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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

INFOGRAPHICS #24: HMS Warspite, Royal Navy's most distinguished battleship that should have been preserved!

HMS Warspite model by Julian Seddon
Τhis article is related to the POLL which was published yesterday. The "winner" of the poll, was HMS Warspite, thus I thought it would be appropriate to post its glorious story which I borrowed from Wikipedia and I added some extras (see sources). HMS Warspite was one of the five 33,000-ton Queen Elizabeth-class battleships built for the Royal Navy during the early 1910s. Her thirty-year career covered both world wars and took her across the Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Pacific Oceans. She participated in the Battle of Jutland during the First World War as part of the Grand Fleet. Other than that battle, and the inconclusive Action of 19 August, her service during the war generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea. She was involved in several major engagements, including battles in the North Sea and Mediterranean, earning her the most battle honours ever awarded to an individual ship in the Royal Navy and the most awarded for actions during the Second World War. For this and other reasons Warspite gained the nickname the "Grand Old Lady" after a comment made by Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham in 1943 while she was his flagship. It should be mentioned that HMS Warspite holds the record for the longest hit on a moving target in naval warfare history, when during the Battle of Calabria in 1940, Warspite, hitting the Italian battleship Giulio Cesare at a range of approximately 24km (26,000 yards)!
HMS Warspite During The Spanish Civil War (1937)

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Monday, 30 January 2017

POLL: Which warship should Britain had preserved?

On January 24, I had the idea to create a poll and to ask my followers which warship they think Britain should had preserved as a museum ship. I got the idea, when I saw a photo by Fatih Takmakli (which I tweeted), showing the former Royal Navy HMS Illustrious (R06) at the ship-breaking yards in Aliaga, Turkey on January 13.They were many people who said Britain should have saved her as a museum ship, similarly to the United States' USS Intrepid. Someone can remeber the numerous warships the United States have preserved and the handful of ships Britain have kept as museum ships (of which the most important of them are HMS Belfast, HMS Warrior and HMS Victory). In contrast, the United States, preserves a large number of various types of vessels, including numerous cruisers and submarines, five aircraft carriers (!), but also eight (8) battleships! Britain, the once superpower, not a single one battleship, not a single one carrier! Then I asked my audience their opinion, through the following tweet.
The final results of the poll after three (3) days (from Jan 24, 2017)
Bow view of HMS Warspite
Polishing HMS Vanguard's gun caps
Notice, that I gave four options. The first one, HMS Warspite, is a famous battleship with long career and notable history, earning more battle honours than any other Royal Navy ship. The second, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the lead vessel of the class that HMS Warspite belongs; also a quite famous battleship but without so much significant action. The third choice is Britain's ultimate battleship, HMS Vanguard, the biggest, fastest and last of the Royal Navy's battleships and the final battleship to be launched in the world. The ship though served less than 15 years and quickly she was towed to the breakers, as she was considered obsolete and too expensive to maintain. The fourth option is any British aircraft carrier or any kind of vessel they like which they should specify; it is like two options in one but gives a lot of freedom to the voters to choose anything they like.The poll run for three days, starting as I mentioned on January 24, 2017.

The photo that inspired for this poll: The former Royal Navy HMS Illustrious (R06)
at the ship-breaking yards in Aliaga, Turkey (Jan 13). Photo by Fatih Takmakli
From the beginning I believed that HMS Warspite will receive the most votes, however I was not expecting that HMS Vanguard, a ship with really zero history, will finish second and not the 2-in-1 option, the 4th one (finished 3rd), where the voter can name any kind of ship. Interestingly enough, five different vessels were named by only six (6) people from the total 43 who chose the fourth option. The five warships are the following:
  • HMS Inflexible, an ironclad battleship
  • HMS Plymouth, a Rothesay-class frigate
  • HMS Ark Royal, an aircraft carrier (the voter did not specify which ship)
  • HMS Hermes, the last Centaur class aircraft carrier
  • HMS Illustrious (by two people), the last Invincible class aircraft carrier 
If you ask my opinion, I would loved to see HMS Warspite moored opposite of the Tower of London, next to HMS Belfast... It is such a pity, Britain did not save that ship, a ship that never gave up, and won everything and everywhere, except its own creators who led her to the breakers. Even, that day, she fought well to avoid a sad end. I would really love to hear your opinion!

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

NAVAL FORCES #10: Evolution of European Naval Capabilities and the Hellenic Navy - Propositions to meet future needs

This is the introduction to the second article, written by me (D-Mitch) and fox2, about the Hellenic Navy (Πολεμικό Ναυτικό).  The first article titled ΝΑΥΤΙΚΕΣ ΕΞΕΛΙΞΕΙΣ ΣΤΗΝ ΑΝΑΤΟΛΙΚΗ ΜΕΣΟΓΕΙΟ (English: Naval Developments in the Eastern Mediterranean), published on November 24, 2015, marked my cooperation with fox2 through his blog idbam.blogspot.gr. Enjoy a long article (in Greek) that describes in brief the evolution of European naval capabilities (based on the much detailed article The major surface combatants of the most powerful European Navies in 2030) as well as some propositions to the Hellenic Navy in order to meet future needs and to follow the rest European Navies. You can read the new article here!

Photoshopped image of a Hydra class frigate of the Hellenic Navy after an upgrade programme (minimum)
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Thursday, 12 January 2017

Jason class landing ships of the Hellenic Navy

Written by D-Mitch

HS Rodos (L177), final vessel of the Jason class LST
The Jason class Landing Ships Tank (LST) of the Hellenic Navy (Greek: Πολεμικό Ναυτικό) consists of five (5) ship in service. It is worth mentioning that all ships in the class were built and designed by the Greek Elefsis Shipyard in cooperation with the National Technical University of Athens and the Hellenic Navy. The class was ordered to Elefsis Shipyards in 1986. The keel for the first vessel, Chios (L173), was laid down in April 1987. It was launched in December 1988 and commissioned in May 1996. The second vessel, Samos (L174), was laid down in September 1987, launched in April 1989 and commissioned in May 1994, two years earlier than the first vessel in the class. Construction of all the ships was originally scheduled to be completed by September 1990. However, all the vessels, in particular the last three, were delayed due to a financial crisis faced by the shipyard. Privatization of the shipyard in October 1997 resulted in steady progress of the construction. A sixth ship was added to the programme in 2000, but cancelled before construction began.

Landing ships Chios and Lesvos in a amphibious landing exercise

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Friday, 6 January 2017

Existing and Future Naval Analyses for 2017-18

In the following image, I have included all those warships or classes that I have analyzed until today (in black font), after approximately two years and six months from the creation of this blog, as well as the articles I am currently working on (in blue font) in order to publish them this year and the first months of the next one. I just hope for one thing only: to have enough free time and therefore to be more productive than 2016 (which by the way I had very limited amount of time). This year my main goal is to analyze more Russian and Asian designs and also for the first time I am planning to write a detailed article about a battleship or a class of battleships. Of course, there will be posts about Fleets, Infographics, History, Facts & Trivia and Photo Galleries, etc. too. So, go ahead, take a careful look at the following picture and feel free to propose adjustments and suggestions or even anything you would like to read about such as your favorite class or warship of the past! I thank you all for your constant support!

Existing and future analyses for 2017-18. High resolution image here.
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Saturday, 31 December 2016

INFOGRAPHICS #23: U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG)

Ships from the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group simulate
a strait transit in the Atlantic Ocean on Dec 10, 2013. Photo
by Justin Wolpert, U.S. Navy
A carrier strike group (CSG) is an operational formation of the United States Navy. It is composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, a nuclear-powered super-carrier (Nimitz class), which is the centerpiece of the strike group and also serves as the flagship for the CSG Commander and respective staff, at least one cruiser (Ticonderoga class), a destroyer squadron of at least two-three destroyers (Arleigh Burke class) and/or two-three frigates (currently the U.S. Navy does not operate any frigates, thus more destroyers in the group), a carrier air wing of about 70 aircraft (typically up to nine squadrons) and up to two nuclear-powered attack submarines (Los Angeles class, Virginia class), used to screen the strike group against hostile surface ships and submarines, but which also carry cruise missiles for long-range strike capability. A carrier strike group also, on occasion, includes attached logistics ships and a supply ship. CSGs are not restricted to a specific composition and can be modified depending on expected threats, roles, or missions expected during a deployment, and one may be different from another. The Navy states that "there really is no real definition of a strike group. Strike groups are formed and disestablished on an as needed basis, and one may be different from another. However, they all are comprised of similar types of ships."

The U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group. An illustration by Austin Rooney for the United States Navy. High resolution image.
Carrier Air Wing. High resolution image here.
The carrier strike group commander operationally reports to the commander of the numbered fleet, who is operationally responsible for the area of waters in which the carrier strike group is operating. Carrier strike groups comprise a principal element of U.S. power projection capability. Previously referred to as Carrier Battle Groups (a term still used by other nations; the change in nomenclature from 'Battle' to 'Strike' appears to have been connected with an increasing emphasis on projecting air power ashore), they are often referred to by the carrier they are associated with (e.g., Enterprise Strike Group). As of March 2016 there are ten (10) carrier strike groups. The carrier strike group is a flexible naval force that can operate in confined waters or in the open ocean, during day and night, in all weather conditions. The principal role of the carrier and its air wing within the carrier strike group is to provide the primary offensive firepower, while the other ships provide defense and support. These roles are not exclusive, however. Other ships in the strike group sometimes undertake offensive operations (launching cruise missiles, for instance) and the carrier's air wing contributes to the strike group's defense (through combat air patrols and airborne anti-submarine efforts). Thus, from a command and control perspective, carrier strike groups are combat organized by mission rather than by platform.

Source:
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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

WARSHIPS OF THE PAST: Elli cruiser of the Royal Hellenic Navy

 Written by D-Mitch

Elli, cruiser of the Royal Hellenic Navy (1951)
In 1947, Greece accepted from Italy the cruiser Eugenio di Savoia, a Condottieri class light cruiser of the Italian Navy (Regia Marina,  the Navy of the Kingdom of Italy) as a World War II reparation for Greece. The new warship renamed Elli, to honor the Elli light cruiser that was sunk by the Italian submarine Delfino while the cruiser sat at anchor near the Greek island Tinos, before the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War on 15 August 1940. The ship was commissioned into the Royal Hellenic Navy (Βασιλικό Πολεμικό Ναυτικό) in 1951 and had a very short career. The 186-meter cruiser was the longest warship ever served with the Hellenic Navy and the largest surface combatant after WWII. However, the largest ever Greek warships were the two per-dreadnought battleships of the Mississippi class, Kilkis and Limnos, that had a full displacement approximately 14,500tons at full load. It should be mentioned that today's Hellenic Navy largest warship is the logistic support ship Prometheus that has a displacement of about 14,000tons and length of 146 meters.

Elli, cruiser of Royal Hellenic Navy in 1951
Elli, during her official commission (1951)
Elli, during her official commission (1951)
The article contains more than 70 (!) photos and the most accurate and complete information about the ship, which in Greek service, very little is known about its equipment and history. Unfortunately, the photos are not of high resolution, so it was really difficult to distinguish the equipment on the vessel and to analyze it better. Moreover, this article was another example where the researcher should be responsible for evaluating all his sources with criticism, and to not rely entirely on the online sources, but to report only the credible information based on careful judgment of the reliability of information. Yet, despite all these issues, I hope I did a good job and you will enjoy the article!

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