Best Artillery of WWII

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Galahad
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Post by Galahad » 21 Dec 2002 15:06

Miss Nimitz writes: "Galahad, in 1918 the German could fire shells 31 kilometres...whats this 25.5 kilometres your talking about in ww2.."

Try putting your glasses on; I said 25.5 MILES. There is a slight difference.

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Post by Galahad » 21 Dec 2002 15:20

From 1943 on, the US Navy used radar ranging for its heavy gun fires, or direct observation from an FO or aerial spotter. The ranging advantage here goes to the ships.

Plus, the ships were moving targets, which are a wee bit harder to hit at long ranges than are fixed positions. Advantage again goes to the ships.

The concrete and steel emplacements built--for example--to defend Festung Europa were strong, but they weren't invincible and invulnerable. Battleships had armor-piercing munitions which could penetrate them. And even when they weren't penetrated, the concussive effects of the heavy explosions tended to wreak havoc with the crews manning the positions.

Juha has some flaws in his arguement.....for example.....how can you pre-register ranges to fire on a moving target, one that is constantly changing its direction and both its relative position and relative bearing, at 8 or 10 miles? You can't precalculate variables of that nature.

You're wrong to say that ships carefully avoided engaging fixed positions. US warships engaged shore batteries--in both soft and hardened emplacements--numerous times during WW II, with the shore battery usually coming off on the short end of the stick. One example--which was a draw--involved the old battleship Texas, which engaged in a 2 hour duel with a German 11'' battery in the fort at Cherbourg. The battery hit the Texas two times, killing one man. Yet the Texas was a relatively slow ship, with a maximum speed of 21 knots.

As far as I know, only one US warship was ever put out of action or even seriously damaged by a shore battery of any kind during WW II, and that was a destroyer which ran aground, thus becoming a fixed target, which same was destroyed by Japanese batteries.

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Post by Mark V » 21 Dec 2002 17:58

Hi Galahad:

I am not trying to diminish the extremely effective support effort that allied warships had on invasion beaches all over Europe - but like i said: Allied avoided direct duels with modern coastal arty batteries with comparable gun calibre and number of guns to their ships armament. Hamburg battery in Cherbourg doesn't fullfill the requirement even nearly - Texas had huge advantage in firepower.

BTW. Here is action report from that battle: http://users3.ev1.net/~cfmoore/document ... report.htm

About ranging: IIRC Germans had on their primary coastal batteries radars for target acquisition. Agree that allied had an advantage on radar technology. But you should not forget that coastal arty battery is propably not in the coastline - how an earth you could range several widely dispersed camouflaged inland targets with WW2-era radar technology ?? I have seen in real life which kind of death-traps there are ready for invaders in our own coast - guns well inside of coastline - impossible to see unless you stumble to the gunbarrel, actually impossible to shoot in peacetime - unless the forest surrounding them is exploded out of the way. On the other hand ship is perfect target for ranging - with radar or visual means.

Coastal battery is a fixed target: - but that is compensated by more accurate fire of coastal arty battery, and less accurate fire of any ship.

Vulnerability: Not invulnerable - but at least two magnitudes more resistant than any ship....

Pre-plotting: Very much possible - target points in correlation to landmark. For example when targets comes to view from a strait: - it's range is 11.300 metres, direction 125 degrees - pre-plotted to the accuracy of few centimetres, which ship-born targeting system can reach such accuracy ??

Any US warship was not put out of action by coastal arty battery because they wisely avoided the real adversaries: Do you think that any US battleship would had a change against Batterie Lindemann, Todt, Vara or Dietl ?? No way - such battle would have been chance to see even sinking Iowa-class battleship, or more propably a retreating to safety - out of range of coastal battery.

But why speculate ?? - They were never seriously contested - and for good reason.

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 22 Dec 2002 11:31

Mark V,
Thanks for a interesting (as usual) link. Here`s something I found there.

Galahad,
I wouldn`t call the event that took place off Cherbourg 25th June-44 an equal duel. In Finland we call duel something between two opponents. I don`t know the exat strenght of the Germans but the TWO USN battleships had 10x356mm, 12x305mm and 32x127mm artillery.

Pre-ranging:
"...enemy batteries were now firing in the general area where the Task Force was known to be..."

The advantages of evasive actions:
"...1314, the Texas ran thorough a screen in to wiev of the beach and was promply taken under heavy fire...Evasive action was again commenced by turning to the right with increased speed. At 1316 an enemy major caliber shell struck and exploded on top of the Conning Tower..."
"...In order to be effective, ships fire against protected shore batteries...the maneuvering of the ship to avoid enemy fire should be held down to a minimum..."

Fire control:
"...1304...Ship firing on gunflashes..."
"...The resulting damage to the enemy cannot be assessed but it is a reason to believe ..."
"...Exact damage inflicted unknown. Plane spot reported several direct hits on the casemates, but that guns kept on firing..."

The effect of armor-piercing munitions is shown above.

This one I can`t understand: has the "duck" something to do with it?
"...1500 received orders to retire. Withdrew on cource..."

regards, Juha

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Post by Mark V » 22 Dec 2002 18:27

Juha Tompuri wrote:Galahad,
I wouldn`t call the event that took place off Cherbourg 25th June-44 an equal duel. In Finland we call duel something between two opponents. I don`t know the exat strenght of the Germans but the TWO USN battleships had 10x356mm, 12x305mm and 32x127mm artillery.


From http://www.feldgrau.com:

>>>Marine-Artillerie-Abteilung 260

Formed 6.40 in Cherbourg with 3 companies. 1944 had the following batteries: 1 - 4 (4. also known as Brommy), Batterie Marcouf, Batterie Blankenese, Batterie Landemer and Batterie Fort du Roule.

4./MAA260 with four 152mm guns
Bttr. Landemer/MAA 260 with four 152mm guns
Bttr. Fort du Roule/MAA260 with four 105mm guns
Bttr. York (1, 2 or 3./MAA260) with four 170mm guns
Bttr. Hamburg (1, 2 or 3./MAA260) with four 240mm guns
Bttr. Bastion Cherbourg (1, 2 or 3./MAA260) with four 105mm guns
Bttr. Marcouf/MAA260 with ?
Bttr. Blankenese/MAA260 with ?
Disbanded 6.44 after the fall of Cherbourg..

Subordinated to Marine-Artillerie-Regiment 26, and from 7.40 Seekdt. Normandie



Something about those 24cm guns (they had seen a lot before Cherbourg):

http://www.warships1.com/Weapons/WNGER_945-40_skc95.htm

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Post by Galahad » 23 Dec 2002 05:45

1. Mark's listing shows there were a lot of guns in the fort at Cherbourg. Despite that, and despite the supposedly superior firing control and ranging, and the other advantages he and Juha claimed, the fort made exactly two hits in more than two hours of firing. Of the two hits, only one exploded, and it killed one man and wounded 12, while doing basically no structural damage to the ship, especially to any of the critical parts of the ship. As I initially said, the engagement was basically a draw.

2. The Texas obtained repeated hits on the fort, though they didn't knock the fort out of action. What damage they did do and what casualties they inflicted are evidently not reported anywhere. But considering that our Finnish friends say that the ships are at a disadvantage so far as firing accuracy goes.....

3. They said the ships were at a definite disadvantage, and as a result, didn't engage shore batteries. I said they did indeed engage shore batteries, repeatedly, and gave that one illustration. Your rebuttals seem to ignore totally all the engaging the USN did in the Pacific, and concentrate only on Europe. Yet, though the record shows that US ships did indeed engage German batteries in Europe numerous times, they ignore that, and haven't rebutted what I stated.

4. I gave the one example to show that US warships did engage shore batteries, and that when they did, they came through with hardly a scratch. There are other examples--US destroyers at Normandy, for instance, where one--I think it was the Laffey--to engage, closed the beach so close in that she ran aground--but she still survived easily. I chose the duel involving the Texas since it pitted capital ships versus a steel-reinforced concrete construction fort that at the time was as strong as any in Europe. Based on what you have said, she should have been mauled. She wasn't. Instead, she was hardly touched during hours of engagement--while she repeatedly hit her target. I said that the advantage was with the firing ships, and this backs up what I said--not what you wrote.

5. Despite all you have written, you have not rebutted what I stated. During WW II, warships--at least USN warships--were perfectly capable of engaging shore batteries, and, in fact, did engage shore batteries in Europe and in the Pacific repeatedly, and said shore batteries at best came off with a draw--with the one exception involving a destroyer that ran aground and became a non-moving target.

6. While the Texas failed to destroy the fort at Cherbourg, a newer battleship might have done so. In addition to being an even harder target to hit, due to higher speed and greater maneuverability, they would additionally be firing a considerably larger and more powerful shell at a higher velocity--the 2700 pound armor-piercing round used by the 16"/50 caliber rifles on the Iowas, for instance, was something like 1300 pounds heavier than the 14" fired by the Texas. They would also have been using the new-model analog firing computer, something the Texas didn't have--but the lack of which still didn't prevent her from repeatedly hitting the target.

7. You can believe what you want to believe, but the record shows that your belief does not hold up, based on actual World War II performance by the USN.

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Post by Mark V » 26 Dec 2002 22:41

Hi, Galahad. Hope you did have nice Christmas.

I am not sure was your last post intented for me or Juha - but anyways, here is my 2 cents:


Galahad wrote:1. Mark's listing shows there were a lot of guns in the fort at Cherbourg. Despite that, and despite the supposedly superior firing control and ranging, and the other advantages he and Juha claimed, the fort made exactly two hits in more than two hours of firing. Of the two hits, only one exploded, and it killed one man and wounded 12, while doing basically no structural damage to the ship, especially to any of the critical parts of the ship. As I initially said, the engagement was basically a draw.


A lot of guns, but as you may have noticed - Germans were at huge disadvantage in firepower.

Comparison of main calibres of adversaries:

German side:
4 * 24cm SKL/40, ammunition: 1890 APC - 308.6 lbs. (140 kg), 1914 APC L/2,6 - 321.9 lbs. (146 kg)
4 * 17cm SKL/40, ammunition: AP - 138.5 lbs. (62.8 kg)
weight of "broadside": 811-835 kg

US side:
10 * 14"/45 (35.6 cm), ammunition: APC - 1,400 lbs. (635 kg), HCC - 1,275 lbs. (578 kg)
12 * 12"/50 (30.5 cm), ammuniton: AP - 870 lbs. (394.63 kg), HC - 740 lbs. (335.7 kg)
weight of broadside: 9808-11085 kg

.... that is about 12-14 times heavier (depending on the ammunition used)


- I have no info did Germans produce more modern ammo for those 240mm guns at their disposal - if they didn't - not so surprised about that dud...

- I did a favour counting 17cm guns also - alltough against BB class adversary they are almost without a value.

After all: Not surprised the Texas didn't suffered serious structural damage. I am surprised that Texas and Arkansas didn't obliterate the enemy, because they had 12-14 times the firepower of German batteries - or would it be possible that it has something to do with the inherent differences between shipborne-arty and coastal-arty ??


Galahad wrote:2. The Texas obtained repeated hits on the fort, though they didn't knock the fort out of action. What damage they did do and what casualties they inflicted are evidently not reported anywhere. But considering that our Finnish friends say that the ships are at a disadvantage so far as firing accuracy goes.....


You answered the question allready:

>>> The Texas obtained repeated hits on the fort, though they didn't knock the fort out of action.

Galahad wrote:3. They said the ships were at a definite disadvantage, and as a result, didn't engage shore batteries. I said they did indeed engage shore batteries, repeatedly, and gave that one illustration.


I never did say anything like that.

Read my last posts. I did say:

>>> Allied avoided direct duels with modern coastal arty batteries with comparable gun calibre and number of guns to their ships armament.

Don't you see the difference ??


Galahad wrote:Your rebuttals seem to ignore totally all the engaging the USN did in the Pacific, and concentrate only on Europe. Yet, though the record shows that US ships did indeed engage German batteries in Europe numerous times, they ignore that, and haven't rebutted what I stated.


My previous answer covers this too.

Galahad wrote:4. I gave the one example to show that US warships did engage shore batteries, and that when they did, they came through with hardly a scratch. There are other examples--US destroyers at Normandy, for instance, where one--I think it was the Laffey--to engage, closed the beach so close in that she ran aground--but she still survived easily. I chose the duel involving the Texas since it pitted capital ships versus a steel-reinforced concrete construction fort that at the time was as strong as any in Europe. Based on what you have said, she should have been mauled. She wasn't. Instead, she was hardly touched during hours of engagement--while she repeatedly hit her target.


What me (and Juha) have said explains why German shore batteries in Cherbourg could engage the American opponent at all.

Galahad wrote:I said that the advantage was with the firing ships, and this backs up what I said--not what you wrote.


On the contrary, it just proves exactly what we have said.


Galahad wrote:5. Despite all you have written, you have not rebutted what I stated. During WW II, warships--at least USN warships--were perfectly capable of engaging shore batteries, and, in fact, did engage shore batteries in Europe and in the Pacific repeatedly, and said shore batteries at best came off with a draw--with the one exception involving a destroyer that ran aground and became a non-moving target.


OK. Same again. Where an earth you did come up an idea that naval vessels could not engage shore batteries ?? No-one said anything like that. All we said that there are some serious advantages on the side of coastal artillery in engagement between them and ships.


Galahad wrote:6. While the Texas failed to destroy the fort at Cherbourg, a newer battleship might have done so. In addition to being an even harder target to hit, due to higher speed and greater maneuverability, they would additionally be firing a considerably larger and more powerful shell at a higher velocity--the 2700 pound armor-piercing round used by the 16"/50 caliber rifles on the Iowas, for instance, was something like 1300 pounds heavier than the 14" fired by the Texas. They would also have been using the new-model analog firing computer, something the Texas didn't have--but the lack of which still didn't prevent her from repeatedly hitting the target.


OK. Now we are getting somewhere. This is exactly the direction i personally have tried to lead this discussion - but you still fail to understand the point, instead you are speculating by bringing up Iowas against German batteries in Cherbourg - wasn't the 12-14 times heavier firepower enough ?? You need 100 times more firepower than coastal artillery battery to destroy it ??

And this has been my point all time. In engagement between (even somewhat) equal adversaries coastal artillery is in advantage.


If you think that beating German coastal batteries was such an turkey shoot - why US Navy didn't amused themselves against any bigger adversary ?? After all, killing bigger deer and strapping it on the hood gives you much more respect than some puny 24cm battery with guns from 19th century ?? There weren't lack of willing adversaries. There was Lindemann and Todt in France, or maybe Dietl or Vara in Norway - that should have been amusing - to kick seriously their nazi asses :D

Would it be nice to have Batterie Dietl strapped on the "hood" of Iowa ?? - wonder why they didn't even try ??

...or maybe the naval commanders of US Navy did know better after all, and with good propability Iowas head would have ended up as an trophy on the wall of German officer-mess. :D

http://www.atlantikwall.net/museum_no_trondenes.htm


Galahad wrote:7. You can believe what you want to believe, but the record shows that your belief does not hold up, based on actual World War II performance by the USN.


OK, i guess this is the point. You got somehow offended because our posts - thinking that we have diminished the contribution of US Navy during WW2 - which i at least have carefully avoided (read my previous posts), and which is not an issue on this discussion in any way.


No hard feelings.

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 26 Dec 2002 22:41

Galahad,

Yes there were a lot of guns at Cherbourg. Still a LOT less than the USN Task Force had (yes Galahad, you were right: it actually was a duel, not between USS Texas but TF 129 and local German bateries).
The TF should have been grateful for those (USAF?) who knocked out the German radars and "forced" Germans to use pre-ranged fire, which gave them one hit by that method.
I don`t know if any awards were given after this duel, but my personal opinion is that the German gunners sure did deserve something. Important job was also done by the USN smoke screen laying units who saved the TF:
the accident that USS Texas was exposed off the smoke screen for two minutes, and the ship doing all possible evasive actions, the 4 German antique guns (breech loaded, Mark V :) ?) (rate of fire 3-4 shots/min max = 6-8 salvoes max) scored a hit at USS Texas. Lucky for Texas that it was two minutes, not hours.
From the begining Mark V and I have been writing about equal duels between coastal artillery and ships. The USN strategy of attacking inferior targets and from the cover of smoke screen was wise policy.By doing so the wars are won. It also indicates how much your admirals respected equal opponets.
7. Thanks for giving me right to believe what I want. I believe in facts and truth, not legends.

Regards, Juha

P.S. About shore bombardment at Normandy by USN destroyers: is it bravery or something to do with seamanship when a ship is run aground? Maybe both.

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 26 Dec 2002 22:45

Mark V, the marginal...

Regards, Juha

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Post by Mark V » 26 Dec 2002 23:29

Hi Juha.

I was faster this time.

Juha Tompuri wrote:I don`t know if any awards were given after this duel, but my personal opinion is that the German gunners sure did deserve something. Important job was also done by the USN smoke screen laying units who saved the TF: the accident that USS Texas was exposed off the smoke screen for two minutes, and the ship doing all possible evasive actions, the 4 German antique guns (breech loaded, Mark V :) ?) (rate of fire 3-4 shots/min max = 6-8 salvoes max) scored a hit at USS Texas. Lucky for Texas that it was two minutes, not hours.


Yes, they were breech loaded - otherwise this would be too cruel. :D


Juha Tompuri wrote:From the begining Mark V and I have been writing about equal duels between coastal artillery and ships. The USN strategy of attacking inferior targets and from the cover of smoke screen was wise policy.By doing so the wars are won.


Agree.


Juha Tompuri wrote:It also indicates how much your admirals respected equal opponets.


The point exactly.

I just want to add that lesson that you never, in any circumstances, expose your ship to equally armed coastal artillery battery, was been banged to the heads of generations of naval officers, since Crimean War - and this lesson was valid for a one hundred years - from mid 1800s to mid 1900s - after that - well, there weren't many of either left (battleships and heavy coastal arty).

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Post by Galahad » 27 Dec 2002 00:13

The both of you seemed intent on making the points that coastal artillery had the firing and ranging advantage, and that warships thus avoided engaging such. I said that wasn't so, in both cases.

Where engaging was needed, US warships engaged. And as a result of such engaging, lost exactly one ship out of the many that engaged throughout the war. You have this picture of Europe in your heads, with batteries here and there, and the Allies going around them. In the Pacific the US forces didn't have such a luxury.....if the island you're invading is only a couple or three miles long, you can't avoid, so your choices are to either suppoort the landing force with your ships, or let them do the WW I bit alone. The USN supported the troops.....and the shore batteries came off second best.

So far as the sarcasm about mounting battery this or that on the ship as a trophy goes.....why should they bother? My point was that where the ships were required to engage, they did engage.....why should they go hunting when there's no need for game?

But, if there HAD been a need to engage, based on actual performance, I'd be willing to bet such engaging would have occurred, and that when it did, the shore batteries wouldn't have had the advantage you claim for them.

Now, go on and make your obligatory 1/2 reply so you can have the last word you as you need to have. I'm saying no more. I don't agree with you any more than you agree with me, so further comment would be pointless.

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Post by Mark V » 27 Dec 2002 17:33

I also tend to think that this debate is not going anywhere. You are strong on your opinion, just as we are.

Just few points:

- Japanese coastal defence was extremely poor (mostly old 8" guns), they had only few modern heavy batteries to protect their home-islands and US did make sure that in all invasions they had an overwhelming fire-support force to suppress enemy batteries. You can't find any evidence to support your theories in the Pacific - because finding a single battle where any Jap battery fough against enemy in same magnitude is extremely difficult.

- To make it clear, i respect your knowledge about matters regarding naval warfare - and especially US Navy. But you are forgetting that Juha and i are Finns - a nation that had (inhereted) one of the most powerfull coastal artillery defences in Europe and have accumulated a wealth of experience on this matter over last century - an so, if i may say: these issues are very well known to us, better than most.

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 27 Dec 2002 18:15

Galahad,

I too respect your knowledge about surface vessels. Also I admire your patriotism. But a friendly advice, with NO offence: don`t let it blind you from seeing the facts.

Regards, Juha

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