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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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    Naval life really would have been interesting had the British been able to get their 12-inch & 25,000 ton limit included in the 1936 Treaty.
     
  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    How would that have worked ? all current ships were "superdreadnoughts" and that would create huge incentive to keep then active as long possible as the replacements would be a lot less powerful. What a modern 12" would look like is anybody's guess though Dunquerque is probably a better model than Alaska. One thing that would blow the treaties apart was the USSR programme, as they were not bound by any treaty they actually laid down some 50.000t monsters.
     
  3. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    The 12" 25,000 ton limit is interesting, though it gets pretty far into "what if" territory. I suspect more and earlier work on high-velocity munitions and super-hard/dense alloys would have been the order of the day. Of course that makes for expensive munitions and probably short barrel life. Hmm.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    From what I gather, at the time, the British were focused on expanding their cruiser "fleet" - which they viewed as more important than new battleship construction. Thus, with their "cheap" 12-inch 25,000 ton battleship limit, and because of their "super-dreadnaughts" to spare, they would be relatively free to maintain their focus on their cruisers, instead of pursuing the far more expensive 14-inch/16-inch battleships.


    The Soviets are the great big question mark, and the British were very insistent on having them abide by the current(1936) Treaty terms at any price - as you will see.

    In a "sense", they were bound by the 1936 London naval treaty, but only in the "West," thanks to British negotiating a bilateral treaty with Soviets at the same time as the London naval treaty, and signed on July 17, 1937(same day they signed the Anglo-German naval Treaty). Although I have not been able to find the text of the Treaty, there are many newspaper reports to be found on the 'net. It seems that the Soviets achieved to big "victories". First: the Soviets were not required to provide any information on on their warship construction in the Far East(or at all, depending on the newspaper report), and, Second: Because the Japanese did not sign on to the 1936 London naval treaty, the Soviet far eastern fleet was not bound by the terms of the 1936 Treaty. Thus, the Soviets were free to build battleships as big as they wanted, with as large a gun as they chose to mount, just so long as they did it for their far eastern fleet...Thus, the reality is that the Soviets were really not restricted by the 1936 naval limitations at all, because their far eastern fleet had been given a "free pass." Needless to say, the Americans were none to pleased when they found this out.

    Further, pertaining to the Soviets, that is exactly what the British were afraid of...By staying with the 16-inch gun, and later the 45,000 ton limit, the British were scared of provoking the Soviets into a battleship race. For if the Soviets entered into such as race, Germany almost certainly would join the race. And if Germany began building bigger battleships, Britain and France would have to join in the large battleship construction. Italy was also expected to come in, but it was uncertain whether she would follow Germany's lead - therefore provoking France, or as a response to France.
     
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  5. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    First time I heard of Soviet-British treaty, the British were not likely to worry overmuch about anything based in Vladivostock. I found little evidence of what Italy planned s a follow up to Littorio, the second pair was basically a repeat contrary to the French where Clemeceau was to have an additional 6" turret and Gascoigne was a new design with fore and aft turrets though both were not much larger than Richelieu.
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I'm also curious about the Anglo-Soviet treaty; sdie note, the Anglo-German Treaty was signed June 18, 1935. The largest warships built by the Soviets in the Far East were two of the Kirov class cruisers; all of their capital ships laid down or planned were in European yards. So we seem to be saying that they could build battleships of any size in Europe as long as they promised to sent them to the Far East??

    The idea behind limits like 25,000 tons or 12" guns was to gradually draw down the size and expense of battleships. Thanks to the "naval holiday", the WWi generation in all navies would need to be replaced about the same time, and the hope was that all powers could agree to replace them with more economical ships and avoid a renewed dreadnought race. Of course the key point - or key problem - was that everyone would have to be on board and stick to the rules. It was not expected that new ships would be capable of slugging it out with 14-16" gun types, although the modern ships would have some advantages. Although I have not seen it mentioned, a logical step would be to curtain modernization of WWI-era ships, saving money and speeding the transition to the smaller type. After all, the only "need" for large battleships was........because other navies had large battleships.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    On the otherhand the Soviets apparently had a problem with producing big guns. From what I've read one of the reasons they didn't have any new battleships is that not only couldn't they make the guns they couldn't find anyone else willing to sell them the barrels. I doubt that this was an unknown factor although it's possible it was post 36.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That was the one in 1935. This was a later one that brought the 1935 Treaty under the standards of the 1936 London Naval Treaty. i have not found the text to this one either, but it is referred to by several names in various sources; most call it by the generic name "Anglo German Naval Treaty of 1937, others list it as a "supplemental" Treaty to the one of 1935, while the House of Commons calls it the "Anglo-German Bilateral Naval Agreement."
    http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1937/jul/14/naval-agreements#S5CV0326P0_19370714_HOC_143
    http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1937/jul/19/naval-agreements#S5CV0326P0_19370719_HOC_103
    http://beta.discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7395414
    http://www.prinzeugen.com/PGHistory.htm
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not according to this British House of Commons discussion


    http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1937/jul/20/london-naval-treaty-bill

    It would seem that Uncle Joe had different ideas as to the meaning of the terms of the agreement, having laid down the keel of the Sovietsky Soyuz in Leningrad two days before the agreement was signed, and the keel was laid to the Sovetskaya Ukraina in October, 1938 at Shipyard #198 on the Black Sea.

    I wonder if Stalin informed the British on the statistics of the Sovietsky Soyuz during negotiations of the agreement...Doubt it.
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, and no...

    You failed to note this passage in the German memorandom

    However, considering the fact that Hitler was breaking his promises left and right, this is just so much ink on a page.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Yes I did. The weight of it might be is that as long as there wasn't convincing evidence that Germany was breaking the treaties the British might not have wanted to either. However with Japan out of the naval treaties and things heating up in the Pacific GB may have built more ships as well which would have allowed Germany to do so without breaking the treaties. In 1939 the British had 15 battleships and battle cruisers with 5 more building the Germans 2 plus 2 building which means they could build at least 2 more before they got close to the treaty (Not counting the old battleships/"Armored Ships"). So it's only when they lay down thier 7th battleship that they are clearly breaking the treaty unless of course they build one of the monsters but that isn't likely in 39 or 40.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I believe the "qualitative provisions" that Germany says they will abide by would be the 16-inch & 45,000 ton limits. The tonnage ratio is the quantitative portion - which part of what Germany is throwing off,
     
  14. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    This looks a lot more complicated than I thought, multilateral treaties, bilateral agreements, automatic and conditional escalator clauses make things hard to understand.

    BTW I would not call what was in the Washington an escalator clause, what is stated there is that if someone is really unhappy about the international scene he can ask everybody else to get back to the table, that's a pretty standard provision in any treaty and quite different from explicit triggers.

    The intersection of bilateral and multilateral agreements looks like something lawyers could have fun with for years, but in international politics lawyers take second place to "might makes right".
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Sounds reasonable but it's worth noteing that up to that point the only nation that had deployed a modern 18" gun was Great Britain and they had taken theirs out of service and didn't appear to be doing any more research on them. Likewise the USN had built a couple of test guns but wasn't working on them for any of their future battleships. Indeed they had come to the conclusion that the 18" gun(s) had gone past the point of diminishing returns. When you combine that with the fact that the German 16"/16.5" naval gun (see http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_16-52_skc34.htm) was by German standards the most potent battleship gun around (since they wouldn't have known about the IJN's 18.1" guns) it doesn't look like they are giving up much if anyting by holding to ~16" guns. Likewise until it was well under construction I'm not sure that it would have been clear that the H class would exceed 45,000 tons so they had lots of time to renounce that portion or not.
     

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