Supercharged modifications to Revenge class Battleships

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Fatboy Coxy
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Supercharged modifications to Revenge class Battleships

Post by Fatboy Coxy » Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:07 pm

Hi all, late 1941 the four remaining R or Revenge class battleships were redeployed t the far East, forming the 3rd Battle Squadron, at Ceylon. The class was equipped with the 15-inch (381 mm) Mk I guns in four twin gun turrets.

The 15-inch Mk I was modified, starting sometime in the late 1930s, with two significant improvement. One, the maximum elevation of the gun was increased from 20 to 30 degrees, increasing maximum range and two, the projectiles were improved with a more streamlined ballistic cap, giving an improvement of over 5,000 yards.

The battleships and battlecruisers equipped with these guns, were given the upgrades as they underwent overhauls, but none of the R class had received them before WW2 began. Other ships were upgraded as WW2 progressed.

As an alternative improvement, the unmodified ships were given a ‘super charge’ of 490 lbs, the largest propellant charge that the guns and mountings could safely handle. Ships with the 30-degree adjustments didn’t use the ‘super charge’, as it placed additional barrel wear and mounting stress. With the supercharge, maximum ranges range improved by 5,000 yards, 300 yards short of the 30-degree ships.

Now I have some questions

I’m unclear as to whether a ship could simply be issued the 490 lb ‘Super charge’ or required some dockyard modifications to fire using one.

I think the propellants (or charges) were made up from four bags, was the ‘super charge’ simply a fifth charge. If not how easy was it to make these, was it only at the factory, or could dockyard magazines do this work?

Could the HE shell be fired with the super charge, as well as the APC version.

I don’t know of any ‘super charge’ firings, how badly did they wear the barrels and stress the mountings?

I think very limited numbers of HE shells were carried by the ships, I read that the fortress of Singapore, equipped with five of these guns, only had one HE shell. Was there a shortage of HE shells?

I think two (Royal Sovereign and Resolution) R class were enabled to use ‘super charge’ on the class sailing to the Far East in December 1941, is this the case?

These questions are based on my thoughts on the use of the R class for shore bombardment, and how far inland might they reach?

Regards
Fatboy Coxy

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wadinga
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Re: Supercharged modifications to Revenge class Battleships

Post by wadinga » Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:36 am

Fellow Contributors,

I doubt there is the physical breech space to "stick another cartridge in" and Navweaps shows a different cordite designation, presumably denser, for supercharge. Physically handling the longer projectiles required modification to the projectile transport structure.

Stocks of large calibre HE were limited everywhere, limited elevation, "high" velocity battleship guns were expected to target armoured vessels. Here, in personal records from an excellent resource, HMS Ramillies fires AP against marshalling yards around Caen, surely not the first choice projectile for the job.
Sunday, 11 June 1944, morning
No air raids last night or tonight. Just heard over the broadcaster that we have to support the paratroops and 6th Airborne Division. They are on the left or Eastern Flank.

Afternoon: Attacked concentration of 200 enemy tanks with good effects. Shifted target to an important railway bridge in the centre of Caen. Evening. Strafing with ten shells every half hour. Cruisers also lobbing 6" bricks over. The most surprising part of this invasion (from our point of view) is the almost complete lack of retaliation against the naval ships. After the first day we have had no real attempt at engagement by either shore batteries (if any) or aircraft or submarines or E-boats.

11-12 June 1944, 11pm to 1am
Hundred-and-twenty armour piercing caps fired at marshalling yards at Caen.

Monday, 12 June 1944, 2am to 4am
Ninety rounds armour piercing caps at another marshalling yard. Thirty rounds HE. Programme postponed for 24 hours. Nothing of note during day except physical training on the Quarter Deck with the bomb happy physical training instructor.

Time 11pm: Bombardment opened - finished 3.45am. Apparently a very good effort. Army trying to capture Caen tonight.
This excellent resource is http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peoples ... 000.shtml

Specifying range from one point on the sea to another point on this level surface is one thing. Range to elevated points on the shore is another, somewhat more complicated matter. Since shore targets are complex and may be hidden from the ship, provision of spotting and fire corrections via aircraft and/or shore based based Observation Posts determines what may be engaged, including, as above, at night.

Hope this helps.

All the best in troubled times.

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

dunmunro
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Re: Supercharged modifications to Revenge class Battleships

Post by dunmunro » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:51 am

HMS Ramillies supported the invasion of Southern France. From 23-31 August she fired 145rnds of 15in HE and 44 rnds of 15in AP. Maximum range at open fire was 24000 yds.

dunmunro
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Re: Supercharged modifications to Revenge class Battleships

Post by dunmunro » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:57 am

Actually that should be 13 to 31 Aug.

Here's an interesting link:

https://www.hmsramillies.co.uk/

HMSVF
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Re: Supercharged modifications to Revenge class Battleships

Post by HMSVF » Fri May 01, 2020 12:12 pm

Fatboy Coxy wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:07 pm
Hi all, late 1941 the four remaining R or Revenge class battleships were redeployed t the far East, forming the 3rd Battle Squadron, at Ceylon. The class was equipped with the 15-inch (381 mm) Mk I guns in four twin gun turrets.

The 15-inch Mk I was modified, starting sometime in the late 1930s, with two significant improvement. One, the maximum elevation of the gun was increased from 20 to 30 degrees, increasing maximum range and two, the projectiles were improved with a more streamlined ballistic cap, giving an improvement of over 5,000 yards.

The battleships and battlecruisers equipped with these guns, were given the upgrades as they underwent overhauls, but none of the R class had received them before WW2 began. Other ships were upgraded as WW2 progressed.

As an alternative improvement, the unmodified ships were given a ‘super charge’ of 490 lbs, the largest propellant charge that the guns and mountings could safely handle. Ships with the 30-degree adjustments didn’t use the ‘super charge’, as it placed additional barrel wear and mounting stress. With the supercharge, maximum ranges range improved by 5,000 yards, 300 yards short of the 30-degree ships.

Now I have some questions

I’m unclear as to whether a ship could simply be issued the 490 lb ‘Super charge’ or required some dockyard modifications to fire using one.

I think the propellants (or charges) were made up from four bags, was the ‘super charge’ simply a fifth charge. If not how easy was it to make these, was it only at the factory, or could dockyard magazines do this work?

Could the HE shell be fired with the super charge, as well as the APC version.

I don’t know of any ‘super charge’ firings, how badly did they wear the barrels and stress the mountings?

I think very limited numbers of HE shells were carried by the ships, I read that the fortress of Singapore, equipped with five of these guns, only had one HE shell. Was there a shortage of HE shells?

I think two (Royal Sovereign and Resolution) R class were enabled to use ‘super charge’ on the class sailing to the Far East in December 1941, is this the case?

These questions are based on my thoughts on the use of the R class for shore bombardment, and how far inland might they reach?

Regards
Fatboy Coxy

We’re they actually modified for 30 degree firing though? I know it was mooted but I was under the impression that it was never carried out - and that the plan had been at one point to modernise “A” + “B” turrets only ( I assume as a result of Calabria).

Fatboy Coxy
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Re: Supercharged modifications to Revenge class Battleships

Post by Fatboy Coxy » Sat May 02, 2020 4:27 pm

I'm fairly comfortable that the R class didn't get the 30 degree turret mounting upgrade, but I am unsure which of the four got the Super charge modification.

HMSVF
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Re: Supercharged modifications to Revenge class Battleships

Post by HMSVF » Sat May 02, 2020 6:36 pm

Fatboy Coxy wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 4:27 pm
I'm fairly comfortable that the R class didn't get the 30 degree turret mounting upgrade, but I am unsure which of the four got the Super charge modification.

It has to be HMS Ramillies then. Resolution and Revenge had been decommissioned into HMS Imperiuse (at least one of them was disarmed - I think HMS Resolution. I can believe that HMS Royal Sovereign would be allowed to sail for service in the USSR with anything but a standard outfit.

Sorry I posted this earlier in the wrong thread.

From Navweaps

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_15-42_mk1.php



"As noted above, super charges were never issued to ships whose gun mountings could elevate past 20 degrees. For that reason, in this table, elevations above 20 degrees apply only for weapons employed as Coastal Artillery."


Which to me would indicate that Ramillies may well have had supercharges to achieve the ranges she did, as according to the same link she couldn't have achieved it with a standard charge.

Fatboy Coxy
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:18 am

Re: Supercharged modifications to Revenge class Battleships

Post by Fatboy Coxy » Wed May 06, 2020 5:35 am

With regard to the limited numbers of HE shells carried and available, do you think more HE was manufactured 1943-44 in anticipation of the forthcoming landings, where ever they might be?

Or was a reasonable stock held in the UK, for the purpose of shore bombardment, from pre war days, but normally not carried.

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