The reason why the Dutch developed the submarine hunting tactic was also born out of necessity. The Dutch navy did not have the luxury of large number of cruiser and destroyers, there for they developed the relative cheap to operate submarines as offensive weapon pre-war.

Doesn't scouting imply that there is a main body to report to that can do things. Now the British, Japanese and US had many destroyers and capital ships to follow up a scounting report. However the Dutch and the Germans post Bismark did not so they would not be scouting
Of course by the start of the war Dutch doctrine had made a slow yet full turn to the worse. The RNN was convinced that USN/RN and IJN heavy units would cancel each other other so the decisive role could be played by light cruisers after all! This relegated the submarine service to a secondary role focussed on scouting and attrition. The Dutch submarine commanders did act aggressively as they had been trained, but never in a Wolfpack fashion as intended in the late 1920s.

Besides that a major hampering factor was that ABDACOM was organized in the - British - way that all air units were concentrated in ABDA-AIR. This included Dutch naval air service assets which had been trained to cooperate directly with Dutch naval ships and submarines. This meant that air recon would first be reported to ABDA-AIR, then to ABDA-COMMAND which would send this info to ABDA-FLOAT. Only then could the intel be forwarded to the relevant units. By then the vital intel was often to late or worse, lost.
 
. This meant that air recon would first be reported to ABDA-AIR, then to ABDA-COMMAND which would send this info to ABDA-FLOAT. Only then could the intel be forwarded to the relevant units. By then the vital intel was often to late or worse, lost.
Spot on explained .
The direct radio contact between the air reconnaissance and the commander of the submarine division-rudel was the essence of the Dutch division-rudel tactic. The whole action took place without interference of a shore command. The RNN air branch trained with the submarine divisions as an integrated system.

In OTL at least on one occasion the Dutch submarine doctrine is performed, as was trained during the last decades.
On 23 December 1941 off the coast of Kuching by a combined Royal Navy action. A Japanese invasion fleet heading south to British Borneo was spotted. The Dutch submarine Hr. Ms. K XIV received the location, course, and speed of the Japanese convoy from a patrolling Dornier Do 24 flying boat (who risked to be shot down by Japanese fighters) and attacked the Japanese by surprise in shallow waters off the landing head at Kuching, at the surface as a torpedoboat, with he risk of the boat. The Katori Maru, the Hioyshi Maru, the Hokai Maru and the destroyer Daisantonan Maru were sunk in succession.

Unfortunately, this was a submarine acting on its own and not in a division of 3 boats, since the submarine division-rudel doctrine was put aside.
 
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Another lesson-learned from the BoB
Which will really pay off, along with the daily training.
One reason, though far from the only one, that the Allies suffered at the hands of Japanese pilots early war was a utter lack of up-to-date tactics in dog fighting. Mind, the Japanese are tactically out of date as well, but more than compensated by being led by veterans of China, meeting very ill trained and green opposition, and having freakishly agile aircraft that got them in and out fights easily due to that attribute.
Hurricanes aren't nearly as agile, but they're rugged, stable, armoured, heavily armed by comparison (oh, what wouldn't Park do for incendiary ammo: Japanese aircraft would go up like Molotov cocktails!), and are now being flown by increasingly well trained pilots, however green combat-wise they may be. And seemingly well led too! Oh, and Park is hammering together a decent controller system, thus negating what I've harped on was the biggest British weakness in every theater apparently (knew it was in North Africa and the Med, now know it was here too), which is piss poor communications and control.
How well the RAF command and control network will deal with the stress of invasion remains to be seen, but Park knows what he's doing. He and Dowding pretty much had the only efficient and effective Command and Control system in the British military before mid 1942. Monty finally hammered one out for the 8th Army at that time: whatever his other faults, he made damn sure his communications worked and were efficient. If for no other reason than ensure no one could ignore him!
This air battle will not be the walk over as it was historically, not by a long shot. Indeed, I expect Japanese aerial losses to be steep, something they can ill afford this early and will have ripple effects as early as Burma.
 
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Thank you for the photos Cryhavoc101. I believe the 4 inch gun was mounted on a platform forward of the first mast, the mounting only allowed for a low angle of bearing, so she was useless for any AA role, except for any torpedo attacking aircraft. Given her operation was entirely manual, and the Malaysian gun crew had only been given basic training with it, any hits would be pure luck!. She has a couple of Lewis machine guns mounted, one either side of the bridge, but no ASDIC or depth charges fitted, and her official designation is Armed trader, meaning she still carry's cargo, useful for supplying the small Eastern coastal ports of Malaya.
Other than lobbing shells the main purpose of a 4" gun on a axillary vessel such as Lipis was the ability to fire star shells

Anything lower than that i.e. a 3" Star shells were a bit pants in terms of range and illumination

Obviously the 4" would give her teeth against any merchant ship or small vessel and allow her to reinforce demands to stop with a 'shot across the bows'

For a ship like the Lipis anything more demanding than 'heave to and prepare to be inspected' is likely to involve a radio communication along the lines of "Enemy sighted please inform next of kin" as she would be little more than a trip wire.
 

Ramp-Rat

Monthly Donor
Given recent improvements in the intelligence and police service in Malaya/Singapore, the first question has to be just how secret is this clandestine landing by a Japanese submarine. The British have a number of problems, if thanks to better intelligence they know about the landing ahead of time, or if they discover that it has taken place subsequently to its occurrence. While the attitude of a simple police man is to go gang buster, and raid the fish factory, preferably with the submarine alongside, and thus catch everyone in the act. However such an act would have enormous consequences, especially politically, and could go a long way towards provoking the Japanese action that people are trying to avoid, a conflict between the British and Japanese. Which in addition to provoking a major diplomatic incident, would also expose just how much the British have penetrated the Japanese intelligence apparatus in country. Something that a good intelligence agency would rather not have the Japanese know, far better to just watch for now, and later at a more appropriate time, wrap up the entire network. This is a very tricky game to play, and would require some very skilled players on the British side, not forgetting that the Governor and Signor Military commanders have to be kept in the loop. In an ideal world, the intelligence agencies having received permission from the government, would send in a team from either the SAS or the SBS, to covertly plant limpet mines on the submarine with a 24 hour delay fuse. And then a few weeks later, sit fire to the fish factory, and delay the arrival of the fire brigade. What are the Japanese going to do when their submarine fails to return to base, unless they have some proof that it was sunk by the British. Announcing that they have lost a submarine, that was sailing in British waters, would only result in the British asking why was it there, and what was it doing. As for the fire in the fish factory, as it will be a British official doing the investigation as to the cause of the fire, his report that it was an accident, is what will go down in the book. Unfortunately as nether the SAS or SBS exist at this time, there is no chance of there being any fire or limpet mines.

However if the British do know about both the submarine and the factory, or are through the better developed network of local assets, are receiving hints to what has occurred. It will only serve to confirm that the Japanese are preparing to invade Malaysia, which up until now was suspected. Thus strengthening the demands from the administration in Malaya for the allocation of more resources to the colony. While for the Japanese this is a very risky move, a covert landing by submarine in what is at present a nation that you are at peace with. Is in and over its self an act of war, and gives the British the ability to start the war at a time of their choosing. Or the British could cut off all diplomatic relations with Japan, and intern all Japanese citizens in Malaya, and elsewhere in the British Empire. I believe that the British even if they don’t know about this incident, will be getting enough information from their assets, of similar actions, that they will now know beyond a doubt that a Japanese invasion is going to happen. And this will ensure that those in the know at the top levels of the administration, become even more focused on their preparations, as the reality of the situation sinks in. While there will be some who want to take action against the Japanese secret organisation right now. There will also be of both the military, intelligence and administration who advocate a wait and watch process, so that they have more time to gather information and prepare. What you want to do if possible, is conduct your round up, when it’s too late for the Japanese to attempt to build a new organisation. And in such a way that it takes time for the Japanese to realise that their organisation has been blown. Therefore, 24 hours before the round up, you cut off the cable service to Japan, China and Thailand, along with restrictions on the mail and the Japanese consulate. You slap a D Notice on the local media, radio and print, forbidding any reporting on what’s happening. That way by the time that the Japanese know what has happened, it’s basically too late for them to change their plans.

RR.
 

Ramp-Rat

Monthly Donor
Sadly while Matador was militarily a good plan, politically it had a number of problems, and exsposing the extent of the Japanese infultration of Malaya, is not going to negate the outcry if the British invade Thailand would incur. Unless the Japanese have effectively taken over Thailand, Thailand is still a neutral country, and it wouldn’t look good on the international stage, small though it is at this time. And post war there will be plenty of people to take Britain to task for this event. ITTL mini Matador to destroy the ledge and the bridges north of boarder, after the Japanese have attacked Hong Kong, will be about all that can be undertaken. I am of the opinion that ITTL, the British have done enough to prevent the Japanese from succeeding in their invasion of Malaya. But not enough to succeed if they were to invade Thailand, in pursuit of implementing Operation Matador.

RR.
 
Given recent improvements in the intelligence and police service in Malaya/Singapore, the first question has to be just how secret is this clandestine landing by a Japanese submarine. The British have a number of problems, if thanks to better intelligence they know about the landing ahead of time, or if they discover that it has taken place subsequently to its occurrence. While the attitude of a simple police man is to go gang buster, and raid the fish factory, preferably with the submarine alongside, and thus catch everyone in the act. However such an act would have enormous consequences, especially politically, and could go a long way towards provoking the Japanese action that people are trying to avoid, a conflict between the British and Japanese. Which in addition to provoking a major diplomatic incident, would also expose just how much the British have penetrated the Japanese intelligence apparatus in country. Something that a good intelligence agency would rather not have the Japanese know, far better to just watch for now, and later at a more appropriate time, wrap up the entire network. This is a very tricky game to play, and would require some very skilled players on the British side, not forgetting that the Governor and Signor Military commanders have to be kept in the loop. In an ideal world, the intelligence agencies having received permission from the government, would send in a team from either the SAS or the SBS, to covertly plant limpet mines on the submarine with a 24 hour delay fuse. And then a few weeks later, sit fire to the fish factory, and delay the arrival of the fire brigade. What are the Japanese going to do when their submarine fails to return to base, unless they have some proof that it was sunk by the British. Announcing that they have lost a submarine, that was sailing in British waters, would only result in the British asking why was it there, and what was it doing. As for the fire in the fish factory, as it will be a British official doing the investigation as to the cause of the fire, his report that it was an accident, is what will go down in the book. Unfortunately as nether the SAS or SBS exist at this time, there is no chance of there being any fire or limpet mines.

However if the British do know about both the submarine and the factory, or are through the better developed network of local assets, are receiving hints to what has occurred. It will only serve to confirm that the Japanese are preparing to invade Malaysia, which up until now was suspected. Thus strengthening the demands from the administration in Malaya for the allocation of more resources to the colony. While for the Japanese this is a very risky move, a covert landing by submarine in what is at present a nation that you are at peace with. Is in and over its self an act of war, and gives the British the ability to start the war at a time of their choosing. Or the British could cut off all diplomatic relations with Japan, and intern all Japanese citizens in Malaya, and elsewhere in the British Empire. I believe that the British even if they don’t know about this incident, will be getting enough information from their assets, of similar actions, that they will now know beyond a doubt that a Japanese invasion is going to happen. And this will ensure that those in the know at the top levels of the administration, become even more focused on their preparations, as the reality of the situation sinks in. While there will be some who want to take action against the Japanese secret organisation right now. There will also be of both the military, intelligence and administration who advocate a wait and watch process, so that they have more time to gather information and prepare. What you want to do if possible, is conduct your round up, when it’s too late for the Japanese to attempt to build a new organisation. And in such a way that it takes time for the Japanese to realise that their organisation has been blown. Therefore, 24 hours before the round up, you cut off the cable service to Japan, China and Thailand, along with restrictions on the mail and the Japanese consulate. You slap a D Notice on the local media, radio and print, forbidding any reporting on what’s happening. That way by the time that the Japanese know what has happened, it’s basically too late for them to change their plans.

RR.
At this time SBS and SAS are in their infancy with SAS barely beginning in the Desert and SBS founded in early 1941 and operating in the Channel and Med.
 
Dear boy, I won’t say anything if you don’t, however just between you and me, the major problem as I see it is. The old drunk in charge of the British Admiralty at the start of the war, along with the majority of the fossilised Sea Lords, had a fixation with big guns. I believe that they wanted to build a battleship with 20 inch guns, not that they had any, but what the hell, they were sure that they could build them. They wasted much time, effort and money on constantly trying to build a battleship with bigger guns and more armour, instead of building bigger and better aircraft carriers. I am off the opinion that once they were released from the constraints of the various inter war naval treaties, the major effort should have gone into designing a 45, 000 tons plus aircraft carrier. Imagine the position Britain would have been if by the end of the war, she had had 6 Malta class carriers. As for the big guns, if instead of developing the 14 inch, a fixation of Vickers, they had instead developed the 15 inch 50. Which would have reduced the supply problems, enable the Queen Elizabeth’s to be refitted with better guns, and would have made the KG5’S if fitted with the same in three three gun turrets, not only better but cheaper to produce.

RR😉

Do you have any evidence at all for any of that?

1- The Sea Lords envisaged that their modern fleet would have more emphasis on carriers, compared to battleships, than the Japanese or US fleets.

2- At the start of the war the RN had significantly more carriers built or building than any other navy.

3 - Planning for six Maltas (about 600 a/c) "once released from the treaties" would have been an odd idea. When released from the Washington Treaty on Jan 1 1937 the RAF ran the navy's aircraft and would do so until 1939, when there were just 230 first-line aircraft in the FAA.

The Maltas were, according to DK Brown, designed because in 1942 it was realised that aircraft were becoming much heavier. There was no such need seen in 1937.

4- The cost of six fully-equipped Maltas would have been enormous - about 96 million pounds even in peacetime (ie without counting combat losses and only cheap 1930s-style aircraft) extrapolating from Chatfield's figures on ship costs for Australia. Those figures indicate that a Malta and its 1930s airgroup would have cost around twice as much as a KGV to build and run, allowing for aircraft and vessel replacement costs. That means unless you get vast sums from somewhere else (where???) you can only build the Maltas and you get no new OTL battleships, none of the new OTL carriers, and no new OTL cruisers.

Once war began and aircraft were lost as quickly as they were during hostilities, costs would have climbed dramatically, especially since the 45,000 ton carriers are operating with no modern cruisers or battleships as escorts or alternative targets.

5- There were only three slips long enough for Maltas. The bigger ships would have been longer in build, so it's almost impossible for the attack on Taranto to have been carried out when it was, a mere seven or so weeks after Illustrious entered the Med. The course of the Bismarck operation could have been changed because Victorious won't be there to operate with KGV. You won't fly off 47 vitally-needed Hurricanes to Malta from Victorious in Operation Tracer. There probably won't be any Battle of Matapan, either.

More importantly, if the Axis know that the RN doesn't have any modern carriers apart from Ark Royal, they would probably be far more aggressive than in OTL.

To give just one example, what would happen when Bismarck went out and you have no Victorious, no KGV, no PoW and no Maltas, because the Victorious replacement is still under construction?

6- D K Brown's passages state that the largest design studied had 16 inch guns. I can't find any reference to a desire for a 20" gun ship.

7- The choice of the 14" had nothing to do with Vickers as far as I know, but was a product of the desire to reduce battleship size by treaty.

8- Between the wars the RN studied designs with main guns as small as 10" and the KGVs had the smallest guns of any ship of their era and type. They weren't mad about big guns.
 
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Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
Other than lobbing shells the main purpose of a 4" gun on a axillary vessel such as Lipis was the ability to fire star shells

Anything lower than that i.e. a 3" Star shells were a bit pants in terms of range and illumination

Obviously the 4" would give her teeth against any merchant ship or small vessel and allow her to reinforce demands to stop with a 'shot across the bows'

For a ship like the Lipis anything more demanding than 'heave to and prepare to be inspected' is likely to involve a radio communication along the lines of "Enemy sighted please inform next of kin" as she would be little more than a trip wire.
Hi Cryhavoc101, I would point out that Lt W E Steel RNR, who is her commander, was also her master before being requisitioned by the Navy. Being in the Royal Naval Reserve, he came with the ship, so to speak. He is (my timeline), one of a band of brothers, along with the commander of HMS Li Wo, Lt T Wilkinson,, need I say more
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Wilkinson_(VC_1942)
 
There is perhaps a difference between Japanese and German dalliance and a statement that " The old drunk in charge of the British Admiralty at the start of the war, along with the majority of the fossilised Sea Lords, had a fixation with big guns. I believe that they wanted to build a battleship with 20 inch guns, not that they had any, but what the hell, they were sure that they could build them. They wasted much time, effort and money on constantly trying to build a battleship with bigger guns and more armour, instead of building bigger and better aircraft carriers. "

Incomparable, being a project of Admiral Fisher, cannot be placed at the foot of the WW2 RN Admiralty. Nor, for that matter, can Sir Robert Hadfield mentioning the possibility of 21".

Further, there is also a difference between an apparent reference to Churchill and the majority of the Admiralty having a fixation on big guns with the historical record of statements and actions.

Britain during WW2 built/commissioned/completed most work on 6 Illustrious/Implacables and 16 1942 Light Fleet Carriers and laid down 4 Audacious and 4 Centaurs; in terms of battleships, 5 KGVs and Guards Van were completed in the same period, whilst Lion and Temeraire were worked on between July/June and November 1939. I would suggest that this record doesn't match with the characterisation of wasting "much time, effort and money on constantly trying to build a battleship with bigger guns and more armour, instead of building bigger and better aircraft carriers."

I would further suggest that the statement and implication are rather considerably at odds with the historical record and intent.
 
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1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Incomparable ADM John Fisher apparently had an interest in a 20" naval gun along about 1915.
2) http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_18-45_mk2.php The Admiralty had no interest, although Sir Robert Hadfield apparently had interest in a 20" APC.
3) https://nationalinterest.org/blog/r...l-japan-wanted-20-inch-gun-battleships-183470 Apparently the IJN had some interest in the A150.
4) http://archive.nswiki.org/index.php?title=20_Inch_Naval_Gun Apparently there was some interest by the Reich.

Nothing ever came from any of this, of course. Some naval types were thinking of the progression of battleship design, however impractical.

This can be considered off-topic. Yet, there were intense rivalries within the IJN hierarchy. The Naval Air Power advocates are not yet in full ascendancy. The "Gun Club" foresees the decisive clash as being between battleships.

The IJN serves to insulate or shield the Empire from American incursions from the East. Likewise, the IJN serves to deflect any blows from the RN emanating in the Southwest. If the IJA wins the debate, the IJN remains closer to home perhaps. No gallivanting around the Hawaiian Islands to bomb a fleet which has no ability to project forward power. The focus remains on SE Asia.

That is not unforeseeable as the RAF and ACM(?) Park are building a more formidable and flexible command in Malaya. This is not done without notice . Malaya will be a tougher nut to crack. It's better to get the resources dangling and deal with Americans when they sortie or respond to the SW Pacific. It's an argument that makes some sense.

Yep, but Fisher and his ideas were very dead in the late 1930s and has your link says, the Admiralty wasn't interested in a 20"er.
 
The sole Western mention of a 20" gun that I can recall came from a USN paper design of 1934; it also briefly dallied with 24" guns for the idea (not even a design, really) before going back to 20". That was buried in Friedman's US Battleships: An Illustrated Design History, rather than being a very widely known part of the technical literature.

The RN, insofar as we know from multitudinous published works, official histories and archive material, did not contemplate anything beyond 16" guns for battleship designs in the 1930s and 1940s.

On that count, the statement is false.

i.) On the count that the Admiralty 'wasted much time, effort and money on constantly trying to build a battleship with bigger guns and more armour, instead of building bigger and better aircraft carriers', there would need to be some rather conclusive evidence to that end to counter the historical record.

ii.) On the count that the "Sea Lords" or Admiralty were fossilised, or meaning they were unreconstructed devotees of the big gun to the exclusion of the aircraft carrier, the historical record of opinion and documents of Backhouse and Pound do not support that inference. The opinions of the Second Sea Lords are irrelevant, as their area was personnel, whilst the record of 3SL Sir Reginald Henderson (34-39) does not support it at all, given his advocacy of a wide range of ships.

1SL Sir Ernle Chatfield did support the continuing role of the battleship during his term from 1933-38, but at that point...he did have a point. Aircraft and carrier aircraft in particular were unable to replace the battleship at sea in all of its major roles, with that crossover coming later. I'd further venture the opinion that this position, commonly held in the world's major navies, doesn't really classify as 'fossilised in any fair and reasonable appraisal of the time and circumstances.

iii.) On Churchill being an 'old drunk', whilst he was certainly old, he was not a drunk. I've previously posted at length on his daily drinking, which is well documented, and it didn't amount to much above tipsy. I can dig that out if there is a requirement.

iv.) The 14" gun was not driven by a fixation of Vickers-Armstrong, but rather the Admiralty.

v.) The much loved 15"/50 gun, at least among the rarified denizens of AH.com's Post 1900 forum, couldn't be easily retrofitted on the QE class without extra time and extra expenditure. It also wouldn't provide a commensurate rise in performance in the limited engagements they took part in (Narvik and Cape Matapan) to justify this expense. The QEs were old and only kept on because of the strange exigencies of battleship replacement under the treaties.

vi.) I am yet to come across any reference in official histories, documents and postwar studies on the terrible supply problems caused by having the 14" gun on the KGVs. I would be interested to see if any such evidence really exists, or if it is just a flourish of online argument.

vii.) The issues inherent with a "Naval treaties have collapsed -> Let us immediately go to a 45,000t carrier design" have been well dealt with by JasTysoe above. Whilst the Maltas represent a good postwar carrier to work towards, there were other more urgent priorities as of 1937-1939.
 
Re the "fossilised Sea Lords" and their "big gun fixation".

Chatfield (First Sea Lord in the vital pre-war years) came from a big-gun background including seeing two battlecruisers explode and so being acutely aware of some of the problems of big gunships. He fought so hard to get control of the FAA back from the RAF that he threatened to resign unless there was an enquiry into the matter - an enquiry which led to the FAA returning to the Navy. It was under Chatfield's watch that the KGVs and armoured carriers were developed, I'm fairly sure.

At the start of the war the 1SL was Dudley Pound. Pound was a qualified torpedo specialist, who had also commanded the battleship Colussus at Jutland, had been involved in the development of radio controlled weapons. (EDIT - by pure coincidence I just read that Pound, when C in C Med at the time of the Munich Crisis, had then ordered Lyster, his carrier admiral, to plan an attack on Taranto). His Deputy was a Signals Specialist.

The Second Sea Lord in 1939 was Little, who had commanded subs.

The Third Sea Lord (ie the guy in control of ship design) had been Reginald Henderson, who had commanded the Med Fleet carriers, practised massed carrier tactics, but fell ill just before the war. Dr Alex Clarke reckons that Henderson was tipped for the 1SL position. The fact that a carrier guru was tipped to run the RN is hardly evidence of a big-gun club being in charge.

Henderson was succeeded by Bruce Fraser, who had a gunnery background but had commanded the carrier Glorious and of course, later commanded the British Pacific Fleet. He was also in charge at the sinking of Scharnhorst - an action where carriers, because of the weather, would have been unlikely to have been effective.

The Fourth Sea Lord had a conventional background - cruisers, destroyers and battleships.

The Fifth Sea Lord was specifically in charge of aircraft. The officer in the position at the outbreak of the war had commanded Furious as early as 1928. Shortly after the war started he was replaced by Royle, who had commanded Glorious, then the Carrier Squadron. Royle was replaced by Lyster, who had planned and carried out the attack on Taranto while in Illustrious. He managed to hold onto the 5SL job while commanding the Home Fleet's carriers.

So these supposed befuddled big-gun fanatics were not generally gunnery or big-gun specialists. The men who made the decisions that created the big ships that fought most of the war were Chatfield, who had fought very, very hard to get the FAA back from the RAF, and Henderson who had developed multi-carrier strike tactics . Others were torpedo, sub or signal specialists. The man at the top at the start of the war had ordered the planning of the Taranto attack, even before war began. None of them were qualified pilots but that's because in their time qualified pilots were RAF men, but they weren't big-gun bigots who were blind to the virtues of carriers.
 
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Yep, but Fisher and his ideas were very dead in the late 1930s and has your link says, the Admiralty wasn't interested in a 20"er.
Good debate about the debate between the Big Gun Club, and the Fly Boys, or as they called them in the USN the Black Shoe vs. the Brown Shoe Navy. By the late 30's a balance had been reached in Britain, Japan, and the USA. The Anglo/Americans were building modern battleships, and lots of carriers, and only the Japanese were building super battleships. Hitler had some ideas about trying to outgun 16" battleships, but his admirals were trying to keep him in the bounds of practical reality, which was never an easy task.

The RN had long ago given up on any Jacky Fisher fantasies. The RN's problem was that the Fleet Air Arm had been kept under the control of the RAF for too long, so they lacked modern aircraft comparable to the USN, or IJN. In training, and doctrine RN Naval Aviation was first rate. The tradeoff of have having steel flight decks at the cost of smaller air groups is a separate debate, but there's no doubt the RN was committed to a big carrier fleet.
 

Ramp-Rat

Monthly Donor
Gentlemen while I am glad to have provoked a lively and interesting debate, I have to say one thing, my post that was a reply to one from our esteemed author. Wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, it was very much tongue in cheek, and meant to be seen humorously, which I believe some missed. The only part of my post that was in anyway accurate was the comment about Churchill, while by the standards of the day he would have been regarded as a heavy drinker, which was perfectly acceptable then. By modern standards, he would have been regarded as an alcoholic, there can be no doubt that he would have failed any test, to drive, operate machinery, or in a modern office discharge his duties. Off all the principal wartime leaders, there was only one who wasn’t a drinker, he was teetotal, along with being a vegetarian, and a virulent anti smoker. The fact that he was in addition a serious drug addict, is by the by, they were different times, and a lot of the leaders of the time had serious personal faults.

RR.
 
Hi Cryhavoc101, I would point out that Lt W E Steel RNR, who is her commander, was also her master before being requisitioned by the Navy. Being in the Royal Naval Reserve, he came with the ship, so to speak. He is (my timeline), one of a band of brothers, along with the commander of HMS Li Wo, Lt T Wilkinson,, need I say more
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Wilkinson_(VC_1942)
RNR sailors…best sailors

Not that I’m biased
 
That's fine, RR; I just found your comment an interesting spur to look up or write about some other interesting information. For example, I had not realised that Henderson was so well regarded that he was being groomed to be 1SL.

It's hard to know when someone is being humorous about claims about the military being idiots with gun fetishes, or similar, because there are many people who make such incorrect comments in all seriousness. The same applies to claims that the RN wasn't into carriers - plenty of people have seriously claimed that.

Cheers
 
Re the "fossilised Sea Lords" and their "big gun fixation".

Chatfield (First Sea Lord in the vital pre-war years) came from a big-gun background including seeing two battlecruisers explode and so being acutely aware of some of the problems of big gunships. He fought so hard to get control of the FAA back from the RAF that he threatened to resign unless there was an enquiry into the matter - an enquiry which led to the FAA returning to the Navy. It was under Chatfield's watch that the KGVs and armoured carriers were developed, I'm fairly sure.

At the start of the war the 1SL was Dudley Pound. Pound was a qualified torpedo specialist, who had also commanded the battleship Colussus at Jutland, had been involved in the development of radio controlled weapons. (EDIT - by pure coincidence I just read that Pound, when C in C Med at the time of the Munich Crisis, had then ordered Lyster, his carrier admiral, to plan an attack on Taranto). His Deputy was a Signals Specialist.

The Second Sea Lord in 1939 was Little, who had commanded subs.

The Third Sea Lord (ie the guy in control of ship design) had been Reginald Henderson, who had commanded the Med Fleet carriers, practised massed carrier tactics, but fell ill just before the war. Dr Alex Clarke reckons that Henderson was tipped for the 1SL position. The fact that a carrier guru was tipped to run the RN is hardly evidence of a big-gun club being in charge.

Henderson was succeeded by Bruce Fraser, who had a gunnery background but had commanded the carrier Glorious and of course, later commanded the British Pacific Fleet. He was also in charge at the sinking of Scharnhorst - an action where carriers, because of the weather, would have been unlikely to have been effective.

The Fourth Sea Lord had a conventional background - cruisers, destroyers and battleships.

The Fifth Sea Lord was specifically in charge of aircraft. The officer in the position at the outbreak of the war had commanded Furious as early as 1928. Shortly after the war started he was replaced by Royle, who had commanded Glorious, then the Carrier Squadron. Royle was replaced by Lyster, who had planned and carried out the attack on Taranto while in Illustrious. He managed to hold onto the 5SL job while commanding the Home Fleet's carriers.

So these supposed befuddled big-gun fanatics were not generally gunnery or big-gun specialists. The men who made the decisions that created the big ships that fought most of the war were Chatfield, who had fought very, very hard to get the FAA back from the RAF, and Henderson who had developed multi-carrier strike tactics . Others were torpedo, sub or signal specialists. The man at the top at the start of the war had ordered the planning of the Taranto attack, even before war began. None of them were qualified pilots but that's because in their time qualified pilots were RAF men, but they weren't big-gun bigots who were blind to the virtues of carriers.
It was Henderson who pretty much single handed came up with the design of the Illustrious class carriers and pushed the design to completion.
 
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