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Ariecho

February 24 - Focus: HMS Anson

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FIND ALL OUR DAILY THREADS HERE



 



General



 



Quite a few interesting ships today, including one nicely covered by JeeWeeJ yesterday.  



 



Large surface ships with a significant event on a February 24:



1910 - HMS Indefatigable - Indefatigable-class - Commissioned
1912 - RM Caio Duilio - Caio Duilio-class - Laid Down
1913 - HMS Barham - Queen Elizabeth-class - Laid Down
1923 - USS Omaha - Omaha-class - Commissioned
1925 - MN Lynx - Chacal-class - Launched
1927 - HMS Shropshire - London-class - Laid Down
1937 - USS Vincennes - New Orleans-class - Commissioned
1940 - HMS Anson - King George V-class - Launched
1944 - USS Shangri La - Essex-class - Launched



 



Statistics for surface ships with a significant event on a February 24:



Allies: 59 ships laid down, 50 launched, 32 commissioned and 6 lost



Italy: 3 ships laid down and 1 commissioned



 



 



1940



 



On February 24, 1940, HMS Anson, a King George V-class battleships was launched.  The ship was laid down on July 20, 1937, taking advantage of the lift (on December 31, 1936) from a ban imposed by the London Treaty of 1930, preventing Great Britain to build any new battleship.  The Royal Navy was left at that time with World War I battleships of the Queen Elizabeth- and Royal Sovereign-class, as well as the Nelson-class, the only modern battleships at its disposal.



 



Not being allowed to build battleships didn't mean that the country was not authorized to develop any.  Engineers kept busy and by 1933, new designs were studied for a new class that would answer treaty limitations of a 35,000-ton displacement and guns up to a 16-inch caliber.



 



Showing the example:



While the treaty authorized 16-inch guns, Great Britain was pushing heavily to reduce the caliber of battleship guns to 12-inch guns.  To show good faith, and hopeful that all nations would eventually agree, the King George V-class battleships were already designed to carry 12-inch guns, more specifically 8 of them in 4 double turrets.  One has to wonder what kind of "herbs" engineers put into their tea!  Japan and the United States refused, so Great Britain tried again, offering 14-inch guns instead.  The United States reluctantly agreed, but under the condition that Japan would agree as well, which as you know, it didn't.



 



anson3_zps84479af0.jpg



HMS Anson's turret



 



The designs were then too advanced to change and the Royal Navy stuck to its plans, being offered a ship that would carry no less than 10 x 14-inch guns in 2 quadruple turrets and 1 twin.  To be on the safe side, protection was to be against what the British thought would be the highest caliber encountered: 15-inch.



 



793px-HMS_Duke_of_York_gunners_A_021168.



King George V-class 14-inch guns, this time aboard HMS Duke of York after sinking Scharnhorst in 1943



 



 



HMS Anson:



HMS Anson was the 3rd of 5 King George V-class battleships.  The 2 first ships to be laid down were HMS King George V and HMS Prince of Wales, on January 1, 1937, exactly one day after treaty limitations were lifted.  HMS Anson followed on February 24, then came HMS Duke of York and HMS Howe respectively in May and June 1937. 



 



anson2_zps5f79f618.jpg



Beautiful painting of HMS Anson



 



HMS Anson was not completed until 1942, because of problems with her fire-control radar, but also because shipyards could only prioritize construction of 2 battleships at that time.  Priority was given to HMS King George V and HMS Prince of Wales, who were supposed to counter the two Bismarck-type battleships that the Germans were completing.



 



Once completed, HMS Anson joined the Home Fleet in Scapa Flow, awaiting her first operational assignment.  It happened in September 1942, and the battleships left Scapa Flow on the 2nd, destination Iceland, a major rallying point for convoys headed for Russia.



 



800px-HMS_Anson_circa_1941_Russian_Covoy



HMS Anson's guns during Arctic convoy duty



 



 



Convoy PQ 18



Convoy PQ 18 was the first convoy that HMS Anson escorted.  On September 11, 1942, she left Iceland with HMS Duke of York (another King George V-battleship), HMS Jamaica and 4 destroyers.  Under British strategy, the heavy escort was kept at a long distance from the convoy, who had its own close escort, composed of destroyers and smaller vessels.  Also present was a British aircraft carrier, HMS Avenger and her 10 Sea Hurricanes, the first time an aircraft carrier was used for Russian convoy escort.  While the convoy was attacked by the Luftwaffe, Anson kept at a safe distance, as her primary target was not to chase airplane but KM Tirpitz, who was the principle threat in the area.



 



Convoy JW 51B



Despite a few merchant losses, the Royal Navy was very happy with PQ 18 results.  In December 1942, another convoy, JW 51B was sent to Russia, this time without any aircraft carrier coverage.  The Germans decided to intervene in what became famous as the battle of the Barents Sea, that we covered on December 31.  The Kriegsmarine sent two large surface units (KM Lützow and KM Admiral Hipperand a few destroyers this time, but HMS Anson was not capable of intervening, being 1,000 nautical miles away from the convoy she was supposed to escort.  Distant-escort had reached new levels!



 



 



Operation Gearbox 3



1943 saw HMS Anson involved again in Russian convoys' "escort".  Tirpitz still didn't want to play, and Hitler was furious about (in his own mind) the lack of combativity that Lützow and Hipper had shown in December 1942, so Anson didn't encounter any significant activity. 



 



In June 1943, in an effort to resupply the Norwegian island of Sptizbergen that had been recaptured by Allied forces, HMS Anson was dispatched as distant escort again but again, no German naval activity was encountered.  Things would change a few months later, when Tirpitz and Scharnhorst decided to show up, bombing the Allied encampments.  HMS AnsonHMS Duke of York and their destroyer-escort were sent to intercept but the two German ships had been long gone.  It should be noted that during some of that period of time, the Royal Navy was reinforced in the Atlantic by US Navy battleships, including USS South Dakota and USS Alabama.



 



Spitsbergen.png



Spitzbergen Island



 



Operation Leader:



The aforementioned cooperation between the US Navy and the Royal Navy continued in October 1943 when HMS Anson escorted USS Ranger against shipping operations off the coast of Norway.  On October 4, 20 SBD Dauntless were launched from the aircraft carrier.  The Germans reacted by sending 3 aircraft against USS Ranger, of which 2 were shot down.



 



SBD-3_CV-4_Norway_1943_NAN10-1-45.jpg



SBD-3 during Operation Leader



 



The rest of 1943 was spent with another element of Operation Gearbox, as well as escort of convoy  JW 54, this time as a combined effort with the US Navy.



 



 



Operation Bayleaf:



HMS Anson seemed to like Norwegian waters, as she returned there in 1944, as part of Operation Bayleaf.  Her comrade-in-arms this time was the French battleship Richelieu, fresh from an overhaul in US dockyards.  The operation was similar to what Operation Leader had achieved, but this time, the aircraft carrier was HMS Furious.



 



 



Operation Tungsten - Operation Planet:



On March 30, 1944, HMS Anson was again in convoy duty.  The escort was composed of 2 aircraft carriers (HMS Victorious and HMS Furious), 2 battleships (HMS Anson and HMS Duke of York), 4 escort aircraft carriers, 4 cruisers and 14 destroyers.  The mission had a secondary objective, kept secret until the day of the attack: an air raid on Tirpitz.  On April 3, 21 Barracudas took off after their escort and headed for the fjord where the German battleship Tirpitz was moored.  Undetected, the aircraft badly damaged the German ship, but never got an opportunity to finish him, as Admiral Moore was reluctant to launch a second strike a day after.



 



Fleet_Air_Arm_attack_the_battleship_Tirp



Tirpitz being attacked during Operation Tungsten



 



Tungsten1png_zps31baf317.jpg



Close-up on damage on Tirpitz during Operation Tungsten



 



Another attack was planned later on the same month, to which HMS Anson participated (Operation Planet), but it was ultimately canceled because of bad weather.  The rest of the year 1944 was spent performing maintenance and repairs.



 



 



1945



After so much time spent in cold waters, HMS Anton was sent to warmer waters.  In May 1945, she was in Malta, then sailed to Ceylon and ultimately Sydney.  The war being over in Europe, she was sent to the Pacific where she was tasked to help re-occupy Hong Kong.  She stayed in active duty until 1949, at which point she was placed in the reserve, and kept there until 1957, sent for demolition.



 



HMS_Anson_%2879%29_at_Devonport%2C_March



HMS Anson, 1945



 



Characteristics:



Displacement: 43,300 t - 46,090 t (deep load) -- Length: 744 ft 11.50 in overall - 740 ft 0 in waterline -- Beam: 103 ft 0.62 in -- Draft: 34 ft 2.25 in

Propulsion: 4 shafts, 4 sets Parsons geared turbines -- 8 Admiralty 3-drum small-tube boilers

Speed: 29.25 knots (54.17 km/h; 33.66 mph) - Range: 6,100 nm at 10 knots

Complement: 1,553-1,558 peacetime 1,900 war

Armament: 10 × BL 14-inch (360 mm) Mark VII - 16 × QF 5.25-inch (133 mm) Mk. I - 6 × 8-barrelled QF 2 pdr 40-mm Mk. VIII - 18 x 20-mm Oerlikon.

Armor: Main Belt: 14.7 inches - Lower belt: 5.4 inches - Deck: 5–6 inches - Main turrets: 12.75 inches - Barbettes: 12.75 inches - Bulkheads: 10–12 inches 

Conning tower: 3–4 inches

Aircraft carried: 2 Supermarine Walrus seaplanes, one double-ended catapult (removed early 1944)


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Great work as usual Ari! +1!

Just wondering, did the Anson suffer any turret failures as the other ships of the class seemed to have? (especially with the quad turrets)

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Lovely ship

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I didn't read anything mentioning any problem.  However, beside sea trials, I'm not even sure that she used her guns in combat.  I couldn't believe that the distant-escort she had to provide was 1,000 nautical miles from the convoys she was supposed to protect.

Great work as usual Ari! +1!

Just wondering, did the Anson suffer any turret failures as the other ships of the class seemed to have? (especially with the quad turrets)

 

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I didn't read anything mentioning any problem.  However, beside sea trials, I'm not even sure that she used her guns in combat.  I couldn't believe that the distant-escort she had to provide was 1,000 nautical miles from the convoys she was supposed to protect.

 

I guess it was a "safe distance"? :trollface: (for the Germans?)

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Re: the design history of KGVs, I don't think 12-in gun was being considered at all in the 1935-36 capital ship designs that led to the class. Rather, the 12-in gunned capital ships were entirely different and earlier affair. The initial designs from 1935 are discussed in this Admiralty document (note how the fast capital ship was still known as "battle cruiser" at this early stage): http://www.admirals.org.uk/records/adm/adm1/adm1-9387.php

 

Eventually, they went with a design with 12x14-in, later reduced to 10x14-in to improve the protection.

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I remember something about the ships initially being designed to have three quad turrets, but that due to weight/stability issues they replaced the 'B' turret with a twin one. (and, no, I didn't fact-check that)

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Re: the design history of KGVs, I don't think 12-in gun was being considered at all in the 1935-36 capital ship designs that led to the class. Rather, the 12-in gunned capital ships were entirely different and earlier affair. The initial designs from 1935 are discussed in this Admiralty document (note how the fast capital ship was still known as "battle cruiser" at this early stage): http://www.admirals.org.uk/records/adm/adm1/adm1-9387.php

 

Eventually, they went with a design with 12x14-in, later reduced to 10x14-in to improve the protection.

That's not what my source indicates. To quote him verbatim: "The original design called for a battleship with eight 12in guns mounted in four twin turrets.  This was in line with a treaty proposal to reduce the size and firepower of newly-built battleships.  The 12in gun had a higher rate of fire than larger-caliber guns, so the plan was not completely a retrograde step."

 

The same source agrees with your comment about the 12 x 14-inch guns (and later on 10 x 14-inch).  It also mentions that 14-inch, 15-inch and even 16-inch guns were also studied.

 

I won't argue about which source is more accurate.  Unless we find official documents, I doubt we can say who's right.  

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I remember something about the ships initially being designed to have three quad turrets, but that due to weight/stability issues they replaced the 'B' turret with a twin one. (and, no, I didn't fact-check that)

 

Specifically, after 28 knot 12 gunned ship was decided on definitely (October 10 1935) a design called 14L was produced (12x14-in guns, 20x4.5-in secondaries, uniform 14-in belt, 6-5-in deck) followed by 140 (aka. 14O) which raised the armoured deck from middle deck to main deck level (total increase of 8 feet in height) but had to reduce the armoured deck by 0.5-in and the belt over machinery by 1-in to compensate (secondaries were also changed to 16x5.25-in at this point). Finally, one of the quads was changed to twin, the deck increased back to 6-5-in and belt was now 15-in over magazines, 14-in over machinery. This was known as 14P and became the KGV class.

 

It also mentions that 14-inch, 15-inch and even 16-inch guns were also studied.

 

Indeed, those are discussed in the document I linked (the designs with prefix of "14" are armed with 14-in guns and so on). Note that the staff actually preferred to use heavier gun than the 14-in which was eventually adopted for political reasons.

 

I won't argue about which source is more accurate.  Unless we find official documents, I doubt we can say who's right. 

 

My sources are British Battleships 1919-1945 by Burt and Nelson to Vanguard by D.K. Brown. I concede that I don't have Ships Covers (which should contain the official design history, among other things) for KGV class. ;)

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My sources are British Battleships 1919-1945 by Burt and Nelson to Vanguard by D.K. Brown. I concede that I don't have Ships Covers (which should contain the official design history, among other things) for KGV class. ;)

The source for the specific quote that I mentioned was British battleships 1939-45 (2): Nelson and King George V classes by Angus Konstam.  I can't vouch for its accuracy (or lack of).

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You guys are doing fabulous work providing people with daily readings of ships.:medal: Since I barely have any real knowledge on WWII/ post war ships I always find your reads entertaining and always filled with new information. Thanks for the awesome reads guys!

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You guys are doing fabulous work providing people with daily readings of ships.:medal: Since I barely have any real knowledge on WWII/ post war ships I always find your reads entertaining and always filled with new information. Thanks for the awesome reads guys!

Thanks!  I'm happy to know that people find something out of it.  I just was checking books today and found out that there was a book for sale outside just doing what we are doing.  The difference is that rather than giving details about a specific ship every day, it just gave 3 lines about what happened during WW2 for every day.  The list price for that book is $200.  I think that we provide more value, knowing that we do that (for free) on a daily basis.

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