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Old 25th December 2017, 12:35 PM   #1
Trebuchet
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All about Tonks! Err....Battleships!

Because I know much more about them than tanks, so I may even be able to participate. Any other naval history buffs here?

Here's a possibly controversial page to get you started.
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Old 25th December 2017, 01:23 PM   #2
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Not interested in bestest and baddest competitions like that.

They were all obsolete when they were built and all trying to fulfil different design philosophies and operational roles.

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Old 25th December 2017, 02:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Because I know much more about them than tanks, so I may even be able to participate. Any other naval history buffs here?

Here's a possibly controversial page to get you started.

Ugh,.... best battleship comparisons.
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Old 25th December 2017, 02:15 PM   #4
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Should also have added meet different treaty obligations.
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Old 25th December 2017, 02:16 PM   #5
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All the real fighting was done by the Carriers and all the hard work by Cruisers, Destroyers and escorts.
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Old 25th December 2017, 02:46 PM   #6
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Welp! I've clearly started this off on the wrong foot!

Yes, obsolete from the beginning of WWII, although that was far from widely understood. Yes, big, expensive, and not as useful as an escort carrier. But, dang, they're cool!
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Old 25th December 2017, 03:06 PM   #7
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Apparently, it took 5 biplanes to sink one Bismarck...
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Old 25th December 2017, 06:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Welp! I've clearly started this off on the wrong foot!

Yes, obsolete from the beginning of WWII, although that was far from widely understood. Yes, big, expensive, and not as useful as an escort carrier. But, dang, they're cool!
Battleships: Never has so much been spent to achieve so little.
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Old 25th December 2017, 07:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Welp! I've clearly started this off on the wrong foot!

Yes, obsolete from the beginning of WWII, although that was far from widely understood. Yes, big, expensive, and not as useful as an escort carrier. But, dang, they're cool!

Yep. They are definitely cool.

The USS North Carolina is tied up at Wilmington as a museum ship. I toured it three times (mebbe four ) while the young-uns were going to UNCW. Never failed to impress.

I have to confess that I had a tendency to get a little bit stuck checking out the big guns' fire control systems (at least the parts which were still there that I could actually see).

What they did with analog computing, big mechanical relays and solenoids, etc. was nothing short of brilliant.
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Old 25th December 2017, 08:17 PM   #10
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Obsolete? Not when you equip them with nuclear reactors and advanced propulsion and particle beam weapons.

That said, although the Texas is in a startlingly prosaic location - basically surrounded by refineries - it was indeed very cool to tread her decks.
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Old 25th December 2017, 08:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by sts60 View Post
Obsolete? Not when you equip them with nuclear reactors and advanced propulsion and particle beam weapons.

That said, although the Texas is in a startlingly prosaic location - basically surrounded by refineries - it was indeed very cool to tread her decks.
100 year old decks, at that.
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Old 25th December 2017, 11:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
Apparently, it took 5 biplanes to sink one Bismarck...
Those biplanes were obsolete. There were 14 of them and one hit was made. The ship was already damaged before the engagement and was sank by battleships afterwards.

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German...eship_Bismarck

I have often wondered what would have happened if the British had decent seaplanes and dive bombers? Plus a few extra aircraft carriers and a few fewer battleships. Would have made WW2 a completely different war. Like the Bismarck sank easily, then carriers going to Singapore and messing up the Japanese invasion of Malaysia.
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Old 26th December 2017, 12:10 AM   #13
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As I've been saying in another thread, the Bismarck had an AA gun depression problem. If anything flew at you pretty much at sea level, you couldn't aim the AA guns at it.

So I'm not sure that DIVE bombers would have helped. Dive bombers is exactly what it was designed to shoot at (although we'll never know exactly how well.) Those biplanes had a chance because they were torpedo bombers, not dive bombers. And torpedo bombers, well, it's exactly what nobody thought they had to depress their guns to shoot at.
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Old 26th December 2017, 02:56 AM   #14
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Dive bombers would have seen itoff no problem. Look what the Japanese did.

It's often claimed that the Swordfish were 'obsolete' mainly because they were biplanes. They weren't 'obsolete' they were still good torpedo bombers and they were very good anti submarine patrol aircraft especially when they were fitted with microwave radar later in the war.

Bismark and the other German surface ships were a sideshow. They achieved very little.

Even the claim that as a 'fleet in being' they tied down British capital ships and assetts is a red herring.
If there had been no Bismark etc what would the home fleet have been doing instead?
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Old 26th December 2017, 03:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
<snip>
If there had been no Bismark etc what would the home fleet have been doing instead?
Ok, let us assume that Hitler had decided not to build battleships. For starters that would mean that the UK could use its destroyers for escort duty. It could also send the battleships and aircraft carriers into the mediterranean sea to fight the Italians and maybe even go to the far east and fight the Japanese. But they would need aircraft carriers, equipped with decent fighters to be useful.
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Old 26th December 2017, 07:16 AM   #16
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Fight the Italians? If we could catch them.
German air power was the main enemy in the Med, not the Italian surface fleet.

As for freeing up Destroyers. No it wouldn't as the RN Battleships would still need to be screened against subs and surface torpedo attack from E-Boats and Destroyers.

Battleships made no real contribution to the war at sea.

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Old 26th December 2017, 10:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Those biplanes were obsolete. There were 14 of them and one hit was made. The ship was already damaged before the engagement and was sank by battleships afterwards.

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German...eship_Bismarck

I have often wondered what would have happened if the British had decent seaplanes and dive bombers? Plus a few extra aircraft carriers and a few fewer battleships. Would have made WW2 a completely different war. Like the Bismarck sank easily, then carriers going to Singapore and messing up the Japanese invasion of Malaysia.
The carrier air arm of the Royal Navy, and (for understandable reasons) the Far East Fleet was just put on the back burner. Had the UK wanted to, they could've pretty easily had a fleet of 4 Illustrious class carriers with a complement of Supermarine Seafires and Fairey Barracudas ready to defend Singapore.
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Old 26th December 2017, 10:24 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
All the real fighting was done by the Carriers and all the hard work by Cruisers, Destroyers and escorts.
Not all of it!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...en_battleships

And there should be one more: "Battle off Samar"... but Halsey acted stupidly.

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Old 26th December 2017, 11:00 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Not all of it!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...en_battleships

And there should be one more: "Battle off Samar"... but Halsey acted stupidly.
Three of the great "what-if's" of WWII.
What if Halsey had stayed put?
What if TF34 had been split off as planned?
What if Kurita had held his nerve?

Pretty much a certainty that more people would have died in any of those cases.
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Old 26th December 2017, 11:09 AM   #20
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Fun fact: The original treaty signing by the Japanese representatives giving unconditional surrender was originally supposed to take place on board the long-fighting USS New Jersey. But a certain Missouri politician was now in the Oval Office and people thought the more newly minted and twice-used USS Missouri
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Old 26th December 2017, 11:30 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Three of the great "what-if's" of WWII.
What if Halsey had stayed put?
What if TF34 had been split off as planned?
What if Kurita had held his nerve?

Pretty much a certainty that more people would have died in any of those cases.
I'm now quite annoyed that I didn't work "the world wonders" into that post!
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Old 26th December 2017, 12:02 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I'm now quite annoyed that I didn't work "the world wonders" into that post!
TURKEY TROTS TO WATER

Had TF 34 stayed put, yes probably more Japanese deaths. Judging by Admiral Oldendorf's battle to the south, probably far fewer American deaths.
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Old 26th December 2017, 12:09 PM   #23
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Oldendorf wasn't fighting Yamato and Nagato, of course. By the time he opened fire, Fuso was already destroyed and Yamashiro crippled...by destroyers! Presumably Lee would have arranged some destroyers at the San Bernadino Strait as well.
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Old 26th December 2017, 12:58 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Oldendorf wasn't fighting Yamato and Nagato, of course. By the time he opened fire, Fuso was already destroyed and Yamashiro crippled...by destroyers! Presumably Lee would have arranged some destroyers at the San Bernadino Strait as well.
I'm of the opinion, that with the US Navy's vastly superior fire control by late '44 it would've been a pretty lopsided fight. Of course, a lucky hit from an 18" shell and who knows.
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Old 26th December 2017, 01:21 PM   #25
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Yes, very true.
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Old 27th December 2017, 01:54 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Dive bombers would have seen itoff no problem. Look what the Japanese did.
Well... probably. Most interwar militaries overestimated simultaneously:

A) how their bombers are totally going to rule, and

B) how little AA they need to show enemy bombers who's the boss.

You'd think someone would figure out that the two can't be true at the same time, but there we go. Most ships at the time weren't NEARLY as well protected against bombers as they thought. In fact, most were woefully unprotected, and those who lived long enough had to have extra AA added.
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Old 27th December 2017, 02:45 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well... probably. Most interwar militaries overestimated simultaneously:

A) how their bombers are totally going to rule, and

B) how little AA they need to show enemy bombers who's the boss.

<snip>

And anyone who said different could end up like Billy Mitchell.
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Old 27th December 2017, 06:39 PM   #28
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High level bombing is not very effective against moving warships, the RN in the Med didn't start to suffer until the Dive Bombers arrived, same with the convoys etc in the Channel. It's easy to keep changing course and speed and the bombs miss when the aircraft is flying on a straight and level bomb run.
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Old 27th December 2017, 06:53 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well... probably. Most interwar militaries overestimated simultaneously:

A) how their bombers are totally going to rule, and

B) how little AA they need to show enemy bombers who's the boss.

You'd think someone would figure out that the two can't be true at the same time, but there we go. Most ships at the time weren't NEARLY as well protected against bombers as they thought. In fact, most were woefully unprotected, and those who lived long enough had to have extra AA added.
The problems/shortcomings of anti-aircraft gun technology - and more importantly of fire control technology - were in fact fairly well understood in the 1930's, even before dive bombing started to become a thing in the second half of the decade. What was severely lacking in most countries at the time was the resources to do much about it. Timing was also an important factor. The American's got a later start and tended to end up with better equipment. The British Royal Navy on the other hand had to go to war with an older generation of equipment.
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Old 27th December 2017, 07:35 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
High level bombing is not very effective against moving warships, the RN in the Med didn't start to suffer until the Dive Bombers arrived, same with the convoys etc in the Channel. It's easy to keep changing course and speed and the bombs miss when the aircraft is flying on a straight and level bomb run.
Correct. The USAAF didn't have much luck with B-17's in the Pacific in WWII either, despite having the best bomber and bombsight in the world at the time.
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Old 28th December 2017, 02:07 AM   #31
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I'm talking more about the number of AA guns, than the quality of equipment. While the latter is a given at any point in time, the former isn't really. And ships designed before the '40s just didn't have nearly enough AA to offer any significant protection. You'd think that especially if they are aware that their AA isn't going to hit much, they'd put more guns on them.

But I guess that also has to do with having the resources to do so.
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Old 28th December 2017, 03:02 AM   #32
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AA was adequate for conventional bombing, as already mentioned it was hard to hit a moving ship. Dive bombing on the other hand is hard to protect against.
Look at the weight of light AA added to US ships in the Pacific by the end of the war.
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Old 28th December 2017, 06:49 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm talking more about the number of AA guns, than the quality of equipment. While the latter is a given at any point in time, the former isn't really. And ships designed before the '40s just didn't have nearly enough AA to offer any significant protection. You'd think that especially if they are aware that their AA isn't going to hit much, they'd put more guns on them.

But I guess that also has to do with having the resources to do so.
Ships built before 1940 by and large were not designed to accomodate large numbers of anti-aircraft guns without substantial rebuilding and modernization. Many were treaty limited and had little potential for additions or growth.

Besides, you seem to be operating from a perception that the real world effect of air power and of extant air defenses was well known and understood pre-war, which it wasn't.
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Old 28th December 2017, 08:52 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
Ships built before 1940 by and large were not designed to accomodate large numbers of anti-aircraft guns without substantial rebuilding and modernization. Many were treaty limited and had little potential for additions or growth.

Besides, you seem to be operating from a perception that the real world effect of air power and of extant air defenses was well known and understood pre-war, which it wasn't.
The USN sure found plenty of deck space to bolt on 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikonons on all the old battleships rebuilt from Pearl Harbor.

But your second sentence I entirely agree with. Even Japanese doctrine was for the main battle to be fought with battleships. Air power was to scout and weaken the enemy fleet.

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Old 28th December 2017, 08:53 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Correct. The USAAF didn't have much luck with B-17's in the Pacific in WWII either, despite having the best bomber and bombsight in the world at the time.
And we seemed to have only budgeted for about 1 squadron of B-17's in the entire Pacific Theater before the war.
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Old 28th December 2017, 09:42 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
The USN sure found plenty of deck space to bolt on 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikonons on all the old battleships rebuilt from Pearl Harbor.
Yes they did, in many cases by practically stripping the ships down to the weather deck and rebuilding them. Also bulging them to deal with the additional topweight.

Quote:
But your second sentence I entirely agree with. Even Japanese doctrine was for the main battle to be fought with battleships. Air power was to scout and weaken the enemy fleet.
In the 1930's given economic conditions defense budgets were not overflowing. There was little development money for anti-aircraft weapons or effective fire control and at that point little real understanding of the potential threat. Exercise firings were not realistic and gave a false impression of the effectiveness of existing AA systems. Also of course, aircraft performance was advancing very rapidly at this time.
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Old 28th December 2017, 11:16 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
Ships built before 1940 by and large were not designed to accomodate large numbers of anti-aircraft guns without substantial rebuilding and modernization. Many were treaty limited and had little potential for additions or growth.

Besides, you seem to be operating from a perception that the real world effect of air power and of extant air defenses was well known and understood pre-war, which it wasn't.
Actually, if you look at my previous post, you'll notice that I was specifically saying that it wasn't. In fact, what I was saying is that the guys with the bombers overestimated how good their bombers are going to be, and the guys with the AA guns overestimated how good their AA is going to be, and apparently nobody stopped to think that both can't be right at the same time.
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Old 28th December 2017, 11:25 AM   #38
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Providing big stable AA platforms to protect carriers was one of two ways in which US battleships were very useful in WWII. The other was pre-invasion bombardment.

That said, USS Washington pretty much sealed the fate of the Japanese attempts to retake Guadalcanal by performing in her originally intended role.
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Old 28th December 2017, 11:30 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, if you look at my previous post, you'll notice that I was specifically saying that it wasn't. In fact, what I was saying is that the guys with the bombers overestimated how good their bombers are going to be, and the guys with the AA guns overestimated how good their AA is going to be, and apparently nobody stopped to think that both can't be right at the same time.
I would regard that as a gross oversimplification.
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Old 28th December 2017, 11:53 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm talking more about the number of AA guns, than the quality of equipment. While the latter is a given at any point in time, the former isn't really. And ships designed before the '40s just didn't have nearly enough AA to offer any significant protection. You'd think that especially if they are aware that their AA isn't going to hit much, they'd put more guns on them.

But I guess that also has to do with having the resources to do so.
I'm pretty sure it's just because they were all rilly rilly stupid.
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