History the projections of the last (of those built) British battlecruiser “Hood”, according to F. Kofman, aptly noted, “reminds the saga of how the Admiralty tried to create a very bad ship. But at the last moment this “idea” was either canceled altogether, or underwent such extensive changes that the final version had completely different qualities compared to the original one. ”
Recall that after the construction of the five magnificent battleships like "Queen Elizabeth" and then the same number of less high-speed and somewhat better protected Royal Soverens, the British were going to lay down another "Queen Elizabeth" and three "Sovereigns" in order to bring the number " 381-mm "high-speed battleships up to six, and the ships of the line - up to eight. Such a development of linear forces was more than reasonable, because it provided the line and high-speed wing with the strongest and sufficiently protected ships. In Germany, the construction of “21-node” battleships armed with 380-mm guns was delayed, so that by the time the first four Bayerns could be completed, the British would have twice as many Royal Royals. At the same time, the Germans did not build high-speed battleships at all, placing the task of the “high-speed wing” on battlecruisers, but with all the merits of German ships of this class they could not resist the Queen Elizabeth ships.
Thus, the 1914 program, providing for the construction of four "381-mm" battleships, was both reasonable and logical. However, these plans were prevented by the war and the laying did not take place: it was assumed that the ships of this program would not have time to enter service before the end of hostilities. Then Winston Churchill and his friend and teacher D. Fisher came to power, and from that moment the English shipbuilding unexpectedly demonstrated a number of bizarre movements in the creation of battleships and battlecruisers.
First, the Ripals and Rinaun, the first 381-mm battle cruisers in the world, were very fast, but had extremely weak protection. After that, the “big light cruisers” of the Koreijs, the Glories and the Furyes were laid, which historians later considered light linear - however, they could not resist the linear cruisers of Germany. All these ships were created on the initiative of D. Fisher, but in May 1915 of the “Era Fisher” ended irrevocably: he left the post of First Sea Lord, and this time - forever. It was possible to assume that with the departure of D. Fisher, the era of designing large strange ships would also cease, but there it was! In 1915, the reasons that had been forced to abandon the construction of battleships a year earlier lost their meaning - the war took a protracted nature and could not see the end-edge.
So, it was decided to return to the battleships, but ... which ones? The British considered their "Queen Elizabeth" and "Royal Soverins" quite successful, and were going to take one of these battleships as a basis, but to build new ships on an improved project. Of course, the admirals had to indicate the direction of modernization, especially since they had already managed to acquire some combat experience. The sailors demanded to increase the height of the freeboard, raise the mine-artillery battery by one deck space (i.e., rearrange the guns from the main deck to the forecastle deck) and - the most original - reduce the draft to 4 meters!
You can, of course, assume that the ideas of D. Fisher were transmitted by airborne droplets and led to serious complications, but this is not so. The fact is that D. Fisher substantiated the small draft of his line and "big light" cruisers by the need to act in small parts of the Baltic, but the British admirals in 1915 had completely different reasons. They believed that such ships would be much better protected from the torpedo weapons, at the same time it will be much easier to fight for survivability on them. In addition, a decrease in precipitation with an increase in width would allow a constructive anti-torpedo protection to be placed.
The thing is that the Royal battleships fleet were in constant readiness for Armageddon - a general battle with the German fleet of the open sea. Accordingly, battleships and battlecruisers constantly had full reserves of fuel and ammunition, and in addition, military needs led to the appearance of various cargoes not provided for during the design, and all this led to overloading. The actual draft of the British battleships began to reach 9-10 meters, and this was unacceptable for a number of reasons. Firstly, damage to the hull from a mine or torpedo at such a depth led to the entry of water under very high pressure, which made the struggle for survivability more difficult. Secondly, a large draft reduced the already not too high freeboard, making the battleships very “wet”. Accordingly, mine artillery, located in the casemates at the level of the main deck, was flooded with water in fresh weather and could not fulfill its function.
Of course, the designers did not support the idea of ultra-low draft at all, explaining to the military the technical difficulties of creating such a “punt” with a very long and wide body, eventually agreed on the draft in 7,3 m, apparently increasing the latter to 8 m. Here it is very important understand that speaking of 8 m, we mean the draft in full load: for example, the battleships "Remmilles" and "Rivendzh" had such in 9,79 m and 10,10 m, respectively. Thus, according to the plans of the shipbuilders, the draft of the projected battleships should have decreased by about 2 meters from that which the last British ships of this class actually had.
As a result, the Queen Elizabeth battleship was taken as a basis, but the new battleship (project A) turned out to be much longer and wider - the maximum length should have been 247 m against 196,8 m, and the width - 31,7 m against 27,58 m in the prototype. Draft in full load was supposed to be 8 m, normal displacement - 31 000 t. It was assumed that with such a body a new battleship with equal to the "Queen Elizabeth" power of the mechanisms (75 000 hp) could develop a significantly higher speed - 26,5-27 knots The armament was represented by eight 381-mm guns, anti-mine caliber - a dozen of the newest, not yet adopted 127-mm artillery systems. It was assumed that this caliber will be a good compromise in ammunition power and rate of fire between the 102-mm and 152-mm guns.
In principle, this project could have been considered very successful if not for one “but” - the thickness of its armor belt did not exceed 254 mm! Unfortunately, the author of this article could not figure out why this happened, since Russian-speaking sources almost do not contain information about this project. Logically, we can assume that using the same tools and the same power plant used on the Queen Elizabeth in the new project, the British should have received a citadel of approximately the same length, but with the increase in the ship’s length than on 50 m, the protection of its extremities should have become longer and, accordingly, heavy. In addition, within the citadel, the British battleships traditionally received the protection of the entire side up to the upper deck, and it can be assumed that this time they did the same. Accordingly, due to the increase in the height of the freeboard, the British probably had to increase the height of the upper armor belt, and perhaps the main one (which is most likely because the same F. Kofman indicates that the 254-mm armor belt had a greater height), which led to the need to "thin butter over the sandwich".
However, regardless of the reasons that caused such a weakening of the body armor, there is no doubt that this “innovation” killed the project at the root. Ten inches of armor did not look absolutely sufficient even against 305-mm guns, and it was known that the newest Kaiser ships would get much more powerful artillery systems. At the same time, 254-mm armor could count a maximum to hold the high-explosive 380-mm projectile, and then, probably, not at all combat distances. Quite recently (when designing Queen Elizabeth type battleships), seamen declared the protection of the battlecruisers too weak and declared a desire to get well-protected high-speed battleships - and suddenly such.
But this project also had another drawback - the excess width, which limited the number of docks into which the ship could be led. Therefore, in the second version (project “B”), the width of the ship was reduced to 27,4 m (by analogy with “Queen Elizabeth”). The power of the power plant was also reduced to 60 000 hp, with which the ship could develop no more than 25 knots. Armament and booking remained the same as the project "A". The displacement decreased to 29 500 T, but the sediment increased by 60 cm, reaching 8,6 m.
The project "B" also did not suit the British, but for further work was taken "Royal Sauverin". British shipbuilders presented the C-1 and C-2 projects based on it: both battleships received eight 381-mm and ten 127-mm guns, the speed was reduced to 22 nodes, which allowed the power plant to have a nominal power of 40 000 hp The ships differed slightly in size, while the "C-1" had all the same width 31,7 m as the project "A". In C-2, it was slightly reduced, and was 30,5 m. C-1 had a slightly larger displacement (27 600 t against 26 250 t) and a smaller draft (8,1 m against 8,7 m). Alas, both ships carried the same, completely inadequate 254-mm reservation.
Then the British tried to develop "Queen Elizabeth" but with a high board and draft in 8 m (project "D"). Alas, here they were also disappointed - compared to projects A and B, the maximum length was reduced (to 231 m), the width remained as in project A (31,7 m), which imposed known limitations on docking the battleship. Draft exceeded the planned and amounted to 8,1 m. It was assumed that with the power installation capacity of 60 000 HP the ship will be able to develop 25,5 bonds. The main caliber was represented by the same eight 381-mm in four towers, and the mine caliber - by a dozen 140-mm guns. The displacement at the same time was 29 850 t, and the vertical protection of the case was limited to 254-mm armor plates.
On the whole, it can be stated that in all the submitted projects, the sailors' wishes for high-booting and less sediment were fulfilled to varying degrees, while the British battleships received, finally, constructive anti-torpedo protection (it is indicated that it was rather primitive, but not less). However, the price for this was a critical weakening of the reservation, so none of the five projects reviewed above can be considered successful. All five projects were submitted to the commander of the Grand Fleet D. Jellico, and the admiral, quite predictably, “hacked” them all. At the same time, he told the Admiralty in general that the Royal Navy absolutely did not need new battleships. This was motivated by the fact that the Grand Fleet already has a tangible superiority in numbers over Hohzeeflott (which was absolutely true even with the completion of Bayern type battleships), while the quality of British battleships turned out to be quite satisfactory, “there are no big claims to existing battleships ".
Strangely enough, but D. Jellico did not see the point at all of the further construction of an “intermediate” type of battleship with a speed of 25-27. In his response to the Admiralty, the commander of the Grand Fleet said that two types of ships should be built: "21-node" battleships and "30-node" high-speed battle cruisers. Interestingly, domestic sources have significant differences on this issue: for example, the above speeds are given by A.A. Mikhailov, while F. Kofman argues that they were talking about "22-nodal" battleships and "32-nodal" cruisers. Thus, D. Jelliko essentially took a “step back” on the road to the high-speed battleship - instead of combining the classes of battleship and battlecruisers into one (at least to perform the functions of a high-speed wing), he again proclaimed the separation “low-speed battleship - high-speed battle cruiser” . What made D. Jellico to take such a step?
On the one hand, the charge of retrograde seems to be suggesting, but if you think about it, it is not. Apparently, the problem was that D. Jelliko strongly overestimated the capabilities of the German battle cruisers.
The fact is that, according to available data, the British assumed that the last German ships of this class (of the Derflinger type) developed at least 30 nodes. This well explains the desire of D. Fisher to give the RIPALS and Rinaun 32-nodal speed: The First Sea Lord bluntly said that the Royal Navy except the Tiger did not have the same high-speed ships that the Germans would receive. Perhaps, of course, it was just a maneuver to build the battlecruisers so sweet to D. Fisher’s heart, but it is possible that the old sailor really believed what he was saying. And if this is true, the situation from the bridge of the flagship battleship Grand Fleet could look very different than from our cozy chairs.
You and I, dear readers, know that the Germans were able to put into operation only three Derflinger-class battlecruisers armed with 305-mm cannons, while their speed did not seem to exceed 27, the maximum is 28 nodes. But “three is not a heap”, these ships could not form an independent connection, especially since by the time the third of them (the Hindenburg) was put into operation, the second (the “Lutzov”) had already died. In any case, Derflingers could act only in the same line, together with Moltke and Von der Tann, which were nevertheless somewhat less fast in everyday use.
The British high-speed battleships calculated the speed of 25 nodes, but in fact they did not reach it (on average, it was between 24,5 and 25 knots) and the difference in speed between the Queen Elizabeth squadron and the squadron of German battle cruisers was relatively small. As a matter of fact, in the Jutland battle of Quina, Evan-Thomas caught up with the battle cruisers of Hipper's 1 reconnaissance group, despite the fact that they were formally inferior in speed. Therefore, the somewhat better speed qualities of the Hochzeeflot battlecruisers in a squadron battle did not give them a great tactical advantage over British high-speed battleships, and they could not fight on an equal footing with the Quinas.
The subsequent series of Germanic battlecruisers, the Mackensen and Ersatz York, received more powerful artillery, retaining approximately the same level of protection. Accordingly, it was impossible to expect a breakthrough in speed from them, and there wasn’t one there - ships of this type calculated on the achievement of 27-28 knots. Interestingly, a sensible improvement of the British Queen Elizabeth type could give the ship, in terms of its tactical and technical characteristics, very close to Ersatz York - that is, eight 381-mm guns, increased to 32 000 - 33 000 t normal displacement, booking at the level of the same “Rivendzha” and speed within 26,5-27 nodes (Ersatz York ”- 27,25 knots). Such a British ship would be the best suited to oppose the newest German battlecruisers. He did not have any fundamental advantages over his German counterpart, but this is not surprising: for its dimensions, Ersatz York could be considered an almost perfectly balanced high-speed battleship. An equivalent ship could be built within its displacement, but a superior ship could not.
Thus, from the standpoint of opposition to Hohzeeflotte, the development of queen-type battleships of the Queen Elizabeth type would be optimal for the Royal Navy, but ... we know this. And John Jellico believed that the German battlecruisers, having received the new 350-380-mm guns, will have a speed of at least 30 nodes. Together with the already built ships of the Derflinger type, they could form an “30-node” high-speed wing — while D. Jellico saw that the Queen Elizabeth still did not reach the estimated speed, albeit slightly. But he obviously did not want to build 26,5-27-hubs, to actually get 26-26,5-hubs, and then wrestle with how to resist the German 30-hub cruisers.
Thus, the position of D. Jellicho was absolutely logical and justified, only based on an incorrect postulate - the allegedly existing 30-nodal speed of the German battle cruisers. But if we accept this postulate as a given, we will easily understand the concerns of the British commander. Formally, in 1915 g, he had 10 battlecruisers against German 5s, but of these, only four ships of the Lyon and Tiger types were more or less in line with the latest Derflinger type cruisers, and the six older 305-mm The cruisers could not even catch them. At the same time, the British expected that after the “Luttsov” at least three ships of a similar type would enter service, but with heavier artillery (350-380-mm), which the British ships lost even in their traditionally strongest line - the power of artillery. At the same time, D. Jelliko rightly did not consider the "Ripales" and "Rinaun" (and even more so - the "Koreijes") capable of opposing the German ships of the same class. These considerations and dictated his views on the further construction of heavy ships for the Royal Navy: refusing the battleships, D. Jellico demanded modern and high-speed battle cruisers. The requirements for them from the Commander Grand Fleet were as follows:
1. Ships must carry eight main-caliber guns - a smaller number of them not only reduces the weight of the side salvo, but also creates difficulties in zeroing;
2. In this case, 381-mm guns should be considered as minimally acceptable, if it is possible to install heavier tools, then this should be done;
3. Mine caliber weapons must be at least 120-mm, and their number must not be less than a dozen;
4. You don’t need to get involved in torpedo tubes, it’s enough to have two airborne ones, but the torpedoes should be increased;
5. The average armor belt should be at least 180 mm, the top one at least 100 mm, and due to the increase in artillery fighting distances, the lower armor deck should be at least 60 mm thick. Interestingly, about the main belt D. Jellico did not say absolutely nothing;
6. As for speed, then, in the opinion of the author of this article, those who claim that D. Jellico demanded 30 nodes are right.
In addition, the commander Grand Fleet expressed other, less significant wishes, sometimes - rather strange properties, such as the presence of a single mast (according to D. Jellico, two masts allowed the enemy to better determine the speed and course of the ship). He thought it was possible to increase the draft to 9 m.
It is necessary to say that the Admiralty fully supported the requirements of D. Jellico and the work began to boil - two groups of designers pored over the design of the newest battlecruiser. General management was carried out by the head of the Shipbuilding Office Tennyson d'Einkort.
Interesting was the design method. First, the shipbuilders determined the maximum size of the ship that they can afford (taking into account the possibilities of docking). It turned out that the battlecruiser should be extremely 270 m long, 31,7 m wide, and the draft, as mentioned earlier, should be no more than 9 m. These dimensions made it possible to create a high-speed and high-grade ship within 39 000 - 40 000 t ., and then began the method of elimination. Armament was identified in 8 * 381-mm in four two-gun turrets, and a dozen 140-mm. The power of the machines, which would provide speed in 30 knots, should have been at least 120 000 hp Also, the ship had to get sufficient fuel reserves in order to ensure the range of travel corresponding to that the British expected from this class (unfortunately, there is no exact data for the first project, but for further options the normal fuel supply was 1200 t, and the full 4 000 t).
And when the characteristics of weapons and equipment were determined, which it was impossible to sacrifice, then further design went "from the opposite." In other words, having calculated the weight of all the necessary - weapons, hull, vehicles and fuel, and minimizing it from the maximum possible displacement, the British designers received the reserve they could spend on other needs, including booking. Alas, as it turned out, the newest battlecruiser could get the maximum 203 mm side armor, and, apparently, this option seemed unacceptable to designers. Therefore, the Shipbuilding Directorate proposed not one, but two projects of the battle cruisers.
The key difference between them was that in the second project a power plant was used, using so-called thin-tube boilers, so named because the water-heating tubes installed in them had a relatively small diameter. The efficiency of such boilers significantly exceeded the traditional ones using wide pipes, but the Admiralty for a long time did not agree to use the novelty, believing that the old boilers are more reliable and easy to maintain. Nevertheless, it was impossible to ignore progress, and thin-tube boilers began to be installed on the ships of the Royal Navy — first on destroyers, then on light cruisers. Practice has shown that the admiralty’s fears are, in general, in vain; nevertheless, it continued to oppose the installation of such boilers on large ships. Tubular boilers were offered to be installed on the "Tiger"
and on the queen-type battleships of the Queen Elizabeth, it was expected that with the same weight of the power plant the ships would be able to reach 32 and 27 knots, but the admirals rejected these proposals. They did not want to see the thin-tube boilers in the new project, but then Tennyson d'Einkort managed to make an offer that could not be refused.
The second draft of the cruiser had only one fundamental difference - thin-tube boilers of the same horsepower 120 000. But due to the mass savings of the power plant, the battle cruiser turned out to be faster on the 0,5 node, its onboard booking was brought to 254 mm and with all this it turned out easier on the 3 500! The hull decreased in length by 14 m, the draft is reduced by 30 cm.
The Admiralty was unable to refuse such an abundance of benefits, after considering the projects, approved the second option (with thin-tube boilers) and further design proceeded on its basis. In total, four projects were prepared (No. 3-6), and three of them (No. 4-6) were supposed to be armed with 4; 6 and 8 with 457-mm tools, the displacement was to be 32 500; 35 500 and 39 500 tons. The speed was maintained at the level of 30 nodes (for the project with 6 * 457-mm - 30,5 knots), and the armor belt was again reduced to 203 mm.
Surprisingly, but the fact is that the admirals did not at all “value” the booking of the ship. We have already said that even the 254 mm for the battle cruiser looked like an overly weak defense, but the attempt by the Shipbuilding Directorate to return even to such armor did not meet with the support of sailors. In variants 4-6, booking became a victim of monstrous 457-mm guns, and in variant No. 3, in which the main caliber consisted of 8 * 381-mm and which eventually became the main, the admirals preferred to reduce armor from 254 mm to 203 mm in order to bring the speed from 30 to 32 nodes. It was assumed that for this the cruiser would need to be equipped with an 160 000 hp power plant, the normal displacement should have been 36 500 t.
Subsequently, this option, of course, refined. The power of the machines was reduced to 144 000 hp, having found the reserves of weights (including due to savings on the power plant) and at the expense of reducing the displacement and decreasing sludge while maintaining the speed of the 32 node. The ship received a very high board (a bow height of 9,7 m, the forecastle at the very bottom - 7,16 m, feed - 5,8 m).
As for booking, unfortunately, the author has not found his schemes, and from the descriptions it looks like this. The battle cruiser received an extensive 203 mm belt of armor, and apparently he (as well as the Invincible and Rinaun armor belts) covered both the machine and boiler rooms and the areas of the art calves of the main caliber towers. Further, the belt was thinner in the bow and stern to 127 and 102 mm, the citadel was closed by a traverse with a thickness from 76 to 127 mm, supposedly there were several of them in the bow and stern. Over 203 mm there were two more armored belts, at first - 127 mm, above - 76 mm. The armor deck within the citadel was 38 mm thick - both in the horizontal part and on the bevels. Outside the citadel, it most likely passed below the waterline and had 51 mm in the bow, and 63 mm in the stern. Above the armor deck outside the citadel was another intermediate deck (25-51 mm in the bow and 25-63 mm in the stern). In addition, there was a thick forecastle deck, which had a variable thickness from 25 to 38 mm, and in the stern, where the forecastle ended, the main deck had an 25 mm. The thickness of the battle-room armor was 254 mm aft (for controlling torpedo firing) received 152 mm.
The armor of the towers exceeded that of the Rinaun (229 mm) and had 280 mm forehead, 254 mm side walls and 108 mm roof. But alas - the barbets were exactly the same (178 mm), that is, in this respect, the new project was inferior even to "Tiger". The head of the Shipbuilding Department himself appreciated the protection of the new battlecruisers "at the" Tiger "level, and it probably was like that - certainly the 203 mm main armor belt covering the machines of the boilers and the main artillery was better than the 229 mm Tiger armor belt protecting only Machines and boilers - the side opposite the GK artillery was covered with only 127 mm plates. But the barbettes, alas, were weaker protected.
As for the weapons, there were two options. Both of them included 8 * 381-mm in four two-gun turrets, but option "A" suggested placing 12 * 140-mm gun mounts and four torpedo tubes, in version "B" it was proposed to increase the number of 140-mm guns to 16, and torpedo tubes cut to two, with option "B" was heavier on 50 tons. Accordingly, the displacement of the battle cruiser was 36 250 t in variant “A” and 36 300 t in variant “B”
It took the Admiralty ten days to review projects and on 7 on April 1916, it approved option “B”.
If we compare this ship with the German Ersatz York, we will see the obvious and, literally, overwhelming superiority in booking the latter. So, for example, in order to get into the cellar of a German battle cruiser through the main armor belt, the British projectile had to first overcome 300 mm, and then 50-60 mm vertical armor (anti-torpedo armored), while the German one - 203 mm and 38 mm bevel (the only advantage of which was its inclined arrangement). To penetrate the horizontal part of the deck over the side, the German projectile was enough to break through the 127 mm medium or 76 mm upper armor and pierce the 38 mm horizontal armor, the English - at least 200-270 mm side and 30 mm horizontal deck armor. If we consider only horizontal booking (for example, when a shell hit the deck along the axis of the ship), then the protection of the English and German battlecruisers is approximately equivalent.
Medium artillery "Ersatz York" is located in the dungeons and had much better protection. On the other hand, openly standing 140-mm guns of the British ship were located much higher above sea level and were not flooded - in various combat situations this or that option could be preferable, so here we can talk about approximate equality. The main caliber of the battle cruisers, despite the difference in concepts of its creation (“heavy projectile - low initial speed” among the British and “light projectile - high initial speed” among Germans), should probably be considered equivalent in their combat capabilities. As for speed, there was an obvious advantage over the British battle cruiser, which was supposed to develop the 32 knots. against 27,25 ties Ersatz York. Without a doubt, the English ship could catch up with the Germans, or escape from it, and, in principle, the newest 381-mm armor-piercing shells of the “Greenboy” could well defeat the German defense if they were lucky. However, for the Ersatz York guns, the British battle cruiser, with its booking roughly equivalent to the Tiger, was literally a “crystal” one — its defense made its way to any point at almost every conceivable combat distance. In this respect, the battle cruiser of the project “B” was not much different from the “Rinaun” (the sharpened dining knife doesn’t care about the thickness of the apple peel).
The Admiralty placed an order for three battlecruisers of type “B” 19 on April 1916, and on July 10 they received the names: “Hood”, “Hove” and “Rodney”. Three days later another ship of this type, the Anson, was ordered. The shipyards began preparations for the construction and collection of materials for the first three battlecruisers at the beginning of May, and less than a month later, on November 31 1916, the main ship of the series “Huda” was laid.
But - an amazing coincidence! It was on this day that the grandiose clash of two strongest fleets of the world took place - the Jutland battle.
To be continued ...
Rifle battle cruisers. "Hood" and "Ersatz York". H. 2
- Andrei from Chelyabinsk
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Battle Cruiser: Fon der Tann vs Indefatigeble. H.2
Line Cruiser Rivalry: Moltke vs. Lion
Line Cruiser Rivalry: Moltke vs. Lion. H. 2
Line Cruiser Rivalry: Moltke vs. Lion. H. 3
Rifle battle cruisers. "Seidlits" vs "Queen Mary"
Line Cruiser Rivalry: Derflinger vs. Tiger
Rifle battle cruisers. "Derflinger" against "Tager". H. 2
Rifle battle cruisers. "Derflinger" against "Tiger"? H. 3
Line Cruiser Rivalry: Rinaun and Mackensen
Line Cruiser Rivalry: Rinaun and Mackensen
Rifle battle cruisers. Large light cruisers "Koreydzhes"
Rifle battle cruisers. "Hood" and "Ersatz York"