Development of Royal Navy battleships without Naval Arms Race or even WWI?

Deleted member 94680

As the title says, how would the Royal Navy battleship develop without the Anglo-German naval arms race or even WWI? Say the Germans concentrate more on their Army, modernising their fleet but not attempting to challenge the RN?

I’m assuming Dreadnought would still be built and all-big gun battleships would still come about.

Would it simply be a case of fewer classes of dreadnoughts over the years with greater developments between, owing to the time between them being larger? Or would there be less changes in general, battleships being more homogeneous? In either case, which classes of dreadnoughts (or alt versions of) would get built?

Or would the RN fleet be more cruiser heavy, owing to less need for dreadnoughts if the Germans aren’t trying to keep up? Would there be a cruiser arms race as all colonial Empires build cruisers to defend and raid trade?

Would the Germans - building an Army to crush France rather than a Fleet to attack Britain - no longer be the “prime threat”? In that case who would be?
 
Royal Australian Navy circa 1914. Ie the first of the fleet unit system. Towns and battle cruisers.

There is a need for BBs to be a hard edge against the French etc, but no great German building program removes the need for most of the BBs, don't need the C and D cruisers. There are some submarines that don't need to exist and probably some destroyers.

Just to be cheeky the G3s are inevitable. The growing size of rapid fire guns mean triples on a fast all or nothing hull are going to happen. The only question is whether they happen before or after engine tech allows the ships to fit in existing infrastructure without creative turret placement.
 
With no building race and so less reason to cut costs I could see the Iron Dukes being oil fired and the R class being improved Queen Elizabeth Class ships. There would be between a third and half fewer BBs built but possibly a couple more Battlecruisers.
 

Deleted member 94680

With no building race and so less reason to cut costs I could see the Iron Dukes being oil fired and the R class being improved Queen Elizabeth Class ships. There would be between a third and half fewer BBs built but possibly a couple more Battlecruisers.

With no WWI or at least no Arms Race, would there be a return to the Admiralty for Fisher? With no Fisher, would the battlecruiser continue or quietly slide into history?
 
Strategically the French and increasingly Russia are the primary global and naval foe. Germany was becoming a serious commercial and trade competitor but also a major trade partner albeit carrying a trade surplus. Germany was a minor colonial power but ambitious to gain influence in places like China and the Ottoman Empire. Germany would still be a valuable counter to the Franco-Russian entente.

That said, the RN would not get the boost from facing a battleship heavy, battlecruiser and overseas cruiser fleet obviously capable of opposing the RN. Instead we would be gauging from the French and Russian battleship numbers adding in a smaller German fleet plus maybe Italy, Japan and American numbers to maintain a superiority over the known or likely alliances.

The RN should bias into battlecruisers and cruisers for trade protection. So I agree with a smaller BB center and increased BC and Cruiser fleet but smaller RN is still likely. And I agree with the Fleet Unit model showing how a more dispersed RN looks, it is mostly on foreign station, designed to police shipping lanes and colonies.

The political rhetoric still obsesses on German trade prowess and wealth but also bristles at French interference and Russia's threat.
 
I would think initially a steady programme of building on average 3 capital ships a year, mix of Dreadnoughts and battlecruisers/large armoured cruisers. (Although the Liberal government of 1906-10 might drop this to two ships in some years.) Plus trade protection cruisers, with longer range than the scout types built for the North Sea.

Evolution of types would be slower than OTL - unless and until the USN starts to build its second generation Dreadnoughts and then 'The Standards'

IF it does..
 
For Battlecruisers I see the British I class ships covering the South Atlantic and Caribbean, HMAS Australia and HMS New Zealand in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, the Splendid Cats with the main force in Britain and the Med and something like the Renown class (but probably with 13.5" guns) for Canada (2) the China Station (1) and a reserve (2).
The Splendid Cats would replace the early I class ships as Admiral Class ships were built from 1918 onwards.
 
Until oil becomes much more popular...
Thats just means you need to build more oil tanks or tankers (that you need to anyway eventually for civilian merchant traffic), GB has a huge number of ports around the world and they are all available for RN to use so range is not much of an issue. (Anyway RN ships where not really designed for short med ranges like MN/RM anyway)
 
So no Anglo-German arms race butterflies the Entente Cordiale and the Anglo-Russian Convention?
Possibly not or rather the Anglo-French Entente doesn't lead to Anglo-French military talks and the Anglo-Russian Convention is still born or just temporary.

It depends when the UK loses its concern over German Naval build-up. Maybe the Tirpitz Navy law is modified in 1906-7 as Wilhelm II is told (by whom") not to be so silly as to try to outbuild the RN. Or even threaten it with a Riskflotte (sic} that is leading to ally itself with powers that are hostile to Germany.

Has to be at some point after the laying down of Dreadnought and the 'I" class I think. Or at least not butterfly their design.
 
So no Anglo-German arms race butterflies the Entente Cordiale and the Anglo-Russian Convention?
I think it seriously undermines the logic for and impetus behind it. The UK should remain more "go it alone" here. Post-WW1 the UK swiftly fell back into suspicion of France and but for the Nazi rise likely would take the Rusdian threat more seriously. And here Japan remains more allied and I think far less a threat for a long time. Anglo-American rivalry might get more serious over time but it is harder to forecast how the UK feels in the top dog world cup position.
 
I think it seriously undermines the logic for and impetus behind it. The UK should remain more "go it alone" here. Post-WW1 the UK swiftly fell back into suspicion of France and but for the Nazi rise likely would take the Rusdian threat more seriously. And here Japan remains more allied and I think far less a threat for a long time. Anglo-American rivalry might get more serious over time but it is harder to forecast how the UK feels in the top dog world cup position.
It seems prewar thst Britain was moving towards some kind of détente with Germany. Both sides were on relatively good terms, and there were talks of splitting up the Portuguese Empire between themselves.
This, imo seemed to be a prediction of the threat of an industrialsed russia.
Back on track however one must consider pre the Anglo-German arms race the royal navy was spread worldwide in the "world police" strategy so we'll likely see a good few pre dreadnoughts sitting as China Station for quite a while
With dreadnoughts I think we may see something again similar to the ironclads and pre dreadnoughts, escalation in gun size, improvement in armour scheme and quality before panning out in a "standard" 15 to 16" 28 to 30 knot fast BB with all or nothing, with incremental improvements.
If battlecruiser development starts, and indeed continues after the fast battleship comes into play we probably see some interesting development there, something with smaller guns than the BBs but decent armour and high speed.
Britain will likely focus on large numbers of smaller cruisers, eg the C's and D's. Heavy cruisers will probably be rare enough, filling a niche role and outclassed by battlecruisers.
 

Deleted member 94680

I kind of like the “go it alone” idea where an Entente is signed, the Russian Convention is agreed but Britain remains aloof from entanglements.

As to America, bar actual shooting PoDs, I just can’t see the necessary enmity building between the Anglo-Saxon nations (or the exchequer approving the sums required!) to militarily challenge the United States.
 
Could a “colonial battlecruiser” remain coal-fired and leave oil for the battleships of the Home and Atlantic units?
Other way round I suspect. The "colonial battlecruiser" would require high speed and long range, both easier with oil firing. The Home Fleet - less so.
 
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