TL-191: Navy Blue and Gray - Naval Forces of the USA and CSA

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Sierra, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. RaspingLeech Active Member

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    Lately I've been trying to wrap my head around just what Remembrance is supposed to look like. Something along the lines of Lexington seems to be a popular choice because it was converted from a battlecruiser but some of the text doesn't really support that. According to the text we know that:
    • Remembrance began construction as a weird sort of battlecruiser "ocean monitor" before its conversion in 1917
    • It carries 36 biplanes while Sandwich Islands carried double that
    • It's around the same displacement as Sandwich Islands
    • It kept its 5" guns in sponsons below the flight deck
    • Received radar/Y-range equipment in 1940 refits
    The two key factors to me are the aircraft count and displacement compared to Sandwich Islands. Looking at historical aircraft carriers, it could be reasonably concluded that Sandwich Islands is roughly equivalent to the OTL USS Ranger, which was built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier and carried 72 aircraft. What confuses me about this however is that would put Remembrance around the same tier as the USS Langley, which I'm a bit iffy on. One final clue, however, is the first edition cover of The Center Cannot Hold, which features an image of Remembrance:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My only problem with this depiction is it seems too modern for a carrier commissioned right after the Great War and which saw service in Ireland almost immediately after. So far I'm at a loss of what to do for this and would like to see if any of you have any input.
     
  2. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Well its a tough one. The description of the capacity of the hangar being able to hold "three dozen two-decker Wright fighting scouts", the displacement being the same as Sandwich Islands, and the fact it was originally built on the hull of a converted battlecruiser... or ocean monitor or "monitor with legs" doesn't help either. The bad and seemingly contradictory descriptions of the ship equally baffle me and sometimes I think Turtledove intentionally did that to keep the ship as vague as possible, leaving it up to the interpretation of the reader. That or he really didn't know how to describe this thing. Either way, I'm not going knock him for it. Lets see here...

    The good thing is that we have USS Sandwich Islands as a comparison to get an idea of what USS Remembrance could be like. If we accept that USS Sandwich Islands is essentially like OTL USS Ranger, then we have some data to go on...

    Ranger's displacement was 14,576 long tons, with 17,577 long tons at full load. If Remembrance's displacement was that of the Langley as a carrier after conversion from a collier, then that would mean her carrier displacement would be at 12,700 long tons, with 13,900 long tons at full load. If Remembrance's displacement was that of the Lexington OTL, then she would be at 36,000 long tons, with 43,055 long tons at full load. If USS Remembrance takes after USS Langley with that standard displacement of 12,700 long tons, with USS Sandwich Islands taking after USS Ranger at a standard 14,576 long tons, then their displacement would differ by about 1,876 long tons. Which in my opinion isn't even close enough to even say they have "roughly the same" displacement, especially when you consider the major difference that entails at full load.

    This is equally baffling since USS Remembrance is said to be converted from the hull of a battlecruiser... but then even the wiki also says that hull was described as a "monitor with legs"? Which... doesn't make any sense to me at all. And sounds extremely contradictory. Its either a converted battlecruiser hull or a converted monitor hull. And if its a monitor hull... then there is no way USS Remembrance can even be considered an aircraft carrier, not with the displacement an ocean going monitor averages out to.

    Also I'm pretty sure Remembrance has a visible conning tower / bridge off to the side somewhere. Langley I believe had no visible one. USS Remembrance having one would be a good indicator as well I think as to which kind of ship it takes after.


    The second point about USS Remembrance only having room for 36 planes is also a nod to it possibly being a parallel to USS Langley, but for USS Remembrance to have that small of a plane capacity seems very worrying to me. If that's the case and the hangar capacity was never miraculously modified accommodate more, then that would mean she has roughly the same plane capacity as a WWII US escort carrier with double the displacement, not the capacity of a proper fleet carrier.

    ... which would match up to the fact that she is not a proper carrier and a very old one at that. USS Sandwich Islands would be the more advanced and newer ship in that regard. So I could accept USS Remembrance having a rather small airplane capacity despite potentially having a hull that could potentially support more planes.

    I suppose at best you can describe USS Remembrance as a kind of fusion or cross between Lexington and Langley. The descriptions certainly don't make it easy to get an accurate picture of it. I still tend to think USS Remembrance is like Lexington anyway.
     
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  3. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Well, as far as the graphics go on the cover of the book, I'd say that's done more out of the publishers trying to market the book to attract potential buyers with a cool cover rather to be accurate and realistic to any description made in the book. You're right in saying the aircraft carrier here looks a bit too modern for the time period it was built in. Its basically a WWII era carrier. Simultaneously, there are bi-plane and tri-plane fighters / bombers attacking the WWII style carrier. Soooo... to me, its not necessarily an accurate portrayal of the USS Remembrance, but is really what many people would want to think it would look like. A place holder of sorts.

    Still its worth a try in trying to figure out what this thing looks like.
     
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  4. cortz#9 Obrltnt of Kampfgruppe Seelöw

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    This is probably more or less what an aircraft carrier of the period looked like.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Yes, I agree, that would be how USS Remembrance started out I think. A flat flight deck without a bridge control off to the side. I'd give it a longer hull with more displacement though, since the Langley's hull was based off a collier. That way it could potentially match the displacement of the USS Sandwich Islands. That's just me though. Perhaps in a reconstruction of a refit the Remembrance could get a bridge that is built off to the side of the flight deck? Its said that by 1940 the carrier was outfitted with Y-ranging instruments, though I'd have no idea where you would put on a ship like this.
     
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  6. RaspingLeech Active Member

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    The Langley wasn't really a "typical" carrier, it was entirely an experimental platform. For my purposes I've figured about making the Remembrance just a Lexington equivalent and disregarding some of the text, since another issue in comparing Remembrance and Langley is the fact that due to being a cruiser design before conversion it'd be a completely separate hull shape. Even if it's not nearly the size of a full on battlecruiser, it'd be a fast cruiser hull with probably bare minimum armor due to its intended role. Perhaps closer in displacement to the HMS Invincible than later BC designs?
     
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  7. edgeworthy Well-Known Member

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    Remembrance could just have been really badly designed for a Carrier?
    Afterall Graf Zeppelin was 28,090 tons standard displacement, 33,550 tons full load, with a capacity of 42 aircraft.
    Shinano was 64,800 tons standard and 71,890 tons deep load, for 47 operational planes.
    The designers could have got something wrong, or being a conversion it might have turned out more like HMS Furious 22,450 tons standard and 28,500 tons deep load with 36 aircraft.
     
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  8. RaspingLeech Active Member

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    The problem with that is you're comparing a design from 1917 to designs from the 40s, one of which was another poorly designed mess by the Kriegsmarine and the other barely meant to function as a fleet carrier in the first place. The Furious was a rather unique example as well with a flight deck built on top of the existing superstructure, and it didn't get a conventional flight deck refit until the 20s. You're better off comparing Remembrance to the HMS Argus, but that was a converted liner and only carried 18 or so planes.

    I should add that it was said Remembrance was about 1/3 complete before its conversion to a carrier, which matches the Lexington almost exactly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  9. Sierra Nagato-class Kuudere

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    So, really, its a straight up Lexington type ship with some changes. As Alterwright pointed out, the 36 was fighting scouts, aka fighters. That count didn't include bombers of any sort. 70-80 aircraft was the norm for US carriers by WWII, since they monoplanes were much larger than the earlier biplanes, where you could stuff a hundred in if you had to, Even then, they didn't ever do that. Even today, a Nimitz class is supposed to be able to carry 90-100 jets, but usually only has about 70 aircraft. The "ocean monitor" thing is, imo, a read herring. Otherwise, Remembrance reads entirely as a battlecruiser. And you must remember that that was one of hte main types of action the German battlecruisers did during WWI. Lightning raids on the british coast. In fact, it was one of those that led to the battle of Dogger Bank.
     
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  10. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    1503921156771.jpg

    pl_becuna_olympia.jpg

    ^^^ --- USS Olympia (C-6), the flagship of Commodore George Dewey during the Spanish American War.

    I'm wondering if in TL-191 the USS Olympia would either be butterflied away or would have still been built. Apparently in our timeline she was meant to be part of a whole class of cruisers that the US Navy want ordered. She was originally meant to be a kind of commerce raider in reflection to US naval doctrine at the time --- a fast, well armed and armored cruiser. However, she apparently came about at an interesting time in US naval history, when doctrine was shifting toward capital ships.

    it would be a shame to see the ship not get built in TL-191, but hey. Its 50 / 50 I suppose. It would just have to depend on what the Navy needed her for. An all steel armored cruiser like her would likely be built in terms of the desire of the US Navy to modernize, but I'm wonder if her design would be different.
     
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  11. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Yes. In all likelihood, despite some of the description notes, it is quite possibly the same design as the USS Lexington. Or, to be more accurate, USS Remembrance resembles the Lexington-class aircraft carriers - Lexington and/or Saratoga. The capacity for aircraft is small for what a Lexington-class carrier should be able to carry, but as said before it could be because of a number of things, either that number was decided on by hangar design or the fact that only the fighter planes were counted - not any potential bombers the carrier may have. Or it could be that USS Remembrance's captains, depending on their missions, only brought with them the amount of aircraft they thought they would need for a mission, not filling the hangar up to its full capacity. An odd decision to be sure, but its not the strangest decision made in the stories.

    And, as stated before, aircraft capacity of that size would not be entirely unusual given the other countries' carriers, either by design or by choice, had relatively low capacities for aircraft.

    USS Remembrance's hull is undeniably a battlecruiser hull. That's how I see it at least. Where the description of it being an "ocean monitor" or a "monitor with legs" came from I'm not sure, but its very inaccurate to me.
     
  12. RamscoopRaider Some Sort of Were-Orca, probably an Akhlut Donor

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    Monitor with legs fairly accurately describes HMS Glorious, Courageous and Furious, which were conceived as fast shallow draft platforms to provide fire support for a landing operation in the Baltic. So Turtledove could have taken a line from a description of them, as they were converted to carriers. It would be stupid for 191 US to build something like the Follies but maybe not that stupid. Someone senior in the Navy department comes up with the idea for a fast shallow draft capital ship to raid the Confederate Gulf Coast, where shallow draft is an asset, with speed to get in and out and a few heavy guns for bombardment. Someone has enough clout to get it started, but not finished, and it is available and chosen for conversion into a CV in lieu of a better ship

    So USS Remembrance could basically be an American Glorious, Furious or Courageous
     
  13. Tiro Well-Known Member

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    As the poet might have put it "good artists borrow, Great Powers steal" (or something to that effect).;)
     
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  14. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Indeed!

    Well do you have any additional ideas for ships during this time, Tiro?
     
  15. Tiro Well-Known Member

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    Well, for a start the Great Powers could probably stand to STOP POINTING GUNS AT EACH OTHER for a great deal longer than twenty-four years!
     
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  16. Tiro Well-Known Member

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    p.s. Please accept my apologies for taking so long to answer this, but my original point was slightly at error - the CLASS might well have remained George V (though given he was the King who reigned over the Great War and associated humiliations, the authorities might prefer to avoid evoking his name) but the ships of that class would almost certainly carry different names, given that they were renamed in Our Own history because of King Edward VIIIs abdication (King Edward VIII becoming Prince of Wales for instance), which does not appear to have been an issue in Timeline-191.

    Given that the class appears to have been laid down after the demise of HM George V in 1936, it's not impossible that the whole class might be named for his eldest son - as a way of emphasising that this was a class built for a brand new & better era.
     
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  17. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    I'd imagine they'd be changed as well, if not in physical design then at least by their names. I had actually pointed out how a few British cruisers would have to be renamed due to the changes in this timeline, particularly any ships from, say, the Tribal, Town, and Crown Colony-classes. Belfast, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and a slew of destroyers meant for the Royal Canadian Navy would likely have to be renamed given that these places are no longer under British control.
     
  18. RamscoopRaider Some Sort of Were-Orca, probably an Akhlut Donor

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    I'd argue they don't have to be renamed for that reason. It may be more likely to have ships named at them, to emphasize that Britain does not accept losing these territories and wants them back

    KGV design would logically be different. OTL the design was armed with 14" guns because Britain was proposing a new Treaty limit of 14" and wanted to set an example. I doubt Revanchist 191 Britain would do that, so KGV here is probably 9x15" assuming a similar treaty to OTL in effect, or a 9x16" armed ship if no treaty in effcet
     
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  19. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    US Escort Carriers

    Several carriers are mentioned by name in the books, among them are USS Chapultepec and USS Trenton, escort carriers sent to the Pacific Theater to address the Japanese threat after the loss of USS Remembrance.

    Although there are few physical descriptions of them, the ones that are there greatly assist in figuring out what they might be. Chief among these descriptions is the fact that several of them were mentioned to be converted freighters.

    USS_Suwannee_(CVE-27)_underway_in_Puget_Sound_on_31_January_1945.jpg

    ^^^ --- Fortunately there are several examples of converted escort carriers in our timeline too. The USS Suwannee for example was converted from an oiler along with her other three sister ships within the Sangamon-class.

    USS_Bogue_(CVE-9)_underway_c1943.jpeg

    ^^^ --- Quite a few ships within the Bogue-class escort carrier family were also converted from Type C3-class cargo ships. Many from this class saw service with both the the US Navy and the Royal Navy through Lend-Lease.

    Depending on the hulls that were being converted it is entirely possible that we may not get Bogue-class or the Sangamon-class escort carriers as they appeared exactly in our world, but in terms of the US Navy putting the idea of converting existing ships into escort carriers very quickly - I think this is still possible. USS Trenton and USS Chapultepec, for example, would clearly not be the first purpose built escort carriers, but rather conversions from hulls the US Navy deemed suitable for conversion at a time where demand for them would be high.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
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  20. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    Second Great War Gunboat Designs

    bka11251.jpg

    ^^^ --- Now, granted, these were developed with Russian needs and specifications in mind for the bodies of water these ships would operate on, but the idea of tank turrets on gunboats like this intrigued me. I will have to do more research on these boats, but it would be interesting to see of the Confederate Navy would utilize ships like this along the Mississippi or Cumberland rivers.
     
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