Re: Town Class Destroyers (was Re: Monetary costs of German weapons)

In article <gaednfPq7_jyVUzYRVnyvQA@xxxxxxxxxxxx>,
Andrew Clark <aclark@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
"David Thornley" <thornley@xxxxxxxx> wrote

use would sink one. This means that an unspecified but significant
number of destroyers that you claim were not used as escorts were.

I am confident that I accurately copied the RN records I used as my main
source. However, in the light of one or two of Geoffrey Sinclair's comments,
I want to double-check some facts.

Go ahead.

There are other explanations other than me being incorrect. For example, I
suspect that the RN definition of 'active service' is going to be central to
the varying interpretations.

If a destroyer sinks a U-boat, I would think that counts as active
service. If the RN has a definition in which a ship listed as inactive
is in a position to attack enemy warships, that could be a problem.

By the way, someone with your record of accuracy ought not to be throwing

Please confine yourself to attacking my arguments.

One would then think that refit work didn't use quite the same
resources as building, and that it could proceed in parallel.

Refitting involved much the same workforce skills as building. The work
force was a limiting factor too.

Sure. Now, what was the limiting resource here? Work force?
Spare parts? Slips? Some of the resources were different and some
were the same. I don't know which was the critical one.

If the British could quietly sideline destroyers, and had no use for
these, why not just sideline them?

Isn't it obvious? Anglophobe opinion in Congress would not be happy if the
RN did not use the destroyers which Roosevelt had insisted on sending them,

Of course.

and such a furore would weaken Roosevelt's ability to do further and more
valuable deals in future.


So the RN made a big show of using some of the
destroyers and quietly mothballed the rest.

Why "some" of the destroyers? Congress wasn't privy to British war
secrets, and the US public even less. All the British would need
would be one ship to show up in the newsreel footage, not necessarily
named each time. For the rest, commission them and assign them to
escort squadrons, for show purposes, but there'd be no need to actually
use them.

Instead, we find that they were sinking U-boats. That's certainly
a good thing for them to do, but they didn't do it tied up at dock
and uncrewed.

However, that's not the same as saying that extra destroyers were
useless. If the British were building corvettes as fast as they could,
and still didn't have enough escorts, then they could profit from
additional substandard destroyers.

I've already accepted that point: "...obviously if the refitted hull goes on
to do something which a corvette could not, then the RN has made an overall
gain. That seems to be rare, however".

No, not the same point.

The British needed a lot of escort vessels. They were building corvettes.
They continued to build large numbers of corvettes for the rest of the
war, although the yards that could build frigates (which were larger
ships) built them instead for about the second half of the war.

This suggests to me that the Brits thought they needed lots of

This suggests that providing fifty destroyers, even if not good
ones, might have allowed the British to have more escorts. Obviously
they British would have preferred to have halfway decent escorts,
such as corvettes or the ten Coast Guard cutters from the US later,
but they had to take what they could get.

David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
david@xxxxxxxxxxxx | If you don't, flee. | O-