Best possible update of a pre-dreadnought?

Say for example that Germany had plenty of money, but were not allowed to build replacements for the Deutschland class pre-dreadnoughts (Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein) and wished to make them as competent ships as ever possible for battle.

OTL, they had most of their casemate guns removed and replaced with 20mm AA guns, the torpedo tubes were removed and the ships partially converted to oil-firing (havign a dual system).

So, if the Germans want to make them into a kind of coastal battleship capable of fighting in the Baltic Sea, what could they do?

Some suggestions from me:

1. Remove the ramming bow with modern cruiser style bows, which should reduce weight slightly and increase speed sligthtly.
2. Replace all the coal boilers with oil boilers.
3. Extensive refit of the engines, hopefully allowing maintained or even higher pressure, which together with the new bow perhaps could get the ships up to 20-21 knots instead of the 18-19, minus degaradation they were capable of OTL.
4. Replace the casemate guns with 4x2x12,7cm DP secondaries (four dual turrets, two on each side).
5. Update the main artillery - perhaps allow an increase in elevation and/or new shells increasing the range (like Sweden did on the Sverige class in the 30s).
6. Remove torpedo tubes.
7. Update fire control and range finding equipment, fire control place din the former torpedo room - one of the best protected part of the ship.
8. Updated AA - perhaps 2x2 3,7cm AA and ~20x20mm AA.

Any further suggestions?
 
Deck armour and torpedo protection need updating or its a death trap. Problem is what have you ended up with , its too small to act as a battleship , too slow for a heavy crusier
 
Pull the boilers and triple expansion engines and replace them with diesels. Use the saved weight to pile on extra armour over the turrets and magazines, add torpedo bulges and anti aircraft guns. Don't under any circumstances take them out of the Baltic. They're coastal defence ships not raiders or cruisers and certainly not battleships.
 
Spending money and resources on upgrading these things is a waste of time and it helps the Allied cause. Best thing for them, strip them of anything useful, scrap them.
 
Say for example that Germany had plenty of money, but were not allowed to build replacements for the Deutschland class pre-dreadnoughts (Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein) and wished to make them as competent ships as ever possible for battle.
Its depends entirely on what restrictions they are working under? ie how far they feel they can push it......?
1. Remove the
Name plate and slid a new hull under it?

Realistically it also depends on what you want them to do fight ships or act as monitors or flak batteries?
 
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For a really off the wall use:
Bulge the heck out of them. How big a single mortar could be put on the forward 11" barbette? Keep the aft 11" turret for shooting lower angle missions--like at tanks over open sights, or if something wicked this way comes. (I kept the 11" on the aft position because if it's fighting something afloat, it's also running away, and if shooting at things on land, you can get the gun to bear.)
Pack every bit of open space with flak. Now you have an overpriced, over gunned monitor that is just useful enough to get funding, and just impractical enough to get finding in Nazi Germany. Very useful for the invasion of Russia.
 
Take their best features, update them technologically, and create as modular a design as possible from them. Then sink the older ships or sell them to raise funds.
 
How big a single mortar could be put on the forward 11" barbette?
I think keeping the guns and simply elevating them to 45 degrees (if necessarily in side firing none rotating mounts) would be better value than new mortars and might also have more range?
 
Say for example that Germany had plenty of money, but were not allowed to build replacements for the Deutschland class pre-dreadnoughts (Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein) and wished to make them as competent ships as ever possible for battle.

OTL, they had most of their casemate guns removed and replaced with 20mm AA guns, the torpedo tubes were removed and the ships partially converted to oil-firing (havign a dual system).

So, if the Germans want to make them into a kind of coastal battleship capable of fighting in the Baltic Sea, what could they do?

Some suggestions from me:

1. Remove the ramming bow with modern cruiser style bows, which should reduce weight slightly and increase speed sligthtly.
2. Replace all the coal boilers with oil boilers.
3. Extensive refit of the engines, hopefully allowing maintained or even higher pressure, which together with the new bow perhaps could get the ships up to 20-21 knots instead of the 18-19, minus degaradation they were capable of OTL.
4. Replace the casemate guns with 4x2x12,7cm DP secondaries (four dual turrets, two on each side).
5. Update the main artillery - perhaps allow an increase in elevation and/or new shells increasing the range (like Sweden did on the Sverige class in the 30s).
6. Remove torpedo tubes.
7. Update fire control and range finding equipment, fire control place din the former torpedo room - one of the best protected part of the ship.
8. Updated AA - perhaps 2x2 3,7cm AA and ~20x20mm AA.

Any further suggestions?
Do nothing other than add some AAA / light AA and treat them as monitors

Use the resources otherwise squandered on them on something else instead
 
Melt them down and make submarines out of them. Not tanks. Tanks brought France to the negotiating table. Tanks will not do that for Britain. Submarines might.
 
Melt them down and make submarines out of them. Not tanks. Tanks brought France to the negotiating table. Tanks will not do that for Britain. Submarines might.
The problem with any earlier pre war mass construction of submarines is it gets the UK to invest a fuck ton more or ASW and convoying pre war.

Putting the money into a modified coastal defense ship won't scare the Brits anywhere near as much.
 
I think keeping the guns and simply elevating them to 45 degrees (if necessarily in side firing none rotating mounts) would be better value than new mortars and might also have more range?
More range--but not as big. High elevation's good, but won't let you drop shells over intervening hills. Weimar's more likely to have a rational rebuild, such as there is, than Nazi Germany.
A rebuild of at least one of them as a WARship is politically necessary to show the world, and the German people, that Germany is really here.
What's the POD for not allowing replacements? Or perhaps the replacements are in addition to the Panzerschiffe?
 
Melt them down and make submarines out of them. Not tanks. Tanks brought France to the negotiating table. Tanks will not do that for Britain. Submarines might.
Politicaly probably a non-starter. Battleships are THE symbol of a major power, especially since Germany has no significant cruisers.
 
Keep them what they were, training ships. At start of War, pull the Main and secondary guns, and put 128mm AAA platforms everywhere. Fill the Guts with foamed concrete so they can't sink even when hit
 

Driftless

Donor
Say for example that Germany had plenty of money, but were not allowed to build replacements for the Deutschland class pre-dreadnoughts (Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein) and wished to make them as competent ships as ever possible for battle.

OTL, they had most of their casemate guns removed and replaced with 20mm AA guns, the torpedo tubes were removed and the ships partially converted to oil-firing (havign a dual system).

So, if the Germans want to make them into a kind of coastal battleship capable of fighting in the Baltic Sea, what could they do?

Some suggestions from me:

1. Remove the ramming bow with modern cruiser style bows, which should reduce weight slightly and increase speed sligthtly.
2. Replace all the coal boilers with oil boilers.
3. Extensive refit of the engines, hopefully allowing maintained or even higher pressure, which together with the new bow perhaps could get the ships up to 20-21 knots instead of the 18-19, minus degaradation they were capable of OTL.
4. Replace the casemate guns with 4x2x12,7cm DP secondaries (four dual turrets, two on each side).
5. Update the main artillery - perhaps allow an increase in elevation and/or new shells increasing the range (like Sweden did on the Sverige class in the 30s).
6. Remove torpedo tubes.
7. Update fire control and range finding equipment, fire control place din the former torpedo room - one of the best protected part of the ship.
8. Updated AA - perhaps 2x2 3,7cm AA and ~20x20mm AA.

Any further suggestions?
  • As others have mentioned, focus any rebuilds on coastal defense purposes.
  • Any hull work should prioritize torpedo or mine defence, as much as practical. That may be their greatest enemy.
  • Lose the casemate guns and replace that firepower with AA or DP weapons. If these ships are coastal defence, then in theory, they may have some kind of support from their own air force.
  • Lose the torpedos
  • I like the idea of Diesels over boilers
  • Greater elevation for the main battery.

The two greatest virtues of these ships:
  • Germany still has some appearance of a navy
  • They provide training for both ratings and officers with larger ships and perhaps with task force operations (as limited as that might be)
 
Get it into the drydock.

Now tear off the superstructure.

Cut it in two and increase the length until you have a 6 to 1 length to width ratio. That's getting you more speed than just more powerful modern boilers.

Now install more powerful modern boilers.

Use the extra space for a few more boilers and an extra turret.

Increase the thickness of the armor while you're there and add some protection against plunging fire.

Modify the turrets so you can elevate the guns a few degrees more and install blast protection doors down in the working area and between the elevator and magazines.

Now rebuild the superstructure with all the new gizmos developed during the 20s and all the extra spotters needed thanks to air power being a thing. You can do it pagoda style like the Japanese and earlier American dreadnoughts or as a monstrous uniformal block like the British did. I prefer the British look.

Cover the free space on the decks with AA guns, 3 inches caliber should be good enough, and install a torpedo protection belt.

That's about the best you can do without simply building a brand new super dreadnought. It's a bizarro dreadnought and people will question your sanity for doing this. Still, it's probably cheaper than a new ship.
 
Still, it's probably cheaper than a new ship.
It's really not. IIRC (and I'm going off memory here so I may be wrong) the American rebuilds of the Standards cost about the same as the cost to build a whole new ship. Maybe a little less, but I'm talking like, 5 rebuilds for the price for 4 new ships
 
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