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Royal Navy Preview

Royal Navy special service squadronWith Grand Banks launching next Tuesday, it’s time for another pre-launch historical preview (not quite as in-depth as the one about American hegemony –– or lack thereof). Our target on this occasion: the Royal Navy. As we’ve seen in the excerpt, Alex is slightly in awe of this fleet, and she’s not alone.

I can’t speak too much to the RN of this period without risking spoilers for Grand Banks, but I did want to take a moment here to share some photos, so that you can visualize the ships that have captured Alex’s imagination –– and indeed, see how lovely they are (yes, I may be biased).

First, lets start with a lovely County-class cruiser –– variously known as a ‘treaty cruiser’, an ‘8-inch cruiser’, and a ‘heavy cruiser’:

royal navy hms cornwall
HMS Cornwall, a County-class treaty cruiser.
royal navy tribal class
HMS Afridi, a Tribal-class destroyer (like HMCS Haida, which survives to this day in Hamilton, Ontario).

Of course, it’s entirely my conceit that any of these ships are in Champions; since the First World War as we know it didn’t take place in His Majesty’s New World, it’s dubious to suggest that Hood (an Admiral-class battlecruiser designed during the war), or the County-class cruisers (designed in accordance with a post-war naval treaty), or the Tribal-class destroyers (built as a response to Japanese naval developments) would even exist. But as I said with regard to Bearcats and Mustangs, I simply couldn’t bring myself to set a story in the 1940s without them.

What significance will these ships have for Alex, Stephanie and Strong? Tough to say. But just be mindful that, in our real history, the Royal Navy before the Second World War was the benchmark by which every other fleet measured itself. It was greatly respected, despite the damage wrought to its battle line by post-First World War disarmament, and the Great Depression.

royal navy hms inglefield
HMS Inglefield — the same ship from Whitecoat, back again.

Removing the Great War from the equation, and then adding all the wealth and riches of the new world, opens many new possibilities for the Royal Navy. Perhaps in our alternate timeline, ships like Hood will be given better opportunities to do the jobs they were designed for, instead of being sent into nasty gunfights against purpose-built battleships.

We’ll know soon enough. For now, let’s finish with “Mighty Hood” herself. No wonder Alex is in awe…

royal navy hms hood
Beautiful and Mighty: HMS Hood, Admiral-class Battlecruiser.