Books on British Battlecruisers?

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Re: Books on British Battlecruisers?

Post by wadinga » Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:40 pm

Hi HMSVF and all,

Thanks for a very thought-provoking post, which hopefully will garner more responses. Come on guys!

On a few points:
The caveat however was that British ammunition was poor.

Well inconsistent in quality maybe. Seydlitz' wonderful German armour was penetrated and her two after turrets wiped out at both Dogger Bank and Jutland, but propellant charge characteristic and protection saved her from destruction. Von der Tann had her turrets knocked out one by one by gunfire at Jutland and Lutzow suffered badly too. However, as you say better shells arrived later (too late for 31st May 1916).
They are one of those designs that seem great on paper but poor in practice!
As John Roberts points out in his book "Battlecruisers" when confronted with the nonsense of battlecruiser armour on turrets and barbettes and light cruiser armour everywhere else:
This author, at least, can think of no logic in this arrangement......
They originally had 3 inch belts, far worse than the Invincibles!

Speaking of "worse than the Invincibles" we come to Renown and Repulse with the same maximum belt thickness as those vessels but long and shallow, and without the benefit of bunkered coal as additional protection enjoyed by the original battle-cruisers.
Repulse and Renown remained useful warships post WW1..........Would I have put them up against a battleship squadron? No.
You are 100% right in principle but apart the Falkland Islands battle, British battlecruisers always ended up fighting battleships or battleship guns. To imagine they would always fight inferior vessels as Fisher postulated was naïve. Their speed advantage always meant they would be "first in" and aggressive tactics on both sides meant they would always be required to stand their ground. Imaginary theories might have suggested Beatty and Hipper would retire behind fleet lines once their scouting job was complete, but the reality in both navies was they would use their speed advantage over the general battlefleet to double the "head" of the enemy's line and deploy their firepower there. The shattered state of Hipper's "Scouting Group" staggering home from Skagerrak, was because they had been the spearhead (and rearguard) of the High Seas Fleet throughout and seen much more fighting than anybody else.
Its not that people are lying, its just that they are being asked to recall an event that may have occurred months/years earlier that lasted only seconds/minutes.
Again we agree. I have never suggested that inconsistency about remembered facts and timing was not to be expected. As you say, multiple accounts, compared and correlated give us the best chance of identifying reality. I don't think there is any reason why we cannot have an opinion about various commander's actions and express it. The problem here in the past has been distorting and repressing information in order to serve an agenda to provide "startling and revelatory" new accounts, and I'm afraid I believe Mr Staff has employed the same practices in the books I referenced. Those who read his works are free to make their own evaluations, but I hope they will find my observations thought-provoking. I am currently comparing his accounts of the sinking of Nurnberg and Leipzig at the Falklands, where his allegations continue of a callous attitude by the RN over the need to pick up survivors, is at odds with other detailed, albeit British, descriptions. These allegations are apparently unchallenged repetitions from the German Official History Krieg zur See written by one Erich Raeder in 1925. Mr Staff describes this account as an "excellent document " and "very exacting" whereas the British Official History "Naval Operations " is tritely dismissed thus, "At times it lapses into parochialism and jingoism."

Mr Staff credits Raeder for the Official History but Raeder's biographer Keith Bird says Vice-Admiral (Retd) Eberhard von Mantey Head of Navy Archives was in charge. Bird says
The authors intended to paint a heroic picture of the naval war and enshrine the positive accomplishments of the navy for posterity as well as to justify its continued existence.
The existence of a losing Navy precluded from having ships unless permitted by Versailles. To support this, he quotes Mantey, speaking privately:
History should not be written for the purpose of tearing down but for building up. Therefore with marked failures, much must be done to cover them with love, because history must be constructive................
That's as neat a description of spinning to deceive as I've ever heard. :D

All the best

"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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