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HMS HOOD

Discussion in 'Surface and Air Forces' started by gusord, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. gusord

    gusord Member

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    Why did the Royal Navy put so much pride in the HMS HOOD ? As it turns out the HOOD did not have enough armor plating
    especially near the magazines. They had other battleships like the Prince of Wales and others that seemed to be more
    fortified with more armor plating than the HOOD.


    gusord
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    HMS Hood was a very clean looking ship, almost elegant in her way and was supposed (in popular opinion) to have been the ultimate expression of the Battle Cruiser design. She also remained in the press's eye by constant deployment as a showing the flag ship. For many in the Royal Navy, Government and the British public, when you mentioned "the Navy", HMS Hood was the mental picture that came to mind. Hence the mythology that surrounded her in life and death.
     
  3. Sandwichery

    Sandwichery Active Member

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    She was so photogenic that she became the poster-child for the Royal Navy between the wars. Many in the know were aware of her flaws, but from what I've read economics had a lot to do with the failure to remedy them.
     
  4. sapper

    sapper British Normandy Veteran, Royal Engineers

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    aaaand she was OLD ! My uncle Reg served on her when I was but a lad!
     
  5. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Sapper, I agree, she was quite old by WW2 , being commissioned in 1920 design, and as posted by Belasar, a battle cruiser, not a battleship. Battle cruisers varied a great deal but Hood was quite large for a battle cruiser but some of her armor was thinner that one might expect.....to give speed and save a few quid. Especially her deck armor vulnerable to long range plunging fire. The Royal Navy was very aware , after Jutland, of faulty flash proof doors to the magazine hoist and storage and tried to improve Hood under construction. Still just so much could be done given the state of construction and money. Her size gave the impression of being a true battleship.

    I believe that luck is a large element in capitol ship engagements. Prince Eugen and Bismarck did shoot well, cannot deny them that, but that one fatal round might have landed a few meters off with damaging but not fatal effects and a few salvos from the British might have score a few precise hits on the Germans in just seconds or minutes. Consider what doomed the Bismark just days later. An 85+ knot near antigue bi-plane managed to place an aerial torpeto in a rare vulnerable place on the Bismarck, a little luck there. Thought the Bismarck was handicapped by her inability to hold a constant course she managed to straddle Rodney with out a hit . She could have missed Hood and hit Rodney though her fate was sealed.

    No one will ever really know why Hood sank so fast, it almost seems a magazine would have had to explode and the latest in a series of theories was a 15" shell penetrated her beneath the water line. Odd in that the protecting hull would be thick over the magazine area and the magazine walls were themselves strong. Maybe a unlucky seam .

    Oddly the sinking of the Hood gave her a certain fame, or infamy, that may have made her better known for the sinking.....at least to the none British world. She was a beautiful ship and there are photographs of her, all crew on deck that are now heart rending. Even given her fate she remains a great ship to me.
     
  6. Richard71

    Richard71 Member

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    (This is from memory as I haven't been able to check my books) Was not HOOD the largest warship afloat, even at the time of her sinking?
    Corrections welcome!
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    She was "one" of the largest warships afloat in the world.

    The Bismarck was a few thousand tons heavier.(Perhaps, if the intended modernization had been carried out, the Hood would have been the heaviest).
    The Lexington class aircraft carriers were several 10s of feet longer.
    Although, IIRC, she was the largest warship afloat in the Royal Navy.
     
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  8. Richard71

    Richard71 Member

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    A bit off topic but I have read that Churchill believed that HMS Prince of Wales ought to have kept fighting. With (I think) at least one 14" quad turret out of use and having sustained hits, including to the bridge, and (this clinches it for me) facing a battleship and an 8" gunned cruiser, Prince of Wales breaking the engagement made sense (despite her eventual fate in the Far East). Any views by forum members on this point, please?
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    PoW was order to disengage at least until she had more than 3 working main guns. She did reengage later that day but was again ordered to break off before many rounds were fired.
     
  10. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Up to Denmark straits Hood had the distinction of being the only battlecruiser to sink a battleship (Bretagne), afterwards she was also the first battlecruiser sunk by a battleship (and possibly the only one if you consider Sharnhorst a shared kill and Kirishima a fast batteship after her conversion) . She was very good looking, and the largest warship afloat before WW2 so became a symbor for the Royal Navy. While she did suffer a catastrophic explosion naval engagements depend a lot on luck and hers ran out on 24/5/1941. While her armour scheme ultimately failed her she was far from thin skinned (her armour was not very different from the WW1 era battleships the additional 10.000t compared to a Queen Elizabeth class battleships went into speed, but protection was not very different.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Sharnhorst was a battleship. :)
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Although rated a battle cruiser, Hood's protection and armament were comparable to contemporary battleships; she achieved her speed by being almost half again their size rather than by reducing armor or armament as earlier battle cruisers had. By the same token her vulnerabiities, particular horizontal protection, were common to her generation; any unmodernized WWI-era ship could have suffered the same fate.

    In the mid-1930s the Royal Navy began extensive reconstructions of most of the WWI-era capital ships (excepting the R class, of which only Royal Oak received significant improvements). Hood, being the last and best of her generation, was last in line for modernization; it was planned to give her a complete reconstruction along the lines of Valiant and Queen Elizabeth when those ships were finished, but war intervened.
     
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  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    From what I recall it wasn't unusual for BC's to weigh in as much or more as contemporary BB's. They tended to be pretty heavy even after sacrificing armor or guns.
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That is because there was no overall weight savings, whatever tonnage was saved in the reduction of guns or armor was put into propulsion - so that the battlecruisers could have their high speed.
     
  15. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Speed is expensive; in 20th century capital ships it cost about 2000 tons/knot, as can be seen in ships with essentially the same combat capabilities but different speeds - Queen Elizabeth-Hood or South Dakota-Iowa.
     
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  16. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Could this modernization have made a difference for Hood at Denmark Strait?
     
  17. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    If the explosion was caused by an explosion in a 4" secondary magazine propagating to the main magazine as many sources state , and the analysis of the wreck apparently confirm, modernization would make the exact historical result impossible as the magazines would likely be moved because of the replacement of the 4" with DP guns.
     
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  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Definitely, because it would have included deck armor, up to 5" thick over magazines. She would have been essentially comparable to a brand-new ship.

    Some features of the planned reconstruction:

    Removal of upper armor belt - replaced by deck armor from A to Y turret - and armored conning tower.
    Complete new superstructure similar to KGV, Valiant, or Renown, including aircraft hangars and cross-deck catapult.
    Turrets modified for 30 degree elevation and the new 1938lb shell. Modern gunnery control.
    New secondary armament - sixteen 5.25" in twin mounts - six 8-barrel pompoms, etc. and the lastest High Angle Control System.
    New boilers and machinery, not to increase speed or horsepower, but the more compact machinery would allow for improved subdivision/underwater protection and provide space for 5.25" magazines.
     
  19. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Do you know what the displacement and speed would have been?

    Thanks
     
  20. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Similar reconstructions - Valiant or Renown - showed a 3-4000 ton increase in displacement and 1-2 knot loss of speed. As mentioned, the new machinery was intended to be more compact, not to increase speed. Fewer/larger boilers meant fewer stokers needed, which helped compensate for the additional crewmen needed for increased AA armament and other features.
     

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