November 04, 2017

Upcoming Topics - Pseudopoll

For the past few weeks, I've been generating topic ideas a lot faster than I can write them up, so I thought I'd consult you guys for thoughts on how to prioritize the list. I'm not going to make any promises that I'll follow any suggestions made, but they'll definitely go into my decisions on which one to pursue.

Here's some of the topics on my current list:

  • Updates/expansion on old technical posts (armor/weapons/engineering/survivability)
  • Updates/expansion on old history posts
  • More on design history (in the vein of Ironclads and Pre-dreadnoughts, I've written up one on Dreadnought already)
  • Early battleship battles (I have a post on Lissa written, probably Spanish-American and Russo-Japanese wars)
  • More on WWI (A Jutland repost is going to have to wait for me to find a good way of doing maps.)
  • More on battleships in WW2
  • Leyte Gulf
  • Amphibious Warfare
  • A spotter's guide to modern warships (similar to the one on WWI and WWII I did)
  • More on Net-centric
  • So you want to build a battleship - design, construction, finance, operations, disposal
  • Torpedoes
  • More on fire control and gunnery
  • The USS Missouri on Thimble Shoal
  • Mothballing
  • Jackie Fisher
  • The Falklands (War, or the Battle of the Falklands, I guess)
  • Naval auxiliaries
  • I have permission from Iowa's tour lead to repost some of his sea stories that he wrote up for the tour guides
  • Ship control
  • Merchant sailors in WWII/Operation Pedestal
  • Never-realized ideas of various powers

Also, feel free to suggest things not on this list. It skews towards older stuff, and I expect to focus my energy there for the near future. I'm definitely committed to the Iowa series, and also to one on Russian battleships.


  1. November 05, 2017Chris Silvia said...

    It's probably too much of a cliche to say "all of them", but I would like to add my 2 cents of appreciation for all the awesome stuff Bean puts out.

    It would be very interesting to see things about the Falklands war, especially what kinds of gaps in naval doctrine there were.

  2. November 08, 2017John Schilling said...

    All of them, eventually.

    But I already threatened to write the spotters' guide to modern warships if you didn't, so go for it. After that, I've read enough about the early pre-dreadnought battles to want to know more and you seem like the right person to tell those stories.

  3. November 15, 2017Alsadius said...

    The ones that seem most interesting to me are the technical and economic ones. The history stuff Wikipedia does a pretty good job with, and I already know it pretty well, but the more in-depth stuff on the engineering, finance, and so on are much harder to find good sources on.

Comments from SlateStarCodex:

  • bean says:

    I’ve been rather busy over at Naval Gazing, but I’ll consolidate everything here.
    1. New Post: Ballistics
    A sort of Part 3 of fire control, detailing forces on the projectile.
    2. Update: US Battleships in WWII
    Heavily revised, to the point of almost being a new post, but I wanted it out as background for other stuff.
    3. Request for Feedback: Topics you’d like to see
    I’ve been generating ideas a lot faster than I can write them over the past few weeks, so I’d like input on what you guys want me to do first. No promises, of course, but I’ll take it into consideration.
    I’m only going to mirror this to the third one, at least for now.

    • Eltargrim says:

      That’s a hell of a list. If I had to pick one that sounds the most interesting to me, it would probably be “So you want to build a battleship”.

      • bean says:

        That one may take a while. Those are the kind of things which take lots of research, which is kind of rate-limiting.

        • Eltargrim says:

          As you said, no promises. None of what you proposed looked like duds, that one just caught my eye. I have a definite bias towards the technical articles.

      • engleberg says:

        I’d like to see Bean’s take on Churchill’s old riff on how to build a Dreadnaught.

    • dndnrsn says:

      Amphibious warfare would be interesting.

    • veeloxtrox says:

      Random question, how did they calculate the mussel velocity of guns during this era?

      • bean says:

        I can’t think of an appropriate joke for your misspelling, so moving on:
        The device in question was called a chronograph. Basically, you’d set up two points a known distance apart, and measure how quickly the shell went from one to another. By WW2, the detection was magnetic, picking up when the shell went past. The actual recording was done with a rapidly-spinning drum with a piece of paper around the edge. When each coil was passed, it fired a spark plug, marking the paper. Knowing the speed of the drum meant you had the time.
        I’m just going to give the link for the method they used before that.
        (Both are very similar to the methods used for small arms at the time. These days, it’s usually radar.)

      • John Schilling says:

        Depending on the size of the gun, either ballistic pendulum or electromechanical clock. Ballistic pendulums were, well, pendulums with a large, known swung mass incorporating a bullet trap and a ratchet to hold them at the maximum upward swing. Conservation of energy allows you to convert the height reached during the upswing to the velocity of the pendulum at nadir, and conservation of momentum gives you the velocity of the projectile alone from the velocity of the pendulum+captured projectile. This could be applied to the smaller cannons, and was because it is a simple, elegant, and pretty much foolproof, but I don’t think anyone ever built a ballistic pendulum for say a 12″ naval gun. If they did, I’d like to watch.

        But use of simple electric circuits for this sort of thing goes way back, to sometime in the mid-19th century. Set up a (fast) mechanical clock that can be started or stopped or at least timestamped with a simple electromagnet. Clock starts when electromagnet #1 turns off, and stops when electromagnet #2 turns off. The circuit for electromagnet #1 runs through a wire stretched across the gun’s muzzle, and #2 runs through a wire some known distance downrange. Connect batteries, set clock, fire gun, look at clock, do math. Works for guns of any size.

        Ed: Ninja’d by bean, of course. Not sure when they switched from wires to magnetic pickups, which requires a more sophisticated level of electrical technology.

        • bean says:

          They actually used falling rods instead of a clock. That’s the mechanism described in my link.
          But I’m with you on the pendulum for the 12″ gun.

    • Nornagest says:

      Typo in “US Battleships in WWII” — “Where the fast battleships really shown” should be “shone”, I think. And there’s a [check percentages] in there that looks like it slipped through editing.

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