Fisherless Royal Navy


Return to main page:


This is a large project I have started for Removing Admiral Fisher before he rejoins the Admiralty and orders the Renown/Repulse and Admiral class battlecruisers. In this scenario the Tiger is the last battlecruiser and the Royal Navy carries on with improvements to the Queen Elizabeth fast battleship strategy as the way forward. Essentially I become Admiral Fisher. I have not kept to just Battleships, but I am also redesigning the cruisers, aircraft carriers, and all the smaller ships. This page will be a straight cut and paste from the Shipbucket postings ( ). I do not want to have to go through and rewrite everything for this page.

This is an ongoing project and I will be adding to this page reguarly.


Fisherless RN

I have done a lot of drawings lately for the Royal Navy with the premise that Lord Fisher did not make it back to the Admiralty in 1914 and so the building program of the Royal Navy is completely different for WW1. That would also make the post-WW1 Washington Naval Treaty a different set of ships to be retained through to WW2. This AU will allow me to put all these drawings into one thread and let me fill in the gaps with the ships and ship types that could make up this different future.

As noted in another thread: Admiral Fisher sidetracked the two R class into Repulse and Renown, and ordered the three Courageous class. That was a total of approximately 120,000 tons. For Great Britain it is not the shipbuilding capacity that gets strained it is the ability to provide the steel required by the shipbuilding industry that is the limiting factor on how much can be built. For my Fisherless world the three Barfleur Class are going to take 105,000 tons of that amount. Leaves 15,000 to put toward whatever was next. The four Admiral class were next in the list of capital ship building projects. Initially at 36,000 tons each that would have been 144,000 tons of steel. Add the 15,000 to that figure and we end up with about 160,000, which is just nice to build my four ship Majestic Class. So what happens to the CV conversions of the ugly sisters, I hear you ask? They get replaced with two Majestic class conversions. The fourth ship is cancelled.

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 40% 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.

But what does that do to my Fisherless Royal Navy. In real life the Royal Navy ends up with 5 Royal Sovereign, 5 Queen Elizabeth, 2 Renown, and Hood. The two Nelson class yet to be built. In my FRN the 2 Renowns and Hood disappear and Tiger is the last of the battlecruisers. With the three Barfleur class, Majestic and three possible sisters something has to give. Is the RN likely to try to get an extra ship through? Would the WNT allow the RN 5xR, 5xQE, 3 Barfleur, Majestic, then the 2 Nelsons to be built? Keep the Tiger as the training ship. Would the RN be willing to sacrifice an 'R' if it was neccessary.

The WNT was not good news for the Majestic's sisters, the WNT would not allow them to be completed as battleships. The new-fangled type of ships to carry wheeled aircraft were their saviour. While they could not be completed as battleships they could be converted to aircraft carriers. The RN had been trialling these ships with the Cavendish/Vindictive , Eagle, Argus and then the purpose built Hermes. The two Majestic class ships Goliath and Bulwark would be the RN's largest and most ambitious aircraft carrier projects.

There will also be changes to the cruisers and lesser vessels (as I think of them) though I will try to keep the ships within RN doctrine and I will listen to the comments as these are made. You will note the absence of the 5.25" from my gun lists. The 4.7" is the standard destroyer weapon through to the F/G class destroyers, when the 4.5" and 4" in dual purpose mountings and turrets take over. The 5.5" gun only lasts about 15 years in service , no more new mountings are produced and the twins on the G class cruisers and Mars/Jupiter class Leaders start being replaced by the 4.5" twin dual purpose turret between 1938-39, but once war breaks out, those that have not been refitted, retain their original armament through to the end of WW2 (one G and one Jupiter may get a Lend/Lease rebuilding in the US in 1941).

With the older capital ships I will try to have both an original drawing (as completed) and a drawing as they appeared in WW2.

As with other threads (and to give a comparison), I though it a good idea to weigh out the battleships.
5 x Queen Elizabeth = 5 x 32,000 = 160,000 tons
5 x Royal Sovereign = 5 x 32,000 = 160,000 tons
3 x Barfleur = 3 x 35,000 = 105,000 tons
1 x Majestic = 1 x 40,000 = 40,000 tons
Total = 465,000 tons
+ 2 Nelsons = 2 x 35,000 = 70,000 tons
Grand Total = 535,000 tons.


Battleships, Battlecruisers:


2 x Lion Class Seaplane Carrier / Training Ship.

The Washington Naval Treaty meant that all countries had to get rid of a lot of ships that were less than 10 years old, but looking at the ships being discarded, most were already obsolete and little loss. Two of the ships to be discarded were the Lion and Princess Royal, battlecruisers of fame and misfortune (sister Queen Mary blew up at Jutland). To keep the ships in any role meant the removal of main guns, boilers, and armour, so that they could qualify as miscellaneous vessels and not be counted in the Battleship tonnage.

Knowing that these ships would be excess to requirements the Admiralty drew up plans to convert them to dual roles. The aft boiler room was deleted and transformed into classrooms for the several hundred cadets that would populate the centre section of 'Liner' cabins. (Lion received the nickname 'Lionia' because of this feature). While Q and Y turrets were removed and as noted, the area of Q was rebuilt into cadet cabins, while the area around the after superstructure and Y turret were converted into an area to house and launch seaplanes and amphibians. To aid with training, the bridge superstructure of the ex-battleships Goliath and Bulwark (earmarked for conversion to aircraft carriers), were removed from those ships and built into these two ships.

On completion of the rebuilding the ships had 4x13.5" (A and B), 4 x 6" singles, 4x4" AA singles, 2x3" AA singles, 3x2pdr AA singles. The 9" armour belt was removed and replaced with the 3" armour built for two of the cancelled D class cruisers. The armour was to cover the magazines and what was left of the machinery spaces. The original deck armour was retained. The hangar at the rear of the ship was full width of the ship, giving ample space for 12-15 aircraft, depending on size and type. Speed was reduced to 18-20 knots.


1 x Tiger Class Battlecruiser

HMS Tiger was the last battlecruiser in my Fisherless RN. Commissioned into RN service in October 1914, it took part in all the Battlecruiser actions that occurred in 1915-16. The Washington Naval Treaty allowed the Tiger (and 4 Iron Duke Class) to be kept through to the completion of the Nelson and Rodney at which stage it (they) were to be demilitarised and or scrapped. On completion of the Nelson class ships in 1927-28, the 4 Iron Duke's were demilitarised and scrapped, except Iron Duke which was disarmed and retained as a trials ship. For more see Wiki: .

In 1936 the ship was taken in hand to be converted back to full battlecruiser status. B and Q turrets being refitted. The 6" battery deck being fully plated over out to the side of the ship and a new battery of twin 4.5" BD mounts being fitted. A new bridge and central superstructure being fitted with a heavy battery of 2 pounder AA guns. The ships boats were moved to the space between the Q turret and the aft conning position with a handling crane. A new set of engines being fitted when the ship had its old armoured deck lifted and replaced with a new sheet of 4.5" deck armour. The difference in weight between the old propulsion system and the new one allowed for the new deck armour to be fitted. The ship retained its original 9" belt armour. The original coal fired boilers and engines had produced 85,000shp for 28 knots. The new oil fired propulsion system attained 100,000shp for 30 knots. Normal displacement was at 29,000 tons and 34,000 tons full load. At 704 x 90 feet the ship was still longer and wider than the Queen Elizabeth class that had the same rebuilding work.


3 x Barfleur Class

The Barfleur class were the follow on from the excellent Queen Elizabeth class ships. These three ships introduced the triple turret to the Royal Navy for large calibre guns. The 15" gun was retained and a new triple turret designed for them. The one thing that was taken into consideration was the lengthening ranges at which battles were taking place. For this the elevation of the turrets was increased to 40 degrees. Range increased from 29,000 yards to 36,500 yards. With the three ships completing in 1918 they never saw any action in WW1. Completely refurbished before the start of WW2, the three ships formed the nucleus of the Mediterranean Fleet during the early years of WW2.


1 x Majestic Class

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 40% 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.

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.



4 x King George V Class

The KGV class were completed with the 12 triple 15" turrets that had been built for the three Majestic class that had been converted or cancelled. To scrap the turrets would have thrown away millions of pounds of work and more importantly, the saving in time for the building of the new KGV class ships was approximately 12 months.


Aircraft Carriers:


1 x Eagle

HMS Eagle started out as an ex-Chilean battleship and the sister to HMS Canada. The ship was not as far advanced as the Canada, and work was suspended on the ship at the start of WW1. The Admiralty was looking for appropriate hulls to convert to the new style of ship, the aircraft carrier. To this end the Eagle was purchased in 1917. The Admiralty required a ship at sea to run the necessary trials on a through deck ship. To this end the Eagle was made seaworthy and with only half its boilers working, went out into the Irish Sea to carry out the trials program. On completion of the trials the Eagle returned to Belfast and into its builders hands for completion.



2 x Goliath

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. The turrets and guns built for these two ships and the cancelled Albion were placed in storage and later re-used on the new King George V class battleships. The removal of the armour and main armament gave a large amount of tonnage to put to its new purpose. The main armament was to be the twelve six inch casemate guns originally fitted. Heavy AA was provided by six single 4" and the light AA by 8 single 2 pounder pom poms.

The modernisation of the two Goliaths' remodelled the bridge and replaced the single 4" with a new twin 4" battery, with quad and octuple pom poms, while single 20mm replaced the single 2pd guns. The single six inch casemate battery had been removed in 1933 and the space used for more Hangar space and accommodation which always seemed to be in short supply. The air group of 70 aircraft had two squadrons of Fairey SeaBattles (25), one squadron of Blackburn Skuas (15), and two squadrons of Gloster Griffons (30).


10 x Unicorn Class

The need for dedicated small aircraft service carriers that could back up the fleet carriers was recognised with the laying down of the two Ark Royal class carriers. The first Unicorn class ship was laid down at the end of 1938 and completed early in 1941. None of these ships ever fulfilled this role during WW2 as the need for carriers in all theaters of the world meant that they undertook front line duties from day one. The first two were followed by repeat orders in 1940 (2) 1941 (4) 1942 (2). They were replaced by the Hermes class production which were laid down in 1943 and all completed post war.


Heavy/Light/AA Cruisers:


Frobisher Class Cruisers / Anti-aircraft ships

I have never liked the Hawkins class with those horrible single hand worked 7.5". The actual 7.5" gun is a good one and should have been kept as the standard UK cruiser gun right through till the 6" cruisers of the Leander type came into production. The "keeping up with the Jones's" mentality meant that the 8" gun was chosen because everybody else had it. The weight saved by fitting the 7.5" in place of the 8" might have given a bit of extra armour that the 10,000 ton Treaty cruisers could have always done with a bit more of. These are not conversions of the Hawkins, but a new design using the same hull.

The Hawkins class was already pushing the treaty limits as far as tonnage was concerned. With a different layout to the main armament the class would have been exceptionally good value. The follow on County class would not have had to have to radical a change to do minor improvements over the original. New bridge structures and room for aircraft would have been made.

Taking the basic design and making the standard improvements over their lifetimes. First drawing is the cumulative refits and modernisations that would have happened to the ship from completion through to the end of 1936. This includes the replacing of the single 4" with four twins, replacing the single 2 pounder with 4 quads, fitting of aircraft handling facilities. This suited the ship into WW2 when more refits and upgrades would take place. The second drawing is to reflect those additions made between 1939 through to mid/end of 1942. Remove the torpedoes and aircraft. Add a full radar suite and the first 40mm STAAG mountings, lots of 20mm singles.

Smurf said: there was even a proposal to arm Hawkins class with six twin 5.25". Though the proposal was not proceeded with, here is my take on what that might have looked like. The designs I drew went through many iterations before reaching the 4.5" version I have placed here in this thread. As per previous notes, I have not used the 5.25" at all in this thread so the 4.5" would be the gun of choice. The second drawing was done by BCRenown who postulated that one of the class could well have been sent to the US and converted under the Lend/Lease deal.


County Class Cruisers:

My new 'County' class cruisers use the same hull and armament as the Hawkins class, but improvements to layout and fittings make them a separate sub-class of their own. Any improvement that saved weight was put back into the design in improvements to the armour schemes. The ships were added to and subtracted from throughout their service lives. Aircraft fitted and upgraded then these facilities started being removed again in the 1940's. Radar and modern AA guns being added as refits came due.

G Class Cruisers:

The Admiralty was always conscious of the need for numbers of cruisers not just large cruisers. To this end instead of 13 County class, 3 are cancelled and replaced with six 5,000 ton light cruisers.

The 'G' class cruisers were based on the 1928-29 design for the return to the 6" cruiser. The basic design was altered and the latest models of superstructure were designed into the new ships. The Royal Navy had been introduced to the 5.5" gun with the two Greek cruisers taken over by the RN and commissioned as the Chester and Birkenhead. This had proved to be a very handy weapon and was fitted to many ships of all sorts of different classes. (This allows me to have an extra gun size in the armouries). Four twin light splinter proof turrets were fitted with these weapons. 4" AA guns provided the heavy AA while two 4 barrel 2 pounder pom poms were fitted as the light AA armament. Two banks of triple 21" torpedoes, a catapult and handling facilities for one aircraft.

I upgraded the original drawing above with a more late 1920's hull.

With the completion of the last few Town class cruisers in 1938, the need for the smaller 'G' class as Patrol cruisers was obsolete. However the need for the new Anti-aircraft Cruiser type was of much more importance. The 'G' class were perfect for conversion. The first two were taken in hand in 1939, the second pair in 1940, and the final pair were converted in the US under Lend-Lease in 1941.

Neptune Class Cruiser:

With 4 more County class cruisers under construction, the London Treaty changed the format from 8" gunned ships to 6" gunned vessels. Rather than scrapping those ships under construction a new design was worked out with the new streamlined bridge structure and five twin 6" turrets. These ships were an interim step while a new design was worked out for the new 6" cruisers that would populate and start replacing the oldest of the 'C' class cruisers that were fast approaching their 'use by' dates.

Town Class Cruisers:

The Town class cruiser were the evolution of the previous C, D, E, series of cruisers. The C and D had single 6", the E's (and Neptune) had twins. The Town class introduced the triple turret to RN cruisers with 3 mountings to be fitted on a hull approximately the same length as the E's. The beam was required to be wider to take the triple 6" mounting and went from 56 feet to 62 feet. Length was 563 feet. At 8,000 tons standard they were a very good return to the smaller cruiser that the RN needed. Eventually 16 of these vessels were completed between 1933 and 1938. From 1940 the new Colony class were introduced which were almost duplicates of these ships.

Dido Class Anti-Aircraft ships:

At 463 feet, these ships were big enough to be classed as cruisers, even though they were more over-large destroyers in their hull composition. A box of 2" armour around the magazines and propulsion systems was their one concession to armour. The twin 4.5" turrets only had splinter protection. The propulsion system produced 70,000shp for 34 knots, allowing their use with destroyers and part of their original role was to be as minelayers as well (with removable mine rails). The lack of cruisers meant that these ships were used regularly in that role. What they were purpose built for was as anti-aircraft escorts to the big new aircraft carriers.

Sirius Class cruisers:

While the RN was building small economical 6" cruisers, Japan and the US were building the Mogami and Brooklynn classes with fifteen guns each. Not to be outdone the Admiralty ordered the Sirius class with four quadruple six inch turrets for 16 guns. Originally to be a class of four, only two were completed, the materials for the other two were incorporated into the following Colony class. Arbitrarily classed as 'light' cruisers because they were armed with 6" guns, the ships were bigger than most of the RN's heavy cruisers. Because they were built outside Treaty limits the 10,000 ton limit was allowed to grow to 12,000 tons to enable a better armour scheme to be fitted. The belt armour went out to 5" and the deck armour to 3".

Leander Class Cruiser:

The Leander class cruisers came about from the rebuilding of the Nelson class battleships with dual purpose weapons. That work made 16 twin 6" turrets available for fitting on a new class of cruiser. Four ships were laid down based on the Dido class that was then in production. The hull was lengthened, but the ships retained the same power plant which in the Dido's made 34 knots, in the Leanders a respectable 32 knots was made. At 481x48 feet they were not large for cruisers. No thought was given to aircraft handling facilities on such a small cruiser. It was considered more important to have a decent AA battery, which with four twin 4" and four quad 2 pounder mountings they had plenty. 20mm cannons were added while the ships were still building.


Destroyers and Destroyer Leaders:

The standard British destroyer weapon through the 1930's into the early 40's was the 4.7" open mounting. In only one class type did the Admiralty try to put this gone into a turret with the L & M. class. The biggest drawback with this weapon was the low elevation of the mountings. A high elevation 4.7" mounting was designed for the Nelson class but this was a large heavy mounting and with fixed ammunition it was not suitable for use on destroyers (or any other ship for that matter). The answer was to produce a dual purpose (DP) mounting of a size that could be used in all classes of ship from destroyers up to battleships and aircraft carriers. The Admiralty started work on DP weapons as early as 1931 and with a bit of thought could either have retained the 4.7" size or gone to the 4.5" gun size that we are familiar with today. The trials with the fixed ammunition on the Nelsons 4.7" should have put that option out of contention for any future weapons. Unfortunately the Admiralty tried the same fixed ammunition system for the 4.5" weapon developed in the late 1930's that became the BD/UD mountings on the Renown, Ark Royal etc with similar results. At that time the only way to go for light weapons of this size was the bag and shell separate arrangement.

I do not know how many zillions of 4.7" rounds the Admiralty must have had in stocks all over the world, but it must have been an awful lot. Keeping the 4.7" gun size for me is a no-brainer, all they needed to do was to produce a decent dual purpose mounting with 80-85 degree elevation that could be fitted to destroyers and other ships in single open mounts and twin light or armoured turrets for the capital ships. Starting development in 1930-31 the Admiralty could have had such weapons available in 1935-36 and these could have been fitted to the H (possibly) and I (definitely) class destroyers. Instead of the four single open mountings, two light weight twin mountings could have been mounted and the end result could have looked like the ship below.

The mounting I have used is big enough to take either a 4.5" or 4.7" high angle gun. Changes to an I class ship would be mainly in an increase of breadth to take the turret, a slightly longer hull to compensate for that and also to give room for the quad 2 pounder mounting between the funnels. From a 1500 ton ship, the alterations would probably have taken it to a 1600 ton ship and would have been a step between the A-G types and the following J design which I would expand to a 1750 ton design with 3 turrets.

Mars and Jupiter Class Destroyer Leaders:

The Japanese were building the Fubuki's with 6x5", France was building the large Contre-torpileurs with 5x5.5", Italy was following France with large destroyers even the US had to follow the Japanese with larger destroyers. What this meant is that the standard A-I type destroyer with its 4x4.7" were being badly outclassed. The idea of the A-I Leaders with 5x4.7 went some way to giving the smaller DD's a ship of force to back them up, but even they paled in comparison to other navies construction. The solution was to build a larger leader with guns that would match or better their oppositions. The latest 'G' class patrol cruisers had a new mark of 5.5" and these guns were to be fitted to a larger destroyer hull in single mountings and the twin light turret.

In 1939 two of the class were taken in hand for replacing the low angle 5.5" guns with dual purpose 4.5" weapons. The other two of the class were to be rebuilt after the first two had completed, but the war intervened and this was put on hold. However damage to the Venus in 1940 meant the ship took advantage of the Lend/Lease agreement and was rebuilt in the US with 5"/38 weapons.

Working in the open with the single 5.5" had shown the difficulties of hand loading the larger weapons. A redesign of the aft section allowed for the three singles to be replaced with two twin turrets as fitted to the A position. The extra weight and beam required to fit three turrets on the design was more than made up for by the effectiveness of the loading system. The ships proved very effective in the role of Leader to the earlier destroyers of the VW and A-G types. However by the end of 1939 dual purpose guns were the way to go and the first two were taken in hand for the 5.5" to be replaced with the 4.5" dual purpose system. The last two were to be refitted in early 1940, but with the war erupting this was postponed. However the lend/lease arrangement with the US gave the two ships a window in 1941 to have the ships refitted with US weaponry. This option was taken up with great alacrity by the RN.

Flower class Corvette:

The WW2 Flower class Corvettes never impressed me. While they were useful enough, they did not have enough size and speed to be good in the Atlantic. For me, I dust off the WW1 Flower class and update the design with 20 years of improvements. Single 4" AA guns, single 20mm AA, lots of DC's. I would have two versions available, one with the triple expansion propulsion system and one with diesel engines. Both to make 17/18 knots.


Miscellaneous Vessels:




Return to main page: