World of Warships

Please stop calling the new American battleships “Tillmans,” because they’re not.

WorldOfWarships7 - Please stop calling the new American battleships "Tillmans," because they're not.
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Seriously. They're not Tillman battleships. They are all derivatives of the South Dakota (1920) class that were laid down prior to World War I and canceled by the Washington Naval Treaty. Their design was influenced by lessons learned from working on the Tillman designs somewhat, but they are really more of an escalation of the Standard Type.

The Tillman ships were designed as "maximum battleships" at the behest of Senator Benjamin Tillman, who was one of those wonderful Members of the United States Congress who insisted that the US Navy build a world class fleet to defend the US's coastlines entirely for free (and people say gamers are entitled!). Tillman was Chairman of the Senate Committee of Naval Affairs (for anyone who doesn't know, the each house in the US Congress is subdivided into specialized committees and bills have to pass through the committee that has jurisdiction over the bill's topic before they can be heard on the floor of the whole chamber. as a result, the chairman of a committee has enormous power to block any legislation he/she personally doesn't like) and hated how the US Navy kept asking for bigger and bigger, and consequently costlier and costlier, ships every year, apparently because he didn't understand how an arms race worked. Eventually, he demanded that the US Navy just tell him what the biggest battleship they would ever build would be so they could skip straight to that and Congress would never need to worry about paying for another battleship again (again failing to understand the concept of an arms race). Because Tillman was Chairman of the Senate Committee of Naval Affairs and could thus block all funding to the US Navy entirely if he so chose, the Navy had to humor him and produced four main design studies, with the only limitation being that the ships needed to fit inside the Panama Canal locks, which were 1,000 feet long, 110 feet wide, and about 40 or so feet deep. These designs are as follows:

They were all about 975 feet long, 108 feet wide, and had a draft of 32 feet 9 inches. They had a full flush deck and a secondary battery entirely in hull casemates, which was possible due to the increased height over the Standard Class. Displacement is measured in American short tons. Also, I'm not differentiating between triple and three gun turrets because it's not particularly relevant and I can't find information on it anyways.

Tillman 1: Displacement: 70,000 tons. Armament: 12 16"/50 caliber guns in four triple turrets. Belt armor: 18 inches. Speed: 26 knots.

Tillman 2: Displacement: 70,000 tons. Armament: 24 16"/50 caliber guns in four six gun turrets. Belt armor: 13 inches. Speed: 26 knots.

Tillman 3: Displacement: 63,500 tons. Armament: 12 16"/50 caliber guns in four triple turrets. Belt armor: 13 inches. Speed: 30 knots.

Tillman 4: Displacement: 80,000 tons. Armament: 24 16"/50 caliber guns in four six gun turrets. Belt armor: 19 inches. Speed: 25 knots. They selected this design to develop further.

 Tillman 4-1: Displacement: 80,000 tons. Armament: 13 18"/50 caliber guns in five twin and one triple turrets. Belt armor: 16 inches. Speed: 25 knots. Tillman 4-2: Displacement: 80,000 tons. Armament: 15 18"/50 caliber guns in five triple turrets. Belt armor: 16 inches. Speed: 25 knots. 

Now, for context, here is USS Colorado, the last of the Standards:

Displacement: 37,600 tons. Armament: 8 16"/45 caliber guns in 4 twin turrets. Belt armor: 13.5 inches. Speed: 21 knots. Length: 624 feet. Width: 97 feet 4 inches. Draft: 30 feet 6 inches. (again, the displacement is in short tons for comparison purposes. most figures, including the Washington Treaty, use long tons)

Thankfully, Senator Tillman did the world a favor for once in his life and died in 1918 from a cerebral hemorrhage (no, seriously. he was an awful person), so the designs went no where after that as the US Navy wanted nothing to do with the ships. They were too big, to expensive, and too resource intensive to be practical. Instead, they finally managed to break with the Standard type, which was starting to become somewhat long in the tooth, during World War I. They opted for a number of improvements that resulted in a new class of ships:

South Dakota (1920): Displacement: 48,400 short tons. Main armament: 12 16"/50 caliber guns in four triple turrets. Secondary armament: 16 6"/53 caliber guns in casemates. Belt armor: 13.5 inches. Speed: 23 knots. Length: 660 feet. Width: 106 feet. Draft: 33 feet.

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There are certainly some similarities, such as the main battery layout being the same as Tillmans 1 and 3 and the belt armor being roughly the same as Tillmans 2 and 3, but on the whole they are much closer to the Standard Type than the Tillmans. Their belt armor was exactly the same as the Standards, used the same all-or-nothing armor scheme, the same turbo-electric drive system, and their speed of 23 knots was "average" for the time, being about the same as the R and N3 classes of the Royal Navy and similar to the public figures of the Nagato class (the Japanese initially concealed their true 26 knot speed). The deck armor was however increased over the Standard Type. Also, the 16"/50 caliber gun was the Mark 2 variant, not the Mark 7 variant found on the Iowa class. It fired the same shell as the 16"/45 caliber gun used in the Colorado class, just with a higher muzzle velocity. The Mark 7 gun had a larger chamber so that it could fire the Mark 8 super-heavy shell. This is all in keeping with the design philosophy of the Standards, with heavy firepower in four main battery turrets, ideally triples, laid out in two superfiring pairs fore and aft, good armor protection, and speed that was exactly as fast as it needed to be and no more. It was not in the same family as the Tillman "everything and the kitchen sink" approach.

Now, here is USS Kansas:

Main armament: 12 406mm (16")/50 caliber guns in four triple turrets firing the same shells as USS Colorado. Secondary armament: 16 127mm (5")/38 caliber guns in 8 twin dual purpose turrets. Armor belt: 343mm (13.5 inches). Speed: 23 knots. No displacement given, at least that I could find.

And USS Minnesota:

Main armament: 12 406mm (16")/50 caliber guns in four triple turrets firing the same shells as USS Colorado. Secondary armament: 16 127mm (5")/38 caliber guns in 8 twin dual purpose turrets. Armor belt: 343mm (13.5 inches). Speed: 23 knots. No displacement given, at least that I could find.

You'll notice that everything except the secondary battery is an exact match. Also, look at the funnel on Kansas and then at the most common artistic interpretation of South Dakota (1920). Then look at that skyscraper profile on both ships. Now look at a photograph of USS West Virginia in her 1944 configuration. You'll notice that they are very similar. Kansas and Minnesota are literally the same design. Both are modernized versions of South Dakota (1920), just with modified stats for their respective tiers and somewhat different superstructures (which was not uncommon for World War II modernizations. just compare Colorado and West Virginia).

The only outlier is USS Vermont, which has 12 457mm (18")/45 caliber guns in four triple turrets, a 406mm (16") belt, and a displacement of 70,000 tons according to the wiki. However, you'll notice that none of the Tillman designs are a good match for her. None of the Tillmans had 18"/45 caliber guns. Instead, they were all 50 caliber guns. Additionally, there is no 70,000 short ton Tillman armed with 18 inch guns of any description, and 4-1 and 4-2 have 13 and 15 respectively, not 12. Additionally, the guns follow the same small-bore-50-caliber-to-large-bore-45-caliber incremental increase that characterized the shift from Tennessee to Colorado instead of the small-bore-45-caliber-to-large-bore-50-caliber increase the 18 inch armed Tillmans demonstrate. Tillmans 4-1 and 4-2 both had 16 inches of belt armor, but they displaced 80,000 short tons as opposed to 70,000. It is possible that the Wiki is using long tons instead of short tons, but 70,000 long tons is equal to 78,000 short tons, not 80,000 (it's not a huge difference, it is there). Vermont's speed is also slower than any Tillman, at 23 knots vs 1 and 2's 26, 3's 30, and the 4 series's 25. She instead seems to be a logical escalation of South Dakota 1920, almost as if she was a follow-up class designed once the details of the British N3 class, with its 9 18 inch guns and 15 inch armor belt, were known.

In short, none of these ships are Tillmans. Kansas and Minnesota are both South Dakota 1920 class ships, and Vermont is a logical escalation of that design. Vermont is definitely closer to the Tillmans than the others, but she is still a very poor match for all of the various designs. At best she is to the Tillmans what North Carolina or South Dakota (1939) are to Montana. You can see some resemblance, but they're definitely different ships.

I should say that I also posted this on the NA forums, just in case. It isn't stolen.

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