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

What if the Montana Class Battleship class had been built?

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by Bulldog1653, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. Bulldog1653

    Bulldog1653 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello all,

    This is an unsual question but I think it's worth mentioning. First a little background. The Montana Class battleship was slated to succeed the Iowa Class Battleships. Their design called for them to be about 40 feet longer and have twelve 16 inch guns mounted in four turrets. The only downside of this class was that they would have been about 3-5 knots slower than the Iowas.
    What if this class of ship had been built?
    I honestly believe that had these ships been built and used in time for the war, then the chance would be very good that whatever enemy ships encountered them would back down pretty quick.
    The Montana class could have easily been a devastating weapon against the Japanese Yamato class battleships or against any target on land within range.
    Here's a great scenario; imagine the Montana class being used for shore bombardment on D-Day against targets along the Atlantic Wall. I wouldn't want to be in a bunker on the receiving end of a broadside from a ship with that kind of firepower.
    For anyone interested in further information, take a look at this link.
    Montana class battleship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,290
    Likes Received:
    2,028
    Location:
    Alabama
    I don't think it would any difference. By the time one of them would have been in service (1944), the Japanese surface fleet was an ineffective fighting force and the outcomes of the remaining surface actions would have been the same.
     
  3. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    266
    Once the Carrier had come into play in ww2, virtually all other capital surface vessels of any fleet became obsolete. The Great Bismarck was brought down to speed by bi-plane's from an aircraft carrier, how many Japanese or American ships both screens and capitals were sunk by carrier aircraft without even seeing the carrier? How many land based attacks were done from carriers? I don't think a larger Battleship would have changed much against Japan, if she still had carriers around when this super Battleship was introduced into active service in the pacific she would surely have been sunk by Japanese Carrier based bombers had the been given the chance without the Montana class battleship even firing here main armament at the carriers.
     
  4. FhnuZoag

    FhnuZoag Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    13
    Don't forget that a battlegroup led by the famous Yamato itself was turned back with a bloody nose by a group of escort carriers. Really, by WWII, the battleship was obsolete. The only role of surface ships was that of escort or coastal bombardment, and any slow, dedicated ship killer would be outrun and then torpedoed.

    EDIT: IMHO, I think it's somewhat ironic that the brits, with their much maligned 'battlecruiser concept', perhaps got it right. Speed isn't armour, perhaps. But speed *is* usefulness, and speed is vital for evading air attacks. The famed heavy armour battleships of the Germans and the Japanese can hold their own against an ill-advised 'fair' fight, sure. But looking at their records, you can pretty much see that they got a lot less out of them than they paid in.
     
  5. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    I don't doubt that cancelling the USS Montana class of BB was a wise decision at the time as Fleet Carriers were obviously going to be the best "bang for the buck" in WW2 and later. And they were.

    It is sort of embarrasing that my homestate had never had a modern ship named after it.

    Three ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Montana in honor of the 41st state.
    The first
    Montana (ACR-13), a Tennessee-class armored cruiser, provided convoy escort duty during World War I, and was eventually renamed and reclassified Missoula (CA-13).
    The second
    Montana (BB-51), a South Dakota-class battlship, was laid down but canceled and scrapped before launching.
    The third
    Montana (BB-67) would have been the lead ship of her class of battleship had the class not been canceled.
    The movie
    The Abyss features a fictional Ohio-class submarine named "USS Montana", but no submarine has ever borne that name.

    See:

    USS Montana

    We have had a few smaller ships named after a couple of our cities, the aforementioned Missoula, and also our state capitol of Helena has graced the bow of a couple of cruisers.

     
  6. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,185
    Likes Received:
    405
    Most likely what would have occurred is the same as the fate of the Iowa’s. Built to defeat the Japanese they never got a chance to fire on another enemy heavy. Indeed they had their chance, but we are not discussing whether or not Halsey should have gone north. While Halsey sat with his BB’s, Oldendorf used his old, antique ships to good use in the final battleship engagement the world has seen, and probably will see. The Iowa’s were eventually relegated to the to honor of shore bombardment for decades before being finally retired. A shame, but really the only practical use for them.

    Before I go a quick quote from Battleships by Stanley Sandler:

    After four centuries, the story of the first-class warship---from the galley-ram, to the wooden three-decker, to the turreted steam ironclad, to the battleship, and to the massive big-gun dreadnought---had ended. Yet it is something of a paradox that these warship, so devoted to their big guns that they were considered mere gun platforms, were much more likely to fall to mine, torpedo, or aerial bomb than to the gunfire from another behemoth. Of the 112 lost ironclads, battleships, and dreadnoughts, only 13 were lost to gunfire; no less than 48 were lost to underwater or aerial attack. Pg 149-150 (Emphasis mine)
     
    ickysdad, Tomcat and Slipdigit like this.
  7. USMC

    USMC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    10
    They would not have had much of an effect on the war.
     
  8. Bulldog1653

    Bulldog1653 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    My honest opinion is that if these ships had been built and were there for Ironbottom Sound or Leyte for ship to ship action, then the Japanese would have thought twice about attempting something like that again.
    The point to this whole topic was speculation. I do find it unfortunate that aircraft carriers ultimately overshadowed a battleship's worth. One thing I will point out is that a lot of people I've spoken with felt that having a battleship like the Iowa class escorting a carrier group made everyone sleep better at night with that kind of firepower available.
    When the Iowa class was recommissioned in the 1980's, they were heavily modified to carry various missile launchers, radars, and so on. I suspect that had the Montana's been built, then it stands to reason that they would also have been recommissioned with the Iowas and had a pretty big impact during the Cold War.
     
  9. FhnuZoag

    FhnuZoag Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    13
    Well, the Japanese ended up throwing away the Yamato in a botched suicide attack, so I don't think making them think twice matters too much.

    Montanas are slow - slow enough to slow down the entire carrier battlegroup. They may feel safe, but probably they are actually no safer.
     
    Fred Wilson likes this.
  10. USMC

    USMC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    10

    Completely agree with you.
     
  11. ickysdad

    ickysdad Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    31
    They weren't any slower then the North Carolina's or South Dakota's . They would have been probably as fast as the King George V's or any other contemporaries other then the Reichilieu's & maybe the Littorio's. Now I'm using the term "as fast as" loosely as in within a couple of knots. I think I'm safe in saying a 27-28 knot ship doesn't intrude too much onto the effectiveness of say a 29-30 knot ship.
     
  12. USMC

    USMC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    10
    If they were introduced maybe late 1943-early 1944 it would have helped the war effort. Anything later than that would be pointless because the KM was completely and utterly destroyed and the IJN, with the very few ships they had left would keep them in the waters of the Home Islands.
     
  13. Bulldog1653

    Bulldog1653 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Had they been built, the other option was to use them for the D-Day invasion. That kind of firepower could have done somoe serious damage to the Atlantic Wall.
     
  14. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    There were already eight battleships at the Normandy landings, everything from the 12" guns of the old USS Arkansas (BB-33), up to the 16" guns of the HMS battleships. I don’t see the Montana class adding all that much to the equation.

    Especially since the "Atlantic Wall" wasn't really that much of a problem as it was. The Germans spent years building the thing, and the allies breached it in less than two days anyway.
     
  15. USMC

    USMC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    10
    Well I think they would have helped get the allies off the beaches maybe a little bit faster but besides that I don't see the big deal.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,232
    Location:
    Michigan
    Unless they were at PH on Dec 7 1941 not much effect.
     
  17. USMC

    USMC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    10
    That would be a nice convenience ^^
     
  18. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,247
    Likes Received:
    132
    Just three more 16" guns for beach bombardment.
     
  19. Kevin Kenneally

    Kevin Kenneally Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    374
    Likes Received:
    13
    The Montana clas BB would have been a good vessel. But before the keels were laid down, war-priorities took control and forced them to be delayed; then eventually cancelled. If they woulod have been completed, they would be either scrapped or rusting hulks in Fleet Reserve by now.
     
  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,073
    Likes Received:
    1,800
    How about if the hulls were converted to super-carriers?
     

Share This Page