December 22, 2013

Yamato vs Iowa: The Best Laid Plans

Last night, I sat down to create a post detailing the outcome of a fight between an Yamato-class battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy and an Iowa-class battleship from the US Navy.  Hardly new ground, this, but it would have been a first for The Pond.  Except there was a teeny tiny little problem.


After doing research, racking my brain, and a lot of staring at the ceiling, I simply could not come up with a way that the Yamato had a legitimate chance to win, short of stupidly restrictive rules.  Limiting the area of combat to 20 miles or whatever, for example.  Without doing that, there just doesn't seem to be a way that the Iowa could lose, save for luck.

The Japanese ship's main (only?) advantage is her 18.1" guns' longer range.  The Type 94 had a range of 26 miles, while the American 16"/50 Mk 7 could throw a shell (essentially) 24 miles.  Penetration ability for the two was found to be roughly the same.  But at all ranges, the US gun was more accurate.

So unless the Yamato could put an unlikely round on target in that two mile stretch where the Iowa couldn't respond, almost everything pointed toward the technically smaller ship's advantage.  She was faster by at least six knots, her armor layout was better, the fire control was much better, even the secondary battery would better.  Other than sheer size and an amazing amount of built-in buoyancy (a Yamato-class ship was designed to have every compartment outside of her armored box area ["A" turret to "X" turret"] flooded and still float), the Japanese ship had one other thing going her way: the only impenetrable armor ever put to sea.

The armor on the front of the three main gun turrets on the Yamato was 26" thick, sloped at 45°.  In US Navy testing after the war, this armor could be penetrated only when an Iowa's gun was placed at 0° inclination to the armor plate, and at a range of zero yards... in other words, a completely unrealistic situation in battle.  In any likely combat situation, there was no way to punch through the armor on the front of a Yamato's main turret.

So, one advantage, I suppose, but not one to hang a battle on.  The only way the chances of victory for the Japanese begins to become realistic is if they can close the range, so to counteract the huge fire control advantage the American ship has.  If that happened, then you're looking at a coinflip, maybe even a Japanese advantage as their superior weight of broadside plummets down.  But with their six knot speed advantage, the Americans can decide the range and keep it there.

So, good idea for a post, but it kinda doesn't work.  It happens.  A better battle might be Yamato vs South Dakota, since a SoDak is, for all intents and purposes, a slower Iowa.  Maybe in the future.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:17 AM | Comments (19) | Add Comment
Post contains 495 words, total size 4 kb.

December 07, 2013

Mystery Ship XXVI: Not Much Of A Mystery

No prize for this one, not today (it's not much of a mystery, after all)... but here's the Mystery Ship for y'all!

Brickmuppet, this one's for you.  Why am I showing this Coastie as a mystery ship?  What's so important? 

Remember folks, no cheating!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:41 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 52 words, total size 1 kb.

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