British Rearmament Before World War 2

Just a hypothetical, you're the captain of the Admiral Scheer and you come across a convoy with your choice of 6 Tribals with 4 Torpedoes each and many 4.7" guns, or 6 TTL I-class with 10 Torpedoes each, which would you prefer to engage?
I's, engage while they try to charge in and get close to 8000 yards for a launch. Don't believe the RN practiced coordinated volley tactics like the IJN
After their tubes are empty, they are toothless, and you can pick apart the convoy at your leisure

There's a reason why the RN stopped building them and Tribals instead.

Overall, the Japanese for all their torpedo attacks during the War, had under 7% hit percentage, with results ranging from 0% to 25% with their far better, longer ranged torpedoes .
Could they get lucky and get a couple hits? sure.
But unlikely
 
They would still lose your crap ton of stuff in France when the French army collapsed on their flank. But it would manage to escape with more equipment and more men has the BEF would be able to put up a much better fight slowing the Germans down considerably.
The entire North African campaign would be a British curb stomping of the Italians, it could be over before the Africa Corps could get involved
The possibility of D-Day in 1943 is very far-fetched don't Landing troops in France earlier than June of 44 is very possible.
 
hurricanes armament was about 140 KGs all up - 8 guns plus 350 rounds per gun - a F4F-3 with 4 .50cal MGs (450 rounds per gun) all up is about 320 kgs - over twice as heavy.
And

The simple change from 8 X .303 to 4 X .303 / 2 X .50, adds 10kg a side and still has 250 rds per .50 gun.

A lot lighter than any 20mm pair used in later MKS of spit. And it works
 
Even if it has a 60 round drum not a belt It's still better against a bomber than anything else available?
A. It needs a whole need wing to fit it in. New gigs, tests, start production over again.

B. It does work in flexing wings. It was designed for fitting over rigid engine block.

C. Need ammunition production to be established. Rounds were 50% ball until 41 (solid mild steel not HE). Until HE rounds plentiful, 20mm is a gun, not a cannon.


It's not until 41 plus do you have belt feed cannon with HEI /HEI-D, does the full benefits of cannon over guns begin.
 
given the lack of success with far better IJN vessels, I don't think that is the right call

Other than no armor and 3 small 4" guns , slower and half the displacement, yeah, almost the same as an Erie.
And 3 CAs to a 1000 ton sloop, or 10,000 ton Exeter, there's only one outcome of that gang bang
A Sloop isn't carrying avgas. Erie herself didn't fair well in combat.
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The Erie's were the USN response to having a 3rd class cruiser tool along with the Battlefleet or a Pacific Convoy instead of a Brooklyn class cruiser. The RN response is the AMC and 10,000 tons is going to be a more stable gun platform if you have to shoot at anything.
 
The Treasury Class Cutters were very much based on the Eries and they saw hard and continuous use for several decades in the USCG.

Yet when the USN needed Escorts in WW2 they designed a completely new classes of DE's and Frigates instead of using the existing gunboat design, it's too much armour and too heavy a gun armament for Convoy work.

Didn't stop CAM launches, where they every launch was a ditching.
A 6" has almost 4x the bursting charge, so is much more damaging on a hit, that why light cruisers most had 6" and not a pile of 4"
To me, Eries aren't perfect, like should just have a twin 6" gunhouse fore and aft, than 4 open mounts. You need the deck space more for AAA for K guns or hedgehog later on

Yeah but the German navy seemed fixated on having 15 cm secondary guns on their larger ships so there may have been some perceived reasons why more or less 6" guns were seen as desirable by at least some navies in the WW2 era. Perhaps given the apparent German attitude to guns of that caliber (I seem to recall they even equipped some destroyers with them ?) equipping at least some RN escorts with similar caliber guns might have had a deterrent effect vis a vis German opponents ?

That being said I think the 5.25" might have been a better choice for the RN for a notional pre WW2 Sloop if they wanted something more powerful than their various 4.x " options (if only to help get the 5.25" system fully debugged for use on cruisers and battle ships.)

I pity the poor sailor trying to load a 6" or 5.25" gun on a bucking escort in mid Atlantic, to no real gain in 99.9% of situations it would face in it's war time career.

The only nation to make a 5" DD gun work was the USN, French and German destroyers with anything over a 5" gun had terrible reputations as awful sea boats with hard to work guns due to the weight of the shell.

The Eries are a colonial gunboat at best, they are a reaction to the inadequacies of USN cruiser numbers during the 30s, for the type of work that an Erie would carry out for the USN the RN would use an old C class cruiser.

I's, engage while they try to charge in and get close to 8000 yards for a launch. Don't believe the RN practiced coordinated volley tactics like the IJN
After their tubes are empty, they are toothless, and you can pick apart the convoy at your leisure

Who do you think the IJN learnt the skills needed initially, RN destroyer Flotillas were practicing massed attacks before WW1, both long range "Browning" shots and Flotilla and Half flotilla attacks, this carried on throughout the interwar years and culminated in the sinking of the Haguro in 1945.
 
And

The simple change from 8 X .303 to 4 X .303 / 2 X .50, adds 10kg a side and still has 250 rds per .50 gun.

A lot lighter than any 20mm pair used in later MKS of spit. And it works
But adds little to nothing in terms of fire power - pre war testing determined that .50 cal (likely Vickers not Browning) added little extra damage

Granted the reliability early war is better than the earlier Mk II cannon - but you have dropped 4 MGs each at 1150 RPM (4600) for 2 at 750 rpm (1500) - and late war the MK V Hispanio was very reliable.

The British opted for increasing the numbers of Mk 2 Browning's when it looked like the cannon issues were not being resolved - earlier mk 2 Hurricanes and prototype Typhoons were armed with 12 x 303 machine guns - that combined gave a staggering 13,800 RPM or 230 RPS - before the cannon issues were resolved and both types went with a 4 cannon armament.

I am not suggesting that the ma duce is a bad gun - not at all - but everyone but the USA went cannon and the USA tried to go cannon.
 
Regarding ship guns

A 4" is the smallest gun that can reliably fire a useful star shell - which is why we see it on most escorts and the ammo is light enough to be easily man handled

The Flower class corvette made sense as most Uboat's would be operating around the UK and in the Western approaches etc - it was only after the fall of France with Uboats now operating out of the French Atlantic coasts that U-boats had a clear route into the Atlantic

Before that the Flower was likely more than enough ship

With regards to small Cruisers - that was the job of the Tribal's in British service following the early 30s think tank on building 2000 - 4000 ton Crusiers with the other result being the Dido's et all

I don't have an issue with the 5.25 system - a lot of the critique seems to have started in the internet age and matches the system with late war radar directed us 5" systems with Proximity fused ammo verses small single engine dive bombers

The fact is that aircraft in the 30s were getting bigger, faster and flying higher and destroyers were getting bigger and firing torpedo's from further and further away

So the ability to lob a large fast Flak shell to a high altitude and a large fast HE shell out to the horizon on a DP mounting made a lot of sense in the late 30s and IMO continued too make sense.

Case in point - 1943+ German high level bombers dropping guided battleship killing bombs and the RAF dropping tall boys on Tirpitz

With an earlier unzipping of the treasury purse and with more of the modern Cruisers being made we can revisit one of my own Darlings

Yes lets convert the 4 Hawkins class Cruisers into 'Maritime protection Carriers' (I believe the below was by Peg Leg Pom?)

3 units converted in the early 30s - intended to provide 1 light carrier to a hunting group in the Indian Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean with a 4th unit always in refit.

Operating 8 - 12 aircraft - mostly Shark or Swordfish with the capability to operate the Ampibs from the Cruisers and provide aircraft maintenance.

Can also operate as Aircraft transporters

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The Flower class corvette made sense as most Uboat's would be operating around the UK and in the Western approaches etc - it was only after the fall of France with Uboats now operating out of the French Atlantic coasts that U-boats had a clear route into the Atlantic

Before that the Flower was likely more than enough ship

What I find about the Flowers is yes, they were originally coastal craft but the earlier Kingfisher class coastal sloops were 243ft oa but when they lengthened the design that the Flowers was based on, they only lengthened it originally to 205ft oa....with the results we all know.....if it has to be lengthened in the first place then why not to at least that of the Kingfishers which would have helped a bit or even better to the 252ft of the Castles.
 
The main issue with the 5.25 isn't the gun, its the mounting. It was manually loaded and only had power assisted ramming. Meaning you had to hump and dump first the 80lb shell and then the 18.5lb propellant charge onto the loading tray to be rammed. And the turret was small and quite cramped, leading to a rapid drop in the rate of fire through crew exhaustion. There was also no automatic fuse setter, which again needed to be done by hand.

What was needed was power loading, an automatic fuse setter and a bigger gun house. The gun itself was fine. If you was going to re-arm and build the Dido's from scratch, i'd still go with the 5.25, but only 8 of them, having a somewhat larger ship and work on redesigning the gun houses that they come with power loading/ramming and an auto fuse setter, whilst giving the crew more elbow room. You loose 2 guns but you gain sustained rate of fire (7 - 8 RPM in reality instead of the 12 RPM that was planned and with powered loading/fuse setting you could probably get closer to that). You could also probably put some more pom-poms on a larger vessel.

Ideally for DD's you'd want the RN to focus on one gun type and caliber, this was a big issue for the RN in the war where they produced a slew of 4.5 and 4.7 inch weapons of differing caliber. Instead focus on a 4.5 inch mount, either single or dual mount for DD use and make sure its got HA firing capabilities. The RN's AA doctrine of the time was of the mind that DD's were largely not at risk from air attack because of their small size and speed as well as their agility. This would counter what was seen still as the big threat, level bombing which the RN focused on as a threat with almost myopic grace and power.

So any new constructions get a single or dual mount for the 4.5 and anything else is given the 4-inch mounts - http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNBR_4-45_mk16.php in single or dual mounts. These have a HA firing capability already and are not very heavy, ideal for an escort ship or small destroyer like any AU Hunts or Swan type ships that might get laid down.

the DP armament would allow the DDs to assist the fleet with the AA barrage at longer ranges and not reduce most of them to some machine guns. There's also the pom-pom, its adequate but could be made lighter, perhaps give it longer barrels and the need for a tracer round, for aiming and for the intimidation factor.
 
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What I find about the Flowers is yes, they were originally coastal craft but the earlier Kingfisher class coastal sloops were 243ft oa but when they lengthened the design that the Flowers was based on, they only lengthened it originally to 205ft oa....with the results we all know.....if it has to be lengthened in the first place then why not to at least that of the Kingfishers which would have helped a bit or even better to the 252ft of the Castles.
Oh I have no qualms about replacing the near 300 odd Flowers with a Castle class instead!

The Kingfisher was smaller - no?

And it was not suitable for ocean work
 
Oh I have no qualms about replacing the near 300 odd Flowers with a Castle class instead!

The Kingfisher was smaller - no?

And it was not suitable for ocean work

Oh I know, what I am saying is that with the Kingfishers, a size for coastal work had already been established yet when it came to enlarging the design the Flowers was based on, it was only enlarged to 205ft.
 
0.5" half the weight of a Browning M2.
do you more details? this sounds interesting.
The problem with AN2 50 cal is it is almost 3 x heavier than a Mk 2 Browning .303 and the ammo is 5 x the weight
you're forgetting that .303 mg quickly became obsolescent in a2a combat.
go back at look at the chart and compare the 4 .50 cals to the 4 .303's of the spitfire
the .303 cal mg's are throwing ~ 1/4 of the mass of the .50 cals

and the .50 cal has the ability to punch through just about any plane the Germans are flying

MK II HS404 20mm cannon
had an empty mass of 43 kg and a loaded mass (60 rounds) of 68.7 kg, while the AN/M2 had a empty mass of 28 kg and carried 250 rounds of ammo @ ~40 kg. meaning that a fully loaded AN/M2 has about the same mass
if we normalize the .50 cal to only carry 60 rounds that's ~ 10 kg
even if we assume that you need 2 AN/M2's to match 1 HS404 on a shot for shot basis, with both guns carrying 60 rounds that's only ~7 kgs of difference. and for 60 kgs more you gain over 4x the ammo.

does this mean that the .50 is the "best-est ever!"? No.
but it does mean that it's a viable contender for arming fighters even into the late war period.
 
do you more details? this sounds interesting.
A development of the Farquhar-Hill system. After the war it was first developed into a light machine gun as a challenge to the Lewis, including air carried variants. Then into a .50 calibre. However, Beardmore was out of business in the 20s. They had bet heavily on expansion in the pre-war era, and were overly extended when the end of the war led to a collapse of orders. Its too bad, they were a very forward thinking company. But by the 30's the design has no advocate, and may or may not be an improvement over other types.
 
So some thoughts.

For fighter armament .50 cal is pointless. Far better to go for an Oerlikon at some point in quickly after the POD and love it. This has the added advantage of not only being useful against fighters and bombers but also a weapon the Army and Royal Navy can make use of as well. Giving each service the Ideal weapon may sound nice and a .50 does make some sense for fighters but for my money Logistics wins out. Any ship, AFV or plane that needs a a weapon in the range of a .50 to 20mm calibres gets an Oerlikon and they all get the same ammo. That means no 15mm Besas, no more .50 Vickers and no Hispanos.

On that note get the 40mm Bofors into service as soon as possible as well with both the Army and Navy. Again Logistics.

Any ship the Royal Navy is building pre war needs to be versatile, the RN is a three ocean navy after all so you cant just focus on the Atlantic. With 2000 tons to play with you can build quite a decent escort ship that is useable in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Pacific/Indian Ocean. The Atlantic is not the only place the RN is going to run convoys in WW2. AS for guns 6" is too much gun, you have other ships that can provide those guns. Either a 4" or 4.5" DP is as big as you want to go. Add ASW weapons, Bofors and/or Oerlikons and you are set.

More for the RN, standardise on the 4.5" DP gun as much as possible. That means dropping the 5.25" and 4.7" from any ships that are going to be built. Reason is simple, logistics. If you need to supply a fleet operating away from home then sending a bunch of 4.5" ammo that all the ships can use is far better than a mix of 4.5", 4.7" and 5.25".

The one thing that I have not seen mentioned yet is the fact that starting in 1935 means that we are pre 2nd London Naval treaty. That lets us try and make changes to it. The first thing for me would be to reintroduce the sub 10000 ton carrier as an option so you can start building them as Britain. Far better than using Fleet Carriers to hunt subs and a lot cheaper too.

Finally for the RN all Pre War building needs to focus on the Big Ships. You can churn out cheap frigates, corvettes and sloops as quickly as you like in war time along with the war build destroyers. Better to have as many capable and adaptable ships as possible pre war and supplement them during the war.
 
or fighter armament .50 cal is pointless. Far better to go for an Oerlikon at some point in quickly after the POD and love it. This
RoF and ammo supply are in its favor for allowing hits vs 20mm. However, as I point out often, it was near criminal in the delay to modify to the faster firing M3 version, that should have been completed in 1942, not 1945
 
RoF and ammo supply are in its favor for allowing hits vs 20mm. However, as I point out often, it was near criminal in the delay to modify to the faster firing M3 version, that should have been completed in 1942, not 1945
RoF difference possibly isn't that wide. Id personally go with the FFS version of the Oerlikon and by 1945 that was capable of around 650rpm. I do admit that weight is an issue with that particular Oerlikon version particularly if you convert to belt feeding.
The other option would be the FFL and Japan had that going at between 675 and 750rpm by the end of the war. The round in use is less useful for ground and ship based AA work however.
The main thing for me though is logistics, the .50 is not really any use as an AA weapon for ships or as a ground based weapon. The 20mm on the other hand is just big enough to have some use so make use of it. If all three services are using the same 20x110 ammo things are a lot simpler for everyone.
In addition for Britain the greater effectiveness against bombers is going to be nice during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. Even discounting foreknowledge of those events it isn't as though bombing wasn't a topic of discussion in Britain pre WW2. Equipping fighter command with a weapon much more capable of shooting down bombers is going to play well with the politicians.

Edited to ad this.
I shouldn't have said pointless in my original post. I even said later on in the post that a .50 does make some sense for fighters.
A better wording would have been.
For Fighter armament .50 calibre is, while useful, not advantageous enough to justify its selection over a 20mm weapon.
 
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The main thing for me though is logistics, the .50 is not really any use as an AA weapon for ships or as a ground based weapon. The
For ships, I agree.
But the M15/M16 .50 M2 armed halftrack did provide a useful role for ground attack.
The M2 was excellent at changing cover into concealment.
Behind a tree? Unless its a Redwood, that .50 will shoot thru it. Same for stone wall or sandbags.
 
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