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The future of Royal Dohlaran Navy

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The future of Royal Dohlaran Navy
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:04 pm

Dilandu
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1403
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Location: Russia

Just a bit of pure speculations.

We could safely assume, that for foreseeable future, the main potential opponent of the Royal Dohlaran Navy would be the ICN. Simply speaking, no matter how good would be the relations between them, in military therms, the Charisian Navy would be the most important naval threat to the Kingdom. Dohlar Bay is, simply speaking, too important for Dohlar security to allow even the friendly navy to dominate it unopposed - at least, potentially.

So, we could assume that the main doctrine of RDN would be "in case of war, threw those not-anymore-heretics-but-still-bastards Charisians out of OUR GULF!" ;)

The main advantage that Dohlaran have is that their naval goals are largerly defensive, and fixed on the control of the Gulf. So, simply speaking, they don't need the fleet, capable of challenging Charis ocean superiority; they need the fleet, capable of challenging Charis superiority over the Gulf.

And that made the situation much easier for Dohlar. They don't need ocean-going ships with great range & seakeeping ability. They could save money & steel on that. I.e. they could fit the same firepower & protection in much smaller hulls than Charisians. The RDN equivalent of "King Haarahld VI" would probably be some "coast defense battleship", like French "Bouvines"-class second-rate battleships:

Image

Small, but have nearly the same firepower & protection as British ocean-going battleships.

Also, the RDN have the "position advantage". Assuming - we have good reasons to assume that! - that the South, and probably North Harchong would seek mutual defense treaties with Dohlar, they could not only enlarge their basing system, but also, thanks to semaphore, create "fleet control" much more capable than Charis could have. In radio-less world, the coastal lookouts & semaphore stations allow the coastal navy to coordinate actions much better than the opposing force who lacked such capability. Even with only optical semaphore, the communications is MUCH faster than provided only by avisoes.

I.e. Dohlarans could create the advantage in reconnaisance and data exchange, which would allow them to coordinate different fleets in different parts of the Gulf.

Finally, the RDN pioneered the "light force" warfare on Safehold. They invented spar torpedoes, tactics of small units against larger (their screw galleys!), mine warfare. And, frankly, their "assymetric" methods worked better than their galleon fleet. We have all reasons to assume, that they would notice that fact, too.

Considering all that, I imagine that the main doctrine of RDN in foreseeable future would be something like "Jeune Ecole" of late Aube's (please, don't mess the Honorverse Jeune Ecole in here! The actual French Jeune Ecole was a lot more complicated than just "go for new technology", and have very little common with Honorverse's). I.e. it would be a fleet of mainly small - but numerous - units, backed by a limited number of capital ships.

So, how would the RDN of YOG 819 looks like?

I imagine the multipme squadrons of small, fast torpedo boats, gunboats & rams as the main force. They already have spar torpedoes; considering the Charisian advances in pneumatic, it is only matter of time before someone would though about self-propelling torpedo. And ramming was pretty common naval tactics of the steam age; no reason to assume that Safeholdians would not feel the same abotu the idea of using ship's mass & momentum to destroy the larger enemy.

Those units would probably be disperced in squadrons across the Bay, and supported by extensive network of coastal lookouts, fast avisoes - and coastal semaphore lines, specifically established to provide Navy with fast communication network. Such system would allow not only to control the enemy movements, but also to control the RDN units, translating the communications through the semaphore lines & avisoes.

In rear, backing the "swarms" of lighter units, would stay the RDN's small, coastal defense-type battleships; the "heavy force", which purpose is to tie heavy Charisian units in combat, allowing the smaller units to swarm the opponents.
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- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

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Re: The future of Royal Dohlaran Navy
Post by Dilandu   » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:50 pm

Dilandu
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1403
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 1:44 pm
Location: Russia

Just for a beauty of dynamite guns...

http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/COMM ... s.htm#vesu
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- Who would won in battle between strawman Liberal-Democrat and strawman Conservative-Republican?
- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

P.S. - And he have Russian twin, to watch his back)
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Re: The future of Royal Dohlaran Navy
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:12 pm

PeterZ
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Posts: 5704
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Location: Colorado

замечательный, Dilandu! (I hope bing translate features didn't mutilate that too badly)

I tend to doubt that the ICN will be too far behind in communications, even assuming no tech cheats. I agree that dirigibles will be the first pass at untethered aviation vehicles on Safehold. The most interesting feature for dirigibles in naval warfare is their size. How far away are those things visible from? I don't doubt the first thing most naval dirigibles will be designed to do is to have pneumatic semaphore displays on their sides. This will allow a fleet commander to manage a battle quite well over greater distances than any pre-radio earth navy ever managed. All he needs is a collapsible semaphore built on his flagship to communicate with the dirigible chain/squadron/flotilla.

That doesn't mean that the advantages of the coastal RDN won't make them a tough nut to crack for the ICN. It will for all the reasons you enumerate. Those small fast forces you describe also suggest that the RDN will go big into diesel engines to power their smaller, higher accelerating warships. The cost of developing diesel for their navy won't carry the same cost as it would for the ICN, since those initial engines will be not be nearly as reliable. That lack will carry far greater risks for deploying away from bases.

The ICN will likely have a powerful pressence in ther Gulf of Dohlar. I suspect they will keep their conquered possessions in the body of water; Trove Island, Lizard Island and Claw Island at minimum. One suspects that they might keep the entire Dohlar Bank and all those bases will be supplied through the improved Silktown-Salthar Canal and base at Port Salthar. I still believe that Dairnyth is a Siddermarkian port pre-Jihad. Even if it wasn't, requiring the city as restitution for launching their attack against Siddermark is highly likely.

That means the naval forces the RDN will be preparing to fight will be much lighter than the core ICN battlefleet. The cruiswers and destroyers the ICN will deploy in the Gulf will be light and agile steamers. They might carry fewer main guns but a plethora of lighter secondaries. In fleet action, these will prove a very effective screen against the Dohlaran Jeune Ecole.
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