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So what was really revolutionary about HMS Dreadnought(1906)?

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  • So what was really revolutionary about HMS Dreadnought(1906)?

    But was she really revolutionary or just evolutionary...

    I've been reading that the all big gun armament for a battleship was only a matter of when, not if. And the authorisation of such a big gun design concept first originated in the US, being the first nation to sanction having battleship with a uniform armament of big guns. The only revolutionary thing I can find is the leap of faith using the Parsons turbine, this turbine propulsion gave her greater speed over the triple expansion reciprocating steam engine. The lack of vibration allowed greater range finder abilities and less maintenance.
    The speed in which she was built can't be considered in the equation, from what I've read eleven months from her keel laying to commissioning, a record never since broken since was purely a deliberate attempt by the RN to show case their ship building prowess.

    All in all, I still consider HMS Dreadnought a stunning ship, even if she was outdated within ten years.

    HMS_Dreadnought_1906_H61017.jpg
    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

  • #2
    Admiral Fisher is an interesting figure often overlooked 220px-John_Arbuthnot_Fisher%2C_1st_Baron_Fisher_by_Sir_Hubert_von_Herkomer.jpg
    The argumentative, energetic, reform-minded Fisher is often considered the second most important figure in British naval history, after Lord Nelson.
    He was involved with the introduction of turbine engines to replace reciprocating engines, and the introduction of oil fuelling to replace coal.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F...t_Baron_Fisher
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      maybe it's easier just to say revolutionary, if an evolutionary leap is big enough?

      but basically, the fact that she forced every other navy to begin building similar ships, is why most call her revolutionary. fleets had to change essentially overnight in order to remain relevant after her introduction.

      it would have happened anyway, sure, most likely, but it still required everyone else to react, and to react fast.
      the answer is on the floor- john roseberry

      A tiger dies and leaves his fur,
      A man dies and leaves his name,
      A teacher dies and teaches death.
      Seikchi Toguchi 1917-1998

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      • #4
        While not denigrating the Dreadnought, maybe the real reason it was considered revolutionary was because it was the Royal Navy that did it? It would be like if the USN did something new today. The USS Indiana was laid down first, and although it didn't have turbine engines, it did have another first-superfiring turrets, which became the norm.
        Within 10 years, the USN had surpassed the RN. The Nevada class introduced triple turrets, all oil firing and the all-or-nothing protection scheme.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by johns624 View Post
          While not denigrating the Dreadnought, maybe the real reason it was considered revolutionary was because it was the Royal Navy that did it? It would be like if the USN did something new today. The USS Indiana was laid down first, and although it didn't have turbine engines, it did have another first-superfiring turrets, which became the norm.
          Within 10 years, the USN had surpassed the RN. The Nevada class introduced triple turrets, all oil firing and the all-or-nothing protection scheme.
          That is a really good point.
          US military spending was much more efficient at the beginning of the 20 century than , perhaps, any other nation in the world. With the exception of the winding down Philippine conflicts, the US Army consumed a small part of the budget, even compared to The United Kingdom- and much less than the massive armies of the continental war powers.
          The YSnavy had the funds and time to experiment.
          The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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          • #6
            Up until Dreadnought, the navies were an odd mixture of sailing/steel warships, often fitted with fully rigged masts "just in case, numerous different calibers of guns., and often not fully electrified. Dreadnought changed all of that, being all-steel without sailing masts, all main gun armament, all electric, fast and completely battle worthy.
            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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            • #7
              Admiral fisher is one person who certainly was a enigmatic figure in all this, in wanting to be seen as innovative and influential but ultimately he actually didn't get what he wanted... scrap battleships and build fast armoured cruisers. His reasoning was the new armour piercing shells rendered armour obsolete and speed was the decisive key to win battles.
              "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
              Ernest Hemingway.

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              • #8
                The lack of a secondary battery of any substance was definitely new. Even other "Dreadnoughts" then building didn't dispose of their secondary battery. For example, the S. Dakota class kept a battery of 5"/51 guns.

                On Dreadnought, the secondaries were just 12 pdr (3") anti-torpedo boat guns. These were worthless for anything other than close in action against a very small vessel. So, while it was revolutionary, it was also a serious mistake at the time.

                Using geared turbines was unique for a battleship at the time but it really didn't buy Dreadnought much given top speed was just 2 knots greater than previous classes of battleship.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post
                  Admiral fisher is one person who certainly was a enigmatic figure in all this, in wanting to be seen as innovative and influential but ultimately he actually didn't get what he wanted... scrap battleships and build fast armoured cruisers. His reasoning was the new armour piercing shells rendered armour obsolete and speed was the decisive key to win battles.
                  If that's what he thought, then he was badly mistaken. If your guns and the enemy's guns are roughly the same size and have the same range, then when you are close enough to fight, the other guy is too and a few knots of speed make ZERO difference. Higher speed tactically is only good for running away.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by marktwain View Post

                    That is a really good point.
                    US military spending was much more efficient at the beginning of the 20 century than , perhaps, any other nation in the world. With the exception of the winding down Philippine conflicts, the US Army consumed a small part of the budget, even compared to The United Kingdom- and much less than the massive armies of the continental war powers.
                    The YSnavy had the funds and time to experiment.
                    The big US spending items around 1900 were on building a navy and coast defense. The US Army's biggest component was the Coast Defense Corps and US coast defenses were far and away the most vicious of any nation's in existence at the time.

                    Take Boston, a major but not top end city on the East Coast. The harbor defenses were massive:

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                    • #11
                      As ere the 16" gun defenses at the Panama Canal.



                      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                      • #12
                        And if you saw Officer and a Gentleman you saw the old coastal fortifications in the vicinity of Whidby Island.


                        My father began his Army career in 1939 as a member of the Coastal Defense Artillery at San Francisco.
                        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post
                          Admiral fisher is one person who certainly was a enigmatic figure in all this, in wanting to be seen as innovative and influential but ultimately he actually didn't get what he wanted... scrap battleships and build fast armoured cruisers. His reasoning was the new armour piercing shells rendered armour obsolete and speed was the decisive key to win battles.
                          Was it Rommel who said, "he who shoots first wins?" aren't missile frigates the same today, they have to shoot fast and first because there isn't an engagement of broadsides like a heavy weight boxing match?

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                          • #14
                            I've been interested in the Coast Artillery for decades. I've visited Ft MacArthur in San Pedro, Diamond Head in Hawaii, Ft Pickens near Pensacola, and Tybee Island, GA.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                              Up until Dreadnought, the navies were an odd mixture of sailing/steel warships, often fitted with fully rigged masts "just in case, numerous different calibers of guns., and often not fully electrified. Dreadnought changed all of that, being all-steel without sailing masts, all main gun armament, all electric, fast and completely battle worthy.
                              ...what? by the time the dreadnought appeared auxillary sails for warships (at least modern frontline warships) had been gone for 2-3 decades.

                              by the 1890s most major navies were no longer relying on ships with auxillary sails...what you're describing is more the 1870s and early 1880s...

                              i don't think there was any thing that could be recognizable as 'battleship' in the conventional sense that ever even had auxillary sails...maybe i'm forgetting one or two very early classes in the 1880s but those would be exceptions not the norm.

                              are you mixing iron-clads and pre-dread ships in your head?

                              even the sea going iron-clad HMS devastation was reliant purely on her machinary as early as 1877
                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devast...class_ironclad

                              but 1890s on the battleships of the major powers were all pure machinary ships and would have had rudimentary electric throughout the ships.
                              the answer is on the floor- john roseberry

                              A tiger dies and leaves his fur,
                              A man dies and leaves his name,
                              A teacher dies and teaches death.
                              Seikchi Toguchi 1917-1998

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