WWI battle cruisers

Discussion in 'Full Scale' started by jstod, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. jstod

    jstod Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2012
    Fort Rucker AL
    idk if this is the place for this question but here it goes.
    What was the reasoning for ww1 era ships having offset wing turrets instead of putting them all on the center line? It seems logical to place them all center to give ability to bring all guns to bear.
  2. Anvil_x

    Anvil_x Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2017
    Park Falls, WI
    Jackie Fisher and the rest of the Admiralty thought it proper for a British fighting ship to be in either one of two orientations against an enemy: Chasing them down or broadside-on.

    Dreadnought's wing turrets gave her a forward salvo of six guns. she had a broadside of eight, with a total of ten guns. She was built to be On The Attack.

    Massey's "dreadnought" gives a lot of the design details and philosophy.

    Consider this was before superfiring turrets were really in vogue. the VU/SC layout was an abberation in the moment. they wanted to maximize firepower in the forward and rear arcs while still throwing big broadsides.

    VDT, I-Boats, DN (and her subsequent variants), not to mention Nassau and her derivatives could all throw six gun forward salvoes and six gun stern salvoes with minimal superfiring turrets.

    For the time, this was a win. they would be strong in pursuit, and get good broadsides.
    Caractacus Patt and bkoehler like this.
  3. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2006
    My understanding is internal hardware layout. Locations of boilers and engines limited the amount of centerline space available. As such, compromises had to be made. Wing turrets was a relatively easy way to add dreadnought-level firepower to an otherwise too-small ship, as long as one was willing to accept the weight penalty. Nassau is a classic example: the Germans were aware of both turbine engines and superfiring turrets, but couldn't get suitable engines ready in time. This necessitated larger triple-expansion engines, which prevented the use of superfiring centerline turrets. They also justified this compromise with vague comments about having extra guns on the opposite side of the ship, so halfway through the battle you could bring a bunch of undamaged guns with well-rested crews to bear on your target.
  4. Renodemona

    Renodemona Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    Reno, NV
    Wing Turrets had also been a staple of most pre-dreadnought battleships and many large cruisers. Designers suddenly charged with designing a ship with more heavy guns could quickly adapt a current design with upsized engines and armaments in the same place as an existing design. Many first generation dreadnoughts went from someone's grand speech to launching in less than 2 years. Consider this against the construction time of a brand new 21st century warship reaching to the decades long level sometimes. Most navies were aware of the limitations imposed by them, but if they didn't get ships NOW it wouldn't matter how good the ones they got later would be since the fear was a war would be over fast. (ha ha ha how wrong they were...)
    South Carolina and VU only went with superfiring turrets because their respective navies had no choice. Congress would not approve a larger ship to carry turrets amidships, forcing designers to make a compromise. The Austrians did not have the facilities to build bigger ships at all and risked falling behind if they didn't get SOMEthing in the water. As it turned out, superfiring all centerline turrets was a stroke of genius...but we only know that from the 20/20 of hindsight. Cuniberti's "ideal" design had mixed centerline and wing turrets and none superfiring and he was pretty widely regarded as the leading naval design theorist in Europe at the dawn of the 20th century. His influence is seen in Dreadnought itself, as well as the first Italian and Russian classes. Turbine Power and Oil firing basically made Wing turrets a purely design choice after a short while and the benefits of them were well and truly offset by the downsides.

    Some other throwback elements that lingered in ww1 ships like stern walks, officer's quarters in the stern, submerged torpedo tubes on capital ships, open mounts on turret tops, main armaments in casemate mounts, and masts placed just aft of funnels also seem kind of silly today, but, they were perfectly normal for their time. WW1 was a huge watershed in world history at all levels, naval architecture included, which is why I find the era interesting.
  5. crzyhawk

    crzyhawk Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    Alexandria, VA
    Part of the reason is to maximize end-on fire, without super-imposing the turrets. There was a lot of speculation that blast from a super-imposed turret would be problematic for the lower turret.