Development of Royal Navy battleships without Naval Arms Race or even WWI?

I'm not saying the RN would be slower to innovate per say, possibly even faster. Ultimately battleships pan out size wise at about 40 to 50k tons. After that you're building something too expensive to build in large numbers and so you'd reach a "standard" battleship type, similar to the "standard" pre dreadnought, with advancements instead made in fire control, armour, gun range and accuracy etc.
If anyone will jump a "generation" it should be the RN after they did so with Dreadnought. But without a push from German ships we do take away some incentives.

I imagine Germany building two ship classes instead of OTL 5 in pre-dreadnoughts and halving their fleet. That feels more aligned to counter France. Does that derail the race? But that might build more cruisers, ostensibly for foreign stations, but obviously also a raider threat. I think the later is more unsettling to the Admiralty.
 
Battle cruisers were not about over matching scout forces until the Cats. At least not totally. The RN looked at the 9.2" ship and realized that 12" was inevitable.

Really because the entire point of armoured cruisers was as commerce raider hunter and heavy anti scouting unit. And for decades almost every RN armoured and first class protected cruisers mounted 9.2 in guns. The idea that 12in cruisers were inevitable does not at all seem apparent.
Indeed whilst Armoured cruisers were essentially predreadnought battleships writ small with about 25% higher speed, the battle cruisers (especially the RN ones) involved an entirely different balance, the early ones had weaker armour than preceding armoured cruisers, whilst having similar displacements and armament to their counterpart battleships.
All that tonnage and machinery came at a cost and the battle cruisers often came in far more expensive than contemporary dreadnoughts. The only reasoning to do this, and what would possibly be worth the exorbitant cost, would be to decisively overmatch opposing scouting and raiding forces.

If steady progressive evolution of the armoured cruiser concept is what you are looking for it would be a slightly faster, slightly more heavily armed Blucher. An all big gun armoured cruiser. Perhaps once the super dreadnoughts appeared, and got upgunned to 13.5in you might have seen an increase in gun calibre, maybe to 10 or even 11in.
12in gun armoured cruisers might have appeared under tis paradigm around the same time as 16in battleships.
 
Really because the entire point of armoured cruisers was as commerce raider hunter and heavy anti scouting unit. And for decades almost every RN armoured and first class protected cruisers mounted 9.2 in guns. The idea that 12in cruisers were inevitable does not at all seem apparent.
Indeed whilst Armoured cruisers were essentially predreadnought battleships writ small with about 25% higher speed, the battle cruisers (especially the RN ones) involved an entirely different balance, the early ones had weaker armour than preceding armoured cruisers, whilst having similar displacements and armament to their counterpart battleships.
All that tonnage and machinery came at a cost and the battle cruisers often came in far more expensive than contemporary dreadnoughts. The only reasoning to do this, and what would possibly be worth the exorbitant cost, would be to decisively overmatch opposing scouting and raiding forces.

If steady progressive evolution of the armoured cruiser concept is what you are looking for it would be a slightly faster, slightly more heavily armed Blucher. An all big gun armoured cruiser. Perhaps once the super dreadnoughts appeared, and got upgunned to 13.5in you might have seen an increase in gun calibre, maybe to 10 or even 11in.
12in gun armoured cruisers might have appeared under tis paradigm around the same time as 16in battleships.
Blucher might give some guideposts to German "heavy cruiser" development. It is still too slow to be a modern type, she needs to speed up to at least 30 knots, but if we can get that speed then we have a potentially good intermediate between the Destroyers and light Cruisers both scouting and screening and the Large Cruisers both scouting and sweeping away the opposing scouts. With good range it might make a suitable raider. The USN and IJN eventually got to 10,000 tons plus mostly for range, the USN settling into their superlative 8-inch guns. I think we might yet see a cruiser race. I think the 8-inch (-ish) gunnery is about all that cruisers excel with, beyond that we get over gunned and over sized ships intruding into the battle line without the right protection, albeit Germany seemed closer to do so well, and thus my opinion they captured the de facto usage best.

My opinion is that the German battle cruiser was designed as the to scout and then fall into the battle line, the RN seems to be a scout that can sweep away scouts and perhaps most pressing hunt and destroy raiders, thus we are comparing different kinds of apples. Germany has need for a leggy cruiser that can go raiding but I am not convinced she can afford to build BCs to do that. Experience showed that a fast and better legged light cruiser could disrupt trade without being too costly, thus potentially getting us numbers more. If Germany throttles off competing at the battle line then this mission might come forward. Disrupting French and even Russian trade and communications is a valid goal deserving a better investment. And they can police the foreign stations/colonies too.

Once we merge the BB/BC into a true fast battleship then only the RN still needs the BC type and I think they do look much as Fisher envisioned them, fast, longer ranged and armed to destroy cruisers but armored only to that threat or less. This might well be the "heavy" cruiser as the RN sees it. For me it was the inadequacy of propulsion that got us the BC we know and experienced through Jutland. I think Germany got the formula right pre-Jutland and post-Jutland the RN is moving to the fast BB. In this TL we might see the Fisher style BC move to the foreign station mission and the BB struggle to get speed and sort of skip how the RN and HSF battle cruiser forces faced off as an adjunct battle line, faster yet more vulnerable. My caveat would be how Germany views the Jeune Ecole warfare that really suits it verses France and Russia. And obviously the Admiralty will not like that pursuit any better as it can obviously be used against the Empire even more profitably. This should pressure the RN into looking more keenly at its cruisers, raising the quality versus quantity debate that dogged them post-Great War.
 
If anyone will jump a "generation" it should be the RN after they did so with Dreadnought. But without a push from German ships we do take away some incentives.

I imagine Germany building two ship classes instead of OTL 5 in pre-dreadnoughts and halving their fleet. That feels more aligned to counter France. Does that derail the race? But that might build more cruisers, ostensibly for foreign stations, but obviously also a raider threat. I think the later is more unsettling to the Admiralty.
Personally I think your over estimating the technology of the royal navy, superfiering turrets where gust as important as the drednout and as ww1 showed there where more then one way in which th RN where behind tactically and technically to there piers. It gust never madered because numbers have always been the RN RN chief advantage.
They would probably lean even more into the fast, over gun BC even if the butcher would probably be a better design for a colonial capital ship.
 
Personally I think your over estimating the technology of the royal navy, superfiering turrets where gust as important as the drednout and as ww1 showed there where more then one way in which th RN where behind tactically and technically to there piers. It gust never madered because numbers have always been the RN RN chief advantage.
They would probably lean even more into the fast, over gun BC even if the butcher would probably be a better design for a colonial capital ship.
I don't think superfiring was as important as dreadnought herself, certainly important, saved a lot of space and weight, but not as revolutionaryas dreadnought.
In many cases it wasn't that the RN wasn't technically behind but rather held back, going with the safer option almost all the time.
Despite all this, they made a huge leap with the QEs, even if they were slower than designed, they ultimately paved the way for the modern fast battleship.
As for tactically, I don't really get your point, as you provide no example. The battlecruisers blowing up like fireworks was primarily down to Beatty being an idiot and being desperate enough to put the first gen battlecruisers into gunnery range. Jellicoe made the perfect cross of the T and once that had been done, any pressing from the germans would've increased german losses alarmingly. The germans never once managed to succeed in their goal of luring out british squadrons with the battlecruisers and pouncing on them with the HSF (got pretty damn close once or twice) and all the money put into the riskflotte ultimately was for little, they proved at Jutland the knife they held to the british throat was dull, while the British happened to have a very large set of cannon on the other side.
Money wasted getting into a pointless arms race that ultimately soured british relations to the point they went to war.
Blucher (presuming that's what you meant) wouldn't be a good colonial flagship at all, she's slow, something which only worsens as time goes on so she hasn't a hope of hunting down enemy cruisers, she might even have a hard time hunting newer armoured cruisers(1-2 knots isn't a decisive speed advantage, she might not even have that if she's been on station for a while). She wouldn't be that much more heavily armed than some later heavy cruisers, having 12 8.2 inch guns, but of course 8 of her guns are in wing turrets, so semi useless most, if not all the time,
Not to mention she can get absolutely run down by a battlecruiser. Even a QE might have the speed to run her down.
 
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