A few questions that I pondered over!


War Hero
The USS Yorktown (cv10) at Patiots point near Charleston South Carolina has a wooden flight deck and an armoured hangar deck. An Essex class built during WW11 and only decommisioned in the 70`s.

The hanger deck is huge with jet aircraft displayed there but I dont know if it ever operated them.


Lantern Swinger
Seaweed said:
The catastrophic loss of three battlecruisers at Jutland was not directly due to their construction but to their (presumably either on the orders of or with the connivance of Chatfield, Beatty's Flag Captain) breaking all the rules about cordite handling in order to increase their initial rate of fire. Hood as I understand it was listed for improvements in a refit that never happened, for want of money. Haporth of tar one could say, 1500 men dead.
Seaweed said:
Not so... LION had a new gunner prior to Jutland who tightened up on the cordite handling procedures and his actions probably prevented LION being the 4th battlecruiser lost that day.


Re the R Plate action, our three were not battle cruisers but cruisers pure and simple, Exeter 8" and Ajax and Achilles 6". Tactics and courage and a bit of luck and a superb deception operation afterwards won the day against the 11" armed Spee.

Wrong war matey, he means the earlier WW1 scrap when INVINCIBLE and INFLEXIBLE had a long chase of a sea battle with Von Spee's squadron. This was a classic example of the 'why' behind their building. They were fast ships with big guns to hunt down these raiders and smaller ships. Their other role was as 'scouts' for the fleet battering through any enemy light forces to scout the enemys main fleet BUT they shouldn't have been expected to slug it out toe-to-toe with battleships.

How about b'cruiser v b'cruiser fights? There is a school of thought that it was British cordite handling procedures and slack anti-flash prevention that was the cause of the loses at Jutland. Even German b'cruisers had turrets burn out (Seydlitz at Dogger Bank) but it seems like our lads liked to store un-cased cordite bags along the passages and in the handling rooms ready for laoding in a hurry... or a hot splinter from an enemy shell.

Had all British b'cruisers followed LIONs cordite and magazine handling procedures... indeed the Admiralties own rules, we may just have lost turrets and areas and not whole ships.

It's not that the b'cruisrs were 'under-armoured', they were fine ships but were let down by eager crews and officers and the lack of main armament training facilities.

As to the original question as to why b'cruisers where bigger and heavier than the contemporary battleships of that years estimates, one word 'speed'. LION had 42 boilers in a long sleek hull and could reach an unforced 27-28 knots with about 70,000 shp on a displacment of 29,700 tons, the ORION class had 18, developed 27,000 shp and could do 21 knots on a approx. 25,000 tn displacment. They also had 2 more 13.5" guns and a 3" heavier armour belt and were 119 ft shorter on the same beam and approx. the same draught (there's a foot in it).

It's the extra boilers that made them bigger.
Thanks for asking.
Up to a point Lord Copper.

It depends on who/what you believe.

2. There is credible eveidence that Fisher got to build the battlecruiser because he promised that by doing so he would make the battleship obsolete. He argued that a smaller number of bc could do the same job as was then being done by the ships of the line, and cheaper. In return, the Liberal govt had to make him 1SL.

Conspiracy theories aside what is known is that alot of it comes down to geography and history. So many bc were lost at Jutland partly becuase of the cordite as discussed above, but also because of fundamental differences between the British and German philosophies of construction.

The British were building for a Fleet based around Imperial protection. Consequently, they needed great range, and, the fact that they would be on station abroad for long periods, much attention was paid towards what today would be called habitability. Note also the fact that, even when a ship is alongside, our lads tend to live on them.

Further, having had the biggest navy in the world for so long, we had had the support fabric for that for an equally long time. Ship size, and how much belt armour could be fitted on the largest bc, was constrained by the size of the dry docks available to support them. I know about the couple that we built up at Rosyth, but that was in the context of a naval arms race where bases facing Germany were at a premium. It doesn't take into account the sizes available at Pompey, Guzz, Gib, Singers, HK, wherever.

So, where am I going with this? Germany started building up her Navy through the 1880s/90s after unification. She was explicitly intending to challenge the RN. All her dry docks were built from scratch in support of this aim. Hence, they could get the length of the British bc, but also put on the armour belts that ours lacked. Also, they were gearing up for a fight in the North Sea, not imperial policing. German practice was for ships' company to live ahore in barracks and then man up to go to sea for short periods. Consequently, living arrangements on board centred around short term hammock space- ergo, more space for armour and armament than the UK equivalent.

End result Jutland. Bc of 2 nations built for fundamentally different purposes come up against each other and we come off worse. The Falklands, as has been correctly stated, is the only real example of the bc concept being carried out- they achieved exactly what they were designed to do (race across the world, destroy enemy forces at range and then back home for tea and stickies.

Interestingly, if we had just sorted out the AA fit in the inter war years, a second example could have been offered by the REPULSE and Force Z in 1941. However, cheese paring got in the way.
Battle Cruisers as a class of ship had in reality a very short life as they were made effectively obsolete by the QE class of fast battleship that actually fought with Beatties battle cruisers at Jutland. The Hood ended up as a anique oddball halfway between the battlecruiser and the fast battleship. I am sure if the RN had been able to afford another Nelson/Rodney that the Hood would have been scrapped


Lantern Swinger
kinross_special said:
Up to a point Lord Copper.

Who do you mean, Kinross Special?

2. There is credible eveidence that Fisher got to build the battlecruiser because he promised that by doing so he would make the battleship obsolete. He argued that a smaller number of bc could do the same job as was then being done by the ships of the line, and cheaper. In return, the Liberal govt had to make him 1SL.

I don't know whether I believe that. Fisher did have the adage 'speed equals armour' but could he have really expected a BC to slug it out with a BShip?

A far as I can tell, he had no say with Beattie and the tactics the latter used as for Beatie to use speed would entail him keeping to his most extreme range of his guns and trying to 'cross the german T'.

As it was, it was the german BCs that fired 1st at Jutland and I'll have to check up Dogger Bank.

I agreed with pretty much everything you said as that's how I've come to understand it. I should also mention that my first comment disagreeing with seaweed was about 'Beatie and Chatfield breaking the rules' ... how muc influence would they have over the gunnery dept.? Would they order all safety practices to be ignored? If you read the 'Grant' link, it's the gunner who set the practices on board LION, apparently. He didn't ask anyone before instituting a new regime in the magazine and handling spaces.

Good topic.