British Rearmament Before World War 2

I'm also a fan of the USN and USAAF adopting the 23mm Madsen over the Hispano for aircraft use
It gives twice the bang per shell over HS404 20mm so its a good choice but the ROF was 400 RPM (600-700 for HS404) and MV slightly less at about 720 MPS (vs 840-889) but its even less mature than the Hispanio and given the issues the USA had with it OTL???

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Driftless

Donor
I'm also a fan of the USN and USAAF adopting the 23mm Madsen over the Hispano for aircraft use
That was the hot prospect in pre-war years. Given the fiascoes of the other US 20mm's, the Madsen might well have been a better choice - could not have been worse.
 
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ask the vickers tank timeline shows , even marginal tank upgrades would make for very useful tanks . The issue is that bef wasnt the problem in the battle of france , france was mostly. And the main part of the battle was that the sickle cut attack hit literally the worst divisons of the french army to break through the french defenses mainly wich is also forgotten and got inside the french decision making loop mainly thanks to that .

There is room to build 10-15 dde type ships under 2000 tons complying with the london treaty even from 35/36 without massive butterflies wich would cost about a million or two wich is doable without massive butterflies. And these ships are also what you could give to australia and canada and maybe even india on the cheap to help with escort tasks . If you design them as convoy escorts mainly is the point tough , maybe mark 1-s being like 1500 tons and 20 knots and maybe in 39 marks 2-s like 1900 tons with 25 knots and more fuel storage mainly and other small improvements. Both renown and repulse could done with a decent rebuild and hood especially mainly were the targets for rebuilding for the british . And qe-s could also do with more extensive rebuilds i guess if you had the money and earlier kgv-s and im no expert on cruisers but british cruisers werent bad or great asfar i can tell.

KGV-s being 14 inch guns was truly moronic and the only explanation i have gotten was that the treasury insisted on it and so they were designed as so and the navy was so gong ho about new battleships that they didnt want to do the redesign for triple turret 15 inchers asfar i can tell when the 14inch part of 2nd london failed.

The other issue was that lions were a thing the navy wanted , probably to replace the r and qe classes i think wich ended up in the compromise that ended up becoming the vanguard.

Hell 2nd london was a truly horrfic failure and actually hurt the british . It also explains some of the issues with the navy before the war by the way.

There is the naval story of astrodragons whale has wings wich is a almost a decade old andbut boils down to basicly the navy gets their airwing under their control back in 33/34 and they actually do their job and invest in a alternative engine to get rather decent engines and fighters at the start of the war and also help the aero industry somewhat aswell as they invest in the engines outside the merlin/griffons of otl and do better in norway and do a taranto to the germans and murder the japanese at midway while having the american carriers get owned to do that with audacious class ships in 42. They build a few extra carriers before the war and then build also build light carriers aswell for trade protection aswell. Also swordfish was a decent torpedo bomber actually for early war. And build audacious class early aswell as succesor to armored carriers.
 
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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.
There had just been a big treaty push to kneecap Ryūjō style carriers. Thanks to the tactical situation you can pack a lot more firepower into a light Pacific carrier than an Atlantic escort option.
Also sub 10000 ton carriers are a waste of time. Hermes proved that a decade before. And I do acknowledge how many escort carriers hovered just above and below 10k.
 
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.
Pre-sale "testing" (mid 30s), was much more about the gun, and not the actual results on real targets. The targets were theoretical, as metal monoplane was only just leaving the drawing board. Pre armour or self sealing tanks.

Observations post BoB, showed .50 shattered engine blocks, penetrated Aero armour, etc. The .303" was defeated and failed to penetrate into aircraft. Regardless of rate of fire, hence the death of the 12 gun, effectively useless.

Eric Brown noted the quad cannon in hurricane was annoying. It take away the aircraft performance, by the weight and drag. He preferred the quad .50 of Wildcat combining good weight and excellent effects!!

The .50 tested was the early models. Pre M2.

To be fair the British fine turned the base .30 Browning into the .303" browning, effectively a M3 version of the M2. Eg 50% plus increase ROF. Thick what Britain could have possibly with M2 !!!

IRONICALLY
The RAF dropped cannon plus RCMG to cannon plus HMG. It wasn't to near end war did Spits get quad Mk V. QED.
 
Pre-sale "testing" (mid 30s), was much more about the gun, and not the actual results on real targets. The targets were theoretical, as metal monoplane was only just leaving the drawing board. Pre armour or self sealing tanks.

Observations post BoB, showed .50 shattered engine blocks, penetrated Aero armour, etc. The .303" was defeated and failed to penetrate into aircraft. Regardless of rate of fire, hence the death of the 12 gun, effectively useless.

Eric Brown noted the quad cannon in hurricane was annoying. It take away the aircraft performance, by the weight and drag. He preferred the quad .50 of Wildcat combining good weight and excellent effects!!

The .50 tested was the early models. Pre M2.

To be fair the British fine turned the base .30 Browning into the .303" browning, effectively a M3 version of the M2. Eg 50% plus increase ROF. Thick what Britain could have possibly with M2 !!!

IRONICALLY
The RAF dropped cannon plus RCMG to cannon plus HMG. It wasn't to near end war did Spits get quad Mk V. QED.
The big winner in that situation would have been the Soviet Union. Every plane shot down and every pilot killed or captured was one less that would be available for Bobarosa.
That would make the invasion of the Soviet Union more costly in the early stages for the Germans, the Soviets came pretty close to encircling and destroying on the group Center outside Moscow a few more German casualties in a few less Soviet casualties the Germans do a lot worse outside Moscow
 
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.
That's a relatively niche role that I am sure a 20mm Oerlikon could also fulfill whilst also providing better close in AA for the army.
 
KGV-s being 14 inch guns was truly moronic and the only explanation i have gotten was that the treasury insisted on it and so they were designed as so and the navy was so gong ho about new battleships that they didnt want to do the redesign for triple turret 15 inchers asfar i can tell when the 14inch part of 2nd london failed.
Is that not more time pressure? By the time 2LNT had failed, it was too late to go with anything else other than the already started 14" without accepting unacceptable delays that would be worse than 14" by a long way? The problem is the desire for a treaty in the first place without reference to how unlikely it was to succeed.
Hell 2nd london was a truly horrfic failure and actually hurt the british . It also explains some of the issues with the navy before the war by the way.
I think more 1LNT than 2LNT is the real worse part?
Also sub 10000 ton carriers are a waste of time. Hermes proved that a decade before. And I do acknowledge how many escort carriers hovered just above and below 10k.
For fleet work and value for tonnage yes, but they did not consider value for money and simple speed of building of sub 10,000t merchant navy hulls as used in CVE/MACs.
 
Pre-sale "testing" (mid 30s), was much more about the gun, and not the actual results on real targets. The targets were theoretical, as metal monoplane was only just leaving the drawing board. Pre armour or self sealing tanks.

Observations post BoB, showed .50 shattered engine blocks, penetrated Aero armour, etc. The .303" was defeated and failed to penetrate into aircraft. Regardless of rate of fire, hence the death of the 12 gun, effectively useless.

Eric Brown noted the quad cannon in hurricane was annoying. It take away the aircraft performance, by the weight and drag. He preferred the quad .50 of Wildcat combining good weight and excellent effects!!

The .50 tested was the early models. Pre M2.

To be fair the British fine turned the base .30 Browning into the .303" browning, effectively a M3 version of the M2. Eg 50% plus increase ROF. Thick what Britain could have possibly with M2 !!!

IRONICALLY
The RAF dropped cannon plus RCMG to cannon plus HMG. It wasn't to near end war did Spits get quad Mk V. QED.
I'm not going to say Ma duce was a bad air gun it was superb and it would not have been a bad choice had the British gone with it from 41 onwards

But everyone -and I do mean everyone went cannon as soon as they could - USA included

Cannon was better - once the reliability issues were resolved and aircraft became powerful enough to carry a heavier armament - which for the British was mid war

In this TL with a far earlier POD of 1934 unzipping of the treasury purse the journey to reliable Cannon can start earlier

Spits went with HMG or MMG in the outer positions due to anti icing issues due to that glorious thin wing (Hurricane, Tempest and Typhoon went 4 cannon) - the European Air war was fought at rarefied altitudes, the FAA ones used in the PAC AOE were used at a lower altitude because that's where the IJA and IJN fought and hence was able to have the cannon in the outer position with less fear of icing

Later as the Japanese aircraft took the war to higher altitudes as their aircraft improved the thin wing icing issue re-emerged and the AN/M2 50 cal in the outer position then made sense.

Eric was hunting large 4 engine bombers/LR MPA (Condor) at a time when the Cannon was not mature - the Quad 50s in the F4F-3 made sense

But note for all of his brilliance as a pilot it was the only aircraft he fought the enemy in - and he did well in it - so naturally he was going to be fond of it
 
There had just been a big treaty push to kneecap Ryūjō style carriers. Thanks to the tactical situation you can pack a lot more firepower into a light Pacific carrier than an Atlantic escort option.
Also sub 10000 ton carriers are a waste of time. Hermes proved that a decade before. And I do acknowledge how many escort carriers hovered just above and below 10k.
A sub 10000 ton carrier can be cheap though, very cheap and that is something Britain needs. Cheap ways of increasing capability. Closing the Mid Atlantic Gap early can save the British a lot of shipping and that can have a snowballing effect.

It should be possible to get a carrier with 24 aircraft and 24ish knots for 10000 tons. A ship like that can be useful as either an convoy escort, as a back up to other theatres or as support for the QE's, Nelsons and R's that aren't also escorting convoys. Yes that second role might seem at first of limited value but it frees up the main fleet carriers to work with the newer and faster ships.

Again not ideal but useful and (semi)adaptable. Something Britain can really use pre war.
 
The big winner in that situation would have been the Soviet Union. Every plane shot down and every pilot killed or captured was one less that would be available for Bobarosa.
That would make the invasion of the Soviet Union more costly in the early stages for the Germans, the Soviets came pretty close to encircling and destroying on the group Center outside Moscow a few more German casualties in a few less Soviet casualties the Germans do a lot worse outside Moscow
Definitely!

No matter want you do, wing cannons is a non-starter for RAF BoB.

But with with .50, He111 and co, would have higher losses due to engine blocks smashed instead in dented, wing struts holed /broken/ severely weaked as opposed to holed, early self sealing overcome and against fighters, pilots hit and killed behind armour.

The flow on is earlier night raids, and a rapid refocus on night fighting. Both sides.
 
Is that not more time pressure? By the time 2LNT had failed, it was too late to go with anything else other than the already started 14" without accepting unacceptable delays that would be worse than 14" by a long way? The problem is the desire for a treaty in the first place without reference to how unlikely it was to succeed.
Yeah that's the long and short of it. There were plans for converting the ships to 3 triple 16" like the US did with the North Carolinas but they were never practical, the British needed the ships now. That is also why there were 5 KGV's ordered and not 2, the delay in ordering new guns and designing ships for them was unacceptable.

Thing is given the POD proposed here things are very different. The KGV's were still at the very early stages of Development in 1935, it was only July 1935 for instance that the initial sketches of a ship with quad 14" guns were ordered. We can now make a decision to use other calibres and for Britain that has to be 15". If you are using 15" guns then you can also start with Vanguard style ships, 1 with the turrets Vanguard used and 1 from the oldest and most worn out Revenge class. That not only gets you two ships in service faster as you don't need to wait for their guns and turrets to be built to lay them down but also lets you perfect the new turret before you put it on a ship. That hopefully avoids the OTL issues with KGV's turrets, or some of them at least.
 
this TL with a far earlier POD of 1934 unzipping of the treasury purse the journey to reliable Cannon can start earlier
Even if you adopt and fund it earlier, including the belt feed, the earlier Merlin doesn't have the power for it, the wing for matching the Me109.

The RAF wanted 4 cannon. They never got that, in Spit till end war. The typhoon late, and not as a fighter (CAS) and tempest later again.

It would have much better too adopt .50 /.303 early, and getting the 20mm later. By the time the Griffith was ready you might as well redesign the undercarriage (variations of seating) and have the 4 cannon RAF (And FAA) had too late in real world

As Patton said...
A good plan, in time, is better than a perfect plan too late.
 
No matter want you do, wing cannons is a non-starter for RAF BoB.
That is a very bold claim and one you will have to back up, particularly given the POD gives over 5 years to play with.

Given a starting point of 1935 the Hurricane is still 9 months off of flying and the Spitfire is near 21 months away from flying. That is first flight not entering service so if the decision is made to adopt a 20mm cannon then the planes can be made to accommodate them.
No matter what if Britain is moving from a .303 weapon to either a .50 or 20mm weapon for it's planes you need to set up production of both the gun and the ammo.

Here's the thing, were we only discussing rearming the RAF then I could be on board with you but we aren't. We are talking about the entire British armed forces and it is their the decision to use the .50 falls down. The .50 is no good for either the Navy or the army (well it is some use for the Army but an Oerlikon can do the job as well). Using the Oerlikon S and FFS allows you to use the same 20mm ammo for the Army, Navy and Air Force. That means all you need to do is ship one sort of ammo all of the services can use. When you are fighting all over the world, which Britain has to plan on doing, that is very nice as if the Army has plenty of stocks of 20mm in Malaya say but the RAF needs some then they can borrow or take dibs on the next shipment.
 
That is a very bold claim and one you will have to back up, particularly given the POD gives over 5 years to play with.
This is what 5 years achieved during the war, from Anthony Williams

A key problem was that the Hispano was designed for engine mounting, which meant that it would be bolted to a rigid crankcase. An aircraft wing is nowhere near as rigid, and this caused problems with all wing mountings, which had to be fine-tuned to achieve reliable gun functioning. In the initial Spitfire installation, which did see brief use in the Battle, matters were made worse by mounting the guns on their side in order to bury as much as possible of the bulky drum magazine within the wing thickness. The Hispano took a marked dislike to its unfamiliar environment and jammed as often as it fired. Much modification was needed to both the gun and the mountings before acceptable reliability was achieved. Even so, the stoppage rate by 1944 was still three times that of the US .50 Browning. A major improvement was the replacement in 1941 of the original 60-round drum by a belt feed.
 
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No matter what if Britain is moving from a .303 weapon to either a .50 or 20mm weapon for it's planes you need to set up production of both the gun and the ammo.
.50 was already in production in the UK, and M2 and ammo in the US, for UK pre lend lease (these aircraft were supplied WITHOUT weapons to not breach neutrality!) Weapons for these were ordered separately!!!!!

20mm is a very different story.
 
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