What can I say, accurate history is once again lacking in this Presidential Election. For those out there that may not realize it, here in the United States we are electing the next head of state. And while I have issues with some of President Obama’s speeches I need to visit one of the statements made by Governor Romney.
From the January 16th debate he said, “The U.S. military is at risk of losing its “military superiority” because “our Navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917. “
When I first heard it I thought it was an odd statement. How can you compare the US Navy today with the fleet from 1916? Well the campaigners from both sides saw little reason to refute or correct this fact from the historical aspects, but I am different.
Today the US Navy is big, larger than the rest of the fleets of the entire of the world. It can and does travel the waters of the globe.
In aircraft carries, we have eleven strike carriers that are capable of operating anywhere. In the club of nations that have carriers only two are in a similar position, United Kingdom and France. Aircraft carries also need a logistic train that few countries have to operate outside of their home waters.
In 1916 the premier piece of gunship diplomacy was the battleship. In 1916 we had 36 battleships and were the third largest navy in the world. Navies like Great Britain and Germany also closely watched and counted their battle ship fleets.
Ten years previous, the British launched the HMS Dreadnought, a warship that made every other battleship obsolete. The US Navy was at the cutting edge under President (and noted historian) Teddy Roosevelt. The US Navy launched the USS South Carolina, also a dreadnought and the race was on. By 1917 and the start of The Great War for the United States the navy had sixteen dreadnought battleships to go along with the twenty-three older pre-dreadnoughts.
In 1916 we were one of several great navies, in 2012 the US Navy is second to none.
As this blog deals with the history of The Great War I cannot say a word for my favorite American battleship from this period is the USS Delaware BB28. A sharp looking ship that took part in the war along side the British Grand Fleet.
Please let me know your thoughts on this.