tv Lessons Learned - 1916 Battle of Jutland CSPAN December 29, 2018 11:00am-12:01pm EST
american artifacts programs by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. >> next, u.s. naval professor james holmes analyzes the battle of jutland between the imperial german navy and the british navy. the navy gunner, professor holmes battles that there are lessons that the 21st-century navy can learn from the great war. this is part of a conference hosted by the national world war i museum and memorial in kansas city, missouri. >> ladies and gentlemen welcome back to the 1918 crucible of war symposium here at the national world war i museum and memorial. we are so pleased to be joined this year by our presenting sponsor the military museum and
library. as well as continuing our partnership with the united states world war i centennial commission. with the united states centennial commission, we have been presenting educational materials since 2014, including a spectacular education newsletter, which if you are a teacher or a professor, or if you know a teacher we would encourage you to go to our website to sign up where we provide topical materials on a bimonthly basis. with that, you can also find some a great primary sources on things like ships and the navy. if you have a great interest in that, we would encourage you to
take a look at some of those educational materials. as a matter of fact, a beautiful ship is on the front of our new scholastic initiative. you can find out more on our website or on the scholastic website. brand-new, hot off the presses and available for 5th-12th grade classrooms. if you are interested in naval warfare in world war i you are in just the right place. our next speaker is dr. james holmes. he is the chair of maritime strategy at the naval war college. he was previously on the faculty at the university of georgia's school of public and international affairs. as a former u.s. navy officer, he served as an engineering and gunnery officer on the uss wisconsin. he is a graduate of vanderbilt
university, the band -- the naval war college, providence college, his latest book is the second edition of "red star over the pacific." please, ladies and gentlemen, help me in welcoming dr. james holmes. [applause] dr. holmes: it is an honor to be here. you will find in the next 45 minutes i will go back in history about a century and forward to our own day. to help us learn the lessons of world war i, as i think the american navy, marine corps, and coast guard can learn from the conflicts that we are commemorating and studying at this event. with the obvious exception of
people in this room, i would say world war i is a forgotten war. the great war teaches us a wealth of lessons relevant to contemporary day if we only care to look. although you think of the conflict as a ground war that reached its and a century ago next week, in fact there are lessons for navies as a. i would rank it alongside world war ii in the pacific as a source of lessons for contemporary naval warfare. i would like to explore an idea with you in the next 40 minutes that i get out of studying the great war. in my field we are often times a saying the enemy of my enemy is my friend. this is an idea about the formation and evolution of coalitions. i would say in a real sense you could take a different take on that and say my enemy is my friend in a very real sense. think about it in a boxing sense.
the antagonist is the one who keeps me sharp while we are preparing and counter preparing. we are trading trash talk. we not only spend all day at the gym to make ourselves physically fit, we analyzed strategies and tactics and devised town to strategies and counter tactics of our own. my enemy provides me with the tangible incentive to be my best self. not just in the physical but in the intellectual sense. otherwise, i am likely to get clobbered and lose out on my first from the ballot. my adversary is the one who hones my skills simply by competing with me effectively. without a serious opponent i have no such incentive. i am the champ. i am facing no formidable competitors, i am prone to succumb to all manner of places. i could go to mcdonald's instead
of the gym. i could play video games instead of studying film of my opponent and getting smarter. what happens after that? what happens when a serious challenger comes along after i have gotten intellectually lazy and physically flabby. we know a new challenger will eventually come along in the course of human events. that challenge will find me flabby and unready to flight. with physical fighters in the ring, so would marshal institutions which are nothing more than groups who happen to bear arms. with no other navies onto the their toes during peacetime, our services our foreign marble -- are vulnerable. my enemy is my friend by keeping me sharp. this to me is a listen of world war i that is directly applicable to today's united states navy. the royal navy indulged its worst axis after the smashing triumph in 1805.
it paid a heavy price in jutland in 1916. providing a lesson i think carries forward. our navy has fallen into some of the same vices as our british ally. history warns us of the consequences in no uncertain terms. it is up to us to learn and act upon that this lesson, concerning ourselves for the strategic competitions we are in and are likely to be in for some time to come. that is the idea from the great war i would like to explore with you in the next few minutes. having stated my bottom line to you, how do i get to that? let's start not at world war i but with one of the masters of science fiction. back in the day he famously said politics really does not matter. politically speaking, the human race divides into two groups of people. the first group wants to exert
control over others. the others are the current margins and so forth. guess who attract to naval service? it is the control freaks. if you do not have a serious competitor in battle in which you will be in serious danger of losing to provide a reality check, you are in very serious danger. that would be the lesson i would start off with in this hour. by world war i i would take two points. you could still make the case for the first world war as a source for historical insight. i would like to build the case that this is the conflict we should learn from today. i would say alongside the public easy and war 2500 years ago, this is the conflict we look at in institutions on the outside of the civilian world just as
much. the first world war simply pays off in a lot of sense. it helps us get ourselves into the competitions we find ourselves in. number two is something in my own area of strategy and operations. to see with united states navy can learn from studying the great war and the evolution of british naval strategy over the century before that. i will start off with a person who was reportedly a resident of these parts. i was just in hartford, connecticut a couple weeks ago so i feeling i have been following the great mark twain around. he maintains that history rhymes and never repeats itself but it rhymes. a wonderful joke, isn't it? think about all the content in there. today is not 1918, but at the
same time you do hear certain rhymes from then and now. history provides us with a starting point. we don't have to start over and reinvent the wheel as we look ahead at particular strategic problems. history provides that balance that helps us do things more wisely. here of course is general mattis, our secretary of defense who says the strategic documents that the united states and its allies are set to face a return to great power competition. after what has been a great strategic holiday ever since the cold war ended in 1991. we have faced no serious challenger's since then and i think this is one reason that we find ourselves falling into bad habits that urgently need to be
corrected. if we are like -- if we would like to be competitive with china, the russian navy, iran, whoever it may be. did about the world leading up to 1914, this is a world that looks like something like our own. professor lawrence did a wonderful job but think about what brings the combat on the western front. you see it starting in the 1870's with the unification of germany by 1871. this creates a power bigger than the other european countries with economics, military power, demographics, it upsets a delicate balance of power that has been in place since the battle of waterloo. this is something that disturbs and establish balance of power. think about asia today. asia today is not europe in 1914
or 1871 or whatever. at the same time we see a rise of china that is bigger than its neighbors through economics, military might, and so forth. this provides a lot of value as we look. as we look back at world war i, my various writings about china's navy, the strategy, this is the year i look back at the most. you find startling similarities between imperial germany as it had the stages of its coming out party and china today. here is a wonderful starting point to look at what we see around us. this is a globalized world. what we are in is the second age of globalization. leading into the first world war, this is when you had people like david starr jordan.
he gave a wonderful speech in 1913, you can find it on the internet. he said there will not be a great war of europe, it cannot happen. europeans are indebted from previous wars, they should learn lessons that it does not vast -- advance national interests. he makes a case that world war i could never happen. we are talking about book signings here today, this guy sold a zillion copies of a book called "the tragedy of great power politics." the name escapes me but he basically proposes it, he is wrongly approves -- accused of predicting the war. he says nations should have learned the lesson that you cannot advance national interests by resorting to arms. because we are all economically interdependent. it does not make sense to go to war against your trading partners. there are natural need for your
manufacturing sector. again, here is an argument that you hear from time to time, especially back in the 1890's after the cold war. you heard about globalization and competition that sounds like a rhyme from the first world war era. this is an era of naval arms races. this is the admiral, he is the state secretary of navy for the imperial german navy. this is the father of the high seas and fights with the british grand fleet. this is the guy who says i build ships, i do not care about politics. germany is looking for what it calls its place in the empire after it unifies and starts looking outward and thinking about catching up with great britain as a global empire.
germany clearly has those political aspirations. for example, here at the western hemisphere it views south america as india. the german empire that will rival the british empire who is the jewel in the 19th century of course is india. it catches up with established empires and implements it to do that. this guy designed the navy. he has a short range combatants that can only operate in the north sea. these geopolitical aspirations but at the same time it sees what germany is building and germany is building a navy that is clearly designed to go after britain's navy and fight for maritime supremacy. not me far east or places like that. they see this taking place in shipyards in germany.
winston churchill says germany welded together world war i by building this battle fleet in the years leading up to 1914. what you build can really send a signal to your adversaries. this is something we see in a sense playing out as the united states'navy looks at the chinese navy. we see an interactive dynamic potentially in motion around us today. this is a wonderful painting for the battle of jutland. the lessons of world war i carry into the arena of naval operations and tactics. especially on the organizational side. i see these organizational aspects coming out of jutland. here is an idea i would propose to you, when you get to big it
is a dangerous thing for an armed force. think about being rocky balboa in the old films. you finally defeated the great apollo creed and you take it easy for a while. fight easy opponents. all of a sudden you face clubber lang, mr. t. you see rocky back on his heels. if i defeat my adversary too convincingly, it tends to make me flabby and leaves me without the adversary to keep me smart and hone my skills. think about 1805 with the fleet we see before the battle in 1805. this is a battle in which an
outnumbered british fleet sales into the water in spain and takes on a combined fleet and takes it out. basically crushes napoleon's fleet and its spanish allies. this leaves britain without a serious adversary for much of the century. it is not fighting battles against the french fleet or other competitors. it is doing imperial police operations to administer the british empire. it is taking on outmatched adversaries. this is not something that would keep you on your toes and keep you ready to fight an adversary that is equal to you by measure of firepower. think about united states navy in 1945. a professor at harvard wrote a wonderful piece for the naval
institute and said the united states navy is in danger of going out of business. why is that? because the imperial japanese navy and german navy lie on the bottom of the pacific ocean. there is to challenge the united states navy. you have this enormous fleet of aircraft carriers floating in solitary with nothing to do. these the vocabulary to talk about why this big fleet exists and why congress needs to fund such a big fleet. what do you benchmark your efforts to against the future adversary when no adversary is on the horizon? the soviet navy does not come into its own until the 1960's. winning too big is a serious thing. when the united states navy declared history ended, the soviet navy you could look it up
online -- they say we no longer need to fight in order to control the sea. we could assume the united states navy owns the sea. we could get this into a safe expanse and conduct humanitarian assistance. all the things navy exists to do. we will not have to face a er to do that. this is when we start to see the united states navy's wartime capacity, something we are trying to put to rise today as we face off against a resurgent russian navy, the chinese navy that has concentrated at any stage we have dispersed. it is a serious power on the rise. whenever you try to interpret big events ask yourself, the fact that we no longer have a benchmark for our own as a war fighting force. 1805, i would say it is one of
those times in which britain is a victim of its own success. here is what lord nelson says in those instructions, he is not a good hand writers so i will call it out. he empowers his subordinates. he says his second-in-command, lord collingwood, he says he will have charge of one of the columns that will penetrate the lines. collingwood will have direction of the other and i will not meddle with him. that is a powerful thing to do. if you are doing your job recruiting and training your people, you can afford to do this stuff. tell them your general intent and leave it to them to figure out how. later on in that short memo he puts it more's. this becomes one of the great naval adages of all history.
if you cannot read the signals from the ship, go get them. no captain can do wrong if he puts a ship ride along an adversary and pounds away. this was the british way of maritime war in the early 19th century. the british like to go right along side and pound them to smithereens. again, if you cannot see my directions, you know what to do, go do it. it is a rare thing and a n anti-control freakish thing to do. this is what nelson became known for. unfortunately, we know what becomes of the french and spanish fleet, it gets pounded into planks. unfortunately, this doctrine that nelson puts forward starts
to collapse. it starts to break down after nelson falls. almost immediately the british navy starts coming to its worst. depriving subordinates to do what nelson wanted his commanders to do. this is what the historian, andrew gordon, called the long calm. what he is talking about is one of these long periods of peace in which you do not have an adversary to challenge you, to keep you sharp. think about what he is saying. it is basically if i am behind the ship, an island, a boat that can block out the elements, that shelters made from the weather. which is kind of a good thing. when you are rescuing people at sea you try to put them in
between you and the wind. that is an illusory calm. it only lasts until the wind changes or you come out from behind the boat. whatever the case may be, then you are exposed to the elements. what if this cultural leave he is talking about lasts for decades, really a century after 1805? you come to think that this is the natural order of things. there will be no future adversary and therefore, how do you explain to lawmakers why they should pay for the force. how do you plan against and prepare tactics against? it is a cultural thing gordon says took hold of the navy after 1805 and came to fruition at jutland in 1916 when all of these things were exposed.
gordon's book is kind of a door stop, it is a fascinating read. he says the royal navy starts into place after 1805, he makes this a parable within the navy over the ensuing century. why is that? it sounds like a silly thing to say. what the royal navy did was it issued the signals book over the 19th century. each version got longer and longer. the flagship would have to run up dozens of flags in order to issue orders from the command to subordinate commanders to
maneuver the fleets. this was how babies did things navies did things in the 19th centuries before telegraphs and radio. think about what we are actually talking about. if you're talking about sending up a complicated signal and having multiples ships see that signal, that might be dispersed, in which case they cannot see the flags well. there is potential for friction in the system. this would certainly encourage the friction and fog of war. it would really build and a lot of inefficiencies into the system. it would take a lot of time for people to go in, company signal flag, look, and decode it and then get ready to execute the order. this is something gordon sees as a grip to the navy.
maybe in the united states we don't do that stuff, we do not centralize authority through flag signals anymore. it is much easier to do with cell phones and things like that. this is something -- this is for the hazards of doing this. there was a famous accident in 1893 with the royal navy's mediterranean fleet. it was experimental that experimented with new tactics and so forth. this was an accident in which parallel lines of british warships collided after being an order that was foreseeably wrong. the commander in charge gives in order for them to turn into each other. he makes the basic error and thinks they are twice as far apart as they actually are. in fact, they are guaranteed to
collide while executing the maneuver. for gordon, this is because all of the subordinates who received this order realize what will happen and they execute the order anyway. it is amazing. this is a painting of the flagship victoria going down. it is the only vertical ship wreck in the world to this day. you can dive to it, it is not far from malta. this gets into the centralized, inflexible mindset. that is the basic juxt of andrew gordon's book. as we moved to jutland on the left we have an admiral in charge of the battle. the gentleman to the right is
the rear admiral. he is an interesting figure because he was very much trained in this system. he is a product of the long centrally of centralized authority. what happens was the high seas fleet goes out in the british goes out to apprehend them. as you might predict, the fog of war settles over the entire thing. the squadron is headed straight for the high seas battle fleet. he reverses course. the battleship squadron under thomas is separated because battleships are slower. he realizes this, the battleship squadron is headed for the high seas fleet. he orders them to pivot and
fallen behind. -- fall in behind. thus forming a united line and they could go back and concentrate with the fleet to big up bigger firepower and take on the germans. the hazards of this come back to bite him right there. this was a complicated and choreographed signal. it goes up the yard arms and is actually decoded okay, but they forget to take down the signals to execute that. with the result, the fifth battleship squadron keeps plunging straight into the teeth of gunfire from the high seas fleet and takes a pounding. simply because evan thomas does not execute what he knew the intent of the commander to be because he did not get the notification to do so. these are real-world
repercussions of a centralized and awkward command and control system. it has been in the making ever since 1805. this is what gordon tries to convey when he is talking about jutland. and you have to exert leadership to not let this kind of thing happen and basically to keep this free-flowing nelson approach to combat. here we see the fifth battle squadron taking a pounding from its german adversaries. the germans are able to claim victory at jutland. they sank warships and cost more lives. they end up still being bottled up in the north sea but at the same time, as a tactical matter, they are quite right to do so. so what? is this a matter of an antiquarian interest? i would say so or wouldn't be up here talking to you about this. i hope you'll agree with me by the time we are done here today. -- yeah tooe i
, fancy on the powerpoint graphics there. here is how i start bringing us up to the present. we are commemorating the centennial and the end of world war i, which brings us together. just last week we commemorated the 74th anniversary of a battle in 1944 off the philippine islands. the united states navy was supporting macarthur's landing forces where they pledged his return to the philippines. we make fun of the -- i guess i am lampooning the british in a sense for getting into bad habits. but keep in mind, it has been 74 years since this. this is the last major fleet engagements the united states navy has ever fought. this has put us in a position where we are free to fall in to the same sorts of vices. this is probably the most powerful naval officer in history.
he was not only our administrative commander in the chief of naval operations, he was also the operational commander of the united states fleet. january 1941, he is troubled by what he sees he sees what nelson . might have said, if you could've come back long after his death and looked at the royal navy. he says it in instruction to the fleet, he says "we are guilty of excess detail in our instructions to our subordinates. we not only tell them what we want them to do, we going to great detail and tell them how to do it. this is really a bad thing because if you think about what a naval engagement, or really any battle is, you go in, the formations will be in pretty good order and exchange fire." then what is going to happen? a melee, things will break down into individual encounters. so on and so forth. this is what a -- why a centralized command and
control simply will not work. he's trying to counteract this. do not do this, do not -- tell your subordinates what to do but not how to do it. be like nelson. no ship captain can do very wrong as long as he goes and gets the adversary. that is the same basic idea he is trying to get at. and it actually works. the united states navy does well during world war ii. and part of it is because it destroyers, battleship skippers, whatever they may be to actually exercise that sort of initiative that he sees leaving. and here is a wonderful picture from the battle in which the united states navy in a series of three engagements basically sounds the death knell for the imperial japanese navy as a fighting force and puts an exclamationpoint -- point on the campaign across the pacific. fast forward to last year, this is the uss fitzgerald, which had a collision over off japan
which preceded another collision in the south china sea. the various reports that came out documenting the habits among the cruise actually sounded a lot like the united fallen into the -- cold sleep in the battle of laissez golf. we got into the habit of thinking that senior commanders should regulate everything that is done down to the tactical level. subordinates are no longer in power. also, the repercussions of doing something wrong if you are a mid career officer. if you are a ship captain and to flago move up rank, we have a mentality in the service now where if you do something wrong, your career is basically over. and this is actually a serious change from world war ii and even into the 1960's and 1990's. admiral nemetz ran a ship and
bowen, a chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, had trouble back when he was a junior officer. and those people were able to because the services maintained the institutional flex ability to realize if you and power your subordinates, they will eventually do things wrong and get better from that. for a q&at to wind up here, which is the most important thing we will do in this hour, are these the kinds of habits we should have seen knowin, given what we about the royal navy and world war i and the century running up to world war i and jutland? answer is yes. by the way, i am not alone in thinking this. this is currently our chief of naval operations since 2015. i met him, he actually came to the office and the first thing he said was, he handed me a copy of rules of the
game, and he said, i paid out of miami pocket to have this book put back into print after it went out of print around the turn of the century. he is a true believer in not lead, butong, long the need to do think that peace time to empower our subordinates and prepare for the strategic competitions that world war i warns us may be coming down the pipe. there you have it, from the voice of top authority. here is the last idea i would leave with you. possible in peace time to avoid this sort of mental lethargy, the sort of intellectual lethargy that happens when you do not have a serious adversary to keep you sharp? it requires an active farsighted leadership combined with orderliness to impose your vision on a service, in order to provide a substitute to a and ortic event like jutl
the golf. what if we have one of these and good bet that future conflicts will be settled pretty fast, but i'm not sure the united states navy and our allies overseas could afford to have one of these defeats that sets us up where we have to all of a sudden reinvent ourselves on the live. this would be a really sobering lesson that i would take out of world war i and jutland, and as we talked together and converse for the next few minutes together,, let me leave you with a picture of the royal navy at jutland. >> i think that means that our time for q&a is open. as we are being joined by c-span and being recorded for youtube, i would invite you to come to the microphones if you are able. it's amazing, i stopped exactly on time. i love this. you could talk about this all day. --e really a tc
appreciate military precision, dr. holmes. dr. holmes: it was an accident. sir? to your comments about letting subordinates have their say, at jutlnaand -- at jutland, there was a flag captain who did not send the messages that he wanted to send. you never receive the location of the german fleet and where they were heading. that is part one. part two, the battle cruiser force that he was in command of was constructed very much differently in design and construction from a german battle cruiser fleet, which we saw with terrible effect. last, do you know master chief stephen skelley? dr. holmes: i actually served
with him on the wisconsin. >> is a my three questions. dr. holmes: was he a friend of yours, before i answer? >> yes, he is. dr. holmes: ok, question one. the first question is the one that is really worth calling a lot of attention to. the second one is on ship design. always waiting the trade-offs between speed, propulsion, and those kinds of things. but the important point and one that andrew gordon pays a fair amount of attention to is yes, there are times when you think about trying to do a stratified and complex signaling system to get your intent out to the fleet. it is not a matter of having the other ship see it, you have to have competent people among your own staff who excel at doing this, and in fact, gordon pays a lot of attention to the gentleman whose name escapes me -- you probably know it off the top of your head. it does not really matter at this.
he does not excel as a signals officer, makes a number of mistakes, as you pointed out, failed to cut in the rest of the fleet, and that is another instance of what is called friction. butdon't study this stuff, the 19th century military theorist coming out of been a fully and serbs against napoleon in a number of armies. right probablynd the greatest strategic theory ever published on war. this is what we model our curriculum around at newport. he talks about military organizations as machines. he describes friction within it is almosty, something like murphy's law in action. anything that can go wrong within a big institution will go wrong, and probably at the worst possible time. the only way -- i think this relates back to my thesis for the day -- the only way to actually freeze the workings within that machine is through
actual combat experience. if you have people who are not adequate to their tasks, you are actually contributing to friction and subjecting yourself to that murphy's law in action. of the leadership challenge is simply having not only the farsightedness to foresee the repercussions of having substandard people, but also simply to put them out to pasture and put them in places where they cannot do harm, as we saw at jutland. a partisan there is debate, and the partisans of jellico go back and forth all the time, and it is interesting to see what goes in that passion, what about the war of 1812? the british and american historians are sniping at each other and having the same argument, so it is hassan aiding. neither side is necessarily wrong, but it is fascinating how much passion it engenders. the second point, basically on fleet design. battle cruisers were in
interesting class of ships. fisher, a huge -- lord jackie fisher is a huge battleship fanatic. as lightlyfaith armored battleships. then we go out with battleship armor, and make up the ships that they encounter on the high seas. you can hand these out not as part of the battle fleet, but to control the scene and drive off adversaries who are operating destroyers and cruisers and trying to make this these safe for their own merchant shipping that way. but the transition would behave, if you see something like it has -- like a battleship, it has battleship armor, what do you do? treat it as a battleship. that is a human tendency. analysesjutland suggest the british have made some faulty choices if they were
going to use those platforms in the line of battle. the germans were thinking in a more short-term environment, those guys were going for protection and those battle cruisers stood up to more punishment than the british. and a fascinating guy, on board the iowa during the 1989 iowa explosion, and then he came to wisconsin afterwards. that is when i got to know him. he was a master gunnery specialist and a specialist in 16 inch projectiles and powders, always trying to extend range on our guns. >> i want to take this slightly off course -- dr. holmes: what course was that? >> the 1945 japanese war. dr. holmes: oh, another one of my favorites. only onel togo had the pre-dreadnought ironclad war. he's not have a president to go off and come up with these
plans. >> let me broaden it out a little bit. this is actually a conundrum faced by everybody. of course, he is referring to the russo japanese war in 1904 in 1905, when basically japan decides it wants to in sans itself on the continent of ages and korea invades manchuria. they freshen -- threaten the russians and basically try to oppose that using a fleet that is scattered not only within the far east, but in the baltic sea and black sea. much like russia has attempted to all the time, simply because of their difficult strategic geography. in 1904, if you want to know involved big fight armor, big gunships, what do you look at? american civil war? think about the battle of
hampton roads -- those are pretty creaky old, primitive craft.nd craft -- seamen that is one reason you will see, our second president, probably the most influential maritime theater in history, this is one of the problems he grapples with. sir julian corbin, one of the advisors to jackie fisher, those guys are always wondering, what lessons can we learn from history, given we have in such a radical change from the age of steam tothe age of something very modern looking in our lifetimes. the fundamental data is not that solid. togo puts his faith in basic strategic pretzels, like stay concentrated. keep your battle fleet together. against a russian fleet that is fragmented -- he actually takes down the entire russian navy, more or less, and that of -- in
part of the black sea fleet. he defeats the far eastern squadron of the russian navy in the fall of 19 oh or, and then he decides he wants to send the baltic fleet all the way around. wow. are in an alliance with japan at that time, they close the suez canal, and where does the baltic lead have to go to get to the battlefield? all the way down the west coast of africa, around into the indian ocean, through the south china sea and up into the battle theater. faces a point it japanese navy combined fleet that has been sitting in shipyards for some months, getting better. are moving 80,000 miles on very short fuel and to g.ining -- and terrainin you can imagine what that is, under destruction. battle one reason the
makes it into strategic debates even to this day. the fact that somebody was talking about ws ends at the break, one of our other presidents, admiral sims commended -- during world war i. he got into a tussle as a junior a writer of many, many books and articles about the design of ships at the battles of toshiba straight. whether it is good to have battleships with big guns, or a mixed artillery. it was a wonderful back and forth, but when reason i admire mahan is he admitted defeat in this debate to a junior officer. the junior officer says he made it out with all big gunships whereas mahan likes mixed batteries and ended up saying i am just a historian now. >> it was also a good argument for a single battle flag.
single signal flag. dr. holmes: that is one of the other aspects -- i didn't want to get into it too deeply, the commander of the victorian, it is one of the ironies of british maritime history. he was actually an advocate a very simplified flag and command and control signals. he pioneered something he called the ta signal, it signals the fleet to go into a very much simplified signal system that has a better chance of helping the fleet execute orders efficiently. and according to the dictates of the command. but of course, he goes down and lies in that vertical ship wreck so that is taken out of the royal navy. >> our next question, from steve. >> thank you for a fascinating presentation. i have a question about another problem of the royal navy in the first world war. it took them years to figure out the convoy system. which finally allowed them to -- >> he is my ringer out here. [laughter]
>> this finally defeated the submarine menace. are there any lessons to be learned from the fact that it took the royal navy so long to figure this out? yes, there are. i was just talking with john at the break. not only are there lessons, but there are right before us today. if you google my name at the hill from last week, i had a piece on this. i will have another one appearing this weekend, simply because i feel so passionately about it. it feels as though there are certain things maybe they're determined to forget when we are in one of these long homes. one of those things seems to be the need to guard merchant shipping transiting the sea lanes from north america to europe, to the runways of the far east, whatever the case may be.
navy learned these lessons back in the napoleonic wars. yes, the french navy was not going to defeat the royal navy, drive it from the sea and invade england, but at the same time, french privateers and french warships could fan out and make a lot of trouble for a british commerce. it learned this hard lesson, and as you pointed out, it forgot by the first world war, it was determined almost to forget the lessons about convoys. and it had to learn a great cost in british immersion traffic. the historical point is exactly right. in fact, this is where i would bring it up to the present. i think it was about two weeks ago, the head of the united dates maritime administration came out andmand reported being told that we are not going to do convoys if we
get into a scrap with china or russia. that means we are basically saying, our fleet is to lean in numbers. all the kinds of things you read about in the newspapers every day. nonetheless, we simply do not have enough frigates, destroyers or whatever to escort merchant ships across the sea. it feels like we're having to learn that lesson again, as indeed we had to do in 1942 after pearl harbor. you had wild stories about german submariners coming into places like new york harbor and basically sinking ships after they get underway or just after they go into port. it seems like we are trying to learn that lesson again, and i think that is the dangerous part. ,f you look at figures for 1942 it appeared to me, doing some scouting around different websites, we have about 200 merchant ships or so we can use
with manpower, materials, as much as we saw on the restaurant front in world war i. which sounds like a lot when you consider the united states navy and the merchant fleet lose 500 ships in 1942 alone. dose are the submarines that not carry anti-ship missiles, that are not nuclear powered, that do not have all the legality that we associate with summary and today, particularly and china and russia's navy, remains among the most advanced in the summer in community. that feels like a lesson of world war i that we desperately need to relearn today and put into practice. >> now, for our last question. >> very good presentation, dr. holmes. could you bring up the picture am loading uple i the question? dr. holmes: you never have trouble getting a naval list to do that. we will observe a period of silence while i do that. >> i will warn you, the last two questions were by world war i navy historians and i am your
third. so we cover a lot of ground, so forgive us. dr. holmes: i'm good with that. next to grossly misquote and -- >> to grossly misquote and misrepresent admiral michelle obama, they go high-tech, we go low-tech. right? the sinking of the ship -- what were the dates of jutland versus that? the specific dates? >> what was before the other, and -- was later, right? not to put you on the spot. lora: we like to think if we leave people with questions they need to google than we have done our job come as a thank you for being on the inside scoop. >> i'm trying to feed into that, now we have the lesson learned of the uss cold, low-tech.
where are we -- dr. holmes: the attackers were very low-tech? absolutely. >> and i know that is not nelson. that throw in atkinson, mr. bean. [laughter] dr. holmes: the question is about high-tech versus low-tech. it is something we debate a lot among ourselves. i don't think i'm giving anything away because this was an unclassified event, but the navy is taking to convening a second series of what it calls breaking the mold workshops. we had the second one last week. but this was something that we really dig into. to what extent -- if we want to build to 355 ships, we think we goodn the end of a pretty budgetary year, but it sounds like it may level off or decline. when you are talking about 30% of bulking up in the size of raw
numbers, we saw 285 ships now. what do you do? can we afford to do it with aircraft carriers, guided missile destroyers, nuclear powered submarines? the answer is probably not, unless we somehow managed to find a lot of efficiencies in the ship the link sector that i think are simple he not there. you could make the case that there are some more efficiencies you could squeeze out, but it is certainly not a 30% increase. so what is the answer? you try to substitute lower-cost platforms that can achieve the same bang for the buck. i'm a big proponent of diesel powered summaries as an adjunct to our nuclear powered fleet, because you can build about four or five of those things for the cost of one virginia power summer -- virginia class powered submarine. it has a lot of range, it has a lot of efficiencies compared to a nuclear powered boat, but you can offset the range limitation by stationing it in japan or
with one of our other allies, where you need one of those things to face off against china, and they are very quiet, just as quiet as nuclear votes. you see a lot of these sorts of debates, whether we can do salt -- small surface craft -- i think we can -- in the age in which you can pack anti-air missiles into a small home. you see this dialogue tween high-tech and low-tech going on because of the budgetary aspects. >> ladies and gentlemen, is join me in thanking dr. james holmes. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] >> interested in american history tv? visit our website, c-span.org/history. you can look at the schedule, preview upcoming programs and watch college lectures, museum tours, archival films and more. american history tv at
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gaye wilson looks for clues in thomas jefferson's manner for to present himself and his politics. wilson is the author of "jefferson on display." attire, etiquette, and the art of presentation. the smithsonian assssssssss posted this program. it's 90 minutes. >> i want to thank you for coming out to listen to me talk jefferson on, "a display," which you see on the screen here. i will go right to the image of the jacket to explain what i was trying to do with this particular study, this particular work. nothing to doly with the design of the jacket. in fact, one evening it arrived on my cell phone, and i said wow
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