Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Blaster, Jan 18, 2007.
Designing, building, and proving a gun is an extremely long process.
Not if the so-so battleships are all at the bottom of the sea , Quillin. Why did the British commit themselves to a gun with not enough oomph? If 14 inch guns can't penetrate the enemy ship, how is it more than a useless metal tube? I still don't think KGV's guns would have scored that high, given the stats, although it's my fav ship.
Have you looked at the penetration data for this gun? The 14in guns were indisputably weaker than larger guns would have been, but that doesn't make them, of necessity, too weak for the job.
The 14in gun was accepted in view of the 1936 London Conference agreements.
total offtopic: This was 100000. post on this forum
Woohoo! What's my prize? Do I get a promotion? I want to skip all that lieutenant-captain-colonel stuff and get right to the epaulettes!
You'd be lucky if that would happen. Not that it won't happen, but, you know.
PS Still don't get why the British focused on the 14 inch gun-it doesn't have the oomph necessary for full out combat.
You get to feel smug... :grin:
I already have that. (Hee!)
And why did the London Conference agree to a gun with not enough oomph? Because the treaty said so? Well I bet if KGV faced SoDak, or Littorio, or Richilieu, it's shells would dent their armour, and that's about it, while the others are dishing out some major hurt.
Not enough oomph to do what?
To compete with SoDak, Richeliu, Vittorio, and all the other battleships mentioned on the site that you posted, Tiornu. I'm asking why did the London Conference agree on a 14' gun without adequate firepower? If they were bound by the treaty, whyn did the treaty do that? Seriously.
inferior is not equal to inadequate
I've been prodding you obliquely toward the right question. It's easy to observe that the 14in gun is inferior to 15in and 16in guns, but you didn't ask simply why the British accepted an inferior gun. You asked why they accepted an inadequate gun--one without enough oomph. By this reasoning, we could ask why the French accepted an inadequate weapon, based on the observation that the American 16in gun was superior. We could pick the one most powerful gun and ask why all others were inadequate. But that's not a helpful perspective.
So let's look at why the British accepted a gun that is inferior to the others. The Washington Treaty of 1922 established a 16in limit on gun size. Clearly this was a reflection of the 406mm US gun and the 410mm Japanese gun which were already going into service at the time. The British then built their Nelson class, which featured 16in guns and a maximum speed that, while conventional at the time, was well below the standards of subsequent post-treaty designs.
I'm sure you know that the purpose of the Washington restrictions was to save money and prevent an arms race that would simultaneously require huge outlays of cash and instigate friction among the naval powers. It was a relatively successful effort. At the London Conference in 1930, Britain tried to push things even farther, cutting the tonnage limit to 25,000 tons and the gun limit to 12in guns. For whatever reasons, the other countries weren't interested.
The later London Conference was especially important because it came when the Washington agreement was due to lapse. Again Britain pressed for tighter limits. In the end, the treaty put caps at 35,000 tons and 14in guns. Now you know where the KGV specifications came from. The complication was this--Japan bowed out of the treaty community, and no one wanted to be restricted while Japan was free to do whatever she wanted. So the signatories agreed on an escalator clause saying that, if a country (Japan) refused to be party to the treaty, the remaining treaty powers had the right to switch to more accommodating limits at 16in and 45,000 tons.
The French and Italians never had much interest in 16in guns for the simple reason that they could not include such large guns in a 35,000-ton design and still include a 30-knot speed. So that answers the question about why they accepted guns inferior to SoDak's. They wanted more speed than was possible in a SoDak. Your basic design compromise.
The Americans and British were willing to accept less than 30 knots, and so Washington and KGV both began as ships armed with three 14in quadruple mounts and capable of about 28 knots. With twelve guns, the loss of offensive power compared to a 15in design was reduced. (Littorio's broadside of 17,560 lbs would compare with KGV's 19,080 lbs and Washington's 18,000 lbs.) Both navies realized that a little creativity could replace the 14in quad with a 16in triple for an increase in firepower (KGV's 21,375 lbs and Washington's 20,160 lbs). However, given the initial commitment to 14in guns, there would be a lot of design detail to work on, and some delays in making a switch.
When the time came for the signatories to invoke the escalator clause, no one had enough time to instantly switch to 45,000-ton ships. But the Americans, who found it possible to muster the designers for simultaneous 14in and 16in design work, were able to make this 16in switch in Washington, also benefiting from the appearance of the brand-new 2700-lb shell for a broadside of 24,300 lbs. The British felt too pressed for time to allow for the switch, and so KGV went ahead as a ship with twelve 14in guns. The RN then decided it wanted greater standards of protection. The way they chose to achieve this was to cut two guns from the main battery and use the additional weight for additional armor plating--another of your basic design compromises.
And that's the story behind KGV's armament. It was inferior to that of other ships, but that didn't mean it was inadequate.
I bet it was Rodney that did most of the pounding on Bismarck. If KGV ever met a real battleship without a disability like a torpedo to the rudder, like Tirpitz or Littorio, it would definetly get sunk. A lot of armour won't permanently stop shells from sinking KGV. And since it's 14 inch guns are clearly inferior to everything more than a heavy cruiser's main guns, why isn't it one of the worst BB designs?
Actually I take all that back, due to a Wikipedia search on the KGV class. I don't know if it's right, but you guys can check it out for yourselves. The search term that I used was King George V battleship.
If it's right, self-conducted research does help.
Yes, it's always best to look into things yourself when you can. I would, however, suggest something a bit more credible than Wikipedia. Some articles there are very helpful, others are ludicrous. I haven't seen the KGV article, so I can't comment.
If you have an interest in KGV, there are some excellent books to look for. If they aren't in your local library, ask the librarian if you can get the book via Inter-Library Loan. I just got a book today from ILL, a title so obscure that used copies are selling for $400US: The Wilson Administration and the Shipbuilding Crisis of 1917 by Williams.
Anyway, here are some suggestions.
British Battleships of World War Two by Raven & Roberts (perhaps the best guide to the KGV design process)
British Battleships 1919-1939 by Burt (another good source for design details)
Battleships: Allied Battleships in World War II by Garzke & Dulin (one of three books covering all the post-Nelson battleship programs, great if you want to compare all the different designs)
King George V Class Battleships by Tarrant (mostly an operational history, and rather odd in some ways--on one page complaining about KGV's inferiority to other designs, on another page crediting the KGVs with saving the world)
Generally the best sources are those with footnotes or at least a good bibliography. References like these let you check the source material yourself or at least let you guage whether or not the author has a good basis for his text.
My opinion on KGV is that she sits with Bismarck and Littorio as the least capable of the modern, full-sized ships. My major complaint with the design is not so much the weaponry but the lack of mobility. Not great speed, not great seakeeping, very short range. Her biggest plus is the percentage of protected buoyancy. This would make it very difficult for any battleship to sink KGV. As Bismarck proved, it's hard to sink a battleship by shellfire alone, and KGV was better-armored than Bismarck.
Thanks for the advice, Tiornu.
Still Blastyer i wonder why you didn't mention the mechanical failures of these guns (wich i would think is one of the reasons why it's inferior...not as a gun itself put the package it comes in).
Btw wiki vs Navweaps nice comparison:
As you can see In actual service these guns performed well! :grin:
Wiki on behalve of the KGV class good armor:
So what would happen if a 15" Bis shell exploded late (it would do considerably more damage vs a 8" PE shell).
I can't quite understand why the writer would use an 8" as a benchmark?
Because it's Wikipedia.
That 70% is actually quite good output, considering the weather. You cant expect that output is at or near 100% when you are fighting in a bloody North Cape winterstorm!