View Poll Results: What was the most powerful battleship in a straight-out duel, May 1941?

Voters
85. You may not vote on this poll
  • Bismarck

    39 45.88%
  • HMS Nelson

    15 17.65%
  • N. Carolina

    19 22.35%
  • Nagato

    5 5.88%
  • Littorio

    3 3.53%
  • Richelieu

    5 5.88%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Page 1 of 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 286

Thread: What was the most powerful battleship in a straight duel, May 1941?

  1. #1
    Senior Member freebird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,632
    Post Thanks / Like

    What was the most powerful battleship in a straight duel, May 1941?

    Has anyone seen the History channel programs Hunt for the Bismarck?

    The show was on today from A&E's "dogfights" series, great animation, especially the Swordfish attack sequences. However.... There are several obvious errors that seem to keep being repeated about the Bismarck

    Hunt for the Bismarck

    Hunt for the Bismarck DVD

    I have also seen "Sink the Bismarck"

    Sink the Bismarck + Sink the Bismarck DVD Set

    On their blurb about the DVD, they make the same common erroneous claims about Bismarck.

    1.) Largest Battleship ever built - Wrong
    2.) Most deadly Battleship ever built - Wrong
    3.) Biggest guns on a battleship - Wrong
    4.) Most "powerful" Battleship at that time - also wrong IMO

    So I will see what the opinions are, what is the most powerful battleship? ie. If you were in a battleship for a straight-out duel, in which speed is not a factor, which one would you choose? {both ships are steaming toward each other, intent on mayhem.}

    The AA armament is also not a factor, as in 1941 no battleship's AA was proved very effective without fighter CAP: the Bismarck couldn't shoot down any of the attacking Swordfish, the Prince of Wales & Repulse only shot down 4 out of 85 attacking Betty/Nell bombers.

    I would note that in the final battle, the Bismarck had a damaged rudder & was leaking fuel, but her hull was intact, all of her guns & equipment were functional. However the supposedly "Most Powerful, Deadly Battleship" Bismarck concentrated her fire on HMS Rodney {Nelson class} but was unable to do any significant damage to the British ship.

    Sorry folks, Iowa & Yamato are not completed in May 1941....

    Stats:



    Bismarck 8 x 15" guns, 10.6" - 12.6" armour belt, 3.1 - 4.7" deck armour

    HMS Nelson 9 x 16" guns, 13" - 14" armour belt, 5" - 6.75" deck armour

    N. Carolina 9 x 16" guns, 7" - 12" armour belt, 4.5" - 5.5" deck armour

    Nagato 8 x 16" guns, 7" - 12" armour belt, 4" - 6" deck armour

    Littorio 9 x 16" guns, 13.8" armour belt, 3.5" - 6.4" deck armour

    Richelieu 8 x 15" guns, 13.6" armour belt, 5.9" - 6.7" deck armour


    One other important point, the placement of the main guns.

    The Bismarck had 4 twin 15" gun turrets, Nagato 4 twin 16" guns, two forward & two aft.

    N. Carolina & Littorio had 3 triple 16" gun turrets, two forward, one aft.

    French & British Battleships had all main guns on the foredeck, the Richelieu with 2 quadruple 15" turrets, the HMS Nelson with 3 triple 16" gun turrets, the middle one superfiring over the other two. {This meant that Nelson could fire all guns at any ship in the forward arc, unless it was within 5' deg. of centerline.} When approaching Bismarck, HMS Rodney could fire all 9 main guns, while Bismarck could reply with only 4 of 8 main guns.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by freebird; 02-12-2008 at 03:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member freebird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,632
    Post Thanks / Like
    Good excuse to post some photos!

    Pictured: HMS Nelson, IJN Nagato, USS North Carolina, Richelieu

    Also please note on my diagram above "Nagato" has the same firing arc's as Bismarck, with 2 twin 16" turrets forward, 2 twin 16" turrets aft.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by freebird; 02-12-2008 at 03:32 PM.

  3. #3
    Forum Mascot Lucky13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    A Swede living in Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    32,760
    Post Thanks / Like
    Good question freebird....didn't Bismarck have the superior targeting system?

    Of all the naval pics I have ever seen these has to be two of my favorites... Would love to see the faces of people if they saw these steaming into Pearl Harbor today, eh?


    Bismarck....she look bl**dy massive...

    Jan "Felicis Tredecim"
    "Iīm going back to the front to relax"
    "THE BLACK CATS FLIES TONIGHT"
    "Find your enemy and shoot him down - everything else is unimportant!"
    "When you're out of F-8's... You're out of fighters!"

  4. #4
    Forum Mascot Lucky13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    A Swede living in Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    32,760
    Post Thanks / Like
    Another couple of good ones.....again, people, battleships, today, steaming, Pearl Harbor, faces....long...


    The three leading ships are (in no particular order) Colorado (BB-45), Maryland (BB-46), and West Virginia (BB-4, followed by Tennessee (BB-43) and three older battleships.
    Photograph taken from USS California (BB-44).



    Photographed from USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62), shortly after the conclusion of the Gilberts Campaign.
    The three battleships, in an anchorage protected by anti-torpedo nets, are (from left to right):
    USS Idaho (BB-42);
    USS New Mexico (BB-40); and
    USS Mississippi (BB-41).
    Last edited by Lucky13; 02-12-2008 at 12:57 PM.

    Jan "Felicis Tredecim"
    "Iīm going back to the front to relax"
    "THE BLACK CATS FLIES TONIGHT"
    "Find your enemy and shoot him down - everything else is unimportant!"
    "When you're out of F-8's... You're out of fighters!"

  5. #5
    Senior Member comiso90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    3,672
    Post Thanks / Like
    interesting comparison:

    Battleship Comparison

    Although the nimrod rates the Bismark as having only average fire control
    .
    Last edited by comiso90; 02-12-2008 at 02:52 PM.

  6. #6
    Member In Perpetuity ccheese's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Virginia Beach, Va.
    Posts
    12,629
    Post Thanks / Like
    Gotta go with the North Carolina. I think, overall, she was 'baaaaddder"

    Charles








    Real airplanes have round engines and two wings !

  7. #7
    Senior Member ToughOmbre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Jersey Shore, USA
    Posts
    4,182
    Post Thanks / Like
    I agree Charles. North Carolina's fire control would give her the advantage, although head to head the Bismarck would give her a good fight.

    And the two succeeding American BB classes, South Dakota and Iowa, established a true "Murderer's Row".

    TO


    “Let's get Enterprise and Hornet turned into the wind."

  8. #8
    Der Crew Chief DerAdlerIstGelandet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    USA/Germany
    Posts
    40,755
    Post Thanks / Like
    I have to go with the Bismarck. I dont think she was the "most powerful" or the "biggest" or anything like that. I just think that at the time she had the best combination of armour, fire power, and fire control, etc...

    Now having said that I am not an expert on Naval Warfare or ships or anthing like that.

    I think Delycros is the man to talk to here. He seems to have a good grasp of WW2 ships.


    fly boy:"isnt that the first jet bomber becasue i have flown one in a flight sim before and i know how it handles"

  9. #9
    Forum Mascot Lucky13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    A Swede living in Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    32,760
    Post Thanks / Like
    I enjoy talking about the ships just as much as anything else WWII...great threads...

    Jan "Felicis Tredecim"
    "Iīm going back to the front to relax"
    "THE BLACK CATS FLIES TONIGHT"
    "Find your enemy and shoot him down - everything else is unimportant!"
    "When you're out of F-8's... You're out of fighters!"

  10. #10
    The Pop-Tart Whisperer Njaco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Southern New Jersey
    Posts
    21,716
    Post Thanks / Like
    Lucky, you beat me to it - I went Bismarck because of all the other attributes, I believe her fire control was superior. But the others had early radar, at least in HMS.

    I'm not well versed in ships.

    "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If it's English, thank a soldier!"


  11. #11
    Forum Mascot Lucky13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    A Swede living in Glasgow, Scotland
    Posts
    32,760
    Post Thanks / Like
    Same here not as much as I'd like to....

    Jan "Felicis Tredecim"
    "Iīm going back to the front to relax"
    "THE BLACK CATS FLIES TONIGHT"
    "Find your enemy and shoot him down - everything else is unimportant!"
    "When you're out of F-8's... You're out of fighters!"

  12. #12
    Senior Member freebird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,632
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Njaco View Post
    Lucky, you beat me to it - I went Bismarck because of all the other attributes, I believe her fire control was superior. But the others had early radar, at least in HMS.

    I'm not well versed in ships.
    The German BB fire control system did not perform very well in practice, although it's hard to judge the fire control with Bismarck class, there were only 2 engagements (1 vs. Hood & P of W, 2nd vs Rodney & KGV) Tirpitz never had a ship vs ship encounter. However in the battle vs Rodney the Bismarck had trouble hitting the target, while Rodney was quickly ably to zero in on the German BB.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    5,905
    Post Thanks / Like
    I went for the Nelson as the best in 1941. At the end of the day in a straight fight, you cannot beat the thickest armour, biggest gun and a FC Radar that was probably the best of its time.
    Also its AA suite was also ahead of most equalled possibly only by the Bismark.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Berlin (Kreuzberg)
    Posts
    2,037
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by freebird View Post
    The German BB fire control system did not perform very well in practice, although it's hard to judge the fire control with Bismarck class, there were only 2 engagements (1 vs. Hood & P of W, 2nd vs Rodney & KGV) Tirpitz never had a ship vs ship encounter. However in the battle vs Rodney the Bismarck had trouble hitting the target, while Rodney was quickly ably to zero in on the German BB.
    I disagree. Itīs not Tirpitz fault that it didnīt had seen major surface combat (as most ww2 BBīs). HMS Duke of York and USS Washington were ordered to return as soon as Tirpitz left itīs harbour, leaving PQ-17 doomed. If firecontroll suites are Your concern, include the sets of Scharnhorst & Gneisenau, both used an earlier mark which was later upgraded to Bismarcks main firecontrol standart with respect to computing. These sets had plenty of action in ww2 and worked as fine as one could hope to. Not mentioning that Scharnhorst still holds the title for the longest gunfire hit on a moving target. Bismarckīs performance at Danmark street against two targets which changed courses repeatedly from platforms which evaded torpedoe tracks on their own was remarkable. With ww2 FC You cannot expect to land hits even from a perfect firing solution. The closest You can come with is straddling the target due to salvo dispersion issues. Sometimes, Your straddle will end up in a hit, thatīs it, statistically spoken. Bismarck achieved straddles against Norfolk, Hood, Prince of Wales, later agains against Prince of Wales, some destroyers (by night), Rodney and KGV. I do not need to stress what it means to achieve firing solutions at heavy sea by an exhousted crew from a ship which turns unpredictibly to one side or the other. Thatīs exact Bismarckīs conditions at her final battle.
    Compare the "quickly" zeroing in of Rodney (at clear weather but heavy sea) against the 6-8 kts fast Bismarck with that of Bismarck against the 28+ Kts fast Hood (at calm sea). Rodney opened 09:47 and scored her first straddle at 09:55, the first hit at 09:59, a full 12 minutes later. Bismarck opened at 05:55 and scored her first straddle, resulting in a hit at 05:57 on Hood. If You think this was lucky use the target change to HMS Prince of Wales. Bismarck opened 06:01 on PoW and scored her first straddle at 06:02, resulting in a hit. If this qualifies for weak performance in practice, I cannot help You.
    There is only one parallel performance in BB shooting. The well laid out trap at Surigao-street against Yamashiro under superimposed, perfect environmental and tactical conditions (Fuso was by this time crippled by torpedoes, even if the remains of the broken hull remained afloat for some time).

    A straight duel by may 41? By this time none of the new US BBīs nor Yamato nor the french BBīs are ready. The best contender is IMHO Bismarck in may 1941.
    Last edited by delcyros; 02-12-2008 at 06:40 PM.
    ---delcyros---

  15. #15
    Senior Member freebird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    2,632
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by delcyros View Post
    I disagree. Itīs not Tirpitz fault that it didnīt had seen major surface combat (as most ww2 BBīs).

    A straight duel by may 41? By this time none of the new US BBīs nor Yamato nor the french BBīs are ready. The best contender is IMHO Bismarck in may 1941.
    I did already state that the Yamato & Iowa's were not in service May 1941. The North Carolina was commissioned in April 1941, the Richelieu was 95% complete before escaping from France in June 1940, so it could have been ready in May 1941, I don't have exact information on the damage it suffered in the British attack or if any repairs were made. If you consider "ready" to be after the "working up" cruise the N. Carolina is in about the same situation as the Prince of Wales in May 1941, ready but with a crew still in need of practice on the new ship.

    I don't count it against Tirpitz.

    I'm not claiming that the Bismarck's fire control was "faulty", only that it was comparable to the British ships. Obviously a ship's crew that has had many years of practice plays a huge part in this. The situation was completely different in the 2 engagements, the first (in calm seas) resulted in both sides scoring hits, with significant damage to the German BB, some damage to the POW and one (catastrophic!) hit on the Hood. The german ships also had the advantage of superior position (crossing the "T" if you will)

    The second engagement was in heavy seas as you state, and i have read reports that the Bismarck's main guns were unable to hit Rodney at all, in any event was unable to any significant damage.

    TREATY BATTLESHIPS

    It's a matter of opinion which would be the best in a duel, I certainly don't dispute that the Bismarck was a very fine ship. I aslo stated in a "straight duel" BB to BB {such as the Bismarck engagements} if the ship was judged also on its capability as a surface raider or fast BB, the Nelson can't compare. but in this example, I think the larger number of heavier guns, heavier armour, & concentration of firepower forward give the edge in combat to the Nelson's

    P.S. I picked the Nelson as the best in a BB vs. BB fight, I'm giving second place to the Richelieu, partly for sentimental reasons, as I think its a shame that circumstances of war didn't allow these fine French ships to play an active part during the early war years, when it really counted.

    I can't really fault any of the designs, these were all fine ships. The Nagato was way ahead of it's time as a fast battleship {in spite of the goofy looking "Pagoda" top}, the US BB's were also solid designs, and the Littorio's were a very good effort from the Italians.

Page 1 of 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •