Alternate warships of nations

The Osprey book on British Ironclads has the drawing below as Reeds ideal masted turret ship.

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Quote a heavy weight at the bow and stern not to mention the width of hull needed here.
Not to mention having to armour the thing, even just with armoured box's rather than a massive belt the issues are pretty obvious. But what reed was trying to emphasise and trying to solve was the issue of having a masted vessel with turrets, and said turrets would have roughly clear arcs of fire, especially fore or aft. There are really only two ways of doing that, Reeds proposal, or an en echelon arrangement, and although both have sacrifice, the latter is the easier design to go for and the former wouldn't be realistic in many ways until at the very least Devastation literally reeds proposal with the masts and more obviously the space for masts deleted) and even then extreme low freeboard was an obvious issue. The question then becomes can you make a high sided, ocean going Devastation in the 1870s?
 
Not to mention having to armour the thing, even just with armoured box's rather than a massive belt the issues are pretty obvious. But what reed was trying to emphasise and trying to solve was the issue of having a masted vessel with turrets, and said turrets would have roughly clear arcs of fire, especially fore or aft. There are really only two ways of doing that, Reeds proposal, or an en echelon arrangement, and although both have sacrifice, the latter is the easier design to go for and the former wouldn't be realistic in many ways until at the very least Devastation literally reeds proposal with the masts and more obviously the space for masts deleted) and even then extreme low freeboard was an obvious issue. The question then becomes can you make a high sided, ocean going Devastation in the 1870s?
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ATL USS Maine, posited launched around 1888.

Source: McPherson concept and work.

Maybe you can., but Skippy the Alien Space Bat might have to show up to handle some details.
 
Better broadside arcs on the Maine in exchange for sacrificing dead on fire?
Forward arcs wouldn't be terrible mind you
Only thing I could do with the then state of the American naval art and the USN cruising practice of the 1880s. Those are still 'sailing' masts. The Americans were not too trusting of steam engines as late as 1890.

As it was, the very extensive mods I made, to the Harper's lithograph, pushed the tonnage up from 6,800 to something like 8,500 tons without sacrificing speed or turn radius and gave me a much better line of battle ship. I never got the echelon fire end on craze. it was not worth the hull stress or the structural problems when smart maneuvering (weaving) could solve the "end on fire" problem.
 
Only thing I could do with the then state of the American naval art and the USN cruising practice of the 1880s. Those are still 'sailing' masts. The Americans were not too trusting of steam engines as late as 1890.

As it was, the very extensive mods I made, to the Harper's lithograph, pushed the tonnage up from 6,800 to something like 8,500 tons without sacrificing speed or turn radius and gave me a much better line of battle ship. I never got the echelon fire end on craze. it was not worth the hull stress or the structural problems when smart maneuvering (weaving) could solve the "end on fire" problem.
Certainly past 1885 the echelon phase was well and truly up, although the American design may have been reactionary, the Admirals, which were in all senses proto pre dreadnoughts and a polishing of the concept before the royal sovereigns, indeed along with the Colossus class took ages to complete, the former class seemingly being down to waiting for guns to be built, which is fair enough I suppose as they were right in the middle of the muzzle loader breech loader evolution.
The problem with having masts ahead of the turrets in an Alt monarch where reed enter fuck it and put them fore and aft with the masts ahead is Monarchs masts are fully rigged for sails, Maines are not and were more paranoia that the engine would randomly break down and they needed masts because you can jury rig sails eventually, hell they did it in ww2. Monarch is specifically as masted turret ship and needs those sails, at least until engine reliability is satisfactory, and then you have to push past the conservative lot in the Admiralty who don't think very much of solely engine powered ships. Indeed this is exactly what Reed brought up, that "In 1871 (he) stated to the Committee on Designs that he wanted on a turret ship no poop and no forecastle, and masts carrying at most light rig past which the guns could fire fore or aft on the centre-line"
Your Maine has very little rigging at all, and so the issue is to have an engine reliable enough to convince Admiralty she can be ocean going without sails.
I'd argue a light enough rig to suit didn't appear until Ajax /Colossus and indeed they were designed from the beginning not to have a sailing rig. That's as early as 1876 but it's still 8 years off our target at the minimum and more realistically a decade
 
Certainly past 1885 the echelon phase was well and truly up, although the American design may have been reactionary, the Admirals, which were in all senses proto pre dreadnoughts and a polishing of the concept before the Royal Sovereigns, indeed along with the Colossus class took ages to complete, the former class seemingly being down to waiting for guns to be built, which is fair enough I suppose as they were right in the middle of the muzzle loader breech loader evolution.
Just for those of us who are not experts on the RN (Like me, who is most definitely not an expert.).

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Barbette and citadel ship. 1882.


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Turret and caisson ships afflicted with a case of echelonitis.

Then we have the Trafalgars:

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A turret and citadel ship. Circa 1888.

These examples could be considered evolutionary leading to this:

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Royal Sovereign class: barbette and citadel ship circa 1890.
Sources are: Wiki commons.

The problem with having masts ahead of the turrets in an Alt Monarch where Reed enter fuck it and put them fore and aft with the masts ahead is Monarch's masts are fully rigged for sails, Maine's are not and were more paranoia that the engine would randomly break down and they needed masts because you can jury rig sails eventually, hell they did it in ww2. Monarch is specifically as masted turret ship and needs those sails, at least until engine reliability is satisfactory, and then you have to push past the conservative lot in the Admiralty who don't think very much of solely engine powered ships. Indeed this is exactly what Reed brought up, that "In 1871 (he) stated to the Committee on Designs that he wanted on a turret ship no poop and no forecastle, and masts carrying at most light rig past which the guns could fire fore or aft on the centre-line".
Well, I think that the state of steam engines at least for marine applications was still "iffy" as late as 1890. One of the things that still amazes American historians is the speed run the USS Oregon made around the Americas in 1898. She had no major engine casualty to speak of and still managed a hefty 8-11 knot average speed from her Pacific station off San Francisco starting 19 March 1898 to join up with the North Atlantic Squadron off Santiago de Cuba, 66 days later. 14,000 nautical miles with stops for coaling and a passage through the Terra del Fuego straits through what amounted to a hurricane. This is a testimony to Union Iron Works who built her. Remember, these were American engines which are at least a decade behind British state of the art!

Your Maine has very little rigging at all, and so the issue is to have an engine reliable enough to convince Admiralty she can be ocean going without sails.
The General Board was convinced, because those masts on ersatz Maine are the ones as represented in OTL. it scales a bit weirder, but the masts were intended for "cruising" on sail. No really, that was the intent.

I'd argue a light enough rig to suit didn't appear until Ajax /Colossus and indeed they were designed from the beginning not to have a sailing rig. That's as early as 1876 but it's still 8 years off our target at the minimum and more realistically a decade.
So no sails by 1884? That sounds about right as far as steam engine reliability goes. The French seem to have been more optimistic.


That is the Marceau about 1886, but laid down 1882. Source: wiki.

She is a lozenge battery turreted ironclad with the usual French tumblehome. Tough ship.
 
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I will leave this for interested parties to mull over and comment upon. Such comments are welcome. I have a thick skin and can take criticism.
The minor-est of minor quibble: How are you launching and recovering the ship's boats on her?

The peacetime RN in general and Jellicoe in particular were obsessed with boat-handling arrangements, even when deciding to eliminate the mainmast, which makes boat handling a lot harder. HMS Colossus is a good example- in order to support the boat derrick, the foremast is placed abaft the funnel, which allows the spotting top to be fouled by smoke and hot gases.



1913's HMS Tiger has a better arrangement with boat derricks on either side of the second and third funnels:

 
The minor-est of minor quibble: How are you launching and recovering the ship's boats on her?

The peacetime RN in general and Jellicoe in particular were obsessed with boat-handling arrangements, even when deciding to eliminate the mainmast, which makes boat handling a lot harder. HMS Colossus is a good example- in order to support the boat derrick, the foremast is placed abaft the funnel, which allows the spotting top to be fouled by smoke and hot gases.



1913's HMS Tiger has a better arrangement with boat derricks on either side of the second and third funnels:

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Just for those of us who are not experts on the RN (Like me, who is most definitely not an expert.).

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Barbette and citadel ship. 1882.


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Turret and caisson ships afflicted with a case of echelonitis.

Then we have the Trafalgars:

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A turret and citadel ship. Circa 1888.

These examples could be considered evolutionary leading to this:

View attachment 559934

Royal Sovereign class: barbette and citadel ship circa 1890.
Sources are: Wiki commons.



Well, I think that the state of steam engines at least for marine applications was still "iffy" as late as 1890. One of the things that still amazes American historians is the speed run the USS Oregon made around the Americas in 1898. She had no major engine casualty to speak of and still managed a hefty 8-11 knot average speed from her Pacific station off San Francisco starting 19 March 1898 to join up with the North Atlantic Squadron off Santiago de Cuba, 66 days later. 14,000 nautical miles with stops for coaling and a passage through the Terra del Fuego straits through what amounted to a hurricane. This is a testimony to Union Iron Works who built her. Remember, these were American engines which are at least a decade behind British state of the art!



The General Board was convinced, because those masts on ersatz Maine are the ones as represented in OTL. it scales a bit weirder, but the masts were intended for "cruising" on sail. No really, that was the intent.



So no sails by 1884? That sounds about right as far as steam engine reliability goes. The French seem to have been more optimistic.


That is the Marceau about 1886, but laid down 1882. Source: wiki.

She is a lozenge battery turreted ironclad with the usual French tumblehome. Tough ship.
  • If we look at it, we have everything in place around 1876 for what's basically a royal Sovereign and indeed the Admirals started coming 3 years later. We have engines for the most part reliable enough to not really need sails, and we see this with Ajax and Colossus and indeed Inflexible once the conservatives in the Admiralty gave in. You've a fore and aft turret arrangement from Cerberus and Devastation and now the french using barbette rather than turrets, the brits seemed to cling on to the Coles turret right up until Hood.
  • The 1870s are considering a lost decade by some for the Royal navy, to a degree I agree but feel it was also a breathing space for the insane amount of evolution from 1860 to 1870. Nonetheless it was a period of stagnation that the royal navy lost out on, few ships being laid down. They came out the other end of the decade with what was effectively prototype pre dreadnoughts laid down, and I suppose pumping out ships is pointless ifevery ship is unique and there's no standardisation, which you started seeing in the 1880s and culminated with the Royal Sovereigns, Majestics etc being pumped out at an extraordinary rate. So long story short, 1876-1879 is sail being dealt the final blow, 1882-84 is when you see the ships laid down in the years previous start to come online. The idea had been around as early as 1865-66 so it was just a case of the technology and nearly more importantly those in charge catching up. How far can engine tech be pushed forward?
  • Being confident in steam being reliable and having some set of sailing rig for cruising is somewhat contradictory, no? Perhaps the idea was 'Let's not waste coal fuel and possibly burn out the engine on cruising when we can just use sail", possibly even (if there's wind, why not use it?) but I digress. The steam v sail debate produced a lot of interesting designs but carried a lot of compromises with it. Neither side was entirely right or wrong until the marine engine was reliable enough to not have a decent possibility of breaking down, and then you'll have a the few hangers on that won't fully let go of what had won them all the wars in the past etc etc. Bottom line, theoretically you can probably lay down something thats basically Trafalgar as early as 1876
 
Plus running low on coal was a very valid concern which can be seen in one of the worst maritime disasters in history, SS Atlantic which made its fateful run to Halifax because it was running low on fuel
 
I never got the echelon fire end on craze. it was not worth the hull stress or the structural problems when smart maneuvering (weaving) could solve the "end on fire" problem.
Back in the 1860's (Civil War and Lissa) guns couldn't penetrate ironclad armor, so ramming was emphasized as the only way to actually sink ships (and is still true to a degree, very few battleships were sunk without torpedo or ramming hits). So that became the main focus, and to quote Wikipedia on one ship,
It was observed that the guns placed on the Taureau were there "with the sole function of preparing the way for the ram."
This was probably the case for en echelon guns- and in many such ships the guns can fire directly forward, but not directly backward (or at least only the outer guns can fire backwards).

If we look at it, we have everything in place around 1876 for what's basically a royal Sovereign and indeed the Admirals started coming 3 years later. We have engines for the most part reliable enough to not really need sails, and we see this with Ajax and Colossus and indeed Inflexible once the conservatives in the Admiralty gave in. You've a fore and aft turret arrangement from Cerberus and Devastation and now the french using barbette rather than turrets, the brits seemed to cling on to the Coles turret right up until Hood.
But those were all used in Europe or the North Atlantic (where repair and coaling facilities were readily available), like the original Devastation was. Their second-class ironclads and cruisers for everywhere else retained sails into the mid-1880s, as the engines still weren't reliable enough to eliminate sails outside of European waters.
 
Back in the 1860's (Civil War and Lissa) guns couldn't penetrate ironclad armor, so ramming was emphasized as the only way to actually sink ships (and is still true to a degree, very few battleships were sunk without torpedo or ramming hits). So that became the main focus, and to quote Wikipedia on one ship,

It was observed that the guns placed on the Taureau were there "with the sole function of preparing the way for the ram."
It should come as no surprise to some that most American civil war ship vs ship combat induced ship kills were fires caused by shell hits among combustibles, followed by magazine explosions? Mines, also killed a lot of Union ships with below the waterline hull ruptures. At Lissa, that famous example of how to do it wrong, by both sides no less, the Re d'Italia was the only ship sunk by the Ferdinand Max ramming her. Other Italian ships, mission killed were burndowns induced by shell fire. Palestro, the other Italian ironclad lost, blew up when fires reached her magazines and she sank as she burst apart.

This was probably the case for en echelon guns- and in many such ships the guns can fire directly forward, but not directly backward (or at least only the outer guns can fire backwards).
I have observed in the research and have verified that most ship kills of that era that were not sinkings by torpedoes, but were burndowns caused by shellfire that rendered the metal hulls absolutely worthless.

In this very thread I have given battle treatments of the 1894 Battle of the Yalu River, the 1898 Battle of Manila Bay, and the Battle of the Bahia de Santiago de Cuba, where shells which set ships afire was the main cause of mission kills and loss of ship and mission.

I could even look at the battles of the Russo-Japanese War and show where mines and shellfire cause more ship losses than torpedoes. Ramming of steam ships equipped with reversible engines and kingpost rudder positive aft steer control was like bayonet fighting in the era of the bolt action rifle and the machine gun. Often taught, but rarely applied or even effective.

BTW: as a postscript, John Ericsson cursed John Dhalgren for advising the technical officers handling the USS Monitor to undercharge her guns. The reason for it was the USS Princeton disaster when an Ericcson gun was accidentally overcharged, the gun blew up and the Secretary of the Navy and a few other important US govt. officials were killed. (Tyler narrowly escapes death on the USS Princeton.)

The Monitor's guns, if properly charged with propellant would have thrown Paixhan type shells hard enough to breach or rather break into the CSS Virginia's casemate house and tear into the gun gallery blowing that Confederate ironclad to bits.
 
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It should come as no surprise to some that most American civil war ship vs ship combat induced ship kills were fires caused by shell hits among combustibles, followed by magazine explosions?
It was, but they didn't sink battleships, they just burned them down to the waterline, leaving a hulk that would be recovered, captured, or scuttled later.
BTW: as a postscript, John Ericsson cursed John Dhalgren for advising the technical officers handling the USS Monitor to undercharge her guns. The reason for it was the USS Princeton disaster when an Ericcson gun was accidentally overcharged, the gun blew up and the Secretary of the Navy and a few other important US govt. officials were killed. (Tyler narrowly escapes death on the USS Princeton.)

The Monitor's guns, if properly charged with propellant would have thrown Paixhan type shells hard enough to breach or rather break into the CSS Virginia's casemate house and tear into the gun gallery blowing that Confederate ironclad to bits.
Actually there was a pretty good test of this theory in the Battle of Mobile Bay, when the CSS Tennessee decided to commit suicide by 3 Union ironclads (that's the best way I can describe it). It still wasn't sunk, just battered and smashed by shells until 2 crew were killed, 8 others (including the Admiral) wounded, and everyone else disoriented.
 
But those were all used in Europe or the North Atlantic (where repair and coaling facilities were readily available), like the original Devastation was. Their second-class ironclads and cruisers for everywhere else retained sails into the mid-1880s, as the engines still weren't reliable enough to eliminate sails outside of European waters.
No First class unit in the royal navy was laid down with a full rig planned after 1876. Second class ironclads were primarily older ships built with full rigs, many of them being broadside or central battery ironclads, so sails were no burden. It wouldn't make sense to cut down the masts on perfectly good ships when they were no burden to them.

Onto cruisers, sails lasted longer, so let's go into it.
Shannon was laid down in 1873, two years before that Alexandra was laid down with a full rig because 'centuries of tradition had left an ingrained emotional attachment to sails in a small but influential number of the senior members of the naval hierarchy. This minority succeeded in convincing the Board to design Alexandra as a rigged broadside vessel"
One can assume Shannon case for a full rig was much stronger, literally being designed as a cruiser, not to mention she and her Nelson class siblings (laid down in 1874) were central battery ships or broadside ships. By Imperuise, she and her sister were designed with sails because "(they) were originally fitted with a brig sailing rig to economize on coal"
So as I stated earlier
Perhaps the idea was 'Let's not waste coal fuel and possibly burn out the engine on cruising when we can just use sail"
Again with lighter vessels, smaller second class cruisers we also see sails further on into the 1880s, some being laid down designed with sails as late as 1880. What do we see popping up again?
"The proposal to remove the square rig on the foremast, and the fighting tops, in order to reduce top weight I do not concur in; the square rig on the foremast is a decided advantage to vessels of this class, and would enable them to save coal when cruising on a foreign station; the value of the guns mounted in the fighting tops would be considerable when engaged with cruisers, and therefore I would retain them" source:wiki

So to summarise, lighter units of the royal navy, cruisers, sloops, etc had them for two primary reasons. To save/economise on coal, and for extra speed, something of great benefit when either attacking or indeed protecting commerce. The comus class sloop is an example of this " Unlike their French rivals, which built fast steamers and needed neither long range nor a full rig of sail, the Royal Navy required their cruisers to be capable of long voyages away from coaling stations. Their ships therefore had a beamy hull to handle their sails, making them slower under steam than their French counterparts" source wiki.
 
I tend to agree with Hood about the steam and sails evolution. The OTL Texas was actually a "battleship" and not an armored cruiser like her contemporary Maine (which still had auxiliary sails).



See (^^^). (Wiki commons.) No sail rig. Military masts.

American cruisers of the era followed British practice.
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USS Columbia. Note the Bark-like sail rig?
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USS Baltimore. Note the semi-square sail rig?

From here: Source.

I note that these designs were prepared by British shipwrights; so if they look "British"; that is no accident.
 

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Probably the two worst ships of their respective eras. The only reason I would take Hood is because the British knew how to turn a bad design into a functional warship, unlike the Germans.
Hood as a design had so much potential. All the RN had to do was go for an All or Nothing armor scheme and use the saved weight to both increase the height of the armor belt and its thickness and make it uniform(with a couple hundred extra tons going into uparmoring the turrets, and maybe increase their elevation to 35°). Then all they need to do was drop the speed down to 30(maybe 30.5) knots and use the saved weight to add a couple inches of deck armor. They also could have saved a fair bit of weight(and added some fuel capacity) by using the more conventional void and liquid TDS system which proved just as effective as the crush tube TDS she got in otl during tests a couple years later(which is why the G3s and N3s would have had the void and liquid system and the Nelsons inherited that feature). Mind you if these characteristics had been designed into the Admrials from the start instead of bolting on armor like they did in otl with Hood, its likely at least one more would have been finished since they wouldn't have required a major redesign post Jutland and moreover they wouldn't have so wet aft.
At that point all Hood would have needed to stay effective in WW2 would be improved fire control and AA with some TLC(or possibly a full replacement, although where the spare weight would have gone I have no idea)given to the engines over the course of a major refit
 
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