Battleship Top Ten

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
Bgile
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Post by Bgile » Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:30 am

I don't believe Renown was armored effectively against the German weapons, either.

I've long suspected Gneisenau had a top notch engineer officer who managed to get the most out of the shaky high pressure boilers. Individuals can make a huge difference in such things. In fact, it might have been a senior nco who made the difference.

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wadinga
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The Value of Several Accounts.

Post by wadinga » Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:30 am

Terje,
Unfortunately I don't have your Whitley book but I have been studying Richard Garett's Elusive Sisters, Jacques Mordal's Battleship Scharnhorst and the excellent Hitler's Naval War by Cajus Bekker.

The latter uses conversations with veterans, official documents and other sources in a very detailed analysis of the planning and execution of Operation Juno, and Marschall's dismissal which he describes as "disgraceful". He mentions the original desire to save General Dietl's troops in Narvik, which originally led Hitler to draft orders for him to surrender in neutral Sweden. The next army plan was for giant liners Europa and Bremen to sail to Tromso (despite the RN) and land a 6,000 man rescue force who would fight their way up the coast. Luckily for them this suicide plan was scrapped.

Raeder ordered Marschall "To relieve Force Dietl by effective engagement of British naval and transport in the Narvik-Harstad area." He implied in conversation this allowed the Fleet Commander some freedom of action but Saalwachter of Group West said "the first and main objective....is a surprise penetration of the And and Vaags fjords and the destruction of enemy warships and transports there encountered, as well as of his beach-head installations...". Still further instructions came from the Fuerher HQ who instructed that he was supposed to support Force Feurstein marching across hundreds of miles from Trondheim and still further from Harstad. Raeder confirmed equal priority between the original order and being hundreds of miles away supporting Force Feustein.

Fuelling from Dithmarschen on the 7th a long way offshore from Harstad Marschall had waited for details from air reconnaissance but none came before nightfall. He held a council of war with his Senior officers, and there was agreement that charging into the potential defences of Harstad without recon would be madness. Further submarine reports detailled several groups of Allied ships all moving away from the coast. The following day, the 8th he reported his success against Oil Pioneer etc whilst Saalwachter kept on reminding him about attacking Harstad. Since nobody had cancelled the instruction to support Force Feurstein as well he sent Hipper and the destroyers off towards Trondheim.

What Marschall didn't know was that at 13:00 Dietl was on the phone to General Von Falkenhorst in Trondheim telling him that the Allies had withdrawn, news which reached Kapitan Theodore Krancke (local naval liaison) soon after, but got no further. By 17:10 Marschall knew he was in visual range of a carrier. Relying on sneaking away at that point was not an option since a patrolling aircraft could still bring down doom on him even if he ran off a hundred further 50 or 80 miles. At that point there was only one choice- attack. This decision cost him his post- his next role was Head of the Navy's Educational Department, and forced him to suffer the ignominy of having a circulated Admiralty document list his perceived shortcomings. When he submitted a defence of actions, which had cost the RN a valuable carrier, two fine destroyers and over a thousand men, Raeder's written comment was Marschall "lacked the strength of purpose of a great leader....Consequently as an operational commander he was, generally speaking, a failure."

All I have read about gunnery suggests straddling takes skill, but within that, hitting takes luck.

A flotilla of destroyers is a threat to a battleship, one on its own, in daylight is greatly overmatched in strength. If you prefer another example of bravery when vastly overmatched in strength, what about the spirit of Lieut-Commander Willoch of the Eidsvold refusing to surrender to eight invading German destroyers? He could have thought up some Lutjens-type excuses that his clapped out old ship wasn't equal to the fight, but he resisted anyway, for his country's honour. If Lutjens had that kind of spirit, he could have made a lot of trouble.

All the Best
wadinga
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Terje Langoy
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Post by Terje Langoy » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:25 pm

I would highly recommend you the Whitley book of mine, German Capital Ships of World War Two. A great book indeed. At the moment, I'm still awaiting Garrett's Elusive sisters along with other books respectively by Kahler and Groener, not to mention the memoirs of the man himself, Erich Raeder. I won't argue that Whitley is a heavier source than Cajus Bekker since I have just about nil familiarity to the work of the latter. Another book to add to the list, I guess. Whether Marschall had his bows out to support Dietl and Feuerstein or attack troop transports or allied beach-heads, it does appear to me that the the naval command ashore once again would prove disastrous in their micromanagement.

I did not intend to claim that the Gneisenau hit HMS Renown twice as a pure matter of competence and good equipment handling. But these were factors that would have to be present to obtain the lucky hits in the first place. As one can argue, the Scharnhorst had similar equipment to the Gneisenau and still wasn't able to land a single hit although expenditure was four times as high. I assume the odds of making a hit ought to increase the more shells you dispatch against your target but in Scharnhorst's case, this was not so. With similar equipment, apparently the human aspect must have been the difference, don't you think?

I agree any time that HMS Acasta was indeed inferior to the twins. And without doubt brave too. Nothing is more crucial in battle than the individuals fighting the battle. Acasta had one weapon that could shake her opponents and a captain with the guts to use it. But let's also remember that battle that would require guts were to be avoided in the Kriegsmarine.

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Post by paul mercer » Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:56 pm

An interesting discussion! Sorry I hav'nt been on the link for a while, but my pc has been playing up.
A couple of points here, the twins not only encountered Ramilles and Malaya, but also Rodney and fled both times despite the British ships being far slower. Why? Because being a long way from home they could not afford to take many 15" let alone 16" hits which might slow them and leave them open to the torpedoes from the destroyer escort, perhaps an 'R' class or a 'QE' class might in theory be unable to stand up to the twins, but they still packed a hell of a wallop!
Re the twins v Renown, if they were running directly from Renown they would only have their single aft turrets to fire with, wereas Renown would be firing with both front turrets making it 6 x11" v 6 x 15", advantage Renown! In the book on Renown, 'Strike Hard, Strike Sure', it was stated that the main reason the twins got away was that part of her torpedo bulge had come loose and was slowing her down, a pity, it would have been very interesting to see the final result!

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wadinga
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Arithmetic?

Post by wadinga » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:58 pm

Surely it's 6 by 11inch v 4 by 15inch! Assuming nobody turned enough to open their x arcs, a arcs , whatever!

Bekker spends 20 odd pages on Juno. To my mind, he must have met and interviewed Marschall after the War, for there is plenty of detail. Of course maybe it is a one-sided view :wink:

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wadinga
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Bluemill
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How about the Italians?

Post by Bluemill » Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:50 am

It seems to me that the Littorio class were a modern efficient design. They did not have very good torpedo armour as was evidenced by their demise at Tarranto at the hands of the RN Swordfish crews! They had 9 -15" or 38cm guns in more modern triple mounts, 30+ knot speed, and decent armour. I think they were just a bit smaller displacement wise than the Bismarck class. When it comes to surviveability for a warship, "there is no replacement for displacement".....(actually used to talk about car engines - but it fits here too)

I'm flattered that the South Dakota class was ranked so far up in the power rankings, because the USS Massachussetts, named for my home State, is just 50 minutes away from where I send this post, part of a big naval museum, in Fall River, Massachusetts. She's pretty tough looking - sort of like a squatty boxer looking for a brawl. You can go into just
about every compartment! Now, she was a good design, but kind of slow, maybe on a good day 28kts, and she really did come in at about 35,000 tons like the KGV class.

I wonder if anyone out there knows which ship had as armament the big 15 inchers out in front of the Imperial War Museum in London? I saw them in 1973 after I graduated from college.

Best,
Bluemill
"Bismarck, massive and elegant, with the high flare of her bows and majestic sweep of her lines, her ease and arrogance in the water, was then the most graceful, most powerful warship yet built."
-Ludovic Kennedy in his book: Pursuit

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Re: How about the Italians?

Post by Tiornu » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:28 am

Bluemill, if you have an interest in technical matters, you might want to snap up the last couple issues of Warship International, which gives a very close look at the SoDak class, including Massachusetts. I believe Mamie has the distinction of firng America's first battleship-caliber shells in WWII, and the last.
Littorio was very powerfully armed. The Pugliese torpedo protection (which we technically shouldn't refer to as armor) was not a good feature, and the Italians switched away from it in their next battleship design. The armor scheme was good but perhaps overly complex. I've never understood why the secondary mounts had such thick armor.

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Bluemill
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Battleship Top Ten...........

Post by Bluemill » Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:20 pm

Thanks for that tip. I will try a Barnes and Noble to see if they may carry that mag. Try this URL if you haven't been there already: http://www.battleshipcove.org

I am very interested in Naval History, mostly 20th century.

Best,

Bluemill
"Bismarck, massive and elegant, with the high flare of her bows and majestic sweep of her lines, her ease and arrogance in the water, was then the most graceful, most powerful warship yet built."
-Ludovic Kennedy in his book: Pursuit

Tiornu
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Re: Battleship Top Ten...........

Post by Tiornu » Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:03 pm

Look here:
http://www.warship.org/
You're unlikely to find copies on the shelf of a bookstore.

Nlneff
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Post by Nlneff » Sat Jan 26, 2008 2:34 am

You can just email D.M. Sullivan at the link Tiornu provided and order the magazines. If you have paypal you can pay with that and get the magazines a little sooner.

paul mercer
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Re: Arithmetic?

Post by paul mercer » Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:16 pm

wadinga wrote:Surely it's 6 by 11inch v 4 by 15inch! Assuming nobody turned enough to open their x arcs, a arcs , whatever!

Bekker spends 20 odd pages on Juno. To my mind, he must have met and interviewed Marschall after the War, for there is plenty of detail. Of course maybe it is a one-sided view :wink:
Oops, sorry, you are quite right, it would be 6x11" v 4 x 15". Under the conditions of the running battle I'd still put my money on Renown as she had a fully worked up and experienced crew -unlike the PoW when she met Bismarck.

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Ranking of ships.

Post by VeenenbergR » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:32 pm

Last time I saw a list the ranking of the most powerfull ships seems to be fully logical to me.

Powerfull + Armament + Armour + AA + Displacement + Speed + Technical support.


I. Top Ten Most Famous WWII BBs and BCs:

1. Bismarck
2. Hood
3. Arizona
4. Warspite
5. Schanhorst
6. Royal Oak
7. PoW
8. Repulse
9. Yamato
10. Tirpitz

Yes: Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Yamato, which all fought so heroically against overwhelming odds and sank with great loss of life.
But then it suddenly becomes difficult.

Most famous meant: scoring great successes or a big defeat!!!

Warspite I agree fully, because she was quite active and did a lot !!
KGV, PoW or DoY were also great. Repulse and Hood too. Arizona yes!!

But a lot of improved old US battleships also did a great job: like Tenessee its great outlines against the sky near Okinawa!

The Japanese, French and Italian battleships/cruisers were less known or feared (except Musashi). They were perhaps feared when sortying but all performed badly!!

Strangely all modern 12 US powerfull battlewagons seems to ve absent here......they did a lot of shooting for the right cause, shot down huge numbers of aircraft.....but became not so famous.


II. Top Ten Most Beautifull WWII BBs and BCs:

1. Bismarck
2. HMS Hood
3. HMS Warspite
4. HMS KGV
5. Schanhorst
6. HMS Repulse
7. Richelieu
8. Vittorio Veneto
9. Yamato
10. Royal Oak

Note: Warspite switch places with Schanhorst. OK?

My ranking is: Bismarck, Scharnhorst, Richelieu, Dunkerque, Vittorio Veneto, Yamato, Alaska, Repulse, KGV and Hood.

Definitely no old sturdy ladies like Warspite (famous ok) or infamous like Royal Oak. I would advocate the pyramid built up Alaska and how could you all miss......the beautiful twins: Dunkerque and Strassbourg???



III. Top Ten Most Powerfull WWII BBs and BCs
1.Yamato Class
2. Iowa Class
3. South Dakota Class
4. North Carolina Class
5. Bismarck Class
6. Richelieu
7. Nelson Class
8. Nagato Class
9. Littorio Class
10. KGV Class

Here I fully agree. Nelson and Nagato were slow however....
and if naming Nagato why not placing the US Colorado Class here, but if writing the 10 most powerful ships...these are the 10 and also in this sequence.

If now summing up all scores it suddenly becomes clear that Bismarck is THE NUMBER ONE (2 x 10 points and 1 x 6 points = 26 points)!!!!

Not surprisingly most books written about a bsingle attleship/ cruiser were about the Bismarck and a great distance down the other the other ships with interesting enough a lot books about the Scharnhorst...... then Hood....then Fuso....... aso.

Rob

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Re: Ranking of ships.

Post by lwd » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:13 pm

Some thoughts of mine on these
VeenenbergR wrote:....
I. Top Ten Most Famous WWII BBs and BCs:

1. Bismarck
2. Hood
3. Arizona
4. Warspite
5. Schanhorst
6. Royal Oak
7. PoW
8. Repulse
9. Yamato
10. Tirpitz
This may be very dependent on where you are. Due to their recent activity Iowa and New Jersey are probably better known than some on the list. In the US I'd drop Royal Oakand Repulse in their stead. I suspect a different answer would show up in the Pacific as well especially Japan. Texas also might make the list due a lot to her being a museum ship.
...
Most famous meant: scoring great successes or a big defeat!!!
But this is a rather pathological definition of most famous. It should be most well known. If that's your criteria then Yamashiro, Fuso, and perhaps Musashi belong on the list as well.
....
II. Top Ten Most Beautifull WWII BBs and BCs:
Eye of the beholder issue. Not sure I would even use the word to describe BBS. Impressive, powerful, other simlar adjectives even ugly but ...
III. Top Ten Most Powerfull WWII BBs and BCs
1.Yamato Class
2. Iowa Class
3. South Dakota Class
4. North Carolina Class
5. Bismarck Class
6. Richelieu
7. Nelson Class
8. Nagato Class
9. Littorio Class
10. KGV Class
....
Depending on the defintion I can see Yamato or Iowa as #1 and the other #2. Not sure it makes sence to differentiate between the SoDaks and the NCs. Likewise the differences between the following BBs inlcuding the unlisted US 16" BBs become a matter of semantics and opinion.

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Which KITS were selled most by buyers?

Post by VeenenbergR » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:38 pm

There is a category IV: most popular ships to built (scale models) in teh Western countries including Japan, Israel, Poland...

Important fact: there must be models to buy of the battleships.
All battleships can be built in 1:700, many in bigger scales, a dozen in 1:350, a couple in 1:200, some 1:100 and ONE (Bismarck) in 1:50.

1 = guess......Yes......Bismarck (not surprisingly). Because every man in the hobby heard about her, her great success and tragical defeat and because Bismarck has a beautiful + powerfull appearance. She is truly impressive. Yes modellers first buy German stuff (AFV, Planes and ships and then the stuff of all other nations).

2-8 are:

- Yamato (because she is the "ultimate Battleship of all time")
- Scharnhorst (because her "beautiful appearance"...), loved by so many modellers;
- Fuso: because the intriguing tall Pagoda mast
- PoW class: made in many scales
- Iowa class: also available
- Hood: because she was famous
- Arizona: an popular and stll appealing model with the cage-masts.

lwd
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Post by lwd » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:43 pm

Do you have any data to back that up?

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