if you have a report or comments about an event or rally that you have attended it can be published here. let Rob Gibbons know,
MSRVS CLUB NIGHT TALK 21st NOVEMBER 2023– “SURFACE RAIDERS AND THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC”
Advertised as “Operation Beehive –Secrets of the Brean Sands Hulks” , our talk on Tuesday was switched to “Surface Raiders and the Battle of The Atlantic”. These are new talks developed by Paul Barnett from his extensive research in maritime and historical subjects. This new talk, about the capital battleships used by Nazi Germany during WW2 to deny shipped imports into Britain, was tailored from the view point of how the Nazis were able to build such a strong fleet in contravention of the Versailles treaty that should have restricted their arsenal to a defence force only.
The Versailles treaty of 1919 restricted new build naval vessels to specific weights and numbers. The same restrictions applied to all of Germany’s military equipment and personnel, but Paul’s talk concentrated on the the naval program. The coming to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party sought to change the restriction of the Versailles treaty by building a strong economy to gain the support and belief of the German people. This allowed a recently defeated country to covertly rearm in full view and defiance of the world. The Allied nations, who were also recovering from the ravages of WW1 were powerless to intervene and hoped a strong Germany would not emerge again to wage war.
Paul’s meticulous study revealed later documentation showing how capital naval ships were exceeding the gross tonnage limits set out in the Versailles Treaty. The Washington Treaty of 1935 set out to negate the advantage Germany was gaining over the Allied countries by increasing the limits for all countries. The London Conference of that year installed the Z plan, which allowed vessels of up to 35,000 tons and up to 14” guns. This would apply to all countries, not just Germany. Despite Germany being restricted by treaties, the Allied countries could see that Germany was growing in military strength that could again threaten world peace.
the British Royal Navy was the largest naval force in the world as it served the Empire and Commonwealth. Hitler resolved to break Britain by defeating the Royal Navy and commercial shipping to Britain by blockading the north Atlantic ocean. His preference was to use large conventional ships like the Tirpitz, Bismark and the Graf Spee to fight conventional sea battles. These “Surface Raiders” were to starve Britain into submission and divide the Empire. Others in the Nazi hierarchy, led by Karl Donitz, were in favour of submarines to control the oceans, but were held back by Hitler until later in the war.
The days of these “Surface Raiders” were numbered. As we heard from Paul’s previous talk on the Battle of Jutland, major surface vessels alone just eliminate each other. Huge losses on each side without definitive victory was no good to either side in war. mid way through WW2, Hitler sanctioned greater spending on the submarine fleet to seek effective strikes against the Allies in the north Atlantic. Technology moves swiftly in war, and counter measures became quickly available for each new weapon developed. Large surface ships that were vulnerable to submarines before WW2 became subjects of bombs and torpedoes from aircraft that could operate in the north Atlantic. Radar and the breaking of the Enigma machine codes could locate large relatively slow vessels, so they could be hunted down more easily. Hitler’s submarines, despite showing many early successes, also fell foul to advancing technology and eventually suffered the greatest loss for any German armed branch during WW2.
An interesting talk by Paul that showed a lot of interest from the members present, and one to recommend to other clubs looking for similar talks.
MSRVS CLUB NIGHT
TALK 17th OCTOBER 2023– “THE REAL COST OF OIL – LOSS OF THE PIPER ALPHA”
Tuesday night’s talk was back on a
technical theme. Oil, and the thousands of products and services that we take
for granted in a modern world, has to be won from the Earth by human effort and
ingenuity. Extracting oil from the ground is tough enough, and as the finite
sources become scarcer, it becomes necessary to extract from more remote
locations, such as under the sea, which adds to the cost of the final product,
in both financial and human terms.
Paul Barnett spoke in detail about the
discovery of high grade crude in the North sea, and how this came to be claimed
by the countries around that area. For Britain, this would become about 10
percent of North Sea oil production, and so economically important. The 1974
Health, Safety and Welfare Act was suitably in place to cover the operation of
British extraction of oil and gas, although this Act was not sufficient to
prevent the July 1988 disaster at the Piper Alpha platform that took the lives
of 165 crew and 2 rescue workers, as well as destroying the platform.
Health and safety often appear sufficient
until a serious incident shows up the short comings in the system. In the case
of Piper Alpha, a whole series of incidents contributed to create one of the
costliest man made disasters of all time. Total insurance loss of £1.7 billion
(equivalent to £5 billion in 2021) and the loss of 167 persons that in hind
sight could have been prevented. The Cullen enquiry ( published November 1990)
concluded that short comings in the owners procedures (Occidental Petroleum
ltd) had led to the disaster, and recommended a 167 new procedures, including
design of platform and information to emergency services, be installed. No
criminal charges were raised against Occidental Petroleum ltd.
This was a new talk by Paul Barnett, and
MSRVS were the first audience to hear it. Consequently we received the full
contents of technical, political and human material, which lasted an hour and
45 minutes. Paul will tailor this talk to suit his various audiences. Naturally
our questions were based on the technical issues, as well as the political and
ethical issues. Plenty of content for everyone to comment on, and a talk worth
MSRVS CLUB NIGHT TALK 19th SEPTEMBER 2023– “THE SEE AND HEAR QUIZ”
As autumn draws in, we would hope that club nights would be warm and cosy with good interactivity between our members. After all, that’s what club membership is for. Sharing our experiences and chatting about building and operating steam engines. We had a visitor, David Walker from Stratford upon avon, who came to see what we got up to on our club evenings. I hope he enjoyed the evening as he did stay until the end.
In that same vein we grouped ourselves into 5 teams to compete in a friendly quiz. Our speaker, Ray Sturdy, had arranged a quiz based on pictures of celebrities, sounds of every day equipment, and popular TV music themes from days gone by. There was friendly banter between the teams as Ray kept the quiz running at a good pace. The quiz was not difficult as the lowest score by any team was 49 out of 65.
There was plenty of time after the quiz to chat about steam, so another productive and entertaining evening.