A day or 3 ago I posted a thread saying naval combat was broken, which sparked a number of replies.
Many of them mis-identified my complaint or attributed the cause to things that were not true in the battle, either purposefully or asking a question, like "were you TFs set for surface combat?"
My complaint was that BBs do not hit often enough, that the in game hit percentage is less than 1% while historical hit rates went from 3% to a little North of 10% with lower numbers occuring under mitigating circumstances such as Bismarks last battle.
For the sake of a complete argument the mitigating factors are:
Heavily outnumbered and under heavy fire
Serious damage such as critical torpedo hit or damage to the gun directors
Amiral Laurent and a few others suggested I take a look at the ammo expenditures, that they would show that my hit % were in the acceptable range.
Well I did, and here is the look under the hood. The descriptions of the battle can be found on the Naval Combat is Broken thread and also in my AAR. The short version is:
The Japanese ran into a British TF under Sommerville with 4 BBs cruisers and DDs which they suprised, fought 3 rounds with then broke contact, then re-established contact and fought one round.
The Japanese ran into a TF under Palliser with PoW, Repulse and Cruisers and DDs which was not suprised, they fought 2 rounds, broke off, re-established contact and fought one more round.
The Japanese fought a one round combat with the USS Oklahoma and 13 PT boats, then broke off.
There is one thing that I learned that I'm sure has been discussed before, which is that a lot of British Cruisers are missing thier torpedoes. In total the Brits were missing 36 torpedos from cruisers during this action. The Brits and PT boats fired off 17 torpedo ammo factors representing 115 to 125 torpedos and scored 1 hit. The Japanese fired a large number of torpedos, they had 144 tubes and 1 round of reloads so they could have fired as many as 288! but more likely about 200, of which 5 hit. I'm not complaining about this, just putting it in as a curiousity. I do find it odd that some many British ships are missing TTs.
But the really odd things happen when you look under the hood at the gunnery model.
First everyone needs to understand that an ammo factor on a BB main gun equals about 44 rounds, on an 8" gun it equals 31, on a British 6" gun CL with 8 guns it equals 33 rounds, but if that ships is a British 12 6" gun CL then it equals 50 rounds, and if it is a CL with 6 guns it equals 17 rounds. 4" and 4.5" ammo factors seem to be set at around 20 rounds per factor, except on the British CLAAs where it would be much more.
If this makes no sense to you then your following perfectly. If it seems sensible go to the back of the class.
Finally the time it takes to fire the rounds is always the minimum time, I use Navsource as my reference for rates of fire and when a range is given I used the lower number.
Now lets look at the BBs in the action.
The Warspite was suprised in the first round, just like the rest of the BBs in the first TF. She did fire in on the Atago in round 2 and 3 and also in the second engagment. She hit once in the second engagement with a 15" shell. Total rounds expended 132, precentage of hits: 0.075% which is off from historical by more or less 1 full order of magnitude. Warspite missed at 4000 and 8000 yards and hit at 9000. It takes Warspite 8 minutes to fire off that many rounds.
Warspites secondary battery did not fire at all, but her tertiaries did open up firing 41 shells and hitting once for a 0.024% hit rate, way below historical but theoretically possible. It takes Warspite 37 seconds to fire off this many rounds from these guns.
During the battle Warspite was hit by 2 8” shell from Atago, one during round 2 of the first engagement and 1 during round 1 of the second engagement. No other ships fired on her, and Atago does not appear to have fired during the surprise round, so it does not look as if there are any of the mitigating factors described above in this case.
Revenge, Ramilles and Resolution failed to fire their main guns at all.
Resolution was torpedoed in the surprise round of the first battle and then struck by 12 5.5” and 5’ shells for the rest of the fight, and took an addition torp in round 2, all hits credited to the IJN CL Naka. It is not unreasonable to assume that she was knocked out by the first torpedo hit. So she is affected by one of the factors listed above, end of discussion.
Revenge did open up with her secondaries firing at Haguro in rounds 2 and 3 of the first action and round 1 of the second. She fired 21 shells, hitting once at a range of 4000 yards for a .10% hit rate. It takes her 52 seconds to fire this many rounds. She is hit 3 times by Harugo’s 8” guns in the surprise round and twice by secondaries, in round 2 she is not hit at all, in round 3 she takes one more 8” shell in the first round of the second engagement she takes 1 more 8” shell. None penetrate though one did hit a secondary. In short Revenge is taking fire but not crippling fire.
Ramilles opened fire on the Nachi during round 2 and 3 of the first engagement.
She fired 42 shells from her secondary at 4, 8,000 yards, hitting once for a .023% hit rate. It takes Ramilles 65 seconds to fire off these shells.
She also opens up on Nachi with her tertiary hitting once at 4,000 yards and once at 8,000 yards for a respectable .057% hit rate. Ramilles is hit by 2 8” from Nachi in the surprise round, 2 more in round 2 and 1 in round 3. None penetrate or appear to do systems damange.
Resolution fires 21 secondary shells at Naka during rounds 2 and 3 of the first contact and round 1 of the second. None of them hit. It takes her 53 seconds to fire these rounds. She does surprisingly well considering the punishment she is taking.
The performance of Revenge and Ramilles is curious, they both clearly had targets for the duration of the battle and neither was being hit very hard. Ramilles is especially difficult for me to explain because she was firing and hitting with her secondary and tertiary guns for what must have been an fairly long period but her main guns never opened fire.
I have seen similar results in numerous other BB Vs. CA and CL battles, but nothing like this occurred historically. In fact I am not aware of any battle between BBs and any other warship where the secondary battery engaged but the primary battery did not.
The combat model breaks down in 2 areas, % of big gun shells scoring hits, and in types of guns engaging.
There hit % Vs. major surface combat units is as much as an order of magnitude too low, another way of putting that is that the historical Warspite should have hit Atago between 4 and 13 times, with 8 being a very reasonable number. I will point out that Atago was firing on Warspite, so she is not maneuvering to avoid Warspite’s gunnery. Instead the model is just not generating hits the way the real men manning the real guns did.
The types of guns engaging is utterly broken. There is no engagement in WWI or WWII where a major warship withheld fire from its main battery but fired its secondary guns on a major target. In fact there are a number of cases where the secondary battery checked fire to allow better shell splash spotting for the main guns. The model has things exactly backwards, the 15” guns are checking fire so that the 4” guns can zero in on the target.
Next, a look at the Cruisers.