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Thursday, January 04, 2007

The period from 1918 until 1921

Brassey's Naval Annual is the best place to see what was happening in the world of warship design and planned building programs. From abot 1918 until the 1921 edition, there is evidence of the fresh ideas and designs that would have been built, but for the Washington Naval Treaty. For example, the British design staff, in the office of the Director of Naval Construction, had totally lost confidence in the battlecruiser Hood design, by about 1918, and they were eager to build ships that reflected their latest ideas. The "1921" battleships and battlecruisers were to be those ships. The Washington Naval Treaty stopped that line of development, although some of the innovations materialized in the Nelson and Rodney, built in the latter 1920's. We can see some of what "might have been", in the performance of the Rodney against the Bismarck. The Rodney "took the Bismarck apart" in short order. The Bismarck had 8-15in guns with a rather light shot, while the Rodney at least had 16in shot that could easily pierce the Bismarck's belt. The cruisers, such as the Exeter, were also "next generation ships". The original "County class" were not.

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