HMS Duke of York (BB-1944)
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Lion/Vanguard hull with 9x16", 20x4.7", 36x40mm STAAG. Iowa superstructure,
aircraft handling facilities aft with hangar below deck.
With the outbreak of war the future of the Lion class battleships was put on hold. In 1940 the Vanguard project utilising the 15" turrets from those held in storage was started. A second hull was also started due to the signing of the Lend Lease documents. This opened the US navies doors for the RN to purchase goods and services. Part of the subjects shown to the RN was the details of the new 45,000 ton battleships of the Iowa class. The US would not supply a whole battleship but would sell off parts of the design for the British to incorporate in a new battleship. The RN liked the secondary layout of the US superstructure and placement for lots of AA weaponry. The other thing that the US was willing to supply was the propulsion system design of the Iowa's which was superior to that of the Lion design. More horsepower was generated by the US system in a similar sized propulsion installation. This system would produce 200k compared to the 160k of the RN equivalent. The speed would increase from 30 to 32 knots. Using the 4.7" dual purpose turret in place of the US 5" and the new twin 40mm STAAG mountings would provide a superior AA armament compared to any current RN battleship. Keeping the RN armour size and layout gave them a better armour scheme than the Iowas. The only way to keep aircraft handling facilities was to copy the US practice of having the aircraft catapults and cranes at the stern with the aircraft hangar placed underneath. With the loss of 5 battleships early in the war, the priority for the Vanguard and Duke of York was kept high. The loss of two more battleships to the Japanese increased their priority even more. Both Vanguard and Duke of York completed in 1944, just in time to take part in the "Tirpitz Resolution" where like the Scharnhorst, the bait of a closely passing Russian bound convoy was too much to pass up and the Tirpitz was caught at sea. Damaged and slowed by aircraft from the Apollo and Illustrious, the two new battleships caught and sunk the Tirpitz with gunfire. The hulk being finished off with torpedoes from the cruiser Sirius. Transferred to the Pacific fleet the Duke of York saw out the war as the Pacific Fleets Flagship and was present in Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender.
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