Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Plain Old Dave » 22 Nov 2017 14:39

"Patton sat in an FT-17 tank in WWI, it no more makes it a viable Cold War tank than two named people serving on Essex class ships make them modern carriers. I am not sure why you would even bother to mention it, or how many were built in what was effectively a war emergency program? Neither says anything about the viability of the design."

Was typing quickly. The Essex CVAs launched the majority of combat missions over Vietnam, and were first line platforms for the F-8 Crusader, a third-generation jet operated tactically by the French until 1999. And with modern catapults, a bolt in upgrade done to the Midways and all the supercarriers to enable nose gear hooking catapults instead of older bristles, F-18s could operate from Essexes. A-3s did iirc, and any Hornet weighs less than a Whale.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Terry Duncan » 22 Nov 2017 15:40

Plain Old Dave wrote:The Essex CVAs launched the majority of combat missions over Vietnam, and were first line platforms for the F-8 Crusader, a third-generation jet operated tactically by the French until 1999.
So they proved capable of launching air strikes against a 3rd World nation with no ability to strike back! If they were thought of as suitable frontline platforms the US would not have moved beyond the Midway class. The fact the US itself needed to go to great expense and build much larger ships shows that what they had from WWII was not suitable anymore, best suited to second line roles simply because the US had them at hand. The US has also found no need to build further second line units such as the Essex, which they would have done if there was a need.
Plain Old Dave wrote:And with modern catapults, a bolt in upgrade done to the Midways and all the supercarriers to enable nose gear hooking catapults instead of older bristles, F-18s could operate from Essexes. A-3s did iirc, and any Hornet weighs less than a Whale.
So spending a lot of money to modify and existing ship in order to make it even vaguely viable somehow means the ship is exceptional? Ancient ships have often been kept in service a long time after they were really of much use (look at the large numbers of strange ships still in service in most nations up until about 1906 or in some cases almost into WWI to see great examples of how existing ships were kept around despite having little to no real value in a modern war.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Plain Old Dave » 22 Nov 2017 15:59

"The US has also found no need to build further second line units such as the Essex, which they would have done if there was a need."


It might fairly be said that the Wasp LHDs and the America LHAs broadly resemble the Essex carriers, and are planned to embark F-35s. Sounds like a small CV to me.

The Nimitz CVN was largely the result of political maneuvering by Admiral Hyman Rickover. ADM Rickover was determined to have as nuclear powered of a Navy as he could get. A possibly apocryphal quote:

"Admiral Rickover, why are the new submarines not named after fish?"

"Fish don't vote."

It should be noted there's one CVN named after a Democrat politician, and it was approved when the Democrats controlled Congress.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Terry Duncan » 22 Nov 2017 17:30

Plain Old Dave wrote:It might fairly be said that the Wasp LHDs and the America LHAs broadly resemble the Essex carriers, and are planned to embark F-35s. Sounds like a small CV to me.
It would be far less expensive to simply build a new Essex with the modified flight deck if the design were actually viable. The 'second line carrier' is not the obsolete part, it is the ship occupying the place. Even in WWII the design proved vulnerable to damage, which is why the post war designs did not repeat some of the mistakes in the design. You seem to be confusing the ability to serve and the suitability for the role. The US had a huge surplus of carriers after WWII, it was easier to keep them in service and adapt them as best as possible that it was to build new and purpose designed ships taking in the lessons of WWII. Usually this has proven to be a problem with politicians liking the idea of a large navy and not wanting to spend too much money, it has applied to many navies over the years, not just the USN.

However, this still does not address why comparisons are desired between a ship in its early war condition from Nation X to a late war US ship as is so often done in these types of discussion. How does the Bismarck compare to any US ship in service up to the time of its loss? Not too badly is the answer. She is far from ideal, but she is still dangerous, and it should be noted I have been (and still am) critical of the Bismarck in many ways, but I do not deny she was a reasonable threat to any capital ship she could face.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by T. A. Gardner » 22 Nov 2017 17:40

Terry Duncan wrote: So they proved capable of launching air strikes against a 3rd World nation with no ability to strike back! If they were thought of as suitable frontline platforms the US would not have moved beyond the Midway class. The fact the US itself needed to go to great expense and build much larger ships shows that what they had from WWII was not suitable anymore, best suited to second line roles simply because the US had them at hand. The US has also found no need to build further second line units such as the Essex, which they would have done if there was a need.
Actually, at the time they were being designed, the Midway class was considered too big. The reason argued was that the air wing would be so large that you couldn't cycle all the aircraft through launch cycles before you started having landing cycles. There was an optimal size for the air wing.
What got them built, was they were considered the smallest size carrier that could handle the weight of an armored flight deck and have sufficient armor elsewhere while not reducing the size of the aircraft complement. That last was considered the most important aspect of a carrier. In that respect, I'd say the US got that right, along with the Japanese, while the British failed to grasp that carriers needed to have as many aircraft aboard as could be practically launched and landed. Any reduction of that number was detrimental to the function of the carrier and all other design features were secondary to that.

The Essex class remained in service because they were a decent design up until they became too small to handle new generation jet aircraft. These ships would simply have too small an air wing to make them worthwhile to be kept in service. Some soldiered on for a bit in specialist roles, but the expense of using them that way exceeded their value in the fleet.

What surprises me is the US didn't sell them off to Second World navies like countries in South America who likely would have gladly bought them.
So spending a lot of money to modify and existing ship in order to make it even vaguely viable somehow means the ship is exceptional? Ancient ships have often been kept in service a long time after they were really of much use (look at the large numbers of strange ships still in service in most nations up until about 1906 or in some cases almost into WWI to see great examples of how existing ships were kept around despite having little to no real value in a modern war.
It wasn't and I disagree with you here. The Essex class was hitting 40 years old by the 80's. Just keepinng something that old running was becoming a challenge. The challenge would be not just switching the catapults, but also the arresting gear, then the avionics and aviation shops, then upgrading the ship's electronics, and still dealing with things like a propulsion plant designed in the late 1930's and built in the early 40's.
Keeping the Essex's in service past the end of the 70's would have gotten more and more expensive for less and less benefit.

In past eras of naval warfare, the cost of the crew was a minor issue compared to the cost of the ship. Modern ships reverse that in many cases. You also can't simply dump hundreds of men into the crew and train them on their job(s) in a matter of weeks like you could in the early 20th century and before.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Terry Duncan » 22 Nov 2017 18:33

T. A. Gardner wrote:Actually, at the time they were being designed, the Midway class was considered too big. The reason argued was that the air wing would be so large that you couldn't cycle all the aircraft through launch cycles before you started having landing cycles.
The experience of war proved that idea wrong though, and with the borrowed ideas of angled flight decks and steam catapults it became a non-issue post-WWII.
T. A. Gardner wrote:What got them built, was they were considered the smallest size carrier that could handle the weight of an armored flight deck and have sufficient armor elsewhere while not reducing the size of the aircraft complement.
The Essex didnt carry a proper armoured flight deck which is why they suffered so badly when hit.
T. A. Gardner wrote:In that respect, I'd say the US got that right, along with the Japanese, while the British failed to grasp that carriers needed to have as many aircraft aboard as could be practically launched and landed. Any reduction of that number was detrimental to the function of the carrier and all other design features were secondary to that.
I am not too sure why you think the British 'got it wrong' here. They knew their ships needed to be employed in the North Sea Exits and Mediterranean theatres, where land based aircraft would dominate at times, and as such it was important to be able to shrug off large bombs hitting the flight deck. The US and Japanese opted for the ability to operate larger numbers of planes quickly, which made them vulnerable if attacked. WWII showed just how dangerous that decision was, the Midways and subsequent US carriers have British style armoured flight decks. Britain lacked the ability to build vast numbers of carriers quickly, so it became important that the ones they did build would last, and there was the usual treaty and budget issues early on. Look at the Audacious and Gibralta designs to see what the RN actually wanted if they had time and the ability to build them. The US and Japan had the luxury of being able to sit back and build up slower, and without any risk of the shipyards being bombed, and in the case of the US, the ability to build large numbers of hulls quickly. All the navies would have liked much the same thing in many ways, some had more time and the benefit of distance from combat to put their ideas into practice. Where the British made a mistake was in desiring the ability to launch a seaplane athwartships, which limited the hanger height and size, which was ironic indeed as the plan itself was never built anyhow even after the carrier designs were adjusted to take them!
T. A. Gardner wrote:The Essex class remained in service because they were a decent design up until they became too small to handle new generation jet aircraft. These ships would simply have too small an air wing to make them worthwhile to be kept in service. Some soldiered on for a bit in specialist roles, but the expense of using them that way exceeded their value in the fleet.
They were an average design that the US had large number of post-war, so they just kept what they had. As I said earlier, ok to attack 3rd World nations with no ability to threaten them.
T. A. Gardner wrote:What surprises me is the US didn't sell them off to Second World navies like countries in South America who likely would have gladly bought them.
I partly agree, but by the time the US decided they didnt want them they were getting a bit too old to be viable.
T. A. Gardner wrote:It wasn't and I disagree with you here. The Essex class was hitting 40 years old by the 80's. Just keepinng something that old running was becoming a challenge. The challenge would be not just switching the catapults, but also the arresting gear, then the avionics and aviation shops, then upgrading the ship's electronics, and still dealing with things like a propulsion plant designed in the late 1930's and built in the early 40's.
Keeping the Essex's in service past the end of the 70's would have gotten more and more expensive for less and less benefit.
But keeping them in service is much less expensive than building a modern replacement. As an example, poiticians tend not to vote funds for an extra eight carriers when you already have twenty in the fleet already and no obvious threat for which they are needed. It is better to put off such huge expenses for as long as possible, sometimes even hoping the goverment will change before the expense needs to be accepted as at least then you can blame your opposition for it.
T. A. Gardner wrote:In past eras of naval warfare, the cost of the crew was a minor issue compared to the cost of the ship. Modern ships reverse that in many cases. You also can't simply dump hundreds of men into the crew and train them on their job(s) in a matter of weeks like you could in the early 20th century and before.
As soon as any large war comes along it will be found that the crew training 'issues' are resolved and crews can be provided much faster than now. It took the Victorian RN about 4 years to train skilled personel (some were very good at painting the ship much faster though) , it is probably similar now but with different skills being learned.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by alecsandros » 22 Nov 2017 20:42

Terry Duncan wrote: Bismarck certainly had secondaries and tertiary armamants, but they do not fit any nations definition of dual purpose, not just the US one. The 5.9" guns cannot engage aircraft, and iirc there was to real provision for the 4.1" to engage surface targets in action (as opposed to being able to sink merchant ships that had been caught or as a barrage fire type defence). It is not a problem, but the tonnage could have been better used elsewhere.
Both the 150mm and 105mm could be used against naval or air targets, but with several limitations.

The 150mm guns of Tirpitz for example were fired against the Albacores torpedo bombers of HMS Victorious in March 1942. 33 shots were fired in "barrage fire" mode - with the fuzes set to explode at a predetermined time (and therefore distance from the ship), to create a deterrent against the attackers. Naturally it did not have a "hard" effect of destroying the targets, but it was usefull in it's way. The fire was probably controlled from the AAA domes (tipically controlling only the 105mm mounts).

The 105mm guns of Scharnhorst (identical to the ones mounted on Bismarck and Tirpitz) were used during the battle with HMS Glorious/Ardent/Acasta, and scored several direct hits on the British destroyers. The fire was controlled from the main and secondary battery director (which also controlled the 150mm mounts - which also obtained several hits). However, hurling a 105mm round weighing 12kg was probably not enough to produce significant damage on anything other then a small ship.
the USN had always had a strange predilection for very heavy armour there, but then oddly angled the turret face backwards, allowing incoming rounds to strike at a far better angle and thus negate the purpose of heavier armour in the first place! Compare the KGV turret faces to those on US ships and you can see the British ship is offering a tougher target per inch/ton of armour enployed on this subject as the impact angle will increase on the British ship, rather than decrease closer to 'normal' as in the US ship.
Indeed, but it helped more against free falling bombs, which had a tougher time in finding the "normal" of the angled plate.
That's probably the reason why they used such heavy faceplate armor - to withstand large APC shots, even if the faceplate was known to be easier penetrated by a long range shot.

It is of some importance, IMHO, to note that the thicker the armor plate, the harder the job of the projectile would be to perforate it. Even if theoretical calculations would produce apparent sufficient kinetic energy to go through, in reality the ratio between the diameter of the shell and of the plate would be directly proportional to the probability of a perforation (the smaller the ratio, the smaller the probability of perfforation, even if there would be sufficient theoretical kinetical energy).

One might note that the faceplates of South Dakota and Iowa classes were of the softer Class B type (homogenous non-cemented armor), but again, having such heavy armor put into a single place had it's own merits...

Agreed with your other points concerning the armor distribution on Iowa - about 55% of waterline was protected by citadel armor. However, that was the case for all contemporary all-or-nothing armor battleships: King George V, Yamato, Richelieu, Nagato, Rodney, etc. It was the trade-off the designers had to accept in order to concentrate as much armor as possible around the essential parts of the ship (magazines, machinery, armament, con towers sometimes)...

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by T. A. Gardner » 22 Nov 2017 21:44

Terry Duncan wrote: The experience of war proved that idea wrong though, and with the borrowed ideas of angled flight decks and steam catapults it became a non-issue post-WWII.
You are wrong here. The initial Midway design called for an air group of about 145 aircraft. It was estimated at the time that launching took about 20 to 30 seconds per plane, and landing about 30 to 40. You couldn't do launches and landings simultaneously on a straight deck. With the need to steam into the wind, an air group that size would find some strikes being unable to launch if the wind was unfavorable. It also stretched the cycles for strikes from 6 to 8 meaning longer flight deck operations per day. At the time Midway was to get the H4-1 catapult using hydraulics. This was longer than the H4 so it had more capacity to launch a heavier plane.

What saved the Midway in size was largely the rapid growth in weight and size of aircraft along with the very real need for far more fuel to be carried, particularly with jets on the horizon. These consumed far more fuel per plane than piston engine planes did. As it is, air group size is still an issue with the current US use of ones at about 75 planes being seen as optimal. Anything larger and the carrier can't operate all the aircraft carried efficiently.
The Essex didnt carry a proper armoured flight deck which is why they suffered so badly when hit.
Essex had an armored hanger deck and while flight deck damage did occur, it was rare that an Essex suffered extensive damage below the hanger deck, meaning the ship's vitals remained intact and the ship could leave the battle area and be repaired.
US observations of the British armored carriers like the Formidable class were very harshly negative about the value of flight deck armor. Their commentary at the time included these issues:

Air group size was reduced about 30 to 50 percent over an unarmored carrier (Ark Royal v. Formidable for example).
The heavier elevators on Formidable ran at roughly half the speed of unarmored ones. This increased the spotting time taken for a strike.
The reduced height of the flight deck compared to an unarmored carrier often precluded flight operations in heavier seas, far more than on US carriers. It also made using a deck park more hazardous (damage to planes from seas), but earlier in the war British practice was to hanger all planes carried, something the USN found unacceptable.
The armor on the flight deck could not be made sufficiently thick to preclude all likely bomb type's penetration.
The amount of fuel carried for aircraft was far smaller than on US carriers
The hanger bay still had to be ventilated so the armored box couldn't be maintained most of the time. For example, the British couldn't warm up engines in the hanger bay the way a US carrier could as the ventilation was inadequate. This again lengthened the time it took to ready a strike on deck.

I am not too sure why you think the British 'got it wrong' here. They knew their ships needed to be employed in the North Sea Exits and Mediterranean theatres, where land based aircraft would dominate at times, and as such it was important to be able to shrug off large bombs hitting the flight deck. The US and Japanese opted for the ability to operate larger numbers of planes quickly, which made them vulnerable if attacked. WWII showed just how dangerous that decision was, the Midways and subsequent US carriers have British style armoured flight decks. Britain lacked the ability to build vast numbers of carriers quickly, so it became important that the ones they did build would last, and there was the usual treaty and budget issues early on. Look at the Audacious and Gibralta designs to see what the RN actually wanted if they had time and the ability to build them. The US and Japan had the luxury of being able to sit back and build up slower, and without any risk of the shipyards being bombed, and in the case of the US, the ability to build large numbers of hulls quickly. All the navies would have liked much the same thing in many ways, some had more time and the benefit of distance from combat to put their ideas into practice. Where the British made a mistake was in desiring the ability to launch a seaplane athwartships, which limited the hanger height and size, which was ironic indeed as the plan itself was never built anyhow even after the carrier designs were adjusted to take them!
Because even the British grudgingly admitted it. Operations of Victorious with the Saratoga in the Pacific illustrated the two's differences clearly. Victorious got modified on the US East Coast prior to the operation. Important changes included the round down at the rear of the flight deck being removed and the deck leveled out and extended. This allowed for a deck park of about 8 additional aircraft.
The Saratoga was able to cycle larger strikes faster than Illustrious was.

The smaller air group meant that the British carriers had no dive bombers aboard and a smaller fighter complement. This was seen as a major limitation, and later on when the RN operated in the Pacific their strike packages were reduced in size and their carriers primarily operated CAP forward where the armored flight deck did prove valuable against kamikaze that had little penetration.

The British were very impressed by the rapidity of US underway replenishment operations compared to their own.

Another big concern in both navies was the elevators. This represented a serious weakness in the deck armored or not. Wasp with the first deck edge elevator was copied with the Essex class removing the middle deck elevator to the edge.

The only reason Midway got an armored flight deck was her sheer size and weight allowed sufficient weight margin to put one on the class and maintain a high level of stability. Even then, unlike the British, the US didn't armor the hanger sides heavily.

And, yes, the British realized their mistake with the Formidables, and were moving in the same direction as the US and Japan. Towards larger carriers with more aircraft.
They were an average design that the US had large number of post-war, so they just kept what they had. As I said earlier, ok to attack 3rd World nations with no ability to threaten them.
The Essex's were an excellent design. They had a very good level of protection of the hull, even if the superstructure (including flight deck) were vulnerable to damage. This was considered acceptable at the time and that damage to the flight deck, being superstructure could be easily repaired in port.
But keeping them in service is much less expensive than building a modern replacement. As an example, poiticians tend not to vote funds for an extra eight carriers when you already have twenty in the fleet already and no obvious threat for which they are needed. It is better to put off such huge expenses for as long as possible, sometimes even hoping the goverment will change before the expense needs to be accepted as at least then you can blame your opposition for it.
I've fixed a lot of systems on older US Navy ships. They are a huge PITA. For example, you have an electric motor and a pump in some space. These are both pretty big pieces of equipment let's say. But, because the deck they sit on has shifted some after years of the ship at sea, it takes forever to get them aligned now. This problem was so bad on the USS Durham a Korean War age AKA with their cargo booms that the ship went to Desert Storm with non of those working. I know was handed that one, working in the Ship Superintendent's office (shop 10A) in San Diego at the time.
Or, going out to the Okinawa (and LPH and known as the "Brokenawa") because Southwest Marine called. Their welders were to reinstall some arc welder motor-generator sets on the ship, but the sponson they were to go on was so rusted out there was nothing to weld them down to. They ended up in the hanger bay strapped down with cargo ties.
The old Iowa class were that way. You couldn't find parts for half the systems. You try finding a mag amp for something. I could get those repaired in the 80's when they had this retired CWO working as a civilian contractor in the motor rewind shop (51B) at SIMA San Diego. But once he left, nobody there knew how to rewind one.
Old ships get expensive to maintain. They also usually require more personnel to do the maintenance and operate systems.
As soon as any large war comes along it will be found that the crew training 'issues' are resolved and crews can be provided much faster than now. It took the Victorian RN about 4 years to train skilled personel (some were very good at painting the ship much faster though) , it is probably similar now but with different skills being learned.
But, you better hope they learn fast because you normally go to war with the navy you have, not the one you want. The difference between say a ship in 1900 and 2000 in terms of training was in 1900 10% of the crew needed really specialized skills and a lot of training. The other 90% were guys who humped ammunition into a gun, scrubbed decks, shovelled coal, and the like. Today, that's reversed. 90% of the crew are skilled and 10% are the guys that do mundane jobs requiring little training.
For example, in 1900 an engine room on a ship included stokers (coal shovellers) and oilers (guys who went around topping of oil cups for the bearings and such. Those jobs no longer exist on a ship. The engine room crew is a fraction of the size it was and all the unskilled and low skill jobs are gone entirely.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Terry Duncan » 22 Nov 2017 22:40

alecsandros wrote:The 150mm guns of Tirpitz for example were fired against the Albacores torpedo bombers of HMS Victorious in March 1942. 33 shots were fired in "barrage fire" mode - with the fuzes set to explode at a predetermined time (and therefore distance from the ship), to create a deterrent against the attackers. Naturally it did not have a "hard" effect of destroying the targets, but it was usefull in it's way. The fire was probably controlled from the AAA domes (tipically controlling only the 105mm mounts).

The 105mm guns of Scharnhorst (identical to the ones mounted on Bismarck and Tirpitz) were used during the battle with HMS Glorious/Ardent/Acasta, and scored several direct hits on the British destroyers. The fire was controlled from the main and secondary battery director (which also controlled the 150mm mounts - which also obtained several hits). However, hurling a 105mm round weighing 12kg was probably not enough to produce significant damage on anything other then a small ship.
I agree, but it shows why the arrangement was a poor use of tonnage.
alecsandros wrote:Indeed, but it helped more against free falling bombs, which had a tougher time in finding the "normal" of the angled plate.
No bomb falling at free fall velocity would have the required penetration to touch a turret face even half the thickness of an Iowa turret, other than a Tallboy or Grand Slam, and no ship built would be able to keep those out.

alecsandros wrote:That's probably the reason why they used such heavy faceplate armor - to withstand large APC shots, even if the faceplate was known to be easier penetrated by a long range shot. It is of some importance, IMHO, to note that the thicker the armor plate, the harder the job of the projectile would be to perforate it. Even if theoretical calculations would produce apparent sufficient kinetic energy to go through, in reality the ratio between the diameter of the shell and of the plate would be directly proportional to the probability of a perforation (the smaller the ratio, the smaller the probability of perfforation, even if there would be sufficient theoretical kinetical energy).
It matters little to the people inside the turret if they are killed by a direct penetration, by a delta plug ejected form the backplate into the turret, or by the numerous moulten spallings that flew about and ignoted anything the touched!
alecsandros wrote:One might note that the faceplates of South Dakota and Iowa classes were of the softer Class B type (homogenous non-cemented armor), but again, having such heavy armor put into a single place had it's own merits...
That is common to most turrets iirc as face hardened armour is not suited to being used in such a way as it would stress the armour.
alecsandros wrote:Agreed with your other points concerning the armor distribution on Iowa - about 55% of waterline was protected by citadel armor. However, that was the case for all contemporary all-or-nothing armor battleships: King George V, Yamato, Richelieu, Nagato, Rodney, etc. It was the trade-off the designers had to accept in order to concentrate as much armor as possible around the essential parts of the ship (magazines, machinery, armament, con towers sometimes)...
The problem with the Iowa is the long and very thin bow section, a hit there like Bismarck took would put the bow very low in the water quite fast. At a guess I would say at least a 5-6kts loss of speed and a very fast 10ft increase in draught forward, similar to Lutzow at Jutland but on a much larger scale.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Plain Old Dave » 23 Nov 2017 00:23

Terry Duncan wrote:
As soon as any large war comes along it will be found that the crew training 'issues' are resolved and crews can be provided much faster than now. It took the Victorian RN about 4 years to train skilled personel (some were very good at painting the ship much faster though) , it is probably similar now but with different skills being learned.
Most of the rest of your post has been well responded to. This, though, I can speak to. In the World's Greatest Navy, many ratings are on six year enlistments rather than four, and two year enlistments are almost obsolete, PACT (Professional Apprentice Career Training) being excepted. The Nuclear Power Field ET, EM, and MM ratings are all mandatory six-year enlistments and the "nukes" don't report to a ship or submarine for the first two years they're in the Navy for example. Gunner's Mates spend 26 weeks in training after 8 weeks in recruit training, or at least did when I was a GMG. A usage might be in order: in the United States Navy, your rating is your job and as enlisted men you're called collectively Sailors or Petty Officers and Seamen/Airmen/Firemen/Hospitalmen/Constructionmen depending on your rating. Think about it: Do you really want nuclear reactor operators or any of the other ultra-specialized technical jobs in today's Navy learning their craft on the job?

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Von Schadewald » 23 Nov 2017 01:10

Exeter considered ramming Graf Spee in 1939.

If it came to ramming or near ramming distance (ie under 250 yards), which is favoured?

The American has more momentum, but is the German's midriff side armour stronger?

Bismarck has more HA/LA artillery, but Iowa has scores of Bofors and Oerlikons.

Is the deck of Iowa significantly higher than Bismarck?

If they locked together Is even boarding conceivable? Which carried more smgs in its crew armoury: Thompsons vs MP40s, with even the captains dueling each other with their ceremonial cutlasses.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Plain Old Dave » 23 Nov 2017 02:26

Von Schadewald wrote:
If they locked together Is even boarding conceivable? Which carried more smgs in its crew armoury: Thompsons vs MP40s, with even the captains dueling each other with their ceremonial cutlasses.
German sailors with burp guns or K98s vs. United States Marines? The original duty of the Marine Corps was manning fighting tops in battle and repelling boarders. Cruisers and battleships always had a MARDET assigned; 35-50 Marine infantrymen. Their GQ station on the Iowas was operating one of the 5" guns.

Never mind that the US Navy has always kept shotguns in ships' armories.

As to Thompson v. MP40, the .45 hits harder and is a much more reliable man-stopper.

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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Terry Duncan » 23 Nov 2017 03:01

Plain Old Dave wrote:In the World's Greatest Navy, many ratings are on six year enlistments rather than four, and two year enlistments are almost obsolete, PACT (Professional Apprentice Career Training) being excepted.
The service periods and levels of achievement have changed little, have a look back an see how long the authorities believed it took to train engineers and gunnery officers and you will find they were only considered really qualified after a decade or so of service. As for 'the worlds greatest navy', you have maybe another 250 years of actual combat to go before the USN will come close to the record of the RN. So far you have 70 years of dominance in a period where nobody is even challenging a surface fleet and no all out warfare has taken place. The RN and its predecessor have about 300 years of dominance and actual warfare against actual challenges. Being a big navy doesnt make it a great navy. For anyone feeling brave, or with less noble motives, have a look at the following demonstration of greatness;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Point_disaster
Plain Old Dave wrote:The Nuclear Power Field ET, EM, and MM ratings are all mandatory six-year enlistments and the "nukes" don't report to a ship or submarine for the first two years they're in the Navy for example. Gunner's Mates spend 26 weeks in training after 8 weeks in recruit training, or at least did when I was a GMG. A usage might be in order: in the United States Navy, your rating is your job and as enlisted men you're called collectively Sailors or Petty Officers and Seamen/Airmen/Firemen/Hospitalmen/Constructionmen depending on your rating. Think about it: Do you really want nuclear reactor operators or any of the other ultra-specialized technical jobs in today's Navy learning their craft on the job?
They said similar before WWII, so given the rapid and vast expansion of the USN the majority of crews were presumably barely trained given the dilution of skilled crewmen to cope with the new ships needing crews. I wouldnt want untrained personel steering ships into tugs and such as a nuclear reactor on the sea bed is far from desirable, but the USN has has several collisions this year, apparently the USN is now investigating how so many have happened and it even hit the news over here a few days ago. People always learn on the job, theoretical knowledge only ever gets you so far in a live situation.

What I am curious about most of all though is why all the diversions away from my point that in almost every discusion of this type, why is it that we get an early configuration for Ship A and a late war configuration or even design for Ship B when Ship B is a USN vessel. Nobody asks silly questions like would a Colorado defeat Yamato in 1942, indeed it seems we avoid comparing any ship to USN vessels until the USN has every technological advance from during the war strapped to it rather than just comparing the ships as designed or built. We also often see Surigao Straits cited as proof the USN would get straddles early and manage great gunnery in destroying an enemy that didnt even know they were there. Curiously the gunnery returns for the US battleships there compare badly to the returns of the supposedly poorly performing British 14" gunned ship Duke of York at North Cape, where the British ship is criticised for getting off only 75% of the possible opportunities to fire with an overly complex turret design and straddled 31 times out of 52. At Surigao Strait one US battleships barely fired, and one other managed a 65% gunnery return, and 80% being the average return from all othr ships. Surigao Strait was fought in an almost flat calm, North Cape in pitch blackness and during a full blown gale with waves over 40ft.

Why is there such an aversion to a level playing field and honest comparison when a US ship is compared to other navies ships? The US ships were not that bad and there really is nothing to be ashamed of by comparing Bismarck to Washington or even a South Dakota as designed, why try to stack the odds by allowing everything developed during the war to be added to the US ship, knowing the Axis ships had little chance for such upgrades. Are the words 'the US ship loses' so hard to contemplate?

alecsandros
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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by alecsandros » 23 Nov 2017 06:21

Terry Duncan wrote: I agree, but it shows why the arrangement was a poor use of tonnage.
It depends on teh situation. If a single type of attack would happen (only destroyer attack on Bismarck), then yes, it would have been prefered to have more then 12 guns of 150mm caliber. If only torp bomber attack, then it would been preffered to have more then 16 director-controlled heavy AA guns.

However, if both types of attacks would happen at the same time (or nearly), then it would be wise to have separate weapons to deal with separate threats.
alecsandros wrote: No bomb falling at free fall velocity would have the required penetration to touch a turret face even half the thickness of an Iowa turret, other than a Tallboy or Grand Slam, and no ship built would be able to keep those out.
Agreed - that's the designer's problem- how to make the armor impenetrable to both bombs and shells.

alecsandros wrote: It matters little to the people inside the turret if they are killed by a direct penetration, by a delta plug ejected form the backplate into the turret, or by the numerous moulten spallings that flew about and ignoted anything the touched!
Good point. My opinion though is that armoring the turrets had it's merits - as seen in the case of Jean Bart at Casablanca or South Dakota and 2nd Guadalcanal. The counter-argument is what happened to French Dunkerque in Mers-el-Kebyr. Still, for some ranges and for some types of attack, having extra-thick armor can actualy protect the crew inside.

The problem with the Iowa is the long and very thin bow section, a hit there like Bismarck took would put the bow very low in the water quite fast. At a guess I would say at least a 5-6kts loss of speed and a very fast 10ft increase in draught forward, similar to Lutzow at Jutland but on a much larger scale.
Probably - but on the other hand, due to her hull shape and machinery, Iowa could have speed advantage over any contemporary battleship, thus being able to dictate the range - at least on paper.

Thoddy
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Re: Bismarck vs USS Iowa coass

Post by Thoddy » 23 Nov 2017 08:40

some comments
I couldn't find Bismarck's rangefinder maginfication right off hand but at 30,000 yards with a 20 x magnification at a base of 11.5 yards (10.5 meter) the unit has a calculated error of +/- 227 yards, or about 5 times worse than the Mk 8.
Ranging accuracy of the german optical 10m Rangfinder at 30 km using magnification 50: minimum error 87 m (Bescheibung E-Messgerät 10 U)
Ranging accuracy of Seetakt ~50 m independent from masuring range using a calibrated measuring chain - so called Messkette (or Entfernung fein). In a technical sense - ranging accuracy was independent from the used wavelenght but dependend on pulselenght and signal shaping, the triangle shaped german radar signal ensures increased measuring accuracy. Reading scale allows for about 25 m accuracy. (This is from Fumo 2; Fumo 23 ff used on capital ships had bigger antennas and improved circuits.

Image
hope the image is visible

Bearing accuracy of Seetakt using Radattel bearing (or Seite fein) less then 0,15 degrees - Radattel uses lobeswitching on the receiver side.
range and bearing data from optical rangefinders and Funkmess were automatically fed into the firecontrolcomputer

the decreed development stop past 1940 allows the allies to overtake the german starting advantage especially during 1942/43 and they held this despite considerable german advances in the later war- (the germans felt a allied superiority)

As at North Cape with Scharnhorst, the Bismarck in these conditions was likely to be surprised by the fire and would have some difficulty duplicating that sort of accuracy, even as they could fire back.
Scharnhorsts accuracy of firing was also impaired by jammers.
comment from battle summary 24
"The Scharnhorst's gunfire was erratic to begin with, but improved in speed and accuracy as the range increased, till at 17,000 to 20,000 yards the Duke of York was frequently being straddled, and there were many near misses; her hull was not hit, but both masts were shot through by 11-in. shell, which, fortunately, did not explode."

Tirpitz conducted long range practice firings against the target ship Hessen at 25 km and achieved several hits.
The problem with the Iowa is the long and very thin bow section,

not only, the complete waterline area was susceptible to any direct HE damage from even destroyer caliber guns.

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Nevertheless discussion on 1944 equipment seem mooth, as post one puts the encounter into 1942
It’s 1942, and the new American battleship Iowa has been rushed into service
"Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!"

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