Battleship V Battleship

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Pips
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Battleship V Battleship

Postby Pips » 06 Jul 2017 03:52

Although the above subject isn't just restricted to the Kriegsmarine, I think this is the 'best fit' forum. If not please feel free to move to one more appropriate.

Thought I would list all battleship v battleship actions (however brief) that occurred in WWII - covering all nations. If I have missed any, please feel free to update.

1940
April 1940 - Operation Wesserubung..................Scharnhorst & Gneisenau v Renown
July 1940 - Mers el Kebir................................Hood, Valiant & Resolution v Bretagne, Dunkerque, Strasbourg & Provence
July 1940 - Calabria......................................Warspite & Malaya v Giulio Cesare & Conte di Cavour
Sept 1940 - Dakar.........................................Resolution & Barnham v Richelieu
Nov 1940 - Cape Spartivento............................Ramilles & Renown v Vittorio Veneto

1941
May 1941 - Battle Of Denmark Straight...............Hood & Prince Of Wales v Bismarck
May 1941 - Sinking The Bismarck.......................King George V & Rodney v Bismarck
(always surprised that the British didn't give this battle a name)

1942
Nov 1942 - Casablanca...................................Massachusetts v Jean Bart
Nov 1942 - 2nd Battle Of Guadalcanal.................Washington & South Dakota v Kirishima

1943
Dec 1943 - Battle Of Cape York.........................Duke of Yorck v Scharnhorst

1944
Oct 1944 - Battle Of Surigao Strait.....................West Virginia, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, California & Pennsylvania v Yamashiro

If anyone has details on the ranges involved in the above battles (start and finish), I would greatly appreciate it if they could be posted.

In terms of surface actions generally (against all sea-borne targets) I would think that Warspite and Scharnhorst would have been involved in the most actions. And Scharnhorst probably sank the most ships ie 1 x aircraft carrier, 2 x destroyers, 1 x Armed Merchant Cruiser and 10 merchant ships.

And it just so happens that Warspite and Scharnhorst are my two favourite vessels. :)

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genstab
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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby genstab » 07 Jul 2017 00:14

Well, in several of these matchups a battleship is pitted against a battlecruiser with lesser armor, making the contest uneven- to wit HMS Hood, Renown and the German Scharnhorst were battlecruisers.

In the battle between HIJMS Kirishima and the two American battleships, really it was one on one as previous to the main event, Japanese destroyers had put some 5 inch shells into USS South Dakota's upper structure, which severed her whole electrical system- radar, fire control, power to turn her main turrets and run the ammunition hoists and radios. She was just a helpless drifting behemoth while Washington made scrap metal out of Kirishima.

In the battle of Surigao Strait, there was a second battleship with HIJMS Yamashiro- her sister Fuso- but the odds were six to two. Both were sunk.
The American task force crossed the Japanese T, which was first done in a modern sea battle by Admiral Togo against the Russian fleet in 1904 at Tsushima, and the results were just as good.

Best regards,
Bill in Cleveland

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby RandJS » 07 Jul 2017 01:21

During the Battle of North Cape, Scharnhorst was going up against Duke of York, Heavy Cruiser Nofolk, Light Cruisers Sheffield and Jamaica along with 8 destroyers: Scorpion, Savage, Saumarez, Stord, Matchless, Musketeer, Opportune and Virago. Scharnhorsts main radar was put out of action early and after the Duke of York and cruisers had put most of her guns out of actions, Admiral Fraser sicked the destroyers on her, torpedoing the hull until the Germans scuttled her.

Duke of York opened fire at 12,000 yds, putting Scharnhorst A turret out of action. Jamaica opened fire at 13,000 yds. Scharnhorst opened the range to 18,000 yds. Duke of York received minimal damage, but as far as I remember Norfolk took some major damage and did not leave Russian waters again till the end of the war.

Regards,
Rand

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby genstab » 17 Jul 2017 12:26

It just would have made better sense for Hitler to okay a large expansion of the U-boat fleet when the war started instead of building any more capital ships. If Germany had 200 U-boats when the war started instead of 57 (and many too small to fight in the Atlantic with its lack of crew space and storage space for torpedoes, food and diesel fuel considering the distance back to Germany) it would have been far different.

Another alternative would have been to build a few aircraft carriers instead of Bismarck and Tirpitz- or turn them into carriers before they were finished in 1940. The US had two large carriers that started out as battlecruisers- Lexington and Saratoga- and large carriers carrying 100 planes and being able to do 33 knots would also have been a game changer against the British navy. They could have made Operation Sea Lion possible. But Goering scotched even equipping the Graf Zepplin by saying everything that flies belonged to his Luftwaffe. It's lucky for the free world that Hitler knew nothing of sea warfare and didn't trust what Admiral Raeder was trying to tell him. No wonder Raeder said when Britain and France declared war on Germany that with what his navy had, all they could do was die gallantly.

Best,
Bill in Cleveland

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby hucks216 » 17 Jul 2017 12:51

genstab wrote:...
Another alternative would have been to build a few aircraft carriers instead of Bismarck and Tirpitz- or turn them into carriers before they were finished in 1940. The US had two large carriers that started out as battlecruisers- Lexington and Saratoga- and large carriers carrying 100 planes and being able to do 33 knots would also have been a game changer against the British navy. They could have made Operation Sea Lion possible. But Goering scotched even equipping the Graf Zepplin by saying everything that flies belonged to his Luftwaffe. It's lucky for the free world that Hitler knew nothing of sea warfare and didn't trust what Admiral Raeder was trying to tell him. No wonder Raeder said when Britain and France declared war on Germany that with what his navy had, all they could do was die gallantly.

Best,
Bill in Cleveland


But aircraft carriers require escorts which the KM was lacking and for long range deployments they require a logistic fleet, not just for the requirements of the carriers and their aircraft but also for the escorts. I dare say that even if Germany did have an operational carrier then it would of been the primary target of the Royal Navy & RAF and wouldn't of lasted long once it put to sea.

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby T. A. Gardner » 22 Jul 2017 02:31


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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby Stephan » 26 Aug 2017 19:25

Pips wrote:. And Scharnhorst probably sank the most ships ie 1 x aircraft carrier, 2 x destroyers, 1 x Armed Merchant Cruiser and 10 merchant ships.

And it just so happens that Warspite and Scharnhorst are my two favourite vessels. :)


Scharnhorst sank also a norwegian icebreaker and polar support and rescue ship - if it was a cruiser used as such, or they did armed up a civilian big ice breaker, I dont know. I think she was an older cruiser for real.
Dont remember the name, possiblly named after Fritjof Nansen. Anyways, she did gave battle when it become necessary.

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby Nautilus » 26 Aug 2017 21:43

genstab wrote:Well, in several of these matchups a battleship is pitted against a battlecruiser with lesser armor, making the contest uneven- to wit HMS Hood, Renown and the German Scharnhorst were battlecruisers.

In the battle between HIJMS Kirishima and the two American battleships, really it was one on one as previous to the main event, Japanese destroyers had put some 5 inch shells into USS South Dakota's upper structure, which severed her whole electrical system- radar, fire control, power to turn her main turrets and run the ammunition hoists and radios. She was just a helpless drifting behemoth while Washington made scrap metal out of Kirishima.


The hoary old chestnut of the battleshi... cruiser Hood mismatched against Bismarck debunked by the next paragraph, of the mighty USN battleship, modern and state of the art, disabled by some puny destroyers :)

Actually Hood was close to Bismarck in terms of armour and armour distribution, as seen here. The one who was mismatched in action, but in the good sense, was Prince of Wales: the typical Treaty-constrained architecture, thick armour on a short hull, made her sturdy enough to hold her own against bigger gunned enemies much better than expected.

Hood died for the same reason South Dakota remained dead in the water, half the planet away. There is more to a ship to ship confrontation than just numbers and figures, plates vs shells. By 1941, the Mighty Hood was no longer the same as she had been in 1921, which had not been so brilliant as the propaganda said anyway. Hull integrity had been poor from the start, as former sailors have said in ther memories. Machinery which could hold 32 kts for a full day was in a state of disrepair and she barely made 29 kts in 1941. The Depression hit hard when it comes to the maintenance of such complex vessels. As the brawlers' proverb says, if she can't run, wiggle, hold herself fireproof, she can't win. A freak shell hitting where it shouldn't is enough to ignite a disaster.

PS Sending Hood to battle despite her flaws being well known was an act of desperation. A gamble on the last card, explainable by the miserable war situation the British Isles and their supply by sea were in early 1941. In less dangerous moments of the war, Admirals were visibly more prudent.

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby Thoddy » 28 Aug 2017 10:09

Actually Hood was close to Bismarck in terms of armour and armour distribution, as seen here.


Quite definitive no,
Only in a very narrow and superficial view Bismarck and Hood appear close in terms of armour protection.

Hoods horizontal protection consists of a array of several thin(and laminated) and therfore ballistically less effective plates of partly non armor quality.
In Bismarcks case the horizontal protection can be described as so called Spaced Array. In this case effective thickness was greater than sum of plates in series by at least 15%. This protection gain is at the lower limit of what a proper designed space array may achieve (Reference sample: Hurlich, A., 1950, Spaced Armor, Watertown Arsenal Lab.).

Hoods side protection was also inferior.
Hood also had a turtle back, but this is only effective against splinters. It was developed from a WW1 view of armour protection when most projectiles could be defeated by a single -thick enough- armour plate. The second layer was neither thick enough nor flat enough to defeat or deflect incoming ww2 ordnance at least at the expected main combat distances to prevent potentially catastrophic incidents to vital areas of the ship.

There was considerable progress between the wars regarding performance of armour piercing projectiles.
The modern projectiles had far better outer ballistics, they were from better overall quality and had better armour piercing performance even at acute impact angles.

If a WW2 projectile penetrates the FH side armor in condition fit to burst, Hoods "turtleback" SEEMS almost completely USELESS.

There is more to a ship to ship confrontation than just numbers and figures, plates vs shells.

agree

Ships are complex machines, even a well designed "better design" (whatever that means) may be defeated by any potentially inferior enemy by chance. Additional there are several samples of human failure or at least misjudgement or combinations of...
"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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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby T. A. Gardner » 29 Aug 2017 06:32

genstab wrote:In the battle between HIJMS Kirishima and the two American battleships, really it was one on one as previous to the main event, Japanese destroyers had put some 5 inch shells into USS South Dakota's upper structure, which severed her whole electrical system- radar, fire control, power to turn her main turrets and run the ammunition hoists and radios. She was just a helpless drifting behemoth while Washington made scrap metal out of Kirishima. Best regards,

Bill in Cleveland


This is completely wrong. What happened on S. Dakota I've seen myself on ships serving in the Navy. There was a ground fault in one of the secondary directors so the ship's electricians cut the circuit out to eliminate the ground. They forgot to get the alternate power source, so the director operator(s) simply shifted power to the alternate. The fire control ratings knew / know squat about ship's power and things like the danger of a ground, they were simply trying to keep their gear operating.
That caused a main breaker on the alternate panel to trip losing power to a butt load of other systems on the superstructure. Confusion ensued while the electricians tried to sort it out and restore power. In the intervening time, the Japanese lit the S. Dakota up and started shelling her.

The fault had nothing... let me stress that... nothing... to do with Japanese fire and everything to do with clueless topsiders trying to do their job and screwing up what engineering was doing. Been there seen that. Engineering wins in the end, but it's a cluster f.... in the present.

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby sitalkes » 30 Aug 2017 00:50

genstab wrote:the German Scharnhorst were battlecruisers.

Scharnhorst had Battleship armour that was better than that on many contemporary British battleships and would have been classed as a battleship if the 15" guns had been fitted. In the Battle of North Cape, which was fought in the dark, the Scharnhorst didn't turn on it's radar for fear of detection and thus failed to detect the British ships until fired upon. This was in contrast to the first years of the war, when the Scharnhorst had better radar than the British ships trying to find it (many of which didn't have any radar) , and was able to use the radar to help it evade detection.

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby Polar bear » 31 Aug 2017 16:06

hi,

sitalkes wrote:In the Battle of North Cape, which was fought in the dark, the Scharnhorst didn't turn on it's radar for fear of detection and thus failed to detect the British ships until fired upon.

I disagree.
AFAIK the SCHARNHORST's forward radar had been destroyed with a 8"-hit by NORFOLK in the first engagement with Burnett's Force 1 before noon.
Thus, she wasn't able to detect the approaching Force 2 (Fraser) with DoY.

greetings, the pb
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than War
(John Milton, the poet, in a letter to the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652)

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby T. A. Gardner » 01 Sep 2017 03:20

sitalkes wrote:
genstab wrote:the German Scharnhorst were battlecruisers.

Scharnhorst had Battleship armour that was better than that on many contemporary British battleships and would have been classed as a battleship if the 15" guns had been fitted. In the Battle of North Cape, which was fought in the dark, the Scharnhorst didn't turn on it's radar for fear of detection and thus failed to detect the British ships until fired upon. This was in contrast to the first years of the war, when the Scharnhorst had better radar than the British ships trying to find it (many of which didn't have any radar) , and was able to use the radar to help it evade detection.


Actually, the forward Seetakt set was damaged and OOC, so the only surface search set was on the aft director and had a limited search arc. That's why, in part, she failed to detect the British, particularly DoY and her battlegroup. There was also the inefficiency of a fixed antenna requiring the director to be rotated to search different arcs.

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Re: Battleship V Battleship

Postby Nautilus » 01 Sep 2017 20:39

Shipborne radars could fail for 2 reasons: 1 - the fragility of the radar device itself or 2 - the improper use of the device. Usually it was #2.

German naval tactics had been conceived around 3 factors: 1 - the possibility to face 2 or more opponents at once, therefore the need to resist better and hit harder, 2 - the need for gun ranging accuracy to accomplish objective #1 and 3 - the state of technology during their shipbuilding campaign, 1935-1938.

Radar sets as designed in the late 1930s were not as effective as imagined. They could detect large vessels at relatively short ranges, they could be evaded by maneuvering and they actually were, as during the pursuit of Bismarck on 25th May 1941, and they could barely equal the optics in actual gun-laying accuracy.

This drew the nasty effect of Admirals placing secondary importance on the radar itself and rely on optics for battle. On Bismarck, the radar stations lacked a plotting grid altogether, gunners had to use the bearing given by radar and correct it via optics to calculate a proper firing solution.

Which is fine when the conditions are what they planned for, when the enemy chooses a gunnery duel on the open seas. Pretty nasty when optics give a reading as poor as the radars, as in bad, foggy weather. In a snowstorm in the Arctic Ocean during winter, the shit hits the fan.

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Battleship -VS- Battleship

Postby nebelwerferXXX » 14 Oct 2017 04:34

Pips wrote:
1940
April 1940 - Operation Wesserubung..................Scharnhorst & Gneisenau v Renown
July 1940 - Mers el Kebir................................Hood, Valiant & Resolution v Bretagne, Dunkerque, Strasbourg & Provence
July 1940 - Calabria......................................Warspite & Malaya v Giulio Cesare & Conte di Cavour
Sept 1940 - Dakar.........................................Resolution & Barnham v Richelieu
Nov 1940 - Cape Spartivento............................Ramilles & Renown v Vittorio Veneto

1941
May 1941 - Battle Of Denmark Straight...............Hood & Prince Of Wales v Bismarck
May 1941 - Sinking The Bismarck.......................King George V & Rodney v Bismarck
(always surprised that the British didn't give this battle a name)

1942
Nov 1942 - Casablanca...................................Massachusetts v Jean Bart
Nov 1942 - 2nd Battle Of Guadalcanal.................Washington & South Dakota v Kirishima

1943
Dec 1943 - Battle Of Cape York.........................Duke of York v Scharnhorst

1944
Oct 1944 - Battle Of Surigao Strait.....................West Virginia, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, California & Pennsylvania v Yamashiro

Scharnhorst probably sank the most ships ie 1 x aircraft carrier, 2 x destroyers, 1 x Armed Merchant Cruiser and 10 merchant ships.

Very good info. Thanks !


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