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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:36 pm 
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Dick J wrote:
The basic problem with that theory is that the 27 knot BB's didn't survive the major scrapping event of 1959-1961. All were either scrapped or farmed out as museum ships. The Montana's would most likely NOT have been in the navy's inventory in the 1980's timeframe, and therefore would not have seen the opportunity to be upgraded. The Alaska's had a significant upgrade potential as well as the speed, but they also succumbed to the "big scrapping" of '59-'61.

BTW, the slow BB speed was 21 knots rather than 24. The 22-23 knot modernized New Mexico's were an exception rather than the rule in the USN.


I disagree, Dick. I think, and the record bears this out, that it was usually the most expensive ships that were recalled during crises, and the older, more obsolescent, and more expensive to modernize ones that were scrapped, sold, or sunk as targets. I think that given what the five (or some sources say six) Montanas would have cost, it would have been the Iowas that were scrapped or mothballed.

I don't know about you, but I would rather have those three more guns throwing death at the enemy, from longer ranges, than I would the speed of the smaller ships. It really wasn't the speed limitations that cost those ships their lives, it was their age, coupled with the cost to maintain, upgrade, and modernize them that did 'em in. I would think most of the Admiralty would have felt the same way. Kennedy's whiz kids probably would have seen the benefits of having 5 or 6 nearly identical ships, with the massive capabilities that the class would have had, and seized on them as the backbone of naval artillery support vessels. Then again, McNamara was capable of being pretty stupid some of the time, like when he tried to force the F-111B on the Navy, even after it became clear that they couldn't be made to work. As for the Alaskas... They were unneeded, unwanted, and unaffordable during that time frame, as much of their capabilities and missions were able to be undertaken by other classes of vessels. You make a good point, but I disagree with it, for various reasons.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:45 pm 
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Dick J wrote:
The basic problem with that theory is that the 27 knot BB's didn't survive the major scrapping event of 1959-1961. All were either scrapped or farmed out as museum ships. The Montana's would most likely NOT have been in the navy's inventory in the 1980's timeframe, and therefore would not have seen the opportunity to be upgraded. The Alaska's had a significant upgrade potential as well as the speed, but they also succumbed to the "big scrapping" of '59-'61.
The enemies of the battleships since Pearl Harbor have not been navies, aircraft, or economics. They have been politics. Cliffe B has my Amphibious book by Friedman at the moment, but it was very clearly stated several times during the NGFS studies during the 60s and 70s that even though the requirement was put forward that a minimum force of 2 battleships and 2 heavy cruisers were needed in active status, that "there will be no 16" gun on support ships. There will be no battleships." Politics was the biggest enemy of the battleships, nothing more, and that's why the North Carolinas and South Dakotas were decommissioned. They were brand new ships. If politics had not played into it, they would have been 1200 man fleet flag ships and world-class bombardment ships.

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The Montana's would most likely NOT have been in the navy's inventory in the 1980's timeframe, and therefore would not have seen the opportunity to be upgraded.
Why not? Just because they were 27 knot ships? I think you might be right but for a different reason. I think they might have been in more danger than any of the other battleships, because they were the most powerful. With 12 16" guns a Montana could equal 6-10 CVNs (depending on air wing) with a 5 minute reaction time for call for fire. The Iowas are powerful enough, but a single Montana would replace the ordnance delivery capability of nearly half the carrier fleet. Since I am a glass-is-half-full guy, I say a single Montana would add nearly 50% delivery power to the capital ship fleet.

What the readers would find interesting is their over-load speed would have greatly exceeded 27 knots. If their over-load horse power curves met what the Iowas did, then the Montanas would have been able to make 30 knots. The Iowas sustained 35 knots on a heavy load and 37 knots lightened up a little and Wisconsin made 39 with a 1/3 16" magazine load and maximum power-plant output.

Here are a few examples for the political issue with battleships: The decommissioning of the USS New Jersey after Vietnam is the prime example and the secondary is the decommissionings in 1990-1991. New Jersey was the most effective weapon used during her tour off Vietnam. The Vietnamese had one condition at the Paris Pease Talks of that year: "Get that New Jersey thing away from our coast or we will never come back." They didn't mention the B-52 carpet bombings or the super carriers. There was no real reason for the Iowas to go in the '90s only excuses. They were all 4 going to receive Mk41 Mod0 VLS, Sea Sparrow, a bunch of little things, and 16" ERGM rounds and a SLEP to push them to 2010 before another SLEP had to be considered. Bases in NY for Iowa, Long Beach for New Jersey, I believe Pearl for Missouri, and Corpus Christi for Wisconsin were built to support a battleship battle group.

The other thing, speed, you can only go as fast as your slowest escort. Perrys cannot make more than 27 knots in Sea State 4 or greater. Amphibious groups do not go faster than 27 knots. Only if you are surrounded by Burkes and Ticos can you drive at 33 knots, and even then you have to slow the whole group down so your escorts can cool down. So, the 33 knot business is still ridiculous. Anytime a carrier sprints somewhere at 30+ knots it always leaves its group behind or its group gets a head start on it.


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BTW, the slow BB speed was 21 knots rather than 24. The 22-23 knot modernized New Mexico's were an exception rather than the rule in the USN.
Yep, I apologize. I was typing too fast and hit the wrong key. I didn't know that New Mexico had a faster speed. What made that possible? Did they go to all the effort of a replacing the propulsion plant, remove weight or what?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:15 pm 
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navydavesof wrote:
What the readers would find interesting is their over-load speed would have greatly exceeded 27 knots. If their over-load horse power curves met what the Iowas did, then the Montanas would have been able to make 30 knots. The Iowas sustained 35 knots on a heavy load and 37 knots lightened up a little and Wisconsin made 39 with a 1/3 16" magazine load and maximum power-plant output.


Also remember that when those original speed figures were put out those were based off of the ORIGINAL design. If they had been modernized through the years you'd have massive weight changes. IE, remove ALL of the 40 and 20mms AND their crews and ammo and stores for those crews, there goes a mess of weight; several thousand tons at least. That alone could sway the numbers some. Even after adding modern stuff like the Iowas got in the 1980s they'd still be lighter than they were on commissioning day in the 1940s.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:24 am 
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In the post WW-II period, "fleet speed" had increased from what it had been during the war. Friedman documents the design efforts made to see if the earlier 27 knot ships could be brought up to speed. (31 knot minimum) The North Carolina and South Dakota designs required a significant increase in power, only possible if the #3 turret was removed and the power plant expanded into the space. Even with that extra space, the South Dakota's would still have needed to use gas turbines to fit enough power into the space. However, both would have also required major alterations to the stern configuration, which would have boosted the price up even higher. The projects were dropped, and the ships discarded in the '59-'61 timeframe.

To be retained, the Montana's would have needed to make the same 31 knot speed - not in overload! "Fleet speed" was the required sustained transit speed and the 31 knot requirement was intended to allow the margins necessary to sustain the new higher speed. The originally intended powerplant for the Montana's had been the Iowa 212,000 HP steam plant. However, since that would not have produced the same speed as the Iowa's, the HP was reduced to 172,000 HP, which was sufficient for 28 knots. If that HP would have been enough to make more speed, the designers would have pared that down even further in their effort to reduce the size of the ship. I would be very surprised if the Montana's could have made much more than the designed speed, even with the entire light AA battery removed. On a ship that size, the AA battery was a very small fraction of the overall displacement anyway. More speed would have required a new power plant, and during the 1950's, there was no money to upgrade BB's to that extent. (They didn't even get enough to modernize all the CV's they wanted to.)

Only in the 1980's was there any consideration of building battlegroups around the upgraded BB's. The Montana's would have been discarded long before anyone had the chance to make that decision in their case.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:34 am 
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navydavesof wrote:
I didn't know that New Mexico had a faster speed. What made that possible? Did they go to all the effort of a replacing the propulsion plant, remove weight or what?


When they were modernized in the 1930's the original powerplants (27,500 HP turbo electric in New Mexico, 32,000 geared turbine in the others) were all replaced by 40,000 HP geared turbine units. Since the rest of the battle fleet could only make 21 knots, the extra bit of speed was rarely used.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:18 am 
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Dick J wrote:
In the post WW-II period, "fleet speed" had increased from what it had been during the war. Friedman documents the design efforts made to see if the earlier 27 knot ships could be brought up to speed. (31 knot minimum)
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The North Carolina and South Dakota designs required a significant increase in power, only possible if the #3 turret was removed and the power plant expanded into the space. Even with that extra space, the South Dakota's would still have needed to use gas turbines to fit enough power into the space.
I know, isn't that something? That exact thing got me interested in hydrodynamics, and now I have a better understanding of why ship's hulls are designed the way they are. The example of the Midways is very interesting as well. The NCs were also considered for nuclear converson without change to their length, but if I remember correctly their stern would have to be reshaped "to allow for bigger propellers". That sounds hokey anyway, unless it's only been recently that we have learned how build better surface ship propellers.

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"Fleet speed" was the required sustained transit speed and the 31 knot requirement was intended to allow the margins necessary to sustain the new higher speed.
So what you're saying is that instead of holding the fleet speed with the mass of irreplacable assets they had at a reasonable speed, 27 knots, the speed of their amphibious and most other ships in heavy seas, they made the requirements out run by four knots. Sure, that makes sense. The Navy makes rediculous decisions like that more often than not.

First line ships or not, the rest of the world, our allies and enemies alike, recognized the value of fast battleships and their gunnery. Your point about 31 knot fleet speed makes a lot of sense. A lot of the time it boils down to the US Navy making, honestly short sided decisions, and doing only enough to sqweek by. Nowadays they justify it with huge piles of metrics and all this crap, and what do you get? Guys patting themselves on the back and a ship like LCS instead of a 27 knot super battleship.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:54 pm 
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navydavesof wrote:
So what you're saying is that instead of holding the fleet speed with the mass of irreplacable assets they had at a reasonable speed, 27 knots, the speed of their amphibious and most other ships in heavy seas, they made the requirements out run by four knots.


Fleet speed had been "upped" from about 24 knots to 27/28 knots. That was a transit speed, and therefore a speed that needed to be maintained for long periods. A ship can only maintain the rated max speed for a limited period, usually reserved for intense combat conditions, and trying to maintain max for any length of time would risk damaging the powerplant. Max sustained speed was usually 3-4 knots below the rated max speed. (The "margin" I referenced.) This applied to the "battle fleet" - ie the carrier battle groups. This was where the BB's were assigned in the 1950's fleet reactivation planning. The amphibs and other "service vessels" were not included in this "fleet speed" limitation. In order to justify continued expenditures for mothball maintenance, each ship's role in the event of reactivation was clearly defined. BB's were not retained solely for the shore bombardment role. Therefore, those that couldn't keep up with the carrier fleet could not be justified for retention. It was all a matter of limited funding.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:04 am 
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Therefore, those that couldn't keep up with the carrier fleet could not be justified for retention. It was all a matter of limited funding.

It's disaapointing. Maybe ships cost more to mothball back then. I know we did a far worse job of it, but today it costs nothing to keep the USS Iowa and USS Wisconsin mothballed per year. My command spent more on LRAD systems that we do not take anywhere, train on, nor use, than in costs to mothball two battleships. Keeping the NCs and SDs or Montanas at the time would have been very, very cheap, maybe a million dollars per year for all of them. Like I said, politics. If mothball money is the actual reason, then a comparison of reproduction cost to storage cost, it's easy to see through the excuse.

The reason is that they did not understand the value of naval gunnery, and a lot of people out there do not, even today.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:15 am 
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These are all quotes from Dick J
Quote:
Fleet speed had been "upped" from about 24 knots to 27/28 knots. That was a transit speed, and therefore a speed that needed to be maintained for long periods.
So, do you know why the transition speed was brought up so high? Was it because the benefit of the extra few knots was worth the extra cost and weight put into the ship's propulsion plant? To "keep up with carriers" may be a legitimate answer, but it's not a very practical one.

Was the benefit of the extra few knots so escorts could keep up with carriers performing flight operations? Carriers almost never drive over 30 knots. As I am sure you know, even when they are making 30+ they are driving around in boxes to keep the wind over their flight decks.

Quote:
This applied to the "battle fleet" - ie the carrier battle groups. This was where the BB's were assigned in the 1950's fleet reactivation planning.
Do we know why? Were battleships considered carrier escorts for some reason?

Quote:
BB's were not retained solely for the shore bombardment role.
Other than flagships, bombardment ships, amphibious staging ships, what other roles would they have in the 50s without the AAW kind of conversions other ships had?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:11 pm 
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navydavesof wrote:
Dick J wrote:
Fleet speed had been "upped" from about 24 knots to 27/28 knots. That was a transit speed, and therefore a speed that needed to be maintained for long periods.
So, do you know why the transition speed was brought up so high? Was it because the benefit of the extra few knots was worth the extra cost and weight put into the ship's propulsion plant? To "keep up with carriers" may be a legitimate answer, but it's not a very practical one. Was the benefit of the extra few knots so escorts could keep up with carriers performing flight operations? Carriers almost never drive over 30 knots. As I am sure you know, even when they are making 30+ they are driving around in boxes to keep the wind over their flight decks.
Dick J wrote:
This applied to the "battle fleet" - ie the carrier battle groups. This was where the BB's were assigned in the 1950's fleet reactivation planning.
Do we know why? Were battleships considered carrier escorts for some reason?


Like I said, it was all about the carrier battlegroups. Transit speed equates to tactical flexibility. Ever since the Battle of Santa Cruz, the BB's were all seen as AA escorts to the CV's. However, the 27 knot BB's slowed the fleet. It was accepted at the time, but in the post-war environment, was seen as an unacceptable limitation on flexibility. Also, in the nuclear age, the ability to more quickly open the distance from the location of a recon contact point equated to the ability to survive a nuclear missile attack. Higher speed allowed the CV groups to greatly increase the size of the "Where could it be now?" box for any given timeframe. Another consideration was that higher transit speed increased the distance the battlegroup could cover during a night approach to a target.

BTW, the reason why CV's rarely exceed the 30 knot range goes back to the margin I mentioned. Air ops are almost continuous these days. Therefore, the max sustained speed needs to be 3-4 knots below the 33-34 knot rated max speed of the ship.

navydavesof wrote:
Dick J wrote:
BB's were not retained solely for the shore bombardment role.
Other than flagships, bombardment ships, amphibious staging ships, what other roles would they have in the 50s without the AAW kind of conversions other ships had?


After the 1950's, AA gunnery took a back seat to the AA missiles. That was the reason so many higher speed cruisers were discarded along with the slow BB's in the '59-61 timeframe. Those that were retained were expected to undergo some type of missile upgrade upon reactivation. The relatively few converted cruisers were seen as prototypes for the possible reactivation build-up. The South Dakota and North Carolina classes would have sacrificed the very space (after magazines) that would have needed to be allocated to missile magazines just to bring them up to speed, making their reactivation next to pointless. The Montana's would have been a bit better in this regard, but still would have been prohibitively expensive to bring up to the '60's and later fleet standards. Until the '80's modernization changed the ground rules, it had always been expected that the Iowa's would need an AA missile upgrade upon reactivation. (New Jersey's Viet Nam activation was seen as an anomaly.) As for "other roles", ships had to have multiple missions to justify their continued existance. A fast BB could be a CV AA excort and conduct shore bombardment. A slow BB only had one task - not seen as enough to justify retaining them in reserve.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:11 pm 
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Here are some pictures of what-if what-ifs of the modernised Montana:
http://www.wolfsshipyard.mystarship.com ... ontana.jpg
It has dates that go up to 1988.

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 3:56 pm 
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Ok, question: would arming new BBs with 14 inch guns still be thought of after the Iowa class?

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:20 pm 
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Sr. Gopher wrote:
Ok, question: would arming new BBs with 14 inch guns still be thought of after the Iowa class?

I see no reason why they would make such a decision, but I am curious what you have in mind. What would the benefit to undergunning the ships be?

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:44 am 
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Well, the ship itself would be mostly for shore bombardment, AA escort...and I ask mostly because I only have the DML Pennsylvania for BB armament! :big_grin:

by the way, I don't mean to arm a Montana class with 14 inch guns...one of my What-if concepts

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 8:24 am 
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Sr. Gopher wrote:
Well, the ship itself would be mostly for shore bombardment, AA escort...
those two were WWII Battleship missions anyway you go about it. Battleship roles did not develop much beyond that until later on, such as in the '80s.

14" guns were not nearly as effective as 16s for shore bombardment, so you would be better with what the Montanas were supposed to have. The Montanas that were ordered (and prasumably would have been built) were only going to be 28 knot ships, so they could not be AA escorts.

Quote:
and I ask mostly because I only have the DML Pennsylvania for BB armament! ... by the way, I don't mean to arm a Montana class with 14 inch guns...one of my What-if concepts

I don't get it. You say you want to put 14 inch guns on a Montana...then you say that's not what you mean, but it's what you mean. So if you are talking about putting gun barrels from a Pennsylvania model on a Montana model...I guess...but that's "to arm a Montana class with 14 inch guns". So, sure, put 14" guns on a Montana! However, if you want to represent a "Montana-class battleship", you could make some 16" barrels out of small styrene rod if you can't find any pre-moulded 16" barrels.

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Last edited by navydavesof on Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Sorry, my bad. I meant in general, would a post-Iowa class BB still be armed with 14 inch guns. I asked here because the Montana class was meant to be post-Iowa.

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 2:17 pm 
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As has been mentioned here before, I honestly don't see why the Navy would want to downgrade their main armament. At the time the Montanas were being designed, and detailed out, the 18"/48 was still on the boards, because of the intelligence that showed Japan was looking at going that large. It was only after the war, IIRC, that we actually found out they'd already HAD guns that big, but by then it was too late. The heavy 16 armor penetrator was stated to have "almost as much" penetrating power as the 18, so going down to a 14 would make not a lot of sense, especially at the time. I'm no expert on gun targeting geometry, but I suspect that you could throw a 16 or even an 18 much farther than you can a 14, which would negate the shore bombardment capability that the larger guns brought to bear in the Iowa class.

I may not have explained it perfectly, but I think everyone will get the gist of where I was trying to go.

If you're modeling, and having certain barrels on hand, unless someone has micrometer calipers, I don't think their eye will be sharp enough to note the difference, at the smaller scales. I'm working at 1/200 so there is a noticeable difference between 14 and 16 and 18 inch guns at the size at which I am working.

Oh, and by the by... I've made some progress skinning out the bow section on my Montana. The one that has been giving me fits so far. I still have a few fit & finish tweaks to make, but here's what the bow looks like at this point:

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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 1:24 pm 
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Sr. Gopher wrote:
Sorry, my bad. I meant in general, would a post-Iowa class BB still be armed with 14 inch guns. I asked here because the Montana class was meant to be post-Iowa.


No, they would not. A 16" barrel provides so much more capability it's shocking. I don't know of any reason to move back to a 14" gun.

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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 12:25 pm 
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Eventually at the end of this year, I want to start building another Montana. I'm just unsure on whether I want to build it in the "preliminary" design configuration showing the boats, boat cranes, etc. or another hypothetical "What If" late WWII configuration with more armament, removed boats, etc.

If I do build another "late war" Montana like I had previously done for my best friend long ago, then I have to ask: How much would the Montana have looked like an Iowa in terms of superstructure.......especially the bridge area? Would a Montana have had an enclosed bridge area similar to the IOWA class if completed?

I have often heard in the past how people would say the Montanas were just an "Iowa wannabe". If that's the case, then just how similar or not similar would a Montana be to an Iowa if the Montanas had been finalised and built?


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 2:49 pm 
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EJM wrote:
If I do build another "late war" Montana like I had previously done for my best friend long ago, then I have to ask: How much would the Montana have looked like an Iowa in terms of superstructure.......especially the bridge area? Would a Montana have had an enclosed bridge area similar to the IOWA class if completed? ?

Well, it would probably be very similar, to ease design and construction.
EJM wrote:
just how similar or not similar would a Montana be to an Iowa if the Montanas had been finalised and built?
A Montana is really an Iowa on steriods. The only noticable difference (that I see anyway) is that there are 4 main turrets instead of 3.

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