Alternate warships of nations

3 main turrets on a pre-dreadnought? Has that ever been actually tried? Because from what I know all pre-dreadnoughts had only two main turrets.
The Endicott Board had an RTL choice between Krupp, Skoda and Vickers, Armstrong in 1885. I simply flipped the choice and went for wedge breech blocks and Krupp mortars. US gun-makers had to go metric IF they chose Krupp instead of Vickers. British pattern guns were chosen at the time because... well it was the BRITISH. (See remarks about Navy see, navy do, a bit further along.). From such simple choices come huge butterflies. It works out that the Americans would have gone metric if they chose Schneider Canet as they would for their field guns after WWI.

I love the model. It still looks like they should have carried the forecastle deck about 100' further after so they could superpose the rear turrets, but I guess that would do bad things to the stability. One question - why are your 1890s American designers/shipbuilders working in metric? I don't think the OTL US had any metric-calibre guns in that period.

The Germans don't seem to have been particularly happy with the Brandenburgs. They built them with 6x9.4" and a very light secondary armament - I guess that middle turret ate up a lot of the midships space - but for the next two classes they dropped the main armament to 4x9.4" but added a very heavy secondary armament of 18x5.9". Then they went to 11" for the main armament but kept the heavy secondary battery (14x6.7").
The Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm class carried 28cmL40 and L35 guns.

This was also known as the Brandenburg Class.

The Germans were unhappy with the amidships gun mount because they discovered that the blast safety zone narrowed the broadside arc coverage of the amidships turret to less than 50 degrees per beam. If they tried to angle fire further forward or aft outside that narrow arc, the muzzle blast killed exposed deck crew and severely damaged superstructure, such as the ridiculous catwalk they mounted as a bridge over the amidships gun-house. And... The 35 caliber guns also had different throw ballistics and shell flight profiles than the end chaser guns. Not all the guns could be counted to use the same shooting elevation and bearing train. The American ATL Iowa has wider arcs because of no intervening superstructure deck clutter or crew running around on the quarterdeck.

The forecastle break is a result of the start model. I kept the mistake, because I did not want a wank Yank, just a tank Yank who would be a bit better than the floating Spanish American War DEATHTRAPS that were the New Steel Navy. Those American ships were horrible sea-keepers and fighting platforms. At least with this mod, they would not roll over and blow apart if one looked at them funny.

As for the secondary guns: the Germans observed how the British designed the Majestics. German see. Germans copy. The French will do likewise and so will the Italians and the Japanese. In the RTL the Americans do the same. In the ATL, the Americans do a KFW because it seems a logical layout for a broadside battery based on their own experience with American civil war monitors. They just are a bit smarter about it. From their American civil war experience they know about muzzle blast, exposed gun crew, blast safety zones, damaged superstructure and so forth. In the RTL, before they try super-positioned and super imposed gun turrets, they will experiment on a monitor to make the ideas they have work. In the ATL, this happens before the first American battleships are laid down. The extra two gun barrels also hides the RTL/ATL fact that they do not have quick fire guns and smokeless powder yet.

But why change the choice from inches to centimeters in guns one might ask? There are a couple of good technical reasons I can suggest; Vickers guns had a nasty habit, like the French Schneider guns of blowing out the breech block and KILLING the gun mount, wrecking the tube and the crew that served the gun, as the Spanish will discover in battle when they try full warshots with their defective Vickers and Schneider export guns, while also wiping out adjacent positions with spall and burst barrel breech fragments. This happened in the period with such regularity that it was an accepted hazard in the French and British navies.

Krupp guns had a unique reputation for safety in the era. When their breech blocks failed, it was a deadly gas blow back which killed the gun crew when the lead seals failed. The breech could then be manually opened by the next gun crew, the damaged button case could be mechanically pried out with the extractor and the gun replaced back into service after swabbing. Of course there was the lead gas problem, too, but that is why the Americans will invent gas masks and ventilate their gun positions. *(Yes, the USN invented primitive gas masks and those weird buttons on top of USN gun houses are VENTILATORS to vent normal poisonous brown powder gunpowder gasses from the propellants they use.).
 
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Start point.



1/700 Niko Model US Navy Battleships USS Iowa, 1898 Resin ...

Result of modifications. (Work mine.)



What is going on here?

The base model is the 1898 Iowa which was a ~13,000 tonne full load battleship of 1895 vintage with very poor seakeeping, unbalanced and poorly designed main barbette armament and troublesome engines.

How was I going to get something American useful out to the Canary Islands with the crappy American technology extant, face-off against a German-Spanish squadron in an ATL and wargame it? (THIS ^^^) is what I came up with.

Based off Wiki

General characteristics
Type:Pre-dreadnought battleship
Displacement:
  • Design: 14,410 long tons (14641.24 tm)
  • Full load: 15,647 long tons (15898.09tm)
Length:
  • 460 ft (140.1 m) (lwl)
  • 162 ft 6 in (141.49 m)(loa)
Beam:72 ft 3 in (22.02 m)
Draft:24 ft (7.3 m)
Installed power:
  • 12 × small-tube B & W boilers
  • 17,000 ihp (12,677 kW)
Propulsion:
Speed:18 kn (33 km/h; 20.7 mph)
Range:5,140 nmi (9,520 km; 5,920 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement:
  • 36 officers
  • 540 enlisted men
Armament:
Armor:

The logic is straightforward. The main armament is a mixed battery of large and medium bore guns designed to mask the Americans lack of a good medium bore size and caliber quick fire gun at this time. The hull is modified because the powerplant is long and heavy and low in the hull, with the electric motors under the after turrets near the screws and the rudder. Seakeeping and stability on a 5.15 x 2.9 LBD ratio is horrible. 6.5 x 2.9 LBD is actually much better, though she is still wet and a roller.

That ship shows up off Santa Cruz de Teneriffe in an ATL and Admiral Eduard von Knorr is going to think twice about it.
If anyone wants to get really depressed, this is almost exactly how Harry Harrison describes his Super Monitor USS Virginia in Books 2&3* of the Stars and Stripes Trilogy.
And people wonder why its considered the definition of a WANK?

(*Oh, and to be slightly clearer, in Book 2 Virginia resembles the OTL USS Iowa, in Book 3 it has somehow got larger and aquired a third main turret, thus resembling McP's alternate.)
 
My understanding of why no one stuck an extra 11/12 inch turret on a pre-dreadnought is while the ship would have advantage over other ships at long range, at shorter range they would get overpowered by pre-dreadnoughts with more 6-8 inch guns with a greater rate of fire. Also worth bearing in mind that ships of this era had very little in the way of rangefinding. They would also have a greater displacement and therefore cost more.
 
Say would cancelling the 80s refits on Wisconsin and/or Missouri to refit all 31 members of the Spruance with the MK71 8" gun system in place if their forward 5" mount been a good idea? Also speaking of the Iowas 80s refits from what was reading Iowa and New Jersey really probably needed six to eight more months in the yard than they got, whether or not that would spared Iowa from her turret explosion I don't know but I'd say it was possible
 
My understanding of why no one stuck an extra 11/12 inch turret on a pre-dreadnought is while the ship would have advantage over other ships at long range, at shorter range they would get overpowered by pre-dreadnoughts with more 6-8 inch guns with a greater rate of fire. Also worth bearing in mind that ships of this era had very little in the way of rangefinding. They would also have a greater displacement and therefore cost more.
It was % hits at the then understood effective engagement ranges of 1,000 to 3,000 meters from 1870-1895 that dictated rapid fire broadside batteries to be supplemented by what we now understand to be chaser guns at the ship ends. By the battle of the Yalu River (1894) things were starting to become rather dicey as to this planform. The Japanese discovered that their batteries of rapid fire guns were ineffective against the Chinese battleships, while one or two hits from Chinese large bore guns were quite dangerous to their smaller protected cruisers. Torpedoes and ramming were almost ineffective..


Somewhere in this thread... @Hood explains rather well the guns/armor dance that started opening the shooting distance up and made the rapid fire guns moot as the concept of the "immune zone" became understood. The only way around it was the all big gun ship.

This I explain here... example 1 and example 2.

To summarize, when the principles of continuous aim, height finder telemetry to generate angle solutions that could be used against known ballistic fire tables and coincidence optics for range guesstimate was understood: all that remained was shot spotting and clocking ships' movements in relation to each over over time (Generated track) to predict where they would be when the shells arrived; that gives one the tools to use slow firing breech loading naval rifles to hit ships some fifteen to twenty five seconds into the future (12,000=>18.250 meters) by the time of 1910 when the Dreyer Tables come into use.
 
Say would cancelling the 80s refits on Wisconsin and/or Missouri to refit all 31 members of the Spruance with the MK71 8" gun system in place if their forward 5" mount been a good idea? Also speaking of the Iowas 80s refits from what was reading Iowa and New Jersey really probably needed six to eight more months in the yard than they got, whether or not that would spared Iowa from her turret explosion I don't know but I'd say it was possible
I do not know about the Spruance refits. The Iowa turret explosion was a combination of poor training, non-maintenance, poor leadership, lack of ethics, LYING to the chain of responsibility, human arrogance, human stupidity, human error and a loss of routine institutional memory and plain COMMON SENSE on how dangerous it actually was and is to operate a battleship by an over confident navy that believed its manure did not smell funny; especially when completely criminally culpable incompetent idiots and circumstances combined to produce the catastrophe.

Excerpts from the Wiki article.

During its review, Sandia determined that a significant overram of the powder bags into the gun had occurred as it was being loaded and that the overram could have caused the explosion. A subsequent test by the Navy of the overram scenario confirmed that an overram could have caused an explosion in the gun breech. Sandia's technicians also found that the physical evidence did not support the U.S. Navy's theory that an electronic or chemical detonator had been used to initiate the explosion.
===============================================================

A week after taking command, Moosally and his executive officer, Mike Fahey, canceled a planned $1 million repair package for Iowa's main gun batteries, including repairs to the main gun turrets' lighting, electrical, powder hoists, and hydraulic systems—75 detailed deficiencies in all; instead, the funds were spent on overhauling the ship's powerplant.[9] In August 1988, Iowa set sail on sea trials around the Chesapeake Bay area and then began refresher training in the waters around Florida and Puerto Rico in October.[10]

Between September 1988 and January 1989, sailors aboard Iowa reportedly conducted little training with her main guns, in part because of ongoing, serious maintenance issues with the main gun turrets. According to Ensign Dan Meyer, the officer in charge of the ship's Turret One, morale and operational readiness among the gun-turret crews suffered greatly.[11]

In January 1989 Iowa's Master Chief Fire Controlman, Stephen Skelley, and Gunnery Officer, Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Michael Costigan, persuaded Moosally to allow them to experiment with increasing the range of the main guns using "supercharged" powder bags and specially designed shells. Moosally was led to believe, falsely, that top officials from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) had authorized the experiments. In fact, John McEachren, a mid-level bureaucrat [what was actual position?] with NAVSEA, had given the go-ahead to conduct the experiments even though he had no authority to do so. McEachren concealed his approval of the gunnery experiments from his superiors.[12]
The words "corrupt coverup" come to mind; but as is always, the truth will out.
 
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My understanding of why no one stuck an extra 11/12 inch turret on a pre-dreadnought is while the ship would have advantage over other ships at long range, at shorter range they would get overpowered by pre-dreadnoughts with more 6-8 inch guns with a greater rate of fire. Also worth bearing in mind that ships of this era had very little in the way of rangefinding. They would also have a greater displacement and therefore cost more.
Another reason was before Tsushima it was expected that the 8-inch and 6-inch guns would be firing rapidly and doing a lot of damage to their target, the Main Battery was to finish the job. Tsushima ended up proving that even though few 12-inch shells hit they were the ones that did the damage.
 
The German Brandenburg class had three main turrets, but the midships one carried the same calibre but shorter main guns.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg-class_battleship
Ahem
Russians were strangely innovative in the early years of the ironclad, built the first armoured cruisers too.
The Brandenburgs were bad ships for obvious reasons. We'll use the Royal Navy as the example.
Reed had the basic idea for a pre dreadnought as early as 1865 with the ideal designs for the Monarch. Turrets for and aft on the centreline with excellent arcs of fire.
With sails this is near impossible, the best he could do was the en echelon designs (Notably Inflexible) which had better arcs than that of monarch but nonetheless maintained the issues of sails getting in the way.
It was done away with in Devastation, and quite frankly the RN should've stuck to that design but conservative elements held on very tight to sails right up until the end of the century.
An extra turret on the centreline is essentially dead weight, especially at a time when everyone thought the ram was an effective weapon and thus end on fire would be important.
Th arcs of midships centreline turrets were usually awful, and because the gun barrels themselves were quite short you usually had a great time with blast damage.
What's the alternative? an early all big gun battleship (say 1870s-1880s) will likely go by 4 turrets, either 2 en echelon amidships with a turret forwards an aft, which would be absolutely gigantic and hideously expensive or two turrets side by side fore and aft. Again blowing out the bank and probably the slowest ship in the fleet but hey at least you have a heavily armed capital ship right? well apart from even more damage done to the deck your ship has probably been made obsolete by guns designed for smokeless powder and new armour so you get shells rained on you by a ship with half the number of guns while your big expensive fat monster desperately tries to manoevre into a position where it can get the exact same number of main guns the enemy has to bear and wait 5 minutes more for them to load and then obliterate your deck if you are firing end on.

My understanding of why no one stuck an extra 11/12 inch turret on a pre-dreadnought is while the ship would have advantage over other ships at long range, at shorter range they would get overpowered by pre-dreadnoughts with more 6-8 inch guns with a greater rate of fire. Also worth bearing in mind that ships of this era had very little in the way of rangefinding. They would also have a greater displacement and therefore cost more.
See above and to McPhersons point. Yalu really shook the Japanese up, Jeune Ecole had sounded solid on paper but they couldn't put a dent in those chinese battleships. HE was highly effective in terms of setting the chinese ships on fire but the Chinese weren't very well trained overall and return fire was basically cannon shot. Chinese damage control however was good, and despite the fact the japanese cruisers rained down hell onto the chinese ships setting many ablaze, the chinese ships kept in the fight and stayed afloat. It signaled the need for large caliber "Rapid" fire guns that could punch through armour. They realized how screwed they'd have been going up against a competant enemy with good fire control, decent screening etc. Those cruisers should've been shredded, and the Japanese changed doctrine over to the standard battle formation which proved deadly at Tsushima. Yalu also brought an end to the popular end on attack (tho fisher remained obsessed with end on fire) and you saw a return of the battle line. Before the popular idea was end on attack, rekking the enemy with the heavy guns if they hit at all and then ramming because lissa.
 
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Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
True - but Britain's pre-Majestic class battleships not usually thought of as pre-dreadnoughts. Maine & Texas not usually considered pre-dreads either. To it's greatest extreme HMS Victory is a pre-dread!
 
True - but Britain's pre-Majestic class battleships not usually thought of as pre-dreadnoughts. Maine & Texas not usually considered pre-dreads either. To it's greatest extreme HMS Victory is a pre-dread!
Majestics are "usually" considered to be the first pre dreadnoughts, having harvey steel armour, smokeless powder 12" guns etc etc.
I'm not convinced, it goes back to the Royal Sovereigns at the least and indeed back further to the admiral and trafalgar class as a result, having a "standard" armament on the centreline (yes ik benbow was different but that was down to not having the guns they wanted so sticking fewer bigger guns on instead.)
The pre dreadnought design comes from devastation, everything else is improving and enlarging that basic design, with the odd change from the coles type turret to the open barbette to the "hooded" barbette and then the fully armored turret. Ultimately they were all designed with the intention of a fully rotating armored gun housing.
maine and texas do not follow the principle of the standard pre dreadnought, having it's turrets en echelon and with the issues caused by that arrangement.
This is not to water down the pre dreadnought to the most basic idea of "a capital ship" but rather a vessel armoured against it's own guns (at least in theory anyway since there was some shoddy armour the odd time) with 4 guns in two turrets fore and aft on the centreline, along with some smaller armaments, initially to ward off torpedo boats and later to ward off the cruisers that seemed to pose such a threat to the battleship on paper during the jeune ecole era.
 
Question:
Which ship class would people in this thread the best Pre-Dreadnought (both excluding and including ships considered "Semi-Dreadnoughts") battleship class? (I imagine one of the latest ones, like Lord Nelson and Satsuma)

Separately, which Pre-Dreadnought class is the most iconic/characteristic? (probably the Majestic class)
 
Question:
Which ship class would people in this thread the best Pre-Dreadnought (both excluding and including ships considered "Semi-Dreadnoughts") battleship class? (I imagine one of the latest ones, like Lord Nelson and Satsuma)

Separately, which Pre-Dreadnought class is the most iconic/characteristic? (probably the Majestic class)
I don't personally agree with the whole "semi-dreadnought" category as it's commonly used by Wikipedia and some other parties, generally I don't think it's particularly valuable at all for the distinctions that it brings along. Ideally I'd use the term to describe Kawachi given her lack of a completely uniform barrel length however, its such a niche case that I don't even think it's worth using the term.

I won't comment outside of the late predreadnought era as my knowledge is incredibly limited there however, I don't really think any of the later ships such as Radetzky, Mississippi, Danton, Lord Nelson, etc have enough of an advantage over one another to really be the "best" in any meaningful way. Danton is kind of cheating as it's using turbines and late to the party overall. I'm a bit of a sucker for Lord Nelson and it's funny little amidships single 9.2" turret but otherwise, I like the general aesthetic of turreted secondaries quite a bit.
 
Question:
Which ship class would people in this thread the best Pre-Dreadnought (both excluding and including ships considered "Semi-Dreadnoughts") battleship class? (I imagine one of the latest ones, like Lord Nelson and Satsuma)

Separately, which Pre-Dreadnought class is the most iconic/characteristic? (probably the Majestic class)
Which decade? Won't get a decent American until about USS Maine II about 1900. And even then I am not happy with USN PDNs until the Connecticuts.

Best are Nelsons, overall. Near match for Dreadnought ship versus ship.

Devastation set the pattern.


Source: Wiki
HMS Devastation (1871).
Unknown author - Digital reproduction of archive photo
 
My love of bizarre French stuff, as well as their coming late to the party and bringing a host of advanced features for the type leads me to usualky consider the Dantons as the best. Though I also think the final Austro-Hungarian ships were pretty good.
 
If anyone wants to get really depressed, this is almost exactly how Harry Harrison describes his Super Monitor USS Virginia in Books 2&3* of the Stars and Stripes Trilogy.
Commentary (Not mine.)

And people wonder why its considered the definition of a WANK?
... I did not want a wank Yank, just a tank Yank who would be a bit better than the floating Spanish American War DEATHTRAPS that were the New Steel Navy. Those American ships were horrible sea-keepers and fighting platforms. At least with this mod, they would not roll over and blow apart if one looked at them funny.
See remarks next.

(*Oh, and to be slightly clearer, in Book 2 Virginia resembles the OTL USS Iowa, in Book 3 it has somehow got larger and aquired a third main turret, thus resembling McP's alternate.)
There is not much about Harry Harrison's alternate histories which I can read without laughter. When an ATL is posited, one cannot wave away the physical constraints or invoke "magic". The fact is, that when one looks at macros in a possible divergent history, weather is still weather, steel is still steel, women and men are still women and men, geography remains and it all is operative within the rules of the universe in which we live.

That is why despite the differences in the time lines I attempted to examine, many things that shape the way things fall out; people, technology, geography, politics, economics, resources... one will see the details may alter, but the limits remain.

The Spanish American War is as near run in my ATL as it was in the RTL because the Spaniards had good tech, and at least their navy had decent fighting admirals and sailors. Their government failed them and did not keep the tools of the trade up or allow the sailors and officers to train and fight as they wished. The Americans had good people, too, but very inferior tech, which shocked them as soon as their experts examined the wrecked Spanish ships. BUT the Americans kept up their material and they trained hard. It showed in positive results for the USN.

On land the Americans, if the Spanish had their heart in it, would have been thrashed. The Spanish tercios were clearly the better trained and equipped at least at the small unit level. The Americans, their officers and men were enthusiastic, but their organization, equipment and tactical skill was grossly inferior. The overconfidence and lack of prudence that carried the Americans from victory to victory in Cuba, will come back to bite them in WWI, when they finally step up into the big leagues.

I might give them Mannlichers and invoke Hotchkiss as PoDs, but if it is the same Civil War buffoonery that led to Guasimas and Kettle Hill, then those lopsided casualty exchange ratios are still going to happen and Schafter is still going to goof the campaign up, Schley will still give general chase to Cervera at sea and Sampson will still suffer a nervous breakdown and go insane and there will be courts martial on both sides of the Atlantic.

The reworked Iowa does not change the basic fundamentals.

McP.
 
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The biggest problem with the Intermediate Pre-Dreadnought's is that mixing 12--inch, 8- to 10-inch and 7-inch and smaller guns lead to the near impossibility of determining what shell splash belonging to what gun. And with Fire Control in its infancy you can well wonder about the lack of hits.

Dreadnought's uniform Main Battery changed all that...
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
The biggest problem with the Intermediate Pre-Dreadnought's is that mixing 12--inch, 8- to 10-inch and 7-inch and smaller guns lead to the near impossibility of determining what shell splash belonging to what gun. And with Fire Control in its infancy you can well wonder about the lack of hits.

Dreadnought's uniform Main Battery changed all that...
Very true, although the fire control took time to catch-up with the increased battle ranges (Scott / Pollen / Dreyer...)
 
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