HMS Vanguard

uk 75

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The Triang company produced a range of waterline model ships in 1/200 scale in the early 1960s and briefly again in the 1970s.
Star of the Royal Navy models in the range was HMS Vanguard. Rather like Vanguard there were also models of the other recently scrapped big ships, the cruisers HMS Swiftsure and HMS Superb.
I can now hear gnashing of teeth from some site users. Imagine if Vanguard had not been scrapped and survived in the Royal Navy like the New Jerseys did in the USN.
What would she have looked like in 1980?
One possibility is that she could have receivec the big Seaslug launcher from Girdleness and a number of directors.
Another is that she might have received a helicopter deck aft as proposed for the New Jersey.
Most likely she would have had her light armament removed and space left for Seacats, with flag facilities activated for her NATO role.
There are plenty of old Triang models out there so let rip.
Oh and yes I know I would be the one usually pointing out the boring stuff why it couldnt happen. But as we enter a second Covid blighted Summer get out the toy box and have some fun. A couple of Talos launchers? A Blue Water launcher?
 

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Dilandu

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I can now hear gnashing of teeth from some site users. Imagine if Vanguard had not been scrapped and survived in the Royal Navy like the New Jerseys did in the USN.
What would she have looked like in 1980?

Most likely, she would lose her rear turrets in favor of two Sea Slug triple launchers with Gridleness-type magazines, yes. This would gave her adequate SAM capabilities for 1960s, as well as lighten her load.

The big Type 984 3D radar would also be installed to direct fighters to interception. It was essentially the only scenario in which Navy might actually left her in service; turning into big escort unit.

Her light AA guns would most likely be replaces as well, partially with Sea Slug missiles, and partially with enclosed Bofors mountings (because open mounts were of little to no use in nuclear warfare conditions)
 

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Some kind of command vessel, as has been said, remove some of the main armament for missiles. What surface to surface missiles she might have had I could not say What with the cuts post war, just what role could she have fulfilled?
 

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Given limited UK resources and obvious desire to keep actually useful assets like carriers going how and why would Vanguard have been retained? In truth it should never have been completed in the first place.
 
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If it was up to me I'd keep all the 15" guns. Putting as many heavy guns as possible to sea is the only reason for keeping a battleship. Vanguard's "job" would be engaging enemy warships when carrier aircraft were unable to fly (i.e. at night or in bad weather) and shore bombardment.

My first thought was to keep all sixteen 5.25" guns. However, as Vanguard would only have been retained in a version of history where money was as good as no object I'd replace them with sixteen 4.5" in armoured versions of the Mk 6 turret or sixteen 3" guns in eight twin Mk 6 turrets.

As others have suggested most if not all of the 40mm guns would have been removed. 4 Sea Cat systems would have been fitted in the 1960s and these would have been replaced by 4 GWS.25 Sea Wolf Systems in the 1970s.

I wouldn't fit Seaslug. That's partially because that would require the removal of some of the main or secondary armament and as I have already written keeping those guns is the only reason for retaining the ship. The other reason is that as this can only happen in a version of history where money was as good as no object there will be plenty of ships armed with area defence SAMs to escort it.

However, as @Dilandu has suggested I would fit the Type 984 radar. I'd also fit the most capable version of the Comprehensive Display System (CDS) that was available (I think it was 48-track) and the Direct Plot Transmission (DPT) data link at the same time. In the 1970s they'd be replaced by the Type 988 radar, the most capable version of ADAWS that was available and the most capable data links that were available.
 

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Some kind of command vessel, as has been said, remove some of the main armament for missiles. What surface to surface missiles she might have had I could not say What with the cuts post war, just what role could she have fulfilled?

One interesting idea may be if Royal Navy would change its nuclear policy early. What if, instead Instead of basically ignoring the atomic bomb (which RN essentially done in 1945-1956, under "Broken-backed warfare" doctrine), the Royal Navy would start to position itself as a best choice for nuclear deterrence? With ship-based cruise, then ballistic missiles as a cheaper, more survivable alternative to strategic bombers? It is perfectly within the British capabilities of 1950s to develop the subsonic long-range cruise missile, capable of 1000 km range. With later addition of ATRAN low-altitude system analogue, such missiles would be perfectly viable deterrence until at least mid-1960s.
 

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Some kind of command vessel, as has been said, remove some of the main armament for missiles. What surface to surface missiles she might have had I could not say What with the cuts post war, just what role could she have fulfilled?

One interesting idea may be if Royal Navy would change its nuclear policy early. What if, instead Instead of basically ignoring the atomic bomb (which RN essentially done in 1945-1956, under "Broken-backed warfare" doctrine), the Royal Navy would start to position itself as a best choice for nuclear deterrence? With ship-based cruise, then ballistic missiles as a cheaper, more survivable alternative to strategic bombers? It is perfectly within the British capabilities of 1950s to develop the subsonic long-range cruise missile, capable of 1000 km range. With later addition of ATRAN low-altitude system analogue, such missiles would be perfectly viable deterrence until at least mid-1960s.

Something like the Regulus / Regulus II ? This forum had plenty of art and projects related to Regulus-armed Iowas and Alaskas and others.

Maybe something akin to Blue Steel, but on a surface ship ? The two are comparables but Blue Steel is nearly half the length and one-third lighter.
 

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Something like the Regulus / Regulus II ? This forum had plenty of art and projects related to Regulus-armed Iowas and Alaskas and others.

Maybe something akin to Blue Steel, but on a surface ship ? The two are comparables but Blue Steel is nearly half the length and one-third lighter.

Most likely something like Matador/Mace; subsonic, but with advanced navigation system.
 

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Sure, Blue Steel could only do Mach 3 at 70 000 feet, and there are not many Soviet ships high there.

And I don't think the RN would appreciate the prospect of new naval weapons using HTP, considering their disastrous experience with HTP torpedoes - HMS Siddon, Exploder, Excruciator...

Better to put a Rolls Royce Viper turbojet, Great Britain very own J85.
 

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Re the nuclear tipped SSMs that are being discussed. I suggest Blue Slug the projected SSM version of Seaslug or a navalised Blue Water housed in deck mounted canister launchers à la the Tomahawks on the Iowas.

According to Wikipaedia (sorry) the American W33 nuclear warhead for the US Army's 8" howitzers entered service in 1955.

Therefore, a 15" nuclear shell aught to be feasible from 1955.

Does anyone know if the USN developed nuclear shells for their medium and heavy guns?
 

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W19 for one, 16 inch shell if I am not mistaken. Small numbers procured because of Polaris cost overuns however (around 50 or so?). Reportedly prematurely retired in the early 1960s as part of one of McNamara's 'innovations'.
 

Dilandu

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Re the nuclear tipped SSMs that are being discussed. I suggest Blue Slug the projected SSM version of Seaslug or a navalised Blue Water housed in deck mounted canister launchers à la the Tomahawks on the Iowas.
Er, I meant long-range strategic missiles, capable of nuclear delivery to enemy territory. Like Matador/Mace/Regulus/P-5. Turbojet-powered, high subsonic, capable of 500-1000 km range.
 

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I swore having red somewhere, a jet-powered Blue Steel was planned at some point... should help the range. Even more if speed is allowed to fall from Mach 3 to Mach 2 or even lower.
 

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Does anyone know if the USN developed nuclear shells for their medium and heavy guns?

USN have W23 nuclear shells for 16-inch guns; they were essentially Army's 11-inch W19 shells (enriched uranium, gun-type) in 16-inch shell body. Fifty units were produced in 1956, and three "Iowa"-class battleships received modifications to store them in B turret magazines, but Navy didn't really liked those shells. They were never actually put on ships, and were all decommissioned in 1962. For Navy's point of view, nuclear-tipped Talos and Terrier SAM were much more common and efficient delivery system, than 16-inch guns only on three battleships.

No other nuclear shell was ever developed or adopted for any naval gun, as far as I know.
 

Dilandu

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W19 for one, 16 inch shell if I am not mistaken. Small numbers procured because of Polaris cost overuns however (around 50 or so?). Reportedly prematurely retired in the early 1960s as part of one of McNamara's 'innovations'.

Not exactly because of cost. Navy just didn't like them. Only three Iowa-class battleships (the fourth one was placed in reserve & skipped the required refit) could handle the W23 nuclear shells, and Navy considered this just plainly impractical. There were no guarantees that one of the battleships would be exactly where tactical nuclear strike may be required. Nuclear-capable variants of RIM-2 Terrier and RIM-8 Talos SAM missiles have more range, better accuracy, could be used against both surface and aerial targets, and, most importantly - were fitted on all missile cruisers and some destroyers, which means that one of them would almost certainly be available at any required place.
 

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Thanks to everyone who has entered into the spirit of this and suspended disbelief to have some fun.
The surface to surface missile armament would be a way of using space to great effect. Regulus would be a runner especially if Regulus 2 had gone ahead.
Land based missiles such as Matador/Mace or Blue Water would need more space.
Polaris tubes anyo
 

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The surface to surface missile armament would be a way of using space to great effect. Regulus would be a runner especially if Regulus 2 had gone ahead.

Nah, I think the subsonic low-altitude missile - naval analogue of MGM-13 Mace, with her ATRAN terrain matching navigation - would be much better.

Regulus-2 have little chances of penetrating SAM-based air defenses, and by early 1960s, there were quite a lot of S-75 in Eastern Europe. Fast-flying interceptors like Su-15 would be perfectly capable of knocking it down, too.

On the other hands, low-flying (Mace was able to fly as low as 750 feet) subsonic missile have much better chances to just slip under radar undetected.
 

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Or if the USN had these..
 

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Dilandu

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Shame this was only a hoax
Well, there were some ideas about placing R-1 missiles (reverse-engineered V-2) on Project 82 "Stalingrad" hull:
Stalingrad_rocket1.png

Stalingrad_rocket2.png



Stalingrad_rocket3.png
 

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Love Soviet kit.
Wish there was a decent Friedman style book on unbuilt postwar Russian naval projects (and land, air and missile too!)
 

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The Soviets were not afraid: all their SLBMs (R-27, from memory) between 1955 and 1980 were hypergolic / storable fueled; basically miniature Titan IIs inside submarines. N2O4 and N2H4 are very nasty stuff.
They moved to solid-fuel only by the late 70's.
 

Dilandu

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The Soviets were not afraid: all their SLBMs (R-27, from memory) between 1955 and 1980 were hypergolic / storable fueled; basically miniature Titan IIs inside submarines. N2O4 and N2H4 are very nasty stuff.
They moved to solid-fuel only by the late 70's.

Yes, unfortunately, it was a clear demonstration of decision-making in our military. What system would be commissioned - it was decided not by generals and admirals, but by Party leadership. Every major factory, every significant construction bureau have it's own lobby in Politburo, and tried to push its own designs. And of course, not being specialists, Politburo members often failed for parameters that looks good on paper, without consideration of how it would be actually handled. So essentially, we have missiles, designed and made by rocket scientists, put on submarines, designed and build by atomic engineers, neither of which bothered much by such things as reliability and easiness to maintain; only by theoretical efficiency.
 

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Re the nuclear tipped SSMs that are being discussed. I suggest Blue Slug the projected SSM version of Seaslug or a navalised Blue Water housed in deck mounted canister launchers à la the Tomahawks on the Iowas.
Er, I meant long-range strategic missiles, capable of nuclear delivery to enemy territory. Like Matador/Mace/Regulus/P-5. Turbojet-powered, high subsonic, capable of 500-1000 km range.
How useful would a strategic nuclear missile with a range of 500-1,000km (circa 300-600 miles) be?

If Vanguard was cruising off the Norwegian Sea or Barents Sea with the NATO Strike Fleet the only targets in range of the missiles would be in the vicinity of the coast.

Similarly, the distance from Cyprus to Sevastopol is 1,043km according to https://www.distancefromto.net. So Vanguard won't be within range of any targets if she was cruising in the Eastern Mediterranean. She'd have to be in the Sea of Marmara to be within range of the southern USSR. (According to the same website it's 542km from Istanbul to Sevastopol.)

Therefore, I think they'd only be used against Soviet Naval Bases when the weather was too bad for the aircraft carriers to launch an air strike or it was thought that an airstrike wouldn't get through.
W19 for one, 16 inch shell if I am not mistaken. Small numbers procured because of Polaris cost overuns however (around 50 or so?). Reportedly prematurely retired in the early 1960s as part of one of McNamara's 'innovations'.
Not exactly because of cost. Navy just didn't like them. Only three Iowa-class battleships (the fourth one was placed in reserve & skipped the required refit) could handle the W23 nuclear shells, and Navy considered this just plainly impractical. There were no guarantees that one of the battleships would be exactly where tactical nuclear strike may be required. Nuclear-capable variants of RIM-2 Terrier and RIM-8 Talos SAM missiles have more range, better accuracy, could be used against both surface and aerial targets, and, most importantly - were fitted on all missile cruisers and some destroyers, which means that one of them would almost certainly be available at any required place.
I'm quoting the above because what you wrote about the nuclear shells for the Iowa class battleships also applies to arming Vanguard with a strategic nuclear missile. It's impractical because there is no guarantee that Vanguard would be in the right place at the right time, i.e. when the strategic nuclear strike was required.

That is unless the surviving King George V class battleships were armed with the missile and kept in service until 1980 as well. I've already written that Vanguard will only be kept in a timeline where money was as good as no object. Therefore, if HM Treasury can find the money to modernise Vanguard and pay her running costs until 1980 it will also have the money to do the same for King George V, Duke of York, Anson and Howe.

In that case one or two of the five battleships would be available in peacetime (using the one-in-three ratio) and three or four would be available in wartime (using the two-in-three ratio).

It would be better if the range of the missile was 500 to 1,000 miles instead of 500 to 1,000 kilometres. The battleships would be able to engage more targets from a safer distance.

However, I'm still against the idea if it means removing guns to provide the weight and space because the only good reason to keep the battleships is their guns.

Trading guns for missiles is pointless. It would be better to build new strategic missile ships because:
  • Steel is cheap and air is free so the cost of building new ships would be about the same as the cost of rebuilding the battleships to the same standard.
  • The building times for new ships would be about the same as the rebuilding times for the battleships.
  • They would probably have a smaller crew and therefore be cheaper to run.
  • It's a new ship rather than a ship that's already 15-20 years old have a longer service life.
I appreciate that some of those arguments aren't that relevant in the context of the Opening Post. However, as this is a scenario where money is virtually no object HM Treasury could find enough money to buy new ships armed with the missile as well as the money needed to refit all five battleships.

I also think that an obsolete Colossus class aircraft carrier would make a better strategic missile ship than a King George V or Vanguard class battleship. It aught to be easier to convert and I think it would carry as many if not more missiles in its converted hangar.
 

Dilandu

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How useful would a strategic nuclear missile with a range of 500-1,000km (circa 300-600 miles) be?

Comparable with V-bombers flying from Britain in range, and have advantages of much more mobile and compact basing.

I'm quoting the above because what you wrote about the nuclear shells for the Iowa class battleships also applies to arming Vanguard with a strategic nuclear missile. It's impractical because there is no guarantee that Vanguard would be in the right place at the right time, i.e. when the strategic nuclear strike was required.

Not exactly. If strategic nuclear role is the main for battleship, then it would most likely be at position.

However, I'm still against the idea if it means removing guns to provide the weight and space because the only good reason to keep the battleships is their guns.

All guns - or some guns?
 

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How useful would a strategic nuclear missile with a range of 500-1,000km (circa 300-600 miles) be?
Comparable with V-bombers flying from Britain in range,
No it isn't.

According to this website (https://www.prokerala.com/travel/distance/from-moscow-russia/to-murmansk/#map) its 925 miles / 1,488.64 km from Murmansk to Moscow and 1,467 miles / 2,360.91 km from Norwich (in Norfolk where many of the V-bomber bases were) to Moscow.

I do know that V-bombers operating from bases in the East of England could reach Moscow. (The Moscow Imperative was part of the specification.) Would a 1,000km-range missile launched from Vanguard if she was positioned 5km north of Murmansk reach Moscow? I wrote 5km because that's the old Three Mile Limit of territorial waters in metric.
and have advantages of much more mobile and compact basing.
The ship would have to be very close to the enemy coast to reach targets that were any distance inland which would cancel out those advantages. It would also mean almost certain destruction of the ship (and the rest of the force that it was a part of) and that's assuming that Vanguard survived for long enough to launch the missiles.

That's why I said a a maximum range of 1,000 miles would be better. The ship can stand off at a greater (and therefore safer) distance and be within range of more targets at the same time.

And before you say that a missile has a better chance of getting through than an aircraft. A UK that can afford to modernise Vanguard and keep it in service until 1980 can afford to develop Blue Steel Mk 2 or a British equivalent to Skybolt as well.
 
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I'm quoting the above because what you wrote about the nuclear shells for the Iowa class battleships also applies to arming Vanguard with a strategic nuclear missile. It's impractical because there is no guarantee that Vanguard would be in the right place at the right time, i.e. when the strategic nuclear strike was required.
Not exactly. If strategic nuclear role is the main for battleship, then it would most likely be at position.
Not exactly, but accurate enough.

Availability rates are usually 33% in peacetime and 66% in wartime. There's a good chance that she'd be a lot more than 1,000km from the target when whatever crisis triggered World War Three happened and said crisis might have reached the button pushing point before she was in position. That is if the Soviets didn't sink her first.

As I've already written it would have been a different story if the KGVs had been modernised as well and the missiles had a range of 500-1,000 miles instead of 500-1,000 kilometres.
 

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If you want to have fun with distances between any places on Earth, try this one.


The other day just for the fun of it I tried looking for the tiny village where I grew up and where my mom still inhabit: barely 350 souls lost in the french countryside.
Typed the name. And it found it, the damn thing. Must be Google maps "magic" (or nightmare, pick your choice: if Skynet ever takes control of Google someday, with the alliance of these two evils the wannabee John Connors trying to resist will have nowhere to hide. We are doomed.)
 

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if Skynet ever takes control of Google someday, with the alliance of these two evils the wannabee John Connors trying to resist will have nowhere to hide. We are doomed.)
Read this sentence if you want to live...

In case you don't know the British MoD's communications satellites are called Skynet and the first one was launched in 1969.

I'll be back!
 
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My favourite Vanguard what if is that she was pushed through at super priority and completed early in the war, possibly even allowing Hood and Repulse to be rebuilt. So instead of an enhanced, modernised or rebuilt Vanguard, a built with what was available ship in 1940-42, i.e. the original plan to beef up forces for the Far East. Maybe a squadron of good enough, pre-war as opposed to war emergency types, an extra but improved Ark Royal, enhanced Edinburgh / Belfast, perfectly good enough Arethusa and enhanced Tribals, including 4" gunned AA versions.
 

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This will doubtless upset purists but I decided to go ahead and have a model made of Vanguard as she might have looked in 1962.
Because I love the big US Talos ships I have given her a no expenses spared conversion. I was lucky to find a modelmaker willing to build her in 1/1200 scale.
 

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uk 75

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To find out more about how I managed to get Vanguard and meet some great blokes who model little big ships

 

uk 75

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I would like to thank Hugh Thomas for creating a real model from the ideas which this thread helped me focus on. So thanks to everyone here who helped.
A Commando Ship version similar the one proposed for New Jersey might emerge one day.
 

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Excellent model. It would seem that every one considered modernizing
their battleships.
 

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Vanguard's major attraction in the post-war world is the imagining of her crew that they might someday encounter a Sverdlov-class cruiser and have in their pockets a justification for firing upon it. I'm not sure her role in a large surface force fighting a similar-sized surface force comes fully into play until she's well into her dotage.

She should have seen out her days as a permanent historical display, alongside HMS Warrior as the first and the last of the battleships, a century of steel at sea, with Jacky Fisher's legacy represented in her main armament.
 

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