Prince Eugane v AGS

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paul.mercer
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Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby paul.mercer » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:29 pm

Gentlemen,
Before anyone mentions it,I know both ships were on the same side!
I have always thought that PE was the epitome of a heavy cruiser as well as being a very good looking ship. What would be the result if she came across AGS or another comparable pocket battleship bearing in mind that it would appear that even comparably armed RN cruisers i.e. 8x8" do not seem to be so modern or up to date as PE. Was she heavier and better armoured than the pocket battleships like AGS and if so might she win?

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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby alecsandros » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:28 am

PE was heavier then AGS ( 15000 tons versus 13000 tons ), but that extra weight came from her length (210m vs 186m long), which in turn came from her bigger and stronger machinery (which propelled the ship at 32kts versus 28kts).

IN a direct match, I'd give AGS 70/30% chances, as her smaller battery (6 guns versus 8) had longer range (36 vs 33km) , and outputted heavier shells (300kg vs 118kg). PE did not have immunity zone against 283mm shells; AGS was somewhat protected against 203mm shells, for some parts of her hull, and for ranges outside 15km.

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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby Iranon » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:45 pm

The range advantage may be smaller than expected.
The Admiral Hipper class carried essentially the same fire control suite as contemporary battleships, and her 20,3cm guns were accurate enough at range to make use out of it... the class displayed far better shooting than heavy cruisers of other nations.
Time of flight also doesn't appear to be a crippling disadvantage (36s at 20km, 51s at 25km).

AGS is less vulnerable to 20,3cm shells than Prinz Eugen is to 28cm ones... but that's somewhat compensated by number of guns and, probably, effective rate of fire (the Germans didn't always wait to spot between salvos). These ships could hurt one another, badly.

I'd still put my money on AGS. 8" cruisers were unfortunate compromises, common for political rather than technical reasons. Maybe this is more true of the Admiral Hipper class than most - having to succeed a less constrained class, they turned out larger and more sophisticated ships than reasonable for the package.

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RF
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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby RF » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:52 pm

Interesting proposition.

I think the key here is whoever lands the first heavy hit will win.
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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby paul.mercer » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:11 pm

RF wrote:Interesting proposition.

I think the key here is whoever lands the first heavy hit will win.


I was wondering about a hail of shells from 8x8"would obviate the heavier 11", in other words smother the nominally more powerful AGS, knocking out vital systems. I know Exeter only had 6x8" but did any of her 8" shells do much damage to AGS, as it seemed that it was the accumulative effect of the 6" from the other ships that forced her to retreat, so would the rate of fire from PE have the same result?

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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby alecsandros » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:46 am

... FWIK, there was no essential damage caused by 8" gunfire to AGS during the battle.

Instead, AGS crippled Exeter in about 14 minutes of firing, scoring 5 direct hits and 1 crippling near miss (in that time interval), leaving Exeter with only 2 x 203mm workable guns (on local control), bridge destroyed and max speed 18kts. Repairs on Exeter lasted 13months.

paul.mercer
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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby paul.mercer » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:29 pm

alecsandros wrote:... FWIK, there was no essential damage caused by 8" gunfire to AGS during the battle.

Instead, AGS crippled Exeter in about 14 minutes of firing, scoring 5 direct hits and 1 crippling near miss (in that time interval), leaving Exeter with only 2 x 203mm workable guns (on local control), bridge destroyed and max speed 18kts. Repairs on Exeter lasted 13months.


Ouch!
Not much chance for PE then. Was the amour on AGS that much heavier than PE?

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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby alecsandros » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:57 am

paul.mercer wrote:Ouch! Not much chance for PE then. Was the amour on AGS that much heavier than PE?


In my opinion no,
but the key was what would the shell do when encountering the armor. When the 283mm APC shells from AGS come crushing against the 105+30mm (thickest portions) armor belt of PE, that armor can't do much. Conversely though, when the 203mm APC shells of PE come against the 100mm+40mm (thickest portions of AGS belt, declined at 20deg), the shell has good chances of NOT getting inside the ship.

There is also the aspect of damage produced. When the 283mm shells (300kg) explode inside the ship, they cause tremendous damage; not so much of the 203mm shots from PE (118kg).

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RF
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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby RF » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:17 am

paul.mercer wrote:
RF wrote:Interesting proposition.

I think the key here is whoever lands the first heavy hit will win.


I was wondering about a hail of shells from 8x8"would obviate the heavier 11", in other words smother the nominally more powerful AGS, knocking out vital systems. I know Exeter only had 6x8" but did any of her 8" shells do much damage to AGS, as it seemed that it was the accumulative effect of the 6" from the other ships that forced her to retreat, so would the rate of fire from PE have the same result?


Rasenack records in his book that Exeter's two hits did far more damage compared to the individual six inch shell hits of Ajax and Achilles; the eight inch hits significantly influenced Langsdorf's later decision to scuttle. Rasenack further observed that a slightly different angle of impact of the second eight inch hit would have put the shell into one of the AGS engine rooms, where a detonation there would have had a catastrophic impact and would have altered the course of the battle.

Rasenack also mentioned that the Germans first thought the Exeter shells contained some form of mustard gas. This was derived from the detonation damage burn marks, but the view was incorrect. The use of such a shell would be illegal under international law.
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RF
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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby RF » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:33 am

alecsandros wrote:
paul.mercer wrote:Ouch! Not much chance for PE then. Was the amour on AGS that much heavier than PE?


In my opinion no,


Millington-Drakes book details that there was a chance in early September 1939 of the county class cruiser Cumberland meeting AGS, but a chance alteration of course by AGS avoided it, neither ship sighting the other.
Rasenack, on discovering this after WW2, said that if the encounter had happened he felt there would have been a real risk of the AGS raiding cruise coming to an end before it started. He considered that the eight inch guns posed a real threat.
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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby alecsandros » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:41 am

RF wrote:Rasenack, on discovering this after WW2, said that if the encounter had happened he felt there would have been a real risk of the AGS raiding cruise coming to an end before it started. He considered that the eight inch guns posed a real threat.

Surely they posed a real threat, especialy at such a long distance from home.

AGS wasn't particularly well armored, and didn't have the speed necessary to avoid battle. Her advantage lay in her heavy guns...

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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby RF » Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:18 pm

Apart from being not that well armoured (I do find the title of ''panzerschiffe'' rather bemusing) AGS also had a relatively slow rate of fire for the 11 inch guns. Also the 5.9 inch guns had their own gunnery direction problems - they were totally ineffective at the River Plate battle.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby Iranon » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:48 pm

"Panzerschiff" was a political name, Article 190, Treaty of Versailles:

Germany is forbidden to construct or acquire any warships other than those intended to replace the units in commission provided for in Article 181 of the present Treaty.

The warships intended for replacement purposes as above shall not exceed the following displacement:

Armoured ships 10,000 tons
Light cruisers 6,000 tons
Destroyers 800 tons
Torpedo boats 200 tons


Intention was probably that Germany would build something like the Sverige class, with limited blue water or power projection capability. They built something completely different, and from the PoV of the RN, far scarier

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RF
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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby RF » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:09 am

Agreed, far scarier.

The KM would have done better to have not built the Hipper class cruisers but more of the ''pocket battleships'' instead.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Prince Eugane v AGS

Postby Iranon » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:12 am

They would have preferred to do so, but in the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935 they limited themselves to 35% of British tonnage in total and in each category, and to restrict themselves to the same classification system.

That ruled out more "pocket battleships" if sticking to the spirit of it, which was one of the priority of the British who very much wanted highly regulated shipbuilding internationally (an arms race could be very expensive for them with their worldwide commitments). Goodwill issues aside, any "pocket battleships" would come out battleship tonnage.


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