The British Behemoth G-3 class Battlecruiser

The story behind Britain's 'G3' class battlecruisers - Navy General Board

A rendition based on the HMS Nelson in 1947 of what the G-3 would’ve looked like
g3 class battleship

Please note
I have since made an updated version of this post, this current one is riddled with errors and is completely inaccurate across several measures. This is not my finest work but please see the updated post below:

In light of several suggestions for the iconic Fast Battleships Yamato, Iowa and the proposed H-39 class, I thought i’d make a discussion topic here for the British alternative to these ships that came about 20 years earlier. Britain’s premier battleships Nelson and Vanguard will struggle to compete against such heavy battleships as Yamato and Iowa given that Nelson was essentially worse than Yamato in every regard given her age and Vanguard retains 15 inch guns.

The G-3 Class Battlecruisers were a planned class of 4 Battlecruisers for the Royal Navy in addition to their Half-sister ships the N-3 Class Battleships which were planned to equip the Royal Navy with the premier force of capital ships in the world. Whilst development of the N-3 would be discontinued the G-3 development plowed forwards up until their cancellation following the Washington Naval Treaty.

The G-3 faced months of opposition by the Cabinet and the Treasury whilst the opposition of the Admiralty and notably Winston Churchill pushed forwards as supporters of the class. These ships were to thwart the US plan of building a Navy second to none and to reinforce Britain’s place as the world’s premier naval force. The G-3 alone would have been the highest displacing Battlecruiser ever created out displacing even the mighty Yamato and Iowa class although the German H-39 would go on to out-displace the G-3. Equally G-3 would’ve been faster than anything but Iowa due to her flat stern which became commonplace post-WW2 due to its speed characteristics.

G3 battlecruiser - Wikipedia

Type: Battlecruiser (Fast Battleship)

48,400 long-tons (Standard)
53.909 long-tons (Deep Load)
Length: 856ft (260.9 m)
Beam: 106ft (32.3)
Draught: 35ft 8in (Deep Load)

Installed power: 160,000shp (120,000kW)
Propulsion: 4 shafts; 4 geared steam turbines
Speed: 32-32.5 knots
Range: 7,000 nautical miles at 16 knots

Crew complement: 1,716


  • 3 × triple 16 in (406 mm) guns
  • 8 × twin 6 in (152 mm) guns
  • 6 × single 4.7-inch (120 mm)
  • 4 × 8-barrel 2-pdr (40 mm (1.6 in)) mountings
  • 2 × 24.5-inch (622 mm) torpedo tubes


  • Belt: 12–14 in (305–356 mm)
  • Deck: 3–8 in (76–203 mm)
  • Barbettes: 11–14 in (279–356 mm)
  • Turrets: 8–17.5 in (203–444 mm)
  • Conning tower: 8 in (203 mm)
  • Bulkheads: 10–12 in (254–305 mm)

G3" project battlecruisers (4)

Design Shortcomings
Given the age of the design it would not be fitted with the AA complement that other ships would have, the G-3 whilst not helpless, would not have fared well against aircraft, given only the 40mm’s and 4.7 inch guns were capable of engaging aircraft.

The G-3 class would be an interesting addition to war thunder in that the truth of its existence is fiercely debated. There are no primary sources proving the class was laid down such as is the case of the German H-39 class of which there are pictures. Many tertiary sources repeat the wikipedia assertion which needs citation stating that the class was never laid down. However based on an understanding of the political climate just weeks before the Washington Naval Treaty and the imperial treasury, there is evidence to suggest it was in fact laid down.

The G-3 class faced opposition post war as the admiralty had their budget more than halved and the treasury urged them to cut down the capital ship numbers in addition to forbidding the construction (but not development) of any new capital ships. Skipping forward a lot of bureaucracy the rumour that there was a disarmament preposition coming up began to come up following the US’ hard plunge into the depression. This was the Washington Naval Treaty.

The only problem facing the UK with this much revered economic break was the current US and Japanese ships under construction would outclass pretty much anything the Royal Navy fielded outside the Hood. To ensure that these ships would be scrapped and discontinued the G-3 class was retrieved from the backburner. Using Admiralty and Imperial funds to finance the ship, the process was rushed just weeks before the Washington Naval Treaty with funds being pulled by the Admiralty and the contract for the ordering of the class of 4 G-3 class Battlecruisers was signed. There is no photographic evidence that the ship was laid down- Laying down is Gaijin’s burden of reality for naval forces in war thunder.

However strong evidence to suggest it was, is that the G-3 class was included in the 1921 Naval Budget and unlike US procurement, ships were purchased and generally considered done-deals. Furthermore the money was indeed pulled, an amount of 2.2 million pounds from the Imperial Dominions and further £15 million from the admiralty itself. Contracts were awarded to the shipyards of John Brown, Swan Hunter and Fairfield on 24 October, and William Beardmore & Co on 1 November. The talks of the Disarmament Treaty began on the 12th of November. Work at John Brown is confirmed to have been done on the keel blocks specifically for this ship class. Given the fact that funds were allocated, materials for the keels purchased, the ships appeared in the defense review and both the US and Japan were satisfied that the ships had in fact been laid down (at least one of them anyway), and given the lack of any primary or secondary sources which say otherwise, I’d say the strongest source is this one: The story behind Britain’s ‘G3’ class battlecruisers - Navy General Board which suggests they were in fact laid down.

And to finally add onto that the Official Battleship New Jersey youtube channel refers to the ships as ‘Barely laid down’.

The controversy as to whether this ship was laid down is why I have refrained from posting this as a suggestion, perhaps closer to the time of other such ships I will suggest this one along with the Lion-class in their proposed 1944 refit.


How does out outdisplace yamato at 54,000T??

I don’t see how G3 is more capable in a fight against Yamato/Iowa/H-39 than Nelson. If anything, honestly, G3 is the less able than Nelson.

Im not gonna lie i spent more time trying to find evidence it was laid than proof-reading my post.

I didn’t double check when wikepedia said “The four ships of this class would have been larger, faster and more heavily armed than any existing battleship” i think thats meant to include “at the time.”

They would retain the same armament but the G3 is significantly faster than Nelson, basically everything Nelson does, the G3 does either the same of better, it’s faster, the guns are essentially the same. The N3 class would have been a true Yamato competitor but those certainly weren’t laid down. Still it provides variety to the tree in the higher tiers.

Another option would be if Vanguard received her 18-inch guns rather than the scaled down 15 inch ones.

If you wish for a British ship to fight the H-39’s you want the Lion class


For sure, particularly in a 1944 design configuration she would be very capable. Vanguard with 18-inch guns would also be a good option but i think if we get her it will be with the 15’s.

I don’t see how speed would give her an edge over Nelson. If anything, G3 is the downgrade for trading armour for speed and basically no AA, making Nelson the better, more rounded option.

how is N-3 a yamato competitor? its actually a lower displacement than the G3 from what i can tell.

I agree, the G3 would have been the better ship if she had received a refit like Nelson as Nelson’s constructed AA capability was the same as the G3’s proposed AA until it was subsequently improved.

Bigger guns than the G-3, belt armour a slight bit thinner than the Yamato by an inch. But given that we see the Iowa as a Vanguard competitor which has thinner belt armour than the N3, smaller calibre guns, but is faster then i think the N-3 would be up there although worse than the Yamato which obviously was designed to be the singular best battleship ever created and to fight multiple ships simultaneously. I personally can’t think of another laid down British ship that would’ve done better against the Yamato.

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Personally, as a “counter” to the Yamato/Iowa that will eventually come to the game in some form I think the Lion-class might be better.

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Fast battleship Yamato? what?

Well, while people said even G-3 is not a counterpart to Yamato on the answers upper, I rather have a question ‘Is Nelson going to be nothing against Yamato?’

Yes Nelson has some problem. It’s gun is the 16’’ that didn’t have penetration of 16’‘. Although naval calculator and ground calculator is little bit different in WT, WT wiki penetration formula indicates that Nelson’s 16’’ cannot penetrate 500 mm RHA in 10 km.

However that’s quite enough to fight against Yamato in current maps. Yamato’s main belt armor would be 500 mm RHA equivalent, and would be worse if angled due to those ‘cheek’ bulkhead they have. And most of War Thunder naval battle except EC starts at 15 km and soon they get insdie 10 km. Yamato would have to give up contributing team’s victory with capture or inside strategic point if she want to survive in War Thunder.

Ps. For countering H-39… I don’t know which way other countries could do. Those ‘turtleback’ is working super well in War Thunder even with Scharnhorst, who has weakest ‘turtleback’ among all Kriegsmarine battleship, and H-39’s 16’’ is definitely better than British one.

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You don’t need a counter for a ship that likely wont be added. Germany will get Bismarck and Tirpitz and thats about it. Can’t really see the Snail adding anything else.

I also doubt the British tree will get the Lions…

They will be added. Germany already get Z-46 and Z-47 what they actually don’t need. And Italy already get Etna that was not that really needed.

Also they were available last ship that Gaijin can give so they would give. Let’s remember that they already finished modelling of Iowa, Yamato and Sovetsky Soyuz.

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Best way how to fix this make maps bigger since turtleback looses effectiveness with range and also to fix ballistics since now large amount of shells are flying at way way shallower arcs.

The g3 and n3 were incredible designs and would have reset the standard in naval power in 1923 when it was approved for construction before treaties cancelled them. To give these proper idea how powerful they are these would have been in service the same time as all these capitol ships in game were almost 20 years before iowa and yamato.

Problem with luon is the designs were never finalised and there were so many designs considered it would be hard to choose. If i remember rightly for gaijin to add a ship it has to have been a completed approved design.

There are approved design of 1938. Designs after them were not made to blueprint, only left as requirment. So don’t need to put them into consideration.

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Thise are the early designs. If i remeber correctly lion was considered later after being cancelled and had so many options. Eg one was a battleship with a carrier deck, 2 lions classes working in tandum would have a full carrier support without needing a carrier in the fleet.