Kingdom of Canada - Royaume du canada
Not going to get too deep into the history, because it will mostly mirror our existing Canada. However, there are two key points of divergence:
- The first is that, prior to the English capture of New France, there was a much more pronounced influx of French colonists, which would need to a much larger and entrenched French majority in Quebec once it was captured in the Seven Years War. This means that while the English still rule Quebec, they do not exercise as much of a colonial and patronizing attitude to the French-Canadians. While there is still inequality of language, the French resentment towards the English does not fester to the same degree as in RL.
- The second divergence comes as a result of the Upper- and Lower-Canada rebellions of the early 1830's. Relatively little known outside of Canada, these were minor, and major, rebellions respectively that ultimately led to Canada's eventual unity and responsible government. In this timeline, the Lower Canada rebellion in modern-day Quebec was much more severe, if still relatively small. Once put down, the British authorities decided that they would undertake a wholesale change to the structure of Canada to deal with this, which leads to our current AU.
The Kingdom was designed as a federal state comprising, initially, Upper and Lower Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) into a single nation, with the Queen as Queen of Canada, and a Lord Lieutenant exercising her authority while she was out of the country. A bicameral parliament of a directly-elected House of Commons, and an appointed House of Councillors was established. Each province had a similar structure, with a Lieutenant-Governor exercising vice-regal authority.
The end result was a Canada that was much more aligned with Britain, creating what was almost another constituent part of the United Kingdom. This model was unique to Canada however, as other Crown Colonies such as Australia, and Newfoundland, did not get such close alignment with Crown, as they did not suffer from any major internal threats to authority like Canada did.
So basically, we have a much more Anlgo-centric Canada, but one in which the French-Canadians of Quebec have more local power and authority, which would ultimately defer and mitigage the later Quiet Revolution and separation debates of the 60's through to now.
Anyway, on to the boats.
After World War II, the RCN was the third largest navy in the world, but by the Korean War, was slowly starting to lose the technical, if not numbers, advantage as its' war era destroyers languished under reduced budgets and slow upgrades. Canadian participation in the Korean War showed Defence planners the need for a new wave of shipbuilding to bring Canada's navy into the burgeoning Cold War. The first ship concept that was ordered was an air-defence destroyer to form the nucleus of a fleet or task force.
The result was the William Lyon Mackenzie-King class Destroyers
HMCS Mackenzie-King, 1958
Designed as gun-armed anti-air destroyers, these ships were envisioned as serving as fleet flagships and giving overall air-defence to the fleet and aircraft carriers. They were designed with what was considered a robust and modern weapons suite, of eight 3"/70 dual-purpose guns mounted in four twin turrets in the A/B/X/Y positions. Coupled with a rather strong radar system and independent fire control systems for each gun emplacement, it was intended to give the ships a powerful dual-purpose punch. Supplementing these were two-twin 40mm/60 Bofors AA guns mounted to port- and starboard-amidships. A quadruple 21" torpedo tube amidships and a single triple-barrelled Limbo mortar on the stern rounded out the armaments of these vessels. These weapons were matched with two water-tube boilers paired with steam turbines, pumping out 34,000shp, producing a healthy top speed of 28kts.
Robust ships, their design was intended to be revolutionary, but was instead more evolutionary in it's makeup. The 3"/70 guns were prone to jamming and mechanical problems, and their rather meager secondary armaments meant these ships were already dated by the time they entered service. Before the class was finished, upgrades were envisioned to keep the ships current.
HMCS Borden, 1965
was third ship of the class, and the first to undergo the upgrades that were eventually fitted to the other five ships of the class. The quad-torpedo launcher was ditched in favour of an ASROC launcher mounted amidships. This, coupled with two twin Bidder launchers on the stern in place of the Limbo, was designed to improve the ASW capabilities in the rapidly advancing Cold War. While it did nothing to deal with the quickly-antiquating anti-air defences, it did at least provide a more rounded capability to the vessels.
HMCS Meighen, 1973
As the ships aged, their dated weaponry posed a problem for the RCN. It was decided to upgrade the vessels with more modern weapons, but the fleet couldn't decided which upgrades to make. So it was decided to pursue two alternate design schemes, which would produce two sub-classes. The first was the Meighen
sub-class. The two newest ships in the class had their B turret removed, and replaced with a single-arm launcher for the GWS-20 Sea Dart missile. This was intended to provide the fleet an area-defence capability presently missing. While the British used the more typical twin-arm launcher, the Canadians did not want to pursue the massive rebuilding required to fit it to these ships, so a unique single-arm launcher was developed. While it was much less capable than the twin arm launcher, and carried a smaller magazine, it greatly improved their anti air capabilities. The two twin Bidder tubes on the stern were removed in favour of two triple torpedo launchers.
With it's long-range missiles and beefed up radar providing a quantum-leap in area defence capabilities, and finally making these ships the AA defenders they were intended, the upgrade left much to be desired. The addition of the launcher in the B position added a lot of additional top-weight to the vessel, and also caused a great deal of difficulty in integrating the magazine into the ship. As well, the cost and extent of the upgrade meant the original Bofors were left in place, meaning the ships still had a very limited point-defence capability. However, these modifications helped shape the RCN's mindset regarding the future destroyers that would replace these in service.
HMCS Laurier, 1974
While the Meighen
sub-class had the Sea Dart installed, the remaining ships had a much more reserved upgrade package installed, with the two 40mm Bofors were supplanted with quadruple Sea Cat missiles. This was intended to allow these ships to continue their existing roles, while providing close support capabilities for when operating in tandem with their area defence sisters.
The ships that entered service graceful and swift, but were bordering obsolescence upon their entry into service; a trait that was never really corrected until the end. The problems with their 3"/70 guns were never overcome, and even with their updates towards the end, still never really served a purpose outside of fleet flagship and surface warfare ship. With the advent of sea-skimming anti-ship missiles and more capable guns, the ships rapidly proved too old and outdated in concept to keep in service. The 4 Sea Cat armed ships were quietly retired through the late 70's and early 80's. The two Sea Dart armed ships survived slightly longer, with the last one being paid off in 1987.
The ships were well regarded by their crews and considered "Cadillacs" for their spacious quarters and individual bunks for the crew. Stately and elegant, they were to-that-point the largest vessels built in Canada for the RCN, and were a point of pride and status for the fleet.
HMCS William Lyon-Mackenzie King DD-205, August 1958
HMCS Wilfred Laurier DD-206, December 1958
HMCS Robert Borden DD-207, April 1959
HMCS John A Macdonald DD-208, June 1959
HMCS Louis St. Laurent DD-209/DDG-208, December 1959
HMCS Arthur Meighen, DD-209/DDG-209, March 1960
Mackenzie-King Class Destroyers
Length: 126.5m overall
Displacement: 3,150 tons standard; 4,200 tons full load
Powerplant: 2 water-tube boilers feeding 2 steam turbines powering 2 shafts, 34000shp