August 26, 2019

Open Thread 33

It's our regular open thread. Talk about anything you want.

No special thing this time. I've been busy.

Posts overhauled since last time include Underwater Protection Part 1 and Part 2, my post on The Standard Type Battleships, my reviews of the International Museum of WWII and Constitution and Cassin Young, and my analysis of a silly battleship article from a 1940 issue of Popular Mechanics.


  1. August 26, 2019Athenae Galea said...

    Is there some way I could find out for various ships how much of their displacement is used for armour, engines, different weapons systems etc? Or am I asking the wrong question? I'm trying to get some sense of the tradeoffs made in warship design, but without this sort of number I've so far failed.

  2. August 26, 2019bean said...

    The better sort of reference books will have those numbers. If you have specific ships, I can provide recommendations. There are two caveats, however:

    1. Not all ships have a good reference book covering them. I can probably get good data on anything US or British that isn’t classified, and any dreadnought battleship. Anything else is really hit-and-miss.

    2. The numbers you get won’t be directly comparable because different nations use slightly different methodologies. Nation A, for instance, counts the electrical system under engineering weight, while Nation B counts it under a separate line item which isn’t in the book because the author didn’t think to add it. (This gets particularly baffling when you start to look at things like armor and where various types get counted.) The only systematic attempt to make inter-national comparisons on this that I’m aware of is in Norman Friedman’s Battleship Design and Development, which only covers dreadnought battleships and is currently like $75 on Amazon. It’s a good book, but not worth quite that much. (I think I got my copy for $40, which I thought was a decent deal.)

    If you want a good look at tradeoffs in general, I'd suggest getting any of Friedman's warship design books. His US Battleships is probably the best, and should be available in the $40-50 range if your local library doesn't have it. Overall, I'd recommend his stuff on US ships over the more recent British warships stuff, as the later tends to be longer and less focused.

  3. August 26, 2019Alexander said...

    So, I watched 'A bridge too far' at the weekend, and was wondering if the allies could have mitigated the shortage of transport aircraft, and reduced the time the paratroopers had to hold out by launching the operation in two phases. If the first day had been focused on capturing Eindhoven, with drops at Nijmegen and Arnhem delayed until the following day, would it have been possible to maintain the element of surprise?

    If the final objective remained unclear to the Germans then the allies might have gained a significant head start, as well as being able to devote more aircraft to support each drop.

  4. August 26, 2019Eric Rall said...

    Weather was a big problem for follow-up paradrops and air supply drops for Market Garden. The second wave of drops, originally planned for later on Day 1, didn't go through until Day 2, and the bulk of the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade (originally planned to drop on Day 2 or 3, I think) wasn't able to drop until Day 5. Focus the first wave on Eindhoven, and the Germans may have up to four days to bring up reinforcements, garrison likely secondary drop objectives, and rig bridges to blow.

    The big questions here I'm not sure of are 1) how obvious would it have been that Nijmegen and Arnhem would be targeted for follow-up operations in the immediate future, and 2) how well would the Germans have been able to bring up enough reinforcements to garrison against follow-up drops?

  5. August 27, 2019IsANobody said...

    Two questions: 1) What's the minimum spacing between landings on a carrier with arrested landings?

    2) When comparing AEW systems, how important is height? More specifically, how much worse is a hypothetical V22 AEW or JLENS than existing Hawkeyes?

  6. August 27, 2019bean said...

    I believe the typical carrier recovery cycle is about 1 plane/minute. This has been surprisingly consistent across the last 80 years.

    For AWACS, height is important, but the difference between a V-22's service ceiling and an E-2s only translates to about 35 nm in radar horizon. You're going to do better focusing on other factors for overall system performance.

  7. August 27, 2019Alexander said...

    @ Eric Abandoning the Nijmegen and Arnhem drops due to bad weather might still have been better than the actual outcome, though it may have seemed like a missed opportunity without knowing how a 'successful' drop would have worked. Bringing up reinforcements would have hardly been necessary given the SS in the area, so I think it's just a question of the chance of the Germans anticipating the rest of the operation.

  8. August 28, 2019Lord Nelson said...

    Bean has been talking in his sleep. He'd like everyone to know that he is "happy to help with Osprey" and "extremely happy to help us keep that chair live and in the Mediterranean theater".

  9. August 28, 2019Chuck said...

    @Lord Nelson

    That chair is both comfy and vital to our maritime security and force projection capabilities.

  10. August 28, 2019FXBDM said...

    Hi! Sorry if that has already been asked, but what are the differences between the Zumwalt’s shells and the Excalibur artillery shell the army uses? Would there be any way to convert the AGS to use Excalibur? It seems rather wasteful to have those ships unable to use their guns when there is a (to a layman) similar 155 shell available.

  11. August 29, 2019bean said...

    The Zumwalt's magazines were designed specifically for the LRLAP, which differs in some dimensions from the standard 155mm projectiles. This means that adapting it to fire an off-the-shelf 155mm projectile will take serious engineering work. Unfortunately, I don't think it's entirely clear to outsiders what the nature of said engineering work is.

    The other problem is that with such a small fleet of ships, the Navy doesn't want to spend too much money on a fix. They're doing just enough to avoid (entirely accurate) charges of grossly wasting taxpayer money, but actually fixing the problem doesn't give them all that much capability, so it's low on the priority list.

  12. August 29, 2019Chuck said...

    Apparently Raytheon has designed a modified Excalibur, the N5, that can be fired from standard 5in naval artillery that the navy has been testing. It doesn't have rocket assist level range, but does have greater range than a standard shell. If the Navy ends up ordering them then maybe Raytheon will figure something out to also fit the Zumwalts.

  13. August 29, 2019FXBDM said...

    Thank you!

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