Over Rated Warships/Naval weapons of WW2

Surface Ships From Every Era
emc
Joined: May 12th, 2004, 9:51 am

March 30th, 2018, 10:01 pm #71

Dave AAA wrote: If the Allies didn't have battleships available to counter Tirpitz, and other major warships, the convoys would have been easily stopped.  Carrier air would not have been able to make up the difference as flying conditions did not permit it and the convoy routes were usually within German air cover.

Similarly, while Bismarck was damaged by carrier aircraft, the mission kill and the hard kill were by battleships.  Battleships were also the key to British dominance of the Mediterranean. 

Japanese capital ships would have dominated the Guadalcanal campaign in spite of US carrier air.  It took battleships to end that threat for good.  It also took US battleships to keep a task force of IJN capital ships from doing serious damage at Surigao Straight.

As for American fast battleships, especially the Iowas, generally being of little use, they did happen to be much better AA escorts than any cruiser, probably as good as two or three Baltimores.  The Iowas in particular also had the speed and space to be worth recommissioning in the '80s as relatively cheap cruiser missile platforms able to keep up with modern carriers and destroyers that also happened tp have a very useful gunfire support capability..
The Bismarck was also crippled by a single air-launched torpedo. 

Early in the war, your comment is certainly correct:  aircraft in 1940, and probably through 1944, couldn't reliably counter battleships.  On the other hand, as demonstrated off the coast of Malaya, battleships could not reliably defend themselves against strong air attack.

I think the Iowas were superfluous when completed, although not when they were laid down;  several decades later,  their value was certainly far exaggerated by battleship proponents in the 1980s and beyond.
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Joined: April 10th, 2005, 2:54 pm

March 30th, 2018, 10:50 pm #72

In the eighties, they were the best way to get TLAM into the fleet and did so for the cost of a Perry. This paid off in 1991. The guns were a nice add on, but they seriously considered not restoring them.

As for being vulnerable to aircraft, they were no more do than cruisers, but the US fast battleships, at least were far better AAW ships. Even if the Iowa's never fired their big guns, that alone justified their construction. Even into the fifties, the best counter to a capital ship at night and in bad weather was another capital ship. Once all weather/ day-night capable attack aircraft entered major sir services' inventory and SSMs were developed, their usefulness as surface combatants was just about done for a generation.

I will agree, though, that once VLS TLAM entered the fleet, their days were numbered and time has shown that disposing of them then was a sound idea.
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Joined: September 3rd, 2012, 2:51 am

May 9th, 2018, 3:15 am #73

lynn1212 wrote: there's a difference between over hyped and useless. in the grand overview of the war BBs played a fairly small part. lets look at your list
1- graf spee was not a BB so her actions do not count
2- useful but in reality a one off action
3- again useful but not an major action
4- perhaps the most one sided action in modern history. it could have been fought with lighter forces and won
5- the fleet in being theory. any loses caused by her actions were minor. about all she did was to keep BBs in the atlantic instead of being sent east.
 BBs were useful but its hard to look at the record and not realise they were over hyped. not that its all bad, they were the most impressive of ships and as such they were useful for photo ops and showing the flag. the hype was quite useful there. as a weapons system their major use was shore bombardment and AA protection.
3: Please explain how a BB vs BB engagement is not considered a major action.

4. One of the few instances battleships got to do what they were built to do, fight other battleships. The fact that the IJN BBs were outclassed to the point that CAs, CLs, DDs & PTs could have taken them out should not be held against the US forces.
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Joined: July 8th, 2007, 8:30 pm

May 9th, 2018, 1:26 pm #74

emc wrote:...
Early in the war, your comment is certainly correct:  aircraft in 1940, and probably through 1944, couldn't reliably counter battleships.  On the other hand, as demonstrated off the coast of Malaya, battleships could not reliably defend themselves against strong air attack.
It was also demonstrated that a carrier didn't want to come under the guns of a battleship.
I think the Iowas were superfluous when completed, although not when they were laid down;  ...
The sailor's of Taffy 3 would certainly have very much wanted to see a couple Iowa's on the horizon on that rather fateful morning.

When discussing classes of ships or tanks or even planes people often for get the importance of combined arms.  A task group with a carrier and a battleship has more staying power than a task group lacking either.
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Joined: May 1st, 2006, 2:26 am

Today, 2:41 am #75

kenBB48 wrote: I would have to disagree with the line that Battleships where over-hyped. The Battleship did alot in the war;

1. The Graf Spee sunk a lot of  Br. mercants and tied up alot of Br. warships and merchantmen  where diverted or formed convoys because of her.

2. The HMS Warspite hit an ship at 24,000yds, sunk German destroyers in Narviark and shelled normandy coast and inland to supprt D-Day.

3. The Washington sank the IJN Kirishima stopong it from sinking the South Dakota and keeping her from bombarding the marines on Guadalcanal.

4. The West Virginia hit an helped sink the IJN Fuso at the battle of Surigao Strait at range of 18,000 yds. stoping it from distroying the invasion fleet.

5. The Tripiz kept the Br. fleet depolyed to protect the convoys to Russia just the word of her in the area scatterd convoys causeing great loss of shipping to subs and aircraft.

There are many other examples of the uses of the battleship so I don't think they where "over-hyped"
Don't believe that the Kirishima was capable of sinking the South Dakota.  She was to well protected.  At most she could have wrecked her superstructure which would have required some time in the yards.  If it wasn't for the electrical failure I'm pretty certain that the South Dakota would have sunk the Kirishima and not the Washington.
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