Author Topic: Under New Ownership - Alaska-class CB  (Read 1348 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline scooter

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 7363
Under New Ownership - Alaska-class CB
« on: December 25, 2019, 06:48:57 am »
To be cross-posted in Scooter's Randomness - The Artwork of Elven Blend


As depicted in 1955

The Alaska class was a class of six large cruisers ordered before World War II for the United States Navy. They were officially classed as large cruisers (CB), but others have regarded them as battlecruisers. They were all named after territories or insular areas of the United States, signifying their intermediate status between larger battleships and smaller heavy and light cruisers.[C] Of the six planned, two were completed, the third's construction was suspended on 16 April 1947, and the last three were cancelled. Alaska and Guam served with the U.S. Navy for the last year of World War II as bombardment ships and fast carrier escorts. They were decommissioned in 1947 after spending only 32 and 29 months in service, respectively.
The idea for a large cruiser class originated in the early 1930s when the U.S. Navy sought to counter Deutschland-class "pocket battleships" being launched by Germany. Planning for ships that eventually evolved into the Alaska class began in the late 1930s after the deployment of Germany's Scharnhorst-class battleships and rumors that Japan was constructing a new battlecruiser class.[6][D] To serve as "cruiser-killers" capable of seeking out and destroying these post-Treaty heavy cruisers, the class was given large guns of a new and expensive design, limited armor protection against 12-inch shells, and machinery capable of speeds of about 31–33 knots (57–61 km/h; 36–38 mph).
Background[edit]
Heavy cruiser development formalized between World War I and World War II thanks to the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty and successor treaties and conferences, where the United States, Britain, Japan, France, and Italy agreed to limit heavy cruisers to 10,000 tons displacement with 8-inch main armament. Up until the Alaska class, US cruisers designed between the wars followed this pattern.[11]
The initial impetus for the Alaska design came from the deployments of Germany's so-called pocket battleships in the early 1930s.[12] Though no actions were immediately taken, these thoughts were revived in the late 1930s when intelligence reports indicated Japan was planning or building "super cruisers" that would be much more powerful than the current US heavy cruisers.[13][4][10][14][E] The navy responded in 1938 when the General Board asked the Bureau of Construction and Repair to conduct a "comprehensive study of all types of naval vessels for consideration for a new and expanded building program".[15] The US President at the time, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, may have taken a lead role in the development of the class with his desire to have a counter to raiding abilities of Japanese cruisers and German pocket battleships.[16] While these claims are difficult to verify,[4][17] they have led to the speculation that their design was "politically motivated".[18]
Design[edit]
One historian described the design process of the Alaska class as "torturous" due to the numerous changes and modifications made to the ship's layouts by numerous departments and individuals.[6] Indeed, there were at least nine different layouts,[19] ranging from 6,000-ton Atlanta-class anti-aircraft cruisers[20] to "overgrown" heavy cruisers[6] and a 38,000-ton mini-battleship that would have been armed with twelve 12-inch and sixteen 5-inch guns.[20] The General Board, in an attempt to keep the displacement under 25,000 tons, allowed the designs to offer only limited underwater protection, such that they were vulnerable to torpedoes and shells that fell short of the ship.[21] The final design was a scaled-up Baltimore class that had the same machinery as the Essex-class aircraft carriers. This ship combined a main armament of nine 12-inch guns with protection against 10-inch gunfire into a hull that was capable of 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph).[14]
The Alaskas were officially funded in September 1940 along with a plethora of other ships as a part of the Two-Ocean Navy Act.[10][22][F] Their role had been altered slightly: in addition to their surface-to-surface role, they were planned to protect carrier groups. Because of their bigger guns, greater size and increased speed, they would be more valuable in this role than heavy cruisers, and would provide insurance against reports that Japan was building super cruisers more powerful than the American heavy cruisers.[10]
Alaska was 808 feet 6 inches (246.43 m) long overall and had a beam of 91 ft 1 in (27.76 m) and a draft of 31 ft 10 in (9.70 m). She displaced 29,779 long tons (30,257 t) as designed and up to 34,253 long tons (34,803 t) at full combat load. The ship was powered by four-shaft General Electric geared steam turbines and eight oil-fired Babcock & Wilcox boilers rated at 150,000 shaft horsepower (110,000 kW), generating a top speed of 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph). The ship had a cruising range of 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km; 14,000 mi) at a speed of 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph).[1][2] She carried four OS2U Kingfisher or SC Seahawk seaplanes,[3] with a pair of steam catapults mounted amidships.[4]
The ship was armed with a main battery of nine 12 in (300 mm) L/50 Mark 8 guns in three triple gun turrets, two in a superfiring pair forward and one aft of the superstructure.[a] The secondary battery consisted of twelve 5 in (130 mm) L/38 dual-purpose guns in six twin turrets. Two were placed on the centerline superfiring over the main battery turrets, fore and aft, and the remaining four turrets were placed on the corners of the superstructure. The light anti-aircraft battery consisted of 56 quad-mounted 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors guns and 34 single-mounted 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon guns.[1] A pair of Mk 34 gun directors aided gun laying for the main battery, while two Mk 37 directors controlled the 5-inch guns and a Mk 57 director aided the 40 mm guns.[5] The main armored belt was 9 in (229 mm) thick, while the gun turrets had 12.8 in (325 mm) thick faces. The main armored deck was 4 in (102 mm) thick.[1]
 
Main battery
As built, the Alaska class had nine 12"/50 caliber Mark 8 guns mounted in three triple (3-gun) turrets,[43] with two turrets forward and one aft, a configuration known as "2-A-1". The previous 12" gun manufactured for the U.S. Navy was the Mark 7 version, which had been designed for and installed in the 1912 Wyoming-class battleships. The Mark 8 was of considerably higher quality; in fact, it "was by far the most powerful weapon of its caliber ever placed in service."[44] Designed in 1939, it weighed 121,856 pounds (55,273 kg) including the breech, and could sustain an average rate of fire of 2.4–3 rounds a minute. It could throw a 1,140-pound (520 kg) Mark 18 armor-piercing shell 38,573 yards (35,271 m) at an elevation of 45°, and had a 344-shot barrel life[43] (about 54 more than the much larger but similar 16"/50 caliber Mark 7 gun found on the Iowa battleships.).[45] The Alaskas' Mark 8 guns were the heaviest main battery of any cruiser of World War II, and as capable as the old 14"/45 caliber gun used on the U.S. Navy's pre-treaty battleships.[43]
The turrets were very similar to those of the Iowa-class battleships, but differed in several ways; for example, the Alaska class had a two-stage powder hoist instead of the Iowa class's one-stage hoist. These differences made operating the guns safer and increased the rate of fire. In addition, a "projectile rammer" was added to Alaska and Guam. This machine transferred shells from storage on the ship to the rotating ring that fed the guns. However, this feature proved unsatisfactory, and it was not planned for Hawaii or any subsequent ships and removed after the purchase of the Alaska and Guam by the Lemurian Confederacy.[43]
Because Alaska and Guam were the only two ships to mount these guns, only ten turrets were made during the war (three for each ship including Hawaii and one spare). They cost $1,550,000 each and were the most expensive heavy guns purchased by the U.S. Navy in World War II.[17]
Secondary battery[edit]
The secondary battery of the Alaska class was composed of twelve dual-purpose (anti-air and anti-ship) 5"/38 caliber guns in twin mounts, with four offset on each side of the superstructure (two on each beam) and two centerline turrets fore and aft. The 5"/38 was originally intended for use on only destroyers built in the 1930s, but by 1934 and into World War II it was being installed on almost all of the U.S.'s major warships, including aircraft carriers, battleships, and heavy and light cruisers.[46]
Anti-aircraft battery[edit]
For anti-aircraft armament, the Alaska-class ships carried 56 × 40 mm guns and 34 × 20 mm guns. These numbers are comparable to 48 × 40 mm and 24 × 20 mm on the smaller Baltimore-class heavy cruisers and 80 × 40 mm and 49 × 20 mm on the larger Iowa battleships.[2][47][48]
Arguably the most efficient light anti-aircraft gun of World War II, the 40 mm Bofors was used on nearly every major warship in the U.S. and UK fleets during World War II from about 1943 to 1945. Although they were a descendant of German and Swedish designs, the Bofors mounts used by the United States Navy during World War II had been heavily "Americanized" to U.S. Navy standards. This new standard resulted in a gun system set to English standards (now known as the Standard System) with interchangeable ammunition, simplifying the logistics situation for World War II. When coupled with hydraulic couple drives to reduce salt contamination and the Mark 51 director for improved accuracy, the 40 mm Bofors became a fearsome adversary, accounting for roughly half of all Japanese aircraft shot down between 1 October 1944 and 1
February 1945.[49]
The Oerlikon 20 mm anti-aircraft gun was one of the most extensively used anti-aircraft guns of World War II; the U.S. alone manufactured a total of 124,735 of these guns. When activated in 1941, they replaced the 0.50" M2 Browning machine gun on a one-for-one basis. The Oerlikon gun remained the primary anti-aircraft weapon of the United States Navy until the introduction of the 40 mm Bofors in 1943.[50]
USS Alaska, CB-1
USS Alaska (CB-1) was the lead ship of the Alaska class of large cruisers which served with the United States Navy during the end of World War II. She was the first of two ships of her class to be completed, followed only by Guam; four other ships were ordered but were not completed before the end of the war. Alaska was the third vessel of the US Navy to be named after what was then the territory of Alaska. She was laid down on 17 December 1941, ten days after the outbreak of war, was launched in August 1943 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, in Camden, New Jersey, and was commissioned in June 1944. She was armed with a main battery of nine 12 in (300 mm) guns in three triple turrets and had a top speed of 33 kn (61 km/h; 38 mph).
Due to being commissioned late in the war, Alaska saw relatively limited service. She participated in operations off Iwo Jima and Okinawa in February–July 1945, including providing anti-aircraft defense for various carrier task forces and conducting limited shore bombardment operations. She shot down several Japanese aircraft off Okinawa, including a possible Ohka piloted missile. In July–August 1945 she participated in sweeps for Japanese shipping in the East China and Yellow Seas. After the end of the war, she assisted in the occupation of Korea and transported a contingent of US Army troops back to the United States. She was decommissioned in February 1947 and placed in reserve, where she remained until she was stricken in 1950 and sold to the Lemurian Confederacy, along with her sister ships USS Guam and USS Hawaii.

LCNS Plentyn Taranau, BC-5
The ex-USS Alaska was rechristened as the Plentyn Taranau (Thunder Child (lit. “Child of Thunder”)), replacing her Brooklyn-class predecessor, lost at the Battle of Tassafaronga.  The ship was assigned as and continues to serve as flag for Force Able, undergoing numerous refits and service life extensions.
In her role as a battlecruiser, the Plentyn Taranau has led fire support missions during anti-piracy missions within the Philippine archipelago, at the request of the Philippine government, and during Operation Ocean Shield. 

References:
USS Alaska, CB 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Alaska_(CB-1)
Alaska-class Cruiser: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska-class_cruiser
The F-106- 26 December 1956 to 8 August 1988
Gone But Not Forgotten

Quote
Oh are you from Wales ?? Do you know a fella named Jonah ?? He used to live in whales for a while.
— Groucho Marx

My dA page: Scooternjng

Offline tigercat

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 2766
Re: Under New Ownership - Alaska-class CB
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2019, 08:26:03 am »
How does she fare against  martians?

Offline scooter

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 7363
Re: Under New Ownership - Alaska-class CB
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2019, 08:28:18 am »
How does she fare against  martians?

Like her Wellsian namesake: takes out 2, damages a third, but eventually succumbs to battle damage. :wacko:
The F-106- 26 December 1956 to 8 August 1988
Gone But Not Forgotten

Quote
Oh are you from Wales ?? Do you know a fella named Jonah ?? He used to live in whales for a while.
— Groucho Marx

My dA page: Scooternjng

Offline JoeP

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 3420
    • The Home Page of Connie and (Modeler) Joe
Re: Under New Ownership - Alaska-class CB
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2019, 09:39:09 am »
Ooh, there's a concept - the buff-over-white on something more modern.   :wub:

Now I have to figure out what would look especially good in that.  Thanks for the idea!
In between jobs and homes.  New job starts soon, then search for new home, space for hobby room and display cases is non-negotiable.

Offline scooter

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 7363
Re: Under New Ownership - Alaska-class CB
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2019, 01:09:34 pm »
Ooh, there's a concept - the buff-over-white on something more modern.   :wub:

Now I have to figure out what would look especially good in that.  Thanks for the idea!

You're welcome.  I've got plans for a Burke and Daring in buff over white as well
The F-106- 26 December 1956 to 8 August 1988
Gone But Not Forgotten

Quote
Oh are you from Wales ?? Do you know a fella named Jonah ?? He used to live in whales for a while.
— Groucho Marx

My dA page: Scooternjng

Offline Captain Canada

  • "but this time it's different. I was drunk when I agreed to it."
  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 30108
Re: Under New Ownership - Alaska-class CB
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2020, 04:38:11 pm »
No idea what yer all talkin' about, but I like the boat lol
CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?

Offline scooter

  • Needs A Life Outside What-If
  • *****
  • Posts: 7363
Re: Under New Ownership - Alaska-class CB
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2020, 05:50:31 pm »
No idea what yer all talkin' about, but I like the boat lol

 :wacko:
The F-106- 26 December 1956 to 8 August 1988
Gone But Not Forgotten

Quote
Oh are you from Wales ?? Do you know a fella named Jonah ?? He used to live in whales for a while.
— Groucho Marx

My dA page: Scooternjng