The Treaty Battleship Timeline During the 1930’s a new but small naval race started with battleships claimed to be built to the Washington Treaty limits.
However this race was not started by a battleship, but in fact a cruiser.
In 1929 Germany laid down Deutschland as a replacement for a pre-dreadnought battleship and it was supposed to be no more than 10,000 tons but came in over. Britain was not too concerned but France was.
In response to Deutschland, France laid down the Dunkerque class in 1932. The second of the class, Strasbourg, had her armor increased in response to new ships that were laid down.
Italy laid down the Littorio class in 1934 and these ships went over the 35,000 ton treaty limit. As a result, caused more concern for France.
Germany with a new limit of 30% of the RN laid down the Scharnhorst class in 1935. The same year France laid down the Richelieu class as a reply to Italian and German latest construction.
In 1936 Germany laid down Bismarck and finally Britain responded.
Britain wanted the main armament reduced from 16 inch to 14 inch and had already ordered 14 inch guns even though Italy, France and now Germany were committed to 15 inch guns.
So in January 1937 Britain laid down HMS King George V armed with 10 x 14 inch guns. But, with a 14.75 inch belt.
1937 was also the year Japan laid down their giant battleship Yamato that was almost double the treaty limit. In addition, America laid down the North Carolina class.
The next class to be commenced was the American South Dakota class in 1939, followed in the same year with the Iowa class that were built to the 45,000 ton limit allowed. If other navies built ships over 35,000 tons.
The last battleship was laid down in 1941 and completed in 1946, just after the war ended and was perhaps the best equipped battleship even with the old 15/42 guns. HMS Vanguard was an excellent sea boat, a very accurate shooter and a fine way to end the line of battleships.
The Treaty Battleship Timeline Written by David O Connell
cover image attribution: CC BY 3.0