Smaller nation question, the South American dreadnaughts, Spanish, Ottoman, Greek, any one else going to go to the conference to maybe to pick something up cheap as part of the treaty?
Doubtful; most of those navies don't have much money, probably would prefer new ships to worn-out clunkers, and everyone remembers Britain seizing ships under construction for someone else and don't want a repeat.
 
da Vinci's reconditioning is pricey and generally wasn't considered worth it even though it was allowed by the WNT, so I don't know how likely it would be. It is interesting to note that the design was briefly considered for conversion as a carrier, though quickly dropped (too small and slow of a hull) in favor, initially, of reconstruction as a 10-gun battleship with an improved secondary battery and improved machinery (for ~24 knots), before that too was dropped;

5eXIn5n.jpg


True, though the Bretagne's, though death traps, are better than the 12" Italian ships, and the Courbet's are about equal, so it is somewhat equal, though the Italians have the fastest and best ship

Idk if the Bretagne's are really 'better' ships than the 13-gun dreadnoughts, given that even with their heavier guns their weight of fire is lesser (5,876 kg broadside to 5,400 kg), and the Courbet's are considerably less than any other ships in the running (4,283.5 kg, versus 5,424 kg of Dante Alighieri and 4,520 kg on a potential 10-gun da Vinci). There's also a lot of notably weird vulnerabilities in the French armor scheme, such as on the Bretagne-class where a shell can penetrate the 142mm upper belt and then only have to worry about a 56mm thick barbette (or potentially, via a penetration of the 10mm main deck, bypass the barbette armor entirely). An equivalent hit on one of the Italian dreadnoughts would require you, after penetrating the 130mm upper belt, would require you to penetrate notably thicker barbette armor of 120-140mm. The same issue exists on the Courbet-class, though funnily enough to a slightly lesser extent.

It's also worth noting the French dreadnoughts have many limitations the Italian dreadnoughts did not have, such as limited engagement range due to gun elevation. +12° inital elevation limits them to 14,500 meters, versus 24,000 meters for the Italian battleships. As of their refits 1919-1923, this will be increased to +18° for 18,000 meters, and 23,700 meters by the late 1920s after another refit. This is something the Courbet's have to worry about too (13,500 meters initially, then 26,000 meters) until they undergo their refits from 1922 to 1925 (with the exception of France, which was sunk in 1922).
 
Smaller nation question, the South American dreadnaughts, Spanish, Ottoman, Greek, any one else going to go to the conference to maybe to pick something up cheap as part of the treaty?

They're not invited, for good reasons, but it isn't necessarily a good thing.

Doubtful; most of those navies don't have much money, probably would prefer new ships to worn-out clunkers, and everyone remembers Britain seizing ships under construction for someone else and don't want a repeat.

In the story, the British didn't actually do that. The two ships were sold to the Ottomans (after a modest delay), and the Latorre/Newfoundland was bought back from Chile (and then sold again after the war).

However, the issue of nations picking up other nations' ships is certainly a concern...
 
I really hope the Italians aren't silly enough to try and salvage the Leonardo da Vinci, by the time they've restored her they would have spent the same amount of money as finishing another Caracciolo and got a lot less ship at the end.
 
Sailing a Salty Sea
Sailing a Salty Sea

When the US government invited delegations from Britain, Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy to discuss the worlds’ first strategic arms limitation treaty in the summer of 1921, it took only days for the Americans to understand that the conflicting interests and hatreds of the European powers meant that there was no chance of securing an agreement between all of them.

Among the nations with smaller fleets, the Ottomans took it as an insult that they were not invited, while the Greeks and Serbs had their own problems. It still wasn’t clear who ruled Russia, despite recent successes by the moderate left-wing Socialist Revolutionary forces, who had brought together many of the anti-Bolshevik factions following the brutal murder of Nicholas II by the hard-line communists in 1919.

Other kinds of discord and division extended to the major naval powers. French pride and politics couldn’t countenance a treaty which included their defeated enemy, Germany. If the French did not attend, the Italians wouldn’t attend, and if they weren’t interested, the Dutch saw little reason to be there either.
Without the Continental powers, Britain had to consider her own situation, and without Britain, there could never be any sort of naval Treaty.

However, both the Americans and British saw a pragmatic way forward. Germany was still bound by the terms of the Stockholm peace treaty, which prohibited her from laying down any new capital ships until 1928. The German navy had shown few signs of activity since the war, not even intervening in the ongoing struggled between the internationally recognised Republic of Estonia and the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic to the East.
For the British, a treaty with France, Italy and the Netherlands was therefore a useful short-term move, particularly as they wanted a clause to prevent Treaty powers from transferring or acquiring vessels from other nations. The Americans didn’t really care about the presence of the smaller powers, but they wanted to secure full British and Japanese participation.
Germany was therefore excluded from the conference, and the six remaining powers began their discussions in early July.

There was a degree of resentment in London that the Americans had pre-empted British efforts to organise a naval conference, but that fact also offered certain advantages. It made it clear that the Americans were serious about securing a deal. At a conference in London, the British would be in the chair, and would therefore have to be seen to facilitate a deal. In Washington, that would be the Americans’ job, and the British delegation could be free to voice a wider range of objections to anything they didn’t like.

Nevertheless, the British government also wanted a treaty, but with the Americans running the talks, they would be able to frame the discussions and control the timing. They would also have ready access to their own bureaucracy, designers, lawyers and industry. It was therefore essential that the British delegation must not be diplomatically outgunned. They knew that negotiations would be primarily between the USA and the UK, as the two richest nations and as the world's leading naval powers.

In the initial discussions, the Americans proposed a suspension of alliances, a mutual declaration of non-aggression and a complete freeze on building capital ships for ten years, with restrictions after that. They argued that everyone had enough ships for now, and that tensions should not be increased by building any more.
To that simplistic and idealistic proposal, the British remained quiet, the French and Japanese said no, and in their own uniquely contradictory way the Italians said they would agree to the building freeze, providing they could build another two ships. Only the Dutch were vaguely agreeable, and that was out of necessity rather than any profound desire; the Royal Netherlands Navy was still expanding to cope with the ships it already had, and so building anything larger than a cruiser was going to be impractical for some years to come.

The American negotiators had suspected this proposal would not go very far, but it was a start, and it would have freed them from their nightmare scenario for the 1920s, which would see Britain and Japan join together to force the US out of the western Pacific. In such a conflict, countering the RN alone would be a tall order, but with Japanese help, they would be almost unbeatable. Worse, the Dutch or French might join in to snatch whatever they could in southeast Asia, while adding to the problems that would be faced by an overstretched US Atlantic Fleet.
Even if the idea of conflict with the UK were excluded, from a military standpoint the US Navy needed a 40-50% margin over Japan and the South American nations put together. Once the battleships Washington and West Virginia commissioned in the autumn, the Navy would have reached that margin; providing that Japan did not complete any ships after Mutsu.
Politically, the calculation was far more complex. Even as an isolationist nation, the USA had a sphere of influence in the Americas and the Pacific, and had to have the means to pursue her own destiny. That meant the US Navy must achieve technical, if not actual, parity with the Royal Navy.

Realistically, the hosts suspected that any agreement would be a compromise to control the numbers or sizes of ships, while hopefully setting nations on a less confrontational path than the pre-war system of alliances.

Despite their lack of enthusiasm for the initial proposal, the British still had good reason to pursue the aims of the conference. After years of costly war, there was little desire to engage in a building race with the USA, and many of the RN’s ships were still relatively new. They could be improved in the light of war experience for a far lower cost than building new ships, and if that new building was restricted, they could remain useful vessels for years to come.
The two N-3 battleships that had been ordered just before the conference began would be expensive; at least £7 million each, compared with a 1913 ‘Royal’ class battleship at less than £3 million. Part of that numerical increase was due to inflation, but the government was still baulking at the cost of building an entire fleet of such ships.

In Japan too, there were doubts; the Navy remained committed to the ambitious 8-8 plan, which would require the completion of sixteen new capital ships by 1927. Eight of these were already in various states of construction, but it was becoming clear that neither Japanese industry nor the economy would be able to sustain the construction of two 40 or 50,000-ton ships every year.

-o-

In the early summer of 1921, the question was therefore: How do you limit a navy?
Numbers of ships was clearly absurd; there was nothing to prevent an enemy building larger ships, or reclassifying battleships as large cruisers, as the RN had done several times early in the war.

Some type of tonnage limit seemed to be the way to go, but even so there were disagreements over relative levels, and there were further objections to limits on individual vessels.
As the hosts, the Americans again took the lead by suggesting that the USN and RN should have equal battleship tonnages. A figure of 600,000 tons was suggested; co-incidentally or not, the exact size of the current US dreadnought fleet. The IJN would be allowed 50% of this total, and the others would be allowed 25%. Any new ships should be of a maximum ‘Standard Displacement’ of 35,000 tons (a term developed by the USN to put all designs on a level playing field - essentially the weight of a fully equipped and armed ship, but without any fuel or water). Guns would be limited to a maximum of 16" calibre.
Such a plan would free the US government from having to complete any of the ‘South Dakota’ or ‘Lexington’ classes, and would keep their existing fleet of 14” and 16” battleships competitive for many years to come.

No-one really liked the proposal. The British had their doubts over the 16” limit, partly because almost all of their modern ships had 15” guns. Their designers swiftly concluded that the 35,000-ton limit was less than ideal, although not catastrophic.
The Japanese hated the proposal, as despite their participation in the Allied war effort from the very start it marked them down as a second-rate power. However, suspicion of Japanese intentions was rising, and a similar proposal might have been pushed through if the numbers and ratios had been tweaked.
What wrecked it was the declaration by the British of the tonnage of some of the RN’s newest ships. Everyone objected to the fact that the proposal would leave the Royal Navy with the four largest warships in the world. Furious, Rodney, Hood and Howe were all well over the 35,000-ton limit, while Furious had 18” guns. No current American or Japanese ship exceeded 33,000 tons or had guns of greater than 16” calibre.

Simply increasing the 35,000-ton limit didn’t work well either. The British wanted much larger ships, and in this they had had support from the Japanese, while the American administration wanted a low limit to force the suspension of the largest and most expensive of the 1916 ships. Besides this, the British wanted a greater overall tonnage than the US Navy, on the grounds that the RN had older ships and a wider range of operational areas.
 
State of the Fleets - Displacement of Capital Ships 1921
Displacement of existing or nearly complete vessels, as declared in July 1921, and based on the design displacement

WNT tons.PNG


Edit - now updated to correct numbers (wouldn't want the French Navy to be too big would we...)
 
Last edited:
Doesn't look like fertile grounds for a comprehensive treaty. It's those two extra British Admiral class ships that really wreck things.
 
Let the games begin....
Lots of competing egos and agendas here. The French will want an advantage over the Italians, and the Italians will want equality with the French. The Japanese will want an minimum 75% of whatever the British and Americans end up with.
The British emphatically do not want a tonnage limit with no new-build restrictions. That means that everyone starts replacing their older ships with latest-gen 16"-gunned designs as soon as they can, and the RN's legacy advantage is gone. I also can't see the RN happily scrapping 40% of its battlefleet just to give parity to the US.
The tonnage limit issue is awkward. The British aren't going to give up their latest ships. That means everyone else will want 40,000 tonners as well, which means new building, which is what they are trying to avoid.
The British want to keep their 15"-gunned pre-war designs viable as long as possible, without a flood of 16" and 18" ships hitting the water. So one more round of building and then a battleship holiday? And how many of their old ships are the British prepared to give up to avoid a building war?
What do the US want? Parity with the RN? Advantage over the Japanese? To save money?
 
recent successes by the moderate left-wing Socialist Revolutionary forces, who had brought together many of the anti-Bolshevik factions following the brutal murder of Nicholas II by the hard-line communists in 1919.

If the anti-Bolshevik forces are the SR's that suggests a very different White Movement from OTL, are they still led by Kerensky or is he an anti-Bolshevik martyr?

What do the US want? Parity with the RN? Advantage over the Japanese? To save money?

Yes, Yes but more, ask Congress, so YES.

The US can have two of those but not all three. It can outmatch the Japanese and reduce current naval spending to but for parity with the RN spending needs to go up.
 
I wonder if we could get a separate White Russia, perhaps as a German protectorate/puppet? Not necessarily huge, maybe just a buffer state. If not, Wrangel's Fleet could be interesting ITTL

I also wonder if the Germans not included in the treaty could come back to bite the British if the Germans build large cruisers and destroyers
 
Last edited:
I assume this is because I'm missing events that happened earlier in the thread (I haven't read everything exhaustively) - but I'd note that the above chart grants France more Danton's than France actually built OTL (6). Five were still in service in 1921, due to Danton's loss in the war via submarine attack (which I assume doesn't happen in this timeline?).

Likewise, I'm assuming the rest of the powers aren't willing to count Leonardo da Vinci in the Italian tonnage, unlike OTL?
 
I assume this is because I'm missing events that happened earlier in the thread (I haven't read everything exhaustively) - but I'd note that the above chart grants France more Danton's than France actually built OTL (6). Five were still in service in 1921, due to Danton's loss in the war via submarine attack (which I assume doesn't happen in this timeline?).

Likewise, I'm assuming the rest of the powers aren't willing to count Leonardo da Vinci in the Italian tonnage, unlike OTL?

Well spotted, thank you. Now updated.
It's typing too many numbers into a sheet all at once ... but I thought the French fleet looked a bit big.

There were 6 Dantons, as OTL. Diderot was sunk during operations off the Dalmatian coast in 1915.

Da Vinci is regarded as sunk. She's being salvaged (although that's more of a task TTL as the expertise gained by refloating stricken HSF ships doesn't exist). Still, they wouldn't want to waste all that valuable steel ... and other things.
 
Let the games begin....
Lots of competing egos and agendas here. The French will want an advantage over the Italians, and the Italians will want equality with the French. The Japanese will want an minimum 75% of whatever the British and Americans end up with.
The British emphatically do not want a tonnage limit with no new-build restrictions. That means that everyone starts replacing their older ships with latest-gen 16"-gunned designs as soon as they can, and the RN's legacy advantage is gone. I also can't see the RN happily scrapping 40% of its battlefleet just to give parity to the US.
The tonnage limit issue is awkward. The British aren't going to give up their latest ships. That means everyone else will want 40,000 tonners as well, which means new building, which is what they are trying to avoid.
The British want to keep their 15"-gunned pre-war designs viable as long as possible, without a flood of 16" and 18" ships hitting the water. So one more round of building and then a battleship holiday? And how many of their old ships are the British prepared to give up to avoid a building war?
What do the US want? Parity with the RN? Advantage over the Japanese? To save money?

Yes, this is going to be awkward. Perhaps a round of equalizers so everyone gets a couple of 40-50,000 to ships? The British already have their four, so the US gets three, say two South Dakotas and a Lexington, and the Japanese get two, probably two Akagis. This means everybody has some ships over 40K tons, the British have more, but the US and Japanese ships are newer. The British still have the only 18" gunned ship.

Then they could use a limit of 16" guns and 35,000-40,000 tons and resuming normal (non-equalizer) building 1 per year starting in say 1928.

The US goal is battlefleet parity with the UK (approximate overall tonnage and quality, not necessarily ship for ship). They probably want cruiser parity but if the limit is say 400,000 tons of cruisers the US could commit to not building more than 250,000 tons (and the British will note that Congress will be difficult about even that much). The IJN will want to match US cruiser numbers, I doubt they want to catch the RN.
 
Last edited:
Yes, this is going to be awkward. Perhaps a round of equalizers so everyone gets a couple of 40-50,000 to ships? The British already have their four, so the US gets three, say two South Dakotas and a Lexington, and the Japanese get two, probably two Akagis. This means everybody has some ships over 40K tons, the British have more, but the US and Japanese ships are newer. The British still have the only 18" gunned ship.

Then they could use a limit of 16" guns and 35,000-40,000 tons and resuming normal (non-equalizer) building 1 per year starting in say 1928.

The US goal is battlefleet parity with the UK (approximate overall tonnage and quality, not necessarily ship for ship). They probably want cruiser parity but if the limit is say 400,000 tons of cruisers the US could commit to not building more than 250,000 tons (and the British will no that Congress will be difficult about even that much). The IJN will want to match US cruiser numbers, I doubt they want to catch the RN.
This is the compromise I hit on in an alt-Washington situation I thought up, though in that case the ships in question were all OTL Admirals and the Brits had already completed a few slow 16" ships, so somewhat different circumstances.

The primary problem would be the Japanese, who would probably have to give up three of the Kongos to make this work. And they'd be a lot more upset about losing them than the 12" dreadnoughts the US would have to ditch.
 
One thing that could be a factor would be the RN keeping a 12" ship in commission to limit the Germans-they'd rather sacrifice a 13.5" or maybe even 15" ship to make sure the Germans can't build BB's with big guns(keeps imagining BB with 5x4 30.5cm guns). I'd say an Invincible would be optimal since it would theoretically have a bigger role in a war than an old Dreadnought type. @sts-200, do the British have the Indefatigables? They aren't on your list.
 
Top