May 12, 2022

Open Thread 104

It's time for our regular open thread. Talk about whatever you want, so long as it isn't culture war.

It's been a slow two weeks on the book, which currently stands at 88,000 words. I am interested in getting another reader or two to look over the draft, so email me if you're interested.

2018 overhauls are SYWTBAMN Strategy Parts one and two, Main Guns Part 4, my review of Midway, Russian Battleships Part 3, Falklands Part 1 and the Super-Dreadnoughts. 2019 overhauls are Shells Parts three and four, my review of Fort Sill, Spanish-American War Part 4, Pictures - Mikasa Part 1 and Falklands Part 14. 2020 overhauls are Coastal Defenses Part 2, Oil Tankers, the Navy UFO Incident and Nuclear Weapons at Sea - Heavy Attack. 2021 overhauls are Naval Airships Part 6 and all three parts on the Littoral Combat Ship.


  1. May 13, 2022Anonymous said...

    Looks like Finland is about to join NATO, not that anyone here is surprised.

  2. May 13, 2022Blackshoe said...

    Bean, I am trapped reading an awful book, so I would be happy to take a break and review it for you.

  3. May 13, 2022Philistine said...

    Sweden is apparently about to apply for NATO membership, too; rumors I've heard say the decision has in fact been made but internal politics (mostly a matter of parties which opposed joining for a long time keeping up appearances) are delaying the announcement. Of course given Finland's announcement, Sweden joining as well is even less of a surprise.

  4. May 13, 2022quanticle said...

    I did a quick follow-up on the combining gear issue on the Freedom-class LCS, after re-reading your series on the LCS, and also in light of the hull cracking issues with the Independence class. It looks like the Lockheed has come up with a fix for the issue, and the Navy has resumed taking deliveries of the Freedom-class. All that's left is the argument over who pays.

  5. May 13, 2022Neal said...

    Regarding Finland and Sweden, there is an excellent article about the two on The Economist's site.

    The leadership of each country will decide on May 15th whether to submit an application for NATO membership. Obviously we already know what the result of this will be, but what I found interesting is that PM Boris Johnson assured them that Britain would come to their defence if needed. This is meant to reassure them in the time from application to approval-- although that is on the express track. Granted the status of the UK's forces is not all that reassuring, but the gesture is important as top cover.

    The article did a good job describing the how's and why's of their neutral position post WW2. It was a good reminder of their thinking.

    Naturally there is some resistance to this path, but the Finns are polling 75% in favour while the Swedes are coming in at 60%.

    The political leadership is acutely aware of what this step might bring. Russia is already threatening to cut off electricity that it contributes to the Finnish grid. 3950

  6. May 13, 2022Philistine said...

    Okay, but the first two articles predate by some months the Navy's announcement that they wanted to retire the entire class, which was made in late March of this year. ( It could be that the Navy is just playing Budget Chicken with Congress, though.

  7. May 13, 2022bean said...

    Granted the status of the UK’s forces is not all that reassuring, but the gesture is important as top cover.

    You're missing the most important force the UK has. They have nuclear weapons, and Finland and Sweden don't. So Putin has been put on notice that if he were to try a coup de main before they formally join NATO, he'd be drawing in a nuclear power.

  8. May 13, 2022ike said...

    Doesn't NATO membership require unanimity amongst the existing members?

    I guess some of the small states are going to have a windfall to spend.

  9. May 14, 2022Anonymous said...


    Of course given Finland's announcement, Sweden joining as well is even less of a surprise.

    Polling in both countries does indicate increased support if the other one joins as well.

    Still, if someone had told me last year that Finland and Sweden would be joining NATO this year I probably wouldn't have believed the Sweden joining part (Finland is much easier to believe given they were forced in neutrality).


    Granted the status of the UK's forces is not all that reassuring, but the gesture is important as top cover.

    But what do they need protecting from? With Russia going all in on their 'special military operation' in Ukraine can they even spare anything to hurt Finland?


    The political leadership is acutely aware of what this step might bring. Russia is already threatening to cut off electricity that it contributes to the Finnish grid.

    Other European countries can probably make that up, depending on how badly their energy policy is screwed up.

    But can Russia afford not to sell?

  10. May 14, 2022Philistine said...


    "But what do they need protecting from? With Russia going all in on their ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine can they even spare anything to hurt Finland?"

    Those are fair questions. A big part of the reason I'm skeptical about various NATO nations (especially Germany) actually following through on the re-militarization plans they've announced is that the conventional threat from Russia is degrading in a hurry: I suspect that the immediate excitement will die down before long (assuming nobody does anything even more catastrophically stupid) and once that happens the early 90s mindset will prevail again.

  11. May 14, 2022quanticle said...

    Interesting random fact: the nationality of the bad guys in Top Gun is never actually mentioned. All this time I figured I'd just missed it or forgotten, but it seems like the writers deliberately kept things vague.

  12. May 14, 2022quanticle said...


    I'm not sure what to make of that article you linked, because, like you said, on the one hand we have the Navy taking deliveries of new Freedom-class LCSs, but on the other hand, they're proposing to decomission all of the ones that they have in service. And then we have the Navy's shipbuilding plan which envisions decomissioning two LCSs, both of the Independence class. Is that in lieu of the Freedom class decommissionings or in addition?

  13. May 15, 2022Philistine said...

    In addition. Appendix 4 (pg 21) of the attached .pdf shows the decommissioning plan in greater detail, and all of the existing Freedom-class boats are on the list for 2023. I suspect they weren't mentioned in the body of the story because the Navy's plan to retire them had been announced 3 weeks previously.

  14. May 15, 2022Neal said...

    @Bean Indeed. That is why the top cover gesture is important as they will have a nuclear power as an ally. The fact that BoJo visited the two countries himself instead of sending the Foreign Minister is also a marker to Putin that Britain, as that nuclear power, is committed.

    @Anonymous True, in light of the fact that the Russians, on other fronts, are getting their backsides handed to them, I couldn't see them actually employing forces against Finland. The Finns, despite their decades of neutrality, are well prepared for any number of contingencies and obviously are not stepping into NATO without consideration of what might happen. Perhaps they already have plans in case their energy supplies are crimped.

  15. May 18, 2022bean said...

    Exciting news! RTW3 has just been announced, to be released in October. Well, sort of. It was originally supposed to be DLC for RTW2, but it grew to the point that they're releasing it as a new game. Still, glad when finally know when it will be arriving.

  16. May 19, 2022Echo said...

    That's great, I should finally give it a try. Are they extending the era covered a bit, or adding some new mechanics?

  17. May 20, 2022bean said...

    They're extending the era again. The DLC title was "ironclads to missile cruisers", and that's the expected scope. Plus some other stuff. There's a catalog for the then-DLC on the RTW2 forum.

  18. May 25, 2022quanticle said...

    This is a random question that I've had a surprisingly hard time finding the answer to: how much did the future Allies know about Germany's naval rearmament prior to the outbreak of World War 2? We know, in hindsight, that Germany just lied about the tonnages of the cruisers that it was building under the Treaty of Versailles (before Hitler denounced and withdrew from the treaty in 1935). However, would e.g. Britain have known that the Deutschland-class cruisers exceeded the limits set out under the Treaty of Versailles?

  19. May 25, 2022bean said...

    Probably not with any certainty. You can't really guess a ship's tonnage without drydock photos and even then, it probably takes a computer. I recall one British constructor saying that the Japanese had either built a cruiser out of cardboard or were lying about the tonnage (the latter was true) but that was never official. And the Deutschlands in particular were weird enough that the British wouldn't have had good comparison from their own ships. Who knows exactly how much German diesel installations weigh? Or how much area the belt covers? Making things worse, Versailles doesn't actually specify tonnage standards, which makes accusations of cheating even harder to prove.

  20. May 25, 2022ike said...

    Weren't the three Deutschlands allowed under the treaty? The 3 BBs allowed her under the treaty had reached their allowed-replacement-age. Granted the British would have preferred building normal Battleships.

  21. May 25, 2022Anonymous said...

    AIUI the intention of the treaty was to let Germany build a handful of light cruisers to let them do some commerce protection and coastal battleships for defense but unable to do power projection.

  22. May 26, 2022bean said...

    The Deutschlands were built under Versailles. Germany wasn't a party to WNT, and Versailles just says 10,000 tons, which leaves a lot of wiggle room. And as Anonymous says, they were intended to be coastal defense ships.

Comments from SlateStarCodex:

Leave a comment

All comments are reviewed before being displayed.

Name (required):

E-mail (required, will not be published):


You can use Markdown in comments!

Enter value: Captcha