Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

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VoidSamukai
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Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:45 pm

We all have heard of battlecruisers. Britian's Hood, Repulse, Invincible, German's Von Der Tann, Lutzow, Hindenburg and Japan's Kongo just to name a few. My question is: which one of these battlecruisers are the best for WW1 and which one was best in WW2.

List the ships name and reasons why you have chosen them.

A few rules:

Alaska class, Dunkerque class and Scharnhorst class will qualify as BCs, though arguements can be made about the latter

Deustchland class will not qualify as a BC

If you can provide good enough arguements, then the Iowa class might be considered a BC


For me

Best WW1: Hood. Fast, well armoured and armed for her time, she can be considered the precursor to the fast battleship. By WW2, she was in dire need of a rebuild, but for her time she was among the most powerful BCs in the world.

Honourable mention: Hindenburg. A ship that really was in WW1, she might've been quite a force to be reckoned with. She never saw combact, but considering her slightly weaker sisters, I would imagine she would've performed very well.

Best WW2: Alaska class. Fast, powerful and with mighty guns, these BCs would've made mince meat of any cruiser that foolishly choice to gun it down. Coup with a powerful AA defence, they served well as escorts. And against other battlecruisers for the time, she would be a mighty threat

Honourable mention: Scharnhorst class. Similar to the Alaska class, except for the AA but actually giving better service. Dunkerque class equals here, being just as powerful.


Alright, discuss away

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Gopher » Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:26 am

Pretty easy one that, The Hood would have beaten every other battlecruiser on a one on one , operate in any weather and only Alaska , Dunkerque's and Scharnhorst's were faster. As for blowing up it least it got in a position to blow up and if your poorly handled by your Admiral you can't really get marked down for that. For World War one has to be the Renown faster than any other battlecruiser, longer reach and a hull form that meant it could be massively modernized. The German Battlecruisers were North Sea boats had to slow to a near stop to turn ran on coal so could not keep up a speed so had not the same scope to remain current. Honourable mention to Glourious's and Furious for the fastest hulls ever put on Capital ships to get 30 knots out of 76,000 shp and have another 14,000 in the bank.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:23 am

Gopher wrote:Pretty easy one that, The Hood would have beaten every other battlecruiser on a one on one , operate in any weather and only Alaska , Dunkerque's and Scharnhorst's were faster. As for blowing up it least it got in a position to blow up and if your poorly handled by your Admiral you can't really get marked down for that. For World War one has to be the Renown faster than any other battlecruiser, longer reach and a hull form that meant it could be massively modernized. The German Battlecruisers were North Sea boats had to slow to a near stop to turn ran on coal so could not keep up a speed so had not the same scope to remain current. Honourable mention to Glourious's and Furious for the fastest hulls ever put on Capital ships to get 30 knots out of 76,000 shp and have another 14,000 in the bank.


I agree that Hood would've beaten most BCs built, with maybe the exception of the Alaska class if it can land hits on the weak deck armour, with only a few being able to outrun it.

The Renown class were pretty good BCs, but they were a little on the lightly armoured side for my taste. Of course, their firepower was nice and their speed was awesome and luckly they have additional armour added later. Or rather, quickly. German BCs might've had bad range, but remember that they were designed on different principles to the British models. First, they didn't need as big of range, since they operated near German home ports. Second, using coal had its advantages since it would've been easier for Germany to obtain and coal bunkers offered better protection against shell fire. And finally, they were meant to engage with other British BCs, so they needed a lot more armour, which they sacrificed some speed for, in order to achieve it, while still being faster then the BBs. And they did this role well, much better than the British BCs which were not built for such roles.

Courageous class...name me one worse BC class and I will s#!* myself. They were just...bad. I mean, yes they were fast, but their firepower was absolutely pathetic and the armour...might as well not be there. I dont know about you, but I would take almost any other BC over them. Heck, an armoured cruiser could do some serious damage to them. They also suffered massive structural problems when firing their big guns. Furious would've been even worst with only 2 guns, and would still have suffered the same problems. The only good thing about them was their speed, and I would much rather have a Renown for that.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby RF » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:26 am

The age old problem here is the definition of what a battlecruiser is and what specifically is the role of these ships.

My own inclinination is a vessel not specifically designed to engage battleships but a vessel designed to smash groups of opposing heavy and light cruisers, rather like a destroyer being originally designed to smash torpedo boats.

Hood in that role would have been the best battlecruiser of both world wars. Unfortunately it was pitched in against Bismarck, in unfavourable circumstances, and didn't even get to fire on its nemesis. Had Hood opened fire on Bismarck and hit that ship instead of narrowly missing Prinz Eugen, who knows what could have followed.......

The Scharnhorst class are ideal for the cruiser smashing role, particulary cruiser escorted convoys. However there are design and performance criticisms.
I would offer instead the German Design 1047 battlecruisers which were planned for the Dutch Navy to deploy against the Japanese in defence of the Dutch East Indies. Of course these ships (three of them were projected) were never built, but as improved versions of the Scharnhorst class I would offer them as potentially very good WW2 battlecruisers.
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:20 am

RF wrote:The age old problem here is the definition of what a battlecruiser is and what specifically is the role of these ships.

My own inclinination is a vessel not specifically designed to engage battleships but a vessel designed to smash groups of opposing heavy and light cruisers, rather like a destroyer being originally designed to smash torpedo boats.

Hood in that role would have been the best battlecruiser of both world wars. Unfortunately it was pitched in against Bismarck, in unfavourable circumstances, and didn't even get to fire on its nemesis. Had Hood opened fire on Bismarck and hit that ship instead of narrowly missing Prinz Eugen, who knows what could have followed.......

The Scharnhorst class are ideal for the cruiser smashing role, particulary cruiser escorted convoys. However there are design and performance criticisms.
I would offer instead the German Design 1047 battlecruisers which were planned for the Dutch Navy to deploy against the Japanese in defence of the Dutch East Indies. Of course these ships (three of them were projected) were never built, but as improved versions of the Scharnhorst class I would offer them as potentially very good WW2 battlecruisers.


I pretty much agree with your idea of what a BC should really idealy do well. Kill cruisers. I mean, it was true that some German BCs of WW1 fought in the line of battle, but they werent really suited to go against BBs. Unless they were questionable ones like the Bellerophon class and Improved Bellerophon class (I honestly cant be stuffed to name all of the classes: there were too many for me)

Scharnhorst and Alaska's small gun caliber (for BBs anyway), while considered a massive disadvantage, I would rate as one of their advantages. Small enough to have a good rate of fire that can sorta keep up with other CAs, yet large enough to make mince meat of most CAs, if not all. There were many BCs based on the Scharnhorst, like the Design 1047 and a Soviet design, and I would rate them as rather good CA killers, if only they were built.




Dont tell anyone this, but I do really like the Kongo class. They were always me fav BC XD

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby RF » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:43 am

VoidSamukai wrote:
Scharnhorst and Alaska's small gun caliber (for BBs anyway), while considered a massive disadvantage, I would rate as one of their advantages. Small enough to have a good rate of fire that can sorta keep up with other CAs, yet large enough to make mince meat of most CAs, if not all. There were many BCs based on the Scharnhorst, like the Design 1047 and a Soviet design, and I would rate them as rather good CA killers, if only they were built.


Don't forget that a faster rate of fire of 11 inch to the 15 inch was supposed to compensate in engaging ships like Renown, or even to an extent a battleship.
The Design 1047 had projected improved 11.1 inch guns that should have fired four rounds a minute.
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby RF » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:46 am

Another aspect that can be considered in this thread are secondary batteries. These enhance the cruiser killing role as well as deal with destroyers accompanying cruisers, particulary convoy escorts.
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:27 pm

RF wrote:
VoidSamukai wrote:
Scharnhorst and Alaska's small gun caliber (for BBs anyway), while considered a massive disadvantage, I would rate as one of their advantages. Small enough to have a good rate of fire that can sorta keep up with other CAs, yet large enough to make mince meat of most CAs, if not all. There were many BCs based on the Scharnhorst, like the Design 1047 and a Soviet design, and I would rate them as rather good CA killers, if only they were built.


Don't forget that a faster rate of fire of 11 inch to the 15 inch was supposed to compensate in engaging ships like Renown, or even to an extent a battleship.
The Design 1047 had projected improved 11.1 inch guns that should have fired four rounds a minute.


Well, maybe so, but I wouldnt want to take 11inch rapid firing shells against something like a KGV class. Lots of shells wont do too much in sink a ship if they dont penetrate the armour. Of course, load HE rounds and set the ship on fire, and you can really make one hell of a BBQ. But overal, 11ich shells vs KGV or NC? I'll take the KGV

RF wrote:Another aspect that can be considered in this thread are secondary batteries. These enhance the cruiser killing role as well as deal with destroyers accompanying cruisers, particulary convoy escorts.


Well in terms of anti ship secondaries, the Scharnhorst class is pretty solid. She has 12 150mm guns, which are nice against the lighter targets. The Japanese also seem to have a good secondary, but in the casemate mounts that there are in it does seem to limit their use. Still, they are good in close combact with DDs and CAs.

Secondaries is where the Renown and Courageous class dont do so well. The triple 4 inch guns...dont seem that strong. Can anyone tell me how effective they were?

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:56 pm

The Kongo's were BCs too.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:07 pm

Best WW2: Alaska class. Fast, powerful and with mighty guns, these BCs would've made mince meat of any cruiser that foolishly choice to gun it down. Coup with a powerful AA defence, they served well as escorts. And against other battlecruisers for the time, she would be a mighty threat

Honourable mention: Scharnhorst class. Similar to the Alaska class, except for the AA but actually giving better service. Dunkerque class equals here, being just as powerful.


Alright, discuss away


With the exception or gun caliber and speed, Alaska and Scharnhorst are polar opposite in terms of design.

Scharnhorst had heavy armour protection throughout and a full underwater protection system.

Alaska's protection is pathetic no matter how one looks at it. It offers little to no IZ against any gun larger than 8" at any range. They had no torpedo defense system.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Gopher » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:35 pm

The Renown has light armour true but don't expect me to fight like Beatty. I'm at least 4 knots faster in flat calm and more in a sea I'll sail to the best light for me and worst for you just like Tovey and the Bismarck could not hit. My ship also handles like a destroyer while your battlecruiser handles like a slab sided herring barge. It's 1917 now remember, Ive got as good range finding better fire control, longer reach, more accurate guns and heavier shells. Your stokers are going to be getting very tired your grates are going to be choked with ash your going to have to change course that many times your gunnery is going to suffer. Sail towards me its 4 guns v six and ill maintain the range. Sail away and ill run parralell out of your range.

As for the much maligned Glourious, like I say its the fastest hull ever put on a capital ship, it was simply a work of art. Nope I'm not going to trade shots with you I can outrun your destroyers your cruiser screen and you. Unlike Beatty I'm going to shadow you report your position and course and unlike Hood, I'm fast enough even to shadow Bismarck, I'm going to relay your position continually and bring the Grand Fleet on top of you. Horses for courses as they say and the Glourious was the fastest horse on the course by a considerable margin.

As I said in another thread you have to transpose your ship to the battle, Alsaska, Dunkerque, Scharnhorst, Renown, Kongo had as much chance as suffering a magazine penetration and blowing up as the Hood against the Bismarck. The only Battlecruiser that could realistically penetrate the Hoods Magazine would be Renown with the Kongo an outside chance. The Hood had more firepower and much the same speed as Renown and more Speed and more Firepower than Kongo.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:22 am

Gopher wrote:As for the much maligned Glourious, like I say its the fastest hull ever put on a capital ship, it was simply a work of art. Nope I'm not going to trade shots with you I can outrun your destroyers your cruiser screen and you.


Um, then what is the point of the Courageous if you have to outrun the cruisers that BCs should try and hunt?! If you have to run away from the ship that you are meant to kill, then that kinda defeats the purpose.


Gopher wrote: As I said in another thread you have to transpose your ship to the battle, Alsaska, Dunkerque, Scharnhorst, Renown, Kongo had as much chance as suffering a magazine penetration and blowing up as the Hood against the Bismarck.


That is why BCs shouldn't really battle against BBs. Esspecially if said BC is more than 20 years old and said BB was a very modern vessel. Kirishima proved that in her demise, as did Hood. So as I said, a BC shouldn't really engage a BB in a gun duel.

Also, Alaska's guns would have not that much difficulty penetrating the deck. Of course, it has to be lucky like the Bismarck, but it is possible for her to sink the Hood the same way the Bismarck did. She just needs to get in range and not get shot out of the water first.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Gopher » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:59 am

Its not running away its scouting, which before aircraft was the Battlecruisers true role in fleet engagements. You outrange the cruisers so they have to come on to you or retire. If they retire you follow hitting them with 15 inch shells if they come on to you retire hitting them with 15 inch shells. When Fisher said speed is armour he did not mean it as in armour plate he meant it as enabling choosing how you fight. In Glourious you have the best scouting ship in history. Transpose the Glorious and Courageous to Germany and you have the trouble the Bremse and Brummer caused times 100, You have the East Coast of England bombarded at will and you have a viable North Atlantic surface raiders. The German Navy would have ripped your arm off to have them.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:08 am

Gopher wrote: Alsaska, Dunkerque, Scharnhorst, Renown, Kongo had as much chance as suffering a magazine penetration and blowing up as the Hood against the Bismarck. .


That is not correct for Dunkerque and Scharnhorst.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:19 am

Umm, two problems with that;

1) The Courageous class had only 4 guns. That isnt a lot of firepower to bare onto the enemy. And it will mean that getting shots at extreme ranges will be quite difficult. And since this tactic requires long range engagements, chances are you wont be hitting a small target anytime soon. And this in the era before radar and effective firing controls.

2) If I wanted the best scouting ship, I would choose a light cruiser design, which would be just as fast and more improtantly: much cheaper. If for the scouting purposs you want the ship not to engage, then the light cruiser idea would serve well, being quick enough to get the hell out of there and big enough to deal with the DDs that might catch it. Plus, it is way cheaper


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