From: The Big Nowhere
ORIGINAL: Commander Stormwolf
Then comes the question. Can fatal fire damage result from non-penetrating hits?
Remember some of those tiger tanks being hit by 20+ sherman rounds to no effect
Seems like that is the reason the battleship was created. Impervious to small caliber rounds.
And tanks do pretty well against HE artillery rounds that fail to penetrate.
If an AP round bounced off a Tiger Tank, it would probably end up causing a fire and a possible explosion half a mile from its intended victim.
With a ship of any size, its almost certainly going to lodge somewhere in the superstructure and then do its diabolical task.
Ships were not completely covered in armour, as some of the superstructure had to be relatively lightly armoured or not armoured at all because of weight distribution and the design no-no of making them top heavy. Just look at the design of the Russian 'Borodino' class ( 1902 ), and the French 'Marceau' class ( 1891, known as 'The Hotel' ) of battleships, to realize the folly of armouring too much of the superstructure.
Or more to the point, only 'vital' areas of a ship are armored. That is the magazines, engineering, the tower and the turrets. Many ships do not even have an armored belt that extends the entire length of the ship (the forecastle and fantail may have no armor at all). These unarmored areas which are not considered vital can easily be penetrated by even the smallest ordnance, and a fire started in these areas will spread.
Also, there is the fact that many ships of that era had wooden (allies) or linoleum (japanese) decks...that is the covering of the armored deck. Those materials burn readily.
Then there is the fact that your small calibre guns (AAA for example) have a number of ready rounds at the gun site that are essentially open and exposed.
Paint will burn as well. Don't forget the crew accommodations...lots of fabric there from cot mattresses, sheets and clothing.
Most of the ordnance dropped from a WWII bomber was an HE type, even if it were an armor penetrating device it still made a boom. And once a fire gets hot enough, it will cause structural damage...weakened beams, buckling hull-plates, etc.
Distant Worlds Fan
'When in doubt...attack!'