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T4, R1, Prng 158: Dreadnought (Britain) vs Radetzky Class (Austria/Hungary)

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  • T4, R1, Prng 158: Dreadnought (Britain) vs Radetzky Class (Austria/Hungary)

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    163: Dreadnought

    HMS Dreadnought is famous because she represented a significant leap forward in warship design. When she entered service in 1906, all existing designs had effectively been rendered obsolete; the combination of certain key design features in Dreadnought having set a new standard. Most notable were, first, her “all big gun” turret-mounted main armament; and second, steam turbines for power.

    Modern steam turbines began to be developed during the late 1800’s and by the early 1900’s, a type developed in Britain by Charles Parsons was being adapted for use in warships; HMS Dreadnought being the first recipient. For a short time, these helped to make her the fastest battleship in the World. However, speed aside - which is down to a combination of factors; not just the engine type - turbines were simply more efficient when approaching maximum power, than reciprocating steam engines. They offered a better power-to-weight ratio and the benefits that come with it. Dreadnought had two paired sets, each housed in a separate engine room and driving two shafts.

    Dreadnought’s primary armament consisted of 10 x 12-inch Mk X guns mounted in 5 turrets. Three of these turrets were on the ship’s centerline; one forward and two aft, of the main superstructure. The remaining two were positioned to the sides, a little forward of mid-way. The foremost turret was one level higher than the other four; but none of the turrets were in “super-firing” positions; that is, none were positioned to be able to fire over the top of any other main turret. (Super-firing turrets would come not too long after this, in later designs.) Dreadnought’s layout was intended to allow for an 8-gun broadside. Obviously, beyond a certain angle forward or rearward, this was not possible (see illustration below). Secondary armament consisted of 27 x 3in guns, mounted in the superstructure and on turret tops. The ship was also provided with 5 x 18in torpedo tubes.

    Though Dreadnought’s armor thicknesses were not especially remarkable for this time, the major portions of her scheme consisted of Krupp Cemented Armor, an improvement over the preceding standard Krupp Armor; both having been developed in Germany. However, one significant issue was the upper edge of the main 11in (28cm) belt being only 2ft (61cm) above the waterline at normal load. At deep load, it was submerged more than 12in (30cm), leaving the 8in upper belt to protect the waterline.

    HMS Dreadnought - Drawings showing general layout and configuration

    Dreadnought drawing.jpg

    For a year or two following her entry to service, Dreadnought was unquestionably the most advanced warship in the World. However, aside from one notable success (see further below) her career as such was relatively uneventful. She became flagship of the RN Home Fleet and remained so until replaced by HMS Neptune in 1911. From there, she was assigned to 4th Battle Squadron, performing a variety of tasks including significant amounts of training in the Mediterranean region.

    When the 1st World War commenced in 1914, Dreadnought and her squadron were based at Scapa Flow, serving in the North Sea region. Her only substantial combat action was in March 1915, when she successfully rammed the German submarine U-29, cutting it literally in two. In the process, she almost collided with another British ship, Temeraire (a Bellerophon class dreadnought, not included in this tournament), which was attempting the same thing! Regardless, this one act added to Dreadnought’s fame and – most significantly – she was to become the only battleship ever to purposefully sink an enemy submarine in this way.

    From 18 April until 22 June 1916, Dreadnought was undergoing a re-fit and therefore missed the largest fleet engagement of the entire war: The Battle of Jutland (May 31 - June 1). She subsequently became flagship of 3rd Battle Squadron based at Sheerness in the Thames, to counter the threat of German shore bombardments. After returning to 4th Battle Squadron in March 1918, there was very little action. Post-war, she spent some time in 1919 as tender to HMS Hercules (a Colossus class dreadnought) and was eventually put up for sale in 1920, being sold for scrap the following year and finally broken up in 1923.

    Dreadnought under way

    Dreadnought under way.jpg

    Dreadnought turret showing the "business end" of her main armament; 12in (305mm) guns. This is some time into her career and we can also see 2 x QF 6pdr (57mm) AA guns mounted atop.


    Dreadnought had triggered a vigorously renewed “naval arms race”. This applied just as much to the British themselves, who would need to upgrade their own fleet as quickly as possible, as well as continuing the development & improvement of their designs in the effort to maintain a lead. Naturally, all the other major naval powers would be working to catch up and trying to gain some sort of edge as well; be it qualitative, quantitative or both. The race was now well and truly on!

    General characteristics

    Displacement – 18,120 – 20,730 long tons (18,410 – 21,060t)
    Length – 527ft (160.6m)
    Beam – 82ft 1in (25m)
    Draft – 29ft 7.5in (9m) (deep load)

    Propulsion – 2 x Steam turbine sets, 4 shafts, 18 boilers
    Maximum speed:
    21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph) in service

    Range at 10 knots:
    6,620 nmi
    Primary – 10 x 12in (305mm)
    Secondary - 27 x 3in (76.2mm) (12pdr)
    Supplementary (1915) – 2 x QF 6pdr (57mm) Hotchkiss AA
    Torpedo tubes - 5 x 18in (460mm) (subsequently reduced to 4)
    Belt – 102-279mm (4–11in)
    Deck – 19-76mm (0.75-3in)
    Barbettes – 102-279mm (4-11in)
    Turrets – 76-305mm (3-12in)
    Conning tower – 279mm (11in)
    Bulkheads – 8in (203mm)
    Complement – 700-810

    161: Radetzky Class

    The Radetzky class consisted of three “semi-dreadnought” battleships built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Radetzky being the name ship, the other two were Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand and Zrinyi. This class was built between 1907 and 1911 at the STT (Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino) shipyard, a private company in Trieste, north-east Italy.
    Although sources generally classify these as pre-dreadnoughts – which they certainly were, having been developed and built before HMS Dreadnought – some retrospectively flag them as a definable intermediate step shortly before dreadnoughts; hence the description “semi dreadnought”. Three other examples are: Lord Nelson class (Britain), Satsuma class (Japan), and Andrei Pervozvanny class* (Russia). (*Included in this tournament)

    Power for the Radetzkys was provided by two x 2-shaft 4-cylinder vertical triple expansion reciprocating steam engines, each fed by six Yarrow type high-pressure water-tube boilers. This system, combined with efficient overall design, provided a maximum speed of 20.5 knots; only half a knot slower than Dreadnought.

    These were the first Austro-Hungarian battleships to be armed with 305mm (12in) guns. They were paired in two large turrets on the centerline, towards the bow and stern. Four additional, smaller turrets - positioned amidships to either side - carried the eight 240mm (9.4in) guns. As we would expect, the 240mm weapons had substantially less range and penetration power. Also, even when the range was such that both calibers could be engaged together, differentiating between the splashes of 305mm vs 240mm was just about impossible. Of course, these limitations also applied to all the other “semi-dreadnoughts”.

    In the design of the Radetzkys, considering mines and torpedoes, substantial emphasis was placed on protection below the waterline. This included both an armored double bottom and a 54mm (2.1in) thick bulkhead running the length of the hull, as a second level of protection in case the main armor belt was penetrated.

    Drawings showing general layout and configuration of the Radetzky Class

    Radetzky drawing.jpg

    The Radetzky class ships were commissioned between June 1910 and September 1911. During the period leading up to WW1, they were assigned to 2nd Division of the 1st Battle Squadron, along with three of the four brand new Tegetthoff class battleships (the fourth not being commissioned until late 1915). The Radetskys had been involved in some small actions, including an international fleet operation in late 1912 to protest the Balkan Wars, which culminated in a blockade to thwart Serbian reinforcements. They also gained the distinction of operating the first seaplanes to be used in combat; although they did not have the ability to recover these back to the ships.

    With the outbreak of WW1 (28 July 1914), Austria-Hungary had been wary of engaging in a wider conflict but as partners with Germany in the Triple Alliance, had little choice. The German Mediterranean Division called upon their support in the region and the Radetzkys, together with the three Tegtthoff battleships as well as some cruisers and smaller craft, were available. Among some of the earlier actions, on 21 October, Radetzky herself bombarded French artillery batteries on Mount Lovcen in Montenegro and was successful in forcing the French to abandon their positions.

    On 23 May 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary. On land, this opened a whole new front for WW1; along the Italian/Austro-Hungarian border. At sea, it immediately prompted large-scale action from Austro-Hungarian naval forces. Almost their entire main fleet, including the three ships of the Radetzky class, was involved.
    The main target was the Ancona naval base and surrounding infrastructure on the Adriatic (east) coast of Italy. During this operation, the fleet encountered almost no opposition and the bombardment was a great success. Local shore batteries were neutralized and there was widespread destruction including the port & wharves, oil tanks, warehouses, railway assets, army barracks, infrastructure and communications. The key objective was to hinder deployment of the Italian Army to the border region for as long as possible. The action can be considered a success, as it delayed this deployment for an estimated two weeks.
    Following this action, the fleet was mostly confined to port as a “fleet in being” for the remainder of the war.

    Zrinyi in 1918

    Zrinyi in 1918.jpg

    Artwork illustrating Radetzky in action

    Radetsky in action.jpg

    Within their limited sphere of operations, the Radetzky class had served Austria-Hungary well despite being involved in relatively little “conventional” naval action. Following the end of the war, they were ceded to Italy. Radetzky and Zrinyi were broken up during 1920-21; Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand surviving until being scrapped in 1926.

    General characteristics* (*Representative. Some variation between ships)

    Displacement – 14,508 – 15,845 long tons (14,741 – 16,099t)
    Length – 451ft (137.5m)
    Beam – 81ft 1in (24.6m)
    Draft – 26ft 7in (8.1m)

    Propulsion – 2 x 4-cyl vertical triple expansion steam engines, 12 boilers
    Maximum speed:

    20.5 knots (38 km/h; 23.6 mph) in service
    Range at 10 knots:
    4,000 nmi with 1,350 tons of coal
    Primary – 4 x 305mm (12in) and 8 x 240mm (9.4in)
    Secondary – 20 x 100mm (3.9in)
    Supplementary – 4 x 70mm (2.8in) AA; 2 x 66mm (2.6in); 4 x 47mm (1.9in)
    Torpedo tubes - 3 x 18in (460mm)
    Belt – 230mm (9.1in)
    Deck – 48mm (1.9in)
    Bulkhead – 54mm (2.1in)
    Large turrets (305mm guns) – 250mm (9.8in)
    Smaller turrets (240mm guns) – 200mm (7.9in)
    Casemates – 120mm (4.7in)
    Conning tower – 250mm (9.8in)
    Bulkheads – 8in (203mm)

    Complement – 890

    Will it be Dreadnought or the Radetzky Class?
    YOU can help decide which candidate progresses to Round 2!

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?
    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).
    163: Dreadnought (Britain)
    161: Radetzky class (Austria/Hungary)
    Last edited by panther3485; 19 Jul 20, 02:16.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    Has to be the Dreadnought if only on purely historical grounds. She set the pattern for all that followed and marked the end of all prior classes.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
      Has to be the Dreadnought if only on purely historical grounds. She set the pattern for all that followed and marked the end of all prior classes.
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      • #4
        HMS Dreadnought was more an evolutionary design than revolutionary.
        The leap in faith of the Parsen turbines was the only unique feature of her design, even though they were less efficient.
        Speed, power and firepower creep was inline with existing trends, even the 'all big gun' concept was not new, the Americans were first with that with the USS Indiana(BB1).

        The Admiralty actually wanted more Lord Nelson battleships, they had better handling and were regarded as effective combatants for many years. The turret mountings(turn tables) for the Lord Nelson were ordered in 1904, while the Dreadnought's was ordered in 1905... but Fisher decided Dreadnought should have them in order to see her built without further delays.

        I'm not sure which to vote for yet but HMS Dreadnought's revolutionary hyperbole really needs to pop.

        I started a topic about HMS Dreadnought some time ago, I'll link it here.
        Last edited by Achtung Baby; 20 Jun 20, 04:29.
        "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
        Ernest Hemingway.

        Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?


        • #5
          Dreadnaught was a paradigm step in Battleships. The Radetzky was not,

          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


          • #6
            Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post
            " ... even the 'all big gun' concept was not new, the Americans were first with that with the USS Indiana(BB1). ... "
            Interesting! I've looked at USS Indiana (BB1), with her 6 turrets; two of them with 13in guns and the other 4 with 8in guns.
            I compare this with Dreadnought's 5 turrets; ALL with 12in guns.
            So if 12 -13 inch guns are to be considered "big", even allowing for the earlier service entry for Indiana, surely 8in guns would not be considered so?
            Or does this all rest on how we interpret what is meant by the "all big gun" concept? (That is, essentially disregarding Indiana's 4 turrets with 8in guns; or in other words, considering them to NOT be part of the main armament?)

            IMO, Indiana does not appear to qualify as a "dreadnought" as such; and might therefore at best be described as a "semi-dreadnought"? Indeed, if we look at the gun/turret configuration & layout of Indiana, it resembles much more closely that of the Radetzky class just above, than that of Dreadnought. The wiki article on Indiana includes this bit (my bold):
            "The ship also pioneered the use of an intermediate battery. ...."

            My understanding is that HMS Dreadnought did away with the "intermediate battery" idea, in favor of the above-mentioned "all big gun" concept for her main armament. I agree with you that this was not - in itself alone - new; but it seems that most if not all sources regard it, in combination with certain other features and particularly the steam turbines, as a significant step forward? However - and this is a very important however - the British were aware that some other nations were working on very similar ideas at around the same time. They endeavored to be "first across the line" with this. Therefore, it is not as if all the other leading maritime nations were caught totally unawares and miles behind. Had that been the case, it would have taken longer than it did for those countries to put their first dreadnoughts into service. To that extent at least, we are in agreement.

            Very happy to entertain further discussion, if deemed appropriate; but probably unnecessary as I have just looked at the link you provided and I immediately recalled reading it before.

            (If further discussion needed here, for any interested member, that's no problem as such but please, not to the extent of "de-railing" or "taking over" the thread, of course.)

            Last edited by panther3485; 20 Jun 20, 11:14.
            "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
            Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


            • #7
              Dreadnought simplified immensely the ammo storage, supply and feeding to the main guns, since only a single caliber was required. In a similar fashion, repair and maintenance were greatly simplified as well, there being only a single type of main gun mount, turret, etc. to consider. Fire control was also greatly simplified - often there was confusion in action on warships firing different calibers of weapons when spotters tried to sort out shell splashes.

              She was fast (21 knots) powerful and well armored, and became the model for all that followed.
              Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?


              • #8
                Considering that the mere invention of the Dreadnought may have contributed in a small way to widening WW1, then I think the nod has to go to her as the more influential.


                • #9
                  The Dreadnaught is a great ship.


                  • #10
                    is the voting button gone..?...went to vote but couldnt find it...?.....geez, maybe im getting REAL old..!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Galland View Post
                      is the voting button gone..?...went to vote but couldnt find it...?.....geez, maybe im getting REAL old..!
                      I see you found it. Your vote is registered!

                      BTW guys, I just uploaded the 8th poll:
                      Dante Alighieri (Italy) vs Espana Class (Spain)

                      I'll start working on the 2nd group of 8 tonight.
                      Thanks to all members, for your patience with this.
                      Last edited by panther3485; 16 Jul 20, 03:47.
                      "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                      Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


                      • #12
                        The Dreadnought certainly outgunned the Radetzky 10/4.
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                        • #13
                          HMS Dreadnought was a game-changer.
                          "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                          Samuel Johnson.


                          • #14
                            AB and Panther...late to the party here but you're confused over which US battleship had the first all-big-gun armament. It was BB-26 USS South Carolina.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                              AB and Panther...late to the party here but you're confused over which US battleship had the first all-big-gun armament. It was BB-26 USS South Carolina.
                              OK, thanks; yes, that's correct.
                              (As discussed and clarified between the three of us.)
                              "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
                              Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


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