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For those interested, the planned refit for HMS Hood

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As a ship ages, its machinery and structure experience "wear and tear." The degree of wear and tear depends of course, upon the conditions under which the ship was operated, as well as the quantity and quality of maintenance received. Often, regardless of how well-maintained a ship may be, deficiencies in its design and/or equipment come to light and must be addressed. As a result of any of these factors, modifications in the form of refits or repairs are periodically necessary.

Hood herself was certainly no exception: she received some form of refit for nearly every single year from the time of her launching until the time of her loss. Of the approximately 20 more notable refits, most involved modifications to secondary guns, fire control and range finding equipment. The scope of the refits varied in size. Only one (1929-1931) was actually a major refit/overhaul.

By the late 1930s, Hood, due to the poor condition of key internal components (i.e., engines) was once again in need of a major refit. It was also apparent that she was not up to the standards of the current generation of modern battleships. Thus, in late 1938, preliminary plans were discussed with Captain Walker and crew. Hood's key deficiencies and shortcomings were outlined and a rough plan was formulated. This plan was officially referred to as the "Large Repair."

Unfortunately, detailed final plans were not created – only preliminary planning sketches were drawn-up. According to sources, the sketches were simply overlaid or drawn-over drawings of Hood in her then present configuration. Logically, the sketches showed an arrangement extremely similar to that of Renownfollowing her 1936-1939 refit/overhaul. The whereabouts of these sketches is unknown and are they are believed to have been lost. Therefore, any attempt to draw a reconstructed Hood is hypothetical at best.

The work (based on pre-war considerations) would have taken between two and three years to complete at a cost of as much as £4.5 million. Sadly, due to budgetary constraints and the fact that there were other ships in need of more immediate attention, Hood's refit was not scheduled to commence until at least Spring 1942.

Proposed Modifications
What follows is a list of the proposed work:

  • New internal machinery and improved subdivision. It was desirable to upgrade and relocate engines and boilers. Alternatively, at a minimum the boilers would be replaced.
  • Rearranged/remodelled torpedo bulges and side armour. Most likely the side bulges would have been extended to the top of the 7" armour belt rather than to the top of the 12" belt.
  • Improved deck armour/protection over vital areas.
  • Removal of armoured conning tower and the 5" side armour.
  • New superstructure and masts fore and aft. Most notably, the forward superstructure would have been a "block" type similar to that of Renown, the Queen Elizabeths or the King George Vs (KGV).
  • New funnels. These would have been something similar to those on Renown as KGV funnels would have been too small.
  • Addition of a catapult, dual hangars and Walrus seaplanes. (See "Some Considerations" below)
  • Improved antiaircraft (AAA) protection. This would include the removal of all existing weaponry and replacement with a total of 6 Mark M eight-barreled pom poms and lastly, the addition of either 12-16 x 5.25" guns (same type as KGV) or 16 x 4.5" (same type as Renown). Of course, the ship would likely have also received updated 0.5" machine guns and multiple 40mm mounts. (See "Some Considerations" below)
  • Upgraded fire control. She would have received updated radar, fire control tables, comms, directors, etc.
  • Extended forecastle deck. Hood's stern was notoriously wet due to her overweight condition. An extension was considered for the simple fact that it might help keep the quarterdeck a bit drier. The extension would retain the rough "V" shape but would instead, extend to "X" turret. (See "Some Considerations" below).

Some Considerations 
We feel that due to certain circumstances, of the above list, a few items would likely have been changed or possibly not implemented:

  • Catapult/aircraft gear– By 1944/1945, the Royal Navy had reexamined the need for aircraft aboard battleships and battle cruisers. Due to key considerations, not the least of which was the improvement in aerial surveillance radar, it was decided to remove such equipment. Therefore, Hood, under construction during this period. would likely have had changes made. It is possible that if aircraft were not used, the space they would have occupied would have gone to boats and/or possibly increased 0.5" and 40mm antiaircraft batteries.
  • 5.25" or 4.5" Secondary Battery– Though the 5.25" were preferred, there were availability issues with the guns. Instead, the widely available 4.5" guns seem a more likely choice for Hood. It was also a more standard round (Queen Elizabeth class, Renown, carriers, etc.). Although a typical arrangement for large ships of that time was 20 guns (ten twin barreled turrets situated on the starboard and port sides in clusters of three forward and two aft), this would not have been the case for Hood. Due to her internal arrangements, she would likely have been outfitted with just 16 guns in four turrets. The exact location of these guns would depend on the extent of modifications being carried out and available space for gun machinery and magazine stowage.

In the case of Hood, we feel that it was unlikely for guns to have been installed in typical fore and aft clusters. This is because they would have obstructed the senior officer's cabins and baths if installed in standard fashion. If installed aft, they would either have to be individually situated and staggered (like Hood's actual final 4" guns were) or located somewhere else on the ship. If this were the case, the most likely place would be in banks of four per side on the forward Shelter Deck abreast the funnels and bridge.

  • Extended Forecastle deck– This would only have been done if other modifications did not result in a significant reduction in displacement/increase in freeboard. If Hood sat higher in the water, there really would have been no need for the extension.
  • Location of shell rooms and magazines– This, Hood's "Achilles heel," would not have been fixed. The powder magazines would still have been situated dangerously over the shell rooms. Even with the addition of protection its likely she would have remained vulnerable to similarly armed warships.

 

Note - not possible to actually link to site because permission is needed for the photographs 

 

There is also another article which says that she might have been fitted with twin 5.25" secondary guns 

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49 minutes ago, pzkpfwv1d said:

As a ship ages, its machinery and structure experience "wear and tear." The degree of wear and tear depends of course, upon the conditions under which the ship was operated, as well as the quantity and quality of maintenance received. Often, regardless of how well-maintained a ship may be, deficiencies in its design and/or equipment come to light and must be addressed. As a result of any of these factors, modifications in the form of refits or repairs are periodically necessary.

Hood herself was certainly no exception: she received some form of refit for nearly every single year from the time of her launching until the time of her loss. Of the approximately 20 more notable refits, most involved modifications to secondary guns, fire control and range finding equipment. The scope of the refits varied in size. Only one (1929-1931) was actually a major refit/overhaul.

By the late 1930s, Hood, due to the poor condition of key internal components (i.e., engines) was once again in need of a major refit. It was also apparent that she was not up to the standards of the current generation of modern battleships. Thus, in late 1938, preliminary plans were discussed with Captain Walker and crew. Hood's key deficiencies and shortcomings were outlined and a rough plan was formulated. This plan was officially referred to as the "Large Repair."

Unfortunately, detailed final plans were not created – only preliminary planning sketches were drawn-up. According to sources, the sketches were simply overlaid or drawn-over drawings of Hood in her then present configuration. Logically, the sketches showed an arrangement extremely similar to that of Renownfollowing her 1936-1939 refit/overhaul. The whereabouts of these sketches is unknown and are they are believed to have been lost. Therefore, any attempt to draw a reconstructed Hood is hypothetical at best.

The work (based on pre-war considerations) would have taken between two and three years to complete at a cost of as much as £4.5 million. Sadly, due to budgetary constraints and the fact that there were other ships in need of more immediate attention, Hood's refit was not scheduled to commence until at least Spring 1942.

Proposed Modifications
What follows is a list of the proposed work:

New internal machinery and improved subdivision. It was desirable to upgrade and relocate engines and boilers. Alternatively, at a minimum the boilers would be replaced.

Rearranged/remodelled torpedo bulges and side armour. Most likely the side bulges would have been extended to the top of the 7" armour belt rather than to the top of the 12" belt.

Improved deck armour/protection over vital areas.

Removal of armoured conning tower and the 5" side armour.

New superstructure and masts fore and aft. Most notably, the forward superstructure would have been a "block" type similar to that of Renown, the Queen Elizabeths or the King George Vs (KGV).

New funnels. These would have been something similar to those on Renown as KGV funnels would have been too small.

Addition of a catapult, dual hangars and Walrus seaplanes. (See "Some Considerations" below)

Improved antiaircraft (AAA) protection. This would include the removal of all existing weaponry and replacement with a total of 6 Mark M eight-barreled pom poms and lastly, the addition of either 12-16 x 5.25" guns (same type as KGV) or 16 x 4.5" (same type as Renown). Of course, the ship would likely have also received updated 0.5" machine guns and multiple 40mm mounts. (See "Some Considerations" below)

Upgraded fire control. She would have received updated radar, fire control tables, comms, directors, etc.

Extended forecastle deck. Hood's stern was notoriously wet due to her overweight condition. An extension was considered for the simple fact that it might help keep the quarterdeck a bit drier. The extension would retain the rough "V" shape but would instead, extend to "X" turret. (See "Some Considerations" below). 

Some Considerations 
We feel that due to certain circumstances, of the above list, a few items would likely have been changed or possibly not implemented:

Catapult/aircraft gear– By 1944/1945, the Royal Navy had reexamined the need for aircraft aboard battleships and battle cruisers. Due to key considerations, not the least of which was the improvement in aerial surveillance radar, it was decided to remove such equipment. Therefore, Hood, under construction during this period. would likely have had changes made. It is possible that if aircraft were not used, the space they would have occupied would have gone to boats and/or possibly increased 0.5" and 40mm antiaircraft batteries.

5.25" or 4.5" Secondary Battery– Though the 5.25" were preferred, there were availability issues with the guns. Instead, the widely available 4.5" guns seem a more likely choice for Hood. It was also a more standard round (Queen Elizabeth class, Renown, carriers, etc.). Although a typical arrangement for large ships of that time was 20 guns (ten twin barreled turrets situated on the starboard and port sides in clusters of three forward and two aft), this would not have been the case for Hood. Due to her internal arrangements, she would likely have been outfitted with just 16 guns in four turrets. The exact location of these guns would depend on the extent of modifications being carried out and available space for gun machinery and magazine stowage.

In the case of Hood, we feel that it was unlikely for guns to have been installed in typical fore and aft clusters. This is because they would have obstructed the senior officer's cabins and baths if installed in standard fashion. If installed aft, they would either have to be individually situated and staggered (like Hood's actual final 4" guns were) or located somewhere else on the ship. If this were the case, the most likely place would be in banks of four per side on the forward Shelter Deck abreast the funnels and bridge.

Extended Forecastle deck– This would only have been done if other modifications did not result in a significant reduction in displacement/increase in freeboard. If Hood sat higher in the water, there really would have been no need for the extension.

Location of shell rooms and magazines– This, Hood's "Achilles heel," would not have been fixed. The powder magazines would still have been situated dangerously over the shell rooms. Even with the addition of protection its likely she would have remained vulnerable to similarly armed warships.

 

Note - not possible to actually link to site because permission is needed for the photographs 

 

There is also another article which says that she might have been fitted with twin 5.25" secondary guns 

Quoted for readability...

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I just found another article which can be linked as follows which suggest the simple addition of 3 inches of additional horizontal plating would have prevented the loss 

 

http://www.navweaps.com/

 

And another excerpt from further documents associated with first source  as follows also seems to bear this out 

 

Director of Naval Ordnance
26.9.1919

Memorandum and Minute
With the introduction of the new A.P.C. shells capable of carrying through thick armour at long ranges and of bursting about 40 feet behind the first plate struck, it was decided to test critical points of the design of H.M.S. "HOOD" to see whether the protection was adequate against our own 15" A.P.C. shell.

A. Trials at upper belt (7") at Section 91.
Projectile. 15" A.P.C. shell, Striking velocity 1430 f.s. corresponding to a Range of 19500 yards. Angle of descent 20°.

See diagrams 1 and 2 on ensclosure.

Trial 1. Fused Shell- shell perforated and burst 40 feet behind 7" armour "in the magazine".

Trial 2. Fused Shell- Magazine roof thickened from 1" to 2". Shell perforated and burst 34 feet in rear of 7" armour. Magazine Roof plate blown to pieces.

Trial 3. - See diagram 3 on enclosure.

A weighted shell was used and the 3" ?(illegible handwriting)? representing ?(illegible handwriting)? main deck was wrecked but the shell did not penetrate and glanced off.

This the modifications to the main deck shown in diagram 1 may be considered to give fairly good protection to the magazines from shells which hit the side armour. This addition of 3" plating & of this proposed 2" ? (illegible handwriting)? plating in ?(illegible handwriting)? of the magazine were approved and fitted to H.M.S. Hood.

B. Trials at "HOOD'S" decks.

See Line B on diagram 1.

15inch APC versus High tensile plate
Projectile 15" A.P.C. weighted shell.

Angle of descent 32°.
Striking velocity 1350.

}Corresponding to 25500 yds range.

Trial 1. Shell perforated all three plates and buried itself 5 ft deep in the ground and was recovered intact.

Proposals were then made to surrender ?(illegible handwriting)? weight in "HOOD" be removing certain of the 5.5" guns and their ammunition and by removing the above water torpedo tubes etc, the weight thus saved to go in thickening the main decks as follows:-

 

There is also a further article which gives a definitive weight for a 1 meter square plate of 25mm armour of 195kg 

 

With the proposed refit changes outlined about, it would have been possible to increase the armoured decks by 15/16" without actually and still slightly reduced the overall weight of the armour plating 

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Now with a slightly more radical redesign and redistribution of the armour plating, based on the proposed refit but with some additional tweaking (this is based upon the evidence that it is possible the Bismarck's shell hit what was called the lower belt which is actually above the main belt) 

 

Proposal - reduce main belt by 25mm, reduce aft end thickness by an average of 5mm, increase lower belt thicknes to 210mm and increase the deck armour by 24.17mm this would give the same armour weight but an additional level of protection 

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The problem was cost. We had so many WW1 ships left over with a semi-constant maintenance schedule. At the outbreak of war only 4 of our BBs had been refitted for modern anti-air warfare with another 2 in dock for reconstruction.

 

The KGV class was envisioned to replace the Royal Sovereigns  but the RN had simply fallen behind. To add perspective, between the wars, America had modernised 15 Battleships and Japan had done the same for all 10 of their old Battlewagons.

 

At the outbreak of WW2 we had 5 Royal Sovereign class that had been written off, no planned refits and where to be replaced by the KGV's. 5 Queen Elisabeth class which had been expensively refitted from around 1924 and gain in 1930. 2 Battlecruisers, Repulse refitted between 1934 and 1936 and Renown between 1923 and 1926. Then there was the Hood given a refit back in 1929.

 

We went into the war with 13 WW1 era Battleships in various stages of modernisation and only 2 BBs built postwar (Nelson and Rodney). The sheer cost and maintenance required to keep these old girls going was a massive drain.

 

We only built 5 BBs (the KGV class) during the war compared to the 12 America put to sea.

 

We just didn't have the resources to properly refit the old ships we had and when war broke out the priority was keeping as many ships at sea as possible with any refits having to wait till a ship was in drydock for battle damage repair, which is why the Hood had to wait so long and ended up going against the Bismark without that planned refit.

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Hello guys,

 

This thread has been moved to the section "Historical Discussions". :cap_old:

 

Have a nice Sunday! :Smile_coin:

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For those that are interested these are a couple of images showing how Hood might have looked depending on what modernisation programme was used, personally I quite like them. 

 

First picture is if she had been given the best possible upgrades, the second is more similar to the refit HMS Renown received 

IMG_4402.GIF

IMG_4403.GIF

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