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Thread: Are battleships obsolete?

  1. #1
    Senior Contributor Canmoore's Avatar
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    Are battleships obsolete?

    I dont know much about ships or naval warfare, but i have read alot of articles and watched programs that say that Battleships are reduced to floating heaps of scrap metal. Because Aircraft can do the same job that a Battleship could, a hell of alot better.

    Back before modern aircraft, Battleships could pound coastal defences, and take out other large naval targets. However now, Aircraft can, and do that job.

    Can anyone confirm this? or give me a lesson in naval warfare and why Battleships are not obsolete?

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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canmoore
    I dont know much about ships or naval warfare, but i have read alot of articles and watched programs that say that Battleships are reduced to floating heaps of scrap metal. Because Aircraft can do the same job that a Battleship could, a hell of alot better.

    Back before modern aircraft, Battleships could pound coastal defences, and take out other large naval targets. However now, Aircraft can, and do that job.

    Can anyone confirm this? or give me a lesson in naval warfare and why Battleships are not obsolete?
    Well, for starters nothing can match their armor and survivability even today 63 years after the Iowa's were built.

    *You cannot shoot down a "dumb" 2700 lb. AP shell with any missle created thus far so in that case destruction is eminent upon its target.

    * Their shells are far cheaper then any other missle /bomb fired at your enemies and are accurate (New Jersey) to approx. 23 nautical miles out keeping it offshore.

    *They were designed to have newer more integrated systems adapted if need be later in their life span and have had such integrations in the past.

    * The are on station in all weather conditions regardless.

    * They can refuel/resupply and pending the severity of damage incurred by their escorts repair them while underway.

    * They are the most stationary weapons platforms afloat even by today's standards they are designed for all ocean sailing (Atlantic, Pacific etc.)

    *Bottom line they are already paid for three times over so why waste the support they bring to the table when their effects can be felt after a brief 6 month work up.

    Hows that for starters.
    http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/u.../bb/bb61cl.htm
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 27 Jun 06, at 16:42.

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    Senior Contributor Canmoore's Avatar
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    ok thanks! great info

    so...do you think that after these ships are passed there lives, and can no longer operate that they will be replaced with new built Battleships? or once these bruisers are gone, the Battleship will share the same fate as the Dinosaurs, only found in museums?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canmoore
    ok thanks! great info

    so...do you think that after these ships are passed there lives, and can no longer operate that they will be replaced with new built Battleships? or once these bruisers are gone, the Battleship will share the same fate as the Dinosaurs, only found in museums?
    I have been a battleship fan since grade school and I would like nothing better than to see them return to service.

    But it won't happen.

    As far as the aviation-centric USN is concerned, they are too expensive to operate, particularly from a manpower POV, they are too "difficult" to obtain trained crewmen for (the engine rooms and the 16-inch turrets), they are seen as not having enough multi-role capability and most damningly, they would take away dollars from aviation.

    The arguments that I just mentioned have been debated ad nauseam, both here and just about anywhere naval affairs are discussed.

    Probably the only certainty regarding the future of the battleships is that the ones that are still in existance will be probably remain so, as long as there are funds to pay for their upkeep.

  5. #5
    Distant Deeps or Skies Senior Contributor HistoricalDavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought
    and are accurate (New Jersey) to approx. 23 nautical miles out keeping it offshore.
    http://navysite.de/launcher/searam_2.jpg

    Until GPS-guided shells come in, this remains my big trouble with the BBs.

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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HistoricalDavid
    http://navysite.de/launcher/searam_2.jpg

    Until GPS-guided shells come in, this remains my big trouble with the BBs.
    Agreed, They would need upgrades during refit but are certainly worthy of it as well. Lets not forget they havent been upgraded in approx 15 years now with few small exceptions.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 27 Jun 06, at 17:55.

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    Patron Sea Toby's Avatar
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    In my opinion battleships are as obsolete as heavy cruisers and light cruisers. Modern technology, yes missiles, have much more accuracy and range. I would rather have five guided missile destroyers than waste that amount of crew on one battleship.

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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Toby
    In my opinion battleships are as obsolete as heavy cruisers and light cruisers. Modern technology, yes missiles, have much more accuracy and range. I would rather have five guided missile destroyers than waste that amount of crew on one battleship.
    Why would you say that when the "Blueridge" class (LCC-19/LCC-20)) has almost 3000 sailors combined onboard and absolutly zero defences with the exception of a few Phalanx mounted and BOTH are still in service. The manpower argument no longer stands for manning the battleships when they can man those "freighters" with no complaints.

    If we can waste that many sailors on Blue ridge and Mount Whitney then im sure they can muster the men to man the Iowas.

    On a lighter note those guided missle destroyers cant match the firepower, Steam the distance, Sit through any major storms, Survive a strike nor support any force that it is sent with a fraction as well as an Iowa class can with ease. Nor render repair, refuel & recon assistance to the fleet or ground based troops. And still present its powerful image in any port on the globe.

    Last point your five guided missle destroyers would probably pay for three of them to be placed back in service although only two would be needed and as stated above could be manned without dismay.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 27 Jun 06, at 19:14.

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    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    If you look at the picture under my screen name on the left, that is yours truly aboard the New Jersey returning from one of her gunnery trials.

    Yes, there are some ways I would build a Battleship a little better (no rivets for example and multiple layers of armor vs. thick walls as another). But their versatility even with their old design concept cannot be matched by any other warship. With the CIWS guns and a consort Cruiser with Sea Sparrows even an aircraft carrier would think twice about trying to take one out.

    At one time, we were tasked to study a design concept to add Sea Sparrow or BPDMS to the Iowa's but it would have taken out at least two more 5-inch guns PLUS their port and starboard directors. This study was prompted because the Navy decided not to reactivate and modernize the Salem and Des Moines that would have replaced the after turret with a helo deck, helo hangar and added BPDMS above as BB consorts.

    Those of you who live near the USS Salem memorial can ask the curators there if they would allow you to view the original profile arrangement drawings I sent them showing the helo and missile facilities.

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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship
    If you look at the picture under my screen name on the left, that is yours truly aboard the New Jersey returning from one of her gunnery trials.

    Yes, there are some ways I would build a Battleship a little better (no rivets for example and multiple layers of armor vs. thick walls as another). But their versatility even with their old design concept cannot be matched by any other warship. With the CIWS guns and a consort Cruiser with Sea Sparrows even an aircraft carrier would think twice about trying to take one out.

    At one time, we were tasked to study a design concept to add Sea Sparrow or BPDMS to the Iowa's but it would have taken out at least two more 5-inch guns PLUS their port and starboard directors. This study was prompted because the Navy decided not to reactivate and modernize the Salem and Des Moines that would have replaced the after turret with a helo deck, helo hangar and added BPDMS above as BB consorts.

    Those of you who live near the USS Salem memorial can ask the curators there if they would allow you to view the original profile arrangement drawings I sent them showing the helo and missile facilities.
    Thanks Mr. L I see the DesMoines in its original configuration on a regular basis.

  11. #11
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RustyBattleship
    If you look at the picture under my screen name on the left, that is yours truly aboard the New Jersey returning from one of her gunnery trials.

    Yes, there are some ways I would build a Battleship a little better (no rivets for example and multiple layers of armor vs. thick walls as another). But their versatility even with their old design concept cannot be matched by any other warship. With the CIWS guns and a consort Cruiser with Sea Sparrows even an aircraft carrier would think twice about trying to take one out.

    At one time, we were tasked to study a design concept to add Sea Sparrow or BPDMS to the Iowa's but it would have taken out at least two more 5-inch guns PLUS their port and starboard directors. This study was prompted because the Navy decided not to reactivate and modernize the Salem and Des Moines that would have replaced the after turret with a helo deck, helo hangar and added BPDMS above as BB consorts.

    Those of you who live near the USS Salem memorial can ask the curators there if they would allow you to view the original profile arrangement drawings I sent them showing the helo and missile facilities.
    Mr. L if you choose to visit the Big "J" let me know and Ill meet you/walk with you I'm sure can provide valuable insight as im onboard on a weekly basis. Thanks

  12. #12
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canmoore
    I dont know much about ships or naval warfare, but i have read alot of articles and watched programs that say that Battleships are reduced to floating heaps of scrap metal. Because Aircraft can do the same job that a Battleship could, a hell of alot better.

    Back before modern aircraft, Battleships could pound coastal defences, and take out other large naval targets. However now, Aircraft can, and do that job.

    Can anyone confirm this? or give me a lesson in naval warfare and why Battleships are not obsolete?

    I think the Navy decided the answer around 1942 when they slowed work on the last 2 Iowa class ships and eventually cancelled them and the follow on designs.

    They are big and pretty but OBE.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

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    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought
    Mr. L if you choose to visit the Big "J" let me know and Ill meet you/walk with you I'm sure can provide valuable insight as im onboard on a weekly basis. Thanks
    Your first name isn't Max is it? If so, have you laminated and displayed those 11X17 drawings I did for you on the ammo arrangements of turret II?

  14. #14
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought
    Why would you say that when the "Blueridge" class (LCC-19/LCC-20)) has almost 3000 sailors combined onboard and absolutly zero defences with the exception of a few Phalanx mounted and BOTH are still in service. The manpower argument no longer stands for manning the battleships when they can man those "freighters" with no complaints.

    If we can waste that many sailors on Blue ridge and Mount Whitney then im sure they can muster the men to man the Iowas.
    ROFLMAO. I'll take the C4I capabilties of the Blue Ridge over the firepower of ALL the Iowas any day.

    The 1500 people on Blue Ridge is only when she is stood up as a Joint Theater Command Ship. And that includes members of every branch, not just the Navy.

    As a Fleet Command Ship, she normally carries about 850.


    On a lighter note those guided missle destroyers cant match the firepower, Steam the distance, Sit through any major storms, Survive a strike nor support any force that it is sent with a fraction as well as an Iowa class can with ease. Nor render repair, refuel & recon assistance to the fleet or ground based troops. And still present its powerful image in any port on the globe.
    The DDs may not be able to do the R3 you mentioned but they can strike further, and conduct AAW, ASW, ASuW and the last group of Burkes can do limited MCM. 1 ship with the crew of about 1 turret on an Iowa. I'll take the Burke.

    What recon assets do the Iowas have that no other ship in the fleet has?
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  15. #15
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    I don't know if it would be worth re-activating the BBs as is, given that the USN has no real rivals on the High Seas to speak of so their fleet action role is not needed, however their massive NGFS capability could still prove useful. Ultimately I think the USN and pretty much every other Navy needs to start thinking about bringing in bigger guns for this role, albeit not 400mm ones.

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