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Bismarck vs USS Iowa

Discussion in 'Ships & Shipborne Weaponry' started by JimboHarrigan2010, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I have seen arguments that German naval radar was actually on a par with US fire control radar as far as accuracy goes. Take Tirpitz instead of Bismarck if you want ships at the same date. However German radars tended to fail a bit more often and from what I've read they didn't have as many reduntant sets. The US doctrine of engaging in long range fire I think would be a critical factor especially if you consider any likely strategic situation. A US battleship enagening a German one in WWII wouldn't really have to worry about holding back enough ammo for a second engagement while a German battleship especially if it's on a raiding cruise couldn't afford to shoot up most of its ammo unless they were ready to return to port anyway. A long range engagement would also tend to offset Bismarck's rate of fire advantage while emphasizing the advantages of the US "super heavy" AP rounds. A knife fight could go either way pretty easily but in a long range engagment I think Iowa or for that matter any of the US fast battleships has the edge.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Lutzow almost lost her stern in 1940
    [​IMG]

    Prinz Eugen essentially lost hers in 1942
    [​IMG]

    Leipzig was almost cut in half by Prinz Eugen in 1944
    [​IMG]

    So, yes, the Germans did know a thing or three about damage control.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    And if you go back to WWI there's that picture of Seydliz (?) entering port with her decks awash. Part of it seems to be though that the Germans build very tough ships in terms of how much damage it took to sink them. I'm not sure just what their damage control doctrine was though.
     
  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Great stuff guys. Keep the information coming!!!!
     
  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Member Patron  

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    I've read that some of the toughness of WWI German ships was from their extream compartmentalization. They spent long periods in port with their crews living ashore in barracks. British ship had to be more habitable with larger open areas such as mess decks since their crews often spent many months on them.

    I've seen that picture of Seydlitz with the entire roof of one of the main turrets missing, and she was only a battle cruiser
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The guns, roof, and rear armor of the forward turret were purposely removed to lighten the ship's bow, because it was so low in the water that it prevented her from entering port, or was it possibly the dock.

    I believe this is the photo lwd is referring to...
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Member Patron  

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    I believe you are right
     
  8. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Alright, fair enough, thanks for the heads up, I'm not as much into the Kriegsmarines aspect of WW2 as I am into the US Navies.
     
  9. Thoddy

    Thoddy Member

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    preceding of the following explanations - I'm not qualified in this area in order to assess opportunities and weaknesses in comparison to foreign radar so the following be imperfect

    There is no question that the US-late-war radar was better than any german radar set from 1941. Additionally the ppi presentation allows for easier determination of simultaneous impacts compared to the A-scope of the Seetakt.

    By 1944/45 the Berlin devices had also PPI wich was capable of detection of single buoys, wich wer used for marking routes in minefields. The firecontrol radars becam also more advanced at this time but ther was a lack of ships to be used.

    The german Seetakts were firecontrolradars
    -they could feed the C 38 firecontrol computer with rangedata as well as bearing data of potential targets and had splash detection capability.

    Buts its hard to determine real data on the performance of individual sets as they differ considerably in size of the antennas, number of dipoles, non antenna electronic equipment... Some sets had swiveling antenna diagrams, all systems with Fein Peilung had lobe switching. Accuracy of Feinpeilung(fine direction finding) was in the order of 0,1-0,2 degrees,

    In several service regulations the performance data for a FUMO 2 with small antenna and standard electronics are given with 30 km detection (Entfernung Grob) range and 20 km for measuring range(Entfernung fein). Ranging accuracy(Enfernung fein) was in the order of 50m despite of the 300m signal lenght due to triangular waveform of the sending pulse.

    But the ship based sets were usually equiped with 2-3 times larger antennas.(according to some primary accounts the detection/measuring range was increased by 30 % if size was doubled). the return signals could be extracted even ast comparatively low signal to noise strenght

    From the war diaries of shore based artillery batteries at Sangatte (Batterie Großer Kurfürst -28 cm) it became clear that they could measure targets near Folkstone(distance >30 km) and also detect splashes at this distance in Summer 1941. The so called Zielbeobachtungsschießen became difficult when the enemy starts jamming the german radar sets. Another battery (10,5 cm) near Oslo mentioned an unusual event. They fired two shots against a unknown naval target at a midnight at around 10 km distance. Instead of two impact events they detected 6-8 splashes. A investigation at spot next morning yielded the result of several mine explosions caused by the impacts. This also means that range resolution must be better than the 300 m mentioned in the regulations.

    The german cruisers in the baltic used radar beacons as orientation point for shore bombardment (better inland bombardment at 25 -30 km distance against soviet targets; in some occasions enemy targets at minimum distances of 400m from own units were bombarded. Impact observation by artillery observer.

    This capability also applies to german fire control used on capitalships. Corresponding tests were carried out by Prinz Eugen in 1944 if memory serves. Its mentioned by Paul Schmalenbach (I. A.O. Prinz Eugen - Die Geschichte der deutschen Schiffsartillerie).

    With regard to advantages of the allies, the disposed german standstill in development in 1941/42 enabled the allies to surpass german development especially with regards of wavelenght and signal strenght.


    Hope this helps.
     
  10. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Hm, impressive, are there any good books on the German Kriegesmarine and the development of naval-based radar during WW2 that you can suggest?
     
  11. Thoddy

    Thoddy Member

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  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I can't seem to find the photo I was talking about right now. As I recall it was higher resolution and parts of her deck were litterally awash (specifically between the bow and the bridge). Perhaps it's not as famouse as I thought.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    This one perhaps.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    No. It was taken from the port side and you could see the bow clear of the water with the deck around the fore turrets awash if I remember correctly. It was taken as she was entering bort from what I recall. I have seen the picture several times in different sources but can't seem to find it now.
     
  15. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    oh how 'bout this: the US has just entered the war and already launched iowa. the ship is dispatched to norway to take on the tirpitz or some other "bismark-like" ship. in command is an admiral in the same mold as kimmel, short, macarthur, crutchley and turner. the german ship brings the fight to her unexpected and, using the bismark's high velocity and low angle advantage, knocks the iowa deaf dumb and blind.
     
  16. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Could you explain Bismarck's advantages a bit? Her 38cm did have a higher muzzle velocity, but the shells were just under 2/3 the weight of Iowa's, and Iowa's armor penetration was superior across the spectrum. Her armor protection was overall superior to Bismarck's, although the latter had a .6" advantage on the main belt.

    The only way Iowa could lose was if she was taken by surprise, despite having better radar, or suffered some odd malfunction like South Dakota at Savo. Of course any ship could be defeated in that case.
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    ??? My impression is that Kimmel was a decent battleship admiral. He and Short were surprised at PH but that doesn't mean in a war time encounter like this they would be at a huge disadvantage, the same can be said of Mac. I'm blanking on the other two right now so will hold comment on them.

    Then there's the question of how a KM battleship manages to get in range to surprise her. It's far more likely to be the other way around. The USN used radar actively on pretty much all it's ships. The KM was rather reluctant to use it's search radars.

    As for getting blinded Iowas did on occasion have radar problem (at least once due to their own guns) but the Germans did as well and the Iowas carried multiple copies of their radars. Iowa also had some pretty decent optics.

    Bismarck or Tirpitz would have a rate of fire advantage in a close fight but that's about their only advantage. The USN doctrine was to fight at long range and the use of radar and air search are going to make that far more likely than a close in fight.
     
  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Crutchley was a British admiral seconded to the Royal Australian Navy who served as commander of the covering force at the invasion of Guadalcanal/battle of Savo Island. At the time of the attack, he had gone to confer with Richmond Kelly Turner, commanding the amphibious force, about Fletcher's decision to withdraw the carrier force. The suggestion seems to be that this makes them exemplars of the sort of commanders enemies sneak up on.
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I was wondering, as kimmel, short, macarthur, crutchley and turner were all of very different "molds" of officer.

    I also doubt that the Admiral would be the one "fighting" the Iowa, as that would be the Captain's responsibility.
     
  20. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    well, surigao strait was a battleship engagement deluxe with calm seas and weather. radar-equipped BB's in line formation will flatten any target that comes within range. but for my iowa-bismark duel, i'd say a rough and stormy north sea encounter wherein one's advantage of radar and long-range shooting will be rendered useless; and the combatants will have to come within sight of each other, belt it out while closing the range, and see who shoots better and who can take more punishment. my guess is bismark and iowa in that order.
     

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