Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

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kevin32422
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Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by kevin32422 »

Supposing the Bismarck and Tirpitz made it to the Pacific undamaged to engage the Yamato, If you are the German commander how would you attack?
Steve Crandell
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

Probably close range to increase the number of hits and hope to overwhelm her with volume of fire. Also minimizes deck armor weakness vs long delay IJN AP. Separate to force her to concentrate on one ship to the exclusion of the other and make it slower for her to switch targets. They need lots of hits. Probably couldn't penetrate turrets but jamming them seems to always be a possibility considering historical battles.
paul.mercer
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by paul.mercer »

Hi Steve,
You are probably right, but I believe that when Yamato was sunk she had a bit of a 'scratch' crew on board. If she had a crew made up of some of the men from earlier Japanese navy then taking on Bismarck and Tirpitz might have a different result. Also, re getting in closer to obtain more hits would be a very risky business with a ship that mounted 18" guns which I doubt that even the much vaunted armour on the German ships would keep out.
But as you say, a hit or two on hit or near the turret or barbett of Yamato might turn the tide in the Germans favour, I also understand (rightly or wrongly) that the rate of fire of the 18" weapons was not that great, if so that would be to her disadvantage against the German ships.
I'm still not sure of the result, although the German ships could badly damage Yamato I don't think they would sink her, but given enough hits from her its quite possible she would first disable and then sink them.
An interesting subject!
Steve Crandell
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

As far as I know, Yamato's main battery fired at the same maximum rate as most every other main battery gun, i.e. two rounds/min. I think some people just assume the since the guns were "huge" they must fire more slowly and I don't think that is correct.
hans zurbriggen
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello all,
Yamato in 1944 would be no match for Bismarck+Tirpitz: German ships were better protected at short range, their theoretical RoF was higher, their radar suite (including fire control and blind fire) was far better, they were faster and they could together force a very close range engagement. I don't see much chance for Yamato.

An interesting scenario is Tirpitz alone against Yamato:
if capable to get close to Yamato, Tirpitz could penetrate her vitals (including magazines) from below 12-14 km (through 410 mm inclined belt). Yamato could possibly penetrate Tirpitz vitals from below 8-10 km only (through 320 mm belt + 120 mm slope + 45 mm TDS). At long range (over 22 km) Yamato has clear advantage (but was Japanese precision and fire control adequate for such a long range battle?).
As always, result depends also on lucky hits and on who hits first: the confrontation would be very uncertain imho.

hans
paul.mercer
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by paul.mercer »

Hi Hans,
Much as I respect your knowledge, I do feel that perhaps your views on the apparent superiority of Bismarck and Tirpitz against 'all comers' is a bit misplaced, particularly on Tirpitz v Yamoto on a close range shootout where long range plunging fire is not an issue.
Let us not forget that Bismarck was shot to bits at close range (admittedly by a combination of 14 &16" shells), but it was the 16" from Rodney that seemed to do most of the damage so imagine what 9 x18" are going to do to Tirpitz at close range!
Of course it depends on how good the crew are, but I was basing my points on Yamato having a well trained crew, unlike which she supposedly had when she was sunk.
As I have said before in other posts, Bismarck and Tirpitz were undoubtedly the most powerful ships of their time, but they were not invulnerable or invincible and were outclassed by the larger US (Iowas)and Japanese ships (Yamatos) that came later on.
hans zurbriggen
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello Mr. Mercer,
where did I state an 'apparent superiority of Bismarck and Tirpitz against 'all comers' ' ?
I said 121 battle outcome in 1944 would have been very uncertain and I would add now much depending on geometry, light, weather conditions and luck.
Plunging fire (over 22 km only) is an issue for TP, but expected hit percentage at long range is very low and TP can avoid (thanks to speed) a long range confrontation, while Yamato cannot open range vs TP when engaged. Flat trajectories (between 14 and 8 km, high hit percentage) are an issue for Yamato (TP protection scheme is unique). Don't you agree? Why?
All parts above vitals are vulnerable in TP and Yamato at any distance, so both can be 'shot to bits' (in their superstructure). TP has 4 turrets vs 3, 3 main directors vs 2, 3 gunnery radars vs 2: battle damage redundancy is in favour of TP. Yamato had no blind fire capability.
I am afraid you forget that BS vitals were never penetrated in 1.5 hours point blank shooting by 14" and 16" guns (ranges down to below 3 km, 719 large caliber shells fired against a slow moving, unmanoeuvrable target). Scuttling charges were needed to get her to sink, in addition to torpedoes.
Please do not make the mistake to consider Iowa and Yamato superior to TP just based on their dimensions and gun size. This is imho very misleading.

hans
kevin32422
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by kevin32422 »

Interesting comments about the firepower and I agree with this but providing the Tirpitz can remain intact and close in enough to deliver a torpedo strike would add to the demise of the Yamato I can see one German ship heavily damage maybe sunk but not both of them, just too many guns
Steve Crandell
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

Interesting. Now Tirpitz is equivalent to Yamato. I don't believe I ever imagined I would see that, but there it is. I don't know where to begin, and I don't think I will try because I suspect we have someone who will not believe anything could be superior to German technology.
hans zurbriggen
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello Mr. Crandell,
if I have written something wrong (or worse, offensive), please let me know where (but please try to demonstrate your viewpoint with figures).
To just claim you don't know where to start from is an extremely weak reasoning here.

hans
Steve Crandell
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

Hans, what you wrote wasn't offensive at all and I'm sorry if my response came across that way. I was kind of shocked, that's all. It's just that I was very surprised that anyone would consider any other battleship would, by itself, have a fairly certain chance to defeat what almost everyone considers the most powerful battleship ever built.

I will give some of my reasoning why I don't think the outcome would be "very uncertain". To me that indicates the two ships are about equal or advantage to Tirpitz in most real life situations.

Yamato is much larger than Tirpitz. There isn't much difference in length, but internal volume difference is very large. Yamato displaces about 73,000 tons full load, and Tirpitz 52,600 tons full load. This means Yamato is about 40% larger than Tirpitz, and has that much more internal volume in which to absorb damage.

Yamato has much thicker armor than Tirpitz and her protected volume is much larger. Tirpitz has significant deck protection only immediately above the engineering spaces and magazines. Yamato's main armor deck is much thicker and protects a greater amount of internal volume, so there is a greater area in Tirpitz subject to fires and other general disruption of the ship's fighting capability.

Tirpitz has fewer main battery guns. Some people argue that four turrets provide greader redundancy than three, but they also provide a larger target area so are more likely to be hit. Yamato's turrets and barbettes are much better armored and much more massive than those of Tirpitz, so less likely to be put out of action due to penetration or jamming. In fact, Tirpitz's turrets and barbettes are vulnerable at any practical range to Yamato's main battery, and the reverse is not true. Particularly barbettes, where a penetration of one would disable that turret, which is pretty likely on Tirpitz at any range and you'd need to be much closer to Yamato.

Yamato has 15m range finders in her DCTs, which are also higher in the ship than those of Tirpitz, so more accurate at determining range and greater range capability. I have seen no indication that her fire control system was less capable than that of anyone else. In fact her one engagement at Samar seems to indicate the capability to fire very accurately at long range.

Tirpitz upper deck armor is vulnerable to Yamato's shells at pretty much any range, and the reverse is not true. Yamato's shells have very long fuze delays, so a number of them are likely to penetrate Tirpitz MAD before exploding. There is also the possibility of them penetrating Tirpitz upper belt and then the MAD.

The 18" APC has about 80% more explosive filler than those of Tirpitz, so significantly more damage done when they hit something and explode.

Tirpitz is vulnerable to diving shells, as shown in the Bismarck engagement with PoW. Yamato's shells are designed to take advantage of this weakness. This particular vulnerability does not decrease substantially with changes in target angle.

I think you also over estimated the likelyhood of Tirpitz penetrating Yamato's MAB. For one thing, one can't assume perpendicular impact. Quite the contrary if Yamato has a reasonably competent captain, which I believe is likely.

This is all I can think of on very short notice. Yamato is simply a larger, more powerful ship than Tirpitz and I simply can't believe that the result of an engagement would be "very uncertain" except to the degree that any battleship has some chance against any other. For example, it would be possible for Renown to defeat Tirpitz.

Why wouldn't Scharnhorst have the same advantages against Duke of York as you believe Tirpitz would have against Yamato? Why not close the range and sink Duke of York and then deal with the smaller ships?
hans zurbriggen
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello Mr. Crandell,
thanks for explaining your opinion. I will try to address your points:

1) Yamato was much larger (TP full load displacement in 1944 was 55.000 tons) but her protected length was much less (115 meters vs 170), same for protected volume + her subdivision was less minute: 'only' 1100 watertight spaces in larger Yamato vs 1500 in smaller TP: a huge difference. Large and long Yamato bow (70+ meters) and stern (60+ meters) sides were completely unprotected. She cannot absorb even splinter damages in these areas.

2) Mere armor thickness cannot be compared to TP original and unique scheme, with fractioned horizontal protection and belt complemented by slopes and TDS, equivalent to 550+ mm armor. Armor % vs total displacement is 36% vs 32% in favour of TP.

3) Yamato deck protection out of vitals is 35-50 mm of (worse armor quality) steel, if present at all. The whole extreme bow (30 meters) is without any deck protection, same for large stern. TP has 50 mm of excellent Wh steel over entire length. Only horizontal protection over vitals can be considered superior for Yamato (TP equivalent to 150 mm , Yamato to 200 mm of (worse) armor grade plates). TP guns cannot penetrate Yamato deck at any range.

4) Agree that Yamato has better turrets protection but redundancy is still in favour of TP as Yamato turrets present larger targets. Barbettes are more vulnerable in TP but only over Upper Deck, under that, they are immune to any shell (combination of upper belt + KC barbette).

5) Optical RFs of Yamato were excellent but we speak about 1944 confrontation: TP had full radar directed gunnery that Yamato had not. No match at night, no match in poor visibility, difficult to say whether optical RF can be better than FuMO 26 accuracy (+/- 20 meters) in bright daylight.

6) TP had 2 armor decks, penetration of upper one is foreseen by design, with shell decapped and made unstable due to distance between armor decks. Even Japanese 40 msec delay fuze is able to hit TP MAD before exploding only with descent angle > 21° (> 22 km distance, under that distance, penetration of MAD is not possible).

7) Agree about explosive charge, but Yamato is a larger target and TP RoF was theoretically higher (possibly not relevant at long range in daylight but at night and at short range a reload time of 35 sec vs 20 sec makes huge difference).

8) Agree about diving shells, that are the real weakness of Bismarcks protection scheme. However difficult to say which is probability of such hits.

9) Decreased vulnerability at inclination <90° is true for Yamato MAB as well as for TP scheme. Yamato MAB is vulnerable (even magazines) at short distance (<12-14 km), while TP scheme is (possibly) not immune only below 8-10 km. Yamato belt is VH steel, inferior to KC.

10) Agree Renown can win against TP, but probability are very low. TP against Yamato, for all above, is much more balanced fight, imho.

In addition, TP can decide (thanks to better radars and superior speed) whether to accept an (initially) long range fight (while closing distance) or whether simply to avoid it (until she can get close enough without risks, e.g. at night).

As an aside, Scharnhorsts protection was not Bismarcks one, it was result of compromises in order to reduce displacement. SH guns are not powerful enough to penetrate DoY belt at any practical distance and DoY was anyway not alone, catching an already damaged SH while undetected.

hans
Steve Crandell
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

Your whole premise seems to be Tirpitz getting to 14km range or less without being seriously degraded by Yamato's guns. I think that is extremely unlikely and that scenario certainly doesn't sound to me like an inherent advantage for Tirpitz. For one thing if Tirpitz heads directly toward Yamato in order to close the range rapidly, she loses the belt system you are relying on to save you.
Steve Crandell
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by Steve Crandell »

I believe that Scharnhorst's AP should be able to penetrate the DoY belt, turret faces, and barbettes at about the same range Tirpitz could be expected to do the same against Yamato. All either ship has to do is close to that range without getting mauled. That's the trick. But I don't think the Germans felt that was practical and I don't either. Who knows - anything can happen in real life scenarios and sometimes does, like Hiei being disabled by 8" and smaller gunfire at Guadalcanal.
hans zurbriggen
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Re: Bismarck and Tirpitz vs Yamato

Post by hans zurbriggen »

Hello Mr. Crandell,
my whole premise was that the outcome would depend on several external factors like light, weather and visibility in addition to geometry of encounter and luck (of course). In bright daylight at open sea, I would agree with you: difficult to get close enough to Yamato without being heavily damaged (or even destroyed). At night or in bad weather conditions (due to inferior Japanese radar performances) I think it is easier. In daylight, perfect visibility, however, TP can avoid engagement (superior speed), waiting night to get close under 14 km and disable Yamato.

I have not said TP would win under any condition (not even against Renown, not even against Dunkerque), but that the outcome would be very uncertain. It would be a match of 'quantity' (Yamato) against 'quality' (TP).

hans


P.S. SH guns could penetrate DoY belt only under 10 km (perfect normal inclination) and such geometry in darkness depends on your radar performance vs enemy radar. SH bow radar had been knocked out already and she was blind. Actually, DoY opened fire from around 11 km in favourable geometry conditions and SH, surrounded by other enemy units, had imho no choice other than retreating (instead of closing range for a 'death ride'), still hoping to get safe. I think TP would have tried to do the same (retreating) under those unfavourable conditions. Whether TP could have survived to DoY attack is another story, as the possible fatal hit was received from around 19 km (AoF 19°, at which horizontal protection of TP was enough to stop any shell and DoY was almost giving up chase).
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