Hehe, the most common joke here about Italians is : Why do italian tanks have such big rear mirrors? - So they can also see the battle
Battleships have all one weakness : their above the armour belt ( above deck ) structures can't resist 15 inch or more battleship grenades. And in those above deck structures the sighting, guiding and ranging systems are placed.
When those above deck structures are taken out the communication providing targeting info to the targetting processing chamber in the armour belt stops, they can't provide targeting data to the battleships primairy turrets wich become blind. They can't shoot on targets on their own.
Secondairy turrets often can fire at targets they can see with simple targetting equipment, but they are ususally placed on the above deck structures and can't handle 15 inch or more battleship grenades aswell, and are destroyed together with the rtest of the above deck structures.
In short : blow the structures above deck away from a battleship and it can't aim anymore. That happend to the Bismarck in her final fight too, alowing cruisers to come and unleash heavy torpedo's.
It was scuttled by her own crew though, to prevent the hull falling in enemy hands.
The only battleship that was theoraticly built to resist 15 inch battleship grenades to the above deck structures was the Yamato class, but the Yamato itself was sunk by aircraft bombs.
Special armour breaching aircraft bombs released at high altitude posses even more energy and penetration then battelship grenades........ending the great times of battleships.
Major HartmannWitch Hunter, you are missing some facts here. The Bismarck class was the most feared of its time. The armour was extremely well placed (except the rear). During it's last hours, the Bismarck got hundreds of hits of big battleship shells, and only around 4 or 5 penetrated the belt armour. The torpedoprotection was so effective that the torps that hit her (except the one in the rudder) only caused some minor flooding and loss of oil. The protection against bombs was also outstanding, as the continious airattacks on the Tirpitz (sistership of the Bismarck) show. One day she took 12 direct hits of bombs between 250 and 500kg and was still operational. She finally sunk after taking multiple hits and close by hits by 5.4t!! heavy blockbusters... Prior to that she also survieved an attack with multiple mines planted right below the body in the shallow water...
Where do you find another ship that would have taken that much of abuse without sinking? The Prince of Wales and Repulse both sunk during an airattack by the japanese (only using normal bombs) I'm not going to mention those ships in Pearl harbour here...
At least the british navy officer in WW2 though very highly of the Bismarck class, they feared the Tirpitz like the devil. Once they abandoned a whole convoy on route to russia because they heard the Tirpitz was on route.... They never tried to encounter her 1 on 1, but always at least 4 on 1, and even then they tried to prevent contact. The total ships involved in taking down the Bismarck were: 2 carriers 8!! battleships 4 heavy cruisers 10 light cruisers 8 submarines around 30 destroyers Now, it can't be that bad a ship that caused that much trouble.
Technically the Tirptiz was 'sunk' twice in the fjord by aerial attacks. However due to the shallow water she simply rested down on part of her keel and then was repaired and 'refloated'. This isn't an uncommon theme in WW2.
Several of the White Fleet BBs where refloated from the attack at Pearl Harbor (BB 37 Oklahoma, BB 44 California, BB 48 West Virgina (6 torpedo hits, rested on even keel)). The Russian BB Marat settled down on her keel after attacks by Ju87 but her guns continued to serve in the defense of the city.
The IJN Yamato was struck by 12 aerial torpedos and 10 bombs before her fate was sealed by a magazine explosion killing 3/4ths of her crew.
The IJN Musashi:
While the force was making it's way through the Sibuyan Sea on the morning of October 24, it was attacked by a large force of U.S carrier aircraft. Though the ships put up a heavy barrage of AA fire, the Musashi was singled out for most of the attack. By the early afternoon after the second wave of planes had left, her forepart was flooded up to the third deck and she was taking on a list to port. Her speed had to be reduced to 22 knots. She had been hit in the first two waves by at least 7 bombs, 9 torpedoes and 15 or more near misses. That she could stay at 22 knots was simply amazing. It was only after the third wave of attacking planes, in which an additional 10 bomb hits were scored and 11 torpedo hits, that the Musashi started to lose maneuverability due to her worsened bow trim. Her bow was so deeply awash that her speed had to be reduced to 6 knots. Yet she still recovered her list by 4 degrees. Towards the evening , about four and a half hours after the third attack ended, the situation suddenly became worse. Her list to port increased and she went down at 1835 hours with the loss of 1,039 officers and men out of a crew of 2,400.
In best naval warfare has always centered more on the circumstances of the engagement, the training of the crew, and the individual bravery and will they held. And pure blind luck. Any superiority of the design and construction of the vessel is brought to bare thru these.
The Third Battle of Savo illustrates this point.
The USS Washington and USS South Dakota engaged a task force centered around the IJN Kirishima. The South Dakota had the bad luck of being plagued by electrical problems that rendered her guns unable to return fire without the radar's assistance as well as being illuminated by the Japanese ships and had her topside turned to swiss cheese by 5'' fire.
The Washington's crew relying on their will to see them thru the dreaded night fighting with the Japanese turned to their training and thru effective use of radar gun solutions sank the Kirishima and a cruiser which I never remember the name of and did not suffer a single hit in that engagement.
BB 57 Washington was the only American Fast Battleship to sink one of her kind, a capital ship, in battle.
The Bismark and crew had fortune shining when that fatal hit was scored on the Hood. The outcome would have probably come at a far greater price otherwise.
CraggerIn best naval warfare has always centered more on the circumstances of the engagement, the training of the crew, and the individual bravery and will they held. And pure blind luck. Any superiority of the design and construction of the vessel is brought to bare thru these.
I think thats evident at the battle of Taranto where 21 Royal Navy Airarm Swordfish planes sank several ships including 3 Italian Battleships while at dock. Due to bad reconnasance, Information and planning the Italian Navy was pretty much wiped out by 21 old, cheap and simple planes.
Dread thinks I'm a special person
19th May 2003
finally some intelligent discussions.
about battlecruiser: A funny thing is that the term was created in 1913(not sure if the germans used the german equialent earlier though), when they didn't really build them anymore(I only consider the "I"s and possible the "R"s as true BCs) . until then they were known as "dreadnought armoured cruisers", to distinguish it from pre-dreadnought armoured cruisers...by concept BCs were just armoured cruisers built on the "all big gun" theory, Fisher just added 12inch instead of 9.2 inch guns(the original plans had 9.2s) to beat the germans(Blucher having 8.2s), and because he was posessed by maximum speed and firepower. Invincible was just a slightly enlarged Minotaur class armoured cruisers with a unified 12 inch main armament, instead of a mix of 9.2 and 7.5s. it was probably more for convinience than political reasons, "dreadnought armoured cruiser" is quite a mouthful, and people like it simple :D
MaurizioDS I’m not sure what “…weak armour…” you’re referring to, since the Iowa class ships are superbly armored; 19.7” on turret faces, 17.3” on barbettes, and 13” belt armor. Only the Yamato has thicker turret and barbette armor, and no British ship of WWII vintage comes close. Again, I’m not sure why you consider those numbers weak, but I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on the matter. [/QUOTE]
as a rule of thumb you can say that barbettes, turrets and belt(over the magazines) should have equal strength. This is because they really protect the same thing(the magazine or the armament, I stack them together because one is useless without the other). If anything, the belt should be stronger because a penetration there can result in the loss of the ship(as it reach the magazine), while a penetration of the others merely remove some of the fighting power...Ideally atleast that is, because the protection against flash travelling down into the magazines may be lacking(typical british pre-Jutland mistake). Of course, comparing pure thickness doesn't say much because you have to take into account the angle. On KGV its simple, they're all flat and about 14 inches at max. The turret face of US battleships is less impressive than it looks, because it is angled in such a way that gives you a better chance of hitting it straight at longer ranges where the you get plunging fire, a flat one is better in this respect. That angle they have there would help at shorter ranges where the shell travels "flat", but if you're at that range you're not taking advantage of your armament. On the other hand those US turrets looks sexier :D Then we also have distribution. You can have a 20 inch belt, it will be quite useless if it was to narrow to really protect anything. That was a exteme example of course. Armour on battleships is probably the most difficult thing to compare, since there are to many variables involved.
Iowa had 12.2 inches maximum belt thickness the last time I checked, that's the same as South Dakota which is nearly 10000 tonnes less(all depending of who's figure you're using). Maybe the 13 figure is what it equals in a flat plate(?although I have never seen anyone rate armour that way), Iowa has an "internal" and angled belt(18 degrees if my memory serves me right). The armoured schemes of these ships are quite similar. They sort of took the SD and enlarged it enough to accomondate enough horsepower to achieve those speeds(there are some differences in thickness on some spots though, since they didn't have to be to careful with weight here). Of course the longer hull helps in hydrodynamics too...but that's way off-topic Granted, Iowa had a extra armoured bulkhead below that extended down into the bottom removing a problem with the SD: above a certain distance there was the possibility of a shell travelling in under the belt going into the magazine without passing through anything but the hull and some unarmoured bulheads. The french Richelieu at about 40000 had nearly 16 inches belt armour. Sharnhorst around 12.5 maximum at 32000+. Iowa at around 48000 was simply "weak" for its size in my opinion, remember that the Yamato is also the only ship that is bigger than Iowa.
This I completely disagree with, for many quantitative reasons.
On the issue of Bismarck’s design:
Yes, it was a Baden derivative, but this was not a significant disadvantage viz the Bismarck’s strengths. While much is said about armor, few take into consideration that there was a palpable difference in the armor used in WWI, British armor, and the armor that was used in the Bismarck. The British used Vicker’s face-hardened (a.k.a. “VH”)on all of their ships, while the Germans employed Krups’ Wotan on the Bismarck and Tirpitz. At first glance, VH seems superior, as it registers a higher hardness than Wotan, but in combat, Wotan had a significant advantage. While not as hard as VH, Wotan was much tougher, which meant that it deformed slightly under impact, but did not ultimately yield to the projectile. Therefore, while one might scoff at the fact that the Bismarck had “only” 12 inches of belt armor, let us remember that direct midships hits by British aerial torpedoes did nothing more to her than scratch her paint. By contrast, when the PoW was hit by Japanese aerial torpedoes in the Pacific Theatre, (albeit more powerful than the British torps) she sunk. As far as size is concerned, she was only 15% larger than the KGV class ships, and I truly believe that such a disparity is not decisive. Finally, exhaustive stability studies conducted by the Germans led to her final design, which included the greatest beam of any European warship, the lowest metacentric height, and the virtual elimination of aperiodic pitching or rolling. One of the unforeseen, collateral results of implementing those stability designs was a ship that absorbed damage very well, as was shown on the morning of 27 May, 1941
I'm aware that german metallurgy has "always" been better than anything else, but that it should give a really significant advantage in this case is new to me(I was thinking more in the region of a few percent). Do you have any sources where they're compared?
Prince of Wales recieved a very nasty hit the day she was sunk. It simply bent the whole propellershaft that resulted in the prop tearing a huge hole in her hull. The underwater protection scheme was much weaker in british ships than germans and they're less stable, that is a known fact. But this sort of damage is quite severe in any case. Many have pointed to the electrical system rather than the protection itself as the main source for the loss, it simply couldn't provide the pumps with enough power, and this only became worse when the power began to fail. Good underwater protection schemes means little if your damage-control doesn't work, and without pumps you're in deep shit. The electrical power system was to weak on the KGVs. Something that is reflected in Vanguard. That is build on the KGV as a basis, about 10-15% heavier and it generates nearly 3 times the electrical power.
It can be compared with the hit North Carolina got from a sub back in 42, that hit the structual stiff point between the main belt and the bulkhead that enclosed the armoured citadel. It created a "whip"(for the lack of better words) through the entire structure that resulted in serious flooding and cracked wielding-seams even up in the conning tower. And this was not a "long lance" either, only a 21 inch with about half the amount of explosives. It may tell something about the general structural strength on this particular ship(they kinda saved weight here), but more about how damaging a hit in the wrong spot can be.
One thing though. I can't see how the belt of the Bismarck(or any other battleship for that matter) really have much to do with torpedoes. I was under the impression that the belt of Bismarck didn't extend very much below water. And a torpedo will hit below the belt anyway(it would never reach it if the belt is internal either). Against torps you have longtudial(spelling error!) bulkheads(can be armoured, but it's not belt), double/triple hull, "blisters"(can't remember the official term) and other such things. These doesn't stop a torpedo from making a hole. They merely contain the damage(in this case flooding).
Bismarcks ability to remain afloat and it's quality as a gunplatform I have never contested, those things was quite standard in german capital ships. They built them before WWI as "unsinkable gun-platforms", and its no wonder they continued that since they had no reason to doubt their earlier designs....unlike a certain other nation
about the Rodney. I knew the armament was quite unreliable an all that, but I was under the impession that they had fixed that by 1941(or maybe they were going to do it? the ship was after all enroute to NA for a refit at that time). They had nearly 20 years to sort it out...maybe it's "english effectiveness"? :D
Bismarcks shooting in the last battle was not as bad as you make it out, it straddled Rodney with the second and third salvo if I remember correctly, then all went wrong.
You like the Veneto's? That was something new, they seem to get a lot of mud slung at them. Many claims that the "pugliese"-system was totally ineffective, do you have any info on the effectiveness on this system? Sort of like them myself, the Italians could make pretty warships atleast.... Well, the only thing wrong with them was that they were the property of the Italian navy....
shebangsthedrumsItalians? I concur. They often are the butt of many pointless valour related jokes, i.e. one forward gear for their tanks and five reverse etc etc but their achievements are considerable from the times of the Romans onwards.
Your specialist knowledge of the subject Maurizio shines thru in your posts, I've learnt much and here I was thinking I was a student of military history?
You do me much honor. Your praise carries that much more weight as it is given in the presence of other knowledgeable individuals ( I consider Witch Hunter General to be just as, if not more knowledgeable than myself), and a staff that has written a wonderful PC game. I sincerely thank you. :)
Tantissimi saluti anche a lei, egregia dottoressa.
VT CADIT ROMA ITA ORBIS TERRAE
You like the Veneto's? That was something new, they seem to get a lot of mud slung at them. Many claims that the "pugliese"-system was totally ineffective, do you have any info on the effectiveness on this system? Sort of like them myself, the Italians could make pretty warships atleast.... Well, the only thing wrong with them was that they were the property of the Italian navy....[/QUOTE]
Witch Hunter General,
Thanks for another excellent post. Yes, I do have quantitative info on the effectiveness of the Pugliese system, for both destructive testing, and empirical battle data. I will pull out my books, gather as much info as I can, and post later tonight or tomorrow. As you can probably imagine, it got mixed reviews..... More later.
VT ROMA CADIT ITA ORBIS TERRAE