Jump to content
You need to play a total of 5 battles to post in this section.
MS406france1940

How fast was the US navy going to replace its ww 1 era battleships?

17 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

Members
203 posts
127 battles

Just something I have been wondering recently. Whit ships as old as the USS Arkansas still around by the time new ships were comming online, how fast was the navy going to decomission its older ships? Not only the three pre-standar ships still around but also the standards themselfs. (If the war hadn't happen of course) 

As a side question, I have read that the USS Oklahoma was schedule for decommision on may 1942, was this true or just a random error? Also, how problematic were her engines (The only triple expansion engines still around in the pacific)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,344
[HINON]
Beta Testers, In AlfaTesters
7,178 posts
2,029 battles

As per the Washington Naval Treaty, this was to be the schedule for the United States Navy;

 

XHv9Tus.png

  • Cool 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,451
Alpha Tester
4,453 posts
509 battles

A good "rule of thumb" is that you can assume a 25-30 year service life for large warships.  One should also remember that the 1920's edition of the South Dakota class was an attempt to start moving away from the "standard battleship" as it featured a modest increase in speed (23 knots as I recall).  The general theory on replacing ships depends on the end goal as well.  It may be a maintenance situation where you just want to keep the fleet at a given strength (one for one replacement for example, we retire a Delaware and replace it with a Colorado class vessel).  You may be aiming to increase the strength of the fleet in which case you might retire an older vessel or class and replace it with a newer, more capable and more numerous class.  You can also get to the point you are looking at reducing fleet strength (intentionally say due to financial issues or because of treaties) in which case you might retire more ships than you build.

The big thing in Naval fleet maintenance is that you have to consider not only age, but capabilities.  Some older ships remained capable of working with the fleet at a desired level and so could be kept longer and/or modernized to keep up, often for less than the cost of building a new ship.  So there was no set schedule of "we will replace these ships every X years" (unless a treaty or law specified when such action could be taken).

Lastly, triple expansion steam engines.  Nothing wrong with them, turbines are just smoother (less vibration) and allow for greater speeds to be achieved.  We built the Liberty ships with triple expansion engines until late in the war as I recall.  They are cheaper and faster to make than turbines.  But the things are damned reliable and reasonable efficient.  The engines should not have represented a problem had she been raised and returned to service.

 

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,028
[GWG]
[GWG]
Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters
15,144 posts
8,762 battles

Ships don't have a use by date and with reasonable care will last many years. Ships generally are retired when they are unable to perform the missions. Look at how many ships in the war were late 1910's or early 1920's that fought in WWII.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
843
[SSG]
Alpha Tester
3,370 posts
7,948 battles

Without the treaty - it's hard to say  because yes, the old 14 inch gun ships were starting to fall behind in power and all, unless they decided to upgrade them to a larger gun, but for a fight in the Atlantic, where the battles would be closer in the North Sea and the like, that speed was no issue. Other than a newer ship like Bismarck outrunning them. But you were more likely to see a more standard battle in the Atlantic. The Pacific was a whole other animal from the start - the wide range and Japan had opted for a high speed fleet to cover the distances faster. And while both sides were looking at carriers, albeit the US was not looking the way they became where the BB was still the center, not the CV, would not be able to catch and engage in a line of battle, much like what you saw at a Jutland and all. So, that's when they really went into the likes of NC when war with Japan seemed more imminent. Forgoing treaties, anything at the slower speed would have been shifted to the Atlantic most likely while the higher speed ships went to the Pacific, and if they could increase speed on the others great, if not, over a much longer time they would have replaced them. Generally took 4-5 years to build a capital ship, I think they got it down to around 3 during the war but that's because the US ramped up production to 15. Without the shift of CV's, ignoring the treaty still happens, no wartime production, the old ships may have lasted longer if they thought BB's needed to be maintained. Seeing as by Wars end the CV was now the dominant ship. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,451
Alpha Tester
4,453 posts
509 battles
1 hour ago, BrushWolf said:

Ships don't have a use by date and with reasonable care will last many years. Ships generally are retired when they are unable to perform the missions. Look at how many ships in the war were late 1910's or early 1920's that fought in WWII.

Yes and no really.  The hulls undergo repetitive stresses of differing kinds.  Assuming no major failures (brittle fracture, grounding resulting in lots of damage, collisions, shell fire, etc.) the main one you start to look at is hull fatigue.  Fatigue reliability is usually expressed in terms of how many years of service you can expect.  Fatigue related failures are based on cyclic stresses.  A given number of cycles can cause a crack, a given number of cycles over that causes crack propagation, then a number of cycles beyond that level results in final failure.  You also have to account for corrosion effects in this process (corrosion thins the material...unless it is pitting corrosion which essentially bores a hole instead).

That means you have a "use by" date, but that date is variable based on the operational conditions the ship faces.  One that is carefully maintained, operates in a low corrosion environment and was built to last will have a far greater lifespan than a thin hulled ship that is constantly at sea, does not receive proper maintenance and is exposed to a highly aggressive corrosion rate in its' environment.

The other part of the effective lifespan of a ship is the need to keep up with current technology.  There comes a point where it is not financially reasonable to upgrade a warship to modern levels of capability.  At that point you are looking to replace it.

If we look at warships as a whole, around 30 years is a reasonable "lifespan" for most pre-WWII ships.  By that point they were outclassed and showing signs of wear.  More modern ships facing a less strenuous life (they are not getting bombed and shot on a regular basis currently) coupled with more modern maintenance practices you can have longer lifespans.  The Navy aims for 50 years for the CVN's.  Enterprise made it, Nimitz is expected to be replaced in 2022.  As I recall, the 688 class submarines have a projected lifespan of 40 years (with a mid-point refueling for the reactor).  The Ticonderoga class CGN's had projected service lives of 35 years.  The thing that projected lifespan looks at is hull fatigue leading to micro cracks to cracks and ultimately to failure.  The Navy doesn't want to operate ships to the failure point.  Thus, they have "service lives".  The hulls are inspected regularly and the service life of a particular hull may be extended if it is still in good enough shape (kind of like milk doesn't magically turn bad on the use by date, you check it and might get several more days out of it).  Similarly, if an inspection turns up severe problems the hull may be retired far earlier than the projected service life (the kids left the milk on the counter in August with no AC, it was bad by the time you got home from work, throw it out).  So while there is not a fixed "use by" date, there are estimates of about how long a ship can be expected to serve.

  • Cool 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4,015
[ABDA]
Beta Testers
16,019 posts
11,539 battles

I've never seen the bit about the Oklahoma being scheduled for decomissioning in 1942.  I can't imagine that the Oklahoma would have been decommissioned while the Arkansas, New York and Texas were still in the fleet.  Even if she were kicked out of the Pacific, she was better than most of the Atlantic Fleet's battleships.  Texas and New York also had triple expansion engines as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
239
[HC]
[HC]
Beta Testers
1,311 posts
9,395 battles
25 minutes ago, crzyhawk said:

I've never seen the bit about the Oklahoma being scheduled for decomissioning in 1942.  I can't imagine that the Oklahoma would have been decommissioned while the Arkansas, New York and Texas were still in the fleet.  Even if she were kicked out of the Pacific, she was better than most of the Atlantic Fleet's battleships.  Texas and New York also had triple expansion engines as well.

Oklahoma had other issues, she was not in good shape, and her rebuilds in the 20's and 30's didn't replace her boilers or engines as she was always an oil burner. None of the TFE ships were re-engined or reboilered in the 1930's rebuilds, only the turbine equipped ships were. She was strictly average in gunnery and she was also known to be the slowest battleship in the fleet by the late 30's.

New York and Texas weren't long for the world either, but they were either reboilered or had the boilers rebuilt when they were converted from coal to oil after WWI. They were in better shape, and both were very good shooting ships even though they never had their main gun elevation increased.

Arkansas and Wyoming were both also scheduled for retirement, mostly to get the rest of the 12" guns out of service. They also got converted from coal to oil after WWI, and would have had new or rebuilt boilers. They may have also received new boilers and turbines in the 30's with the other turbine ships.

All the other standards that had received the rebuilds in the 1930's were re-boilered and re-engined, which is when the New Mexico lost her turbo-electric drive and was converted to direct drive steam turbines to match her two sister ships. The California's and Colorado's were scheduled to get their rebuilds in the early 40's, and that got messed up by WWII.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
203 posts
127 battles
10 hours ago, crzyhawk said:

I've never seen the bit about the Oklahoma being scheduled for decomissioning in 1942.  I can't imagine that the Oklahoma would have been decommissioned while the Arkansas, New York and Texas were still in the fleet.  Even if she were kicked out of the Pacific, she was better than most of the Atlantic Fleet's battleships.  Texas and New York also had triple expansion engines as well.

The claim came from this book (https://www.amazon.com/Battleship-Oklahoma-BB-37-Jeff-Phister/dp/0806139366) since I have no way to confirm or deny it I desided to ask here, and @SgtBeltfed more or less supported that claim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,846
Supertester, Members, Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters, Beta Testers
11,232 posts
1,928 battles
On 10/27/2018 at 7:46 PM, Phoenix_jz said:

As per the Washington Naval Treaty, this was to be the schedule for the United States Navy;

 

XHv9Tus.png

However, what with the London Naval Treaty (1930) extending the battleship holiday, this became out of date.   

Consequently, the older ships would likely have been replaced when the new battleships were commissioned. Of course, that is assuming that the Treaty remains in force through that period. In the event of a 1944 outbreak (a la Z Plan), then odds are a number of the US' 15 would have been scrapped by that point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
239
[HC]
[HC]
Beta Testers
1,311 posts
9,395 battles
13 minutes ago, mr3awsome said:

However, what with the London Naval Treaty (1930) extending the battleship holiday, this became out of date.   

Consequently, the older ships would likely have been replaced when the new battleships were commissioned. Of course, that is assuming that the Treaty remains in force through that period. In the event of a 1944 outbreak (a la Z Plan), then odds are a number of the US' 15 would have been scrapped by that point. 

The London treaty wasn't worth the paper it was printed on as soon as the Japanese backed out of the treaty system in the late 30's. Not that the Washington Treaty mattered at that point anyway.

That said, the ships would have been replaced based on serviceability, capability, and availability of replacements. At best, with no WWII or other disruption of the status quo, The Colorado's might have stuck around until the early 50's. Interestingly enough, as happens often enough in the US Navy, that doesn't mean that the oldest ships get retired first. Frequently, the oldest ships get refitted first, refits get canceled for budgetary reasons for the newer ships, and the newer ships get replaced by new construction, leaving a fleet of the oldest ships and the brand new ships, with the ships in between scrapped.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,028
[GWG]
[GWG]
Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters
15,144 posts
8,762 battles
5 minutes ago, SgtBeltfed said:

The London treaty wasn't worth the paper it was printed on as soon as the Japanese backed out of the treaty system in the late 30's. Not that the Washington Treaty mattered at that point anyway.

That said, the ships would have been replaced based on serviceability, capability, and availability of replacements. At best, with no WWII or other disruption of the status quo, The Colorado's might have stuck around until the early 50's. Interestingly enough, as happens often enough in the US Navy, that doesn't mean that the oldest ships get retired first. Frequently, the oldest ships get refitted first, refits get canceled for budgetary reasons for the newer ships, and the newer ships get replaced by new construction, leaving a fleet of the oldest ships and the brand new ships, with the ships in between scrapped.

It isn't just he US Navy, every military force in the world does it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,846
Supertester, Members, Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters, Beta Testers
11,232 posts
1,928 battles
10 hours ago, SgtBeltfed said:

The London treaty wasn't worth the paper it was printed on as soon as the Japanese backed out of the treaty system in the late 30's. Not that the Washington Treaty mattered at that point anyway.

That said, the ships would have been replaced based on serviceability, capability, and availability of replacements. At best, with no WWII or other disruption of the status quo, The Colorado's might have stuck around until the early 50's. Interestingly enough, as happens often enough in the US Navy, that doesn't mean that the oldest ships get retired first. Frequently, the oldest ships get refitted first, refits get canceled for budgetary reasons for the newer ships, and the newer ships get replaced by new construction, leaving a fleet of the oldest ships and the brand new ships, with the ships in between scrapped.

The first one, that of 1930, was seen to full term, or near enough, so I assume you mean the 2nd London Treaty, which is certainly more dubious in its value. 

As for the Colorados, I'd say late 40s rather than early 50s, as there was a move towards generally higher speeds, and the Standards would likely go to the breakers sooner for it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
252
[REVY]
Members
936 posts
7,288 battles
On 10/27/2018 at 2:10 PM, MS406france1940 said:

Just something I have been wondering recently. Whit ships as old as the USS Arkansas still around by the time new ships were comming online, how fast was the navy going to decomission its older ships? Not only the three pre-standar ships still around but also the standards themselfs. (If the war hadn't happen of course) 

As a side question, I have read that the USS Oklahoma was schedule for decommision on may 1942, was this true or just a random error? Also, how problematic were her engines (The only triple expansion engines still around in the pacific)

Had the war not occurred, Arkansas, New York, and Texas would have been replaced by the North Carolina, Washington, and South Dakota. As new units came online, the older units would be decommissioned and scrapped.

The Washington Treaty, besides limiting the amount and size of Capital ships, also limited how much work could be done to upgrade them. Under the purpose of improving the anti-torpedo protection, most of the Standards were rebuilt in the 20s using material from the canceled BBs and CCs, as well as some material from the ships being scrapped. Based on a book on the Arizona, she received new boilers and turbines at the same time her torpedo protection was increased.

 

Oklahoma was kind of the odd BB out. When built, the US Navy was trying to get turbines ordered they way they wanted them. To 'force' the manufacturers to give in, they ordered Oklahoma with the older style engines to show the manufacturers to do it the Navy way, or they would go elsewhere. As such, she was slower then her turbine powered sister.

Per Wikipedia which gave a book source:

Quote

The Washington Naval Treaty had precluded the Navy from replacing Oklahoma, leading to the series of refits to extend its lifespan. But the ship was planned to be retired on 2 May 1942.[30]

Being a Combat ship, and required to maintain certain speeds and maneuvers would be hard on a ships systems. There are alot more moving parts in a triple expansion engine then a turbine. It's possible that maintenance costs and time involved were more for this unique propulsive unit, then the rest of the turbine fleet. Thus the Navy wished to divest itself of it sooner then the rest.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
239
[HC]
[HC]
Beta Testers
1,311 posts
9,395 battles
11 hours ago, mr3awsome said:

The first one, that of 1930, was seen to full term, or near enough, so I assume you mean the 2nd London Treaty, which is certainly more dubious in its value. 

As for the Colorados, I'd say late 40s rather than early 50s, as there was a move towards generally higher speeds, and the Standards would likely go to the breakers sooner for it. 

I was thinking in line with how long it would take to commission ships to replace them. To replace all 15 battleships by 1950 would take averaging 1.5 ships per year starting in 1940. With the longer build times of the newer and more complex ships, that might be a tall order if there's no wartime rush. They would certainly be in training roles in the Atlantic by 1945.  

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,846
Supertester, Members, Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters, Beta Testers
11,232 posts
1,928 battles
12 hours ago, SgtBeltfed said:

I was thinking in line with how long it would take to commission ships to replace them. To replace all 15 battleships by 1950 would take averaging 1.5 ships per year starting in 1940. With the longer build times of the newer and more complex ships, that might be a tall order if there's no wartime rush. They would certainly be in training roles in the Atlantic by 1945.  

Correct, but the USN had already starting replacing its older ships with the ordering of two North Carolina class ships in 1937.  This was followed by four ships in 1939, so a rate of two per year is not out of the question. Of course, that depends on the design process, and the extent of changes made between them. 

Equally, what with the escalation in global tensions, and the growth of potentially dangerous rivals such as the IJN, it is likely that older ships would have been retained to increase the figure above 15. At the very least this would be the Colorados and Tennessees, but possibly older ships as well. They would certainly be the last to go. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
898
[LEGIO]
Members
2,956 posts
5,370 battles

I believe there was some talk of transferring Oklahoma to the east coast with the other battleships with triple expansion engines, those being Arkansas, New York, and Texas. Had Oklahoma survived the Pearl Harbor attack with little or moderate damage who knows how extensively she would have been modernized. It's unlikely she would be retired however as that point the Washington and London Treaties were meaningless and the US needed every warship we had.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×