Indeed, Detschland falls too short for me to call her a proper battlecruiser. But many do consider as one, so that is why I placed her at 5th place for worst BCs only because I was running out of ideas.MVictorP wrote:The German/French/Dutch "battlecruisers" were more like second class ships of the line... whereas the larger Anglo/Japanese WWI battlecruisers either evolved into fast battleships, or carriers prior to WWII.VoidSamukai wrote:I think the term we use is Battlecruiser. And I think it fits the Alaska class well. I've already did a link about why I think the Alaskas were BCs, not CAs, and I don't feel the real urge to repost it again.
WW1: Design-wise: The Corageous class. ABout the same size as the Invincible class of 1906, these ships have armour that was next to useless, less than stellar secondaries and firepower that I seriously question. The Furious is even worse with only 2 18inch guns. Good thing they decided to use her as a testbed for aircraft instead.
Operation-wise: None of the BCs had great carrers in WW1, which many a few exceptions, so no point here.
WW2: Design-wise: Deustchland class. Yes, for some reason some consider them BCs and I guess I can kinda see where they are going. And since the other BCs of WW2 were either heavily rebuilt WW1 ships or ships armed with 11-13inch guns, I decided to fall back on these little ships. Small, thinly armoured and speed was not the greatest. On the plus side she had excellent range and her guns were adaquet. At least she has a minimum of 6 guns.
Operation-wise: The Dunkurque. She didn't really do that much. Just get scuttled. At least the Alaska class did AA Escorting and shore bombardment.
The 1929 Deutschland was essentially a heavy cruiser which traded machinery for firepower. One of her great asset were her diesel engines, the best German engines of the war, that allowed her to run on her merchant victims' fuel stock.
Scharnhorst was a fine ship, but had an unarmored soft spot and her fore guns were barely usable in heavy seas. Still, her class was one of the most successfull of the war, operationally speaking, tying up a lot of RN ressources.
Dunkerque was maybe the best "battlecruiser" ever built (along with the unbuilt Dutch project 1047): Superb armor scheme and torpedo defense, sufficient speed (but no more) and excellent guns. They were a bit too close one another, resulting in some dispersion problems, and only two turret was an invitation for early disarmement, but in a combat she could have been formidable, firing all of her guns while offering minimal profile. A vessel made for the hunt. Her AA wasn't her strong stuff but anything below speed, armor and machinery can be upgraded to some point on such vessels.
The Alaskas looked good on paper, and they seem to fill a hole in the US fleet: that of a battleship fast enough to escort a carrier group. However, their late appearance, "cruiser mentality" but battleship-cost qualities made them effectively underwhelming when compared to an Iowa.
Long story short, I think the worst battlecruiser of WWII was the Turquish Yavuz (former German Goebben). Althought a redoutable ship in WWI, Yavuz had not been modernized between the war - a disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, the war didn't last long once Turkey joined it.
Both Dunkurque and Scharnhorst were fine battlecruiser designs, but only the latter had a career worth mentioning. The only reason I ever learnt about the Dunkurque class was through a footnote in a documentary. This is the reason why the latter made 2nd on my list, and the latter didn't even get a mention
Alaska class indeed was not the best example of a good battlecruiser. She sacrificed a lot in order to gain speed. Her hull with no good TDS and single rudder hindered her abilities and her cost and lack of effective use was why she ranked 3rd on my list.
The Yavuz was not really modernised, but neither was the Repulse if you think about it. All she ever got was a few more AA guns and replacing those useless 4inch triples. As such she was get honourable mentions. I mean, what WW1 ship could handle a situation the Repulse ended up in? Not many. And for her time of contruction, she was a powerful ship. Though never battling in the HIgh Seas, one only needs to look at her sister ship and other German BC's to get a sense on what she could've done.