Which kind of proves Min's point really. If Langdorf had used his head instead he might have gotten away for a while longer. Lack of training, lack of experience and lack of a (for want of better words) "culture of winning" all played their part.
Well, the River Platte battle proved the theoreticians right ... that given reasonably close weapon pariety, rate of accurate fire was more important than the weight of the shell. This was shown up actually in WW-I studies, and a war game that earlier proved three cruisers would win was not believed by British commanders.
But I also disagree with the emphasis on "crew" and "experience" as being the key to early IJN sucess. WW II was about technology and machinery, and the proper COMMAND use of that machinery. I can think of no instance where a loss occured because of the failure to use technology at the crew-operational level ... except for aircraft piloting ... and that had as much to do with the machinery (planes becoming obsolesecnt) as pilots.
The early IJN success was because they had superior machines and used them in a superior command way. The three key IJN machines were (1) the aircraft carrier (and the planes on them); (2) the type 93 long lance torpedo; (3) superior night-fighting fire control system (FCS) including optics and sound-detectors.
It could also be argued that the IJN heavy cruisers were a superior weapon... (as they should be, because they were all treaty-breaking 14-16 K ton ships, 50 percent bigger and stronger than the Allied heavy cruisers.) But their superiority could have been related to their being armed with the long lance torpedo. In gun battles, they did not prove to be better machines than the US 10 K tonners.
Interestingly, later in the war those torpedo mounts on the IJN heavies proved to be their achaielles heel... four were sunk during Leyte campaign partly because the oxygen-supply for the deck mounted torpedos, or the torpedos themselves, were hit and then exploded. Again, this is a DESIGN and MACHINERY issue, not a crew, experience, or "luck" issue.
IJN main battle naval philosophy was built around the torpedo, and it was a terrific weapon. The US greatly helped the early performance of the IJN by (1) stubbornly refusing to admit to having inferior, defective machinery (especially torpedos... at least we recognized early on that the US planes were inferior) similar to the refusal to believe the Sherman tank was overmatched in Europe; (2) having virtually incompetent commanders - crew experience had little to do with any of the problems at Savo Island, etc.
Back to "super dreadnaughts" ... the original question was what nation had the superior "super dreadnaughts." I think the question is answered ... the US "Standards" were from the start ahead of the world-curve, remained ahead, proved to be more flexible platforms for upgrade, and ... kicked the crud out of the IJN battleships whenever they faced them. Other nation's "super dreadnaughts," British, French, Italian, were all shown by performance to be a lessor weapon than the US "Standards."
The original quesition has been answered and that answer has been backed up by data, fact, anadote, and attempts at refutation in this line have been lightweight, and shown to be opinion-based, not fact based. Case closed.
Last edited by Jacknola; 05-02-2012 at 11:59 AM.
I'm not particularly convinced that the IJN carriers were in any way superior to the USN ones. Pretty much every carrier that was based on WW1 battlecruiser hulls had the same weaknesses against torpedoes in particular. Their carrier borne aircraft were largely with much the same (or inferior) performance to the contemporary USN ones too with the exception of the Zero and once its characteristics were better known (which they should have been pre-December 1941 had anyone paid attention to the reports out of China from Chennault) it was countered with the "boom and zoom" single pass attacks. I do agree that the IJN did practice a lot of night fighting and were well prepared for it unlike the USN.
In short, the pre-December 1941 IJN was smaller than the USN, but it was well prepared for the type of combat that they expected to fight.
It would have been interested to see how the Standards would have performed in (say) the Mediterrainean during 1940/41 when the situation there was messy with lots of air and submarine attacks as a constant threat.
In the Med, the 21 kn speed of the Standards might be an interesting problem. That “lake” is speed boat paradise, hit run, in out … and the primary Med powers, France and Italy, seemed to emphasize speed over protection.
But a BB doesn’t operate by itself. I assume if the Standards were put into the Med early in WWII, it would be in the context of a total military and fleet effort. If they fought a standup BB fight against …say … the Italian BBs, they would probably win, but not be able to prevent the faster ships from retiring.
GB operated a lot of slow BBs in that lake, including the Malaya, etc., with some success. The Mediterranean early in the WW II is a special circumstance. I just don’t know.
Yeah me neither. I guess an important part of the speed issue is that (much like with fighters) it lets you choose when and if to engage or not - assuming that neither or both have working radar.
You'd have to wonder what kind of alt history would have USN BB's in the Med in 1940 - be interesting though that is for sure.
The Queen Elizabeths had a top speed of 25 knots. Not exactly fast but not slow either.
The Italian battleships were TEN knots faster and their cruisers and destroyers were all generally in the 40+ knots range the fasted in the world......................
If it wasn't for two important factors, the Regia Marina would have come even closer in removing the Royal Navy from the Med. These factors being a lack of oil and Hitlers decision to return Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen to Germany thus freeing up additional ships for the Royal Navy as they no longer had to defend both the North Sea and Mid Atlantic from German capital ships. This decision allowed them to send more ships fleet into the Indian Ocean to counter any Japanese moves towards India.
Now I'm going to pull apart some quotes from the original article which highlights bias and factual inaccuracies.
Quoted sections are from the article.
FALSE!The problems for Britain and Japan were different. The British were severely limited by the size of their dockyards and by the depth of their ports. They were also locked into a naval race with Germany
If we are to take British shipbuilding capacity and the size of their dockyards in 1906 which is the year that HMS Dreadnaught was built, the British were already building ocean liners that were on average 10-20,000 tonnes heavier then HMS Dreadnought and in excess of 100 metres longer. The Olympic Class liners (Olympic, Titanic and Britannic) weighed in at 45,000-50,000 tonnes and were 79 metres longer then a "Standard"
The author is incorrect in this assumption about the size of British dockyards limiting their ships.
With regards to the naval arms race. Germany could not out build the British. The Germans new this. Therefore they took an approach of building ships that were qualitative superior to the British. The British in turn would build a class that was believed to be better and back and forth it went until the end of WW1.
The Battlecruiser actually when used in it's intended role was not flawed. Being of high speed with massive firepower they sunk Graf Spee's fleet at the Falkland Islands and one Battlecruiser (HMAS Australia) acted as a major deterrent to Graf Spee from spending more time in the Pacific Ocean or bombarding an Australian city. He actually wrote about this in a letter that the Australian battlecruiser was his biggest worry.Here truly was a “cookie-cutter” design approach, albeit with a reason; the need for numbers in the shortest possible time. As for the three battlecruisers retained between the wars, these were holdovers of a dangerously flawed concept and consequently of questionable value.
And up until Jutland when they were used in the battle line the Germans used their battlecruisers to their intended use to great effect. They drew out the British fleet by bombarding British towns then used their high speed to bring the enemy to the battle line that lay in wait. Yeah sure no traps were sprung, but the concept/doctrine could be considered a success and it was only ever due to factors outside German control that prevented a trap from being laid. Jutland worked, the trap had been sprung, but the Brits sent their ENTIRE fleet in response.
But the facts speak for themselves. When used for their intended role. The battlecruiser concept worked. Scouting/laying traps and high speed dashes to protect overseas colonies.
The British Revenge Class, Whats the deal with American's shortening names btw? were not refitted during in the 1930's. It was already decided to replace them long before WW2 broke out with the Lion Class. The only reason the Queen Elizabeth class were modernised was due to increasing tensions with Italy.The British “R” class ships in particular were badly maintained after their final refits in the mid-1930s
It never proved foolish to the Royal Navy or the Kaiserlich Marine as when the battlecruisers were used for their INTENDED role they done the job they were designed to do. Using them as battleships at Jutland was kinda bloody stupid.Seeking speed for its own sake, or as its own form of “protection” in the 1912-1917 era would have most likely have proven as catastrophically foolish for the USN as it did for the RN. It would also, through the usual course of design compromise, have deprived this series of ships of their best characteristics.
Fair point. But at the time of construction of these ships, the British were allied with Japan and fighting in the North Sea is a lot different fighting in the vast emptiness of the Pacific Ocean. In any event during WW2 HMS Warspite scored a hit at 26,000 yards. The longest confirmed hit by a ship against another.The USN had anticipated the need to design for long-range gunfire engagements eight years before Jutland made the need obvious to other nations’ designers
See my above comment about Warspite hitting at 26,000 yards. Furthermore when everybody was upgrading their WW1 battleships the British were getting ready to scrap theirs.The US began armoring to meet this threat with "Battleship 1912" and by "Battleship 1916" had increased main gun elevation to 30 degrees, a feature comprehensively backfitted to earlier classes upon reconstruction despite Treaty misgivings. The British never did completely backfit their ships
A difference of what 1, maybe 2 weeks tops? Woopie!Both Barham and Malaya suffered single torpedo hits that put them out of action for three months at a time. In contrast, Maryland suffered a single torpedo hit in June 1944. After transiting from Saipan to Pearl Harbor before being repaired, Maryland was back in action in August 1944.
All of the British battleships of ww1 origin were due to for retirement at this time anyway. They had already exceeded the length of service they were designed for. War or no war if a ship has passed it's useful life expectancy then it is going to be hulked.Of Britain’s interwar battle line, four ships were sunk (Barham, Royal Oak, Repulse and Hood), one was in foreign livery (Royal Sovereign as Archangelsk - August 1944), six were out of service (Warspite - February 1945, Valiant - February 1945, Malaya - October 1944, Revenge - January 1944, Resolution - October 1943, and Ramillies - January 1945), one was preparing to leave service (Queen Elizabeth - August 1945), one was so worn out she was virtually static in Scapa Flow (Rodney - November 1944) and only two remained active (Renown and Nelson).
Unlike the "standards" no British capital ship of WW1 era or the Nelson/Rodney received extensive upgrades/refits during the war. Put simply by the end of WW2 they were worn out due to non-stop service from 1939-1945. Furthermore 6 of the 8 battleships also battled the High Seas Fleet at Jutland and the damage to HMS Warspite caused many problems with her machinery throughout her career.
8 Heavy Cruisers
22 Light Cruisers
99 Torpedo Boats
At the end of WW2 it had
2 incomplete and damaged aircraft carriers
44 fast coastal patrol units
But yeah mate, the service the British got out of her battleships that served in both world wars I don't think any other class comes close to them in the service they offered.
Again… the thesis in this line is “who had the best super dreadnaughts.”
The US WW I “standards” BBs COULD and WERE upgraded several times, ending up almost equal to the Missouri-class BBs except for speed. They were not only useful in WW II, but downright deadly in a standup fight, at a time when all the other “super dreadnaughts” in other navies were virtually just tin-clad junk. Isn’t this proof of the original thesis?
You could not upgrade the flawed battle cruisers of any navy because their fundamental design scheme, armor, etc., made them inherently vulnerable. Trying to say that the battle-cruiser concept was fine, “if they were used as intended,” is like trying to say Zepplins were fine, “if they were used as intended.”
The battle cruisers of every country, GB, Japan, Germany, even upgraded and re-tagged as a “battleship,” were proved to be too fragile to survive serious combat … they generally couldn’t take more than a few bombs, or hits from heavy caliber guns, much less a torpedo or two. In other words, they were lightweights, and the fact that they were kept on in the navies of GB and Japan in lieu of keeping other vessels, is more proof of the superiority of the design of the US “super dreadnaughts.”
No one argues that the US “Standards” were the ideal BB. Their relatively slow speed (for WW II) made the the subject of much speculative derision in WW II, and the public dismissal of their combat power, calling them "old battleships." As the article stated (link below again, for reference), the development of the fast carrier strike squadron approach, the tendency toward fast battle-raids rather than main-battle line employment, were 30 years in the future when the US “Standards” were designed.
But the US “standards,” unlike the “super dreadnaughts” of any other country, were still finding vital employment throughout WW-II, even into the 1950s.
One would have to say they were the world’s “best super-dreadnaught.”
Violet - you can "pull apart" any sentence you want from his article. But that author, Joseph Czarnecki (google him), has bonifieds in research, naval construction and history that you have not demonstrated. You have written several statements ... such as confusing bunker oil with vehicle fuel ... that call into question your qualifications to rebut Czarnecki.
Frankly, your posts seem to be mostly of the provocative varity and you have not really added facts to those presented in this line... but that's your perogative and I support your right to troll (LOL).
Last edited by Jacknola; 05-03-2012 at 12:46 PM.
SMS Seydlitz was hit 21 times by heavy-caliber shells, twice by secondary battery shells, and once by a torpedo.
SMS Derfflinger was hit 17 times by heavy caliber shells and nine times by secondary guns. This actions earned her the nickname "Iron Dog". That definitely shows that battlecruisers could take some serious damage, so you are somewhat wrong with your above statement.
Both faced the concentrated fire of the Grand Fleet when they covered an advance of the torpedo boats. Both ships were able to return to port under own steam.
Just look at SMS Seydlitz post battle and see what damage they could take and still continue the fight.
OK... that's WW-I...I concede the ability of the German battle cruisers to take a punch. But we're talking about "the best super dreadnaught" and staying power are we not? I wonder how those WW I German battle cruisers would have fared in WW II had they still been around?
Show me a "battle-cruiser" type vessel in WW II that was able to take battle damage. One could say that the concept of the "pocket battleship" was the same as that of the battle cruiser. They couldn't take much of a combat punch either.
The concept of the "battle cruiser" was proved to be inherently flawed. And the fact that these flawed "battle cruisers" were preferentially retained in the navies of the world after the Navel limitation treaties, tends to prove that the US Standards were the best of the "super dreadnaughts."
Scharnhorst was hit 13 times by heavy-caliber shells, multiple times by secondary battery shells, and some 14 times by a torpedo. Till the end C-turret fired and the propellers were turning.
If that is not a serious punch, I don't know what is.
"Gentlemen, the battle against the Scharnhorst has ended in victory for us. I hope that any of you who are ever called upon to lead a ship into action against an opponent many times superior, will command your ship as gallantly as the Scharnhorst was commanded today."
Admiral Bruce Fraser
The "pocket battleships" with some 10.00 tons are heavy cruisers in my book. However even those were pretty robust.
Lützow took 3x 15 cm hits and a torpedo and returned home.
On another day she was hit by a 12,000 lb bomb and took several near misses by tallboys and still fired on the advancing Soviets until she had expended her main battery ammunition and was scuttled by the own crew.
Last edited by Herman the II; 05-03-2012 at 01:02 PM.
It's not just the German battle-cruisers that could "take-it"; German ship design was a direct result of von Tirpitz's maxim that a ship's primary function was to remain afloat (preserve its crew, retain its integrity as a naval unit, even if it required extended repairs.) Hence the German emphasis on extreme compartmentalization and watertight integrity. Reading of RN losses in WWI (and the Hood), you can't help but be amazed at the number of ships that just blew up or sand with all hands.