Beatty "the cad"

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glenn239
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by glenn239 » 05 Feb 2009 19:20

Would it be fair to say that Beatty did leave a legacy of aggressive response in Royal Navy commanders in 1939 that did prove at that time successful and appropriate?
Of course.
The First Sea Lords after Beatty are interesting, although how much either Beatty of Jellicoe were able to influence things must be guessed at.
Naturally. If to Jellicoe’s advantage than it must be treated as a scientifically proven fact. If to Beatty’s, then it is purely speculative.

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Terry Duncan » 05 Feb 2009 21:07

Naturally. If to Jellicoe’s advantage than it must be treated as a scientifically proven fact. If to Beatty’s, then it is purely speculative.
Not at all. I have never seen any suggestion either tried to influence appointments in this role any more than the usual recommending the person to replace them that all First Sea Lords do.

Perhaps Beatty will be thought better of when somebody can point ot something he achieved that most admirals would not have been able to do with the odds Beatty had?

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by glenn239 » 21 Feb 2009 23:45

Marder says this of Jellicoe,

“A more serious weakness in Jellicoe was his inability to delegate authority, which, explains one of his biographers, stemmed ‘from his immense capacity for work and his exceptional knowledge of technicalities; he was liable to use up an undue amount of time and energy by attending to details which might sometimes have been left to subordinates.’ Admiral Duff spelled it out; ‘Had a discussion with the V.A.. I agree with him that the Fleet is very badly run. The Staff in the Iron Duke is far too large, which prevents decentralisation, and takes all initiative and authority out of the hands of the Vice Admirals.

Marder says this of Beatty,

“He was, as Admrial James puts it, ‘a big man who thought big and was able to take the big view of all naval affairs’. Admiral Sir William Goodenough, who served under Beatty throughout the war, has best succeeded in spotting the sources of Beatty’s greatness as a naval commander.

‘I have often been asked what it was that made him so pre-eminent. It was not great brains…I don’t know that it was great professional knowledge….It was his spirit, combined with comprehension of really big issues. The gift of distinguishing between essentials and not wasting time on non-essentials…The spirit of resolute, at time would seem almost careless, advance (I don’t mean without taking care, I mean without care of consequence) was foremost in his mind on every occasion.’


This is why Beatty got the Grand Fleet in 1916.

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Tim Smith
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Tim Smith » 22 Feb 2009 03:28

Beatty was prepared to lead his battlecruisers into action against the German battlecruisers, even if the British battlecruisers were outnumbered. Beatty would fight anyway, even if the Germans had more ships.

Jellicoe, on the other hand, was horrified at the thought of his Grand Fleet dreadnaughts being outnumbered by the Germans. Should the Grand Fleet ever be caught split up and understrength by the German High Seas Fleet, Jellicoe would prefer to withdraw and regroup before renewing the action the following day.

Beatty was a hero. Beatty was brave.

But Jellicoe was smart. He knew that it was better not to fight at all, rather than fight at a disadvantage.

Because Jellicoe knew that ship for ship, the Germans were better than the British. The German ships were better designed, the crews better trained. Therefore the British needed superior numbers to win a naval battle.

Fighting outnumbered, the British would probably lose.

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by cormallen » 22 Feb 2009 11:42

Beatty not actually more aggressive than Jellicoe had been, either in deed or word, when in command of the Grand Fleet - His first report to the new First Lord after Jellicoe resigned suggested :
"the correct strategy of the grand fleet is no longer to endeavour to bring the enemy to action at any cost, but rather to contain him in his bases unti the general situation becomes more favourable to us."
The admiralty concurred but was most insistent that this more passive and defensive strategy be "a purely temporary measure"
Beatty was well aware that his ships were in general "inferior in construction and protection" and, like Jellicoe before him, was similarly aware that he was the now the man who could lose the war in an afternoon and was conscious that a major fleet action could give "...a rude awakening for the country!"
The deeper responsibilities of Higher command had obviously stifled his aggressive fires rather...

alan

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Tim Smith
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Tim Smith » 22 Feb 2009 12:31

No, what tempered Beatty's natural aggressiveness was having three of his battlecruisers blown apart at Jutland. After that experience he realised that Jellicoe had been right - the Germans did have technical superiority, and it was too dangerous to engage them with an inferior force.

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Terry Duncan » 23 Feb 2009 18:34

The German ships enjoyed very little of what could be termed 'technical' superiority and by late in the war this had been reduced to a sinle area. The most critical areas of difference between the two navies were;

The fire control arangements where the Germans had no centralized director and performace deteriorated severely after a shor time in action whilst the British system did and tended to produce better results as the engagement went on;

The armour quality was always presumed to be in favour of the Germans, but post war testing revealed that the British produced Krupp KC was superior to the German equivelant;

British wire wound guns had a far longer life than built up guns and were ale to fire longer before drooping;

The quality of shells was the one great advantage the Germans enjoyed for most of the war, the British shells broke up upon impact, with only one or two working correctly at Jutland. The German shells worked well, but were proving too small to penetrate armour at longer ranges by mid war - hence the decision to move to the 13.8" and 15" guns just before the war. By 1918 the Greenboy shells were actually superior to any others in service in any navy, but were obviously too late to prove themselves in action.

The sole area where Germany remained ahead was in the pumps supplied to each ship and their capacity, the British always lagging far behind, although the pumping arrangements did prove sufficient on Marlebourough at Jutland.

Goodall did an excellent comparison between Revenge and Bayern, where the British ship proved superior in almost all respects. whilst in some areas the German would not have passed as fit for service in the RN. The details of this are not in Marder, sadly he opted to use a quote from an officer with no design experience who though Bayern was better but offers no arguement why.

For details on armour quality see Nathun Oakun
For details on naval design see Stuart Slade or the paper by Sir Stanley Goodall.

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by glenn239 » 23 Feb 2009 19:44

No, what tempered Beatty's natural aggressiveness was having three of his battlecruisers blown apart at Jutland.
The loss of two ships at didn’t even phase him at Jutland, even though he himself was almost killed in a near-explosion on Lion.

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by cormallen » 23 Feb 2009 20:15

Oddly enough Beatty's desire to avoid a major fleet clash "until more favourable conditions apply" was rather mirrored by Scheer and Hipper who looked at the sorry state of their battered fleet after Skagerrak and started composing arguments for USW...The pigeons of 'Riskflotte' strategy coming home to roost at this point?

alan

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Dolmetscher04 » 19 Nov 2009 18:45

Terry Duncan wrote:The German ships enjoyed very little of what could be termed 'technical' superiority and by late in the war this had been reduced to a sinle area.....The sole area where Germany remained ahead was in the pumps supplied to each ship and their capacity, the British always lagging far behind, although the pumping arrangements did prove sufficient on Marlebourough at Jutland
Hi Terry

my understanding was that German ships were superior mainly due to their better compartmentalisation and hence their ability take punishment and "stay afloat" -- in addition to the points you mention.

Have I been reading the wrong stuff?

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Terry Duncan » 20 Nov 2009 01:29

Hi there,

What you are saying is true enough, though the smaller German compartments have advantages and disadvantages. Smaller areas made for poor habitability for long trips at sea, although the German fleet was not really designed for this anyhow, and although it sounds suprising the inspection of Baden by Goodall showed that the watertight bulkheads were pierced by voicepipes and electrical cables and no longer watertight as such, and concluded this would lead to progressive flooding as caused the loss of Lutzow at Jutland.

A lot of the British large compartments were due to the large tube boilers the Admiralty stuck with maybe a bit too long, though it is hard to criticise them for sticking to a safe design in a critical period.

The German ability to stay afloat was partly down to the subdivision, but probably the greatest single factor was the defective nature of the British heavy shells, only a couple of which performed as intended in the entire Jutland battle! Most exploded on impact and not behind the armour, but even so the damage was severe. If they had been using the Greenboy shells that were issued in 1918/19 it is probable that several more German ships would have been lots (two of the Konigs and the heavily damaged BC's would probably have not been able to get home).

Terry

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Dolmetscher04 » 20 Nov 2009 09:37

Terry Duncan wrote:Hi there,

....and although it sounds suprising the inspection of Baden by Goodall showed that the watertight bulkheads were pierced by voicepipes and electrical cables and no longer watertight as such, and concluded this would lead to progressive flooding as caused the loss of Lutzow at Jutland

Terry
It does indeed sound surprising. This is not meant to be sarcastic, but one imagines those clever engineers might have thought of seals and insulation to protect the Kaiser's investment, so to speak 8O

Do you know if British ships had the same problem?

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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Attrition » 20 Nov 2009 10:32

Interesting discussion. Do the signalling difficulties that Gordon goes on about mean that there was a limit to what a commander could do tactically 'off-the-cuff' so that a preference for decentralised command was irrelevant? People have mentioned that Beatty got rid of the big book but then made less effort than Jellicoe to find the Germans and fight them. I wonder if any commander could have obtained a wireless network suitable for tactical control which would have allowed a decentralised command system to work. Bearing in mind the British had much to lose and little to gain from a fleet engagement it seems to me that Jellicoe did very well to contrive things the way he did at Jutland and that Beatty's performance would have justified him resorting to even tighter command methods.

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Terry Duncan » 20 Nov 2009 17:09

It does indeed sound surprising. This is not meant to be sarcastic, but one imagines those clever engineers might have thought of seals and insulation to protect the Kaiser's investment, so to speak
I would sort of agree, but it is not easy to make a ship fully watertight and provide the old voice pipe communications to everywhere below decks, and any seal will eventually fail or decay. The worst problems seem to occur after battle damage when the frame can distort, all the German ships showed a tendancy to progressive flooding to some degree, but it would take a naval architecht to explain it properly. Goodall's report is available online, but only to people belonging to a naval architechts site which has a sizable fee attached. One poster had seen the report as he was a naval architecht, did post some details years ago. If he is still online he maybe happy enough to discuss it with you, his name is Stuart Slade, but I have no real idea where he may post now as we lost contact some years ago.
Do you know if British ships had the same problem?
British ships were also to suffer similar problems, the Audacious being the most notable as she struck a single mine and took hours to sink. This was largely due to being unable to make her watertight properly, some areas (doors and deck hatches) had corrosion that prevented a proper seal and so on. This would be more understandable if she had not been a new ship! In the Victorian navy HMS Victoria sank after being rammed, but the flooding was very rapid as many doors and portholes would no longer close, some due to rusting and some reportedly due to paint!

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Beatty "the cad"

Post by Terry Duncan » 20 Nov 2009 17:23

Do the signalling difficulties that Gordon goes on about mean that there was a limit to what a commander could do tactically 'off-the-cuff' so that a preference for decentralised command was irrelevant?
Gordon's points are valid with hindsight, but at the time a decentralized command was seen as a very poor idea, mostly due to the problems of keeping in contact once out of sight. The wonderfull idea of turning towards the torpedoes that is so often brought up now in books by respected authors and historians completely ignores that no such signal exsited at the time, not only in the Grand Fleet but the High Seas Fleet too - indeed I am unaware of any navy having such a signal at the time of the battle.
I wonder if any commander could have obtained a wireless network suitable for tactical control which would have allowed a decentralised command system to work.
Only if the war was fought later, nothing was really sure at the time or reliable enough to trust. Radio was around, but as the British were well aware, very open to interception which at best allowed the position to be traced.

The positions obtained by Jellicoe ware about as good as anyone could dream of, but his detractors did come up with some very strange ideas to show he was wrong. The most notable was from Sturdee (supposedly a tactical expert) and later repeated by Churchill, which was to divide the Grand Fleet int two columns and sail one each side of the German line so both could fire into it. This overlooks that if the position of the German fleet was unknown it could allow the Germans to fight only one of the two columns and defeat it as the other was masked by the closer half of the fleet. I think it was Richmond who described it as a lunatic idea.

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