Most powerful ship

Discussion in 'World War I' started by renrich, May 26, 2009.

  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #1 renrich, May 26, 2009
    Last edited: May 27, 2009
    The Great War, WW1, began in August 1914. In 1906, HMS Dreadnought was completed and immediately made every other battleship in the world obsolete. Many nations then began to build or have built ships to rival or surpass Dreadnought and the word dreadnought was adopted to describe this new type of ship. The revolutionary design of Dreadnought included turbine engines which gave her a dependable speed well above existing BBs, all of her guns were 12 inch guns (except for a number of anti torpedo boat small guns) which simplified gunnery immensely and she was very well armored. The aircraft carrier, the type which superseded the battleship as the most important and powerful ship in navies in WW2 was not in service. At the outset of the war, August, 1914, which dreadnought in all the world's navies was the most powerful, taking into account guns, speed and protection? Remember, the ship chosen must have been completed no later than August, 1914!
     
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I'll pick the three ship England had, the Lion, the Queen Mary, and the Princess Royal. All had 13.5" guns and were completed in 1912.
     
  3. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    HMS Erin gets my vote. Basically a modified Iron Duke with a better 6in battery and a wider beam.
     
  4. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Thorlifter, they were beautiful ships but Queen Mary blew up at Jutland and Lion was lucky not to. They were victims of German BC guns of no more than 11 or 12 inch calibre. They seem to have been lacking in armor. They may have been hard pressed against a dreadnought battleship.
     
  5. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    It wasn't lack of armour, it was a design fault where the turrets were fed from a common central arms store. It seemed a good idea at the time as it would mean all the ammo could still be used if a turret was knocked out. An unforseen knock on was that a lucky hit could, and did, ignite the entire stckpile and blow the ship up. This gave rise to the phrase, repeated at the time that HMS Sheffield burned out in 1982, "there's something wrong with our bloody ships!"
     
  6. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    The BCs were definitely not good contenders for most powerful ship of the age. As well as faulty design, they suffered from faulty deployment - Fisher had intended them to hunt down and destory enemy armoured cruisers - something which they did exceptionally well in the Falklands (1914, of course!) and at Dogger Bank. They were never intended to got head-to-head with battleships, or even with other battlecruisers, as thier light protection would inevitably fail to survive such an engagement.

    My vote, like Glider's, goes with HMS Erin, with HMS Agincourt a close second. Ironically, neither ship was ordered by the RN (Erin was a Turkish order, and Agincourt a Brazilian one, IIRC), but both were confiscated in 1914 to bolster the RN.

    ren, while on this topic, can I recommend to you Dreadnought and Castles of Steel, both by Paul Massie, if you haven't already read them. I would rank them amongst the best researched and written, most accesible military history ever published. Well worth the time to read 8)
     
  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    There was the USS Texes, it had 10 x 14" guns.

    My favorite British up until the Queen Elizabeths (IMHO the best of WWI) was the HMS Agincourt, 14 x 12" guns in 7 turrets.
     
  8. Von Frag

    Von Frag Member

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    The Texas was not ready in August of 1914 was she? She had good armament and armor for the day, but she had reciprocating engines instead of turbines which was a liability.
     
  9. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    She was commissioned March 12, 1914 according to her website Ship's History

    I agree about the reciprocating engines, but her top speed was listed at 21knots, the same speed as the Erin and almost as fast as the Agincourt.
     
  10. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Good point about the three British ships. I knew about the Queen Mary, but not the others so thanks for pointing that out. However, the reason I listed those was the title of this thread is the most powerful. I took that as the ship with the most hitting power. I'd say the 13.5" guns gave them the most powerful broadside pre 1914.

    Now, as Viking pointed out, 10x14" guns on the Texas was even better and she was better armored, but she was also post 1914, albeit just a couple months.
     
  11. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Might not be the most poweful, but the SMS Seydlitz gets me vote.
    [​IMG]

    Still managed to make it back home after all the damage she suffered in Jutland.
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    #12 Glider, May 27, 2009
    Last edited: May 27, 2009
    The Agincourt certainly had some punch but her armour was thin for a BB, being about midway between a BC and a BB.

    Slightly amusing aside. Agincourt was not supposed to fire a full broadside as there were concerns about her ability to take the forces involved. At Jutland she did fire a full broadside (without damage) but the ship behind her initially thought that she had blown up.

    The Texs is a good choise and when compared to the Erin the differences are down to the Secondary Guns, 5in instead of 6in, protection was similar with the edge against torpedos going to the Erin, but this was propoably such a small edge it probably wouldn't have made a huge difference and of course the engines.
    Interestingly the guns fired the same sized shell about 1,400lb despite the difference in calibre.
     
  13. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    The King George V class, completed by December 1913, also carried 13.5" guns, but were much more heavily armoured and much slower than the BCs, being a true battleship design. The BCs such as Quenn Mary and Lion were, IIRC, based on the KGV design, with much armour removed to improve speed.
     
  14. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    BT, thanks for the thoughtful suggestion about the books. I have read "Dreadnought" and "Castles of Steel" is in my personal library. I am currently rereading COS, which action, prompted me to start this thread. I also own a copy (not an original) of Janes 1914. I don't believe that Erin or Agincourt were completed in August, 1914. Texas would be a good choice possibly, especially if she did not have the dratted recip engines. However in Janes it is said that her best recent speed was 22 knots which gave her one knot advantage over the designed speed of Iron Duke, Jellicoe's flagship. Another point for Texas was that she had no turrets amidships like other of her contemporaries. Those amidships turrets were problems. Another candidate might be Viribus Unitas or her sisters. They only mounted 12 inch guns but they were all in triple turrets superimposed. 12-12 inchers.
     
  15. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Erin was taken over by the RN on the 4th August 1914. She was I believe complete as the Turkish Crew had arrived to take her over and sail her home. So she may well qualify but only by the narrowest of margins.
     
  16. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I have a book about HMS Agincourt but it is somewhere buried in a box. If I remember correctly she had originally been intended for Brazil, but then was bought by Turkey and when GB requisitioned her, they had to change a lot of stuff that was intended for a Muslim nation. Anyway, I don't believe either Erin or Agincourt were that powerful. If memory serves, the RN was not fond of them either. The British 12 inch gun was not nearly as effective as the 14 inchers the Texas mounted either. The RN BCs at Falklands made many hits on the German armored cruisers and it took forever to sink them.
     
  17. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Agincourt in Janes 1914 is in the Turkish section as Sultan Osman I. She was somewhat narrow in the beam at 90 feet and carried armor similar to a BC, 9 inch belt with only 9 inches on the main battery turrets. Texas had 12 inch belt with 14 inches on the face of the turrets. She was 95 feet in the beam. The QEs were 94 feet in the beam.
     
  18. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    ren,

    Had a feeling you had read them both, I seem to recall now that we have discussed them at some point in the past :oops:

    The 12 inch guns on Dreadnought and the early BCs were not particularly powerful - I believe they were not substantially different from the pieces mounted on the Lord Nelson and King Edward class OBs. The 13.5 inch gun was more potent, but of course did not enter service until the advent of the Orions and their BC analogues. The real difference between the BBs and the OBs in terms of firepower was in the concentration of a large number of heavy pieces in one battery, and also by the widespread adoption of director firing to maximise the destructive potential of these batteries. Had gun or turret captains still been aiming guns individually, as they did in the 1890s, Jutland would probably have been fought at 1000 yards, and might have been substantially less bloody...
     
  19. fly boy

    fly boy Member

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    sorry don't know much about the WW1's but i know a bit about some twos
     
  20. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Erin was launched on Sept 3, 1913. Commissioned Aug 1914.
    Agincourt was launched on Jan 22,1913. Commissioned Aug 25, 1914.

    They would both just barely squeak by.
     
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