Use it or loose it!
I've always been fascinated by the WW1 German navy and the WW2 Italian navy. In both cases, the respective countries dedicated a huge amount of their economies to producing fleets that could challenge the British, yet were unwilling to use them in any effective manner for fear of loosing them.
The Germans built a fleet prior to WW1 that could directly challenge the British Home Fleet and in some ways pushed Britain to ally with a traditional enemy (France). One major, indecisive engagement takes place (Jutland), and the German Fleet never sorties again. How do you not use something, that could prevent your entire country from going down in defeat?
The Italian Navy in WW2 was made up of modern, well equipped units, and was large enough to challenge what the British could dedicate to the Med. But instead of using that fleet aggressively to cut British supply lines to Egypt, the Italians would rarely leave port, and when they did they usually got spanked by inferior British forces.
I guess I just canít understand the mentality that would allow a commander to preserve his ships at the expense of his country.
During WW1, while there is no guarantee that the Germans could have beaten the British Home Fleet, that possibility was there, as well as the fact that a full scale fleet battle between the British and the Germans would have left one side destroyed and the other so badly mangled as to not be an effective fighting force. Effectively breaking the blockade by the British Fleet and leaving the German Submarine force intact to strangle Britain.
The Italian Fleet could, potentially, have changed the entire North African campaign and prevented the invasion of Italy, but instead they sat in port waiting to be destroyed (i.e. Taranto).
In the end both navies were dismantled and all of the money spent on them wasted. Whatís your opinion?