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Monday, November 17, 2008

Time to bring back the Q-ship

During World War I submarines were much less effective than later models, they carried very few of those expensive new fangled torpedoes and more often than not they would seize and capture, or seize and scuttle ships through the threat or use of their deck guns. Since the British never latched onto that whole convoy idea during the Great War, ships were vulnerable and many were captured or simply shelled and sunk despite most German subs having only one smallish naval gun mounted.

The British answer to this was take innocuous looking cargo vessels and outfit them with enough buoyancy to survive being holed by torpedo, often filling the cargo areas with bales of cork or blocks of balsa, the Q-ship.

These ships would then be sent to wander about in areas with a known German presence in a bid to tempt the U-boats to the surface. Once the Germans took the bait and closed in on the Q-Ships, hidden guns would suddenly appear and a fight would ensue. While not all that effective vs. their comparable material investment these ships did destroy 15 subs and acted as a deterrent by increasing German caution when approaching other ships. (it can also be argued that this was an illegal war activity that helped push the move towards total naval war and torpedoing without warning, but that's for some other time, over beer, out of the hearing of any Englishmen who don't like the Admiralty being called war criminals.)

So what this got to do with anything?

Well pirates from Somalia have once again captured a ship off of their coast and this time it's a Saudi oil tanker, this is just one of 15 they are holding for ransom at this time including a recent Ukrainian ship full of tanks and other weapons, and an ore carrier plus some misc cargo ships. These bastards have even ransomed aid ships in the past and are not afraid to shoot crews.

Let’s take a couple of small tankers or cargo ships, add some remote control weaponry run by game geeks with a satellite link (but they can only be armed a by a commanding Naval officer who verifies the target as hostile) and then just drive it back and forth up the coast near Somalia waiting. Every couple of trips change the name, change the look slightly and advertise it’s manifest at regional ports in case they are picking their targets rather than acting randomly. Then when attacked by pirates let the gamers blow the bastards up. Hell with the chance to play with real guns the geeks would pay us for the opportunity. It’s win win, just make sure we lay off the depleated uranium, after all they don't have real military ships.



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