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Thread: The Alaska's: Battlecruisers or Large Cruisers?

  1. #31
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    I'd look at most ships classes as more of a does it fit the majority of these characteristics than any hard and fast it must meet all of these. Otherwise with all the nations building different ships you'll just end up confused.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought View Post
    Z, When one looks at the displacement of other ships of the years that followed Yamato, Musashi, Shinano, Graf Zepplin etc.
    I think you meant Adm Graf Spee.

    The term "battlecruiser", battleship, pocket battleship and heavy cruiser remained as fluid as did others.
    Exactly, which is why the best way to classify a ship is not by what the owning navy called it, but by what it was most closely matched to. This puts the Alaska sqaure in the Battle Cruiser catagory.

    As for the pocket battleships, in reality they were simple super gunned heavy cruisers. They had heavy cruiser armor, speed and displacement.


    Even the Des Moines class for how big she was could have been considered a "battlecruiser".
    I would not count the Des Moines as a battle cruiser because they packed a cruiser armament. Battle cruisers had guns 10" and above, the Des Moines had 8" like standard heavy cruisers, she also had cruiser armament.

    The terms were meant to fit the Naval treaties of the day. Like lawyers they manipulated the terms used in the agreements of the day often enough to actually hide what it was they were building or had plans to build at the time. An open loop of "one upmanship" if you would.
    True enough, but none of that changes the fact that an Alaska in an yother navy would have been a battle cruiser based on speed, displacement, armament and mission.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    By virtue of armor thickness, gun size, displacement, crew size and mission the Alaska class are battle cruisers. That the USN chose a different class name for them does not obviate where they would be stacked up against foreign vessels in a comparison of like types..
    To be true "battlecruisers" their main battery would've been far larger than 12-inch...say, around 16-inch. And their speed would've been around 35 knots or higher.

    No less a naval authority than Dr. Norman Friedman solidly identifies then as large cruisers, in design, layout and intended mission.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    To be true "battlecruisers" their main battery would've been far larger than 12-inch...say, around 16-inch. And their speed would've been around 35 knots or higher.
    HMS Indefatigable a classic battle cruiser had 12" guns and was launched in 1913 just before the war. HMS Warspite built at the same time and very much a battleship had 15" guns. We see a similar pattern with Sedlitz 11.2" 1913 vs Konig 12" 1913 The criterion that battle cruisers have battleship guns is a myth. Many had guns .5-4" smaller than battleships of the time. The real gun criteria based on ships actually built and classified as battle cruisers is that they pack an armament heavier than a heavy cruiser. This means 10"+.

    No less a naval authority than Dr. Norman Friedman solidly identifies then as large cruisers, in design, layout and intended mission.
    The same can be said of battle cruisers. The Alaska had much the same mission as a battle cruisers- kill enemy cruisers and lighter vessels, be fast and long ranged, be able to operate independently or part of a fleet.

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    Then perhaps the term "large cruiser" is the correct term, as they were tasked to kill cruisers. "Battlecruiser" just sounded more ferocious, like "pocket battleship" sounded better than "armored cruiser."

    The term "battlecruiser" probably resulted in the destruction of these magnificent ships in the Battle of Jutland when Jelicoe decided to stick them in the battle line rather than use their speed to flank and kill support vessels.

    Be they "battlecruisers" or "large cruisers," their job was to kill cruisers and protect shipping lanes. They weren't meant to slug it out on the battlelines. Some went with large guns like the Hood (15") at the expense of deck armor. Some went with better protection like the Scharnhorst at the expense of gun caliber (11"). Alaska went with a very advanced 12" gun design and long range (12k nm).
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut
    Some went with large guns like the Hood (15") at the expense of deck armor.
    I'd say the Hood is closer to a plain old fast battleship than a battlecruiser. Her armor scheme was designed (albeit with serious flaws) to protect against 15" shells.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmchairGeneral View Post
    I'd say the Hood is closer to a plain old fast battleship than a battlecruiser. Her armor scheme was designed (albeit with serious flaws) to protect against 15" shells.
    the Hood was probably the among the first super dreadnought. Even though she served with battle cruisers she had battleship armor (albeit flawed) and guns (plus a lighter secondary armament of super dreadnought types) with cruiser speed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    HMS Indefatigable a classic battle cruiser had 12" guns and was launched in 1913 just before the war. HMS Warspite built at the same time and very much a battleship had 15" guns

    First of all, you're comparing the more-or-less standard main battery of big-gun ships during World War I with those 30+ years later?

    Because it certainly does not stand up to any kind of scrutiny, close or otherwise.

    Your also comparing HMS Indefatigable, laid down in February 1909, to Warspite, laid down October 1912?

    That's over 3.5 years, an eternity relatively speaking, considering how fast capital ship designs were leapfrogging ahead of each other. Given either calender dates or the context of the times, they were nowhere near being "built at the same time".

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    The criterion that battle cruisers have battleship guns is a myth.
    Says who?? ) Read on...

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Many had guns .5-4" smaller than battleships of the time. The real gun criteria based on ships actually built and classified as battle cruisers is that they pack an armament heavier than a heavy cruiser. This means 10"+.
    Once again, that's just plain wrong, at least as far as the Royal Navy, originator of the battlecruiser itself, is concern.

    A simple perusal of easily obtainable facts gives the answer:

    ALL of Indefatigable's battleship contemporaries, the Bellerophons, the St. Vincents and the Colossus', they all carried the 12-inch gun.

    It was not until the Orion-class that a somewhat larger gun, the 13.5-inch, appeared. This continued on the next class, the King George V's and also on HMS Erin.

    And while the those battleships increased their gun size, the battlecruisers were right there with them. Witness the 13.5-inch guns on the Lion-class and HMS Tiger.

    It wasn't until two foreign-contracted battleships (HMS Agincourt and HMS Canada) were seized for RN use that the 14-inch gun appeared in the fleet and only with the final two World War I era class, the Queen Elizabeth-class (including Warspite) and Revenge-class, did the 15-inch gun appear.

    And sure enough the battlecruisers kept pace: The Renown and Hood classes were both designed and built with the 15-inch gun (Hood, obviously, as an orphan in her class)

    So I submit to you that the assertion that "classic" battlecruisers carried guns 4 or 5 inches smaller than their battleship cousins is simply wrong.

    I also disagree with your definition of a battlecruiser, as applied to the Alaska's.

    I'll borrow from Wiki for this statement, because it sums things up very well:

    unlike most battlecruisers, they were considered a balanced design (according to cruiser standards) as their protection could withstand fire from their own caliber of gun, albeit only in a very narrow range band.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    The same can be said of battle cruisers. The Alaska had much the same mission as a battle cruisers- kill enemy cruisers and lighter vessels, be fast and long ranged, be able to operate independently or part of a fleet.
    OK, so one of the intended missions of a the Alaska's matches one of the classic battlecruiser. And while they could operate with "a" fleet, Admiral King was quite emphatic that the Alaska's were not to used with the Battle Line.

    Besides, that still leaves their cruiser armor scheme, their cruiser aircraft catapults placement, their cruiser aircraft hangers, their cruiser single-rudder system, their cruiser secondary armament layout and probably quite a few other things that I'm missing.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Was the Hood's armor scheme really flawed? Or maybe it was a calculated design to save weight? Conventional wisdom suggests that a battle in the North Atlantic usually involves close range firefight due to poor weather and visibility. At that range, battleship guns are nearly flat. If so, then deck armor is unnecessary. As technology advanced, engagement distance increased. Shells came down at a higher angle. The RN wanted to refit Hood to bring her up to battleship standards but ran short on time.

    Maybe we should have a discussion on whether the Hood was a battlecruiser or a battleship. :P
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    First of all, you're comparing the more-or-less standard main battery of big-gun ships during World War I with those 30+ years later?
    No I was comapring like generations

    Your also comparing HMS Indefatigable, laid down in February 1909, to Warspite, laid down October 1912?
    Crap I got a date wrong, could have sworn both were 1913.


    ALL of Indefatigable's battleship contemporaries, the Bellerophons, the St. Vincents and the Colossus', they all carried the 12-inch gun.

    It was not until the Orion-class that a somewhat larger gun, the 13.5-inch, appeared. This continued on the next class, the King George V's and also on HMS Erin.

    And while the those battleships increased their gun size, the battlecruisers were right there with them. Witness the 13.5-inch guns on the Lion-class and HMS Tiger.

    It wasn't until two foreign-contracted battleships (HMS Agincourt and HMS Canada) were seized for RN use that the 14-inch gun appeared in the fleet and only with the final two World War I era class, the Queen Elizabeth-class (including Warspite) and Revenge-class, did the 15-inch gun appear.

    And sure enough the battlecruisers kept pace: The Renown and Hood classes were both designed and built with the 15-inch gun (Hood, obviously, as an orphan in her class)

    So I submit to you that the assertion that "classic" battlecruisers carried guns 4 or 5 inches smaller than their battleship cousins is simply wrong.
    I said .5- 4" smaller.

    I also disagree with your definition of a battlecruiser, as applied to the Alaska's.

    I'll borrow from Wiki for this statement, because it sums things up very well:
    Alaska turret face 9the only place she had a chance of stopping a 12" shell was 12.5" hardly impressive, the bulk of her armor is very close to that of a battle cruiser.

    OK, so one of the intended missions of a the Alaska's matches one of the classic battlecruiser. And while they could operate with "a" fleet, Admiral King was quite emphatic that the Alaska's were not to used with the Battle Line.
    neither were battle cruisers.

    Besides, that still leaves their cruiser armor scheme,
    explain

    their cruiser aircraft catapults placement, their cruiser aircraft hangers,
    what does placement of aircraft have to do with whether or not its a cruiser? The Bismark launched amid ships, the Iowas at the rear.


    their cruiser single-rudder system,
    A design flaw in a ship of the Alaska's wieght.

    their cruiser secondary armament layout and probably quite a few other things that I'm missing.
    same type of secondary armament (guns) in roughly the same locations as the Iowa's, just to a lesser amount.

    It carried guns much bigger than any other non battle "cruiser" in the world, weighed as much or more than earlier but still serving battleships in the USN. had the high speed of the battle cruiser and the same mission.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    No I was comapring like generations
    And the comparison doesn't stand up.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Crap I got a date wrong, could have sworn both were 1913.
    It happens

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    I said .5- 4" smaller.
    And it just happened to me, too.

    Regardless, the comparison (again) doesn't stand up.

    The battlecruiser main guns kept pace with those of the battleships, from Dreadnought and Invincible to Royal Sovereign and Hood.

    The same held true with the American attempt (the Lexington's) to build battlecruisers. As designs progressed, the main guns went from the then-contemporary 14-inch gun to the newer 16-inch gun.

    Bottom Line: "Classic" battlecruisers shared main gun armament and a comparison of like-generations proves the Alaska's were not battlecruisers. Otherwise they'd have far larger guns than 12-inch.


    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Alaska turret face 9the only place she had a chance of stopping a 12" shell was 12.5" hardly impressive, the bulk of her armor is very close to that of a battle cruiser.
    Except that battlecruisers carried armor far less than their main guns, i.e. a distinguishing feature of "classic" battlecruisers.

    The Alaska's, as stated, were a far more balanced design, as befits a cruiser.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    neither were battle cruisers.
    Jackie Fisher disagrees with you. They were very much intended to operate with Battle Line, as it's van, it's flanks and it's wings.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    explain
    Easier to show a picture, but I'll have to bring my camera in from work to copy a photograph of armor scheme comparisons from Dr Friedman's book.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    what does placement of aircraft have to do with whether or not its a cruiser? The Bismark launched amid ships, the Iowas at the rear.
    American cruisers typically, though not always, carried their aircraft and catapults amidships and were equipped with hangers.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    A design flaw in a ship of the Alaska's wieght.
    A result of being essentially "an enlarged Baltimore", to use Dr. Friedman's term. USN cruisers carried one rudder, battleships carried two.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    same type of secondary armament (guns) in roughly the same locations as the Iowa's, just to a lesser amount.
    More accurately, and more tellingly: The exact number of guns in the exact same locations as previous heavy cruiser classes such as the Baltimores and the Des Moines.

    In other words: The Alaska's secondary armament was a carbon-copy of her heavy cruiser predecessors....again, in other words, enlarged Baltimores.


    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    It carried guns much bigger than any other non battle "cruiser" in the world
    How does what the rest of the world built prove that the Alaska's were battlecrusiers due to their 12-inch guns?

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    weighed as much or more than earlier but still serving battleships in the USN.
    By "earlier", you mean treaty-restricted battleships that had been designed and built 20+ years before? That is a valid comparison to you? )

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    had the high speed of the battle cruiser and the same mission.
    High speed only in comparison to the battleships and battlecruisers of the previous generation, once again 20+ years in the past

    Compared to the modern (even treaty-restricted) battleships of the USN, they were, at best, a 6 knots faster than the North Carolinas, and the case of the Iowa's, absolute equals.

    Their speed was definitely not especially noteworthy in the sense of battlecruisers by the time they were laid down and completed and their main guns were far inferior...unlike the classic battlecruisers.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post

    The battlecruiser main guns kept pace with those of the battleships, from Dreadnought and Invincible to Royal Sovereign and Hood.
    But not always and not in all navies.

    Bottom Line: "Classic" battlecruisers shared main gun armament and a comparison of like-generations proves the Alaska's were not battlecruisers. Otherwise they'd have far larger guns than 12-inch.
    I dissagree


    Except that battlecruisers carried armor far less than their main guns, i.e. a distinguishing feature of "classic" battlecruisers.
    But not universal ergo HMS Hood

    The Alaska's, as stated, were a far more balanced design, as befits a cruiser.
    A matter of opinion.

    Jackie Fisher disagrees with you. They were very much intended to operate with Battle Line, as it's van, it's flanks and it's wings.
    I think your splittign hairs, they were not intended to operate in line with battleships but as the van, and wings of the fleet.

    Easier to show a picture, but I'll have to bring my camera in from work to copy a photograph of armor scheme comparisons from Dr Friedman's book.
    OK

    American cruisers typically, though not always, carried their aircraft and catapults amidships and were equipped with hangers.
    Not always, thus not a hard and fast rule.

    A result of being essentially "an enlarged Baltimore", to use Dr. Friedman's term. USN cruisers carried one rudder, battleships carried two.
    Ship designs are often enlarged versions of an earlier design. The Arliegh Burkes as a contemporary in reverse example.

    More accurately, and more tellingly: The exact number of guns in the exact same locations as previous heavy cruiser classes such as the Baltimores and the Des Moines.
    Not that tellingly, they are not battleships after all.

    In other words: The Alaska's secondary armament was a carbon-copy of her heavy cruiser predecessors....again, in other words, enlarged Baltimores.
    Enlarged Baltimores- twice the eight is a bit more than simply enlarged.


    How does what the rest of the world built prove that the Alaska's were battlecrusiers due to their 12-inch guns?
    12" guns are not heavy cruiser armament.

    By "earlier", you mean treaty-restricted battleships that had been designed and built 20+ years before? That is a valid comparison to you? )
    No, I was talking designs built during and immediately following WWI.

    High speed only in comparison to the battleships and battlecruisers of the previous generation, once again 20+ years in the past

    Compared to the modern (even treaty-restricted) battleships of the USN, they were, at best, a 6 knots faster than the North Carolinas, and the case of the Iowa's, absolute equals.
    Their speed was definitely not especially noteworthy in the sense of battlecruisers by the time they were laid down and completed and their main guns were far inferior...unlike the classic battlecruisers.[/QUOTE]

    The Iowa's are freaks of naval nature, but against most battleships they had the decided speed advantage battle cruisers enjoyed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter
    Except that battlecruisers carried armor far less than their main guns, i.e. a distinguishing feature of "classic" battlecruisers.
    Except for, in addition to the Hood that zraver mentioned, all the German battlecruisers, the Kongo class, and the Dunkerque class. There is significant variation in armor strength among these ships, but they are all comparable to the Alaskas.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    But not always and not in all navies.
    With regards to the Royal Navy (the originator of the battlecruiser) and the US Navy (the navy in question):

    Yes, Always. Historical fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    I dissagree
    OK. So what? Where's your backing facts?

    Once again, as a matter of historical fact, "Classic" battlecruisers shared main gun armament with their contemporary battleship cousins.

    If you're going to argue the point then back it up with facts. Otherwise you're just blowing a lot of barely-visible smoke around.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    But not universal ergo HMS Hood
    I could use your "Iowas freak of nature" cop-out, but instead I'll point out, once again as historical fact, that Hood as-built was not protected against 15-inch gunfire and even after modifications could barely claim protection against it. Bismarck finally settled the argument in the most tragic way possible.

    Or to quote Hood survivor Ted Briggs "She was a lovely ship...unfortunately with a glass jaw"

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    A matter of opinion.
    Not my opinion, it's the opinion of one of the foremost naval experts, Norman Friedman.

    And so far, all I've seen is your opinion and you're no Norman Friedman.

    You also have a laughable habit of brushing off historical facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    I think your splittign hairs, they were not intended to operate in line with battleships but as the van, and wings of the fleet.
    Fair enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Not always, thus not a hard and fast rule.
    Never said it was, in fact I said exactly the opposite. But the bottom line is that amidships cats and hangers were features of cruisers, like the Alaska's.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Ship designs are often enlarged versions of an earlier design. The Arliegh Burkes as a contemporary in reverse example.
    I'm sorry but you're going to have to explain that in more detail, because it makes absolutely no sense to me.

    The Burkes aren't enlargements or reductions of anything.
    They were a completely new design, new hull, new superstructure.

    Not that tellingly, they are not battleships after all.
    Neither are they battlecruisers.

    They're enlarged heavy cruisers, with their secondary armament being one precise example of being such.


    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Enlarged Baltimores- twice the eight is a bit more than simply enlarged.
    "Enlarged" is basically a standard naval term when describing ships that are an outgrowth of a previous design.

    I'm really not going to argue semantics with you, because if that's all you've got to bring to this little debate, then more's the pity.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    12" guns are not heavy cruiser armament.
    No, it's not, because the Alaska's were not heavy cruisers.

    And 12-inch guns ceased being battlecruiser armament to both the Royal Navy and the USN around World War I....20+ years before the Alaska's were built.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    No, I was talking designs built during and immediately following WWI.
    So, in other words, exactly what I just said.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    The Iowa's are freaks of naval nature, but against most battleships they had the decided speed advantage battle cruisers enjoyed.
    And the South Dakotas were also "freaks of naval nature"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmchairGeneral View Post
    Except for, in addition to the Hood that zraver mentioned, all the German battlecruisers, the Kongo class, and the Dunkerque class. There is significant variation in armor strength among these ships, but they are all comparable to the Alaskas.
    For the sake of this debate, I'm comparing two navies only (albeit the two largest and most powerful navies of the early 20th century)

    The Royal Navy: Originator of the battlecruiser itself and builder of more of them than any other nation.

    The US Navy: The navy whose design philosophies and doctrine quite naturally dictated the design of the Alaska's.

    Off to bed, tomorrow's work sched calls for lots and lots of fun.
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