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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP

 
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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/17/2008 8:12:04 PM   
crsutton


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John Lansford

IIRC Kongo was a British design and built in England, but the other three of that class were built in Japan.  Very good and useful ships in the 1910's and 20's, not good enough for the battleline in the 30's and 40's.  Hiei had her armor penetrated by a heavy cruiser (at point blank range but still), after all, something no capital ship worth its name should have happen.

Had the two British ships met Kongo and Haruna at night, everything would have come down to the accuracy of the Japanese torpedoes.  The Japanese emphasis on night fighting tactics was mostly for their destroyers and cruisers, not the battleships;  the big ships still expected to meet the US in a Jutland-like battle during the daytime where speed and long range gunnery would prevail.


No, I have to disagree. The British had good radar and knew how to use it. This would totally outclass any Japanese ship of equal stature.


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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/17/2008 8:18:14 PM   
John Lansford

 

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"No, I have to disagree. The British had good radar and knew how to use it. This would totally outclass any Japanese ship of equal stature. "

Well I agree that the RN had radar and were well trained in its use, but at night those Long Lance torpedoes would have been as dangerous to them as they were to the radar-equipped USN ships in 1942 and 1943.  If it were just between the capital ships the RN would have probably defeated the IJN battleships handily, night or day.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/17/2008 8:28:27 PM   
Shark7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John Lansford

"No, I have to disagree. The British had good radar and knew how to use it. This would totally outclass any Japanese ship of equal stature. "

Well I agree that the RN had radar and were well trained in its use, but at night those Long Lance torpedoes would have been as dangerous to them as they were to the radar-equipped USN ships in 1942 and 1943.  If it were just between the capital ships the RN would have probably defeated the IJN battleships handily, night or day.


Also have the fact that PoW Surface radar had malfunctioned earlier, so PoW was hampered by that.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/17/2008 9:25:24 PM   
engineer

 

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The initial deployments set-up a situation where a night battle between Force Z and a pair of Kongo's is likely.  Up at the start of this thread there are three incidents reported where Force Z wins by some margin.  Maybe more readers would contribute what their experience has been and we could collect a large enough sample to conclude whether the better fire control and armament on the POW is enough to counter-balance the Japanese night tactics and Long Lance torpedos?


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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/17/2008 10:13:48 PM   
Iridium


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quote:

ORIGINAL: engineer

The initial deployments set-up a situation where a night battle between Force Z and a pair of Kongo's is likely. Up at the start of this thread there are three incidents reported where Force Z wins by some margin. Maybe more readers would contribute what their experience has been and we could collect a large enough sample to conclude whether the better fire control and armament on the POW is enough to counter-balance the Japanese night tactics and Long Lance torpedos?





It's mainly luck, both forces are equal. Sure there may be a toy for one side or the other and some advantages of speed/mobility but really, all it takes is a single Type 93 or a lucky 15" shell to find it's mark first and make the other ship immobile/useless. Surprise on either side would help immensely.

This of course ignores Japanese reinforcements or help from other TFs.

< Message edited by Iridium -- 3/17/2008 10:15:29 PM >


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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/17/2008 10:54:44 PM   
Feinder


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quote:

Maybe more readers would contribute what their experience has been and we could collect a large enough sample to conclude whether the better fire control and armament on the POW is enough to counter-balance the Japanese night tactics and Long Lance torpedos?


In my less publicized game vs. Bilbow as Japan, I left a fleet with two of the fast BBs and handful of cruisers and DDs to handle Force Z if it intercepted some other landings at Java.  The RN got a night radar detection and surprise and my fleet was summarily executed.  Kongo and Hei went down, 2x CLs and a CA.  And one CA is going to be in the yards for a -very- long time.  I think it actually was a bit of bad luck on my part, as I do believe the fleets were matched "well enough" (as in, well enough to injure PoW and Repulse so Madam Nell could finish them off in the morning).  But I barely dinged the paint on anything.  All torps (when they had few chances to shoot) missed, and i don't think the Kongo and Hei ever got a shot off with their main guns.

-F-

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/17/2008 11:23:07 PM   
witpqs


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Sounds like a reverse of Savo Island.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 12:53:21 AM   
engineer

 

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quote:

Original Iridium:
It's mainly luck, both forces are equal.


After watching a lot of WPO/WitP surface actions, I agree that luck has a lot do with it.  However, if they are truly equal then the naval actions should be working out with a 50/50 outcome.  Given Japanese air superiority in the theater at the start of the game, the Allies really have to win a lopsided victory as Feinder pointed out so their system damage is light enough to get back to port before torpedo bombers sink them the day following the night combat.

So far, the testimony of battle would seem to be that:

1)  Kongo's shared the weak armor flaw of British battlecruisers in WW1 when faced with opponents with capital ship main batteries.
2)  Radar really is a big advantage in night combat.
3)  Long Lance torpedoes are devastating but unreliable in the sense that the tactical opportunities to score a hit are highly uncertain.

I think the first two points would pass muster as conventional wisdom.  I think the last point is counter-intuitive given the success of the IJN in the opening phases of WW2 right up through Savo Island and some of the subsequent actions around Guadalcanal.  If we get reports of Japanese victory that depend on torpedo hits instead of gunfire for the margin of victory that would still agree with the third conclusion given the absence of fatal damage in the four case reported so far. 

This might be a case where people are over-valuing the Kongo's based on their armament so things are less equal than they seem given the vulnerability of the Kongo's to shell-fire and the enhanced capability of radar directed gun-fire. 

This general argument can be attacked from the game/simulation view point.  But that was the original point of the thread anyway.  In a sense, I'm narrowing down the original question to whether in the tactical segments of the game, dreadnought on dreadnought actions are reasonable given what we know about naval combat in the period.  It might also lead Japanese players to be more cautious when employing their Kongo's or Allied players to be less deterred from accepting surface battle in the presence of Kongo's. 

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 11:00:17 AM   
Zebedee


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RN win handsomely. Nighttime radar contact and surprise = 2 dead Kongos (one sunk in battle, one reported sunk in first daytime phase following). Kongo managed to damage some of PoW's lesser guns but that will be fixed within days and the damage wasn't enough to prevent a quick retreat to Singapore. No torpedoes landed out of only 2 24" launched. Battle was short, sweet and at relatively long range (for a night-time brawl anyways).

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 6:13:41 PM   
mlees


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quote:

ORIGINAL: engineer

3)  Long Lance torpedoes are devastating but unreliable in the sense that the tactical opportunities to score a hit are highly uncertain.

I think the first two points would pass muster as conventional wisdom.  I think the last point is counter-intuitive given the success of the IJN in the opening phases of WW2 right up through Savo Island and some of the subsequent actions around Guadalcanal.  If we get reports of Japanese victory that depend on torpedo hits instead of gunfire for the margin of victory that would still agree with the third conclusion given the absence of fatal damage in the four case reported so far. 



IIRC, (and I may not have RC), the IJN launched a crap-ton of LL's in the Java Sea battles, and didn't score many hits. It seems that the LL may not have been as effective as hoped (or as much as the players here think they should be). However, when it does score, it does so in a memorable fashion (after all, in a confused nighttime melee, you may not even know that your opponent fired his torps if he missed).

Heresy, I know.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 6:24:36 PM   
Mike Scholl

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Feinder
In my less publicized game vs. Bilbow as Japan, I left a fleet with two of the fast BBs and handful of cruisers and DDs to handle Force Z if it intercepted some other landings at Java.  The RN got a night radar detection and surprise and my fleet was summarily executed.  Kongo and Hei went down, 2x CLs and a CA.  And one CA is going to be in the yards for a -very- long time.  I think it actually was a bit of bad luck on my part, as I do believe the fleets were matched "well enough" (as in, well enough to injure PoW and Repulse so Madam Nell could finish them off in the morning).  But I barely dinged the paint on anything.  All torps (when they had few chances to shoot) missed, and i don't think the Kongo and Hei ever got a shot off with their main guns.



Certainly not an impossible result with the Brits getting "suprise". Two or three main battery salvo's delivered before the BC's could react could easily put them out of action (see SoDak at Guadalcanal). As to the "Long Lances" failure to hit, I'd point out that obtaining an accurate torpedo firing solution based only on gun flashes is difficult at best. Sounds to me like the Japanese suffered the same fate here that the Americans did at Savo Island---beaten before they even knew they were in a fight.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 6:28:58 PM   
Speedysteve

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: irrelevant

Did not penetrate.

Here's a link to pics of the battle damage. The 14-incher is hit number 26 IIRC - direct impact on the number 3 barbette armour.

Thud!


Thanks

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 8:21:25 PM   
John Lansford

 

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"IIRC, (and I may not have RC), the IJN launched a crap-ton of LL's in the Java Sea battles, and didn't score many hits. It seems that the LL may not have been as effective as hoped (or as much as the players here think they should be)."

The Java Sea torpedoes were launched from long range, over 18000 yds IIRC.  Given their success (2 CL's and a DD hit), I'd say they worked well enough.  When Doorman's cruisers began blowing up, he was convinced he had either blundered into a minefield or a sub was firing torpedoes at him.

The Long Lance torpedo was a success because of its huge warhead and oxygen fueled engine, making it wakeless.  The long range was useful but not as decisive as the Japanese had hoped; other than the Java Sea fight, when it was used the ranges were already down to typical distances.  They would have done better to have reduced the range in favor of an even larger warhead; the Long Lance was powerful enough to sink a DD with one hit but tended to only cripple a cruiser unless more than one hit was obtained.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 9:30:41 PM   
Feinder


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quote:

They would have done better to have reduced the range in favor of an even larger warhead; the Long Lance was powerful enough to sink a DD with one hit but tended to only cripple a cruiser unless more than one hit was obtained.


Disclaimer - I have no idea of the historical "bang" of the torpedoes.

But your comment about it being somewhat under-banged is interesting, because at least in game, it's the most powerful torpedo in game (effect rating of 1080).

-F-

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 9:39:57 PM   
Shark7


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OK, started a new Dec 7 campaign against the AI with Force Z set to go just to try this out. Last nights results...a draw, with only minor damage to PoW and Kongo....

Then the Japanese cruiser SAG moved in...and 6 Long Lances later, it was one of the most lopsided surface combats I've seen in this game.

All this proves is that if the Long Lances hit, they can completely change the course of a surface combat.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 10:49:37 PM   
tabpub


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I think we have to remember the doctrine that spawned the development of the 'Long Lance'. In the anticipated 'Decisive Battle' versus the US Pacific Fleet it was viewed as a necessary component in the equation as Japanese planners viewed it.

As my recollection goes off the top of my head:

Step 1. Fleet submarines and long range torpedo bombers (Nell during this time) locate and attrite USN.

Step 2. Battleline engagement commences. IJN cruisers salvo fire torpedoes at USN battleline, forcing it to either manuever (lowering it's accuracy and firepower) or accept risk of below waterline damage. With USN BB being slower than their IJN counterparts already, and operating at some distance from friendly ports, loss of manuevering could be quite detrimental.

Step 3. With USN line disorganized, IJ cruisers follow in behind salvo, re-loading on the way. IJ battleline continues to manuever to gain advantage on their counterparts. IJ cruisers engage US screen with gunfire, launch 2nd salvo in concert with DD torpedoes.

The basic premise was that the USN would not be aware of the threat of long range torpedo fire and a battleline engagement requires the USN to maintain speed and heading for accuracy of it's main battery fire; thus making the solution for torpedo fire relatively simple. It would not be unreasonable to expect several hits on the US BB's in these circumstances, thereby evening up the superiority in heavy caliber tubes that an intact USN battleline could expect to have at the outset of the engagement.

Of course, circumstances changed....like they always do....and this type of engagement was never encountered. The theory held some validity in 1934; by 1944....well we know how that went.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 11:17:58 PM   
Charles2222


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John Lansford

"IIRC, (and I may not have RC), the IJN launched a crap-ton of LL's in the Java Sea battles, and didn't score many hits. It seems that the LL may not have been as effective as hoped (or as much as the players here think they should be)."

The Java Sea torpedoes were launched from long range, over 18000 yds IIRC.  Given their success (2 CL's and a DD hit), I'd say they worked well enough.  When Doorman's cruisers began blowing up, he was convinced he had either blundered into a minefield or a sub was firing torpedoes at him.

The Long Lance torpedo was a success because of its huge warhead and oxygen fueled engine, making it wakeless.  The long range was useful but not as decisive as the Japanese had hoped; other than the Java Sea fight, when it was used the ranges were already down to typical distances.  They would have done better to have reduced the range in favor of an even larger warhead; the Long Lance was powerful enough to sink a DD with one hit but tended to only cripple a cruiser unless more than one hit was obtained.


I believe the LL's were also considerably faster than contemporary torps too.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/18/2008 11:18:43 PM   
herwin

 

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The captain of the Tone claimed his ship was one of the most powerful in the world. The same idea influenced Soviet missile ship construction.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 12:34:06 AM   
mlees


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quote:

ORIGINAL: John Lansford

The Java Sea torpedoes were launched from long range, over 18000 yds IIRC.  Given their success (2 CL's and a DD hit), I'd say they worked well enough.  When Doorman's cruisers began blowing up, he was convinced he had either blundered into a minefield or a sub was firing torpedoes at him.

The Long Lance torpedo was a success because of its huge warhead and oxygen fueled engine, making it wakeless.  The long range was useful but not as decisive as the Japanese had hoped; other than the Java Sea fight, when it was used the ranges were already down to typical distances.  They would have done better to have reduced the range in favor of an even larger warhead; the Long Lance was powerful enough to sink a DD with one hit but tended to only cripple a cruiser unless more than one hit was obtained.


I don't have my books with me, I have only wiki. Wiki claims two hits for 90-something fired. Considering the expense (and danger the loaded tubes are to their own ships), this seems like a poor rate of return. You get the same rate with shell fire. (Just not the bang. )

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 4:28:51 AM   
Iridium


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You aren't counting the obvious tactical movement needed to dodge said missed torpedoes. They might not have damaged enemy assets directly but making them maneuver in less than efficient ways helps.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 5:49:56 AM   
Mike Scholl

 

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Actually Java Sea was where the Japanese discovered that the long range of the "Long Lances" wasn't that usefull. Their Destroyer squadrons fired dozens and dozens of torpedoes at realitively long ranges during the day and hit nothing. The devastating salvos were fired by the two heavy cruisers from much closer range as night fell. Only the type of "Decisive Battle" so beloved by Japanese planners would have made the extreme range of the "Long Lance" a usefull adjunct.

What was important during the war was it's high speed and lack of a visable wake.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 2:03:16 PM   
John Lansford

 

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If you look at what happened when LL torpedoes hit ships bigger than destroyers, they turned out to be nowhere near as lethal IRL as they are in the game.  There's not a single example of a 10000 ton treaty cruiser being sunk by a single LL hit; plenty got crippled, but that could be said about ships being torpedoed by British and US weapons as well.  Houston took numerous torpedoes, Helena got hit by 2 or three, Canberra got hit by 2, etc, etc.  They were certainly destroyer killers, but other than the mini-cruisers like Perth, De Reuter and Atlanta, cruisers being hit by LL torpedoes were only damaged, not sunk.

I think the reputation the LL has gained over the years is overblown, based mainly on the surprise factor they introduced in 1942 to the USN due to their speed, range and invisibility to being spotted.  The range was certainly extremely long but not all that useful, which is why I said the Japanese would have done better trading out some of that fuel for increased warhead size.  They would have probably sunk a few more CA's IRL had they done so.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 3:27:16 PM   
tsimmonds


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No 10,000 ton cruiser was never going to be sunk by a single torpedo hit no matter how large the warhead. This is because a single hit will result in flooding only in two or possibly as many as three major compartments. This will never be enough flooding to sink such a ship. Now, that ship may very well be left dead in the water, almost certainly leading to further damage, but that is another story.

A number of IJ CLs succumbed to a single torpedo hit. This was mainly due to the fact that these ships all had centerline bulkheads, which resulted in asymmetrical flooding and capsizing.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 3:55:36 PM   
John Lansford

 

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IJN CL's were also typically big destroyers, running about 5000-6000 tons displacement. 

And on your claim that no 10000 ton cruiser will sink from "any single torpedo hit", I present exhibits A and B:

IJN Kongo, and HMS Ark Royal.  Oh, and Exhibit C, IJN Taiho.  While none of them were "10000 ton cruisers", all three were considerably larger than any cruiser, with better watertight compartmentalization, yet they all sank from one hit from a torpedo smaller than the Long Lance.

Either the LL's warhead wasn't big enough for what they were trying to accomplish, or it should have been smaller and created the same results.  After looking at its historical performance, I'm not all that impressed with it as a weapon.  The LL required dangerous fuel stored onboard the ship (resulting in at least two cruiser losses in combat when they exploded from damage), were huge (IJN DD's were topheavy and their CA's way oversized just to hold the LL), yet their performance wasn't that much better than contemporary weapons in other navies.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 4:36:32 PM   
Iridium


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In general I tend to think the Type 93's range to be ahead of it's time. It needed a targeting system to make them use the range advantage. If Japan had somehow come up with an active sonar homing kit for such a device it would have been a truly devastating weapon. That said, for simple point, shoot and pray torpedoes they were very advanced.

What I find interesting is that Japan did not save it's Type 93's for the "decisive battle" along with their BBs. One could say that they even wasted them at ranges which were rather absurd. I'd say that the weapon itself was very successful, the way it was deployed was less than worthy of it.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 5:03:20 PM   
tsimmonds


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I believe that the story about Kongo sinking after a single hit is a sea-fable. Check out this link: Kongo Solved? Be sure to follow the additional link at the bottom of the page.

Long story short, Kongo (which already had suffered waterline damage during the Leyte Gulf actions) was hit by at least two and possibly three torpedoes. She was able to continue under way for some time, but progressive flooding and increasing list eventually brought her to a halt. She eventually capsized and exploded a la Barham.

We all know about Taiho. A fluke of unrefined fuel and ineffective damage control.

The loss of Ark Royal was due largely to poor discipline regarding watertight integrity and delay in beginning effective damage control procedures. Slow progressive flooding eventually caused her to lose all power. She took over twelve hours to sink. Given that no 10,000 ton cruiser was ever lost to a single torpedo hit, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Ark Royal could and should also have survived that hit.

But I could be wrong

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 5:07:46 PM   
John Lansford

 

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WWII torpedoes on surface craft were knife-fighting weapons; you had to be close enough to see your opponent (radar helped extend this range) and the closer you were, the less time they'd have to avoid the torpedo.  Having a direct fire weapon (that's what an unguided torpedo is) with a 40,000 yard range is a waste; no way are you going to hit anything at that range unless you're very, very lucky or you're firing SCADS of them.

If that was the IJN's plan (firing scads of them to get 1-2 hits), then their whole operational plan for their use was full of FAIL.  They would have been better off cutting the range in half and either increasing the speed/warhead size or decreasing the overall size of those behemoths.

With the LL, the IJN had a huge, powerful weapon but could only carry a relatively low number of them on each warship.  Even the big CA's carried only 16 tubes, and could fire only 8 in a single broadside.  They could have stayed with conventional 21" torpedoes, carried more of them per ship (plus reloads!) with probably as good as if not better results than with the LL.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 5:42:48 PM   
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I think "Kaigun" summed it up pretty good. Awesome weapon....but the plan attached to it aka the Decisive Battle proved overly optimistic for any unguided muntion.

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RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 6:31:15 PM   
Shark7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: irrelevant

No 10,000 ton cruiser was never going to be sunk by a single torpedo hit no matter how large the warhead. This is because a single hit will result in flooding only in two or possibly as many as three major compartments. This will never be enough flooding to sink such a ship. Now, that ship may very well be left dead in the water, almost certainly leading to further damage, but that is another story.

A number of IJ CLs succumbed to a single torpedo hit. This was mainly due to the fact that these ships all had centerline bulkheads, which resulted in asymmetrical flooding and capsizing.



Actually that isn't quite true, it really depends on what gets hit when the torpedo strikes. Fuel storage, ammo storage or engineering/steering hits are all effective 'kills'. They may not send the ship to the bottom, but those hits will take it out of the fight. A ship that can't manuevre is useless to the battle line.

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(in reply to tsimmonds)
Post #: 89
RE: Are BB undervalued by WITP - 3/19/2008 6:42:29 PM   
tsimmonds


Posts: 5498
Joined: 2/6/2004
From: astride Mason and Dixon's Line
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shark7


quote:

ORIGINAL: irrelevant

No 10,000 ton cruiser was never going to be sunk by a single torpedo hit no matter how large the warhead. This is because a single hit will result in flooding only in two or possibly as many as three major compartments. This will never be enough flooding to sink such a ship. Now, that ship may very well be left dead in the water, almost certainly leading to further damage, but that is another story.

A number of IJ CLs succumbed to a single torpedo hit. This was mainly due to the fact that these ships all had centerline bulkheads, which resulted in asymmetrical flooding and capsizing.



Actually that isn't quite true, it really depends on what gets hit when the torpedo strikes. Fuel storage, ammo storage or engineering/steering hits are all effective 'kills'. They may not send the ship to the bottom, but those hits will take it out of the fight. A ship that can't manuevre is useless to the battle line.

Soft kill, sure. But not sunk.

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(in reply to Shark7)
Post #: 90
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