US Navy Flying-Deck Cruiser (CF) (1930-1931)

Triton

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Artist impression and line drawing of proposed Flying-Deck Cruiser (CF) by the United States Navy Bureau of Construction and Repair from 1930.

General Characteristics

Displacement (tons): 10,000 tons
Length (feet): 630
Beam (feet): 65
Draft (feet): 20

Flight Deck Type: Flush with island
Flight Deck Length: 340 feet

Maximum Speed (knots): 32.5 kts

Aviation Facilities: Open bay Hangar Deck To reduce fire hazards
* Flight deck - Both flying on and off
* One elevator forward
* One set of arresting gear Aft of the Elevator

Shaft Horse Power: 80,000

Radius of Action: 10,000 NM at 15 kts NM = nautical mile

Armament/Battery Primary: 3 triple 6-inch gun turrets

Secondary armament for anti-air: 6 5-inch guns
* .50 cal machine guns - Machine guns were to beportable assemblies.

Armor:

* “All or none configuration.”

* “8-inch” protection around magazines. “8-inch” refers to protection against 8-inch shell fire at long ranges.

* “6-inch” protection around machinery, turrets, and barbettes. 6-inch refers to protection against fire at intermediate to shorter ranges from other light cruisers.

Aircraft:
18 - hangar stowage
34 - hangar and flight deck stowage
Fighter (VF) and Scout (VO) equal numbers of each.

Source: "CF Flying Deck Cruiser"
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/cf-specs.htm
 

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Triton

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CNO and the General Board design circa 1931.


General Characteristics

Displacement (tons): 10,000 tons
Length (feet): 627
Beam (feet): 65
Draft (feet): 20

Flight Deck Type: Aft with island
Flight Deck Length: 350 feet

Maximum Speed (knots): 32.5 kts

Aviation Facilities: Open bay Hangar Deck To reduce fire hazards
* Flight deck - Both flying on and off
* One elevator forward
* One set of arresting gear Aft of the Elevator

Shaft Horse Power: 80,000

Radius of Action: 10,000 NM at 15 kts NM = nautical mile

Armament/Battery Primary: 3 triple 6-inch gun turrets

Secondary armament for anti-air: 6 5-inch guns
* .50 cal machine guns - Machine guns were to be portable assemblies.
* 2 5-inch mounts aft

Armor:

6-inch” protection equal to that of a standard light cruiser. 6-inch refers to protection against fire at intermediate to shorter ranges from other light cruisers.

Aircraft:
24 VF and VO
Fighter (VF), Scout VO)

Source: "CF Flying Deck Cruiser"
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/cf-specs.htm

Conjectural Flying Deck Cruiser design model by 1250ships.com.
http://www.1250ships.com/test/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=27&products_id=803
 

Abraham Gubler

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Madurai said:
There's a half a chapter devoted to the CF in Layman & MacLaughlin's The Hybrid Warship.

With the great conclusion that these CFs would have been converted to CVLs probably even before Pearl Harbour and within days after it if not before!
 

Triton

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Abraham Gubler said:
With the great conclusion that these CFs would have been converted to CVLs probably even before Pearl Harbour and within days after it if not before!

Is this because you believe that the flying-deck cruiser being a hybrid warship would offer little utility in the heavy cruiser role and the light aircraft carrier role? Was it better to construct pure heavy cruiser types, such as the Pensacola, Northhampton, Portland, or Wichita classes, instead of flight deck cruisers capable of launching 24 aircraft? With the 350 foot flight deck, would the flying-deck cruiser be limited to the types of aircraft in the US Navy inventory it could operate or the missions it could undertake?
 

Abraham Gubler

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Triton said:
Is this because you believe that the flying-deck cruiser being a hybrid warship would offer little utility in the heavy cruiser role and the light aircraft carrier role?

I was referring to the book in question, page 103 and the last word on the USN's CLV/CF:

It seems that any flying-deck cruisers afloat in 1942 would have been re-modelled - not by yanking off the flight deck as suggested by Pratt, but by removing the guns and extending the flight deck over the length of the ship, as suggested by Land in 1934.
 

Triton

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Abraham Gubler said:
I was referring to the book in question, page 103 and the last word on the USN's CLV/CF:

It seems that any flying-deck cruisers afloat in 1942 would have been re-modelled - not by yanking off the flight deck as suggested by Pratt, but by removing the guns and extending the flight deck over the length of the ship, as suggested by Land in 1934.

OK, I thought it was a criticism directed toward the flying-deck cruiser proposal or hybrid warships. If I understand correctly, the US Navy Bureau of Ships revisited the hybrid flying-deck cruiser design again between 1939 and 1942. I also understand that the Royal Navy considered converting one or more Lion-class battleships to hybrid battleship/aircraft carriers during World War II.

It seems that the Imperial Japanese Navy was the only navy to order a hybrid warship during the Second World War, and these were conversions of the existing battleships IJN Ise and IJN Hyūga. If the resources had been available, the Imperial Japanese Navy would have preferred a full carrier conversion of these ships instead of hybrids.

Which makes me inclined to believe that pure warship types provide greater capability than hybrids and are therefore more desirable. Or did the US Navy build enough, or too many, cruisers during the inter-war years?
 

royabulgaf

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What I find puzzling is this hybrid cruiser design reverts back to the fore-and-aft battery and flight deck of the traditional hybrid, when the USN perfected the hybrid cruiser in the Saratoga class carrier a few years before. This ship class offered not only a full flight deck, but a respectable cruiser armament of 8x8" guns. Was there some operational problems with these ships that would cause the USN to take a step back? IIRC, they never fired their main armament in WWII, and in fact offloaded their guns at the first opportunity.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Triton said:
OK, I thought it was a criticism directed toward the flying-deck cruiser proposal or hybrid warships. If I understand correctly, the US Navy Bureau of Ships revisited the hybrid flying-deck cruiser design again between 1939 and 1942. I also understand that the Royal Navy considered converting one or more Lion-class battleships to hybrid battleship/aircraft carriers during World War II.

I'm more than happy to criticise the design because they are proven not to work efficiently and it is pretty obvious that such hybrids suffer a lot from either area of hybridisation impacting on the other. They may look cool but they don’t work.

Layman and McLaughlin’s book (The Hybrid Warship) does detail the later efforts of the USN and RN in the 40s towards hybrids. But these are not efforts being motivated by introducing a new superior type of ship but rather to try and get more aircraft capability into the fleet as rapidly as possible. Which meant what can we do with less effective units like gun wagons and cruisers to try and get the most out of them. They made the right conclusion that such a hybrid wasn’t worth the effort and the existing programmed units should either be converted to full aviation capability or put aside and resources diverted to carriers. The Japanese in a far more perilous situation carried out minimal conversions of some of their BBs to leverage their heavy investment in float planes to try and get more aircraft into the fleet. I’m sure they would have preferred to retain a BB and have built a new carrier.

royabulgaf said:
What I find puzzling is this hybrid cruiser design reverts back to the fore-and-aft battery and flight deck of the traditional hybrid, when the USN perfected the hybrid cruiser in the Saratoga class carrier a few years before. This ship class offered not only a full flight deck, but a respectable cruiser armament of 8x8" guns. Was there some operational problems with these ships that would cause the USN to take a step back? IIRC, they never fired their main armament in WWII, and in fact offloaded their guns at the first opportunity.

The Saratogas were 40,000 tonne ships so could afford a full flight deck with 8x8s. Because of treaty limitations the size of the proposed hybrid cruisers was much smaller so they had to share hull length between guns and flight deck.

The experience of the Saratoga 8” guns showed how useless such hybrids was. Because the carrier manoeuvred to launch aircraft they were split from the battle line and didn’t need to use their guns. Also the firing of guns severely affected any aircraft parked on deck which also limited the guns training arcs. The guns were found to be superfluous and harmful to the most effective part of the ship: the air wing.
 

smurf

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Saratoga was not a hybrid, but a full-fledged carrier converted from a battlecruiser hull.
Her 8in guns were not to enable her to act as a cruiser, but to allow her to defend herself against cruiser attack when it was necessary for her to steam away from the main fleet to fly her aircraft. The Washington Treaty cruisers of her day were armed with 8in guns. Her 8in were replaced by 5in DP in 1942.

On hybrids. Once you move away from considering what a single ship might do, to considering what a fleet, or even a small task force, might do, the disadvantages become clearer. As AG mentioned, each opposing features of a hybrid act to the detriment of the other.
The RN Lion hybrid scheme was quickly killed by the Director of Naval Construction:
5 hybrids 70 aircraft, 30x15in guns 225,000tons
3 Lions, 3 Indomitables 144 aircraft, 27x16in guns, 200,000tons.
(DK Brown, Nelson to Vanguard quoting ADM 1/11051 16 July 1941)
With cost roughly proportional to displacement, the choice is obvious.
 

Just call me Ray

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Triton said:
It seems that the Imperial Japanese Navy was the only navy to order a hybrid warship during the Second World War, and these were conversions of the existing battleships IJN Ise and IJN Hyūga. If the resources had been available, the Imperial Japanese Navy would have preferred a full carrier conversion of these ships instead of hybrids.

If the resources were available the Imperial Japanese Navy probably would've wanted to find another hull to convert or build a new carrier; Ise and Hyuga were slow and old, comparable in speed and age to a USN New Mexico class battleship. These conversions, at least according to my understanding, were more or less out of desperation to begin with.
 

Grey Havoc

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On a side note, a 'whatif', from Theodore over at HP&CA:

http://www.tboverse.us/HPCAFORUM/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=9777
 

Grey Havoc

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The U.S.briefly considered an angled deck in the 1930s, though this was in a different context. The US designed a cruiser with a flight deck and the 'final' 1931 design had an angled deck, though instead of directing the landing planes away from parked aircraft it was intended to direct them away from the end of the flight deck and the main battery turrets ahead of it. The vessel was re-ordered as one of the Brooklyn class. Later when the concept was briefly revived around 1940 the designs contemplated had straight, albeit longer decks.it would be a small leap to recognize the utility of the arrangement but it was a leap the U.S.N. did not make.
 

Brickmuppet

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The hybrid Cruiser Carrier was developed in the context of the Washington and London naval armaments limitation treaties. While it was thought (in the absence of actual experience) that a cruiser with, say two dozen aircraft might have some utility in some specialized niches like convoy work and scouting, the main point of the design was to get more flight decks into the fleet than were nominally allowed by the treaties. If the flight deck was half the length between perpindiculars or less it counted legally as a cruiser, thus this was adding flight decks, which the U.S.N. desperately wanted. Once there were no treaty restrictions the U.S.N built scores of escort carriers which did the jobs this ship was supposed to better than it could have, and lots of cruisers and picket vessels.

I tend to agree with those above that they'd likely have been converted to full carriers rather quickly.
 

David Chessum

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... If the flight deck was half the length between perpindiculars or less it counted legally as a cruiser, ...

This is not quite right. The relevant clause of LNT30 was:

"The expression "aircraft carrier" includes any surface vessel of war, whatever its displacement, designed for the specific and exclusive purpose of carrying aircraft and so constructed that aircraft can be launched therefrom and landed thereon.

2. The fitting of a landing-on or flying-off platform or deck on a capital ship, cruiser or destroyer, provided such vessel was not designed or adapted exclusively as an aircraft carrier, shall not cause any vessel so fitted to be charged against or classified in the category of aircraft carriers."

Regards

David
 

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