JuanG -> A Different War - Alternate WNT Scenario Discussion (5/23/2009 4:53:52 PM)
With AE around the corner, I thought it would be worth making a thread about an AH scenario I'm planning to create, and get some opinions about what you think would have happened in such a reality in the years leading up to the war.
The premise of the AH lies in 3 changes to the historic WNT, in addition to the 1923 Kanto earthquake being much less severe than historically.
The changes to the treaty are;
1) The Capital Ship tonnage for the UK and US is 610,000tons in lieu of the historical 525,000tons.
2) The Carrier tonnage is 140,000tons rather than 135,000tons as historic.
3) Japan is given a 3.5/5 rather than 3/5 parity for tonnage. This is also the case for carrier tonnage. This means their Capital tonnage is 427,000tons, and Carrier tonnage is 98,000tons.
In addition, because of the various large ships in construction, it is agreed to allow use of two for conversion to carriers with a 33,000ton limit (as historic - carrier size limit was 27,000tons otherwise), in addition to allow another 2 to be completed as capital ships in excess of the 35,000ton limit, but not exceeding 43,000tons.
The US presses for the South Dakotas, but has to compromise for the Lexingtons, settled with an extra clause that they may be reconstructed for 6,000tons rather than the 3,000tons allowed for other ships.
Because of these changes, the results of the treaty are as follows;
-The 4th Colorado class battleship, BB-47 Washington, is completed in addition to her 3 historic sisters.
-The Lexington class battlecruisers Lexington and Saratoga are completed as CC-1 and CC-2. They are allowed twice the normal reconstruction tonnage.
-The Lexington class battlecruisers Constitution and Constellation are completed as CV-2 and CV-3.
-Utah and Florida must be scrapped in addition to the historic North Dakota and Delaware.
-As they do not have two ships in excess of the treaty under construction, they are allowed to build two up to 41,000ton ships. This must be done within the next 4 years or otherwise it is void. The RN settles for a slightly downsized G3 class, still capable of 30kts. The two ships will be Invincible and Indomitable.
-In addition to scrapping Thunderer, King George V, Ajax and Centurion, they are require to scrap 3 of the Iron Duke class.
-After this, the UK is left with a little over 60,000tons for more new construction. How this is to be used is up for debate. (My own thoughts are two 32,000ton battlecruisers based on the G3, with 6x16in for main battery, the same speed and similar protection - this gives the RN a new post-jutland battlecruiser squadron.)
-The Amagi class battlecruisers Amagi and Akagi are to be converted to aircraft carriers.
-The Tosa class battleships Tosa and Kaga are to be completed as planned.
-The Amagi class battlecruiser Takao is used for tests in lieu of the historic Tosa.
-The rest of the 8-8 plan is cancelled as historically.
-After this, the IJN is left with 50,000tons to use for new construction. Again, this is up for debate. (My own thoughts are reduced Kongos, with 8x14in and lesser armour protection, but better speed. They would be rebuilt as the Kongos were.)
France and Italy
-Have an extra 30,000tons to play with. As historically, they reserve the right to use their tonnage in whatever way they want, as long as it does not break the individual ships limits of the treaty.
Some other events that follow from this in my timeline are as follows;
-The USN rebuilds the Lexington class with its increased allowance in the early 30's. By WW2 these displace a little over 46,000tons, and can still make 33+kts thanks to renovated machinery. The USN does what it can to fix their horrid protection, but it is still only slightly better than on the Kongos.
-Japan builds its two 25,000ton battlecruisers with its tonnage. By WW2 these are closer to 29,000tons, and have been designated as the fast escorts for the Kidou Butai.
-UK builds two 32,000ton battlecruisers with its tonnage.
-The historic Hiryu and Soryu are called Shokaku and Zuikaku, and are built 3 years earlier, and are somewhat larger at 20,000tons.
-The 1st LNT is mostly as historical, except that Japan gets 4/5 parity rather than 3/5. The number of CAs for US/UK/IJ is 20/18/16 rather than 18/16/12 as historical. The total destroyer tonnage is 180,000tons rather than 150,000tons. Total submarine tonnage is 60,000tons instead of historical 52,000tons, but Japan accepts 3/5 parity concedes than the 5/5 historically.
-The 2nd LNT occurs as historical, with alterations for the changes 1st LNT. There is no 14in gun limitation.
After this there are a couple of possible timelines, one with Japan focusing on naval aviation, the other one on a more mixed approach as historical. Each of these will also have a 'super' variant, for a tougher and more advanced Japanese side.
The plan is to develop a couple of scenarios from this, but I have some general topic I'd like feedback on, in addition to the general idea;
1) What does the UK do with its ~65,000tons of leftover capital tonnage?
2) What does Japan do with its ~50,000tons of leftover capital tonnage?
3) The USN now has a 16in/50 gun in service on the Lexingtons - when it comes time to build more ships as WW2 approaches, will the new USN battleships go straight to a redesigned 16in/50, or will they still settle on a 16in/45 as historic?
4) As the 2nd LNT does not limit capital ships to 14in, what will the KGV equivalent look like? Will the RN go for a new 15in, or go with 9x16in? If they do build the 6x16in 32,000ton battlecruisers after the WNT, they will also have a 16in twin turret already in service. Is a 3-2-X-3 setup with 16in guns a worthwhile consideration?
5) How does Japan use its greater CA/CL tonnage?
6) How does the availability of 2 (or 4) new fast battleships / battlecruisers affect the refit schedule of the RN? Might Hood have time to rotate into reconstruction and thus possibly survive Denmark strait? Would the germans even commission the Bismarck class with the Invincibles around?
7) What is likely to be deployed by the UK in the Far East in late 1941? Assuming the war kicks off around the same time for arguments sake.
Sorry if this is long winded, I've been waiting for AEs release to get closer before I posted this, and as it now looks like itll be out by the end of summer at the latest, I felt it was worth bringing this up.
I'd really welcome opinions and comments on this, as I know theres a lot of you with much better knowledge of this era and naval warfare than myself, so anything you could contribute would be very welcome.