The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
|Previous: King City||Table of Contents||Next: King Island|
|Tonnage||36,727 tons standard displacement
|Dimensions||745' by 103' by 29'
227.1m by 31.4m by 8.8m
|Maximum speed||28.5 knots|
|Aircraft||1 double-ended catapults
|Armament||1x2, 2x4 14"/45
8x2 5.25"/50 guns
6x8 2pdr AA guns
1 40mm Bofors AA gun
7x1 20mm Oerlikon AA guns
|Protection||14" (356m) belt tapering to 4.5" (114mm) (machinery)
15" (381mm) belt tapering to 5.5" (140mm) (magazines)
12" (305mm) forward bulkhead
10" (254mm) aft bulkhead
6" (152mm) armor deck (magazines)
5" (127mm) armor deck (machinery)
5" (127mm) lower deck (steering)
4" (102mm) bulkhead (steering)
12.75"/8.8"/6"/6.75" (324mm/224mm/152mm/171mm) turret face/side/roof/rear
13"/12"/11" (330mm/305mm/280mm) barbette sides/ends/amidships
4.5"/3" (114mm/76mm) conning tower side/roof
Torpedo depth 13'5" (4.1m) resistant to 1000lb (454kg) TNT charge
1.7" (44mm) torpedo holding bulkhead
||4-shaft Parsons geared
turbine (128,000 shp)
8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers
|Bunkerage||3730 tons fuel oil|
|Range||6000 nautical miles (11,000 km) at 15 knots|
271 surface search radar
Type 279 air search radar
Type 282 fire control radar (four sets)
Type 284 fire control radar
|| Howe: By 1944-7 her antiaicraft armament
was 6x8 2pdr guns, 18x1 20mm guns, and radars 271,
284 and 285.
George V: By 1944-12 her aircraft facilities had
been removed and her antiaircraft armament was 8x8 2pdr
guns, 2x4 40mm Bofors guns, 6x6 and 2x1 20mm guns, and
281B, 284, 285, and 293.
1945-12 the two single 20mm were removed.
Anson: By 1945-7 her
antiaircraft armament was 8x8, 4x4 2dpr guns, 2x4 40mm
Bofors guns, 8x2, 13x1 20mm guns, and radars 271. 281,
282, 284 and 285.
Duke of York: By 1945-7 her aircraft facilities had been removed and her antiaircraft armament was 6x8, 6x4 2dpr guns, 2x4 40mm Bofors guns, 8x2, 12x1 20mm guns, and radars 273, 274, 281, 282, 284 and 285.
The King George Vs were completed just prior to the Pacific War. Nevertheless, they gave a distinct impression of obsolescence. Armor protection was excellent, with a deep belt resistant to underwater shell hits and an underwater protection system rated as capable of withstanding a full 1000 lbs (454 kg) of TNT. But speed was unexceptional and endurance was poor due to the use of machinery whose high standard of workmanship could not compensate for poor design. The ships had 14” (356mm) guns versus 16” (406mm) on contemporary battleships of the other powers. Antiaircraft protection was dismal due to poor fire control, a weakness found throughout the Royal Navy due to a politically-driven decision in the interwar years to adopt an inferior antiaircraft director technology. The design of the 5.25" heavy antiaircraft guns has also been criticized.
Their most distinctive feature was the mounting of ten guns in
three turrets, requiring the use of one double and two quadruple
turrets. Originally, the class was planned to have three quadruple
turrets, but the weight saved by replacing one of the quadruple
turrets with a twin turret was put to use in the armor system. One
might anticipate difficulties with cramped turrets and closely
spaced barrels, and the quadruple turrets have been widely
criticized. The actual firing cycle in historical engagements was
closer to 45 seconds than the design value of 30 seconds.
The use of 14" guns was driven by the British position on arms limitations. Britain wished to revert to a 14" gun limit at the Second London Conference contingent on Japan accepting the limit. Both Britain and the United States then began working on designs for 14" gun battleships. The U.S. design was such that the guns could be readily switched to 16" if Japan renounced the limit. British designers found the complications of designing a barbette for either caliber daunting and committed themselves to the 14" plan. Japan renounced the limit and the U.S. promptly proceeded with the 16" variant. The British took scant comfort in being able to begin commissioning their new battleships a few months earlier than either of the other two powers.
The ships were designed to fight at significantly closer ranges
than battleships of other powers. The inner edge of the immune
zone was set at 17,200 yards (15,700m) versus 20,000 yards
(18,300m) for the American North Carolinas,
and the fire control
stations were located lower in the ships than in their foreign
counterparts. Overall, the ships reflected a design philosophy
which assumed combat would take place in the North Sea under
conditions of uncertain visibility. This meant that combat at
extremely long range was unlikely and high endurance was
The underwater protection system was less effective in practice than on paper, as was demonstrated during the sinking of Prince of Wales in the first days of the Pacific War. Part of this was bad luck, in that two of the torpedoes hit near the propeller shafts and the distorted shafts tore open the hull and inner bulkheads. But postwar analysts concluded that the system could not have been capable of protecting against the charge of explosives it was credited with in contemporary tests and have suggested the test explosives were not properly confined. The protection system was also too shallow, allowing the deck above to rupture and flood.
Prince of Wales
|Sunk by aircraft 1941-12-10 off Malaya|
King George V
Duke of York
(2010; accessed 2012-12-26)
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2007, 2009, 2012-2014, 2017 by Kent G. Budge. Index
Comment on this article