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March 5th - Focus HMS Hood

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GENERAL

March 5th

1920 - HMS Hood - Admiral-class - Commissioned

1927 - MN Lamotte-Picquet - Duguay-Trouin-class - Commissioned

1937 - HMS Newcastle - Southampton-class - Commissioned

1939 - HMS Prince of Wales - King George V-class - Launched

1942 - HMS Stalker - Attacker-class - Launched

1942 - USS Hamlin - Bogue-class - Launched

1945 - USS Cape Gloucester - Commencement Bay-class - Commissioned

1946 - USS Manchester - Cleveland-class - Launched

 

 

Allied Warships

Laid Down – 30

Launched – 38

Commissioned - 34

 

Axis Warships

Nothing of note

 

1920

Here in the 21st century more than 70 years after her destruction and almost 100 years after she was conceived and built we don’t think of the HMS Hood as “Mighty”. She is a footnote. The largest and in some ways most tragic of the ultimate capital ship folly that was the battlecruiser. In a brief few lines today I’ll say a little about her design and how it came about and leave the detailed discussion of her life to people who will do it justice like the H.M.S. Hood Association.

 

5138dg.jpg

 

As 1916 opened and Admiral of the Grand Fleet Sir John Jellicoe was asked “What ships does the Fleet need?” His answer was clear. . . Battlecruisers. Jellicoe had been a member of the committee that conceived HMS Dreadnought and HMS Invincible little more than ten years before. He now had more than a year of modern naval war experience with those same ships and the larger, faster, and more powerful, super-dreadnoughts that came down the ways after them,

He was concerned that the Invincible and Indefatigables were too slow and too weak to go up against the expected next classes of German battlecruisers like SMS Hindenburg and SMS Mackensen.  The existing German battlecruisers had proved to be tough and opponents  and Naval  Intelligence’s estimate was that these new ships would hit 30 knots and carry 15.2” guns (an overestimate as they were 28 knot ships as designed but carried much more armor than the British knew).

 

Jellicoe and Admiral Beatty, the commander of the battlecruiser forces, both had little good to say about the Renown class ships then building (which JeeWeeJ covered yesterday) thinking six guns too few for good shooting and a narrow belt 6” of armor far too little to protect a capital ship. They did like her speed however and wanted the new ships to equal or exceed it. Beatty regarded HMS Glorious and her sisters as “freak” ships and wanted nothing to do with them and their 3” armor and only four heavy guns. The only thing liked about them for future ships was the shallow draft. Battleships of the day drew over 30 feet of water and given their length presented nearly a half an acre of target area to torpedoes. Reducing that target by having relatively shallow draft was desired. Jellicoe communicated that he was using the Queen Elizabeth class ships as a “fast wing” to make up for the lack of both firepower and staying power of the older battlecruisers but that their margin of speed over the battleships was insufficient for them to be really effectively tactically as a fast wing.

 

So the 1916 requirements for new battlecruisers shape up as:

  • Speed equal to Renown at 32 knots

  • Minimum of eight heavy guns, expected to be 15”/42 as in Queen Elizabeth

  • Shallow draft to limit torpedo target area

  • Armor thicker and more extensive than Renown

The Director of Naval Construction put forth a number of designs and it was settled to build a class of four 36,000 ton, 32 knot ships with 8 x 15” guns and 8” armor. The hull form was to be somewhat novel with a distinct outward angle to the hull side and therefore the side armor rather than the more vertical sides normally seen. This would make for a drier ship at high speed and enhance the protective value of the hull armor especially against plunging fire.

 

The first ship of the new class, HMS Hood, was laid down on May 31, 1916, the same day as the Battle of Jutland. This is date listed in the ship’s Cover but it is not supported by shipyard documents. This date makes for a better story but John Brown shipyard lists September 1st as the laying down date. The reason we are talking about her today is March 5th is listed as the Commission date in some sources. But this was for trials and she is not fully Commissioned and accepted from the builders until May 15th, 1920.

 

Very quickly after the battle the design was recast to correct the perceived faults that may have contributed to the loss of the three battlecruisers. The shallow draft requirement was relaxed and several thousand tons more armor worked in to the design. The Queen Elizabeth class ship had withstood punishment that cripple or sank the battlecruisers so this became the standard. No shell is to be able to pass through less that 9” of armor on its way to her vital areas. This is because no intact shell penetration of armor thicker than 9” was seen by the British. This makes Hood into a 32 knot Queen Elizabeth in all but name.

 

28b649y.jpg

Hood mid-section armor layout

 

6e1xn7.jpg

1/600 scale models of Hood and Warspite for size comparison

.

Comparison of a few dimensions between the two ships:

Hood versus Warspite

Length 860 feet versus 640 feet

Beam 104 feet versus 90 feet

Draught 32 feet versus 30.5 feet

Deep Displacement 47,430 tons versus 33,410 tons

 

Hood emerges from the shipyard after the redesign as the largest and fastest warship in the world. She remains uniquely the biggest and the fastest for nearly all her life. She has equals in gun power, the eight 16” guns of the Nagato or the various American battleships with twelve 14” guns but she is by far the fastest ship  and has armor the equal of the Nagato as built.

 

250jgxt.jpg

Showing how the additional armor lowered freeboard aft

 

She is an improvement on British battleships in gunnery even though fitted with the same eight 15” guns as two other classes of ships.

  • 30 foot range finders, the largest up till that time, are installed.

  • 30° elevation on the main guns adds over 7,000 yards to her firing range

  • Reconfigured turret openings  allowed the superfiring turrets to fire directly ahead and astern for the first time in British practice

    • Improvements enhance the rate of fire by a third

 

She is dubbed “The Might Hood”. And people love her. She is powerful and graceful all at once and nearly a century later people are still fascinated by her. Doing the research I fell a little in love with her all over again.

 

There is an H.M.S. Hood Association and their web page contains so much more information than I could possibly put into a short article.

http://www.hmshood.com/

 

Information I gathered from print sources primarily came from:

“Battlecruisers” by John Roberts

And

“British Battleships 1919-1945” by R.A. Burt (the revised edition)

 

The biggest warship of her day deserves some big pictures so I found a few. In Burt’s book he is at pains to point out that all main drawings in the book are to a constant scale, all except Hood whose likeness is too large to fit the format and so the scale has to be reduced.

 

28ajr.jpg

 

2yoa3vt.jpg

Language?

 

11jrk8g.jpg

 

 

Thanks for listening.

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Great work cap! She surely is a VERY sexy ship and, as we all know, sexyness is better than speed or armor when it comes to protection! +1 to you good sir!

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gotta love the Hood. 

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gotta love the Hood. 

 

Yup it was a cool ship till it got Bismarcked.......Now you can find it here, there, over there,up there,down there...........

 

hqdefault_zpsbaee72b3.jpg

 

(I suck at making troll faces...)

 

bismarcktroll_zpse260e335.jpg

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GOOOOOO Bismarck! The Hood was great in its time.

 

In game it should be prone to amo-racking :P

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In game it should be prone to amo-racking :P

 

LOL.  This made me literally laugh out loud.  Which in turn got me some odd looks since I'm in Starbucks.

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Excellent read, shame that she suffered from little armor like all other battlecruisers...:sceptic:

The only armour she really lacks is deck armour. Considering her age she is a rather good ship

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The only armour she really lacks is deck armour. Considering her age she is a rather good ship

which means she is a "bring me closer so i can hit em with my sword", rather than a long range platform, where shell arc makes here decks vulnerable. In theory has the necessary speed to get close too.

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which means she is a "bring me closer so i can hit em with my sword", rather than a long range platform, where shell arc makes here decks vulnerable. In theory has the necessary speed to get close too.

Which is what Admiral Hood has almost down when she was hit...

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Which is what Admiral Hood has almost down when she was hit...

the most cunning plans baldrick....

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The fact that we still don't know everything about her final moments just adds to the allure of Mighty Hood.

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