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Article on the 1950s Design Studies leading to the HMS Fearless LPD class

TinWing

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This greatly expands on DK Brown's "Rebuilding the Royal Navy."

The Mariner’s Mirror 97:3 (August 2011), 177–200
‘Hit hard, move fast and sustain action’
The Replacement of the Royal Navy’s Amphibious Warfare Squadron and the Rationale for HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid
Ian Speller
http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/8844/1/IS-Hit-Hard.pdf
 

pf matthews

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Excellent find Sir. As you say, fills in some of the gaps left by Brown.
Well done.
 

The Skipper

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The dimensions & troop capacity of the DL/A do not seem to make sense. She is quoted as having a displacement of 11 500 tons, a waterline length of 500', a waterline beam of 82', a draught of 18' 3", a moulded depth of 44' (giving a freeboard of 25' 9"), and carrying 1080 troops plus 18 tanks, 8 self- propelled guns & 60 3- ton trucks.

Fearless & Intrepid had a similar length & beam, but a deeper draught of 21', a higher freeboard of 28', and could only carry 400 troops, 15 tanks & 27 vehicles, or alternatively, 700 troops & no vehicles. Fearless & Intrepid did have a larger ship's company, 580 as oposed to 385 on the DL/A, but I cannot see that would have made so great a difference in capacity.
 

TomS

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My first question would be about additional non-vehicle cargo space in the two designs (the US differentiates between "square," vehicle parking area, and "cube," cargo volume). I'm not familiar enough with the Fearless design to know if there is additional cargo "cube' that the DL/A might not have that is not reflected in the tables. There may also be differences in how troop accommodation is figured. I believe Fearless' 400-troop figure was for long-term accommodation and she had a max capacity of 700 troops "hard-lying" (i.e. troops sleeping on the floors, in corridors, etc.) The DL/A troop figure may well be for short-term accommodation as well.
 

The Skipper

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The capacity of the DL/A is given as 1080 troops PLUS 18 tanks, 8 self- propelled guns & 60 3- ton trucks, implying that she could carry them all at once.
 

Hood

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Have you seen the diagrams of DL/A and DL/B as reproduced in Brown & Moore Rebuilding the Royal Navy?

The vehicle decks of the Fearless class extend to roughly the foremast. On DL/A the vehicle deck is longer, continuing past the superstructure to end about one quarter of the way down the forecastle. On the shorter DL/B, the vehicle deck also follows a similar layout, extending past the end of the superstructure above. Both vehicle decks more or less stopping where the hull width to allow two AFVs to park side-by-side stopped due to the hull contours.

A notional vehicle layout is shown for the vehicle deck on the sketches of both designs:
DL/A - 1 LCU, 3 LCM, 16 tanks, 8 SPGs, 10 3-ton lorries.
DL/B - 6 LCM, 13 tanks, 5 SPGs

It must be noted that, just like the LST designs of the same period (SL/A, SL/B, SL/C, BL/C, BL/D), that ramps were provided to the upper deck which doubled as a helicopter deck. Therefore the other 50 3-ton lorries on DL/A would probably be stowed on the helicopter deck.
The troop accommodation though is a mystery. Despite what the article says, presumably 1,080 must have been a maximum without vehicles as there is limited deck space and the superstructure is probably smaller than that of the Fearless class. Its worth noting that the US Thomaston class, on which these designs were based, only carried around 325 troops.
 

The Skipper

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I have seen the diagram of DL/A, and I can see that the vehicle deck extends for most of the ship's length. I did not know, however, the length of the vehicle deck on Fearless & Intrepid.
 
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