Friday, August 18, 2017


The news I read is frequently filled with words of praise for the mystical rail gun the USN is going to arm itself with any minute now. It's a wonderf#uckingment of a weapon. It can reach out and touch somebody really really hard. When it works. People used to marvel at the awesome power of the dreadnought and battlewagon but one of the lesser known history whatchamacallits of WWII is that battleships never fired on other battleships. They were mostly destroyed by Billy Mitchell's little devils long before they could get into battle range of the enemy.  There, fixed it.

And so now, the rail gun is going to change naval warfare because, rail gun. You may remember the Russian navy had one of it's frigates and one of its corvettes fire ship killing missiles from almost a thousand miles away and make kills on their targets. What part of thousands of miles of range are we missing out on when we concentrate our research on a weapon that is only good for shooting things within the horizon? You know, that whole curvature of the earth thingie means that the rail guns speedy bullets won't actually hit anything 13 miles away, right? You got that? Shooting over is also called a miss.

Silly naval strategists. The USN doesn't have those kinds of missiles. It might find them useful in a fight.

Speaking strictly as an old fire control officer who thought putting Harpoon missiles in BOL on a snoop tray radar was a good tactic. They may not make it there but they'll die trying.


Anonymous said...

"... battleships never fired on other battleships."


HMS Defiant said...

Darn it, I knew that! Of course I knew that. I read about Washington and South Dakota battling it out at Guadalcanal and I stood on the deck of the Massachussetts in Battleship Cove and looked at one of those monster shells Jean Bart was firing at her. It was a slip of the finger, that's all. Honest!