Cost of Bismark and Tirpitz

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.

Moderator: Bill Jurens

Paul L
Senior Member
Posts: 317
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:04 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada

Cost of Bismark and Tirpitz

Post by Paul L » Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:10 pm

Can any one tell me what Germany paid for the Bismark and Tirpitz when the were built in the mid 1930s?

Any clue as to the cost of the battle crusiers or pocket battle ships they also built?

Paul L
Senior Member
Posts: 317
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:04 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada

Re: Cost of Bismarck and Tirpitz

Post by Paul L » Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:46 am

Paul L wrote:Can any one tell me what Germany paid for the Bismark and Tirpitz when the were built in the mid 1930s?

Any clue as to the cost of the battle crusiers or pocket battle ships they also built?
OK to answer my own question :D

http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/m ... place.html

According to this site 71.6 million RM for the Bismarck. I wonder if the Tirpitz was the same cost since it was built later?

Paul L
Senior Member
Posts: 317
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:04 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada

Re: Cost of Bismarck and Tirpitz

Post by Paul L » Sun Jan 30, 2005 8:02 am

Paul L wrote:
http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/m ... place.html

According to this site 71.6 million RM for the Bismarck. I wonder if the Tirpitz was the same cost since it was built later?
Found this other site and now I'm throughly confused :!:

http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/ships/index.html
Here are some prices listed from this site!

Bismarck 197 MRm
Tirpitz 181 MRm
Scharnhorst 146 MRm
Gneisenau 143 MRm
Hipper 86 MRm
Blucher 87 MRm
Prince Elgen 105 MRm
other two cruisers 84 MRm each.

I wonder why there is a difference between the prices between these two documents for the Bismarck?

User avatar
Ulrich Rudofsky
Contributor & Translator
Posts: 844
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:16 pm
Location: State of New York

Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:31 pm

The actual Blohm+Voss yard bill (see copy at John Asmussen: http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/m ... place.html) for the Bismarck was 71,642,000 million Reichsmark in 1941. That is the construction price and probably does not include any of the enormous amount of equipment etc. Don’t take my following estimates too seriously, since this is not a simple number to convert into present day USD values and ship construction costs, and then between countries; also, the actual cost of the Bismarck would not have been made public, since it would have reflected to actual size and quality of the ship, I would guess. Assuming the real RM value to be USD 0.23 in 1941, and using the S. Morgan Friedman (http://www.westegg.com/inflation/) USD inflation calculator, it would come out to be about USD 400 million by USD inflation rates. For example, the USS Iowa in 1940 was USD 110 million and that converts to about USD 1.4 billion now. But real costs, and monetary changes and financial shenanigans are not simple to figure out (at least not for me). However, given the circumstances, I would accept the fact that the Bismarck may have been about a third to one half the cost of the Iowa. For comparison, I think at present the estimated cost of an Arleigh Burke DDG is about USD 1 billion, a CVN is more than USD 8 billion now. So USD 0.5 – 1.0 billion seems reasonable for the Bismarck. I will be interesting to see what others have to say about this.
Ulrich

Paul L
Senior Member
Posts: 317
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:04 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada

Post by Paul L » Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:51 pm

Ulrich Rudofsky wrote:The actual Blohm+Voss yard bill (see copy at John Asmussen: http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/m ... place.html) for the Bismarck was 71,642,000 million Reichsmark in 1941. That is the construction price and probably does not include any of the enormous amount of equipment etc. Don’t take my following estimates too seriously, since this is not a simple number to convert into present day USD values and ship construction costs, and then between countries; also, the actual cost of the Bismarck would not have been made public, since it would have reflected to actual size and quality of the ship, I would guess. Assuming the real RM value to be USD 0.23 in 1941, and using the S. Morgan Friedman (http://www.westegg.com/inflation/) USD inflation calculator, it would come out to be about USD 400 million by USD inflation rates. For example, the USS Iowa in 1940 was USD 110 million and that converts to about USD 1.4 billion now. But real costs, and monetary changes and financial shenanigans are not simple to figure out (at least not for me). However, given the circumstances, I would accept the fact that the Bismarck may have been about a third to one half the cost of the Iowa. For comparison, I think at present the estimated cost of an Arleigh Burke DDG is about USD 1 billion, a CVN is more than USD 8 billion now. So USD 0.5 – 1.0 billion seems reasonable for the Bismarck. I will be interesting to see what others have to say about this.
Thanks i figured it was something like this. In terms of the calculation, I was reading the US Strategic Bombing Survey and it notes the difference between USD and RM at 0.4 when comparing the cost of oil production.

User avatar
Ulrich Rudofsky
Contributor & Translator
Posts: 844
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:16 pm
Location: State of New York

Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:03 am

Yes. It is difficult just to take categorical exchange and inflation rates, since it depends on a few other factors, like you say, the price of oil, or GNP, labor costs, technological inovations etc., etc. I imagine a real economist out to be able to figure it out.
Ulrich

User avatar
tommy303
Senior Member
Posts: 1528
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:19 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Post by tommy303 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:49 am

Erich Gröner's Die Deutschen Kriegschiffe states the cost of Bismarck as being RM 196,8 million; Tirpitz is listed as RM181,6 million. I would presume this is the cost of the completed ship with armour and weapons. Yard estimates would not normally inlude weapons, except for installaion costs acrued by the builder, as the weapons, mountings and associated fire control equipment costs would have been billed to the manufacturers and not the shipbuilders; the same was probably true of engines, boilers, generating systems, etc, and possibly the external armour belts. Taken together these would tend to explain the difference between the yard costs and total costs as Ulrich pointed out.

The lesser cost of the Tirpitz is interesting and possibly reflects a variety of variables---lead ships in a class often cost more since their hull components must be designed and built almost on a custom basis, while successive ships in the class benefit from the R & D that went into the first ship and the fact that the suppliers of the necessary equipment, hull plating, frames, etc., are fully set up from supplying materials for the lead ship. Hence one gets a certain discount, as it were.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

Paul L
Senior Member
Posts: 317
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:04 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada

Post by Paul L » Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:54 am

tommy303 wrote:Erich Gröner's Die Deutschen Kriegschiffe states the cost of Bismarck as being RM 196,8 million; Tirpitz is listed as RM181,6 million. I would presume this is the cost of the completed ship with armour and weapons. Yard estimates would not normally inlude weapons, except for installaion costs acrued by the builder, as the weapons, mountings and associated fire control equipment costs would have been billed to the manufacturers and not the shipbuilders; the same was probably true of engines, boilers, generating systems, etc, and possibly the external armour belts. Taken together these would tend to explain the difference between the yard costs and total costs as Ulrich pointed out.

The lesser cost of the Tirpitz is interesting and possibly reflects a variety of variables---lead ships in a class often cost more since their hull components must be designed and built almost on a custom basis, while successive ships in the class benefit from the R & D that went into the first ship and the fact that the suppliers of the necessary equipment, hull plating, frames, etc., are fully set up from supplying materials for the lead ship. Hence one gets a certain discount, as it were.
I suspect the difference between the two prices quoted for the Bismarck is what you outline above, IE the difference between the shipyard cost and final allup ship outfitted with weapons radars etc etc.

On a further note, I was looking at the two carriers the germans planed to build but never completed . They are listed as

Flugzeugträger B= 92.4 MRm
Graff Zeppline =92.7 MRm

These are 22000 ton ships while the 18,000 ton Hipper class are 85-105 MRm.

I always assumed carriers would be alot more expensive ships to build what with specality items like catapults and heavy lifts etc etc.

Since neither carrier was completed , would the above listed price just be the hull of these carriers?

Also on that note, what was the limiting factor in the completion of these carriers? Was it lack of labor , lack of funds or was there severe techilogical hurdles the could not over come?

User avatar
tommy303
Senior Member
Posts: 1528
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:19 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Post by tommy303 » Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:21 am

My understanding is that one of the main problems was tactical control of the carriers air arm. The Navy and Luftwaffe could never get past that debate. I would imagine that other problems would have included designing catapults, and other specialized equipment, but I have not read up on the German carrier program in a good many years, so I am not in a position to give you a difinitive answer. Apparently though, the difficulties, both material and tactical went on long enough for the operational window to close on the carrier program and so work was stopped on it.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

Paul L
Senior Member
Posts: 317
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:04 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada

Post by Paul L » Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:14 am

When I read in the website I posted above, I see the date the keel of the ship was laid down and the date of launch then date of commission. I was wondering how much time goes into designing these massive ships before a single yard of steel is laid down? Is it a matter of years?

Jack B.
Member
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:13 pm
Location: Saskatchewan

Bismarck Design Date

Post by Jack B. » Wed Feb 02, 2005 3:18 am

Spring 1934 preliminary discussions started from that date until May 1935, the Construction off developed several sketches for Bismarck. On May 9, 1935, Raeder determined that 38cm guns were to be used. Until then the Construction office was looking at 33 or 35cm guns. The propulsion was still not set, and several designs were investigating turbines/turbo-electric. June 7, 1935 they decided what the secondary armament was to be. August 23, 1935 overall layout complete. June 6, 1936 propulsion plant finalized.

Paul L
Senior Member
Posts: 317
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 9:04 pm
Location: Vancouver Canada

Post by Paul L » Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:07 pm

Thanks! I have some other questions but for now , can any one tell me how heavy the 11" gun turrets on the Scharnhorst and Graff Spee were?
Does any one know what the weights of the 8" gun turrets on the Hipper class were?

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7603
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Post by RF » Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:08 am

In looking at the cost of the warship construction it would be interesting to see how it compares with the cost of the ten hilfskreuzer ships that were fitted out, particulary as the hilfskreuzer sank more tonnage than the regular warships. My guess is that the cost would be less than 1% of Bismarck.

The problem in assessing the true cost of a warship is in evaluating a rate of return to set against that cost.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Post Reply