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Author Topic: HMS Vanguard  (Read 2959 times)

Colin Bishop

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Re: HMS Vanguard
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2017, 10:26:53 PM »

Interesting data there. It just shows what complex mechanisms these big guns and their mountings were and how impressive the achievement in designing and building the 15 inch gun mountings for the WW1 era ships was.

Colin
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Geoff

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Re: HMS Vanguard
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2017, 01:40:47 PM »

As an add on to this the British hydraulic twin mounting reached perfection before Dreadnought and virtually all other mountings were linear developments up to and including the QE 15" turrets. I believe they were very reliable.


Once treaty limitations came in at 35,000 tons then it became increasingly difficult to provide both the heavy armour and a sufficient number of guns on the displacement so triple turret and quadruple turret designs became the norm. However these turrets became enormously complex and there were operational difficulties in terms of salvo firing.


The British 14" gun fired a 1,400 lb shell and out ranged the older 15" mountings principally because of greater elevation so the angle of decent was greater which meant deck armour was more vulnerable.


In my opinion the KGV class were both the best and worst battleships we produced.


On the plus side:
They were adequately fast at 28 knots - high speed is a very fragile thing!
They were extremely well armoured against 16" shells - thick side armour 15" abreast magazines and 14" against machinery spaces with a 6" and 5" armoured deck respectively.
Good range with the 14" gun which whilst on the small size was adequate - but who were they designed to fight?
The 14" gun was in itself a good weapon but let down by the mounting.


On the down side:
In the design phase they reduced the number of quadruple turrets from three to two. This destroyed the original design balance. If you have an 8 gun ship vs a 12 gun ship with equal fire control then the 12 gun ship will secure 50% more hits all things being equal.
The quadruple turrets were never reliable - too many interlocks and safety provisions so they were always subject to breakdown which significantly reduced their rate of fire - this was the main problem. With Duke of York v Scharnhorst, DOY was able to penetrate her armour and damaged her boilers so she could not escape and was pounded to pieces - eventually the torpedoes finished the job but not before the 14" gun smashed her, but and a big but, the actual number of shells fired was only about 50% of the theoretical number which could have been fired.


Cheers


Geoff
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dodes

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Re: HMS Vanguard
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2017, 09:05:42 PM »

Not the story I read, the upper works of Scharnhorst were virtually blown away, but the armour belt stopped the shells at 10000 yds, that is why the destroyers went in on a torpedo run and were successful, the resultant list of about 15 degrees enable DOY to pump shells into her innards. But at the end of the day with the demise of Tirpitz, they full filled their purpose, shore bombardment and close AA support to carriers. Just been reading my book Colin on Nelson to Vanguard , an interesting bit for you, was a section about Valiant and Warspite where the old WW1 6" guns were replaced with twin 4.5", it was mention there was concern at the time that they would be insuffient against Destroyers . The 15" guns were vastly improved at the beginning of the war when Valiant and Warspite had the elevation of their turrets increased to 30 degrees which gave them a huge extra punch massive range increase over previous 15" mountings. One of the reasons why Vanguard was built and equipped with those modified mountings. The Lion class were cancelled by the cabinet because of their massive size and cost.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: HMS Vanguard
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2017, 09:18:27 PM »

Yes, I have Brown's book too. However the accounts of the Scharnhorst sinking I have read suggest that DoY put a shell into her no 1 boiler room which slowed her down and sealed her fate.


Colin
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ballastanksian

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Re: HMS Vanguard
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2017, 09:32:51 PM »

I had heard anecdotes about the turret interlocks etc being a major cause of failure. It goes to show that revolutionary design can be a huge issue as was found with HMS Invincible's electrically operated 12 inch turrets, which caused no end of problems and were eventually converted to Hydraulic power at great cost.

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Geoff

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Re: HMS Vanguard
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2017, 08:37:22 AM »

We should reflect that the fight between DOY and Scharnhorst was at night in a storm and used radar directed gunfire. DOY had the best radar outfit in the fleet at that time.

In that weather destroyers can't keep up with big ships so DOY gunnery smashed Scharnhorst and slowed her down (boiler room hit) so the destroyers could close and put torpedoes into her which actually sank her but it was DOY 14" guns which smashed her and decided the issue.

Scharnhorst was a very well protected ship, little inferior to Bismark if you compare the figures and she fought gallantly to the end but like most ships of the day was vulnerable to long range diving hits. It was one of these from DOY that destroyed  a boiler room, reducing speed so DOY could get more hits and destroy her fighting ability.

The 15" gun was a superb weapon and the increased elevation gave a good increase in range but they were still outranged by other axis 15" battleships but its very hard to hit a target at 30,000 yards and sometimes the extra range wasn't worth the complexity.

The Italians has trouble with their 15" battleships due to dispersion issues - quality control on the shells and propellant and that the barrels were too close together so the fight of the shells interfered with each other. Richelieu has similar issues. The problem wasn't really understood at the time as it was erratic and was only  solved post was with the introduction of delay in firing the main guns by a fraction of a second. In general I think the twin mounting was much more favoured for its reliability and ruggedness.
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dodes

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Re: HMS Vanguard
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2017, 08:50:46 PM »

I do not want to go back to the Scharnhorst etc as that is now all history and now armchair discussions. But getting back to the original thread, the Vanguard is considered by most experts to probably being one of the best BB built, in hitting power and battle worthiness plus excellent sea keeping abilities. But as I mention earlier, like all historical vessels etc it will always be a centre argument between people, because they are all gone and so are the men who really knew and those are the ones that fought them. By the way Warspite made a direct hit at 16 miles on an Italin BB which scared off the opposing Admiral and made Cunningham reply when asked what else he needed  which was give me more super 15" BB's.
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ballastanksian

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Re: HMS Vanguard
« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2017, 10:32:37 PM »

Vanguard was the crystalisation of wartime technologies in so many fields from radar to turbines, coupled with what intially seem to be out dated turrets and guns. But again as mentioned previously, the turret and guns were well tried, logically designed and effective.

I don't find her as attractive as the tubby Dreadnoughts and Victorian warships, but she does have class like the Hood as again mentioned before.

This is an interesting topic  :-)
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Colin Bishop

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Re: HMS Vanguard
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2017, 11:04:09 PM »

All warships, and especially battleships have to be compromises. With battleships it was the balance between guns, armour and speed and I think Vanguard scored well in that respect.


Colin
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