Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

The thing is with more cruisers surviving and with each survivor having had less damage on average inflicted on them means that each ship will have had more time in the dockyards for regular refits than otl.
That can only do so much though. The ships will still be pretty badly worn and in a lot of cases, obsolete. About the only good thing about so many pre-war ships surviving is that they'll provide useful work to scrap them instead of decorating the ocean floor.
 
That can only do so much though. The ships will still be pretty badly worn and in a lot of cases, obsolete. About the only good thing about so many pre-war ships surviving is that they'll provide useful work to scrap them instead of decorating the ocean floor.
With the Towns being a noteworthy exception as per otl. Plus the real savings is in the lives saved by ships not being lost.
 
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Savings will also be made with the fact that a lot of rushed wartime construction won't have occurred, with ships too new to scrap, too expensive to sell, and too manpower intensive to keep in the active fleet. The OTL solution was a huge reserve fleet, which caused its own problems. Here, they can take a much more measured approach, due to more ships, better refit schedules, and less panicked construction during the war.
 
Also less lost hulls means huge savings in human capital investment, injury care and lifetime support etc. in casualties.
And way less lost opportunities brought about by not having enough ships to meet the various commitments the RN had across the world...to be fair the RN still won't have enough ships(but the USN more than makes up for it) but it will have far more than otl.
 
Outside of story line Admiralty thought process
Savings will also be made with the fact that a lot of rushed wartime construction won't have occurred, with ships too new to scrap, too expensive to sell, and too manpower intensive to keep in the active fleet. The OTL solution was a huge reserve fleet, which caused its own problems. Here, they can take a much more measured approach, due to more ships, better refit schedules, and less panicked construction during the war.
Okay, let me outline what the Admiralty is thinking about the post-war and its cruiser needs.

First, as in OTL, any ship that was ordered pre-WNT will be scrapped as soon as possible once hostilities are over. They are too small, too old and too knackered out. The C-class ships were kept in commission during the run-up to war as there was nothing better and the shipyards could not produce enough new ships fast enough. The D's, Es and Hawkins were slightly better than nothing as well.

Now let's look at post WNT construction in four groups.
1) Heavy cruisers
2) pre-war light cruisers (Leander, Arethustra, Town classes)
3) wartime cruisers (Crown Colony and Dido)
4) late war cruisers (Minotaur/Swiftsure)

The RN cruiser fleet has been run far less harshly in TTL than OTL. There are several drivers here.

First, the Mediterranean is not a seaborne Verdun. The RN cruiser force has taken losses there, but it is not the graveyard of the Town class. We have seen HMS Manchester and HMS Gloucester recently in service during the invasion of Sicily for instance. HMS Fiji is serving with the Far East Fleet. Secondly, the cruiser force is not spending anywhere near as much time covering Arctic convoys. Those convoys are being fought through without significant concern of a surface threat. It is an escort battle where most ships are wartime expedients supplemented by modern destroyers. The cruisers and heavy units of Home Fleet are being used far less harshly TTL than OTL. Third, the RN basing structure is far more intact. The floating drydock that in OTL was destroyed at Malta was moved pre-war to Alexandria. Singapore is open for business. This gives cruisers far more opportunities to nip in for a quick five or ten day upkeep period that minimizes festering problems and maximizes the value of each day that is consumed in a long term refit/overhaul. Fourth, the entire Allied cruiser pool is significantly larger with a few more Dutch, nine more American (Keynes' cruisers) and half a dozen or more Free French cruisers that are available. This means some cruisers are available to cover for RN missions when RN cruisers are heading back to the yard. The RN is taking advantage of the increased cruiser pool to maintain something that vaguely resembles a coherent maitenance cycle. HMS Rodney for instance won't be a floating mess in TTL.

The RN in OTL ran their heavy cruisers hard. They have an inefficienct AA fit, and compared to the new Crown Colonies, are short ranged and slightly larger war time crews. The Counties also are in the uncomfortable position of having an in-between gun. As per OTL, the Counties are going out of the fleet sooner rather than later. There is still a need for a powerful surface escort for carrier groups and a ship that has incredible range for distant station flag showing. There are plans for a class of six to eight of those ships for either the 1945 or 1946 estimates but no firm decision has been made as to requirements or funding.

The pre-war light cruisers have had a hard war. The smaller light cruisers don't have much of a future either. They have been shot to shit or run ragged, and there is no growth margin. These ships will either be hocked to Dominion navies, or sold for either hard currency or scrap in the immediate postwar. However the Towns, Crown Colonies and DIdos will be in fairly decent shape with some growth margins on the Towns and Crown Colonies, especially if the 4th triple turret is removed. These ships will be expected to serve to the late 50s or early 60s with only a midlife refit bloc in the late 40s to early 50s to standardize equipment on by class as some ships will get new gear during battle damage repair cycles. The Crown Colony and Dido build out in TTL has the same number of hulls and roughly the same pace to slightly ahead of pace compared to OTL.

Now one of the modest differences is that in TTL the Swiftsure/Minotaur class has been even further deprioritized compared to OTL. Only three ships (as of August 1943) have steel cut for them. Current estimated completion dates are late 1945 to mid 1946 assuming priority remains unchanged. The ships that made up the Tiger class OTL never saw any of their long lead items ordered.

So the RN is looking at a cruiser construction drought from 1943-1949 or so with perhaps 3 new ships (Minotaur, Swiftsure, Triumph) joining the fleet and replacing the last of the Counties. The RN is also looking at the Didos and realizes that they are either AA ships, or trade protection ships that should be kept in reserve as that mission is disappearing quicker than fleet cruiser work that the Crown Colonies and Towns are better at doing. The great advantage a Dido had over any other post 1935 cruiser is a significantly smaller crew.

The RN thinks that their early-50s cruiser force will be a mixture of ~8 Towns, 8 Crown Colonies, 3 Swiftsures and 8-10 Didos with most of the Didos and Towns in reserve at any given point. There will also be the six to eight large fleet cruisers that the draftsman was working on, but those ships won't be available until early 50s. A few Counties may be in deep reserve if there is a need for 8 inch gun ships. By 1960, the Towns will have left the fleet and the Didos will be close behind while the Crown Colonies and Swiftsures will be on the backside of their mid-life deep refits and waiting for technological revolutions to obsosolete them. The RN is talking with the USN about AA missiles at the moment.

Now all of this could and will change once the Treasury and the strategic situation intervene, but this is what the Admiralty is thinking about their cruiser needs whenever they have a chance to think past the current war.
 
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Story 2179
Straits of Malacca, August 11, 1943

The small wooden fishing boat was low in the water. The crew, all brothers, had been hard at work since sunset. Nets had been cast and recast. Each time their muscles strained, and their voices grunted at the strain. It was a good journey so far. Once they had tea to greet the sun, they only had to pull up the nets two more times to fill the boat. The markets at Georgetown had been offering good prices for fresh meat while Port Dickson was willing to pay a little less, the journey to the home port was also closer. The oldest brother was thinking hard. His face was solid as he contemplated the trade-offs. The wives of his brothers were away visiting a cousin for another few days, while his wife watched eleven children. There would be no chance to celebrate early with that much chaos around the house. A few more pounds were worth the extra travel. They would head to Georgetown, have a good night ashore at one of his favorite watering holes and still bring home more money.

Even as the small crew put their back into labor of harvesting the riches of the sea, another loose convoy of five merchant ships following a single armed merchant cruiser inbound to Singapore from Colombo passed them.
 
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Straits of Malacca, August 11, 1943
Even as the small crew put their back into labor of harvesting the riches of the sea, another loose convoy of five merchant ships following a single armed merchant cruiser inbound to Singapore from Colombo passed them.
That seems like a very modest escort. But OTOH the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal are an Allied lake at this point. A light escort is all that's required. No danger from the air or surface attack. But what about submarines? Would the IJN have submarines patrolling near Singapore at the very least? Hoping to sink Allied warships would they ignore a merchant convoy? Or perhaps the convoys' escort gets beefed up as they approach Singapore.
 

Driftless

Donor
That seems like a very modest escort. But OTOH the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal are an Allied lake at this point. A light escort is all that's required. No danger from the air or surface attack. But what about submarines? Would the IJN have submarines patrolling near Singapore at the very least? Hoping to sink Allied warships would they ignore a merchant convoy? Or perhaps the convoys' escort gets beefed up as they approach Singapore.
Hadn't considered the size of the escort. Is it the reasons you note, or a subtle hint by Fester that escorts are being siphoned off for other work? ;) :eek:
 
Hadn't considered the size of the escort. Is it the reasons you note, or a subtle hint by Fester that escorts are being siphoned off for other work? ;) :eek:
The nearest well supplied Japanese sub base is either Hong Kong or Hainan. Subs are still operating out of Cam Ranh Bay but that harbor is frequently bombed and the approaches mined on a regular basis. To get a sub into the Straits of Malacca requires a several day passage through heavily patrolled waters with a particular focus that any submarine that pokes its nose above water to recharge within 150 miles of Singapore will be lit up by several radars by the time the batteries add 15% charge. To enter the Straits, the submarine has to navigate through several congested, narrow straits that are heavily patrolled by air and surface assets as well as pick their way through minefields. The RN only needs to close at most 35 miles of water to close the straits. That is an "easy enough" task. Once in the Straits, a successful attack is also a flaming datum. Local forces can flood the zone within hours of a confirmed sighting.

It is not quite as an exciting life as a British submarine trying to penetrate into the Baltic, but the Straits of Malacca are a roach motel for Japanese submarines. That and the Japanese sub doctrine really does not prioritize merchant ship hunting.
 
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Story 2180
Genoa, Italy August 11, 1943

HMS Welshman turned hard to port. Her engines roared as 75,000 horses raced down her shafts. The mine holds were empty and she began a race back to Corsica before the Luftwaffe or the Regia Aeronautica could catch her once the sun rose.
 
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OTL a lot of convoys in the Indian Ocean were escorted by single AMCs and Japanese and later German submarines were active there as well as Japanese and German merchant raiders.
 
He is in Alexandria
And needs companions! All the additional Greek crews available TTL have to man something! ;)

OTL the free Greek navy peaked at about 8,500 men. Here particularly after the liberation of Athens available navy manpower will be peaking to something around 18,000...
 
Story 2182
Camp Pendleton, California August 12, 1943

Over 20,000 boots hit the ground in almost perfect timing. One private from an artillery battery was still half a second off and his sergeant mused about the ways to run that boy ragged in the afternoon. With that single exception, the newly formed 4th Marine Division was a single body with a singular purpose. The colors had been passed during the parade and now the commanding general was preparing a few remarks for his command. The last attachment had only arrived from the East Coast four days ago. They had bedded down and then unloaded two companies of factory fresh medium tanks from the trains the next morning once they had arrived. Now they would not ignore company and battalion maneuvers as those were keys to all successes, but the division would be ready to embark on forty five days of regimental and divisional level maneuvers, first against air and then against opposition.
 
Story 2183
Naval Station Great Lakes, August 12, 1943

Leonard Eberhardt was now a sailor. He had a four day pass and twenty seven dollars in his pocket. Ohio was too far away. He could arrive at midnight, eat breakfast with his father and then get on the noontime train. If there were no delays near Toledo, he would be able to hurry with just enough time to report to his next training school where he would be learning how to repair radars. That would not be worth it. He and half a dozen of his mates were heading to Chicago to find steak, beer and broads. He adjusted his hat and checked his uniform. The chief would not say a word about his presentation. Four hundred and twenty seven push-ups had insured that lesson stuck. One more school and then the fleet would call for him at Christmas.
 
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