From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Good article Battlecruiser has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Featured topic star Battlecruiser is the main article in the Battlecruisers of the world series, a featured topic. This is identified as among the best series of articles produced by the Wikipedia community. If you can update or improve it, please do so.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
October 6, 2013 Good article nominee Listed
October 31, 2013 Featured topic candidate Promoted
Current status: Good article
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Military history (Rated GA-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
GA This article has been rated as GA-Class on the quality assessment scale.
WikiProject Ships (Rated GA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Ships, a project to improve all Ship-related articles. If you would like to help improve this and other articles, please join the project. All interested editors are welcome. To use this banner, please see the full instructions. WikiProject icon
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.

Battle of Jutland, francis harvey and destruction of battlecruisers generally[edit]

I see this article is perpetuating the myth Francis Harvey saved Lion, whereas the evidence seems to point to Alexander Grant. (see talk, Francis Harvey article).

The article also implies that the british battlecruisers were sunk by combined action of the German fleet. The first two were sunk by Hipper's battlecruiser squadron before meeting the German fleet, the last by exchange between battlecruisers before the british and German fleets met. It says the battlecruisers were used as fleet units: I'm not sure what this means. yes, it was a combined operation with the fleet but they were not deliberately used in combat with battleships in the main fleet.Sandpiper (talk) 03:49, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

I see extensive OR on the Harvey talk page, but nothing else. If you have sources which confirm your theory feel free to amend the article. I do not see any implication that the British battlecruisers were sunk by German battleships; it merely says they were engaged with them. And the British battlecruisers were used in line-of-battle rather than in the support role they were designed for; whether or not this is deliberate is irrelevant - the statement about acting within the fleet is correct. Wiki-Ed (talk) 13:38, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
The implication of the article wording right now is that the battlecruisers came to grief as part of a larger engagement with battleships. They didnt. They blew up in exchanges with similar battlecruisers. The reason I have personally not messed with the Harvey page is precisely the problem of sourcing. The page itself contains some demonstrable factual errors, though not nearly so bad as when it was made a FA. A study of the available evidence, however, demonstrates that the Harvey myth is exactly that. It is well within the scope of editors to choose which facts they emphasise in an article, here you choose to mention harvey as having saved Lion, as one of just half a dozen sentences about the entire battle of Jutland where three battlecruisers were lost(plus 1 german, so 4). It is a nice story for story book propaganda in wartime, but that is all it is. The proper course for a reputable editor is not to give undue prominence to such myths.
The article says "The British battlecruisers became engaged with both their German counterparts, the battlecruisers, and then German battleships before the arrival of the battleships of the British Grand Fleet. The result was a disaster for the Royal Navy's battlecruiser... " it says the battlecruisers became engaged with german battlecruisers and then battleships before british battleships could come to the rescue. Strictly, two british battlecruisers were sunk before any German battleships became engaged at all. Four british battleships did join the battle before any German battleship, but still the second British battlecruiser was lost by fire from German battlecruisers. This is simply a matter of facts which i mentioned for politeness because I see you have a busy collection of editors on this page already and dont necessarily need another hacking about the text without explanation. look it up before complaining. Now, if you want to say the German battlecruisers did quite well in exchanges with british battlecruisers but then did badly when british battleships joined the engagement before the German fleet could intervene, leading to a near disaster, then I would agree. Sandpiper (talk) 22:02, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
You're reading meanings into the wording. If you have a better form of words by all means make the change and the "busy collection" of editors can review it. Wiki-Ed (talk) 01:16, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Well of course, words are there to convey meaning. If the meaning which they are conveying now is not what you intended, then they need to be changed.Sandpiper (talk) 09:49, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
I remain unclear the meaning of 'battlecruisers employed as fleet units'. You say they were used as line of battle ships which they were not designed for. Tell me one british admiral who would say british ships were not designed to engage in one to one battle with ships of nominally equal specification. British battlecruisers were specifically designed to be superior to their German equivalents so they could do exactly this. Maybe the design failed but actually I think it was the operation of the ships which failed, but they were designed to take on German battlecruisers. Sandpiper (talk) 22:43, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
I'll ignore the strawman. The point is that they were used in line of battle; British battlecruisers were designed to support the fleet and prey on smaller ships, not trade punches with equal or superior ships. Wiki-Ed (talk) 01:16, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
you have some evidence of that? Neither Beatty nor jellicoe, nor the admiralty collectively believed British battlecruisers should not engage German ones, nor did Fisher who was primarily responsible for the design concept? Sandpiper (talk) 09:45, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Look it up before complaining? Shouldn't be difficult to find something since pretty much every source says this. You, on the other hand, do need to provide evidence that battlecruisers were designed for use in line-of-battle. Wiki-Ed (talk) 10:04, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
So please quote me one, or two? But actually I dont know what you are saying. yes, battlecruisers were not designed to stand in a line of battle against a line of enemy battleships. But no, they were designed to stand in a line against battlecruisers and this is exactly how they were used by the RN. At Jutland they were not used in a line against battleships.Sandpiper (talk) 10:10, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

I see sondhaus, naval warfare is quoted in the article. I dont have a copy but thanks to the magic of the internet, on p.199 which is referenced in the article he says: "The combination of superior speed, a uniform battery of guns and improved fire control systems would give Fisher's battle cruiser the ability to catch and sink any armored cruiser, and to outgun any battleship from a distance at which its own relatively weak armor would not be a liability. From the perspective of 1904 Fisher envisioned a future in which battlecruisers would gradually replace pre-dreadnought battleships, as the latter neared the end of their service lives, defending British interests worldwide while flotillas of destroyers and submarines, backed by old battleships of the reserve fleet, protected the british isles from enemy attack....Fisher proposed three battlecruisers...and to placate battleship proponents one battleship...There is evidence Fisher hoped the dreadnought would be the last british battleship ever built and that all subsequent capital ships would be battlecruisers." I would suggest this is sourced evidence that Fisher intended battlecruisers to take on battleships and win. It does admittedly suggest he intended them to stand off to a safe range while destroying their enemies, but strictly I dont see what this says about being in a line of battle. The preview suggests that on p.200 Fisher met some opposition to his plans, but I cant see that page. Somewhwere I recall reading in Marder about the tussels he had to get his views accepted. Sandpiper (talk) 11:17, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

persistence pays. On p.200 I see sondhaus says the battlecruiser design lost out to the battleship because changing world situation meant a concentration on defence of britain against germany rather than a need for fast ships with global reach. He does go on to say the battlecruiser rendered the armoured cruiser obsolete. Sandpiper (talk) 11:45, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

While I am at it, I see article also says "and also as it would improve their rate of fire to compensate for poor accuracy". Grants memoir says that he trained his men in ammunition handling so that they could load as fast as when they were stacking ammo in the corridors. Essentially disproving the statement above that stacking ammo speded up loading. Where is evidence that stacking ammo did speed up loading? I accept it was believed it would speed up loading, but again that is not what the article says. Sandpiper (talk) 09:58, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

I'd suggest you reread what you just typed and look for the logical fallacy. Wiki-Ed (talk) 10:04, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, dont see it. You can please explain? Sandpiper (talk) 10:10, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
While this is long-dead, I think what Ed is pointing out is that training the men to load their guns "as fast as when they were stacking ammo" implicitly states that stacking shells and charges increased the rate of fire from standard procedures. Parsecboy (talk) 18:24, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
The battleship-cruiser was intended to be able to cruise the world's oceans and be able to out-range any of the enemy cruisers likely to be encountered that might be preying on British merchant shipping. The big guns were fitted to allow longer range engagements so enabling the 'battlecruiser' to hit and sink the opposing cruisers before the latter got within its own gun range. Almost exactly the scenario as later happened with the Battle of the River Plate. They were never intended for fleet use but that is how they were subsequently used.

Cleaning out the cobwebs[edit]

Hi all - I've been trying to update the article with references and formatting issues. I think the first half of the article is in pretty good shape. The rest, basically the histories of the ships in combat, is a mess. It's far too long for the article (compare to the combat history sections in Dreadnought or Battleship) and needs to be cut down drastically. I probably won't start working on it for some time, but I wanted to let my thoughts/plans be known in case anyone has any opinions. Parsecboy (talk) 18:42, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

I'd support cutting that down. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 20:49, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I support consistent referencing and appreciate how laborious it can be. However, I'm not sure about the change you made to the introduction. I think the bit you removed was a recent re-addition of some elements of the text that had been previously deleted. I don't think it is worded well, but the Deutschlands were designed as commerce raiders and the other decriptions of the role are widely accepted (and they frame the topic). The assertion that all ships are designed to engage smaller ships and run from larger ships is wrong: It certainly doesn't apply to battleships and small torpedo boats were created specifically to engage more powerful ships, a role which (torpedo-boat-)destroyers later assumed. The hunt-smaller/run from larger concept is applied to armoured cruisers and their derivatives.
As for the proposed cuts - can you be a bit more specific? It is a bit of a narrative, although I'm not sure that's a bad thing necessarily. The comparable section in the battleship is much shorter, but only because there is a separate article on Battleships in World War II. I'm not sure that we should be forking content here - there isn't enough of it to merit a separate article. Wiki-Ed (talk) 21:33, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the references took a while to sort out - note that there was about a half an hour between that edit and my previous edit :) As for the Deutschlands, I'm not disputing that they were designed to raid commerce - I'm disputing that that is a battlecruiser role. Invincible was in part designed to hunt down commerce raiders, not raid commerce herself. And no battlecruisers were ever used to raid commerce (unless you accept the RN's sometime description of the the later Scharnhorst and Gneisenau). As for the rest, you're telling me that a Dunkerque or KGV wouldn't have tried to run away from Yamato? Talking about single-ship engagements between relative equals is not the same thing as engagements between clearly unequal vessels. The statement that warships should attack weaker ships and attempt to evade stronger foes is the kind of pointless "duh" statement like "the sky is blue" or "the Pope is Catholic"; torpedo boats and destroyers are the exception that prove the rule.
I think the operational histories can be condensed some - for example, I don't think we don't need separate sub-sections for Heligoland Bight, Dogger Bank, and Jutland. It would be better to merge them into a single "Actions in the North Sea" section that gives the reader the broad strokes of battlecruiser actions in the North Sea. The Falkland Islands and the pursuit of Goeben & Breslau can be merged into a section on operations elsewhere (obviously we need a title :) We do have Naval warfare of World War I which could be used, at least for that portion of the article. Other parts are somewhat redundant, like the section on naval rearmament in the 1930s and the "cruiser killer" section later on (both mention the Dutch 1047s, for instance) and should be consolidated.
As an aside, there is a problem I've noticed with regards to the German battlecruisers - the article is using the rated speeds, not actual top speeds. For example, it credits Seydlitz with a top speed of 26.5 knots, which was the speed stipulated in the contract; on trials, she reached slightly over 28 knots. All German battlecruisers significantly exceeded their contract speeds (Von der Tann was actually the fastest capital ship in the world when she was completed, at 27.75 knots). Granted, trials speed is not service speed, but the German ships were at worst just as fast as their British counterparts. This calls into question the characterization of German battlecruisers as being slower than their British counterparts. Parsecboy (talk)
I'd want some verification that trial speeds for the Germans were achievable in service before I used them in an article like this one. Constructors often played game with trial speeds to meet contractual incentives, or they were performed without realistic weights aboard. The Italians were notorious for this between the wars. What speed did they make during Jutland or any other engagement?--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 15:22, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree. The "design history" is quite good and has had a lot of attention over the years, from a number of good editors (most recently Jonyunguk). The operational history, by contrast, is not very well-written and poorly sourced. What's more, we don't need to present a comprehensive account of battlecruiser service in this article, we only need to highlight what was relevant to the progression of the battlecruiser concept, and link out to individual ship/battle articles if people want to know more.
Also, I've rewritten the lead, it was getting far too long and not very relevant to an uninformed reader. The Land (talk) 19:31, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Nice rewrite. In response to the comment about operational history: I don't think sourcing should be particularly difficult, but trimming should be cautious. What was relevant to the progression of the battlecruiser concept? One might think Jutland should have taught some lessons, but the Royal Navy didn't change and deployed battlecruisers against battleships again. Should we gloss over Jutland because it didn't influence the use of the ship type? I realise you're not saying that, but the point stands - it would be subjective and relying upon individual ship or battle articles to cover the history of battlecruisers would inevitably lose something. Besides, there are relatively few actions involving battlecruisers so I don't see the harm in covering them. It's not as if we're constrained by space.
Parsecboy - I don't think destroyers or torpedo boats are really the exception. Submarines and aircraft carriers were never as heavily armoured or capable of delivering as much damage as 'normal' warships (obviously the picture has changed somewhat now) and in a 'straight' fight they'd lose. Obviously that rarely happened in reality - I can only think of two instances of battleships sinking vessels of those types (SM U-29 and USS Gambier Bay), but in an asymmetric scenario the weaker ship won. As for straight fights between battleships - you've picked some extreme examples there and I didn't say anything about "single ship" engagements because they almost never happened. Battleships were supposed to sail in a fleet and exchange fire. They didn't pull out of line and steam off when they got paired up against something bigger than them. Anyway, I noticed a game called "World of Battleships" coming soon - perhaps we should all take a break from Wikipedia and test the theory... :) Wiki-Ed (talk) 22:42, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sank Glorious in 1940 and I think that the Japanese caught and sank another US escort carrier as well. Argus (vs. Adm Hipper) and Victorious (vs. Bismarck) also had very close encounters, FYI.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 23:10, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I remembered Glorious overnight, but I wasn't aware that another US escort carrier had been sunk by a battleship. Are you sure? Wiki-Ed (talk) 14:54, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Not entirely, no. It was mentioned on another talkpage recently, but I didn't bother to confirm it. And it probably wasn't sunk by a Japanese battleship if it was indeed sunk by Japanese surface forces.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 17:08, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Are you two referring to the Battle off Samar? Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 17:16, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
As far as I know, Gambier Bay was the only American carrier sunk by surface ships - two other carriers, St. Lo and Princeton, were sunk during the Leyte operation, but by kamikazes.
Wiki-Ed - this is getting pretty far afield, but I don't see how the weakness of submarines or carriers in a surface fight detracts from my point - obviously, they would attempt to flee from superior warships. Here is my basic point: the idea that the "attack weaker ships and run away from stronger ships" concept is somehow unique to battlecruisers (which is to say, it's a characteristic that sets them apart from other warship types) is patently absurd. It doesn't matter if it's a single ship engagement or a fleet (though I would submit fleet actions are far rarer than those of a handful of combatants or less, even if you include detached squadrons like the Falklands and Dogger Bank). In any case, this whole issue is related to the Deutschland class ships, which I have never seen referred to as battlecruisers. Panzerschiffe, heavy cruisers, and "pocket battleships", yes, but never battlecruisers. I don't know why they're included in this article to begin with. Parsecboy (talk) 18:06, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
The Deutschlands are also discussed in the armored cruiser article, where they could seem more relevant. Jonyungk (talk) 22:44, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Parsecboy - the point I am making is that submarines, aircraft carriers and destroyers (a significant proportion of ship types) did not "attack weaker ships and run away from stronger ships"; they attacked stronger ships and used other traits (i.e. stealth, range and speed respectively) to avoid taking damage. The statement is applicable specifically to battlecruisers and I'm really quite puzzled why you are challenging it when it is so frequently used (e.g. Butler page 45 [1], Sondhaus page 178 [2], Elleman page 69 [3], and Potter page 195 [4]).
As for the coverage of this article: ships are classified by role, not by statistics and not by misleading names chosen to cheat Treaty limitations. If it's not a battleship and it's not a cruiser and it performs a role which is very similar to a battlecruiser it belongs here. For the Deutschlands most sources simply use the German term or the popularised English mis-translation since they have no need to categorise ships differently; some, however, explicitly make the link: Murfett on page 12 [5], Llewellyn-Evans on page 5 [6], Miller on page 184 [7], and apparently the Germans themselves according to O'Brien page 114-115 and in the footnote [8]. Wiki-Ed (talk) 00:23, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Submarines and aircraft carriers don't fit neatly into the traditional schema, since they are not surface combatants. As I implied above, they are less than relevant here. Destroyers, as I said above, are the exception that proves the rule. Honestly, explain to me how the logic of attacking weaker ships/running from stronger ships is somehow applies only to battlecruisers and not to any other type of warship. Would a light cruiser run away from something larger? Of course. Would it try to run down a destroyer? Of course. Ditto for heavy cruisers. Ditto for battleships (yes, I know, they steamed in fleets, except when they didn't, like when Scharnhorst and Gneisenau sank Glorious and the two destroyers, and then later when Scharnhorst attempted to run from Duke of York). Yes, the phrase is used in regards to battlecruisers, but to pretend that it doesn't apply to most other gun-armed surface ships is ludicrous.
The original classification - armored ship - comes directly from the wording of Versailles; it wasn't chosen to cheat limits. Role can inform classification, but the technical characteristics are generally more important. Many navies throughout history have used cruiser type ships or smaller as the core of the fleet, but that doesn't make them capital ships. Bismarck isn't a cruiser simply because it was only employed as a commerce raider. The characteristics of the Deutschlands suggest that their classification is that which the Kriegsmarine settled on in 1940 - a heavy (albeit overarmed) cruiser. Conway's classifies them as such, for instance. As I have said repeatedly but you have failed to address, commerce raiding is not a battlecruiser mission. Even if we accept your assertion that role is primary, commerce raiding is not a battlecruiser role, it's a cruiser role. Parsecboy (talk) 01:02, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I struggle to see why three full paragraphs are devoted to the Deutschlands in the armored cruiser article... "armored ship" does not mean "armored cruiser", and they certainly weren't inspired by or designed to any sort of armored cruiser design. They were simply heavy cruisers that traded armor for bigger guns, just like the British Yorks traded gun power for armor, or the early US treaty cruisers traded armor for more guns. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 07:14, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

I've taken them out of armoured cruiser - they've not got anything to do with it. Equally, I think they only need to be mentioned in passing here, in the same kind of way as the Kirovs are. The Land (talk) 07:56, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I suspect they were included because some sources treat them as an evolution of the armoured cruiser concept, albeit upgraded with (then) modern technology, not as an evolution of protected or light armoured cruisers (like heavy cruisers). But the technical characteristics are meaningless because the pace of change was so fast.
Parsecboy: Again we're not placing single ships in an arena; this isn't Top Trumps. There are only 8 single ship engagements listed for the whole of WWII on Wikipedia and while I think that's a slight underestimate it's not by much. E.g. light cruisers (plural) did engage heavy cruisers (plural) here and a battleship here; examples of unequal battles between gun-armed ships are easy to come by and you cannot just discount destroyers as the "exception that proves the rule" - they're not. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but the Royal Navy tradition was to engage the enemy more closely, so to say that a capital ship should not attack a more powerful foe is worth noting. Moreover it is not applied to other ship types by reliable sources and we should reflect what they say.
As for commerce raiding: British battlecruisers were designed (originally and primarily) for commerce protection because the main German threat to the UK was from raiders, be that armed merchantmen or "armoured ships". Until such time as the Germans built up a significant fleet of their own, which would have been mid to late 1940s, that was their role. The classification of the Deutschlands was misleading - they were not compliant with specified limitations and there is no doubt that they were considerably more powerful than the name chosen - hence the "pocket battleship" label. Not contentious. Wiki-Ed (talk) 12:16, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
How many fleet surface actions were there during the same period? (And I'm not talking about engagements with only a handful of engaged). So you don't like single-ship engagements. Explain to me why von Spee attacked Craddock and ran from Sturdee? Could it have anything to do with the relative superiority of the squadrons? As for Barents Sea, that's somewhat of a deceptive example, since Sheffield and Jamaica were modern cruisers that were classified as "light" solely because of their gun caliber, which the Brits chose specifically because it allowed them to build what were effectively heavy cruisers to skirt restrictions on that class of ship (if you want to talk about bending rules). And as for North Cape, that wasn't so much cruisers attacking a battleship as a battleship attacking cruisers that defended themselves. While the RN might have tended toward the Nelsonian, they are not the only naval force in the history of the earth, and their institutional culture is not universal.
So say it with me now: commerce raiding is not the same thing as commerce protection. To say that the Deutschlands were battlecruisers because they raided commerce would be like saying John Dillinger was a bank guard because he walked into banks with a gun. As for the designation, I don't see how it was misleading. Yes, the Germans broke the limitations, and perhaps they were more egregious than most, but that doesn't define the classification. Moreover, the Germans used Panzerschiff on their ironclad battleships in the 1870s-80s and the first two classes of pre-dreadnoughts, so to them, the term was not an understatement. The underlying problem here is that the Deutschlands don't fit neatly into the normal classification scheme; they're a bit more than a heavy cruiser, and they aren't quite a battlecruiser. Perhaps the best solution is to treat them as a unique case (i.e., on their own class page, and nowhere else). We shouldn't be in the business of shoving square pegs into round poles. Parsecboy (talk) 21:41, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Whether the role of the Deutschlands coincides with that of the battlecruiser or the armored cruiser is debatable but also to a point redundant since the battlecruiser was built to supplant the armored cruiser in the same role through superior speed and firepower. Which article, if either, the Deutchlands therefore becomes a slightly muddy issue. However, anyone who would summarily remove material on the Deutschlands without any discussion on the armored cruiser page or a consensus on this one is acting like a self-righteous, arrogant prick. I have restored the material and would suggest strongly that consensus be reached before it is removed again. Otherwise, I WILL contact an admin.Jonyungk (talk) 05:46, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Dude, I really do like the work you're doing here, but that's not a good way to come into this discussion. There's a cool page named WP:BRD, which stands for "bold, revert, discuss." With your action, we're in the 'discussion' phase. And I'm not saying we all have to be friends, I'm just saying that we can at least be respectful. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 06:43, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
It shouldn't have been removed so quickly, but I agree that we can discuss this politely.
Parsecboy: You picked an example of an unequal engagements where one side tried to flee. However, I think those examples are much rarer than the engagements (NB not fleet battles) where a battle took place regardless of the size of the opposing ships/ squadrons/ fleets. I mentioned cultural differences because some navies were more aggressive (e.g. IJN, RN, USN) than others. The Barents Sea: so what if the British cruisers had lots of 6" guns? They were 2/3 the size of the Hipper and had only marginal resistance to its 8" guns. They certainly could not withstand the 11" guns of the Lutzow.
The Deutschlands might not fit into a neat classification if one is fixated on technical characteristics, but it's absurd to try and categorise ships solely by displacement or armour or gun calibre, details which change radically every decade as technology develops. This article classifies ships by role, which is why it captures the Deutschlands, the Scharnhorsts, and the Alaskas. The defining characteristic is of a ship designed to outgun weaker ships (be they warships or merchants) and outrun more powerful warships. This is a definition used repeatedly by the sources and that's why they put the those ships under the category of battlecruiser. We are not here to invent "unique" ship classes. Wiki-Ed (talk) 14:09, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
I've moved the conversation about armoured cruisers to Talk:Armored cruiser. I'll observe that I've been an admin for 6 years and if the job now includes telling people not to edit articles without asking first, that has passed me by. But nonetheless.
Anyway, dealing with Wiki-Ed's point - I've always taken the view that "we should classify ships by role" steers dangerously close to original research. Regrettably, naval classifications are ambiguous, amorphous and shift radically with changes in technology and as a result of political imperatives to big up or play down individual classes. So it's very tempting to impose our own categories on them. But since "no original research" is one of our core policies, we can't. The Land (talk) 19:41, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure how classifying by role can be OR if we're referring to reliable sources which do the same thing. National naval categories are amorphous, sure I agree, but at least they give some indication of what the ship is supposed to do. Trying to classify a ship by speed or armour or gun calibre is even more misleading - there are considerably more variables. E.g. A "battlecruiser" in a British or German fleet of WWI was employed in a similar manner on the edges of a battle fleet, but their characteristics were very different. Wiki-Ed (talk) 22:56, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Here's the problem with using role to classify a ship. The Deutschlands were designed as commerce raiders, which as I have repeatedly pointed out (and you have consistently avoided addressing), is not a battlecruiser role. But even if we assumed for the sake of argument that they are battlecruisers, then we'd have to include the Dunkerques, since chasing down another battlecruiser is a battlecruiser role, not a battleship job. Ditto then for the Scharnhorsts, and let's not forget the Littorios, since they were intended to fight the Dunkerques too. And then the Richelieus must be battlecruisers, since they were designed against the Littorios. And the same for the Bismarcks, since they were designed to counter the Richelieus. I guess for the European navies in World War II, that leaves the King George Vs as the only proper battleships, since they weren't designed specifically against a slightly smaller opponent.
The Deutschlands were a third the displacement of contemporary capital ships and a good deal shorter (and were indeed significantly smaller than the Admiral Hippers), whereas true battlecruisers were generally larger than their battleship counterparts (for instance, Derfflinger was 35m longer than König and displaced 2,500 tons more at full load; the same holds true for British ships). A ship of at most 16,000 tons full load cannot possibly be considered a capital ship in the post-Treaty era of 40,000+ ton battleships. The World War I era battlecruisers were erroneously thought to be able to stand in the line of battle; no one would have made that mistake with the Deutschlands. They were heavy cruisers in all but armament. And oddly enough, Miller's book (which you cited above) states that the Scharnhorsts "disguised the weakness of their firepower, which was that of a heavy cruiser." (p. 187)
I should probably address the books you cited above. After scanning through Miller's book, however, it makes it clear that he has no idea what he's talking about, since he claims Blücher was the first German battlecruiser, includes the Kirovs, and makes ridiculous comments about other ships. Evans actually calls the Deutschlands armored cruisers (read p. 6 a little more carefully), apart from screwing up the outline of Plan Z. As for Murfett, the line in question states that the Deutschlands were "a cross between a small battleship and battlecruiser", which is quite an odd statement. O'Brien is the only author that makes any reasonable argument, but that argument is based on characteristics, but that's apparently verboten. I can also provide numerous references that refer to them as heavy cruisers: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.
As a final point, I find your support for classification by role instead of characteristics to be somewhat selective, as I recall numerous instances in the past where you all too eagerly argued that since the Scharnhorsts were armed with 28cm guns, they couldn't be proper battleships. Moreover, isn't arguing based on the "faster than anything more powerful, more powerful than anything faster" line of reasoning a tacit acceptance of classification by characteristics?
Apologies for the tl;dr. Parsecboy (talk) 18:28, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Can I remind everyone that one of the reasons we decided to include the Deutchlands all those years ago was because if we didn't, then sooner or later they'd get reincorporated by somebody anyway. Better that we have a section on them that we had written and matched up to our standards than having to delete new sections of varying quality every few months. I agree that they were not "proper" battlecruisers, but am also of the opinion that they were a related development (a sort of devolution back to the Armoured Cruiser concept forced by treaty restrictions) and so they merit mention in passing. Getztashida (talk) 16:12, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
That's a pretty terrible reason to include something in an article. By that logic, we might as well stop reverting vandalism, write really witty stuff ourselves and then lock the page, because it's better to have really funny stuff instead of having to continually revert low-brow junk.
I don't know that the Deutschlands belong in the armored cruiser article, but at least one can make the argument that they do, since they were designed as commerce raiders, a traditional job of the armored cruiser. But that is a discussion for that article, not this one. There's really no valid argument to keep them here, apart from the fact that some authors mistakenly call them battlecruisers. And this is one of the reasons we're having the ongoing VnT RfC; there's a terribly mistaken idea that simply because something is in a book, we need to include it. We are not bound by any policy to include factually incorrect material. It is well within our editorial ability to determine when an author doesn't know what the heck s/he's talking about, and exclude that source. Of course, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have a line noting that some authors mistakenly call them battlecruisers, with citations to those sources. Which is why, for instance, this notes the erroneous Cold War-era reports on the fate of Deutschland/Lützow along with subsequent research that proved them to be incorrect. Parsecboy (talk) 17:17, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
No one is saying that the only reason for including the Deutschlands here is because a number of books refer to them as battlecruisers. As discussed before, we're taking an inclusive approach with this article and mentioning any ship which fulfilled a similar role to that of a battlecruiser, even if they don't tick all the widely variable technical characteristics that some rely on for classification purposes.
In answer to your previous post: commerce raiding was not Fisher's original intention - for obvious reasons - so you're correct on that score. However, bearing in mind that this was how some of these ships were employed, could you point me to an author who supports your assertion that commerce raiding was explicitly "not a battlecruiser role"? Or that chasing a battlecruiser is the role of another battlecruiser-class ship (and not a battleship)? Your line of reasoning citing examples of designs which countered one-another illustrates the futility of comparing ships solely on the basis of their technical characteristics. Capital ship displacement increased over 300% between the launch of the Dreadnought and the Yamato a scant thirty years later; "extreme" range increased from 6000 yards at Tsushima to 26,000 yards at Calabria; and speed increased by roughly a third in the same period. When the Deutschlands were launched they were viewed with suspicion and alarm (hence "pocket battleship"), 10 years later they weren't so scary and light cruisers chased them down, (and nowadays they could be sunk by a pirate in a rubber dinghy): "contemporary" technical comparisons are meaningless.
Of course, I do agree with Getztashida that they are not "proper" battlecruisers, and, like the Blucher, fit more neatly into an evolutionary line that comes directly from the armoured cruiser which, I assume, is why Miller includes both ship classes under battlecruisers (NB - he explains his reasoning and it seems pretty similar to what Wikipedia says so I'm not sure what you're objecting to...). However, armoured cruisers didn't exist as a separate ship type in the early thirties so unless we invent a separate stand-alone category (OR anyone?) for the Deutschlands they should be mentioned in the article which deals with ships that carried out similar roles in this period. Wiki-Ed (talk) 22:03, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Please provide an example where a ship universally agreed to be a battlecruiser raided commerce (which is to say, not the Deutschlands or Scharnhorsts). As far as I can tell, it never happened. As for battleships chasing battlecruisers, explain to me how comparatively slow battleships are supposed to run down and destroy battlecruisers? Isn't the whole point of the battlecruiser its ability to run away from battleships? If battlecruisers are the only capital ship fast enough to catch another battlecruiser, it stands to reason that any ship built to catch a battlecruiser must be a battlecruiser, at least based on your logic of classifying ships by role (whether intended and carried out). On the contrary, the line of examples demonstrates why classification by characteristics is the better option. Bismarck was used as a commerce raider - does that mean she was a battlecruiser? And to preempt your old argument that since she was used to engage capital ships at the Denmark Strait, she was a battleship, does Kormorans attack on Sydney make her a light cruiser? If it were the case that characteristics are irrelevant to ship classification, why do we even have the battlecruiser classification? Don't they fill the same role as armored cruisers? As for the changes between 1906 and 1945, you clearly are not talking about contemporary comparisons of characteristics. You do know that "contemporary" means "at the same time", right?
Miller is obviously not an expert, has no idea what he's talking about, and should not be taken seriously. Ludicrous remarks like calling a battery of nine 28cm guns heavy cruiser armament are simply a joke. The book is rife with errors, like the claim that Von der Tann's main battery was mounted on the centerline. What I'm objecting to is using him as a reliable source for the claim that the Deutschlands were battlecruisers. His argument is solely the nonsense about being "faster than anything stronger...", which does not apply uniquely to battlecruisers.
Why is there a need to include the Deutschlands in any of the specific cruiser types? Why isn't the section on them in Cruiser sufficient, with a minimal mention here as Ed suggests? (I'm not arguing that the content there is high quality, just that its placement is optimal). Parsecboy (talk) 23:11, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── May I suggest a compromise? Why don't we include three sentences on why some historians have argued that they are battlecruisers, put a quote from another as to why they're all wrong, and move on from there? We do have to include them somewhere, or Getztashida's prediction will come true, but a short mention that includes why they aren't BCs will actually be an overall net positive, imho. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 21:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't think we'll actually find sources 'arguing' either side - it's not really a contentious issue. We have two sections here which mention them: the Naval rearmament section actually addresses some of the issues we're discussing here (although it could be sourced better). I think we should keep this section because the development of these ships influenced other designs and does explain some of the confusion around the classification. The World War II section contains references to actions (e.g. to the Battle of the River Plate) which, it seems to me, comes down on the side of the discussion I am arguing in favour of. This is not neutral so I think a better compromise would be to remove these references. Wiki-Ed (talk) 22:19, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with that section (and the refs have now been improved, at least for the Deutschlands and Scharnhorsts, along with some errors corrected), though there is at present no actual connection between the Deutschlands and this article. There is only the somewhat vague statement that they are sometimes included with capital ships, but no notation that they are sometimes called battlecruisers. Parsecboy (talk) 00:38, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Preliminary cleaning[edit]

I've done some work cleaning this up regarding conversions and general tidying up, but I have deleted the WW2 sections that solely involved the German pocket battleships and the Scharnhorst class. I've left the section covering them in the design section, as well as the Dunkerques until we have a better consensus about what to do about them. Personally, I think that all we need is a bit explaining why they aren't really battlecruisers, no matter what ignorant authors call them. This needs to be resolved soon as we're only a couple FA or FL class articles away from being able to submit the largest Featured Topic in all of Wikipedia. Admittedly we only need to get it past GA for the nonce, but we need to decide the basics now.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 22:04, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Once I get home in a week, I'll start adding cites and revising more of the text once I have access to my library. (We need to use a lot less of Breyer, IMO, since he's wrong on Tiger's design history and a number of other things.)--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 22:10, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Did some more clean up and added referencing for the last couple of sections. Getting ready to purge the section on naval rearmament to cover just the Dutch proposal, the O class and the Kronstadts. I'd like some guidance on what sections are thought to need expansion/contraction/rewriting.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 07:10, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Hang on. There was no consensus for changing the rearmament section. In particular the section describes the tit-for-tat evolution of German and French capital ship designs and how they move away from the battlecruiser concept. This is useful material and should not be removed. Wiki-Ed (talk) 10:23, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Since the article isn't going to cover the Dunkerques, Deutschlands, Scharnhorsts or Richelieus since none of them are battlecruisers, there's not much left other than what I mentioned earlier, n'est-ce pas?--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 16:24, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
The article should cover ships which are considered (by a smaller but not insignificant number of historical sources) as battlecruisers and other ships which influenced their development. In this case, the ships you've listed illustrate the inter-war evolutionary move away from the battlecruiser and towards the fast battleship and are, therefore, an important part of the history of the ship class. We only agreed to remove the war time actions involving those ships because to include them suggested that the consensus view here was in favour of treating them as battlecruisers when the debate is seemingly weighted against that view. Wiki-Ed (talk) 11:41, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
I think that the Deutschlands and Scharnhorsts shouldn't be included, as they are both clearly not battlecruisers, and the latter were not thought of by even the Germans as battlecruisers. While you have a point with the Dunkerques where do we draw the line? I think that instead of a paragraph focusing on each of these classes in turn, the article may be better served by having a section (or two paragraphs) explaining the shift from a more general perspective. This will sidestep this whole issue and allow us to focus on battlecruisers as much as possible. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 11:51, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't want to start this all over again, but the Scharnhorsts were considered to be battlecruisers by the British - as mentioned/referenced in the article - and by a fair number of historical sources. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with the section as it stands. It is well referenced, illustrated, and comprehensive, but not overly detailed on ships which don't fit quite as neatly into the category. By contrast the section on "Cruiser Killers"/the Alaskas is too long and has much less historical value. Anyway, trying to write something out of an article which contradicts a proportion of the sources is not compatible with WP:NPOV. It will just keep coming back so better to keep it as it is. Wiki-Ed (talk) 21:09, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

General comments[edit]

  • Do we really need all those tiny subsections in the WWI section? It would be much better to merge the smaller ones
    • Done.
  • In the rebuilding programmes section, it mentions first that Hood and Repulse did not get the same kind of modernization as Renown did. Then later it states that the only exceptions to the modernization programs were Hood and Yavuz. This needs to be straightened out.
    • How does it read now?
  • "In the late 1930s navies began to build capital ships again, and during this period a number of large commerce raiders and small, fast battleships were built that are sometimes referred to as battlecruisers. " - I do think it's worthwhile to at least mention which ships these are - the Deutschlands, Scharnhorsts, Dunkerques, etc., and then make clear that the majority of historians/analysts/whatever consider them to be heavy cruisers/battleships/whatever.
    • This is covered in the lede by note 1. Is it really worthwhile to cover it again?
  • In the WWII section - same as above. And why is the Denmark Strait section out of chronological order?
    • Reworked.
  • In the large cruiser section, it mentions that the Soviet Navy considered building such ships, and then does not mention them.
  • As far as I'm aware, GlobalSecurity isn't considered a good source. But I could be wrong.
  • We need a citation from Jane's on the Kirovs - GS doesn't mention anything about that.

I hope this helps with further development of the article. Parsecboy (talk) 20:21, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

    • These were good suggestions. Do you have access to Jane's or Combat Fleets of the World? My copies of Jane's are older than I am and I need to document the translation of the name as well as which ships are still active to replace the Global Security ref.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 17:15, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
      • You know, I did a couple of days ago - was up in Calgary, and their military museum has most editions of Jane's in their library. Too bad I didn't know to check this while I was there. Parsecboy (talk) 19:04, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
        • OSU doesn't have any copies? Chicago does, but I somehow doubt that you'd be willing to drive there for me :-( --Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 19:18, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

A request[edit]

.... I just read this long, thorough, interesting article, but I was struck by what seems like a major omission. At the end, it currently says "In spite of the fact that after World War II, most navies abandoned the battleship and battlecruiser..." So -why- were battlecruisers/(& battleships?)(I'm no expert here) abandoned? Can that info be included? thanks. (This is the first time I've entered anything on a Wikipedia talk page!)Sqzx (talk) 06:55, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

I edited the above to make it easier to understand. Basically by the end of WW2 the CV had been shown to be the dominant naval force, and BCs and BBs were struggling to find a useful role. As offshore batteries they were useful but not cost effective, for AA more, smaller, ships were better, and in all other respects CVs had them beat. So they got turned into razor blades.Greglocock (talk) 10:15, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
That's a good idea - certainly something that should be clarified before the article goes to A-class/FAC. Parsecboy (talk) 11:58, 8 September 2014 (UTC)