HMS Anson soldiers on

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by alspug, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. alspug Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    HMS Anson was conceived , constructed and launched in the midst of the build-up and start of WW2 . Her hull was built to last as where the Engines and important components . It was this lavish for the time attention to build quality that saw HMS Anson saved from the scrapyard . With the draw down of the Royal Navy and the new guided missiles no need was forseen for such a massive ship that was only able to project her fury 35Km while the Carriers she had been protecting could launch aircraft with various weapons to strike targets 350 nm away . HMS Vanguard was although a newer ship built to a lower standard , Thus HMS Anson became a survivor .

    The new Royal Navy had no need for a ship unable to survive in the modern environment . However the space in her Hangars and power generation capability made her perfect to be the Weapon trials ship of the Royal Navy . With her thick armour she was a designated Bunker in the event of a Nuclear war . The need for power generation kept her engines maintained . The constant modifications to run trials on new weapons kept her gainfully employed .

    All of this came to an end when in 1975 during a meeting of NATO leadership the American Delegate mentioned that the Iowa class could be reactivated to provide fire support if needed . This saw the Royal Marines take a hard look at the available ships for fire support . Being able to hit a target from 35 km with massive power has a very reassuring affect on Marines and the plan slowly changed . HMS Anson was due to come into dock for modifications to support the trials of the Sea Dart and Sea Wolf systems . The Exocet was also due for some firing trials . With funds provided it was possible to do more then a simple trials modification . It took some major wrangling but the funds provided allowed for the complete overhaul and recommissioning as a major warship in her own right .

    After entering Dry Dock the modifications began . From an observers point of view it looked like she was being scrapped initially . The work began by removing the remaining 5.25 inch turrets and associated magazine arrangements . The 40 mm pom poms that had not been removed yet finally got sent to the scrapyard . The Forward Gun turrets got dismantled and rebuilt with better loading arrangements that reduced the crew for the two turrets . The former aircraft hangar received the computers and equipment to handle the missile battery . the Radars consisted of a type 965R for air search and a trio of type 909 fire control radars . The Sea Dart battery was mounted in the space left by the removal of the aft quad 14 inch turret . The Sea Dart installation consisted of two twin launchers in a superfiring layout . On each side of HMS Anson where the former 5.25 inch mounts had once existed was the close in defences . one Mk 8 4.5 inch cannon , 2 sextuplet Sea Wolf launchers 6 Exocet launchers and an Ikara launcher . Along with this the Aft deck was strengthened and expanded to enable three Sea King sized helicopters to call HMS Anson home .

    No sooner had the work reached a stage where sea trials could begin when A new government cancelled all further work . Thus from September 1979 all work ceased . What was in effect a warship only needing sea trials to recommission was laid up in a nearby Loch. All of this changed on the 2nd of April 1982 . Argentina had invaded the Falklands , The same government that ordered her laid up now needed firepower down south . As truck after truck arrived carrying various munitions and stores HMS Anson's hull sank lower into the water as her magazines and holds filled . The last trucks to arrive carried freshly filled HE shells . Finally on the 5th of April she departed the United Kingdom and at a steady 25 knots began to catch up with the Fleet .
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  2. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    Sounds great. Keep the old girl around another decade or two.
  3. alspug Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    The Chief Engineer was down in the depths of the Parsons Boiler room and talking to a long retired Engineer Commander who had previously served aboard . Small modifications to the fuel sprayers and the smoke reduced and the fuel efficiency improved . Even while burning 30 tons an hour the minor changes to the fuel consumption extended the range expected on the fuel load by 100 nm . This was an important improvement when the distance between ports and the dearth of underway replenishment ships in the current Royal Navy . In the time it had taken to finish the battleship the positioning of Tankers that could provide fuel to both the fleet and in particular HMS Anson . Leaving the Forward Boiler room he climbed several decks and arrived at one of 8 Diesel generators that had been installed replacing the previous Diesel generators . A total of 8000 hp was available to provide Electricity to the mains and most importantly the Radars and new weapons that did not run on the ships main electrical ring due to the sensitivity of the electronics and the time saved in not running all new conduits . When he arrived the diesel was being rebuilt following a mechanical problem . Being satisfied that his men had the problem under control he left and continued his rounds .

    Down in the South Atlantic the Argentinians had received a package from the Soviet Embassy giving the expected fleet heading south . An offer to sell equipment including shore based missile batteries and Surface to air batteries . The cost was high but could be paid in Beef or minerals . The Junta was honestly tempted especially when told the numbers of ships being sent . The equipment was not direct from the Soviet Union but from Cuba and appeared to be countries in the Americas helping each other . Agreement was reached and shortly after two Il-76 aircraft in Cuban colours took off from Havana carrying the first of the vehicles needed to set up a 2K12 Kub battery outside Port Stanley . A further 4 Il-76 where in the process of being repainted in the Soviet Union to again represent Cuba and even while being repainted a complete P-15 Termit battery was awaiting loading on the Aircraft . All of this occurred with no alerts to the British Intelligence until one of the Il-76 aircraft was seen being refuelled in Brazil and while on the ground rumours of missiles on board spread . By the time HMS Anson arrived at Ascension island the fleet was made aware of the possibility of Soviet Union support in the form of weapons and intelligence was received .

    This intelligence made it clear the threat was more then the expected Exocets and Type 42's . The presence of a Brooklyn class Cruiser was also a concern although the inclusion of HMS Anson made the worry slightly less severe . One consequence of the Soviet interference was the passing of intelligence including satellite photos to the Junta .
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  4. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

    Jan 1, 2004
    Interesting. Rebuilding turrets--perhaps not--but the methods they had in the 40's worked just FINE. I do love a good battleship :) The General Belgrano is not much of a threat. Anything afloat or within gun range of the ocean should tremble at the idea of a battleship getting in range...
    Sounds like she has a seperate electrical system for the modern tech, and also won't be fully worked up--both serious points of failure to be aware of.
  5. alspug Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    For the crew of HMS Anson the trip south was to put it bluntly sheer torture . Every day involved another test of critical systems that worked "just". Then after a week at sea the turret crews got the chance to do a live fire drill . As the firing gong faded the entire ship shivered as 6 14 inch shells fired at an imaginary target some 30 km away . Even before the shells landed the first damage reports flowed in from the amidships CIC station . The shock of firing had shorted out the entire system . A full day later the culprit was discovered and fixed then the test was carried out again , this time with observers ready to fix the problem when it occurred . Again Fire control went down however this time it was in a different location . A week later the system was able to operate so long as the turrets fired on an arc 30 degree's either side of the bows only . A combination of shock and what was really a jury rigged weapon system showed it's weaknesses . One of the solutions was lifting up the computers and placing rubber O rings between the computers and the deck . This of course left a severe shortage of these on board and supplies of improved shock absorbing mounts were rapidly manufactured and sent to Ascension . The Sea Wolf system was exercised repeatedly with any aircraft or helicopter that came in range tracked optically and electronically . The Sea Dart was also kept in tip top condition . The Sea King crews appreciated the large deck and hangar facilities yet missed the towed array and on board sonar that they normally used for initial direction . This need for ASW assistance was made clear by exercises against USS Sturgeon . Without the assistance of Escorts with towed arrays the Sea Kings could not protect HMS Anson . Shortly after this exercise USS Sturgeon began tracking a November class steaming at high speed in the direction of Argentina .

    While HMS Anson steamed further South and began to plan the steps needed to liberate the Islands . The single most careful steps consisted of the need to keep HMS Anson's fuel tanks topped up . With tankers needing to be protected the logistical base for the entire invasion fleet was pre planned for South Georgia, Grytviken whaling station . From their the ships could easily reach the Falklands without needing to expose the tankers to hostile forces . With this decision made the short range of HMS Anson decided from what direction the Fleet would approach . For the Argentinian soldiers and sailors in South Georgia became the first men in 4 decades to meet the fury of a British Battleship .
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  6. HBsennah94 He Who Likes History - But Wonders What If

    Oct 4, 2017
    Initiation likes this.
  7. jammci Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2016
    Wouldn't it be 8 14 inch shells, the KGV's had quad turrets not triples?
  8. Scotty Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2013
    no, because he stated that the aft quad was removed leaving one quad and a double
  9. alspug Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    At 0500 hours 25th April the Submarine ARA Santa Fe was inside Grytviken Harbour and in the middle of departure when a pair of Sea King Helicopters came clattering out of the pre dawn darkness and illuminated them from 500 metres away . No sooner had the submarine been transfixed by the lights then from the second helicopter came a barrage of 7.62 mm bullets from a GPMG . This went on for 20 seconds then from the horizon came a sudden glow . the Sea Kings immediately began to fly away much to the surprise of the ARA Santa Fe's commander . some 30 seconds later came a sound like the tearing of cloth as 6 massive waterspouts appeared around the ARA Santa Fe . For the crew of the Santa Fe the waterspouts sent shockwaves into the small hull and left them certain of their doom . Even before the waterspouts collapsed a new glow appeared on the horizon . Again came the sound of tearing cloth although very few could hear it by now . Then came a further 6 waterspouts , this time instead of landing 300 metres away they landed in a tight ellipse 50 to 100 metres away . The Shock wave this time left several pieces of equipment inside the boat sparking and no longer operable , one of the ballast tanks showed signs of being breached and no longer able to be emptied of water . . With a heavy heart the commander ordered a return to harbour . Even as the Submarine began to turn the next 6 14 inch shells landed and ARA Sante Fe was punched down into the water . Not long after she disappeared a pair of lynx helicopters arrived and dropped a pair of Mk 11 depth charges each . These charges detonated just above the ocean floor some 200 metres from the wreck of the ARA Santa Fe . It would take 5 years for the truth of who sank the ARA Santa Fe to be discovered as the Helicopter squadron had claimed a kill while the Battleship HMS Anson's on board Sea King flight had claimed it for the Battleship . This made HMS Anson the second Battleship in history to sink a Submarine .

    For the crew of HMS Anson the approach to Grytviken now slowed while active sonar systems on board HMS Active and HMS Ardent sanitised the waters . In the lead HMS Anson entered Grytviken Harbour at 9.00 AM followed by the two type 21 frigates . The Argentinian Marines had been awake and alert since the ARA Santa Fe got sunk . However all thoughts of resistance ended upon seeing the two very large turrets begin to traverse over to their positions . For the 100 Argentinians on the Island the war was over. Any thoughts of resistance ended as the 6 14 inch guns fired a shell each 5 seconds apart at a hill behind Grytviken . By afternoon HMS Anson was anchored with an oiler beside her on one side and HMS Hermes on the other . Planning for the invasion of the Falklands was now going to change due to the arrival of what was reported to be significant SAM systems from Cuba and the identification by Humint of what could be soviet coastal defence systems .
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  10. alspug Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    The Junta was by now comfortable with the fortification of the Falkland's and where confident that the P-15 battery backed by the Kub battery would keep the Royal Navy away . The Exocet armed aircraft had reached operational condition and hoped to back up the SSM batteries . Being comfortable in their position the loss of the ARA Santa Fe was a shock . Then came the garbled response from the men on South Georgia claiming a battleship was firing on them . This of course was impossible . It must have been the Tiger class Cruisers . After all a 6 inch shell makes a huge impact to infantry . With one side being dismissive of it's own intel the decision to send the Boeing 707 in civilian colours was obvious . By now the Royal Navy had organised it's fleet into a traditional convoy with an arrowhead of escorts with the centre column of the amphibians led by the Battleship . The Carriers brought up the rear and at a steady 12 knots the fleet headed on a course direct for Port Stanley .
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  11. steamboy Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2015
    Verrrrry interesting! An expensive as hell refit for the Cash strapped UK but why not eh :) I don't think you'd fit an Ikara in the sides though, those are a big 'ol mounting for sure. really what you'd want is a cheap refit as the UK's got no money.

    Yes to keeping the Sea Dart on the stern but i'd reduce that to one. The Mk 8 mountings a modern and expensive fit, you've probably got some of the older dual 4.5-inch mounts hanging around from when some Leander's were retrofitted, use them instead. The Exocet's would go where the catapult use to be and some point defence might be Sea Cats, or as she's a test ship, Sea Rapier?
  12. sonofpegasus Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    The KGV class battle ships had eight 5.2" twin DP mounts in a cash unlimited rebuild I would suggest the two lower forward mounts are replaced with MK8 or twin 4.5 mounts recycled from Leanders/Counties. The super firing forward mounts are replaced by Sea wolf missiles. Upper aft 5.2" replaced by Phalanx CIWS, Lower mount replaced by Ikara Missiles (though I think using Anson to hunt subs close enough to use Ikara would be a last ditch defence only), I always liked the original vertical launch proposal for sea wolf. If you are going to invest huge amounts of cash into up dating a Battleship then vertical launch sea Dart and Sea wolf would be a winner, remove the four upper 5.2" mounts and you have four armoured bins to stuff full of VT missiles. Put Sea Eagle and Sea ska Missiles amidships. Remove the after quad 14" turret and build a hanger ( hanger roof designed to be additional heli pad with hot refuel capability)) for a large contingent of Lynx and Sea King helicopters and also have store on board for Harriers to cross deck (no ski Jump but it's a refugee option) to when needed. The helicopters can carry Sea skua on the lynx and probably Sea eagle on the larger Sea King to give additional range to anti shipping capability beyond main gun and on board missile range.
    Completely impractical I know but what a beast!!!
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  13. alspug Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    What I have envisioned is the forward lower 5.25 mount is replaced with a Mk8 . I chose this because it has less plumbing requirements . ie shell and powder hoist etc . The Aft set of 5.25 are gone and levelled to sea deck . space used to mount 4 Exocet per side . The Ikara launchers are placed at the location of the former catapult track and the associated magazine placed along it . similar to how the Aus DDG had its amidships Asroc replaced . The Sea wolf replaces the forward upper 5.25 . I looked at Phalanx and could see no way the RN had any yet even if interest was high . The Aft quad 14 inch is gone and the aft deck is now a square helo deck leading to a pair of large hangars able to at a pinch fit 4 Sea King but in reality two in flying condition on one side and another in a maintenance hangar on the other . The Ikara system was added because it could be fired at a smoke float for example or using a Sea King as an offset . It enables the Sea Kings to operate as sensor systems . Also allows for supporting ASW escorts from standoff range . The 2 Sea Dart launchers are set up in a superfiring arrangement . One half a deck higher then the other but both being fed out of magazines inside the old 14 inch quad Barbette . I would love to see VL Sea Dart and Sea Wolf but end of cold war ended that . HMS Anson is not a cohesive thought . It is a series of weapon trials made good to both sides and then turned into a frankenship with serious bite . The Radars are effective , the missiles provide a layered defence but all small guns are gone . I was tempted to leave a quad pom pom forward and have it lols a Skyhawk but it is although possible hardly plausible when the ship was stripped etc . Also crew of a Mk 8 is much smaller then a Mk 5 twin 4.5 . On another note the Sea Dart is around 4.4 metres long and weighs about the same as a 14 inch shell . The aft magazine contained 400 shells and charges approx. and when the Barbette is taken into account it is possible the magazine could be 80 missiles at a guess .
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  14. weasel_airlift Well-Known Member

    May 5, 2016
    Interesting. I would expect some sort of trim issues with the aft. No way does the Sea Dart system weigh in at the same as the 14" quad.
  15. Initiation Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    They've been a couple of great Falkland based TL on here.

    Definitely looking forward to more from this one.

    Exocet vs battleship is a difficult one to call.
  16. GarethC Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    Exocet is a medium-weight subsonic missile. It's supposed to do a terminal pop-up and dive, which would allow it to miss the main belt armor. An off-axis shot from an escorting Type 42 or gung-ho CVH has some hope of intercepting it (cf. HMS Gloucester with Sea Dart vs an HY-2 Silkworm heading towards USS Missouri in 1991 - but also note that that was after the post-Falklands upgrade for Sea Dart that was supposed to make it more capable against low-altitude threats than was the case in 1982, against a bigger missile with a bigger RCS, with a very favorable intercept geometry). A close-escort Type 22 with Sea Wolf has to be in the right place, given the limited engagement envelope of the missile. AFAICT Sea Slug and Sea Cat are not capable against Exocet.

    In 1982, the RN did not mount CIWS like Phalanx or Goalkeeper on its vessels, even high-value ones like the Invincibles or the Forts. ISTR that doctrine was of of defeating incoming missiles with soft-kill options; ECM and decoys. I suspect that's harder to do with a KGV-class than on a through-deck cruiser.

    However, 600 kts is not that fast - amidships Sea Wolf has a chance to engage if a beam-on approach.

    Can Exocet's cap dive through 6" of deck armor? Enquiring minds want to know. The RN would really rather not find out.

    One does not want to take the hit on the stern aspect, because of the fragile and combustible gubbins replacing Y turret.

    A hit on the superstructure is a big challenge because of the likelihood that unused jet fuel will result in a significant fire, particularly if the blast effect from the relatively large warhead (compared to the burster charge in, say, Scharnhorst's 280mm shells) has fractured fire mains or caused loss of internal electrical power. Really quite important to avoid that one.

    While Exocet's weight is in the order of a battleship shell's, it's not an armor-piercing weapon, with a much larger bursting charge (10x that of a Scharnhorst HE round), and additional weight given to radar, guidance computers, a jet engine, and the corresponding jet fuel.

    Turning the bow to the threat axis makes it more likely that the missile will go *ping* off the turret face. Quick bit of foam on the jet fuel and it's back to business.

    Of course, if the gods of war are generous, and the ship rolls or the missile guidance is a bit hinky or the South Atlantic gale produces a bit of a downdraft, a belt impact will have even less effect.
  17. HMS queen Elizabeth Admiral vasieo Ignite the inferno.

    Apr 18, 2018
    Which is a mistake in my opinion. Get rid of the twin turret and keep the two quads.
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  18. 1Big Rich Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2018
    I hope they hit her with an Exocet, low on the hull like Glamorgan. She probably needs painted after the Atlantic transit....

    Port Stanley airfield sits out on the peninsula, rather vulnerable to bombardment from the sea...


    Great stuff, keep at it!
    Logan2879 likes this.
  19. alspug Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    On May 22nd the Boeing 707 that had been forced away by a Sea Harrier returned . As it approached the fleet it passed just within 30 miles slant range of HMS Anson and it's two type 21 ASW escorts . HMS Sheffield was leading the AAW screen of the carriers and launched a single Sea Dart at maximum range . In evading this missile the Boeing 707 reversed course and dove from the incoming missile and as it did reached a point where the pair of Sea Darts launched from HMS Anson made a perfect intercept . This loss of the Boeing 707 forced the Argentinians to merge it's task forces and be more careful in it's scouting . Indirectly this forced the ARA General Belgrano to abandon it's flanking attack . instead she joined her task force with the other two groups and maximised the hitting power to be brought to bear during the attack on the Royal Navy while they landed troops . Certainly the Exocet missiles and the A-4 Sky Hawks would work well and the General Belgrano would savage the Royal Navy from ranges they could not combat .

    Black Buck 2 was fated to be unlucky . As Squadron leader Reeve's flew his Vulcan the radar warning started screaming . It was detecting a SA-6 missile in Argentinian hands . No sooner had the warning gone out when an explosion rocked the aircraft . by now diving for the horizon the Vulcan was losing fuel fast . One engine was knocked out and the wing tanks had massive holes in them . Realising that no method of reaching a base existed the decision was made to bail out over Stanley Harbour . With gear down and loudly broadcasting a surrender ple Vulcan XM607 was in range of a Roland system with a very active operator . Seeing an enemy bomber he launch a missile immediately . 15 seconds later XM607 was cartwheeling across the harbour . A fact witnessed by numerous locals and used as the basis of a war crime tribunal .
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  20. alspug Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    The news that the Vulcan crew had detected the SA-6 missiles was to say a little concerning was an understatement . In Whitehall the response was incredible . Calls went out to various friendly foreign intelligence organisations and the threat level for the task force went up . The response from the Reagan administration was incredible . From internal support for a regime that was actively fighting against the Communist to one that was getting weapons from them was an incredible change . The USAF sent a very special tanker to Ascension along with a support group . Two days later the exact location of the SAM battery and the presence of SS-N-2 coastal SSM batteries became apparent . For the men of the Task Force heading to liberate the island it changed the environment from a medium threat to a high level threat . As an interim the Nimrod fleet on Ascension was hurriedly fitted with a pair of Martel anti-radiation missiles one set for the 1s91 radar and another for the search radar , the P-15 . With the changes made the next Black Buck was put on hold . The Nimrod arrived off the Falklands late at night and proceeded to approach on a similar heading to the Vulcan from the previous night . As they reached 40 km away the on board electronics confirmed a solid signal from both the P-15 and two 1S91 radars . This indicated a new battery had been delivered . The Martels fired and disappeared into the distance . The Nimrod pilots began to count the range and at 30 km from Stanley airfield made a diving left turn . No sooner had they done this when a continuous wave radar locked on and the missile warning went off .

    With the crew on board well and truly spooked and expecting an impact any minute it was almost anti-climatic when suddenly the P-15 stopped radiating and then both 1S91 units stopped as well . The first Martel had missed the P-15 by 50 metres but sent fragments into the radar truck wounding a Cuban adviser . The Cuban Officer immediately ordered ceasing radiating as he recognised the nature of the attack . One unit obeyed instantly the other with an Argentinian officer in charge did not and subsequently was hit and destroyed . By now the Nimrod crew was preparing for the long transit back to base and decided to do a radar sweep of the North East of Port Stanley . 150 km away and clearly visible on the Searchwater radar was a CVBG . Heading , speed and location showed it to be clearly Argentinian and heading to intercept the Royal Navy . This was transmitted to Admiral Woodward immediately along with an expectation of meeting around midday if no changes of course or speed occurred .

    For Admiral Woodward the implication was clear and within an hour he had formed a SAG and sent it forward . In the lead was HMS Anson ,HMS Coventry , HMS Broadsword , HMS Active and HMS Ardent . The heavy sea's rendered the maximum speed to be no more then 18 knots due to the Type 21 Frigates . A new Nimrod mission was even now launching from Ascension and should be arriving in time to help with the action . For the RN pilots on board the two carriers it was made known that a surface action would occur in 8 to 12 hours .
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