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
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.
Project ended with start of WWII
Deutche Worke, Kiel: Hull O
KM Dockyard: Hull P
Germania: Hull Q
28,900 tons standard, 35,400 tons max
840.2 ' x 98.4'
6 x 15/47"
(3 x 2)
6 x 5.9" (3 x 2)
8 x 4.1" (4 x 2)
8 x 37mm (8 x 1)
20 x 20mm (10 x 2)
12 x 21" deck mounted
Deck: 1.18" + 2.36"
4 Arado 196 sea planes, hanger
8 MAN 24-cylinder V
2 Vulcan gear boxes
4 engines per shaft
2 outboard shafts
|4 Wagner steam boilers
Curtis type geared turbine
34 kts design
25,000 NM @ 13 kts
15,000 @ 19 kts
5000 tons diesel oil