HMS Majestic (BB-1920)

 

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Lessons from Jutland had shown the vulnerability of the battlecruiser and the staying power of the fast battleship in comparison. The decision to end the battlecruiser line with Tiger and follow the Queen Elizabeth class with the Barfleur class was vindicated. The next step was an enlarged Barfleur utilising the same triple 15" turret. That the US and Japan had gone to 16" guns was not a problem as the new Majestic class was to be armed with four triple turrets. At 40,000 tons standard they were to be huge ships for their time. Only Majestic was completed post war.



With the completion of Majestic in 1920, a decision was to be made as to what would happen with the three uncompleted ships. Two were at 75% and 80% complete but their construction had been halted in 1918. With the convening of the Washington conference their future became even more problematic. The fourth unit was only 50% complete and the decision was taken to scrap it as the funds to complete it would be hard to come by. As we know now the Washington Naval Treaty had a far reaching affect on warship production for years to come. Other changes to the disposition of the four ships of the Majestic class changed as and when I thought of them.

The Majestic proved to be an excellent ship, powerful and well armoured. It became well known on Navy days and spent time on a world cruise accompanied by a couple of cruisers. This 'show the flag' tour visited all of the Commonwealth countries of the British Empire plus selected other places both allies and potential enemies alike. Various updates and refits were given to the ship through its service through to early 1938 when the ship was taken in hand for rebuilding along the lines of those given to the Queen Elizabeth and Barfleur class ships. Where the Majestic differed is that it was used as the trials ship for the new superstructures to be used on the new King George V class battleships. At that stage it was still unsure if the KGV would be completed with 4.5" or 5.25" heavy dual purpose weapons. The Majestic was fitted with the 4.5" battery.


 

The next 4 drawings are part of the Fisherless RN. They show different stages in the design of the Bulwark, Goliath and Albion drawings.

Looking at completing the Goliath and Bulwark in place of Nelson and Rodney, I would also keep the 50% completed Albion and use that ship as the carrier conversion. With the WNT signed late 1922, the Admiralty has had 3 years to refine the Majestic design. The casemates are removed and replaced with 5.5" in twin turrets. Other internal changes are made to reduce the overall displacement of the ships to conform to the new limits. The two ships end up being 38,000 tons standard, 40,000 tons normal, 47,000 tons full load.



The only thing I am not sure of is if they would have kept the same bridge superstructure or gone with the G3/N3 tower. Again that would be a cost thing. The superstructure would already have been completed, so fitting a new tower structure would have been a complete replacement.



The above drawing has a tower bridge, but the twin 5.5" are in slightly awkward positions, the next drawing was to fix that.



Last drawing in the series was the late 30's early 40's upgrade.



The WNT meant that the Goliath and Bulwark could not be completed as battleships, but the WNT did allow for them to be converted to Aircraft Carriers. Depending on which version of the Fisherless RN I am following, either the two Goliath and Bulwark get converted, or if those two ships are retained to replace the Nelson and Rodney then the fourth Majestic Class ship the Albion is converted to a CV and the later Apollo is built to make up the pair. (See Goliath/Albion CV). Following on from these drawings. Either 12 triple 15" turrets will be available from three ships or four from the Albion only to provide weapons for a future battleship(s).
 

  Majestic Bulwark
Displacement 40,000 tons standard, 46,600 tons full load 42,000 tons standard, 48,700 tons full load 38,200 tons standard, 45,250 tons full load 39,900 tons standard, 46,750 tons full load
Length 743 feet 743 feet 743 feet 743 feet
Breadth 104 feet 104 feet 104 feet 104 feet
Draught 32 feet 32 feet 32 feet 32 feet
Machinery 4 shaft, steam turbines, 120,000shp 4 shaft, geared turbines, 128,000shp 4 shaft, steam turbines, 120,000shp 4 shaft, geared turbines, 128,000shp
Speed 28 knots 28 knot 29 knots 29 knots
Armour 13" belt, 2.5" deck, 13"/9"/5" turrets 13" belt, 5.5" deck, 13"/9"/5" turrets 13" belt, 5.5" deck, 13"/9"/5" turrets 13" belt, 5.5" deck, 13"/9"/5" turrets
Armament As completed
12 x 15 (4x3)
12 x 6 (12x1)
6 x 4" AA (6x1)
6 x 2pd (6x1)
As modernised to 1939
12 x 15 (4x3)
20 x 4.5 (10x2)
40 x 2pd (4x8, 2x4)
10 x 20mm (10x1)
As completed
12 x 15 (4x3)
16 x 5.5 (8x2)
6 x 4" AA (6x1)
24 x 2pd (3x8)
As rebuilt to 1941
12 x 15 (4x3)
16 x 4.5 (8x2)
56 x 2pd (7x8)
28 x 20mm (28x1)
Aircraft nil 4 nil nil
Torpedoes nil   nil nil
Complement 1300 (1360 as flagship) 1420 1280 (1340 as flagship) 1400
Notes: HMS Majestic 08/1920

HMS Bulwark 04/1926 (may be later if converted to CV)

HMS Goliath 08/1926 (may be later if converted to CV)

HMS Albion 03/1928 (may be converted to CV if Goliath/Bulwark are not)

Triple 15" turrets being put together on HMS Bulwark in the mid-1920's.

 

 

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