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T4, R1, Prng 168: New York Class (USA) vs Queen Elizabeth Class (Britain)

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  • T4, R1, Prng 168: New York Class (USA) vs Queen Elizabeth Class (Britain)

    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.

    213: New York Class

    The New York class consisted of two battleships; Texas and New York, laid down in April and September 1911 and commissioned in March and May 1914, respectively. They were essentially intended as a more heavily armed improvement over the preceding Wyoming class, which had entered service less than two years previously.
    At the beginning of their careers, the New Yorks displaced 27,000 long tons standard and 28,367 at full load. Overall length was 573ft (175m), with a beam of 95ft 6in (29.1m) and draft of 28ft 6in (8.7m). Their complement was 1,042 officers and enlisted men.

    Steam was provided by 14 Babcock & Wilcox boilers. There were two dual-acting triple expansion reciprocating steam engines, each driving one screw. Maximum speed was 21 knots. These ships had the capacity to carry 2,850 long tons (2,900t) of coal, more than any other battleship class. This provided for a range of 7,060nmi at 10 knots; but obviously substantially less at higher speeds. These were the last US battleship class to be powered by coal. The Nevada Class, coming into commission in 1916, would be using fuel oil.

    The main battery consisted of 10 x 14-inch/45 caliber guns in five 2-gun turrets; one pair each near the bow and stern, both "super-firing". Turret 3 was close to midships; almost 2/3 of the way back. (The New Yorks were the last American battleship class to have a midships turret.) When these new guns were tested, they proved to have remarkable accuracy and pattern uniformity.
    Secondary armament was 21 x 5-inch/51 caliber guns in casemates; 10 per side and one astern. These were intended mainly for defence against destroyers and torpedo boats. Many of these suffered poor in accuracy in rough seas due to being near the ends of the ship and below the main deck.
    The New York class were the first US battleships to mount AA guns, starting with 2 x 3-inch (76mm)/50 caliber guns on USS Texas in 1916. AA protection was to be steadily increased in the following years.
    There were four torpedo tubes; one each side to bow and stern.

    The armor scheme on the New Yorks was similar to that of the Wyomings, with minor improvements. The main belt was 12in (305mm) thick, tapering to 10in (254mm) amidships, plus an aft portion from 6in (152mm) to 9in (229mm).
    Casemates were given 6.5 - 11in (165 - 279mm) plus internal partitioning. The turrets had 14in (356mm) faces, 8in (203mm) at rear, 4in (102mm) tops and 2in (51mm) sides. Their barbettes had 10 - 12in of protection. Deck armor was 2in (51mm) and the conning towers received 12in (305mm), with 4in (102mm) tops.

    Drawings showing general layout of the New York class


    The New Yorks were the 5th class of US dreadnoughts and work had already commenced on the above-mentioned Nevada class, which would be the 6th. However, as of 1910 not one US dreadnought had yet hit the water. In effect at this point therefore, the US Navy battle line was being designed by a combination of experience from their pre-dreadnoughts and observations of foreign dreadnoughts.
    Both ships saw extensive service and some significant actions, starting with the 1914 battle and occupation of Veracruz, through World Wars 1 and 2.

    Early in WW1, New York became flagship of Battleship Division 9
    and Texas began to assist with convoy patrols, becoming the first US ship to fire on a German ship in 1917. In turn, New York was sent to reinforce the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea, with blockade and escort duties. She had at least two contacts with German U-Boats and is believed to have sunk one by accident! Texas assisted the British fleet near the end of the war and was present for the German surrender. During that year, secondary armament was reduced from 21 to 16 x 5in guns, eight each side, as the guns near the ends of the ship proved difficult to work.
    Thru 1925-26, both ships were extensively refitted. AA defence was increased to 8 x 3in 50cal guns, while six of the 5in guns were re-installed in new casemates on the main deck. The torpedo tubes were removed. More significantly, both ships were converted to use fuel oil, as well as receiving new and more efficient boilers. There were some further changes and improvements, including modest increases in armor protection.

    During WW2, both ships began as part of a Neutrality Patrol which included escort duty; as far as Iceland initially. Both ships also saw action supporting the landings for Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa, as well as more extensive convoy patrols.
    Texas supported Operation Overlord, the Normandy landings in mid 1944; especially the battle at Pointe du Hoc; while at this time, New York had returned to training duties. Further action for Texas included support for Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of southern France, before undergoing repairs and joining her sister, who had by now been deployed for operations in the Pacific theater. These included the Iwo Jima landings and the invasion of Okinawa, in which New York sustained light damage from a Kamikaze attack.
    After the end of the war, New York was used as a target ship for atomic bomb testings before being sunk as a target in 1948. Following Texas' decommissioning, she was moved to San Jacinto State Park and converted into a museum ship, where she remains today. As such she is the ONLY surviving dreadnought battleship left in the World.

    USS New York, not long after her 1915 service entry


    USS Texas as a museum ship; photo taken in recent years


    The fundamental soundness of design in the New York class seems clearly evident; including a generous capacity for modifications and upgrades, which helped to keep them viable through two World Wars. In addition, they represented an incremental but important forward step in US battleship development. When these factors are combined with their good service record, I think it's fair to say they returned well above average value for the investment.

    General characteristics (During early years of service.)

    Displacement – 27,000 long tons (std); 28,367 (full load)
    Length – 573ft (175m)
    Beam – 95ft 6in (29.1m)
    Draft – 28ft 6in (8.7m)
    Propulsion – 2 reciprocating steam engines, 2 screws, 14 boilers
    Maximum speed:
    21 knots
    Range at 10 knots:
    7,060 nmi with 2,850 long tons of coal
    Primary – 10 x 14-inch/45 cal
    Secondary – 21 x 5-inch/51 cal
    Supplementary – 2 x 3-inch (76mm)/50 cal
    Torpedo tubes - 4
    Belt – 12in (305mm) maximum
    Deck – 2in (51mm)
    Turrets - 14in (356mm) faces
    Barbettes - 10 - 12in (254-305mm)
    Casemates – 6.5 - 11in (165 - 279mm)
    Conning tower – 12in (305mm)
    Bulkheads – Up to 10 & 11in (254 & 279mm) in key areas.*
    (*Probably after upgrade.)
    Complement – 1,042 officers and enlisted men

    168: Queen Elizabeth Class

    The Queen Elizabeth class consisted of 5 ships; Queen Elizabeth, Warspite, Barham, Valiant and Malaya. They were laid down between October 1912 and October 1913, entering commission from December 1914 to February 1916. Compared to the preceding Iron Duke class, they were superior in firepower, protection and speed.
    Displacement was 32,590 long tons (normal) and up to 33,260 at deep load. Overall length was 643ft 9in (196.2m), with a 90ft 6in (28m) beam and 33ft 7in (10.2m) draft at deep load. Initial complement was 951 officers and ratings.

    The ships had 4 shafts driven by two sets of direct-drive steam turbines. These were of two types; those fitted to Barham and Valiant being less economical at cruising speeds. Steam was provided by 24 boilers. The designed top speed was 25 knots but this was not quite achieved in trials. When Barham ran hers in August 1916, she could maintain 23.9 knots; although this was at deep load. Nevertheless, the Queen Elizabeths are generally considered the first "fast battleships" of that time.
    Maximum fuel capacity was 3,400 long tons (3,500t) of oil. This allowed a range of 5,000nmi cruising at 12 knots, falling as low as 1,600nmi at full speed.

    Primary armament consisted of 8 x BL 15in Mk 1 guns in four twin-gun turrets, one superfiring pair forward and the other astern. These particular guns were being used for the first time with this class and despite being hurried into service, met or exceeded all expectations.
    The secondary battery was originally intended to be 16 x BL 6in Mk XII guns; 12 mounted in upper deck casemates and four aft on the main deck. However, some of these were deemed to be ineffective and were removed or re-positioned prior to service. On a more serious note, there was a significant safety issue* with ammo stowage. (*More on this shortly.)
    For anti-aircraft armament, 2 x QF 3in (76mm) Mk I guns were provided. Also, 4 x 3pdr (47mm) saluting guns were fitted.
    There were 4 submerged 21in (533mm) torpedo tubes, two on each broadside.

    Armor was somewhat improved compared to the Iron Dukes. The main belt had a maximum thickness of 14in (356mm), reducing to 4in (102mm). The turrets had 11-13in (279-330mm), with 4-10in (102-254mm) for the barbettes. The conning tower was protected by 11in (279mm) and multiple armored decks ranged from 1-3in (25-76mm). Key bulkheads ranged from 4-6in (102-152mm).

    Drawings showing general layout of the Queen Elizabeth class


    These ships rendered significant service in both World Wars. Barham was lost when torpedoed by a German U-boat in the Mediterranean in November 1941. The other four ships survived to the end and were scrapped in the late 1940's.

    In 1915, Queen Elizabeth took part in the Dardanelles Campaign (Gallipoli) bombarding forts. She was the only ship of the class not to participate in the Battle of Jutland in 1916. She became Admiral Beatty's flagship in 1917 after he assumed command of the Grand Fleet. As part of the British line at Jutland, the four remaining ships experienced substantial action engaging the German line of battle and received varying levels of damage. Warspite was hit by at least 15 heavy shells. She sustained the most physical damage herself but did not lose the most men; suffering 14 dead and 32 wounded. Malaya sustained 8 hits - about half that of Warspite - but 63 of her crew were killed and 68 wounded. A substantial portion of these losses were from an ammunition fire; due to crews on the secondary guns keeping additional rounds "ready" to hand. Indeed, although the fire was brought under control it had nearly resulted in the loss of the ship.
    Barham was hit five times, losing 26 dead with 46 wounded. Valiant was easily the luckiest, receiving no heavy shell hits and sustaining just one wounded crew member.
    After this battle, the class had 1in of extra armor added to the main decks over the magazines. Extra anti-flash equipment was also installed.

    WW2 saw the ships in substantial action. In 1941, Queen Elizabeth was mined by Italian frogmen but was subsequently repaired; serving in the Far East until 1945.
    Warspite took part in many battles, including Narvik, Cape Matapan, Crete and Salerno, where she sustained serious damage from a glider bomb. After that, she was used for coastal bombardment including the Normandy and Walcheren landings. Warspite holds 14 battle honors; the most for an individual ship in the Royal Navy's history.
    Valiant took part in attacking the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir. She subsequently served in the Far East until 1944.
    Barham fought at the Battle of Cape Matapan in March 1941. As mentioned above, she was lost to a U-boat attack later that year.
    Malaya was mostly engaged in convoy escort duties but also supported various operations following the Normandy landings.

    HMS Warspite showing some of her damage sustained at Jutland


    Colorized photo of Warspite, at Malta in the 1930's


    In general terms, the Queen Elizabeths seem to have come close to the "right formula" for their time. They were certainly competitive in WW1 and with modest upgrades, remained viable for WW2. Basic soundness of design was a good step towards following classes and their service speaks for itself.

    General characteristics* (*Representative. Some variation between ships)

    Displacement – 32,590lt (normal); 33,260lt (deep load)
    Length – 643ft 9in (196.2m)
    Beam – 90ft 6in (28m)
    Draft – 33ft 7in (10.2m) (deep load)
    Propulsion – 2 x turbine sets, 4 shafts, 24 boilers
    Maximum speed:
    23 knots (approx)
    Range at 12 knots:
    5,000nmi with 3,400 long tons of fuel oil
    Primary – 8 x BL 15in Mk1 guns
    Secondary – 16* x BL 6in Mk XII guns (*initial)
    Supplementary – 2* x QF 3in (76mm) Mk I guns (*initial)
    Torpedo tubes - 4; two per broadside
    Belt – 14in (356mm) maximum
    Decks – 1 - 3in (25 - 76mm)
    Turrets - 11 - 13in (279 - 330mm)
    Barbettes - 4 - 10in (102 - 254mm)
    Conning tower – 11in (279mm) maximum
    Bulkheads – 4 - 6in (102 - 152mm)
    Complement – 961* officers and ratings (*initial)

    Which candidate should make it to Round 2?
    Will you go with the New Yorks or the Queen Elizabeths?
    YOUR vote could make the difference!

    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).
    213: New York class (USA)
    168: Queen Elizabeth class (Britain)
    Last edited by panther3485; 29 Jul 20, 03:34.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    Interesting to note that an example of both classes of ship still exist today as museum/memorials.
    ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jose50 View Post
      Interesting to note that an example of both classes of ship still exist today as museum/memorials.
      There is no QE unfortunately. Great shame that no British battleship was preserved. Saw a documentary that said that the Texas may not be long for this world either. Deteriorating fast.
      "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."


      • #4
        Old iron ships sitting in salt water will do that. The carrier that I was stationed in (and was part of the decomm crew) is tied up alongside in NYC and recently underwent a drydock period for upkeep. My apologies I confused HMS BELFAST for a dreadnought. (My question is...just why are her guns aimed at a rest stop on the M-1?)
        ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th


        • #5
          This was a hard choice for me. The QE was faster and had better armament. I have been on USS Texas many times, though and I like her!

          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


          • #6
            This is one time in the WW 1 period where the RN actually built a truly better battleship. The QE class put them well ahead of competing foreign designs at the time. Unlike the follow-on R class, the QE's proved their worth in two wars and were widely used.


            • #7
              Another vote for the QE here. Armament swayed me.

              If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

              Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jose50 View Post
                Old iron ships sitting in salt water will do that. The carrier that I was stationed in (and was part of the decomm crew) is tied up alongside in NYC and recently underwent a drydock period for upkeep. My apologies I confused HMS BELFAST for a dreadnought. (My question is...just why are her guns aimed at a rest stop on the M-1?)
                That would be the route the northern army would likely take....

                "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."


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