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dseehafer

1939 Battleship Nassau

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Greetings all,

 

   My modernization of the Goeben in a previous thread proved quite popular so I thought I'd do another ship. For whatever reason, Nassau was calling my name. Anyways, without further ado, here she is...

 

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waterline

 

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Original

 

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I struggled with this one. I decided to go ahead and give her an Atlantic bow, but I decided not to rebuild the stern. Schlesien and S-H had a similar stern and I basically decided to follow their example. I plated over the 88mm casemates and called it good. I had considered reconstructing the stern in two ways. First by simply getting rid of the gap where the casemates were and making it one big piece, no "step down". Second by embracing the step down and extending it further back into the hull until just before the aft turret. This would have mimicked how the Deutschland's and Littorio's sterns looked. I could have even added torpedo tubes there. In the end, I decided against option two as I felt it was a little too ambitious for a simple modernization. I didn't want to get into the Italian rebuild territory. I made the forward funnel larger and used the extra space left over from the demolition of the rear funnel to put a catapult in this area. A Hipper-esque hangar could have also gone here, but I decided to stay simple with just a catapult. You may notice that the armor belt is no longer visible on the outside of the hull. This is because I widened the hull in the same manner as Karlsruhe's rebuild. The armor belt is now on the interior. This offers several benefits, it acts as extra torpedo protection, it increases stability, and it puts more distance between the 15cm casemates and the water, making them less wet.

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Nice one!

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+1 from me :)

You know there is an old fashioned board game simulation published by Avalanche Press that might interest you.  It's called the "2nd Great War at Sea" which assumes an early end to WW I in essentially a draw in 1916 and the rekindling of conflict in the late 1930's.  Imperial Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire survive.  One of the interesting facets of the game is that the German High Seas Fleet survives WW I and is still largely in service by the time WW II roles around.  You might find some interesting data skimming over their site.

Fascinating subject though, thanks for putting in the effort to create this.  :Smile_honoring:

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One thing that does come to mind, which would be a problem especially for the Nassau's, is an effective anti-aircraft battery.  The Nassau's are especially cramped with little room between the wing turrets to place the ships AA guns where they might traditionally have gone.   I would probably start by using the space you've created by trunking the funnels for the heavier AA guns, then spreading a lot of lighter guns where the 88's you've removed would have been originally.  Maybe a lot of 20 mm batteries on the turret roofs, maybe even a few raised platforms aka South Carolina and Wyoming to get additional AA guns up above the wing main batteries and create some better fields of fire.  

Personally, if you're moving the Nassau into the future, I'd probably consider this to be a higher priority for her than a spotter aircraft. 

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59 minutes ago, BB3_Oregon_Steel said:

One thing that does come to mind, which would be a problem especially for the Nassau's, is an effective anti-aircraft battery.  The Nassau's are especially cramped with little room between the wing turrets to place the ships AA guns where they might traditionally have gone.   I would probably start by using the space you've created by trunking the funnels for the heavier AA guns, then spreading a lot of lighter guns where the 88's you've removed would have been originally.  Maybe a lot of 20 mm batteries on the turret roofs, maybe even a few raised platforms aka South Carolina and Wyoming to get additional AA guns up above the wing main batteries and create some better fields of fire.  

Personally, if you're moving the Nassau into the future, I'd probably consider this to be a higher priority for her than a spotter aircraft. 

 

I replaced her single 88mm turrets with a dual 88 or 105 turret on either side of the rear superstructure (though, I probably made it too small). The Germans did not put AA guns on turret roofs until 1942, this drawing is set in 1939. AA isn't as important at this point. A spotter plane is critical for any German capital ship during WWII as it greatly assists in commerce raiding. It is unlikely they would give up that catapult for extra AA, especially not in 1939. Because I removed the cranes between the wing turrets, there is space there for another twin DP turret, though, I did not think to put one in at the time.

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1 hour ago, dseehafer said:

 

I replaced her single 88mm turrets with a dual 88 or 105 turret on either side of the rear superstructure (though, I probably made it too small). The Germans did not put AA guns on turret roofs until 1942, this drawing is set in 1939. AA isn't as important at this point. A spotter plane is critical for any German capital ship during WWII as it greatly assists in commerce raiding. It is unlikely they would give up that catapult for extra AA, especially not in 1939. Because I removed the cranes between the wing turrets, there is space there for another twin DP turret, though, I did not think to put one in at the time.

 

That makes a certain amount of sense, however at less that 20 knots top speed the Nassau isn't going to be doing much in the way of commerce raiding.   I also think you need to make a bit of allowance for the design.  For example, the German's didn't put light AA guns on the turret tops because all of their ships were new and they could design in an adequate AA battery and make room for it.  That's not the case with Nassau.  

 

Nassau was originally intended to have only two wing turrets, rather than the four she ended up with so the designers had to squeeze the two additional turrets into a ship that wasn't really designed for them.  As such, there really is no room to mount an adequate AA battery on the Nassau, even by 1939 standards, unless you get a bit inventive with how you do so.  Even if you could squeeze a dp gun between the two wing turrets, the space is so small that those guns would have very limited firing arcs which would make them of limited use.  In addition, AA guns in those locations would be highly susceptible to blast damage from the wing turrets, especially if both the main battery turrets were firing at the same time. 

 

So, with only a limited amount of space available you have to start looking for places to mount an adequate AA battery with the space you have which may have forced the designers to consider solutions they may not have with a new construction vessel.  There do seem to be a couple of things you might do. 

 

1) Insert a raised deck between the wing turrets on each beam, sort of an extension of the deck where you have the seaplane mounted and mount something of an AA battery there.  By raising this level up you give the guns a much better field of fire and also partially protect them from the blast of the main battery.  

 

2) Make better use of the areas of the superstructure where the old 88 mm's were located, similar to the way you did with the one towards the aft of the vessel.  

 

3) When done, review the capabilities of the upgraded AA batteries and compare them to those carried by historical battleships of the dreadnought generation and see how it stacks up against that of the upgraded Nassau.  If, after your evaluation, you find that the Nassau's AA battery is still deficient, you'll be faced with the same problems a real life designer would have faced and put yourself in their shoes in how you can use the remaining space available to your best advantage.  Just remember, even in her prime, Nassau wasn't going to be doing any commerce raiding, she just isn't fast enough.  A float plane might be useful for spotting her gunfire  but it's also your best bet in finding space to expand your AA battery.  

 

Thanks for giving your reasoning though, it was much appreciated. 

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20 minutes ago, BB3_Oregon_Steel said:

 

That makes a certain amount of sense, however at less that 20 knots top speed the Nassau isn't going to be doing much in the way of commerce raiding.   I also think you need to make a bit of allowance for the design.  For example, the German's didn't put light AA guns on the turret tops because all of their ships were new and they could design in an adequate AA battery and make room for it.  That's not the case with Nassau.  

 

Nassau was originally intended to have only two wing turrets, rather than the four she ended up with so the designers had to squeeze the two additional turrets into a ship that wasn't really designed for them.  As such, there really is no room to mount an adequate AA battery on the Nassau, even by 1939 standards, unless you get a bit inventive with how you do so.  Even if you could squeeze a dp gun between the two wing turrets, the space is so small that those guns would have very limited firing arcs which would make them of limited use.  In addition, AA guns in those locations would be highly susceptible to blast damage from the wing turrets, especially if both the main battery turrets were firing at the same time. 

 

So, with only a limited amount of space available you have to start looking for places to mount an adequate AA battery with the space you have which may have forced the designers to consider solutions they may not have with a new construction vessel.  There do seem to be a couple of things you might do. 

 

1) Insert a raised deck between the wing turrets on each beam, sort of an extension of the deck where you have the seaplane mounted and mount something of an AA battery there.  By raising this level up you give the guns a much better field of fire and also partially protect them from the blast of the main battery.  

 

2) Make better use of the areas of the superstructure where the old 88 mm's were located, similar to the way you did with the one towards the aft of the vessel.  

 

3) When done, review the capabilities of the upgraded AA batteries and compare them to those carried by historical battleships of the dreadnought generation and see how it stacks up against that of the upgraded Nassau.  If, after your evaluation, you find that the Nassau's AA battery is still deficient, you'll be faced with the same problems a real life designer would have faced and put yourself in their shoes in how you can use the remaining space available to your best advantage.  Just remember, even in her prime, Nassau wasn't going to be doing any commerce raiding, she just isn't fast enough.  A float plane might be useful for spotting her gunfire  but it's also your best bet in finding space to expand your AA battery.  

 

Thanks for giving your reasoning though, it was much appreciated. 

 

A 20 knot top speed is not going to interfere with her commerce raiding when most cargo ships only do about 10kn or so. Look at Germany's Auxilliary cruisers, few of them had a top speed greater than 20kn and they were superbly successful in the commerce raiding role. Further, between wars she would have certainly undergone a propulsion overhaul to allow her to burn oil instead of coal. So her top speed may well have grown above 20kn.

 

S-H and Schlesien went to war with 6x1 105mm guns and 4x1 20mm guns for an AA battery, they did eventually receive AA mounts on their turrets, but not until later in the war. I am not going to do something that I have no evidence of the Germans doing in 1939. I want these to be as realistic as possible. Your suggestion about the raised section between the wing turrets is also what I had in mind. I added such a section to my Goeben modernization taking inspiration from the platforms on the Deutschland class.

 

unknown.png

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Went back and added a 10.5cm turret platform between the wing turrets. The scale might be wonky (I'm now thinking the aircraft is too big) but I'll deal with that later. This was just a quick edit before work.

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27 minutes ago, dseehafer said:

 

A 20 knot top speed is not going to interfere with her commerce raiding when most cargo ships only do about 10kn or so. Look at Germany's Auxilliary cruisers, few of them had a top speed greater than 20kn and they were superbly successful in the commerce raiding role. Further, between wars she would have certainly undergone a propulsion overhaul to allow her to burn oil instead of coal. So her top speed may well have grown above 20kn.

 

S-H and Schlesien went to war with 6x1 105mm guns and 4x1 20mm guns for an AA battery, they did eventually receive AA mounts on their turrets, but not until later in the war. I am not going to do something that I have no evidence of the Germans doing in 1939. I want these to be as realistic as possible. Your suggestion about the raised section between the wing turrets is also what I had in mind. I added such a section to my Goeben modernization taking inspiration from the platforms on the Deutschland class.

 

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Well there is a difference between auxiliary raiders and a Battleship.  Raiders were essentially merchant ships armed with surplus guns.  They didn't survive because of their firepower or speed, they survived by not looking like a warship and pretending to be something else when other warships were around.  They would use their innocuous disguise to approach unsuspecting merchants and then uncover their hidden guns and demand the merchant ship surrender so even if their prey was faster than them, they'd still have a good chance of making the capture.

If they were every caught of found out by a real warship, the end was almost always the easy destruction of the raider. 

Battleships, on the other hand, have a lot of trouble trying to pretend to be anything other than a battleship. 

If you look at actual warships which were engaged in raiding they have one thing in common, they're fast.  This is because they can't hide so if they run into real opposition they can't handle, their only options are to run away faster than the enemy can chase them or die.  

No one is going to use a ship like the Nassau to raid commerce.  In the first place the juiciest targets in 1939 can run away from her or make her give chase of an extended period of time.  Second, because of her slow speed she can't cover the same volume of ocean so it's harder for her to find suitable targets.  Three, and most importantly, pretty much any enemy squadron can run her down and bring her to action, that is provided she is able to break out into the open ocean to begin with.  If the Bismark and the Prinz Eugen, both with top speeds of over 30 knots couldn't do it, the odds are heavily stacked against a Battleship with an arthritic top speed of less than 20 knots of being to do so.   

I think what you might be doing is overlaying the German WW II surface unit strategy of commerce raiding onto Nassau.  The problem here is the real Germans of 1939 had the ships with the capabilities to accomplish that mission, Nassau doesn't.   

Still this is all an interesting fantasy what if  scenario so if you imagine Nassau as a Raider you have every right to do so :Smile_honoring: 

 

Edited by BB3_Oregon_Steel

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You do realize that the SK 31 and 32 8.8 cm twin mounts didn't become available until 1933 and 1934 respectively.  A little late in rebuilding WW 1 ships.

That aside, the biggest obstacle to rebuilding most WW 1 German ships is going from coal to oil firing.  Coal was known to have some use as torpedo and shell protection as it took up volume in the former and in both cases required a significant amount of energy in penetrating.  Switching to oil would require removing the coaling scuttles on the deck to the coal bins, then rebuilding the bins or other spaces so they were liquid tight.  Coal bins required hatches that the crew could use to enter the space and shovel out the contents, oil only requires piping.

Everybody else pretty much just scrapped their coal burners, except for the very latest ones in some cases, because of the difficulty and cost of switching the ship to oil firing.  This required not just new storage compartments and piping, but at a minimum new oil fired boilers.  Installing the later meant cutting the decks above the machinery spaces open to remove the old ones and install the new ones.

 

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6 hours ago, Murotsu said:

You do realize that the SK 31 and 32 8.8 cm twin mounts didn't become available until 1933 and 1934 respectively.  A little late in rebuilding WW 1 ships.

 

 

 

Of course I realize that. As I have said several times already, this is Nassau in 1939. Not immediately after her modernization. Deutschland was completed with 88 singles but had them replaced by 39. I assumed the same for Nassau.

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Just now, BB3_Oregon_Steel said:

 

Well there is a difference between auxiliary raiders and a Battleship.  Raiders were essentially merchant ships armed with surplus guns.  They didn't survive because of their firepower or speed, they survived by not looking like a warship and pretending to be something else when other warships were around.  They would use their innocuous disguise to approach unsuspecting merchants and then uncover their hidden guns and demand the merchant ship surrender so even if their prey was faster than them, they'd still have a good chance of making the capture.

If they were every caught of found out by a real warship, the end was almost always the easy destruction of the raider. 

Battleships, on the other hand, have a lot of trouble trying to pretend to be anything other than a battleship. 

If you look at actual warships which were engaged in raiding they have one thing in common, they're fast.  This is because they can't hide so if they run into real opposition they can't handle, their only options are to run away faster than the enemy can chase them or die.  

No one is going to use a ship like the Nassau to raid commerce.  In the first place the juiciest targets in 1939 can run away from her or make her give chase of an extended period of time.  Second, because of her slow speed she can't cover the same volume of ocean so it's harder for her to find suitable targets.  Three, and most importantly, pretty much any enemy squadron can run her down and bring her to action, that is provided she is able to break out into the open ocean to begin with.  If the Bismark and the Prinz Eugen, both with top speeds of over 30 knots couldn't do it, the odds are heavily stacked against a Battleship with an arthritic top speed of less than 20 knots of being to do so.   

I think what you might be doing is overlaying the German WW II surface unit strategy of commerce raiding onto Nassau.  The problem here is the real Germans of 1939 had the ships with the capabilities to accomplish that mission, Nassau doesn't.   

Still this is all an interesting fantasy what if  scenario so if you imagine Nassau as a Raider you have every right to do so :Smile_honoring: 

 

 

Quick point, commerce raiding is not just about sinking ships, its also about wasting enemy resources and disrupting shipping lines.

Even with a 20 knot speed, Nassau would have been a nightmare in the right place. Had she been "visiting" neutral waters at the start of the war (like Graff Spee was) she wouldn't had to run the blockade.

And while there were merchants capable of more than 20 knots, the majority of the ships was not that speedy.

The British Navy was stretched across the globe, what if Nassau were at a Japanese port at the start of the war? or sailing close to India, or in the Mediterranean ready to work with the Regia Marina?

For every ship you had to send after her, you would have one less ship to guard convoys or keep the Bismarck, Scharn and Gnesiau trapped.

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Well, you are assuming that 

1) The forces watching the German fleet would not sortie to stop Nassau from breaking into the Atlantic which is a pretty big if.  You wouldn't need to send your fast battleships to deal with her.  England had a lot of battleships whose low speed precluded them from running down modern German ships but they could intercept the Nassau just fine leaving the faster battleships to guard against the Bismark and company.  As a matter of fact, unless the modern German warships were sortieing at the same time, the fast squadron could easily run down Nassau and deal with her quickly while still being in position to intercept the fast German warships if they sortied.  

2)  Sure, if Nassau somehow was able to run the gauntlet (more like waddle past) and if she happened to find a convoy which did not have a battleship escort (the major convoys at this time usually had one of the older British battleships in close escort) then she could do a bit of damage.  Still even here, she has a number of disadvantages

   a) When confronted by a superior force which a convoy's escorts can not defend them, the ships of the convoy would be given a "scatter" order and the merchant ships would scatter across the seas at their best speed (in 1939 you're talking somewhere around 15 to 16 knots).  The Nassau might get some of them but she doesn't have the speed to run down a significant portion of them. 

  b) When she approaches the convoy (waddles towards it) there is going to be plenty of time for radio messages to go out pin pointing her location to the Royal Navy.  For the Bismark or Scharnhorst etc ... this isn't a huge problem.  They are faster and more powerful than all but a couple of ships in the Royal Navy, so once they are done with the convoy, they can use their speed to clear the area before any force which can threaten them can arrive. 

At less than 19 knots, the Nassau can't do this very well. Pretty much every battleship in the Royal Navy is faster than she is and all of them are more powerful.  The greatly expands the options of how the Royal Navy can deal with Nassau since they don't need to use their supply of fast battleships and battlecruisers to do the job. A Queen Elizabeth could easily run the Nassau down and even the Revenge's could do the job, just not as well.

3) If the Nassau does have the misfortune of running into a significant convoy what is guarded by a British Battleship then she has real problems.  Now Nassau is faced with a faster more powerful opponent.  She can't effectively run away because she doesn't have the speed to and if she fights she is likely to be overmatched.  Even if she should somehow manage to survive a confrontation like this she is likely to have suffered significant damage in the process and have no means to repair it which will make her even more vulnerable to the the followup forces that are sure to be on their way. 

By 1939, sending a ship like the Nassau on an actual raiding mission is essentially to send her and her crew to a confrontation that she can not survive.  It's not a matter if she's going to be found and destroyed, then only question to resolve is exactly how she'll meet her doom.

We do have a real life semi-parallel.   The German Navy did in fact have two World War I pre-dreadnought battleships available to use in this role. At 18.5 knots they were a bit slower than the Nassau but were still faster than most of the merchant vessels they would have been trying to run down.  While they didn't have the firepower of the Nassau they did have enough to deal with anything other than another battleship.  These ships would be faced with the same problems that that Nassau would be faced with in this role.  So the German's used these battleships for raiding right? 

Not exactly. The Germans were aware that sending these old battleships out to raid English so I doubt anyone entertained the thought of using them for commerce raiding.  They spent most of the war as training vessels and then as artillery support for German troops along the Baltic shoreline, especially towards the end of the war when Germany was throwing everything they had at the advancing Russians. 

If you want to start looking at WW I capital ships that actually had the capability to conduct raiding missions, I'd start looking and the German Battle cruisers instead

Now on to your other supposition.  What would have happened if Nassau had been in the Mediterranean or on a visit to someplace else in the world.  

Well that does get you past the initial breakout scenario nicely.  If she was in Japan, she would have had to leave within 48 hours and Japan was still neutral at that point.  There would have been no friendly port to call upon outside of Germany and Italy.  This would have been an pretty untenable position for her and as I said, even only British Battleships could run her down.  Not a good situation to be in at all. 

Let's say she is in Italy.  She doesn't have the speed to break out past Gibraltar nor is she fast enough to operate as an element of the Italian fleet. At this point of the war, or shortly thereafter, the British begin to use only fast convoys in the Mediterranean, anything that's slow is being sent around the Cape of Good Hope and up the Suez Canal. In this scenario there is next to nothing for the Nassau to raid that she can actually catch. About the only use for her in this theater would be to act as a convoy escort, conduct shore bombardment missions or acting as a guard ship for an especially important port.

Hope all of this is helpful information. 

 

 

  

Edited by BB3_Oregon_Steel

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Forget the 20kn top speed people. As has already been mentioned, she would require a major overhaul to go from coal to diesel. She also now has an Atlantic bow which increases her length and also decreases water resistance. If her power is doubled, along with the lines of the Italian rebuilds, then we can expect at least an extra 5kn of speed. In either event, it is very unlikely that a repowered Nassau with an Atlantic bow would still be waddling around at a mere 20 kn.

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recalled the aircraft and catapult

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The trick in doing one of these is trying to keep the ship's overall weight about the same as it was.  Bulges for torpedo defense add some displacement value, as would the longer bow.

For example, if the ship had 8 x 8.8/45 single flak originally, replacing these with 4 8.8cm/75 twin mounts adds about 65 tons just for the weight difference in the mountings.  Add in the superstructure changes, foundations for the mounts, etc., you're probably looking at well over 100 tons of added weight.

If you want more than the original, thin deck armor that's going to run into hundreds of tons real quick, and possibly thousands.  Now, I could see removing some of the secondary armor fore and aft as compensation, along with maybe a few of the secondary battery.  That would probably keep the balance sheet close to the same tonnage.

I'd think on double the SHP 23 or 24 knots is doable but that presupposes that you are adding bulges for torpedo defense and more deck armor raising the tonnage some and increasing the draft by say a foot or so.

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You said that you didn't want to go into Italian modernization territory, would that kind of thing be necessary for changing the engines to turbines?

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4 hours ago, Jumarka said:

You said that you didn't want to go into Italian modernization territory, would that kind of thing be necessary for changing the engines to turbines?

It should be doable.  The engine rooms are a bit short for what turbines would require.  Digressing, VTE engines typically are shorter than equivalent turbines but require more height in the machinery space.  With turbines and higher pressure boilers the easiest path to switch over is get rid of the aft-most boiler rooms converting the space to engine room such that you now have the two outboard shafts on turbines somewhat aft of the middle shaft turbine and divide the engine rooms with an amidships bulkhead for better watertight subdivision.  That would put the new, single, stack approximately between the original two.  Boilers would go from 12 to 6 larger and higher pressure ones arranged in two rows of 3 across ship.

You, now have the machinery spaces arranged, bow to stern, as:  Auxiliaries room, boiler rooms with 3 boilers, boiler room with 3 boilers, two outboard auxiliaries rooms with an amidships engine room, 2 engine rooms.

That, in turn, frees up space forward for new superstructure and clears most of the amidships weather deck area for other purposes.  The 4 proposed 8.8cm twin flak mounts would go on a superstructure deck between the two wing turrets.  Their fire control directors would go just behind them inboard.

Get rid of the fore and aft horizontal belt armor and use the weight saved to increase the armor deck from 55 to 80mm and add a 20 to 25mm burster deck at the weather deck level.  That makes the main armor deck equal in thickness to the existing turtleback turndown outboard.  It also leaves intact the existing armor decks forward and aft of the citadel of the ship.

All of the original single purpose 8.8cm casemate guns are removed and their positions plated over.  The underwater torpedo tubes are removed and not replaced.  Those compartments are used for other purposes.

 

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Would be interesting to see if the ship had Seetakt radar added, and the funnel cap we have seen with many German designs.

 

The Nassau was actually repatriated to the IJN, who decided they didn't want it and had it scrapped instead.  It would be fascinating if the Nassau was modernized by the IJN.

 

I would have thought all the ships with triple expansion engines would be scrapped anyway, but the guns and turrets are retained either for coastal artillery or used to build new ships --- my scenario of a post war Germany that did not surrender its navy but faces major economic crisis in the 20's and '30s.  In which case for example, an 8 gun 4 x 2 gun turret layout large cruiser, or even a 6 gun one with a 3 x 2 gun layout.  Or even 4 gun, 2 x 2 gun turret monitors.  At the opposite end you have a 12 gun, 6 x 2 gun turret battlecruiser.  (In this alternative history scenario, the Panzerschiffes and the Scharnhorst class may never have been built.)

Edited by Eisennagel

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