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Paul Pless
10-13-2016, 07:22 AM
http://67.media.tumblr.com/039ed70e581f159858d02ec4a82ddd96/tumblr_o81praMG6S1szkmvlo1_1280.jpg

Gerarddm
10-13-2016, 08:31 AM
Comparable to that WWII pic of American battleships and cruisers.

Doncha' just love the sheer weight and sound of " 5th Battle Squadron? "

Gerarddm
10-13-2016, 09:00 AM
If you count almost twenty five years as a few.

Paul Pless
10-13-2016, 09:26 AM
wasn't there a cost advantage to early aircraft carriers?
they were much cheaper that first lone capital ships - battle ships, battle cruisers, etc. . .

Hugh Conway
10-13-2016, 09:28 AM
A number of the 5th battle squadron ships were already obsolete in 1914, many were pre-Dreadnought class, few survived the war and those that did were scrapped shortly after.

But I think the picture was actually taken in 1916, when the 5th battle squadron would have had Dreadnought class ships, and many of them served through World War 2.

Battleships were hugely capital and manpower intensive.

Gerarddm
10-13-2016, 09:58 AM
Aircraft carrier ascendancy was hinted at by Billy Mitchell, but was not proved until Taranto. The Japanese took notice, leading to Pearl Harbor.

B_B
10-13-2016, 10:31 AM
Aircraft carrier ascendancy was hinted at by Billy Mitchell, but was not proved until Taranto. The Japanese took notice, leading to Pearl Harbor.
IIRC the Americans were well aware of it too. There had been several 'war games' in the '30's which showed a sneak attack on Hawaii by aircraft carriers would devastate the fleet, but mooring fields, anti-aircraft defences etc remained essentially unchanged - i.e. nothing learned was implemented.

Hugh Conway
10-13-2016, 10:38 AM
IIRC the Americans were well aware of it too. There had been several 'war games' in the '30's which showed a sneak attack on Hawaii by aircraft carriers would devastate the fleet, but mooring fields, anti-aircraft defences etc remained essentially unchanged - i.e. nothing learned was implemented.

There was much political pressure not to spend on the military, because of domestic economic woes and the strong isolationist block.

Hugh Conway
10-13-2016, 10:45 AM
Is the point to bash the US? You could find much bigotry against the East across the Western nations.

Without the Schiff hatred of Russian bigotry the Japanese wouldn't have been able to afford the Russo-Japanese war.

Paul Pless
10-13-2016, 10:47 AM
Is the point to bash the US?bigfella ought be here soon then

Paul Pless
10-13-2016, 10:56 AM
I have never knowingly "bashed" the USA.everytime you mention the original bluenose's racing record ;)

Hugh Conway
10-13-2016, 11:12 AM
Oh, come on, Hugh! Don't be so thin skinned. I have never knowingly "bashed" the USA. I am quoting an American historian from his book about the American victory in the Pacific theatre of WWII. If you feel that his researched opinion that the US navy was ill-prepared for the entrance of the Japanese into the war, then send a complaint to him, not me.

Not thinskinned, just find it tedious. yes, there was institutional racism - the military was segregated. And we interned the japanese, but not the germans. It goes on.

but to blame it all on ignorant racism seems to miss the picture.

Tom Hunter
10-13-2016, 11:14 AM
Not 1914, because the ships of the 5th battle squadron were not commissioned until 1915 and 1916. I agree with Hugh, this is a mid-WWI picture, or possibly just after.

Obsolete is an a fight for a different forum. The Royal Navy certainly got their money's worth from these four and their sister.

Jim Bow
10-13-2016, 11:56 AM
The "Big Gun" boys also pooh-poohed the use of RADAR until well after Guadalcanal.

See: Hornfischer, James "Neptune's Inferno: The U S Navy at Guadalcanal"

Hugh Conway
10-13-2016, 12:08 PM
I guess that, in the face of rigorous opposition, I will leave this discussion with the final rejoinder of, "read the book, and argue with the author'. Mason out...

Based on your excerpts from it, as well as this review, it doesn't have much to reccomend it.

But here is the book’s limitation. Since V-J Day in 1945, hundreds of books have been published that review the Pacific War. The best justification for a new history — especially one demanding that the reader navigate almost 500 pages dealing with a period of less than a year — would be for the book to offer at least one of three things: a set of judgments so fresh and plausible that we view the subject in a way we never have before; stylistic excellence (for example, Shelby Foote’s narrative skills alone are enough to justify his three-volume effort to narrate the Civil War anew); or deep, relentless primary research that brings us important new facts and other groundbreaking *information.Alas, Toll’s book does not score high in any of these three dimensions. Few of his insights, although sensible and intelligent, stray much outside existing mainstream interpretation. And the author’s style is burdened with hackneyed phrases — references to Theodore Roosevelt’s “whirlwind career,” traffic that “slowed to a crawl,” drivers who “crane their necks,” how Pearl Harbor “galvanized the American people,” the fact that the “ears of the Japanese people were ringing” and that Admiral Halsey had not “tasted fame.” Adding to this is the problem that some of Toll’s imagery doesn’t quite work. For instance, the first sentence of his first chapter shows us the people of Oahu being “jerked out of sleep by guns and bombs and low-flying aircraft.

Paul Pless
10-13-2016, 12:11 PM
Based on your excerpts from it, as well as this review, it doesn't have much to reccomend it.
[/FONT][/COLOR]

which history might you recommend?

The Bigfella
10-13-2016, 02:56 PM
bigfella ought be here soon then

don't let it get to you....

http://theparentjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/babies-crying-cute-crying-baby.jpg

B_B
10-13-2016, 03:05 PM
...Alas, Toll’s book does not score high in any of these three dimensions. Few of his insights, although sensible and intelligent, stray much outside existing mainstream interpretation...

which history might you recommend?
According to Hugh's quoted opinion, most other historians say the same thing as Toll ... so take your pick, the conclusions are all the same ;)

skuthorp
10-13-2016, 03:11 PM
It was hinted at by many naval aviators in the 1920's, but not proven until WWII. The "big gun" admirals were not about to give credence to the upstart flyboys and lose face. SOP in most organizations, unfortunately.
Prior to the 'big gun' iron ships the same attitudes persisted amongst old RN wooden wall admirals. Its like the top brass always beginning a war by still fighting the last one.

The Bigfella
10-13-2016, 03:21 PM
There are some aspects of the Pacific War that tend to be under-reported. A mate of mine considers this guy's role to be one of them. From wiki:

William Francis Forbes-Sempill, 19th Lord Sempill AFC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Force_Cross_(United_Kingdom)), AFRAeS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Aeronautical_Society), (24 September 1893 30 December 1965) was a Scottish peer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peerage_(disambiguation)) and record-breaking air pioneer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviator) who was later shown to have been a traitor who passed secret information to the Imperial Japanese military (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Japanese_Navy_General_Staff) before the Second World War (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_World_War). Educated at Eton (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eton_College), he began his career as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Flying_Corps) and then served in the Royal Naval Air Service (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Naval_Air_Service) and Royal Air Force (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Air_Force) during the First World War (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_World_War). In 1921, Sempill led an official military mission to Japan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sempill_Mission) that showcased the latest British aircraft. In subsequent years he continued to aid the Imperial Japanese Navy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Japanese_Navy) in developing its Navy Air Service (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Japanese_Navy_Air_Service).


In the 1920s, Sempill began giving military secrets to the Japanese. Although his activities were uncovered by British Intelligence (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MI5), Sempill was not prosecuted for spying (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spy) and allowed to continue in public life. The decision, which was taken at highest levels of government, was based on several factors. Firstly it would have revealed British successes in decoding Japanese communications (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_(cipher_machine)) and secondly he was part of the British Establishment (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Establishment) with family links to the Royal Family (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Royal_Family). He was eventually forced to retire from the Royal Navy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Navy) in 1941 after being discovered passing on secret material to Tokyo shortly before Japan declared war (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor) in the Pacific.

Chris249
10-13-2016, 04:56 PM
wasn't there a cost advantage to early aircraft carriers?
they were much cheaper that first lone capital ships - battle ships, battle cruisers, etc. . .

The carriers were actually extremely expensive to run, because even in peace time the air group only lasted a few years before they all had to be replaced due to losses and obsolescence, and even then aircraft were expensive. In 1938 Chatfield (Second Sea Lord IIRC) prepared figures that showed that the costs of running an Illustrious-type carrier with just 36 aircraft was 127% as much as the cost of the latest RN battleship.

Battleships also required a much smaller proportion of highly-trained men; 8 15" guns don't need many more highly-trained artificers to maintain them than the 4 4.7" guns of a destroyer. Carriers required an incredible "tail" of highly-skilled fitters and mechanics, and for each plane embarked you had to build about five aircraft and have a couple of crews; some training, some for replacement, etc.

It's also surprising to see from the Chatfield figures (and other sources) that destroyers etc were quite expensive compared to battleships. You only got eight J-class destroyers for the cost of one battleship.

Paul Pless
10-13-2016, 04:58 PM
those numbers look very interesting
thanks for the citation Chris

Chris249
10-13-2016, 05:09 PM
It was hinted at by many naval aviators in the 1920's, but not proven until WWII. The "big gun" admirals were not about to give credence to the upstart flyboys and lose face. SOP in most organizations, unfortunately.

Many of the serious studies of policy, at least in the RN, indicate that's the claims of conservatism don't stand up. Authors like DK Brown, who was not just a serving naval officer and a naval architect but who also works off primary sources, puts up an extremely convincing case to show that the claims of big-gun conservatism aren't really born out. The tale of people like Cunningham is interesting. He attracted opposition when he criticised the Battle class destroyers for their lack of gunpower, which shows that there were people prepared to stand up against the most senior figures in the navy. Secondly, he was of course the man who put the Taranto attack into operation, he was firmly in support of carriers, and in his account of Matapan (I think) he mentions how the carrier aircraft worked just as pre-war exercises had planned.

The conditions in the European theatre meant that battleships were very valuable for many years. Lesser-known actions like Victorious' unsuccessful attacks on Bismark and Tirpitz and the Beaufighter attack on PE and Scheer (IIRC) were to show that in the weather of the North Sea and North Atlantic, carrying out a strike was a very dodgy business. It's hard to think that a single carrier (and a single carrier costs more than a single battleship) would have been very effective in the conditions at the North Cape, for example.

Chris249
10-13-2016, 05:12 PM
those numbers look very interesting
thanks for the citation Chris

No worries. There's a link to a post with the full figures here;

http://warships1discussionboards.yuku.com/topic/566/Were-heavy-cruisers-cost-effective

David Chessum, the source, is doing a PhD on the inter-war naval treaties. He works from primary sources and if I recall correctly, does things like fly from Australia to the UK to spend weeks at a time blowing dust off the original documents.

AndyG
10-13-2016, 05:17 PM
Not 1914, because the ships of the 5th battle squadron were not commissioned until 1915 and 1916. I agree with Hugh, this is a mid-WWI picture, or possibly just after.

Deffo. My anorak of all things RN WW1 agrees with you.

Andy

Gerarddm
10-13-2016, 05:31 PM
I believe it was John Keegan who once noted that the popular notion of hide bound admirals was not as ascendant as one might think. He noted that when Warrior came out, the PM said that she was a wolf among rabbits, and that admirals since had no problems getting rid of rabbits in favor of bigger and badder wolves.

There was a hue and cry about going to the all-big gun ship with Dreadnought, but that was because in one fell swoop she made obsolete all BBs in the world, including the extensive fleet that England had at the time. Starting over from scratch was not in favor of some.

The Bigfella
10-13-2016, 06:26 PM
Many of the serious studies of policy, at least in the RN, indicate that's the claims of conservatism don't stand up. Authors like DK Brown, who was not just a serving naval officer and a naval architect but who also works off primary sources, puts up an extremely convincing case to show that the claims of big-gun conservatism aren't really born out. The tale of people like Cunningham is interesting. He attracted opposition when he criticised the Battle class destroyers for their lack of gunpower, which shows that there were people prepared to stand up against the most senior figures in the navy. Secondly, he was of course the man who put the Taranto attack into operation, he was firmly in support of carriers, and in his account of Matapan (I think) he mentions how the carrier aircraft worked just as pre-war exercises had planned.

The conditions in the European theatre meant that battleships were very valuable for many years. Lesser-known actions like Victorious' unsuccessful attacks on Bismark and Tirpitz and the Beaufighter attack on PE and Scheer (IIRC) were to show that in the weather of the North Sea and North Atlantic, carrying out a strike was a very dodgy business. It's hard to think that a single carrier (and a single carrier costs more than a single battleship) would have been very effective in the conditions at the North Cape, for example.

A single aircraft strike stopped the planned sortie of the Gneisenau with IIRC the Bismacrk and Prinz Eugen. Six Bristol Beauforts failed to rendezvous, but one pressed home the attack alone and crippled the Gneisenau.

Hugh Conway
10-13-2016, 08:07 PM
Many of the serious studies of policy, at least in the RN, indicate that's the claims of conservatism don't stand up. Authors like DK Brown, who was not just a serving naval officer and a naval architect but who also works off primary sources, puts up an extremely convincing case to show that the claims of big-gun conservatism aren't really born out. The tale of people like Cunningham is interesting. He attracted opposition when he criticised the Battle class destroyers for their lack of gunpower, which shows that there were people prepared to stand up against the most senior figures in the navy. Secondly, he was of course the man who put the Taranto attack into operation, he was firmly in support of carriers, and in his account of Matapan (I think) he mentions how the carrier aircraft worked just as pre-war exercises had planned.

The conditions in the European theatre meant that battleships were very valuable for many years. Lesser-known actions like Victorious' unsuccessful attacks on Bismark and Tirpitz and the Beaufighter attack on PE and Scheer (IIRC) were to show that in the weather of the North Sea and North Atlantic, carrying out a strike was a very dodgy business. It's hard to think that a single carrier (and a single carrier costs more than a single battleship) would have been very effective in the conditions at the North Cape, for example.

I think that's an area of operations that hasn't been regularly translated outside of the military into civilian history's. I imagine that's partly because many historians have no military background nor do they have a technical background.

It's tough to imagine maintaining an effective fighting force of spruce airplanes on an aircraft carrier in 1920; all metal airplanes in 1940 are a much different picture, but even then not the same as in 1945. There were huge advances in all areas of technology. Effective is regularly available for service. it's one thing to strike once, another to do so regularly.

The Bigfella
10-13-2016, 08:13 PM
I think that's an area of operations that hasn't been regularly translated outside of the military into civilian history's. I imagine that's partly because many historians have no military background (I never served) nor do they have a technical background.

It's tough to imagine maintaining an effective fighting force of spruce airplanes on an aircraft carrier in 1920; all metal airplanes in 1940 are a much different picture, but even then not the same as in 1945. There were huge advances in all areas of technology. Effective is regularly available for service. it's one thing to strike once, another to do so regularly.

It's a huge dose of innovation in a very, very collapsed timeframe. Looking for advantage.

The interesting bits don't come out for 50 years or more in some cases - like the Enigma machine stuff, like the role of Lord Simpkin in helping develop Japan's naval aviation capabilities, like Rommel's access to the US military attache's reports on British activities, strengths, etc in the Western Desert... and so on.

Britain had a significant edge in radar technology... and the use of it to allow night attacks by Swordfish aircraft was years ahead of the Axis and even the US at the time.

Hugh Conway
10-13-2016, 08:41 PM
Sure the technological results are secret, but the supply chain isn't. You couldn't make most early airplanes without spruce, that comes from forests. The US forests couldn't produce enough high quality Sitka; the allies in europe didn't have the forests to make that happen. http://www.foresthistory.org/publications/fht/fhtspring1999/fhtspruce.pdf <- some nice photos of riving big spruce logs in that pdf.

For the military organisation side, it's more like Max Hasting's said - few reporters or historians have any understanding of the military organization.

Again - there's proving a technological one off, and making a reliable weapon out of that. There's a reason the military wants reliability in their procuring.

Dave Hadfield
10-14-2016, 02:03 AM
How is Billy Mitchell Canadian?

Are you confusing him with Billy Bishop?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-14-2016, 04:24 AM
The Fifth Battle Squadron of 1916 was "the state of the art" - the most powerful unit in the most powerful Navy. Faster than other battleships, well armoured, with excellent guns and gunnery...

PeterSibley
10-14-2016, 04:53 AM
http://www.maritimeprints.com/media/prd/104/1381415688/the-famous-5th-battle-squadron-L.jpg

Chris249
10-14-2016, 07:51 AM
Summer of 1921, when Canada's own Billy Mitchell (Owen Sound, Ontario) demonstrated this (Project B (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Mitchell#Project_B:_Anti-ship_bombing_demonstration)) to the horror of the US Navy.

The ease with a battleship could be destroyed by cheap aircraft is what made them obsolete. Though it did take quite a few years for that salient fact to sink in to the thick skulls of the general staff.


https://youtu.be/TYzisqaKzjU

This is ex-USS ALABAMA taking a white phosphorus bomb on the masthead in September 1921. The teak decks should handle that well.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/55/Ex-USS_Alabama_%28BB-8%29_-_NH_57483.jpg/1024px-Ex-USS_Alabama_%28BB-8%29_-_NH_57483.jpg

This is Billy Mitchell's crew finale: sinking the war prize OSTFRIESLAND in 22 minutes . . . Without hitting it.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4d/Ostfriesland-2%2C000lb-bomb.jpg

At this point, Capt. Walter R. Lawson's flight of bombers, consisting of two Handley-Page O/400 and six NBS-1 bombers loaded with 2,000 lb (910 kg) bombs, was dispatched.[24] One Handley Page dropped out for mechanical reasons, but the NBS-1s dropped six bombs in quick succession between 12:18 pm and 12:31 pm. Bomb aiming points were for the water near the ship. Mitchell described Lawson's attack, "Four bombs hit in rapid succession, close along side the Ostfriesland. We could see her rise eight to ten feet between the terrific blows from under water. On the fourth shot, Capt Streett, sitting in the back seat of my plane stood up and waving both arms shouted, "She is gone!" [24] There were no direct hits but at least three of the bombs landed close enough to rip hull plates as well as cause the ship to roll over. The ship sank at 12:40 pm, 22 minutes after the first bomb, with a seventh bomb dropped by the Handley Page on the foam rising up from the sinking ship.[25] Nearby the site, observing, were various foreign and domestic officials aboard the USS Henderson.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Sorry, but the claims that the senior officers were not aware of the capability of aircraft, and the claims that planes were cheap, do not accord with facts.

Aircraft were not cheap. A wing of 36 bombers cost as much as a battleship. Check the US Strategic Bombing Survey to see how little 36 bombers (and we're talking early bombers here, not Superfortresses) actually achieved. They required enormous amounts of cash and huge numbers of the best and most educated personnel.

Mitchell was a bull**** artist - he wrote that in the future the mere sight of an aircraft would cause the crew to jump overboard. That is a complete load of crap, as the crews of battleships from every navy to serve in WW2 have proven. The crews of the Bismark, Warspite, Vittorio Veneto, Washington, Richeleau etc did not jump overboard as the blowhard Mitchell claimed. Why believe the claims of someone who was proven to be full of ****? The bomber advocates were often full of crap. Look at what Douhet claimed could be achieved, compared to what was actually achieved in the Blitz. \

To claim that the admirals ignored aircraft is to ignore the writings of people like Cunningham (who was so worried about the lack of good deck armour on Barham and Eagle) those who specified the ADCs, those who ran the USN inter-war problems, and many others.

To mention teak decks is to ignore the fact that the teak decks were there (when they were there) for non slip. Underneath the teak decks was armour plating.

The Ostfriesland, AIUI, had all watertight doors open; was anchored, un-manned and not fighting back. She wasn't meant to be a realistic target in terms of taking near misses; it was a competely unrealistic "test". The publicity stunt nature of the exercise is demonstrated by the pic of a phosphorus bomb in your post. No bomb dropped at such low level could penetrate the decks of a modern battleship. This is one of the problem that the RN Fleet Air Arm found in the Barracuda attacks on Tirpitz, where the aircrews were so keen to make hits that they went too low and therefore the bombs that hit did not penetrate.

While the battleship certainly had major issues with the range of its weapons, the actual experience in WW2 proved that Mitchell's claims were just hype, as also demonstrated by the fact that it took two years before a battleship was sunk by aircraft. And even that ignores the vast cost of running major air forces; there's a very interesting PhD thesis on the net that shows the enormous costs involved even in things like taking out hundreds of square miles of farmland out of production and then concreting it over so that large bombers could take off.

There's been a lot of research on this stuff over recent years. Some of it has been so deep that people have (IIRC) dived UP the propeller shaft tunnels of HMS Prince of Wales. Very little of the modern research seems to bear out the claims that battleships the world over were obsolete. On the wide open waters of the open Pacific sure - but that's not the whole world.

I might as well say that when it comes to favourite ships, battleships are way down my personal list. However, those who seriously research this stuff don't normally follow the conventional line that all battleships were made instantly obsolete by aircraft, and actual experience seems to agree with them

Chris249
10-14-2016, 08:08 AM
A single aircraft strike stopped the planned sortie of the Gneisenau with IIRC the Bismacrk and Prinz Eugen. Six Bristol Beauforts failed to rendezvous, but one pressed home the attack alone and crippled the Gneisenau.

The Campbell attack? Yes, but over 1000 Beauforts were built, which is about enough cash to build something and operate something like 15 or 30 battleships (I can't recall whether the 36 bombers=one battleship figure the Australian government received referred to 2 or 4 engined aircraft). The fact that one Beaufort damaged one battlecruiser isn't proof that aircraft made battleships instantly obsolete, given the enormous resources invested in the aircraft. The Smyth book on the Channel Dash also gives an interesting insight, IIRC, into the logistical problems the torpedo bombers caused; as does the official RAAF history.

The Channel Dash generally shows the issue - the Germans ran a small fleet through the Channel and yet none of the aircraft could hit them hard enough to do anything about it. Obviously aircraft were also incredibly valuable at times, too. It's just that the claims by some that battleships were made obsolete by aircraft are incorrect.

I may add that the only people I ever met who took part in actions involving battleships (or panzerschiff) were destroyer men and that personally the battlewagons bore me a bit. However, despite my personal feelings, the actual research and scholarship does not seem to agree with the popular myth that early WW2 aircraft made battleships instantly obsolete.

The Bigfella
10-14-2016, 08:43 AM
The Campbell attack? Yes, but over 1000 Beauforts were built, which is about enough cash to build something and operate something like 15 or 30 battleships (I can't recall whether the 36 bombers=one battleship figure the Australian government received referred to 2 or 4 engined aircraft). The fact that one Beaufort damaged one battlecruiser isn't proof that aircraft made battleships instantly obsolete, given the enormous resources invested in the aircraft. The Smyth book on the Channel Dash also gives an interesting insight, IIRC, into the logistical problems the torpedo bombers caused; as does the official RAAF history.

The Channel Dash generally shows the issue - the Germans ran a small fleet through the Channel and yet none of the aircraft could hit them hard enough to do anything about it. Obviously aircraft were also incredibly valuable at times, too. It's just that the claims by some that battleships were made obsolete by aircraft are incorrect.

I may add that the only people I ever met who took part in actions involving battleships (or panzerschiff) were destroyer men and that personally the battlewagons bore me a bit. However, despite my personal feelings, the actual research and scholarship does not seem to agree with the popular myth that early WW2 aircraft made battleships instantly obsolete.

I don't think those numbers stack up. An Iowa class battleship cost about $100 mil per ship. The most expensive of the planes, the B29, had a unit cost of just over $639k. The unit cost of a Lancaster was 45-50k pounds (the exchange rate then was about 4 - so call it $200k).

I make that about 500 Lancasters per Iowa class battleship.... on a per unit construction cost basis

Sure - there's operating costs. Want to do that in cents per mile? $ per ton of ordnance delivered?

Let's not forget that the operating cost of the battleship includes the rest of the squadron helping protect it.... including fighter cover.

Gerarddm
10-14-2016, 10:21 AM
Churchill said in his memoirs that the only thing that really shook him in WWII was the sinking in short order of Prince of Wales and Repulse ​by Japanese planes.

Chris249
10-14-2016, 03:56 PM
I don't think those numbers stack up. An Iowa class battleship cost about $100 mil per ship. The most expensive of the planes, the B29, had a unit cost of just over $639k. The unit cost of a Lancaster was 45-50k pounds (the exchange rate then was about 4 - so call it $200k).

I make that about 500 Lancasters per Iowa class battleship.... on a per unit construction cost basis

Sure - there's operating costs. Want to do that in cents per mile? $ per ton of ordnance delivered?

Let's not forget that the operating cost of the battleship includes the rest of the squadron helping protect it.... including fighter cover.

The comparison comes from an Australian high command/defence dept rule of thumb. I'm not sure of the exact calculations involved. Don't have time to find the source this weekend.

The operating costs are vastly different. Each plane only had an effective life of five years, compared to 25+ for a battleship. Then there's the fact that you have very high wastage including operational and non-operational losses, a pipeline of training personnel and aircraft to replace the non-combat wastage. Then there is the issue that the aircraft's nominal cost was often hugely subsidised by government funding of factories.

As an example, we had 10 Beaufort squadrons (120 operating a/c at nominal strength) but built 700 planes. That was a pretty typical ratio of planes built v planes in action.

They didn't calculate the cost of other vessels in the squadron since they protected each other and also that would vary so much. Iowas were regularly used as heavy AA protection of Essex classes but they didn't count the cost of the BB in the CV accounting. Similarly, the Russian convoys had cruiser and battleship squadrons as cover but that wasn't added to the cost of the corvettes of the through escort. Battleships also regularly operated without carrier cover for significant periods, as in the actions around Guadalcanal, for much of the time in the Med, and very large proportions of the time in the Atlantic and adjacent areas (as seen for example at North Cape, in the actions of Malaya and the Rs when defending convoys against S&G, quite often in the Med, and of course all the time for the German and Italians).

Comparative costs of various ship types are in sources like DK Brown's Nelson to Vanguard and Friedman's Atlantic Escorts. They show battleships to be dramatically less costly than commonly thought when compared to smaller vessels, even coastal forces which suffered many of the same cost issues as aircraft.

Daniel Noyes
10-14-2016, 04:57 PM
Summer of 1921, when Canada's own Billy Mitchell (Owen Sound, Ontario) demonstrated this (Project B (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Mitchell#Project_B:_Anti-ship_bombing_demonstration)) to the horror of the US Navy.

The ease with a battleship could be destroyed by cheap aircraft is what made them obsolete. Though it did take quite a few years for that salient fact to sink in to the thick skulls of the general staff.


https://youtu.be/TYzisqaKzjU

This is ex-USS ALABAMA taking a white phosphorus bomb on the masthead in September 1921. The teak decks should handle that well.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/55/Ex-USS_Alabama_%28BB-8%29_-_NH_57483.jpg/1024px-Ex-USS_Alabama_%28BB-8%29_-_NH_57483.jpg

This is Billy Mitchell's crew finale: sinking the war prize OSTFRIESLAND in 22 minutes . . . Without hitting it.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4d/Ostfriesland-2%2C000lb-bomb.jpg


At this point, Capt. Walter R. Lawson's flight of bombers, consisting of two Handley-Page O/400 and six NBS-1 bombers loaded with 2,000 lb (910 kg) bombs, was dispatched.[24] One Handley Page dropped out for mechanical reasons, but the NBS-1s dropped six bombs in quick succession between 12:18 pm and 12:31 pm. Bomb aiming points were for the water near the ship. Mitchell described Lawson's attack, "Four bombs hit in rapid succession, close along side the Ostfriesland. We could see her rise eight to ten feet between the terrific blows from under water. On the fourth shot, Capt Streett, sitting in the back seat of my plane stood up and waving both arms shouted, "She is gone!" [24] There were no direct hits but at least three of the bombs landed close enough to rip hull plates as well as cause the ship to roll over. The ship sank at 12:40 pm, 22 minutes after the first bomb, with a seventh bomb dropped by the Handley Page on the foam rising up from the sinking ship.[25] Nearby the site, observing, were various foreign and domestic officials aboard the USS Henderson.



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good luck attacking a Battle ship with an aircraft at the close of WWII, better show up with an entire squadron! the Battle ship by the end of the war was a Heavily Armoured floating anti aircraft battery capable of putting up a wall of moving metal at several miles distant, they were the ultimate defensive weapon to have traveling in convoy with aircraft carriers.

The Bigfella
10-14-2016, 05:02 PM
Churchill said in his memoirs that the only thing that really shook him in WWII was the sinking in short order of Prince of Wales and Repulse ​by Japanese planes.

https://03fcd67fd51850d3ba6b-6cb392df11a341bce8c76b1898d0c030.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.c om/large/9781/8441/9781844150755.jpg

The Bigfella
10-14-2016, 05:06 PM
good luck attacking a Battle ship with an aircraft at the close of WWII, better show up with an entire squadron! the Battle ship by the end of the war was a Heavily Armoured floating anti aircraft battery capable of putting up a wall of moving metal at several miles distant, they were the ultimate defensive weapon to have traveling in convoy with aircraft carriers.

The battleships are mostly on the bottom of the ocean....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sunken_battleships

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3b/Map_of_Sunken_Battleships.png/800px-Map_of_Sunken_Battleships.png

Not many being built these days

Chris249
10-16-2016, 06:32 PM
Re comparative costs; I've got someone staying in my study and haven't got access to all my info. However, one may note that in "The Great Ships", Peter C Smith refers to a joint Admiralty/Air Ministry study in the early 1920s that came to the conclusion that 43 twin-engined short-ranged aircraft cost the same as a battleship, allowing for replacement, maintenance and other overheads. It's probably fair to say that aircraft increased in price more than battleships after that; at the time the Brits had just built Hood and were planning the huge G3 class of battleships (which were bigger than most ww2 capital ships) whereas the twin-engined bombers in planning were stuff like the Sidestrand, which were a fraction of the power, speed and weight of a ww2 aircraft. So the later figures of one wing (36 planes) of twin-engined bombers equalling one Nelson class battleship does sound fairly accurate.

There are many other figures around that show how expensive aircraft really were to operate, and as noted earlier that includes PhD research using original figures. It sheds an interesting light on many incidents in the war. Something like the Battle of Crete, where 280 German aircraft were lost, looks different when one thinks those planes cost about as much as 5 battleships.

As noted, I'm not a battleship fan at all. I'm more interested in small ships and perhaps escort carriers most of all, so this is not coming from a one-eyed big-gun worshipper. It's just that the facts are striking.

PeterSibley
10-16-2016, 06:37 PM
Now that's an eye opener !

''Something like the Battle of Crete, where 280 German aircraft were lost, looks different when one thinks those planes cost about as much as 5 battleships''

Tom Hunter
10-16-2016, 09:08 PM
Ok it's time to test who the most serious anorak of all really is. In the photo are 4 BBs, identified as the 5th battle squadron in 1914.

We know it's not 1914.

Peter Sibley posted a very nice picture of the 5th battle squadron, and the fighting tops are different from the ships in the photo. Peter's ships are accurate for 1916, and the ships did change over time.

In the background of the first photo I think I see the cliffs of Dover, though that could be a smudge.

Which ships are in the original photo? When was it taken?

I did some detective work because I knew the caption was not right, but I am still not sure which ships and when. Also, the R class look a lot like the QEs when you are looking at them from ahead.

The Bigfella
10-16-2016, 11:39 PM
Re comparative costs; I've got someone staying in my study and haven't got access to all my info. However, one may note that in "The Great Ships", Peter C Smith refers to a joint Admiralty/Air Ministry study in the early 1920s that came to the conclusion that 43 twin-engined short-ranged aircraft cost the same as a battleship, allowing for replacement, maintenance and other overheads. It's probably fair to say that aircraft increased in price more than battleships after that; at the time the Brits had just built Hood and were planning the huge G3 class of battleships (which were bigger than most ww2 capital ships) whereas the twin-engined bombers in planning were stuff like the Sidestrand, which were a fraction of the power, speed and weight of a ww2 aircraft. So the later figures of one wing (36 planes) of twin-engined bombers equalling one Nelson class battleship does sound fairly accurate.

There are many other figures around that show how expensive aircraft really were to operate, and as noted earlier that includes PhD research using original figures. It sheds an interesting light on many incidents in the war. Something like the Battle of Crete, where 280 German aircraft were lost, looks different when one thinks those planes cost about as much as 5 battleships.

As noted, I'm not a battleship fan at all. I'm more interested in small ships and perhaps escort carriers most of all, so this is not coming from a one-eyed big-gun worshipper. It's just that the facts are striking.

False equivalence there.

You simply can't compare things like that.

The operating costs for the 284 aircraft lost don't continue unless the aircraft are replaced.... and that cost isn't equivalent to your supposed 5 battleships equivalent.

Compare the lost capital costs... because when you produce the 284 planes again, the operating costs continue.... but they don't double.

So - the lost capital cost of the 284 planes, bearing in mind that many of them were cheapies (no 4-engine jobbies, but lots of corrugated iron specials, the Ju-52 which cost RM 142k - under $60k) Extrapolating from that... I'd say the loss was equivalent to between 20% to 50% of the cost of a single battleship... depending on the mix of aircraft lost.

Chris249
10-17-2016, 12:45 AM
Yes, I was using lifetime costs rather than the cost of the aircraft involved. That may have been misleading to some extent. I was musing, not doing accounting, and have already provided official figures which made the situation obvious.

The post was spurred when I noted a while ago how inaccurate some accounts of Crete were, because it was made to seem that there was a force of cheap planes taking on enormously expensive battleships. The point is that if one looks at the total cost of the forces involved in the air/sea battles, it wasn't a David v Goliath contest at all. Nor were the other big Med air/sea battles such as Pedestal.

However, firstly it's a false assumption that the I was using figures for 4 engined a/c. Those very rough figures were not calculated using 4 engine planes but by using the figures for Do217s or 5s, He 111s, JU 87s, Me Bf 109 and 110, and mainly JU 52s.

Secondly, the simple capital cost of the aircraft lost does not take into account the extremely high costs of training highly skilled replacement aircrew, getting the new aircraft to the airfields, etc etc etc, nor does it normally cover the vast cost of government subsidies to aircraft manufacturers that underlies the alleged cost of replacement and other factors.

WX
10-17-2016, 02:40 AM
bigfella ought be here soon then

Ssssh!

WX
10-17-2016, 02:44 AM
Now that's an eye opener !

''Something like the Battle of Crete, where 280 German aircraft were lost, looks different when one thinks those planes cost about as much as 5 battleships''
The Germans never recovered from the loss of so many transport aircraft. It seriously affected their ability to air supply the besieged in Stalingrad.

The Bigfella
10-17-2016, 04:16 AM
The Germans never recovered from the loss of so many transport aircraft. It seriously affected their ability to air supply the besieged in Stalingrad.

There were near on 800,000 planes produced in WW2 with about 27% of them by the Axis forces. The loss of one fifth of one percent (0.2%) of Germany's planes at Crete was hardly the major factor at Stalingrad 18 months later. (Yes, I realise that the standing stock wasn't their total production.... just providing some scale to the claim)

They lost about 440 transport planes, of which almost half were bombers being used as transports at Stalingrad (of 900 total losses).

Wow... I just realised something. We could have had, what.... 32,000 battleships if we'd concentrated on them instead of aircraft. Yeah, right....

The Bigfella
10-17-2016, 04:20 AM
There were five ships in the 5th Battle Squadron: HMS BARHAM (Captain A W Craig RN) wearing the flag of Rear Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas MVO; HMS MALAYA (Captain The Hon Algernon Boyle CB MVO RN); HMS WARSPITE (Captain E M Phillpotts RN), HMS VALIANT (Captain M Woolcombe RN); and HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (Captain G P W Hope CB RN).

http://www.maritimeprints.com/media/prd/104/1381415688/the-famous-5th-battle-squadron-L.jpg

AndyG
10-17-2016, 05:48 AM
Ok it's time to test who the most serious anorak of all really is.

A brief look at my anorak, and it's between 1918 and 1924 from the main topmast evidence. Though I can't convince myself that I can see flying-off platforms on B turret, which should be there for the QE class. But maybe it's the earlier end of this period, as Barham, Malaya, Valiant and Warspite (old members of the 5th) were working together, now as the 2nd Battle Squadron of the new Atlantic Fleet.

Andy

The Bigfella
10-17-2016, 06:39 AM
I'll throw in a curved ball. 1918.... and they aren't the ships that everyone has been saying they are.

R Class Battleships in Line Ahead Art Print

View of Revenge class battleships (launched 1914-1916) at sea in line ahead, taken circa 1918.

http://d18vs3cajeo1y7.cloudfront.net/images/print_xl/NM/NMRN0204.jpg

http://print.nmrn.org.uk/product/art-prints/3920/r-class-battleships-in-line-ahead

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenge-class_battleship

... but, I wouldn't want to be a pedant and risk the dreaded Loctite

AndyG
10-17-2016, 06:45 AM
1916

The original picture? No.

Andy

The Bigfella
10-17-2016, 06:58 AM
The original picture? No.

Andy

Agreed. I've already edited that. It's a review of R-Class battleships in 1918

Tom Hunter
10-17-2016, 12:41 PM
I'm torn on who gets the anorak, because I think Ian used google image matching, where both Andy and I thought there was something wrong with the caption from the moment we looked at it, and so did Hugh. Ian does get credit for being first to get it right.

The Bigfella
10-17-2016, 03:25 PM
I'm torn on who gets the anorak, because I think Ian used google image matching, where both Andy and I thought there was something wrong with the caption from the moment we looked at it, and so did Hugh. Ian does get credit for being first to get it right.

Maaaate.... do you know how many websites I had to trawl through, all with incorrect descriptions, before finding the credible source?

I was, briefly, running with the weight of numbers when I suggested the shot was taken in 1916.... as many were saying it was the QE's at Jutland, leaving port, etc. Some even said it was 1930... and Alamy Stock Photos has it as, ahem, 1940.

The same crap is appearing all over the internet with "historical" material. Question it though and lots will point fingers at you.

bob winter
10-17-2016, 03:34 PM
There is no shortage of misinformation on the internet.

Tom Hunter
10-17-2016, 08:11 PM
[QUOTE=The Bigfella;5036771]Maaaate.... do you know how many websites I had to trawl through, all with incorrect descriptions, before finding the credible source?

I apologize, I figured you used google images. I did a bunch of looking myself earlier in the thread, and found a number of different fighting tops. I also ran side by side pics of the R Class and the QEs because I knew they looked very similar, but I could not find anything definitive. Some of the QEs had fighting tops that looked like the Rs as well.

By the way, one squadron of swordfish at Malta were sinking 50,000 tons of merchant shipping a month, and one month they bagged 98,000, which is why they are the best. :)