USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

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Byron Angel
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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:09 am

alecsandros wrote: ... The action report that we have (Washington's), does not fit Lundgren's analysis, which is the only source mentioning 22 heavy hits. This source draws exclusively from 1 (key) eye wittness.
..... Horishi was second in command of AA/secondary armament under Lt Cdr Ikeda (the man who preserved Hayashi's sketch). Horishi's action position aboard Kirishima was (according to USSBS - Interrogation of Japanese Officers) in the control top - about as far away from the hull of the ship as it was possible to get. Your reliance upon Washington's action report is quite interesting. Nowhere in the Washington's action report (including the report of the gunnery officer) is there a single mention of the number of hits believed to have been scored on any of the targets taken under fire by Washington that night. Lee's report mentions a possible eight hits on Kirishima, but there is NO citation by Lee as to where he obtained that figure; maybe Horishi emailed Admiral Lee. Where did Morison obtain his nine hit figure? Oh look! He took it from the USSBS interrogation of Horishi - the ONLY officer from Kirishima interviewed by the USSBS. So now the information of poor Commander Hayashi (THE CHIEF DAMAGE CONTROL OFFICER!!!) comes to light many years later in Japan, where no US historians had ever conducted any native language research, and it is dismissed as crap. Why? Because it does not fit the accepted narrative.

alecsandros wrote: This source does not mention any underwater concusion damage, underwater splinter damage,
..... Very simple answer. Only Hayashi's sketch of physical hit locations survived the war, thanks to Lt Cdr Ikeda. The detailed damage report did not. Read Lundgren's paper more carefully and you will see this to have been the case.

alecsandros wrote: and does not explain why would 16" shells explode 1-2-3 meters behind 150mm of vertical armor, OR on hitting Kirishima's decks (instead of traveling ~ 20m and exiting on the other side, at least for the shells fired in the first stage of the firing)
..... You are committing the following errors of logic:
[ 1 ] You are assuming that the 16in shells passed cleanly through whatever initial armor they struck and then were free to travel as if in a vacuum without encountering any further obstruction in the interior of the ship. I brought this up before and your totally ignore the point.
[ 2 ] You are assuming that the holes in the deck above the secondary battery were caused by 16in deck hit impacts. Unlikely IMO. I suggest that these holes were the result of ammunition explosions in the secondary battery. By the way, these holes were seen and related by Lt Cdr Ikeda, officer in charge of the secondary battery. He must be a lunatic as well.
[ 3 ] Your post-fuze initiation projectile travel analysis is faulty. Assuming that the 16in shells hitting the hull did in fact pass into a magical obstruction-free vacuum within the hull of Kirishima, and further assuming that they suffered absolutely no loss of velocity whatsoever after striking the hull, they would only have travelled about 67 feet into the ship. Kirishima as originally constructed had a beam of 92 feet; after her inter-war bulging, her beam was 102 feet. Allowing for an average target inclination of 30 degree versus the line of fire, a projectile would have had to travel at least 106 feet to exit the opposite side of the ship - and that is based upon the original 92 foot beam. Even at a perfect 90deg inclination to the line of fire, the projectile still explodes within the hull of the ship. Do the math yourself if you do not believe my calculations. The USN did not design AP fuzes to permit their projectiles to pass through a capital ship without exploding.
[ 4 ] Your belief in the impossibility of below the official waterline hits ignores the fact that Kirishima was making 26 knots at the time of the engagement which would have produced a distinct sine curve waterline trace exposing more of her side depth amidships. In any case, an examination of Hayashi's hit sketch (as interpreted by Mr Lundgren) and the film taken by Dr Ballard show hits 7, 15, 16 and 20 all precisely where Lt Cdr Hayashi had marked them on his sketch.

alecsandros wrote: The total number of claimed hits does not fit with US 16" 9-battery night trial firings,
..... Absolutely, positively untrue. See "AMP Report No 79.2R - Accuracy of Gunfire of the Main Batteries of U.S, Battleships" of July 1944.

alecsandros wrote: It also fails to explain why did Horishi testified that Kirishima was "scuttled".
..... Horishi made the assertion on the basis of a comment made to him by an anonymous engine room crewman after their rescue and it may very easily be explained as the crewman's misunderstanding of the order of Kirishima's captain to flood the port engine room in an attempt to keep Kirishima on an even keel while the rescue of the crew was in process. In any case, this has absolutely nothing to do with the hit sketch - which is really the subject of this discussion.


alecsandros wrote:It also does not fit with % of hits obtained by any other navy's battleship, under any conditions (KGV versus Bismarck ? Hood bombarding Dunkerque ? )
..... Now that Rodney's situation versus Bismarck has been exposed as a completely different case from that of Washington, now we have to examine KGV and Hood at Dakar? Why are you silent about the case I raised concerning Iron Duke shoot versus Konig at Jutland?????????? OK, let's do KGV first:

From "Progress in Naval Gunnery - 1942" regarding the final Bismarck action involving Rodney and KGV:

> Although hits by the smaller calibre guns were usually quite
plain, it was difficult to spot those of A.P. shell, except at the very
short range at the close of the final action.

> The unexpected error made by the (KGV's) R.D.F. screen operator in mistaking
the echoes of the Bismarck, which at the beginning were very
indefinite, for those of splashes should be noted.

> The comparative ease with which the echoes of splashes were
observed at medium ranges was a valuable lesson of which full
advantage must be taken. As a first step, it is essential that the
observer at the R.D.F. screen should be provided with a hooter or
similar device connected to the fall of shot unit of the fire control
table so that he can identify own ship's fall of shot (the King
George V has since fitted a lamp for this purpose).
(Byron note: i.e. - KGV was shooting in concentration with Rodney.
Due to lack of a fall of shot clock for the radar operator, he was
unable to distinguish KGV's shots from those of Rodney.)

> King George V's Type 284 set was put out of action by shock of
gunfire after half an hour ...

> Although satisfactory at times, spreads in general appear to
have been large and in consequence there must have been many
false straddles and wasted rounds. The excessive spreads of the
capital ships' main armament salvos at the close of the final action
(range 3-4,000 yards) was possibly due to fatigue of layers as the
flatness of the trajectory could not have been wholly responsible ;
the need for more stringent pointer-following drills is indicated.

> A misunderstanding over the use of W/T communications
showed the need for more practice with F/C procedure,
although, in this instance, with the range becoming very low and
the two ships having different armaments, periodical reversion to
sector firing would probably have handicapped rates of fire to an
undesirable extent. The importance of the fire control W/T not
interfering with R.D.F. is clear.

> The performance of the King George V's turrets in the
important first half-hour of her action, during which some 40 to 50
salvos were fired, was satisfactory but after that the output was
very seriously reduced by breakdowns.

It also bears mention that KGV commenced firing upon Bismarck at about 24,000 yards at 8:49am, falling to about 2,500 yards at the time of cease fire at 10:21pm. During that time A turret was disabled for a half-hour; Y turret was out of action for 7 minutes and one other main battery gun was placed out of action for 30 minutes due to a cordite mishap. In other words the conditions under which KGV fought were, once again, vastly different from those encountered by Washington.

---

BTW - here is an excerpt from the report of Washington's gunnery officer. Please note bolded point for special interest:

USS WASHINGTON GUNNERY REPORT

< excerpted >

In the second phase target had been tracked by radar ranges and bearing and later by optical train. Fire was opened at 8,400 yards and a hit was probably obtained on first salvo and certainly on the second.

The normal fire control set-up of this vessel was used throughout, namely”

Collective fire, Director (forward main battery director) controlling in train.
Group 1 controlling in Plot.
Director IV (Stable Vertical I) controlling in continuous level and cross-level.
Director IV controlling firing circuit.
Radar ranging by indicating and voice.

Turret pointers were matched during phases in which the director was being trained on the visual target. During the time when the visual target was obscured, whether training by radar or generated (generated = using the rate of train derived from previously observed relative motion of firing ship and target), a turret spread in deflection was fired.

The selected train firing key was used in plot to insure that the firing pointer could see the light that indicates when the director train is on target. It has been the standard practice for this vessel to use that key at night when visual or radar train indications are accurate, shifting to generated bearing only in case of poor train indication or obscured target.

On the second main battery target, the tracking was done entirely by radar for at least five minutes. When the target finally came into view optically, checks given by the pointer indicated that the radar was exactly on.

It is of interest to note that against the second target (BB) “overs” as well as “shorts” could be seen optically. Salvos were walked back and forth across the target.


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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:11 am

dunmunro wrote:
Byron Angel wrote:

As I said earlier, the best way to reconcile the sources appears to be taking the underwater hits as damaging near-misses - which certainly could happen, and could cause massive hull damage and let water inside.
Really? A 40lb burster just isn't going to much in the way of UW damage, unless it actually explodes in contact, or nearly so, with Kirishima's hull.

I have to say that I'm pretty skeptical of the ~20 16in hits claim as well[/quote]


- - - - -


Those words belong to Alecsandros, not me.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by dunmunro » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:37 am

alecsandros wrote:Hello Duncan, Byron,

Actualy i did notvthink about the shells exploding in thecwater, but only about shock damage and splinrwr damage caused by the pressure wave produced wjen the shell hit tje water.
I remember Suffolk and Sheffield suffered some underwater damage from Bismarck's near misses ( which I don't know if they exploded ? )
IIRC, the damage to Suffolk and Sheffield was mainly, if not entirely, from splinters, as the KM normally used nose fuzed HE when engaging cruisers as this ammo would burst on striking the water and would create very large numbers of splinters.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:29 am

@Byron
I see you are getting rather emotional on the issue.

Before this goes further, please:

1) take a closer look at the damage drawings and see for yourself what was the beam of Kirishima at the points mentioned for the hits.
2) ask yourself how did the 16" 0.033 sec fuze exploded repeatedly 1-2-3 m behind the 150mm first layer of armor belt (as shown in the drawings)
3) refer to Italian and British records, that mention the "delta wave" occurring ONLY at speeds of 29kts and beyond
4) See also the night trial statistics of 1940 for US battleships, and not those of 1944 (which must have been done under full RDFC, with RPC enabled ?)
5) Ask yourself if Horishi was an alien who was teleported from Kirishima immediately after Washington ceased firing, and thus was unable to see anythng else on the ship the what he saw during the actual battle, and was somehow unable to speak to anyone, or form a clearer picture of what happened.
6) stop ignoring the fact that Rodney and KGV were firing against a slow, non-manouvreing ship, during daylight. From the way you quote thigs, it seems that the fact that they managed some hits on the Bismarck at all (during 90 minutes of battle !) appears to be a small miracle.
7) do not use hit % statistics that only apply to ships on paralel courses, which was obviously not the case for Washington vs Kirishima, as described in the official map of the battle.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:53 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:, and I think Bill Jurens is probably correct that it was HC and not AP.

I was of the same opinion for a long time. I read a compelling analysis online ( I don't recall the URL) that presented the case that it was indeed AP. I then compared this case to data found by George Elder and Neil Sterling on de-capping and it fit the description rather well.

Normally, the 38mm upper deck would not de-cap a major caliber AP shell, but given the acute striking angle because of the short range trajectory it likely could. The shell penetrated the upper armoured deck(at an acute angle) before reaching the barbet with out exploding on contact.

The first hit by Duke of York on Scharnhorst's Anton barbet makes an interesting comparison. In this case the shell apparently entered through the side of the hull but above the main belt, instead of first striking the upper deck as was the case in the South Dakota hit. The striking angle against the 40mm side plating meant that the Duke of York shell was likely not de-capped before it reached the barbet. If it had been Tirpitz it would not have been 40mm but 145mm KCnA steeply sloped and certainly de-capped.
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: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Byron Angel » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:36 am

alecsandros wrote:@Byron
I see you are getting rather emotional on the issue.Before this goes further, please:
1) take a closer look at the damage drawings and see for yourself what was the beam of Kirishima at the points mentioned for the hits.
2) ask yourself how did the 16" 0.033 sec fuze exploded repeatedly 1-2-3 m behind the 150mm first layer of armor belt (as shown in the drawings)
3) refer to Italian and British records, that mention the "delta wave" occurring ONLY at speeds of 29kts and beyond
4) See also the night trial statistics of 1940 for US battleships, and not those of 1944 (which must have been done under full RDFC, with RPC enabled ?)
5) Ask yourself if Horishi was an alien who was teleported from Kirishima immediately after Washington ceased firing, and thus was unable to see anythng else on the ship the what he saw during the actual battle, and was somehow unable to speak to anyone, or form a clearer picture of what happened.
6) stop ignoring the fact that Rodney and KGV were firing against a slow, non-manouvreing ship, during daylight. From the way you quote thigs, it seems that the fact that they managed some hits on the Bismarck at all (during 90 minutes of battle !) appears to be a small miracle.
7) do not use hit % statistics that only apply to ships on paralel courses, which was obviously not the case for Washington vs Kirishima, as described in the official map of the battle.

..... Yes I am in fact. I do not like it when people imply that I am stupid. Nor do I respond well to people who take such an obtuse pose as you have done in this “discussion”.

In order, yet again:

[1] I am aware of the beam of Kirishima at the places mentioned. You must ask yourself in which places where Kirishima is marked as having been hit was the effective beam LESS than 67 feet. You must also take into account target angle of inclination relative to the line of fire for the respective hits. And, once again, you would also do well to consider the fact that a warship is not an empty shell free of any interior obstructions to the path of a projectile.

[2] That is Lundgren's construct; he may or may not be correct in every respect. It has nothing to do with the real issue at hand: Hayashi's sketch of hit locations and his count of number of hits.

[3] Untrue. It is a phenomenon related to a non-planing displacement hull when its speed through the water reaches and exceeds its Froude number. I have very nice photos of several WW1 battlecruisers that never saw 29 knots showing plenty of bottom paint amidships at speed. Kirishima’s waterline length = 695.5 ft, giving a Froude value of approx 26.4 knots. In fairness this suggests that any low pressure effect amidship would likely have been quite minor. Nevertheless, driving through swells will produce a similar effect on an intermittent basis. And in the open ocean there is always a swell.

[4] Once again you are in "it cannot be true" mode because the data does not coincide with your preconceived ideas. The report I cited was released in July 1944. What sort of data do you imagine the authors were evaluating if they were doing their research during 1943 and early 1944? For your reference, the report states that it drew upon gunnery data going back to 1939. BTW, I’m still waiting for your response about Iron Duke’s 19 pct hits versus Koenig at Jutland.

[5] This is a ludicrous argument. Do you think that Hayashi and Ikeda were space aliens? Horishi’s position (to the best of our understanding from the USSBS historical record) was in Kirishima’s control top in his capacity as second-in-command of secondary and anti-aircraft armament. He was asked a question by postwar US interviewers several years after the fact about the number of hits suffered by Kirishima and answered with an estimate (that’s what use of the word “about” implies) on the basis of what he recollected having personally sensed and observed. The fact that Horishi’s count differed from Hayashi’s doesn’t make Horishi a liar; it just suggests that he was unable to distinguish all the hits that occurred. (The historical record yields similar situations aboard ship: officers on the bridge or in the control tower having no idea that a turret had been knocked out until they were informed by a messenger or discovered they were unable to make contact by phone). Horishi’s estimate of 40 light hits is CLEARLY excessive – by at least a factor of three – which suggests that he mistook some heavy hits for light hits. Meanwhile Hayashi (once again for emphasis – the chief damage control officer of Kirishima) physically toured the ship, inspected the damage, made a sketch of the hit locations he was able to identify and entrusted a copy of it to his fellow officer Lt Cdr Ikeda. Ballard’s video of Kirishima’s wreck confirms the locations of four hits specified in Hayashi’s sketch. Hayashi’s unforgivable sin was apparently to have died before the end of the war; Ikeda’s sin was apparently not to have been interviewed by the USSBS.

[6] I’m not ignoring anything, Alecsandros. You asked for an explanation as to how Rodney was apparently unable to achieve similar results versus Bismarck similar to that of Washington’s 20 hits upon Kirishima. I simply cited commentary from “Progress in Naval Gunnery – 1942”, which I will once again summarize for your benefit –
> Rodney opened fire at nearly triple the range (24,000 yards) and only closed into point blank range after Bismarck had been fully silenced and disabled.
> Rodney had no FC radar and was unable to obtain any useful optical ranges.
> British heavy guns were apparently having problems with excessive salvo spreads.
> Rodney was shooting in concentration with KGV and their coordination was faulty.
By contrast, Washington, despite the night, was engaging an optically visible non-evading, non-maneuvering target on a reciprocal parallel course, had perfect FC radar ranging, had a perfect gunnery solution before opening fire, was in smooth water with fine weather, and most importantly was shooting at 8,000 – 8,500 yards for the majority of the engagement time. It was the closest thing to target practice achievable in wartime.

[7] This is once again foolishness. Washington and Kirishima were on parallel reciprocal courses over the first phase of Washington’s fire that yielded an average range rate of barely 100 yards per minute. Peacetime target practices were conducted under more challenging range rates. The second phase of Washington’s firing was conducted with much greater range rates – on the order of 1,300 yards per minute – as the ships rapidly separated from one another on opposing courses, but the rate of change of range rate did not vary wildly. At any rate, provided that (a) correct range is known, (b) target speed and inclination are known to the firing ship, and (c) target ship maintains steady course and speed, relative courses do not make that much difference in terms of achieving a good FC solution. All three of the above criteria were largely satisfied in Washington’s engagement and she continued to hit (although probably to a lesser degree) even in the second firing phase. The value of the parallel course in the first phase (despite the reciprocal headings) was that Kirishima presented a broadside target aspect to shoot at. Washington did not have to deal with an narrow target aspect until the very end of her shoot (and even then, the short range and the lack of evasive maneuver by Kirishima was such that it did not appear to pose a big problem).


This discussion is over for me. I’m going to find a place to relax.


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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:58 am

@Byron
You amply described what it means to discuss about technicalities from one continent to the other, with one of the writers not being a native English speaker. :oops:

My opinion is that the 22 hits claim is unlikely to be a real one, and I have pointed out my arguments against it. I say again that I don't think it to be impossible , but not to likely.

In reply to your assessment, here are the following:
1) and 2) The only hits were Kirishima's beam was wider than 20 meters were 6, 7 and 19 (and possibly also 2,3 and 4 ?). All others 16 or 19 hits were located either in the superstructure (thinly armored and with not enouh width to permit explosion inside), OR in places were the hull is narrower than 20meters.
Reading the article carefully you wil observe that the explosions of the heavy shells immediately behind the armor plates ruptured the hull and let a large amoutn of water inside, thus forcing the ship to capsize. This interpretation is curious, to say the least, as the 16" shells should, at least in theory, behave differently (as an example, the 16" shells fired by the USS Massachussets several days before functinoed as expected...)

4) I didn't say it can not be true, just that according to 1940 USN night trials, the average hpmpg in 16" turrets was 0.3 at 10.000y and 0.4 at 8000y. USing 9 guns, and 3 minutes of firing, we get an expected 0.3 x 9 x 3 = 8.1 hits at 10.000yards and 0.4 x 9 x 3 = 10.8 hits at 8000yards.
IIRC , Washington was for the first time in action, so expecting much more than the average hpmpg during trials is difficult.

5) It was night, and the Kirishima was abandoned 2 hours after being fired at by Washington. My opinion, for what it's worth, is that the Kirishima had maybe 20 holes in her, but not from 20 heavy hits, but from 10 hits which exited on the other side and/or exploded very close TO the OTHER SIDE of the ship, thus letting water to rush in very fast.

6) Rodney fired a total of 380 shells, and managed some 20 hits. Most of the 380 shells were fired at ranges below 10.000yards. And what about KGV, with her fully trained crew and up to date radar ?

7) In theory yes, but in reality actualy hitting a ship which is moving fast away from the firing ship is very difficult to do, especialy in poor visibility/night. See what Bismarck did against the retreating Prince of Wales: she fired several salvos, but only hit her maybe once (in daylight, but at longer range than Kirishima).

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Steve Crandell » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:27 am

Alecsandros,

If AP shells performed as you think, no one would have used the delay the US and German navies used for their shells.

How do you know how many hits Rodney achieved? The only ones they counted were the ones seen to burst on impact. If it bursts behind armor you probably aren't going to see anything. If it bursts behind a splash you won't see anything. If it passes through the ship without bursting you probably won't see anything.

How did Rodney count her hits? The Germans sure didn't. The Japanese on Kirishima did.

There were two hits on Kirishima's turret 2. Are those some of the ones you think passed through the ship?

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:40 am

" Iron Duke’s 19 pct hits versus Koenig at Jutland."

What's the problem? the ships were doing perhaps 20kts each, range was 12000y and the Iron Duke was excellently positioned. Also, IIRC, there was still daylight ?

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:45 am

Steve Crandell wrote:,

If AP shells performed as you think, no one would have used the delay the US and German navies used for their shells.
Velocity was 600m/s and delay was 0.033sec. Thus distance traveled until detonation ~ 20meters.

With velocity 400m/s, distance traveled would be 13 meters.

[Take a look at the damage suffered by Jean Bart under Massachussets guns and see for yourself how much did the exploded shells traveled]

How do you know how many hits Rodney achieved?
I don't.
There are several books which summarize this. The largest hit count is 60-70 heavy hits (KGV+Rodney), and it comes from older sources.
More modern analyis hints to 30-40 heavy hits from both British battleships.

This was done by cross checking British and German survivor accoutns.
There were two hits on Kirishima's turret 2. Are those some of the ones you think passed through the ship?
I don't know. Should they ?

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Steve Crandell » Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:29 pm

Alexsandros, you are saying it was impossible for most of Washington's shells to explode in Kirishima. If you are correct, it seems to me it didn't matter very much. Lots of fires were started, the rudder was jammed, the forward magazine had to be flooded, the after turrets lost hydraulic power, and the ship eventually lost stability and sank. Perhaps you think that was done by 5" AA common ... I don't know ... as you say, the discussion has reached an impasse and we can't really do anything more than repeat ourselves.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:14 pm

Unlikely, not impossible.
My opinio is kirishima had to many holes to remain afloat.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by dunmunro » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:10 pm

Prior to 0100 Washington claimed to have engaged and sunk IJN ships while firing via radar at ranges of ~18K yds.

Washington engaged Kirishima which was on an opposite course from 0100-0107 at ranges of 8400 yds to 12650 yds, with a ~1.5 minute gap around 0103 creating two phases of firing. Washington fired 39 rounds in the first phase and 36 rounds during the 2nd phases. In the 2nd phase Kirishima made a ~70d turn away. Lundgren and Okun claim 22 16in hits during both phases.

Kirishima's manoeuvres during the 2nd phase along with the increased range, should have reduced the hit rate significantly. If we assigned 15 of the 22 hits to the first phase then we have Washington scoring a 38% hit rate. Apparently Washington was firing 3 gun salvos (14 x 3 gun salvoes fired by turret with an ~89% output), this means that almost every salvo was a straddle and scored a hit. If we reduce the hit rate during the 1st phase then we have to raise the hit rate during the 2nd phase to almost impossibly high levels considering the range and target course change.

There nothing in Washington's report that supports such high hit rates. In the report they claim that they could see the fall of shot optically and they they walked the salvos back and forth across the target- Yet no straddles are claimed although hits were claimed for at least 3 salvos including the 1st and 2nd. This seems to indicate that some salvos were clean misses otherwise why continually change the solution to re-cross the target?

In summary I just don't see evidence for such an extremely high hit rate, nor have I been able to find analogs in similar actions.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Steve Crandell » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:53 pm

The reason they walked the salvos across the target is that they weren't getting any radar spots on shell splashes. They wanted to be sure that some of the salvos had an MPI centered on Kirishima. That doesn't mean they weren't straddling with every salvo. They were shooting through the target at that range, with large spread due to the flat trajectory.

They would likely have missed with one or two salvos during Kirishima's turn, but of course it's not certain either way and we just don't know exactly what happened. Remember, it was Kirishima's people who claimed the large number of hits, not Washington's. Frankly I don't know how they would actually spot a 16" AP hit. There would be a small impact flash where it went through armor, but I don't see why they would see any flash from a burst since they would have been behind armor. This is something that confuses me about trying to spot AP shell hits.

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Re: USS South Dakota at Guadalcanal

Post by Byron Angel » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:06 pm

It is stated in her gunnery report that Washington's main battery salvoes were "walked back and forth" across the Kirishima, but the interval is not stated. The 200 yard interval mentioned in the report was related to the fire of her secondary guns. 16in interval was likely much less (+/- 100 yards???)

MPI deviation at 8,500 yards was < 25 yards.

According to the report cited in my earlier email, predicted daytime accuracy on a constructive target for the 16/45 under radar control was as follows -
8,000 yards ----- 70.4 pct
15,000 yards --- 21.0 pcs

The aggregate results 14/45, 14.50 and 16/45 main batteries in the Advanced Day Battle Practices of 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940 and 1941 gave an accuracy score of19.3 pct. Considering the inclusion of the 14in results, this correlates very closely to the prediction for 15,000 yards. 27 pct hits under actual battle conditions at 8,500 yards is easily within reasonable parameters.

Fall of shot both short and over was visible optically through the range-finders and a standard procedure was in place to spot via this method if necessary. Direct spotting would have been employed at this range, IF it had been necessary. The short range, radar FC and rocking ladders suggests that, if any corrections were in fact called for at all, they would have been of a minor nature - i.e., it would not have been a question of a salvo missing the target, but of keeping the target within the densest part of the beaten zone.

Why are there no comparable examples. What other BB engagements of any sort occurred at 8,500 yards during the war. Narvik and Cape Matapan are the only candidates I can think of.

B

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