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  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post
    Hi zraver

    Looking at pictures of USN BB's firing with smokeless powder, you wonder who came up with that name! The sheer volume of pitch black smoke makes you wonder just how worse the former was!

    Regards
    One of the good things to come about with youtube is you can answer certain questions. While not exact, comparing the video of the USS Wisconsin firing her 16" guns (using WWII era powder) to a picture of the SMS Konig shows the roughly the same profile with the opacity in the B&W pictures somewhat misleading with the reds and yellows of combustion being rendered as blacks and greys.

    Still as you say, hardly smokeless, but videos of reduce charge firings from HMS Victory and the Gothberg seem to show that black powder smoke is thicker for a given volume of powder and slower to dissipate

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  • Andy H
    replied
    Hi zraver

    Looking at pictures of USN BB's firing with smokeless powder, you wonder who came up with that name! The sheer volume of pitch black smoke makes you wonder just how worse the former was!

    Regards

    Leave a comment:


  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post
    Hi zraver

    Any linkage was only tacit, in that there are various factors affecting a battle more than just the number and size of your fleets guns. Which is the distant starting point of this thread.

    Looking around the use of brown powder in the Spanish/American war, it seems that the USN was up there on the development of smokeless powder (which in all honesty was anything but) in the late 19th century. It seems from rather fast sketchy research (on my part) that a few of the vessels certainly used early variants of smokeless powder in this conflict.
    Gunnery in both the RN and USN varied from time to time, with each leapfrogging the other in terms of gun & gunnery technology, usage and accuracy etc.

    Regards
    A real quick rule of thumb the longer the barrel or a naval gun the more likely it is to use smokeless powder. Black powder gives its best performance from short and medium length barrels, coco powder from medium long and smokeless from long barrels. This is becuase of the burn rates and how the powders deliver their energy.

    For an example the US 13"/35 used black, then brown powder while the M1903 6"/50 cal used smokeless powder. Both guns being found on the USS Kearsarge class battleship.

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  • Andy H
    replied
    Hi zraver

    Any linkage was only tacit, in that there are various factors affecting a battle more than just the number and size of your fleets guns. Which is the distant starting point of this thread.

    Looking around the use of brown powder in the Spanish/American war, it seems that the USN was up there on the development of smokeless powder (which in all honesty was anything but) in the late 19th century. It seems from rather fast sketchy research (on my part) that a few of the vessels certainly used early variants of smokeless powder in this conflict.
    Gunnery in both the RN and USN varied from time to time, with each leapfrogging the other in terms of gun & gunnery technology, usage and accuracy etc.

    Regards
    Last edited by Andy H; 06 Jun 12, 08:02.

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  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post
    Hi

    There not misleading in anyway, just a statement of fact, and as you state the factors that affect the facts.
    Just as the British suffered at Jutland with there optics being disadvantaged at times by there own gun smoke, these things sway engagements, far more than the dry stats of numbers/chracteristics of BB v BB

    Regards
    They are misleading since you linked American and British gunnery results. The fleet actions of the Spanish American war and Jutland are separated far more than the small gap of time would suggest. They are separated by a full generation in guns and more in fire control. The American fleet was using guns that were still very much line of sight weapons that produced heavy smoke which would also combine with the heavy smoke of the coal fed power plants and all would combine with engagements where the wind was most likely on offshore prevailing thus pulling the smoke towards the enemy.

    At Jutland coal smoke was a problem but the biggest hindrance was the mistake the Admiralty made in adopting the Dreyer tables over the Argo clock. Had the British fleet been equipped with the Argo Clock results would likely have bee much improved. For example, HMS Queen Mary did have the Argo clock and outside the rest of Beatty's battle cruisers.

    From another forum on naval history for a personal touch,

    Petty Officer Ernest Francis whose action station was in one of the turrets of HMS Queen Mary:

    'Everything in the ship [HMS Queen Mary at Jutland] went as quiet as a church, the floor of the turret was bulged up and the guns were absolutely useless. I must mention here that there was not a sign of excitement. One man turned to me and said, "What do you think has happened?" I said, "Steady everyone, I will speak to Mr Ewart." I went back to the cabinet and said, "What do you think has happened, Sir?" He said, "God only knows!" I put my head through the hole in the roof of the turret and I nearly fell through again. The after 4" Battery was smashed right out of all recognition and then I noticed that the ship had an awful list to port. I dropped back inside and told Lieutenant Ewart the state of affairs. He said, "Francis, we can do no more than give them a chance, clear the turret". "Clear the turret!" I called out and out they went. When I got to the ship's side there seemed to be a fair crowd and they did not appear to be very anxious to take to the water. I called out to them, "Come on, you chaps, who's coming for a swim?" Someone answered, "She will float for a long time yet!" But something, I don't pretend to understand what it was, seemed to be urging me to get away, so I clambered up over the slimy bilge keel and fell off into the water, followed I should think by about five more men. struck away from the ship as hard as I could and must have covered nearly 50 yards when there was a big smash. Stopping and looking round the sir seemed to be full of fragments and flying pieces, a large piece seemed to be right above my head and acting on an impulse I dipped under to avoid being struck and stayed under as long as I could and then came on top again. Coming behind me I heard a rush of water, which looked very much like a surf breaking on a beach and I realised it was the suction or backwash from the ship which had just gone. I hardly had time to fill my lungs with air when it was on me. I felt it was no use struggling against it, so I let myself go for a moment or two, then I struck out, but I felt it was a losing game and remarked to myself mentally, "What's the use of struggling, you're done!" and actually eased my efforts to reach the top, when a small voice seemed to say, "Dig out!" I started afresh and something bumped against me. I grasped it and afterwards found it was a large hammock; it undoubtedly pulled me to the top, more dead than alive.'

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  • Andy H
    replied
    Originally posted by zraver View Post
    Those states are somewhat misleading. First the US navy at the time used mostly coco-powder guns not cordite type powders so smoke was a major issue. Also optics and fire control would make a major advance between 1898 and 1906 as gunnery ranges increased with guns using the more powerful smokeless powders.
    Hi

    There not misleading in anyway, just a statement of fact, and as you state the factors that affect the facts.
    Just as the British suffered at Jutland with there optics being disadvantaged at times by there own gun smoke, these things sway engagements, far more than the dry stats of numbers/chracteristics of BB v BB

    Regards

    Leave a comment:


  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post
    One would hope that like the British who suffered a rather poor rate of return for shells fired, that the USN in the early 20th Century would hopefully improve on their woeful rate of return as witnessed in their last 2 naval engagements at Manila & Santiago in the Spanish-American War of 1898.

    In the first encounter in Manila, the Spanish wrecks were examined and the following results were recorded:-

    157 8in rounds fired, 14 hits recorded =9%
    635 6in rounds fired, 7 hits recorded =1%
    622 5in rounds fired, 22 hits recorded =3.5%
    2124 6pdr rounds fired, 31 hits recorded =1.5%

    at Santiago it was slightly better in some categories but not all

    47 13in rounds fired, 0 hits recorded =0%
    39 12in rounds fired, 2 hits recorded =5%
    219 8in rounds fired, 10 hits recorded =5.5%
    754 6&5in rounds fired, 17 hits recorded =2%
    251 4in rounds fired, 13 hits recorded =5%
    6553 6pdr rounds fired, 76 hits recorded =1%

    Regards
    Those states are somewhat misleading. First the US navy at the time used mostly coco-powder guns not cordite type powders so smoke was a major issue. Also optics and fire control would make a major advance between 1898 and 1906 as gunnery ranges increased with guns using the more powerful smokeless powders.

    Well in WWII (the next big gun engagements of the US) US shooting was much improved including the current and likely perpetual record for longest first salvo hit (22,400 yards) and longest hit against an enemy warship (28,000 yards). The RN holds the honors in twain with Germany for the longest hit against a moving enemy warship 23,800 yards.

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  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post

    The public mood in America for a naval arms race without the needs arising from WW1, is hard to judge. The isolationist movement may well have remained stronger or even gained in strength. Without any obvious enemies on the horizon would the American Government spent money on a fleet, that had no immediate or plausible enemy, whilst negating other domestic issues or financial requirements?

    Regards
    Andy, the isolationist movement was a response to WWI and the Great Depression. Without WWI the US like most other powers at a similar stage of development would most likely have quite happily carried on with the whiteman's burden of colonial enterprise. The US had a psuedo-colony in Africa (Liberia) and colonial possessions in the Asia/Pacific region and Caribbean. She also had a growing network of corporate plantations in Central and South America she would send troops to secure. There was a growing economic/ religious interest in the Ottoman Empire. Finally, though still behind London in banking before WWI, the US was becoming a major global creditor and thus player at gun boat diplomacy

    There is little evidence to suggest that minus WWI and the Great Depression that the US would have turned isolationist.

    Again the evidence shows the US commissioned 31 battleships from 1900-1914 with 29 in service when WWI broke out including 10 dreadnoughts. The US also had ordered and/or already begun building what would be 5 of the 19 planned standard class battleships. WWI slowed it did not speed up the US building program. This seems to strongly indicate that minus WWI the US would have pushed ahead with its building program. Heck the US will a similar sized economy had even less of an army to fund than the British. Just 100,000 or so men mostly in coastal forts with no feild divisions and just 4-5 regiments rated as "combat ready" when the troubles in Mexico started.

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  • Andy H
    replied
    One would hope that like the British who suffered a rather poor rate of return for shells fired, that the USN in the early 20th Century would hopefully improve on their woeful rate of return as witnessed in their last 2 naval engagements at Manila & Santiago in the Spanish-American War of 1898.

    In the first encounter in Manila, the Spanish wrecks were examined and the following results were recorded:-

    157 8in rounds fired, 14 hits recorded =9%
    635 6in rounds fired, 7 hits recorded =1%
    622 5in rounds fired, 22 hits recorded =3.5%
    2124 6pdr rounds fired, 31 hits recorded =1.5%

    at Santiago it was slightly better in some categories but not all

    47 13in rounds fired, 0 hits recorded =0%
    39 12in rounds fired, 2 hits recorded =5%
    219 8in rounds fired, 10 hits recorded =5.5%
    754 6&5in rounds fired, 17 hits recorded =2%
    251 4in rounds fired, 13 hits recorded =5%
    6553 6pdr rounds fired, 76 hits recorded =1%

    Regards

    Leave a comment:


  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Selous View Post
    As I said, it's a busy day today, so just these last points

    I'm not sure on the cruising range of the ships of the period, I'd question the import of the above. In the unlikely, as we've established, event of major fleet operations, the USN will be headed north to defeat the RN at sea, as Uncle Alfred
    A pure coal fired dreadnought has a range of between 5-7000 miles at 10-12knts. Dreadnoughts did not really get global range until oil spraying and then oil fired ships arrived. For the RN that does not happen until the Iron Duke class leaving the preceding classes; Orion (4), KGV (4), Colossus (2), Neptune (1), St Vincent (3), Bellerophon (3) and HMS Dreadnought vessels with very short legs

    ‘grasped the point that a belligerent who must control the sea in order to use it – as contrasted with a belligerent who must seek only to deny such control – has to be willing and able to give battle on demand.’[1]
    [1] Gray, C.S. Modern Strategy (1st Edition. Oxford, Great Britain: Oxford University Press. 1999)pp.225
    All 4 of the players sought control of the seas, not denial.

    [quote]Which is only important if A. the USN battle fleet is in the Pacific and the RN, for some reason I cannot contemplate, is seeking decisive naval battle there and not the Western Atlantic. [quote]

    Just a comment on the global network of coaling stations.

    For a flashpoint to spark a major war, it needs to exist in a wider political context. I don't get that between the US and Britain at this time, but I'm not saying for certain.
    The political reality between the US and UK at this time neither strained like it was between Germany and the UK nor improving like it was between the UK and France. The US was an up and comer globally now that its own domestic market was driving industrial advances and she had growing global ambitions stemming from the acquisition of overseas colonies following the Spanish-American War.

    Mahan didn't recommend decisive naval battle for mere brushfires and stand offs. He emphasised the capital ship for obtaining relative control of the sea, not for settling a trade dispute.
    However, wars have a way of growing despite good intentions.

    Which is probably why he wouldn't be left with no eyes on him. The risk might not be taken.
    A complex issue to be sure, but as hegemon, the UK may feel compelled to act against Y to deter adventures by X. However while acting agaisnt Y there is the danger that X will join the dance as well. Would Japan have dared attack in 1941 if there was no war in Europe and the full weight of the RN could have been sent to the Pacific and British skill at arms had not appeared so lack luster?

    Presuming that any flare up takes place in a realistic escalation and the run-down of political options, necessitating upper level communications between governments, that's not so bad a time frame.
    In the context of Halifax however a significant portion of any expeditionary force that has coal fired ships will be laid up for days refueling.

    The USN fleet is on the Great Lakes and steaming out into the West Atlantic, before or after it's sought decisive Naval battle with the RN fleet?
    US Army

    [quote]Then if you're maintaining that the fleet building operations of the US, Germany and Japan combined are enough to strategically check the British ship building program, despite the lack of a Great power war's tax on resources and so on, well, I'm sure someone else is better read to answer that, because laying down hulls and productivity is the part I dozed off reading Kennedy The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery. (edit, actually, that's not quite fair, but I do not have those figures, more less can I say how they would have been altered by a lack of WWI or several year

    I was looking at building programs before the Great War. The Anglo-German race wasn't the only naval arms race in town before WWI. The race with Germany and the US also opened up windows for smaller powers to make a play. Italy an ally of Germany would build 6 while Austria-Hungary built of planned 8. This drove a French program that called for 16 dreadnoughts to insure her fleets dominance in the south (with the RN controlling the North).

    France a nation already struggling to match the German army for numbers felt compelled by the big guns ships and also tried to match the naval building programs of other rivals. These ships were seen as extensions of the state and national honor. heck at one point the Netherlands considered building up to 9 of them.

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  • Andy H
    replied
    Originally posted by Selous View Post
    DP, Andy,

    Very true, especially as we're going ever further from the initial alteration (presumably 1914 if not earlier) right into the 30s. It's such a drastic change, it's hard to chart.
    Hi Selous

    Indeed.

    On June 7th 1944, Senator David Walsh, Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs United States Senate published a brief History of Naval Legislation from 1922-1944, pointing out the policy od the Government during these years and the steps taken in recent years to rebuild our Navy to its present strength.
    The paper is in 3parts but only the first part is relevant here, its entitled the period of decline 1922-1930. It goes on to say in so many words, how the American nation was trying to lead the way in global disarmament by setting an example to other nations. The Senator for Massachusetts also pointed out that between 1922-1930, the other great naval powers (Great Britain, France, Japan and Italy) had built or authorized 400 naval vessels, compared to America's 11.

    The public mood in America for a naval arms race without the needs arising from WW1, is hard to judge. The isolationist movement may well have remained stronger or even gained in strength. Without any obvious enemies on the horizon would the American Government spent money on a fleet, that had no immediate or plausible enemy, whilst negating other domestic issues or financial requirements?

    Regards

    Leave a comment:


  • Selous
    replied
    As I said, it's a busy day today, so just these last points

    Originally posted by zraver View Post
    From Halifax there is a small coaling station (commercial) at both St Johns in Canada and Newfoundland. After that the British Virgian Islands, Bahamas and then Jamaica. From the US state of main to the Bahamas there is no British coal.
    I'm not sure on the cruising range of the ships of the period, I'd question the import of the above. In the unlikely, as we've established, event of major fleet operations, the USN will be headed north to defeat the RN at sea, as Uncle Alfred

    ‘grasped the point that a belligerent who must control the sea in order to use it – as contrasted with a belligerent who must seek only to deny such control – has to be willing and able to give battle on demand.’[1]
    [1] Gray, C.S. Modern Strategy (1st Edition. Oxford, Great Britain: Oxford University Press. 1999)pp.225




    Except for the West coast of South America and both American coasts.
    Which is only important if A. the USN battle fleet is in the Pacific and the RN, for some reason I cannot contemplate, is seeking decisive naval battle there and not the Western Atlantic.

    I simply showed it as one in a number of possible flash points.
    For a flashpoint to spark a major war, it needs to exist in a wider political context. I don't get that between the US and Britain at this time, but I'm not saying for certain.

    More trying to look at it as they did, they thought in terms of a great big clash of steel.
    Mahan didn't recommend decisive naval battle for mere brushfires and stand offs. He emphasised the capital ship for obtaining relative control of the sea, not for settling a trade dispute.


    Kaiser Bill is a wildcard.
    Which is probably why he wouldn't be left with no eyes on him. The risk might not be taken.

    A couple of problems with coaling stations exist however. How much coal do they have and how fast can a fleet be coaled by hand. Loading the coal bunkers on a single dreadnought took a day or more of chain gang work.
    Presuming that any flare up takes place in a realistic escalation and the run-down of political options, necessitating upper level communications between governments, that's not so bad a time frame.


    Because the St Lawrence sea way is a river the forms the eastern boundary between the US and Canada. Its called a seaway becuase it links the Great Lakes with the Atlantic. Halifax is close to America and in the event of invasion is unlikely to hold.
    The USN fleet is on the Great Lakes and steaming out into the West Atlantic, before or after it's sought decisive Naval battle with the RN fleet?


    No hard feelings, this is less about conflict than about how ship and fleet building programs might have developed as newcomers entered the field. Not unlike the atom bomb and now stealth.
    Then if you're maintaining that the fleet building operations of the US, Germany and Japan combined are enough to strategically check the British ship building program, despite the lack of a Great power war's tax on resources and so on, well, I'm sure someone else is better read to answer that, because laying down hulls and productivity is the part I dozed off reading Kennedy The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery. (edit, actually, that's not quite fair, but I do not have those figures, more less can I say how they would have been altered by a lack of WWI or several years after no WWI.) So I'm not sure what else I can add.
    Last edited by Selous; 05 Jun 12, 08:41.

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  • Andy H
    replied
    In terms of carriers I'll will add this.
    In reality:-
    US Navy officers serving in Britain during WW1 took a close interest in the development of naval aviation. Their own service lagged behind British development when America entered the war in 1917, and the RN constructor Stanley Goodall was lent to the the USN Bureau of Construction and Repair. He took with him a number of warship plans, inc those for the aircraft carriers HMS Eagle and HMS Hermes, which were in the early stages of construction. He was also able to summarise British operational doctrine and informed the General Board that: Air fighting has become a feature of naval opeartions and the tactical movements of a fleet before an engagement opens will, most probably, be governed by information obtained by air scouts. A series of fights between opposing aircraft will most likely be a preliminary to a fleet action. A fleet should, therefore, be attended by recce and fighting machines....
    The General Board accepted this philosophy and with the evidence of the large number of aircraft carriers being built or converted by the RN, pressed for the construction of large and capable ships in 1918. Design work continued after the war's end, but Congress refused the necessary funds and only allowed the conversion of the collier USS Jupiter....It would not emerge as the USN first CV until some 3yrs later.
    Source: A Century of Carrier Aviation (The Evolution of Ships and Shipborne Aircraft) by David Hobbs. Published by Seaforth 2009.

    Without WW1 there is no telling where naval aviation would have gone, and obviously the knock-on affect into WW2 naval history.

    Regards

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  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Selous View Post
    As I say, I don't ken enough of the building program to agree or disagree.

    That's not so true, a decent class of battleship could end up the other side of the world, her bunkers well supported by the aforementioned network of coaling stations which really was the crown jewel in British seapower at the time.
    From Halifax there is a small coaling station (commercial) at both St Johns in Canada and Newfoundland. After that the British Virgian Islands, Bahamas and then Jamaica. From the US state of main to the Bahamas there is no British coal.

    The Great White Fleet was hampered in this, the French vessels heading east to China were, and the German vessels south to Germany were. Britain's only logistics in this regard, of getting a powerful warship on station, were much easier, because there was rarely a safe coaling station too far away
    Except for the West coast of South America and both American coasts.

    Just my opinion, but I think too much service is paid to the 'entangling alliances' pre-WWI in bringing about major war; though it no doubt played a role (Thucydidian trinity of Fear, HONOUR, and Interest) everyone had more to gain or lose than hhonouring alliances. Britain didn't go to war with Russia in 1905 when Japan and Britain were getting well on their way to friendly and Russia was still this morning's big foe. If it's worked out that the RN cannot get enough assets on station to achieve a favourable situation for Britain in the end, then I doubt the Admiralty will risk helping out the Mikado for a war footing with the US.
    I simply showed it as one in a number of possible flash points.


    There's still a proportionate response per every situation. You seem to be looking hard for a major fleet confrontation which will bring your numbers to bare, and I don't know what has to happen to bring about that response other than what did happen, weltkrieg. Unless some parallel with the 1905 war can be brought about.
    What US policies are likely to bring about this clash over markets?
    More trying to look at it as they did, they thought in terms of a great big clash of steel.

    That's why I think the Japanese may be left to their own devices, if it's looking hairy in European waters, and too much of a risk. I'd expect none of this occures, however, in a political vacuum, and overtures could be made to the Kaiser (depending on what hat he's wearing that day), for a stand-down, or some other measure, there usually is.
    Kaiser Bill is a wildcard.

    As I said before, I can't say in this time period as such, but thanks to the Carnarvon Commision and subsequent improvements in ship design and efficiency, I'd suspect any major coal powered warship can get to any RN station in the world, that was the point of the commission and Thomas Brassey certainly reckoned so by 1881. From station to the area of battle is another thing, and dependent on the kind of operation the RN or their foe, is likely to be engaged in. It is not a panacea but it is a huge enabler for the RN in strategic level maneuver
    A couple of problems with coaling stations exist however. How much coal do they have and how fast can a fleet be coaled by hand. Loading the coal bunkers on a single dreadnought took a day or more of chain gang work.

    Why is that?
    Because the St Lawrence sea way is a river the forms the eastern boundary between the US and Canada. Its called a seaway becuase it links the Great Lakes with the Atlantic. Halifax is close to America and in the event of invasion is unlikely to hold.


    I may have to step off the merry-go-round for a bit, so have no hard feelings if I don't get back on some points.
    No hard feelings, this is less about conflict than about how ship and fleet building programs might have developed as newcomers entered the field. Not unlike the atom bomb and now stealth.

    Leave a comment:


  • Selous
    replied
    DP, Andy,

    Very true, especially as we're going ever further from the initial alteration (presumably 1914 if not earlier) right into the 30s. It's such a drastic change, it's hard to chart.

    Leave a comment:

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