Wittelsbach class battleships (1900)

Germany (1900-1901)
Wittlesbach, Wettin, Zähringen, Schwaben, Mecklenburg

Tirpitz pet's battleships

The Wittlesbach class were the first battleships ordered under Admiral Von Tirpitz 1898 naval law. They should mark some improvement over the previous Kaisers, but only the belt was reinforced. They were mostly an incremental step and saw little action during WW1. They were designed by the admiralty's chief constructor and naval architect Prof. Dr. Dietrich.

Design

Apart revision on their belt, a part of Wittelsbach class battleships secondary artillery in turrets had been replaced by barbettes. Kaiser's design lessons were also digested in terms of superstructure height and stability. The hull stern section was raised and now formed a continuous deck. As for the Kaiser, the front turret was surelevated, resting on a superstructure bridge overlooking the front deck and integrating barbettes. Speed was slightly better and overall they were also heavier and much wider.

Armament

In general, Wittelsbach class battleships armament was closely related to the Kaiser Friedrich III class. Their four 24 cm (9.4 in) SK L/40 guns in twin-gun turrets were not as hard-hitting as contemporary 12-in artillery pieces but the Germans mostly favored firing on superstructure and with a better rate of fire. The turrets were Drh.L. C/98 models which allowed the mounts to elevate 30° and depress −5° for a maximum range of 16,900 meters (18,500 yd). The 140 kgs shells were fired at a muzzle velocity of 835 meters per second (2,740 ft/s). 340 rounds were stored for both turrets in total.

The secondary armament of the Wittelsbach class as said above was new and comprised eighteen 15 cm (5.9 inch) SK L/40 guns mounted in single turrets amidships or in superstructure casemates. They were on the main deck level and often obsured in bad weather. Average rate of fire was 4–5 per minute for a well trained crew and 120 shells were stored for each gun, 2,160 rounds total. Depressio/elevation was −7 /20°, range 13,700 m (14,990 yd). These 51 kg shells existed the muzzle at 735 meters per second (2,410 ft/s). Contrary to the main guns, they were manually handled, not hydraulically.

The tertiary armament comprised eight standard QF 8.8 cm (3.45 in) SK L/30 guns in the casemates, single pivot mounts. Ammo storage was between 170 and 250 shells, all 7.04 kg (15.5 lb) fired at 590 mps (1,936 fps), for an average 15 rpm. Ideal range was 6,890 m (7,530 yd). Also were installed twelve autocannons to deal with TBs. For close quarters, six 45 cm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes submerged covered all four directions. These 5.1 m (201 in) torpedoes carried each a warhead equivalent to 87.5 kg (193 lb) of TNT and had two range and speed settings. 800 - 500 m.

Armor

Wittelsbach class battleships were designed with Krupp cemented steel, starting with 50 mm (2.0 in) thick decks with sloped sides 75-120 mm (3.0 to 4.7 in). It was connected to the lower edge of the main armored belt, 225 mm (8.9 in) in the central citadel. Inside this "box" were the ammunition magazines and machinery. Forward and aft the belt was down to 100 mm (3.9 in) and no armor in the ends and the 100 mm of the belt were back-protected by teak planking.

The 15 cm casemate guns had 140 mm (5.5 in) plating and those in turrets were protected by 150 mm (5.9 in) and 70 mm (2.8 in) shields. The main 240 mm turrets had about the equivalent in armor, at 250 mm (9.8 in) with 50 mm roofs. The forward conning tower had 250 mm walls and ended with a 30 mm roof while the rear CT was 140 mm. This was generally considered adequate an in line with contemporary designs like the British classes Formidable and London but still less than the French République or Russian Tsesarevich but their sloped connection were better overall.

For the structure strength, the hull womprised transverse and longitudinal steel frames with riveted plates on the frames and ASW protection enhanced by 14 watertight compartments and a double bottom for 70% of the lenght.

Propulsion

The machinery was symbolized by a 3-3-3 arrangement: Three shafts connected to three three-cylinder, triple expansion steam engines. The outer ones drove a three-bladed screw 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in) and the axial one a four-bladed 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in) screw. Six marine-type boilers provided the steam (six Thornycroft boilers and six transverse cylindrical boilers on Wettin and Mecklenburg). Electrical power camed from four generators rated for 230 kw (310 hp)/74 volts each although the lad ship had a more powerful egenrator of 248 kw.

The boilers provided enough heat for 14,000 metric horsepower (13,808 ihp; 10,297 kW). As a result top speed was 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) but trials speed ranged from 13,072 ihp/16.9 knots to 15,318 ihp/18.1 knots (33.5 km/h; 20.8 mph) on SMS Wettin. For autonomy they carried some 650 tons (640 long tons) of fuel in peacetime, increased in wartime three fold to 1,800 metric tons by using all the ASW hollow spaces inside the hull. Maxiumum range was therefore 5,000 nautical miles (9,260 km; 5,754 mi) at 10 knots. These were excellent sea boats, with a gentle 30° roll, stable platforms, and very agile yet they were criticized for their wet bow and severe vibration when at full speed.

Active service

Until 1916 the Wittlesbach class battleships were kept in reserve with the 4th line squadron of line, which never ventured at sea. Judged too vulnerable and obsolete, they were never engaged. Later that year they were reassigned to subsidiary roles: SMS Mecklenburg became a floating prison, the others served as training ships. In 1919, the Wittlesbach (and the Braunschweig-class Lothringen) were converted into minesweeper speedboats carriers, with 10 F-type units on board in specially tailored holds on their bridge. The experiment ended in 1921. Both were struck down and broken up. The others shared this fate except SMS Zähringen which was converted in 1926 into a radio-controlled target. She served in this role until December 1944: Anchored in Gdynia, she was bombed by the RAF and afterwards her hull scuttled by the Germans to block the port.

SMS Wittlesbach


The three-years built SMS Wittlesbach, lead ship, was made at Kaiserliche Werft Wilhelmshaven. When in service in the fall of 1902, she was affected to the Ist Squadron of the Hochseeflotte until 1910, making extensive training and alternating with good-will visits abroad. Thanks to this yearly training the High Seas Fleet was ready for action in 1914. However she was decommissioned in September 1910 for a drydock revision and was back in commission in 1911 as a training ship until 1914.



When the war broke out, SMS Wittelsbach joined the IV Battle Squadron prepared for action in the Baltic Sea. Her only wartime significant action included the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in August 1915. However she never spotted or exchanged fire with the Russian fleet. Late 1915 both reduced crew and caution from the admiralty, notably the fear of British submarines roaming the north sea provoked her retirement. She became an auxiliary vessel, first a training ship and later a tender. After the was she was revbuilt and modified to serve as a tender for minesweepers until July 1921, sold and broken up.

SMS Zähringen



SMS Zähringen came from Germaniawerft. She was in service from October 1902, joining the I Squadron of the Kaiserliched Marine until September 1910. In the meantime between fleet exiscizes she frequently visited foreign ports as a courtesy. She was back in service for training in 1912 after drydock refit, but during one of these missions, she accidentally rammed and sank a torpedo boat. From August 1914, she fully commissioned in the IV Battle Squadron. She served in the Baltic Sea, participated in the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in August 1915 and in late 1915, she was withdrawn from the first line.

She served afterwards as a target ship for torpedo crews from 1917. After the war ended, she was completely reconstructed as a radio-controlled target ship. She was kept active in this role, guided by a modified TB at a distance until 1944 in Gotenhafen. She was indeed sunk a British bomber raid, raised afterwards by German troops only to be moved to block the harbor mouth access and scuttled. She had to wait to be partially raised and broken up from 1949–50 to free the harbor.

SMS Wettin


SMS Wettin was built at Schichau-Werke (Danzig) from 10 October 1899 to 1st October 1902, the first of all three battlehiops delivered that year. She saw service with the Ist Squadron of the Kaiserliched Marine until decommissioned in June 1911 (annual training, and good will visits), went through a drydock refit and then relegated to training duries, reactivated to serve as a gunnery training ship until mid-1914. She was fully reactivated during the war, and joined her sister-ships at the IV Battle Squadron, Baltic Sea. During the Gulf of Riga naval battle in August 1915, she only participated as a backup force. Late 1915 manpower shortages and admiralty caution had her reduced as an auxiliary ship for the Kaiserliche Marine. She served until the end of the war as training ship for naval cadets and later depot ship. She was stricken and scrapped in 1921. but her bell was preserved at the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr in Dresden.

SMS Schwaben


Schwaben was built at Kaiserliche Werft Wilhelmshaven, laid down on 15 September 1900, launched 19 August 1901 and completed 13 April 1904, after which she joined the 1st battle squadron until 1904, and was then converted as a gunnery training ship until 1914, while keeping an edge by partcipating in all yearly large scale fleet exercises. When the was broke out, SMS Schwaben was given to the IV Battle Squadron, North Sea ande Baltic. Like the others in 1916 she was stripped of her crew, part of her artillery, and ended as an engineering training ship for navy cadets. She was still used by the Reichsmarine until June 1920 as a depot ship for minesweepers, but stricken in March 1921.

SMS Mecklenburg


SMS Mecklenburg was built at AG Vulcan NyD of Stettin, laid down on 15 May 1900 launched 9 November 1901 and completed on 25 May 1903. She joined the 1st battle Squadron of the German fleet, between training cruises in all seas and exercises. When the war broke out she joined the IV Battle Squadron in the Baltic, and later became a guard ship for the North Sea. In January 1916 she was withdrew, modified, stripped of her armament and served as a prison/barracks ship at Kiel, stricken in January 1920, scrapped in 1921. Ammunition wells 254, belt 305, bridge 65, barbettes 305 mm

Wittelsbach class specifications

Dimensions126.8 x 22.8 x 8 m
Displacement 12,600 t standard, FL
Propulsion 3 shafts TE engines, 12 boilers, 15,000 hp.
Speed17.5 knots
Armament4 guns of 280 (2x2), 18 of 150, 12 of 88 mm, 6 TLT 450 mm.
Armor
Crew683


Wittlesbach
Author's rendition of the Wittelsbach class

Naval History

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WW1

Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
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HMS Tiger (1913)
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ww1 British cruisers
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Central Empires


WW2

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WW2 American Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
PT-Boats
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCI(L) LC
LCT(6) LC
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1943)
Majestic class (1944)
Centaur class (started 1944)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)

WW2 British Destroyers
Shakespeare class (1917)
Scott class (1818)
V class (1917)
S class (1918)
W class (1918)
A/B class (1926)
C/D class (1931)
G/H/I class (1935)
Tribal class (1937)
J/K/N class (1938)
Hunt class DE (1939)
L/M class (1940)
O/P class (1942)
Q/R class (1942)
S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
Z/ca class (1943)
Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
Battle class (1945)
Weapon class (1945)

WW2 British submarines
L9 class (1918)
HMS X1 (1923)
Oberon class (1926)
Parthian class (1929)
Rainbow class (1930)
Thames class (1932)
Swordfish class (1932)
HMS Porpoise (1932)
Grampus class (1935)
Shark class (1934)
Triton class (1937)
Undine class (1937)
U class (1940)
S class (1941)
T class (1941)
X-Craft midget (1942)
A class (1944)

WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
LSI(L) class
LSI(M/S) class
LSI(H) class
LSS class
LSG class
LSC class
Boxer class LST

LST(2) class
LST(3) class
LSH(L) class
LSF classes (all)
LCI(S) class
LCS(L2) class
LCT(I) class
LCT(2) class
LCT(R) class
LCT(3) class
LCT(4) class
LCT(8) class
LCT(4) class
LCG(L)(4) class
LCG(M)(1) class

British ww2 Landing Crafts
LCA
LCP
LCM

WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British MTBs
MTB-1 class (1936)
MTB-24 class (1939)
MTB-41 class (1940)
MTB-424 class (1944)
MTB-601 class (1942)
MA/SB class (1938)
MTB-412 class (1942)
MGB 6 class (1939)
MGB-47 class (1940)
MGB 321 (1941)
MGB 501 class (1942)
MGB 511 class (1944)
MGB 601 class (1942)
MGB 2001 class (1943)

WW2 British Gunboats

Denny class (1941)
Fairmile A (1940)
Fairmile B (1940)
HDML class (1940)

WW2 British Sloops
Bridgewater class (2090)
Hastings class (1930)
Shoreham class (1930)
Grimsby class (1934)
Bittern class (1937)
Egret class (1938)
Black Swan class (1939)

WW2 British Frigates
River class (1943)
Loch class (1944)
Bay class (1944)

WW2 British Corvettes
Kingfisher class (1935)
Shearwater class (1939)
Flower class (1940)
Mod. Flower class (1942)
Castle class (1943)

WW2 British Misc.
WW2 British Monitors
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

allied ww2 Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1920)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1932)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1937)
Zuiho class (1936) comp.40
Ruyho (1933) comp.42
Junyo class (1941)
IJN Taiho (1943)
Chitose class (comp. 1943)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)

WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB

allied ww2Neutral/small Fleets

small fleet ww2

Armada de Argentina Argentinian Navy

Rivadavia class Battleships
Cruiser La Argentina
Veinticinco de Mayo class cruisers
Argentinian Destroyers
Santa Fe class sub. Bouchard class minesweepers King class patrol vessels

Marinha do Brasil Brazilian Navy

Minas Gerais class Battleships (1912)
Cruiser Bahia
Brazilian Destroyers
Humaita class sub.
Tupi class sub.

Armada de Chile Armada de Chile

Almirante Latorre class battleships
Cruiser Esmeralda (1896)
Cruiser Chacabuco (1911)
Chilean DDs
Fresia class subs
Capitan O’Brien class subs

Zhōnghuá Mínguó Hǎijūn Chinese Navy

Ning Hai class Cruisers (1931)
Chinese Gunboats

Søværnet Danish Navy

Niels Juel
Danish ww2 Torpedo-Boats Danish ww2 submarines Danish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Merivoimat Finnish Navy

Coastal BB Ilmarinen
Finnish ww2 submarines
Finnish ww2 minelayers

Nautiko Hellenon Hellenic Navy

Greek ww2 Destroyers
Greek ww2 submarines
Greek ww2 minelayers

Marynarka Vojenna Polish Navy

Polish ww2 Destroyers
Polish ww2 cruisers
Polish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Portuguese navy ww2 Portuguese Navy

Douro class DDs
Delfim class sub
Velho class gb
Albuquerque class gb
Nunes class sloops

Romanian Navy Romanian Navy

Romanian ww2 Destroyers
Romanian ww2 Submarines

Royal Norwegian Navy Sjøforsvaret

Norwegian ww2 Torpedo-Boats

Spanish Armada Spanish Armada

España class Battleships
Blas de Lezo class cruisers
Canarias class cruisers
Cervera class cruisers
Cruiser Navarra
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Submarines
Dedalo seaplane tender
Spanish Gunboats
Spanish Minelayers

Svenska Marinen Svenska Marinen

Gustav V class BBs (1918)
Interwar swedish BB projects

Tre Kronor class (1943)
Gotland (1933)
Fylgia (1905)

Ehrernskjold class DDs (1926)
Psilander class DDs (1926)
Klas Horn class DDs (1931)
Romulus class DDs (1934)
Göteborg class DDs (1935)
Mode class DDs (1942)
Visby class DDs (1942)
Öland class DDs (1945)

Swedish ww2 TBs
Swedish ww2 Submarines
Swedish ww2 Minelayers
Swedish ww2 MTBs
Swedish ww2 Patrol Vessels
Swedish ww2 Minesweepers

Türk Donanmasi Turkish Navy

Turkish ww2 Destroyers
Turkish ww2 submarines

Royal Yugoslav Navy Royal Yugoslav Navy

Dubrovnik class DDs
Beograd class DDs
Hrabi class subs

Royal Thai Navy Royal Thai Navy

Taksin class
Ratanakosindra class
Sri Ayuthia class
Puket class
Tachin class
Sinsamudar class sub

minor navies Minor Navies


The Cold War

Hellenic Navy Hellenic Navy
No Hellenic-built ship to cover yet.
Royal Navy Royal Navy
Sovietskaya Flota Sovietskaya Flota
US Navy USN (1990)


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