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View Diary: Navy's $37 Billion "Little Crappy Ships" Littoral Combat Ships "Not Survivable" (192 comments)

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  •  Actually, Civil War era monitors were highly... (13+ / 0-)

    successful innovative designs. They were compact, very tough and survivable ships that carried the most powerful guns to be found in any navy of the day.

    The large European fleets of wooden-hulled warships, and their few unwieldy hastily armored hybrids would have been massacred by the Union Navy's monitors.

    In the 1860s, European military powers were smugly complaisant and sneeringly dismissive of the U.S. Civil War experience, regarding it as an 'unprofessional brawl' no lessons for them to learn. This was a huge mistake, as the horrific casualties suffered in some Civil War actions were the first intimation of the lethality of modern age repeating rifles and artillery when Napoleonic tactics were still being used.

    The Franco-Prussian war was misleadingly (relatively) bloodless because of French ineptitude. European powers were consequently absurdly complaisant on the eve of WWI, and walked into the buzz-saw blindly. The lessons were there to see in the U.S. Civil War, but they felt they had nothing to learn from the bumpkins overseas.

    •  Monitors literally revolutionized naval warfare (10+ / 0-)

      They introduced or combined many of the most important developments in modern, post wind-driven broadside firing wooden naval ship design:

      Iron cladding
      Steam power
      Propeller drive
      Rifled cannon

      What am I missing?

      They marked and prompted the transition from ships of the line to battleships.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:20:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My point was that the monitors... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ender, Lujane, PaloAltoPixie

        ...were meant to be used in inland waters, or sheltered coastal waters. The Navy started using them out in the open ocean, and their decks were too close to the waterline. In that case they were clearly out of their element, and men died.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:01:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. If you can't get to the battle, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, PaloAltoPixie

          It doesn't matter how advanced your design is.

          The deck was too close to the waterline such that the first storm would sink it.

          After that, they changed the rules so that you had to be an actual ship designer to design ships.

          The cannon turret was revolutionary, though.

        •  I thought they were mainly blockade runners (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          along coasts, and used for harassing defenses and forts along rivers.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:34:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Monitor's designer Ericsson (sp?) intended... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fixed Point Theorem, semiot

          it to have minimal freeboard because it made a smaller much less vulnerable target. The design principle was adaptable to open ocean use with modifications, but as soon as the Civil War was over, U.S. isolationism took over again for twenty years or more.

          The Monitor herself sank in an especially violent storm that threatened more conventional ships as well.

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