RM Livorno (CA-1942)

Super County (CA-1943/44)


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One of the e-mails I have received lately regarded a cruiser with fifteen eight inch as the main armament. I had recently drawn the Italian Verona class of heavy cruiser with nine or twelve eight inch guns. The Verona class were big ships for cruisers, the twelve gun version being almost 650 feet long. To put that in perspective, that is longer than the Andrea Doria class battleships. Heavy cruisers of this period really did get 'big'. The German Hipper class, then the US Baltimore and Des Moines classes even exceeded the Hippers. The Des Moines type were the ultimate of heavy cruiser with their automatic 8" guns spewing out shells twice as fast as the earlier ships. That meant that in regard to the earlier ships the Des Moines had an equivalent armament of 18x8". A massive advantage. I have wargamed the Des Moines class many times, the result being that they go through their complement of shells very quickly and if their opponents are still firing, they then have problems. On the other hand get a Des Moines close enough to a battleship/battlecruiser, then they just overwhelm them with fast firepower.

So a ship with fifteen eight inch guns is not the be all and end all. It is a huge vulnerable monster with little armour when compared to the battleships of the time which would cost not much more to build.

But, this is a page that explores the impossible, to hell with the costs.

I intend to explore two drawings, one with fifteen gun armament (Italian based), and the other with sixteen eight inch guns in four quadruple turrets (British based). In addition to these I might add a twelve gun version with 10" guns (using the British version).


Displacement 16,250 tons std 19,400 tons full load
Length 692 ft
Breadth 76 ft
Draught 26 ft
Machinery 4 shaft, Steam turbines, 180,000 shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 7000 miles at 15 knots
Armour 6" side, 2" deck, 6" turrets
Armament As completed

15 x 8" (5x3)
12 x 5.3" (6x2)
20 x 37mm (10x2)
10 x 20mm (10x1)
Complement 910
Notes Sunk on the drawing board. Replaced with an extra battleship.

The Royal Navy kept a very close eye on what was happening in the naval world. Only the Japanese who had pulled a Bamboo Curtain down on its naval affairs and so managed to surprise the world with the Yamato and other ships. The Royal Navy was aware of the big German cruisers almost as soon as they were laid down. Looking at their own in production and planned future heavy cruisers, they had to note the large discrepancy in staying power between their ships and the German cruisers. What was required was a cruiser killer. A battlecruiser with lots of cruiser sized weapons. The Royal Navy already had experience with quadruple turrets in the King George V type so downsizing those to an eight inch level was not difficult for them.


Displacement 16,850 tons std 20,200 tons full load
Length 696 ft
Breadth 82 ft
Draught 26 ft
Machinery 4 shaft, steam turbines, 180,000 shp
Speed 32 knots
Range 7000 miles at 18 knots
Armour 6" side, 4" deck, 6" turret armour.
Armament 16 x 8" (4x4)
16 x 4" (8x2)
24 x 2pd (6x4)
20 x 20mm (20x1)
Complement 1100
Notes HMS Durham - design only

USS Des Moines. The ultimate heavy cruiser.


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