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Yagami_Crewman

British 14" Mark VII Guns

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I saw an article which claimed that the 14" Mark VII gun carried by the KGV class battleships was designed to fit the same cradle as the 13.5" Mark V guns on the battleship Iron Duke, possibly for testing purposes.

 

While an agreeable notion, is there any veracity on this? Could the Mark II turrets on Iron Duke have been fitted with the 14" Mark VII? How much work would have been required to use the Mark VII and the 1590 lb shells designed for it on the Iron Duke?

Edited by Yagami_Crewman

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There is no mention of that in either NavWeaps.com or in John Campbell's Naval Weapons of World War Two; so I cannot be of help.

 

However, I think that the question is purely academic; since we are talking about the cradle, but even if the 14-in gun would fit in the cradle, it does not automatically mean that the turret could take it. And besides, by 1939 the Iron Duke was a training ship, stripped of much of its armament and armor; it was of no use as a fighting ship, so there would have been no point in rearming her.

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There is no mention of that in either NavWeaps.com or in John Campbell's Naval Weapons of World War Two; so I cannot be of help.

 

However, I think that the question is purely academic; since we are talking about the cradle, but even if the 14-in gun would fit in the cradle, it does not automatically mean that the turret could take it. And besides, by 1939 the Iron Duke was a training ship, stripped of much of its armament and armor; it was of no use as a fighting ship, so there would have been no point in rearming her.

 

True.enough, although the suggestion was made that the use of the gun in the proven reliable mounts on the Mark II turret would be beneficial compared to the difficult and cranky mountings used by the KGV. 

 

Still, with a date in service of 1937, it IS purely academic as you say. Now if the gun had been available in say... 1933... Then there might have been a practical point.

 

As it was, the article was postulating an alternate history where HMS Tiger was not scrapped in 1931 and suggested reequipping her with the Mark VII as part of a total reconstruction ala Renown. But again... Even if the change could be made, the work would have to be before 1936 to be useful and the gun simply does not exist early enough.

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True.enough, although the suggestion was made that the use of the gun in the proven reliable mounts on the Mark II turret would be beneficial compared to the difficult and cranky mountings used by the KGV. 

 

Still, with a date in service of 1937, it IS purely academic as you say. Now if the gun had been available in say... 1933... Then there might have been a practical point.

 

As it was, the article was postulating an alternate history where HMS Tiger was not scrapped in 1931 and suggested reequipping her with the Mark VII as part of a total reconstruction ala Renown. But again... Even if the change could be made, the work would have to be before 1936 to be useful and the gun simply does not exist early enough.

 

Well, perhaps... although it would imply that only twin mounts would be used.

 

I see... well, I have my doubts about it, Also because to mount such weapons on a relatively old ship... would it be worth it? As much as armour can be upgraded, the ship's structure cannot be modified over a limit; and to do so requires quite a lot of resources that might be better spent otherwise on newer, more apt ships.

 

The Italians did a technical wonder in modernizing their old battleships, so much that only 40% of the original ship remained at its place; however, the fundamental flaws that limited the ships' performance (thin protection, underwhelming armament, weakness in underwater protection) could not be adressed, and therefore these naval engineering wonders turned out to be obstacles in other, more worthwhile efforts (like the building of the four modern Littorio-class battleships), and completely obsolete ships when compared to their British opponents (and they ended up in reserve to save precious fuel).

This hypothesis about Tiger strikes me as something similar...

Edited by Historynerd

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Well, perhaps... although it would imply that only twin mounts would be used.

 

I see... well, I have my doubts about it, Also because to mount such weapons on a relatively old ship... would it be worth it? As much as armour can be upgraded, the ship's structure cannot be modified over a limit; and to do so requires quite a lot of resources that might be better spent otherwise on newer, more apt ships.

 

The Italians did a technical wonder in modernizing their old battleships, so much that only 40% of the original ship remained at its place; however, the fundamental flaws that limited the ships' performance (thin protection, underwhelming armament, weakness in underwater protection) could not be adressed, and therefore these naval engineering wonders turned out to be obstacles in other, more worthwhile efforts (like the building of the four modern Littorio-class battleships), and completely obsolete ships when compared to their British opponents (and they ended up in reserve to save precious fuel).

This hypothesis about Tiger strikes me as something similar...

 

If Tiger replaces new construction or work on other ships (Excepting perhaps the work done on Royal Oak), then it's a bad trade. If it is in addition to such construction and work, then Tiger looks much better. Compared to HMS Renown, which of necessity took much from Tiger's design, and HIJMS Kongo, which also derives from the Lion family tree, and would; with her sisters, become the most active of Japan's Capital Ships in WW2, Tiger starts with thicker armor protection than either before their rebuilds. Renown starts with the same basic power plant as Tiger but adds three more boilers (42 vs 39) on a longer and slightly lighter hull.  Her refitted power plant was considerably lighter and less space intensive. The weight of Tiger's 8 13.5" guns in broadside is only 240lbs less than Renown's 6 15" guns but slightly more flexible. Compared to Kongo, the two broadsides are equal at the time of first construction, although Japan would begin using a larger 1485lb APC shell during WW2.

 

Tiger is clearly not a match for Bismarck or Tirpitz, but one-on-one, only a KGV or Vanguard could be considered a fair match for either of the big German battleships. Against any of the lesser German Capital ships, a rebuilt Tiger is as dangerous as Renown. 

 

In actual history, Tiger was doomed by budgets, wishful thinking, and her reputation as an unfortunate ship, to be discarded after the First London Conference. Britain kept Iron Duke as a training ship since she was a little cheaper to maintain and she was; of course, Jellicoe's ship. In a slightly different history, Tiger could have given useful service indeed. .. Perhaps leading a cruiser detachment down near the Falklands or Montevideo. Perhaps as a carrier escort as Kongo and Renown would perform in their later careers. The exact particulars of a reconstruction belong to some other thread for discussion. The exact particulars for imagining an environment where it would happen are perhaps left to a full on Alternate History board.

 

But back to the initial point, is that IF the 14" Mark VII COULD have placed in Tiger's existing turrets, as the article claimed, then Tiger becomes an even more attractive notion. Again providing that the work does not interfere with new construction or refitting Britain's other Capital Ships..

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If Tiger replaces new construction or work on other ships (Excepting perhaps the work done on Royal Oak), then it's a bad trade. If it is in addition to such construction and work, then Tiger looks much better. Compared to HMS Renown, which of necessity took much from Tiger's design, and HIJMS Kongo, which also derives from the Lion family tree, and would; with her sisters, become the most active of Japan's Capital Ships in WW2, Tiger starts with thicker armor protection than either before their rebuilds. Renown starts with the same basic power plant as Tiger but adds three more boilers (42 vs 39) on a longer and slightly lighter hull.  Her refitted power plant was considerably lighter and less space intensive. The weight of Tiger's 8 13.5" guns in broadside is only 240lbs less than Renown's 6 15" guns but slightly more flexible. Compared to Kongo, the two broadsides are equal at the time of first construction, although Japan would begin using a larger 1485lb APC shell during WW2.

 

Tiger is clearly not a match for Bismarck or Tirpitz, but one-on-one, only a KGV or Vanguard could be considered a fair match for either of the big German battleships. Against any of the lesser German Capital ships, a rebuilt Tiger is as dangerous as Renown. 

 

In actual history, Tiger was doomed by budgets, wishful thinking, and her reputation as an unfortunate ship, to be discarded after the First London Conference. Britain kept Iron Duke as a training ship since she was a little cheaper to maintain and she was; of course, Jellicoe's ship. In a slightly different history, Tiger could have given useful service indeed. .. Perhaps leading a cruiser detachment down near the Falklands or Montevideo. Perhaps as a carrier escort as Kongo and Renown would perform in their later careers. The exact particulars of a reconstruction belong to some other thread for discussion. The exact particulars for imagining an environment where it would happen are perhaps left to a full on Alternate History board.

 

But back to the initial point, is that IF the 14" Mark VII COULD have placed in Tiger's existing turrets, as the article claimed, then Tiger becomes an even more attractive notion. Again providing that the work does not interfere with new construction or refitting Britain's other Capital Ships..

 

The Italian construction also did not replace new construction; but being rebuilt alongside them, they did slow them down quite a bit because of bottlenecks, especially concerning armor plates. I know that the British industry was in much better shape than the Italian one, but this is a critical sector and I don't believe that there were lots of companies with the know-how; it might have been possible that a slight delay might have been caused, as you yourself consider in the last paragraph.

 

HMS Renown ended up having to pass from refit to refit to turn out in the end as a good enough capital ship; the Kongo by 1941 was mostly used as a fast carrier escort. And I wouldn't say that it was up to the challenge against the new American battleships (since those were the ones used by the enemy, who kept its older ones in the back).

 

Well, the Tiger would have been able to face the Scharnhorst or the Gneisenau, I guess; however, being there only two ships of the class, and the Royal Navy having some battlecruisers powerful enough to counter them, and new fast battleship that outmatched them, I wouldn't say that there was special need for her to counter them.

 

It's a side point, but I doubt that she would have been detached in the South Americas or anything like that. Perhaps not as much as in WWI, but the tendency remained to concentrate in few bases, and especially those of the homeland, the capital ships, leaving trade protection to cruisers; only in particular conditions (as it happened with Graf Spee, counting however that there were her sister ships to take care of) could they be detached.

Simply because the temptation of the high-caliber guns was too great for people to accept easily that such a powerful ship could be permanently detached.

 

Well, perhaps. I still have my doubts, especially because I am skeptical that such a rebuild might be achieved without slowing down other capital ship construction. If that can happen... well, I guess then, why not? However, I am wary of the notion of sticking so much to decidedly old ships; perhaps too much, but...

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Of course when old ships is pretty much what you have.. 

 

But when you can have much better, in the shape of a well-balanced design that is recent, and therefore can count on the latest information about requirements to be met and threats that can be likely met... why bother with an old design which you have to patch over, and will be likely inferior?

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But when you can have much better, in the shape of a well-balanced design that is recent, and therefore can count on the latest information about requirements to be met and threats that can be likely met... why bother with an old design which you have to patch over, and will be likely inferior?

 

I DID say that Tiger was a good deal IF you could get the work done without delaying construction of the KGVs. Compared to the 15 old Capital Ships that actually DID serve, Tiger would have been superior to the Rs. equal to Renown and Repulse, faster than the QEs and Nelrods. New ships are great but they have to BE THERE to be any use. 

 

The point is to see what COULD have been done to get the most out of a well built old ship while we are waiting for those wonderful new ships. 

Edited by Yagami_Crewman

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I DID say that Tiger was a good deal IF you could get the work done without delaying construction of the KGVs. Compared to the 15 old Capital Ships that actually DID serve, Tiger would have been superior to the Rs. equal to Renown and Repulse, faster than the QEs and Nelrods. New ships are great but they have to BE THERE to be any use. 

 

The point is to see what COULD have been done to get the most out of a well built old ship while we are waiting for those wonderful new ships. 

 

I guess that in that case it would be a good idea. I'm sorry if it seemed like I was repeating myself over and over; I guess I was looking too hard at the example I was pointing to.
Edited by Historynerd

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