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RN Cruisers postwar

uk 75

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One of the hallmarks of the postwar RN was its continuing love affair with the gun cruiser. This leads to three gun equipped Tigers and HMS Belfast still being in service in the early 60s. Had the conversions worked, Swiftsure and Superb would have joined them (Triang Minic ships in 1/1200 scale assumed they had!).
Should the RN have given up these ships earlier, perhaps in favour of keeping helicopter carriers (Ocean and Theseus) and ordering more destroyers and frigates?
 

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Had the conversions worked, Swiftsure and Superb would have joined them.
I'm not sure I follow. Were Lion, Tiger and Blake considered unsuccessful as gun cruisers?
 

uk 75

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Sorry my bad writing I meant had the conversions of S and S been successful.
Though, I am not sure the Tiger's complicated guns were all that successful.
 

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Had the conversions worked, Swiftsure and Superb would have joined them.
I'm not sure I follow. Were Lion, Tiger and Blake considered unsuccessful as gun cruisers?
Their twin 6" primary gun mounts were horrifically unreliable, and a fatal accident occurred on Lion. Their construction history is a very unhappy one, IIRC from Friedman. They were completed long after laying down and not to their original blueprints, and then their refit into helicopter cruisers was also not the cheapest, most smoothly managed of projects.
 

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The retention of cruisers in the RN into the 60s is attributed somewhere to Earl Mountbatten.
 

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One of the hallmarks of the postwar RN was its continuing love affair with the gun cruiser. This leads to three gun equipped Tigers and HMS Belfast still being in service in the early 60s.
I really doubt that it was "love affair"; it seems actually more like forced solution. Their guided missiles just weren't ready, and with all the efforts put into developing the 6-inch DP/QF mounts, Navy was just unwilling to give them up. Especially after 1956, when Royal Navy realized how badly it out-tech'ed by USSR.
 

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Well, Russia had the Sverdlovs, which the Admiralty saw as excellent commerce raiders.
Most ironic, that our navy never even considered any kind of surface commerce raiding operation at all. ;) The closest things that actually existed in Soviet doctrine were fast sorties against enemy amphibious invasion fleets or convoys, commenced by cruiser & destroyer forces.
 

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Had the conversions worked, Swiftsure and Superb would have joined them.
I'm not sure I follow. Were Lion, Tiger and Blake considered unsuccessful as gun cruisers?
Their twin 6" primary gun mounts were horrifically unreliable, and a fatal accident occurred on Lion. Their construction history is a very unhappy one, IIRC from Friedman. They were completed long after laying down and not to their original blueprints, and then their refit into helicopter cruisers was also not the cheapest, most smoothly managed of projects.
Depends on which version. The hydraulic actuated guns had teething problems and were quite leaky but the electrically actuated ones from what I have come across seem to have worked like champs.

Navweapons has a nice little blurb from a former member of one of the gun crews
 

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Depends on which version. The hydraulic actuated guns had teething problems and were quite leaky but the electrically actuated ones from what I have come across seem to have worked like champs.
L
Well, considering that they build only six combat-ready mounts, essentially they weren't far from prototypes...
 

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A deeper view is that development of an automatic 6" is not necessarily a bad thing, but development of a twin only mount is very prohibitive.

A single mount would potentially be applicable to smaller ships, such as the later Cruiser Destroyer concept
 

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A single mount would potentially be applicable to smaller ships, such as the later Cruiser Destroyer concept
I'm not sure. Firstly, it took till the late 1950s, to make those guns work even on cruisers. By that time, the idea of gun-armed warships was generally viewed as obsolete; as anti-air and anti-surface weapon, "SeaSlug" was clearly more promising, and the shore bombardment role seems to be taken by tactical nukes.

Secondly, the whole mount was about 150 tons. Even assuming that the single-barrel version would be 2/3 lighter, it would still be about 50 tons. More than dual 4,5-inch QF Mark V - and capable of only about 15-17 shells per minute per gun. A bit... too heavy for destroyers, even for rather large "County" (which was the direct descendant of cruiser-destroyer concept)
 

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I think freed from the need to mount twins of 150tons the design and redesign of ships would be much easier.

So I don't agree.

What I might add in is it was probably simpler and quicker to have focused on 3.7-5.25" guns accepting that the 6" wasn't the way forward in the 1940's.
 

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Not sure 3.7-5.25 inch guns would be any simpler or quicker given the rate of fire requirements for naval guns at this time. Both the 3 inch Mk 6 and 6 inch Mk N5 took a long time to enter service (although this may have also been due to a lack of suitable hulls, and the dislocation caused by the Korean war) whereas the 5 inch Mk N1 would have required considerable development to development to become reality.

The Cruisers maintained their relevance post H-Bomb because of their use in Limited Wars East of Suez.
 

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The Cruisers maintained their relevance post H-Bomb because of their use in Limited Wars East of Suez.
Yes, but not exactly for long. One of the reason why "Tiger"'s were eventually rebuild into helicopter carriers was exactly because as they were - they have very limited usefulness in large-scale nuclear warfare.
 

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A single mount would potentially be applicable to smaller ships, such as the later Cruiser Destroyer concept
I'm not sure. Firstly, it took till the late 1950s, to make those guns work even on cruisers. By that time, the idea of gun-armed warships was generally viewed as obsolete; as anti-air and anti-surface weapon, "SeaSlug" was clearly more promising, and the shore bombardment role seems to be taken by tactical nukes.

Secondly, the whole mount was about 150 tons. Even assuming that the single-barrel version would be 2/3 lighter, it would still be about 50 tons. More than dual 4,5-inch QF Mark V - and capable of only about 15-17 shells per minute per gun. A bit... too heavy for destroyers, even for rather large "County" (which was the direct descendant of cruiser-destroyer concept)

Essentially mounting a single barrel from a Des Moines. It could be done.. and the USMC dearly wanted big caliber NGFS
 

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I think that these efforts in 3" and 6" guns are both a continuation of pre-war and during the war processes.
Yet the 5.25" seems the preferred DP gun, other factors inteuded.
While there seems to have been 3.7" naval mount explored institutional inertia prevented reaching for this successful army weapon.

The ideal at the times (late 40's to early 1950's) is the Green Mace and US Zeus.
Green Mace being ultimately aimed at 5.44" and Zeus using 8" L55 guns to fire sabotaged guided 4" rounds. Though it's highly feasible to fold the fins and get it down below 6"......

During the Cruiser Destroyer process, a fallback to using the Swedish 120mm (4.7") was seriously considered. It's a shame that the automation efforts never complimented the Swedish twin with a single mount.
 

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Yet the 5.25" seems the preferred DP gun, other factors inteuded.
In general, it was more optimized for hitting aerial targets, than 6-inch gun. Since the range was not a question anymore - any object that 5-inch gun could not reach would probably be too far for 6-inch gun too - the main focus switched from squadron defense to ship's self-defense, and in that 5-inch was just better.

Green Mace being ultimately aimed at 5.44" and Zeus using 8" L55 guns to fire sabotaged guided 4" rounds. Though it's highly feasible to fold the fins and get it down below 6"......
Maybe, but problem is, that by the time 6-inch QF guns were commissioned, the short-range missiles were already in service, and the idea of fin-stabilized long-range AA shell - even guided one - lost its appeal.

If, for example, Terrier were never born and Zeus would come into service instead - yes, then it is possible that RN would try to obtain them for 6-inch guns.
 

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The Cruisers maintained their relevance post H-Bomb because of their use in Limited Wars East of Suez.
Yes, but not exactly for long. One of the reason why "Tiger"'s were eventually rebuild into helicopter carriers was exactly because as they were - they have very limited usefulness in large-scale nuclear warfare.
It's important to remember that the only serious shooting war the Royal Navy has fought on its own since WW2 was a conventional one requiring shore bombardment. I vaguely recall there was talk at the time of bringing Blake out of mothballs, but there were too many things which needed fixing and they concluded it would be impossible to bring her up to full operational status before the war was over.

Even the Seaslug ships never got to fire their missiles in anger against enemy aircraft.
 

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It's important to remember that the only serious shooting war the Royal Navy has fought on its own since WW2 was a conventional one requiring shore bombardment.
Well, yes, but nobody could predict that. In 1950-1960s, the risk of new global war was pretty realistic for military and civilian leadership. And was their biggest worry.

Again, it was assumed in 1950s, that the goals of shore bombardment in near future would be solved by air strikes or tactical nuclear weapons.

I vaguely recall there was talk at the time of bringing Blake out of mothballs, but there were too many things which needed fixing and they concluded it would be impossible to bring her up to full operational status before the war was over.
Yep, there were consideration about the remaining cruisers. They were even docked, and found to be in very good conditions, so the idea was to deploy them - not only as fire support, but also as "forward Harrier carriers", forward-deployed platforms on which "Harriers" could land to refuel. But it would be problematic to crew them, and it would clearly took too long to recommission them.

Still, they were the important naval reserve; in case RN suffered serious losses at Falkland (for example, if carriers would be damaged), those cruisers may be rushed into service to replace them.
 

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Even the Seaslug ships never got to fire their missiles in anger against enemy aircraft.
If I recall correctly, HMS "Antrim" fired a Sea Slug missile against A-4 Skyhawk, but missed. Royal Navy held Sea Slug armed ships as the last-ditch reserve; if I recall correctly, there were some worries that Argentinean - who have the same Sea Dart missiles as RN - MAY find some kind of overlooked vulnerability in Sea Dart, and thus deny British their main air defense system. In that case, Sea Slug was supposed to serve as replacement.
 

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It's important to remember that the only serious shooting war the Royal Navy has fought on its own since WW2 was a conventional one requiring shore bombardment.
Well, yes, but nobody could predict that. In 1950-1960s, the risk of new global war was pretty realistic for military and civilian leadership. And was their biggest worry.

Again, it was assumed in 1950s, that the goals of shore bombardment in near future would be solved by air strikes or tactical nuclear weapons.
In the 1950s and 60s Britain was involved in numerous Colonial and Post-Colonial conflicts (and indeed they were the only conflicts they were involved in). As has been pointed out elsewhere on this forum, new equipment like CVA-01 and the Type 19 Frigate were designed mainly for use East of Suez in those types of wars, not for use against the Soviet Union (and given the emphasis by both sides on Massive Retaliation, none that equipment was likely to be all that useful).
 

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In the 1950s and 60s Britain was involved in numerous Colonial and Post-Colonial conflicts (and indeed they were the only conflicts they were involved in). As has been pointed out elsewhere on this forum, new equipment like CVA-01 and the Type 19 Frigate were designed mainly for use East of Suez in those types of wars, not for use against the Soviet Union (and given the emphasis by both sides on Massive Retaliation, none that equipment was likely to be all that useful).
Yes, but the Falklands was a straight-up fight of a scale that the post-Colonial stuff can't begin to compare to. That was an open, full-scale air, sea and land battle with ships sunk on both sides. Show me where else that happened.
 

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In the 1950s and 60s Britain was involved in numerous Colonial and Post-Colonial conflicts (and indeed they were the only conflicts they were involved in). As has been pointed out elsewhere on this forum, new equipment like CVA-01 and the Type 19 Frigate were designed mainly for use East of Suez in those types of wars, not for use against the Soviet Union (and given the emphasis by both sides on Massive Retaliation, none that equipment was likely to be all that useful).
Yes, but let's not forget, that eventually the preparedness to large warfare took priority again and again. The nuclear deterrence and convoy protection were much more important for Royal Navy than fighting colonial wars. Losing the colonial war meant just another embarrassment; being unprepared to major war meant utter catastrophe. Not to mention, that 1956 demonstrated quite clearly, that "nice, small colonial war" could suddenly quite easily turns into a conflict with superpower.

I.e. the problem was, that nobody could guarantee, that "those types of war" may suddenly change into "other type of war", and Britain could not afford to procure equipment that was not useful for large-scale warfare.
 

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Suez didn't stop because of USSR, Krushchov accepted Egypt was a lost cause over Suez Canal.
It was US pressure that actually humiliated the French and British.
 
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Suez didn't stop because of USSR, Krushchov accepted it Egypt was a loat cause over Suez Canal.
It was US pressure that actually humiliated the French and British.
It was both. British and French suddenly realized that US would not support their colonial escapades, and they may easily find themselves without American support in front of Very Angry Russian Bear. And thing was, that without US support, British, French and Israel forces, send against Egypt, could pretty easily suffer more than humiliation, but also a pretty hard pounding from USSR. Of course, the probability of direct confrontation was low - but it existed, and both London and Paris realized, that in that case they would be held responsible by their peoples for destroyed ships and killed men.
 

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Suez didn't stop because of USSR, Krushchov accepted it Egypt was a loat cause over Suez Canal.
It was US pressure that actually humiliated the French and British.
It was both. British and French suddenly realized that US would not support their colonial escapades, and they may easily find themselves without American support in front of Very Angry Russian Bear. And thing was, that without US support, British, French and Israel forces, send against Egypt, could pretty easily suffer more than humiliation, but also a pretty hard pounding from USSR. Of course, the probability of direct confrontation was low - but it existed, and both London and Paris realized, that in that case they would be held responsible by their peoples for destroyed ships and killed men.
Not really.
Soviet action was taking place in Hungary at this time.

USSR only attempted to throw it's weight in after US behaviour.

US would come to regret it's betrayal at Suez. France still does not forgive and UK establishment does not forget.
Allies around the world took note.
But in the UK some knew this was coming since '45 and a small cadre since '41.
 

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Even President Eisenhower years later admitted that stabbing the British and the French in the back was a massive blunder.
 

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In the 1950s and 60s Britain was involved in numerous Colonial and Post-Colonial conflicts (and indeed they were the only conflicts they were involved in). As has been pointed out elsewhere on this forum, new equipment like CVA-01 and the Type 19 Frigate were designed mainly for use East of Suez in those types of wars, not for use against the Soviet Union (and given the emphasis by both sides on Massive Retaliation, none that equipment was likely to be all that useful).
IIRC one of the Tigers was used to combat the rebels in the Brunei Revolt of the early 60s
 

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USSR only attempted to throw it's weight in after US behaviour.
Its probably hard to say who attempted to do what first; both sides claimed that it was their action that stopped the conflict, and the other side only followed. Still, the British and French realized, that they are not the superpowers anymore, and could not act without ensuring US support.
 
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USSR only attempted to throw it's weight in after US behaviour.
Its probably hard to say who attempted to do what first; both sides claimed that it was their action that stopped the conflict, and the other side only followed. Still, the British and French realized, that they are not the superpowers anymore, and could not act without ensuring US support.
Not really, US actions caused another run on the Pound and the threat of withdrawal of financial support was coupled with simulated air attacks against a British carrier.
This, especially the financial aspects forced the halt in operations. A halt on a very successful operation.
USSR wasn't going to war over Egypt, but it would have over Hungary. Without which it could not keep Tito, Hoxha and Ceaucescu in check. And losing them would mean losing Czechoslovakia, and losing Czechoslovakia risked losing Poland.
 

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I recall on another website there was discussion of whether HMS Tiger (or Blake?) would have beaten the Belgrano in a gunnery duel. I think Belgrano was thought to outrange the RN ship.
An RN cruiser sank an Egyptian ship in the Suez crisis I think.
Indonesia received a single Sverdlov with a second planned before Sukharno's fall. So, together with a carrier and a commando ship, a cruiser was in the Far East
 

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USSR only attempted to throw it's weight in after US behaviour.
Its probably hard to say who attempted to do what first; both sides claimed that it was their action that stopped the conflict, and the other side only followed. Still, the British and French realized, that they are not the superpowers anymore, and could not act without ensuring US support.
Not really, US actions caused another run on the Pound and the threat of withdrawal of financial support was coupled with simulated air attacks against a British carrier.
This, especially the financial aspects forced the halt in operations. A halt on a very successful operation.
USSR wasn't going to war over Egypt, but it would have over Hungary. Without which it could not keep Tito, Hoxha and Ceaucescu in check. And losing them would mean losing Czechoslovakia, and losing Czechoslovakia risked losing Poland.
The operation was militarily successful in the short term, but I don't see how Britain and France could maintain their occupation of Egypt indefinitely, especially with a hostile Egyptian populace. The backlash alone from other countries due to Suez had serious effects on Britain's ability sustain forces East of Suez, including the creation of "The Barrier" and the loss of the brand new SIGINT base in Sri Lanka.
 

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France, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden all had at least one gun armed cruiser.
 

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I recall on another website there was discussion of whether HMS Tiger (or Blake?) would have beaten the Belgrano in a gunnery duel. I think Belgrano was thought to outrange the RN ship.
An RN cruiser sank an Egyptian ship in the Suez crisis I think.
Indonesia received a single Sverdlov with a second planned before Sukharno's fall. So, together with a carrier and a commando ship, a cruiser was in the Far East
There this one.
 

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I recall on another website there was discussion of whether HMS Tiger (or Blake?) would have beaten the Belgrano in a gunnery duel. I think Belgrano was thought to outrange the RN ship.
An RN cruiser sank an Egyptian ship in the Suez crisis I think.
Indonesia received a single Sverdlov with a second planned before Sukharno's fall. So, together with a carrier and a commando ship, a cruiser was in the Far East
it had about 1KM more range.. the big difference is that Belgrano has 15 guns with ROF of 8-10 per minute and the Tigers had four with ROF of 20. It would be ugly
 

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it had about 1KM more range.. the big difference is that Belgrano has 15 guns with ROF of 8-10 per minute and the Tigers had four with ROF of 20. It would be ugly
I would think crew quality and maintenance capability would tilt the balance firmly in the RN’s favour, unless the guns packed in.
 

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Tigers had four with ROF of 20.
By 1982, the remaining cruisers have only one 6-inch turret left.

I would think crew quality and maintenance capability would tilt the balance firmly in the RN’s favour, unless the guns packed in.
Also the pre-duel missile strikes. RN cruiser would probably not went alone anyway; it would be supported by Exocet-armed destroyers and frigates, and both Sea Dart and Sea Slug was a formidable anti-surface weapon.
 

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However the radar and GDS on Blake would seriously outclass the Belgrano. If it was operational and with trained crew, the combination of radars, computer and guns would be correcting fall of shot before the first splash.
 
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