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HMS Venerable - 12in Gun Turret

HMS Venerable - 12in Gun Turret


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HMS Venerable - 12in Gun Turret

Picture showing one of the 12in gun turrets on HMS Venerable, a London class battleship. Note the small gun carried on top of the turret.


HMS Bulwark (1899)

HMS Bulwark was one of five London-class pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Navy at the end of the 19th century. The Londons were a sub-class of the Formidable-class pre-dreadnoughts. Completed in 1902 she was initially assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet as its flagship. The ship then served with the Channel and Home Fleets from 1907 to 1910, usually as a flagship. From 1910 to 1914, she was in reserve in the Home Fleet.

  • 15,366 long tons (15,613 t) (normal)
  • 15,955 long tons (16,211 t) (deep load)
  • 20 × Belleville boilers
  • 15,000 ihp (11,000 kW)
  • 2 × triple-expansion steam engines
  • 2 × screws
  • 4 × BL 12 in (305 mm) guns
  • 12 × BL 6 in (152 mm) guns
  • 16 × QF 12-pdr (3 in (76 mm)) guns
  • 6 × QF 3-pdr 47 mm (1.9 in) guns
  • 4 × 18 in (450 mm)torpedo tubes
    : 9 in (229 mm) : 9–12 in (229–305 mm) : 12 in (305 mm) : 8 in (203 mm) : 6 in (152 mm) : 14 in (356 mm) : 1–2.5 in (25–64 mm)

Following the start of the First World War in August 1914, Bulwark, along with the rest of the squadron, was attached to the reformed Channel Fleet to protect the British Expeditionary Force as it moved across the English Channel to France. On 26 November 1914 she was destroyed by a large internal explosion with the loss of 741 men near Sheerness only a dozen men survived the detonation. It was probably caused by the overheating of cordite charges that had been placed adjacent to a boiler-room bulkhead. Little of the ship survived to be salvaged and her remains were designated a controlled site under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. Diving on the wreck is generally forbidden.


This weapon was used on the last pre-dreadnoughts and the first dreadnoughts of the US Navy. The arrangement of the gun turrets on the first US dreadnought, USS South Carolina (B-26), with one turret firing over the other (superfiring) at each end of a compact superstructure, was far more efficient than that of any of the "pre-dreadnought" designs, and, for that matter, of HMS Dreadnought herself. In less than a decade, the use of superfiring turrets became the standard for all nations' capital ships.

During target practice in 1916, USS Michigan (B-27) cracked the chase hoops on two of her guns. An investigation of similar guns on USS South Carolina (B-26) showed that copper deposits from the projectile driving bands had narrowed down the bores, which slowed the projectiles and thus greatly increased the barrel pressures (problem known as "copper choke"). Lapping heads for guns 12" (30.5 cm) and larger were issued to all ships for removing these deposits. Later, these were replaced by wire and pisaba brushes.

Under the provisions of the Washington Naval Limitation Treaty of 1922, most of the ships armed with these guns were scrapped during the mid-1920s. Many of their guns were then transferred to the US Army where they were employed as coastal artillery. At the end of World War II, some of these guns were sold to Brazil for use in their coastal batteries.

Early AP projectiles were 2.5crh or 3crh. In 1908 AP projectiles were fitted with a longer ballistic cap of 7crh which improved their ballistic performance and increased penetration ability at longer ranges.

Constructionally, the Mark 5 was essentially a lengthened 12"/40 (30.5 cm) Mark 4. The Mark 6 was very similar except that it had seven hoops vs. six in the Mark 5. It is not clear if any Mark 6 guns were actually used in service.

The Mark 5 Mod 1 was an experimental design with a different chamber. Guns No. 62, 65 and 66 had a single layer of 0.125" (3.18 mm) wire tensioned to 50,000 psi (3.44738^8 n/m 2 ) under hoop D1. Gun No. 62 had a similar layer under hoop C4.

A Note on Sources: Appendix D of "U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History" by Norman Friedman states that the USS Connecticut (B-18) and USS Mississippi (B-23) battleship classes carried 12"/40 (30.5 cm) guns. Other sources disagree and state that these ships carried 12"/45 (30.5 cm) guns. Through an analysis of information in "United States Naval Guns: Their Marks and Modifications," several photographs and, ironically, aided by notes in another book by Dr. Friedman, "US Naval Weapons," I have concluded that these ships actually carried the 12"/45 (30.5 cm) gun and that Dr. Friedman in "U.S. Battleships" is in error.

The data that follows is specifically for the 12"/45 (30.5 cm) Mark 5 Mod 9.


Service

The class was to see most of its service in the naval gunfire support (or "NGS") role. During World War I, they operated off the German-occupied Belgian coast bombarding naval forces based at Ostend and Zeebrugge. Erebus was damaged by a remote controlled explosive motor boat and Terror was torpedoed by motor torpedo boats.

Both ships were placed in reserve between the wars but returned to service in World War II, when they were again used to provide fire support to British troops.

Erebus participated in the D-Day invasion as part of Task Force O off Omaha beach. [2]


Pre-War Armor Penetration

DNO Rear-Admiral A.G.H.W. Moore summarized Ordnance Board remarks regarding armor penetration in a "Memorandum to the Controller" dated 24 October 1910. In this Memorandum it was stated that 12 inch (30.5 cm) APC shells striking at any angle over 20 degrees were unlikely to penetrate even 4 inches (10.2 cm) of KC armor (face hardened) and were likely to breakup at angles of 30 degrees when striking 6 inches (15.2 cm) of KC armor.

Thus, it can be seen that the poor performance of British shells at Jutland (Skagerrak) cannot have been a surprise to the Royal Navy. Remarkably, the memo does not suggest that the shells be improved, but instead urges that these thicknesses of armor be considered for future ship designs, as if it was expected that enemy shells would perform as poorly as did their own.

Quoting from the Memorandum as detailed in "Battlecruisers" by John Roberts:

"From the trials with AP shell with cap so far carried out by the Ordnance Board against KC armour, it is clear that when striking at angles greater than 20deg to the normal there is very little chance of any AP shell in the service carrying its burster through such armour at any fighting range, as the shell would break up in passing through the armour. Generally speaking[,] capped AP shell, even when filled with salt, may be expected to beak up when striking KC armour of half caliber thickness at 30deg to the normal.

"It is submitted that this tendency of AP shell to break up at angles over 20deg to the normal may be an important factor in determining the distribution of armour in future ships as when AP shell, filled Lyditte, break up on striking such armour [and an] explosion and not [a] detonation takes place with very much smaller all-round effect . . ." [ellipsis in original]


Jellicoe-class

While both were downsized versions of the behemoth Saint Andrew class, the Jellicoe was designed as a heavier armored variant of the Nelson. While sacrificing a turret worth of guns, the Jellicoe had a much more conventional layout, the most convention RN turret layout at the time. The Jellicoe is sometimes referred to as a Panzer Cruiser, due to the similar concept, but it is similar to calling the Scharnhorst-class a battlecruiser.

Having the staying power the Nelsons the lacked, the Jellicoes were famous for Mediterraiean patrols, tasked regularly against Italian and Spanish fleets. The Jellicoe-class would also set the standard of a separated bridge for a catapult, feature used on the KGV and preceding battleships. The Jellicoe-class would become famous for having a heavy AA battery once they were refit in the 1936, rivaling even the largest American AA batteries.

Overall the Jellicoe was an essential gap and substitute for the Nelsons.


Fisher's 1882 fast all big gun ship

Fisher’s first project was what he considered an essential upgrade to his own seagoing command, the ironclad HMS Inflexible. She was the most technically advanced and also most powerful warship of her time and Fisher adored her. But she appears to have had one serious deficiency in his eyes an insufficient turn of speed.


With a top speed of 14.75 knots, Inflexible was already one of the fastest warships in service anywhere in the world. However, with many warships under construction, both at home and abroad, which promised to raise the speed of modern battlefleets up to 17 knots or thereabouts, Fisher seems to have decided to try stay ahead of the game.

He determined (probably on advice by Watt’s) that if Inflexible’s bow were extended by 50 feet, then the resulting improved length/beam ratio would increase Inflexible’s speed up to the future standard of 17 knots. However, Considering the very long building times for warships at that time, this apparently relatively quick and straight forward reconstruction would have left Inflexible the fastest warship on the world’s oceans for several years: Effectively a battle cruiser in all but name. Fisher sent this proposal to the Admiralty but as nothing was done it was presumably rejected.

Fisher’s second warship project was a new concept which he named HMS Nonsuch. This ship would have a top speed of 18 knots, making her the fastest warship of the period bar none. She would combine the turret layouts of the then current Dreadnought and Inflexible creating a warship with four twin gun turrets with an eight-gun broadside and (theoretically) six guns able to fire dead ahead and astern. This ship would have at least twice the firepower of any warship either in service or planned and a speed that ensured complete tactical control during any potential one on one duel against any foreign rival.


It is unknown what guns Nonsuch was intended to have, but by 1882 the Royal Navy had finally returned to breach loaders and the available latest guns were 12in, 13.5in and 16.25in. I have come across the suggestion before that she was to have mounted 12in guns, but it seems to me that 13.5in was more likely as that was the latest and most modern gun available to the Royal Navy and as such was slated to arm four of the six new ‘Admiral’ Class ironclads that were under construction or soon to be laid down. The first Admiral (Collingwood) had 4x12in guns and the sixth (Benbow) ended up with 2x16.25in guns instead of 4x13.5in due to a shortage of 13.5in guns.

It is not known at this time what the armour layout for Nonsuch would have been, but, I believe that it would probably have been a development of Inflexible’s “all our nothing” arrangement. It should be noted that the word “nonesuch” means the same as the word “incomparable”. The armour on Fisher’s much later HMS Incomparable project does seem to have been influenced by the Inflexible’s armour scheme. Also, Fisher’s two Nonpareil (again this means the same as nonesuch) projects of 1908 and 1912 both appear to have “all or nothing” armour scheme’s.

The concept of Nonsuch made it at least as far as the DNC (Barnaby), who rejected it, not because the design wasn’t feasible, but on the grounds that it would make every ship in the Royal Navy obsolescent.
The following is a note Fisher sent to Barnaby in January 1883:

“I have delayed sending you this letter hoping to find copy of a brief article I wrote on H.M. Ironclad “Nonsuch” of 18 knots, after seeing your design A I can’t find it, and have written for the original, which I will send for your amusement. I don’t think your argument is a sound one as to the “degradation of our other ironclads by the construction of an 18-knotter.” Isn’t the principle right to make each succeeding ironclad an improvement and as perfect as you can?
THERE IS NO PROGRESS IN UNIFORMITY!!
We have enough of the Admiral class of ship. Now try your hand on a “Nonsuch” (of vast speed!).
In violent haste,
Ever yours,
J. A. F.
“Build few, and build fast, Each one better than the last.””

It is interesting to note that Fisher was still preaching the exact same principles 30 years later in letters to Winston Churchill. Also, of course, that he eventually did make the Royal Navy’s existing fleet obsolescent with the commissioning of his own HMS Dreadnought in 1906.

Further it should be noted that the first of the Admiral class would not enter service for a further four and a half years after this note was written. Is this an indication of Fisher’s views on the design? I have a suspicion Fisher was not fond of the low freeboard, which could indicate that Nonsuch had a high freeboard for good seakeeping: A factor of ship design Fisher was very strong champion of.

The last thing that needs to be noted is that Fisher wrote an article on the Nonsuch concept and presumably also forwarded the full details of the design to the Admiralty. This increases the chances that the full details of this design still exist and are buried somewhere in the National Archives at Kew or perhaps the Admiralty Library at Portsmouth. I will have to keep an eye out for them during my research trips

Anyone have any more information on 'Nonsuch'?

Aug 21, 2017 #2 2017-08-21T17:09

Aug 21, 2017 #3 2017-08-21T19:58

Given the severe fuel inefficiency of single-expansion engines, the weakness of 1880s armor vs contemporary guns (requiring massive thickness and weight for adequate protection), and the painfully slow rate of fire of heavy guns combined with very short effective range, it seems to me that Fisher was imagining a ship it would take 20 years for technology to catch up to.

In 1882 a ship could either have balanced protection *or* high freeboard, not both it could have global range with sailing rig *or* be well-protected and mastless and it could have a significant battery of relatively quick-firing guns in the 6 to 8 inch range with or without optional big bruisers, or. well, there's not much of a choice here, since 1880s big guns* gained you no range advantage and had a reload you could time with a sundial.

*Oh, and they were still black- or brown-powder.

Aug 21, 2017 #4 2017-08-21T22:40

PMN1 wrote: In the post here

John describes a proposal by Fisher in 1882 for a fast all big gun ship

Fisher’s first project was what he considered an essential upgrade to his own seagoing command, the ironclad HMS Inflexible. She was the most technically advanced and also most powerful warship of her time and Fisher adored her. But she appears to have had one serious deficiency in his eyes an insufficient turn of speed.


With a top speed of 14.75 knots, Inflexible was already one of the fastest warships in service anywhere in the world. However, with many warships under construction, both at home and abroad, which promised to raise the speed of modern battlefleets up to 17 knots or thereabouts, Fisher seems to have decided to try stay ahead of the game.

He determined (probably on advice by Watt’s) that if Inflexible’s bow were extended by 50 feet, then the resulting improved length/beam ratio would increase Inflexible’s speed up to the future standard of 17 knots. However, Considering the very long building times for warships at that time, this apparently relatively quick and straight forward reconstruction would have left Inflexible the fastest warship on the world’s oceans for several years: Effectively a battle cruiser in all but name. Fisher sent this proposal to the Admiralty but as nothing was done it was presumably rejected.

Fisher’s second warship project was a new concept which he named HMS Nonsuch. This ship would have a top speed of 18 knots, making her the fastest warship of the period bar none. She would combine the turret layouts of the then current Dreadnought and Inflexible creating a warship with four twin gun turrets with an eight-gun broadside and (theoretically) six guns able to fire dead ahead and astern. This ship would have at least twice the firepower of any warship either in service or planned and a speed that ensured complete tactical control during any potential one on one duel against any foreign rival.


It is unknown what guns Nonsuch was intended to have, but by 1882 the Royal Navy had finally returned to breach loaders and the available latest guns were 12in, 13.5in and 16.25in. I have come across the suggestion before that she was to have mounted 12in guns, but it seems to me that 13.5in was more likely as that was the latest and most modern gun available to the Royal Navy and as such was slated to arm four of the six new ‘Admiral’ Class ironclads that were under construction or soon to be laid down. The first Admiral (Collingwood) had 4x12in guns and the sixth (Benbow) ended up with 2x16.25in guns instead of 4x13.5in due to a shortage of 13.5in guns.

It is not known at this time what the armour layout for Nonsuch would have been, but, I believe that it would probably have been a development of Inflexible’s “all our nothing” arrangement. It should be noted that the word “nonesuch” means the same as the word “incomparable”. The armour on Fisher’s much later HMS Incomparable project does seem to have been influenced by the Inflexible’s armour scheme. Also, Fisher’s two Nonpareil (again this means the same as nonesuch) projects of 1908 and 1912 both appear to have “all or nothing” armour scheme’s.

The concept of Nonsuch made it at least as far as the DNC (Barnaby), who rejected it, not because the design wasn’t feasible, but on the grounds that it would make every ship in the Royal Navy obsolescent.
The following is a note Fisher sent to Barnaby in January 1883:

“I have delayed sending you this letter hoping to find copy of a brief article I wrote on H.M. Ironclad “Nonsuch” of 18 knots, after seeing your design A I can’t find it, and have written for the original, which I will send for your amusement. I don’t think your argument is a sound one as to the “degradation of our other ironclads by the construction of an 18-knotter.” Isn’t the principle right to make each succeeding ironclad an improvement and as perfect as you can?
THERE IS NO PROGRESS IN UNIFORMITY!!
We have enough of the Admiral class of ship. Now try your hand on a “Nonsuch” (of vast speed!).
In violent haste,
Ever yours,
J. A. F.
“Build few, and build fast, Each one better than the last.””

It is interesting to note that Fisher was still preaching the exact same principles 30 years later in letters to Winston Churchill. Also, of course, that he eventually did make the Royal Navy’s existing fleet obsolescent with the commissioning of his own HMS Dreadnought in 1906.

Further it should be noted that the first of the Admiral class would not enter service for a further four and a half years after this note was written. Is this an indication of Fisher’s views on the design? I have a suspicion Fisher was not fond of the low freeboard, which could indicate that Nonsuch had a high freeboard for good seakeeping: A factor of ship design Fisher was very strong champion of.

The last thing that needs to be noted is that Fisher wrote an article on the Nonsuch concept and presumably also forwarded the full details of the design to the Admiralty. This increases the chances that the full details of this design still exist and are buried somewhere in the National Archives at Kew or perhaps the Admiralty Library at Portsmouth. I will have to keep an eye out for them during my research trips


Contents

The Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) was developed as the last line of automated weapons defense (terminal defense or point defense) against all incoming threats, including small boats, surface torpedoes, antiship missiles (AShMs or ASMs) and attacking aircraft, including high-g and maneuvering sea-skimmers.

The first prototype system was offered to the U.S. Navy for evaluation on the destroyer leader USS King in 1973 and it was determined that additional improvements were required to improve performance and reliability. Subsequently, the Phalanx Operational Suitability Model successfully completed its Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) on board the destroyer USS Bigelow in 1977. [2] The model exceeded operational maintenance, reliability, and availability specifications. Another evaluation successfully followed, and the weapon system was approved for production in 1978. Phalanx production started with orders for 23 USN and 14 foreign military systems. The first ship fully fitted out was the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea in 1980. The Navy began placing CIWS systems on non-combatant vessels in 1984.

The basis of the system is the 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling gun autocannon, used since 1959, by the United States military on various tactical aircraft, linked to a Ku band fire control radar system for acquiring and tracking targets. This proven system was combined with a purpose-made mounting, capable of fast elevation and traverse speeds, to track incoming targets. An entirely self-contained unit, the mounting houses the gun, an automated fire-control system and all other major components, enabling it to automatically search for, detect, track, engage, and confirm kills using its computer-controlled radar system. Owing to this self-contained nature, Phalanx is ideal for support ships, which lack integrated targeting systems and generally have limited sensors. The entire unit has a mass between 12,400 to 13,500 lb (5,600 to 6,100 kg).

Upgrades Edit

Due to the evolution of threats and computer technology, the Phalanx system has been developed through several configurations. The basic (original) style is the Block 0, equipped with first-generation, solid-state electronics and with marginal capability against surface targets. The Block 1 (1988) upgrade offered various improvements in radar, ammunition, computing power, rate of fire, and an increase in maximum engagement elevation to +70 degrees. These improvements were intended to increase the system's capability against emerging Russian supersonic antiship missiles. Block 1A introduced a new computer system to counter more maneuverable targets. The Block 1B PSuM (Phalanx Surface Mode, 1999) adds a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor to make the weapon effective against surface targets. [9] This addition was developed to provide ship defense against small vessel threats and other "floaters" in littoral waters and to improve the weapon's performance against slower low-flying aircraft. The FLIR's capability is also of use against low-observability missiles and can be linked with the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) system to increase RAM engagement range and accuracy. The Block 1B also allows for an operator to visually identify and target threats. [9]

Since the end of FY 2015, the US Navy has upgraded all Phalanx systems to the Block 1B variant. In addition to the FLIR sensor, the Block 1B incorporates an automatic acquisition video tracker, optimized gun barrels (OGB), and Enhanced Lethality Cartridges (ELC) for additional capabilities against asymmetric threats such as small maneuvering surface craft, slow-flying fixed and rotary-winged aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles. The FLIR sensor improves performance against antiship cruise missiles, while the OGB and ELC provide tighter dispersion and increased "first-hit" range the Mk 244 ELC is specifically designed to penetrate antiship missiles with a 48 percent heavier tungsten penetrator round and an aluminum nose piece. Another system upgrade is the Phalanx 1B Baseline 2 radar to improve detection performance, increase reliability, and reduce maintenance. It also has a surface mode to track, detect, and destroy threats closer to the water's surface, increasing the ability to defend against fast-attack boats and low-flying missiles. As of 2019, the Baseline 2 radar upgrade has been installed on all U.S. Navy Phalanx system-equipped vessels. [10] The Block 1B is also used by other navies, such as Canada, Portugal, Japan, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UK. [11]

In April 2017, Raytheon tested a new electric gun for the Phalanx allowing the system to fire at varying rates to conserve ammunition. The new design replaces the pneumatic motor, compressor, and storage tanks, reducing system weight by 180 lb (82 kg) while increasing reliability and reducing operating costs. [12]

The CIWS is designed to be the last line of defense against antiship missiles. Due to its design criteria, its effective range is very short relative to the range of modern ASMs, from 1 to 5 nautical miles (2 to 9 km). The gun mount moves at a very high speed and with great precision. The system takes minimal inputs from the ship, making it capable of functioning despite potential damage to the ship. The only inputs required for operation are 440 V AC three-phase electric power at 60 Hz and water (for electronics cooling). For full operation, including some nonessential functions, it also has inputs for ship's true compass heading and 115 V AC for the PASS [ clarification needed ] subsystem.

Radar subsystems Edit

The CIWS has two antennas that work together to engage targets. The first antenna, for searching, is located inside the radome on the weapon control group (top of the white-painted portion). The search subsystem provides bearing, range, velocity, heading, and altitude information of potential targets to the CIWS computer. This information is analyzed to determine whether the detected object should be engaged by the CIWS system. Once the computer identifies a valid target (see details below), the mount moves to face the target and then hands the target over to the tracking antenna. The track antenna is extremely precise, but views a much smaller area. The tracking subsystem observes the target until the computer determines that the probability of a successful hit is maximized and then, depending on the operator conditions, the system either fires automatically or recommends fire to the operator. While firing, the system tracks outgoing rounds and 'walks' them onto the target.

Gun and ammunition handling system Edit

The Block 0 CIWS mounts (hydraulic driven) fired at a rate of 3,000 rounds per minute and held 989 rounds in the magazine drum. [3] The Block 1 CIWS mounts (hydraulic) also fired at 3,000 rounds per minute with an extended magazine drum holding 1,550 rounds. The Block 1A and newer (pneumatic driven) CIWS mounts fire at a rate of 4,500 rounds per minute with a 1,550-round magazine. The velocity of the rounds fired is about 3,600 feet per second (1,100 m/s). The rounds are armor-piercing tungsten penetrator rounds or depleted uranium with discardable sabots. The Phalanx CIWS 20–mm rounds are designed to destroy a missile's airframe and make it unaerodynamic, thus keeping shrapnel from the exploding projectile to a minimum, effectively keeping secondary damage to a minimum. The ammunition handling system has two conveyor belt systems. The first takes the rounds out of the magazine drum to the gun the second takes empty shells or nonfired rounds to the opposite end of the drum.

The 20–mm APDS rounds consist of a 15 mm (0.59 in) penetrator encased in a plastic sabot and a lightweight metal pusher. [13] Shells fired by the Phalanx cost around $30 each and the gun typically fires 100 or more when engaging a target. [14]

CIWS contact target identification Edit

The CIWS does not recognize identification friend or foe, also known as IFF. The CIWS only has the data it collects in real time from the radars to decide if the target is a threat and to engage it. A contact must meet multiple criteria for the CIWS to consider it a target. These criteria include:

  1. Is the range of the target increasing or decreasing in relation to the ship? The CIWS search radar sees contacts that are out-bound and discards them. The CIWS engages a target only if it is approaching the ship.
  2. Is the contact capable of maneuvering to hit the ship? If a contact is not heading directly at the ship, the CIWS looks at its heading in relation to the ship and its velocity. It then decides if the contact can still perform a maneuver to hit the ship.
  3. Is the contact traveling between the minimum and maximum velocities? The CIWS has the ability to engage targets that travel in a wide range of speeds however, it is not an infinitely wide range. The system has a target maximum-velocity limit. If a target exceeds this velocity, the CIWS does not engage it. It also has a target minimum-velocity limit, and does not engage any contact below that velocity. The operator can adjust the minimum and maximum limits within the limits of the system.

There are many other subsystems that together ensure proper operation, such as environmental control, transmitter, mount movement control, power control and distribution, and so on. It takes six to eight months to train a technician to maintain, operate, and repair the CIWS.

Drone exercise accidents Edit

On 10 February 1983, USS Antrim was conducting a live-fire exercise off the East Coast of the United States using the Phalanx against a target drone. Although the drone was successfully engaged at close range, the target debris bounced off the sea surface and struck the ship. This caused significant damage and fire from the drone's residual fuel, which also killed a civilian instructor aboard this ship. [15] [16]

On 13 October 1989, USS El Paso was conducting a live-fire exercise off the East Coast of the United States using the Phalanx against a target drone. The drone was successfully engaged, but as the drone fell to the sea, the CIWS re-engaged it as a continued threat to El Paso. Rounds from the Phalanx struck the bridge of USS Iwo Jima, killing one officer and injuring a petty officer. [17]

Iran–Iraq War Edit

On 17 May 1987, during the Iran–Iraq War, an Iraqi [18] modified Falcon 50 business jet, [19] fired two Exocet missiles at the American frigate USS Stark.

Both missiles struck the port side of the ship near the bridge. The Phalanx CIWS remained in standby mode and the Mark 36 SRBOC countermeasures were not armed. [20] 37 United States Navy personnel were killed and 21 wounded.

Iraqi missile attack in 1991 Gulf War Edit

On 25 February 1991, during the first Gulf War, the Phalanx-equipped frigate USS Jarrett was a few miles from the U.S. Navy battleship USS Missouri and the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Gloucester. An Iraqi missile battery fired two Silkworm missiles (often referred to as the Seersucker), at which time Missouri fired its SRBOC chaff countermeasures. The Phalanx system on Jarrett, operating in its automatic target-acquisition mode, fixed on Missouri ' s chaff, releasing a burst of rounds. From this burst, four rounds hit Missouri, which was 2–3 miles (3.2–4.8 km) from Jarrett at the time. There were no injuries on Missouri and the Iraqi missiles were destroyed by Sea Dart missiles fired by Gloucester. [21]

Accidental downing of US aircraft by the Japanese destroyer Yūgiri Edit

On 4 June 1996, a Japanese Phalanx accidentally shot down a US A-6 Intruder from the aircraft carrier USS Independence that was towing a radar target during gunnery exercises about 1,500 mi (2,400 km) west of the main Hawaiian island of Oahu. A Phalanx aboard the Asagiri-class destroyer JDS Yūgiri locked onto the Intruder instead of the target or tracked up the tow cable after acquiring the towed-target. Both the pilot and bombardier/navigator ejected safely. [22] A post-accident investigation concluded that Yūgiri ' s gunnery officer gave the order to fire before the A-6 was out of the CIWS engagement envelope. [23] [24]

Seeking a solution to continual rocket and mortar attacks on bases in Iraq, the U.S. Army requested a quick-to-field antiprojectile system in May 2004, as part of its Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar initiative. [25] The end result of this program was the "Centurion". For all intents and purposes a terrestrial version of the Navy's CIWS, the Centurion was rapidly developed, [26] with a proof-of-concept test in November that same year. Deployment to Iraq began in 2005, [25] [27] where it was set up to protect forward operating bases and other high-value sites in and around the capital, Baghdad. [28] Israel has purchased a single system for testing purposes, and was reported [29] to have considered buying the system to counter rocket attacks and defend point military installations. However, the swift and effective development and performance of Israel's indigenous Iron dome system has ruled out any purchase or deployment of Centurion.

Each system consists of a modified Phalanx 1B CIWS, powered by an attached generator and mounted on a trailer for mobility. Including the same 20 mm M61A1 Gatling gun, the unit is likewise capable of firing 4,500 20–mm rounds per minute. [6] [30] In 2008, there were more than 20 CIWS systems protecting bases in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. A Raytheon spokesman told the Navy Times that 105 attacks were defeated by the systems, most of them involving mortars. Based on the success of Centurion, 23 additional systems were ordered in September 2008. [31]

Like the naval (1B) version, Centurion uses Ku-band radar and FLIR [32] to detect and track incoming projectiles, and is also capable of engaging surface targets, with the system able to reach a minus-25-degree elevation. [32] The Centurion is reportedly capable of defending a 0.5 sq mi (1.3 km 2 ) area. [33] One major difference between the land- and sea-based variants is the choice of ammunition. Whereas naval Phalanx systems fire tungsten armor-piercing rounds, the C-RAM uses the 20–mm HEIT-SD (High-Explosive Incendiary Tracer, Self-Destruct) ammunition, originally developed for the M163 Vulcan Air Defense System. [26] [34] These rounds explode on impact with the target, or on tracer burnout, thereby greatly reducing the risk of collateral damage from rounds that fail to hit their target. [26] [34]


HMS Inflexible (1876)

The design concept of Inflexible was of a raft, the citadel, which would float if the ends were destroyed or flooded. The ends were closely subdivided and protected by a thick deck. A light, unprotected structure above provided accommodation.

In 1885 Inflexible’s sailing rig was replaced by two military masts.

In a letter to The Times of 1 January 1877, Edward Reed described the Inflexible as `… a huge engine of war, animated and put into activity in every part by steam and steam alone. The main propelling engines are worked by steam, a separate steam engine starts and stops them steam ventilates the monster, steam weighs the anchors, steam steers her, steam pumps her out if she leaks, steam loads the gun, steam trains it, steam elevates or depresses it. The Ship is a steam being .’

The 1873 Estimates envisaged the building of a single, improved ‘Fury’ (in fact, this meant Fury, not yet renamed, with the modifications which made her Dreadnought). The problem facing Barnaby was stark the 12.5in, 38-ton gun fitted in recent ships could fire an 820lb projectile through 15.7in of iron armour at 1000yds. Fury’s 14in belt (amidships) was already inadequate and, furthermore, both Woolwich and Elswick claimed that 50-ton guns were within existing capabilities with even larger guns in the near future.

The early studies retained the main features of Dreadnought with the two twin 38-ton turrets augmented by a number of smaller guns en barbette amidships. In one such study a single 50-ton gun in a turret was squeezed in amidships. The 14in belt was retained amidships but the thinner belt at the ends was omitted and a thick transverse bulkhead fitted at each end of the belt. Thus the much admired end-to-end belt of Devastation was already abandoned for what must have been a very small saving in weight.

By this time Woolwich was speaking with confidence of a 60-ton gun and Barnaby was driven to a more radical solution. The main requirements seem to have been set by Barnaby himself, though presumably after discussion with Board members and others. The armament was to consist of two twin turrets with 60-ton guns capable, if possible of being changed to 80-ton guns when available. White described the problem: ‘At first it was contemplated to have 60-ton guns and the ship was laid down on this basis. Finally, in 1874 it was decided to adopt 80-ton guns, which involved an increased weight aloft of 200 tons, and considerably modified the design, the draft and displacement having to be increased. There had been some previous instances of ships getting ahead of the settlement of their gun designs but never so serious one as this. Unfortunately, it was only the first of a long series of similar difficulties … .’ The armour was to be concentrated over a short citadel with a maximum thickness of 24in. She was to be fast – 14kts – and capable of using the Suez Canal at light draught (24ft 4in). Barnaby’s ideas were generally welcomed and the design was progressed incorporating some detail improvements mainly suggested by the DNO, Captain Hood, but with some later ideas from Barnaby. The following paragraphs describe the design as it finally evolved.

The design concept was of a very heavily armoured raft containing the machinery and magazines on which the two turrets were carried. The ends were protected by a strong armoured deck below the waterline, by close subdivision and by buoyant material whilst a light superstructure provided living space. Even if both ends were flooded, the armoured box was intended to have sufficient buoyancy and stability to float upright. This stability requirement led to a wide beam which, in turn, meant that the turrets could fire close to the axis past the narrow superstructure, limited by blast damage to the superstructure. She was fitted with anti-rolling water tanks to reduce the severity of rolling but these were ineffective.

The earliest studies of this configuration showed 60-ton guns though provision was made to mount 100-ton guns when they became available. Woolwich built an experimental 80-ton MLR which completed in September 1875 with a 14.5in bore. After tests, it was bored out to 15in and after further tests in March 1876 it was finally enlarged to 16in bore with an 18in chamber, accepting a 370lb charge. This gun fired a total of 140 rounds-215,855lbs of iron from 42,203lbs of powder – mostly against what was known as ‘Target 41’ which had four 8in plates separated by 5in teak. The standard system of grooving used with studded shell proved troublesome and in final form it had thirty-nine shallow grooves (‘polygroove’) with a lead gas check at the base of the shell.

The production guns-80-ton, Mark I-were mounted in twin turrets each weighing 750 tons and 33ft 10in external diameter. These turrets had an outer layer of compound armour with 18in teak backing and an inner layer of 7in wrought iron. The projectile weighed 16841b and when fired with the full charge of 450lbs brown prism powder had a muzzle velocity of 1590ft/sec and in tests could penetrate 23in of wrought iron in either a single thickness or two plates spaced. The interval between rounds was said to be between 2½ and 4 minutes. To load, the guns were run out and depressed against ports in the deck through which hydraulic rams loaded the guns. Two of these monstrous guns survive on the train ferry pier at Dover, though the turret design is rather different and an early studded shell is in the Naval Armament Museum, Gosport.

Inflexible’s citadel was protected at the waterline by a strake of 12in plate, 4ft deep, backed by 11 in teak containing vertical frames. Behind this was another 12in plate backed by 6in horizontal frames, filled with teak followed by the shell of two thicknesses of ⅝in plate. The total thickness of this waterline belt was 4lin, weighing 1100lbs/sq ft and this thickness was preserved in the protection above and below, the thickness of teak increasing as that of the iron was reduced. Above the waterline strake there was a 12in outer plate and an 8in inner plate whilst below the thicknesses were 12in and 4in.

It is not clear why the armour was in two thicknesses as a 22in plate was made by 1877 and it was already recognised that two plates are inferior to a single plate of the same total thickness. A test in 1877 showed that a single plate 17-17½in thick was equivalent to three plates of 6½in. The waterline belt of 24in in total was the thickest belt ever carried on a battleship but it was only 4ft high and would have been of limited value. It does not seem that this protection was tried in final form. It was claimed that this protection was invulnerable to guns similar to those she carried and even to the 17.7in, 100-ton Elswick guns mounted in Italian ships but it was clearly the end of the road for wrought iron as the weight was already at the very limit of what could be carried.

The protection for the ends was a very sophisticated combination of measures. The first line of defence was a 3in wrought iron deck, normally 6-8ft below the waterline. The space between this deck and the middle deck, just above water, was closely subdivided and used for coal and stores which would limit the amount of water which could enter from holes in the side. In addition, narrow tanks 4ft wide and filled with cork were arranged at the sides between these decks and extending 4ft above the middle deck. Inside these cork-filled spaces there was a 2ft coffer dam filled with canvas packed with oakum. All these fillings were treated with calcium chloride to reduce their flammability although tests showed this was not very effective. This scheme has much in common with that which Reed proposed to the 1871 Committee.

In 1877, Reed wrote to Barnaby and later to The Times claiming that calculations which he and Elgar had made showed that the stability provided by the citadel was inadequate if both ends were flooded. Despite a comprehensive rebuttal by Barnaby, an enquiry was set up chaired by Admiral Hope and consisting of three distinguished engineers, Wooley, Rendel and W Froude. Their investigation was extremely thorough, entering into aspects of naval architecture never previously studied.

Their report concluded that it was most unlikely that both ends would be completely flooded but that if this did happen, the Inflexible would a retain a small but just adequate margin of stability in terms of the GZ curve. Their comments on the difficulty of actually hitting the enemy ship are of interest – remember the Glatton turret and Hotspurs initial miss! They listed the problems as the relative movements of the two ships, the smoke generated (470lbs of powder per round), the rolling and pitching of the firing ship, the lack of any way of determining range and the deflection due to wind. In particular, they noted that it was customary to fire the guns from a rolling ship when the deck appeared horizontal at which position the angular velocity was greatest. (Note also that Froude had showed that human balance organs are very bad at determining true vertical in a rolling ship.) All in all, hits anywhere on the ship would be few and those in a position to flood the ends few indeed.

A shell exploding within the cork would destroy it locally but tests showed that a shell hitting light structure would explode about of a second later during which it would travel 6-10ft, clear of the cork. The canvas and oakum filling of the coffer dam was quite effective at reducing the size of the hole made by a projectile passing through. Both the cork and the coffer dam were tested full scale with the gunboat Nettle firing a 64pdr shell into replicas. The Committee also pointed out that shells were unlikely to enter the space between the waterline and armoured deck except at long range when hits were even less likely.

Though the Committee thought it was unlikely that the ends would be riddled (filled with water) and even less likely that they would be gutted (all stores, coal, cork etc, blown out with water filling the entire space), they examined these conditions with extreme care. Stability curves were prepared and Froude carried out rolling trials on a 1-ton model both in his experiment tank at Torquay and in waves at sea. The movement of floodwater within the ship acted to oppose rolling in waves, as in an anti-rolling tank. The effect of speed on the trim of the flooded model was also examined. Their conclusion was that the ship should survive this extreme condition but would be incapable of anything other than returning for repair.

This investigation was far more thorough than any previous study of the effects of damage and owed much to White’s calculations and Froude’s experiments. It was the first time that GZ curves of stability had been drawn for a damaged ship and the importance of armoured freeboard was brought out and it must be a matter for regret that similar work was not carried out for later ships. With the invaluable gift of hindsight, one may suggest two aspects not fully brought out. The first was the vulnerability of the citadel armour itself, particularly bearing in mind the shallow 24in layer, in two thicknesses, and the increasing power of guns. The second point was the assumption that the watertight integrity of the citadel would endure even when multiple hits had riddled the ends. The Victoria collision was to show that doors, ventilation and valves do not remain tight after damage and Inflexible would probably have foundered from slow flooding into this citadel. Barnaby claimed that she was designed to withstand a torpedo hit with the centreline bulkhead giving only a small heel – but he did not envisage flooding extending beyond one transverse compartment.

However, it is difficult to see a better solution to the design requirement and the concept received some vindication from the battle of the Yalu Sea on 17 September 1894 when two Chinese ironclads, Ting Yuen and Chen Yuan, to Inflexible’s configuration, but smaller, received a very large number of hits and survived. To some extent, the 1913 trial firings against the Edinburgh may be seen as justifying the concept. Opponents of the Inflexible mainly favoured protected cruisers whose only protection was similar to that at the ends of the Inflexible which they derided. White gives her cost as £812,000 though other, much lower, figures have been quoted. There were two diminutives which call for no mention.

‘The Ship is a Steam Being’

Reed’s letter, quoted at the beginning of the chapter, referred to the increasing use of auxiliary machinery. Some early examples include a capstan in Hercules (1866), hydraulic steering gear, fitted to Warrior in 1870, and a steam steering engine for Northumberland as well as the turrets in Thunderer and later ships. The number increased rapidly and Inflexible was truly a ‘steam being’. Her auxiliaries comprised:

2 vertical direct fire engines

2 pairs steam/hydraulic engines to work the 750-ton turrets

1 vertical direct turning engine

2 40hp pumping engines, total capacity 4800 tons/hr 2 donkey engines for bilge pumping


Operational history

After many delays due to difficulties with her machinery contractors, HMS Venerable commissioned on 12 November 1902 for service as Second Flagship, Rear Admiral, Mediterranean Fleet. During her Mediterranean service, she ran aground outside Algiers harbor, suffering slight hull damage, and underwent a refit at Malta in 1906-1907. Δ] On 12 August 1907 she was relieved as flagship by battleship HMS Prince of Wales, and her Mediterranean service ended on 6 January 1908, when she paid off at Chatham Dockyard. Δ]

Venerable recommissioned on 7 January 1908 for Channel Fleet service. She paid off at Chatham for an extensive refit in February 1909. Δ]

The refit complete, Venerable recommissioned on 19 October 1909 for service in the Atlantic Fleet. On 13 May 1912 she transferred to the Second Home Fleet at the Nore Δ] and went into the commissioned reserve with a nucleus crew as part of the 5th Battle Squadron. Ε]

When World War I broke out in August 1914, the 5th Battle Squadron was assigned to the in the Channel Fleet, based at Portland. Returning to full commission, Venerable patrolled the English Channel, and on 25 August 1914 covered the movement of the Portsmouth Marine Battalion to Ostend, Belgium, Δ]

In October 1914, Venerable was attached to the Dover Patrol for bombardment duties in support of Allied troops fighting on the front, and bombarded German positions along the Belgian coast between Westende and Lombardsijde from 27 October 1914 to 30 October 1914. She also served as flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Dover Patrol, Rear Admiral Sir Horace Hood, from 27 October 1914 to 29 October 1914. On 3 November 1914, she was detached to support the East Coast Patrol during the Gorleston Raid, then returned to the 5th Battle Squadron. Δ]

The 5th Battle Squadron transferred from Portland to Sheerness on 14 November 1914 to guard against a possible German invasion of the United Kingdom. The squadron returned to Portland on 30 December 1914. Ζ] Venerable again bombarded German positions near Westende on 11 March 1915 and 10 May 1915. Δ]

On 12 May 1915, Venerable was ordered to the Dardanelles to replace battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Dardanelles Campaign. From 14 August 1915 to 21 August 1915, she supported Allied attacks on Ottoman Turkish positions at Suvla Bay. Η]

In October 1915, Venerable arrived at Gibraltar for a refit. Emerging from the refit in December 1915, she transferred to the Adriatic Sea to reinforce the Italian Navy against the Austro-Hungarian Navy, serving there until December 1916. Δ]

Venerable then returned to the United Kingdom, arriving at Portsmouth Dockyard on 19 December 1916, where she was laid up. In February and March 1918 she was refitted there as a depot ship, and she moved to Portland on 27 March 1918 to serve as a depot ship for minelaying trawlers. She was attached to the Northern Patrol through August 1918, then to the Southern Patrol from September to December 1918. Δ]

Venerable paid off into care and maintenance at Portland at the end of December 1918. She was placed on the disposal list there in May 1919 and on the sale list on 4 February 1920. She was sold to Stanlee Shipbreaking Company for scrapping on 4 June 1920, resold to Slough Trading Company in 1922, then resold again to a German firm in the middle of 1922. She was towed to Germany for scrapping. Δ]



Comments:

  1. Beornham

    Of course, I apologize, but, in my opinion, there is another way to resolve the issue.

  2. Jocelyn

    You are absolutely right. In there is something also I think it's the good thought.

  3. Maeret

    not so cool

  4. Vojin

    Authoritative response, the temptation ...

  5. Beorn

    Excuse, that I can not participate now in discussion - there is no free time. I will be released - I will necessarily express the opinion on this question.



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