Adapting to Innovation: The US Navy, High-Steam Destroyers, and the Second World War
Sumida, Jon T
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The US Navy's move to high-pressure and -temperature steam propulsion, otherwise known as "high steam," has been viewed in the postwar period as a critical advance that made long-range operations possible during World War II. This position, which is almost entirely reliant on the autobiography of Rear Admiral Harold G. Bowen, has neglected to consider the complex and problematic nature of the supply chain required to produce high-steam turbines. Archival research has revealed that the US Navy's insensitivity to these changes after 1938 caused severe bottlenecks in wartime destroyer production. Also overlooked was the aggressive administrative action on the part of the Navy's Bureau of Ships and its turbine subcontractors required to mitigate this crisis. Together, these events formed an important example of the need to adapt administratively to match the advance of technology.