Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
Texas Jäger
Junior Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:20 pm

Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by Texas Jäger » Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:48 am

I know they had a much larger displacement but wasn’t that thanks to all of the internal armor/scarp triangle? How would you compare her chances against her peers in combat? In particular compared to the New Orleans class they are vastly larger yet a New Orleans has one extra gun and a thicker belt, but weren’t the 8” guns on Hipper superior? And would you say AHs turtleback made her in fact better armored?

Steve Crandell
Senior Member
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by Steve Crandell » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:17 pm

They were simply bigger ships. And yes, they had 60 cal vs 50 cal guns. I believe USN observers were impressed with their accuracy in post war tests.

I think the Baltimore class were more in their league than New Orleans.

HMSVF
Member
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:15 am

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by HMSVF » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:10 pm

Texas Jäger wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:48 am
I know they had a much larger displacement but wasn’t that thanks to all of the internal armor/scarp triangle? How would you compare her chances against her peers in combat? In particular compared to the New Orleans class they are vastly larger yet a New Orleans has one extra gun and a thicker belt, but weren’t the 8” guns on Hipper superior? And would you say AHs turtleback made her in fact better armored?

Weren't their high pressure steam plants a bit "iffy" on occasion?

Thorsten Wahl
Senior Member
Posts: 762
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:40 pm

HMSVF wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:10 pm
Weren't their high pressure steam plants a bit "iffy" on occasion?
the Germans itself formulated the problems with their powerplants.
the technology was very new and they adopted a landinstalled point-optimized systems to warships, wich had a very wide range of service conditions.

The three powerplants (Hipperclass Scharnhorst class and Bismarck class) had about the same Basic Output.
Reliability of the Tirpitz powerplant was stated as satisfactory, machinery problems like Scharnhorst were uncommon.

But all powerplants had shortcomings especially in the auxillary machinery and the number of boilerrroms. Every boiler room had about 30 auxillary machines mostly steam driven, wich require a complicatet and error prone steam supply. Additionally machine malfunctions partly require specialists from the construction companies. Bigger boilers in lesser boilerrooms would have reduced the number of auxillary machines considerably and replacing all steam driven auxillaries by electric driven , increasing handling and robustness (according "Inbetriebnahmeprotokoll Kreuzer Blücher", Kriegserfahrungen mit dem Schlachtschifftyp Bismarck, Marineoberbaurat Krux.)

Most of these auxillary machines are required to run continously, causing a holiday load on all three ship classes of about eight to ten tons oil per hour. At high load the performance of the powerplant was good and comparable to foreign ships(my assessment).

When comparing the consumption data of german ships, it should be taken into account, that they used a particularly inferior oil for calculating ranges according instructions of the naval high command.

-------------------------
Heavy Cruisers were a class of ships the Germans not necessarily want to possess, but they were allowed by aggreement, so they built them. They were "large ships that are expensive and difficult to protect versus their own guns even with considerable overweight".
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 925
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by paul.mercer » Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:08 pm

Gentlemen,
How did the heavy cruisers like PE stack up against a comparatively armed (8x8") RN Cruiser?
Could either Norfolk or Suffolk have taken her on had they met after she had left Bismarck?

Steve Crandell
Senior Member
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by Steve Crandell » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:08 pm

The German CAs were much larger, but I think the few engagements which did occur, the British held their own. I'm not sure if any British CAs were involved; maybe just CLs but my memory fails me there. I don't currently have any reference books at hand but I'm sure there are others here who do.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7603
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by RF » Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:44 pm

The only WW2 engagement between British and German 8 inch gun cruisers I am aware of was the skirmish between Hipper and Berwick in the Atlantic in early 1941, but Berwick was not alone and Hipper broke off the action.
Hipper was later engaged in the Barents Sea by 6 inch gun cruisers during the ''Knights Move'' operation, but again inconclusive because Hipper broke away.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

User avatar
dale3242
Junior Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:42 am
Location: Florida

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by dale3242 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:10 pm

The Admiral Hipper class were much larger than the New Orleans class cruisers. It is hard to see what the German ships got in return for the extra displacement. The twin turrets of the Hipper weighed about 281 tons each (1124 tons), whereas the triple turrets of the New Orleans weighed 294 tons each (882 tons). The official rate of fire for the German guns was a bit higher, but US crews had perfected a method of dramatically increasing the rate of fire of the 8 inch guns by use of "cue-balling" techniques. The American 55 caliber gun fired a 260 lb AP shell at 2800 fps. The German 60 caliber gun was a bit better in that it fired a 269 lb AP shell at 3035 fps.

The Hipper class had a huge crew (1340) versus the New Orleans class (708).

As mentioned before, the German propulsion was less reliable, less efficient, and larger than the American steam power plant. It is reported that the American crew had great difficulty keeping the boilers operational on the surrendered Prinz Eugen.

The New Orleans class cruisers had only a narrow belt, but it was up to 5 inches thick. Whereas, the Hipper class belt had a maximum thickness of only 3.1 inch. The turret faces were even more different with the New Orleans have 8 inch thick turret faces to the Hipper having just 4 inches.

The USS Wichita (CA-45) was commissioned at almost the same time as the Admiral Hipper. It was equipped with newer 8 inch guns which fired a 335 lb AP shell. It also had 6.4 inch belt armor.

At a reasonable battle range (15,000 to 20,000 yards), the Admiral Hipper class was vulnerable to 8 inch gunfire. Whereas the American heavy cruisers had just enough belt, deck, and turret face armor to resist 8 inch gunfire.

I think the Wichita would easily best any of the Admiral Hipper class. Even the earlier New Orleans class should win. The German heavy cruisers were not that good.

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 2105
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by wadinga » Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:23 pm

Fellow Contributors,

IMHO Steve Crandell is undoubtedly correct:
I think the Baltimore class were more in their league than New Orleans.
You can't really compare a post-Washington rules design with one created under them. So equally the Counties are not a fair comparison. Squeezing so much into the New Orleans class displacement meant a lot of compromises, and little stability reserve for extra wartime tophamper.

Thorsten too:
Heavy Cruisers were a class of ships the Germans not necessarily want to possess, but they were allowed by aggreement, so they built them. They were "large ships that are expensive and difficult to protect versus their own guns even with considerable overweight".
Indeed the Germans responded to the London Agreement in terms of numbers of ships, but cheated on displacement. In another thread, the Hippers are compared with Panzerschiffe. One can imagine a commerce raider role for the latter, but the former are too short-legged despite the Admiral Hipper's one notable Atlantic success against SL-64, an undefended convoy.

All the best

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

paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 925
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by paul.mercer » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:29 am

Gentlemen,
Thanks for all your info, I suppose the Germans might have been better off to build more 'Pocket' battleships instead of the heavy cruisers as they certainly appear to have has more success in commerce raiding and would have required more RN ships and more firepower to tackle them.
it would have been interesting to see what might have happened if Sheer or Graf Spee had attacked the convoy instead of Hipper!

User avatar
dale3242
Junior Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:42 am
Location: Florida

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by dale3242 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:30 pm

dale3242 wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:10 pm
The USS Wichita (CA-45) was commissioned at almost the same time as the Admiral Hipper. It was equipped with newer 8 inch guns which fired a 335 lb AP shell. It also had 6.4 inch belt armor.
Correction, although the Wichita did have the newer 8 inch guns, it continued to use the 260 lb AP shell. This is because the shell-handling equipment could not accommodate the newer super heavy 335 lb AP shell. Sorry for the error.

When thinking about the Deutschland class (Panzerschiffe), they had thin armor, battleship caliber guns, and relatively high speed. They are more like pocket battle-cruisers rather than pocket battleships. The German Plan Z included building 12 improved, faster, Panzerschiffe.

Steve Crandell
Senior Member
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by Steve Crandell » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:57 pm

Thanks for the correction.

The Germans took advantage of the other major naval powers adherence to the Washington treaty which limited cruiser guns to 8", and thereby created a ship which was militarily superior and was inferior only to ships about twice her size. It would probably have been advantageous to build more of them, but that wasn't in the cards.

User avatar
dale3242
Junior Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:42 am
Location: Florida

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by dale3242 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:11 pm

dale3242 wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:30 pm
Correction, although the Wichita did have the newer 8 inch guns, it continued to use the 260 lb AP shell. This is because the shell-handling equipment could not accommodate the newer super heavy 335 lb AP shell. Sorry for the error.
Actually, I have done more research and I believe that I was actually accurate in my original post. The Wichita did use the 335 lb AP shell. The proceeding New Orleans class fired the 260 lb AP shell. So, sorry about the mistaken "correction". The Wichita is an interesting ship as it was the last of the treaty cruisers. It was actually finished without 6 of its 8 planned 5 inch secondary guns, because they would have put the ship over the treaty displacement of 10,000 tons. When they were later added, the ship not only was over the displacement limit (no longer mattered), but also top heavy. As a result ballast had to be added which increased the displacement even more.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7603
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by RF » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:47 am

paul.mercer wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:29 am
Gentlemen,
it would have been interesting to see what might have happened if Sheer or Graf Spee had attacked the convoy instead of Hipper!
Interesting point, especially as the Hipper class had higher maximum speeds than the Panzerschiffe, the Sheer or Graf Spee would have to fight it out with Berwick and the other convoy escorts....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Thorsten Wahl
Senior Member
Posts: 762
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Admiral Hipper class vs contemporaries

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:51 am

Actually, I have done more research and I believe that I was actually accurate in my original post. The Wichita did use the 335 lb AP shell.
According to Navweaps
Wichita used the 260 lb AP-shell.
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

Post Reply