US Navy floating dry docks In World War II

Among the logistical marvels which made the US Navy so successful in the Pacific War of World War II were various kinds of floating dry docks it could deploy into areas close behind the westward-moving ‘front line’. These could be towed to advanced bases by tugs, and were designed and delivered in a variety of …

Warships that never were – the Soviet ‘Sovetsky Soyuz’ class battleship (II)

The main armament of the ‘Sovetsky Soyuz’ class battleships was based on a trio of electrically powered MK-1 turrets, each with three 16-in (406-mm) B-37 L/50 guns. These guns could be depressed to -2° and elevated to +45°, had a fixed loading angle of 6° and their rate of fire varied with the time required …

Warships that never were – the Soviet ‘Sovetsky Soyuz’ class battleship (I)

The ‘Sovetsky Soyuz’ class comprised four battleships which were started in the late 1930s but not completed. Designed in response to the battleships being built by Germany, the class was to have totalled 16 ships, but in the event only four had been laid down by 1940, it was decided to curtail the programme to …

Warships that never were – the US ‘Montana’ class battleship (II)

The secondary armament of the ‘Montana’ class battleships was planned as 20 5-in (127-mm) L/54 guns in 10 turrets located as five on each side of the ships’ central superstructure ‘island’. Designed specifically for the ‘Montana’ class ships, these guns were to replace the 5-in (127-mm) L/38 guns of the secondary batteries then in widespread …

Warships that never were – the US ‘Montana’ class battleship (I)

The ‘Montana’ class of battleships planned by the United States Navy were schemed as successors to the ‘Iowa’ class ships, but reverted to a more traditional concept inasmuch as they were slower but larger, better armoured and more heavily armed. Five such ships were approved for construction in World War II, but a major change …

Warships that never were – the British ‘Lion’ class

The ‘Lion’ class was to have comprised six battleships, and was designed for the Royal Navy in the late 1930s as what was in essence a larger and improved version of the ‘King George V’ class battleship with 16-in (406-mm) guns. The class design changed several times in response to the removal of treaty restrictions …

The German ‘P’ class pocket battleship

The ‘P’ class was planned as a group of no fewer than 12 heavy cruisers to succeed the three ‘Deutschland’ class cruisers, known to the British as pocket battleships, in the long-endurance commerce raiding role. Work on the type began in 1937 and continued until 1939, and in this time no fewer than nine designs …

The German ‘H-39’ Class Battleship

When the ‘Z-Plan’ was authorised by Adolf Hitler on 18 January 1939 for the upgrade of the German Navy on the basis that World War II would not be triggered until 1942, its heavyweight core was six ‘H’ class battleships. In its initial form, the new type of battleship was to be of the ‘H-39’ …

The Arsenal VG.33

The Arsenal de l’Aéronautique was created in 1936 as the French government nationalised and then rationalised the widely scattered and completely inefficient French aero industry. The new organisation created several advanced warplanes, primarily based on the designation suffix VG as an abbreviation indicating Ingenieur-Général Michel Vernisse and Jean Gaultier, who were the establishment’s head and …

The Curtiss-Wright F-87 Blackhawk

Given the fact that it had ended the Pacific War of World War II through the bombing of the Japanese home islands, a strategic campaign that culminated in the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by single atomic bombs on 6 and 9 August 1945 respectively, the US Army Air Forces were well aware of the …