Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

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neil hilton
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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby neil hilton » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:26 pm

All this arguing about categorisation of warships is just pedantry. A protected cruiser is just a cruiser with a better internal protection system, a belted cruiser has an armoured belt along its sides, a fast battleship is just another BB but a bit quicker, a coastal battleship has less endurance.
In my opinion the best way to categorise a warship is not its design or capabilities but it's role, what job(s) the ship is intended for would give a much more standardised and descriptively useful term that even a layman could understand.
Thus there should be 5 categories of warship. Battleships are intended for pure combat with no other consideration. Cruisers are intended to 'cruise' and thus endurance is a major consideration, more so than combat capabilities. Destroyers are escorts to protect fleets or convoys. Carriers are mobile airfields, simple. Submarines are underwater combatants. These categorisations can be subcategorised as light and heavy based on tonnage simply because heavier ships are more capable than than lighter ships (usually).
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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby RF » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:48 am

neil hilton wrote:Thus there should be 5 categories of warship. Battleships are intended for pure combat with no other consideration. Cruisers are intended to 'cruise' and thus endurance is a major consideration, more so than combat capabilities. Destroyers are escorts to protect fleets or convoys. Carriers are mobile airfields, simple. Submarines are underwater combatants. These categorisations can be subcategorised as light and heavy based on tonnage simply because heavier ships are more capable than than lighter ships (usually).


This is too narrow a set of definitions. A battleship for example may not have a purely combat role.
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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby pg55555 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:26 am

.

Warning - unhelpful answer.

1: Different navies had different ideas, different priorities and different attitudes

2: FOR THE RN (not "right" or "wrong" - merely the way they saw it) - they saw, simplistically, a need for Trade Protection cruisers, Fleet Cruisers ("scouts-plus"), General purpose cruisers and Cruisers with an Anti-aircraft bias. Some were purpose built, some were used "because they were there".

3: The RN's ideas changed over time, but they had to use what they had available.

4: Cruisers, under the Washington Treaty, were always prone to being unbalanced (normally in terms of protection) and ships over 10,000 tons had a better chance of getting the balance right.

5: The RN needed numbers (and had a policy of "concentration" and mix-and-match), such that the Leanders, Arethusas and Didos made sense.

6: Against the increase in size (apart from the need for "numbers") is the per unit cost (big, vary capable cruisers are VERY expensive per ton) and the fact that whilst not as "disposable" as destroyers the RN disliked the idea that cruisers would be too big to risk - they shouldn't become hostages to their own importance to the fleet.

.

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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby neil hilton » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:08 am

RF wrote:This is too narrow a set of definitions. A battleship for example may not have a purely combat role.


I know it's a narrow set of definitions but some order should be put on this otherwise we end up with endless arguments like this. And while I do like a really good argument In my opinion this is nothing like a really good argument.
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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby VoidSamukai » Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:49 pm

My three cents: The best heavy cruisers were in my eyes the Baltimore class. Good armour, good firepower, great AA and long range. Honourable mentions to the Mogami and AH class, each with good service records.

Best use of cruisers: I'd say the Japanese got a lot from their cruisers early on in the war. The Battles of Java and Savo Island are some examples.

Finally, Alaska class is Battlecruiser, even if the US navy doesn't classify it as such.

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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:39 pm

CB = cruiser big AFAIK
by size of the above ship Dunquerqe and Scharnhorst class were cruisers too

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btw whats the armor weight of the "Baltimore class"
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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby VoidSamukai » Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:04 am

Thorsten Wahl wrote:CB = cruiser big AFAIK
by size of the above ship Dunquerqe and Scharnhorst class were cruisers too

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btw whats the armor weight of the "Baltimore class"


Which is exacty why the Alaska is a battlecruiser. I mean, try convincing me Scharnhorst is a cruiser.

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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby VoidSamukai » Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:52 am

Here is a little post on my views on this whole "Alaska class is BC" b#######. Too lazy to copy paste it all.

http://battleshipcraft-navies.wikia.com ... ssion_post

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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby LeopardTooth » Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:59 am

Another hit-and-run weighing in with some opinions:

* The Alaskas were the platonic ideal of battlecruisers. That's exactly what they were, fast cruiser killers with capital ship-ish guns but without the protection to fight a full battleship. They do not belong in a discussion of "best cruiser of WW2".

* The Scharnhorsts were undergunned battleships, the exact mirror opposite of battlecruisers.

* The panzerschiffs were heavy cruisers

* The Japanese pre-war "light cruisers" are more properly classified as large destroyers

* The Atlantas and Didos weren't cruisers either. There relative size and lack of ASW capabilities means that they weren't large destroyers, but it also doesn't feel right to me when a book says, "the task force had a carrier and three cruisers" if one of the "cruisers" was a CLAA. They belong in their own category.

* The Japanese pre-war "light cruisers" were the weakest WW2 vessels that are commonly referred to as cruisers. The Countys were the weakest 8" gun cruisers.

Something I consider not an opinion:

* If you are a pre-war naval minister of a "generic country" with no unusual characteristics, and you have a choice to pick any WW2 cruiser as a first cruiser to start to your new navy (like a fantasy sports draft), a Baltimore is the only rational choice (and a Des Moines, if "WW2-Era" an available choice). Only the USA had the money and intact industrial capacity to keep evolving cruiser designs once the war started, taking into account wartime lessons learned.

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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby VoidSamukai » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:23 am

Not so sure about the Atlanta and Didos not being cruisers (I would say they were specialised cruisers), since they were the roughly same size or bigger than the Japanese light cruisers (except for the Mogami class Lololol). But I can see why you would classify the Tenryu, Kuma, Kuma-Kais (too lazy to tell all the names), Yubari and to a slightly lesser extent the Aganos as Large Destroyers, due to their role as being the flagships of destroyer squadrons. Heck, Yubari kinda looks like a Akizuki class DD is you look at it far enough and with enough vodka. I would also say they were the weakest of the WW2 cruisers. Which makes Tenryu's acheivement of sinking the USS Quincy all the more impressive.

I wouldn't say the Countys were the weakest, though not by too much. I would say the York class were worst, but that is kinda understandable, since they were meant to be cheaper. Furutaka and Aoba class were also pretty weak, but considering what they did in WW2, as well as the insane beating FuryTaco took, I can't say they were the worst.

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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby Paul L » Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:38 pm

I see the roles of the Atlanta and Dido/Belladonna classes as being long range ocean escorts/scouts for fast carrier battle groups in heavy sea. Historically this was the role of the Destroyers but they were sooo short range/speed and didn't have the sea keeping to keep station with bigger warships in heavy seas.

Far too often the capital ships had to slow down in such seas to wait for the DD to catch up. Such a battle group ought to be moving at the speed of the capital ship - not the speed of the escorts. If you are planning to operate your battle groups at these speeds you need not worry about the odd U boat; since they have great difficulty intercepting anything that's that fast and Sonars -of the day- were blind at more than 20 knots .

Its not an accident that post war destroyers got bigger and bigger as the decades passed.
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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby LeopardTooth » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:55 am

Not so sure about the Atlanta and Didos not being cruisers (I would say they were specialised cruisers), since they were the roughly same size or bigger than the Japanese light cruisers (except for the Mogami class Lololol).


Somehow I thought that the CLAAs were close in tonnage to a 3,200 ton Le Fantasque or 3,700 to Capitani Romani class destroyer leader. But, no, they are the same size as the classic light cruisers like the Koningsberg, Condottieri, Leander, or Duguay-Trouin classes.

I would say the York class were worst, but that is kinda understandable, since they were meant to be cheaper. Furutaka and Aoba class were also pretty weak


I think of York and Exeter as being Counties, and, as you say, intentionally weakened ones. But, yeah, I guess that they were a separate class.

Not going to look it up, but my recollection is that the Furutaka and Aobas were just about the oldest CAs in WW2 (as long as we consider the Hawkinses as something different than all of the treaty heavy cruiser types). I still would choose one of them for my naval fantasy draft over a County.

Also - I realize that I forgot about the Duquesne class, also contemporaries of the Furutaka and Aobas, and probably get my vote the actual weakest heavy cruisers of WW2.

I see the roles of the Atlanta and Dido/Belladonna classes as being long range ocean escorts/scouts for fast carrier battle groups in heavy seas


I find your idea interesting and your facts about the effects of sea conditions solid. But I am curious if you are aware of the CLAAs ever having been used in this manner? All I can recollect is the Atlantas providing AA for carrier task forces (Naval Guadalcanal One withstanding), and the British ships providing AA for warship task forces and merchant convoys.

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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby VoidSamukai » Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:46 am

LeopardTooth wrote:
Not so sure about the Atlanta and Didos not being cruisers (I would say they were specialised cruisers), since they were the roughly same size or bigger than the Japanese light cruisers (except for the Mogami class Lololol).


Somehow I thought that the CLAAs were close in tonnage to a 3,200 ton Le Fantasque or 3,700 to Capitani Romani class destroyer leader. But, no, they are the same size as the classic light cruisers like the Koningsberg, Condottieri, Leander, or Duguay-Trouin classes.

I would say the York class were worst, but that is kinda understandable, since they were meant to be cheaper. Furutaka and Aoba class were also pretty weak


I think of York and Exeter as being Counties, and, as you say, intentionally weakened ones. But, yeah, I guess that they were a separate class.

Not going to look it up, but my recollection is that the Furutaka and Aobas were just about the oldest CAs in WW2 (as long as we consider the Hawkinses as something different than all of the treaty heavy cruiser types). I still would choose one of them for my naval fantasy draft over a County.

Also - I realize that I forgot about the Duquesne class, also contemporaries of the Furutaka and Aobas, and probably get my vote the actual weakest heavy cruisers of WW2.

I see the roles of the Atlanta and Dido/Belladonna classes as being long range ocean escorts/scouts for fast carrier battle groups in heavy seas


I find your idea interesting and your facts about the effects of sea conditions solid. But I am curious if you are aware of the CLAAs ever having been used in this manner? All I can recollect is the Atlantas providing AA for carrier task forces (Naval Guadalcanal One withstanding), and the British ships providing AA for warship task forces and merchant convoys.


Yeah, that was I was thinking myself. The Atlantas were not that far off tonnage wise to many light cruisers. They were just small compare to cruisers like Cleveland, Mogami, Town ect. It's the firepower that can make classification confusing, but in the end, I would rate them light cruisers.

The Yorks are not really Countys. They were of a seperate class. I mean, they were much smaller, had only 2 funnels and had only 6 guns. And as we said, they were intentionally weaker than the Countys. I still rate them as the weakest CAs of WW2, but I'll give credit. The Countys, not so much.

The Dunquesne do seem weak compare to other cruisers. I would actually rate them among the worst, only just above York due to additional firepower. And only just.

My list for worst CAs

3rd: Trento class: Lacking in armour, but not as bad as the below cruisers

2nd: County and Dunquesne: Armour that was terrible (1 inch on the belt. Really?)

1st: York (though credit given)

Honourable Mention: Furutaka/Aoba class: Having a much better balance of firepower and protection then the above cruisers. Plus, Japanese torps XD

Best CA WW2

3rd: Admiral Hipper, Tone: and Wichita :Good firepower and decent armour

2nd: Takao and Mogami: Heavy firepower, decent armour though lacking on the turrets and powerful torpedoes.

1st: Baltimore: Great firepower and excellent armour, with good AA to boot.

Honorable Mention: Myoko and New Orleans: Not the best CAs, but they were powerful nevertheless.

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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby Paul L » Mon Dec 28, 2015 10:17 pm

LeopardTooth wrote:
I see the roles of the Atlanta and Dido/Belladonna classes as being long range ocean escorts/scouts for fast carrier battle groups in heavy seas


I find your idea interesting and your facts about the effects of sea conditions solid. But I am curious if you are aware of the CLAAs ever having been used in this manner? All I can recollect is the Atlantas providing AA for carrier task forces (Naval Guadalcanal One withstanding), and the British ships providing AA for warship task forces and merchant convoys.



No -there are not a lot of examples but reportedly that was the idea....more of a post war idea in both Admiralties. Certainly with the C class cruisers CLAA ; it was more a way of re-tasking a old cruiser into something more useful even if it just to provided AAA cover for convoys .

Post war neither class required much upgrade to continue on through into the early 1950s, however with the idea of conversion to SAM Cruisers -it quickly became apparent these were too small and were discarded/sold in the mid to late 1950s...besides the new DD were already increasing in size.


http://navypedia.org/ships/usa/us_cr_atlanta.htm

http://navypedia.org/ships/uk/brit_cr_dido.htm

http://navypedia.org/ships/usa/us_cr_atlanta.htm
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Re: Best cruisers of WWII and the best use of cruisers

Postby Steve-M » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:42 pm

Paul L wrote:I see the roles of the Atlanta and Dido/Belladonna classes as being long range ocean escorts/scouts for fast carrier battle groups in heavy sea. Historically this was the role of the Destroyers but they were sooo short range/speed and didn't have the sea keeping to keep station with bigger warships in heavy seas.


Practically speaking, probably the best / best use of cruisers, at least as the war carried on and air power became the preeminent threat. Not quite as cool as hunting down raiders ala River Plate, but minor detail.


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