The end of the battleship

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There may be some argument as to the AA component. The 5.25 was biased more than bit heavily towards surface fire. yes the AA suite was better than most of the old WW I battleships but it was not anywhere near as good as few other RN ships or the newer American ships. The set up in the Valiant might well have been much better.
Be fair I did say Quite a good AA component.
As for the 5.25 vs 4.5 or 5in guns debate, without proximity fuses I don't think it would have made much of a difference but I agree 20 x 4.5in would have been better.
In Dec 1941 which is when the POW was sunk the LAA component of the N Carolina was 16 x 1.1in (4 x 4) and 12 0.5in HMG (12 x 1). Compared to the 48 x 2pd (6 x 8), 1 x 40mm, approx 16 x20mm (16 x 1) on the POW, the N Carolina on completion, was poorly defended.

Whatever the differences had they survived the initial attack I still believe it would simply have delayed the inevitable.
 
We have concept. The submarine concept is valid even though it had the highest losses in both the German and American armed forces.

If you look at aircraft carrier losses in 1942 they is high but there was no one saying to scrap aircraft carrier.
 
We have concept. The submarine concept is valid even though it had the highest losses in both the German and American armed forces.

If you look at aircraft carrier losses in 1942 they is high but there was no one saying to scrap aircraft carrier.

Probably because both subs and aircraft carriers could dish it out over much longer ranges (each in their own way), and the latter were more mobile, as were their weapons.

BBs had to close to the enemy, unlike carriers, and lacked a sub's stealth. Bad combo, big target for the other two classes.
 
Dreadnought herself caught a U-boat on the surface and rammed her, slicing her atwain.

Which by Mitchell logic means first generation battleships are perfect sub killers.

And Glorious shows that battleships can attack carriers. Taffy 3 as well.

Kentucky, which was a partial Iowa, was considered as a missile platform although it got nowhere and Kentucky would be eventually scrapped.

So is the concept obsolete? Well how about sub hunting or escort or commerce raiding? Total nonsense for a battleship to do that. The fuel required is astronomical and so is the crew numbers.

Flak support? Well yeah but a cruiser can do just as well and radar picket is best suited to a destroyer.

Bombardment? You can use monitors or aircraft so again not strictly necessary. And new missiles like can outrange your big guns.

Line of battle? If your enemy doesn't have battleships then your need for battleships is also reduced.
 
Dreadnought herself caught a U-boat on the surface and rammed her, slicing her atwain.

Which by Mitchell logic means first generation battleships are perfect sub killers.

And Glorious shows that battleships can attack carriers. Taffy 3 as well.

1) Dreadnought sank one sub, the only sub in history sunk by a battleship. Not really a solid record to go by.

2) Both Glorious and Taffy 3 had leadership decisions resulting in BBs/BCs getting close to flattops, the former by ship's captain, the latter by a miscommunication between admirals. Not exactly exemplary of sound tactical judgements in either case. On the other hand, we've got a BB and BC sunk in open waters in 1941, because they lacked -- guess what? -- air cover. Then there's the Bismarck crippled by aerial torpedo to be finished off the next day. No fighter planes around then, either. The two largest BBs in history both done in by airpower in open seas, both lacking what? Sit at the front desk, it was fighter airplanes not available to defend them against airplanes.

Again, not a solid record of battlewagons against airplanes.

None of that addresses the numerous BBs/BCs sunk or damaged in harbor in 1941/42 by aircraft striking out of range of the ship's guns, or by Italian spec-ops, or German U-boats (two by my count). Oh, the North Carolina caught a sub's torpedo in 1942, as did the Yamato in 1943.

There's a reason why they were stricken from the lists: they provided little combat value, by 1944, for such enormous expenses, when much more capable ships were already being built.
 
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IIRC, the first torpedo to hit PoW ruptured a seal along one of the shafts while it was steaming at speed, allowing one torpedo to flood a significant length of the ship when coupled with a wobbly prop-shaft. Lucky hit combined with a design flaw?

What I've read says the first torpedo would have been fatal for this reason.
From a material point of view this is correct but I would suggest the biggest problems were an appalling command decision where too much credence was put in the belief that her AA guns would achieve more and equally bad Damage Control actions when the seal was hit.

It wasn't POW issue as such. A comment was made earlier comparing the POW to late war US Battleships. A late war POW Class battleship also had vastly improved AA defences and changes to the damage control.
 
In the mid- to late-1990s there was a very serious discussion in the USN as to the possibility of what might be considered a modern battleship (or at least battle cruiser). I do not remember all the details, but this is part of what it would have involved:

1. 40,000 tons minimum
2. armour and other passive protections capable of protecting against the heaviest reasonably expected above water attacks
3. best possible below water protection, which included decoys and #4 below
4. ASW capability equal to an aircraft carrier (ie ASW helo compliment and facilities)
5. multiple (8 or more) large caliber guns (8" or larger) capable of firing very long range (100 nm+) precision guided projectiles, as well as conventional rounds, for both land and ship attack (the Improved 8" LWGS was mentioned in particular)
6. the AA equivalent of an AEGIS cruiser, but with increased missile load
7. maximum close in weapon CIWS) systems, which at the time included Phalanx and the new RAM IR missile system
8. datalink system capable of networking with any operational military unit fitted with JTIDS or similar system (I think they mentioned more datalink systems)

In a high intensity war, it would have to have its own escort in most circumstances. It was felt that it would be vulnerable to enemy land-based air attacks, and submarines in particular, and so would have to operated at least in loose concert with 1 or more aircraft carriers, as would nearly all other USN surface combatants.

In low intensity conflicts, it was reasoned that it could operate with ASW and AA escorts, the number and type depending on the operations.

It was mooted as the heavy hitter compliment to the upcoming LCS(s), and may have worked in concert with them depending on the operations.
 
From a material point of view this is correct but I would suggest the biggest problems were an appalling command decision where too much credence was put in the belief that her AA guns would achieve more and equally bad Damage Control actions when the seal was hit.

It wasn't POW issue as such. A comment was made earlier comparing the POW to late war US Battleships. A late war POW Class battleship also had vastly improved AA defences and changes to the damage control.

I can't speak to the later-war AA defenses, and we agree, I think, that the command decision was the efficient cause of the disaster. The idea to sail without air cover, while at the same time not understanding enemy capabilities, proved deadly.

I was indeed addressing the material cause, as that was the question that The Basket The Basket put: was it a battleship thing or a KGV thing? That begs a material answer.
 
An interesting observation. Battleships attacked at anchor or lost at anchor is actually quite high!

Food for thought.

The loss of Bismarck is again different from the loss of PoW. Using a battleship as a commerce raider is a odd choice but she had no air cover and no proper escort. So she is vulnerable to every row boat and biplane in town. And logically she shouldn't have been there but the sisters had done well as commerce raiders so it's a kind of assumed so will Bismarck. This leviathan of the seas was lost by a damaged rudder. So like a tragic hero of antiquity, this impressive beast had an Achilles heel.

The loss of PoW was an astonishing use of air power. The IJN got their act together and a lesser half measure attack could have been survived. So perhaps we should say that the attack was the key of its success rather than the vulnerability of battleships. Even the most powerful of beasts cannot survive multiple opponents.

The elephant in the room is the Iowas that were operational until the 90s. So somebody somewhere disagrees with our well educated gentlemanly debate.
 
The ideal 1945 onwards battleship would be escort to a carrier so air cover would be no factor. Or always operate under the umbrella of air cover from the carrier. Ideally.

We did see in Vietnam and Korea and Gulf War battleships in range of the enemy coast and using her big guns against coastal targets. Which is fine if it's say 16 miles away. If it's 22 miles then your battleship for all it's prowess is no good so the purpose of the battleship is them big guns and if modern anti ship missiles are keeping it from the coast then it's not bombarding nothing. Or once the ground forces move inland then it can no longer offer fire support. Which time the battleship becomes a useless paperweight.
 
I can't speak to the later-war AA defenses, and we agree, I think, that the command decision was the efficient cause of the disaster. The idea to sail without air cover, while at the same time not understanding enemy capabilities, proved deadly.

I was indeed addressing the material cause, as that was the question that The Basket The Basket put: was it a battleship thing or a KGV thing? That begs a material answer.
Re the last question I do have the information but it will take a little time to put together a comprehensive response. I will try to do that this evening
 
Mitchell proved you can bomb an obsolete German battleship.

Which wasn't moving. Or shooting back. Or had no escort. Or any damage control. Or any air support.

And if you bomb it enough times it would sink.

I can be heavy weight boxing champion of the world based on the science of that test.

The Ostfriesland proves nothing at all. Nothing at all.

(Stupid Sexy Flanders)
I dont agree with you there. Sinking Ostfriestland proved that airplanes could sink battleships. That was all it was meant to prove. Yes, underway with damage control parties and defensive armament would have made a difference (well... maybe) but you've got to understand the revolutionary CONCEPT of sinking a battlewagon from the air. THAT is what Mitchell wanted to show. Of course few listened. I would point out Repulse and Prince of Wales were fine modern ships, underway, with damage control and defensive armament yet they both went down to airplanes. I'm a destroyer man by trade but I can still make a case for the capabilities of a big gun battleship. However, previous posts are quite right. Too expensive to build, to re commission an existing BB would be more costly than building 3 cruisers, Navy definitely not interested. No shipyard has built a BB since1944. (Sigh...) .
CAPT. G. Graves USN ret.
 
They would be great to have, if already built and paid for. The Iowas are national monuments now (I think) and can't be touched. If you have them then great. If you want to get a nation's attention, parking one of those monsters off its coast will do it. They're damned impressive. Sometimes ya' just gotta' really stand off and SMASH something even if it takes a while.
With that said, they're too costly in personnel and resources. The lead time for a new one would be at least that of a carrier. If a new build, modern tech has to be designed in. It wouldn't be your dad's battleship. The new BB would be designed with a crap load of air defense systems and missile chuckers. I doubt it would be any more vulnerable than a CVN if we compare ship to ship, sans air group. What are we using for propulsion? For the resources required, there are better uses.

I agree with The Thumpster. I just like talking battleships.
I've a nice book about the Iowa class battleships, and Jane's book on all battleships built since Dreadnought. Went on a nice tour of the New Jersey moored at Camden, NJ across the river from Philly a few years ago. My preparatory reading allowed me some "self-guided" viewing of the various areas open to the public on the New Jersey. Talk about one massive machine!! By the early 80s it had been refitted with cruise missiles and Phalanx air defense equipment, and of course retained its nine 16" guns

In reference to SaparotRob's citing costliness in personnel and resources, I can't speak for the New Jersey's post WW2 deployment during the Korean and Vietnam wars, but it's my understanding that during its Lebanese war deployment in the early 80s, the New Jersey had to be accompanied by an entire carrier group to provide air cover, as well as further offensive capability. That's costly in personnel and resources. It's a big target.

If you ever have a chance to visit any of the Iowa-class battleships (Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, Wisconsin) or any other museum battleships like the Texas, do it.
 
Ostfriesland was not exactly state of the art for 1921.

And just because you can run a 3 ring publicity circus and let the press go wild proves the power of the media in 1921. The media are not running the Navy.

As far as I see, the Mitchell test is purely in the eye of the beholder.

The fact that USA, Italy, Japan, UK, Germany, France and lesser power powers like Sweden and Spain had big gun ships after the Mitchell test proves they weren't buying it either.
 
I've a nice book about the Iowa class battleships, and Jane's book on all battleships built since Dreadnought. Went on a nice tour of the New Jersey moored at Camden, NJ across the river from Philly a few years ago. My preparatory reading allowed me some "self-guided" viewing of the various areas open to the public on the New Jersey. Talk about one massive machine!! By the early 80s it had been refitted with cruise missiles and Phalanx air defense equipment, and of course retained its nine 16" guns

In reference to SaparotRob's citing costliness in personnel and resources, I can't speak for the New Jersey's post WW2 deployment during the Korean and Vietnam wars, but it's my understanding that during its Lebanese war deployment in the early 80s, the New Jersey had to be accompanied by an entire carrier group to provide air cover, as well as further offensive capability. That's costly in personnel and resources. It's a big target.

If you ever have a chance to visit any of the Iowa-class battleships (Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, Wisconsin) or any other museum battleships like the Texas, do it.

Just toured the USS Missouri last weekend at Pearl Harbor.

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A battleship is a lot of time money and resources. A destroyer is a row boat in comparison.

So the RN was like at the end of the war, what battleship could be hit by a tallboy and survive? The obvious answer is none or none realistic. So kinda silly spend tons of gold on something that can be one shotted.

The torpedo was not the end of the battleship. Musashi, Yamato, Bismarck all survived torpedo strikes or could have done.

Mission killed by still floaty.

Warspite survived a Fritz X but Warspite could survive a Super Nova so no surprise there.

A battleship was Uber expensive and was no longer an unsinkable bastion of greatness. So it became obsolete due to weapons that were stronger than its armour. And it's big guns were no defence against tallboys or Fritz X. So it has no further use in a missile age.
Speaking of one shot, the HMS Sheffield was sunk during the Falklands War after being hit by one Exocet missile fired from an Argentine fighter. Sheffield was certainly not a battleship, (a guided missile destroyer), but nonetheless, its sinking certainly points out the vulnerability of any surface ship at war.
 
Speaking of one shot, the HMS Sheffield was sunk during the Falklands War after being hit by one Exocet missile fired from an Argentine fighter. Sheffield was certainly not a battleship, (a guided missile destroyer), but nonetheless, its sinking certainly points out the vulnerability of any surface ship at war.
The British shot down a lot of Argentine jets. Certainly proves the vulnerability of any jet at war.
 
Nice photos, and what a piece of history!

While visiting the New Jersey, I chatted with some of the volunteers on board, one of whom had served on the NJ during it Lebanon deployment. Among my many questions, I asked if the ship was still actually floating, and could be fired up and make its own power. The answer was yes to both, but it would take about a year of air-quality variance permission legal work and other stuff just so they would be allowed to fire the boilers. It's not a modern, low-emission rig.

The machinery necessary to move the 16" shells from the magazines upward to the turrets and the gun breeches is very impressive. Wish I had taken photos inside the turret. Some photos below.
 

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