KM Graf Spee (BC-R 1934 (1942-mod))
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The Treaty of Versailles was 1918/19 while the Washington Treaty was 1922/23. In 1919 the disposition of the Russian fleet and what was happening politically in Russia was unknown to the Western Powers. The fear that 'Bolshevism' / 'Communism' would spread out and infect Europe from Russia was very real. So much so that Britain and France tried to reinstate the Royalists in Russia with the White Revolution which eventually failed. This left Russia with 5 completed battleships armed with 12x12" and the remainder of the Borodino Class battleships (12x14") uncompleted but could be completed in a reasonably short space of time. This force concentrated in the Baltic and acting in concert with the Russian Army could have been a lethal combination.
To counter this force the German Weimar regime was given 6 of the old pre-dreadnoughts. A total mismatch, the German forces would not have lasted 1/2 an hour. The Russians would have been out of the Baltic before any response could have arrived. The German Navy if to be used as a buffer needed ships to be able to stop the Russians. The news that they were to keep a fair percentage of the fleet for that role may have stopped the High Seas fleet from scuttling itself. To this end I normally give the Germans 4 battleships, (2 x Konig, 2 x Kaiser), 1 battlecruiser (Seydlitz) and 2 demilitarised Nassau as training ships, they also get to complete the Mackensen and Wurtemburg. I also let the Washington Treaty alter the conditions of the Versailles treaty on replacement tonnage for ships to 60% of the 35,000 ton limit. This gives the Germans 21,000 ton ships in place of the 10,000 ton ships.
As part of a Shipbucket challenge I did a redraw of the Graf Spee with a 5.9" and 4.1" secondary gun version. Using the latest updated parts it looks substantially different to that version above.
This gives ample tonnage to build a raider type vessel that would have required more than 3 cruisers to substantially damage it.
My 'what if' Graf Spee is a 24,000 ton (15% cheat factor) battlecruiser of 700 feet long and 82 feet in breadth. As with the original everything to save space and tonnage is done. Electric welding replacing riveting, the clumsy main / secondary / AA armament replaced with a main and dual purpose secondary armament. Mixed diesel / steam propulsion for long range and high speed. 5.9" side and 3.9" deck armour make it "Treaty cruiser" proof, while its own main armament of 13.8" would worry any capital ship let alone a British trade protection cruiser.
The same claim of "outrun anything it cant outfight" could be made as only the British battlecruisers could catch the ship but the British battlecruisers would have found great difficuilty in sinking this Graf Spee as the Spee's main armament would have easily breached their armour. The British ships could not 'maintain the range' to the best of their main guns as the German 13.8" fired 7-8000 yards further.
Not untill the later 'fast battleships" of the late 30's would this ship be majorly overmatched.
This ship type was a true capital ship in the battlecruiser class. This ship had a deep 'pocket'.
|Displacement||24,000 tons Standard, 28.700 full load.|
|Machinery||4 Diesels 30,000bhp & 2 Steam 60,000shp (3 shafts)|
|Speed||cruising max = 22 knots on diesels, 28 knots full speed|
|Armour||5.9" Side, 3.9" deck, 8.2" turrets|
|Armament||8 x 13.8" (2x4)
14 x 5.1" (7x2)
2 x 37mm (1x2)
27 x 30mm (9x3)
12 x 20mm (12x1)
|Notes||KM Admiral Graf Spee (1935) Lost 08/39
at Battle of
Tristan da Cunha
KM Admiral Hipper (1933)
KM Admiral Scheer (1936)
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