Warships that should never been built?

USS Galena (1862), below is a water color by Oscar Parkes showing her in 1862:


Never heard of her? There's a reason: She was the 'third' Ironclad design for the Union Navy in the Civil War. Lacking the innovation of Monitor and the firepower of New Ironsides, she was commissioned in April 1862, then taken out of service in May 1863 in the middle of a war to have her armor stripped. She served as an wooden frigate from 1864.

Regards,
 
HTMS Chakri Naruebet. Not a bad ship in itself, but an entirely pointless one.
'

I just realized she's pretty much a modern version of the WW2 "escort carriers". A small ship based on a merchant ships hull with minimal modifications to save money and only capable of carrying a small complement of aircraft.
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
Yep S & G were used as raiders. Then killed by a battle cruiser. It is confusing when there are two pairs of S & Gs
You know in some documents the KGVs were "battle cruisers" so Scharnhorst was killed by one twice?
Yeah, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau don’t seem to be lucky names for German ships. But I’ve never seen the KGVs referred to as battlecruisers?

There are a couple of ideas going into battle cruisers. Fast wing for the battle fleet. Strategically mobile reserve for Empire policing. Cruiser killer. AMC Ocean liner killer*.
I’ve read a few things about RN design evolution and agree on the fast wing/cruiser killer idea. The cruiser killer lends itself to tackling raiders I suppose, so maybe that’s where it comes from? I always assumed the cruisers they were talking about were scouts for an enemy fleet or lighter units of a major power. I’ve never seen anything on raider killer (as in AMCs) but maybe the authors never concentrated on that aspect?


That 1900-1918 period is a really interesting window for big fast ships. Lots of funny ideas that aren't exactly wrong given the tech at the time, but soon to be shown as not as bad as thought or overtaken by technology. It made me rethink the follies. Not as crazy as they looked.
I totally agree, 1900-18 is a really interesting period for ship design. Many of the “terrible” designs need the benefit of hindsight to criticise them.

I have to disagree with your reassessment of Outrageous, Uproarious and Spurious though. The follies were garbage designed for an insane project.
 
USS Galena (1862), below is a water color by Oscar Parkes showing her in 1862:


Never heard of her? There's a reason: She was the 'third' Ironclad design for the Union Navy in the Civil War. Lacking the innovation of Monitor and the firepower of New Ironsides, she was commissioned in April 1862, then taken out of service in May 1863 in the middle of a war to have her armor stripped. She served as an wooden frigate from 1864.

Regards,
She used a defective armor scheme with railroad rails providing the majority of the protection with only a thin layer of plate on top. This was proved inadequate in her early action at Drewry's Bluff. All three of the initial ironclad designs were experimental. New Ironsides was the most conventional and a success, Monitor was the most radical and a success. The middle ground was the failure. Is there a lesson in that?
 
Pretty much any French capital ship pre-Dunkerque and even then I’m sceptical about quadruple turrets
The French needed to build something, and for the most part I don’t think they could’ve done better. That something should not have included the Danton’s, though, which were predreadnoughts laid down after HMS Dreadnought had been commissioned.
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
The French needed to build something, and for the most part I don’t think they could’ve done better. That something should not have included the Danton’s, though, which were predreadnoughts laid down after HMS Dreadnought had been commissioned.
Obviously they had to build something, but some form of conformity would be good at least.

It wasn’t wrong to build, it was wrong to build what they did.
 
USS Vesuvius - But I think everyone knew she was an experiment.
If an experiment's a reasonable idea, then I'd say that it should be built. At the time, only something like an air gun, medieval catapult, or perhaps rockets could toss high explosive downrange. The really potent kaboomite of the time couldn't take the shock of being fired from a gun.
 
Follies main problemswere the hulls weren't that stable, they were so lightly built they suffered from a lot of structural damage. Who the hell really needs 18" guns to beat up cruisers and liners? You could do a better job with a 12" gun and fit more on to the ship.
Armored cruiser. 18 x 4". x'D Hail of fire. Totally outdated concept by 1920. But in WWI they are fighting German protected cruisers using 4.1" with limited fire control themselves. Once they got stiffened they weren't that bad.

I have to disagree with your reassessment of Outrageous, Uproarious and Spurious though. The follies were garbage designed for an insane project.
I think they are an emergency program using outdated concepts to get them into service while the war was still going. By the time they were in service the reason for their construction had gone away. They found a use bullying light cruisers and despite some blast damage reportedly did the job at 2nd Heligoland. By 1920 you need to find a better role for them. Goodness knows what. That is when they become inconvenient garbage.
But as an emergency program they work. To me that puts them above HMS Hood which is where this all started. Hood wasn't an emergency program and shouldn't have been so reactive to intel reports.
 

Driftless

Donor
USS Vesuvius - But I think everyone knew she was an experiment.
If an experiment's a reasonable idea, then I'd say that it should be built. At the time, only something like an air gun, medieval catapult, or perhaps rockets could toss high explosive downrange. The really potent kaboomite of the time couldn't take the shock of being fired from a gun.
While the Zalinski Dynamite Gun (now there's a Steampunk name....) didn't perform as well as hoped, at least the USN was able to reconfigure the Vesuvius for other experimental work.

BTW, I really like Kaboomite....
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
I think they are an emergency program using outdated concepts to get them into service while the war was still going.
They were built due to Fisher coming back to the Admiralty and trying to get round a ban on capital ship building. The “Baltic Project” may or may not have been a real plan, but Jackie’s desire for a “newer generation” of battlecruisers was clear.

The resources used in their building was probably (almost certainly) better used somewhere else and their guns were a complete waste of time.
 
HTMS Chakri Naruebet. Not a bad ship in itself, but an entirely pointless one.
She would have made better sense if purchased by Australia or Indonesia. Thailand had little use for her. The cost of operation was beyond Thailand's finance's. The Harriers just increased the problem with finances.
 
Armored cruiser. 18 x 4". x'D Hail of fire. Totally outdated concept by 1920. But in WWI they are fighting German protected cruisers using 4.1" with limited fire control themselves. Once they got stiffened they weren't that bad.


I think they are an emergency program using outdated concepts to get them into service while the war was still going. By the time they were in service the reason for their construction had gone away. They found a use bullying light cruisers and despite some blast damage reportedly did the job at 2nd Heligoland. By 1920 you need to find a better role for them. Goodness knows what. That is when they become inconvenient garbage.
But as an emergency program they work. To me that puts them above HMS Hood which is where this all started. Hood wasn't an emergency program and shouldn't have been so reactive to intel reports.
18 4 inch guns have pretty shit range, at which point your speed is armour idea goes to shit.
They got very lucky at 2nd Heligoland. Quite frankly they were so poorly armoured they couldn't stop cruiser shells from penning.
I'd be in Hood before you catch me in one of the follies.
I'd even go in the bloody Defence
As an emergency program they were a waste of resources thst could've been better spent.
As I said before, I think they should be completelyredesigned the Admirals post Jutland rather than the slapping on armour. You might actually get them out within roughly the same time line the Admirals would've due to the amount of stalls in the build when they were redesigning time and time again.
You get a better ship overall that will stand the test of time far better than Hood did otl
 
Yeah, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau don’t seem to be lucky names for German ships. But I’ve never seen the KGVs referred to as battlecruisers?

I’ve read a few things about RN design evolution and agree on the fast wing/cruiser killer idea. The cruiser killer lends itself to tackling raiders I suppose, so maybe that’s where it comes from? I always assumed the cruisers they were talking about were scouts for an enemy fleet or lighter units of a major power. I’ve never seen anything on raider killer (as in AMCs) but maybe the authors never concentrated on that aspect?

I totally agree, 1900-18 is a really interesting period for ship design. Many of the “terrible” designs need the benefit of hindsight to criticise them.
I have to disagree with your reassessment of Outrageous, Uproarious and Spurious though. The follies were garbage designed for an insane project.
The KGVs were referred to as 'fully armoured battlecruisers' when their ship's covers were opened, continuing the RN practice of referring to any fast capital ship (about 25+ knots) as a battlecruiser. Estimates for Vanguard also referred to her as such.
In one sense, it was a fair description, as they sacrificed firepower for speed (not unlike German Great War BCs)

Jellico missed one role for the battlecruiser, which partly helps to explain the Follies - to provide a heavy scout force for the fleet.
As scouts, they had a distinct advantage - size. In heavy weather, they could outpace smaller cruisers or even AMC liners, and keep up with the battlecruisers.
They could therefore act as a 'scout force for the scout force' - i.e. as a super-cruiser screen for the BCF.
Their origins are also not especially clear-cut, particularly when you consider that Fisher's concept for 'HMS Rhadamanthus' (4-15" guns, 32 knots on about 19,000 tons) predates the Renowns (arguably, it was developed in to Renown, but then he went back to it). Shallow draught also has advantages in torpedo protection, and recent ships (notably the Iron Dukes and QEs) were coming out significantly over their design draught.
Fisher also muddied the waters by suggesting various roles for the ships - partly to get them authorised - although this certainly included his Baltic ideas, particularly in the case of Furious' bizarre armament.

I don't disagree they were rotten ships, but I some criticisms still require hindsight.
 

Stenz

Monthly Donor
Jellico missed one role for the battlecruiser, which partly helps to explain the Follies - to provide a heavy scout force for the fleet.
As scouts, they had a distinct advantage - size. In heavy weather, they could outpace smaller cruisers or even AMC liners, and keep up with the battlecruisers.
They could therefore act as a 'scout force for the scout force' - i.e. as a super-cruiser screen for the BCF.
I’ve often thought the name “battlecruiser” was part of the problem. Allowed too many people (*cough* Beatty *cough*) to think of them as ‘proper’ capital ships.

Maybe supercrusier or fleet cruiser would have been a better name for the type.
 
IMO the prime example of a warship that should never have been built: RN K-class submarines.
Steam turbines, 5 minute dive times (except when 'accidentally dived'), 339' long with a max dive depth of 200'. Dozens of remote-operated controls...
... what could possibly go right?
£6 million well spent (that's about 2 Hoods, or 30-35 destroyers)
 
Top