Vanguard vs. Iowa?

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Karl Heidenreich
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Vanguard vs. Iowa?

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:41 pm

:think:

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Post by paul mercer » Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:25 pm

Karl,
There was no post on this one, but I saw the heading whilst browsing.
I'm not sure what the result would be, probably Iowa with her 16" I would think. Although Vanguard was fitted with 15" they were in a well tried and trusted format of 4 turrets, and if she had a fully worked up crew she might just do it. Also I think that by the time Vanguard was built she would have had the most modern radar and gun directors fitted and presumably would have been designed with all the lessons of WW2 well learnt, particulary about armour.
I did read somewhere that when one of the Iowa class (I'm not sure which one) conducted an exercise with Vanguard in very bad weather out in the Atlantic it was Vanguard that proved to have much better sea keeping qualities than the US ship.
Once again, like any senario on this forum, I suppose it comes down to whoever lands the first really damaging hits. I believe the saying goes, Hit first, Hit hard, Keep on hitting.

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Post by Bgile » Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:40 pm

The much more powerful guns on the Iowa would give her an advantage, along with the at least theoretical ability to choose the range of engagement. Anything could happen, of course.

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Post by Gary » Wed Feb 21, 2007 6:18 pm

A North Atlantic engagement may favour Vanguard but a Pacific one would certainly favour Iowa.
I'm not counting Vanguard out but as a betting man, my money would have to be on Iowa
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Post by Karl Heidenreich » Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:50 pm

As I did before in the thread about "Bismarck and her contemporaries" I will first quote Mr. Chuck Hawks from whom I posted a lot of previous quotes. This on Vanguard:
This brings us to Vanguard, the final chapter in the battleship history of the country that built more capital ships than anyone else. Vanguard was laid down in 1941, in the hope that she could be completed in time for service in World War II.

This hope was based primarily on the fact that she was to use the existing 15in guns and turrets taken from the battlecruisers Courageous and Glorious when they were converted into aircraft carriers. The turrets were modernized by having their angle of elevation increased to 30 degrees, and the armor on their faces and roofs was increased. The British 15" mounts had always been excellent, so the use of this old artillery did not put Vanguard at any great disadvantage compared to her European contemporaries.

In appearance, Vanguard was perhaps the most attractive of all the modern battleships. Her graceful sheer foreword, elegant twin funnels, and symmetrical layout gave her an elegance and grace matched by few battleships, and certainly not by her immediate predecessors, the King George V class, with whom she shared many design features.

In the event, the atom bombs ended the war before Vanguard could be finished and sent to the Far East. She was completed in 1946. Her basic specifications (again mostly from Conway's), were as follows:

Displacement:
44,500t standard; 51,420t deep load

Dimensions:
760ft pp, 814ft 4in oa x 108ft x 30ft 9.5in mean, 34ft 10in at 51,420t

Machinery:
4-shaft Parsons geared turbines, 8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 130,000shp = 30kts (31.57kts on trials at 45,720t), Oil 4,423t.

Armor:
Belt 14in-4.5in, bulkheads 12in-4in, barbettes 13in-11in, turrets 13in-6in, CT 3in-1in., Main deck 6in-5in, Lower deck 5in-2.5in, secondary turrets 2.5in-1.5in.

Armament:
8-15in/42 (4x2), 16-5.25in/50 DP (8x2), 73-40mm AA (10x6, 1x2, 11x1).

Complement:
1,893

Range:
8,414nm at 14kts.



Vanguard proved to be a fine and well balanced ship. She had exceptional sea-keeping qualities, and while not as maneuverable as the Musashi or the Wisconsin, she handled well. Vanguard was reported to be a much better sea boat than the similar size American Iowa class ships--taking less water over her deck, and rolling less, in high seas.

Her very comprehensive protective scheme was similar to, but better than, the King George V class. Splinter protection was carried beyond the main belt, almost to the bow and stern of the ship. At the most favorable point, her torpedo protection was designed to withstand 1300lb of TNT. She was reported in Jane's Fighting Ships to have the most thorough damage control system ever installed in a British warship. Her range was improved over that of the short-legged KG V's. Her old guns fired a new 1938lb 15in shell at 2458fps, good for a very satisfactory range of 33,550yds at 30 degree elevation. The 5.25in secondary guns were in improved mounts, enhancing their DP utility. Vanguard's AA battery was excellent, exceeded only by some of the American third generation battleships.

In a one-on-one shoot out with any of the axis battleships, I would expect her to defeat all of them except the Japanese Yamato class. Against Jean Bart, I would rate her a toss-up (although I feel Vanguard was a bit better all around ship), and against Wisconsin I think the American 16in guns would have ultimately made the difference.

Vanguard was probably the finest of all the allied battleships, with the possible exception of the American Iowa class. She had less firepower, speed, and range than the Iowa's, but may have been a better balanced design. Her armor, underwater protection, and general sea keeping qualities I rate as superior to the Iowa's, and her sea speed was sufficient to allow her to accompany fast carrier task forces.

About the only improvements I can suggest relate to her main battery. On the same displacement, she could have carried 9-16in guns (3x3), had they been available. The British, of course, knew this, and had in fact designed their Lion class battleships (the intended successors to the KGV's) for just this main battery. The extended development time of the new 16in mounts, coupled with the pressures of war, forced the cancellation of the Lions, and the adoption of the existing 15in guns for the subsequent Vanguard.

Vanguard seems to me to have been one of the best balanced battleships ever built, with a near perfect blend of characteristics, suitable for a very wide range of conditions. She rates from very good to excellent in just about every category, admittedly without being the absolute top in any. I consider her to be the finest of all the European battleships, and my choice for the mythical "best all around" title.
Well, after all it seems to me that Vanguard has the chance to fight and beat the Iowas hand to hand... as the Yamatos can also do... :wink:
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Post by Bgile » Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:33 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote: Well, after all it seems to me that Vanguard has the chance to fight and beat the Iowas hand to hand... as the Yamatos can also do... :wink:
Absolutely. As you quoted: "and against Wisconsin I think the American 16in guns would have ultimately made the difference." The 16" mark 7 throws a 2700 lb shell at a similar velocity to Vanguard's 1938 lb shell.

Personally, I feel Bismarck was also superior to Vanguard (at least in good weather) in a surface engagement because of her more powerful guns. The British 15" gun was superior to their 14" gun of course. Of course, they expected the KGV's to have 12 of them as originally designed.

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Post by Nellie » Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:14 pm

Bgile wrote:Personally, I feel Bismarck was also superior to Vanguard (at least in good weather) in a surface engagement because of her more powerful guns.
You can also see it from another view, Bismarck had more powerful guns thats right, but you can not expect battle on those ranges anyway and maybe Bismarcks bad protection on guns and firecontrol will be a bigger disadvantage compared to Vanguards not so effective guns.

Just a thought!

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Post by Bgile » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:56 am

Nellie wrote:You can also see it from another view, Bismarck had more powerful guns thats right, but you can not expect battle on those ranges anyway and maybe Bismarcks bad protection on guns and firecontrol will be a bigger disadvantage compared to Vanguards not so effective guns.

Just a thought!
Except that Bismarck had arguably better protection than Vanguard, especially on the conning tower. I'd think everywhere else was at least approximately equal.

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Post by Tiornu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:19 am

Vanguard has much more protected buoyancy than Bismarck, along with the superior main battery protection already mentioned. Her RPC was more practical than Bismarck's, and the disparity in radar does not require comment.
I don't see much purpose in quoting Chuck Hawks, no doubt a nice guy, but not as familiar with the subject as people you will find posting here. For example, Vanguard's waterline armor is not appreciably better than KGV's--it just gets more attention in G&D than KGV's did. The TDS is 15ft at half-draft amidships--shallower than you'd find on ANY other modern battleship other than KGV and Scharnhorst (less than a 3in difference).
A duel against Iowa would be interesting for the fact that both ships would have effective ECM, so these two ultra-modern ships might be forced to rely entirely on optics. Iowa has RPC for both training and elevation. Vanguard is an excellent ship, but the most likely outcome of a duel against Iowa would not favor her.

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Post by Bgile » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:17 pm

I don't think any US battleship got ECM until the Vietnam War rebuilds. I really doubt they had it during the postwar period.

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Post by Tiornu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:05 pm

Speaking specificaly about Essex class carriers, a portion of their electronics outfit was dedicated to countermeasures during the war. I recall seeing the weight break-down.

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Post by Bgile » Sat Feb 24, 2007 2:47 am

My job in the US Navy was ESM, which stands for "Electronics Surveillance Measures". Prior to the designation ESM, it was referred to as "Passive ECM". I suspect the ships which had ECM equipment were mostly devoted to listening to enemy radio communications.

I can recognize the anntennas on ships from the 70s and know which ones were used for what function. I suspect that the ships in service shortly after the war may have had equipment designed to jam the known frequencies of guided bombs, but not much else.

I don't know that for sure, however. I'm just extrapolating back from what I know about our ships in the 70s. Generally speaking, ships had defensive jammers targeted at the missile guidance of potential opponents' missiles and that was about it. Again, I can't be sure they didn't have equipment to jam FC radars in the late 40s but I doubt it considering the lack of threat from that area.

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Re: Vanguard vs. Iowa?

Post by AquaDragon » Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:04 am

HMS Vanguard VS USS Iowa
1 on 1 Paper battle.

HMS V/USS I
Length: 814 feet/887 feet.
Width: 108/108 feet.
Load standard: 45200 tons/46000 tons.
Load Deep: 52250 tons/58400 tons.
Top speed: 31.57 knots/35.2 knots.
Primary guns: 15 inch/16 inch.
Belt: 14 inch/12.1 inch.

The above stats are approximates as I won't bore you to the millimetre and I won't cover AA or Secondary armament (Both were very good) but it looks like a clear & easy victory for Iowa as it's bigger and heavier & has the faster engines & bigger guns. But in reality the details paint a far different picture for me.

Battle in reality.

Armament specifics.
- The Iowa is armed with 16 inch guns that fire 1,900 high capacity/2,700lb armour piercing shells at 2,500 ft per second which certainly gives it the advantage in firepower & range (approximately 38.6KM) but the Vanguard had the most reliable tried & tested 15 inch guns possibly in the world which were modified to be even better & fired 1,938lb shells at 2458 ft/s which could be equipped with superchargers which gave them more power (2575/2638 ft/s) & range (approximately 34.6KM). Taking this into consideration the Vanguard had higher velocity and as some experts have said velocity is more effective then shell weight although in saying this the superchargers would have more wear & tear on the guns.

This means there's possibly a difference depending what shell is used of approximately 700lb in shell weight & 4k in range which on paper seems that the Iowa has the advantage in firepower that would be decisive in a real battle but in real life as the HMS Warspite shared the record for the longest shot in navel history (approximately 24k) while armed with the exact same 15 inch guns but not as modernised and un-supercharged like the 15 inch guns that the vanguard had. This means even with the more advanced targeting systems which Vanguard & Iowa both possessed over the Warspite they will still not be able to likely score hits on eachother until the distance is closed to atleast 24k or likely closer. Unlikely world records will be broken with every shot but if they were then we are looking at plunging fire that doesn't hit the side of the ship where the armours thickest but the deck instead and in this department Iowa has much thinner armour then Vanguard so this sort of engagement wouldn't suit the Iowa. I believe at battle range they both can cause critical damage & therefore armour superiority & sea Worthiness will have more of a say in the battle over pure fire power which Vanguard has the advantages in. Just because a boxer has a harder punch & longer arms it doesn't mean they win the fight. Infact boxers with a more varied skillset and abilities normally defeat just a hard puncher. But the advantage goes to the Iowa.

Gun configuration specifics.
- The Iowa is armed with 9 main guns split between 3 triple turrets where the Vanguard was armed with 8 main guns split between 4 turrets. So with the Iowa turret's being bigger and therefore easier to hit which is a disadvantage but also if for example they both lost 2 turret's in battle the Iowa would only have 3 guns left operational which the Vanguard would have 4. Things will be hit & destroyed in battle. I believe the Iowa carries the advantage going into battle and certainly on paper has the most armoured turret's but under closer scrutiny the armour used although thick at 19inches it's primarily B class armour and STS plate on the faces and roof (7.25 inch) of an inferior an standard armour which I'll discuss more later. Although the armoured sides and back range from 9.5 to 12 inches of A class armour which is better but still not British standard and still certainly penetrable unlike what most would think looking at it at face value.

So as the battle progresses the Vanguard carrie's the advantage in survivability of its firepower although having only 13 inches of turret armour at its thickest point it's still better quality then the Americans, harder to hit as it's a smaller and a more reliable two barrel design as tried and tested (Bless those brave sailors in Iowas turret) and can certainly damage the American turret's at a realistic battle range. The edge goes to the Vanguard for survivability as the battle goes on.

Rate of fire specifics.
- Both fired 2 rounds per minute. With the Iowa class having 9 main guns compared to the Vanguard having 8 guns. That means the Iowa can fire 2 more shells per minute & therefore I believe giving the Iowa the advantage going into the battle.

Armour specifics.
- The British had better A armour (Main armour) & the Americans better B armour (Secondary armour). The A armour being a bigger factor in battle gives the British the armour advantage. Some believe the British A armour was up to 25% more effective due to advanced metallurgy techniques. This would put the Vanguard with the more inches of better quality armour up there with or just superior to the likes of Yamato & Musashi (16 inches of inferior metallurgy) in regards of protection. This I believe gives the Vanguard the advantage. I personally don't believe the Iowa was as well armoured as many believe and there was flaws. If you look at the South Dakota which had a similar armour scheme at the battle of Guadacanal it was hit 26 times from 5 to 8 to 14 inch projectiles and suffered from 2 hull breaches which caused a list and also a loss of power, internal/external communications, rader, fire control and a damaged turret three which all in all greatly hindered it critically despite reports it was only superficial damage there was many casualties and the ship needed to be dry docked. I'm aware of Nathan OkUN's research but it didn't take into account a huge number of real world factors which the battle of Guadacanal showed and in doing so showed the claims of the South Dakota all or nothing armour scheme was inaccurate and it was far more vulnerable than many believed. There's many reports about if the enemy damage caused the loss of power or poor decisions by the crew lead to it (people feel this was reported to save face as they appeared vulnerable). Either way it lead the ship being critically hindered in battle and it had many holes and casualties. I believe the Iowa will need to close the distance to cause damage as I can't find real world references of Iowa actually hitting any real world targets at 25-30k & therefore by getting closer to realistic range exposing it's inferior protection and I haven't even spoken about the speculated issues with torpedo protection but as Vanguard didn't carry torpedoes there's no need to go there. But once again world records are likely to be broken with every shot they are going to have to get close. I believe Vanguard has the advantage here.

Size.
- The Iowa makes a bigger target that's easier to hit with less armour of an inferior quality. I believe the Vanguard has the advantage here.

Speed.
- Iowa could not sustain 35.2 knots (Light load/shallow water only) as vanguard could not sustain 31.57 knots. Iowa's top speed at deep load was 33 knots and therefore it's real battle top speed as is 30.4 knots at full load for the Vanguard. Giving the Iowa it a 2.6 knot (3 MPH) advantage over Vanguard. Vanguards transom design was cheaper but more effective as it created hydrodynamic conditions for the Vanguard to maintain its top speed at deep load easily while remaining a smaller & harder to hit target. In reality if these 2 ships engaged 1 on 1 they both have enough speed to do what they want to do. Simply the Americans sacrificed stability for speed with its design using a combination of power and bow design where Vanguard looked towards using power and hydrodynamic transom design but what it lost in speed it made up for in stability. Both have advantages.

The difference is if the Vanguard has Iowa beat & on the run then the Iowa could in time escape the Vanguards range if it's propulsion wasn't damaged. So if the Vanguard could not finish it off then the Iowa could escape to fight another day. Where if the situation was vice versa the Vanguard could not escape the Iowa.
But this is about who would win a fight to the death. So no one is backing down or running away so Iowas speed and greater fuel supply (Combustible fuel oil, very dangerous) is irrelevant. I believe they both posses the speed & fuel capacity to win but in less then calm seas/ optimal conditions which is quite normal for the Vanguard being designed for the Atlantic therefore it can go faster & stay more effective in rough conditions giving it a clear advantage & also using diseal which is not combustible is an edge.

Sea Worthiness specifics.
- Vanguard was designed after many lessons was learned from the British's wealth of navel combat experience. These lessons especially for the King George class made it very resilient with its armour layout, fuel choice, auxiliary command systems, automation & how it's propellers were configured but also how the bow shear/flare was designed for rougher Atlantic weather. It also had a second massive break water. In operation Mariner where war games were conducted with the Iowa class. It was apparently reported by eye witnesses at the time Vanguards turrets remained fully functional and could maintain a speed of 26 knots with only a 12 degree roll when a storm hit but the Iowa had a 26+ degree roll and had to reduce speed and was consistently suffering from impaired use or complete loss of functionality of its forward turret due to flooding & huge roll. Resulting in it loosing a 3rd of its main armament & therefore reducing it to 6 guns while the Vanguard still had 8 guns available. Add this to the fact Vanguard could turn in 940 yards & Iowa needed 1006 yards then I believe this gives Vanguard the advantage in conditions that aren't perfectly calm which is common & in maneuverability.
The British sacrificed a little speed for battle reliability and Americans vice Versa simple as that.

My conclusion.
- I believe both ships are awesome & beautiful with significant advantages & disadvantages over eachother & once these factors are realistically assessed they are both highly capable of defeating eachother & it would more than likely come down to their Captains/Crews training & experience (It's another subject but I believe the Americans although fast learners unfortunately wasn't in the same league as the British in regards to training and experience as they were already engaged in WW2 for 2 years before America even joined in the war and had the most powerful and experienced navy for generations up until that point (Island race that conquered 22% of the world, they know about ships and training), even now the SBS & SAS run rings around the seals & delta).

But assuming in a perfect world that the Captain's/Crews decisions & performance are perfect then in calm conditions I give it 50/50 but as conditions get tougher the Vanguard gains more advantage in the real world. If I had to be stationed on a ship during this battle I would choose the Vanguard as paper battles & reality are far different & the Vanguard is a far more balanced war machine built for war not to have the best numbers on paper.

I often hear during Iowa VS Yamato debates a strong case for the Iowa closing the distance with its superior speed to get within range where it's superior targeting/fire control system (Vanguards was equally as good) can punch critical holes into the Yamato until it's defeated while the Yamato is missing shot after shot but in reality the Iowa makes a big target & it will be hit and I believe it won't take many 18.1 inch 3219lb armour piercing shells or 2998lb high explosive Yamato shells (FYI neither shell was as heavy as HMS furious 18 inch shells) to critically damage the Iowa before it can critically damage the Yamato. Therefore giving the Yamato the advantage. Now the reason I've briefly touched on this is because I believe there's more of a chance of the Iowa defeating the Yamato (35% chance max although some say with pure mathematics only 12%) then defeating the Vanguard in anything less than calm seas. The rougher the sea the tougher the Vanguard.

HMS Vanguard for me.

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Re: Vanguard vs. Iowa?

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:28 pm

35.2 knots.
a dream of a ship
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

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