Discussion in 'Ships & Shipborne Weaponry' started by Gromit801, Nov 23, 2015.
This post over on FaceBook got me wondering, so I thought I'd bring it here to get some input.
Given her speed certainly a better choice for running down raiders. If equipped with a decent AA suite might have made a good carrier escort later in the war as well. Looking at:
Iron Duke didn't do all that much. Might have needed some turret work to increase range as well. Looking at:
Shell weight is only 2/3 that aif the 15" gun so about as much firepower as Renown or Repulse. Better chance of hitting but for less damage.
An interesting what if might be if she acompanied Hood and Pow.
Weird that she was the only ship in its class. Also the last coal fired RN capital ship.
Did you kindly inform Mr. Ray, that the HMS Tiger was kept by the British in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty?
If not, please do so. Also, inform him that the HMS Tiger was scrapped in accordance with the First London Naval Treaty of 1930.
Further remind him that the Tiger was still using boilers that burned a mix of coal and oil, so she would need new boilers to go with her new engines...Or did Mr. Ray mean a completely new propulsion system - which I doubt, because he says
An entirely new propulsion system would not have been a "limited rebuild", nor would it have been done "in fairly short order". However, it would have been very expensive...
Or did he mean new boilers, but got his wires crossed and typed "engines."
The Tiger has potential, but it would require a lengthy and expensive refit. While the British did have the time, they did not have the money.
Given her very short "legs", she was far from the wisest. She burned prodigious amounts of coal at high speed. At 10 knots, Tiger had a range of about 4,600 miles, whereas the Repulse/Renown had roughly the same range at 24 knots. Now, if the at 24 knots, the Tiger is only good for about 3,300 miles, which, for the Repulse/Renown, was their range at 28 knots.
Did the Royal Navy still have colliers?
Not really, the Royal Navy was still tinkering with the Lion design. So, you had the 2 Lions(HMS Lion, HMS Princess Royal), then the modified-Lion one-off HMS Queen Mary, and the further modified one-off HMS Tiger. So, although not technically, 4 all together.
Takao, I'll post your info over on the FB group. Thank you.
Wasn't Iron Duke a coal burner as well? Of course if you are going to be a floating AA battery/ decoy such as Iron Duke was then Iron Duke is probably the better choice.
Would it be cheaper to build a modern cruiser than to refit Tiger with oil propulsion? That would increase her range as well wouldn't it? Of course the RN needed a lot of ships refit in the late 30's and early war. Would any of the US yards been available to refit her?
Iron Duke was retained after the London Treaty of 1930 as a mostly demilitarized training ship. The Washington Treaty had allowed Britain to retain the four Iron Duke class battleships and Tiger, but London specified that they be disposed of, as were several American and Japanese ships. One ship in each navy could be retained as a training ship. I suppose the British could have asked for Tiger rather than Iron Duke, but the only way they could have retained her as an operational capital ship would be to retire something else, probably one of the R class.
If Tiger were retained, she presumably would have undergone reconstruction, including conversion to all oil fuel. RN modernizations in the 1930s ranged from fairly simple (Barham, Royal Oak) to complete reconstructions like Renown. A major reconstruction of Tiger would be complicated by the placement of her Q turret, which would limit the space available for new secondary/AA armament or the current aircraft arrangement of hangars and cross-deck catapult. This had manifested itself in the R class, which had about 20' less length between the forward and aft turrets than the QEs and therefore could not accommodate the new standard facilities. Tiger, with Q turret forward of the engine rooms, would be even worse off in this respect. She could presumably have other improvements like deck armor, increased gun elevation, and new gunnery controls.
It would have made a lot of sense to retain and modernize Tiger. In 1939 Germany had two capital ships, Italy four and Britain 15 but only three of them were fast enough to catch their Axis counterparts.
The other way round. The naval budget remained at a healthy level during the 1920s. After the start of the Great Depression it dropped but by 1934 it was already higher than before the GD. Too late! The British could not spend the allocated money because the production of all sorts of things did not meet the demand.
Furthermore only so many capital ships could be taken out of service at any given time without having active strength drop to dangerously low levels. That was the reson Hood never got her planned modernisation.
PS: The total shortfall from 1929 to 1934 was 28 million pounds. The extensive modernisation of HMS Warspite cost app. 2.4 million.
Then again wouldn't the RN be acting upon a threat that does not exist?
The n-square law comes to mind.
By 1930 the Japanese had three active battlecruisers who were all undergoing a major modernisation that included new boilers and turbines. A clear sign that the IJN was planning to retain the ships for many more years. A fourth battlecruiser that had been converted to a "training ship" but could be re-converted(and modernized). That could give the IJN four BC to Britain's three. That's 16:9 odds once you facto in the n² law.
HMS Tiger could have evened the odds, HMS Iron Duke didn't have that potential.
Edit: The Kongo class BC were designed by the Royal Navy's chief constructor, who later designed Tiger.
Just to be clear, are we suggesting that the British retain Tiger as the training ship allowed by the London treaty? That's the only way in which we can pose the question as Tiger vs. Iron Duke.
Then are we hypothesizing that they reconvert her to a warship in violation of the treaty as the Japanese did with Hiei? While we in 2015 may not be shocked at the idea of cheating, it's less likely that the British would have considered it or that the possibility would have influenced their choice of which ship to retain, demilitarized, in 1930.
Essentially this comes down to some sneaky-minded fellow in 1930 thinking "Let's make sure our demilitarized training ship is comparable to the Japanese......"
The other option would be to retain Tiger, fully operational, in lieu of one of the R class. This would give them four battle cruisers to Japan's three, but Britain would still have a smaller proportion of fast capital ships, 4 out of 15 vs. 3 out of 9. Britain would also be trading a 15" gun ship for a 13.5", which might not be unacceptable to her rivals.
One more thought, knowing that capital ships would eventually have to be replaced, Britain was pushing for reductions in size and gunpower, suggesting new ships might be as small as 25-28,000 tons with 12-14" guns. Retaining a 13.5" gun ship might be seen as a step towards overall armament reduction.
While they could not specifically anticipate things like the panzerschiffen, there was a general expectation that capital ship speeds might increase when construction resumed.
The first modernization of the Kongos(1928-31) included only new boilers, and the ships remained oil & coal fueled. The Kongos still had several years to go before their scheduled replacement sometime around 1934-36(roughly the same time as Tiger). Further, the addition of torpedo bulges knocked a knot or three of their top speed. Thus, it is only speculation that the Japanese would retain the Kongos for many more years. The matter would become clear with the signing of the 1930 London Naval Treaty, but, by then, Tiger's fate was sealed.
Note - It was not until the Kongos second modernization(1933-37) that turbines were replaced and new boilers were again fitted, finally converting all ships to fuel oil only, and increasing their overall speed.
That's my impression of what is being discussed.
Well as long as the conversion to a training ship didn't prevent her from being reconverted it would work. The reconversion could come once Japan withdrew from the treaties. I'm not sure it would be cost effective though. Of those that signed the treaties I would think only Italy might object at that point and I'm not sure they would. If a US yard did the reconversion that would eliminate most objections from the US. No one would turn down the work at that point.
Yes, scrap Iron Duke, retain Tiger. Remove the belt armour and part of the main battery, give her new but less powerful machinery and the latest fire control. Reclassify her as a gunnery training ship ala USS Utah.
"Then are we hypothesizing that they reconvert her to a warship in violation of the treaty as the Japanese did with Hiei?"
No, not until after Japan withdraws from the treaty system. Until then she is kept "just in case".
Takao, I know the info is from wiki but some of the Kongos got new turbines in a late 20s modernisation.
Yes, and it is supposedly sourced to page 16 of Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship 1941–1945 by Mark Stille.
Except, his book makes no mention of the propulsion system of the Kongos getting new turbines in their 20's modernization, only new mixed firing boilers. However, he does say that they did get new turbines during their second modernization.(beginning at the bottom of page 16 and continuing the text on page 18...As page 17 is two graphics of the Kongo class).
I can see why the RN might not want to retain Tiger in service. First, she'd have been the only ship with 13.5" guns aboard. That would make supply more complicated for her. Next, converting her from coal to oil firing would have required a major overhaul at a time when the RN really didn't have the cash for it. Look at the QE's and R class. Both had most of the ships get very austere refits and modernizations. The R Class battleships were really pretty much crap as such and not fit for much more than amphibious support fire.
If you look at the refits and modernizations the Japanese, US, and Italy did on their old BB's these were far more extensive than British ones. Most of the old British BB's got little more than bulges and some AA guns plopped on them between the wars. On a few there were more extensive rebuilds when there was money but for the most part they remained relatively marginal ships. There was nothing to compare with the rebuilds like say, the USS Tennessee, California, and West Virginia got.
But at least the Queen Elizabeths got a second round of rebuilding right before WWII that made them pretty formidable. A bit slow for the time but on par with the older US classes.
British reconstructions in the 1930s ranged from fairly simple ones like Barham to complete reconstructions comparable to Tennessee et. al. for QE, Valiant, and Renown. The most important feature was the invisible one, deck armor, over magazines and engines in the early reconstructions but covering the whole citadel from A to Y turret in the later. Other improvements like new aircraft facilities, refurbishment of main armament, dual-purpose secondary armament, and new gunnery controls appeared as the program progressed. This had the effect of spreading out the service lives of the ships and avoiding what would later be called block obsolescence, although as far I know it was not specifcally planned that way.
The USN planned thorough reconstructions of all the standard type battleships, by class in order of construction, but the program was interrupted after the New Mexicos by the Depression. This had the curious effect of making the youngest ships, the "Big Five", the least modern as WWII loomed. Even when funding became available, it was not desired to have them out of service for long, so a modest improvement program was planned, to be done one ship at a time. As of Dec 7, 1941, Maryland had been done and Colorado was in the yard. After Pearl Harbor it was decided to do major reconstructions on the remaining three ships, first Tennessee and then the two salvaged ships, California and WeeVee.