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JeeWeeJ

January 11 - focus: HMS Neptune and Mutsuki-class

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Well, today once again plenty to choose from! Today we have a British dreadnought and a class of Japanese destroyers for you.



Enjoy!



 



Ships/events of interest for today



 



1911 - HMS Neptune - Neptune-class - Commissioned



1941 - USS Long Island - Long Island/Archer-class - Launched



1941 - HMS Southampton - Southampton-class - Sunk



1943 - HMS Hunter - Attacker-class - Commissioned



1944 - USS Hoggatt Bay - Casablanca-class - Commissioned



1944 - IJN Kuma - Kuma-class - Sunk



 



General stats



Allies: 25 ships laid down, 44 launched, 28 commissioned and 7 sunk



Japan: 2 laid don (IJN Uzuki and IJN Yayoi) 1 sunk (IJN Kuma)



 



1911



On December the 30th, I wrote about the St. Vincent-class dreadnoughts of the Royal Navy and how they were pretty much rushjobs in order to build dreadnoughts as quickly as possible. And while the St. Vincent’s were indeed built very quickly, the Royal Navy realized that the design actually could use a lot of improvements, especially when it came to the gun layout.



 



For the St. Vincent was very much like the preceding Dreadnought and Bellerophon-classes, it had two wing turrets which were unable to fire across the deck, meaning that if you had a target on your left, the right wing turret was essentially useless.



 



On the other side of the Atlantic ocean, things were done a bit differently. The American Delaware and Argentinean Rivadavia-classes used superfiring turrets on the center line and thus could use all of their turrets, no matter on what broadside the enemy was.



 



So, it was clear for the British that they had to drastically improve their dreadnought design in order to match the firepower of other nation’s dreadnoughts and improve it they did! For today in 1909 that new-and-improved dreadnought was commissioned, the single-ship class: HMS Neptune.



HMS Neptune was laid down on January 19th, 1909 at the Portsmouth Dockyard, she was launched at September 30th of that same year and was commissioned into the Navy at January 11th, 1911.



2ahabsk.jpg



HMS Neptune



 



Now, I said that they improved the design and this is true, on paper at least. For Neptune introduced two new features in the Royal Navy: the first being wing turrets capable of firing cross-deck, the second being superfiring turrets.



 



The wing turrets were placed en echelon, with gaps in the superstructure so that they could be pointed to each broadside (with a limited arc of fire when firing cross-deck, due to the rest of the superstructure) while the two aft turrets were placed in a superfiring position on the center line.



2hnymj4.jpg



HMS Neptune, seen from the stern



 



This gave the Neptune a broadside of ten 12” guns, which was a 20% improvement in broadside weight over the preceding St. Vincent’s, but this came at a cost.



For while it was indeed possible to fire cross-deck or fire both aft turrets directly astern, this actually caused major damage. When firing cross-deck the muzzle blast was found to tear up the wooden deck and caused damage the nearby superstructure. The superfiring turrets on the other hand had similar problems: when firing directly aft, it was found that the shockwave caused by the blast of the superfiring ‘X’ turret would actually enter ‘Y’ turret through its sighting hoods and actually concussed the gunnery crew, rendering it out of action for a while (due to the crew being out of action).



250jh8l.jpg



Gun and armor layout of HMS Neptune



 



While the design was indeed flawed, it was considered to be “a step in the right direction” with minor improvements being done on the following Colossus-class.



 



When it came to the armament of the Neptune, it was very easy to see that it was based on the earlier St. Vincents: she used the same 12”/50 Mark XI guns in twin turrets and her secondary battery was made up of sixteen 4”/50 BL Mark VII’s, four Vickers 3-pounders and three 18” torpedo tubes mounted under the waterline on the broadsides and in the stern.



 



Her armor protection was also pretty much the same as the St. Vincent’s, with the only difference being that the ends of the belt armor were slightly thinner.



 



She was powered by four Parsons steam turbines, powering four shafts with steam being provided by eighteen coal fired Yarrow boilers. A novelty with the Neptune was the addition of so called ‘cruising turbines’ for slow to medium speed cruising. These required less steam and therefore less coal was needed. The engines provided Neptune with 25,000shp and gave her a top speed of 21kn, making her (at the time) the fastest dreadnought in the Royal Navy.



2czyhwl.jpg



The superstructure of HMS Neptune, note the spaces between the superstructure



 



Service life

Like most dreadnoughts, her service life was rather unspectacular. After being the flagship of the home fleet after being commissioned, she was transferred to the 1st Battle Squadron in May of 1912. The only action she took part in was the famous Battle of Jutland, in which she fired only 48 12” shells but while only firing a limited number of rounds, she is credited with scoring multiple hits on the German battlecruiser SMS Lützow.



 



She saw no further action during the war and was paid off into Reserve in 1919 and was finally scrapped in 1922.



33k3vk6.jpg



The grand fleet, with HMS Neptune in the foreground



 



Stats



Dimensions

Length (total): 166.4m

Beam: 25.9m

Draft: 8.7m

Dispacement: 19,680t



 



Weapons

12”/50 Mark XI: 10

4”/50 BL Mark VII: 16

Vickers 3-pdr QF: 4

18” torpedo tubes: 3



 



Armor

Belt: 10” to 2.5”

Turrets: 11”

Barbettes: 8” to 4”

Deck: 3” to 0.75”

Conning tower: 11”

Bulkheads: 8” to 4”



 



Engines

Shafts: 4

Engines: 4

Type: Parsons steam turbine



 



Performance

Total Performance: 25,000shp

Max speed: 21kts

Range: 6,330 nautical miles at 10kn



Crew

Total: 759 men



 



Sources



Conway’s Battleships (revised and expanded edition)



British Battleships 1914-1918 (Part 1) - The Early Dreadnoughts

Navweaps

Wikipedia



 



2djpfdu.jpg



The foreward observation mast of HMS Neptune


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1,973
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Alpha Tester
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1924



 



The Mutsuki-class destroyers are the last class of Japanese destroyer before Fubuki revolutionized the type. They're frequently considered, along with the previous Kamikaze-class, as more of a “modified Minekaze” after Japan's first modern destroyers, rather than their own real class. It's an accusation that isn't terribly far off the mark in terms of armament and performance. We're talking about them at the moment because two were laid down down today in 1924, one at our old friends the Uraga Dock Company and another at Ishikawajima Shipyards (today surviving as IHI Corporation, makers of everything from aircraft engines and rockets to warships for the JMSDF).



 



Mutsuki, 1930



Japanese_destroyer_Mutsuki_1930_zps053d3



 



Their layout was the standard six-tube (though grouped in two groups of three rather than three groups of two) four-120mm-gun of the Japanese destroyer between Minekaze and Fubuki. The Mutsukis had two major innovations to call their own. First, a double-curvature bow, which was a feature that would appear right on through Japanese destroyer design until the end of World War 2. Second was the first appearance of 24” torpedo tubes on Japanese ships. Several of the class were involved in the Fourth Fleet Incident typhoon damage, which meant the class was reconstructed in 1936-1937 with a stronger and more compact bridge structure and watertight shields on their torpedo mounts. Even after Fubuki and its children, the Mutsukis, thanks to their 24” torpedoes, were considered still first-line ships and thus unlike the Kamikazes and Minekazes continued to undergo major refit and upgrade work. Several of them were converted to destroyer transports before the war.



 



Their wartime careers saw little glory; they were old and tired ships by World War 2, and though still considered first-line tended to serve in roles that were were more first-and-a-half line than actual first-line. The Mutsukis never charged to deliver torpedo attacks or sank any US submarines; they did not valiantly defend the carriers or fight with the battlefleet. Kisaragi was sunk by Marine aircraft at Wake Island. Serving as destroyer-transports during the Solomon Islands campaign cost Mutsuki, Nagatsuki, Mikazuki, Mochizuki, and Kikuzuki, all from the air. The late New Guinea campaign saw Yayoi sunk, again from the air, while Fumizuki was caught at Truk during Operation Hailstone and overwhelmed by American carrier-based aircraft. In the Philippines Uzuki ran afoul of US PTs, while Satsuki and Yuzuki were lost to aircraft once more, and Minazuki was killed by a US submarine. The class was completely wiped out by the time the United States liberated Manila.



 



Mutuski-class entry in ONI's Field Manual 30-50; Booklet for Identification of Ships.



Mutsuki-1_zps9b991eae.jpg



 



Dimensions



Displacement (standard): 1336 tons



Displacement (full load): 1468 tons



Length: 337 feet



Beam : 30.1 feet



Draft: 9.7 feet



 



Weapons (as completed)



4x 120mm/45 3rd Year gun



2x 7.7mm/94 “HI” Type



2x triple 24” torpedo tubes



18 depth charges



16 naval mines



(December 1941)



4x 120mm/45 3rd Year gun



2x 13mm/76 Type 93 AAMG



2x 7.7mm/94 “HI” Type



2x triple 24” torpedo tubes



18 depth charges



(June 1944)



2x 120mm/45 3rd Year gun (the other two were deleted in 1942 to make room for 25mm guns)



20x 25mm/76 Type 93 AAMG in double and single mounts



5x 13mm/76 Type 93 AAMG



1x triple 24” torpedo tubes



36 depth charges



 



Engines



4 boilers, 2 turbines, 2 shafts



38500 indicated horsepower



 



Performance



37.25 knots



3600 nautical miles at 14 knots



 



Crew



154


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Alpha Tester
43,775 posts
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Good post! nice information! the way they set up the turrets was flawed but interesting. 

Edit-2nd part just appeared XD,anyway nice read +2 

Edited by tankwarhammer9000

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Alpha Tester
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Love the Mutsukis, though they had the misfortune of being rendered obsolete very soon due to the introduction of the Fubuki. It's like battleships worldwide that were built right before the Dreadnought kicked in.

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Good stuff as always!

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Nice post. +1 for both.

Different type of turret on the HMS Neptune, I like it.

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