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Alternate Terminology: Naval Gazing, Part 8 - The Not-So-Great War

Tabac Iberez

Impetious
Published by SLP
No real mention of the submarine campaigns or convoy system? What, are we throwing Canada under the bus today or something? What about things like the Japanese squadrons in the Med or the naval actions around Galiploli where they nearly ended up closing the straight due to the wrecks of mined battleships?

Jutland was only the third—and last—battle ever fought between battleships, the others being the Battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War.
Cough cough...

For during the war, as an experiment, Britain had built the first aircraft carriers…
Cough cough...

(Admittedly, this isn't entirely wrong. Argus was an ocean liner, while the Courageous class were ex-battlecruisers redesigned after Jacky Fisher stopped possessing the Admrality Office like a angry spirit. Eagle, meanwhile, was another "repossessed" ship that didn't meet the Needs of the Royal Navy. The first aircraft carrier designed as such was IJN Hōshō in 1920, whereas Ark Royal came in circa 1938 as a contemporary to Ranger.)
 

Thande

BidenHarris, vaccine, England's got the same Queen
Published by SLP
No real mention of the submarine campaigns or convoy system? What, are we throwing Canada under the bus today or something? What about things like the Japanese squadrons in the Med or the naval actions around Galiploli where they nearly ended up closing the straight due to the wrecks of mined battleships?



Cough cough...



Cough cough...

(Admittedly, this isn't entirely wrong. Argus was an ocean liner, while the Courageous class were ex-battlecruisers redesigned after Jacky Fisher stopped possessing the Admrality Office like a angry spirit. Eagle, meanwhile, was another "repossessed" ship that didn't meet the Needs of the Royal Navy. The first aircraft carrier designed as such was IJN Hōshō in 1920, whereas Ark Royal came in circa 1938 as a contemporary to Ranger.)
I'm going to bring up some of this (esp the Japanese in the Med, as that's one of my favourite bits of OTL weirdness) in the next one - this one had already overrun well past my usual word limit.
 

Tabac Iberez

Impetious
Published by SLP
I'm going to bring up some of this (esp the Japanese in the Med, as that's one of my favourite bits of OTL weirdness) in the next one - this one had already overrun well past my usual word limit.
Ahh, so we'er doing a two-parter then?
 

Hendryk

Nothing ever ends
Published by SLP
Location
France
I'm going to bring up some of this (esp the Japanese in the Med, as that's one of my favourite bits of OTL weirdness) in the next one - this one had already overrun well past my usual word limit.
Both the siege of Tsingtao and the Japanese intervention in the Mediterranean have their alternate versions in With Iron and Fire--each gets a chapter, by myself and Pablo Portillo respectively. Along with Chinese and Japanese soldiers deployed on the Western Front.

Really, the most important lesson to take from the war was how ill-founded most of the planning and predictions before it had been. After all the money and resources that had been sunk into the blue-water dreadnought battleship fleets so prized by Thayer, Jutland was only the third—and last—battle ever fought between battleships, the others being the Battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War.
Generally speaking, the performance of battleships after 1905 was quite underwhelming. Aside from serving as money and resource pits they didn't serve much purpose in either WW1 and WW2. Particularly pathetic, of course, was the fate of those French ships that sat uselessly at anchor for the first three years of the war, only to be scuttled when it looked like they might actually be useful for something.
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
Synapse pathways that can only be formed through use of this forum - after reading new messages in this thread today then later listening to Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds am now wondering if the destruction of HMS Thunder Child by the Martians caused a change in naval theory.

Perhaps less than the Martian technology did in rendering all naval theory moot, but even then it's fun to imagine prevailing theories being applied to the machines the Martians left behind.
 

Tabac Iberez

Impetious
Published by SLP
Generally speaking, the performance of battleships after 1905 was quite underwhelming. Aside from serving as money and resource pits they didn't serve much purpose in either WW1 and WW2. Particularly pathetic, of course, was the fate of those French ships that sat uselessly at anchor for the first three years of the war, only to be scuttled when it looked like they might actually be useful for something.
Nah, they served just fine as a means of inducing brinkmanship and serving as a concentrated force measure. Consider that the Kito Budai could be about, say, ten or twelve carriers richer; that would have been a force that could actually form two respectable battle fleets at once and produce meaningful engagements. However, since it was assumed, not entirely incorrectly, that naval aviation aircraft couldn't actually *sink* a battleship, this necessitated the creation of more battleships like the ever popular resource hogs that were Yamato, Musashi, and the poor poor Shiano. For the US, therefore, battleships were an excellent investment since they forced everyone else to consider the costs of engaging against them and if they could stand to take Jutland-esque engagements with any degree of regularity.

Teal deer: battleships are just as much an economic weapon as they are a boat covered in guns.
 

ForceA1

Pro-VAXer*
Pronouns
He/Him
Battleships filled pretty important roles in both wars. For example, they provided an effective all-weather anti-ship capability when the alternatives were technically immature, (and probably still were until the early 1950s, when H-Bombs, all-weather strike aircraft and SSNs became technically possible). I can't help but feel that the death of the Battleship was prematurely declared by about half a decade and I can't imagine any other system providing the same capability that Battleships provided as part of the heavy covering force for Arctic convoys. Submarines would not have the speed to catch up with surface raiders, whilst aircraft could not operate in all weathers.

Thande, will you be discussing that operations of the Russian Black Sea Feet in the next part. Their use of Seaplane carriers and amphibious operations against Turkish coal mines, with the intent of denying Goeban and Breslau fuel were pretty innovative compared to the usual popular view of Russian naval operations.
 

Thande

BidenHarris, vaccine, England's got the same Queen
Published by SLP
Thande, will you be discussing that operations of the Russian Black Sea Feet in the next part. Their use of Seaplane carriers and amphibious operations against Turkish coal mines, with the intent of denying Goeban and Breslau fuel were pretty innovative compared to the usual popular view of Russian naval operations.
I don't want to go into that much detail for this series - but it would make a nice topic for a future article series on 'little known other fronts' or that sort of thing.
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
Nah, they served just fine as a means of inducing brinkmanship and serving as a concentrated force measure. Consider that the Kito Budai could be about, say, ten or twelve carriers richer; that would have been a force that could actually form two respectable battle fleets at once and produce meaningful engagements. However, since it was assumed, not entirely incorrectly, that naval aviation aircraft couldn't actually *sink* a battleship, this necessitated the creation of more battleships like the ever popular resource hogs that were Yamato, Musashi, and the poor poor Shiano. For the US, therefore, battleships were an excellent investment since they forced everyone else to consider the costs of engaging against them and if they could stand to take Jutland-esque engagements with any degree of regularity.

Teal deer: battleships are just as much an economic weapon as they are a boat covered in guns.
An economic weapon that hurt all concerned parties and led to the various naval treaties. Given the premature hairless the caused the various treasuries I don't think the high cost was considered a virtue.
 

Tabac Iberez

Impetious
Published by SLP
An economic weapon that hurt all concerned parties and led to the various naval treaties. Given the premature hairless the caused the various treasuries I don't think the high cost was considered a virtue.
Well no, it generally wasn't considered a virtue, but just because the medicine is bitter doesn't mean it still doesn't work. Trying to cheap out or undercut the process leads to messes like the R-class battleships, and not many people are willing to trade in half baked cost saves. Most importantly, though, if your opponent ends up destroying his economy to match your navy, well, congratulations. You won without firing a shot- the best kind of victory.
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
Well no, it generally wasn't considered a virtue, but just because the medicine is bitter doesn't mean it still doesn't work. Trying to cheap out or undercut the process leads to messes like the R-class battleships, and not many people are willing to trade in half baked cost saves. Most importantly, though, if your opponent ends up destroying his economy to match your navy, well, congratulations. You won without firing a shot- the best kind of victory.
Yes but this worked for exactly one power, the United States of America, which then won its military and economic victories with Carriers, destroyers, cruisers and various other ships notably relegating its battleships to AA and Shore bombardment roles.

Carriers and Subs proved far more useful than battleships ever did and if your most expensive asset is only useful in the most niche roles and can be neutralized by your less expensive and generally more useful ships then you are doing something badly wrong.

More heavy cruisers and destroyers could have done a battleship's job on the Arctic Convoy, perhaps not as well but its one mission. Meanwhile in more or less any other theater battleships were support.

They were not obsolete in WWII but they were clearly on their way out and this only got more pronounced over time.
 

Hendryk

Nothing ever ends
Published by SLP
Location
France
They were not obsolete in WWII but they were clearly on their way out and this only got more pronounced over time.
Quite. Of course the temptation is strong in AH to give them a suitable swan song. One big reason why the Australian contingent of the France Fights On TL ended up splitting from the main group was that they absolutely wanted to feature big battleship engagements in the Pacific.
 

Tabac Iberez

Impetious
Published by SLP
Yes but this worked for exactly one power, the United States of America, which then won its military and economic victories with Carriers, destroyers, cruisers and various other ships notably relegating its battleships to AA and Shore bombardment roles.

Carriers and Subs proved far more useful than battleships ever did and if your most expensive asset is only useful in the most niche roles and can be neutralized by your less expensive and generally more useful ships then you are doing something badly wrong.
Actually, the plan to use naval arms races as an economic warfare tool was originally opened up by the British against the Germans, and it worked reasonably well at forcing said Germans to dump piles of money into a very much useless economic sector. The fact that post-war concerns sank this plan didn't change it's effectiveness, since England needed to retain both theoretical and actual major force projection capability.

Meanwhile, as for utility... it depends. It took the world's foremost carrier power three terribly convoluted years to develop a tactical playbook that actually managed to develop lethal results against major enemy positions while working with every possible advantage save in pilot corps, while submarines were neigh useless outside convoy attack due to their lack of ability to engage a competent enemy screen. Before someone starts screaming about I-401 or Archerfish, yes, warships in transit are a convoy unless they're actually able to defend themselves from an attacking submarine.
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
Actually, the plan to use naval arms races as an economic warfare tool was originally opened up by the British against the Germans, and it worked reasonably well at forcing said Germans to dump piles of money into a very much useless economic sector. The fact that post-war concerns sank this plan didn't change it's effectiveness, since England needed to retain both theoretical and actual major force projection capability.

Meanwhile, as for utility... it depends. It took the world's foremost carrier power three terribly convoluted years to develop a tactical playbook that actually managed to develop lethal results against major enemy positions while working with every possible advantage save in pilot corps, while submarines were neigh useless outside convoy attack due to their lack of ability to engage a competent enemy screen. Before someone starts screaming about I-401 or Archerfish, yes, warships in transit are a convoy unless they're actually able to defend themselves from an attacking submarine.
The British did not plan on the Dreadnought race, they were caught up by the Admirality (and then parts of it) and genuine popular sentiment that the RN needed to have an astounding superiority. And the Germans were not goaded into such a race, they chose to embark on one. I have never ever read or heard anything approaching your position when discussing the naval race.

Did the Pacific War and Battle of the Atlantic just not happen?

The list of Battleships sunk by carrier and non carrier aircraft and submarines dwarfs the number of either that they sunk in terms, for that matter I'm pretty sure its actually exceeds the number sunk by other battleships as well.

For the most expensive naval asset you have with the lowest number of roles that requires the same escorts that a Carrier does and with far less in the way of meaningful results I'm not really seeing any grounds at all to consider battleships the superior choice to subs or carriers.
 
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Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Synapse pathways that can only be formed through use of this forum - after reading new messages in this thread today then later listening to Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds am now wondering if the destruction of HMS Thunder Child by the Martians caused a change in naval theory.
"The torpedo ram Thunder Child was the most effective thing we had against the Martians. WE NEED MORE TORPEDO RAMS."
 
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