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Following a link posted from Jemiba (thanks a lot for it)

I found a what looks like a super british battleship but I can't identify it. Any idea?

Thanks in advance


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The top one is the 20-inch gunned "Incomparable" battlecruiser. The other two are G3 and L3 (I think?) - 1921 battlecruiser and battleship proposals.

The lower one looks more like the N3 design instead I think. L3 had a more conventional arrangement.

Some information on Fisher's HMS Incomparable design can be found here. We've had a look at the design a few times on the warshipprojects forum and thought that the 6x20" armament is a bit optimistic. With 6x18" it becomes more realistic.


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I always seem to be throwing cold water on Incomparable, but as this site is I understand intended to be an archive of what was truly contemplated at the time, rather than others' designs, look at
(I did ask Bob Henneman, but the AON idea was just another among the many alternatives invented later, by others.
As this is chiefly an aircraft site, re the extract from Fisher's 'Records' in the link above, d'Eyncourt was the Royal Navy Director of Naval Construction at the time, designer of Renown and of Glorious etc, among many others)

The others are G3 and N3 See Warship numbers 1 to 4 about 20years ago for details:
Washington's Cherry Trees by John Campbell
Thanks for the info Gentlemen.

Incomparable should have been an appropiated name for that ship. At 308m lenght it was a very big ship for a 1915 design (Yamato was 263 m, Iowa was 270 m and Nimitz is 333 m).

According to Tony Gibbons "The complete encyclopedia of Battleships and Battlecruisers" Ed Salamander, "She might have proved an effective shore bombardment unit but her combat value was dubious"
Yes, you can also find carrier 'conversions' on the sites where people design their own developments.
But for real conversions you need real hulls. Incomparable never got a blueprint, let alone a keel plate.
Even the 'details' on are largely imaginary.
Out of interest, does anyone know what, if any discussion there was on the dry dock issue for Incomparable project?
PMN1 said:
Out of interest, does anyone know what, if any discussion there was on the dry dock issue for Incomparable project?

I don't think the scheme was advanced enough so that thought was given to the reality of trying to build the thing. The 850ft of Hood was a fairly hard limit. If only some 900-1000ft docks had been built in the early 1900s, a lot of subsequent problems could have been avoided.
The battleship technological race was remarkable. HMS Dreadnought lenght from 1905 was 160 m while HMS Incomparable figure was 308 m only ten years later. It almost doubled!. A challenge for all associated land facilities.
From RA
If only some 900-1000ft docks had been built in the early 1900s
From pometablava
HMS Dreadnought length from 1905 was 160 m [=525ft]
It is unrealistic in the early 1900's (when UK Government was continually trying to cut the Naval Estimates) to expect funding for docks nearly twice as long as the biggest warships.
John Campbell's articles on the G3 and 1921 forerunner designs in Warship 1-4 give some details of what docks were available for these large ships; I3 over 900ft IIRC.
I don't think the scheme was advanced enough so that thought was given to the reality of trying to build the thing

The length of dry docks wasn't so much an issue for construction as for maintenance. "Dreadnoughts in Camera" has some phots of a "bridge" built over the shipyard railway to carry the bow end of the R-class battlecruisers, as they were too long to fit on the building slip...

Yes, the phrase in Campbell's articles is "docks they could enter..."
For completeness?
Re-reading First Sea Lord: an authorised biography of Admiral Lord Fisher by Richard Hough, 1969 opposite p298 is a photograph of a rough sketch made by Fisher at 3am, Sept 17, 1912.
This is of a 660ft, 700ft overall battlecruiser 10x16in guns with lots of notes handwritten all over, one of which says:
16in armour on citadel and belt,
and another
Jam up the citadel all that is possible right in the centre of hull - and squeeze the last inch in space so as to lessen amount of 16in armour.
I believe this to be the origin of the idea that there was an AON version of Incomparable 1915, 1000ft, with 16in armour and guns.

I've edited this slightly, as I fouled it up a bit first time.
HMS Incomparable

General characteristics

Displacement: 46,000 tons normal
Length: 1000 ft (304 m)
Beam: 104 ft (27 m)
Draught: 24 ft (10 m)
Propulsion: Brown-Curtis geared turbines, Yarrow oil-fired boilers, making 180,000 shp
Speed: 35 knots maximum
Armament: Six 20-inch guns in three double turrets Fifteen QF 4-inch guns in five triple mounts Nine QF 3-ounder (1.8 inch) guns

Eight 21-inch torpedo tubes underwater
Armour: Main belt 11-inch Armoured deck 4-inch

Barbettes 14-inch
Notes: range of 24,000 nm at 10 knots


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As those seemingly precise data may lead someone to believe in the seriousness of the design
of HMS Incomparable, I just want to remind to smurfs objection in post #3 of this thread !
"Jacky" Fisher without doubt widely influenced the development of warships in dreadnought era
and I wouldn't deny him a certain knowledge of warship design, but looking at his career, I think,
he wasn't really a designer, but sometimes probably just sketched his own ideas, being them
practical or not in reality. Reminds me a little bit of those "designs" drawn by Emperor Wilhel II.,
Thanks Jemiba.
Since the above post, I've had an opportunity to look in the Fisher Papers in the Churchill Archives at Cambridge University.
I am wholly convinced that Incomparable was a Jackie Fisher "Own Design" with various versions over the years, none of which ever got very near a real designer, though there were some letters to and from Fisher after his resignation early in 1915, about 20in guns, while a rather similar concept is in Sir George Thurston's notebooks at the National Maritime Museum, offered as a battlecruiser concept design by Vickers to Japan in 1920. But Japan was quite able to do her own designs by then.
So, in short:
Incomparable was a fantastically fruitful source of speculation, other people's much later views on how it might have been made to work, reconstructed for WWII, converted to a carrier, etc etc,
Incomparable as a real design, beyond the lower picture in Triton's post, which Fisher himself described as "a rough sketch ... good enough for shore-going people to give them the idea" NOTHING
Incomparable seems to be the most extreme British Battleship design (including the N3/G3 line), where as other countries in more extreme designs the US Tillmans, German H's and Japanese 20" BB's. The only other RN design which seemed to "go large" was the 12x16"; 16E IIRC and the ultimate design of the Lion's.

Where there any more extreme designs or proposals for the RN?
What was the response to Fisher's HMS Incomparable proposal circa 1914-16? Did it seem conceivable back then or did it seem outlandish and ridiculous at the time?
JohnR Do you include L2, L3, K2, K3 and I3 in the G3/N3 sequence?
Otherwise, you might have a look at

Triton: There was almost no mention of Incomparable in the literature of the time. RN capital ship design office was fully occupied with the design of Renown and Repulse, wanted in a tearing hurry and just about keeping ahead of the builders. Then Fisher resigned early 1915 over the Dardanelles, and that was that. There was a war on. I suspect the DNC breathed a sigh of relief. I think it is all covered in my last post and the earlier one which Jemiba pointed to, even by Fisher's own comments beneath the Oscar Parkes drawing.

If you want to see what I mean by speculation, go to the Warship projects site and simply do a search for "Incomparable".
You'll see what Hoo-2b-2day meant about that site, as well.

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