HMS Courageous (BC-1917)


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For this drawing(s) I decided to see how far I could push a 13.5" battlecruiser. Give the ship twelve guns, this would be a 50% increase over the Lion/Tiger types. 32,000 ton standard displacement the same as the Renown class in size. Armour would have been the same 9-10" belt of the earlier ships. A ship with triple 13.5" would have the barbette size that would take a twin 15". That would mean that I could probably put 8x15" as an armament. The moment you have a Battlecruiser with 8x15", everybody thinks 'Hood'. So what would the difference be, between my Courageous and the RN's Hood? The Hood was conceived as a battlecruiser based on a standard 36,000 ton displacement with 8x15", but most of all with a specified speed of 32 knots. The RN already had the Queen Elizabeth class with 8x15" but at 28,000 tons and 24 knots. So what happened to the Hood? After Jutland, a further 6,000 tons of armour and stiffening was worked into the design, to now give the ship the 42,000 ton standard displacement. But why did the Hood have to be so big? It was the speed specified at 32 knots that was the problem. All ships have a natural speed of hull and a horsepower figure to achieve that speed. To make a hull go faster more-larger propulsion systems have to be fitted which can require a larger hull to contain it. That is what happened with the Hood. To achieve the 32 knots specified for the 36,000 ton hull, the Hood had required 144,000 shp (shaft horsepower). To contain the guns, armour, and propulsion systems, required an 860 by 108 foot hull. That was huge by those days standards. If the RN had specified 29/30 knots speed they could have got away with an 800x100-104 foot hull with a 110,000shp propulsion system. Which is close to what my Courageous class turned out to be.

While being a large ship with a good armament, the entry of the 15" gun made it virtually obsolete and the ship would never have got off the drawing board unless some South American country wanted something with lots of guns to match some other 13.5" gunned ship they had to keep the gun size the same. Ease of supply for shells. Armed with 15" guns, It would be a replacement for the Renown, and Hood types, though I would prefer to have an uprated Queen Elizabeth type, bigger with more speed, a true fast battleship and dispense with the battlecruiser entirely.

I like this ship as an alternative to the R's and Admirals, better armed and armoured than the R's and much more practical than the Admirals.

Displacement 32,250 tons standard, 36,700 tons full load 34,000 tons standard, 39,500 tons full load
Length 815 ft
Breadth 96 ft (106 over bulges)
Draught 28 ft
Machinery 4 shaft Steam turbines 110,000shp 4 shaft Geared turbines 120,000shp
Speed 28 knots 28 Knots
Range 7000 miles at 14 knots 8500 miles at 14 knots
Armour 10" side, 3" deck, (9"/6"/5" turrets 13.5") 10" side, 5" deck, (12"/8"/5" turrets 15")
Armament As completed Courageous
12 x 13.5" (4x2)
21 x 4" (7x3)
2x4" AA (2x1)
As completed Glorious
8 x 15" (4x2)
21 x 4" (7X3)
2 x 4" AA (2x1)
Courageous to 1939
12 x 13.5" (4x2)
16 x 5.25" (10x2)
64 x 2pd (8x8)
28 x 20mm (28x1)
Glorious to 1940
8 x 15" (4x2)
24 x 4.5" (12x2)
64 x 2pd (8x8)
40 x 20mm (40x1)
Aircraft nil nil 3 3
Torpedoes 8 x 21" (8x1-fixed) 8 x 21" (8x1-fixed) nil nil
Complement 1350-1450 1500-1550
Notes HMS Courageous, 06/1917 - Sunk by Bismarck at Battle of Denmark Strait.

HMS Glorious, 07/1917 - Sunk by Tirpitz at Battle of North Cape.

So, what would the same ships look like with a WW2 rebuild. Lets have a look.

13.5" Armed HMS Courageous with rebuilds and refits to 1940.

15" armed HMS Glorious with rebuilt bits through to 1940.

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