Let's start with the German cruiser “Von der Tann”, especially since it was laid just after the “Invincibles” and “Blucher”, but before the second series of British battlecruisers (of the type “Indefatigeble”).
History Fon der Tanna started 17 on May 1906 of the year, exactly two weeks before the German naval attache in London reported that the newest British cruisers of the Invincible type were armed with an 305-mm cannon. Surprisingly, but the German battle cruiser was invented not by shipbuilders and admirals, but Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The emperor proposed to shipbuilders to develop a new type of warship for special combat operations, which, among other things, could perform the functions of a reconnaissance cruiser during a squadron, but could also participate in linear combat. In this new ship was supposed to:
1) carry at least four 280-mm guns;
2) have a speed exceeding the fastest battleship on a 3 node.
If the author of this article was able to correctly translate the phrase "the new battleships of the Ersatz Bayern / Nassau class", then the project of the newest German Dreadnought type "Nassau" should be taken as the basis for the development.
It is known that the idea of "Nassau" was born before, as it became known in Germany about the British "Dreadnought". As we can see, the Germans also thought quite independently of the concept of the battle cruiser. However, the Kaiser’s brilliant visionary gift should not be overestimated here: it is quite likely that his thoughts were prompted by a visit to Italy in 1905, during which he had the opportunity to familiarize himself with the high-speed Italian armadillos. It is possible that in this case it worked "I want the same, only better."
Nevertheless, we see that, unlike the British, the Germans initially saw battlecruisers as fleet battleships to serve as a fleet wing at the squadron, and this was a fundamental difference in the views of the "big" cruisers among the Germans and the British. However, one should not assume that the Germans did not have a debate about a new class of warships. The main ideas of the German battlecruiser were expressed by the Kaiser, he was supported by the Imperial Ministry of the Sea. In the memorandum of June 29/30, 1906, entitled "The Great Cruiser of 1907 and subsequent years" (German Law on navy"Regulated the bookmarks of warships over the years, so that was referring to the cruiser that was laid down in 1907 and ships of the same class in the future) an excellent justification was given for the German type of battle cruiser. The main points of the memorandum were as follows:
1) the British fleet has a significant superiority in the classic armored cruisers (the Germans used the term "big cruiser", but we will continue to write "armored" for both German and English ships to avoid confusion because of the performance of English shipyards will continue in the future;
2) therefore, any independent operations of a few German armored cruisers, regardless of where they are carried out, are doomed to failure. Whether it is reconnaissance or other actions in the North Sea, or the classic struggle on ocean communications - in the end, the armored cruisers of Germany will be intercepted and destroyed;
3) in accordance with the foregoing, Germany should completely abandon the construction of armored cruisers, and instead lay the new class of ships - high-speed battleships, whose main task will be to participate in the general battle as a high-speed wing.
Due to the fact that at the time of the writing of the memorandum, the British Invincibles were already armed with eight 305-mm cannons, and taking into account the Japanese armored cruisers, the Naval Ministry considered that the new type of ships should have:
1) with six or eight 280-mm implements in three to four two-guns, or in two two-gun and four single-gun towers;
2) eight 150-mm guns in casemates or towers;
3) other weapons should have included twenty 88-mm cannons, four 8-mm machine guns and four torpedo tubes;
4) The nasal armor should be 400 mm thick, or at least 300 mm, and aft - 200 mm. Other bookings should be 10-20% thinner than Nassau-type battleships;
5) coal stock should be 6% of displacement, the speed - not lower than 23 nodes.
On the other hand, the similar point of view had also high-ranking opponents. For example, such an interpretation did not meet with any understanding of the Secretary of State of the Naval Department A. Tirpitz, who believed that the cruiser should be a cruiser, and not something else. The memorandum of the Imperial Maritime Ministry, as they say, did not even have time to dry, when 1906 was published in July in the Marine Review magazine (Marine-Rundschau) an article by the Corvette-Captain Vollerthun, dedicated to the future of armored cruisers. In it, the corvette-captain made a cursory review of the evolution of the class of armored cruisers, on the basis of which he informed the reader:
"The modern English armored cruiser is a very expensive ship, but it does not have the qualities that would allow it to fight a modern battleship in a decisive battle."
This conclusion is undoubtedly indisputable, which cannot be said about the other statements of the author. According to his logic, since the British did not create a cruiser for a squadron battle, then Germany does not need to “run ahead of the locomotive,” and an attempt at such a qualitative jerk is premature. Corvetten-captain said that you can not create a successful ship, which managed to combine the power of the battleship and the speed of the cruiser, and that such hopes are obviously illusory. Consequently, it is not necessary to try to cover the immense, but it is necessary to clearly distinguish between tasks and tactical capabilities of the battleship and armored cruiser. According to the author of the article, under no circumstances should an armored cruiser be used in a general battle as a ship of the line, including as a “high-speed wing”.
I would like to draw the attention of dear readers to this point. As we see, in Germany there were different views on the tasks of armored cruisers, but for all their polarity, they were much more logical and rational than the considerations that guided the design of their armored and battle cruisers by the British. The British admirals wanted to use their moderately armored cruisers as a “high-speed wing” in the linear fleet, absolutely not thinking about what would happen to them if large-caliber guns of battleships or battleships “paid attention” to them. At the same time, in Germany, the debate boiled down to the fact that "either we build high-speed battleships that can fight in line, or we build conventional armored cruisers, which in no case will we put in line."
Nevertheless, it should be noted that, although the Germans independently came up with the idea of a battle cruiser, its practical implementation, Invincible, had the most significant impact. If A. Tirpitz was an opponent of the “high-speed battleship”, he was not opposed to increasing the artillery on armored cruisers. In the same July, 1906, he ordered to prepare a draft of the battleship and armored cruiser with 305-mm guns, the battleship was supposed to carry twelve, and the battle cruiser - eight such guns. However, 305-mm guns were subsequently abandoned, both because of the unavailability of guns and tower installations for them, and in view of the saving in displacement, which was given by the use of 280-mm guns.
After a series of meetings, the tactical and technical characteristics of the future ship were refined: the main caliber should have been eight 280-mm guns, the average - eight-ten 150-mm guns. The speed was supposed to be “as much as possible” close to the armored cruiser E (the future “Blucher”), the reservation should provide protection against the 305-m projectiles. There were also limitations on displacement, but they were formulated somewhat differently than the English: it was assumed that the displacement of the new cruiser should not exceed that of the Ersatz of Bavaria (the future Nassau), which meant that the cruiser could be equal to the battleship weight, but the cost of the cruiser should be lower than that of the battleship. In addition, the use of turbines should be explored.
In September, 1906, the design bureau presented the technical projects under the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 4b, but all of them, except No. 1 and 2, were rejected and only the last ones were considered.
Both projects had the same weapons: 8 * 280-mm, 8 * 150-mm, 20 * 88-mm and 4 torpedo tubes, but different placement of artillery. Surprisingly, but a fact: the Germans considered that the combination of one-and two-gun towers was preferable, but they also took into account the fact that the project №2 was half a node faster (2,3-5-24 knots, against the 23-23,5 knots of the project No.1). Interestingly, the designers could not meet the requirements for displacement - it was higher than that of Nassau, but at the same time Project No. 1 was heavier than Project No. 2 on 150 t - 19 500 t against 19 350 t.
In order to reduce displacement, it was proposed to leave only six 280-mm guns on the cruiser, placing them in the median plane, as was done on Brandenburg-type battleships.
At the same time, a side salvo of six 280-mm guns was maintained, but in comparison with project No. 2 the displacement could be reduced by 800 tons. Nevertheless, such an innovation was rejected by A. Tirpitz, who quite logically objected that the idea is good in itself, but the nation will not understand if we only build a six-armed cruiser in response to the eight-cruiser.
Subsequently, many more proposals were made, including, for example, a reduction in the main caliber from 280-mm to 240-mm, but in this case the cruiser was obviously weaker than the British, which was also unacceptable. As a result, we finally settled on eight 280-mm guns, while its placement schemes were offered a variety of, including very original ones, like this one
It soon became clear that a new cruiser of specified characteristics could not be “tamped” into a displacement of less than 19 000, but even that was more than the weight of Nassau, whose displacement in “1906” projects had “grown” to 18, 405, and in fact, the battleship had a normal displacement of 18 569 t., or (according to other data) 18 870 t. In any case, no one ever planned for the Nassau 19 000 t, however, it became clear that the new cruiser would not work less than 19 000 t., put up with it and looked only to ensure that at the cost it did not exceed l "Nassau".
The "correct" placement of artillery to the Germans prompted the British. The fact is that a rumor has passed that the Invincible can still operate with all eight main-caliber guns on board. In fact, this was not the case, because even theoretically the tower of the opposite side could fire only in a narrow sector, 25-30 degrees, but in fact its shooting interfered so much with the second “traverse” tower that if the tower closest to the enemy is disabled. But the Germans could not know this, so the artillery was arranged according to the rhombic scheme.
I must say that this scheme did not immediately become main, because the Imperial Maritime Ministry still preferred an extremely exotic scheme with three two-gun towers in the median plane and two single-gun ones - along the sides (shown above), besides there were certain doubts that Using the rhombic scheme, it will be possible to shoot from the tower located on the opposite side, without damaging the hull structures. However, in the end, it was the rhombic scheme that was used to further design the ship. For the power plant, the turbines were finally adopted, and the new cruiser was to be the first large German ship with four propellers (before that, three propellers were considered the standard). Displacement increased again - up to 19 200 t.
In the final version, the following tactical and technical characteristics of the future cruiser were defined:
Displacement (normal / full) - 19 370 / 21 300 t.
The length of the waterline - 171,5 m.
Width - 26,6 m.
Draft (at normal / full displacement) - 8,13 / 9,17 m.
Rated power of machines - 42 000 hp
Speed at rated power - 24,8 knots.
Fuel supply (normal / full) - 1 000 / 2 600 t.
Progress range - 4 400 miles on 14 knots.
The main caliber was represented by eight 280-mm guns (strictly speaking, 279 mm, in Germany the caliber was designated in centimeters, i.e. 28, see, hence the generally accepted domestic 280-mm) with a barrel length of 45 caliber. The guns fired 302-kg with projectiles with an initial speed of 850 m / s. The armor-piercing projectiles had an 8,95 kg of explosive (data may not be reliable). The elevation angle was originally 20 hail., While the range reached 18 900 m, later, in 1915, it was increased to 20 400 m. Ammunition for 8 guns was 660 shells (82-83 projectile on the barrel) . According to the German data, the armor penetration capability of the 280 projectile was 280 mm of armor Krupp at a distance of 10 000 m (54 KBT.) And 200 mm of the same armor on 12 000 m (65 KBT.).
The average caliber is ten 150-mm guns with a barrel length 45 caliber, the maximum angle of elevation before upgrading is 20 hail, shot with armor-piercing and high-explosive shells with a mass of 45,3 kg. with an initial speed of 835 m. / sec. The firing range was originally 13 500 (73 cab.), But later, using new, elongated projectiles and, probably, increasing the maximum angle of elevation, reached 16 800 m (91 cab). "Six-inch" were placed in a casemate, in the center of the case, the ammunition consisted of 50 armor-piercing and 100 high-explosive shells on the gun.
The anti-mine caliber is sixteen 88-mm guns with a barrel length 45 caliber, charged with unitary cartridges weighing 15,5 kg. Projectile weighing 10,5 kg. flew with an initial speed of 750 m. / sec. on 10 700 m. (58 cab.). Bokomplekt made 200 shells on the gun.
The booking system “Fon der Tanna” turned out to be another rebus, and I must say that the author of this article does not pretend to understand it one hundred percent. For a start, we note that the Germans had their own system of naming armor. They called the main armor (the lower armor), the armor belt, the armor belt, the upper armor belt, the citadel, the reservation of casemates was higher. However, for simplicity, we will “unite” the citadel and the armor belt into one and will call them the armor belt, and the armor belt together with its traverses will be called the citadel.
To begin with, let us recall what the Nassau armored belt was. Its height reached 4,57 m, but the thickness was not constant. In the middle of the armored belt throughout 2 m its thickness was 270 mm, and then, to the upper and lower edges, the armor was thinned to 170 mm. At the same time the belt was on 1,6 m under water, respectively, 270 mm. the armor section went below the waterline by about 32 cm (further along the 128 cm, its thickness decreased to 170 mm), and at 168 cm it rose above the surface of the water. Then, for the same 128 cm up, the belt also became thinner from 270 to 170 mm.
The Von der Tanna armored belt was similar to the Nassau, but had some differences. Unfortunately, the height of the armored belt is not given in the sources available to the author (even G. Staff, alas, does not write about it), but it can be assumed that it approximately corresponded to that of Nassau, i.e. was 4,57 m, or so. The “thickest” part of the Von der Tanna armored belt was inferior to Nassau in both thickness and height, but if everything is clear with the thicknesses (“Fon der Tann” had 250 mm against 270 mm for “Nassau”) , the height of the 250 mm plot is unclear. V.B. Husbands points:
"At the main waterline, the thickness of the main armor belt was 250 mm against 180 mm in Blucher and the height of 1,22 m, of which 0,35 m went below the main waterline."
Thus, according to VB Muzhenikov turns out that Fon der Tann was defended by a narrow, only 1,22 m strip of 250 mm of armor, but here you can assume a mistake. It is possible that the 250 mm section of the Von der Tanna armored belt had a height of 1,57 m, of which 35 cm were under the waterline, and 1,22 m above it.
Judging by the reducible drawings, the Von der Tanna armored belt went under the water on the same 1,6 m as the Nassau armored belt, and also gradually got thinner, as in the first German Dreadnought. At the same time, it is reliably known that at the lower edge the belt of the battle cruiser was 150 mm. But above 250 mm. The Von der Tann armored belt section received more powerful protection than Nassau’s. Where Nassau’s thickness was reduced from 270 mm to 170 mm, Von der Tann defended 200 mm armor. In some publications, the thickness 225 mm is mistakenly indicated, but this is not true - such thickness of the armored belt was only opposite the barbet of the onboard tower of the main caliber.
The 250-mm armor belt was very long, covering the 62,5% of the length of the waterline. Of course, he covered not only the boiler rooms and engine rooms, but also the flow tubes of the bow and stern towers of the main caliber. In the nose, the armor-belt was “closed” with a beam of 170-200 mm thick, in the stern - 170 mm, and not 180 mm, as is often indicated in the sources.
The ends of the battlecruiser were also armored. The nose of the ship outside the citadel was armored with 120 mm armor plates, which were closer to the stem thinned to 100 mm, while both 120 mm and 100 mm armor plates to their upper edge were thinned to 80 mm. 100 mm of armor belt went to the stern of the citadel, and its armor plates also at the upper edge had only 80 mm of thickness. But if in the nose the armor-belt reached the stem, then in the stern several meters of the waterline remained unregistered. Here the armored belt ended with a beam of 100 mm thick.
Above the armored belt was a casemate of 150-mm guns, the thickness of its armor plates was also 150 mm. In length, it was significantly shorter than the armored belt, the hull was not armored in the bow and stern of it. Inside the casemate, the guns were divided by armored partitions with a thickness of 20 mm.
As for the horizontal booking, it was presented within the citadel by an armored deck 25 mm thick, with 50 mm bevels to the lower edge of the armored belt. In this case, the armored deck was slightly above the waterline. Outside the citadel, the armored form was located below the waterline, apparently on the lower edge of the armored belt, while its nose was 50 mm thick, at the stern - 50 mm, and the section where the side was not armored and 80 mm in the 100 mm area of the plates. In addition, the casemate had a reservation for the roof and floor 25 mm thick.
The battle cruiser of the battlecruiser was protected by 300 mm by armor, the roof by 80 mm, and the stern by 200 mm and 50 mm, respectively. In addition, chimneys, ventilation and lighting shafts were booked. Von der Tann had an anti-torpedo bulkhead, 25 mm thick, which protected the ship throughout the length of the citadel.
In general, and despite some weakening regarding Nassau, the Von der Tanna booking looked extremely solid. Nevertheless, he also had his vulnerabilities.
The main caliber towers were armored fairly well - frontal sheets and rear wall 230 mm, side walls 180 mm, inclined sheet in front of the roof 90 mm, the rest roof 60 mm, flooring in the rear part of the tower 50 mm. The barbety had 200 mm of armor, while at the bow and stern of the barbet that was facing the bow (and, accordingly, stern), the thickness of the armor increased to 230 mm, and on the opposite side only 170 mm. But the problem was that the barbet of such thickness reached only the nearest armored decks, and below it only had a symbolic thickness of 30 mm (or even 25 mm). The height of the barbet at which it had 170-230 mm is marked in blue in the diagram.
The problem was that the projectile, which landed on the deck of “Von der Tanna” something like this
Easily punched the 25-mm deck, after which only 25-30 mm barbet separated it from the supply pipe. Of course, the danger was not only the side tower, the opposite of the one being fought, but all the towers of Fon der Tanna, especially with longitudinal fire on it. But in fairness, it should be noted that such a weakness in barbet bookings was inherent in all the dreadnoughts and first series battle cruisers — a similar vulnerability (even if to a lesser extent, but an 305-mm projectile, in general, doesn’t matter if you pierced 30 mm wall, 50 mm or 76 mm) and had a "Nassau", and "Dreadnought" and "Invinsible", etc. This to some extent justified the German designers, but of course, did not create additional protection for the Von der Tanna sailors.
One of the turbines "Von der Tanna"
"Von der Tann" was the first German large warship to use turbines, and apparently so the manufacturers miscalculated. It was assumed that the nominal power of the ship’s turbines would be 42 000 hp, at which the ship would develop 24,8 knots, however, the 79 007 hp power was achieved during forcing tests, and the maximum speed was 27,398 knots. On a six-hour run, the cruiser showed 26,8 ties. average speed. At the same time, in daily operation, Fon der Tann showed similar results - according to some data (Koop) in 1910 g the cruiser developed 79 802 hp, while achieving 27,74 knots at 339 revs!
I must say that VB Muzhenikov points out that there are some problems with the Von der Tanna turbines, because of which the ship had problems maintaining speed during the war, and even indicates the cause of such problems:
"In 1911, after a trip to South America, he traveled 1913 miles between Tenerife and Helgoland with an average speed of a 24 node, which later during the war led to turbine malfunctions."
Nevertheless, in the Yutland battle, “Fon der Tann” increased the speed to 26 knots and it can be assumed that problems with turbines did not occur regularly, which, however, was not too bad for a warship. In any case, it can only be argued that there was no constant “drawdown” in speed for the “Von der Tanna”.
This concludes the description of the first true German battle cruiser. In the next article of the cycle we will look at the history of the creation and performance of the opponents of the Von der Tanna, the battle cruisers of the Indefatigeble project. In it, we compare the data of the English and German ships and give an assessment of their projects.
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