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104

In age-of-sail fleet actions, the primary use of frigates (and smaller vessels) was to relay messages (usually in the form of flag signals) between the flagships and the rest of the fleet. They usually set themselves some distance from the main 'line' of battle where they could see and be seen by the ships of the line. A secondary purpose was to act as ...


83

The Germans wanted to send more, but there were none available. Most were unsuitable to escort Bismarck. Those which were suitable were damaged. A good warship for commerce raiding is fast, both to catch enemy ships and run from warships, fuel efficient to keep at sea for as long as possible, and carries heavy armament to rapidly sink enemy ships from ...


65

It is far easier to sink than capture, especially when your main tool is the submarine. If you go further back in history, capture was indeed often the name of the game. But in a WW2 context Germany could not go head-to-head with the Royal Navy, hence submarines being the primary tool. Beyond this, ships were far more traceable and could be avoided; once ...


64

Xenophon in his Hellenica (an account of the last yearsof the Peloponessian War and its aftermath) mentions several named ships, for example, "Paralus" and "Salaminia". Thus, we can infer that at least some of Greek ships were named in IV century BC, and maybe earlier. Also, Homer in his Iliad, which is dated to 8th century BC, does not give any names for ...


61

tl;dr Sea control is good. Sea denial is not that much worse. Sinking an enemy ship at the cost of significant damage to your own is less desirable than keeping your enemy holed up in port (where his ships do little to no harm and your own ships stay undamaged). As basically all naval strategy questions, this one puts too much emphasis on "defeating the ...


57

Also, correct me if I'm wrong but the heavy AA guns appear like they can't point down over the deck. They can only point upwards or parallel to the surface, but not down at the surface. This assumption is wrong. The US Mark 12 5"/38 caliber dual purpose (surface and aircraft) mount was the primary heavy AA armament facing kamikazes. It was mounted on ...


56

Long ago, in 16 century they used open fire in fair weather (with all possible precautions) on the deck to cook (ref. Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea). When the sea was rough, only cold food could be served. Later they used galleys of higher and higher sophistication, but still mostly in the good weather. There was no other way to heat oneself, except ...


52

The autobiography of Ahmose, son of Abana, a Egyptian soldier in the early Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1600 BC), mentions the names of a few the ships he was on. "Wild Bull", "Northern" and "Rising in Memphis" according to this translation


51

I think that N.A.M Rodger covers this quite well in chapter 27 of his book "The Command of the Ocean". It was for long an article of faith among naval historians that eighteenth century British warships were inferior to their French and Spanish opponents, because British shipwrights remained wedded to craft traditions while their continental rivals were ...


50

Europeans had an incentive to explore the Atlantic because they were dependent on the trade routes which pass through Arab territory. The Arabs and other peoples living in the Middle East made a lot of profit selling luxury goods to Europeans, so cutting out the middle man was very desirable. The Atlantic has currents that make it easier to traverse. Note ...


47

The only landing in Europe and Africa that got carrier support was the Torch landing in North Africa in late 1942. In that case, it was not possible to use land-based air support, since there weren't any bases there. All following landings were within land-based air range (deliberately) and relied on it soley. Aircraft carriers were very valuable, being ...


47

The options that submarines had were, in practice, limited to sinking Allied shipping and leaving the area as quickly as possible to avoid detection. U-boats had a disadvantage compared to destroyers (not to mention airplanes) when it came to speed, especially when submerged. They were also poorly equipped to fight surface warships as their deck guns were no ...


46

Analysts concluded that battleships were killed by carrier aircraft, not by other battleships. This conclusion might have been influenced by several factors: The US became the clear naval winner when the industrial potential was mobilizied. The US had lost her battleships early on, fighting with her surviving carriers instead. The Japanese and German ...


45

Battleships were built to engage at range. Even at that time, the rangefinding gear was fairly extensive. Concerning the HMS Barham, one of the ships in the engagement: Barham was completed with two fire-control directors fitted with 15-foot (4.6 m) rangefinders. One was mounted above the conning tower, protected by an armoured hood, and the other ...


43

Yes, the bit in Master and Commander was based upon the real life action between the 14-gun H.M.B Speedy and a Spanish 32-gun Xebec-frigate named El Gamo in 1801. The British commander, Lord Thomas Cochrane, pulled off a series of bluffs to allow his ship to get along side. The Spanish captain was supposedly killed by the first broadside fired by the Speedy ...


43

USA was outnumbered or outgunned only during the first year of war. After that they always had naval supremacy. While the number of ships was similar most battles were mostly ties (except for Midway). But once USA got material supremacy, they always had advantage (and the opposite is true as well). Even without the Midway battle USA would have won by brute ...


42

Before we get to the numbers it is important to state that the US Navy is really far and away the most capable blue-water navy in the world. The US Navy can project power over the entire planet. I'm not sure why you assert to the contrary in your question. Let's start with the US Navy force size from 1917-1923: TOTAL ACTIVE SHIPS: 342, 774, 752, 567, 384 ...


40

That photo is of the HMS Liberty, retouched to remove identifying information. This Google image search1 finds images identified as both HMS Lysander and HMS Liberty.2 Looking at those two pages, they're the same photo, but with retouching to remove the flags, land, and ship's numbers: Looking closely at your photo, the area where the ship's numbers would ...


39

The creation and expansion of European empires during the Age of Discovery resulted in the expansion of trade routes to new colonies and trading posts across the world. The vast areas of these trade routes were far larger than the new empires' navies could effectively police, which meant that merchant vessels moving along them were essentially responsible ...


38

The idea of naming ships goes back several thousand years but, unsurprisingly, there is very little evidence from the earliest days of sailing. EGYPT If we accept names from mythology, then we might consider the Ancient Egyptian god Ra's solar barque, the Atet, which was known by two names: The solar barque the people saw during the day was called the ...


36

First of all, aircraft carriers are expensive. Russia (compared to USA) was never resource-rich enough to be able to afford the expense; neither was USSR. Second of all, Russia (or rather USSR) had no motivation. USA's main geopolitical goal is to safeguard seabourne trade routes; and to prevent strong competitors from arising and commanding great sets of ...


33

The general answer, "It's easier to sink than capture," has already been given. Now consider the specifics. In the early stages of the war: In two words - "Prize crew". Having captured a ship, it is necessary to plant on it a sufficiently large crew to either operate it by themselves or to oversee the original crew and keep them in line. This means the ...


31

It wasn't as simple as "13 against 4" as the question states. Russians only had 8 real battleships. 3 were coastal defense Ushakov class battleships. The entire order of battle was significantly less lopsided than the ratio above indicates. Even leaving aside ship quality, the quantity was (from Wiki) | Japan | Russia | ======...


31

The earliest evidence for keel-hauling that I'm aware of is actually from ancient Rhodes (~800BC) in the Lex Rhodia. There are also depictions of the practice known from ancient Greece (one is included as the frontispiece of Henry Omerod's Piracy in the Ancient World). As the Wikipedia page notes, the Dutch Navy introduced the punishment in an ordinance ...


31

No. It is true the US Coastal Command found itself with a lack of ASW assets in Dec 1941. According to uboat.net the Eastern Sea Frontier had... 4 Yard Patrol Boats 4 Subchasers 1 Coast Guard Cutter 3 Eagle-class patrol boats 103 aircraft, five of which were combat ready However, the 50 old destroyers would not have made a significant difference. More ...


30

According to a 1999 article by Mark A. Bradley in Proceedings, the U.S. Naval Institute's professional journal ("Why They Called the Scorpion "Scrapiron," July 1998), on May 20, 1968, the Scorpion was ordered to intercept a Soviet flotilla near the Azores that included one Echo-II-class nuclear-propelled submarine, a submarine rescue vessel, two ...


30

tl; dr Virtually all the Third Class (steerage) passengers were intending to emigrate. The majority were headed to the United States, while the rest intended to journey onward to Canada. For passengers in steerage, their voyage on the Titanic was intended to be a one-way trip. The vast majority of Second Class ticket holders, who were not already US ...


30

No, firing trials of pre-WW1 British Dreadnoughts didn't actually involve firing at them. The HMS Hero trial mentioned in the Wikipedia article was part of a series of live firing trials carried out by the Royal Navy at the beginning of the 20th century. The target vessels were unmanned, and included: HMS Belleisle (launched 1876) HMS Hero (launched 1885) ...


29

I would date the transition to aircraft carrier domination to the Battle of Midway, in June 1942. The Japanese fought an old style battle in four ship waves. In the first wave as a carrier task force, plus supporting cruisers and battleships, whose main task was to soften up Midway by air bombardment, and then screen the rest of the Japanese fleet. In the ...


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