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Old 15th July 2019, 12:23 PM   #201
Trebuchet
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
True, there are about 90 rounds available and no plans to make any more, due to the cost.

ETA: For clarity, I'm talking about the 155mm LRAP round for the Zumwalt class
I don't think any of those rounds are actually on the ships.
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Old 15th July 2019, 12:31 PM   #202
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I don't think any of those rounds are actually on the ships.
True, but needless precision is what some posters seem to like, and technically, they could fire some of those.
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Old 15th July 2019, 12:41 PM   #203
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Old 15th July 2019, 01:37 PM   #204
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Originally Posted by Major Major View Post
Blip krieg -- a mainstay of American armaments ever since the fifties.

Consider, for example, the M-28 Davy Crockett Weapons System, which fired a nuclear weapon with a blast radius sufficient to engulf the firers.


Sorry, but that's incorrect. According to nuclearsecrecy.com's nukemap, an air burst from the M-28 would produce 1 psi overpressure (just enough to shatter windows) at a range of 540 m, but even the shorter-range launcher had a maximum range of 2 km. At that distance the crew might receive an unhealthy, but far from fatal, dose of radiation (about 25 rems) assuming that they weren't protected by intervening terrain, or by taking cover in or behind their vehicle. For this reason, firing from a reverse slope and keeping heads down until after the detonation were strongly encouraged.
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Old 16th July 2019, 11:38 AM   #205
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How about an entire class of vessels (or two) Big gun submarines, like the British M-class, and Submarine aircraft carriers.
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Old 16th July 2019, 12:06 PM   #206
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
How about an entire class of vessels (or two) Big gun submarines, like the British M-class, and Submarine aircraft carriers.
Cruiser submarines had a brief window in history where they were effective. Becoming obsolete with further technological advances doesn't make them "worst warships", anymore than being obsoleted by further technological advances makes the PBY Catalina one of the "worst airplanes".
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Old 16th July 2019, 01:00 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Cruiser submarines had a brief window in history where they were effective. Becoming obsolete with further technological advances doesn't make them "worst warships", anymore than being obsoleted by further technological advances makes the PBY Catalina one of the "worst airplanes".
Being unseaworthy helps though.
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Old 16th July 2019, 01:09 PM   #208
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Being unseaworthy helps though.
They were seaworthy enough to be useful for a brief period before better stuff got developed.

The F-117 could barely fly. The goal was the least radar-reflective plane they could possibly make. They started with an ideal shape that was completely unflyable. Then they modified it the bare minimum necessary to make it flyable, keeping as much stealth as they possibly could without automatically killing the pilot.

Needless to say, it got obsoleted pretty quick. But for that brief period of time where it was the only plane that could do that job, it was magic. To me, the F-117, the Surcouf, the PBY Catalina, and helicopters are all in the same category: Woefully inefficient solutions that are still ******* awesome because the need is real and they really fill the need.
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Old 16th July 2019, 02:06 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
They were seaworthy enough to be useful for a brief period before better stuff got developed.

The F-117 could barely fly. The goal was the least radar-reflective plane they could possibly make. They started with an ideal shape that was completely unflyable. Then they modified it the bare minimum necessary to make it flyable, keeping as much stealth as they possibly could without automatically killing the pilot.

Needless to say, it got obsoleted pretty quick. But for that brief period of time where it was the only plane that could do that job, it was magic. To me, the F-117, the Surcouf, the PBY Catalina, and helicopters are all in the same category: Woefully inefficient solutions that are still ******* awesome because the need is real and they really fill the need.
I'd agree with the rest. But what need did the Surcouf fulfil that wouldn't have been fulfilled better either by smaller submarines, or by surface vessels?
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Old 16th July 2019, 02:28 PM   #210
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
I'd agree with the rest. But what need did the Surcouf fulfil that wouldn't have been fulfilled better either by smaller submarines, or by surface vessels?
Firepower plus stealth. According to Wiki, the Surcouf specifically was developed to provide heavy cruiser firepower without violating the Washington Treaty.

Apparently they were slow to dive and not very maneuverable. As anti-submarine warfare doctrine and technology improved, these limitations made it obsolete. A smaller submarine, caught on the surface by aircraft, had a better chance of diving and escaping. Before submarine-hunting aircraft were commonplace, this wasn't as much of an issue, and cruiser subs still had some value.

Anyway, my point is that being rendered obsolete by advancing technology is not the same as being rendered "worst warship".

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Old 16th July 2019, 03:11 PM   #211
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The big gun cruiser submarines were never a good idea, they didn't become a bad idea years after they were designed. Think about it, they were going to sneak into combat, go toe to toe with other ships that had guns... then submerge and escape. With their 50 to 100 nm range at maybe 5 kn's. Oh, and if they took any sort of damage to their unarmored hull then they can't dive anyways! It was a folly. And its not as if ASW technology just didn't exist at all when they were built.

That said, the idea of putting some seaplanes in a long range submarine, especially for use in the Pacific wasn't a bad idea at all. Especially in the days before radar. See Japan's subs. They misused them badly, but that wasn't the vessels fault.
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Old 16th July 2019, 03:12 PM   #212
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I would put the steam powered 'K' Class submarines in among hte list of the worst ships though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_K-class_submarine
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Old 16th July 2019, 08:10 PM   #213
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The wiki doesn't mention it, and I haven't been able to find anything online about it, but one of the K class (according to an article I read back in the eighties???) when submerging, sank to the bottom and was stuck there for some time, before 'deciding' to resurface- at the time it had royalty on board-who exactly I forget
I wish I could remember where/when I read this article, because it was extremely detailed, with accounts from people who had actually sailed them etc and was fascinating reading as at the time, I had never heard of a steam powered submarine
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Old 16th July 2019, 10:51 PM   #214
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
The big gun cruiser submarines were never a good idea, they didn't become a bad idea years after they were designed. Think about it, they were going to sneak into combat, go toe to toe with other ships that had guns... then submerge and escape. With their 50 to 100 nm range at maybe 5 kn's. Oh, and if they took any sort of damage to their unarmored hull then they can't dive anyways! It was a folly. And its not as if ASW technology just didn't exist at all when they were built.

That said, the idea of putting some seaplanes in a long range submarine, especially for use in the Pacific wasn't a bad idea at all. Especially in the days before radar. See Japan's subs. They misused them badly, but that wasn't the vessels fault.
The Japanese sub fleet were decent enough vessels but they were always two steps behind in the evolution if the war. Their mission was inadequate or impractical before the vessel was ready.

The biggest thing a Japanese sub did was show the USN that mega subs were not practical at that point in history. The captured one was sunk by them shortly after the war ended.
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Old 17th July 2019, 01:44 AM   #215
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K Class subs were a doomed attempt at producing boats that would be able to keep pace with a Battlefleet.

British subs in general performed well in the war but, being designed for work in the Med and North Sea or Western Approaches they suffered in the Pacific.
Conversely the big US boats would have had difficulty in the Med and European coastal waters.
RN Subs performed well in S.E. Asia and the Indian ocean.

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Old 17th July 2019, 09:00 AM   #216
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
The wiki doesn't mention it, and I haven't been able to find anything online about it, but one of the K class (according to an article I read back in the eighties???) when submerging, sank to the bottom and was stuck there for some time, before 'deciding' to resurface- at the time it had royalty on board-who exactly I forget
I wish I could remember where/when I read this article, because it was extremely detailed, with accounts from people who had actually sailed them etc and was fascinating reading as at the time, I had never heard of a steam powered submarine
I don't know about the RN subs for sure, but USN subs always were supposed to keep slightly positive ballast, and occasionally run their motor in silent mode to keep a depth. That way if they couldn't open any valves, and couldn't turn the screws for some reason, they'd eventually float to the surface. So that may have been what saved that K class sub.
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Old 17th July 2019, 09:39 AM   #217
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Not sure that was being done in the 19 'teens'
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Old 17th July 2019, 09:41 AM   #218
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Originally Posted by Dabop View Post
Not sure that was being done in the 19 'teens'
Oh, I didn't realize how early the K class was. It was practice in the USN before WW2 started though, after an interwar accident I think.
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Old 17th July 2019, 01:09 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by Major Major View Post
Blip krieg -- a mainstay of American armaments ever since the fifties.

Consider, for example, the M-28 Davy Crockett Weapons System, which fired a nuclear weapon with a blast radius sufficient to engulf the firers.

Also, letting the authority to use Nuclear Weapons go down to the platoon level was probably not a good idea...
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Old 17th July 2019, 02:04 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Also, letting the authority to use Nuclear Weapons go down to the platoon level was probably not a good idea...
While the weapon was assigned to platoons, I very much doubt they would have been deployed without higher-echelon oversight. On the other hand, the scenario in which they would have been used was a pretty extreme one. In a mass Soviet assault on Western Europe, having such weapons at the platoon level was probably not as bad an idea as it sounds outside of that context.

Especially considering the actual yield was on par with a heavy artillery barrage, which those platoons were already being entrusted with anyway

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Old 17th July 2019, 02:26 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Firepower plus stealth. According to Wiki, the Surcouf specifically was developed to provide heavy cruiser firepower without violating the Washington Treaty.

Apparently they were slow to dive and not very maneuverable. As anti-submarine warfare doctrine and technology improved, these limitations made it obsolete. A smaller submarine, caught on the surface by aircraft, had a better chance of diving and escaping. Before submarine-hunting aircraft were commonplace, this wasn't as much of an issue, and cruiser subs still had some value.

Anyway, my point is that being rendered obsolete by advancing technology is not the same as being rendered "worst warship".
Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
The big gun cruiser submarines were never a good idea, they didn't become a bad idea years after they were designed. Think about it, they were going to sneak into combat, go toe to toe with other ships that had guns... then submerge and escape. With their 50 to 100 nm range at maybe 5 kn's. Oh, and if they took any sort of damage to their unarmored hull then they can't dive anyways! It was a folly. And its not as if ASW technology just didn't exist at all when they were built.

That said, the idea of putting some seaplanes in a long range submarine, especially for use in the Pacific wasn't a bad idea at all. Especially in the days before radar. See Japan's subs. They misused them badly, but that wasn't the vessels fault.
Yes, those were some of the problems I was thinking of. Also the gun would have had a fairly short aimed range, due to the submarine being low in the water, so the horizon would be closer - obviously this would make it harder to detect, but it does reduce the advantage of a big gun over a torpedo. I'd also guess that such a vessel would be inherently more prone to rolling than a non-submersible vessel, so the gun would be less accurate on a submarine, as well as being more limited in the traverse of the turret. So you have a large gun that could outrange its target vessels, but which can only actually aim at those when within the range of far smaller weapons on say corvettes or equivalent small ships, and the submarine would be equally vulnerable to their weapons as they would be to its gun, but the smaller calibre weapons (say 4" guns) would have a faster rate of fire.

If you are going to attack a fleet, as a single vessel, you want to do what the German commerce raiders attempted, outfight anything that can catch you and outrun anything that can outfight you. Having the ability to fire a few shells a long distance by dead reckoning, and a few miles aimed when in something that can't withstand return fire is pointless.

I'd give you stealthy, but then smaller submarines would be stealthier, and able to dive quicker. Submarines showed themselves to be able to successfully attack large surface warships, but this was using their torpedoes, not their guns.

The lack of seaworthyness - especially amongst the M-class was what I considered the clincher though.
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Old 18th July 2019, 08:41 AM   #222
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Additionally the Surcouf lacked the sophisticated fire-control systems of contemporary cruisers. I can think of one potential use for the boat, however; hit-and-run bombardment of enemy installations that lacked shore-battery protection. This could have been particularly useful against remote Japanese bases in the Pacific.
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Old 18th July 2019, 08:53 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Additionally the Surcouf lacked the sophisticated fire-control systems of contemporary cruisers. I can think of one potential use for the boat, however; hit-and-run bombardment of enemy installations that lacked shore-battery protection. This could have been particularly useful against remote Japanese bases in the Pacific.
But presumably, one could have designed a surface craft of a similar displacement to carry the same guns, more cheaply. Maybe, if treaty requirements were the issue, a big-gun submarine that was only nominally designed to submerge.
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Old 18th July 2019, 08:59 AM   #224
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I was thinking of bases that couldn't be approached by surface ships due to distance and lack of air cover.
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Old 18th July 2019, 09:03 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
I was thinking of bases that couldn't be approached by surface ships due to distance and lack of air cover.
So looking at the Surcouf's stats on wiki her maximum dived range was 60 nm*. And I presume she would need several hours on the surface to recharge the batteries. So really your looking at 30nm dived to get to the target, then 30nm back out. So if the Japanese could've scrambled airplanes then she'd be sunk. OTOH sending in a fast cruiser/destroyer force that could make 30+ kn's would likely be able to get in and get out fast enough. Plus they'd probably have much better air defenses. In reality, we used air raids to neutralize small Japanese outposts in the pacific. But the French only had 1 small aircraft carrier in their entire navy as I recall. So that wouldn't have been much of an option for them.

*And that was about inline with the newer "V-boat" cruiser subs of the US Navy.

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Old 18th July 2019, 09:25 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Additionally the Surcouf lacked the sophisticated fire-control systems of contemporary cruisers. I can think of one potential use for the boat, however; hit-and-run bombardment of enemy installations that lacked shore-battery protection. This could have been particularly useful against remote Japanese bases in the Pacific.
Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
I was thinking of bases that couldn't be approached by surface ships due to distance and lack of air cover.
And this is what set me thinking about the big-gun submarines in the first place... It was Trebuchet's comments about the Zumwalt class, which led me to recall some of the earlier ideas about "arsenal ships" - one idea I seem to recall seeing was a semi-submersible vessel to improve stealth characteristics.
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Old 18th July 2019, 10:20 AM   #227
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
But presumably, one could have designed a surface craft of a similar displacement to carry the same guns, more cheaply. Maybe, if treaty requirements were the issue, a big-gun submarine that was only nominally designed to submerge.
I give you HMS Terror and similar ships.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Terror_(I03)
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Old 18th July 2019, 10:21 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
So looking at the Surcouf's stats on wiki her maximum dived range was 60 nm*. And I presume she would need several hours on the surface to recharge the batteries. So really your looking at 30nm dived to get to the target, then 30nm back out. So if the Japanese could've scrambled airplanes then she'd be sunk. OTOH sending in a fast cruiser/destroyer force that could make 30+ kn's would likely be able to get in and get out fast enough. Plus they'd probably have much better air defenses. In reality, we used air raids to neutralize small Japanese outposts in the pacific. But the French only had 1 small aircraft carrier in their entire navy as I recall. So that wouldn't have been much of an option for them.

*And that was about inline with the newer "V-boat" cruiser subs of the US Navy.

Surcouf could have traveled submerged during the day, and surfaced at night. That's how USS Argonaut and USS Nautilus delivered the Marine force for the Raid on Makin IslandWP, and it's also how many US submarines operated when patrolling near Japanese bases. And that's how the Japanese used submarines to attempt to supply isolated garrisons later in the war.
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Old 18th July 2019, 10:30 AM   #229
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
I give you HMS Terror and similar ships.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Terror_(I03)
The HMS Terror was laid down before the Washington Naval Treaty, which limited gun sizes on surface ships. The Surcouf was built after the treaty, in order to get around its limitations. In fact, the whole point of the Washington Treaty was that although it was possible to build ships like the Terror, the signatories would refrain from doing so.
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Old 18th July 2019, 10:38 AM   #230
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Surcouf could have traveled submerged during the day, and surfaced at night. That's how USS Argonaut and USS Nautilus delivered the Marine force for the Raid on Makin IslandWP, and it's also how many US submarines operated when patrolling near Japanese bases. And that's how the Japanese used submarines to attempt to supply isolated garrisons later in the war.
Yes, for putting commandos ashore, submarines were useful. But I don't believe Argonaut or Nautilus used their guns for any shore bombardment on Makin. How effective would a night bombardment have been anyways?

Yes Japan tried using subs to resupply garrisons. It was not very effective and a total misuse of their submarine force. They didn't need big gun sub cruisers for it anyways.
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Old 18th July 2019, 10:59 AM   #231
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That wasn't my point. My point was that Surcouf could have approached submerged during the day in order to avoid detection or attack from the air. And at Makin the plan wasn't for the subs to bombard; they were just supposed to deliver and recover the raiding force.

Additionally, a few Japanese submarines did bombard US installations during the war, and a few US boats returned the favor.
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Old 18th July 2019, 12:36 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Yes, for putting commandos ashore, submarines were useful. But I don't believe Argonaut or Nautilus used their guns for any shore bombardment on Makin. How effective would a night bombardment have been anyways?

Yes Japan tried using subs to resupply garrisons. It was not very effective and a total misuse of their submarine force. They didn't need big gun sub cruisers for it anyways.
A tale of the Nautilus, and its guns.

Nautilus was an unusually large submarine, with, very unusually, six inch deck guns. A much older co-worker of mine had served on her during WWII and was on the deck gun crew. One day they were on the surface and practicing, or something, with the guns and a Japanese aircraft flew over. As it departed, the gun was pointing in the right general direction so someone fired the gun at it. Scoring a hit.

I've never been sure whether to believe that or not.
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Old 18th July 2019, 12:58 PM   #233
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I wouldn't believe it
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Old 18th July 2019, 04:37 PM   #234
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Normally I wouldn't, but Stan wasn't a guy I associated with tall tales.
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