This chronology details the development of battlecruisers in the United States and the United Kingdom from their genesis with the British Admiral John “Jacky” Fisher to the Washington Conference in 1922. Soon after become First Sea Lord in 1904, Admiral Fisher pushed the development and construction of the first battlecruisers, the three ships of the Invincible class. Faster than battleships, with a uniform battery of heavy guns, and thin armor, the new ships set the pattern for a new class of warship that saw extensive service in the First World War. Between 1904 and 1922, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan combined to build twenty-seven battlecruisers. The United States Navy began building six battlecruisers—the Lexington class—after World War I but those ships, as well as three British and four Japanese battlecruisers, were cancelled under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty in 1922. The American battlecruisers Lexington and Saratoga were later completed as aircraft carriers.
The chronology focuses on the United States and the United Kingdom because those two navies went the furthest in developing missions and doctrine for battlecruisers that leveraged their new capabilities. Although the U.S. Navy was the last power to start building battlecruisers, by 1912 they had developed a novel battlecruiser doctrine around the missions of scouting, screening, and “distantial” operations, a role substantially different from their use of armored cruisers. The British Navy, of course, introduced the type, and in Admiral Fisher’s original conception, the ships were the centerpiece of a new type of naval warfare. Instead of fleets of battleships, naval power would be based on small squadrons of battlecruisers, assisted by torpedo-armed light vessels and submarines.
In Britain, most of this development was led by the Admiralty Board, a group of civilians and high-ranking officers that ran the Royal Navy. The two most important positions were the First Lord of the Admiralty, the civilian Cabinet minister placed in charge of the navy, and the First Sea Lord, the admiral responsible for, among other things, the “fighting and sea-going efficiency of the fleet.” The Admiralty Board, usually dominated by the First Lord or the First Sea Lord, depending on the personalities involved, was collectively responsible for the policy and strategy of the Navy. Consequently, most of the British material cited was generated by or for the Admiralty Board
Responsibility for the United States Navy was concentrated in the hands of the civilian Secretary of the Navy. Under him were the chiefs of the Navy’s bureaus, responsible for administering their spheres, and the General Board, an advisory body of naval officers charged with providing the Secretary with advice, especially on strategy and force structure. Much of the American material comes from memoranda sent to or from the Secretary and General Board, but a significant amount also comes from the Naval War College. For most of the period covered, the War College held annual “summer conferences” of mid-level and senior officers.
In addition to battlecruisers, the timeline touches on closely related warship classes like aircraft carriers and fast battleships. Most of the chronology is based on primary material from the bodies mentioned above, as well as professional naval journals from both countries. The main repositories examined in the U.S. were National Archives and Records Administration I and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., as well as the Naval Historical Collection at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. Most of the British material comes from The National Archives in Kew, the National Maritime Museum’s Caird Library in Greenwich, and the Churchill College Archives Centre in Cambridge.
An earlier version of this timeline was posted on this website in 2013. This introduction and the timeline are adapted from my dissertation, “The Cavalry of the Fleet:” Organization, Doctrine, and Battlecruisers in the United States and the United Kingdom, 1904-1922 (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2015).
February. Admiral John Fisher, RN, later to become First Sea Lord, writes a memorandum on the importance of “powerful fast armoured cruisers,” armed with large guns, to modern warfare.1
March. Lieutenant Matthew Signor, USN, proposes a new type of ship, combining the attributes of armored cruisers and battleships in Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute.2
July. Lieutenant Commander W.I. Chambers, USN, creates a preliminary design of a uniform battery battleship for use during Naval War College tactical games, claiming that a contemporary battleship “carries so many medium and light guns that the distraction . . . must count against accuracy and control.”3 Most gunnery experts at the time argued that an “all-big-gun” ship with a uniform battery of 12” or larger guns would have superior accuracy and hitting power at long ranges, allowing them to destroy other battleships beyond the range of their secondary battery.
 Adm. John Fisher, “Notes on the imperative necessity of possessing powerful fast armoured cruisers and their specifications,” February 1902, FISR 5/9, Churchill College Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK.
 Lt. Matthew Signor, “A New Type of Battleship,” Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, March 1902 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press).
 Cpt. O.S. Sperry, “Letter to the General Board,” February 1, 1904, Record Group 80, Entry 281: General Board Subject Files 1900-47, Subject File 420-6, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) I, Washington, D.C.
Summer. Members of the US Naval War College’s Summer Conference suggest the development of a “fast battleship” with four 12” guns as a replacement for armored cruisers and a supplement to the battle line.4
26 January. The General Board of the U.S. Navy asks the Bureau of Construction and Repair to prepare drawings of an all-big-gun battleship, although the letter allows for a mix of 10” and 12” guns.5
1 Feb. Captain O.S. Sperry, USN, President of the Naval War College, sends the General Board details of Chambers’s battleship design.6
18 February. Beginning of Russo-Japanese War.
May. Admiral Fisher, tapped as the next First Sea Lord, writes “Naval Necessities,” his plan for reform of naval administration and the fleet. Along with the design that would eventually become HMS Dreadnought, the first “all-big-gun” battleship, Fisher described “HMS Unapproachable,” a cruiser with a uniform battery of long-range guns, the basis of the first battlecruisers, the Invincible class.7 Fisher initially intended for “Unapproachable” to be armed with the 9.2” guns standard on British armored cruisers, but his advisors convinced him in the coming months to push for 12” battleship guns instead.8
October. Commander William L. Rodgers, USN, writes up the conclusions of the Naval War College Summer Conference. The Conference endorsed an all-big gun battleship. The Conference also voted in favor of the fast battleship/heavy armored cruiser proposed at the 1903 Conference. Rodgers sketches the design for a fast armored cruiser with four battleship-sized guns, with the savings in weight going to increased armor protection. Coming from the same impulse as Fisher’s “HMS Unapproachable,” Rodgers’s design highlights key theoretical differences between the American and British navies, especially the relative importance placed
 Cpt. E.D. Taussing, “Battleship Design from a Battle Standpoint,” in “Tactics Report of a Special Committee,
“August 21, 1903, Volume 9: 1903 Summer Conference, Record Group 12, Naval Historical Collection (NHC), Naval War College, Newport, RI.
 “General Board Memorandum: All Big-Gun Ship.” January 26, 1904, RG 80, E 281, File 420-6, NARA Washington.
 Sperry, “Letter to the General Board.”
 Adm. John Fisher, Naval Necessities, Volume I, May 1904, ADM 116/942, The National Archives (TNA), Kew, UK.
 Adm. Reginald Bacon, The Life of Lord Fisher of Kilverstone, Volume I (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran, & Co., 1929), 256.
on speed. The Summer Conferences of 1905 and 1906 also endorsed this design, later known as a “reciprocal.”9
20 October. Fisher becomes First Sea Lord.
January. Fisher appoints a reform-friendly “Committee on Designs” to consider the new ships proposed in “Naval Necessities.”10
18 January. The Committee on Designs approves preliminary designs for HMS Dreadnought and the Invincible-class battlecruisers.11
March. In Proceedings, Commander Bradley Fiske, USN, suggests the development of a fast battleship, “as large as the state of the engineering arts permits,” with a uniform battery of 12” guns.12
29 April. USS Montana laid down. The fourth Tennessee armored cruiser, Montana was the last armored cruiser built by the U.S. Navy.13 After the Russo-Japanese war, American officers derided armored cruisers as a waste of resources that could be more profitably spent on battleship construction.
27-8 May. Battle of Tsushima, the major naval engagement of the Russo-Japanese War. A faster, better-maintained Japanese fleet annihilates a Russian fleet. Reformers in the US and the UK used the battle’s outcome to bolster their arguments in favor of “all big gun” battleships of high speed.
20 July. The Admiralty’s Fisher-dominated Committee on Navy Estimates meets to discuss future construction, and concludes that Invincible is more than a match for all extant battleships, and suggests the possibility of merging the battleship and battlecruiser types into a single hybrid capital ship.14
 Cmdr. William L. Rodgers, Memorandum in regard to New Types of Battle-ships and Armored Cruisers,” October 1904, RG 8, Box 112, Folder 8, NHC.
 Admiralty, “Report of the Committee on Designs” (His Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1905). RIC/4/2/1, Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond Papers, Caird Library, National Maritime Museum (NMM), Greenwich, UK.
 “Report of the Committee on Designs,” 50.
 Cmdr. Bradley A. Fiske, “American Naval Policy,” USNI Proceedings, March 1905.
 “Montana (Armored Cruiser No. 13),” Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/montana.html
 Admiralty Committee on Naval Estimates, “Memorandum of First meeting of Committee on Navy Estimates, 1906-7,” July 20, 1905, ADM 116/1658, TNA.
1 September. Lieutenant Commander William Sims, the U.S. Navy’s Inspector of Target Practice and naval aide to the President, writes President Theodore Roosevelt on the subject of armored cruisers, and advocates building uniform battery armored cruisers with nine 10” guns and 23-knot speed, suggesting that Sims may have seen a copy of Fisher’s “Naval Necessities,” or met Fisher while on a fact-finding trip to Britain over the summer.15
30 September. The General Board recommends construction of uniform battery battleships.16
October. In the Navy League Journal, Ernest H. Rigg recommends construction of “Battle-ship Cruisers,” based on the Regina Elena-class battleships then under construction in Italy. The article does not refer to the then-secret British battlecruiser designs.17
December. Fiske and Captain Richard Wainwright, USN, write the first accounts of Tsushima in Proceedings. Wainwright argues that the battle proved the importance of uniform battery in capital ships.18
15 February. The Admiralty produces a collection of memoranda on future construction plans. Among other things, the documents defend the dreadnought and battlecruiser concepts against internal criticism, and the authors utilize both the General Board’s call for uniform-battery battleships and Wainwright’s Proceedings article as proof that sound naval opinion is on the side of the new ships.19
5 February. Construction begins on HMS Inflexible, the first of the original three British battlecruisers laid down.
March. Captain Seaton Schroeder, USN, the Director of Naval Intelligence, publishes “Gleanings from the Sea of Japan” in Proceedings, which uses the results of Tsushima to claim “the armored cruiser has failed to justify its existence.”20
June. Alfred Thayer Mahan publishes “Reflections, Historic and Other, Suggested by the Battle of the Japan Sea,” which uses the battle to argue against Dreadnought design and large armored
 Lt.Cmdr. William S. Sims, “Letter to the President,” September 1, 1905, William Sowden Sims Papers, Manuscript Room, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
 “General Board to Secretary,” September 30, 1905
 Ernest H. Rigg, “Modern Warships,” The Navy League Journal, October 1905 (New York: The League Publication Company, 1905), 220.
 Cpt. Richard Wainwright, “The Battle of the Sea of Japan,” USNI Proceedings, December 1905.
 “The Building Programme of the British Navy,” Admiralty Memorandum, February 15, 1906, ADM 116/886B: Naval Staff Memoranda, TNA.
 Cpt. Seaton Schroeder, “Gleanings from the Sea of Japan,” USNI Proceedings, March 1906, 91-2.
cruisers.21 Conservative naval officers in Britain use this article to attack Fisher and his construction policies.
August. Ernest Rigg again argues in favor of the U.S. Navy constructing “Battle-ship Cruisers” in The Navy League Journal.22
August. Admiral Fisher writes the third volume of “Naval Necessities,” which classifies the Invincible as a “fast battleship,” and claims that it is the future of battleship design.23
24 September. Sims writes a memo for President Roosevelt on the subject of Mahan’s article, which meticulously attacks Mahan’s main points, especially those concerning battleship design. The memo is later printed in Proceedings and released as a standalone pamphlet.24
24 October. Soon after the first reliable information on Invincible’s specifications reaches the United States, the General Board informs Secretary of the Navy Charles Joseph Bonaparte that they consider “the three armored ships of the 17250 ton INVINCIBLE class building for the British Navy . . . battleships . . . designed to form a part of the battle line.”25
December 1906. Sims’s memorandum is republished as an article in Proceedings. Sims’s piece was wildly popular with reformers in the Navy, and helped curb Mahan’s influence on USN policy. In Britain, Admiral Fisher used Sims’s article to justify his construction policies.
Early 1907. Fisher’s Admiralty produces a “War Plans” portfolio, for internal RN consumption. The introduction, written by the naval historian and theorist Julian Corbett, lauds battlecruisers as a source of “resistless power” against enemy cruisers attacking communications and a way to “grasp a flying enemy by the tail, and hold him,” in fleet actions.26
January. An editorial in The Navy (the successor to the Navy League Journal) congratulates the General Board on their refusal to request new armored cruiser construction, and suggests that in
 Alfred Thayer Mahan, “Reflections, Historic and Other, Suggested by the Battle of the Japan Sea,” USNI Proceedings, June 1906, 471.
 Ernest H. Rigg, “Battle-ship Cruisers,” The Navy League Journal, August 1906, 153.
 Fisher, “H.M. Ships ‘Dreadnought and Invincible,’” August 1906, ADM 116/3094: “Naval Necessities. Vol. III.
Memoranda Relating to Recent Admiralty Reforms,” TNA.
 Sims, Letter to Roosevelt, September 24, 1906, William Sowden Sims Papers, Manuscript Room, Library of Congress, Box 15, 11.
 Adm. George Dewey, “Letter to the Secretary,” October 24, 1906, Record Group 80, Entry 281: General Board Subject Files, 1900-47, File 420-2, NARA Washington.
 [Julian Corbett], “War Plans, Part I: Some Principles of Naval Warfare,” [early 1907], 3-7.
lieu of armored cruisers the Navy should build “the big-gun, swift battleship” like HMS Invincible to provide a fast, heavy, scouting capability.27
3 January. Lieutenant Commander F.H. Schofield, USN, presents a design for a fast, heavily armored, “torpedo battleship” to the General Board. Schofield suggests that such a ship could serve as a speedy adjunct to the battle line in lieu of armored cruisers.28
29 January. The General Board formally requests “battleships of large displacements . . . provided with a battery of one caliber heavy guns” from Secretary Victor Metcalf.29
19 March. The General Board forwards Schofield’s idea to the Naval War College where Commander H.M. Dombaugh, an instructor at the War College, reports back that Schofield’s idea mirrors, and is inferior to, HMS Invincible, which can fulfil the torpedo attack portfolio and make a larger contribution with its guns. Dombaugh suggests building American versions of Invincible instead.30
8 May. Admiral Charles Beresford, Commander in Chief of the British Channel Fleet, begins a dispute with the Admiralty Board over the wartime plans for his fleet. Eventually it will lead to an inquiry and Fisher’s forced retirement.31
24 August. A committee is formed at the Naval War College to take another look at Schofield’s torpedo battleship, and determine that while Schofield’s ship would be useful, the heavily-armored design (the “reciprocal”) proposed by Rodgers in 1904 would be even more useful.32
Summer. The 1907 Summer Conference at the Naval War College proposes building Invincibles in lieu of armored cruisers. Specifically, the attendees found the British ship an ideal “fast wing” to the battleship line in combat.33
 “Armored Cruisers Passing,” unsigned editorial, The Navy, January 1907 (Washington, D.C.: The Navy Publishing Company, 1907), 6.
 Lt.Cmdr. F.H. Schofield, “Letter to the General Board,” January 3, 1907, RG 80 E281, File 420-6.
 Proceedings and Hearings of the General Board of the U.S. Navy 1900-1950, Roll 2 November 26, 1906-December 31, 1912 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives Microfilm Publications, 1987), 40.
 Cmdr. H.M. Dombaugh, “Letter to the President of the Naval War College,” March 19, 1907, RG 80 E281, File 420-6.
 Adm. Lord Charles Beresford, “War Plans, “May 8, 1907, ADM 116/1037, TNA.
 Cpt. W. McCarty Little, Cmdr. H.M. Dombaugh, Cmdr. H.S. Knapp, et al., Report of a Special Committee on the type of Torpedo Battleship proposed by Lieutenant commander F.H. Schofield,” August 24, 1907, RG 8, Box 112, Folder 9, NHC.
 1907 Summer Conference, “Question 8,” Summer 1907, 1907 Conference, Volume I, RG 12, NHC.
March. Ensign R.R. Riggs publishes “The Question of Speed in Battleships” in Proceedings. The article takes specific aim at battlecruisers as a waste of resources, reflecting Proceedings’ editorial stance. Proceedings would not publish a pro-battlecruiser article until 1915.34
June. Unsigned editorial in The Navy claims that the Invincible-class ships are “in effect Dreadnoughts if not so in name. They are nothing less than powerful single-caliber battleships.”35
August. Another editorial in The Navy argues that the British battlecruisers provide speed “without serious sacrifice of armor or armament necessary for adequate offensive and defensive power.”36
Summer. The normal Summer Conference at the War College was displaced by the “Battleship Conference.” This conference ensured that the General Board would set the design specifications for future construction and confirmed the Navy’s unwillingness to build fast battleships or battlecruisers.
20 October. HMS Inflexible, the first battlecruiser to enter full service, is commissioned and assigned to the Nore Division of the Home Fleet.37
30 November. In his annual report to Congress, Secretary Metcalf asserts that Invincible is a new type of battleship and not a refinement of the armored cruiser type.38 As such, there was no need to interrupt battleship construction to provide an effective counter.
Early 1909. Fisher tries to end battleship construction and place eight battlecruisers into the RN’s 1909-1910 building program. He is overruled by a united Admiralty Board, which requests six battleship and two battlecruisers instead.39
11 August. At the 1909 Imperial Conference Fisher tries to convince the governments of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada to build “fleet units,” organized around battlecruisers to
 Ens. R.R. Riggs, “The Question of Speed in Battleships,” Proceedings, March 1908.
 “The First All-Dreadnought Fleet,” unsigned editorial, The Navy, June 1908, 7.
 “The Speed of the Indomitable,” unsigned editorial, The Navy, August 1908, 9.
 John Roberts, Battlecruisers (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997), 122.
 Victor Metcalf, “Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy,” November 30, 1908, 8.
 Nicholas Lambert, “Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman-Bridgeman,” in The First Sea Lords: From Fisher to Mountbatten, ed. Malcom H. Murfett (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995), 60.
ensure command of the sea for the British Empire in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Most historians concur that this represented the apotheosis of Fisher’s strategic plan for battlecruisers. In the end, only Australia and New Zealand agreed to fund the construction of namesake battlecruisers, with the understanding that they would be stationed in Asian or Australasian waters.40
8 September. After contentious debate, the 1909 War College Summer Conference declines to endorse battlecruiser construction. However, the Conference did determine that battlecruisers were a type of cruiser, primarily intended for scouting, screening, and pursuit, rather than a type of battleship.41
29 November. The Royal Navy lays down HMS Lion, a dramatic improvement on earlier classes of British dreadnoughts. Observers in the United States are especially impressed by Lion’s marriage of 28-knot speed with a then-new 13.5” main battery.
25 January. After a long-running dispute with Admiral Beresford, political pressure forces Fisher out of the Admiralty. He is replaced by Admiral of the Fleet Arthur Wilson.
Early 1910. Reginald Bacon, a Fisher disciple, delivers a speech on “The Battleship of the Future,” expressing confidence that the battlecruiser design was the future of capital ship construction. Only battlecruisers, he argued, were fast enough to avoid torpedo attacks, and modern shells rendered heavy armor increasingly obsolete.42
16 June. Secretary of the Navy George von Lengerke Meyer asks the Bureau of Construction and Repair about possible battlecruiser design elements.43
Summer. Naval Constructor D.W. Taylor, USN, writes a paper on contemporary design, and argues that the design of British battlecruisers provides them with dangerously thin armor.44
18 August. Chief Constructor W.L. Capps of the Bureau of Construction and Repair forwards six preliminary battlecruiser designs to Secretary Meyer. All six designs are somewhat slower
 “Notes of Proceedings of Conference at the Admiralty,” August 11, 1909. ADM 116/1100B, TNA.
 “Resolution of the Conference on Question 20,” [September], 1909, 1909 Conference, Volume I, RG 12, NHC, 251.
 Reginald Bacon, “The Battleship of the Future,” Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects, Volume 52 (1910).
 George von Lengerke Meyer, Letter to the Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair, June 16, 1910, General Correspondence of the Navy Department, 1897-1915, RG 80, item # 26834-102, NARA Washington.
 D.W. Taylor, “Reflections upon Contemporary Battleship Design,” Summer 1910, RG 8, Box 112, Folder 9, NHC.
than contemporary British ships (25.5, as opposed to 28 knots), with armor approaching that of the contemporary Wyoming-class.45
28 September. The General Board’s annual report on new construction argues that battlecruisers are unnecessary for the United States. While the Board, for the first time, acknowledges that battlecruisers are cruisers and not battleships, they argue that, given sufficient battleship strength, battlecruisers are unnecessary. As a result, they advocate focusing attention on strengthening the battleship fleet.46
17 January. The first Japanese battlecruiser, Kongo, is laid down at a British shipyard. Knowledge of Kongo’s construction bolsters the case for battlecruisers inside the USN.
28 January. In their committee report on the Naval Appropriation Bill, the House Naval Affairs Committee calls battlecruisers “practically in the battleship class,” echoing the understanding reached by the General Board.47
7 March. Sidney Ballou, the president of the Honolulu Naval League suggests in a speech at a Navy League convention in Los Angeles, later reprinted in The Navy, that the United States build a squadron of battlecruisers for Pacific service while keeping the battle fleet in the Atlantic. The battlecruisers would, he argues, be able to keep the Japanese Navy off balance long enough for the Atlantic Fleet to make its way to the war zone, and serve as a counter to Kongo and her three sister ships.48
25 May. The General Board asks Secretary Meyer to consider the possibility of adding “one or moral large armored vessels of high speed” in next year’s naval estimates, assuming that it can be added without sacrificing a battleship.49
Summer. Participants at the 1911 Summer Conference at the Naval War College conclude that battlecruisers, “the cavalry of the fleet” are a “necessity” for modern warfare.50
 W.L. Capps, “Memorandum for the Secretary,” August 18, 1910, RG 8, Box 113, Folder 5, NHC.
 General Board, “Report on Building Program,” September 28, 1910, RG 80, E281, File 420-2, NARA Washington.
 “Committee Report on Naval Appropriation Bill,” in Hearings Before Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives on Estimates Submitted By the Secretary of the Navy, 1911. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1911), 22-3.
 Sidney Ballou, “Naval Defense of the Pacific,” The Navy, March 1911, 34-35.
 “General Board Report on Building Program,” May 25, 1911, RG 80, E 281, File 420-2.
 “Tactical Question #2: the Use of Armored Cruisers in an Action, Summer 1911, RG 8, Box 106, NHC.
29 August. The General Board, in attendance at the Summer Conference, asks the Bureau of Construction and Repair to develop designs for a battlecruiser.51
20 September. The Naval War College commissions another committee to investigate Schofield’s torpedo battleship, with an eye towards its inclusion in the 1912 building program. Again, they determine that its utility is not commensurate with its cost.52
2 November. In a letter to Admiral Henry B. Jackson, RN, Sims relates the conclusions he reached from his study at the Naval War College, suggesting that “battleship cruisers of the Lion type” are essential for modern warfare and expresses hope that the U.S. will build them in the near future.53
10 November-6 December 1911. Admiral Fisher and Winston Churchill, the new First Lord of the Admiralty, send a series of letters to each other concerning Fisher’s suggestion for a 30-knot battlecruiser with eight 15” guns and minimal armor. Although the plans never go beyond these letters, Churchill’s Admiralty produces the Queen Elizabeth-class of 25-knot “fast battleships” armed with eight 15” guns and the concepts detailed in these letters bear a striking resemblance to the Fisher-inspired battlecruisers built after his return to the Admiralty in 1914.54
1 December. Secretary Meyer’s annual report proposes adding a single battlecruiser to the 1912 building program, with an eventual goal of 8. However, Meyer did not include the battlecruiser in the Department’s formal budget submission. Instead, he simply noted that a battlecruiser would be “most desirable.”55
12 December. Captain W.L. Rodgers, President of the Naval War College, tells General Board and Secretary that war games at the college conducted by Captain Sims, and the Atlantic Fleet’s most recent exercises suggest “the desirability of the LION type of ship” for the USN.56
 Friedman, U.S. Cruisers, 62.
 Naval War College Tactical Committee, “Report on the advisability of including torpedo battleship in the building program for 1912,” September 20, 1911, RG 8, Box 113, Folder 2, NHC.
 Sims, Letter to Admiral H.B. Jackson, RN, November 2, 1911, Box 21, William Sowden Sims Papers, Manuscript Room, Library of Congress.
 Fisher, “Letters to Churchill,” November 10-December 6 1911, CHAR 13/2, Churchill College Archives Centre.
 “Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy for the Fiscal Year 1911” (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1911), 35.
 Cpt. W.L. Rodgers, “Letter to the Secretary of the Navy,” December 1, 1911. Document 9469-48, Record Group 80, Records of the Navy Department; General Correspondence, 1897-1915; NARA Washington.
9 January. First Lord Churchill writes to Louis Harcourt in the Foreign Office to gauge whether or not Australia and New Zealand could be convinced to send their namesake battlecruisers to European waters. This represents a repudiation of Fisher’s plan of using battlecruisers stationed overseas to maintain British command of the sea. Instead, Churchill and his Admiralty were primarily concerned with the balance of power in the North Sea. The Australian government did not relinquish control of HMAS Australia, but because the New Zealand government had given HMS New Zealand to the Royal Navy, the latter battlecruiser was eventually moved to Europe after its commissioning in late 1912.57
10 March. Rear Admiral Hugo Osterhaus, Commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, devises exercises for his fleet which assigns four imaginary battlecruisers to the Blue (“American”) side in the maneuvers.58 The exercises are a sign that a growing number of American officers are considering how the U.S. fleet could utilize battlecruisers.59
4 June. HMS Lion commissioned as the flagship of the Home Fleet’s First Cruiser Squadron.60
15 June. Churchill informs the Cabinet that the Navy can no longer maintain a fleet of six battleships in the Mediterranean in light of the size of the German Navy in the North Sea. Under pressure from other government departments, Churchill consents to send two, later four, battlecruisers to the Mediterranean in lieu of the battleships. When asked about their role, Churchill responded that “no one really knows [the] full value of” battlecruisers and that “[i]n the Mediterranean they could operate with great effect.”61
25 September. The General Board proposes a 5 year program for the years 1913-17, including 21 new battleships and 8 battlecruisers, the latter of which “we must have . . . to hope for successful conflict.” For the 1913 fiscal year, the plan recommends construction of four battleships and two battlecruisers. Although battlecruisers were not added to the 1913 navy bill, this marked the first time the General Board specifically requested battlecruiser construction.62
26 December. In response to the General Board’s proposals, Commander William V. Pratt, an instructor at the Naval War College, writes to the President of the War College that battlecruisers were unnecessary. Not only, he argued, had the British committed to dropping the type in future plans, but in the two possible war situations faced by the U.S. Navy (Germany or Japan), the
 Winston Churchill, “Letter to Louis Harcourt,” January 9, 1912, CHAR 13/8, Churchill College Archives Centre.
 Admiralty Board Minutes #43, May 12, 1909, ADM 167, TNA.
 Rear Admiral H. Osterhaus, “Tactical Exercise of Fleet during passage from Guantanamo to Hampton Roads,” Record Group 80, Entry 281: General Board Subject Files 1900-47. Subject GB 434.
 Roberts, Battlecruisers, 123.
 Winston Churchill, “Naval Situation in the Mediterranean,” June 15, 1912, ADM 116/1294b, TNA.
 “Memorandum from General Board. Building Program, 1913-1917,” September 25, 1912, RG 80, E281, File 420-2, NARA Washington.
extra speed of battlecruisers would make no appreciable difference to an American fleet operating on interior lines. Pratt’s memorandum is later forwarded to the General Board.63
January. The Admiralty releases their plans for the 1913-14 Navy Estimates. The plan argues that that battlecruisers have grown too expensive, and that as “the mostly costly vessel should also be the most powerful,” future battlecruiser construction would be discontinued in favor of new “fast battleships,” eventually to become the Queen Elizabeth-class.64
2 January. Captain W.L. Rodgers submits memorandum to the General Board arguing that battlecruisers are “naval luxuries . . . for secondary strategic objectives,” and concludes that the Navy is not yet at a point to afford luxuries.65
5 April. A month after taking command of the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron, Rear Admiral David Beatty issues a memo to the squadron, detailing the five missions of a battlecruiser: supporting reconnaissance, supporting blockades, supporting cruiser squadrons, shadowing enemy battleships, and joining the battle line in fleet actions. Beatty’s memo highlights that even after several years with operational battlecruisers, the Royal Navy still had no coherent sense of the battlecruiser’s primary mission.66
August. Admiral William H. May, RN, Umpire-in-Chief of the 1913 Manoeuvers issues his report on the exercises. He notes the way the “Blue” (British) side uses their battlecruisers to attack Red (German) battleships unsupported.67
August. Admiral George Callaghan, RN, Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet, reassess North Sea strategy in the wake of the 1913 exercises. He determines that armored and light cruisers are powerless in the face of battlecruisers, and, given the necessity for the Royal Navy to observe the German coast, the primary mission of British battlecruisers would be to find and contain their German counterparts.68
 Cmdr. W.V. Pratt, “Letter to the President of the Naval War College,” December 26, 1912, RG 80 E281, File 420-6, NARA Washington.
 “Summary of Draft Navy Estimates, 1913-14,” January 1913, ADM 116/3151, TNA.
 Cpt. W.L. Rodgers, “Notes Upon the Memorandum of the Third Committee [of the General Board] Regarding Characteristics of Battle Cruisers of 1914 Programme,” January 2, 1913, RG 80 E281, File 420-6, NARA Washington.
 Rear Admiral David Beatty, “Functions of a Battle Cruiser Squadron,” April 5, 1913, BTY/2/4/3, NMM.
 Adm. William H. May,” Naval Manoeuvres, 1913: Report by Umpire-in-Chief,” August 1913, ADM 116/1169, TNA.
 Adm.George Callaghan, “Naval Manoeuvres, 1913: Remarks on North Sea Strategy,” August [?] 1913, ADM 116/3130, TNA.
April. An editorial in the Navy argues that the purpose of battlecruisers is “to fight in the line with other Dreadnoughts.”69
28 July. Start of the First World War.
Early August. Elements of the British Mediterranean fleet, including three older battlecruisers, attempt to corner and engage the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben. Under orders to avoid a fight with a superior force, a squadron of British cruisers declines to engage Goeben and the German ship reaches Constantinople and helps bring the Ottoman Empire into the war.
28 August. The Battle of Heligoland Bight, the war’s first North Sea naval engagement. The turning point of the battle came when Beatty’s First Battle Cruiser Squadron steamed to the rescue of British forces and drove off a group of German cruisers, sinking two.
30 October. Fisher is recalled to the Admiralty to replace Admiral Louis Battenberg, in part because of the latter’s German ancestry.
8 December. Battle of the Falkland Islands. After a squadron of German cruisers under Admiral Maximillian von Spee annihilates a British squadron off the Chilean coast, Admiral Fisher sends HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible to South America in pursuit. In the ensuing battle, the British battlecruisers destroy the German squadron. This use of detached battlecruisers to destroy commerce raiders abroad is the closest battlecruisers come to fulfilling Fisher’s original conception of the type.
16 December. The battlecruisers of the German First Scouting Group shell Hartlepool, Scarborough, and Whitby in Northeastern England. An attempt to intercept the raiders with the 1st BCS fails due to weather, poor communications, and opaque command arrangements. In the aftermath of the raids, the 1st BCS is moved south from the Grand Fleet’s base in the Orkneys to facilitate interception of future raids.
Late December. Admiral Fisher leverages the success at the Falklands to convert Repulse and Renown, planned as battleships, into battlecruisers. Fisher gives Director of Naval Construction Eustace Tennyson d’Eyncourt the specifications of a new battlecruiser, to have 32-knot speed and six 15” guns, with the same light armor as the original class of battlecruisers. Fisher’s design priorities were at odds with those of the Grand Fleet’s officer corps, who desired battlecruisers with heavier armor.70
 "What Constitutes Battle Strength: An Answer to the Erroneous Statements made in Minority Report on the House Naval Bill,” The Navy, April 1914, 156.
 Jon Tetsuro Sumida, In Defence of Naval Supremacy (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 291; Fisher to D’Eyncourt, December 19, 1914, DEY/16, NMM.
24 January. The battlecruiser formations of the British and German navies fight an inconclusive battle near Dogger Bank in the North Sea. One German cruiser, Blücher, is sunk and the British flagship, HMS Lion is heavily damaged.
25 January. Repulse and Renown laid down. On the same day, Fisher proposes the construction of 3 “large light cruisers” with four 15” guns, 32 knots’ speed, and 3-inch armored belts. These ships were built as Courageous, Glorious, and Furious (initially built with two 18” guns instead). Later in the war, Furious was modified to launch and recover aircraft.71
February. The RN created a new Battle Cruiser Fleet under Beatty’s command, which contains all of the Royal Navy’s battlecruisers.
16 March. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt attends a General Board meeting on the upcoming Atlantic Fleet exercises. Roosevelt suggests, and the Board approves, a plan to make the exercises “serve an object lesson to the country.”72 Specifically, the exercises were crafted to build public support for a larger navy and battlecruisers.
Late May. Admiral Fisher and First Lord Churchill forced out of the Admiralty in the wake of the Gallipoli campaign.
26 May. NWC President Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight releases his official report on the 1915 Atlantic Fleet Exercises. His analysis highlights the great danger posed to the U.S. Navy by its lack of battlecruisers, focusing especially on the impossibility of maintaining a credible cruiser screen in front of the main fleet.73 Knight’s analysis is echoed by the popular press.
June. The Navy, in discussing the Atlantic Fleet’s summer exercises, argues that the results prove that the Navy “is lacking in battle cruisers.”74
27 July. After President Woodrow Wilson tells Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to prepare for a large building program in 1916, the General Board sets a new policy of matching “the most powerful [fleet] maintained by another nation . . . not later than 1925.” The Board tentatively agrees that battlecruisers must be included in the next building program.75
 Fisher to Churchill, January 25, 1915, DEY/29, NMM.
 Proceedings and Hearings of the General Board, Roll 3 January 3, 1913-December 29, 1916, 76.
 Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight, “Report on the Outcome of the Exercises,” May 26, 1915, Record Group 80, Entry 281: General Board Subject Files 1900-47. Subject GB 434, NARA Washington.
 “The Naval War Game,” The Navy, June 1915, 142-3.
 General Board Meeting, July 27, 1915 Proceedings and Hearings of the General Board, Roll 3, 199-200.
9 October. Two days after Secretary Daniels asks the General Board to prepare a $500 million multiyear construction program (the largest in American history to that point), the Board returns with a construction plan headlined by ten battleships and six battlecruisers.76
November. Assistant Naval Constructor B.S. Bullard publishes “A plea for the Battle-Cruiser” in November-December issue of Proceedings.77 In the same issue Cmdr. Yates Stirling, USN claims that “[t]he dreadnought battleship has passed away. . . . The battle-cruiser is the mistress of the sea.”78
1 December. Secretary Daniels, in his annual report, claims that “the need for battle cruisers seems imperative.”79
30 March. The Admiralty Board agrees to build four new battlecruisers.80
31 May-1 June. The British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet contest the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval engagement of the First World War. Three British battlecruisers—Invincible, Indefatigable, and Queen Mary—are sunk with great loss of life, and one German battlecruiser, Lützow, was scuttled after the battle. At the time, the British battlecruiser losses are blamed on insufficient armor. Improper ammunition handling procedures probably played a larger role than thin armor.
18 June. In the aftermath of Jutland, Beatty creates a committee on battlecruiser design from the officers of the Battle Cruiser Fleet, which concludes “British battle cruisers . . . are unequal to the duties assigned to them,” due to “deficiency of protection,” and urges that the Admiralty discontinue battlecruiser construction in favor of heavily armored “fast battleships.”81
29 August. 1916 Naval Bill passes with appropriations for the construction of 6 battlecruisers and 10 battleships to commence in the next three years. Although there was some agitation to remove the battlecruisers in light of Jutland, senior Navy leaders assured Congress that American battlecruisers would be used for scouting, instead of fleet actions.
 General Board Meeting, October 9, 1915, Proceedings and Hearings of the General Board, Roll 3, 299-303.
 Asst. Naval Constructor B.S. Bullard, “A Plea for the Battle-Cruiser,” USNI Proceedings, November-December 1916.
 Cmdr. Yates Stirling, “The Arrival of the Battle-Cruiser,” USNI Proceedings, November-December 1916.
 Josephus Daniels, “Report of the Secretary of the Navy,” December 1, 1915, in in Annual Reports of the Navy Department for the Fiscal Year 1915 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1916).
 Adm. Frederick Tower Hamilton, diary, March 6 and 30, 1916, HTN/106, NMM.
 [Battle Cruiser Fleet] Committee on Construction of Battle Cruisers, “Memorandum for Beatty,” June 18, 1916, ADM 137/2134, TNA.
August-September. The Royal Navy redesigns the battlecruisers authorized in March, incorporating lessons from Jutland. The design changes add about 3,000 tons of armor to the ships. Construction on the first ship, HMS Hood, began on 1 September.
31 January. The Bureau of Ordnance suggests that the American battlecruisers be built with 16” guns rather than 14” ones to mirror British trends towards larger capital ship guns.82
19 February. Admiral Charles Badger writes to Secretary Daniels on behalf of the General Board about the intended role of battlecruisers in the fleet, claiming that they “are not intended to form part of the fighting line [or] . . . a fast wing, but . . . to offensively screen the fleet,” laying out the basic American consensus on battlecruiser doctrine.83
6 April. The United States enters the First World War. Soon after, William Sims, in London as a liaison officer, is appointed to command USN forces in Europe.
7 June. The U.S.N. suspends battlecruiser construction for the duration of the war to free up money and shipyard space for submarine chasers and destroyers. Construction did not start on the Lexingtons until 1920.84
Late 1917. The General Board, Secretary, and Bureau of Construction and Repair agree to redesign battlecruisers with eight 16” guns instead of ten 14”.85
May. Sims writes Washington urging the USN to scrap their battlecruiser design and build something akin to the British Hood instead.86
3 June. The heads of the Bureaus of Construction and Repair, Ordnance, and Steam Engineering send the Secretary and the General Board designs for a single class of heavily armored fast battleship to replace battleship and battlecruiser construction.87
 U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance “Memorandum for Chief of Naval Operations,” January 31, 1917, Record Group 19, Entry 105, 22-C1-6-1, NARA Washington.
 Adm. Charles Badger, “Letter to Secretary Daniels,” February 19, 1917, RG 19, E 105, 22-C1-6-1, NARA Washington.
 David F. Trask, Captains & Cabinets: Anglo-American Naval Relations, 1917-1918 (Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1972), 116-25.
 Badger to Daniels, November 22, 1917, RG 80, Office of the Secretary of the Navy; Formerly Confidential Correspondence, 1917-1919, Box 87, piece C-34:16; Chief Constructor D.W. Taylor to Superintending Constructor at Quincy, December 18,1917, RG 19, E105, 83-CC1 to 6, NARA Washington.
 Sims to OpNav, [May] 1918, Microfilm M1140, Subject 137-2, NARA Washington.
 Bureaus of Construction and Repair, Ordnance, and Steam Engineering, “Capital Ships – Preliminary Design,” June 3, 1918, Record Group 80, Office of the Secretary of the Navy; Formerly Confidential Correspondence, 1917- 1919, Box 83, Subject C-34:4, NARA Washington, 2-4.
6 July. After holding three hearings on the Bureaus’ suggestions, the General Board rejects the new designs, and reaffirms their commitment to the extant battlecruiser design.88
October-November. Sims, his planning staff in London, and the CNO’s planning staff all publish memoranda urging the General Board to reconsider their decision.89
1 December. Secretary Benson’s Annual Report lays out a second ten battleship/six battlecruiser construction program, on top of the extant 1916 program.90
Early 1919. Atlantic Fleet commander Admiral Henry T. Mayo, and Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman — flag officers with extensive wartime experience—use testimony in front of the House Naval Committee to urge the Navy to cancel the Lexingtons before construction started in earnest and build fast battleships in their place.
February. Citing cost concerns, the Admiralty cancels construction on Hood’s three sister ships, leaving Hood as the only British capital ship building.91
March. To settle the battlecruiser/fast battleship debate, Secretary Daniels suspends battlecruiser construction, and sends a number of constructors to meet their European counterparts and discuss design issues.
9-10 April. After discussions at the Paris Peace Conference, the United States government agrees to cancel the 1919 navy bill in exchange for British support for the Monroe Doctrine and the League of Nations.92
 General Board to Daniels, July 6, 1918, RG 80, Box 83, C-34:4, NARA Washington, 6-7.
 Rear Admiral [Josiah McKean], Captains Waldo Evans, William Veazie Pratt, and H.E. Yarnell, “Building Policy,” October 7, 1918, M1140, Subject 100-23; Sims to Secretary and CNO, November 14, 1918, M1140, Subject 137-5, NARA Washington; Captains Dudley Knox, F.H. Schofield, and Luke McNamee, “Memorandum No. 67: Building Programme,” Box 42, William Shepherd Benson Papers, Manuscript Room, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, 1-2.
 Daniels, “Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy,” December 1, 1918, 32.
 Admiralty Board minutes, February 27, 1919, ADM 1/9226, TNA.
 Harold and Margaret Sprout, Toward a New Order of Sea Power: American Naval Policy and the World Scene,1918-1922 (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1940), 67-8; Stephen Roskill, Naval Policy Between the Wars I: The Period of Anglo-American Antagonism, 1919-1929 (New York: Walker and Co., 1968), 91. Roskill and the Sprouts disagree on the precise date of the agreement, the Sprouts claiming April 9 and Roskill the 10th.
27 May. Daniels convenes a special meeting of the General Board, the senior officers afloat, and the bureau chiefs to settle the battlecruiser design issue. The conference decides to retain the battlecruisers, but with extra armor added to the main belt, turrets, and conning tower. 93
June 12. The Admiralty stands up the Post-War Questions Committee under Vice Admiral Richard Phillimore to consider future force structure and warship characteristics.94
3 July. The Admiralty’s Director of Naval Construction, Eustace Tennyson D’Eyncourt, argues in favor of a merger of battlecruiser and battleship types into a hybrid fast battleship.95
March. Rear Admiral Ernle Chatfield, the Assistant Chief of the Admiralty’s naval staff, and partially responsible for warship design, tells the Institution of Naval Architects that the Admiralty is unsatisfied with HMS Hood and desires more armor in future capital ships.96
27 March. The Admiralty publishes the final report of their Post War Questions Committee. On the subject of battlecruisers, the Committee criticizes extant British battlecruisers as sacrificing survivability in favor of speed, and determines that battlecruisers are necessary only if other powers possess them, and suggests much heavier armor in new construction.97
Early June. The Admiralty begins planning construction of a new class of battlecruiser to match the American Lexingtons, with nine 18” guns and heavy armor.98
7 December. The British Cabinet creates a committee under Conservative Party Leader Andrew Bonar Law to examine future capital ship construction.99
 Badger to Daniels, May 27, 1919, RG 19, E105: 22-CC1-6-2, NARA Washington; Bureau of Construction and Repair to Daniels, June 19, 1919, RG 80, E19, piece 28645-64, NARA Washington.
 Admiralty to Vice Admiral Richard Phillimore, June 12, 1919, RFP/13, Richard Phillimore Papers, Imperial War Museum, London.
 Eustace Tennyson D’Eyncourt, “Warship Design As Affected by Recent Experience During the War,” July 3, 1919, ADM 1/9225, TNA.
 “Professional Notes,” Proceedings, July 1920, 1113; and Charles N. Robinson, “The British Navy,” in Brassey’s Naval and Shipping Annual. 1920-1.,” eds. Alexander Richardson and Archibald Hurd (London: William Clowes and Sons, 1920), 18.
 “Final Report of the Post War Questions Committee,” March 27, 1920, ADM 1/8586/70, TNA.
 “Preliminary Statement by Assistant Chief of Naval Staff as to the Main Requirements of Design,” June 11, 1920, DEY/2, NMM.
 Roskill, Naval Policy I, 221-4.
January-February. D’Eyncourt finalizes plans for the “G.3” fast battleship. These ships were the only capital ships in Britain’s 1921-22 construction program; the Admiralty intended to build these ships in lieu of battlecruisers and battleships.100
21 February. The General Board discusses converting one or more of the Navy’s under-construction battlecruisers into an aircraft carrier. Although the Board decided to preserve the battlecruisers, a number of newspapers, politicians, and aviation advocates urged the Navy to cancel the battlecruiser and use their hulls and powerplants for carrier construction.101
March. The Bonar Law committee releases two contradictory reports: half of the committee urges the suspension of capital ship construction in favor of aircraft and submarines, and the other half wanted to continue the prevailing building policy.102
11 July. New President Warren G. Harding issues invitations for an international conference on naval arms limitations in Washington.103
27 July. Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby asks the General Board to develop arms limitation proposals for the upcoming Washington Conference.104
Late September-Early October. The General Board lays out their first plan, which would allow the U.S., Britain, and Japan to carry their existing building programs to completion, while scrapping older vessels.105
14 October. After being told that their plan did not save sufficient money, the General Board recommends scrapping two battleships and two battlecruisers currently under construction.106
2 November. After vetoing another Navy Department plan, the U.S. delegation to the Washington Conference adopts a plan “on the principle of ‘stop now,’” which entailed the scrapping all six U.S. battlecruisers under construction.107
 D’Eyncourt, “Legend of Particulars of Proposed new Capital Ships 1921-22 Programme,” ADM 1/9232, TNA.
 “Characteristics of Airplane Carriers,” General Board Hearing, February 21, 1921, Proceedings and Hearings of the General Board, Roll 12
 Roskill, Naval Policy I, 223-5.
 Melhorn, Two-Block Fox, 72.
 Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby to General Board, July 27, 1921, Folder 5, Box 99, RG 8, NHC.
 General Board, “Memorandum for the Secretary,” October 3, 1921, Box 99, NHC.
 General Board, “Memorandum for the Secretary,” October 14, 1921, Box 99, NHC.
 [Pratt?], “A limitation and reduction of armaments on the principle of ‘stop now,’” October 26, 1921, Box 21, William Veazie Pratt Papers, NHC; William Reynolds Braisted, The United States Navy in the Pacific, 1909-1922 (Austin: University of Texas Press,1971), 589-91.
12 November. Secretary of States Charles Evans Hughes opens the Washington Conference with the U.S. plan to scrap all uncompleted capital ships in the U.S., the U.K., and Japan.108
30 November. Based on information from the Conference, D’Eyncourt presents the Admiralty Board with two battlecruiser designs that would match the tonnage limits under discussion. The Board rejects these designs in favor of a slower battleship with more armor.109
6 February. Five-Power Treaty between U.S., U.K., Japan, France, and Italy signed, forcing the United States to scrap four of their under-construction battlecruisers and the conversion of two, Lexington and Saratoga, into aircraft carriers, while the United Kingdom scrapped most of their battlecruisers, but were allowed to complete and commission HMS Hood. Although the Treaty did not specifically ban battlecruisers, the 35,000-ton limit on new construction was far smaller than pre-treaty battlecruiser designs.
 William Reynolds Braisted, The United States Navy in the Pacific, 1909-1922, 589-91.
 D’Eyncourt, “Legend of Particulars of Proposed New Design F.2 and F.3,” November 30, 1921, ADM 1/9232, TNA.