GNS Herzgovia (BB-1930)


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I had a look through the Special Project ships, and the only layout I had not done a drawing for was a one turret forward and two aft. I couldn't have that.

Galicia is my amalgamation of the Balkan states, Romania, Hungary and other bits and pieces, with coastlines on both the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea. Its navy consists of ships drawn mainly from surrendered Austro-Hungarian Fleet vessels and equipment. In amongst the 'equipment' is the jigs and tools to make 16.5" guns that the Germans and Austro-Hungarians had been developing and placed aboard the Baden Class and eventually used aboard the Hungaria Class (once I update it.) The Herzgovia would be the first capital ship built from the keel up by the new Galician Naval Yards on the Black Sea coast.

Galicia was in the enviable position of having access to the Austro-Hungarian equipment but also the latest innovations through the technical assistance given by the British. The assistance provided everything from AA guns to bridge structures, and machinery equipment. These were the first capital ships with a cross deck catapult. An innovation that was just being fitted to the British heavy cruisers of the time. Originally only four octuple 2 pounder mountings were to be fitted, but another pair were squeezed in forward. As the 'aircraft' became a larger factor in all navies thinking, more and more AA equipment was fitted. The 3" AA guns were only supposed to be a stop-gap measure but were retained right through to the ships rebuilding. The 5.5" guns were much handier as a secondary gun than the 5.9"/6" on the other Galician capital ships. A note on the 16.5" guns on the Herzgovia. These are not the same weapon as on the German ships of 1938+ vintage. These are the 1915 version firing a 2600 pound shell 32,000 yards. A decent weapon but unable to handle the shells built for the 1937 mark of gun.

The completion of the Herzgovia missed the dual purpose revolution by 4-5 years and being the most modern vessel in the Galician Navy it would be the last to go through refurbishment.

The purpose of the Herzgovia was to be the dominant force in the Black Sea. The other navies, Hellenic, Turkish and Russian were mainly armed with 11" and 12" gunned battleships. It would not be till the later 1930's that better armed ships would appear in the Black Sea. The British gave their assistance freely as they did not trust the Soviet administration. The Herzgovia's weakest point was the 11" belt armour fitted. Being built under British direction the ship had to be as close to the 35,000 ton mark as possible and as laid down by the Naval treaties. To mount the 16.5" guns and to make 30 knots, then the trade off was the 11" armour.

The Herzgovia was due for rebuilding when war broke out against the Soviets over Besarabia in 1937 (cheating a couple of years). The Soviets tried to take the area by force, but were repulsed by the Galician forces stationed there. The Galician Navy held the Black Sea end of the line and repulsed a sortie by Soviet ships trying to bombard shore targets. Damage to the Soviet battleships from the Herzgovia and a full retreat was on. The tensions between the two countries carried on and made overtures by the Germans fall on fertile ground. When the Germans were ready to attack the Soviets in 1941, the Galicians were ready to join in. They had been neutral prior to that point. With the Black Sea cleared of Soviet ships by June 1941, the Galician Navy joined the other Axis forces to become Axis Combined Fleet (South).

The Herzgovia fought the coming war in its original condition. The main changes being made to the AA suite.

Displacement 35,500 tons std, 40,800 full load
Length 750 ft
Breadth 102 ft
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 4 shaft Steam Turbines 135,000shp
Speed 30 knots
Range 6,500 miles at 18 knots
Armour 12.6" side, 5.9" deck, 11" turrets
Armament 9 x 16.5" (3x3)
12 x 5.5 (12x1)
8 x 3" AA (8x1)
48 x 2pd (6x8)
Aircraft 2
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1850
Notes GNS Herzgovia (1930)

Reloading an octuple 2 pounder mounting.


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