This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
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Might have raised this before but I think the basic ASW vessel should be more like the OTL River/Loch frigates (better than the Flower corvettes but still built to mercantile standards with reciprocating machinery), at least until they find out about the electroboats. Admiralty standards and geared steam turbines are too expensive for "cheap and nasties"!
Also the OTL light fleet carriers (Colossus/Majestic classes) should get a mention (slower but cheaper than cruiser conversions which IMO are only worthwhile for hulls already laid down, if that is even possible under the treaties)?
The problem is that the River/Loch class ships could only do around 20 knots, whereas the sloops I have in mind are more like the Hunt class escort destroyers (27 knots).
The approach taken to convoy protection in TFW is fundamentally different from that in OTL (which had large numbers of rather slow ships screening the convoy). TFW has MAC ships with every large convoy (at least one) with Swordfish planes providing continuous cover and directing a smaller number of faster ASW ships onto any U-boats located. They therefore need the speed to get to the reported position of the U-boat.
So you're looking at turning the convoy escorts into something close to the later war hunter killer groups right from the start and vigourously prosecuting u-boats with them rather than the early war relatively passive tactics?
Exactly. It's the continuous air cover from the MAC ships that makes this possible.
One benefit a River/Loch class ship brings is being quicker and cheaper to build, particularly because they used civilian yards and machinery etc. The slower and more numerous ships compliment the faster hunter type ships very well. Having a good number of the slower ships early allows the hunter groups to be more aggressive in hunting convoys as even with MAC ships you will need other escorts. Better to let the cheap and slow ships do that while the faster hunters are actively hunting almost all the time. They have another benefit in that they can be a form of presence ship in places around the world that Britain still wants a naval presence but cant spare a more modern or capable ship.
On carriers an Armoured flight deck will likely have to happen. The RN wanted the armoured carriers as they saw a need for them based on the likelihood of fighting in both the Mediterranean and Far East. The rational was that in the Mediterranean land based aircraft will be in range of the carriers fairly often so the risk of taking damage means that the ships are better able to absorb that damage and survive to retire and be repaired. The Far East is similar in that the RN wanted it's carriers to be survivable but not because of the threat of land based air cover and more because the only place for true major repairs is Britain and having to tow a heavily damaged carrier from Singapore to Britain for repair isn't practical. If the Carriers get hit they need to be survivable enough to get home with only a patch-up needed.
On armoured flight decks - one member of this forum pointed out that the weight problem was not so much with the decks as the hanger sides, which had 4" armour against cruiser fire.
Sort of. The weight penalty wasn't seen as a weight penalty by the RN. From what I can gather the Armoured carriers were meant to be thought of more as battle carriers. They were going to work with the fleet, the battleships and the like, so would be more at risk of damage hence the armour. The job of those carriers was to provide air cover for the fleet as well as carry out offensive actions. They would be supported by distant carriers with larger air groups like Ark Royal. I am a bit less sure on that last sentence.
In aaddition the RN was willing to accept the lower hangar heights imposed by the Armoured box. The thinking was that all current planes fit in no problem and if planes start to get to the point where the folded wings are too high you can also fold the wingtip to keep the plane short enough.
All in all a fairly elegant solution. They knew that the carriers were going to be vulnerable due to the locations they were likely to be fighting. Because of that they made the carriers more survivable to either enable them to survive heavy land based attack or to survive and retreat from lighter carrier attack on the opposite side of the planet. Yes there were limitations on what could be done design wise, particularly due to treaty limits, however solutions were already thought of.
The problem came when Britain started having to rely on American aircraft not designed with British carriers in mind. For NTFW the question is where do you want the balance to lie. Yes Don will know the likely course of events but it is no good making plans to send carriers east to head of the Japanese only for relatively minor damage to have taken the carriers out for long periods. That is particularly true if a heavier Armoured carrier could have been available. In addition because Britain will be more prepared to fight the naval war there should be less need to rely in American aircraft so the British aircraft will be able to fit the carriers.
The Ark Royal was designed as a distant support carrier, but for service in the Far East.
The amoured box hangar carriers that followed it were explicitly meant for service in relative narrow waters such as the Med where the threat of repeated air attacks in numbers larger than their air groups could handle were to be expected.
Ark Royal never made it out East, but if she'd still been around she's the carrier that would have gone with Force Z.
And the armoured flight decks of the the ABH carriers proved their worth both in the Med and later on against kamikazes in the Pacific.
But they didn't need those armoured hangar walls, and be losing them, getting openings in the outer walls, and raising the armoured flight deck a couple of feet they would have been even better combat carriers, and capable of carrying larger and more effective air groups.
Oh, and get rid of the round downs fore and aft on the flight decks, they aren't needed.
Bah, bloody sloppy typing. The above should read "wasn't designed as a"