Quotulatiousness

February 21, 2017

HMS Queen Elizabeth to be commissioned in May

Filed under: Britain, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

The Royal Navy’s largest ever warship HMS Queen Elizabeth is gently floated out of her dock for the first time in Rosyth, Scotland in July 2014. In an operation that started earlier that week, the dry dock in Rosyth near Edinburgh was flooded for the first time to allow the 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier to float. It then took only three hours to carefully manoeuvre HMS Queen Elizabeth out of the dock with just two metres clearance at either side and then berth her alongside a nearby jetty. Teams continued to outfit the ship and steadily bring her systems to life in preparation for sea trials in 2016. The dock she vacated will be used for final assembly of her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales.
Source: Wikimedia.

The Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier is scheduled to be brought into commission in May this year:

The first new Royal Navy aircraft carrier in thirty years is nearing sea trials. After a brief absence from the world of fixed-wing naval aviation the Royal Navy’s brand new flattop HMS Queen Elizabeth and its sister ship, Prince of Wales, will soon sail the seas, their decks full of new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The result will be the most powerful “Senior Service” in generations.

The Royal Navy was one of the first naval warfare forces to explore the nascent world of naval aviation. HMS Argus, commissioned in September 1918, was arguably the first aircraft carrier with a full-length flight deck. The UK was one of the major aircraft carrier powers throughout World War II, and continued to operate carriers in the postwar period.

By 1982, the Royal Navy had committed to building three Invincible-class carriers. Somewhat scaled back from earlier ships, and dwarfed by the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers, the Invincible class was more suited to antisubmarine warfare duties against the Soviet Navy, keeping the sea lines of communication between North America and Europe clear in the event of World War III. The Invincibles could sail with a complement of up to twenty-two aircraft, typically a mixture of Sea Harrier fighters and Sea King helicopters.

The 1982 Falklands War demonstrated the shortcomings of relying upon such small carriers. HMS Invincible, along with the older HMS Hermes, struggled to provide early warning and combat air patrol over the UK task force sent to reclaim the islands, and were unable to prevent Argentine air power from sinking six friendly warships and supply ships and damaging another nine.

In 2007, despite the general downturn in the size and scope of the navy, plans were announced in 2007 to construct two brand-new aircraft carriers. Each would be stocked with brand-new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and helicopters, and would be up more than three times larger than their predecessors by displacement. The carriers, Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, would be the largest warships ever built by the UK, bigger even than the World War II battleship HMS Vanguard.

Unfortunately, in order to free up funding for the new carriers the older ships had to be retired, and decommissioning of the Invincible class carriers and their Sea Harrier jets during the 2010s was a huge blow to the Fleet Air Arm. The three warships were broken up for scrap, and the remaining Harrier jets, which by now included RAF Harriers, were purchased by the U.S. Marines to provide spare parts for their own fleet of AV-8B Harriers.

February 11, 2017

Britain’s “silent service” reported to be the “absent service” right now

Filed under: Britain, Military — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 04:00

In The Register, Gareth Corfield relays reports that the Royal Navy has no submarines currently available for sea duty:

None of the Royal Navy’s seven attack submarines are deployed on operations at the moment, according to reports, which potentially threatens the security of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

The Sun reported this morning that six of the seven boats are in maintenance – except for the seventh, HMS Astute, which is still undergoing sea trials.

Her sister Astute-class boat, HMS Ambush, is still undergoing repairs after ramming a civilian tanker in 2016 while hosting wannabe sub captains undergoing the Perisher submarine command course.

The main uses of attack submarines, as distinct from the four Vanguard-class boats that carry the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent, are twofold.

As their name suggests, attack submarines can be used to attack the enemy – or, in the modern world’s uneasy peace with Russia, trail their submarines and naval vessels around the high seas, gathering vital intelligence on their sound signatures and electronic emissions for later analysis.

Attack submarines can also be used as escorts for other vessels, using their advanced sensors to sweep the seas for hostile ships such as Russia’s infamous intelligence-gathering trawlers, as well as doing secret squirrel tasks such as dropping off Special Forces in remote shore locations. British attack boats also deploy on intelligence-gathering missions into the seas around Russia and have chased Russian submarines away from Britain’s territorial waters.

February 10, 2017

Goodbye To A Great Ship (1958)

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 13 Apr 2014

Full title reads: “Helensburgh. Goodbye To A Great Ship”.

Helensburgh, Scotland.

LV Battleship HMS Duke of York in the breakers yard at Helensburgh. LV Looking down on the bows. GV Duke of York in the breakers yard. LV Looking at the massive guns on the foredeck. CU Broken life-belt from the Duke of York. LV Panning shot showing lifeboats lying amongst other rubble on the deck. CU One of the lifeboats.

Library shots. GV Duke of York putting to sea during her hey-day. SV White ensign flying from the mast. GV Panning shot as the Duke of York puts to sea, name can be seen on the stern. GV Duke of York at full steam sailing between two other ships. LV Head on shot as the Duke of York ploughs through the sea.

Shots in breakers yard. GV Elevated shot looking down over the foredeck gun turrets. SV Massive guns. GV Elevated shot of a man with an acetylene cutter cutting away at the base of a gun turret for scrap.

LV Interior shot of a Hungarian refugee working on the bridge during the breaking operations. GV Scrap metal lying in the breakers yard. SV Panning shot of same. SV Man with acetylene cutter cutting through thick girder. LV Section of the battleship being loaded onto railway trucks. GV Looking across the breakers yard to the Duke of York in the background.

January 31, 2017

Anti-U-Boat Strategy and Tactics in World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 30 Jan 2017

During World War 1, German submarines were a major thread to shipping routes of the Entente everywhere. The Royal Navy and and her allies had to come up with defence mechanisms against the silent hunters. They deployed flying boats and airships to spot the enemy U-Boats, harassed them with depth charges and mines. But the most effective measure against them proved to be the convoy.

January 23, 2017

Ironclads The Great Ships Broadside Collection History Channel Documentary

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 13 Oct 2015

Covering some of the same territory is my post on British battleship design from the end of the Napoleonic era to the 1880s.

December 13, 2016

Tom Kratman on the appointment of James Mattis as Secretary of Defence

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Military, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Even though Kratman is retired Army, he seems positive about the Mattis appointment … under certain circumstances:

I don’t have really strong personal feelings against the idea of retired Marine General James Mattis becoming Secretary of Defense. He’s got to be a step up from the now normal western approach to defense, which is to put a broad-smiling woman or metrosexual in charge, keep the name, but make the office’s mission to be the secretary of political correctness, inclusivity, social justice, gender neutrality, gender integration, straight male moral castration, Muslim terrorist infiltration assistance, and pretty much anything but defense. Moreover, assuming Mattis takes the job, he’s a better man than I am; I wouldn’t take it without a fistful of signed but undated pardons and a liberal supply of ammunition. I think he – or anyone – purporting to fix Defense needs to shoot some people. No, not fire, not counsel, not yell at; shoot. Otherwise, the bureaucracy in the five-sided puzzle palace, the Navy Annex, and the various high rises in the area leased by the various services, will obfuscate, delay, deny, lie…whatever it takes to keep nothing from changing, especially their own power. Hmmm…did I say “some people”? Let me rephrases; he’s going to need to shoot a lot of people and probably will need a large rucksack full of signed but undated pardons, plus a graves registration unit, not too well trained, to truck the bodies to the Potomac and dump them.

Excuse me a moment, but the idea of a very large number of bureaucrats, in and out of uniform, being summarily shot and then having their bodies unceremoniously dumped in the Potomac to float out to sea has given me the schadenboner of all schadenboners…I need a bit to let it subside.

Ah, all better…well mostly better…now. At least I can continue with the column.

December 11, 2016

Baltic Sea Battles – Tanks On Other Fronts I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Published on 10 Dec 2016

Indy sits in the Chair of Wisdom again to answer your questions about World War 1. This week we talk about naval battles in the Baltic Sea and the use of tanks on other fronts than the Western Front.

December 4, 2016

Canada’s Next Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment Ship – Episode 2

Filed under: Cancon, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Published on Nov 28, 2016

The second installment of the documentary following the build of Canada’s new Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment Ship. Episode 2 follows the journey of Davie, its workers and partners from May to November 2016 as they build the largest ship that will operate in the Royal Canadian Navy fleet.

November 19, 2016

Guardians Of The South Atlantic: UK Forces In The Falklands

Filed under: Americas, Britain, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on Sep 27, 2016

There are penguins on your doorstep, spectacular scenery, and, of course, a place that’s rich in history. That’s a good side of the unusual British forces posting to the Falkland islands. The bad side is the icy gale-force winds, freezing conditions, and limited roads and connectivity. For more, visit http://frces.tv/B2P3uR.

H/T to Ghost of a Flea for the link.

November 11, 2016

In memoriam

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

A simple recognition of some of our family members who served in the First and Second World Wars:

The Great War

  • A Poppy is to RememberPrivate William Penman, Scots Guards, died 1915 at Le Touret, age 25
    (Elizabeth’s great uncle)
  • Private David Buller, Highland Light Infantry, died 1915 at Loos, age 35
    (Elizabeth’s great grandfather)
  • Private Walter Porteous, Northumberland Fusiliers, died 1917 at Passchendaele, age 18
    (my great uncle)
  • Corporal John Mulholland, Royal Tank Corps, died 1918 at Harbonnieres, age 24
    (Elizabeth’s great uncle)

The Second World War

  • Flying Officer Richard Porteous, RAF, survived the defeat in Malaya and lived through the war
    (my great uncle)
  • Able Seaman John Penman, RN, served in the Defensively Equipped Merchant fleet on the Murmansk Run (and other convoy routes), lived through the war
    (Elizabeth’s father)
  • Private Archie Black (commissioned after the war and retired as a Major), Gordon Highlanders, captured at Singapore (aged 15) and survived a Japanese POW camp
    (Elizabeth’s uncle)
  • Elizabeth Buller, “Lumberjill” in the Women’s Land Army in Scotland through the war.
    (Elizabeth’s mother)
  • Trooper Leslie Taplan Russon, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, died at Tobruk, 19 December, 1942 (aged 23).
    A recently discovered relative. Leslie was my father’s first cousin, once removed (and therefore my first cousin, twice removed).

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD Canadian Army Medical Corps (1872-1918)

November 6, 2016

The First Shots of World War 1 – Serbian River Warfare | OUT OF THE ETHER

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 5 Nov 2016

In this episode of Out Of The Ether, Indy got a great comment from Pavle Pavlovic about Bodrog, the ship from which the first shots of the Great War were fired.

November 2, 2016

Naval Tactics in the Age of Sail (1650-1815)

Filed under: Europe, History, Military — Tags: — Nicholas @ 09:29

Published on 9 Sep 2016

» SCRIPT & REFERENCES «

http://militaryhistoryvisualized.com/

» SOURCES & LINKS «
Hughes, Wayne: Fleet Tactics. Theory and Practice

Tracy, Nicholas: “Naval Tactics in the Age of Sail”, in: Stilwell, Alexander: The Trafalgar Companion.

Slantchev ,Branislav L.: Warfare at Sea: The Evolution of Naval Power

Konstam, Angus: British Napoleonic Ship-of-the-Line

Tritten, James: Doctrine and Fleet Tactics in the Royal Navy

October 27, 2016

World of Warships British Cruiser Q&A

Filed under: Gaming, Military — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on Oct 23, 2016

Sunday bonus video! A few days ago I had to chance to put some questions to Karsin and Tuccy of the WoWs Dev Team regarding the new Royal Navy cruisers. Here’s what they had to say.

October 20, 2016

Sea power and land power

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

At Samizdata, Brian Micklethwait has an interesting essay, including this discussion of the historical differences between naval and land powers (Athens and Sparta, Greece and Persia, Britain and France, etc.) and an insight into the odd growth pattern of the British empire after the introduction of steam power:

This contrast, between seafaring and land-based powers, has dominated political and military history, both ancient and modern. Conflicts like that between Athens and Sparta, and then between all of Greece and Persia, and the later conflicts between the British – before, during and since the time of the British Empire – and the succession of land-based continental powers whom we British have quarrelled with over the centuries, have shaped the entire world. Such differences in political mentality continue to matter a lot.

Throughout most of modern human history, despots could completely command the land, including all inland waterways. but they could not command the oceans nearly so completely. Wherever the resources found in the oceans or out there beyond them loomed large in the life and the economy of a country or empire, there was likely to be a certain sort of political atmosphere. In places where the land and its productivity counted for pretty much everything, and where all communications were land-based, a very different political atmosphere prevailed.

You see this contrast in the difficulties that Napoleon had when squaring up to the British, and to the British Royal Navy. Napoleon planned his land campaigns in minute detail, like a chess grandmaster, and he played most of his military chess games on a board that could be depended on to behave itself. But you couldn’t plan a sea-based campaign in this way, because the sea had a mind of its own. You couldn’t march ships across the sea the way you can march men across a parade ground, or a continent. At sea, the man on the spot had to be allowed to improvise, to have a mind of his own. He had to be able to exercise initiative, in accordance with overall strategic guidance, yes, but based on his own understanding of the particular circumstances he faced. There was no tyranny like that of the captain of a ship, when it was at sea. But sea-based powers had many ships, so navies (particularly merchant navies), by their nature dispersed power. In a true political tyranny, there can be only one tyrant.

More fundamentally, the sea provided freedom, because it provided an abundance of places to escape to, should the tyranny of a would-be tyrant become too irksome and life-threatening. Coastal communities had other sources of wealth and power besides those derived from inland, and could hide in their boats from tyrants. Drive a sea captain and his crew mad with hatred for you and for your tyrannical commands and demands, and he and his ship might just disappear over the horizon and never be seen again. Good luck trying to capture him. If you did seriously attempt this, you would need other equally strong-minded and improvisationally adept sea captains whom you had managed to keep on your side, willing to do your bidding even when they were far beyond the reach of your direct power. One way or another, your tyranny ebbed away.

Other kinds of tyranny, or the more puritanical sort, were also typically made a nonsense of by seagoing folk, whenever they enjoyed a spot of shore leave.

[…]

The development of mechanically powered ships, since Napoleon’s time, served to make the deployment of ships at sea a lot more like marching them about on a parade ground. First, the significance of the wind and its often unpredictable direction is pretty much negated. And mechanically powered ships are also, especially in the days of coal power, much more dependent upon land-based installations, the arrangement of which demanded Napoleonic logistical virtuosity. Much of late British imperial politics only makes sense if you factor in the compelling need for coaling stations to feed ships. Sailing ships don’t run out of fuel. Modern ships do.

October 18, 2016

Mimi, Toutou and Fifi – The Utterly Bizarre Battle for Lake Tanganyika I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: Africa, Europe, History, Military — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Published on 17 Oct 2016

Check out http://audible.com/thegreatwar for a free trial and a free audiobook from the great selection that Audible has to offer.

This episodes contains images that are orphaned works for which the copyright holder is not known.

The Battle for Lake Tanganyika in German East Africa was one of the most bizarre battles of World War 1. It only really started once the Royal Navy had carried two boats through the jungle and the mountains from Capetown. Their names: Mimi and Toutou. Their commander: Geoffrey Spicer-Simson, probably the weirdest high ranking officer in the entire war.

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