Sub Corner 22: How We Started Commerce Raiding

You thought we were going to skip out on normal Pacific content didn’t you?

Well, settle down! We’ll get back to bikini-clad subgirls soon enough.

Yar! Well! Since I’m in costume and all. I’d like to spend today talking about the big picture – that’s to say, U.S. commerce raiding in the Pacific War.

I’m just here to look cute. Yay!

What is commerce raiding? To me, it’s a pretty fancy way of saying “sinking merchant ships.” You can think of piracy – the act of taking plunder from civilian (or other) ships – as a slightly smaller scale historical predecessor. The act of commerce raiding is not by itself terribly new. Plenty of navies used it historically – after all, destroying the enemy’s ability to trade and transport goods by sea has been around since boats were invented.

Now, you might have noticed from the various sub-corners that we’ve talked a lot about Germany’s U-boats during the First World War. This is certainly an important factor in the development of our own strategies. unlike Britain or Japan, however, we took a look at America and decided that we were far less vulnerable to this sort of thing than the biggest threat across the ocean – Japan.

In fact, we’ve always known that if we were going to go to war against the Japanese, we were going to target their economy and industry. Basically, Japan needed to import pretty much everything. Even food had to be shuttled in from their Asiatic territories. The thing to remember here, though, is that this was a two-way street. Just as Japan relied on raw materials and semi-finished goods from its conquered colonies, so too did those holdings require a constant flux of goods from Japan in order to function.

Now, you know what’s funny? War Plan Orange – our master plan against the Japanese – had no submarines whatsoever in its initial planning. The key assumption we were making during the 1930s was the idea that we had enough ships on hand to engage the Japanese on the high seas. This, in turn, would mean that we would possess enough naval strength to blockade the fleet. In fact, let me quote the Sink-Us (Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet) in 1936.

The primary employment of submarines will be in offensive operations against enemy larger combatants.

If this sounds like what the Japanese were thinking with their submarine force, you’re exactly right. At the time, War Plan Orange did not call for submarines to attack enemy trade routes. In fact, as early as 1939, submarines (this is after we’ve managed to build fast fleet submarines that could stay out for quite the time!) were still meant to be “patrol” or “skirmish units. People were iffy on whether or not submarines can survive being spotted – we’ve alluded to the fact that at the time daylight attacks were thought to be a death sentence before, after all! Thus, the uncertainty in operating against enemy convoys (as well as the risk of running into armed merchant ships) meant that submariners were still told to go after the fleet units first.

Plus, there’s that London Naval Treaty. At the time, we firmly believed that everyone would play by the rules, and while the possibility of unrestricted submarine warfare was on the table, most thought that we would never actually do such a thing. After all, only pirates and Germans attacked merchant ships indiscriminately! We were better than that.

So, what changed?

Well, for one thing, military theory changed. That, and the world changed. When Admiral Harold Stark became CNO in August of 1939, he realized that we had to do some things differently. As we watched the war explode over Europe, Stark decided that the navy had to be prepared. Building more ships aside, he quickly came up with a list of solutions.

This would be known as the “Plan Dog Memo.” You will also see it being referred to as the “Plan D.” Written and submitted to Roosevelt on November 12, 1940, it basically had five scenarios, which I’ve summarized below.

A. War with Japanese in which the US stands alone.

B. War with Japan in which the US allies with Britain.

C. War with Japan and Germany and Italy, in which the US stands alone.

D. War with Germany and Italy, where Japan would initially remain neutral, and we would be allied with Britain.

E. Stay out of the war.

In 1940, the general recommendation was to follow plan D, but assume operations under plan A. Savvy readers would notice immediately that this would eventually morph into the “Europe first” strategy that we employed during World War 2. However, the key point to take note here is that this completely shifted the U.S. navy’s paradigms in the Pacific.

Should we adopt the present Orange Plan today, or any modification of that plan which involves the movement of very strong naval and army contingents to the Far East, we would have to accept considerable danger in the Atlantic, and would probably be unable to augment our material assistance to Great Britain.

We should, therefore, examine other plans which involve a war having a more limited objective than the complete defeat of Japan, and in which we would undertake hostilities only in cooperation with the British and Dutch, and in which these undertake to provide an effective and continued resistance in Malaysia.

In the memo, Admiral Stark highlights the importance of turning the war into a war of economic attrition. Much of our forces would be devoted to assisting the situation in Europe, and as such:

The objective in a limited war against Japan would be the reduction of Japanese offensive power chiefly through economic blockade.

Admiral Stark then proceeds to argue the first three points, pointing out why it is untenable to carry each out. He then points out that…

Initially, the offensive measures adopted would, necessarily, be purely naval.

The US fleet was not yet large enough to complete the blockade. Furthermore, Admiral Stark thought it was very likely that the US lose most of their naval bases – including the possibility of both Malaysia and the Philippines. If economic attrition is to be accomplished, the only possibility is through unrestricted submarine warfare.

As it stands, we were still pondering about alternative possibilities. Initially, the earliest drafts of war plans called for a number of strategic areas. This was viewed by some of the aforementioned officers as a “fair” way of fighting the war. Due to the fact that we’re at war, we’re going to mark off a certain number of areas as off limits. If you show up here we’ll sink you, because we do not want you to spy on our military movements or provide eyes for your ships or planes to bomb our stuff.

As it turned out? Two things.

One. Japan spared us the trouble themselves by flagging all Japanese civilian merchant ships under either the Imperial Japanese Army or the Japanese navy. The explicit militarization meant that they were acting as legitimate military targets.

Two. Japan didn’t “fight fair.” Any potential qualms about whether or not attacking now-militarized merchant ships kinda got threw out of the window on December 7th, 1941.

Now, how well the submarine force did is a subject of great debate, and there are a lot of professional people who has strong opinions on matter. For now, though, I think it’s sufficient for us to stop here. Now you know what we were thinking as we started the Pacific War!

A Submarine Corner on pirates. Splendid! When do I show up? I trust you will surely be speaking of the great privateers of old, Tautog dear? Sir Francis Drake perhaps? Sir George Somers? 

Um, Venturer, not quite… We’re doing sub corners after all.

Well bummer. How about Anglo-American cooperation during the Great War? We sure gave the ‘Huns a mighty drubbing. Admiral Sims and Bayly were fast friends, you know! The accursed U-boats could not shackle Britannia and her allies!

No. Also, uh… we gotta talk about the Q-ships at some point, too.

Royal Navy Counter-Piracy measures?


… the Jolly Roger flag on the Royal Navy, Submarine force? You know that’s quite literally because Admiral Wilson thought that submarines were a bunch of “no-good, underhanded, unfair, and damned un-English” ships, right? 

That’s a good one, but no. Sorry. If you showed up an hour earlier we could have done that.

Well that wasn’t very sporting of you, was it! I am sad now.

S-sorry! We can talk about the Jolly Roger flag next if you want. How’s that?

Well, I wouldn’t want to alter the established schedule too much. Tell you what. If an opportunity arises, let us do the Jolly Roger flag. I think the readers would find it a fun tale.


Silent Service: Tambor



Whatcha doing?

I’m working on a site update what does it look like I’m doing?

More London Naval Treaty stuff?

Yeah. I want to finish it. Kinda wish Trout was around. She’s much better at picking out this stuff from old newspapers and moldy-looking magazines. I really want to give our readers a feel for how the people felt about this. Back in those days this treaty thing was big drama. Kind of like how our political events make headlines sometimes.

Ugh.  I haven’t gotten a sub corner out in five days. Feeling kinda antsy, to be honest. “It’s just a hobby Tautog” “No need to be so stressed out Tautog” “Why don’t you take a day off Tautog” WELL. I feel bad, OKAY? If I get behind on work it means more work for everyone and if there’s more work for everyone it means less time for fun stuff for everyone which means less happiness for everyone which means –

Alright Tautau. That settles it.


You, take it easy. Go have a beer with Scul and Sal or something or go join up with the DD girls now that they’ve finally got that softball field up and running. I’ll take care of everything tonight. 

Tambor, before you popped into the Sub Corners some of the other girls weren’t even sure you could read… Are you really sure?

Pffft. I was born to lead, not to read. Look. We’ll write about scantily-clad shipgirls tonight, alright? It’ll be great. 

Relax. I got this. 

Uh, Tambor, that’s not the right button. You’re creating a splash page rather than –


…Can I at least stay around and help?


I mean, if you don’t mind, spending some time together sounds nice. We’ve been outside of each other’s schedules so often I barely see you or Trout or Thresher anymore…

Hah? Oh. Yeah. ‘Course. Actually Tautog HELP where’s the thing to change back font size…

sigh Here. Lemme –


Oy! Tambor! Don’t click that –




Uh… Jer asked me to check up on the update since the STEC servers had a strange outage. Trout told me to check on you. She said I might be able to find you hiding under your bed.

Did I do bad Mike?

Bad in what sense?




Well, your heart’s in the right place. I don’t think what you did was wrong. I understand all you wanted to do was to help Tautog.

Now, almost bricking the entirety of the STEC databases… I have no idea how you managed to do that, but in a way I guess that’s impressive? It’ll definitely give the cyber-security folks quite a bit of stuff to work with.


Not particularly. Just, try not to mess with the databases again. This is going to be one hell of a story to explain to Jer…


No. She found the whole thing funny. Don’t worry about it.

Still feeling down?

I mean, I’m here for you if you wanna talk.

Burgers or pizza…



Well, wasn’t dinner an hour ago? I’m sure if you go now you can get both.


Sure. I could use a bite myself. Haven’t had anything since breakfast.


While I’m waiting for food. Could you tell us a little about your historical counterpart? 

Wait, we cover history in these shipgirl profiles?



Since Tautog started Silent Service. Also, as a reminder, Tambor, you’re supposed to be in-universe for this portion. 

RIGHT. UH… Crap. Can we start over?

Actually I think this is kinda cute. Let’s just keep on going. I mean, I’m not going to criticize since everyone breaks the 4th wall. 


So, Tambor, given that we’ve already had Trout and Tautog comment on the Tambor class submarines, could you tell me a little about your historical counterpart?

Sure thing!

So, first things first. The Tambor class was as a whole a very good submarine class. Averaged thirteen confirmed kills per boat. THE BEST out of the entire submarine force. You simply can’t find another class of submarine that did this well. So like I said. Very good.

How they came about is a story that I think Trout’s gonna tell. I just noticed that she actually left her introduction’s historical section empty for this reason. She gets the design and the historical context stuff better than me anyways, so I’m gonna go on.

Tautog’s pretty modest in describing the actions of the Tambor class. “Went out with the crew and did her thing,” hah. What she’s not telling you is that the submarine force was literally the ONLY thing holding the line during the clusterfraggery that’s after the Pearl Harbor attack. Six of the Tambors were around in Hawaii during the start of the war, and those subs saw some of the hardest fighting throughout the war. Out of the original six, two didn’t make it back home. Then out of the entire class… seven. Seven out of twelve were lost in total.

No guts, no glory.

I can tell you that by the end of the war, the Tambor class submariners were the absolute finest we’ve got on the fleet. Hardened veterans all, and the track record shows. But, in this business, you can’t expect to get out unscathed. Take my namesake. She was a lucky one, that’s for sure. Started out the war with one engine immediately busted. Limped back home for repairs. Had a commander who just wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing – no bravery in that one, couldn’t close with the enemy, and couldn’t do his job well.

Yeah. The Tambor could have scored a kill on at least a heavy cruiser at Midway. It just didn’t happen because of our own errors. Sure, it’s not as bad as Batfish missing Yamato, but still, at that stage in the war? The men were mad as hell. You’ve got the flyboys up there in the skies tearing the enemy fleet up and what are we doing? Dealing with messy torpedoes, bad tactics, and commander-personality-issues.

But you wanna know something else? Like the rest of the submarine force, the Tambor learned. She learned very well. The tale of the Tambor herself is an example of that. She went from missing all of her marks at Midway to scoring one, two, three, sometimes four kills on her war patrols. She went from timidly dodging every shadow and hiding from every sound to courageously picking fights on the surface, sometimes in broad daylight.

Exemplary submarine. Oh yeah. She volunteered herself for the toughest tasks, gave her hardest, took her chances, made her mistakes. The best part? She was good enough and lucky enough to learn from those and get better.

Like I said. Exemplary submarine. Yeah!

How do you feel about the coming Abyssal War?

As a whole? I think we’re doing good. After all, there’s nothing much else we could do, right? it’s not like you can just magic-up oh, I dunno, a few hundred extra shipgirls to help us fight the damn things.

Or that you can just magic-up MORE munitions. You can never go wrong with having more ammo.

Personally? Ugh. Let’s just say I’m really not looking forward to physical combat. Yeah. I know we’ve got our tactics, but the stuff the girls over in intel and history’s dredged up… Makes me kinda nervous.

See, supposedly the damned things deploy counters accordingly, right? With our focus on stealth, long-range firepower, and maximizing our range advantages, it’d only make sense for the Abyssals to try to close the gap and start fighting us up, close, and personal.

…This is totally silly, but like, you see this I’m wearing? Yeah. You can fit the entirety of this bikini in the palm of your hand. Hand. Singular. Now I know I’ve got a magic forcefield covering my ass, and I know you can’t do ANYTHING at all about what the fairies come up with in terms of our combat “uniforms” or “outfits” or whatever the latest circulation calls ’em these days.

But how come the Sargo twins get those nice-looking one-pieces while the six of us get LITERALLY the minimal coverage for public decency?

Now that you mention it, yeah…

Yeah, “yeah” me all you want. We know you’re watching us, Mike. The attention here safe at home I don’t mind. Period. You know what they say, right? If you’ve got the goods, better show’em off.

I’m talking about combat. Hello, wardrobe malfunction? We aren’t robots you know! I’d get embarrassed! Plus, you know all of our actions are recorded. I get it! Accidents happen. I just want to lessen the chances of that happening. Get me?

Oh. I see. Just wearing something else out to sea won’t solve the issue.

Yeah. It’ll get blown right off. By the way I’m not asking for like, Mary-Weavy type outfit or anything. I just want something a little more modest along the line of Narwhal and Nautilus’ bikini. Or Wahoo’s. Hers is fine too. Get my point?

Tambor, your definition of modest is uh …

Actually, y’know what. Since we’re on the subject and all. If you ever get a chance to figure out this thing, just tell them I want the same bottom as Narwhal. Make it a V-string instead, though. Those are cute!




Yay! Thanks.

I mean, I don’t get the technical details behind your clothing technology. I just know that we can slowly and steadily improve the “strength” of the shielding independent of the physical appearance of the clothing. In fact, given that it’s quite literally refining a nimbus of fairy energy, it’d save a lot of time and effort if we didn’t have to focus it into a clothing-based form –

LEWD. My Gosh Mike we’ve gone over this before we AREN’T fighting naked! Only Europeans do that!

T-that’s not what I was getting at. I was just pointing out the technical –


sigh Alright, Tambor. I’ll see what I can do. I already met with the girls in charge of the Materials Research and Assembly Facility yesterday but I suppose I can get Missouri to leave a note to Oversight. 

Can you just call a meeting again?

Tambor. People hate meetings.

I don’t!

Yeah. That’s because you don’t usually go to them. 

Of course I don’t. I don’t need to sit for an hour and a half to get two lines of new instructions! Besides, for the details? I’ve got Triton and Trout for that.

Also, Mike, I think I ate your food. Sorry.

It’s fine. See, I ordered a second one just in case. Looks like Langley’s bringing it out right now…

Silent Service: Extras

“Her Majesty’s Shipgirl Venturer reporting in. By orders of the Royal Navy Special Test and Evaluation Command I have been assigned here to advise and educate -“

Yeah. Welcome. Could you take a seat over there next to Surcouf?

“Pardon me ma’am but I was not finished -“

Gimme the orders and let’s take a look.

“…the lot of you on all matters pertaining Royal Navy submarine operations in the Second World War.”

Hmm… Yeah… No can do. Sorry. You’re about half a year too late, hon. The book’s already being finalized.

“Outrageous! A book on submarines without the contributions of the greatest naval power in the history of mankind?”

Didn’t we already cover this before? Sorry. No Royal Navy subgirls in the book.

“Well, I never! What am I supposed to do then?”

Hang around? There’s plenty of space. You can bunk in my room while we get you situated. Besides, I know the guy in charge of “the lot of you” and he doesn’t do things for no reason. Though knowing how things are, it probably got lost in the mail, too.



It’s Tautog. Geez. You’re making me feel old.



“With all due respect I feel it is necessary to directly lodge a complaint -“

(Also you can totally stop the quotes now. It’s kinda, distracting. Like, we know it’s you. You have a different color and all.)

” – to the higher-ups of the higher-ups. It is absolutely unfathomable to me that the Royal Navy would be omitted. Britain stood alone against Fascism during the onset of the Second World War. The Soviet Union may act high and mighty but without our maintenance of the Arctic convoy Stalin would have been overrun in the first year! For that matter, who cracked Enigma? Who, might I ask, provided radar to you Americans? Who came to rescue the beleaguered Americans during the disastrous North African campaign?

Yet what do we have? A few comments here and there, some design stuff, and an insanely large pile of sniping at British naval policy! I’ll have you know that Britain was nearly starved into submission by the U-boats. Of course there would be impetus to limit submarines! By Jove, I -“

Uh huh. Hey, sorry. What’s your name again?

“Her Majesty’s Shipgirl Venturer. Also I was not finished! There are plenty of things you should consider. Aviation? The Battle of Britain is the stuff of legends! Naval engagements? Look no further than the hunt for Bismarck. Culture? Rationing left such a permanent mark on our culinary tradition that many of our recipes today can be traced back to the Second World War!”

Right. Venturer. Listen. You’re here too late.


Hey. Look. Unless you can find a way to get Sima to illustrate you in record time, throw enough books at Morgane and K9 so they can write you out accurately, and then get in a skimpy enough outfit for Sune, you’re probably not going to make it into the book.

“I have books! Plenty of them! How do I throw -“

No throwing books indoors.


Hey, I mean, since you’re here and all and we’ve gotten you in the setting so far, you could start with just … hanging around. Get to know the other girls a bit. If you wanna pitch in, then come comment on the sub corners when it makes sense. Alright? 🙂


Yay. Now, come this way! Lemme show you your room. Welcome~


Sub Corner 21: London, Part One

I’m baaaaaaack! Did anyone miss me? I bet you did! <3

Actually I haven’t been gone. It’s just now we have uh, team policy. No type of shipgirl’ll monopolize site content.

(Ethan & the other Chinese translator guy: when you translate for the book, start below. Sorry! I’ll make it clearer next time.)

So it’s time for more history!

W-what’s that? You’d rather see half-naked shipgirls? Hmph! Well. Listen. History is kind of like eating vegetables. You know how if vegetables are cooked badly then they taste really bad, right? Well, history is kind of the same way. Most people think of it as being dry or being boring. Morgane’s post earlier about Morison is an important example of someone who could make history interesting for the vast majority of us normal readers. In this case, he’s a very good cook.

However! Just like vegetables, sometimes people overdo it. You’ve seen plenty of people who complain that they’re eating salads and still can’t lose weight. Well! You ever see what’s on those salads? Tons of dressing and meat and other things that aren’t vegetables.

History, again, can run into the same problem. Nowadays, it’s incredibly easy for us to simplify things and reduce things down to very basic components in order to entertain. You see this a lot in recent war movies, fiction, video games and so on. “Americans won the war because they outproduced Japan.” “Midway was lost because Nagumo was an idiot.” “Yamamoto was brilliant; if only Americans haven’t assassinated him. Surely he could have turned the war around.”

So on, and so forth. This, by the way, is also bad. I think oversimplifying history is worse than not learning history at all. Much like empty calories that pile up quickly, you create a lot of under-informed people. I won’t get into too much detail here. But, I think…

I think you should learn about history because you can then formulate your own opinions about past events. You simply can’t do that if you get the “tl;dr” or the “boom boom flash bright boom THE HISTORY CHANNEL” version.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Cooking isn’t easy. Writing about history isn’t easy either. But, you know, if you’ve had good food, you really don’t want to be always eating the junk. History is the same way. I enjoy movies and “documentaries” with large explosions on occasions, but I do love a good book much more.

Mind you, I’m not a great cook yet! But, I do my best to try not to just feed you the “junk food” versions of the things we talk about. Where applicable you’ll see me talk about the sources we use. Not to mention, at the end of the day I do expect you to go and read up on the things we talk about here!

Okay, now, onto the actual content.

Can we talk yet?


Don’t you shh her, Surcouf! You got to talk last time! Germany didn’t even get a say in the matter!

Espèce d’idiot! Germany wasn’t even allowed to have army. Where get navy??

… Oookay. Yeah. Definitely back to normal.

Anyways. Last time I mentioned that there were some troubles with definitions of ship classes. I won’t get into too much detail because it’s slightly less important in the grand scheme of what was accomplished. However, I will point out that France has the biggest stake in London. In other words, the French needed the best deal for the following reasons.

Let’s recap.

  1. Security. France is basically surrounded by unfriendly or hostile forces. The threat of Soviet Union (and communism) aside, Germany, Italy, and Spain are all potential opponents.
  2. Submarines. France built massive submarines that Britain saw with some alarm. France is obviously not willing to scrap any of these thousand-plus ton submarines unless massive concessions can be made.
  3. Contre-torpilleurs, which are a sort of powerful small vessel. I generally think of them as similar to Japan’s “super” destroyers or destroyer leaders. Alternatively, you can think of them as cruiser hybrids – they’ve got some pretty big guns. Again, these are of concern because it is tremendously difficult to categorize them properly.
  4. French capital ships. There is significant outcry within France that France should get a bigger quota than last time. At the very least, France should have a bigger allotment than Italy. This runs contrary to the purpose of the London conference, which is to limit shipbuilding of all types. Needless to say only the US is tentatively in support of this particular viewpoint.

So, as you can see, the French do have a lot of demands. They also have a pretty simple idea. Global limitation.

Global limitation is the idea that the five countries would get a total number of tons that they’re allowed to do whatever they want with. France was willing to accept the prospect that a certain tonnage limitation be established – say, to make up numbers, 1,000,000 tons for submarines. However, these limitations would be added to a country’s naval tonnage as a whole. That way, if France wants to keep on building its giant submarines, it can do so without any further interference.

This idea was … well, Japan and Italy were tentatively in for it, and the US decided to watch and see. Seeing the potential for conflict (France had a very hard-line WE WILL HAVE MORE TONNAGE THAN ITALY) the British decide to open the discussion up and put topics where they think everyone would agree on at the early parts of the conference.

Given that it’s pretty easy to find the full text online, I thought I’d just point out bits that I find to be super interesting. As it turns out, the capital ships were easy to reach consensus on. The others, well, less so.

So. First things first. Big ships. Right off the bat, we decided to complain. The British first proposed that we limit capital ships to 25,000 tons and 12′ guns. Our naval intelligence already knew that the Japanese were building things that are bigger – rumors of 16” and even bigger guns were already circulating even in 1930. This won’t do.

France and Italy jumped in, too. They were interested in upgrading their old battleships. Therefore, it would be good if no strict limitations were established.

So, what ended up happening was that everyone agreed to temporarily halt the building of new battleships for another five years, until 1936. Most countries would take the time to modernize their old battleships. The full text you can see below.

Article 1
The High Contracting Parties agree not to exercise their rights to lay down the keels of capital ship replacement tonnage during the years 1931-1936 inclusive as provided in Chapter II, Part 3, of the Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armament signed between them at Washington on 6 February 1922 and referred to in the present Treaty as the Washington Treaty.

This provision is without prejudice to the disposition relating to the replacement of ships accidentally lost or destroyed contained in Chapter II, Part 3, Section I, paragraph (c) of the said Treaty.

France and Italy may, however, build the replacement tonnage which they were entitled to lay down in 1927 and 1929 in accordance with the provisions of the said Treaty.

Article 2 is a list of all the ships the countries were allowed to be kept. Instead of posting the full text, I’ll just summarize it for you.

Keeping 15 BBs
Gun info is number of turrets x number of guns per turret
Class Number Built Displacement Guns Total Gun Speed
Queen Elizabeth 5 1912 27500 4×2 15” 8 24
Revenge 5 1913 25750 4×2 15” 8 22
Renown 2 1915 26500 3×2 15” 6 30
Hood 1 1916 41000 4×2 15” 8 31
Nelson 2 1922 33500 3×3 16” 9 23

Britain scraps 3 Iron Dukes and the aging Tiger.

Keeping 15 BBs
Class Number Built Displacement Guns Total Gun Speed
Arkansas 1 1910 26000 6×2 12” 12 21
New York 2 1911 27000 5×2 14” 10 21
Nevada 2 1912 27500 2×3, 2×2 14” 10 21
Pennsylvania 2 1913 31400 4×3 14” 12 21
New Mexico 3 1915 32300 4×3 14” 12 21
Tennessee 2 1916 32300 4×3 14” 12 21
Colorado 3 1917 32600 4×2 16” 8 21

The US scraps the two Florida classes, though Utah would eventually become a target ship. The rest are fairly in line with expectations.

Keeping 9 BBs
Class Number Built Displacement Guns Total Gun Speed
Kongou 3 1911 27500 4×2 14” 8 26
Fusou 2 1912 30600 6×2 14” 12 22
Ise 2 1915 31260 6×2 14” 12 23
Nagato 2 1917 33800 4×2 16” 8 26

Important note here. KanColle players will ask, wait, there are 4 Kongous. You’re right. Japan converted Hiei into a “gunnery training ship” so that she doesn’t get scrapped. 😉

Lastly, France and Italy. You can see that in contrast to the above, these ships really are showing their age. It’s now 1930, after all!

Keeping 5 BBs
Class Number Built Displacement Guns Total Gun Speed
Courbet 2 1910 23500 6×2 12” 12 20
Bretagne 3 1912 23500 5×2 13.4” 10 20
Keeping 4 BBs
Class Number Built Displacement Guns Total Gun Speed
Conte di Cavour 2 1910 22500 3×3, 2×2 12” 13 22
Andrea Doria 2 1912 22700 3×3, 2×2 12” 13 22

the Conte di Cavour did get rebuilt sometimes during the 1930s. Japan, too, upgraded all of her old battleships. But, since this is Tautog’s sub corner and this one doesn’t have any submarines in it just yet, I’m just going to go on to the other stuff.

Right. Aircraft carriers. The key bit to pay attention to is what I’ve highlighted below.

1. For the purposes of the Washington Treaty, the definition of an aircraft carrier given in Chapter II, Part 4, of the said Treaty is hereby replaced by the following definition:

The expression “aircraft carrier” includes any surface vessel of war, whatever its displacement, designed for the specific and exclusive purpose of carrying aircraft and so constructed that aircraft can be launched therefrom and landed thereon.

2. The fitting of a landing-on or flying-off platform or deck on a capital ship, cruiser or destroyer, provided such vessel was not designed or adapted exclusively as an aircraft carrier, shall not cause any vessel so fitted to be charged against or classified in the category of aircraft carriers.

3. No capital ship in existence on 1 April 1930 shall be fitted with a landing-on platform or deck.

This is because Japan laid down a carrier that was less than 10,000 tons. Surprise, surprise, they were trying to get around the treaty limitations. The loophole got patched up. Everything else self-explanatory. Article 4 and 5 is simply carriers can’t have big guns. Large carriers are limited to 8” guns and small carriers are below 6”.

Okay. We’re now getting into some nitpicky details. Let’s look at Article 6 and 7 and why this is important.

Article 6
1. The rules for determining standard displacement prescribed in Chapter II, Part 4 of the Washington Treaty shall apply to all surface vessels of war of each of the High Contracting Parties.

2. The standard displacement of a submarine is the surface displacement of the vessel complete (exclusive of the water in non-watertight structure) fully manned, engined, and equipped ready for sea, including all armament and ammunition, equipment, outfit, provisions for crew, miscellaneous stores, and implements of every description that are intended to be carried in war, but without fuel, lubricating oil, fresh water or ballast water of any kind on board.

3. Each naval combatant vessel shall be rated at its displacement tonnage when in the standard condition. The word “ton” except in the expression “metric tons”, shall be understood to be the ton of 2,240 pounds (1,016 kg).

Take a look at this. Submarines were exempted from the definition of “standard displacement” in that their displacement do not count for fuel, oil, fresh water and ballast water. Now, why did they go out of their way to specifically mention submarines?

Well, let’s look at Article 7.

1. No submarine the standard displacement of which exceeds 2,000 tons (2,032 metric tons) or with a gun above 5.1 inch (130 mm) calibre shall be acquired by or constructed by or for any of the High Contracting Parties.

2. Each of the High Contracting Parties may, however, retain, build or acquire a maximum number of three submarines of a standard displacement not exceeding 2,800 tons (2,845 metric tons); these submarines may carry guns not above 6.1 inch (155 mm) calibre. Within this number, France may retain one unit, already launched, of 2,880 tons (2,926 metric tons), with guns the calibre of which is 8 inches (203 mm).

3. The High Contracting Parties may retain the submarines which they possessed on 1 April 1930 having a standard displacement not in excess of 2,000 tons (2,032 metric tons) and armed with guns above 5.1 inch (130 mm) calibre.

4. As from the coming into force of the present Treaty in respect of all the High Contracting Parties, no submarine the standard displacement of which exceeds 2,000 tons (2,032 metric tons) or with a gun above 5.1 inch (130 mm) calibre shall be constructed within the jurisdiction of any of the High Contracting Parties, except as provided in paragraph 2 of this Article.

Ah, so this is why. Exemptions made for countries that already built “oversized” submarines! Here’s what happened. Britain tried to get the submarine banned (again). When that didn’t work, they wanted to limit the submarine whenever possible. They thought that if they started small – putting strict definition or limitations on submarines, that the negotiations would get somewhere. However, the US and Japan both immediately objected. After all, the Pacific is huge, and bigger submarines were the only way to get the proper ranges that would allow a submarine to cruise the proper combat distances.

What happened was that Britain, initially suggesting a limit of around 1000 to 1500 tons, was made a counter-offer instead. Since many large (1500 to 2000 ton) submarines were already being built – including the British X1 which was at 2425 tons – we might as well allow those to be completed. Concessions were made in the form of limiting the caliber of future submarine guns (come on, it’s kind of silly to have huge guns on a submarine anyways).

The British delegation sorta saw the writing on the wall, and took the suggestion accordingly. That’s how Article 6 and 7 came about.


Well, look at the second bullet point and the third bullet point of Article 7. Those exceptions were made for the US and Japan respectively. We’ve got our Argonaut and Narwhals, remember? The Japanese, meanwhile, were building some big submarines too.


No. Not as big as the Surcouf. In fact, we even made an exception for the Surcouf to be kept –


ON THE GROUNDS that the two other Surcoufs be cancelled.

Yeah. Come on. I’m surprised you didn’t know that.

I’m not.

Me neither.

Well, this wouldn’t be all that the folks at London discussed on submarines, but this is getting awfully long. The important takeaway message here was that the first part of the conference reached some conclusions that were generally agreeable to all. Loopholes (such as Japan trying to sneak in another CV) were closed up, and submarines weren’t nearly as harshly regulated as one might have.

Specifically, countries that have already built very large submarines such as France or the US or Japan were allowed to keep them.

However, as you’ll see in the next part, a lot of disagreements over the smaller ships arose. While well-intentioned, in the end only the US came away from the conference reasonably content.

Thanks for reading! I’ll see ya next time!

… What? Were you expecting cute shipgirls? TOO BAD! BEHOLD! A PHOTO OF FIVE DAPPER OLD MEN!