Preston: Worst warships of all time

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:44 pm

Still there is a very important issue that, when mentioned, is not addressed. At the begining of the combat both, SD and Washington started firing to several targets that were not that far with RDFC. If the Nowaki incident is used as the sole practical evidence that, as claimed here, the US Battleships were unbeateable in the sense they can fire blindly (at night or beyond the horizon even) and hit in the first salvo... then this action is clearly an opossing statement to that.

Then we have the "pride" effect of South Dak going dark, getting nailed by a bunch of "inferior" vessels and at the end running away. Now, when South Dak "disengaged" it "relief Lee which by no way indicates if it was under Lee´s orders (by the way Lee was a pretty competent commander who had a pretty good ship in the fight: USS Washington with her exterior sloped main belt instead of the cohersive internal sloped one of South Dak and Iowa). Even the rest of the USN crews knew that South Dak performance that night was miserable and they never let that to be forgotten at the "bar meetings".
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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby lwd » Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:03 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:...1. I was not refering, in principle to the electrical failure but to South Dak´s complete failure of hitting anything at the beginning of the night action, using the RDFC. It is a historical fact. Please read Lundgren´s article if other sources are not enough. Of course this initial action is not given the appropiate weight as the USS Washington´s action on Kirishima is given.

Clearly there was a learning curve in how to use RDFC. An even more extreme example might be the "battle of the Pips". There are a number of other battles where RDFC was not used anywhere near it's optimum. This however is a matter of training and doctrine not the technical capabilty of the ship.
2. The electrical failure is other issue. If South Dak was not accompaigned by Washington it´s fate could have been much, much worse. After all it was heavily hit.

The electrical failure wasn't all that serious a problem. A chief tying down the circuit breakers was. Certainly it could have been worse although I wouldn't consider 1 possibly 2 14" shells to be "heavily" hit.
3. We all know that Kirishima´s shells were not the appropiate ones, in principle, to maul South Dak.

No we don't know this. I have seen pretty strong arguments to the effect that she was using AP and that she wasn't. It's not clear at this point whether or not the shell that hit her barbett was an AP or HE round. Certainly she had AP on board.
4. Even Admiral Lee recons that the withdrawing South Dak from action that night was the only inteligent course of action. If the theater CO thought that was because he had good reason to fear for South Dak´s fate then. In case of doubt ask USS Washington´s crew about their opinion on South Dak´s perfomance that night.

And your point is? There is little question that withdrawing was the best course once she lost her electrical power. That doesn't mean "fear for" her "fate". There is little reason for a ship which is in her condition to remain in the battle. Indeed Washington checked fire for some time because she wasn't sure where SoDak was. A lot of Washingtons's crew opinion on SoDAk''s performance was due more to the claims of her capatain after the battle than the actual performance in the battle.
...this issue is independent on my opinion of Bismarck, or Hood, or Yamato, or KGV or whatever. Is independent. You must recognize that no all people think that US made stuff is "Non Plus Ultra". Some is, some is not. USS South Dakota is clearly not the best, as Iowa is not neither. USS Montana could have been.
...

Is it? independent that is? In any case which is "best" comes down in large part to how and when "best" is defined. In 1941 Iowa is clearly not the best for instance. In 1944 a very good case can be made for her being the best. After April 7 1945 it's hard to make a case for any BB then in existance haveing a decent chance of beating her. Then there's the question of are you considering just the ship or the ship and the crew etc.

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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby lwd » Thu Dec 31, 2009 5:13 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Still there is a very important issue that, when mentioned, is not addressed. At the begining of the combat both, SD and Washington started firing to several targets that were not that far with RDFC. If the Nowaki incident is used as the sole practical evidence that, as claimed here, the US Battleships were unbeateable in the sense they can fire blindly (at night or beyond the horizon even) and hit in the first salvo... then this action is clearly an opossing statement to that.....

Actually it's not. The radar picture in that area was very complex with a number of islands and a fair number of vessels. Furthermore a lot of the lessons had not yet been learned in how to use radar in naval combat. As I've mentioned other battles showed this as well. The battle of the pips being perhaps the clearest but even at Surigua one can see that radar was not used to it's full advantage by US forces. In the Nowaki incident we have a very clear cut case. IE it was a lone clearly identified Japanese ship with nothing else around it. Furthermore the Iowa and New Jersey had been through a fairly instensive training cycle on the use of radar although from what I've read New Jersey was off quite a ways in her intial salvo(s?). All of these however are training and doctrinal issues which are usually excluded from consideration in these discussions.

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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby boredatwork » Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:50 pm

hammy wrote:In their original guise , Furious , Courageous + Glorious were optimised to provide heavy naval support to an allied army landing on the shoal shores of Prussia , in the Baltic , and to be faster and stronger than any German oponent they might meet there ( Light cruisers) .

I dont see how the suggestion that the ships had major failings stands up , in the context of their intended role.



How exactly were the trio "optimized" for the Baltic operation? To my knowledge there was never a detailed plan - merely a vague concept in Fisher's mind. Although he sincerly believed in the plan, I would argue including the Trio in it would have been largely Fisher hyperbole, an afterthought to grease more Battlecruiser construction through a cabinet that had suspended all capital ship construction. "No, they're not capital ships... they're support ships for my 'war winning plan.' >_>" I would be extremely doubtful if Cabinet had given him the choice between the 3 freaks and another pair of Renowns that even he would have chosen the former.

What role were the trio designed to accomplish that couldn't have been done better by the equivalent effort spent on more conventional ships?

If Bombardment was important than why the high speed at the expense of protection/cheapness? You could build several Monitor style ships which would have been better fire support ships - even shallower draft, better torpedo protection, smaller crew, cheaper that would be better suited to the work - as indeed they proved themselves along the Belgian coast. Would the Dardanelles have gone appreciably better had "Large Light Cruisers" had been present? Why weren't C&G used against flanders rather than sitting out the war at Scapa? Even the projected R-Class conversions for Churchill's "Catherine" had substantial protection built into them for the role.

Their shallow draught is often cited as being a "baltic plan" feature but the design history of the Hood, begun soon after makes it clear that a shallower draught was a desirable feature in all ships for damage control purposes.

The 15inch Main armament removed from C + G was fitted later into Vanguard .
As this was essentially the same weapon system fitted to the Queen Elizabeth and the R class , one presumes it must have worked quite as well .


No one is saying it didn't... in battleships... when you're firing at other battleships... and you have enough that you can fire large salvoes to improve your odds of hitting at *reasonable* combat ranges.

If fighting light ships is your goal then why do you only carry 4 weapons that take 30 seconds each to reload? What advantages does that bring versus either a proper Battlecruiser or cruiser armed with say 7.5" or 9.2" weapons? You're not going to be hitting maneuvering cruisers or DDs at range and your vast hull is an easy target once they get in close.

As a parallel - The German 5.9" for example was an excellent weapon... for big ships... when mounted on Destroyers it performed less well than the lighter guns it replaced.

While the 4 inch triple secondary gun mountings were considered to be cramped for the crews to operate fully efficiently , they cant have been hopeless , as
A ) they would have been tested before being put onto a ship in the first place , and
B ) they were still fitted to the premium unit Repulse as late as 1942 when she was lost off Malaya .


That they were better than nothing does not mean they weren't failures.

a) because no ship has ever gone to sea with substandard armament
b) Repulse was hardly a premium unit in 1942 and given the shortages that plagued the RN many ships had to "make do" with armament that was less than ideal.
c) Hood was equiped with 5.5" and the G3s with 6" weapons because the 4" had long been seen as too light to deal with an enemy DD attack at the necessary range. The only thing the 4" had going for it was rate of fire - however the failure of the triple mounting was 2 single mounts could have achieved a higher rate of fire with fewer crew.

All three ships operated as carriers with the same original propulsion plants , and I know of no major problems with what were entirely conventional power plants.


The powerplants were indeed the most satisfactory element of the design, as I mentioned - however 'convential' needs to be qualified - if you consider them as "light cruisers" they merely repeated tried and true cruiser machinery with small tube boilers and geared turbines. If you consider them as "capital ships" they were innovative in being the first such British ships to be so fitted and thus serve as an indirect step between Renown's Machinery and the more advanced plant later fitted to Hood. Compared to Renown with 42 boilers for 112k shp they required only 18 for their 90k.


That the British Army , bogged down in head to head operations against the German Army in France , could spare no resources for a substantial seaborne descent onto the shores of Pomerania was not the fault of the ships , nor was the rapid development of efficient aircraft so that by 1918 the thing was impossible to do.


If the ships had been built pre-war you couldn't hold the designers accountable for unforseen circumstances.

However they were laid down in 1915...

22 September, 1914 - HMS Aboukir, Hogue, and Cressy sunk by U9
27 October 1914 - HMS Audacious sunk by a mine.
March 18 - Bouvet, Ocean, Irresistable sunk, Inflexible, Suffren, Gaulois damaged by a line of 20 mines.

The Baltic Plan was already impossible to do in 1914, (unless the Germans just lie down and do nothing) it just wasn't as evident. British strategic thinking was stuck in the Napoleonic wars, where in the days of sail you could move an army faster by sea than you could overland and support it on a shoe string. But by 1915, in northern Europe, it should have been evident that the days of half assed amphibious operations were long gone. In 1944 it took thousands of ships to move and support an army merely accross the channel, after months spent dstroying the french transportation network to isolate Normandy from reinforcement. To attempt to do the same in the Baltic in 1916, in the heart of the German empire, in the face of mines, torpedoes, submarines, the HSF, and especially the German railroads pooring reserves in, and keep it supported accross the North Sea - the "Baltic Plan," with or without the LLCs would likely have quickly degenerated into a disaster that would have made Gallipoli or Anzio look successful in comparisson.

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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:51 pm

lwd:

In the Nowaki incident we have a very clear cut case.


Of course it is clear because it suits your nationalistic approach whilst the South Dak`s poor performance had a lot of lame excuses in order to rule it out of the parameters. I did not expect anything else, anyway...
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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby yellowtail3 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:50 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Then we have the "pride" effect of South Dak going dark, getting nailed by a bunch of "inferior" vessels and at the end running away.


What is a 'pride' effect, and who ever said South Dakota got nailed by 'inferior' vessels? They're your quotes... who are you quoting? Yourself?
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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby lwd » Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:51 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:lwd:
In the Nowaki incident we have a very clear cut case.

Of course it is clear because it suits your nationalistic approach whilst the South Dak`s poor performance had a lot of lame excuses in order to rule it out of the parameters. I did not expect anything else, anyway...

It has nothing to do with my "nationalistic approach" it simply demonstrates what a trained crew can do with the weapon system. Indeed there are indications for instance the post war shoot detailed at the navweapons site that the system was capable of even greater performance. SoDak's "poor perormance" is quite simply an indicator of teething problems with new systems and some training issues. There is little to indicate otherwise. IE a simple post battle replacement fixed the root electrical problem. As for the "fire control" problem we'd have to be able to determine just what she was firing at before we can say what the nature of it was. But it's clear from other battles that there was defintily a learning curve for use of radar systems and SoDak was at the bottom of the curve for that matter so was Washington.

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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby yellowtail3 » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:30 am

lwd wrote:But it's clear from other battles that there was defintily a learning curve for use of radar systems and SoDak was at the bottom of the curve for that matter so was Washington.


...and still, Kirishima ended up at the bottom of the the sea.
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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:00 pm

yellowtail:

...and still, Kirishima ended up at the bottom of the the sea.


No thanks to South Dak but to Washington. It doesn´t matter how you put it, South Dak´s performance at Guadalcanal was miserable, which you are not going to accept just because she was an American vessel. If the exact situation could be applied to a Japanese, or German or Italian vessel you will criticising and making statements against that ship. It´s biased...
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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby lwd » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:19 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote: ... It doesn´t matter how you put it, South Dak´s performance at Guadalcanal was miserable, which you are not going to accept just because she was an American vessel. If the exact situation could be applied to a Japanese, or German or Italian vessel you will criticising and making statements against that ship. It´s biased...

Is it? I haven't heard anyone on this board claiming SoDak turned in an even mediocre performance in that particular engagement. This appears to me to just be another of your strawmen.

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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby yellowtail3 » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:43 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:yellowtail:

...and still, Kirishima ended up at the bottom of the the sea.


No thanks to South Dak but to Washington. It doesn´t matter how you put it, South Dak´s performance at Guadalcanal was miserable, which you are not going to accept just because she was an American vessel.

I haven't 'put it' any way, Karl, or even discussed the South Dakota. Is there something you want me to... accept, here?
Karl Heidenreich wrote:If the exact situation could be applied to a Japanese, or German or Italian vessel you will criticising and making statements against that ship. It´s biased...

I think your personal pre dispostion of Historic understanding is clouding your reasoning here, Karl, and perhaps that is why you attribute position & motivation to me, that aren't mine. To recap: LWD noted that, re: skill at radar employment - "SoDak was at the bottom of the curve for that matter so was Washington" - I simply pointed out that despite that, the Jap BB still sank.

Did I get something wrong, there?
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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:19 am

I haven't 'put it' any way, Karl, or even discussed the South Dakota. Is there something you want me to... accept, here?


Yes, you put it in the way that we cannot criticize South Dak, or anything US, because there is always an excuse for poor performance that can be applied at discretion. The Second Guadalacanal clearly shows this and I was just exposing it.
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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:21 am

I think your personal pre dispostion of Historic understanding is clouding your reasoning here, Karl, and perhaps that is why you attribute position & motivation to me, that aren't mine. To recap: LWD noted that, re: skill at radar employment - "SoDak was at the bottom of the curve for that matter so was Washington" - I simply pointed out that despite that, the Jap BB still sank.


According to the point of view generally expressed then the RDFC is the "weapon" that puts the US BBs in a superior level over other enemy ships. But if they were in the bottom part of the curve, by November 1942, then they could not, by definition, be superior to a May 1941 German BB or Japanese BB. By definition it is. Don´t you agree?
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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby Bgile » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:53 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:According to the point of view generally expressed then the RDFC is the "weapon" that puts the US BBs in a superior level over other enemy ships. But if they were in the bottom part of the curve, by November 1942, then they could not, by definition, be superior to a May 1941 German BB or Japanese BB. By definition it is. Don´t you agree?


I certainly agree, since the US ships in question weren't even in commission then.

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Re: Preston: Worst warships of all time

Postby yellowtail3 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:06 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:According to the point of view generally expressed then the RDFC is the "weapon" that puts the US BBs in a superior level over other enemy ships. But if they were in the bottom part of the curve, by November 1942, then they could not, by definition, be superior to a May 1941 German BB or Japanese BB. By definition it is. Don´t you agree?


No, I don't agree, not with your premise, that "RDFC is the "weapon" that puts the US BBs in a superior level over other enemy ships" - you didn't hear that from me. Besides - the US fast battleships had plenty of other virtues, apart from the radar(s) they carried.

So, not agreeing with our premise, I'll have to say your conclusion is wrong, too, seeing that it's based on a bogus premise.

Then there's little timing issue Bgile mentions...
Last edited by yellowtail3 on Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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