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  • No Washington or London Naval Treaty

    Let's assume that the Washington Naval Treaty negotiations breakdown and leave every nation free to build whatever ships they want. What would navies have had by 1939 instead of what they did?

    Would carriers be more prevalent or less? Battleships would have gone where? Cruisers and destroyers?

    I think there would be changes definitely but they wouldn't be as dramatic in most navies as one might believe.

  • #2
    Do we have a Great Depression?
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    • #3
      Lexington and Saratoga become brand new archaic battle cruisers rather than CV2 and CV-3.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
        Do we have a Great Depression?
        Yes. That doesn't change. Just no treaties limiting ship construction.

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        • #5
          The Royal Navy has more heavy cruisers* and the KGV class has nine 15in guns.
          *Graf Spee is sunk, not scuttled.
          Last edited by johns624; 06 Jul 14, 21:12.

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          • #6
            G3s and N3s for the RN. Maybe a follow-on class too. I shudder to think of the costs, though.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by johns624 View Post
              The Royal Navy has more heavy cruisers* and the KGV class has nine 15in guns.
              *Graf Spee is sunk, not scuttled.
              I would say the opposite for cruisers. The British build fewer 8" and no 10,000 ton cruisers preferring to stay with 6" and 6,000 to 8,000 tons. This gives them more hulls but less capable ships individually. Trade protection trumps fleet cruisers.

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              • #8
                I don't know Terry, I've read that they went for the smaller, weaker light cruisers to get more hulls under the treaty tonnage limits.

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                • #9
                  I think the key factor is CV's... How many ships were laid down as surface combatants before the treaties and subsequently completed as aircraft carriers?
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                    I don't know Terry, I've read that they went for the smaller, weaker light cruisers to get more hulls under the treaty tonnage limits.
                    The County class 8" cruisers were built as a reply to Japanese and US moves to 8" cruisers. The RN found them unwieldy, poorly protected for their size, and too complex. They shifted first to the more simplified two York class then dropped back to the Ajax and Penelope classes as they saw more utility in smaller 6" cruisers for general commerce protection than the bigger 8."

                    Japan would likely have stuck initially with 6" moving to 8" as the US did and then at least tried to build a reply to the US moving to 12" gunned heavy cruisers.

                    It's hard to say for sure where battleship construction would have gone. More older ones would have remained in service. The US likely would have retired all of their 12" as the S. Dakota (1920 design) class came into service. I doubt that more than the first two battlecruisers (Lexington and Saratoga) would have been built. That was not a design the USN was happy with to begin with.
                    Japan would certainly have build at least 2 to 4 of the Akagi and Kaga class probably replacing the Kongos or supplementing them.

                    If Britain went to the 16" gun along with the US I can see Japan still laying down the Yamato class.

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                    • #11
                      Excellent thread-its been a while since we had a good alt thread.

                      I have to go with Doc: where would the CVs ended up?

                      If CVs are reduced in number, I think aircraft design would have been affected, as land-based aircraft with longer-range, ship-killing weapons, and the ability to operate off rough strips would come into the fore, because the BB/BC TFs would not have air cover of their own.
                      Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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                      • #12
                        Let me start with Britain. They would likely have kept the flotsam and jetsam they had already in service simply due to budget constraints. The Ark Royal likely would have been built as the "next generation" carrier too.
                        The follow on would be the RN wanting something larger than the Illustrious class with an armored flight deck. This would be more because the RN wanted a stable ship with armor than a larger air wing.
                        The RAF - FAA problem and the lack of funds would have really made it difficult for the RN to do much more than they did.

                        The US likely would have built a larger Ranger with no constraints on carrier construction. This would have been followed by something like the Yorktown class only with Essex-like displacement. I could see as many as 5 or 6 being laid down.
                        The US position was big air wing on the carrier sized to what you could reasonably launch in a strike cycle.
                        With Lexington and Saratoga as battlecruisers (and likely not popular ships), that would be the logical progression.

                        I suspect the Japanese would go with something about the size of Soryu and Hiryu not having Akagi or Kaga as CV. They would likely build 4 or 6 total similar to that design, possibly 4 and 2 slightly smaller or larger ones as a follow on as they gained experience.

                        The French might replace Bearn. Might. They did plan on it. Here they are not constrained by displacement limits.

                        I think cruisers would be more interesting. The British really don't want to press beyond 6" guns while the US position is that there isn't a whole lot of difference between 5" and 6" in performance so they'd go to 8" and then to 12" with the Alaskas.

                        The Japanese would have almost certainly tried to respond in kind to a point where the Kongos are now considered more like cruisers than battleships.

                        So, you have the Japanese and British retaining their battlecruisers, even modernizing them, to meet the threat of US "super" cruisers like the Alaska.
                        Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 07 Jul 14, 01:33.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                          The Royal Navy has more heavy cruisers* and the KGV class has nine 15in guns.
                          *Graf Spee is sunk, not scuttled.
                          Yes, plus HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney are designed without the inhibitions caused by the treaty.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            Yes. That doesn't change. Just no treaties limiting ship construction.
                            Ah, then we have to decide if ship replacement will continue as the WWI-vintage units are retired, and if the economies can sustain that work.

                            I would propose that unlimited naval growth would include naval aviation and that with 8-10 carriers the USN might become more "air-aware" to coin a phrase. Massed air fleets meeting "somewhere in the Pacific"?
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                            • #15
                              Vis a vis the G-3 Battleships and others like them, I think that after the first limited run of such large ships the British would decide that they are just prohibitively expensive and unwieldy. Sure 9 x 18" guns is darn near terrifying, and the armor scheme makes them all but invincible, but so much capital is taken up in building them that they're just not considered to be remotely related to practicality. The US South Dakotas are likely to be seen by the US to be the pinnacle of BB size/armament. The next class of American BBs would probably be going for more speed out of the same armament and protection.
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