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Comparison of BB's - 11/22/2015 3:01:19 PM   
m10bob


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An admitted geek makes these comparisons to the battleships of WW2 with some interesting finds and claims.

http://www.combinedfleet.com/baddest.htm#guns

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/22/2015 3:53:06 PM   
Orm


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Thank you for sharing.

However, the competition is flawed since the bestest ship ever, HMS Warspite, was not included.

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/22/2015 3:59:23 PM   
m10bob


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Orm

Thank you for sharing.

However, the competition is flawed since the bestest ship ever, HMS Warspite, was not included.


Indeed...some ships are just too good to find comparison.

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/22/2015 5:16:14 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: m10bob


quote:

ORIGINAL: Orm

Thank you for sharing.

However, the competition is flawed since the bestest ship ever, HMS Warspite, was not included.


Indeed...some ships are just too good to find comparison.
warspite1

I love you guys



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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/22/2015 5:18:11 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: m10bob

An admitted geek makes these comparisons to the battleships of WW2 with some interesting finds and claims.

http://www.combinedfleet.com/baddest.htm#guns
warspite1

Good to see the wonderful SoDak right up there

I love this ship - but would not want to meet her in a dark alley....




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by warspite1 -- 11/22/2015 6:19:29 PM >


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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/22/2015 7:55:33 PM   
JeffroK


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I'd like to see this done by time period, say compare those in service Sept 39, Dec 41, Dec 43 & Aug 45.

Bit silly to compare the KGV, VV Or Dunkirk against Iowa, different generations of build.

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/22/2015 9:15:45 PM   
Mobeer


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Orm
Thank you for sharing.

However, the competition is flawed since the bestest ship ever, HMS Warspite, was not included.



Actually you (inadvertently) have a point about the Queen Elizabeth class. They were available for service in time for WW1 and still capable enough for use in WW2. As such they were probably some of the best value for money battleships.

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/23/2015 6:31:53 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mobeer

quote:

ORIGINAL: Orm
Thank you for sharing.

However, the competition is flawed since the bestest ship ever, HMS Warspite, was not included.



Actually you (inadvertently) have a point about the Queen Elizabeth class. They were available for service in time for WW1 and still capable enough for use in WW2. As such they were probably some of the best value for money battleships.
warspite1

Being around in WWI and WWII was not unique to the Queen Elizabeth's; the French, Japanese, US and Italians all had battleships that were on active service in both wars due, no doubt in large part driven by economic necessity together with the effects of the Washington Treaty and the battleship building holiday. Four of the QE's (Queen Elizabeth was in the dockyard surprise surprise ) and two of the R-class are probably more high profile than their foreign contemporaries in terms of service, because they were at Jutland (HMS Warspite's experience at Jutland is all part of her legend of course).

The Queen Elizabeths - or at least the three that could be afforded - were able to be effectively reconstructed because of their initial design features, whereas with the later R-class, it was not considered cost effective to to anything other than a patch up job (as a result their use in WWII was pretty limited for their own safety).

As for value for money, I cannot get exact figures but from what I can see, the cost of Warspite's initial upgrade was around £500,000 and her re-construction in the late 30's was around £2.5m (plus of course their original cost whatever that was). The cost of a KGV was, I believe, around £7.5m (only one source for these costs so may be inaccurate). So it looks like HMS Warspite came in at just over half of KGV's cost - but the KGV had the benefit of more modern design.

Given the above, and then factoring in her length of service (1915-1944) and quality of service provided (Jutland, Narvik, Calabria, Cape Matapan, Crete, Libya, North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, Walcheren), the hits she took for the team (shells, bombs, mines, glider bombs) then yeah, there was nothing 'inadvertent' about it - the Ormster speaks the truth

< Message edited by warspite1 -- 11/23/2015 8:04:34 AM >


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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/25/2015 9:18:14 PM   
Dili

 

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A very flawed study.

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 1:32:11 AM   
spence

 

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Most of the world's BBs never fired their main armament at another ship of any sort.

HMS Warspite for one reason or another ended up in the thick of things on multiple occasions and acquitted itself very, very well. Her class was probably the best of all the BBs of her vintage (though only HMS Warspite actually accomplished much).

Of the "3rd generation" BBs in the comparison none performed particularly well although Bismarck did win one of its two surface engagements against enemy BBs. Interesting that the USS Washington/North Carolina Class doesn't figure in the comparison at all even though the Washington for all intents and purposes fought off 1 IJN BB (not so big as Washington), 2 CA's, 2CLs and 11 DDs single-handed off Guadalcanal. South Dakota's performance in that very same engagement certainly doesn't engender much admiration. But then again neither should the Yamato's performance in her only surface engagement off Samar somewhat but only partially attributable to her rather poor fire control.

By the 2nd half of WW2 the age of the BB was pretty much done. Being the "baddest kid on the block" didn't really matter much since all the kids on the block had "Big Brothers" called airplane or submarine.



< Message edited by spence -- 11/26/2015 2:32:32 AM >

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 2:13:43 AM   
Dili

 

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Many missed opportunities in the Med for one reason or another. Also the French out of war earlier and Germany not being a naval power didn't helped.

< Message edited by Dili -- 11/26/2015 3:19:46 AM >

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 3:57:51 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

Of the "3rd generation" BBs in the comparison none performed particularly well although Bismarck did win one of its two surface engagements against enemy BBs.

warspite1

It must be remembered that HMS Hood was a BC - largely unmodified from her WWI era design - and not a BB.

Re other 3rd Generation
- HMS Duke of York won her only engagement (with Scharnhorst) albeit the German 'battleship' was armed with 11-inch guns.

- HMS King George V won her only engagement with (with Bismarck).

So 100% records to Bismarck's 50%


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 11/26/2015 5:47:04 AM >


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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 4:12:31 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

Many missed opportunities in the Med for one reason or another.

warspite1

Indeed. It is an intriguing what-if to swap Cunningham (and for Supermarina to exert less restrictions) for Campioni. With an aggressive commander in charge, it would have been interesting to see what the Regia Marina, commanding the Central Med, could have done against the overstretched Royal Navy, split between two bases at either end of the Middle Sea. The naval war in the Mediterranean could have been a whole lot different....

Of course in saying that, O'Hara might be right and in pursuing a Nelsonian strategy, the RM may have been destroyed, but I cannot help thinking that the Italian navy could - and should - have made life much more difficult than they did while they had the chance. When the Littorios came on the scene they had more powerful and faster battleships than anything the British could offer, plus a large number of heavy cruisers that the British did not.

O'Hara makes great play of the fact that the RM (unlike the Kriegsmarine or IJN) remained largely intact by 1943 - but I do not understand this argument when the country was kicked out of North Africa and then invaded three years after declaring war... makes you wonder what the navy was built for if it wasn't to help fully prosecute the war.


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 11/26/2015 6:37:13 AM >


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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 5:47:00 AM   
Chris21wen

 

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None of them are any good, the're just targets

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 6:08:13 AM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


... Indeed. It is an intriguing what-if to swap Cunningham (and for Supermarina to exert less restrictions) for Campioni. With an aggressive commander in charge, it would have been interesting to see what the Regia Marina, commanding the Central Med, could have done against the overstretched Royal Navy, split between two bases at either end of the Middle Sea. The naval war in the Mediterranean could have been a whole lot different....

Of course in saying that, O'Hara might be right and in pursuing a Nelsonian strategy, the RM may have been destroyed, but I cannot help thinking that the Italian navy could - and should - have made life much more difficult than they did while they had the chance. When the Littorios came on the scene they had more powerful and faster battleships than anything the British could offer, plus a large number of heavy cruisers that the British did not.

O'Hara makes great play of the fact that the RM (unlike the Kriegsmarine or IJN) remained largely intact by 1943 - but I do not understand this argument when the country was kicked out of North Africa and then invaded three years after declaring war... makes you wonder what the navy was built for if it wasn't to help fully prosecute the war.



Often considered by the Italian naval hierarchy between the war and whilst there were changes to and fro, basically the view was the primary purpose of the navy in a war against France and Britain was to safeguard the convoy routes to Libya and the Aegean. For offensive operations thought was given to interdicting the North Africa to France sealanes but this was considered to be quite risky due to lack of adequate supporting airpower.

The Regia Marina did want an aircraft carrier. Even Mussolini had come to the conclusion before the war that an aircraft carrier was necessary. The problem was that there was no money for one. The lack of one severely curtailed pre war planning for offensive operations.

Alfred

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 8:20:52 AM   
Dili

 

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I disagree somewhat Warspite.
I think the lack of a day light encounter was more due to chance, faulty recon and operational confusion. An example is the RN raid on Genova. The Italian fleet was headless trying to find the British and receiving late and conflicting messages. Then the Spartivento silliness with naval commander too dependent on what Rome was saying. I have the TROMs and there are maybe ten times that the fleet get out of the harbor to do combat.

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 8:21:55 AM   
1275psi

 

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What is often forgotten about the Italians

Little fuel, I can remember reading somewhere that by late 42, they were begging Germany for fuel oil,
that was not to be had

Hard to dominate an ocean when you cannot leave port

Still, my all time Fav book is a battered 1950's copy I have of warspites history
Magnificent ship manned and commanded by men the likes we will never see again

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 8:42:07 AM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

I disagree somewhat Warspite.
I think the lack of a day light encounter was more due to chance, faulty recon and operational confusion. An example is the RN raid on Genova. The Italian fleet was headless trying to find the British and receiving late and conflicting messages. Then the Spartivento silliness with naval commander too dependent on what Rome was saying. I have the TROMs and there are maybe ten times that the fleet get out of the harbor to do combat.

I'm pretty sure the main reason for the timid use of the Italian Navy was that Mussolini (like Hitler) forbade any risk-taking because he did not want to lose prestige if a ship or two was sunk. So the British decided if the RM was not going to come to meet them, they would go to the RM. Thus, Taranto, Sirte I and II, and Matapan - all aggressive moves by the British when the enemy were, on paper, stronger.

BTW, Warspite is not the only QE class BB that had a successful engagement. At Matapan, all three British BBs (Warspite, Barham, Valiant) scored first salvo hits on the hapless surprised Italians.

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 4:55:25 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

I disagree somewhat Warspite.
I think the lack of a day light encounter was more due to chance, faulty recon and operational confusion. An example is the RN raid on Genova. The Italian fleet was headless trying to find the British and receiving late and conflicting messages. Then the Spartivento silliness with naval commander too dependent on what Rome was saying. I have the TROMs and there are maybe ten times that the fleet get out of the harbor to do combat.
warspite1

Dili you have just said it yourself 'Then the Spartivento silliness with naval commander too dependent on what Rome was saying' and this was what I alluded to with my comment 'and for Supermarina to exert less restrictions'.

At no time have I said that the Italian Fleet did not leave harbour; again quite the reverse - their problematic fuel situation was exacerbated by the amount of fuel used up in the first 12 months. The issue is whether such fuel usage was wise i.e. largely on escort for North African convoys, as opposed to attacking the British where the RM had the upperhand.


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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 5:09:43 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

What is often forgotten about the Italians

Little fuel, I can remember reading somewhere that by late 42, they were begging Germany for fuel oil,
that was not to be had

Hard to dominate an ocean when you cannot leave port

Still, my all time Fav book is a battered 1950's copy I have of warspites history
Magnificent ship manned and commanded by men the likes we will never see again
warspite1

No 1275psi this is not true.

The idea that there was no fuel is an exaggeration; yes, as the war progressed the situation became worse - but the profligate expenditure in 1940/41 did not help (but remember Mussolini only joined the war because he thought it already won) and so that expenditure no doubt seemed like a sound idea.... But even in 1942 the RM were able to field battleships from time to time.


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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 5:16:56 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


... Indeed. It is an intriguing what-if to swap Cunningham (and for Supermarina to exert less restrictions) for Campioni. With an aggressive commander in charge, it would have been interesting to see what the Regia Marina, commanding the Central Med, could have done against the overstretched Royal Navy, split between two bases at either end of the Middle Sea. The naval war in the Mediterranean could have been a whole lot different....

Of course in saying that, O'Hara might be right and in pursuing a Nelsonian strategy, the RM may have been destroyed, but I cannot help thinking that the Italian navy could - and should - have made life much more difficult than they did while they had the chance. When the Littorios came on the scene they had more powerful and faster battleships than anything the British could offer, plus a large number of heavy cruisers that the British did not.

O'Hara makes great play of the fact that the RM (unlike the Kriegsmarine or IJN) remained largely intact by 1943 - but I do not understand this argument when the country was kicked out of North Africa and then invaded three years after declaring war... makes you wonder what the navy was built for if it wasn't to help fully prosecute the war.



Often considered by the Italian naval hierarchy between the war and whilst there were changes to and fro, basically the view was the primary purpose of the navy in a war against France and Britain was to safeguard the convoy routes to Libya and the Aegean. For offensive operations thought was given to interdicting the North Africa to France sealanes but this was considered to be quite risky due to lack of adequate supporting airpower.

The Regia Marina did want an aircraft carrier. Even Mussolini had come to the conclusion before the war that an aircraft carrier was necessary. The problem was that there was no money for one. The lack of one severely curtailed pre war planning for offensive operations.

Alfred
warspite1

The Italians greatly overestimated British carrier capabilities. The results of air strikes (or lack of) from Eagle at Calabria should have alerted them to this.

No, the Italians had no carriers - and the co-operation between the RM and the RA was woeful - but then the RN was sticking its head into a potential noose in trying to keep Malta in the war - but the Italians never took advantage - probably because they overestimated the British and were fighting their reputation - and not their actual enemy.

Don't get me wrong, of course a more aggressive plan by the Italians could have been disastrous - but then again when you look at the advantage in 8-inch guns and speed of their warships compared to the RN, I cannot help but think Supermarina could have played things better.


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Post #: 21
RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 6:10:57 PM   
Alfred

 

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With the benefit of hindsight, British carrier capabilities were not the only thing the Italians overrated.  Certainly to a large degree they were basing too much on reputation.  What I would like to emphasise is the human element involved in pre war planning.  All militaries are subject to a degree of subjective human psychological considerations which impact on their ability to undertake so called "objective" operations in war time.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the primary objective was to match and if possible, better the French navy.  At times the RM considered itself to be superior to the French navy, and at other times it thought it had fallen behind.  It was however always a given that it was inferior to the RN.  One cannot underplay the impact on performance of such a mind set.

One can argue about the respective cruiser strengths.  What one has to understand is that was not a significant consideration for the RM.  Their fundamental position was that the sealanes to the colonies had priority and it is hard to argue against that mind set.  Consider the respective positions.

1.  The 3 Italian colonial areas (Libya, Aegean, Ethiopia) were not mutually supportive whereas the equivalent French and British were.

2.  The Italian colonial areas were totally dependent on the motherland for all logistical elements.  This was not true to the same extent of the French and British colonies.

3.  The Italian sealanes were extremely vulnerable to enemy interception by both sea and air enemy forces.  This was not true of the potential enemies.  The Tunisia and Algeria routes back to southern France were in theory able to be interdicted by the RM but this exposed the RM.  By 1939 the RM was of the view that France would not be so dependent on those sealanes.  Britain could always, in the worst case scenario avoid the Mediterranean and thus there was never any expectation within the RM of being able to seriously threaten British sealanes to its colonies.  With one exception.  From the mid 1930s the RM was developing plans to develop Somalia into a significant submarine base to threaten the sealanes to India.  This was a plan which the Germans looked upon with some approval as it offered an opportunity to base U-Boats.  The difficulty, as always, was firstly a lack of money to advance the project quickly and secondly how to maintain logistical capabilities in a "blockaded" region as East Africa would be in the event of war.

4.  The RM simply lacked the number of ASW assets to safeguard fully all its convoy duties plus simultaneously sortie the fleet.  Remember a very large component of the RM was comprised of obsolete ships.

5.  One should not overlook the disastrous consequences of Mussolini's surprise 10 June 1940 declaration of war.  One of the key consequences was that a very large component of the Italian merchant marine was left stranded in overseas ports and not able to get back home to Italy.  This meant that there was an acute shortage of merchant ships to carry logistics to the colonies.  What remained available was therefore even more valuable and therefore more in need of protection from the RM against enemy interdiction efforts.

6.  The Germans never came anywhere close to supplying the necessary fuel for continuous high intensity RM operations.  The RM fully understood that war with France and Britain meant that the inputs for local fleet fuel production would almost completely cease.  The only alternative source was Germany and that never became a viable option.

For all the criticisms of the RM performance, the fact remains that unlike the IJN, the Italians generally were successful in maintaining the Mediterranean links to their colonies.  Italian forces in North Africa and the DAK, which was dependent on the RM for it's logistics, were never reduced to having to grow their own crops in order simply to survive unlike the IJA in Rabaul and the Solomons.  Even a stunning Nelsonian RM victory over the RN did not guarantee that the sealanes to its colonies could be maintained.

Alfred

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 10:11:08 PM   
Dili

 

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@
quote:

I'm pretty sure the main reason for the timid use of the Italian Navy was that Mussolini (like Hitler) forbade any risk-taking because he did not want to lose prestige if a ship or two was sunk.


Attempted interceptions and convoy escort of Italian fleet (1 battleship employed at least).

10 June 40 War start. Battleships operational date, Start: Cavour, Cesare; 5 July Duilio ;21 August V. Veneto and Littorio ,26 October Doria all 1940. 14 June 1942 Roma .

9 July 40 Punta Stilo encounter

31 August fleet tries to intercept a British convoy. British operation Hats.

7 September fleet gets at sea expecting a British naval forces from Gibraltar following inteligence warning of Force H . No enemy.

29 September fleet gets out . No enemy found.

26 November fleet gets out to intercept RN , Cape Teulada encounter.

11 December fleet gets out to intercept operation Excess. Ships were based in La Spezia and arrived too late.

1941

8 Feb Fleet already at sea due to intelligence tries to intercept the RN Naval bombardement of Genova.

26 March raid in waters of Crete - leads to Matapan.

22 August intercept attempt of Operation Mincemeat

24 September intercept attempt of operation Halberd

29 November convoy escort to Africa

13 December convoy escort to Africa

16 December convoy escort to Africa. 1st Sirte Battle

1942

2 January convoy escort to Africa.

22 January convoy escort to Africa

14 February intercept attempt of MW9-ME 10 operation.

21 February convoy escort to Africa

22 March II Battle of Sirte

14 June encounter of Mid June - intercept attempt Operation Vigorous


In all this there were probably more Royal Navy evading a naval battle than Regia Marina. While in battle the Italian Navy was timid, but not in seeking it.

This was done in a bit of a hurry so any correction or addition welcome.

< Message edited by Dili -- 11/26/2015 11:16:15 PM >

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Post #: 23
RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 10:40:33 PM   
Dili

 

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@ Warspite

I said somewhat. I think the emphasis should not be in it. I think the RN evaded battle as much if not more than Regia Marina when the situation was not convenient. Fate, luck, weather intervened too to deny more battles.

@ Alfred

The missing merchant fleet lack was only noticed in late 1942, filled with French ship after the fall of Vichy. The sad true from Italian perspective is that Italy was not producing enough trucks neither had fuel to sustain a bigger war in North Africa even if more supply was available in place. Neither the front line harbors of Bengazi and Tobruch were enough and being too dangerous for raids.
Distance from Tripoli to Alexandria is more than 1500km in straight line, the unique road being coastal bound in open terrain vulnerable to interception it is much longer than that. From Berlin to Moscow is 1600km with several roads and railways and you can get almost in a straight line. For that it is necessary an industrial and resource power that Italy didn't had.

Good point about the inadequacy of Italian Naval main patrol aircraft. Cant Z-501 270km/h, 2 or 3x7.7mm defensive armament. One engine.



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Post #: 24
RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/26/2015 11:03:51 PM   
spence

 

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One sortie that guaranteed a decent supplies until the next convoy might have made the difference but the fact remains that when the Axis had the chance(s) in North Africa the only navy that might have provided that supply couldn't do it, whatever the excuses offered by their apologists.

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RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/27/2015 2:40:59 AM   
crsutton


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

Many missed opportunities in the Med for one reason or another.

warspite1

Indeed. It is an intriguing what-if to swap Cunningham (and for Supermarina to exert less restrictions) for Campioni. With an aggressive commander in charge, it would have been interesting to see what the Regia Marina, commanding the Central Med, could have done against the overstretched Royal Navy, split between two bases at either end of the Middle Sea. The naval war in the Mediterranean could have been a whole lot different....

Of course in saying that, O'Hara might be right and in pursuing a Nelsonian strategy, the RM may have been destroyed, but I cannot help thinking that the Italian navy could - and should - have made life much more difficult than they did while they had the chance. When the Littorios came on the scene they had more powerful and faster battleships than anything the British could offer, plus a large number of heavy cruisers that the British did not.

O'Hara makes great play of the fact that the RM (unlike the Kriegsmarine or IJN) remained largely intact by 1943 - but I do not understand this argument when the country was kicked out of North Africa and then invaded three years after declaring war... makes you wonder what the navy was built for if it wasn't to help fully prosecute the war.



Well, the British had radar and knew how to use it. They also could put (sometimes) aircraft carriers to sea whereas the Italians could not. The British were getting their first real ultra intercepts by the time of the battle of Cape Matapan, and Italian fire control at night was decidedly inferior. Combine all this and you are looking at a recipe for disaster. Without the best of luck the RM should have been defeated by any comparable British force. Just too many factors in their favor.

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Post #: 26
RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/27/2015 3:38:35 AM   
Dili

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

One sortie that guaranteed a decent supplies until the next convoy might have made the difference but the fact remains that when the Axis had the chance(s) in North Africa the only navy that might have provided that supply couldn't do it, whatever the excuses offered by their apologists.


I don't understand this. When the supply failed?

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Post #: 27
RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/27/2015 6:00:10 AM   
warspite1


Posts: 42831
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili


quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

One sortie that guaranteed a decent supplies until the next convoy might have made the difference but the fact remains that when the Axis had the chance(s) in North Africa the only navy that might have provided that supply couldn't do it, whatever the excuses offered by their apologists.


I don't understand this. When the supply failed?
warspite1

This is another Med War fallacy. spence have a look at the numbers in 'The Struggle for the Middle Sea'.


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Post #: 28
RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/27/2015 6:04:45 AM   
warspite1


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Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
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quote:

ORIGINAL: crsutton


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

Many missed opportunities in the Med for one reason or another.

warspite1

Indeed. It is an intriguing what-if to swap Cunningham (and for Supermarina to exert less restrictions) for Campioni. With an aggressive commander in charge, it would have been interesting to see what the Regia Marina, commanding the Central Med, could have done against the overstretched Royal Navy, split between two bases at either end of the Middle Sea. The naval war in the Mediterranean could have been a whole lot different....

Of course in saying that, O'Hara might be right and in pursuing a Nelsonian strategy, the RM may have been destroyed, but I cannot help thinking that the Italian navy could - and should - have made life much more difficult than they did while they had the chance. When the Littorios came on the scene they had more powerful and faster battleships than anything the British could offer, plus a large number of heavy cruisers that the British did not.

O'Hara makes great play of the fact that the RM (unlike the Kriegsmarine or IJN) remained largely intact by 1943 - but I do not understand this argument when the country was kicked out of North Africa and then invaded three years after declaring war... makes you wonder what the navy was built for if it wasn't to help fully prosecute the war.



Well, the British had radar and knew how to use it. They also could put (sometimes) aircraft carriers to sea whereas the Italians could not. The British were getting their first real ultra intercepts by the time of the battle of Cape Matapan, and Italian fire control at night was decidedly inferior. Combine all this and you are looking at a recipe for disaster. Without the best of luck the RM should have been defeated by any comparable British force. Just too many factors in their favor.
warspite1

A lot is made of radar - and clearly having it helped, there is no denying that. But it is too simplistic to say the British had radar and that was why they won at Matapan for example.

Yes Cunningham had radar available but the fact that the battle took place was only because Cunningham was sufficiently aggressive to decide to sail his ships into an area whereby (whether the sortie was successful or not) they would be vulnerable to air attack the following day. Had he been Campioni, operating under orders from Supermarina, Cunningham would not have made that decision.

This was a calculated risk - there was nothing guaranteed about it – and this comes back to the qualities of the Admirals in charge – and the orders dished out from their respective commands.

You say the RM should have been defeated by any comparable force, but rarely did the fleets put to sea with comparable numbers - the numbers, the firepower, the speed and the air cover available were usually in the Italians favour. As for carriers and carrier aircraft, as I said, the British capabilities here were overrated - you mention carriers plural. Having even one carrier available was a luxury not always afforded to Cunningham - and when that carrier is Eagle.....

Coming back to Alfred’s points, he is clearly a proponent of O’Hara’s view (and that is absolutely fine – O’Hara’s points are hardly without merit) but there is a point missed here. One of the central points being made is that the Italians had no choice but to supply their overseas territories and the troops within via the Mediterranean, whereas the British could always use the Cape and supply their forces in Egypt via that route. That is true, but ignores the fact that (rightly or wrongly) the British decided to keep Malta in the war. That meant the need to supply the island – just as the Italians needed to supply North Africa. One only has to look at Malta’s position on the map to realise what this meant. The Italians held the central, dominating position in the Med, the British naval forces were split thousands of miles apart, the Italians thus had the ‘choice of the battlefield’. They had aircraft on the aircraft carriers ‘Sicily’ and ‘Calabria’ - the opportunity of defeating a smaller British force in detail had to be there, but was never properly taken. British ships damaged and sunk in supplying Malta was no small number, but imagine if the RM had supported the submarines and aircraft fully?

And it’s not just Malta I know that there were concerns about German aircraft being able to identify Italian ships from British ships, but surely the RM could have sortied during the evacuation from Crete? The Luftwaffe did a job on the RN ships, the Italian navy could have stuck the boot in… but didn’t.

As I said in Post 13, there is no guaranteed right or wrong here. The Italian navy had a job to do – and it can be argued they did it reasonably well (in terms of quantity of supplies and troops delivered). By adopting a more aggressive strategy, they could have suffered a major defeat that would have made Libya untenable (although one could argue that may have actually helped in the long run!). But equally, I remain unconvinced that they could not have made a better job of it. The British position (particularly in those first 24 months of the Med War – alleviated for a time post Taranto) was perilous enough as it was, but the Italians could – and in my book should – have been more aggressive.

Being ‘effectively’ an island, i.e. being invaded from the sea – Sicily, Calabria, Salerno, Anzio - and ending up on the losing side – but with one’s navy largely intact cannot be considered a positive in my view.



< Message edited by warspite1 -- 11/27/2015 7:11:13 AM >


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(in reply to crsutton)
Post #: 29
RE: Comparison of BB's - 11/27/2015 4:53:43 PM   
m10bob


Posts: 8622
Joined: 11/3/2002
From: Dismal Seepage Indiana
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


... Indeed. It is an intriguing what-if to swap Cunningham (and for Supermarina to exert less restrictions) for Campioni. With an aggressive commander in charge, it would have been interesting to see what the Regia Marina, commanding the Central Med, could have done against the overstretched Royal Navy, split between two bases at either end of the Middle Sea. The naval war in the Mediterranean could have been a whole lot different....

Of course in saying that, O'Hara might be right and in pursuing a Nelsonian strategy, the RM may have been destroyed, but I cannot help thinking that the Italian navy could - and should - have made life much more difficult than they did while they had the chance. When the Littorios came on the scene they had more powerful and faster battleships than anything the British could offer, plus a large number of heavy cruisers that the British did not.

O'Hara makes great play of the fact that the RM (unlike the Kriegsmarine or IJN) remained largely intact by 1943 - but I do not understand this argument when the country was kicked out of North Africa and then invaded three years after declaring war... makes you wonder what the navy was built for if it wasn't to help fully prosecute the war.



Often considered by the Italian naval hierarchy between the war and whilst there were changes to and fro, basically the view was the primary purpose of the navy in a war against France and Britain was to safeguard the convoy routes to Libya and the Aegean. For offensive operations thought was given to interdicting the North Africa to France sealanes but this was considered to be quite risky due to lack of adequate supporting airpower.

The Regia Marina did want an aircraft carrier. Even Mussolini had come to the conclusion before the war that an aircraft carrier was necessary. The problem was that there was no money for one. The lack of one severely curtailed pre war planning for offensive operations.

Alfred
warspite1

The Italians greatly overestimated British carrier capabilities. The results of air strikes (or lack of) from Eagle at Calabria should have alerted them to this.

No, the Italians had no carriers - and the co-operation between the RM and the RA was woeful - but then the RN was sticking its head into a potential noose in trying to keep Malta in the war - but the Italians never took advantage - probably because they overestimated the British and were fighting their reputation - and not their actual enemy.

Don't get me wrong, of course a more aggressive plan by the Italians could have been disastrous - but then again when you look at the advantage in 8-inch guns and speed of their warships compared to the RN, I cannot help but think Supermarina could have played things better.



According to Hitlers' Signal Magazine...All of Italy was considered one giant "unsinkable Aircraft carrier" in the Med.

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