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What if Australia got the Battlecruiser HMAS Australia between the Wars?

Discussion in 'Alternate History' started by von_noobie, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Many Australian warships operated with the RN in the Mediterranean and even Atlantic in 1939-41, so there's a good chance our Australian carrier would have served there also. She might make some valuable contributions, and of course there's also the chance she could be lost or damaged.

    Force Z was attacked by unescorted bombers, so even a few Fulmars or Martlets might have made a difference. Prince of Wales was disabled by a single lucky hit, and Repulse was done in by a classic coordinated attack from multiple directions. A little bit of disruption could have prevented either of those and given the ships a better chance to defend themselves by fire or maneuver.

    On the other hand, once the Japanese found themselves being shot up by carrier figthers, they would probably make the carrier their prime target.

    One more point, if one of the British carriers was exempted from the treaty limits by being transferred to Australia, the RN would have another 22,000 tons or so available. Like the USN and IJN, they did not build their full allowance of carriers until the mid-1930s, at which point the additional ship would probably be built to the then-current design, Ark Royal, a considerable asset when war came. This would also require the Fleet Air Arm, which was under the RAF until 1939, to support several additional squadrons.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The cascading possibilities are starting to get pretty impressive. Would that have allowed the Fleet Air Arm enough clout to become more independent of the RAF earlier?
     
  3. Markus Becker

    Markus Becker Member

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    Not obvious is putting it mildly. And by the start of the war the Empire had plenty capital ship but just three fast ones. Germany had two, Italy five albeit lighter.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What 5 capital ships did Italy have at the start of the war? The old battleships weren't much faster than the Nelsons and were seriously inferior to them. While two of the Littirios had been commissioned they hadn't worked up yet and that workup had a bit of a hiccup in it. The German battleships in service at the start of the war along with the Italian ones when compared to the RN battleships would, depending on just how you rated them, vary from marginally superior to vastly inferior to any of the British capital ships.

    As for obvious a lone BC is of rather limited use but a carrier in the Pacfic would at least have the capability of scouting a much wider area faster and more efficiently than the BC. Especially since the BC would be lucky to come out even in an exchange with any of the Japanese capital ships. It would also give the Australians some experience in an area they didn't have any BC's aren't used that much different than heavy cruisers which the Australians already had experience with.
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The transfer of the Fleet Air Arm from the RAF to the RN was under consideration as Ark Royal was being completed, and a significant increase in the navy's carrier air power may have stimulated discussion of how that power should be managed.

    If we hypothesize one of Furious, Courageous, or Glorious being transferred to the RAN, that would leave the other two plus Eagle, Hermes, and Argus, able to operate around 120-150 aircraft. Two new Ark Royal types would roughly double the RN's carrier air strength.

    p.s. for some reason I cannot quote posts or even cut and paste text; anyone else having these problems?
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Yes I've been having that problem. Can't paste urls either. I have found that by right clicking on the quote button and choosing the open in another tab option I can get the quotes as above.
     
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  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    I've been wondering lately how major components like engines and boilers were replaced on battleships. I've seen engines replaced on 30' to 50' boats (big enough to have an engine room instead of just engine hatches) and they just chain saw a hole in the deck over them. After the work is done the beautiful teak decks are restored and look like nothing ever happened. Amazing. How did they get the big parts out of a battleship? I assume that the old ones were cut up into smaller pieces but boilers and engines would have to go in pretty much complete, I would think, and there was an armored deck and many other decks above the engines. Did they remove the side belt and cut a hole in that way? Just wondering
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Good question, hopefully someone can find an article or some good photos of the process. It seems like the midships section of the ship would have to be practically gutted; fortunately most major reconstructions also included redoing the superstructure.

    One break in many of the WWI-era capital ships reconstructed in the 1930s (other than the US standard type) was that they didn't have actual deck armor, just 2" or so of standard structural steel. Installing deck armor was one of the main reasons for reconstruction, although it was not as visible as new superstructures or secondary armaments.
     
  9. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Engines were replaced in some cases, and more so in some navies than others. The British and Italians tended to replace engines for example. All navies reboilered ships during major overhauls / upgrades. This is because over time these wear out in use. Many did it to convert ships from coal to oil firing too.
    On big ships the same thing is done. Cut a hole in the decks and lift out the old and put in the new. In some cases, this might be made simpler by having large sections that are designed to be opened to facilitate this.

    You could on some ships go in from the side but, generally it's done from above. That way the ship is in a drydock and a crane can be used to lift the components out.

    Ships also could have major structural rearrangement of their internal structure done. Many had changes to add torpedo protection or improve damage control. For example, on older US battleships and cruisers there were hatches between main spaces and the 3rd deck was the damage control deck. This was changed in the 30's and 40's to removing all hatches for fore-aft movement below the second deck (you had to now go "up and over") and making the second deck the damage control deck.

    The Italians took some of their WW 1 battleships cut them in half, added a whole new section and removed the amidships turret. This increased their speed with their new engines and boilers from 21 knots to nearly 30.
     
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  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Cut in half? I've always seen the increases in length in modenizations like the Italian or Japanese battleships attributed to reconstruction of bow and/or stern to be more hydrodynamically efficient. The major increase in horsepower in the Italian ships was facilitated by the removal of the midships turret and magazines, plus of course newer machinery was more compact.
     

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