Dave Saxton wrote:Bismarck's 38cm guns actually had more belt penetrating power than the 16"/45 guns used by Washington did.
Kirishima was a battle cruiser with very light armour protection. I suspect that some of the 16" hits passed completely through the Kirishima before detonating. And some probably passed almost to the other side before they detonated, holing and damaging both sides with one hit.
I have always had a special like for the North Carolina class overall, but Washington was not a heavilly protected battleship either. The belts were only 12", sloped 15*. They were designed to provide protection beyond 18,000 yards against 14" shell fire. At the battle ranges actually fought here, Washington was just as vulnerable as was the Kirishima had the Kirishima scored such hits in return. Furthermore, the belt armour used by American warships during WWII was called class A, and it was of deplorable quality. It could offer as much as 20% -25% less resistance to penetration compared to other higher quality face hardened armour plate (such as the British and Krupp Cemented) against large caliber AP.
As Adm. Lee wrote: "Our battleships are not designed nor armed for close in night actions with light enemy forces..." and might add neither against heavy enemy forces at close range as well. I would not expect Washington to hold up to hits from Bismarck's 38cm guns at most likely battle ranges. The deck protection of Washington was also relatively light, calculating to about 4 1/2" effective. The turret and barbet protection was pretty heavy though-at least terms of inches thick. Much better than Kirishima's turret and barbet protection. However, the turret face plates had to be replaced by thick Class B plates (homogenous armour) as the original design heavy Class A plates were rejected because of poor quality.
Class B plates of such thickness did not make an ideal substitute. Homogenous plates of such thickness suffer from problems of the interior portions remaining too hot for too long during the cooling proccesses. The USN Research Lab found that the ballistic resistance of such plates was down about 20% from what it should be and there was no way around the problem. (16" x .80 = 12.8") Normally face hardened plates would be prefered to homogenous plates for this application, because they would work better using the slope of the face plate to deflect and breakup capped AP, but the Class A plates were so bad that using them was out of the question.
But when describing simply belt protection the South Dakota's were ranked as the best and there was no mention then about how side hits are rare.
It really is impressive how the German 38cm could punch at least as hard as the nearly 1000 pound heavier US shell due to greater muzzle velocity.
RF wrote:These particular tactics would of course require knowledge on the part of the respective commanders of the other ships weak points. From the German perspective this is unlikely as their knowledge of the US Navy and its surface ships was very little.
Given the US ship having 16 inch guns the Germans would be even less inclined to engage than to take on Rodney.
Saltheart wrote:... But to read the comparisms on that other site you'd think all SD would have to do to win is turn up.
except for the main turrets
Thorsten Wahl wrote:except for the main turrets
this seems wrong
the faceplate appears vulnerable at every distance and
barbettes seem vulnerable until around 22-23 km if i consider a 5-7% NBL advantage of the german armor.
However, at 20km, the angle of fall of 15" shell would be 16*, thus the impact angle would be ~ 24*.
From GK100, I understand the perforation was ~412mm at 20km considering a vertical plate, so the impact angle = angle of fall...
Are you sure it would go through ?
The relative advantages of Washington woudl be better deck penetration, and a potentialy more damaging explosion of the 1227kg shells. Also, the main 16" magazines were practically unreacheable by the 15" shells at any range, being put deep inside the ship, near the bottom of the hull, some 7 meters below the waterline, and thus protected by water + inclined main belt + 38mm splinter belt.
Dave Saxton wrote:
Remember it was not KC, but Class B, and Class B at these thickness levels is also down several % points on ballistic resistance relative to its own standard.
Washington's deck protection is weaker than Bismarck's.
I'm not sure that the American shell creates a more damaging explosion. The German explosive filler was of much greater explosive power and the German shell had a slightly greater filler %.
Saltheart wrote:That sounds right. I've sometimes wondered how much the Germans knew of American ships and what the American tactics would be. But if they did know the weight of the US projectiles it probably would have occured to them that if the Americans were going for great weight in their shells then they were probably looking to attack horizontal armor. It would be very interesting to know if the Germans ever advised their Captains on the tactics to follow against US battleships.
RF wrote:Saltheart wrote:That sounds right. I've sometimes wondered how much the Germans knew of American ships and what the American tactics would be. But if they did know the weight of the US projectiles it probably would have occured to them that if the Americans were going for great weight in their shells then they were probably looking to attack horizontal armor. It would be very interesting to know if the Germans ever advised their Captains on the tactics to follow against US battleships.
I doubt whether either Captains Topp or Meyer of the Tirpitz were given any information or tactical instructions about engaging US battleships; given their pe-occupation with the RN as their principal naval adversary the KM leadership seemed to have a complete blind spot when it came to the US Navy.
Indeed when in December 1941 Hitler asked the KM naval staff to show him the location of Pearl Harbor on a map none of them could answer the question.
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