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What if the Montana Class Battleship class had been built?

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by Bulldog1653, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    The Good old USofA
    Indeed, as you told me back on my 'What-if' thread about the USN having their own night-fighting doctrine, leadership is one of the most important factors in a military units ability to fight and win.
     
  2. Robbie55

    Robbie55 New Member

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  3. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Where the Montana's might have been very useful, is if Operation Downfall had needed to take place. The allies would have likely wanted as many guns as possible for anti-air and shore bombardment.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The US Navy had already made that decision in 1942-42 with the halting of the Illinois, Kentucky, and the Montanas. The carrier & it's aircraft were far superior in AA work than ships guns. Also, destroyers & AA cruisers could be had for a cheaper price and greatly reduced construction time. As to shore bombardment, there has always been the ongoing debate as to which was superior. Ship's guns were all-weather, not so for the carrier aircraft. Accuracy has also seen much debate - I believe that the ship's guns were more accurate, but they also tended to fire at obvious targets that may or may not be relevant to the enemy's defensive plans. IIRC, there was one instance I remember reading about, where the bombardment battleships blew away a sugar cane plant, but left the bunkers near the beach mostly untouched.
     
  5. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Cheaper to waste shells than pilots in many cases, you can't shoot down a 16" shell. Realistically it takes more resources for an air strike, than a bombardment, and extra BB's might be given the option of hitting shore targets in a lot of places around the Japanese islands while the aviation is doing other things.
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    For most of the war, the modern BBs did not do a lot of shore bombardment, but with the demise of the Japanese fleet, they conducted several shellings of industrial targets in the home islands in 1945. They might well have been pressed into service for preparatory fires for Downfall/Olympic/Coronet. Actual naval gunfire support for troops in combat was more effective - and safer - when conducted by ships and crews that routinely trained for and practiced it, primarily the older battleships and cruisers. If the Montanas or other 16" ships were not felt to be needed with the fast carrier forces, they could be given training in NGFS so they could operate at peak efficiency.

    p.s. As previously discussed, having the Montanas available in 1945 or early -46 would presume that their construction had gone forward without interruption, i.e. that they were given higher priority than they were historically.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Looking at the various accounts of naval gunfire support DD's figure prominently especially those willing to move in close to shore.
     
  8. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    There were still a lot of kamikaze assets still stashed away. The closer the bombardment forces got, the more risk assumed, less reaction time. And not just the air dimension. One thing I speculate, is turning Ohka's into something that could be ramp launched from shore, like a V-1. That would raise hell with DDs.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The Japanese were hording not just planes but boats and small subs for suicde attacks when the invasion came. Close to shore launches from behind the coastal hills would actually have been more dangerous as far as the planes went as they could be moving at speed when they popped up over the hills. My understanding is that the Japanese planned to target the transports and cargo ships in the event of an invasion. Of course close in DDs would likely have been hit as well.
     
  10. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Considering how the pickets got hammered off Okinawa, it's apparent the pilots, untrained in ship ID, and of course in their mental state, dived on the first ship they saw.

    The marine assets likely would be night attacks.

    But getting back on track, bombardment would be able to reach the short range stuff, industrial, suicide boats, etc. Heavily armored and weaponed ships like the Montana's could likely withstand such attacks, and be mobile enough to be where needed.
     
  11. Robbie55

    Robbie55 New Member

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    "The US Navy had already made that decision in 1942-42 with the halting of the Illinois, Kentucky, and the Montanas. The carrier & it's aircraft were far superior in AA work than ships guns. Also, destroyers & AA cruisers could be had for a cheaper price and greatly reduced construction time. As to shore bombardment, there has always been the ongoing debate as to which was superior. Ship's guns were all-weather, not so for the carrier aircraft. Accuracy has also seen much debate - I believe that the ship's guns were more accurate, but they also tended to fire at obvious targets that may or may not be relevant to the enemy's defensive plans. IIRC, there was one instance I remember reading about, where the bombardment battleships blew away a sugar cane plant, but left the bunkers near the beach mostly untouched."





    It's the American destroyers and cruisers, and carriers that were sitting ducks to japanese planes, torpedoes, and the heavy guns of Japanese cruisers and battleships. Witness what happened in all those night naval battles around Guadalcanal. The Montana's, I believe would have held their own against those kinds of attacks. The AA batteries of the Montana's were designed to throw a wall of steel at incoming planes, add to that 9 inch thick armor plating on the deck to shield against 250lb and 500lb armor piercing bombs dropped from planes.
     
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The Montanas were intended to follow the Iowa class, which were not all in action until early 1945, so to have Montanas at Leyte, Normandy, or Guadalcanal we would not ony have to have gone full speed ahead on construction, they would have to have been conceived, designed, ordered [and laid down] significantly earlier than they were [would have been].

    This also implies that the naval treaty regime would have lapsed earlier than it did. Our nominal 35,000 and 45,000-ton battleships complied with the treaty restrictions in force when they were designed, which 60,000-tonners clearly would not. In that case other navies might be building larger battleships also; historically most of them at least claimed to observing the treaty limits.
     
  13. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    In those two pictures the North Carolina looks like a British BB and the South Dakota looks German :)
     
  14. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Do you really think so? I think they look distinctly American.
     
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  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    In reading through this, I can't help but wonder why the navy didn't build gun platforms designed just for shore bombardment? A battleship is an incredibly expensive and complex creation, but any large merchant hull could be modified to carry some big guns, perhaps just batteries of mounted 155 or 240mm howitzers without a turret (to keep topside weight to a minimum). Add a big keel and perhaps saltwater tanks in the hull to minimize roll when firing and you should have a stable platform.

    You could put twenty or thirty of these in the water for the cost of a single cruiser or BB. Any fleet already had transports, supply vessels, tankers attached so even though such vessels would be largely useless in a sea battle, you already had a nucleus of unprotected vessels so what's a few more?
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Take an unarmored ship, load it with ammunition, and send it into the middle of combat...

    Apparently you lack comprehension of the word "BOOM!". They say a picture is worth a thousand words, soI believe that this should suffice.
    [​IMG]

    At a minimu I would expect a vessel on the order of the British monitors:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erebus-class_monitor
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberts-class_monitor

    However, the US Navy did have a good many OBBs that had little else to do, so they filled the role quite nicely.
     
  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Like a tanker or an ammunition ship? Or even a troop ship? A moving vessel standing offshore five or ten miles is a pretty elusive target for shore based artillery - who would concentrate on the beaches anyway, or just hold fire not to give away their position. Aircraft would probably concentrate on the bigger vessels - the BB and carriers or even the troop ships who were the direct threat. At any rate, there were many unarmored vessels engaged in a beach landing, and even the armored vessels weren't safe from heavy aircraft bombs or kamikazes.
     
  18. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    I can easiy ID them as American but in those shots the NC reminds me a a picture I've seen of Vanguard. Kind of elegant looking. The SD looks more Bismarck-y in that picture. More brutal.
     
  19. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    On a tangent, Service Squadron 10 created one of the biggest, if not the biggest Navy base in the world when it was stationed at Ulithi and it was all unarmored ships. Good thing it was a relatively quiet area.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Dave,

    Pass me a double of what your drinking.

    Our "cousins across the sea" never went in for the tower mast superstructure, they preferred slab-sided "castles" instead.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    The SoDak-Bismarck is sorta/kinda, but does require some alcohol to blur the vision. IMHO, the Biz had a more overall "squatter" appearance
    [​IMG]
    as if she had been smooshed from the top.
     
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