by Max Barry

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The Federal Republic of
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

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RTS Baetica

RTS Baetica
RTS Baetica


RTS Baetica at anchor in 1949

Laid down

22 May 1934

Launched

02 September 1938

Commissioned

01 June 1939

Honours and awards

4 battle honours



Class and type

Baetica-class battleship

Length

247.85 m

Beam

33.08 m

Speed

38 kt

Complement

1,569

Armament

8x 380mm gun
9x 152mm gun
12x 100mm anti-aircraft gun
8x 37mm anti-aircraft gun
20x .50-calibre machine gun

RTS Baetica is a fast battleship and the flagship of the Tysoanian Navy. Designed as a response to the 1930s naval arms race in the Mediterranean, the Baetica was laid down on 22 May 1934 and commissioned on 01 June 1939.

Although the Baetica, lead ship of the Hispania class, was originally designed to complement a future super-battleship, the funding for further capital ship construction was cancelled after only two Hispania-class ships had been ordered. As a result, Baetica became the largest ship in the Tysoanian Navy and, in 1941, was designated the flagship of the Navy. The Navy's II Squadron was also formed around the Baetica and her sister ship, RTS Lusitania, and served as the primary capital ship force of the Navy during the remainder of the 20th century.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Design
3. Service

Design


When Eotheood launched the Empire-class battleship armed with 300-mm guns in 1931, the Tysoanian Navy immediately began planning to counter it with its own new class of battleships. Because Tysoania lacked large amounts of heavy industry, the existing Navy had been focused around light ships and aircraft, which was thought to be unable to compete with a large fleet of capital ships. As a result, the Baetica was designed to be the first ship for a new squadron of battleships and super-battleships that could compete with the Eotheood fleet.

The Baetica was built with a length of 247.85 m and a beam of 33.08 m. She was fitted with four steam-powered turbines that could drive the ship at a maximum speed of 32 kts, but was intended to cruise at 15 kts with a range of 9,500 nm at that speed before requiring refueling. She has a total complement of 1,569 crew.

The barrel of Baetica's Gun "B",
replaced during her 1999 refit

She was built with eight 380mm guns, arranged in two quadruple turrets on the forward superstructure, and nine 152mm guns, arranged in three triple turrets on the aft superstructure. Her heavy anti-aircraft defense consisted of twelve 100mm guns in twin turrets across the ship, and her close-range defense was formed of eight 37mm guns in twin turrets and twenty .50-calibre machine guns in four quadruple and two twin mounts.

Service


The Baetica was commissioned into the Tysoanian Navy on 01 June 1939. She was first posted to Fort Palma in the western Mediterranean to serve as the first ship of the newly-formed II Squadron, along with her sister ship Lusitania. Although the Baetica and Lusitania were intended to serve as stopgap measures while new super-battleships were constructed, the cancellation of funding for those ships meant that Baetica and Lusitania became the largest ships in the Tysoanian Navy and II Squadron was reorganized to focus on territorial patrols and convoy escorts.

Although originally envisioned as a counterbalance in the Mediterranean Sea naval arms race, increasing tensions in the North Atlantic saw the Baetica deployed to the Atlantic coast of Tysoania as a show of force to protect merchant shipping in Tysoanian waters. When the Atlantic War broke out in 1947, the Tysoanian government declared that all merchant shipping in Tysoanian waters were not to be attacked, while foreign warships were prohibited from entering the same waters. The Baetica's first combat deployment, in mid-1947, was on a long-range patrol against possible surface warships and submarines in the protected waters.

On 15 November 1947, a submarine attacked a convoy of merchants ships approaching the Strait of Gibraltar, sinking two Tysoanian merchantmen and damaging another before being driven off by shore-based aircraft. Because Tysoanian waters extended far beyond the entrance to the Strait, all nearby warships, including the Baetica, immediately sailed to block off the direct route to the open ocean and sink the submarine. On 18 November, the Baetica made contact with the submarine near the border of the territorial waters and engaged it; after 30 minutes, the submarine surfaced and surrendered. Identified as the AFS Sawfish, the incident was the catalyst for the Tysoanian government seizing all Federation shipping in Tysoanian waters and impounding them for the duration of the conflict.

The Baetica anchored off Fort Palma in 2001

The Baetica saw no further combat through the end of the war, but when the British Civil War broke out in 1951 months after the end of the Atlantic War, the Baetica was deployed to support Tysoanian airmobile forces in that conflict. Although the Baetica was originally tasked with blockading parts of the British coastline, the lack of significant coastal shipping meant that the Baetica was soon tasked with supporting the airmobile forces with command-and-control functions, reconnaissance, and indirect fire. The Baetica first fired her guns in that war on 24 July 1951 to provide a supporting naval bombardment for the airmobile forces during their raid on Swansea, and followed this up with 18 offshore bombardments of enemy positions throughout the summer and fall of 1951.

Following the end of the conflict and withdrawal of Tysoanian forces in November 1951, the Baetica returned to Fort Palma for upgrades to her radars and control systems. Following this, she was removed from II Squadron and placed into reserve, where she was used primarily as a training platform for junior sailors and officers. In 1974, she was upgraded with new radars and controls systems, then returned to II Squadron as the flagship of the formation in anticipation of the deployment of Tysoanian airmobile forces to Tunisia to suppress rebel activity there. However, the sudden end of the insurgency in that area meant that the Baetica had no significant role in the fleet. As a result, the Baetica assumed the title of flagship of the Tysoanian Navy and began engaging in ceremonial activities on behalf of the federal government of Tysoania. She completed a circumnavigation of the globe in 1981 and 1989, ferried the President of Tysoania to Eotheood on a state visit in 1990, and carried out countless official visits to foreign ports on goodwill missions.

On 01 June 1999, the 60th anniversary of her commissioning, the Baetica was formally transferred to the reserve fleet and entered drydock for a period of refit and rearmament to modernize her propulsion, control, and weapons systems. Although the Baetica was originally slated to have her guns amidships removed and her superstructure significantly altered to accommodate ew missile systems, this provoked significant controversy over her use as a warship against her status as a historic ship. In the end, the planned alterations for new missile systems were cancelled in favour of close-in weapons systems, guidance jamming, and other anti-missile defenses that had little effect on the overall structure of the ship. After sea trials, she was formally returned to active duty on 13 July 2002 and returned to her former post as the lead ship of II Squadron.

Since her return to active duty, the Baetica has primarily served as a personnel training platform and as the command ship for training exercises within the Tysoanian Navy and in partnership with allied navies. She has also taken part in multiple port visits and goodwill missions on behalf of the federal government.

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