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Author Topic: British 15" Gun WWI Battleships and the Battlecruisers (Modified with details)  (Read 1768 times)
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« on: January 21, 2008, 08:03:46 PM »

A total of 10 ships, the Queen Elizabeth's at 25 knots were the fastest British Battleship until those being built at the beginning of WWII.

Queen Elizabeth Class - Queen Elizabeth, Warspite, Barham, Valiant and Malaya  
         Main Guns:  8-15" Guns  Secondary Guns:  12-6"  AA 2-3" AA  4-21" Torpedo
         Tubes  Armor - Belt - 13"  Turrets - 11"  955-1,016 crew  Speed 25 knots
         Displaceent  31,000-33,000 tons  640'Lx90.5'B

Royal Sovereign Class - Revenge, Royal Sovereign, Royal Oak, Resolution and
         Ramillies   Main Guns:  8-15"  Secondary Guns 14-6"  AA 2-3"AA  
         4-21" Torpedo Tubes  Armor - Belt 13"  Turret - 13"  937-997 Crew
         Speed 21-23 knots  Diplacement 31,250 - 33,500 tons  624'Lx88.5'B

Next the Battlecruisers.   A total of 15 ships built before or during thw war including
         the Furious which was finally completed as a carrier.

Invincible Class - Invincible, Indomitable and Inflexible  Main Guns:  8-12" Guns  
         (1 twin turrent forward, 1 twin turret aft and two wing turrets however the
         wing turrets couldn't fire on the opposite beam or fore or aft, so a maximum of
         6-12" could bear on either beam, and only 2 fore or aft.)  Secondary Guns:  
        16-4" (later changed to 12-4"  1-4"AA and 1-3" AA)  4 (later reduced to 3-21"
        Torpedo Tubes  Armor:  6" Belt and 7" Turret  750-837 Crew  Speed 25-26
        knots   Displacement:  17,250-20,000 tons  567'Lx79'B

Indefatigable Class - Indefatigable, New Zealand and Australia similar layout to the
        Invincibles, but turrets spaced to allow all 8 guns to fire on either beam.
        Main Guns:  8-12" Guns  Secondary Guns:  16-4"  (later 14-4" and 1-4" AA in
        Australia and 10-4" and 1-4" AA in New Zealand)  3 (later 2-21" Torpedo
        Tubes  speed 25-27 knots  Crew 800-860 men  Displacement  18,700-20,000
        tons  590'Lx80'B

Lion Class - Lion, Princess Royal and Queen Mary   (Battlecruiser equivalent to the
       Super-dreadnoughts) 8-13.5" Guns (two twin turrets forward, 1 amidship and
       one aft -all on center line-  4 guns could fire forward, 8 guns could fire amidship
       amidship and 2 guns could fire aft)  Secondary Armament:  16-4" (later 2-3"AA
       Added)  2-21" Torpedo Tubes  Armor:  9' Belt  9" Turret  Crew 1,061-1,085  
       Displacement 29,700 tons (Queen Mary 30,500 tons)  700'Lx88.5'B (89' Queen
       Mary)  Speed 28-32 knots

Tiger - Originally to be the fourth ship of the Lion class, the design was modified to
       be similar to the Japanese Kongo built by the same yard  Main Guns:  8-13.5"
       laid out as Lion Class  Secondary Guns:  12-6"  2-3"AA  4-21" Torpedo Tubes  
       Armor:  9" Belt  9" Turret  Crew 1,185 men  Speed 28-30 knots  704'Lx90.5'B  
       Displacement:  35,000 tons

Renown Class - Repulse and Renown  Main Guns:  6-15" guns (2 turrents forward
       and 1 turret aft)  Secondary Guns;  17-4"(some in triple mount)  2-3"AA  2-21"
       Torpedo Tubes  Belt 6"  Turret -11"  Crew 1,000-1,250 men  Displacement
       32,700 tons  794'Lx90'B  Speed 31-33 knots

Light Battlecruisers Glorious Class - Glorious and Courageous  Main Guns:  4-15"  
      Secondary Guns:  18-4"  2-3"AA  14-21" Torpedo Tubes  Armor:  3 belt  9"
      Turret  Crew 829-842 men Displacement 22,700 tons  786'Lx81'B  Speed 31-33
       knots  
       Rebuilt after WWI as aircraft carriers.

Light Battlecruiser Furious - as designed Main Guns:  2-18" guns (Actually finished
       with a flight (flying off deck forward and 1-18" aft, after tests proved that the
       ship was to lightly built to take the 18" gun and it was rebuilt as a complete
       carrier in 1918.)  Secondary Armament as designed:  10-5.5"  4-3"AA   18-21"
       Torpedo Tubes  Displacement 22,900 tons  It was designed with slightly more
       hp so speed should have been consistent with the other light battlecruisers

Pre WWI the British Navy was planned to be stronger than the combined Battleship strength of the two nations the British government feared, Germany and the United States.  That is right, immediately before WWI, British naval planning was based on the US and Germany uniting against it.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 11:24:15 AM by Military Student » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2008, 08:54:27 PM »

Anyone ever crawled all around & through a sixteen inch WW2 naval gun turret? What a treat!! It is VERY impressive. The total weapons system goes down about six decks. The shells weigh up to 3000lbs each. Definitely the sledge hammer approach ;-).
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2008, 10:51:44 AM »

War has seldom been about rapiers and never about giving the enemy an even break, that only exists in fairy tales.

Back to the real world, only one German Battleship or Battlecruiser was lost to enemy action of any kind (ignoring the Blucher).  The rest survived the sledge hammers.  

The battleship era was all about guns verses armor, and the Germans always put armor and surviveabilty ahead of guns.  On the whole, the German ships had better protection and a command that learned from their mistakes; while the British ships (especially the battlecruisers) put speed and guns ahead of protection in a navy that didn't learn lessons easily.  Three British battlecruisers were sunk in combat and one British battleship sunk after being mined and another was lost to an internal explosion of some kind.  Whose building practices seemed more likely to produce a ship that could survive to fight another day?
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2008, 10:51:03 AM »

I've never been on a British or German battle wagon. So, I can't say. I was referring to two, WW2 Battleships I've had the pleasure of crawling around. I can tell you that in addition to their sledge hammers. Their armor was quite impressive. I forgot what they called it, but there's a spinal column for the ship. It's a vertical cylinder, made up of almost two feet of solid steel. It runs through several decks. All the master control areas are within this column. They are the safest part of the ship. They've got the biggest damn bank-vault doors I've ever seen. I remember reading an airborne soldier's memoir. He told of standing on a German town street, next to a man & his young boy. The boy pointed to the Shermans driving by. He kept saying that German tanks were better. His Father kept telling him to be quiet. The boy insisted, until the airborne soldier spoke up. He asked "German tanks are better? Then where are they?"  

Seeing as how the German navy hid in port for most of the war. I don't think we can tell much about this. The British lost ships because they were in the fight. The U-Boats did most of the damage. I can say that the U-Boats were not built for survivability. The predominant type-7 was antiquated. Later in the war, those poor guys were slaughtered.
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2008, 02:09:03 PM »

Kenny,

While there were other skirmishes during WWI, the Battle of Jutland is the only real battleship conflict in WWI or history with the exception of the pre-dreadnoughts at Tsuma Straits (sp?). (Yes, I know during our invasion of the Philippines in 1944, there was a Battleship skirmish, but hardly a full battle.) The German's were outnumbered there, but caused greater losses.  Damaged German capital ships made it home frequently during the war in a condition that would have sunken the more poorly subdivided and protected majority of the British battle fleet.  The German's had fewer ships, so they made them to take greater damage.  (Added later: 35 British dreadnoughts and 12 battle cruisers against the German 19 dreadnoughts and 8 (including the Blucher and the Goeben - given to Turkey in 1915) battle cruisers.  At Jutland in 1916, 3 British capital ships were sunk to 1 German, even though several German ships were so badly damaged the portions were essentially flooded.  That fact should indicate the value of the German armor and protective strategies.)

As to your airborne soldier story, German Panther's were infinitely better than the Sherman in armor and firepower, as were the Tigers.  Production was the thing, our factories were beyond German, Japanese and Italian reach, theirs weren't beyond ours.  We were willing to trade 3 to 5 Sherman's for each one of the better German tanks we destroyed as long as we didn't lose all the crew.  The Russians did the same think with a better protected tank, the T-34, but they didn't worry about the crews either in quality or survivability.  Again a valid point to the paratrooper, but he had an ant eyed view.

Art
« Last Edit: February 03, 2008, 02:27:47 PM by Military Student » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2008, 09:14:44 PM »

"the Battle of Jutland is the only real battleship conflict in WWI "  That's right. I vaguely remember seeing a brief documentary on this years back. Am I remembering correctly that the German's gunnery proved far more accurate than the British? I think that show said they (Germans) had engaged well before the Brits could return effective fire. Like I said, I've never been on a German battle wagon for comparison. I don't scuba dive. If they had more protection than the WW2 battle wagons I've seen. They must have been impressive indeed.

It's funny you should mention German tanks. I'm well aware of their superiorities to the Sherman. That paratrooper was well aware of them too. Despite the German tanks having some clear advantages. They weren't the ones left standing. A different (through necessity) approach to the problem prevailed. For those interested. I read a book which proved quite an eye-opener regarding our Shermans in Europe: "Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War 2." Cooper, Belton / Ballantine Books / w/forward by S.Ambrose. The guy in it ROTCd through the army to get his engineering degree. He couldn't do that through the navy. He dreamed of designing the next generation of dreadnoughts for the USN. The army shipped him out just before he could make the switch. The poor guy ended up sleeping in ditches, & driving behind enemy lines on a nightly basis.      
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2008, 01:31:18 PM »

Kenny,

Jutland was the only true fleet action with Battleships ever fought.  Divers would be needed to see three British Battlecruisers and one German.  Considering which side had more ships and guns, a rather one sided result.

The German guns were usually one size lower than the British ones,  the Germans used 11" when the British used 12", etc for most of the time.  Better gunnery doesn't necesarily mean you outrange someone, just that they are better at it, and perhaps trained to start earlier than the other guy.  The German Battleships were mostly interned at the end of the war, until their crews scuttled them intentionally in Scappa Flow (sp.) where they were later raised and scrapped.  Diving won't do you much good even if you could to see them, as they weren't sunk in battle.  Their protection wasn't as good as WWII battleships, but was better than British WWI Battleships and Battlecruisers for most classes.  Different design priorities between the navies.  Comparing most World War I to World War II ships is like comparing apples and oranges.  The last German classes were essentially equal to the British 15" gun ships, so they might have played a role, if they still existed.

The US WWI ships, inclduing the Arizona were already scheduled for the breaker before Pearl Harbor, as the new battleships of the South Dakota and Mississippi classes came on line most older ones were to be scrapped.  This should indicate that the best WWI ships had significant probelms by WWII.

As to German tanks, you mentioned them first in your post.  As to your paratrooper, I don't know what he thought, I don't have a time machine, I guess you do.  As to the book that you mentioned, I believe that the author had a few axes to grind.  The exchange rate between the better German tanks and the Shermans has been known long before that book by anyone who studies the issue.  By the way, if he dreamed of designing the next generation of dreadnoughts, he was behind times by 1941.  Even the strongest design we had the "Montana Class" were never built and the last ship of the Mississippi Class was finished as a carrier.  The Japanese saw the same handwriting on the wall and the Shinao which started as a Yamato Class Battleship was finished as a carrier.  

Back to the point, the British 15" gun battleships were the forefathers of the battleships of the late 30's and early 40's.  The Hood (battlecruiser with 8-15"), Rodney and Nelson (both battleships with 9-16") were the last of the WWI generation.  The two battleships were too slow as completed and the Hood too weakly protected against long range gun fire (tends to plunge downward) since it was redesigned for closer range action after Jutland.  

Art
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2008, 08:08:30 PM »

Arthur,
The tone of your posts tonight is rather opinionated, & off-putting. I don't stop by this site to argue, or be condescended to. You want to fight w/someone? Do it somewhere else. Here's a good example>> "As to your paratrooper, I don't know what he thought, I don't have a time machine, I guess you do."

I know the paratrooper's thoughts because he wrote them in his memoir. Like I'd said. Ditto the armored division guy in that book. He shares how he felt through much of those experiences. He was there, BTW. You weren't. I never said I knew anything about WW1 dreadnoughts. I simply shared the joy, surprise, & coolness of being able to explore two WW2 Battle ships. It was something I'd wanted to do for many years. I wanted to share that joy w/others here. If that author was behind the loop in his day. So be it. That was his stated dream. You think he had a few axes to grind? You haven't even read the book. That being said. Show me an author w/o some ax to grind, or position to forward (along w/a home where the buffalo roam). Do that, & I'll still show you a house full o' shit. Authors don't invest years in a project unless they've something to say. Steven Ambrose thought highly enough of the book to write a forward for it. I guess you're a more knowledgeable historian than Ambrose too though, right?    
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2008, 12:38:58 PM »

Kenny,

You don't like the way I wrote tonight; but it was in response to your writing, and I definitely have problems with your use of profanity and and throw away comments like " Like I said, I've never been on a German battle wagon for comparison. I don't scuba dive."  The implication is that the German battleships were all sunk, which they were by their crews own hands to keep them from the British.  To me, it showed a lack of research and a strong bias.  Maybe you don't intend them the way they are perceived.  Your tank story is fine, if explaned, which you did in your last post, but think how it was taken as you first used it.  Additionally, I would suggest that it would have made an interesting post on its own, and didn't belong in a discussion on warships.  It would have been better, from my point of view, for you to make a new post of your own on tanks which will draw the attention of more people interested in the subject.  I know that I am opinionated, but so are most people willing to put themselves out there with their own opinions, including historians like Steven Ambrose.  If we weren't willing to stick our necks out, very little would be said.

As to Mr. Ambrose, let me check something and return to him in a later post, elsewhere more appropriate to the discussion.  I will agree that he has been a popular and successful writer, and I won't say that I know more about a specific period then him; but the last time that I counted, I have about 1,000 books here at home on history (mainly military or weapons)(not all readily available), probably between 100-200 legally down loaded books in the same area and notes from several thousand (not all readily available) obtained over 40+ years, and I have read them.  The books that I have used have been obtained from numerous sources, some are 150 years old or better, and some are in languages (or styles) that I had trouble puzzling out with dictionaries.  I do know something about history, but my interest isn't a specific war or period, but rather the flow of history. I  occasionally look at one incident or event more closely for awhile but than move on.  I could tell you where to go for free down loads of the entire Marine Corps history of WWII or the Austrailian histories for both WWI and WWII, etc. as well as other subjects if you interested.  I am always looking for more sources, and have been trying to put all my notes into my computer or on CDs so that they are readily available, hopefully I will finish someday before I die.

As to your comment about the paratrooper, why didn't you say what he meant in his story if he explaned it?  A simple comment would have avoided my response.  You don't know how many times people's stories show their lack of knowledge (not experience).  As we were talking about the elephant, experience is an intensely personal thing, but it frequently doesn't give perspective.  The issue that I have about the armored book.  Read some of the reviews by other historians and than other books that include why we stuck with the Sherman and why we didn't send our first heavy tank to Europe (It would have been a match for the Tigar I) and why we finally did send the Pershings.  There are so many things to look at in order to understand what was.  We have been in this "personal feeling" and "first hand" kick ever since Marshall started writing his histories, the problem is that while they give a good individual opinion of a battle or portion of one or the perception of an individual about a subject; but they don't provide what is necessary to evaluate a larger picture unless a series of good appendices are added.

Your post on the Liberty video was good, and I said so.  It gave me some things to work on and added something to the debate, when you do that, you get my respect (for what its worth).  I hope to see more posts like that.  I know that you may feel that this condescending, but its not mean to be it is meant as a constructive critism.

Art
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