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The R Class Submarine


LostCosmonaut
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I've already talked about terrible British submarines from the Great War period, let's talk about ones that are actually pretty cool; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_R-class_submarine

 

For bonus points, bring this up whenever anybody spergs about how the type XXI was the first submarine designed for underwater performance.

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The R-class was the only submarine class designed for high underwater speed in order to attack enemy submarines before the Cold War. The first submarine designed for high underwater speed to gain better capability against ASW in return for shorter cruising range and loiter time (and thus a huge cut to time on station per submarine) was the Japanese Submarine No. 71. They didn't like it, because it takes ASW practice as good as allied to make going from submersibles to something a lot more closer to a submarine seem like a good idea. The first high underwater speed optimized submarine the Allies encountered was the HMS Seraph, which was modified to allow trials and experimentation to find new tactics to use against the Type XXI.

 

It's not like the Germans had some crazy teutonic black magic that allowed them to figure out one weird trick for high underwater speed (actually if anything's one weird trick to high underwater performance, it's a single screw, and they got that wrong). Everybody knew what did it, but until the advent of allied ASW, the loss of offensive capability (and loitering time is offensive capability, make no mistake) wasn't worth the gain in defensive ability. The ASW tasked SSK is more an outgrowth of the british success sinking a U-boat while submerged and the desire for something to hunt the things. The West wasn't trying to build XXI follow-ons, they were trying to build things to hunt them (and perform some other fun missions).

 

Now I really really want to find the documentation I'd found of WWI era flying planes equipped with dipping sonar.

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Like very many interwar British ideas the R-class was too ahead of its time; with the technology unable to really make a practical boat out of a concept that would later become the norm.

 

Though personally that reflects the British tendency to keep spending on crazy ideas that sound good on paper with no regard of how it will turn out in practice.

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I think the British had some really interesting ideas about roles, and tried to build ships to fill them without really getting feedback from the engineers, who did their best to make the unworkable work. I remember reading things about the engineers getting marginalized in the RN establishment in WWI and the interwar period, and I can't help but think that this shows the signs of that process.

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I think the British had some really interesting ideas about roles, and tried to build ships to fill them without really getting feedback from the engineers, who did their best to make the unworkable work. I remember reading things about the engineers getting marginalized in the RN establishment in WWI and the interwar period, and I can't help but think that this shows the signs of that process.

 

I know less than nothing about RN interwar development (especially the politics and such), so it would be cool as shit to learn more.

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Unfortunately this is partially supposition based on things I read but haven't necessarily had time to comprehensively look into (I try to denote that sort of thing).

 

Looking at things like what's on page 130 here, I feel that there is something to it, but I wouldn't feel confident going into depth on the subject without considerably more reading, and that may well take a while, I've got some reading on late antiquity and network-centric warfare to get to first (library books), and From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow isn't exactly light reading.

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I think the British had some really interesting ideas about roles, and tried to build ships to fill them without really getting feedback from the engineers, who did their best to make the unworkable work. I remember reading things about the engineers getting marginalized in the RN establishment in WWI and the interwar period, and I can't help but think that this shows the signs of that process.

 

Well, when you have personalities like Lord Fisher (coastal battlecruisers!), Winston Churchill (Gallipolli could have worked!), and Beatty (Firing speed is everything! Leave the safety fire doors to the magazines open!) leading the RN and were increasingly intolerant of anyone but sycophants in their staffs it's hard to imagine any sane engineer not getting marginalized.

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Well, when you have personalities like Lord Fisher (coastal battlecruisers!), Winston Churchill (Gallipolli could have worked!), and Beatty (Firing speed is everything! Leave the safety fire doors to the magazines open!) leading the RN and were increasingly intolerant of anyone but sycophants in their staffs it's hard to imagine any sane engineer not getting marginalized.

 

That's fair enough, and it may just be symptomatic of throwing everything at the wall and some things sticking, but I have a feeling that some of it is that people without engineering backgrounds had legitimately good ideas based on an incomplete or flawed understandings of the facts, and when they collided with the reality, the ships suffered. I seem to recall there being a serious lack of senior designers in the WWII era, I wonder when that started being felt, and whether the lack of/overworking of guys who actually have a good idea of the ship as a complete engineering product might have influenced this.

 

I really don't want this to become a project, but now I'm genuinely interested.

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That's fair enough, and it may just be symptomatic of throwing everything at the wall and some things sticking, but I have a feeling that some of it is that people without engineering backgrounds had legitimately good ideas based on an incomplete or flawed understandings of the facts, and when they collided with the reality, the ships suffered. I seem to recall there being a serious lack of senior designers in the WWII era, I wonder when that started being felt, and whether the lack of/overworking of guys who actually have a good idea of the ship as a complete engineering product might have influenced this.

 

I really don't want this to become a project, but now I'm genuinely interested.

 

Part of the problem is that the Admiralty of the 1890-1920 period itself, which was suffering from schizophrenia over wanting to be old school and true to Nelson while at the same time wanting to be on the bleeding edge of the technological race. Mix in Victorian era class snobbery and extensive politicization of the Admiralty positions, and you get an environment where merit and competence were not rewarded compared to seniority mixed with the ability to publically lobby for grandiose ideas that would be popular with the public despite being of dubious sanity to engineers.

 

Honestly, I think of all the top RN commanders in the First World War only Jellicoe was halfway competent, which was probably why he was left with the responsibility of not losing the war in an afternoon in the first place. And look how he ended up being everyone's favorite post-war scapegoat to escape blame for their respective dumb ideas and failings.

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Which is why the Royal Navy was quickly eclipsed by its competitors and was soundly trounced in the fires of World War 1.

...

...

Oh wait...

 

When you have enough yards to pump out double the number of dreadnoughts as the nearest competitor it's very hard to be eclipsed by your competitors unless you're into strategies that advocate frittering away British battleship strength on pointless missions like trying to capture a couple of German North Sea islands for fanciful landings on the North German coast.

 

Shooting down these insane ideas in fact became a big part of Jellicoe's job. Seriously, the above insane strategy was in fact advocated by a former Sea Lord by the name of Arthur Wilson. And he didn't just advocate seizing one of the less well-defended islands (which Churchill wanted), he wanted to seize Heligoland which was the single most well-defended of the German North Sea islands and was bristling with minefields and fixed shore guns. Jellicoe's private response was "We were all and one convinced that Sir A was mad."

 

Moreover, it's not as if the German navy was bristling with competence either. Their entire naval strategy was predicated on losing and then winning because they lost... without defining the chain of events wherein the defeat would transform into victory.

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Institutional dry rot takes a while, and it seems that the professional design apparatus was still roughly healthy because they could draw from the superlative records keeping process the RN enjoyed (which dated back a long way) to get the benefit of experience and had plenty of top notch engineers to draw from, but the problems really started when the engineering and design arms lost out in postwar developments and there was a lack of senior designers, which caused problems with detail design and problematic ideas couldn't be afforded in the same way they could before they'd killed their maritime power in a land war. Plus, WWI was very much decided by numbers in a pretty straight up Lanchestrian N-squared way, and slipways and money for ships won.

 

The US entered WWI as a junior partner with some superlative ideas but also some real mediocrities (generally fine engineers but it was a young navy without much operational knowledge and it showed in detail design). By WWII the US was pretty much consistently executing top notch designs and the British are coming up with mediocrities and need a lot of work to be brought up to standards to meaningfully contribute to the US fleets in the Pacific. It's quite the fall. It's also worth noting that after the Dreadnought, which was the contemporary of the similar Kawachi and South Carolina classes, the British didn't lead in any revolutionary steps, and by the time the treaty got signed, they were getting an allowance to build the Nelsons to have something comparable to the Colorados and Nagatos.

 

The big three navies started becoming major first rate powers in 1986 (being generous and dating the US start to the beginning of the Kearsarge, I'd argue it really started being a power worth mention in 1907 with the Great White Fleet, and a first rate power after the war), 1898 (similarly optimistic, with the passing of the first Navy Bill rather than the British abandoning the two navy standard), and to be conservative 1588.

 

Losing ground at the rate they did to noted land power Imperial Germany and the notoriously thrifty United States is pretty bad.

 

And yes, Zine is entirely correct that one of their rivals was A: devoting resources to an army intended to beat France on land and B: cribbing their strategy from the Underpants Gnomes' playbook.

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The other issue that contributed to the rapid decline of the RN was its failure to understand grand strategy; particularly what made the Royal Navy so successful in previous wars in the first place.

 

The reality of the Royal Navy is that its big, flashy victories - Trafalgar, the Nile, etc - were merely a means to an end; which is to allow the British Navy to maintain control over the sea lanes by blockading the enemy's sea ports. Winning Trafalgar didn't cause Napoleon to give up - there is a decade long gap between Trafalgar and Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo. It was the long, grinding blockade that no one likes to talk about that actually defeated the French.

 

The problem by the First World War is that the public, and to a large extent the Admiralty that wanted to remain in the public's good graces, had come to expect that they would win smashing naval victories from the outset. This was why grandiose schemes were being drawn up to invade useless pieces of North Sea rock - because they wanted to "draw out" the German battlefleet and destroy it.

 

Jellicoe, to his credit, understood that he had to resist all of these insane ideas and limit himself to being the gaoler of the German fleet. As long as the German fleet and merchant marine was kept bottled up in its home ports, then the Royal Navy was doing its part to win the war.

 

Really, this is a classic case of the undisciplined pursuit of the new, which was identified by Jim Collins in his business books as one of the key indicators of what destroys successful corporations. I know historians are loathe to apply business book strategy to history, but in reality Collin's conclusions were based on statistical research and focus on the evolution of institutions - of which governments and militaries are in fact not much different from corporations.

 

Great companies in fact are often destroyed not by external competition, but rather because they fritter away resources in pursuit of pet projects that don't pan out while forgetting what made them great in the first place. When you have Churchill trying to tinker and micro-manage based on his delusional understanding of Trafalgar rather than sticking to the solid strategy that worked before, you get the same sort of embarassing rot that leads the RN from being a leading world navy to one that got badly trounced by the Japanese.

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There's a huge departure in British strategy and position from the Napoleonic War to WWI that bears mention.

 

Those big flashy victories were important in that they took the British from naval superiority to naval supremacy, which allowed them to fight the war while expanding their economy and use their mobility to strike at the French periphery using small land forces to back up changing coalition members in a string of coalitions, where the coalition partners kept getting traded in but the British were able to use small forces to prop them up in key places.

 

By WWI, the British have the Germans penned in, but they have an alliance with the French, whose naval failure during the Franco-Prussian war led them to demand British land support and downplay any potential offered by naval mobility (and with the intersection of mass armies and rail transport, it's definitely within the realm of possibility that maritime power is seriously hurt by increased potential for land powers to relocate force to their periphery). And the British Army and the UK in general go all in on the land, not only do they prop France up, but they launch attacks and start trying to build up in a huge way to develop a real land power to defeat Germany. So I have a feeling that a good amount of the insane schemes are trying to apply the template of the Napoleonic to WWI without much mind paid to the technological or strategic context, because they feel that they have to strike the decisive blow using naval methods, even though a maritime victory isn't won in one sharp strike (except for the most maritime readings of the Crimean War and the threat to St. Petersberg), but is instead a grinding process, where eventually the land power is weakened sufficiently that the maritime power can assemble a coalition with the strength to win.

 

The naval divisions and the various ideas are acts of a service trying to maintain its relevance I feel, and are desperate ideas to try to do something that wasn't in the cards.

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Yeah. No offense. I'm calling bullshit on this whole exercise which seems to be solely to felate Zins hate boner for Winston Churchill.

Pity that the Royal Navy remained the preeminent Naval force throughout the 60-70 year timeline outlined up until the 1930s at the very and remained a force to be reckoned with into the 1940s to the point that it contributed the majority of the naval vessels in the largest amphibious landing in world history.

This is despite being an island nation with a fraction of the population of its competitors and allies and with global commitments that spanned all five oceans.

And this is despite being on the forefront of two sanguinary World Wars, twenty years apart, that bled the country dry of men and treasury.

So yes, the Royal Navy eventually was overtaken by its Colonial partner over a period of time that saw wooden ships with sails give way to iron clads, steamships, coal, oil and eventually nuclear warships. But the decline owes more to the inevitable decline of the British Empire which saw it fall from being the Workshop of the World to a bombed-out and bankrupt shell which couldn't even afford proper utilities for its people.

Saying that the Royal Navy declined because of a few harebrained ship designs here and there or a tactical defeat here and there engages in the same lazy navel gazing (get it, navel...) that has people blaming the M16 for losing Vietnam. This was over a period of time mind you that saw an industrial revolution in metallurgy, ballistics, radio, sonar, radar and aviation all of which the Royal Navy was at or near the forefront. Other than the US, was there any nation that came close? And I dare say, the Royal Navy probably faced greater odds throughout its two wars.

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There's a huge departure in British strategy and position from the Napoleonic War to WWI that bears mention.

 

Those big flashy victories were important in that they took the British from naval superiority to naval supremacy, which allowed them to fight the war while expanding their economy and use their mobility to strike at the French periphery using small land forces to back up changing coalition members in a string of coalitions, where the coalition partners kept getting traded in but the British were able to use small forces to prop them up in key places.

 

By WWI, the British have the Germans penned in, but they have an alliance with the French, whose naval failure during the Franco-Prussian war led them to demand British land support and downplay any potential offered by naval mobility (and with the intersection of mass armies and rail transport, it's definitely within the realm of possibility that maritime power is seriously hurt by increased potential for land powers to relocate force to their periphery). And the British Army and the UK in general go all in on the land, not only do they prop France up, but they launch attacks and start trying to build up in a huge way to develop a real land power to defeat Germany. So I have a feeling that a good amount of the insane schemes are trying to apply the template of the Napoleonic to WWI without much mind paid to the technological or strategic context, because they feel that they have to strike the decisive blow using naval methods, even though a maritime victory isn't won in one sharp strike (except for the most maritime readings of the Crimean War and the threat to St. Petersberg), but is instead a grinding process, where eventually the land power is weakened sufficiently that the maritime power can assemble a coalition with the strength to win.

 

The naval divisions and the various ideas are acts of a service trying to maintain its relevance I feel, and are desperate ideas to try to do something that wasn't in the cards.

 

The thing is, the big and flashy victories generally didn't come right at the outset. Quiberon Bay only happened midway into the Seven Years War, and Trafalgar was two years into the formal start of the Napoleonic Wars; albeit one can argue that the whole mess had begun since the French Revolution in 1792. The blockade was in fact a big factor in ensuring that the British had better odds during the naval battles precisely because the enemy fleets had been kept locked away for so long. Indeed, one of the triggers for German surrender was the High Seas Fleet mutiniying.

 

Churchill and most of the First Lords wanted a big victory right from the start, which was why there seemed to always be pointless recrimination after every battle even if the British won.

 

Moreover, the original British plan for WW1 never involved massive ground forces to begin with - that was a decision taken in the middle of the war when it was clear that no decisive result could be reached. And the crazy ideas for going into the Baltic pre-dated the Kitchener Divisions and the army slowly growing in relevance compared to the Navy; those started the moment Fisher got his First Lord job back.

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Yeah. No offense. I'm calling bullshit on this whole exercise which seems to be solely to felate Zins hate boner for Winston Churchill.

Pity that the Royal Navy remained the preeminent Naval force throughout the 60-70 year timeline outlined up until the 1930s at the very and remained a force to be reckoned with into the 1940s to the point that it contributed the majority of the naval vessels in the largest amphibious landing in world history.

This is despite being an island nation with a fraction of the population of its competitors and allies and with global commitments that spanned all five oceans.

And this is despite being on the forefront of two sanguinary World Wars, twenty years apart, that bled the country dry of men and treasury.

So yes, the Royal Navy eventually was overtaken by its Colonial partner over a period of time that saw wooden ships with sails give way to iron clads, steamships, coal, oil and eventually nuclear warships. But the decline owes more to the inevitable decline of the British Empire which saw it fall from being the Workshop of the World to a bombed-out and bankrupt shell which couldn't even afford proper utilities for its people.

Saying that the Royal Navy declined because of a few harebrained ship designs here and there or a tactical defeat here and there engages in the same lazy navel gazing (get it, navel...) that has people blaming the M16 for losing Vietnam. This was over a period of time mind you that saw an industrial revolution in metallurgy, ballistics, radio, sonar, radar and aviation all of which the Royal Navy was at or near the forefront. Other than the US, was there any nation that came close? And I dare say, the Royal Navy probably faced greater odds throughout its two wars.

 

It's very hard to take your "calling out" seriously when you're too busy playing strawman, trying to make us feel bad about poor Britain spending all the blood and treasure to beat the Germans (while ignoring the very real reality that much of British prosperity only came about because they looted India, whose economy didn't grow while under British rule even as the population exploded leading to the current poverty-stricken situation it's still trying to solve).

 

Instead, what you fail to realize is the issue is not Churchill, but the institutional rot of the Royal Navy's leadership as a whole high among which is its utter failure to come up with a grand strategy.

 

You sing the Royal Navy's virtues by saying they contributed a lot of vessels for D-Day, but you fail to realize that the British had to be literally dragged kicking and screaming from the utter failure that was their Mediterranean strategy before they agreed to invade Normandy. It was in fact primarily Britain's fault that the Western Allies wasted the entirety of 1943 by invading Italy - which Churchill keeps referring to as the soft underbelly of Europe without realizing that Italy is one really long chain of mountains unsuited for mechanized army operations (and both US and British Armies were fully mechanized at this point; with the US having one token mountain division in total) and that at the very top of Italy is not Germany but an obstacle called the "Fucking Alps" wherein a million Italians died in fruitless assaults on mountain passes guarded by Austrians in the First World War.

 

That, again, is a clear failure of grand strategy. The Royal Navy had no clue what it was supposed to actually do in the war except to muddle through. They were bailed out in the First World War because Jellicoe refused to succumb to any delusions by his peers like Beatty, Fisher, Wilson, or Churchill (funny how you pick only Churchill) and had too much of a lead on the even more mind-bogglingly incompetent Germans anyway. In the Second World War, there really wasn't a clear strategy until America basically grabbed them by the neck and shoved the Victory Plan in their faces.

 

Frankly, this is why I'd actually bet on the IJN beating the Royal Navy if the USN magically didn't get involved. As crazy as the IJN's leadership was, it at least understood that they were facing a war wherein the IJN would face numerical inferiority and had spent the inter-war years cultivating specialized skills that were meant to minimize this inferiority in specific situations (particularly night battle). The IJN had a strategy - create conditions where the defeat of the enemy fleet is probable and engage them in these conditions - even if the strategy was paired with the equivalent of national suicide.

 

The British strategy when the actual Pacific crisis hit in December 7 was apparently... "Send a few ships to show the flag, surely that will deter Japan?" Which is again not strategy but a load of wishful thinking.

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The thing is, the big and flashy victories generally didn't come right at the outset. Quiberon Bay only happened midway into the Seven Years War, and Trafalgar was two years into the formal start of the Napoleonic Wars; albeit one can argue that the whole mess had begun since the French Revolution in 1792. The blockade was in fact a big factor in ensuring that the British had better odds during the naval battles precisely because the enemy fleets had been kept locked away for so long. Indeed, one of the triggers for German surrender was the High Seas Fleet mutiniying.

 

Churchill and most of the First Lords wanted a big victory right form the start, which was why there seemed to always be pointless recrimination after every battle even if the British won.

 

Moreove, the original British plan for WW1 never involved massive ground forces to begin with - that was a decision taken in the middle of the war when it was clear that no decisive result could be reached. And the crazy ideas for going into the Baltic pre-dated the Kitchener Divisions and the army slowly growing in relevance compared to the Navy.

 

Son of a gun. Weird. That's totally screwed up decision making and seems like a real problem of institutional culture and starting to believe their own mythology. And yeah, the big flashy victories never came at the start, expecting to be able to get them at the start is crazy. The entire point is inflicting enough problems on the enemy that they feel compelled to fight or that they eventually collapse. Misunderstanding things that profoundly seems like there was a serious intellectual sickness going on, which does fit the ideas of "fighting" officers, and kind of makes me think of the Imperial Japanese self-selecting for lunacy.

 

 

Yeah. No offense. I'm calling bullshit on this whole exercise which seems to be solely to felate Zins hate boner for Winston Churchill.

Pity that the Royal Navy remained the preeminent Naval force throughout the 60-70 year timeline outlined up until the 1930s at the very and remained a force to be reckoned with into the 1940s to the point that it contributed the majority of the naval vessels in the largest amphibious landing in world history.

This is despite being an island nation with a fraction of the population of its competitors and allies and with global commitments that spanned all five oceans.

And this is despite being on the forefront of two sanguinary World Wars, twenty years apart, that bled the country dry of men and treasury.

So yes, the Royal Navy eventually was overtaken by its Colonial partner over a period of time that saw wooden ships with sails give way to iron clads, steamships, coal, oil and eventually nuclear warships. But the decline owes more to the inevitable decline of the British Empire which saw it fall from being the Workshop of the World to a bombed-out and bankrupt shell which couldn't even afford proper utilities for its people.

Saying that the Royal Navy declined because of a few harebrained ship designs here and there or a tactical defeat here and there engages in the same lazy navel gazing (get it, navel...) that has people blaming the M16 for losing Vietnam. This was over a period of time mind you that saw an industrial revolution in metallurgy, ballistics, radio, sonar, radar and aviation all of which the Royal Navy was at or near the forefront. Other than the US, was there any nation that came close? And I dare say, the Royal Navy probably faced greater odds throughout its two wars.

 

It's not just Winnie by the way, it's a huge fraction of the establishment, and especially Jackie "you don't need armor to stand in the line of battle and trade shots" Fisher of building the large light cruisers to force their way into the Baltic fame. RN leadership sucked, and a lot of their tactical thinking was seriously suspect. I'm a bit concerned that you somehow managed to get that out of the past few posts, it's not exactly singling out what I assume is your sacred cow.

 

The RN was well on its way out after WWI, and everybody knew it. The 5-5-3 ratio was determined by how many theaters of interest the UK, US and Japan had, not capability to build ships. Everyone knew that the US could utterly bury the UK and Japan if they wanted to buy the ships, and funnily enough when WWII rolled around, they did. The run up to WWII was spent desperately trying to figure out how to make things work in the Mediterranean against Italy and still have strength to deal with Japan.

 

By WWI the RN was starting to fall behind to the rest of the pack, and rather than focus on their core capabilities they started to work on napkinwaffe. The US was designing battleships that in the UK would be termed post-Jutland before the war even started, and build them in huge bulk. The RN of WWI was a thing of mad schemes and bizarre ideas impinging on the things that make navies work. They still executed on a bunch of things, but there's things like the Didos having serious detail design issues, and they've got as many problem designs as non-problem designs because they're suffering a chronic lack of senior designers. Their aircraft carrier designs are incredibly questionable and based on things that change rapidly with advancing technology, technology the UK is leading in. Their fleet looks nice, but the war builds are basically disposable ships, and their neglect of engineering concerns makes it a huge trouble operating to US standards in the Pacific. Meanwhile the US Navy, capable of building to a standard where they can take on every navy in the world at once and win, is relentlessly focusing on building ships to fill its main roles, testing their capabilities in exercises, and puts their efforts into solving the exact problems they identify needing to solve to operate in their war.

 

Comparing the world leading Royal Navy of WWI and USN of WWII is night and day. The USN has the resources to be extravagant but they have a solid plan that they've been working on and testing every bit of for decades, and even when things start off on a very different foot from what they expect they have a force of balanced units and the wherewithal to use them. The RN of WWI is the navy of a nation without resources to spend that's rapidly spending them anyway, and is unfocused, coming up with weird ideas and committing resources to them willy-nilly.

 

 

 

It's very hard to take your "calling out" seriously when you're too busy playing strawman, trying to make us feel bad about poor Britain spending all the blood and treasure to beat the Germans (while ignoring the very real reality that much of British prosperity only came about because they looted India, whose economy didn't grow while under British rule even as the population exploded leading to the current poverty-stricken situation it's still trying to solve).

 

Instead, what you fail to realize is the issue is not Churchill, but the institutional rot of the Royal Navy's leadership as a whole high among which is its utter failure to come up with a grand strategy.

 

You sing the Royal Navy's virtues by saying they contributed a lot of vessels for D-Day, but you fail to realize that the British had to be literally dragged kicking and screaming from the utter failure that was their Mediterranean strategy before they agreed to invade Normandy. It was in fact primarily Britain's fault that the Western Allies wasted the entirety of 1943 by invading Italy - which Churchill keeps referring to as the soft underbelly of Europe without realizing that Italy is one really long chain of mountains unsuited for mechanized army operations (and both US and British Armies were fully mechanized at this point; with the US having one token mountain division in total) and that at the very top of Italy is not Germany but an obstacle called the "Fucking Alps" wherein a million Italians died in fruitless assaults on mountain passes guarded by Austrians in the First World War.

 

That, again, is a clear failure of grand strategy. The Royal Navy had no clue what it was supposed to actually do in the war except to muddle through. They were bailed out in the First World War because Jellicoe refused to succumb to any delusions by his peers like Beatty, Fisher, Wilson, or Churchill (funny how you pick only Churchill) and had too much of a lead on the even more mind-bogglingly incompetent Germans anyway. In the Second World War, there really wasn't a clear strategy until America basically grabbed them by the neck and shoved the Victory Plan in their faces.

 

Frankly, this is why I'd actually bet on the IJN beating the Royal Navy if the USN magically didn't get involved. As crazy as the IJN's leadership was, it at least understood that they were facing a war wherein the IJN would face numerical inferiority and had spent the inter-war years cultivating specialized skills that were meant to minimize this inferiority in specific situations (particularly night battle). The IJN had a strategy - create conditions where the defeat of the enemy fleet is probable and engage them in these conditions - even if the strategy was paired with the equivalent of national suicide.

 

The British strategy when the actual Pacific crisis hit in December 7 was apparently... "Send a few ships to show the flag, surely that will deter Japan?" Which is again not strategy but a load of wishful thinking.

 

I'd bet on the IJN drubbing the hell out of the RN. Look at how many of their ships got hit off Okinawa with modern fighters and so on and how few intercepts they made (fewer shootdowns than at Santa Cruz!), and now imagine them trying to fend of Kido Butai in their prime with Skuas and without late-war radar controlled CAP practices. Let's see how well those armored flight decks do against torpedoes and bombs that are actually dropped (the answer is if they're like what went through the Franklin's armored hangar deck, not much), and what damage practice looks like with hangars part of the ship girder (oh wait that looks like Japanese carriers, which look like infernos and/or fuel-air explosives).

 

I think their idea as it was was to try to deter Japan, but if that didn't work try to deal with Italy in the Med first before going to focus on Japan. From what I can tell, the thinking wasn't very optimistic about the prospects of that actually working.

 

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Son of a gun. Weird. That's totally screwed up decision making and seems like a real problem of institutional culture and starting to believe their own mythology.

 

The Royal Navy was essentially arguing with itself after sinking three German light cruisers at the battle of Heligoland Bight, mostly because they thought they hadn't massacred the Germans enough.

 

Seriously, there was basically controversy of this sort after every battle, victorious or not. In fact the mythology reached such extremes that I'm pretty sure Coronel only happened because the British Admiral Craddock preferred committing mass suicide rather than be accused of cowardice and failing to put his ship alongside that of the enemy.

 

 

By WWI the RN was starting to fall behind to the rest of the pack, and rather than focus on their core capabilities they started to work on napkinwaffe.

 

It pays to never forget that the longest-ranged gunnery hit of the First World War - the gold standard of a dreadnought navy - was not even achieved by the Royal Navy.

 

It was achieved instead by a pre-dreadnought of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, who achieved this by simply modifying their guns to fire at higher angles. The pre-dreadnought hit the modern battlecruiser Goeben and forced her to run back to port.

 

Which should demonstrate how people really should stop pretending that the Czarist Navy is a joke just because of Tsushima. To quote another snarky poster well-versed in these matters: Never underestimate an artillery ship full of Russians. Especially ones who are given a clear purpose instead of the muddled mess of orders the Baltic Fleet got.

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It's very hard to take your "calling out" seriously when you're too busy playing strawman, trying to make us feel bad about poor Britain spending all the blood and treasure to beat the Germans (while ignoring the very real reality that much of British prosperity only came about because they looted India, whose economy didn't grow while under British rule even as the population exploded leading to the current poverty-stricken situation it's still trying to solve).

 

Instead, what you fail to realize is the issue is not Churchill, but the institutional rot of the Royal Navy's leadership as a whole high among which is its utter failure to come up with a grand strategy.

 

You sing the Royal Navy's virtues by saying they contributed a lot of vessels for D-Day, but you fail to realize that the British had to be literally dragged kicking and screaming from the utter failure that was their Mediterranean strategy before they agreed to invade Normandy. It was in fact primarily Britain's fault that the Western Allies wasted the entirety of 1943 by invading Italy - which Churchill keeps referring to as the soft underbelly of Europe without realizing that Italy is one really long chain of mountains unsuited for mechanized army operations (and both US and British Armies were fully mechanized at this point; with the US having one token mountain division in total) and that at the very top of Italy is not Germany but an obstacle called the "Fucking Alps" wherein a million Italians died in fruitless assaults on mountain passes guarded by Austrians in the First World War.

 

That, again, is a clear failure of grand strategy. The Royal Navy had no clue what it was supposed to actually do in the war except to muddle through. They were bailed out in the First World War because Jellicoe refused to succumb to any delusions by his peers like Beatty, Fisher, Wilson, or Churchill (funny how you pick only Churchill) and had too much of a lead on the even more mind-bogglingly incompetent Germans anyway. In the Second World War, there really wasn't a clear strategy until America basically grabbed them by the neck and shoved the Victory Plan in their faces.

 

Frankly, this is why I'd actually bet on the IJN beating the Royal Navy if the USN magically didn't get involved. As crazy as the IJN's leadership was, it at least understood that they were facing a war wherein the IJN would face numerical inferiority and had spent the inter-war years cultivating specialized skills that were meant to minimize this inferiority in specific situations (particularly night battle). The IJN had a strategy - create conditions where the defeat of the enemy fleet is probable and engage them in these conditions - even if the strategy was paired with the equivalent of national suicide.

 

The British strategy when the actual Pacific crisis hit in December 7 was apparently... "Send a few ships to show the flag, surely that will deter Japan?" Which is again not strategy but a load of wishful thinking.

 

Awww. Zin is using his favorite word, "strawman" once again. Yeah. It's pretty hard to take you seriously when you are obviously trying to rewrite history because of your personal politics and you are fussy over the fact that American Conservatives really dig Winston Churchill and so are bound and determined to take him down a notch by cobbling together a bunch of cherry-picked anecdotes and shaking together into a crappoast that defies the smell test when you look at it. Letting your personal politics cloud your reporting of personal events is a very shoddy way of telling history. And it makes you no better than Stephen Ambrose or Tom Brokaw. 

 

And no, I'm not going to engage you in fanciful alternate history what ifs about the American Navy not being in World War 2 and that would allow the Japanese to beat the Royal Navy because somehow the Japanese would magic up the supply fleets to project power across the world because it's fucking stupid, irrelevant and something we expect better of you. Take the AH what-if scenarios and play that game with Dai over at HAV. We deal in real and hard facts here.

 

The fact remains that throughout the 60-70 year timeline mentioned, the Royal Navy remained the premier naval force in the world. And even in World War 2, they were able to cruise through the Axis lake called the Mediterranean, gain naval supremacy there while guarding its Atlantic convoys, supplying the Soviets through the Arctic and projecting power into the Indian Ocean. Four out of the Five Oceans. That's not bad.

 

It was quite obvious that after being shattered after two World Wars and losing its global empire, the need and ability for Great Britain to maintain the Royal Navy after 1945, 1948 and into the 1950s ceased. You don't need a Royal Navy to guard India and your colonial possessions when you no longer own them or when Dominions are more than willing to look after their own security needs. If you want to look at why the Royal Navy no longer is the force it was during the Age of Nelson, look there. That's the reason. The British could have been building Essex Carriers and Iowas in the 1930s and it still wouldn't change the fact they'd be dead broke and unable to afford those ships by the dawn of the Atomic Age. 

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And just for the record, apparently we are to believe it is the British and Royal Navy's fault that Japan broke treaty obligations and became a pariah nation for building a large navy that it couldn't afford or even fuel and which barely managed a foray into the Indian Ocean and with battleships like the Yamato which they didn't even have oil to use.

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Awww. Zin is using his favorite word, "strawman" once again. Yeah. It's pretty hard to take you seriously when you are obviously trying to rewrite history because of your personal politics and you are fussy over the fact that American Conservatives really dig Winston Churchill and so are bound and determined to take him down a notch by cobbling together a bunch of cherry-picked anecdotes and shaking together into a crappoast that defies the smell test when you look at it. Letting your personal politics cloud your reporting of personal events is a very shoddy way of telling history. And it makes you no better than Stephen Ambrose or Tom Brokaw. 

 

And no, I'm not going to engage you in fanciful alternate history what ifs about the American Navy not being in World War 2 and that would allow the Japanese to beat the Royal Navy because somehow the Japanese would magic up the supply fleets to project power across the world because it's fucking stupid, irrelevant and something we expect better of you. Take the AH what-if scenarios and play that game with Dai over at HAV. We deal in real and hard facts here.

 

The fact remains that throughout the 60-70 year timeline mentioned, the Royal Navy remained the premier naval force in the world. And even in World War 2, they were able to cruise through the Axis lake called the Mediterranean, gain naval supremacy there while guarding its Atlantic convoys, supplying the Soviets through the Arctic and projecting power into the Indian Ocean. Four out of the Five Oceans. That's not bad.

 

It was quite obvious that after being shattered after two World Wars and losing its global empire, the need and ability for Great Britain to maintain the Royal Navy after 1945, 1948 and into the 1950s ceased. You don't need a Royal Navy to guard India and your colonial possessions when you no longer own them or when Dominions are more than willing to look after their own security needs. If you want to look at why the Royal Navy no longer is the force it was during the Age of Nelson, look there. That's the reason. The British could have been building Essex Carriers and Iowas in the 1930s and it still wouldn't change the fact they'd be dead broke and unable to afford those ships by the dawn of the Atomic Age. 

 

Oh god. I don't understand why a slavish unthinking adoration for strong men is apparently part of the American Conservative such that it shuts down other thought processes, but if you didn't notice, you came into a discussion of the Royal Navy of WWI as an institution where the planning arms were progressively more divorced from honest assessment of the history they were supposedly using as a guide for their planning and was suffering a major disconnect between the people coming up with the strategic planning and the people who actually built the ships and had any idea what the ideas would look like when finished, resulting in a whole bunch of ships that came at the cost of more effective units and downright sucked. You then seem to have realized that poor ickle Winnie is included and decided that because he's apparently axiomatically good to you any criticism of him is unfounded. This isn't a promising start to a discussion, and I'd thank you to remember that there are reasons some people don't genuflect before your chosen idols and not all of them are political ideology. Anyway, I'll head on in good faith that we'll keep the discussion on the points and discuss the history without grinding political axes.

 

Here's a rough look at the ship design process: http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-035.htm

 

Note where the ship design process starts. It doesn't start with we want this ship, it starts with an assessment of the fights the navy is likely to face and what tasks the ship is to be expected to perform, what capabilities that ship is to deliver. Note the role of the technical bureaus. Their job is to identify what works well and what doesn't. My contention is that the people drawing up the assessment of the threat had a serious disconnect between them and the technical bureaus which led to a willingness to try to make designs work that were pretty well unworkable. The K class submarine is a prime example of trying to force something that couldn't be made to work acceptably work because it fit a role they wanted. The R class is an example of an interesting idea that was neat and generally well executed but wasn't a sound use of resources that could have been put to less glamorous but more effective uses. The Large Light Cruisers are an example of lunacy writ large and are simply inexcusable in their original form, because the plan justified the ship, technical specifications be damned, rather than the plan being developed in parallel with the tools to make it work. Planning in a competent navy is a dialog between capability and situation. This was not the case in the WWI Royal Navy. The plan to force their way into the Baltic was devised and then ships were designed and built and it took them most of that time to realize that they were building the Courageous class, and that a battleship sized ship with two 18" guns and basically no armor was the next best thing to useless because it didn't even have enough barrels to correct fire in a reasonable amount of time. The only thing that saved those things from even worse ignominy was the increasing usefulness of aircraft. They built a whole lot of things they didn't need in pursuit of goals that wouldn't work. This is a huge red flag that there are insitutional problems there.

 

Zine adds on that the strategic planning was warped in another way, that they were coming up with these crazy plans right from the start of the war, and it wasn't just desperation at the idea of being overshadowed by the army. That's a sign the people doing the planning had totally unrealistic expectations from the very start and were working from a warped understanding of history to inform them. That's a huge institutional problem, that's not just one man.

 

And regarding the RN vs. IJN scenario, that was a major planning concern and a definite commitment they were worried about, and no matter how profound your ignorance of the subject, defending the Far East from the Japanese was a commitment the British had and needed to have the capability for to achieve their strategic goals and that isn't going to change. Not discussing the British prewar planning and thought, and how their mediocre design process left them incapable of meeting their commitments because it never came to that is every bit as disingenuous and inane as refusing to discuss War Plan Orange because the US battle line got wrecked at Pearl. Both are very real things, and the success or failure of those efforts can be judged. The US had a fleet capable of long operations away from very austere basing facilities because they put in huge amounts of very solid work making that happen. British carrier aviation was in large part a ghastly failure because they wouldn't be able to do what they were intended to do and didn't deliver capabilities that should have been in reach. Do we refrain from passing any judgement on Cold War units because the main show never happened? No.

 

The fact remains that the RN continually made mistakes and by WWII was a pale shadow of its former self. In the span of 30 years, it had gone from the dominant naval power to not executing on the same level as what had at the start of that period been a junior coalition partner chosen more for virtue of geography than any particular power. They couldn't deliver carrier aviation as capable as a country that literally took the prototype of their most advanced fighter to the air field by ox cart. Japan went from buying British designs to besting them on a less developed economy.

 

And no, comparing them to Germany and Italy isn't exactly helping matters. The German naval design apparatus was gutted, and the Third Reich literally did not exist as long as it took to train a naval architect up to the Reichsmarineamt's standards (two years of practice, a Master's, four years in the navy, and a few years after that before being invited to join the RMA as a designer), and even that was a system where the individual performances weren't as good as the overall result. They had literally no connection between their shipbuilding and their strategic concepts. They took the late Weimar Panzerschiffe idea that was intended to be able to beat anything that could get into the Baltic and made commerce raiders of them. The Italians honestly had some better designs than the British, but overall, their navy was not very functional, and they had some very subpar designs. Beating up on a navy that thinks a literally unarmored cruiser and a battleship with less AA throw weight than a late war Gearing is hardly an achievement, especially when you have a five to three margin of superiority and actual carrier aviation no matter how dubious. For crying out loud, the only cooperation between Italian naval and air forces was through the absolute top of the chain of command at commando supremo.

 

The problem remains that the British, despite building a comparable if not greater amount of materiel and having basing and other resources to accomplish the mission that was a part of the missions they were tasked to accomplish and it being a threat they needed to be able to deal with, would most likely have gotten soundly thrashed trying to accomplish their mission of ensuring the security of their colonial possessions against Imperial Japan. It's a pretty big problem when a navy has the resources to accomplish a mission but cannot actually accomplish that mission because they aren't able to execute sufficiently to build the capabilities they need.

 

 

And just for the record, apparently we are to believe it is the British and Royal Navy's fault that Japan broke treaty obligations and became a pariah nation for building a large navy that it couldn't afford or even fuel and which barely managed a foray into the Indian Ocean and with battleships like the Yamato which they didn't even have oil to use.

 

Apparently we are to believe that it's not a problem that the Royal Navy was very likely unable to achieve its strategic goals despite possessing sufficient resources to do so.

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Look. If you're unable or unwilling to factor in the geopolitical and economic realities faced by the British Empire from the 1930s to late 1940s and insist that the decline if the Royal Navy came about because of a faulty battle cruiser design or something about hating Churchill, then there's really no point in going further - although this won't stop Zin from insisting on having the last word. All of the European colonial powers were suffering the same fate post WW1 and certainly post WW2. The difference is that the British came out relatively better than their Continental contemporaries.

Or are we really expecting the Brits to continue to accomplish the impossible with a fraction of the resources?

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So, can we have a thread that doesn't get derailed by retarded political bullshit rants that have nothing to do with the original topic for once?

 

I thought this forum was supposed to have a higher standard of posting then the wot forums.

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