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mofton

What the Devil is a Destroyer Leader?!

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What the Devil is a Destroyer Leader?!

At least it’s not a "Battlecruiser"

 

A short background on the history, types and uses of that rather nebulous category of ships, the ‘destroyer leader’.

What is a Destroyer?

 

The development of self-propelled torpedoes in the second half of the 18th Century (with the first serious designs in 1868) led to a revolution in the striking power of small vessels. While traditionally larger ships had been all but immune to smaller ones, with the big and bigger gun in total primacy, a torpedo armament allowed even a small vessel to sink the most powerful battleship with damage below the water line.

The first ships to make serious use of this were the (unsurprisingly named) torpedo boats, which evolved rapidly from small harbor defense ships with very limited seaworthiness, to larger ocean-going (if limited in endurance) ships. The capability of these torpedo boats grew rapidly, and developments of steam turbine engines and later oil firing were step changes. Early boats could manage about 20kt and carried just a single torpedo, sizes increased from tens to hundreds of tons displacement.

Almost in parallel to the development of the torpedo boats came counters. The first counter ships were ‘torpedo gunboats’ which were generally larger and armed with small (usually <5in) rapid fire guns, and torpedoes themselves, but these were usually slower ships.

 

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IWM image SP 1659 Leader HMS Kempenfelt (furthest destroyer) leads a brood of M class destroyers with battleships of the Grand Fleet looming behind

The Destroyer is a contraction of the term ‘Torpedo Boat Destroyer’ – which is pretty darn fortunate as some of the initial torpedo boat counters were known as ‘Catchers’ which would not have quite the same ring… Torpedo Boat Destroyers evolved out of faster, larger (starting at about 250t) torpedo boats – equipped both with torpedoes and rapid-fire guns to fight torpedo boats. An arms race, starting with France and Britain and expanding around the world with most nations investing in at least some torpedo boats, and later torpedo boat destroyers.

 

UhsPsxo.png

The destroyer by 1914 had evolved to a ship of approximately 1,000t, armed with 2-4 3in-4in guns and capable of speeds around 28-30kt. The type is exemplified by the British Acasta class (1,072t, 3x1 4in, 2x TT, 29kt), German V25 class (812t, 3x1 88mm, 6x TT, 33.5kt), French Ensigne Roux class (850t, 2x1 4in, 4x TT, 30kt) and American O’Brien class (1,050t, 4x1 4in, 8x TT, 29kt).

So, why Leaders?

 

The original torpedo boats had been small, coastal craft with limited need to coordinate aside from to sail out of port to attack an oncoming force. As Torpedo Boats morphed into destroyers they began to roam further offshore, and were deployed into larger and larger formations.

Coordinating and controlling larger and larger fleets of higher and higher speed vessels became a bigger issue as the 20th century moved on. Formations began to include more disparate ship types, with different roles. While at Trafalgar, most of the British and Franco-Spanish fleets were pretty comparable in capability – all ‘ships of the line’ with the exception of a few unengaged lighter ships – by 1914 a fleet might include battleships, destroyers and cruisers needing different tactics, capable of widely varying speed and zooming off into the distance at 30+kt instead of a sedate 8kt sail.

 

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IWM image Q 21143 showing HMS Daring, one of the first torpedo boat destroyers. Her wheelhouse is under the gun mount.

A command ship needed physical space to host the commander of an overall overall group – called in various nations a flotilla (used here), squadron, squadriglia, escadrilles or surai sentai, with subdivisions typical. The command ship needed better plotting and navigation facilities, and better signaling facilities both visual (flags, lights) and as it evolved, better wireless. The commander would need physical space for a staff and accommodation as well.

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The facilities of the destroyers around 1914-1918 were barely capable of commanding their own vessels – let alone commanding a flotilla of half a dozen or more ships, and coordinating with a squadron, detachment and overall Admiral. By Jutland for instance the British had 79 destroyers and the Germans 61 ‘large torpedo boats’ to coordinate over 10-15 miles of battlespace.

The Two Approaches – Destroyers as Leaders and Cruisers as Leaders

 

A flotilla leader had to fulfill a specific role meeting the general criteria as follows:

·         Sufficient size and space to host a commander, staff, improved signals equipment

  • ·         Tactical maneuverability (speed and ideally turning radius) to work alongside the flotilla without hobbling it
  • ·         Armament at least in line with the destroyer
  • ·         Relatively low cost

Additionally it was initially considered useful to include:

  • ·         Superior firepower
  • ·         Ability to act as a forceful ‘rally point’ in a confused engagement
  • ·         Greater than destroyer speed in order to ‘catch up’ or lead a redeployment

For the WWI era destroyers, with sizes and speeds increasing there were two real options to act as leaders which I’ll term Type 1 and Type 2:

Type 1 - Larger, modified destroyer designs displacing slightly more

Type 2 - Fast, light cruisers once cruiser speed caught up (or at least closed the distance) with destroyers

The main nations in WWI to invest in Destroyer Leaders of either Type 1 or 2 were the UK, Germany and to a lesser extent Japan, which laid down the Tenryu class cruisers in 1917. Italy built a mixture of destroyers and a few ‘leaders’ in the British style, though they had their own needs and ‘scout’ classifications.

The USA launched a large destroyer program during the war, the churning out of Wickes and Clemson class ships a precursor to WWII in a way, but didn’t bother much with leaders or cruisers – the 1919 Leader design was unfortunately cancelled by a scandalized US Congress, aghast at the thought of further spending after purchasing 250+ ships. The post-war Omaha class cruiser had high speed to scout and had very much secondary interoperability with destroyers. The French navy in WWI was incapable of any serious warship production of destroyers or otherwise, and post-war inherited a number of German cruisers and destroyers.

The British were quick to adopt the Type 1, destroyer-destroyer leaders, buying up 4 big Chilean destroyers in build and commissioning them as the Faulknor class (1,610t) and following with the Kempenfelt (1,440t), Parker (1,660t) and V-Leader (1,200t)  classes. These ships relieved valuable cruisers from the role, freeing them for scouting though some cruisers would remain in support of destroyers throughout the war and after. The Type 2 cruiser-destroyer leaders really came into their own with the Arethusa class (3,500t, 30kt) with earlier 25kt cruisers simply too slow to keep in touch. The following C-class cruisers (4,200t, 28-29kt) continued the role, working both with destroyers and in squadrons of cruisers as scouts. For instance HMS Champion led the 13th Destroyer Flotilla while 4 of her sister ships were part of the 4th Light Cruiser squadron.

 

OZ6vhC2.png
Cruiser SMS Rostock, flagship of 'I leader of Torpedoboats' at two of the three major North Sea battles of WWI

The Germans used a range of light cruisers to work with their destroyers, though they never developed specific ‘leader’ designs, the largest German destroyers of WWI (rather than torpedo boats) were generally ‘accidental’ reflecting requisitioned ships, or requisitioned Russian machinery. The cruiser Rostock was the Flagship of ‘I Leader of Torpedoboats’ at the Battle of Dogger Bank and later at Jutland where Kommodore Michelsen was in overall command of the torpedoboats. Rostock herself contributed to sinking two British destroyers before being torpedoed in the night melee and being scuttled, a mixed contribution. Interestingly her short-lived sister, Karlsruhe had a career almost entirely torpedo-boat free, acting as an ocean-raider after the outbreak of war.

Interwar

World War I ended with some naval destroyer forces in good shape, some looking for improvement and one largely scuttled at the bottom of Scapa Flow.

The British had moved to making the V-leader their new standard destroyer (as the V&W class destroyer), and had built larger still Shakespeare and Scott class Type 1 leaders to work with them (13 ships total). The later V&W class mounted 4 of the new 4.7in guns, and the Scott/Shakespeare leaders added a 5th gun. The ‘interwar standard’ type destroyers repeated this general pattern with 8 ‘A’ class led by the larger 5-gun Codrington, but the B, C and D class skipped dedicated 5-gun leaders. The British also largely stopped the practice of using C-class cruisers with destroyers on an operational day-to-day basis.     

The Americans as noted wanted a powerful 5in armed Leader but were thwarted, leaving them with large formations of ships without dedicated leaders to work with, but seem to have made the best of it. Squadrons of Clemson’s were typically led by the senior officers ship, with no significant differences. Squadron sizes varied considerably but were frequently up to 18 ships, in divisions of 4-6 units.  

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Schematic from John Jordan's 'Warships after Washington' showing the never-built US leader design. The US would wait until 1932 to lay down a smaller destroyer, the Farragut class.

The Japanese continued a trend of building fast light cruisers with destroyer operations in mind, including the Tenryu (3,950t, 33kt, 4x 140mm), Kuma (5,500t, 36kt, 7x 140mm) and Sendai (5,200T, 35.5kt, 7x1 140mm) classes. The later ships in particular were impressively high speed for cruisers and well-armed for the time with torpedo tubes supplementing a mid-sized gun outfit. The Japanese light cruisers were incrementally upgraded as time went on, gaining a new innovation – catapult aircraft – although losing speed as they aged. The Japanese destroyers were organized into 16-ship squadrons, sub-divided into 4-ship divisions led by a light cruiser. Although Japanese destroyer sizes would skyrocket from the 1,300t Mutsuki class to the 1,700t Special-Type Fubuki class in 1928, doctrine wise they remained destroyers, with the cruisers as leaders.

Roqt6fM.png
Top - plan of the Battle of the Java Sea from J. Cox's 'Rising Sun, Falling Skies' with two Japanese cruiser-type leaders circled.
Bottom - cruiser and leader Jintsu, showing low silhouette, anti-destroyer 140mm guns, torpedoes and a lean and speedy appearance

 

The French Navy, recovering after being a very low priority during WWI, and beset with shortages (and the German occupation of key industrial areas) started a program post-war of very large destroyers, the famous ‘contre-torpilleurs’ and more normal sized ‘torpilleur d’escadre’. The first contre-torpilleurs, the Chacal class of 1922 were over 2,100t making them significantly larger than the British ‘Leaders’ and the never built 1,940t US 1919 design, let alone a 1,200t Clemson – though still significantly smaller than cruisers. The Chacal’s were armed with five heavy 130mm guns, but doctrinally were intended for service in two, three-ship squadrons (one for the Atlantic, and one for the Mediterranean) with an emphasis on scouting, rather than acting as ‘leaders’ for smaller destroyers. The smaller, ‘torpilleur d’escadre’ lineage started with the 1,300t Bourrasque class.

Italy was primarily in a naval rivalry with France and post-WWI the former allies rapidly engaged in an arms race.  Similarly to the French the Italians moved to diverging destroyer designs, starting with a series of fairly normal destroyer classes – the Curatone, Sella, Turbine, Freccia and Folgore classes, with an armament based on two twin gun mounts (4in, then 4.7in) and two triple torpedo tubes saw incremental increases in size, from 950t to 1,400t, and a range of other improvements.

Similarly to France, Italy looked also at larger, more powerful and gun-oriented destroyer types, christened esploratori leggeri or more literally ‘light scouts’. The first of these were the Leone class, large ships at 2,150t standard they were heavily armed with eight 4.7in guns and completed in 1924. Following the Leone class were the Navigatori, smaller (1,900t) ships with six 4.7in guns but rated for 38kt, coming into service in 1929-1931. Unlike France, Italy also reversed the approach and started looking at very lightweight scouting cruisers, beginning the Condotierri series in 1928, with the Alberto di Giussano class (5,150t) – armed with a ‘traditional’ light cruiser armament of 4x2 6in guns, but almost unarmored and remarkably fast at over 36kt.

The Italian approach to leading destroyers seems to have been largely similar to the French (i.e. not), however in the early 1930’s Navigatori did ‘lead’ other destroyers, with one leading squadrons of Freccia (4-ships) and Folgore (4-ships) class destroyers, and another leading squadrons (2x4) of Turbine class destroyers.

 

 

yx6Tolr.png
A representative spread of inter-war destroyer flotillas. An 8-destoyer plus leader formation was relatively common, with 4-ship divisions. The Japanese used Rear Admirals based on their cruisers as dedicated flagships.

The London Naval Treaty (1930)

The London Naval Treaty had imposed a total restriction on battleship building, and qualitative - though not quantitative - maximums on cruisers but had not restricted the quality or numbers of destroyers, destroyer leaders  (so long as they didn’t grow larger than 10,000t…) or smaller cruisers. Destroyers had grown generally across the board with huge leaps in size for the Franco-Italian race and, of course the new Japanese ‘Special Type’ Fubuki class.  

The London Naval Treaty differed hugely from the Washington, it included new qualitative limits for the tonnage of submarines, and for the UK, USA and Japan imposed limits on total cruiser tonnage, total destroyer tonnage and qualitative destroyer size. Italy and France remained exempt (and kept doing what they had been doing) and Germany, the USSR and others were simply not in the Treaty system.

For Japan, the USA and UK destroyer gun size was limited to 130mm/5.1in, and individual ship sizes restrained:

·         84% of destroyers were limited to 1,500t

·         16% of destroyers could be 1,500-1,850t

Total ‘fleet’ limits were also imposed, to 150,000t of destroyers for the US and UK and 105,500t for Japan. Japan would also suffer the double whammy of effectively using all its ‘leader’ tonnage already, and would have to downsize new construction, while the US and UK having usually built smaller destroyers would now be ‘restricted’ to larger ships. Diplomacy in action.

 

KzVy5IC.png

The British approach to having new ‘Destroyer Leader sized’ or 1,850t ships was particularly ironic. The Tribal Class destroyers were developed from a small 10x 4.7in armed light-light cruiser design, into a powerful destroyer with good gun firepower, but only 4 torpedoes. The 16 British Tribals were designed from the outset to operate in two flotillas, one for the Home and one for the Mediterranean fleet, with each 8-ship flotilla divided into two 4-ship divisions. They were intended for scouting and destroyer-fighting and to therefore had little to do with other destroyers. The standard British destroyer of 1930, the C&D class was about 1,400t and the non-leader tonnage leaders squeezed into 1,500t – thus the 1,850t represented a tactical indulgence.

 

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HMS Codrington (left) a classic British 'leader' though at 1,500t not using the tonnage allowed under the LNT. HMS Ashanti, a Tribal Class shows the use the British put their 'leader' tonnage allowance to - non-leaders.

The Americans took a different approach with their 1,850t limit ships and started building powerful ships intended to take full advantage of the greater size to work alongside their destroyers as traditional leaders, providing firepower, command and control and general authority. The first class constructed were the eight Porter class ships, like the Tribal class they mounted a heavy 8-gun broadside, but carried twice the torpedo outfit at 8 tubes, and a set of reloads too. They differed from the other modern US Destroyers which mounted 5in guns in dual-purpose mounts by having low-angle single-purpose mountings to save weight, partially compensating by adding two quadruple 1.1in machine guns. The ships built did operate as leaders and as lone ships, with DesRon 1 of a Porter and 8 Farraguts, DesRon 2 initially a Somers and 8 mixed Sims/Benham, DesRon 3 a Porter and 8 Mahan, DesRon 4 a Porter and 8 Bagleys etc. In total in 1941, 5 of the 1,850t leaders were deployed as leaders, though 4 squadrons were led by ‘normal’ destroyers.

 

p8uCAXC.png
USS Phelps, a Porter-class destroyer leader. The original 4x2 design proved too much for a 1,850t ship and with the focus moving more to Anti-Aircraft they were rebuilt wth five dual-purpose guns

The Soviet Union and Germany, though not a participant in the Washington or London Naval Treaties did suffer some influence from them.

Germany signed the short-lived ‘Anglo-German Naval Agreement’ in 1935 which promised to meet the qualitative limits of the Treaties and limited the German Navy to 35% of the Royal Navy. However, Germany was not party to the destroyer qualitative or quantitative restrictions and in the 1930’s laid down very large (>2,400t) destroyers in the Type 1934, 1936 and various ‘A’ and ‘mob’ types with no dedicated leaders.

The Soviet Union in the 1930’s built as its first destroyers since the Isyaslav’s of 1917 the Leningrad (Projekt 1) and improved Minsk (Projekt 48…) classes of leader. The Leningrad class were large (~2,000t), fast, and powerfully armed with five 130mm guns, arranged ABQXY with the middle gun between funnel and bridge. Two were built for the Black Sea, and 1 for the Baltic Fleet, which was a high ratio of ‘leaders’ to extant destroyers, however the USSR from 1935 began to build large numbers of the Project 7 and 7U destroyers, total production ran to 47 ships in the 1,650-1,900t category, and would have been followed with 30+ Ognevoi class ships. Leader production continued with the Italian-built Tashkent, and she was intended to have 3 sisters split between Black and Baltic fleets. All the Soviet Leaders put into service were of overall large, unarmored destroyer design with 130mm guns and an emphasis on high speed. The overall ratio of planned leaders to destroyers varied, but there would have been approximately 9 leaders for 80+ modern destroyers, with the later Kiev class large/leader adding more numbers.

The Last Cruiser Type 'Destroyer Leaders / Destroyer Playmates'

 

While the London Naval Treaty had for the first time laid down a criteria for ‘leader’ or at least codified restrictions on two sizes of destroyers, it had no real impact on the Type 2, cruiser-as-destroyer-leader category except from to overall limit cruiser fleets of the three Part III signatories.

The three largest Treaty powers each designed and built cruisers with an intended destroyer-leading role (among other design goals) in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.

 

gXqLczy.png

The British built two classes of small cruiser with work with destroyers in mind, the Arethusa class of 1935-1936 were fairly traditional small cruisers, armed with 3x2 6in guns on a pretty traditional hull of about 5,300t capable of 32kt and with fairly light armor. In particular, the 4th ship Aurora was designed as the command ship for the Rear Admiral in charge of RN Home Fleet Destroyers RA(D). The Arethusa’s were nearly 3x larger than the largest British Tribal class destroyers and although small are very much cruisers, by design, by treaty and by use. During WWII the Aurora would lead destroyers after the Bismarck, and Arethusa class ships would work with small numbers of destroyers in composite formations as Force K out of Malta in late 1941.

Following the Arethusa class and ironically coming out of studies which also resulted in the Tribal class, were the Dido class cruisers. The Dido class were again small cruisers, though still very much cruisers at 5,450t (as designed) were intended to be significantly smaller than the 10,000t cruisers which were de rigueur at the time. A small cruiser maneuvered better, presented a smaller target and could still host the larger command staff, while greater firepower to act as a ‘rally point’ was desired, and was achieved through inclusion of 10 dual-purpose 5.25in guns sized for optimal anti-destroyer work. Operationally the Dido class ships would typically operate in squadrons together, as well as with destroyers though not in a traditional ‘leader’ role – a new Force K would include a mix of three Dido class and four destroyers in another composite formation. It’s hard to argue that each cruiser was ‘leading’ 1.3 destroyers, and the destroyers retained a Captain in command of the flotilla onboard HMS Jervis.

 


Agano.thumb.jpg.e09c6faebc368bd7abd43d49304b4191.jpg
The beautiful Japanese Agano

The Americans adhered particularly strongly to the ‘bigger is better’ cruiser strategy, building to the 10,000t limit for every heavy cruiser and then every light cruiser post London until the Atlanta class lain down in 1940, well after the collapse of the Treaty system. The Atlanta class were smaller than any previous US Light (or Heavy) Cruiser at about 6,600t. Superficially there were some similarities in design to the Dido class, with smaller caliber (in this case the 5in/38) guns, and a triple-superfiring arrangement forward, but the total broadside was 14 guns rather than 10. Like the Dido and Arethusa class and unlike any US or British destroyers the Atlanta invested in moderate armor protection, intended to provide some resistance to destroyer-caliber shells. Operationally the Atlanta’s were, like the Dido’s intended to bolster fleet air defense and in theory could provide a protective umbrella to other ships. Operationally the Atlanta’s operated generally like cruisers in screening larger ships, and generally like cruisers in their surface actions. At the first Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, the Atlanta (with Admiral Scott on board) and Juneau grouped with three other cruisers in the middle of the US line with a vanguard and rearguard of destroyers. As Guadalcanal led to the loss of both Atlanta class there, there were no further significant surface actions for the class and they typically acted as cruisers after that.

Japan, which had stuck strongly with the Type 2 ‘cruiser-type leader’ through the 1920’s and 1930’s wanted to replace the aging <6,000t light cruisers they’d used consistently for that purpose. The resulting design was the Agano class, with four ships lain down in 1940-1942. The Agano’s are detailed in superlative detail by _Sarcasticat_ here:

https://forum.worldofwarships.com/topic/192183-historical-analysis-japanese-agano-class-light-cruiser-yahagi/

Of note with the Agano class is that they were about the same size as Atlanta, but had some very specific work-with-destroyer features, including remarkably high speed - generating 100,000 SHP for 35kt compared to the British Dido at 62,000 for 32kt and the Atlanta’s 75,000 SHP for 32.5kt. They also maintained a pair of center-line torpedo launchers (broadside 8) with reloads to add torpedo firepower, while the Dido had only triple tubes port and starboard, and the Atlanta similar quads. On the downside the 6in armament was old-fashioned, and old guns (recycled from the Kongo class). Operationally the Agano’s although arriving late into WWII did take over from the older light cruisers leading destroyer squadrons, including Yahagi with five destroyers at Leyte Gulf, and would be the leader for DesRon 2, flying the flag of Admiral Komamura when in April 1945 her Suraisentai sailed with Yamato to her death. Yahagi and half the destroyers going with her.

The End for Destroyer Leaders

World war II saw the complete collapse of the interwar Treaty system and it’s carefully specified ship designations, but the war itself fundamentally changed naval warfare. The culmination of WWI at sea had been – from a naval theory perspective – Jutland. In World War II, there were no more Jutlands.

Warfare changed, even between the major powers to a more air-focused conflict, with dispersed and usually smaller naval forces. The great clash of battlefleets with dozens of destroyers needing to be led into battle would clearly never repeat, and even the torpedo itself was looking like it had a limited future given better and better long range gunnery and radar to complicate a night torpedo attack.

Furthermore, as the Treaties evaporated and larger and larger destroyers became the norm, the need for dedicated larger leaders seems to have evaporated. The American 1,850t Porter class leader was bigger and better suited than the 1,450t Farraguts to provide command and control, but unshackled from individual size restraints the 1940’s 2,200t Fletcher class were significantly more spacious, and a far cry from the first Torpedo Boat Destroyers of the 1910’s. Although the unique USS Norfolk was built as a ‘leader’ post-war, she was redesignated a frigate and was a large ASW-centric ship.

The British had stopped the practice of building slightly-larger 5-gun leaders in the late 1930’s and of the modern, and usually larger 1,700t+ classes from the JKN’s onward had one ship slightly modified with more accommodation, by 1952 had 2,800t Daring class, no dedicated leaders required, even if money had been available.

The Germans had gone to big destroyers and seemingly not needed or wanted leaders from the 1930’s. The Italians went big with the Capitani Romani super-destroyers and the French likewise had super-destroyers, but post-war went with large, balanced and unled T-47 class in the torpilleur d’escadre vein. The Soviet Union which had flirted with leaders pre-war built balanced >2,200t Projekt 30 ships, and gave up on completing a new generation of leaders.  

Today most Navies operate the successors of destroyers as air-defense or multi-purpose combatants. Numbers across the board are fairly low, and the ships are now solidly in the realm of WWII cruiser size. There are no leaders, and flotilla’s are usually administrative rather than combat formations.

 

Note I'd like to say thanks to @Shikikaze and @Phoenix_jz for some input on the use and composition of Japanese and Italian destroyer forces in particular.

Edited by mofton
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Pretty dope my dude. 

 

Note: Germany had gone big, and they produced ships that could theoretically have been leaders (Type 1937, Spahkreuzer 1938, 39, and 40, etc)  if they had been build and then organized that way. Much in the similar way Agano or the older IJN cruisers led their DesRons. 

Edited by _Sarcasticat_
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Yeah, the Atlanta's fared poorly in a surface engagement.  Wikipedia says that the USN lost 3 Light Cruisers in all of WWII.  2 of them were Atlantas.  The 3rd was Brooklyn-class Helena.  After that early dismal showing in Guadalcanal, you never saw Atlanta-class or her derivatives engage in surface combat anymore.  Just acting as AA Dakka Botes.

 

Atlanta-class CL San Diego would be one of the most decorated US ships of WWII.

 

I would have liked to have seen the game's IJN CLs be more stealthy and able to operate more closely with the DDs they were supposed to work with.  Their concealment is too poor right now for that style of play and they're almost all in low tier, unable to lead the DD-classes that they actually did in WWII.

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3 hours ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

Yeah, the Atlanta's fared poorly in a surface engagement.  Wikipedia says that the USN lost 3 Light Cruisers in all of WWII.  2 of them were Atlantas.  The 3rd was Brooklyn-class Helena.  After that early dismal showing in Guadalcanal, you never saw Atlanta-class or her derivatives engage in surface combat anymore.  Just acting as AA Dakka Botes.

 

Atlanta-class CL San Diego would be one of the most decorated US ships of WWII.

 

I would have liked to have seen the game's IJN CLs be more stealthy and able to operate more closely with the DDs they were supposed to work with.  Their concealment is too poor right now for that style of play and they're almost all in low tier, unable to lead the DD-classes that they actually did in WWII.

Exactly, and the reason why I feel Yahagi should have been repurposed with additional stealth and a focus on counter-DD play. Maybe ASM0 - there's not fixing those ballistics or a good reason to increase the reload - to help land dependable shots on DD's at closer ranges. 

Quickly thought up idea from a while back and haven't put much effort into it, but there are other designs (Agano with 15.5cm, as was the original plan) I might be able to apply this to.

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It's interesting to note that the Somers and Porter class of destroyer leaders were built with 4 twin 5"/38 surface fire gun mounts, unique to those classes.  They were also given smaller torpedo batteries and originally had tripod masts with spotting tops installed.

1200px-USS_Porter_(DD-356)_off_Yorktown,

As you can see, they look almost like small cruisers in silhouette.

Their single purpose main battery relegated them almost entirely to the Atlantic Fleet during WW 2 where the lack of AA firepower wasn't a big issue.  The top hamper of those masts was quickly cut down and the main battery replaced by 4  (two twin) 5"/38 or that plus an additional single mount 5"/38.

The Porter class by 1943

 ban_361clark.jpg

360A.jpg

The Porter class by 1944 - 45  Such was the weight difference between a 5"/38 twin DP mount and the earlier twin 5"/38 SP mount.  Thus, by 1944, these 1850 ton destroyer "leaders" were better suited for upgrading with the "emergency" Kamikaze antiaircraft suites of more 40mm and 20mm guns than the contemporary 1500 ton destroyer classes that were now badly overloaded.

 

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I remember when Somers was added into WoWS and I saw her strange guns, I did a double take :Smile_popcorn:

The fact they weren't dual purpose guns was real strange by the USN considering all their newer DDs had DP guns.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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On 9/28/2020 at 4:21 PM, Murotsu said:

It's interesting to note that the Somers and Porter class of destroyer leaders were built with 4 twin 5"/38 surface fire gun mounts, unique to those classes.  They were also given smaller torpedo batteries and originally had tripod masts with spotting tops installed.

Very interesting, until reading John Jordan's Warships after Washington I didn't know too much about the development and background of these ships. To quote him they did look at a design for a 6x DP gun ship with some armor but it was rejected. The irony of them ending up with 5 guns is pretty profound. I do wonder what the 6-gun with armor version would be like, it might be fascinating as an in-WOWS ship. See below quotation:

 

Spoiler

General Board still seemed to hold to the view that the Leader would have a similar armament to the Farraguts, but would have light protection for the bridge and the machinery, and improved sea-keeping and stability. However, when C& R presented the Board with a design that had a similar torpedo armament to the Farraguts and six 5in/ 38 single DP mountings, concern was expressed that the limited gain in firepower (one 5in gun) at a cost of 450 tons in displacement could not be justified. In the end it was decided to arm the ships with eight 5in/38 guns in low-angle twin mountings, and to compensate for the reduction in air defence capability by fitting a quadruple 1.1in mounting – then under development as the US counterpart to the RN’s 2pdr pom-pom – fore and aft.

Eight Leaders of the Porter class were authorised under FY1933, and they were to be followed by five ships of the Somers class (two under FY1934, three under FY1935). The latter were initially to have been repeats of the Porter class, but the General Board compounded its initial error by demanding that the torpedo reloads of the Porters be replaced by a third quadruple bank of torpedo tubes. This required the trunking of the boiler uptakes into a single broad funnel to create the necessary centre-line space. By this time the ships were seriously overweight; the after Mk 35 director was suppressed and the tripods replaced by simple pole masts. However, this still left no margin of weight or stability, and this would become a serious problem when it became clear during the Second World War that AA capabilities would have to be enhanced. When completed the Porters would be employed in their designed role as leaders of the destroyer flotillas. However, their single-purpose main battery was found to be of limited use during the Pacific War; initially No. 3 gun mounting would be landed and replaced by light anti-aircraft weapons, and in 1944 they would be completely rearmed with five dual-purpose guns – ironically one fewer than the General Board had rejected as inadequate in 1932! The Somers class, which had even more serious stability problems, had one bank of tubes as well as No. 3 mounting removed, and would be similarly rebuilt late in the war.

John Jordan. Warships After London. Seaforth Publishing.

 

On 9/27/2020 at 6:20 PM, _Sarcasticat_ said:

Note: Germany had gone big, and they produced ships that could theoretically have been leaders (Type 1937, Spahkreuzer 1938, 39, and 40, etc)  if they had been build and then organized that way. Much in the similar way Agano or the older IJN cruisers led their DesRons. 

Thanks for the kind words, I thought about giving them a mention if only to look at the planned doctrine but I wasn't really sure enough to say if they'd ever work together. The Spahkreuzer's seemed to have their pretty dedicated scoutng purpose in mind but I'm sure if needed like the Agano's or Arethusa's they could slot in, in a way they're more compatible than some cruisers thanks to their high base speed.

 

I was half thinking of a section comparing the pros and cons of the cruiser-role and destroyer-type leaders, and the use of leaders at all.

The British system suffered a lot early war - for instance of the leaders for the interwar standard classes (A, E, F, G, H and I) attrition in 1940 was pretty high with Codrington, Exmouth, Grenville and Hardy all lost, but lots of their flotillas usually remaining. There's a huge contrast between the nice tactically homogeneous 2nd Destroyer flotilla of 8 H-class attacking Narvik in 1940 all neatly and say Operation Halberd where the British 11th Destroyer flotilla comprised Bedouin (Tribal), Ithuriel (interwar I), Partridge (Intermediate OP) and then Marne and Matchless (L&M's). War and attrition spoil nice plans.

There's a frequent tactical compatibility issue that comes up, maneuvering cruisers and destroyers in formation doesn't seem to have been too easy, and there is a turning radius limitation, though apparently Codrington handled like a pig compared to the A-class so was a pain in the neck despite being a destroyer.

Using a cruiser is usually using a much more expensive asset, I'd be very interested to know what an Agano cost compared to a Kagero for instance. I know from Friedman that a Dido class cruiser cost about £3m and a JKN class destroyer about £650,000, and Hardy £540,000 so you could trade them at a rate of about 4.5:1 on cost (though interestingly the cruiser needs about 500 men vs. about 800 for 4x destroyers). On the plus side the cruisers used as leaders would be much less susceptible to the single debilitating destroyer-caliber gun hit which could ruin practically any unarmored destroyer's day.

I'm also fairly curious as to how the Soviet 'armored leaders' would have done, though the price point I'm sure would be interesting. The Japanese light cruisers were probably hugely cost effective given the long lives and decent performance. The US leaders were probably quite disastrous overall from a cost efficiency perspective.

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10 hours ago, mofton said:

Very interesting, until reading John Jordan's Warships after Washington I didn't know too much about the development and background of these ships. To quote him they did look at a design for a 6x DP gun ship with some armor but it was rejected. The irony of them ending up with 5 guns is pretty profound. I do wonder what the 6-gun with armor version would be like, it might be fascinating as an in-WOWS ship. See below quotation:

 

Friedman has some line drawings of this ship in US Cruisers.  It is referred to as a "cruiser-destroyer."  The design was to have either 5"/54 guns or 6"/47's.  The 6" was accepted for the design as these only added a small amount of tonnage.  The sketch design looks a lot like an enlarged destroyer hull with two stacks and two superimposed turrets (twin 6") forward and aft.  Just aft of the twin stacks is an area for a catapult and storage of two floatplanes.  2 triple torpedo tube mounts are amidships on each side.

An alternative would have had a more compact superstructure with one stack and 1.1" mounts forward and aft added with the catapult arrangements on the stern of the ship with no torpedo tubes fitted.

In both 3/4" to 1" armor would be fitted to include an armored deck, belt, and covering the turrets / gun houses.

This would have made them rough equivalents to the British Penelope class or Russian Tashkent class.

It didn't get built because it was really too much destroyer and not enough cruiser so-to-speak.

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2 hours ago, Murotsu said:

Friedman has some line drawings of this ship in US Cruisers.  It is referred to as a "cruiser-destroyer." 

That sounds very interesting, but are you sure it's the same lineage as the pre-Somers?

That ship you describe with 5in/54 or 6in's and 8 of them, plus armor, catapults and floatplanes - sounds like a heck of a lot more than 1,850t unless you're pretty ingenious. You could use cruiser tonnage for a 'cruiser-destroyer' but I'd expect a different background?

 

I may have to get Friedman's US cruisers now it's reprinted in paperback and less extortionately expensive, though it'd be nice on Kindle for cheaper still.

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8 hours ago, mofton said:

That sounds very interesting, but are you sure it's the same lineage as the pre-Somers?

That ship you describe with 5in/54 or 6in's and 8 of them, plus armor, catapults and floatplanes - sounds like a heck of a lot more than 1,850t unless you're pretty ingenious. You could use cruiser tonnage for a 'cruiser-destroyer' but I'd expect a different background?

 

I may have to get Friedman's US cruisers now it's reprinted in paperback and less extortionately expensive, though it'd be nice on Kindle for cheaper still.

What Friedmann says is that the US Navy's Construction and Repair bureau determined it was cheaper and more effective to build the leaders at 1850 tons they did produce than to build a slightly larger small cruiser for no appreciable increase in firepower or accommodations.  The proposed armor was seen as largely worthless being as light as it would have been.  Their bottom line was the 1850 ton destroyers were a better buy so the "cruiser-destroyer" got nixed.

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On 9/30/2020 at 12:26 AM, mofton said:

Very interesting, until reading John Jordan's Warships after Washington I didn't know too much about the development and background of these ships. To quote him they did look at a design for a 6x DP gun ship with some armor but it was rejected. The irony of them ending up with 5 guns is pretty profound. I do wonder what the 6-gun with armor version would be like, it might be fascinating as an in-WOWS ship. See below quotation:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

General Board still seemed to hold to the view that the Leader would have a similar armament to the Farraguts, but would have light protection for the bridge and the machinery, and improved sea-keeping and stability. However, when C& R presented the Board with a design that had a similar torpedo armament to the Farraguts and six 5in/ 38 single DP mountings, concern was expressed that the limited gain in firepower (one 5in gun) at a cost of 450 tons in displacement could not be justified. In the end it was decided to arm the ships with eight 5in/38 guns in low-angle twin mountings, and to compensate for the reduction in air defence capability by fitting a quadruple 1.1in mounting – then under development as the US counterpart to the RN’s 2pdr pom-pom – fore and aft.

Eight Leaders of the Porter class were authorised under FY1933, and they were to be followed by five ships of the Somers class (two under FY1934, three under FY1935). The latter were initially to have been repeats of the Porter class, but the General Board compounded its initial error by demanding that the torpedo reloads of the Porters be replaced by a third quadruple bank of torpedo tubes. This required the trunking of the boiler uptakes into a single broad funnel to create the necessary centre-line space. By this time the ships were seriously overweight; the after Mk 35 director was suppressed and the tripods replaced by simple pole masts. However, this still left no margin of weight or stability, and this would become a serious problem when it became clear during the Second World War that AA capabilities would have to be enhanced. When completed the Porters would be employed in their designed role as leaders of the destroyer flotillas. However, their single-purpose main battery was found to be of limited use during the Pacific War; initially No. 3 gun mounting would be landed and replaced by light anti-aircraft weapons, and in 1944 they would be completely rearmed with five dual-purpose guns – ironically one fewer than the General Board had rejected as inadequate in 1932! The Somers class, which had even more serious stability problems, had one bank of tubes as well as No. 3 mounting removed, and would be similarly rebuilt late in the war.

John Jordan. Warships After London. Seaforth Publishing.

 

Thanks for the kind words, I thought about giving them a mention if only to look at the planned doctrine but I wasn't really sure enough to say if they'd ever work together. The Spahkreuzer's seemed to have their pretty dedicated scoutng purpose in mind but I'm sure if needed like the Agano's or Arethusa's they could slot in, in a way they're more compatible than some cruisers thanks to their high base speed.

 

I was half thinking of a section comparing the pros and cons of the cruiser-role and destroyer-type leaders, and the use of leaders at all.

The British system suffered a lot early war - for instance of the leaders for the interwar standard classes (A, E, F, G, H and I) attrition in 1940 was pretty high with Codrington, Exmouth, Grenville and Hardy all lost, but lots of their flotillas usually remaining. There's a huge contrast between the nice tactically homogeneous 2nd Destroyer flotilla of 8 H-class attacking Narvik in 1940 all neatly and say Operation Halberd where the British 11th Destroyer flotilla comprised Bedouin (Tribal), Ithuriel (interwar I), Partridge (Intermediate OP) and then Marne and Matchless (L&M's). War and attrition spoil nice plans.

There's a frequent tactical compatibility issue that comes up, maneuvering cruisers and destroyers in formation doesn't seem to have been too easy, and there is a turning radius limitation, though apparently Codrington handled like a pig compared to the A-class so was a pain in the neck despite being a destroyer.

Using a cruiser is usually using a much more expensive asset, I'd be very interested to know what an Agano cost compared to a Kagero for instance. I know from Friedman that a Dido class cruiser cost about £3m and a JKN class destroyer about £650,000, and Hardy £540,000 so you could trade them at a rate of about 4.5:1 on cost (though interestingly the cruiser needs about 500 men vs. about 800 for 4x destroyers). On the plus side the cruisers used as leaders would be much less susceptible to the single debilitating destroyer-caliber gun hit which could ruin practically any unarmored destroyer's day.

I'm also fairly curious as to how the Soviet 'armored leaders' would have done, though the price point I'm sure would be interesting. The Japanese light cruisers were probably hugely cost effective given the long lives and decent performance. The US leaders were probably quite disastrous overall from a cost efficiency perspective.

I forsee them giving additional firepower to 12.8cm/45 armed destroyers, but realistically they would very likely be employed with any Zerstorer group as necessary. Ironically they would be a better fit as leaders compared to Japanese designs - they have speed (and will maintain that speed over their careers as their only serious point of upgrade is in AA and torpedo tubes can be removed to facilitate that), a low enough maximum displacement, and aren't too expensive and provide more appreciable firepower at least compared to 12.8cm Zerstorers. Though, the lack of armor would make it difficult to resist 4-4.7" gunfire, which is most likely why it was applied onto the 1939 and 1940 variants. Though of course now you're getting far too heavy and too close to the preceding Kreuzer M design and that's exactly why anything past a slightly revised (in terms of AA armaments) Spahkreuzer 38 was not to follow in construction. Now that I think about it, the Spahkreuzers are on an eerily similar level to 5,500-ton IJN cruisers, though they have more in common with actual cruisers than Spahkreuzer. It's "kreuzer" in name only, it's more of just a large Zerstorer but at least they're in the same spectrum. 

In terms of actually maneuvering with the Zerstorers, I think Spahkreuzer will absolutely do just fine due to their aforementioned nature. 

In my historical analysis of the Agano I note the allotted cost per ship of the class, and I'm sure somewhere in the IJN cruiser bible it lists the actual cost of each. No doubt the gulf would be much wider than, say, a Type 1936B to SP1 thru 3. Spahkreuzers, it seems, are just the next step from a Type 1936A Mob. 

Their Armor Leaders or Scouts (assuming they would be basing it more off of the Italian UP 39/Paolo Emilio design which they had purchased) would definitely have made life hell for their opponents. IJN DD's? Clapped. 12.8cm armed nose-fuse Zerstorers? Clapped. Their only real worry would be from threats like, well, Type 1936A Mob and Spahkreuzers. Based on their intended possible standard displacement, they might actually cost less than their German counterparts despite actually having armor. 

 

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10 hours ago, _Sarcasticat_ said:

Their Armor Leaders or Scouts (assuming they would be basing it more off of the Italian UP 39/Paolo Emilio design which they had purchased)

We don’t know what the actual Ansaldo proposal looked like. The SHP was probably significantly less. Armament was probably at best twin 120mm mounts but more likely deferred to the VMF arming the ship. Given the RM was straining for quality armor plates by the time this tender was open I’m skeptical about that aspect. Couple that with what is sacrificed to effectively armor against a German 128mm or Japanese 127mm in an appreciable manner? 

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16 hours ago, SinqueScheiDeMona said:

We don’t know what the actual Ansaldo proposal looked like. The SHP was probably significantly less. Armament was probably at best twin 120mm mounts but more likely deferred to the VMF arming the ship. Given the RM was straining for quality armor plates by the time this tender was open I’m skeptical about that aspect. Couple that with what is sacrificed to effectively armor against a German 128mm or Japanese 127mm in an appreciable manner? 

We don't know what it looks like, but that doesn't matter. Paolo Emilio in-game meets the design speed requirement exactly, and has a rather realistic HP from a theoretical "full displacement". Considering UP39 was made around 1936, it would not have had 135's yet. That is fine considering the ship was going to be armed with 130mm/50 B13's anyway. I do believe this SHP number though, it's not far off from the 110,000 shp rated on Tashkent, which could be upped to 130,000 shp. Cavitation is undoubtedly occurring at such high shp on just a 2-shaft design, but from 135,000 shp rated this ship should be able to reach 43.5 knots for a period before the propellers die. Capitani Romani's, of a similar standard displacement, are said to have reached 43 knots in service also on 110,000 shp. It would make sense, with Italy thinking of utilizing this 135k shp plant before realizing it would cause excessive cavitation at high power and switching to a safer 110,000 shp for the following Capitani Romani's. 

As for an Italian armament, it would no doubt be 120mm guns at first - the 135's don't exist yet - but there's no reason that the ships could not have been refit with the 135mm guns. 

I don't know enough about RM armor quality in the mid-1930's to even tell you anything. I'm leaving this to @Phoenix_jz. It hasn't sacrificed much though, based on Paolo's appearance, but I worry about topweight. Though if it were VMF armed around the same time as Tashkent, it would still be a formidable ship with x8 130mm/50 and definitely not have suffered topweight issues. 

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6 hours ago, _Sarcasticat_ said:

Paolo Emilio in-game meets the design speed requirement exactly,

So you and Lesta are the only one with information. Please do share. 
 

135000 shp using two boiler rooms and two propellers on a hull form similar to a Capitàni Romani class(110000) is realistic? Then on top of it including a not so small amount of armor. Disregarding the shp needed to reach increasing speeds is not linear that is still taking the piss. 

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In the US Navy the leader / scout concept didn't die a quick death with WW 2.  It continued to be experimented with in ways such as several Fletcher class getting catapults and a float plane in place of half the torpedo tubes and #3 gun mount.  I guess you can afford to do such experiments when you have hundreds of destroyers available and more on the way...

ban_480halford.jpg

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4 hours ago, Sparviero said:

So you and Lesta are the only one with information. Please do share. 
 

135000 shp using two boiler rooms and two propellers on a hull form similar to a Capitàni Romani class(110000) is realistic? Then on top of it including a not so small amount of armor. Disregarding the shp needed to reach increasing speeds is not linear that is still taking the piss. 

There's a short mention in McLaughlin's 'Russian and Soviet Battleships' about a design UP39 from Ansaldo with the only real information being given as "an 'armored scout' of 3,700t capable of 43.5kt". 

I don't think it's particularly realistic (not the only thing) but it was apparently a thought. It doesn't really make any sense doctrine wise or technically. Export designs often don't fit the navy of the country the private yard is in. 

1 hour ago, Murotsu said:

In the US Navy the leader / scout concept didn't die a quick death with WW 2.  It continued to be experimented with in ways such as several Fletcher class getting catapults and a float plane in place of half the torpedo tubes and #3 gun mount.  I guess you can afford to do such experiments when you have hundreds of destroyers available and more on the way...

ban_480halford.jpg

Pringle and her sisters are an interesting case. Leaders did frequently want to bring the plane along, but we're typically bigger. 

I wouldn't say a plane makes a leader, unless the Pringle was the command ship of whichever DesRon she was assigned to? The Dutch had seaplanes on their Admiralen class destroyers far earlier, but with them all having them it's hard to say 'leaders'. 

On 10/1/2020 at 7:33 PM, _Sarcasticat_ said:

I forsee them giving additional firepower to 12.8cm/45 armed destroyers, but realistically they would very likely be employed with any Zerstorer group as necessary. Ironically they would be a better fit as leaders compared to Japanese designs - they have speed (and will maintain that speed over their careers as their only serious point of upgrade is in AA and torpedo tubes can be removed to facilitate that), a low enough maximum displacement, and aren't too expensive and provide more appreciable firepower at least compared to 12.8cm Zerstorers. Though, the lack of armor would make it difficult to resist 4-4.7" gunfire, which is most likely why it was applied onto the 1939 and 1940 variants. Though of course now you're getting far too heavy and too close to the preceding Kreuzer M design and that's exactly why anything past a slightly revised (in terms of AA armaments) Spahkreuzer 38 was not to follow in construction. Now that I think about it, the Spahkreuzers are on an eerily similar level to 5,500-ton IJN cruisers, though they have more in common with actual cruisers than Spahkreuzer. It's "kreuzer" in name only, it's more of just a large Zerstorer but at least they're in the same spectrum. 

In terms of actually maneuvering with the Zerstorers, I think Spahkreuzer will absolutely do just fine due to their aforementioned nature. 

In my historical analysis of the Agano I note the allotted cost per ship of the class, and I'm sure somewhere in the IJN cruiser bible it lists the actual cost of each. No doubt the gulf would be much wider than, say, a Type 1936B to SP1 thru 3. Spahkreuzers, it seems, are just the next step from a Type 1936A Mob. 

Their Armor Leaders or Scouts (assuming they would be basing it more off of the Italian UP 39/Paolo Emilio design which they had purchased) would definitely have made life hell for their opponents. IJN DD's? Clapped. 12.8cm armed nose-fuse Zerstorers? Clapped. Their only real worry would be from threats like, well, Type 1936A Mob and Spahkreuzers. Based on their intended possible standard displacement, they might actually cost less than their German counterparts despite actually having armor. 

 

I suspect you're right that a Spahkreuzers would work well. It is probably not too much more expensive - an advantage of the typical Zerstorer already being large and presumably fairly expensive for it's type, though 'steel is cheap and air is free'.

The speed is good, though I suspect the Spahkreuzers would do better in heavier seas as well as having the same base speed. 

You do have the Agano cost in your write up, 27m yen. I had a look in the cruiser bible but was really more interested in the contemporary destroyer, the cost of a Yugumo or Kagero. 

 

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1 hour ago, mofton said:

There's a short mention in McLaughlin's 'Russian and Soviet Battleships' about a design UP39 from Ansaldo with the only real information being given as "an 'armored scout' of 3,700t capable of 43.5kt". 

I don't think it's particularly realistic (not the only thing) but it was apparently a thought. It doesn't really make any sense doctrine wise or technically. Export designs often don't fit the navy of the country the private yard is in. 

I have the book.

The person in question was intimating knowledge that no one this side of Saint Petersburg is in easy possession of, afaik. If Khaba is pilloried for being physics defying then Emilio, as Lesta's interpretation of UP39, deserves the same fate. More importantly returning the feasibility of UP39 as an actual product. Placing enough armor on a "destroyer" to give it an appreciable immune zone to ~5" rifles and maintaining gonzo speed. Let's assume UP39 would have been able to achieve both goals of an effective immune zone and ludicrous speeds on what would be considered a destroyer leader displacement and dimensions aka smaller than Guissano. If Ansaldo had unlocked that puzzle the Capitani Romani class would have looked much different.

idOvhgrqZj7-rhq-jV73K7Z-Q-U5GFhy1zRA-fxf

 

And with that I will let this return to Mofton's original conversation. Apologies.

 

tenor.gif?itemid=15593496

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7 hours ago, Sparviero said:

So you and Lesta are the only one with information. Please do share. 
 

135000 shp using two boiler rooms and two propellers on a hull form similar to a Capitàni Romani class(110000) is realistic? Then on top of it including a not so small amount of armor. Disregarding the shp needed to reach increasing speeds is not linear that is still taking the piss. 

Morfton sums up what I found exactly.

I want you to consider Tashkent, a much smaller ship with the same plant as the Capitani Romani's producing 110,000 shp with overload to 130,000 shp. It's  not improbable to suggest that the plant of the UP39 could not have been of higher performance. Both ships (Paolo and CR) both have the same standard displacement (Paolo I believe to be somewhat shorter) and on 110,000 could reach 43kn. This is likely at overload and something far less than combat displacement. The speed for service was closer to what, 40/41? It's fair to suggest that 43kn or 43.5kn could be achieved even if power to speed is not linear.

Edited by _Sarcasticat_

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2 hours ago, mofton said:

Pringle and her sisters are an interesting case. Leaders did frequently want to bring the plane along, but we're typically bigger. 

I wouldn't say a plane makes a leader, unless the Pringle was the command ship of whichever DesRon she was assigned to? The Dutch had seaplanes on their Admiralen class destroyers far earlier, but with them all having them it's hard to say 'leaders'. 

(on the Fletcher class DD's with a plane and catapult.

 

Turning again to Freidman in US Destroyers, he states that the catapult and aircraft were installed to make those Fletchers leaders and avoid several proposed small cruiser designs as a "major motive" for their construction.  He states the catapult equipped Fletchers were "an alternative to the 3,500 ton 'flotilla leader.' "

A total of six Fletchers were selected for the installation and three were actually constructed.  The conversions were short-lived as they proved disappointing in service and by October 1943 all three had the equipment landed and reverted to the normal 5-gun configuration.

As an aside to that while looking this up, I came across the USS Timmerman, a Gearing class.  The Timmermann was fitted with advanced high pressure / temperature machinery (2000 psi / 1050 F) to evaluate the equipment.  Top speed was never officially trialed, but the design estimates were 43 knots so 44 or even 45 isn't out of the question.  I might make an interesting premium variant of the Gearing for this game as that makes it Shimakaze or Le Fantastique fast.  Timmermann remained in service officially as an auxiliary ship (AG 152) through 1954 when she went into reserve and was broken up for scrap a few years later.

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47 minutes ago, Sparviero said:

I have the book.

The person in question was intimating knowledge that no one this side of Saint Petersburg is in easy possession of, afaik.

If you're going to be so sure that someone is claiming possession of knowledge that they in fact do not have, you'd better be armed with proof beyond a shadow of a doubt to show it.

This alone should have told you:

Quote

We don't know what it looks like

Besides the numerous could's and should's, you don't see a lot of would's. I don't make sure statements, I consistently made comparisons with existing ships (Tashkent and CR in particular). Though if this is in reference to the single time I did say something with anything akin to certainty, it would have been regarding UP39's choice of VMF armament. It would not have been Italian, it would not have been singles, and if it was designed in 1936 and production began in 1937, it would have likely been completed around the same time as Taskent (1940) where it would have then been armed with twin BL-2M turrets. Four? I can't see why not. 

Though Mofton and I know, though he may have forgotten already, someone who may have UP39's information currently or soon.

Though of course the 135,000 shp plant was never going to work, because cavitation. If you change the plant to 110,000 shp, you lose the speed, which you might drop the armor to regain. You drop the armor, you [edited] up the entire balance, in which case you have to make some changes. Speed is the primary consideration, not armor. In the course of that, the CR still gets roughly 3.7k standard regardless but hey they can make 43 knots (Tashkent, with the same plant, could make 43.5 knots on 3,422 tons at max overload). At least in WG's fantasyland cavitation doesn't matter and at standard displacement (where speed is generally taken from) (3.7k tons designed which isn't a long shot from 3.42k) the speed should be 43.5 knots on 135,000 shp. Of course if you ran trails without any armaments and the displacement fell even further, you might have seen a speed close to 44 or just over 44 knots. 

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3 hours ago, mofton said:

 

I suspect you're right that a Spahkreuzers would work well. It is probably not too much more expensive - an advantage of the typical Zerstorer already being large and presumably fairly expensive for it's type, though 'steel is cheap and air is free'.

The speed is good, though I suspect the Spahkreuzers would do better in heavier seas as well as having the same base speed. 

You do have the Agano cost in your write up, 27m yen. I had a look in the cruiser bible but was really more interested in the contemporary destroyer, the cost of a Yugumo or Kagero. 

 

I think in a new generation of German Zerstorer that Type 1936A's could have been impromptu leaders themselves, leading things like the Type 1938B or Type 1942. But of course manpower, steel, and oil are all short and even and air is clogged with British and Soviet aircraft so quality over quantity and all that. 

So say that it's Type 1934/34A/36/36A/36A Mob/36B and you've got some Spahkreuzers then I guess it just works. 

But alas these Spahkreuzers seem to be designed to work similarly to Capitani Romani's. 

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17 hours ago, _Sarcasticat_ said:

I don't know enough about RM armor quality in the mid-1930's to even tell you anything. I'm leaving this to @Phoenix_jz. It hasn't sacrificed much though, based on Paolo's appearance, but I worry about topweight. Though if it were VMF armed around the same time as Tashkent, it would still be a formidable ship with x8 130mm/50 and definitely not have suffered topweight issues. 

Italian armor is of generally good quality across the board, The British were good at battleship plate weights, and poor at cruiser weights,  the US was the exact opposite and Germany was actually pretty poor across the board. The Russians had a lot of problems, nobody seems to know how the French did, and the Japanese you can throw darts as they could produce very high quality armor when they wanted to, and they also produced some very poor armor along with everything in between.

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13 minutes ago, SgtBeltfed said:

Italian armor is of generally good quality across the board, The British were good at battleship plate weights, and poor at cruiser weights,  the US was the exact opposite and Germany was actually pretty poor across the board. The Russians had a lot of problems, nobody seems to know how the French did, and the Japanese you can throw darts as they could produce very high quality armor when they wanted to, and they also produced some very poor armor along with everything in between.

IJN quality as far as I know was poor, or inconsistent. I couldn't say which periods for sure. I need to look into armor more often. 

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11 minutes ago, _Sarcasticat_ said:

IJN quality as far as I know was poor, or inconsistent. I couldn't say which periods for sure. I need to look into armor more often. 

Everything I've seen about it that was reputable, indicated that Nagato and Mutsu, along with the prewar cruisers had good quality armor by British standards (so on the light cruisers, it wasn't very good). Yamato's armor was of inferior quality, but she had a lot of it. The Kongo classes armor was uniform in quality, despite being made both in Britain and Japan, depending on the exact ship. The steel in the war built ships was terrible, and the armor probably wasn't much better. I've seen nothing on the Fuso's and the Ise's. It probably all revolves around the steel embargo and at what point they lost access to the rarer elements needed for making good armor.

There's a lot of myth's about Japanese equipment and it's quality, just like the Type-99 rifle. You'll see people swear they're junk and dangerous to shoot (even in a few official sources) where in reality they're very durable and quite nice guns. The Substitute Type-99 rifle made right at the end of the war on the other hand, was very crude.

 

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