Yamato's fuel situation-Nov 42?

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Dave Saxton
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Yamato's fuel situation-Nov 42?

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Sep 14, 2005 3:09 am

Does anybody know anything about Yamato's fuel situation in the fall of 1942? I'm just thinking about why the worlds most powerful battleship at that time, sat out the whole Guadalcanal campaign. I know that the ship was built on the rational of the decisive battle doctrine, but this campaign was the decisive campaign of the pacific war IMO. Did the IJN not use her because they couldn't afford the fuel? During the battle of Santa Cruz, Yamato and Mutsu transferred fuel from their bunkers to tankers. The tankers then re-fueled units of Kondo's task force at sea. Were Yamato's bunkers still depleted in Nov?

How many miles per ton of fuel consumed could Yamato travel, at 16 knots?

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Postby Monitor » Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:09 pm

I don't know really, but since Yamato fuel consumption was huge the Japanese probably thought it was more economical to refuel a few smaller warships than sending Yamato. BTW, how far was Truk from Guadalcanal theater of operations?

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Postby turlock » Wed Sep 14, 2005 6:22 pm

The Japanese did not want to risk such a valuable vessel in the narrow waters of the slot. Also, there was the speed issue. Old, fast but thin skinned Kongo's seemed like a better bet. I reject the sometimes stated assertion that the IJN considered them expendable, but the Japanese were worried about the planes operating from Henderson Field. Kongos had a better chance of a high speed retirement.
One must also remember that Yamato was the poshest ship in the IJN. Part of her was air conditioned, and there was more space per crewman than any other vessel they had. For officers there was also the incentive of the 1500 cases of Johnnie Walker, liberated from Singapore aboard. Japanese love Scotch, so maybe they wanted to sit on the air conditioned flagship and let someone else fight. This may sound rediculous, but one must remember that history shows that the IJN did not utilize Musashi and Yamato as the major combat assets that they were until the closing year of the war.
The planned operation by M and Y against New Guinea would have been interesting, if it had gone through.

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Re: Yamato's fuel situation-Nov 42?

Postby Tiornu » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:51 am

I believe the Nihon Kaigun site has a detailed look at this very issue.

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Re: Yamato's fuel situation-Nov 42?

Postby Tiornu » Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:53 am


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Postby Sergio » Sat Sep 17, 2005 6:58 pm

Hello, it is a shame the Yamato couldn't be sent to Guadalcanal and fight in the battles of 13-14 Nov 42. The American battleships South Dakota and Washington could be now part of the "Iron Bottom". If Yamato comsumed a lot of fuel then leave the Hiei and Kirishima at Truk and send Yamato in their place.

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Postby _Derfflinger_ » Sat Sep 17, 2005 9:56 pm

Sergio wrote:Hello, it is a shame the Yamato couldn't be sent to Guadalcanal and fight in the battles of 13-14 Nov 42.


Don't discount the "Johnnie Walker" factor! :D

Derf

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Postby Tiornu » Sun Sep 18, 2005 1:03 am

Yamato's gunnery would have to be far, far better than Kirishima's to have destroyed Washington and SoDak. Kirishima scored only a single main-battery hit during the entire fight.

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Postby Sergio » Sun Sep 18, 2005 3:19 am

Hello, I agree Kirishima only scored one hit in the South Dakota before SD run away damaged. Later Kirishima was put out of action in 7 minutes by Washington 9 shells of 406 mm and 40 shells of 127 mm. Now put Yamato with her heavy armor in place of Kirishima and she likely gets much less damage from Washington fire and in turn gets the chance to shoot back. In any case it is a much better bet for the Japanese because Yamato can't be sunk unless it is attacked by hundreds of planes and hit by 10 torpedoes! and in 1942 the US forces didn't have full control of the air yet.

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Postby Tiornu » Sun Sep 18, 2005 5:50 am

Yamato is certainly less vulnerable than the old battlecruiser. I have been trying very hard to find the details of Kirishima's damage, but even the Japanese sources are inconclusive. We know that some of her guns were knocked out quickly, but we don't know exactly how. Yamato's barbettes would have been vulnerable to 16in shells, though obviously less so than Kirishima's. We know that Kirishima's steering compartment was flooded, which would have been improbable in Yamato's case. Ultimately Kirishima was done in by flooding and poor damage control. Such a thing would be possible for Yamato, but I think we'd agree it's unlikely.

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Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Sep 18, 2005 5:23 pm

Thanks for the link Richard. I haven't seen that essay before. It's very interesting.

I have found some fuel consumption data for Musashi. At 19 knots Musashi consumed .75 tons per mile. This actually looks to be outstanding fuel economy for a battleship, especially one as big. However, at 27 knots Musashi consumed 1.53 tons per mile. So at 19 knots Musashi consumed 14.2 tons per hour. At 27 knots the consumption would have been about 41 tons per hour! Speeds much greater than 19 knots cost as much as three times the fuel.

A high speed run down and up the slot by Yamato would have been extremely expensive in terms fuel. It looks like a Yamato class battleship consumed much more fuel than estimated in the essay, given a Guadalcanal combat senario.

Monitor, Truk atoll is about 700 nautical miles from Sealark channel, depending on the route.

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Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Sep 18, 2005 5:57 pm

KGV was rated with a fuel consumption of .57 tons per mile at 16 knots. This is less than Yamato's rating 19 knots, but the rating is taken at 16 knots. The fuel consumption is probably about the same at 19 knots, or .75 tons/mile. I can't find any data on a KGV class fuel consumption at 27-28 knots.

Average fuel consumption for an Iowa class battleship in 1945 was ~.75 tons per mile. This is not a specif fuel consumption at a specific speed, but the average over a period of several weeks. In one case involving Missouri, the highest speed obtained was 27 knots, and the average speed for the period was 18 knots.

In a four day operation in March 42, Tirpitz and two destroyers consumed 8,100 tons on fuel oil. This involves the fuel consumed by the DD's, and it doesn't tell us how much of that Tirpitz alone consumed, but it gives us an idea of how much fuel one modern BB and escorts could consume in ~96 hours of combat, or near combat operations. I believe that Tirpitz consumed more fuel at 18-19 knots than the Yamato and Iowa class consumed, but I'm not sure.

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Postby Tiornu » Sun Sep 18, 2005 5:59 pm

"At 27 knots the consumption would have been about 41 tons per hour!"
!!!

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Postby José M. Rico » Mon Sep 19, 2005 8:51 am

Dave Saxton wrote:In a four day operation in March 42, Tirpitz and two destroyers consumed 8,100 tons on fuel oil. This involves the fuel consumed by the DD's, and it doesn't tell us how much of that Tirpitz alone consumed, but it gives us an idea of how much fuel one modern BB and escorts could consume in ~96 hours of combat, or near combat operations. I believe that Tirpitz consumed more fuel at 18-19 knots than the Yamato and Iowa class consumed, but I'm not sure.

Hello Dave,

According to Tirpitz's War Diary, she left Trondheim at 1600 hours on 6 March supposedly with her tanks full.
At 0800 hours on the 8th her fuel (Heizöl) stores were 6,460 tons.
At 0830 hours on the 9th, just before the Albacore torpedo attack, she had 5,785 tons.
At 0800 hours on 13 March she still had 3,490 tons left (after having transferred 1,722 tons to several destroyers and torpedo boats in Bogen Bay on 10 March).

Based on trials, at 19 knots Tirpitz could steam for 8,870 nm, 6.963 nm at 24 knots, and 4,728 nm at 28 knots. Since her tank capacity was 8,297 tons, the fuel consumption can be easily calculated.

At 28 knots Tirpitz fuel consumption would be about 49 tons per hour. That means that in theory she could steam at 28 knots for a week before running out of fuel.

At 19 knots Tirpitz consumed 17.7 tons per hour.

José
Last edited by José M. Rico on Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:52 am

I need to make a correction to my above post. During operation Sportpalst Tirpitz operated with three DD's, not two.

All three DD's were detatched to Tromso to refuel on March 8th, or after two days at sea. Friedrich Ihn rejoined Tirpitz at sea at 0645 on March 9th. Assuming, Tirpitz started with a full load, would mean that the three DD's consumed at least 3283 tons of fuel. This would mean that the three DD's consumed at 40% of the total fuel during the operation, and the battleship probably about 60%. Of course if Tipitz left Trondhiem with less than full tanks the fraction changes to less fuel consumed by the battleship.

From the departure from Trondeim to the expected IP of PQ12, Tirpitz had to steam at 25 knots. During the period Tirpitz searched for the convoy on the 7th, she averaged about 24 knots. During the wee hours of the morning of the 8th she ran east at 25 knots. The British found her travelling at 26 knots just prior to the Albacore strike. The period of time from the torpedo attack until her arrival in Narvik indicates a speed of 25 knots once again. She was using only 27 1/2 tons per hour at 25 knots. This is outstanding high speed cruising economy. Jose's data indicates that speeds above 25 knots caused a big jump in fuel consumption. A virtual doubling. This is puzzling???

Did Tirpitz have a system for more economic high speed cruising up to 25 knots? Or are the estimated fuel consumption for range perhaps representing a worst case scenario, a common German (and British) practice. The German official range estimates at 19 knots, indicate Tirpitz using about 15-17% more fuel than an Iowa or Yamato at 19 knots. The know track of Tirpitz, and the milege covered in the allotted times, gives us 25 knots. Yet Tirpitz is using ~60% the fuel predicted by the official fuel consumption ratings at such high speeds. Assuming Tirpitz sortied with topped off tanks, she would have averaged about 28 tons fuel consumption per hour. 27.5 tons per hour seams reasonable and realistic, as I doubt the tanks were 100% full at sailing.

Nonetheless, the high cruising speeds foiled at least two allied submarine torpedo attacks.


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