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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:37 am 
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Jumping in with both feet here, the stated reason why the Iowas were retained beyond any of the other battleships was plain speed - they were the only battleships that could keep up with the carriers and cruisers. Upgrading the NC class was discussed, but the ships would have had to be nearly rebuilt to fit the necessary machinery; and the South Dakota class were written off as too cramped already. Also, the four retained ships had an ammunition stockpile designed for ten ships to play with (all the fast BBs used the same shells and powder bags) - the 12" stockpile for the Alaska and Guam wouldn't have been nearly that big.

Add to that the negative opinions of even their own skippers... (the letter referred to in Friedman mentions the amidships aviation arrangement, the strange arrangement of conning and chart room facilities, and of course the tactical diameter. If I remember the passage right, there were actually plans to fix the first two at the next major refit, but then the war ended and the ships were mothballed rather than going through the expense.)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:43 pm 
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JasonW wrote:
Now I am curious, what was the function or purpose of the bow step?
Beuller? Anybody?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:22 pm 
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If by Bow Step you're talking about the raised position on the bow where there was some AA guns, I would imagine that the step was to give the guns a flat, level position relative to the rising curve of the ship's lines as she goes up to the bow, as well as possibly to avoid the crewmen getting washed out if things get a little rough in the midst of a situation.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:17 pm 
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No, he means the bump just below the waterline on the model kit.

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 12:39 pm 
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Got a specific question about the 5" mounts. Does anyone know when the shell catching baskets and barrel bloomers were fitted/removed? All the photos I have of the class seem to be inconclusive and conflicting in places.

In the photos of Alaska during the inclining experiments (some of the best closeups of the class), neither are fitted. In post-commissioning shakedown photos on the East Coast and Atlantic, both seem to be fitted. Guam seems to follow the same pattern. By 1945, when the ships repainted into Measure 22, it seems like the barrel bloomers are removed but the shell catchers are retained (at least on CB-2 - as one single photo seems to grainily attest...) In the photo I have of Alaska deactivating (post-war), bloomers are gone as are the shell catchers (this is logical as I imagine small fittings would be removed).

And an unrelated question: the flag halyard for the American flag - where was this located? I have seen photos of it flying from a flagstaff on the quarterdeck, but also wartime photos of it flying from just aft of the SK platform on the foremast.


And I guess while I'm at it, I'll ask all my other questions...

Photos of the Guam seem to show the large radio DF loop immediately aft of the foremast - which is in contrast to Alaska, which mounted a large DF loop ahead of the foremast and a much smaller "DAK" loop aft of it. I have also noticed a pair of radomes on yards extending from the SK's service platform (but only on Alaska, and only in late-war pictures). These radomes are not illustrated on the Floating Drydock plans.

Finally - did anyone else notice that the forward yardarm on CB-1 was originally mounted much farther forward on the fire control tower than the Guam? It seems that it was positioned dead center of the air defense station, as opposed to immediately aft of it as the Guam shows. It's clear, though, that this was changed during a refit as 1945 photos of Alaska show it in the same position as Guam. This is also the position indicated by the Floating Drydock plans.

I ask because I've been preparing some Shipbucket scale drawings of the ship and want them to be perfect - this will also help when I decide which configuration I want to depict with my Samek resin kit, and also later on with my eventual 1/350 kit. :)

Perhaps I should see a psychiatrist? :)


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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 8:37 pm 
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Well - for better or worse, here's the latest rev of each drawing:

USS Alaska (CB-1), late 1944 (during workups in the Atlantic with Missouri and Guam). Measure 32/1D camouflage.

CB-1 in 1945, during the ship's service in the Pacific screening the carriers. Good old Measure 22.

USS Guam (CB-2), late 1944 (during Atlantic workups). Measure 32/7C.

CB-2 in 1945, Pacific theater. Measure 22.


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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 1:11 am 
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To further spam this thread - here's a really interesting photo I found while searching for reference pictures of the USS North Carolina.

http://navsource.org/archives/01/055/015500b.jpg

It looks like this photo of the Washington and North Carolina was taken from the air defense station of one of the Alaskas. Great detail shot of the mainmast and top of the stack. Clearly visible is the SG and service platform along with the "ski pole" IFF antennas on outriggers.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:45 pm 
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I'm quite a fan of the large heavy and battlecruisers. I Might build one of these but it'll be after I get my other CA's out of my system like at least one Northamoton (The Houston), one Portland (The Indianapolis), one Baltimore (The Baltimore), not to mention my German stuff.

I do love how big the ships Alaska class were. Almost putting them on par with the Hood as far as gigantic cruisers go.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:09 am 
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I am a big fan of these, too. If we don't build more battleships, the large cruisers (the Alaska+ that was not designed but not built) would provide the USN with the best large surface combatant to perform land attack, anti-ship, and general power projection possible. There is the volume available to incorporate a large number of both Mk41 and Mk57 VLS and embark at least six 12" and five 155mm guns, helicopters, modern radars, and an effective torpedo and mine defense system. With such heavy armor, it would be able to repel most modern ASCMs while continuing to prosecute the enemy.

If a modern Alaska rolled up to someone's coast, it would present them with a similar tactical problem as a battleship. :big_grin: And that is the most problematic tactical problem for an enemy.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:29 am 
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navydavesof wrote:
I am a big fan of these, too. If we don't build more battleships, the large cruisers (the Alaska+ that was not designed but not built) would provide the USN with the best large surface combatant to perform land attack, anti-ship, and general power projection possible. There is the volume available to incorporate a large number of both Mk41 and Mk57 VLS and embark at least six 12" and five 155mm guns, helicopters, modern radars, and an effective torpedo and mine defense system. With such heavy armor, it would be able to repel most modern ASCMs while continuing to prosecute the enemy.

If a modern Alaska rolled up to someone's coast, it would present them with a similar tactical problem as a battleship. :big_grin: And that is the most problematic tactical problem for an enemy.


Problem there is that the navy just doesn't see a need for large slug throwers when cruise missiles can get it done from a far safer distance. Although if you only need to go ~25 miles or so in land for your bombardment the big guns are FFFAAARRRRR cheaper to shoot.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:29 pm 
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The real problem with these beheamoths is manning them. It takes thousands of trained people to man a bunch of big guns and the engineering plant to support them. I was on a light cruiser (6" and 5" guns) and we had a crew of 1200. Crews cost a lot of money. You can man several smaller ships with the crew needed for a battleship.

Big guns just aren't that effective. There are a few hard targets for big bullets, but a small rocket launching ship is far more effective for softening up landing beaches. Battleships may be able to fire their 16" batteries once every 30 seconds. Rocket launchers can fire a hundred rounds in the same time. Laser guided bombs can be used for the hard targets, and they are far more accurate.

The big argument against battleships and other big gun ships is that they are just large floating targets. One torpedo or anti-ship missile and they become artificial reefs.

WWII demonstarted that the day of the battleship was over. Even the primitive propeller driven planes of that day, dropping free-fall bombs and primitive torpedoes, were more than a match for the biggest battleship. The Musashi and Yamato succumbed quickly to the crude aircraft of WWII. They wouldn't last a minute against modern weapons.

I enjoy walking the decks of the battleship museum ships, and I appreciate the role thay played in naval history. But ships like the Missouri, Alaska, Bismark or Yamato are no more useful in modern naval warfare than the Monitor.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:04 am 
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The argument that the Iowas are "just big floating targets" can also be applied to an aircraft carrier and an Iowa is much tougher than an aircraft carrier. It would take more than just one torpedo to sink an Iowa class BB or an aircraft carrier for that matter. They were built to withstand hits from 16 inch armor piercing shells, most modern anti ship missiles are not even close to the destructive power of a 16 inch shell. Just like a carrier they operate with escort vessels for ASW and AAW protection. All of the arguments against the BB's always seem to omit that fact. Another point is that as re-activated they were long range offensive missile ships, not just "slug throwers"(32 Tomahawks and 16 Harpoons). Their 16 inch guns were a bonus for the added role of NGFS. So in reality they were not limited to just 25 miles. Their planned refits that were to begin in 1993 would have given them VLS and also would have upgraded the secondary armament. As re-activated they were offensive strike platforms with NGFS capability, their refits would have greatly increased their long range strike capability.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:35 am 
If the anti-ship missile have a shaped charge warhead, it would be more effective against armor than a 16" shell, plus having a longer range.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:30 pm 
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But they aren't designed to cut/burn through 12-17 inches of class A armor. An aircraft carrier is more vulnerable to any weapon that could be used against an Iowa class BB. Again it would be screened by escorts just like a carrier would. I'm not arguing that they should be re-activated, just pointing out all the flaws in the arguments against them. I'd love to see them re-commissioned but cost and lack of infrastructure to support them guarantees it will never happen.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:02 pm 
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Of course, reactivating the old Battleships merely produces an effect in today's world, of the effect of refitting the WW1 Battle wagons with anti-aircraft weapons - there is only so much strategic mileage that could be gained from such a venture. It would produce the same kind of slanted data that has been used for the last 60 years by the Carrier Preachers to argue against the battleships. Refits are a stopgap measure, and it shows - Even the Prince of Wales, a modern ship to the Royal Navy, was sunk by aircraft, but they forget to mention that the British did not design the KGV's in the shadow of aircraft dominance, and thus they did not have a real, true, honest AAW suite integrated into the construction, they were refitted, if even by that point, with some AAW equipment. There were only a handful of battleships designed and built in the paradigm of military aviation and aircraft carriers - The Iowas and Vanguard. Everything else was stopgap refitted with more AA guns, and none of the ships that were actually Built for AAW capability from the keel up, ever got into the fight that would have truly put the claims to the test. The Iowas were notorious as "The Floating AA Battery", but never actually were in a position without aviation support, and thus never got a chance to prove their true mettle.

The closest one can get is one of the 90s RimPac Exercises, where Missouri exercised as OPFOR against Constellation and a Wasp Amphib Group. Missouri managed to evade air and surface search for Three Days around the Hawaiian islands, and when the enemy fleet made their move, the Missouri showed up, "guns" blazing hard, as they realized there was nothing in the fleet that could actually Sink her when the assault began.

There are many places that could improve the effective capabilities of a modern battleship, including a system of improvements to the main gun battery that would extend their engagement range to an incredible level. Surface Strike with the guns aside, with protection a Battleship would be a nightmare for a Carrier Group to face. Yes, the British demonstrated that they could shoot down a 4.5" shell with SAMs... but let us consider the math here. Assuming a fully loaded Ticonderoga fitted with nothing but SAM for gun defense, that's maybe 512 ESSM. Between the missile engagement at medium-long range, once the big guns get into range, assuming a similar config to a typical battleship, you're looking at Nine guns, with somewhere around a Hundred rounds per gun. Wouldn't need the heavy duty Armor Piercing rounds for most of the ships, they're not built to take a hit, let alone something that brutal. A Battleship with escort group could overwhelm the enemy defenses, with relative impunity, between escort and potentially on-ship AAW equipment. The only thing that would threaten a Battleship from a Carrier Group would be the bombs, and good luck getting those on target with the plane intact.

Like I said - refits are a stopgap, little more than a reach around from the Carrier Doctrine boys, who are holding the broomstick at the core of the congress committees.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:00 am 
The panzerfaust, with a shaped charge of 0.8 kg, was able to burn through about 6.5" of armor. At most, a shaped charge of a few tens of kgs would burn through 20" of armor.

In 1997, a experimental shaped charge burned through 3.4 meters (more than 11') of armor plate. Although this particular shaped charge would not be practical as a weapon, it does show how destructive shaped charges can be.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:34 am 
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Jack wrote:
The panzerfaust, with a shaped charge of 0.8 kg, was able to burn through about 6.5" of armor. At most, a shaped charge of a few tens of kgs would burn through 20" of armor.

In 1997, a experimental shaped charge burned through 3.4 meters (more than 11') of armor plate. Although this particular shaped charge would not be practical as a weapon, it does show how destructive shaped charges can be.

I have to step into this off-shoot of the thread. So, Jack, to the above statement, how many missiles carry that type of warhead? How many missiles will be equipped with that kind of warhead, even if battleships were reactivated? Probably none, ever, right? Maybe a chance of a similar technology being miniaturized and incorporated into a warhead? Perhaps! I wonder how likely, though.

Also, I would suggest one consider that criticism of battleships is a criticism of all surface ships. What is different is that battleships are the most survivable warships ever constructed. It confuses me why people think that a whole lot of passive protection makes them vulnerable. It's quite the opposite. Indeed, battleships (BB)s are the most survivable surface ships ever designed. Whatever arguments there are about sinking one are moot. You can sink a battleship, sure, but you have to penetrate an incredible defensive shield first. Escorts and self defense vessels will repel an awful lot of threats. Even then, once you reach the ship's hull, you will have to penetrate super heavy armor designed to repel threats two to three times as powerful as the missile you're shooting :big_grin:

For instance, if the Iowa-class battleships were active today, they would have received their 1990s SLEP and WIP upgrade providing them with at least 96 VLS tubes, 5"/54caliber guns, NATO sea sparrows, modern GFC system and radar. To me, that makes them the maximum surface warfare vessels imaginable. They could defend themselves very, very well with an LSD/LHA/LHD/CVN AAW system (the SSDS). With subcaliber rounds already developed, they could reach out to targets beyond 60 nm with their main guns and prosecute targets (projected to be) 30 miles with the Excalibur 5" (127mm) round.
Attachment:
155Excalob_13e9fb_m982-excalibur-round-photo-usmc.jpg
155Excalob_13e9fb_m982-excalibur-round-photo-usmc.jpg [ 73.57 KiB | Viewed 1371 times ]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_P_AjXcoa8

They could hammer targets with 96 tomahawk cruise missiles!, an ability only SSGNs have today. All the while, they carried the armor of a WWII vessel, a ship that was specifically designed to take hits. I think that's a pretty good asset to have.

Name a single surface ship that can do that, or even approach that capability today. Unfortunately, none. I would really, really hope in the future armoring techniques will be applied to warships again, because it would greatly increase the survivability to the ship and give its crew a far better chance of surviving and fighting the ship.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:46 am 
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I agree that "large slow target" applies to all surface ships.

The comment about the effectiveness of the battleship's armor against torpedoes is incorrect. Even before WWII US torpedo designers realized that banging an explosive warhead against the armor belts of warships was an ineffective way to use the weapon. The US developed a torpedo that exploded under a ship's keel. The resulting explosion "broke the ship's back." Unfortunately, the WWII detonators weren't reliable and aircraft torpedoes were "hull bangers." But by the end of the war US submarine torpedoes were exploding under the targets.

The Missouri class (and all battleships ever built) had no armor on the bottom. Even if the armored citadel didn't break (and it probably would) the engineering spaces would be destroyed.

Battleships had thick side armor, but relatively thin deck armor. This was the result of backward thinking - essentially designing a battleship to fight against short range cannon of previous wars. By WWII the real threat was from long range plunging shots from guns or from aerial bombs. That's why only a few hits from iron bombs delivered by slow propeller driven planes were all that were necessary to sink even the largest battleships.

One of the errors of the "thick armor" argument is the fact that a battleship can be rendered ineffective without penetrating the armor. Blow away all of the radars and it is helpless. Set the superstructure on fire and the ship may sink - it certainly will become ineffective as a fighting ship. Blow away the propellers or rudder and it can't go anywhere. The armor is irrelevant - that's the real reason we don't build armored ships any more.

****

Big guns are not as effective as aircraft bombs. Even the longest range gun is limited in effectiveness by the depth of the water the ship has to maneuver in. This makes ships' guns useless for inland targets. Aircraft have far greater range for attacking targets - we couldn't attack Baghdad with battleships.

No one has developed a really sophisticated "smart bullet." Some can be laser guided by spotters near the target, but none can change course and search for targets of opportunity. Drones can do this and then launch "fire and forget" missiles against the target. Of course, airplanes can also do this.

These facts make big guns pretty much a thing of the past.

****

The largest mistake in all the arguments listed here is the assumption that if someone builds a modern armored ship it will be threatened by existing weapons. In the time it takes to build a large ship a new weapon can be designed and produced that will destroy it. Consider these:

1. An advanced "ASROC" type torpedo. Launched from a ship, submarine or aircraft at long range it would enter water some distance from the battleship group then search and destroy any ship (surface or submarine) it finds. A few relatively cheap missiles would eliminate the ships protecting the battleship (aircraft carrier) and then the battleship (aircraft carrier) itself.

2. Attack down missiles. The first antiaircraft missile that the US designed (TALOS - but not the first deployed) cruised at very high altitude and plunged on its target, either aircraft or ships. Even this relatively primitive 1950s missile carried a conventional warhead significantly larger than the largest battleship projectile, flew at Mach 2+ and had a range of 130 nm. It was very effective against ships.

Now consider the advances of the last half century. A long range missile that approached the target skimming the surface (very hard to detect) and then popped up and dove straight down on the target would negate the effectiveness of the side armor on the WWII type battleships. A shaped charge warhead could penetrate an armored deck. Better still, a timed sequence of charges, each designed to pass through the hole from the previous charge and penetrate deeper, could penetrate just about any armor. Decoy targets shed from the missiles would confuse the short range missile and gun defenses.

Any modern missile will have enough smarts to aim for the vulnerable parts of a ship, so only a few hits will disable the target.

3. Saturation attack. Any defensive system has a limit to the number of targets it can defend against. Ships cost a lot of money. Anti-ship missiles are relatively inexpensive, and only one has to get through the defenses.

Combined attack by subsurface and pop-up missiles would tax the effectiveness of the ships' defenses. A determined enemy would keep attacking until the targets were destroyed.

****

All of this assumes the enemy would be technologically advanced and capable of producing a large number of missiles. Against such an enemy any surface task force will be vulnerable. In this case, aircraft carriers pack more punch at greater ranges than battleships.

Unsophisticated enemies that are not technologically advanced are susceptible to attack by battleships, but in this case battleships are unnecessary. Anything that can launch cruise missiles and aircraft will suffice.

There really are valid reasons why no navy on Earth has considered building new armored ships since WWII.

Phil

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:45 pm 
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tko24 wrote:
. An aircraft carrier is more vulnerable to any weapon that could be used against an Iowa class BB. Again it would be screened by escorts just like a carrier would. I'm not arguing that they should be re-activated, just pointing out all the flaws in the arguments against them. I'd love to see them re-commissioned but cost and lack of infrastructure to support them guarantees it will never happen.



Not so. WWII era warships were not designed for high resistence to underkeel non-contact torpedo explosions, and armored vessels up to heavy cruiser that would reasily survive a contact torpedo hit in WWII would be easily snapped in two amidships by a single modern torpedo exploding some distance under its keel.

WWII warships were also highly vulnerable to underwater shock from nearby explosions. Many were WWII battleships efffectively crippled when machinery foundation cracked, or turret traverse ballbearings smashed, to say nothing of delicate fire control equipment ruined, as a result of shocks transmitted through the hull from nearby underwater explosions.

In both of these areas modern carriers are likely to do better than any WWII era battleship.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:41 pm 
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"In both of these areas modern carriers are likely to do better than any WWII era battleship."

You have proof to back up this statement, or is it just your opinion? It's late and I have to be up at 0400 so I can't really respond to this tonight, but I will refer you to this forum, http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/battle ... ps-46.html, specifically to the posts made by "Rusty Battleship" concerning MK48 torpedoes against an Iowa class hull. He is the unquestioned expert on the Iowa class as he helped bring the New Jersey back for Vietnam and all of them in the 80's. He's also an expert on almost every ship in U.S. Navy service from 1960-1990. He would have been involved in their 1990's FRAM refits had they not been sent back to mothballs. All of the examples presented will also mission kill or sink a super carrier, except that an Iowa class BB still stands a better chance of staying afloat from an under the keel torpedo hit than a carrier.


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