Talk:Battlecruiser/Archive 3

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

B Class Article

Okay, so the rticle seems pretty stable now and we've been rated as B class by ships and military history. How do we get to an A class rating? Any thoughts? Getztashida 10:59, 13 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ask for a peer review, which will hopefully generate lots of useful suggestions. The biggest single point though is that the article almost completely lacks citations. The Land 11:59, 13 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Image without source

I've come across an image with no source information and a copyright tag that is likely to be incorrect - Image:HMS Hood and HMS Barham.JPG - which was uploaded by someone who has since left the project. It's currently only being used on this page (where I suspect - and hope - it's replaceable with a free image). Since the original uploader is no longer about, and I have no idea what the source for the image might be (if it's a private individual or press agency then the photo is almost 100% certain to be a copyvio and needs to be deleted; if it's a UK government source then it may be out of copyright), I thought I'd ask here to see if anyone recognises it - it does seem a shame to get rid of a decent quality photo if it is actually out of copyright - or whether they could suggest or obtain a suitable free image replacement for this page? Purgatorio 14:41, 14 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems this image is a low quality reproduction of a photograph that appeared in the central spread of the 6th issue of "The Story of The British Empire Told with Pen and Picture", 11th July, 1939, (Edited by Clarence Winchester, published by The Amalgamated Press, Ltd., London) but I can't tell whether that is the first publication of the original photograph, or the copyright term of said photo. Where the source for this digital reproduction comes from I'm also unsure - one other website has been suggested but the dates show the image appeared on WP first. Purgatorio 18:25, 15 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WWII German designs

I have two problems with this section. First, the inclusion of the Deutschland class ships: they are very clearly not battlecruisers or any attempt at such a vessel. They were originally named panzerschiff by the Germans, and later reclassified as heavy cruisers. Never were they once labeled as battlecruisers, and the "pocket-battleship" was a foreign media term. Second, the inclusion of the Gneisenau/Scharnhorst in this section. They are also not battlecruisers. I've seen far more sources refer to them as BBs (several editions of Janes, and other scholarly works). In fact, I've never actually read a source labeling them as BCs, just the claim that since the British RN classified them as such, they should be labeled as such. If no one comments here in a reasonable amount of time, I'm going to be bold and remove the section entirely, as it's not relevant here, an article about battlecruisers. Parsecboy 12:22, 23 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree --MoRsE 12:29, 23 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's hardly realistic to describe Scharnhorst and Gneisenau as 'battleships' when they were never intended to engage with true battleships, had less than half the weight of broadside of a battleship, and when one of them was finally engaged by a battleship it sank relatively quickly. Those who faced them in battle referred to them as battlecruisers. How can the RN's classification be described as 'unreliable'? . . . compared to what? Jane's Fighting Ships groups them with Admiral Scheer and Admiral Graf Spee - ships listed as 10,000 tons. Are they battleships as well? Here in the real world I think the answer is 'no', so we can disregard Jane's and confidently count these 11-inch ships as battlecruisers.
Scroll up a bit and read my argument concerning the Hood and Deutschland class. I pretty much agree with your argument, but I have a suspicion that any attempt you make at editing or removing this particular section will be met with a great uproar. I will admit that there are valid arguments to be made for both perspectives; as a compromise I would like to see those arguments presented in the article instead of a few people making arbitrary classifications. However, be forewarned, I think you might be wasting your time here. IMHO, of course. --Dukefan73 01:45, 24 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've read through some of the discussion above, (as well as on the Gneisenau class talk page) and have yet to see someone actually provide a reliable source stating that the G/S and Deutschlands were BCs. Only the usual "that's what the RN calls them, so that's what we'll call them" nonsense. There are numerous sources stating the opposite, including Janes Fighting Ships of WWII (1946-47 edition) and Jane's Battleships of the Twentieth Century (1996), among others.
In regards to your argument about the Hood, I've never thought of her as a battleship, but I've also never really looked closely at the ship. I think any capital ship that has a 12 inch main belt and eight 15" guns would be accurately classified as a battleship. Regards, Parsecboy 02:08, 24 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is no question that Hood was built as a battlecruiser. From the 1920s onwards the boundaries between battlecruisers and battleships blur. Our articles should talk about why the lines blurred and the how various ships were borderline, rather than seek to put individual ships in a definite box. The Land 10:32, 24 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh dear, here we go again. Put down the Top Trumps and read the introduction. How do we classify battlecruisers? Are the relative size, shape, armament and armour important? No. These all change over time. (We don't consider HMS Warrior (1860) a "cruiser" on the basis that she has the displacement of a modern day cruiser.) All ships are defined by their intended and actual usage. In this case the term was coined by Fisher, the originator of the concept. We do not use the opinion of select authors and their statistics to delimit the scope of articles. Wiki-Ed 12:48, 24 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Read Wikipedia:No original research. So far, the only sources I've seen anyone here (or anywhere else, for that matter) provide have been those stating that the German ships in question were either battleships (G/S) or up-armed heavy cruisers (Deutschlands). How's about you provide a reliable source or two, on the same level of authority as Jane's, stating that G/S and the Deutschlands were battlecruisers. Every argument I've seen seems to be from the editor's gut, not based on any sources (other than, of course, "the Royal Navy said so, and they're the ultimate arbiter of all things naval.") Parsecboy 15:41, 24 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Warships are defined by role; that is not original research. Throughout history, for a wide variety of reasons, different nations have classified their warships in different ways, but have ended up employing them in the same manner as differently labelled warships in other navies. G&S were not equipped to fight in line-of-battle and were employed in a battlecruiser role (as per Fisher), i.e. a ship which could destroy cruiser-size vessels and run away from battleships. They could not go toe-to-toe with battleships, or, indeed, even another battlecruiser (eg. Renown). The only two sources I have on my shelf which contain historical analysis and deal with multiple classifications (MRD Foot's The Oxford Companion to World War II and D Miller's Warships 1860 to the present) both classify them as battlecruisers. I don't have my Jane's with me, but iirc it is rather fond of figures and pictures at the expense of historical context and description of role. Wiki-Ed 19:43, 24 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So Bismarck and Tirpitz are battlecruisers as well? They were intended to be used in the exact same role as G/S: commerce raiders that avoided battleships. They were also fast enough to outrun their British opponents. We might as well list the Iowas as overgrown anti-aircraft cruisers, as that was their primary role, they never engaged Japanese battleships, and only rarely performed shore bombardment duties. Parsecboy 19:46, 24 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unlike the other German ships, Bismarck (or Tirpitz) could have engaged a whole convoy, including its battleship escort. But that was not their intended role. With Plan Z in 1939 the Nazis planned to increase their battleship fleet considerably with the H-class design. Had they been able to do so the Bismarck class would have been able to take a part in the conventional fleet actions it was designed for. Incidentally, the speed difference between a KGV and Bismarck class battleship was marginal. On American designs: Wikipedia is the only place I have seen the suggestion that the Iowa class were designed solely to provide anti-aircraft guns for carriers. The sources I have suggest they were a response to increasingly large Japanese designs, which is somewhat more plausible. Wiki-Ed 23:28, 24 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, that's not the role Bismarck was used in, was it? Nor were the Iowas used for much more than heavy anti-aircraft support. Regardless, my point about the Iowas was to illustrate the absurdity of using only the role the vessel filled to classify them. According to you, it's irrelevant what the ships were designed for, but the role they actually performed. The G/S were designed to be battleships, but the limited amount of 15" guns forced them to be armed with 11" guns. That, apparently, is irrelevant. Therefore, so is your argument that Bismarck was intended to act in surface actions against an opposing surface fleet, but instead used as a commerce raider that avoided opponent capital ships. Guess I'll be moving the page to German battlecruiser Bismarck. Parsecboy 23:45, 24 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Bismarck was designed as a battleship and used as a battleship. Perhaps you missed the bit where it engaged capital ships in battle? In its short lifespan it was only tasked to perform one of many potential roles – that does not mean it should be reclassified. The G&S, on the other hand, had their design changed and, as built, they were unsuited to fighting capital ships. They could not be employed as battleships even if other "vital statistics" might suggest that they should be labelled as such. Their owners appreciated this and operated them as battlecruisers. Conversely, the Iowas were designed and employed as battleships – as part of a fleet. That they did not engage the Yamato in pitched battle is irrelevant. They were designed to be able to do so, were tasked to do so and could have done so if the situation had arisen. Same goes for the Alaskas and their intended target's non-availability. Wiki-Ed 10:32, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bismarck engaged British capital ships because it was forced to, not because that was its mission. The Bismarck was not used as a battleship. It was used as a commerce raider, which is, according to you, a battlecruiser role. Perhaps you missed the bit where Scharnhorst engaged a capital ship in battle. And no, the Germans appreciated the fact that they had only a handful of capital ships, and if they concentrated them to perform a fleet action, the British would annihilate them. See, here's the flaw in your logic. Both the Bismarck and G/S performed exactly the same roles during their short careers. Yet, somehow, the Bismarck is a battleship, and the G/S are battlecruisers. The only difference between the two is main armament. And according to you, technical specifications are irrelevant. Parsecboy 11:37, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Scharnhorst was sunk in combat by the battleship Duke of York et al. Reading the specs, though otherwise weel protected her main deck armour was about 2/3 of that of the KGV battleships.GraemeLeggett 12:01, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And Bismarck was sunk in combat by Rodney and KGV. And your point is what? Scharnhorst was also by itself, engaged by a battleship, four heavy cruisers, and a half dozen destroyers. I doubt a DoY could've continued to fight under similar odds. G/S had thicker belt armor than Bismarck. So what? Parsecboy 12:23, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Bismarck was not forced to engage the Hood and PoW - you’ve asserted that it could get away quite easily. It did not, nor did it successfully perform “exactly the same” role as the Scharnhorst, which, conversely, never successfully engaged a battleship or a battlecruiser. At North Cape when Bey thought he faced a superior vessel he tried to disengage. The same thing had occurred previously when both Gneisenau AND Scharnhorst encountered Renown. Surely if they were such mighty modern battleships they would have engaged an obsolete battlecruiser? You might well have a point that the inferior main armament was what caused them to be employed as battlecruisers, but it was not the only factor (cf. Battle of the River Plate). Wiki-Ed 14:45, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It likely could've gotten away, as it did in fact evade the shadowing heavy cruisers after the battle. Lindemann made the decision to engage Hood and PoW, despite strict orders to avoid capital ships. No, Bismarck did not successful carry out its commerce raiding mission, it was sunk before it could. It's irrelevant, just like the fact that the Iowas never engaged Japanese battleships is irrelevant. Well, if you were Bey, would you try to slug it out with the forces arrayed against him? Like I stated above, DoY likely could not have survived an engagement under similar odds. Therefore, that Scharnhorst was sunk by a battleship, four heavy cruisers, and a half dozen destroyers is irrelevant.
As for the engagement with Renown, neither side apparently wanted to press the attack. The ships had a short artillery duel, and after scoring a few hits on each other, withdrew. Given that Lütjens was commanding the G/S at Narvik, his of timidity when in combat with capital ships (i.e., reluctance to engage Hood and PoW) is likely the reason G/S were not more agressive with Renown.
I think the issue you're confusing here is that the ships were not used in the "battlecruiser role" based on capabilities or design, but rather on the strategy forced upon the Kriegsmarine based on the huge numerical superiority of the Royal Navy. Had the German navy completed the H plan, G/S would have likely participated in traditional surface actions with the rest of the German heavy units. This, however, was not the case, and every ship available, from Bismarck down to the Z1 destroyers were used as commerce raiders. Parsecboy 15:29, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes! The Bismarck could have run, but its commander decided to engage knowing he had the ability to sink or scare off his opponents, which he did. It was not timid behaviour. He did not try the same thing with Gneisenau and Scharnhorst because he understood their capabilities. Moreover, do you really think they would have been effective in a line of battle against contemporary ships that outranged and outgunned them? Sure, they might have been able to operate with the planned 1944 German fleet but only in a battlecruiser capacity. Where G&S had to run from convoys protected by a battleship (see Operation Berlin), Bismarck would have been able to "take them all on", so to speak. With larger guns I agree that they could have been employed differently as fast battleships, but that was not what happened. Wiki-Ed 16:21, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, Lutjens, the admiral in charge of Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, was reluctant to attack Hood and PoW; it was captain Lindemann who gave the order to turn towards Hood and PoW and engage them. Lutjens displayed a similar timidity during the encounter with Renown. Given Bismarck's order to avoid any encounter with British battleships, she would've run just as Scharnhorst did at North Cape, especially if her escorting destroyers had already been forced to turn back. Parsecboy 17:07, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You seem to know an awful lot about what happened on the bridge of a ship which went down with both senior officers aboard. That the admiral allegedly paused to consider his options proves nothing and in any case the captain would be the one to order the guns to fire, so that means nothing either. Anyway, I think this discussion could go on indefinitely and you keep straying into counterfactuals. Ultimately if you can provide evidence that Gneisenau and Scharnhorst were employed as battleships (or capable of doing so as-built) then we can consider changing things. Telling us that they possessed certain charateristics similar to a battleship does not help. We all know that. There are lots of other ships which also possessed similar characteristics, be it displacement (converted battlecruisers used as aircraft carriers) or armament (monitors). I don't see any arguments about them. Wiki-Ed 19:09, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I read about the Lutjens/Lindemann incident somewhere; I believe it was Mullenheim-Rechberg's book. Note that Lutjens also failed to press the attack on a clearly crippled PoW after destroying Hood.
The point is, I don't have to provide evidence that G/S were employed as battleships, because they never would have been in the first place. No German capital ships ever were used in traditional battleship roles. Bismarck never was, unless it was more or less forced to. Moreover, the only reason it did so even then, was because her captain disobeyed the standing order to avoid equal or stronger forces (an order that Scharnhorst's CO obeyed at North Cape, incidentally).
One thing I'd like to point out is that G/S's guns were not the same 11" guns as emplaced on the Deutschland class; they had much higher velocity, which gave them longer range and better belt penetrating capabilities. I don't know how you can make the claim you did earlier, about G/S being outranged by British battleships. Have you forgotten that Scharnhorst made one of the longest range hits in history when she and Gneisenau sank Glorious, some 24,200m? Cleary they don't have range problems. I don't think they were all that outgunned either. I've seen several instances where the G/S's firepower was rated as comparable to the QE and Revenge classes. Note that during the Battle of the Denmark Strait, one of Prinz Eugen's puny 8" shells managed to penetrate to PoWs secondary battery's magazine, but failed to explode. Parsecboy 23:05, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

PoW was not “crippled”. Not being able to carry on a fight is quite different from being dead in the water. You have contradicted yourself by saying that "no German capital ships ever were used in traditional battleship roles" and then admitting that Bismarck was actually used in that way, even if she had been ordered not to. Also you (or your source) have interpreted the actions of Lutjens/Lindemann as being disobedience, which is possible, but it is equally possible (likely) that in their assessment they thought they could reasonably take on PoW/Hood as an inferior force, which was proven correct. I would agree that German ships were mostly sent on operations of a particular kind due to the strategic situation. However, that does not mean that extant battleships, destroyers and submarines should be reclassifed as battlecruisers because they were used to raid commerce. This is about tactical use as well as strategic design.

Warspite, a British battleship, is generally credited with the longest range hit on a moving target at Cape Matapan. Your point about Prinz Eugen being able to cause damage undermines your argument that the 11 inch guns on G&S were sufficient to put them in the battle-line. It simply illustrates that any ship could hit and cause damage to another (Scharnhorst was under repair for a year after Norway due to damage caused by Glorious’s destroyers), but that does not mean smaller ships will win unless present in sufficiently large numbers. The Battle of the River Plate is a good example of this – a close run for the British. Wiki-Ed 09:49, 26 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

PoW was crippled in the sense that she could no longer defend herself to any meaningful degree, and it would've been a relatively small task to despatch her.
Bismarck was only used in a battleship role in that she engaged other battleships. It's just the same as stating Scharnhorst was used in a battleship role during the battle with DoY. Neither instance was intentional; the primary role was that of a commerce raider. That they happened to be used to engage an opposing battleship isn't directly relevant. I'm not arguing that every single German ship should be reclassified as battlecruisers because they were primarily used to raid commerce; I'm trying to point out that your insistence on classifying a ship by the role it carried out isn't really sustainable. One thing I've failed to point out thus far is that commerce raiding isn't a battlecruiser role, it's a cruiser role. BCs were designed to hunt down commerce raiders and to perform as fleet scouts.
I'm well aware about Warspite's hit on Guilio Cesare (At Calabria, not Matapan, but this is neither here nor there) Scharnhorst achieved a hit at about the same range, so your argument about them being outranged by British BBs is clearly wrong. Scharnhorst's damage after sinking Glorious was primarily from a torpedo hit, not the destroyers' pop guns.
As for the River Plate, let's talk about the Deutschland class, which we have yet to thus far. What is the argument for including them here? They displaced only some 12,000 tons, much less than even the large light cruisers such as Furious or Glorious. The Counties weighed some 14,000 tons full load. The ships were never intended to do anything other than commerce raiding, a typical cruiser role, as stated above. Parsecboy 12:19, 26 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • “Bismarck was only used in a battleship role in that she engaged other battleships.” Yes that’s correct. We don’t have many examples because it wasn’t afloat very long. When it came up against battleships it fought them. On the second occasion it did not have much choice, but on the first it did. This was battleship behaviour.
  • “It's just the same as stating Scharnhorst was used in a battleship role during the battle with DoY.” No, the Scharnhorst was used to to pick on less well armed ships, not just commercial vessels. When it came up against a more dangerous foe it tried to escape. This happened during Operation Weserübung, Operation Berlin and Operation Ostfront. This was battlecruiser behaviour.
  • Cruisers were not widely used to hunt down commercial ships in World War 2, but this point works in favour of the smaller ship classification argument anyway. And in fleet operations cruisers were used as fleet scouts, not battlecruisers, which were conceived as a means to hunt down said scouts.
  • The argument about range is not “clearly wrong”. You found an example to show that German battlecruisers could shoot as far as British battleships, but are chance shots a good way to compare the weight of broadside? Do you seriously think that a line of Scharnhorsts would fare well against a line of Warspites?
  • Glorious was indeed originally classified as a light cruiser, but she was equipped and operated as a battlecruiser in World War 1. Bona fide light cruisers were far smaller, less well protected and less well armed than the “pocket battleships”, which got their contemporary name for a reason. NB. Don’t compare full load with light load, that’s disingenuous. The Counties displaced 14,000 and the Deutschlands displaced 16,000 tonnes.

I’m not exactly sure what you are trying to point out. You seem to think all ships fit in neat categories. They don’t. This article is about the ships that fell into the grey area between battleships and cruisers. That’s why the ships that are here are here. Perhaps it’s time for another view. Wiki-Ed 17:15, 26 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One cannot ascribe the decisions of the men in charge of these ships entirely to their design. I've already demonstrated Lutjens pessimisity (or perhaps strict sticking to the primary order, if you like); first by not attacking Renown when he had a superior force, because his stated task was to cover the invasion of Narvik, which he did, and second, by sticking to the order to avoid other British battleships at the Denmark Strait, only to have his order disobeyed by Lindemann.
As for G/S's repeated avoidance of British battleships, let's return to my previous point. Who was in command of the ships at Narvik? Lutjens. Who during Operation Berlin? Lutjens. As for North Cape, take a look at the map here, and you can clearly see that Scharnhorst turned back long before DoY even arrived, after the initial scuffles with the British cruisers and destroyers. That's not "battlecruiser behavior", that's obeying an order that stated that undue risks to one of Germany's last active capital ships were to be avoided at all costs.
You are correct, cruisers were largely relegated to other duties during WWII, but commerce raiding has traditionally been a cruiser role, until it was supplanted by new technologies (submarines, aircraft, etc.) as well as less expensive alternatives (armed merchant cruisers).
Why is Scharnhorst's hit on Glorious a "chance shot" and Warspite's isn't? Yes, weight of broadside is important, however, so too is rate of fire. From this list, we can deduce that, after adjusting for rate of fire, G/S could deliver a little less than 10 tons per minute, compared to around 15.5 from the QEs. Note that the maximum range of G/S's guns is about 10k yards longer than that of the QE. Granted, that wouldn't be particularly important, given that even the extreme ranges of the successful hits for Scharnhorst and Warspite are well within both of the ships' maximum ranges.
My mistake, in regards to Deutschland's full load displacement; I apparently misread the text of the article. Glorious, and her semi-sisters were termed "large light cruisers" and were the evolutionary end-point of Jackie Fisher's ideas. I used them as a comparison because they they were quite a bit lighter than other contemporary British BCs (Lions, Renowns).
No, not all ships fall into neat categories. My point though, is that the G/S have more in common with battleships than they do battlecruisers, and that the Deutschlands have far more in common with heavy cruisers than they do with battlecruisers. We do seem to be at a deadlock. Perhaps another view is needed here. Parsecboy 19:25, 26 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since you asked, I have another view. I usually don't post in these important articles because I have nothing to add next to you worthies. But here is my view: This is a silly argument. I know that you guys hate top trumps, but perhaps it has a place in this context (in making this point, only). Battleships were the pinnacle of naval power. They were supposed to be the top ships of their time, designed to take on all comers and win. Bismarck and Tirpitz were designed in such a way. G/S were classified as Schlachtschiffe by the Germans. And they were certainly built like battleships, in hull and armor. If they had gotten those 15" guns, you may not be having this argument right now. As it is, they were commissioned in 1939 with 9x11" guns. Think about that: 11" in 1939? I don't care if they're really good 11" guns with a good rate of fire. These ships were outgunned by every Dreadnought battleship and most battlecruisers. Obviously, we're not talking about ships designed to take on all comers- including battleships- and win. Not in 1939, when the battleship as we know it was reaching it's design pinnacle (or obsolescence; take your pick). More than this, it must be realized that the designers of these ships, upon choosing 11" guns, knew that they were greatly outgunned! Therefore, if there must be a line between "battleship" and "battlecruiser," (and, by WWII, this is a pretty fuzzy line, to be sure.) then these ships are on the other side of that line. Battleship hulls, battleship armor, really good speed, but, in 1939, those aren't battleship guns. Atkindave 19:23, 6 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oops, missed this. I would tend to agree. If they had been equipped with larger guns this argument would not be taking place, indeed I suspect the course of history might be somewhat different. However, they were underarmed and this affected their employment and hence should affect how we classify them. Wiki-Ed (talk) 10:23, 23 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It seems that a major part of the problem here stems ultimately from Reichsmarine's/Kriegsmarine's fundamental lack of a clear strategic vision in the early to mid 1930s when the ships of the German surface fleet were being laid down. The Deutschlands are fairly easy to pin down: they were clearly purpose-built commerce raiders, and they lacked both the armor and armament to take on any capital ship. Their later reclassification as heavy cruisers makes perfect sense, and makes things even easier for us. The muddled strategic thinking surrounding the Gneisenau and Bismarck classes is a little more problematic. When these ships were designed and laid down, the Kriegsmarine essentially didn't have any sort of comprehensive strategic vision for its surface fleet. The vessels were designed and built on an ad hoc basis, and, Plan Z notwithstanding, when the Reich went to war, they were deployed and utilized on an ad hoc basis, so it's probably a mistake to read too much into their wartime deployment (particularly in Bismarck's case) when trying to figure out their proper niches.
I think it's more instructive to look at A.) how these vessels would have fit into the Plan Z fleet, had wartime necessity not resulted in the abandonment of that program and B.) an honest assessment of their capabilities. If we use these criteria, there's no question that Bismarck and Tirpitz were not only fully capable of standing in the line of battle, but were expected to do so under Plan Z. Plan Z imagined using Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the line of battle...but only after upgrading their main armament to 6X38cm. It was clearly understood that, as built, they lacked the firepower necessary to fight modern BB's and win. In their 9X28cm configuration - the only configuration that they ever actually had - they were clearly battlecruisers, and they served as such during the war. (talk) 21:37, 25 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would utterly agree. there cannot be any argument about Bismarck and Tirpitz not being full-fledged BBs – they were designed and classified as such. If they were (partially) not used in their original "battle" role, then this must be attributed to Germanys strategic situation and the failure of her muddled naval strategy. As for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, they were too classified as battleships in Germany (and in the US too, as this chart shows, but their weak main armament and feeble horizontal armour put them at a distinct disadvantage against real BBs. Moreover, laid down in a time when new, faster BBs emerged, in nature they are much closer to battlecruisers than to BBs. (talk) 09:28, 23 March 2010 (UTC)koookeeeReply[reply]

Sadly your very definitive statemnnts are rather in contradiction to Bis's intended role in Plan Z, where they'd havebeen an adjunct to a main battle of fleet of H ships. They are BBs, because by 1940 BCs and BBs had effectively merged. They are not line of battle ships, in the context of 1940s designs - not really designed for long range engagements. here's a reasonable quote "Therefore, pending the completion of Grand Admiral Erich Raeder's "Plan Z" (designed to build a fleet that could fight the British on equal terms), the existing battleships, including Bismarck and Tirpitz, were to be used for convoy raiding. The Bismarck class, with its design compromises, was intended merely as an interim design that would eventually be supplemented in the German main battle line by a larger and more capable design, the H class battleship. " Greglocock (talk) 11:01, 23 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for that remark. However, most sources I read assume that the whole plan z was a) compeltely unrealistic and b) strategically flawed. The use of the German capital ships as commerce raiders (a purpose for which they were undoubtedly not cost-effective and much too valuable, hence the order to not engage in battles with enemy capital ships) was clearly a result of the wishy-washy building programme that could not be bropught to concentrate either on commerce raiding OR battling the british fleet. The larger ships plan Z envisaged have by many historians (I will glady consult my books to support this statement, but this will take a day or two, sorry) be described as mere "planspiele" (exercise studies) whose realization was never truly realistic. However, if you insist that Tirpitz and Bismarck were, by modern 1940 standards, not battleships, I wonder which ships were? (talk) 13:06, 23 March 2010 (UTC)koookeeeReply[reply]

Well, since I said "They are BBs" then I don't think I really insisted that they weren't BBs. I agree PlanZ was potty, the truth is, so far as I can tell, that they were finally designed to defeat Richelieu mano a mano given that a line of battle fight was improbable. They then had the cruiser warfare task re-superimposed on them. Greglocock (talk) 00:00, 24 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The First ****

The recent edit by "The Land" removes relevent background information sourced largely from Massies general history Dreadnought, and a few other more academic works and replaces it with genralistic editorial.

This is a retrograde step - what this article needs is a systematic adding of in line citations and weeding out of editorial/opinion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by ChrisMCau (talkcontribs) 05:35, 23 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, that wasn't the idea - I think it is important to talk about the strategic context of battlecruiser construction, which explains why the ships were built as they were. None of my changes was based on personal opinion. I have a range of sources, including Massie's books. I agree wholeheartedly about the need for more referencing; I tend to work by writing material first then going through, revising and referencing as appropriate. If you see articles I've worked on like battleship, ironclad warship and pre-dreadnought battleship you'll notice that I am actualyl quite good at writing authoritative articles about types of warship. The Land (talk) 10:38, 23 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've made some more changes, mainly to structure the 'post-world war I' material around the Washington Naval Treaty. Since the Treaty and its successors pretty much define the history of capital ships from 1918 to 1939 I think this makes more sense than three sections on different nations which say "They started building some battlecruisers. The Washington Treaty happened. They turned half of them into carriers and scrapped the rest."
Obviously there's a risk of taking out some valuable material when making this sort of change - if I've done that please just add it back in. However I think the article is better for having fewer statements that X ship was 'essentially a fast battleship' or Y was a 'super-cruiser'. I am not sure it makes sense to impose those categories on ships separated decades apart - it makes more sense to talk about the technological and strategic background to the construction of each class or set of classes. The Land (talk) 18:24, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I like the restructured interwar section. It flows better than my effort and put things in a more approriate order. Getztashida (talk) 12:47, 30 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Glad you like it! The Land 14:20, 1 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The intro says "They evolved from armoured cruisers and in terms of ship classification they occupy a grey area between cruisers and battleships. ". Agree with the second part, disagree with the first. The first battlecruisers were surely based on Dreadnought, not some old pre-Dread ACs? Greglocock 23:36, 3 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's not at all true. HMS Invincible had a great deal in common with the preceeding Minotaur class of Armoured Cruisers, and was even described as a "Dreadnought Armoured Cruiser" for the first half of her career. The first Battlecruisers were essentially to Armoured Cruisers what the Dreadnoughts were to Pre-dreadnoughts. (talk) 12:55, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is exactly the point which I was going to make but forgot to. The early history of dreadnoughts/battlecruisers is complex and quite controversial. Arguably, Dreadnought was based on the battlecruiser not vice versa! The Land (talk) 13:39, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edits by

There seem to have been a lot of bad tempered and pedantic edits by in this article (not to mention others). I was going to have a crack at reverting them but quickly lost heart - is there some way to do a simple revert to the article as it stood immediately prior to these "improvements"? Paddyboot (talk) 10:57, 1 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, there is, but there are good edits in between 74.163...'s and the current version....meaning that we lose those if we revert it back... —the_ed17— 13:28, 1 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

German designs

The point of the Deutschland class is that Germany was limited by pos-WWI treaty to a coastal defense force with the largest displacement allowed being 10,000 tons. The range, speed and armament show that they were designed as high seas raiders, not as coastal defense vessels, and the actual displacement was on the order of 13,000 to 16,000 tons. The captain of Graf Spee is quoted as fearing only HMS Hood, Repulse and Reknown, all three true battlecruisers (perhaps the Hood due to up-armoring qualified as a fast battleship). Of course my interest in this is as a hobbyist and not historian, but the Deutschland-class appear to be one-of-a-class. (talk) 14:50, 15 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Battlecruisers were generally as large and costly as battleships of the same generation, often sharing the very large main armament of battleships. They traded off armour or firepower for higher speed, which was made possible by having more powerful engines and longer slender hulls relative to contemporary battleships. The Anglo-American battlecruiser concept was noted for its comparatively light armor protection and was not designed to stand up against the guns they themselves carried, thus ships of this type could inflict much more punishment than they could absorb.

This version is more accurate accomodates both Anglo and German battlecruisers, as the Anglos sacraficed armour while the Germans sacraficed firepower. GoldDragon (talk) 17:36, 7 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The proposed change to the first sentence is fine. I'm not entirely comfortable with the proposed change to the second sentence - "slender" is the important hydrodynamic characteristic so "longer" is not needed. And having compared the cost and power similarities to battleships in the previous sentence I think it makes more sense to compare the hull form and speed with armoured cruisers, which is what they evolved from (assuming any comparison needs to be made at all - the sentence is fine as it is). The third proposed change is unnecessary and the inference is wrong - there was no "Anglo-American battlecruiser concept"; this sentence does not need to be changed. Wiki-Ed (talk) 20:26, 7 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Battlecruisers were generally as large and costly as battleships of the same generation, often sharing the very large main armament of battleships, but they traded off armour or firepower for higher speed. British battlecruisers were noted for its comparatively light armor protection and was not designed to stand up against the guns they themselves carried, thus ships of this type could inflict much more punishment than they could absorb.
Revised version, as German battlecruisers had smaller guns then battleships, plus with more armor they could better stand up against their own guns. Regarding "slender", this discussion was mostly in fast battleship, the Renown and Lexington battlecruisers had longer hulls than the Revenge and South Dakota battleships, respectively. GoldDragon (talk) 17:26, 8 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agreed that there was scope for the first sentence to be altered, and the revised proposal re the second sentence works (with some grammatical tweaks which I have added in). The rest was not agreed (or even mentioned) and has been reverted to the consensus version. A crucial part of the definition of a battlecruiser is that it could not stand up to the calibre of guns it carried - there is no distinction to be made between different nation's designs - the sentence has been carefully constructed over the course of a number of years and does not need to be altered. A third opinion is probably needed. Wiki-Ed (talk) 20:58, 8 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I hate to butt in here, but The German Battlecruisers did have armour sufficient to stand up to their own guns, so unless the entire run of WWI German Battlecruisers were actually fast battleships (an argument with some merit, incidentally, but I digress) that definition is faulty. Damn those Battlecruisers are slippery things to pin down! Getztashida (talk) 20:47, 4 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They do buck the trend somewhat, but we'll never know for sure that they could stand up to their own guns since it wasn't tested. In practice they survived shots (eg. Seydlitz) from the larger calibre weapons carried by their British counterparts
misleading due to the poor quality of large British shells.
, which, conversely, fared poorly against shots from the smaller calibre weapons they carried (eg. Queen Mary, Indefatigable). However, they didn't do so well against proper battleships so I don't think it would be right to argue they were comparable to actual contemporary "fast battleships" like the Queen Elizabeths.
Good oh, cos that would be ridiculous.
I suspect in a controlled test with, say, two Derfflingers pitted against one-another, the result would be two battered hulks. If you ran the same test with British equivalents, say two Lion class, one would probably explode violently and the other would survive, depending entirely on which ship hit the other in a vital spot first. So I think the concept of "standing up" to their own guns is relative, German ships are generally acknowledged to have been well protected so they might have survived longer, but they certainly weren't impervious. Wiki-Ed (talk) 00:10, 5 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
yup Greglocock (talk) 10:48, 5 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Comparisons are always a dangerous idea, but here's one. According to Campbell, during the war, seven British battle cruisers took 72 heavy calibre hits, and three of them sank. But Lion alone at Dogger Bank and Jutland absorbed 29 hits and Tiger took 21. This rather backs up the notion of Bill Jurens that various factors including bloody bad luck led to to the loss of three BCs after only an estimated 17 hits. --Simon Harley (Talk | Library). 13:44, 5 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

UserGoldragon you continue to insert material which is both incorrect and unnecessary, and remove material which is correct and properly written.

  1. British battlecruisers in the 30s: "Several"? No. And even if amended the wording is not needed;
  2. Dunkerque and Gneisenau were not smaller than contemporary battleships;
  3. "Few if any" cruiser killers were completed? No, I think you'll find some were. They're even listed in the article;
  4. You removed a sourced section on Japanese ships with no explanation;
  5. There is no "the" before HMS - that's poor grammar;
  6. You've changed the sense of the first paragraph of Rearmament such that it no longer agrees with the rest of the article, including parts you've edited yourself;
  7. Battleships were called battleships in World War I;
  8. The article is still written in British English;
  9. The edit summaries don't really describe the scope of the changes you're making.

Time for a rollback to the consensus version, although I will make one little change due to the bot trying to link to something it shouldn't be. Wiki-Ed (talk) 21:42, 12 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. British battlecruisers in the 30s: "Several"? No. And even if amended the wording is not needed;
I was referring to the Renown, Repulse, and particular the British knew full well of the Hood's capabilities as a battlecruiser rather than a fast battleship.
  1. Dunkerque and Gneisenau were not smaller than contemporary battleships;
They were smaller than the follow-up Treaty fast battleships like Richelieu and Bismarck.
  1. "Few if any" cruiser killers were completed? No, I think you'll find some were. They're even listed in the article;
  1. You removed a sourced section on Japanese ships with no explanation;
Added back in.
  1. There is no "the" before HMS - that's poor grammar;
  2. You've changed the sense of the first paragraph of Rearmament such that it no longer agrees with the rest of the article, including parts you've edited yourself;
Amended...however it is important to draw a distinction between the battlecruiser (or light battleship) Gneisenau (which despite being well armored still had to rely upon speed) and a proper fast battleship like the King George V.
  1. Battleships were called battleships in World War I;
  1. The article is still written in British English;

GoldDragon (talk) 01:22, 13 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

However, the battleship continued to dominate naval surface warfare through the First World War, and the battlecruiser was principally used to provide a fast and hard-hitting addition to a battleship fleet. Battlecruisers formed part of the navies of Britain, Germany and Japan in World War I and took part several raids and skirmishes as well as the Battle of Jutland.

This statement is inaccurate and unsourced: the battleship continued to dominate naval surface warfare
My revision noted that dreadnoughts too take in few fleet actions compared to battlecruisers.
GoldDragon (talk) 19:22, 2 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The first sentence is completely accurate and not even slightly controversial so it doesn't need a source. The paragraph leads on from the previous one; your proposed amendment changes the sense and makes it seem like battlecruisers were not involved in any proper battles apart from Jutland, which is incorrect. And the process is Bold-revert-discuss, with some emphasis being on the point that there should be no further amendments until the "discuss" bit is complete. Wiki-Ed (talk) 20:21, 2 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This never implied that skirmishes and raids were not battles. Name the major dreadnought versus dreadnought actions in World War I. GoldDragon (talk) 21:47, 2 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's like saying "name the apples that aren't called apples" in a discussion about oranges. You introduced the sentence - I don't know why - it's not needed. The paragraph is about battlecruisers and summarises their activity, providing contrast to the previous paragraph about their intended role. Talking about Jutland being the only battleship vs battleship battle is not relevant to the point being made; it detracts from it by making it seem like there were no battles in which battlecruisers were involved without battleships (when in fact there were). Wiki-Ed (talk) 22:56, 2 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The sentence the battleship continued to dominate naval surface warfare was directed contradicted by the source, which also is on the dreadnought page. There is no way that can you claim that "The first sentence is completely accurate and not even slightly controversial so it doesn't need a source".
It is also worthy to mention the contrast between dreadnought and battlecruiser deployements, Dreadnought#In_action, which is why I mentioned Jutland. GoldDragon (talk) 16:53, 3 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't know what that source says - it's not on Google Books and I don't own a copy. However, the context in which you are trying to use it here and the context in which it is used in the Dreadnought article are different. I would guess it makes no such claim: it is commonly accepted that battleships dominated naval warfare until the advent of the aircraft carrier, which happened after the First World War and, some would say, not until 1941.
The introduction is summarising the design, development and history of battlecruisers; the paragraph you are trying to alter is a counterpoint to the one above it (or it was supposed to be until someone edited the last sentence - that will need to be corrected once the protection is removed). Your edit would shift the emphasis to battleships. Actual differences in deployment are discussed in detail in the body of the article. Wiki-Ed (talk) 20:30, 3 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It doesn't look as if a consensus was reached, or sufficiently discussed, on the sentence: "Thus ships of this type could inflict much more punishment than they could absorb", which neatly summarises the information that came before it, which is surely important for someone giving it the once-over? I've re-insrted it on the basis that it explains the temptation to use battlecruisers alongside BBs as ships of the line or to send them against BBS, usually with disastrous results. But if the consensus is that the sentence doesn't stack up, then please say so specifically and I'll remove it. Thanks, bigpad (talk) 19:48, 22 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's a poor sentence because warships don't go around "inflicting punishment" on each other. What's wrong with just saying they sacrifice armour for speed? The Land (talk) 11:27, 23 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm, no I think that's a different point. This sentence is addressing the weaponry/armour issue, not the armour/speed issue. I should have picked this up when the editing block expired nearly a year ago, but clearly forgot to reinsate it. Personally I think the wording is fine as it is (it's not an unusual phrase), but "punishment" could be changed to damage I guess. Wiki-Ed (talk) 19:12, 23 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The problem is that it's only true of 'some' battlecruisers. You can't day that of the German battlecruisers which were self evidently capable of standing up to their own armaments, you can't say it of HMS Hood which had vertical protection sufficient to resist 15" guns at the expected battle ranges when she was designed and you certainly can't say it for some of the other ships mentioned in this article like the Strasbourg and Dunkerque or the G3's and Amagis. The sentence has too many exceptions and special to be allowed to stand unchallenged. Better to leave it out in my opinion. Getztashida (talk) 12:00, 25 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
'Some' battlecruisers only??? When a battlecruiser slugged it out with a battleship (Hood v Bismarck, Kirishima v South Dakota/Washington, Scharnhorst v Duke of York), the former was destoyed by gunfire and gunfire damage. The Kirishima did inflict quite a bit of damage on South Dakota, however, before Washington destoyed her, which substantiates the point about being able to inflict damage but not absorb it. I'm willing to add a clause like this, if people think it will help: "In engagements with battleships, the battlecruiser was shown to be capable of inflicting much more damage than it could absorb". Otherwise please add specific reasons here why the sentence is not appropriate and don't remove it until there is a clear consensus to do so. Regards, bigpad (talk) 14:03, 25 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your examples don't support that contention at all; in 2 the "battlecruiser" inflicted no meaningful damage on the "battleship" so it's an inaccurate sentence to add. Plus, there is the whole issue about whether Scharnhorst and Kirishima in her WW2 configuration ought to be classified as battlecruisers - please read up on the discussions about that before answering. I have removed the phrase, as there's not exactly a clear consensus for its inclusion either. The Land (talk) 20:09, 25 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure if the Kongos were uparmored during the 1930s, but the Scharnhorst-class ships as built had thicker armor than the British Queen Elizabeth-class BBs. So they are genuine fast battleships, not battlecruisers.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 21:08, 25 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
With heavy cruiser guns... so yes the German battlecruisers were different insofar as they could absorb the damage they could cause, but I think they're the exception that proves the rule (NB: The Land - the Scharnhorst did score a meaningful hit on the DoY - she knocked out her radar during a fight where it was critical). The Kongos were given additional armour to certain areas and were reclassified, but I don't think this was quite as comprehensive as the true fast battleships coming off the slips at the same time. Also, final pedantic point, the Hood didn't damage Bismarck in her final fight, but she did cause sufficient damage to the Dunkerque at Mers el Kebir that the battleship had to beach itself). Wiki-Ed (talk) 23:14, 25 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think it is fair to regard German battlecruisers as "exceptions that prove the rule". Only 3 nations used battlecruisers. The Japanese ships were designed in Britain so really there were only 2 schools of battlecruiser construction, the British one and the German one. Scharnhorst is a completely different kettle of fish, but actually she was built to absorb more damage than she could dish out. The Land (talk) 12:05, 26 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. By the end of the War in 1918, 7 of the total 23 battlecruisers completed at the time were German - about 30% of the total. That's not an insignificant proportion, and most of the ships launched subsequently which have sunsequently had the the sobriquet "battlecruiser" bestowed upon them (including HMS Hood and the French and German twins) had protection more in line with the German model than the classic Royal Navy battlecruisers. To treat the German battlecruisers as an aberattion is to overlook that they represent a significant part of the battlecruiser story. One could go so far as to say that Jutland represented the vindication of the German model over the British one and all subsequent battlecruiser designs (with the exception of the Lexingtons, which weren't really a post Jutland design) moved towards the German battlecruiser philosophy to a certain extent. Getztashida (talk) 16:21, 26 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Lexingtons were definitely a post-Jutland design (influenced by the Hood). A similar design (speed/weapon calibre over armour) was taken with the Alaskas, the article on which discusses this very topic succinctly. The British, American, Japanese, and Dutch designs followed the Fisher philosophy; the Germans followed the German philosophy. To say one was type "vindicated" at Jutland is not true - the British battlecruisers were not designed to sail in the main battle line and paid the price, the German "battlecruisers" were designed to do so and mostly survived. Wiki-Ed (talk) 22:05, 26 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unfortunately for this line of argument, the Brits switched to the "German" philosophy for the Admiral class and the G3 battlecruisers so you can't just say that the RN had a single design philosophy.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 22:40, 26 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The German battlecruisers wer3 designed to sail in the "main battle line"? I've never seen any good discussion of the design philosophy of the German battlecruisers - can you point me to one? The Land (talk) 08:48, 27 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll second that request. Neither Gröner nor Staff do much with the design rationale of the German BCs. Which is a real problem for this article.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 14:51, 27 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lol. I have to say that you puzzled me when you asserted that they were 'vindicated' at Jutland... so I had to look it up and started with the Wikipedia articles on Von Der Tann and Moltke. It was news to me too, but both articles are FA and refer to Staff (pg 3 and 11). However, I don't have a copy of that book and the relevant pages are not available on Google Books so cannot confirm what it says. Wiki-Ed (talk) 16:05, 27 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have Staff and he says that the German BCs were intended to fight in the battleline if necessary and that they were envisioned more as a squadron of fast battleships, against Tirpitz's objections. But I'd really like a better discussion of the whole issue.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 16:39, 27 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fascinating. John Roberts gives a list of 4 points for the role of the Invincibe class, the 2nd of which bears repeating in full here.

B) Close support for the battlefleet in action'. They were to be stationed in the van and rear of the battle line where they could defend the battleships against interference by enemy cruisers and worry the enemy battleships with their big guns as the opportunity permitted. In the latter case they were only to engage battleships already fully engaged in fighting their opposite numbers (it was unlikely in these circumstances that a battleship would shift its fire to the lesser of two dangers). They could also operate as a fast wing and attempt to out-manouevre the enemy by enveloping movements across the van or rear of his line - again if opportunity offered and the enemy battleships were otherwise occupied".

So much for the idea that British battlecruisers were only meant to run away from battleships. But anyway, it would be very interesting to hear what Staff has to say about the German intentions for the use of battlecruisers - perhaps the two navies were not so different after all! The Land (talk) 20:03, 27 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have Staff's German Battlecuisers 1914-1918, although I don't have it with me at the moment. Basically he says in the introduction to the section on Vonn der Tann that the Germans decided to give all their BCs extra armour so that they could perform a secondary role as a fast wing for the HSF fleet, in part because the Germans expected to be outnumbered and wanted every capital ship to be able to contribute to a fleet engagement. He also states in the conclusions section at the end of the book that the Jutland experience "fully vindicated" the German battlecruiser design model - I find it hard to disagree with him. Getztashida (talk) 08:11, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is Staff's "conclusion":

The German Großen Kreuzer were excellent fighting ships because of their better weight distribution and weight percentages allocated to armour, machinery, hull and armament. They had better propellant and projectiles, which did not explode when exposed to flash. Their design concept had been well-devised, thought through and developed by an exceptional design group. The German 'Kreuzer-Battleships' had defeated the British 'Battleship-Cruisers', and had fought and resisted the most modern and heavily armed battleships. The German battlecruiser concept had been completely vindicated, in spite of restrictive financial constraints.

--Simon Harley (Talk | Library). 08:32, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A bit of a simplistic conclusion. For example, if British armour-piercing shells had not been faulty (i.e. at Jutland) then one could safely assume there would have been many more German losses, leading to very different conclusions about the concept and build qualities. I'm not sure we should rely on sources like this. Wiki-Ed (talk) 09:15, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If there are better sources then by all means let's hear about them. It's interesting to note that Britain and Germany seem to have had similar views of what battlecruisers were for in doctrine, though somewhat different methods of achieving those things with construction. My impression from Evans & Peattie is that Japan, too, saw the role of battlecruisers as a fast squadron in a fleet action as important. The Land (talk) 09:42, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's interesting to see Staff write "The path towards the battlecruiser type had been foreseen in January 1904 …" A British admiral had already "foreseen" this in 1893 in a lecture (possibly influenced by Fisher) which saw the use of armoured cruisers comparable to battleships which he called "battle-cruisers" for use as a fast squadron of the fleet. With the mass re-introduction of the armoured cruiser at the turn of the 20th Century, the British were already considering placing them in the line of battle where necessary. --Simon Harley (Talk | Library). 09:56, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What's with the predjudice against Staff? This is the second time his writting has been dismissed despite the fact that he's considered one of the foremost authorities on the Imperial German Navy. He's published, he's reputable and he's notable. His sources are as valid as any other for use in the writing of Wikipedia articles. Also to make the bald faced statement that if British shells had been better the Germans "would" have lost more ships is rather overstating the case. The Germans "might" have lost more ships, but then again they might not and we'll never know because history didn't spin out that way - after all, the German BCs had plenty of opportunity to blow up from burnt out turrets as it was. More effective shells would certainly have caused many more casualties on the German ships, probably would have sunk Seydlitz and "may" have sunk Derfflinger but probably wouldn't have sunk Molkte and Vonn Der Tann. On the other hand, if one particular German shell had exploded in high order that historically didn't the HMS Tiger would probably have been lost to a sympathetic magazine explosion when one of her turrets was penetrated. HMS Lion could have been lost to secondary fires if her magazines hadn't been ordered flooded and Beatty might have been vapourized at that moment, but so what? Counterfactuals are interesting but ultimately meaningless in this context - postulating on what might have happened if the RN had greenboys in 1916 is about as relavent as wondering what might have happend if they'd had a guided missile destroyer. The Germans designed their Battlecruisers in the early 1910's to beat contemporary shell technology and circa 1916 they were the only navy with a truely effective, reliable APC shell. Staff is basing his conclusions on the events that actually happened, not the ones that might have happened if things were different... Getztashida (talk) 16:10, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Staff has only published a couple of Ospreys and a good book on Operation Albion, hardly serious credentials to be "one of the foremost authorities on the Imperial German Navy". Staff is not a technical naval historian on the same level as John Roberts, Alan Raven, R. A. Burt, David K. Brown, or even Norman Friedman, IMO. I really wish that somebody would translate Koop and Schmolke's books on the Imperial German capital ships as they'd have to have better coverage of the design evolution than Staff could fit in the limited space allotted to him. I don't regard Ospreys as particularly reliable, having found errors in Konstam's books on British BB/BCs, and think that they're most useful as an introduction to the topic.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 17:25, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Saying the design is "vindicated" suggest the designers knew in advance that their opponents would have faulty shells, poor signalling procedures and wouldn't learn to shut the bulkhead doors. This is not a logical conclusion for an event where, by chance, circumstances played in the German's favour (relatively speaking). Wiki-Ed (talk) 17:31, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"I have removed the phrase, as there's not exactly a clear consensus for its inclusion either. The Land (talk) 20:09, 25 April 2011 (UTC)" - but you've removed something that isn't new! The phrase about hitting power/protection was first introduced perhaps a year ago but has been removed, on and off, several times without an explanation until now. Surely protocol demands that it be re-inserted (if you don't mind doing so, please) until a consenus emerges to *remove it. Thanks, bigpad (talk) 21:17, 30 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Missing Reference

There's a couple of citations in the article to a "Brown" (which I presume is one of the books by DK Brown), but there's no matching entry in the biography...? - The Bushranger (talk) 01:11, 26 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The book referenced is The Grand Fleet: Warship Design and Development 1906-1922 by D. K. Brown. It doesn't really matter, anyway, as the page references don't actually support the assertions made in the article. --Simon Harley (Talk | Library). 08:15, 26 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pro-British Bias in Dreadnought Arms Race section

Hi all. I hate to upset the apple cart but I'm bothered by the Dreadnought Arms Race section of the website. The section is slanted almost entirely towards the British development of the Battlecruiser with the parallel German developments being relegated to the sidelines. Lets not forget that at the HSF constructed seven Battlecruisers during WWI and had a further four under construction and three on order at the cessation of hostilities - In the same period the RN completed 12 Battlecruisers and had four under construction (Hood and her aborted sisters) - and built a greater percentage of her total Dreadnought capital ship tonnage as Battlecruisers. Additionally, the significant differences between British and German Battlecruisers both operationall and technically are glossed over. The article wasn't always like this (I know, I wrote a great deal of it) and I wonder why the information pertaining to the German battlecruiser program specifically has been removed from the article. Could we put some of it back please? Getztashida (talk) 13:33, 5 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Something should no doubt be done to correct the imbalance. So long as it's not the old re-hash of Staff. I don't know why you mention percentages of capital ship tonnage - the differences involved are tiny. --Simon Harley (Talk | Library). 15:07, 5 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was seeking to highlight that the HSF bought into the Battlecruiser concept at least as strongly as the RN, even if their concept of what a Battlecruiser should be was different. I agree that the differences are not very significant outside of making that specific point. I also have to wonder what's so wrong about using Gary Staff as a source? He is, after all, a published Naval historian. Getztashida (talk) 15:54, 5 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Looking at the article as it stands, yes this section has a British POV - I think it's also largely my work (see this diff) My intention was to bring the accounts of British and German development together, as it ws very much a case of Britain taking one step and Germany responding - which works better as one narrative than as two. However I was rewriting it from sources, mainly British ones, so some of the unsourced material about Germany was lost. If we can source it we can put it back in, though I prefer one narrative rather thana "Britain" section and a "Germany" section. The Land (talk) 11:06, 19 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair enough - I'll see what I can do. I'm still not sure why we can't use Gary Staff, however - he is probably the leading authority on the ships of the Imperial German Navy and whilst his books do contain analysis and interpretation that possibly not appropriate for an encyclopedia, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with his research. Getztashida (talk) 17:32, 20 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pocket Battleships

The German pocket battleships are not battlecruisers in any way, shape, or form. They're merely large, slow, heavy cruisers with a heavier armament. Can someone please explain why they're even mentioned in this article?--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 21:52, 18 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Because reliable sources put them in the category? And, as has been stated many times before, ship classification is not Top Trumps. Wiki-Ed (talk) 00:26, 19 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, I'll bite, which sources? And please try to limit them to specialist works, rather than more general ones that are more likely to have less knowledgeable authors who really don't know the difference between battleships and battlecruisers.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 01:06, 19 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The closest I can find is here - which is probably enough to warrant an account of the design and mission of the pocket battleships in this article, though in the context of an account of the development of the German capital-ship commerce raiders, some of which were sometimes referred to as battlecruisers - rather than saying "these count as battlecruisers too because the occasional source says they're a bit like them". The Land (talk) 11:21, 19 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure "specialist" (by which I assume you mean books concentrating on a particular ship or class) sources are what we want for this. Encyclopedic or 'dictionary' sources like [1] and [2] have to classify large numbers of ships over a long period of time. As such the author has to compare and contrast, unlike a specialist source which can go into technical detail on every aspect of a ship's construction without ever considering how it fits into the bigger picture. As User:The Land said, they are included because of their role which (imho), to some extent, is delimited by the technical specs, not the other way around. Wiki-Ed (talk) 11:36, 19 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not sure I'd out any weight on the first of those sources. Also, for clarity, I am not saying that the fact the pocket battleships were designed for commerce raiding made them battlecruisers. I am saying that a) their design concept had some similarities with that of the battlecruiser and b) they were part of the development of the German capital-ship raiders, and the next class of capital-ship raider (Scharnhorst) was in RN terminology a battlecruiser. The Land (talk) 12:34, 19 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Now we're getting into the postwar change in the definition by the Brits to a fast battleship when they're talking about Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, which are both genuine fast battleships with almost 14 inches (35 cm) of armor, thicker than anything on Hood. So I don't honestly know that we need anything on those two ships other than to explain why the RN called them BCs.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 16:03, 19 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This touches on the question of what's a battlecruiser and what isn't. I think the only way of resolving that is by saying that if navies or serious historians and analysts referred to a ship as a battlecruiser, we should cover it in this article; if they didn't, we shouldn't. Trying to second-guess, whether to include Deutschland or exclude Hood or Scharnhorst, is basically OR. The Land (talk) 16:38, 19 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quite. Most of the German BC's from WWI had belt armour as thick as that of contemporary Battleships. Does that make them Fast battleships? We're far better off trying to define ships by role because roles don't change much greatly over time and between nations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:42, 18 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, I agree that limiting ourselves by the kinds of definition used in "specialist" books is a mistake. I might know what a Panzerschiff is and why it isn't really a battlecruiser, but laymen will often encounter technical terms being used loosely and we need to remember that wikipedia articles should be written with the layman in mind. (sorry for got to sign my last comment) Getztashida (talk) 12:45, 19 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, roles change greatly over time and between nations, depending on the strategic situation, the limits of technology and resources, and the doctrine of the navy concerned. What does Fisher's vision of a very fast, heavily armed cruiser protecting trade have in common with the High Seas Fleet's battlecruiser squadron at Jutland, the Kongo's role in World War II, or the Scharnhorst's convoy raiding? Very little. The Land (talk) 14:47, 19 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well the short answer to that is in the introduction: a ship with the firepower to sink anything with lower calibre weapons and the speed to outrun anything with larger weapons. Wiki-Ed (talk) 15:46, 19 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That isn't a role, it's a technical description. It applies just as well to the large armoured cruisers that immediately preceded the battlecruiser, or to the unarmoured steam cruisers of the mid-19th C, or indeed to sailing frigates! What's more, it changes during the life of a ship. Did Invincible stop being a battlecruiser when navies started to commission 25-knot battleships? The Land (talk) 16:30, 19 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not a technical description per se. It's describing a niche and the role that ships filling that niche performed in different navies and over time did change. However, I don't think it's true to say other contemporary ships could perform the same roles (that there were ships filling a similar niche in earlier historical periods is not the same thing). Anyway, I think we're getting distracted from the point. I don't think we should be looking to move the pocket battleships outside the scope of this article. Wiki-Ed (talk) 23:29, 19 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see how it is a role, nor do I see how a battlecruisers can be defined by a role (or list of roles). I also don't see any reliable sources which claim that the pocket battleships were battlecruisers, which is what we need if we're going to mention them here. The Land (talk) 23:51, 19 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They are usually included in books and manuals which deal exclusively with Battleships and Battlecruisers, for example Conways Battleships and Battlecruisers or Hough's Dreadnought. That they are included at all in these books - which otherwise do not discuss cruisers at all - means that they are being treated as Battlecruisers (because the most certainly aren't proper battleships) by these authors. Getztashida (talk) 11:39, 20 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, Hough treats them as battleships, not battlecruisers. They are included in Breyer's Battleships and Battlecruisers of the World but Breyer doesn't say they were battlecruisers, either. Don't have access to Conway's, perhaps someone who does could summarise what is said about them there. The Land (talk) 11:50, 20 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But Battleships aren't designed for commerce raiding, or to run from ships they can't fight. Truth is, the PBs actually are neither battleships nor battlecruisers, but actually a kind of overgunned Heavy cruiser. However, they are usually grouped together with full fledged capital ships in reference works and it would be unencyclopedic of us not to mention them. We can (and have) qualify their enclusion in the entry by also mentioning that they are really a related type. Getztashida (talk) 12:09, 20 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think we can agree on those points. The coverage of the pocket battleships in the article currently could do with refining but I think it's basically appropriate. (I suspect I probably wrote most of the current iteration, so I should be happy!) The Land (talk) 18:06, 20 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scharnhorst and Gneisnau (again)

I've just reverted an edit by Toddy1 in which he altered the content of the Norwegian campaign section to describe the twins and battleships, not battlecruisers. The revertion was done basically because I know this is a potential minefield and would prefer that the subjet was discussed here rather than risk an edit war. For the record, I prefer to consider the twins as battlecruisers, but I do acknowledge that the battleship argument has merit. However, S&G have been included in this article as battlecruisers at least in part because a significant number of reference works categorise them as such. We should be consistent and not refer to them in different terms in different parts of the article. The article already acknowledges the battleship argument in the German rearmament section. Getztashida (talk) 12:18, 7 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

He's trying to make a point following a discussion on the Scharnhorst talk page. In doing so he's demonstrated exactly why it is a nonsense to call them "battleships" (would two battleships run away from a lone battlecruiser as they did during the Norwegian campaign?). Wiki-Ed (talk) 13:13, 7 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Relevant quotes from the Naval Staff History describing the engagement between the Renown and the two German battleships can be found at User:Toddy1/Sandbox 5. Alternatively you can buy or borrow a paper copy.--Toddy1 (talk) 16:14, 7 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Alternatively, please read the "WWII German Designs" section of this talk page to see the last time this particular subject was talked to death - a consensus of sorts was reached that whatever the twins actually were, they are descibed as battlecruisers in at least some major reference works and as such they merit inclusion. We're aware of the various sources available on this subject and how they conflict and interact. I'm not trying to be obstructive, but you are not bringing anything new to the party so please don't upset the applecart without so much as a by-your-leave. Getztashida (talk) 16:22, 7 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is a good description of the engagement in a recent book: The German Invasion of Norway, April 1940, by Geirr H Harr, pages 307-314. Here are some quotations:
"The sighted ship was less than twenty kilometre away, but in the murk it was first identified as a tanker and then as a 'Nelson-class battleship - very long bow section and bridge structure well astern'." (Page 309)
"Vizeadmiral Lütjens had orders to avoid battle with superior opponents if possible and, believing this was the case, he steered away. At first the adversary could not be seen properly from the vice admiral's bridge, but only recognised from the muzzle flashes. Hence, Lütjens and his staff were not sure what they were up against. When visibility had improved for a while, a 'Renown-class' battlecruiser was correctly identified, but as some of the destroyers also opened fire, their muzzleflashes made Lütjens believe there ws more than one heavy ship to the south-west. From the first identification of a Nelson-class battleship and later a Renown-class battlecruiser, Kapitän zur See Netzbandt also believed there might be two enemies. From Scharnhorst, only one battleship was sighted, while at the start of the encounter it was believed there might be 'one or two further targets' behind." (page 310)
At the end of the engagement, the Gneisenau had lost her main director (which hampered her ability for long-range fire and could only be repaired in port) and her A turret was out of action (see pages 310-11 and 313), and the Scharnhorst's A turret was also out of action (see page 313).
From Lütjens's point of view, the engagement was not going well and he was not sure what he was facing but thought it was a Nelson and a Renown {though the Scharnhorst thought that there might have been a third British capital ship (pages 313-4)}. Given his orders to avoid battle with superior opponents if possible, running was the right thing to do.--Toddy1 (talk) 16:59, 7 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't really think that most of the arguments above are actually relevant. We need to address the issue because a number of reputable works do call them BCs and we need to explain why. It's actually very simple, IMO, because the definition of a BC was expanded by the RN right after the war to mean fast battleship with Hood and the G3s and I can provide a quote that says exactly that. Unfortunately I don't have an equivalent quote for the Gneisenaus although I expect that British authors writing about them used that expanded definition and other authors picked up on that. We can also comment on how the Germans used the same term for the Bismarcks and the Gneisenaus, IIRC. This is going to need to be addressed fairly soon as we're very close to putting together a grand Good Topic of all the battlecruisers and this article is the entry point for the whole GT.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 21:40, 7 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm afraid I have some responsibility here by suggesting that other articles on Wikipedia be updated to reflect the consensus of the Scharnhorst class battleship article. Without going over each and every point in that discussion, using the term battlecruiser gives undue weight to the Royal Navy point of view, as only they (and not even then, consistently) considered the ships battlecruisers. The US Navy always categorized them as battleships (in fact, the lead illustration of the article is taken from ONI-204, which designates them BB-1 and BB-2, CC being the US designator for battlecruiser at that time), and more compelling, the Kriegsmarine always reffered to them as Schlachtschiff, just like the Bismarck and Tirpitz. We don't use "Pocket Battleship" as the main descriptor of the Deutschland Class Cruisers for just that reason. Although this is the English language version of Wikipedia, it should not be unduly Anglo-centric. SeaphotoTalk 05:57, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, put it another way. Should the twins be in this article at all? Considering that a significant number of major reference works classify them as battlecruisers, I think it would be hugely unencyclopedic to leave them out. If they merit inclusion then it is inconsistant to decribe them as battleships. In my opinion, the existing compromise was appropriate. I know from past experience that concensus is unlikely to be reached over whether the twins were BBs or BCs. In order to keep this constructive let's focus on the needs of the article. Getztashida (talk) 08:55, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Battlecruiser as small battleship

My point was that those ships that were called battlecruisers in the thirties were smaller than the other battleships that were their contemporaries: Lion was heavier and longer than Iron Duke, Derfflinger was heavier and longer than Konig. The longest ships on both sides at Jutland were battlecruisers. By the thirties, all battleships were fast by WWI standards, so the speed distinction no longer seemed to apply, no battlecruiser was as fast as Iowa. By the thirties it seems that the term battlecruiser was reserved for battleships a little smaller than most others of the period. In other words, my point is valid. (talk) 22:14, 14 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If the Scharnhorst class ships had been as fast as the King George V's, I have little doubt that they'd have been termed battleships rather than battlecruisers by the RN, no matter how much smaller. I think the defining characteristic is speed, but remember only the RN and the French even used the term after WWI.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 22:49, 14 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Eh? They were slightly (3 knots) faster than the KGVs. Their speed and comparatively light armament are the reason for the RN classifying them as battlecruisers. Wiki-Ed (talk) 12:47, 15 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do not agree with the suggestion that "in the thirties it seems that the term battlecruiser was reserved for battleships a little smaller than most others of the period".
In the 1930s, the Hood was the largest ship in the Royal Navy.
  • Hood (battlecruiser in service): 861 ft (oa) 46,680 tons (full load)
  • Nelson (battleship in service): 710 ft (oa) 41,250 tons (full load)
  • King George V (battleship under construction): 745 ft (oa) 42,237 tons (full load)
The French called both the Dunkerque class and the Richelieu class "bâtiments de ligne" (see Cent ans de cuirassés français, by Eric Gille). The French term battlecruiser is "croiseurs de bataille", which was applied to some French initial studies for battlecruisers in 1913-14.--Toddy1 (talk) 12:51, 15 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

By such logic Iowa is a battlecruiser. Actually I would not have any problem calling it that, but nobody else would have. Although Alaska was not officially a battlecruiser, many at the time had no trouble calling it one anyway, because by then the idea that a ship with only 11 inch, 12 inch or 13 inch guns couldn’t be a battleship although too powerful to be a heavy cruiser and so must have been a battlecruiser. HMS Hood continued to be called a battlecruiser, and properly so, but I doubt that a hypothetical Hood built in 1935 would have been called one. I am not personally opposed to calling a fast powerful ship a battlecruiser, but it is my observation that it simply wasn't being done by the thirties. I am commenting on what was the case, not what I think should have been the case.

Originally British battlecruisers were ships that had similar armament but thinner armor and higher speed than battleships. They tended to be at least as heavy as a battleship, due to much increased machinery, and were longer, both to accommodate the extra machinery and to obtain a better hull shape for high speed. After and even during WWI, battlecruisers were getting more armor and battleships were getting more speed, until the two types essentially merged into a large, fast powerful and well armored ship, but were being called battleships even though they owed just as much or more to earlier battlecruiser design than to earlier battleships. With the two types essentially merged into the thirties era battleships, the term battlecruiser fell by the wayside, but seems to have been revived as a term for slightly smaller ships and especially for ships with slightly smaller guns than found in what was being called the battleship of the thirties. (talk) 21:23, 15 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've never really seen any consistent definition of "battlecruiser" in the 30s or thereafter. Most navies (US, France, Germany, Japan) avoided the use of the term in this period. The British used it for their own existing battlecruisers. They thought about applying it to the King George V class, which was a fast(ish) treaty battleship. They assigned it to the Scharnhorsts and Dunkerques, which are the two examples of the "light fast battleship" concept. So you have a kind of point, but do remember that there were still more ships serving which had been laid down as battlecruisers pre-1922 (specifically, 4 Kongos, 2 Renowns and 1 Hood) than there were of the "Scharnhorst" and "Dunkerque" types (2 of each). I think it's important the article doesn't get too bogged down with editors trying to over-interpret meanings (we have had quite a big enough problem with that in the recent past...) The Land (talk) 22:25, 15 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Kongos were refitted in the thirties with even more powerful machinery to give them an even higher top speed, and are described as having been upgraded to battleships, as if the term battlecruiser by that time meant something less than a battleship. Again, I don’t agree with that personally, I would be more inclined to say that if the speed of the ships have been reduced then they would have been downgraded to battleships, but I am only trying to describe how the terms were being used in the thirties, not how I think they should have been. (talk) 22:42, 15 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]