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

Colonial Battlecruiser = Renown Class or even Courageous Class, but more strongly built and with better armour. Enough to chase down and kill any cruiser but to be kept clear of the line of battle.
 
Could a “colonial battlecruiser” remain coal-fired and leave oil for the battleships of the Home and Atlantic units?
Why when the older ships will do for coal ships, without any WNT they simply slowly repalce ships and as they age out they go to second class stations?
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.
I dont agree colonial is mostly hunting AMC and weaker warships that have been out of dock for ages slowing them down and the risk of being left behind in a 1 v 1 is far less than in a large fleet action against a peer enemy? The home fleet will be transitioning to new oil fast battleships QE+....
Makes sense with Welsh anthracite on hand
Available at practically any harbour from stocks held by coal merchants under GB control....
 
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.
I would agree. Oil serves better in foreign stations. Coal is local to Britain and easy to move to main ports, for North Sea and Eastern Atlantic duties coal serves fine.
 
I would agree. Oil serves better in foreign stations. Coal is local to Britain and easy to move to main ports, for North Sea and Eastern Atlantic duties coal serves fine.
So why historically was it the other way round?
And why would they build new oil ships for the less demanding colonial stations rather than the more demanding home threat?
 
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.
I doubt it gets to full rivalry mode but the USA will venture out into global trade and asset its pride, the RN is the only yardstick so the antagonism is there plus Japan is a mild threat in Asia to annoy the USA. What I see is no ingredients to bring the USA and UK together with a reduced German footprint the UK is the only threat to Monroe.
 
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.
I would think the heavy cruiser is only a fleet screen type and as you say rare. Light cruisers to patrol foreign stations with a BC in the lead to overmatch the cruisers of all comers, especially older armored cruisers lurking.

The RN still needs the best BB best just not in such numbers unless Russia goes whole hog on getting a big show piece navy. You may be right though, without the German up ante the RN might be slower to innovate.
 

Deleted member 94680

I doubt it gets to full rivalry mode but the USA will venture out into global trade and asset its pride, the RN is the only yardstick so the antagonism is there plus Japan is a mild threat in Asia to annoy the USA. What I see is no ingredients to bring the USA and UK together with a reduced German footprint the UK is the only threat to Monroe.

OTL it wasn’t the case though, as Britain pretty much enforced Monroe for the Americans, didn’t they?
 
OTL it wasn’t the case though, as Britain pretty much enforced Monroe for the Americans, didn’t they?
But the USA still obsessed over it and let paranoia rule. How often did they assume Germany might invade or plan for an invasion from Canada? The issue is the USA has rather ill defined enemies and weak strategic goalposts. In truth it has little to fear but must find someone to play bad guy. We saw how Japan became that, a role they almost embraced but how much was self fulfilling prophesy? Without WW1 the UK is the next biggest investor and trader in the Americas, to the USA it will look nefarious and suspect.
 
I would think the heavy cruiser is only a fleet screen type and as you say rare. Light cruisers to patrol foreign stations with a BC in the lead to overmatch the cruisers of all comers, especially older armored cruisers lurking.

The RN still needs the best BB best just not in such numbers unless Russia goes whole hog on getting a big show piece navy. You may be right though, without the German up ante the RN might be slower to innovate.
I'm not saying the RN would be slower to innovate per say, possibly even faster. Ultimately battleships pan out size wise at about 40 to 50k tons. After that you're building something too expensive to build in large numbers and so you'd reach a "standard" battleship type, similar to the "standard" pre dreadnought, with advancements instead made in fire control, armour, gun range and accuracy etc.
 
Cruiser killers are very useful to a world spanning maritime empire.
You are over thinking the cruiser element. In the context of fleet units part of the point of Battle cruisers is strategic mobility.

e.g. The baddies pick a fight and are powerful enough to overwhelm the local fleet unit. The local fleet unit plays fleet in being and a month later half a dozen fleet units converge from across the Empire.

The Empire isn't just leveraging their superior fleet and base network, but also their control over most of the wired communication networks.



The problem with no German naval race butterflying Fisher is that he is there to cut costs. That is what dreadnaughts, battle cruisers, and fleet units are for. Cutting costs. The Empire is in a world where its relative superiority is being eroded as other nations industrialise. The same basic cost pressures remain on the fleet, even if it doesn't mean a specific anti German navy.
 
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Fisher will still have had his time as First Sea Lord and used that time to trim the useless ships from the fleet after 1905. The Russo Japanese war and the voyage of the Second Pacific Squadron from the Baltic and Black Sea to Tsushima made clear how useless the relics scattered around the Empire actually were.
 
Perhaps without the naval arms race and the need to overmatch the HSF's scouting forces, the battlecruiser as we know it might not exist. Instead the RN might follow the route that the Germans expected them to take and produce a 'dreadnought' version of their armored cruisers similar to the direction the Blucher was going in. An all 9.2 in gun ship, mounting four to five twin turrets and capable of around 25 knots.
 
I think that the USA would continue building a decent fleet. Note that the USA was using all or nothing before Britain--and with no Jutland, Britain might not go with it for a bit yet. At closer range, where secondary guns come into play more, there's a beter case for not going with all or nothing.
The USA is flexing its industrial muscles, and a serious leet is a sign of a great power...
 
So why historically was it the other way round?
And why would they build new oil ships for the less demanding colonial stations rather than the more demanding home threat?
Pretty much because there was very little oil storage anywhere. This was a serious issue and one of the outcomes from Beatty's post war investigation:
they could not get rid of the Bristols and older coal-fired cruisers until a global oil storage program was at least partway done. New Zealand had zero oil fuel storage in 1921 for example. (There was an agreement in 1920 for a massive world-wide 14-year oil storage construction program, the Dominions paid for their own agreed construction: see - Memorandum by First Lord of the Admiralty dated 21 June 1921, Reserves of Oil Fuel. CID 145-5, CAB 5/4 ff.95-96, para.2. Where as good burning coal was quite plentiful and could be sourced from multiple places across the Empire, e.g. Australia.

The other issue being as well that there are a lack of suitable docks, after all, a Lion is out of the question, it's just too big for the Sutherland Dock at Cockatoo Island.
 
Perhaps without the naval arms race and the need to overmatch the HSF's scouting forces, the battlecruiser as we know it might not exist. Instead the RN might follow the route that the Germans expected them to take and produce a 'dreadnought' version of their armored cruisers similar to the direction the Blucher was going in. An all 9.2 in gun ship, mounting four to five twin turrets and capable of around 25 knots.

Battle cruisers were not about over matching scout forces until the Cats. At least not totally. The RN looked at the 9.2" ship and realized that 12" was inevitable.

I think that the USA would continue building a decent fleet. Note that the USA was using all or nothing before Britain--and with no Jutland, Britain might not go with it for a bit yet. At closer range, where secondary guns come into play more, there's a beter case for not going with all or nothing.
The USA is flexing its industrial muscles, and a serious leet is a sign of a great power...

The US was writing theoretical cheques they couldn't cash in 1913. AoN is the logical outcome of long ranged combat with ever enlarging shells. The problem is the guns, shells, and techniques didn't exist in American hands until say 1920ish.
Graduated armour worked in period of 1905 to 1920. Famously nothing penetrated the 9" belts at Jutland. The system worked.
Once you hit 16" guns graduated armour gets too heavy so you need the compromise that is AoN*. That's okay because all the earlier ships are getting retired anyway. 12" guns can't cut it anymore.
Now this makes the Standards look prescient. You could also argue that it makes them over armoured in some places and under armoured in others. Remember thin armour still works when they are launched and they are part of that generation that are going to get slaughtered by the SoDaks and G3 generation with big guns, plunging shells, working AP and heavier AoN.

The Standards benefited from the WNT freezing everyone in time. It makes them awesome with a few easy 1930s upgrades. In a more normal world they would be a footnote about an experiment everyone adopted five years later.

*What is it about 16" and AoN?
 

Deleted member 94680

For what it’s worth I don’t think the RN would move to AoN until after *WWI or some analogous conflict.

Fisher’s “cost cutting tour” was his first stint as 1SL. It was affected by the Arms Race, but was also a personal vision of his. It’s his second stint as 1SL that is likely butterflied and therefore the “extreme” battlecruisers.
 
For what it’s worth I don’t think the RN would move to AoN until after *WWI or some analogous conflict.

Fisher’s “cost cutting tour” was his first stint as 1SL. It was affected by the Arms Race, but was also a personal vision of his. It’s his second stint as 1SL that is likely butterflied and therefore the “extreme” battlecruisers.
Good point.

Without WW1 Fisher's second stint is likely to be butterflied away. There would come a point though when an equivalent would be needed to make the RN integrate the increases in gun calibre and improvements in Fire Control to conclude that ships will be fighting each other at much longer ranges. Thus stronger deck armour is essential and medium stakes of belt armour no longer helpful. Thus AON schemes, backed up by better subdivisions and torpedo protection.

Would that be for the next generation beyond the QE and R classes? Say by 1920 ITTL.
 
The QEs and Rs are pre 1914. There needs to be a class between that and 1920. Though with no race the class members may be less numerous.
 
Prior to Tsushima the RN was a 2 Power standard against the Russians and French - a race in pre-Dreadnoughts if you will. Fisher heralded in the 'peace dividend' of relaxation in building. This graph shows RN spending (orange) inflation adjusted (blue) showing that the Dreadnought pause was akin to the post Washington Treaty 'peace dividend'.
zCB5zC0.jpg


The RN would pause but stick to a 2 power standard against the French and who ever is next. This will probably be less than what they spent going against Germany. In RL they relaxed the 2 Power standard to 1.6 against Germany only which was the post 1912 policy.

You can see here the RN reacting to the German/A-H construction spending at the end of the 'Dreadnought' pause. The RN will probably attain more funding and build larger ships after 1916. From this you'll see 18" guns and 45,000 ton ships. The RN didn't design any ships with a 16 or 16.5" armament and they did put an 18" gun to sea in 1917. Possibly there is scope for application of Fisher's 'plunging principle' where you wait for others to commit to their programs and then trump them with something bigger. This played to Britains advantage in shipyards being able to construct faster than their competitors so they could make up time by starting later. It also meant that others were committed to their designs and couldn't recast them as construction was too advanced. That said, the Germans never really believed that the 15" 'B' was a 15" weapon.
oeuO7cV.jpg


Would that be for the next generation beyond the QE and R classes? Say by 1920 ITTL.

The proposed Agincourt is a bit of an enigma, most sources describe her as a repeat QE at 31,100 tons without too much explanation. One source says she would have been different from the QE's, thinner belt, greater speed. This may be confusion with the early Hood designs or perhaps the early Hood designs were a refinement from the Agincourt proposal. Apparently her ships cover notes her as a repeat QE. However, note that Agincourt was to be built by Portsmouth Dockyard, Portsmouth had built the lead ship of every Battleship class since Dreadnought herself. Royal Sovereign was on the only suitable slip so Agincourt probably can't be laid down till early 1915 and a follow on design, probably with 10 15" guns, early 1916. This gives at least 6 months before the keel is laid and the DNC later showed a capacity to design ships in a matter of weeks (BC Renown,Repulse). He had also suggested that if able to use small tube boilers for QE, she could have been 27-28 knots not 24-25.

To curb further German Naval Law novelles, GB will build 2 ships against every extra ship over the 1912 41BB/20BC German total enforcing the 60% line with the threat that Germany will only fall further behind if she strikes out for parity. This is regarded as an informal 16:10 (0.625) ratio or as Tirpitz began describing it '8 Squadrons to 5'.

The agreed programs were:
191219131914191519161917
Germany22323214 total
GB45444425 total


From the above, the 1912 are 4 QE (Malaya was a 'gift') and 1913 were 5 R Class. 1914 was to be 3 R Class and 1 'QE Type'. Churchill wanted to shift a 1915 ship to 1916 to ease the estimates during an election year so the 3 1915 ships would probably be 3 more 'Agincourts' to round out a half squadron.
 
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