No. JFC Fuller is spot-on: plans were already underway to cut the fleet. More than that, remember that developments in capital ship design were very rapid in the years from 1900-1920. We think about the role of Dreadnought and Invincible, but the super-dreadnought made the former less useful; the Orion class could fire twice the broadside weight of Dreadnought. The rise of the fast battleship, the Queen Elizabeth class, completed obsoleted the first-generation dreadnoughts and obviated much of the utility of the battle cruisers. Even Hood was no longer ideal by the end of the war, and she was only ordered in 1916. So, most of the ships the Royal Navy scrapped just couldn't keep pace with the times. The British only retained the Revenge class as a cheap holdout against the possibility of oil shortages; they were too slow. The Iron Dukes, with 13.5" (34.3 cm) guns and a top speed of 21.5 kt (39.4 km/h) were too outdated, really. They kept them in the 1920s because they needed numbers, but they would have had zero utility in the 1930s.uk 75 said:Thanks for this. Would any of the ships that were disposed of have been worth keeping?
While the limitations of the Royal Sovereigns well know (too slow, somewhat lacking in range) their main armament and protection would have made them awkward opponents for the majority of potential adversary capital ships, as seen in their deterrent role when acting as convoy escorts in WW2.CNH said:To hijack the thread: given a choice between Tiger and one of the Royal Sovereigns, which would you choose?
I agree (as this is a basic historical fact) that the RAN Fleet Unit was very much designed around doing its part in defeating the German Asiatic Squadron. However in a non Washington Treaty world Australian political dynamics would have demanded some kind of response to the Japanese buildup. This of course did not mean building a RAN able to defeat the 24 battleship Japanese fleet. But having a fleet unit able to at least defend the Australian eastern seaboard from what portion of that fleet that would be detached from fighting the American Pacific Fleet or the main British Eastern Fleet. With the general state of naval technology at the time this is likely to mean restructuring the fleet away from a cruiser heavy force to a limited line of battle force.JFC Fuller said:The Australian fleet unit made sense pre-WW1 but as originally constituted it didn't post-WW1. The 1909 agreement for three squadrons (China, Australia, East Indies), each with a Battle/Armoured Cruiser and three light cruisers (of which the Australian Fleet Unit was the Australian Squadron) more than checked the German East Asia squadron both qualitatively and quantitatively. The 1911 Henderson programme to expand this to eight armoured/battle cruisers and ten light cruisers over 22 years at an expenditure of £23.3 million is interesting but would have become impossible to implement within a matter of a few years as battlecruisers became larger and more expensive (the same happened to cruisers, especially post WW1), the Kongos were just the start in Japan.
A fast battleship with 28 knot speed, 12” belt and eight 13.5” guns (firing 1400 pound Greenboy shells) would be superior to the Kongos (similar metrics but with 8” belt) and able to outrun the Fuso, Ise, Nagato and Tosa classes (23-26 knots). The basic cost of a battlecruiser in both the 1910s (when the first RAN fleet unit was acquired) and in the 1920s was roughly equal to four light cruisers. What cost the RAN 2.5m pounds in 1911 (1 x BC, 2 x CL) would cost about 13m pounds in 1924 (1 x G3, 2 x County) thanks to growth in ship size. Clearly the same again could not be afforded.JFC Fuller said:It would have been very difficult for Australia to compete qualitatively with those ships and smaller and slower ships would have just provided the Japanese with something easy to sink, even if you could get a 13.5 inch battleship to 28 knots its still going to be outclassed by the entire Japanese capital ship fleet (just like Tiger).
This seems to rings bells in an academic article I read a few years back, I will see if I can dig it out.Poking around looking for what the Australians were thinking in 1913/14 for the future development of the Royal Australian Navy it seems there was a desire for a second fleet unit, it gets mentioned a few times in 1913 and the Official Yearbook of the Commonwealth of Australia 1913 states that the intention to construct a second battlecruiser had been announced. It does looks as though the concept was never really developed though with the outbreak of war in 1914 bringing such thinking to an end. A second fleet unit would have been in competition for funds with the new Federal capital at Canberra and a pair of trans Australian railway lines. Has anybody seen any more detail on 1913/14 planning for further peactime RAN expansion?
Without giving much thought to it the 9.2" gun armed E2 and E3 armoured cruiser designs from October 1913 seem an almost perfect centrepiece for a second stage of Australian Naval development.
Thanks, would be interesting if you could find it. I have come up with the following two interesting documents:This seems to rings bells in an academic article I read a few years back, I will see if I can dig it out.
Another factor not often mentioned but of relevance to current events, would have been the economic and social effects of the Spanish Flu. I don't know how much of an impact it would have had but on top of the costs of the just concluded war they would have been significant.What a lot of people don't realise (or accept) is that if these treaties had not come into force that the political backlash may have resulted in even harsher naval limitaions.
France and Italy were basically out of the naval race after WW1 due to be virtually broke, Britain was not much better than them. They all had major social expenses to meet (such as war widow and children, war invalids, service pensions, housing, a baby boom and a working class who believed they had done their bit for the country and wanted more in life than their previous "factory sweat shops, coal mines and tenement slums'.
Japans big naval expenditure was based on the income received for supporting the Allies with manufactured war good that the Europeans could not make at the time. In the early 1920's Japan was in a recession to the point of food riots in many cities.
The USA could afford its naval programs but did not have the social will or political desire to fulfil this and was moving into isolationism.
There was also a huge anti-war movement around the world as a reaction to the destruction of WW1 and part of this included the British Vs German naval race for being a major contributor to the war.
Had the Naval treaties failed to be taken up by the various government of the time or no arms limitations at all, it is highly likely that the politicians responsible would have been voted out and those politicians who supported arms limitation would take over and that cutting down on military expenditure would become more entrenched as an election tool.
There were many who supported getting rid on the battleships etc completely and limiting warships to small cruiser size (about 6,000 tons).
Had the various arms limitation treaties not placated to anti war movement it is likely that more stringent treaties would have been negotiated precluding all those big ship and designs of the 1920 and 1930 (and maybe latter) that the people who wish the treaties never existed dream about. Not only did the Naval treaties restrict navies they also help to keep them as a viable organisations.
Since every other British BB would literally be of no combat value in comparison with new ships - no.Question: is four Hoods, four G3 battlecruisers, four N3 battleships, Renown and Repulse a big enough battleship force for the inter-war Royal Navy? Can we take that to Washington and offer, in return, a phased scrapping of every other British BB?
It would probably result in the Hoods becoming the mould for the treaty battleship going forward, rather than the 35000ton limit that was apparently an arbitrary figure arrived upon but subtracting 10000tons from the 45000ton limit that had been discussed prior to the treaty.Just for a moment, let's pretend the economic shackles aren't as tight and we can build what we like within some constraint of reason.
I will assume that the faction which argues that the destruction of the BC's at Jutland was solely due to poor flash-tight procedure wins out, so all four Hoods get built.
Question: is four Hoods, four G3 battlecruisers, four N3 battleships, Renown and Repulse a big enough battleship force for the inter-war Royal Navy? Can we take that to Washington and offer, in return, a phased scrapping of every other British BB?
My understanding, and Im happy to be corrected if someone has access to more detailed information, that besides the issue of materials and labour being allocated to more urgent requirements, there was also the question mark over battlecruisers in general following Jutland.Even in this scenario it is the building of the 4 Hoods that appears the most unlikely; WW1 needs prevented the building capacity being available and as soon as over wouldn’t the promise (and taking into account the cost, even allowing for much greater budgets) of the N3s and G3s be that more appetising, especially in the context described.
I suppose the main, unexpected consequence, there the UK was concerned, was the reduction in maximum (standard) displacement under the treat from 45000tons to 35ooo tons and the building holiday that gutted the privately owned UK industry. Ironically the US, home of the free market etc. etc. had government owned navy yards and was able to better maintain capability than many, if not all, other countries, for the simple reason they did not need to make a profit to keep operating.The Hoods were a result of Jellioe wanting more Battlecruisers, inspired by war experience and new German ships under construction (Mackensen class). Based on design work going on prior to that the weight of RN thought seems to have been in the direction of fast battleships, evolutions of the QE with larger hulls, much reduced draught and increased freeboard intended to improve survivability against underwater damage. Renown, Repulse, Courageous Glorious and Furious being a Fisher driven diversion. Following the end of the major design work on those vessels in October 1915 Controller of the Navy, Rear Admiral Frederick Tudor requested DNC to look at fast battleships, this appears to directly pick up on work being done in October 1914. Jellicoe wrote a long memorandum stating that he had superiority in battleships but not in battlecruisers, he probably knew about the disappointing speed performance (largely due to them being overweight) of the Queen Elizabeth class by then too, leading to Hood. She received a redesign after Jutland but she was still designed against German construction so she ceased to be relevant to new British construction once the German threat had been removed. By that time the Japanese were working on the Nagato class and the Americans were working on the Colorados, South Dakotas and Lexingtons, all with 16" guns, so something new and different was required. Essentially, the G3s were designed against the Lexingtons and N3s against the South Dakotas.
This gets us to the fundamentals of battleship races, they were symmetrical responses along two dimensions; ship capability (firepower, protection and speed) and numbers. Thats why by mid 1914, through various country's stated fleet strength ratios against their rivals and planned (sometimes legally fixed) construction programmes, the European powers were on a path to having a combined total of over 200 capital ships by 1920.
The key to the Washington treaty is that it was not an imposition, it came about because it satisfied a desire on the part of all the signatories to avoid the sort of naval race that took place in Europe prior to WW1. Neither France nor Italy could afford to complete the ships they had on the slipways already, the UK could have afforded new construction but was already concerned about its fiscal position and could never have kept up with the US if had gone all in, as it turned out the US had no desire to do such a thing anyway. The Japanese were offered sufficient naval strength and other promises (e.g. the Four Power Pact) that they, just about, felt it offered them the security and prestige they had been looking for. There is a a lot of generality there but the key point is that the Washington Treaty was a paper incarnation of the thinking and objectives of the major powers at the time, shaped as they were by isolationism (US), expansionism (Japan), fiscal reality (UK, Italy and France) and commitment to multilateral progress towards peace (all except Japan).
Well there is discussion and then there is one upmanship and blinkered conservatism (as in unwillingness to accept alternatives, not the political connotation). Three months ago who would have believed right leaning economic rationalist governments would be enacting stimulus policies that would shock the average socialist? Reality plus a shock can change many things very very quickly.So Jebmiba it's all OK to express one personal "fantasies", but its not alright to challenge these "alternative time lines" with reasons they would not work, interesting...…..
Quoting your mixed message above "We all should have leaned to accept other opinions" but then you condemn others who would put forward reasoned challenges to the ideas being expressed by others. Yes some people may (oh so easily) demolish the wilder "alternative history bit with facts that would still be applicable in this other realties.
Economics, politics, technology and society are the driving forces behind military expenditure and will still affect what is considered as military equipment even in alternative realities (No money means no ships, planes, tanks etc), So when some says why didn't Britain build XXX, they need to explain how this would be possible.
Often the replies are not "clinging to reality" but questioning how such idea's can come about.
Jeniba, WHATS WRONG WITH YOU in that you cannot accept other people opinions when they don't align with you desires for the discussion. as you say above there is the ignore button then use it yourself.
Speculation about what could have happened in the past is a good thing but too often person fantasies drive these ideas rather than considered thought as to what really were the alternatives. When something is clearly impossible with the nation, its resources politics and society it id not alternative history but fiction or fantasy.
Yes there are people who get upset when their cherished idea's are shown to be impractical, improbable or impossible but instead of getting upset maybe they should try and learn from the responses that do not agree with they rather than concentrate on the likes etc their idea gets,
Also quite a number of alternative "alternative histories" would be more appropriate if placed on the Wesworld site because they are more fantasy as opposed to alternative history, That site is where there are no economic, political, social etc barriers to having a huge navy of battleships, battlecruiser etc no matter how tiny or impoverish you nation is.
Jemiba your post is quite offensive and remind me a lot of how the now defunct "Warship Discussion" website faded then died as it became overwhelmed with fantasy idea's. often which seemed to be generated by pre or early adolescent boys and any challenge was met with hostility, until it no longer had much relevance to Warships, their development and technology. Is Secret projects moving towards this fate?