3 Turret Bismarck?

German Kriegsmarine 1935-1945.

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3 Turret Bismarck?

Postby Troy Tempest » Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:41 am

If the standard Kriegsmarine turret for the pocket battleships and battlecruisers had three guns, why didn't the Bismarck and Tirpitz have 3x 3 gun turrets, like the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau? That would have given 9 barrels instead of 8, 6 barrels steaming straight in instead of 4. Even with the extra weight of the larger 3 barrel turret over the 2 barrel turret, surely you'd have weight savings by the deletion of the fouth turret? That would have left a spare 1,000 tons or more of weight that could have gone into extra armour?

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Postby phylo_roadking » Thu Nov 16, 2006 7:14 am

This is trawling back into my dim-and distant, but I hope someone will have the facts to hand. If I remember it had something to do with the number and type of guns available at the time, between time the design was laid down and the time it came to arm her. Production rates meant that it was better to go ahead with the installation as known. Also, Bismarck/Tirpitz were a different class from Scharnhorst/Gneisenau, no such thing as a standard turret. Very, very similar between class vessels, but could still be significant difference in any navy between two capital ships.
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Postby derGespenst » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:02 pm

The triple turrets were used specifically to save weight and meet the requirements (on paper) of the Washington and other Naval treaties. Many thought that triple turrets were too vulnerable - you lose more with a single hit on the turret, and they're certainly less flexible. Bismarck could, if necessary, target 4 enemies simultaneously, where Scharnhorst could only target three (never mind effectiveness here). Then there is the safety issue of having 4 smaller magazines rather than 3 larger ones. Overall, my understanding is that naval men prefer the twin-gun mounts to the triple. I don't think anyone at the time believed that Bismarck needed extra armor.
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Re: 3 Turret Bismarck?

Postby Tiornu » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:25 pm

The German navy never liked triple turrets, not even for its light cruisers whose 15cm triples (unlike the 28cm triples) performed well. You'll note that the final German CL program to get underway, the "M" class, reverted to twins.
The primary reason probably has to do with fire control. German gunnery procedure was built around firing half-salvoes, and while a satisfactory system was developed for the triples, it was never popular. I doubt there was any consideration of targeting multiple enemies; the chances of scoring a hit with two-gun salvoes is not good.
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Postby Tiornu » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:09 pm

The Scharnhorsts were not designed for subsequent conversion to a 38cm armament. If the switch had been intended from the start, it would not have required the lengthening of the hull and reinforcement of the barbettes. The claim that this was part of the original concept appears to have originated in Allied guesswork, as there is nothing in German records to support it.
Bismarck had no particular connection to Baden except (as noted previously) they had identical kitchen designs.
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Postby Hagen von Tronje » Tue May 08, 2007 12:01 pm

It was suggested shortly after construction of the Scharnhorst began to install 38cm twin mounts instead of the 28cm triple mounts. Mark, AFTER construction began, not while she was designed. Hence the necessity to lengthen the hull - though I wonder if the ship itself would have been 'sturdy' enough (something like what happened to the Japanese Mogamis during the test firings springs to mind).
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Postby Tiornu » Tue May 08, 2007 3:19 pm

The conversion plan included structural reinforcement in addition to the lengthened bow.
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Re: 3 Turret Bismarck?

Postby nebelwerferXXX » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:06 pm

Bismarck-Class 4 x 2 gun turrets -vs- Scharnhorst-Class 3 x 3 gun turrets.
Aesthetically speaking, the Scharnhorst looks more beautiful.
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Re: 3 Turret Bismarck?

Postby Troy Tempest » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:24 pm

What was the reasoning then for the Americans to go for 3 x 3 gun turrets on their Iowa etc battleships? And the IJN with the Yamato/Musashi?
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Re:

Postby lwd » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:51 am

derGespenst wrote:The triple turrets were used specifically to save weight and meet the requirements (on paper) of the Washington and other Naval treaties. ...

Germany wasn't party to the Washington treaty. The design of the panzershiffe was indeed based on the requirements of the treaty of Versailles but the twins were not.
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Re: 3 Turret Bismarck?

Postby Ronald Lameck » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:51 pm

I read this MANY years ago (source is irretrievable from my memory): Somewhere in the construction phase of Bismarck & Tirpitz, there was an idea to arm them with 457 mm. (18-inch), or even 533 mm. (21-inch) guns. Such guns were so large that three would not fit in the turret designs of the time. Also, their weight required a larger, more cumbersome mechanical and motor assembly so the turrets could rotate. A (or THE) dual turret was designed for installation of these large guns. I have no idea why they were not used. Likely weight of the shell and the smaller number of shells therefore available played some role.
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Re: 3 Turret Bismarck?

Postby lwd » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:18 am

That sounds like someone confused the Bismarck class with some of the H class designs.
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Re: 3 Turret Bismarck?

Postby Paul Lakowski » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:39 pm

All German capital ships from WW-I era had twin turrets and options for twin turrets were made for the Panzerschiffe A,B & C as well as D & E. From what I've read that original planning also had options to upgrade triple turrets late, either to three 13" guns or two 14" guns. Any inclusion of the 15" gun was made after the design was settled and certainly would have meant a major overhaul of the ship hull with new bow and stern along the lines of the planned Gneisenau refit 1942/43.
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