Books on British Battlecruisers?

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AdmiralSemmes
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Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by AdmiralSemmes » Mon Aug 24, 2020 2:04 pm

I'm looking for some book recommendations on the British battlecruisers - I'm aware of John Roberts' book, but I wondered if there were any other good books available. I would like it if there were an equivalent to Gary Staff's book on the German battlecruisers, but it doesn't there is one for the moment.

I was especially interested in ship service histories and crew anecdotes along with the obvious technical information.

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by wadinga » Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:54 am

Hello AdmiralSemmes,

On my shelves I have:

British and German Battlecruisers by Michele Constantino & Ruggero Stanglini
Clydebank Battlecruisers by Ian Johnston
Grand Fleet Battlecruisers by Steve Backer
Battlecruiser Invincible by V E Tarrant

For anecdotes the text of WW I book With the Battlecruisers by Filson Young might possibly be found on the web somewhere or maybe you will be lucky as I was to find an original copy complete with fold out maps in an antiquarian bookshop. It is packed with his personal experience and gives the real ethos of the times in what was then considered the Elite Striking Force of the Royal Navy. Everything since written is somewhat tainted with 100 years of heavy-handed Hindsight. There was an attempt to reprint by a short lived company called Endeavour Press, but I don't think it ever happened.

Happy Reading

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by HMSVF » Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:09 pm

wadinga wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:54 am
Hello AdmiralSemmes,

On my shelves I have:

British and German Battlecruisers by Michele Constantino & Ruggero Stanglini
Clydebank Battlecruisers by Ian Johnston
Grand Fleet Battlecruisers by Steve Backer
Battlecruiser Invincible by V E Tarrant

For anecdotes the text of WW I book With the Battlecruisers by Filson Young might possibly be found on the web somewhere or maybe you will be lucky as I was to find an original copy complete with fold out maps in an antiquarian bookshop. It is packed with his personal experience and gives the real ethos of the times in what was then considered the Elite Striking Force of the Royal Navy. Everything since written is somewhat tainted with 100 years of heavy-handed Hindsight. There was an attempt to reprint by a short lived company called Endeavour Press, but I don't think it ever happened.

Happy Reading

All the best

wadinga
I have a copy of Filson Youngs book so I can only assume that for a period the book was reprinted. It's interesting as it gives an insight into Beatty and the events up to Dogger Bank,personally I don't think its the most even handed, but it is a good read. I have John Roberts's book (which was also reprinted recently) and it is a good read. Burt's books are good for the technical side of things and they give a good account of damage received. For anecdotes and stories I would read "Jutland, 1916: Death in the Grey Wastes". It is basically a collection of accounts from those who fought at Jutland including survivors from HMS Queen Mary (which is horrific).

Online you used to be able to find Lieutenant Grants (Gunnery officer on HMS Lion) accounts of his time on HMS Lion. An interesting read (if you can find it) as he is probably the reason that HMS Lion didn't disappear in the manner of HMS Indefatigable,Queen Mary and Invincible.

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by AdmiralSemmes » Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:05 am

wadinga wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:54 am
Hello AdmiralSemmes,

On my shelves I have:

British and German Battlecruisers by Michele Constantino & Ruggero Stanglini
Clydebank Battlecruisers by Ian Johnston
Grand Fleet Battlecruisers by Steve Backer
Battlecruiser Invincible by V E Tarrant

For anecdotes the text of WW I book With the Battlecruisers by Filson Young might possibly be found on the web somewhere or maybe you will be lucky as I was to find an original copy complete with fold out maps in an antiquarian bookshop. It is packed with his personal experience and gives the real ethos of the times in what was then considered the Elite Striking Force of the Royal Navy. Everything since written is somewhat tainted with 100 years of heavy-handed Hindsight. There was an attempt to reprint by a short lived company called Endeavour Press, but I don't think it ever happened.

Happy Reading

All the best

wadinga
HMSVF wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:09 pm
wadinga wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:54 am
Hello AdmiralSemmes,

On my shelves I have:

British and German Battlecruisers by Michele Constantino & Ruggero Stanglini
Clydebank Battlecruisers by Ian Johnston
Grand Fleet Battlecruisers by Steve Backer
Battlecruiser Invincible by V E Tarrant

For anecdotes the text of WW I book With the Battlecruisers by Filson Young might possibly be found on the web somewhere or maybe you will be lucky as I was to find an original copy complete with fold out maps in an antiquarian bookshop. It is packed with his personal experience and gives the real ethos of the times in what was then considered the Elite Striking Force of the Royal Navy. Everything since written is somewhat tainted with 100 years of heavy-handed Hindsight. There was an attempt to reprint by a short lived company called Endeavour Press, but I don't think it ever happened.

Happy Reading

All the best

wadinga
I have a copy of Filson Youngs book so I can only assume that for a period the book was reprinted. It's interesting as it gives an insight into Beatty and the events up to Dogger Bank,personally I don't think its the most even handed, but it is a good read. I have John Roberts's book (which was also reprinted recently) and it is a good read. Burt's books are good for the technical side of things and they give a good account of damage received. For anecdotes and stories I would read "Jutland, 1916: Death in the Grey Wastes". It is basically a collection of accounts from those who fought at Jutland including survivors from HMS Queen Mary (which is horrific).

Online you used to be able to find Lieutenant Grants (Gunnery officer on HMS Lion) accounts of his time on HMS Lion. An interesting read (if you can find it) as he is probably the reason that HMS Lion didn't disappear in the manner of HMS Indefatigable,Queen Mary and Invincible.
Thanks, both of you. Now off to find memoirs for the German battlecruisers...

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by wadinga » Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:15 pm

Hi Admiral Semmes,

Do you have Gary Staff's other books on Skagerrak and the "Seven Seas" book on the cruiser campaign?

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by AdmiralSemmes » Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:58 pm

wadinga wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:15 pm
Hi Admiral Semmes,

Do you have Gary Staff's other books on Skagerrak and the "Seven Seas" book on the cruiser campaign?

All the best

wadinga
I had no idea Staff had written other books on Skagerrak besides the one! As to the other, I've been focusing on the North Sea battles for the past while, but I have been meaning to get around to the other campaigns, thank you for the recommendation.

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by wadinga » Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:08 pm

Hi Admiral Semmes,

The two books are "Skagerrak: The Battle of Jutland Through German Eyes" pub 2016, and "Battle of the Seven Seas: German Cruiser Battles 1914-18" pub 2011.

Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and the Courageeous/Glorious 1917 actions are covered as well as Goeben's activities in the 2011 book. There is much of value in both books if one is prepared to ignore Mr Staff's rabid anti-British flavourings. It is particularly entertaining when he describes Korvetten Kapitan Von Hase as "an Anglophile" while quoting extensively from Von Hase's own book, whilst also calling parts of his account "pure fantasy". It seems Mr Staff considers Von Hase a little too generous at times towards the Royal Navy. :D

KK Von Hase was seemingly an unreconstructed German Imperialist whose book begins thus:
WE Germans are faced with a cruel fate. Our German youth will grow up in an enslaved Germany in which foreign Powers are compelling us to work for them. We shall see how the Anglo- Saxon will look scornfully down upon us. Even Frenchmen, Italians, and representatives of other races which are inferior to us intellectually, morally and physically, will pluck up courage to regard us Germans as brute barbarians, rightly punished for their crimes.
In relating events from my old professional days my aim is to do something towards filling young Germany with the same pride in our Fatherland which inspired us grown-ups before we had to draw our sword against a world of enemies. It was with that proud feeling that we were in no way inferior to any nation upon earth that we fought during four long years and stepped from victory to victory until we finally collapsed when men of our own race, essentially un-German, knocked our weapons out of our hands in the moment of betrayal.
The last part sounds much like the writings of another bitter German ex-serviceman, writing a few years later in his own book, Mein Kampf :shock:

In another part, Von Hase ( remember, the Anglophile) specifically says:
But the English will have no interest in giving to posterity an unvarnished account of the details of this battle, so inglorious for them.
The full text of Von Hase's book can be found at https://archive.org/stream/kieljutland ... t_djvu.txt and an enjoyable "flip the page" reproduction including maps and photos at https://archive.org/details/kieljutland ... 5/mode/2up

Another uncritical cheerleader for the imperial German Navy is the improbably named Holloway Halstead Frost, a US Naval officer whose 1930s Jutland book is quoted extensively by Staff, since like him it accuses Jellicoe of dilatory behaviour bordering on cowardice, accepts uncritically all Scheer's later re-imaginings of what actually happened and unequivocally awards the High Seas Fleet a significant victory. Cheerleader? Well he apparently wrote "Hats off to Hipper!" as a comment.

It seems Von Hase attracts Staff's ire because he describes in detail the order to conduct a "Death-Ride" for the already shattered battle-cruisers and endorses the instruction to Ram and this detracts from the cool. calm command style Staff wishes to attribute to Scheer. However the bizarre order was countermanded by Scheer moments later, indicative of the confused muddle the High Seas fleet found itself as it marched and countermarched under a devastating cannonade, to which it could hardly reply, before scooting for home at top speed.

Both Frost and Staff accept uncritically Scheer's frankly ludicrous assertion that he risked the entire fleet's survival to offer some succour to the crippled Wiesbaden. He didn't deliver any, by the way, and just got his T crossed a second time.

Von Hase, whose book was criticized by Scheer, actually supported his Fleet Commander's later invention, that the run to the Horns Reef was just so they could fight a second victorious day on the 1st of June in German coastal waters with the benefit of minefields and some reinforcements, however he admits the reality when he says:
But by the battle of Skagerrak the fulfilment of our task was frustrated. By not attacking on 1st June our fleet heading for the German
mine-fields and home ports, Jellicoe kept uninterrupted the mastery of the seas. Why should he, in this strategic game of chess, choose a mutual sacrifice of pieces when his position was such that the mating of the enemy was bound to follow ?
"Uninterrupted Mastery of the Seas" and the enemy, ie the High Seas Fleet-"checkmated". Von Hase realised the Battle of Jutand was not a game of Top Trumps but chess, and relative losses of pieces, even valuable pieces, were irrelevant. The High Seas Fleet had indeed assaulted its gaoler bur remained firmly in prison. Mr Staff did not agree.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by AdmiralSemmes » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:12 pm

wadinga wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:08 pm
Hi Admiral Semmes,

I'll readily confess to having something of a bias myself toward the Kaiserliche Marine, so I won't condemn Staff too harshly for the same sins. I would agree with him that Scheer was a much better commander than many give him credit for being - the 180° turn when he had his T crossed the first time was a masterful bit of maneuvering.

Regarding the "Death Ride" order, he may not have realized at the time just how much danger the BCs would be in if they made their charge, hence he immediately tried to countermand once he saw the danger. Jutland was such a confused battle that I wouldn't be surprised if that happened.

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by wadinga » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:57 pm

Hi Admiral Semmes,

Having a bit of bias as an enthusiast is one thing, flavouring what is supposedly a factual and well researched account which should be regarded as reliable is another. Mr Staff never misses an opportunity for a potshot at the RN, justified or otherwise.

For instance describing the sinking of Scharnhorst in "Battle on the Seven Seas" he says
There was no attempt to rescue any of the survivors.
Without allowing that the chase and battle with Gneisenau was still underway and would continue for another two hours. KzS Maerker, commander of that ship, could have accepted the inevitable fate awaiting his vessel, surrendered at that point and preserved lives. Even at the last when Gneisenau is deliberately scuttled with her flag flying, and thus her survivors must jump into the freezing waters the author cannot avoid a final jibe.
Of her crew 598 were lost, many from exposure after the sinking, but 187 were saved.
The blatant implication is that the British were tardy in helping survivors, whereas more balanced accounts mention the battle damage to the battlecruisers' boats and Sturdee's admonition to HMS Carnarvon to get her undamaged boats out more quickly. Gneisenau's commander could have hauled down his ensign, raised the white flag, and minimised the time his men spent in the water, at the risk of allowing his sinking wreck to fall into the hands of the enemy hundreds of miles from harbour in worsening weather rendering the chance of salvage miniscule.

This not the only example of Mr Staff deliberately besmirching the RN attitude to rescuing German survivors. In his account of the Heligoland Bight battle the cruiser Coln is blasted to destruction by Beatty's battlecruisers. Again the ship is deliberately scuttled to avoid the potential "ignominy" of capture, but in this case:
The German sailors swimming in the water expected to be picked up by their opponents, but it was a vain hope, only Oberheizer Neumann was picked up by his own comrades 72 hours later, all the others who had survived the sinking perished.
This battle took place very close to German naval bases (c 26 miles) several other German cruisers and destroyers were in the immediate area and heavy ships left harbour to engage the British as soon as possible, and yet Beatty is supposed to stop and pick up German survivors when there are plenty of "their comrades" about to do the job? Whose rescue efforts were tardy in this case?

When HMAS Sydney engages the beached and damaged Emden because she made no answer when requested to surrender twice and kept her ensign flying , Mr Staff virtually terms it a war crime when Captain Glossop re-engages. Of course as soon as the ensign comes down and white flags are shown, firing ceases and Glossop offers every help to the survivors. Yet when Nurnberg comes across the wallowing, crippled Monmouth at the end of Coronel, it is perfectly in order for her to unleash a storm of fire, since the flag is still flying. When Monmouth has sunk, Mr Staff repeats without comment Nurnberg's limp excuses about fear of other British ships (there were none), rough seas and boats filled with water as a fire precaution as reasons not to bother about looking for survivors. It appears no one looked for survivors from HMS Good Hope either.

Mr Staff is at liberty to describe Scheer as some kind of tactical genius and to laud the various battle turn aways which resulted in ships stopping or even, like his flagship, turning the opposite way to his order to avoid collisions. Perhaps a more balanced view would be impressed, as many are, by Jellicoe switching from cruising columns to line of battle with very little fuss and then crossing his enemy's T.

There seems to be a tendency to embrace these revisionist approaches, simply because they give a "fresh" and different point of view, often by simply leaving out established facts which are inconvenient to the agenda being presented.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by AdmiralSemmes » Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:28 pm

Somewhat related question, but does anyone know if the HMS New Zealand had a larger than normal number of New Zealanders in her crew?

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by wadinga » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:26 pm

Hi Admiral Semmes,

This article http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarl ... vy-c1.html suggests there were very few if any New Zealanders in HMS New Zealand although the ship's construction was financed by the colony. The first NZ "boys for training" were embarked in HMS Philomel in 1914. There was of course an RN pre-Dreadnought renamed HMS Zealandia to free the name for this new battle-cruiser.

As many sources relate, HMS New Zealand deployed powerful Maori magic as additional protection in the form of a straw skirt and an amulet to be worn in battle by the Captain, to protect the ship from injury. It seems it was pretty successful.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by HMSVF » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:12 pm

wadinga wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:08 pm
Hi Admiral Semmes,

The two books are "Skagerrak: The Battle of Jutland Through German Eyes" pub 2016, and "Battle of the Seven Seas: German Cruiser Battles 1914-18" pub 2011.

Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank and the Courageeous/Glorious 1917 actions are covered as well as Goeben's activities in the 2011 book. There is much of value in both books if one is prepared to ignore Mr Staff's rabid anti-British flavourings. It is particularly entertaining when he describes Korvetten Kapitan Von Hase as "an Anglophile" while quoting extensively from Von Hase's own book, whilst also calling parts of his account "pure fantasy". It seems Mr Staff considers Von Hase a little too generous at times towards the Royal Navy. :D

KK Von Hase was seemingly an unreconstructed German Imperialist whose book begins thus:
WE Germans are faced with a cruel fate. Our German youth will grow up in an enslaved Germany in which foreign Powers are compelling us to work for them. We shall see how the Anglo- Saxon will look scornfully down upon us. Even Frenchmen, Italians, and representatives of other races which are inferior to us intellectually, morally and physically, will pluck up courage to regard us Germans as brute barbarians, rightly punished for their crimes.
In relating events from my old professional days my aim is to do something towards filling young Germany with the same pride in our Fatherland which inspired us grown-ups before we had to draw our sword against a world of enemies. It was with that proud feeling that we were in no way inferior to any nation upon earth that we fought during four long years and stepped from victory to victory until we finally collapsed when men of our own race, essentially un-German, knocked our weapons out of our hands in the moment of betrayal.
The last part sounds much like the writings of another bitter German ex-serviceman, writing a few years later in his own book, Mein Kampf :shock:

In another part, Von Hase ( remember, the Anglophile) specifically says:
But the English will have no interest in giving to posterity an unvarnished account of the details of this battle, so inglorious for them.
The full text of Von Hase's book can be found at https://archive.org/stream/kieljutland ... t_djvu.txt and an enjoyable "flip the page" reproduction including maps and photos at https://archive.org/details/kieljutland ... 5/mode/2up

Another uncritical cheerleader for the imperial German Navy is the improbably named Holloway Halstead Frost, a US Naval officer whose 1930s Jutland book is quoted extensively by Staff, since like him it accuses Jellicoe of dilatory behaviour bordering on cowardice, accepts uncritically all Scheer's later re-imaginings of what actually happened and unequivocally awards the High Seas Fleet a significant victory. Cheerleader? Well he apparently wrote "Hats off to Hipper!" as a comment.

It seems Von Hase attracts Staff's ire because he describes in detail the order to conduct a "Death-Ride" for the already shattered battle-cruisers and endorses the instruction to Ram and this detracts from the cool. calm command style Staff wishes to attribute to Scheer. However the bizarre order was countermanded by Scheer moments later, indicative of the confused muddle the High Seas fleet found itself as it marched and countermarched under a devastating cannonade, to which it could hardly reply, before scooting for home at top speed.

Both Frost and Staff accept uncritically Scheer's frankly ludicrous assertion that he risked the entire fleet's survival to offer some succour to the crippled Wiesbaden. He didn't deliver any, by the way, and just got his T crossed a second time.

Von Hase, whose book was criticized by Scheer, actually supported his Fleet Commander's later invention, that the run to the Horns Reef was just so they could fight a second victorious day on the 1st of June in German coastal waters with the benefit of minefields and some reinforcements, however he admits the reality when he says:
But by the battle of Skagerrak the fulfilment of our task was frustrated. By not attacking on 1st June our fleet heading for the German
mine-fields and home ports, Jellicoe kept uninterrupted the mastery of the seas. Why should he, in this strategic game of chess, choose a mutual sacrifice of pieces when his position was such that the mating of the enemy was bound to follow ?
"Uninterrupted Mastery of the Seas" and the enemy, ie the High Seas Fleet-"checkmated". Von Hase realised the Battle of Jutand was not a game of Top Trumps but chess, and relative losses of pieces, even valuable pieces, were irrelevant. The High Seas Fleet had indeed assaulted its gaoler bur remained firmly in prison. Mr Staff did not agree.

All the best

wadinga
Afternoon Wadinga,

Have you got Siegfried Breyers mood on battleships. That is very partisan on Germany's battleships. Now I will freely admittedly that not all of the RN's capital ships were doozy's ( I'm looking at You HMS Indefatigable,Hercules and Lion - in original form!),Breyer I don't think mentions one bad design and puts Bayern if I remember correctly above the Q.E's. Really? I would say the best battlecruisers were undoubtably the Derfflinger's,the best battleships? Very difficult to argue against the Q.E's.

In regards to Sheer I remember reading an account from the battleship where one of his staff said that he hadn't got a clue where he was or what he was doing after the first turn away. I would argue that was probably the case as then rode straight back into the jaws of the Grand Fleet requiring a second battle turn away. To claim that this was somehow a deliberate attempt is best described by using the modern term "spin". He isn't alone as Beatty was the master of spin as seen in the fallout and subsequent Jutland scandal.

I think it's best getting various sources tbh and making deductions from that. I think that my experiences on this board over the last few years have confirmed this for me.


Best wishes

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by wadinga » Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:07 am

Hi There HMSVF,

Splendid, some spirited debate to take our minds off the depressing state of the world at the moment. :D
Breyer I don't think mentions one bad design
I am not surprised, German warships, as weapons systems alone, were probably unmatched. Unhindered by tradition and working from a blank sheet of paper but with the advantage of learning from the mistakes of others. Better subdivision for a start, enabling considerably superior damage control. Several German warships staggered home with severe torpedo or mine damage but a single mine saw off HMS Audacious, for instance. Intrinsically safer propellant handling with brass cased charges. Superior range finders. Vorsprung Durch Teknik.

An oft expressed excuse (spin) for British warships' design shortcomings was superior habitability. It has some truth. They were not designed solely around short range North Sea combat but were supposed to operate anywhere around the world giving crews reasonable living conditions. The Grand Fleet ships were sole residences for their crews in the bleak landscape of Scapa for month after month. Would German warship crews have remained efficient living in their tightly subdivided boxes for years on end in similar conditions? On this site there have been questions about German crews living in shoreside barracks for at least part of the time. Wilhelmshaven is not Scapa.

If you are compiling a list of British capital ships which are complete clunkers, how can you leave out Fisher's last generation aberrations? HMS Spurious, Outrageous and Uproarious? Not to mention HMS Refit and Repair. Their manifold shortcomings are itemised in the books I recommended. Fisher had correctly identified speed as a vital tactical advantage, seeing how Togo had sailed rings round the Russians at Tsushima, but it was never "protection".

As for Scheer "spinning" his lacklustre performance in post war reflections on the Skagerrakschlacht, it is to be expected, but just as Jellicoe and Beatty's shortcomings have been mercilessly exposed, the job of commentators like Frost and Staff should be to fairly subject German commanders to equal scrutiny. I suspect there was a touch of "Pulling the Lion's Tail" in Frost's account as an officer in a "friendly" rival navy. I find the bias in Staff's writing absolutely unconscionable. He writes as if he was employed in the Propaganda Kompanie of the Second Reich, 100 years after it was disbanded.
I think it's best getting various sources tbh and making deductions from that. I think that my experiences on this board over the last few years have confirmed this for me.
This is one of the wisest observations yet made. As we all interact on various matters we bring different points of view garnered from different sources. Anomalies may be identified, correlations confirmed and reality better defined.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by AdmiralSemmes » Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:31 am

Much though I love the Bayerns, I couldn't honestly say they were better overall compared to the QE's.

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by HMSVF » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:10 am

wadinga wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:07 am
Hi There HMSVF,

Splendid, some spirited debate to take our minds off the depressing state of the world at the moment. :D
Breyer I don't think mentions one bad design
I am not surprised, German warships, as weapons systems alone, were probably unmatched. Unhindered by tradition and working from a blank sheet of paper but with the advantage of learning from the mistakes of others. Better subdivision for a start, enabling considerably superior damage control. Several German warships staggered home with severe torpedo or mine damage but a single mine saw off HMS Audacious, for instance. Intrinsically safer propellant handling with brass cased charges. Superior range finders. Vorsprung Durch Teknik.

An oft expressed excuse (spin) for British warships' design shortcomings was superior habitability. It has some truth. They were not designed solely around short range North Sea combat but were supposed to operate anywhere around the world giving crews reasonable living conditions. The Grand Fleet ships were sole residences for their crews in the bleak landscape of Scapa for month after month. Would German warship crews have remained efficient living in their tightly subdivided boxes for years on end in similar conditions? On this site there have been questions about German crews living in shoreside barracks for at least part of the time. Wilhelmshaven is not Scapa.

I
f you are compiling a list of British capital ships which are complete clunkers, how can you leave out Fisher's last generation aberrations? HMS Spurious, Outrageous and Uproarious? Not to mention HMS Refit and Repair. Their manifold shortcomings are itemised in the books I recommended. Fisher had correctly identified speed as a vital tactical advantage, seeing how Togo had sailed rings round the Russians at Tsushima, but it was never "protection".
As for Scheer "spinning" his lacklustre performance in post war reflections on the Skagerrakschlacht, it is to be expected, but just as Jellicoe and Beatty's shortcomings have been mercilessly exposed, the job of commentators like Frost and Staff should be to fairly subject German commanders to equal scrutiny. I suspect there was a touch of "Pulling the Lion's Tail" in Frost's account as an officer in a "friendly" rival navy. I find the bias in Staff's writing absolutely unconscionable. He writes as if he was employed in the Propaganda Kompanie of the Second Reich, 100 years after it was disbanded.
I think it's best getting various sources tbh and making deductions from that. I think that my experiences on this board over the last few years have confirmed this for me.
This is one of the wisest observations yet made. As we all interact on various matters we bring different points of view garnered from different sources. Anomalies may be identified, correlations confirmed and reality better defined.

All the best

wadinga

Good Morning Wadinga!

I
am not surprised, German warships, as weapons systems alone, were probably unmatched. Unhindered by tradition and working from a blank sheet of paper but with the advantage of learning from the mistakes of others. Better subdivision for a start, enabling considerably superior damage control. Several German warships staggered home with severe torpedo or mine damage but a single mine saw off HMS Audacious, for instance. Intrinsically safer propellant handling with brass cased charges. Superior range finders. Vorsprung Durch Teknik
A fair point though I don't think the Nassau's were a brilliant design IMHO with their hexagonal layout. That said Dreadnought wasn't a flawless start I suppose. In regards to damage taken I would say that the German battlecruisers took an awful lot of hits and as you say got home. The caveat however was that British ammunition was poor. A lot of the time shells simply didn't work as planned or designed, hence the "Green Boy redesign. When they trialled them against Baden they knocked some fairly impressive holes in her.Had those shells been around on May 31st 1916 I think that there was a fair chance that Luitzow would have been joined by Seydlitz and possibly Von Der Tann. Audacious was unlucky in the fact that the mine couldn't have struck in worse place, but was let down by poor damage control. So its horses for courses.
An oft expressed excuse (spin) for British warships' design shortcomings was superior habitability. It has some truth. They were not designed solely around short range North Sea combat but were supposed to operate anywhere around the world giving crews reasonable living conditions. The Grand Fleet ships were sole residences for their crews in the bleak landscape of Scapa for month after month. Would German warship crews have remained efficient living in their tightly subdivided boxes for years on end in similar conditions? On this site there have been questions about German crews living in shoreside barracks for at least part of the time. Wilhelmshaven is not Scapa
I would also say that to "bang out as many as possible" they repeated the same designs "Bellerophon" to "St Vincent" class,"Invincible" to "Indefatigable"(albeit a stretched Invincible). The basis for the "Lion" class battlecruisers were the "Orion" class battleships. It certainly helped produce the numbers. The Germans did incrementally improve their designs, though whether they were a little late in increasing the gun calibers? Well that's a matter of conjecture.
If you are compiling a list of British capital ships which are complete clunkers, how can you leave out Fisher's last generation aberrations? HMS Spurious, Outrageous and Uproarious? Not to mention HMS Refit and Repair. Their manifold shortcomings are itemised in the books I recommended. Fisher had correctly identified speed as a vital tactical advantage, seeing how Togo had sailed rings round the Russians at Tsushima, but it was never "protection".
The "Large light cruisers" :D. They are one of those designs that seem great on paper but poor in practice! The idea that you can have a large, fast,well armed super cruiser seems sound enough. The problem being that they were probably over gunned in terms of calibre and under gunned in terms of actual numbers of barrels! 4 x 15 inch sounds impressive but I believe that its an issue for salvo firing. Now if they had been armed with say 6 x 12 inch or 8 x 9.2inch they would probably been better ships. In regards to Refit and Repair....

I don't think that they were that bad. There was an obvious hullabaloo after Jutland in regards to the perceived protection of British battlecruisers and these 2 were protected along the lines of the Invincible class with their 6 inch belt. However...

IMHO the loss of those 3 battlecruisers was more than likely due to very sloppy magazine practices. HMS Tiger & Lion took a fair few hits (Tiger 18 + ?) yet carried on till the end. Had it not been for the gunnery officer, Grant, Lion may well have gone up like Indefatigable before Major Harvey had time to order the magazines to be flooded. To me it comes down to 3 factors. You have armour to keep out the shells, tight control and adherence to magazine drill,a stable propellant.

Now if you armour is pierced, but you have the other two factors, you should be safe. If your armour is pierced and you have good magazine practice you can mitigate against the volatility of cordite.

The BCF managed to scupper themselves by having ships that could have their armour penetrated, crowding of the working spaces of the turrets with extra charges, probably leaving the scuttles/interlocks open to allow a fast rate of fire, whilst using a propellant that was known to require extra caution (as witnessed by the losses of HMS Bulwark and Natal in the preceding 2 years). Given this cavalier approach,Beatty was lucky not to have lost all of his battlecruisers. At Dogger Bank both sides took different lessons from the battle. The Germans learnt the importance of magazine protocol and security, the British decided that the best way to finish the Germans off given a second chance was to fire as quickly as possible. Its pretty obvious which lesson was correct in retrospect !

Repulse and Renown remained useful warships post WW1,when you add in HMS Hood you have (in theory) a 32kt, 15inch armed squadron that was unmatched apart from possibly the Kongo class - which were arguably a generation behind before their many reconstructions. Would I have put them up against a battleship squadron? No. Would I feel comfortable against cruisers? Yes. Could they keep up with Furious/Glorious/Courageous carrier conversions? Easily. You could have a very powerful squadron there when you add in cruisers and destroyers. Renown in her final guise did sterling work and managed to chase off 2 vessels of similar size despite being 20 years older.


My bets noirs are Hercules,Collosus and the Orions (ok not so much the Orions) because of the hideous and completely useless funnel/tripod set up. Who in their right mind thought that having the spotting top above and behind the first funnel was a good idea? I believe that it was done to for ships boat handling purposes a lot of the time (by having the derrick attached to the main vertical pole of the tripod meaning that second mast wasn't needed). Personally I put boat handling down at the bottom of requisites I would like when building a battleship!

They also looked bloody awful!
This is one of the wisest observations yet made. As we all interact on various matters we bring different points of view garnered from different sources. Anomalies may be identified, correlations confirmed and reality better defined
You guys know far more about Bismarck,Denmark Strait and the intricate complexities of the Hood & Bismarck. I always felt 'uncomfortable' (for want of a better word) in the pushing of one sides officers being accepted as 'right' and infallible and the other sides being essentially 'wrong'. It's very easy with the Mk1 retroscope to say X,Y and Z about the actions of people in a period of crisis or life threatening experience. I was reading Paul Cadogans piece on the timing of Hoods loss a few nights ago and he made a really valid point in regards to what they saw. When HMS Hood exploded they were not armed with a notebook or dictaphone anticipating it. They were doing their jobs when the unthinkable happened and their focus was taken away from what they had been doing to what had just occurred. Witness testimony IMHO is frequently unreliable. Its not that people are lying, its just that they are being asked to recall an event that may have occurred months/years earlier that lasted only seconds/minutes. Thats why I prefer the gathering of multiple accounts and give a degree of slack to those who say recorded stuff at the time. They weren't documenting information on the premise that 70 to 100 years later people would be using digital technology to decipher an event!

I


Best wishes HMSVF

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