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_RC1138

French Battleships, A Professional Critique

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Let me start by saying I love this:

https://worldofwarships.com/en/news/common/tres-bbien/

The justifications provided give a good insight into how and why Wargaming does what it does and gives some clues to who must be helping them in their ship designs.

That said, I have some critiques, not complaints, but critiques from one professional to another, over some of the justifications presented:

Tier VI Normandie

Quote

The model is a hypothetical upgrade of the Normandie-class battleship as of 1938. Compared to the original design, we significantly reworked the ship. 9 frame spaces were inserted in the midship body to the aft side of the main turret (in plain English, the ship was made longer without altering its silhouette), and the forward end was replaced with one similar to the bow of aircraft carrier Béarn. We also added torpedo bulges to the ship's sides. The propulsion was replaced with that of battlecruiser Dunkerque, which allowed us to get rid of the second funnel and increase the speed to 29 knots. We also reinforced the barbette and deck armor.

So you increased her beam to length ratio... that would help, and smoothed out her bow, good, but where I draw a problem is that idea of just replacing one propulsion with another; speaking as someone who spent most of their career designing propulsion systems from the ground up (LNG Carriers can't use off the shelf due to trying (our best) to utilize heat exchange on the containment vessels) I can say confidently that you cannot simply pop one engine/turbine/translations out of one ship and plop them into another and expect even remotely comparable results. Unless they all are 1:1, things like shaft length, prop orientation, gearing, displacement (not that displacement effects speed (which I'm glad to see Wargaming is aware of despite many 'fans' being clueless to this physical *fact*) but it does effect acceleration and feedback on the shafts and can require higher amounts of torque and changes in revolutions), and many others can all effect a ship's final attainable rated speed and the Dunkerque is NOT the same as a Normandie. Yes, going from expansion-type engines to geared turbines is going to cause a jump in maximum attainable speed, but not 8 knots. Even with the lengthening of the hull, it would take a bit more than that. I would love to know what model you used to attain that final speed as even back-of-the-napkin math would say you shouldn't gain more than ~4-5 knots, even with 9 extra frames.

From a more practical standpoint; I'm not sure how you can justify lengthening the ship and placing in a propulsion system that would have been ~15 years newer than the launched Normadies. Adding frames to a finished ship is, for all practical purposes, impossible to do, and thus is an upgrade that would have been unfeasible to the French Navy. Likewise, as mentioned, dropping in a faster propulsion system from one ship into an older ship doesn't work. For the same reason they didn't try to put the North Carolina's propulsion inside any of the Standard Types sunk at Pearl Harbor during their rebuilds, or they didn't didn't go back and place the Hood's propulsion in the R-Classes. It doesn't generally work that way, and it seems unwise to do so here. And from a game's perspective, why is having a 21-23 knot Normandie a problem. Most of the T6's are around that speed, with the Dunk a special deal that gives quite a bit for that speed advantage at T6. Why is it a vice to allow the Normandie to keep a semi-historical (and physically justifiable) 23 knot speed? Even 25-27 knots, to match the Mutsu, could make sense by assuming geared turbines may have been implemented prior to building.

Tier VII Lyon

Quote

The model is a hypothetical upgrade of the Lyon-class battleship as of 1938. We made several of the same changes to Lyon that we did for Normandy: Béarn’s bow, new torpedo bulges, Dunkerque’s propulsion, and increased armor of barbettes and deck.  

Same critique as applied to Normandie, but with the added example of why you can't just drop in Dunkerque's propulsion: Geared Turbines and extensive boilers take up more space than triple expansion engines (ol' hand crank), and in a Battleship, unlike a say a cargo ship, you don't have free space to play around. The Lyon is worse than the Normandie in this regard because it has those 4 spaced out turrets and barbettes; there isn't enough ROOM between the shell handling and powder rooms to fit a propulsion system like that. There is a reason the Dunks had the oversized propulsion: all their handling rooms and barbettes were FORWARD, leaving plenty of space aft for their extensive propulsion systems. It's the same reason the Queen Elizabeth's dispensed with the Q-turret: they needed more room for boilers. Even with extra frames, you won't gain enough space to fit the number of boilers to produce the pressures needed to drive turbines that can achieve the revolutions necessary to hit 29 knots.

Perhaps, for both, consider some further changes to justify that speed addition (if you are sure you need that speed addition), such as a new stern structure (transom will get you a knot or so), tightening up the propeller radii (but be aware this will drop your turn rate/radius), adding in a full length skeg (I saw that Lyon has one, don't remember if Normandie does), reducing the size of the bulges, or removing a shaft and going with 3 props (again, accounting for loss in maneuverability).

Tier IX Alsace

Quote

The in-game model is a reconstruction of the ship as it could have looked at the time of its laying in 1940–1941 and entering service in 1942–1943. In order to achieve the speed specified in theoriginal reference specs, we had to increase the engine room sizes anddecrease the propulsion power capacity (the preliminary calculations indicated that the power capacity that provides for the required speed can be 28,000 HP less than originally specified). The propulsion increase caused some side-effects including a greater distance between the main turrets (with a respective increase in water displacement), and enough space to mount more AA gun mounts.

Again, often it is the case in ship building that things are a zero-sum: if something is added, something needs to removed.You increased the the engine room space, what did you remove to do so? Living spaces? Shell handling? FCS systems? Ballast spaces? Whatever went is going to effect overall ability of the system and needs to be reflected.

Also, you've given a clue to what model/how you are calculating speed's. That extra HP may have been attributed to hullform issues, which the Alsace DOES have. Have you done any streamlining calculations on the hull? Cause that could be where 10k of that 28k HP is going. Also those props (judging from in game model) are wide set, with small rudder. It's possible they intended near 70-80% of turning power to be shaft based and thus wanted excess toque and power from the shafts to enable this. I would be very curious to see the itemization on how you justified the removal of 28,000 HP as that is nothing to scoff at; that can translate into a 1 less boiler or a smaller turbine.

And finally, you moved the turrets? What did that do to your stability model? Because typically the more spaced out heavy objects in a ship are, the more torsional forces are going to be applied, the more non-0-degree waves are going to twist your ship and render it a rocky, unstable platform. If this is the case, in game, this would be reflected by a HIGHLY punitive accuracy penalty, as you could have 1 turret firing 5-10 degrees different than another turret (A vs. X). In LNG's we keep our tanks as close to one another for a reason, and if we run with an empty tank, it's always the bow one first, and then moving aft after that, as you want to keep heavy stuff together as best as possible.

Just some thoughts I had reading this; would love to know the background of whomever the engineer you have staff is.

 

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+1 for writing out well founded opinions based on studies and professional knowledge.

But it's still a game. Realism takes a back seat.

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2 minutes ago, Lert said:

+1 for writing out well founded opinions based on studies and professional knowledge.

But it's still a game. Realism takes a back seat.

Well I'm more curious as to why they do what they do, and this was a nice little clue into that. But, as the man said, "We can go deeper."

And likewise, I am unconvinced, in game, that a reasoned and justifiable increase in speed for say the Lyon/Normandie to 25-26 knots, is still an improvement over most existing T6-T7 BB's while not being physically unjustifiable (not without some model data) 29 knots.

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10 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

Let me start by saying I love this:

https://worldofwarships.com/en/news/common/tres-bbien/

The justifications provided give a good insight into how and why Wargaming does what it does and gives some clues to who must be helping them in their ship designs.

That said, I have some critiques, not complaints, but critiques from one professional to another, over some of the justifications presented:

Tier VI Normandie

So you increased her beam to length ratio... that would help, and smoothed out her bow, good, but where I draw a problem is that idea of just replacing one propulsion with another; speaking as someone who spent most of their career designing propulsion systems from the ground up (LNG Carriers can't use off the shelf due to trying (our best) to utilize heat exchange on the containment vessels) I can say confidently that you cannot simply pop one engine/turbine/translations out of one ship and plop them into another and expect even remotely comparable results. Unless they all are 1:1, things like shaft length, prop orientation, gearing, displacement (not that displacement effects speed (which I'm glad to see Wargaming is aware of despite many 'fans' being clueless to this physical *fact*) but it does effect acceleration and feedback on the shafts and can require higher amounts of torque and changes in revolutions), and many others can all effect a ship's final attainable rated speed and the Dunkerque is NOT the same as a Normandie. Yes, going from expansion-type engines to geared turbines is going to cause a jump in maximum attainable speed, but not 8 knots. Even with the lengthening of the hull, it would take a bit more than that. I would love to know what model you used to attain that final speed as even back-of-the-napkin math would say you shouldn't gain more than ~4-5 knots, even with 9 extra frames.

From a more practical standpoint; I'm not sure how you can justify lengthening the ship and placing in a propulsion system that would have been ~15 years newer than the launched Normadies. Adding frames to a finished ship is, for all practical purposes, impossible to do, and thus is an upgrade that would have been unfeasible to the French Navy. Likewise, as mentioned, dropping in a faster propulsion system from one ship into an older ship doesn't work. For the same reason they didn't try to put the North Carolina's propulsion inside any of the Standard Types sunk at Pearl Harbor during their rebuilds, or they didn't didn't go back and place the Hood's propulsion in the R-Classes. It doesn't generally work that way, and it seems unwise to do so here. And from a game's perspective, why is having a 21-23 knot Normandie a problem. Most of the T6's are around that speed, with the Dunk a special deal that gives quite a bit for that speed advantage at T6. Why is it a vice to allow the Normandie to keep a semi-historical (and physically justifiable) 23 knot speed? Even 25-27 knots, to match the Mutsu, could make sense by assuming geared turbines may have been implemented prior to building.

Tier VII Lyon

Same critique as applied to Normandie, but with the added example of why you can't just drop in Dunkerque's propulsion: Geared Turbines and extensive boilers take up more space than triple expansion engines (ol' hand crank), and in a Battleship, unlike a say a cargo ship, you don't have free space to play around. The Lyon is worse than the Normandie in this regard because it has those 4 spaced out turrets and barbettes; there isn't enough ROOM between the shell handling and powder rooms to fit a propulsion system like that. There is a reason the Dunks had the oversized propulsion: all their handling rooms and barbettes were FORWARD, leaving plenty of space aft for their extensive propulsion systems. It's the same reason the Queen Elizabeth's dispensed with the Q-turret: they needed more room for boilers. Even with extra frames, you won't gain enough space to fit the number of boilers to produce the pressures needed to drive turbines that can achieve the revolutions necessary to hit 29 knots.

Perhaps, for both, consider some further changes to justify that speed addition (if you are sure you need that speed addition), such as a new stern structure (transom will get you a knot or so), tightening up the propeller radii (but be aware this will drop your turn rate/radius), adding in a full length skeg (I saw that Lyon has one, don't remember if Normandie does), reducing the size of the bulges, or removing a shaft and going with 3 props (again, accounting for loss in maneuverability).

Tier IX Alsace

Again, often it is the case in ship building that things are a zero-sum: if something is added, something needs to removed.You increased the the engine room space, what did you remove to do so? Living spaces? Shell handling? FCS systems? Ballast spaces? Whatever went is going to effect overall ability of the system and needs to be reflected.

Also, you've given a clue to what model/how you are calculating speed's. That extra HP may have been attributed to hullform issues, which the Alsace DOES have. Have you done any streamlining calculations on the hull? Cause that could be where 10k of that 28k HP is going. Also those props (judging from in game model) are wide set, with small rudder. It's possible they intended near 70-80% of turning power to be shaft based and thus wanted excess toque and power from the shafts to enable this. I would be very curious to see the itemization on how you justified the removal of 28,000 HP as that is nothing to scoff at; that can translate into a 1 less boiler or a smaller turbine.

And finally, you moved the turrets? What did that do to your stability model? Because typically the more spaced out heavy objects in a ship are, the more torsional forces are going to be applied, the more non-0-degree waves are going to twist your ship and render it a rocky, unstable platform. If this is the case, in game, this would be reflected by a HIGHLY punitive accuracy penalty, as you could have 1 turret firing 5-10 degrees different than another turret (A vs. X). In LNG's we keep our tanks as close to one another for a reason, and if we run with an empty tank, it's always the bow one first, and then moving aft after that, as you want to keep heavy stuff together as best as possible.

Just some thoughts I had reading this; would love to know the background of whomever the engineer you have staff is.

 

 

Got to say i'm growing to love hearing you monologue on this sort of stuff almost as much as reading mouse reviews. If you have the spare time is there any chance you might make a series out of this like mouse does her ship reviews, taking a look at existing ships and talking about the propulsive an hullform factors that went into her IRL handling and the (to best of your knowledge), design mentality behind those choices? Or is that a tad more work than you can really justify using up your free time on?

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22 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

Let me start by saying I love this:

https://worldofwarships.com/en/news/common/tres-bbien/

The justifications provided give a good insight into how and why Wargaming does what it does and gives some clues to who must be helping them in their ship designs.

That said, I have some critiques, not complaints, but critiques from one professional to another, over some of the justifications presented:

[...]

Excellent and informative post, thankyou. 

My reply to all your interrogation of how WG is able to defy the laws of physics for French battleships, would be to refer you to this following lecture,  

(best summarized as "who cares if it looks good?")

But keep up this type of informed critcism, we are all learning stuff from your posts.

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Balance is more important than historical accuracy here.

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Well written and informative post my good sir.

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3 minutes ago, Fog_Battleship_NCarolina said:

Balance is more important than historical accuracy here.

^

This, it's a game, and historical accuracy takes a back seat most of the time.

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32 minutes ago, Lert said:

+1 for writing out well founded opinions based on studies and professional knowledge.

But it's still a game. Realism takes a back seat.

If it's just a game then why did WG bother at all to make hypothetical refits for Normandie and Lyon? The fictional modernizations are merely cosmetic and don't affect the ship's performance. They could have just stuck with the ships' historical designs while keeping the speed buffs. Bayern's A hull for example is historical but her speed can be upgraded to 25 knots without altering the ship's appearance.

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This is one of the reasons I prefer lower tiers, there seems to be a lot less invented and altered ships there.

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31 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

Unless they all are 1:1, things like shaft length, prop orientation, gearing, displacement (not that displacement effects speed (which I'm glad to see Wargaming is aware of despite many 'fans' being clueless to this physical *fact*) but it does effect acceleration and feedback on the shafts and can require higher amounts of torque and changes in revolutions), and many others can all effect a ship's final attainable rated speed and the Dunkerque is NOT the same as a Normandie.

   I would like to add that Displacement can affect Draught which increases the ship's cross-sectional area perpendicular to its motion in the water, meaning that it loses more energy (and therefore speed) to fluid resistance (drag) than a lower-draught ship. This is why even a ship with an instance of flooding that does not damage the machinery will still be slower and lose speed; this is why a laden freighter is slower than it is unloaded.

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9 minutes ago, Wolcott said:

If it's just a game then why did WG bother at all to make hypothetical refits for Normandie and Lyon? The fictional modernizations are merely cosmetic and don't affect the ship's performance. They could have just stuck with the ships' historical designs while keeping the speed buffs. Bayern's A hull for example is historical but her speed can be upgraded to 25 knots without altering the ship's appearance.

Don't know.

Contrary to popular opinion, WG does not ask me for advice, nor run their design plans by me before implementing them.

Personally I'd much rather see ships as historically built instead of with fantasy redesigns, but again, WG does not ask for my permission.

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This is the game now, take it or leave it. The age of hypotheticals begin early. Just look to WoT, WG has admitted their vehicle design is game play first, real life inaccuracies be damned. 

Edited by NeutralState

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Lengthening the mid section of the ship. Oh, sure, that would be TOTALLY doable as a refit. Even the Regia Marina wasn't that audacious. There's a different between grafting a new bow on and tearing the thing apart from the middle. At that point, why wouldn't the French have just built new? You know... like Strasbourg? Hmm. If ONLY they had designed and launched a ship like Stasbourg. Pity.

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11 minutes ago, Cruiser_Fiume said:

Lengthening the mid section of the ship. Oh, sure, that would be TOTALLY doable as a refit. Even the Regia Marina wasn't that audacious. There's a different between grafting a new bow on and tearing the thing apart from the middle. At that point, why wouldn't the French have just built new? You know... like Strasbourg? Hmm. If ONLY they had designed and launched a ship like Stasbourg. Pity.

or if only Dunkerque were the tech tree ship, and fantasies were kept for the premium slot. That would have been the usual WG policy.

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18 minutes ago, Carrier_Lexington said:

   I would like to add that Displacement can affect Draught which increases the ship's cross-sectional area perpendicular to its motion in the water, meaning that it loses more energy (and therefore speed) to fluid resistance (drag) than a lower-draught ship. This is why even a ship with an instance of flooding that does not damage the machinery will still be slower and lose speed; this is why a laden freighter is slower than it is unloaded.

The short retort to this is: it depends. Point of fact most barges, freighters, grain carriers, bulk carriers, and yes, LNG Carriers, are actually *faster* when at full load rather then empty. Why? Because, hopefully, the engineer designing the hull form was *cognizant* of the fact that the difference in displacement at empty vs. full load can be as high as 75k tonnes, and thus has a deeper draft, and thus DESIGNS that hull form to maximize it's potential at full load. This can be done through chinning, slip zones, coatings, how you angle the bow (notice most bows don't have a 'constant' angle, they almost all 'curve' either steeper or more shallow depending on the intended effect), stern design (both if you use a cruiser or transom stern and to what angle it is set.

For example, let's say I have a normal, 'straight' clipper bow and a transom, but I angle that transom +20 degrees from the vertical and the bow is 'straight' (I know this is contrary to what I just said but bear with me) at -15 from the vertical, that means that as the ship get's heavier, and thus it's draft increases, it's LWL is actually increasing, due to the Transom having a greater angle than the bow. That means you produce a longer wave as you enter and longer wave = faster wave, faster wave = faster ship. Again, a GOOD engineer will be aware of this and design accordingly.

Draft is less of a concern in ship design for SPEED and more for portage: while something that is 0, absolute 0 of importance here, portage is a MAJOR concern for shipbuilding as if I can't DOCK the ship, it's useless. I can design a ship, EASILY that's 200k tonnes, and has a draft of 30 meters, and it will go 32 knots. It will be ~2 km long, but it will go 32 knots. But there's no where on the planet I can dock the thing. All those displacement criteria you always read about being imposed by nations on themselves was typically born the reality of not having deep enough ports. Germany didn't make the H Classes, not because the war started in 1939, but because they still couldn't figure out WHERE to put them.

52 minutes ago, Carl said:

 

Got to say i'm growing to love hearing you monologue on this sort of stuff almost as much as reading mouse reviews. If you have the spare time is there any chance you might make a series out of this like mouse does her ship reviews, taking a look at existing ships and talking about the propulsive an hullform factors that went into her IRL handling and the (to best of your knowledge), design mentality behind those choices? Or is that a tad more work than you can really justify using up your free time on?

For free and/or no benefits? Yeah, it's a bit more work (I mostly post from work between design meetings). If WGing wants to make me a CC and do an 'Engineering Series' I'd consider it but tbh to make it worthwhile, for my own perfectionist self, I'd need a look at their data and models (I don't mean 3D wire meshes) on how they got to where they are.

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+1 to OP.

This is very good reading. Appreciate you writing this out, even with the likely 'this is a game' responses.

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35 minutes ago, Cruiser_Fiume said:

Lengthening the mid section of the ship. Oh, sure, that would be TOTALLY doable as a refit. Even the Regia Marina wasn't that audacious. There's a different between grafting a new bow on and tearing the thing apart from the middle. At that point, why wouldn't the French have just built new? You know... like Strasbourg? Hmm. If ONLY they had designed and launched a ship like Stasbourg. Pity.

Apologies Fiume, this isn't directed at you but I wanted to quote it because this is very much my point as well.

 

Normandie is the biggest offender, but what @_RC1138 says is pretty spot-on. These ships did not need to be a thing, and the upgrades they got to receive it is just hilarious. RC1138 is surely a more accurate judge than I am on this, but my own estimate is that Normandie would not be able to achieve a speed in any realistic refit that keeps the main turret and magazine (which entirely bisects the citadel) of more than 25 knots. 

The French had drawn up plans to refit the ship's with 80000 hp powerplants, and they determined the top speed would only be 24 knots. Even with the refit bow you're probably only getting an extra half to whole knot, going by Béarn's performance with it.

In general what-if scenario where you are able to get an extra 32000 hp, you're probably not going to get much more speed 27 knots tops - but I don't see any realistic way that could be accomplished without tearing out the amidships turret. One cannot realistically just shift it over some odd frames.

 

But getting back to why I quoted Fiume. 

Why did we need these uber-buffed obsolete WWI designs - bad ones, imo, bit that's besides the point - when we have actually completed ships that saw action that could otherwise have been used?

Strasbourg was an easy tier VII - start with a heavier, better-armored Dunkerque, buff the light AA (DP armament is already decent), increase the RoF to the designed rate - 3 rpm - and then buff the sigma to make it more accurate. That is a ship that is more than capable of working at tier VII.

 

Tier VI is more difficult - Dunkerque, the natural fit, is already a premium.

Perhaps Normandie with a slower, more realistic speed (25 knots?), But with better RoF or accuracy to compensate? They've already got better shells to upgrade the godawful French 340's. That's an upgrade that would be magnitudes more realistic than what we have now.

 

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1 minute ago, cmdr_raccoon said:

+1 to OP.

This is very good reading. Appreciate you writing this out, even with the likely 'this is a game' responses.

Well to the 'It's just a game' crowd: I agree, it is a game, and historical and even physics should be secondary to playability. However, WGing is clearly here, and likely in the past has, DONE a degree of engineering analysis on their proposed refits to justify them. This is a critique of those justifications and potential alternatives. They justified making Lyon 29 knots by adding Frames. While they can work, it's also highly unrealistic and bears analysis, both in context of how, but why.

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2 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

Well to the 'It's just a game' crowd: I agree, it is a game, and historical and even physics should be secondary to playability. However, WGing is clearly here, and likely in the past has, DONE a degree of engineering analysis on their proposed refits to justify them. This is a critique of those justifications and potential alternatives. They justified making Lyon 29 knots by adding Frames. While they can work, it's also highly unrealistic and bears analysis, both in context of how, but why.

Also WG has a bad habit of using the 'that's not historical" or the "we need the blueprints" argument for not doing things, (British BBs) as often as the opposite, saying "we can make it all up, this is a game, after all."

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I don't wish to disturb the naval architecture discussion this topic has inspired, but I just wanted to remind everybody that they're not at all concerned with such... Engineering over at WGSPb. 

According to them, Scharnhorst's powerplant can propel the 80,000t Kurfurst up to the same 30 knots. :cap_cool:
 

5a7891601a5cd_Kurfurstengine.png.e94d208bcce9f3bce36451acb0625f65.png

(If you prefer to turn your nose at fictitious designs, have instead the 70,000t Montana deriving 30 knots with Iowa's "stock" powerplant.) :cap_haloween:

5a78935d5997b_MontanaEngine.png.93223b7d18684c03ebf1663fa2c24140.png

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8 minutes ago, PangUnit said:

I don't wish to disturb the naval engineering conversation this topic has inspired, but I just wanted to remind everybody that they're not at all concerned with such... Engineering over at WGSPb. 

According to them, Scharnhorst's powerplant can propel the 80,000t Kurfurst up to the same 30 knots. :cap_cool:
 

5a7891601a5cd_Kurfurstengine.png.e94d208bcce9f3bce36451acb0625f65.png

(If you turn your nose at fictitious designs, here's one of Montana deriving 30 knots with Iowa's "stock" powerplant.) :cap_haloween:

5a78935d5997b_MontanaEngine.png.93223b7d18684c03ebf1663fa2c24140.png

IDK what WGSPb is...?

At any rate, let's be clear: HP does not translate at all 1:1, even remotely, to speed. If it did, Tug-boats, which often have HP ratings in the 27k-30k, would, with their light weight (<500 tonnes typically) be the fastest ships afload. LWL, length to beam ratio, hull coatings, prop design, stern design, bow design, hullform, and MANY other things all contribute to speed. I can have a ship with 50k HP move at 25 knots, or 32 knots, based on how I control those features.

Edited by _RC1138

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1 hour ago, _RC1138 said:

Just some thoughts I had reading this; would love to know the background of whomever the engineer you have staff is.

Very impressive +1 posting:Smile_honoring:

I was a Engineer, but a different type worked in the engine rooms.

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