Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Post by lwd » Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:50 pm

Over on the IJN site I once saw a list of times the Yamato fired exclusive of combat. It was under 10 rounds per gun as I recall and may have been well under.
http://usswashington.com/brief.htm
States that Washington
Fired 3,535 rounds of 16 inch shells
but doesn't give any info on how many were practice.
The problem with the new BBs is they went almost from the yards to war. This could mean either an increase in live fires or not.

User avatar
tommy303
Senior Member
Posts: 1528
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:19 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Post by tommy303 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:54 pm

Bismarck undoubtably had more wear than PoW. She underwent calibration tests for the main battery using inert practice shells, but did not apparently have a full calibre shoot again until April, 1941 due to various factors including a harsh winter which kept her in port and the need to correct a variety of 'new ship' problems. She did have a number of sub calibre shoots which, while not allowing the ammunition handling arrangements much in the way of practice, at least served to train the director and gun layers some training in coordinating efforts.

In April 1941 a number of full calibre shoots were conducted during an abbreviated gunnery training exercise, although I know not whether it was with full charges or only the main cartridge. If with only the latter, the amount of wear would not have been particularly high. She received her full outfit of war ammunition during that time period as well. During the course of several of these a number of breakdowns occurred requiring the shoots to be cut short, so it is doubtful if her total ammunition expenditure was particularly high prior to her first war mission. It sounds rather like she might have fired perhaps 15 to 20 rpg during main battery shoots, although only a portion may have been full charges.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

User avatar
chcrawfish
Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:39 pm
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Contact:

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by chcrawfish » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:31 pm

I believe that it really comes down to the range at which the fight occurs. If the range is out to the point where SoDak's shells are plunging, Bismarck is toast. If the shells are at a flat trajectory, it is a bloodbath battle with SoDak having a SLIGHTLY better chance of limping away victorious.
"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."
- General George S. Patton, Jr

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by Bgile » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:39 pm

Long thread and old and I admit I haven't reread it.

Since SoDak is fighting, assuming 1942 and both ships have radar.

I think that once the range becomes short enough that SoDak can't penetrate Bismarck's deck protection, the advantage shifts to Bismarck. This is because Bismarck's greater rate of fire becomes meaningful and because theoretically Bismarck's vitals can't be penetrated at close range and SoDak's can.

irving1941
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:10 pm
Location: Barbados

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by irving1941 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:00 am

Draw. The only chance for a clear win for any side is that South Dakota malfunctions as she did in Guadalcanal. Having said that, draw.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by lwd » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:25 pm

??? How can you even say that?

If the fight starts at over 30,000 yards and SoDak has a little luck Bismark is likely to be a floating wreck before she lands a single shell. If the two engage at close range either has the chance of dissabling the other and again converting one ship or the other into scrap metal. Draws are certainly possible but hardly ordained.

irving1941
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:10 pm
Location: Barbados

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by irving1941 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:19 pm

I can say it´s a draw if it´s my conclusion. If I was looking for a thought dictatorship I will be living in Iran. Who do you think you are, anyway?

User avatar
Legend
Senior Member
Posts: 325
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:46 am
Location: Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by Legend » Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:52 pm

Irving, don't take offense. lwd, try not to talk to him.

LWD, I agree. the superior factors of the US BB is enough to show that Bismarck would have to make anther Hood victory, being extremely lucky and being able to swerve in until she was close enough to fire. SoDak showed with the Kirishima that her radar works to an amazing degree and she has the oomph to take out big ships. Now true, Kirishima was a vintage BB and had really old armor, and Bismarck might have stood under fire for awhile, but not for long. With the Rodney, it was proved that only 16in shells could really make damage to her serious armored areas. In the Cameron expedition they brought back footage of multiple places where the 14in shells of KGV hit the hull and just imploded, no entry.
AND THE SEA SHALL GRANT EACH MAN NEW HOPE, AS SLEEP BRINGS DREAMS.

David89
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 10:53 pm

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by David89 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:21 pm

As far as I know, only three shells hit Bismarcks belt, and all penetrated, as they should considering Bismarck has only twelve inches of belt armour and the range was under 20,000m. It isn't known for certain which BB fired these shells, but it is believed to have been Rodney. It is however unlikely these shells penetrated the inner 4.7in scarp, as born out by suvivors reports of no engine room damage, but these shells caused a considerable amount of flooding in the space between the scarp and belt and caused Bismarck to settle in the water.

winterfell
Junior Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:12 pm
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by winterfell » Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:31 pm

I find this discussion very interesting even if I don’t have a sufficient knowledge about different types of armor, AP projectiles and virtues of different patterns of armor arranging.

I understand that this discussion has to be theoretical one as both ships never met. However I think that there is a possibility of moving this discussion a bit further as considerable number of posts relates to capabilities of horizontal armor schemes of South Dakota and Bismarck/Tirpitz.

My point is that both ships suffered bomb hits in deck which can reveal some additional information (especially in case of Tirpitz).

1. Tirpitz before its destruction with Tallboys, was an object of several attacks of British carrier planes, which scored some hits with more conventional bombs.

According to http://www.bismarck-class.dk during attack of 24 August 1944:

“A 726 kg (1,600 lb) AP bomb hit just forward of the bridge on the port side and penetrated not only the upper deck but the armoured deck below, finally coming to rest in No. 4 Switch Room on the lower platform deck, having gone through 14,6 cm (5¾ inches) of decking, mostly armoured steel”

2. South Dakota was hit during Battle of Philippine Sea.

Of course I have awareness that there are fundamental differences (weight, velocity at impact, inner construction and angle of impact) between bombs and projectiles. However I believe that examination of results of damages suffered by Tirpitz can give additional knowledge about quality of its horizontal armor.

Additionally I would like bring one argument in favor of South Dakota which as I think haven’t been used yet. South Dakota had 9 gun while Tirpitz had only 8. Assuming the same level of precision of both ships fire that South Dakota’s advantage would mean that:
• each of South Dakota’s salvos would have 12,5% more chances of hitting its opponent than vice versa;
• it would at least partially reduce any Tirpitz’s advantage resulting from faster rate of fire.

Finally, having in mind such things like luck, level of crew training and my mediocre knowledge of technical issues, I assume that South Dakota should win 7 of 10 duels.

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by Bgile » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:54 pm

David89 wrote:As far as I know, only three shells hit Bismarcks belt, and all penetrated, as they should considering Bismarck has only twelve inches of belt armour and the range was under 20,000m. It isn't known for certain which BB fired these shells, but it is believed to have been Rodney. It is however unlikely these shells penetrated the inner 4.7in scarp, as born out by suvivors reports of no engine room damage, but these shells caused a considerable amount of flooding in the space between the scarp and belt and caused Bismarck to settle in the water.
I think it's highly likely that Bismarck's settling was due to the accumulation of hits on lightly armored parts of the ship in the bow and stern area, as well as the one underwater hit from PoW. I don't think AB hits that don't penetrate the scarp are likely to cause much flooding.

User avatar
tommy303
Senior Member
Posts: 1528
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:19 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by tommy303 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:43 pm

“A 726 kg (1,600 lb) AP bomb hit just forward of the bridge on the port side and penetrated not only the upper deck but the armoured deck below, finally coming to rest in No. 4 Switch Room on the lower platform deck, having gone through 14,6 cm (5¾ inches) of decking, mostly armoured steel”
It is possible that this bomb's performance was due to the fact that the fuze did not arm or at least otherwise malfunctioned. Had it functioned properly, it would have burst tween decks like the other hits and not penetrated the main armour belt.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by lwd » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:45 am

Wouldn't that indicate a problem with the bomb fuzing (ie too short a delay) rather than the quality of the protection? You did mean deck rather than belt didn't you?

User avatar
tommy303
Senior Member
Posts: 1528
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:19 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by tommy303 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:40 pm

Yes, pardon me, I did mean deck. Essentially the upper deck was designed to initiate fuze action and cause the bomb to burst in the tween decks area above the armour deck. The majority of the bombs dropped on Tirpitz in that attack were dropped at too low an altitude and therefore did not achieve the necessary velocity to reach and penetrate the Panzerdeck before exploding. One does not want too long of a delay else the bomb might go on out the bottom of the ship before bursting. In this instance, the fuze failed and probably allowed the bomb to penetrate the deck while its brothers burst before reaching it.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Bismarck against BB-57 South Dakota

Post by lwd » Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:03 pm

tommy303 wrote:.... One does not want too long of a delay else the bomb might go on out the bottom of the ship before bursting. ...
There's a problem with that? You essentially get a mining effect plus a clean hole all the way through the ship. I would think the tendency of the bomb to break up might be more of a problem. In any case I believe the bomb that eventually sunk Tirpitz did indeed penetrate all the way through.

Post Reply