The final plans for the Schlachtkreuzer SMS Wittelsbach, before her keel was laid down"We were drunk on the spirit of our successes. The Wittelsbachs would usher in a new age of German supremacy on the oceans."We overcommited. We failed. There is no putting it gently.
-Vizeadm. Galster K (post mort.) 1956, The Naval Question: Collected Papers and Letters, edited by Dr. Ernst Jablonka, Universitätsverlag Heidelberg.
was ambivalent with regards to the Kaiser's demand. On the one hand, the Brits were well on the way to strengthening their nascent battlecruiser fleet, in response to Germany's escalation. On the other, the Naval budget was strained already; and there was considerable discontent among the population regarding the armament expenditures, so long after the end of war (you
try to convince those damn socialists that si vis pacem, para bellum
. Bismarck was right in trying to eliminate their ilk from politics...)
With the admirals vaccilating, the R & D department submitted designs for naval-scale oil-fired boilers. Now, if only Germany could secure a domestic oil production sufficient to fuel her fleet...
Until she did, her ships would have to remain coil-fired.
January comes and Germany rejoices. As part of the Neujahr
returns from her shakedown cruise and fires a gun salute in honour of the imperial family in Wilhelmshaven. Germany now posesses the two most deadly ships in the world and they are ready for active duty.
The festive mood is somewhat ruined when emissaries from Japan arrive, requesting to buy a license for the German torpedo-belt pattents. They are quietly shown the door. Germany doesn't even have a ship with these belts in production
yet - she's not about to allow a third-rate Power to outbuild her.
In February, the Kaiser requests an update from the Admiralität
on their plans for the construction of new Schlachtkreuzer
. He is incensed when von Tirpitz and Galster inform him of the budgetary concerns. After a short discussion with von Mecklenburg and representatives of the DKP and FKP (boosted to particularly high levels after the wars), he set in motion the necessary procedures for increasing the Naval budget.
knows a lost fight when they see one and, in all frankness, they're interested to see what the engineers will draw up. Planning begins on the third class of German battlecruisers, for now referred to as SK-E****
you 'Murica, we need the money
German fixation on quality munitions delivers again. AP 'caps' are added to German shells as an experiment, although extensive live-fire tests are postponed for now.
See 'Muricans? The Italians are nice people. And they don't bear a grudge, apparently. They can have this insignificant ROF tech for a good sum of money.
April arrives - and the designs for the SK-E
-class battlecruisers are presented to the Admiralität
. The SK-Es
are everything the Moltke
-class are, just better
in most conceivable ways.
For one thing, they are truly massive
ships - at 31k tons, they set a new standard for warships. They're almost half
again as big as the Moltkes
and it shows
. They are armed with the new 12-inchers, in a five-turret, cross-deck-fire, AFKXY configuration; their armor is an inch thinner in the belt, but they have an extra inch on the turrets, they implement a torpedo belt, and they can reach the 25 knots that are, by now, standard for German Schlachtkreuzer
Three are ordered, immediately, from the Blohm & Voss shipbuilders. They are to be named Wittelsbach, Derfflinger
...and the downpayment takes up more than a third of the Admiralität
budgetary reserves. Ouch
. That could have been helpful a month earlier. That's another inch of belt armor right there.
This is both bad and good. On the one hand, having the option to build light cruisers with the sloped deck armor scheme is a huge advantage over the earlier 'protected' scheme. On the other hand, the frozen Arcona
is now utterly obsolete and unlikely to be completed anytime soon, given the massive
drain on the budget that the Schlachtkreuzer
And the R & D breakthroughs just keep coming
, guys. All this in one month?
Well, the writing's on the wall for poor Arcona
. She's been cluttering up the docks for more than a year now, and she's going to be quite outdated by the time she's complete. Time to scrap her and use her steel on the Schlachtkreuzer
. Sad, but necessary.
Ahahaha. Battlecruiser operational
The news hit the Admiralität
like thunder out of the blue. Counterintelligence reports that British spies have, somehow, gotten their grubby mitts on the new AP cap designs. The ensuing investigation sees the end of the careers of seven officers, who, apparently, thought that security rules were guidelines. The Kaiser is livid
and, this time, for good reason. A communiqué is drafted and sent to His British Majesty's Government in the strongest language von Mecklenburg can muster; and the Kaiser's rants almost peel the paint off the walls.
His Majesty's mood darkens even further when he visits the shipyards in June and finds the works on the Moltke
and the three Wittelsbachs
frozen for the month, as the Admiralität
is desperately trying to scrounge up the necessary funds. Admirals and engineers scramble for cover in the face of his wrath.
Yeah, uh-huh. A fishing boat. In German territorial waters. Near our Naval Bases. An American fishing boat
. In the Baltic Sea
. Uh-huh. Sure, 'Muricans. Get the ****
July comes - and finally
, some good news. Never mind the 700-ton torpedobats the French are building - Germany can build bigger
! If we ever find the funds to build anything but bloody capital ships
Also - and this really
helps the Kaiser perk up: Blohm & Voss are equally embarrassed about the June fiasco as the Admiralität
. They propose to lay down a fourth Wittelsbach
-class ship, as an apology - with a 10% discount.
Welcome to the family, Hindenburg!
You're going to make us all so
proud one day!
OOC shameless self-plug: I dunno if y'all have noticed, but I've been writing canon Wings of Dawn Lore
for Spoon-sempai in weekly installments. If you like, drop on over, leave a comment and feed a starving writer the attention he craves.
Also come to experience ship battles IN SPACE and the glory that is Spoon-sempai's WoDverse.