April 27, 2018

Six Months and Housekeeping

Today marks 6 months of Naval Gazing here at Obormot. (This blog, like the Queen, has two birthdays.) A couple of things that have come up:

  • First, I'm interested in suggestions on future topics. Unlike last time, I'm not going to give you a list of options. Just suggest things you want to hear more about, and I'll decide what to do with them.
  • Second, I'm conducting an experiment to examine the factors which shape a modern navy. The framing story is that a friendly AI created a country and handed it over to a group of people, who now have to work out naval policy. It's not a simulation because I don't have the time to do that properly, but more of a general discussion on the policy of a generic medium country. I do have a few slots open for inclusion on the discussion list. Email me at battleshipbean at gmail if you're interested. The first part will post Monday, although I'm not sure if it will stay there or move to Friday. (It's already written, but the discussion will continue in later parts.)
  • Third, a month from today kicks off Jutland Week. I'm reposting a lightly-edited version of last year's Jutland series over 7 straight days to celebrate the greatest clash of the dreadnoughts.
  • Fourth, I expect to be in both Boston and LA over the summer/early fall, although I don't have dates yet. When I'm in LA, I definitely want to run a reader tour of Iowa. Boston might see a similar get-together on Salem. (I'm going to Massachusetts with the people I'm visiting.)

I think that's all for now. Thanks again to Said Achmiz for hosting me, and dndnrsn for proofreading my posts.


  1. April 27, 2018Tony Zbaraschuk said...

    Wondering about strategic/industrial factors that go into battleship building (things like dockyards, long-term policies, and so on... the next level up from detailed ship design questions, the limits within which those detailed designs are produced.)

  2. April 29, 2018doctorpat said...

    How about a look at what naval developments turned out to be complete mistakes? What ideas seemed good at the time, then once a nation (or nations) had poured a fortune into building them, turned out to be useless/dangerous? Bonus points if the idea came back decades later when something changed to make it feasible.

  3. April 30, 2018ADifferentAnonymous said...

    +1 to Tony's idea.

    Also, fleshing out my previous suggestion of warship repair a bit... There are a lot of angles on this, but one might be to detail a specific extensive repair job (maybe a Pearl Harbor battleship) involving multiple parts of the ship. I'm especially interested in clever solutions to problems like needing to replace one of these when your access to where it needs to be looks like this.

    Also, not sure how interesting the USS Maine explosion is from a technical naval perspective, but the forensics might tie in with principles of underwater protection?

  4. April 30, 2018bean said...


    I'm slowly trying to get there with "So you want to build a battleship", but other things have been eating my time.


    A series on oddities of the sea services would be interesting. Ramming, which we've already discussed, is the biggest example of the sort of thing you're talking about, but lots of weird stuff has happened.


    The access is usually a bit better. That was a corridor that connected the sides of the ship in an area where there isn't a lot of heavy equipment. Areas with equipment do have it better, although stuff like a wrench in the reduction gears is still a major pain to deal with. It's been a while since I talked about Pearl Harbor, so I might look at something related to that again.

  5. May 05, 2018RedRover said...

    I think more on the tactics and strategy of the other pets would be interesting. The British and Americans are front and center for reasons of both language and actual superiority, but I would be interested to read about Soviet submarine policy, for instance. Once, you had mentioned in a comment that while American policy was to keep SSBNs out of harm's way, the Russians had a somewhat different thought, bit never really fleshed that out.

    Also, the French! They're Western, but they do things their own way, and it would be interesting to see how their ships and tactics evolved over time.

  6. May 07, 2018bean said...

    The problem with doing that is that something like that is a huge undertaking. I have to understand it well to be able to break it down for you, and that means finding and reading probably 2-3 books on the subject. It will probably happen some day, but not soon.

  7. May 08, 2018bean said...

    I should probably expand on the problems of doing the Soviets specifically. Every few years, new documents come out which force a complete reevaluation of Soviet naval strategy. Worse, book publications are rare, so only specialists can keep up. I don't want to put up obsolete information here, so a close look at the later Soviet navy is going to have to wait until I have the time and inclination to do a deep dive on that.

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