In this competition, a huge role was played not only by the quantity, but also by the quality of the newest battleships, and, I must say, they evolved at an awesome pace. The same Queen Elizabeth, founded only 7 years after the founder of this class of ships, surpassed the latter as much as the Dreadnought itself did not surpass the previous battleships, and in fact it was considered a revolution in naval affairs.
In those years, the search for the concept of the linear ship of the future took place, and scientific and technical progress hurried so quickly that admirals and engineers had to think over new concepts before the opportunity arose to test the existing ones in practice. Therefore, in different countries (and sometimes in one), projects of battleships that were quite different from each other were created. However, shortly before the First World War, England, Germany and the United States came to very similar views on the place and role of the battleship in battle. What led to the fact that in these countries in 1913-1914. very similar (of course, adjusted to the national shipbuilding schools) ships were laid: the latter are often called “standard” battleships.
American "standard" battleship "Pennsylvania"
Why did this happen, and why did other countries that participated in the dreadnought race (France, Japan, Italy, Russia, etc.) not build “standard” battleships? It is easy to answer if you recall the main global trends in the development of ships of this class. The fact is that the development of battleships of all countries was influenced by two fundamental factors:
1. The explosive growth of naval artillery power. At the moment of dreadnought's birth, it was believed that 280-305-mm guns would provide them with sufficient fire power. However, after some 5 years, the world saw the power of the super-dreadnoughts armed with 343-mm cannons. But then, after only a few years, even 343-356-mm artillery ceased to organize admirals, and much more powerful 381-406-mm guns began to come into service ... In general, the desire to put as heavy weapons as possible on the battleships was available to the country) became the most important leitmotif of the creation of battleships.
2. Economic constraints. Even the wallets of the leading economies of the world were not dimensionless, so the dimensions of the battleships being built as standard were sought to fit into more or less budget-friendly dimensions. For the period immediately preceding the First World War, this restriction was the normal displacement in 30 000 T - the ships incorporated in 1913-1914 had either approaching it or slightly larger than it.
In other words, perhaps we can say that firepower and cost were of key importance, but the speed and protection of battleships shipbuilders in different countries of the world balanced on the basis of the above postulates and the concept of application fleet. But the fact is that for England, the USA and Germany, there was another limiting factor that did not bother other countries too much.
Recall that the English "Dreadnought", in addition to the unequivocal superiority in artillery armament over any battleship of the world, surpassed the latter in speed - it was the 21 node, against the classic battleships 18-19. So, if the power of the Dreadnought's artillery and armor were very quickly surpassed, then its speed for a long time became the standard and was recognized as quite sufficient for the battleships - the bulk of the maritime powers created dreadnoughts with a maximum speed of 20-21 knot. But, unlike other members of the “dreadnought fever,” only three powers: Great Britain, Germany, and the United States built for the 1913-1914 years. truly numerous linear fleets consisting of “21-node” battleships. All three of these countries were preparing to "argue" for the role of the strongest sea power in the world, and this "dispute" could be resolved, according to the operational views of those years, only in a general naval battle. Naturally, for “Armageddon” it was necessary to collect all the cash battleships into a fist and fight them in a single battle formation.
British "R" type battleships
But in this case there was no point in increasing the speed of promising battleships over the 21 node - this would not give the new ships any tactical advantages, since they still had to act in conjunction with the relatively low-speed dreadnoughts of the old structure. Therefore, the refusal to increase the speed, in favor of the growth of firepower and the protection of the battleships, seemed to be a perfectly sound decision.
Not that naval theorists did not understand the importance of speed in battle of linear forces, but in England and Germany the battle cruisers and (in England) high-speed battleships such as Queen Elizabeth should perform the role of the “high-speed wing”. But in America it was considered more important to increase the number of dreadnoughts, postponing the construction of the forces that ensure their action for later.
The battleship "Pennsylvania" on maneuvers
Thus, England, the United States and Germany, although following their own, national views on the development of the navy, still came to very similar conditions: to design and build battleships within (or slightly above) 30 000 t of normal displacement, armed most heavy guns from the available, with a speed not exceeding the 21 node. And, of course, the maximum security that was only possible if the above requirements were met.
Strictly speaking, only American battleships, which were built starting from the Oklahoma-Nevada pair, are usually referred to as “standard”: their displacement from series to series increased slightly (although this is probably true only from Pennsylvania), the speed was kept at level 21 bonds, as well as apply a single principle of armor protection. But, by virtue of the reasons stated above, the last prewar battleships of England and Germany are also sometimes called “standard”, although, perhaps, this is not entirely correct. However, in the future we will call them "standard" as well.
In the cycle of articles brought to your attention, we will consider and compare battleships of three types between them: British ships of the type “R” (“Rivendzh”), German type “Bayern” and American type “Pennsylvania”. Why these ships? All of them were designed at about the same time - the head battleships of these types were laid in 1913. All of them were completed and became part of the fleet (although the Germans - very briefly, but this is certainly not the fault of the ships themselves).
Bayern flooding in Scapa Flow
Battleships of these types took part in the hostilities. And, of course, all of them were created within the framework of the concept of a “standard” battleship to oppose their own kind, which is why their comparison seems perfectly correct.
The fact is that despite the common prerequisites of creation, all these battleships were influenced by the national characteristics and concepts of the linear fleet, and despite many similarities, there were also significant differences. So, for example, despite the almost equal caliber of the guns of the German and British battleships, the first were created according to the concept of “light projectile - high initial speed”, and the second - on the contrary. Shipbuilders from all three countries tried to provide maximum protection for their “offspring”, but the American battleships got the famous “all or nothing” scheme, but the British and German battleships were booked much more traditionally. We will try to identify these differences and suggest what effect they would have on the results of the hypothetical opposition of these battleships. After examining the ships of the types "Bayern", "Rivendzh" and "Pennsylvania", we will identify among them a leader and an outsider, as well as the "middle ground" between them.
Why other countries did not support the three leading naval powers in the construction of "standard" battleships? The reasons were all his own. For example, France simply “did not grow up” to a standard battleship - its docks could not serve warships with a normal displacement above 25 000, and within these limits one could count on the super-center spread — an analogue of the British “Iron Duke” or the German Koenig. In addition, the French did not have a weapon larger than 340-mm, which, to ensure sufficient fire power, required to place at least 12. And this was a rather “heavy” solution - eight larger caliber guns would have been lighter, and left more displacement for armor and constructive protection of the ship.
Japan, in essence, sought to build not battleships, but something intermediate between the dreadnought and the battle cruiser. Bearing in mind the gigantic advantage that high squadron speed gave them in the battles of the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese wanted to continue to have linear forces that were faster than those that their rivals would have. Thus, for many years in the development of the battleships of the country of the Rising Sun, firepower and speed became a priority, but the defense was on the sidelines. And their “Fuso” type battleships, incorporated in 1912, fully expressed this concept - being well armed (12 * 356-mm guns) and very fast (23 knots), they nevertheless had a rather weak defense (Formally, the thickness of the same armor belt reached 305 mm, but if you look at what he defended ...).
One type "Fuso" battleship "Yamashiro" in Yokosuka
In Russia, similar trends prevailed as in Japan: when designing battleships of the Sevastopol type and battle cruisers of the Izmail type, our ancestors also paid maximum attention to the firepower and speed of ships, in terms of their protection limited to the principle of reasonable sufficiency. Alas, major miscalculations in terms of predicting the growth of the power of ship guns have led to the fact that reasonable sufficiency has become the most complete inadequacy (although, strictly speaking, to the battleships of the “Sevastopol” type this applies to a lesser extent than to the “Izmaili”). As for the Black Sea battleships, история their creation is very specific and worthy of a separate material (which, perhaps, the author will be engaged at the end of this cycle). You can, of course, remember that the fourth Black Sea battleship “Emperor Nicholas I”, which, by the way, could well become “Equal to the Apostles Prince Vladimir” (submitted for approval by the Sovereign Father and this option of naming the new ship), was laid in 1914 g ., that is, even later than the head "Bayern", "Rivengi" and "Pennsylvania." But in no way should it be considered the Russian equivalent of the “standard” battleship. When designing the Emperor Nicholas I, the emphasis was shifted to getting a warship as quickly as possible, capable of complementing the three Empress laid out in 1911 g to the full brigade, that is, to four battleships. And for the newest Russian battleship, various options were considered, including the 12 with the newest 356-mm / 52 guns, similar to those that they were going to use on the Izmail cruisers, but in the end the cheapest and fastest were selected version with 305-mm artillery. Well, the subsequent projects of Russian battleships, firstly, were created much later than Rivendzha, Bayern and Pennsylvania, and secondly, alas, they were never embodied in metal.
As for the Italian battleships, the following happened to them - despite the fact that Italy seriously "invested" in the update of its line fleet, in the period from 1909 to 1912. inclusive, having laid six dreadnought battleships, already in the next, 1913, the Italian fleet’s lag behind its two main Mediterranean rivals, France and Austria-Hungary, became quite obvious. While the Italians, having neither a new project nor a new gun, were forced to plant two “Andrea Doria” type ships with 1912 * 13-mm artillery of the main caliber in 305, in France in the same year three sverhredredrednouta were laid Type "Brittany" with ten 340-mm guns. As for Austria-Hungary, after the laying out of the very successful "305-mm" dreadnoughts like "Viribus Unitis", they were going to start creating new battleships armed with 350-mm guns.
Thus, the Italians were obviously lagging behind, and besides, they were faced with long construction times - for their industry, which was far from the most powerful in Europe, the creation of dreadnoughts became an extremely difficult task. The first Italian battleships with 305-mm guns at the time of the laying had quite adequate performance characteristics, if compared with the dreadnoughts of the leading powers under construction. But at the time of the sea’s commissioning, the super-dreadnoughts with the 343-356-mm artillery had already fired, which the Italian ships with their 305-mm artillery no longer looked equal (although, strictly speaking, they were not inferior as much as it was considered).
And based on the foregoing, in the project of the battleships Francesco Caracolo, the Italian shipbuilders tried to create such a ship that would definitely surpass the existing French and Austro-Hungarian competitors, but at the same time, would not yield to their peers built by the great maritime powers. In other words, the Italians tried to predict the development of a battleship for many years to come and to embody these guesses in metal: accordingly, their ships of the type “Francesco Caracciolo” can be considered as forerunners of the concept of a high-speed battleship in Italian design. But here the “standard” battleships in the understanding we described, they, of course, were not.
As for the rest of the countries, they either did not even manage to start the construction of the super-dreadnoughts, settling on “305-mm battleships” (like Spain and Austria-Hungary), or ordered dreadnoughts abroad — but within the framework of our theme all this is not is of no interest. Accordingly, we end our brief excursion into the history of battling in the prewar years and proceed to the description of the design ... let's begin, perhaps, with the English battleships of the type "Rivend"
Продолжение следует ...