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Why Jap battleships were faster?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by DogFather, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    Japanese battleship Kirishima, launched in 1913, had a speed of 30 knots,
    using 4 steam turbines (technically a Kongō-class battlecruiser) .

    While USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) Launched in 1915, had of speed was 21 knots, using 4 steam turbines.

    Both ships had a displacement of about 32000 (as built) tons & 14" guns.

    The Pennsylvania was a little smaller and had more armor, but other than that, they were pretty simular.
     
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  2. MastahCheef117

    MastahCheef117 Member

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    Kirishima was originally built as a Battlecruiser. Battlecruisers usually have a faster speed than battleships.
     
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I came across this interesting comment about battleship speed while looking up stuff for this thread. "Until World War 2, speed was not a major requirement for battleships. The other ships had to adapt to the battleship, not the other way round."
    Introduction to World War 2 ship types The article goes on to point out that carriers changed the geometry when faster battleships became the escorts for carriers and slower ones were relegated to other duties.
     
  4. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    I think the issue goes bck to the Russo-Japanese war at the begining of the century. Following the Battle of Tsushima, it seems both sides learned the wrong lessens. While the Russians started building ships with low profiles and little superstructer, the Japanese decided to built fast battlecruisers to out manuever the enemy while trading away the armour protection.
     
  5. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Just a guess here, but more horses, same weight is probably the reason?

    These four sister ships were the first modern battlecruisers in the Japanese arsenal. They were designed by Britain's Sir George Thurston, and strongly influenced the design of the forthcoming Tiger-class battlecruisers. Kongo was actually built by Vickers (and was the last Japanese capital ship to be built outside of Japan), while the remaining three were built in Japanese yards. During the inter-war years, all of them were upgraded in terms of propulsion and protection, and were re-rated as battleships. They were useful ships, fast and well-armed, but even after their upgrade their protection left much to be desired, as Kirishima discovered much to her cost at the hands of U.S.S. Washington off of Savo Island.

    See:

    Nihon Kaigun: Kongo-class Battleship

    Speed exchanged for armor was of no aid in Kirishima’s final battle; During the Solomons Campaign later in 1942, Kirishima was present during the carrier battles of the Eastern Solomons in August and the Santa Cruz Islands in October. She received minor damage in the night surface action off Guadalcanal on 13 Nov. Two nights later, serving as flagship of another Japanese surface force, she was engaged by the American battleships Washington and South Dakota. She exchanged gunfire with the latter, but because American destroyers' spotlights blinded Kirishima's lookouts, she could not locate Washington which was located 8,000 yards away. Because her guns were trained accurately on South Dakota already, Kirishima did not attempt to shift her guns at Washington's direction. At the end of the engagement, she was hit by nine 16-in shells and forty 5-in shells, all from Washington, and became disabled. With her superstructure aflame and rudders stuck, Kirishima was scuttled by opening her Kingston valves a few miles west of Savo Island about two and half hours after the start of the engagement. About 250 men were lost during the battle.

    See:

    Battleship Kirishima | World War II Database

    And the Kongo class ships like the Kirishima had been upgraded in the interwar years to have 136,000 shaft horsepower off its steam turbines, while the Pennsylvania had only it's original 33,375 shaft horsepower pushing almost the same 36,000 tons displacement. That extra 100,000 horses might have had something to do with the speed of the two.

    See:

    The Encyclopedia of Weapons of WWII ... - Google Books

    More ponies, less weight to push. Makes sense.
     
  6. MastahCheef117

    MastahCheef117 Member

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    @ brn: I love that site, lol.
     
  7. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I am thinking the Iowa Class was pushing 30+ odd knots. That and the Japanese sailors were smaller.
     
  8. SOAR21

    SOAR21 Member

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    Lol jughead I don't even know whether or not to take that last sentence seriously...
     
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  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I would argue that Hiei shows up their lack of protection much clearer. Even Yamato doesn't want to take 16" 2700 lb AP rounds at under 20,000 yards much less at under 10,000. And certainly not the number that Kirishima did.
     
  10. Col.Pickle

    Col.Pickle Member

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    Well, I honestly cannot answer your question (my knowledge on naval things is scant) but I'd just like to point out that for most Japanese people today "jap" is regarded as a derogatory insult. I'm sure you didn't mean it as that, but just heads-up for future use. And LOL at smaller sailors.
     
  11. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    The "smaller sailors" was cute, but as I posted in #5; the Kongo class ships like the Kirishima had been upgraded in the interwar years to have 136,000 shaft horsepower off its steam turbines, while the Pennsylvania had only it's original 33,375 shaft horsepower pushing almost the same 36,000 tons displacement.

    That extra 100,000 horses might have had something to do with the speed of the two.

    See:

    The Encyclopedia of Weapons of WWII ... - Google Books
     
  12. mavfin

    mavfin Member

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    Yeah, Hiei took heavy damage from 5, 6, and 8 inch guns at the first Battle of Guadalcanal, and ended up being finished off by aircraft. So, if her sister was damaged by those guns, Washington's big shells plus 40 5-inch rounds were really bad for Kirishima.
     

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