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JohnPJones

DD tender/DL

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Was just thinking about destroyer tenders and wondered if any were ever designed with heavy enough weapons to actually support a DESRON in combat.

Something like 3 6” guns 4 quad 40s and something like 8-10 20mm gun’s.

 

or would the idea even be worth it in reality?

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I don't think that this sort of ship was ever intended to seek out combat.  They might have had some minimal weapons, both AA and perhaps some for the surface for self defense.    After all, in WW2, for a while some subs would surface and engage with deck guns, though IIRC that went away later in the war, primarily (?) due to the creation of Q ships.

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Destroyer tenders were intended to act as mobile bases for destroyers.  That is, they had all the machine shops and other technical expertise aboard to repair and maintain a destroyer as well as amenities like steam, fresh water, and cooking facilities to allow a destroyer when nested with one to not have to keep their crew manning all those systems.

800px-USS_Dixie_(AD-14)_underway_c1961.j

These ships weren't intended for combat.  They were intended to be mobile bases that could move with the fleet to a new port.  Their weapons were mostly decorative.

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Yes as built they were never intended for combat but you guys seem to be missing the the question of could they have realistically performed in a role along the lines of the Cold War era DLs if changes to their design were made.

no where did I ask how were they used.

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No, they couldn't be used as destroyer leaders, at least without compromising their primary mission.  The reasons for this are:

1.  To make them into 33+ knot ships would have required vastly more machinery and propulsion power, not to mention hull design changes.  This in turn would have limited the space for shops, stores, and other things the tender carries for maintaining and supplying the destroyers.  It might have made them much larger ships to keep the necessary characteristics.

2.  Doing #1 is expensive.  Really expensive.

3.  The tender is still going to be a very large, slab sided target with no armor to speak of.

4.  Loss of a tender would involve the loss of lots of highly skilled technicians, mechanics, and other ship fixers.

5.  The space and weight for armament, fire controls, command and control spaces would all have to be greatly expanded to make the ship combat worthy.  That goes back to 1 and 2.

So, basically turning the tender into a combatant would result in a very large, expensive, and vulnerable ship that would really still be too valuable to risk in combat.

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Think of it like the Ocean Liners that in time of war could be equipped as Auxiliary Cruisers.

A nice idea in theory, but in practice, the liner just wasn't designed to take that kind of damage.

 

The whole concept of a Destroyer Tender is to resupply and provide maintenance to a DD when beyond an actual base. It could also theoretically repair a DD enough so it could return to a main base.

While it does have weapons on board, its more for self-defense then offense. 

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On 11/22/2018 at 6:59 PM, Murotsu said:

Destroyer tenders were intended to act as mobile bases for destroyers.  That is, they had all the machine shops and other technical expertise aboard to repair and maintain a destroyer as well as amenities like steam, fresh water, and cooking facilities to allow a destroyer when nested with one to not have to keep their crew manning all those systems.

800px-USS_Dixie_(AD-14)_underway_c1961.j

These ships weren't intended for combat.  They were intended to be mobile bases that could move with the fleet to a new port.  Their weapons were mostly decorative.

That's a lot of skilled specialists and special equipment to lose if thrown into a fight.

 

Even the IJN that literally had ships as Destroyer Leader roles, i.e. actual Destroyers and Light Cruisers, they were all pure warships.

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1 hour ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

That's a lot of skilled specialists and special equipment to lose if thrown into a fight.

 

Even the IJN that literally had ships as Destroyer Leader roles, i.e. actual Destroyers and Light Cruisers, they were all pure warships.

Tenders and DDL's are quite different things. Tenders carried supplies, extra torpedoes, machine shops and additional medical facilities. All the weapons were purely for self defense.

Actual DDL's for the US Navy and Royal Navy generally had an additional radio room, searchlights, and flag platforms plus quarters for the Commodore and their staff. The IJN was unique with having purpose built light cruisers for this task. For the Germans, that was just one of the regular duties of light cruisers, not that there was anything special about the ship.

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lol the guys driving the dds were probably slugging it out all day but the guys in the tenders with the fresh water/ food and stuff were probably like 

:cat_cool:

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23 minutes ago, IDAMAN_04 said:

lol the guys driving the dds were probably slugging it out all day but the guys in the tenders with the fresh water/ food and stuff were probably like 

:cat_cool:

Destroyers do the dirtiest jobs among the navies.  Navies are protective of their precious Capital Ships and even their Cruisers.  But Destroyers?  They were in straight forward terms, disposable screens.  They were Canaries in a Coal Mine.

 

Look at the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.  Where South Dakota, Washington engage Kirishima and her task force.  It's a big, important success for the Allied war effort in the Pacific.  Everybody talks about SoDak's electrical failure, eating tons of attacks, and how Washington surprised the Japanese with devastating fire.  The Japanese withdraw but Kirishima is lost.  "Yay!" for the US right?  Washington spanks some a$$, right?  It's true, but everybody interestingly ignores what happened to the USN Destroyers that acted as the screens for the Battleships.  They got REKT.  But because they got rekt, the BBs behind knew what was going on and the Japanese expended their torpedoes on the USN DD Screen and not the Battleships.  People don't talk about the USN DD sacrifice for this battle.

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On 12/3/2018 at 2:06 PM, HazeGrayUnderway said:

Destroyers do the dirtiest jobs among the navies.  Navies are protective of their precious Capital Ships and even their Cruisers.  But Destroyers?  They were in straight forward terms, disposable screens.  They were Canaries in a Coal Mine.

 

Look at the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.  Where South Dakota, Washington engage Kirishima and her task force.  It's a big, important success for the Allied war effort in the Pacific.  Everybody talks about SoDak's electrical failure, eating tons of attacks, and how Washington surprised the Japanese with devastating fire.  The Japanese withdraw but Kirishima is lost.  "Yay!" for the US right?  Washington spanks some a$$, right?  It's true, but everybody interestingly ignores what happened to the USN Destroyers that acted as the screens for the Battleships.  They got REKT.  But because they got rekt, the BBs behind knew what was going on and the Japanese expended their torpedoes on the USN DD Screen and not the Battleships.  People don't talk about the USN DD sacrifice for this battle.

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors would like a word with you...

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On 12/5/2018 at 7:28 AM, Vettish said:

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors would like a word with you...

And what word would it have with me?  Because I have zero intention on reading that book.

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It is one of the most heroic tales of the destroyer and destroyer escorts of the baby flattops during the battle off Samar. If I were able to read only one book in my life and this was picked as the one, I would not be disappointed.

 

The point I was trying to make is this book is dedicated to destroyer men and their heroism. I don't disagree with your points entirely but there exists exceptions to your rule.

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4 hours ago, Vettish said:

It is one of the most heroic tales of the destroyer and destroyer escorts of the baby flattops during the battle off Samar. If I were able to read only one book in my life and this was picked as the one, I would not be disappointed.

 

The point I was trying to make is this book is dedicated to destroyer men and their heroism. I don't disagree with your points entirely but there exists exceptions to your rule.

Destroyer performance was never in question by me.  Destroyers across all navies do the "Dirty Jobs" and are the ones with high attrition.  Japanese, American, British, German.  Regardless of nationality, they ate a lot of losses.  The Japanese even held back their CAs from most of the fighting, conserving them for that "Decisive Battle."  All while their Destroyers were bled white.  Submarines and Destroyers were cheap, abundant, and used for everything.  In WoWS, people think Cruisers are throw away weapons, disposable, when in real life, navies were very protective of how they used these ships.  But DDs?  Threw them in for everything.  There were tons of actions in the heavy surface ship fighting in the Pacific where the USN used nothing larger than a Destroyer.  The same thing with the Japanese.  The fighting in Guadalcanal and the Solomons are full of these engagements.

 

The US had tons of Destroyers to spare, and they needed them due to the high losses in Guadalcanal and the Solomons fighting 1942-1943.

 

Again, I never questioned Destroyer performance.  You can see good performance by both Japanese and Allied Destroyers in the Pacific alone.  It's just when it came down to people reflecting, they care about talking about Battleships and Carriers.  Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal is a great example because people only talk about Kirishima, South Dakota, Washington.  The 3 BBs.  What happened to the US DDs that took the full brunt of the initial Japanese onslaught is a short little blurb when you read around the internet.  But you can read a hit for hit account on every Battleship and damage assessment, analyzing every single detail, including interviews from certain officers of those ships, even from Kirishima.

 

And nobody ever talks about what happened with the US DDs there.  There will be sources that go into the history of such ships, but in general, people talk about Battleships and Carriers.  Even the US Navy's Submarines don't get wider recognition of what kind of impact they had.  They achieved what the Kriegsmarine tried so hard against tough opposition to accomplish, massacring enemy shipping, constraining supplies and resources, gaining intelligence.  They even sank a bunch of IJN warships.  They also suffered horrendous attrition.  But like Destroyers, nobody talks about them.  Only the guys that dig into naval warfare do, but casuals?  They just care about Battleships and Carriers.

 

In "Japanese Destroyer Captain," there's a part in the book where naval officers in Rabaul, to include some Admirals, were celebrating the highly successful return of Destroyer Shigure from a very dangerous, costly sortie.  Sake was going around.  One of the things that one of the Admirals said in a toast to Shigure's successful, lucky return was that her accomplishment was made more important because of the increasingly dangerous fighting and how precious every Destroyer was when Japan had fewer and fewer of them.  An officer from one of the other Destroyers in the base, already buzzing from the sake, asked permission to speak frankly, which he got.  He asked the Admiral if higher leadership in the navy, back in Japan was aware of how difficult and costly the fighting was.  After Kirishima and Hiei were lost, after Shokaku suffered severe damage and the Carriers lost many aircraft and aviators, there was literally no support for the Destroyers.  He even commented on the Admiral's comment about the high losses of their own Destroyers.  He wanted to know if leadership was aware of what was going on and how they are all dying down in the South Pacific.  One of the other Admirals tried to mention that there were talks of a push by the Combined Fleet (which was bullsh*t from what we know, because this was around 1943 and the IJN would not do a major commitment until Philippine Sea - Saipan as late as 1944).  The officer, maybe a mere Commander IIRC, started to drunkenly ramble about Destroyers they've lost in the last several operations and starts breaking down in tears because he remembers his friends that were lost from Destroyer Yugumo, lost in the very last operation Shigure barely survived from.  Finally some of his friends got enough sense to take him out of the celebration.  While being carried away he kept on crying about his dead friends from Yugumo.  He didn't get in trouble because everyone basically knew that was the thought of every officer in Rabaul.  There were only DDs there.  Maybe a CL or two, that was it.  And Destroyers would continue to bleed out in that region of the Pacific while the Americans gathered strength.

More USN ships.

More USN Battleships.

More USN Carriers.

More Allied Aircraft (Carrier and Land based).

More Allied Radar.

Meanwhile Japan's Destroyers were bleeding out, and IJN leadership didn't really care.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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Japan's problem in the Guadalcanal campaign, and even afterwards, was a reluctance to fully commit to the operation.  They did this at Midway, but their plan was foiled in good part by luck of the USN sinking the Kido Butai's four carriers.

In the Solomons, the IJN committed their ships piecemeal.  They would send a cruiser squadron or destroyer division to do some function off Guadalcanal.  Or, they would send a few cruisers or a battleship to bombard the island.  There was never, ever, an attempt by them to send sufficient forces to the area with the intent to stay.  The IJA acted the same way.  They attempted to win on the cheap sending penny packets of troops initially.

Part of the IJN's problem was they had never put any real effort into long term operations away from a base.  Sure, they had some oilers and support ships, but they couldn't come close to the sort of underway replenishment the USN did on a near daily basis.  Even the RN was impressed by how much more efficient the USN was at going to and staying at sea.  But, even with their limited capacity for such operations, they had sufficient they could have arrived in force off Guadalcanal and stayed.  They could have cycled ships in and out.  They had the ability to use land based and carrier based air but didn't coordinate those operations.

When the USN showed up off Tarawa, they came with a real fleet.  They had CVE for air support for the invasion, fleet CV to cover the operation, half a dozen battleships, more cruisers, and destroyers.  They came to stay and they came to decisively win.  Hit and run like Japan did off Guadalcanal wasn't going to win anything.  At most, their efforts were an annoyance that barely slowed US intentions.

Japan threw away the ships they sent to the waters off Guadalcanal.  Their own belief in Mahan should have instructed them that their actions were contrary to the concept of massing your fleet and looking for decisive action.  They had their chance at Guadalcanal and blew it. Their own penchant for hit and run surprise attacks did them in.

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Two main problems the Japanese had was not enough production to make up for losses, and very slow training to replace crewmen lost, inc pilots.

A complete misunderstanding of unrestricted submarine warfare and not countering it was a major goof too.

And strict promotion of Admirals by seniority and not ability did not help either.

Basically the main failure was the total misunderstanding of the American people and country, probably a fault more of the army who were pulling the strings of power in Japan.

On Guadalcanal the Japanese did not realize the size of the US forces they were fighting. (number of marines and soldiers , later)

 

They were simply overmatched. I think I read somewhere that the United States had decided that they were only going to use about 15 to 20% of the countries war output in Pacific until Germany was defeated. But  it is likely fleet resources would be used more in the Pacific when they were not needed to support landings in the Med and D-Day , but the RN was there too (Europe) and not in the Pacific until much later. Which was good for the British. Early in the war the RN was not well suited in ships and procedures against the Japanese. (picture Hurricanes and Swordfish vs. Zeros and Kates, Vals too.)

 

On the other side the German Fleet construction program was scheduled to complete their fleet in 1944. The war started five years too soon for them.

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On 12/15/2018 at 1:24 PM, Murotsu said:

Japan's problem in the Guadalcanal campaign, and even afterwards, was a reluctance to fully commit to the operation.  They did this at Midway, but their plan was foiled in good part by luck of the USN sinking the Kido Butai's four carriers.

In the Solomons, the IJN committed their ships piecemeal.  They would send a cruiser squadron or destroyer division to do some function off Guadalcanal.  Or, they would send a few cruisers or a battleship to bombard the island.  There was never, ever, an attempt by them to send sufficient forces to the area with the intent to stay.  The IJA acted the same way.  They attempted to win on the cheap sending penny packets of troops initially.

Part of the IJN's problem was they had never put any real effort into long term operations away from a base.  Sure, they had some oilers and support ships, but they couldn't come close to the sort of underway replenishment the USN did on a near daily basis.  Even the RN was impressed by how much more efficient the USN was at going to and staying at sea.  But, even with their limited capacity for such operations, they had sufficient they could have arrived in force off Guadalcanal and stayed.  They could have cycled ships in and out.  They had the ability to use land based and carrier based air but didn't coordinate those operations.

When the USN showed up off Tarawa, they came with a real fleet.  They had CVE for air support for the invasion, fleet CV to cover the operation, half a dozen battleships, more cruisers, and destroyers.  They came to stay and they came to decisively win.  Hit and run like Japan did off Guadalcanal wasn't going to win anything.  At most, their efforts were an annoyance that barely slowed US intentions.

Japan threw away the ships they sent to the waters off Guadalcanal.  Their own belief in Mahan should have instructed them that their actions were contrary to the concept of massing your fleet and looking for decisive action.  They had their chance at Guadalcanal and blew it. Their own penchant for hit and run surprise attacks did them in.

In "Japanese Destroyer Captain," the author (Capt Tameichi Hara), a DD skipper at the time, commented how different Yamamoto was.  At the start of the Pacific War against the Allies, Yamamoto had the IJN doing the daring raid of Pearl Harbor.  You had other forces striking at the Philippines, etc.  You had IJN pushes around the Pacific, even into the Indian Ocean.  The Allies were reeling.  Hara described Yamamoto's earlier reputation as a gambler.  The early war successes fit that picture of him perfectly.  But once Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands, New Guinea campaigns were underway, that's where you start seeing the tentative, piecemeal operations in that area of the Pacific.

 

Mikawa gets blasted for not pushing too hard after Savo Island.

Following the naval battle of Guadalcanal, Admiral Abe was relieved of his command by Yamamoto and was forced to retire.

RAdm. Tanaka was repeatedly sent on many Tokyo Express missions, always with DDs and MAYBE a CL.  He eventually tells his superiors that Guadalcanal is a lost cause for many reasons.  He gets banished elsewhere, relieved of his command.

The 2 CVs Shokaku, Zuikaku and the CVLs of the IJN did quite a lot of work.  So much work that their aviators were bled white, some CVLs were lost, and Shokaku was almost sunk.

Meanwhile the Big Guns of the IJN were sitting somewhere else, doing circles and with Yamato guzzling all the fuel.  As you said, the Japanese fought piecemeal.  And you can only point to one man sending these guys piecemeal.

 

Yamamoto.

Mikawa gets his reputation tarnished, Abe forced to retire, Tanaka was exiled in a naval command in f--king Burma.  BURMA.  One of the most experienced, best Admirals the IJN had fighting the Americans.  And he's sitting in f--king Burma.  Yamamoto was the guy sending these guys in with half-a**ed commitments.

 

The fighting for Guadalcanal was critical.  It was so for the Allies and for the Japanese.  Neutralizing Henderson Field was critical.  And the heaviest commitment Yamamoto would send in were very ancient Kongo-class BBs.  All while the other Fuso, Ise, Nagato, Yamato-classes were sitting there doing NOTHING.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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20 hours ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

 

Yea, I was talking about the credit they get, not their success or capabilities. I agree that smaller warships and auxiliaries do not get the credit they deserve.

My grandfather was a SeeBee in WW2 in the Pacific. He would never talk to us about the things he saw or did. I have a feeling he saw some really bad stuff. You don't hear much about the contributions of the SeeBees do you, but without them not much would have happened in the PTO.

Same with my experiences. I was a 63Y in the US Army. That MOS is a tracked vehicle mechanic. We were @&!% all the time. We got crap details and we got promoted in the motor pool by our platoon sergeant while combat arms MOS' got promoted in front of the whole battery (I was in the air defense artillery and field artillery for most of my service).  

It kinda goes with the territory. It used to get under my skin when I was young but now that I am older it don't bother me. I served for a reason and that reason was not credit or accolades. 

But again, I agree with what you are saying but I think there is plenty of text about the service of DDs, DEs, submarines and other non high profile units. You just need to look and that furthers your point about people who are serious about their history vs the general passerby.  

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