L 20e a was a design for a class of battleships to be built in 1918 for the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) during World War I. Design work on the class of battleship to succeed the Bayern-class battleships began in 1914, but the outbreak of World War I in July 1914 led to these plans being shelved. Work resumed in early 1916 and lessons from the Battle of Jutland, fought later that year, were incorporated into the design. Reinhard Scheer, the commander of the fleet, wanted larger main guns and a higher top speed than earlier vessels, to combat the latest ships in the British Royal Navy. A variety of proposals were submitted, with armament ranging from the same eight 38 cm (15 in) guns of the Bayern class to eight 42 cm (16.5 in) guns.
Work on the design was completed by September 1918, but by then there was no chance for them to be built. Germany's declining war situation and the reallocation of resources to support the U-boat campaign meant the ships would never be built. The ships would have been significantly larger than the preceding Bayern-class battleships, at 238 m (780 ft 10 in) long, compared to 180 m (590 ft 7 in) for the preceding ships. The L 20e a class would have been significantly faster, with a top speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph), compared to the 21-knot (39 km/h; 24 mph) maximum of the Bayerns and would have been the first German warships to have mounted guns larger than 38 cm.
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