests. This is
why Churchill and some other far-sighted Ministers pushed the deal through
in the face of Admiralty resistance and US meanmindedness.

By drawing Roosevelt and Congress from a state of punctiliously-maintained
neutrality into a active supporter of Britain, the destroyers-for-bases deal
was the first act in the long development of the Anglo-US alliance of WW2.
It was the thin edge of the wedge, as indeed some Anglophobe members of
Congress said at the time. Thus, even if the RN had sank the 50 destroyers
at their moorings on arrival, the deal would still have been worth it from a
political and diplomatic point of view.

The RN did not lose much, if anything, by ceding the land for bases to the
USN; on the contrary, by beginning the process of drawing the USN into the
defence of the western half of the North Atlantic, they gained hugely in the
short-term. Obviously, there was a potential drawback if the RN was to
continue post-war to rule the Atlantic and maintain a battlefleet superior
to any other power, but that was not much of concern in 1940 except to some
short-sighted politicians who didn't realise the world had already changed
from 1914.
David Thornley
2007-01-29 02:49:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Not as ASW or Atlantic convoy escorts, they weren't.
The destroyers the US didn't hand over were used as Atlantic
convoy escorts. They were probably in somewhat better shape than
the ones the British got, since those were taken out of the reserve,
but the four-pipers did serve in plenty of combat roles.
Post by Andrew Clark
In fact, with limited range, no AA defence, poor manoeuvrability and no
sonar, they were pretty much useless for most of the active combat roles
which existed in 1940-41, other than local coastal convoying - which is what
they did in fact do a lot.
Those destroyers were used for Atlantic convoy escorts, surface attack,
and assorted other roles by the USN.
Post by Andrew Clark
One thing that has to be stressed is that the turning circle of these
destroyers was so huge as to make them insufficiently agile for ASW duties
whatever the refit.
In which case you can explain why the USN used them for that exact
role.

The US wasn't handing over ships the USN considered unfit for Atlantic
convoy escort, or for several other roles. They were certainly not
the best possible ships, but the US was pretty short of destroyers and
other escorts itself.


--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
Andrew Clark
2007-01-31 10:11:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
Those destroyers were used for Atlantic convoy escorts, surface attack,
and assorted other roles by the USN.
According to Bauer & Roberts (searched online via JSTOR), the USN used the
Wickes and Clemson class destroyers, as they were known in US service, in
mainly secondary roles, just as the RN did for the hulls they put into
active service. Many were converted into fast transports, some into
commercial carriers. AFAIK, only 13 of the hulls were ever committed to
front-line combat, in the Pacific, and only then in extremis.
Post by David Thornley
In which case you can explain why the USN used them for that exact
role.
So far as I can judge, and I am no expert on the USN, the Wickes and
Clemson class destroyers mostly saw only secondary service. How many hulls
were used for Atlantic convoy escort prior to conversion? I'd wager it was a
handful - most of the hulls couldn't even cross the Atlantic due to
inadequate fuel storage capacity.
Post by David Thornley
The US wasn't handing over ships the USN considered unfit for Atlantic
convoy escort, or for several other roles. They were certainly not
the best possible ships, but the US was pretty short of destroyers and
other escorts itself.
Actually, they were. The 'flush-decker' destroyers of 1917-20 were actually
set aside en masse in 1930 for scrapping, in view of their known
inadequacies of range, manoeuvrability and seakeeping. Many were in fact
scrapped at that time.

There was a reason why these ships operated in the USN in the early years of
WW2, but it wasn't adequacy of design.
L2007
2007-01-27 17:55:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
The point was Battleships. How many BBs were lost 1939-41 to air and
U-Boat attack?
Off the top of my head and considering air attacks only, somewhere between
five and eight. Oklahoma, Arizona, Prince of Wales, Repulse, and Conte di
Cavour for certain.
..not at anchor.
Plus Bismarck which was a combined air/surface "kill"
The air part may not have been if the AA guns were as good as the US and
British. That was down to a design flaw, which would have been rectified -
the ship was on its maiden voyage. Look at a fully functioning BB.
and West Virginia and California which were technically sunk although they
settled upright in relatively shallow water and were refloated and
repaired.
..at anchor.
Post by L2007
In the final analysis destroyers and cruisers are expendable. The RN was
massive and could sustain losses of small ships.
Not in 1941 they weren't. Britain was desperately short of escorts - see,
for instance, the bases for destroyers deal - while it probably had more
battleships than it could gainfully employ.
The RN was not "desperate". The WW1 US destroyers were pretty well useless
with few doing anything useful. Advances in Corvettes had come about and
they were priority and in the shipyards. The RN was short of dedicated
escorts.

Not a Corvette, however the last remaining battle of the Atlantic purpose
built escort. With the Egyptian navy and being renovated before returning to
Liverpool, the control centre of the battle, as a historic ship
Loading Image...
Still, through 1941, battleships didn't often come within range of
land-based air - due to a well-founded apprehension about their
survivability. Crete and Force Z are about the only two examples I can
think of; neither one of which turned out particularly well for the
battleships.
If naval ship were so vulnerable to air attack, all should have been sunk at
Crete, as the Germans had total air superiority.

As of Dec 1941 there was clear evidence that a BB with escorts and air cover
was a sitting useless duck.

Their armour was so valued that two WW2 US BBs were brought back into active
service in the 1980s.
David Thornley
2007-01-27 22:24:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by L2007
The point was Battleships. How many BBs were lost 1939-41 to air and
U-Boat attack?
Don't forget submarine attacks other than U-boats: a US submarine got
the Japanese battleship Kongo.

In addition, British midget submarines damaged Tirpitz severely, and
six Italian guys in diving gear sank Queen Elizabeth and Valiant, although
those were brought back into service later.
Post by L2007
Off the top of my head and considering air attacks only, somewhere between
five and eight. Oklahoma, Arizona, Prince of Wales, Repulse, and Conte di
Cavour for certain.
..not at anchor.
Yamato, Musashi, Prince of Wales, Repulse off the top of my head.
Oh, yes, Roma.

So, how many battleships at sea were effectively destroyed by enemy
battleship fire? Bismarck (with an air assist), Kirishima, Scharnhorst,
either Fuso or Yamashiro (can't remember which). I'm going to count
Bretagne as at anchor.

So, that's five and four. By your method of counting, that would
seem to mean that they were almost equally dangerous.
Post by L2007
Plus Bismarck which was a combined air/surface "kill"
Or Hiei, crippled by US cruiser fire and finished off by aircraft.
Post by L2007
The air part may not have been if the AA guns were as good as the US and
British.
So? Bismarck was crippled by aerial torpedo attack. Granted, this
would have been less likely if Bismarck had had modern SAMs, as well
as radar-controlled automatic 76mm guns, but I don't see that that
alters the point.

That was down to a design flaw, which would have been rectified -
Post by L2007
the ship was on its maiden voyage. Look at a fully functioning BB.
Okay, what design flaw that would have been rectified? Bismarck had
a 1941 AA suite that was better than some and worse than some.
This was not a design flaw, unless you consider the single-purpose
armament to be so, and that wasn't going to be rectified. The
typical German WWII warship stern problems weren't going to be
rectified.
Post by L2007
Not in 1941 they weren't. Britain was desperately short of escorts - see,
for instance, the bases for destroyers deal - while it probably had more
battleships than it could gainfully employ.
The RN was not "desperate".
It would be interesting if you could support that statement.

The WW1 US destroyers were pretty well useless
Post by L2007
with few doing anything useful. Advances in Corvettes had come about and
they were priority and in the shipyards. The RN was short of dedicated
escorts.
Yes, the RN was short of dedicated escorts, not to mention all other
forms of escorts. The corvette was something of an emergency move,
being designed for coastal escort and pressed into oceanic service
out of necessity. The frigate was much more suited for crossing the
oceans, but frigates weren't available at that time.
Post by L2007
Still, through 1941, battleships didn't often come within range of
land-based air - due to a well-founded apprehension about their
survivability. Crete and Force Z are about the only two examples I can
think of; neither one of which turned out particularly well for the
battleships.
If naval ship were so vulnerable to air attack, all should have been sunk at
Crete, as the Germans had total air superiority.
They were vulnerable, just not totally vulnerable.

How an air-sea action tended to go was that aircraft would inflict a lot
of damage on enemy surface ships, which could either try to carry out
their mission with heavy losses, or abort. No navy can afford to lose
several warships with every mission.
Post by L2007
As of Dec 1941 there was clear evidence that a BB with escorts and air cover
was a sitting useless duck.
I don't know what you're talking about here. Battleships played several
important roles in WWII from 1942 on, although it was dangerous to bring
them into areas of enemy air superiority.
Post by L2007
Their armour was so valued that two WW2 US BBs were brought back into active
service in the 1980s.
While this is getting off-topic, bringing them back into service was
a highly controversial move, and they were primarily used for shore
bombardment. Their armor, by that time, was almost irrelevant. They
were brought back because of their size, speed, and guns.


--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
L2007
2007-01-28 21:55:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
So, how many battleships at sea were effectively destroyed by enemy
battleship fire? Bismarck (with an air assist), Kirishima, Scharnhorst,
either Fuso or Yamashiro (can't remember which). I'm going to count
Bretagne as at anchor.
So, that's five and four. By your method of counting,
My method of counting is from 1939 to 1941. As of Dec 41 there was no real
100% convincing evidence that BBs were obsolete and totally vulnerable to
air and U-Boats, as those sunk were not used as intended in battle groups
with air cover, their envisaged roles.
Post by David Thornley
Post by L2007
As of Dec 1941 there was clear evidence
that a BB with escorts and air cover
was a sitting useless duck.
I don't know what you're talking about here.
Battleships played several important roles in
WWII from 1942 on, although it was dangerous to bring
them into areas of enemy air superiority.
They were good for shore bombardment, which can be done by planes.
Post by David Thornley
Post by L2007
Their armour was so valued that two
WW2 US BBs were brought back into active
service in the 1980s.
While this is getting off-topic, bringing
them back into service was
a highly controversial move, and they
were primarily used for shore
bombardment.
As they were primarily used from 1942 onwards.
Post by David Thornley
Their armor, by that time, was almost irrelevant.
They were brought back because of their size, speed, and guns.
Sea skimming missiles, and their effectiveness in the Falklands (although
over exaggerated), was a prime reason to bring the old BBs back. They would
bounce off the hull of the NJ.

Torpedoes were still pretty much as in WW2 and they would sink any modern
vessel, including a carrier (the Argentine WW2 ex US heavy cruiser,
Belgrano, was sunk by a torpedo of basically WW2 design in 1982), however
they would only cripple the WW2 NJ. Back to dry-dock for months but
serviceable after.
David Thornley
2007-01-29 03:02:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
My method of counting is from 1939 to 1941. As of Dec 41 there was no real
100% convincing evidence that BBs were obsolete and totally vulnerable to
air and U-Boats, as those sunk were not used as intended in battle groups
with air cover, their envisaged roles.
As of December 1941, there was good evidence that battleships were
vulnerable to air and submarine attack, several of them having been
sunk in that way. Exactly how vulnerable remained a question.
Post by L2007
Post by David Thornley
I don't know what you're talking about here.
Battleships played several important roles in
WWII from 1942 on, although it was dangerous to bring
them into areas of enemy air superiority.
They were good for shore bombardment, which can be done by planes.
Aircraft cannot shore bombard. They can fly over beaches and
attack targets, but they cannot provide continuity of fire or
volume of fire.

Often, in shore bombardment, what is wanted is not pinpoint accuracy
in attacks, but lots of impacts steadily over a long period of time.
Cruisers and battleships can do that. Aircraft cannot.
Post by L2007
Post by David Thornley
While this is getting off-topic, bringing
them back into service was
a highly controversial move, and they
were primarily used for shore
bombardment.
As they were primarily used from 1942 onwards.
Battleships were used in all sorts of roles from 1942 onwards,
including surface combat, carrier escort, and shore bombardment.
If you are referring to the Iowa class specifically, they were
not often used for shore bombardment in WWII.
Post by L2007
Post by David Thornley
Their armor, by that time, was almost irrelevant.
They were brought back because of their size, speed, and guns.
Sea skimming missiles, and their effectiveness in the Falklands (although
over exaggerated), was a prime reason to bring the old BBs back.
Straying from topic somewhat, the battleships had pretty lousy shock
mountings by 1980s standards. A good explosion and all sorts of
complicated modern electronics would cease to function. A battleship
would be hard to sink without the use of torpedos, but a mission kill
was quite likely.

(Heck, South Dakota suffered a mission kill in 1942.)
Post by L2007
Torpedoes were still pretty much as in WW2 and they would sink any modern
vessel, including a carrier (the Argentine WW2 ex US heavy cruiser,
Belgrano, was sunk by a torpedo of basically WW2 design in 1982), however
they would only cripple the WW2 NJ. Back to dry-dock for months but
serviceable after.
It was not normal for a Brooklyn-class light cruiser (like General
Belgrano) to be sunk by one or two torpedos. WWII US cruisers were
hit by quite a few torpedos in the Pacific, and most survived.

Nor were battleships particularly immune to torpedo attack. In fact,
the Iowa class had questionable torpedo protection. It was essentially
the same as in the South Dakota class, and neither were tested.
(The torpedo hit on North Carolina in 1942 was, I think, the only
time when a modern US battleship was hit by a torpedo, and it did
more damage than one would hope considering it hit close to a main
gun magazine.)

The advantage a battleship would have in resisting torpedo attack
would be size, and the US started building carriers of about the
same displacement during WWII, completing some in 1945 (desperately
trying to stay on topic here). There is no reason to think the
Midway class would have any less torpedo resistance, as its torpedo
defenses would not be based around the continuation of an armor
belt, and presumably it would only get better from there.



--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
Chris Manteuffel
2007-01-29 17:16:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
It was not normal for a Brooklyn-class light cruiser (like General
Belgrano) to be sunk by one or two torpedos. WWII US cruisers were
hit by quite a few torpedos in the Pacific, and most survived.
As it happens, a sister ship of the Phoenix, Honolulu, was hit by a
Long Lance at the Battle of Kolombangara and, while unable to continue
fighting, was in no danger of sinking and headed home under her own
power. Honolulu was back in Service after about three months in a
repair yard. She was hit by an aerial torpedo in October 1944 as part
of the Leyte Gulf invasion, and again was in no danger of sinking,
making for home under her own power again. Repair work started on her,
but she seems to have been fairly low priority, an old light cruiser
was not considered that valuable, and work was not finished until the
war ended.

Of course, hit location can also play a role- a close relative of the
Brooklyn's, (follow on St. Louis class) Helena, was sunk by three
Long Lances at Kula Gulf and sank. But I feel comfortable saying that
one should not generalize about the fate of a USN WW2 ship from the
Belgrano; her material state and the damage control training and
readiness of her crew were nothing like that of a USN WW2 ship, and
those factors played big roles in her loss.

Chris Manteuffel
Email spamtrapped. Try chris(at)(my last name)(dot)name
edward ohare
2007-01-30 00:39:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
My method of counting is from 1939 to 1941. As of Dec 41 there was no real
100% convincing evidence that BBs were obsolete and totally vulnerable to
air and U-Boats, as those sunk were not used as intended in battle groups
with air cover, their envisaged roles.
The talk about the role of BBs being to fight BBs was just talk.
Navies didn't send their BBs out looking for a fight with other BBs
unless they had clear superiority. And if they did have clear
superiority, then their enemy avoided combat. Even with the odds were
relatively close, the decision was made to avoid loss rather than go
for a gain.

Navies would have been happy to have their BBs engage lesser ships,
but that was a bit of a problem because any worthwhile lesser ships
could avoid combat by running, and the BBs couldn't catch them and
force engagement. And, too, many of those lesser ships were equipped
with lots of torpedoes, which were greatly feared by BB commanders.

So the actual role of BBs was to prevent the enemy from attacking.
For offensive action, potential combatants considered the risk of loss
a deterrent to attempting pursuit of gain.

BBs really weren't obsolete as long as they presented a sufficient
risk to an enemy to cause him to alter his plans if he thought BBs
were present. But as far as being effective offensive weapons, they
really weren't even before aircraft became effective.
Alan Meyer
2007-01-29 16:14:47 UTC
Permalink
One more battleship sunk from the air, though at anchor I believe,
was the Russian Marat, by Hans Rudel, with a single bomb dropped
from his Stuka.

Alan
Michele Armellini
2007-01-29 17:29:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Meyer
One more battleship sunk from the air, though at anchor I believe,
was the Russian Marat, by Hans Rudel, with a single bomb dropped
from his Stuka.
That's why I mentioned the Soviets among those who seem to have suffered
from incompetence in defending their battleships from air and submarine
attack in the first years of the war. Yes it was at anchor and by the
standards used by the other poster, since it did keep firing in defense of
Leningrad, it was still operational with its hull resting on the bottom.
Jukka O. Kauppinen
2007-01-30 21:02:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by Alan Meyer
One more battleship sunk from the air, though at anchor I believe,
was the Russian Marat, by Hans Rudel, with a single bomb dropped
from his Stuka.
That's why I mentioned the Soviets among those who seem to have suffered
from incompetence in defending their battleships from air and submarine
attack in the first years of the war.
Except the battleship was extremerely heavily protected and that attack,
when it was finally sunk, was not the first or the second one against
it. Previous attacks had been ineffective because the heavy AA fire and
fighter intercepts had forced the attackers to either turn back or had
made the attacks ineffective. Or the bomb hits had been ineffective.
Rudel's hit was combination of stubborn flying through the AA barrage,
very good bombing accuracy AND most of all - having a 1800 kg armor
piercing bomb this time.

Saying that Russians were incompetent in protecting Marat is insulting,
because they weren't by any means. Attacks to London during Blitz were a
walk in the park compared to the hell in the skies of Leningrad at that
period.

Also, just because the Russian navy was stuck in the far bottom of Gulf
of Finland with nowhere to go doesn't mean they were incompetent in
protecting their ships.
Michele Armellini
2007-01-31 16:09:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jukka O. Kauppinen
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by Alan Meyer
One more battleship sunk from the air, though at anchor I believe,
was the Russian Marat, by Hans Rudel, with a single bomb dropped
from his Stuka.
That's why I mentioned the Soviets among those who seem to have suffered
from incompetence in defending their battleships from air and submarine
attack in the first years of the war.
Except the battleship was extremerely heavily protected and that attack,
when it was finally sunk, was not the first or the second one against
it. Previous attacks had been ineffective because the heavy AA fire and
fighter intercepts had forced the attackers to either turn back or had
made the attacks ineffective. Or the bomb hits had been ineffective.
Rudel's hit was combination of stubborn flying through the AA barrage,
very good bombing accuracy AND most of all - having a 1800 kg armor
piercing bomb this time.
Saying that Russians were incompetent in protecting Marat is insulting,
because they weren't by any means. Attacks to London during Blitz were a
walk in the park compared to the hell in the skies of Leningrad at that
period.
Also, just because the Russian navy was stuck in the far bottom of Gulf
of Finland with nowhere to go doesn't mean they were incompetent in
protecting their ships.
You are absolutely right.
If you had read all of my posts on this topic, you would have seen that it
was the other poster who blamed incompetence of the defenders every time a
battleship was sunk by submarine or aircraft attack during the first years
of war. I replied that if so, incompetence had to be rather widespread,
since it was not a case or two; it happened to the British, Italian,
Americans and Soviets (the Marat), not to mention the aircraft contribution
to the sinking of the Bismarck.
In other words, I was _challenging_ the fact that it all was due to
incompetence. I'll admit it was not obvious by the quote above, alone, but
as I said, it should be by reading all of my posts.
Bill Shatzer
2007-01-28 20:55:26 UTC
Permalink
-snip-
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
Plus Bismarck which was a combined air/surface "kill"
The air part may not have been if the AA guns were as good as the US and
British. That was down to a design flaw, which would have been
rectified - the ship was on its maiden voyage. Look at a fully
functioning BB.
Bismarck's AA protection was at least the equivelent to contemporary US
and RN battleships.

Note that the Japanese lost but three bombers in their attack on Force Z.

And German and Italian aircraft losses in the attacks on Cunningham's
ships during the Crete campaign were similarly modest. For instance, the
Luftwaffe lost but 9 Ju-87s from all causes between May 13 and June 1.

Nobody had very good AA defenses at that period in the war. Even "fully
functioning" BBs.

Cheers,
Bill Shatzer
2007-01-28 21:22:17 UTC
Permalink
-snips-
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
Still, through 1941, battleships didn't often come within range of
land-based air - due to a well-founded apprehension about their
survivability. Crete and Force Z are about the only two examples I can
think of; neither one of which turned out particularly well for the
battleships.
If naval ship were so vulnerable to air attack, all should have been
sunk at Crete, as the Germans had total air superiority.
That hardly follows - the US had even greater air superiority at the
Battle of the Philippine Sea yet a significant portion of Ozawa's fleet
survived - and at least two of his significant losses were caused by
submarines and not US air.
Post by L2007
As of Dec 1941 there was clear evidence that a BB with escorts and air
cover was a sitting useless duck.
Huh? I'm unaware of any examples of a BB "with escorts and air cover"
being a "sitting useless duck" during that time frame, or any other.

What was clear was that ships -without- adequate escorts and air cover
were going to be in for a very rough time if they came within range of
enemy air.
Post by L2007
Their armour was so valued that two WW2 US BBs were brought back into
active service in the 1980s.
Strickly a political decision - the Navy didn't much want them and the
cost of recommissioning the Iowas far exceeded their usefulness.

Incidently, all four Iowas were recommissioned as a part of Reagan's
"600 ship Navy", not just two.

Cheers,
Bill Shatzer
2007-01-28 21:55:29 UTC
Permalink
-snip-
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by L2007
In the final analysis destroyers and cruisers are expendable. The RN
was massive and could sustain losses of small ships.
Not in 1941 they weren't. Britain was desperately short of escorts -
see, for instance, the bases for destroyers deal - while it probably
had more battleships than it could gainfully employ.
The RN was not "desperate".
"Deperate" would certainly seem a rather appropriate adjective.
Certainly they lacked adequate numbers of escort vessels.
Post by L2007
The WW1 US destroyers were pretty well
useless with few doing anything useful.
No doubt the "four-stackers" were less than ideal warships and were
generally unpopular with their crews. But they were considerably more
than "useless" and most of them provided quite useful service.

They were of limited utility as North Atlantic convey escorts, true. But
they were not useless and, perhaps more importantly, they could perform
other destroyer functions, thus freeing up more suitable RN ships for
escort duties.

Cheers,
L2007
2007-01-29 01:46:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
The RN was not "desperate".
"Deperate" would certainly seem a rather appropriate adjective. Certainly
they lacked adequate numbers of escort vessels.
You missed the word "dedicated". They lacked dedicated escort vessels which
could hunt U-Boats and protect the cowboy too. Lumbering old tubs could
hardly protect the convoy never mind hunt for them. If you have ever spoken
to men who were on those convoys you will see that when a U-Boat was
detected the Corvettes zipped through the ships bobbing and weaving through
them along the way. They could turn and even stop quickly and drop depth
charges from front and rear. When there was activity two or three of them
would zip about covering an area flinging depth charges about. The convoy
would just keep going. One convoy per day left Liverpool alone. They also
left from Glasgow and sometime when not enough ships from one port they
would muster at Northern Ireland and set off in convoy. Liverpool was large
enough to have a whole convoy each time.

The RN had a hell of lot of small coastal vessels which could be adapted
quickly for Atlantic convoys, but the RN was reluctant.
Post by L2007
The WW1 US destroyers were pretty well useless with few doing anything
useful.
No doubt the "four-stackers" were less than ideal warships and were
generally unpopular with their crews. But they were considerably more than
"useless" and most of them provided quite useful service.
As Andrew stated, they were political rather than practical.
They were of limited utility as North Atlantic convey escorts, true. But
they were not useless and, perhaps more importantly, they could perform
other destroyer functions, thus freeing up more suitable RN ships for
escort duties.
They took up ship repair skills and crews. The manpower used to convert
them would have been better used to build new ships.
David Thornley
2007-01-29 05:40:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
The RN had a hell of lot of small coastal vessels which could be adapted
quickly for Atlantic convoys, but the RN was reluctant.
They used corvettes extensively in the North Atlantic, where they
weren't intended to go.
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
No doubt the "four-stackers" were less than ideal warships and were
generally unpopular with their crews. But they were considerably more than
"useless" and most of them provided quite useful service.
As Andrew stated, they were political rather than practical.
The USN used them.

For that matter, the RN used them for a couple of years.
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
They were of limited utility as North Atlantic convey escorts, true. But
They took up ship repair skills and crews. The manpower used to convert
them would have been better used to build new ships.
Except that they were hulls, more or less suitable for convoy escort,
and they were there. A ship that's in the water under her own steam
is far more useful than the most advanced ship design and production
plans.



--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
Andrew Clark
2007-01-29 13:24:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
Except that they were hulls, more or less suitable for convoy escort,
and they were there. A ship that's in the water under her own steam
is far more useful than the most advanced ship design and production
plans.
I can see I am going to dig out my old file...

The Admiralty conducted a full options appraisal with regard to the 50
destroyers. That appraisal concluded that it was quicker and cheaper to
build a new corvette, which was a far more capable design, than to convert
the old destroyers as makeshift Atlantic convoy escort duties, and a
corvette needed less maintenance, POL and crew too.

So, in this particular acute area of need, old hulls *were* in fact less
valuable than no hull at all.
Louis C
2007-01-30 18:48:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
I can see I am going to dig out my old file...
http://groups.google.fr/group/soc.history.war.world-war-ii/msg/
e5f9e7d8bcafc72b?hl=fr&


LC
Andrew Clark
2007-01-31 09:49:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis C
http://groups.google.fr/group/soc.history.war.world-war-ii/msg/
e5f9e7d8bcafc72b?hl=fr&
Many thanks. I can never get Google Groups search to work...

Anyway, to repeat:

Here is a complete list of the Town class destroyers and
their service history:

HMCS Annapolis. I04. (Ex-USS MacKenzie) - not used prior to
1944, and then as training ship.
HMS Bath. I17. (Ex-USS Hopewell) - minelaying 1940/41;
transferred to RNN 1941; convoy escort Liverpool-Gibraltar
1941. Sunk August 1941.
HMS Belmont. H46. (Ex-USS Satterlee) - refitted and used for
Atlantic convoy escort. Sunk 1942.
HMS Beverley. H64. (Ex-USS Branch) - refitted and used for
Atlantic convoy escort. Sunk 1943.
HMS Bradford. H72. (Ex-USS McClanahan) - not used on active
service
HMS Brighton. I08. (Ex-USS Cowell) not used on active
service; loaned to USSR 1944
HMS Broadwater. H81. (Ex-USS Mason) - used for coastal
convoy work in Channel and Irish Sea and sunk 1941
HMS Broadway. H90. (Ex-USS-Hunt) - refitted and used for
Atlantic convoy escort
HMS Burnham. H82. (Ex-USS Aulick) - not used on active
service; target ship 1943.
HMS Burwell. H94. (Ex-USS Laub) - coastal convoy escort;
target ship 1943
HMCS Buxton. H96. (Ex-USS Edwards) not used on active serve;
transferred to RCN 1943, used as training ship.
HMS Caldwell. I20. (Ex-USS Hale) - not used on active
service
HMS Campbeltown. I42. (ex-USS Buchanan) - coastal convoy
escort; used as block ship at St Nazaire
HMS Cameron. I05. (Ex-USS Welles) - destroyed by bombing in
Portsmouth docks
HMS Castleton. I23. (Ex-USS Aaron Ward) - not used on active
service
HMS Charlestown. I21. (Ex-USS Abbott) - not used on active
service
HMS Chelsea. I35. (Ex-USS Crowninshield) - not used on
active service; transferred to RCN 1942; loaned to USSR 1943
HMS Chesterfield. I28. (Ex-USS Welborn C Wood) - not used on
active service
HMS Churchill. I45. (Ex-USS Herndon) - rescue ship 1940/41;
coastal escort; attached to USN in West Indies; transferred
to USSR 1944
HMS Clare. I14. (Ex-USS Able P Upshur) - not used on active
service
HMCS Columbia. I49. (Ex-USS Haraden) - refitted 1941; used
as Atlantic convoy escort until 1944; stores hulk 1944/45
HMS Georgetown. I40. (Ex-USS Maddox) - not used on active
service; transferred to RCN 1942; loaned to USSR 1943
HMCS Hamilton. I24. (Ex-USS Falk) - not used on active
service by RN; transferred to RCN 1941; coastal convoy
escort
HMS Lancaster. G05. (Ex-USS Philip) - minelaying 1940/41;
Gibraltar convoy escort 1942; coastal convoy escort 1943-44;
target ship 1944/45
HMS Leamington. G19. (Ex-USS Twiggs) - refitted 1941;
Atlantic convoy escort 1941-43; to USSR 1944
HMS Leeds. G27. (Ex-USS Connor) - not used on active service
HMS Lewes. G38. (Ex-USS Conway) - refitted 1943; coastal
convoy escort; target ship 1943
HMS Lincoln. G42. (Ex-USS Yarnall) - not used on active
service by RN; transferred to RNN 1941; USSR 1943
HMS Ludlow. G57. (Ex-USS Stockton) - not used on active
service; target ship 1945
HMS Mansfield. G76. (Ex-USS Evans) - loaned to RNN 1940; RCN
1942; Atlantic convoy escort 1942-1944
HMS Montgomery. G95. (Ex-USS Wickes) - coastal convoy escort
1940/41; RCN 1942-43; laid up 1943
HMS Newark. G08. (Ex-USS Ringgold) - not used on active
service
HMS Newmarket. G47. (Ex-USS Robinson) - not used on active
service; target ship 1942
HMS Newport. G54. (Ex-USS Sigourney) - not used on active
service by RN; RNN 1941/42; target ship 1943
HMCS Niagara. I57. (Ex-USS Thatcher) - coastal convoy escort
1941-44; training ship 1944/45
HMS Ramsey. G60. (Ex-USS Meade) - not used on active
service; target ship 1943
HMS Reading. G71. (Ex-USS Bailey) - not used on active
service; target ship 1943
HMS Richmond. G88. (Ex-USS Fairfax) - not used on active
service; transferred to RCN 1943; loaned to USSR 1944
HMS Ripley. G79. (Ex-USS Shubrick)- refitted 1941; Atlantic
convoy escort 41-42; coastal convoy escort 43-44
HMS Rockingham. G58. (Ex-USS Swasey) - refitted 1941;
coastal convoy escort; sank 1944
HMS Roxburgh. I07. (Ex-USS Foote) - not used on active
service; USSR 1944
HMS St Albans. I15. (Ex-USS Thomas) - not used on active
service; transferred to RCN 1943; loaned to USSR 1944
HMCS St Clair. I65. (Ex-USS Williams) - coastal convoy
escort 1940-43; depot ship 1943-45
HMCS St. Croix. I81. (Ex-USS McCook)- coastal convoy escort;
sunk 1943
HMCS St. Francis. I93. (Ex-USS Bancroft) - coastal convoy
escort 1940-43; training ship 1944; sunk 1945
HMS St Mary's. I12. (Ex-USS Doran) - not used on active
service
HMS Salisbury. I52. (Ex-USS Claxton) - not used on active
service; transferred to RCN 1942
HMS Sherwood. I80. (Ex-USS Rodgers) - not used on active
service; target ship 1942-43.
HMS Stanley. I73. (Ex-USS McCallan) - Gibraltar convoy
escort 1940/41; sunk 1941
HMS Wells. I95. (Ex-USS Tillman) - not used on active
service


It appears that only 7 destroyers were used as Atlantic
convoy escorts, mostly in 1941-42, and 14 as coastal or
short-range convoy escorts. The majority were either used
for non-combat service or did not see active serve at all.
All were commissioned into the RN or RCN in 1940 for
propaganda purposes, which may be where the confusion
arises.


This information came from RN sources which I can cite if necessary.
L2007
2007-01-29 16:10:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
Except that they were hulls, more or less suitable for convoy escort,
and they were there. A ship that's in the water under her own steam
is far more useful than the most advanced ship design and production
plans.
It took a lot of skilled manpower and crews to get those tubs operate. The
skills could have been better used elsewhere. The steel from them when
scrapping was of more use than having them in service.
Alan Meyer
2007-01-29 16:15:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
Plus Bismarck which was a combined air/surface "kill"
The air part may not have been if the AA guns were as good as the US and British. That
was down to a design flaw, which would have been rectified - the ship was on its maiden
voyage. Look at a fully functioning BB.
Ah yes, but then the air attack was from a "Stringbag" Fairey Swordfish.
We might say it was less than a "fully functioning" aircraft. :^)

Alan
Michele Armellini
2007-01-29 17:28:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Meyer
Post by Bill Shatzer
Plus Bismarck which was a combined air/surface "kill"
The air part may not have been if the AA guns were as good as the US and British. That
was down to a design flaw, which would have been rectified - the ship was on its maiden
voyage. Look at a fully functioning BB.
Ah yes, but then the air attack was from a "Stringbag" Fairey Swordfish.
We might say it was less than a "fully functioning" aircraft. :^)
In fact. The Bismarck, if we assume the claim that its AA suite was poor is
correct, was hit by a poor aircraft model. The Prince of Wales had,
allegedly, a better AA suite - and it was sunk by better aircraft. And so
on. Throughout the war the AA suites were improved, and throughout the war
the aircraft, obviously being improved in their turn, kept sinking the
battleships. Now, I suppose the Yamato would have defeated an attack by a
Swordfish flight, but then again, why shouldn't we assess its survivability
when confronted with contemporary aircraft?
Bill Shatzer
2007-01-29 19:44:49 UTC
Permalink
Michele Armellini wrote:

-snip-
Post by Michele Armellini
In fact. The Bismarck, if we assume the claim that its AA suite was poor is
correct, was hit by a poor aircraft model. The Prince of Wales had,
allegedly, a better AA suite - and it was sunk by better aircraft. And so
on. Throughout the war the AA suites were improved, and throughout the war
the aircraft, obviously being improved in their turn, kept sinking the
battleships. Now, I suppose the Yamato would have defeated an attack by a
Swordfish flight, but then again, why shouldn't we assess its survivability
when confronted with contemporary aircraft?
The initial strike on the Yamato from TF 58.1 and TF 58.3 was 280 aircraft!

The follow-up strike from TF.58.4 involved an additional 106 aircraft!

Yamato had -zero- air cover.

I'd submit that nearly 400 unopposed aircraft were sufficient to sink
the ship, even had they been flying 1918-era Blackburn Kangaroos -
though aircraft losses might have been a bit higher with the Kangaroos.


Cheers,
Michele Armellini
2007-01-30 16:28:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
-snip-
Post by Michele Armellini
In fact. The Bismarck, if we assume the claim that its AA suite was poor is
correct, was hit by a poor aircraft model. The Prince of Wales had,
allegedly, a better AA suite - and it was sunk by better aircraft. And so
on. Throughout the war the AA suites were improved, and throughout the war
the aircraft, obviously being improved in their turn, kept sinking the
battleships. Now, I suppose the Yamato would have defeated an attack by a
Swordfish flight, but then again, why shouldn't we assess its survivability
when confronted with contemporary aircraft?
The initial strike on the Yamato from TF 58.1 and TF 58.3 was 280 aircraft!
The follow-up strike from TF.58.4 involved an additional 106 aircraft!
Sure. So what? We are comparing an outright sinking, with a dozen aircraft
delivering 1 torpedo, which admittedly did not sink the Bismarck.
Wouldn't 6 US torpedo and 6 dive bombers deliver, between them, at least one
hit on the Yamato? I really think so.
Post by Bill Shatzer
Yamato had -zero- air cover.
Like the Bismarck.
L2007
2007-01-29 23:28:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michele Armellini
In fact. The Bismarck, if we assume the
claim that its AA suite was poor is
correct, was hit by a poor aircraft model.
The Stringbag was not a poor plane as it turned out in practice. It was
considered obsolete in 1939, however it still did the business so was still
produced (until 1944). The planes that attacked the Bismarck were equipped
with RADAR (superior to anything the Germans had), giving it a vital edge.
The crews were highly skilled and dived vertically in cloud and bottomed out
near sea level just before the ship - the plane was highly manoeuvrable. An
example where some high tech equipment added and high class crews can make
an old dog perform new tricks. In the role it was used for at that time, mid
1941, the Stringbag was not really a poor plane at all. It just looked poor
and outdated.

Some have described the Stringbag as the most amazing plane of WW2, as it
should not have been in the war, however was built for most of the war and
served all six years of the war. And sunk the odd ship or two. The Rolex
watch of WW2 planes. Outdated technology but still serving a purpose.
Post by Michele Armellini
Now, I suppose the Yamato would have
defeated an attack by a Swordfish flight,
Not 400 of them!!
Don Phillipson
2007-01-29 22:39:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Meyer
Ah yes, but then the air attack was from a "Stringbag" Fairey Swordfish.
We might say it was less than a "fully functioning" aircraft. :^)
Yes, that was what savants said about the Swordfish
even in 1939 when it was new. But because of their
versatility the RN flew them on offensive as well as
patrol operations as late as 1944. I recommend
Charles Lamb's book War in a Stringbag (1977).
He survived several adventures (was sunk aboard
HMS Courageous, was shot down by a Stuka,
tortured by Vichy French in Algeria) and was
not seriously injured until 1945 -- in a deck
accident with modern aircraft.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
stork
2007-01-30 05:38:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
That's a "mission kill" of at least 25% on Cunningham's battleships -
I'm not sure how badly Barham was damaged but Warspite was definitely
out of the fight.
This has been a really enjoyable thread to read, and I tip my hat to
you and other posters for not only your incredible familiarity with
the subject, but also to your excellent writing. If all the usenet
were as good as this thread, the world would be a much better place.

Thank you!
JP
2007-01-26 20:57:16 UTC
Permalink
Here we will have to respectfully disagree I suppose. In 1921 when the US
airmen under Billy Mitchell sank the first battleship by air attack it
established the fact that airpower was a threat to all navies.

Mitchell did himself and his successors no favors by not adhering strictly
to the preset conditions of the test that would have allowed naval engineers
to physically examine the effect of the air ordinance and judge whether his
claim to be able to sink ships "under war time conditions" was accurate,
instead the flyboys gleefully (my supposition) sank everything they could
(source Wikipedia) thus prolonging an unnecessary controversy.

Moving forward to 1939 and the first months of 1940, both Great Britain and
Germany staged successful air attacks on naval forces at Scapa Flow and
Willemshaven and, when the Battle of Norway began, it became apparent to
both sides that once Germany had established airfields in central Norway the
threat of land based bombers forced the Royal Navy and Churchill to alter
the course of the campaign, effectively restricting their efforts to Narvik,
which was still beyond most German air cover at that time.

To conclude, I will stick with my statement that the threat air attack posed
to all naval forces at the start of WWII was obvious, accepted (even by it's
most ardent naval critics, including Admiral Sir Tom Philips whose
objections have been subject to more urban myth status than was the reality)
and almost immediately prioven unarguable.
--
Jonathan
Post by JP
Of course once the war started it was obvious to all that air power put
all capital ships at risk and that aircraft carriers and submarines were
far more effective weapons,
That was not obvious all in the first years of WW2. <snip>
David Thornley
2007-01-27 18:21:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by JP
Here we will have to respectfully disagree I suppose. In 1921 when the US
airmen under Billy Mitchell sank the first battleship by air attack it
established the fact that airpower was a threat to all navies.
It publicized it, but it didn't establish the fact. That was already
known. The British had made plans for a strike on the German fleet
in harbor, to happen in 1919 when they had adequate torpedo bombers.

(This is also when navies started putting anti-aircraft guns on ships.
Naval designers don't defend against attacks they consider ineffective.)

I don't think that any naval officer doubted that sufficiently many
bombing attacks could destroy an unmanned obsolete battleship at anchor.
Post by JP
Mitchell did himself and his successors no favors by not adhering strictly
to the preset conditions of the test that would have allowed naval engineers
to physically examine the effect of the air ordinance and judge whether his
claim to be able to sink ships "under war time conditions" was accurate,
instead the flyboys gleefully (my supposition) sank everything they could
(source Wikipedia) thus prolonging an unnecessary controversy.
Mitchell also made wild claims about the usefulness of air power against
ships, and generally made a pest of himself. While he made good
newspaper copy, he made little impact on people who actually had to
think about the issues.
Post by JP
Moving forward to 1939 and the first months of 1940, both Great Britain and
Germany staged successful air attacks on naval forces at Scapa Flow and
Willemshaven and, when the Battle of Norway began, it became apparent to
both sides that once Germany had established airfields in central Norway the
threat of land based bombers forced the Royal Navy and Churchill to alter
the course of the campaign, effectively restricting their efforts to Narvik,
which was still beyond most German air cover at that time.
Churchill proposed modifying an R class battleship by removing two
turrets, and adding lots of deck armor and anti-aircraft guns. The
Admiralty didn't go along with it.
Post by JP
To conclude, I will stick with my statement that the threat air attack posed
to all naval forces at the start of WWII was obvious, accepted (even by it's
most ardent naval critics, including Admiral Sir Tom Philips whose
objections have been subject to more urban myth status than was the reality)
and almost immediately prioven unarguable.
Right. The question was not whether aircraft threatened ships, but how
much, and what could surface ships accomplish when their side didn't have
control of the air. Since there was very little experience with
such naval combat, people had very different opinions on how grave the
danger or how much aircraft would dominate. Nobody took the threat
lightly.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
Don Phillipson
2007-01-26 22:38:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by JP
Of course once the war started it was obvious to all that air power put
all capital ships at risk and that aircraft carriers and submarines were
far more effective weapons,
That was not obvious all in the first years of WW2. German aircraft made
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941. . . .
Only when the Prince of Wales and the Repulse were sunk were battleships out
of favour
Post by JP
Hows that again?
Cruisers 3 (Calcutta, Fiji, Glouscester)
Destroyers 8 (Diamond, Greyhound, Hereward, Imperial, Juno, Kashmir,
Kelly, Wryneck) . . .
That was an appreciable portion of the Royal Navy forces involved.
The point was Battleships. How many BBs were lost 1939-41 to
air and U-Boat attack? In the final analysis destroyers and cruisers are
expendable.

No, the first example was whether "aircraft made
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941. . . . "
RN survivors of these engagements disagree with your claim.

The sinkings of the Royal Oak, Courageous and Barham have
already been mentioned as losses of "capital ships," not to
mention Hood and Bismarck. The main innovation of 1939-1942
appears to be Taranto (night attack from the air) which (if
needed) demonstrated to the Japanese that air attack might
destroy a fleet in harbour.
Post by L2007
In the final analysis destroyers and cruisers are expendable.
If any direct or indirect evidence supported this, you have
not yet made it available.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
L2007
2007-01-27 00:30:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Phillipson
Post by L2007
The point was Battleships. How many BBs were lost 1939-41 to
air and U-Boat attack? In the final analysis destroyers and cruisers are
expendable.
No, the first example was whether "aircraft made
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941. . . . "
RN survivors of these engagements disagree with your claim.
The sinkings of the Royal Oak,
Courageous and Barham have
already been mentioned as losses
of "capital ships,"
Battleships was the point not carriers. Barnham was the only BB sunk. The
other two was more incompetence by the RN.
Post by Don Phillipson
not to mention Hood and Bismarck.
Not to mention them as aircraft never sunk them.
Post by Don Phillipson
The main innovation of 1939-1942
appears to be Taranto (night attack from the air) which (if
needed) demonstrated to the Japanese that air attack might
destroy a fleet in harbour.
Any ship is vulnerable at anchor. In open combat is another matter.
Post by Don Phillipson
Post by L2007
In the final analysis destroyers
and cruisers are expendable.
If any direct or indirect evidence supported this, you have
not yet made it available.
They are expendable. They are to circle the capital ships.
Nik Simpson
2007-01-26 22:45:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by JP
Of course once the war started it was obvious to all that air power
put all capital ships at risk and that aircraft carriers and
submarines were far more effective weapons,
That was not obvious all in the first years of WW2. German aircraft made
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941.
Hmm, you must be thinking of a different Crete 1941 than I, the RN
suffered very heavy losses in cruisers and destroyers off Crete and at
least one carrier and BB were also seriously damaged by air attacks.
Post by L2007
The Bismarck was sunk by torpedoes from a HMS Gloucester not aircraft.
Uh, no, The cruiser which delivered the coup-de-grace was HMS
Dorsetshire, but only after aircraft had crippled her and battleships
had pummeled her into a floating wreck. Dorsetshire's contribution to
her final end was insignificant.
Post by L2007
The sinking of the old slow WW1 HMS Barnum was a great success for
the U-Boats.
That would be Barham, I don't think the RN ever named capital ships
after circus impresarios.
Post by L2007
Only when the Prince of Wales and the Repulse were sunk were battleships
out of favour - and those sinkings were incompetence by the commander
who never took his vessels to Australia when ordered and was patrolling
the shore in shallow waters with deep water vessels.
They sank in about 150 feet of water, but the depth of the water where
they were operating had no impact in the result.
Post by L2007
Overall U-Boats were more effective than aircraft against large armoured
ships. Battleships were vulnerable later in the war as more advanced
aircraft and weapons came about.
There were few examples were this theory was tested early in the war due
largely to a lack of opportunities, the Germans rarely if ever had the
opportunity to attack RN capital ships and the Germans had very few for
the RN to attack. Of course, the 1940 attack on Taranto was pretty
darned effective and the crippling of Littorio leading to the Matapan
action should have been a salutary lesson in the dangers posed to
captial ships by aircraft.

It would be more accurate to say that in the early part of the war,
torpedoes were the most effective weapon whether carried by aircraft or
submarines, later in the war as carrier aircraft became able to carry
large AP bombs they also become a serious threat to battleships.
--
Nik Simpson
L2007
2007-01-27 00:29:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
Post by JP
Of course once the war started it was obvious to all that air power put
all capital ships at risk and that aircraft carriers and submarines were
far more effective weapons,
That was not obvious all in the first years of WW2. German aircraft made
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941.
Hmm, you must be thinking of a different Crete 1941 than I, the RN
suffered very heavy losses in cruisers and destroyers off Crete and at
least one carrier and BB were also seriously damaged by air attacks.
That was with the Germans having total air superiority. If aircraft were so
devastating they would have wiped the lot out. They never. If the RN has
some effective air cover the matter would have been different.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
The Bismarck was sunk by torpedoes from a HMS Gloucester not aircraft.
Uh, no, The cruiser which delivered the coup-de-grace was HMS Dorsetshire,
but only after aircraft had crippled her and battleships had pummeled her
into a floating wreck. Dorsetshire's contribution to her final end was
insignificant.
The surface vessels did the work. Even PofW slowed Bismarck down.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
The sinking of the old slow WW1 HMS Barham
was a great success for the U-Boats.
That would be Barham, I don't think the RN ever named capital ships after
circus impresarios.
They should have with some of the clowns they had.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
Only when the Prince of Wales and the Repulse were sunk were battleships
out of favour - and those sinkings were incompetence by the commander who
never took his vessels to Australia when ordered and was patrolling the
shore in shallow waters with deep water vessels.
They sank in about 150 feet of water, but the depth of the water where
they were operating had no impact in the result.
They were in water not suited for their intentions, with no air cover.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
Overall U-Boats were more effective than aircraft against large armoured
ships. Battleships were vulnerable later in the war as more advanced
aircraft and weapons came about.
There were few examples were this theory was tested early in the war due
largely to a lack of opportunities, the Germans rarely if ever had the
opportunity to attack RN capital ships and the Germans had very few for
the RN to attack. Of course, the 1940 attack on Taranto was pretty darned
effective and the crippling of Littorio leading to the Matapan action
should have been a salutary lesson in the dangers posed to captial ships
by aircraft.
At anchor. That is incompetence not detecting the attackers soon enough and
not having enough anti-aircraft measurers or planes ready to counter.
Post by Nik Simpson
It would be more accurate to say that in the early part of the war,
torpedoes were the most effective weapon whether carried by aircraft or
submarines, later in the war as carrier aircraft became able to carry
large AP bombs they also become a serious threat to battleships.
Yup.

My point is that in the first few years of the war the BB was king and was
thought so even way into WW2, as there was no strong evidence that U-Boats
and especially aircraft at the time could sink them at will rendering them
obsolete. The BBs could take a pounding and still be operative. Later in
the war was a different matter.
Post by Nik Simpson
--
Nik Simpson
JP
2007-01-27 01:14:48 UTC
Permalink
I am sorry, but there is no way, given the historical evidence, that you
could possibly defend this assertion. Otherwise the IJN would have steamed
into Hawaiian waters with the Yamamoto proudly leading the invasion force
and "Operation Sealion" would have commenced immediately after the
evacuation of Dunkirk because the superior range and accuracy of the German
naval fleet guns would have rendered the Royal Navy helpless to resist in
the narrow waters of the English channel.



Jonathan
Post by L2007
My point is that in the first few years of the war the BB was king and was
thought so even way into WW2, as there was no strong evidence that U-Boats
and especially aircraft at the time could sink them at will rendering them
obsolete. The BBs could take a pounding and still be operative. Later in
the war was a different matter.
Post by Nik Simpson
--
Nik Simpson
L2007
2007-01-27 18:01:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by JP
I am sorry, but there is no way, given the historical evidence, that you
could possibly defend this assertion. Otherwise the IJN would have steamed
into Hawaiian waters with the Yamamoto proudly leading the invasion force
The Japanese were attacking ships at anchor. They would have done it
differently in a deep ocean fleet to fleet engagement.
Post by JP
and "Operation Sealion" would have commenced immediately after the
evacuation of Dunkirk because the superior range and accuracy of the
German naval fleet guns would have rendered the Royal Navy helpless to
resist in the narrow waters of the English channel.
The Germans were hopelessly out numbered in Sept 1940
JP
2007-01-28 20:51:18 UTC
Permalink
Again and again you miss the point. I, and no one else are denigrating the
worth of battleships during WWII we are just pointing out that how you see
them was an obsolete strategic use.

The era of fleet to fleet combat ala Jutland ended well before WWII ever
started and with it the strategic raison d'etre for large capital ships of
the line. The chief reasons were the enormous costs of building and
maintaining them and the coming of the aircraft carrier and their
complements of torpedo planes, combat air cover fighters and dive bombers,
as well as land based heavy and medium bombers..

In addition, the advent of long range float planes such as the Consolidated
PBY's and sea borne radars effectively ended the one major advantage of
naval forces, that being the ability to operate without detection or attack
in the open seas.

When you keep referring to attacks taking place while the enemy was at
anchor or in harbor are simply red herrings, because people more versed in
the history of naval warfare in this group than I can cite chapter and verse
actions (such as the Royal Naval vs the Italian fleet in the Mediterranean)
where air craft either from carriers or from land bases simply rendered the
presence of enemy battleships in open water fleet to fleet engagements next
to worthless.

I suggest the Wikipedia articles on the history of battleship to see why
their role changed from being the vanguard of large fleets to the main
protectors of aircraft carrier groups and as superb gun platforms for
invasion forces who enjoyed local air superiority.

And lastly, all of the above reasons are why no modern navy with the
exception of the Soviets ever built new classes of battleships that were
under design during WWII. America recommisioned the four Iowa class BB's for
several reasons, they were excellent gun platforms for supporting Marine
operations, very effective anti-ship missile defenses had been developed,
the tomahawk missile was in our arsenal and it was a weapons system that was
cheap and available at a time when Ronald Reagan and the Secratary of the
Navy wanted to force the Soviets to match us ruble to dollar during the arms
race.
--
Jonathan
Post by L2007
Post by L2007
The Japanese were attacking ships at anchor. They would have done it
differently in a deep ocean fleet to fleet engagement.
L2007
2007-01-28 21:56:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by JP
Again and again you miss the point.
You are way off mark

The point is that BBs were obsolete in WW2 (1945), however that was not the
view in the first two years of WW2, as there was just not enough evidence to
suggest they were obsolete.

In Dec 41 naval commanders still rated the BBs as No. 1. They had no idea
that plane, guided missile, RADAR, ASW technology would advance so much in
such sort years.
David Thornley
2007-01-29 03:24:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
The point is that BBs were obsolete in WW2 (1945), however that was not the
view in the first two years of WW2, as there was just not enough evidence to
suggest they were obsolete.
They weren't obsolete in the sense that there was no use for them, but
they were certainly obsolescent. Britain and France continued work
on new battleships past the end of WWII (Vanguard and Jean Bart).
Post by L2007
In Dec 41 naval commanders still rated the BBs as No. 1. They had no idea
that plane, guided missile, RADAR, ASW technology would advance so much in
such sort years.
Some commanders did, some didn't. Plenty of US admirals thought
the battleship had been demoted to number 2.

BTW, radar and ASW technology are things that would help a battleship
stay relevant, by helping protect it from other threats. The biggest
effect radar had on battleship survivability was in providing warning
from air attack and controlling AA guns.


--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
L2007
2007-01-29 16:10:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
BTW, radar and ASW technology are things that would help a battleship
stay relevant, by helping protect it from other threats. The biggest
effect radar had on battleship survivability was in providing warning
from air attack and controlling AA guns.
My point that from 39-41 there was not enough evidence that BBs were lame
ducks because of aircraft pretty well stands up. U-Boats were a bigger
threat. Technological advances helped the attackers more than the defenders.
But!!! The armour of a BB made it difficult to sink. The effective use of 15
inch guns was in question in 1945, that was what killed the BB more than
anything. Guided missiles were proven at the end of WW2. Planes could
deliver bombs accurately at land and sea targets. HMS Warspite was hit by a
guided missile and put out of action - however she was put back in action
later, while a carrier would have been at the bottom of the sea.
Tero P. Mustalahti
2007-01-29 15:00:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by JP
And lastly, all of the above reasons are why no modern navy with the
exception of the Soviets ever built new classes of battleships that were
under design during WWII.
Nope -- none of the Sovyetskiy Soyuz (i.e. Soviet Union) class ships
were ever completed and by 1950 all were scrapped.

On the other hand both France and the UK completed their battleships
which were under construction during WW2. Jean Bart was the last
battleship completed and commissioned, in year 1949.


Tero P. Mustalahti
L2007
2007-01-30 22:20:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by JP
And lastly, all of the above reasons are why no modern navy with the
exception of the Soviets ever built new classes of battleships that were
under design during WWII.
Nope -- none of the Sovyetskiy Soyuz (i.e. Soviet Union) class ships were
ever completed and by 1950 all were scrapped.
On the other hand both France and the UK completed their battleships which
were under construction during WW2. Jean Bart was the last battleship
completed and commissioned, in year 1949.
The Vanguard was scrapped in 1960. The thing cost a fortune, when the
country could least afford it. Its guns were taken from HMS Glorious when
she was converted to a carrier.

The US kept a lot of its old battleships and carriers. The surviving USS
Texas was based on the British Dreadnought class. HMS Dreadnought in 1906
made every ship instantly obsolete. Yet no examples survived. Few ships on
introduction have made all the rest in the world obsolete. The Laird Rams,
designed and built by the Laird Shipyard at Birkenhead near Liverpool for
the Confederate South was one - or two of them. Two were made and President
Lincoln threaten to declare war on Britain if they allowed the ships to be
delivered to the South. They were reluctantly taken into the RN - they never
designed it so didn't like them. Fools.
Rich Rostrom
2007-01-31 02:57:10 UTC
Permalink
Vanguard... 's guns were taken from HMS Glorious when
she was converted to a carrier.
GLORIOUS and her sister COURAGEOUS were built
with 4 x 15" guns each.

They were converted to carriers in 1924-30.
Their main guns and turrets were saved.

At the start of WW II, the British cancelled
construction of the four LION-class battleships;
it seemed unlikely they could finished during
the war.

The Admiralty then started building VANGUARD,
using the salvaged guns, on the theory that
with main battery parts ready to hand, a
battleship could be completed quickly.
--
| He had a shorter, more scraggly, and even less |
| flattering beard than Yassir Arafat, and Escalante |
| never conceived that such a thing was possible. |
| -- William Goldman, _Heat_ |
David Thornley
2007-01-31 14:15:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
The Vanguard was scrapped in 1960. The thing cost a fortune, when the
country could least afford it. Its guns were taken from HMS Glorious when
she was converted to a carrier.
Glorious and Courageous, to be precise. They had 4 15" guns each when
built as "large light cruisers" ("mistake" or "abortion" might be a
somewhat better type designation).

Moreover, most of the expense was during the war, when it appeared
that Vanguard might actually be used. The cost of finishing Vanguard
was relatively small, and it gave the RN a battleship considerably
better than the KGV class. Since battleships were not clearly obsolete
by then, finishing her wasn't a bad idea. (Jean Bart, on the other
hand....)
Post by L2007
The US kept a lot of its old battleships and carriers. The surviving USS
Texas was based on the British Dreadnought class.
More like a development of South Carolina, which was actually ordered
before Dreadnought and designed independently. There were two
major independent projects going on, the British and the US. The
Brits built one first, and it was a much better warship than
South Carolina.

HMS Dreadnought in 1906
Post by L2007
made every ship instantly obsolete.
Most pre-dreadnoughts were scrapped 15-20 years after she was in service.
Many of them gave valuable service in WWI.

Yet no examples survived.

USS Texas is the remaining WWI-era dreadnought battleship, and the
Japanese Mikasa is the remaining pre-dreadnought.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
Michele Armellini
2007-01-27 17:55:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
My point is that in the first few years of the war the BB was king and was
thought so even way into WW2, as there was no strong evidence that U-Boats
and especially aircraft at the time could sink them at will rendering them
obsolete. The BBs could take a pounding and still be operative. Later in
the war was a different matter.
Then your point is wrong.
You have dismissed every example that was made to show you that battleships
could be sunk and actually were, both by air or submarines, by mentioning
either lack of air cover or incompetence.
As to lack of air cover, it certainly applied in a few cases, but in itself
it goes to show that already in the first years of the war the battleships
were not able to defend themselves on their own, which rather dispels their
myth.
As to incompetence, maybe it was that, but then it was quite widespread:
British, Italian, Soviet and American battleships were sunk by submarines or
aircraft in the first three years of the war, with only the Americans having
some justification given that they thought they were at peace.

You also seem unable to tell the difference between being afloat and being
operative. The Bismarck could be given its coup the grace because of the
damage done by air-delivered torpedoes. The Tirpitz spent most of its life
afloat hunkered down under air attack, and under repairs due to hits by the
air and by submarines. The Scharnhorst was hit by a submarine in 1940 and by
an air attack in 1941, and in both cases it certainly remained afloat but
it's hard to say it was operative. The Lützow (though this isn't a true
battleship) was hit by a submarine torpedo in April 1940, and spent nine
months under repairs. The Gneisenau was hit by a submarine torpedo two
months later and went under repairs for months, then was hit again by a
torpedo bomber in April 1941, docked, and hit again by bombs there, and
finally hit by another bombing raid in the Kiel docks after the Channel
dash, severely damaged, and never saw action again.
And those are German ships only.
L2007
2007-01-28 20:55:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by L2007
My point is that in the first few years of the war the BB was king and was
thought so even way into WW2, as there was no strong evidence that U-Boats
and especially aircraft at the time could sink them at will rendering them
obsolete. The BBs could take a pounding and still be operative. Later in
the war was a different matter.
Then your point is wrong.
It was the point of view of many top naval commanders, of different
countries, not me. I have 20-20 hindsight, they never. It will have to
take some convincing evidence that BBs were a waste of time before they
change their approach. And there was little in the first two years to make
them think that.
Post by Michele Armellini
You have dismissed every example that was
made to show you that battleships
could be sunk and actually were, both by air
or submarines, by mentioning
either lack of air cover or incompetence.
That was so. The naval commanders viewed a BB with a battle group and a
carrier. In that situation the BB was not vulnerable to them and massive
heavy punch with many 15 inch guns. Any ship is vulnerable at anchor or
alone.

BBs were sunk in WW1, however they never dismissed them out of hand.
Post by Michele Armellini
As to lack of air cover, it certainly
applied in a few cases, but in itself
it goes to show that already in the first
years of the war the battleships
were not able to defend themselves on
their own, which rather dispels their
myth.
They were never meant to sail alone, only with battle groups with the groups
protecting the devastating 15 inch guns.
Post by Michele Armellini
You also seem unable to tell the difference
between being afloat and being
operative.
I do know the difference.
Post by Michele Armellini
The Bismarck could be given its coup
the grace because of the damage done
by air-delivered torpedoes.
I have already laid this out, the initial damage was by a 14 inch shell.
The poor AA functions of the Bismarck to the Allies was not an issue for
them. If those Swordfish had attacked the PofW, and others including US
BBs, they would have been blow out of the sky - not one was shot down. Look
at how a top naval commander would view the Bismarck sinking. He would not
have said air power was the deciding factor.

The Germans did not have large battle groups as the UK and US had. Their BBs
were more vulnerable.
Post by Michele Armellini
The Tirpitz spent most of its life
afloat hunkered down under air
attack,
No. Because it was frightened to face the RN. They feared the same fate as
the Bismarck.
Post by Michele Armellini
The Scharnhorst was hit by a submarine in 1940 and by
an air attack in 1941, and in both cases it certainly
remained afloat but it's hard to say it was operative.
After the sub attack it could still fire its guns.
Post by Michele Armellini
The Gneisenau was hit by a submarine torpedo two
months later and went under repairs for months,
It never sunk. Building a new ship takes many years, which is very different
to patching up a hull. If it was a carrier it would have sunk.
Post by Michele Armellini
then was hit again by a torpedo bomber
in April 1941, docked,
Docked!
Post by Michele Armellini
And those are German ships only.
Louis C
2007-01-29 08:12:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
The poor AA functions of the Bismarck to the Allies was not an issue for
them. If those Swordfish had attacked the PofW, and others including US
BBs, they would have been blow out of the sky
So you say.

Remind us how many planes were blown out of the sky by PoW in December
1941?


LC
Tero P. Mustalahti
2007-01-29 16:14:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
The poor AA functions of the Bismarck to the Allies was not an issue for
them. If those Swordfish had attacked the PofW, and others including US
BBs, they would have been blow out of the sky
So you say.
Remind us how many planes were blown out of the sky by PoW in December
1941?
Exactly. All battleships had pretty poor AA defenses in 1940 and 1941.
Bismarck was not in any way exceptionally poor in that regard. The Iowa
class was really the first BB class with a semi-decent AA armament from
the beginning. For example South Dakota did have the excellent 5"/38
dual purpose guns, but the original light AA setup was actually worse
than the British KGV or the German Bismarck classes.


Tero P. Mustalahti
Michele Armellini
2007-01-29 16:11:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by L2007
My point is that in the first few years of the war the BB was king and was
thought so even way into WW2, as there was no strong evidence that U-Boats
and especially aircraft at the time could sink them at will rendering them
obsolete. The BBs could take a pounding and still be operative. Later in
the war was a different matter.
Then your point is wrong.
It was the point of view of many top naval commanders, of different
countries, not me. I have 20-20 hindsight, they never. It will have to
take some convincing evidence that BBs were a waste of time before they
change their approach.
Then their point was wrong.

And there was little in the first two years to make
Post by L2007
them think that.
Then this, which I assume is your point, is wrong.
By applying the "first two years" definition liberally (i.e., not from
September 1939 but the first two years each individual nation was at war),
we can come up with an extremely impressive list of battleships sunk by
aircraft, or submarines, or a combination of aircraft and other means, and
they belong at least to four nations.
Post by L2007
Post by Michele Armellini
You have dismissed every example that was
made to show you that battleships
could be sunk and actually were, both by air
or submarines, by mentioning
either lack of air cover or incompetence.
That was so. The naval commanders viewed a BB with a battle group and a
carrier.
A generalization that you directly contradict below, when you have to
acknowledge that it turns out the Germans (and for that matter the Italians
and Soviets) were somewhat short in carriers.


Any ship is vulnerable at anchor or
Post by L2007
alone.
Fine. So what? Ships have to spend some time at anchor. Are you going to
argue that attacking them at that time is not fair? The fact that ships have
to spend time at anchor, coupled with the impressive list of battleships
sunk at anchor by aircraft, submarines, and special underwater attacks goes
to show that no ship, including battleships, is ever invulnerable to air and
submarine attack.
Post by L2007
Post by Michele Armellini
You also seem unable to tell the difference
between being afloat and being
operative.
I do know the difference.
The claim alone won't cut. Your statements show you don't. See below.
Post by L2007
Post by Michele Armellini
The Bismarck could be given its coup
the grace because of the damage done
by air-delivered torpedoes.
I have already laid this out, the initial damage was by a 14 inch shell.
The poor AA functions of the Bismarck to the Allies was not an issue for
them. If those Swordfish had attacked the PofW, and others including US
BBs, they would have been blow out of the sky - not one was shot down.
OTOH, aircraft attacked the Prince of Wales, weren't they aircraft too? And
they weren't blown out of the sky, actually IIRC they took little losses,
and it was the ship that was blown into the sea.
Post by L2007
The Germans did not have large battle groups as the UK and US had. Their BBs
were more vulnerable.
See above. Then the Germans (and the Italians, and the Soviets) did not
"viewed a BB with a battle group and a
Post by L2007
carrier." Your generalization is wrong, as you point out yourself.
Post by Michele Armellini
The Tirpitz spent most of its life
afloat hunkered down under air
attack,
No. Because it was frightened to face the RN. They feared the same fate as
the Bismarck.
So if the Germans had had the guts to face the Royal Navy, the Tirpitz
should have been able to set forth immediately after being hit by those
midget subs, right? No. It couldn't do that. That's the difference between
being afloat and being operative, and you have shown you can't tell it.
Post by L2007
Post by Michele Armellini
The Scharnhorst was hit by a submarine in 1940 and by
an air attack in 1941, and in both cases it certainly
remained afloat but it's hard to say it was operative.
After the sub attack it could still fire its guns.
So why didn't it keep up with its missions? Why did it limp back home?
Because it was no longer operative. Being able to fire one's guns isn't the
same as being operative. The Queen Elisabeth and the Valiant could have
fired, the Marat did actually fire, all of them while they had their bellies
resting on the bottom. I suppose that by the token above you'll claim that
therefore they were operative - which once again shows you don't know the
meaning of the term.
Post by L2007
Post by Michele Armellini
The Gneisenau was hit by a submarine torpedo two
months later and went under repairs for months,
It never sunk.
No, in fact. It was afloat, but not operative. See? You can't tell the
difference.
Post by L2007
Post by Michele Armellini
then was hit again by a torpedo bomber
in April 1941, docked,
Docked!
Yes. See above; considering ships that are docked or at anchor as not fair
game is naive.
L2007
2007-01-29 23:49:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by L2007
It was the point of view of many top naval commanders, of different
countries, not me. I have 20-20 hindsight, they never. It will have to
take some convincing evidence that BBs were a waste of time before they
change their approach.
Then their point was wrong.
In your view - and others.
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by L2007
And there was little in the first two years to make
them think that.
Then this, which I assume is your point, is wrong.
By applying the "first two years" definition liberally
The point at which people generally point to, that made BBs obsolete was the
sinking of the PofW and the Repulse in Dec 41 by aircraft - the first two
years.

Analyse the BB sinkings 39-41, and it is difficult to conclude that they
were made obsolete by aircraft. Most were sunk because of incompetence - not
protected enough at anchor, etc, being exposed and basically alone and in a
place where they should have not been, etc.
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by L2007
That was so. The naval commanders viewed a
BB with a battle group and a carrier.
A generalization that you directly
contradict below, when you have to
acknowledge that it turns out the Germans
(and for that matter the Italians
and Soviets) were somewhat short in carriers.
The US and UK, who had large navies, had the capability to sail battle
groups with a carrier and a BB. That was the chosen attacking format by
many.
Post by Michele Armellini
OTOH, aircraft attacked the Prince of Wales,
weren't they aircraft too? And they weren't
blown out of the sky, actually IIRC they took
little losses, and it was the ship that was blown
into the sea.
How the AA scored so few hit was a mystery, even when the ships were listing
they should have scored more. The ships were in shallow waters with no air
cover "looking" for an invasion fleet - totally unsuited for that type of
operation. Those ships could fire 15 to 20 miles. Smaller ship were to find
the invasion fleet and bringing the big guns to bear standing well off.

An number of admirals would not dismiss BBs as vulnerable and useless
assessing after those sinking. They were told to sail to Australia and
should not have been there so poorly defended.
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by L2007
The Germans did not have large battle
groups as the UK and US had. Their
BBs were more vulnerable.
See above. Then the Germans (and the
Italians, and the Soviets) did not
"viewed a BB with a battle group and a
carrier." Your generalization is wrong, as
you point out yourself.
The US and UK did (well elements of both) and did so pre WW2. If Italy, the
USSR and Germany were still thinking WW2 then they were doomed to fail with
BBs.
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by L2007
Post by Michele Armellini
The Scharnhorst was hit by a submarine in 1940 and by
an air attack in 1941, and in both cases it certainly
remained afloat but it's hard to say it was operative.
After the sub attack it could still fire its guns.
So why didn't it keep up with its missions?
A carrier would have sunk. A few months later the BB is up and running with
patched up hull.
Post by Michele Armellini
Why did it limp back home?
Because it was no longer operative. Being able to fire one's guns isn't the
same as being operative. The Queen Elisabeth and the Valiant could have
fired, the Marat did actually fire, all of them while they had their bellies
resting on the bottom. I suppose that by the token above you'll claim that
therefore they were operative - which once again shows you don't know the
meaning of the term.
You have lost the plot.
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by L2007
Post by Michele Armellini
The Gneisenau was hit by a submarine torpedo two
months later and went under repairs for months,
It never sunk.
No, in fact. It was afloat, but not operative.
See? You can't tell the difference.
A carrier would have sunk for ever. The survivability of the BB was way in
its favour.

What pushed it out of favour was that the function of the 15 inch guns could
be performed by aircraft. Once that happened the BB was obsolete.

Its 15 inch guns and survivability was its main attraction.
Louis C
2007-01-27 13:07:23 UTC
Permalink
On Jan 26, 5:41 pm, "L2007" <NO-***@awayspam.com> wrote:

Did you read the group's FAQ regarding a repliable email address?
Between that and the factual accuracy of your posts, wouldn't you be
the latest avatar of "Spiv", by any chance?
Post by L2007
German aircraft made
little effect on the British ships at Crete in 1941.
Crete was considered a disaster by the British due to the heavy DD &
cruiser losses. Capital ships in the area were also damaged and had to
limp home to Alexandria. That Cunningham had refused to deploy his
battleships around Crete in the first place also says something about
the impression that the Luftwaffe had made on the RN.
Post by L2007
In the Dunkirk
evacuation the RN faired well considering the Germans did not have much
opposition in the air.
The RAF staged a maximum effort over Dunkirk, where skies were
definitely contested. Around 100 lost German planes testify to the
accuracy of your "not much opposition in the air" claim.
Post by L2007
The Bismarck was sunk by torpedoes from a HMS
Gloucester not aircraft,
That the Bismarck was engaged by RN surface ships in the first place
was due to a successful torpedo hit from an aircraft.
Post by L2007
U-Boats were mainly commerce raiders
That's what they turned out to be, as there were more merchant ships
than battleships for them to attack.

Royal Oak was sunk by a "commerce raider", HMS Resolution was put out
of the fight by a French submarine off Dakar in September 1940, then
there's Barham.
Post by L2007
Only when the Prince of Wales and the Repulse were sunk were battleships out
of favour - and those sinkings were incompetence by the commander who never
took his vessels to Australia when ordered and was patrolling the shore in
shallow waters with deep water vessels.
If patrolling in shallow water is the mark of incompetence, then both
the USN and IJN displayed amazing incompetence off Guadalcanal.
Post by L2007
Overall U-Boats were more effective than aircraft against large armoured
ships. Battleships were vulnerable later in the war as more advanced
aircraft and weapons came about.
Battleships were vulnerable early in the war as well. Rodney took a
hit off Norway and withdrew, so did Vittorio Veneto at Cape Matapan,
then there's Taranto and Pearl Harbor, not to mention heavy CL/DD
losses to air attacks off Norway and at Dunkirk.
L2007
2007-01-27 18:55:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis C
Did you read the group's FAQ regarding a repliable email address?
Between that and the factual accuracy of your posts, wouldn't you be
the latest avatar of "Spiv", by any chance?
Who is Spiv? I don't put real email addresses, because of a spam. I am fed
up with ads for Viagra.
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
In the Dunkirk
evacuation the RN faired well considering
the Germans did not have much
opposition in the air.
The RAF staged a maximum effort over Dunkirk, where skies were
definitely contested. Around 100 lost German planes testify to the
accuracy of your "not much opposition in the air" claim.
The Germans could have attacked every ship, and they tried, they had enough
planes.
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
The Bismarck was sunk by torpedoes
from a HMS Dorsetshire not aircraft,
That the Bismarck was engaged by RN surface ships in the first place
was due to a successful torpedo hit from an aircraft.
Not quite, it was because the PofW hit her fuel tanks and she was listing
slightly slowing her down. The Swordfish firing torpedoes and not one being
shot down was due to the poor AA guns on the Bismarck. That was not a
problem on Allied BBs.
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
U-Boats were mainly commerce raiders
That's what they turned out to be, as
there were more merchant ships
than battleships for them to attack.
That was their prime intention. If they bagged a military ship all well and
good.
Post by Louis C
Royal Oak was sunk by a "commerce raider",
At anchor. And due to incompetence at not securing Scapa Flow. Doesn't
count.
Post by Louis C
HMS Resolution was put out
of the fight by a French submarine
off Dakar in September 1940, then
there's Barham.
I did say U-Boats were more effective than planes 1939-41
Post by Louis C
If patrolling in shallow water is the mark of incompetence, then both
the USN and IJN displayed amazing incompetence off Guadalcanal.
They were locking horns at the time. The PofW and Repulse were looking
around, in places they should not have been.
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
Overall U-Boats were more effective than aircraft against large armoured
ships. Battleships were vulnerable later in the war as more advanced
aircraft and weapons came about.
Battleships were vulnerable early in the war as well. Rodney took a
hit off Norway and withdrew, so did Vittorio Veneto at Cape Matapan,
then there's Taranto and Pearl Harbor, not to mention heavy CL/DD
losses to air attacks off Norway and at Dunkirk.
You still haven't got it. At anchor any vessel is a sitting duck. BBs in
full deep water with escorts and air cover and reconnaissance from a carrier
were not viewed to be a dead loss at the time. Their 15 inch guns were
valued at destroying large enemy vessels and shore bombardment if need be.
The more accurate firing mechanisms and RADAR over WW1 BBs was viewed as a
great asset in bringing in 15 inch guns.

In the first two years of WW2 the big 15 inch guns were the centre of the
group. The were viewed as being able to do most damage and from a long
distance too. The USA pioneered carriers as forward attack and designed
excellent planes for this role. Despite that, the US navy was split in this
approach even after implementation. The operating theatres of the US Navy
and RN were different too with the US having the massive Pacific to
traverse, while the UK with its empire had ports reasonably close. Initially
the RN viewed carriers as primarily reconnaissance with torpedo ability,
hence the Swordfish plane. The carrier was to assist the battle group, not
be Queen bee. The BB was Queen bee.

In the role it was intended the BB was not under immediate threat from
aircraft, 1939-41. Air launched torpedoes were not as powerful as the
U-Boats and hitting a full speed ship with bombs was difficult.
Geoffrey Sinclair
2007-01-28 06:15:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
Did you read the group's FAQ regarding a repliable email address?
Between that and the factual accuracy of your posts, wouldn't you be
the latest avatar of "Spiv", by any chance?
Who is Spiv? I don't put real email addresses, because of a spam. I am fed
up with ads for Viagra.
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
In the Dunkirk
evacuation the RN faired well considering
the Germans did not have much
opposition in the air.
The RAF staged a maximum effort over Dunkirk, where skies were
definitely contested. Around 100 lost German planes testify to the
accuracy of your "not much opposition in the air" claim.
The Germans could have attacked every ship, and they tried, they had
enough planes.
This is simply wrong, since no one expected the evacuation to
work the number of aircraft assigned to attacking the Dunkirk
pocket was in accordance with priorities, like making sure the
French Army was defeated. In addition the rapid advance made
it hard for the shorter ranged German aircraft to operate effectively.

In the period 27 May to 2 June the Luftwaffe flew some 1,010
bomber, 805 Ju87, 20 Hs123, 1,595 Bf109 and 405 Bf110 sorties,
total 3,835 over Dunkirk. The RAF replied with 1,764 fighter sorties
and 543 bomber sorties.

The Luftwaffe targets until 30 May were basically the troops in
the pocket. An anti shipping unit, III/KG30 was actually sent to
Norway during the Dunkirk evacuation.

Destroyers lost to air attack May 1940,

3 May Bison (French) , Afridi (RN) off Namsos
5 May Grom (Polish) in Ofotfjord, near Narvik
10 May, Van Galen (Dutch) at Rotterdam
15 May Valentine (RN) in the Schelde Estuary.
19 May Whitley (RN) 2 miles off Nieuport
23 May Orage (French) 4 miles west of Boulogne
25 May Wessex (RN) off Calais
29 May Grenade (RN) sunk at Dunkirk

also 26 May Curlew RN AA cruiser, sunk in Laving Fjord

1 June Foudroyant (French) at Dunkirk (6W Buoy)
1 June (all RN near Dunkirk) Keith (off Bray), Basilisk (off La Panne),
Havant.

Most were moving, but most were close inshore which restricted
their movements.

By the way the Mediterranean fleet went into the Crete battle with
4 battleships, 1 carrier, 10 cruisers and 30 destroyers, losing 3 cruisers
and 6 destroyers sunk, with 2 battleships, 1 carrier, 5 cruisers and
5 destroyers seriously damaged.

Also what is missing is the size of the German force, mainly LG1, KG1,
StG 2 and JG77, they flew some 534 anti shipping sorties and 364 armed
reconnaissance sorties January to May 1941. All up for the invasion
of Crete the Germans had 552 combat aircraft, or around a sixth those
deployed against England in 1940. And in 1941 the Luftwaffe had to
fly further to find its targets.

By the way according to the RN figures aircraft sank 580,074 GRT of
merchant shipping in 1940, and another 1,017,422 GRT in 1941 (72,850
GRT in December). Some 323,454 GRT of the 1941 total was in April.
The allies lost some 292,518 GRT of shipping in the Mediterranean
that month.

Air superiority is one thing, then comes having the numbers to
exploit it.

As for expendable,

The RN had 105 modern destroyers (A class onwards) and 79 older
ships, total 184 in September 1939.

The RN modern destroyer fleet bottomed out at 83 ships in the period
May to July 1941, passed the 100 mark in April 1943, the September
1943 strength in June 1943 and was 151 at the end of September 1945,
the strength situation was last 4 months of 1939 8 gains 3 losses, 1940
9 gains 29 losses, 1941 14 gains 16 losses, 1942 39 gains 31 losses,
1943 33 gains 10 losses, 1944 30 gains 13 losses, 1945 to the end of
September 16 gains 1 loss. Some 25 older destroyers were also lost,
this figure excludes any ex USN destroyers.

HMS Courageous was lost doing ASW, as the allied escort carriers
would do from 1941 onwards. The idea was correct, the risk of a loss
of a fleet carrier was the problem in 1939. Its aircraft went down with
the ship.
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
The Bismarck was sunk by torpedoes
from a HMS Dorsetshire not aircraft,
That the Bismarck was engaged by RN surface ships in the first place
was due to a successful torpedo hit from an aircraft.
Not quite, it was because the PofW hit her fuel tanks and she was listing
slightly slowing her down.
In reality the situation was more complicated than that. Prince of Wales
hit the bows, and made some of the fuel tanks inaccessible. Another
hit had opened up a boiler room. In trying to avoid the air strike from
Victorious, the damage was aggravated, leading to the complete flooding
of number 2 boiler room and requiring more work on the bows. The
repairs gave the ship a top speed of around 20 knots in the weather of
the time, and the fuel situation meant it was not worth trying for a greater
speed.
Post by L2007
The Swordfish firing torpedoes and not one being shot down was due to the
poor AA guns on the Bismarck. That was not a problem on Allied BBs.
You mean like the 1 or 2 IJN aircraft lost when sinking PoW and
Repulse?

Look at the growth in AA armament in the 1939 to 1944 period, the
Bismarck had a much bigger AA suit than most UK battleships in
1941.
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
U-Boats were mainly commerce raiders
That's what they turned out to be, as
there were more merchant ships
than battleships for them to attack.
That was their prime intention. If they bagged a military ship all well
and good.
Post by Louis C
Royal Oak was sunk by a "commerce raider",
At anchor. And due to incompetence at not securing Scapa Flow. Doesn't
count.
Post by Louis C
HMS Resolution was put out
of the fight by a French submarine
off Dakar in September 1940, then
there's Barham.
I did say U-Boats were more effective than planes 1939-41
Post by Louis C
If patrolling in shallow water is the mark of incompetence, then both
the USN and IJN displayed amazing incompetence off Guadalcanal.
They were locking horns at the time. The PofW and Repulse were looking
around, in places they should not have been.
The ships were sent out to deter the Japanese and defend the area.

Philips tried a calculated risk, things like the bad weather and the
believed state the Japanese airpower made the risks seem acceptable.
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
Overall U-Boats were more effective than aircraft against large armoured
ships. Battleships were vulnerable later in the war as more advanced
aircraft and weapons came about.
Battleships were vulnerable early in the war as well. Rodney took a
hit off Norway and withdrew, so did Vittorio Veneto at Cape Matapan,
then there's Taranto and Pearl Harbor, not to mention heavy CL/DD
losses to air attacks off Norway and at Dunkirk.
You still haven't got it. At anchor any vessel is a sitting duck. BBs in
full deep water with escorts and air cover and reconnaissance from a
carrier were not viewed to be a dead loss at the time.
Battleships were not considered a dead loss until post WWII. They kept
needing more and ore escorts, aircraft and destroyers, to counter the
improvements in aircraft and submarines.

In essence the "Battleship test" here is one they pass before doing the
test.
Post by L2007
Their 15 inch guns were valued at destroying large enemy vessels and shore
bombardment if need be. The more accurate firing mechanisms and RADAR over
WW1 BBs was
viewed as a great asset in bringing in 15 inch guns.
Would it be a point to mention the lack of RN carriers, in particular the
loss of Courageous and Glorious, the best 2 of the older carriers?

Again the test is passed before it is taken.
Post by L2007
In the first two years of WW2 the big 15 inch guns were the centre of the
group. The were viewed as being able to do most damage and from a long
distance too.
The RN battleships in the Mediterranean required something to slow
down the Italian ships in order to come within range, unless the Italians
wanted to seek battle.

And long distance is under 30,000 yards.
Post by L2007
The USA pioneered carriers as forward attack and designed excellent planes
for this role.
Please note the IJN work on this.
Post by L2007
Despite that, the US navy was split in this approach even after
implementation.
It is quite simple, the battleship had been the primary weapon for
centuries, air power and submarines were challenging but only a
war would determine how big the challenge was.
Post by L2007
The operating theatres of the US Navy and RN were different too with the
US having the massive Pacific to traverse, while the UK with its empire
had ports reasonably close.
This has want to do with carrier and battleship doctrine?
Post by L2007
Initially the RN viewed carriers as primarily reconnaissance with torpedo
ability, hence the Swordfish plane. The carrier was to assist the battle
group, not be Queen bee. The BB was Queen bee.
Quite correct, given the ideas of the mid 1930's and the ability of the
aircraft of the time. The RN had to continue the doctrine due to a lack
of carries and the size of air groups embarked.
Post by L2007
In the role it was intended the BB was not under immediate threat from
aircraft, 1939-41. Air launched torpedoes were not as powerful as the
U-Boats and hitting a full speed ship with bombs was difficult.
I gather the idea is to define threat as ability to sink, based on what
actually happened. What allowance is made for the withdrawal of
target approach, no RN North Sea battleship patrols for example.

What about the lack of anti shipping units in the Luftwaffe and Italian
Air forces?

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
Louis C
2007-01-28 16:35:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
I don't put real email addresses, because of a spam. I am fed
up with ads for Viagra.
Read the group FAQ.

http://groups.google.com/group/soc.history.war.world-war-ii/msg/
87a9becc718ca738?hl=en&

* Valid e-mail addresses: the article must contain a valid
e-mail address for the sender, either in the article headers
or in the body of the article. Addresses may be altered to
defeat address harvesters. However, the correct address must
be easily decipherable from the altered address.
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
That the Bismarck was engaged by RN surface ships in the first place
was due to a successful torpedo hit from an aircraft.
Not quite, it was because the PofW hit her fuel tanks and she was listing
slightly slowing her down. The Swordfish firing torpedoes and not one being
shot down was due to the poor AA guns on the Bismarck. That was not a
problem on Allied BBs.
Rodney received a bomb off Norway with no attacking aircraft being
shot down, Repulse and Prince of Wales were sunk with practically no
losses among Japanese planes.

So much for the not a problem on Allied BBs.
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
Royal Oak was sunk by a "commerce raider",
At anchor. And due to incompetence at not securing Scapa Flow. Doesn't
count.
It doesn't count but she was sunk anyway. War isn't about playing
fair.
Post by L2007
You still haven't got it. At anchor any vessel is a sitting duck.
British battleships were hit by air attack off Norway and Crete, they
were underway. The same applies to Vittorio Veneto at Cape Matapan.
Post by L2007
BBs in
full deep water with escorts and air cover and reconnaissance from a carrier
were not viewed to be a dead loss at the time. Their 15 inch guns were
valued at destroying large enemy vessels and shore bombardment if need be.
How can they do shore bombardment if they're sailing "in full deep
water"?
Post by L2007
Initially
the RN viewed carriers as primarily reconnaissance with torpedo ability,
hence the Swordfish plane. The carrier was to assist the battle group, not
be Queen bee. The BB was Queen bee.
It worked very well, too: the carrier would locate and pin the target,
for the battleship to finish off.

That's how Bismarck was sunk.


LC
Nik Simpson
2007-01-28 22:42:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
Post by L2007
The Bismarck was sunk by torpedoes
from a HMS Dorsetshire not aircraft,
That the Bismarck was engaged by RN surface ships in the first place
was due to a successful torpedo hit from an aircraft.
Not quite, it was because the PofW hit her fuel tanks and she was
listing slightly slowing her down. The Swordfish firing torpedoes and
not one being shot down was due to the poor AA guns on the Bismarck.
That was not a problem on Allied BBs.
On modern BBs and on the heavily rebuilt ships like QE, Valiant and
Renown the AA wasn't bad, but still nothing spectacular. It wasn't until
later in the war that you started seeing really effective AA outfits on
BB and that was because their role had changed to the point that had
become floating AA batteries. The AA outfit in the early years for older
ships (Barham, Malaya, Rodney & Nelson etc) was very poor.
Post by L2007
At anchor. And due to incompetence at not securing Scapa Flow. Doesn't
count.
It wasn't incompetence about not securing Scapa Flow, Churchill was well
aware of the problem and trying to get it fixed at the time. That said,
what Prien did was a remarkable feat of arms and to belittle that
achievement by blaming it on RN incompetence is unfair on all parties
involved.
Post by L2007
You still haven't got it. At anchor any vessel is a sitting duck.
It's certainly easier to hit, but if buttoned up tight at action
stations it's probably more difficult to sink. Nobody is saying that
aircraft were perfect, but it was clear to all parties early on that
battleships were vulnerable to air power and should stay away unless
they had protection in the form of carrier or land based fighters. Look
at this way, both submarines and aircraft could operate in areas where
battleships operated, battleships could not say the same unless they had
an expensive escort. On that basis its hard to argue that battleships
continued to rule.
Post by L2007
BBs in full deep water with escorts and air cover and reconnaissance from a
carrier were not viewed to be a dead loss at the time.
Precisely they had drag along a significant fleet with them just to be
safe and could not stray from the protection without potential disaster.
Post by L2007
Their 15 inch guns were valued at destroying large enemy vessels and
shore bombardment.
But they weren't any better than aircraft with bombs or torpedoes in
either role.
Post by L2007
if need be. The more accurate firing mechanisms and RADAR over WW1 BBs
was viewed as a great asset in bringing in 15 inch guns.
It wasn't until a good deal later in the war when the superiority of
aircraft was well established that you had accurate radar fire control.
Post by L2007
In the first two years of WW2 the big 15 inch guns were the centre of
the group. The were viewed as being able to do most damage and from a
long distance too.
When what you've got is a fleet of battleships and very limited airpower
in the form of old and obsolete carriers and aircraft you tend to
emphasize your strength. That doesn't mean that the jobs carried out by
those fleets in the early years of the war could not have been carried
out by aircraft.
Post by L2007
Initially the RN viewed carriers as primarily reconnaissance with
torpedo ability, hence the Swordfish plane. The carrier was to assist
the battle group, not be Queen bee. The BB was Queen bee.
You have to remember the RN had only just got control of it's air arm,
from 1918 to 1938 the air arm of the RN was actually controlled by the
RAF and they were clueless in terms of what the RN needed.
Post by L2007
In the role it was intended the BB was not under immediate threat from
aircraft, 1939-41.
If that's the case, why did they generally stay well away from heavily
defended airspace. You'll note that not a single RN battleship was
involved in supporting the evacuation from Dunkirk.
Post by L2007
Air launched torpedoes were not as powerful as the
U-Boats and hitting a full speed ship with bombs was difficult.
Not that difficult, as was demonstrated time and again in the Channel
and in the Med where many ships were hit and either sunk or damaged by
bombs.
--
Nik Simpson
L2007
2007-01-29 01:53:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nik Simpson
It wasn't incompetence about not securing Scapa Flow, Churchill was well
aware of the problem and trying to get it fixed at the time. That said,
what Prien did was a remarkable feat of arms and to belittle that
achievement by blaming it on RN incompetence is unfair on all parties
involved.
Irrespective of the U-Boats skill to get ion and out of Scapa, it was still
incompetence in not securing a BB at anchor.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
BBs in full deep water with escorts and air cover and reconnaissance from
a carrier were not viewed to be a dead loss at the time.
Precisely they had drag along a significant fleet with them just to be
safe and could not stray from the protection without potential disaster.
The BBs were meant to be a part of whole.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
Their 15 inch guns were valued at destroying large enemy vessels and
shore bombardment.
But they weren't any better than aircraft with bombs or torpedoes in
either role.
In the first two years of the war that was not evident at all in open water.
Aircraft had improved a hell of a lot in the previous 5 years, yet still
were not the master by any means.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
if need be. The more accurate firing mechanisms and RADAR over WW1 BBs
was viewed as a great asset in bringing in 15 inch guns.
It wasn't until a good deal later in the war when the superiority of
aircraft was well established that you had accurate radar fire control.
The accuracy of BBs 39-41 was far superior to WW1 days.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
In the first two years of WW2 the big 15 inch guns were the centre of the
group. They were viewed as being able to do most damage and from a long
distance too.
When what you've got is a fleet of battleships and very limited airpower
in the form of old and obsolete carriers and aircraft you tend to
emphasize your strength. That doesn't mean that the jobs carried out by
those fleets in the early years of the war could not have been carried out
by aircraft.
In 39-41 there wasn't many aircraft good enough. The Zero was, which was an
unknown quantity. The US certainly didn't have power punching planes then,
later yes, not 39-41.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
Initially the RN viewed carriers as primarily reconnaissance with torpedo
ability, hence the Swordfish plane. The carrier was to assist the battle
group, not be Queen bee. The BB was Queen bee.
You have to remember the RN had only just got control of it's air arm,
from 1918 to 1938 the air arm of the RN was actually controlled by the RAF
and they were clueless in terms of what the RN needed.
That may have been the case, however the RN still viewed carriers as
support. All navies did. The US was split in having the carriers forward
attack or support, The IJN had carriers as support, until Tarrant.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
In the role it was intended the BB was not under immediate threat from
aircraft, 1939-41.
If that's the case, why did they generally stay well away from heavily
defended airspace. You'll note that not a single RN battleship was
involved in supporting the evacuation from Dunkirk.
That was not their intended role and unsuited for the evacuation. Carriers
were not near Dunkirk either. You could say, then why weren't frigates
chasing Bismarck. The reason why not was that they were unsuited to that
role.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
Air launched torpedoes were not as powerful as the
U-Boats and hitting a full speed ship with bombs was difficult.
Not that difficult, as was demonstrated time and again in the Channel and
in the Med where many ships were hit and either sunk or damaged by bombs.
It was difficult by aircraft. Their small torpedoes would not sink a BB, and
in deep water under speed hitting a BB with bombs was more luck than
anything else.
Joel Shepherd
2007-01-29 05:45:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
In 39-41 there wasn't many aircraft good enough. The Zero was, which was an
unknown quantity. The US certainly didn't have power punching planes then,
later yes, not 39-41.
Really? The USN had the Dauntless in 1941, and if I recall correctly,
the SBD chalked up a respectable record against all kinds of warships,
including a BB or two at Guadalcanal. It had enough of a punch that it
served halfway into 1944, and even at that point many of its pilots were
not too happy about "upgrading" to its successor, the SB2C.
--
Joel.
Nik Simpson
2007-01-29 16:12:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
if need be. The more accurate firing mechanisms and RADAR over WW1
BBs was viewed as a great asset in bringing in 15 inch guns.
It wasn't until a good deal later in the war when the superiority of
aircraft was well established that you had accurate radar fire control.
The accuracy of BBs 39-41 was far superior to WW1 days.
Any improvement in gunnery accuracy in the early years of the war was
down to using the lessons learned at places like Jutland. Accurate fire
control RADAR simply wasn't available at that point.
Post by L2007
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
In the role it was intended the BB was not under immediate threat
from aircraft, 1939-41.
If that's the case, why did they generally stay well away from heavily
defended airspace. You'll note that not a single RN battleship was
involved in supporting the evacuation from Dunkirk.
That was not their intended role and unsuited for the evacuation.
Granted, but my point about capital ships not risking themselves against
air power is still valid and you've not refuted it.
Post by L2007
It was difficult by aircraft. Their small torpedoes would not sink a BB,
and in deep water under speed hitting a BB with bombs was more luck than
anything else.
Again, you fail to address the question of why, if aircraft were no
threat did all navies try to avoid exposing their capital ships to air
attack?
--
Nik Simpson
David Thornley
2007-01-29 03:33:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
That the Bismarck was engaged by RN surface ships in the first place
was due to a successful torpedo hit from an aircraft.
Not quite, it was because the PofW hit her fuel tanks and she was listing
slightly slowing her down. The Swordfish firing torpedoes and not one being
shot down was due to the poor AA guns on the Bismarck. That was not a
problem on Allied BBs.
In the first place, the main reason Bismarck didn't triumphantly steam
into Brest was that some pilot put a torpedo into her steering gear.
The gunfire damage slowed her somewhat, but came nowhere near stopping
her.

In the second place, why do you think Allied BBs were so much better
at the time?

The most common AA suite for US battleships at the time was eight
5"/25 guns (decent guns but not up to the 5"/38 standard), some
miserable 1.1" machine guns, and some wholey inadequate .50-caliber
machine guns. The new US battleships had twenty of the excellent
5"/38 guns, but effective medium and light AA guns would only
come in 1942.

The RN was not necessarily better off. The 5.25" guns on the newer
battleships were too slow and clumsy to be good AA guns. Some RN
battleships had a quantity of 4.5" guns, and those were good.
The 2pdr was the best medium AA gun afloat in large numbers, but it
had its limitations. The British had no better light AA gun than
the US did.

Later on, US and British warships mounted large numbers of 20mm
Oerlikons and 40mm Bofors, but that was later.

Bismarck's AA suite was not out of line with other battleships as of
May 1941.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
L2007
2007-01-29 16:11:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Thornley
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
That the Bismarck was engaged by RN surface ships in the first place
was due to a successful torpedo hit from an aircraft.
Not quite, it was because the PofW hit her fuel tanks and she was listing
slightly slowing her down. The Swordfish firing torpedoes and not one being
shot down was due to the poor AA guns on the Bismarck. That was not a
problem on Allied BBs.
In the first place, the main reason Bismarck didn't triumphantly steam
into Brest was that some pilot put a torpedo into her steering gear.
The gunfire damage slowed her somewhat, but came nowhere near stopping
her.
She was slowed from over 30 knots to 20 which is considerable. If she had
not been hit her speed would have taken her to Brest.

After the PofW hit, Bismarck would not have made Brest as the fleets were
closing in. Bombers had been moved to Cornwall to get her when in range.
JP
2007-01-29 16:47:43 UTC
Permalink
Bombers? Against an invulnerable BB? Quelle horrors.
--
Jonathan
"L2007" <NO-***@awayspam.com> wrote in message news:45bdcbaa$0$97235$***@authen.yellow.readfreenews.net...
.
Post by L2007
After the PofW hit, Bismarck would not have made Brest as the fleets were
closing in. Bombers had been moved to Cornwall to get her when in range.
Bill Shatzer
2007-01-29 19:21:40 UTC
Permalink
-snip-
Post by L2007
Post by David Thornley
In the first place, the main reason Bismarck didn't triumphantly steam
into Brest was that some pilot put a torpedo into her steering gear.
The gunfire damage slowed her somewhat, but came nowhere near stopping
her.
She was slowed from over 30 knots to 20 which is considerable. If she
had not been hit her speed would have taken her to Brest.
By all accounts, Bismarck's speed was reduced to 28 knots after the
encounter with PoW/Hood, not 20.

I doubt that modest speed reduction was a significant factor in
subsequent events.
Post by L2007
After the PofW hit, Bismarck would not have made Brest as the fleets
were closing in.
But the fleets were NOT closing in. Sommerville's problem was that at
top speed, he didn't have enough fuel oil to both catch Bismarck and
make port while at a more economical speed, he had enough fuel oil but
not enough speed to overtake the battleship.

The torpedo hit from the swordfish solved that problem but before that,
the British were decidedly not "closing in".
Post by L2007
Bombers had been moved to Cornwall to get her when in
range.
There's several problems with that premise.

a) Prinz Eugen subsequently made it to Brest, despite those bombers in
Cornwall.

b) Given the weather, there's little assurance that those bombers could
have even located Bismarck or successfully pressed home an attack had
they done so.

c) The effectiveness of British land-based air against ships under weigh
was not all that good in that time period - see for instance the
"Channel Dash" even nine months later. It's far from certain that
British land-based bombers could have assured a "kill" on Bismarck.

d) Bismarck -almost- made it sufficiently close to France to have
received land-based air coverage coverage. Had Bismarck been able to
close another hundred miles or so, any attack by British land-based
bombers would have had to deal with Luftwaffe fighter coverage. As it
was, Bismarck made it to within about 300 miles of Ushant.

Cheers,
L2007
2007-01-30 00:09:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by L2007
Bombers had been moved to Cornwall to get her when in range.
There's several problems with that premise.
a) Prinz Eugen subsequently made it to Brest, despite those bombers in
Cornwall.
Before the bomber were called down.
Post by Bill Shatzer
b) Given the weather, there's little assurance that those bombers could
have even located Bismarck or successfully pressed home an attack had they
done so.
Air surveillance was comprehensive.
Post by Bill Shatzer
c) The effectiveness of British land-based air against ships under weigh
was not all that good in that time period - see for instance the "Channel
Dash" even nine months later.
That was mainly Swordfish who were all smashed out of the sky.
Post by Bill Shatzer
It's far from certain that British land-based bombers could have assured a
"kill" on Bismarck.
If the Bismarcks AA could not shoot down one Swordfish then the bombers had
an excellent chance.
Post by Bill Shatzer
d) Bismarck -almost- made it sufficiently close to France to have received
land-based air coverage coverage. Had Bismarck been able to close another
hundred miles or so, any attack by British land-based bombers would have
had to deal with Luftwaffe fighter coverage.
And the Luftwaffe had to face British land based fighters too.
Nik Simpson
2007-01-30 05:31:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by L2007
Bombers had been moved to Cornwall to get her when in range.
There's several problems with that premise.
a) Prinz Eugen subsequently made it to Brest, despite those bombers in
Cornwall.
Before the bomber were called down.
No, Prinz Eugen arrived in Brest after Bismark was sunk, I guess now you
are going to say that they'd by the time PE arrived!
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
b) Given the weather, there's little assurance that those bombers
could have even located Bismarck or successfully pressed home an
attack had they done so.
Air surveillance was comprehensive.
In which case how did S, G & PE get in an out with the 100% perfect air
surveillance and the devastating RAF bomber champing at the bit in Cornwall?
Post by L2007
If the Bismarcks AA could not shoot down one Swordfish then the bombers
had an excellent chance.
No, because the Bismark would have had massive fighter protection which
would have made an attack suicidal.
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
d) Bismarck -almost- made it sufficiently close to France to have
received land-based air coverage coverage. Had Bismarck been able to
close another hundred miles or so, any attack by British land-based
bombers would have had to deal with Luftwaffe fighter coverage.
And the Luftwaffe had to face British land based fighters too.
No, not unless Bismark was stupid and sailed close enough to Cornwall
for RAF fighter protection to help the bombers, but any half competent
captain would have looped south to avoid that threat and entered breast
on a NW heading which would have the RAF at great disadvantage.
--
Nik Simpson
Bill Shatzer
2007-01-30 19:08:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by L2007
Bombers had been moved to Cornwall to get her when in range.
There's several problems with that premise.
a) Prinz Eugen subsequently made it to Brest, despite those bombers in
Cornwall.
Before the bomber were called down.
That's just silly. Prinz Eugen made Brest four days -after- Bismarck
was sunk and at least two days after Bismarck would have made Brest.

If those bombers were in a position to attack Bismarck, they were in
position to attack Prinz Eugen. They didn't.

The fact that Prinz Eugen made Brest both undetected and unattacked by
any land-based air would strongly suggest that land-based air would have
been no more effective against Bismarck.

Actually, I'm kinda wondering about whether there -were- any "bombers
moved to Cornwall" at all. I can't locate any RAF airfield in Cornwall
which, in 1941, could have accommodated any aircraft larger than a
Blenheim. The RAF bases in Cornwall were all fighter fields.
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
b) Given the weather, there's little assurance that those bombers
could have even located Bismarck or successfully pressed home an
attack had they done so.
Air surveillance was comprehensive.
It certainly was NOT "comprehensive". After all, the Brits lost Bismarck
for almost two full days. They could easily have lost it again.
And, when the Swordfish attacked, they had to come down below 1500 feet
to get below the overcast. A 1500 foot ceiling does not enhance the
chances of either locating or attacking a capital ship underweigh with
"bombers".

Note that the "comprehensive" air surveillance failed to find Prinz
Eugen before that ship slipped into Brest.
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
c) The effectiveness of British land-based air against ships under
weigh was not all that good in that time period - see for instance the
"Channel Dash" even nine months later.
That was mainly Swordfish who were all smashed out of the sky.
No. Bomber Command launched over 240 aircraft to attempt to intercept
the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau although only 39 were successful in
actually locating and attacking those ships. And those 39 bombers
scored exactly zero hits. There's just no particular reason to assume
they would have done better against Bismarck.

Bomber Command, so far as I know, wasn't flying any Swordfish. The six
Swordfish which did locate and attack were land-based FAA aircraft.
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
It's far from certain that British land-based bombers could have
assured a "kill" on Bismarck.
If the Bismarcks AA could not shoot down one Swordfish then the bombers
had an excellent chance.
To do what? They're not going to be bombing through a 1500 foot
overcast - at least not bombing with any accuracy.
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
d) Bismarck -almost- made it sufficiently close to France to have
received land-based air coverage coverage. Had Bismarck been able to
close another hundred miles or so, any attack by British land-based
bombers would have had to deal with Luftwaffe fighter coverage.
And the Luftwaffe had to face British land based fighters too.
Seems unlikely. The area which Bismarck would transverse would be at the
extreme limits of RAF fighter range and outside the range of British
radar coverage.

Dunno just what the capability of RAF day fighters to navigate over open
ocean in overcast conditions and effect an intercept without the benefit
of radar vectoring might have been but it couldn't have been
particularly high.

Even if they could intercept, they would be operating at the extreme
limits of their range and would have fuel for maybe 10 minutes combat.

Cheers,
L2007
2007-01-30 21:00:11 UTC
Permalink
The fact that Prinz Eugen made Brest both undetected and unattacked by any
land-based air would strongly suggest that land-based air would have been
no more effective against Bismarck.
They lost contact with Prinz Eugen, they knew where Bismarck was.
Actually, I'm kinda wondering about whether there -were- any "bombers
moved to Cornwall" at all. I can't locate any RAF airfield in Cornwall
which, in 1941, could have accommodated any aircraft larger than a
Blenheim. The RAF bases in Cornwall were all fighter fields.
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
b) Given the weather, there's little assurance that those bombers could
have even located Bismarck or successfully pressed home an attack had
they done so.
Air surveillance was comprehensive.
It certainly was NOT "comprehensive". After all, the Brits lost Bismarck
for almost two full days. They could easily have lost it again.
And, when the Swordfish attacked, they had to come down below 1500 feet to
get below the overcast. A 1500 foot ceiling does not enhance the chances
of either locating or attacking a capital ship underweigh with "bombers".
Note that the "comprehensive" air surveillance failed to find Prinz Eugen
before that ship slipped into Brest.
Probably a very lucky ship.
Post by L2007
Post by Bill Shatzer
c) The effectiveness of British land-based air against ships under weigh
was not all that good in that time period - see for instance the
"Channel Dash" even nine months later.
That was mainly Swordfish who were all smashed out of the sky.
No. Bomber Command launched over 240 aircraft to attempt to intercept the
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau although only 39 were successful in actually
locating and attacking those ships. And those 39 bombers scored exactly
zero hits. There's just no particular reason to assume they would have
done better against Bismarck.
All this does is add weight to my orignal point.
Bomber Command, so far as I know, wasn't flying any Swordfish. The six
Swordfish which did locate and attack were land-based FAA aircraft.
Coastal Command had Swordfish planes.
To do what? They're not going to be bombing through a 1500 foot
overcast - at least not bombing with any accuracy.
Makes it 50--50 then.
Nik Simpson
2007-01-29 23:05:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
After the PofW hit, Bismarck would not have made Brest as the fleets
were closing in. Bombers had been moved to Cornwall to get her when in
range.
There is absolutely zero evidence to support this contention, the RN
knew damn well that if they had not caught up with Bismark because of
the Torpedo hit she would have made Brest. I also find it rather ironic
that someone who claims that aircraft couldn't sink BB at this time,
would claim that Bombers operating from Cornwall in the face of very
tough Luftwaffe opposition and outside the range of their own fighter
protection would have been able to prevent Bismark reaching port. It's
also instructive to look at the examples of Scharnhorst, Gneisnau and
Prinz Eugen all of which made it into Brest without being sunk.
--
Nik Simpson
L2007
2007-01-30 05:31:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
After the PofW hit, Bismarck would not have made Brest as the fleets were
closing in. Bombers had been moved to Cornwall to get her when in range.
There is absolutely zero evidence to support this contention, the RN knew
damn well that if they had not caught up with Bismark because of the
Torpedo hit she would have made Brest. I also find it rather ironic that
someone who claims that aircraft couldn't sink BB at this time,
I didn't say sink. Bombers could sink a BB of course - PofW and Repulse. If
bombers from Cornwall did sink the Bismarck, that still would not make them
obsolete. Bismarck was alone and operating in conditions that the US and UK
did not envisage their BBs would operate.
would claim that Bombers operating from Cornwall in the face of very tough
Luftwaffe opposition and outside the range of their own fighter protection
would have been able to prevent Bismark reaching port. It's also
instructive to look at the examples of Scharnhorst, Gneisnau and Prinz
Eugen all of which made it into Brest without being sunk.
All was focusing on Bismarck at the time and for some reason no effective
air capability was utilised in SW England. Beufighters were to be based in
Cornwall equipped with torpedoes.
Nik Simpson
2007-01-30 16:38:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
After the PofW hit, Bismarck would not have made Brest as the fleets
were closing in. Bombers had been moved to Cornwall to get her when
in range.
There is absolutely zero evidence to support this contention, the RN
knew damn well that if they had not caught up with Bismark because of
the Torpedo hit she would have made Brest. I also find it rather
ironic that someone who claims that aircraft couldn't sink BB at this
time,
I didn't say sink. Bombers could sink a BB of course - PofW and Repulse.
If bombers from Cornwall did sink the Bismarck, that still would not
make them obsolete. Bismarck was alone and operating in conditions that
the US and UK did not envisage their BBs would operate.
I'm confused now, what do you think the bombers could have done. Your
original claim certainly gave the impression that bombers in Cornwall
was the UK's trump card if they couldn't sink Bismark at sea. Are you
suggesting that they would have crippled the Bismark and then the RN
battleships would have finished the job. If so you are delusional, the
RN would not have followed Bismark into the range of concentrated
Luftwaffe and U-boat attacks.
Post by L2007
Post by Nik Simpson
would claim that Bombers operating from Cornwall in the face of very
tough Luftwaffe opposition and outside the range of their own fighter
protection would have been able to prevent Bismark reaching port. It's
also instructive to look at the examples of Scharnhorst, Gneisnau and
Prinz Eugen all of which made it into Brest without being sunk.
All was focusing on Bismarck at the time and for some reason no
effective air capability was utilised in SW England. Beufighters were to
be based in Cornwall equipped with torpedoes.
You can't have it both ways, either the RAF in Cornwall was a real
threat to Bismark which is somewhat counter to the claims you are making
in this thread. Another problem with your thesis is that the Beaufighter
entered service in late 1940 as night fighter, torpedo bombing versions
came later (1942 IIRC)

It's pretty obvious what the RAF strategy was for dealing with German
units in Brest, and it wasn't Beaufighters in Cornwall, it was large
nighttime raids by heavy bombers. To a degree this was successful in
that kept causing damage to S&G to the point where the KM decided to get
hell out of Dodge which led to the channel dash.
--
Nik Simpson
L2007
2007-01-30 18:02:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
I didn't say sink. Bombers could sink a BB of course - PofW and Repulse.
If bombers from Cornwall did sink the Bismarck, that still would not make
them obsolete. Bismarck was alone and operating in conditions that the US
and UK did not envisage their BBs would operate.
I'm confused now, what do you think the bombers could have done. Your
original claim certainly gave the impression that bombers in Cornwall was
the UK's trump card if they couldn't sink Bismark at sea. Are you
suggesting that they would have crippled the Bismark and then the RN
battleships would have finished the job. If so you are delusional, the RN
would not have followed Bismark into the range of concentrated Luftwaffe
and U-boat attacks.
The bombers probably would have made a hit and "Bristol Beauforts" carried
torpedoes. The same planes that flew from Wick in Northern Scotland to find
the Bismarck (they never) equipped with torpedoes were to move to Cornwall
with I think Liberators or Hudsons.

They could have crippled or sunk depending on circumstances. They were not
the trump card, however and line of attack the Bismarck had to deal with.
They may have sent the ship further south towards the British ships.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
All was focusing on Bismarck at the time and for some reason no effective
air capability was utilised in SW England. Beufighters were to be based
in Cornwall equipped with torpedoes.
You can't have it both ways, either the RAF in Cornwall was a real threat
to Bismark which is somewhat counter to the claims you are making in this
thread.
Torpedo planes are a real threat indeed. Attacking alone BB is not same as
attacking one in battle group. IMO, I doubt they would have sunk the
Bismarck merely slowing here down for catch up.
Post by Nik Simpson
Another problem with your thesis is that the Beaufighter entered service
in late 1940 as night fighter, torpedo bombing versions came later (1942
IIRC)
A Google vrings up..

Bristol Beauforts... The diary of a crewman at Wick in Northern
Scotland....

"It was difficult to sleep, as it was still light at 12 o'clock at night.
The next day we got word that our Navy ships were shadowing the Bismarck. We
saw the aircraft off safely. They returned four hours later with the
torpedoes still underneath. We knew they had not seen enemy action. After
servicing the aircraft again, ready for take off, we were on standby all
day."

"Orders were changed. We were put on stand by to go to St Eval in Cornwall.
At the end of the day we were stood down as the aircraft carrier Ark Royal
and others were coming from the Mediterranean to stop it going into Brest or
some other port. Within two days the might of the Navy had caught up with it
and the rest is history."
Post by Nik Simpson
It's pretty obvious what the RAF strategy was for dealing with German
units in Brest, and it wasn't Beaufighters in Cornwall, it was large
nighttime raids by heavy bombers. To a degree this was successful in that
kept causing damage to S&G to the point where the KM decided to get hell
out of Dodge which led to the channel dash.
Nik Simpson
2007-01-30 22:47:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
The bombers probably would have made a hit and "Bristol Beauforts"
carried torpedoes. The same planes that flew from Wick in Northern
Scotland to find the Bismarck (they never) equipped with torpedoes were
to move to Cornwall with I think Liberators or Hudsons.
So now you believe that air strikes could sink a battleship in 1941,
thanks for clearing that up. As to Bristol Beauforts carry torpedoes, I
was referring to your original post that sited beafighters (sic) And you
still haven't addressed the need for the RAF to do this unescorted in
the teeth of an all out Luftwaffe effort to protect the Bismark.
Post by L2007
Torpedo planes are a real threat indeed. Attacking alone BB is not same
as attacking one in battle group. IMO, I doubt they would have sunk the
Bismarck merely slowing here down for catch up.
Catch up with what? The RN would not have risked BB & CV assets inside
an area where they would have faced overwhelming attacks from the
Luftwaffe & U-Boats.
Post by L2007
Post by Nik Simpson
Another problem with your thesis is that the Beaufighter entered
service in late 1940 as night fighter, torpedo bombing versions came
later (1942 IIRC)
A Google vrings up..
Bristol Beauforts... The diary of a crewman at Wick in Northern
Scotland....
"It was difficult to sleep, as it was still light at 12 o'clock at
night. The next day we got word that our Navy ships were shadowing the
Bismarck. We saw the aircraft off safely. They returned four hours later
with the torpedoes still underneath. We knew they had not seen enemy
action. After servicing the aircraft again, ready for take off, we were
on standby all day."
In other words, despite the fact that the RN were shadowing her, the air
strike was unable to find the target. Why do you think they would have
been more effective operating from Cornwall?
--
Nik Simpson
L2007
2007-01-30 23:48:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
The bombers probably would have made a hit and "Bristol Beauforts"
carried torpedoes. The same planes that flew from Wick in Northern
Scotland to find the Bismarck (they never) equipped with torpedoes were
to move to Cornwall with I think Liberators or Hudsons.
So now you believe that air strikes could sink a battleship in 1941,
They did, by Swordfish and Japanese bombers - when the BBs were not in the
intended role (as the US and UK saw it).
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
Torpedo planes are a real threat indeed.
Not as U-Boats as the torpedoes are not as big.
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
Attacking alone BB is not same as attacking one in battle group. IMO, I
doubt they would have sunk the Bismarck merely slowing here down for
catch up.
Catch up with what? The RN would not have risked BB & CV assets inside an
area where they would have faced overwhelming attacks from the Luftwaffe &
U-Boats.
The Cornwall based planes are further into the Atlantic than French based
planes.
Post by Nik Simpson
In other words, despite the fact that the RN were shadowing her, the air
strike was unable to find the target. Why do you think they would have
been more effective operating from Cornwall?
They knew where Bismarck was.
Nik Simpson
2007-01-31 16:10:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Nik Simpson
Post by L2007
Attacking alone BB is not same as attacking one in battle group. IMO,
I doubt they would have sunk the Bismarck merely slowing here down
for catch up.
Catch up with what? The RN would not have risked BB & CV assets inside
an area where they would have faced overwhelming attacks from the
Luftwaffe & U-Boats.
The Cornwall based planes are further into the Atlantic than French
based planes.
Yes, but there is no reason for Bismark to sail close to Cornwall on its
way to Brest, it can stay well out of the way of Cornwall and still get
to Brest by sailing south and then turning onto a NE heading to enter
Brest from the SW. So even if the Cornwall planes can find her, they
would be at extreme range and without escort.
Post by L2007
Post by Nik Simpson
In other words, despite the fact that the RN were shadowing her, the
air strike was unable to find the target. Why do you think they would
have been more effective operating from Cornwall?
They knew where Bismarck was.
Yeah, they had such good fix on her position that RN Swordfish almost
sank HMS Sheffield by mistake! In 1941, aircraft navigation over open
water was more of a black art than a science and finding the Bismark
would have been far from easy.
--
Nik Simpson
Andrew Clark
2007-01-31 19:10:23 UTC
Permalink
Yeah, they had such good fix on her position that RN Swordfish almost sank
HMS Sheffield by mistake!
That's slightly unfair. The Swordfish were given an accurate heading and
range (radioed from Sheffield's radar set to Ark Royal) and told to attack
any warship proceeding alone, as all the RN ships were in company. As
someone realised after the planes were underway, the problem was that the
Swordfish had no accurate way of measuring distance flown, and might well
sight Sheffield (sailing alone) before they saw Bismarck. And so it proved
to be...
In 1941, aircraft navigation over open water was more of a black art than
a science and finding the Bismarck would have been far from easy.
I agree. Until sea surface search radar became common on RN ships and
aircraft (sometime in 1942), finding a single ship in the wastes of the sea
was always a chancy business. People grossly underestimate what an
extraordinarily skilled process it was to catch Bismarck, first in the
Bering Strait and then again in the Atlantic.

Bill Shatzer
2007-01-30 19:27:09 UTC
Permalink
L2007 wrote:

-snip-
Post by L2007
All was focusing on Bismarck at the time and for some reason no
effective air capability was utilised in SW England. Beufighters were to
be based in Cornwall equipped with torpedoes.
Simply impossible.

The Beaufighter Mk.VIC(ITF), the first Beaufighter equipped to carry
torpedoes, didn't even reach the prototype/testing stage until 1942 and
the first squadrons of Mk.VIC(ITF)s didn't become operational until 1943.

There were no Beaufighters "equipped with torpedoes" in Cornwall or any
other place in May, 1941.

Cheers,
L2007
2007-01-30 20:59:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
-snip-
Post by L2007
All was focusing on Bismarck at the time and for some reason no effective
air capability was utilised in SW England. Beufighters were to be based
in Cornwall equipped with torpedoes.
Simply impossible.
The Beaufighter Mk.VIC(ITF),
Mistake. Bristol Beauforts.
Stephen Graham
2007-01-29 17:42:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by L2007
Post by Louis C
Did you read the group's FAQ regarding a repliable email address?
Between that and the factual accuracy of your posts, wouldn't you be
the latest avatar of "Spiv", by any chance?
Who is Spiv? I don't put real email addresses, because of a spam. I am
fed up with ads for Viagra.
Nevertheless, you do need to use an e-mail address that the moderator
(myself) can decipher. You can find several examples in this group.
Geoffrey Sinclair
2007-01-28 06:14:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@gmail.com
I'm looking for some internet information and can't find it. I need the
monetary cost of the Bizarck battleship and other weapons costs for
comparisons. And for speculation, what-if Germany gives up the 2
larger battleships what other items might the Kreigmarine get?
Prices for big warships are notoriously hard to find, given the various
accounting methods used.

In 1939 the Germans published a price list for various aircraft available
for export. The prices dropped according to how many were ordered.
The aircraft were fully equipped.

So an order for less than 50 Bf109E would have an individual cost of
162,000 RM. An order for 201 or more would have an individual cost
of 130,000 RM. The engine alone seems to have been a fixed cost at
47,000 RM.

Assuming the 201+ order price was closest to the real cost then

Bf110C 290,000 RM
He111P 328,000 RM
He111H 330,000 RM
Hs126 128,000 RM
Ju52 200,000 RM
Ju87B 140,000 RM
Ju88A 305,000 RM

www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp905.pdf

Table 6 you will note the costs are maximum and minimum for the year
and the Ju88 for 1939/1940 it is maximum 523,385, minimum 210,648 marks.
So if you ignore the obvious high cost in 1939 you are much more able
to see the real lowering of costs. In 1941/42 the Ju88A-4 came it at
between 170,605 and 167,129 marks, the tropical version between 173,143
and 159,143 marks. In 1942/43 the Ju88A-4 trop came in at between 141,246
and 139,274 marks.

Be careful about what is actually being paid for here, whether
Junkers is charging for just the airframe and not all components.

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...