Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by HMS queen Elizabeth, Jul 13, 2019.
What if the IMPLACABLE class is built bigger and without the delay in otl?
You end up with this in 1943.
So would skipping the IMPLACABLE class and go to audacious class
The Audacious class started as Improved Implacables.
Would it be possible to get to audacious from 6 illustrious class
As the Audacious class is essentially enlarged and modified Implacables yes. Throw away the prewar treaty tonnage limitations and give them two full length full height hanger decks. The only size limitation you need to worry about is what will fit in the dry docks.
Kgv was 35000 tonnes so upto that and beyond is possible
No need for six Illustrious. You go from 3xIllustrious, 1xIndomitable to four planned Audacious class. There’s nothing innovative in the Audacious, other than a return to the twin full length hangar that the 3xOutrageous and Ark Royal 91 had.
The only challenge to getting at minimum the first two if not all four Audacious completed in time for late WW2 service (same as IOTL Implacables) is to overcome any treaty obligations and limitations on funding, materials, labour and yard capacity. Same as with any large warship. To get there by freeing up attention and treasure, we forgo the 2xImplacables, and entirely skip the 6/8xCentaur (1st unit laid down 5/44) 10xColossus (1st laid down 6/42) and 6xMajestic class (1st laid down 5/43), and maybe HMS Unicorn (Audacious are big enough to do their own repairs). And don’t let those 22-24 CVL’s civilian spec and yard use distract you, it’s still men, money and materials to build those two dozen light carriers, that could be better used for expediting the four Audacious class.
And thus WW2 closes with the RN having ten armoured fleet carriers, including the four Audacious, plus dozens of escort carriers. Postwar the 3xIllustrious class, Indomitable, Furious and all the CVEs are soon disposed of. Once that’s done, two Audacious are on active fixed wing service, another serves in a rotary Commando role, the fourth is in reserve. Until the Korean War, when two Audacious configured for fixed wing strike deploy to Singapore, and the other two are back to fixed wing strike and fleet air defence for NATO in the North Atlantic.
Post Korean War, we get moving on the Malta class.
The Implacable class and their predecessors were limited by the Second London Naval Treaty. Admittedly one of them had been laid down after World War II broke out, but it had been ordered earlier in 1939 when the Treaty was still in force and there was not enough time to cancel the ship and reorder it to a new design.
The WNT and first LNT set the maximum displacement of an aircraft carrier at 27,000 tons, but the second WNT reduced it to 23,000 tons, at the behest of the British who wanted it reduced to 22,000 tons.
Had the 27,000 ton limit been carried over into the Second LNT it would have been possible to build better Illustrious class aircraft carriers. However, the Audacious class displaced 36,000 tons when the design was frozen (IIRC). It's much the same as trying to build Vanguards instead of the KGV class. The Vanguard as built exceeded the 35,000 ton limit by a considerable margin.
Some of the gap might be closed by the earlier introduction of welding, high pressure boilers and AC electrics, but IMHO the gap of 9,000 tons is too big to cross.
Yes, we need Britain to read the room, realize that voluntarily limiting their own capabilities was for nought, and abandon the treaty in 1937. Then get to work on the four Audacious class.
Having four Audacious class (and zero CVLs!) in 1945-50 may push faster development of jets. So, Ark Royal and Eagle deploy to Korea in 1951 with swept-wing Sea Hawks. That, combined with WW2 experienced pilots should match up against the MiG-15.
Even better would be the Hawker P.1081 with the swept tailplane, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_P.1081
Of course, without the CVLs, the lesser navies won’t have discount carriers to buy. What does India, Australia, Canada and the Latams do?
I wouldn't be so quick to cancel all the CVL's Britain has a lot of sea to patrol and four ships can only cover so much. I'd still build the Colossus class and sell them off after the war.
Very soon to be replaced by this.
History proves that they're of no use to the Royal Navy during or after the war.
If the world wants to buy light carriers from the UK, let them place orders with the yards directly for new builds, rather than buying ex-RN surplus at a discount.
The RN fought the Korean War with Colossus Class carriers and pioneered the Commando Carrier with them at Suez so I wouldn't say they were of no use.
Sigh....yes, you make due with what you have. But if the RN has four Audacious available and no Colossus class, then that’s what would have been sent. Likely instead of three Colossus class, a single Audacious could have been sent, with a surviving Illustrious handling the commando role.
IOTL, none of the Audacious, Illustrious or for that matter Centaur class we’re available for Korea. So that’s a needed change.
What about the Colossus class carriers that were in the British Pacific Fleet? Without hindsight, how are you to know that the war will not continue for longer?
What are the Workers in the yards that built the Colossus and Centaur class going to do? Particularly the ones that built Colossus, they were cruiser yards, and built using cruiser engines. You can't build more cruisers, their isn't enough armoured plate. Actually, where are you getting the armour plate for these ships? The yards building the Light Carriers can build those, they can build cruisers (if you can find the armoured plate and fire control equipment) or you can build Commercial ships very quickly but inefficiently as they yards aren't setup for it. A commercial ship is much less complicated then a warship, and there are only so many people you can have working on each one....so if the yard cannot make use of all the additional tradesmen do you conscript them into the army?
Remember that this is the UK, while filling government contracts most of these ships were built in private yards. You can't just pick up the workforce and drag them halfway across the country to another business against their will. Then even if you did, where are they going to eat? where are they going to sleep?
Actually, they could and did do just that. The U.K. went Full Central Planning for labour allocation. However it’s one thing to force people out of working in an underwear factory and into a war industry elsewhere, quite another to push skilled workers out of a war-related facility when there is nowhere else to productively use their skills.
As so often on this board, I think the discussion has been sidetracked by the assumption that the U.K. leadership has not only received a massive delivery of textbooks from the future, but has drawn the same conclusions from them as one or more posters. I’m sure there were OTL discussions about the structure of the carrier program but I don’t think anyone was advocating for putting all their resources into mega-carriers.
The route to improved Implacable Class carriers is quite logical. 1 The Navy has decided they need two full length hanger decks as OTL. 2. Unlike OTL they reject the idea of those hangers having less than the standard headroom which would restrict the types of aircraft carried. 3. Having made the choice for full height hanger decks the ship will need to be larger than the previous Illustrious class to support the weight of armour needed for the hanger sides.
To be honest, i would have liked to see the Implacables as Audacious types from the start but still delayed. That way there are two extra carriers that haven't been worked too hard that are capable of taking the larger post WW2 aircraft, in the immediate post WW2 years assuming modernisation is not botched.
Also, the Colossus' as Majestic's from the start.
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