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  • #61
    Originally posted by Senorankka View Post
    Sorry to hijack this thread, but what if Lutjens is more aggressive in those earlier meetings with old BBs, what would have been the result then?
    Apart from being a tad smarter than taking on the old battlewagons, he would have been risking his sortie orders which were to avoid the big guys that can hurl big shells back while going after the convoys supplying the UK.

    Since the Bismarck could comfortably out pace the older BBs he could not use lack of speed as an excuse for combat.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Hanov View Post

      I think he simply wanted to point out Bismarcks endurance.
      Not endurance, merely boyancy.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by Surrey View Post
        Is it correct that a lot more damage was done by Rodney's 16" guns than kgv's 14"? Further calling into question the seemingly insane decision to equip the kgvs with 14".
        Hi

        Further to DS's response I would like to add that a decision to arm with 16" guns would have added roughly a yr onto the likely completion dates for the KGV and PoW. Given that new German and Italian ships were already being laid down, the RN couldn't afford to wait that extra year.

        Regards
        "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

        "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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        • #64
          Hi

          When discussing the relative weakness of RN BB's especially against those of the Axis nations, people would do well to remember that one side was abiding and being compromised by the treaties they were bound too, whilst the others blatantly lied. If the RN had such freedoms then 16" KGV' and Lion Class BB's would have been all the rage.

          So when you enter a three legged race don't be surprised when you get beaten by those using four!

          Regards
          "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

          "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

          Comment


          • #65
            I wonder if ...

            Originally posted by Andy H View Post
            Hi

            Further to DS's response I would like to add that a decision to arm with 16" guns would have added roughly a yr onto the likely completion dates for the KGV and PoW. Given that new German and Italian ships were already being laid down, the RN couldn't afford to wait that extra year.

            Regards
            ... early attention given to an intermediary or two, equipped with turrets built for the "large light cruisers" ala Vanguard, a dip in the 15" barrel pool (or perhaps more importantly, a 13.5" type given treaty considerations) would've proven its worth, given that main armament was the delaying factor. It would be a 3X2 gun arrangement like Repulse/Renown, perhaps upgradable.
            "I am Groot"
            - Groot

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by Andy H View Post
              Hi

              When discussing the relative weakness of RN BB's especially against those of the Axis nations, people would do well to remember that one side was abiding and being compromised by the treaties they were bound too, whilst the others blatantly lied. If the RN had such freedoms then 16" KGV' and Lion Class BB's would have been all the rage.

              So when you enter a three legged race don't be surprised when you get beaten by those using four!

              Regards
              Actually Britain was going much further than required by the treaty. The treaty allowed 16". Everyone else built 15 to 18". Only the Japanese lied about the size of their guns. Britain CHOOSE 14", she was not forced to.

              As to build time, why would building a 16" take longer? The 14" was a new gun in a new turret. Whereas Britain already had ships armed with 16" guns in triple turrets. Could have simply armed the KGVs with an updated version of the guns on the Nelson class ships.
              "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

              Comment


              • #67
                Actually, ...

                Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                Actually Britain was going much further than required by the treaty. The treaty allowed 16". Everyone else built 15 to 18". Only the Japanese lied about the size of their guns. Britain CHOOSE 14", she was not forced to.

                As to build time, why would building a 16" take longer? The 14" was a new gun in a new turret. Whereas Britain already had ships armed with 16" guns in triple turrets. Could have simply armed the KGVs with an updated version of the guns on the Nelson class ships.
                ... according to Part II, Article 4 of the Second London Naval Treaty, signed by participating nations on 25 March 1936:


                Article 4

                (1) No capital ship shall exceed 35,000 tons (35,560 metric tons) standard displacement.

                (2) No capital ship shall carry a gun with a calibre exceeding 14 in. (356 mm.); provided however that if any of the Parties to the Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armament signed at Washington on 6 February 1922, should fail to enter into an agreement to conform to this provision prior to the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty, but in any case not later than 1 April 1937, the maximum calibre of gun carried by capital ships shall be 16 in. (406 mm.).


                Italy and Japan failed to sign, no big surprise. Despite the escalator clause, the KGVs were deemed too far along, the need was so great that with little choice the 14" main armament had to stay, but they were also the most heavily armoured of the Treaty ships. Britain's response was the Lions, 2 laid down before the declaration of war. With more time, the US North Carolinas and South Dakotas were upgunned, but were still only armoured to counter Treaty type shellfire. Ultimately, the KGVs arrived in time, and did well enough.
                "I am Groot"
                - Groot

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Andy H View Post
                  Hi

                  Further to DS's response I would like to add that a decision to arm with 16" guns would have added roughly a yr onto the likely completion dates for the KGV and PoW. Given that new German and Italian ships were already being laid down, the RN couldn't afford to wait that extra year.

                  Regards
                  True enough. The gun mountings themselves were actually ordered in April 1936, before the order for the ships themselves, which was placed in September, 1936.

                  Initially, the Naval Constructors Department proposed ships capable of 30 knots, armed with three triple 15 inch or 16 inch turrets, but soon discovered that this could not be achieved without seriously compromising the level of protection. Consequently, the 14 inch gun, with both lighter weight and (in theory at least) faster rate of fire, was selected.

                  The original designs for three 14 inch gunned fast battleships were completed by 19 August, 1935. Originally, I believe that four triple turrets were intended, together with 10525 tons of armour. ( Design 14C).

                  An alternative, however, (Design 14D) proposed three quadruple turrets, with the weight saving being added to the protection (12305 tons of armour).

                  Subsequently, a further design (14E) proposed ten 14 inch guns and 11395 tons of armour.

                  14D was eventually selected as the basis for development, and a further four designs based on it appeared between September 1935 & April, 1936 (These being 14F, 14L, 14O and 14P). Of these, 14P, providing for ten 14inch guns, was finally accepted, and at the end of July, the first two ships were put out to tender, interestingly, after the gun mountings had already been ordered.

                  In August, 1936, a certain renegade Member of Parliament wrote to the First Lord, Sir Samuel Hoare, objecting to the intention to fit 14 inch guns, as follows:-

                  Once again, we are injured by treaties. I cannot doubt that a far stronger ship could be built with three triple 16 inch guns in a 35000 ton hull than any combination of 14 inch. Not only would she be a better ship, but she would be rated a better ship and a more powerful token of naval power by everyone, including those who serve in her...... Not only is there an enormous increase in the weight of a broadside but in addition the explosive charge of a 16 inch shell must be far larger than that of a 14 inch..... The Admiralty will look rather silly if they are committed to 14 inch ships and both Japan & the United States go in for 16 inch a few months later.

                  I will leave you to guess who this M.P. was!

                  However, as Andy says, a redesign to re-arm with 16 inch mountings at that stage would have significantly delayed the completion of the first two vessels, and neither would have been anywhere near completion by the time Bismarck broke out.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                    Actually Britain was going much further than required by the treaty. The treaty allowed 16". Everyone else built 15 to 18". Only the Japanese lied about the size of their guns. Britain CHOOSE 14", she was not forced to.

                    As to build time, why would building a 16" take longer? The 14" was a new gun in a new turret. Whereas Britain already had ships armed with 16" guns in triple turrets. Could have simply armed the KGVs with an updated version of the guns on the Nelson class ships.
                    Hi Surrey

                    I think Marmats and DS's responses have answered for me in this case.

                    Regards
                    "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                    "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post
                      True enough. The gun mountings themselves were actually ordered in April 1936, before the order for the ships themselves, which was placed in September, 1936.

                      Initially, the Naval Constructors Department proposed ships capable of 30 knots, armed with three triple 15 inch or 16 inch turrets, but soon discovered that this could not be achieved without seriously compromising the level of protection. Consequently, the 14 inch gun, with both lighter weight and (in theory at least) faster rate of fire, was selected.

                      The original designs for three 14 inch gunned fast battleships were completed by 19 August, 1935. Originally, I believe that four triple turrets were intended, together with 10525 tons of armour. ( Design 14C).

                      An alternative, however, (Design 14D) proposed three quadruple turrets, with the weight saving being added to the protection (12305 tons of armour).

                      Subsequently, a further design (14E) proposed ten 14 inch guns and 11395 tons of armour.

                      14D was eventually selected as the basis for development, and a further four designs based on it appeared between September 1935 & April, 1936 (These being 14F, 14L, 14O and 14P). Of these, 14P, providing for ten 14inch guns, was finally accepted, and at the end of July, the first two ships were put out to tender, interestingly, after the gun mountings had already been ordered.

                      In August, 1936, a certain renegade Member of Parliament wrote to the First Lord, Sir Samuel Hoare, objecting to the intention to fit 14 inch guns, as follows:-

                      Once again, we are injured by treaties. I cannot doubt that a far stronger ship could be built with three triple 16 inch guns in a 35000 ton hull than any combination of 14 inch. Not only would she be a better ship, but she would be rated a better ship and a more powerful token of naval power by everyone, including those who serve in her...... Not only is there an enormous increase in the weight of a broadside but in addition the explosive charge of a 16 inch shell must be far larger than that of a 14 inch..... The Admiralty will look rather silly if they are committed to 14 inch ships and both Japan & the United States go in for 16 inch a few months later.

                      I will leave you to guess who this M.P. was!

                      However, as Andy says, a redesign to re-arm with 16 inch mountings at that stage would have significantly delayed the completion of the first two vessels, and neither would have been anywhere near completion by the time Bismarck broke out.
                      Would be interesting scenario. Assuming that decision to switch to 16" is made at same time as US decides, when would likely completion date have been? Or alternatively what if Britain had gone for 16" from the start and not supported the treaty restriction?
                      If KGV and PoW aren't yet complete then Hood and Rodney would have had to be partnered with Queen Elizabeths?
                      "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Personally, I think that the British should have put more resources into upgrading their older battleships rather than building a large class of new ones. Of course, that is a bit of hind sight too.

                        For example, what if the "R" Class BB's are brought up to QE standards? That is, they are lengthened (the Italians did this with the Cavor class as did the Japanese with many of their BB), given more powerful turbines and better deck armor? Having 10 improved QE-like BB would probably have been better for them than adding 5 KGV and having 5 essentially useless slow R class BB still in service.
                        Maybe cut the KGV class to 4 ships and not build the Vanguards at all.
                        A 10 ship homogeneous 25 knot battle line would have been very useful overall.

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                        • #72
                          Ironic that aside from protection, a modernized QE might have been a better ship to go up against Bismarck than PoW.
                          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                            Would be interesting scenario. Assuming that decision to switch to 16" is made at same time as US decides, when would likely completion date have been? Or alternatively what if Britain had gone for 16" from the start and not supported the treaty restriction?
                            If KGV and PoW aren't yet complete then Hood and Rodney would have had to be partnered with Queen Elizabeths?
                            If the decision to fit the KGVs with 16 inch triples had been made at the design stage ( and the British had been 'creative' in claiming that a ship with adequate armour, 9 x 16 inch guns, and 30 knots of speed really didn't, honestly, exceed 35000 tons ) then there really shouldn't have been any reason why the first two ships couldn't have been completed in the same time as they historically were, i.e., KGV laid down 1.1.37, completed 1.10.40, PoW laid down 1.1.37, completed 31.3.41, following bomb damage in August 1940 whilst under construction in Liverpool. Indeed, as the turrets would presumably have been basically similar to those fitted to the Nelson class, then they might possibly have been completed earlier. The Nelson 16 inch triples had experienced significant teething troubles, but these had been resolved well before 1936.

                            If, however, the Admiralty had acted on Churchill's letter to Hoare, and upgunned from the original 14 inch design to a 16 inch gunned ship, then it would have been necessary to cancel the original order for gun mountings (which had been placed in April, 1936) and re-order the new mountings.

                            As the programme for installation of the turrets assumed that the last turrets would be installed three years and eight months after ordering, ( i.e., December 1939) then a re-order placed four months later would presumably put installation back until April - May, 1940, with completion of the ships somewhere around November - December 1940, assuming that the fairly comprehensive re-design that would be required was undertaken quickly.

                            Incidentally, in actuality, the first turrets were supplied eleven months late (in February 1940, rather than March 1939), the second turrets also eleven months late (April 1940 rather than May 1939) and the third turret 6 months late ( May 1940 rather than December 1939 ). The reasons for this were firstly the (excessive?) complexity of the 14 inch quads, and secondly the Battleship building 'holiday' and the economic slump of the 1930s, which had resulted in a loss of many of the specialist yards and skilled constructors necessary for the task. In view of this, it is probable that even with the simpler 16 inch triple there would have been some delay, and a 16 inch gunned KGV might not actually have completed until mid-late 1941.

                            All in all, it was probably just as well that the KGVs, for all their apparent shortcomings, entered service when they did. Had they been still completing at the time of Bismarck's sortie, then it is difficult to identify what heavy ships the RN would have had to intercept her. Probably, Nelson would have been at Scapa Flow, rather than at Freetown (as she historically was), but her 23 knots would have made her a rather slow companion for Hood.

                            Incidentally, had the Bismarck sortie been delayed by as little as a week, than Rodney wouldn't have been there. She was actually, in company with the liner 'Britannic' and four destroyers, en route to Boston Navy Yard for a major refit when she was recalled, and her upper deck was cluttered with crates of spares, all of which, of course, disappeared without trace once her 16 inch guns opened fire!

                            As it happened, the comparatively light broadsides available to the KGVs never became a problem. During the Bismarck action, Rodney carried out the bulk of the work, and at the North Cape, Duke of York was comfortably superior to the 11 inch gunned Scharnhorst.

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                            • #74
                              It could've been ...

                              ... much worse. When PM MacDonald & Pres. Hoover met in conjunction with the 1st London Conference, MacDonald pressed for BB's of reduced size, from 35,000 tons to 25,000 max tonnage, with armament reduced from 16" to 12" guns max, with an extension to 26 years before replacement. Hoover agreed, provided the USN could build 1 more 35,000 ton BB (with 16" guns)in compensation for Hood and the Nelsons. He added that he wouldn't even build any more BB's until 1936, and wouldn't replace the elderly, as there were USN officers of the opinion that the aircraft was the death knell of the BB. If these restrictions had made it into the 1930 Treaty, one has to wonder what in 1941 would've been rushing to meet a non-signatory BB of some 50,000 tons and 15" guns in the Denmark Straits???
                              "I am Groot"
                              - Groot

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