One shot = One kill

Guns, torpedoes, mines, bombs, missiles, ammunition, fire control, radars, and electronic warfare.
alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3990
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

One shot = One kill

Postby alecsandros » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:13 am

Hello,

Th discussion about battleships sunk by gunfire rose the following questions:
- were the battleships used during WW2 sufficiently well protected to escape catastrophic damage by a single enemy projectile ?

Or, in other words, what would be the most damage a single projectile/ bomb could incur on a battleship target ?

===

The historic track record shows that even the most heavily armored battleships sufferd heavy damage from sinle attacks.
Musashi lost a boiler room after a 227kg bomb perforated the 200mm armored deck and exploded in the machinery spaces.
Yamato suffered badly from a submarine-launched torpedo that dislodged the upper and lower armor belts, needing months of repairs.

Other, more well known examples, such as Hood's demise, or Richelieu's crippling by a single aerial torpedo, or Prince of Wales destruction after the stern torpedo hit, tend to show that even the largest ships couldn't absorb contemporary attacks and still continue to fight...

===

If we were to use:
- 1 x 460mm APC type 91 shell
- 1 x 381mm APC Italian shell
or
- 1 x 227kg AP USN-built bomb
or
- 1 x type 93 long lance torpedo

what would be the maximum damage that could be realisticaly delivered on a battleship, assuming the above ammunition would function perfectly ?

Lutscha
Member
Posts: 198
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby Lutscha » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:11 am

Where is this 227kg bomb hit on Musashi described?

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3990
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby alecsandros » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:33 pm

Lutscha wrote:Where is this 227kg bomb hit on Musashi described?

I read it in G&D, Axis BBs.

Maybe there are also newer and better descriptions...

paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 571
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby paul.mercer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:13 pm

Gentlemen,
I think almost all battleships were generally immune to catastrophic damage from a single enemy projectile unless it was a very lucky hit - excluding the 6 ton bombs dropped on Tirpitz. Even old Warspite survived a hit from an guided arial bomb. I suppose it all depends what you mean by catastrophic, is it sinking or totally disabling? If it is sinking, then Bismarcks hit on Hood would certainly apply but if it is the latter then the hit on Bismarcks rudder or the torpedo hit on PoW's propeller shaft would also apply - I know some will dispute this but both must be viewed as 'lucky' ('or unlucky' depending on whose side you were on) hits.
One thing that has been discussed many times on these forums is the apparent failure to sink a modern battleship by gunfire alone, this is why - in my humble opinion that Bismarck would not have sunk PoW if she had persued her but would have risked further damage if she had done so.

Byron Angel
Senior Member
Posts: 730
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:06 am

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby Byron Angel » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:43 am

Roma

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3990
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby alecsandros » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:27 am

paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen,
I think almost all battleships were generally immune to catastrophic damage from a single enemy projectile unless it was a very lucky hit

Precisely.
It would appear battleships could absorb alot of damage,
but when udner scrutiny,
most of them are higly vulnerable to modern weapons [WW2 weapons].

And some of them were destroyed/badly damaged after receiving crippling hits in theoretically "safe" areas. [Hood, Jean Bart, Dunkerque, Bretagne, Hiei, and Roma come to mind now]. Others still got crippled and were sunk eventualy because of single damage in extremely vulnerable zones [Bismarck, PRince of Wales, ]

Even old Warspite survived a hit from an guided arial bomb.


Well, yes, but as I understand it, the bomb dind't explode inside Warspite, but somewhere beneath the keel, thus sparing the magazines from a direct hti (such as in the case of Roma)


One thing that has been discussed many times on these forums is the apparent failure to sink a modern battleship by gunfire alone, this is why - in my humble opinion that Bismarck would not have sunk PoW if she had persued her but would have risked further damage if she had done so.

Well, it was difficult, but not impossible. Look at HOod or Kirishima. Or Jean Bart and Dunkerque...

User avatar
tommy303
Senior Member
Posts: 1526
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:19 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby tommy303 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:34 pm

Look at HOod or Kirishima. Or Jean Bart and Dunkerque...


Except for Jean Bart, the mentioned ships were, or at least had begun their careers as battle cruisers rather than battleships. Jean Bart, on the other hand was put out of action by a combination of gunfire and aerial bombing. One can certainly argue that the hit which penetrated the secondary gun magazines would, had the magazines been filled, have done in the ship, but in the event it took both gunfire and aerial attack to settle her on the bottom. Bretagne, on the other hand was certainly sunk by gunfire alone when hit by shells from Hood, Valiant, and Resolution, but it is worth pointing out that her armour was not very good, even at the time she entered service, and was little more than that installed on the latest contemporary battle cruisers of her day.

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
paulcadogan
Senior Member
Posts: 1095
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:03 am
Location: Kingston, Jamaica

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby paulcadogan » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:07 pm

alecsandros wrote:Well, yes, but as I understand it, the bomb dind't explode inside Warspite, but somewhere beneath the keel, thus sparing the magazines from a direct hti (such as in the case of Roma)


IIRC, the bomb penetrated to the double bottom (as opposed to through) where it exploded - it was more in the midship area - nowhere near the magazines. There was another bomb that scored a near miss causing further damage to the hull. The ship was dead in the water and the story of her tow to safety was quite a tale.

But still, for an old ship like that - even with modernization - to absorb a Fritz-X and stay afloat was amazing!
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

User avatar
RNfanDan
Supporter
Posts: 424
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:06 pm
Location: USA

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby RNfanDan » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:28 pm

Under "normal" operational conditions---defined as doing what they were designed to do, under conditions expected for that purpose---I cannot come up with any ship, off the top of my head, that conforms to the one-shot-one-kill paradigm. Beatty's battlecruisers, as with the later Hood, were not designed for line-of-battle combat against battleships. While I am aware of Tsushima, I admit I am uninformed as to the Japanese action against the Czar's Russian fleet--did that battle produce any battleship-v.-battleship, single hit catastrophes?

Arizona I do not count, because that vessel was not knowingly going into battle, mobile at sea, nor "rigged for action"; same holds for the Italian battleships at Taranto. Roma was sea-going and manned, of course, but was she armed at the time? Did she have a full complement (gunners, fighting-system personnel) aboard? Was she at action stations? Sure, the radio-guided Fritz X broke her, but IIRC Roma took no evasive action, never fired against the bomber, and never expected an attack. A "moving Arizona", in other words.

I guess what it really comes down to, is that it seems to have taken weapons OTHER than those "expected" and which battleships were "designed" to withstand, to meet the definition of the one hit, one sink condition. But there is nothing but a HUGE grey haze surrounding the absolutes of design and purpose, and it is filled with exactly the stuff that proved to be the exception to the rule, with the possible exception of Hood. Indirect consequences are found everywhere else---Bismarck being perhaps the furthest from the center, ironically---she couldn't be sunk by shellfire, the very thing she was designed to deliver and accept; the torpedo didn't do much harm in that regard, but that's far from a "kill".

Yamato and Musashi took hundreds of hits by bombs and torpedoes combined, between the two, never facing heavy-gun shellfire from other battleships. Jean Bart was stationary, incomplete, and little more than a fixed emplacement, despite being afloat. Again, far from what she was designed and expected to do.

While pointing out the obsolescence of battleships, why don't we point out the vulnerability of ANY surface ship, even those roaming the seas, today? The Falklands war (1982) did nothing to reinforce the effectiveness of surface ships against weapons that could, and did, make one-shot kills. I would go so far as to say that any current-day surface vessels, thin-skinned and subject to the exact same laws of physics as those rowed ships at Salamis, are no better equipped to survive strikes by bombs, missiles, and torpedoes than most WWII battleships. In fact, from a defensive aspect, I doubt if that Exocet strike in the Falklands War would have done as much harm to Bismarck, as the little aerial torpedo which jammed her rudders, did.

The subject of "obsolescence" always seems to fold back onto itself, just as Halley's Comet comes 'round again and again, and when it gets right down to it, what's the difference between floating metal arsenals now and those that first projected power over water, centuries ago?
Image

alecsandros
Senior Member
Posts: 3990
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Contact:

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby alecsandros » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:50 am

tommy303 wrote:
Look at HOod or Kirishima. Or Jean Bart and Dunkerque...


Except for Jean Bart, the mentioned ships were, or at least had begun their careers as battle cruisers rather than battleships. Jean Bart, on the other hand was put out of action by a combination of gunfire and aerial bombing. One can certainly argue that the hit which penetrated the secondary gun magazines would, had the magazines been filled, have done in the ship, but in the event it took both gunfire and aerial attack to settle her on the bottom. Bretagne, on the other hand was certainly sunk by gunfire alone when hit by shells from Hood, Valiant, and Resolution, but it is worth pointing out that her armour was not very good, even at the time she entered service, and was little more than that installed on the latest contemporary battle cruisers of her day.


Richelieu was also devastated by a single torpedo hit to the stern, which caused the ship to settle by the bottom of the Dakar harbor.

In terms of post-treaty battleships, the historic track-record for catastrophic damage is scarce indeed. But there were also very few battleship engagements in the war...

Mutsu comes to mind here, with her explosion of 1943, probably due to sabotage.
Bismarck and Prince of Wales were both lost after suffering singular crippling hits to the stern.
Gneisenau suffered extensive damage after being bombed in Kiel in Apr 1942. One bomb sent red-hot splinters down an open ventilation hatch, and from there they reached the main cartridge magazines, provoing a huge explosion.

===

Standard practice for most navies was to place the magazines as deep inside the ship as possible. That meant placing them several meters below the waterline.

This would make a direct gunfire hit in the magazines quite unlikely, except a flawless performance of a Japanese diving shell...
However, the danger of plunging fire, especialy from the lower velocity guns (such as British 15"/L42 or US 16"/L45) should not be underestimated.

In my opinion, most of the contemporary battleships main magazines were vulnerable to 16"/L45 guns plunging fire in the 18-24km range, so catastrophic damage would not be excluded...

paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 571
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: One shot = One kill

Postby paul.mercer » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:36 pm

goderick wrote:one shot one kill is possible for sniper guns. sniper is a good weapons for long distance shooting.
you can kill the enemy is miles for one shoot one kill.


True,
I believe the record is around 2400 yards using a 338 Lapua round - but then, the target is not a battleship which is the subject of this discussion.


Return to “Naval Weapons”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest