Best Battleship

Discussions on the equipment used by the Axis forces, apart from the things covered in the other sections. Hosted by Juha Tompuri
Karl da Kraut
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Post by Karl da Kraut » 19 Sep 2002 16:29

The "Bismarck" was almost simultaneously torpedoed and scuttled. It's rather hard to say if she had survived the torpedo hits or how fast she had went down without scuttling (flooding).

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Takao
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Post by Takao » 19 Sep 2002 16:52

The point I was trying to make is that many battleships could survive the Bismarck's pounding(provided their armor was thick enough). What sinks ships, outside of a magazine explosion, is flooding.

Ovidius
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Post by Ovidius » 19 Sep 2002 19:17

Takao wrote:What sinks ships, outside of a magazine explosion, is flooding.


Reason for which internal subdivision is vital - fact admitted by German shipbuilders from WWI onwards.

~Ovidius

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Erik E
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Post by Erik E » 19 Sep 2002 19:30

Tirpitz survived a "tallboy" bomb. Very impressive! This ship was also sunk by aircrafts only. Several attacks by the "Dambusters" finally made her capsize, drowning over 1000 men.

I often wonder why the entire crew of Tirpitz were onboard, even is the ship was on repair in Tromsø..... Why were none of them put ashore??

EE

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Post by Ovidius » 19 Sep 2002 19:35

Erik E wrote:I often wonder why the entire crew of Tirpitz were onboard, even is the ship was on repair in Tromsø..... Why were none of them put ashore??


Maube to give the Allied espionage the illusion the ship had been just lightly hit and would be soon seaworthy again?

~Ovidius

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Aufklarung
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Post by Aufklarung » 20 Sep 2002 01:24

Ovidius wrote: A (silly) question:
Why exactly didn't the commander of the American fleet engage the Yamato(escorted just by a light cruiser and a few destroyers) in the classic manner, ship against ship, with his entire fleet, and asked Admiral Mark Mitscher to send the bombers instead?

~Ovidius


Not so silly but all visions of naval glory aside, Mitscher probably did not engage in a classic surface action for the same reasons the Allies dropped an A-bomb instead of invading Japan. The potential for unnecessary casualties to achieve an aim (sink Yamato).

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A :D

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Post by Logan Hartke » 20 Sep 2002 06:40

Takao wrote:The point I was trying to make is that many battleships could survive the Bismarck's pounding(provided their armor was thick enough). What sinks ships, outside of a magazine explosion, is flooding.

Yeah, look at this as well... (it comes from the sites FAQ section)
"Are you really being objective...?"

This is a numerical comparison, and numerical comparisons are never all-inclusive or completely accurate. After all, this is a Web page, not a reference book, so I obviously cannot capture every scrap of knowledge pertaining to these vessels, nor should I try. My goal for this page is to present a reasonably comprehensive, yet readable comparison of these vessels. To do that, I have attempted to capture the really important points regarding these ships and then distill them into a set of ratings. The key word here is 'distill.' Warships cannot really be quantified completely or accurately. That's just the nature of the beast. Any attempt to do so is certain to introduce a certain degree of error. As much as possible, I have attempted to remain objective in the construction of this comparision. I have also attempted to base my ratings on objective, quantifiable facts. However, in many cases those 'basic' ratings have been modified in some way by me to reflect other factors which are important enough to include in the comparison, but which are fundamentally unquantifiable.

An example of this might have to do with Bismarck's protective scheme. It is a well-known fact that some of Bismarck's major communications lines and hydraulic feeds, which were only lightly protected, lay above the level of the main armored deck. This was a very serious design flaw, and one which demonstrably contributed to her being defeated by her British opponents perhaps more quickly than she might have otherwise. The question becomes, how does one reflect that in her protection rating (which in my comparison is fundamentally based on her invulnerability rating against a 15" inch gun)? It's a tough question to answer, and whatever answer is chosen is probably wrong, i.e., there is no 'right' answer.

What I have done in each of these cases (and there are many of them) is to make an educated guess as to the nature and severity of the factor, and then adjusted the rating accordingly. Two points here that need to be made. One: I think my guesses can be said to be educated. I've done a lot of reading on this topic since I first put these pages up, and my bibliography is there for your perusal. I am not just pulling this stuff out of the air. Furthermore, my ratings, and the approach I have taken in constructing them, have been reviewed and amended by other individuals who I consider more knowledgeable than myself. Two: in most cases these subjective adjustments have been fairly minor in size compared to the base rating. In other words, I don't think I'm totally off base with the adjustments I've made, or the final ratings I've come up with.

The other issue has to do with omission. Have I perhaps overlooked or dismissed factors which might actually be pertinent and important to the analysis? Answer: it could be. By the nature of the question, it would be difficult for me to know the answer. To the best of my ability, I have attempted to include those factors which would have had a direct impact on the vessel's combat worth.

I dutifully note, however, that I have already received e-mail to the effect that (for example) South Dakota's faulty circuit breaker should have been included as a factor for consideration, etc. In most of these cases I have simply judged that either the information was not pertinent to all the ships of the class when they were in normal 'working order', or it was simply not relevant in the larger scheme of things. Again, the goal for my page is for it to be factual and reasonably comprehensive, while remaining readable and easily comprehensible to an individual with non-specialized knowledge in the subject area.

Also, I just want to state for the record that I am not an overtly nationalistic individual. If the American battleships do very well in this comparison, it's not because I have Old Glory tattooed on my forehead. There are objective, quantifiable reasons for U.S. battleships being as good as they were; not the least important being that the United States had the economic wherewithal to spend vast sums of money on making their warships of the highest possible quality. Pound for pound, the Iowa-class battleships were the most expensive ever built, and it shows.


Logan Hartke

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Takao
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Post by Takao » 20 Sep 2002 16:11

I feel the author made an honest attempt at analysing the different battleships. Trying to compare all of the different battleships can be very difficult. Even interpreting different battles can be. Everyone has different opinions on each and everyone can either provide different statistics or manipulate the statistics to match their opinion. Overall, I think the site is very good, and the only complaint I have is that I feel the Bismarck's Armor rating should have been higher. From what I have read, her armored citadel was not penetrated by any of the British shells.

Because so few battleships actually engaged in combat against one another it is hard to judge which one is better. Actions similar to the sinking of the Bismarck are few and far between. The only ones that I can think of were in the Pacific; the loss of the Hiei & Kirishima around Guadalcanal, and the loss of the Fuso & Yamashiro at the Battle of Surigao Strait(I hope my spelling is correct). As far as I have found, the are no published reports or detailed records(availible to the general public) on the damage each of those ships recieved. For the Americans, outside of Pearl Harbor, the USS South Dakota took the most punishment(most of the shells that hit her were 6in. & 8in.)

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Post by Mark V » 20 Sep 2002 16:59

Ovidius wrote:There is a video clip of Scharnhorst at high speed in rough seas - a must see!
~Ovidius


Wow!

Thanks. These are rare treats...

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 20 Sep 2002 17:25

We can constantly discuss the merits of each individual ship or type, when they were built, under what auspices they were built and for what role but the most important factor is the crew. Witout a well trained and motivated crew your just thousands of tons of steel etc floating on the sea, or more likely on the sea bed.

:D Andy from the Shire

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Sam H.
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Post by Sam H. » 21 Sep 2002 00:27

Great point. A good crew is an advantage that is hard to qualify.

How would you rate the Italian battleships? Some look quite impressive on paper but not one of them ever performed well in combat.

Karl da Kraut
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Post by Karl da Kraut » 21 Sep 2002 19:34

A comparison of British, German, Italian and Franch Battelships. All of them went into service in 1940:

Displacement (in t):
King George V.: 40.990; Bismarck: 41.700; Littorio: 41.167; Richelieu: 38.500

Main Armament: KGV: 10x14” L/50; Bismarck: 8x14.9” L/47; Littorio: 9x15” L/50; Richelieu: 8x15” L/45 (in two quadruple turrets on the foredeck)

Range (in hm) /Rate of fire (per minute)
KGV: 371/2; Bismarck: 362/3; Littorio: 428/1.5; Richelieu: 436/2

Medium artillery: KGV: 16x5.25” L/50 (DP); Bismarck: 12x4.9” L/55; Littorio: 12x6” L/50; Richelieu: 9x6” L/55

Heavy a/a:
KGV: 16x5.25” L/50 (DP); Bismarck: 16x4.1“; Littorio: 12x3.55” L/50; Richelieu: 12x4” L/45

Light a/a:
KGV: 48x40mm; Bismarck: 16x37mm, 48x20mm; Littorio: 20x20mm; Richelieu: 16x37mm

HP/Top Speed (in kn):
KGV: 125.000/29.2; Bismarck: 138.000/30.1; Littorio: 140.000/31.3; Richelieu: 155.000/32

Max. Armor:
KGV: 16”; Bismarck: 14.2“; Littorio: 13.8“; Richelieu: 17”


The Littorio (renamed Italia in 1943) also had an innovative underwater-protection (“Pugliese-system”) which, however, proved to be not too efficient. The comparatively weak a/a-armament was improved later on, but it still didn’t match British or German standards.

All in all the Littorio and her sisterships were powerful vessels nonetheless. It’ll remain a mystery why the Italian fleet performed so badly despite of excellent equipment.[/i]

Fredrik
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Post by Fredrik » 23 Sep 2002 11:42

How would you rate the Italian battleships? Some look quite impressive on paper but not one of them ever performed well in combat.


The Vittorio Veneto had a pretty favourable combat record.

http://www.angelfire.com/ia/totalwar/mm ... eneto.html

Regards,
Fredrik

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Sam H.
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Post by Sam H. » 23 Sep 2002 12:57

I would not call that favourable ... it did not do a damn thing but run every time it was engaged by a force comperable to its self.

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Takao
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Post by Takao » 23 Sep 2002 18:32

The Italian Littorios' were good battleships. Their main guns were excellent and their protection was above average. What was lacking on these ships, for that matter all Axis warships, was a good radar. In my opinion, this defect really hurt the combat effectivness of these warships.
Another problem with the Italian fleet, and later in the war Germany, was the lack of bold and decisive leadership.

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