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JeeWeeJ

April 22 - Focus: Naval Treaties

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General

Well, today another topic of the different sort, but not because there wasn't anything to write about! No, today marks an event in history that had a big impact on the major naval powers of the world...and it wasn't even a battle!

 

Today in 1930 the five major naval powers (the UK, US, France, Italy and Japan) signed the London Naval Treaty, one of five naval conferences that changed the way wars were fought on the seas.

 

But more on that later, first: STATS!

 

Ships/events of interest for today

1902 – Arcona – Gazelle-class - Launched

1902 – Francesco Ferruccio - Giuseppe Garibaldi class - Launched

1925 – Akagi – Akagi class - Launched

1928 – Ashigara – Myōkō class - Launched

1934 – Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta – Condottieri-class - Launched

1936 – Z6 – 1934A type class - Launched

1940 – Atlanta – Atlanta-class – Laid Down

1944 – Salmaua – Casablanca-class- Launched

 

General stats

Allies: 27 surface ships laid down, 53 launched, 26 commissioned, 6 lost

Germany: 1 ship launched

Italy: 2 ships launched

Japan: 2 ships launched

 

1930

So, yes, the London Naval Treaty. A treaty that would have a profound impact on the major navies of the world, but it was actually just one of a total of five naval conferences that were held in order to prevent new naval arms races from happening like the one that took place between Great Britain and Germany and was one of the major causes that started WW1.

 

But in order to start talking about the London Naval Treaty, we must first look back a bit further into history and take a closer look at the initial treaty that started it all: the Washington Naval Treaty, which was signed in 1922 after a lengthy Washington Naval Conference.

 

While WW1 was over, the world was far from a peaceful place. Even though the economies of Great Britain and France were ruined, they were far from planning on giving up their place of power in the world and shortly after the war ended started new shipbuilding programmes...even though their economies could barely keep their countries running.

 

The US was also planning on further expanding their navy, as in the east the Japanese Empire was looking to expand their sphere of influence, while in the west they eyed the UK as their -theoretical- main competitor. (You can do a google search on Warplan Red and Warplan Orange on this, it's quite the interesting read!)
So, even though the world had just seen the biggest round of bloodshed known to man (up to that point), the remaining major powers of the world (Germany was gagged by the treaty of Versailles and was no longer a immediate threat) were already making the same mistakes that partially caused the war: multiple naval arms races were in the making!

 

The Washington Naval Conference

Fortunately, some wise men saw what was happening and decided to act. Initially the US Senator William E. Borah pushed the US congress that negotiations with the two main rivals of the US (the UK and Japan) should be started in order to discuss disarmament.

 

2qm22kw.jpg

The Washington Naval Conference

 

In 1921 the US Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, did just that...but on a far larger scale. He invited not three, but nine nations to discuss a reduction of naval capacity, these countries were:

 

  • Great Britain

  • The United States of America

  • Japan

  • France

  • Italy

  • The Netherlands

  • Belgium

  • Portugal

  • China

 

The negotiations lasted until Februari of 1922 and resulted in not one, but three seperate treaties.

 

The first was the Five-Power Treaty, which stated that the five major powers (US,UK, Japan, France and Italy) were to stop all capital ship construction for the next ten years and limited the total tonnage of capital ships to 500.000 tons for the UK and US, 300.000 tons for Japan and 175.000 tons for France and Italy. A loophole in this treaty was that there was no tonnage limit set for cruisers and other ship classes (like submarines), which was happily abused by all five powers.

 

Then there was the Four-Power Treaty between the UK, US, Japan and France which replaced the old Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 1902 and was focussed on avoiding a future conflic in Asia.

 

Lastly there was the Nine-Power Treaty, which was signed by all attending nations and covered the territorial integrity of China, acknowledged Japans rule over it's Chinese territory of Manchuria and ensured equal trade opportunities for all nations in China, while China promised not to discriminate certain nations.

 

a17af7.jpg

The actual results of the Washington Naval Conference

 

The First Geneva Naval Conference

While these treaties were definately a step in the right direction, there were still certain loopholes which needed to be closed. This was cause for the Geneva Naval Conference of 1927, which was focussed on limiting cruiser construction.
The idea was to limit cruiser construction in a similar fashion as the Washington conference had limited capital ships...but they quickly ran into troubles. To start France and Italy refused to take part in the conference, Britain demanded to have a much larger tonnage of cruisers than the US because of her empire and Japan wouldn't agree with the suggested tonnage by the US and the UK as its leaders demanded a cruiser tonnage of at least 70% the size of that allocated to the US.

 

1413wjl.jpg

The gentlemen of the first Geneva Naval Conference

 

Even though the negotiations lasted for quite some time, no agreement was reached and the Geneva Naval Conference was deemend a big failure.

 

The First London Naval Conference

Fast forward to 1930 and the five major powers had another go at renegotiating the Five-Power Treaty of 1922. But unlike the failed attempt at Geneva, the London Naval Conference had one big motivator: the world was plummeting into the biggest financial crisis it had ever seen, and a reduction in naval spending was something all countries could use.

 

The first objective was to put a tonnage limit in place for "auxillary vessels", which would finally halt the unrestricted construction of smaller ships allowed by the 1922 treaty.
The second objective was to limit the maximum tonnage of cruisers and create the light cruiser and heavy cruiser classes.
A third objective, but only to the Japanese, was to change the 5:5:3 ratio between the US, UK and Japan to a 10:10:7 ration, allowing the Japanese to build a force of roughly 70% the strength of that of the US.

 

23h0gw4.jpg

The First London Naval Conference in full swing

 

After some tough negotiating all these objectives were met. 
First the distinction was made between light and heavy cruisers: light cruisers were armed with guns up to 6", while heavy crusiers were armed with guns of 6.1" up to 8" in size. The total displacement was also limited to 10.000 tons, creating the well known "treaty cruisers".

 

Japan got the 10:10:7 ratio it wanted, even though there was a slight difference between the heavy- and light-cruiser/destroyer ratios (10:10:6 and 10:10:7).

 

All this resulted in the following tonnage limits:

  • UK: 339,000 tons with a maximum of 15 heavy cruisers

  • US: 323,500 tons with a maximum of 18 heavy cruisers

  • Japan: 208,850 tons with a maximum of 12 heavy cruisers

 

Another point of the treaty had to do with submarines. As these craft were left untouched by the 1922 treaty some underwater behemoths like the French Surcouf had been built to make use of that loophole. In order to remedy this submarines were placed under the "Auxillary ships" category, meaning that their tonnage would add to the total of the country building them. Added to this a limit was placed on the maximum gunsize carried by subs and the total displacement of subs.

 

Last but not least, the rest of the 1922 treaty which wasn't altered by the new one were extended by five years, effectively extending the capital shipbuilding holiday to 1936.

 

Second Geneva Naval Conference (aka World Disarmament Conference)

In 1932 another attempt was made at arms reduction, this time not limited to the navy. This conference was initiated by the League of Nations and included sixty-one nations, including Germany and (for the first time) the Soviet Union. Negotiations lasted up to 1934, with Germany exiting the League in 1933 as Hitler came to power. While this was in violation of various treaties, nothing was done about it and negotiations soon stalled.

 

2wdulwm.jpg

Small photo of the Geneva Conference of 1932

 

Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935

While not a naval treaty, or conference, in the scope of those covered above, this one was of import as it gave Germany the freedom to build a naval force larger than that allowed by the treaty of Versailles: up to 35% of the total strength of the Royal Navy.

 

While obviously not a great deal, nor threat, to the British, this did stir up some bad vibes in France. The treaty of Versailles was a means to keep Germany in check, as France was still deeply distrusting their German neighbours and with Hitler in power Germany was flexing its military muscles once again...

 

...and now Germany was allowed to build a navy far larger than that allowed by the very treaty supposed to keep Germany in check...and the British didn't even bother to involve France and Italy in the negotiations.

 

15cy9o5.jpg

Von Ribbentrop in London after concluding negotiations on the Anglo-German Naval Agreement

 

This treaty gave Germany the freedom to build up its Kriegsmarine, leading up to the very ambitious Plan-Z which, when announced, pretty much killed the Anglo-German Agreement.

 

Second London Naval Conference

In 1936, as the first London Naval Treaty was about to expire, the five major naval powers were once again invited to talk about naval arms reduction.
However, as tensions between nations were becoming more apparent only the UK, US and France signed it.

 

The main focus was on limiting the size and armament of battleships. As the surviving ships of the WW1 era were at the end of their service life, new ships were being designed and this treaty was intended to limit their size, and in effect: costs.

 

The signatories agreed that battleships were to displace no more than 35,000 tons and would have a battery of guns no larger than 14". The US diplomats did manage to include the so-called "escalator clause", which stated that if any of the signatories of the ORIGINAL Washington Naval Treaty was to exceed these limits, the signatories of this new treaty were allowed to use guns up to a size of 16" instead of 14".

 

zmips3.jpg

A direct result of the Second London Naval Treaty: the King George V-class battleships

 

Other ships were also placed under new limitations: submarines were to displace no more than 2,000 tons and have a gun no larger than 5.1", light cruisers were to displace no more than 8,000 tons and aircraft carriers were limited to a maximum of 23,000 tons. In 1938 the three signatories agreed that the escalator clause was to be expanded, giving the signatories the right to build battleships of a displacement of 45,000 tons instead of 35,000.

 

Good examples of these treaty battleships are the British King George V-class and the French Dunkerque-class battleships. As the escalator clause kicked in in 1939, the American ships of the South-Dakota and North-Carolina classes were modified to include the now allowed 16" guns. The ships of the Iowa-class were the only ones to be actually built and make full use of the new limits, displacing 45,000 tons and armed with nine 16" guns.

 

Other classes like the German Bismarck-class and Italian Littorio-class battleships were, more-or-less, built to the treaty specifications, but were displacing a LOT more than allowed and fielded bigger guns. These, together with the rumors of a "new, big class of Japanese battleships" *cough*Yamato*cough* were actually the reason that the escalator clause kicked in.

 

11awvvt.jpg

Escalator clause-a-gogo! USS Iowa, the largest (proper) treaty battleship ever built


In the end...
In the end the naval treaties were pretty much a double edged sword. While they saved the major nations a lot of money otherwise spent on capital ships, they did level out the playing field with their maximum tonnages of ships and limitations to the actual classes that were built. They also meant the end of the British dominance over the seven seas that it had enjoyed for so long, even though it is questionable if the British economy would be able to support that dominance given it's post-war state if these treaties wouldn't have been signed.

Another unintended sideeffect was the rise to power of the aircraft carrier due to the loopholes in the Washington Naval Treaty, allowing hulls then under construction to be converted to carriers. Because of this the battleship would never again be the center of the fleet as it had been before and during WW1.

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The other thing to note is that the First and Second London Conferences radically redefined shipbuilding practices. Ideas like shell decapping plates or the extremely efficient engines that would characterize the US fast battleships would never have seen the light of day if people weren't trying to drag every tiny by of effectiveness out of their limited tonnage.

 

If you want to see what battleship design would have looked like without the London Conferences, Yamato's a pretty good indicator.

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The other thing to note is that the First and Second London Conferences radically redefined shipbuilding practices. Ideas like shell decapping plates or the extremely efficient engines that would characterize the US fast battleships would never have seen the light of day if people weren't trying to drag every tiny by of effectiveness out of their limited tonnage.

 

If you want to see what battleship design would have looked like without the London Conferences, Yamato's a pretty good indicator.

That, and a whole lot of other weight saving features were invented in order to get as much ship as possible within a limited displacement. Welded hulls are a good example (not that they were very good, but it was an advancement in shipbuilding nonetheless).

 

But it is like you said, these treaties had a whole lot of obvious and less obvious sideeffects.

Edited by JeeWeeJ

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Just finished my book Warhips after Washington: The development of the Five Major Fleets 1922-1930

 

Really interesting to see how shipbuilders tried to save every gram of weight. Innovative designs like using armor for longitudinal strength and stuff are really interesting. It also challenged the designers on how to prioritize armor, firepower and speed 

 

BTW, are you ever planning on doing a ship nickname one? I just found out that on Wiki they say HMS Renown and Repulse sisters were nicknamed Refit and Repair..felt trolled so hard by the RN if it is true...

Edited by Haqua

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What the hell is Belgium doing in those discussions? We have a staggering 80km of coastline :D

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What the hell is Belgium doing in those discussions? We have a staggering 80km of coastline :D

 

Belgian Congo. Overseas possessions mean an interest in naval affairs.

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Belgian Congo. Overseas possessions mean an interest in naval affairs.

Still wasn't much, but I do understand why Belgium would want to participate seeing as how its small, but if it could have a navy on par with the major powers it would be viewed as a major player (not that this ever happened obviously) very interesting read though +1 :great:

 

-powerkilroy

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What the hell is Belgium doing in those discussions? We have a staggering 80km of coastline :D

From what I understood the nine powers treaty main thing was about trade with China and not so much other overseas posessions. So maybe Begium had some trade interests in China at that time?

 

I mean, Antwerp was a major trade port at the time...

 

Otherwise I have no clue what Belgium had to do there! :D

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BTW, are you ever planning on doing a ship nickname one? I just found out that on Wiki they say HMS Renown and Repulse sisters were nicknamed Refit and Repair..felt trolled so hard by the RN if it is true...

We might one day, just like the nicknames Nelsol and Rodnol for Nelson and Rodney, as they looked a bit like oil tankers of the time.

There is still plenty to write about. :)

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We might one day, just like the nicknames Nelsol and Rodnol for Nelson and Rodney, as they looked a bit like oil tankers of the time.

There is still plenty to write about. :)

Do you plan on turning all that writing into a book?

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Do you plan on turning all that writing into a book?

Lol, that's step two in our quest for world domination! ;-)

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Lol, that's step two in our quest for world domination! ;-)

You'llbankrupt your economy on building the capital ships required ;)

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Other classes like the German Bismarck-class and Italian Littorio-class battleships were, more-or-less, built to the treaty specifications, but were displacing a LOT more than allowed and fielded bigger guns.

In the case of Vittorio Veneto and Littorio the calibre was hardly surprising, they were laid down before the Second London Naval Treaty, at the time 15 inch was well under the maximum 16 inch limitation and even the French were building the Richelieu and Jean Bart using the same calibre. By Second London Naval Treaty with escalator clause en force both Vittorio Veneto and Bismarck classes were actually fair "Treaty Battleships".

Edited by RedBear87

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In the case of Vittorio Veneto and Littorio the calibre was hardly surprising, they were laid down before the Second London Naval Treaty, at the time 15 inch was well under the maximum 16 inch limitation and even the French were building the Richelieu and Jean Bart using the same calibre. By Second London Naval Treaty with escalator clause en force both Vittorio Veneto and Bismarck classes were actually fair "Treaty Battleships".

 

As long as you ignore the fact that they were still 5-6000 tons overweight.

 

 

If you want to see what battleship design would have looked like without the London Conferences, Yamato's a pretty good indicator.

 

Not really; Yamato, for all her size, still incorporated a whole range of weight saving design measures that were not around at the time of the WNT, which is visible in the 'super' designs of the WNT era like the N3 or first South Dakota class.

 

Examples of measures are the extensive use of welding, the armour in certain areas doubling as structural support, and the characteristic shape of the flush deck. All of these are things the IJN developed and incorporated in other design's as well, as a result of the treaties. Other things like the bulbous bow are also technically 'weight saving', as without it you'd need another few thousand tons to get the same speeds, and worse fuel efficiency.

 

Edited by Elouda

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Edited by NGTM_1R

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However they aren't actually weight-saving measures for the most part; they're incorporated for other reasons.(1) More to the point, Yamato's engine design(2), torpedo defenses, and armor layout(3) are all very much pre-WNT scaled-up monstrosities, as is the choice of 18" guns without any real consideration of whether they were a useful or technically feasible choice(4) (which, really, given the complex nature of Japanese 18.1" guns, it wasn't).

 

Given that many of of these "weight-saving features" appeared on the 1920s designs that the WNT axed(5), it would be more accurate to say they're to save on costs and time rather than weight.

(Key points highlighted and enumerated for reference by me)

 

1. They're incorporated because they formed part of the IJN's battleship development lineage - much of which was considered under treaty limitations (see Kongo/Fuso replacement studies). Much of that stems from earlier work done on cruisers, with for example the structural use of armour on a wide scale along with the flush deck designs both originating from the Yubari and Furutaka. While weight savings weren't a key consideration for Yamato, that does not diminish the fact that these features were incorporated and probably shaved several thousand tons off the design.

 

2. Yamato featured a notably different powerplant arrangement compared to the newly reboilered ships. Part of this was due to the freedom to design these arrangements from scratch, a luxury the refit designs did not have. As a result, her machinery arrangement was notably more efficient both space and weight wise per horsepower than on for example, the Nagato's or Kongo's, and comparable to most other navies of the time (apart from the US, who were ahead of everyone else in this area).

 

3. Both of these features of her design were completely distinct compared to any WNT-era design, except perhaps G3/N3 which were very mature in their armour layout for the time. Yamato's (and preceding post-WNT studies) armour schemes were developed as a result of tests in the mid-late 20s against WNT-era armour layouts. It should also be noted that Yamato also used completely new materials for both vertical and horizontal protection, neither of which were around in the WNT-era.

 

So just which of these components is a 'very much pre-WNT scaled-up monstrosities'?

 

4. You mean aside from the fact that much deliberation was given to the design of these weapons, including the development and test firing of a new 16in gun? There was absolutely nothing 'technically unfeasible' about the 18.1in as it was installed - it used a slight modification of the existing 16in guns arrangements, so was not notably more complex. The only difficulty with the weapons was that of replacing the inner liners, which was deemed expensive enough that construction an entirely new rifle was a viable alternative. Considering that few if any battleships fired more shells per gun (excluding shore bombardments at the end of the war) than the lifespan of these liners, its not exactly a major issue.

 

5. As I've pointed out above, select features I've mentioned were present in certain WNT-era designs, where those designs were ahead of their time. None of them featured the whole range or the extent of their use, as in many cases they would have been 'first generation' uses of such technology, even as studies.

Edited by Elouda

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As long as you ignore the fact that they were still 5-6000 tons overweight.

Considering the escalator clause they were underweight of almost 5000 tons. And for that matter all Treaty Battleships but Dunkerque class ended up displacing more than 35,000 tons.

Edited by RedBear87

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Considering the escalator clause they were underweight of almost 5000 tons. And for that matter all Treaty Battleships but Dunkerque class ended up displacing more than 35,000 tons.

The 45k displacement part was only added to the escalator clause in 1938, the escalator clause was added BECAUSE the American diplomats suspected "foul play". The 35k displacement limit was already part of the Washington Naval Treaty and the German, Italian and Japanese designs were in clear violation of them (even though they made some effort to let the other nations believe they were within the limits of the WNT). To say that they would fit within the Escalator Clause is like saying that it's ok you've driven over the speed limit because the government raised the speed limit a while after you did so.

 

Dunkerque is a somewhat different story, she was actually designed to be a 35k ship but ended up being heavier due to stuff that was added and changes in the design. And then she still weighed roughly 500 tons more, not 10.000 like the Littorio's. You're right on the gun part, the initial maximum gun size in the WNT was 16", the 14" thing was new with the London Naval Treaty.

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Dunkerque is a somewhat different story, she was actually designed to be a 35k ship but ended up being heavier due to stuff that was added and changes in the design. And then she still weighed roughly 500 tons more, not 10.000 like the Littorio's.

10,000? Littorio and Vittorio were 6000 tons heavier, the Treaties refer to standard displacement. In comparison King George V was 38,000 tons when completed.

The 45k displacement part was only added to the escalator clause in 1938, the escalator clause was added BECAUSE the American diplomats suspected "foul play". The 35k displacement limit was already part of the Washington Naval Treaty and the German, Italian and Japanese designs were in clear violation of them (even though they made some effort to let the other nations believe they were within the limits of the WNT).

It was hard to say that German and Italian designs were "in clear violation" of the treaty before they were even completed, it was the secretive Japanese design which concerned them the most .

To say that they would fit within the Escalator Clause is like saying that it's ok you've driven over the speed limit because the government raised the speed limit a while after you did so.

Eventually no one strictly respected those initial limitations, building a modern and balanced design under those constraints was simply impossible.

Edited by RedBear87

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(Key points highlighted and enumerated for reference by me)

 

1. They're incorporated because they formed part of the IJN's battleship development lineage - much of which was considered under treaty limitations (see Kongo/Fuso replacement studies). Much of that stems from earlier work done on cruisers, with for example the structural use of armour on a wide scale along with the flush deck designs both originating from the Yubari and Furutaka. While weight savings weren't a key consideration for Yamato, that does not diminish the fact that these features were incorporated and probably shaved several thousand tons off the design.

 

2. Yamato featured a notably different powerplant arrangement compared to the newly reboilered ships. Part of this was due to the freedom to design these arrangements from scratch, a luxury the refit designs did not have. As a result, her machinery arrangement was notably more efficient both space and weight wise per horsepower than on for example, the Nagato's or Kongo's, and comparable to most other navies of the time (apart from the US, who were ahead of everyone else in this area).

 

3. Both of these features of her design were completely distinct compared to any WNT-era design, except perhaps G3/N3 which were very mature in their armour layout for the time. Yamato's (and preceding post-WNT studies) armour schemes were developed as a result of tests in the mid-late 20s against WNT-era armour layouts. It should also be noted that Yamato also used completely new materials for both vertical and horizontal protection, neither of which were around in the WNT-era.

 

So just which of these components is a 'very much pre-WNT scaled-up monstrosities'?

 

4. You mean aside from the fact that much deliberation was given to the design of these weapons, including the development and test firing of a new 16in gun? There was absolutely nothing 'technically unfeasible' about the 18.1in as it was installed - it used a slight modification of the existing 16in guns arrangements, so was not notably more complex. The only difficulty with the weapons was that of replacing the inner liners, which was deemed expensive enough that construction an entirely new rifle was a viable alternative. Considering that few if any battleships fired more shells per gun (excluding shore bombardments at the end of the war) than the lifespan of these liners, its not exactly a major issue.

 

5. As I've pointed out above, select features I've mentioned were present in certain WNT-era designs, where those designs were ahead of their time. None of them featured the whole range or the extent of their use, as in many cases they would have been 'first generation' uses of such technology, even as studies.

 

1. So you're agreeing with me now?

 

2. This is also not actually a contradiction of what I'm saying, though I'd point it it's also not a very true sentence. German engine design was completely different from everyone else and relied on a split turbine/diesel system for extremely-long-range unrefueled cruising that was inefficient in space and weight. The KGV's engine design was deliberately inefficient with space and weight for better maintenance access due to British imperial concerns and the desire to be able to perform much maintenance without the use of advanced shipyard facilities. In the plans that existed when Yamato was designed, she never had the same concerns; the fact she is comparable to both those design traditions with their built-in inefficiencies without a proximate cause for her own means she is inefficient for no valid reason; simply bad, in other words.

 

3. Simply put, Yamato was designed around an all-or-nothing scheme that had none of the improvements the WNT had forced on people. Her armor layout was very inefficiently distributed as large slabs of armor with no nuance, and probably not capable of preserving a sufficient amount of the ship's watertight integrity to keep her afloat, something the Americans had been doing since the pre-WW1 Standards and the British since the Nelsons. The Littorios and the Americans incorporated attempts at shell decapping plates and something similar would have likely appeared on notional Russian ships as well as the H41. Massive and massively flammable portions of the stern, in particular, were unarmored; the experience of the Americans at Guadalcanal with floatplane hangers should tell you why this is a problem.

 

4. "it used a slight modification of the existing 16in guns arrangements, so was not notably more complex."

 

 These guns had an unusually complex construction, perhaps reflecting the difficulty in manufacturing such a large caliber.  The A tube, designated as 2A, had the 3A tube shrunk on for somewhat over half the length from the breech end.  This assembly was then wire-wound and had a layer of two tubes shrunk on for the entire length, followed by a two-part jacket at the breech end.  The various tube locating shoulders were fitted with Belleville spring washers, presumably to lessen stress concentration and potential "steel choke" problems.  This feature was similar to many Vickers designs which used cannelured rings.  The inner A tube, known as 1A, was radially expanded into place by applying hydraulic pressure in three separate operations.  The inner A tube was rifled after it was in place. 

 

I don't think you understand what you're saying here. They stretched existing gun technology to the breaking point. These were not simple weapons and were in fact ridiculously complex in construction compared to most battleship artillery. The fact they tested a new 16.1" gun is true, but it must be remembered that it had only half the penetrating power of the 18.1"; this was not a serious attempt at effective gun and projectile design, as demonstrated by the USN's 16" non-superheavy projectiles for the NorCals and SoDaks having greatly superior penetration to the Japanese 16.1". They also never seriously considered the tactical factors of the gun; spotted firing cycle, effective ammunition handling and production, and so forth, which was exactly the considerations that lead the USN to reject and 18" gun in the 1920s and the British Admiralty to conclude their plans for an 18"-armed G3/N3 had been a mistake and actually push for smaller weapons.

 

5. Again, so you're agreeing with me now? This is not a contradiction of my point.

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10,000? Littorio and Vittorio were 6000 tons heavier, the Treaties refer to standard displacement. In comparison King George V was 38,000 tons when completed.

It was hard to say that German and Italian designs were "in clear violation" of the treaty before they were even completed, it was the secretive Japanese design which concerned them the most .

Eventually no one strictly respected those initial limitations, building a modern and balanced design under those constraints was simply impossible.

RA Burt's number for the displacement come out as just under 37,000 tonnes for KGV. the rest of the additional weight coming from wartime modifications. 

 

 

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Re: treaty compliance of Littorio's, the final design was approved in 1935 with government authorization to build larger ship than allowed. This act, at least, is definite and deliberate violation of the treaty system. In case of KGV it seems to have been partly due to insufficient margins in the design (also applies to Americans) and partly due to mistaken belief that like Nelsons (Nelson itself being completed at 33,300 tons standard) the finished product would displace less than estimated.

 

The Littorios and the Americans incorporated attempts at shell decapping plates and something similar would have likely appeared on notional Russian ships as well as the H41.

 

AFAIK, the only definitely known reason for the relatively thick (ie. shell plating is not usually that thick) shell plating around the waterline on SoDaks and Iowas was splinter protection for the otherwise unprotected waterline. De-capping had nothing to do with it and their ability to do so is modern speculation. In case of Littorio this was a real intent but in case they actually filled the gap with cement foam it can't have been too weight effective - though possibly cost effective in the sense that less armour steel would have been needed than otherwise (it was also dropped on subsequent Italian battleship design which had conventional belt).

Edited by Gigaton

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Re: treaty compliance of Littorio's, the final design was approved in 1935 with government authorization to build larger ship than allowed. This act, at least, is definite and deliberate violation of the treaty system. In case of KGV it seems to have been partly due to insufficient margins in the design (also applies to Americans) and partly due to mistaken belief that like Nelsons (Nelson itself being completed at 33,300 tons standard) the finished product would displace less than estimated.

Leaving insufficient margins should tell a lot about their seriousness of respecting the treaty system. Anyway what I meant is that Littorio in 1938 (when Italy was on the verge of re-joining the treaty system after signing the Easter Pact) would have been again a treaty-allowed design, as the displacement limit was raised to 45,000 tons, before that point it was moot whether they were or not a violation of a treaty that lapsed for Italy in 1936.

Edited by RedBear87

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1. So you're agreeing with me now?

 

2. This is also not actually a contradiction of what I'm saying, though I'd point it it's also not a very true sentence. German engine design was completely different from everyone else and relied on a split turbine/diesel system for extremely-long-range unrefueled cruising that was inefficient in space and weight. The KGV's engine design was deliberately inefficient with space and weight for better maintenance access due to British imperial concerns and the desire to be able to perform much maintenance without the use of advanced shipyard facilities. In the plans that existed when Yamato was designed, she never had the same concerns; the fact she is comparable to both those design traditions with their built-in inefficiencies without a proximate cause for her own means she is inefficient for no valid reason; simply bad, in other words.

 

3. Simply put, Yamato was designed around an all-or-nothing scheme that had none of the improvements the WNT had forced on people. Her armor layout was very inefficiently distributed as large slabs of armor with no nuance, and probably not capable of preserving a sufficient amount of the ship's watertight integrity to keep her afloat, something the Americans had been doing since the pre-WW1 Standards and the British since the Nelsons. The Littorios and the Americans incorporated attempts at shell decapping plates and something similar would have likely appeared on notional Russian ships as well as the H41. Massive and massively flammable portions of the stern, in particular, were unarmored; the experience of the Americans at Guadalcanal with floatplane hangers should tell you why this is a problem.

 

4. "it used a slight modification of the existing 16in guns arrangements, so was not notably more complex."

  These guns had an unusually complex construction, perhaps reflecting the difficulty in manufacturing such a large caliber.  The A tube, designated as 2A, had the 3A tube shrunk on for somewhat over half the length from the breech end.  This assembly was then wire-wound and had a layer of two tubes shrunk on for the entire length, followed by a two-part jacket at the breech end.  The various tube locating shoulders were fitted with Belleville spring washers, presumably to lessen stress concentration and potential "steel choke" problems.  This feature was similar to many Vickers designs which used cannelured rings.  The inner A tube, known as 1A, was radially expanded into place by applying hydraulic pressure in three separate operations.  The inner A tube was rifled after it was in place. 

 

I don't think you understand what you're saying here. They stretched existing gun technology to the breaking point. These were not simple weapons and were in fact ridiculously complex in construction compared to most battleship artillery. The fact they tested a new 16.1" gun is true, but it must be remembered that it had only half the penetrating power of the 18.1"; this was not a serious attempt at effective gun and projectile design, as demonstrated by the USN's 16" non-superheavy projectiles for the NorCals and SoDaks having greatly superior penetration to the Japanese 16.1". They also never seriously considered the tactical factors of the gun; spotted firing cycle, effective ammunition handling and production, and so forth, which was exactly the considerations that lead the USN to reject and 18" gun in the 1920s and the British Admiralty to conclude their plans for an 18"-armed G3/N3 had been a mistake and actually push for smaller weapons.

 

5. Again, so you're agreeing with me now? This is not a contradiction of my point.

 

1. Yes and no. Your statement was correct, but only partially. There is a bigger picture behind it to consider.

 

2. I certainly think it is, particularly if looking at the evolution of boiler and steam technology inside the IJN after the treaties. Calling it a 'pre-WNT scaled-up monstrosities' is like calling the Shokaku a 'scaled up' Hosho. Part of the inefficiencies in the case of the IJN stem from their decision to retain lower steam pressures and temperatures, in order to reduce maintenance requirements, particularly on larger vessels (hence why all of their experimental 'hot' steam plants were on destroyers or smaller). This is very much in line with IJN design thought at the time, and efficiency improvements were directed to other areas.

 

3. Oh, wow. This one really reveals a lot about your knowledge about the evolution naval armour, doesn't it? Firstly, I'm not certain what kind of 'nuance' you're looking for in armour design, but the use of single plates is practically always the better option, weight and space permitting, especially for vertical protection. The fact that these were sloped at the largest angle on any ship built only adds to that protection. Again, I'm not sure where you're getting 'inefficienctly distributed' from considering the arrangement protects the citadel and core floatation spaces and very little else (save the steering gear) - thats about the most efficient distribution possible, even compared to contemporaries like Iowa (which wastes weight on the long underwater aft end belt, and ironically enough leaves the very thin bow unprotected). This arrangement works particularly well on her due to the wide hull form, where even more than usual, the majority of floatation volume is enclosed inside the citadel. The use of the belt as a structural component (as I mentioned before) makes the use of a decapping belt difficult, and would have regardless required something of the thicknesses employed in Littorio to be effective, which runs counter to the weight efficiency argument. I think you'll find most problems with floatplane hangers were with those placed amidships, and that the placement at the aft was the 'safest' location for them. I am not sure what other 'massively flammable' areas you refer to that are outside of the citadel.

 

4. I admit I thought your comment was in regard to the gun and/or turret mechanism designs, not the actual rifle, as the former might actually have an impact on use, the latter is a matter of construction only. Yes, this was done as it was the single largest and heaviest rifle to actually be mounted afloat (though the Japanese and US both experimented with heavier ones, there is a difference between a rifle intended for installation on a ship and the associated rigours, and a rifle whose life will be spent on a range, probably firing some few dozen rounds). The statement of the experimental 16.1in having 'half the power of the 18in' I suspect originates from faulty translation, as that remains a physical impossibility unless they reverted to cast shot. I suspect the original statement was along the lines of 'half the penetration power improvement of the 18.1in', which would be in line with a more stressed 16in design. Regardless, thought and effort was given to the choice of gun, if by nothing else then the sheer number of design studies that considered both 16.1in and 18in gun arrangements. Funnily enough, you mention that US Mk5 AP from the 16in/45 Mk6 has 'greatly' better penetration than the IJN Type 91 from the 16.1in/45, but this is wrong and it is actually slightly worse until around ~25,000 yards. As for tactical factors, neither of those you mention were materially different from existing weapons, and as said the arrangements for these were designed based on the ones for the 16.1in. Ammunition production is not a tactical factor, but is one the IJN struggled with for many calibers any due to scarcity of certain resources.

 

5. Again, your statement was partially correct. I am simply offering a correction - I ask that you don't jump to conclusions about that meaning I agree with you.

Edited by Elouda

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