Reading Ronald H. Spector's Eagle Against The Sun, Vintage Press, I came across something which I have never heard of before;
On page 261 of the paperback edition, he writes:
Hills flagship, the battleship Maryland, had its communications center located on the flag bridge almost at the same level as the sixteen-inch guns. As a result, the shock of firing could knock out the delicate electronic gear and render the admiral temporarily unable to communicate with his commanders.
Copyright 1985 by Ronald H. Spector
and later that this, during the bombardement of Tarawa, at 04:40 actually happened.
Why this? I am no engineer, and I have always thought the recoil of the guns absorbs all the shock and everything is fine and dandy. How come that firing 16" guns had this effect? Is it because of the proximity of the guns and the electronics, as Spector writes? Would a different place for the installation of the "electronic gear" farther away from the guns, have made any difference? What was "at fault" here, the WW II era gun technology, the electronic technology, or simple physics and you can't change anything?
Next thought - the Iowas were loaded with tons of electronics after WW II, and still had their 16" guns. I reckon they didn't just retain them just for show or because they look cool, but used them every once in a while. Was there any similar effect after the war?
I am trying to imagine being on the Maryland, its guns blazing, and the whole ship trembles in shock. Was it really like this? Coffee cups flying around?
"A big butcher's bill is not necessarily evidence of good tactics"
- Wavell's reply to Churchill, after the latter complained about faint-heartedness, as he discovered that British casualties in the evacuation from Somaliland had been only 260 men.