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Old April 26 2009, 07:46 AM   #1
Marc
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Warship names and their entomology

Inspired by the thread on the decommissioning of the U.S.S Enterprise.

Thought it would be interesting to see how different countries name their warships.

The Royal Australian navy seems to be all over the place.

The Adelaide class FFGs had the names of large cities (Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, Newcastle, Sydney and Melbourne). Sydney and Melbourne had been carriers (and before that Sydney had been a CL sunk in a battle with the German raider Komoran in WWII).

The now scrapped Oberon class subs had kept the RN tradition of names that started with the class name letter. Their replacement Collins class subs have been named after famous naval personal though in the case of the Sheehan it was for an Ordinary Seaman recognised for great valor).

The Armindale patrol boats are named are Australian towns as were the previous Fremantle class.

Rivers were the name source for the Huon class mine sweepers.

The ANZAC FFNs seem to be all over the place and no names have been announce for the upcoming Hobart Class DD except the class leadering being the Hobart (who's predecessor was a DDG that saw action in the Vietnam War).
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Old April 26 2009, 08:10 AM   #2
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

Actually, the Hobarts will be named, Hobart, Sydney and Brisbane.

The two Canberra class vessels that the RAN has ordered will be named Canberra and Adelaide.
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Old April 26 2009, 10:16 AM   #3
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

US Navy naming:

Tugs/fireboats - Indian tribes
Submarine Tenders - submarine pioneers
Repair ships - Mythological figures
Oilers - Rivers; Cities; Famous battles; famous ship designers or builders
Cargo Ships - Medal of Honor recipients
Cargo Ships RO/RO - Stars; Comedian; Capes; various other names
Hospital Ships - Peaceful or comforting words
Combat Stores - Cities; Mythological figures; Stars
Ammunition Ships - Volcanoes; words denoting fire and explosives
Crane Ships - State nicknames; various
various Mine Craft - Famous USMC battles, abstract qualities; word of action, birds
Nuclear Subs - Fish and marine creatures; President; Admiral; Politicians; Cities & towns; States of the Union
Ballistic Subs - Presidents; Distinguished Americans; States of the Union
Destroyers - Distinguished USN/USMC officers & enlisted men
Cruisers - Distinguished Americans; Famous battles, Cities; States of the Union
Landing Ships - Cities honoring pioneers, counties
Amphibious Assault - Famous USMC Battles, Famous aircraft carriers
Battleships - states of the union
Aircraft Carriers - Famous Navy ships; Presidents; Admiral; Politicians; Famous battles; Places associated with aviation history
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Old April 26 2009, 01:07 PM   #4
Mark de Vries
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

The Royal Dutch Navy names her frigates of the De Zeven Provinciën and Karel Doorman classes after historic naval heroes or, in one case, the ship of one of those heroes (HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën).
Four future offshore patrol vessels of the Holland class will be named for provinces.
The Alkmaar class minehunters are named for cities.
The single Amsterdam class replenishment ship is named for the Dutch capital.
The single Zuiderkruis class Joint Support Ship will be named for a constellation.
The two Rotterdam class amphibious transport docks are named for a city and a historic statesman.
And the four Walrus class submarines are named for sea mammals.
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Old April 26 2009, 01:59 PM   #5
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

The ships of Canadian Forces Maritime Command are named as follows:

12 Halifax-class frigates are named after cities.
3 Iroquois-class destroyers are named after First Nations.
12 Kingston-class coastal defence vessels are named after cities and towns.
8 Orca-class patrol boats are named after animals.
2 Protecteur-class auxiliary oilers are given helpful-sounding names.
4 Victoria-class submarines are named after towns and cities.
HMCS Oriole sail training vessel is named after a bird.

Most ship names are English, but a few are French: HMCS Montréal, HMCS Ville de Québec, HMCS Protecteur, and HMCS Renard.

HMCS stands for "Her Majesty's Canadian Ship".

Trivial Fact: for thirteen years, from 1985 to 1998, West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta had more submarines than the Canadian Navy; the Mall had four, while the Navy had only three.

Since 1998, however, the Navy has acquired four Upholder-class submarines from the United Kingdom, and WEM has retired its submarine fleet in favour of bumper boats.
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Old April 26 2009, 06:52 PM   #6
Alidar Jarok
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

Etymology, btw. Unless we're talking about ships named after insects
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Old April 26 2009, 07:25 PM   #7
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
Etymology, btw. Unless we're talking about ships named after insects
Well the U.S does have the Wasp class vessels
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Old April 26 2009, 07:34 PM   #8
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

Marc, I think the proper word you were looking for was "etymology", as noted by Alidar Jarok, or more specifically "onomastics", which is the study of proper names.
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Old April 26 2009, 08:03 PM   #9
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

Mutenroshi wrote: View Post
Marc, I think the proper word you were looking for was "etymology", as noted by Alidar Jarok, or more specifically "onomastics", which is the study of proper names.
my excuse is I've used the bloody word - just never written it
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Old April 26 2009, 08:11 PM   #10
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

As bloodwhiners post shows, the US navy has gone loco when it comes to naming ships.

It used to be real easy. During WII Battleships were named after states, Battlecruisers were named for cities, sub were named for fish, destroyers were named for famous sailors, and aircraft carriers were named for, well I dunno. That naming convention was all over the place. Then when Battleships were retired, Missile submarines were named after states and attack subs were named cities and aircraft carriers were named (with the exception of the Enterprise) after famous naval or ploitical figures. Now...its anyones guess. I think the US Navy has a dart board with names on it. When they are comissioning ships they just throw a dart at the board and volia, they have a name for a ship.
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Old April 26 2009, 08:36 PM   #11
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

FrontLine wrote: View Post
As bloodwhiners post shows, the US navy has gone loco when it comes to naming ships.

It used to be real easy. During WII Battleships were named after states, Battlecruisers were named for cities, sub were named for fish, destroyers were named for famous sailors, and aircraft carriers were named for, well I dunno. That naming convention was all over the place. Then when Battleships were retired, Missile submarines were named after states and attack subs were named cities and aircraft carriers were named (with the exception of the Enterprise) after famous naval or ploitical figures. Now...its anyones guess. I think the US Navy has a dart board with names on it. When they are comissioning ships they just throw a dart at the board and volia, they have a name for a ship.
I guess in someways naval traditions are now becoming a thing of the past.

I can sort of see naming ships are poltiical figures becoming a quasi reward for some sort of political service (in the U.K you get a knighthood, in the U.S you get a warship named after you). If some-one has really made significant contribution to the Navy beyond pure political opportunism than it's fine. Did Ronald Reagan ever do anything really significant for the Navy to justify a carrier named after him (where as George H. W. Bush had at least been a naval aviator serving with disctinction in WWII).

After all I'm sure there a plenty of naval heroes and significant figures they could name ships after without going purely political - after has there ever been a carrier named after Eugene Ely?
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Old April 26 2009, 08:48 PM   #12
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

Marc wrote: View Post
FrontLine wrote: View Post
As bloodwhiners post shows, the US navy has gone loco when it comes to naming ships.

It used to be real easy. During WII Battleships were named after states, Battlecruisers were named for cities, sub were named for fish, destroyers were named for famous sailors, and aircraft carriers were named for, well I dunno. That naming convention was all over the place. Then when Battleships were retired, Missile submarines were named after states and attack subs were named cities and aircraft carriers were named (with the exception of the Enterprise) after famous naval or ploitical figures. Now...its anyones guess. I think the US Navy has a dart board with names on it. When they are comissioning ships they just throw a dart at the board and volia, they have a name for a ship.
I guess in someways naval traditions are now becoming a thing of the past.

I can sort of see naming ships are poltiical figures becoming a quasi reward for some sort of political service (in the U.K you get a knighthood, in the U.S you get a warship named after you). If some-one has really made significant contribution to the Navy beyond pure political opportunism than it's fine. Did Ronald Reagan ever do anything really significant for the Navy to justify a carrier named after him (where as George H. W. Bush had at least been a naval aviator serving with disctinction in WWII).

After all I'm sure there a plenty of naval heroes and significant figures they could name ships after without going purely political - after has there ever been a carrier named after Eugene Ely?
Yes, Ronald Reagan *did do something* to deserve a carrier named in his honor. He rebuilt the US military, which was hollowed out during the Carter administration. The military was badly demoralized because of cutbacks, attrition, rampant drug use, and almost no spare parts on-hand. Reagan wanted to build a 600 ship Navy to show America's might and readiness to address threats of the then-present and future. He wanted 12 active aircraft carriers as well.

The Navy also recycles names of ships. This past weekend, the Navy commissioned a new USS Truxton (DDG-103), which was formerly the only named ship of the Truxton class (CGN-35).

Here is a history of the ships named Truxton.
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Old April 26 2009, 10:44 PM   #13
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

FrontLine wrote: View Post
It used to be real easy. During WII Battleships were named after states, Battlecruisers were named for cities,
Cruisers were named for cities. Battle cruisers, when they were first proposed after WW1, were to be named after famous earlier warships. More on that below. When the battle cruiser concept was (sort of) revisited around WW2, the new ships (CBs) were named after territories: Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. In between states and cities.

[...]and aircraft carriers were named for, well I dunno. That naming convention was all over the place.
The first carrier was named Langley for the aviation pioneer. But after the Washington naval treaty in 1922, two of the Lexington-class battle cruisers, mentioned above, were converted to carriers and the rest were abandoned. The carrier conversions kept their original names: Lexington and Saratoga, so the door was opened for aircraft carriers to bear historic warship names, and so it went for Ranger, the Yorktown class, Wasp, and much of the Essex and Independence classes. But, since a lot of distinguished early USN warships had been named after battles, the concept was watered down a little and some carriers were named after notable battles without a warship namesake, including battles of the then-current war. Also, following the precedent of Langley, a CVL was named Wright near the end of the war. Then in 1945 another exception was made and one of the new large carriers (CVBs) was named Franklin D. Roosevelt after the president died.

So by the end of the war you had famous warship, battle, aviation related and presidential names on aircraft carriers. Then the first supercarrier was named after the wartime SecNav and first SecDef, James Forrestal. So there are all kinds of precedents. Here is a list of fleet carriers up through CVN-76.

The Japanese have long used poetic-sounding environmental names for destroyers, like Tanikaze (Wind from the Mountain to the Valley) or Yoizuki (Moon Visible at Dusk) or Shiratsuyu (Shimmering Dew). On the other hand, they think it quite strange that a warship would have the name of a person.

ETA:
John Picard wrote: View Post
The Navy also recycles names of ships. This past weekend, the Navy commissioned a new USS Truxton (DDG-103), which was formerly the only named ship of the Truxton class (CGN-35).
Indeed. And the Arleigh Burke destroyer Bainbridge which was in the news recently with the Somali pirate standoff and rescue, carries the same name as the very first USN destroyer, DD-1.

--Justin

Last edited by J.T.B.; April 26 2009 at 10:52 PM. Reason: added another comment
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Old April 27 2009, 12:26 AM   #14
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

Marc wrote: View Post
I guess in someways naval traditions are now becoming a thing of the past.
In some ways its about damned time. In others not so fast.

Marc wrote: View Post
Did Ronald Reagan ever do anything really significant for the Navy to justify a carrier named after him (where as George H. W. Bush had at least been a naval aviator serving with disctinction in WWII).
He did build the Navy back up after it had been gutted. The goal was 600 active ships. I think they reached that for about a month. But yes he did.
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Old April 27 2009, 09:48 AM   #15
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Re: Warship names and their entomology

John Picard wrote: View Post
He rebuilt the US military, which was hollowed out during the Carter administration.
Rubbish. That's a right-wing myth--an electoral talking-point, like the bomber gap and the missile gap.

If anyone "hollowed out" the US military, it was Nixon and Ford.

By comparison, the cuts imposed during the first two years of the Carter administration were symbolic. And in the last two years of his administration, military spending went up dramatically.

In fact, once adjusted for inflation, real national defence spending increased every year of the Carter presidency.

What is more, many of Carter's decisions have proven to be far-sighted. To take just the most obvious example, he cancelled plans to replace the B-52 bomber with the B-1 (a far less useful and versatile aircraft, especially in the post-Cold War world) while approving both production of the F-117 and development of the B-2.

History has also justified Carter's decision to rely on cruise missiles in place of supersonic strategic bombers. While the US Navy fired 288 Tomahawks during the Gulf War of 1990-91 (and the USAF fired 35 AGM-86s from B-52s), Reagan's B-1 bomber fleet sat around uselessly, flying not a single sortie.

All Reagan did was continue the military buildup begun by Carter--while cutting taxes at the same time, thereby causing an enormous increase in the public debt.
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