What good are battleships?

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Sarconix
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What good are battleships?

Post by Sarconix »

I've been doing some reading, and haven't found obvious answers for this...

If Pearl Harbor proved that naval aviation was the way to victory in the Pacific, what good were battleships? (either historically or in WITP) It seems like battleships were basically sitting ducks when faced with torpedoes and bombs from carrier-based (or land-based) aircraft.
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by Commander Stormwolf »

Yep. Japan figured it out by about June 1942 and cancelled all the battleships after Yamato and Musashi

USN had too much industrial capacity so they kept building everything [:'(]
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jeffk3510
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by jeffk3510 »

Huge, amazing AA platforms....especially the fast BBs
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Mike Solli
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by Mike Solli »

As a Japanese player, I love them. If they catch an Allied cruiser/destroyer force, they'll shred them in return for a bit of chipped paint. You just need to be careful with them, as you do with all Japanese ships (and everything else for that matter).
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by Sarconix »

Thanks! So I have: AA platform and surface combat against a weaker force. How about bombardment?

Were they historically effective in these roles, or does this only apply to WITP?
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by Misconduct »

ORIGINAL: Sarconix

Thanks! So I have: AA platform and surface combat against a weaker force. How about bombardment?

Were they historically effective in these roles, or does this only apply to WITP?

Bombardment is the key to the battleships, most places that are undefended by coastal batteries will suffer severely at the
hands of a decent bombardment (with top notch spotting of course).

The key element before any landing on an Atoll or Island is battleships, you have to disrupt as much as you can otherwise
you can receive a nasty shock attack.
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by Sarconix »

ORIGINAL: Misconduct
Bombardment is the key to the battleships, most places that are undefended by coastal batteries will suffer severely at the hands of a decent bombardment (with top notch spotting of course).

You say undefended... even if defended, can coastal batteries hit ships that are potentially out of sight? Targeting a moving ship over the horizon seems impossible. Or did battleships of the era need line of sight? (Mark 7 guns had a 24 mile range, though perhaps not a practical range.)
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by Commander Stormwolf »

general rule of thumb is you need bigger guns to bombard than the coastal defences

the CD at pearl harbor's a big reason why japan can't suppress the beaches and then invade
without heavy losses

historically japan was able to pummel henderson field with battleships and they were used
by the USN to soften up islands before landings, if you got a base with lots of AA defences
that you want to close down, then sending in the BBs is a good idea
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by oldman45 »

They found there was a sweet spot to sit when they bombard. Too close and the shells just skipped off the coral or did little damage unless they actually hit the bunker. Too far and accuracy suffered. I can't find where I read what range the BB's liked to sit at right now.
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by Flying Tiger »

ORIGINAL: Sarconix

I've been doing some reading, and haven't found obvious answers for this...

If Pearl Harbor proved that naval aviation was the way to victory in the Pacific, what good were battleships? (either historically or in WITP) It seems like battleships were basically sitting ducks when faced with torpedoes and bombs from carrier-based (or land-based) aircraft.

Battleships SHOULD HAVE caused havoc at Leyte. But thanks to some remarkably timid Japanese commanders the slaughter was averted. And this at a time when the Allies had absolute control of the air (and mostly of the sea too!).

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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by Sarconix »

ORIGINAL: Flying Tiger
Battleships SHOULD HAVE caused havoc at Leyte. But thanks to some remarkably timid Japanese commanders the slaughter was averted. And this at a time when the Allies had absolute control of the air (and mostly of the sea too!).

Do you have some source that goes into that in more detail? I am just not familiar with the various campaigns (yet). Thanks.
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by wdolson »

ORIGINAL: Commander Stormwolf

Yep. Japan figured it out by about June 1942 and cancelled all the battleships after Yamato and Musashi

USN had too much industrial capacity so they kept building everything [:'(]

Not really. The US had limited capacity to build capital ships. Two Iowas were launched incomplete and never completed to make room for more Essex class. The Montana class was canceled before it was built.

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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by wdolson »

ORIGINAL: Flying Tiger

Battleships SHOULD HAVE caused havoc at Leyte. But thanks to some remarkably timid Japanese commanders the slaughter was averted. And this at a time when the Allies had absolute control of the air (and mostly of the sea too!).

The center force should have caused more havoc than it did, but the southern force was doomed to fail. The southern force was not well organized, had only two BBs, the US had excellent information about where they were going and when they would arrive, and the US had time to set up a layered defense that forced the Japanese to run the gauntlet of PT boats first, then DDs, then Cruisers, and finally coming under the guns of the bombardment force covering the transports.

When the BBs opened up they did all their shooting by radar and finished off the force that had already been ravaged by the first layers of the defense.

The center force was led by one of the few officers in the IJN who knew the Code of Bushido was bunk. His father was a scholar on medieval Japan and he knew how to read and write ancient Japanese. He knew from original sources what the samurai's code really was and knew that the Code of Bushido was a politically motivated warping of the original code.

Thus he valued saving Japanese lives over stupid suicide missions. He did what damage he could and retired before his force took further damage.

There is a very good book about Leyte I read a few years back. I forget the title right now. I loaned it to my father, so I can't look.

If the center force had turned on the landing ships. They would have run into Olendorf's surface fleet that had defeated the southern force the night before. Olendorf thought Halsey was covering the San Bernardino Straits, so he wasn't positioned to deal with a force coming at him from the north, and many of his ships were low on ammo, but the center force would have been boxed into a narrow space with a very large US surface force and the CVE's off shore would be on alert to send aerial aid. The center force also did not know that Halsey had taken the bait hook line and sinker and his fast mobile forces were finishing off the carriers to the north.

If Halsey had left his battleships covering the San Bernardino Straits, the Battle Off Samar would not have happened. The big gun boys would have found out what would happen if the Yamato squared off against Iowas. I suspect the Americans would have won easily because the Japanese had to go through the Strait single file and would have emerged into a crossed T with every ship spotted on radar and by aircraft long before getting into visual range. The long range gunnery would have been the Yamato and some older Japanese BBs vs something like seven US fast BBs with better radar and in prime position.

Back to the original topic, I saw a 4 part series made in Australia about the history of the battleship. The ship of the line which evolved into the battleship was the core of every modern fleet for several hundred years. The advent of aircraft tilted that playing field, but the senior brass, who had all come of age in battleship navies were slow to adapt to the new playing field.

For the WW II era, about the best role for older battleships was bombardment. Faster BBs could be used as flak platforms. But both of these roles were huge wastes of resources for secondary roles. For the cost and material in one fast BB, the US could have built multiple cruisers with the same total AA armament which cost less to crew and maintain. For bombardment, large caliber guns on slow, largish gunboats would have done an equally good job.

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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by CaptBeefheart »

ORIGINAL: wdolson

For the WW II era, about the best role for older battleships was bombardment. Faster BBs could be used as flak platforms. But both of these roles were huge wastes of resources for secondary roles. For the cost and material in one fast BB, the US could have built multiple cruisers with the same total AA armament which cost less to crew and maintain. For bombardment, large caliber guns on slow, largish gunboats would have done an equally good job.

Bill
Sounds like a great opportunity for a modder!

BTW: I like "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" as an excellent read on the Battle Off Samar. There were some DE and DD captains with cojones the size of basketballs on that day.

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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by Sarconix »

ORIGINAL: Commander Cody
ORIGINAL: wdolson
For bombardment, large caliber guns on slow, largish gunboats would have done an equally good job.
Sounds like a great opportunity for a modder!

Was there anything actually like that, or are you speaking entirely hypothetical?
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by HansBolter »

ORIGINAL: Mike Solli

As a Japanese player, I love them. If they catch an Allied cruiser/destroyer force, they'll shred them in return for a bit of chipped paint. You just need to be careful with them, as you do with all Japanese ships (and everything else for that matter).


Not always true. I recently witnessed the Australian cruiser force sink a Japanese battlewagon at Rabaul. The Aussies got away with one crippled cruiser and destroyer that were sunk the next morning by a carrier strike, but that didn't temper the celebration. Unlike American cruisers, the Aussies are torpedo armed and consequently much more dangerous to Japanese battleships.
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by spence »

As a Japanese player, I love them. If they catch an Allied cruiser/destroyer force, they'll shred them in return for a bit of chipped paint. You just need to be careful with them, as you do with all Japanese ships (and everything else for that matter).

Just like in real life??? All the skill displayed by IJN DD and cruiser captains in real life battles seems to have been offset by captains and admirals who commanded in the IJN Battleline.
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by HansBolter »

Another good book on the Battle of Samar is Sea of Thunder. It focuses on four commanders: Halsey, Evans, Kurita and Ugaki. An attmpt to sort of get inside the heads of these men and examine thier performances based on motives.
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by gradenko2k »

ORIGINAL: HansBolter

Another good book on the Battle of Samar is Sea of Thunder. It focuses on four commanders: Halsey, Evans, Kurita and Ugaki. An attmpt to sort of get inside the heads of these men and examine thier performances based on motives.
I just bought this book! I feel like I've just joined the very exclusive WITP: AE book club
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RE: What good are battleships?

Post by dr.hal »

Battleships, despite Pearl Harbor, do have a role early on in the war as battleships, especially the fast ones (read BCs converted to BBs - Hiei, et. al. and a few RN ships) as they are good protection against the allies especially the USN, as the torps in the USN are c@#p. I have repeatedly run into Hiei class ships with CVs and APs and the protection is great, they absorb hits without a problem and ONE return hit usually puts a DD under.... Can't beat that...

But the key is air superiority...

As for shore bombardment, with very few exceptions, a BB is immune to return fire which makes them great... BUT getting more ammo is always a problem! Hal
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