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Subject: USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust
Heorot    12/29/2005 3:43:24 PM
A sad day but apparently a boost to the DD(X). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/20/AR2005122001445.html
 
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TheArmchairCmd    RE:USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust   12/29/2005 10:30:15 PM
The BB may sustain the damage and survive. But if a BB is kitted out for a modern battle it would have sensors and comms that would be vulnerable to a mission kill from cruise missiles. OTOH the sensors and comms would be able to survive the blast from the 16". Don't know what to make of it...
 
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Arbalest    RE:USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust   12/29/2005 10:39:41 PM
Yimmy & Fitz - Flt. Lt. Alfred Price, in his article "The Guided Weapons" in "Tanks and Weapons of WW2" (Beekman House), indicates that the Roma took 2 hits; one through the deck, near the after mast, that damaged the starboard steam turbines; the second one, a few minutes later, near the bridge on the port side, stopping the ship. Twenty minutes later the fires in the Roma reached a magazine. A third weapon hit the bow of the Italia, causing some damage. The Italia shipped 800 tons of water, but made Malta under her own steam. The first hit is a deck hit, the second implicitly is also a deck hit, but as written does not specify. I sort of figured that the British had some sort of Exocet capability in the Falklands. I assume these are the ship launched variety. I think that a match between the Belgrano and a couple of escorts against the British fleet, starting at 10-15 miles would be an uncomfortable meeting for both sides. I suspect that at that range, the British would be able only to use Exocets and strikes by Harriers. The Belgrano would have to work on the British ship-by-ship, until either the British sank the Belgrano, or the British withdrew. The British and Argentine subs, the Argentine carrier Cinco de Mayo, land based Argentine planes, and perhaps a British Vulcan strike add many variables. Fitz ? The lower deck armor (121+19mm) on the Iowa meets the top of the belt, and the upper deck armor (142 + 19mm) is not the surface seen (another 38mm) in pictures of the top of the ship. It is a deck below. Additionally, there are steel superstructure walls/ceilings outside the main armor. The upper deck armor has a splinter shields behind it. To get to the internals of the Iowa through the deck requires punching a hole through 3 or 4 layers of spaced armor (a distance of 30 feet or so). Detonating an explosive above the belt will do some damage, but the explosion will be outside the armor envelope of the Iowa; there will be damage, but likely not critical damage. Since the warhead is, apparently, a shaped charge, it is likely, that the missile, assuming it hits the Iowa, will be triggered when it hits the superstructure. The ?carrot? formed by the hollow charge must go 20 feet to hit 127mm then another 10 feet to hit another 142mm of armor before hitting any vital internals. 30 feet is a very long way for the carrot to maintain velocity and cohesiveness. A 6-ton missile popping up at Mach-3 does indeed represent a lot of kinetic energy. However, unless 700kg of that missile is essentially an AP projectile, it will detonate outside the armor. However strong the missile airframe is, it is clearly not as strong as a solid cylinder of heat-treated chromium steel. That this is true can be determined by analyzing the construction of many of the variants of the Japanese kamikaze planes. Many "designs" included an armor-piercing bomb inside the plane. Things that travel at Mach-3 tend to be "hot", probably slightly "glowing" (i.e., detectable), and not particularly maneuverable. Whether the Sunburn (I assume this is the missile in question) pops up or not, it seems like easy targets for the shipborne CIWS, maybe even the 5? guns. Detection time is the issue. As a side note, it strikes me as odd that a missile traveling Mach-3 would use a shaped charge. A 250kg AP projectile traveling at that speed has about 2/3 of the kinetic energy of a 2200lb AP projectile (at 25 miles). If the Sunburn is actually a KE type weapon (maybe guided APHE?), it seem unlikely to do much to an Iowa-class ship (belt or deck), but to anything else, it seems to me as potentially quite lethal. So, what is the issue? Will 30 SS-N-22 hits sink an Iowa? I suspect so. Will one hit do it? Highly unlikely. Are there better deployment options for 1900 crew? I think so.
 
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Yimmy    RE:USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust   12/29/2005 10:50:47 PM
"I think that a match between the Belgrano and a couple of escorts against the British fleet, starting at 10-15 miles would be an uncomfortable meeting for both sides. I suspect that at that range, the British would be able only to use Exocets and strikes by Harriers" I am not very good with miles, but the horizon from a ship based search radar is what, 40-45km's? I can not see the Belgrano making it to within 15 miles of the British fleet undetected. In any case, the 4.5 inch gun has a range of 22.5 km's, while I would imagine the Belgranos 6 inch would have a range of 25-30km's. Exocet on the other hand has a range of what, 70km's? It would be interesting to know the rate of fire of the Belgranos guns, and how accurate her radar director was, compared to the accurate 4.5 inch, at 25 rounds per minute (50 rpm for some frigates with two turrets).
 
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Yimmy    RE:USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust   12/29/2005 10:53:39 PM
 
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Arbalest    RE:USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust   12/29/2005 11:45:10 PM
Y - I just read the link you provided. It says that the first hit was a side hit, and the second hit "exploded in the forward deposits of the big caliber complexes." This could be 2 side hits or a side and a deck hit, which would be the opposite sequence of my source. I?m not certain how to interpret this source, and it raises questions. "Battleships and Battle Cruisers" by Siegfried Breyer has drawings and armor thicknesses and listings for all battleships since 1910, and he seems to be correct in most cases. The drawings suggest that a hit below the belt armor would have been too low to hit the magazines. A hit on the side above the belt armor could go through the deck armor, and might be enough to hit a magazine. The remainder of my sources just say "sunk by SD 1400X" or something to that effect. More sources would help. I'll see if I can find anything useful. The only other thing that I should mention is that I suspect that Italian battleships, as well as German and French battleships, were designed for close engagements, and therefore were designed with thinner deck armor. My suspicion is caused by recalling an account of the Bismark that stated that the Germans assumed closer engagement ranges. I'm not certain of this, and I have to see if I can find the link, or a link, that says this, and what the reasons are. 1 km = 0.62 miles, so 10-15 miles is about 16-24km. Doubtless both sides would have detected each other well before coming within 24km of each other. However, the British had to take back the Falklands (or support their forces on the islands, depending on when this encounter would take place), and would probably need to provide at least a screening force between their main fleet and the Belgrano. I?m guessing that the British would have used the sub, several Exocets and Harriers to try to kill the Belgrano at long range. If successful, then the situation ends, otherwise, the British would have some hard choices to make. The Belgrano, in order to be able to attack the British, AND have a reasonable chance of scoring hits, would have to close the distance. Firing at maximum range is usually pointless, as hits are unlikely. WW2 vintage ships have scored hits at 26,000yards (15 miles or 24km), so this is my guesstimate of a maximum opening range for the Belgrano. 16km is about 2km closer than the Battle Cruiser action prelude to Jutland (WW1) so it is a reasonable combat range for a WW2 cruiser. I suspect that the Belgrano could fire 6 rounds per minute, per gun, but figuring a 30-second time-of-flight, I would expect a ladder pattern salvo, wait for the splash, then corrections for range, etc, then a couple of salvos. I suspect that the British would be able to get hits much sooner, but the 4.5" guns might not have been up to the job. I guess that they'd have to take out the Belgrano?s escorts first, then use more Exocets and Harriers. The Argentines would also have had some hard choices to make, as they would have to close to close range with the British. This might be an interesting discussion topic, and probably deserves its own thread. Let me now "un-hijack" this thread. My purpose in using the Belgrano example was to illustrate the value of (by today?s standards heavily) armored, gun-armed ships. They may be obsolescent, but at close range they are still quite lethal, and have certain advantages that modern ships do not.
 
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fitz    RE:USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust   12/30/2005 8:47:03 AM
I'm aware of the Iowa's armour layout. I've also heard all of the "spaced armour" arguements. The big Russian anti-ship missiles are "carrier-killers" They are designed to penetrate the armoured flight deck, penetrate the hangar deck and spread their havoc deep down into the magazine spaces. That's why they are so big and that's why they have such big, shaped charge warheads. And I doubt very much that they explode on impact. They penetrate the armoured flight deck first by kinetic energy. BTW - I have a series of photo's of the DE Vammen being struck by a Condor missile just below the weather deck amidships. Condor had a shaped charge warhead about the size of that of Harpoon (around 500 lb) - or in other words much smaller than the Russian jobs. It detonated on impact. You can clearly see the HEAT jet going in through the side of the ship, through multiple compartments and out the other side again, nearly cutting the ship in half. Granted the Vammen wasn't armoured, but the point is a much smaller warhead had no trouble penetrating in one side of the ship and all the way out the other. Each of those individual compartments should have acted like spaced armour but a warhead of that size was little bothered by them. Of course the main damage from a missile doesn't come blast damage or armour penetration, but fire. All anti-ship missiles are designed to vent multiple compartments to spread the fires their unused fuel ignites. So even a hit above the belt, penetrating deep into the ship, is going to start raging fires that will be difficult, if not impossible to extinguish.
 
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fitz    The Death of Roma   12/30/2005 9:03:31 AM
"The Roma was hit by the Fritz X type radio controlled bomb (PC-1400X) which when dropped from a height of 6,000 meters was capable of penetrating some 130mm of deck armour." (Roma's deck armour was similar to an Iowa 150mm - ed.) "One bomb struck the starboard side of the Roma between frames 100 and 108, passed through the Pugliese system (the torpedo protection scheme) and exploded under the hull. The Pugliese system was bodily shifted inboard, as the riveted joint at the bottom failed under the stresses to the shell and framing of the hull girder. The after engine room and boiler rooms 7 and 8 flooded rapidly, resulting in the loss of power to the inboard propellers. The large infusion of salt water in a short period of time and the rupture of the electric cables cause much arcing. This caused severe fires in the after section of the ship. The Roma soon fell out of formation, paralized by the sudden loss of power and the massive flooding." "Around 1602 (the first bomb hit about 5 minutes earlier - ed.) a second bomb struck the Roma between frames 123 and 136 slightly to starboard. The bomb continued into the ship, probably exploding in the forward engine room, causing additional fires and flooding the magazines for number 2 main battery turret and the forward 152mm turret on the port side. The explosion of this bomb caused massive flooding and excessive strain on an already weakened hull girder. The number 2 381mm turret was blown overboard by the violent explosion of its magazine a few seconds later." There was extreme flooding forward, and the forward bridge/command tower tilted to starboard and forward. The ship also began to heel to the starboard side and finally capsized, breaking in two parts. Of the total of 1,849 officers and men on bboard, only 596 survived." From Battleships - Axis and Nuetral Battleships in WWII by Garzke and Dulin. The entire action was photographed, from the air and from the sea. It clearly shows the weapons entering the ships from the side, not straight down through the deck. This is consistant with the launch profile of FX1400, which was generally released some 3km from the target and would have approached in a shallow dive. Italia was hit at the waterline on the port side.
 
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fitz    Belgrano   12/30/2005 9:07:37 AM
The Belgrano was dispatched by a submarine for a couple of reasons. 1. It was convenient. The sub was already tracking her but might lose her if they delayed. 2. There were doubts at the time that Exocet could deal with a target like Belgrano, probably highlighted by the fact that few ships carried Exocet at the time and the ones that did carried just 4. 3. It was believed at the time that Belgrano carried Exocet herself. Her 2 escorts almost certainly did, which would do nothing to even the score in a surface engagement. The effect of a few Exocet's an an armoured 10,000 ton ship might be open to question in 1982. The effect of an Exocet hit on a 2,500 ton frigate 8,000 miles from home was not.
 
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AlbanyRifles    RE:USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust   12/30/2005 9:24:16 AM
They are anachronisms whose time are long past. They take up too many men, their shells and powder charges are too old, their fire control is mechanical computer based and their is no one left on active duty who knows how to do the gunnery. The Navy had to pull a bunch of retired warrant gunners back to active duty in the 1980s to get them commissioned. They belong as museums. The battleship has as much place in the fleet today as the horse does in the cavalry.
 
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jblange    RE:USS Iowa and the USS Wisconsin bite the dust   12/30/2005 11:33:51 AM
All the messages on this topic are accurate with regard to having the Iowas as a part of the carrier fleets. However the argument that hasn't been made, but was referenced in a followup article on the CNN website. Apparently the people that really want the BBs around are the Marines. The battleship is a much better platform for supporting an amphibious landing, with the capability of placing more explosive weight in a shorter period of time on a landing zone then our carrier aircraft can. Additionally, they can do it with less risk to personnel. I don't know how many more amphib landings we will make, or if the cost of these ships is worth it, but it should be part of the discussion as to whether a couple of these ships could be part of the amphibious fleets.
 
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