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...the Fisher design legacy...the battle-cruiser...

 
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bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:09 pm    Post subject: ...the Fisher design legacy...the battle-cruiser... Reply with quote

Let's see if I can stir some responses with this...leaving aside the
"Dreadnought" for a moment, the "Invincible," and the battle-cruiser type in general, arguably Fisher's "real" baby...was this
type necessary or represent sound strategic or tactical thinking?
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tone
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Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 479
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has been discussed extensively in literature. I think the learned take is that the type was fundamentally goofy. It was meant to sweep the seas of lesser raiders (cruisers and light cruisers), but no thought was seemingly given to what would happen if the enemy built battlecruisers and deployed them in the same role. That is, the ships could not defeat ships similar to themselves without a dice-toss being the determinant of victory (a badly biased dice toss, as the nuances between German and British types would demonstrate).

Lastly, the need was soon realized that these ships would have to join the battleline, more or less, after a fairly closely attached scouting duty had been fulfilled. No one wanted to leave large guns idle simply because the ship mounting them was not deficient in some measure (same impulse is applicable to the German II Squadron of pre-dreadnoughts).

I hope someone pipes in with a better answer than this, and can at least breezily source their view.

tone
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bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My thoughts exactly. I feel like Fisher tended to think like he wrote:hastily; and didn't always think through his concepts, for instance to
the logical conclusions you state. What happens when the other guy builds
them, and arguably better ones? The fact that they were built, and that the
Germans felt the need to have them too, demonstrates the degree (astonishing) to which Fisher was given his head.
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Harley



Joined: 23 Oct 2005
Posts: 131
Location: Great Britain

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be fair (not often I say this), Fisher was the professional head of the Royal Navy with an impressive record of achievment behind him. And his Committee on Designs which in addition to "Dreadnought" worked out the battle cruiser design was composed of arguably the best naval brains in the country.

I won't deny too much was expected of them, but when you have ten (in 1914) very fast big gun ships you want to use them to the full (especially if you're the recently-recalled Fisher). If only the standard of leadership and gunnery had been favourably comparable to the Grand Fleet, the BCF could have achieved a lot. If only 1st and 2nd BCS had shot as well as 3rd BCS at Jutland and kept out of the German's range things would be slightly different. That said, the loss of "Invincible" is for me the supreme example of the WWI battle cruiser's weaknesses. The ship had a very active career, shot well at Jutland then got sunk.

Basically too much was expected from them, but a reasonable amount of battleline service could have been expected, especially in the case of the "Invincibles" which were the oldest capital ships after "Dreadnought" in the fleet.

I'm miles away from my books so that's just a rant from the top of my head!

Harley
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bargami



Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Richmond, Virginia

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harley I'm largely in agreement. Re. the Committee on Designs I'd only
suggest that the problem, if there was one, was that the priorities were
set by Fisher and really not subject to negotiation as far as the speed-armor-guns balance. I think possibly the Germans, when they sat down to design their response, came up with a better balance of these factors.
It is amazing how early, even well before becoming First Sea Lord, Fisher's
influence overwhelmed.
Re. the shooting of the battle cruisers absolutely agree. You point to
the relatively good gunnery of the 3rd BCS compared to the others. For the reason one need look no further than that squadron-swap just before
Jutland, where this squadron went up to Scapa Flow, and had the benefit
of the Grand Fleet's committed gunnery practice, while the 5thBS came
down to Rosyth (where Beatty barely even spoke to Evan-Thomas).
The rest of the battle cruisers with Beatty took their cue from the boss.
Beatty never demonstrated a real commitment to consistent gunnery
practice at-distance, and the results showed at Jutland.
Also agree .re the inevitability of these ships coming into the main
line of battle; I think that Anglo-German naval race was analogous to
our old nuclear arms race with the Soviets; then every warhead counted; in this case every big-gun counted and could be vital. Also, too much
money invested to keep these virtual-battleships on the periphery in
a safety zone. (and after all, they weren't a whole lot cheaper).
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