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Is it possible to make a capital ship immune to air attack?

Discussion in 'Ships & Shipborne Weaponry' started by mac_bolan00, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    Let's say a carrier or a battleship, or even a big troop ship. Assuming 1943-45 technology, could those ships carry enough radar, guns and ammunition to swat away a concerted air attack from task force 58?
     
  2. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    Yes, you could make a WWII capital ship immune to aircraft attack--with an accompanying aircraft carrier or shorebased air providing a strong CAP and a screen of destroyers and cruisers bristling with AA guns.

    Otherwise NO.
     
  3. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    No.............
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I would go with no. don't see any way to make a ship completely invulnerable to air attack.
     
  5. MikeyBugs

    MikeyBugs New Member

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    I'm going to go against the general grain here. I will assume the capitol ship is an Iowa-class in a late-war fit with the maximum amount of AA mounts fitted with the crew and equipment running at maximum efficiency. I will also assume that all ships in this speculative task force that I will propose are also running at peak efficiency with the maximum amount of AA guns that were historically fitted installed. In order to make some ships nearly immune to air attack, I'd structure a speculative task force as so:

    4 Essex class carriers;
    2 Iowa, 2 North Carolina and 2 South Dakota class battleships;
    8 Baltimore class cruisers;
    14 Cleveland and 6 Brooklyn/St Louis class cruisers;
    40 various classes destroyers including Gearings, Sumners, Fletchers;
    And I would suppose that a force this large would require probably over 100 auxiliary ships.

    I would think that a force this large would provide enough of a AA screen to knock down almost all attacking aircraft before they near the capitol ships.
     
  6. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    A high value target defended by a maximum effort screen would be very hard to kill, but still not impossible, think Tirpitz. But I do not believe this was the original poster's intent, I believe he meant a single ship, you could probably put enough deck armour to defeat 1000lb bombs, but against one tonners or worse guided one tonners like the Fritz-X, you quickly get to the point were no reasonable amount of armour will help even without going to the extreme of using a "guided" Tallboy or Grand Slam. Tirpitz was eventually sunk at her mooring by Tallboys and Yamato by air launched torpedoes at sea.
     
  7. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    No, just look at the Kamikaze attacks off Okinawa. AA fits were maxed out, radar and fire control fully developed, crews experienced, CIC's coordinated and at peak efficiency, fighter/interceptor's (defensive) at peak levels, flown by experienced pilots in fully developed aircraft, with expert coordination and control. Aircraft still got through.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Even without functioning radar and guns Bismarck was immune to air attack in that period. :)

    A late war US battleship had a decent chance of defeating an attack by the air group from a single carrier with little or no damage. It might even be able to do so vs several such air groups especially if it was well escorted. However it wouldn't be immune to even a single plane.
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well...Almost invulnerable. Project Habakkuk. Although, it did have one or two weak spots.
     
  10. Dave55

    Dave55 Member Patron  

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    And the Kamikaze pilots didn't have a lot of training hours.
     
  11. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    One of the keys there is "well escorted." Look at how the original question is phrased. Could a 43-45 battleship be 'invulnerable' alone without a CAP to whittle down the enemy air strike before it got within close range and/or a circle of escorts to supplement its AA fire? I say no. Even with escorts and air cover BBs were hit repeatedly late in the war, sometimes very seriously. That does not sound like invulnerability to me.
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    That's basically TF 58 with fifteen CV/CLs reduced to four and some extra cruisers. AA firepower is great, but I think the historical air strength might be better.

    The Brooklyn class cruisers were very effective in surface combat or shore bombardment, but they were rarely attached to carrier task forces. They mostly had the older 5"/25s and Mark 33 gunfire control systems; the Clevelands were much more effective AA ships. Let's not forget the Atlantas either.

    There were some of the older CAs attached to the carriers, possibly because there were only 3-4 Baltimores available until the last few months of the war. Also Indianapolis, one of several of the prewar CAs fitted as fleet flagships, was often used by Spruance.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That's why I said "defeated" which doesn't imply "invulnerable". As I suggested earlier there were a number of battleships that were invulnerable to air attack in the 43-45 time frame. They include Mutsu, Hiei, Kirishima, PoW, Hood, and as I mentioned Bismarck. I admit to not being completely sure about PoW though.
     
  14. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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  15. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    Maybe i am just stupid, but (from 1942 onwards) wasn't it the other way round?
    Aircraft carriers didn't escort battleships and cruisers, it was the other way round. In an air attack, enemy planes wouldn't attack the battleship, so i agree, the battleship is protected.

    What axis battleships, especially german ships, really needed would have been a real protection against air attacks in the harbour. For the U-Boats, Dönitz solved the problem with the bunkers. But there was nothing comparable for capital ships, smoke screens and camouflage nets weren't always successful.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What that page doesn't mention is that by 43 Hood was protected by several hundred feet of water which would make it extremely difficult for aircraft to find her much less damage her. The same holds true of the others I mentioned.
     

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