• '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Which nation made the best Dreadnought class warship?


  • We probably should put a list of representatives from each of these nations for comparision.  I’m not well versed on WWI ships of the line.  I’m assuming all contestants must be commissioned in time to see active duty (between say Oct. 4 when Germany asked for an armistice and Nov. 11, 1918 when armistice was agreed upon for a final date?)  This probably includes the battlecruisers…although I doubt they will prove popular.

    Are we doing this on the basis of ship-to-ship match up or in more general terms (which would include torpedo defense for example?)

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I guess we can start with UK’s line of ships.

    I remember the HMS Canada being one of the best but i think it was a Battlecruiser, so armor was sacrificed for speed.

    Royal Sovereign Class looks to be the best…

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


  • @Imperious:

    http://www.worldwar1.co.uk/ww1-warships.html

    found this…

    Thanks for the link. I compared the German Bayern class against the British Royal Sovereign Class. Both classes had eight 15" guns as their main armament. The Bayern class had thicker armor and was slightly faster. Both ship classes had similar displacement. My overall impression is that the Bayern was the better ship class.


  • The Iron Duke was the best name ofany ship. Just sounds awesome.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Imperious:

    Which nation made the best Dreadnought class warship?

    “The best” in what sense?  It affects the answer.

    By the way, dreadnoughts are a type, not a class.  (Except in the case of HMS Dreadnought, which was the only member of her class.)


  • Fire control figures into this prominently as well.  Good fire control means longer range fire and increased risk to the target from plunging fire.  The WWI builds largely focused on a thick belt for medium range engagements, but inadequate deck armor for long range encounters.  The fire control issue is worth some study as each nation’s systems had its advantages.  Germany had some rigorous standards and constant drill for the range finding officer.  The UK emphasized low dispersion in their gunnery.  They had a pointer fire control system that worked well and that other nations were adopting.  The U.S. had dispersion problems, but by the end of the war also had some more advanced fire control entering service.  Who had what when on which ship class could really complicate the comparisons.  The least reliable fire control relied on a lot of voice communication of elevations, azimuth, etc. and then dialing these ins–too many steps and prone to error as battle progressed.

    When I was doing an initial survey of the dreadnoughts last night I noted the Bayern class had only 2.5" of deck armour while the Royal Sovereign had 4" decks.  I’ll gladly give up an inch on the very thick belt for 1.5" on the thin decks…  And the Japanese Fuso class had even thinner deck armor.

    Propellant type and handling is a factor in survivability as well.  The Brits emphasized maximizing fire rates over propellant/ammunition handling security…and that didn’t work out so well in practice. Some propellants were less likely to cause catastrophic magazine explosions even when hit.

    Another thing to consider is the secondary batteries since they were critical to holding destroyers outside of torpedo range.  During this time period there were still casemate guns and other guns on lower decks that were “wet” in typical North Atlantic seas.  USN dreadnoughts found the lower deck guns unmannable during much of their time in the North Atlantic.

    Many of the dreadnoughts also had torpedo tubes in the hull, but these were being removed/phased out.  They posed some flooding risk and the engagement ranges had increased enough that the torpedoes could not be employed anyway.


  • I have visited the Dreadnought Texas

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I’m still undecided…


  • IL, royal sovereign class was a scaled down, cheeper, variant of the queen elizabeth class battleships. They were oil powered, had the worlds first 15" guns, great armor and was very fast battleships for their time, they are considered the worlds fist fast battleships.


  • I’m not going to have a lot of time to do this for the next day or so, but it seems best to start listing some of the candidates.  Some ships were refitted after the war and even saw service in WWII, so we need to limit this to their WWI configuration.

    Japan:  Ise class
    31,320 tons
    23 knots
    Weapons:
    12 - 14" C45 guns (Vickers) in six turrets all on centerline, two forward, two aft, two amidships, each set superfiring over the other. 
    20 - 5.5" guns in casemates
    16 - 3" guns, and four 3" AA guns
    Six torpedo tubes
    Armor:
    Belt - 12" (down to 8" or less in some areas)
    Turrets - 12" face, 9" sides/rear, 6" roof
    Deck - 1.25 - 2.5"
    Conning tower - 13.75"

    Note:  Has the impressive IJN bridge/mast arrangement, and fire director in UK style.

    France: Bretagne class
    23,230 tons
    20 knots
    Weapons:
    10 - 13" C45 guns in five centerline superfiring turrets, two forward, two aft, one midships
    22 - 5.5" C55 guns in casemates
    Four torpedo tubes
    Armor:
    Belt - 11"
    Turrets - 13"
    Deck - 1.5"
    Conning tower - 12.4"

    Note:  Has fire director similar to UK.  Bretagne was sunk by ~4 hits from 15" rounds at Mers-el-Kebir in WWII, exploded and sank extremely rapidly.


  • @Red:

    Fire control figures into this prominently as well.  Good fire control means longer range fire and increased risk to the target from plunging fire.  The WWI builds largely focused on a thick belt for medium range engagements, but inadequate deck armor for long range encounters.  The fire control issue is worth some study as each nation’s systems had its advantages.  Germany had some rigorous standards and constant drill for the range finding officer.  The UK emphasized low dispersion in their gunnery.  They had a pointer fire control system that worked well and that other nations were adopting.  The U.S. had dispersion problems, but by the end of the war also had some more advanced fire control entering service.  Who had what when on which ship class could really complicate the comparisons.  The least reliable fire control relied on a lot of voice communication of elevations, azimuth, etc. and then dialing these ins–too many steps and prone to error as battle progressed.

    When I was doing an initial survey of the dreadnoughts last night I noted the Bayern class had only 2.5" of deck armour while the Royal Sovereign had 4" decks.  I’ll gladly give up an inch on the very thick belt for 1.5" on the thin decks…  And the Japanese Fuso class had even thinner deck armor.

    Propellant type and handling is a factor in survivability as well.  The Brits emphasized maximizing fire rates over propellant/ammunition handling security…and that didn’t work out so well in practice. Some propellants were less likely to cause catastrophic magazine explosions even when hit.

    Another thing to consider is the secondary batteries since they were critical to holding destroyers outside of torpedo range.  During this time period there were still casemate guns and other guns on lower decks that were “wet” in typical North Atlantic seas.  USN dreadnoughts found the lower deck guns unmannable during much of their time in the North Atlantic.

    Many of the dreadnoughts also had torpedo tubes in the hull, but these were being removed/phased out.  They posed some flooding risk and the engagement ranges had increased enough that the torpedoes could not be employed anyway.

    Thanks for this information, and especially for the datum about the deck armor of the Royal Sovereign and Bayern. While I don’t profess to be an expert about battleships, it seems quite plausible that 1.5 extra inches of deck armor would matter more than an inch of belt. I also want to say that I appreciate the quality of your posts, both in this thread and in the other battleship thread.


  • Austria Hungary:  Tegetthoff class dreadnought
    20,013 tons
    20.5 knots
    Weapons:
    12 - 12" C45 guns in four triple superfiring turrets on centerline, two forward, two aft
    12 - 6" C50 guns in casemates
    18 - 2.6" guns
    Four torpedo tubes
    Armor:
    Belt - 6-11"
    Turrets - 11" face/sides, 2" roof
    Deck - 1.2 - 2"
    Conning tower - 11"

    Notes:  Compact design, but lacked reserve flotation capacity and adequate torpedo/mine bulkheads.  Fire control director looks similar in height/style/arrangement to contemporary IJN/UK.

    Imperial Russia:  Imperatristsa Mariya class dreadnought
    (Note: Imperator Nikolai I was an improved class that was launched by never completed.)
    22,600 tons
    21 knots
    Weapons:
    12 - 12" C52 guns in four triple turrets on centerline, one forward, two mid ships, one aft
    20 - 5.1" C55 guns in casemates
    Four torpedo tubes
    Armor:
    Belt - 4.9 - 10.3"
    Turrets - 9.8"
    Deck - 0.35 - 2.0"
    Conning tower - 11.8"

    Looks like this one has short bridge height and turret based fire control rather than central.  Class had trouble scoring hits vs. cruisers (splinter damage only), and namesake lost to ammunition explosion in port.


  • Italy:  Andrea Dorea class dreadnought
    22,956 tons
    21 knots
    Weapons:
    13 - 12" C46 guns in three triple turrets on centerline (forward, aft, mid) and two double turrets in superfiring position fore and aft
    16 - 6" C45 guns in casemates
    13 - 3" guns
    Three torpedo tubes
    Armor:
    Belt - 10"
    Turrets - 11" face, 9.5" sides/rear, 3.35" top
    Deck - 3.9" over magazines, 3.1" over machinery, 1.2" elsewhere
    Conning tower - 11"

    Ottoman Empire:  Yavuz Sultan Selim battlecruiser (German Moltke class BC)
    (I picked this over the 17 knot pre-dreadnoughts)
    22,616 tons
    25.5 knots
    Weapons:
    10 - 11" C50 guns in five twin turrets, one forward, two wing en echelon, two aft (w/one superfiring)
    12 - 5.9" C50 guns in casemates
    12 - 3" guns
    4 torpedoes
    Armor:
    Belt - 4-11"
    Turret - 8"
    Deck - 1-3"
    Conning - 10.5"

    Note:  German captain and crew.  Had good underwater protection as it survived hitting multiple mines.  Good gunnery demonstrated in combat at mid-range 11,000 yards.  Was used as a battlecruiser should be, making use of speed avoiding duels with 12" and 15" armed pre-dreadnoughts and dreadnoughts.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    But the guns are 11 and 12, far smaller than the 15" UK late war Dreadnoughts

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @KurtGodel7:

    While I don’t profess to be an expert about battleships, it seems quite plausible that 1.5 extra inches of deck armor would matter more than an inch of belt.

    It depends on the combat range.  At short ranges, vertical protection matters more because shells come in on a flatter trajectory and hence have a lot of potential to penetrate a ship’s sides.  At long ranges horizontal protection matters more because shells arrive on a high-arc trajectory and hence have a lot of potential to penetrate a ship’s deck.  At intermediate ranges, a well-designed battleship is theoretically in its “immunity zone” in which it is adequately protected from both horizontal and plunging fire.


  • Had Germany captured Norway in WWI would this have broken the British Blockade?

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Well no because the primary flow of trade was at German ports via Baltic to Atlantic.

    Germany would still need to ferry the goods to Germany, which again means running the blockade. The British blockade

    Also, UK placed substantial sea mine zones to block against ‘running’ the blockade.


  • Okay, we’ve finished the appetizers, lets get on to the main courses (Germany, UK, US)

    United States:  New Mexico class dreadnought
    (Two commissioned before the end of WWI, Tenn. class was post war)
    32,000 tons
    21 knots
    Weapons:
    12 - 14" C50 guns in four triple turrets on centerline, two forward, two aft, superfiring
    14 - 5" C51 guns in casemates (originally had 8 additional casemate bow and stern guns but were too wet and were removed)
    Two torpedo tubes
    Armor:
    Belt - 8-13.5"
    Turret - 18" face, 9-10" sides, 9" rear, 5" top
    Deck - 3.5"
    Conning - 11.5"

    Notes:  Compact turret design may have increased dispersion and slowed loading, turret elevation limited to 15 degrees until 1930’s.

    A number of ship classes in various navies had similarly restricted elevation and therefore range in WWI.  This should be checked when evaluating whether or not plunging fire could penetrate a deck of a given ship.


  • Germany:  Bayern class dreadnought
    31,700 tons
    21 knots
    Weapons:
    8 - 15" C45 guns in four twin turrets on the centerline, two forward, two aft, superfiring
    16 -5.9" C45 guns in casemates
    Five torpedo tubes
    Armour:
    Belt - 6.7 - 13.8" (13.8" for the armoured citadel)
    Turrets - 13.8" face, 9.8" sides, 11.4" rear, 3.9" top
    Deck - 2.3 - 3.9" (most 2.3", but 3.9" over critical areas)
    Connning - 16"

    Notes:  Gun elevation limited to 20 degrees, could defeat 15.3" of WWI armor at ~11,000 yards with ideal angle, 13.8" at ~13,600 yards, 10.4" at 22,000 yards., max range 25,400 yards.  (Need data for deck penetration values.)  Had higher demonstrated rate of fire than British 15" guns in post war testing.  Used less volatile/cooler firing propellant less prone to catastrophic deflagration upon magazine hit.


  • United Kingdom:  Royal Sovereign (Revenge) class dreadnought
    (The Queen Elizabeth class might be better…some improvements were made to it after Jutland)
    28,000 tons
    ~22 knots
    Weapons:
    8 - 15" C42 guns in four twin centerline turrets, supefiring two forward, two aft
    14 - 6" C45 guns in casemates
    Four torpedo tubes
    Armor:
    Belt - 6-13"
    Turrets - 13" turret face, 11" side/rear, 4.25" top
    Deck - 1 - 4"
    Conning - ?  Looks like 11" max in drawing…

    Note:  Having trouble pinning down specs on the Brit dreadnoughts (incredibly).  Suspect the guns were limited to 20 degrees elevation.  Postwar comparison of the class with Bayern was not favorable.


  • I’m going to revise what I said earlier about relative deck thickness, somehow I got either bad values or reversed them–I’m still scratching my head as to how I did that.  I don’t believe the Bayern was at a disadvantage with respect to deck thickness, and depending on precise locations of armor/magazines it might have had an advantage.

    I could dig into this further, but based on what I’ve read, particularly postwar evaluation of the Bayern by the British, I would select the Bayern as the best of the lot.  There are several reasons for my choice:

    1.  The slightly thicker armor on the Bayern for the main belt and turret faces, and what looks like a better overall scheme to my eye.
    2.  German propellant was less volatile and less prone to explosive deflagration that would destroy the ship, rather than just a turret in the event of a magazine hit.
    3.  The German rangefinder seems to have been better suited for the North Atlantic, a difference in the optical design.  It might not have been as sophisticated in some ways, but it could produce a solution more readily–the right tool for the time and place.
    4.  German boats proved more durable to battle damage, even the more lightly armoured battlecruisers that were terribly damaged at Jutland made it home with help.
    5.  The Brits had design/handling issues with the magazines of their secondary armament that was causing breaches to the main magazines.
    6.  The German 15" guns had 23 second cycle time in British tests, vs. 36 seconds for the UK’s 15".

    I won’t swear that all of these points are correct or that I haven’t made further errors, but I think there is enough weight of evidence that even if I’m wrong on 1 or 2 of the points it won’t change the outcome.


  • How do you think the Great War would have ended had Japan joined Germany? How would a showdown between western powers and Japan have ended in a large Battleship duel? Germany could have kept there cruiser fleet in the Pacific. your thoughts?

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Japan would have lost that battle to the western powers.

    The Great War was really a European conflict with a minor chase in the Pacific against a number of Light German cruisers. The Central powers objectives did not include much outside Europe/ Middleast

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