Another one that direly needed a redraw: LT Comhcheangal.
Thiaria’s 1910 Fleet Expansion Law stipulated laying down two capital ships every year. In 1910 and 1911, the four Conaire-class dreadnoughts were laid down, occupying all available large slipways; although the first of the Conaires was launched in August 1912 after barely 16 months on stocks, another yard would be needed to keep the Fleet Law’s tight timetable. Design work proceeded throughout 1911, jointly conducted by the the naval design department and the CSCA yard, who would lay down the lead ship in November 1912. Many detail solutions were carried over from the Conaire-class, but the hull itself was undeniably a cruiser, and she was the first capital ship in Thiaria (or, for that matter, worldwide outside the USA) which relied exclusively on oil fuel. Particulars were:
Displacement: 26.500ts normal, 31.000ts deep load
Length: 205,3m cwl, 208,2m oa
Beam: 28,3 m max
Draught: 8,4m normal, 9,4m deep load
Machinery: 4-shaft CLTI (Curtis-license) turbines, 24 Llanhaudh (Belleville-license) boilers (oil burning), 80.000 shp
Speed: 28 kts designed, 28,14 kts at 84.207shp trial, 26 kts max after 6 months out of dock, 24 knots sustained deep and dirty
Fuel stowage: 3.750 ts oil
Range: 6000 nm @ 15 kts
Complement: 985 normal, 1.170 war maximum
Vertical: Main belt 270mm (citadel length 123m, belt height 4,12m); upper belt 195mm; fore and aft belts 90mm
Horizontal: 65mm main deck + 35mm battery deck
Turrets: 315mm front, 240mm sides and rear, 90mm top; barbettes 315mm all round; casemates 195mm
Bulkheads: Three of 270mm (two forward, 1 aft)
Armament: 9x 305mm 50cal; 12x 138mm 55cal; 4x 65mm 50cal HA (from late 1917: 8x 75mm 50cal HA); 4 MG; 2x 450mm TT submerged (12 torpedoes each)
CSCA concluded the design in July 1912 and laid down the first hull in November. The second hull was laid down in March 1913 at the Riordan Yard, which so far had specialized on passenger liners and possessed two 300m slipways, both of which were now building capital ships (apart from the battlecruiser, they were building a battleship for Turkey). 340mm guns had been proposed for the battlecruisers, but would have carried an inacceptable penalty in protection. So they received the same 305/50 pieces as the Conaire-class dreadnoughts. They and fired the same 432kg projectiles as the French Danton-, Courbet- and Beveziers-classes, but had German-style wedge breech mechanisms using brass cartridge cases for the aftermost half-charge, which would prove to be much safer against flash events than bagged charges would have been. Firing cycle was an impressive 22 seconds, although this was of secondary importance for the Thiarians, because spotting and realigning requirements at maximum range would not allow a ROF of more than 1 rpm anyway. Inside the turrets, which were based upon the Italian design used in Dante Alighieri, but larger and much better protected, each gun had its own mount and could be elevated independently of the others. Maximum elevation was 22,5° for a range of 25.000 meters; the Thiarians expected to fight long-range engagements, so they could always break off and escape if things went awry. Hull size would have allowed superfiring turrets forward, but this was rejected as it was considered to unacceptably impair seakeeping, so Thiaria’s largest WWI-era capital ships were stuck with an old-fashioned turret arrangement providing inadequate end-on fire, despite Thiaria’s emphasis on hit-and-run-tactics. The twelve casemate-mounted secondary guns were a flat copy of the French 138,6mm Mle.1910, firing 36-kilogram projectiles at half again the ROF of a contemporary British 152mm gun. Four 65mm guns on HA mounts and two submerged 450mm side TTs completed the armament. They were big for their armament, and armour protection was significantly stronger as on contemporary British battlecruisers, if not quite as strong as on German ones; like the French Beveziers-class, they struck a fine balance between their main features, but were bigger, faster and tougher. Like all Thiarian capital ships, they were designed for long missions in poor weather, emphasizing range, seakeeping and good accommodation for their crews. Construction assumed added urgency after the start of World War I, and the lead ship – christened Comhcheangal (Alliance, referring to the alliance between various freedom fighter groups against Napoleon, brokered by Liam Dunshayne in 1805) – was completed in November 1915, after exactly three years of gestation, and commissioned in March 1916 after thorough trials. Her sister Dlutchomhar (Solidarity, referring to one of the three mottoes in the Thiarian coat of arms) needed 41 months for completion, joining the fleet in December 1916.
Comhcheangal was present in every major engagement in the South Atlantic. She flew the flag of Rear Admiral Macnair in the Battle of Tristan da Cunha on June 5th, a bloody stalemate between the whole Thiarian fleet and a mixed Commonwealth force grouped around four Queen-Elizabeth-class battleships. She was hit by five 381mm shells, but scored eight 305mm hits on the Patagonian battlecruiser HMPS Unicorn and nine on HMS Barham. She was dispatched to aid the Thiarian pre-dreadnought squadron in the battle of the South Sandwich Sea in March 1917, but failed to intercept the British-Patagonian squadron before they could sink a Thiarian pre-dreadnought and an armoured cruiser. On September 17th, 1917, Comhcheangal and two armoured cruisers bombarded Porto Allegre, and after this provocation, took part in the battle of Caitriona, where the Brazilian fleet was all but wiped out on October 15th. Comhcheangal added 14 hits to the inferno that sank the enemy flagship Rio de Janeiro, without being hit back by the outnumbered Brazilians. During the subsequent Battle over the Table on November 7th, the Thiarians heavily damaged two Recherchean battleships and sank HMPS Unicorn. HMRS Redoubt was Comhcheangal’s target, and she hit the Rechercheans 19 times, taking ten 343mm hits in return. During repairs, her light AA was doubled from four 65mm to to eight 75mm. In the final naval battle of the South Atlantic War at Craigmiadh, Comhcheangal and her sister Dluthchomhar jointly fired at the enemy division flagship HMS Trafalgar and substantially damaged her with twenty-two hits (twelve from Comhcheangal), forcing her to retreat. When the other Commonwealth divisions bore down on the Thiarians, they broke through a joint US-Australian-New Zealand battlecruiser squadron, blowing up USS United States. The shell that detonated the magazines of the American battlecruiser came from Comhcheangal. On the balance, Comhcheangal tied with the battleship Lormaic as Thiaria’s most successful capital ship of the First World War. She and her sister proved highly resilient against battle damage, owing to their good internal compartmentation and their well-arranged armour. Their gunnery was of the highest quality, partly on account of their excellent seakeeping and their steadiness as gun platforms. Both were condemned to become allied prizes after the war; the British and Americans explicitly wanted them for themselves, to make sure they were scrapped and not handed over to someone who’d actually need them. After intense underwater explosive trials – during which she petulantly refused to sink – Comhcheangal was scrapped in 1923.
The image shows Comhcheangal at the time of the Battle of Craigmiadh on March 27th, 1918.