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CaptainKiwi_2016

Bayern during WWI

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I'm a curious what if sort of person; and I wonder if Bayern and her sisters were completed in time for Jutland, would they have made any difference? The most powerful battleships of that period AFAIK were the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth class, and I believe that the Bayern was a direct rival to the Queen Elizabeth, maybe even better than the Queen Elizabeth. 

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5 minutes ago, CaptainKiwi_2016 said:

I'm a curious what if sort of person; and I wonder if Bayern and her sisters were completed in time for Jutland, would they have made any difference? The most powerful battleships of that period AFAIK were the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth class, and I believe that the Bayern was a direct rival to the Queen Elizabeth, maybe even better than the Queen Elizabeth. 

 

Bayern was indeed better than QE but not by much. Better as in better pumps, damage control and compartmentalization. Or in short: survivability.

She was the newest and strongest HSF ship and would have sailed as the vanguard in König’s place.

 

Would she have made a difference?

 

Likely YES. Warspite was hammered by König and other Battleships but the 30.5cm shells didn’t score the one catastrophic hit. It is not an unreasonable assumption that Bayern’s 38cm shells would have vaporized Warspite while she was going in circles with her rudder stuck.

 

Later in the battle when Jellicoe was incredibly lucky to deploy his ships to the correct side and crossed Scheer’s T it wouldn’t have been any different. The British battleline blended into the haze and there were no significant hits from the leading German ships on the British.

 

My guess is - the only difference would have been the loss of Warspite.

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2 minutes ago, lron_Dog_of_Jutland said:

 

Bayern was indeed better than QE but not by much. Better as in better pumps, damage control and compartmentalization. Or in short: survivability.

She was the newest and strongest HSF ship and would have sailed as the vanguard in König’s place.

 

Would she have made a difference?

 

Likely YES. Warspite was hammered by König and other Battleships but the 30.5cm shells didn’t score the one catastrophic hit. It is not an unreasonable assumption that Bayern’s 38cm shells would have vaporized Warspite while she was going in circles with her rudder stuck.

 

Later in the battle when Jellicoe was incredibly lucky to deploy his ships to the correct side and crossed Scheer’s T it wouldn’t have been any different. The British battleline blended into the haze and there were no significant hits from the leading German ships on the British.

 

My guess is - the only difference would have been the loss of Warspite.

Bayern had the benefit of Turtleback Armour (Like most German Battleships of that era did), so I agree on the survivability of the ship. But buy 'n large, most German Capital ships of that era, including the battlecruisers, were well protected. Seydlitz and Derflinnger (Forgive my spelling) took a nasty beating at Jutland and still managed to make it home. The Queen Mary and the Invincible however, we all know their story. My theory would be that if Bayern and her sisters were completed in time for Jutland, and been positioned correctly as Jellicoe had done with his ships; I'm sure Jutland would have ended differently. 

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18 minutes ago, CaptainKiwi_2016 said:

Bayern had the benefit of Turtleback Armour (Like most German Battleships of that era did), so I agree on the survivability of the ship. But buy 'n large, most German Capital ships of that era, including the battlecruisers, were well protected. Seydlitz and Derflinnger (Forgive my spelling) took a nasty beating at Jutland and still managed to make it home. The Queen Mary and the Invincible however, we all know their story. My theory would be that if Bayern and her sisters were completed in time for Jutland, and been positioned correctly as Jellicoe had done with his ships; I'm sure Jutland would have ended differently. 

 

Well Derfflinger was extremely well protected for a Battlecruiser. But the fact she survived is also partially due to ineffective British AP shells. By that time German shells were vastly superior and contributed to the outcome of the battle. 

Problem during the (short) main battle for the Germans were not their ships but their position. So while the Bayerns were probably the most capable capital ships at the time I don’t see how they could have mitigated the disadvantage of having the T crossed and being on the wrong side with regards to visibility and time of the day. 

It was the opposite earlier when Hipper and Beatty met - here Hipper had the better side (his smoke blew clear and his ships did blend into the grey). Beatty’s ships could be well seen against the background. However in the main battle things were the other way round so chances for a lucky hit by a 38cm Bayern Shell seem rather low.

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2 minutes ago, lron_Dog_of_Jutland said:

 

Well Derfflinger was extremely well protected for a Battlecruiser. But the fact she survived is also partially due to ineffective British AP shells. By that time German shells were vastly superior and contributed to the outcome of the battle. 

Problem during the (short) main battle for the Germans were not their ships but their position. So while the Bayerns were probably the most capable capital ships at the time I don’t see how they could have mitigated the disadvantage of having the T crossed and being on the wrong side with regards to visibility and time of the day. 

It was the opposite earlier when Hipper and Beatty met - here Hipper had the better side (his smoke blew clear and his ships did blend into the grey). Beatty’s ships could be well seen against the background. However in the main battle things were the other way round so chances for a lucky hit by a 38cm Bayern Shell seem rather low.

So it comes down to skill, tactics, and luck basically. You can have the best ships, but if you aren't prepared or don't plan properly, having the best ships doesn't count. 

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1 hour ago, CaptainKiwi_2016 said:

So it comes down to skill, tactics, and luck basically. You can have the best ships, but if you aren't prepared or don't plan properly, having the best ships doesn't count. 

 

Pretty much. At the time recon was extremely basic so neither side knew what was happening really. Combine this with transmission of orders through flags in the misty North Sea on steam ships which lay dark black smoke wherever they sail. 

It was a battle of old tactics with new machines. 

And the absolute differences in ships‘ capabilities were not as big that they couldn’t be compensated by good leadership and a bit of luck. Only the old pre-dreadnoughts were of almost no use - both the battleships and armored cruisers (demonstrated tragically for the Germans at Falklands and at Jutland for the British).

 

So I don’t believe that even four Bayerns would have greatly changed the outcome of the Jutland battle. However if you like what-ifs, there are multiple almost encounters between the two battlefleets (one eg. only few weeks after Jutland when both sides made a deliberate decision to avoid battle or another one where the HSF missed a convoy for Norway by not even a day which would have also resulted in another climatic battle). These are highly interesting as well and I believe there the Bayerns could have made a difference with their much higher punch there - which was something the German Capital ships were generally missing.

 

Further I can recommend Georg von Hase‘s Books. people think very different today but it offers very intense first hand insights into these types of engagements and into the thinking of the time.  You almost feel yourself in the small dark conning tower watching the British Battlecruiser going into formation „like huge ancient animals“ as Hase put it. If you are interested in the era it is an interesting read.

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3 hours ago, lron_Dog_of_Jutland said:

 

Pretty much. At the time recon was extremely basic so neither side knew what was happening really. Combine this with transmission of orders through flags in the misty North Sea on steam ships which lay dark black smoke wherever they sail. 

It was a battle of old tactics with new machines. 

And the absolute differences in ships‘ capabilities were not as big that they couldn’t be compensated by good leadership and a bit of luck. Only the old pre-dreadnoughts were of almost no use - both the battleships and armored cruisers (demonstrated tragically for the Germans at Falklands and at Jutland for the British).

 

So I don’t believe that even four Bayerns would have greatly changed the outcome of the Jutland battle. However if you like what-ifs, there are multiple almost encounters between the two battlefleets (one eg. only few weeks after Jutland when both sides made a deliberate decision to avoid battle or another one where the HSF missed a convoy for Norway by not even a day which would have also resulted in another climatic battle). These are highly interesting as well and I believe there the Bayerns could have made a difference with their much higher punch there - which was something the German Capital ships were generally missing.

 

Further I can recommend Georg von Hase‘s Books. people think very different today but it offers very intense first hand insights into these types of engagements and into the thinking of the time.  You almost feel yourself in the small dark conning tower watching the British Battlecruiser going into formation „like huge ancient animals“ as Hase put it. If you are interested in the era it is an interesting read.

I would definitely look at if I ever get a chance, WWI Naval Battles were far more interesting than those of WWII. Plus, I have an interest in WWI Era German Battleships. Even their battlecruisers, plus the stuff they never got to build like the Makensen, Ersatz Yorck and L 20/30 Classes. 

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36 minutes ago, CaptainKiwi_2016 said:

I would definitely look at if I ever get a chance, WWI Naval Battles were far more interesting than those of WWII. Plus, I have an interest in WWI Era German Battleships. Even their battlecruisers, plus the stuff they never got to build like the Makensen, Ersatz Yorck and L 20/30 Classes. 

It is a really interesting era for Naval warfare.

The additional projects / studies though were more of a fact finding than actual intentions to build them but nevertheless very interesting! Germany couldn’t afford the luxury to continue building Battlecruisers and Battleships separately the same way as GB. So they tried to create an “Einheitstyp” which would combine both types into a single unified capital ship type. However technology of 1916 didn’t allow the creation of such a ship within Germany’s constraints. The locks in Wilhelmshaven, the size of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Canal and the size of the dry docks limited the possible size for the ship. So even if the L20 Type was eventually approved for construction it was not realistic by any means given the war situation. 

 

Interestingly the German Fleet commander Reinhard Scheer thought after Jutland that only much stronger ships could stand a chance against the RN and was pushing for 42cm guns (which led to ships far too large) and submarine warfare. Highly interesting thought and decision making process 

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The main problem at Jutland with British Battlecruisers wasn't the design so much as Captain's and Crews removing safety Flash protection between Magazines and Shell area's that conected with the turrets. Also storing extra Cordite in easy use positions around the turret that made possible higher Rate of Fire which the British thought was more important since their Gunnery in the BattleCruiser Fleet was Sub-Par. So when a shell hit a turret the resulting flash and fire would go right down the turret through the removed Flash protection right into the magazine area which resulted in catastrophic results. Several British BC took shell hits but their flash protection was properly installed and operated so they continued the fight. 2 out of 3 BC maybe all 3 would have been fine if the ships were being used properly but RN doctrine was still ROF over accuracy since that had worked for several centuries before.

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34 minutes ago, linusboy2118 said:

The main problem at Jutland with British Battlecruisers wasn't the design so much as Captain's and Crews removing safety Flash protection between Magazines and Shell area's that conected with the turrets. Also storing extra Cordite in easy use positions around the turret that made possible higher Rate of Fire which the British thought was more important since their Gunnery in the BattleCruiser Fleet was Sub-Par. So when a shell hit a turret the resulting flash and fire would go right down the turret through the removed Flash protection right into the magazine area which resulted in catastrophic results. Several British BC took shell hits but their flash protection was properly installed and operated so they continued the fight. 2 out of 3 BC maybe all 3 would have been fine if the ships were being used properly but RN doctrine was still ROF over accuracy since that had worked for several centuries before.

I was always under the impression that the British Battlecruisers had flaws in their design. 

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50 minutes ago, CaptainKiwi_2016 said:

I was always under the impression that the British Battlecruisers had flaws in their design. 

 

The concept was flawed - or at least over-specialized. These ships were as expensive or even more expensive than contemporary Battleships and their “only” purpose and use was to hunt down cruisers. 

 

When used as scouting force for the main battle fleet the thin armor proved fatal. And while @linusboy2118 is right about the cordite handling and a lack of discipline on these ships the armor around 200mm just wasn’t enough. Even smaller guns such as the German 28cm could easily one-shot these things. Just compare the effect of 30.cm fire on Warspite to what happened to the Battlecruisers. The poor cordite handling but also inherent design flaws led to the demise of three of them at Jutland including one of the latest and best ones (Queen Mary).

 

People tend to argue these ships have simply been used wrong and showed their intended value at the Falklands. But truth is that the armored cruisers they defeated were obsolete ships and it is in reality impossible to always dictate the engagements. Jutland made that brutally clear and paved the way for the RN to follow the German design school of better protected fast Battleships. In a way - Hood was the result and an excellent ship for when she was completed 

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