Featherston's Folly - The Virginia-class:
Upon election as president of the Confederate States of America, one of Jake Featherston's first rearmament programs would be to order the construction of a new class of modern battleships to replace the sunken or scuttled Great War battlecruiser fleet. CSS Virginia
was the first of four ships of the class ordered, and would be followed after completion by CSS Tennessee
. The battleship was laid down at Norfolk Navy Yard in 1936 and was internally referred to as a "Heavy Armored Cruiser" to avoid provoking the United States into an arms race.
's intended armament would be four twin 14" turrets with six twin 6" secondary mounts. With an estimated top speed of 27 knots, the Virginia
was slower than the contemporary United States Missouri
-class battleship, but with an intended role to ensure Confederate coastal supremacy this was not considered a significant handicap.
From its conception, the Virginia
-class was a flawed design that attracted criticism from every level of Confederate government. Navy critics of the design noted its configuration closely resembled Great War-era battleships and that the materials would be better put to use constructing more submersibles or airplane carriers. Constant naval cuts in favor of the army meant that the class was cut from its intended four ships to two ships, and later the sole Virginia
. Jake Featherston took advantage of the controversy to further sack aristocratic naval officers who obtained their positions through name and not merit, and the battleship would be dubbed "Featherston's Folly" by what little free press remained.
By 1940, little more than the Virginia
's hull had been completed as priority had been placed on other projects. At this time, the order was given to convert the unfinished ship into the Confederacy's first airplane carrier. Rechristened CSS Freedom
, the hull would be moved to Charleston where the conversion would take place. What few 14" guns were produced by Tredegar for the Virginia
would be quickly repurposed as coastal artillery along the Atlantic coast and saw significant use during the Second Great War.
CSS Freedom - TBA
The beginning of the Second Great war and capture of Bermuda in 1941 by a joint Royal Navy and Confederate States Navy force led by HMS Ark Royal
led to Featherston's order to prioritize completion of the CSS Freedom
. Construction on the Freedom
progressed at a quicker rate than previously, although material shortages and lack of technical knowledge meant that the carrier would never be completed by the end of the war. The ship briefly sailed under its own power in 1943 in order to relocate to Mobile, Alabama where it remained until the end of the war.
Never-built AU version of a real never-built preliminary design as the first ship posted in the thread because I have my priorities straight. Next one will actually have been built, I promise.
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