PC: Earliest All or Nothing, three turret RN Battlecruiser?

Deleted member 94680

The battlecruiser as a design and concept splits opinion. There are those who see them as a mistake and waste of resources in general and there are those who see them more of a missed opportunity. IMHO, the genesis of the battlecruiser makes sense, the need for a “super cruiser” to combat commence raiders was always there and once Dreadnought was built with it’s one calibre main armament, it was only a matter of time until someone applied the one concept to the other. The problem stands, with the British BCs especially, when armour is sacrificed to gain the speed required for the BC cruiser chasing role. Coupled with the battleship guns, lesser armour schemes were asking for trouble when BCs are put in the Line with (and against) Battleships. Given the RN’s propensity for aggressive pursuit of an enemy’s main force, even if doctrine had been established to keep BCs away from a battleship engagement, in the heat of battle a Jutland-style "There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today" moment was always a distinct possibility. Would, given the German battlecruisers with better armour came out of Jutland better off, an All or Nothing armour scheme resolve this imbalance? As I understand it, AoN takes the same weight of armour but applies it heavily to the key areas but leaves “safe” zones without armour. The Americans used AoN of a kind on the Standards which were pre-War designs, so the concept was thought of by someone at least. If the weight of armour is the same, would say a Lion class battlecruiser armoured with AoN rather than belt have roughly the same performance in speed and displacement? How likely would it be that the RN would go for a three twin turret layout in the interests of weight saving and shortening the citadel?


As the title says, what would be the earliest opportunity for the RN to build an AoN armoured battlecruiser with three turrets? Is post-War the only timeframe, or would a different First Sea Lord make a pre-War AoN British ship possible? Or was all or nothing “simply not British” until the Washington Naval Treaty forced their hand?

I would appreciate your thoughts, especially those more well versed in ship design and the mechanics of battleship armour.
 

SsgtC

Banned
Probably either Tiger or the Renowns. Any earlier isn't really believable. The RN was extremely conservative in a lot of areas. For example, superfiring guns. The USN adopted them with their first Dreadnaught (South Carolina class, laid down 1906). The RN didn't go to that layout until the Orion class of 1912. And by that time, the USN was already beginning to adopt AoN armor (the Nevada class laid down in 1911). Given the four year gap in superfiring adoption, figure 1915 before the RN lays down their first AoN ship. And that puts them squarely on the Renowns. Maybe you can get them to adopt it for Tiger, but that might be pushing it. Especially seeing as even the Admiral class didn't utilise it IOTL.
 
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For example superfiring guns. The US Navy adopted them with their first Dreadnaught (South Carolina-class, laid down 1906). The Royal Navy didn't go to that layout until the Orion-class of 1912.
IIRC didn't that have something to do with the placement of the sights or something similar? I have vague memories of reading about gunfire from the upper turret interfering with systems in the lower one, but that it not being much of a challenge to fix once they figured out how. Or was it that they held off and for other reasons and then ran into the problem, rather than running into the problem and it putting them off?
 

Deleted member 94680

IIRC didn't that have something to do with the placement of the sights or something similar? I have vague memories of reading about gunfire from the upper turret interfering with systems in the lower one, but that it not being much of a challenge to fix once they figured out how. Or was it that they held off and for other reasons and then ran into the problem, rather than running into the problem and it putting them off?

I believe (I may well be wrong) that the interference with the lower turret was a commonly held belief that turned out not to be an issue IRL. I don’t know if it was a leap of faith kind of thing and a happy accident that the lower turret was fine, or if testing was carried out first.
 

Deleted member 94680

Probably either Tiger or the Renowns. Any earlier isn't really believable. The RN was extremely conservative in a lot of areas. For example, superfiring guns. The USN adopted them with their first Dreadnaught (South Carolina class, laid down 1906). The RN didn't go to that layout until the Orion class of 1912. And by that time, the USN was already beginning to adopt AoN armor (the Nevada class laid down in 1911). Given the four year gap in superfiring adoption, figure 1915 before the RN lays down their first AoN ship. And that puts them squarely on the Renowns. Maybe you can get them to adopt it for Tiger, but that might be pushing it. Especially seeing as even the Admiral class didn't utilise it IOTL.

What kind of PoD would allow them to adopt it earlier? Or is it asking too much for the RN to be so bold so early?
 

SsgtC

Banned
What kind of PoD would allow them to adopt it earlier? Or is it asking too much for the RN to be so bold so early?
You need to get the Royal Navy to realize that engagement ranges are increasing. Rapidly. And that medium caliber guns are not going to be nearly the issue people thought they would be (and that Tsushima seemed to confirm). The USN realised that expected engagement ranges had tripled since they first planned South Carolina (aprox 5,000 yards in 1905 to 15,000 yards by 1910). Only heavy caliber guns could effectively engage at those ranges. Which means you either armor the entire ship with heavy armor (impractical for a multitude of reasons), stick with the existing schemes (also impractical because bigger guns required thicker armor which led you to the same situation as the first option, just at a slower rate), or very heavily armor the most important parts of the ship and create an armored raft while leaving the rest of the ship unprotected. The UK went with option 2 until the WNT basically forced the adoption of AoN as a weight saving measure in the Nelsons.

To get them to an earlier realization of this, maybe have a RN battleship take a heavy caliber hit from another ship at say 10-15k yards that punches right through the intermediate belt and detonates in the ship. To get it pre WWI, either have the ship targeted by mistake or some sort of "drill gone wrong" scenario where a live shell was accidently fired in what should have been a salute or something. That would show the RN that all intermediate armor does is provide just enough resistance to trigger an AP round.
 
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To get them to an earlier realization of this, maybe have a RN battleship take a heavy caliber hit from another ship at say 10-15k yards that punches right through the intermediate belt and detonates in the ship. To get it pre WWI, either have the ship targeted by mistake or some sort of "drill give wrong" scenario where a live shell was accidently fired in what should have been a salute or something. That would show the RN that all intermediate armor does is provide just enough resistance to trigger an AP round.

Given how terrible prewar and early war RN shells were, that shell would be either not detonate at all, or would blow immediately on impact
 

SsgtC

Banned
Given how terrible prewar and early war RN shells were, that shell would be either not detonate at all, or would blow immediately on impact
It doesn't necessarily have to be a RN shell. It could be from the Americans or maybe the Germans or French since the RN was on good terms with all of them prewar.

Say Delaware and Dreadnaught are exercising against each other in 1911 or 1912. A turret crew on the American ship screws up and actually loads their two 12" guns. One shell misses short, the other hits the intermediate belt, punches through and blows.
 

SsgtC

Banned
Why would the RN and USN be exercising together?
I was just using that as an example. It could be a port visit by the USN on a Midshipman training cruise and a gun salute goes badly wrong by a crew distracted by all the Middies. Basically just throwing an idea out there for a way for the RN to see how pointless intermediate armor had become
 
Only real chance was when HMS Edinburgh was rebuilt for gunnery target in 1912, and even there they found the AP problem, but did nothing to fix the Ammunition.
Even if they had, it would be for 1913 construction
EDIT was 1908, so a bit earlier than my initial recollection
 
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Only real chance was when HMS Edinburgh was rebuilt for gunnery target in 1912, and even there they found the AP problem, but did nothing to fix the Ammunition.
Even if they had, it would be for 1913 construction

Jellicoe was quite aware of that problem during his time as head of naval ordinance (which was a few years away from WW1) and the department hadn't fixes the issue.(which helped lead to his fears of German battleship supremacy (which weren't totally unfounded). However until real wartime experience flew in, that wouldn't change. The US probablh got lucky in that respect because of the Spanish American War
 
The RN didn't go to that layout until the Orion class of 1912.

Neptune and the two Colossus class has a superfiring twin aft (layout as the Kaiser class of the Kaiserlische Marine)


IIRC didn't that have something to do with the placement of the sights or something similar? I have vague memories of reading about gunfire from the upper turret interfering with systems in the lower one, but that it not being much of a challenge to fix once they figured out how. Or was it that they held off and for other reasons and then ran into the problem, rather than running into the problem and it putting them off?

RN dreadnoughts with the 13.in twin could not fire within 30 degrees of centerline because of damage to the sight hoods on the lower turret. I recall someone, somewhere, stating that the Neptune (and the Colossus class? I don't recall) did not have this restriction....


You need to get the Royal Navy to realize that engagement ranges are increasing. Rapidly. .

I think that's really tough, given the environment of the North Sea and the fact that they were looking at the sea as the next battlefield....

My thoughts,
 
Given how terrible prewar and early war RN shells were, that shell would be either not detonate at all, or would blow immediately on impact
Have you a source for early and prewar shells on front line ships being poor?

My understanding is that prewar front line ships shells were good, second line ships were poor (expired shells mostly).

Midwar there was a decline in shell quality (increased production and factory workers being conscripted resulting in poorer quality).

Then late war there was high quality shells (new shell design and improved production methods).
 
Keep in mind that Jacky Fisher's reasoning for creating the battlecruiser was quite different from the one you are posing here. He never saw it as a 'supercruiser' to track down commerce raiders. He saw it as the primary vessel of a battlefleet.
 
Probably either Tiger or the Renowns. Any earlier isn't really believable. The RN was extremely conservative in a lot of areas. For example, superfiring guns. The USN adopted them with their first Dreadnaught (South Carolina class, laid down 1906). The RN didn't go to that layout until the Orion class of 1912. And by that time, the USN was already beginning to adopt AoN armor (the Nevada class laid down in 1911). Given the four year gap in superfiring adoption, figure 1915 before the RN lays down their first AoN ship. And that puts them squarely on the Renowns. Maybe you can get them to adopt it for Tiger, but that might be pushing it. Especially seeing as even the Admiral class didn't utilise it IOTL.
1915 is actually too late for the Renowns. They were a 1914 program rush job. 1915 means Hood.

Hood with an All or Nothing scheme would be beast, protection-wise. Just consolidating the main and two upper belts takes the main 12” belt from a scarily narrow 9.5 feet to a much better 17.3 feet. In practice, you’d need to lengthen the belt, so that full height can’t be achieved, but it’s a major improvement in side protection. And you could probably give her deck protection over the magazines equal to the Pennsylvania and Nevada classes. Just need to find the extra weight for giving the machinery the same protection...
 
Have you a source for early and prewar shells on front line ships being poor?

My understanding is that prewar front line ships shells were good, second line ships were poor (expired shells mostly).

Midwar there was a decline in shell quality (increased production and factory workers being conscripted resulting in poorer quality).

Then late war there was high quality shells (new shell design and improved production methods).
During the Gunnery trials with Edinburgh, AP shot with Lyddite bursters failed penetration at impact angles exceeding 20 degrees on 4 inch Krupp Cemented armor, and over 30 degrees would beeakup--and that BP filled shells had more damaging fragments than Lyddite. trials showed Lyddite shells exploding on impact, and at 30 degrees would breakup, when with inert filler in place of Lyddite. When filled with Lyddite, AP would sometime prematurely detonate even on striking plates 1/3 thickness of the rounds caliber

My factoids are from _Battlecruisers_ by Roberts and _Grand Fleet_ by Brown. It wasn't till after Jutland thst decent delay fuzes were had by the RN, after getting some unexploded examples, courtesy of the High Seas Fleet.
 
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SsgtC

Banned
Neptune and the two Colossus class has a superfiring twin aft (layout as the Kaiser class of the Kaiserlische Marine)
True, but they also still retained wing turrets. The RN didn't commit to the superfiring layout until the Orion class. Before them, they still preferred echloned turrets in the wings.

I think that's really tough, given the environment of the North Sea and the fact that they were looking at the sea as the next battlefield....
Still, to expect engagement ranges to remain at 5,000 yards, even in the North Sea, is utter lunacy. Look at the Battle of Jutland. Beatty and Hipper engaged at over 15,000 yards. And pretty much stayed at that range for the whole battle. Engagement at those ranges should have been very easily predicted.

1915 is actually too late for the Renowns. They were a 1914 program rush job. 1915 means Hood.

Hood with an All or Nothing scheme would be beast, protection-wise. Just consolidating the main and two upper belts takes the main 12” belt from a scarily narrow 9.5 feet to a much better 17.3 feet. In practice, you’d need to lengthen the belt, so that full height can’t be achieved, but it’s a major improvement in side protection. And you could probably give her deck protection over the magazines equal to the Pennsylvania and Nevada classes. Just need to find the extra weight for giving the machinery the same protection...
The Admiral class with All or Nothing is scary. They probably all get built in a TL where the UK goes to AoN by 1915. That would give them a WWII fleet made up of QEs, Admirals and R&R. Not a battleline I'd want to face
 
Once the Nevada is known, the imperial Russian navy ask British firms to submit proposal for a BC with 3x3 14''all on the same level and with all or nothing protection. (Gangut minus one turret and with more speed, better armor and bigger guns)
When the Russians cancel the order, the RN takes over the ship.
 

SsgtC

Banned
Once the Nevada is known, the imperial Russian navy ask British firms to submit proposal for a BC with 3x3 14''all on the same level and with all or nothing protection. (Gangut minus one turret and with more speed, better armor and bigger guns)
When the Russians cancel the order, the RN takes over the ship.
When did foreign navies learn about Nevada's armor scheme though?
 
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