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WirFahrenGegenEngeland

The Deutschland was the biggest (artillery ship)game-changer since HMS Dreadnought and she doesn't get half the credit she deserves

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On 9/26/2019 at 6:43 PM, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

However, when the Deutschland was completed in 1933 she also quite literally made every warship in the world obsolete overnight (with the exception of the aircraft carrier which, at this point, had yet to find its niche and prove its worth in combat) 

This is a complete fabrication.  Battleships, Battlecruisers, Cruisers, Destroyers and certainly Submarines were NEVER obsoleted by the Deutschlands. 

On 9/26/2019 at 6:43 PM, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

while Dreadnought could and would be countered by other dreadnoughts an entirely brand new class of warship had to be invented to counter the Deutschland! And yet, Deutschland is not nearly as well-known as the HMS Dreadnought, and it's a crying shame!

If the Deutschland ever had to face off against ol' HMS Hood, she'd have been utterly crushed by the superior firepower and speed of that Battlecruiser.  In fact any of the old Battlecruisers like Repulse would have crushed the Deutschlands without effort as they were faster and had the vastly superior guns.  The reason the French designed the Dunkerques was in part because they had no Battlecruisers and not because the Deutschlands had made the Marine Nationale obsolete.  It was more to do with the fact that the French fleet was old and small.

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42 minutes ago, Royeaux said:

This is a complete fabrication.  Battleships, Battlecruisers, Cruisers, Destroyers and certainly Submarines were NEVER obsoleted by the Deutschlands. 

If the Deutschland ever had to face off against ol' HMS Hood, she'd have been utterly crushed by the superior firepower and speed of that Battlecruiser.  In fact any of the old Battlecruisers like Repulse would have crushed the Deutschlands without effort as they were faster and had the vastly superior guns.  The reason the French designed the Dunkerques was in part because they had no Battlecruisers and not because the Deutschlands had made the Marine Nationale obsolete.  It was more to do with the fact that the French fleet was old and small.

 

The first point has been discussed further in the comments section and I've now gone back and edited it.

 

The problem with the British battlecruisers was the fact that they were the only (proven) warships in the world at the time which could counter the Deutschlands... and there was only 3 of them. This wouldnt have been such a big deal if Britain wasn't a world empire and didn't have to send warships to other parts of the world as well in the event of war (The 3 British battlecruisers were also the only ships in the world at the time that were capable of matching the Kongos and could have been useful if Great Britain had decided to be a little more aggressive against the Japanese when they were busy taking English and French territory in the Pacific during the 30s). The point is, the Deutschlands effectively forced Great Britain to keep all or most of her battlecruisers in home waters until other fast capital ships (Dunkerque and Strasbourg) could come into service to take the load off of the British Battlecruisers. Meaning that the Deutschlands, even without leaving port, would be tying down British resources just by existing. That is, battlecruisers having to puppy guard against German 'pocket battleships' are battlecruisers not being useful to the war effort elsewhere.

What's more, is that Germany wasn't expecting and REALLY didn't want war with Great Britain in 1933 and so they were hoping the Deutschlands wouldn't have to face the three English battlecruisers (Pretty wishful thinking in hindsight). The German navy through most of the 1930s was being built to take on France and it wasn't until war with Great Britain began to look inevitable that they switched gears and brought up Plan Z to start to build against the Royal Navy.

In either event, the 3 English battlecruisers are certainly superior on paper, but as has been mentioned superior diesel acceleration and superior German radar technology at the time would have made an actual engagement between a Deutschland and an English battlecruiser, not such a sure thing. I digress, I've already made the point I wanted to.

Edited by WirFahrenGegenEngeland

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2 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The problem with the British battlecruisers was the fact that they were the only (proven) warships in the world at the time which could counter the Deutschlands... and there was only 3 of them. This wouldnt have been such a big deal if Britain wasn't a world empire and didn't have to send warships to other parts of the world as well in the event of war (The 3 British battlecruisers were also the only ships in the world at the time that were capable of matching the Kongos and could have been useful if Great Britain had decided to be a little more aggressive against the Japanese when they were busy taking English and French territory in the Pacific during the 30s). The point is, the Deutschlands effectively forced Great Britain to keep all or most of her battlecruisers in home waters until other fast capital ships (Dunkerque and Strasbourg) could come into service to take the load off of Great Britain. Meaning that the Deutschlands, even without leaving port, would be tying down British resources just by existing. That is, battlecruisers having to puppy guard against German 'pocket battleships' are battlecruisers not being useful to the war effort elsewhere.

For one, that doesn't make the Battlecruisers obsolete and for the Deutschlands they were built years apart, in 1933 there was only one of them to worry about (which is when she'd make her stir).  If the Royal Navy were going to tie down 3 Battlecruisers just for the Deutschland crusier, it would merely because she was the biggest catch the Kriegsmarine had as the Deutschland-class battleships would hardly be glorious targets.  It's not that the lone Panzerschiffe was such a ultra-threat, but rather she was the most powerful ship in the Kriegsmarine and thus merits being focused on.

8 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

In either event, the 3 English battlecruisers are certainly superior on paper, but as has been mentioned superior diesel acceleration and superior German radar technology at the time would have made an actual engagement between a Deutschland and an English battlecruiser not such a sure thing. I digress, I've already made the point I wanted to.

Once you factor in that Destroyers were far faster then the Deutschlands and capable of filling full of holes with which to slow her down with flooding.  Much of the Deutschlands only had 19mm of armor, no match for the 76 mm of penetration of a 4.7" British Destroyer gun.  Also I don't think superior acceleration with a top speed of 26 knots is somehow going to negate Hood's 30-32kt top speed as acceleration doesn't win a long distance chase.

On 9/26/2019 at 6:43 PM, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

   Ultimately, it was France who was the first to build a counter to the Deutschland and they did so by tapping into their allotted battleship tonnage to build the world's first Fast Battleship (that was designed from the get-go as such, anyway). Everything about the Dunkerque had been fine-tuned to be the perfect antidote to the Deutschland. The guns were just big enough to defeat Deutschlands armor, her own armor was just thick enough to defeat Deutschland's own guns, and she was just fast enough to be able to catch the Deutschlands.

Even this is a gross exaggeration, the Deutschland's armor was 140mm at the thickest with a pitiful 80mm belt and 45 mm of deck armor.  As seen on this chart for the Dunkerque's guns, her penetration VASTLY exceeded what was necessary to penetrate the Deutschland by several magnitudes.  To say the guns were "just big enough" to defeat the Deutschland armor is highly misleading.

330 mm/50 (13") Model 1931

Range Side Armor Deck Armor
0 yards (0 m) 28.08" (713 mm) --
25,153 yards (23,000 m) 13.46" (342 mm) 3.47" (105 mm)
30,114 yards (27,500 m) 11.48" (292 mm) 4.32" (110 mm)

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The WNT really drove the development of fast battleships, the Deutschland's did little more than confirm that fast battleships were a good idea, and prove that electric arc welding was valid in constructing large warships. 

The WNT, by limiting the numbers of battleships, largely killed off the vast battlelines of Jutland where the speed of the battleline was determined by your slowest ship. In Post WNT environment, ships would likely be deployed in small numbers, so individual ship speed mattered. British style battlecruisers aren't the answer, because once a ship is there, it needs to be able to fight anything it might encounter. So, you needed both speed and protection.

What the Deutschland's did for Germany was get them back at the big boys table in naval power, even though by treaty they had basically been banished from it at the end of WWI. Once there, they could get the rules changed to allow them to compete eventually.

 

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6 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Graf Spee was far from "severely damaged". Her ability to fight was hardly hampered at all, having only lost a couple of secondary and AA guns. Graf Spee's forward turret had suffered no fewer than 3 direct hits and yet was not put out of action, even temporarily, by any of these hits. Shells were observed to hit the Spee's side armor and "bounce off like turnips". The damage to Spee's fuel line affected her ability to get home, yes, but it was of little consequence in her immediate ability to fight.

Furthermore, British gunnery at River Platte was downright terrible and after having fired almost all of their ammunition had only 20 hits to show for it! If the British can't hit the broadside of a barn from within 15km theres no way you could reasonably expect them to do any better from beyond 15km! If anything fighting a long-range battle would have been even more catastrophic for the English because Spee's shells wouldnt have over-penetrated so much and would have been able to detonate inside the hull more often and done even more damage than they had done at close range.

What's more important, ability to fight locally or ability to complete a strategic task? Spee would have been better off in the long run with a main turret out of action (major damage?) but her fuel system undamaged.

6in shellfire was always going to be ineffective against Spee for the most part, though it did damage her upperworks and put a large hole in the bow which was also part of Langsdorff's concerns about seaworthiness on the voyage home. It also knocked out Langsdorff himself by some accounts, potentially contributing to his decision making. Exeter shot very well until taking major damage, she lost A turret 6 minutes after opening fire, and B turret and DCT after 18 minutes - the total output she had was low, but she straddled on her 3rd salvo, same as Spee and hit on the 4th or 5th.

For all that the followup was ineffective, in 15 minutes Exeter had landed two hits, one had overpenetrated the Admiral's Bridge and the only hull hit had been effectively fatal. Plate demonstrates many things including that Spee's armor and layout isn't up to 8in shellfire, with one out of one i.e. 100% of 8in hull hits inflicting critical damage, lucky, but lucky because it defeated the armor.

Spee fighting at long range would likely not have changed the shell ballistics that much. In the event Spee fired away all of her HE rounds first, at range they'd have worked the same. The AP rounds which she fired, for 1 hit on Ajax were not the ammunition to fire in the first place and would probably have overpenetrated at practically any range, while Spee is not the only ship to suffer from ammunition shortages:

Spoiler

Admiral Graf Spee carried 100 rounds per gun during her war cruise. Her outfit consisted of 200 AP, 200 HE Nose Fuze and 200 HE Base Fuze rounds. Of these, 414 were fired during the Plate River battle - all 200 HE Nose Fuze rounds, 184 HE Base Fuze and 30 AP rounds, leaving her with 170 AP and 16 HE Base Fuze rounds at the close of the action. She scored seven hits and one damaging near miss on HMS Exeter while HMS Ajax received one hit and one glancing blow and HMNZS Achilles escaped with a single damaging near-miss, a total of about 2.7 percent. Although this hit percentage was better than that recorded by the British and New Zealander crews, it was disappointing to the Germans, who - according to Eric Grove - blamed "[Captain] Langsdorff's torpedo officer's tendency to over zigzag" which meant that the fire control system needed more time to settle than what was available.

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_11-52_skc28.php

The percentages of hits generally fell away, Exeter before having turrets knocked out probably landed about the best hit rate. In the stage of longer-range 6in vs. 11in most gunfire was less effective, and that's where most of the gunnery was in play.

It's also fair to say that the 6in guns of Ajax and Achilles achieved an infinitely better hit rate than the equivalent 5.9in secondary battery on Spee which landed no hits whatsoever on probably considerable expenditure - 424 rounds remaining on '100-150 rounds per gun' supply, so maybe 350 rounds fired. That does help demonstrate the advantages of the bigger guns: more accurate, lower flight times, larger splashes for correction.

7 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The Battle of the River Platte only served to prove just how ineffective standard cruisers were against the Deutschlands as, despite being outnumbered 3-1, the relative damage done by both sides overwhelmingly favored the Germans.

5nkffV1.png

The Battle of the River Plate served to demonstrate the 'great difficulty and abnormal risk for a pocket battleship in engaging two or three cruisers since even a few relatively minor but unlucky hits can rob her of the utilization of her main asset - the wide Atlantic'.

I.e. engagement by cruisers is considered by the OKM to be difficult and abnormally risky.

By bringing up 3:1 you're really arguing that cruisers were inefficient at fighting Spee, rather than ineffectual. They were ultimately entirely effectual, Spee was removed as a commerce raider. Britain had 63 cruisers at the outbreak of WWII, France another 18. A bit of inefficiency is ok in that circumstance.

 

7 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

We practically abandoned the right to self-defense, and just at the moment when it is necessary to have the appropriate strength in order to survive as a nation."

I wonder if that rather hyperbolic American was interested in securing further naval funding for something...

Ultimately a handful of whatever ships can't change the outcome. The answer to the question 'can the 203mm cruiser inflict significant damage on the enemy before being destroyed?' is 'yes' because even Exeter, one of the smallest and lightest Treaty cruisers could and did. 'No heavy cruiser can withstand a well aimed salvo of the 280mm guns' - well no heavy cruiser can well withstand a well aimed salvo of 203mm guns.

I suspect that replacing Exeter, Achilles and Ajax with two Portland's or Northampton's would have gone better for the Americans than the Brits all else being equal - 18 effective weapons viz 6.

 

10 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

So that each could fight multiple Deutschlands if it wanted to.

For some reason I can't quote that post but I have to admit I never even considered multiple Deutschland's vs. one Dunkerque.

I'm not even sure if the doctrine makes sense to group them up, two Deutschland's together sink half as much as two operating independently. Maybe because they only had 3 in the event but the Germans never seemed to seriously try and concentrate them, in the North or South Atlantic. The only time I'm aware of of a Deutschland fighting in a group action was Lutzow paired with Admiral Hipper. The advantage of the large range and heavy firepower is to singly overcome either ships sailing independently, or convoys covered by weak surface escorts like AMC's or a single cruiser, grouping up reduces the diluting effect of Spee being able to roam all over the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

In the event there were more Dunkerque's (i.e. both ships) at sea searching than there were Deutschland's at sea raiding (just Spee for periods). Rather ironic.

As for cost - I'm not sure that the Dunkerque was an 'efficient' way around the problem. I don't know her cost, but the French estimate was that a 35,000t battleship cost about as much as 4x 10,000t Treaty Cruisers. Dunkerque might have cost as much as say 3 Algerie's which I'd say would probably be more useful anti-Deutschland. If you can't afford 8 super-duper-battley-cruisers in the 15k ton range, you can't afford 4 or so Dunkerque's or 12 heavy cruisers. I don't think that fighting multiple Deutschland's was a design consideration, I could be wrong but it doctrinally makes little sense.

 

5 hours ago, Royeaux said:

Once you factor in that Destroyers were far faster then the Deutschlands and capable of filling full of holes with which to slow her down with flooding.  Much of the Deutschlands only had 19mm of armor, no match for the 76 mm of penetration of a 4.7" British Destroyer gun.  Also I don't think superior acceleration with a top speed of 26 knots is somehow going to negate Hood's 30-32kt top speed as acceleration doesn't win a long distance chase. 

I wouldn't use destroyers as a counter to the Deutschland's, whether or not the 4.7in gun could theoretically cause damage to the hull or not. They are pretty ineffective at long range simply due to inability to hit, overall the sections of a Deutschland vulnerable and important are small. Destroyer gunfire rarely if ever did more than inconvenience any cruiser in the entirety of WWII. Tactically the destroyers probably can't catch a Deutschland heading into a moderate to large sea, while cruiser or larger gunfire is very effective against destroyers.

The second problem is simply that destroyers don't have the endurance for long range patrol somewhere as large as the South Atlantic, nor the endurance to cover a whole Atlantic crossing in the north - that's why AMC HMS Jervis Bay was the only escort for HX 84 when Admiral Scheer turned up.

When the River Plate battle was fought, the Allied hunting groups in the South Atlantic included 8 heavy cruisers, 4 light cruisers, 2 aircraft carriers, 1 battlecruiser and only 3 destroyers.

 

Deutschland's didn't obsolete destroyers for sure, just like Deutschland's didn't obsolete infantry mortars - they were simply separate tools for a very separate job, but the destroyer would not be a good solution to a Deutschland simply on the basis of practicalities such as range, let alone on problems of striking power.

 

 

 

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On 9/26/2019 at 9:43 PM, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

 

HMS Dreadnought is a near household name in today's society because of the way she revolutionized naval warfare by quite literally making every single battleship in the world obsolete overnight. This isn't disputed and Dreadnought deserves every bit of recognition she gets for it.

Image result for hms dreadnought

 

However, when the Deutschland was completed in 1933 she also caused just as much of a stir in the naval world, and while Dreadnought could and would be countered by other dreadnoughts an entirely brand new class of warship had to come into play to effectively counter the Deutschland! And yet, Deutschland is not nearly as well-known as the HMS Dreadnought, and it's a crying shame!

 

Deutschland

 

The short and sweet of it goes like this:

     The Treaty of Versailles put extreme limitations on the German military, including the navy. Under this treaty, Germany was not allowed to expand its fleet and could only build new ships to replace old ships. Further, any new battleship built could not exceed a displacement of 10,000 tons. The idea behind this thinking was that Germany would only be able to build either a well-protected monitor or a coastal battleship, in other words, nothing that couldn't be easily countered by any real battleship. However, no limitations were put on speed, protection, or main battery and herein lay the loophole that would ultimately come back to bite the Allies in the butt. Essentially, they had just given Germany permission to build a ship which no one else could...

    The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, which was signed by all the world's leading naval powers except Germany (which at the time was no longer a leading naval power anyway and which had already signed a treaty limiting what their own navy could build) dictated that any new cruisers built by any of the signatories should not exceed 10,000 tons in displacement and should not employ a main battery gun-size of greater  than 8-inches. Therefore, when Germany built the Deutschland, which ultimately amounted to what was essentially a heavy cruiser armed with 11-inch guns, it shocked an unnerved the world. Here the Germans, without breaking any rules (although, secretly, the Deutschland did end up weighing slightly more than 10,000 tons) had built a warship which, with its 6 x 11" guns, could outgun any ship which could hope to catch it (e.g. another cruiser) and, with a top speed of almost 29 knots, could outrun any existing ship which could hope to outgun it (e.g. a battleship).

     The only ships in the world that, on paper anyway, were capable of catching and outgunning the Deutschland were Great Britains 3 remaining operational battlecruiser. However, in reality, even these would have struggled to catch the Deutschland's either as their steam powerplants ensured that the deisel powered Deutschlands would be able to initially out-accelerate them and ultimately force a long, slow pursuit. Further, at this time German radar capabilities were superior to their English counterparts which meant that a Deutschland was more likely to detect a British battlecruiser(s) first and avoid a confrontation altogether.

     In either event, the rest of the world was indeed rendered helpless in the face of this new ship. The United States Navy, outraged, declared that the Washington Naval Treaty effectively stripped the country of its right to self-defense if it should ever have to fight the Deutschlands or any other ships like them. Immediately, the reaction of the world's navies was to design 'super cruisers' of their own in violation of the WNT as they understood that no 10,000t cruiser of their own armed only with 8" guns would be a match for the Deutschland. However, at this time no one wanted to be the one to outright break the Treaty and so none of these designs ever made it off paper (with the possible exception of the Alaska class which had its roots in the early 30s during the 'Deutschland debacle')

     Ultimately, it was France who was the first to build a counter to the Deutschland and they did so by tapping into their allotted battleship tonnage to build the world's first Fast Battleship (that was designed from the get-go as such, anyway). Everything about the Dunkerque had been fine-tuned to be the perfect antidote to the Deutschland. The guns were just big enough to defeat Deutschlands armor, her own armor was just thick enough to defeat Deutschland's own guns, and she was just fast enough to be able to catch the Deutschlands. Germany and Italy would respond to Dunkerque with fast battleships of their own in the Scharnhorst and Littoro classes, respectively. France would respond to Littorio, first with Strasbourg, and finally with the Richelieu class. Germany would respond to the Richelieu class with the Bismarck class. Great Britain, never one to be outdone on the naval front, built fast battleships of her own in the King George V class and later the Vanguard.

 

     And that, friends, is the legacy of the Deutschland class. A design which so shocked the world that it led to a (mostly) new class of warship being built in response. Every western fast battleship ever built as such, with the possible exception of the American fast battleships, can blame its existence, or in the very least, its roots, on the Deutschland. The American fast battleships are the possible exception as they more or less inherited their speed as a counter to Japan's Kongo class. Still, before the Deutschlands, there were no (designed as such, built as such) fast battleships, there really wasn't a need for a fast battleship, and there wouldn't be an excuse to build a fast battleship until the rebuilds of the Kongos and the old Italian dreadnoughts were finished.

 

I rest my case. The Deutschland was arguably just as revolutionary as the HMS Dreadnought, or in the very least caused just as much of a stir as the Dreadnought did.

Perhaps the main reason the Deutschland is not remembered in the same way as the Dreadnought is that its legacy was the advent/rebirth of the fast battleship, and the fast battleships were, in turn, very quickly made obsolete themselves when the Aircraft Carrier finally proved itself during WWII. The Dreadnought type, on the other hand, would remain the head of any navy for just over 2 decades and therefore, the Dreadnought's legacy enjoyed a nice long time in the spotlight.

 

Image result for deutschland lutzow

Image result for lutzow 1945

 

Thank you for your time!

 

 

Except she changed no games.  I'd rather have a regular 8-inch treaty cruiser of the non British variety.

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@mofton


I'm working on my own longer response to adequately explain it, but the long and short of it is that Dunkerque was not really a pure response to the Deutschland-class - its construction was prompted by it, but it was part of a much longer design heritage, as were the Littorio-class.

The Mediterranean battleships and their designs, to give a short summary, were dominated by the concept of fast cruiser warfare. Most of France's smaller designs were at first focused at killing the Italian heavy cruisers, before then expanding with the acknowledgement they'd have to face down Italian battleships if they didn't want to be a waste of tonnage. These two basic concepts are what demanded the basic requirements of the French designs - a high speed of at least 30 knots, guns of at least 305mm (and high performance), and the armor to resist 305mm shells (there was also a limit to ship length due to the largest slip in France being only just over 200 meters long, but that's a longer story).

On the other side of the Mediterranean, the Italians were busy trying to consider how best to support their treaty cruisers. Alone out of all the naval powers that built the treaty cruisers, Italian naval philosophy began to envision them not as scouts for the battlefleet, or commerce protectors, but rather as fighting units in their own right - they would be the primary fighting units, not the slow and obsolete battleships. Thus, designs for new battleships were conceived around the basis of how best to support the 'large light cruisers' (as they were initially known) which inevitably demanded high speeds up to 30 knots. The fact that this need for speed would cause a sacrifice of combat power (armament and armor), and an inherent inferiority to any larger battleships that could legally be built, meant that the 35,000-ton displacement battleship was rapidly favored over any other type (armed with six 406mm guns and armored against said caliber, at least initially. The smaller 23,000-ton design paralleled it but with a smaller caliber of 381mm and protection only against that caliber, although it likely would have gone overweight to achieve this). The primary reasons smaller types were considered past that point was for international treaty reasons - namely, a study into the viability of the 25,000-ton 305mm battleship as per the limits suggested by Great Britain, and a study into a 26,500-ton battleship to obtain a parity with France's Dunkerque-class (when negotiations with France were ongoing as to limit construction between the two nations, which collapsed definitively with the announcement by France of Strasbourg).

While the emergency of the Deutschland-class in December 1928 did ultimately push France towards building the smaller '26,500-ton' battleship type of Dunkerque, it is fundamentally wrong to assert that the Deutschland-class was responsible for the class or any of the types built in response. The panzerschiff's primary role with the development of battleships in the reason was to force France's hand on construction - the funding situation of the Marine Nationale was not strong and production was badly held up by a large number of bottlenecks within the naval industry. Late 1932 was ultimately the earliest a new battleship could possibly be built, but was still far from opportune as France was still in the dark as to what new battleships the Italians might build - which had been another factor in why the had held off so long in starting new construction (the same issue in reverse held true for the Italians, on top of funding concerns). We can certainly credit the Deutschland-class with forcing the hand of one of the players and getting the ball rolling on construction, but the fundamental features of the design - at least 30 knots top speed, armament of at least 305mm, and armored to withstand 305mm - remained the same, and the primary motivator behind these designs was countering the Italian treaty cruisers while still being able to act in the battle line against the existing Italian battleships. Likewise, the Littorio-class was far from tailored to face the Dunkerque-class or even the threat of small French battleships in general - rather, their design heritage had developed with the intention of being armed and armored adequately to deal with any conceivable battleship opponent while still being fast enough to work in support of the Italian cruisers (this Italian doctrine would ultimately yield in favor of the battleship as the primary weapon due to the renewed construction of the type in France and Italy, and the disastrous addition of Britain to the list of Italy's opponents).

From this point on, things do get specifically linear in design as far as 'made to counter x' - the Richelieu's were designed and built to specifically counter the Littorio-class, resembling larger Dunkerque's rather than any of the previous experiments with the 35,000-ton displacement due to the need to lay down the new ships rapidly, and as a direct result the Germans were forced to enlarge their design of what became the Bismarck-class as a result of the much more powerful Richelieu-class. However, it was the development of battleships and their relationship with the doctrines envisioned in the Mediterranean that created the requirements of the type, not the the Deutschland-class (which did not require as heavy armor, armament, or as high a speed to counter as what the French required for their battleline-capable cruiser-killers).

 

That being said - this is in relation to battleship development within continental Europe. This doesn't really apply to Japan or the United States (both of which gravitated towards 27 knots for their modern battleships), while to be honest I'm not familiar with what lead into the design features of the King George V-class battleships aside from a wish to respect naval treaties - so I really can't comment in regard to those. I would, however, note that there is an interesting distinction between this chain of European battleships, and those built elsewhere. All the 'continental' powers required 30-knot battleships, while the British, Americans, and Japanese (and Russians, for what it's worth) all settled for 27/28 knots (with the exception of the Iowa-class, which was specifically meant to counter Japanese battlecruisers), although this allowed greater armor or armament on the same tonnage. Whether or not the extra 3 knots is worth it I think really depends on where/how you're using the ships, but it's an interesting distinction that exists. 

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8 hours ago, Royeaux said:

For one, that doesn't make the Battlecruisers obsolete and for the Deutschlands they were built years apart, in 1933 there was only one of them to worry about (which is when she'd make her stir).  If the Royal Navy were going to tie down 3 Battlecruisers just for the Deutschland crusier, it would merely because she was the biggest catch the Kriegsmarine had as the Deutschland-class battleships would hardly be glorious targets.  It's not that the lone Panzerschiffe was such a ultra-threat, but rather she was the most powerful ship in the Kriegsmarine and thus merits being focused on.

Once you factor in that Destroyers were far faster then the Deutschlands and capable of filling full of holes with which to slow her down with flooding.  Much of the Deutschlands only had 19mm of armor, no match for the 76 mm of penetration of a 4.7" British Destroyer gun.  Also I don't think superior acceleration with a top speed of 26 knots is somehow going to negate Hood's 30-32kt top speed as acceleration doesn't win a long distance chase.

Even this is a gross exaggeration, the Deutschland's armor was 140mm at the thickest with a pitiful 80mm belt and 45 mm of deck armor.  As seen on this chart for the Dunkerque's guns, her penetration VASTLY exceeded what was necessary to penetrate the Deutschland by several magnitudes.  To say the guns were "just big enough" to defeat the Deutschland armor is highly misleading.

330 mm/50 (13") Model 1931

Range Side Armor Deck Armor
0 yards (0 m) 28.08" (713 mm) --
25,153 yards (23,000 m) 13.46" (342 mm) 3.47" (105 mm)
30,114 yards (27,500 m) 11.48" (292 mm) 4.32" (110 mm)

 

The battlecruiser was very quickly made obsolete because her own inventors realized very quickly that battlecruisers were an incredibly specialized weapon only really good at doing one thing, beating armored cruisers. Besides this, they proved they didn't belong in the line of battle alongside other battleships and, in a period where being able to amass a large and effective surface fleet is very much important. The battle of Jutland proved that the British bringing thin-skinned battlecruisers along was just as much a dead weight on the fleet as the pre-dreadnoughts were for the Germans. Jutland would ultimately convince the British that battlecruisers certainly didn't belong with battleships in the line of battle and probably didn't belong in the navy anymore anyway. Which is why after WWI Great Britain did not build any more battlecruisers.

 

There was only 1 Deutschland in 1933, yes, but with two more under construction and with another planned to be laid down the next year. Meaning that in 1933 the British could expect 4 Deutschlands to their 3 battlecruisers in the next 5 years. War wasnt going to start in 1933 or even 1934, so the British very much so had more than one Deutschland to worry about.

 

Destroyers are not faster than heavy ships at sea. This is a well-known fact. Even HMS Rodney was able to outrun her destroyer escorts during the Bismarck chase. Destroyers also lack the range to be an effective counter to the Deutschlands. And destroyer caliber guns while, in theory, capable of 'putting holes' in a Deutschland were historically not very accurate against surface ships, and even then, we can expect that a destroyer would survive far fewer 'holes' from a Deutschland in return.

 

Speaking of speed, you make another error here. The Deutschlands were designed with a top speed of 26 knots, yes, BUUUUUUUUT in sea trials EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM made 28 knots or better on the mile. Now, what's even more impressive is that each one of them made over 28 knots on trials... and NONE of them had even hit their designed top horsepower, or even come very close to it, before the mile was up! Meaning that if a Deutschland can make a top speed of 28.5 knots on trials without even reaching full power, she can easily be expected to make over 29 knots in service. There's no way you can claim a top speed of only 26 knots for the Deutschlands, not during the 30s at least.

 

Once again, you are looking through the goggles of hindsight. For 1933 a sloped 80mm armored belt and a 45mm deck were perfectly adequate and nowhere near pitiful. Though, as mofton mentions, no heavy cruiser's armor could reasonably be expected to be proof against 8" shells and so everyone is kind of in the same boat here anyway.

 

Yes, Dunkerque's guns were more than a match for Deutschlands armor. Will edit.

Edited by WirFahrenGegenEngeland

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1 minute ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

 

The battlecruiser was very quickly made obsolete because her own inventors realized very quickly that battlecruisers were an incredibly specialized weapon only really good at doing one thing, beating armored cruisers. Besides this, they proved they didn't belong in the line of battle alongside other battleships and, in a period where being able to amass a large and effective surface fleet is very much important. The battle of Jutland proved that the British bringing thin-skinned battlecruisers along was just as much a dead weight on the fleet as the pre-dreadnoughts were for the Germans. Jutland would ultimately convince the British that battlecruisers certainly didn't belong with battleships in the line of battle and probably didn't belong in the navy anymore anyway. Which is why after WWI Great Britain did not build any more battlecruisers.

ob·so·lete
/ˌäbsəˈlēt/
adjective
 
  1. 1.
    no longer produced or used; out of date.

That didn't make them obsolete, hence why the French designed and built the Dunkerques (technically Bâtiment de lignes but considered by some historians as Battlecruisers).  And the British Battlecruisers fought on the frontlines of WW2, with HMS Hood engaging Dunkerque and Strasbourg and eventually even Bismarck and HMS Renown facing off against Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.  These Battlecruisers were frontline units, not obsolete.

9 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

There was only 1 Deutschland in 1933, yes, but with two more under construction and with another planned to be laid down the next year. Meaning that in 1933 the British could expect 4 Deutschlands to their 3 battlecruisers in the next 5 years. War wasnt going to start in 1933 or even 1934, so the British very much so had more than one Deutschland to worry about.

In the same year the 3rd Deutschland class cruiser was commissioned, the Dunkerque was already being commissioned and the Strasbourg launched.  That's how slow Germany was at making these things.

 

12 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Destroyers are not faster than heavy ships at sea. This is a well-known fact. Even HMS Rodney was able to outrun her destroyer escorts during the Bismarck chase. Destroyers also lack the range to be an effective counter to the Deutschlands. And destroyer caliber guns while, in theory, capable of 'putting holes' in a Deutschland were historically not very accurate against surface ships, and even then, we can expect that a destroyer would survive far fewer 'holes' from a Deutschland in return.

The Deutschland only has 3 guns to the rear, she has to turn and fight the Destroyers are chasing her in calmer waters which gives any Battlecruiser ample opportunity to close the distance.  The Deutschlands couldn't operate permanently in heavy seas so Destroyers were a perfectly valid way of achieving victory, even if it came at a high cost.

 

13 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Speaking of speed, you make another error here. The Deutschlands were designed with a top speed of 26 knots, yes, BUUUUUUUUT in sea trials EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM made 28 knots or better on the mile. Now, what's even more impressive is that each one of them made over 28 knots on trials... and NONE of them had even hit their designed top horsepower, or even come very close to it, before the mile was up! Meaning that if a Deutschland can make a top speed of 28.5 knots on trials without even reaching full power, she can easily be expected to make over 29 knots in service. There's no way you can claim a top speed of only 26 knots for the Deutschlands, not during the 30s at least.

HMS Hood also exceeded her design speed during her speed trials.  Again, she's faster than the Deutschlands which is the point.

 

15 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Once again, you are looking through the goggles of hindsight. For 1933 a sloped 80mm armored belt and a 45mm deck were perfectly adequate and nowhere near pitiful. Though, as mofton mentions, no heavy cruiser's armor could reasonably be expected to be proof against 8" shells and so everyone is kind of in the same boat here anyway.

Against the 13" guns, her 80mm belt armor has absolutely no chance at repelling AP shells which makes her armor pitiful in that specific context.  Even at a range of 27.5km, the 13" penetration was at 292mm vs that 80mm belt.  That's why I pity the Deutschlands in that context.

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2 hours ago, mofton said:

What's more important, ability to fight locally or ability to complete a strategic task? Spee would have been better off in the long run with a main turret out of action (major damage?) but her fuel system undamaged.

6in shellfire was always going to be ineffective against Spee for the most part, though it did damage her upperworks and put a large hole in the bow which was also part of Langsdorff's concerns about seaworthiness on the voyage home. It also knocked out Langsdorff himself by some accounts, potentially contributing to his decision making. Exeter shot very well until taking major damage, she lost A turret 6 minutes after opening fire, and B turret and DCT after 18 minutes - the total output she had was low, but she straddled on her 3rd salvo, same as Spee and hit on the 4th or 5th.

For all that the followup was ineffective, in 15 minutes Exeter had landed two hits, one had overpenetrated the Admiral's Bridge and the only hull hit had been effectively fatal. Plate demonstrates many things including that Spee's armor and layout isn't up to 8in shellfire, with one out of one i.e. 100% of 8in hull hits inflicting critical damage, lucky, but lucky because it defeated the armor.

Spee fighting at long range would likely not have changed the shell ballistics that much. In the event Spee fired away all of her HE rounds first, at range they'd have worked the same. The AP rounds which she fired, for 1 hit on Ajax were not the ammunition to fire in the first place and would probably have overpenetrated at practically any range, while Spee is not the only ship to suffer from ammunition shortages:

  Reveal hidden contents

Admiral Graf Spee carried 100 rounds per gun during her war cruise. Her outfit consisted of 200 AP, 200 HE Nose Fuze and 200 HE Base Fuze rounds. Of these, 414 were fired during the Plate River battle - all 200 HE Nose Fuze rounds, 184 HE Base Fuze and 30 AP rounds, leaving her with 170 AP and 16 HE Base Fuze rounds at the close of the action. She scored seven hits and one damaging near miss on HMS Exeter while HMS Ajax received one hit and one glancing blow and HMNZS Achilles escaped with a single damaging near-miss, a total of about 2.7 percent. Although this hit percentage was better than that recorded by the British and New Zealander crews, it was disappointing to the Germans, who - according to Eric Grove - blamed "[Captain] Langsdorff's torpedo officer's tendency to over zigzag" which meant that the fire control system needed more time to settle than what was available.

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_11-52_skc28.php

The percentages of hits generally fell away, Exeter before having turrets knocked out probably landed about the best hit rate. In the stage of longer-range 6in vs. 11in most gunfire was less effective, and that's where most of the gunnery was in play.

It's also fair to say that the 6in guns of Ajax and Achilles achieved an infinitely better hit rate than the equivalent 5.9in secondary battery on Spee which landed no hits whatsoever on probably considerable expenditure - 424 rounds remaining on '100-150 rounds per gun' supply, so maybe 350 rounds fired. That does help demonstrate the advantages of the bigger guns: more accurate, lower flight times, larger splashes for correction.

5nkffV1.png

The Battle of the River Plate served to demonstrate the 'great difficulty and abnormal risk for a pocket battleship in engaging two or three cruisers since even a few relatively minor but unlucky hits can rob her of the utilization of her main asset - the wide Atlantic'.

I.e. engagement by cruisers is considered by the OKM to be difficult and abnormally risky.

By bringing up 3:1 you're really arguing that cruisers were inefficient at fighting Spee, rather than ineffectual. They were ultimately entirely effectual, Spee was removed as a commerce raider. Britain had 63 cruisers at the outbreak of WWII, France another 18. A bit of inefficiency is ok in that circumstance.

 

I wonder if that rather hyperbolic American was interested in securing further naval funding for something...

Ultimately a handful of whatever ships can't change the outcome. The answer to the question 'can the 203mm cruiser inflict significant damage on the enemy before being destroyed?' is 'yes' because even Exeter, one of the smallest and lightest Treaty cruisers could and did. 'No heavy cruiser can withstand a well aimed salvo of the 280mm guns' - well no heavy cruiser can well withstand a well aimed salvo of 203mm guns.

I suspect that replacing Exeter, Achilles and Ajax with two Portland's or Northampton's would have gone better for the Americans than the Brits all else being equal - 18 effective weapons viz 6.

 

 

For some reason I can't quote that post but I have to admit I never even considered multiple Deutschland's vs. one Dunkerque.

I'm not even sure if the doctrine makes sense to group them up, two Deutschland's together sink half as much as two operating independently. Maybe because they only had 3 in the event but the Germans never seemed to seriously try and concentrate them, in the North or South Atlantic. The only time I'm aware of of a Deutschland fighting in a group action was Lutzow paired with Admiral Hipper. The advantage of the large range and heavy firepower is to singly overcome either ships sailing independently, or convoys covered by weak surface escorts like AMC's or a single cruiser, grouping up reduces the diluting effect of Spee being able to roam all over the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

In the event there were more Dunkerque's (i.e. both ships) at sea searching than there were Deutschland's at sea raiding (just Spee for periods). Rather ironic.

As for cost - I'm not sure that the Dunkerque was an 'efficient' way around the problem. I don't know her cost, but the French estimate was that a 35,000t battleship cost about as much as 4x 10,000t Treaty Cruisers. Dunkerque might have cost as much as say 3 Algerie's which I'd say would probably be more useful anti-Deutschland. If you can't afford 8 super-duper-battley-cruisers in the 15k ton range, you can't afford 4 or so Dunkerque's or 12 heavy cruisers. I don't think that fighting multiple Deutschland's was a design consideration, I could be wrong but it doctrinally makes little sense.

 

I wouldn't use destroyers as a counter to the Deutschland's, whether or not the 4.7in gun could theoretically cause damage to the hull or not. They are pretty ineffective at long range simply due to inability to hit, overall the sections of a Deutschland vulnerable and important are small. Destroyer gunfire rarely if ever did more than inconvenience any cruiser in the entirety of WWII. Tactically the destroyers probably can't catch a Deutschland heading into a moderate to large sea, while cruiser or larger gunfire is very effective against destroyers.

The second problem is simply that destroyers don't have the endurance for long range patrol somewhere as large as the South Atlantic, nor the endurance to cover a whole Atlantic crossing in the north - that's why AMC HMS Jervis Bay was the only escort for HX 84 when Admiral Scheer turned up.

When the River Plate battle was fought, the Allied hunting groups in the South Atlantic included 8 heavy cruisers, 4 light cruisers, 2 aircraft carriers, 1 battlecruiser and only 3 destroyers.

 

Deutschland's didn't obsolete destroyers for sure, just like Deutschland's didn't obsolete infantry mortars - they were simply separate tools for a very separate job, but the destroyer would not be a good solution to a Deutschland simply on the basis of practicalities such as range, let alone on problems of striking power.

 

 

 

 

I'll just say this an leave it at that. When Graf Spee disengaged, Exeter had effectively been taken out of the picture, only half of Ajax's main battery was operational and Achilles was the only ship which was relatively unmolested. Graf Spee, who still had a fully operational main battery and who was not taking on any great deal of water, was more than a match for Achilles and what was left of Ajax. Any other commander in Langsdorf's place would have fought it out. The result of the battle would have been 3 English cruisers destroyed and one German 'pocket battleship' scuttled in port. A tactical victory for Germany and a Strategic one for Great Britain. 

 

I don't think anyone was under the guise that a small group of cruisers was capable of damaging a 'pocket battleship'. Even the Germans were fully aware that Deutschland's armor was not proof against 8" gunfire. I think, if anything, the lesson here is that a 'pocket battleship' is capable of holding its own against a small group of cruisers meaning that any enemy wishing to dispose of a 'pocket battleship' with cruisers will be forced to put an unequal amount of their own cruisers on the line to do so as no one cruiser could reasonably be expected to win a 1 on 1 engagement with a 'pocket battleship'. 

 

Dunkerque is an efficient way to counter multiple Deutschlands when one considers the fact that Germany wished to take on the French navy in fleet combat. The common misconception is that the Deutschland was built for commerce raiding. She was not, although she proved a logical choice for a raider when push came to shove. Deutschland's first priority, like every other large surface warship Germany built before WWII, was to fight in the line of battle against a French battlefleet. Dunkerque, therefore, had to be capable of protecting French shipping lanes as well as be able to counter multiple Deutschlands in fleet combat.

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16 minutes ago, Royeaux said:
ob·so·lete
/ˌäbsəˈlēt/
adjective
 
  1. 1.
    no longer produced or used; out of date.

That didn't make them obsolete, hence why the French designed and built the Dunkerques (technically Bâtiment de lignes but considered by some historians as Battlecruisers).  And the British Battlecruisers fought on the frontlines of WW2, with HMS Hood engaging Dunkerque and Strasbourg and eventually even Bismarck and HMS Renown facing off against Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.  These Battlecruisers were frontline units, not obsolete.

In the same year the 3rd Deutschland class cruiser was commissioned, the Dunkerque was already being commissioned and the Strasbourg launched.  That's how slow Germany was at making these things.

 

The Deutschland only has 3 guns to the rear, she has to turn and fight the Destroyers are chasing her in calmer waters which gives any Battlecruiser ample opportunity to close the distance.  The Deutschlands couldn't operate permanently in heavy seas so Destroyers were a perfectly valid way of achieving victory, even if it came at a high cost.

 

HMS Hood also exceeded her design speed during her speed trials.  Again, she's faster than the Deutschlands which is the point.

 

Against the 13" guns, her 80mm belt armor has absolutely no chance at repelling AP shells which makes her armor pitiful in that specific context.  Even at a range of 27.5km, the 13" penetration was at 292mm vs that 80mm belt.  That's why I pity the Deutschlands in that context.

 

The fact that something is still used after being rendered obsolete does not mean that they aren't still obsolete. Had war not started as soon as it did, the British battlecruisers would have been scrapped as soon as there were enough fast battleships to make up for them. Why? Because they were obsolete. They were only forced into front line service because Great Britain did not have enough capital ships at the beginning of the war. As soon as the KGV's started coming off the production lines Britain's only remaining battlecruiser by 1942 was quickly put on second-line duties and was forbidden from engaging enemy battleships under any conditions.

 

There's nothing forcing a Deutschland to turn and fight a destroyer(s) if she's already outrunning them. In that case, you simply continue to use your rear turret as cover fire to keep the destroyers at bay.

 

I never said Hood wasn't faster. I sad the Deutschlands were far faster than the 26 knots you claim. That was simply a rebuttal.

 

Of course, the 80mm belt has no chance of repelling a 13" shell! That's called the French did a very good job of arming their Deutschland counters with weapons more than capable of defeating them! That's not the fault of the Germans! "How can yesterday's bullets be expected to reach tomorrows enemy?". When I said that Deutschlands armor was perfectly adequate for the time, I was referring to that in comparison to other cruisers of the time. THAT is the context I was referring to. Had you mentioned that you thought Deutschlands armor was pitiful because it was not proof against battleship caliber shells I would have been more than happy to agree with you! Though, of course, the next point I would make would be to say that the Deutschland's armor was never designed to be proof against battleship caliber shells anyway, so thats kind of a moot point.

The Germans realized the Deutschland's armor was made moot by the Dunkerques and so, guess what? They canceled the remaining 5 Deutschland class ships and instead built the Scharnhorst with 350mm belt to counter the Dunkerque!

Because that's what you do when the enemy comes out with a better weapon than you - you make a better weapon than theirs!

Edited by WirFahrenGegenEngeland

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2 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

I never said Hood wasn't faster. I sad the Deutschlands were far faster than the 26 knots you claim. That was simply a rebuttal.

But that's the point.  Already existing ships were perfectly capable of countering the Deutschlands, which makes the connection to HMS Dreadnought unsound.

10 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The point is, the Deutschlands effectively forced Great Britain to keep all or most of her battlecruisers in home waters until other fast capital ships (Dunkerque and Strasbourg) could come into service to take the load off of the British Battlecruisers.  Meaning that the Deutschlands, even without leaving port, would be tying down British resources just by existing. That is, battlecruisers having to puppy guard against German 'pocket battleships' are battlecruisers not being useful to the war effort elsewhere.

The Dunkerque and Strasbourg were commissioned well before the start of WW2, so who cares if the Deutschlands are tying down Battlecruisers in peace time?  There's no war effort "elsewhere" as the Royal Navy would not face off against Japan until Dec 1941.

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It should be noted that trial speeds rarely correspond to actual sea speeds, with the exception of short periods of forced outputs and a clean hull. During the battle of the River Plate, the British cruisers had a a speed advantage of up to 9 knots (top speed made during the action by the British cruisers was 31 knots).

The maximum speed of AGS at the time was 24 knots as ordered from the engine room (which is consistent with the reduction a 26-knot ship can expect from underwater fouling), but the plots from the British cruisers' fire control systems indicate AGS was never able to exceed 22 knots.

 

 

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1 hour ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Dunkerque is an efficient way to counter multiple Deutschlands when one considers the fact that Germany wished to take on the French navy in fleet combat. The common misconception is that the Deutschland was built for commerce raiding. She was not, although she proved a logical choice for a raider when push came to shove. Deutschland's first priority, like every other large surface warship Germany built before WWII, was to fight in the line of battle against a French battlefleet.

In 1929, I'd be surprised. I could be wrong but I'd put 'fleet combat' well down the list of design constraints. I don't have a source saying 'the Deutschland's were exclusively designed for XYZ'.

Before the rise of Hitler and before the AGNA in 1935 the Reichsmarine was limited to 6 pre-Dreadnoughts which were effectively what the Deutschland's were replacing, 6 cruisers, 12 destroyers and 12 torpedo boats.

In contrast the Marine Nationale WNT limit was 175,000t of capital ships (i.e. existing ships until scrapped as over-age and then 5x 35,000t ships) and 60,000t of carriers, with qualitative rather than quantitative limits on other types. In 1930 the French fleet would boast 3 Courbet and 3 Bretagne class battleships, 2 modern Treaty cruisers, 27 post-war destroyers and was overall an order of magnitude more powerful than the German force. Fighting that is rather bold, and as the Franco-Prussian War demonstrated in a France-Germany conflict seapower might just be totally irrelevant.

 

1 hour ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The battlecruiser was very quickly made obsolete because her own inventors realized very quickly that battlecruisers were an incredibly specialized weapon only really good at doing one thing, beating armored cruisers. Besides this, they proved they didn't belong in the line of battle alongside other battleships and, in a period where being able to amass a large and effective surface fleet is very much important. The battle of Jutland proved that the British bringing thin-skinned battlecruisers along was just as much a dead weight on the fleet as the pre-dreadnoughts were for the Germans. Jutland would ultimately convince the British that battlecruisers certainly didn't belong with battleships in the line of battle and probably didn't belong in the navy anymore anyway. Which is why after WWI Great Britain did not build any more battlecruisers.

To start at the end, the British did lay down 2 of the planned 4 G3 class battlecruisers (31kt, 3x3 16in, good armor), which although rather heavily armored definitely leaned toward the battlecruiser for a 48,000t ship and were distinctly different from the N3 design battleship (23kt, 3x3 18in, thicker armor) which would have been built as a lower priority. While not the British the next plans for the US navy after WWI were the Lexington class battlecruisers (which were very battlecruisery) ultimately completed as aircraft carriers, along with the South Dakota class battleships. Without the WNT the British at least would have had 4x G3 battlecruisers, the US 6x Lexingtons and the Japanese 4x Amagi's doing 30kt (plus 8 Kii/Kaga class doing 29/26.5kt respectively as planned).

Without WNT that's another 14 battlecruisers between the 3 main nations, and 4 Japanese '30kt battleships'.

Britain didn't complete any battlecruisers after WWI, aside from Hood completing in 1920, because from 1918 until 1937, Britain didn't complete any capital ships at all, save the 2 Nelson class. The Nelson's were bound to the Treaty limits and the RN wanted to maintain a balanced battlecruiser-battleship fleet, battleships it was, and a 4-ship fast wing to the 12-ship battleship line was a decent ratio.

Once you could build a 35,000t (or cheat a bit...) ship in 1937 you could, thanks to advancements in technology have your cake and at least eat a lot of it - a well armored 27-30kt ship with 8+ 15in guns or equivalent.

 

The battlecruisers were good for more than just killing armored cruisers. They were the heavy reconnaissance force of the fleet, without battlecruisers at Jutland on the British side it's likely neither main fleet makes contact at all, let alone that Scheer gets his 'T' crossed. The battlecruiser was also a good weapon at killing other battlecruisers - all 4 of the Jutland losses were to battlecruisers, while had Dogger Bank involved the same German force but 5 British battleships instead of 5 battlecruisers it's almost certain that the German force simply disengages without the loss of Blucher or serious damage to Seydlitz.

The British battlecruisers were very much not dead weight at Jutland, they accounted for Lutzow and Weisbaden and contributed damage to Seydlitz, VdT and Derfflinger. They bought the German HSF up in pursuit into the arms of Jellicoe who then had the best of it - from main fleet contact at 1815 until 2039 when action largely ceased with dusk, the British landed 68 hits to the 23 of the Germans, thanks in large part to the battlecruiser's sacrifice in bringing up the HSF - numbers from Campbell's 'Jutland, An Analysis of the Fighting' (I have a tabulated searchable .xls based on it for producing numbers).

In contrast the German pre-Dreadnoughts not only contributed nothing aside from exploding in the case of Pommern, but limited the fleet to a lower maximum speed, actively impeding Scheer's decision making. The British Armored Cruisers and their clearly drunk Admiral which turned up and suffered 75% casualties for no return (3 of 4 ships lost) would similarly be active dead weights, their berserk charge at Weisbaden made things more difficult for the rest of the fleet.

The battlecruisers didn't typically engage or get hit by battleships, running away was pretty effective at Jutland. The 3 British losses were all at the hands of German battlecruisers, quite what 'in the line of battle' means is a bit nebulous to me. Battlecruisers should be expected to engage battlecruisers, sometimes it won't work - just as heavy cruisers engaged heavy cruisers at Savo Island (result 4:0 to the Japanese) or carriers engaged carriers at Midway (result 4:1 to the USA). For some reason neither of those actions is taken to indicate the obsolescence of the type of ships which were absolutely pounded.

Edited by mofton

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43 minutes ago, Phoenix_jz said:

It should be noted that trial speeds rarely correspond to actual sea speeds, with the exception of short periods of forced outputs and a clean hull. During the battle of the River Plate, the British cruisers had a a speed advantage of up to 9 knots (top speed made during the action by the British cruisers was 31 knots).

The maximum speed of AGS at the time was 24 knots as ordered from the engine room (which is consistent with the reduction a 26-knot ship can expect from underwater fouling), but the plots from the British cruisers' fire control systems indicate AGS was never able to exceed 22 knots.

 

 

 

Minor nitpick here - Spee's top speed at the time was, according to her own chief engineer, 25 knots due to the marine growth on the hull.

 

As for trials speeds - 

Yes, usually they dont correspond to actual sea speeds, but for entirely different reasons for German ships. German ships, by tradition, ran their sea trials on a mile run. So when a ship is designed to have a top speed of X at a power output of Y, what that means is that that is the speed and power output that they are expected to be making at the end of the mile run. After all, why would you overpromise and underdeliver by giving the ships actual top speeds and power outputs if they can't be expected to make them on the mile run? Because of this, the service speed of German warships almost always tended to blow their trial speeds out of the water. Just a few examples include...Germany's dreadnoughts, most of which hit around 21 knots on the mile, in service proved capable of speeds of 24, 25, and even 26 knots. Gneisenau, who made 31.3 knot on the mile, was able to accelerate to 33 knots during the destruction of the Glorious. Bismarck, who made 30.12 knots on the mile, was, according to her chief engineer, easily capable of 32 knots (and indeed her sister made 31 knots on the mile)

So I'll say it again, if the Deutschlands were all able to exceed 28 knots on the mile without even reaching full power, their service speeds (in the early years, anyway) were probably closer to 29 knots or better.

At the end of the day though, as you say, still slower than pretty much any other modern cruiser. So it doesn't really change anything. Just thought I'd clear some things up.

Edited by WirFahrenGegenEngeland

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2 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The battlecruiser was very quickly made obsolete because her own inventors realized very quickly that battlecruisers were an incredibly specialized weapon only really good at doing one thing, beating armored cruisers. Besides this, they proved they didn't belong in the line of battle alongside other battleships and, in a period where being able to amass a large and effective surface fleet is very much important. The battle of Jutland proved that the British bringing thin-skinned battlecruisers along was just as much a dead weight on the fleet as the pre-dreadnoughts were for the Germans. Jutland would ultimately convince the British that battlecruisers certainly didn't belong with battleships in the line of battle and probably didn't belong in the navy anymore anyway. Which is why after WWI Great Britain did not build any more battlecruisers.

 

11 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The point is, the Deutschlands effectively forced Great Britain to keep all or most of her battlecruisers in home waters until other fast capital ships (Dunkerque and Strasbourg) could come into service to take the load off of the British Battlecruisers. Meaning that the Deutschlands, even without leaving port, would be tying down British resources just by existing. That is, battlecruisers having to puppy guard against German 'pocket battleships' are battlecruisers not being useful to the war effort elsewhere.

If I put these two assertions side by side it appears you're saying the Deutschlands merely tied down obsolete British ships, which doesn't make the Deutschlands out to be all that impressive.

Edited by Royeaux

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58 minutes ago, Royeaux said:

 

If I put these two assertions side by side it appears you're saying the Deutschlands merely tied down obsolete British ships, which doesn't make the Deutschlands out to be all that impressive.

 

You are also tied down by this statement.

 

You're either forced to acknowledge that the English battlecruisers are obsolete or that the Deutschlands were a big deal and you cant do either without backpedaling.

 

I for one can defend my statement by pointing out that the English battlecruisers were obsolete and unable to adequately fill front-line directives UNTIL the Deutschlands came around and gave them a front-line directive again. Without the Deutschlands, the English battlecruisers find themselves with mundane secondary tasks like scouting and convoy duty or in front-line combat which they have no business being in and only found themselves in this role during the war because the British had nothing better to send at the time. This is evidenced by the fact that as soon as the RN had enough KGVs they removed Renown from any scenario in which she'd have to face up against another capital ship

 

The reality is, to counter the Deutschlands you either need an old battlecruiser, a fast battleship or a group of modern cruisers. Either way, a single Deutschland ends up tying down much greater resources than itself, either 30,000 tons worth of battlecruiser, 35,000 tons worth of fast battleship, or 25,000 tons worth of cruisers to counter 10,000 tons of 'pocket battleship'. (of course, I'm spitballing the numbers there)

Edited by WirFahrenGegenEngeland

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18 hours ago, mofton said:

Better-Dunkerque Strasbourg is built for some reason, arguable fast battleship

Strasbourg was built because waiting to have a 30 or 35000t design would delay the ship getting into service by a year and a half, if not two years. The same reason is why the KGVs extended to five units, whilst the Lion design was being finalised. 

The 17,500t figure was chosen because it meant that up to 10 ships could be built. 

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8 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

You're either forced to acknowledge that the English battlecruisers are obsolete or that the Deutschlands were a big deal and you cant do either without backpedaling.

What?  No I don't.  It's objective fact that these are your statements:

3 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The battlecruiser was very quickly made obsolete because her own inventors realized very quickly that battlecruisers were an incredibly specialized weapon only really good at doing one thing, beating armored cruisers. Besides this, they proved they didn't belong in the line of battle alongside other battleships and, in a period where being able to amass a large and effective surface fleet is very much important. The battle of Jutland proved that the British bringing thin-skinned battlecruisers along was just as much a dead weight on the fleet as the pre-dreadnoughts were for the Germans. Jutland would ultimately convince the British that battlecruisers certainly didn't belong with battleships in the line of battle and probably didn't belong in the navy anymore anyway. Which is why after WWI Great Britain did not build any more battlecruisers.

12 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The point is, the Deutschlands effectively forced Great Britain to keep all or most of her battlecruisers in home waters until other fast capital ships (Dunkerque and Strasbourg) could come into service to take the load off of the British Battlecruisers. Meaning that the Deutschlands, even without leaving port, would be tying down British resources just by existing. That is, battlecruisers having to puppy guard against German 'pocket battleships' are battlecruisers not being useful to the war effort elsewhere.

Which is self defeating to your own conclusion:

On 9/26/2019 at 6:43 PM, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

I rest my case. The Deutschland was arguably just as revolutionary as the HMS Dreadnought, or in the very least caused just as much of a stir as the Dreadnought did.

I don't need to backpedal when analysing your own arguments because my stance is irrelevant in this case.  You argue the Deutschlands are revolutionary because they tied down ships you have argued are obsolete.  I disagree with your statements but your statements also disagree with each other.

 

9 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The reality is, to counter the Deutschlands you either need an old battlecruiser, a fast battleship or a group of modern cruisers.

Or with CVs, which the Royal Navy have plenty of.

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1 minute ago, Royeaux said:

What?  No I don't.  It's objective fact that these are your statements:

Which is self defeating to your own conclusion:

I don't need to backpedal when analysing your own arguments because my stance is irrelevant in this case.  You argue the Deutschlands are revolutionary because they tied down ships you have argued are obsolete.  I disagree with your statements but your statements also disagree with each other.

 

Or with CVs, which the Royal Navy have plenty of.

 

Tied down the obsolete vessels... as well as modern cruisers and fast battleships.

 

My argument is that the English battlecruisers ceased being obsolete when the Deutschlands came into play because they gave them a front-line purpose again and were plunged back into obsoletion once there were enough fast battleships to replace them.

 

Again, hindsight is 20/20 but until WWII the carrier was unproven. And even then, of all the oodles of commerce raids German surface ships went on during the first couple years of the war, how many of them had been discovered or halted by carrier air power? Exactly none of them. It wasn't until 1942 that the Allies had enough carriers in the North Atlantic to start affecting German raids and discouraging them altogether. In 1940 Great Britain had just 6 carriers, 4 if you don't count Argus and Eagle. I'd hardly call that 'plenty'. 

The point being, if during the 1930s everyone or even anyone would have known just how dominant the carrier would become, they wouldn't have been building large artillery capital ships at all. This is proven by the fact that once the carrier had demonstrated its dominance, everyone stopped building large artillery capital ships.

Hindsight is 20/20

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13 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Tied down the obsolete vessels... as well as modern cruisers and fast battleships.

A unarmed bank robber can tie down dozens of armed police officers, that doesn't mean he's an Übermensch.  It just means there's a disparity in resources.

13 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

My argument is that the English battlecruisers ceased being obsolete when the Deutschlands came into play because they gave them a front-line purpose again and were plunged back into obsoletion once there were enough fast battleships to replace them.

The British were confident enough to deploy HMS Hood against BIsmarck of all things despite Hood not having a desperately needed overhaul.  If the HMS Hood deemed good to attack the largest and most modern Battleship in the Kriegsmarine, then why would lesser Deutschlands plunge Hood back from obsoletion?  

47 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The reality is, to counter the Deutschlands you either need an old battlecruiser, a fast battleship or a group of modern cruisers.

 

13 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Again, hindsight is 20/20 but until WWII the carrier was unproven.

Your words was "the reality is".  The reality is that CVs were perfectly capable of countering the Deutschlands.  The reality is that Royal Navy was confident enough with CVs to even deploy HMS Ark Royal to hunt the Graf Spee.

13 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

And even then, of all the oodles of commerce raids German surface ships went on during the first couple years of the war, how many of them had been discovered or halted by carrier air power? Exactly none of them.

BISMARCK

1*Wr-Fd6szP6Zab8ENk1ZusQ.jpeg

 

13 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

The point being, if during the 1930s everyone or even anyone would have known just how dominant the carrier would become, they wouldn't have been building large artillery capital ships at all. This is proven by the fact that once the carrier had demonstrated its dominance, everyone stopped building large artillery capital ships.

Doubtful, CVs were far far far too fragile to allow abandon the modern armored capital ships.  And British armored CVs had huge problems.  Hindsight being 20/20, they'd build Battleships.

Edited by Royeaux

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35 minutes ago, Royeaux said:

A unarmed bank robber can tie down dozens of armed police officers, that doesn't mean he's an Übermensch.  It just means there's a disparity in resources.

The British were confident enough to deploy HMS Hood against BIsmarck of all things despite Hood not having a desperately needed overhaul.  If the HMS Hood deemed good to attack the largest and most modern Battleship in the Kriegsmarine, then why would lesser Deutschlands plunge Hood back from obsoletion?  

 

Your words was "the reality is".  The reality is that CVs were perfectly capable of countering the Deutschlands.  The reality is that Royal Navy was confident enough with CVs to even deploy HMS Ark Royal to hunt the Graf Spee.

BISMARCK

1*Wr-Fd6szP6Zab8ENk1ZusQ.jpeg

 

Doubtful, CVs were far far far too fragile to allow abandon the modern armored capital ships.  And British armored CVs had huge problems.  Hindsight being 20/20, they'd build Battleships.

 

That's exactly my point. Hood had no business being at the battle of the Denmark Strait and was only there because the British had nothing better to send. Hood was only sent along because she was the only other capital ship available and in working order, that was fast enough to keep up with KGV. Hood was sent out of desperation. Had Britain had anything better than Hood, anything at all, you can bet they would have sent that ship instead and probably not even risked Hood at all. By the same logic... Germany sent pre-dreadnoughts along to the battle of Jutland. Does that mean the pre-dreadnought wasn't obsolete in 1916? No, of course not.

 

You missed my point entirely. I agree, the CV was perfectly capable of countering a Deutschland class. BUT WHEN DEUTSCHLAND WAS FINISHED IN 1933 THE CARRIER WAS IRRELEVANT.  It wasn't a card on the table when the Germans were designing the class. Again, you cannot fight tomorrow's enemy with yesterdays shells.

 

Bismarck's raiding mission was not stopped by carrier aircraft. Bismarck's raiding mission effectively ended when she was damaged at the Battle of the Denmark Strait and headed for France for repairs. So my point still stands. The Aircraft carrier did nothing to hamper German raiding operations in the Atlantic until 1942 when there were finally enough carriers in the area to make an impact.

 

If the CV was too fragile to be without modern armored capital ships... then how come no one built another modern armored capital ship after world war two? How come no one still builds modern armored capital ships to this day to go along with the carriers?

Because if you use the carrier properly, you should never come within sniffing range of a large armored capital ship and therefore won't need large armored capital ships to escort you.

That's my entire point, once the carrier proved dominant, no one built another large armored capital ship. If the carrier had proven dominant already by the mid-1930s, no one would have continued to build battleships.

Edited by WirFahrenGegenEngeland

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8 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

You missed my point entirely. I agree, the CV was perfectly capable of countering a Deutschland class. BUT WHEN DEUTSCHLAND WAS FINISHED IN 1933 THE CARRIER WAS IRRELEVANT.  It wasn't a card on the table when the Germans were designing the class. Again, you cannot fight tomorrow's enemy with yesterdays shells.

In 1933 Royal Navy could have deployed HMS Argus, HMS Glorious, HMS Courageous, HMS Furious, HMS Eagle and HMS Hermes.  These old ships were absolutely cards on the table to counter the single Deutschland class ship.

13 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Bismarck's raiding mission was not stopped by carrier aircraft. Bismarck's raiding mission effectively ended when she was damaged at the Battle of the Denmark Strait and headed for France for repairs. So my point still stands. The Aircraft carrier did nothing to hamper German raiding operations in the Atlantic until 1942 when there were finally enough carriers in the area to make an impact.

Are you kidding me?

13 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

If the CV was too fragile to be without modern armored capital ships... then how come no one built another modern armored capital ship after world war two? 

The only nations with strong navies were the Allies post WW2.  If the Soviet Union started trouble, CVs and BBs would have been overkill to sink the VMF. 

15 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

How come no one still builds modern armored capital ships to this day to go along with the carriers?

Nuclear weapons (cheaper, faster, better) combined with overwhelming Naval Supremacy by the USN makes them unnecessary.

18 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Because if you use the carrier properly, you should never come within sniffing range of a large armored capital ship and therefore won't need large armored capital ships to escort you.

You could argue the US were using CV properly at Midway, but they still lost the USS Yorktown because of how damn fragile they were.  They don't make good command platforms in WW2 given just how quickly they could be completely disabled in a single hit.

20 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

That's my entire point, once the carrier proved dominant, no one built another large armored capital ship. If the carrier had proven dominant already by the mid-1930s, no one would have continued to build battleships.

Carriers weren't even proven dominant in WW2.  The Japanese had the best CVs in the world but could never sink a US Battleship when the US was at war with them.  In combined arms warfare, CVs were highly useful so of course they would be cards on the table at all times.  If a single Deutschland class ship was vexing them...why not deploy a CV?  The recon alone would be invaluable.  In 1933, she was Germany's most powerful ship, she'd be worth the effort.

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5 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

Minor nitpick here - Spee's top speed at the time was, according to her own chief engineer, 25 knots due to the marine growth on the hull.

Be that as it may - when full speed was ordered, 24 knots was the ordered engine speed. The British cruisers, which were quite literally each using a different fire control computer, all tracked 22 knots. The evidence available does not agree with his statement.

5 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

As for trials speeds - 

Yes, usually they dont correspond to actual sea speeds, but for entirely different reasons for German ships. German ships, by tradition, ran their sea trials on a mile run. So when a ship is designed to have a top speed of X at a power output of Y, what that means is that that is the speed and power output that they are expected to be making at the end of the mile run. After all, why would you overpromise and underdeliver by giving the ships actual top speeds and power outputs if they can't be expected to make them on the mile run? Because of this, the service speed of German warships almost always tended to blow their trial speeds out of the water. Just a few examples include...Germany's dreadnoughts, most of which hit around 21 knots on the mile, in service proved capable of speeds of 24, 25, and even 26 knots. Gneisenau, who made 31.3 knot on the mile, was able to accelerate to 33 knots during the destruction of the Glorious. Bismarck, who made 30.12 knots on the mile, was, according to her chief engineer, easily capable of 32 knots (and indeed her sister made 31 knots on the mile)

So I'll say it again, if the Deutschlands were all able to exceed 28 knots on the mile without even reaching full power, their service speeds (in the early years, anyway) were probably closer to 29 knots or better.

The mile run isn't especially unique, and arguably isn't exactly the most honest method, compared to foreign practice that, for example, would measure average speed over the course of 8+ hour runs.

Also, note that WWI practice might not be the same as interwar & WWII practice. At the moment I'm searching, but I've found a rather curious lack of displacement figures for German warships when discussing trials, which is certainly not an insignificant factor (for example, at light load and overload on machinery trials, most of the Zara-class heavy cruisers made over 35 knots. At full load and a much lesser overload on the actual speed trials, Zara's maximum speed was 33.2 knots).

The best I can find is 29 knots at full normal power (138,000 shp) at 43,000 tons for Bismarck at the moment, which seems to correspond well with the well-known figure of 30.12 knots at 150,070 shp (8.7% overload - although from what I understand this figure is extrapolated by Blohm & Voss based on a measured run that achieved 28.37 knots, not actually achieved, from what I understand). For the comparison with Richelieu that can be found here, a maximum speed at normal power is listed as 28 knots, which I assume corresponds to full load.  

For the Deutschland's - thanks to a friend, I have access to some data from the mileage trials (number of motors in operations, shp, speed, rpm), but no displacement data. Based on the above data in relation to Bismarck, I would not be surprised if the trial figures for the panzerschiff were also conducted at much lighter displacements than what one would see in service - which was normal for trials. Needless to say, I'm not convinced that the speeds expressed on the trials are accurate to what top speed might be in service. 26 knots as designed still seems most likely taking into account what could be achieved at the Battle of the River Plate, with forcing likely being enough to reach up to 27-28 knots

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1 hour ago, Royeaux said:

In 1933 Royal Navy could have deployed HMS Argus, HMS Glorious, HMS Courageous, HMS Furious, HMS Eagle and HMS Hermes.  These old ships were absolutely cards on the table to counter the single Deutschland class ship.

Are you kidding me?

The only nations with strong navies were the Allies post WW2.  If the Soviet Union started trouble, CVs and BBs would have been overkill to sink the VMF. 

Nuclear weapons (cheaper, faster, better) combined with overwhelming Naval Supremacy by the USN makes them unnecessary.

You could argue the US were using CV properly at Midway, but they still lost the USS Yorktown because of how damn fragile they were.  They don't make good command platforms in WW2 given just how quickly they could be completely disabled in a single hit.

Carriers weren't even proven dominant in WW2.  The Japanese had the best CVs in the world but could never sink a US Battleship when the US was at war with them.  In combined arms warfare, CVs were highly useful so of course they would be cards on the table at all times.  If a single Deutschland class ship was vexing them...why not deploy a CV?  The recon alone would be invaluable.  In 1933, she was Germany's most powerful ship, she'd be worth the effort.

 

Yes, they could have deployed them. But they were still unproven. hence why, if you're developing a warship in the early 30s, the aircraft carrier isnt your first priority as an enemy.

Further, as far as the Germans were concerned at the time, the goal was not to start a war with England. So they wouldn't have been too worried about the British carriers anyway. Bearn was the only carrier France (Germany's target enemy) had and she herself was just an experimental carrier.

 

No, I'm not kidding you. Unless you can provide an instance pre-1942 where a German raider was halted by an enemy carrier action and forced to retreat/return to base in which said German raider was not already halted by a separate force and already heading for base.

 

Literally every historian worth his/her salt disagrees with you. The carrier had proven itself again and again and by the end of the war had more than proved its dominance over artillery capital ships. Even if they couldn't sink a battleship directly their range and striking power alone made them dominant over them. 

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