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

  1. #61
    Patron Razorback's Avatar
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    Speaking of classic battlecruiser missions...

    Battle of the Falkland Islands

    Best regards

  2. #62
    New Member Xbow's Avatar
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    USS Alaska (CB-1) A Battle Cruiser Of Course

    A Tale of Two Ships



    Dimensions-Armor-Firepower-Performance
    ------USS Alaska------------Gneisenau
    Dimensions
    Length:--------808 ft------------772 ft
    Beam:----------91 ft------------ 98 ft
    Draft: ----------32 ft-----------~32 ft
    Displacement: 34,000t----------37,000t
    Speed:---------31kt------------31 kt
    Range:------12,000nm(@15kt)---6,200nm(@19kt)
    Armor Protection
    Belt:-----------12 in------------14in
    Deck:-----------4 in-------------2in
    Barbettes: 11 – 13 in------------14in?
    Turrets:--------12.8 in----------14in
    Armament:
    Main------------9 x 12"---------9 x 11"
    Secondary1------12 5"(dp)---12 x 5.9"
    Secondary2---------------------14 4.1"
    AA1------------56 x 40mm------16 37mm
    AA2------------34 x 20mm------16 x 20mm

    The Alaska could throw nine 1,140lb 12" AP Projectiles 38,000 yards
    The Gneisenau. could toss nine 740lb 11" AP Projectiles 30,000 yards

    These two ships are approximately equal in all areas hence the USS Alaska is quite obviously a Battle Cruiser as is the Gneisenau.

    Quote Originally Posted by Razorback
    Speaking of classic battlecruiser missions...Battle of the Falkland Islands

    Best regards
    Great link man! No doubt about it German 8" guns are no match for British 12" guns.
    Last edited by Xbow; 19 Jul 11, at 09:07.

  3. #63
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xbow View Post
    A Tale of Two Ships



    Dimensions-Armor-Firepower-Performance
    ------USS Alaska------------Gneisenau
    Dimensions
    Length:--------808 ft------------772 ft
    Beam:----------91 ft------------ 98 ft
    Draft: ----------32 ft-----------~32 ft
    Displacement: 34,000t----------37,000t
    Speed:---------31kt------------31 kt
    Range:------12,000nm(@15kt)---6,200nm(@19kt)
    Armor Protection
    Belt:-----------12 in------------14in
    Deck:-----------4 in-------------2in
    Barbettes: 11 – 13 in------------14in?
    Turrets:--------12.8 in----------14in
    Armament:
    Main------------9 x 12"---------9 x 11"
    Secondary1------12 5"(dp)---12 x 5.9"
    Secondary2---------------------14 4.1"
    AA1------------56 x 40mm------16 37mm
    AA2------------34 x 20mm------16 x 20mm

    The Alaska could throw nine 1,140lb 12" AP Projectiles 38,000 yards
    The Gneisenau. could toss nine 740lb 11" AP Projectiles 30,000 yards

    These two ships are approximately equal in all areas hence the USS Alaska is quite obviously a Battle Cruiser as is the Gneisenau.



    Great link man! No doubt about it German 8" guns are no match for British 12" guns.
    Have you read about the Craddock - Spee battle at the Coronel? It set the stage for the Battle of the Falklands - Sturdee was there for revenge.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

  4. #64
    New Member Xbow's Avatar
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    Interesting Stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    Have you read about the Craddock - Spee battle at the ? It set the stage for the Battle of the Falklands - Sturdee was there for revenge.
    I completely forgot about that battle! I agree, I can't imagine that Sturdee didn't have revenge on his mind with the loss of Good Hope, Monmouth, +1500 sailors and his friend Admiral Cradock at the battle of Coronel.

    One could imagine a different outcome had Cradock waited for HMS Defense to arrive. IMHO the Minotaur-class armoured cruisers were almost the equal of the Scharnhorst class. As I recall the HMS Defense had 4 X 9.2 inch and 10 X 7.5 inch (and the those 7.5 inch guns were in single gun turrets at the main deck level and not in almost useless casemates along hull as the Good Hope, Monmouth's 6" secondaries were. The long range firepower of the British squadron would have been more than doubled with the addition of the HMS Defense.


    And then there is always the question of the Pre-Dreadnought HMS Canopus that Fisher ordered Cradock not to leave behind. While its 4 x 12" guns might have been useful I doubt that the old tub could have kept up with the rest of the British squadron.

    WW-I And interesting era to be sure.

    One of my favorite books on that era was, "The Last Cruise of The Emden"

    and anything else I can get on commerce raiding in that era.
    Last edited by Xbow; 19 Jul 11, at 19:52.

  5. #65
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    I have rated Alaska, Scharnhorst (1930's version) and Dunkerque classes as light fast battleships in my book - Alaska was clearly a large cruiser in construction - but her 12" guns and gun equal armor made her something more - I classified the 1930's Deuschland class as light battlecruisers - the only commissioned examples of their kind. Battlecruisers were a WWI thing - and the British and Germans had two different approaches - the Germans cut gunnery - the British cut armor. The Renowns survived into WWII and the Goeben/Yavez hung around longer than any other battlecruiser
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 19 Jul 11, at 20:45.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
    If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."

  6. #66
    New Member Xbow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    I have rated Alaska, Scharnhorst (1930's version) and Dunkerque classes as light fast battleships in my book....Battlecruisers were a WWI thing - and the British and Germans had two different approaches - the Germans cut gunnery - the British cut armor. The Renowns survived into WWII and the Goeben/Yavez hung around longer than any other battlecruiser
    And all the ships you mentioned are certainly more battleship-like than cruiser-like so fast light battleship is an acceptable description.

    I have a question about the armor layout of the Dunkerque. This may be pure bull but I read somewhere that part of the rational of placing its main battery forward was to eliminate the advantage of crossing the T for the enemy. She could turn towards the enemy, have full firepower while presenting a smaller frontal area and her heaviest armor towards the threat (like a tank). It seems unlikely that the arrangement was adopted for the same reason the HMS Rodney and the HMS Nelson had their main batteries forward (to conform to the treaty limits) because the Dunkerque was well under the limit.


    Goeben/Yavez

    Yes, she survived in one condition or another for 63 years until she was sent to the breakers in 1973, a tragic loss of a piece of Naval history!

    "People have no grasp of what they do"....Thulsa Doom
    Last edited by Xbow; 19 Jul 11, at 22:44.

  7. #67
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Yes part of the idea of the main French batteries forward was just as you mentioned - to maximize fire power and armor while minimizing the target profile. The crossing of the T was a factor I suppose - but was probably not at the front of the list - weight savings of having heavy armor in one area was the big one - and freeing up space aft for propulsion - giving the ships good speed.
    Last edited by USSWisconsin; 20 Jul 11, at 06:27.
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
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  8. #68
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    IMO, They were cruisers and in its description it fits more the CA (cruiser armored or "heavy cruisers") of WWII category except the fact of the 12" guns and its displacement. Which being free from Treaty limitations was IMO a progression of the class of heavy cruiser. It had twice the displacement of the Baltimores, thicker armor and guns 3 inches larger then the Baltimores. In a simular instance the BB's had 14 inch guns and also progressed up to 16", weight and armor changed comparitively. They were designed to deal with any heavy cruiser they might encounter and also to provide protection to the flat tops.

    The Desmoines class returned to the Baltimores displacement and gun size except they were auto loading 8" guns.
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  9. #69
    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought View Post
    IMO, They were cruisers and in its description it fits more the CA (cruiser armored or "heavy cruisers") of WWII category except the fact of the 12" guns and its displacement. Which being free from Treaty limitations was IMO a progression of the class of heavy cruiser. It had twice the displacement of the Baltimore's, thicker armor and guns 3 inches larger then the Baltimore's. In a similar instance the BB's had 14 inch guns and also progressed up to 16", weight and armor changed comparatively. They were designed to deal with any heavy cruiser they might encounter and also to provide protection to the flat tops.

    The Des Moines class returned to the Baltimore's displacement and gun size except they were auto loading 8" guns.
    I agree the Alaska were built like cruisers, their protection was not like US battleships (not nearly as extensive in scale), they carried enclosed hangers like cruisers and had fewer decks and compartments - but so were British battlecruisers and the fragile light weight Deutchland class. They were the least battleship like of the three light fast battleship types I described (with Dunkerque and Scharnhorst). The Alaska's were initially a response to a Japanese Project 64-65 design that was never built - as well as to the Scharnhorst class - they had a merchant raider/anti-merchant raider concept in mind - though they ended up being used like fast battleships - for carrier escort and bombardment. Their short service lives reflected the fact they weren't a necessary type - the heavy cruisers were kept much longer (but some interesting modifications were considered for the Alaska's).
    "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
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  10. #70
    Military Professional dundonrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximusslade View Post
    Battlecruisers were designed to fight in the main battle line against other battlecruisers and battleships. .


    Battlecruisers WERE NOT designed to fight in a line of battle against other BB's.. Fisher didn't intend them to do that, and at Jutland it was proven that you CAN'T do that with them, look at the HMS Invincible 1st doing what she was designed to do, chase down enemy cruisers at the battle of the Falklands in Nov 1914, then what she wasn't designed to do, face BB's/BCs in a line of battle, when she was sunk by major caliber gun fire penetrating her midships Q turrent blowing her in half..

    The battlecruisers typically carried 8-15 in. guns (Hood, Repulse and Renown
    carried the biggest calibers) like the battleships. The WWI battlecruisers all
    carried 8-12 in guns, at the speed of 28 knots on the unheard displacement of
    17.250 tons. The Dreadnought, the world' s most powerful battleships carried
    10 X12 inch guns and displaced about 15.000 tons and the most powerful
    armored cruisers carried 4 X 9.2 inch guns. The other striking thing about
    these huge ships was that they were armored only to resist cruiser gunfire.

    couple quotes posted below...

    This was perfectly consistent with their role as envisioned by their creator. They
    would be cruiser terminators. They would scout for the battle fleet (in which
    role they could brush aside the armored cruisers that the enemy customarily
    deployed to foil such scouts), they could equally prevent enemy scout cruisers
    from approaching the battle fleet. They could chase and dispatch residuals
    after a battle. They would also be tremendously useful in running down and
    destroying enemy commerce raiders on the high seas, as well as interdicting
    enemy commerce. They could be useful as a fast wing of the battle line. In
    fact, battlecruisers succesfully did these things during WWI.

    What they were not intented to do was, join the battle line itself and shoot it
    out with enemy battleships. Unfortunately, over and over in the history of the
    battlecruisers, Admirals were unable to resist the temptation of adding their
    big gunfire power to the line of battle, hoping that enemy shells would not find
    their weakly protected vitals. But history showed that enemy shells seem to
    have an affinity for just such weaknesses. During the Battle of Skagerrak
    (Jutland), three British battlecruisers (including the HMS Invincible) were sank
    by enemy shells. A German battlecruiser SMS Lutzow, was shot to pieces
    during the same battle and sank. Another battlecruiser, Derfflinger was badly
    shot up but returned to port with difficulty. Battlecruisers were the real losers
    at the Battle of Skagerrak.

  11. #71
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    Battlecruiser versus Battleship

    I joined just to enter a comment, rather a perspective that has not, as far as I've seen, been looked at.

    Officially, the only class of Battlecruisers built by the United States was the Lexington Class,
    what the United States considered a Battlecruiser.

    To compare apples to apples, one need merely look at the first South Dakota class of battelships (BB49 - BB54) and compare these to the Lexington Battlecruisers (CC1 - CC6) from the same time period.

    Among other interesting facts is that 16"/50 guns were to be used on both the Lexington (CC-1) class battle cruisers and South Dakota (BB-49) class battleships.

    The differences are there - but as far as Battlecruiser or Battleship - obviously the USN had its own very specific parameters, whether or not we agree with them. They bothered to make the distinction

    My question regarding the Alaskas, is something quite different. Considering that their overall size is somewhat comparable to the Des Moines class cruiser why wasn't the Hawaii completed and all three Alaskas kept for use after the war?

  12. #72
    Contributor 85 gt kid's Avatar
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    Well they have the same crew size of a BB (or about the same as a CA) but what I see as the problem was the fact that they didn't have the range nor the destructive capability of an Iowa and while they had more range and destruction capability over a Des Moines I think the Navy favored the Des Moines because of the Rapid Fire guns amd they were slightely newer. Doesn't seem that there was enough there to warrent keeping them. Hell they should have finished atleast the Kentucky with all the $$$ they already haf in her but they didn't because sadly the carrier was their new toy. Would have been awesome to see an Alaska class now :(.

    EDIT: Just looked on Wiki (i know i know) and looks like my memory was a little off. Crew size was about the same as the Des Moines. Main difference is their loadout since the Des Moines didn't have the AA that Alaskas had to have for wartime use. I have the numbers that show how much they could cut out for one i'll just have to post it later.
    Last edited by 85 gt kid; 30 Mar 14, at 03:11.

  13. #73
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    IMO,For the very same reasons the two remaining Iowa's were scrapped. That is after giving the Kentucky's bow to the Wisconsin after her collision. The Des Moines class was the lastest and fastest in the heavy cruiser class. The future of the cruiser class. The USN had plenty of CA's at the close of WWII, the very same could be said for the BB's. Their jobs were done, howewer so many were held in reserve and served Korea and Vietnam theaters. They were slated to become missle ships like the remaining two Iowas, however that did not come about for the most part. Some cruisers did indeed field missles at one point though. These were not the Des Moines.

    Far too many hulls to keep for a rainy day, even the Des Moines class didnt live their full life expectancies before being donated (Salem) scrapped (Newport News) and far later the Des Moines herself.

    The Des Moines class of heavy cruiser also had a grater rate of fire then any of the Alaska's, Baltimores etc. and were also built to be command ships.

    The USN didnt invest much in the 12" guns program per say they were one of the most expensice mounts ever built though, only the Alaska's which by the close of WWII had no longer use (they were built to deal with Japanese merchant raiders) where as there was plenty of 8" tubes in reserve that could be converted to a much faster rate of fire for the next cruiser class as well as 16" shells (and powder in the BB's case) in reserve that were bought and paid for. All they had to do was institute the program to up the rate of fire which they did for the Des Moines class cruisers.

    In other words, you had the low and higher caliburs already covered by the CA's and BB's.

    For the Des Moines class with 10 rounds per minute, per tube, they were more then a match for any non-US surface ships that existed at their time of inception from 1948-49 on. They kept Des Moines in reserve here in Philadelpia until almost 2000 when she went to the breakers.

    When they were still building the Alaska's and the prior Iowas they were no longer needed, there was no doubt that beyond the CV's and US sub warfare against Japan, they would never be able to field any kind of credible threat to us or anyone else so they were all stopped mid-construction. There was no longer a need for them.


    The 1950's saw many cruisers both CL and CA and BB's go to the breakers because it was no longer economical to a peace time navy to hold so many hulls in reserve and keep up with the maintaining costs associated with them.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 31 Mar 14, at 00:19.
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  14. #74
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    The Alaska class had a very poor turning radius and range, also their 12 inch guns fired as slow or slower than the 16 inch guns. They also suffered from a lot of problems that were never completely worked out. They weren't useful for a post war Navy. The Baltimore, Worcester, and Des Moines class cruisers that remained in service post war could over power any Sverdlov class cruiser or Soviet warship in service at lower cost than the Alaskas. But they were pretty good looking ships.

  15. #75
    Contributor 85 gt kid's Avatar
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    They had about one round more over an Iowa but of course no where near a Des Moines. Would have been cool to see an autoloading gun bigger the 8". I wonder how much the turning radius would have hampered them in say the 60's? Also i dont think they had that many problems. Most seem to stem from either the guns (which seem to have been fixed) and the bridge area was horrible. They were definately some nice looking ships though

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