Friday, June 28, 2013

Flashback Friday: Montana-class Battleships

      The Montana-class, the largest class of battleships ever developed by the U.S.. If the Montana had been launched she would have been the largest ship afloat, with their only competitors, the Yamato and Musashi, sunk. The Montana-class was originally conceived in response to the Japan Yamato-class battleships in the early 1940s, with the Montana being ordered in May 1942. However, in July 1942 the Montana-class was canceled after the Battle of Midway in light of the shift towards carrier aviation as the big stick of naval warfare. Construction was never started on any Montana.
     The Montana-class was similar in design to the Iowa-class, but with some major differences. The Montanas would had an extra 16" turret aft, bringing their total of 16" guns to 12. In comparison, the Iowas carried only 9 16" guns. As designed, the Montana would have carried 56 20mm cannons, and 10-40 Bofors 40mm cannons. In comparison, the Iowas carried 80 40mm cannons and 49 20mm cannons through WWII and Korea. The Montanas in all probability would have carried a much higher number of 40mm Bofors cannon than what were called for in the original design. As well as a much lower number of 20mm cannons in light of the fact they were being phased out by 1944.
     The Montanas would also have had massively increased armor on their side belts, turrets, and bulkheads. One interesting point about the Montanas armor is that they would have had less deck armor than the Iowas, which is interesting because they were larger, and because of the danger of plunging hits. My guess is that the design was done before the Bismarck sank the Hood in 1941.
     The Montanas were an aberration in American battleship design in that they were designed without the constraints of the Panama Canal. The Montanas were also an aberration in that they were not designed to keep up with carriers, as their top speed would have been only about 28 knots. The Montanas, while an interesting battleship design were an anachronism by the time they were ordered, and were canceled because the mission they were meant to fill was obsolete.

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