Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

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Wordy
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Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Wordy » Thu May 16, 2013 1:23 pm

As we all know the Kirishima was sunk by the USS Washington while she was engaged with the USS South Dakota, South Dakota ended up badly damaged but survived.

What would've happened if it was Yamato there instead of Kirishima? Would the Yamato have sunk the South Dakota in short order, would the newer ship's radar have detected the Washington sneaking up on her and been able to successfully engage both US Battleships, or would the Washington still manage to suprise the Yamato? At the historical range I doubt the Yamato armour would've been able to defeat the 16" shells so would she be too heavily damaged to fight back and lost like Kirishima?

Personally I'm going for a Yamato victory I think the South Dakota would've been sunk quicker and the radar on the Yamato would've detected an prevented the Washington from a suprise attack.
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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Thu May 16, 2013 7:32 pm

Southa Dakote was not badly damaged,
according damage report
most of japanese projectiles, wich hit the ship, were projectiles of minor calibers (6-8")
a usual battlship armor should manage these projectiles
only 1 hit with 14"
from description this could be a HE projectile as the piece detonated on impact
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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Wordy » Thu May 16, 2013 10:01 pm

I stand corrected :ok:
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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Rick Rather » Fri May 17, 2013 1:10 am

Did Yamato have radar in 1942? Her Tabular Record of Movement doesn't list a radar installation (Type 21, Mod 3, air and surface search) until July of '43. Of course, she was pretty much serving as a hotel for admirals' staff at the time. If they had intended her to go in harm's way, they might have installed one earlier.

Two other considerations about her radar:
- In September, 1942 Musashi knocked-out her own radar with the concussion from her 18" guns (this was not an uncommon event for either side). Would Yamato's radar have held-up better?
- Radars were often severely degraded when operated close to land. Generally, the operator had to reduce the gain to minimize back-scatter, but this sharply reduced the range of detection. Naturally, this affected both sides, but the Americans were more experienced at dealing with the situation.

As far as the scenario itself goes, I find it very intriguing. As a naval wargamer for 35+ years, I'd like to play this out except for one thing: Looking at the correlation of forces on paper, I wouldn't give the Americans a snowball's chance in Hell even if no Japanese battleship was present. By rights, Washington & South Dakota should have soaked-up at least four Long-Lances each and joined the Future Coral Reefs of the South Pacific. Anyone know what the Japs' major malfunction was that night vis-à-vis their torpedoes?
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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby alecsandros » Fri May 17, 2013 5:33 am

Wordy wrote:What would've happened if it was Yamato there instead of Kirishima? Would the Yamato have sunk the South Dakota in short order, would the newer ship's radar have detected the Washington sneaking up on her and been able to successfully engage both US Battleships, or would the Washington still manage to suprise the Yamato? At the historical range I doubt the Yamato armour would've been able to defeat the 16" shells so would she be too heavily damaged to fight back and lost like Kirishima?

Personally I'm going for a Yamato victory I think the South Dakota would've been sunk quicker and the radar on the Yamato would've detected an prevented the Washington from a suprise attack.


Very interesting !

My take would be that Yamato would discover and engage the US battleships much earlier than Kirishima had, as Yamato's main rangefinder was much larger and taller than Kirishima's.

Yamato would also probably survive 16" gunfire, as it was a much larger and much more heavily armored and subdivided battleship than Kirishima was.
THe main con tower, main turrets, barbettes and communicaiton tubes should have been able, at least in theory, to withstand 16" 1227kg shells at 8-10km range.

On the other hand, Washington and SOuth Dakota had exactly 0% protection against 18" APC shells, and thus could receive crippling damage.

THis should give IJN destroyers and cruisers more time to manouvre and engage the 2 US battleships.

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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Ersatz Yorck » Fri May 17, 2013 8:47 am

Rick Rather wrote:Did Yamato have radar in 1942? Her Tabular Record of Movement doesn't list a radar installation (Type 21, Mod 3, air and surface search) until July of '43. Of course, she was pretty much serving as a hotel for admirals' staff at the time. If they had intended her to go in harm's way, they might have installed one earlier.

Two other considerations about her radar:
- In September, 1942 Musashi knocked-out her own radar with the concussion from her 18" guns (this was not an uncommon event for either side). Would Yamato's radar have held-up better?
- Radars were often severely degraded when operated close to land. Generally, the operator had to reduce the gain to minimize back-scatter, but this sharply reduced the range of detection. Naturally, this affected both sides, but the Americans were more experienced at dealing with the situation.


Yeah, I am somewhat suspicious of the capabilities and reliability of Japanese Radar. The Japanese at this stage still relied on superior night training, but it didn't show that night.

Rick Rather wrote:As far as the scenario itself goes, I find it very intriguing. As a naval wargamer for 35+ years, I'd like to play this out except for one thing: Looking at the correlation of forces on paper, I wouldn't give the Americans a snowball's chance in Hell even if no Japanese battleship was present. By rights, Washington & South Dakota should have soaked-up at least four Long-Lances each and joined the Future Coral Reefs of the South Pacific. Anyone know what the Japs' major malfunction was that night vis-à-vis their torpedoes?


Very good point!

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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Byron Angel » Fri May 17, 2013 11:19 am

Tactically speaking, I think that the Japanese force did OK that night. At the end of the battle only Washington remained in fit condition to fight. Three US DDs had been sunk, one DD crippled, and Sodak mission-killed and forced to withdraw. Washington herself had to withdraw from the battle area, as she was completely alone. The Japanese suffered the loss of Kirishima and a single DD.

The survival of the two American BBs versus the shoals of Japanese torpedoes launched against them that night was a small and inexplicable miracle, especially in connection with Sodak. Why the US DDs were successfully targeted by torpedoes but not Sodak or Washington remains a mystery.

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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Dave Saxton » Mon May 20, 2013 3:33 pm

Re;Japanese radar-1942. According to Brown, Kirishima was equipped with a Type 21 (150cm) air warning radar. The 10cm surface search Type 22 was available by Nov 1942. A prototype had been installed, on IIRC Ise, just before Midway. It would be unlikely that they could not put together a set for the Yamato by Nov.

RE: South Dakota damage. Although the damage did not threaten to sink the ship, SD was in rather a bad way, in my opinion. All the radars were down once again, but one, and it wasn't functioning properly, radar plot was destroyed, the main firecontrol director and station had been taken out, Battle II had been taken out, the forward (Sky) firecontrol station was down due to sliced up cabling, numerous short circuits due to cut up cabling was causing the electrical system to partially deplode once again, all the comm radios were down, the shock of the 14" hit to barbet number 3 had knocked out the main battery (attempts to fire the main battery under local control did not succeed) (Most modern American analysis I have read claim the 14" hit was an AP shell, but it was de-capped by the upper armoured deck, due to the acutely oblique striking angle, and then shattered against the barbet in its de-capped state leaving a huge dent.), and numerous personal casualties was causing yet more confusion.

There are parallels to the Bismarck's state at about 0920 hours after Rodney, KGV, and Norfolk had began to score early hits, except SD could still steer, and wasn't also fighting heavy seas and winds.
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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby yellowtail3 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:21 pm

Wordy wrote:What would've happened if it was Yamato there instead of Kirishima?


My guess would be... about the same thing, except that Yamato might have survived. She would have made a bigger hole in SD with her one (?) main battery hit, requiring more repair time. Yamato, soaking up ten or so 16" shells, would have been a mess, but probably still afloat. Maneuverable or not, is an open question... but probably able. Unless able to put some turns on, would have been at risk for worse the next morning.
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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Wordy » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:18 am

yellowtail3 wrote:
Wordy wrote:What would've happened if it was Yamato there instead of Kirishima?


My guess would be... about the same thing, except that Yamato might have survived. She would have made a bigger hole in SD with her one (?) main battery hit, requiring more repair time. Yamato, soaking up ten or so 16" shells, would have been a mess, but probably still afloat. Maneuverable or not, is an open question... but probably able. Unless able to put some turns on, would have been at risk for worse the next morning.


Wouldn't the SD have been sunk or at least be a complete wreck, by the time USS Washington started shooting though Yamato wasn't a bad shot from what I can gather so wouldn't the vastly improved ship be able to score more main battery hits? Also wouldn't the Yamato be better equiped to spot Washington sneaking up on her and if SD was still afloat devide her fire between the two, and basically do the job that she was designed for, engaging numerically superior US battleships.
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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby bremerton » Sat Aug 29, 2015 2:22 am

Changing the past enough to get the Yamato in action against the Washington & South Dakota:

The general exhaustion of the Japanese fleet would not have changed. The ships in the real battle had been in night action 2 days before and at air attack alert most of the time in between. Many of the destroyers had decks loaded with infantry from sunk transports, limiting combat effectiveness. Sending in the Yamato instead of the Kirishima would add a battlewagon of fresh skill to the night's action. How useful the fresh skill? At Leyte gulf the Yamato was engaged but there is no record of any hits scored. Japanese radar, even if installed, was too crude at this time to have affected this battle.

Long lances could have sunk either of the US battleships. But they would not have gone down quickly, the gunfire phase of the real battle was about 30 minutes. The Kirishima, with far inferior armor, took 3 hours to go under. One of the three sunk US destroyers lasted longer. Mutual annihilation was a possible outcome.

My main points.

First the Japanese admiral, and many other Japanese commanders present, initially underestimated the US presence in critical ways. They saw 4 destroyers sometimes as cruisers and came up with a double count about 8 of each. They estimated battleships as cruisers. They knew their primary mission was bombardment so they were ready for action with high explosive shells loaded, sufficient for a battleship to engage cruisers. The same admiral would have been in charge either scenario, and probably still rejected the first reports that he faced US battlewagons. And admiral Kondo's flagship was the cruiser Atago. The Yamato's better view would have changed his communication or optimism little.

Second the Washington and South Dakota each had twice the rate of fire of the Yamato. Thus, by the time Yamato recognized need and began to send armored piercing toward the South Dakota, the Washington could have sent 4 broadsides her way. It is probable the Washington hit the smaller Kirishima on at least two of her first 4.

Third, the Yamato presented roughly twice the target area of the Kirishima. The range was short for battleship action. The Washington hit the smaller Kirishima with 20 of the 75 16 inch shells she fired, radar aided, and ceased fire in the middle of that exchange for long enough to have fired 18-27 more rounds. At ranges where a turret could be aimed optically at a large burning target, the Washington should have put as many at 40 16'; AP shells into the larger Yamato, even if the Washington was hit by torpedo or 18' shells. The Yamato was durable, but was she that durable? I doubt it. Even if she sank both US battleships, she was still lost. The sky would rain torpedoes into her slow moving oil slick at next daylight.

(Note that post war estimates for shell and armor effectiveness give less of a combat difference than shell weight and armor thickness statistics indicate. Though the Yamato was heavier, some web sites rate the Yamato and Washington as equal in combat effectiveness. At these short ranges the Yamato, with less effective long range aim, does gain relative strength due to bulk. She also had added risk of running aground.)

All in all I believe the Yamato would sink. The size of the Yamato and damage it might have caused could have given Japanese cruisers and destroyers time to engage both US battleships with more deadly effect. But again we come to the issue of having the same Japanese commander and his need to get his fleet out of aerial attack range by sunrise. I doubt both US ships would have been lost. In the real battle Washington kept her guns silent with easy targets near because of doubt about the location of the South Dakota. Japanese use of spotlights or gun fire would have removed that doubt. So a longer engagement could also have increased the US victory, though added many US casualties.

In the end the Japanese would still have lost the battleship and Guadalcanal, though more blood and iron may have been laid in the depths offshore.

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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Steve Crandell » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:40 pm

According to what I've read, Yamato's designed rate of fire was 2 rounds per gun per minute, the same as most other battleships. As far as I know, any information that it was slower than that is incorrect.

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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby yellowtail3 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:31 pm

Most likely outcome? A badly beat-up Yamato gets scuppered by aircraft the next day.
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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby OldSaltCityAce » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:54 am

1. No hits on SD put her in danger of sinking. The hit on #3 barbette may have been more damaging if from 1 18.1" rather than a 14", but not likley fatal. At that range, the 14" should have penetrated the armor, but did not.
2. Yamato would have been in a world of hurt from Washington's 20 hits with 16" shells and dozen 5" hits at under 10,000 yards. Yamato may well have suffered the same fate as Kirishima.

Just a thought.

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Re: Yamato Instead of Kirishima 13th Nov 1942

Postby Turtle309 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:20 pm

I think that the Yamato and the Japanese task force would have a good chance of destroying/badly damaging the whole American force. However, considering the size of the Yamato and that the range was virtually point blank I would think that the American battleships would have landed some good 16in gun hits. If the Americans do score some sort of critical damage like damage to the steering gear or boiler rooms then I think the Yamato would be targeted by warplanes in the morning, and may suffer heavy damage or even get sunk.


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