CSS Veracruz (BB-1944)


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With the fall of France in 1940 the French Navy had piled stores, weapons, men and machinery onto whatever merchant ships were available in harbour and any that could be got to harbour in time. Partly finished ships that could be got to sea went to whichever port was within range of their building condition. Part of these goods arrived at Norfolk, Virginia and were put into warehouses where it could be inventoried for the French Navies future use. Among these goods were five quadruple turrets and guns that had been destined for Alsace class battleships that were under construction. The Confederate Navy purchased those weapons for use on CSN ships. Two thoughts were had as to what useage could be made of the four turrets. Build a slightly larger version of the Alabama class battleships and arm it with sixteen 15". Use four turrets on one ship. The ship would have needed to be well over 900 feet and 65,000 tons and would probably have excedded the Norths Montanas by some considerable margin. The CSN would rather stay with the fast battleship concept and a second design utilising two turrets for eight 15" per ship was considered a better useage of the materiel, the last turret became the Merimack.

The French 15" (14.96") gun proved to be an excellent weapon in service and was the largest weapon taken to sea on Confederate warships. While only having eight guns the increase in size made the Veracruz class as well armed as a lot of other battleships of the time.

For the first time in new built ships the CSN dispensed with aircraft handling facilities and devoted the weight and space to an enhanced AA armament. The single 20mm were also dispensed with and the quad 40mm became the weapon of choice for light AA for a better knock down capability against Japanese aircraft. But the main change was in the extra pair of 5.1" quadruple turrets which increased the dual-purpose weapons from 24 to 32. Also the siting of the 5.1" allowed more guns to be fired per broadside than in the previous Alabama and New Mexico classes, 20 in the Veracruz as opposed to 12 in the others, a marked advantage. The increase of directors to control these weapons also increased from 4 to 6. Speed of the two ships was made to match the Alabama class and gave the CSN very fast Combined Task Forces with their large carriers, battleships, cruisers and escorts all making over 33 knots and could easily cruise at 28 knots. A speed that was absolutely flat out for most other navies groups.

Displacement 42,000 tons std 50,750 tons full load
Length 807 ft
Breadth 104 ft
Draught 30.5 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines 190,000shp
Speed 33 knots
Range 10,000 miles at 15 knots (3,250 nm at 28 knots)
Armour 12" side, 7" deck, 16/11/8" turrets
Armament 8 x 15" (2x4)

32 x 5.1" (8x4)

84 x 40mm (21x4)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1800
Notes CSS Veracruz

CSS Arrizona


Stern 40mm mountings on the Veracruz.


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