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What if the Montana Class Battleship class had been built?

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by Bulldog1653, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    They did that with LST's and other assorted craft. Howitzers, rocket launchers, even tanks firing. Thing is, the range is too short to do a lot of the things a BB could do, and a BB could provide AA.

    As far as building a special class of ships, why? Once the battle line from Pearl Harbor was back in business, they had exactly what they needed. Add the other OBB's and the problem was solved without creating ($) a new class of ships.
     
  2. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Cost and time. You could put dozens of these in the water for the price of a single BB and in a fraction of the time. They were knocking out liberty ships in 42 days and we had eighteen shipyards building them! Hell, you could even man the guns with army personnel, we had plenty of them in reserve until 1944. And you could knock out dedicated AA ships in the same way, to protect the artillery ships.

    One of things you have to weigh is events like Guadalcanal, where the navy withdrew fleet support simply because its capital ships were too valuable to risk merely for the lives of marines... Imagine 40 or 50 artillery "liberty" ships off Guadalcanal, with 20 or 25 AA Liberty ships to protect them, then the fleet withdrawn to cover them by air in case the Japanese tried to intervene with surface forces. Though, I can't imagine the Japanese surface fleet risking its own capital ships to sink some cheap liberty ships.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Last time I looked, 1944 was not 1942.

    Several of those 18 shipbuilding yards were only under construction in 1942, Liberty ship average construction time-fall of 42-was on the order of 70-100 days, cargo ships were critically needed all over the world, and artillery and AA guns were in very short supply.
     
  4. Thoddy

    Thoddy Member

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    the censor had "airbrushed" all electronic equipment.
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The "skills" of the censor were not needed, as the equipment had not yet been mounted on her. Her main battery directors were not fitted until November, 1940.
     
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    So who says I haven't had a large amount of alcohol? :hypnotize:
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Well the British did in both WWI and WW2. They even had some armor. The problem was the monitors tended to be slow and I'm not sure they handled heavy seas all that well. If the US had any battleship turrets (with guns) to spare they might have been worth it. However it was probably cheaper just to use already existant old battleships.
     
  8. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    The keels were never laid, nothing to convert. The first Montana wasn't scheduled to launch until 1945. The USS Midway was already under construction in 1943.
     
  9. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Risk the surface fleet? How about DD's with type 93's. How about aerial attacks against slow moving cargo ships. If done at night, which the IJN was supurb, bye bye Liberty ships.
     
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Aside from that ;) the Montanas' designed speed of 28 knots would be inadequate for a carrier; we might recall that 29-knot speed was considered a major shortcoming of Ranger and Wasp. Although our carriers had catapults, they continued to rely mainly on rolling takeoffs throughout the war.

    If any gunnery ships were going to be converted to carriers, it would be the Iowas or Alaskas, or more cruisers.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Well if you didn't have the main battery and left off a fair amount of armor couldn't the Montana's hulls reach speeds into the 30 knot class? Their potentially longer flight deck would help mitigate some of that problem as well.

    *** edit for ***
    Just looked it up and the Lexingtons actually gained weight with their conversion. So unless a fair amount of armor could be removed the Montanas might actually end up slower as carriers than as BBs. On the other hand the Lexingtons managed to exceed their design speed by a bit. Not sure where this would leave us with a conversion. Their used to be a ship design package where you could enter peramters like this and it would give you speeds and such. I never used it but a lot of the what if'ers did. May have been mentioned on the Letter's Time or Tarrantry alternate history stories or forums that discussed them.
     
  12. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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  13. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Claiming that the US Navy considered its capital ships too valuable to risk merely for the lives of marines seems a bit gratuitous. Both sides held the majority of their battleships out of the Guadalcanal campaign, but the Pacific Fleet committed:

    All 4 available aircraft carriers, two sunk, two badly damaged.
    13 of 14 heavy cruisers (11 of them in surface battles), 5 sunk, 7 badly damaged including 5 torpedoed.
    9 of 10 modern light cruisers (5 in surface battles), 2 sunk, 2 damaged. The 10th, Phoenix, was in the Southwest Pacific but not literally in the Solomons.
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It was not that the 29-knot speed was considered a "major shortcoming", it is that said top speed needed regular dock time to be maintained. The 29-knot maximum speed of Ranger had fallen to 24-knots after some 200 days without docking for maintenance and bottom cleaning.
     
  16. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Looking at before-and-after stats for various capital ships or cruisers converted to carriers, there doesn't seem to have been much speed change.
     
  17. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    It's tempting to assume that America could produce any desired amount of anything, but shipping was a major constraint throughout the war, even more so in 1942, so it wouldn't be easy to divert 50-100 cargo ships to serve as stationary gun platforms.

    We might also consider what exactly these ships are proposed to have done. It does seem unlikely that they would be opposed to the Imperial Navy. If additional cargo ships were devoted to provide artillery support or AA defense to the Marines ashore, it would be just as easy to deliver and supply additonal ground artillery units.

    Both Britain and the US converted landing craft to useful gun platforms, which could be another option, though again there was considerable demand for all available amphibious shipping. These were mainly LCTs, LCIs, and smaller types, but if artillery ships were a priority, LSTs might be an alternative to Liberty ships, with the interesting ability to beach themselves while providing support to troops ashore.
     

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