The Graf Spee's final Battle : Almost 70 years on

Apr 2018
757
India
Really pretty similar to the original British Battle Cruisers the inflexible (1907), 16,000 v 17000 armament speed., armor.
Nyaah (thoughtful disagreement). Invincibles were things of a bygone era even then. The numbers may look similar but that's just it.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,799
Nyaah (thoughtful disagreement). Invincibles were things of a bygone era even then. The numbers may look similar but that's just it.
in reply to
Yes, "pocket battleship" is the term. It was an ingenious design by German naval architects to essentially get around the tight limitations imposed on German ships in the Treaty of Versailles. That limited Germany to 10,000 tons and no more that 11" guns. The Deutschland class ships (the eponymous, the Admiral Scheer and Graf Spee) were far more heavily armoured than British cruisers and their nine 11" and eight 6" guns gave them a formidable armament. They were faster than British battleships of the time as well. Never seen before; never matched at the time and never seen after. Unique.
"never seen beofre , never matched at the time and never seen after Unique"

The Invincbles were pretty closee in discplancement, armamenet, armour and speed. It was harldy some totally unique never seen before ship configuration. Which was my point.
 
Apr 2018
757
India
in reply to


"never seen beofre , never matched at the time and never seen after Unique"

The Invincbles were pretty closee in discplancement, armamenet, armour and speed. It was harldy some totally unique never seen before ship configuration. Which was my point.
Never seen before Ingenious - Maybe,
Never matched at the time - Not by a long shot, Never seen after - Come on, the world changed.

I see your point. But really, apart from those numbers there was really no similarity. Graf Spee (Deutschland class) was innovative in the sense they made it heavy enough to be considered a capital unit which enabled them to skirt around rifle Calibre limitations and yet remain within Versailles Treaty limitations at least in terms of long tonnes. It was unique in that sense. She was a WW2 warship of WW1 or prewar size.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,799
Never seen before Ingenious - Maybe,
Never matched at the time - Not by a long shot, Never seen after - Come on, the world changed.

I see your point. But really, apart from those numbers there was really no similarity. Graf Spee (Deutschland class) was innovative in the sense they made it heavy enough to be considered a capital unit which enabled them to skirt around rifle Calibre limitations and yet remain within Versailles Treaty limitations at least in terms of long tonnes. It was unique in that sense. She was a WW2 warship of WW1 or prewar size.
I only need one of before , during after to show the statement is problematic.

The treaty limitation was 10,000 tons. Graf spree was 15-16,000 tons. Remain within the Treaty? Not even close.

And why would anyone build something so flawed, unable to beat anything it could catch. It was incpabale of fighting any actual capital ship and unable to catch cruisers to be a cruiser killer. Too much and too expenisve for what it was. It was not some Genuis of design.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,779
Dispargum
The treaty limitation was 10,000 tons. Graf spree was 15-16,000 tons. Remain within the Treaty? Not even close.

And why would anyone build something so flawed, unable to beat anything it could catch. It was incpabale of fighting any actual capital ship and unable to catch cruisers to be a cruiser killer. Too much and too expenisve for what it was. It was not some Genuis of design.
15-16K tons was close enough for the Germans to lie about. If Graf Spee was 25K it would have been an obvious treaty violation just by looking at her.

The pocket battleships were not intended to fight other warships. They were built as commerce raiders, weren't they? That's certainly how they were used, at least at first. When employed against warships they did have problems.

The Germans do seem to have overlooked the scenario that did in Graf Spee - being ganged up on by two or three ships who could beat her in both speed and combined firepower.
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,448
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
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The Germans do seem to have overlooked the scenario that did in Graf Spee - being ganged up on by two or three ships who could beat her in both speed and combined firepower.
There wasn't really a winning strategy given what they had to work with.

Though I am inclined to agree with Pugsville, the design wasn't great for its intended role.

If they were already planning to cheat substantially on the 10,000 ton limit, they could have designed a "Super Trento" with better armour/AA/endurance, but still able to outrun RN cruisers at 34 or 35 knots.
You could even drop to 6 x 8" guns as primary, as you are targetting merchants, and don't want to battle anything tougher than the smaller Light Cruisers
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,799
That's the problem with the design, the role a lone commence raider, it can't afford to be damaged even minor damage can so easily lead to loss. It;s role is about evasion, threat and picking of merhants, fighting heavy cruisers is just a loosing proposition despite the Graf Spree fighting qualties. Langsdorff shoul dnot have fought the orginal engagement, but his ship fighting qualties led him astray, and teh lack of speed reduced it;s ability to run sucessfully.

Teh Pocket Battaleships simply too slow to run form cruisers and id not outclass heavy cruiser enoughto engage with impunity., It;s halfway house compemise design tends to encourgae fighting encounters which really go against the ships orirmary role. Overall it's confused comprise design unsuited for it's primary role and it's collection of attributes speen, guns, armur and unappealing dated combination that was not repeated scince 1906 because it was unattractive to do so.
 
Apr 2018
757
India
The problem with the German Navy as a whole was that time was always against them. Deutschland class ships were hybrids because of a reason. The Germans didn't have cruisers or commerce raiders in mind when they drew those ships in late '20s. They wanted battleships, or at least something with similar firepower but light enough to bluff off the treaty limitations just a little bit. This is where the innovative features of these ships come in. They reduced about 15% weight by arc welding instead of riveting. Armour thickening was impossible without substantially increasing the dead weight. The Versailles Treaty set the limitation as 10000 long tonnes, whereas Deutschland was slightly above 12000, Admiral Scheer was about 13600 and Graf Spee around 14500. Fully loaded she weighed about 15-16 KT.

The choice of gun caliber is a dead giveaway that they weren't making cruisers. They would go on to use the same gun (slightly upgraded) on Scharnhorst Class battleships. The choice of propulsion may appear stupid. However they were already playing with diesels in merchantmen. Even Auxiliary Cruiser Kormoran and tanker Altmark had the same M.A.N. diesels. These were not stupid choices for the time. It's simply unfortunate that they couldn't find enough time or patronage to modify the design to be more reliable and efficient. Yarrow and Admiralty boilers had a litany of problems when they were first introduced. Circulation problems, boiler tube failures, superheater underperformance etc. to name a few. The only difference is that unlike the Germans, the British constructors had smarter, less rabid patrons and more resources in terms of materiel and time.

Deutschland class ships weren't intended to fight WW2. Heck, they weren't even Kriegsmarine ships to begin with, they were Reichsmarine ships. They were just good tech demonstrators of a navy that had lost everything a decade back and wasn't willing to let it's engineering and shipbuilding prowess to be flushed down the toilet. They had to find a way to use them once things started to go south, hence the commerce raider thing. And even with those limitations, they had excellent gun control and rangefinding. Exeter got the taste firsthand.

The ships Germans made for armageddon wouldn't start appearing before 1935, by the time Hitler's Nazi behind was safely spread across the red leather couch in the Chancellery. All of them had B&V steam turbines for propulsion and all Versailles Treaty conditions had already been substituted for toilet papers. Therefore, although a trio of weirdos in WW2, the Deutschlands were by no means bad ship designs keeping in mind the time they were built.

As for the Invincibles (or Indefatigable or Queen Mary), their legacy of instantaneous salvation from German salvos was proudly carried on right up till 6 o'clock in the morning of 24th March, 1941 by none other than their younger but heavier sister. Graf Spee fared far better than those Royal junks. And those numbers mean nothing. First of all Invincibles were way heavier, with about 17500 T of design weight and above 21000 T fully loaded. Their propulsion was medieval compared to what was on board Graf Spee. 31 boilers spread across four boiler rooms driving four direct drive steam turbines which could churn out about 45000 shp when pushed to their absolute limits. Deutschlands' dirty diesels could easily make 54000. Don't get me wrong, it was an excellent propulsion system back in mid 1900s but not comparable to the ones used on Deutschlands. In terms of range and cruising speed, the Invincibles (3090 nmi at 10 knots) come nowhere near the Deutschlands (16300 nmi at 18.7 knots). Similarity may be observed in the bore width of the main rifles. Even there, the Deutschlands fired lighter shells with slightly greater muzzle velocity and range. Gun layout, turrets and auxiliary armament were totally different. The only similarity was in armor. The only difference was that for the Invincibles and their successors, cardboard armor was a matter of choice whereas for the Deutschlands, it was a matter of compulsion.
 
Nov 2008
1,427
England
In 1937 work began on a project for an improved Deutschland class designated Kreuzer P. This projected class of warship would have had a standard displacement of 31,000 tons, a speed of 34kt, and, like the Deutschlands, a main armament of six 280mm (11in) guns. Twelve ships were projected as part of the German navy`s Z-Plan. There was also a 1939 project for a battlecruiser of 30,500 tons, a speed of 33.4kt, and a main armament of six 380mm (15in) guns. Like the Deutschlands, and the projected improved Deutschlands, they were envisaged as long-range commerce raiders. Three ships were planned.