Alternate warships of nations

What is the conventional wisdom on building spare warships to fit in a squadron/division structure? I'm thinking primarily about the idea of building a fifth battleship for a battle division with a standard strength of four, or an extra destroyer or two for a flotilla of eight. We're availability rates that bad that this actually had to be considered, or would it have been more a matter of dealing with peacetime and wartime attrition?
Generally there were enough spare ships in most large navies that when one was pulled for an overhaul / refit, the bulk of the crew was transferred to another unit just exiting refit. A core of men would remain onboard however (Engineers, seniour ratings etc) to oversee refits and induct new crew once the refit was over.
 
@McPherson What did "rapid fire" mean for US pre-dreadnought secondary guns? Was it related to the size of the shell allowing manual loading, or were those guns the largest to use a metallic cartridge case for the powder? The largest US RF gun was 7-inch with 165 lbs shells; I thought that the accepted standard at the time for one-man loading was 100 lbs (6-inch gun) and for two-man loading was 200 lbs (8-inch gun), so the 7-inch guns would be in the inefficient middle by that measure. The Hawkins class went with 7.5-inch guns post-Great War because the British wanted to stay with 200 lbs shells.
To add to McPherson's response, Navweaps has some terms that indicate the term related to the fire control, not the gun type:
Continuous Fire - Firing is not stopped for spots or corrections. Usually applies only to ships having automatic control of guns or when the target solution is considered to be exceptionally good, such as when the target has been repeatedly hit by previous salvos. See "Rapid Fire" and "Slow Fire" below.

Continuous Fire, Rapid - Each gun in each turret or at each position fires when loaded and ready without waiting for the other guns.

Rapid Fire - The director fires whenever a certain number of turrets are ready. In case of rapid fire guns this is synonymous with continuous fire. See "Slow Fire" below.

Slow Fire - Firing a salvo only after the one before it has landed and its spot has been applied to the firing solution. See "Rapid Fire" above.
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/Gun_Data_p3.php

Otherwise it may also be related to the British QF definition which meant the gun used metallic cartridge cases and not bag charges (this didn't mean the gun fired faster; the British replaced the QF 6-inch with the BL 6-inch Mk VII because the latter fired at least as fast with new breech mechanisms).
 
Addenda to @AJE 's post.

The terms quick-fire and rapid fire with the British were interchangeable. Each navy or army adopted its own definitions. In the American case, there was a definite method such as naval ordnance breech loading, 3 inch (bore diameter)/45 caliber gun (length of tube measured in bore diameters from breech block inside face to muzzle, cased ammunition, or semi-cased ammunition (the difference is the charge is loaded at the arsenal as bullet and propellant as a single unitary round into the brass cartridge or the propellant is loaded in the powder room as bags from the ship's magazine and the charge in the brass carrier and the bullet go up the hoist separately and are rammed together to unity in the gun. The gun was specifically a naval RIFLE as opposed to a gun/howitzer (the break comes at 40 calibers) and if it was a rapid fire design, the Americans called it specifically that term. They did not use "quick fire" much at all in the official descriptions inside USN documents unless they used foreign or manufacurer's descriptions of the type artillery in question.
 
What is the conventional wisdom on building spare warships to fit in a squadron/division structure? I'm thinking primarily about the idea of building a fifth battleship for a battle division with a standard strength of four, or an extra destroyer or two for a flotilla of eight. We're availability rates that bad that this actually had to be considered, or would it have been more a matter of dealing with peacetime and wartime attrition?
The Royal Navy for the post-(Great) War period at naval-history dot net site has many references to ship refit periods, mainly by ship. It appears that the RN did in fact for a time seriously fear the HSF's presumed ability to fully mobilize and go to sea at a relative "moment's notice" such that they thought in terms of such Squadron/Division availability, thus the five ships to a four ship Division you refer to. This did appear designed to assure that a full Division would be available despite yard time or other unavailability, the odd ship being programmed to slot in and out of refit, repair or such. And I imagine it added to the reserve capacity needed to get quantitative superiority too. If you look at those 1919 to1929 or 1929 to 1939 periods you do notice how the Squadrons and Divisions and Flotilla often simply do without a ship(s) while in dock, straining the readiness. But at that time the 8 ship BB Squadron appears to have become the 3 to 5 Ship Squadron, and tactics moved towards a Division fight, often I think in fighting pairs or ultimately single ships.

WNT reduced the RN in size, breaking the traditional Squadron and mass of the Fleet we think of at Jutland, post-war they strived to move to a smaller tactical formation as above and better integrate/coordinate the Cruisers, Destroyers, Subs and new aircraft/carriers too, forming what we might call Task Group/Force(s). In this system I think the goal would be an adequate pool of ships rather than strictly say 5 of such and such-class, simply feeding hulls into the groupings sought by tasks at hand. What I found fascinating was how the modern BBs possessing better gun fire direction were becoming "master" ships, so that Nelson or Rodney would "lead" the QE or R-class in a Division, feeding them direction, an early form of tactical data sharing. That changed how I tended to think of ship grouping, pre-war they were almost strictly grouped by class, post-war the formations mix more, leveraging capability of newer/better ships to help older ones. I am still trying to learn the tactical ways of this intermediate era, I think it bears upon the strategic so often discussed, explaining better how ships might be deployed nuanced from mere counts and classes.
 
Does anyone have any suggestions for more detailed information on the "tick" of the ship for WW1 era German Navy? Through ww2 Reichsmarine is acceptable as I have a fair amount on how the WW2 US Navy was organized and functioned shipboard to compare with. In other words the German equivalent to a Bluejackets Manual would be really nice.

For example I have a pre-WW1 article discussing the Wardroom in general, how there would be a separate galley for enlisted, Midshipman/WO, Officers and Captain/Admiral, presumedly how the messes were divided. Was the German Navy as strictly divided as say the RN? Or even USN? Food being different between crew and officers, unlike how the WW2 Army effectively had just one service? Did they feature silver and china in the officers' Wardroom? Permit alcohol for crew and/or in the Wardroom? I know the Rum tot was famously British, did the German sailor get something equivalent, or a beer ration? I know habitability was lower quality on a German warship, but then they spent less time at sea and intended to barracks crew ashore rather than keep them aboard ship as I understand things. Any sources on such mundane shipboard life is greatly appreciated.

Did a German ship divide into Navigation, Gunnery, Engineering, Damage Control and Supply Departments/areas of duty? Were their Divisions similarly broken out as I believe USN does? Were German engineering officers a sort of restricted career outside command or did they train into ship command as I believe USN does? Did the Germans utilize an equivalent to the RN Artificers? As a separate career, simply long served men or a kind of WO? Were German CPOs a distinct community like how USN works or just a seniority of enlisted man? Any better insight into how the crew was organized is also appreciated.

Any suggestions for online or paper books is welcome.
 
Here. and Here. Good luck. How is your German?

Some idea on just how uptight and psychotic the Imperial German Navy was and what anarchy lay underneath.


Before the war, German naval officers held themselves on a very high plane indeed. It was often said that the wardroom of a German warship was more exclusive than the court of Austria. This de haut en bas attitude maintained toward the enlisted force worked fairly well as long as Germany succeeded in her aims: but as soon as defeat became of more than average occurrence, discipline began to waver: the battle of Jutland and the horrors of the submarine service were the final disrupting forces.

Discipline, obedience, and patriotism disappeared and the result is a 'pseudo-navy run upon trade-union lines and administered by soviets." The demoralization of the naval service was so complete that there was little probability of the formation of an efficient navy for many years to come. The German admiral, Hollweg, regarded any attempt to reorganize the old naval forces as impossible. The officers are all right but the men were hopelessly filled with soviet and revolutionary doctrines which would make a well organized and disciplined navy absolutely impossible. Since both Kiel and Wilhelmshaven were hotbeds of sovietism, anarchism, and extremely radical socialistic doctrines, the admiral believed it would be necessary to discard both as naval bases as well as to disband every part of the existing naval forces and start in new localities with new men.
 
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BTW, the Aquila upon completion would be a fair match for an Ark Royal.
Are we talking about the same Aquila as in our timeline or some alternate version because Aquila as completed in our timeline would have been a rather humorous mess considering it’s slapdash conversion nature, lack of suitable aircraft and death trap flight arrangements.


A like 1944 coming into service Aquila might be able to face off against Ark Royal but given how she sunk in 1941, that’s not saying much.
 
Thank you, I will begin my reading. My vocabulary is quite rusty, but I can get a jist usually. Online makes Translate easy, so I am lazier now.

Although I cannot fully discount the break down we saw late 1918, I tend to think most any system under that much stress for so long and then suddenly "defeated" might break. The little reading I have from mostly British writers speak with reserved respect for the prowess they saw in the German Navy, I assume it was modelled upon the RN, strengths and weaknesses alike, but having such a short history also had some rough spots in tradition, the full article does indicate that despite the mutinies, the Navy survived and reformed, I try to ponder how it does without the defeat of 1918/19, and thus my query. A lot can be understood from learning how the men tick.
 
Are we talking about the same Aquila as in our timeline or some alternate version because Aquila as completed in our timeline would have been a rather humorous mess considering it’s slapdash conversion nature, lack of suitable aircraft and death trap flight arrangements.

A like 1944 coming into service Aquila might be able to face off against Ark Royal but given how she sunk in 1941, that’s not saying much.
1. The Ark Royal of 1940 was NTG. Seriously what were they thinking?
2. The Aquila compared to Graf Zeppelin was a jewel. Refer to 1.
3. Have you researched the junk the FAA was flying in 1940?
4. The 10th Special Flotilla scuttled Aquila to keep her out of German hands, post Armistice, so the likelihood of a square-off was ZERO.
 
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There is an interesting side-note. The French kept hanging on to Languedoc, one of the incomplete Normandies, clear past the Washington Naval Treaty come into effect date; so one might suspect they wanted two Bearns if they could afford it and get it as part of their aircraft carrier tonnage?

Still should have Bearned it.
 


There is an interesting side-note. The French kept hanging on to Languedoc, one of the incomplete Normandies, clear past the Washington Naval Treaty come into effect date; so one might suspect they wanted two Bearns if they could afford it and get it as part of their aircraft carrier tonnage?

Still should have Bearned it.
They'd be better off running Bearn aground to the point of it not being recoverable and building 3 Yorktown sized carriers(check buy the design from the US) in the early 30s with their allotted tonnage of carriers and loading them with 2 fighter squadrons, 1 dive bomber squadron, and 1 torpedo bomber squadron with the extra fighters being needed to cover the Fleet from land based air attack in the Mediterranean
 
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1. The Ark Royal of 1940 was NTG. Seriously what were they thinking?
2. The Aquila compared to Graf Zeppelin was a jewel. Refer to 1.
3. Have you researched the junk the FAA was flying in 1940?
Why is what the FAA had in 1940 (when Aquila was not in service) relevant to,
BTW, the Aquila upon completion would be a fair match for an Ark Royal.
Should we not assume both will get airwings form the same date or we could just load any CV with post war aircraft and call her the winner?

I also question why Ark is that NTG compared to may other inter war carrier?
 
Capture.JPG

In 1927, the German navy planning a new design of heavy cruiser for Baltic and Atlantic service. The official tonnage for the ship was meant to be 10,000 tons but the British allowed 5,000 more tons if the ship was shorter ranged. The Germans accepted this and removed the planned disel engines for oil burning ones.

Using the 9.37 inch gun as a basis, the Germans managed to fit 10 of them in 4 turrets. With some good planning and good planning the ship was capable of 7,500 miles travel with good armor and firepower on a 15,000 Ton hull.

In 1928, Schwelsieg Holstein ran aground with a reef wrecking her keel. The Germans appealed to replace the wrecked ship and got permission to begin.

The Britiship effort to limit Germany overseas reach faltered as the true statistics of the Roon class became evident. By the time Roon and her sibling Lutzow were launched and nearly prepared it seemed as if the raiding fleet had returned stronger than ever.

What no one counted on were the Democrats and the US.

The Weimar Democrats quickly saw the German admiraltys intentions and limited the ship count to two. Even then, the German Admirals and military sped on appealing to the people that the Versailles era would be ended because of them. Then in 1931, Japan declared war on the US aND blew up the Panama Canal.

The Weimar democrats saw their chance and offered both ships to the Japanese navy publicly. As expected the United States offered the ships costs and a half for the two. The next year would see them become the USS Albany and USS Houston and their systems and instructions converted to English.

Despite this ploy, the German populace would find solace as the two ships were handed to Rear Admiral Appleton and his Captain Merrick for the Albany and Captain Waterford who was given the Houston. The two cruisers quickly proceeded to clear the Mediterranean and Indian ocean of the Japanese merchant raiders and recover the recently seized USS Leviathan.

The next action would see Appleton winning a major naval battle with his squadron. The Albany performed to expectations and more as its 9 inch cannon shredded the Japanese cruisers.

Over the next two years, she and the US cruiser fleet would perform actions against Japanese merchant shipping and cruiser forces leading to the final battle. Although heavily wounded, the Albany managed to survive the final clash and was taken to San Francisco.

Due to the heavy losses the cruiser force took, the Albany was retained instead of being sold back to Germany, who had already built 3 more of a modified design called the Deutschland.

During the 2nd World War, she would find herself against her home nation. Her similarity with other ships of the Reichsmarine would allow her to catch up to the Deutschland and engage her in combat. Though neither were destroyed or took heavy damage, the Hood was alerted and tracked down the raider destroying her. This was the most exciting period of the Albanys existence in WW2 which consisted of shore bombardment and escort.

In 1951, just after the end of the 2nd World War. Albany was put into reserve as her fate was decided.

Unlike her sister, Albany had a protector in the form of Grand Admiral Appleton who rallied support to rescue her from the breakers torch. This would lead to the Pacific War Foundation taking her over and using her as a museum for the conflict. Today she rests in Oahu in her 1931-1933 configuration next to the USS Lexington. A silent memorial to the testatment of the US to endure in conflict.
Capture.JPG
 
Why is what the FAA had in 1940 (when Aquila was not in service) relevant to,

Should we not assume both will get airwings form the same date or we could just load any CV with post war aircraft and call her the winner?
Because the British designed and deployed shipborne aircraft like the following?

Fairey Albacore 1940-1943
Fairey Barracuda (1943-1953)
Blackburn Firebrand (1943-1953)
Fairey Firefly (1943-1956)
Fairey Fulmar (1940-1945)
Gloster Gladiator (1938-1945)
Gloster Sea Gladiator (1938-1945)
Supermarine Seafire (1942-1954)
Blackburn Skua (1940-1942)
Fairey Swordfish (1936-1946)

etc.

The FAA was desperate to get Avengers, Corsairs and Wildcats for a good reason.


I also question why Ark is that NTG compared to may other inter war carrier?
Compared to a Saratoga?

Loss of Lexington.

Lexington HAD TO BE SCUTTLED because she could not be towed out. She was a tough ship.

Now AQUILA?

Better torpedo defense and better handling and stowage of aircraft in their design and BETTER AIRCRAFT for projected 1944 service.

That is what I concluded after seeing the technical between the two vessels; Ark Royal and Aquila.
 
Because the British designed and deployed shipborne aircraft like the following?
The UK in the 1930s was seriously strapped for cash, and the FAA "belonged" to the RAF untill 1939, who prioritised it's own needs. Add the notion of having 2-seater fighters and... well... things can't end well...
 
Because the British designed and deployed shipborne aircraft like the following?

Fairey Albacore 1940-1943
Fairey Barracuda (1943-1953)
Blackburn Firebrand (1943-1953)
Fairey Firefly (1943-1956)
Fairey Fulmar (1940-1945)
Gloster Gladiator (1938-1945)
Gloster Sea Gladiator (1938-1945)
Supermarine Seafire (1942-1954)
Blackburn Skua (1940-1942)
Fairey Swordfish (1936-1946)

etc.

The FAA was desperate to get Avengers, Corsairs and Wildcats for a good reason.
Ark Royal and Aquila.
But we are not comparing it to the USN, its the RM that's never built or operated any CVs before....A 1934 laid down ship fully worked up v a 1941 laid down conversion...... I really question if Aquila will be better?
As to aircraft why would the Re.2001 OR Serie II actually be better than Seafires when flown by pilots with almost no experience at working at sea........ and operation on a very questionable flight deck, look at post war US thought on it in your own link.

′s engines and catapults were successfully tested in August 1943 but the arresting gear installed on the carrier, consisting of four cables, initially failed to work properly. This would have prevented aircraft, once launched, from landing back on board. It was therefore proposed that aircraft taking off from Aquila would, after performing their mission, fly back to the nearest land-based airfield or simply ditch in the sea, a serious and embarrassing limitation on her capabilities as a fleet carrier.[8] Italian and German technicians labored for months at the Perugia Sant'Egidio airfield on a mock-up of Aquila's flight deck and by March 1943 the heavily modified arresting gear was deemed usable. A postwar US Navy evaluation concluded, however, that the arrangement would have made landings exceedingly hazardous, especially given the absence of a crash barrier.
Wiki

question about on your aircraft list, why do you think they are that bad?
Fairey Swordfish, Gloster Gladiator & Gloster Sea Gladiator both first flight in 1934, yes they should have been replaced earlier but thats more priorities not under FAA control....and Sordfish was still prefectly good ASW aircraft all war.
Supermarine Seafire Whats that wrong with it, landing may be hard but its very fast and good fighter for its time?
Blackburn Skua (1940-1942) IN service in 38 FF 37 and sunk the first major warship at sea........
Fairey Albacore first flight 38 OK this is a stupid idea by then it should have been a monoplane
Fairey Barracuda FF1940 What's really wrong with it apart from 3 years of delays from BoB/RAF?
Blackburn Firebrand FF42 killed by engine priority to RAF,
Fairey Fulmar (1940-1945) Fairey Firefly (1943-1956) not a great idea but both would kill unescorted bombers perfectly well.

Why not add the Sea Hurricane that should have been in service in 1938/9 if the sea lords request had been followed?
Compared to the its faster than Re.2001 carrying more and available far earlier?
 
Why not add the Sea Hurricane that should have been in service in 1938/9 if the sea lords request had been followed?
Compared to the its faster than Re.2001 carrying more and available far earlier?
Cause in 1938 the RAF ruled the FAA. And the RAF did not want to spend any more of "their" money on the FAA. No to mention loosing construction slots on the Hawker factory.
 
I would also add that this likely factored into the American standards.

The benefit of divisions comprising a single class or very similar specifications is that you generally expect the sister ships to handle similarly, and thus can manoeuvre without fears of one ship running into the rear of another, or having one ship lag behind. Orders can simply be repeated without adjusting for each ship's characteristics.
 
But we are not comparing it to the USN, its the RM that's never built or operated any CVs before....A 1934 laid down ship fully worked up v a 1941 laid down conversion...... I really question if Aquila will be better?
Valid question.



Valid answer here.

Compare to the Ark Royal.

Immediate notice, antitorpedo bulges and blast liner on the Aquila. NOTHING on the Ark. Stability and Flotation Reserve. Better on the Italian. Topweight. Italian hull better.
Rudder control? About equal. Hanger layout? HATE that British double decker as it is a blast alley driving DOWN into the ship's guts. Fuel tank wet stowage? Both use the British water jacket system which NEVER worked. That track and trolley feed system to the air compressor powered catapults (not steam powered as it was described in the text) gets around the deck yoyo and the training of deck personnel in plane handling. It has not been introduced since, because US practice has been to use a plane tractor post WW II for moving around trapped and stopped aircraft. Besides men can gauge how to park aircraft in a deck park. The Aquila would have followed JAPANESE aircraft handling, with strike below to fuel and arm. That is a check against here, but until the British learned American practices to fuel and arm on deck instead of in the hanger, they would have been in the same pickle as the Italians in an aircraft carrier duel.

Unit machinery on the Italian. British? All the generators and boilers grouped together. What KILLED the Wasp, killed the Ark Royal.


Compare to US practice.


1. Unlike the Ark Royal, the Italians paid attention to a torpedo and dive bomber defense, hanger venting and aircraft movement from hanger to launcher. The Italians were not entirely clueless about these problems.

2. This is Italy's start point.

Certainly better than the Commandant Test.

As to aircraft why would the Re.2001 OR Serie II actually be better than Seafires when flown by pilots with almost no experience at working at sea........ and operation on a very questionable flight deck, look at post war US thought on it in your own link.
I trust the students of Alexander Kartvelli more than Mitchell to design a flying brick. For one thing the Regianne is a better deck trapper with a more robust fuselage and wider set apart wheels> It won't tear itself apart coming in hot.

Wiki

question about on your aircraft list, why do you think they are that bad?
Fairey Swordfish, Gloster Gladiator & Gloster Sea Gladiator both first flight in 1934, yes they should have been replaced earlier but thats more priorities not under FAA control....and Sordfish was still prefectly good ASW aircraft all war.
Supermarine Seafire Whats that wrong with it, landing may be hard but its very fast and good fighter for its time?
Blackburn Skua (1940-1942) IN service in 38 FF 37 and sunk the first major warship at sea........
Fairey Albacore first flight 38 OK this is a stupid idea by then it should have been a monoplane
Fairey Barracuda FF1940 What's really wrong with it apart from 3 years of delays from BoB/RAF?
Blackburn Firebrand FF42 killed by engine priority to RAF,
Fairey Fulmar (1940-1945) Fairey Firefly (1943-1956) not a great idea but both would kill unescorted bombers perfectly well.
They never faced enemy naval aircraft in a parity setting. I doubt a Seafire would do well against a Grumman. Its land based brethren did not fare so well against Nakajima or Mitsubishi.

Blackburn Skua, was overweight, handled like a pig in a dive and was unstable.
Fairey Albacore, has been given a lot of unfair, undeserved knocks, but it would have fared no worse than an unescorted Devastator. I.E. guaranteed DEAD aircrew. Needs fighter escort and then it could do the job.
Fairey Barracuda, underpowered, overweight, has a NASTY habit to invert when the dive brakes are retracted when applying counter-rudder in a dive. FATAL for a dive bombing attack..
Blackburn Firebrand. The Sabre proposed never worked properly. Centaurus replacement required a fatter nose which introduced stall instability and an over-torque never properly solved. PILOT KILLER.
Fairey Fulmar and Fairy Firefly. Lucky in the Ceylon Raid they never met Kido Butai or the IJNAS. Those guys were deadly.

Why not add the Sea Hurricane that should have been in service in 1938/9 if the sea lords request had been followed?
Compared to the (Italian) it is faster than Re.2001 carrying more and available far earlier?
Not a bad choice. Don't get into a turning fight with the Italians.

My knock against the Reggiane is its air to air armament. SAFATS are NTG. Here the British have an edge.
 
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