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Littoral Combat Ship versus HMS Hood

February 13, 2010

The following is a comparison which appeared in our weekly LCS Alternative article, that deserves its own post. Feel free to add your own comparisons in the comments!


A brief comparison of the two radical warship designs:

  1. Both very attractive ships.
  2. Touted as revolutions in warfare.
  3.  Forced into different roles not envisioned by their designers, for lack of anything better.
  4. Suffered from cost-overruns.
  5. Sisterships were canceled while under development.
  6. Overweight issues.
  7. Considered at risk in combat situations.
  8. Comparatively light protection for their size.
  9. No better armed than smaller ships of the era.
  10.  Had the need for high speed!

And they both Looked Cool offShore! You can read more on the battlecruiser HMS Hood, a magnificent but fatally flawed design at the HMS Hood Association.


Battlecruiser Notes:

D.E. Reddick writesCourageous, Glorious, and Furious have more in common with the Littoral Combat Ship -concept- than just speed. Jackie Fisher envisaged them (the Courageous class) as shallow draft “large light cruisers” (i.e., semi-battlecruisers) which could enter the Baltic Sea and cause havoc to Imperial German operations. They were to have maneuvered through the Baltic Narrows with lighter warships and then conduct amphibious operations along the German Baltic coast. They certainly were extremely lightly built – their hulls flexed whenever they fired their main armament.


Because of mechanical faults and their light construction, Furious, Courageous, and Glorious were nicknamed ‘Spurious’, Outrageous’ and ‘Uproarious’ respectively. This precedes by many years our own LCS Acronyms!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Kurt permalink
    December 17, 2011 7:28 pm

    The maximum speed of ships seems a rather misunderstood concept. Speed means you can change places more quickly and are thus harder to locate for enemy targeting. I don’t know if it’s worth a lot against high velocity missiles, but the LCS will likely face artillery and their construction isn’t bad for that task because they don’t lose much speed in turns. The alternative would be an Iowa and that’s a far more expensive for a platform that can survive in an artillery threat environment. If you move at great speed in a predictable direction in a formation, well, you’re dead because either you have outstanding guns, armour or speed and with speed you lack armour or guns, with armour being much more likely.

  2. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 15, 2010 12:25 am

    TangoSix, Thanks, I meant only that, for 1907, HMS Swift was a very impressive ship, but it would never replace the light cruisers as fleet scouts as Fisher envisioned, and that it seemed the emphasis on extreme speed was not tactically useful for a destroyer leader.

  3. x (original) permalink
    February 14, 2010 3:36 pm

    Jacky Fisher was very much a product of a naval system that hadn’t been to all-out war for the best part of a century. His greatest contribution perhaps was the recognition of the importance of engineering to the modern navy.

    It is interesting to contrast his career with that of Mountbatten. He too was a “tactical failure” but also understood the importance of engineering. It was he who brought the nuclear submarine to the RN.

    Mountbatten disliked Fisher because the latter replaced the former’s father as 1SL.

    TBH I am not a fan of HMS Hood though her steam-plant is of some interest.

  4. February 14, 2010 3:22 am

    Hello Chuck Hill,

    technically H.M.S. Swift never came close to making her designed speed and had inadequate range and seakeeping.
    Tactically,despite being outnumbered by three to one,she engaged a superior enemy force sinking one and driving off the rest.


  5. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 13, 2010 7:24 pm

    Thanks Chuck for the info!

  6. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 13, 2010 6:36 pm

    HMS swift was not a technical failure. It was a tactical failure. When you’re using swarm tactics as in a mass torpedo attack, it doesn’t help for one ship to be so much faster it gets out ahead of all the others.

    Not unlike the ability to rush to the scene of a conflict only to run out of gas and have to wait for your under 20 knot tanker to show up.

  7. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 13, 2010 6:04 pm

    Large light cruisers Courageous, Glorious, and Furious were never used as originally envisioned, but they were converted to useful purpose as aircraft carriers. Perhaps we will also find other uses for the types we are building now.

    When Courageous was sunk by U-29, 17 September 1939, it only took two torpedoes hits to sink her in 15 minutes. Prior to the War similar damage, simulated in an exercise, had been only expected to slow the ship slightly. Clearly the vulnerability of their construction was not appreciated.

    When Glorious was sunk, 18 June 1940, by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau she had few Fleet Air Arm planes on board. She was ferrying RAF fighters evacuated from Norway. After decades of neglect, because all aircraft had been the responsibility of the RAF, the Fleet Air Arm had not nearly enough aircraft to fill the hangers of their relatively numerous aircraft carriers. Does this sound familiar?

  8. February 13, 2010 4:38 pm

    Scuttle em’ with the traitors that designed them and lets get some real, useful warships.

  9. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 13, 2010 2:00 pm

    My theory Matt, is as with the battlecruisers, what the LCS can’t fight she can run from. Which pretty much takes up most anything…

  10. Matt permalink
    February 13, 2010 1:18 pm

    Very apt comparisons.

    I would challenge #10: the need for high speed. Although they can go fast, I have yet to figure out exactly why they need to go 45 kts.

    The nearest I can reckon is some surface admiral (perhaps not unlike Jackie Fisher) thought it would look cool.

  11. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 13, 2010 10:53 am

    That is an excellent comparison, tangosix. Well done!

  12. D. E. Reddick permalink
    February 13, 2010 10:45 am

    Tangosix is referring to this particular HMS Swift (of 1907), not the several others. Seems like dead-on comparison to the LCS program. Oh, and “Let’s Copy (H.M.S.) Swift” needs to be entered into the fractured LCS acronym listing.

    HMS Swift (1907)

  13. February 13, 2010 9:07 am


    perhaps L.C.S. stands for “Let’s Copy (H.M.S.) Swift”,another of Jackie Fisher’s babys.


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