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Thread: The Butterfly Effect: A British AAR

  1. #2701
    Admiral of the Red Praetonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlstadt Boy View Post
    Its a lot of job.

    Either you make unpassable connection with the dominion capitals so you get the manpower all the time and all of it (but then you dont need convoys for those landmasses), or you give yourself free manpower in amount they get when independent (minus the amount you will get from them when directly ruled (which is little)), then recalculate all that with every agriculture tech researched and with every war since you wont get anything out of your colonies during war time.

    And then give all dominion tech teams, leaders (easy) and ministers (never done that) to yourself, and switch all their armed forces to yourself. And then they wont have the same stats since you had different stats, so you should mod that aswell.

    But it can be done.
    Ask if you need advice.
    Well you must give yourself cores of course, otherwise it is a little pointless. As for MP, I simply make an event that increases MP gain by the correct %, and activate it via the console when I DoW. You can undo it again during peace, if there is anything left to do at that point. I don't tend to take the tech teams because it is messy, though I do edit some of them. Ie. change Basil Liddell-Hart to not die in the 40s (he lived into the 70s; no idea why he de-activates) and Cunningham to appear a lot earlier. It's all well and good the Swedish claiming to have put in a British base strike team, but having him appear after he launched the world's first carrier base strike at Taranto is a bit rum.

    What I also did was make India a puppet. This causes the land war in the Far East to quite nicely balance itself as IRL, rather than massive jap tank swarms rolling across the sparsely populated Indian plains...

    One thing to remember if you're going to do this: absolute must to edit out USA involvement. In effect you're playing a slightly weaker USA that gets full IC 2 years earlier, but has to fight everyone at once. You still can't win in France afaik, but if USA piles on in '41 or '42 along with the USSR there is no fun. Maybe even put in an anglo-American war in the mid-late 40s .

    Finally, give yourself lots of free convoys or everything will grind to a halt.

  2. #2702
    Quote Originally Posted by Praetonia View Post
    Well you must give yourself cores of course, otherwise it is a little pointless. As for MP, I simply make an event that increases MP gain by the correct %, and activate it via the console when I DoW. You can undo it again during peace, if there is anything left to do at that point. I don't tend to take the tech teams because it is messy, though I do edit some of them. Ie. change Basil Liddell-Hart to not die in the 40s (he lived into the 70s; no idea why he de-activates) and Cunningham to appear a lot earlier. It's all well and good the Swedish claiming to have put in a British base strike team, but having him appear after he launched the world's first carrier base strike at Taranto is a bit rum.

    What I also did was make India a puppet. This causes the land war in the Far East to quite nicely balance itself as IRL, rather than massive jap tank swarms rolling across the sparsely populated Indian plains...

    One thing to remember if you're going to do this: absolute must to edit out USA involvement. In effect you're playing a slightly weaker USA that gets full IC 2 years earlier, but has to fight everyone at once. You still can't win in France afaik, but if USA piles on in '41 or '42 along with the USSR there is no fun. Maybe even put in an anglo-American war in the mid-late 40s .

    Finally, give yourself lots of free convoys or everything will grind to a halt.
    Cores are the easiest to mod in so I forgot to mention them.

    Funny you said that about USA, my last game finished in 1950. with 3 nuclear armed blocks, UK-USA-USSR, with hundreds of UK and USA divisions across USA-Canadian border. Sadly I never started any war due to my dislike for managing that amount of troops.

  3. #2703
    saw what you did there Davout's Avatar
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    Dammit. Now we have to fill up another page before the Update Fairy will come to reward all of the good boys and girls.

    Nothing for it but a sacrificial haiku:

    Christmas is coming
    Quick, Pip, tanks without delay
    Naval porn gives way
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  4. #2704
    Admiral of the Red Praetonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davout View Post
    Dammit. Now we have to fill up another page before the Update Fairy will come to reward all of the good boys and girls.

    Nothing for it but a sacrificial haiku:

    Christmas is coming
    Quick, Pip, tanks without delay
    Naval porn gives way
    While this is impressive you have commited perhaps the worst possible faux pas in pretentious poetry: two of the lines actually rhyme!

  5. #2705
    saw what you did there Davout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davout View Post
    Dammit. Now we have to fill up another page before the Update Fairy will come to reward all of the good boys and girls.

    Nothing for it but a sacrificial haiku:

    Christmas is coming
    Quick, Pip, tanks with all due haste
    Naval porn gives way
    Fixed

    There's always a critic...grumble...grumble...grumble...
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  6. #2706
    VC, MC and bar Duritz's Avatar
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    Haiku hey... well I can do that...

    New Year approaches
    and all through AAR land
    tank porn is wanted

    Moonlight off metal
    Pip writing of planes and ships
    No one cares for it

    Fish splash around me
    Slowly the bubbles rise up
    Battleships are dead

    Birds glide on the wind
    Watch as the metal flashes
    Another plane falls

    Tracks rolling along
    ants scurry out of my way
    Others call them grunts
    Last edited by Duritz; 14-12-2009 at 03:14.
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  7. #2707
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duritz View Post
    Haiku hey... well I can do that...

    New Year approaches
    and all through AAR land
    tank porn is wanted

    Moonlight off metal
    Pip writing of planes and ships
    No one cares for it

    Fish splash around me
    Slowly the bubbles rise up
    Battleships are dead

    Birds glide on the wind
    Watch as the metal flashes
    Another plane falls

    Tracks rolling along
    ants scurry out of my way
    Others call them grunts
    That is a very nice Haiku, Duritz.
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  8. #2708
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Heeeeeere's Pip

    Nathan Madien/trekaddict - Indeed tk is correct.

    Carlstadt Boy/Praetonia - You missed out the important edit; change the country name from 'United Kingdom' to 'British Empire'.

    I also chose not to edit out the US AI events and instead delete all their techs, starting units and most importantly cores. It's amazing how low US IC gets after such changes, as I recall it takes a gearing up for war event for them to get into double figures...

    Duritz - As a professional international man of mystery I can neither confirm nor deny anything. This makes ordering at restaurants quite tricky but there you go.

    C&D - I destroy Parisian monuments scientifically, just to ensure there aren't any bits left hiding in the rubble.

    On poetry corner I can only say it was beautiful and uplifting, truly if I had needed inspiration to carry on that would have been it. As it happens I didn't, but it's nice to know some inspiration has already been prepared for later use.


    As you may have guessed by now this isn't dead, merely delayed by outside factors. Essentially I have now seen relatives, survived much travel and my firm has decided not to make vast swathes of my office redundant. Now these time consuming activities have been completed I am confident of having the time to actually write something.

    If I'm very lucky on time I may even be able to catch up on the AARs where I am terribly behind, though I fear these two objectives are not mutually compatible.
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  9. #2709
    VC, MC and bar Duritz's Avatar
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    Pip, Pip, hooray!!! He's back and we can expect an update imminently... would you believe within a week... no? How about some time in 2011???

    Welcome back from your sabbatical Pippy, long may this AAR drag on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on...

    Dury.
    The price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings - Duritz

    We have a great objective - the light on the hill - which we aim to reach by working for the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand. If it were not for that, the Labour movement would not be worth fighting for. - Ben Chifley

    Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man. - Bertrand Russell

  10. #2710
    Colonel Le Jones's Avatar
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    Good to hear from you, Pip!
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  11. #2711
    Flt. Sergeant, Fighter Command RAFspeak's Avatar
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    Hope you had a good Xmas/New Year!

    ...I was starting to get worried. I'd told the ground staff wallahs to warm up a PRU Spit, in case I had to go looking for you.

  12. #2712
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    It's aliiiiiive! Happy New Year, Pip
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  13. #2713
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Duritz - Wash your mouth out! You will have updatery this very day/night* (delete according to timezone)

    Le Jones - I really, really must catch up on your epic. Alarmingly I'm a good four pages behind and who knows how many updates. You can rest assured I am hoping to do so this weekend.

    RAFspeak - Stand down S&R, pilot recovered.

    merrick - Happy New Year too and to celebrate lets have an overly long and far too detailed update on battlecruisers!
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  14. #2714
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    Chapter LXXXIV: Same Question, Three Answers.


    We begin in France with the Dunkerques which were, in many ways, the complete opposite of the vessels that prompted their construction the Deutschlands. Where the German ships were overblown heavy cruisers looking for a role the French vessels were cut-down battleships designed for one purpose; countering a surface raider. Of all the vessels discussed in this chapter they were probably the most balanced, in the sense of having fire-power in proportion to their armour, and was the only ship to be blessed with experienced designers who had time to work, though this was not a uniformly good thing. In the finest French traditions the design has focused on the mission, opposing the German Panzerschiffes, to the detriment of a more rounded capability (this was a reflection of French naval thinking that saw combat as a distraction from the mission, in contrast to for instance the Royal Navy which saw engaging the enemy fleet as a 'mission' in and of itself.) A direct result of this thinking was the most striking feature of the design, the heavy all forward main main armament. Concentrated in two quadruple turrets they represented the culmination of a decades long obsession by the French Naval Staff. The pre-Great War Lyon and Normandie designs had both featured quad turrets and after their cancellation this feature had become an article of faith in Marine Nationale circles, to the point that no other turret configuration was ever seriously considered. This was somewhat out of character with the rest of the design which was bedevilled by that other great French tradition, the promotion of theory over experience.

    To look at the positive 'theory' did have bequeath the Dunkerques with several good features; welding was widely used and an all or nothing armour scheme was adopted, both of these significant, but successful, risks for a nation that had not built anything larger than a heavy cruiser for over two decades. The downsides however were far more numerous due to the unfortunate tendency of ideas that worked perfectly on paper to not live up to their promise in practice, in particular the much lusted for quad turrets never lived up to their expectations. Despite being more of a dual-twin that a true quad turret the guns were far too close together and consequently had severe dispersion problems, the brand new RPC (Remote Power Control) system never worked properly being slow, unreliable and inaccurate and due to lack of space in the turret and a poor shell supply system the hoped for rate of fire was also never met. Quite aside from theses serious technical problems the quad turret arrangement meant half of the ships fire-power could be knocked out with a single shot, a risk the French Naval Staff never truly took seriously until it was too late to do much about it. Such problems abounded throughout the ships as new systems that offered advantages on paper failed to translate into practical success. Despite such problems the good mostly outweighed the bad and their is no question they were well suited to their design role; engaging a fleeing Panzerschiff at long range in good to reasonable weather. However if forced to operate outside of that ideal window the balance shifted as the advantages fell away and the design flaws came to the fore. The trick for the Marine Nationale would to be ensure they were always able to control the terms of any engagement, an impossibly demanding requirement even for a far larger navy let alone the somewhat stunned French fleet.

    Moving onwards chronologically, at least in terms of completion, we come to the Scharnhorst class. To describe their design history as torturous would be a considerable under-statement and, while the full contortions of the design are far too lengthy to describe here in detail, a brief summary will help understand the problems facing her designers and builders. Originally intended to be two additional Deutschlands the appearance of the Dunkerque prompted a redesign, changing the diesels for an experimental high pressure steam plant and improving the armour. Construction was started (as Panzerschiffs D and E) but stopped scant months later and the keel broken up as yet another redesign was started, this one in response to the Strasbourg and aimed at adding a third turret and lengthening the gun to increase fire-power. Though what emerged was the 'final' effort the design was still not fixed, it continued to evolve as the class was laid down and problems emerged. Indeed such was the drift many have split the class into two sub-classes, the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in one and the Von der Tann and Moltke in the other. However several key characteristics remained the same across all four vessels; they were all poor sea boats with wet forwards and low free boards, all had an obsolete 'complete' multi-layered armour system and poor torpedo protection and crucially they all retained the same 11.1" main guns.



    KMS Scharnhorst undergoing fit out. It was only at this late stage that several significant problems were discovered; the main armoured deck was below water level, almost completely negating the 'armoured raft' concept, the boilers had proved vulnerable to the vibrations of installation casting serious doubt over their response to incoming shell fire and a constant stream of design improvements and additions was threatening to overwhelm an already over-loaded hull. In response the following ships were bulged, their beam increased considerably to improve stability and sea keeping, the designers also scaled back their ambitions for the high pressure engines and used lower pressure, thicker walled boilers. Unfortunately all this had a price, the higher drag and lower power dropped the top speed considerably, the final vessel KMS Moltke barely being capable of 30knots but at least she was reliably capable of such speeds. Sadly the stream of changes had not stopped and extra deck equipment, particularly that Kriegsmarine obsession fire control systems, kept arriving during commissioning and the hoped for sea keeping and stability improvements never materialised.


    In the interests of balance we should attempt to look for positives, areas were the design excelled or at least achieved the average. The two areas that stand out are the guns and the armour, though far from perfect both areas were strengths of the design if judged by their own standards. The calibre of the main battery had been limited by Hitler himself, an entirely political decision intended to allay British fears about a naval arms race and to limit any damage to Anglo-German relations. Despite the unimpressive calibre the weapons themselves were well designed, maximising muzzle velocity to get the longest range and best belt armour penetration out a relatively light projectile. More importantly for their designed role the turrets were actually capable of their intended rate of fire, reaching a sustained 3.5 rounds a minute, double what the Dunkerques turrets could hope to practically achieve and sustain. Turning to the armour the quite colossal size of the main belt was quite literally a key strength of the design, the side protection was by far the strongest of any comparable ship and one of the main reasons the Kriegsmarine felt justified in classifying the vessel as a battleship not a battlecruiser.

    On balance therefore the Scharnhorsts must be considered a success if measured on their own terms, though it must also be noted that their ideal 'window' of operations was even tighter than that of the Dunkerques. In a mid-ranged engagement in very good weather they would be formidable opponents, especially against their intended French rivals, provided of course the French were unlucky or foolish enough to engage at such a distance and not attempt to open up the range. Forced to engage at longer distances their vast belt would be far less important while their thin deck armour would leave them vulnerable to plunging fire, worse the poor deck penetration of the 11.1" guns would leave them less able to strike back, a situation made all the worse by the Dunkerques being optimised for such long ranged engagements. It hardly needs saying that in bad weather, anything above a Sea State 4 in fact, the ships were in at least as much danger from the sea as from any potential enemy, an unfortunate limitation given bad weather provided the best opportunity to control the range of any engagement. However we can conclude our look at the Scharnhorsts by noting the one area where the designers achieved an outstanding success; not intimidating the British, the 'light' main armament convincing the Royal Navy to deem the vessels as battlecruisers due to a lack of fire-power. The exact value of this political 'success' is questionable, while the Admiralty and Government were not particularly intimidated by the laying down of the Scharnhorsts the British Press still questioned why Germany needed a navy at all, raising the old issue of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement and the controversial 'Baltic Dominance' clause. As one might expect this did not do a great deal for Anglo-German relations which, due to Spain, remained formally cordial but with Germanic enthusiasm for a grand alliance even less welcome than before in Whitehall.

    At last we come to the Royal Navy's late entrant in the battlecruiser race the Swiftsure class. Given the entirely unenviable task of following one of the most famous warships afloat, HMS Hood, they attracted a great deal of domestic attention and more than their fair share of foreign interest. A somewhat controversial design the ships are considered by many as one of the finest examples of 'fighting the last war' and, unfortunately for those who like their adages simple and absolute, were a successful design in spite (or perhaps because) of that. While we can leave the debate over the difference between learning lessons from a conflict and planning to re-fight it to others the important point to take away is that the design of the Swiftsures was heavily influenced by the Abyssinian War experience and expectations that future battlecruiser operations would be similar. This was not an unreasonable position to take, the Royal Navy's battlecruisers of Force H had spent the war successfully hunting Italian heavy cruisers squadrons and on shore bombardment, leaving the battleships to tackle the enemy fleet and the heavy cruisers to convoy raid. Looking at the Royal Navy's expected foes the German surface raiders were too fast for a battleship but a tough nut for a treaty cruiser while the Imperial Japanese Navy possessed a formidable force of cruisers well in excess of Treaty limits. Both these missions seemed tailor made for a battlecruiser squadron in the style of Force H so, given that starting point, studying the performance of already successful designs was unquestionably a wise move. The criticism comes over the degree of specialisation, just as the Scharnhorsts and Dunkerques have been marked down for their window of operations so must the Swiftsure be criticised for lacking flexibility, not tactically but strategically.



    HMS Swiftsure working up prior to deployment with the Home Fleet. A compact and somewhat functional design she lacked the handsome lines of HMS Hood, in particular the post-war standard 'block' type forward superstructure was contrasted badly with that of her admired predecessor. It is therefore somewhat amusing to note that the under pressure Royal Corps of Naval Constructors had taken key elements of the design from the 'large repair' plans prepared for Hood. This shot shows the main features of the design; the four twin turrets using the same 15"/45 guns as in the King George Vs, the twin large funnels needed for her 32knt top speed and the complete lack of any aviation facilities. Less obvious is the 'all or nothing' armour scheme which, though not thick enough to make her a balanced design (in the sense of being armoured to resist her own firepower) was more than sufficient against her intended foes at medium to long ranges. Finally the choice in secondary armament should be noted, instead of the large 5.25"/50 guns used on the King George V far lighter twin 4"/45s were selected, a significant change from normal Royal Navy thinking.


    The key point about the Swiftsures were their dependence on operating alongside a carrier, though in stark contrast to modern thinking the carrier was seen as the escort and the battlecruiser the main unit. The theory ran that the carrier's aircraft would perform the classic Fleet Air Arm mission, 'Find, Fix and Strike', then the battlecruisers would move in for the kill and carry out the actual sinking. The plan was very much in line with the current Admiralty thinking that still saw big guns as the primary weapon and was only slowly getting to grips with the potential of naval aviation to do more than scout and harass an enemy. The most visible impact of this thinking on the Swiftsures was the lack of any float planes or supporting equipment (catapult, crane, hangars, etc), making them utterly dependent on an escorting carrier for everything from scouting to spotting fall of short. The other key change was a general thinning out of the secondary armament, dedicated as the design was to hunting enemy raiders and cruisers little need was seen for heavy anti-ship secondaries, destroyers were thought to lack the legs for surface raiding. More importantly with space and tonnage at a premium something had to be sacrificed and the torpedo tubes and large 5.25" guns were an easy target, in their place lighter twin 4" weapons with a lighter shell but higher rate of fire, guns more suited to anti-aircraft work than rapidly sinking an attacking destroyer.

    If we hold the Swiftsures to the same standard applied to their French and German rivals they must stand equally condemned of being over focused, good ships on their own terms but flawed out of that comfort zone. However the Royal Navy was the world's largest and most powerful navy while, to be brutal, the Kriegsmarine and the Marine Nationale weren't, it is therefore of somewhat dubious value to use the same standards for them all. The Dunkerque and Scharnhorst would serve their nations as flagships, the prides of their respective fleets and the biggest stick in their government's naval arsenal. Conversely the sheer size of the Royal Navy meant the Swiftsures would not be burdened with such expectations; the far more potent King George Vs would serve as the big sticks while the glamorous 'Mighty Hood' would remain pride of the fleet for as long as she remained in service. Quite simply the Royal Navy could afford for the Swiftsure to be a specialised design as they had other options while the Dunkerque and Scharnhorst classes they were the only large, modern, capital ships in their respective fleets and so had to be 'all rounders', making their lack of flexibility far more of a damning failure.

    --
    Notes;
    First a message to the loyal tanker hordes; your salvation is now one update closer. Only the Fleet Air Arm to go.

    Onto the ships, France gets the D&S as per OTL, the war was too late too change the upgrades on the Strasbourg even if they were in response to the threat of now non-existent Italian ships. On balance they probably would have been good ships if the quad turrets had actually worked properly, though as nobody ever got their quads to work as hoped that was never really on the cards.

    German gets four Scharnhorsts, yes four. But that's because they also get no Bismark (yet...?); if your trying to keep Britain sweet BCs are probably OK but a battleship is right out, particularly with no AGNA to justify it. I consider the ships themselves to be, as you may have guessed, terrible. Tough buggers with a thick belt and long ranged guns certainly, but they were the only redeeming feature in a design otherwise littered with problems. Even then the guns were permanently wet and on occasion flooded and forced out of action. The last in line Von Der Tanns though could have been good ships, slower but stronger and with reliable engines, however I think the German obsession with loading a ship with every bit of kit going would probably end up ruining them in the end.

    Finally the Swiftsures, named as I just like the word and it's a good capital ship name. Considerably better armed and armoured than a non-modernised QE she still only rates a battlecruiser as the KGVs are even stronger. One on one with any of the the others she has the edge in firepower, the thinnest belt armour but wins on deck armour (the 'plunging fire' obsession of Keyes). All else being equal I think she wins a long ranged engagement but would lose a short range fight, particularly against the Scharnhorst in good weather. But then in good weather she'd never fight that close so that's hardly a critical problem. Have I been too kind to them? Perhaps but I think actually having fought someone gives a massive advantage to the designers as does not having to push the envelope. E.g. the twin turrets may be out dated and somewhat wasteful of tonnage compared to a quad, but you can be damn sure they'll be reliable and accurate. And isn't that more important?

    More over the point here is; the RN still doesn't trust carriers and doesn't want to 'waste' BBs escorting them. As I'm not going for CVLs this will probably end badly for the battlefleet but I think they're just too gamey with their instant range closing. If someone can give me a good reason to go for it I will, but at the moment I can't justify it.

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    Four Scharnhorsts for Germany
    And a number of Swiftsures for the RN, more detail come the next budget update in (some number) time. There is a reason for this lack of detail I assure you.
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  15. #2715
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    I fear your RN will learn the same way mine did: A crushing defeat at the hands of an enemy Carrier force.
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  16. #2716
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    Very interesting update indeed. Got to love the naval stuff.

    I particulary like the the design for the Swiftsure class, seems a good solid design. The choice for 4" seems logical (would the 4.5inch give any particular advantage?), particularly regards for the future air threat, and the dispensing with aircraft and facilities, which happened only much later in the war is a goer as well. However once RADAR is equipped, these could become even more powerful designs, particulary if good fire control and direction is incorporated.
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  17. #2717
    Welcome back Pip--hitting the ground running I see!

    Swiftsure's seem a good design, especially if paired with a carrier as a fast striking force and not (mis-)employed in a slugging match.

    Only sad thing about all this to me is I guess no rebuild for Renown? Probably my fav RN ship of the time--she had a great war OTL, starting with single-handedly sending S & G running off Norway in 1940.
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  18. #2718
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    Being glib for a second, I fear that you are "cruisin for a bruisin". That said, the Swiftsures (it is a great name) look like a very capable service combatant that will give the RN an edge in surface warfare.
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  19. #2719
    saw what you did there Davout's Avatar
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    I never lost faith in you, Pip. I just figured you were too busy with work, at the bottom of the Chunnel with a hairdryer, trying to get the trains to run on time.

    But really, more naval pron? You torment us poor tankers so. My only comfort from the Tantalian torture you inflict on us ("just 1 more chapter, I promise") is the Sisyphian task of writing the next entry. (I've been reading Ovid again over Christmas)

    Maybe tanks for Valentine's Day?
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  20. #2720
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davout View Post
    Maybe tanks for Valentine's Day?
    Valentines!?! My god, I hope not... terrible contraptions the Valentines... oh, you meant... never mind.

    Anywho, I'm glad to be proven so wrong so quickly on your updatering.

    As usual an excellent post, if on a rather dull and uninteresting topic.

    Not sure about the name though... Swiftsure sounds a bit girlish to me. I would have gone with Hornblower (but then I've been reading Forester over Christmas )!

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