Author Topic: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread  (Read 58790 times)

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Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #480 on: November 18, 2018, 05:25:15 PM »
"... It belongs on the nightstand (reinforced for weight) of every student of history’s ..."

 ;lol ;b;
Wonder what the misses would have to say about that. :D

Offline Brecon

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #481 on: November 22, 2018, 04:01:21 AM »
On the theme of naval history a couple of months ago I read Castles of Steel by Robert Massie which gives a good history of the naval race between Germany and the UK ahead of WWI and details naval operations during the war.  It also discusses the decisions of some of the commanders at Jutland and the strategy that informed the goals of each side in the war.

On youtube there is also a channel with ~5 minute guides to various warships from age of sail to about WWII.  I think there are short videos for the most famous warships as well as videos that consider different aspects of ship design etc (for example how complex and time consuming large naval rifles were to make): https://www.youtube.com/user/Drachinifel

The naval war on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812 is also interesting especially on Lake Ontario with a naval race between the British and US that resulted in the British building a first rate and the US having their own under construction by the end of the war.  Both Mahan and Theodore Roosevelt wrote on the subject.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #482 on: August 09, 2019, 06:03:32 AM »
"... It belongs on the nightstand (reinforced for weight) of every student of history’s ..."

 ;lol ;b;
Wonder what the misses would have to say about that. :D

That complete naval history of WWII eventually bored me to the point that I started other books. Maybe I'll try it again and post comments/summaries of the chapters as I attempt them.

I recently read a trilogy of British nautical fiction. The numbers of lost ships and lives, just in the seas around Europe during WWII are overwhelming. Even without the Atlantic convoys and Pacific theater. Maybe I'll read something else to clear my head before I do that.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #483 on: January 01, 2020, 10:27:08 PM »
I've been reading historical fiction rather than fiction, since. Haven't felt the urge to revisit the complete naval history of WWII. It seems to me that it should have been divided into Atlantic and Pacific theaters and been 2 books.

Oh well. I guess it will be this year's project to read it and summarize it here. Maybe starting in February.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #484 on: February 14, 2020, 11:35:10 PM »
Here it is in installments, (I decided to skip the parts abut naval treaties merchant marine losses, naval maneuvers, and focus on the naval engagements )-

Chapter 1 is the story of the first warship losses of WWII, U-29 sinking the British aircraft carrier Courageous off the Irish coast, with the loss of 519 men and 20% of the carrier force. It was struck by 3 torpedoes and sank in 15 minutes.

Mostly it was about U-47 sneaking into the British Home Fleet base in Scapa Flow. It crept past a number of tankers and attacked the Revenge class battleship HMS Royal Oak with a spread of 4 torpedoes. One misfired, 2 missed, and the other hit and severed the  anchor chain. The U-boat skipper turned around and fired his stern tube, but that torpedo also failed.  The U-boat moved away to reload.

The British were confused. Thinking the base invulnerable to attack by sea, they searched the skies and found nothing. Concluding that it was a paint locker explosion or some such, they searched for an internal explosion, and did not go to general quarters.

On the second approach U-47 scored 3 for 3 amidships, and the Royal Oak sank with the loss of over 800 men, or 2/3rds of the crew. U-47 was chased  by destroyers with Asdic systems, but escaped. So she returned to base with a propaganda victory, and information about Asdic and faulty magnetic exploders.

To the credit of Admiral Doenitz, he learned that they malfunctioned 25% of the time, and vowed to fix it because he understood that faulty torpedoes would undermine the courage of his U-boat force. If only the USN had reacted similarly when their torpedoes failed 2/3rds of the time.


Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #485 on: February 15, 2020, 07:51:05 PM »
I've been reading historical fiction rather than fiction, since. Haven't felt the urge to revisit the complete naval history of WWII. It seems to me that it should have been divided into Atlantic and Pacific theaters and been 2 books.

Oh well. I guess it will be this year's project to read it and summarize it here. Maybe starting in February.

I think the naval skirmishes around Gualdacanal would be plenty to fill your appetite.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #486 on: February 15, 2020, 08:00:03 PM »
I've been reading historical fiction rather than fiction, since. Haven't felt the urge to revisit the complete naval history of WWII. It seems to me that it should have been divided into Atlantic and Pacific theaters and been 2 books.

Oh well. I guess it will be this year's project to read it and summarize it here. Maybe starting in February.

I think the naval skirmishes around Gualdacanal would be plenty to fill your appetite.

Yes, it could easily stall out there.  Or Leyte Gulf.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #487 on: February 16, 2020, 07:48:39 AM »
Chapter 2 is about German surface raiding in the Atlantic, the Deutschland in the North, and the  Graf Spee in the South Atlantic.

Due to the considerations of various treaties, the Kreigsmarine was handicapped. They tried to build a balanced fleet capable of defeating the Poles(and possibly France) or Russians in 1946 or 47. Hitler thought he could avoid war with the British through diplomacy. When Hitler changed his timetable to invade Poland in '39, the admirals knew they were screwed, and would basically die gloriously. So the pocket battleships and their tenders were pre-positioned to be able to raid British commerce if given the go-ahead, and hopefully scatter Britain's superior navy in pursuit or convoy duty.

In an era when light cruisers were almost universally armed with 6" guns and torpedoes, and heavy cruisers 8" guns, these pocket battleships were an odd duck. Sort of like adding armor and nine 11" guns to the capabilities of a light cruiser. You might call them a fast heavy cruiser, or a small battlecruiser, or something in between, depending whether you were classifying by size or speed or armament or something else.

The British Admiralty sent pairs of cruisers hunting for the pocket battleships, still believing in British invincibility. Eventually the Graf Spee needed to return home for overhaul and resupply, and the captain was looking for an honorable fight against a warship to put a crown on a successful cruise.

Battle of the river Plate

The heavy cruiser HMS Exeter six 8" guns, four 4" guns & six torpedo tubes.
The light cruiser HMS Ajax eight 6" guns, four 4" guns and eight torpedo tubes.
The light cruiser HMS Achilles "     "     "

vs. The Graf Spee nine 11" guns, eight 6" guns, and eight torpedo tubes. Her 11" guns gave her a 3,500 yd range advantage.

The Exeter was quickly struck in the B turret, which also wrecked the bridge and killed everyone there except the captain. It severed communications as well. 6 More hits in 20 minutes reduced it to one working gun, taking on water and listing to starboard.

Ajax lost her mast and rear turrets.  Achilles had it's bridge shrapnelled.

Graf Spee suffered three 8" hits. The light cruisers and the Exeter's secondary armament hit more often, but to little effect.  There were 37 killed and 57 wounded, including the captain, who remained at his post.

At this point there smoke screens and torpedoes and maneuvers, before breaking the engagement.  The British thought it would be foolish to press the attack with a pair of damaged light cruisers low on ammunition. The Germans had a large hole in the bow, the galley was wrecked, so was the range finder on the main armament, the elevators from the magazines to the 6" guns were wrecked.  They didn't think they could make it back home, so they put into the nearest neutral port.

Both sides tried to stall and delay. The British tried to make them think that a battlecruiser and carrier had arrived. German high command wasn't going to 2nd guess a captain 5,000 miles away, so they told him to fight his way out if he could, or scuttle if he must, but not to let the ship fall into British hands.  He chose to scuttle his ship and commit suicide.

The German consort ship tried to make it home, but Churchill invaded a Norwegian fjord to capture it.  Hitler was furious. He basically gave victory or death orders to his surface fleet, and made plans to even the score with Norway.


Offline Geo

Re: Rusty's Naval/Military History thread
« Reply #488 on: February 17, 2020, 07:09:53 PM »
Chapter 2 is about German surface raiding in the Atlantic, the Deutschland in the North, and the  Graf Spee in the South Atlantic.

Oh, you mean the Lützow. :)

 

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