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The Naval War

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by corpcasselbury, Jun 11, 2004.

  1. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

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    I tried to find that book last winter. I believe there can't be found single one of them in libraries here in Finland. And I wasn't prepared to pay that 100+$ for used one.
     
  2. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    Nobody actually ignored the treaty limit they just cheated as much as they thought they could get away with. That still puts a put a pretty tight limit on size. You might be able to keep a straight face when you claim a 12,000 ton ships is 10,000 but people are going to pull you up on a 20,000 ton ship. Also the qualitive difference between a 10,000 cruiser and 12,000 cruiser is pretty thin. Good leadership and training will remain more important in much a match up. As far as I can remember none of the over sized 'Treaty' cruisers were all that fantastic, and ships of British and Americans, who did stick to the rules, could still go toe to toe with them.

    What the British really wanted to avoid on financal grounds was an arms race. For example if we are allowed five 10,000 ton ships and our competitor is allowed three 10,000 ton ships which are really 12,000 tons then we still have the more powerful navy. But if the competitor is can have as many ships as he can build then we simply have to be willing to build more ships than him to remain more powerful.

    It was a trade off. Cheaper to accept people cheating rather than see the treaty system fall apart and get into a pre WW1 style arms race. That I believe was basically the thinking.
     
  3. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    With guns that are not only heavier, but also outrange those of your opponents? Another captain would have tried to keep the range open, and definitely would have tried to finish off EXETER. I still believe that Captain Langsdorff could have fought his ship a lot better, especially given the amount of damage he inflicted on his three opponents.
     
  4. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    A cruiser cannot effectively fire with top spot for distances greater than 20,000 yards or so, so despite the longer reach of 28cm guns, GS cannot outrange the British in any significant way. In fact, as the British had an aerial spotter in the game, they arguably had the longer reach.
    By the time the British were successfully identified as cruisers, it was too late anyway.
    Langsdorff could have turned to finish off Exeter, if he didn't mind giving the British an easier torpedo shot. His forward turret was on the fritz and his secondary armament was ineffective due to battle damage. He had only a fraction of his ammunition remaining. He made mistakes, but nothing remarkable.
     
  5. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    The thing is Langsdorff was in a game he couldn't afford to play. Any damage he took really couldn't be repaired since he was a long way from a friendly port. That means that really Langsdorff in fighting to escape rather than win but of course he is in the slowest ship. Every second of battle he is risking everything. If one shell finds its way into an engine room and he is basically up the creek.

    Finishing off Exeter is easier said than done. True by the time the battle left her behind she was no longer a combat unit (rear gun turret broke down) but she managed to limp the the Falklands over a thousand miles away without help so she quite a long way from sinking.

    On the whole I would say Langsdorff was trying to do a job (raiding) in a ship that was fundimentally unsuitable for the task. At the River Plate I think he did as good a job as could really be expected.
     
  6. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    I strongly agree. While I genuinely admire the Deutschland design, the underlying concept was militarily obsolete. In fairness to the planners, right up to the time of GS's completion, the anticipated enemy was France or some lesser power, a situation in which the underlying concept had a longer life.
    The whole "outrun or outgun" idea is a futility. While it's true that GS had such advantages over most other individual units, it made no allowance for the enemy's failure to attack individually. The French navy was not cruiser-rich, but the British navy had cruisers all over the place. When you throw aircraft and modern electronics into the mix, the high-seas raider's days were numbered. The AMC idea, with its inherent stealth and minimal use of resources, would prove more valuable.
    Once Langsdorff was sighted, he was beaten. Even if managed to sink two British ships, the third could shadow him. His top speed was well down from its maximum due to his lengthy time at sea, so he had little chance of outmaneuvering any snooper, despite his radar advantage.
     
  7. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    For a potential raider there is also another problem.

    During 1914-18 the average merchantship didn't carry a radio so it would be at least several day before anyone realised a ship was taken. By 1939 most merchantships do carry radio and will generally scream their head as soon as they spot a raider. Combined with the factors mention by Tiornu above, hiding as sea was becoming a much harder job.
     
  8. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Hmmmm. Well, you've raised some impressive and convincing points, so I concede that I may have been too hard on Captain Langsdorff. I still believe, however, that he did not fight his ship as well as he could have.

    I find that this discussion of the first cruiser battle of WW2 has really gotten my interest going. How would y'all feel about discussing other cruiser actions? Atlantic, Pacific, or Mediterranean, take your pick.
     
  9. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Go ahead and start a new thread. This one's getting too long.
     
  10. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Okay, if not cruisers, then perhaps escort carriers, the largely unsung workhorses that did so much to end the U-boat menace, among a host of other commitments. How about it?
     
  11. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Excellent, go for it. Start a CVE thread. Or a cruiser thread. How about both?
     
  12. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Why not? I presume that by thread, you mean an entirely separate topic outside of this one?
     
  13. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Yeah, this one's like 5 pages long. A person visiting for the first time would have it tough trying to follow what was going on.
     
  14. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Okay, tis done. But I'd still like to keep this one going for at least a general discussion of the war at sea.
     

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