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The USS North Dakota: The All-Big-Gun Debate - The Defenders' Position 2

The Defenders' Position 2
  1. The Delaware and the North Dakota are nearly 40% completed and defects cannot be remedied at this time.
  2. Changing the plans of the Florida and the Utah would require delaying the building of those ships by 5 or 6 months. These two ships were to be completed approximately one year after the North Dakota.
  3. Even if two chambers were hit by shells in combat, allowing water into the ship’s interior, the ship would float and remain able to return fire making the exact placement of the armor belt of less importance.
  4. The armor belt should be 6 feet below the most likely position of the water line at combat weight and that is where it currently is located on the North Dakota.
  5. Thicker armor for the 5 inch guns would mean heavier weight and greater displacement of water (resulting in a lower water line). While desirable, this would cause the loss of other desirable qualities in the ship.
  6. The 5 inch guns probably should be mounted higher, but a special inquiry should be held to determine the best position for mounting the 5 inch torpedo guns.
  7. The twelve inch guns of the North Dakota may be inferior to the new British 12 inch guns, but they were equal to guns currently in use. Improved 12 inch guns would be used on the newer dreadnoughts, the Florida and the Utah.
  8. It would be impractical to redesign the North Dakota to provide a cooler location for the powder magazine that is surrounded by steam pipes. The Navy would attempt to provide a cooling mechanism for the magazine.
  9. The location of the gun turrets is acceptable and is similar to the location of gun turrets on other nations’ ships. The position of the turrets contributes to the stability of the ship.
  10. Some sacrifices had to be made in order to achieve the proper weight, space, speed of the ship and maximum efficiency of broadside discharges of the 12 inch guns. Therefore, some of the criticisms of Commander Key must be set aside.
  11. The North Dakota and the other dreadnoughts of the US Navy are equal to any of their type in the world. Though there may be flaws in design, these are common among similar ships in the navies of other nations.