Royal Commonwealth Navy Page:

 

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My original Commonwealth Navy page contained only those drawings to support the Australis Scenario. I have many theories to support differing scenarios. If I leave the US as a single entity, rather than splitting it as I do in the Australis Scenario, then I normally say that the German Scutling at Scapa Flow does not take place, which releases a lot of German ships into the South American and other countries (Spain) either as purchases or as war booty. Germany then gets a less harsh Versailles Treaty which allows Capital Ships at 60% of the 35,000 ton limit with a different set of ships to start the Weimar Navy. To balance these 'Axis' additions out I create the 'Dominions' early. Those countries become repositories of ships that are less than 10 years old, like the Iron Dukes with their 10x13.5", and other modern cruisers and destroyers. This is what the original Australis idea came from. Germany and Japan are much more formidable and require more UK Allied forces to fight those first 2 1/2 years on their own.

Since that original idea I have added many different Alternate Universe, countries and additional Islands and Lands. I have done a complete rebuild of the Royal Navy with the Fisherless RN, and I have added a lot of real life and never-were ships that I am still using to provide the basis for new drawings. I did two sets of drawings following the design process of the King George V battleship class and the J,K,N, destroyer classes. Both sets have been added to with my own personal designs to create even more drawings. I have ended up creating many hundreds of Royal Navy ships, that may not have otherwise existed for reasons like being scrapped early, where I have placed the ship with the Canadian Navy, Australis Navy, South African Navy or even sold some off to South American countries to create a new 1930's South American Battleship race.

A lot of the early drawings I did for the Australis Scenario look very dated now (horrible is the word I am looking for I think), so while completely updating this page I will also update the drawings as well. I will keep the existing drawings at the bottom of each page so it can be seen how far the skill of pixel art has advanced since I started drawing these ships 6-7 years ago.

Each ship page will be noted which scenario it belongs to, and where multiple drawings appear on a page I will note the ideas on each drawing with each scenario details.

Only those pages I have updated will have the links working. The rest are still available through this link: Commonwealth Navies 1939+


The Scenarios:  

Australis - Timeline and backstory.

Fisherless RN - ships and reasoning behind:
 


Above: HMS Ark Royal, HMS Malaya, HMS Renown (Force H 1940)

Aircraft Carriers

The doctrines of the two major Commonwealth CV builders reflected their major battlegrounds. The Royal Navy required its carriers to be able to survive near occupied territory in the Mediterranean and along the coasts of Europe. Its ships were armoured accordingly. The other reason for the RN to have armoured carriers was the lack of quality aircraft in the Fleet Air Arm. Upgrade the quality of the FAA aircraft and the RN can have carriers with lots of aircraft. The Australis carriers had all the Pacific and Indian Oceans to play in and these areas required numbers of aircraft aboard as there were no land based aircraft to worry about. The size of the ships and numbers of aircraft reflected this. For aircraft carriers, bigger is always better!

 

HMSAS Kwazulu dodging bombs during an attack from Argentinian bombers during the Battle for the Falkand Islands 1939.

 

Class Name

No.

First Date

Country/No.

Page Address (click on thumbnail or hyperlink for page listing)

HMSAS Lesotho

1

1908

SA-1

HMS Neptune CVE 1 1911 UK-1
HMAS Manawatu (CVL) 1 1914 AU-1
HMS Revenge (CVE?) 5 1916-17 UK-5
HMS Argus

1

1919

UK-1

HMS Hermes

1

1925

UK-1

HMAS Carpentaria

1

1926

AU-1

 (Ex Cavendish, Ex Vindictive)
HMS Furious

3

1925

UK-3

HMS Eagle

1

1924

SA-1

HMAS Van Diemen

1

1928

AU-1

HMS Lord Kitchener

2

1928

UK-2

HMS Goliath/Albion 1-2 1928 UK-1/2
HMS Illustrious (G3) 2 1929 UK-2
HMS Apollo 1 1932 UK-1
HMAS Albatross (CVE)

34

1934

AU-10, UK-24

HMS Ark Royal

4

1938+

UK3 SA-1

HMS Andania 6 1921-40 UK-6
HMS Albatross (CVL)

10

1940

UK-6

HMS Illustrious

5

1940

UK-5

HMAS Endeavour

4

1941

AU-4

HMS Unicorn / HMAS Tasman 16 1942 UK-AU
HMS Audacious

4

1944

UK-4

HMS Indefatigable/Malta

2

1944-45

UK-4

Fleet Air Arm Lots 1938-45 Everyone

 

Battleships / Battlecruisers

Even though the Commonwealth navies were acting in concert for building of their capital ships, you can see from the list below that no real homogenous classes of battleship or battlecruiser emerged. The closest would be the King George and Westralis types which shared the same hull if not the same armament and were supposed to have been 6 UK and 4 Australis for a total of 10. The Temeraire class of 4 laid down in 1938/39 were delayed, cancelled and scrapped from wars outbreak. (All of this changes from week to week as I dream up more and more differing scenarios and drawings to populate this section). Of the remaining four Invincible and Indefatigable class battlecruisers at WW1's end, the two Invincible were given to Chile as part of their replacement package and the other two were sold to Brazil.


The  Battle Cruiser Squadron at sea, Jutland 1916. (Tiger, Princess Royal, Lion), the Splendid Cats.

 

Class Name

No. First Date

Country/No.

Page Address (click on either name or thumbnail for link)

HMS Leviathan (BC) 2 1908 UK-2
HMS Neptune (TS/CVE/ADV) 5 1909 UK-3 AU-2
HMSAS Rhodesia (ex Lion-BC) 2 1912 SA-2
HMAS Marlborough (ex-Iron Duke-BB) 6 1913/14 AU-4 SA-2
HMAS Kimberley (ex Tiger) 2 1914 AU-2
HMSAS Natal (ex Erin) 1 1914 SA-1
HMAS New South Wales (ex Canada) 1 1915 AU-1
HMS Courageous (BC-13.5" & 15") 2 1915 UK-2
HMS Queen Elizabeth (BB) 8 1915 UK-5 AU-3
HMS Revenge (CVE?) 5 1916-17 UK-5
HMS Renown (FBB) 6 1916 UK-6
HMS Barfleur (BB) 3 1917-18 UK-3
HMAS Australis (BC) 1 1919 AU-1
HMS Majestic (BB) 4 1920 UK-4
HMS Hood (BC) 1 1920 UK-1
HMS Incomparable Project 1 1923 UK-1
HMS Indefatigable (BB-G3) 2 1925 UK-2
HMSAS Transvaal (BB) 1 1923 SA-1
HMS Nelson (BB) 2 1927 UK-2
HMS Invincible (BB) 1 1930 UK-1
HMS Warrior - Lillicrap BC designs 2 1932-34 UK-2
HMS Bellerophon (BB) 2 1934 UK-2
HMSAS Sud Afrika (BC) 1 1936 SA-1
HMS King George V (BB) 12 1939-43 UK-8-10
AU-2-4
HMS Vanguard (BB) 3 1940 UK-1-3
HMS Vengeance (BB) 3 1941-42 AU-1
UK-2
HMAS Oceania (BB) 1 1945 AU-1


 

Area Defence Vessels / Pre-Dreadnoughts / Armoured Cruisers / Training Ships


Along with their primary duties these ships operated as depot/repair ships for minor war vessels. The two operating from Sierra Leone never got to sea as they were used for depot and repair ships for the escorts and seaplanes working from the base. They were indispensible. But the same rules apply to the ADV's as to the older cruisers in the next grouping. How old is too old? I have been keeping older armoured cruisers and pre-dreadnoughts where there are plenty of the almost as old dreadnoughts. The most advantageous bit of keeping the later ships. The later ships have turbines, the older ships, triple expansion engines. The ADV's had only to be powered enough to be able to pass from one port to the next, but they had to be reliable. Also the bigger early BB's gave more room for fitting all the repair and refit facilities than the older ships.
 



 

Class Name

No. First Date

Country/No.

Page Address

HMS Dreadnought (BB) 1 1906 UK-1

HMSAS Botswana (CA)

1 1908 SA-1

HMAS Brabant (CA)

2 1909 AU-2

HMS Bellerophon (BB) 3 1909 UK-3

HMS St Vincent (BB)

2 1910 UK-2

HMAS Tasmania (BC)

1 1913 AU-1

HMSAS Wildebeest (CB)

1 1935 SA-1

 

Heavy - Light - Anti-Aircraft Cruisers


Join the Navy and see the world! Two D Class cruisers and Hood go around the world.

Commonwealth cruisers fought battles from the freezing seas of the Arctic to the heat of the East Indies, against surface and air threats alike.

The early cruisers built from 1914-1920 were of great importance to the Commonwealth Navies for the work they carried out on secondary duties. Without them a first line cruiser would have had to be employed to do the same job and the Commonwealth never had enough cruisers. But in saying that, how far back in time should the cruisers be kept from. The 'Scouts' from 1909-10 would be 30 years old at the start of WW2, to me that is too old, especially after the hard war the scouts had. Those scout cruisers are more likely to end up in the most minor navies such as Thailand and other third tier fleets. The Bristols and Weymouths are sold off/ given to South American Navies to balance the Argentinian acquisitions. To my mind, the oldest cruisers likely to be kept in service are the Chatham, Birmingham, Arethusa classes from 1913-14 age groups. Those ships will populate the other Commonwealth Navies. For those ships I coin the term 'Escort Cruiser'. They are very useful as Convoy Commander cruisers.

The cruiser evolution from WW1 to WW2 runs from completing the D Class cruisers (including the four that were cancelled and broken up), and E Class cruisers, still not sure what to do with the Frobisher class, then we get into the County and Exeter heavies, the return of the 6" cruiser. A lot of work is done through the 1930's on keeping the older cruisers up to date till 1936-37 when the C & D class cruisers start being converted to AA cruisers. The WW2 built cruisers are standardised on the three types, a 10 gun AA cruiser, a light cruiser with 9x6", and the 9x8" heavy cruisers. The Princess Royal class of 1944-45 stay in the RN right through the 1970's and early 80's.
 

Class Name

No. First Date

Country/No.

Page Address

HMS Chatham (CLE)

7 1912-15 NZ-1/SA-2/AU-4

HMS Birmingham (CL)

5 1914-16 AU-1/UK-1/SA-2

HMS Arethusa CL

8 1914-15 UK-4, SA-4

HMS C - Classes

32 1915-22 SA-2/AU-8/UK-22

HMS Danae (CL)

12 1918-27 UK-12

HMS Emerald / Formidable

8 1925-27 UK-8

HMAS Geelong (CA)

2 1923-24 AU-2

HMS Cornwall (CA)

20 1928+ UK-14, AU-4, SA-2

HMS Glorious (CL/A)

8 1932+ UK-8

HMS Leopard (CA)

2 1934 UK-2

HMS Leander (CL)

16 1932-37 AU-4/UK-8/SA-4

HMS Exeter (CA)

4 1936-37 UK-4

HMAS Melbourne (CL)

6 1939-40 UK-4 / AU-2

HMS Lancaster (CA)

4 1940-41 UK-4

HMS Sirius (CL)

36 1939+ AU-4/SA-2/UK-30

HMS Dido / HMAS Mount Perry / HMSAS Kiliminjaro

48 1940+ UK-18 SA-6 AU-24

HMS Europa (FC)

1 1941 UK-1

HMS Naiad (CLA)

2 1945 UK-2

HMSAS Angola (CB)

4 1945+ SA-4

HMS Princess Royal (CB)

6 1944 AU-2/UK-4

 

Destroyer (Leader - Escort) Minelayers
 


Marksman DDL with Light Cruiser alongside, both ships armed with mines.

The Commonwealths destroyer flotillas went everywhere and served there with distinction and courage. This class of ship had more comparative losses than any other type. The biggest problem is to figure out which of the WW1 classes would remain in Commonwealth service through to WW2. The 'M' class started completing in 1914 and the bulk had been completed by 1916 the M's had a hard war and did most things at full speed. By the end of WW1 a lot of these cheaply produced units were already worn out and all of the class was sold or discarded by 1925. Then the 'R' class came online in 1916-17, with the 'S' class following on from the 'R's. These two classes fed the Commonwealth need for escort destroyers and those that were still available in WW2 provided excellent service in that role. Various 'Leader' units were built 1916-1922, some were still in service for WW2 and were useful, still, as destroyer leaders. The bulk of the inter-war destroyer flotillas were made up of the VW class destroyers. The major inter-war construction was the A-I classes. Then the upgraded and uprated J-N class ships were built utilising the latest 4.5" turret guns. Along side these ships were the four squadrons of Tribal class destroyers which sacrificed a set of torpedoes for an extra turret of 4.5". That took the destroyer construction up to the start of WW2 when the Admiralty put into place the 'War Emergency Construction' destroyer units. The first 'O-P' classes were armed with Mk XVI twin open 4" mountings while the larger Q to C classes were fitted with two twin 4.5" mountings which allowed for lots of minor AA and electronics being fitted.

Class Name

No. First Date

Country/No.

Page Address

HMS Romola (DDE)

32 1916-17 SA-12 / UK-20

HMS Simoom (DD-E)

57 1918 AU-24/SA-12/UK-30

HMS Marksman (DDL)

18 1915 AU-4, UK-14

HMS Vanoc/Wakeful (DD)

80 1917 AU-12/UK-60/SA-8

HMS Shakespeare (DDL)

16 1917-20 AU-4/UK-12

HMS Mars (DDL) 6 1926-30 UK-6

HMS Acheron-to-Icarus (DD)

108 1924-40 SA-10/UK-66/AU-32

A-I Leaders (DDL)

16 1929+ AU-4/UK-12

HMS Afridi (DDL) (Tribal Class) 36 1937 AU-8/SA-4/UK-24

HMS Javelin (DD)

60 1938 SA-4/UK-48/AU-8

HMS Brissenden (Hunt Class-DDE) 102 1940 AU-16/UK-86

 HMS Onslow (O-P class-DD) 24 1940-41 AU-4/SA-4/UK-16

HMS Arbuthnot (DDE/FG)

126 1942+ SA-16/UK-110

 HMS Savage (Q-Z class-DD)

120 1942-46 AU-16/SA-8/UK-108

HMS Saintes (Battle Class DDL)

24 1945 UK-24

MINELAYERS

HMSAS Crocodile (TS/ML)

2 1906 SA-2

HMAS Princess Irene (ML)

2 1914 AU-2

HMS Adventure (ML)

2 1924 UK-2

HMS Abdiel (ML)

10 1938 UK-8 AU-2

HMSAS Springbok (ML)

2 1943 SA-2

Destroyer pens on Firth of Forth 1916-17.

 

Minesweepers - Sloops - Frigates - Corvettes - Escorts - Gunboats - MTB's - MGB's

The Commonwealth produced over 800 escort vessel types during WW2, a staggering amount, and if you asked, there were never enough.

The problem with the UK escort in real life is the Flower class corvettes. They are really just too slow. That is not a comment on the men who manned them - it took a certain type of courage to go to sea in corvettes. Recommended reading is the novel 'The Cruel Sea' by Nicholas Montserat. By too slow I mean exactly that - most corvettes made 14-15 knots depending on how clean the hull was. If their convoy is doing 8 knots and the corvette spots and is given permission to hunt a U-boat contact for 6 hours. Once the contact is resolved then the ship has to catch up to its convoys. Eight hours later (at full speed)...... the convoy has been decimated in a U-boat wolfpack attack. The weaker escort has produced holes in the cover the U-boats just sail through. That is worst case scenario, but even running at full speed could cause breakdowns trying to get back to the convoy. The only way to go is with a bigger, faster, escort than a corvette. What had always surprised me is that the Admiralty still had the plans for the Flower class sloops of WW1 vintage. They were certainly big enough to have the required range and with updated propulsion equipment, speed could have been raised to around 20 knots which would have been enough for the slow 8-12 knot convoys. The faster 15+ knot convoys and troopers would require the faster escorts anyway. Which leads on to the bigger Frigate classes (River/Bay/Loch) all at about 24 knots and much more capable. The US built DDE/FFG units were of a very similar concept to the UK Frigates the only difference between the designations DDE and FFG was that the DDE carried a triple torpedo tube mounting and the FFG did not.

But that is 20 years in the future. 1919 and the Royal Navy has to divest itself of 100's of ships that were so important to the safety of the Empire just months ago. All of the ships that could be sold out to merchant service (to help replace the losses caused by the war), were sold on. Hundreds of thousands of tons of shipping of all sizes were just scrapped. Lots more 'escort' type ships of all flavours were 'sold' to the new Dominions, leaving just a core of basic units to be used around the Empire fleets. Flower class Sloops, Hunt/Aberdare minelayers, those were the ships that lasted through till WW2, the rest having been sold or scrapped. Replacements for the WW1 ships, still in service, were not really contemplated till the early 1930's. Part of the London Naval Treaty of 1930 was the proviso for an unlimited number of vessels under 600 tons. This lead to trials with the Kingfisher class corvettes. They were not a success. Too much tried on too little. Stability was a major issue from day one and never got any better. A second escort type was also trialed, the coastal escort/minesweeper Bangor class also of 600 tons. These were much more successful and the type was carried on with into WW2 building plans and around the Dominions. The Hunt/Aberdare types were being replaced from the mid 1930's by the new Fleet minesweepers of the Halcyon class. The Sloop/Gunboat classes were important for all sorts of jobs around the Empire - chasing pirates around the China Seas, coastal escort work around Africa and India, etc. The main problem with Escorts for WW2 was to take them out of the Naval Yards for building and into the mercantile builders sector. That is where my thought for a revamped WW1 Flower class Sloop rather than the real life corvettes comes into play.
 

Class Name

Type No. First Date

Country/No.

Page Address

HMS Hunt/Aberdare

MS 34 1917+ AU-8/SA-4/ZA-4/UK-18

HMS Halcyon

MS 18 1934+ UK-21

HMS Bangor

MS 78 1937+ UK-70/SA-8

HMAS Latrobe

MS 64 1934+ AU-64

HMS Algerine MS 124 1941+ UK-90/SA-34

HMS Kingfisher

ES 9 1935 UK-9

HMS Acacia

ES 311 1940+ UK-219 / SA-48 / AU-32 / Z-12

River/Loch/Bay Classes

FG 270 1940 AU-48/SA-24/UK-198

Shoreham Class SL 15 1932+

UK-12 / AU-2 / IN-1

Grimsby/Bittern/Black Swan Classes

SL 70

1935+

UK-54/AU-12/SA-4

Vosper MTB/MGB MTB 480 1938+

UK-380/100-rest

Fairmile MTB/MGB MTB 1000 1940+

UK-750/250-rest

 

Miscelaneous (Monitors - FRS)

With the outbreak of war the Royal Navy ceased building specific repair/depot ships and started converting civilian and older warships to fill those needs.
The Royal Navy did not need Fleet Replenishment Ships as used by Australis till their ships started operating in the Pacific Theater when they utilised the Australis ships and converted civilian ships.

Real timeline monitors made use of the two unused turrets from Repulse / Renown being reordered from the R class (8x15") to battlecruisers with 6x15", and the two spare 15" turrets built for the Furious in case the 18" did not work aboard that ship.
It is interesting to follow the disposition of these four turrets.
Repulse -> Marshal Ney -> Abercrombie 42
Renown -> Marshal Soult -> Erebus
Furious1 -> Terror
Furious2 -> Roberts 42

For the Fisherless RN, the Courageous, Glorious and Furious do not get built. So no extra 15" turrets for the Vanguard. No extra 18" turrets (three) or spare 15" (two built as spares) that could be used for monitors or later placed at Singapore. I use the 5 x 'R' class armour/armament to produce a new Admiral class stream (1939). So where do I get the twin 15" turrets for the WW1 and WW2 monitors of the Marshal, Erebus and Roberts classes. The original R class was supposed to be 7 ships with only 5 being built, the final two being replaced with the Repulse/Renown.  In the Fisherless RN the Repulse and Renown also disappear, those two ships are cancelled an reordered as the Barfleur Class with triple 15". So that leaves two cancelled R's and their eight twin 15" to dispose of. For my AU that gives two Marshal Class and four Erebus class, the final pair of turrets being kept as spares for the ten R class and Queen Elizabeth class. In real life there was a third Erebus class ship being built that was cancelled and scrapped in 1918-19. The four twin 14" provided by the US and used for monitors, three turrets were returned in 1919 the fourth being sunk aboard HMS Raglan in 1918 by the battlecruiser Goeben/Yavuz. The two spare 15" turrets are used to build the Abercrombie and Roberts following the loss of the Marshal Ney (1940) and Terror (1941).
 

Class Name

No. First Date

Country/No.

Page Address

HMS Marshal Soult

2 1915 UK-2

HMS Erebus

4 1916-1918 UK-4

HMSAS Rhinoceros

1 1918 SA-1

HMS Destruction

2 1918 UK-2

HMAS Echidna

5 1929 AU-5

HMS Skirmisher 4 1928-32 UK-4

HMAS Cassowary

2 1938 AU-2

HMSAS Ostrich

2 1939 SA-2

HMS Roberts

2 1941 UK-2

HMS Prince Robert 5 1941 UK-5
HMS Laconia 83 1939+ UK-NZ-AU-SA

HMSAS Duiker Island

9 1943+ SA-9

 

 

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