Jump to content
You need to play a total of 20 battles to post in this section.
SafetyMoose

Canada and the Queen Elizabeth-class BattleshipsThat Never Were

27 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

Alpha Tester
126 posts
183 battles

Canada and the Queen Elizabeth-class Battleships That Never Were

F4F_over_HMS_Warspite_off_Salerno_1943.j

HMS Warspite off Salerno, 1943.

 

With the introduction of the HMS Warspite to World of Warships, it reminded me of the story surrounding the political battle to acquire three Elizabeth-class Battleships for the Royal Canadian Navy.

In 1912, Robert Borden who was the current Prime Minister of Canada, put forward a bill to the House of Commons titled the "Naval Aid Bill" at the request of Winston Churchill who was at that time First Lord of the Admiralty. The purpose of this bill was to primarily to allow Canada to finance the construction of 3 dreadnaughts with a budget of $35 million, which if adjusted for inflation would be equvilant to around $737 million in 2015.

This proposal came very soon after the previous Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, passed the Naval Service Bill of 1910 which resulted in the formation of the Canadian Navy. The Naval Service Bill of 1910 ensured that while the Canadian Navy operated as a separate naval force from the Royal Navy, it would fall under direct British command in a time of war. French Canadian Nationalists and British Canadian Imperialists opposed the bill which lead to the defeat of Laurier's government in the next election. The Bill did give Canada its first naval vessels by being Initially equipped with two former Royal Navy vessels, HMCS Niobe and HMCS Rainbow.

Robert Borden introduced the new Naval Aid Bill in 1912 and was faced with a harsh debate and filibuster from opposition members of Parliament. This resulted in Borden invoking the political tool known as "Cloture" which allowed his government to overcome the roadblock caused by the opposing Liberal party. This was the first time in Canadian history that cloture was used. The Liberals opposed the bill due to the fact that unlike Laurier's previous Naval bill, this one did not intend to build the ships in Canada and was more focused on providing benefits to the UK rather in their attempt to combat the Germans and the growth of their Navy.

The Act was defeated in 1913 when it entered the Liberal controlled senate.

The Contents of the final reading of the Act was as follows.
 


2nd Session, 12 Parliament, 3 George V., 1912-13

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, CANADA

Bill 21

An Act to authorize measures for increasing the effective naval forces of the Empire.

HIS MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:-

1. This Act may be cited as The Naval Aid Act.

2. From and out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada there may be paid and applied a sum not exceeding thirty-five million dollars for the purpose of immediately increasing the effective naval forces of the Empire.

3. That said sum shall be used and applied under the direction of the Governor in Council in the construction and equipment of battleships or armoured cruisers of the most modern and powerful type.

4. The said ships when constructed and equipped shall be placed by the Governor in Council at the disposal of His Majesty for the common defence of the Empire.

5. The said sum shall be paid, used and applied and the said ships shall be constructed and placed at the disposal of His Majesty subject to such terms, conditions and arrangements as may be agreed upon between the Governor in Council and His Majesty's Government.
 

 Had the Naval Aid Bill been passed, Canada would most likely have acquired 3 Elizabeth-class Battleships names Acadia, Quebec and Ontario.

Concept art hypothesized on what the QE class ships would have looked like in the Canadian navy can be seen below. The 6" battery would have likely been moved up a deck to improve it performance in areas such as the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Armour and hull slightly improved for use in the Canadian environment.

Canadian_QE.jpg

Canadian_QEb.jpg
 



Although Canada did not receive the the QE class Batleship, it did go on to support Canadian military activity in the Second World War when the Warspite assisted Anglo-Canadian operations to open up the port of Antwerp.

Canada's Naval Involvement in World War 2 would not go unnoticed however. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the Navy had 11 combat vessels, 145 officers and 1,674 men but would rise to become the third largest navy in the world with 95,000 officers, ratings and Wrens, and over 400 vessels of all types and ultimately gaining responsibility for the entire Northwest Atlantic theatre of war.

  • Cool 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Testers
89 posts
292 battles

In the end, the Corvettes and Destroyers worked out very well for Canada during World War 2.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44
[DRACS]
Members, In AlfaTesters
298 posts
1,395 battles

great post enjoyed the reading.

 

Hi Q !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
4,302 posts

A fascinating story, well told.

 

I have one question though.

 

The 6" battery would have likely been moved up a deck to improve it performance in areas such as the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Armour and hull slightly improved for use in the Canadian environment.

 Why? 


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
126 posts
183 battles

In the end, the Corvettes and Destroyers worked out very well for Canada during World War 2.

 

Yes they did, and the Corvettes certainly became a defining feature of our Navy during that time period.

 

great post enjoyed the reading.

 

Hi Q !

 

Very glad you enjoyed it.

A fascinating story, well told.

 

I have one question though.

 

 Why? 


 

 

The 6" batteries would have been moved due to their negative effect on the reserve of buoyancy of the ship and the effect that would have on its operations in areas such as the St Lawrence Seaway which had limitations on the ships that could operate within it. The hull strength and new armour would have been added for a number of reasons but mostly to mitigate the damage of ice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Testers
523 posts
1,018 battles

A fascinating story, well told.

 

I have one question though.

 

 Why? 


 

Especially since by treaty the Great Lakes were supposed to not be militarized after the war of 1812.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
4,302 posts

Thanks for the explanation (and great map!) 

 

Still bemused as to why you'd want to row such BBs upto the Great Lakes for

Especially since by treaty the Great Lakes were supposed to not be militarized after the war of 1812.

errm, wasn't aware of that detail, obviously they weren't either :unsure:

 

I can understand strengthening the bows and reinforcing stiffness (not the same thing as armour, but not a bad thing for a warship anyway) to deal with ice.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
126 posts
183 battles

Especially since by treaty the Great Lakes were supposed to not be militarized after the war of 1812.

 

I think one of our more recent treaties cleared that up and both the US and Canada have had naval activity in the Great Lakes. Might have been the Boundary Waters Treaty in 1909 but I could be wrong. I need to look in to which one it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Testers
523 posts
1,018 battles

Thanks for the explanation (and great map!) 

 

Still bemused as to why you'd want to row such BBs upto the Great Lakes for

errm, wasn't aware of that detail, obviously they weren't either :unsure:

 

I can understand strengthening the bows and reinforcing stiffness (not the same thing as armour, but not a bad thing for a warship anyway) to deal with ice.

 

There are a few ways around it.

 

Obviously we operated CVs off the Great Lakes for training before and during WW2 however they technically didn't carry cannon of "18 pounds" or more so its technically not a violation 

 

And the Coast Guard operates armed boats on the lakes again its a bit of a pretzel on the 18 ponder and warship  definition of the treaty.

 

But ya barring a reason acceptable to the US and Canada putting a BB on the lakes without some special exemption (like say a visit to Chicago) would violate the treaty, to put it mildly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
118 posts

We had military vessel's that operated after the Bagot Treaty that patrolled the lakes especially in the 1840s and 1860s much to the Canadians chagrin. The most notable military vessel would be the USS Wolverine which was the first iron hulled vessel in the navy. Things did come to a uneasy head during the Fenin raids into Canada which almost got us into a war with them when a Canadian warship had a standoff with the Wolverine before we backed down and cracked down on the raids.

 

The First World War saw the construction of Corvettes and Minesweepers for the French Navy. Two minesweepers the Ceroles and Inkerman sank in Lake Superior and has been sought after for years.

 

The Interwar period brought the coastal battleship Illinois was built in Chicago but as a display for coastal defense but not a real warship. 

 

Then as most know during the Second World War we built Gato and Balo subs that did their deep dive tests in Lake Michigan and two large passenger steamers were converted into crude CVs for training. 

 

After both wars the treaty was honored in terms of taking armaments and propulsion for museums and scuttled a U boat in lower Lake Michigan to rid a potential problem. The subs as museums now have their blades removed and weapons filled with cement. The same goes for the Little Rock and her consorts in Buffalo.

  • Cool 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpha Tester
126 posts
183 battles

We had military vessel's that operated after the Bagot Treaty that patrolled the lakes especially in the 1840s and 1860s much to the Canadians chagrin. The most notable military vessel would be the USS Wolverine which was the first iron hulled vessel in the navy. Things did come to a uneasy head during the Fenin raids into Canada which almost got us into a war with them when a Canadian warship had a standoff with the Wolverine before we backed down and cracked down on the raids.

 

The First World War saw the construction of Corvettes and Minesweepers for the French Navy. Two minesweepers the Ceroles and Inkerman sank in Lake Superior and has been sought after for years.

 

The Interwar period brought the coastal battleship Illinois was built in Chicago but as a display for coastal defense but not a real warship. 

 

Then as most know during the Second World War we built Gato and Balo subs that did their deep dive tests in Lake Michigan and two large passenger steamers were converted into crude CVs for training. 

 

After both wars the treaty was honored in terms of taking armaments and propulsion for museums and scuttled a U boat in lower Lake Michigan to rid a potential problem. The subs as museums now have their blades removed and weapons filled with cement. The same goes for the Little Rock and her consorts in Buffalo.

 

Great piece of information from the gents down south. U think you guys had a couple of training carriers in the great lakes as well at one point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Testers
523 posts
1,018 battles

 

Great piece of information from the gents down south. U think you guys had a couple of training carriers in the great lakes as well at one point.

 

Yep, funny thing one was called the Wolverine too.  

 

If you fly through O'Hare I think you can even see some footage of the recovery of a F4 Wildcat from the lake. O'Hare airport is an interesting story in and of itself. Or at least naming a Chicago airport after a Medal of Honor winner whose father was Al Capones lawyer always struck me as interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
328
[SWOB]
[SWOB]
Alpha Tester
1,147 posts
6,651 battles

Something doesn't quite add up regarding the idea that the Queen Elizabeth's would or could have been modified to enter the Great Lakes.

 

First of all it's very unclear what the military necessity of doing so would have been, the United States certainly did not pose a viable naval threat that necessitated countering by the most powerful warships in the world.  Secondly, as far as I can tell it has never been possible to pass Montreal with a ship that has a beam greater than 78'.  The QEs all had a beam of 90'6".  If they had been redesigned with this change you're basically talking about an entirely new ship.  I'm reasonably certain that the Admiralty and the RN Constructors would have been aware of this problem.

 

Beyond this, it would have required the RN to have had a time travel machine in order to determine that Louis St-Laurent would finally decide to push forward with the project of widening the St. Lawrence locks from 44'6" to 90' in 1951.

 

Everything I've ever read about this topic indicates that the QEs would have been designed very much along the same lines as the Malaya which was essentially a repeat of the basic QE design.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
153
[-LA-]
Alpha Tester
634 posts
2,465 battles

For anyone interested, the concept art and proposed modifications are courtesy of the now dead 'Wolfs Shipyard', which did a range of sketches for hypothetical or never-built vessels.

 

The RN page which these came from is still available via waybackmachine here;

http://web.archive.org/web/20090414072641/http://wolfsshipyard.mystarship.com/Misc/NeverWeres/royal.htm

Edited by Elouda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
153
[-LA-]
Alpha Tester
634 posts
2,465 battles

Off topic, but I can't help wondering how the refitted Caracciolo is supposed to fire astern...

 

Probably like pretty much every battleship with floatplane handling equipment on the stern, either the cranes can be folded down/taken apart/moved out the way, or she's simply unable to shoot directly backward (not exactly a massive loss in reality).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,361
Alpha Tester
7,898 posts
27 battles

Probably like pretty much every battleship with floatplane handling equipment on the stern, either the cranes can be folded down/taken apart/moved out the way, or she's simply unable to shoot directly backward (not exactly a massive loss in reality).

HMS Lively could say something about that loss, anyway I don't think I've ever seen a battleship with the turret as close to the catapult as that no.4 turret.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beta Testers
19 posts
337 battles

Did some research on this (being Canadian): The three QE additional battleships under the Canadian Ensign (note that the fuss over where they were to be built was a major factor in their cancellation) would operate as a single squadron - optimally two ships in peacetime based in Halifax with the understanding that they would be transferred to the Pacific on need. There was never any intention to use them on the Great Lakes.

 

 

As for Great Lakes battleships there are two issues: One is that in the days before the Seaway the canals around the rapids above Montreal were very depth and width limited - in effect only an ocean light cruiser or a 'lake light battleship' (defined later) built in the existing yards in Quebec and Nova Scotia could have passed and then in lightened condition (without turrets ?and probably under tow). The Canadian Admiralty assumption was that in any war the canals (especially those along the Welland) would be put out of action, that only Lakes Ontario and Erie and Huron were significant to Canada and that therefore two naval yards, both with dry docks for repair would be needed. Reading between the lines it looks as if (just as in the War of 1812) the only serious investment would be in Lake Ontario with initial plans drawn up for government subsidies for a construction yard (probably at Hamilton) and I assume for 'lake cruisers' and destroyers only.


 

As for ships IF they were to pass through canals and locks in a lightened condition they were breadth and depth limited: The apparent effect (feel free to critique this as this part is speculative) is to limit the number of mounts to reduce length and increase 'stacking' to limit breath to canal width. A long time ago I remember seeing a draft of such a 'lake battleship' - it had two heavy turrets (fore and aft) and - a bit like the Yamato this - a pair of secondary turrets just behind and above. Apparently this design feature was to allow placement of the main magazines behind the main and below the secondary turret. Actually that should not be 'main' - it would have supplied both 15" and 6" forward guns. Obviously this reduced length and also placed the magazines close to the widest part of the ship (Royal Navy designs always - and intelligently - always took into account depth into ship travelled as well as armour passed through in determining accumulated resistance to a penetrating shot - the KGV of course being the classic example of this in combining width with belt angle).


 

Sorry I cannot add more and even this is uncertain - for example I assume 15" and 6" batteries but by 1914 the architects were aware of decent 14" guns as well.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
266
[CROOK]
Modder, Beta Testers
575 posts
6,693 battles

Mariandavid, I'd be highly interested in learning more about this lake battleship. Could you link some blueprints and/or citations?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Members
3,067 posts
2,546 battles
15 hours ago, Shipmaster_Crook said:

Mariandavid, I'd be highly interested in learning more about this lake battleship. Could you link some blueprints and/or citations?

Because this thread is two years old, you would had been better off by clicking on his profile to see if he's still active (he's not, last visit August 2015),

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×