Royal Navy got Essex carriers - with a twist.

Archibald

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We all agree that second-hand Essex are non-starters for the RN for the following reasons
- they were worn out
- they had wooden decks - no good for Spey Phantoms
- they were manpower intensive (3000 + crews)

So I propose my usual trick - Franklin and Bunker Hill. I was wondering, could you rebuild them to make them "Audacious-class compatible" ?

Plans for rebuild existed, but at USN standards - trying to push them toward Midways capabilities. I suggest instead to strip Ark Royal, Victorious, Centaur-class, anything available, and use that british hardware to make the two US carriers more British like.

The long term goal is to get a three carrier fleet made of Eagle, Bunker Hill and Franklin. F-4K-Phantomized, of course.

In exchange for the carriers, the British get a deal with Allison for more Speys / TF41, for A-7D/E in priority. and then they grow more ambitious, and the F-111, then Tomcat, get TF41s, too.

The USN now understand the value of refurbished Essex and decide to get some British Phantoms under licence, on the deck of the last Essex extended up to 1980, when Reagan 600 ship navy will ensure their future for another decade...

Thought ?
 

Dilandu

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They could at least a bit... but problem is, RN have not exactly much money, and too many priorities like escort fleet and nuclear deterrence.
 

uk 75

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The RN carrier issue is that it only has manpower for one carrier in the 70s and 80s with another sometimes.. The three Invincible CVS were very occasionally all crewed up (or at least photographed together).
The US position is even simpler, nothing except a Nimitz will do (Midway and Coral Sea get a new lease of life with F18s but Essex only useful as training carrier).
 

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SSgtC

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I guess it depends on how "British" you want to make them. To get them anything close to UK standard means an entirely new electrical system to be compatible with British standards. That's probably your most expensive item on the "to do" list. Replacing boilers and engines is pretty much DOA since now you're rapidly approaching the point when building a new carrier is not only easier, but cheaper as well. So the American powerplant stays. They can use the SCB-125 plans for the elevators as a centreline forward elevator was in keeping with UK preference for operations in the North Sea. Instead of two bow C11 cats you probably see two BS5s installed in the traditional bow and waist locations preferred by the RN. After that, you're down to radar and radios and I would assume that whatever kit is RN standard at the time of the refit is what would get installed.
 

_Del_

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I just get a chuckle from the thought of our friends accepting the gift of a ship named for a battle the British won, but basically marked the start of the Revolutionary War in earnest.
 

Archibald

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I just get a chuckle from the thought of our friends accepting the gift of a ship named for a battle the British won, but basically marked the start of the Revolutionary War in earnest.

In the FFO timeline De Gaulle faction blast Petain defeatists and France moves to Algiers to keep fighting in June 1940.
By August after ferocious delaying fights metropolitan France has fallen entirely... minus Corsica island.
To bomb Mussolini the british suggest to base Wellington bombers there... and De Gaulle casually joke "Ok but Napoleon will spin in its grave..."
 

Archibald

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That was brilliant, ain't it ?

Another good one is, the PODs being on June 6 and June 13 (the last date essentially see De Gaulle Free France prevailing over Pétain's Vichy) then De Gaulle never flies to London from Bordeaux on June 17, 1940. To speak on the radio the next day.

Yet ITTL some mysterious guy (out of a TARDIS ?) come to see De Gaulle in Tours (not London !) on June 18, 1940 and ask him "Hey, my General, didn't you have a speech on the radio today ?"

De Gaulle give him a blank stare - as if he was crazy... and guess what De Gaulle says ?

"Why would I speak on the radio today ? On June 14, I explained the French people we will keep fighting from Algiers. Or maybe you want me to commemorate Waterloo battle anniversary ?"
 

1Big Rich

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We all agree that second-hand Essex are non-starters for the RN for the following reasons
- they were worn out
- they had wooden decks - no good for Spey Phantoms
- they were manpower intensive (3000 + crews)

So I propose my usual trick - Franklin and Bunker Hill. I was wondering, could you rebuild them to make them "Audacious-class compatible" ?

Plans for rebuild existed, but at USN standards - trying to push them toward Midways capabilities. I suggest instead to strip Ark Royal, Victorious, Centaur-class, anything available, and use that british hardware to make the two US carriers more British like.

The long term goal is to get a three carrier fleet made of Eagle, Bunker Hill and Franklin. F-4K-Phantomized, of course.

In exchange for the carriers, the British get a deal with Allison for more Speys / TF41, for A-7D/E in priority. and then they grow more ambitious, and the F-111, then Tomcat, get TF41s, too.

The USN now understand the value of refurbished Essex and decide to get some British Phantoms under licence, on the deck of the last Essex extended up to 1980, when Reagan 600 ship navy will ensure their future for another decade...

Thought ?

Great topic!

As I recall, the Essex proposed for the RN were ships that were not rebuilt to SC-27 or SC-125, with little service time on them. The idea was giving the RN the base Essex, they could rebuild them as they liked, without having to conform or alter what the USN had already done. Franklin and Bunker Hill would have been good candidates. Leyte or Princeton might be a third. But the RN had doubts about the rebuilt ships lasting 18 years. Most of the American rebuilds lasted that long, so in hindsight that would not have been an issue.

Oriskany
had part of her flight deck replaced with metal, and the ships are to be rebuilt in any case, so I don't see the wood as an issue. With the hangar floor as the strength deck, the old flight deck is stripped and a new superstructure, including metal flight deck added. I would note as well, trials for the E-2 Hawkeye were conducted aboard Oriskany. The Phantom and the Hawkeye are close in Maximum Take-Off Weight, so I thihk with the right arrestor gear and the right catapult length, Phantoms would be possible, though it would be tight.

My thoughts,
 

uk 75

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An alt timeline that would make an Essex class deal possible is one in which Ark Royal and Eagle are never completed and the RN has only Victorious, Hermes, and Centaur in service as carriers by 1962.
In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Nixon (yes he won in this alt) is persuaded to offer PM Macmillan the Essexes mentioned above as a sweetner for scrapping Skybolt. In this alt, there is no Polaris programme. TSR2 development to carry Blue Water (already entering service with BAOR and UKLFFE) is the replacement, with V bombers getting the weapon too.
Mountbatten persuades a reluctant PM to accept the Essex deal. The ships are extensively rebuilt by John Brown, Harland and Wolff and Cammell Laird.
Nixon and Curtis Le May's ultimatum to Kruschev (Missiles out or we start bombing round the clock) means that MAD rather than Flexible Response is NATO doctrine. France stays in NATO and is later offered Essexes too.
The RN ships carry nuclear capable 1154 Ospreys and Buccaneers.
 

kaiserd

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An alt timeline that would make an Essex class deal possible is one in which Ark Royal and Eagle are never completed and the RN has only Victorious, Hermes, and Centaur in service as carriers by 1962.
In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Nixon (yes he won in this alt) is persuaded to offer PM Macmillan the Essexes mentioned above as a sweetner for scrapping Skybolt. In this alt, there is no Polaris programme. TSR2 development to carry Blue Water (already entering service with BAOR and UKLFFE) is the replacement, with V bombers getting the weapon too.
Mountbatten persuades a reluctant PM to accept the Essex deal. The ships are extensively rebuilt by John Brown, Harland and Wolff and Cammell Laird.
Nixon and Curtis Le May's ultimatum to Kruschev (Missiles out or we start bombing round the clock) means that MAD rather than Flexible Response is NATO doctrine. France stays in NATO and is later offered Essexes too.
The RN ships carry nuclear capable 1154 Ospreys and Buccaneers.
in your scenarios probably more than 50/50 that the Cuban Missile ends “less than ideally” (we all end up dead). Hence transfers of carriers, not so much.....
 

Archibald

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We all agree that second-hand Essex are non-starters for the RN for the following reasons
- they were worn out
- they had wooden decks - no good for Spey Phantoms
- they were manpower intensive (3000 + crews)

So I propose my usual trick - Franklin and Bunker Hill. I was wondering, could you rebuild them to make them "Audacious-class compatible" ?

Plans for rebuild existed, but at USN standards - trying to push them toward Midways capabilities. I suggest instead to strip Ark Royal, Victorious, Centaur-class, anything available, and use that british hardware to make the two US carriers more British like.

The long term goal is to get a three carrier fleet made of Eagle, Bunker Hill and Franklin. F-4K-Phantomized, of course.

In exchange for the carriers, the British get a deal with Allison for more Speys / TF41, for A-7D/E in priority. and then they grow more ambitious, and the F-111, then Tomcat, get TF41s, too.

The USN now understand the value of refurbished Essex and decide to get some British Phantoms under licence, on the deck of the last Essex extended up to 1980, when Reagan 600 ship navy will ensure their future for another decade...

Thought ?

Great topic!

As I recall, the Essex proposed for the RN were ships that were not rebuilt to SC-27 or SC-125, with little service time on them. The idea was giving the RN the base Essex, they could rebuild them as they liked, without having to conform or alter what the USN had already done. Franklin and Bunker Hill would have been good candidates. Leyte or Princeton might be a third. But the RN had doubts about the rebuilt ships lasting 18 years. Most of the American rebuilds lasted that long, so in hindsight that would not have been an issue.

Oriskany had part of her flight deck replaced with metal, and the ships are to be rebuilt in any case, so I don't see the wood as an issue. With the hangar floor as the strength deck, the old flight deck is stripped and a new superstructure, including metal flight deck added. I would note as well, trials for the E-2 Hawkeye were conducted aboard Oriskany. The Phantom and the Hawkeye are close in Maximum Take-Off Weight, so I thihk with the right arrestor gear and the right catapult length, Phantoms would be possible, though it would be tight.

My thoughts,

I was self-obsessed with the two crippled WWII veterans sitting in mothballs (BH & Franklin). Now if more Essex can join the party, then - the more the merrier.
 

uk 75

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An alt timeline that would make an Essex class deal possible is one in which Ark Royal and Eagle are never completed and the RN has only Victorious, Hermes, and Centaur in service as carriers by 1962.
In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Nixon (yes he won in this alt) is persuaded to offer PM Macmillan the Essexes mentioned above as a sweetner for scrapping Skybolt. In this alt, there is no Polaris programme. TSR2 development to carry Blue Water (already entering service with BAOR and UKLFFE) is the replacement, with V bombers getting the weapon too.
Mountbatten persuades a reluctant PM to accept the Essex deal. The ships are extensively rebuilt by John Brown, Harland and Wolff and Cammell Laird.
Nixon and Curtis Le May's ultimatum to Kruschev (Missiles out or we start bombing round the clock) means that MAD rather than Flexible Response is NATO doctrine. France stays in NATO and is later offered Essexes too.
The RN ships carry nuclear capable 1154 OspreyIs and Buccaneers.
in your scenarios probably more than 50/50 that the Cuban Missile ends “less than ideally” (we all end up dead). Hence transfers of carriers, not so much.....
I really must stop taking these Alternate History subjects so lightly.. Had thought the clue to how likely it was is in the idea of Nixon R winning. I would rate the whole of my scenario as less than 25/100.
 

lordroel

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I was self-obsessed with the two crippled WWII veterans sitting in mothballs (BH & Franklin). Now if more Essex can join the party, then - the more the merrier.

As u recall, the 1965 proposal was to send three of the un-rebuilt Essex class to the RN.

Regards,

Wonder what they could be name, something that reflects UK-US relations.
 
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