Best rebuilt battleship?

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Dave Saxton » Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:22 pm

The primary reason the old USN BBs sat out 42 and most of 43 was because of fuel supplies, although their slow speed probably was a secondary factor. The USN did not have enough fuel supply to operate both battleships and carrier task forces at the same time up to the Battle of Midway. After Midway, they could afford to start to operate a few of the new BBs, but only because these newer battleships used about 30% less fuel than the older ones per miles steamed. By late 43 the USN had ample fuel supplies of course.
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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Gopher » Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:18 pm

Let's transpose ships to the different battles. Could the R class have won Suriago? With 28 destroyers half a dozen heavy cruisers available they would not like the USN Battleships broke sweat. Could the West Virginia's etc pulled off 2nd Narvik, matched the the Queens performance at Matapa, Landed hits on the Gnenisenau in a stern chase, ran convoys to Malta, or in place of the Italians to North Africa. Could they operate in the "Slot"? The answer is an emphatic no simply because they were too slow and too underpowered. Helm work saved the Queens and other Ships in the Med time and time again. Remember in the Med it was 1000kg and 500kg bombs not the toys Vals dropped on you.. The old American battleships weren't used because there was no environment they could operate in until the allies had overwhelming superiority.

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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Rick Rather » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:45 am

Gopher wrote: At Suriago strait the American battleships had 28 destroyers present...


...and you don't feel that the large number of destroyers available was in any way related to the presence of 100+ transports just north of the battle area?
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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby alecsandros » Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:05 am

Gopher wrote:Let's transpose ships to the different battles. Could the R class have won Suriago? With 28 destroyers half a dozen heavy cruisers available they would not like the USN Battleships broke sweat. Could the West Virginia's etc pulled off 2nd Narvik, matched the the Queens performance at Matapa, Landed hits on the Gnenisenau in a stern chase, ran convoys to Malta, or in place of the Italians to North Africa. Could they operate in the "Slot"? The answer is an emphatic no simply because they were too slow and too underpowered. Helm work saved the Queens and other Ships in the Med time and time again. Remember in the Med it was 1000kg and 500kg bombs not the toys Vals dropped on you.. The old American battleships weren't used because there was no environment they could operate in until the allies had overwhelming superiority.

Well it depends.

Allthough they were pretty old, they served well. USS Colorado took a terrific punishment from Japanese coastal batteries (22 x 152mm hits) , but still got her crew home.
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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Gopher » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:17 am

That is an engagement with forts, which is my argument that was the only role the class could function against and required overwhelming superiority to put her in position to do that. Could she have bombarded Genoa like Malaya and Renown? Could she have bombarded Henderson Field? The answer again an emphatic no. Would it have made a difference if America had scrapped those ships sunk at Pearl and put their guns on purpose built monitors saving vastly in crews. The anwer is that would have been yes that was the pragmatic solution. The America Battleships just don't come close to the Italian, RN or IJN rebuilds in utility and availabity when it actually counted. How many Allied capital ships were lost after 1942? The hard work had been done and the hard battleship work was done by the rebuilds Renown and Queens. and those other old war horses that never had that luxury.

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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Gopher » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:27 am

Nope I don't feel that those destroyers were there to protect the Transports. America commissioned hundreds of DE's which by that stage of the war since the submarine threat in the Atlantic had been defeated had nothing to do but protect transports from submarine attack

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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby alecsandros » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:35 am

Gopher wrote:That is an engagement with forts, which is my argument that was the only role the class could function against and required overwhelming superiority to put her in position to do that. Could she have bombarded Genoa like Malaya and Renown? Could she have bombarded Henderson Field? The answer again an emphatic no. Would it have made a difference if America had scrapped those ships sunk at Pearl and put their guns on purpose built monitors saving vastly in crews. The anwer is that would have been yes that was the pragmatic solution. The America Battleships just don't come close to the Italian, RN or IJN rebuilds in utility and availabity when it actually counted. How many Allied capital ships were lost after 1942? The hard work had been done and the hard battleship work was done by the rebuilds Renown and Queens. and those other old war horses that never had that luxury.

... But they could (and did) perform convoy escort missions, shore bombardment (when under own air umbrella - Salerno, Sicily, NOrmandy, Tinian, etc), and blockade strategic choke points (such as Surigao).

They were usefull, IMHO...

They certainly accomplished much more than the Italian rebuilds, and on par with the British ones...

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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:30 pm

Gopher wrote:, Landed hits on the Gnenisenau in a stern chase, .


Only after 16 broadsides at less than 16,000 yards. I would expect an old USN BB to shoot at least that good.
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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby RNfanDan » Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:07 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Only after 16 broadsides at less than 16,000 yards. I would expect an old USN BB to shoot at least that good.


I wouldn't expect that, at all...the old "BB" could never have accomplished a stern chase of the much faster Germans, to begin with. Furthermore, given the horrific sea state at that time, the "BB" would be at an even greater disadvantage as it forced its fat, squat hull through the mountainous waves.

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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:11 am

RNfanDan wrote:
Dave Saxton wrote:Only after 16 broadsides at less than 16,000 yards. I would expect an old USN BB to shoot at least that good.


I wouldn't expect that, at all...the old "BB" could never have accomplished a stern chase of the much faster Germans, to begin with. Furthermore, given the horrific sea state at that time, the "BB" would be at an even greater disadvantage as it forced its fat, squat hull through the mountainous waves.

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Hi Dan,

But the devil is in the details. It was not a stern chase at that phase of the encounter. Luetjens did not turn away until after the 15" hit through Gneisenau's foretop knocked out his radar. ( Luetjen's thought he was engaging the main Home Fleet battle squadron, and that Renown was Nelson. He did not know it was only Renown and nine destroyers at that time).

Renown was unable to keep up a high speed chase. Renown was forced to reduce speed to 20 knots because of the sea state. After it appeared that the Germans were starting to pull away, Renown attempted to increase speed, but it became impossible to work the forward turrets, so speed had to be reduced once again. Nonetheless, Renown was able to keep Scharnhorst in range for some time, because Scharnhorst suffered a loss of speed due to machinery problems very much like it would at North Cape. Gneisenau was soon out of sight having opened up the range to 25km. After awhile, Scharnhorst was able to increase speed to 26 knots, but this was followed by another break down which reduced its speed to 15 knots. After about 15 minutes Scharnhorst was able to build back up to 25 knots. During the next hour, Renown chased Scharnhorst eventually working up to 29 knots, by the virtue of turning its forward turrets backs to its bow. But even after working up to 29 knots, Scharnhorst still eventually pulled away.

Of course West Virginia could not chase Scharnhorst for hours, but it was a pretty stable gun platform and may have performed well during the initial phase.
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: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Gopher » Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:20 pm

The West Virginia would not be even in a position to be in the initial stage of the fight. In "that" storm with 28,000 SHP the West Virginia would likely be going backwards. The Renown has 120,000 horses and a superior hull form, the Scharnhorst had 165,000 shp and was 20 years younger than Renown.

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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby MVictorP » Mon May 29, 2017 11:13 am

Tiornu wrote:For a ship of the line, the WeeVee and Tennessees were the best. Their advanced FC outfit gave them an unsurpassed ability to hit, and they were powerfully armed.
For a more mobile design, Renown or a Kongo would be good choices. The Italian ships represent a remarkable achievement, but I really distrust their armor--not that the others were all that great.


Mobility is, IMO, essential to a successful modernization.

WWII wasn't a naval theatre of fighting battle line columns: It was an aeronaval, chase-them and evade-them theatre where slower ships were used as monitors. They can't prowl the sealanes effectively, they can't do acceptable carrier group escort, they are hopeless in chasing an enemy unless it is crippled. Without speed all of that fine FC would be limited to assist in bombing beaches. I would take a QE on the modest speed advantage way over a WeeVee if I intend them to be of any use.

Deck armor, TDS and increased AA capacities are also paramount for an older ship to survive WWII.

Best Battleship modernization was IMO the Kongos, because they were re-made fast. As a result they were, without a doubt, the most useful of the Japanese BBs in spite of their modest firepower and armor. The Italian beauties were just too much modernized for the result. Renown's refit was more acceptable, still the fastest UK BB from Hood to Vanguard.
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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue May 30, 2017 3:19 pm

MVictorP wrote:Deck armor, TDS and increased AA capacities are also paramount for an older ship to survive WWII.


Deck armour is an elephant in the room when it comes to modernized old battleships. Even modernized they did not have sufficient deck armour for WWII. Many of these older builds were originally built with protective plating/high tensile steel, or even mild steel built into their " main armored decks". Such materials are not up to the task. They are not homogeneous armour. West Virginia, for example, had only 1.5" of STS (special treatment Steel), which is homogeneous armour, stacked on top of 1.5" of mild steel. Mild steel only has a tensile strength about 1/2 that of STS. Together they do not add up to 3" effective thickness.

This not adding up is not only due to the inadequate materials used in older construction but also due to the fact that stacking plates on top of each other only produces a marginal increase of effective thickness. For example, using the Krupp short cut for calculating effective thickness of multiple thin plates (Square root of Plate 1 squared plus plate 2 squared plus plate 3 squared.......) we come up with an effective thickness in the case of West Virginia of only 2.12". Moreover, that would only be the case if both plates were STS, instead of one of the plates being mild steel. For the same reason stacking new plates of modern homogeneous armour on top of existing decks only yields a marginal improvement in terms of effective thickness. There is no easy solution to this problem, without significant deconstruction followed by substantial reconstruction. A massive investment of time, labor, materials, dock yard resources, and treasure. And you still end up with a old, slow, high fuel consumption, poor TDS, design. Isn't investing in new construction much better?

It is very fortunate that these flaws were not exposed in combat, and that the German torpedoes failed to function when Warspite sailed up those Norwegian fjords in 1940.
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: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Tue May 30, 2017 8:09 pm

MVictorP wrote: "The Italian beauties were just too much modernized for the result."

Hi, I fully agree: they were elegant ships (with some very innovative features, like the attention to AA armament in Doria class), but their protection was not improved (compared to a WWI standard) and their speed was still too low to operate with the Regia Marina "new" battlefleet.

Dave Saxton wrote: " Isn't investing in new construction much better?"

Hi Dave, yes, it is! However, thinking purely from a financial viewpoint ,we know that the temptation to spend (even a small amount) less is always strong despite your very good reasons. In addition, diplomatically (due to treaties and conferences) it was "easier" to modernize an old battleship than to build a brand new one.

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Re: Best rebuilt battleship?

Postby MVictorP » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:55 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
MVictorP wrote: "The Italian beauties were just too much modernized for the result."

Hi, I fully agree: they were elegant ships (with some very innovative features, like the attention to AA armament in Doria class), but their protection was not improved (compared to a WWI standard) and their speed was still too low to operate with the Regia Marina "new" battlefleet.


Apart for "Faa Di Bruno", the Italian fleet sure had the most handsome ships. The rebuilt DiCavours were especially nice.
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