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Blood_Rave_1984

What's with the Russian/Soviet cruiser line?

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Borodino would have been nice for a BB. The Imperial Russian navy had a lot of Protected cruiser variants before the Russ-Japanese War and during WW1

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On 29/12/2017 at 1:54 PM, Blood_Rave_1984 said:

Borodino would have been nice for a BB. The Imperial Russian navy had a lot of Protected cruiser variants before the Russ-Japanese War and during WW1

Protected cruisers would only be T4/5, unless there was an unnatural amount of buffing going on. Perhaps as premium cruisers, but in the tech tree as a split line might just lead to more paper ships.

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The only nation, where it could work, having an armored cruiser-techtree would be the Germans, because they somewhat attempted, to reinvent that type of ship with the Deutschland Class, and the D- and P-classes in the thirties, and even those will have planned but unfinished ships, but for let's say the russians.. well there is nothing between the Pre-War cruisers and the Kronstadt class. So WG will invent some ships.

 

And in WW1 they disappeared alltogether, since they were made obsolete by battlecruisers, offering speed with battleship firepower, with even easily outmatching the SMS Blücher, who was by far the strongest firepower, speed and armor combination of all armored cruisers.

Weather it were the German Cruisers on Falkland isles, or the British at Jutland, there was no place for armored cruisers anymore, until Germany re used them as substitute for battleships in the terms of the treaty of versailles, since the Deutschland class displaced (officially) only 10.000 tons.

And after battleships now got armor, speed and firepower, there was even less purpose for those ships... Deutschland could outrun most of the Dreadnoughts with the exception of the remaining few battlecruisers, when she was built, but at the start of WW2, it was again an aging breed, even in Germany compared to for example the Scharnhorsts.

 

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On 2018-01-09 at 4:53 PM, josykay said:

The only nation, where it could work, having an armored cruiser-techtree would be the Germans, because they somewhat attempted, to reinvent that type of ship with the Deutschland Class, and the D- and P-classes in the thirties, and even those will have planned but unfinished ships, but for let's say the russians.. well there is nothing between the Pre-War cruisers and the Kronstadt class. So WG will invent some ships.

 

And in WW1 they disappeared alltogether, since they were made obsolete by battlecruisers, offering speed with battleship firepower, with even easily outmatching the SMS Blücher, who was by far the strongest firepower, speed and armor combination of all armored cruisers.

Weather it were the German Cruisers on Falkland isles, or the British at Jutland, there was no place for armored cruisers anymore, until Germany re used them as substitute for battleships in the terms of the treaty of versailles, since the Deutschland class displaced (officially) only 10.000 tons.

And after battleships now got armor, speed and firepower, there was even less purpose for those ships... Deutschland could outrun most of the Dreadnoughts with the exception of the remaining few battlecruisers, when she was built, but at the start of WW2, it was again an aging breed, even in Germany compared to for example the Scharnhorsts.

 

Ships like Kurama and Rurik (2nd) might want to have a word with you.....even if the speed of Blücher was superior.

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But speed was the major point here. Ibuki and Rurik would both been cought even by many of the dreadnoughts. Not to mention battlecruisers. Blücher offered speed and armor, while being armed strongly enough, to face of most armored cruisers, especially since Blüchers 210 mm guns were stronger than some of the larger armored cruiser main guns, employed by other nations, for example the  British.

And Ibuki and Rurik faced essentially the same problem as Blücher:

Too weak in terms of arms and armor to face off rising opposition, with the lack of speed even giving a greater disadvantage. Blücher could at least have outrunned all WW1 battleships, though not the battlecruisers, which made her obsolete, Rurik and Ibuki couldn't even outrun a battleship.

 

Anyway, the initial point was: Armored Cruisers offered nothing, battlecruisers could not offer. With some armored cruisers even being unable to offer the speed. So there was no point in building them anymore. A battlecruiser was faster, stronger, tougher. 

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On 10/01/2018 at 5:43 PM, josykay said:

A battlecruiser was faster, stronger, tougher. 

Daft Punk reference? :Smile-_tongue:

 

But I liked your summary of armoured cruisers. Who knows, they could make it in as AI's, at least. Still, as with reality they would be obselete with ships like the Renowns, Courageous class, Lexington class (as BC's) etc.

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Free XP Dimitri donskoi. Most teams are BB heavy, and they all camp. They have better range and you are easy spotted. No matter your radar and laser guns, you have no defence against tier 10 BB shells, you are targeted first no matter what.

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The ships are real protected or armoured cruisers up to T4, after that those kind of ships don't make sense. T6 and T7 are concept but T8 is real again. Basically every cruiser line not US has concept ships at T9 and T10 so that doesn't count. Also the T6 premium is a real ship. So yeah, not too bad with concepts overall but they had no choice, Soviet Navy just couldn't afford to actually build many ships!

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On 1/10/2018 at 5:43 PM, josykay said:

Anyway, the initial point was: Armored Cruisers offered nothing, battlecruisers could not offer. With some armored cruisers even being unable to offer the speed. So there was no point in building them anymore. A battlecruiser was faster, stronger, tougher. 

As far as I am aware, there were no armoured cruisers with turbine engines, so they all had triple expansion type, which were good for neither speed nor reliability. The armoured cruiser/2nd class battleship concepts sort of merged together and development ending, as you state, with the introduction of the battlecruisers (aka Dreadnought Cruisers).

However, BC's are extremely large and hugely expensive, more so than contemporary BB's so represented a huge investment in resources. The advantage of smaller (and less capable) ships over their larger brethren is that a country could build more of them for the same cost and they could operate in multiple locations at the same time. IIRC you could get 2 or 3 Heavy Cruisers per battleship circa 30's/40's (the only period with that type of information that i have stumbled over), I do not imagine that AC's are much different in that respect.

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7 minutes ago, philjd said:

As far as I am aware, there were no armoured cruisers with turbine engines, so they all had triple expansion type, which were good for neither speed nor reliability. The armoured cruiser/2nd class battleship concepts sort of merged together and development ending, as you state, with the introduction of the battlecruisers (aka Dreadnought Cruisers).

However, BC's are extremely large and hugely expensive, more so than contemporary BB's so represented a huge investment in resources. The advantage of smaller (and less capable) ships over their larger brethren is that a country could build more of them for the same cost and they could operate in multiple locations at the same time. IIRC you could get 2 or 3 Heavy Cruisers per battleship circa 30's/40's (the only period with that type of information that i have stumbled over), I do not imagine that AC's are much different in that respect.

 

Armoured cruisers had already grown to approximately the same size, complexity and construction and running costs as a battleship before the dreadnought revolution. Even a turbine powered "dreadnought cruiser" with intermediate e.g. 7.5" or 9.2" guns would not have made much financial sense in the battlecruiser era. If you really want numbers you have to go a lot cheaper (5k ton 6" CLs), or you may as well spend the little extra to give it battleship level firepower and save yourself the logistics of another gun caliber in the fleet.

 

Scale effect comes into it as well. If in the 1930s you could build 3 CAs for one BB you can have them in 3 places (where they are likely overkill) but even if you put them together the BB would win fairly handily. But the only reason everyone was in a mad rush to build powerful cruisers in the 1930s is because BBs were banned, so the design of those ships is a distortion. Once treaty limits lapse you see the gap open again with a return to size race at the top end (genuine BC level designs like Alaska, arguably also Iowa), coupled with light cruisers at the other end that stagnate or even regress in terms of individual power in favor of utility and mass production (Cleveland, Colony etc.).

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On 15.3.2018 at 11:09 AM, philjd said:

As far as I am aware, there were no armoured cruisers with turbine engines, so they all had triple expansion type, which were good for neither speed nor reliability. The armoured cruiser/2nd class battleship concepts sort of merged together and development ending, as you state, with the introduction of the battlecruisers (aka Dreadnought Cruisers).

However, BC's are extremely large and hugely expensive, more so than contemporary BB's so represented a huge investment in resources. The advantage of smaller (and less capable) ships over their larger brethren is that a country could build more of them for the same cost and they could operate in multiple locations at the same time. IIRC you could get 2 or 3 Heavy Cruisers per battleship circa 30's/40's (the only period with that type of information that i have stumbled over), I do not imagine that AC's are much different in that respect.

Blücher costed around 28.000.000 gold mark. The Von der Tann,  the first german battlecruiser costed around 36.000.000 gold mark. More expensive yes. But nowhere near the 2-3:1 ratio of the fourties. Von der Tann was eaven cheaper, than the SMS Nassau, Germany's first Dreadnought, costing 38.000.000 gold mark. Despite having the same broadside weight, and having turbine engines, mostly because she needed 2 turrets less than Nassau.

And size wise, there wasn't much of a difference. Von der Tann was 10 meters longer.

Even if we do not count Blücher,  It was more 1.555555555:1  when using the Scharnhorst class for comparing.

 

Moltkes weren't a huge prize hike either, still being cheaper than Helgoland or Kaiser class dreadnoughts. It only started really with the Derfflingers becoming significantly more expensive,  costing almost up to 10.000.000 gold mark more than a Bayern class Super Dreadnought at up to 59.000.000.

Same can be  seen at british battlecruisers, which really started to jump at the Lion Class.

 

But I have to agree at one thing: The prizes for battlecruisers exploded rapitly compared to battleships. Generally speaking, from the Nassaus aside, all german dreadnoughts were around 45 to 50 million mark.

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This is a repeated (yet still interesting) discussion in naval doctrines and theories of early 20th century. The battlecruiser taking over and "killing" the armored cruiser was just a circunstancial and accidental result of a tremendous mistake, that mistake being the existance of the battlecruiser alltogether.

First let's put in clear words what a battlecruiser was intended to do: Acting as part of the fast scouting forces of the fleet, destroy the enemy scouting forces, and then taking part of the main battlefleet encounter as an integral part of the battleline itself (british doctrine called for the battlecruisers to take spots in both the van and rear of the battleline, and that's exactly what they did in Jutland, with the well known results: HMS Invincible was blown up when stationed in the van of the Grand Fleet).

The Armored cruiser had the same roles but, after the spectacular evolution of FCS, reloading mechanisms, and armored AP caps for big gun projectiles, wasn't supposed to take part in the main battlefleet action at all. ACs had taken a very effective role as integral part of the japanese battlefleet in Tsushima but by before 1910 it was widely aknowledged that they wouldn't be able to in the future.

Why the AC was discarded for that role, but the BC was supposed to do it (when having roughly the same protection levels as an Armored Cruiser) just underlined how flawed the battlecruiser concept was.

So the role of the armored cruiser was suplanted by the battlecruiser, yes, but the battlecruiser on itself was both a failed and flawed concept, as Jutland proved and as navies of the world aknowledged later (with the exception of the USA with the Lexington which is recognized as probably the worst US capital ship design of all time). In fact the Battlecruiser would've never existed had it not been for the insistance of the british 1st lord of the admiralty, Lord Jackie Fisher.

When the Dreadnought Revolution was in full swing the discussion about the future cruiser concepts to accompany and take the scout roles for the new 21 knot battlewagons was aimed very much in the same direction as the Germans took with Blücher: an all "medium caliber" gun cruiser with turbine engines (blucher had triple expansion engines but that was because at the time of her design Germany didn't have good access to them, same reason why the first german dreadnoughts didn't have turbines either), a "dreadnought" version of the Armored Cruiser designed to take on scouting roles, but not suited (neither in firepower nor armor) for taking part in a battleline action. The germans went with 210mm main caliber, the british were almost decided for the same 9.2 inch guns that their latest armored cruisers had. But Fisher wanted to have his way, and his way was the all-big-gun cruiser...or as later was called, the "Battlecruiser".

Fisher's insistance totally changed the natural evolution of the armored cruiser into Blücher like warships (which was the obvious and natural evolution of the cruiser after the dreadnought revolution), instead introducing battleship caliber guns in ships with nowhere near protection to stand their own gunfire, yet purposefully intended to take spots in the van and rear of the main battlefleet. The result was a FAR bigger and costlier warship than needed for scouting roles, yet woefully incapable of fullfitting their expected role as part of the battleline, as Jutland proved.

Some people will chime in here and say "but the battlecruiser wasn't supposed to be part of the battlefleet". That's a gross error and mistake - on the opposite the Battlecruiser was doctrinally intended to do just that from their very inception, as the 1904-1905 british Naval Board meeting minutes clearly state. And for that role they were worse than ill-suited.

Of course this is talking about the british Battlecruiser concept. The germans took the concept and toned down it's firepower and (somewhat) speed in order to provide for proper capital ship protection. Ironically,so, those ships were perfectly able to do the job the British battlecruisers never were, but in doing so the germans created what was later recognized as a new concept and the way to follow up in the future: that of the "fast battleship": a battleship with a balanced relationship of firepower and protection, yet able to reach speeds close to that of cruisers.


In any case after Jutland the Battlecruiser concept mostly fell in disgrace. After Jutland, and with the exception of the Lexington class BCs, all battlecruisers designed had protection at least good enough to give a good degree of immunity against battleship calibers (Hood had that armor, so did the G3 designs, so did the japanese Amagis) which in fact meant those ships were, in fact, fast battleships in everything but name.

The problem is that those ships didn't solve a very vital issue for fleets - that of taking on the spotting and counter-spotting roles (the same roles armored cruisers had before the battlecruiser was created). A Hood, or an Amagi, had the speed to do those roles but were outrageously expensive - they were FAR too powerful for what was needed for the role. Something smaller, cheaper, yet fast, was needed. Something powerful enough to wipe the floor against Light cruisers, but not too big, expensive to run nor costly to build, as capital ships. Those ships didn't exist in 1920, but it's natural that they would've eventually existed had naval warship design followed the natural evolution of things. But once again, something happened that cut short that "natural Evolution". The Washington Naval Treaty.
 
What I'm trying to say here is that the the Armored Cruiser would've made a comeback with the fall in disgrace of the Battlecruiser after Jutland had not the Washington and London Treaties intervened. Those treaties enforced the limit of 10.000 tons and 8 inch guns for ships in order not to be considered "capital ships", and capital ship was more or less forbidden (more strictly ,it was extremely heavily regulated) for 15 years after the treaty was signed in what was more or less jokingly called a "battleship build holiday".

So we have a situation where a coming back of the Armored Cruiser was just the natural path to fill the void that fleets of the time were covering with light cruisers at best. The natural evolution of doctrines would've called for a ship able to kill light cruisers while not costing the fortune that one of the new "fast battleships" costed. Queue the re-entry of the armored cruiser in the scene (although, of course, under far more modern lines than those of the pre-dreadnought era).

Yet it never happened, and what happened instead was the later called "heavy cruiser". Cruisers pushing the treaty limits (10000 tons standard displacement and 8 inch gun main batteries) but with nowhere near the degree of protection Armored Cruisers had enjoyed in their heyday....because the size limitations prevented it.

So an armored cruiser comeback didn't happen because those ships would've needed to displace 15.000 tons or more in order to accomodate for the needed main battery and armor to stand it, and because that main battery probably would've needed to be bigger than the 8 inch rifles the WT and LT enforced as the top limit for cruisers.

The result was a whole new generation of a new class of ship, the Heavy Cruiser, which was in fact a truly awful concept that would've never existed otherwise. Without other exception than, maybe, Algerie (and to a point, New Orleans), the Treaty-compliant "heavy cruisers" were all woefully unprotected against their own guns (japanese ones were decently protected, but weren't treaty compliant at all, displacing at least 30% more than what the treaties allowed for. Japan actually cheated bigtime with those ships), and were so because in 10.000 tons and with a rather heavy 8'' gun main battery, there was no realistic way to provide for enough power for the speeds required , AND, enough armor to provide for good protection against their own guns.

Navies of the time were actually (for the most part) displeased with the serious lopsided and unbalanced (heavy firepower, paper armor) designs of the new Heavy Cruisers, at least until the late 30s when new boilers designs, machinery advancements, etc, allowed for a decrease of the sizes and weights of machinery, thus finally opening a way to create truly balanced 8'' cruisers with adequate protection (and again, only a few like those actually were built, the New Orleans and the Algerie being the only ones that really qualify as "balanced" ships).

After WWII started and the treaties were voided thus finishing any semblance of enforced "limit" in warship construction, we can see the evolution of the Heavy Cruiser into something that was FAR closer to what modern "armored cruisers" would've looked like, like the american Baltimore or Des Moines, but ,specially and specifically, the Alaska class Large Cruiser....

Even while the Alaskas were expensive as crap, but that's mostly because the americans far overdid their main caliber and as a result needed displacement. Some of the Alaska class design sketches with much lighter weapons but similar degrees of protection would've actually been a more natural result. But again something prevented a "Natural" design here, and that was the American mistaken intel about the Japanese B-65 large cruiser being built. To fight a B-65 nothing short of 12 inch guns was considered acceptable, and thus the Alaska class ended taking the shape it did. Otherwise it'd probably been much smaller, and a good example of what a modern "armored cruiser" would've looked like.

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Good analysis but I take issue with peddling the "accepted wisdom" that battlecruisers were fundamentally flawed. If anything they were just ahead of their time and are vindicated in spirit by all the BB designs of the 1930s, and to an extent by carriers as well. Let me explain.

 

One of the reasons the Invincible design turned out the way it did was due to the RN testing their new 12" guns Dreadnought would use. They worked out the guns could not penetrate 6" of armour belt beyond about 15,000 yards. If you're building an all big gun ship that can fire all its guns that far and is fast enough to stay that far, it's actually perfectly logical to not use more than the minimum required armour and dedicate weight savings to speed. Of course, it was a bit arrogant and short-sighted to assume other nations (or technological progress in general) would not produce better guns and shells, but the underlying principle is sound. It's exactly the same line of thinking as the "immunity zone" concept that dominated battleship design a couple of decades later. The early battlecruisers were not wrong, they were just rapidly left behind by the arms race that nobody could really have predicted.

 

By the 1920s and '30s it was accepted that it was impossible to armour a battleship fully against its own guns so the protection was designed for a certain range band. Note that no 1930s BB is slower than 27 knots, and several are considerably faster. Speed, firepower and gun range put armour in the back seat, just as it did with battlecruisers. Except that technology had now reached a point where it was possible to balance the design a bit better so it was not so obviously min-maxed. Nevertheless, BB armour schemes were invalidated by developments in shell technology and unexpected battle conditions during the war, just as they were in WWI. In many ways the traditional BB died in WWI and WWII fast BBs are the descendents of the design legacy of Battlecruisers.

 

The reason I mention carriers is because they are the battlecruiser concept taken to the logical extreme. Replace guns with planes and focus on delivering the longest ranged, most powerful first strike possible so that you don't need any armour at all. Even before the carrier decisively bested the battleship, armour was already dead. Naval warfare was about being in the right place at the right time (speed) and striking first decisively (firepower). Fisher was visionary with his battlecruisers but technology and doctrine could not quite achieve his vision in his time.

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It's an interesting approach but there are a lot of considerations that kinda go against your argument.

1) and you already stated it, yes, when designing warships a degree of foresight was needed - by 1905 armored cruiser armor had proven to be (Barely) enough to deal with 12'' gunfire at Tsushima, but the own british could've looked at their own pace of development in both rate of fire, accuracy and particularily penetration of capital ship guns to immediately notice that in short order the ships they were designings would be totally unsuitable for their intended role.


2) and this is my main caveat. The Battlecruiser was designed to take on the role of the Armored Cruiser, not that of the battleship (even while it's clear when reading Fisher's correspondence that he actually intended and wanted to get rid of battleships alltogether and have a navy which only capital ships were Battlecruisers. Thankfully he didn't get his way on that one). Armored Cruisers of the era were ships designed to be fast enough to act as light cruiser killers, their role being to wipe out the enemy scouting forces and render the enemy battlefleet "blind".

For that role a 30.000 ton behemoth both bigger and more expensive than a contemporary battleship (for instance, the Lion class) is absurdly overkill. When you take in account that for that cost they also were incapable to fullfit the other of their intended roles (the role that demanded their big guns to begin with), that is, being part of the battleline, you end with a terribly flawed ship in your hands. It's FAR too costly for their scout killer role, and is FAR too weak for their battleline role. You pay a fortune for a ship that's far too much and  too expensive for one role, and far too limited for the other role.

Any way you look at, that's an awful concept. Maybe not so much in the intention (german battlecruisers were built with the same ideas in mind, and they were excellent ships), but in the design details. The battlecruiser as conceived by the british (and the british concept was what set the trend for the class worldwide, except for germany) was a gross mistake, and Jutland underlined that conclusion  with extreme and brutal clarity.


The argument of "being a good idea but too early because 20 years later later battleships were as fast as them" doesn't really make sense. Battleships of the 30s were indeed all of them faster than 27 knots, but their intended role wasn't that of "scouting, killing enemy scouts and afterwards join the battleline". They were the battleline itself, something the battlecruiser was not (even while intended to join the battleline after having destroyed the enemy scouting forces). They were faster because in 20 years machinery technology had made huge leaps (small tube higher pressure boilers, geared turbines, etc) which opened the door for far more powerful machinery in much more compact installations. Once technology allowed for it, every nation went for "fast battleships" because speed was always recognized as a great tactical asset for a ship of the line and the new technologies being developed allowed for that speed without making big sacrifices in armor.

as for the concept of "battleships being built without regard for protection", thats, simply stated, not true and can be proven as untrue with ease (just by reading the engineer minutes, correspondence, official navy requirements, etc). Battleship design of the 30s had protection as one of the big pivotal three points of a warship (protection, firepower, speed), in a world that almost unanimously recognized the merits of a balanced design approach (that is, the desirable ship was one that was good enough in each of those three departments, without one being far too good at the cost of any of the other two).

As part of that "balanced approach" the idea of providing a warship with armor good enough to withstand it's own guns in a large enough so-called "immunity zone" proves that protection was still ranked extremely high in the design considerations. And in fact most of the battleships of the 30s were designed with such a consideration in mind, something that was specially  highlighted, for instance, in the way the North Carolina ended up being built and in the decision of the US Navy of not producing any more than the initial two, instead moving on to the the South Dakota class.

The reason that the South Dakotas actually existed as follow-ons was that the North Carolinas had been built with three quadruple 14'' turrets in mind, and had been given, accordingly, protection against 14'' gunfire - yet when they were completed with 16'' guns because of the Japanese not renewing the London Treaty, their protection lagged far behind their firepower. Something the Navy didn't like at all, and something that caused the South Dakotas to be designed (the SoDak had a much more effective armor layout, even while it only gave "immunity" against her own guns in an extremely narrow zone...but that's because the american 2700 pound superheavy 16'' shell was tremendously powerful for the caliber).

I don't see anywhere in the design process of any of the warships of the "fast battleship" era that gives any real proof of protection not being considered as important as firepower or speed. Meanwhile in the early 10s, the battlecruiser (the british concept) was all about firepower and speed, with armor being a complete afterthought. Totally different approach for what in the end were totally different ships.

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As you say, by WWII immunity zones got pretty narrow. This is implicitly accepting that range is part of a BBs protection, which is the same idea the British designed their battlecruisers to. The armour was not an afterthought, it was designed to be as thick as it needed to be given the expected engagement parameters of the ships. The Lion class was a pretty balanced design, their 9" belts sufficient to keep out German 28cm and 30.5cm shells at expected combat ranges, as shown by the beatings Lion and Tiger took at Jutland. Of course all designs consider elements of protection, it's just where the balance point falls. How wide does an immunity zone need to be to consider a ship balanced? It doesn't seem like arguments were made in the 1930s for widening immunity zones at the expense of firepower.

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"as shown by the beatings Lion and tiger took at Jutland"

You realize that Queen Mary blew up, and that Lion came a spilt hair from doing so aswell, avoiding it in literally the last second, by the self sacrifize of her Q turret magazine crew that flooded the magazine with them locked inside when the barbette was penetrated by a (probably) 28cm shell from SMS Motlke that began a cordite flash chain like the ones that killed the other three battlecruisers?.

No, the Lion class armor wasn't anywhere close to "balanced" and it's armor was far from "enough to stop 28cm and 30.5cm shells". Those ships citadels were vulnerable to both shells - and both Queen Mary blowing up and Lion coming exceedingly close to being so, are the proof of it.


as for the later part, nope, arguments weren't made in the 1930s for widening immunity zones at the expense of firepower. One was defined by the other. The pre-WW2 design process was, for instance in the Royal Navy: you had a 35.000 ton displacement to play with. You decided on the size of the ship, so you'd know the general displacement that would be needed for fittings, structure, accomodation, general equipment, possible flagship accomodations, etc.

Then you decided on the machinery needed to achieve expected and designed speed for the ship displacement and expected dimension. That gave you your "machinery budget". Then you decided a given main battery caliber,  provided an armor layout that offered adequate immunity zone against said caliber. that gave you your "armor budget". And with the remaining displacement free  you decided on the main battery gun count and how you wanted to emplace it, with a given type and number of turrets, aswell as the layout of the secondary guns, and wether use DP secondaries or emplace a tertiary AAA battery.

Then you would produce a second design, with a different set of speed, armor and firepower, changing some of the specs (for instance, how would this ship look like if instead of 12 guns in three quadruples we use 9 triples in three triple turrets?. Would that allow for an increase in caliber and according increase in protection?).
Then you would produce a third one

 

and a fourth

 

and a....

 

it was an iterative process, lots of different proposals would be created with widely different specs of armor, speed, and firepower. For instance for the KGV class the british made dozens of sketches ranging from ships with 16 quadruple turreted 12 inch guns and 32 knot speeds, down to 25 knot designs with 16 inch guns in three triple turrets, and literally dozens of middle ground proposals with varying speeds and weapons. They finally went for a middle ground of 12x14'' guns in three quadruples (later downgraded to the known 10 gun configuration because of the decision of slightly uparmour the design and  the problems in the development and construction of the quadruple mounts)

 

Armor was always calculated based on the caliber used, in order to provide for the desired balanced within a given displacement.


And no, it's not that "As you say, by WWII immunity zones got pretty narrow". Not against conventional calibers and shells of the time. It was true in the particular case of the american 16'' superheavy shell (and 18'' yamato's shell, which noone knew about until the end of the war, but incidentally had a similar penetration capability as the american 16'' when fired by Iowa's 16''/50 guns), but South Dakota had a pretty impressive immunity zone against, for instance, nelson's or the Nagato's 16'' batteries. KGV had a VERY impressive armor set largely immune to her own guns in a tremendously wide zone, etc.

It was only when the 2700pound SH shell became a thing that ships limited to 35000 tons began having serious problem keeping the protection vs caliber relationship balanced. but by then it was a moot point anyway because WW2 had began and the naval treaty displacement limitations were no longer, and once the displacements were unlimited again, you got designs like Montana, which again kept a pretty large IZ against her own guns...while of course being FAR larger than the South Dakotas, thus reestablishing the balance in the firepower vs protection "balancing" theme which had become the cornerstone of naval design since WW1.

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The battlecruiser magazine explosions at Jutland had little or nothing to do with the design of their armour. This was a myth spread at the time as an easy answer and to an extent cover up, and has been debunked. Tiger is noted as having taken direct hits to the main belt which failed to penetrate. There are no recorded direct citadel penetrations on the Lion class at either Dogger Bank or Jutland. There is some argument that turret protection could have been better, but the German battlecruisers at Jutland got nearly all their turrets disabled between them as well so they weren't really superior in this regard. The only differences that resulted in detonations on the British side were a combination of volatile cordite chemistry and poorly designed/implemented safety protocols.

 

And yes, battleship design went through iterations and multiple proposals but the purpose of these was to investigate options. They would deliberately vary the % displacement allocated to propulsion, artillery, protection etc. to balance the ships at different points and compare. My point is only that the designs eventually chosen for construction in the 1930s seemed to lean towards the higher speed and heavier armament end of the design proposal spectrum. There was nothing stopping people building 23 knot BBs with 12x 16" guns and very wide immunity zones from those guns on 35k tons. They chose not to. They chose speed at the cost of a narrower IZ. That's an extension of battlecruiser design.

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5 hours ago, VC381 said:

The battlecruiser magazine explosions at Jutland had little or nothing to do with the design of their armour.



Oh they had quite a lot to do with the design of their armor. Specially for the purpose of this conversation. To begin with, it's unclear why Queen Mary blew up, other than doing so shortly after receiving a series of consecutive hits from Moltke and Derrflinger. (Or was it Seydlitz?. Long time since I last read about the battle. Anyway point stands). Whenever those hits caused a direct magazine penetration (german guns at that range were indeed capable of penetrating it according to their penetrating performance), a barbette penetration, or even if the detonation was the result of the concussion caused within the turret after the barbette was hit is still a matter of discussion that will never be solved because the remains of the ship are so torn apart that the real cause of the detonation can't be determined.

But HMS Lion survived. And HMS Lion survived a near-catastrophic event identical to those that finished the other three BCs. And HMS Lion became so close to finishing it's life in such a spectacular fashion because a german shell penetrated the turret face, which was 9 inch thick and angled, so the whole idea that 9 inch armor protection made those ships immune to german gunfire is ludicrous.

BTW and about "There are no recorded direct citadel penetrations on the Lion class at either Dogger Bank or Jutland". Main turrets are considered integral part of the citadel of a capital ship. Lion's Q turret being blown up by a penetrating shell is already a recorded direct citadel penetration...pending on knowing exactly what kind of hit finished Queen Mary.


"the German battlecruisers at Jutland got nearly all their turrets disabled between them "

 

True (or rather, almost, they still had SOME guns operative. Lutzow went down with her main battery still operational, for instance)  then again German Battlecruisers suffered far more hits than the british battlecruisers, and (in particular during the death ride which took them as close as maybe 4000m from the british battleline) at far closer ranges than the british ships. Most of the hits that disabled those turrets were glancing hits or semi-penetrations that either stuck them in place or which concussion wrecked the reload mechanisms so the turrets could no longer operate.

There were some turret and barbette penetrations indeed (happened to Seydlitz), but considering the ammount of times those ships were hit, and the ranges at which those hits were registered, it'd been a total miracle that there would have been none. And let's not forget - the german battlecruisers were subjected to 13.5 and 15 inch gunfire, as the portion of the british BC and battlefleet armed with 12'' was vastly minor compared with the ammount of ships armed with the larger guns. Which also puts things in a whole another level of perspective, because one thing is being vulnerable to 13.5 and 15 inch gunfire...another being vulnerable to 12 and even 11 inch gunfire.



 

5 hours ago, VC381 said:

There was nothing stopping people building 23 knot BBs with 12x 16" guns and very wide immunity zones from those guns on 35k tons. They chose not to. They chose speed at the cost of a narrower IZ. That's an extension of battlecruiser design.


No it's not. Because the reason they chose not to go with snail pace ultraheavy armored ships wasn't that those ships were supposed to be fast to brush aside light scouts and cruisers as the battlecruiser design was. The reason those ships weren't extremely heavily armored 23 knot lumbering beasts was that such a ship would've been regarded as unbalanced, sacrificing speed in order to achieve inordinate ammounts of protection.

And as I already explained before the purpose and objective of naval designers post WWI shifted towards balanced designs where all three armor, protection and speed were harmonized to be as balanced as possible without sacrificing too much of either of them in order to pump up any other of the remaining two. Under those standards, designers would've never produce a capital ship design barely any faster than a Nelson (which by the late 1920s was already recognized as of dubvious real value due to it's very limited top speed) no matter how impressive the armor protection of firepower of the ship would've looked like.

Edited by RAMJB
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Quite a few of the Russian Cruisers from T5 up seem to have excessively bad turning circles i.e. 850m plus, one at +900m ; don't really understand the reason for this. Trying to keep station with a BB whose turning circle is near a 100m better is... annoying.

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  • They are long and fast --> bad turning
  • Balancing factor, otherwise they would be too strong

 

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Feared as much but just a mere 50 or 60m less, a smidgeon, a gnats kneecap of an improvement would be so appreciated :)

Actually having got to Shchors now and seen what's coming before getting to something that might be ok, some of these ships need so much more than a gnats kneecap to improve them, feel like I'm sailing around in a rusty biscuit tin that's lost its lid and has one broken oar to steer with.

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