Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 1110
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by paul.mercer »

Hi Hans,
No offence meant!
I'm sorry if you think I have put words into your mouth re Tirpitz taking on 'allcomers, it was your apparent enthusiasm for both Bismarck and Tirpitz that gave me that impression.
If Steve Crandell is correct and the average rate of fire for heavy guns (whether 15/16 or 18" is around the same, then rate of fire between Tirpitz and Yamato does not come into the debate. What does, is the fact that you have 8 x15" shells each weighing 800kg (1784 pounds) going one way from Tirpitz and (9 x 18") shells, each weighing 1460 KG (3,220 pounds) going the other from Yamato.
Given that the scenario is a close range shootout (and presuming that both crews are fully worked up and capable of roughly the same rate of fire and accuracy, or even if the fire from Yamato was a bit slower) in reality who is going to come off worst - ignoring the possibility of a 'lucky',shot?
I'm afraid I will have to side with Steve's summing up on this one, so once again we will just have to agree to disagree.
Steve Crandell
Senior Member
Posts: 867
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

I agree with Hans that German heavy artillery was capable of being fired faster than everyone else because of the cartridge cases they used. However, that doesn't make much difference in normal real world situations because range and time of flight really was the determining factor in rate of fire most of the time. There were exceptions, but overall there wasn't a lot of difference. For example, Bismarck averaged about one round per minute at Denmark Strait, even though she could and did fire much faster for short periods.
hans zurbriggen
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:15 am

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello Mr. Mercer, hello Mr.Crandell,
TP guns best reload time was 20 secs, Yamato was 35 secs.
This might not be a problem for Yamato at long range or with high range-change rates: in these cases, practical RoF depends on flight time and observation interval + corrections to fire solution, as Mr.Crandell correctly said. Here 9x18" overrule 8x15" (but fire direction ranging might be more important than weight of salvos anyway).
Max possible RoF would be however an advantage for TP in bad visibility or at night, when ranges are very short and rapid fire (by broadsides) can be used. In this case TP RoF would be potentially much higher than Yamato's.

I agree that Yamato's 18" was a devastating gun, against which TP could however exploit her unique protection scheme, giving her immunity at medium-short distance (below 22 km), while Yamato would have been immune to TP gun from extreme distances down to 14 km.
This is why I see a clear advantage for Yamato only at long distances (when Yamato can blow TP out of water and TP simply cannot), but at such distances TP could avoid confrontation, thanks to higher speed. At medium-short distances, advantage is for TP (better immunity, better RoF, better radars, better internal subdivision, better armor quality, higher redundancy, larger protected length and volume).

Outcome might however depend on many other factors: encounter geometry, who hits first, lucky hits, crew training, commanders skill, intelligence availability, etc. , thus no sure winner imho.

hans
Steve Crandell
Senior Member
Posts: 867
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

Hans,

You seem to assume that Tirpitz belt is like a force field and shells which penetrate the MAB and the slope and then explode aren't going to do any damage. Also, extreme subdivision isn't going to matter very much if an 18" shell explodes and destroys several layers of subdivision. It's also apparent that you believe that a shell exploding above the MAD isn't going to do any damage. Or a shell exploding in a barbette and setting off ready powder charges.

Bismarck failed to keep up a 20 sec firing interval and I don't believe Tirpitz could either. The loading clock I've seen for Yamato gives 30 seconds IIRC, similar to that of every other modern battleship.

Of course, in real life a confrontation between the two, especially a point blank confrontation, would be dealing with cruisers and destroyers and lots of torpedoes, and we know a lot about IJN torpedoes, which were in fact devastating in close range engagements. But that's really a different topic.
hans zurbriggen
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:15 am

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello Mr. Crandell,
I do not underestimate effect of shells exploding outside vitals, and BS was completely disabled by such 14" and 16" hits: however they all failed (after explosion) to damage vitals and I doubt that even a super-heavy shell with much explosive charge can produce splinters able to penetrate BS MAD (80-100 mm) anyway. It took to 2 battleships + 2 heavy cruisers 40 minutes firing at short range to silence all BS guns (+ other 50 minutes to destroy her). At such short distance, 1 single 15" shell from TP could penetrate Yamato MAB (no additional protection layer available), detonate magazines and close the match.

Bismarck actually achieved 20 secs reload time during trials and the fact that she did not during Denmark Strait engagement is due to range changing so rapidly to possibly never allow an effective 'rapid fire' (despite accounts). With such geometry, spotting of fall of shells and corrections are unavoidable. At night or at short distance, rapid fire is well possible for any ship.
Where have you got 30 secs for reload time for Yamato ? I have all my references in line with what reported by Naval Weapons site (http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNJAP_18-45_t94.php): 35 secs at +3° elevation (45 secs at max elevation).

hans
paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 1110
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by paul.mercer »

hans zurbriggen wrote: Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:31 am Hello Mr. Crandell,
I do not underestimate effect of shells exploding outside vitals, and BS was completely disabled by such 14" and 16" hits: however they all failed (after explosion) to damage vitals and I doubt that even a super-heavy shell with much explosive charge can produce splinters able to penetrate BS MAD (80-100 mm) anyway. It took to 2 battleships + 2 heavy cruisers 40 minutes firing at short range to silence all BS guns (+ other 50 minutes to destroy her). At such short distance, 1 single 15" shell from TP could penetrate Yamato MAB (no additional protection layer available), detonate magazines and close the match.

Bismarck actually achieved 20 secs reload time during trials and the fact that she did not during Denmark Strait engagement is due to range changing so rapidly to possibly never allow an effective 'rapid fire' (despite accounts). With such geometry, spotting of fall of shells and corrections are unavoidable. At night or at short distance, rapid fire is well possible for any ship.
Where have you got 30 secs for reload time for Yamato ? I have all my references in line with what reported by Naval Weapons site (http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNJAP_18-45_t94.php): 35 secs at +3° elevation (45 secs at max elevation).

hans
Hi Hans,
Re the points you made in your last post; as you correctly state, Bismarck was completely disabled by the 14 &16" hits, whether or not she was then in a sinking condition is debatable, but the facts prove that you do not necessarily have to sink a ship to take it out of the battle and it is both Steve's and my opinion that Yamato's 18" shells, which, as I pointed out were almost twice the weight of a 15", would seriously degrade Tirpitz at any range, while it would take an extremely 'lucky' hit to seriously damage Yamato and an awful lot more to degrade her into a state where she could no longer fight.
Furthermore, as you said re reloading times under battle conditions are likely to be much slower than under trial conditions, anyone who has watched 'Sink the Bismarck' where loading scenes were taken (I believe) on HMS Vanguard, will see that the loader (and no doubt all the other turret and magazine crew) had quite a strenuous job so again, it is debatable whether this speed could be kept up for long.
In one point you are correct, a single shell (or Torpedo) 'landing 'in the wrong spot' on any warship of any size could possibly either sink or disable it, both Hood, Bismarck and later, PoW suffered from one shell or torpedo hit which ultimately resulted in their demise, but in this particular scenario its a bit much to rely on a 'lucky' hit in an attempt to prove that Tirpitz could successfully take on Yamato in a straight shoot out, even more so if it was at close range.
Steve Crandell
Senior Member
Posts: 867
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

Hans,

My apologies about the 18" rate of fire. I got my figures from my memory of the firing clock in the book about Yamato by Janusz Skulski. I remember being very surprised when I saw it.
hans zurbriggen
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:15 am

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello Mr. Mercer,
we may agree to disagree, as I feel TP would have her chances against a Yamato, at least at short ranges.
I do not agree that 18 " can seriously damage TP while 15" cannot damage Yamato: the whole superstructure was vulnerable on both ships and only turrets were safe on Yamato vs vulnerable TP turrets. Vitals were more vulnerable on Yamato than on TP at short ranges.
BS was disabled in 80 minutes fire (under 15 km) by 2 battleships (whose combined 10x14" + 9x406" fire is imho worse or at least comparable to 9x18" fire) + 2 heavy cruisers. In case she was not a 'sitting duck' (moving at 6 knots, unable to keep stable course and firing solution) she would have landed 160 salvos at her opponents in this same timeframe (using the 'slow' practical RoF of 2 salvos per minute as at Denmark Strait).
Probability to hit Yamato main magazines in 80 minutes at ranges under 15 km would have been huge, not surely just a 'lucky hit'. I think I remember that M.Santarini in his 'BS and Hood' evaluated to 40 salvos the statistical certainty (probability = 1) for BS to blow up Hood (no luck at all).
I think that a ship without magazine immunity (as Yamato under 14 km) against a ship with immunity (at least over 6-8 km to be cautious) is at serious risk, as Hood demonstrated, even if Yamato could have damaged very seriously TP in the meantime.


hans
Steve Crandell
Senior Member
Posts: 867
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

And of course you don't think it's likely for Yamato to get any underwater hits on Tirpitz during this entire battle, but Tirpitz is going to get citadel penetrations on the former. And you think Yamato's non citadel damage is going to be the same as Tirpitz, which has about half the internal volume and half the explosive power in her shells.
hans zurbriggen
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:15 am

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello Mr. Crandell,
I think underwater hits might be very unpredictable and somehow 'lucky hits' (depending on wave around hull and anyway limited to a very small area, while citadel extension makes hits against it much more probable, even with Japanese shells designed for underwater trajectories.
TP has more protected volume than Yamato and for sure not half total volume: can you provide evidence ?
Explosive charge is an advantage for Yamato, but better subdivision will compensate (at least partially).
You think immunity at short ranges, RoF, radars, subdivision, armor quality, redundancy, protected length and volume, speed, etc. are irrelevant ?

As I said, final outcome will depend on many factors, but it would not be written in advance imho.

hans
paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 1110
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by paul.mercer »

Hi Hans,
We all have our personal opinions on practically any battle that has ever been fought and as we have both said, in the end we have to agree to disagree on the possible outcome.
Both Steve and I have expressed our opinions on the outcome of a Tirpitz v Yamato confrontation which is basically, Yamato, even if she had a slower rate of fire, would be able to hit Tirpitz so hard with with her 18" shells at practically any range and so it would rapidly degrade her ability to continue, even if Tirpitz had managed to do a fair amount of damage to the superstructure of Yamato.
In earlier posts we have compared Tirpitz v Yamato to the unlikely and remote possibility of Renown taking on and winning against Tirpitz, possibly by a 'lucky' shot, I think this also applies to Tirpitz winning against Yamato.
Both Bismarck and Tirpitz were in many opinions the best of their time, but like everything else time and progress moves on and although they remained very powerful ships, others like the Iowa's and the Yamato's outclassed them both in range finding, armour and firepower.
To use and old boxing parlance, 'A good big one will almost always beat a good little one'
Once again, we will just have to agree to disagree on this topic as the subject seems to be just going around in circles.
Have a good Christmas.
Paul
Thorsten Wahl
Senior Member
Posts: 832
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Thorsten Wahl »

in a series of evolutionary designs, usually the bigger is better.
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!
Thorsten Wahl
Senior Member
Posts: 832
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Thorsten Wahl »

hans zurbriggen wrote: Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:31 am
Bismarck actually achieved 20 secs reload time during trials ...
These were speed tests of the ammunnition supply.

The magazines/hoists could deliver about 19 shells per minute to the guns.

and firing cycle was documented with 25,6 sec according Witzell (Chief Marinewaffenamt).
maybe with safety procedures switched off the maximum RoF may increased somwhat.
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!
hans zurbriggen
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:15 am

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello to all,
respecting different viewpoints, Merry Christmas to everybody here !

hans
Steve Crandell
Senior Member
Posts: 867
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:05 pm

Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

Merry Christmas!
Post Reply