The Whale has Wings

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Astrodragon, Dec 22, 2011.

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  1. StevoJH Well-Known Member

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    She probably has an incoming air strike yet to come.....
     
  2. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    Indeed, they did seem to attract hits in OTL - this will speed the removeal of them (allowing AA upgrades, which will be seen as necessary)

    Helos are a different matter - Avtur isnt nearly as flammable as Avgas. But its a good point :)
     
  3. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    She isnt clear yet.....:)
     
  4. Tyg Primus Logothetus

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    Given the continued demonstration of insufficient naval AA, I wonder if the RN will be the one to plan and develop an Atlanta-class cruiser at some point. They seem on that path with those specialized destroyers already.
     
  5. StevoJH Well-Known Member

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    I believe they are called the Dido class.

    Did they get build in this TL?
     
  6. Tyg Primus Logothetus

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    Weren't only the later ships of the class fitted out as AA-cruisers? Granted, that's how the Atlanta class worked as well...
     
  7. Devolved Well-Known Member

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    The C class cruiser of WW1 were refitted as AA cruisers in the early part of the war. The Dido's had 5.25" guns. Apparently they were OK but the guns didn't perform as well as designed in service.
     
  8. rip89 Well-Known Member

    I know this is looking far ahead but i've thinking about what will happen when the RN goes up against the IJN ITTL, then had a thought will Japan even attack? They would have seen the RN destroy the KM and presumably the RM and will know that most of the RN can be concetrated against them would they attack against such odds? They would need to do both a Pearl Harbour attack and have a large fleet to protect against the the british eastern fleet and they probably do not have the strength for this. Anyway brilliant TL and cant wait for more updates.
     
  9. trekchu Well-Known Member

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    Fear the glorious, eternal, one and only HMS Warspite! FEAR HER I SAY!


    As for the IJN, I look forward to the RN teaching them some manners.


    The old lady is my all-time favourite warship.
     
  10. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    Despite popular perception, the Dido class were not AA cruisers. They were more a GP cruiser designed for roles like RA(D) flagship, scouting, etc.

    The 'real' AA cruisers had the 4.5" gun, which was the RN preferred HA AA weapon.
     
  11. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    Yes, Japan will still attack for a number of reasons.

    First, they really have no choice after what the USA does regarding embargoes

    Second, the RN isnt as strong in available carriers in Dec 41 as might be thought at the moment. Yes, RN carriers were notoriously tough (and the ones they have now are actually a bit tougher), but they can be damaged, and Italy and the LW will have a lot of planes in the Med.

    Indeed, a new driver for the IJN to attack PH may be to use a window when the RN has a number of carriers being repaired.

    It will also be interesting to see what lessons the USN and IJN learn from the Med. Norway is a bit too much of a 'the KM stuck its neck out and got what was expected', but a year of carrier use in the Med will show up some things. This will probably benefit the USN more, as they have full access to the RN's analysis, and the resources to modify things, while the IJN is pretty maxed out by its OTL program. But its unlikely they can bring the Essex class forward, and the USN never liked the idea of the light carrier (probably because they see their purpose as a battle fleet, and the light carriers arent really suitable - too easily damaged. The RN has a much different role for them)
    They will also be looking at aircraft; the Buffalo will be phased out a little early, and the Corsair may well get more interest.

    The most likely result for the IJN will be to modify some later designs, and they will expand their shadow carrier program a bit. Again, they probably cant speed up their new aircraft much.
     
  12. Expat Well-Known Member

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    Will the Channel Islands occupation be altered in any meaningful way?
     
  13. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    Hmm, one other thing on the 'AA destroyers'. They aren't actually :)

    The concept was a fast escort for the carrier. This required it to fill a number of roles. As carriers were seen as needing longer endurance (they have to do things like send up and recover aircraft), its escort would have the same requirement. It needed to be able to protect the carrier from light surface attacks, or hold off a heavy one while the carrier escaped. To act as A/S escort, and as a 'recon' ship to investigate contacts (eg in the trade support and anti-raider role).
    As it would be accompanying a major bomb target, a good AA suite was thought sensible, and it also seemed a good idea as, with suitable training, it could help protect the carrier from torpedo planes and dive bombers.

    So they started with the big Tribal class, then widened them about 10%. They removed the X twin 4.7" mounting (allowing a fuel tank to go where the magazine was), and modded the machinery a bit (economiser and so on) to improve endurance. This did solwy them a bit, but the Tribals were very fast so this was considered acceptable. Total changes give them 25% -30% more range.
    In place of X turret they fitted an octuple Mk2 pom-pom and director. They also fitted 2 twin 40mm (the original design carried a single quad 40mm). The original idea was for two twin quads, but equipment shortage meant they either ended up with 2x2 and 1x8, or 3x4 (12 40mm barrels).
    The early ships also had multiple 0.5" MG, but these are being relplaced by 20mm as supplies allow.
    They dont have as many as they want; the original program was for 16, 2 for Australia then 2 per fleet carrier. Ideally they would now like 3 per carrier.

    In 1939, there was seen a need for an 'emergency program' destroyer, longer range being a priority. In OTL this used the J-class hull with a lighter armament to get the required range. In this TL, they split the build - 16 O and P class (these will lost the 4" HA gun early for more light AA), 16 of the 'carrier escort' (hmm, probably weapon class for names); as a more GP escort, and as the AA mounts are still in short supply, they will have 2x2 and either 1x2 or 1x4 (6 or 8 40mm). Later on some will get the heavier octuple mount.
    After Norway, next years program (1940), they will probably build all to the CE class.
     
  14. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    No, they were always undefendable once France fell
     
  15. StevoJH Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps, the last of the class did have the 4.5" guns, but I thought that was due to a shortage of the 5.25"?

    Remember, even though less then brilliant in service, the 5.25" gun WAS designed as a DP heavy AA weapon.
     
  16. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    Yes, they had 4.5" intended originally for C&D class conversions due to a shortage of 5.25"

    The 5.25" was dual purpose, heavy enough to engage a destroyer or even a 6" cruiser, yet also (in theory) fast-firing enough to be an AA weapon. The problem was the cramped turret arrangement in the early version of the turret which slowed the rate of fire. It was seen as much more efficient for a small cruiser like Dido than a mix of 6" and 4" guns
     
  17. Obfuscated Well-Known Member

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    Additionally, they also serve as an valuable drain nazi resources. Any work done to fortressify the island is work done somewhere thouroughly useless (or harmless as the Allies are concerned)

    Hm.... maybe an landing on Frisian Islands that gets 'aborted' but leaves behind various 'authentic' plans for similiar invasion ? Wouldn't work without Hitler but with his special brand of crazy this might just redirect enough material to make the Atlantic Wall more useless than it already was...
     
  18. JN1 The 'Real' Patrick Harvie

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    The mounts were too cramped for them to be worked effectivley. However Vanguard had improved roomier mounts.
    If the Dido's were made a bit bigger and had Vanguard type mounts then they may well have been more effective AA ships.
     
  19. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

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    1600, North Sea, Home Fleet and Scharnhorst


    While the satisfying news was coming in of the Warspite's demolition of the Gneisenau, work was going on preparing a new strike for the Scharnhorst. This was complicated by the worry about the possibility of air attack; a carrier with a hanger deck full of loaded planes was very vulnerable indeed.

    Pre-war FAA doctrine had been to keep the hangar deck as non-inflammable as possible. Aircraft were unfuelled, unarmed, and there was no fuel in the refuelling system. This fitted in with the concept that a bomb, if it hit, would explode in the hangar deck, and if a major fire was avoided (a minor one was thought unavoidable), the hangar could be quickly repaired and no additional damage to the ship would ensue.

    The problem was that this doctrine clashed with the ability to launch continual strikes (an ability which had been miss-estimated before Norway). So there was, in this case, a compromise. Illustrious continued to control the CAP while Formidable ranged a torpedo strike. To minimise the danger in case of attack, the planes were armed and fuelled in small groups, which added to the time needed to assemble the strike, but meant that as long as there was radar warning, the loaded planes could be brought on deck and the hangar closed (a loaded plane on deck was of course still a vulnerability, but less so that in the hangar)

    By 1600, Formidable had ranged 15 torpedo bombers, which took off heading for the Scharnhorst, accompanied by 6 Goshawks.

    The planes sighted the fleeing battlecruiser at 1655; by which time she was well south of the fleet and, although not realised at the time, inside the cover of Me109 fighters (while the Luftwaffe was still not terribly enthusiastic about donating aircraft to protect the Kriegsmarine, the obvious disaster happening to the German fleet off Norway had wrung some of the fighters they had only just based close to Bergen free for use. However they still did not have any land-based warning, and as the Me109 didn't have a long range, they were held ready until the ships radar detected a raid and asked for cover.

    Indeed, the Scharnhorst's radar had detected the incoming flight at 1640 (at this point in time, the Royal Navy was still very uncertain if the Kriegsmarine had radar - the prevailing opinion was that they did not, so the incoming flight was at 10,000 feet to acquire the target, and easy target for the ships radar). An immediate call had gone out for fighter protection, and the fighters had started to take off 2 minutes later. It wasn't clear which would arrive first, the torpedo planes or the fighter cover.

    In fact, the torpedo planes arrived first. They circled around to attack the target in two groups, while their protecting fighters stayed at 10,000 feet to cover them if needed. As usual the planes were attacking in flights of three, and the first six (attacking from both sides) were at low level and had started their attack runs before the Me109's had arrived. As a result they were the most successful. The Scharnhorst managed to evade five of the torpedoes, but she took a hit forward from one. The torpedo did not do any serious damage, but it did cause hundreds of tons of icy water to flood into the ship close to B turret, and although the guns themselves were not damaged, the flooding did cause the magazine to have to be evacuated.

    Before the next planes could attack, the Me109's finally arrived - 12 of them. They split up into two formations, six attacking the defending fighters, the other six going for the torpedo planes. This was the first time the Goshawk pilots had encountered the Me109, and it proved a far more difficult opponent than the Me110 they were getting used to. The Me109 was not much faster, but it was more manoeuvrable, and the Luftwaffe pilots highly skilled. As a result, the attackers shot down four Goshawks for the loss of two of their own planes (one of the Goshawk pilots managed to ditch close to a rather surprised Norwegian fishing boat - to end up being delivered to Narvik a week later, safe but smelling rather strongly of fish).

    The other six Me109's had dived on the torpedo planes. They weren't quite as easy a target as they first assumed - the Sealance was fast for a torpedo plane, and a plane jinking and swerving a few feet above the waves was an awkward target, however an evading torpedo plane wasn't a very accurate delivery system. Of the first three planes attacked, two were shot down before they could release, the only one that got in a shot missing the battlecruiser.

    The remaining two flights fared little better. Three more planes were shot down , with no torpedo hits on the ship. One Me109 did hit the water as it tried to close with one of the planes, its pilot obviously not used to flying so low over water, but the result of the action was very unfavourable to the FAA.

    The Me109's didn't chase the planes as they headed off to the North, at full speed and just above the waves; the action had already left them low on fuel, and as soon as the attackers left they were heading back to their base.

    The carrier planes made it back at 1815; after hearing the radio reports of the attack, it had been decided that the Scharnhorst was now too far under fighter cover to attack without proper preparation. It was hoped that the torpedo damage might be serious enough to make her take cover in Bergen, where a full strength attack with fighter cover could be made tomorrow, but in fact the ship kept on going (her speed had only been reduced to 25 knots), obviously reluctant to stay anywhere near the British carriers for any longer than absolutely necessary.
     
  20. trekchu Well-Known Member

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    For lulz I'd have Fortiutude or what it's called TTL include an invasion of those Islands. THe laughter will be heard all over the multiverse.
     
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