Tuesday, 31 May 2016

HISTORY #5: 100 years since the Battle of Jutland!

The 2nd Division of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet prepares
to open fire on the German High Seas Fleet.
The 31st of May 2016 marks 100 years since Britain and Germany fought each other in the Battle of Jutland. It was the biggest fight to take place on sea during World War One and happened in the North Sea, just off the coast of Denmark. British ships had set sail to stop the German fleet and there was an expectation that Britain would win the battle. Britain's navy was superior to Germany's - they had a bigger fleet and more firepower. But the battle didn't unfold as simply as many thought it would do. Around 100,000 men were involved in the battle of Jutland and 250 ships. The battle was fought over 36 hours from 31 May to 1 June, 1916. The German High Seas Fleet was under the command of the Admiral Reinhard Scheer. In charge of the British fleet that day was Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. It brought together the two most powerful naval forces of the time and it became the largest sea battle in naval warfare history in terms of the numbers of battleships involved. More than 6,000 Britons and 2,500 Germans died. Who won the battle? The Germans claimed victory, as they lost fewer ships and men. The British press reported this and Admiral Jellicoe was criticized for being overly cautious in the battle and was later sacked. But within days, attitudes changes and Jutland was seen by some people as a victory for the British. This was because Germany never again tried to challenge the British Grand Fleet and stayed in their bases for the rest of the war. Who really won the Battle of Jutland is a topic that is still debated now, 100 years on. More information, details and photos from the battle here and here.

INFOGRAPHICS #21: Deutschland class heavy cruisers (pocket battleships)

German heavy cruiser pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee
returning from an Atlantic cruise, October 1938.
The Deutschland class was a series of three Panzerschiffe ("armored ships"), a form of heavily armed cruiser, built by the Reichsmarine officially in accordance with restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. The class, which comprised the ships Deutschland (renamed Lützow later), Admiral Scheer, and Admiral Graf Spee, were all stated to displace 10,000 long tons (10,000 t) in accordance with the Treaty, though they actually displaced 10,600 to 12,340 long tons (10,770 to 12,540 t) at standard displacement. Despite violating the weight limitation, the design for the ships incorporated several radical innovations to save weight. They were the first major warships to use welding and all-diesel propulsion system, a radical innovation at the time that contributed to significant savings in weight. Due to their heavy armament of six 28 cm (11 in) guns, the British began referring to the vessels as "pocket battleships". The Deutschland-class ships were initially classified as Panzerschiffe or "armored ships", but the Kriegsmarine reclassified them as heavy cruisers in February 1940. The three ships were built between 1929 and 1936 by the Deutsche Werke and Reichsmarinewerft in Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, respectively. The three Deutschland-class ships varied slightly in dimensions, appearance and armament. The Admiral Graf Spee was confronted by three British cruisers at the Battle of the River Plate. Although she damaged the British ships severely, she was herself damaged and her engines were in poor condition. Coupled with false reports of British reinforcements, the state of the ship convinced Hans Langsdorff, her commander, to scuttle the ship outside Montevideo on December 17, 1939. The Lützow and Admiral Scheer were destroyed by British bombers in the final weeks of the war (April 1945). Lützow was raised and sunk as a target by the Soviet Navy while Admiral Scheer was partially broken up in situ, with the remainder of the hulk buried beneath rubble.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Baden-Württemberg class frigates of the German Navy

Written by D-Mitch 

The German Navy F125 class frigate Baden-Württemberg
during sea trials (July 1st). Photo: Carsten Vennemann
After approximately two years, and with very limited time, I managed finally to reach my 100th post. Due to this special occasion, I chose to write an analysis on a warship class that has not been in service yet, a new "controversial" warship design if I may say which I will elaborate later why is that. This is the newest frigate design today in Europe and one of the latest worldwide, the Baden-Württemberg class of the German Navy, also known as F125 class which is the project name. The F125 class intends to replace the eight aged F122 class (also known as Bremen class) of frigates in a 1:2 ratio which means one F125 class frigate will succeed two F122 class frigates.