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Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Posted: Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:45 am
by Navyhistorynoob
I’ve seen it mentioned that the Hood was the most powerful ship from the time she was built until close to WW2.

Is there any truth to this, or is it mainly British propaganda from the time period. I’ve seen the Nagato mentioned as being its equal on occasion but was wondering if there are any others?

Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:34 pm
by Dave Saxton
It would depend on how powerful is measured. In terms of firepower there were several capital ships with more powerful main batteries. The Nagato, Maryland, and Nelson classes carried 16-inch guns. The Hood carried eight 15"/42 guns.

However, expanding our analysis to include other factors such as protection and speed, the Hood compares well. The Hood was much faster than any classes which carried equal or more powerful main batteries. The Hood also had the best un-refueled range of the contemporary British capital ships.

Although the Hood was labeled a battlecruiser, it's amour protection compared well with its contemporaries. I would say that its protection was as good as any contemporary generation "battleship"- even reconstructed. This would include deck armour. For example, the Maryland class's main armoured deck was only 1.5-inches STS laid directly on 1.5-inches of mild steel. The Nelsons heavy deck armour only covered the magazine area. The protection over the machinery may have been inferior to the Hood's. And remember the Nelsons were slow. Nagato and Mutsu may of had protection up to or slightly superior to the Hood's as reconstructed, but they remained at least 5 knots slower.

The Hood was completed by 1920. Other capital ships with superior protection and speed completed prior to 1940 carried significantly smaller main batteries.

Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:12 pm
by hans zurbriggen
Hello Mr.Saxton,
according to John Roberts (British warships WWII) the Nelson class deck was armor grade steel while Hood was not.


Re: Was the H.M.S Hood the most powerful ship for 20 years?

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:42 pm
by Dave Saxton
Yes, that is correct.

It is difficult to quantify the effective thickness of Hood's deck protection compared to Nelson's effective thickness. The Hood used multiple relatively thin protected decks combined with an earlier standard of protective plating. The Nelson, used a single main armoured deck consisting of a single plate of armour grade steel laid over top a thin structural deck of construction steel. Obviously, Nelson's deck protection over the magazines was far superior. However, over the machinery it was not that thick. The total of the laminate over the machinery was only 3.25-inches.

With the exception of the Nelson's deck protection over the magazines, most other capital ships of the period used deck protection systems and materials similar to that of the Hood only of lesser sum thickness. The contemporary American main armoured deck of mild steel and special treatment steel (armour grade) totaling only 3-inches does not calculate to an impressive effective thickness. In reconstructed ships, simply stacking more plates on top of the existing main protective deck doesn't improve the effective thickness significantly.