BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

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neil hilton
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BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby neil hilton » Mon May 17, 2010 1:28 pm

Hello everyone!

I've only been a member of this forum for a month or so and am not yet au fait with it completely so I apologise in advance if this topic has already been done or if it is in the wrong forum.

Several nations converted either existing ships or designs of BBs into half BB half CV but were considered by everyone to be failures.
So is it possible to actually design a purpose built BattleCarrier (BCV?) that would actually work?
War experience resulted in combining BBs and CVs together as a unit, as they each covered the others weaknesses and were mutually beneficial to each other. BBs provided large scale AAA and surface protection when the CVs airgroup was grounded at night or in bad weather, they also provided heavy artillery support for amphibious invasions. CVs provided long range spotting and airpower and CAP protection against enemy airstrikes.
Could 2 BCVs be equal to a BB + CV combo?

Thoughts?
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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby Bgile » Mon May 17, 2010 1:40 pm

No. Gunnery combat is not compatible with air operations. The ship is capable of doing one or the other at a time, and never both. With BB + CV you can do both at the same time.

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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby neil hilton » Mon May 17, 2010 1:48 pm

But if either the BB or the CV gets put out of action you lose all that type of capability, whereas if 1 BCV gets put out of action you still have some capability in both types, heavy artillery and airpower.
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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby Bgile » Mon May 17, 2010 3:56 pm

You seem to be suggesting a combination of a full capability CV and a battleship. why don't you try to visualize a ship armed with battleship size guns and also capable of launching, landing, maintaining, and fueling WWII type fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo planes, and describe this ship for us. Keep in mind that carrier aircraft required several hundred feet to take off, and a similar distance to land, and that "wave offs" on landings were common (and still are).

Incidentally, the 8" guns were removed from Lexington because they constituted an off center weight and detracted from her aviation capability. They realized there was no way she was going to be allowed to get close enough to an enemy ship to shoot at it with guns.

The carrier was the new capital ship. If you are going to build a 30,000+ ton aviation capable ship, why put heavy guns on it when it won't ever get close enough to the enemy to use them? Even if you could somehow arrange the guns so they didn't make air ops impossible, why waste all that weight in guns and armor when it could be used for additional air capablility?

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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby yellowtail3 » Tue May 18, 2010 1:22 am

BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?


Yes.
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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby alecsandros » Tue May 18, 2010 5:59 am

What do you think about the modernised IJN Ise class? They were an interesting combination of firepower and aircraft.
However, I don't know if they were able to land planes... Due to that very short runway... Anyone know more about this?

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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby RF » Tue May 18, 2010 8:41 am

neil hilton wrote:Could 2 BCVs be equal to a BB + CV combo?

Thoughts?


If they were, such ships would be developed and go into service. But nobody has attempted it and I think that is the acid test that provides an emphatic answer to your question.
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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby neil hilton » Tue May 18, 2010 10:47 am

What I was suggesting was could one BCV be equal to half a BB plus half a CV, ie have 2 triple 15" or 16" turrets (1 fore, 1 aft. Mounted at deck level). Have a full length flight deck, flying over the two main turrets supported on pylons (similar to Akagis flight deck where it massively overhangs fore and aft). This would allow the main guns to elevate ok. An ofset armoured tower bridge. The whole central deck section between the two main turrets and below the flight deck could be the hanger deck supporting half a standard CVs airgroup.
The main deck and hull sides would be armoured to BB standards and the hanger sides and flight deck armoured less so to mantain stability.

What I'm suggesting is could a purpose built BCV be made to work. Not a design convertion with all the fudged alterations that entails. After all purpose built CVs were a lot better than conversion jobs.

I do not know if any navy actually took this concept seriously. From what I've read all they tried was a quick half baked attempt to increase their carrier numbers by converting BBs.

Is such a chimera possible?
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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby neil hilton » Tue May 18, 2010 10:54 am

alecsandros wrote:What do you think about the modernised IJN Ise class? They were an interesting combination of firepower and aircraft.
However, I don't know if they were able to land planes... Due to that very short runway... Anyone know more about this?


As they were redesigned I think they were a complete mess. The half a flight deck is pointless, and the reduction in gun numbers a shot in the foot. Like the RN Lion class redesign. The superstructure is in the way.

A BCV to even have a chance would need to be able to operate standard aircraft and be able to protect itself from surface threats when its airgroup is not operational without having to rely on an escorting BB.
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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby Bgile » Tue May 18, 2010 1:35 pm

It wouldn't work. Most of your displacement would be armor and guns. It's 2/3 battleship. You would end up with a ship with one quarter or less of the aircraft capacity of a carrier with the same displacement. Put the two ships against each other and the carrier destroys the hybrid at 150 miles range.

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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby tommy303 » Tue May 18, 2010 2:52 pm

Put the two ships against each other and the carrier destroys the hybrid at 150 miles range.


Let alone what might happen if the hybrid encounters a real battleship and has to fight a gunnery duel. I think the old adage,
jack of all trades and master of none, is appropriate here. I am wondering how exactly one is going to accomodate both heavy guns and an air group on the same 35,000 ton hull and still preserve the combat efficiency of both.

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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby Legend » Tue May 18, 2010 3:10 pm

No sane commander wants to have his aircraft carrier close to the action... that's what the aircraft are for. I agree that the theory is cool, but the practical uses are slim to none. The closest thing I could say to something like this is not a carrier per say... but perhaps an amphibious assault ship? A ship with helicopters or harriers that would have a heavy bombardment capability.
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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby lwd » Tue May 18, 2010 5:28 pm

tommy303 wrote:
Put the two ships against each other and the carrier destroys the hybrid at 150 miles range.


Let alone what might happen if the hybrid encounters a real battleship and has to fight a gunnery duel.

Or even a cruiser.
I think the old adage, jack of all trades and master of none, is appropriate here. ...

I was thinking of the exact same phrase.

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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby neil hilton » Wed May 19, 2010 10:44 am

tommy303 wrote:
Put the two ships against each other and the carrier destroys the hybrid at 150 miles range.


Let alone what might happen if the hybrid encounters a real battleship and has to fight a gunnery duel. I think the old adage,
jack of all trades and master of none, is appropriate here. I am wondering how exactly one is going to accomodate both heavy guns and an air group on the same 35,000 ton hull and still preserve the combat efficiency of both.


The original question was could TWO BCVs tackle ONE BB and ONE CV?
The design I posted was just an example, how would you go about designing such a ship? Anybody?

If it not feasible during ww2, how about a modern day equivalent (swapping guns for missiles)? I believe one of the USSR CV classes could be considered a similar design.
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Re: BattleCarriers, a stupid idea?

Postby alecsandros » Wed May 19, 2010 10:56 am

The idea is very cool, for me at least :)
I don't know how effective a BCV might be, but I sure like to think about the long arm of the airforce combined with the heavy punch of a battleship!

Indeed, it would be very difficult to find a niche in which this kind of ship may be effective. Especialy in the vast expanses of the Pacific, this kind of approach might be a poor one.
However, when fighting in smaller areas (the Med, Black Sea, Baltic, even the North Atlantic) the BCV may prove to be a good asset to have.
That is because the potential enemy will likely be discovered sometimes at medium range, sometimes at close range. Very rarely at long range. So, IMO, it would serve a good purpose to have 25-36 combat aircraft ready to strike AND 4-6 BB guns. The aircraft may be used at 80-200km, while the big guns will deter any cruiser/destroyer force into closing.
The armor and compartimentation would make the ship MUCH stronger than a carrier while the onboard planes would make it much more versatile.

This would be especialy good for convoy support...

Also, in terms of costs, I guess it would be much cheaper to build a BCV than a BB and a CV...

======

A side note: the BuOrD believed, in 1924, that the Royal Navy was building the Nelsons as BCVs. With a medium air strip aft and heavy guns fw. Imagine if that design would have been built...

Hypotheticaly, a 300 meters long ship, with 150 meters air strip, 2 catapults, 36-45 planes, 9 x 356mm guns (with 40-50 shells/gun), modern fire control, 12-16 x 133mm guns, 40-80 AA guns, 300 mm belt and 100mm armored deck on a AoN system, and 130.000SHP giving 25-28kts, would amount to ~ 42-45000 tons (normal displacement) or 52-55000 tons (maximum displacement). It could have been built, IMO, before WW2, and could have been a formidable opponent, for ANY ship afloat in the war.


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