Wyoming class battleships

Wyoming class battleships


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Wyoming class battleships

The two Wyoming class battleships were the last US battleships to be armed with 12in guns and were seen as an interim design before the appearance of the 14in armed New York class ships.

The first three classes of American dreadnoughts (South Carolina class, Delaware class and Florida class) were all armed with 12in guns, but by 1908 the Royal navy was planning to move onto larger calibre guns, and so President Theodore Roosevelt asked the US Navy to consider moving from 12in guns to 14in guns (this was two years before the first of the American dreadnoughts was completed, so the US Navy still had no practical experience of using dreadnought class ships in service). Three alternative designs were produced in response to this request, one armed with eight 14in guns, one with ten 14in guns and one with twelve 12in guns.

Of the two 14in designs, the eight gun design was rejected while the ten gun ships could only be docked at Pearl Harbor and Puget Sound. Even the docks at New York would need extending to take them. As a result it was decided to adopt the 12in twelve gun design as an interim type, while work was carried out on enlarging the main military docks to take the larger 14in gun designs. The 12in armed ships became the Wyoming class, while the 14in ships became the New York class ships.

The Wyoming class ships were significantly larger than the previous Florida class ships. They were 41ft longer, mainly to make room for the sixth 12in gun turret, 5ft wider and displaced an extra 4,000 tons. Despite only having the same amount of engine power as the earlier ships, their speed only dropped by one quarter of a knot, to 20.5kts.

The main armament was concentrated at the back of the ship. Two twin gun turrets were mounted at the front and four at the back, giving the ship a broadside of twelve guns but limiting their fore and aft firepower to four guns. 5in guns were retained for the secondary armament, but the number carried was increased from 16 to 21, and the overall design of the ship was modified to make them more effective. On the Delaware and Florida class ships the secondary guns had been carried quite close to the waterline, making them almost unusable in heavy seas or when travelling at speed. The Wyoming class ships were 'flush deckers', with a single main deck that sloped gently down from a high bow, raising the secondary guns by four feet (on the earlier ships there had been a higher deck surface near the bow, with a step down to the main deck).

Both ships were modernized in the mid 1920s, receiving anti-torpedo blisters and converting from coal to oil fuel. Torpedo bulges were added and the two funnels reduced to one. Arkansas also received a large number of anti-aircraft guns during the Second World War.

Both the Wyoming and the Arkansas served with the 6th Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet towards the end of the First World War. Wyoming was converted to a training ship in 1931, and served as a gunnery training ship during the Second World War. Arkansas served in the Atlantic during the Second World War, before taking part in the naval bombardment on D-Day and the invasion of the South of France (Operation Dragoon). She then moved to the Pacific, where she took part in the invasion of Okinawa.

Displacement (standard)

26,000t

Displacement (loaded)

27,243t

Top Speed

20.5kts

Range

8,000nm at 10kts

Armour – belt

11in-9in

- lower casemate

11in-9in

- upper casemate

6.5in

- barbette

11in

- turret faces

12in

- coning tower

11.5in

Length

562ft

Width

93ft 2in

Armaments

Twelve 12in guns in six twin turrets
Twenty one 5in guns
Two submerged beam 21n torpedo tubes

Crew complement

1,063

Ships in Class

USS Wyoming (BB 32)

Stricken 1947

USS Arkansas (BB 33)

Target 26 July 1946


Wyoming class battleships - History

Break-Bulk Cargo Ships Built in U.S. Shipyards Since WWII

Most recent update: May 9, 2020.

After WWII, there was, of course, an excess of US-built cargo ships and new shipbuilding programs did not get started until the 1950s. Then, between 1953 and 1969, 176 break-bulk cargo ships were delivered - a construction rate of over ten ships a year, all built with the assistance of Construction Differential Subsidy, (CDS), and operated with the assistance of Operating Differential Subsidy, (ODS). The advent of containerization, however, brought an end to the era of break-bulk ships and many redundant break-bulk ships were converted to containerships while the first true containerships were being built. In the 1980s, however, the Reagan Administration ended the CDS and ODS programs and the entire foreign-trade fleet became redundant overnight. As a result, almost all the ships in this table were transferred to either the RRF or the NDRF and most have since been scrapped.


The History of the Montana Class - the Great Battleships Never Built

The Montanas would have been immensely powerful ships—the favorite in any scrum they could throw more weight, hit harder, and hit more accurately than any of the competitors.

Key Point: Unfortunately, given the progression of the war, the U.S. Navy made the right choice when it canceled the Montanas in favor of more useful vessels.

In the early 1940s, the U.S. Navy still expected to need huge, first-rate battleships to fight the best that Japan and Germany had to offer. The North Carolina, South Dakota, and Iowa class battleships all involved design compromises. The Montanas, the last battleships designed by the U.S. Navy (USN), would not.

Origins of the Design

The interwar system of naval treaties allowed the United States to restart battleship construction in the late 1930s. The first designs (the North Carolina and South Dakota classes) complied with the restrictions of the treaties, which limited battleship size to 35,000 tons. An escalator clause kicked in after Japan failed to renew its treaty obligations, allowing the construction of the 45,000 Iowa class, which would use the extra displacement to carry slightly heavier guns, and more importantly to add five knots of speed.

The fast, slim Iowas class ships, however, diverged from the historical practice in battleship construction in the United States. Unlike their counterparts in other countries, U.S. battleship admirals preferred to sacrifice speed for firepower and protection. The USN never built any battlecruisers (although it intended to do so after World War I), and initially expected its replacement battleships to sail at 23 knots, four knots slower than any foreign contemporary. The USN bumped that to 28 when it realized foreign navies were building ships that could make closer to 30 knots. The Iowas could make 33 knots (at least on paper) because the USN wanted battleships that could escort its new fast carriers.

The Montanas didn’t drop all the way back to 23, but they did represent a step back to the precedent established by the North Carolina and South Dakota classes. They displaced 18,000 tons more than the Iowas, but spent that displacement on armor and main battery, rather than on speed. Crucially, the USN made the decision to build them too large to pass through the Panama Canal, which Japanese designers of the time had believed was a hard ceiling on the size of U.S. battleships.

The five names selected were Montana, Ohio, Maine, New Hampshire, and Louisiana. Of these, the last four recycled names from pre-dreadnought battleships, all of which had been scrapped after World War I. The first, Montana, recycled a name that was originally intended for the first South Dakota class of battleships, which were canceled in the wake of the Washington Naval Treaty. Apart from Hawaii, Montana is the only state never to have an operational battleship named in its honor.

How They Stacked Up

In appearance, the Montanas were very similar to the Iowa class, with the biggest visible differences coming in size and main armament. The Montanas would have carried 12 16”/50 guns in four triple turrets, and would have displaced about 65,000 tons. They were to carry 16” belt armor and 9” deck armor, a substantial increase on the Iowas. However, they could only make 28 knots. The secondary armament was largely the same as the Iowas (and the preceding battleship classes), but with more deck space they could eventually have carried a heavier anti-aircraft armament.

The Montanas would have outclassed anything the British, French, or Italians had even conceived of building. The most obvious opponent for the Montanas were the Japanese Yamatos. The Montanas would have been slightly faster than the Yamatos, with a much heavier broadside. The 16”/50 weapons had greater penetrating power than the Japanese 18.1” gun, giving the U.S. ships a significant advantage. Advances in radar fire control and range finding would also have worked to the benefit of the U.S. ships.

However, it’s worth noting that the Yamatos commissioned in 1942, before the scheduled keel laying of Montana. Even given the exceptionally fast construction schedule of U.S. warships in World War II, Montana would have entered service some three years after the Yamatos, make comparison imprecise. Moreover, the notional follow-on battleships (“Super Yamato” and “Super Duper Yamato,” as they are colloquially known) would have substantially exceeded the Montanas in size and armament.

Apart from the Japanese, the only serious competitors in the “super-battleship” weight class were the Soviet Sovetsky Soyuz class, and the German H-39 class. Both of these types were nearly as large as the American and Japanese ships, and carried 16” guns. However, both the Soviet and German designs had major deficiencies, and in the Soviet case industrial shortcomings meant that the ships would have suffered from big operational problems. In any case, the arrival of war led to the cancellation of every super-battleship class except for the first two Yamatos.

The Decision Not to Build

By mid-1942, U.S. naval authorities concluded that aircraft carriers would contribute more to victory in the Pacific than battleships. The battleships currently under construction (six of the Iowa class, closely following the four South Dakotas) would provide an ample insurance policy against Japanese battleship construction, while also serving as an effective carrier escort force.

The USN also devoted resources to the Alaska class, a group of six “large cruisers,” “battlecruisers,” or “light battleships,” depending on your preference. While these ships could not contribute as much to the line of battle as Montana, they could conduct shore bombardment, carrier escort, and surface warfare missions much more cheaply.

The Montanas had little to contribute. Slower than the Iowas, but carrying roughly the same anti-aircraft armament, they could not perform the carrier escort mission any more effectively. They would, however, take up material and yard space dedicated to carriers and escort ships. Consequently, since the USN determined that it would struggle to find a job for the Montanas even if they entered service before the war ended, it decided to cut bait, even before the keels of the ships were laid.

However, the Montana hull design became the foundation for the Midway class aircraft carrier, the first of which entered service immediately following the end of hostilities. The ships of the Midway class would serve for most of the Cold War, with the last retiring in the 1990s.

What Might Have Been

The Montanas would have been immensely powerful ships, probably more powerful than their Japanese (or German, or Soviet) counterparts. Battleship combat was an inherently risky endeavor. Nearly every salvo has a chance of getting a lucky hit that strikes a magazine, sending the victim to the bottom in minutes. Nevertheless, the Montanas would have been the favorites in any scrum they could throw more weight, hit harder, and hit more accurately than any of the competitors.

The only question is who they would have fought. HIJMS Yamato sank under a barrage of bombs and torpedoes two months before the projected completion date of the USS Montana. The German and Soviet ships didn’t make it much farther than the Montanas, although Stalin nursed the idea of building super-battleships into the 1950s.

Had the U.S. built the Montanas, they likely would have had similar post-war careers to those of the South Dakotas. Because of their speed, the Iowas were more useful at every job except fighting other battleships. Having built the ships in the late 1940s, the USN would have sold them for scrap in the early 1960s.

The Final Salvo

The Montanas were designed to fight a different World War II than the one that happened. Had they begun to enter service in 1945, they would have joined an armada of twelve modern battleships, against much smaller expected Japanese construction. The howls of battleship aficionados notwithstanding, the U.S. Navy made the right choice when it canceled the ships in favor of more useful vessels.

Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is author of The Battleship Book. He serves as a senior lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Information Dissemination and The Diplomat.

This article first appeared in 2015 and is reprinted here due to reader interest.


Wyoming class battleships - History

Numbering: With few exceptions, battleships were numbered in a single series originating in 1895 ships were designated "Battleship x" (abbreviated "B-x") in this system. On 17 July 1920 the existing designations were converted to a new designation system, taking the form "BB xx", with the numeric portion remaining the same as under the old system. War prizes were not renamed or given numbers when commissioned in US service.


DANFS Online: Battleships
Listed Numerically
TEXAS (Second Class Battleship)
MAINE (Second Class Battleship)
ZRINYI (War Prize)
RADETZKY (War Prize) NOT LISTED
OSTFRIESLAND (War Prize)
INDIANA (BB 1)
MASSACHUSETTS (BB 2)
OREGON (BB 3)
IOWA (BB 4)
KEARSARGE (BB 5)
KENTUCKY (BB 6)
ILLINOIS (BB 7)
ALABAMA (BB 8)
WISCONSIN (BB 9)
MAINE (BB 10)
MISSOURI (BB 11)
OHIO (BB 12)
VIRGINIA (BB 13)
NEBRASKA (BB 14)
GEORGIA (BB 15)
NEW JERSEY (BB 16)
RHODE ISLAND (BB 17)
CONNECTICUT (BB 18)
LOUISIANA (BB 19)
VERMONT (BB 20)
KANSAS (BB 21)
MINNESOTA (BB 22)
MISSISSIPPI (B-23)
IDAHO (B-24)
NEW HAMPSHIRE (BB 25)
SOUTH CAROLINA (BB 26)
MICHIGAN (BB 27)
DELAWARE (BB 28)
NORTH DAKOTA (BB 29)
FLORIDA (BB 30)
UTAH (BB 31)
WYOMING (BB 32)
ARKANSAS (BB 33)
NEW YORK (BB 34)
TEXAS (BB 35)
NEVADA (BB 36)
OKLAHOMA (BB 37)
PENNSYLVANIA (BB 38)
ARIZONA (BB 39)
NEW MEXICO (BB 40)
MISSISSIPPI (BB 41)
IDAHO (BB 42)
TENNESSEE (BB 43)
CALIFORNIA (BB 44)
COLORADO (BB 45)
MARYLAND (BB 46)
WASHINGTON (BB 47)
WEST VIRGINIA (BB 48)
SOUTH DAKOTA (BB 49)
INDIANA (BB 50)
MONTANA (BB 51)
NORTH CAROLINA (BB 52)
IOWA (BB 53)
MASSACHUSETTS (BB 54)
NORTH CAROLINA (BB 55)
WASHINGTON (BB 56)
SOUTH DAKOTA (BB 57)
INDIANA (BB 58)
MASSACHUSETTS (BB 59)
ALABAMA (BB 60)
IOWA (BB 61)
NEW JERSEY (BB 62)
MISSOURI (BB 63)
WISCONSIN (BB 64)
ILLINOIS (BB 65)
KENTUCKY (BB 66)
MONTANA (BB 67)
OHIO (BB 68)
MAINE (BB 69)
NEW HAMPSHIRE (BB 70)
LOUISIANA (BB 71)
Listed Alphabetically
ALABAMA (BB 8)
ALABAMA (BB 60)
ARIZONA (BB 39)
ARKANSAS (BB 33)
CALIFORNIA (BB 44)
COLORADO (BB 45)
CONNECTICUT (BB 18)
DELAWARE (BB 28)
FLORIDA (BB 30)
GEORGIA (BB 15)
IDAHO (B-24)
IDAHO (BB 42)
ILLINOIS (BB 7)
ILLINOIS (BB 65)
INDIANA (BB 1)
INDIANA (BB 50)
INDIANA (BB 58)
IOWA (BB 4)
IOWA (BB 53)
IOWA (BB 61)
KANSAS (BB 21)
KEARSARGE (BB 5)
KENTUCKY (BB 6)
KENTUCKY (BB 66)
LOUISIANA (BB 19)
LOUISIANA (BB 71)
MAINE (Second Class Battleship)
MAINE (BB 10)
MAINE (BB 69)
MARYLAND (BB 46)
MASSACHUSETTS (BB 2)
MASSACHUSETTS (BB 54)
MASSACHUSETTS (BB 59)
MICHIGAN (BB 27)
MINNESOTA (BB 22)
MISSISSIPPI (B-23)
MISSISSIPPI (BB 41)
MISSOURI (BB 11)
MISSOURI (BB 63)
MONTANA (BB 51)
MONTANA (BB 67)
NEBRASKA (BB 14)
NEVADA (BB 36)
NEW HAMPSHIRE (BB 25)
NEW HAMPSHIRE (BB 70)
NEW JERSEY (BB 16)
NEW JERSEY (BB 62)
NEW MEXICO (BB 40)
NEW YORK (BB 34)
NORTH CAROLINA (BB 52)
NORTH CAROLINA (BB 55)
NORTH DAKOTA (BB 29)
OHIO (BB 12)
OHIO (BB 68)
OKLAHOMA (BB 37)
OREGON (BB 3)
OSTFRIESLAND (War Prize)
PENNSYLVANIA (BB 38)
RADETZKY (War Prize) NOT LISTED
RHODE ISLAND (BB 17)
SOUTH CAROLINA (BB 26)
SOUTH DAKOTA (BB 49)
SOUTH DAKOTA (BB 57)
TENNESSEE (BB 43)
TEXAS (Second Class Battleship)
TEXAS (BB 35)
UTAH (BB 31)
VERMONT (BB 20)
VIRGINIA (BB 13)
WASHINGTON (BB 47)
WASHINGTON (BB 56)
WEST VIRGINIA (BB 48)
WISCONSIN (BB 9)
WISCONSIN (BB 64)
WYOMING (BB 32)
ZRINYI (War Prize)

These histories are taken from Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (US Naval Historical Center, 1959-1991). The histories may not reflect the most recent information concerning the ships' status and operations.

This section of the HG&UW site coordinated and maintained by Andrew Toppan.
Copyright © 1996-2003, Andrew Toppan. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction, reuse, or distribution without permission is prohibited.


Naming Ships

Starting at the beginning of the 20th Century, the Navy's ships were named in accordance with a system, tailored to ship types. Names of states, for example, were borne by battleships. Cruisers were named for cities while destroyers came to be named for American naval leaders and heroes, as today's destroyers are still named. Starting in 1931 submarines were named for "fish and denizens of the deep." As World War II ship construction programs included new types of ships requiring new name sources and other classes required a modification of existing name sources to meet a perceived shortage of "appropriate" names. Mass-produced antisubmarine patrol and escort ships were named in honor of members of the naval service killed in action in World War II. Some were named for destroyers lost in the early stages of that war. Ships lost in wartime were normally honored by having their names reassigned to new construction. During World War II the names of individuals were once again assigned to aircraft carriers.

Type: World War II Current
Aircraft Carriers: Amphibious Assault
Amphibious Assault, Helicopter LPH Famous USMC battles
Amphibious Assault, Aviation LHA
Amphibious Assault, Dock LHD Famous aircraft carriers
Landing Ships & Craft:
Amphibious Transport, Dock LPD Cities honoring pioneers
Landing Ship, Dock LSD Historic sites
Landing Ship, Tank LST none Cities
counties
Landing Ship, Vehicle LSV Old Monitors of USN
Battleship
Battleship BB States of the Union
Cruiser:
Large Cruiser CB Territories & possessions
Heavy Cruiser CA Cities & towns
Light Cruiser CL Cities & towns
Guided Missile Cruiser CG Distinguished Americans
Famous battles
Nuclear Guided Missile Cruiser CGN Distinguished Americans
Cities
States of the Union
Destroyers:
Destroyer Escort DE Distinguished USN/USMC officers & enlisted men
Destroyer DD Distinguished USN/USMC officers & enlisted men
Guided Missile Destroyer DDG
Frigate FF
Guided Missile Frigate FFG
Submarine
Submarine SS Fish and marine creatures
Nuclear Submarine SSN Fish and marine creatures
President
Admiral
Politicians
Cities & towns
States of the Union
Ballistic Missile Submarine SSBN Presidents
Distinguished Americans
States of the Union
Minecraft:
Minelayers & Coastal Minelayer CM Old monitors of USN
Light Minelayer DM
Auxiliary Minelayer ACM Obstructions
Minewsweeper AM Birds
abstract qualities
word of action
Coastal Minewsweeper AMc
Fast Minewsweeper DMS
Mine Countermeasures Support Ship MCS Famous USMC battle
Mine Countermeasures Ship MCM abstract qualities
word of action
Coastal Mine Hunter MHC Birds
Patrol Craft:
Frigate PF Cities & towns
Gunboat PG
River Gunboat PR Islands
Converted Yacht PG Precious & semi-precious stones
general words
Smaller Converted Yacht PY
Coastal Yacht PYc
Auxiliaries:
Crane Ship AB
ACS
"Crane Ship No. 1" State nicknames
various
Destroyer Tender AD Geographical areas of the US
Ammunition Ship AE Volcanoes Volcanoes
words denoting fire and explosives
Provision Store Ship AF Stars
Combat Stores Ship AFS Cities
Mythological figures
Stars
Amphibious Force Command Ship AGC
LCC
Mountains
MTB Tender AGP Mythological figures
Surveying Ship AGS Distinguished marine surveyors
Hospital Ship
Hospital Ship AH Peaceful or comforting words
Cargo Ship:
Cargo Ship AK Stars
counties of the US
Medal of Honor recipients
various other names
Cargo Ship, RO/RO AKR Stars
Comedian
Capes
various other names
Attack Cargo Ship AKA Counties of the US
Net Cargo Ship AKN Stars
counties of the US
General Stores Issue Ship AKS Stars
Cargo Ships and Aircraft Ferry AKV Places associated with aviation history
Net-Laying Ship
Net-Laying Ship AN Trees or old USN monitors
Oilers & Tankers:
Oiler AO Rivers Rivers
Cities
Famous battles
famous ship designers or builders
Gasoline Tanker AOG
Transport Oiler AOT various names
Fast Combat Support Ship AOE Cities
various other names
Transports:
Transport AP Presidents
Signers of Declaration of Independence
distinguished generals & admirals
famous women
historic places
Attack Transport APA Counties of the US
Evacuation Transport APH Surgeons General of the USN
Barracks Ship APL famous hotels
Aircraft Ferry APV Places associated with aviation history
Repair Ships:
Cable Repairing Ship ARC Mythological figures
Repair Ship AR Mythological figures
Landing Craft / Light Repair Ship ARL
Battle-Damage Repair Ship ARB
Heavy Hull Repair Ship ARH
Internal Combustion Engine Repair Ship ARG Islands
Salvage Vessel ARS Terms associated with marine salvage
Submarine Tenders & Rescue Vessels:
Submarine Tender AS Submarine pioneers
mythological figures
Submarine pioneers
Submarine Rescue Vessel ASR Birds
Tugboats:
Auxiliary Tug ATA Indian Tribes
Fleet Ocean Tug ATF
Seaplane Tenders:
Seaplane Tender AV Aviation pioneers
bays, sounds & straits
Small Seaplane Tender AVP Birds

Over time, this system has evolved beyond recognition, due in no small measure to the evolution of modern ships. Today's "destroyers" such the DDG-51 class are nearly as large as the Battleships of the early 20th Century. Although the absence of armor has reduced displacement by a factor of four, a modern "destroyer" is only a few dozen feet shorter than what passed for a capital ship for much of the 20th Century, and modern ships surely make up in firepower, speed, and sensor capabilities what they may lack in raw tonnage. Hence names that may have sufficed for ships of a particular class decades ago may no longer do justice to the magnificence of their current counterparts.

  • USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)
  • USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709)
  • USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)
  • USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300)
  • USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23)

This lack of discipline in distinguishing between the quick and the dead has been utterly overwhelmed in recently years by the promiscuous distribution of names among various classes of ships. One of the chief benefits of the classical naming system that flourished during the Second World War was the precision with which the name of a ship defined the ship's class, no small matter with a Navy boasting thousands of ships. The elegance of the system in which battleships were named for states, battle-cruisers for territories, large cruisers for large cities and light cruisers for small cities is difficult to exceed. But as the 600-ship Navy has evolved into the 300-ship Navy, it would seem that a presumption has arisen that one should be on a first-name basis with each ship of the fleet, and that no further introductions should be required. Half a century ago, there would be no doubt that a ship named after a state of the Union was a battleship, whereas today a ship with such a name might be whatever class of ship found favor with the Navy at the moment. This situation has reached absurd proportions with the SSN-21 class, the three units of which are named after a denizen of the deep, a state of the Union, and a President. This problem is not entirely an esthetic one, though the esthetics are the matter are difficult to ignore. As the Navy is increasingly called upon to operate in a joint environment, the services's increasingly confusing ship nomenclature will only compound interoperability problems [indeed, one may wonder how many Army and Air Force personnel are aware that there is, in principle, some system by which the Navy names its various ships].

Name: World War II Current
People
Admirals Nuclear Aircraft Carrier
Nuclear Submarine
Comedians Cargo Ship, RO/RO
Distinguished USN/USMC
officers & enlisted men
Destroyer
Destroyer Escort
Nuclear Guided Missile Cruiser
Destroyer
Guided Missile Destroyer
Frigate
Guided Missile Frigate
Distinguished Americans Guided Missile Cruiser
Politicians Nuclear Aircraft Carrier
Ballistic Missile Submarine
Presidents Fleet Aircraft Carriers, Large Nuclear Aircraft Carrier
Aircraft Carrier
Nuclear Submarine
Places
States Battleship Nuclear Guided Missile Cruiser
Ballistic Missile Submarine
Nuclear Submarine
Cities Heavy Cruiser
Light Cruiser
Nuclear Guided Missile Cruiser
Nuclear Submarine
Landing Ship, Dock
Landing Ship, Tank
Combat Stores Ship
Fast Combat Support Ship
Counties Landing Ship, Tank
Historic Sites Landing Ship, Dock Landing Ship, Dock
Things
Famous battles Fleet Aircraft Carriers, Large
Aircraft Carrier
Aircraft Carrier
Amphibious Assault, Aviation
Guided Missile Cruiser
Famous Navy ships Aircraft Carrier Nuclear Aircraft Carrier
Aircraft Carrier
Amphibious Assault, Dock

The present arbitrary ship naming system seems premised on Humpty Dumpty's contention that "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean." What is required now is a "Rectification of Names" - the fundamental Confucian idea that language should always bear the same meaning, that the meaning of words ("Names") should be the same for everyone. That is, words should not mean one thing to older people and another thing to younger people, or that the intention of politicians' statements should be the same as the meaning heard by those listening. Confucius treated "rectifying names" as the key to good government:


South Dakota vs Iowa class

The Yamato's poor performance was because it was a stupid battleship. It was certainly fast- but it was Not nimble.
And any competent american commander would have LOVED to engage with the Yamato- being competent, they simply would have called in an AIRSTRIKE, because battleships could do effectively nothing to stop bombs from falling on their heads. Nor torpedoes launched from airplanes.

Battleships in WWII were obsolete. The smaller lighter battleships were built because large battleships were becoming an obvious waste of steel. And they were a smaller, faster target for aircraft. But most of all- because AGING naval brass were fixated on the idea of battleships defining naval power- when they no longer defined anything but ineffective waste.
The pocket battleships guns were intended for shore bombardment preparatory to an amphibious landing, but even then, there is little evidence to support the idea that mass shore bombardment was even marginally effective against the japanese island defense tunnels.

Yamato, Musashi, Tirpitz, Bismark- The Four most useless things built in WWII followed closely by the big battleships built by the US.

Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor proved Battleships vulnerable to air attack by both bombs and torpedoes.

What japan desperately NEEDED was 3 additional aircraft carriers.
What they Got was enough steel for 3 carriers, rusting away on the sea floor without having the slightest effect on their enemy.

Pruitt

This is just historical hindsight. The aircraft carrier was unproven before 1941. Battleships were THE Capital Ships of any Navy. The US was the only Navy that had a career path for carrier aviation. Battleship admirals commanded Aircraft Carriers in all other navies. If the IJN had used the materials tied up in Yamato, Musashi and Shinano, would she have converted the other ships into Carriers? Would there have been enough trained flight personnel to man them?

I disagree that larger Battleships were outdated. Dimensions kept going up in new builds. What Battleships were built that were smaller than their predecessors?

Starman

I dunno……near Samar the Japanese were glad they sighted what they thought were fleet carriers, so they'd see real action instead of just pounding an anchorage.

Sculptingman

This is just historical hindsight. The aircraft carrier was unproven before 1941. Battleships were THE Capital Ships of any Navy. The US was the only Navy that had a career path for carrier aviation. Battleship admirals commanded Aircraft Carriers in all other navies. If the IJN had used the materials tied up in Yamato, Musashi and Shinano, would she have converted the other ships into Carriers? Would there have been enough trained flight personnel to man them?

I disagree that larger Battleships were outdated. Dimensions kept going up in new builds. What Battleships were built that were smaller than their predecessors?

institutional stupidity has inertia.
Of COURSE they built larger battleships. The Iowa class were the largest the US built- But the US built several pocket battleships smaller than Iowa class during the war.

And sorry- But Battleships were proven obsolete when Billy Mitchell sank one using a biplane that only flew at 60 mph.

The japanese had built more carriers than anyone else prior to 41 and had LONG proven their utility with their prior acquisitions in asia.
After Midway- Japan switched one of the 3 yamato class battleships they were building to make it into a carrier. albeit too heavy a carrier. the Shinano- So you know there was a heated debate ongoing in japan over the wasted resources of new battleships- with oldtimers harking back to the pre-flight days of the russia-japanese conflict.

The theory of larger battleships was larger guns, and the theory of larger guns was to be able to strike an enemy that was too far away to reach you with their smaller guns. Being able to lob a shell 20 miles is better than being able to lob one 16 miles.

But The airplane gave a carrier a range of HUNDREDS of miles. If not for the undue influence of gun manufacturers and geezers with outmoded memories, ANY competent military mind could have figured that out.

In fact, Yamamoto's principal target in attacking pearl was the four US carriers stationed there and he was not happy that not even one of them was in port the day they Had to deliver the attack.
Had those carriers been sunk- then Midway would have been taken easily.

Military history is chock full of tales where old timers in charge, not understanding new weapons developments, made huge mistakes.


Fast Battleships of WWII: South Dakota Class in Photos

During the late 1930s, as the world drew closer to the Second World War, the General Board of the United States Navy met to discuss the two North Carolina-class battleships which had been assigned to the FY1937 building project.

The initial suggestion was for two more North Carolinas to be added to the program, but Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William H. Standley wanted the new ships to also be of a new design. Thus, the beginning of the South Dakota-class ships was marked.

The design was first drafted in March 1937, and several designs were proposed in a bid to eliminate all or most of the deficiencies known in the North Carolina-class battleships, without significantly increasing weight. Such deficiencies included inadequate subaquatic protection and outdated turbine engines.

North Carolina underway on 3 June 1946. By this time, many of the light anti-aircraft weapons (Bofors 40 mm and Oerlikon 20 mm) mounted during the war had been removed, while more modern radars had been mounted on its forefunnel and mainmast.

Also, the North Carolinas had insufficient space to act as flagships. The final draft for two battleships was accepted on 4 January 1938, and on 4 April 1938 the ships were formally ordered.

A preliminary design of the South Dakota class

Due to the worsening situations in Europe and Asia and increasing signs of an outbreak of war, Congress approved the production of an extra two battleships based on the new design.

South Dakota under construction in April 1940 at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Camden, New Jersey

Generally, the South Dakota-class battleships had an overall length of 680 feet, and a standard displacement of 39,200 tons while displacing 49,861 tons in full load. The ships were propelled by geared steam turbines provided by General Electric and Westinghouse, and had a speed of 27.5 knots and a range of over 15,000 nautical miles.

The U.S. Navy battleship USS South Dakota (BB-57) anchored in Hvalfjörður, Iceland, on 24 June 1943.

For armament, they had a main battery of nine 16″/45 caliber Mark 6 guns, similar to the North Carolinas. The secondary armament was anti-aircraft guns comprising twenty 5-inch/38 caliber dual purpose guns, 64 Bofors 1.57-inch/56 guns, and 77 20mm/70 guns.

South Dakota shows the range of independent elevation of her main guns

The South Dakotas, unlike the North Carolinas, were designed to withstand 16-inch shellfire. Their immune zone against the 2,240lb projectiles ranged from 17,000 to 30,900 yards. They had significant main battery turret protection which was 18 inches thick.

Their underwater guard comprised four longitudinal torpedo bulkheads, which could absorb an underwater explosion equivalent to about 700 pounds of Trinitrotoluene (TNT) from a depth of up to 17.9 feet.

Secondary Battery Control and light AA guns aboard the South Dakota (BB-57) in the Atlantic, 1943.

Within the South Dakota class existed four fast battleships: the South Dakota, Indiana, Massachusetts and Alabama.

The South Dakota was part of Task Force 64 (TF 64), a battleship group that also included the North Carolina-class ship Washington and four destroyers. Together they intercepted a Japanese bombardment force on 15 November 1942.

Alabama in Casco Bay, Maine circa December 1942.

In the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, TF 64 damaged Japanese cruisers Takao and Atago and forced the scuttling of the battleship Kirishima and destroyer Ayanami.

The U.S. battleship USS Washington (BB-56) firing upon the Japanese battleship Kirishima, during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 14-15 November 1942.

The South Dakota also took part in the Battle of Tarawa among its other battles. She was present at the Surrender of Japan in September 1945. On January 31, 1947, she was decommissioned.

Indiana began operations off Guadalcanal when her sister South Dakota needed repairs. Her primary function was shore bombardment, in support of the Marines engaging Japanese forces on the island.

Indiana leading Massachusetts and the heavy cruisers Chicago and Quincy shortly before the bombardment of Kamaishi on 14 July 1945. This photo was taken from South Dakota.

She later took part in the invasion of Tarawa, during which she shot down her first aircraft. Indiana was also involved in actions such as the invasion of the Marshall Islands, the invasion of Hollandia, the bombardment of Truk, and the bombardment of Iwo Jima, among others. She continued to serve until the end of the war in August 1945.

Massachusetts cruising at 15 knots off Point Wilson, Washington on 11 July 1944

Massachusetts was the third ship in this class. She served as a flagship in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. Following her success in the North Africa campaign, she received an overhaul and was sent to the South Pacific theater to support operations there. On 27 March 1947, she was decommissioned and sent to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Massachusetts underway

Alabama was the fourth and final member of the South Dakota class. In August, she was sent to the Pacific theater, where she served with the U.S. Third Fleet during amphibious missions in the Gilbert Islands.

Alabama during her shakedown in 1942

Alabama shot down her first enemy aircraft in March 1944, and during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, she conducted anti-aircraft operations. Later, she went to the Marianas Islands to provide gunfire support for ground troops. She also saw action in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and in the air raid at Kyushu. On 1 June 1962, she was removed from the Naval Register.

USS Alabama in 2008 moored as a museum ship in Mobile.Photo Lowesvisa CC BY 3.0

The South Dakota is memorialized at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Indiana was sold for scrap for $418,387. Massachusetts is located at Battleship Cove, a maritime museum in Massachusetts. Alabama resides in Mobile, Alabama, as a museum ship and the main attraction of Battleship Memorial Park.

5 inch turrets aboard USS Massachusetts (BB-59). Taken during refueling from the T3-S2-A1 class Kaskaskia (AO-27) during a storm at sea, 17 October 1944.

Chief petty officer (CPO) selectees, assigned to U.S. Naval War College, Naval Station Newport, and Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I., arrive onboard the South Dakota class battleship, USS Massachusetts (BB-59), in Fall River, Mass., to participate in a community relations (COMREL) project.

The USS Alabama Battleship is a South Dakota-class battleship. Alabama was commissioned in 1942 and served in World War II in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.Photo: Nicolas Chadeville CC BY 4.0

USS Ringgold (DD-500) and a South Dakota-class battleship, in 1945, as seen from the deck of USS Lexington (CV-16).

USS Alabama (BB-60), Battleship Memorial Park – Mobile, Alabama.Photo: Tony Webster CC BY 2.0


In most cases, a Super Battleship was used as a propaganda term to describe any warship commissioned during the war, especially ships exceeding the 35000 tonne battleship limit of the Second London Naval Treaty. However, the term has come more popularly used to describe ships larger then 50,000 tonnes. Another identifying characteristic of Super Battleships is being heavily based off a preceding class of battleship, with the main difference being up-gunned.

This commonly disqualifies the Yamato-class as being a Super Battleship, but does apply the Shinano, the original "Super Battleship".

Ships Commonly Referred to being Super Battleships:

Triomphant-class - A French class composed of 2 massive battleships. Based heavily on the preceding Alsace-class, the Triomphant was the first class referred to as a Super-Battleship. With the lead ship being commissioned in 1939, the Triomphant weighed in at an astonishing 52000 tonnes, the largest European warship at that time.

Montana-class - An American Class composed of 6 battleships. The Montana-class was heavily based off the preceding Iowa-class, the main difference being the inclusion of a 4th turret. The Montana had several sub-classes that quickly made the Montana one of the greatest warships of all time. The final Pennsylvania sub-class compromised of 2 warships, were an astronomical 72000 tonnes, and measured just over 1000 ft!

Trafalgar-class - A British Class made up of 3 battleships, the Trafalgar was based heavily on the preceding Lion-class. A massive 64,000 tonnes, the Trafalgar was only marginally smaller then the initial versions of the similar Montana-class. While initially designed to carry 4 triple 406 mm turrets identical to those found on the Lion-class, the last 2 ships were equipped with 4 dual 457 mm gun turrets.

Sovietsky Soyuz - A Soviet One Off, the Sovietsky Soyuz was a prime example of a Super Battleship. The Sovietsky Soyuz was essentially a clone of the preceding Sovietskaya Rossiya-class battleships. Armed with 4 triple 406mm gun turrets, the Sovietsky Soyuz was a bit of an odd ball compared to the other ships on this list. The Soviet B-37 gun, the first and only big in house gun produced by the Soviets, also fired the lightest round with a weight equivalent of a 15in shell, giving the Sovietsky Soyuz the unfortunate distinction of having the lightest broadside weight of the group.

Tegetthoff-class - The Pride of Hitler's Navy, the Tegetthoff-class was possibly the best battleship to have ever been constructed. An 68,000 tonne war machine, the Tegetthoff was the most ambitious naval project possibly ever taken. Equipped with 5 18in turrets, the Tegetthoff had heaviest broadside of any European Battleship.

Centurio-class - The Centurio-class was a class of 3 battleships. At an even 50,000 tonnes, the Centurio-class was based off the unique enlarged Littorio-class Italia. As such, the Centurio had much of its basic architecture based off the Littorio-class. Using 16.5in guns, the Centurio-class also used the turret setup borrowed directly from the much earlier Andrea Doria-class battleships.

Shinano - The Shinano was a one off modified and stretched Yamato-class hull. A comparative oddity on this list, as the Shinano was not a different class but rather a modified version of an existing class (much like the Italia). However, due to her massive size, many experts consider the Shinano a Super-Battleship.


Unmatched Versatility: Iowa-Class Battleships Waged War for Half a Century

That vintage World War II dreadnoughts could play an important part in an ultramodern regional war reveals principles of ship design useful to fleet designers today.

Here's What You Need to Remember: Despite their lavish main and secondary gun batteries, Iowa-class battleships like Wisconsin underwent their first repurposing as soon as they made their debut. The Japanese carrier air raid on Pearl Harbor underlined how naval warfare had changed by 1941. Battleships brought heavy long-distance firepower to a gunfight carriers brought ultra-long-range precision firepower in the form of bombers and torpedo planes equipped with guidance systems known as pilots.

Thirty years ago last Friday the battleship USS Wisconsin steamed out of Hampton Roads bound for the Persian Gulf. The battlewagon performed a variety of tasks once on station that September, from querying passing merchant ships about contraband goods to refueling vessels with less capacious tanks to receiving mail and supplies by helicopter for onward transfer to the fleet. Diplomatic functions were routine. A congressional delegation flew out to tour the ship and meet the crew. General Colin Powell, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put in an appearance, as did U.S. and allied dignitaries and military officers of all descriptions. Meanwhile preparations for war proceeded apace. Operation Desert Shield was a busy time.

Many fine retrospectives on Desert Shield have appeared in recent weeks. They tend to go broad, reviewing grand themes relating to world politics and strategy. For fun let’s go narrow and look at naval architecture. That vintage World War II dreadnoughts could play an important part in an ultramodern regional war reveals principles of ship design useful to fleet designers today.

Now, battleships are far from the only hulls ever to be repurposed for new times and surroundings. In fact, the aircraft carrier USS Midway—a ship commissioned days after World War II that also deployed for combat duty against Iraq forty-five years later—is reputedly the most modified ship of war in history. Among other things, Midway was refitted with the now-familiar angled flight deck, which boosts a flattop’s ability to launch and recover aircraft at the same time while giving the flight deck a trapezoidal look compared to World War II carriers bearing straight rectangular decks. Its angled deck fitted Midway for air operations throughout the Cold War and a tad beyond.

That’s a successful design. What should naval architects incorporate into a design to guarantee its longevity amid change? Versatility should be their watchword. It’s possible to experiment with versatile hulls—subtracting, adding, or recombining sensors, weapons, and embarked aircraft to keep the ship combat-relevant in a variety of circumstances.

First of all, and most obviously, designers should equip vessels with capabilities likely to remain pertinent even as the martial seascape metamorphoses around them—as it will. Battleships were gunships. They sported mixed armament ranging from massive 16-inch main guns capable of flinging projectiles weighing the same as a VW Bug over twenty miles downrange, down to 5-inch guns for surface action and anti-air duty at middle ranges, down to light anti-aircraft guns of various calibers.

Despite their lavish main and secondary gun batteries, Iowa-class battleships like Wisconsin underwent their first repurposing as soon as they made their debut. The Japanese carrier air raid on Pearl Harbor underlined how naval warfare had changed by 1941. Battleships brought heavy long-distance firepower to a gunfight carriers brought ultra-long-range precision firepower in the form of bombers and torpedo planes equipped with guidance systems known as pilots.

It was hard for battleships to compete with this combination of aviation technology and airmanship. Seldom in the air age could a battlewagon get within reach of hostile capital ships to duke it out, the way naval strategists had long prescribed. Yet the Iowa-class vessels boasted massive anti-aircraft capability, along with propulsion plants that drove them through the water fast enough to keep up with carrier task forces. Their technical characteristics made them useful escort ships in the Pacific. They also found new life as gunfire-support ships. They would loiter offshore, showering Japanese-held islands with projectiles to soften up the defenders before U.S. Marine and Army troops risked amphibious landings. Wisconsin and Missouri reprised their role as shore-bombardment platforms in the Gulf.

So, principle #1: arm vessels with weaponry likely to remain relevant even if demoted to secondary standing by newfangled technology. Foresight is a virtue.

Second, physical space makes adaptation possible. When the Iowa class made its comeback from mothballs during the 1980s, shipyard workers stripped off four of ten 5-inch gun mounts to make room for the latest in gee-whiz weaponry. In the deck space freed up they installed launchers for sixteen Harpoon anti-ship missiles and armored box launchers housing thirty-two Tomahawk cruise missiles. That’s forty-eight rounds in total. In those halcyon days the Tomahawk featured an anti-shipping variant, the TASM, able to smite enemy shipping hundreds of miles away, along with its better-known land-attack variants. Guided missiles furnished the long-range precision hitting power missing during World War II—making battleships viable multi-mission platforms for prosecuting high-tech war against Iraq.

During World War II, moreover, Iowa-class dreadnoughts were equipped with launchers for seaplanes on the aftmost section of their main decks. Clearing away that infrastructure made room for a sizable flight deck (although not for a hangar). The battlewagons operated helicopters of all shapes and sizes, along with remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs)—rudimentary drones resembling big model airplanes that vaulted off the deck with a jet assist and were recovered upon their return in a net temporarily hoisted to snag them. Though unarmed, RPVs flew over the battlefield for reconnaissance and gunfire spotting purposes—sparing manned overwatch aircraft for more pressing missions.

Principle #2: a hull with ample exterior deck space and internal volume is an ideal candidate for plugging in and playing novel technologies.

Third, rugged construction abets longevity. Battleships—not to mention carriers like Midway—were stoutly built. Not only were their hulls sheathed in armor to help them withstand gun, bomb, and torpedo hits, their innards were constructed with resilience in mind. Redundancy was shipbuilders’ mantra, down in the engineering plant in particular. It was possible for engineers to reroute and cross-connect steam, water, fuel, and electricity along many pathways to skirt around damaged piping or wiring. Major pieces of hardware—pumps, generators, and so forth—had backups. Lose one in action, and the snipes started up another to compensate. This was a design philosophy centered on battle durability. But a welcome byproduct was a stalwartly constructed hull’s ability to stand the ravages of time.

Principle #3: what makes a ship robust in combat bolsters its lifespan and thus its long-term value to the fleet.

And fourth, a platform that exudes glamour and mystique has long-lasting political value alongside its military attributes. The other day a U.S. Air Force friend and I were jawboning about aviation enthusiasts’ love for the A-10 Warthog ground-attack plane. (He drew the analogy to Harley-Davidson motorcycles, another famed breed of Hogs.) Every time aviation officialdom tries to retire the A-10, a warplane of 1970s vintage, political support coalesces almost instantly and keeps the fleet flying. The same allure enshrouds battleships. From time to time, even today, battleship proponents—some in high places—clamor for them to return to service.

Why is that? Well, A-10s and Iowas are both brawlers. They can dish out punishment while taking a heavyweight counterpunch by virtue of thick armor. Battleships had their big guns in effect the Warthog is an airborne Gatling gun. Both support troops on the ground, endearing them to soldiers and marines. Both have lore people venerate historic planes and ships. And both radiate what one naval commentator calls “sex appeal.” Modern ships and planes conceal their sensors and weapons to reduce their radar signatures the A-10 and Iowa class flaunt them. They look badass, and thus make an impression on everyman as well as military and political elites. By no means does style outweigh military performance. Shipwrights should take it into account nonetheless when drawing up blueprints for a new class.

Principle #4: the look of a ship matters for political reasons—and warships are political implements.

See? Historic ships can render good service even after easing into retirement as floating museums. Study the past for insight into the future.


Wyoming class battleships - History

Armor Schemes on W.W.II Battleships


USS Wisconsin. Photo by Ingalls Shipbuilding.

IOWA class battleship turrets varied in face thickness slightly, due to the manufacturer's limitations. As an example, the SOUTH DAKOTA Class battleship ALABAMA had solid 19" Class "B" armor turret faces, while the others had 18-19.5" (roughly) turret faces, in some cases made up of a thin back plate laminated (bolted flush with no gap anywhere) to a thick front plate. The result was slightly weaker than a solid plate, but in this design not by much. IOWA Class had similar variations in its Class "B" turret face armor from ship to ship.

The W.W.II U.S. Navy battleships from NORTH CAROLINA and WASHINGTON through MONTANA and here sisters were all equipped with Class "B" armor. This is homogeneous, ductile chromium-nickel steel. It is more or less KC armor without the cementing ("C") and without the deep face, both of which were used in most forms of face-hardened Class "A" armor.

It was originally used in the WASHINGTON Class ships due to problems with making the very thick (16" and up) Class "A" face-hardened armor for these ships after almost 20 years of never having made such armor. (The last was used in the COLORADO Class, it was not as thick, and it was an older, inferior grade material compared to what could be made in the late 1930's.)

The use was originally justified by the improved performance of U.S. Navy late 1930 AP ammo that was essentially impervious to the hard face of Class "A" armor at low obliquity (near right-angles) impact. Thus the hard face, which was expensive to make and which caused some plate weakening due to its brittleness, lost all of its previous advantages (breaking up the shell so that the shell had a more difficult time penetrating the armor) when used in the turret face that, by necessity, was always pointing directly at the enemy and thus could expect near right-angles impacts at all times.

Turret side armor and barbette armor would usually be hit at a more oblique angle, usually circa 30-45 degrees or more, though the very center of the barbette could be hit at near right angles. Using face-hardened armor to destroy the shell was more effective in these areas.

However, when extremely high oblique impacts occurred (55 degrees or more), as on turret roofs and decks, face-hardened armor, due to its brittleness, was a very poor choice since it could break and throw pieces into the region behind it even if the shell glanced off. DUNKERQUE's face-hardened turret roof, designed to maximize resistance to AP bombs from aircraft, was hit by HOOD and is a perfect example of this problem.

This was much less likely with soft homogeneous armor that could dent and tear slowly, easing the shell away and staying more intact, with few pieces torn off. It turned out that this reasoning was so true that even when Class "A" plates were later able to be made of maximum thickness, they decided to stick with Class "B" turret faces in battleships.

Not, however, in cruisers, which used Class "A" in the last few U.S. Navy late-1930's designs. Cruisers are frequently hit with uncapped Common shells and Class "A" armor was much better than Class "B" armor at low obliquity against them, so it was changed as soon as Class "A" armor was back in production circa 1937. This difference was demonstrated several times during W.W.II when fighting Japanese destroyers and cruisers, who used uncapped Type 91 (latest ships main armament) or older Common-type "AP" shells in their 5-8" guns. These hit turret faces of both kinds of armor in different U.S. cruisers. To my knowledge, no other country used Class "B" equivalent turret face armor in any regular warship, not counting monitor-type bombardment vessels, with guns larger than 8" designed after W.W.I.

RM Bismark. Photo by Blohm and Voss Shipyard.

The German TIRPITZ (and BISMARCK) armor design was, mostly, a beefed up version of that used in the W.W.I BADEN Class (as further modified in the never-completed W.W.I-designed successors to that class). The sloped 4.33" (110mm)--not 4" (101mm)--Wh was a somewhat over-hard cousin to U.S. Class "B" armor. This was angled at 68 degrees inward from the vertical, except near the ends of the ship where the angle was not quite as steep due to the pinching in of the hull. Positioned behind the main 12.6" (32cm) KC n/A armor main belt, this made side hits almost impossible to penetrate when they went through the main belt slightly below, at, or above the waterline. But, at the cost of throwing shells that penetrated the rather thin vertical outer 12.6" plate up into the upper hull, where it would tear that region of the ship apart from side to side behind the hit.

The U.S. 12.1" Class "A" belt in IOWA, while slightly thinner, was (1) tilted top over bottom at 19 degrees, giving it a much greater effective thickness to downward-falling shells at any range, even point-blank, and (2) it had an additional 1.5" of STS outer hull in front of it, which would cause some slowing of the shell before it hit the belt. Not as efficient as if it was laminated to the belt's back, but it had some effect none-the-less, as well as being thick enough to decap some, though not all, capped AP projectiles used by enemy battleships.

If it did decap the shell, the effect would be to add roughly 30% to the net belt armor thickness due to the shell nose shattering on the surface of the Class "A" belt armor, compared to that armor plate hit by a hard-capped projectile of otherwise identical design, which usually did not allow such nose damage. The most benefit was at right-angles impact with a gradual loss of benefit at higher obliquity's, dropping to zero at about 55 degrees obliquity, and actually improving the penetration ability of the shell by making ricochet more difficult at a higher obliquity.

Thus, though the U.S. also used thin belts, they did something to keep the damage outside of the ship's armored amidships area, while the TIRPITZ used its inside upper hull volume as a "damage sink" to protect the lower hull. Not good if the ship was torpedoed and needed that upper hull for reserve buoyancy!

This was made even worse by putting the TIRPITZ's armored deck almost exactly on the waterline. This was done on WW I-era battleships of many countries due to the short combat ranges of the time, which gave the guns high penetration ability against side armor, while the flat trajectories made lower hull hits very rare. It was beneficial to keep everything possible that was important below the waterline, since there was no reserve buoyancy protected against battleship-size shells above the waterline. Again, this is unlike IOWA, which had about 10 feet of protected hull below the armored deck that was above the waterline and that thus could be used to keep the ship afloat if it had its upper hull torn up above the armor and was torpedoed, too.

Bad design in TIRPITZ for a ship that was expected to have to fight against an enemy (Britain) that was always going to have numerical superiority, even if somewhat inferior in quality. Which, in the event, was really not true either, as what KGV and RODNEY did to BISMARCK demonstrated!

Thus, it is not how thick the armor was, but what kind of armor, how thick it was where , and was the armor designed to be hit in layers one behind the other (or not), that is important in judging the various protection schemes of battleships.

IJN Yamato. Imperial War Museum photograph.

The turret face plate for the third (uncompleted) Japanese YAMATO Class battleship was exactly 66cm (26.01") of Vickers Hardened (VH) armor, a non-cemented (no thin superhard surface layer) form of "classic" WW I-type KC armor (that is, Krupp's original KC a/A version) using slightly improved manufacturing techniques and of very high quality control from plate to plate. This Japanese armor had very small manufacturing variations compared to most non-Japanese face-hardened plates.


Watch the video: World Of Warships: Wyoming Class Battleship


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