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Found 24 results

  1. I know that during the World Wars, there were some cases in which the British government requisitioned ships for military service. One that comes to mind is the HMHS Britannic (the Titanic's sister ship) that was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for use as a hospital ship. This particular ship was sunk by a mine. I believe some other larger passenger ships were also requisitioned for carrying troops. Did the British government pay the companies for these requisitions? In the specific case of the HMHS Britannic, it appears that the British government did pay £75 000 to the White Star Line, but that was to cover some required modifications. I don't see anything on the internet about whether or not the government paid for borrowing any of the requisitioned ships, let alone paid when the ship was lost. I would find it highly unlikely that they didn't, since some of these requisitioned ships were freshly built ships that would have cost the shipping lines a ton of money to make. But, then again, the war was important, so many the government didn't pay them.
  2. Hello Everyone, This brief annotated bibliography will act as a guide for anyone looking to read up on the Asia-Pacific War. Keeping up with the current historiography of the Asia-Pacific War, or any historical subject for that matter, is almost impossible for the casual observer. Hopefully this will help those of you that are intimidated by the sheer volume of works available and don't even know where to start. I will do my best to continually update the list, but keep in mind that it will never be exhaustive, nor is that the intention. This is only a starting point, with a few highlighted works on each topic. Please do not hesitate to ask me for more specific book/article recommendations on a given subject. I may not always have an answer, but the list below is barely the tip of the iceberg. Single-volume Surveys Multi-volume Surveys 2nd Sino-Japanese War/CBI Theatre/War of Resistance Pacific Theatre Japanese-Soviet Border Incidents and "August Storm" Additional Reading
  3. BladedPheonix

    Big boy is back up and running!

    some good news! The bigboy is out of the shop and is up and running again after a 2 year restoration! Can't say for sure if they'll have excursions or not but its still a sight to behold! Not bad for a 75 year old! gotta love railway history, such inovation. anyways, that's all for now, hope you'all enjoyed it! until next time, I'll C'ya on the sea!
  4. #1 The Roman “corvus”; how to bring a land battle into a naval environment Preface Hello and welcome to my effort of writing a series of articles on lesser known or bizzare naval weapons/ships/technologies since Ancient Times! I know of many people on the forums that are interested a lot in Naval History. While obviously the interest lies mainly in the 19th-20th century, we as mankind are connected to the sea for far, far longer. Military naval technology has existed literally for millennia, with some incredibly unique examples across all ages. As a big history nerd I decided to find some of the more unique, bizzare or interesting examples of Naval Warfare and share them with you fine people. I aim to create a small series of these articles provided there is some interest of course. Pardon my occasional misuse of English, not my mother tongue. Without further ado, let’s move onto our first case, the Roman “corvus” Introduction Ancient naval warfare in the Mediterranean was a very “skill intensive” method of warfare. Due to the ships using oars in battle for locomotion and the deadliest weapon of the time being the naval ram, synchronicity (there always existed the danger of the ramming ship getting stuck and being unable to row backwards, being sunk along with the rammed ship), the training of the oarsmen and maneuvers were of paramount importance in ancient naval battles in the region. It’s therefore unsurprising that areas with a long history of seamanship and trading in the region would possess some of these advantages over others. For this reason some of the Greek City States, the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians had some of the best trained navies, able to perform complex maneuvers in the heat of battle and best utilize the advantages of the naval ram (hopefully a subject for another article). When the Romans first engaged with the Carthaginians during the First Punic War (264-261 BCE) this was a very important issue. The Roman military back then was land based and lacked any naval experience and training. In contrast Carthaginians were as we previously mentioned among the strongest naval powers of their time. So, how do you fight at sea a far more experienced opponent with almost no naval experience yourself? As the subtitle has already hinted, you brought land warfare to sea. Enter the “corvus”, Latin for raven or crow Design “Corvus” was simply put a boarding device placed on Roman ships, enabling them to board with ease enemy ships in order for the superior Roman infantry to engage. So, how exactly did “corvus” look like? The device got it’s name from the spike that secured the two ships resembling a bird’s beak. In the words of the Greek historian Polybius: A simple drawing showing the use of the “corvus”. Notice the pulley system and the rotating base, allowing the device to be used in any direction. Usage “Corvus” helped the Romans win at least 4 major naval battles against the Carthaginians. The best example would be the battle of Mylae, the first time the device was ever used. Again from Polybius: Roman troops using “corvus” to engage the Carthaginian ship in a boarding action during the battle of Mylae. As we see by this description, not only was “corvus” instrumental in securing victory for the Romans, but we also observe how arrogance can be your downfall. The belief of the Carthaginians that they had won before the battle even begun only helped secure their defeat and present them with a nasty surprise. Another battle that deserves some mention is the battle of Cape Ecnomus, possibly the largest naval battle in history with estimates placing the number of warships at 680 (330 for the Romans, 350 for the Carthaginians) and at least 140.000 crew and marines for each side. Again “corvus” proved it’s worth and helped secure an unexpected victory for the Romans. Limitations and abandonment of use: Of course, “corvus” wasn’t a wonder weapon without any issues. The device was considered unstable and required calm sea to function properly; in rough conditions there was the danger of both ships sinking. In fact it is believed that because of this instability “corvus” was the reason behind Rome losing large numbers of ships in two separate occasions. This theory has been challenged lately however. Besides, as the Roman crews gained experience and Rome became a proper naval power, the use of “corvus” was slowly abandoned, with the battle of Cape Ecnomus being the last naval action where the use of the device was mentioned. Conclusion: I wanted to start with this series with “corvus” because it is a prime example of how simplicity can solve even complex military problems. Without “corvus” to enable the Romans to fight in their element, the course of the First Punic War may have been different. Thank you for reading and I hope you had as much fun and gained as much knowledge as I when I was writing the piece. I would really appreciate it if you voted on the poll if you would be interested in more of this content. Comments are always helpful too. Negative ones with logical criticism help me improve,positive ones make me feel my work is appreciated so please let me know what you think. Thanks again for reading! Sources used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvus_(boarding_device) http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Corvus.html https://www.livius.org/articles/concept/corvus/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cape_Ecnomus https://www.livius.org/articles/battle/ecnomus-256-bce/
  5. I have been ready an anthology of naval alternate history stories, Those in Peril, from Amazon kindle shop. A lot of fun stories. USA joins ww1 on Germany's side and see what Jutland looks like? Or 1928 off New Jersey and HMS Hood and HMS Nelson and the rest of a british squardron are sunk by USN defenders including first successful flattop actions. Have a look and enjoy. Tony
  6. A History of one of Britains most famous Warships The HMS Hood is one of Britains most famous warships taking her spot among other legends like Warspite, Dreadnaught and Victory. And despite the bad rep that the Hood gets from the community, the HMS Hood was actually a remarkable ship for her time. This isn't based on the in-game stats it's simply based off history, a story of what I think is a really interesting ship. Early Planning 1915-1916: Hood's very first designs were to be that of an improved Queen Elizabeth class of battleships. However, Admiral John Jellicoe wasn't impressed by this design since he already had plenty of battleships and thought that the Admiralty class ships should either become battlecruisers to counter the new German Mackensen class battlecruisers. Or they should be turned into battleships with heavier armour and armament than the Queen Elizabeth class of battleships. In the end, it was decided that the Admiralty class would be transformed into battlecruisers. The ships planed were Hood, Rodney, Anson and Howe all distinct but related to the Hood. The design process was slow and was often set back, Hood's firepower would be drastically changed throughout the design study ranging from 2x2 16", 4x2 16", 4x2 15", 4x2 15" but faster, and other designs incorporating 16",17" and even 18" guns were considered. However, it was decided that a minimum of 8 guns in a broadside was needed and so the design with 4x2 15" was decided upon. Hood was ordered on the 9th of April and development was going along as planned but then the battle of Jutland happened and everything came to an explosive stop. The British looked at their design flaws in their battlecruisers and decided more armour was needed, especially on the deck. The armour belt was also increased turning her for what at the time was a fast battleship. But the designs were finalized and construction resumed the ship would now be capable of 32kts with 12" armour belts and inclined armour scheme to make the armour belt more effective. Construction 1916-1920: As mentioned above the construction of Hood was not off to a great start, and when the designs were finalized Hood would've already not been able to part take in the conflict of WW1. The increased armour would've provided better protection than the Queen Elizabeth class of battleships at the expected engagement ranges however this extra weight from the armour had unintentional consequences. The Hood's quarterdeck was already extremely low in the water and with the increase of armour that quarterdeck became even closer to the waterline. It was decided that 6" secondary battery would be removed to help decrease weight, this didn't help all that much but did allow for faster re-arm time. However work on the ships Rodney, Anson and Howe were continuously suspended throughout the war so that those materials could be moved elsewhere. Suspensions kept on befalling the Rodney, Anson and Howe until they were finally cancelled. Hood would've been cancelled along with her sisters but she was almost complete so the British said screw it and finish the Hood leaving her all alone... until May 1941. [Left Hood at the dockyards of John Brown and company] Interwar period 1920-1939: Hood after coming off the production lines was immediately a sight to behold, 262m in length and at the time a record-breaking speed for a battleship 32.07 kts. Hood was revolutionary in this sense; before ships had to either choose between Good speed + Armour but weak guns, Good speed + Good guns but weak armour or Good guns + Good armour but bad speed. Now for the first time, there was a ship that was fast, had good guns and was still decently protected. In the USA the Lexington class battlecruisers which were a design study for an American battlecruiser that was started in 1890 and was still going on in 1923 (for more information on the Lexington class see video). The USA was amazed at the Hood and the British happily sent over a builder to help the Americans. However, as mentioned in this video when the newly drawn up plans were presented to the American Congress they denied the project since it would've made every other American ship obsolete. However when the fact that ignoring the Hood's existence would be like ignoring the existence of Dreadnaughts. Congress did... nothing... they did nothing. However, the Hood did exist and it wasn't being idle. Being the literal embodiment of British sea power Hood was constantly on diplomatic missions cause nothing says diplomacy than a 48,000-ton machine turning up at your doorstep. Hood was constantly visiting other countries and because of this rarely had time for refits. She would pick up a few minor upgrades here and there but never for any extended period of time. And at this point Britain and all the other major powers were under the Washington Naval treaty, restricting the number of new battleships that countries could make and their size+dispacment making Britain modernize old ships instead of building new ones. But yet there never seemed to be the right time to fully modernize Hood she was as mentioned before constantly moving. And all this sailing was taking a toll on the Hood, her engines were in desperate need of an overhaul as well as her range finding systems which were still WW1 era range finders. And most importantly the deck armour was no longer sufficient with all the new developments in shell technology. So Hood was scheduled to go in for a complete overhaul in 1937, new engines, new tower superstructure and increased deck armour over the magazines (see fig 2). But these plans fell through when Hood was sent to Malta and upon her return, the ship Duke of York was in the slipway she was supposed to be modernized in. So the Hood would have to fight WW2 in a WW1 configuration. (fig 2) WW2 1939-1941: Hood was a 20-year-old ship fighting a war which her designers could have never seen coming. But this didn't stop the British government from using her, for the beginning of the war she played convoy escort duty alongside the Nelson. Only to then be sent back out on diplomatic missions again where she would pick up refits wherever she could get them. However, the Hood wasn't just there to look pretty she was built to fire those 8 15" guns and this began with shore bombardment on the 3rd of July 1940 when firing at Mers-el-Kebir. And then on the 9th of July Hood came under attack from Italian S.M.79 bombers in the western Mediterranean. After the surrender of France, the British wanted to make sure that the ships didn't fall into German hands however talks broke down and the Hood along with 2 battleships, 1 aircraft carrier, 2 light cruisers and 11 destroyers were sent down to forcefully either take the ships or sink them. When after a certain amount of time the French navy didn't surrender their ships to British control the British resorted to plan B, sink all the ships. It is believed that the Hood scored hits on the French battleship Bretagne crippling it. This entire operation was considered a disaster by both the French and British, and people from both sides are still sour about what happened. The rest of 1940 went without anything else major happening to the Hood. Early 1941 Hood is due to go in for her full modernization waiting for Duke of York to get out of the slipway that would be used. When news reaches the Admiralty "Bismarck has escaped" Hood along with the rest of the entire British navy is sent into the North Atlantic. However the British had a problem, all their new battleships were under gunned at launch with 14" guns but they were faster with 28 knots of speed. And their older battleships with 15" and 16" guns were really slow with 23-24 knots of speed. Hood, however, was the exception she had 15" guns and even though her engines were in complete disrepair from years without major dockyard repairs she could still reach a respectable 28.8 knots. However, it was well known that Hood had a serious problem with its deck armour while the deck armour would've stood up perfectly fine to shells from the Jutland era the 9" of armour would've absorbed the shell impact. This is WW2 and now the shells can easily make it through the 9" of armour surrounding the magazines, but the armour around the magazine was angled and the quality of the metal used by Britain would mean that the 9" of armour, in reality, would have been closer to 10-11" of amour. This quality of metal wasn't replicated outside of Britain except for Germany who developed similar techniques. At 5:37 am on May 24, 1941, fifteen miles from the germans Hood opens fire. Now unknown to Admiral Lancelot Holland he has accidentally targeted the wrong ship, this was from the combination of WW1 range finders, poor visibility because of the fog and the similar silhouettes of Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. Prince of Wales working with radar and more modern optics realizes that Hood has targeted the wrong ship and then fires on the Bismarck. The first salvoes land just off the starboard bow of Prinz Eugen and Bismarck respectively. Hood adjusts and fires again, huge columns of water splash up short of the Prinz Eugen. Prince of Wales continues to fire at Bismarck, salvos land closer and closer to the German vessels. After the first two salvos, Holland finally realizes he's shooting at the wrong ship and orders to re-target the Bismarck. Salvo out at Bismarck... long. Until now Admiral Lutjens (Bismarck) has refused to return fire on the British due to his orders to not engage enemy warships at all costs. But finally, Captain Lindemann the captain of Bismarck gets fed-up and says "I will not have my ship shot out from under my [edited]" and orders for the main battery to open fire. Bismarck's first salvo barely misses exploding just of Hood's bow. Salvos are exchanged and the accuracy of Hood is lacking significantly behind that of Prince of Wales and Bismarck. 5 minutes into the battle and Prinz Eugen draws first blood, her shell explodes a 4" ready use locker. Hood's boat deck catches fire, shrapnel hits men on the deck. Still, Hood charges forward trying to get within the 9-mile mark where the shells will hit her 12" thick armour belt instead of the weaker deck armour. Bismarck fires, shells land just off Hood's starboard bow. Bismarck fires again the German gunners zero in with deadly efficiency, shells straddling the Hood. Finally, Holland orders a hard turn to port to bring Hood's full broadside to bear. Bismarck fires. Sailors aboard Prince of Wales watch as a shell lands near the mainmast and disappears, at first it was thought to be a dud. 5 seconds later a huge column of fire erupts from the hole in the deck and shoots up as high as the mainmast. The ship is torn in half the stern sinks first and the bow goes down by the middle. Aboard the Bismarck, it's a hollow victory, they realized that many sailors died aboard Hood and all were fighting in a ship that wasn't at that time capable of fighting. Still as Hood sinks by the middle "A" turret fires a final defiant salvo just before slipping beneath the waves. (Hood getting bombed in the Mediterranean) (The last photo ever taken of Hood from the bow of Prince of Wales) Hey! Thank you for making it this far and if you enjoyed it please give it a thumbs up I really do appreciate it. This was just supposed to be an educational thing to learn about the ships we have in the game. If you want to see more of these kinds of educational things tell me what ship I should do next. Thanks! Sources: 1: The battlecruiser HMS HOOD an Illustrated biography 1916-1941. Bruce Taylor 2: HMS Hood Association 3: Drachinifel: a 5-minute guide to the HMS Hood 4: Dogfights: Hunt for the Bismarck 5: Extra History: Hunt for the Bismarck 6: Wikipedia (ik, just used that for small dates nothing major)
  7. Posting this for the interest and the History of the latest ship
  8. MS406france1940

    Sabaton History

    So I don't know if you are familiar with them or not, but there is a Sweedish power metal band called Sabaton that you simply have to hear if you are a history buff. Most of their songs are about military-related things like mayor battles, historical figures etc. Recently they have joined forces with Indy Neidell (Of the Great War and WW2 week by week fame) to create a youtube channel where they discuss the history behind their songs and the songs themselves. Needless to say if you know either Indy or Sabaton, the channel is one of the most amazing things ever created by mankind just behind battleships and memes. If this interest you here is the link to the channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaG4CBbZih6nLzD08bTBGfw If you don't know Sabaton here is what I would consider a (very short) beginners guide:
  9. Interesting info on a turret damaged by a kamikaze, then nuked, and living in the Nevada desert.
  10. The SS Ourang Medan In 1947 the Dutch Freighter SS Ourang Medan sent a cryptic SOS in Morse code; "All Officers, including the Captain, are dead. Lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead. This communication was followed by a burst of indecipherable Morse code, Then a final, grim message: “I die.” I first read of this in Vincent Gaddis’s 1965 book “Invisible Horizons: Strange Mysteries of the Sea-True stories that defy logic…” Now many years later I revisit this interesting legend to see what new evidence the passage of time has revealed. The Ship transmitting the eerie SOS signal was the SS Ourang Medan. Radio directional equipment established the ships last position and an American merchant ship, the Silver Star, was sent to investigate and render aid. The ship was found adrift approximately 50 miles from her Indicated position. When the Silver Star arrived alongside the Ourang no signs of life could be seen, although the ship itself didn’t appear to have suffered any damage. All efforts to contact the crew failed, and the ship was boarded. The decks were littered with the bodies with wide-eyed horror and their faces twisted into sheer terror, arms trying to fight off something. The ship’s dog was found dead as well, in the midst of snarling at the cause. The Captain was found on his bridge, the remainder of the Bridge Officers were found in the wheelhouse and Chartroom. In the wireless room the young operator, who presumably sent the distress call, lay dead with his earphones on, hand at his key. The engineering crew was also found at their stations with the same expressions on their faces. In all 22 crew members were found dead. Interestingly one lifeboat was missing, as well as one member of the crew unaccounted for and never found (at the time.) The rescue party noticed several things that seemed strange. The local temperature was in excess of 100°F but members of the rescue party felt an ominous chill. All of the victims had suffered from something, but none had any injuries when examined. They also seemed to be decaying quicker than they should be. They decided to toe the ship to the nearest port and began making preparations. Just as salvage operations began they noticed ominous billows of smoke pouring out from Number 4 hold. Quickly they cut the ship loose just as the Ourang Medan exploded with enough force to briefly lift it out of the water before rolling over and sinking… disappearing for good. Like The Philadelphia Experiment, the story of the SS Ourang Medan has become something of a legend over all these 75+ years, with new “facts” added here and there. Did it really happen? Read the full story here; https://www.de173.com/the-ss-ourang-medan/ complete with detailed information, letters found in the CIA Archives, Original Newspaper clippings and more. This page is still in the process of research and editing but already provides a deep dive into the subject and I hope you find it Interesting.
  11. Ever wondered about that song that travels the world, around 24 time zones, unite a bunch of strangers in harmony? I I found this informative video about the song it self. Who would've imagine, a song based on a tempo of 2/4 time, would have such a powerful feeling regardless of where you are. For hose of us with health problems consider this a huge achievement. Staying alive is a full time job all by itself. Happy New Year Everyone!
  12. Le Terrible - A History The Le Fantasque-class (Fantasque meaning whimsical/capricious), now represented in World of Warships by the Le Terrible, is perhaps one of the most interesting classes of destroyers ever built, and Le Terrible is undoubtedly their most famous member. So what caused the French to build such massive destroyers? And how well did their design concepts translate into service? Here, we’re going to examine the design origins and service of one of World of Warship’s most recent additions, the Tier VIII French Destroyer Le Terrible. As a design, the ship represented the culmination of the evolution of much of France's interwar naval technology, and her naval arms race with Italy in regards to light ships. Her design is fascinating, as is her history, tumultuous as it is, and it gives a look into the complicated fates that befell so many French ships during the Second World War - in fact, in many ways her life offers a microcosm as to the struggles the Marine Nationale faced during the war. Be warned now, this post is focused almost entirely on historical considerations, so while I still encourage you to read it - if you're only here for WoWs gameplay, you might find this a bit dry! Design One of the last, and probably the best, of the contre-torpilleur lineage, the Le Fantasque–class was one of the largest evolutions of this ship type. Originally, the contre-torpilleurs had been conceived to act as scouts for the fleet, and counter those of the enemy. However, with the introduction of the esploratori by the Italian Navy (scout ships, essentially large, very powerful destroyers), this line of unique French warship escalated to becoming powerful large destroyers with exceptionally large guns (138.6mm), who’s main purpose was to take down esploratori, and act as the eyes of the French fleet. The subsequent classes of Contre-Torpilleurs had changed little since their inception, only incorporating minor improvements. However, this was soon to change. The Marine Nationale’s Italian rivals, the Regia Marina, were not letting this challenge go unanswered, and replied with the 'esploratori grandi' - the Giussano-class. Eventually re-rated as light cruisers, these ships, the first 'Condottieri' class, were based on enlarged hulls of the last class of esploratori, the Navigatori-class esploratori leggeri. Essentially small cruisers, they were designed to hunt down and kill the French large destroyers, and appeared well equipped for the job – they mounted eight (4xII) 152mm guns in power-operated turrets with director control, and the ships were absurdly fast for their size. On machinery power trials, one of them (Alberico da Barbiano) even managed to exceed 42 knots, although service speed was much lower, 36.5-37 knots when brand-new. This sent the French scrambling for a response. While they still theorized that one of the their three-ship contre-torpilleur divisions could take down one of these Italian light cruisers… well, they wanted to actually be able to win the fight, and Italian cruisers tended to operate in pairs… One of the first issues the French wished to address was the range of their guns. The 138.6mm/40 Mle 1927 fired its heavy 40 kg shells at only 700mps, typical for French destroyer-caliber guns. However, the maximum ballistic range of its SAP rounds was 16.6 km at the maximum elevation of 28º. In contrast, the maximum range of the 44.57 kg HE used by the Italian light cruisers was about 24.6 km at its maximum elevation of 45º. That being said, the maximum effective range of the Mle 1927 (due to fire control) was only about 14.0 km, while the Italians considered 15 to 17 km to be the sweet spot for the guns, and engagement ranges could easily stretch out to 20 km. Thus, the French opted for a much more powerful main gun, a 50-caliber length weapon with a propellant charge almost 35% more powerful – resulting in a muzzle velocity of 800 mps for the SAP rounds, and 840 mps for the HE. The mounts were also able to elevate to 30º, and these factors combined gave the new gun – the 138.6mm/50 Mle 1929 – a maximum ballistic range of 20.0 km. That being said, due to spotting problems, the maximum effective range was not much greater than it was before. However, that did not mean the upgrade was in vain – the guns now hit with greater power, and the increase in velocity solved the dispersion issue that had dogged the earlier low-velocity guns – an issue so dire, it had made gunnery beyond 13 km ineffective. Instead, the new weapons were noted to have quite tight dispersion. To further improve firepower, the No.3 gun was moved from the usual position to one facing forward, close to the aft turrets – an arrangement similar to that found on the later American Fletcher-class destroyers. The twin torpedo tubes forward were replaced by triples, at the expense of ASW equipment. Another massive improvement to the design was the introduction of fire control directors. Whereas prior French destroyers only had a rangefinder platform, and relied on a 3-meter coincidence rangefinder using a Follow-the-Pointer system, the Le Fantasque-class sought to change this. Fire control had been an area where French destroyers had been at considerable disadvantage to their Italian counterparts, who had used director control in almost all their destroyer classes following WWI (with 3 to 3.5-meter stereoscopic rangefinders). While French destroyers would struggle to fire beyond 14 km due to fire control issues (and 13 km due to dispersion), the British would note during WWII the surprising ability of Italian destroyers to accurately fire on their ships from ranges they did not consider reasonably possible – whereas they might open fire at 12000 yards (11 km), in the sinking of the Espero, the titular Italian destroyer (120mm/45) was engaged by five British light cruisers (152mm/50) and at a range of 14000 yards (12.8 km), hit first. Nine days later at the Battle of Calabria, the much more modern Vittorio Alfieri (120mm/50) was able to accurately engage British cruisers at a range of 17,000 yards (15.5 km). While the viability of long-range destroyer fire can be considered questionable at best in hindsight, at the time it was highly valued by the Mediterranean rivals, and the French sought to take a lead in this capability. Thus, the Le Fantasque-class became the first French destroyers to equip full director control, with a 5-meter stereoscopic rangefinder. This fed an Mle 1929 fire control computer, which would then feed the guns elevation and bearing via a follow-the pointer system. However, the largest improvement, and responsible for the fame of the class, was the upgrade to the ship’s propulsion system. Up to this point, while the French large destroyers had been decently fast, they really weren’t exceptionally fast, and the new Italian cruisers were even faster (on paper - reality, as we will explore later, was a bit different). The French chose to move to new superheated steam machinery, and also lengthen the hull by three meters. Power increased from 64,000 CV to 74,000 CV for a design speed increase from 36 to 37 knots (CV is a French horsepower unit, equal to 0.98632 shp. Thus, the increase above is from 63,124 shp to 72,988 shp). In this respect, these ships excelled. On their ‘normal’ power trials, all six ships of the class were able to make over 41 knots over their eight-hour run, and in the ninth hour all were able to exceed 42 knots, many making over 43 knots. About a week later, on much lighter tonnage, Le Terrible cemented herself in fame by exceeding 45 knots on one of her runs down the Glenans-Penmarch Range. Although impressive, this performance was unrealistic. In service, all the ships were capable of reaching just over 40 knots, and the top formation speed for the ships using Rateau turbines was 40 knots, and 38-39 knots for those with Parsons turbines. On paper, the new super-destroyers were fantastic, fast and well armed, with capable fire control. Faster and better armed than Italian destroyers, and now equipped with at least as good fire control, it seemed clear nothing less than the Italian light cruisers could counter them, and even then it might not go well for the Regia Marina’s CT-killers. However, for all their strengths on paper, the ships had considerable difficulties in teething issues. Starting trials in 1934, their machinery became a major point of issue, Le Terrible and two of her sisters stripping their turbines, leading to a long delay for repairs, while another was unable to change over to her main turbines from her cruise turbines on her very first voyage. Another, L’Audacieux, had to have the brickwork of her Penhoët boilers completely rebuilt. Even after completion, although many early machinery issues were solved, they remained rather sensitive powerplants that could not sustain repeated heavy operations, and Le Terrible's Yarrow Loire boilers would be particularly problematic (all other ships used Penhoët boilers). Due to the fact that many of the components of the ships were built in civilian yards due to both the inability of French yards to cope with the Marine Nationale’s orders and the wish t spread work to fight the damaging affects of the Great Depression, qualitative issues dogged the construction of French ships. In particular, it was found the platforms seating the main guns was totally unable to handle the recoil forces of the guns, and had to be replaced, causing another half-year delay for the delivery of the ships. Ultimately, it took longer for the ships to be completed than it did for contemporary cruisers! Steel quality would form a major issue for the class, partly due to the to the yards used, and partly due to the fact that France lagged behind most other naval powers in metallurgy during the interwar period, although this shortcoming was rectified in the early 1930s. Particularly concerning was the fact that after only four years of service, it was discovered that the Le Fantasque’s had pitting of up to 8mm depth on their hulls – hulls that were only 6 to 14mm thick to begin with! Issues also dogged their gunnery. In spite of the introduction of improved hoists based on those used by the light cruiser Émile Bertin, the hoists were far to slow to feed the main guns at the same rate as their firing cycle. Two hoists existed (One for the fore guns, one for the aft guns), each able to supply 20 rounds per minute total. This limited the theoretical peak replenishment (and thus firing cycle) of the fore guns to 10 rpm, and the aft guns to 6.7 rpm. On top of the slow delivery (considering the guns were meant to reach 12 rpm), the system also suffered from frequent jams, and it was also possible – and not necessarily rare – for shells to fall all the way down the hoists! One can imagine the shock an ammunition handler might have from a 40 kg shell dropping on top of them out of the blue. While the system overall was lighter than what came before it, and also took up less space… its performance left much to be desired. Because of these issues, French crews took to adopting large ready-racks, able to fit 24 rounds, in order to combat this. These measures allowed the destroyers to engage in 2-4 minutes of combat before retiring in order to replenish their ready racks – although because of this limitation, many crews opted to over-load the racks, often to dangerous levels. Generally speaking, however, operating conditions limited the rate of fire to about 7 rpm. Although the issue of their ammunition replenishment was partially solved by the crews themselves, what was never able to be countered was the vibration issues suffered by the class when operating at high speed. These vibrations made rangefinding effectively impossible at any speeds over 30 knots, and thus the Marine Nationale limited the gunnery speed of the destroyers to 28 knots – well below their top speeds, which reached 40 knots. Another advancement the French attempted to apply to the gunnery of the Le Fantasque-class was the addition of RPC (Remote Power Control). RPC was the ‘holy grail’ (to borrow the extremely fitting words of John Jordan) for the Marine Nationale and Regia Marina, who both sought to obtain greater and greater freedom of fire while maneuvering, allowing ships to confound enemy firing solutions while maintaining their own. While both navies were able to place it on their cruisers (Training for French cruisers, Train and Elevation for Italian cruisers), only the French attempted to place it in a destroyer, which typically don’t have the space and power capacity for the necessary servomotors. What RPC did was, rather than have gun crews follow the inputs from the directors (Follow-the-Pointer, or FTP), was to do so directly, greatly increasing automation and reaction speed. It also helped counter the rough conditions created by poorer weather conditions. The ability to fit such a system to the Contre-Torpilleurs would provide a major edge in combat, especially if it came to fighting Italian cruisers – so it’s little wonder the French took a crack at it. All except Le Terrible and L’Indomptable were fitted with it, but in service it failed to deliver. The systems for compensating movement did not work, insufficiently sensitive resulting to overcompensation. And even greater failure was the inability to operate in rough seas, at all. If activated when the ship experienced violent motions, the circuit breakers would trigger and disable the entire system. In service, in could only be operated in calm sea conditions. Likewise, sufficient power could not be supplied to the system, as the electrical generators – two 80 kW turbo-generators – were not enough for the demands of RPC for five guns. It was thus disembarked from the ships it had been tested on, and the 138.6mm mounts were hand elevated and traversed. Service Pre-War Laid down on the 8th of December 1931 at Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire, Saint-Nazaire, the fourth member of the Type 1929 Contre-Torpilleur class, program number 145, project Da 19, was named Le Terrible, after a Ship-of-the-Line from France’s revolutionary period. Although dismasted by the HMS Royal Sovereign in the battle, Le Terrible played an important role in securing French strategic victory, allowing the well over 100-ship strong grain convoy to reach France unmolested. The name, meaning 'The Terrible One', is analogous to the classical definition of the word - 'Fearsome'. Launched on the 30th of November 1933, she was finally taken for trials in December of 1934. Le Terrible in Caen Canal, while still fitting out. As can be seen, here armament as yet to be fitted Her normal trials took place on 22 January 1935, which tested her machinery power at ‘normal’ displacement (2840 tons, which was her minimal amount of fuel, reserve water, ammunition, and other consumables for operations). Her actual displacement was 2853 tons, or 83.5% of her full load displacement. Over the first eight hours of her trial, her rated 74,000 CV propulsion made 86,343 CV, giving her 329 shaft rotations per minute and propelling her at 42.92 knots. Over her ninth hour, she established the top speed of her class, working up to 90,868 CV and 403 shaft rpm, and reaching a top speed of 43.78 knots. What followed was even more impressive, as on the 30th she ran three lengths of the Glenans-Penmarch range, and during her second run worked up to 94,353 CV for 419.78 shaft rpm and a top speed of 45.42 knots. Correcting her displacement to Washington standard (2615.99 tons, or 76.56% of full displacement) resulted in this value being lowered to 45.02 knots, but either way, Le Terrible had established a new world speed record for destroyers (and large warships in general), which remains unbroken to this day. Although not one of her famous high-speed runs, here Le Terrible steams on her verification sortie, 10 May 1935 On April 15th, the Le Terrible was commissioned into the Marine Nationale, although she wasn’t competed until October, and only entered service on the 5th of February 1936. She was grouped with her other sisters that used Rateau turbines in the 10th DCT (division de contre-torpilleurs). In May, she and three of her sisters were present for a naval review conducted to inaugurate the opening of a new building for the Naval School at Brest. As of October, the 10th DCT was reorganized as the 10th Light Division, which together with their other sisters (8th Light Division) made up the 2nd Light Squadron, lead by the light cruiser Émile Bertin, which acted as their flagship. Late that year, Le Terrible and her sisters received a fire control upgrade, and automatic graph being added to their computers, which were then redesigned Mle 1929M36. In early 1937 1.5-meter stereoscopic rangefinders replaced their 1-meter AA models. Le Terrible at the Naval School of Brest review On the 27th of May 1937, she participated in another naval review for the Navy Minister, on board the brand-new battleship Dunkerque. However, for the most part her life was very quiet before WWII, avoiding the drama of the Spanish Civil War, and the unfortunate accidents that seemed to plague French destroyers before the war – beaching and collisions, or even spontaneous detonations! Wartime Service (Pre-Amistice) Life finally picked up, however, as France entered WWII on 3 September 1939. She and 10th DCT (yes – the designation did change again) were part of Force de Raid, centered around the 1st Line Division, made up of the two Dunkerque-class battleships. With them was 8th DCT, and the new 6th DCT, made of the two Mogador-class destroyers. Together the destroyers made up the 2nd Light Squadron, Force de Raid’s escort force (Force de Raid proper being made up of 1st DL and the 4th cruiser division, made up of three La Galissonniére-class light cruisers). Force de Raid was based out of Brest, their first sortie actually sortied on the 2nd of September to hunt for German ships that were reported to have left port (none, in fact, had). Failing to find anything in four days of searching, Force de Raid returned to port after its first and only full-strength sortie. The destroyers helped escort some convoys from Britain to France, but in October the 10th DCT was sent south to Dakar in order to hunt for German raiders as part of Force X (made of the carrier HMS Hermes, the battleship Dunkerque, heavy cruisers Algérie and Dupleix, and the 10th DCT minus L’Audacieux). Starting missions on the 10th, Le Terrible would have her first success of her career on the 25th when she and her sister Le Fantasque stopped and seized the German freighter Santa Fe. The two destroyers were relieved on the 12th of November, escorting Strasbourg and Algérie back to France on the 21st, and then went to reform a now-understrength Force de Raid. Based in the Atlantic, Le Terrible was in relatively calm waters, but her situation did not reflect that of the rest of France’s destroyers. In a situation paralleling France’s struggles on land, French destroyers found themselves increasingly unable to counter the Axis threat, their lackluster-at-best anti-aircraft firepower leading them to suffer heavily at the hands of the Luftwaffe. As the situation deteriorated on land, and French destroyers were being pummeled off Dunkirk, Force de Raid was sent to Mers-el-Kébir on the 5th of April in anticipation of Italian entry into the war, but on the 9th was sent back to Brest in anticipation of combat in Norway. However, on the 27th they were sent back, minus two other destroyers. However, as April wore into May, they were steadily reinforced by more French destroyers, and two of the Bretagne-class battleships. Although early June was spent by most of the ships evacuating personnel from France, Le Terrible remained in Mers-el-Kébir, and was largely inactive throughout June 1940. Le Terrible at anchor in Mers-el-Kébir in the Spring of 1940. Beyond her are the light cruisers Gloire and Georges Leygues The Armistice, and Vichy Service On the 25th of June, 1940, at the early hour of 0035, the French Armistice went into affect. France had surrendered, and French naval forces as per the treaty were frozen in place. Nine days later, the British launched Operation Catapult – the capture or immobilization of French naval assets across the planet to prevent their use against Great Britain. French ships in British ports everywhere were seized just before dawn, and in one of the more tragic moments of WWII, the Battle of Mers-el-Kébir would occur, the largest action of Le Terrible’s career. On the morning of July 3rd, Force H from Gibraltar would appear off the French base, consisting of the battleships Valiant and Resolution, battlecruiser Hood, two light cruisers, eleven destroyers, and the carrier Ark Royal in support. The British offered the French these options; Sail with the British and continue the fight against Germany and Italy. Sail to a British port with reduced crews where the ships would be safeguarded until hostilities were over. Sail with reduced crews to a French West Indies port where the ships could be demilitarized, or entrusted to the safekeeping of the United States. Sink all ships within six hours Face the “use of whatever force may be necessary to prevent your ships from falling into German or Italian hands.” The calm before the storm - Le Terrible is in the foreground, the time of the picture is about 1400. Mogador can be seen moving towards the harbor entrance. French battleships can be seen at roughly Le Terrible's 11-o'clock Negotiations wore on (I won't go into detail - the point of this thread is not to debate the choices made by either admiral & government at Mers-el-Kébir), and eventually the British informed the French that if no agreements were reached by 1730, they would settle matters for them. At 1730, the French destroyers cast off, while the British battleships and battlecruiser, all with 15” guns, took up position, and Ark Royal flew off a strike force. At 1754 and a range of 17500 yards (16 km), the 15” guns of the British battle-line roared into action. The French admiral, upon visually observing the salvoes being fired, ordered the French ships into action. The destroyers were already forming up, but the battleships were still attempting to cast off. Provence was the first to return fire at 1758, her gunnery officer the best-scoring officer in fleet gunnery exercises. The 340mm shells roared right over Dunkerque’s superstructure to land nearby the Hood. The range being as close as it was, aim was easy and it was not long before she straddled the massive battlecruiser, causing splinter damage. French shore batteries also engaged. Unfortunately for the French, it as just as Dunkerque was casting off that the British started hitting, with their third salvo. The first rounds glancing off her B turret, in what shouldn’t have been a major hit... but due to the French use of Face-Hardened armor on the turret roof of the small battleship, the impact threw splinters out on both ends of the armor plate, disabling the guns in the turret and also destroying Provence’s main rangefinders, ending her ability to effectively control her fire. Other rounds in salvo over-penetrated Dunkerque's aircraft hangar, and further rounds punched into the battleship Bretagne, sparking a devastating magazine explosion that blew the aft part of the ship apart. As if that wasn’t enough, Mogador, who had been leading the line of French destroyers (Le Terrible being fourth in line), took a hit aft from a 15” shell that triggered her depth charges, blowing the stern of the ship apart. She veered off and anchored in the harbor, rendered combat ineffective. The remains of Mogador's stern, blown apart by the explosion of her depth charges Two minutes later, further rounds struck Dunkerque, two punching through the thin 229mm armor belt. The first round landed in the handling room of one of the 130mm turrets, but fortunately failed to explode. The other shell detonated in a boiler room, and cut off electrical power, disabling the battleship. She had fought briefly but furiously, expending 40 rounds attempting to hit the Hood, but failed to due to the smoke hampering her rangefinders. At 1803, the destroyer Volta burst from the smoke of the harbor into the open sea, Le Terrible hot on her heels, both ships making 40 knots. They fired sporadically at the British destroyers, 15 km away, who were totally surprised by the appearance of the French warships and opted to flee instead. However, this was the only good news to be had. As Dunkerque drifted clear, Provence took several hits and burst into flame, flooding heavily to boot. Not long after Bretagne capsized with heavy loss of life (almost 90% of her crew), and the crippled Dunkerque beached herself, having lost 15% of her crew. All the French battleships had been accounted for – all but one. The lone Strasbourg had made her way across the harbor at 15 knots, salvoes dropping in her wake, and then broke out of the harbor at 1809, increasing speed to 28 knots. By the time the British realized she was escaping, it was too late. The British admiral brought Hood around in a sprint at 1820 with the cruisers and destroyers, quickly losing the other two battleships, and ordered Swordfish to attack the French battleship. Volta and Le Terrible, screening to the rear of the fleeing French battleship, uncorked a spread of torpedoes at 1840, set to run 22,000 yards (20.1 km), and two more destroyers copied their move at 1900. Neither spread had a hope of hitting, but they were only intended to dissuade pursuers, not score hits. The French had escaped the British surface units, Le Terrible having fired six torpedoes and ninety-nine 138.6mm shells. Airstrikes would follow, but none were successful, and the French fleet was able to make Toulon without further damage, joined by other scattered elements of the French fleet. The events of Operation Catapult had cost the French two battleships destroyed, one captured, one crippled, plus three more heavy cruisers captured, with scattered losses or capturing of destroyers and light cruisers. While elements of the French forces, including 10th DCT, were sent to Dakar to protect to incomplete battleship Richelieu, Le Terrible did not join them, and missed the events of Operation Menace and the Battle of Dakar on the 23rd of September, where the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia disabled and forced the grounding of Le Terrible’s sister L’Audacieux. On the 26th of February 1941 she was sent to Dakar to replace the loss of her sister, and thus rejoined the 10th DCT. Her life was then blissfully quiet for the remaining 10 months of the year. She would leave again for Toulon for a maintenance cycle on the 31st of December until the 14th of June 1942. 18 May 1942. Le Terrible is on post-refit trials out of Toulon Being so far removed from the rest of the French fleet at Dakar actually worked in Le Terrible’s favor. The two other major concentrations of French warships were Casablanca and Toulon. With Operation Torch (the Allied invasion of Vichy French North Africa), the French forces at Casablanca was destroyed in action against American warships in the Naval Battle of Casablanca, while the German incursion of Vichy territory in France led to the mass-scuttling of the French fleet at Toulon. With the end of the Vichy Regime, the remaining French ships went in for the Allies, forming the FNFL (Free French Naval Forces), and ships captured by the British during Operation Catapult or interned by the American were returned to the French. Back on the Allied Side & Charleston Refit On the 3rd of January 1943, Le Terrible and Le Fantasque were inspected by a USN Admiral so that a list of repairs and modernizations could be drafted. They left Dakar for Casablanca on the 24th, arriving four days alter and dropping off the entirety of their anti-aircraft armament. On the 1st of February they joined a convoy going to the USA, and went across the Atlantic to arrive in New York City on the 13th. On the 20th they left for Boston, arriving the next day. Sent to the Charleston Navy Yard, the two sisters would receive substantial modification. Le Terrible was in refit until the 22nd of May, and had her machinery overhauled. Numerous pieces of equipment was replaced, including the high-pressure condensers, which were swapped for low-pressure versions. Her diesel generators were also replaced by American models. On top of the light AA already shed, Le Terrible also lost her amidships torpedo mount, reducing her torpedo broadside to just three torpedoes. A quadruple Bofors 40mm mount would be placed between the No.3 & No.4 138.6mm gun mounts, with two twin 40mm mounts in tubs abreast the second funnel. Eight single 20mm Oerlikons were also included, four abreast the superstructure fore, two abreast the aft guns, and two on the platform aft of the second funnel. Le Terrible arrives in Boston, 21 February 1943 Each 40mm mount was given an American Mk.51 AA director, and the bridge was rebuilt to accommodate a radar plot for the fitted SF surface search and SA air search radar. An Alpha 128 ASDIC sonar system was installed, usable below 25 knots, as well as a degaussing cable to counter magnetic mines. In exchange, not only did her centerline torpedo tubes have to be landed, but so did her torpedo rangefinder (atop her main gun director), the reserve 5-meter Stereoscopic rangefinder, and boats and associated cranes were landed in exchange for rafts. Despite these losses, she still came out of refit some 410 tons heavier, giving her a new ‘normal’ displacement of 3250 tons. Although the Americans recommended she land her No.3 gun, the French refused. She ran trials starting on the 13th of May, and Le Terrible proved herself still able to make 37 knots despite her heavier state – truly an impressive performance! Le Terrible's sister, Le Fantasque, running trials from Boston to Cape Cod after her Charleston refit, still able to make up to 37 knots. 13 June 1943 FNFL Service Le Terrible’s first missions after modernization sent her to the Caribbean in July, as French islands there began to rally to the Free French cause. She stopped in Martinique on the 14th of July, and Guadeloupe the day after. She went back to Martinique, and finally on the 30th left to cross the Atlantic once again, arriving in Dakar on the 5th of August. She left for Algiers on the 9th and arrived on the 15th, joining her sister Le Fantasque once more, and 10th DCT was re-formed. On the evening of the 20th, the two French destroyers embarked on their first combat operation, sent to raid Scalea, on the northwest coast of Calabria. Their mission was to bombard German headquarters in the town, but was interrupted by the attack of Italian MAS boats (fast attack craft) – however, neither side suffered any damage, and the French destroyers returned on the morning of the 21st. The two sisters were subsequently attached to the screen British Force H, and were assigned to the covering of the Salerno landings. Force H’s mission that day was to guard against intervention of the Italian battlefleet, and consisted of the carriers Illustrious and Formidable, and the battleships Nelson, Rodney, Valiant, and Warspite. Including the French destroyers, fourteen destroyers acted as their screen. On the early morning of the 9th of September, 1943, the Italian battlefleet was raising steam in the their main base of La Spezia, preparing for a final ‘do-or-die’ attack on the landings. The mission called for the commitment of the battleships Italia, Vittorio Veneto, and Roma accompanied by six light cruisers, ten destroyers, and five torpedo boats. At the cost of air defense in the Northern Tyrrhenian, the fleet was to have full air cover from Regia Aeronautica and Luftwaffe fighters. Such a clash would have been the largest naval action fought in Europe since the Battle of Jutland, larger even than the Battle of Calabria three years earlier. However, this attack never came due to the Armistice of Cassibile, and instead numerous battles would be fought between Italian and German forces across the peninsula. For the destroyers of 10th DCT, their only action would come from defending against air attacks. Released back into French control after returning to Algiers, they departed again on the 13th to conduct raids on Ajaccio in Corsica, attacking twice before Le Terrible had to be taken out of action due to turbine failure. The fragile turbines of the class, now that they were finally seeing regular service, became a major issue for the French destroyers. On the 28th, they were re-designated as light cruisers, which gave them higher priority for maintenance and replenishment than other allied destroyers. Their division was thus re-designated as the 10th DCL. However, due to the fragile nature of their propulsion, the ships spent significant time out of action while repairs were conducted, finally finished on the 17th of October. Their first mission was to escort the now-completed battleship Richelieu from the Azores to Mers-el-Kébir, which was completed successfully. They were then reassigned to accompany the British light cruiser Phoebe on raids into the Aegean in late November, but aside from downing an aircraft were unable to make contact with any Axis ships. In February 1944, the 10th DCL was transferred to a port north of Manfredonia in Puglia and reinforced by the Le Malin, in order to launch raids into the Adriatic. Being fast but still well armed, the Le Fantasque’s were perfect for launching night attacks on German coastal shipping. On the night of the 27th, Le Terrible ventured north with Le Fantasque, but found nothing. The next night she stayed in port while her sisters hunted fruitlessly. However, on the night of the 29th she ventured out again, this time with Le Malin, at 1345, after hearing that a German convoy had left Pola at 1245, bound for Piraeus in Attica (north-west Greece). It centered around a freighter escorted by two torpedo boats, two corvettes, and three minesweepers. What followed was Le Terrible’s second surface action of her career, known as the Battle off Ist. Le Terrible in Manfredonia, March 1944 The two French destroyers, with Le Terrible being the flagship under command of Commander Pierre Lancelot, had just passed Ist some nine hours after leaving Manfredonia, when Le Terrible’s radar picked up contacts bearing due north at 18,600 yards (17 km). Lancelot immediately increased speed to 30 knots, the maximum possible gunnery speed of his ships, and made contact about ten minutes later. At 2144 and at range of 8,750 yards (8 km) both destroyers unleashed their 200-kilogram broadsides on the German ships, Le Terrible targeting the freighter while Le Malin engaged the escorts. The German ships immediately returned fire and began to make smoke. Le Malin’s shooting was much better than her sister’s, hitting the torpedo boat TA37 on her second salvo, while Le Terrible only finally hit her target at 2148, after closing the range to 4500 yards (4.1 km). However, both ships quickly left their targets blazing, and Le Terrible let lose a spread of torpedoes, scoring a hit on the freighter at 2157. Le Malin moved northwest, and encountering the corvette UJ201, tore her up with shells and uncorked her own torpedoes. Like Le Terrible, one ran right into her target, causing a magazine detonation that utterly annihilated the 670-ton corvette. TA37 suffered another hit into her engine room, cutting her speed to 10 knots, and TA36 also suffered damage. However, as the minesweepers moved to rescue survivors from UJ201, Lancelot mistook them for MTB’s, and disengaged, unwilling to fight fast attack craft in a melee. The two destroyers made good their escape totally undamaged, leaving the freighter ground to a halt and ablaze, TA37 burning heavily, and a corvette sunk. The 6,311 GRT freighter would later sink. Le Terrible and Le Fantasque would sortie again on the 2nd of March to hunt for targets in the gulf of Venice, but due to a lack of targets the operation was cancelled. Another operation near Trieste was conducted on the night of the 4th, but was likewise unsuccessful. With the Adriatic empty of targets for the time being, the efforts of 10th DCL was re-directed towards Greece and the Aegean, and the two ‘cruisers’ sortied on the 7th to bombard German positions on the Greek island of Zakynthos. They carried out a final patrol on the 15th into the Adriatic but encountered nothing, but on the 19th were sent to Navarino, encountering four German ‘Seibel Ferries’ (essentially catamarans with 8.8cm and 20mm cannons stuck onto it, used as AA barges, landing craft, or transports) and an MFP landing craft. The action was far from even, two of the Seibel Ferries being sunk and the other two being crippled, although 20mm fire damaged both French ships, wounding one man on Le Terrible and eight on Le Fantasque. After dropping off their wounded at Malta and undergoing a brief refit, 10th DCL transferred to Alexandria in Egypt, and through May, launched a series of fruitless raids into the Aegean. After further maintenance in Alexandria, 10th DCL minus Le Malin transferred back to the Adriatic, and finally encountered the enemy again on the night of June 16th, where they sank the oil tanker Giuliana (350 GRT). Another raid was launched on the 25th, but nothing happened except for their fragile propulsion systems catching up to them. Le Malin had to be left behind in the first place because her port shaft had to be removed. On the June 25th mission Le Fantasque’s own port shaft suffered severe vibration issues limiting her top speed to 25 knots. Le Terrible also began developing issues, and all three ships of 10th DCL had to be sent to Bizerte for repairs. In August, the 10th DCL (minus Le Malin’s port shaft) would join a force comprising of virtually all of France’s surviving cruisers and destroyers in Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of Southern France. The landings took place on the 15th, and Le Terrible bombarded Saint-Aygulf, expending 158 HE rounds. Later that night she provided fire support for allied troops advancing towards Cannes, but soon Allied troops advanced beyond the range of available naval guns. On the 1st of October Le Fantasque and Le Terrible escorted Richelieu into Toulon, the first time a Free French battleship entered the port since the Fall of France. Le Terrible and Le Malin then underwent refit in Toulon followed by maintenance in Bizerte. However, soon after departing for Toulon, disaster struck. On a night exercise, Le Malin’s bows slammed into the side of Le Terrible at 26 knots, killing 62 men in the bow of the destroyer, which broke off and sank. Eight other men would die, and Le Terrible’s hull was badly damaged for a length of 27 meters (a fifth of the entire ship’s length) and breeched in four separate areas. With the engine rooms and aft boiler room flooded, the damage to Le Terrible was heavy, and took her out of the war. She would be repaired at Bizerte, her badly damaged port-side 40mm twin mount replaced by two singles, and she also gained the addition of a British Type 285P4 affixed to the top of her main battery director for anti-aircraft gunnery. After her 1945 refit. Her new AA fire control radar can be seen atop her director Post-War Service She was finally re-commissioned on 1 January 1946, well after the end of the war. On the 26th, she returned to Toulon, and in May she and Le Malin embarked on a ‘show-the-flag’ mission to Northern Europe. In January of 1947 all surviving members of the class were grouped into the 10th DCL, typically with two of the four ships being active at any given time. Le Terrible and Le Malin participated in fleet exercises from April to May, and then in January of 1948 the 10th was re-designated into the 1st DCL. Le Terrible would participate in exercises again that year with Le Triomphant, but would be deactivated in July, and officially went into reserve on the 15th of March 1950. The ships would finally drop the ‘light cruiser’ designation in July of 1951, and instead became ‘Escort Destroyers 1st Class’. In May of 1952 she underwent a major refit in Toulon, and also replaced her two single 40mm mounts for a new twin mount, and returned to Toulon in 1953, now re-designated as a ‘Fast Escort’ (escorteur rapide). She spent the latter part of May and early June on a cruise in the eastern Mediterranean, and later that June joined the escort force of the carrier La Fayette (Originally the American Independence-class light carrier Langley) until February 1954. She then operated with Belleau, also an Independence, until August, and rejoined La Fayette the next month until February 1955. Le Terrible pictured not long after her 1952/53 refit From there she transferred to the screen of Arromanches, an ex-British Colossus-class light carrier, and in August was transferred to Brest. She made port on the 28th, and was decommissioned on the 1st of September. She then served as a training ship, put into special reserve in December of 1956, and was finally stricken on June 29th, 1962. Le Terrible was broken up for scrap in 1963 at Brest, ending a 30-year life. Reflections So just how successful was the Le Fantasque-class? Like so many ships in WWII, these ships operated in very different roles than they were intended to. As they were designed, they still reflected the ideas of the linage of previous contre-torpilleurs – fast and well armed in order to fight Italian esploratori and smaller destroyers – but were made faster and fitted with even more powerful guns in order to fight the larger esploratori of the Giussano-class. As the naval war with Italy never developed, we never got to see such intended combat roles displayed. However, some of her wartime career does illustrate her strengths and weaknesses. For one, her speed and firepower did translate into a fearsome weapon. The class was not shy at all in regards to demonstrating their speed, able to make up to 40 knots after completed, and still hit 37 knots after their American refits! Their speed meant they were able to get relatively heavy firepower (for a destroyer) into combat in areas other destroyers would not be expected to appear, which lead to instances of great surprise. For example, at Mers-el-Kébir, where the sudden appearance of French contre-torpilleurs firing wildly put the British destroyers screening the harbor entrance to flight, which allowed Strasbourg to slip out initially undetected. The Battle off Ist was another good example – the Germans did not expect the Allies to be able to send destroyers up the Adriatic so far, and the appearance of Le Terrible and Le Malin caught the Germans totally by surprise. Their heavy firepower allowed them to dominate in the brief engagement, and then flee so as to maintain the cover of night on their return. However, against cruisers this was a very different story – at the Battle of Dakar, the heavy cruiser Australia wrecked the L’Audacieux with a single salvo (this salvo being the third salvo), forcing her to beach heavily aflame – the destroyer was never recovered. This was reflected by other classes of Contre-Torpilleurs, such as the Engagement off Sidon, where two Guépard-class destroyers engaged a force of four British destroyers, their superior firepower crippling one and leaving another slight damaged in exchange for a single hit, and then breaking off the action before the two non-engaged British destroyers could join the action. However, in the following two actions (1st & 2nd Encounter off Beirut) the British had light cruisers on their side, and the French could not repeat their prior results. In the two battles of Oran during Operation Torch, the British light cruiser Aurora demolished a force of several French destroyers, albeit these were ‘regular’ destroyers, not the contre-torpilleur ‘super-destroyers’. As excellent as their speed and firepower was, their reliability proved to be considerably less attractive. The turbines of the ships never quite behaved, but the severity of this issue was disguised for their early career simply by the fact these ships weren’t very active. However, after the fall of the Vichy Regime and the entry of many of those ships into FNFL service, they started seeing regular service… and then their true colors started to shine through. Time between refits was brief, and the propulsion system took them out of action repeatedly. Were it not for the great resources of the Allied Powers, this would have been a far more severe concern. So, all that aside, one obvious question nags - how would things have gone down if they went… well, as intended? Contre-Torpilleur versus Esploratori? We'll break down the three scenario's below; Contre Torpilleur versus Esploratore Leggere (Le Fantasque versus Navigatori) Contre Torpilleur versus Esploratore Grande (Le Fantasque versus Giussano) Contre Torpilleur versus Esploratore Oceanico (Le Fantasque versus Capitani Romani) Assessment of the Comparisons All in all, things settle in a decent place for the Le Terrible and her sisters. Improved versions of previous contre-torpilleurs, she was more than capable of defeating the esploratori leggeri they had been designed to counter. In regards to fighting the first generation of ‘Condottieri’ cruisers, the Giussano-class ‘esploratori grandi’, she was designed to counter, Le Terrible makes the fight surprisingly close given it’s a destroyer versus cruiser (even if it is a very large destroyer versus a very small cruiser). While 1-on-1 does not necessarily favor a Le Fantasque, by all means the envisioned 3-on-1 scenario (however unlikely it may have been) the Marine Nationale intended should have resulted in a victory for the their DCT’s… although in the face of more realistic doctrines (Italian light cruisers operating in pairs) and more improved versions (the Cadorna-class, and the later first ‘true’ light cruisers of the RM like Montecuccoli-class) this is less likely. Still, they do form an appropriate counter. Against the small cruisers designed to kill them (Capitani Romani), the Le Fantasque’s fare very poorly, but that is to be expected given the technological and displacement gap - so it’s hard to fault the French destroyers in that regard. Overall, because of that the Le Fantasque overall fares well compared to the Italian esploratori types. Final Thoughts All in all, the Le Fantasque-class can be described as partially successful. While the Marine Nationale did succeed in creating a fast platform with a powerful armament, this came at a high cost. Between the vibration issues and lack of RPC, these two attributes could not be combined in use at the same time, greatly diminishing their value. Furthermore, the relatively unreliable nature of their shell hoists and loading conditions hindered the efficiency of their main armament even in relatively good conditions. Thus offensively they had considerable limitations in spite of their domineering capabilities on paper. Operationally they also proved rather fragile, not only in hull wear due to steel quality issues, but also the wear inflicted on their turbines, which greatly limited their availability in practice - this stood in stark contrast to the heavy abuse suffered by the turbines of Italian or British destroyers. Likewise, operational range remained poor for a ship of their size, not appreciably greater than the considerably smaller Italian destroyers, and inferior to esploratori of all types. At the core of the matter, these ships could never have sustained the high-intensity operations that typified the service lives of destroyers in the Mediterranean during the Second World War, and their useful lives would rapidly be exhausted in the type of operational tasks Italian and British destroyers conducted during the conflict. Much was sacrificed for the sake of high speed, and for heavy and effective firepower on a destroyer hull. As the Italians learned through the harsh lessons of the Giussano-class, this is a disastrous combination, leading the ships to be unable to effectively engage in the tasks normally demanded of their rate, and furthermore poorly suited to the task for which they were designed. In every sense of the expression the Le Terrible and her sisters embodied the Laozi quote “The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long” - they could briefly let their weight be known with their high speed and heavy broadsides, but that could only last so long as ready ammunition was exhausted, and their ability to operate at all limited by the fragility of their turbines. While a threat to destroyers, against proper cruisers they were at considerable disadvantage, once again proving that balanced designs always work better than ones that sacrifice one aspect heavily to feed another. They were potent combatants, but for every one of their virtues they had considerable vices. In that way, they were very much the French equivalent to the Italian Giussano-class they were designed to counter - concepts that demanded to much of the premature technology available at the time. Had they come five years later, they perhaps would have been far more potent combatants than they were as built, or even moreso than the Mogador-class. They came just before the wave of ships utilizing higher-quality steels, that allowed stronger hulls with less materials used. The advantages of this are exemplified best by the heavy cruiser Algérie - she was the same standard displacement as the other French heavy cruisers, but her hull structure was only 75-80% the mass of her predecessors, allowing her quadruple the amount of armor carried compared to them! This was also helped by the development of lighter machinery, which the Le Fantasque-class had already benefited from. In any case, regardless of how optimized the Le Fantasque-class was for the realities of service, if nothing else it cannot be doubted that they acquitted themselves well in action, and lead the charge for the forces of the Marine Nationale on multiple occasions. When they were needed, they were present, even if it was in spite of their moody turbines! While most of Le Terrible's career saw her in action in the Mediterranean, with some Atlantic excursions, her sisters operated everywhere, from the Caribbean to the English Channel, and from Indochina to the Adriatic. It is not for nothing that the Le Fantasque-class, and Le Terrible, remain some of the most well-known of the French superdestroyers, and for that matter are some of the best-known French warships as a whole.
  13. Battle of Jutland We will try this on this next coming Friday on Dec 7th 12/7/18. 9:30-11:30PM US Eastern standard time , 8:30-10:30 PM US CENTRAL TIME, 7:30-9:30 PM US MOUNTAIN TIME, 6:30-7:30 PM US PACIFIC TIME , 11:30AM -1:30 PM in Sydney Australia 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM in Perth Australia. This will be in the training room labeled "battle of jutland". search for training rooms by Outwardpanicjoe. if anyone is interested in helping to make new events or suggestions feel free to join the workshop discord https://discord.gg/ygjyP2G the event for this will be in the same discord for voice. TRAILER V General rules for the event: Try to stay in a battle line formation as much as possible. Battleships/battlecruisers will be using AP only. Each team will have 2 commanders of the line one in the lead and one to the rear of each battle line. If one of the commanders is taken out of the battle, the ship next in line takes command as flag ship. Chapter 2 - The Grand Battle UK mission- The battlecruisers are on the retreat intercept the german fleet and engage them from a battle line and surround the german fleet and pumble them into submission. Attempt to sink the rest of the German navy before they can try to escape to the map border. UK ships- 10 battleships and 2 other classes. 3 Queen Elizabeth classes including Warspite, 3 Orion class BBs , 2 Iron Dukes, 2 Bellerophon's, and 2 Other can either be a tier 2 dd or a tier 2 cruiser for spotting and supporting fire and smoke support no torpedos. Kaiserliche Marine Mission- Form a battle line and intercept the Grand Fleet. Try to sink 3-4 ships, or just inflict more casualties than the royal navy has before trying to retreat and avoid getting crossed by the T. Kaiserliche Marine Ships- 9 battleships and 3 other types of ship. 3 Konigs, 3 Kaisers, 3 Nassaus. And 3 other types, being tier 2-3 cruisers and DDs for spotting and artillery support and smoking support Torpedoes may only used in a fleet retreat and is limited to 1 reload. here are some pictures from the last event V
  14. Snargfargle

    HMS Dreadnought

    Check out this historical video.
  15. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1990/01/05/chers-dirty-dance-embarrasses-navy/c7676fce-b1d3-44a8-8e5f-bfce3ebd952a/?utm_term=.a73ea4c1fde2 http://articles.latimes.com/1989-11-17/local/me-1483_1_retired-navy https://www.wearethemighty.com/cher-navy-music-video The US military, the navy included, sometimes allows Hollywood to borrow various things for its projects, everything from personnel to full-blown warships. For instance, the Essex-class carrier USS Lexington (CV-16), now a museum ship in Corpus Christi, Texas, was used as Akagi in the films Tora, Tora, Tora! (1978) and Pearl Harbor (2001), as well as the three Yorktown sisters in Midway (1976). However, a curious exception is that, since 1989, the US Navy has not allowed a single music video to be filmed aboard its warships. The reason to this can be traced back to a certain American singer's album. While Cherilyn Sarkisian, better known as the American singer and actress Cher, initially had a very poor impression of the song "If I Could Turn Back Time", the song (which was part of an album named "Heart of Stone") eventually came to be seen as a major part of her comeback in the late 1980s, charting #1 in Australia and Norway, #3 in the US and #6 in the UK. It has also been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America and was Cher's second consecutive solo #1 hit on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. However, for the US Navy, the song was basically the Miley Cyrus straddling a wrecking ball of the time. Cher's outfit proved much more...exposed than the Navy expected, and indeed caused quite a stir at the time. MTV initially banned it, and several veterans groups criticized it (even though it would appear that the sailors on board the Missouri who were participating in the video's filming had very few objections). The fact that USS Missouri was the sight of the Japanese surrender in 1945 and its resulting historical importance only added fuel to the fire. A second cleaned-up video was eventually released, but the damage was done, and no music video has been filmed on a USN warship ever since. As for the song, its most recent usage has been in the closing credits and post-credits scene of Deadpool 2. To quote the Washington Post, "If battleships could blush, the USS Missouri would be bright red." The Music Video in question (not sure if it's the sanitized one or the original):
  16. Psycodiver

    History of USS Texas

    Heres a good listen about the USS Texas
  17. AceHunterZeroz

    HMS DREADNOUGHT

    Any one remember this HMS freaking Dreadnaught the first dreadnaught bulit and we don't have it in game we have USS Texas but not this ( T - T ) would Wargaming add her in to the game who knows.
  18. Amracil

    A Promise Is Kept

    Saw this and was moved by it. Thought I would share it here with those of you interested in such things. Respects, Am
  19. Well, despite being drag butt tired, I manged to unlock the Helena tonight. My daughter was looking over my shoulder as I put her "night of remembrance" camo on her... I explained that I really wanted her, as not only was she real, unlike the Dallas, that she had a very interesting history. We talked a bit about Pearl Harbor, where she got torpedoed, and my daughter asked me: "Is she the one that still cries oil?" "Nope that is the Arizona, but she was sunk in the same attack. I don't have her, but I can pull up her picture here in port." So I did...we talked about how much oil a ship like that would have on board, etc. 30 seconds here and there can add up to a big deal, IMO. Anyway, the Helena might be the best looking CA in my port. Two thumbs waaay up!
  20. An interesting little video I found on the battleship Nevada.
  21. Hello! I thought this would be the appropriate place to show off my personal collection of relics and knick-knacks related to WW2 warships. I actually started this collection after getting into World of Warships, though I always loved naval combat from shows like Battle 360 or Dogfights. As we are all naval fans, I hope you guys enjoy some of these treasured mementos for ships long gone. If others have other naval treasures they would like to share, they can post it here as well. I'll update this thread with my own collection for the time being. If this topic is not appropriate, please contact me privately and I can work on shutting down this thread. Thanks!
  22. While I did do a forum search on this topic and pulled up one from 2012, it only touched a little on the subject with some examples. The thread is called "Know your Camo's" and there's the link in case anyone is interested. I thought it was pretty cool to see how many of those that posted back then were still active today. These camouflages were developed in response to the German U-boat attacks in World War 1. I was also surprised at how much it took to get this to work and how it came together. The camouflage style is known as "Dazzle Camouflage" and it was first created by John Graham Kerr, who was a zoologist, based on a book published in 1909 by Abbott Handerson Thayer which was entitled "Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom". Now Thayer had a good base concept in his book with the principle of animals have camouflage, but he was asserting that every color of every animal was indeed camouflage. Which of course is not true and caught the attention of even Theodore Roosevelt, who even criticized him for his "unsubstantiated claims in place of evidence" (wiki) as Roosevelt as an avid hunter. Thayer's core principle was solid with regards to camouflage and in 1914, in the opening months of World War 1, John Graham Kerr wrote a letter to Winston Churchill advocating for a new naval camouflage known as "Disruptive Camouflage". Kerr's theory was to confuse enemy ships by "the use of paint to obliterate self-shading and thus to flatten out the appearance of solid, recognizable shapes" (wiki). He was thinking along the lines of Zebra's, Giraffe's, etc. This was the early version of the Dazzle Camo that was soon to come. Though Kerr soon found it difficult to promote or control the ideas and use of the camo's and they soon fell out of favor with Churchill. In 1915, after Churchill left the Royal Navy, the RN reverted back to standard grey paint. However, in 1917 here comes an artist named "Norman Wilkinson" who himself was a Volunteer Royal Navy Reservist. Wilkinson agreed with the base principle of Kerr that confusion was the way to go, he disagreed with the approach. "What Wilkinson wanted to do was to make it difficult for an enemy to estimate a ship's type, size, speed, and heading, and thereby confuse enemy ship commanders into taking mistaken or poor firing positions" (wiki). Wilkinson claimed to had never known about Kerr nor Thayer's zoology research prior to his and only admitted to having known of "old invisibility-idea" from ancient Roman times. This adaptation of the camouflage was not only applied in the Royal Navy, but in the United States as well where it was referred to as "Razzle Dazzle". Starting in August of 1917, over 4,000 British Merchant ships were painted with the Dazzle camo as well as 400 British Naval vessels. " from ff The success of the Dazzle Camouflage was debated and uncertain at the time. This was due to a misunderstanding of "ships being attacked" vs. "ships being sank" or "struck by torpedo's". Wilkinson argued that the sole purpose of the camo was to again confuse the enemy rather than to conceal their ships from the enemy. Surprisingly enough and although they still ruled the results "unreliable comparisons", here they are: 43% of Dazzle camo painted ships were sunk compared to 54% of uncamo'ed ships. 41% of Dazzle painted ships were stuck amidships compared to 52% of uncamo'ed ships. Where they said the data became unreliable is in the tonnage. 38% of the ships were painted in Dazzle were over 5,000 tons where 13% were not. (wiki). I assume that the other 49% were under 5,000 tons, but that isn't listed so I cannot say for sure. However, still just looking at the numbers, it appears to have been effective, especially when you start looking at the actual camo itself. For the sake of everyone's eyes, I will put them in spoilers. This one is hard to tell how wide it is and the angles are just a trip because you know it has smooth sides. EDIT: I think this is the French Cruiser Gloire (1935). About 4 seconds in on this YouTube, it appears to be the same ship. Looks to be a possible US ship, though I'm not sure. Regardless, it's a mix of schemes. USS Collett (DD-730) Commissioned May 1944 - Decommissioned Dec. 1970, Photo taken outside of Boston, Massachusetts. And finally, I mean come on. If this thing didn't have a smoke stack, it would be harder then all beat all to tell which way it was going from a distance or even at night back then (with the smoke stack). A general guess would be from the bow AA gun. Anyway, I know this was a long post and I'm long winded. I just found this really interesting, hope someone or a few others do as well. Miner
  23. StrixKitty

    Naval Technical Mission in Europe

    Hello all, I'm currently looking for Naval Technical Mission in Europe files/articles. I have most - if not all - for NavTech Mission to Japan, but I'm very much so lacking for the stuff that was discovered in Europe, and if ANYONE has those files, even if it's only a couple, that'd be awesome, and PLEASE PM me ASAP so you can get those shared via Google. (Oh, and don't go looking through Google - I've tried, trust me). If you came here expecting NavTech EU files, then sorry, but here: have NavTechJap as a consolation. https://web.archive.org/web/20141211145152/http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/primary_documents/gvt_reports/USNAVY/USNTMJ Reports/USNTMJ_toc.htm Thanks for any who can help, ~ Kitty.
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