How would you improve the Royal Navy

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
dunmunro
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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by dunmunro » Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:58 pm

Gator wrote:If I can add a bit to this conversation my understanding
There is a thread here:
http://www.freeproxyserver.ca/index.php ... QyOQ%3D%3D
"FAA Comparative Aircraft Performance" where we can discuss FAA aircraft development.

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by neil hilton » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:43 pm

I think the problem with the Fulmar and the Swordfish and other FAA aircraft was although they were good planes when they came out they rapidly (due to the quick march of technology that inevitably happens in wartime) became obsolescent but were retained in front line service too long, when thet should have been retired to training duties and replaced with newer models. This wasn't a problem with the RN FAA it was a problem of industry, as has already been stated. What I would have done, if possible, again as has been stated was psuh for the navalised versions of the Hurricane and Spitfire. But, these were all being allocated to the RAF which was important for home defence. Supermarine which made the Spitfire was I believe just before war broke out a very small company. I would have forced them to massively increase production earlier (as soon as it was obvious the Spitfire was a world beating aircraft ie the first test flight) and I would have forced the company to licence out producion to other firms such as Fairy and Bristol who were producing obsolete aircraft. Doing the same with Hawker with regards the Hurricane should result in greater numbers of these planes some of which could have been allocated to the FAA.
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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by 123, easy as ABC » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:18 pm

Hello all, been reading this thread with interest,

The fact remains that while the grand designs for battleships, aircraft carriers and other major surface warships would be unsuitable if you, as the op suggests will take the reigns of the RN in 1936. Perhaps it should be changed the 1933, as this would give one more time to construct a viable surface fleet. Working with 1936 orders would have already been made for the Illustrious Class aircraft carrier and the KGV class, which were both, on the whole successful. Better still would be if you could of course develop the air fleet arm (but take it from the RAF first) and produce some escort carriers, easily done in 31/2 years. Finally and something that doesn't seem to have been suggested, rebuild the battleships you already have at your disposal, the Queen Elizabeth Class were good ships and had room for modern engines, raise the steam pressure and re build their armor and you would have a modern 27~knt battleship, the Battle-cruisers like the Hood could as be upgraded with increased Armour and fresh engines, all of this for around £2-3 million per ship, much more effective than producing new battleships.

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by RF » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:28 pm

1933 - and your pursetrings are tightly held by a National (coalition) Government that wants to balance the budget and not spend on the military. That is the first battle....
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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by 123, easy as ABC » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:16 pm

RF wrote:1933 - and your pursetrings are tightly held by a National (coalition) Government that wants to balance the budget and not spend on the military. That is the first battle....
Yes clearly that is the big issue, I guess one would have to make a big deal of the possible threats of Japan, furthermore you could retire the Revenge class ships, they were pretty useless (yes good at defending convoys, but thats about it) and use the fact as a counterweight to any future building plans you have later on in the decade as well as save cash for the development of new ships in the future. Finally the key reason why 1933 is far easier than 1936 is you could bring into line the rebuilding of the battle fleet which would not doubt please the government more than building new ships, as it is much easier. If you became first sea lord in '36 you would have to choose between rebuilds or building new ships as Britain lacks the capacity to do both, with three years extra you could do both

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by RF » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:16 pm

Again it comes back to the budget doesn't it?

In 1933 the international situation was still focussed on the economic depression whereas in 1936 the international political situation was clearly more threatening.
In 1933 Japan would be seen as the only threat, and being on the other side of the world not a serious threat except perhaps for Hong Kong. Yes, Hitler is Reichskanzler but not yet dictator and Germany is still a military pygmy. So what is the expected programme for devolping Britain's armed forces at a time that major war isn't forseen? There would be little justification for expansion without the gift of hindsight. The prognosis for the RN would be as it was, to keep the fleet in being, with none of the big ships like Revenge being scrapped. Perhaps the deck refit for Hood could have been done, particulary to keep jobs alive in the shipyards (here the argument is economic, in combating unemployment). But beyond that the climate for substantial rearmament didn't exist. You could plan for it in secret, but that is as far as it would get.

Of course the old chesnut is that rearmament is good for creating jobs and dealing with depressions. But Britain wasn't Germany and recent memory of WW1 made sure that such a policy wasn't a vote winner. And in a democracy its the votes that count.
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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by 123, easy as ABC » Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:41 pm

RF wrote:Again it comes back to the budget doesn't it?

In 1933 the international situation was still focussed on the economic depression whereas in 1936 the international political situation was clearly more threatening.
In 1933 Japan would be seen as the only threat, and being on the other side of the world not a serious threat except perhaps for Hong Kong. Yes, Hitler is Reichskanzler but not yet dictator and Germany is still a military pygmy. So what is the expected programme for devolping Britain's armed forces at a time that major war isn't forseen? There would be little justification for expansion without the gift of hindsight. The prognosis for the RN would be as it was, to keep the fleet in being, with none of the big ships like Revenge being scrapped. Perhaps the deck refit for Hood could have been done, particulary to keep jobs alive in the shipyards (here the argument is economic, in combating unemployment). But beyond that the climate for substantial rearmament didn't exist. You could plan for it in secret, but that is as far as it would get.

Of course the old chesnut is that rearmament is good for creating jobs and dealing with depressions. But Britain wasn't Germany and recent memory of WW1 made sure that such a policy wasn't a vote winner. And in a democracy its the votes that count.
exactly, agree with you completely on the money front , but retiring the revenge class ships allows you to build within the limits of the various treaties when that time comes, furthermore 1933 gives more time for boats to come off the drawing board whereas 1936 is to late to make any real changes to the Royal Navy, furthermore '33 gives you more time to focus on the less extensive projects, like encouraging carrier doctrine, or at the very least the offensive capabilities of carriers which takes time to sink into a service. Not to mention the fact that '33 gives you 3 years more to develop a Air Fleet Arm.

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by RobertsonN » Mon May 02, 2011 10:43 am

As far as the KGVs were concerned, I would have installed the originally planned 20 4.5 in guns instead of the 16 5.25 in. The 4.5 in had problems with fixed rounds breaking, but it still had IIRC a rof of at least 12 rpm as compared with 7 to 8 rpm for the 5.25 in. So it was a considerably better AA gun. This would have saved weight too, 380 tons as opposed to 640 tons. Scrapping the R class and using their guns in the KGV might have been worthwhile (saving time in design and manufacture of mountings and guns, not to mention cost). Speed would have dropped a bit unless some newer technology, such as the supercharged boilers used in the Richelieu, were introduced. Perhaps some of the spare 15 in guns might also have been used (there were about 180 in total I think). Turret weight of 8 15 in was less than 10 14 in but obviously increased barbette weight more than unweighed this.
But this rather assumed the war did not start in 1937 or 1938.
The AA of Repulse was weak (6 old 4 in guns). Replacing these and the 9 low-angle 4 in in triples with 12 or 14 new 4 in as in Hood would have been worthwhile and was actually planned for 1942. The old 4 in did, however, perform well, along with the 20 mm Oerlikons, in her final action. The pompoms gave much trouble due to defective ammunition (too long in ready use lockers).
Modernizing the Hood was very difficult because she was such a useful ship (against anything other thas the Bismarcks, Richelieus or VVs), so a long absence was to be avoided. As she was already overweight, additional armor was out of the question.
Unfortunately the RN did less to update its old capital ships than any other nation, with the exception of France. Then, as now, there was a mismatch between Britain's ambitions and its finances.

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by dunmunro » Mon May 02, 2011 3:17 pm

RobertsonN wrote:As far as the KGVs were concerned, I would have installed the originally planned 20 4.5 in guns instead of the 16 5.25 in. The 4.5 in had problems with fixed rounds breaking, but it still had IIRC a rof of at least 12 rpm as compared with 7 to 8 rpm for the 5.25 in. So it was a considerably better AA gun. This would have saved weight too, 380 tons as opposed to 640 tons. Scrapping the R class and using their guns in the KGV might have been worthwhile (saving time in design and manufacture of mountings and guns, not to mention cost). Speed would have dropped a bit unless some newer technology, such as the supercharged boilers used in the Richelieu, were introduced. Perhaps some of the spare 15 in guns might also have been used (there were about 180 in total I think). Turret weight of 8 15 in was less than 10 14 in but obviously increased barbette weight more than unweighed this.
But this rather assumed the war did not start in 1937 or 1938.
The AA of Repulse was weak (6 old 4 in guns). Replacing these and the 9 low-angle 4 in in triples with 12 or 14 new 4 in as in Hood would have been worthwhile and was actually planned for 1942. The old 4 in did, however, perform well, along with the 20 mm Oerlikons, in her final action. The pompoms gave much trouble due to defective ammunition (too long in ready use lockers).
Modernizing the Hood was very difficult because she was such a useful ship (against anything other thas the Bismarcks, Richelieus or VVs), so a long absence was to be avoided. As she was already overweight, additional armor was out of the question.
Unfortunately the RN did less to update its old capital ships than any other nation, with the exception of France. Then, as now, there was a mismatch between Britain's ambitions and its finances.
The RoF of the 5.25" gun is 10-12 RPM in AA combat, and 7-8 RPM when fired for extended periods of time. I have gathered sufficient cinematic and documentary evidence, I think, to prove that this is so. There is no evidence to show that the 4.5" is a better AA gun. None. It was lighter and may have been a better choice on that score alone, given the limitations of WW2 AA FC, but it was not a better HA/LA weapon than the 5.25 which had a very similar RoF and vastly superior ballistics, while firing a ~50% heavier shell.

Scrapping the R class would have left the RN desperately short of capital ships on the outbreak of war, while an 8 x 15" KGV would have had much weaker armour than the 10 x 14" design because the belt/MAD would have to be extended to cover to additional length.

The RN would have been better served, obviously, if all the WW1 BB/BCs had been totally rebuilt rather than 4 of 13, but then compared to the USA and Japan, the RN had to terminate rebuild plans 2 years sooner, but the rebuilds were not done tbecause of time rather than financial limitations, until the war started, and then the limitation was industrial. The USN's WW2 rebuilds were not as comprehensive as the QE class rebuilds, and the ships were not re-engined.

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by RobertsonN » Tue May 03, 2011 8:46 am

Thanks for info on the 5.25 in gun. From this, I take it that the breeches were high, making loading at high angles easier (like the 4 in) at the expense of low angle rof.
However, according the Roberts in Warship and Brown in From Nelson to Vanguard all the last (1945) battleship designs had 4.5 in guns (from 12 to 24 varying with the size of ship).
Regarding armor, Dulin & Garzke give the citadel length of KGV as 415 ft and that of Vanguard as 434 ft. KGV had 187 ft machinery space length and Vanguard 180 ft (so there was some improvement here). Keeping KGV at 415 ft and giving it Vanguard's main armament would have reduced machinery length to 161 ft. A 10% reduction in power to 90000/99000 shp seems reasonable. The reduction in speed would be about 1 knot. (BS was originally to have had 115000 shp for 27 knots and ended up with 20% more (138000 shp) for 29 knots.) No sacrifice in armor would be entailed. The lines might have been a little finer forward, with a small increase in vertical armor weight forward and reduction in horizontal armor and forward transverse bulkhead, to achieve a slightly higher speed. I would expect less water shipped forward due to the balanced main armament arrangement (although nothing like as good as Vanguard).
According to NavWeapons, Vanguard's main armament weighed 3420 tons, while that of KGV was 4079 tons, a saving of 659 tons, little short of that needed for the fourth barbette. Another possibility was to build new turrets and guns to the Vanguard design if the R class were to have been retained. This would have been more expensive but the time element with designing the complicated new mountings and all the subsequent problems in service would have been avoided. Having just 15 and 16 in gunned ships would have also been advantageous logistically.
This would still have been the smallest of all the '35000' ton ships.
Regarding the R class, Brown comments that the DNC, Goodall, once remarked that requiring them to engage a modern battleship would be 'bloody suicide'. They could not run either.

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by dunmunro » Tue May 03, 2011 10:53 am

Yes the breeches were higher than on a LA optimized mounting, but the 5.25 used a loading tray (similar to that used on the 4.7/4.5') that simplified all angle loading, and the 5.25 turret had a separate HA and LA shell hoist that eased the task of the loader when the gun was being fired at surface targets:

http://www.hnsa.org/doc/br224/img/pl14.jpg
This is the loading tray for the 4.7" gun, but the 5.25 was very similar.

http://www.hnsa.org/doc/br224/img/pl18.jpg
layout of the 5.25 turret, and the twin shell hoists are shown.

A reduction in SHP for the KGV class was not reasonable, since they needed all their speed to be able compete with their 29-30 knot axis counterparts. I also don't believe that 8 x 15" was an improvement on 10 x 14".

Many a convoy was saved by having an R class present as most KM surface raiders would not want to engage them.

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by paul.mercer » Tue May 03, 2011 8:05 pm

Gentlemen,
I'm afraid I'm way behind you on the anti aircraft armament, but as regards main armament, if the 15" was regarded as one of the best size guns around how about mounting 4x 15" in triple turrets - surely 12 x 15" ought to be able to deal with most if not all the opposition, or are my arguments flawed?
Please advise!

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by dunmunro » Wed May 04, 2011 4:33 am

The KGV class were limited to 35000 tons, and such a heavy armament could not have been accommodated in 4 turrets within that figure. However, 10 x 15" ( 1x 2, 2 x4) or 12 x 15" (3 x 4) might have been possible with some sacrifices in other areas.

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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by RF » Wed May 04, 2011 7:11 am

Which presumably would mean sacrifices in armour protection.
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Re: How would you improve the Royal Navy

Post by RF » Wed May 04, 2011 7:13 am

dunmunro wrote: However......or 12 x 15" (3 x 4) might have been possible with some sacrifices in other areas.
Has any navy tried to produce a quad 15'' turret? How much heavier in weight would it be to the 14''?
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