King Georges V class
United Kingdom (1937-1941)
KG V, Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Howe, Anson
The Royal Navy's first fast battleships, following the ten-year Washington Treaty ban were the King George V class. A culmination of nearly 15 years of vacation since the Nelson design and updated by the first London Treaty (1930), making for another vacancy of 1937. At 38 000 standard tons, versus 35 000 tons, the future King George Vs were however a compromise as consideration of introducing new guns led to the adoption of a lower caliber (340 mm, 15 inches, versus the formidable 381 mm or 16 inches, on the Nelson class). This proved to be the greatest letdown of the design but there were reasons behind it. To improve protection also, almost the whole ship was protected and in order to rationalize armour, main turrets were adopted in quadruple form as in the French battleships.
There was still room for an extra twin turret in "B" for a total of 10 versus 9 guns on the Nelson, substantially equal range and higher rate of fire due to their new design. But these new mounts also caused many development problems and fixes were needed just as the war began. Speed was another bi selling point compared to the Nelsons. Outside KGV which entering service in December 1940, the others were HMS Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Howe, and Anson, respectively in March in November 1941, June and August 1942. Their career covered all theaters of operation except the mediterranean were older battleships were more "expendable". HMS Prince of Wales was the only sank, and by the air force. As early as 1938, their replacement was planned but with a more rational three triple arrangement and 16-in guns, the Lion class, making the KGV "interim battleships". HMS Lion, the first on order, was laid down in September 1939 but soon suspended and later canceled. The Vanguard was the very final design, making good of WWI era 16-in guns.
Notice: This article is in rewrite, for planned publication early 2022.
KG V secondary turret
KG V Armor scheme
Details of the armored belt, near HMS Howe B Turret, Sydney 1944
Genesis of this class began in 1936.
The compartmentalisation of their engine room was for the first time very neat, boilers and machines grouped in pairs, to prevent a single shot at the goal paralyzed their propulsion. The nominal power was 110,000 horsepower at 230 rpm, the steam injected into the tubes being raised to 375°C.
An emergency system was planned to push the machines to 125,000 hp or up to 138,000 on the POW (Prince Of Wales). Their boilers, from a very successful long series, had excellent yields. However, they were not planned to be operated with high viscosity oil mixed with seawater, a situation forced by shortages after 1942. This resulted in significant losses in machine yields and rising costs.
The armor of these units had been revised and expanded to many parts of the ship less vital, unlike the "all or nothing" system of previous Rodney. The protection of machines had largely benefited from these attentions. The belt was widened downwards, and the internal subdivision, the central armored caissons, also lengthened and strengthened considerably. Nevertheless the protection of the bridge against the bombs of planes still remained sufficient for 1935, but less for the heavy projectiles used by the dive bombers of 1939.
The armor of the turrets was also lessened, but not that of the wells and the bunkers. on the contrary, ammunition has been greatly increased and better distributed. Lightened likewise was the "blockhouse", whose roof reached only 100 mm. The reason was that in practice, the officers always favored the visibility of the footbridge to the protected containment of the blockhouse...
HD Details of the King Georges V, midship section
The main armament considered reflected the procrastination of the moment. The first scheme involved a battery of three triple turrets of 381 mm pieces, but political pressures from the London Treaty forced a reduction of this caliber to 356 mm (14 inches). We considered the design of quadruple turrets to replace the triples, which would have given a rim of 12 pieces, ideal for a saturation shot, a popular principle in 1936. In the end, it was in the light of the war, a cruel mistake, while the neighboring nations opted for the 381, the 406 or even in the projects Nippons, the 460 mm.
The admiralty obtained to influence the treaty on this point and leaned quickly on the adaptation of 16-in guns. But the delays of such an operation would have further reduced the entry into active service of the first building. In addition the quadruple turrets, entirely new, knew many problem of maneuvering. Regarding the Bismarck for example, and the events of May 1941, these shortages and shells that lacked mass to seriously damage the German battleship were almost fatal to the POW.
KGV's secondary artillery was also innovative in itself and also had some development problems. It was planned to equip them not with anti-ship secondary parts (such as 152 mm), but with truly versatile parts, capable of providing DCA against-aircraft such as anti-ship fighter for light and fast vessels (such as launching stars) torpedoes).
Here again, this character of compromise was a disaster in application: Too slow for an effective air defense (meanwhile the speed of the aircraft had evolved.), it was insufficient to fight against destroyers for example. In question, the complexity of the charging system and the weight of the shells. At the end of the 10-12 shots per minute, we spent in practice at 7-8, painfully and with very trained crews. This also explains in This is why the POW's AA defense was ineffective in December 1941. The anti-aircraft defense was compounded with 40 mm quadruple and occluder QF2 ("pom-pom"), as well as 20 mm Oerlikon cannons and Bofors single pieces. 40 mm under mask. This armament was more than doubled during the conflict. In 1945, for example, the Anson had 65 pieces of 20 mm and 216 of 40 mm in octuple carriages.
King Georges V class specifications
|Dimensions||227 m x 31 m x 9,9 m (FL).|
|Displacement||38 030 t. standard -42 237 t. FL|
|Crew||1314-1631 officers and enlisted men|
|Propulsion||4 propellers, 4 Parsons turbines, 8 Admiralty boilers, 128,000 hp.|
|Speed||Top speed 28 knots,|
|Range||5;400 nautical RA at 18 knots.|
|Armament||10 x 356 mm Mk.VII (2x4, 1x2), 8 x 127 mm (4x2) Mk.I, 32 x 40 mm AA (4x8) 4 walrus seaplanes.|
|Armor||350 mm casemates, 149 mm decks, 373 mm belt, 152 mm rangefinders, 324 mm turrets, 324 mm barbettes, 100 mm bunker.|
Conway's all the world's fighting ships 1922-1947