I do not dispute that Iowa's FC system is superior to Yamato's but I think you are missing the point. You are basing your assumptions on two ships in an open sea, operating independently, firing at each other without any of the other interfering elements and factors. That scenario would never happen. These ships would have had CAs, CLs and DDs in company that would have complicated any battle, not to mention the probably of allied air power being on scene.
well the title of the discussion is "Iowa class BB vs Yamato Class". In an one-on one, Iowa wins the battle (real life is different, I'm not saying Iowa will ALWAYS win, I just say that Iowa winning is the most likely outcome of such a battle).
With CAs ,Cls and DDs in company the quality balance goes still to the US ships. Baltimore was an excellent CA while the japanese ones were quite troublesome (serious structural weaknesess), the japanese CLs were nothing but oversized DDs while the US CLs were excellent, etc. If allied air power is in scene, there simply will be no battle (as it happened IRL)
You're also assuming that the radar works infallibly, which it does not. Radar systems of the time were extremely sensitive to shock and vibration.
Those would be early sets. Latewar centimetric radars weren't that sensitive to concussion as the early models. The old BB line at Surigao kept an accurate and continuous fire over the japanese incoming ships and there was not a single radar casualty in the whole battle. Is a limited example, but it is an example.
There are many noted circumstances of US FC radars being knocked offline by the concussion of their owns guns.
I know they happened. From memory I know of three cases of US radars going offline, but all happened prior to mid 1943, and none of them happened aboard a battleship.
Is that "Many noted circumstances"?. I would like a list ,if you don't mind putting it here, of US/British centimetric radars going offline because concussion of their own guns, and in special, of those aboard of battleships.
They were also subject to misinterpretation. USS Blue's failure to detect the Japanese fleet at a range of less than 10,000 yards led to our defeat at Savo Island.
I should've put it more clear but I thought it was still clear enough. I'm speaking about centimetric wavelenght fire control radars here, not the early metric or decimetric radars usual in 1942 which suffered much more with ground and sea clutter. Had Savo Battle happened in 1944, the incoming japanese ships would've been clearly identified as such right from the start. Centimetric radar had an amazing resolution (for the era), to the point that it was used as ground-mapping and navigation radars aboard allied bombers. And they weren't easily cluttered by rough seas or nearby land.
Not only must radar detect the enemy, the operator must also realize that it is the enemy.
By november 1942 (Tassafaronga's battle) there were still few capable radar operators in the US navy, as the sets were still something new. By mid-1943 (Iowas in-service date), radar operators were, without exception, well trained for their duty.
Having a fair amount of experience operating search radar systems, I can tell you even today they are not perfect, far from it.
Much less they were in WW2 in absolute terms. But in a modern battle field you must count with EW interferences, something the japanese never used.
It is true that shell splashes can be observed on certain radars... under optimum conditions.
Centimetric radar offered almost proof-fool splash spotting capabilities except in the rough seas. Early decimetric radar was much less capable in this regard. But Iowa's FC radars were always of the centimetric wavelenght.
One of the early issues with Iowa's FC system was that it wasn't gyro stabilized. That meant if the ship rolled, the radar no longer on the target but pointed into the sea or into the air. The other issue is that if more than one ship is firing at the target, there is no way to distinguish whose shell is whose which negates the ability to use them for spotting.
Multiple firing ships at the same target are only a nuisance if their shells are of similar calibers. With different calibers the radar can perfectly discriminate between bigger and smaller shell splashes, it's not an issue. And if more than one ship is firing with same caliber weapons to the same target, tha means exactly the same problem wether you're firing under radar FC, or if you do with exclusive optic means.
About the Iowa¡s FC system not gyro stabilized, I agan must ask for sources...never heard Iowa's radar had this kind of handicap...
Using shell splashes for spotting was one of those WWII ideas that works great on the gun range, not so well in the heat of battle.
Good-working or not, it was the ONLY way of properly set a fire solution correction in battle ,and was the standard way of targetting for battleships.
AFAIK, there were no over-the-horizon surface naval battles during WWII.
Thats just because the only BB battles which happened in WW2 were limited in scope. BBs were the only ships able to hit targets that far from the firing ship, and so, the only chance for such a combat will be if a battleship is present.
Given that all battleship battles of WW2 happened either prior to 1943 (and thus, before the confirmation of air naval power as the main naval force projection too, and before working blind-fire centimetric radars were in operation), or at night at restricted waters (Surigao), there was no real BB-to-BB battle we can talk about. But it was well established that, after centimetric FC radars such as the US Mk.13 were introduced that the range of the engagements in open sea, had they happened, would've been over 20.000 yards without exception.
That there was only one BB vs BB battle after 1942 (and that one happening at the narrow surigao straits) was the only reason why there never was a BB vs BB over-the-horizon battle ever. And that happened because air power.
In fact, the longest hit of the war was by Scharnhorst on Glorious (IIRC) at a range susbstantially less than 30,000 yards. So it can be reasonably assumed that a battle between these two goliaths would take place under 30,000 yards at which point the Yamato's optical FC system should be effective. But again, that depends on weather. If visibility is poor, Yamato is at a major disadvantage. If visibility is good, Yamato is still at a disadvantage however she should be able to give a good account of herself.
For the record, the longest range hit of history is a tie between Scharnhorst on Glorious and Warspite on Giulio Cesare. Both events happened at ranges between 26.000 and 26.500 yards. Both hits were achieved in the first volley.
The hint about that after the introduction of centimetric radars those ranges would turn to be usual is what I said before. Radar FC offered a 400% improvement of changes of hitting the enemy over the optic FC at the longest ranges. If with optic fire control hits at 26000 yards were possible, it's clear that with radar, hits at 30.000 yards or above would be well within the capabilities of battleships. And certainly the Iowa was perfectly capable of both fighting effectively at those ranges, and keeping the distance for as much time as she wanted to.
Yamato also had her own radar FC suite which is less capable than Iowa's but adequate for the job. It is not as automated as is Iowa's nor can it provide automatic train information, something that Iowa's Mk-8 system could do after being upgraded in January 1945. Prior to that Iowa also had to manually pass train information to the guns. The Japanese were also still using A-scan scopes, Iowa's Mk-8 was using PPI displays.
not only that, Yamato's radar was of decimetric wavelenght. It was used as search radar with limited firing assistance (it couldn't adequately discriminate shell splashes, so it couldn't be used for blind fire). Also, it was less powerful than the Iowa's FC radar, so the longer the range of the engagement, the lesser the accuracy of said set's readings.
The bottom line is that during late 1944 and 1945, the Japanese were not just at a techological disadvantage but also at a training one. They did not have the fuel to conduct fleet or gunnery drills so could be expected to be far less efficient in battle than the Americans. If the battle is fought in 1943, things are much more even.
Well, Iowa entered service mid-1943. At that stage Yamato has no radar whatsoever and the Iowa already has its Mk.13 set in place...for me the conclussion is obvious.
But as I said before, I would not want to have a front row seat on either of these ships during a battle. I don't think either one would come away unscathed. Should the Iowa win this battle.... on paper, absolutlely. Would she have won? Who knows... Kind of like saying which football team, with one hundred percent certainty, is going to win any given match.
I fully agree with this. You can never know for certain what will happen in real combat. But as you said, on paper, Iowa has got such advantages over Yamato that it's pretty plain to see that IN MOST (not all) real life engagements, the winning ship should be the american one.
That's, at least, my opinion :).
< Message edited by RAM -- 12/3/2006 7:44:11 PM >
"Look at me! look at me!!!
Not like that! NOT LIKE THAT!!!"