I often wonder why Vanguard was not fitted with 8 x16" to make her more comparable with US ships. I realize that the 15" gun was a tried and tested weapon, but was it because the RN knew that the battleship era was over and so just fitted whatever they had available at the time?
spicmart wrote:I wonder if a more powerful main armament could be installed on Vanguard.
So with the TDSs being equal Bismarck should have had the better overall protection.
spicmart wrote:But Bismarck had better compartmentation, doesn't she? If so does that mean that she was harder to sink than Vanguard with the compartmention offsetting the advantages that Vanguard has, to say deeper belt ?
Maybe Bismarck also had a better armor scheme below waterline to her advantage?
Dave Saxton wrote:
In terms of firepower the Bismarck was more powerful. Its 15" guns were more modern than those used by Vanguard. The barrels were significantly longer which creates greater muzzle velocity. This translates into greater belt armour penetration and greater range sans supercharges. Supercharges were available to Vanguard for use in a pinch though. The German 15" L/4.4 armour piercing shell was also of superior design and could penetrate more heavy armour without breaking up at acute obliqities.
Many sources list the British 15" as giving impressive deck penetration, but post war tests proved that all British battleship guns could not penetrate more than 5" of deck armour at ranges of less than 32,000 yards or about 30km. The Bismarck's gun penetrated 5.2" of deck armour at 30km, so there's virtually no difference there.
In terms of belt protection the Bismarck was superior to the Vanguard and really all other battleships. It was a heavy belt (320mm) of top quality face hardened armour plus a heavy scarp arranged at an ideal angle. It could not be defeated according to some experts.
The German ballistian B Hoyer stated in 1943 that if the scarp was heavy enough, in order for a shell to defeat this type of arrangement its velocity would need to be so great that it would shatter against the face hardened main belt first.
Vanguard's belt was also from top quality armour but it was 360mm and no heavy scarp. Bismarck's hull IZ was essentially from point blank range to 30km vs most battleship caliber guns. Vanguard's IZ was essentially 21km to 30km vs the same guns.
It can now be shown that the Bismarck's two deck system provided at least the sum total of its two armoured decks which would be 130mm over the machinery and 150mm (TP) over the magazines. Vanguard's deck protection was 5" over the machinery and 6" over the magazines, so virtually the same there as well.
Bismarck's turrets and barbets were better protected with 130mm turret roofs and 360mm turret faces, and 350mm exposed barbets. Vanguard's barbets and turret faces were 330mm. The turret roofs are listed as 180mm but that is laminated plates.
Thorsten Wahl wrote:I have problems in understanding british armour efficiency diagrams especially the vertical protection.
obviously they greatly understate the armour penetration performance of all guns versus vertical armour....
Could You give data from live tests?
If You add 2 thickness of deck on Bismarck add 2 thickness (or more if existed) on other ships.
Vanguard had weather deck ~30 mm thick, so sum was ~180 (magazines) and ~155 (machinery)
It is difference.
Bismarck seem to be exact that design only with more modern materials and 30 knots. Everything else is virtually the same
Alberto Virtuani wrote:Hi Maciej,
is the Bismarck IZ diagram you posted above referred to the KGV 14" or to the British 15" gun ? The title says 15" but then you speak about KGV guns....
Also, the Bismarck diagram is misleading compared to the one for the British battlewagons (in case of vertical penetration).
The orange area is NOT the vulnerability area but (as it was for the optimistic Admiralty WWII diagrams) just the area where the British guns can puncture her external belt. They don't take into account the slope/deck combination (despite in the legend you recognize that the combined belt+slope cannot be defeated over 2 km....).
The effective (short range) area where Bismarck vitals are exposed should be very, very small compared to the one of the British ships.
Am I correct ?
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