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T3, R1, Prng121: Canopus Class (Britain) vs Illinois Class (USA)

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  • T3, R1, Prng121: Canopus Class (Britain) vs Illinois Class (USA)

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.






    109: Canopus Class


    The Canopus class consisted of six pre-dreadnought battleships built in the late 1890s. They were designed for use on the China Station and were named Canopus, Glory, Albion, Ocean, Goliath and Vengeance. Compared to the preceding Majestic class, they were smaller, faster and less heavily armored; though they adopted new Krupp armor which was more effective than the Harvey steel of the Majestics. The new ships adopted several other changes, including water-tube boilers, in-line funnels and a full-length armored belt. The Canopuses were 390ft 3.5in (118.96m) long between perpendiculars and 421ft 6in (128.47m) overall, with a beam of 74ft (23m). They had a normal draft of 26ft 2in (7.98m) displacing 13,150 long tons (13,360t); up to a maximum of 30ft (9.1m) draft displacing 14,300 long tons (14,500t) at full load.

    Main armament was four BL 12in Mk VIII naval guns in twin-gun turrets fore and aft. Secondary armament was 12 QF 6in guns in casemates. Additional guns consisted of 10 x 12pdr and 6 x 3pdr. There were four 18in (460mm) torpedo tubes submerged in the hull, two on each broadside near the forward and aft barbette. Each of the two masts had a fighting top with several light guns and one searchlight. Four other searchlights were mounted on the bridges.

    To save weight, Canopus carried less armor than the Majestics. The main hull belt was 6in (152mm) thick, compared to 9in (229 mm). However, the loss in protection was not as much as it might seem; Krupp armor having 30% greater protective value at a given weight than its Harvey equivalent. Also, coverage was more comprehensive with the Canopus class being the first British capital ships to return to a full-length belt since 1875; though as a weight saving, it reduced to 2in (51mm) at either end. Armor elsewhere was also somewhat thinner (though again, of superior type in critical places). For example, bulkheads at either end of the main belt were 6-10in (152 to 254 mm) thick. The main battery turrets had 8in (200mm) thickness with 2in roofs, atop 10-12in (254-305mm) barbettes, reducing to 6in behind the belt.

    Some areas did not have Krupp steel; for example, the casemate battery with 6in of Harvey steel on the fronts and 2in on the sides and the rears. The forward conning towers received 12in Harvey steel sides, while the aft conning towers had only 3in (76mm). However, a notable difference on the Canopuses was two armored decks; 1in and 2in (25 and 51mm) thick respectively; both of Harvey steel. This was the first time a second armor deck was installed in a British warship. Rumors had circulated that the French intended to equip their newest battleships with howitzers. If true, this would allow them to hit British ships with plunging fire, avoiding the heavy belt armor. It turned out not to be true but the British continued with two armored decks for a decade or two thereafter.

    The Canopus’s thinner armor came under intense criticism, particularly in the press. The Director of Naval Construction, William White, publicly defended the design, pointing out that recent experience between Chinese and Japanese warships at the Battle of the Yalu River demonstrated that armor proved more effective than tests would indicate, and the advances in armor technology warranted saving weight for better weapons.

    The Canopus class were powered by two 3-cylinder triple-expansion engines driving a pair of screws, using steam from 20 Belleville boilers. They were the first British battleships with water-tube boilers, which generated more power at less expense in weight compared with those used in previous ships. The ships had a high speed for their time - 18 knots (33km/h; 21mph) from 13,500 indicated horsepower (10,100 kW) - a full 2 knots faster than the Majestics; mainly due to the better boilers. Inward-turning screws also provided some increase, since they could turn at higher revolutions than the outward-turning screws of earlier ships. Each ship had a fuel capacity of 900 long tons (910t) of coal under normal conditions but additional spaces could be used to double capacity, for 1,800 long tons (1,829t) during wartime. The Canopuses could steam 5,320 nm (8,560km) at 10kn (19km/h; 12mph) with a full load of coal. If steaming at 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph), the range fell significantly to 2,590 nm (4,800 km; 2,980 mi).

    Despite the improved performance, one downside was persistent problems with condenser tube leakage; not resolved until refits during 1902-03. The inward-turning screws also caused problems, with difficult steering at low speed or when steaming in reverse. Outward-turning propellers were re-adopted with HMS Dreadnought in 1906.

    The Canopus class served abroad for much of their early careers; all six seeing service on the China Station in the early 1900s, and later that decade with the Home, Channel, and the Atlantic Fleets through 1908. From then to 1910, most of them saw service with the Mediterranean Fleet, before being reduced to reserve status or other secondary duties. During WW1, they served as guard ships and convoy escorts. Canopus participated in the hunt for the German East Asia Squadron, which culminated in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914. In early 1915, most of the ships were sent to the eastern Mediterranean Sea to take part in the Dardanelles Campaign against the Ottoman Empire. During these operations, Ocean and Goliath were sunk, in March and May 1915 respectively. Canopus and Albion were withdrawn from active service in 1916, thereafter being used as barracks ships. Glory served as flagship of the British North Russia Squadron, while Vengeance took part in operations off German East Africa in 1916. After the war, all four survivors were quickly broken up in the early 1920s.


    General characteristics
    Displacement – (max) 14,300 long tons (14,500t)
    Length – 421ft 6in (128.5m)
    Beam – 74ft (22.6m)
    Draft – (normal) 26ft 2in (7.98m)
    Power – 2 vertical triple expansion steam engines, 2 shafts, 20 boilers
    Armament – (primary) 2 x 2 BL 12in (305mm) 35cal Mk VIII;
    (secondary) 12 x QF 6in (152mm) 40cal
    Complement – (usual) 682–752 officers and men


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canopus-class_battleship
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commander-in-Chief,_China
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Canopus_(1897)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Glory_(1899)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Albion_(1898)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Ocean_(1898)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Goliath_(1898)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Vengeance_(1899)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majestic-class_battleship
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krupp_armour
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water-tube_boiler
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BL_12-inch_Mk_VIII_naval_gun
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QF_6-inch_naval_gun
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Henry_White
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Yalu_River_(1894)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Falkland_Islands




    Drawings of Canopus class showing general layout and some internal details

    Canopus class drawings 1906.jpg




    Goliath during WW1

    Goliath during WW1.jpg




    Sailors taking ease on the forward deck of a Canopus class ship

    Forward deck of Canopus class ship.jpg





    159: Illinois Class


    The Illinois class was a group of three American pre-dreadnought battleships – Illinois, Alabama and Wisconsin - built from 1896 to 1901. They had advances over preceding designs, including the first modern main battery turrets and rapid-firing secondary guns; but they were also the last American battleships to use dated technologies like fire-tube boilers and Harvey armor. Design work began on 25 March 1896, when Rear Admiral J. G. Walker convened a board to consider future designs. At that time, the only modern US battleship in service was the low-freeboard Indiana. (Iowa and the Kearsarge class were under construction.)

    The question was whether to repeat one of the low-freeboard designs, build another Iowa or request a new design altogether. The Board decided that another coastal battleship would be imprudent, since the USA had long coastlines and the new ships would need better seakeeping qualities than Indiana or Kearsarge. Nevertheless, a draft not exceeding 23ft (7m) was specified; to allow the ships to enter the comparatively shallow ports of the Gulf Coast. This meant lower weight, which prevented copying Iowa unless the main armament was reduced from 13in (330mm) to 12in (300mm). The board opposed that idea, so a new design was required. Congress authorized three new battleships on 10 June 1896.

    The Illinois class were 368ft (112m) long at waterline and 375ft 4in (114.4m) overall. They had a beam of 72ft 3in (22.02m) and a draft of 23ft 6in (7.16 m), displacing 11,565 long tons (11,751t) as designed and up to 12,250 long tons (12,450t) at full load. As built, they had heavy military masts, replaced by cage (lattice) masts in 1909. There was a single rudder, giving a turning radius of 362yds (331m) at 12 knots (22km/h; 14mph). The ships' transverse metacentric height was 2.7ft (0.82m). They had a crew of 536 (40 officers and 496 enlisted men), increasing up to 690–713 at times.

    Main armament was 4 x 13in (330mm)/35 caliber guns mounted in two turrets, which were balanced, with sloped armor on the face. This eliminated the issue of listing when firing broadside. Using the new smokeless powder charge, the guns could fire a 1,130lb (510kg) shell to 12,500yds (11,400m); though regulations prescribed opening fire at 8,000yds (7,300 m). At 2,000yds (1,800m), they could penetrate 20in (510mm) of steel. However, the guns were slow firing, requiring 320 seconds between shots. Secondary armament was 14 x 6in (152mm)/40 caliber Mark IV guns, in hull casemates. They fired a 105lb (48kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of 2,150ft/s (660m/s). For close-range defense, there were 16 x 57mm (2.2in) 6pdr and 6 x 37mm (1.5in) 1pdr guns. Four 18in (460mm) torpedo tubes were carried.

    The ships' main armored belt was 16.5in (419mm) thick over the magazines and machinery spaces, tapering to 9.5in (240mm) on the lower edge. It gradually reduced to 4in (102mm) toward the bow. Transverse bulkheads 12in (300mm) thick connected both ends of the central belt and the main battery barbettes. The armored deck was 2.75in (70mm) thick on the flat portion, with 3in (76mm) sloped sides forward; aft being 5in (130mm). The conning tower had 10in sides and a 2in (51mm) roof. The main turrets had 14in (360mm) faces and 3in (76mm) roofs, with the supporting barbettes at 15in (380mm) on their exposed sides. The secondary battery got 6in of armor and the lower half of the casemate was backed by coal bunkers, providing supplementary protection. Anti-splinter bulkheads 1.5in (38mm) thick were placed between each of the secondary guns to reduce the chance of one shell disabling multiple guns.

    Power came from two-shaft triple-expansion steam engines rated at 16,000 indicated horsepower (12,000 kW). Steam was provided by eight fire-tube boilers that trunked into a pair of side-by-side funnels. The engines were rated for a top speed of 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph), though they exceeded this on trials, with Illinois reaching 17.45 knots (32.32 km/h; 20.08 mph). The ships could store up to 1,270 long tons (1,290 t) of coal, which allowed them to steam for 4,190 nautical miles (7,760 km; 4,820 mi) at a cruising speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).

    The three ships served in a variety of roles and locations. Illinois was with the North Atlantic Squadron and the European Squadron early in her career, while Wisconsin served as the flagship of the Pacific Fleet and then in the Asiatic Fleet. Illinois and Alabama steamed with the Great White Fleet on its World cruise starting in December 1907. Wisconsin joined the fleet after it had rounded South America in July 1908. Alabama was detached along with the battleship Maine; the two ships continuing the journey independently on a greatly shortened itinerary. The rest of the ships then crossed the Pacific and stopped in Australia, the Philippines and Japan before continuing through the Indian Ocean. They transited the Suez Canal and toured the Mediterranean before crossing the Atlantic, arriving back in Hampton Roads on 22 February 1909 for a review with President Theodore Roosevelt.

    The three ships were modernized after their return. From 1912, they were placed in reserve and employed as training ships. They continued in this role through World War I, which the United States entered on 6 April 1917, remaining with the fleet only briefly after the war, still as training ships. By 1920, they had all been decommissioned. Wisconsin was sold for scrap in January 1922. Illinois was converted into a floating armory for the New York Naval Militia. Renamed Prairie State in 1941, she served in this role until 1956, when she too was sold for scrap. Alabama met a more spectacular end as a target ship for bombing experiments in September 1921.


    General characteristics
    Displacement – 12,250 long tons (12,450t) at full load
    Length – 375ft 4in (114.4m)
    Beam – 72ft 3in (22.02m)

    Draft – 23ft 6in (7.16m)
    Power – 2 shaft triple-expansion steam engines, 2 screws, 8 boilers
    Armament – (primary) 2 x 2 13in (330mm)/35cal; (secondary) 14 x 6in 152mm)/40cal
    Complement – 536 (40 officers and 496 enlisted men); but varied considerably


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois-class_battleship
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Illinois_(BB-7)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Alabama_(BB-8)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Wisconsin_(BB-9)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_armor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Grimes_Walker
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Indiana_(BB-1)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Iowa_(BB-4)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kearsarge-class_battleship
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lattice_mast
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/13%22/35_caliber_gun
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6%22/40_caliber_gun
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Squadron
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Asiatic_Fleet
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_White_Fleet




    Illinois after sea trials in 1901

    Illinois after sea trial in 1901.jpg



    Alabama off New York City, 1913

    Alabama off NY City 1912.jpg



    Wisconsin with most of her secondary guns removed; c 1918

    Wisconsin c 1918 secondary guns removed.jpg






    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)


    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?
    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).



    12
    Canopus Class pre-dreadnought battleships
    58.33%
    7
    Illinois Class pre-dreadnought battleships
    41.67%
    5
    Last edited by panther3485; 01 Oct 19, 10:37.
    "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

  • #2
    Illinois class: Americans are now evolving towards the modern battleship, while the British are still fitting masts for sails.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

    Comment


    • #3
      The Illinois class ships were only fitted with their "birdcage" masts in 1911, and persisted with fire-tube boilers, unlike the Canopus class,rendering the British vessels marginally faster and more economical.
      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
      Samuel Johnson.

      Comment


      • #4
        Another point to be mentioned - a general one for the period - is that a good number of the types shown in this round, and particularly the later ones, had at least one change of mast rig/configuration over their period of service. A substantial portion of ships rigged for supplementary sails early in their careers - and I think this applies in greater or lesser degree for all of the major seafaring nations - had that particular aspect of their rig removed with the change-overs.
        .... that is, if they survived in service long enough.

        Of course, the various nations didn't necessarily do it all at the same time; and at least some types serving most nations did linger on with old rigs while other were advancing. Regardless, in an era of rapidly improving technology, steam propulsion steadily became not only more potent but also more reliable; and able to provide longer range.
        Last edited by panther3485; 01 Oct 19, 04:17.
        "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
          The Illinois class ships were only fitted with their "birdcage" masts in 1911, and persisted with fire-tube boilers, unlike the Canopus class,rendering the British vessels marginally faster and more economical.
          great point. That , plus the advanced armor, plus the limited secondary battery compared to the American ships, gave the nod to Canopus...
          The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
            The Illinois class ships were only fitted with their "birdcage" masts in 1911, and persisted with fire-tube boilers, unlike the Canopus class,rendering the British vessels marginally faster and more economical.
            Good point. Plus coaling supplies could not always be assured, as Von \Spee found out attempting to round the Horn and reach Germany in 1914.
            The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by marktwain View Post

              Good point. Plus coaling supplies could not always be assured, as Von \Spee found out attempting to round the Horn and reach Germany in 1914.
              Sadly though, HMS Canopus was still not fast enough to be present at the Battle of Coronel where her fire-power might have made a significant difference.
              "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
              Samuel Johnson.

              Comment


              • #8
                There appears to be little difference in speed but the American ships were somewhat more heavily armed, and armored (even allowing for differences in armor types, it seems). Not that these are the only criteria, of course. However, from my reading, the lighter armor on the British ships did receive some criticism at home.
                It looks like the Canopus Class is in front - votes wise - but after some consideration I'm giving the Illinois class the nod here.
                Last edited by panther3485; 09 Oct 19, 10:09.
                "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
                  The Illinois class ships were only fitted with their "birdcage" masts in 1911, and persisted with fire-tube boilers, unlike the Canopus class,rendering the British vessels marginally faster and more economical.
                  True, but the Canopus is loaded with those old-fashioned casemate guns along both sides. That is the old sailing ship broadside.
                  Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                  Comment

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