What was RN attitude to Heavy Cruisers?

All About The British Royal Navy: Past, Present And Future
Joined: March 12th, 2014, 7:32 am

June 12th, 2018, 7:19 pm #51

GeorgeC2006 wrote:
johnc wrote: HMS Hermes was actually smaller than a County class....13 carriers that size would have transformed the RN's position and actually worked will in the European theatre where the RN was using small air groups in support of battleships.

I actually think the saturation of lighter calibre shells over few larger heavier ones is more appropriate in smaller ships, maybe instead of the Didos a smaller hardened destroyer/light cruiser c5,000t with 5 x 4" twins and similar to the Akizuki class....or the C Class AA conversions. 
I am not sure that 13 carriers equipped with Flycatchers and Fairy IIIDs would give quite the expected combat effect; there was a significant increase in combat power even with the much maligned FAA aircraft of the late 30s.

Also, what do you cut to generate the aircraft and the purchase of replacements every 4 years?
Well you have hit the nail on the head....the devastating loss of the RNAS crippled the RN effectiveness in WW2.  The lost of the control over actual aircraft is probably less than the loss of the brightest air minded talent.  Left with the battleship men, its actually impressive that we had the carriers/aircraft we did, but that was probably more peer group pressure from the USN/IJN.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: November 13th, 2008, 10:19 pm

June 12th, 2018, 8:52 pm #52

Your forecast of the state and effect of ADGB without some of those "best and brightest air minded talent"?
Of the British war effort given full decks of all 250 or so carrier spaces and, SWAG, a third as many again spares?
Best choices in '39 from;
Swordfish / B4Y / Devastator
D3A / Skua / BT-1
F2A / A5M / Sea Gladiator ( / Skua)

In the war Britain got to fight.
"Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, and scorn all other men"

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster himself."

"We take pride in the terminatory service we provide"
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 3rd, 2006, 2:05 am

June 13th, 2018, 12:12 am #53

johnc wrote: Well you have hit the nail on the head....the devastating loss of the RNAS crippled the RN effectiveness in WW2.  The lost of the control over actual aircraft is probably less than the loss of the brightest air minded talent.  Left with the battleship men, its actually impressive that we had the carriers/aircraft we did, but that was probably more peer group pressure from the USN/IJN.
Which 'battleship men' were those, John? 

Tom Phillips?   He was a staff officer before taking command of Force G and heading east. As such, he had studied the war so far, and understood the nature land-based airpower as it related to seapower, mostly from the Med.  Phillips knew from the war so far that high level bombers would be lucky to hit a maneuvering ship at sea. He also knew that torpedo planes were the biggest threat to his ships, but no torpedo attack had been carried out at over 200 miles range; his intended targets were 300 miles from the Japanese airbases in French Indochina. He also knew that fighters were the best defense against torpedo bombers. What he did not know, what no one outside Japan knew, was the Japanese were using twin engined bombers with long range, AS torpedo bombers. However, even not knowing this, he had requested fighter cover for the whole day of December 10th from the RAF. They said they couldn't provide any. Fighter strength in Singapore was 11 Buffalos.  Once the war started, with the Army in Malaya up against it, the RAF was practically non-existent, and the RN was the ONLY hope of stemming the Japanese advance.   Let's not forget either that the RN was building Phillips a balance force; Indomitable was to join him in January 1942.

Andrew Cunningham?   The man who executed Operation Judgement?   Who operated with Eagle, Illustrious or Formidable for some of the most famous actions of the War in the Med?

Dudley Pound?   The man who came up with the idea of attacking the Italian fleet at Taranto with an aircraft carrier, and who exercised Captain Lumley Lyster's Glorious into razors in preparation for such an attack? 

John Tovey?  A cruiser admiral in the Med, later Admiral of the Fleet, who used his carrier aircraft to strike at both Bismarck and Tirpitz in attempts to slow them so he could destroy them with his battleships?

James Sommerville?   The admiral who so skillfully handled his capital ships and carriers?   Who famously commanded the balanced Force H with Renown, Ark Royal and Sheffield?   Who wanted Renown over Repulse because of her greater Anti-Aircraft firepower?

You might call Vian and Frasier 'carrier' admirals with their experience with the BPF, but by then the FAA was using far more effective/destructive USN aircraft, and was coming into its own as a striking force.
But when the RAF turned the FAA over to the RN, it handed over an inferior weapon.   I don't think it's fair to tar the Admiralty or its admirals as 'battleship men' any more than praising some as 'carrier men'.   They were professionals, and they used the available weapons at hand to bring the enemy to action.    They didn't have a choice but subordinate the carriers to their battleships, and  to use the  carriers in attempts to slow their  enemies' faster ships so they could be engaged by the most destructive weapon they possessed, their battleships' guns.

I think the real damage losing control of its air arm did was it denied the RN full appreciation the threats of the aircraft.   Brown documents in 1934, when ideas were being discussed for AA fire-control, a tachymetric system was proposed, but the RAF officer present dismissed the idea, saying level bombers were the only threat to ships at sea.   And the RN got saddled with the inflexible early marks of HACS for the early part of the war.   Retaining control of the FAA might have given the RN a greater appreciation of the threat of torpedo bombers and dive bombers before those lessons were learned at war.

My thoughts,
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: November 13th, 2008, 10:19 pm

June 13th, 2018, 8:16 pm #54

Yet again the "tachymetric" wonder word.
It goes with the magic extra elevation.  And the dive bombing attacks to finish Denmark Straits before lunch.
"Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, and scorn all other men"

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster himself."

"We take pride in the terminatory service we provide"
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: November 13th, 2008, 10:19 pm

June 13th, 2018, 8:28 pm #55

If you really want to point fingers at people for the RN's less than stellar carriers exploits early in the war, leaving aside whether stellar carrier exploits were really possible anyway, ask how Courageous, Ark Royal and Eagle got sunk and how the RN submarine service being part of the RN helped there in the way that apparently all would have been pink unicorns "if only the efull are way eff hadn't stolen all the aviators".
Then explain the carrier sunk by gunfire from battleships in terms of the RN not being "battleship minded".
About 250 ac berths on RN carriers in Aug 39; c130 sunk by submarines, 48 by big guns and 9 by ac.
While the IJN, who got it so right by keeping their own air arm, lost five carriers to air attack inside six months of starting the war with their own surprise air strike.
"Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, and scorn all other men"

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster himself."

"We take pride in the terminatory service we provide"
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 26th, 2006, 11:41 pm

June 13th, 2018, 9:34 pm #56

This has got a bit off topic...

Quote
Like
Share

Joined: March 6th, 2007, 10:03 pm

June 14th, 2018, 8:34 am #57

I remember reading that there some design proposals looking at 9.2 inch armed larger cruisers in response to the Japanese heavy cruisers (I think it was in either Brown or Friedman), I think proposed secondary armament 4.5inch. Would such a vessel have been useful and would the 9.2 inch guns add any value over the 8 inch?

Would it have been possible to up gun some of the 8 inch cruisers? Would a 9.2 inch armed Exeter had faired any better at the Battle of Java Sea?
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 26th, 2006, 11:41 pm

June 14th, 2018, 5:34 pm #58

BRE77 wrote: I remember reading that there some design proposals looking at 9.2 inch armed larger cruisers in response to the Japanese heavy cruisers (I think it was in either Brown or Friedman), I think proposed secondary armament 4.5inch. Would such a vessel have been useful and would the 9.2 inch guns add any value over the 8 inch?

Would it have been possible to up gun some of the 8 inch cruisers? Would a 9.2 inch armed Exeter had faired any better at the Battle of Java Sea?
Could not do a decent 9.2" design on 10 Kt. Shame as it was a good weapon - guns removed from earlier armoured cruisers gave excellent service in shore batteries.

Quote
Like
Share

Joined: March 12th, 2014, 7:32 am

June 14th, 2018, 6:26 pm #59

bill sanderson wrote:
BRE77 wrote: I remember reading that there some design proposals looking at 9.2 inch armed larger cruisers in response to the Japanese heavy cruisers (I think it was in either Brown or Friedman), I think proposed secondary armament 4.5inch. Would such a vessel have been useful and would the 9.2 inch guns add any value over the 8 inch?

Would it have been possible to up gun some of the 8 inch cruisers? Would a 9.2 inch armed Exeter had faired any better at the Battle of Java Sea?
Could not do a decent 9.2" design on 10 Kt. Shame as it was a good weapon - guns removed from earlier armoured cruisers gave excellent service in shore batteries.
Maybe a more innovative layout of the 6 gun main armament, along the lines of the Dunkerque with 2 x triple turrets forward and allowing for enhanced aircraft arrangement aft.  This concept itself did originate from the Nelson class contemporaries of the Counties.  

Although I am not convinced of the value of  9.2" over the 8", it's merit is it's a calibre to damage capital ships not peers, it had more relevance when the armoured cruiser was far nearer in size to battleship and takes you down the whole battlecruiser argument which is some ways was another role the Counties were designed to take on.  

An invincible class armed with 9.2" would have made a lot more sense...but then such a ships would have been pretty much a County class and the logical progression of the Minatour Class (1906).  In this light the Counties are a dated designeven for the 1920s, when there were plenty of experience of triple main armament in capital ships.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: March 12th, 2014, 7:32 am

June 14th, 2018, 11:04 pm #60

1Big Rich wrote:
johnc wrote: Well you have hit the nail on the head....the devastating loss of the RNAS crippled the RN effectiveness in WW2.  The lost of the control over actual aircraft is probably less than the loss of the brightest air minded talent.  Left with the battleship men, its actually impressive that we had the carriers/aircraft we did, but that was probably more peer group pressure from the USN/IJN.
Which 'battleship men' were those, John? 

Tom Phillips?   He was a staff officer before taking command of Force G and heading east. As such, he had studied the war so far, and understood the nature land-based airpower as it related to seapower, mostly from the Med.  Phillips knew from the war so far that high level bombers would be lucky to hit a maneuvering ship at sea. He also knew that torpedo planes were the biggest threat to his ships, but no torpedo attack had been carried out at over 200 miles range; his intended targets were 300 miles from the Japanese airbases in French Indochina. He also knew that fighters were the best defense against torpedo bombers. What he did not know, what no one outside Japan knew, was the Japanese were using twin engined bombers with long range, AS torpedo bombers. However, even not knowing this, he had requested fighter cover for the whole day of December 10th from the RAF. They said they couldn't provide any. Fighter strength in Singapore was 11 Buffalos.  Once the war started, with the Army in Malaya up against it, the RAF was practically non-existent, and the RN was the ONLY hope of stemming the Japanese advance.   Let's not forget either that the RN was building Phillips a balance force; Indomitable was to join him in January 1942.

Andrew Cunningham?   The man who executed Operation Judgement?   Who operated with Eagle, Illustrious or Formidable for some of the most famous actions of the War in the Med?

Dudley Pound?   The man who came up with the idea of attacking the Italian fleet at Taranto with an aircraft carrier, and who exercised Captain Lumley Lyster's Glorious into razors in preparation for such an attack? 

John Tovey?  A cruiser admiral in the Med, later Admiral of the Fleet, who used his carrier aircraft to strike at both Bismarck and Tirpitz in attempts to slow them so he could destroy them with his battleships?

James Sommerville?   The admiral who so skillfully handled his capital ships and carriers?   Who famously commanded the balanced Force H with Renown, Ark Royal and Sheffield?   Who wanted Renown over Repulse because of her greater Anti-Aircraft firepower?

You might call Vian and Frasier 'carrier' admirals with their experience with the BPF, but by then the FAA was using far more effective/destructive USN aircraft, and was coming into its own as a striking force.
But when the RAF turned the FAA over to the RN, it handed over an inferior weapon.   I don't think it's fair to tar the Admiralty or its admirals as 'battleship men' any more than praising some as 'carrier men'.   They were professionals, and they used the available weapons at hand to bring the enemy to action.    They didn't have a choice but subordinate the carriers to their battleships, and  to use the  carriers in attempts to slow their  enemies' faster ships so they could be engaged by the most destructive weapon they possessed, their battleships' guns.

I think the real damage losing control of its air arm did was it denied the RN full appreciation the threats of the aircraft.   Brown documents in 1934, when ideas were being discussed for AA fire-control, a tachymetric system was proposed, but the RAF officer present dismissed the idea, saying level bombers were the only threat to ships at sea.   And the RN got saddled with the inflexible early marks of HACS for the early part of the war.   Retaining control of the FAA might have given the RN a greater appreciation of the threat of torpedo bombers and dive bombers before those lessons were learned at war.

My thoughts,
I don’t think is useful getting into an analysis of individual naval officers or a detailed comparison between aircraft or ships against the RN's peers. 
 
I hope you would agree that the merger of the RFC & RNAS in 1918 had an impact on the performance of most areas of the armed forces: some positive some negative.  I would say for the naval aviation (FAA & Coastal) these were nearly all more negative than positive.
 
My real contention is around thought leadership rather than its direct impact on equipment.  To put this into perspective there is no doubt that prior to WW1 the RN was the UKs principle form of defence and the thought leaders in this.  Accepting the heavy land/Western Front focus of that war, it is remarkable how defence thought leadership was in so many important areas still driven by the RN.  From armoured cars to the invention of the tank, and heavy strategic bombing the RN was driving the agenda.
 
In 1918 the IJN & USN were not even remotely on a par with the RNAS and although its not unreasonable to expect them to close the gap in material, it does not follow that they would overtake the RN in thought leadership around naval aviation.
 
In general terms the approach of the RN & RAF are quite different, the RN once naval supremacy is achieved see itself as a support service…."never let the army down".  It does not feel threated and so is open and supportive.
 
The RAF, conceived out of recrimination over UK air defence (probably quite unfounded) was far from supportive of other services had a self-preservation stance of: independence, ownership of assets and competition for scares resources...this dangerous trend continues to this day.
 
Taranto is impressive achievement but not really thought leadership, more the operation aggression RN excels at…The RN was at a very advanced stage of a similar harbour attach in 1918, with 100+ Sopwith Cockatoo bombers attacking the German fleet from carriers and converted merchant ship.  If anything Taranto was a product of the RNAS thought leadership in 1918 not 1940.
 
None of these admirals where flyers but they used the assets they had to their advantage, however fundamentally they saw the carrier as a support weapon and so many times when carriers are in short supply, they are found operating as aircraft ferries and not strike carriers.  Would HMS Glorious (and the other carriers) have not been better employed providing direct air cover over Dunkirk that ferrying old RAF junk back from Norway? 
 
In WW2 the RN has to rely on the RAF to deal with its obsession with the Tirpitz, something it would have realise was a minimal threat, if it understood the relationship between carrier and battleship….this should have been evident after Taranto….certainly after Pearl Harbour and the loss of Force Z.
 
The loss of Force Z makes a very uncomfortable comparison between the RAF/RN handling of the Channel Dash....with bombing as good as that maybe the RN was right to fear the Tirpitz after all!!!
 
What might the young navy flyers of 1918 have brought to the thought leadership of the RN, as there took on flag ranks, not only in aviation both other areas?  These were probably the more dynamic/innovative thinkers in the RN of 1918.....people pushing the boundary….you see this thought leadership position had transferred to the RAF in WW2, the RN has become a follower in more than just aviation by 1939.
Quote
Like
Share