H-Series design

'H Series'

The Ultimate Series is a totally hypothetical Design concepts based on a 'what if' or 'what could have' principle.

The ultimate 'H-series' is based on the where development may have  gone in German Battleship design if a number of real world events did not happen.( a 'what if' situation) In this you have to ignore certain events that lead up to WW2 that halted the development process.

Before we go on trip into fantasy land we should look at what actually existed and little focus that has placed on the timeline. 

If you focus on design timeline of the Bismarck you will come to realization that the American designs indicated 14" main guns, so therefore the Bismarck was not designed to tackle the modern U.S. 16' inch battleships. 

Germany's first response to the modern fast battleships of the USA was suppose to be the 'H39' laid down after the launch of the Bismarck.
Her main guns would have gone someway to equalize the existing differences but would have the armor extended the immune zone against the Americans? 

As she would have been able to just pass through the Kiel canal the height restrictions associated that would have come into play. Contrary to published accounts the Germans did not desire a squat profile they were FORCED by their unique strategic concerns.As the operational immune zone started at 30,000 m increasing to their max range for the Bismarck this 'squat profile' restricted the visible horizon available which restricts viable gunnery range. You have to remember that radar is restricted by curvature of the earth and the height of the  radar antenna at the top of the tower and it's transmitting power set the range. Still combat range is limited to visual range as target identification is required and spotting planes were NEVER used in any surface action of the War.

Fig 1 represents the H39 design as commonly published. The 3D modelling matches data.

From what is published the German 16" canon could seriously damage the armor of the US hulls at ranges under 25,000 meters, except the changes to the H39 hull armor still require or they would have to maintain a distance greater than 30,000 meters with the 2700lb super heavy AP shell.

What sort of armor would be required to resist this heavy weight shell? According to the information available from websites like Navweap.com charts, the side armor greater than 450mm to reduce immunity to 25,000 meters and deck armor of at least 215mm to safely get there.

Hull displacement would be approaching 180,000 tons and we would start to have problems like finding a port capable of docking a ship of that size. Hence the increase in size of further designs may have been a function more to do with 'known factors' than any madness of the High Command. 
Initial designs  of what I consider to be
a more realistic review. Starting with the design of the Drydock. The only completed one was the Elbe 17. So an design restriction starts with the dimensions of that dock. The only variable here is depth of draft. The North Sea close in to the German cost line would have required deep channels to be maintained to allow for year round navigation.

I still think that the 53cm experimental canon is the largest realistic option available.

To float the required armour array designed to with stand western 16 inch canons the following dimension results as follows:

350m x 57m x 14m displacement = just shy of 180,000 metric tons.
Shafts are protected by Skifs and the inner shafts are covered either side by the outer shafts and there are two sets of double rudders and engine arrangement as in pocket battleships using the MAN  V designs stated to be under development. Dual purpose 128mm canon design based on the diesel engined Z destoyer class. Secondary is based on the 203mm canon  as it clearly out classed the 150mm weapons historically fitted. AAA is a  in cloesd turret design ; Quad 30mm. Personally I don't think it is too far fetch.

It was suggested that if I was seriously going to do this, "I better not forget the internal decking etc. so as far as the CAD programme will allow I have included as much decking/zones and armour arrays based on what I can research from historical records publically avialable which I put thru the best simmulation programmes in regards to penetration I could find.

fig 1. This is an accurate artistic 3d model of the h39 which matches common data of actual design.

Modified H 44 Design.

While we would all agree that most 'H-45' design are  'flight-of-fantasy' and a far more realistic re-modeling of the reported H-44 design that can go head to head with either Iowa class or the Montana class could be worth while exercise. 
The following is my conclusions that would result in such a vessel mentioned above .

An inclined main armor belt is thought to be necessary. The problem is it cannot be inset internally which leads to a number of combat and weight related problems. 
( see essays on historical pages on this website )

No combat station in the open. Firstly due to blast effects of main guns [ contrary to comments on other websites, this effect was real on the Japanese super-battleships], secondarily crew survival in combat, maybe I am applying a modern standard here, but dead and injured crews add nothing to the fighting abilities of the ship.

The armored cathedral actually becomes the 'armored box' that it is so often, and inaccurately, described. In fact I believe it should be considered the 'inner' hull of a double hull protection system where outer hull serves as both the normal hydrodynamic proposes, but a secondary purpose as outer skin of a standoff barrier that absorbs or reduces the force from any underwater explosions before damaging the 'inner' hull. Ideally the internal volume of the 'armored box' should be able to support a severely damaged 'outer' hull from sinking. The 'inner' hull should be at all times be 'sealed' or water tight.

The use of diesel propulsion ( prevously I listed here a diesel electric, but historically that not the path Germany took, so Vulcan gearboxes is pictured ) is required due to the efficient power transfer. This allows for 4 shafts not usual 3, and the reduction in separate engine spaces scattered about the hull.
The expected slow reloading cycle of the main canons mandate the use of 'tertiary' battery arrangement with the 'secondary' battery having a minimum caliber of 8 inches or 203 mm  and the tertiary battery of 5 inch DP canons. Backing this up with numerous 37 mm quad cannon weapons. 

Contrary to popular commentary by 'Allied' historians German radar was quite capable of gun fire control etc; so the inclusion of extensive, and use of, different radar types is not an unrealistic option. Radar development was one key areas adversely effected by the inter-service rivalry fostered by National Socialistic system.

Recent translation of a WW2 German memo from Krupp engineers suggests that transfer of shell and charge bags at the same time would alleviate loading speed issues so the magical one round ever 30 sec could be achieved. By my figuring I had to increase the size of the turret and Barbette diameter. 

I discounted the design which had a full internal belt arrangement on the grounds that any weight saved by having a thinner main belt was offset by the requirement of a inner backing plate to mount armour. Having the belt on outer skin allows for the hull plate to serve.

This leads to the reintroduction of the "Cathedral armour" above the main belt. So the almost 15,000 ton weight ( the outer water plan hull required a hull thickness of at least 60mm to decap any 53cm shell, while this design it can be set back at 25mm)  saving that the German arrangement has starts to be eaten into with extra armoured decks etc. It also reduces immune zone existing in the other design.

In addition is the allowance of damage to a greater depth of the Torpedo Protection system by deflected shells is solved by restricting damage to the outer layer of the TPS.

The enormous hull allows for triple layers of TPS, each having a width been equal to complete TPS of existing designs with a average combined depth of 13m, each separated by various thickness of armoured bulkheads.

In this design which follows published German armour arrangements that were been considered in 1943 and by extending the lower belt to the top of the double hull ( I haven't found any reference to lower armour layout, but by very fact that there is a inclined main belt would require a change). 
Fig 2. This design is 399.5 m x 57 m x14 m which is larger than Elbe 17 dry dock. But what would be required for a balanced design with 53 cm main cannons. Weights in at just shy of 186,000 tons.

Size Comparsion.

Fig. 3 shows clearly the size difference h39 verse h44

Latest comments

19.05 | 15:01

Good point! I was thinking Helo pads but never got around to it. The design thought been why not have full port or base resources including dry dock and repair

19.05 | 11:44

Why is there no airport on top of the base?

03.04 | 13:07

Just found your site-very cool. Also agree with your views regarding government decision processes, all about looking after their arse after they're booted out

19.01 | 08:39

Detailed answers on blog page.