Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:30 am

Paul L wrote:Hey Dave keep us posted about your book. Any clues as to its content?

It is about Kriegsmarine radar equipment and their use of the equipment. It will contain a lot information not commonly known.
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby RF » Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:02 am

Paul L wrote:Furbringer argued that only a multi dimensional threat with Uboats and Airpower at the heart ; had any chance of waging a successful naval war against the UK/Allies.


Such a multi-dimensional attack was never available to the KM. The closest they ever came to devising one was the Z Plan.

So mass U-boat attack was the only realistic option, especially after Rheinubung.
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Christian VII. » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:23 pm

Based on the information I've been able to gather from various books and experts on this forum, it seems to me that the Prinz Eugen probably was the best heavy cruiser of the war.

I certainly can't see where it would come second best to any other cruiser of the war. It featured state of the art fire control, featuring probably the best combination of optical & radar FC equipment available, and its main armament was deadly even to a BB.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby alecsandros » Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:19 pm

Christian VII. wrote:Based on the information I've been able to gather from various books and experts on this forum, it seems to me that the Prinz Eugen probably was the best heavy cruiser of the war.

I certainly can't see where it would come second best to any other cruiser of the war. It featured state of the art fire control, featuring probably the best combination of optical & radar FC equipment available, and its main armament was deadly even to a BB.

... I have the same impression.
The only true competitors in a 1v1 engagement that I can think of would be Baltimore and Graf Spee class. But Graf Spee wasn't a typical heavy cruiser - 8" gunship - but somewhere in between heavy cruisers and battlecruisers.
Baltimore was comparable in size with Prinz Eugen, and had heavier armor, and 1 extra gun.
fire control and radar systems were comparable, with the Prinz having a higher level of redundancy.

Gun range was smaller than that of Prinz Eugen (28 vs 34km), thus accuracy was probably lower for firings between 17-20km - and that's were the Prinz should have a theoretical advantage.

At shorter ranges - 15km or less - Baltimore should have an edge though.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Christian VII. » Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:16 pm

Good sum up Alecsandros, I have to agree.

Prinz Eugen wins at long range, but the Baltimore catches up at medium range due to its larger amount of guns (esp. secondary).

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Steve Crandell » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:31 pm

If you are comparing all around ship capability, Baltimore had a more reliable power plant and a better AA battery.

Edit: As the range decreases, PE has an additional advantage of faster firing main battery guns.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Christian VII. » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:06 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:If you are comparing all around ship capability, Baltimore had a more reliable power plant and a better AA battery.

Edit: As the range decreases, PE has an additional advantage of faster firing main battery guns.


Yeah the PE was overall the better in a ship on ship battle, esp. at long ranges, but if aircraft are involved the Baltimore would benefit from its larger number of AA guns.

As for the reliability of the powerplant, I can't say. Wasn't it sorted out by 1944?

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Garyt » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:18 am

Penetration for the guns won't make much of a difference between the two, as Heavy Cruiser main guns usually penetrate heavy cruiser type armor at most ranges.

Biggest factors in a gun battle would be fire control and number of guns, pretty well in that order.

The armor on the Heavy cruisers could provide protection from secondary armaments at many ranges though. Other than perhaps Japanese cruisers, who had surprisingly thin turret armor and were vulnerable to 5" shells.

I's still have to throw the Mogami into the mix against the other 2 though. Optical fire control was as good or better than the other 2 cruisers, though it lacked an integrated radar controlled system. The Mogami class also outguns the Baltimore and Hipper with 10x8" barrels. I'd have to say that Japanese training for night fighting should hold them in good stead depending upon when the encounter occurs and somewhat counter opposing radar fire control. And by 44, the Japanese dispersion on their 8" weapons was very good (or very small depending on how you want to say it). Throw in the Long Lance torpedoes, which are very much a game changer and I think the Mogami would aquit itself well. Don't forget the Baltimore has nothing for torpedoes.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Steve Crandell » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:56 am

Garyt wrote:Penetration for the guns won't make much of a difference between the two, as Heavy Cruiser main guns usually penetrate heavy cruiser type armor at most ranges.

Biggest factors in a gun battle would be fire control and number of guns, pretty well in that order.

The armor on the Heavy cruisers could provide protection from secondary armaments at many ranges though. Other than perhaps Japanese cruisers, who had surprisingly thin turret armor and were vulnerable to 5" shells.

I's still have to throw the Mogami into the mix against the other 2 though. Optical fire control was as good or better than the other 2 cruisers, though it lacked an integrated radar controlled system. The Mogami class also outguns the Baltimore and Hipper with 10x8" barrels. I'd have to say that Japanese training for night fighting should hold them in good stead depending upon when the encounter occurs and somewhat counter opposing radar fire control. And by 44, the Japanese dispersion on their 8" weapons was very good (or very small depending on how you want to say it). Throw in the Long Lance torpedoes, which are very much a game changer and I think the Mogami would aquit itself well. Don't forget the Baltimore has nothing for torpedoes.


Baltimore has something for torpedoes :). An 8" shell in the tubes, which is about the same as a magazine explosion.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Garyt » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:49 am

Baltimore has something for torpedoes :). An 8" shell in the tubes, which is about the same as a magazine explosion.


That is indeed true :D

I go back and forth as to the value of long lance torpedoes on a heavy cruiser. On a destroyer, even a light cruiser it makes sense. You have weapons capable of sinking a BB, and a destroyers magazine has no real armor protection anyway, so it already has in essence an exposed magazine, the same thing that having torpedoes on deck also accomplishes. Even on a light cruiser it's not a bad idea. On a heavy cruiser though you have armor capable of defending the vessel against 5" shells, but a 5" shell hit on the torpedoes gives you that exposed magazine situation, like the Chokai at Samar.

But it gives one heck of an extra offensive punch.

Used in the "decisive battle" plan the Japanese planned on using, it makes great sense. Against an enemy main battle line it makes great sense. Having on deck when bomb though it is purely a liability, and against destroyers or the like it can be a liability.

But it matches the Japanese Navy philosophy pretty well. Pack a great offensive punch, but be a bit light of defense. This sums up much of the Japanese Navy, from Kido Butai to the A6M2 Zero.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Steve Crandell » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:34 am

I also believe that 6" of armor is sufficient to stop 8" at some common battle ranges, particularly if the ship is presenting other than a broadside aspect to the opponent, and that was highly encouraged. I believe 30 to 45 degrees angle off was more common.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Garyt » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:25 pm

Good point Steve, was not thinking about the angle of deflection other than the belt incline.

I think with the angle you speak of there would be protection roughly outside of about 8000 meters with a Baltimore 8" gun firing on a Baltimore class CA, though there are a ton of other variables involved also (upper belt, mid or lower belt, around the magazines or machinery, etc. etc.)

With a broadside aspect the 8" shell can penetrate at about double the above range, and at that range (16,000 or so meters) the possibility of a deck hit starts becomng about as likeley as a belt hit, with the chance of a deck hit increasing as range increases.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Paul L » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:12 am

RF wrote:
Paul L wrote:Furbringer argued that only a multi dimensional threat with Uboats and Airpower at the heart ; had any chance of waging a successful naval war against the UK/Allies.


Such a multi-dimensional attack was never available to the KM. The closest they ever came to devising one was the Z Plan.

So mass U-boat attack was the only realistic option, especially after Rheinubung.


Building Naval Plan 1932 was easily preferable to the historical surface fleet the KM ended up with in the late 1930s.

The "multi dimensional attack", Furbringer is referring to is mostly the LW and KM working together and certainly could have come to pass with the right effort. Given the strategic change that Hitler's "4 Year plan" forced on the LW- it only took a couple of years for them to completely change direction from massed multi engine-ed strategic bombers to larger numbers of tactical dive bombers instead.

Besides the LW loathed building a number of short-run seaplanes production lines, to support the KM. It would have been much cheaper to offer to build them a couple of better planes built in larger numbers over many years.

Better to offer them a long range multi engine-ed Condors instead. It would use the Same engines and aluminum as many of the seaplanes already in production for the KM historically . Some flying boats would still have to be built to use up the Ju-205 diesel engines production lines. So FW-200 & BV-138.

Added Side effect might be to kick Grand Admiral Raeder out of his delusional notion that major war with RN would not occur until the late 1940s.
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:10 pm

An 8" shell in the tubes, which is about the same as a magazine explosion.

the problem is, that Schießwolle 36 was (almost)completely insensitive for even direct hits and detonation of 20,3 cm HE-shells.
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Garyt » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:01 pm

the problem is, that Schießwolle 36 was (almost)completely insensitive for even direct hits and detonation of 20,3 cm HE-shells.


The Long Lance was an excellent torpedo, but on a Heavy Cruiser at least something more along the line of the above might have made more sense for the Japanese.

Just thought I'd add while a hit to the torpedoes can be devastating, it's not quite the same as a magazine detonation. I'd compare a magazine hit to a penetrating round, and compare an on deck torpedo detonation to a non penetrating round.


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