The Iron Fist class battleship was a dreadnought designed by David F. Hodston.
The Iron Fist's design lineage goes back to the IKN Valiant, which was the first battleship built after the rise of air power was confirmed in WWII. The Valiant represented the trend of heavy IKN battleships with 18in guns, which continued in the two succeeding Fearless class battleships. As the conflict with the Niveck Empire intensified, along with influence from the friendly rivalry with La Royale, it was decided that a more heavily armed battleship was needed. The Iron Fist was the final product of a massive rearmament program, with many smaller battleships also built to a similar layout, with the most prominent being the Majestic class.
The design of the Iron Fist class has a long history, with the armadillo refits drastically changing her layout to a superior design.
The Iron Fist has remained fairly constant in her weapon layout, though there were some definite changes over her career. Her main battery has always consisted of twenty one 18.1 inch naval rifles in seven turrets. The positioning of these guns has varied over time. In her pre refit form they were grouped with super firing pairs fore and aft, and a trio of guns amidships. In her post refit layout the aft engines moved slightly forward, and the no5 turret moved aft to just ahead of no6 in a layout reminiscent of the WWI vintage HMS Agincourt.
Her secondary guns have varied quite a bit, especially in her early career. She started off with around ten 25mm triple AA mounts, but that number has steadily dwindled over time to a figure of about two. Her secondary surface armament has varied from ten 200mm turrets, to four 305mm turrets, to a single MK-45 in her current form.
The Iron Fist makes use of the unusual arrangement of a turbo-electric propulsion system, with gas turbine generators providing electric power. This unusual layout was chosen due to the separation of engines, with most of the turbines forward near the bridge but some aft between turrets 5 and 6 or 4 and 5. With the turbines spilt fore and aft, it was deemed too impractical to design an immense propeller shaft with complex gearing halfway through. Thus an electric system was chosen to simplify the design, this would prove advantageous later during the armadillo refits.
The armor layout of the Iron Fist class has changed greatly since the commissioning of the class. The pre refit design had a hull three blocks thick, by 12 blocks wide. The armor was always a honeycomb of 400mm plating, and this layout was considered adequate at the time of building. Post refit saw the adding of another block of thickness to the hull, as well as two blocks to the width in the form of torpedo blisters along the side. This greatly increased her durability, allowing her to remain conpetetive far longer than she otherwise would have been.
The Iron Fist has had a long and illustrious career, and has served in many important battles.
The Iron Fist was commissioned ten months after the disastrous Battle of Pemberton Cape as part of admiral Hodston's naval rearmament program. The newly commissioned warship first saw action at the pivotal battle at Diego Straights, where the Niveck advance on imperial territory was halted. For the next three years, the Iron Fist would serve as Hodston's flagship as he pushed back the Niveck forces. Towards the end of this three year period, the Niveck commissioned a fleet of ships more powerful than Hodston's current fleet. In a few skirmishes the superiority of these new ships was proven, and the Iron Fist was pulled from service for a refit.
This refit was successful enough that it was applied to the entire fleet, resulting in the Armadillo upgrades. This newly refit fleet, combined with Hodston's tactics, proved decisive in the next few months. This finally culminated at the Battle of Trill Point, where the entire Niveck battle fleet was destroyed, allowing for a land invasion. The Iron Fist supported this invasion as a fire support vessel, but the battle was easily won, and soon the entire Niveck Empire was eradicated, ending a centuries long conflict.