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

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    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.
    Around 6 knots faster than a battleship that it was serving with was fairly common between heavy cruisers and battleships. 6 knots is enough to in relatively short order get out of gun range even pre radar unless they come up on each other in the worlds largest fogbank that instantly clears so the battleship can sight guns out to range. With a radar mast the difference between what can be spotted from battleship height and heavy cruiser hieght is minimal and the radar on either will ensure they'll never colse unless for some reason of logistics the cruiser is forced to be retarded. Also using US fast battleships as comparisions for speed is sorta odd, since the iowa's with their 31+ knots max speed are right there with cruiser speed even today as almost all post war cruisers even light cruisers are 33 knots heck the port royal is right around 32.5 knots. (honestly everyone thinks that at least for short bursts all listed speeds are somewhat bogus figuring that you can probably get 2 or 3 more knots over listed speed out of most classes.)

    I really think the best comparision for a battle cruiser versus a big heavy cruiser is armour scheme and looking at its armament compared to a battleship built at around the same time frame.

    As to the people who were looking at 3 years. Even in the fastest building periods those ships would be considered contemporaries. It'd be more questionable if you were looking at the end of a class and new class. Not so much contemparies then especially if it was a longer lived class with out a rearming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    With regards to the Royal Navy (the originator of the battlecruiser) and the US Navy (the navy in question):

    Yes, Always. Historical fact.

    OK. So what? Where's your backing facts?
    German battle cruisers since you think les than 5 years represents a generation among British deisgns.

    Once again, as a matter of historical fact, "Classic" battlecruisers shared main gun armament with their contemporary battleship cousins.
    Once again, not always. There were navies more than just the RN building battle cruisers.

    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.
    And only the turret face of the Alaskas could take a 12" shell with any hope of success.

    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.
    never claimed to be, I admitted as much when I jumped in the debate. I am simply looking at displacement, armor, armament and mission.

    You also have a laughable habit of brushing off historical facts.
    such as? You've tried to narrow the debate to the RN only, brushing off other battle cruiser classes that don;t fit your maxims.

    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.
    part of that reason is happenstance. Most US battleships were built before the widespread use of float planes.

    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.
    The newest Burkes are nearly as large as the ticos.

    Neither are they battlecruisers.
    They fit better with battle cruisers than heavy cruisers.

    They're enlarged heavy cruisers, with their secondary armament being one precise example of being such.
    But they have a main armament of battleship size.

    "Enlarged" is basically a standard naval term when describing ships that are an outgrowth of a previous design.
    ok

    No, it's not, because the Alaska's were not heavy cruisers.
    They fit in with battle cruisers base don displacement, armament, armor, speed and mission.

    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.
    Since with the possible excpetion of the Alaskas the US never built any battle cruisers, how could they have stopped being the armament? Not all navies had battle cruiser guns marching in lock step with battleship armament. Even ships (RN) launched with in a few years of each other could have widely varying guns.

    And the South Dakotas were also "freaks of naval nature"?
    Nope, 27knots is much slower than the Alaska and more typical of battleship speeds

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver
    Nope, 27knots is much slower than the Alaska and more typical of battleship speeds
    30 knots. The North Carolinas did 27. The Alaskas really weren't much shakes on speed compared to the fast battleships, but then neither were any other battlecruisers.
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    And only the turret face of the Alaskas could take a 12" shell with any hope of success.
    How do you know that? Are you Nathan Okun using a different handle? I gues then by your logic the Iowa's had no chance of stopping their own shells with their puny 12.2" belts, huh?

    German battlecruisers do not belong in this discussion because they are apples and oranges to the British Battlecruisers. They could best be described as "BB light" The Germans trimmed just a bit of armor to get their extra speed, as evidenced by how well they stood up to punishment as compared to their Royal Navy cousins.

    As Dread already stated before there is one very serious area and one that cannot be overlooked where the Alaskas show their direct cruiser liniage and that is in their internal layout. Look at any drawings of battleships and battle cruisers. You see MASSIVE compartmentalization. Cruisers you do not see this compartmentalization, they dont have the size or space for it.
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    12 inch guns in 1941 the year alaska was laid down was not a battleship gun in the US or any major army. You might have seen it on a few second rate nations with battleships, or ships waiting to be mothballed on major countries. Graff Spee which was laid down 10 years before her under london treaty limits had 11 inch guns and was a battle cruiser. A battleship built in the late 30's and early 40's was expected to have at least 14 inch guns as eidenced by Richelieu and king george battleships as well as japanesse and american battleships of the same period.

    If built 5 years earlier alaska's would have been considered battle cruisers even though their armour was light for such. At the time they were built they were heavy cruisers, kinda weird semi-overgunned heavy cruisers but no one would have considered taking one into a stand up fight against a battleship even 7 to 10 years old at that point which one would have done with a battlecruiser.

    the trying to define a ship that doesn't properly fit into any class or really fill well any particular role other than cruiser is sorta silly. Just call them a big scary cruiser and let it go at that.

    If you look at other ships of the time she wouldn't have been considered a battlecruiser in both armament or armour. She was also plenty fast enough to be a cruiser.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maximusslade View Post
    How do you know that? Are you Nathan Okun using a different handle? I gues then by your logic the Iowa's had no chance of stopping their own shells with their puny 12.2" belts, huh?
    I wasn't the one saying a battle cruiser couldn't take what it could dish out but a cruiser could. I was pointing out that some battle cruisers were proof aginat their own guns in a limited area which BTW pretty much goes for the Alaskas as well.

    German battlecruisers do not belong in this discussion because they are apples and oranges to the British Battlecruisers. They could best be described as "BB light" The Germans trimmed just a bit of armor to get their extra speed, as evidenced by how well they stood up to punishment as compared to their Royal Navy cousins.
    Really, I could have sworn it wasn't hipper saying, "there appears to be something wrong with our bloody ships today."

    As Dread already stated before there is one very serious area and one that cannot be overlooked where the Alaskas show their direct cruiser liniage and that is in their internal layout. Look at any drawings of battleships and battle cruisers. You see MASSIVE compartmentalization. Cruisers you do not see this compartmentalization, they dont have the size or space for it.[/QUOTE]

    Battle cruisers did not start out as BB lights, but as an enlarged armored cruiser. Having a cruiser lineage is part and parcel for a battle cruiser. The first battle cruiser was a basically a mix of technologies. It had the protection scheme of an armored cruiser like the HMS Duke of Edinburgh/ HMS Black Prince and the guns and turbines of HMS Dreadnought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    I think you meant Adm Graf Spee.



    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.




    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.



    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.
    *Fair enough, so by this logic would you consider it safe to state that many of the experts in ships designs at the time called the Iowa class battleships a combination battleship and battlecruiser since in their design they do not reach maximum beam until 3/4's aft instead of amidships like the rest of the battleships of the USN and from all other countries respective navies of the era as well as other features of the ships?
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 25 Aug 09, at 13:41.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter
    For the sake of this debate, I'm comparing two navies only
    Quote Originally Posted by maximusslade
    German battlecruisers do not belong in this discussion because they are apples and oranges to the British Battlecruisers.
    So this thread should properly be titled Alaskas: WWI British style battlecruisers or something else?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxor
    Graff Spee which was laid down 10 years before her under london treaty limits had 11 inch guns and was a battle cruiser.
    I wouldn't call a ship that nominally displaced 10,000 tons a battlecruiser. The Deutschlands were designed to get the maximum hitting power out of a heavy cruiser displacement- similar in in general concept to a battle cruiser, but a bit too far afield to me because of their small size, lack of speed, and poor armor. Not mention the Spee getting beaten to a pulp by flotilla of undersized cruisers. If you're calling them battlecruisers, there's no way you can call the Alaskas anything else but battlecruisers. The Alaskas were vastly more heavily armed and armored in comparison to the heavy cruisers of her day.

    no one would have considered taking one into a stand up fight against a battleship even 7 to 10 years old at that point which one would have done with a battlecruiser.
    The point of battlecruisers (at least at their conception) is that they should not go into stand up fights with battleships. High speed helps you run away, not take hits. Granted, most later battlecruisers were more heavily armored, and began to merge in design with the fast battleships, but this was a result of them being employed (as was inevitable) as battleships. As OoE (IIRC) has said about tanks, if if looks like a battleship, it will be used as one.

    Basically, everybody realized what the Germans knew all along. Ships should be survivable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silent Hunter View Post
    Well, no-one's brought up the Kirovs yet... Would you call them battlecruisers?
    Actually, I did in the answer that got me blown out of the water!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Actually, I did in the answer that got me blown out of the water!
    My mistake.

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    To toss in my two cents:

    As others have said warship designations are so arbitrary and fluid as to be virtually meaningless. The only uniformity that exists was retroactively imposed by the Naval Treaties in an attempt to measure the relative fleets for calculating limits.

    The treaties didn't differenciate between battleship and battlecruiser, only capital ships being armed with 12" or larger guns.

    Considering the Hood (and later cancelled G3s) was better protected (prior to reconstructions) than all of the battleships in the Royal Navy even back then it ceased to have definate meaning.

    What the treaty did do was define a cruiser as having guns no larger than 8", specifically to prevent construction of capital ships under the guise of "large cruisers."

    The Alaska class by virtue of being built after the expiration of the treaty fall into exactly that murky area that the framers wished to avoid. Yes they are officially large cruisers but what were the original battlecruisers but scaled up versions of the Armored Cruisers that preceeded them? Compare Invincible to the Minotaur class - despite the size difference necessary to carry the larger armament both classes have similarities in terms of protection and hull structure.

    Too much emphassis is IMO placed on the calibre of the gun not being equivalent to contempory BBs as disqualifying them from being true battlecruisers. However consider when the Invicible class was designed as a "cruiser killer" contemporary armored cruisers had 8.3"-9.2" guns and contemporary BBs had 12" weapons. The Invincible *needed* 12" weapons to gain superiority over existing Armored cruisers. When the Alaskas were designed for the *same cruiser killing role* her potential targets were all limited by the treaty to 8" or less. 12" weapons were still sufficient for that role. Why mount 14-16" weapons that would be of less use against projected opponents?

    Even Friedman, while reffering to them by their official title - "large cruisers" - makes allusions to the fact that: as much as they share with Heavy Cruiser features they also share features that are not; they have "intermediate" names - being neither the state names of BBs nor the city names of CA/CLs; and he himself lumps them into the *capital ship* category
    The navy's interest in the type may be reflected in the fact that of the nine capital ships (the five Montanas and the four Alaskas) suspended in April 1942...
    Finally I don't think anyone has mentioned Dunkerque - either a fast BB or BC depending on who you ask. She was roughly comparable to the Alaska in terms of size, a little slower, a little heavier armed, and a little better protected, at a cost of range. They were designed for similar purposes - to defeat cruiser sized raiders.

    In short while officially classified as "Large Cruisers" the Alaska class fullfilled the original mission for which battlecruisers had been designed. That they didn't rate the title is probably more to do with the fact that relative to contemporary battleships they didn't need to be as extravagent to accomplish the task and the fact they would be even less suitable to be mis-used fleshing out the battle line than their original decendants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boredatwork View Post
    Even Friedman, while reffering to them by their official title - "large cruisers" - makes allusions to the fact that: as much as they share with Heavy Cruiser features they also share features that are not; they have "intermediate" names - being neither the state names of BBs nor the city names of CA/CLs; and he himself lumps them into the *capital ship* category
    He did indeed make reference to their intermediate names and also certain battleship features.

    I would also class them as capital ships, in the sense that they were capable of destroying everything from heavy cruiser on down, probably handily too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boredatwork
    To toss in my two cents...
    Good post. Sums up most of my thoughts on the whole deal, plus lots of useful info. I'm done with this thread, I think. Arguing about semantics gets old fast.
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    IMO, The wording and title they were given of "Large Cruisers" more then likely was much better recieved by politics then "Battle Cruisers" since there was a cease in building for the Montana class BB's as well as the cease of finishing the other two Iowa class BB's. Essex class aircraft carriers were needed more and viewed as being the new queens of the ocean.

    *For comparison, try getting a bill past any politician in this day and age listing "Battleships" or "Battlecruisers" and see just how far in this politically correct world that bill gets. It definately wont even pass the first signature. Its amazing that with how prudish politics has become that they even passed bills with the name "Destroyers" on it.
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