Home / Robert Farley / Sunday Book Review: Billy Mitchell’s War with the Navy

Sunday Book Review: Billy Mitchell’s War with the Navy

Comments
/
/
/
833 Views

Why, in the wake of World War I, did the relationship between the US Army Air Service and the US Navy go so bad so quickly? Thomas Wildenberg’s Billy Mitchell’s War with the Navy: The Interwar Rivalry Over Air Power chronicles the conflict between aviation enthusiasts (personified and led by William Mitchell) and the establishment Navy during the interwar period. With control over aviation assets at stake, the sides argued over the effectiveness of airpower against warships and shipping. Mitchell and his acolytes took a maximalist position, holding the air forces had effectively rendered surface navies obsolete, and that the United States government should redirect money away from battleships and aircraft carriers and towards heavy bombers. Fighting the Navy couldn’t win Mitchell organizational independence, but it did hold the opportunity for gaining control of the immense resources that an independent air force would require.

The Navy and the Air Service fought for high stakes.  In the United Kingdom, the Royal Air Force was stitched together from the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, putting all military aviation assets under one banner.  The USN wanted to avoid this outcome at all costs, while Billy Mitchell wanted to create a similar arrangement in the US. In context of severe defense cuts at the end of the World War I, everything seemed to be on the table.

Wildenberg devotes considerable attention to the exercises that led to the sinking of the SMS Ostfriesland and several other old warships. With respect to the sinking of Ostfriesland, both sides had legitimate points to score.  Ostfriesland was older than most of the American battleships of the day, but not all, and not much older.  If bombers could sink her, then they could likely sink all but the most modern of the American standard type battleships. Three other issues made the exercise problematic, however.  First, Ostfriesland was stationary, considerably simplifying the problem of bombing.  In one of his more absurd moments, Mitchell explained this away in a passage that likely sets some sort of record for military dishonesty:

It does not make very much difference because we employ a massed attack.  A ship on the surface of the water in motion is much easier to hit than an object at rest because the relative speed between the airplane and the object being fired at is the thing that makes it difficult to secure hits.  If a water vessel could be moving at the same rate as an airplane there would be absolutely no trouble whatever hitting it because all you would have to do would be to get over the object and drop the bomb and as both the airplane and its taget would be going at the same speed you would be certain to get a hit.  Therefore the faster that a water vessel goes the easier it is to hit from the air.  This is not understood at all by people unfamiliar with bombing.  As to turning and zigzagging, the turns of surface vessels of any kind are so slow as to be almost negligible from the air.

Second, Ostfriesland was in poor shape, and lacked a crew. German battleships were well-known for their thorough compartmentalization and their watertight integrity, but looters and poor maintenance had made sealing Ostfriesland impossible.  The battleship was already taking on water before the bombing began. More importantly, with no damage control teams on board, even relatively minor damage could prove lethal. Finally (and in the only point that supports Mitchell) Ostfriesland had no munitions aboard.  This rendered the battleship effectively immune to loss through catastrophic explosion, although the ability of the bombs used by the Army Air Service to penetrate Ostfriesland’s magazines is in considerable question.

Mitchell did violate the rules of the exercise, but not to the extent that it made much of a difference to the outcome. The Army Air Service sank Ostfriesland and a variety of other old American and German vessels, helping both services to learn a great deal about targeting and bomb damage.  Mitchell’s interest was in propaganda, however; he used the sinking of the old battleship to argue that surface vessels of any kind were effectively obsolete in the face of determined air attack.  It bears note that Mitchell was not predicting that surface ships would become vulnerable at some point in the future; he made clear his belief that the USN was already obsolete as of the early 1920s.

It’s fair to say that Wildenberg is not impressed by Billy Mitchell, and that he generally tilts towards the Navy’s side of the conflict. Wildenberg lands clear punches, demonstrating that while Mitchell was an effective organizational commander and an excellent propagandist, he had severe shortcomings as a strategist.  The subject is complicated, because while planes can’t sink battleships as easily as Mitchell suggested, they surely can sink them. Mitchell’s claims for the capacity of aircraft to sink warships were wildly overstated, and were wrong in many of the particulars. But it’s less clear that they were so wrong as to be unproductive. The extent to which the battleship was obsolete prior to 1939 has been (in part because of Mitchell and his partisans) strongly overstated, but then most major powers either curtailed battleship construction or ended it entirely once World War II began.  It also bears note that Mitchell was quite right about the pointlessness of lighter-than-air aviation, and about many aspects of the interwar military aviation complex.

But then Mitchell’s advocacy was surely unproductive in terms of the details of how aircraft could be used for coastal defense. Heavy, level bombers were nearly useless in World War II for attacks against naval vessels, as warships proved far too fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed to succumb to high altitude level bombing. In a prediction that didn’t pan out, Mitchell suggested:

If the same method of battleship construction is continued, in the future no crew will stay on a battleship when aircraft come in sight.  The captain will have to stick at his post and will probably send for a bottle of torpedo fluid to help him, and everyone else will immediately jump overboard.  When the alarm of airplanes in sight is given, the crew will immediately put on gas masks, kapok coats in order to float in the water, asbestos shoes and gloves so as to be able to touch the hot metal, and parachutes so that they will be able to open them and come down alright when blown into the air.

Hyperbole yes, but not particularly helpful hyperbole. Dedicated dive and torpedo bombers, usually (although not always) developed by navies, would sink the vast majority of warships during the war.  Level bombers did better against civilian shipping, but this was not envisioned to be a serious operational task  in the early inter-war period.  And Mitchell was egregiously wrong about the effectiveness of carriers and carrier aircraft, which he believed would always be at a disadvantage against land-based air.  Granting that Mitchell had a point with respect to aircraft sinking warships also requires appreciating that he got the details entirely wrong, and that he advocated policies that would have produced tactical and organizational disaster.

But Wildenberg probably goes too far when he draws Mitchell’s personal history into the dispute.  He illustrates his narrative with passages from Mitchell’s life, stories that generally do not reflect well on the aviator. These passages  add color to the account (he probably shot his first wife, for example), but also tend to obscure the argument by portraying Mitchell more cartoonishly than is strictly necessary. There were undoubtedly a significant number of officers on each side of the three way argument between the Army, the Air Service, and the Navy who suffered from alcoholism, who liked the ponies a bit overmuch, and who wildly overspent their means. Detailing these characteristics primarily for Mitchell and not for the other antagonists leaves a lopsided story that is, if anything, unfair to Mitchell.

Wildenberg doesn’t present much in the way of a general theory of inter-service conflict, but it’s not hard to develop one.  Essentially, inter-service tension in the interwar period precluded the development not only of good cooperative procedures in areas of common interest, but also of the development of knowledge.  Mitchell had a sincere interest in the bombing exercises, but his goals were mainly political, rather than the development of tactics, techniques, and technologies for using air and naval assets together.  Mitchell wanted to prove that aircraft could kill specific battleships in order to kill the idea of battleships. The Navy appreciated that someone would try to sink its ships with aircraft, and even if it believed that Mitchell overstated the air threat, it did need a technical understanding of how bomb damage affected warships. The question was under what conditions, and what factors could either enhance the ability of friendly aircraft to sink enemy ships, or prevent the sinking of friendly ships by enemy aircraft. But faced with the political threat posed by Mitchell and his enthusiasts,  the Navy grew understandably reluctant to put even its older ships at the service of the Army.

In the long run, this dynamic would hurt the Army Air Corps more than the Navy.  Navy exercises and planning in the 1930s demonstrated the potential effectiveness of dive and torpedo bombers, even if it took some time in practice to develop effective anti-aircraft techniques.  The Air Corps entered the war with an excess of optimism about the role that B-17s could play in coastal defense, while simultaneously lacking any understanding of how heavy bombers might support the anti-submarine effort (although obviously the Navy hardly covered itself with glory on this score in the first year of the war). Threatening the Navy forced it to circle the (battle) wagons, which limited the extent to which the Air Service could prepare for the next war.  Everybody likes aggressive, enthusiastic activism than threatens entrenched interests, but those interests may respond in generally unproductive ways.

This is an interesting book, and if it had come out earlier I would have found it useful in my own work.  The research appears sound, and the argument is largely correct.  I can’t help feel, however, that the case could have been made more carefully. The book could also have been organized more clearly, as some of the early chapter are much longer than their later counterparts (this may be my own pet peeve). Nevertheless, it’s a good one volume account of how bitterly the Navy and the Air Service fought for prominence in the interwar period.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Murc

    In one of his more absurd moments, Mitchell explained this away in a passage that likely sets some sort of record for military dishonesty:

    Hey, let’s be fair. That might not have been dishonesty.

    Mitchell might have actually been that pig-ignorant about how ships, you know… worked.

    • Gwen

      As a simple matter of physics, his explanation has a superficial appeal, but frankly, how dumb could he have been?

      Surely he would know that before you can hit a target, first you have to find it. We have the benefit of hindsight knowing that in WWII, patrols often had trouble locating the enemy; but even without that foresight, the problem should be obvious… this was hard enough in World War I with land targets. Even obsolete battleships could move at 10 knots (I get this from Wikipedia’s entry on BB-35, USS Texas).

      (Now to be sure, a moving target will leave smoke or a wake that can be useful aids, but only if you’re already in the ballpark; and those are only useful in good weather, too).

      Secondly, moving targets have a tendency to change direction. This seems fairly obvious even to a child, but in fairness to Mitchell, perhaps not all of the consequences we now know of would have been ca. 1920. Ships tend to be pretty hard to hit with bombs unless you come at them from bow or stern, and fairly hard to hit with torpedoes unless you’re coming at them from port or starboard. Lining up your attack without getting hit by flak or shot at by defending aircraft is… actually kind of hard.

      Third, again, a ship might be moving at 10 or 20 knots. A plane is going to have to be going about 100 knots or more just to avoid stalling, a whole order of magnitude difference. Even if Mitchell’s explanation were correct, it wouldn’t possibly make much difference.

      • Gwen

        To be sure though, my “credentials” amount to playing literally hundreds of hours of “Aces Over The Pacific” when I was in high school. I am sure that I have some misconceptions about naval aviation myself.

        My favorite plane is still the P-61 Black Widow…

      • njorl

        ” A plane is going to have to be going about 100 knots or more just to avoid stalling, ”

        On the contrary, the planes Mitchell was using probably could not attain 100 knots. Most WWI bombers couldn’t break 100 mph. Some could fly as slow as 35 mph. Even into the early 1920s, they didn’t get much faster.

  • Matthew

    It’s wrong to say his argument about carrier aircraft vs. land based aircraft is wrong.

    Similar planes, based from land, are always going to be more effective and less vulnerable than those operating from carriers. The historic discrepancy comes from the fact that anti naval aircraft were rarely based on land.

    But think of something like Henderson field, it was attacked continuously by Japanese aircraft and had it been a carrier, it would have been sunk 5 times over, but because it’s dry land it was fine.

    • Richard Hershberger

      Had it been a carrier, it wouldn’t have been sitting in the same place waiting to be sunk five times.

    • mpowell

      What? You do realize that the purpose of carriers is producing moving airstrips in the ocean right? It’s true that I’d rather have a friendly land based strip in any given spot as opposed to a carrier 99% of the time, but the feature of carriers is providing strips where there is no land or no friendly land w/ air strips. And ultimately, carrier based air turned out to be really important. Mitchell was badly wrong.

  • Gwen

    Some possibly-interesting counterfactuals —

    1.) Suppose the 1920s were a period not of pacifism, isolationism and austerity but rather more like, say, the 1980s. Would there have even been an interservice rivalry? And if so, how would it have developed in a time of feast (as opposed to what actually happened for the military, a time of relative famine)?

    2.) What if the United States had consolidated all of its air power into a separate branch prior to World War II (even so far as having Air Force pilots flying carrier-based planes)? Would it have made a significant difference in any campaign or battle?

    • ajay

      What if the United States had consolidated all of its air power into a separate branch prior to World War II (even so far as having Air Force pilots flying carrier-based planes)? Would it have made a significant difference in any campaign or battle?

      This is what the UK did – the Fleet Air Arm was part of the RAF until 1939, when it was returned to RN control.

      • Brett Turner

        And the RAF had very little interest in developing planes which were any good at attacking ships, which greatly hurt British carrier aviation during the war.

        E.g., their main torpedo attack plane when the war began, the Swordfish, was a *biplane.*

        hard to see that happening if the Navy had control over carrier aviation.

        • Which pulled off Pearl Harbour 1.0 at Taranto, and then made a very good ASW platform in the North Atlantic.

          The design brief for the Stringbag was actually overwhelmingly naval in inspiration – the navy had a doctrinal concept of the “TSR” or Torpedo-Spotter-Reconnaissance aircraft, intended to provide tactical scouting and ASW patrol for the fleet, gunfire observation for the fleet, and torpedo attack. That required range/endurance, a navigator and station, a big and heavy radio fit and someone to work it, and all weather capability. The RN expected to operate in the winter North Atlantic.

          As the war was breaking out, a new requirement emerged, which was a platform for the first airborne radar. The RN wanted radar for scouting by night and in all weathers, for attacking surfaced U-boats, and as it turned out, to identify surface targets for night torpedo attack. Only the Swordfish had the weight margin, crew, and electrical power to use the ASV Mk1 radar.

          The airframe looked ugly, but if you looked into the cockpit, you’d be looking into a preview of the future, crammed with electronics.

  • Erik Lund

    Okay, Farley, I’ll bite.

    Why do you think that the Air Force, or Navy, was slow to appreciate the value of bombers for naval superiority missions in general, and to anticipate where you are going, anti-submarine warfare in particular.

    Please support with some reference to actual history of technology.

    • Robert Farley

      Because I’ve read the full, first person account of the Coastal Command delegation that the RAF sent to liaise with the USAAF in the first six months of American participation in World War II. It’s available and Kew Garden, and is surprisingly good reading.

      • Erik Lund

        Is that a volume of the Naval Historical Records? The only publisher with a similar name that I find specialises in botanical books. It would be pretty slight authority even if the bibliographic information were complete enough for me to find it.

        I don’t want to come across as condescending or trollish, but you need to be aware that a set of claims about the “VLR B-24” advanced by Stephen Roskill in 1955 and their role in the early 1943 crisis of the Battle of the Atlantic can, and have been, pretty decisively refuted.

        That said, there is room to refute them more, and it would be unwise for you to hang your argument on them.

        • Robert Farley

          Erik,

          You asked ” Why do you think that the Air Force, or Navy, was slow to appreciate the value of bombers for naval superiority missions in general, and to anticipate where you are going, anti-submarine warfare in particular.” I answered “Because I’ve read the full, first person account of the Coastal Command delegation that the RAF sent to liaise with the USAAF in the first six months of American participation in World War II.”

          Now, if you wish to investigate this question further, I would recommend starting with AIR 15/217, which can be found at the Public Records Office at Kew Garden. I would also take a look at AIR 15/196, AIR 15/31, and AIR 15/155.From there, you’ll be able to find plenty of additional information about early exchanges of information between the RAF and the USAAF, RAF descriptions of the equipment, doctrine, and tactics used by USAAF bomber crews pressed into the anti-submarine role, and a reasonably layered account of the first 8-10 months of USAAF efforts at using bomber aircraft in an anti-submarine role in World War II. This will help you come to your own conclusions with respect to how contemporaries viewed the question of whether the USAAF was “slow to appreciate the value of bombers for naval superiority missions in general, and to anticipate where you are going, anti-submarine warfare in particular.”

          As for condescending or trollish, it’s the internet; be who you gotta be.

          • Erik Lund

            Well, it’s hard to argue with an archival citation; but that also makes it difficult to go forward with the conversation.

            I imagine that the material is more fully covered in your book?

        • njorl

          “Kew Garden” is referring to the UK national archives, officially, The National Archives at Kew Gardens.

        • Brett Turner

          “a set of claims about the “VLR B-24″ advanced by Stephen Roskill in 1955 and their role in the early 1943 crisis of the Battle of the Atlantic can, and have been, pretty decisively refuted.”

          Citation, please?

          • Erik Lund

            I have to go to work, so let’s settle for one footnote from an unpublished manuscript of mine: it probably doesn’t include the killer citation, but it should serve as a placeholder until I do have time. Not that anyone will care, etc.

            For the British experience of ASW up to 1916, see Cooper, 49; British experiences and expectations of flying boats in a longer perspective, see H. A. Jones, The War in the Air: Being the Story of the Part Played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force, 4 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934), 4: 20, 64; and Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa, The Crisis of the Naval War (New York, N.Y.: G. H. Doran, [1920]; originally printed London: Cassell, 1920), 59-61, 87, 95–6; for plans for flying boat forward deployments to various proposed anchorages from northern Borneo to Okinawa, see Ian Cowman, Dominion or Decline: Anglo-American Relations in the Pacific, 1937-1941 (Oxford, Washington, D.C.: Berg, 1996), 29-33; on scarecrow patrols, Terraine observes that in the early part of the war, “the role of Coastal Command was what was known, in the First World War, as ‘Scarecrow’— alarming the U-boat and causing it to submerge. The best height for surface U-boat spotting was found to be 1,500–2,000 feet, but this meant that a vigilant look-out might see the aircraft before it saw the U-boat, or at least simultaneously. since a U-boat could submerge fully in 25 seconds from the sounding f the warning gone, all the aircraft was likely to see was its diving ‘swirl’. . .” (Terraine, Right of the Line, 245).For the origins of the world Catalina surplus, see Flight, 24 February, 1938, 175; and S. Paul Johnston, “Our Air Defences, II: The Navy,” Aviation, November, 1938: 26–9, 76, 78.); and Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911 (London: Putnam, 1976), 80-86, 318-320, 452; for flying boats generally, see “The Interdependence of Home and Trade Defence,” Brassey’s Naval Annual, Ed., H. G. Thursfield (London: W. Clowes, 1939): 196-202; and “Marine Aircraft Development, 203-4; H. Burchall, “North Atlantic Flights in 1938,” Brassey’s (1938): 209-219; and Ibid,“Empire Flying Boat Routes,” Brassey’s Naval Annual (1937): 180-9; for a “pro” flying boat position, see Corelli Barnett, Engage the Enemy More Closely: The Royal Navy in the Second World War [London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1991], 39; given Buckley’s contention that flying boats were overly expensive, it is noteworthy that that the Sunderland was a very cost efficient aircraft to produce (Eric Mensforth, “Airframe Production,” Jour. Roy. Aero. Soc. 51 (1946): 27).

            • Anonymous

              Wow that’s a terrible answer. On the other hand, I made my train, so yay me. I’ll extract a decent answer from my dick-measuring grad school wall o’footnotes tomorrow. Look for the post, three pages down

              • Erik Lund

                It probably helps to start with chronology. We tend to talk about the Battle of the Atlantic as all crisis all the time until May of 1943, when it all just blew over at once. Not helpful. The late David Brown talks about “The Battle of the Atlantic: Peaks and Troughs,” in Runyan and Copes [1994], 137—57. I don’t always agree with Britain’s premier naval architect-historian, but as one of the few writers on the subject who notices the existence of weather, he’s worth reading here.
                Anyway, four peaks: Fall, 39; Summer 1940; Winter 1942; Spring 1943. Introducing the Naval Estimates in March 1944, the First Lord minimised the Battle as a whole by asserting that in 1941, submarines sank only 1 of 181 ships sailing, 1 of 233 in 1942, and “in the second half of 1943” only 1 in a thousand. (I’m quoting the leading article in the 18 March 1944 number of Flight, conveniently available online.)
                The direct quotation serves for emphasis. There’s a hole big enough to steer the crisis of the war through here. In the winter of 1943, the Germans deployed a shitload of submarines and sank lots of ships. The First Lord goes on to explain that hardly any of these occurred in 1943 within 800 miles of land, and that this was due to air cover, and since we now have escort carriers and “VLR ASW” (Now I’m using scareish quotes to introduce the acronym salad) everything was fine, and Hon. Mems. can go back to sleep.

                True as far as it goes, but does it describe what actually happened in 1943. No. What happened in 1943 was basically that winter ended, bringing with it longer days and better weather, greatly easing the strain on the ASW forces. I know that I’m being all contrarian here, but there’s been a little-noticed revision of submarine sinking statistics in the last twenty years or so. Only 6 German submarines were sunk by air attack within the widest definition of the gap, between 29W and Newfoundland coastal waters, 2 by Consolidated PBYs, and 4 by Liberator Is of 120 Squadron, operating from Iceland, none west of 35W (Niestlé, German U-Boat Losses During World War II: Details of Destruction [Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, {1998}], 1–142).
                I can’t wait to see how the LGM editor parses that.
                So, anyway, how did that happen? Well, I find on opening up my own ancient work that I didn’t cite any splat books on the development of the B-24, or even Hounshell on Willow Run. But the Canadian official historian has a satisfactory technical account of why there were no “VLR Liberators” being built between the initial production run for the French order (the Liberator Is of 120 Squadron) and the modified B-24Hs of 5 Squadron RCAF that “closed the Atlantic Gap” –in the summer of 1943, well after the crisis. Blah blah aeronautical/production engineering blah. Dunmore, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Vol. 2. The Creation of a National Air Force ([Toronto]: University of Toronto Press in Cooperation with the Department of National Defence, 1986). Oops. No pagination. Citation fail!
                So well this is bad news for air power enthusiasts, right? Well, no. The reason that there were no (long range) B-24s available for the high Atlantic in the winter of 1943 was not that the bomber barons were hoarding them to bomb Ploesti or whatever. It was because there were none. (Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cates, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War Two, vol. 2, Europe: Torch to Pointblank; August 1942 to December 1943, by the United States Air Force Historical Center (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, [1949]), 15–18, 30–2, 220, 232.) As for why the existing planes achieved so little, well, the presence of PBYs on the kill list above suggests an explanation. The USN had planes with the range. It is just that after a 22 hour flight into the teeth of a North Atlantic winter gale, the aircrews had all the mental and physical fortitude of frozen lumps of Jello. Liberator Is weren’t much better, so they were not sent out much, which probably saved many more airplanes than it did submarines. (Philip Joubert de la Ferté, “High Latitude Flying by Coastal Command in Support of Convoys to North Russia,” The Geographical Journal 108 (July–December, 1946), 22.)

    • Derelict

      Indeed, everyone was slow to appreciate the role of land-based aviation in naval warfare. The Japanese almost got a grip on it after sinking Prince of Wales and Repulse. It wasn’t until much later in the war that they began to figure out how important land-based aircraft were to anti-submarine efforts.

      Likewise, the British took an entire year to figure out how to use Coastal Command–it spent all of ’39 and most of ’40 as some kind of orphan service. Starved of assets and deprived of coherent doctrine, it’s a miracle that it became as effective as it was.

      As for the Americans, well, we spent most of ’42 trying all sorts of ineffective “looks good on the gaming table” stuff with our land-based air. The fights between Admiral Andrews and the Army Air Corps over land-based bomber assets along the East Coast were a major inhibitor to developing tactics, doctrine, training, or anything else that might have helped. The fledging Civil Air Patrol turned out to be more effective as an anti-sub weapon simply by keeping subs submerged during daylight.

      • njorl

        It was interesting to see Mitchell touting the use of bombers against surface vessels, when they turned out to be much more useful in antisubmarine warfare. I don’t think he can be blamed for not predicting radar, though.

    • mike in dc

      My impression was that Nazi Germany had some limited success with the Fw200 Condor, spotting and attacking shipping. And Italy had an excellent ground based anti-shipping aircraft in the SM-79, which was a capable torpedo bomber, among other things.

      • Derelict

        The Condor had very limited success, but it’s hard to say whether it was actually an effective aircraft for naval operations. Hobbled by terrible tactics, extremely poor training (especially in navigation), poor radios, and a distinct lack of coordination and cooperation with the Kriegsmarine, the Condor managed to build a reputation orders of magnitude greater than its actual achievements.

  • Mojo

    “Everybody likes aggressive, enthusiastic activism than threatens entrenched interests, but those interests may respond in generally unproductive ways.”
    “Also, buy my book.”

  • Heavy bombers didn’t really gain the ability to sink warships until the latter years of WWII when the first guided munitions were developed.

    HMS Warspite was badly damaged by a German glide-bomb dropped by a single Dornier bomber.

    • rea

      Yeah, without guided munitions you get the B-17 attack at Midway–zero hits.

      • ajay

        Or the 617 Squadron attack on Tirpitz – ship completely destroyed.

        • rea

          Moored, and in the confined waters of a fjord.

          • bexley

            And the tallboy used, while not guided, we’re also developed late in the war.

    • Derelict

      Indeed. The German guided bombs and missiles gave the British fits in the Med. Fortunately for the Brits, they have a truly amazing and effective signals intelligence operation, and so were able to relatively quickly develop countermeasures.

  • BP

    When we get to the point of having 10,000 or 20,000 drones to go at a ship, Mitchell will be proven right. Computers will make all the difference in dropping bombs.

It is main inner container footer text