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  1. dseehafer

    A detailed look at SMS Blucher

    Greetings all, Today we shall be looking at Germany's last armored cruiser the SMS Blucher. Germany built the Blucher to counter the new Armored cruisers rumored as being built by the British, the Germans expected this new ship to be armed with 6 or 8 230mm guns, so they designed the Blucher to have 12 210mm guns, significantly more powerful than Germany's last Armored cruisers of the Schnarnhorst class which only carried 8 210mm guns. When the Germans learned of the true details of these new British ships, called Invincible class, and that they were to be armored with 12" battleship guns, they realized that the Invincible class was a completely new type of warship, soon to be known as battlecruisers. By the time the Germans learned of this it was too late to turn back, and construction of the Blucher took place as scheduled. Really the Blucher was more of a Hyper-Armored cruiser rather than a true armored cruiser because of it immense offensive capabilities, but they also werent quite battlecruisers, so the Germans called them Armored cruisers in an attempt to conceal their true power. Blucher was built at a cost of $28,532,000. Commisioned in 1909 she began her career in 1911 as a gunnery training ship before being transfered to the 1st Scouting Group with 3 Battlecruisers. The fleet began an inconclusive sweep of the Baltic in search of Russian forces. Then on September 3rd 1914 The Blucher joined a fleet of 7 pre-dreds, 5 cruisers and 24 destroyers and sailed into the Baltic in an attempt to draw out the Russian fleet and destroy it. One of the German cruisers spotted 2 Russian armored cruisers and attempted to lure them back to the Blucher so she could destroy them, the Russians refused to take the bait and instead withdrew to the Gulf of Finland. Seeing no other Russian ships the operation was cancelled and the German fleet turned back. Blucher then joined a group of 3 battlecruisers and 4 cruisers and headed out to bombard the British port of Yarmouth and to lay a minefield there. The British Submarine D5 attempted to stop the bombardment but struck a mine and was sunk. After having completed the minefield and the bombardment the German group turned back for German waters. Heavy fog rolled in which led to one of the cruisers striking 2 mines and quickly sinking. It was decided that another raid on the English coast was to be taken out in an attempt to draw out a portion of the British fleet and destroy it. on the 15th of December 1914 the Blucher joined 4 battlecruisers, 4 light cruisers and 2 squadrons of torpedo boats and set off to bombard Scarborough, supported by the Hochseelfotte (high seas fleet) cocnsisting of 14 dreadnoughts, 8 pre-dreds, 2 armored cruisers, 7 light cruisers and 54 torpedo boats. However one of the German cruisers ran aground in the gulf of finland and was captured by the Russian who found German code books and navigational charts and passed them on to the British who learned that the Germans blanned to bombard Scarborough, although it was not known how powerful the force was, and it was believed the the hochseeflotte would remain safely in port (it didnt). The British sent 6 dreadnoughts, 4 battlecruisers and a light cruiser squadron to intercept the German bombardment fleet. On the 15/16th of December the hochseeflotte encountered a British destroyer squadron and in fear of a night time torpedo raid turned back. The German battlecruisers were not notified and continued on to shell the ports of Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby. During the bombardment Blucher was hit 6 times by coastal artillery which caused minimal damage but killed 9 men and wounded 3 more. The Germans turned back and escaped to German waters. However when Hipper (who was comanding the battlecruisers) heard about the hochseeflotte's retreat he was furious, because he believed the British destroyer squadron could have been easily eliminated (porbably as the Germans outnumbered the British 7/1). In January 1915 it was learned that the British were conducting recon missions in the dogger Bank area. The Germans sent Blucher along with 3 battlecruisers, 4 light cruisers and 19 torpedo boats to Dogger Bank. The British learned that the Germans were attempting an operation in the Dogger Bank area an assembled a fleet of battlecruisers, light cruisers and destroyers to intercept the Germans. On January 15th The German cruiser kolberg (we have her in game) spotted the British cruiser Aurora and began tading shots, The German battlecruisers and Blucher turned in to support the kolberg when a large amount of smoke was detected on the horizon. The German now knew that a large British fleet was on its way and imediately the Germans turned to retreat but was limmited to just 23kn which was the fastest the Blucher could do in the heavy weather, the persuing British battlecruiser were doing 27kn and quickly caught up and began firing on Blucher which was in the rear, the German battlecruisers turned to support the Blucher which had already been hit several times and focused fire on the lead British Battlecruiser the HMS Lion, which was badly damaged recieving several hits from Blucher herself. More British ships arrived on scene by which time Blucher was already burning and listing heavily to port. The Germans knew they were outnumbered and increased speed, leaving the Blucher behind. Blucher was foucus fired by all of the British ships but she remained stubborn and fought off 4 persuing cruisers and 4 detsroyers before being torpedoed twice by the Aurora at point blank range, by this time all but two of Bluchers main battery guns had been silenced. 7 more torpedoes, launched again from point blank range struck the Blucher. Just then the German Zepplin L5 arrived on scene and mistook the Blucher for a British battlecruiser and proceeded to bomb the already sinking Blucher, the British destroyers, believing they were being bombed fled the scene. In all the Blucher was hit by 70-100 large calibre shells, hundreds of small calibre shells, 9 torpedoes and several bombs, beofre sinking. However the focus fire on the Blucher allowed the much more valuable German battlecruisers to escape, 792 men went down with the Blucher. now Blucher is an armored cruiser, which may put her in lines with other large/ armored cruisers susch as the Alaska and the Deutschland class, these ships may get hitpoints average between a battleship's and a cruiser's, but for this review i will be tiering the Blucher as a cruiser. WEIGHT - 17,500t This puts her at tier 8, weighing just 710t less than the Admiral Hipper and around 3,000t more than Mogami and NO ARMOR Belt: 60-180mm Deck: 50-70mm Turrets: 180mm Armored bridge: 250mm turtleback: 35mm Blucher's armor is very thick, if she was placed in game right now she would easily be the most heavily armored cruiser in the game. MAIN BATTERY - 6x2 210mm (8.3") Blucher can fire 8 of these guns to a broadside, you can expect the shells to do similar damage to the Yorck's guns which are also 210mm. Historically these guns could pump out 6 rounds per minute or once every 10 seconds, this high rate of fire, along with the large size of her shell will give her impressive dpm. SECONDARY BATTERY - 8x1 150mm (5.9") 16x1 88mm Blucher, if placed in game right now, would also have the best secondary firepower of any cruiser in game, boasting a broadside of 4 150mm guns and 8 88mm guns. AA BATTERY - 4x1 88mm out of all 16 of her 88mm guns only 4 are deck mounted on pivot mounts. during wwi there was very little threat from the air, so Blucher didnt need many AA guns, in game however, at tier 8 she would badly wish she had em. SPEED - 25.4kn At tier 8 25.4kn is pathetic, but its was rather impressive for an armored cruiser. CONSLUSION - At first the Blucher seems like an absolute beast, high hitpoints, thickest cruiser armor in the game, large calibre rapid firing main battery guns and an impressive secondary broadside she seems to good to be true, but all of these attributes are balance by her practically non-existant AA battery and her poor speed. She would accel the most against cruisers, her guns are large and fast firing, which would cut through a cruiser's hitpoints rather quicky, and her armor may be tricky for some cruisers to penetrate at an angle, however she will never be ale to dictate the range of her engagements, and would be easy to retreat from. Still you dont want to get too close with all those secondary guns. Again, most likely large and armored cruisers will be tiered differently than the cruisers we have in game, so this review may very well become moot when the first large/ armored cruisers are added. PROS high hitpoints very thick armor large calibre guns quick firing guns great secondary broadside CONS very poor AA very slow Well hope you all enjoyed this one, let me know what you think and as allways, have a good one!
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