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Wickes Class Never Retired

Started by Fulcrum, November 24, 2010, 06:21:54 PM

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Fulcrum

I had this suggestion about a modernized 4 pipper destroyer a while ago on the "Never Retired" GB thread.

Modernized Wickes class destroyer(could go under a new name)
-reduced crew (65-100)
-improved "classified" electronics
-revised armament includes a 76mm OTO Melara gun, 2 20mm C.I.W.S., 6 Exocet missile launchers & a RAM missile launcher
-Helipad for a Westland Wasp or DASH drone(anything larger could possibly sink the ship)

Could go to either the "Never Retired" GB or to the "Patchwork" universe(maybe market it to the Yorkshire navy ;D)
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Fulcrum

Bump. Any opinions, positive &/or negative, are welcome.
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Weaver

#2
Okay, thoughts:

The problem with all these "updated WWII" type schemes is that they don't take into account the extra internal volume required for the control systems, computers and other electronics needed to run modern wepons and sensors. If you look at real post-war conversions, they're either very limited in scope, or they have significant new deckhouses and structures to accomodate the new equipment, and also to improve accomodation to the standards expected by an all-volunteer force. An awful lot of these were eventually deemed, with hindsight, to be not cost-effective. The ones that were effective (like the British Type 15s) were VERY extensive: whole new superstructure.

The armament on yours looks well balanced and not over the top. If it's recent enough to have a RAM launcher, then you could save a LOT of topweight and deck space by using Exocet MM40 instead of MM38s. Two pairs of MM40s in place of your middle MM38s would free up enough space for an extra deckhouse between aft of funnels 4 (like the one between 2 and 3) to hold the extra electronics for some decent radar and ESM. You could them move the RAM deckhouse forwards by about it's own length, thus giving you more elbow room on the (pretty tight) helo deck.
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lenny100

if you built your flight deck above the rear deck house you could have a hanger like the type 81 tribal class frigates which flew the wasp in the 1960s and were just larger than the already small aircraft
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dy031101

Quote from: Weaver on November 26, 2010, 01:48:36 AM
The problem with all these "updated WWII" type schemes is that they don't take into account the extra internal volume required for the control systems, computers and other electronics needed to run modern wepons and sensors. If you look at real post-war conversions, they're either very limited in scope, or they have significant new deckhouses and structures to accomodate the new equipment, and also to improve accomodation to the standards expected by an all-volunteer force. An awful lot of these were eventually deemed, with hindsight, to be not cost-effective. The ones that were effective (like the British Type 15s) were VERY extensive: whole new superstructure.

Could take Taiwanese modernisation of WWII destroyers for example.  The extensive reconstruction was a result of necessity (especially after the Sino-Soviet split) and any structure that was further altered would be so because these ships were practically stripped down to frames anyway.

Though if your shipbuilding industry was inexperienced, this could be a valuable exercise.

Also, quite a few new systems installed into these ships had to be modified with lighter components; for example, on the most modern WC-III subclass, the Signaal DA-08 search radar had its processing unit wired to an antenna from the DA-05.
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Another thing to take into account is the age of the ships in question.  The last of the Wickes rolled out in 1921.  By the start of WWII, they were already 20 years old or more.
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pyro-manic

Plus the 4-stackers were all coal-fired, if I'm not mistaken. It's very expensive to re-engine a ship to oil-firing, so much so that it's often easier to build a whole new hull. Plus these dreadnought-era destroyers were very small, so they tend to be rather poor sea-going vessels - heavy weather will see them unable to make very much headway, they'll be extremely wet on deck, and they won't be able to function at all well. Plus their range is rather short, due to their small size and fuel capacity. Also, if these ships have been in service since the 1920s, and have served through the Second World War, they'll have had extremely tough lives, so their material condition is likely to be poor at best, and downright dangerous at worst, with structural fatigue and corrosion.
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dy031101

Another scenario that can involve the modernized Wickes class destroyer is through reverse-engineering- a thorough reconstruction gives you a virtually-new ship; a reverse-engineered construction gives you a new ship, period.  ;D

Keep the coal-fired four-stack powerplant if you wish, but other factors that weren't considered crippling until the end of WWII could be more easily corrected when you are making changes on the drawing board instead of the drydock.
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Fulcrum

Thanks for your thoughts, guys. :drink:

I think the boat would make an excellent coastal defense vessel but then again it would have a hard time in rough seas.
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rickshaw

Quote from: pyro-manic on November 26, 2010, 08:43:59 AM
Plus the 4-stackers were all coal-fired, if I'm not mistaken. It's very expensive to re-engine a ship to oil-firing, so much so that it's often easier to build a whole new hull. Plus these dreadnought-era destroyers were very small, so they tend to be rather poor sea-going vessels - heavy weather will see them unable to make very much headway, they'll be extremely wet on deck, and they won't be able to function at all well. Plus their range is rather short, due to their small size and fuel capacity. Also, if these ships have been in service since the 1920s, and have served through the Second World War, they'll have had extremely tough lives, so their material condition is likely to be poor at best, and downright dangerous at worst, with structural fatigue and corrosion.

This, out of all other factors would tell against modernisation.  Much cheaper to simply scrap and start anew.  Its often been noted in modern naval circles that the cheapest ingredient in a post-WWII warship is invariably the steel used to manufacture it.   This, coupled with Weaver's excellent point about the growth of post-war electronics needs - which are considered the most expensive element BTW - tends to have seen a growth in the size of ships.  What is now called a Destroyer is nearly as big as a WWII Cruiser.  Small ships tend to be both less useful and less fightable or survivable.
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Weaver

Quote from: rickshaw on November 27, 2010, 12:29:20 AM
Quote from: pyro-manic on November 26, 2010, 08:43:59 AM
Plus the 4-stackers were all coal-fired, if I'm not mistaken. It's very expensive to re-engine a ship to oil-firing, so much so that it's often easier to build a whole new hull. Plus these dreadnought-era destroyers were very small, so they tend to be rather poor sea-going vessels - heavy weather will see them unable to make very much headway, they'll be extremely wet on deck, and they won't be able to function at all well. Plus their range is rather short, due to their small size and fuel capacity. Also, if these ships have been in service since the 1920s, and have served through the Second World War, they'll have had extremely tough lives, so their material condition is likely to be poor at best, and downright dangerous at worst, with structural fatigue and corrosion.

This, out of all other factors would tell against modernisation.  Much cheaper to simply scrap and start anew.  Its often been noted in modern naval circles that the cheapest ingredient in a post-WWII warship is invariably the steel used to manufacture it.   This, coupled with Weaver's excellent point about the growth of post-war electronics needs - which are considered the most expensive element BTW - tends to have seen a growth in the size of ships.  What is now called a Destroyer is nearly as big as a WWII Cruiser.  Small ships tend to be both less useful and less fightable or survivable.

Just as an addendum to that, there's a fundamental change to the limiting design factor between the guns & armour era and the missiles & computers era. In the guns & armour era, warships ships were "weight limited" due to the sheer density of their systems. This meant that when adding stuff to a ship, you ran out of weight capacity before running out of space, thus making it easy to run the ship with a cast of thousands by squeezing bunks and hammocks into every nook and cranny.

In the missiles and computers era, all the systems became much less dense. Missiles are much bigger than shells for a given weight. Radars are much bigger than telescopes, and add weight high up, which is proportionally worse. Also shifting weight high up are gas turbine engines, whose actual "engine" sections, deep in the ship, are relatively small and light, but which need huge uptakes and downtakes ("funnels") to deal with their air requirements and exhaust gasses. Computers and combat information centres are a completely new low-density addition as are helo hangars, and to get anybody to crew these ships, you have to offer them much better living conditions, which again, are mostly steel-defined space. The net result is that modern warships are "space limited", that is to say that when adding systems, you tend to run out of space before you run out of weight.

When you look at an old, gun-era destroyer, you often find that there is literally NO under-cover fore-and-aft access. Solid bulkheads go from the keel to the weather deck and there's nothing above that: if you want to go from one section to another, you have to go up on deck and get wet and cold walking along it before climbing down another hatch. Deckhouses were small and independent: literally small "sheds" sitting on top of the deck that you could walk right around. By contrast, in a modern ship, even the upper deck within what you'd call the "hull" is continuous above the bulkheads, and the former deckhouses have merged to become a superstructure that's often continuous (or nearly continuous) from the bridge to the hangar. Only the practical requirements for boarding, boat-launching and underway replenishment keep the superstructure from completely covering the upper deck, and even some of those functions are now being enclosed behind big doors in the name of stealth!
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Weaver

Having said all that Fulcrum, don't be discouraged, after all, this is Whiff-World where anything is possible!  ;D

You don't have to literally upgrade-a-four-piper-in-the-real-world to make a whiff out of a four-piper kit:

You could re-write real-world history and/or set your upgrade in an earlier era: real four-pipers had LOTS  of modifications and re-builds, including some with quite modern-looking bridges.

You could use the basic hull, but portray it as new-construction that "just happens" to look a bit like an old four-piper.

You could write or adopt a completely fictitious background where endlessly re-building ancient ships is the only option or where old-fashioned design features survive much longer in new construction.
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
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dy031101

Quote from: pyro-manic on November 26, 2010, 08:43:59 AM
Plus the 4-stackers were all coal-fired, if I'm not mistaken.

I just found out Wikipedia entries seem to suggest that US-made destroyers since Paulding class all use oil for fuel.

Of course, everything else you brought up about the aging problem could still stand......
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Weaver

Quote from: dy031101 on November 27, 2010, 06:16:34 PM
Quote from: pyro-manic on November 26, 2010, 08:43:59 AM
Plus the 4-stackers were all coal-fired, if I'm not mistaken.

I just found out Wikipedia entries seem to suggest that US-made destroyers since Paulding class all use oil for fuel.

Of course, everything else you brought up about the aging problem could still stand......

Just checked my copy of Destroyers of WWII by M.J.Whitley and that concurs: the last US coal-burners were the Flusser class.
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
 - Morpheus in Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

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 - Indiana Jones '

Fulcrum

Actually, I already made a model of it using the 4 pipper from the airfix kit of destroyers of WW2(which also included models of V&W, Tribal & a German destroyer) & added the exocets from the Airfix Falklands Frigates kit.

How about these destroyers in the Patchwork universe? Would any small states be interested in these boats.(Then again, these could be retermed "Missile Corvettes")

Quote from: Weaver on November 27, 2010, 01:59:24 AM
Having said all that Fulcrum, don't be discouraged, after all, this is Whiff-World where anything is possible!  ;D
Don't worry, I am not discouraged at all. ;D
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