Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

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Steve Crandell
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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by Steve Crandell » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:08 pm

Kind of makes one wonder how the USN managed to survive 1942 at all. Their torpedoes didn't work very well; I don't think they scored any effective torpedo hits at all during the battles around Guadalcanal. The consensus seems to be that cruiser fire was ineffective. That leaves the destroyers, but I figure the next topic is going to be "Why was USN destroyer shooting so poor?". Probably down to the Mark 37 GFCS so I guess that's been taken care of in the "Tribal" thread.

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by alecsandros » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:23 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:Kind of makes one wonder how the USN managed to survive 1942 at all. Their torpedoes didn't work very well; I don't think they scored any effective torpedo hits at all during the battles around Guadalcanal. The consensus seems to be that cruiser fire was ineffective. That leaves the destroyers, but I figure the next topic is going to be "Why was USN destroyer shooting so poor?". Probably down to the Mark 37 GFCS so I guess that's been taken care of in the "Tribal" thread.
the recipe for success in the Pacific seems to be 16" guns and 1000lbs bombs dropped by SBD's :)

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by Steve Crandell » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:48 pm

alecsandros wrote:the recipe for success in the Pacific seems to be 16" guns and 1000lbs bombs dropped by SBD's :)
Well, as previously pointed out, the 16" guns at Surigao Strait were not especially relevant to the outcome. Enough torpedoes were fired that even incompetent sailors were likely to get a few hits. At Guadalcanal II, the USN was lucky both battleships weren't sunk by torpedoes and they were only there because there wasn't much left to send. The US area commander was under the misguided impression that they were useful at screening his carriers.

I'm pretty sure that the case can be made that if the British were there with Swordfish, the surface actions wouldn't have been necessary because most the the IJN ships would have been sunk by night time torpedo attacks. In fact, one very prolific poster on navweaps who like dunmunro has lots of references to quote considers US participation in WWII to be irrelevant. The British and Soviets could have won it without them.

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by alecsandros » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:29 pm

Steve Crandell wrote: I'm pretty sure that the case can be made that if the British were there with Swordfish, the surface actions wouldn't have been necessary because most the the IJN ships would have been sunk by night time torpedo attacks. In fact, one very prolific poster on navweaps who like dunmunro has lots of references to quote considers US participation in WWII to be irrelevant. The British and Soviets could have won it without them.
:D :D :D

Who ? Andy ?

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by alecsandros » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:30 pm

Steve Crandell wrote: Well, as previously pointed out, the 16" guns at Surigao Strait were not especially relevant to the outcome.
True,
I wanted to say early Pacific battles (1941-1942) :)
Most of the damage , and the most ship-killing damage, at Coral Sea, Midway, SOlomons, Santa Cruz, 2nd Guadalcanal, seems to have come from 1000pds bombs and 16" gunfire...

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by Steve Crandell » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:15 pm

alecsandros wrote: :D :D :D

Who ? Andy ?
Yes, of course.

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by delcyros » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:08 am

You may add the mediterranean cruiser battles between RN and RM. In cases were the range was medium or long, hitting rates were abyssmal poor on both sides. Some of these actions had a fairly large number of cruisers involved in long range gunnery (18,000-24,000 yard).

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by dunmunro » Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:27 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Steve Crandell wrote: Well, as previously pointed out, the 16" guns at Surigao Strait were not especially relevant to the outcome.
True,
I wanted to say early Pacific battles (1941-1942) :)
Most of the damage , and the most ship-killing damage, at Coral Sea, Midway, SOlomons, Santa Cruz, 2nd Guadalcanal, seems to have come from 1000pds bombs and 16" gunfire...

Hiei was crippled by 8in gunfire, and sunk by bombs and aerial torpedo hits.

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by alecsandros » Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:38 am

dunmunro wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
Steve Crandell wrote: Well, as previously pointed out, the 16" guns at Surigao Strait were not especially relevant to the outcome.
True,
I wanted to say early Pacific battles (1941-1942) :)
Most of the damage , and the most ship-killing damage, at Coral Sea, Midway, SOlomons, Santa Cruz, 2nd Guadalcanal, seems to have come from 1000pds bombs and 16" gunfire...

Hiei was crippled by 8in gunfire, and sunk by bombs and aerial torpedo hits.
... it was also wrecked by 5" gunfire, torpedoed and bombed and near missed by 500 and 1000lbs bombs, and finaly scuttled.

Not much ammo types left to fire on her , except battleship heavy guns :)

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by aurora » Sun Dec 14, 2014 9:41 am

I understand that the US cruisers (CA) were withdrawn from the intense island night fighting- because their slow rate of fire, meant they were not up to the task. It was maintained that they were transferred to carrier escort duties which suited them better - but this was incorrect. The CA's were sent to the Aleutians after Jan 1943 leaving the rest of the night fighting to the CLs. The 8" cruisers apparently just couldn't handle rapidly manouevering targets-hence the poor rate of fire.
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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by Steve Crandell » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:43 pm

aurora wrote:I understand that the US cruisers (CA) were withdrawn from the intense island night fighting- because their slow rate of fire, meant they were not up to the task. It was maintained that they were transferred to carrier escort duties which suited them better - but this was incorrect. The CA's were sent to the Aleutians after Jan 1943 leaving the rest of the night fighting to the CLs. The 8" cruisers apparently just couldn't handle rapidly manouevering targets-hence the poor rate of fire.
I don't think that happened. At least that is the first I've hear of it. In any case, I believe Dave is claiming ALL US cruisers had terrible gunnery, not just CAs. Presumably to include the post war Des Moines class as well, since they all had the same guns and the same fire control systems as they evolved throughout the war.

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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by aurora » Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:32 pm

Well that is what I gathered from Nimitz's book "THE GREAT SEA WAR " The last I could find where a number of CA's were deployed was at the Battle of Tassafaronga-when four CA's Northampton (sunk) and Minneapolis,New Orleans and Pensicola (severely damaged) The CL's were blighted by using non flash powder, which a)blinded the gun crews and b)lit up their battle line like a fairground- making easy targets for Japanese guns and torpedoes;
NB. Only one CA at Kormandordki- Salt Lake City and she had received some damage at
Cape Esperance; but I think Chicago was in the vicinity.
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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by Steve Crandell » Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:40 pm

I believe there were one or more CAs in almost every battle involving USN cruisers. Certainly as late as Surigao Strait.

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aurora
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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by aurora » Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:53 pm

Steve I was only referring to a "temporary arrangement" in 1942/43-to redeploy the CA's
who were (at that time) making a poor show at night fighting-I certainly never meant to
imply that they were removed from the OOB period-my apologies if that is how you picked that point up.
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aurora
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Re: Why was USN cruiser shooting so poor?

Post by aurora » Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:33 pm

FLASHLESS POWDER/PROPELLANT

Manufacturing at Indian Head of pellets that could be added to standard NC propellant and thus produce a reduced flash was not begun until September 1942. Production of a flashless formulation of NC was not under way until the very end of 1942. These propellants were issued in limited quantities; at the Battle of Augusta Bay that the CLs had only enough flashless propellant for a few salvos; and that they then fought most of the battle with standard NC. This was one of the reasons why it took the Japanese cruisers longer to find the American cruisers.
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