Surface Fleet - Sea Command

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
One reason why Cunningham was such a successful admiral was that from 1908 onward almost all his appointments had been command appointments at sea. Before WW1 sea command experience was mandatory for promotion to Flag rank. Back in the day, a young chap who went to be a fishhead would have been hoping for Command.

Nowadays as I understand it there is only one RN Flag job at sea and there will soon, if Albion, Bulwark and Ocean are sold, there will only be two sea commands for Captains (actually for Commodores) and only the Darings and T23/T26 for Commanders, submarines apart (they are a separate subject really but even so the command opportunities there for officers below Commander vanished with the diesel boats). The implications of this for ambitious young Warfare thrusters seem rather serious, as is the problem of evaluating enough officers for senior promotion in the absence of appropriate 'drives'.

Those who are rather more current than I am might like to comment.
 
One reason why Cunningham was such a successful admiral was that from 1908 onward almost all his appointments had been command appointments at sea. Before WW1 sea command experience was mandatory for promotion to Flag rank. Back in the day, a young chap who went to be a fishhead would have been hoping for Command.

Nowadays as I understand it there is only one RN Flag job at sea and there will soon, if Albion, Bulwark and Ocean are sold, there will only be two sea commands for Captains (actually for Commodores) and only the Darings and T23/T26 for Commanders, submarines apart (they are a separate subject really but even so the command opportunities there for officers below Commander vanished with the diesel boats). The implications of this for ambitious young Warfare thrusters seem rather serious, as is the problem of evaluating enough officers for senior promotion in the absence of appropriate 'drives'.

Those who are rather more current than I am might like to comment.
I can almost hear Nelsons sword rattling as he rolls over in his grave.
 
One reason why Cunningham was such a successful admiral was that from 1908 onward almost all his appointments had been command appointments at sea. Before WW1 sea command experience was mandatory for promotion to Flag rank. Back in the day, a young chap who went to be a fishhead would have been hoping for Command.

Nowadays as I understand it there is only one RN Flag job at sea and there will soon, if Albion, Bulwark and Ocean are sold, there will only be two sea commands for Captains (actually for Commodores) and only the Darings and T23/T26 for Commanders, submarines apart (they are a separate subject really but even so the command opportunities there for officers below Commander vanished with the diesel boats). The implications of this for ambitious young Warfare thrusters seem rather serious, as is the problem of evaluating enough officers for senior promotion in the absence of appropriate 'drives'.

Those who are rather more current than I am might like to comment.
yes, no, maybe.

my only real point is remember that the way ABC (or someone like Beatty) "Commanded" a Fleet is very different to how we would Command a Task Group or Task Force today. For a start, with comms significantly better (even flashing light) it means you don't have to be within 100s of yards of one another to make sure a message is passed.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
Obviously. Cunningham in fact commanded form Alexandria from about 1941 onwards. The point is about very few individual officers having the opportunities to prove themselves under the solitary responsibilities of Command at sea.
 
yes, no, maybe.

my only real point is remember that the way ABC (or someone like Beatty) "Commanded" a Fleet is very different to how we would Command a Task Group or Task Force today. For a start, with comms significantly better (even flashing light) it means you don't have to be within 100s of yards of one another to make sure a message is passed.
Which is a great advantage, except when your need to communicate overrides your need to watch for incoming missiles. And as the Americans found out in Vietnam, improved communications can mean increased political interference from people who are remote from the action,
 
Nowadays as I understand it there is only one RN Flag job at sea and there will soon, if Albion, Bulwark and Ocean are sold, there will only be two sea commands for Captains (actually for Commodores) and only the Darings and T23/T26 for Commanders, submarines apart (they are a separate subject really but even so the command opportunities there for officers below Commander vanished with the diesel boats). The implications of this for ambitious young Warfare thrusters seem rather serious, as is the problem of evaluating enough officers for senior promotion in the absence of appropriate 'drives'.
You are forgetting about the biggest squadron in the fleet - the mighty URNU P2000s. They are commanded by Lieutenants either on their way up towards greater things or on their way out after failing the alcoholic rehab course several times.

With the ever shrinking fleet, Commander in Chief Fleet has become Fleet Commander. No doubt with (allegedly) only six deployable ships, the fleet will soon be commanded by a junior officer and a part time secretary.

I remember the good old days etc etc .....
 
Which is a great advantage, except when your need to communicate overrides your need to watch for incoming missiles. And as the Americans found out in Vietnam, improved communications can mean increased political interference from people who are remote from the action,
I'm not sure what your first point is?
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
Bulwark has had a succession of vey short term 4 ring drivers over the last few years, some in the region of 12 months, in order to give suitable people the promotion drive that they need at that rank to go into the pool for admiral. Others can comment on whether this has given them quite enough experience of command.
 
Bulwark has had a succession of vey short term 4 ring drivers over the last few years, some in the region of 12 months, in order to give suitable people the promotion drive that they need at that rank to go into the pool for admiral. Others can comment on whether this has given them quite enough experience of command.
It hasn't been about Commanding the Ship (indeed, the 2i/c routinely "commands" the ship, with the appropriate legal authority and responsibility), but instead offering an apprenticeship in 1* formation Command.
 
I'm not sure what your first point is?
"A well-known EMC-related catastrophe
concerns the ‘Type 22’ frigate H.M.S. Sheffield, causing the loss of the ship and 20 lives, during the Falklands war.

The Sheffield’s search radar was switched off when the satellite communication system was used, because of interference from the radar. Without its search radar the Sheffield’s anti-missile defences could not be used, and this allowed an Exocet missile to hit the ship on 4th May 1982."Sources:
RA EMC Awareness - Radio Susceptibility interference examples
Officers dismissed radar warning of Exocet attack on HMS Sheffield
Revealed: catalogue of failings that sank Falklands warship HMS Sheffield

"It was the UAA1 ESM equipment (NOT the radar) that was blanked out in I band (9.3 GHZ) by the use of SCOT satcom. Thus there was no warning available from SHEFFIELD's own ESM of the approach of the Super Etendards or the Exocet head until the last few seconds when SCOT was "scrambled" - ie switched off." Source: Help Needed - Loss of HMS Sheffield

The official report of the investigation into the loss of HMS Sheffield apparently confirms the fact that the use of the secure satcom link affected the ships ability to detect incoming missiles affectively. However I was unable to access the report on the MOD website.
 
there will soon, if Albion, Bulwark and Ocean are sold, there will only be two sea commands for Captains (actually for Commodores) and only the Darings and T23/T26 for Commanders,
Aren't some of both frigates and destroyers captained by Captains? Certainly, the recent thread on the sinking of the Sheffield highlighted (to me, at least) that several of these were.
 
Yes, there are OF5s driving FF/DD.
 
Good thing Sheffield was a T42 destroyer, not a T22 frigate.

But you might be correct if you thought the RN has worked out how to communicate and fight at the same time.
 
You are forgetting about the biggest squadron in the fleet - the mighty URNU P2000s. They are commanded by Lieutenants either on their way up towards greater things or on their way out after failing the alcoholic rehab course several times.

With the ever shrinking fleet, Commander in Chief Fleet has become Fleet Commander. No doubt with (allegedly) only six deployable ships, the fleet will soon be commanded by a junior officer and a part time secretary.

I remember the good old days etc etc .....
And how in Gods name are we to confound the Ffrench in future, eh?

England expects and all that.

(better open up the boat shed, the Navy might need some help - anyone seen the keys? What colour is it this week anyway?)
 
Good thing Sheffield was a T42 destroyer, not a T22 frigate.

But you might be correct if you thought the RN has worked out how to communicate and fight at the same time.
I am not responsible for the journalists mistakes - and, if I recall correctly it was a report from the Guardian anyway - and if the Navy hasn't worked out how to communicate and fight at the same time by now, God help the two shiny new aircraft carriers if they ever have to sail into harms way.
 
And how in Gods name are we to confound the Ffrench in future, eh?

England expects and all that.
We're not living in the days of sail, sodomy and syphilis you know. A 50%, post Brexit import duty on French wine and that malodorous cheese that they like to pretend isn't really a biological warfare agent should confound them plenty.

Failing that, we could rename HMS Prince of Wales to HMS Duke of Wellington and sell it to the Frogs as a replacement for the disaster prone Charles de Gaulle on condition that they can't rename it to something less nationally embarrassing, like the Marcel Marceau.
 

Yokel

LE
I am not responsible for the journalists mistakes - and, if I recall correctly it was a report from the Guardian anyway - and if the Navy hasn't worked out how to communicate and fight at the same time by now, God help the two shiny new aircraft carriers if they ever have to sail into harms way.
@Guns slap him.
 
We're not living in the days of sail, sodomy and syphilis you know. A 50%, post Brexit import duty on French wine and that malodorous cheese that they like to pretend isn't really a biological warfare agent should confound them plenty.

Failing that, we could rename HMS Prince of Wales to HMS Duke of Wellington and sell it to the Frogs as a replacement for the disaster prone Charles de Gaulle on condition that they can't rename it to something less nationally embarrassing, like the Marcel Marceau.
Or indeed, Charlie Hebdo!
 

W P

LE
We're not living in the days of sail, sodomy and syphilis you know. A 50%, post Brexit import duty on French wine and that malodorous cheese that they like to pretend isn't really a biological warfare agent should confound them plenty.

Failing that, we could rename HMS Prince of Wales to HMS Duke of Wellington and sell it to the Frogs as a replacement for the disaster prone Charles de Gaulle on condition that they can't rename it to something less nationally embarrassing, like the Marcel Marceau.
No, she'd keep colliding with imaginary ships. Naming her 'Sophie Marceau' would make requesting permission to 'lay alongside' or 'come aboard' more fun.
 

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