KM Admiral Hipper Class (BC-1929-33)
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The Germanic States first attempts to build a new capital ship at its new
Treaty level, was the Admiral Hipper Class. The Germanic States always seemed to
use a slide rule with a different scale to everyone else's. Though they had
21,000 tons to build from. The Admiral Hipper came in at 25,500 tons standard
displacement. Just a tad overweight. Maybe they had been feeding it on Munich
Beer Hall food. They do make a much better impression than the Real Life
Deutschland class cruisers.
Many different layouts and armaments were trialed between 1923-25 before the Kriegsmarine was given the go-ahead to build the first unit. The first unit was laid down in 1925 and completed for commissioning in 1929. The two following units being completed in 1931 and 1933.
First design 1923. Many of the features of the previous Mackensen class and prior battlecruiser classes were tried. But a completely new layout was eventually required with the new diesel and turbine machinery installation.
The completed version had all the typical Germanic States looks. Two funnels were used in the end, the fore funnel for the turbine/boiler installation, and the after funnel for the exhaust gases from the diesel installation. One of the major changes was to delete the mixed 5.9" and 3.5" secondary/tertiary armament and fit the first dual purpose guns. The 5" could be used for both low angle and high angle work but were manually operated and did not have a great rate of fire compared to the later versions. Later refits would delete the singles and replace them with the twin 5"/50cal DP mountings. The manual 37mm would be replaced by the 37mm Bofors guns by 1940.
Using all the 21,000 tons allocated and then some, the Admiral Hipper Class was able to be of a size and armament with the highly successful Derfflinger class. Speed was higher, range was longer, seakeeping was better, new mark of guns that fired further, armour was the same. More superstructure was required to carry the extra gunnery directors and fire control units. The higher the gunnery directors the further they could see. Refits would add updated equipment of all kinds, but it was the electronic revolution that would add the most. The largest refit took place in 1938-40 for the three ships with a new 'Atlantic' bow, funnels caps, updated AA controllers, gunnery radar for the main directors, exchange the single 5" for twins, replace the 37mm with Bofors weapons. The exchange of the single 5" for twins was more than just an extra two barrels, it was also a much faster firing gun. Where the singles were firing 6 rounds per minute the twins were firing at 10 rpm. So 6x10 to 10x12, a clear advantage. There was a thought to use the new 88mm twin mounting that had been developed in conjunction with Argentina, but that mounting used such a prodigious amount of shells, storage of a decent outfit of rounds per gun for these weapons on the Hippers was just not possible with the space available.
The ships were built with long range raiding in mind. But where the the conversion of the three older Kaiser class battleships to raiders, they were deemed to be expendable, the Admiral Hipper class were Fleet ships and should preserve themselves if at all possible. Only the Admiral von Arnim was outside of European waters at wars start. Showing the flag in Japanese waters, appearing at Japanese Navy Days in various ports around Japan.
Would the Germanic States hierarchy allow the von Arnim to be interned in Japan, a country friendly to the Germanic States, or try to get the ship back to Germany via one route or another, or let it go out in a blaze of glory somewhere. Might I also have either the Hipper or Scheer in the Mediterranean (showing the flag in Italy?) and have it go on to Turkey a-la the Goeben in WW1. I will have to have a think about it.
|As Built 1918||As refitted to 1941|
|Displacement||25,500 tons standard, 30,250 tons full load||25,900 tons standard, 31,500 tons full load|
|Length||695 ft||725 feet|
|Breadth||90 ft||90 feet|
|Draught||28 ft||28 feet|
|Machinery||4 shafts, Diesels & Steam Turbines, 120,000shp||4 shaft, geared turbines and diesels, 120,000shp|
|Speed||30 knots||31 knots|
|Range||18,000 at 15 knots||18,000 miles at 15 knots|
|Armour||11" sides, 4.1" deck, turrets 11".||11" belt, 4.1" deck, 11" turrets.|
8 x 12" (4x2)
10 x 5" (10x1)
10 x 37mm AA (5x2)
12 x 20mm (12x1)
8 x 12" (4x2)
12 x 5" (6x2)
14 x 37mm AA (7x2)
20 x 20mm (20x1)
|Torpedoes||6 x 21" (2x3)||6 x 21" (2x3)|
KM Admiral Hipper
KM Admiral Scheer
KM Admiral von Arnim
The following drawing series has both the twin 12" and triple 11" versions at various stages of their possible careers.
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