USS San Fransisco v Deutschland v Zara v Takao v Norfolk?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Lucky13, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Which was overall the best design?
     
  2. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    All had their share of merits. Deutschland had the most powerful armement and firecontroll and certainly the best endurance and range but otherwise was the worst of the ships under discussion (underprotected with unreliable engines, slow design). Zara and Norfolk are good performer but the french Algerie certainly is better. San Francisco is an excellent design with very powerful firecontroll, good armement and excellent (for a cruiser) armour but misses an effective torpedo suite.
    I would vote for Takao. They had powerful armement, good protection, high margins of speed, seakeeping and range. They also had the best torpedo suite of any of the cruisers under discussion. Their drawback is a lack of metacentric stability.
     
  3. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Personally I like the Algerie, its a good balance without any obvious problems apart from items such as radar which it didn't have access to.

    A second choice would be the Prinz Eugen, I know there are some questions over her engines but the crew seemed to get the measure of them. She was also tough.
     
  4. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    @ Glider

    the Prinz Eugen is a very poor design for 18600ts. Not enough protection (less than Algerie, Zara, New Orleans and Deutschland Class) and the range was very poor too. Only the guns and the Speed are ok.

    Algerie is the most balanced Class for a Heavy Cruiser.

    The choose from Lucky i will go for the Deutschland Class, because of the firepower, good protection and the best range.
     
  5. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Go with Delc on this one, simply due to all those 8" shells coming your way. Big problem for being on the receiving end. Couple the speed and torpedoes (Long Lance?) and you get a very, very dangerous ship.
     
  6. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    How does the guns and ammo compare between these ships?
     
  7. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I go with San Francisco, barely, because she was better protected, her fire control was better, she had much better triple A. Without the Japanese torpedos, it would not be close.
     
  8. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    In the end, it is AAA effectiveness that decides who is best.
     
  9. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    I'd say Algerie, and IIRC it was a real Treaty Cruiser. Zara, Takao and Hipper were in reality bigger, in real life dictatorships often cheated.

    BTW the main asset of CAs was their 8" guns, if AAA would have been the most important thing all navies would have removed the 8" turrets from their CAs and put as much as possible AAA in place. Only class which could have used their 8" guns for reasonable AA work was RN Counties, which had 70deg elevation for their main armament and fairly high RoF. On the other hand RN HACS was a substandard HA director.

    Juha
     
  10. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    #10 fastmongrel, Jul 3, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2009
    A lot of research has been done on WWII naval AAA control and the conclusion seems to be that the RN HACS wasnt quite as bad as has been made out and the US Mk33/37 wasnt quite as good as has been made out. All WWII predictors suffered from the same problem working out a firing solution on land is hard enough but on a ship that rolls pitches turns and vibrates is a whole different ball game. A quote I remember (sorry cant find the quote but I will have a good look later) said that trying to hit another ship was like trying to shoot from a trotting horse but trying to hit a manouvering attacking aircraft from a ship was like trying to shoot from a galloping horse.

    This is an interesting thread about the HACS and other predictors

    All the World's Battlecruisers/ The World's Last Pre-Dreadnoughts :: View topic - RN HACS worse than all others?

    All WWII predictors seemed to do reasonably well against level flying bombers but simply couldnt generate solutions fast enough against diving attacks a problem that wasnt solved till the development of electronic computers.
     
  11. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Fastmongrel
    thanks for the link, I had time to read only some of the tread. My negative oppinion on HACS is from British books, for ex from Brown's British BB book from Nelson to Vanguard. And some old discussions on Japanese Aircraft site seemed to confirm that, but the writers were at least mostly from States. Also what happened in Med 41-42 seemed to confirm that RN heavy AA wasn't as good as was expected. Also IIRC PoW and Repulse got only 3 Jap a/c when they were sunk and IIRC 2 of those 3 were allocated to the pom-pom on Repulse's B turret. MHO not very good result for 2 capital ships and 3 DDs.

    Juha
     
  12. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Hi Juha
    Your right that the RN navy AAA record wasnt good but in comparison to everyone elses at the same time it was reasonable, the point being that was about as good as it got at the time.

    The German navy had the type 1937 High Angle control on its larger units theoretically it was a superb system with multiple gyros and gimbal rings giving Tri-axial stabilization and a possible continuous automatic firing solution. Unfortunately it weighed 40 tons was overcomplex suffered from vibration and if one of the gyros tumbled due to heavy weather or a hit on the ship or even a near miss it could take 20 minutes for the gyros to be brought back up to speed.

    The USN Mk33 which was the most common predictor at the start of the Pacific war was a good system against high level bombing if the target was doing less than 275 knots but it needed modifications to make it work against dive bombers and even then it only worked if the aircraft held a steady course it couldnt give a firing solution for a manouvering dive bomber. The Mk37 was almost certainly the best system in WWII when used in conjunction with the best Dual Purpose gun in WWII the 5 inch 38 calibre but it suffered problems with its gyros and servos and needed the addition of a slewing sight so that the Director officer could get on a target quickly and hold it till the Director computer created a firing solution. It took a lot of work to make it the good system it was. However it was not particulary effective against Kamikaze attacks and the usual practice was to use the slewing sight and VT proximity fuses and basically hose shells at the target the Director officers Mk1 biological computer and eyeball worked faster than any predictor.

    The Japanese Type 94 predictor was similar to the German system in that it was overcomplex and fragile. From reports it seemed to suffer a problem in that a small aiming error at the start of an attack could very quickly become a major error.

    The RN HACS system was generally the lightest of the major navies systems but it relied a lot more on the skill of its operators and Director officer than other navies systems. This was the reason the Admiralty liked the MK 37 so much it was more user friendly for raw conscripts. It is noticeable from ships combat reports how the AAA got better the more actions there were as the predictor crew became more experienced. Of course thats not good if your sunk the first time your in action. The last wartime RN system the MkIV director was probably the secound best AAA director of the war after the USN Mk37 but an awful lot of metal and explosive was fired for each aircraft brought down.

    The Repulse and the PoW were up against what was the best anti shipping airforce in the world at the time I very much doubt that any contemporary ships would have lasted much better especially when you consider that the Admiral was a blockhead and shouldnt have been anywhere near that area without proper fighter cover. As for the Med in 41/42 its a wonder that any RN ships survived. The evacuation of Crete ( known as the death ride of the navy) resulted in heavy losses. Two cruisers HMS Gloucester and HMS Fiji were only sunk when they ran out of ammunition. The Captain of Fiji said the sky was nearly black with aircraft over Gloucester as the Luftwaffe went in for the kill on the defenceless ship.
     
  13. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Fastmongrel
    I tended to agree with you.
    A couple IIRC comments. IIRC the system in Scharnhorst and in Gneisenau was more vulnerable to gyro toppling than that of put into Bismarck and Tirpitz. Bismarck's AA suffered from the fact that its 2 rearmost AA directors were old design because according to Germany-Soviet Union treaty Soviets were allowed to get their blue-prints and to visit them amd KM didn't want to reveal its newest tecnology to Soviets.
    I agree that PoW and REpulse were put into rather hopeless situation because of the commanding admiral's decisions. But still PoW did badly even against the level bombers.
    On attack on Illustrious Valiant had probably the best AA suite the RN had at the time, 4.5" being IMHO better AA gun than the 5.25". Still its AA fire was rather ineffective, IIRC South Dakota did better at Santa Cruz when protecting the Enterprise with CL(AA) San Juan. That's more significant because pre-war/early war RN doctrine put much more emphasis on AA protection of main fleet, USN counted more on its fighters. That was shown in the size of air wings and in size of AA in modern CVs (Ark Royal and Illustrious class vs Yorktowns)
    But as I wrote this was IIRC and I'm glad to learn more on the subject.

    Juha
     
  14. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Juha totally agree with you about Fighter defence versus gunnery defence. If only I could get my hands on a time machine I would go back to before the war change the Illustrious design to a modified Ark Royal 10% larger in all dimensions including the lifts. Order as many Grumman Wildcats as grumman could build and get them working on the Hellcat earlier.
     
  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    It seemed the US cruisers could carry quite a few 40mm (dual and quad mounts) and more than a few 20mm (which were essentially useless).

    In fact, the light AA (20 mm) didnt really serve any purpose at all. The effective range for them meant they were "revenge" weapons for after a bomb or torpedo was dropped/launched.
     
  16. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Juha Good call, you are right about the earlier German predictor type1933 having the big gyros that toppled easily.:oops: The type 1937 had smaller less topple prone gyros it was fitted in the Prinz Eugen and Tirpitz cant find out if they were fitted to Bismark but if you have read that it was fitted with less advanced predictors aft. Then that would seem to mean it had 37s forrard and 33s aft.
     
  17. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Re the POW against the Japanese high level bombers you are correct about the number of planes shot down but I am pretty confident that a good number of the high level bombers were damaged to the degree that they didn't make a second attack which was the original plan.

    I will need to dig around to find the statement to support his but for now I would you to put a question mark down on the effectiveness or otherwise against level bombers.
     
  18. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    The PoW also lost power early during the attack, and the ship had not been properly worked up.


    The blame does not go to the Admiral who was ORDERED to do what he did, but goes to the Minister of Defence who cooked up the damn-fool operation, and waited to give the order to withdraw these valuable assets until the morning of the 10th {in the UK} at which point they were already sunk.



    But back on track, - Of the CA's does anyone recall the effectiveness of the County's AAA? The Cornwall Dorsetshire didn't do very well either against the bombers.
     
  19. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #19 Juha, Jul 5, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
    Hello Glider
    you are right IIRC corectly 5 high level bombers were damaged of which 2 turned immediately to home. But the bombers made one hit on Repulse and IIRC also one on PoW.

    Hello Freebird
    Phillips could have asked a sqn of fighters, they were available, for protection but never called them, after PoW was hit Tennant, CO of Repulse, send the message for fighters but they arrived too late. If Phillips had been clever he would have call help at least when the level bombers were noticed if the snoopers around didn't bother him. Brewsters would have had some effects on Bettys and Nells.

    On Counties, IMHO no cruisers at the time without fighter cover would have had much chance against mass attack of IJN Vals.

    Juha
     
  20. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    The problem with the US 20mm and 40mm BOFORS was the shell. It contained to little high explosive to guarantee a kill (only 65gramms in case of the 40mm). In comparison to this even the poor 37mm FLAK AAT rounds used on german ships were as deadly as a US 3"/50 AAA round (both at ca. 250 to 350 gramms of high explosive depending on fuze mechanism).
    The pom poms used on british ships had to low a muzzle velocity but a high rate of fire. This was adaequate when designed but soon became obsolete as performance of attacking A/C rapidly improved. The high density of fire was the greatest asset of this weapon in close AA defense.
     
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