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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:59 am 
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US doctrine after the Spanish American war was to put combat pilot steerage and helm control into the armored conning tower and steer by range scopes mounted there as well as by eye through the armored ports. Maneuvers in confined waters and warping in port were to be handled by side-rail steerage and voice tube relayed deck officer commands to the helm in the armored pilot houses.

The reason for this arrangement was because the Americans examined what happened to the Spanish ships they shot up during Manila Bay and Santiago. Spanish helm and ship control (flying bridges and bridge wings) seemed to be a favorite aim point for the eager American gunners RTL. A high proportion of key Spanish officers (including Cervera) were either concussed senseless or killed outright causing disintegration of fleet discipline and control that worked its way down to individual Spanish ships going out of control even when they tried to beach themselves.

Again in the Sino Japanese War, one of the American survivors of the Battle of the Yalu River, who defacto commanded the Chinese battleship Chuen Yuan, a Philo McGiffin, returned to the United States and reported to the American navy that the Japanese ships raked the Chuen Yuan's flying bridge with quick fire guns and killed or disabled most of the Chinese deck officers, causing loss of steerage and control.

The American shipwrights were told to minimize or eliminate such attractive gunnery targets and figure out an alternative means of ship control that could be put under armor. This is not fiction. The USN actually RTL attempted this way of doing things. They did it in some of the battleships that followed the USS Kearsage. The USS Kentucky presented would be their first stab at it in this AU. It will of course not be entirely successful, since they will need some kind of bandstand navigation bridge back-fitted until they finally figure out how to steer by scopes.

The Battle of Tsushima was again to confirm this hazard. Russian command and control failed when their key officers, ship communications, steerage and control systems (all exposed) were Japanese shot up and destroyed. Their fleet disintegrated into a mob.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:20 am 
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While some of your conclusions are valid enough, though not enough to sanction your extreme measures, you're wrong about Tsushima. In this battle (though we lack 100% clarity and evidence) a majority of the Russian commanders chose to exercise their commands from the conning towers. We know that VA Rozhdestvensky was severly wounded by splinter entering the CT through the vision slits and subsequently lost the ability to control his fleet (all other contributing circumstances notwithstanding!) On the other hand, ADM Togo was, according to eye-witnesses fully exposed on the upper (compass platform) bridge of the Mikasa, and survived unscathed. So was CDR Pakenham, stationed on the aft auxiliary bridge of the ACR Asama. The CTs of the period, while intended to offer a viable protection for their occupants, were in nearly all cases very wrongly designed, both with regards to their sizes, the way the slits were designed, their size, the position of the CT etc. The Kentucky, indeed, appears to have a very cramped CT, as would be expected, in fact, of this period. And, please take a look at my Pennsylvania-class ACR which has a rather complex bridge system, and so, indeed, had all BB:s and subsequent ACRs. I disagree with your last claim about the USN trying to do away with the bridges or minimize them (before 1910/11), before you present a proper source to support your claim. I base my conclusion on the actual appearance of all the capital ships (incl. ACRs) that appeared after the USS Kearsarge. Besides, your "telescopic" fighting tops (for want of a better description) are also very much prime targets!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:27 pm 
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What I told you about US doctrine early 20th century was true. Ships in the RTL do reflect this. (Compare those photos to British equivalents right up to WW I. You will see the stark difference in layouts.)

In the meantime;

Quote:
The USS Kentucky presented would be their first stab at it in this AU. It will of course not be entirely successful, since they will need some kind of bandstand navigation bridge back-fitted until they finally figure out how to steer by scopes.


Image

Spanish American War combat lessons.

As for Tsushima and the Russo Japanese war in general, How about the cruiser Varyag^1 incident at the battle of Chemulpo, and how Nebagatov lost control after Rozhestvensky was concussed? These were not the results of positive control under armor, but being out in the fresh air where the Shimose shells could get them.

^1 Ironically the Varyag was Cramp and Sons built. (As was Restevan.) Apparently tough ships worth salvage.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:24 pm 
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Get the names right! It was Retvizan, named after a Swedish SoL captured in 1790. as for Nikolai Ivanovich Nebogatov "losing" control at Tsushima? You really have to explain howthat have anythingwhatsoever to do with the bridge (-s) of Imperator Nikolai I! I have seen hi-rez pictures of the ship after the battle and I can tell you that her bridges are in perfect order structurally! And tell me more about Chemulpo, a battle I've studied in quite detail. Rudnev retreated to his CT and he survived the skirmish to be elevated a Vice Admiral and receive the Imperial Japanese Order of the Chrysanthemun! You're mixing things totally together, Tobius. I'm not sure whether you're making stuff up, hoping that no one will call your bluff!

Anyway, that "bridge" on the Kentucky, is, in my view simply not enough. Where are the piloting wings for instance? Where's the charthouse?

But, it's your ship, so I'll leave it at that. You're perfectly entitled to design it anyway you feel like doing without someone like me "bitching" at you for doing that.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:55 pm 
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Point 1;
Quote:
Rudnev retreated to his CT and he survived the skirmish


His staff and communications didn't.

Port side flying bridge smashed by 20 cm shell, Navigator killed, chart house set afire, Captain Rudnev suffered blast shock from another shell burst on foremast and was instantly befuddled. His signal bugler was killed, the helmsman was blown off the wheel, main steering was wrecked, quartermaster went nuts at that point and had to be relieved. Ship was out of control until auxiliary steering aft was cobbled together and the only option by then was run aground or scuttle.

Point 2. There was more than just the Emperor Nikolai I at issue here when Nebagatov chickened out. He had seen what happened to the Knyaz Suvorov and the Borodino. Those ships were out of control before they sank when their bridges were flame engulfed. AFAHK the reason for that out of control condition was their command groups were killed. That is Nebagatov knew what the Japanese were doing, aiming for the command centers on the Russian battleships.

Point 3, the chart room is under the forward conning tower behind armor. Navigation is navigation. You want ship handling facilities. There are four such platforms. As far as American casualties: insofar as they happened in the Spanish American War, it was either deck or hull splinters from Spanish shell hits, loading accidents, charthouse pass throughs, or heat exhaustion. Explosive shell filler and fire was fortunately not a factor for Americans. Fire was the great killer going the other way. Wood is a big no no.

Point 4. Retvizan (I have trouble with the name) was torpedoed, ran aground, refloated. It should have blown up like a Borodino. It didn't. At the Yellow Sea she withstood Togo's massed fleet fires allowing the Russians to retreat after Tsesarevich was riddled and Vitgeff was killed. It was later sunk again at Port Arthur by Japanese army mortars, refloated and put into Japanese service.

Point 5 Now Vitgeff was in the conning tower of Tsesarevich like Rozhdestvensky would be in Suvarov at Tsushima, but there's an interesting design flaw to go with the weak joint in the armor scheme that protected the forward six inch magazines on that battleship class which resulted in more than one catastro[phic magazine explosion. The roof overhang on the conning tower is a shell trap. Anything Japanese that exploded in the vicinity under that overhang would be channeled directly as a splinter storm into the armored slits of the conning tower. The Russians specifically mention this as a major defect they noticed in their action logs and post battle reports.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:39 pm 
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Hi Tobius.
May I ask you how the blast from the superflying turrets (Bruno and Caesar) is avoided (at least in axial fire)? Do you plan to put to your battleship any form of telemeter? thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 7:59 pm 
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Well, like I said: it's your design, and that's all well. I have doubts about the survivability of such massive steel pillars; even more prominent than the French and German fighting masts, but, it's your design.

As for your points, yes, your right, the CTs of the Russian ships DID have flaws; so did, I can say with certainty all nations dittos! - REmember, the Cesarevich was built in France! And, interestingly enough you're, at least indirectly, agreeing with me: merely retreating into the CT did NOT assure your inviolability; in fact you could still be maimed being enclosed in that armored space.
As for Nebogatov actually having witnessed the distress of the Kniyaz Suvorov, I disagree. He couldn't, since very early on the waters between the two converging fleets were quickly enveloped in dense smoke, not least from fires breaking out on both sides, but mostly on Russian ships due to the Shimose. In fact, Nebogatov was at the beginning of the battle not even aware that he was the, the facto second-in-command!
As foryourstatement that Retvizan "should have blownup like Borodini" I, again must disagree. How do you draw such a generalized conclusion? You're aware that Borodino blew up due to (probably) failure to flood the main magazines and powder rooms? If I recall it correctly Retvizan on Feb. 8, 1904 was torpedoed in her machinery space floding one boiler room and engine room with some additional flooding in void spaces. No magazine was affected, so no "should have" blown up!

The thing you seem to be doing is to take into account ALL the lessons, even way, way after your ship had been designed. A most prescient way of reasoning, I believe, but hardly realistic. You're basically designing in hindsight. Therefore you're in a way cheating; cheating history, that is. That's why your design is not very realistic. THe USN was never this forward thinking as you like to think, and that's perfectly ok.

Lastly, wood, yes, it's ok. The USN fireproofed the wooden railings etc that they used. And, again, take a look at my Pennsylvania-class. It's pilot house was made of wood, on a steel frame!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:55 am 
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reytuerto wrote:
Hi Tobius.
May I ask you how the blast from the superflying turrets (Bruno and Caesar) is avoided (at least in axial fire)? Do you plan to put to your battleship any form of telemeter? thanks.


1. The RTL blast experiments to solve that problem indicated that crew under armor and ventilation solved the problem. Directly over the alpha and delta turrets would be most severe, but this was so unlikely to occur in a line action that was expected.

2. The Fiske Bushnell fire control optics are in the "observatories". The plotter is inside the hull and under the observatories.

bezobrazov wrote:
Well, like I said: it's your design, and that's all well. I have doubts about the survivability of such massive steel pillars; even more prominent than the French and German fighting masts, but, it's your design.


The "towers" are lattice structures plated over with sheet steel for weather protection and stiffening. Cage masts RTL were tested against gunfire and these worked, as shell pass throughs did not topple them as pole masts and tripod towers did.

USS Oregon for example was one of several trials ships that tested such concepts at sea. The USN went lattice as they worried about topweight. I chose sheet steel housing over it, because the lattice masts had two drawbacks. They flexed, which threw off gunnery and that crew inside the lattice got COLD.

Quote:
As for your points, yes, your right, the CTs of the Russian ships DID have flaws; so did, I can say with certainty all nations dittos! - REmember, the Cesarevich was built in France! And, interestingly enough you're, at least indirectly, agreeing with me: merely retreating into the CT did NOT assure your inviolability; in fact you could still be maimed being enclosed in that armored space.


Do you remember the Monitor/Merrimac battle of the US Civil War? The Monitor took a direct hit on the pilot house late in the battle that kiboshed the helmsman and blinded the captain. The armor was there to protect steering command and communications, not the men, which it did (although prior to battle someone had broken the voice pipe to the engine room and Worden had to shout to a middle man to relay the engine orders to Green aft.). The helmsman came to and the exec took over that station and the Monitor remained actionable, though she had orders to hold out of action if in the judgment of her "acting commander" circumstances merited such a decision (a mistake I think as Catesby Jones was overaggressive and an inept ship-handler, who kept grounding the Merrimac making himself a sitting goose of a target.). The Merrimac suffered an engineering casualty that forced her engineer to rig secondary steering. The fact that Catesby Jones had to send a runner back and forth himself to tell the steerage crew which way to turn, as well as leave his post to find out why the gun crews had stopped firing; plus the fact that first Congress, then Cumberland, and finally the Monitor had shattered her casemate plate and she was leaking in the bow forced that ship to withdraw. Mister Greene (a timid man) aboard the Monitor had finally decided to re-engage, when Merrimac ran for it.

The point was that the armor scheme protected the ship as a functioning weapon system. Something the Russians seemed to not understand at Tsushima.

Quote:
As for Nebogatov actually having witnessed the distress of the Kniyaz Suvorov, I disagree. He couldn't, since very early on the waters between the two converging fleets were quickly enveloped in dense smoke, not least from fires breaking out on both sides, but mostly on Russian ships due to the Shimose. In fact, Nebogatov was at the beginning of the battle not even aware that he was the, the facto second-in-command!


Russian signaling was confused, but even so, smoke drifted with the wind, flag signaling worked when understood, and battleships on fire and sinking are HUGE noticeable objects and kind of hard to miss (especially with binoculars) through the patchy clouds of smoke. Russian post action reports note these facts with Suvorov.

Quote:
As for your statement that Retvizan "should have blown up like Borodini" I, again must disagree. How do you draw such a generalized conclusion? You're aware that Borodino blew up due to (probably) failure to flood the main magazines and powder rooms? If I recall it correctly Retvizan on Feb. 8, 1904 was torpedoed in her machinery space floding one boiler room and engine room with some additional flooding in void spaces. No magazine was affected, so no "should have" blown up!


The Retvizan was sunk by Japanese army 11 cm siege howitzers at Port Arthur. Some of those shells pierced her magazines. It appears the Americans learned something about building battleships between the USS Maine and the Retvizan. Counterflooding and a well trained crew also probably saved her that February. Too bad the same could not be said for the Oslyabya at Tsushima. Her crew plowed her under when they opened the wrong valves to correct a bow list.

Quote:
The thing you seem to be doing is to take into account ALL the lessons, even way, way after your ship had been designed. A most prescient way of reasoning, I believe, but hardly realistic. You're basically designing in hindsight. Therefore you're in a way cheating; cheating history, that is. That's why your design is not very realistic. THe USN was never this forward thinking as you like to think, and that's perfectly ok.


Hmm.

Never forward thinking?
a. first deployed screw driven warship, (John Ericson under the auspices of Captain Robert Stockton, USN) USS Princeton.
b. Though not first, the USS South Carolina was among the first dreadnoughts and the first with super-firing turrets.
c. Though not first, the USS Holland was among the first and definitely the best of the early submarines at the turn of the century.
d. Peacemaker should have worked (refer to the USS Princeton.).
e. Naval aviation is an American; not a British invention.
f. The Russians invented modern naval mine warfare ten years earlier, but the Confederates perfected it.
g. CSS Hunley?
h. How about Intelligent Whale?
i. Or Nautilus?
j. or Turtle?
k. the USS George Washington Parke Custis is officially the first "aircraft carrier" in US history (1862 Peninsula Campaign, the Union operated a balloon from her )
l. or Samuel Langley
m. or Eugene Eli

As for foresight, I think an American navy that put heat sensors in coal bunkers on ships built in 1885 in the RTL with a better master shipwright at C and R would have done the little tweaks I suggest in my AU realistically.

And in that vein I could mention modern aircraft carrier integration and tactics (the Japanese had their own system at about the same time, but it is the American system that is emulated today. Same for submarines. Germans invented submarine campaign tactics, but it is the American system that the Russians and Chinese follow. (Second in the queue has its advantages.).

Quote:
Lastly, wood, yes, it's ok. The USN fireproofed the wooden railings etc that they used. And, again, take a look at my Pennsylvania-class. It's pilot house was made of wood, on a steel frame!


Aware of that, but look at Jutland. Horrible fires aboard some of the British ships, hard to put out due to non-fireproofed wood fittings. Germans used more steel in those places and it was easier on them to damage control. Again, the US Civil War. Every Union ironclad sunk was lost first due to fires and not to penetration of the float bubble. The USN crews, even in the American Civil War, given half a chance would plug the leaks, and limp the ship home. Other navies (some of them) noticed that fire was the chief threat about the same time (HMS Warrior), so its not an exclusive Yankee thing all the time.

As an aside, when the USN sent people over to Europe to learn how to do things right postwar, like damage control and shipbuilding, it was not the English to whom the Americans turned. It was the Kriegsmarine and the Germans. The USN actually noticed who knew their technical stuff.

I should emphasize... SPAIN was not one of those navies who drew correct lessons.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:16 pm 
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Revised ships for Mr. McKinley's Navy

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Last edited by Tobius on Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:20 pm 
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Image

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Last edited by Tobius on Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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