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Overrated Allied Weaponry in World War II

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1 hour ago, Pascal said:

Born and lived in Belarus, moved to Georgia and then back, some stuff to do in Moldova, pretty good internet here, home is better of course, hope to never come here again though.

 

Relevant 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Pascal said:

So he looked at the tables an said that i looked at the 15 deviation, while clearly on the table at the right shows production optics on mosins getting a 14,6 at 100.'

While also not mentioning that the mauser wasn't even zeroed.

 

You don't understand the difference between accuracy and precision, do you?

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On 2/4/2019 at 7:40 PM, Sturgeon said:

 

The forum etiquette is listed there in Open. We've told everyone what we want to see in a poster. You've got fourteen posts, none of them contain documents or sources. All you've done is argue with well-established members and sent in one spurious report, which is a serious pet peeve of mine. I would recommend not doing that.

 

If all that sounds onerous to you, then yeah, maybe this forum isn't a good fit.

 

On 2/4/2019 at 7:49 PM, Donward said:

 

Relevant 

 

 

 

Yo, that's about Moldova, not the forum.

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22 hours ago, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

The USS Franklin took more than two "bomb hits" if you want to be honest about it. The ship was also not at battle stations, but just ignore the full hanger deck and deck park with fuel and armed planes, with bombs, rockets, and full fuel tanks... Nearly 100 of them.  That's going to count more than 7 bombs hits not all at once. Hell the Enterprise took three and kept on operating.  The Illustrious was out of action 10 months after a couple of her bomb hits.  

 

Can I start counting the AC and munitions on british carriers then? The role of carriers is to transport AC and munitions, and not let the enemy set fire to them - bad damage control is not enemy action.

 

After tanking more bomb hits than any US carrier, Illustrious went to malta for repairs and was bombed again. Then bombed again (because the med is not the pacific, you're in everyone's airforce's back yard). It took 5 months to get to Norfolk yard, half of the time spent out of action was due to the lack of ports in europe that weren't being bombed

 

22 hours ago, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

 

Besides, no one is saying they were not tough ships, sure they were tough, they could take some damage.

 

On 2/3/2019 at 4:54 PM, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

 

I doubt a Brit Carrier would have lived through what the Franklin took under similar circumstances.  

 

You're the one claiming two bombs is enough to total one :rolleyes:

 

22 hours ago, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

The Enterprise was still a more useful carrier after three bomb hits in the Solomon Islands.  But how did she operate without an armored flight deck after taking bombs right?

 

Let me spell it out one more time. The armored flight decks crippled them as useful carriers.  The idea that they needed that Armor was flawed, and having an actual usefully sized air group negates the need for the Armor.   I mean YAY, the Brits had tough, but nearly useless carriers, I guess.  I suppose they worked well enough against a second string naval power like Nazi's though. 

 

And having your max speed cut to 24 knots permanently by bomb damage counts as serious structural problems or another of the class taking permanent distortion to the hull. Granted the Brits were not as good at building and fixing ships, even US shipyards couldn't have economically repaired them.  

 

Up against smaller bombs, and less of them, the US carriers were the right tool for the job. In europe the conditions were different, and so the ideal carrier ends up prioritising other qualities (like ignoring carrier v carrier fleet actions, because nazi's as you point out).

 

Did any US carrier take a 1-ton bomb and keep on trucking?

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Stuart Slade is an analyst with an engineering background.  He often posts quality material online.

 

http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-030.php

 

It's a complex issue but the best defense was interceptors and escort guns.  The RN adoption of armored decks was an admission of weak interceptors and escort AA capability.  Was it the right decision?  Maybe for the Med.

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2 hours ago, Domus Acipenseris said:

Stuart Slade is an analyst with an engineering background.  He often posts quality material online.

 

http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-030.php

 

It's a complex issue but the best defense was interceptors and escort guns.  The RN adoption of armored decks was an admission of weak interceptors and escort AA capability.  Was it the right decision?  Maybe for the Med.

 

Yeah, that's been one of my points, with a useful size airwing, they might not have taken all those bombs hits, of course, the Brits had awful carrier aircraft until the USA LL them some real planes. So maybe armor seemed like the only choice, still seems like a bad one for a nation going broke. They could have saved money on the armor, built a cheaper ship with a real air wing and maybe had six of them.  

 

 

 

 

Quote

 

After tanking more bomb hits than any US carrier, Illustrious went to malta for repairs and was bombed again. Then bombed again (because the med is not the pacific, you're in everyone's airforce's back yard). It took 5 months to get to Norfolk yard, half of the time spent out of action was due to the lack of ports in europe that weren't being bombed

 

 

( The point was bombs going off in loaded airplanes counts as more than two bombs) ((the other point was the ship wasn't ready for combat so damage control was slow, awipred

 

 

You're the one claiming two bombs is enough to total one :rolleyes: (WTF are you on? The Franklin didn't sink and sailed home under her own power)

 

 

Up against smaller bombs, and less of them, the US carriers were the right tool for the job. In europe the conditions were different, and so the ideal carrier ends up prioritising other qualities (like ignoring carrier v carrier fleet actions, because nazi's as you point out).

 

Did any US carrier take a 1-ton bomb and keep on trucking?

8
5

 

What is the purpose of an Aircraft Carrier?  

To employ aircraft against naval and land targets and defend the fleet. 

 

What's better, Armor, that is entirely defensive, or a bigger air wing that can do both?     

 

 

You know the name of the thread is overrated allied weapons, not allied weapons that got the job done in spite of being basically terrible. Even if I concede your point about them being designed for the Med, they were used not just in the Med, and were shitty, nearly useless ships in the Pacific.  

 

 

An armored target that can tote around ONLY 35 planes and launch them slowly,  seems a bit overrated.   Hell, the only thing you even claim they do well, is take damage and survive.  If you actually think they are good carriers, you prove my point, since that's overrating them lol. 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 2/4/2019 at 6:53 AM, Sturgeon said:

This is the expected accuracy standard (not acceptance standard):
 

1522596115294-png.328788

 

1522596401493-png.328790

 

This means you can expect a brand new K98 shooting sS ball to print a group where 94% of shots hit an area 8cm high and 6cm wide at 100m. And for the record, German sniper rifles were just taken off the line, not selected for accuracy or anything!

 

So basically, these are 3-4 minute guns:

hq74gpj.jpg

 

"The figures represent average values shot with new rifles. It can not be demanded that every individidual rifle corresponds to these dispersions at every distance"

 

 

3~4 MOA is a reasonable expectation for an issue weapon.

It's about what you'd get from "Average Conscript, Mk1Mod1" with a modicum of training and a sound rifle firing reasonable ammo.

 

Of the Mausers I've owned, only the Swedish variants really impressed me.

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On 2/5/2019 at 3:43 PM, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

They could have saved money on the armor, built a cheaper ship with a real air wing and maybe had six of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Except aircraft are a hell of a lot more expensive than plate.  The British carriers were just not suited to operations in the Pacific which is fair enough, its not what they were designed for.  Regardless of any particulars of the ships themselves, their embarked aircraft were  generally inadequate - for a range of reasons.  War is always about doing the best you can with what you have.  My maternal Grandfather served in Indomitable - Hellcats and Avengers.  He was injured in the 1945 kamikaze attack.  The armoured deck is generally credited with saving the ship in that case.  He also got to see all the remaining aircraft pushed over the side when the war ended.  But I digress, if we are talking over rated or not, then context is all.

 

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On 3/12/2019 at 8:07 PM, DIADES said:

Except aircraft are a hell of a lot more expensive than plate. 

 

"kind of"..

The base engineering and then tooling and manufacture set up are.

Once you have a decent manufacturing base though, they are very inexpensive.

 

What IS expensive, are the fleshy bits that fly and maintain them.

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3 hours ago, Meplat said:

"kind of"..

The base engineering and then tooling and manufacture set up are.

Once you have a decent manufacturing base though, they are very inexpensive.

 

What IS expensive, are the fleshy bits that fly and maintain them.

Nope - aircraft remain expensive compared to plate.  Plate is just steel, aircraft contain a vast range of metals and other strategic materials many of which are very scarce inn times of war

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I agree with @Meplat, good homogeneous armor (especially thick armor) is very time consuming, requires precise alloy ratios (of the same strategic materials as used in aircraft), as well as a similar testing regime to make sure the armor is of quality. 

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Plus, a Carrier, particularly an armored Deck carrier, requires YEARS to produce and requires way more resources than hundreds of airplanes. This is why they are overrated, what good is a full-size CV with a CVE sized air wing... 

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In addition: 

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20120423174233fw_/http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/primary_documents/gvt_reports/USNAVY/USNTMJ Reports/USNTMJ-200E-0184-0239 Report 0-16.pdf

 

Report on Japanese armor processes. Common alloying agents are Manganese, Nickel, Chromium(!), Copper, and Molybdenum. Also includes the (long) process for producing said armor as well as testing results. 

 

A lot goes into making thick, armor-grade steel; it’s not just “throw iron into furnace, heat up until iron turns into steel, make steel into plate”. 

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I'm not well-versed in all the details, but as I understand it, getting the correct metal microstructure for high-performance plate armor at those thicknesses is a function of changing the temperature of the steel as it is heat treated with fairly precise timing.  The alloying elements widen the timing window and make it easier to get right.

 

That said, the armor isn't made in the slipway.  It's made in some sort of monstrously complex steel foundry that is hopefully right next to the slipway.  But reducing the armor protection doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be able to turn the savings in cost and steel into another ship if you're bottlenecked on adequately large drydocks for making capital ships in.

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Not sure whereabouts I said making armour was simple?  I did and do say that armour is less expensive than aircraft.  Plus, we are not talking about building a new carrier, we are talking armouring the deck of an existing vessel.  Armour ain't armour either.  Don't confuse the types of armour used on tanks etc with the armours used for decks or vehicle under bellies.  Armour is speced to the threat.  Ductility is traded off against hardness.   As for metallurgy and production complexity - aircraft have engines.... and weapons... and sights and radios and even armour!

 

Then you to carry spares and fuel for the fragile little tinker toys - they break at the slightest little thing.  Then a pilot, then ground crew.  We are all being smart arses in hindsight - hard to have this debate meaningfully without detailed knowledge of exactly what the decision process was at the time.

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2 hours ago, DIADES said:

Not sure whereabouts I said making armour was simple?  I did and do say that armour is less expensive than aircraft.  Plus, we are not talking about building a new carrier, we are talking armouring the deck of an existing vessel.  Armour ain't armour either.  Don't confuse the types of armour used on tanks etc with the armours used for decks or vehicle under bellies.  Armour is speced to the threat.  Ductility is traded off against hardness.   As for metallurgy and production complexity - aircraft have engines.... and weapons... and sights and radios and even armour!

 

Then you to carry spares and fuel for the fragile little tinker toys - they break at the slightest little thing.  Then a pilot, then ground crew.  We are all being smart arses in hindsight - hard to have this debate meaningfully without detailed knowledge of exactly what the decision process was at the time.

These are all fair enough points, but I think you need to look at the banner for this thread again.

 

Were armoured deck carriers the worst idea ever? No.

 

Does the endless parade of RN apologists trying to big up them make them seem overrated? Yes.

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8 hours ago, Toxn said:

These are all fair enough points, but I think you need to look at the banner for this thread again.

 

Were armoured deck carriers the worst idea ever? No.

 

Does the endless parade of RN apologists trying to big up them make them seem overrated? Yes.

Fair enough and so should the guys I was responding to :)

 

tho RN apologists is a bit harsh

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6 hours ago, DIADES said:

Fair enough and so should the guys I was responding to :)

 

tho RN apologists is a bit harsh

Not necessarily aimed at you.

 

There's a weird sub-genre of authors out there who have taken it upon themselves to 'save' the reputation of the RN by challenging or defending the service's worst quirks in WWII. In the case of their carriers this involves heavily pushing the narrative of survivability while glossing over just how dismally the ships and aircraft sometimes did their core mission and/or obsfucating the RNs very beleaguered recognition of carriers as more than an adjunct to the battleship-centred fleet. A lot of it is very good, well-researched and slickly-produced (http://www.armouredcarriers.com is an exemplar).

 

The unfortunate result, however, is to push the pendulum in the other direction as an old and well-cultured 'rule Britannia' jingoism sets in. So people show up to discussions about naval warfare in WWII fired up to show the world that the RN did nothing wrong and was (at worst) a victim of circumstance and diminished budgets.

 

A telling sign of this, from my perspective at least (a know very little about ships but more about aircraft), is that the fleet air arm aircraft (which were near-universally badly designed, obsolescent or both) never get mentioned except in the most abstract terms. They just can't be hammered to fit a narrative about a competent service doing wonders with the little it had.

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19 hours ago, Toxn said:

Not necessarily aimed at you.

 

There's a weird sub-genre of authors out there who have taken it upon themselves to 'save' the reputation of the RN by challenging or defending the service's worst quirks in WWII. In the case of their carriers this involves heavily pushing the narrative of survivability while glossing over just how dismally the ships and aircraft sometimes did their core mission and/or obsfucating the RNs very beleaguered recognition of carriers as more than an adjunct to the battleship-centred fleet. A lot of it is very good, well-researched and slickly-produced (http://www.armouredcarriers.com is an exemplar).

 

The unfortunate result, however, is to push the pendulum in the other direction as an old and well-cultured 'rule Britannia' jingoism sets in. So people show up to discussions about naval warfare in WWII fired up to show the world that the RN did nothing wrong and was (at worst) a victim of circumstance and diminished budgets.

 

A telling sign of this, from my perspective at least (a know very little about ships but more about aircraft), is that the fleet air arm aircraft (which were near-universally badly designed, obsolescent or both) never get mentioned except in the most abstract terms. They just can't be hammered to fit a narrative about a competent service doing wonders with the little it had.

All agreed - people do not separate the actions of those serving from the crap they were given to fight with.  Sadly, the rising jingoism is not restricted to retrospective glory or the UK.  We talk about past wars in these forums, but we will be too busy fighting the next pretty damm soon.

 

Aircraft were my thing growing up - as I aged and engaged more brain cells allied with technical education and broader reading, my views on many iconic aircraft changed significantly.  These days I see the Spitfire as over-rated (the marks get lumped together, some were average at best, some were adequate, some good) for example.

 

I still love aircraft, but armour is my thing these days - a nice synchronicity between interest and occupation.

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So I picked up a copy of Dave Hobbs, British Aircraft Carrier Design, and read up a little on the "Armored Deck" Carriers, and boy, I may have been wrong about them being overrated, they simply may in fact, just be horrible designs. 

 

One thing he mentions, is the Royal Navy designed the armored deck carriers, not with the Med in mind, though that at least gives a decent argument for these bad designs, it's wrong if what Hobbs is saying is true, they designed these ships, thinking no amount of CAP could ever stop a raid from getting to the ship before they could attack. The carrier could also not get its interceptors launched, and high enough to stop the attack, so it decided armor and AA guns were the way to defend the ship. This was only a valid idea pre-radar, and even then, they didn't get enough AA firepower or armor on these ships for it to help much. The few times the armored deck was tested, it didn't really live up to its reputation. Once radar was a thing, even the Brits realized this would allow enough time to launch interceptors once the tech matured, and by wars start radar was there.  Now, this gets us into Fleet Air Arms aircraft choices, and this whole area is a nightmare, of poor planning, doctrine, and interservice idiocy.  

 

So the only real test of the Armor came when the Illustrious, was attacked by Stukas, supposedly, elite ship hunters, in January of 1941. Since her CAP got suckered down by a low-level attack, the Stukas had a free hand, and they hit the Illustrious six times, four 1100 pounders, one was a dud, and three 550 pounders,  one near miss. What's interesting here is only one bomb hit the armored deck,  and it went right through the armor, and blew up in the hanger, causing serious damage to the ship's structure. The near miss may have damaged the hull.  She limped to Malta on fire and took another bomb a week later. Once they got her Sea Worthy, they eventually had to send her to the USA for a rebuild. Even the US Shipyards could not fix the ship all the way, she suffered vibration problems from these attacks that eventually required the center shaft to be removed, and the ship limited to 26 knots, later the vibrations got bad again and she had to be limited to 24 knots! She was out of action 10 months and was never right again. 

 

Even the argument that these carriers were good for the Kamikaze threat is a myth since the US Navy deemed them almost not worth the trouble of having around, because of their small air groups, small bunker stores, and stupidly small avgas and ordnance storage.   People do not think about the logistical side of the carrier much. The US Navy designed their carriers around an 80 to 90 plane air group, with enough gas and ord to operate them about five days of moderate operations before they need to refuel and rearm. The Essex class could do 20,000 miles at 15 knots on 6160tons of fuel oil. The Illustrious class was 12,000 NM at 14 knots with 4640 tons of fuel oil. That means the Illustrious class had to pull off the line and refuel, a lot. 

 

The Essex class had 240,000 gallons of avgas.  The Illustrious class only had 50,000 gallons of avgas!  That's a small gas load even for a small air wing. It was stored very safely though... Now, this problem is bigger than you think, because they realized the errors in their thinking and did everything they could to increase the air group size on the ships. They eventually got them up to about 60 planes, Corsairs, and Avengers, and Spits later... They did this by adopting the American style deck storage, and a multi-barrier landing system.  This made problems worse in several ways for these ships, the first, they were already cramped, by packing in more pilots and ground crew to work on the planes, they ended up packing these things like sardines, and their living standards were NOT up to US Navy standards. Maybe US Navy WWI standards. This also made the fuel problem almost unworkable. They would have to take on Avgas daily!  Or they would if they could keep any airplanes working. 

 

So another problem with these ships is their layout. For some reason, the Brits decided these things needed two story hangers. Why? Who knows, on the first four ships, the hangers were different heights, but still to short for good planes. One was 16 feet and one 14. Only the 16-foot hanger could take clipped Corsairs.  Why not one larger normal sized hanger deck?  No idea.  

So the British figured out these were not great ships after the first four, and in the next four tried to fix them, and messed them up much worse. They decided the armored box concept was too much and thinned out the sides. They also decided 30 knots was to slow, and added more boilers and a fourth shaft, in an only slightly bigger ship. This compounded the low living space problems. They did not really increase the bunker fuel or avgas loads much.  Even better, they made both hangers 14 feet, so now they could operate Seafires or Hellcats, but the US Navy didn’t have enough kitties to go around, so they operated the Spits, or more crashed them over and over into the deck, destroying them far faster than enemy action.

If you look at these ships post-war, the ones that took damage didn’t get rebuilds, the ones that did still didn’t operate long after the war. Granted the Brits were broke, but the Essex lasted in US Service well into the 90s and were a bargain compared to a new forrestal class.

Another point was made that the Armored deck Carriers were supposed to take bomb damage better, and then US Carriers get shit talked for their wooden decks. As if they didn’t have an armored deck in the Hanger.  They also forget the Enterprise, the greatest carrier in history, took three bombs, four near misses, and retired under her own power and was back in action in a little over a month.  Later in the Battle of Santa Cruz, her terrible wooden deck took two bombs but was repaired, during the fight, and she was able to land her aircraft and the Hornets and continued to operated.  When she retired from the fight, she was only laid up ten days for repairs before going back out for operations.  One of the selling points of the wooden deck was ease of repair, and her machinery was all just fine after all that.

 

Granted, two Essex class Carriers caught bombs or Kamikazes at the absolute worst possible time and suffered horrendous damage. That still doesn’t make the case for the Brit Armored CVs being good since they never got tested having a whole, loaded for a strike, deck park going up on them. I bet neither the Bunker Hill or Franklin took ten months to fix either, and both were in “New” condition when mothballed.

I think the US Navy was right, they did a bunch of studies that said the carrier would need to be 60k tons of more to have a viable armored deck, and usable airwing, and thus the Midways were born.

 

Sources: Anotomy of the Ship, The Aircraft Carrier Victorious, Anatomy of the Ship The Aircraft Carrier Intrepid, British Aircraft Carrier Design and History by David Hobbs, and Fleets of WWII by Richard Worth plus that armored carriers apologist site.

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7 hours ago, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

So I picked up a copy of Dave Hobbs, British Aircraft Carrier Design, and read up a little on the "Armored Deck" Carriers, and boy, I may have been wrong about them being overrated, they simply may in fact, just be horrible designs. 

 

One thing he mentions, is the Royal Navy designed the armored deck carriers, not with the Med in mind, though that at least gives a decent argument for these bad designs, it's wrong if what Hobbs is saying is true, they designed these ships, thinking no amount of CAP could ever stop a raid from getting to the ship before they could attack. The carrier could also not get its interceptors launched, and high enough to stop the attack, so it decided armor and AA guns were the way to defend the ship. This was only a valid idea pre-radar, and even then, they didn't get enough AA firepower or armor on these ships for it to help much. The few times the armored deck was tested, it didn't really live up to its reputation. Once radar was a thing, even the Brits realized this would allow enough time to launch interceptors once the tech matured, and by wars start radar was there.  Now, this gets us into Fleet Air Arms aircraft choices, and this whole area is a nightmare, of poor planning, doctrine, and interservice idiocy.  

 

So the only real test of the Armor came when the Illustrious, was attacked by Stukas, supposedly, elite ship hunters, in January of 1941. Since her CAP got suckered down by a low-level attack, the Stukas had a free hand, and they hit the Illustrious six times, four 1100 pounders, one was a dud, and three 550 pounders,  one near miss. What's interesting here is only one bomb hit the armored deck,  and it went right through the armor, and blew up in the hanger, causing serious damage to the ship's structure. The near miss may have damaged the hull.  She limped to Malta on fire and took another bomb a week later. Once they got her Sea Worthy, they eventually had to send her to the USA for a rebuild. Even the US Shipyards could not fix the ship all the way, she suffered vibration problems from these attacks that eventually required the center shaft to be removed, and the ship limited to 26 knots, later the vibrations got bad again and she had to be limited to 24 knots! She was out of action 10 months and was never right again. 

 

Even the argument that these carriers were good for the Kamikaze threat is a myth since the US Navy deemed them almost not worth the trouble of having around, because of their small air groups, small bunker stores, and stupidly small avgas and ordnance storage.   People do not think about the logistical side of the carrier much. The US Navy designed their carriers around an 80 to 90 plane air group, with enough gas and ord to operate them about five days of moderate operations before they need to refuel and rearm. The Essex class could do 20,000 miles at 15 knots on 6160tons of fuel oil. The Illustrious class was 12,000 NM at 14 knots with 4640 tons of fuel oil. That means the Illustrious class had to pull off the line and refuel, a lot. 

 

The Essex class had 240,000 gallons of avgas.  The Illustrious class only had 50,000 gallons of avgas!  That's a small gas load even for a small air wing. It was stored very safely though... Now, this problem is bigger than you think, because they realized the errors in their thinking and did everything they could to increase the air group size on the ships. They eventually got them up to about 60 planes, Corsairs, and Avengers, and Spits later... They did this by adopting the American style deck storage, and a multi-barrier landing system.  This made problems worse in several ways for these ships, the first, they were already cramped, by packing in more pilots and ground crew to work on the planes, they ended up packing these things like sardines, and their living standards were NOT up to US Navy standards. Maybe US Navy WWI standards. This also made the fuel problem almost unworkable. They would have to take on Avgas daily!  Or they would if they could keep any airplanes working. 

 

So another problem with these ships is their layout. For some reason, the Brits decided these things needed two story hangers. Why? Who knows, on the first four ships, the hangers were different heights, but still to short for good planes. One was 16 feet and one 14. Only the 16-foot hanger could take clipped Corsairs.  Why not one larger normal sized hanger deck?  No idea.  

So the British figured out these were not great ships after the first four, and in the next four tried to fix them, and messed them up much worse. They decided the armored box concept was too much and thinned out the sides. They also decided 30 knots was to slow, and added more boilers and a fourth shaft, in an only slightly bigger ship. This compounded the low living space problems. They did not really increase the bunker fuel or avgas loads much.  Even better, they made both hangers 14 feet, so now they could operate Seafires or Hellcats, but the US Navy didn’t have enough kitties to go around, so they operated the Spits, or more crashed them over and over into the deck, destroying them far faster than enemy action.

If you look at these ships post-war, the ones that took damage didn’t get rebuilds, the ones that did still didn’t operate long after the war. Granted the Brits were broke, but the Essex lasted in US Service well into the 90s and were a bargain compared to a new forrestal class.

Another point was made that the Armored deck Carriers were supposed to take bomb damage better, and then US Carriers get shit talked for their wooden decks. As if they didn’t have an armored deck in the Hanger.  They also forget the Enterprise, the greatest carrier in history, took three bombs, four near misses, and retired under her own power and was back in action in a little over a month.  Later in the Battle of Santa Cruz, her terrible wooden deck took two bombs but was repaired, during the fight, and she was able to land her aircraft and the Hornets and continued to operated.  When she retired from the fight, she was only laid up ten days for repairs before going back out for operations.  One of the selling points of the wooden deck was ease of repair, and her machinery was all just fine after all that.

 

Granted, two Essex class Carriers caught bombs or Kamikazes at the absolute worst possible time and suffered horrendous damage. That still doesn’t make the case for the Brit Armored CVs being good since they never got tested having a whole, loaded for a strike, deck park going up on them. I bet neither the Bunker Hill or Franklin took ten months to fix either, and both were in “New” condition when mothballed.

I think the US Navy was right, they did a bunch of studies that said the carrier would need to be 60k tons of more to have a viable armored deck, and usable airwing, and thus the Midways were born.

 

Sources: Anotomy of the Ship, The Aircraft Carrier Victorious, Anatomy of the Ship The Aircraft Carrier Intrepid, British Aircraft Carrier Design and History by David Hobbs, and Fleets of WWII by Richard Worth plus that armored carriers apologist site.

To be fair to the British; that they were operating under flawed assumptions when designing their ships does not mean that the designs themselves were horrendous, given that they fulfilled their requirements.

 

Also, comparing anyone to the US in WWII is difficult, as they were on a crazy hot streak (presumably powered by black magic and human sacrifice) that meant that everything they worked on just turned out much better than it should have. Compare the Brits to the Japanese and they start to look a lot better, if not spectacular. If they had just managed to get their heads out of their arses in terms of the actual aircraft, I think we'd be talking a lot less about the strengths and flaws of the ships than we do presently.

 

Overall I'd say that the RN carrier designs mirrored their tanks - not the worst, but definitely not the best, and with ridiculous self-imposed limitations that generally gimped their performance. If there had actually been more than three carrier-using nations in WW2 then I think this would be more apparent. As it stands, though, I'd put them very much third, with an about equal gap between them, the Japanese and the Americans.

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British aristocratic decisions are just terrible, worse than many other examples I’ve seen (though 1930’s France takes the cake); It’s not just “an army of lions lead by a sheep”, it’s an army of lions lead by a bunch of inbred chimps who just screech at each other. 

 

One of my aunts got me Norman Friedman’s “British Cruisers. Two World Wars +” and I had to set the book down halfway through because of all the shit the admiralty forced upon the navy. First off, all the different 6” guns had different ammo until standardized during WWII (and even then, some had to use modified ammo); while all US 5” (and 6”) guns of all calibers could use the projectiles from previous guns (yes, the 5”/25 Mark 10 could use the 5”/51 Mark 7 and 8 ammo, but with a different propellant charge). And this applies to almost all British naval weapons (the suicide rate for RN logistic officers must have been abnormally high). If you dive into the minutiae of other classes of British ships, you also find appalling lacks of intuition (or any form of intelligence), like Nelson and Rodney’s guns, the L and M class destroyers, trying to make the 8” BREACH LOADING guns on the County class dual purpose (because 250lb shells will be easy to hand load past 40* elevation...), and the list goes on and on. I’m also ignoring Britain’s attempts to reduce a ship’s tonnage and the size of navies because they couldn’t compete with their broken economy. 

 

I’m not trying to rag on the soldiers and sailors of the British isles: these men and women were some of the finest examples of warriors the world had at the time, but it almost brings me to tears that they were forced to use such terrible equipment, brought about via retarded politicians who knew nothing about the science and requirements of war. 

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