Refitting of ships - Armor?

Warship design and construction, terminology, navigation, hydrodynamics, stability, armor schemes, damage control, etc.
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tommy303
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Re: Refitting of ships - Armor?

Post by tommy303 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:18 am

The armour of the barbette normally stopped at the armour deck (protective deck) and served mainly to protect the upper quarters hoists and machinery spaces for the turret. The lower quarters where the shells and charges were loaded from handling rooms into the hoists were below the armour deck and were supposed to be protected by it. In the case of HMS Hood, the extension of the horizontal HT (high tensile plating was not originally carried all the way to the side of the ship, just a mild steel deck over the HT slope. This was found to be inadequate, leading to the incorporation of additional HT plating to cover the gap between the beginning of the protective deck slope and the side of the ship. This was found to be adequate to deflect a shell, circa 1921/22, should it pierce the lower portion of the middle belt at a steep enough angle to subsequently strike the protective deck slope. This plating was only incorporated in the regions of the main and secondary magazines, however, and not over the turbine and boiler rooms/machinery spaces. It has be theorized that a German L4.4 shell, which was a more capable shell than those used in the trials of Hood's protection, may have struck the lower edge of the middle belt where it joined the main belt in way of the after turbine rooms, pierced the mild steel deck where there was no extension of the HT plating, and enter the turbine room. If it had come from forward, relative to Hoods axis, it might have carried far enough aft to burst in or near the high angle 4-inch magazines. It is also possible the shell might have outright penetrated Hood's main belt and gone on into the after magazine group.

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Re: Refitting of ships - Armor?

Post by Garyt » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:45 pm

I guess there was one question I had - Is anyone aware of battleship reconstruction where they replaced as opposed to added on to existing armor?

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Re: Refitting of ships - Armor?

Post by tommy303 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:09 am

I believe the Italian dreadnoughts of WW1 vintage were completely rebuilt with the latest armour, although I think they were possibly the only ones.

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Re: Refitting of ships - Armor?

Post by Garyt » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:26 am

So no for the US BB's at Pearl, and the Japanese Kong class either?

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Re: Refitting of ships - Armor?

Post by tommy303 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:36 am

The Kongos received considerable deck armour added to the original protective plating. I think the barbettes may have been replaced and possibly portions of the turret armour. I am not sure if the belt was replaced or merely strengthened to make it a uniform 8-inch thickness. In the reconstructed US ships, the side armour remained the same--there was little reason to actually change it--but deck armour was added.

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Re: Refitting of ships - Armor?

Post by tommy303 » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:23 pm

One of the things to think about was the cost and time involved of replacing major items such as older main belt armour, barbettes, and deck armour with the latest armour plates. Cost of course was a major factor, and armour was extremely expensive; if one had the budget or a very good reason to replace old armour rather than put in additional layers, as in armoured decks, then one might do so, but the 1920s and 30s saw most world economies in chaos with the great depression. Time was another factor as well. It could take the better part of a year to manufacture heavy belt armour for a ship, and that would hold up any reconstruction going on, which is why the most thorough rebuilds were done in the 1930s before the war. Once war was on, ships being modernized, such as the older US battleships, additional plates could be added to armour decks, but usually the main vertical armour was retained if it was deemed sufficient for the purpose--quite simply, the need to get ships back into battle precluded thorough modernization as would be possible in peacetime.

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Re: Refitting of ships - Armor?

Post by Garyt » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:35 pm

That makes a lot of sense Tommy. I just was not sure what procedures there generally where when modernizing a vessel.

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