Sunday, 15 January 2012

Another What if ... ?

One comment made about my previous 'What if ... ?' blog entry concerned the 'Nesonized' version of the USS South Dakota. The writer suggested that I had left too much room between the turrets, and that this had left the design looking somewhat unbalanced.

There were very good reasons why I chose to space the turrets they way that I had (mainly to do with shell dispersal being affected by salvo fire when adjoining gun turrets fired at the same time), but on reflection I wanted to see if the design did look better if the turrets were spaced closer together. The write was correct; the design did look better.

It now looks less like a modern tanker with gun turrets and more like a battleship.

I then decided to apply the design parameters I had used on USS South Dakota to the Scharnhorst ... and the results were quite interesting.

The 'Nelsonized' Scharnhorst is the least aesthetically pleasing of the resultant designs, but the two-turrets forward version bears some resemblance to the Strasbourg and Dunkerque. The one turret fore-and-aft version of the design is somewhat similar to the proposed design for the follow-up panzerschiffe that were to be built as part of Plan Z.


  1. Bob,
    One thing has always puzzled me about the three-turrets-forward designs. They're perfectly adequate for line-of-battle broadsides, and they're probably great if you're the pursuer... but what if you're the pursued?
    I like the old six-turret 1-2-2-1 configuration -- never less than three and usually four turrets able to bear in any direction.
    Hmmmm. How about six KGV quad turrets on a Montana-sized hull...?

  2. The Ferrymen (John),

    The reason behind the concentration of all the main gun turrets forward was to ensure that the thickest armour belt could be provided over the most vulnerable part of the ship (i.e. the magazines).

    As you say, great for broadside actions and pursuits, but not if you are being chased. It is interesting to note that it was only the RN and France that actually built ships like that ... the RN because they never expected to be chased (very un-British!) and the French because they expected to do the chasing ... of the Italians!

    The problems with having lots of turrets are:
    a) The need to spread the armour belt over too big an area of the ship
    b) Dispersion of fire
    c) Spotting 'fall of shot' from different turrets
    d) Flexing of the hull when broadside salvoes were fired (it is said that HMS Agincourt fired a 14-gun broadside at Jutland and onlookers thought that she had blown up whilst those aboard had to deal with flying rivets that broke off as the hull flexed).

    A 24-gun carrying battleship the size of USS Montana ... that would be a beast ... and might just give the Japanese super-battleships a run for their money!

    All the best,


  3. I find the one fore, one aft design look more like modern missile ships - a little wimpy looking. In contrast, I have always liked the look single turret monitors. Ugly, ungainly and unbalanced but interesting.

  4. Pat G,

    I tend to agree with you. When the superstructure became larger than the gun turrets, modern warships began to lose their inherent menace. The monitor is the epitome of menace because it appears to be all turret and little else!

    All the best,