[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Fwd: Please forward this to dinolist too

>From Greg Paul

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From:  <GSP1954@aol.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 5:50 AM
Subject: Please forward this to dinolist too
To: bcreisler@gmail.com

In a message dated 9/7/14 2:23:16 AM, tijawi@gmail.com writes:

<< I found GSP's post very interesting.  However, it is worth noting

that, from a historical perspective, the name _Dreadnoughtus_ is

perhaps more appropriate than GSP made out. The archetypal dreadnought

(HMS Dreadnought, launched 1906) was a product of the naval arms race

between Great Britain and Germany prior to World War I.  The

Dreadnought was part of a broader British strategy of deterrence - the

importance of having a large, powerful and technologically advanced

fleet to reinforce Great Britain's superiority at sea, rather than

deploying warships as a decisive military force.  Under First Sea Lord

Fisher, the role of the British war fleet was intended to be mostly

defensive - to protect the homeland; guard the British Empire's

strategic ports; and enforce a naval blockade against Germany should

war break out.  As it turned out, the greatest sea-born threat to

Great Britain during World War I turned out to be German U-Boats and

their unrestricted warfare against enemy and neutral shipping.  It was

this that ultimately helped draw the United States into World War I. >>

The above analysis is correct. And I am not particualrly opposed to
applying dreadnought to sauropod names. It was the way in which
Lacovara et al did
so, incl in PR in the science media, that is not in accord with history. Had
I reviewed the paper I would have done something about that. And the mass

In a message dated 9/7/14 3:42:44 PM, design@starfleetgames.com writes:

<< Everybody had battleships before 1906, but they tended to have two or
four big guns for long-range pot-luck sniping a lot of medium-sized guns
to do the real dirty work up close. The term battleship had actually been in
use for centuries and applied to what we moderns call "ships of the line".
Nelson called them "Line of Battle Ships" or simply "battleships." There
was even a wooden battleshp called Dreadnought in the 1700s.

The continuing and steady improvement in gunnery, optics, and other
mechanical sciences meant that long-range gunnery had reached the
point that it might actually work. Several nations started building a new
kind of battleship, the "all-big-gun" battleship. The trick was, nobody knew
what one looked like because nobody had ever seen one. The first to start
construction was the USS South Carolina and her sister the USS Michigan.
Everybody else was starting this new kind of ship, independenty, on their
Britain, German, Italy, Russia, all had plans in hand or keels on the

The British started HMS Dreadnought somewhat later, but built it much
so it was the first all-big-gun-battleship in service. Dreadnought was a
bad design. It had all big guns, but because the British couldn't figure out
how to have Turret #2 shoot over Turret #1, only eight of the ten cannons
could shoot right or left, and there was not much in the way of internal
compartments (another new idea) so a torpedo hit was going to be sudden
death overtime. It did have the new kind of modern turbine engines.

USS Michigan came out next, and it had four double gun turrets with #2
over #1 (on the front) and #3 shooting over #4 (on the back) so with only
eight guns it had the same firepower as Dreadnought (8 vs 8). It had
compartments, turbines, and was superior to Dreadnought in every way, BUT,
Dreadnought was first so now "dreadnought" is interchangable with
when it shouldn't be. HMS Dreadnought was so bad that the British never
sent it
into battle and quickly copied Michigan. Maybe you'd call it a "loss leader"
to "capture the brand name."

So now we just need a dinosaur called Michigandus magnificus and we'll
be historically accurate. >>

I have some disagreements with the above.

The predreadnoughts of the late 1890s and very early 1900s generally had
two main battery turrets, one fore and one aft, twins mounting 4 guns of 11 or
12" bore, with a bunch of 6 or 8" guns astride the superstructure. Athough
the main guns were modern rifles able to fire very long ranges, the fire
control systems were lacking so battles were intended to be at a few thousand
meters, with the possibility of ramming with the ram bows -- but during the
Russo-Japanese war the predreadnoughts sometimes banged away at one another
at greater ranges. The tubby batships were also slow at about 18 kts.

Lord Fischer wanted to markedly increase the power of the battle fleet
while keeping costs down, and with the same number of ships. How to do that?
Obvious. Double the broadside of heavy guns while not increasing tonnage all
that much (already nervous about a radical new design that would obsolesce the
predreadnought force, Parliament was not about to pay for much bigger
ships), which required getting rid of the intermediate guns. There was also talk
of how a large set of all heavy guns would also make long range gunnery
possible because their uniform ballistics would allow long range over-under
salvo spotting, but the required technology was not yet on hand. Fisher also
took the opportunity to do what he liked best and increase speed to 21 kts via
the brand new turbines, a concept he took further with the equally big
battlecruisers which were not as bad as many think they were.

The Dreadnought itself and 6 semi-sister ships had five turrets with two on
the wings because that allowed it in principle to fire three turrets
forward as the fleet charged -- ram bows generating magnificent bow waves -- at
short range directly at the enemy. In reality the blast of the side turrets
was so intense that they could only fire broadside, which soon became a
problem because only 4 turrets could engage in the preNelson line of battle that
the Royal Navy and everyone else readopted in the late 1900s going into the
Great War.

(The Germans also initially used wing turrets, even more inefficiently in
their first dreadnoughts. The RN gradually and awkwardly went superimposed,
the Neptunes had one aft, with central turrets actually meant to fire through
the superstructure when needed -- kind of crazy but the Invincibles did
that at the Falklands to the discomfort of those in the the opposite turrets.
They did not remount the sighting hoods on the turrets tops so upper gun sets
could not fire straight forward or aft over the lower turrets during WW 1,
but they did not care because by then the line of battler was back in vogue.
The USN immediately went to efficient superimposed turrets as per the
Michigans. )

As the war approached systems were developing to allow long range fire
under central control, eventually using salvo techniques especially by the Brits
- its a very complicated story of competing systems being applied
semi-haphazardly to differing vessels at differing times that I have never fully
sorted out -- but their whimpy rangefinders reduced their ability to initially
find the range. Over all the gunnery was fairly equal at Jutland, Beatty's
battlecruisers had initial problems because they were not able to conduct
gunnery practise at Rosyth, and also had worse back lighting conditions during
the run south. By the end of the war the Grand Fleet had the world's best
long range systems, but the problems were not really solved until high
frequency, broad scan phased array radars atop the main range finders
allowed RN and
USN batships to straddle fast moving targets at ranges up the max of 20
plus miles (the 3 old batships with the new system immediately straddled the
poor Yamashiro at Suriago Straight when they opened fire at 10 miles at

Of course the 3 Brit batcruisers blew up at Jutland with virtually all
crews lost because the RN was using dangeorusly unstable cordite charges (still
doing that in 41 when the fast battleship she was NOT a battlecruiser Hood
went poof), not because of inadequate armor -- at Dogger Bank, Jutland and
the final battle of the Bismarck the Germans were having their turrets taken
out by the often heavier RN guns left & right without the ships blowing up
because they used a very stable cordite formula that flash burned (killing all
in the magazines and turrets, like what happened on the Iowa in 89) rather
than immediately exploded. Same for the Americans, so the USS Boise took an
AP round in a magazine during a Solomons night battle and stayed in the
action with the three forward turrets burned out (that is the other reason that
the Arizona's exploding so quickly still has them scratching their heads).

Had the Brits who were running an oceanic empire paid proper attention to
their ammo, i. e. had stable cordite and AP rounds that actually worked most
of the time (the shells were too brittle and the primitive fuses rarely
worked), Jutland would have been a significant RN victory, with no major Grand
Fleet losses and probably 3-4 High Seas Fleet batcruisers sunk. Oh well.

It is correct that the RN, in part because of habitability issues for ships
sent to distant empire stations, did not pay sufficient attention to
underwater protection, unlike the Germans and Americans. That is why
the new super
dreadnought Audacious sunk after hitting just one mine, along with
inadequate damage control early in the war, and detail problems
("watertight" doors
jarred open by the initial shock, etc). But the similar Marlborough took a
torpedo in engineering at Jutland and maintained its place in the battle line
(we can imagine its Scotty keeping the steam up despite the pressure).

The Dreadnought was with the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow until she was
assigned with ye old predreadnoughts to defend the Thames outlet. So the
Dreadnought herself alas missed the colossal battle of Jutland she
inspired. Shortly
after that she rejoined the Grand Fleet -- the 6 other oldest dreadnoughts
in Jellicoe's fleet hardly being different in design. She did ram and sink a
pesky sub at one point.

As it happens I have a criticism of USN WW 2 torpedoes in the Sunday
Washington Post --