Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

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Garyt
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Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Garyt » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:18 pm

Any thoughts on if the Japanese CA's should have carried the Long Lance?

I'm not suggesting they go without torpedoes. The Japanese did have some pretty effective non oxygen based torpedoes, and Japan did not seem to have the problem the US did with fuses/detonation.

Put a little R&D into coming up with an effective standard propulsion torpedo, and I would think Japan could have had some very effective torpedoes available for a CA.

The Long Lance was a great weapon for destroyers, even CL's, but with the Long Lance you are essentially putting your Magazine on deck with no armor protection. For a lightly or non-armored destroyer no big deal, but a CA has armor that protects it's magazines at least against most 5" and smaller fire. It also provides protection against bombs.

There seem to be almost as many CA losses to exploding long lance ordinance on deck as there were CA kills with the Long Lance. I'd think going with conventional type torpedoes would have given them almost as much punch without the Achilles heel of the Long Lance.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Steve Crandell » Thu Jun 04, 2015 7:28 am

I don't think that generally speaking, torpedoes belonged on cruisers. The Germans lived with the trade off I think because they planned to be commerce raiders and they are a more effective way to sink a merchant than guns are.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Garyt » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:41 am

Spoken like a true American CA skipper, Steve :D , or at least a proponent of the Baltimore class.

But I think Torpedoes were indeed a viable option for CA's who's primary job was to engage other warships.

The Japanese hi at about 7% with their surface to surface torpedo fire, but looking at later war tactics where they did not engage in as long of range fire (Solomon's campaign is an example) the hit rate jumps to clower to 10-12%. With 12 or more torpedo's (the older CA's carried less, newer one more), they would get on average 1.2-1.5 hits if used with the doctrine of 43 and thereafter based on shorter range launches.

Significant, and also significant for the fear and disorganization the torpedo launches could cause the enemy. I think Taffy 3 owes much of it's survival to the torpedo attacks that caused some of the Japanese main battle line, including the Yamato, to turn away from combat.

But I do indeed think a non oxygen fueled torpedo should have been developed for the Japanese CA's. It's not like they would have the same torpedoes as the US early war ones - I think Japan could have had a very effective standard fueled torpedo.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Byron Angel » Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:49 am

IJN design philosophy, in consequence of the nation's certain position of numerical/productive inferiority in a war against the USA, was to seek a technical edge wherever possible. I wonder whether any significant performance advantage was achievable from a conventional torpedo design. While the Type 93 series oxygen torpedoes were never really employed during the war in their intended tactical role - i.e, very long range surprise browning attacks against a US capital ship battle-line, they did prove themselves to be a highly effective and successful weapon overall.

I cringe to think of the potential of the Type 93 torpedo, had it possessed acoustic homing capability.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Garyt » Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:16 pm

IJN design philosophy, in consequence of the nation's certain position of numerical/productive inferiority in a war against the USA, was to seek a technical edge wherever possible.


Yes indeed. Though I think that merely having 12-16 fully functional non O2 based torpedoes gives one a tactical superiority over non torpedo armed opponents.

While the Type 93 series oxygen torpedoes were never really employed during the war in their intended tactical role - i.e, very long range surprise browning attacks against a US capital ship battle-line,


I would not say they were to be surprise attacks, as both sides would be aware of the other's presence. But night attacks beginning at 20,000 meters, and after a reload closer range attacks was the doctrine. Where I would agree they were not used was against a Jutland style battle line of US Capital ships, as this just never came to fruition, AKA the "Decisive Battle" (Which Yamamoto deemed highly unlikely).

The Japanese expected a hit probability in the 15% range even factoring the long range 20,000 meter attacks, which they fell short of.

In fairness to them and their doctrine however, they never really went against that "main battle line" of capital ships - what they came up against would have been thought of more as skirmishes compared to the decisive battle. And perhaps against a plethora of slower moving, deep draft targets they would have had better success.

Their shorter range sniping was more successful though, approaching that 15% range (closer to 10-12% actually).

But for all of it's quality, the long lance fell short as an effective long range weapon, it's speed and warhead size proved to be more important than it's long range (The hit at Java Sea not withstanding).

I cringe to think of the potential of the Type 93 torpedo, had it possessed acoustic homing capability.


That would have been truly frightening and given Japan a huge edge in surface to surface battles, far more than enough to counter US radar aided gunfire.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:27 pm

Where I would agree they were not used was against a Jutland style battle line of US Capital ships, as this just never came to fruition,


What about the failures of IJN torpedoes during Second Guadalcanal? It cost the Japanese that decisive battle.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Garyt » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:49 pm

What about the failures of IJN torpedoes during Second Guadalcanal? It cost the Japanese that decisive battle.


I would not say the torpedoes "failed" in a mechanical sense, they just were inaccurate.

Kind of reminds of a team that shoots a lot of 3's in basketball - when they hit, great, when they do not it's a problem.

But that was a bad day for them. This was sandwiched between two very good days for them, the First Battle of Guadacanal and Tassafaronga, both days where they hit at 12.5% or better. You have to take the good with the bad with torpedoes.

As far as "costing them the battle", I'd say that was more of a result of other issues. One was the fact that the Kongo class was more of a battlecruiser or light battleship, the 15" guns are not quite the Equal of the Washington/South Dakota Class.

Even worse, the 10" or so barbette and belt protection were certainly not the equal of the 12" or so US Belt, or 15" or so Barbettes.

Did not help either that the Japanese battleships were loaded with incendiary shells instead of AP shells.

I'd not even blame radar for the Japanese loss - the Japanese were able to hit the US vessels, just with not as much effect.

Lastly though, two battleships and 4 destroyers, the US contingent at the battle, is hardly the target rich enviroment of a Jutland style battle - though they really should not have based most of their strategy of this type of battle happening. Leyte could have possibly been such type of a battle, except for that the US had such an overwhelming advantage in the air.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:05 am

Garyt wrote:Kind of reminds of a team that shoots a lot of 3's in basketball - when they hit, great, when they do not it's a problem.


These torpedoes were not shot from 3 point range (see Frank). They were from inside the paint. They were shot at 7,000 meters or less, at good angles with good solutions. They were slam dunks. And there were ~38 fired at South Dakota alone. Thirty Eight. Something was obviously wrong. Some apparently exploded when contacting Washington's bow wave. 0% hits against the BBs. If only a handful had scored both battleships could have been sunk. The Japanese could of, and likely should have, wiped out the entire USN battle group save Gwin.

the 15" guns are not quite the Equal of the Washington/South Dakota Class.



At those ranges the US armour protection was also over matched by the old Japanese 14".
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Mostlyharmless » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:54 am

The failure of the Type 93 torpedoes at the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal requires some qualification and explanation.

The qualification is that the two light cruisers and some of the Japanese destroyers involved were equipped with the older Type 90 torpedoes rather than the oxygen fuelled Type 93. The first team had fought the first battle and that night mostly older destroyers were accompanying Kondo's heavy ships. Samidare, Asagumo and Teruzuki were all new enough to be equipped with the Type 93 but together with the older Ikazuchi and cruiser Nagara had taken part in the first battle two nights earlier (Ikazuki had suffered significant damage). Nagara, Samidare and Ikazuki are mentioned as launching torpedoes but neither Asagumo nor Teruzuki appear to have launched any torpedoes despite being ahead of the American force during the battleship action and presumably close to Kirishima (they eventually took off survivors). Thus it seems plausible that they had used all their torpedoes in the earlier battle. However, there were Type 93s on Atago and Takao and also on the two destroyers sent to help by Tanaka.

In fact, the older and slightly slower Type 90 torpedoes (with Samidare's Type 93s) seemed adequate. However, they were fired at the four American destroyers that were placed 5,000 yards ahead of Lee's battleships according to Robert Lundgren's detailed article at http://www.navweaps.com/index_lundgren/ ... lcanal.pdf. Ayanami probably hit USS Preston which was misidentified as a heavy cruiser. The cruiser Nagara and destroyers Ikazuchi, Samidare, Shirayuki, and Hatsuyuki probably torpedoed the destroyers Walke and Benham. The cruiser Sendai and destroyers Shikinami and Uranami were astern of the American force and not in a position to use their torpedoes.

Unfortunately for the IJN, Kondo did not initially believe that he was faced with battleships and did not react quickly or effectively. Lundgren states that his order to Hashimoto (Sendai, Shikinami and Uranami) caused him to nearly collide with Kimura's force (Nagara, Ikazuchi, Samidare, Shirayuki, and Hatsuyuki) and took both out of the action. Hara Tameichi seemed to believe that Kimura Susumu had not shown great skill and perhaps was implying that he should have regained contact with the enemy and fired his reload torpedoes.

The American force also benefited from a little discussed secret weapon, camouflage. Washington was initially identified from Atago as stopped and sinking by the bows, exactly as the paint scheme was designed to suggest. Clearly if the speed was so severely underestimated, a hit was improbable even with the World's best torpedoes. Similarly, South Dakota's camouflage may have made it very hard to estimate her course and speed.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Garyt » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:41 am

These torpedoes were not shot from 3 point range (see Frank). They were from inside the paint. They were shot at 7,000 meters or less, at good angles with good solutions.


You missed the analogy I was making. I meant that surface to surface torpedo fire is by it's own nature less predictable than gunfire. Perhaps it's partially due to the law of small numbers, there will be a lot more rounds fired in an engagement than torpedoes fired.

If you get to moderately close range for a naval gun (definition of "moderately close" varying by gun of course), you are going to get hits unless there is some major factor working against you, like damaged or destroyed fire control, rough seas and a smaller vessel, etc. etc.

With torpedoes in a battle situation it's not so certain, and I am not including sub or air launched torpedoes in this equation.

Hence the reference to a 3 point shot, as a torpedo is going to far more damage to a battleship for instance (usually) than 8" or 5" shells.

At those ranges the US armour protection was also over matched by the old Japanese 14".


Interesting point, as a rough rule of them without info on some of the specifics, it seems at around 10,000 yards the barbette of the US armor should be in danger of penetration by the 14"/45 (by comparison, the barbette of a Kongo class could be penetrated at al ost any range by the 16"/45). What seems to be at least on the surface a bit confusing though was the non-penetrating hit on South Dakota's barbette from the Kirishima. Dented it, made it unusable I believe, but a penetrating hit would have stood a very good chance of causing a magazine explosion on the South Dakota. Why it did not pierce I do not know, but the HE or incendiary rounds would not have dented it like it was. Was it luck perhaps for the South Dakota? I'm not sure, but a penetrating barbette hit would have made a huge difference in the battle obviously.


BTW - Interesting stuff, Mostlyharmless.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:19 pm

Garyt wrote:You missed the analogy I was making. I meant that surface to surface torpedo fire is by it's own nature less predictable than gunfire. Perhaps it's partially due to the law of small numbers, there will be a lot more rounds fired in an engagement than torpedoes fired.


I know what your trying to say. However, what we find in this particular case is a similar situation to German torpedoes early war, and American torpedoes for much of the war. Perfect set ups at reasonable ranges and no hits just like in the American and German cases. 38 torpedoes fired at one target, during one phase of the battle, is not a small number. Against warships, salvos of torpedoes are typically fired with some torpedoes meant to cover errors in target speed and angle. The Japanese obviously knew their business when it came to shooting torpedoes at night. In the German case and the American case it was faulty torpedoes, not statistical probabilities.

Americans still had problems with their torpedoes running erratically after Oct 1943. What they had to do was after taking delivery on board of each re-load set was to disassemble each torpedo and carefully over haul each one, one at a time, to reduce the numbers of faulty torpedoes.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:42 pm

Garyt wrote:Interesting point, as a rough rule of them without info on some of the specifics, it seems at around 10,000 yards the barbette of the US armor should be in danger of penetration by the 14"/45 (by comparison, the barbette of a Kongo class could be penetrated at al ost any range by the 16"/45). What seems to be at least on the surface a bit confusing though was the non-penetrating hit on South Dakota's barbette from the Kirishima. Dented it, made it unusable I believe, but a penetrating hit would have stood a very good chance of causing a magazine explosion on the South Dakota. Why it did not pierce I do not know, but the HE or incendiary rounds would not have dented it like it was. Was it luck perhaps for the South Dakota? I'm not sure, but a penetrating barbette hit would have made a huge difference in the battle obviously..


Mr Okun is of the opinion that this was indeed an AP round and not an HE round. I agree with him here. An HE round could not reach the barbet intact and then dent it so significantly, even if it was a dud. What happened was that the shell was previously de-capped by hitting the upper deck at an acute angle before it reached the barbet. This is in keeping with un-capped shells striking face hardened armour at velocities above what is called the critical velocity. The de-capped shell will shatter when striking the face hardened armour in such conditions even if the thickness of the armour is not thick enough to defeat the same shell still retaining its cap.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Garyt » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:22 am

This is in keeping with un-capped shells striking face hardened armour at velocities above what is called the critical velocity. The de-capped shell will shatter when striking the face hardened armour in such conditions even if the thickness of the armour is not thick enough to defeat the same shell still retaining its cap.


From what I have gathered, de-capping is a rather inexact and perhaps evolving science. Mr Okun has had to go back and revise his opinion on the matter.

From what I've gathered, most of the "test results" have been based on smaller shells, which may or may not behave exactly as larger naval shells.

IIRC, would it not take about .2 calibers to decap a shell based on a 30 or so degree angle?

Which would then mean 2.8 inches or so would be needed for a de-capping layer?

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:55 pm

Garyt wrote:
This is in keeping with un-capped shells striking face hardened armour at velocities above what is called the critical velocity. The de-capped shell will shatter when striking the face hardened armour in such conditions even if the thickness of the armour is not thick enough to defeat the same shell still retaining its cap.


From what I have gathered, de-capping is a rather inexact and perhaps evolving science. Mr Okun has had to go back and revise his opinion on the matter.

From what I've gathered, most of the "test results" have been based on smaller shells, which may or may not behave exactly as larger naval shells.

IIRC, would it not take about .2 calibers to decap a shell based on a 30 or so degree angle?

Which would then mean 2.8 inches or so would be needed for a de-capping layer?


De-capping has been studied ten ways to Sunday for decades. It is not all that inexact. British post war studies, using battleship caliber shells and appropriate scale of sum armour thickness, indicate that, in the case of vertical protection with caliber or sub caliber sum thickness, that "break up of the de-capped projectile occurs essentially 100% of the time." That is a quote from the document. Also they determined that in the cases of a proper de-capping array, that effective thickness meets or exceeds the sum thickness if de-capping occurs.

The striking angle against the upper armoured deck in this case was about 80* from the normal. De-capping was a certainty in this case, even with only the 38mm armoured deck. The result of this hit is its own proof.

If the range had been greater with a less acute striking angle, then the 38mm deck would not have been thick enough, although it would yaw the shell some. Indeed some USN documents refer to the upper deck as a yaw deck. 50mm armour grade upper deck will essentially de-cap any BB caliber shells at any battle ranges in the case of deck hits.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Japanese CA's and the Long Lance

Postby Garyt » Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:32 pm

De-capping has been studied ten ways to Sunday for decades. It is not all that inexact.


My point as that if one of the current "authorities" on the subject has had to change his "rules" if you would or laws as to how a de-capping layer performs, then it is still somewhat inexact.

I guess my biggest problem with it is that the newer US BB's of WW2 are often given credit for having a de-capping layer, when number one these were not designed as de-capping layers but as splinter protection, and number two this layers are to thin to decap most BB shells at lower levels of obliquity. They can decap cruiser shells, but the main belt is fairly cruiser proof to begin with.

But yes, I was not thinking of the decks ability to decap because of the high angles of obliquity. At that angle it would be pretty easy to decap the shell.

Most battleship and cruisers had 1 or 2 lighter armored "decks" before the main armored deck, did they not?


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