Optimize the RN for WWII

No it's not. CVE less than 10,000 tonnes are not covered by Washington.
That loophole was closed by the First London Naval Treaty.

Article 3

1. For the purposes of the Washington Treaty, the definition of an aircraft carrier given in Chapter II, Part 4, of the said Treaty is hereby replaced by the following definition:

The expression "aircraft carrier" includes any surface vessel of war, whatever its displacement, designed for the specific and exclusive purpose of carrying aircraft and so constructed that aircraft can be launched therefrom and landed thereon.

2. The fitting of a landing-on or flying-off platform or deck on a capital ship, cruiser or destroyer, provided such vessel was not designed or adapted exclusively as an aircraft carrier, shall not cause any vessel so fitted to be charged against or classified in the category of aircraft carriers.

3. No capital ship in existence on 1 April 1930 shall be fitted with a landing-on platform or deck.

Article 4

1. No aircraft carrier of 10,000 tons (10,160 metric tons) or less standard displacement mounting a gun above 6.1 inch (155 mm) calibre shall be acquired by or constructed by or for any of the High Contracting Parties.

2. As from the coming into force of the present Treaty in respect of all the High Contracting Parties, no aircraft carrier of 10,000 tons (10,160 metric tons) or less standard displacement mounting a gun above 6.1 inch (155 mm) calibre shall be constructed within the jurisdiction of any of the High Contracting Parties.

Article 5

An aircraft carrier must not be designed and constructed for carrying a more powerful armament than that authorised by Article IX or Article X of the Washington Treaty, or by Article 4 of the present Treaty, as the case may be.

Wherever in the said Articles IX and X the calibre of 6 inches (152 mm) is mentioned, the calibre of 6.1 inches (155 mm) is substituted therefor.

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This is the Washington Naval Treaty's Definition of an Aircraft Carrier
AIRCRAFT CARRIER

An aircraft carrier is defined as a vessel of war with a displacement in excess of 10,000 tons (10,160 metric tons) standard displacement designed for the specific and exclusive purpose of carrying aircraft. It must be so constructed that aircraft can be launched therefrom and landed thereon, and not designed and constructed for carrying a more powerful armament than that allowed to it under Article IX or Article X as the case may be.

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Or put another way, under the Washington Treaty, aircraft carriers with standard displacements of less than 10,000 tons weren't aircraft carriers and under the First London Treaty all aircraft carriers were aircraft carriers regardless of their displacement.
 
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The RAN is after trade lane protection. So the little cruiser force is handy and slips right into RN requirements.

What did the Arethusas and Didos do in WW2? IIUC Trade protection is hunting down merchant raiders and escorting the Canadian and ANZAC Armies into their theaters of war. Other than that they formed fleet task units like the 2 Force Ks out of Malta, the Didos were fleet AA units in the Med and the like.

Some of the Didos were finished with 8 instead of 10 5.25" turrets and they weren't the best AA guns anyway. Would the RN be losing much if the lost 5 cruiser hulls, but these hulls had superior surface gunpower and different and maybe inferior AA gunpower?
 
For the attention of @Jellico and @Riain. Here are two I did earlier. The information came from the contemporary Year Books of Australia.

RAN Warships 1921-39.png


RAN PERSONNEL 1919-39
RAN Personnel 1919-39.png
 
That loophole was closed by the First London Naval Treaty.

Article 3

1. For the purposes of the Washington Treaty, the definition of an aircraft carrier given in Chapter II, Part 4, of the said Treaty is hereby replaced by the following definition:

The expression "aircraft carrier" includes any surface vessel of war, whatever its displacement, designed for the specific and exclusive purpose of carrying aircraft and so constructed that aircraft can be launched therefrom and landed thereon.

2. The fitting of a landing-on or flying-off platform or deck on a capital ship, cruiser or destroyer, provided such vessel was not designed or adapted exclusively as an aircraft carrier, shall not cause any vessel so fitted to be charged against or classified in the category of aircraft carriers.

3. No capital ship in existence on 1 April 1930 shall be fitted with a landing-on platform or deck.

Article 4

1. No aircraft carrier of 10,000 tons (10,160 metric tons) or less standard displacement mounting a gun above 6.1 inch (155 mm) calibre shall be acquired by or constructed by or for any of the High Contracting Parties.

2. As from the coming into force of the present Treaty in respect of all the High Contracting Parties, no aircraft carrier of 10,000 tons (10,160 metric tons) or less standard displacement mounting a gun above 6.1 inch (155 mm) calibre shall be constructed within the jurisdiction of any of the High Contracting Parties.

Article 5

An aircraft carrier must not be designed and constructed for carrying a more powerful armament than that authorised by Article IX or Article X of the Washington Treaty, or by Article 4 of the present Treaty, as the case may be.

Wherever in the said Articles IX and X the calibre of 6 inches (152 mm) is mentioned, the calibre of 6.1 inches (155 mm) is substituted therefor.

**************************************************************************************************************
This is the Washington Naval Treaty's Definition of an Aircraft Carrier
AIRCRAFT CARRIER

An aircraft carrier is defined as a vessel of war with a displacement in excess of 10,000 tons (10,160 metric tons) standard displacement designed for the specific and exclusive purpose of carrying aircraft. It must be so constructed that aircraft can be launched therefrom and landed thereon, and not designed and constructed for carrying a more powerful armament than that allowed to it under Article IX or Article X as the case may be.

**************************************************************************************************************​
Or put another way, under the Washington Treaty, aircraft carriers with standard displacements of less than 10,000 tons weren't aircraft carriers and under the First London Treaty all aircraft carriers were aircraft carriers regardless of their displacement.
That loophole was closed in the London Treaty.
True but the escort carrier concept could have been developed before the First London Treaty and that may have altered the British position. Plus escort carriers are superfluous in peacetime, they only need to be spammed out in wartime. It's the proof of concept that is necessary not a class of carriers already in service. Of course the merchant ships ready for conversion may be pre built ............
 
True but the escort carrier concept could have been developed before the First London Treaty and that may have altered the British position. Plus escort carriers are superfluous in peacetime, they only need to be spammed out in wartime. It's the proof of concept that is necessary not a class of carriers already in service. Of course the merchant ships ready for conversion may be pre built ............
Britain did have what amounts to an escort carrier before WWII, HMS Argus. She spent most of the 1930's laid up in reserve before being recommissioned as a mothership for target drones. With more money in the budget, she could have remained in service and been used to develop the use of small carriers as escort ships.
 
True but the escort carrier concept could have been developed before the First London Treaty and that may have altered the British position. Plus escort carriers are superfluous in peacetime, they only need to be spammed out in wartime. It's the proof of concept that is necessary not a class of carriers already in service. Of course the merchant ships ready for conversion may be pre built ............
Post 59 in full. It was written in reply to Post 47 by @Grey Wolf.
According to Friedman (as usual) the Admiralty did earmark some merchant ships for conversion to trade protection carriers on the declaration of war and when war came the Admiralty decided that the limited ship repair capacity would be better used for something else.

And the concept of the escort carrier as we know it didn't exist between the wars because nobody thought Germany could conquer France in the space of six weeks and use the Biscay ports as U-boat bases. I suspect that had anyone suggested it the laughter coming from Whitehall would have been heard in the East End.

That's why I'm using the term trade protection carrier instead of escort carrier. The trade protection carrier's job was to find enemy surface raiders which would be sunk by cruisers or the carriers own aircraft.

Having written all that I have suggested that replacement of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's tankers should begin earlier in other threads like this. I've also suggested that instead of the OTL Dale class they should have been more like the American Neosho class because 4 of them were converted into Sangamon class escort carriers and it was also the basis of the "keel up" Commencement Bay class escort carriers. This "Super Dale" is my suggestion for an easily convertible merchant ship that can be taken in hand on the declaration of war and converted in as short a time as possible into an escort carrier. However, the Admiralty might still decide that the ship repair capacity would be better used for something else.
 
Britain did have what amounts to an escort carrier before WWII, HMS Argus. She spent most of the 1930's laid up in reserve before being recommissioned as a mothership for target drones. With more money in the budget, she could have remained in service and been used to develop the use of small carriers as escort ships.
Argus, Eagle and Hermes will be scrapped in 1928, 1931 and 1935 respectively to make way for the 3 aircraft carriers built 1924-35 with the some extra money that's been made available in the Opening Post.
 
True but the escort carrier concept could have been developed before the First London Treaty and that may have altered the British position. Plus escort carriers are superfluous in peacetime, they only need to be spammed out in wartime. It's the proof of concept that is necessary not a class of carriers already in service. Of course the merchant ships ready for conversion may be pre built ............
Re what I wrote in Posts 59 and 247.

These are extracts from a Cabinet Paper from October 1937 called "Defence Expenditure in Future Years" which I downloaded from the National Archives. The file reference is CAB.024.272 (0003).
17. During the last 15 years our aircraft carrier tonnage has been limited by treaty, and the limits accepted allowed only for the maintenance of the aircraft carriers required for work with the Main Fleet with only a margin of possibly one ship for other duties. It has consequently not been possible for the Admiralty to provide aircraft carriers for employment on the trade routes to assist our cruisers and armed merchant cruisers in the protection of trade. Plans have been drawn up for the conversion of merchant ships into aircraft carriers after the outbreak of war, but this work would take about 12 months to complete.
24. The use of carriers on the trade routes is a matter in which little experience is yet available, but a minimum of 5 is suggested herein for operations in conjunction with our cruiser forces. This number of 5 must remain open to review, and experience will very probably show that one aircraft carrier per cruiser squadron operating on trade protection work is required. It is hoped that by the building of these aircraft carriers for trade protection, an economy in the number of cruisers required can be effected.
 
Part of the First London Naval Treaty
Article 2

1. The United States, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Japan shall dispose of the following capital ships as provided in this Article:
United States:​
"Florida".​
"Utah".​
"Arkansas" or "Wyoming".​
United Kingdom:​
"Benbow".​
"Iron Duke".​
"Marlborough".​
"Emperor of India".​
"Tiger".​
Japan:​
"Hiyei".​

(a) Subject to the provisions of subparagraph (b), the above ships, unless converted to target use exclusively in accordance with Chapter II, Part 2, paragraph II(c) of the Washington Treaty, shall be scrapped in the following manner:

One of the ships to be scrapped by the United States, and two of those to be scrapped by the United Kingdom shall be rendered unfit for warlike service, in accordance with Chapter II, Part 2, paragraph III(b) of the Washington Treaty, within twelve months from the coming into force of the present Treaty. These ships shall be finally scrapped, in accordance with paragraph II(a) or (b) of the said Part 2, within twenty-four months from the said coming into force. In the case of the second of the ships to be scrapped by the United States, and of the third and fourth of the ships to be scrapped by the United Kingdom, the said periods shall be eighteen and thirty months respectively from the coming into force of the present Treaty.

(b) Of the ships to be disposed of under this Article, the following may be retained for training purposes:
by the United States:​
"Arkansas" or "Wyoming".​
by the United Kingdom:​
"Iron Duke".​
by Japan:​
"Hiyei".​

These ships shall be reduced to the condition prescribed in Section V of Annex II to Part II of the present Treaty. The work of reducing these vessels to the required condition shall begin, in the case of the United States and the United Kingdom within twelve months, and in the case of Japan within eighteen months from the coming into force of the present Treaty; the work shall be completed within six months of the expiration of the abovementioned periods.

Any of these ships which are not retained for training purposes shall be rendered unfit for warlike service within eighteen months, and finally scrapped within thirty months, of the coming into force of the present Treaty.

2. Subject to any disposal of capital ships which might be necessitated, in accordance with the Washington Treaty, by the building by France or Italy of the replacement tonnage referred to in Article 1 of the present Treaty, all existing capital ships mentioned in Chapter II, Part 3, Section II of the Washington Treaty and not designated above to be disposed of may be retained during the term of the present Treaty.

3. The right of replacement is not lost by delay in laying down replacement tonnage, and the old vessel may be retained until replaced even though due for scrapping under Chapter II, Part 3, Section II of the Washington Treaty.

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All ships to be scrapped have to be scrapped within 30 months of the Treaty coming into force. The treaty was signed on 22nd April 1930 and 30 months after that is 22nd October 1932. Tiger can't be kept for as long as you want. It would have to be a different Treaty that allowed Japan and the USA to keep ships for longer as well.

When they say "scrapped", I assume they meant hulls and so the guns could be stored for later use? If so, were any of these guns used in new builds or for port fortifications?

Thank you again.....
 

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Donor
When they say "scrapped", I assume they meant hulls and so the guns could be stored for later use? If so, were any of these guns used in new builds or for port fortifications?

Thank you again.....
Wasn't there some language in one of the treaty's limiting where any additional fortifications could be built? (i.e. the US couldn't add to fortifications on the Pacific islands like Guam, etc) IF so, how extensive were those prohibitions.?
 
Industry was expecting 4 hulls from the G3 program but only got 2. If you transfer Glorious and Courageous without conversion to Australia and Canada as Station ships and Training and build 2 new 27,000ton carriers as per the WNT then you are:
  • Saving RAN & RCN of buying new.
  • Have RAN and RCN fund large drydocks capable of handling the largest warship decades earlier
  • Keeping the UK yards busy in the 1920's
  • Saving money on a couple of Kents
  • 2 New built for purpose carriers
Worth noting the AMC program in relation to Empire defence (Source:Warship 2019 (p. 11)
During the late nineteenth century, Britain developed a policy of employing passenger vessels as auxiliary cruising warships to supplement the regular vessels protecting her global empire’s trade. Armed Merchant Cruisers (AMC) served successfully during the First World War, and experience of that conflict shaped future Admiralty contingency planning. The Royal Navy’s (RN) immediate post-war planning, with Japan the only credible opponent, called for 70 cruisers to fight a war in the Far East: 25 with the battle fleet and the remaining 45 allocated to trade defence. The latter would be supplemented by 74 AMCs expeditiously converted at ports in the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Malta, India, South Africa, Canada and Australia when hostilities were considered imminent. Beginning in late 1919, the Admiralty facilitated arrangements with patriotically-minded ship owners to begin incorporating structural stiffening to support both Low Angle (LA) anti-surface and High Angle (HA) antiaircraft guns during the construction of 50 suitably-sized passenger ships. Furthermore, the register of potential AMCs included a pool of unprepared vessels from which to select a further 24 in the event of war. Conversions would be equipped predominantly from stockpiled
 
Argus, Eagle and Hermes will be scrapped in 1928, 1931 and 1935 respectively to make way for the 3 aircraft carriers built 1924-35 with the some extra money that's been made available in the Opening Post.
Nah could make them aircraft maintenance ships (or target drone mothership like Argus was in otl) Ala Unicorn if we're cheesing hard enough
 
Congratulations you've been made 3rd Sea Lord at the beginning of 1923 and will hold the post till the beginning of 1939.
Your objective is to optimize the RN especially its new designs and refits of existing ships for WWII. Assume you get around a 10 to 15% larger budget than otl and slightly less moronic politicians as related to at least the 2nd LNT if not 1st LNT.
So what would you do?
Yes future knowledge is allowed to be used
(A short version of what I would do.)

Alright. so its 1923. I really would not be doing much other than trying to streamline production of ships, increase standardization between ship classes etc throughou the 20's. The British economy is broken. The Great War had just ended about 5 years prior, and the Depression is looming and so are budget cuts. The Navy should be able to do the most with as little as possible, so efficiency and training is key. Fortifying bases at Singapore, Malta, Gibraltar etc are also a must. strengtheningbases in strategic locations will help in the long run.

Next up for me is aviation. using hindsight, the Japanese strength lies within their carriers. Focusing more heavily on anti-aircraft armaments for primarily cruisers and ESPECIALLY Battleships is key. Modernize and rebuild as many ships as we can. Any ships count, especially destroyers and cruisers with where we can expect to fight. The next element is Naval Aviation, what I would consider to be a weakness in the Royal Navy. Gladiators and Swordfish need to go. I love them but they need to go. In this regard, better cooperation with the RAF will be helpful, so I would do all that I can to make nice with them and improve relations between our departments. Increase collaboration etc, aid in the devlopment of spitifres and Hurricanes.

On the political end, support Chamberlain. Munich, and the Anschluss have to happen. We need the budget, and without the fear of Germany, we will not get the support we need from Parliament. The U-Boat threat must be big enough as well Support the 1934 Treaty that allows Germany to build U-Boats. Develop ships that break the London, and Washington Naval Treaties, but do not build them. When the war starts, we must be ready. The British economy is in a bad state, as is the armed forces.. the war cannot start any sooner than 1939. Let the events of the late 30's play out. is it cold? yes. am I throwing the Czechs and Austrians under the bus? yes. but it is necessary. Im the lord of the admiralty. Im not the Prime Minister. I can only support and advise him from our end and from the perspective of the navy., and we need those years to prepare. (I can let the warship nerds figure out things like specific designs and ship mounts etc) Supporting our far east possessions should also be a priority. Strengthening Singapore is top priority in Asia (in regards to naval affairs) Hong Kong is lost. It serves no purpose fighting there. Especially when French Indochina inevitably falls, and the Philippines shortly after. Strengthen the defences in Malaya. the primary theatre for us should be the Java Sea and around the Dutch East Indies.

We must also aid the Dominions in building up the RCN, RAN, and the RNZN. Aiding Canada in building an ASW fleet, made of primarily Escort ships will be paramount to the Battle of the Atlantic. Australia should focus on Cruisers and destroyers, as they will be fighting the Japanese in the pacific. Anti-Aircraft should be emphasized. New Zealand should also build up a fleet, primarily in a role to support the Australian Navy. We also must avoid sending ships to the scrapyards. if we can refit them, we will, if not we can give them to the Dominions to help them with their navies.
 
Article 3

1. For the purposes of the Washington Treaty, the definition of an aircraft carrier given in Chapter II, Part 4, of the said Treaty is hereby replaced by the following definition:

The expression "aircraft carrier" includes any surface vessel of war, whatever its displacement, designed for the specific and exclusive purpose of carrying aircraft and so constructed that aircraft can be launched therefrom and landed thereon.
So a ship with just a 'flying off' deck still wouldn't count as an aircraft carrier, so a T3 tanker, with an obstructed (smokestack/superstructure) aft, could be built even with a permanent flying off deck, and not be counted even by 1st LNT, is that correct, or am I missing something.?
2. The fitting of a landing-on or flying-off platform or deck on a capital ship, cruiser or destroyer, provided such vessel was not designed or adapted exclusively as an aircraft carrier, shall not cause any vessel so fitted to be charged against or classified in the category of aircraft carriers.
This seems to answer my question above.
3. No capital ship in existence on 1 April 1930 shall be fitted with a landing-on platform or deck.
Hmmm...

It looks to me like the key loopholes are not to have a 'landing on' deck is the key to avoiding using up your carrier tonnage. What were those WWII merchant ships that could launch a fighter called again...???
 
with regards to light cruiser spam, I assume there's not much of a possiblilty or chance to replace the C and D class cruisers earlier, either with Leander or Arethusa type spam or should they be retained and converted into AA ships as soon as possible (you could probably put 5 x 4-inch dual mounts on them giving you 10 barrels).
 
Argus, Eagle and Hermes will be scrapped in 1928, 1931 and 1935 respectively to make way for the 3 aircraft carriers built 1924-35 with the some extra money that's been made available in the Opening Post.

What you could do is keep them around and then in the 30's when its Hermes' time to go, if there's the slips available, you put them into reserve and have a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942_Design_Light_Fleet_Carrier type ship ready to go instead to replace them. By the time they're getting close to completion in 38 ish the situation in Europe will be too volatile to scrap the older three and you can use them as aircraft ferries, training ships, and ASW carriers.
 
Is there anywhere online where I could find a list of "scrapped UK Vessels" due to the Naval Treaties?
Link to Post 170.
That is awesome! Very much looking forward to going through that list in detail.

Cheers, Matthew. 🍻

This is the British Commonwealth's Cruiser Force at the end of 1929.
It includes ships that were under construction and on order.


RN Cruiser Strength End 1929.png


This is the Cruiser Force at 31.12.36 as Projected in 1930.

RN Cruiser Strength End 1936 as Forecast in 1929.png


This is the Actual Cruiser Force at 31.12.36.

RN Cruiser Strength End 1936 Actual.png


Southampton & Newcastle are in the list because they were included in the 91,000 tons that could be completed by the end of 1936 in spite of being completed in 1937.
They took the place of 2 Leander/Amphions & one Arethusa that were in the force at 31.12.36 as projected in 1930.

These are the ships that should have been scrapped which were kept.

RN Cruisers which should have been scrapped by 31.12.36 that were kept.png


If they had been scrapped the total at 31.12.36 would have been 49 ships of 336,950 tons.

This is the Cruiser Force at 03.09.39.

RN Cruiser Strength 03.09.39.png


9 new ships (one Arethusa, 3 Southampton, 3 Gloucester and 2 Edinburgh class) of 80,770 tons had been completed and none of the ships on strength at 31.12.36 had been scrapped.​
 
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With regards to light cruiser spam, I assume there's not much of a possibility or chance to replace the C and D class cruisers earlier, either with Leander or Arethusa type spam or should they be retained and converted into AA ships as soon as possible (you could probably put 5 x 4-inch dual mounts on them giving you 10 barrels).
That's affordable with the extra money provided in the POD. However, the First London Naval Treaty limited the the number of cruisers that could be laid down after 1st April 1930 and completed before 31.12.36 to 91,000 tons worth in addition to limiting the total number of light cruisers at 31.12.36 to 192,200 tons worth.

It was originally planned to build 14 ships from the 91,000 tons which were to consist of ten 7,000 ton ships (which became the Leander & Amphion classes) and four 5,000 ton ships (which became the Arethusa class). 13 ships were actually built which consisted of 8 Leanders & Amphions, 3 Arethusas and 2 Southamptons.

Building more cruisers between 1930 and 1936 requires a less restrictive First London Naval Treaty. The problem with that is that increasing the British Commonwealth's tonnage quota and allowing more than 91,000 tons to be laid down after 1st April 1930 &completed before 31.12.36 means that the cruiser tonnage quotas for the USA & Japan have to be increased too. An additional problem is that the USA wanted parity with the British Commonwealth in all categories of warship but it didn't need as many cruisers because it had a smaller merchant fleet to protect.
 
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Yeah, maybe we could get an alteration to the treaties but I doubt it, and its good for rationalities sake to keep them as limiting factors.

Along with the number of slips etc that the RN has to use for construction.
 
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