What was wrong with the Baden?

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.

Moderator: Bill Jurens

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by lwd » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:41 pm

In many discussion including some here the proponents of the AoN armor scheme often stated that Bismarck's armor scheme was simply an updated Baden design. They invariably were counter by the opposition by "no it wasn't". The implication in both camps is that being an updated Baden design implied the Bismarck was inferior. Now I can understand the view point of the AoN crew as many of them (which included me at the time) believed Baden's scheme was outdated. I'm not sure why the opposition thought so though. To make it clearer where I'm coming from I still like the AoN scheme for a number of reasons but can see where other schemes can make sense depending on doctrine and likely usage. Going back to Baden certainly the German armor schemes displayed no massive inferiority in WWI indeed from my limited reading they held up very well. So what's wrong with the Baden scheme and why should an upgraded version of it be considered inferior?

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4349
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by alecsandros » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:29 pm

Hello,
I hoped somebody more informed than me would reply to this. No one did, probably out of boredom or for fear of causing another impossible to conclude topic.

Hope I don't start another sh*t storm around here.

Looking at the Bayern class design and Bismarck class design, several obvious similarities appear:

- the 4 x 2 x 38cm gun turrets
- the use of a lighter shell than contemporary foreign 38cm guns, which favored a higher rate of fire (20sec fire cycle Bismarck, 23sec Bayern)
- the use of 2 categories of secondary artillery: 15cm + 8,8cm on Bayern; 15 cm + 10,5cm on Bismarck.
- the triple shaft arrangement
- the internal turtle-deck armor, joining the bottom of the vertical belt with the edge of the main armor deck
- the distribution of armor in the main belt into 3 sections: upper, middle, lower (170mm for both designs)
- the 350mm front-turret armor and upper-barbette armor thickness (350mm Bayern, 340mm Bismarck)
- the 350mm thick armor of the main control tower

My superficial impression is that the Bayern was a very cool design for its time, and worth taking "to the next level" into World War 2. If I would HAVE to find something "faulty", it would probably be the resources invested into protecting the ship were much more than those involved in arming it...

The main differences between Bayern and Bismarck are qualitative aspects... The armor quality on Bismarck was much better than the one on Bayern; the communications, electrical power plant, turbine power, and overall integration of the weapons and communication systems were much better on Bismarck.
Speed, stability on heavy seas, gun performance, range, on-board sensors, were much more advanced on Bismarck...

Thorsten Wahl
Senior Member
Posts: 751
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:03 pm

20sec fire cycle Bismarck
official figure 2 shots per gun and minute in continuous operation
regardless from this, the ammo hoists were designed for a 23 sek loading cyle and achieved ~18 sek during the testing in 1941

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
the 350 mm Baden Fh armor was considered as relatively save at battledistances against projectiles of this timeframe
the turtle distribution was not considered as ballistic protection against perforations of the vertical armor -only splinter protection

during the next 20 years there was a considerable development in AP ammunition
the 1916 38 cm 750 kg AP-projektile was able to pierce ~330 mm Fh-armor at around 16.5 km whilst the
1940 38 cm 800 kg AP-projectile was able to pierce the same thickness of armor hat distances around 26 km.
additional improvements in firecontrol and the air-thread required a strengthening of the horizontal protection.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Excerpt from "Unterlagen zur Bestimmung der Hauptkampfentfernung..."

Based on the experience of Worldwar I and as a result of the development of weapons, armor protection has been improved primarily in the following aspects:

against hits that can occur on large distances and correspondingly large angles of incidence against the armordeck
against bomb attacks

These two reasons force you to use a significantly larger portion of the armor weight on the horizontal protection and barbettes, but the total proportion of armor to the total weight can not be increased substantially. The barbettes must, if they are not covered by closed casemates, etc., go through at full strength about the main armored deck, as in the case of larger angles of fall of these parts are not completely covered by the side armor. By this new distribution of the armor, it is not possible to make the belt armor so strong, that it cannot be penetrated by “heil” projectiles.

It must therefore be sought, to integrate also the horizontal armor in the system of vertical protection. If this can be achieved, it is possible, at least on the main combat distances to keep the destructive impact away of vital parts of the ship.

The strongest armored deck therefore has to be lay as deep as possible with a flat slope as possible to the lower edge of the main belt, but, unlike previously, now so strong that even projectiles, wich penetrates the belt with a significant surplus of speed and hit the slope, can not penetrate, but get breaked or dismissed.

On the other side the armored deck itself cannot be made as strong to prevent any penetration of projectiles that hit the armored deck directly at the highest distances, because such a substantial reinforcement of the armoured deck, that it also protects against the heaviest AP- shells at larger angles of incidence seems impossible for large parts of the vessel from weight issues . By increasing thickness of armor plate its only possible, to push out the distance at which penetration occurs.

Regarding the safety of horizontal protection against penetration, it should be noted that results at relatively small impact angles can only be an indication for expected penetration. Small material variations frequently have a great impact, so for example, differences in the cap shape (cap removal) and hardness (of the plate) can affect penetration abilities in such a way, that in one case, the projectile enters the plate and in the other case, under otherwise the same conditions, ie at the same impact velocity, but with different cap, the projectile will be rejected. Also, the values, both of the angle as well as the impact speed at which a projectile is dismissed or just penetrates the plate, often influenced each other so closely, that they can not be separated exactly. A further contributing factor is, that in cases of relatively low impact angles, the elusive nature of straightening up of the projectile has even more influence, than at larger impact angles. This effect can be found especially when several plates have to be penetrated. It is even also possible that the projectile enters the plate with an angle to the direction of flight, so it has to penetrate with a much larger cross section.

I posted this somwhere on this board

In contradiction to these comments the penetration expectations of the "Unterlagen zur Bestimmung der Hauptkampfentfernung..."
did not consider the textually mentioned features by a certain value as the increased ballistic protection by exploitation of projectile-performance degrading effects may be nullified by a proper designed projectile.

To my knowlwdge there was no ww2 projectile designe that was unaffected by the degrading effects
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4349
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by alecsandros » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:22 am

Gettting back to the original question, I don't think there was anything "wrong" with Bayern class in the First World War. They were good sturdy ships that fought well.

The critics are trying to prove that Bismarck was nothing more than an "upgraded Bayern", probably trying to sneak into the argument the idea that Bismarck was in fact a 30 years old design, far behind other contemporaries in terms of battleship design.

Focusing strictly on the "upgraded Bayern" idea, I guess it's a matter of defining the "upgrade". After all, all battleships in existence can be viewed as "upgrades" of the Dreadnought class design.

In this particular case, I honestly admit that is beyond me to compare the 2 classes in terms of consequence and to draw a conclusion as to how much of a Bayern was Bismarck...

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by lwd » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:38 pm

alecsandros wrote:... The critics are trying to prove that Bismarck was nothing more than an "upgraded Bayern", probably trying to sneak into the argument the idea that Bismarck was in fact a 30 years old design, far behind other contemporaries in terms of battleship design. ...
I believe you are correct here I just wonder why the otherside seems to buy into this theory. If you are going to argue that there are better or at least different but equivalant schemes why seem to agree that the Baden scheme is at best antiquated? My knowledge of WWI designs is pretty limited but the photo of Sedlitz returning to harbor after Jutland is not one I'm likely to forget.

ede144
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:09 pm

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by ede144 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:32 pm

lwd wrote:
alecsandros wrote:... The critics are trying to prove that Bismarck was nothing more than an "upgraded Bayern", probably trying to sneak into the argument the idea that Bismarck was in fact a 30 years old design, far behind other contemporaries in terms of battleship design. ...
I believe you are correct here I just wonder why the otherside seems to buy into this theory. If you are going to argue that there are better or at least different but equivalant schemes why seem to agree that the Baden scheme is at best antiquated? My knowledge of WWI designs is pretty limited but the photo of Sedlitz returning to harbor after Jutland is not one I'm likely to forget.
At least Sydlitz got home, Queen Mary did not.

Regards
ede

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by lwd » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:06 pm

That of course was the point I was making. The fact that a ship that took that much damage could make it safely back to harbor speaks well of the survivability of the ship which has further implications as to the quality of the armor scheme if it isn't direct evidence of said quality. The WWI German ships seem to have been very well regarded in their armor layouts at the time from all I've read.

ede144
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:09 pm

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by ede144 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:26 pm

lwd wrote:That of course was the point I was making. The fact that a ship that took that much damage could make it safely back to harbor speaks well of the survivability of the ship which has further implications as to the quality of the armor scheme if it isn't direct evidence of said quality. The WWI German ships seem to have been very well regarded in their armor layouts at the time from all I've read.
Then we are in line with this and can agree also that there was nothing wrong with Baden and Bayern. Which supports my opinion that the Bismarck class was a very good class of battle ships and not merely a battle cruiser as some one regarded her.

Regards
ede

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by lwd » Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:23 pm

ede144 wrote: .... Which supports my opinion that the Bismarck class was a very good class of battle ships
Actually it doesn't although I think the Bismarck's were good ships the support for that is found elsewhere on this forum.
and not merely a battle cruiser as some one regarded her. ...
I suggest thate "merely" is not a good term to describe battle cruisers in any case. As for Bismarck I've never seen anyone make a good case for her being considered such. Often people refer to the twins as such and depending on your definition of battle cruiser I've seen arguments (although tongue in cheek ones) for considering the Iowa as such. Never Bismarck though.

boredatwork
Member
Posts: 234
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:42 pm

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by boredatwork » Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:38 pm

lwd wrote:speaks well of the survivability of the ship which has further implications as to the quality of the armor scheme if it isn't direct evidence of said quality.
and/or speaks of the lack of quality of the weapons used to attack it.

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 4349
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by alecsandros » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:27 pm

boredatwork wrote:
and/or speaks of the lack of quality of the weapons used to attack it.
... relative to the quality of the defense of the target :D

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by lwd » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:11 pm

Britsh guns during the period had a pretty good rep I believe and they tended to be heavier than the German ones as I recall. So I don't think one can get very far with that.

User avatar
paulcadogan
Senior Member
Posts: 1100
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:03 am
Location: Kingston, Jamaica

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by paulcadogan » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:10 am

Wasn't there an issue with the quality of the British AP shells at Jutland - behaving more like HE and bursting on impact?
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

boredatwork
Member
Posts: 234
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:42 pm

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by boredatwork » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:52 pm

lwd wrote:Britsh guns during the period had a pretty good rep I believe and they tended to be heavier than the German ones as I recall. So I don't think one can get very far with that.
British guns had a good reputation, British shells on the otherhand did not.

IIRC they were never adequately tested prewar for penetration ability for oblique impacts. (High Explosive was expected to be used at longer range and AP used to finish off a target at close range.) Consequently at Dogger Bank and Jutland, where combat ranges were well in excess of pre-war predictions, numerous shells broke up or exploded without penetrating much lighter armour than they should have theorectically easily been capable of penetrating. (8" armour keeping out 15" shells for example)

To borrow a quote from Hipper: "it was nothing but the poor quality of their bursting charges which saved us from disaster"

When the RN heard German post Jutland reports as to the effectiveness of their shells (via a neutral third party) a committee was formed to investigate and solve the problem which, eventually (1918-1919) involved a completely new design of shell. Post war test against the Baden confirmed their effectiveness as well as confirmed the decision to adopt AoN in future battleships as the intermediate armour thicknesses did nothing to protect against the new shells.
alecsandros wrote:
boredatwork wrote:
and/or speaks of the lack of quality of the weapons used to attack it.
... relative to the quality of the defense of the target :D
No in absolute terms. Regardless of who they were fired at - German, Japanese, US, French, or other British ships British shells of 1916 preformed far below expectations - both theirs and the Germans. That's not necessarily to say the German ships weren't well designed - but rather just pointing out that it's impossible to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of one weapon system without putting it's performance in the context of the strength and weaknesses of the weapon systems opposing it.

For a similar example - relative to the quality of the weapons used to attack it the USS Hornet has one of the toughest TDS ever designed - after all the Americans put 9 torpedoes into her and couldn't sink her...

Djoser
Senior Member
Posts: 382
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:45 am
Location: Key West Florida USA

Re: What was wrong with the Baden?

Post by Djoser » Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:33 am

Really, if you want to trace antecedents accurately, it would be more accurate to say that Bismarck was a further development of the Mackensen or Ersatz York designs.

Though i think that this would be to over simplify the case. But the Germans certainly had the right idea in their development of the precursors of the 'Fast Battleship'.

Basically that is what they built when they built their battlecruisers, and as we all know, they built them very well...

Post Reply