SMS Blucher Class (ACR-1909-10)


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The Blucher was a reduced version of the Nassau Class battleships, the 11" guns being replaced with 8.2". A few knots extra speed gave a modern armoured cruiser which was an advance over the previous Scharnhorst class. The Blucher would have been noticeably superior to the Invincible type 'if' the Invincible's had been armed with the 9.2" guns the British had leaked to the world. The ship was noticeably short on firepower when the Invincible's appeared with 12" guns. Possibly the weakest point of the design was the retention of triple expansion engines while the rest of the world was already moving on to turbines. The turbines being fitted in the same space would have moved the ship that bit faster that might have allowed it to escape its fate at Dogger Bank.

(From Wiki)
Class and type: Armored cruiser
Displacement: 15,842 t (15,592 long tons) (designed) 17,500 t (17,200 long tons) (full load)

Length: 161.8 m (530 ft 10 in) overall
Beam: 24.5 m (80 ft 5 in)
Draft: 8.84 m (29.0 ft)
Installed power: 31,562 ihp (23,536 kW)
Propulsion: 3 4-cylinder vertical triple expansion engines
18 marine-type boilers
3 screws

Speed: 25.4 knots (47.0 km/h; 29.2 mph)
Range: 6,600 nmi (12,200 km; 7,600 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
3,350 nmi (6,200 km; 3,860 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)

Complement: 41 officers 812 sailors
1026 at Dogger Bank

Armament: 12 21 cm (8.3 in) SK L/45 guns (62)
8 15 cm (5.9 in) SK L/45 guns
16 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK L/45 guns
4 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes

Armor: 618 cm (2.47.1 in) belt
14 cm (5.5 in) battery
18 cm (7 in) barbettes
618 cm (2.47.1 in) turret
825 cm (3.19.8 in) conning tower

With Blucher just starting construction in 1906, the second ship of the class was due to be laid down within 6 months, but was delayed for three months to allow changes to the basic design to allow for the knowledge gained from the Naval Attaches (who said Spies?) reports on the USS South Carolina with its superfiring mounts. The saving in turrets allowed for two extra ships to be produced, SMS Manteuffel and SMS Prinz Heinrich.

Going to superfiring mounts allowed for the same broadside with two less turrets. The saving in weight being used for both better armour and increased powerplant size. The chance was also taken to replace the triple expansion engines with the new turbine types.

Class and type: Armoured cruiser
Displacement: 14,500 tons standard, 17,200 tons full load
Dimensions: 572.5 x 80 x 29 feet
Machinery: 4 shaft, turbines, 45,000shp
Speed: 27-28 knots
Endurance: 6500 nmi at 12 knots
Armour: 7.1" belt, 2" deck, 7.1"/3.4"/2.4" turrets
8 x 8.2" (21cm) (4x2)
8 x 5.9" (8x1)
16 x 3.4" (16x1)
Crew: 40 officers, 800 sailors (1050 as flagship)

I am still thinking about what will happen to the ships during their service life. Being 2-3 knots faster than Blucher means they can keep up with the other cruisers at Dogger Bank and escape Bluchers fate. But what happens to the ships from there remains shrouded in mystery. 1919 to 1923 kept as full cruisers, then reduced to training ships 1923 to 1933 when they were rebuilt to cruisers again.

The Manteuffel and Prinz Heinrich after their rebuilds with new bow, bridge structures, aircraft handling equipment, the 5.9" being removed and where they were plated in to create handling rooms for the 5" dual purpose weapons, new 37mm AA and the first of the 20mm guns. Manteuffel became flagship of the 1st cruiser squadron. So much effort was put into the capital ship programs (CV/BB/BC) that the GS Navy was always short of cruisers and destroyers. This lead to many of the older cruisers and destroyers being kept well after their 'best before dates'.

Type: Large Cruiser (CB)
Displacement: 15,000 tons standard, 17,800 tons full load
Dimensions: 580 x 80 x 29 feet
Machinery: 4 shaft, turbines, 75,000shp
Speed: 30 knots
Endurance: 7500 nmi at 12 knots
Armour: 7.1" belt, 4.1" deck, 7.1"/3.4"/2.4" turrets
8 x 8.2" (21cm) (4x2)
14 x 5" (7x2)
12 x 37mm (6x2)
4 x 20mm (4x1)
Aircraft: 2
Crew: 60 officers, 950 sailors (1070 as flagship)

Twin 37mm guns. These are the original manual weapons that started being replaced by the Bofors 37mm from 1938. The Germanic States Navy kept the 37mm bore as they made sure that the new guns would be able to make use of the millions of 37mm shells that had been produced since 1926.


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