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gun and turret distribution...any optimal arrangement?

 
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bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:03 am    Post subject: gun and turret distribution...any optimal arrangement? Reply with quote

An interesting subject, I think. Just within the time frame of this site, through 1920, there were several layouts tried, in terms both of placement of turrets and number of guns per turret.

For instance, we have the wing turrets for a few years; then the superfiring turret. The Italians introduced the triple turret with "Dante Alighieri," their first dreadnought, and the French went into quadruples with their "Normandie" class; although these were cancelled with the war the French took it up again afterward.

And then there are the pros and cons of midship turrets. Between the wars you have the all-to-the-front set up. Any ideas on the best arrangement of guns and turrets?
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Harley



Joined: 23 Oct 2005
Posts: 131
Location: Great Britain

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know whether any aerodynamics come into it, but if the G3 Battle cruisers and the N3 Battleships had been built they'd have wiped the floor with everything on the seas, Only air power, multiple submarines and Yamatos would have been able to sink them. The two superimposed triple turrets forward of the citadel with a another behind it and in front of the engineering spaces would have been ideal. But we'll never know, as no big ships were built in that configuration.

Harley
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tone
Site Admin


Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 478
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think far too much attention is paid to such issues of "optimal armor schemes". The incidence rates of major systems being rendered ineffective by hits that do not defeat their armor are very high (hits to directors and sensors, those that deform roller paths or throw an armor plate back to impede turret motion, or those destroying critical ancillary support systems that do not enjoy the same armor protection as the systems they serve).

I'd go with the superimposed forward and aft for the Feng-Shui benefits: the crew will be happy that they have a beautiful ship, and they won't always be having to get into pub brawls sticking up for a plug-ugly ship with the rallying cry "careful analysis reveals this tub has the optimal protection!"

tone
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bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the turret layout of the G3s and N3s, and had they been built they certainly would have been dominators. Ironic, given our being so accustomed to the "special relationship," that the competitor against whom these were conceived was the United States (there was Japan but interests were less likely to collide).

Although I see the disadvantages of the all-in-front setup Britain and France both used in the wake of the Washington Treaty (all your eggs in one basket), I do like the idea of those French dual-quad, chasing down the enemy with all guns firing forward, such as pounding a German pocket battleship to destruction. Beautiful ships.
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Jefgte



Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Posts: 65
Location: France

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For WWI,
the classic AB-XY with 2 guns / turret
idem to QE class or Derfflinger class

For WWII
Arangement choose by many countries
AB-Y with 3 guns / turret
Scharnhorst
Littorio
Yamato
all new USN BB


Jef
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bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Judging from the responses so far there seems to be agreement that all-centerline fore and aft, utilizing super-imposed turrets, is ideal, and that wing-turrets and midship-turrets should be avoided.

Interestingly, the "Dreadnought" design committee didn't adopt the super-firing turret idea and stuck with wing-turrets. Although the U.S. Navy was going ahead with them, the "Dreadnought" committee went with what they knew. There was a negative precedent in the U.S. with the pre-dread.
"Virginia"s; maybe wise not to gamble on this important undertaking.

A unique approach to the turret-placement question is "H.M.S. Agincourt,"
otherwise known as "Sultan Osman I" or "Rio de Janeiro." Just scatter turrets all over the ship! Going back to the ship's origins, one has to accept that Brazil saw a genuine menace from Argentina to need this battlewagon. But then I suppose part of the motivation was( and Argentina was buying their own dreadnoughts here in the U.S.) simply status: who is number one in South America.

The great Tennyson d'Eyncourt, Armstrong's chief naval architect, literally
sweated over this design. Many said it was a folly; a full broadside fired would break the ship's back. They of little faith! (although the twelves were originally going to be fourteens). Alas, Brazil couldn't afford to keep it.

Interesting to imagine this behemoth steaming into the Rio de la Plata to
shell Buenos Aires. Interesting or just strange.

bargami
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rubberboot



Joined: 06 Nov 2005
Posts: 32
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The U.S. did a firing exercise using an old battleship/pre-dreadnought with a monitor or another turreted ship's turret underneath to examine the blast effects of super-imposed turrets. They had the data to support using a centreline arrangement for the weapons. With Dreadnought, they had already deviated from the tried and tested designs of the era, like turbine engines, 1 calibre main armament, etc.

As with Agincourt, don't forget that the U.S had a pair of battleships with 6 twin 12in. turrets, USS Arkansas and USS Wyoming. I wonder how these ships would have compared with each other, with regards to protection, handling, etc. From my understanding, American ships tended to be better protected.

Hopefully, there was more to their exsistance than bragging rights.

Glenn
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bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting .re "Arkansas" and "Wyoming." Had we come to blows with Brazil (unlikely, as I understand in those days Brazil was one of the few South American states well-disposed towards us) I would give the edge to the U.S. dreadnoughts versus "Rio de Janeiro." Tennyson d'Eyncourt fitted one additional turret on the ship, compared to the vessels you mention, while the displacement is similar. One way this is achieved is a heavily-armed dreadnought possessing relatively light armor.

In exploring around about this I noticed one other strange fact. The Argentine dreadnought with which "Rio would compete, "Rivadavia," was
built by New York Shipbuilding around the same time they built "Arkansas;" but here they used wing turrets!

bargami
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McTodd



Joined: 07 Apr 2008
Posts: 3
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bargami wrote:
Interestingly, the "Dreadnought" design committee didn't adopt the super-firing turret idea and stuck with wing-turrets. Although the U.S. Navy was going ahead with them, the "Dreadnought" committee went with what they knew.

And quite right too. The Dreadnought was also being built for high speed and therefore needed a high freeboard forward. To have had superimposed turrets forward on a high freeboard would have been impossible without making the ship even larger. The South Carolinas were only designed for pre-dreadnought speed, and could afford to be lower at the bow, part of the price for being so small as well.

bargami wrote:
A unique approach to the turret-placement question is "H.M.S. Agincourt," otherwise known as "Sultan Osman I" or "Rio de Janeiro."... Many said it was a folly; a full broadside fired would break the ship's back. They of little faith! (although the twelves were originally going to be fourteens).

Fourteen-inchers were indeed considered, but not in the number and arrangement of the final vessel. Literally dozens of draft designs were drawn up, including monsters with sixteen-inch guns, as well as fourteen-inch and twelve-inch. Of the sixteen-inch designs...

The 16" designs proposed to Brazil were dead in the water almost as soon as the drawings were made. Why? Because there were two factions in the Brazilian admiralty squabbling over what type of ship was wanted: one (headed by Admiral Leao) favoured 12" guns, to match those of their existing dreadnoughts, and the other (headed by Admirals Alencar, then Minister of Marine, and Bacellar) favoured the most powerful battleship possible (i.e. the 16" gun designs). However, even as D'Eyncourt, then Armstrong's chief designer and in charge of the Brazilian negotiations, sailed to Rio in March 1911 (accompanied by dozens of big ships' plans and five models), he had been informed that the big ship faction had lost, Alencar was out of office and Admiral Leao was the new Minister. Thereafter, the Brazilians were only ever going to consider 12" gun designs. It is thought that D'Eyncourt didn't even bother to show the Brazilians the 16" designs.

A bunch of us discussed the origins of Agincourt on WarshipProjects:

http://www.phpbbplanet.com/warshipprojects/viewtopic.php?t=1544
http://www.phpbbplanet.com/warshipprojects/viewtopic.php?t=551

I'm the one posting as 'Roger'.
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bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

McTodd, that is fascinating information re. "Dreadnought" and "Rio de Janeiro." Looks like the use of wing turrets on "Dreadnought" was about more than the comfort of the familiar; they were a necessary component of the overall plan. The Admiralty certainly wouldn't want to make it any bigger, as economy was also part of the scheme.

Regarding "Rio de Janeiro" I was not aware of the design involving sixteens. But I guess that fits Admiral de Alencar's ideas. I understand that Admiral Leao was gotten at by Krupps and "talked down" to the twelve-inch gun, hoping to supplant Armstrongs, and citing the advantages you mention. I wonder whether, at this point in 1910-11 the Krupp twelve, the staple main armament they supplied to the Imperial Navy, was still the largest gun they were set up to manufacture, i.e. "what you have in stock to sell is the best." Or maybe it wouldn't have been politic to make and sell a larger gun to a foreign power. Speculations.

As you relate Tennyson' d'Eyncourt prevailed in the end with his sheaf of
designs options. Sounds like you have an some interesting discussions going!

bargami
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McTodd



Joined: 07 Apr 2008
Posts: 3
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty well all the information I have is from a magnificent article by David Topliss, 'The Brazilian Dreadnoughts 1904-1914', in Warship International, No.3, 1988. It's a big piece, running from page 240 to 289, and cannot be recommended too highly (if you are interested in the Brazilian dreadnoughts, that is!).

Topliss scotches various myths, however, he does reinforce the story about the Kaiser's involvement. It seems that Admiral Leao had spent 1910 touring European shipyards, and...
Quote:
had visited Armstrongs, Vickers, Krupp and Blohm & Voss. Whilst in Germany, it is said that Admiral Leao was entertained to the wit and wisdom of Kaiser Wilhelm II himself, who poured scorn upon the idea that guns as large as 14 in were necessary. The Imperial German Navy's ships mounted nothing larger than 12 in and, in addition, fitting a larger calibre to the new ship would make it difficult for the Brazilian ships [the new vessel plus Minas Geraes and Sao Paulo] together as a unit. Admiral Leao was convinced by sich arguments and had hardly taken office when he anounced that it was his belief that the new battleships should 'not be built on exaggerated lines such as have not yet stood the test of experience'...

BTW, I got my copy of Warship International via www.bookfinder.com for a very reasonable price, as I recall.

The article contains dozens of reproductions of original Armstrong plans for most of the designs, and a fascinating bunch they are too, with almost every conceivable disposition of main armament to be seen.

A much condensed version of the story, with several drawings, can be found in the excellent book WARSHIPS FOR EXPORT: Armstrong Warships 1867-1927 by Peter Brook.
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bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the recommendations! The details behind these contracts is fascinating, but finding them can take some doing. I often have reference to British Diplomatic Documents, which fortunately my nearby university library possesses. These are invaluable for those small details which may not have made their way into a reference book or history. I used these when I was learning about the competition for the Baltic dreadnoughts contract, and the influence of the French in stopping Blohm and Voss.

Regarding the kaiser, this is so similar to his actions in Greece with the "Salamis" contract, where he used personal diplomacy to help swing the order towards AG Vulcan. And how different this German approach was to the government attitude in Britain. If Edward VII had wished to use his considerable diplomatic skills on behalf of British firms I imagine he would have been respectfully warned off.

An interesting thing about Krupps, surely the prestige German armaments firm and first-tier worldwide. They had their own Germania shipyard with which to compete for these orders and yet, in terms of contracts for complete battleships/cruisers, they were not successful. Smaller-vessel deals, yes, but never the big ones.

bargami
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