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Richeliu vs Bismarck vs KGV vs Vittorio Veneto

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Blaster, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. Blaster

    Blaster New Member

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    This is kind of split from the WW2 battleship comparo thing, and is a 4-way contest between the battleships that didn't get to be champion. What do people think?
     
  2. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    All these ships were powerful opponents, not to be taken lightly.
    Richelieu is, in my view the best of these here, and on a level near that of SoDak. Historically, the ship never had a chance to fully mature until postwar, when the French finally had the opportunity to tweak the gunnery system and reduce the excessive gun dispersion.
    Littorio is a blend of some excellent features and some yucky ones. Her guns were certainly powerful, and her FC system appears to have been good, apart from the fact that the italians never developed an advanced radar. Barrel erosion was remarkably high--one third the barrel life of a SoDak--which makes me suspect that round-to-round variation was exaggerated. Dispersion was excessive. The torpedo defenses, built to the Pugliese system, were inferior. The belt armor was good, but not very high. The deck system was overly complex. The Italians never demanded long radius, so while Littorio is fast, we can't call her very mobile.
    Bismarck's greatest asset may have been her mobility: good speed, good range, good seaeeping. Her firepower was unremarkable; I believe she had the weakest broadside among all the treaty ships. The FC system was fine, though German radar fell behind Allie standards by about mid-war. Torpedo defenses were relatively primitive, but the degree of subdivision was quite good. Armor protection versus cruiser-caliber shells was superior, but not versus battleship-caliber. Bismarck's turrets were vulnerable to ALL battleship guns at ALL ranges. The short-range bombardment she endured before sinking tells us very little about her design. You could shoot 300 16in shells through a destroyer's superstructure without sinking it--so what?
    The major weakness in KGV, in my opinion, is poor mobility: mediocre speed, mediocre seakeeping, poor range. Firepower was unimpressive. Accurate as the guns were, especially with advances in radar, the individual 14in shells lie at the low end of the spectrum, and the mount problems only exacerbate the weakness. The secondary battery was a disappointment, too. On the positive side, KGV had extensive armor coverage, and the vitals were thickly protective. Torpedo defenses were surprisingly poor.
     
  3. Ossian phpbb3

    Ossian phpbb3 New Member

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    Tiornu, how would your rate Richelieu if she had been completed and was in action in 1941?

    I always worry about the concentration of main armament in 2 forward quads -- one hit could knock out 1/2 the battery (although it looks as if the turrets were too spaced for one hit to get both of them (as per Bismarck) Do I remember reading about an armoured bulkhead splitting the turrets into two twins (or am I completely off track)?
     
  4. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Yes, all the French big quads had a bulkhead separating the mount into, basically, two twin mounts. When Dunkerque was sitting in port during Operation Catapult, she took a 15in hit to a turret. The entire crew on one side was wiped out (asphyxiated by burning propellant, I think) while those on the other side were not hurt.
     
  5. Ossian phpbb3

    Ossian phpbb3 New Member

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    Was the turret able to train after the hit or were repairs needed?
     
  6. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    The hit was a glancing blow to the turret roof. The shell did not deliver a direct impact, deflecting away, but not before it plowed a trench into the armor. Bits of shell and face-hardened armor shot into the interior. Apart from the human casualties, there was little damage. The other side of the turret continued to fire against the British.
     
  7. Blaster

    Blaster New Member

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    I wonder what would happen if Littorio and KGV engaged each other. And I decided to throw Yamato in the fray as well-it'd probably sink the others to the bottom of the sea before it's 16in armour belt was anywhere near breached. Of course, dive and torpedo bombers sank her on the way to Okinawa.
     
  8. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    she never got a fare fight
     
  9. Blaster

    Blaster New Member

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    If Halsey had decided to keep the Iowas where they were at Leyte Gulf, then it would be the scene of probably the baddest naval gunfight in history. 18 inch guns or 16 inch guns, lots of armour vs great speed, Yamato vs Iowa!
     
  10. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    the iowa class had the upper hand, : faster, better radar, better shells, also you can count with the air cover, non existen for the japs
     
  11. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    I have to agree with 262; the IOWAs were simply better all around BBs.
     
  12. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Iowa was a better overall design, but Yamato was superior in a gunfight.
     
  13. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    How so? Her guns, aside from their size, were not really any better than those of the IOWA-class, were they?
     
  14. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Yamato's armament was immensely more powerful than Iowa's. At most ranges, a 46cm shell inflicted 20% more striking energy than a 16in shell, and it carried 20% more explosive. I'm not a big fan of Japanese shell design, but against homogenous armor, Japanese shells were about as good as anybody's. Iowa's turret faces, which normally might be expected to provide reasonable protection even against gigantic shells, lost some of their value because they were made of homogenous armor. The USN was the only navy using homogenous armor in its turret faces.
    Iowa would probably shoot more accurately, but Iowa has no IZ against 46cm shells. It's common to imagine a Yamato v Iowa duel as taking place at extreme range, but in the full spectrum of possible scenarios, the fight must be seen in settings that are less tailor-made to Iowa's strengths.
    One advantage for Iowa, though entirely unrelated to the ship's design: Japanese crew efficiency was on the way down by the time these two could have met in battle. Also in the real world, Iowa would have many more friends with her, including hundreds of those wingy-thingies.
     
  15. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    yup, :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  16. Blaster

    Blaster New Member

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    And there's one Yamato, four Iowas. Plus, if the American battleships didn't sink Yamato, the wingy-thingys that sank Musashi will. And did.
     
  17. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    True enough.
     
  18. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    Still nice trade, 1 battleschip for 4 Iowa's + a small amount of shot down or damaged planes.
    But than again, the Japanese came to a point where they just couldn't allow any loss.
     
  19. Ossian phpbb3

    Ossian phpbb3 New Member

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    Yawn...
    Why do these threads ALWAYS come back to Iowa vs Yamato?
     
  20. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    Because they were the biggest and the best BB arround :)
     

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