Richelieu vs. South Dakota

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
yellowtail3
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Re:

Post by yellowtail3 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:40 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:This goes, so, in favor of South Dak. Objections?
No objection - SoDak over Richelieu, the best of the European battleships.
Shift Colors... underway.

Keith Enge
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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by Keith Enge » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:33 am

One thing that shouldn't be overlooked is that Richelieu is almost 20% longer than South Dakota so is a bigger target. With that considered, my database calculates that they are about equal defensively (Richelieu 4% better). However, offensively, South Dakota has a large advantage. Her shells are almost 40% heavier and she carries more of them. In Richelieu's favor, she has more range but it is basically useless; nobody is going to get any hits at those maximum ranges. At the inner edge of the immune zone, South Dakota has about a 3000 yard advantage but that is probably too small to be consistently usable. Considering everything, my database gives South Dakota a 16% overall advantage.

As point of interest, my database slots Richelieu between Bismarck and Vittorio Veneto in power ratings; Bismarck is 3% better than Richelieu and Vittorio Veneto is 4% worse.

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RNfanDan
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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by RNfanDan » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:43 am

The guns of the SoDak class were 45-cal naval rifles, the Iowa class used 50-cals. There MUST have been some gain in performance over the SoDaks/North Carolinas main guns, otherwise, what's the point in adding the extra barrel length and weight?

Even if they all used the "superheavy" shells, surely that extra barrel length should have translated into some advantage? So, do we use Iowa-class stats and data for the 45-cal gun, with no deletory adjustments?

Apart from that, there's no question at all about who wins---after all, it's ALWAYS the USN.....at least on paper, since most of the US battleships never engaged another, and even those that did, were not Iowas.

The mere suggestion of any foreign (allied or otherwise) battleship coming out on top against a USN battleship, is pure wishful thinking. :negative:

Hell, history records Yamato and Musashi were kept secreted away and out of action, awaiting the BIG ONE---which never materialized. In truth, the Japanese were so scared of the Iowas, they prayed to their war-gods for more speed to avoid even the slightest chance they might encounter one. :lol:
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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by alecsandros » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:03 am

Keith Enge wrote:One thing that shouldn't be overlooked is that Richelieu is almost 20% longer than South Dakota so is a bigger target. With that considered, my database calculates that they are about equal defensively (Richelieu 4% better). However, offensively, South Dakota has a large advantage. Her shells are almost 40% heavier and she carries more of them. In Richelieu's favor, she has more range but it is basically useless; nobody is going to get any hits at those maximum ranges. At the inner edge of the immune zone, South Dakota has about a 3000 yard advantage but that is probably too small to be consistently usable. Considering everything, my database gives South Dakota a 16% overall advantage.

As point of interest, my database slots Richelieu between Bismarck and Vittorio Veneto in power ratings; Bismarck is 3% better than Richelieu and Vittorio Veneto is 4% worse.
Don't forget about:
- Richelieu's poor armor quality, excessive salvo dispersion and very slow rate of fire; excessive concentration of main battery guns on only 2 turrets
- SoDak will have RPC firing, and that would be a great advantage on calm/moderate seas.

I would give the US battleship 90% wins in this kind of engagement... in a pure 1 vs 1 battle...

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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by paulcadogan » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:36 pm

RNfanDan wrote:Apart from that, there's no question at all about who wins---after all, it's ALWAYS the USN.....at least on paper, since most of the US battleships never engaged another, and even those that did, were not Iowas. The mere suggestion of any foreign (allied or otherwise) battleship coming out on top against a USN battleship, is pure wishful thinking. Hell, history records Yamato and Musashi were kept secreted away and out of action, awaiting the BIG ONE---which never materialized. In truth, the Japanese were so scared of the Iowas, they prayed to their war-gods for more speed to avoid even the slightest chance they might encounter one.
Dan, I hope you won't need medical assistance to remove that tongue of yours so firmly planted in your cheek! :lol:

Anyway, we do have a "sort of" actual battle between Massachusetts (and aircraft) and Jean Bart and the damage inflicted on Jean Bart looks impressive - at least on the surface. Not sure if the damage pictured was caused by 500 lb bombs or 16-inch shells, but imagine this occuring at sea in the heat of a high speed engagement:

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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:23 pm

As point of interest, my database slots Richelieu between Bismarck and Vittorio Veneto in power ratings; Bismarck is 3% better than Richelieu and Vittorio Veneto is 4% worse.[/quote]

Gentlemen,
If Bismarck is only 3% better than Richelieu would it not be better to compare a stand up fight between the two of them rather than a US ship which appear to have the advantage of firepower?
Also, could someone tell me what happened between Massachusetts and Jean Bart?

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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by RNfanDan » Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:45 pm

paul.mercer wrote: Also, could someone tell me what happened between Massachusetts and Jean Bart?
Massachusetts engaged Jean Bart while the latter was lying stationary and in disrepair, effectively reducing her to little more than a shore emplacement. She was still a Vichy French vessel (Axis, in other words), which is why she was "eligible" as a target. The event took place as I recall, somewhere along Morocco.
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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by paulcadogan » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:19 am

paul.mercer wrote:Also, could someone tell me what happened between Massachusetts and Jean Bart?
During the invasion of French North Africa in November 1942, Jean Bart - incomplete with only 1 quad 15-inch turret functional was in Casablanca harbour. on November 8, she attempted to engage American forces - specifically the Massachusetts which opened fire on her from 24,000 yards scoring at least 5 hits.

From Wikipedia:
Massachusetts began firing at 0704 at a range of 22,000 m (72,000 ft); she continued firing until 0833 with a seven-minute halt from 0740 to 0747. A total of nine full broadsides and thirty-eight partial—varying between three and six guns—were fired, with five hitting Jean Bart. One of these, a hit at 0806, disabled the one main turret. Other shots that missed Jean Bart fell around her, striking docks and merchant ships, sinking two.
Jean Bart was also bombed by aircraft from the carrier Ranger which hit with two more 500 lb bombs on the 10th and she was run aground to stop her sinking.
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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by Keith Enge » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:48 am

RNfanDan -

The 50 cal rather than 45 cal does give some advantage. The longer barrel gives a better muzzle velocity and so better range and better penetration. However, it has a disadvantage too. Because of the lower velocity, at any particular range, the 45 cal will get better deck penetration because its shells will be falling closer to vertical; this isn't a dramatic difference but it does exist. In addition, the higher muzzle velocity probably means increased barrel wear and the need to replace barrels more often. All of that said, however, the offensive calculation in my database gives the 50 cal a 14% advantage over the 45 cal.

alecsandros-

Salvo dispersion is basically meaningless in a battle between ships. It only really makes a difference when engaging a stationary target like a shore battery; there, any dispersion means most of your shells won't hit the target. Against ships, dispersion doesn't matter. At long ranges, your shells will take over a minute to reach the target (at extreme ranges, it can grow to a minute and a half). During that minute, a 30 knot ship will move 1000 yards in some direction. Therefore, you have to guess where the target will be a minute from firing and aim for that point. The odds are that you will guess the aim point wrong so dispersion may actually help you get hits (shells dispersed from the wrong aim point might accidentally wander off to where the target actually is). Tight groupings of shells look pretty in practice shoots; in combat, they have little importance.

A little math illustrates the problem. Battleships aren't particularly nimble ships so let's say that its course can only vary plus and minus 30 degrees from its course at firing. Therefore, this is a 60 degree wedge or 1/6 of a 360 degree circle. A circle with a 1000 yard radius has an area of 28,274,334 square feet; 1/6 of that is 4,712,389 sq.ft. Now, the deck surface area of a typical battleship is about 75,000 sq.ft. Therefore, dividing the deck area into the possible area where the target might be, we get about 63. Thus, you have a one chance in 63 of getting a hit because you can't reliably predict where the target will be after one minute. This time of shell flight is the Achille's heel of long range gunfire and explains why it was so seldom effective regardless of the quality of your fire control.

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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by alecsandros » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:23 am

Keith Enge wrote:
Salvo dispersion is basically meaningless in a battle between ships...
Not quite.

- The main batteries were designed to function within the main fire control system, which included directors, radars, fire control tables, calculators, actuators, and so on.
- A salvo can be intentedly fired "wider", in order to obtain straddles (accurately determining range).
- After the range, speed and bearing of the enemy ship were estimated, the doctrines for main batteries engagements usualy meant full-scale firing at maximum possible rate of fire.
- A good firing solution means higher chances of STRADDLING the target. If you have a system that consistently outputs good quality FC solutions AND a tight-firing main battery turret, THAN your battleship has greater chances of striking 2 or more shells from the same salvo onto the enemy, which is a great advantage.

- Battleships in action against other battleships rarely had the possibility of making wild manouvres, as their fire control solution was dependent on their own ship's speed, bearing, range, in relationship to the target. The exceptions are Kriegsmarine and US Navy from mid-1943 onwards and Royal Navy from 1945. The fire control system on board US Battleships, for example, included: radars, gyroscopes, calculators, actuators and various sensors. A large number of indicators were converted into variables and automaticaly sent to the fire-control computers. The computers used complex equations in order to pin-point the position of the enemy ship at the moment of shell impact.
Variable examples:
- temperature of the powder charges in the main magazines
- roll/pitch of own ship
- erosion of own guns
- wind direction/speed
- Earth's rotation
- magnetic field strength at the geographical point of the battle
- many others....

The computers automaticaly sent commands to various mechanical systems which elevated/depressed the main guns and/or rotated the main turrets, in according to the firing solution.

This was done continuosly, and, very importantly, even if the ship was turning.

Tacticaly, this has an enormous effect on the battle outcome, as it gives SoDak the capability of manovreing at will while continously mantaining a FC solution.

=======

So, in this particular example, Richelieu has very, very few chances of making any impact on South Dakota:
- because, if Richelieu would manouvre continously, to escape the shells of the US ship, it would lose its own fire control solution, but would, sooner or later, get hit.
- and, if Richelieu would decide to mantain its course, in order to have chances of striking SoDak, it will be hit continously until it will sink.

=======

Finaly, it's one thing to have 600y salvos at 20km and another to have 200y salvos at same range. Considering both ships could straddle each other, it's much easier to escape being hit by a 600y salvo than to escape a 200y one.


Cheers,
Alex

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RNfanDan
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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by RNfanDan » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:14 pm

Tacticaly, this has an enormous effect on the battle outcome, as it gives SoDak the capability of manovreing at will while continously mantaining a FC solution.
At least, until the ship's electrical power goes out..... :whistle:
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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by Keith Enge » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:20 pm

alecsandros -

I agree, the fire control computers of the time were amazing technical achievements. Those analog computers were intricate mechanical marvels. However, the fire control solutions still had to estimate the further position of the target. To do this, they used the "rates of change". What this means is that they assumed that the target would continue on its current course and speed (the rates of change measured this). Sometimes, adjustments were made if you thought that your target was "salvo chasing" (changing your course towards previous misses in hopes that the corrections made by the shooter would mean that they would then miss again).

Since firing solutions depended on rates of change, if your target didn't oblige by remaining on the same course, your firing solution was meaningless. You made the point that battleships didn't make wild maneuvers. Wild maneuvers aren't necessary, I'm merely talking about relatively minor variations from a base course. Anyway, maneuvers were much less restrictive in the WWII era; you no longer had battlelines of twenty or more battleships to coordinate movements. Also, radar, TBS radios, and CICs meant that maneuvering was safer because of better situational awareness. You also made the point that maneuvering was discouraged because it upset your own firing solution. However, I'm saying that disturbing your own firing solution is meaningless because it is useless if both side are maneuvering.

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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by lwd » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:14 pm

RNfanDan wrote:...Apart from that, there's no question at all about who wins---after all, it's ALWAYS the USN.....at least on paper, since most of the US battleships never engaged another, and even those that did, were not Iowas.

The mere suggestion of any foreign (allied or otherwise) battleship coming out on top against a USN battleship, is pure wishful thinking. :negative:

Hell, history records Yamato and Musashi were kept secreted away and out of action, awaiting the BIG ONE---which never materialized. In truth, the Japanese were so scared of the Iowas, they prayed to their war-gods for more speed to avoid even the slightest chance they might encounter one. :lol:
Was that suppose to be sarcasm or were you demonstrating that there is more than one poster here who makes use of strawmen?

As for the match up. Would Rchelieu have had any decent sort of radar fire control? When would her main guns have been repaired and the problem with her ammo fixed? Obviously if neither of these changes are made she's at a huge disadvantage. One effect of the above is that the US crew is likely to have significantly more sea time than the crew of Richelieu. On the other hand her guns are firing a higher velocity round which gives her some advantages at close range.

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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by alecsandros » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:07 am

@Keith,

Salvo chasing has come many many times in my wargaming with my friends :)

However, I can't remember any occasion during WW2 when a BB successfully managed to make such a thing. Hell, it was very hard even for destroyer Nowaki to escape from the 406mm 6-gun salvos...

The reason why we don't see such a thing has something to do with the size of the battleships. It's difficult to turn a ship of that size, especialy at 30kts+.

====
But for the sake of the discussion, let's say Richelieu makes a 30* turn to port, at 30kts. 30 kts x 1852 / 3600 = 15,42 meters/second.

At, say, 25km distance, South Dakota is plotting a firing solution, as if Richelieu would mantain a straight course. At that distance, the 406mm L45 flight time was about 40sec. So, South Dakota's main guns would open fire at a point 15,42 x 40 = 617meters in front of Richelieu.
However, 40 seconds later, Richelieu would not be there, but in a point 310meters away

But if, theoreticaly, we can accept medium-to-hard course alterations, let's remember that the US Navy had several procedures for firing the main turrets. One of them consisted of firing each of the 3 turrets individualy, each having a slightly different plotted target. This was called offset salvo firing.

So, after seeing what Rich was doing, South Dakota would probably adapt its firing solution to this mode...

It would be only a matter of time before a shell strikes... And at smaller ranges (20km or less) the shell flight time would be around 33sec, giving Rich a smaller escape path and a smaller place to hide.

==========

Historicaly, RPC firing was quite effective:
- BB West Virginia scored a hit from her first salvo against Yamashiro, at night, at 22km away
- CA Hipper scored hits on DD Achates in heavy seas, bad visibility, at 18km away

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Re: Richelieu vs. South Dak

Post by Francis Marliere » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:56 am

"Salvo chasing has come many many times in my wargaming with my friends :)

However, I can't remember any occasion during WW2 when a BB successfully managed to make such a thing. Hell, it was very hard even for destroyer Nowaki to escape from the 406mm 6-gun salvos...

The reason why we don't see such a thing has something to do with the size of the battleships. It's difficult to turn a ship of that size, especialy at 30kts+. "

Alecsandros,

this is the reason why in the wargame "Command at sea" salvo chasing is not allowed for battleships (and is moderately efficient for cruisers).

Regards,

Francis

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