Most OVERRATED Class of naval Vessel in WWII...

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by polishshooter, Sep 11, 2006.

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Most OVERRATED class of warship in WWII....

  1. US "PT" Boats....

    5 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. "Other..." (please explain!)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Well, here it is...while the PTs DID do yeoman service scouting, and "barge-bopping," and landing guerrilas, evacuating certain Generals and their families complete with the "nanny," as well as creating a myth that a marginal at best LT JG used to win the Presidency....:cool:

    They were a FAILURE at what they were DESIGNED to do, engage major enemy warships with Torpedoes!

    They were TOO lightly armed to serve as the "Gunboats" they usually acted as, TOO small and loud to be fit with Sonar so worthless as "Escorts," TOO lightly built to USE their speed in any kind of seas other than CALM, also too fragile and fueled by AVGAS to take ANY kind of damage...

    As a WEAPON, they were a failure, and only had ANY utility due to the "ingenuity" and bravery of their crews, who were SO junior, or were "misfits" (The NAVY knew how worthless they were the entire WAR, so of COURSE the BEST officers and bluejackets served on "REAL" ships!) they didn't know better, and jury rigged extra guns they stole from the ARMY on them....plus, with ALL the torpedoes they DID expend, you can count their HITS on two hands, and their SINKINGS of enemy ships on ONE with a few fingers left OVER.


    We WOULD have been better off "Reverse Lend Leasing" some of the British Fairmile "MGBs" that were steel AND diesel powered, AND had decent firepower, but then again we had to keep the "New Deal" Plywood industry going TOO...

    Now the CLASS of "small warships" DID serve well in the Meditteranean and the Channel in EUROPE, bith the British and the Germans had some good designs, but as much as i would LIKE to like our PTs, they really were a WASTE.....
  2. Polish! Hold on to your hat! We actually agree on something (more or less, anyway)! :eek: :D :p

    I have to go with the PT boats as well; they were indeed pretty useless, at least for their designed function. Despite all the hype they've received over the years (Kennedy's PT-109 escapade, the John Wayne movie "They Were Expendable") these eggshells armed with torpedos were no match for any steel warship the Japanese had in inventory. I suppose they did make some sense in the Phillipines as patrol craft, but that was a job that could have been done better with DDs. I think much the same criticism could be leveled at the German E-boats in the English Channel, though these did have some success raiding coastal shipping and attacking landing craft prior to D-day.
  3. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    You know, when I posted this I was JUST thinking of PTs, and did the "poll" as kind of a humorous way to make a point, but today at work (It's AMAZING how the mind can drift, huh!:p ) I came up with a few more...

    How about the '"Pocket Battleships," (not ENOUGH guns, rate of fire or armor to even fight LIGHT CRUISERS)or in the same vein, our"Alaska Class CBs?"

    JUST what we needed, SUPER heavy cruisers, ALMOST as heavy. but not quite, ALMOST as armored, but not quite, and ALMOST as expensive (so we WOULDN'T want to use them against REAL battleships, and on the OTHER hand WOULDN'T want to risk them in shallow waters against REAL and "cheaper" CRUISERS....)and as long to build , as BBs, with 12" guns (Yeah, let's waste TIME and RESOURCES as well as take up space in REPLENISHMENT ships developing a NEW naval gun,. that hits just a LITTLE harder and longer than an 8", with shells ALMOST as big and heavy as a 14", with the same rate of fire as a 16"! BRILLIANT!:mad: )

    The ONLY backhanded compliment even JANES gives them is "had some utility in shore bombardment...." What ELSE were they good for?????







    And as far as "Patrol Craft" and "Barge Boppers" goes, we MIGHT have been better off with Subchasers and PCs doing the work, heck, maybe even CG Cutters, at least with their one or two 3" 50s, ALONG with a couple of 40mms, and radar AND sonar, they could have done the work BETTER, and with maybe a LITTLE more engine, might have been able to run away from any "real" ship they ran into accidentally too....
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2006
  4. What you say is true, Polish, though there was a political dimension to the pocket battleships that must be accounted for. They were essentially designed to temporarily and secretly (more or less, mostly less) get around the terms of the Versailles Treaty. They did enjoy some success as commerce raiders, but for their cost in resources, the Germans would have been much better off secretly building up their submarine fleet before the war.

    Another class that might be listed here were the so-called "battlecruisers," though those were actually built before WWII broke out. HMS Hood is likely the best example of how worthless this design actually was.
  5. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    I read a book a while back that was REALLY esoteric, but it was about "Shaft Horsepower" and naval engines and the relationship to warship design, and it was pretty enlightening...EVERYBODY hit the same wall at the same time designing ships in the early 1900s when they switched to oil fuel, only SO much engine size/power available, so EVERYTHING had to have one screw/engine, (DDs and less) 2 screws/engines) Cruisers, 3 or 4 screws/engines, (BBs, CLs and BCs)....and ALL naval engines were about the same SIZE too....so it was just how many engines could you crowd into the hull? There were some WILD designs, like "Banks" of engines vertically driving screws on top of each other, contrarotating props driven on the same shaft by two engines, but NOTHING really mattered, it was number of engines /tonnage= speed! PERIOD

    THAT was the limiting factor of EVERY design, EVERYTHING after that was how much WEIGHT directly meant SPEED...EVERYTHING was finite, and THAT'S the reason we ended up with Small/Fast Destroyers, Heavy/Slow Destroyers, Light Cruisers, Heavy Cruisers, Battleships and Battle Cruisers!

    And EVERYbody's ships in ABOUT the same class had about the SAME armor, guns, and speed!

    Heavier Gun? Slower speed, UNLESS you took off something else, like ARMOR? SO ALL Battleships traveled 18-21 knots, while BCs carried the SAME armament as Battleships, but less than half the ARMOR and could hit 28-32 knots! And EVERYBODY got the same idea, which made sense, use the BCs to "scout" and "soften up," and to "flank," while the BB line "plodded up" to start the MAIN fight....but WHENEVER BCs met "Real" BBS they got hurt badly. like at Jutland....

    But in the 1930s, suddenly there was a BREAKTHOUGH, and like OVERNIGHT almost EVERYBODY started turning out naval engines with 2 or 3 TIMES the shaft Horsepower per engine, and even MORE, and now you could turn more than one SCREW too with one engine...So THAT is what killed the Battlecruiser, suddenly 25-32 knot Battleships were not only POSSIBLE, but being built! By EVERYbody!

    But the Hood was one of the LAST BCs made, advertised that it would be "The Most Powerful Ship Afloa!," while in fact the "horsepower" thing happened WHILE she was being built, so she was obsolete ON THE STOCKS, but there was such a political outcry, and so much hype of how "modern" she was, that the Brits decided, what the heck, build her ANYWAY, it's about "National Pride...". About ALL they did when they gave her the "new" engines was give her a LITTLE more armor and anti-torpedo bulges, but STILL not a "real" BB...but they deluded themselves into THINKING it was...


    But since they HAD the BCs, and the Hood was SO new and pretty;) the RN USED them, and before the war the Hood was actually a good "Gunboat Diplomacy" ship, showing the flag, GREAT for STATE DINNERS, ;) BUT... TWO salvos by the Bismark (OK, lucky shot, but STILL....) THOUSANDS of sailors and officers die, less than a minute later NO Hood, and only 3 survivors...


    WHAT a waste...:mad:
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2006
  6. Very true, Polish. Hood was a georgous vessel on the outside--sleek and fast, and she mounted powerful armament indeed. Yet, as you said, two salvos from Bismarck--a real BATTLESHIP--and she was on her way to the bottom, a broken hulk. The irony of the Hood disaster though was that the British Admiralty KNEW of her weaknesses, had acknowledged them, and had scheduled her to be modernized with thicker armor, especially on her upper decks to protect against falling shot. The exigencies of war intervened, however, and she faced her one and only fight completely outclassed by the modern Bismarck. Yes, Bismarck won so quickly through a lucky hit to Hood's magazine, but the outcome would ultimately have been the same even without it.

    You mentioned Jutland. It does seem that after the mauling Beaty's BCs took in that engagement that the British would have seen the light, but obviously they didn't. The battlecruisers simply did not have the armor to stand up to a slugging match against heavily armored battleships and hope to survive.
  7. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    It must be remebered that U.S. torpedos early in the war were very poor preformers. They ran to deep. The proxemity fuse designed to set them of under enemy ships would preform erraticly, many time going off before reaching the enemy, other times not working at all. The contact fuses would break if the target was hit to hard. The last problem was due to a very low price part being made even cheaper. If I remember correctly a U.S. torpedo cost approx $10,000 in WW II. Adjusting for inflation that was a huge amount in 1941 dollars. A test was done firing torpedoes at a under water cliff with the explosives removed. It was found that if a target was hit to hard the firing pins would crack. It cost very little to correct this problem. So the P.T. boats armed with these poor weapons would have a hard time making a good showing.

    Polish the Coast Guard during World War II was very busy with convoy protection and manning transport ships. Many of the larger Coast Guard cutters were very roomy. They were often used as command ships for convoys. The large Coast Guard Cutters had 5" guns as their main battery. For war time service they had 3" and 40mm guns added for air defence.

    The last ship on active duty with the U.S. military that was at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 was the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Taney WPG-37.
  8. They were worse than poor, 17th, they were very nearly useless. The Mark 14 torpedo--as you suggested--ran much deeper than it was set and the magnetic exploder mechanism was highly erratic, often going off prematurely or not at all. This was primarily due, as the Navy later figured out, to variations in the Earth's magnetic field. Both the Brits and the Germans had experimented with magnetic exploders before the war but abandoned them when they proved unreliable. Many of the sub skippers, directly against orders, disconnected the magnetic exploder and relied on the secondary contact exploder, but it too didn't work if the torpedo struck the target squarely because the firing pin bent before it could set off the exploder. It took the Navy almost 18 months to finally fix the problems with the Mark 14, which probably extended the Pacific war by a good many months.
  9. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    Didn't one of the airstrikes by the Brits against the Bismark have trouble with their torpedos going off in the same manner due to magnetic fuses? If I remember correctly they switched to contact fuses for the mission that disabled the Bismarks steering.

    I've read some historians who feel that the Phillipines may not have fallen if our torpedos were more effective.

    At least occasionaly our torpedos would at least knock a whole in an enemy vessel by sheer mass.
  10. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    Sub chasers and patrol craft

    Polish, by and large our Sub chasers were not that heavily armed. Nor were they very fast.

    Most had a top speed of around 16 knots.
  11. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Yeah, I know that, but MAYBE if they were up engined,,,

    The Subchasers actually were close to pretty useless too, I don't think they had ANY confirmed kills on a sub, but they WERE easy to build and also out of wood so we at least GOT them fast when we were WAY short of ANY escorts...plus we gave a ton of them away to our allies, like the Brazilians when they took over most of the escorting for the coastal convoys around S. America and even into the Caribbean. But too small for most open ocean work...I think they were like 80-90 feet...

    The 173 foot PCs were better, actually could be oceangoing, got a couple of kills but supposed to be COLD in winter and HOT in summer, no in between! Plus a little slow too, and could only shoot mousetraps, not a whole Hedgehog....but they did a great job as Landing Craft Control ships and in shore protection on landings from Sicily/Anzio to Okinawa....

    And I was very surprised when I first read about the CG Cutters years ago,. SPencer and Campbell especially had GREAT careers against the Uboats, and Spencer even went to the Pac ific and ended the war as a command ship for a couple of amphib assaults...

    But I was ALSO surprised at how SLOW they were, I thought they would have been MUCH faster, (I mean didn't they use them to chase rumruners?) some of them barely reached 10 knots, some others barely 15....
  12. Actually, the most highly overrated class of naval vessel in WWII was the battleship, Polish. It never did anything that could not have been done with heavy cruisers or carriers just as efficiently. Battleships were obsolete as main fleet elements even before the war began, though quite a number were built after the commencement of hostilities, a major waste of resources and manpower. Yeah, they worked reasonably well as bombardment platforms and as anti-aircraft stations, but lighter ships could have done the same thing much less expensively in both resources and men.

    :::::waiting for the famous Polishshooter polemic . . . . ::::::: :D ;) :p
  13. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    No, wrong again, Battleships earned their pay in World War II, and with a little MORE agressiveness by Fleet Admirals aon BOTH sides, plus a couple of BLUNDERS where they WEREN'T used, they just might have gotten MORE headlines than the carriers...

    As it was, there were more BB vs. BB fights in the war than there were CV vs CV, they did WELL against aircraft attack EXCEPT when caught unprepared in port or in the VERY beginning when they all had too little AA...

    And of course that was only ship to ship, NOTHING beat a BB for bombardment purposes....DON'T forget the CLOSEST the Marines came to losing the 'canal was after "The Bombardment," and the only thing that saved them from ANOTHER night of it was Ching Lee and the Washington....


    Battleships were an integral part of ANY fleet....even our Carrier fleets at the at Coral Sea and Midway when we were short of operational ones were nothing but "hit and run" or "ambush" fleets...." because WITHOUT at least ONE BB in it, it was NOT an "offensive" weapon....
  14. I never said the battlewagons didn't play a highly significant role, Polish, I only argued that, comparatively speaking, they did not provide a good return on investment, at least in most cases. I think it is interesting to note that the four Iowa class battleships we built, our best, most modern and all built after the commencement of hostilities, never once saw action against enemy surface vessels of anything approaching their size. Nor did they see such action in their subsequent deployments in Korea and Vietnam. As gun ships for bombardment, and AA platforms, they were superb, but they were highly manpower intensive as well. In the early stages of the war, it is true, they saw action as battleships, but in all those cases it was the older, less capable battleships that were used, not the Iowa class vessels. By 1944 the Japanese navy, as an effective surface force, had essentially ceased to exist. There was effectively nothing left for the battleships to fight in a gun action.
  15. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    But they COULD have, and I think EVERYONE would have been singing a different tune IF Halsey leaves TF34 off Samar like he SHOULD have....just think, we WOULD have seen the Iowa class face off with the Yamato, along with a couple of others, in DAYLIGHT, with air playing a minimal role....

    And I still think ONE Iowa WOULD have cleaned the Yamato's clock, one-on one....
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