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"German WWI battleships staggered turrets" Topic


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930 hits since 12 Oct 2012
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ARPotts Inactive Member12 Oct 2012 2:05 p.m. PST

New to this area of wargaming and played a game using Naval thunder last night which was great fun.

A question of German battleships/cruisers. Ships like the Von Der Tann & Molkte class ships had staggered turrets on port/starboard sides. Could/did these across the ships to either side if necessary, for a broadside? I thought they did from limited knowledge but don't appear to be able to do this in these rules.

emckinney12 Oct 2012 2:22 p.m. PST

Not sure about those specific classes, but some were and some weren't.

Turned out that shock to the ship's structure from the muzzle blast was a problem.

Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2012 2:47 p.m. PST

From what I recall they could, if my memory serves there was considerable blast damage. I know that was the case with the Pre-Dreads.

Personal logo Cheriton Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2012 3:16 p.m. PST

From what I recall they could, if my memory serves there was considerable blast damage.

Hmmm, now you guys have roused my memory (and curiosity). Have fleets for 1905 and 1916 in 1:1250 and played many naval actions in the 1970s & 80s (sadly none since) with Alnavco's Seapower and, earlier, with Fletcher Pratt.

As far as I recall we always allowed those classes complete broadsides. Would have thought those rules, especially Pratt, would have been pretty dogmatic about such details.

Will have to dig out my references this weekend. Wouldn't Janes (and others) possibly show broadside arcs on the ship diagrams?

guinness

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian12 Oct 2012 3:18 p.m. PST

I believe the German ships were much more forgiving here than the British.

LtJBSz Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2012 3:27 p.m. PST

Yes the reason for staggering the turrets was to allow broadsides by all 8 guns.

vaughan12 Oct 2012 4:06 p.m. PST

As I recall all guns could broadside both sides but the broadside arc was severely restricted.

Personal logo Cheriton Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2012 4:20 p.m. PST

I believe the German ships were much more forgiving here than the British.

Built for staying power rather than speed?

I just checked, I thought I had recalled correctly that Janes stated the number of guns broadside, and that is the case. I am going to go through my copy of Breyer's "Battleship and Battle Cruisers , 1905-1970" tonight to see if the text makes any comments on that cross-deck practice.

As I recall all guns could broadside both sides but the broadside arc was severely restricted.

Yes, that restriction, made for some very lively debates, to put it politely, during naval games. old fart

guinness

ARPotts Inactive Member12 Oct 2012 4:47 p.m. PST

Thanks for the replies so far

Alpha Geek Inactive Member12 Oct 2012 6:08 p.m. PST

Von der Tann and Moltke were the very first two German battlecruisers. Their "off" side turrets had a limited arc of 125 degrees of cross-deck fire.

Cross-deck turrets were notorious for causing damage from the pressure wave of the muzzle blast. This is the primary reason why designs with all centerline turrets became standard.

Many other ships could not or simply did not fire cross-deck. The VdT / Molke predecessor Nassau is one example. Six 2 x 11inch turrets but a full broadside was only 8 rounds.

David Manley13 Oct 2012 1:39 a.m. PST

"Built for staying power rather than speed?"

Built for short duration operations close to home rather than worldwide

Cke1st Inactive Member13 Oct 2012 6:30 p.m. PST

The Invincibles' cross-deck arc was so limited that, for all intents and purposes, they could fire only a 6-gun broadside. The Indefatigables were somewhat better, but not much.

These turrets were winged out to the sides to allow fore and aft fire, but such usage ripped up the decks and superstructures as much as cross-deck firing did. The best answer is to put all the big guns on the center-line, which is what everyone did as soon as they figured out how to make superimposed turrets effective.

Agesilaus Inactive Member13 Oct 2012 9:33 p.m. PST

Cke1st Hit the nail on the head. The wing turrets were placed as much for fore and aft fire as for broadside fire. British and German BBs and CBs had sighting hoods on top of the turrets which disallowed super firing. Turrets had to be offset to fire directly ahead or astern and even then they caused superstructure damage.
Ironically the unsuccessful superimposed turrets on the U.S. predreadnoughts caused them to design side mounted optics and American turrets could superfire without doing damage to the lower turret or killing the gunners.
British and German capital ships continued to use wing turrets and widen out the gaps in the superstructure and they could fire across deck in an emergency. Damage to deck and superstructure was almost a given and earlier classes like the Von Der Tann had less traverse than later ships like Seydlitz.

Johny Boy13 Oct 2012 10:46 p.m. PST

When you say killing the gunners are you referring to them being caught in the blast wave?

ARPotts Inactive Member14 Oct 2012 6:07 a.m. PST

Again thanks for the replies.

"Agesilaus"
'British and German capital ships continued to use wing turrets and widen out the gaps in the superstructure and they could fire across deck in an emergency. Damage to deck and superstructure was almost a given and earlier classes like the Von Der Tann had less traverse than later ships like Seydlitz'

I'm guessing that a battle situation would constitute an 'emergency' such as Dogger Bank, Jutland etc (i.e. plus fictional 'what-if' scenario's, I'm likely to play). Would it be appropriate then to apply a damage penalty to a ship doing this type of firing, say for instance 0.5-1% of ship total damage/hull points, depending on the ruleset per firing (turn) if used.

Personal logo Klebert L Hall Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2012 1:31 p.m. PST

Cross-deck turrets were notorious for causing damage from the pressure wave of the muzzle blast. This is the primary reason why designs with all centerline turrets became standard.

One of the many reasons, but not the primary.
The primary reason was probably either the fact that with increasing engagement ranges, the emphasis on fire ahead came to be seen as dramatically less useful, or the fact that echelon turrets were a major negative effect upon the ship's protection scheme and weights and balances.

The fact that they were usually nearly worthless for cross-deck fire (and other factors) was sort of just the icing on the cake.
-Kle.

Showdown Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2012 4:45 a.m. PST

Alnavco's Seapower and, earlier, with Fletcher Pratt

Apparently, these were at the forefront of naval wargaming. Are they worth a look at from a 1904 1914 interest?

Thanks,

Blues 4

coastal215 Oct 2012 12:41 p.m. PST

Both are antiques by today's standards (Fletcher Pratt dates from the '40s and Seapower is from the '70s). Both still interesting, though, if only for the nostaglia value. I'd go with some of the more current offerings since they benefit from the research done since (and there is a a lot of new research out there). My favorite is ODGW's Fleet Action Imminent.

Personal logo Cheriton Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 2:50 p.m. PST

Apparently, these were at the forefront of naval wargaming.

Yes, they were about it, at least in terms of exposure. I believe the (Seapower) pre-dreadnought ship values were privately available, not retail, though from the author?

coastal2, is certainly correct about the research incorporated in more recent efforts. Pratt's ship values were based on formulae [his(?)], but the hits from gunnery was strictly estimation (in inches) by the gamers themselves.

Quite entertaining in an "arcade" sort of way, but damned frustrating if you simply lacked "the knack"; estimating distances of 70"-90" at a 20mm-25mm wide (1:1250 beam) target could be very difficult!

guinness

TheDreadnought Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Oct 2012 8:58 a.m. PST

In writing Naval Thunder I didn't allow for cross deck fire because my research said it was ineffective and damaging to the ship. I've had others debate the point in the past – even email me pictures of ships doing it.

Bottom line, I'm a big believer in tailoring the rules to be what you want, so if you're a fan of cross deck fire, I say go for it!

warren bruhn Inactive Member19 Oct 2012 6:58 p.m. PST

Fleet Action Imminent has a small firing template with a narrow angle for cross deck fire. Some ships get to use that, but the targets are often out of the narrow arc.

I do look forward to trying Naval Thunder when my friend who has that set of rules will set up a scenario.

ARPotts Inactive Member21 Oct 2012 3:15 p.m. PST

Thanks for all replies.

I bought FAI at same time as NT and will go with its restricted cross firing system for these ships.

NT is an excellent product. We're not Naval wargamers and will dip into it for a change of pace. The rules are elegantly simple (not in a bad way) which allow you to add plenty of additional rules, as Dreadnought (I presume the author) puts it while still retaining its elegant simplicity. We had a whale of a time and looking forward to the next game.

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