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Re: OT-Wrong port arthur

From: "Alan and Carmel Brain" <aebrain@d...>
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2001 19:10:56 +1100
Subject: Re: OT-Wrong port arthur

From: "Bif Smith" <>

> And, not only were the baltic fleet content with putting shells into
> their own cruisers, but when they were off the west coast of africa,
> did some target practice with the BBs, and the only thing they hit
> only hit with one shell) was their destroyer that was towing the
target! I
> don`t think you could make up a more incompetent navy even in fiction.

I must disagree.

Some more data:

a) The Baltic Fleet was actually composed of 2 fleets - the Admiral got
lumbered with a gaggle of hopelessly obsolete reinforcements that had
previously been jusdged to be worse than useless. These were known
as the "self-sinkers". Despite this, they actually did rather well,
rendezvousing with the main fleet in the Indian Ocean.

b) The Russki fleet got some severely bad PR for being total imbeciles
based on one incident in the English Channel. Basically, they started
firing at what they thought were "Japanese Torpedo Boats" and ended up
hitting several English fishing vessels.
Complete idiots, right? Japanese torpedo boats in the North Sea!!!

Well, about 1980 it was revealed that a Japanese torpedo boat tender
was known to be operating in the area at the time, with the UK
acquiesence if not approval. On the balance of probabilities, there
was an attack, and the Japanese used the UK fishing fleet for cover.

c) And most importantly.... most people only remember that the Russki
got utterly smashed by the Japanese. They don't realise that to get even
ships, let alone a whole fleet, of coal-fired vessels halfway round the
world, with
not a single allied coaling station along the way was a feat of naval
unparalleled in history. It made the US progression through the Pacific
the Normandy landings in WW2 look amateurishly inneficient. The Royal
had established at great cost in blood and treasure a whole chain of
stations stretching throughout the world. Others - the Germans, the
French -
had very few, not enough to even contemplate sending more than 3-4 ships
(2 of whom would be coal-carrying merchants) from Europe to Asia at a

The Russki fleet had many problems, from untrained seaman, to
appointed hopeless incompetents as officers, to poor explosive
and obsolete ship designs. It's no wonder they got wiped. But had
not been slain so early, and had his replacement not been a hopeless
they would have done much better. Probably still lost, but at least it
have been a fight not a slaughter.

Good comparisons are the battles of the Java Sea, Ironbottom Sound, and
Pearl Harbor
during WW2. And in none of them had the US Fleet sailed with only one
along the way from, say New York via the Horn beforehand.

BTW the last Navy I know of to miss the splash target (by a long way)
the towing vessel (by a few metres) was a Nato navy. And the USN has
to fire missiles at Friends, eg a certain Turkish Destroyer not so long

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