UNIDENTIFIED AUTHORS OF SUBMARINE REVIEW ARTICLES
The Review’s practice of disguising authors by initials or, worse, the antideluvian stunt of using mythical noms-de-plumes,whichwas fashionable in the 18th century when the authorities (the monarchy or the mob) weren’t very concerned with protecting a dissident’s “first amendment rights,” but is now obsolete, denies the reader one of the best tools available to him in evaluating a thought or train of thought — his appreciation of its source. If you want to argue that identifying the source could condition the reader to prejudge the credibility of the thesis, you are denying one of the essential elements of the ” professional ” system. Can you imagine an unsigned or anonymous article in the “Journal of the American Orthopedic Association?” The whole concept of anonymity in journals is to protect the life or reputation of the author against some form of revenge. Surely you’re not suggesting that the author of an article in the Review is in danger? The power of positive identification is worthwhile. When I see “MRR” at the end of a passage, I go back and reread it, because if Mike Rindskopf did write it, I sit up and take notice.
The Review needs to be professional and open particularly if we want it to be properly contentious.
(Ed. Note: Allowing anonymity in Review articles has several favorable aspects protecting writers from “revenge” is not one of them. The articles are not paid for and this has a considerable value. The authors are obviously contributing out of love for and dedication to the submarine service. To each author, having his ideas read is of first importance. This is unlike the academic community where it is reportedly necessary to “publish or perish,” making identification of authorship a requirement. As can be noted, the format of the Review is designed to coax the reader into reading the next article after one has been completed. Without the authorship for the article alongside its title, the reader is not faced with a decision as to whether he wants to read the article because of who authored it. For example: What submariner would read an article on shipboard problems with a woman’s name attached to it? But coaxed into the article by its title, such an actual article in the Review was apparently read by most of the readership. When they discovered only initials at the end of the article there was expressed diappointment. But the lessons which the writer sketched out would, in her judgement, be better accepted if the reader remained unaware that a woman had written the article. I agreed to this and even encouraged her use of initials. It should also be recognized that readers have a lot of built in biases about certain authors — he’s a “lightweight”; he’s a “non-nuke”, he’s been plugging that old idea for twenty years; he’s trying to sell his corporation’s product; he’s a maverick; henever made Captain;no Admiral can make anything but a political statement. These are all good reasons why a specific reader might decide not to read some of the review’s best articles? But if he didn’t worry about who was writing the article he might go ahead and read the thing. If the reader is sufficiently interested in authorship, he can get in touch with me and I’ 11 disclose the author and why it appeared useful to be anonymous in authorship. The article by a woman is a good case in point. Having the article cleared by those interested in submarines is of first importance as a review policy! It’s the good ideas that the review emphasizes — not name authors. Even if a submitted article is poorly written but the ideas are profound, the necessary editing will be done to make the article readable. Thus, in our opinion, our policy of coaxing the reader into the next article is not deception but a sincere belief the article is well worth reading and should be read.)
The Antiship Torpedo
On to the new anti ship torpedo. As I understand the thrust of the article, the author (Phoenix) believes that the Mk 48 torpedo is too expensive and more sophisticated than needed to use on the ordinary surface ship. He proposes a cheaper . solution, a covert weapon, 43 knots, noncavitationg, electric, 20,000 yard, 1,000 lb warhead, simple, passive (with contingency active backup) homing, no wire guidance, and offset to hit forward of the screws.
I’m not going to address the possibility of such a weapon — whether the engineers can produce a torpedo that fits the criteria. But let me pick at some specifics:
First, why offset to hit forward of the screws? A hit in the screws would immobilize the target — and that might pose as much or even more of a problem for the enemy as a sinking.
Second, a 1,000 lb warhead sounds much like the Mk 16 — which i was taught to spread because without a lot of luck, one Mk 16 wouldn’t kill. Maybe new charges/explosives technology (or flimsier targets) overcome that.
Third, with the homing system the author proposes, a spread would be difficult. Fourth, the homing system the author pro-posed implies a single, unaccompanied target. Is the probability of such a target good enough to build a weapon dependent on that scenario?
Fifth, a forty-three knot torpedo takes a long time to hit unless you are considering very short runs.
Finally, can we afford such specialization? We have the Hk 48. The ADCAP is coming. We have Harpoon and Tomahawk. The author is proposing an adequate, inexpensive, limited capability, single mission weapon. I question that we can afford that, philosophically or economically, any more than we can afford to divert our talents to developing an adequate, inexpensive, single mission, limited capability submarine. Our national policy is geared to defense, not aggression. Only an aggressor can afford to build, equip, and train forces to predicted scenarios. With our policy of not starting wars, our forces have to build, equip and train to counter enemy capabilities, not what we would like to predict he would do. As long as we are so limited in numbers of platforms, our weapons and weapons systems have to be competent to deal with the most pessimistic of scenarios which enemy capabilities project. Tailoring forces to what you would like to hope for doesn’t make much sense.
Twenty years ago I had the ideal week of type training — a load of exercise Mk 14s and Mk 37-0s, a target group of a heavy and 4 escorts, good retriever services and good weather. SCORPION was fast, maneuverable, and efficient at periscope depth, but limited by the BQR-28/SQS-4 sonar suite. Our plan was to use Mk 37s to shoot a hole in the screen then use the 14s against the heavy. We learned how to do it, and it worked, but the amount of noise generated by the multiple targets taught me several things – (1) we had to get to periscope depth to positively identify targets and get ranges – (2) Mk 37-0s easily get confused unless they are given a discreet noise source – ( 3) extended ranges and torpedo runs further blur a torpedo’s discriminatory powers – and (4) the time needed to slow and search, let alone safely get to periscope depth, was a real problem in dealing with a 20 knot target group. Maybe the new sonars would offset all this, but that week I would really have been able to use torpedoes with Mk 48 characteristics and to launch and guide 2 fish simultaneously.
Finally, until we can either dictate the scenarios in which we will wage war (which doesn’t fit our national strategy of deterrence and defense rather than aggression) or enjoy force levels large enough that we can tailor weapons systems in adequate numbers to meet each enemy capability when it threatens, we cannot afford to specialize further. In fact, I suspect that submarines without vertical launchers are going to have enough problems deciding — with the limited accomodations for tube launched weapons — the proper mix between Mlt 48 torpedoes and missiles, let alone having to cope with a limited competence torpedo. I can’t imagine a poorer use of force than a submarine on patrol with plenty of endurance remaining in every category except that its only remaining weapons were insufficiently competent to successfully attack opposing forces.
RAdm. Ralph M. Ghormaley,USN (Ret.)
I’ve studied the published pictures of the Soviet’s Victor submarine which was on the surface near Bermuda with a wire wrapped around her screws. The numerous Umber holes in her outer hull don’t make much sense, unless they aren’t limber holes at all but actually slots for boundary layer control — as described in the “Slippery Skins for Speedier Subs” article in the last Submarine Review.
A nuclear sub doesn’t have to dive or surface rapidly — unlike a conventional sub. Thus a double-hulled nuclear sub like the Victor t could slowly flood its superstructure — between the inner and the outer hull — as it starts from port and then drain it slowly on return to port — months later. This could be done through a few doors which would be well faired into the outer hullt and produce little extra hull noise unlike an outer hull with numerous holes in it.
To ascribe these limber holes to poor hull design practices seems to be wishful thinking, particularly when one can note that the Victor 1 s outer hull is shaped like a coke bottle — a laminar flow shape. Any hull designeers who would go to this trouble to reduce hull drag could hardly be accused of having unnecessary drainage limber holes which would create considerable hull noise.
A platform for the Submarine League? Yes, provided that it be a statement that promotes professional debate and enquiry. A platform that presumes a political consensus, or any other consensus for that matter, would serve to make the League an organized mouthpiece at the expense of its credibility as a professional forum.
Professionalism can survive only when there is a constant infusion of new ideas to be tested by professional peers in a forum of free inquiry. In the professional world truth is sought through ovjective enquiry and vigorous debate. In the political world truth is established by an organizational consensus.
The Naval lnatitue Proceedings is a professional forum. The Navy League’s magazine Sea Power is a forum for the advocacy of a political consensus. The Navy has a need for each. Both of their values to the Navy would be lessened if each of them tried to take on the mission performed by the other.
The Submarine Review has made an excellent start as a forum for professional ideas. It would be most unfortunate if it were to become a political journal.