Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Hood, Oct 19, 2019.
RN in the mid war years had significantly greater bases and logistics than wartime USN did.
Thanks for putting this up, it fascinating, and explains a lot. Its often said the WNT helped end the age of the Battleship, and accelerate the development of the more complex, and expensive Aircraft Carrier. This chart suggests BB's were the most cost effective warship you could have, by ton. If you can't afford a bunch of DD's, buy a BB? Sounds counter intuitive.
Let me try to understand this chart better. 8 BB's displace 280,000 tons, 33 DD"s 49,500. The BB's total cost is 5,507,600 Pounds. 33 DD's 5,631,120. 13 CA's 5,656,300. 20 CL's 5,684,400. 42 SS's 5,667,984. 3 CV"s 5,860,170. 6 CVL's 5,622,000. So all these ship type squadrons are equal in cost.
It seems these calculations determined the Treaty Terms. The USN, and RN put most of their tonnage into Battleships, 525,000 vs. 180,000 for CA's. So the RN may have wanted 20 more CL's, but it would've cost them half has much as the Battle line. So this was the balance in the interwar period, till the build up for WWII shifted everthing.
Wow, thanks for this. Im very interested on cost effectiveness of naval ships.
Would USA and the rest of the world be aware of this cost effectiveness for Battleships by 1915 or 1916? Or would this require the data from 1920-30 from the British to assume that Battleship and Battlecruiser are more cost effective for a 26 year period?
Your right, Battleships had reached the practical limit of their size. The Yamoto's were the end of the line. The WNT stopped everyone from getting there 20 years earlier. 4,000 lb. shells? With over 30 ft drafts how many ports can they use? there's a kind of egomania to these designs, like a later age building 50,000 nuclear warheads, it's beyond all reason. The military mind sometimes has a narrow view.
The RN had bases and fueling stations all over the World. Before WW2, the USN did not.
Interesting how the numbers are twisted - willingly or not - against submarines and destroyers. V&W soldiered on for 30 years, WW I subs were used in secondary theaters almost till end of the WWII, WWI cruisers could have been used - if there was need - till end of the WWII usefully etc.
Is the reserve / active status also thought about? During WWII it was easier to man smaller vessels out of reserve or mobilized personnel, so more smaller vessels could have been feasibly put into reserve status to be mobilized in wartime.
Most navies had worked up costs pre WW1. The German Naval Laws stipulated age limits for ships.
These are peace time figures for full active service. Reserve status seemed to range but 40% of the cost of full commission seems to be a usual figure. I’ve also seen ‘laid up’ as 10%.
An advantage of battleships was that armour does not require maintenance. The problem with submarines is their limited lifespan in a peacetime environment.
The RN had bases all over the world, bar the middle of the Pacific. Nowhere was more than a few days sailing away from a source of fuel and supplies. The USN had bases in the US, Hawaii and the Philippines. If they wanted to go anywhere and fight they had to take their fuel and supplies with them, or rely on RN bases. The RN gets a lot of flak over the lack of a proper fleet train but the fact is until the formation of the British Pacific Fleet they didn't really need one.
Meant to chime in on these earlier, but better late than never!
The QEs were originally intended to follow what was the RN's normal shipbuilding programme during the 1906-1914 years, which was typically 3-4 battleships and 1 battlecruiser per year. FWIW, the very first battlecruiser, HMS Invincible, was a 25kn ship. The QEs were originally supposed to be configured like the preceding Iron Duke, class, but it was found that 8× 15" guns throw a heavier broadside than the 10 13.5" guns mounted by the Iron Dukes. By using all oil firing boilers instead of mixed firing, the QEs could get up to a theoretical 25kn. It was thus decided they could form a fast battleship wing, and the battlecruiser was dropped from the 1913 programme and a 4th battleahip was ordered in lieu, and a 5th when the Federated Malay States offered to fund it.
In practice, the QEs did not succeed in their lofty goals. They were overweight and had blocky battleship hull forms, and could only make 23.5-24 of the 25 intended knots. Battlecruisers also got faster, going from 25 kn to 28, 30 and 32 kn ships, so they could not keep up and were thus tied to the slow battle line. After WWI, it was affirmed that an intermediate speed between battlecruisers and slow battleships was of little to no additional usefulness, as if they were to give chase, they would leave the battle line behind, but were not fast enough to operate with true battlecruisers.
However, they proved that all-oil firing and fewer but bigger guns are very useful, and although it wasn't possible in 1913, that a true battleship with battlecruiser speed could eventually be possible- the QEs, after all, were mightier than Dreadnought or any Dreadnought built before her, and nearly as fast as Invincible.
To me at least, the Alaskas were not awful ships. They were very good super cruisers. They were faster than almost anything afloat bigger than a destroyer. Their 12" guns were far superior to the USN 14"/L45 and delivered comparable belt penetration and superior deck penetration vis the USN 14"/L50 in a lighter package with a faster rate of fire. Their topside protection was excellent, as was their radar and AA suites. There are, however, two huge flaws to me.
The first is that they only had cruiser style underwater protection with compartmentization; no liquid-void system or torpedo belt. That would leave them one fish wonders, especially if hit with a Long Lance. At 808' long, they were longer than any USN battleship bar the Iowas, and 80' longer than the next longest, the North Carolinas. That leaves a battleship sized target with cruiser protection.
The second was the cost. Their gun system, made from scratch, was the most expensive in the USN, more expensive than the 16" L/50 Mk. 7 on the Iowas. In fact, an Alaska cost 2/3 - 3/4 as much as an Iowa but were not 3/4 as capable. It would have been a much better investment to complete Illinois and Kentucky rather than Alaska and Guam
The problem the Americans face in 1920 is that Britain and Japan have lots of big and fast ships and the USN has none. The Standards, while very well armed and armoured, were 21 kn ships with stubby hull forms, so no more speed could be coaxed out of them without huge reconstructions. The USN has nothing capable of counter-scouting, and a CA stands no chance against a Kongo or Renown, let alone Hood, Amagi or G3, nor do they have anything that could chase off a fast squadron attempting to harass the battle line and run. In these early days, something is better than nothing, before a "Sims Doctrine" (Compromise on nothing but displacement) fast BB is built.
The problem here is that Japan can't afford to have a large buildout of heavy cruisers and battlecruisers; there isn't enough Yen for both. Money makes it pretty much an either-or choice. I could see a few heavy cruisers, but in an unrestricted environment, the battlecruisers will ultimately be more useful in overpowering enemy scouts and breaking through screens. The IJN is worse off building CAs in a less restricted environment, let alone an unrestricted one, as their 4-8 bigger heavy cruisers still can't beat 30 USN ships, or even 20 if the USN keeps some in the Atlantic.
Is it just me or is this a truly bizarre metric? It’s like evaluating cost per kilo of hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and drills to determine whether you should have four hammers and eight screwdrivers in your toolbox rather than one hammer, three screwdrivers, two wrenches and a drill.
The problems with von Diederichs are during the Siege and Blockade of Manila. He is not the only blackhead present (The French are not helping either.).
The US supported the British in the South African War for a curious reason.
Venezuela Crisis of 1902-1903: Lessons For Today
A quid pro quo. You stay out of our backyard and we won't mess you up in yours. The Russians seriously need to learn that lesson.
The British were not happy about it. In the 1890s, they were like the US in the 1990s, eyeing new rivals (China) and trying to game the international table to stack the odds (East Asia Pivot). The Anglo Japanese alliance was one of those 1890s moves. The Americans were not happy either about that move or the Russians getting to big for themselves in east Asia, but they figured half of China was better than none of China. The American move was to let the Japanese play their hand and see if they could neutralize the Russians (Let's you and him fight and we'll kill the winner.). That happened. As for the British and the French? As early as 1896, Mahan knew they were finished in East Asia. The Anglo-Japanese alliance, the RN's retreat, and the pulling back of the MN at the same time sort of confirmed the trend.
Nope; which makes the support of the Anglo-Japanese alliance an equally dumb move in the immediate pre-WW1 and post WW1 imperial conferences. Would the British not see the US aimed at Japan was the correct move? But no; we get "Defense Plan #1 and the McNaughton Line and the crazy Harding administration Warplan Red. To put it in a modern context, there were 2 1980s nations that should have been natural allies against a new rising power, but because of their previous near century long antipathy managed to lock themselves into a permanent state of stupid. That would be a Chat topic BTW.
Since they had no fleet train and the USN can neutralize the only 2 bases available for that sortie fleet before it got that far, the question becomes, what surrender terms do the Americans impose? Wrong move=instant British naval defeat. They should not be that foolish (But the Singapore Bastion Defense and the "Through Ticket to Manila" and the "The Southern Road" indicates one cannot assume that professional militaries are smart all the time.)
In fact Harding (Charles Evans Hughes actually.) gamed the system. Defeat your enemies without battle.
You crunch your pickles and drink the brine. The Americans have wanted to end the British empire ever since 1861. Also don't forget Roosevelt was DUTCH in ancestry.
Is there a reason you decided to pick up this fight a week after it seems to have ended, especially since it was derail to begin with?
Don't do this.
Actually Austria-Hungary supported the British cause as well.
You can never have enough hammers. For Americans, hammers and screwdrivers are the same thing.
The Admiralty had to defend itself against Air Ministry claims that it could buy 1000 bombers for the cost of a battleship.
Mind you said 1000 bombers would be far more expensive to operate and man than a battleship. And said battleship would last a lot longer
Good God, man, your ratios are totally off! I suggest you grab a copy of Ian V. Hogg's "Hand Tools for Saps and Sappers" immediately.
This response from the IJN would be in line with their thinking on the purpose and role of those fast capital ships - to have a qualitative advantage and those Battlecruisers can deliver that.
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