Armour Penetration

Warship design and construction, terminology, navigation, hydrodynamics, stability, armor schemes, damage control, etc.
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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:50 pm

I must add, in my defense and that of my arguments, that I have not made up, in any measure, any comment regarding criticism for the USN, RN and KM battleships. I have been very carefull to read first and, when quoting, using them quotes in a way they are not out of context. If Mr. Okun help or not in the preparation of the mentioned books then it is, by addition, more important to regard these statements done, precisely, by the authors.

That is why I have been carefull enough to support the line of thought with the direct quotes so, precisely, any rebuttal will have to face the fact of the evidence and conclusions that are part of these books and originated from these authors.

It is neither my imagination nor maquinations that all of them (Friedman, R&R, G&D, etc.), made precise, unequivocal and clear references to design and performance problems in vessels as Rodney, Schanhorst, KGV (in a less extent), Yamato, NC, SD and Iowa.

As I stated at the "re starting" of the Bismarck and Her Contemporaries I was not going to address, at the begining anyway, the Bismarck´s"flaws" due that I do know that a group of posters will do that as I advance in my summaries. That has happened and I´m not a bit surprised.

Also I have been trying to be objective and fair, as the post reveal, even when refering to vessels as Yamato in which I made emphasis to the "flaws" that G&D points out. And I´m prepared to do so, also, with Schanhorst this weekend if everything goes good.

Anyway, in case of adverse opinion comes, as it is coming, the lack to directly address the comments and statements from these authors is what surprised me. Specially if they have been "advised" in one degree or another by Mr. Okun or another navweaps "expert", which mades the case more interesting now.

Best regards,
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by lwd » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:09 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:...It is neither my imagination nor maquinations that all of them (Friedman, R&R, G&D, etc.), made precise, unequivocal and clear references to design and performance problems in vessels as Rodney, Schanhorst, KGV (in a less extent), Yamato, NC, SD and Iowa....,
At least in my case I haven't had any problem with that. What I have had a problem with is your interpretation of the signifigance of said problems especially when comparing them to another vessel whose problems you seem to be (at least for the moment) ignoring.

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:28 pm

At least in my case I haven't had any problem with that. What I have had a problem with is your interpretation of the signifigance of said problems especially when comparing them to another vessel whose problems you seem to be (at least for the moment) ignoring.
This has a reason that I have stated several times, last one a couple of minutes ago:
As I stated at the "re starting" of the Bismarck and Her Contemporaries I was not going to address, at the begining anyway, the Bismarck´s"flaws" due that I do know that a group of posters will do that as I advance in my summaries. That has happened and I´m not a bit surprised.
That´s why.
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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by lwd » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:58 pm

Then why are you now loudly proclaiming the superiority of the ship you have yet to examine?

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:47 pm

I have not yet proclaimed it´s superiority. I´m just claiming that her contemporaries were not so hot, after all.
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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by lwd » Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:45 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:I have not yet proclaimed it´s superiority. I´m just claiming that her contemporaries were not so hot, after all.
Not so hot in comparison to what? There is no absolute scale with warships. The fast BBs of WWII were clearly superior to their predecessors. All had flaws most had things that offset these. However in most circumstances it's pretty clear Bismarck would have been at a disadvantage vs the US fast battleships. So if they are "not so hot" where does that leave Bismarck?

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by alecsandros » Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:26 am

lwd wrote:
Karl Heidenreich wrote:I have not yet proclaimed it´s superiority. I´m just claiming that her contemporaries were not so hot, after all.
Not so hot in comparison to what? There is no absolute scale with warships. The fast BBs of WWII were clearly superior to their predecessors. All had flaws most had things that offset these. However in most circumstances it's pretty clear Bismarck would have been at a disadvantage vs the US fast battleships. So if they are "not so hot" where does that leave Bismarck?
Bismarck remains, on the top of the pedestal for BBs of the Atlantic. The american fast battleships (Iowa class) were impressive, and they were amongst the very few that were probably "better" (the word is getting tired) than Bismarck. I say "probably", because the definitive answer would come only if 2 BBs of those classes would slug it out to the death.

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by Lutscha » Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:51 am

@alecsandros Why is BS a better design than Richelieu?

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:48 pm

@alecsandros Why is BS a better design than Richelieu?
That´s an easy one:

1. ATS system compromised with it´s joint to the side belt, very much like the South Dakota in some sense. This has to be done in order to maintain the narrow beam. The belt was shallow and the roll exposed her to the diving shell threat.

2. The Treaty Limit displacement of 35,000 tons initially affected her as did with Nelson, Rodney, North Carolinas and South Dakotas. In order to balanced her the French decided to follow the ill fated Rodney design.

3. The main batteries presented an excess of dispersion. We do know that the Italians deal with this but not the French.

4. The using of only two forward turrets made the ship "blind" to the stern.

5. The using of only two turrets with four guns each is, if you please, a statistical problem that Friedman and R&R said and which is a critiscim that I have made many times: if one turret is put out of action then 50% of the main battery is destroyed. If two then the 100%. In case of a Bismarck Class if two turrets are destroyed then only 50% is out of action.

6. The quadruples turrets could have presented the same problems that affected PoW at the starting of her career.

Amongst other reasons. When I reach that particular design I think I could better come up with more balanced and solid arguments. For the time being those suffice.
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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by alecsandros » Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:57 pm

Lutscha wrote:@alecsandros Why is BS a better design than Richelieu?
I don't know, and, worst of all, can not know. Nobody can, in fact. I've read most of the sources you cite on the forum, am a BB fan for a long time, and had my share of statistical obsessions (armour, guns, percentages, compartimentation, etc).
A warship is a much to complicated piece of work to be judged by an outsider. Only a naval designer with significant experience on the subject matter - battleship design - can say this or that. And even so, there might be shortcomings to the judgment being made.

Bottom line for me is this: it does not matter if a ship MIGHT have been better. What realy matters are the facts - as they were. And the facts are as follows:

1. Richelieu wasn't completed until 1943, when it got radars in the US. The Bismarck on the other hand was comissioned with 1940 technology. So it's not quite a fair comparison.
That leads me to no2:

2. If we were to compare the ships as they were in 1940, the only comparable historical facts AFAIK is this one:
Richelieu received a torpedo at Dakar that made huge damage. After quick repairs, he could barely reach 14n. Bismarck received the first torpedo from Victorious and didn't even notice it (yes, I know, I know, to shallow drop, but a torpedo is a torpedo non the less). After this first one, the german BB received at least 4, if not 6 or 8 before going down (see the discussion started by Bgile)

3. The Bismarck class was hunted down like no other in WW2. The "fear factor" was huge amongst the British (Churchill ordered both of them to be sunk by any means, the overstretched Home Fleet kept 2-3-4 BB on the lookout, they were pounded by CV's and land based aircraft again and again). For this discussion you've probably seen "Bismarck's status quo in the BB realm".

Please, don't start writing statistics about the ships. Not even about the low rate of fire of Richelieu or the insuficiently armoured decks of Bismarck against plunging fire >25000m. It won't do any good. To many "good designs" have proved to be flaws in battle (South Dakota at Gudalcanal, Hipper as a merchant raider, PoW AA and ATS protection in Java Sea, etc), and viceversa (who could believe the accomplishments of Warspite, a WW1 era BB?). We can only rely on what actually happened. The rest is just speculation.

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by Lutscha » Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:31 pm

I think it's out of question that one can consider BS' TDS better than Richelieu's. R's ich much deeper, has more layers, ebonite mousse (could be a mixed blessing), and was not single layer in some parts as the one of BS. The French Ships are usually attributed, and imo rightly so, as having the best TDS. Diving shells have to travel a lot of distance to hit the bulkhead. BS belt was shallow as well, if you call all belts without a lower belt shallow. I fail to see a greater vulnerability in R. I don't have the belt lenghts at hand rght now since I'm not at home.

There were no joint problems as in Yamato that I know of, so I don't see a probleme there but as of now I have not finished my new book about R.

The dispersion problem was Rs only serious one. And serious it really was, since it inhibited R's fighting power by quite a margin. It could have been rather easily adressed through firing trials and the installation of delay coils, but due to the war situation, it could not be done until after the war.

The quads had not the problems like the British ones, the hoists were slower than expected, but this was again corrected after the war and could not be done during due to the fall of France.

I would have preferred one quad fore and aft, but I don`t think 2 quads are bad, they saved at least much weight. The blind spot is not really a problem, since ships can turn and in a stern chase it can be good or bad which depends on who chases whom.

Summarised, R had better deck armour, better turret armour, a better TDS, was faster and had more range with less fuel. The German boilers were really inefficient.

I don't see, how she was affected badly through the treaty, since she beats BS handily in many aspects.

The only serious problem was the dispersion, which I don't think degrades her design badly, since it could be adressed, though the fall of france prevented this being done fast.

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by alecsandros » Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:58 pm

Lutscha wrote:I think it's out of question that one can consider BS' TDS better than Richelieu's. R's ich much deeper, has more layers, ebonite mousse (could be a mixed blessing), and was not single layer in some parts as the one of BS. The French Ships are usually attributed, and imo rightly so, as having the best TDS. Diving shells have to travel a lot of distance to hit the bulkhead. BS belt was shallow as well, if you call all belts without a lower belt shallow. I fail to see a greater vulnerability in R. I don't have the belt lenghts at hand rght now since I'm not at home.

There were no joint problems as in Yamato that I know of, so I don't see a probleme there but as of now I have not finished my new book about R.

The dispersion problem was Rs only serious one. And serious it really was, since it inhibited R's fighting power by quite a margin. It could have been rather easily adressed through firing trials and the installation of delay coils, but due to the war situation, it could not be done until after the war.

The quads had not the problems like the British ones, the hoists were slower than expected, but this was again corrected after the war and could not be done during due to the fall of France.

I would have preferred one quad fore and aft, but I don`t think 2 quads are bad, they saved at least much weight. The blind spot is not really a problem, since ships can turn and in a stern chase it can be good or bad which depends on who chases whom.

Summarised, R had better deck armour, better turret armour, a better TDS, was faster and had more range with less fuel. The German boilers were really inefficient.

I don't see, how she was affected badly through the treaty, since she beats BS handily in many aspects.

The only serious problem was the dispersion, which I don't think degrades her design badly, since it could be adressed, though the fall of france prevented this being done fast.
- Debating BS over RC should be done considering the capacities of the 2 ships during the war, not after. So, the fact that the 15" guns of the french had a low firing rate is a fact of war, it should not matter that it was improved later on.

- Then, the TDS, as I've stated above, proved much weaker than Bismarcks in real combat situations.

- Finaly, the speed was the same - 30n for both.

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by Lutscha » Sat Oct 17, 2009 2:03 pm

The French were in no situation to adress their gunnery problems. You could scratch radar, RPC, AA guns etc as well for other ships, when war improvements are prohibited, the French simply could not do it during the war.

Richelieu was troubled by the low harbour depth when she received the hit. But I am way from my sources as of now, I will look up the damage in deatil later.

R was faster than BS, 32+kn on trials, which BS never achieved wether claimed or actual.

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by tommy303 » Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:41 pm

The dispersion problem was Rs only serious one. And serious it really was, since it inhibited R's fighting power by quite a margin. It could have been rather easily adressed through firing trials and the installation of delay coils, but due to the war situation, it could not be done until after the war.
I believe the dispersion problem was in part due to the necessity of using propellant intended for the guns of the Dunkerque's rather than propellants being produced in France and tailored to the 15-inch. If the propellant charges are not well suited to a particular calibre, one can get erratic performance; while defective shells are usually claimed for the two damaged barrels of Richelieu, the culprit might have been the powder charges. It was, of course, quite impossible to obtain the correct size nitrocellulose strip propellant after the armistice between Germany and France, once the ship was in North Africa.

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Re: Armour Penetration

Post by dunmunro » Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:46 pm

alecsandros wrote:


2. If we were to compare the ships as they were in 1940, the only comparable historical facts AFAIK is this one:
Richelieu received a torpedo at Dakar that made huge damage. After quick repairs, he could barely reach 14n. Bismarck received the first torpedo from Victorious and didn't even notice it (yes, I know, I know, to shallow drop, but a torpedo is a torpedo non the less). After this first one, the german BB received at least 4, if not 6 or 8 before going down (see the discussion started by Bgile)


IIRC, that torpedo hit set off a number of depth charges that were lying on the sea bed below Richelieu and these explosions greatly added to the damage.

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