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RN Cruisers postwar

Dilandu

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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.
Well, considering how badly the Belgrano actually acted, I think that we could safely assume her crew to be badly trained and officers half-competent. I.e. her fire accuracy would probably be poor.
 

Volkodav

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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.
Exactly what I was thinking, its not about how many rounds you can fire, its about how many hit the intended target.

On the reliability of the Tigers 6" guns, a former colleague, who had served on one of the Tigers as a Midshipman Engineer in its last commission, told me that the loading system was driven by chains with alloy shear pins intended to prevent damage and excessive wear and tear. These pins used to shear a lot more often than intended or necessary, and were intended to be replaced with steel pins in war time. This was done prior to the last shoot before decommissioning and according to my colleague the guns emptied their magazines without an issue.
 

zen

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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.
Exactly what I was thinking, its not about how many rounds you can fire, its about how many hit the intended target.

On the reliability of the Tigers 6" guns, a former colleague, who had served on one of the Tigers as a Midshipman Engineer in its last commission, told me that the loading system was driven by chains with alloy shear pins intended to prevent damage and excessive wear and tear. These pins used to shear a lot more often than intended or necessary, and were intended to be replaced with steel pins in war time. This was done prior to the last shoot before decommissioning and according to my colleague the guns emptied their magazines without an issue.
That sounds like the 3". Though I've read about how rapid and effective the 6" with GDS was.
 

Volkodav

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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.
Exactly what I was thinking, its not about how many rounds you can fire, its about how many hit the intended target.

On the reliability of the Tigers 6" guns, a former colleague, who had served on one of the Tigers as a Midshipman Engineer in its last commission, told me that the loading system was driven by chains with alloy shear pins intended to prevent damage and excessive wear and tear. These pins used to shear a lot more often than intended or necessary, and were intended to be replaced with steel pins in war time. This was done prior to the last shoot before decommissioning and according to my colleague the guns emptied their magazines without an issue.
That sounds like the 3". Though I've read about how rapid and effective the 6" with GDS was.
It was the 6", he made the point that as this was the last 6" mount in the RN they were determined to fire off as much of the remaining ammunition stocks as they could. Apparently had there been a major stoppage the dynamic forces placed on the system without the shear pins would have done massive amounts of damage, requiring major along side time for repairs. Been a few years since he and I have had a chat but I still have him on LinkedIn so should touch base, that the thing I love about the industry is the amount of living history I get to absorb from people who actually served on, maintained, or on occasion built the ships we discuss.
 

zen

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I understand they used to take umbrellas into the hydraulic powered mounts. Such was the leakage.
 

bobtdwarf

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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.
oh good point
 

bobtdwarf

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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.
it would still be ugly as hell
 
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Nick Sumner

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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,
Did they need to? They could just have occupied the sparcely populated Canal Zone. A nice buffer zone between Egypt and Israel could have prevented bot the 6 Day and Yom Kippur wars.
 

Nick Sumner

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But in the UK some knew this was coming since '45 and a small cadre since '41.
And a really small cadre before that. IIRC, it was Robert Boothby who pointed out that 'We can no more rely on America than we can on Brazil' in about 1938.
 
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A Tentative Fleet Plan

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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,
Did they need to? They could just have occupied the sparcely populated Canal Zone. A nice buffer zone between Egypt and Israel could have prevented bot the 6 Day and Yom Kippur wars.
Britain pretty much did that from October 1951 to March 1956. The result was a low-level conflict that required sustaining a force of 70,000 in the Canal Zone and cost the lives of 54 British servicemen. The added hostility of the Egyptian populace after Operation Musketeer would have only made things even more untenable.
 

Purpletrouble

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And that was with supplies entering relatively freely from Egypt itself, having major bases to the North and South with associated supply sources.

Only bright side would be the French sharing the pain and the Israelies at our back on the Sinai side.

Give Egypt Soviet arms and a massive Govt backed insurgency we’d be screwed though and good luck to anything going through the Canal.

One of those cases we could kick in the door and blow through the house ectremely well - but no capacity to stay there. I think the West made that same mistake in the region again more recently...
 

Dilandu

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Britain pretty much did that from October 1951 to March 1956. The result was a low-level conflict that required sustaining a force of 70,000 in the Canal Zone and cost the lives of 54 British servicemen. The added
Not to mention that it would be extremely hard to explain the constant presence of foreign military force in Channel area as anything less than invasion and occupation. USSR would clearly use it in propaganda very efficiently. The political backkash would be enormous.
 

Grey Havoc

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The added hostility of the Egyptian populace after Operation Musketeer would have only made things even more untenable.
Unless the Soviets provided direct & heavy support to the rebels, they wouldn't have been able to do that much against garrison forces in the zone. All it would likely have achieved would be to give more ammunition to those in London and Paris who were arguing that Britain and France should put in place a new Egyptian King to help restore order in the country (much to the displeasure of the US State Department). However, it would have been interesting to see if a future Labour government had stayed the course with regards as to maintaining control over the canal.

The political backkash would be enormous.
Not really, especially given events in Eastern Europe and elsewhere at the time.
 

Hood

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Not sure how this discussion of Egyptian bases is really relevant to this topic.

I'm quite surprised at some of the naive posts on the Canal Zone.
It was unfeasible to maintain British bases in the Canal Zone, the Egyptians wanted rid of British troops and had for a long time (as early as pre-WW2). The riots that had occurred before the withdrawal in 1954 had made that clear, the troops dare not venture outside of their bases by that point. If Nasser hadn't of nationalised the canal the whole event would not of occurred, but they were denied a shareholding and the result was inevitable. Britain also tried to deny Persia a share of its oil resources and that led to a dodgy British-backed coup that ultimately ended up with far worse repercussions that we are still feeling today and they still lost control of the oil.

Having so many troops in Egypt was pointless, as has been pointed out already, direct Soviet attacks on the Canal seemed unlikely as they had a long way to travel before getting there and air attacks had to pass via NATO countries or Persia. Egypt and Israel had been at war since 1947, so having a British-controlled buffer was completely of no consequence at all. Cyprus was closer as an offensive bomber base for RAF V-bombers and no way would they ever of put nuclear weapons into the Canal Zone even if some kind of post-1956 presence had been maintained. Cyprus too was trying to throw off British rule at this time, Israel had kicked Britain out of Palestine a decade earlier. The game was up.
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

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Unless the Soviets provided direct & heavy support to the rebels, they wouldn't have been able to do that much against garrison forces in the zone. All it would likely have achieved would be to give more ammunition to those in London and Paris who were arguing that Britain and France should put in place a new Egyptian King to help restore order in the country (much to the displeasure of the US State Department).
The Soviets didn't need to provide support to any rebels. The Egyptian Government had already handed out weapons to the civilian populace during Musketeer and in the earlier occupation of the Canal Zone prior to 1956, British troops had regularly been sniped at by, amongst others, members of the Egyptian police.

However, it would have been interesting to see if a future Labour government had stayed the course with regards as to maintaining control over the canal.
An occupation that is dependent on one party maintaining power forever is untenable. You can not separate politics from a counterinsurgency campaign. They are inherently interlinked.
 

Purpletrouble

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Errr bases relevant to the idea ‘56 could have worked as politics aside (which is overwhelmingly the reason its wasn’t feasible), it wasn’t logistically supportable in an occupation of declared combat ops against Egyptian Govt, as at least prior to departure we were nominally there by permission/agreement and thus supplies came from within Egypt. A full occupation post landings was completely unsustainable militarily.
 

Purpletrouble

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Unless the Soviets provided direct & heavy support to the rebels, they wouldn't have been able to do that much against garrison forces in the zone. All it would likely have achieved would be to give more ammunition to those in London and Paris who were arguing that Britain and France should put in place a new Egyptian King to help restore order in the country (much to the displeasure of the US State Department).
The Soviets didn't need to provide support to any rebels. The Egyptian Government had already handed out weapons to the civilian populace during Musketeer and in the earlier occupation of the Canal Zone prior to 1956, British troops had regularly been sniped at by, amongst others, members of the Egyptian police.

However, it would have been interesting to see if a future Labour government had stayed the course with regards as to maintaining control over the canal.
An occupation that is dependent on one party maintaining power forever is untenable. You can not separate politics from a counterinsurgency campaign. They are inherently interlinked.
provision of artillery and rockets would have made the garrison’s position untenable as the response would have had to be on constant large scale offensive ops.

Imagine iraq/afghan where the host government is still at war with occupation force and almost zero local support with the “freindly” superpower doing nothing and probably undermining you and thus a free hand to the other unfreindly one to do everything to humiliate you. Vietnam being fought by the French alone. Then the US belatedly realises the error but now gets drawn in - a route to MAD. Hence why they were right to stop it.

Politically sustaining this was miles off the agenda for any uk party ever wanting to hold power. Eden was off his rocker doing this.

Anyway, rather off topic for cruisers!
 

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The discussions above of Suez ( the last time an RN cruiser sank an enemy ship) and the possible clash of Belgrano and a Tiger rather underline the emotional pull of the cruiser. The final sentence of William Golding's novel about kids on an island after the usual 50s nuke war has an RN officer resting his eyes on the trim cruiser in the distance.
It is perhaps no accident that the design of the Countys gives them the presence of a light cruiser
 

CNH

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To stir the pot a little further, Eden and Suez were rather like Bush and Iraq; easy to go in, but what is your game plan after that?
 

starviking

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To be honest, evacuating the Canal Zone was the problem. The UK should have said to Nasser: that’s a nice trick, recruiting a paramilitary police force with the express purpose of killing our troops. Next dead squaddie and we’re coming for you...
 

Hood

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Eden was ill and drugged with uppers and downers at the time. Plus he had a irrational dislike of Nasser. Mind you the French seemed equally eager to collude.

I don't think there was a longer-term plan for the afterwards, hopes that Nasser might get overthrown was a fantasy. I guess Nasser might of given back some shares but on his side he had the fact that neither Britain or France could force his acquiescence by occupying all of Egypt or Cairo. Neither was politically or militarily prepared to do that. The whole thing was sheer madness, the best plan was to see which way the wind was blowing and to have offered Egypt a share in the canal sooner, then if Nasser grabbed the whole lot they could have used more convincing moral indignation.
 

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It was the 6"
I've read an account that sounds exactly like this, and I was sure as God made little green apples that they were talking about the 3"/70 mount on one of the Canadian Terra Nova class. I didn't bookmark it, though, so I can't go back to check.
 
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Purpletrouble

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The overall answer is the RN should have built the 5” cruiser-destroyer, having binned Tigers and possibly even Darings. The investment in that hull gives you a gun ship until you want Sea Slug, but large enough to take it (& 984?) with the 5” gun the RN should have standardised on. Yes the 5” proposed was OTT, but focussing on one is better than all of 6”&4.5”&3”. None of which ever got the full development anyway and 4.5” survived by proxy really.
The C-D is what the non capital / non single purpose (frigates) “intermediate all capability” category merged into postwar, as growing destroyer sizes, the gunnery/sensor/seakeeping/range and endurance advantages of Dido types vs not much smaller later DDs and the (later) switch to volume intensive missiles rather than weight intensive numbers of turrets/TTs.

It isn’t hindsight as the C-D was proposed for these reasons!

The crew hungry and cramped old 6” ships looked nice and the RN’s cold war suited their limited capabilities, but spending more than bare minimum money was daft. To be fair, they didn’t really! The 18k Sea Slug 6” ship is beautiful and my fantasy fleet has a pair - but completely insane in the real world.
 

Volkodav

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It was the 6"
I've read an account that sounds exactly like this, and I was sure as God made little green apples that they were talking about the 3"/70 mount on one of the Canadian Terra Nova class. I didn't bookmark it, though, so I can't go back to check.
Well this was from the mouth of the V&V manager (and former RN MEO) of a project I worked on , who'd been a midshipman on one of the Tigers in its last commission. It was a very interesting project for a bloke like me due to the backgrounds of the grey beards I got to work with, always enjoyed listening to blokes who'd been there and done that, in particular on the technical side of things, it delivers many gems that are overlooked or misquoted in literature.
 

zen

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I think the 5" L70 was not easy and potentially plagued by excess barrel wear, but the 5" L56 was quite feasible.
 

Volkodav

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I think the 5" L70 was not easy and potentially plagued by excess barrel wear, but the 5" L56 was quite feasible.
Too bad they didn't stick with the 5.25", potentially rechambering and relining the barrels for US 5"/54 for commonality reasons down the track. Retain the twin as used on Vanguard and develop an automatic single mount. If all works out well, then an automatic twin for a modern take on Aresthusa / Dido.
 

zen

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However there was a land based mkI and MkII single mount for 10 rounds a minute.
So ideally a postwar single MkIII mount for 12-15 rounds a minute would be competitive with automatic 6". Especially if modified for shipboard use.
One might then go to full automation and water cooling to get 18-24 rpm.

Arguably this could benefit from Green Mace technology and be driven by a possible desire for Zeus with folding fins.

From there weight reduction would dominate any MkIV effort......

Could this in any way feed a Tank Destroyer gun using variant ammo?

Could this even see a NATO standard pushed by the UK for 133mm? Having the US resist in favour of the 5"?
 
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