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The KGM Bismarck

Discussion in 'Surface and Air Forces' started by Flying Tiger, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I think the small differences between my sources and yours for Veneto could be metric/imperial.

    IIRC in 1937 the only ships in an advanced stage were the Veneto, so the 45.000t limit was what was probably used for the final US and British designs. IIRC, now that you prodded my memory, the Second London Treaty tried to reduce gun size to 14" (hence the KGV) but it was changed later under the so called "escalator clause" of the treaty as France and Italy (Italy did not sign) were going ahead with 15" designs. Nobody knew much about Bismark or Yamato at the time.

    As for the 35.000 values (for the early US BBs) and 45.000 (for the Iowas) we probably have just discovered yet another figure: designed standard load:p, as those often quoted values bear little relationship to the ship's real life standard displacements.

    I share your anoyance with spacing :mad:, I gave up my attempts to put the figures in columns after a couple of tries. Is there any non proportional font you can use for tables? system works in normal windows apps but it's propontial here :(.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    From what I've read the Germans were never really close to starving out Britain (months to years away). Furthermore the merchant raiders were most cost effective than the subs. If the Germans had put all that effort into subs instead of Bismarck in the same time frame they would have ended up with an awful lot of short range marginal subs.
     
  4. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Or possibly long range marginal subs, even assuming the Germans knew they were going to fight France and Britain, the KM coul not plan of having bases on the Biscay coast!.

    While possibly the merchant raiders were more cost effective there was no chance they could significantly affect traffic as they could not attack escorted convoys that made up most of it.

    Also the campaign around the Black Sea showed that the Luftwaffe could not enforce a close blockade by itself, the threat of the German surface fleet possibly prevented Riga and Tallin becomming another Odessa or Sebastopol.

    IMO while the Z plan would have been a colossal waste Bismark and her sister paid for themselves as "fleet in being".
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    TiredOldSoldier,

    You are correct about the differences with the Veneto's displacement, it was metric, and I never looked at the metric weight figure right aside of the imperial one.

    While not much was known of the Bismarck or Yamato, most had guessed that the guns would be greater than 14 inch Treaty limitation.

    With regards to spacing, I edited a post and put in --- instead of spaces, it seems to work fairly well.

    As to the "Z Plan," there has always been a lot of debate over this. While it would give Germany a "balanced" fleet, no consideration was given to British new construction or to the effect such a fleet would have on Germany's finances & her petroleum supply.
     
  6. Artem

    Artem Member

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    Thing is though, the designs for the Bismarck was begun in early 1930s, clearly the treaty being dead is an underestimate :p

    What i think people are missing out upon is that essentially Germany really sucked at surface maritime warfare. I mean who the hell sends a capital ship with just a stupid scrap of metal (Price Eugene)?

    And yes they did have plenty of other ships, which were in repair... the way I see it is that in the good old fashion sense couple of German admirals were impatient and hoped on a heroic roll, rather than thinking it through. i mean sure carrier warfare was then underestimated, but you don't see ships of these kind going in their own very often. Even a decent sub attack could have sunk it.

    Here's a bit of alternative history kicking in, but lets pretend that Germany waited a bit sent her surface navy to the med where Bismarck was backed up by a much bigger surface fleet possibly fighting a navy that wasn't going to murder them. Given the chance Bismarck would wreck havoc as it did to HMS Hood.

    Sure we can talk about how much of a waste or not the Bismark, compare it to US ships, but at the end of the day it was a Germany vs. RN and we know what potential one ship had... (with that stupid escort -.-), In my view bit more patience would have done Germany a better deal. Though i won't argue against the fact that RN would have most likely won the sea battle anyway (eventually), but at least they would be more crippled.
     
  7. MastahCheef117

    MastahCheef117 Member

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    Other than using the internet and other somewhat obvious things, I recently picked up Bismarck: The Epic Chase (Jim Corssley), and despite being roughly 160 pages I highly recommend it to any enthusiast, it's packed with information on the armament, layout and building of the Bismarck, it's first and final voyage in great detail and other aspects of the "Sink the Bismarck" chase.
     
  8. Thoddy

    Thoddy Member

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    maybe i can add some detailed information on this
    -[t] metric tons multiply with 0.98425 to receive long tons

    designation weight
    [t] hull ................................................11,691.0
    armor (without rotating turretarmor) ..17,540.0
    main machinery ...................................2,800.0
    auxillary machinery .............................1,428.0
    Armament ...........................................5,973.0
    therof rotating turretarmor (1,590 t)
    aircraft equipment .....................................83.0
    mine clearance equipment ..........................8.0
    other equipment .....................................369.4
    nautical equipment .....................................8.6
    rigging .......................................................30.0

    empty ship ..........................................39.931,2

    ammunition .............................................1,510,4
    Consumables ............................................155,4
    mine clearance equipment ammunition ...........2,5
    Crew ..........................................................243,6
    Provisions ..................................................194,2
    drinking water .............................................139,2

    type weight ..........................................42,343.5

    feedwater (primary filling 1/2) ......................187.5
    fuel oil .......................................................3,226.0
    diesel oil ........................................................96.5
    lubrication oil .................................................80.0
    avgas (primary filling) ....................................17.0

    construction weight ............................45,950.5

    feedwater(primary filling 1/2) .......................187.5
    fuel oil .......................................................3,226.0
    diesel oil .........................................................96.5
    lubrication oil ..................................................80.0
    avgas (reserve) ..............................................17.0
    feedwater-reserve ........................................389.2

    ship completely equipped ...................49,946.7

    fuel oil special load ....................................1,009.0

    ship w/ special load ..............................50,955.7

    This weight table provides the status of planning about 1936/1937(Handakte Kriegsschiffe Bundesarchiv-Marinearchiv)

    According comparision Bismarck- Richelieu made by the K-Amt (german BuShip) (Vergleich zwischen Richelieu und Bismarck K-K III A Nr. 587-41, G.Kdos.Berlin 31. Mai 1941.)
    the planned weight were exceeded
    -main machinery ~650 t
    -armament ~450 t (remote controls, electronics, sensors(radar))
    -further increase of fuel oil special load ~ 1,000 t

    therfore maximum displacement went to ~53,500 t (therof fuel oil 8,400 t) as built

    For Tirpitz displacemt increase further by additional AA artillery, ammunition and crew

    From the 8,400 t fuel oil available ~7.700 t were applied for calculating ranges
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The figure that should be used for comparison is "standard" as described in the Washington treaty, (which BTW makes me suspect the 10.000t in the earlier Versailles treaty referred to a different calculation method so the pocket battleships may actually be compliant despite being over 10.000t standard, Graf Spee more than her near sisters as she had thicker armour).

    The "standard" displacement is a creation of the treaty and doesn't reflect any real life figure (it was basically full load minus fuel and water and meant to avoid penalizing the "oceanic" navies that required longer legged warships. A ship was unlikely to ever have full ammo, crew and stores aboard but zero fuel at any time in her life. One issue with "standard displacement" is that as it was a totally conventional value it had no practical use so nobody bothered update it (or at least published updated figures) once modifications were made, you need to know the displacement of your ship when dealing with canals, dry docks or counter flooding to compensate damage but standard displacement is useless for that.

    Personally I believe the British and French were the only ones who really tried to stick to the treaties, the discrepancies between published full load, standard and bunkerage makes a lot of US ships suspect. What we do know is that none of the so called 35.000t (don't know about the British but the French and Italians used the term as well) were below that figure for standard displacement or even very close to it.
     
  10. Thoddy

    Thoddy Member

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    The german K-Amt has checked the french figures for Richelieu from seized documents. They came to the conclusion that standard displacement was in the order of 38,450 t(metric) = 37,845 ts (Vergleich zwischen Richelieu und Bismarck K-K III ANr. 231-41 G.Kdos., K-K III A Nr. 587-41 G.Kdos. und K-K III A Nr 650-41 G.Kdos)
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    IIRC, most of the 35,000 ton Treaty Battleships fell within 5%-10% beyond the 35,000 ton limit, and many compromises on design were made to keep the tonnage on or around 35,000 tons. So I can't say that the US was anymore guilty than the rest.

    If memory serves, the only treaty battleships that came in below the 35,000 ton mark were the British Nelson class, and that was only because the design was truncated to meet the limitation.
     
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I would say 15% to 30% is more accurate, most sources I have put the French ships around 43.000t standard with wartime additions and they were the most compact 35.000t built.

    My point is that nobody managed to make a good fast battleship within the treaty limits so the recurring refrain of "overweight" axis ships is pure propaganda, the allied ships were very similar sized. The treaty was flawed there, possibly the signatories were thinking of the QE but the over 40.000t needed for a fast 15" ship (HMS Hood) should have made them think, slow battleships are at a big operational disadvantage and unlikely to be built, in practice the only instances were the Nelsons and possibly Yamato..
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The US fast battleships were completed under the "escalator clause" or not under the treaty at all though. The Japanese withdrew from the treaty before buidling the Yamato's so they weren't violatoins however their cruisers were from what I recall. I'm not sure if there were any mods to the KGVs after the treaty limits were relaxed or expired.
     
  14. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    All of the fast 35.000 were completed after the escalator clause was invoked,but designs were finalized a lot earlier and the big guns had to be planned for years in advance. IMO the introduction, not the invoking, of the escalator clause effectively voided the Washington limitations as in the absence of any mechanism to verify tonnage it basically meant "we can exceed the limits if we believe, or say we believe, someone else is".
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    But the US fast BB's were upgraded to 16" gunned shipps after the elscalator clause was invoked as they were prohibeted prior to that. I suspect the 16" turrets added a bit of weight when compared to the planned 14" turrets. There was also a significant upgrading of AA armament prior to launch in some cases I beleive. Radar systems may also have added some weight.
    The escalator clause was invoked not because they believed someone was exceeding the limits but because Japan withdrew from the treaty.
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, that is true...However, you did include the caveat "with wartime additions". As completed, the standard displacement of the Richelieu was 37,832 tons or 8% over Treaty limits.


    Well, they were all mostly "good" designs, still, none were what you would call "ideal." The whole idea behind the Treaty was compromise, ie. trade offs - you could have this, but you would have to sacrifice that.
    As to thinking about "fast" battleships, the USN came very late to that game, not really making the "switch" until the mid-30's. Up until that time, their main focus remained on the "slow" battleship.
    *Note* If you are including the Yamato as a "slow" battleship, then you would have to include the North Carolina class and the SoDak class which were roughly of equivalent speed to the Yamato.

    As LWD pointed out, the whole "overweight" Axis ship "thing" is almost always limited to the Axis heavy cruisers, and the were all very much "overweight", and that fact is not "pure propaganda."


    You might be surprised to know that the switch to 16-ibch guns on the North Carolina did not take place until after her keel had been laid. Still, given the precarious times, and the likely possibility that the Japanese would not sign the Treaty extension, the USN had decided that there should be enough space and weight to mount triple 16-inch gun turrets in place of the quad 14-inchers.

    So, the inclusion of the "escalator" clause, by itself did not void the Naval Treaty, as the US would have stayed with the quad 14s had Japan signed on to the Treaty.
     
  17. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I knew the North Carolinas were initially intended to have 14" guns like the KGV, but I found little evidence an improved 14" was under construction. My point is that the escalator clause in practice raised the limitation to 45.000t for the signatories of the new treaty as it could be invoked "based on suspicion", no way the signatories of the original treaty would feel bound to the 35.000t clause after that.
     
  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    With regards to the escalator clauses, you are actually, your a little out of step here.

    First, there was only on "escalator" clause that would go into immediate effect provide parties that were included in the original Washington Naval Treaty did not sign on to the 1936 London Treaty. Specifically, this was Article 4

    Now, note that there is no increase in tonnage, only gun caliber. So, while battleships can now mount 16-inch guns, they are still limited to the 35,000 ton standard displacement cap.

    The second "escalator" clause was Article 25.
    As you can plainly see, there is no set increase in tonnage, thus, there is no guarantee that there will even be an increase in standard tonnage allowance, only that negotiations will be entered into through which new policy may be set.

    So, even if there is "suspicion" by one party, all parties will get together to reach some form of agreement/s. It does not mean that, one party can simply go out and build a super-battleship rival because said party thinks that another nation is completing a "bigger, badder battleship."
     
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  19. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I think the big point is that unless explicitly denounced the Washington treaty was still in place, so the raising of the calibre to 16" was an unilateral action that went against the treaty unless all the original signatories signed. Mentioning a 16" rather than just confirming the existing 15" is strange if the aim was arms limitations, I suspect USN influence here as they were much happier with their 16" than with their 14" while the British were not particularly happy with Nelson's guns and liked their Washington compliant 15" a lot.

    The provision for going above 35.000 is also ambiguous. The treaty states one party cannot build a ship larger than 35.000t without the agreement of the others but the wording provides no guarantees for non signatories that had ratified Washington that "the parties" would not agree to anything they pleased so I stick to my point that the treaty in practice voided the Washington limitations that without it would have continued to apply.

    I had also noticed that the "escalator clause" was in reality two, and there is no explicit mention of a 45.000t limit so that must have been agreed later. According to article 4 the switch to 16" was legitimate and did not require a negotiation round after April 1937 but it explicitly violates the Washington treaty.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I believe you are confusing the 1922 Washington Treaty and the 1936 London(II) Treaty - the 1922 Washington Treaty set the upper limits at 35,000 tons(Article II) and 16-inch guns(Article VI) and the 1936 London Treaty reduced the caliber to 14-inches, with the possibility of returning to an upper limit of 16-inch guns. Or are you just referring to the Naval Treaties in an all inclusive general term.

    Mentioning a 16" rather than confirming the existing 15" is far from strange, at least from an American and Japanese viewpoint pertaining to the original 1922 Treaty, as both nations had already fielded such guns on, respectively, Maryland and Nagato class battleships, and neither had done much if any work on 15" guns. With respect to the 1936 Treaty and later "escalator" negotiations, yes, the 16" gun was entirely a US doing, given their vast experience with 16" guns(and that they had no existing 15" guns) and the fact that the Japanese would be mounting similar calibre weaponry on their new battleships.


    The provision for going above 35,000 tons is not ambiguous, it is spelled out in the original Washington Naval Treaty of 1922

    Although, this is later greatly expanded upon and separated into two Articles for the 1936 London Treaty

    Now, for the US operating under the 1936 London Treaty, the question was whether to use Article 25 or 26 as their justification for invoking escalation. The Navy Department argued for, and eventually got their way, in arguing for Article 25. The State Department wanted to use Article 26 as the American justification for escalation, as they believed that they were on far firmer legal grounds with Article 26. The major difference between the two Articles is that 25 is a permanent increase as opposed to 26 which will only last for one year.

    Now, given the the original 1922 Treaty had it's own "escalator" clause, does this mean that the original 1922 Treaty, in effect, voided itself?


    Technically, three - Article 26, as I have previously mentioned, albeit that that "escalation" was only good for one year.

    Yes, the 45,000 ton limit was the product of further negotiations over Japan not being a party to the 1936 London Treaty, and was signed on June 30, 1938.



    To close...

    If you have a lot of spare time on your hands go to the University of Wisconsin's "Foreign Relations of the United States" collection here:
    http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=browse&scope=FRUS.FRUS1

    The results of my Naval Treaty search:
    http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=simple&size=First+100&rgn=Entire+work&q1=naval+treaty&work=&submit=Search
    Lot's of good stuff, too much in fact.

    These two are right up are alley.
    http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=article&id=FRUS.FRUS1937v01&did=FRUS.FRUS1937v01.i0009&q1=naval%20treaty
    http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=article&id=FRUS.FRUS1938v01&did=FRUS.FRUS1938v01.i0012&q1=naval%20treaty

    Happy Reading!
     

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