TCG Torgud Reis (BC-1944)
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With the return of the two refurbished Yavuz class battlecruisers, the Navys' High Command looked at replacements for these two ships and the even older Torgud Reis class pre-dreadnoughts. The Yavuz would be 30 years old by 1942 so replacements needed to be ordered by the beginning of 1938 to be ready by the end of 1942. The new pact with the Germanic States allowed for German hardware and technical assistance to be used in the basic design work. The order for the first ship was placed in Spain with the SECN shipyard at the beginning of 1938 with the order for the second ship being placed in 1940.
The final design was for a small battlecruiser with the same firepower as the Yavuz class but with the modern fittings that 25 years of design improvements had brought to naval ship design. The design had the main turrets placed forward with the guns concentrated in two quadruple turrets. The gun size was kept at 11" with the guns themselves being designed to be able to use the shells carried by the Yavuz type to ease the ammunition supply problem. The new guns were much more powerful and could fire almost twice as far as the earlier model. This allowed for a shorter ship with consequently shorter armoured belt required. A speed of 30 knots was specified. Probably the ships best feature was the fitting of the new 130mm twin dual purpose mountings. Eight mountings being fitted with three dual purpose directors to control them. 37mm and 20mm AA guns rounded out a useful gun armament. For the first time in Turkish ships these two ships were to be fitted with aircraft handling facilities and space was made in the hangar for 3-4 aircraft to be carried. Like most Germanic States capital ships torpedoes were fitted with two triple mountings placed on either side of the funnel.
The Torgud Reis was laid down in 1938 with construction being suspended during 1940-41 due to a lack of steel and a need for the resources to be concentrated on higher priority construction. Construction was resumed at a slower pace at the end of 1941 with completion now slated for 1944. A ship for an ally being a low priority for the Spanish. The sistership ordered in 1940 was cancelled in 1941 with the material gathered being used in other construction projects. Four of the guns ordered for that ship were later incorporated in coastal defences.
Having survived the war the Torgud Reis was then put through a tug-of-war between the post-war Allied nations as to where the Torgud Reis should be allocated as a spoil of war. This was finished in 1949 when NATO invited Turkey to join. The ship would stay as part of the new Turkish fleet. The two old battlecruisers of the Yavuz class were not so fortunate and had to be transferred to Russia, where they were then scrapped.
With its future assured plans for the updating of the ship could be undertaken. With these plans finalised the Torgud Reis sailed for the Newport News Naval Yards in 1955. On the way the ship was included in a NATO exercise where the ship performed well. The rebuilding took 4 years and completely refurbished the electronics suite, fitted the two twin rocket launchers aft with their associated control equipment, and not least replaced all of the older semi-automatic AA guns with more modern automatic, radar controlled, weaponry. Thought had been given to replacing the forward turrets with more missile launchers but the German 11" weapons fitted could fire over 46,000 yards, which was as good as the US 16" guns of the time, and were accurate at that range. The new Radars only improved the guns accuracy.
|Displacement||26,500 tons std 31,750 tons full load|
|Machinery||2 shaft steam turbines, 110,000shp|
|Range||5000 miles at 18 knots (1800 at 26 knots)|
|Armour||10" Side armour, 4.1" deck armour, 9.1" turrets|
|Armament||As Built 1944:
8 x 11" (2x4)
16 x 5.1" (8x2)
10 x 37mm (5x2)
12 x 20mm (1x4 8x1)
|As Rebuilt 1960:
8 x 11" (2x4)
8 x 3" (4x2)
14 x 40mm (7x2)
4 x Rocket Launchers (2x2)
|Torpedoes||6 x 21" (2x3)||Nil|
|Notes||TCG Torgud Reis
TCG Barbaros Hayreddin (cancelled 1941)
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