building the bigger navy

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Capt Spanky, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Capt Spanky

    Capt Spanky New Member

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    You read about the naval expansion in the war years. but did you know it was that big?

    U.S. Navy Active Ship Force Levels, 1938-1947

    Date 6/30/1938 6/30/1939 6/30/1940 12/7/1941 12/31/1942 12/31/1943 12/31/1944 8/14/45* 6/30/1946 6/30/1947
    Battleships 15 15 15 17 19 21 23 23 10 4
    Carriers, Fleet 5 5 6 7 4 19 25 28 15 14
    Carriers, Escort - - - 1 12 35 65 71 10 8
    Cruisers 32 36 37 37 39 48 61 72 36 32
    Destroyers 112 127 185 171 224 332 367 377 145 138
    Frigates - - - - - 234 376 361 35 24
    Submarines 54 58 64 112 133 172 230 232 85 80
    Mine Warfare 27 29 36 135 323 551 614 586 112 55
    Patrol 34 20 19 100 515 1050 1183 1204 119 74
    Amphibious - - - - 121 673 2147 2547 275 107
    Auxiliary 101 104 116 210 392 564 993 1267 406 306
    Surface Warships 159 178 237 225 282 635 827 833 226 198
    Total Active 380 394 478 790 1782 3699 6084 6768 1248 842

    darn it would not let me upload a table
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Most dreadnoughts were ordered before the war started. That applies to both world wars. Admirals insisted these ships were essential to national security. But once the fighting started they were afraid to risk such expensive ships on routine combat operations.
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I can see the extreme downsize after the war for some ships, like mine layers. But for escort carriers to go from 71 to 8 seems pretty extreme. I'm sure it has to do with the size and expense of operating a large ship.
     
  4. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    My guess its the mine is bigger than yours factor. Give an admiral the choice of a nice flashy fleet carrier or 4 merchant based escort carriers carrying about the same no of aircraft, guess whch one he will go for?

    Forgeting for a moment that they can do those important vital tasks such as escorting convoys which admirals hate.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Land based ASW aircraft got a lot better after WWII. The USN and RN started placing dedicated ASW aircraft on fleet aircraft carriers plus ASW helicopters on smaller ships. Add in new technology such as SOSUS arrays and life becomes a lot more dangerous for enemy submarines. By 1950 CVEs were as obsolete as battleships.
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I may have this wrong but I believe British admiral Jellicoe is supposed to have said that while he could not win the war in a day he was the only man who could loose the war in a day.
     
  7. Capt Spanky

    Capt Spanky New Member

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    actually the navy did not like or want those pesky escort carriers. i am amazed that unlike the British, we really didn't sell off a lot of our carriers, not even the escort classes.

    but really almost 6800 ships, not counting losses.
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    My two cents worth

    High end items like BBs and fleet carriers take a lot of money and investment to develop. navies therefore invest their peacetime dollars in these high end items, because they take a long time to procure. items like Escort Carriers dont take a long time to acquire, so can much more readily be built under wartime emergency programs.

    Another reason for the rapid demobilsation of the CVEs was that in most cases they wer found unsuitable to operate post war aircraft. Helos were not fully developed as yet, and most escort carriers were not worth the effort of upgrade with angled deck, mirror landing and the like.

    There were several reasons why US carriers did not penetrate the post war minor navy market. US carriers were either too big to be effectively manned and equipped by people like the RCN and RAN, and in many cases were completed hulls that would prove far more difficult to bring up to standard in terms of mirror and angled deck landing systems and increased power of the catapults needed to get jet aircraft off the deck.

    Most of the British Light fleets, like the Majestic classes were small, far easier to to man and equip, and were built as cheap carriers with no armour, moderate machinery and good levles for aircraft handling and unarmoured protection (ie very good subdivision), given their small size. They were built with steel decks, which gave them a better life expectancy. Most importantly there were many incomplete hulls that would allow wartime experiences to be worked into the designs. HMAS Melbourne ws a hull completed in 1945, but the deck and the ship generally did not complete until 1955....the Vikrant, a similar ship for the Indian Navy did not complete until 1959.

    Unfairly in my opinion, but in the post war era, US carrier design came in for some unfair scrutiny in light of their expereiences off Japan in 1945. Many of the smaller navies viewed the US carriers as vulnerable compared to the brit closed hangar systems and extensive passive protection systems built into even the cheap light fleet carriers.

    I served on the melbourne in the 70s, and despite her age, USN personnel on exchange constantly remarked about the high levls of passive protection worked into the design compare to much newer USN ships...mind you, USN pilots were forbidden from landing on her, because of the fearfully small deck area that she possessed. She steamed more miles than any other carrier I know of, was more or less in continuous use , and on many excercises emerged with a very high record of efficiency. pity that she too carried a ghost in her pocket....sliced two destroyers in half in her career, which she never really escaped from
     
  9. Capt Spanky

    Capt Spanky New Member

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    well the indy class was not the best conversion for a light carrier, the was two narrow and the desk was slightly bigger than an escort. I have seen the aircraft listed as 42-48 planes. in reality she mostly carrier 35-39, which is about the same as an escort. The saipan class is slightly shorter than a colossus but is wider. The lacking issue for them was the war was over and we only built 2.

    This is where the different in doctrine comes into play. With the us making the hanger deck the main deck, or strength deck of a carrier, the flight desk was basically considered external or part of the super structure we could in reality almost make it as wide as needed. It also made it easier to be removed and replaced or reconfigured. when the angled deck came out the British used a 6 degree deck while the use used a 9 degree one. If we had modernized our lights, I am guessing the Saipan class would have gotten a 9 degree deck, but the Indies would have got a 6 degree if at all. The Indies were not favored for sea worthiness due to the much narrower hull. The British doctrine maintained that the flight was the main or strength deck, thus the hull ran right up to flight deck.


    We sold off or loaned out 3 of the indies two to the french, who returned them and one to Spain. this was finally returned in 1995. But that was all.
     
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