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Two unusual US naval designs

Discussion in 'United States at Sea!' started by Brutal Truth, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. Brutal Truth

    Brutal Truth Active Member

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    On the Warship Project site I found two interesting Never-Were projects.
    The first is one of the preliminary designs that led to the Alaska class. It's a super-cruiser killer - a legitimate battlecruiser IMO, regardless of how the Navy would have classified it - with good armor and a powerful armament of 12 12" guns that probably would have made it a match even for a battleship:
    Warship Projects Profile No.US301D

    The second is a most unusual project, a postwar design for conversion of a battleship (BB-66 Kentucky) still in construction as an AA BB. Very unusual main armament, 12 8" guns in three quadruple turrets! The ship was ultimately scrapped before completion.
    Warship Projects Profile No.US003G

    Any ideas? I think the first design would have been a powerful addition to the US fleet, even if probably unnecessary considering the diminishing role of big gun ships in WW2. However the new 12"/50 Mark 8 guns were extremely powerful for their caliber and had a rate of fire of 2.4-3 rds/min, so these beauties could have been viable alternatives to the Iowas.
    USA 12"/50 (30.5 cm) Mark 8 - NavWeaps
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    BB-66 would have been, essentially, a dozen or so DDs/DEs restricted to one spot. Okay for defending the anchorage off a LZ, but its cone of protection wouldn't have been much larger, if any, than what would be later be deemed CLAA.
     
  3. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..I still think big gun ships were necessary for bombardments/Surigao/Samar/etc and they can add AAA
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The secondary armament on BB-66 appears to be the twin version of the 5"/54, which appeared in single mounts on the Midway class carriers. This was still a hand-loaded gun, similar to the 5"/38.

    The small twin mounts fore and aft appear to be the automatic 3"/70 which proved unreliable in service.
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    If the BBAA happened to be in the right position - on the threat axis, we would say today - it could be a formidable asset, but let's remember there would only be 1-2 of them in the whole Navy. In WWII conditions, not every task group could even have one. In peacetime, the Navy would have to choose between keeping a BBAA in service - or reactivating one when needed - or something more useful overall like another aircraft carrier.

    The difference in firepower between quad and triple 8" turrets would likely not justify developing a new turret just for 1-2 ships.
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Just noticed that this is stated if you click on and enlarge the drawing. Oh well, nice to have made a good guess anyway.

    Obviously this is not a complete plan, but it shows only the four original Mark 37 directors for the now sixteen (vice ten) 5" mounts. If the 8" guns were considered truly AA capable, they would presumably also be controlled by Mark 37s, as were the DP 6" in the Worcester class. There appear to be good centerline locations fore and aft for two more Mark 37s.

    The 3"/70s appear to have on-mount radars (Gunars).
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2021
  7. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    The Navy also felt that in hindsight the Alaskas were built to fight an enemy that didn't exist. Scharnhorst & Gneisenau were real, but the proposed Japanese battlecruisers that had big guns were never built. Besides, the Iowas could easily take on those proposed Japanese ships. Alaska and Guam were built and the others were never completed. After a while, the Navy considered them as white elephants.

    As for the KY with semi-automatic 8" guns, they would be highly capable as AA ships, but it would be better to build more CVs and have their fly CAPs that can interdict any incoming wave of Kamikazes before they even got within range of the 8" gun armed battleship.

    BTW BrutalTruth - great website! Thank you. You might be interested in having the library get you a copy of Sigfried Breyer's Battleships and Battlecruisers of the World. All 1/1250 line drawings with information on armor, armament and design of both proposed and built ships.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2021
    Brutal Truth and Carronade like this.
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    As Friedman notes, the super-cruiser was comparable in size - and cost - to a battleship. Much of the size was due to armor, based on the rule of thumb that a ship should be armored against her own guns. However, in the USN, the power of guns seemed to be outstripping the power of armor, largely because of the new super-heavy shells. The Iowa class were not adequately protected against the 16"/50; that required the massive increase in size and armor of the Montana class.
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The two designs appear roughly comprable to armored cruisers.
     
  10. Brutal Truth

    Brutal Truth Active Member

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    I found this link about a proposed Italian "Large Battlecruiser."
    Cassone’s large battlecruiser proposal, 1921

    It's not a WW2 project, but I include it here because it seems quite interesting too. And if it had been made it would certainly had served in the 1940s. I doubt however that this design would have been feasible with the specs given: 8 x 456 mm guns, belt up to 456 mm, speed 35-40 kn (!!), 45 000 or 57 000 t. Perhaps they were smoking some really good stuff back in the early '20s...
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    One peculiarity of the super-cruiser, the deck armor is only 2.5", comparable to the Baltimore class and inferior to the Des Moines or Alaska.
     
  12. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    BTW, anyone interested in Naval History might consider joining The International Naval Research Orgainzation. A lot of top writers/researchers belong.
     

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