Author Topic: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations  (Read 17007 times)

Offline Volkodav

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King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« on: July 21, 2013, 04:51:06 PM »
1. The UK builds 10 KGVs instead of designing (starting, delaying, cancelling, restarting, rescheduling, redesigning and eventually cancelling) the Lions.
2. All are completed, most during the war seeing extensive active service.
3. Minimal losses, maybe only PoW, possibly one other, leaving eight or more likely nine post war.
4. With the existence of a homogenous class of modern, combat proven battleships that are still capable makes retention, upgrading and modernisation a no brainer.
5. The class are upgraded in the late 40s early 50s, modernised through the 50s into the mid 60s and retained until the early 70s
6. Upgrades include twin 5"/L70, or twin 3"/L70 to replace the 5.35"DPs and Seacat replacing / supplementing Bofors / Pompoms.  Seaslug with an alternate stowage, handling and launching arrangement in place of the twin 14" in B position and one or two Type 984.
7. Perhaps a final modernisation of three or four of the ships in the late 70s with Seadart, Seawolf and Ikara.

Offline billb

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2013, 07:05:12 PM »
The one remaining vessel was moored near that big ferris wheel thingie in England and used as a floating museum and fun park for a century or so.
Following the invention of appropriate near light speed propulsion and rigid atmosphere bubble technology in the late 2080s this vessel was seen as a cost-effective starting point for a space-going pleasure cruiser because of it's size and impressive construction.
This led to 'Solarstar the Frolic Ship' being 'floated'into the wild blackyonder in 2095 in its candy coloured livery, replete with surviving carnival rides on the deck in place of the main batteries and seriously cool slip'n'slides from the bridge to each corner of the main deck.
In 3015 the vessel was re-tasked as the first Earthmob battleship following the inevitable discovery of unfriendly alien baddies.
Various light lances, kinetic broadheads and futuristic killing things adorned it's upper and lower surfaces.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2013, 08:12:33 PM »
In the same time line the US scraps the entire Iowa class BBs and most of their Essex Class CVs during the 50s and then continually fails to fund new generation warships to replace the handful war and immediate post war built ships they did retain.  They spend huge sums of money on advanced aviation and missile programs that are either cancelled just prior to delivering world leading capability or delayed to the point that they are obsolescent by the time they enter service.

Long story short my ideas and inspirations for the KGV class is that the UK builds more of an existing design reaping the rewards of such an extended production run and replacing WWI vintage ships that were still in service through most of the War with more modern and effective ships and that instead of fluffing around designing ships that are never built post war they upgrade what they have to get the new generation of weapons into service.  Basically I am suggesting an interesting modelling exercise could be to assume the UK followed the US example and upgraded what they had to get capabilities into service, then retained proven capabilities in reserve for decades after and in some cases modernised those capabilities and returned them to service to fill gaps prior to the introduction of new technology.

The US used war built cruisers to be their first generation of guided missile ships while the UKs equivalents were simply too small (Crown Colonies and Minotaurs) or too old (i.e. the larger pre-war County and Town class cruisers) leaving only the KGVs and Vanguard.  There were investigations into using Colossus and Majestic Class CVLs as missile ships but they were more in demand and more useful in other roles such as, shock horror, CVLs, CVH, transports and heavy repair ships.  Considerable effort was also expended on designing generations of cruisers, cruiser/destroyers that were never built before finally settling on the County Class DLGs of which there were eight that entered service a decade or so later than a modernised KGV could have.  All of this is covered pretty well by Friedman and others in books covering the period.

Basically the KGVs were completed in the early 40s and by the early 70s would only have been 30 years old, about the same age as the Queen Elisabeth and Revenge Classes made it to, including two world wars.  The Iowas made it to almost 50 years.

Offline kim margosein

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 10:08:12 AM »
   The KGV class, assuming it is being constructed in the 1940s, is a waste of steel.  It is roughly equivalent to the North Carolina or South Dakota class and that is being kind.   Of those three classes, the KGV was the slowest and lightest armed.   The aircraft carrier is the new capital ship and these ships simply could not keep up.    \
 If you are going to dream, dream big.   Have the Lion class design frozen a year or two earlier, and maybe, just maybe, you could get  five or six constructed.  Come 1945, they would still have the new ship smell.   These could become the carrier escorts of the  50s and 60s, with plenty of room to install era-appropriate weapons.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 05:50:44 PM »
There seems to be a lot of hate for the poor old KGV but nothing changes the fact that they are what the UK had in production at the time and that they provided good service.  Interestingly the class had equivalent speed to the corresponding US designs but superior armour protection to either and, I believe, a greater immune zone.  Their weight of fire was seen to be adequate the only genuine criticism would be the complexity and unreliability of the safety mechanisms on the quad turrets and wetness over the bow in high seas.

At the end of the day the UK missed the entire first generation of guided missile ships in part due to the lack of a suitable platform, the were no 10,000ton CLs or 15,000ton CAs, it was the battleships or nothing, the UK government chose nothing, my WIFF proposition is that they chose the KGV.  I like the look of the class, I like their lines and I like the fact that the UK considered modifying them post war.  Don't like it well I really don't care as this site isn't about rivet counting or one up man ship its about enjoying and sharing a hobby while having a good time.

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2013, 02:14:37 AM »
I always find it interesting that you hear of the King George V and Prince of Wales but rarely of the other three:  Duke of York, Howe and Anson.  Anyway, time for a picture in this thread.

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Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2013, 07:20:37 PM »
I always find it interesting that you hear of the King George V and Prince of Wales but rarely of the other three:  Duke of York, Howe and Anson.  Anyway, time for a picture in this thread.


Duke of York pummelled Scharnhorst into scrap metal while Howe and Anson were the primary deterrent keeping Tirpitz out of the war.

Been thinking of the sort of mods that could have been incorporated in batch two ships as well as what could have been done to modernise the class post war.  Batch two is obvious, 16" guns as originally planned under the escalator clause of the second London Naval Treaty.  Which model and how many I don't know, maybe Triples based on those used on the Nelson Class or even Lend Lease Turrets from the US.  War experience may have led to the 5.35" mounts being replaced with a greater number of twin 4.5" DPs and or 3/50" in place of pompoms and Bofors.  Uprated machinery would also make sense, I am not talking a Lion rather an improved KGV built the way it would have been given an extra time after the escalator clause.

Hypothetical batch two aside what sort of mod could the original ships have handled post war?  A thought that comes to mind is the Nelsons were slow and basically shagged, could their turrets have been reconditioned and fitted, a pair each, to three of the KGVs.  Alternatively if the US completed the turrets for Kentucky and Illinois could they have been obtained under MAP to upgrade three KGVs, again two turrets each and also could have been fitted with an early vertically stowed Terrier arrangement as seen on USS Boston and Canberra in place of B turret, also supplied under MAP.  The US were developing an automatic quad 8" DP mount for use on the final pair of Iowas, this could also have been an option.

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2013, 01:58:22 AM »
What about some passed to the rest of the Commonwealth as flagships - say 1 each to Canada, Australia, South Africa, India and New Zealand?
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Offline finsrin

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2013, 02:45:40 AM »
Like to have someone here at BTS build a modernized one akin to USS Missouri & New Jersey.

Offline Cliffy B

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2013, 03:24:44 AM »
Like to have someone here at BTS build a modernized one akin to USS Missouri & New Jersey.

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Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2013, 03:55:01 AM »
Like to have someone here at BTS build a modernized one akin to USS Missouri & New Jersey.
Pretty much what I am considering but my work shop isn't set up yet and my day job (keeping real ships working) is cutting into hobby time.
My thinking is a simple option of an updated minimum change (structural speaking) KGV C1990 with the quad 14" retained, B turret replaced with Seadart, the 5.35" replaced with a mix of Mk8 4.5", Seawolf, Harpoon and possibly Ikara.  Update the radars, fit Phalanx or Goalkeeper and find room for the missile directors in the super structure.  Got a Skywave modern weapons set in a box somewhere that could provide most of that and a HMAS Perth for the Ikara.

A kit bash of a batch two KGV using a Nelson could be interesting which would leave open the opportunity for a batch two Nelson with quad turrets, maybe a RN equivalent to  the French designs of the time.

Another thought is HMS Hood receives a complete rebuild along the lines of Queen. Elizabeth, Valiant and Renown.   

Of course with the Uk building and upgrading additional ships following Japan and Italys non-ratification of the second London treaty there would be battle cruisers and carriers available for transfer to the dominions to reform the Fleet Units Jellicoe stated as being vital for defence against Japanese aggression.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 03:57:55 AM by Volkodav »

Offline Weaver

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2013, 04:58:58 AM »
 I certainly don't want to rain on a whiff-parade, but here are some interesting things to think about:

4. With the existence of a homogenous class of modern, combat proven battleships that are still capable makes retention, upgrading and modernisation a no brainer.

There were plenty of modern, combat proven British cruisers and aircraft carriers that didn't make it past the mid-1950s, so those qualities in themselves were no guarantee of survival. Basically there were two fundamental problems:

1. Britain was broke. We couldn't afford to maintain large numbers of ships, let alone re-build them. Also, these things need a cast of thousands to run them: in wartime you can conscript, but in peacetime you have to pay good enough wages to compete with cushy civilian jobs, in a world that's had it up to here with war. Conscription did continue after the war, but even early on, it was obvious that politically, that was only going to be tolerated for so long.

2. A lot of pre-war and war-built ships that appeared superficially intact were actually quietly shagged, partly due to poor (rushed) construction and partly due to heavy and brutal usage. Quite a few modernisations (Tiger, Blake, various destroyers) and conversions (Victorious, various destroyers) were actually tried, but most of them ran into horrendous problems, cost increases and delays. Often, the problems wern't with the "sexy" stuff like weapons and radars, but with the mundane-but-fundamental stuff like electrical systems, steam plumbing and structures. it's worth reading the relevent chapters of D.K.Brown's excellent Rebuilding the Royal Navy for an insider's view of the conversion/upgrade business, many if most of which seem not to have been worthwhile in hindsight.


A few other relevent issues:

If the 6000 ton Counties could take Seaslug then the 8,000 to 10,000 ton 6" cruisers certainly could, so it wasn't a case of the latter being too small, rather it was that they were thought to be too worn out for it to be worth spending the money on them. The other problem was the sheer scale of the conversion: a complete Seaslug installation is a completely different shape to a system of gun turrets, being essentially a long, horizontal hangar with a launcher at the end of it. fitting such a system into any gun ship would entail a massive and fundamental re-build, far in excess of "merely" changing turrets or gun calibres. Had the RN gone for either the US Terrier system (which we asked to be developed in the first place) or something similar with vertical stowage, then the problem might well have been easier to solve.

A battleship's "unique selling point" is it's big guns, so any scheme that involves removing them risks turning it into just a big, expensive generic hull: this is the logic that killed all the proposals for extensive Iowa conversions. However, if you're going too keep big guns, then you're going to keep all the problems that come with them, such as muzzle blast, which is particularly hard on relatively flimsy structures like missile launchers and radars. This severely constrains the extent to which you can refit modern systems to a big gun warship.


Having said all this  ;) if you must have a modernised KGV, then this is how I'd do it:

1. Remove B-turret and replace it with better accomodation and command spaces. The loss of 2 guns from the broadside will be less relevent to post-war fire-support missions than it would be to ship-to-ship combat, and this turret's muzzle blast is a high threat to other systems. It also saves you a load of crewmen too.

2. Replace P1, P4, S1 and S4 turrets with either twin 4.5" Mk.6 or twin 3" Mk.6.

3. Replace P2, P3, S2 and S3 turrets with twin Mk.11 Terrier launchers. This saves a load of manpower too.

4. Add a new superstructure block that runs across the ship in the former aircraft deck space. This provides more internal volume for modern systems and carries Terrier directors on it's roof to either side.

5. Remove most of the light flak. This saves yet more manpower.

The result is a ship that can bombard a coast in support of an amphibious operation while providing a degree of SAM protection (or perceived SAM protection) for itself and the amphibious ships around it.



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Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2013, 07:30:01 AM »
Good idea, maybe the aircraft hangers could have been used for missile stowage as well.  This configuration would have worked with Sea Slug as well as Talos too, I like it.

Realistically the ships were never going to be modernized but it was looked into and it is fun playing with options.

I am actually thinking more and more about a 14" gunned battle cruiser variant of Nelson being developed and built before the KGV and the KGV being subject to the escalation clause and developed with 16" guns.

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2013, 02:49:51 AM »
And maybe combine this with my suggestion of selling some to the Commonwealth navies.  This way you could potentially avoid the "broke Britain" issue.
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2013, 03:57:27 AM »
And maybe combine this with my suggestion of selling some to the Commonwealth navies.  This way you could potentially avoid the "broke Britain" issue.
According to Freidman the UK were approached post war by at least one South American nation about supplying surplus or new naval equipment but the answer was "no".  The then attitude was that they needed everything and that their yards would be full building for the RN and rebuilding the commercial fleet.  Ironically not long after many of the old ships were being scrapped and the new ones cancelled.

I do like the idea of a KGV being offered up with the CVLs bought at the same time.  The trick would have been to transfer new build ships late war with payment scheduled for after the war.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2013, 04:26:20 AM »
Actually on thinking on it some more if the UK had an active battleship building program it would make sense to sell and transfer existing ships to free up crews for the new ones.  So batch 1 KGVs in service, batch 2 (with 16")guns entering service and batch 3 (lend lease 16/50", Vanguard hull, basically improved Lions) on the slips.

On the Vanguard, I had a computer game years ago, a naval warfare sim, where you could delay the start of WWII. This delay gave Germany plan H, Japan all their Yamatos, the US 6 Iowas and the Montanas, while the UK got their Lions and interestingly multiple Vanguards. The idea was as the Lions entered service QEs and Revenges were retired to free up crews and the 15" turrets were removed, refurbished and reused on additional Vanguards.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2013, 05:46:00 AM »
Flgiht One KGV's being rebuilt as carriers or "battlecarriers" (depends on whether before or after harrier becomes available)?

Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2013, 10:13:34 AM »
Flgiht One KGV's being rebuilt as carriers or "battlecarriers" (depends on whether before or after harrier becomes available)?

or at least helo carriers, the aft turret could even be retained and the helos moved down past it to hangers between the funnels if the after pair of %-35" are removed in each side.  Maybe even a helo arrangement akin to that on the proposed Type 43 Destroyer with the helos landing between the funnels.

Offline Weaver

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2013, 11:43:07 AM »
What you might be able to do is remove the P & S 2 & 3 turrets, build a big hangar through the middle of the ship on the former catapult deck, then have helo pads on the roof of it to either side, with an elevator in between the funnels.

Alternatively, for a 1950's "nuclear bonkers" feel, how about leaving the structure pretty much alone but re-fitting the hangar and catapult deck to house and fire a nuclear cruise missile along the lines of a Regulus? This might just about be an actual justification for keeping expensive but hard to sink battleship hull in service.
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2013, 02:46:50 PM »
I like it, and a MR/LR SAM in place of B turret, possibly also Tartar in place of P & S 1 & 4.  The entire class could be retained under the justification of nuclear deterrent.

Taking it a step further, both Long Beach, Giuseppe Garibaldi and a number of other cruisers were fitted for but not with Polaris, maybe the KGVs could have been as well as an eventual replacement for Regulus instead of or as an interim capability preceding the SSBN fleet. 

Looking at the plan view of the KGV it has a very wide beam and the Sea harrier has a wing span of only 7.6 m.  If the superstructure aft of the second funnel was cleared, all the 5.35" turrets removed and plated over to the same height as the boat deck with the same done to the original catapult you would have a lot of deck space for such a small aircraft.

Offline Weaver

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2013, 04:46:59 PM »
I like it, and a MR/LR SAM in place of B turret, possibly also Tartar in place of P & S 1 & 4.  The entire class could be retained under the justification of nuclear deterrent.

The problem with a launcher in the B turret position is that the muzzle blast from A turret will probably trash it. I'd be inclined to put big SAMs on escorting cruisers: I've long harboured a scheme to put Sea slug on the Airfix Belfast...

The Tartars in P & S 1 & 4 positions would probably work, and of course, in those days, Tartar was seen as a short range system (about 11 miles IIRC?), so it would be justified as a "self-defence" weapon to compliment the escorts' Sea Slugs. At the time, no one was thinking in terms of sea-skimmers, PDMS and CIWS....

My inclination for B-turret would be to remove it and build a complete new, fully-enclosed bridge structure over it, that would provide a decent NBC "citadel" (another difficulty with adapting WWII ships to the nuclear age, BTW) and more volume for command spaces. Look to the Swedish Tre Kronors per and post refit to see the kind of thing I mean.
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2013, 11:05:15 PM »
A BBBG (Battleship Ballistic Missile Guided Missile)  :o would probably warrant the, cancelled in real life, 6" gunned CG (maybe even the Talos / Tartar variant MAP?), the guided missile escort helicopter cruiser, a new generation CVL for air defence and ASW as well as CLGs and ASW / GP frigates, not to mention SSNs.  All of this would be expensive but maybe not as expensive and the SSBN project and would be far more useful in anything short of a nuclear war.

Offline Weaver

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2013, 11:12:48 PM »
Yes, but unlike the SSBNs, it would be vulnerable to a pre-emptive nuclear strike. It would also be highly visible, and highly provocative, for a BBBG group to be seen to be putting itself in position to make a strike. You could also argue that the very specialised nature of SSBNs prevents them from being diverted away from the deterrence mission and "frittered away" by politicians, who are notorious for their short-termism. 
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Offline jcf

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2013, 11:34:17 PM »
Yes, but unlike the SSBNs, it would be vulnerable to a pre-emptive nuclear strike. It would also be highly visible, and highly provocative, for a BBBG group to be seen to be putting itself in position to make a strike. You could also argue that the very specialised nature of SSBNs prevents them from being diverted away from the deterrence mission and "frittered away" by politicians, who are notorious for their short-termism.

SSBNs being quite literally out of sight - out of mind;D
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: King George V Class Battleships ideas and inspirations
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2013, 11:36:37 PM »
Agreed, but this is good because when it comes time to replace Polaris the UK opts for Trident and SSBNs.  The BBBGs have their ballistic missile tubes removed effectively converting them into BBGs before being placed in reserve, leaving the RN with a number of very flexible, capable and balanced light carrier groups. 

When required during the mid 80s the BBGs are reactivated with Tartar updated to standard and Tomahawk fitted in multiple armored box launches is fitted.