HMS Dreadnought (BB-1906)

 

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HMS Dreadnought as a 'fast' Battleship.
(see below for original)

The original HMS Dreadnought was revolutionary in many ways, all big guns, turbines, it made the rest of the worlds battleships look tame. But, it was only the first all big gun battleship by being built in such a quick fashion. The US and Japan both had all big gun ships building and a lot of other nations had them on the drawing bird. Probably the most innovative of the early battleships was the South Carolina type with its superfiring turrets. The Royal Navy did not get to a superfiring turret until the Neptune class.

With this 'Fast' Dreadnought, I have taken Jackie Fishers ideas one step further than either a dreadnought type (slowish with decent armour) or an Invincible type (faster with paper armour), with a hybrid of both types, decent armour with decent speed and an armament that was as good as the original but making better use of the length of the ship with the superfiring turret. What I have ended up with seems to be a 'fast' Neptune.



It would still not have been kept as a battleship past 1920 and would have been discarded in the real world, or kept as an Area Defence Vessel in the Fissherless RN world. The other thing to follow on with, is if the Dreadnought becomes a 'fast' battleship then the rest would follow suit. Bellerophon, St Vincent classes (Dreadnought clones) would be the same, Neptune & Colussus would be bigger and faster, while the three super-dreadnought classes and the 'R' Class would also pick up some knots in speed. There would have been no need for the battlecruisers, no need to repurpose two 'R' class to Repulse and Renown as you could end up with twelve battleships of the Queen Elizabeth type.

HMS Dreadnought as a 'fast' Battleship.

Displacement 20,000 tons standard, 23,250 tons full load
Length 634 ft
Breadth 86 ft
Draught 26 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 45,000shp
Speed 25 knots
Range 6000 miles at 14 knots
Armour 11" side, 2" deck, 10" conning tower, 10"/7"/4" turrets
Armament 10 x 12" (5x2)
14 x 4" (14x1)
5 x 2pd (5x1)
Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 870 (920 as Flagship)
Notes Sale and scrap 1920-22

Aft turrets of HMS Dreadnought as a fast battleship with superfiring turrets aft.

 

HMS Dreadnought as a Battleship.

HMS Dreadnought put its name to a generation of Battleships. It managed that by also being the fastest built battleship.

Laid down: 02/Oct/1905, Launched: 10/Oct/1906, Commissioned: 02/Dec/1906.

No other nation could match the speed of building ships the way the British Empire could. It is not till 1942-43 when the US speed the production of the Iowa class that any other nation comes close.



The other main feature to Dreadnought was the fitting of turbine machinery. But as an advance in technology it was soon outstripped by bigger, better and meaner ships. In 15 years and a war, the size of dreadnoughts had doubled and the firepower tripled (or more). That was why when the war ended the Royal Navy was so quick (in real life) to discard all its 12" gunned ships. Most were less than 10 years old at wars end but hopelessly obsolete. But, the RN kept a lot of the older triple expansion engined/coal fired, armoured cruisers as 'training ships'. Why?, when you could seriously disarm the six Dreadnought and clones (remove three central turrets and forward boiler room) and have modern ships for those roles. Which then means at 20 years of age (early 1930's) they can be converted to the Area Defence Vessels (ADV) and still retain their training roles. With the Dreadnought, the P, Q and X turrets were removed to leave the ship as not much more than a pre-dreadnought, and no country was scared of a pre-dreadnought. The new single 6" turret that was being trialled for fitting to the 'D' class cruisers (and others) was fitted in replacement of the P and Q turrets, while the space where X turret had been was converted to accommodation and offices/classrooms.



The ADV conversion was to enhance the ships and to make them more valuable. Park them in a harbour and they would be able to service all sorts of 'squadron' ships and aircraft. The large hangar aft could be used for a variety of uses of its own. Cut in half (with plywood) the open end could still house and service its own seaplanes while the front half could be fitted into dormitories to house cadets and/or marines.  There were many minor uprisings around the world in Commonwealth countries that were cured by the nearest ADV. Able to provide their own Marine landing force, air support, and fire support if the problem is near the sea. The one based on Singapore had many calls to the Commonwealth Pacific Islands where the warring natives were always a problem. Eventually the Dreadnought and its clones were all converted to ADV's, only differing in details.


The Dreadnought could carry any of the RN seaplanes from the Walrus to the Spitfire floatplane. The differing types of seaplanes available was tremendous, Seafox, Skua/Roc, Swordfish, and then the US variants from 1942+. This meant that a mix of aircraft could be carried to carry out the different roles for where the ship was to be based. Being the oldest of the ADV types available the Dreadnought was sent to Sierra Leone in 1939 and just missed being intercepted by a German raider on its voyage. It stayed in place at Sierra Leone for the whole war, servicing everything from Sunderlands, to submarines and destroyers. Its engineers became adept at fixing the problems and challenges set by these varied vessels. Most of the aircraft carried of its own were Walrus and Swordfish types used for local patrols which kept the U-boats away from the harbour itself. The LCI (Landing Craft Infantry) was used to transport all manner of stores around the harbour.
 

HMS Dreadnought as a Battleship - Training Ship - Area Defence Vessel 1906-45.

  Original 1906-1922 As TS / ADV 1923-1945
Displacement 18,500 tons standard, 21,250 tons full load
Length 527 ft
Breadth 82 ft
Draught 28 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 23,000shp 4 shaft, steam turbines, 18,000shp
Speed 21 knots 16-17 knots
Range 7000 miles at 10 knots 8000 miles at 12 knots
Armour 11" side, 2" deck, 10"/7"/4" turrets
Armament 10 x 12" (5x2)
14 x 4" (14x1)
5 x 2pd (5x1)


 
As Training Ship
4 x 12" (2x2)
2 x 6" (2x1)
1 x 4" AA (1x1)
2 x 3" AA (2x1)
4 x 2pd (4x1)
As Area Defence Vessel
2 x 12" (1x2)
2 x 6" (2x1)
4 x 4" AA (4x1)
12 x 2pd (2x4 4x1)
 
Aircraft Nil Nil from 3 to 9 depending on size and role
Torpedoes 5 x 18" (5x1 submerged) Nil Nil
Complement 870 (920 as Flagship) 440 + 200 cadets 450 + Cadets and/or Marines
Notes Discarded and scrapped 1945.


Hull longitudinal section CC condenser compartment; ER engine room; BR boiler room; WTB watertight bulkhead; WTF watertight frame. 1 after capstan; 2, 4 torpedo head magazine; 3 mess space; 5 fore top; 6 engine room vent; 7 boiler room vent; 8 signal tower; 9  ; 10 main top; 11 admirals sea cabin; 12 chart house; 13 conning tower; 14 officers' cabin; 15 escape trunk; 16 vent; 17 capstan; 18 trimming tank; 19 capstan engine room; 20 submerged torpedo room; 21 12 in shellroom; 22 12 in magazines; 23 ash hoist; 24 reserve feed-water tank; 25 coal bunker; 26 coal shute; 27 electric lift; 28 oil fuel tank; 29 fresh water tank; 30 submerged torpedo room; 31 fresh water tank; 32 stern torpedo tube.

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