Sunday, October 14, 2012

Never, never, never...

Interesting little animation presenting the position plots of Royal Navy vessels across the globe, starting before WW1 and ending in the 1920's.

Looking at this brings to mind a couple of thoughts;

For all that we talk about "blue-water navies" human beings still don't really use most or even much of the world's ocean surface. Trade routes still lead largely through littoral waters and a handful of critical choke points like Suez, Panama, the Java Straits, and the capes of Good Hope and Horn.

Perhaps the single most enormous change in human history over the past century has been the disarmament of the narrow seas off western Europe. From Roman times the Mediterranean, Baltic, North Sea, the Channel and the Western Approaches of the Atlantic Ocean have probably seen more bloodshed than anywhere on the world's waters. But for more than fifty years the waters around Europe have seen little if any fighting; the Med perhaps as much as any, but outside of the coastal waters off Libya and Israel even that old cockpit has been ridiculously peaceful by contrast.
And I am far from alone in wondering if the next hundred years will see the South China Sea and the western Pacific Ocean will become the next place where angry humans will meet in battle on the seas.
(h/t to Lawyers, Guns, and Money for both of the naval links...)

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