Warship Projects Profile No.GB002 – Lion class – Part V.: 1944 series

At the later stages of the war, the Admiralty returned to the idea of maintaining a post war fleet containing 12 modern battleships with significant numbers, but the Royal Navy only had the 4 modern KGV’s, the Vanguard (then under construction), the 3 modernized Queen Elizabeths out of which the Warspite was badly damaged plus the 2 Nelsons which were still counted because of their firepower (but badly lacked modern DP guns). This was a total of 10 hulls meaning the RN required 2 more ships. The only readily available design was the Lion class albeit that was originally a 1938 design with some modifications adopted as the war progressed. It was essentially still a pre-war design and clearly obsolete thus a fresh new approach was required.

This new set of requirement emerged in February 1944 and manifested in the updated Lion class battleships:
– improved armor scheme to better protect against splinters and bombs, especially large bombs
– better underwater protection system envisioned as a liquid-liquid-air system
– belt armor was changed to save some weight so 15″ over ,agazines and 14″ over machinery
– new 16″ Mark IV cannon designed for the Mk III turret improving firing rate
– the new standard AA weaponry chosen with the 4,5″ QF Mk V designed for the Daring class destroyers, in 12 twin turrets
– the chosen medium and light AA was 10x sextuple 40mm Bofors and 20x twin and single 20mm Oerlikon guns
– increased maximum range and increased range with higher, 20 to 25knots sustained cruising speeds
– Increased speed even when six months out of the dock in “deep and dirty” and tropical conditions
– allocation of two quintuple 21in torpedo tubes (reasons not clear, might be due to the very long range the Japanese were able to achieve with their “Long Lance” torpedoes, and also the advent of Passive Acoustic Homing systems)

Based on the last requirement for increased speed in Tropical conditions, four hull variants were proposed:
5.500nm with 28knots max speed, 26,75knots six months out of dock
6.000nm with 28knots max speed, 26,75knots six months out of dock
6.000nm with 31,5knots max speed, 28knots six months out of dock
6.000nm with 33,5knots max speed, 30knots six months out of dock
These requirements resulted in very large designs, and only the first hull was in the realm of acceptance by the Admirality which required a maximum of 45-50.000tons dispalcement and a hull size of 840ft (overall) x 118ft, set by British docks.
These first drafts had increased deck armour to 7inch to provide better protection against bombs, but belt armour was reduced to 10inches to try to minimalize weight increase. The proposals were submitted by 1944 October, but at this time DNC thought
it is unlikely that the ships could be laid down before June 1946.

These first drafts later were used as a basis for the 1945 designs with constant modifications and alterations to try to create an affordable ship to build post war.

This drawing shows the first of these hulls.

Dimensions: 253m(wl) x 36.57 x 10,97m
Displacement: 50.400tons (Standard), 60.700tons (full load)
Engines: 130.000shp Parsons Steam TurbinesSpeed: 52km/h (28knots)
Range: 10.200km at 37km/h (5.500nm at 20knots)
Armor: 178mm, Deck over machinery and magazines, 254mm Belt over machinery and magazines.
Armament: 
3×3 16″/45 (406mm/45) BL Mk IV Cannons,12×2 4,5″/45 (114mm/45) QF Mk V DP-AA Guns,10×6,40mm/56 OQF Mk IX AA Guns,
20×2, 20×1 20mm Oerlikon AA Guns,
2×5 533mm Torpedo Tubes

Sensor suite:
10x Type 262 Fire-control Radar one for each CRBFD and twin 40mm STAAG mounts
2x Type 274 Fire-control Radar one for each main armament director/rangefinder
8x Type 275 Fire-control Radar two for each secondary armament director/rangefinder
1x Type 277Q Surface-air search Radar on the mainmast above the forward secondary director
2x Type 279 Air-search Radar on the masts tops
1x Type 291 Air-warning Radar on top of the aft mast
1x Type 293M Surface search Radar on the top of the mainmast
8x Type 903 Fire-control Radar, one for each MRS.3 director
1x Type 960 Air-warning Radar on top of the aft mast

This drawing shows the 2nd hull variant of the 1944 design, essentially a lengthened Version 1 with 500nm more range but the larger hull required larger engines because of the extra displacement it bought.

Dimensions: 263,65m(wl) x 36.57 x 10,97m
Displacement: 52.800tons (Standard), 64.500tons (full load)
Engines: 160.000shp Parsons Steam TurbinesSpeed: 52km/h (28knots)
Range: 11.100km at 37km/h (6.000nm at 20knots)
Armor: 178mm, Deck over machinery and magazines, 254mm Belt over machinery and magazines.
Armament: 
3×3 16″/45 (406mm/45) BL Mk IV Cannons,12×2 4,5″/45 (114mm/45) QF Mk V DP-AA Guns,10×6,40mm/56 OQF Mk IX AA Guns,
20×2, 20×1 20mm Oerlikon AA Guns,
2×5 533mm Torpedo Tubes

Sensor suite:
10x Type 262 Fire-control Radar one for each CRBFD and twin 40mm STAAG mounts
2x Type 274 Fire-control Radar one for each main armament director/rangefinder
8x Type 275 Fire-control Radar two for each secondary armament director/rangefinder
1x Type 277Q Surface-air search Radar on the mainmast above the forward secondary director
2x Type 279 Air-search Radar on the masts tops
1x Type 291 Air-warning Radar on top of the aft mast
1x Type 293M Surface search Radar on the top of the mainmast
8x Type 903 Fire-control Radar, one for each MRS.3 director
1x Type 960 Air-warning Radar on top of the aft mast

This drawing shows the 3rd hull variant of the 1944 design, here the designers leapt into the giant size to achieve the desired 31,5knots maximum speed. Much longer and larger hull together with a considerable increase in engine power while everything remained the same.

Dimensions: 272,8m(wl) x 37.8 x 10,51m
Displacement: 52.800tons (Standard), 64.500tons (full load)
Engines: 235.000shp Parsons Steam Turbines, 4 shaftsSpeed: 58km/h (31,5knots)
Range: 11.100km at 37km/h (6.000nm at 20knots)
Armor: 178mm, Deck over machinery and magazines, 254mm Belt over machinery and magazines.
Armament: 
3×3 16″/45 (406mm/45) BL Mk IV Cannons,12×2 4,5″/45 (114mm/45) QF Mk V DP-AA Guns,10×6,40mm/56 OQF Mk IX AA Guns,
20×2, 20×1 20mm Oerlikon AA Guns,
2×5 533mm Torpedo Tubes

The 4th variant of the 1944 series of battleship studies and among them the largest (and probably among all the battleships the Royal Navy ever designed) one with great engine power to achieve the desired very high speed of 33,5knots.

Dimensions: 283,46m(wl) x 39m x 11,28m
Displacement: 62.700tons (Standard), 76.200tons (full load)
Engines: 320.000shp Parsons Steam Turbines, 6 shaftsSpeed: 62km/h (33,5knots)
Range: 11.100km at 37km/h (6.000nm at 20knots)
Armor: 178mm, Deck over machinery and magazines, 254mm Belt over machinery and magazines.
Armament: 
3×3 16″/45 (406mm/45) BL Mk IV Cannons,12×2 4,5″/45 (114mm/45) QF Mk V DP-AA Guns,10×6,40mm/56 OQF Mk IX AA Guns,
20×2, 20×1 20mm Oerlikon AA Guns,
2×5 533mm Torpedo Tubes

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