Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Bismarck vs. Yamato

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by dasreich, Aug 16, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. dasreich

    dasreich Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    1
    Okay, this is an extreme extension of the concept of what-if...but it still fits. Suppose the largest battleship and the most famous could meet in battle. Who would have won? What kind of battle would have ensued? Not knowing very much about the specifics of Yamato, I really cant say. I think I will go look up some info. But Id love to hear what you guys think would have happened.
     
  2. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2002
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    1
    Interesting one. Both ships had serious flaws despite their fame. Conditions of engagement I think would be a defining factor. If Bismarck only had her Seekat radar then my money would still be on Yamato in a night engagement - an arena the IJN excelled at before the US turned up with gunnery radar.

    I suppose they were both poor sea boats, but was Bismarck a comparatively better gun platform?

    Ach this is too hard. Yamato at night, Bismarck in the day with a rough sea..

    Jumbo
     
  3. Sniper

    Sniper Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    0
    That would be an interesting meeting.

    Bismark only had 8 15inch main guns and the Yamato had 9 18inch main guns. But Bismark was slightly faster by a couple of knots, and smaller, so she could probably out maneuver Yamato, but she'd have to get in closer before she could fire.

    Yamato's main guns had a range of about 45,000 yards, and supposedly half the time Bismarks shells didn't go off when they hit. A couple of the British ships she was fighting when she went down actually had 15 inch shells stuck in their armour plate.

    Mind you, if both Bismark and Tirpitz were there they'd certainly give the Yamato a run for her money.
     
  4. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2002
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    1
    Sniper

    There are rumours that Yamato's cordite was of poor quality as well, so maybe both would have suffered from duds.

    Does anyone know what the difference would be regarding rate of fire? I suspect Yamato would not have got close to Bismarck in that aspect.

    Then again it is as much luck as anything. One shot in the Main Director or any other small but crucial part of the ship and it's goodnight Vienna - as Hood and Scharnhorst discovered.

    Jumbo
     
  5. Sniper

    Sniper Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2002
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't know about Bismark but my encyclopedia of Battleships and battlecruisers (pub. 1983 by salamander) reckons that Yamato could fire 2 3000lb shells every minute FROM EACH GUN !! Hell, that's 18 shells a minute.

    Now that would be something to see ,and hear.

    It also reckons Yamato's main armour deck could withstand a 2000lb armour piercing bomb dropped from 10,000 feet.

    Somehow I think poor Bismark would have had a tough time cracking that.
     
  6. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2002
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    1
    Sniper

    Sinking a battleship with gunfire in WW2 was a rare event. Don't be seduced by armour thicknesses too much. A near miss from a bomb on Prince of Wales caused enough internal damage to shut down her AA Turret Hydraulics without penetrating for example. Most heavy ships like Bismarck were reduced to burning wrecks but were finished off by other means. It isn't a matter of penetrating the armour so much as making the ship impossible to fight or handle that characterises gun duels. Hood was particularly unlucky in this respect. I think in daylight the German's better gunnery technology would have allowed them to straddle Yamato early and start to knock out things like direction finders and stereoscopes, maybe jam a turret mechanism - but a lot of this is based on luck. Poor Scharnhorst had her radar taken away by a Cruiser round at North Cape which blinded her: allowing DoY to make her approaches - just an example of 1 hit on an unarmoured area that changed the course of a battle.

    Jumbo
     
  7. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    48
    Poor Bismarck... This ship was more technologically advanced and it was faster and more manouvrable. But the Yamato was just impressive. The Bismarck was famous althought it had "small" and "few" guns. Certainly, the hability of both sides of fighting during day and night w¡ould have cared a lot.

    And I think that any ship would have been able to sink the other... That would have been like a box match in the 25th assault. Both adversaries are too weak and are just caressing each other with the gloves. Both in a box match no one can kill the other just hiting, can they?
     
  8. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Congrats on your award of: Hero of the Soviet Union, Friedrich. [​IMG]
     
  9. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    48
    Vielen, vielen Dank, Herr Feldmarschall!!!
     
  10. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Quite welcome

    and back to the subject.

    I think the Bismarck would win--this isnt based on any research--but just based on a matter of preference.
     
  11. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    139
    My moneys on the Yamato, bigger guns and better armour, the Bismark would soon be the worse for wear! Mind you, the Bismarck always had the choice of running away thanks to its better speed. They would just have to hope the japs didn`t bring any torpedo-bombers with them :D
     
  12. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    48
    Well, redcoat! That sounds a little mischievous but it's true! :D I'm with you.
     
  13. mp38

    mp38 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is an interesting question, but the answer is quite simple.

    As long as Bismark is within range of Yamato, the winner would be whoever got the first hit on the other! I believe that one solid hit from either of these ships wouls knock the other one out!

    My personal feelings on this scenario. I feel the Yamoto would win because of its bigger guns, and therefore better range. As long as they could hit Bismark, the German ship would probably not even get a shot off! Bismarks only hope would be to manuver (zig-zag) in to get close to get off a volley. Otherwise Bismark will go down.

    Matt :cool:
     
  14. vonManstein39

    vonManstein39 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    As far as I am concerned, Bismarck hasn't got a hope of defeating Yamato, only of escaping and living to fight another day.

    No way could Bismarck's horizontal armour withstand an 18.1" shell, and even the vertical armour would likely be penetrated.

    Yamato, on the other hand, is designed to withstand 16" shells, so Bismarck's 15" would have a real job to effect a critical hit.

    The German gunfire would be more accurate, but the effect of the Japanese shells would be far greater once they did hit.

    My parallel with this hypothetical battle would be the opening stages of the Battle of the River Plate, between Graf Spee and the British heavy cruiser Exeter.

    The difference between gun calibre is the same, three inches, and the difference in displacement is roughly similar (as a ratio).

    Exeter: 6x8" guns. Graf Spee: 6x11" guns.
    Bismarck : 8x15" guns. Yamato: 9x18" guns.
    Exeter: 9000 tons? Graf Spee: 12000 tons?
    Bismarck: 42000 tons Yamato: 64000 tons.

    Graf Spee, despite some inefficient splitting of her main battery between Exeter and the two light cruisers, still managed to devastate the Exeter - although the British ship remained afloat and made it back to harbour.

    I suggest that the result between Bismarck and Yamato would be similar to this. Bismarck would score several hits on Yamato but probably fail to knock out any of her main turrets, and Yamato would knock out most of Bismarck's turrets but probably not sink her with a single critical hit.

    Yamato's turret faceplaces (front plating) were completely impenetrable, even by her own guns.
     
  15. mp38

    mp38 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good idea, but you are forgetting about the one single element that totally devistated the Japanese navy thoughout WWII......

    FIRE!!!!

    Fire is the worst enemy of any ship at sea.
    The Japanese fire control aboard its' ships was nothing short of terrible! It is what cost them the battles of Coral Sea, and Midway! Yamato had very thick armor agreed, but it still had wooden decks! Wood burns! One hit by Bismark, could totally paralize this great ship!

    Just look what happened when the Americans sank Yamato! (and Musashi!). After the first attack, she was on fire, and after that was never able to defend herself! It was only a matter of time. She put up a good fight, but in the end still when down!

    I agree that Yamato would win this scenario, because of its' bigger guns, and better range! Not because of its' armor!

    Matt :cool:
     
  16. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    20
    the bismark can fire salvos, the yamato can't. the bismark's cyclic rate per gun wasn't so much better than the iowa's so why are some people giving the bismark a higher firepower rating than both iowa and yamato with just eight 15-inch guns?

    because the bismark can fire more salvos within a given period. cyclic rate is only half the story. to fire a second shot, you have to see the report from the first. and the bismark's guns with a flatter trajectory, could produce the 150-foot fountain sooner than the iowa's, especially at close range. so it has several seconds advantage in adjusting elevation and loading for the next round.

    the iowa and the yamato (assuming the latter can salvo) can heave more shell on the first salvo. but the bismark can fire the second salvo sooner and with more accuracy.
     
  17. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Messages:
    2,156
    Likes Received:
    104
    Two fighters, and one weighs in at (about) 50% more than the other ?
    hmmm....
    I'll take the big "boy", the little guy's faster and can hit more (if uninjured), but once the big guy connects....it's over.
     
  18. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,185
    Likes Received:
    406
    I shall refer you all here:Battleship Comparison

    Just compare Yamato and Bismark, its Yamato hands down
     
  19. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    It isn't so clear cut as Mikebatzel thinks. There are far more variables here at work than just a measure of the two ship's guns and armor. The conclusions in this link are worth digesting carefully on this type of engagement as a starter:

    http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/articles/capitalshipsurfaceactions.aspx

    I would think that given the performance of the two in actual operations that the Bismarck actually has a substancial advantage over the Yamato and would likely be the victor in a shoot out between the two.
    Why? Because the Bismarck would have almost certainly put rounds on target within the first three salvos while Yamato would still be trying. The Yamato's fire control system.....note that system not just the rangefinders....is distinctly inferior in accuracy to that of Bismarck. This is why the Germans would almost certainly be first on target.
    In getting on target first, the Yamato is likely to lose within the first 5 to 10 salvos:
    * Primary fire control
    * Coordinated command and control due to damage, particularly to the superstructure
    * Any speed advantage
    * Secondary armament
    In addition, because the Japanese ship has a particularly bad internal layout (narrow passageways, small hatches, no systematic method of movement around the ship, lack of quick acting hatches etc) and poor damage control systems the damage suffered is going to go unchecked. This means systems lost or down due to damage are not going to get restored fully or partially.
    Once the Yamato is degraded in performance, and if primary fire control is lost in particular, it is all over. Yamato hits nothing and loses the battle.
     
  20. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Messages:
    1,006
    Likes Received:
    23
    I agree with your post. It's a good middleweight vs a super-heavyweight.

    For the Bismarck to prevail, absolutely everything would have to go right for the German ship, everything go wrong for the Japanese one. The Yamato would only need to get lucky once...
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page