History of the O-Class battlecruisers

In 1938, Hitler made it known to the Naval Staff that he desired to withdraw from the Anglo-German Naval Treaty and build a powerful navy to threaten Great Britain's maritime trade. As part of a grand scheme, powerful battlecruisers would destroy a convoy while H-Class battleships would dispose of the escorting capital ships.

In order to shorten construction time, displacement was limited to 30,000 tons, and the existing 15/52 gun was specified. Building time was projected at three years, as opposed to four years for a battleship. Unlike other German WWII designs, the O-Class ships were officially designated as battlecruisers.

Diesel propulsion was desired to give these ships very long range, but a pure diesel system could not meet the speed requirement. The center shaft was to be fitted with a high-speed geared turbine to boost top speed to 34 knots, while the outboard shafts were powered by diesels that could provide 19 knots. Three rudders were to be fitted, and the hull was to be 95% welded to save weight. A water-exclusion material was to be used in the wing voids, a first in German capital ships. A dual-purpose secondary was not available, so a wasteful mixed battery was to be fitted. The project was driven by Hitler and his love of large ships, while most designers saw the vessels as obsolete, based on 25-year old concepts. Armor protection was very weak, the torpedo defense system was very shallow, and the main guns were few in number. The horizontal protection against aircraft bombs and long-range shell fire was very poor. In professional circles, the O,P,Q project was known as "Ohne Panzer Quatsch", a German colloquialism for "without armor nonsense".

Three ships, designated as Hulls O, P, and Q, were ordered in September 1939. Project drawings were approved by Hitler and Raeder in 1940, and some initial procurement of materials was done. The project was put on hold so resources could be used on projects of more immediate help to the war effort, and eventually cancelled.
Laid down
N/A
Launched
N/A
Completed
N/A
Commissioned
N/A
Fate
Project ended with start of WWII
Builders
Deutche Worke, Kiel: Hull O
KM Dockyard: Hull P
Germania: Hull Q
Complement
1965 Design
Displacement
28,900 tons standard, 35,400 tons max
Dimensions
840.2 ' x 98.4'
Draught
26.4'
Main guns
6 x 15/47"
(3 x 2)
Secondary guns
6 x 5.9" (3 x 2)
Light guns
8 x 4.1" (4 x 2)
8 x 37mm (8 x 1)
20 x 20mm (10 x 2)
Torpedo tubes
12 x 21" deck mounted
Armour
Belt: 7.48"
Turrets: 8.67"
Deck: 1.18" + 2.36"
C.T.: 7.87"
4 Arado 196 sea planes, hanger
Machinery
8 MAN 24-cylinder V
2-stroke diesels
2 Vulcan gear boxes
4 engines per shaft
2 outboard shafts
4 Wagner steam boilers
Curtis type geared turbine
center shaft
Power output
175,136 shp
Shafts
3
Speed
34 kts design
Range
25,000 NM @ 13 kts
15,000 @ 19 kts
Fuel
5000 tons diesel oil


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