Battleships in Rivers

So, with the 20th century warships have gotten big. Very big. They are typically too large for rivers. However some rivers are much bigger than others. For instance the St. Lawrence is pretty deep, so a bit of dredging allows large ocean cargo ships to get as far as Montreal. Kolkatta meanwhile also sees some major shipping vessels.

As such, I was wondering what's the farthest inland large modern military vessels could travel (I'm specifically curious about Dreadnaughts, but any modern ships interest me).
 
I'm assuming you're not including canals like Panama, Kiel or Suez? These are of course connecting to natural rivers or waterways in places, and are made for dreadnought-sized warships.

USS Massachusetts/Battleship Cove is on the Taunton River, IIRC my from recent visit, it's all fresh water, so it must be upriver somewhat.
 
The Welland Canal would stop most large warships from entering the inland Great Lakes. The locks are 261.8 metres (859 ft.) long, 24.4 metres (80 ft.) wide and 24.8 metres (81.5 ft.) deep.

HMS Dreadnought was:

Length: 527 ft (160.6 m)
Beam: 82 ft 1 in (25.0 m)
Draught: 29 ft 7.5 in (9.0 m) (deep load)

It's the beam that's the trouble. An Invincible class battlecruiser would have fit in a pinch. However, the Welland Canal was expanded to the above dims in the 1930s. By then, I believe all battleships were more 80ft wide.
 
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Driftless

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With rivers, the profile of the bottom is not uniform - even on those that are dredged for barge traffic. The deepest portion of the channel is often not in the middle of the stream, usually to be found near the outside of any bends, with the inside of the bends often quite shallow. Current flow and changing weather conditions contribute to uneven distribution and depth of sediment and junk (whole waterlogged trees - which in turn catch other stuff), sunken boats and other human equipment. Plus, there can be solid and submerged remnant structures from earlier days - bridge piers, pilings, wing dams/weirs, etc.

Long story made shorter: you probably need considerably more depth to the river than the ships full load draft. That, and a really good pilot.
 
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HMS Belfast, quite obviously, can get up the River Thames as far as The Tower of London.

Length: 613 ft 6 in (186.99 m)
Beam: 63 ft 4 in (19.3 m)
Draught: 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)
HMS-Belfast_1_.jpg

The only reason it cannot go any further up-river is due to all the bridges.

And the Port of London was capable of handling a Trans-Atlantic Liner, RMS Mauretania (1938)
Length: 772 ft (235 m)
Beam: 89 ft (27 m)
Draught: 30.10ft (9.39m)
Tonnage: 35,738 GRT
 

Driftless

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You can get sea going ships up the Amazon as far as Manaus, several hundred miles upriver, but I believe that's all done with local pilots.
 

Driftless

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So, with the 20th century warships have gotten big. Very big. They are typically too large for rivers. However some rivers are much bigger than others. For instance the St. Lawrence is pretty deep, so a bit of dredging allows large ocean cargo ships to get as far as Montreal. Kolkatta meanwhile also sees some major shipping vessels.

As such, I was wondering what's the farthest inland large modern military vessels could travel (I'm specifically curious about Dreadnaughts, but any modern ships interest me).

The essential questions here: why do they need to go upriver? Is this a hostile or friendly environment?
 
The essential questions here: why do they need to go upriver? Is this a hostile or friendly environment?
I was thinking mostly of friendly, with the Ganges' major population centres around Kolkatta and Dhaka being a potential manufacturing centre, and the possibility of needing to deploy ships up to defend cities.
 

Driftless

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That's one of risks for warships in general on rivers in a hostile situation: let the river current do the work of letting mines or fire ships float down onto your enemy. With limited maneuver room, there's only so much evasion you can do. Of course, that can also work against any defenders too, if the mines or the like don't damage their intended target....
 
Putting relatively heavy guns on craft designed for river work (river monitors) is the way to get heavily armed/armored warships on rivers. The plus is that you can put larger guns on something that floats than something that has to go on a road, the Union used this concept a lot in the Civil War. The problem with this sort of craft is that it cannot dodge incoming artillery very well, and once you have aircraft they are sitting ducks. Sure you can tie upon shore and attempt to camouflage but out in the middle of a river where you can't maneuver you might as well paint a bullseye on it. What you need for ocean going vessels and river vessels are quite different.
 
You might want to research HMS Amethyst - only a cruiser iirc, but an interesting example of what can happen to a warship in a river.

A frigate, involved in the Yangtze Incident. She had been based in Nanking (Nanjing) so obviously could get that far up the river. HMS London, a rebuilt treaty cruiser, was attempting to relieve the Amethyst, so a 13,000 ton ship could get that far, and the destroyer HMS Consort actually reached the Amethyst, so it could be done
 
In 1862-63 the Federal blue water fleet did operate up to Vicksburg on the Mississippi. The last example I can remember. Unusual circumstances & not quite the same as the OP.
 
This is is in friendly territory. Could they get the Missouri to St Louis, like the North Carolina is at Wilmington?
 

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This is is in friendly territory. Could they get the Missouri to St Louis, like the North Carolina is at Wilmington?
I dunno... I know the Corps of Engineers was required to keep the river navigable for barge traffic to 9' deep in the channels once north of the old lock #26 at Alton, Illinois, above St Louis. South of that last lock, I think the river runs deeper, but inconsistent.
 
I wonder what the largest warship was to ever enter Lake Superior, Huron or Michigan from the St. Lawrence? The Great Lakes are demilitarized by treaty, but warships are still allowed to visit ports, and of course museum ships are always allowed.

USS Little Rock (CL-92) has been at Buffalo, NY on Lake Erie for ages.

USS Macon did the Seaway while in service http://www.britesites.com/macon/slidemain.htm
 
I remember going on a warship in Duluth MN, (along the coast of Lake Superior) but I can't remember what kind of ship it was (I was in middle school at the time) I think it was a patrol boat.

Last time I went to Duluth I didn't see any warships, but I did see cargo ships that were arriving from Africa, so I'd imagine you could bring a warship of similar size through the great lakes.
 
You might want to research HMS Amethyst - only a cruiser iirc, but an interesting example of what can happen to a warship in a river.

Amethyst was a sloop not a cruiser, and she was pulled out of the Mothball Fleet to play herself in the film. Commander Kerans, the man who got her out was elected as MP for Hartlepool shortly after the film came out. He served 1 term and was the last Conservative to represent the town in Parliament.

From what I've heard Able Sea Cat Simon (Dickens Medal, Blue Cross Medal, Amythest Campaign Medal) Ships Cat would have been a better MP.
 
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I remember going on a warship in Duluth MN, (along the coast of Lake Superior) but I can't remember what kind of ship it was (I was in middle school at the time) I think it was a patrol boat.
You can't get much further westward on the Great Lakes than Duluth.

In 2007 HMCS Halifax visited Thunder Bay, pretty much the most westward fresh water port in Canada.
 
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