Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

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RF
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby RF » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:35 pm

Two points here.

One - we don't know for sure what triggered the final detonation on Scharnhorst. Remember that the same fate befell Yamato and Barham when they sank and those detonations had nothing to do with shell fire being received.

Secondly the issue of Scharnhorst not seeking to engage a vessel sporting 15 inch guns in fact is not completely clear. The KM doctrine of ''no unnecessary risks'' clearly creates a fog on this issue. We do know that Kapitan Hoffman on Scharnhorst wanted to engage Malaya during Operation Berlin, to allow Gneisenau to attack the convoy Malaya was escorting, only for Lutjens to forbid it.
I also think it likely that had Marschall been in command instead of Lutjens when the action with Renown took place and if Gneisenau had not been damaged at the start of the action that Marschall would have taken Renown on and not rapidly withdraw - a scenario of eighteen 11 inch guns on two ships versus one with six 15 inch. Had Marschall encountered Renown on a clear day with no destroyer escorts I'm pretty certain he would have gone for her.
In arguing this I am mindful of the RN tradition built up during the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries of aggression regardless of odds, combined with superior seamenship, upon which Pax Britannica was based. Marschall strikes me as the one German admiral who followed that tradition - and got sacked for it. Marschall in command of Operation Berlin would have been interesting.
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Gopher » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:12 am

Lets transpose again. No one would rationally argue the Scharnhorst could swap places with Renown and attack two Renowns in the same way the Renown attacked two Scharnhorsts. The issue is simple, 14inch shells of the DoY brought Scharnhorst to destruction, the 15 inch shells of the Bismarck would do it in shorter order. Though I see some posters don't want to believe the Scharnhorst was hit in the Boiler I think they are firmly in JFK territory. An "HE" bomb penetrated Gnenisenau's deck armour while Repulses armoured deck kept out a Naval bomb. Funny thing magazine explosions

The Question is thus which is the best Battlecruiser of World War II. As I have demonstrated transpose the Scharnhorst to any battle and it wont do better than the Hood. Would the Hood have performed better than Renown? There is a possibility the Scharnhorst would have blown up against Bismarck, not that I believe any skipper in his right mind would have attempted to challenge her in Scharnhorst with a PoW in Beta. As we knows the Scharnhorst blew up we just don't know the cause . Could the Hood have blown up fighting the Scharnhorst yes most certainly and the reverse is equally true.

The Scharnhorst has quite a few problems. She was not the greatest in heavy weather, sea did not have a great AA suite, she always has a cloud about reliability and she was seriously undergunned. One solitary mine disabled her for 40 minutes

The Hood has her problems too, no modernization, too heavy, limited AA, and the cloud of the 4" magazine and general uncertainty about the actual cause of her demise . But at the end of the day Scharnhorst would have great difficulty realistically standing against her in any weather


When you look at the Twins actual combat performance its not great, Ardent and Acasta caused the Scharnhorst to flood a magazine with a torpedo hit, obviously her skipper took the possibility of explosion quite seriously and it was not the only time Scharnhorst flooded magazines. Dockyard hands for six months

Could the Hood have sailed around and destroyed the same amount of Merchant ships? Could Renown? Could Kongo? the answer is yes, were they more reliable boats? the answer is yes.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:31 am

Provided that they can match her range. Could these BCs match Scharnhorst's range at the same or faster speed. If not, then their use as raiders might not be as good. Plus, Scharnhorst carried more guns. Smaller yes, but you dont need 14-15 inch guns to sink merchant ships.

Range for a raider is very important. Out there in the ocean, you want to stay there for as long as possible to sink as many merchant ships as you can. Range also extends your reach: another major point for raiders.

Also, what was the range of the guns of each BC?

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby RF » Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:43 am

Gopher wrote:]Lets transpose again. No one would rationally argue the Scharnhorst could swap places with Renown and attack two Renowns in the same way the Renown attacked two Scharnhorsts. The issue is simple, 14inch shells of the DoY brought Scharnhorst to destruction, the 15 inch shells of the Bismarck would do it in shorter order.


Well, some years ago there was a thread in hypothetical naval scenario's in which Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were pitched in against Yamato. One of the arguments was that the twins could attack Yamoto in a torpedo boat role, using torpedoes as well as the 11 inch guns.......
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby RF » Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:56 am

Gopher wrote:
When you look at the Twins actual combat performance its not great


None of the German surface warships had a ''great'' record.

On a pro rata ship for ship basis the most successful German ship in ship to ship battles was the hilfskreuzer Thor - a vessel not even intended to fight anything other than single merchant ships.

I think we need to draw a distinction between battlecruisers attacking battleships - which I agree is a non-starter - as opposed to taking on other battlecruisers. I agree that Scharnhorst wasn't the best design but its the best of real ships we can play with. After all they are all to some extent eggshells, Scharnhorst rather less so than Renown or Hood. But without their punching power, which is why they operated in two's.
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:10 am

RF wrote:
Gopher wrote:]Lets transpose again. No one would rationally argue the Scharnhorst could swap places with Renown and attack two Renowns in the same way the Renown attacked two Scharnhorsts. The issue is simple, 14inch shells of the DoY brought Scharnhorst to destruction, the 15 inch shells of the Bismarck would do it in shorter order.


Well, some years ago there was a thread in hypothetical naval scenario's in which Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were pitched in against Yamato. One of the arguments was that the twins could attack Yamoto in a torpedo boat role, using torpedoes as well as the 11 inch guns.......



Yeah, such an attempt is rather last restort and a suicide attack. Okay, the twins were not as fragile as planes, but to close to effective torpedo range would get the twins rather close. And at such range, Yamato wouldn't have that much trouble hitting them. Okay, Japanese FCSs weren't the best, but even then they aren't completely incompetent.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:50 pm

Gopher wrote: As I have demonstrated transpose the Scharnhorst to any battle and it wont do better than the Hood. Would the Hood have performed better than Renown?



I fail to see the equivalency you claim. One was under fire about 5 minutes before it was headed for the bottom. The other was under fire for a total of 120 + minutes and still fighting, when its primary opponent gave up on sinking it with gunfire and retired from the scene, leaving it up to torpedoes to try and finish the job.

Renown's protection was vastly inferior to both Scharnhorst's and Hood's.

The Scharnhorst has quite a few problems. She was not the greatest in heavy weather, sea


It was Renown not Scharnhorst and Gneisenau that had to reduce its speed to 20 knots due to heavy seas on April 9th 1940.

Scharnhorst was making 4.5 knots more than Duke of York's best speed through the same seas on Dec 26th 1943.
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Steve-M » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:51 pm

Getting back to the OP, for battlecruisers that saw real service in WWI, I generally favor the Derfflinger. Her main armament of 8x12" guns was nothing to sneeze at, and her overall durability was well proven at Jutland (and lead to the nickname Iron Dog).

For WWII, things are a bit less clear for me. In a gunfight, Hood is ostensibly the most powerful ship among the usual battlecruiser suspects (i.e. discounting fast battleships like Iowa). Still, given her relatively thin deck plating, I'm not sure its overstating anything to suggest that a single 1000 pound AP bomb could potentially destroy her as spectacularly as the Bismarck did.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Gopher » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:19 am

In answer to a couple of questions or points. The Twins were not good cruisers and only really North Atlantic boats. in operation Berlin they were reliant on a chain of oilers. This was down to their machinery. Range is interesting, range in that how far guns could fire was not really a factor in WWII battleship engagements it came down to actually spotting your target whether visually or by radar. If the Scharnhorst had superior range to every single other Battlecruiser it was never a factor as every action it was involved in proved.

The Scharnhorsts armour was designed to fight Dunkerque I think the Yamato would be too good even for the twins with one caveat. Put the Yamato in the artic with 24 hour nights the twins would have a radar and speed advantage which would make an interesting engagement. Unfortunately for the twins they were totatly out radared by the RN who they actually had to fight.

The Twins were totally unreliable and suffered breakdown in every engagement, they had a faulty secondary armament with poor fire control, they went through ammunition at an extraordinary rate in all their engagements . I would argue discounting the Thor and concentrating on actual warships I think Scheer performed the best of all the German warships and Tirpitz was Germanys most successful warship for the enourmous effort Britain put into neutraliazing her from St Nazaire to X-Craft.

The Renown was not running the Twins were. The Twins ended the engagement which was nothing more than a skirmish not fit for combat. The Renown as the Germans stated proved the superior boat. The DOY was a Battleship that had 50,000 SHP less, was shorter had more beam and a greater draught off course it was going to be slower than Scharnhorst. Likewise the Renown was some 3,000 tons overweight so off course it was going to be slower but it fought better in the conditions than the twins.

The equivalency is this RN ships despite being exposed to all types of ordinace from the first day of the war to the last in the most intense battlegrounds on the sea suffered percentage wise less explosions in ships sunk than the Kriegsmarine and USN. An unremarkable bomb penetrated straight through all the decks of the twins including armoured and went out her bottom without exploding.. Another unremarkable bomb caused the Gnenisenau to be gutted. Ships explode and the Twins were no different Scharnhorst hits Glourious at extreme range, Warspite hits Italian Battleship at extreme range.

A single bomb destroyed many warships the Twins deck armour proved a liability as for Derflinger in WWI, I'll still take the Renown or Repulse over her the 15 inch guns on a vastly superior speed in my opinon would be just to much for her.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:54 am

An interesting choice. Deferring and Renown have strengths and weaknesses. Both had similar range and range of guns, so Renown's speed advantage in a battle will only get her into a much better posistion then the slower Deferring. Firepowerwise, Renown is certainly the better of the two, having 15inch guns. However armourwise, the Deferrings had a massive advantage. Both Lutzow and Deferring proved that they could take a massive beating. And considering that Renown's protection is similar to the Invincibles, Im not so sure that she could really stand up against 12inch shell fire.

So in short: Renown has the speed and firepower advantage, but the Deferring had the armour edge, which almost neutralises the firepower difference. In the end, whoever wins will be the one who can get the more hits on the other.


The Scharnhorsts are at least Battlecruisers, not regualr cruisers, despite some sources saying that they were an evolution of the Deustchland class.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Dave Saxton » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:22 am

Gopher wrote:
The Scharnhorsts armour was designed to fight Dunkerque


That is not correct.

The Twins were totally unreliable and suffered breakdown in every engagement,


That is certainly not correct for Gneisenau, or even Scharnhorst.

they had a faulty secondary armament with poor fire control,


Apparently your not well versed on how German fire control systems worked. Did you know that Gneisenau hit Ardent with its first 15-cm salvo from a range of 15,000 meters (16440 yards)?

The Renown was not running the Twins were


Do you understand the rationales for this?

The equivalency is this RN ships despite being exposed to all types of ordinace from the first day of the war to the last in the most intense battlegrounds on the sea suffered percentage wise less explosions in ships sunk than the Kriegsmarine and USN.


Can you provide corresponding data to support this claim? Is this relevant to our topic and the "battle cruisers" listed here? What KM capital ships or cruisers blew up resulting directly from enemy ordnance?

Another unremarkable bomb caused the Gnenisenau to be gutted.


I suggest you study up on this more and gain better understanding, both of the technical aspects of bomb hits in general and the details of this specific incident.
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby alecsandros » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:13 am

Gopher wrote:
The Twins were totally unreliable and suffered breakdown in every engagement, they had a faulty secondary armament with poor fire control, they went through ammunition at an extraordinary rate in all their engagements . I would argue discounting the Thor and concentrating on actual warships I think Scheer performed the best of all the German warships and Tirpitz was Germanys most successful warship for the enourmous effort Britain put into neutraliazing her from St Nazaire to X-Craft.
.

... While I read David's above very pertinent remarks, I can't help remembering that the Scharnhorst class was more of an experiment than an actual war-concerned production. They were designed in 1933/34, when prospects for an immediate war were very slim. They suffered from a multitude of design and production issues, being over-armored, under-gunned, and with unreliable machinery (esp. Scharnhorst).

That being said, for 1939/1940/early 1941, they were still usefull tools for commerce raiding in the Atlantic, and served with interesting successes in those early war years.

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby Gopher » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:27 am

1/ Twins Armour belt was designed to keep out 330 mm shells

2/ I have just read the combat reports of every single engagement the twins fought in versus warships and mechanical breakdown of one system or another is a theme, machinery even when not in action being sensitive

3/ According to experts the secondary fire control was poor, Ardent and Acasta were able to loose something like 6 torpedo salvos and achieve a hit hardly a convincing performance which leads me to believe the first hit was an outlier


4/ Yes 15 inch shell could do the twins great harm

5/ Well the Royal Navy spent more of its time in harms way until the Allies could bring overwhelming force to bear against the IJN then they took that crown. The RN suffered more hits and with the biggest ordinance, ships were also hit carrying out evacuations or loaded with ammunition running supplies. Sometimes they burnt for days due to damage and in the number of ships sunk the percentage that suffered explosions destroyers and up was less than the USN or KM. I researched every single loss plus ships that were heavily damaged, and your welcome to do the same and attempt to prove me wrong. So pertaining to the Hood due to the massive damage the RN suffered and did not blow up there was either something fundamentally wrong with the design or the hit was a fluke as in RN warships magazine explosions despite huge damage were rare and some that suffered them even survived.. I lean toward fundamental problem. My two theories are the HA magazine blew up in one of the Counties (just like Blutcher) so something is dodgy there or after the the Bismarck chase the first thing they did to Renown was stick bigger and better magazine valves on her. I think a cordite fire perhaps had too big a build up of pressure and the collateral evidence is Renown.


The bomb in question caused heated materiel to be sucked into ammunition handling rooms below the armoured deck and set off the equilvalent of a cordite flash which gutted the ship. The magazine was promptly flooded which saved the ship from totally blowing up , without looking up the precise details that is what I believe happened

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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby RF » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:54 am

Gopher wrote:... According to experts the secondary fire control was poor, Ardent and Acasta were able to loose something like 6 torpedo salvos and achieve a hit hardly a convincing performance which leads me to believe the first hit was an outlier


Is that a factor arising from multiple targets to shoot at?
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Re: Best Battlecruiser WW1 and WW2

Postby VoidSamukai » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:03 am

I think what I find interesting when comparing these BCs is the balancing and deciding of which makes a good BC: is it a design success vs it was operationally significant. I think it is important we tackle both categories.

Design-wise, the BCs vary quite a bit. Ships like Renown and Kongo were WW1 era given massive rebuilds, Hood was a Washington era warship that remained powerful for quite some time, Scharnhorst and Dunkerque were late-interwar ships with lighter firepower while Alaska was a WW2 era BC that was the most modern of the BCs. In my rankings, design-wise Hood is the best, followed by the Alaska class and Scharnhorst, then Dunkerque, and finally Renown and Kongo. Repulse is an outlier as she was WW1 era without any major rebuilds.

Operationally-wise however, the scores change. The Hood, though powerful and all, was eliminated in 1941 in a battle she never really should've gotten into. She did something before this, and played a role in destroying a lot of the French battlefleet, but ultimately a few older vessels could've done the job as well. Her impact was minor, other then the fact that her sinking lead to the Bismarck's destruction, but she never really should've engaged.

Dunkerque had little infleuence, being destroyed early on in the war. That is pretty much most of the French navy. The Alaskas, though powerful, also were not significant coming too late in the war to make the massive difference. True, they served well as carrier escorts but a few Balitomores could've done the same job, esspecially when Alaska's own AA wasn't that much better then the Baltimores.

Ironically, the weaker of the BCs ended up doing the most. The Scharnhorst and Gneusianeau caused much chaos early to commerce on in the war, and sank the HMS Glourious which they really shouldn't ever been in the position to do so in the first place. And the Kongos were arguably the most active of Japan's warships: serving as flagships for cruiser forces and as carrier escorts for Japan from the early beginning. They also played important roles in the battle of Guadencannel. Even Renown had important jobs for Britian: serving as flagship in lesser areas to relieve more powerful vessels and helped escort many convoys. Not the most influencial but certainly important.

Repulse got sunken early on in the war, but that's okay because the situation she was placed in, few other warships at the time could've done better with the limitations she had, and the misconceptions about her enemy.


Ulimately, which was the best BC comes down to what people think is more important: design, or service. Some put the former in higher regard, others the latter. All that can be said is that both make a good BC. Take the Scharnhorst. She was on the weaker end of the modern BCs, but had more significant service then the Alaska and Dunkurque combined. And the Kongo class, the oldest of the BCs, ended up proving to be one of the more active and hardest working of the world's BCs. And Alaska, though never doing anything much that was important, could've taken both ships on fairer terms.


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