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I am trying to build a world where USN, RN, IJN, and KM are companies that build WWII ships that compete for ship components sales with more diverse/versatile roles in armour, turret, shells, rather than just solely hull class DD, CA, BB. The world can incorporate things are still on the drawing board like the IJN submarine carrier. Is there a data source that lists all the specialities of warships in that era?

My limited knowledge could only think of torpedo specialised DD like Shimakaze or hybrid CV like the Oyodo. Or a submarine hunter like Fletcher. Are there more diverse classes I can use?

Perhaps something like Belfast's radar speciality. I'm not sure whether it is historically accurate that the Belfast had better radar when compared to BB.

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  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 5:44
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    $\begingroup$ If you're asking about making military ships have more generalist or modular designs, this is typically a fatal flaw. They end up not being able to do any job as well as a specialist ship. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 5:54
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    $\begingroup$ @MontyWild I think they're after the opposite, more specialized ships that are distinct from the "baseline" of their class. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence Yes, you are right. More specialized ships than the typical base line expected from their hull class $\endgroup$
    – Kelvin Ng
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think this is really an answerable question. To provide a proper analysis, one would have to know all the major ship classes of WW2 (Wikipedia will be helpful here) and then assimilate how both technical innovations (aircraft, radar, etc.) and the fortunes of war (e.g. IJN started making design compromises because they were losing and short on raw material; the US canceled ships that had roles that were no longer needed) changed designs as the war dragged on. There's no one single "specialty" that defined a warship class, outside extreme oddballs like the Erebus-class monitors. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 16:55

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  • A variety of fast battleships, non-fast battleships, and battlecruisers.
    I don't know how much you have read, but contrary to popular belief a battlecruiser is not a second-rate battleship (that would be armored cruisers). Battlecruisers carry battleship-grade guns and slightly thinner armor in a faster hull, which may be bigger and more expensive than a battleship.
  • Battleships and cruisers with different armor schemes.
  • AA destroyers, cruisers, etc. Atlanta-class
  • Low-draft versions for constricted waters. Courageous-class
    Even capable to fall dry on mudflats. Wespe-class
  • Riverine craft. Fly-class
  • Coastal defense ships with short endurance and battleship-grade arms and armor. Siegfried-class
  • Shore bombardment battleships for amphibious support.
  • Combined warship/troop transport. Converted old destroyers might be replaced by new construction. There was a proposal to modify the Iowa-class.
  • Peacetime-constructed escort carriers, especially for ASW.
  • A distinction between colonial or peace cruisers and the battle fleet. A peace cruiser is for gunboat diplomacy, extended cruises with lots of naval infantry.
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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, this list is really useful! Is there notable example for each type? $\endgroup$
    – Kelvin Ng
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 10:23
  • $\begingroup$ I suppose every battleship is good at Shore bombardment that isn't too far off from its hull class expectation. AA cruisers Atlanta-class is a great example that its AA is far better than other CA class ship. $\endgroup$
    – Kelvin Ng
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 10:43
  • $\begingroup$ @KelvinNg, battleships are not all cost effective at shore bombardment. Large crews, heavy armor, when all you need are the big guns. See the Abercrombie-class for comparison. Regarding notability, single examples are less useful than comparisons. If you have time, read David K. Brown, The Grand Fleet and Nelson to Vanguard. $\endgroup$
    – o.m.
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 14:21
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It is probably not necessary to make an even more detailed classification system for military ships. Military ships are designed with a particular role in mind, with equipment that best meets the criteria specified when it was designed - or refitted. Even within a specific class, different designs may have slightly different roles and/or different approaches in mind when they were designed.

In fact, during wartime, when the advancement of war-fighting technology occurs at its greatest rate, it would be common for a vessel returning from a long deployment to receive a refit to bring its equipment up-to-date before departing on its next deployment.

However, despite this refitting, a ship would most likely retain its basic classification even though experienced naval personnel would likely know that a particular class of ship with a given classification would be better or worse than another class of ship of the same classification for a given role.

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  • $\begingroup$ I imagine in wartime while the broad classification of hull size is obviously, static, the actual combat role may be more fluid and refitted based on the theater and actual field conditions while adjusting to enemy tactics. So designing ships with static roles that cannot be refitted would be counterproductive. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 22:12

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