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Thread: USS New Jersey in Lebanon Channeling Thread

  1. #16
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    U.S. EVALUATES BATTLE LESSONS IN MIDDLE EAST

    By RICHARD HALLORAN, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); Foreign Desk
    February 25, 1984, Saturday
    Late City Final Edition, Section 1, Page 1, Column 5, 1175 words

    Military officers, starting to assess 18 months of experience in Lebanon, have found that shelling by 16-inch guns on the battleship New Jersey was far less effective than hoped, that a new device for spotting enemy artillery worked well and that the venerable C ration may be a thing...

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    Beyond that, the officers said, were disappointments. At the top of the list were the 16-inch guns of the battleship New Jersey. ''They scared the hell out of everybody,'' one officer said, ''but we don't think they hit much of military value.''
    Last edited by Shipwreck; 21 Mar 08, at 11:55.

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    POOR RESULTS IN SHELLING LAID TO OLD AMMUNITION

    By WAYNE BIDDLE (NYT); National Desk
    October 23, 1984, Tuesday
    Late City Final Edition, Section A, Page 15, Column 1, 593 words

    Old ammunition was partly responsible for poor results in the shelling of Lebanon's coast last year by the battleship New Jersey, according to a Navy expert. Comdr. Richard Gano, chief weapons officer of the New Jersey's recently recommissioned sister ship, the Iowa, said no ammunition for the dreadnought's 16-inch ...

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    In the offshore shelling of Syrian antiaircraft positions last December, New Jersey's vintage powder charges produced shell velocities that varied as much as 120 feet-per-second from expected, Commander Gano said, making precise aim nearly impossible. A deviation of only two or three feet-per- second would normally be taken into account, he added. His comments came on a tour of Iowa's weapons as she steamed up the coast from Norfolk, Va., to Manhattan last week.
    Last edited by Shipwreck; 21 Mar 08, at 12:01.

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    LEBANON EXPERIENCES SPUR NAVY TO IMPROVE BATTLESHIP ACCURACY

    By WAYNE BIDDLE, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); National Desk
    June 3, 1985, Monday
    Late City Final Edition, Section A, Page 15, Column 3, 462 words

    As part of an effort to bring its recommissioned World War II battleships into the modern era, the Navy has begun an extensive program to improve the accuracy of their guns. A recent study by the General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress, concluded that although the battleship...

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    A recent study by the General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress, concluded that although the battleship New Jersey accomplished her 1983 mission off Lebanon by silencing the fire of the Syrian-backed forces near Beirut, the accuracy of her 16-inch guns was less than desired. A researcher for the Congressional agency, speaking on condition that he not be identified, said the problem arose largely from the use of powder dating to the Korean War.
    Last edited by Shipwreck; 21 Mar 08, at 12:01.

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    After surveying through the posts, as I look at the 5 requirements for accurate predicted fire, two preconditions appear to not have been met: target location and size due to lack of proper observation (radar can observe desired impact and actual impact, but it doesn't provide BDA in an urban setting), and weapon and ammunition information (due to barrel wear and inconsistent powder). Am I missing something.

    I'm not sure what the original thrust of the Lebanon debate was, whether it was just over accuracy of the fire or whether it was linked to the potential performance of battleships (if so, then it seems as if the apparent poor performance of the predicted can be overcome by UAVs/real life observers and recapitalization - the question of whether it should be I'll leave to Pari's battleship island project).

    1. Target location and size
    2. Firing unit location
    3. Weapon and ammunition information
    4. Meteorological information
    5. Computational procedures
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    I'm not sure what the original thrust of the Lebanon debate was, whether it was just over accuracy of the fire or whether it was linked to the potential performance of battleships
    The debate is (at least) three-folded between :

    1. Those who claim that battleships are intrinsically *effective as an awesome, massive visible show of force where we want to get people's attention and respect" and others who observe that the decision to deploy USS New Jersey wasn't *sound military judgement*, but pure *wishful thinking* (e.g. Powell and Kelly).

    2. Those who claim that USS New Jersey's shooting off Lebanon in 1983-84 was *superb* and others who observe that her gunfire performance greatly suffered from excessive dispersion. The former reflects early statements made by Navy officials (e.g. Admiral Walters), while the latter is based, among others, on the 1985 GAO study (for some reason not available online) and various analyses by NSWC Dahlgren and the crew of USS Iowa.

    3. Those who believe that mastering battleship gunnery is a fairly trivial issue and others who observe that it actually involves a painstaking learning curve. The former claim it's merely a matter of recalling volunteers, - which they contend will be plenty and competent -, while the latter remember it took USS Iowa four years to become to *best shooting battleship ever*.

    Of course, what you'll almost invariably find in the background are the same *eternal* questions : are battleships obsolete ? should the Iowas be reactivated ? etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    After surveying through the posts, as I look at the 5 requirements for accurate predicted fire, two preconditions appear to not have been met: target location and size due to lack of proper observation (radar can observe desired impact and actual impact, but it doesn't provide BDA in an urban setting), and weapon and ammunition information (due to barrel wear and inconsistent powder). Am I missing something.
    I believe you're missing a couple of things :

    1. the 5 prerequisites you've listed pertain only to accurate predicted fire, i.e. the process of producing a reliable fire control solution. Producing a reliable solution is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient one to achieve accuracy.

    2. the poor shooting of USS New Jersey off Lebanon was not just a problem of accuracy, but also a matter of precision (i.e. excessive dispersion). In fact, the actual problem was much more one of precision than accuracy.

    There are 4 types of factors that may influence gunfire quality : material, informational, human and environmental.

    The lack of target data / spotting on the one hand, and the propellant / barrel wear *issue* on the other, have been the culprits ever since the poor gunnery performance of USS New Jersey was officially acknowledged (e.g. in the lessons learned analysis mentioned in the NYT article of Feb. 1984, in the GAO report and in the OSD PA&E report). As usual, this official acknowledgement followed an initial period of active denial (that you may be familiar with), of which we still suffer the consequences today.

    However :

    a) on the accuracy side of the equation, both accurate target data (see posts #5 and #14) and spotting (see post #2) were available.

    b) on the precision side of the equation, neither barrel wear nor propellant deterioration account intrinsically for the excessive dispersion observed (I have already posted some data on that in the past, so it's just a matter of finding where they are).

    I'll post more infos on these later, especially after my trip to CONUS (where I have most of my *stuff*) in a couple of weeks.

    When the problem was given appropriate consideration, it was found (by NSWC and the crew of USS Iowa) that the poor gunnery performance of USS New Jersey could essentially be traced back to human factors.

    On the contrary to a) and b) above, there isn't much in the public domain on the human side of the equation, except some tidbits here and there like the testimony of Robert Lian describing the mess it was on USS New Jersey (see post #1) and an interesting, though esoteric, paragraph in Garzke & Dulin (page 222).
    Last edited by Shipwreck; 20 Mar 08, at 18:44.

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    NAVY CHIEF DISPUTED ON BEIRUT SHELLING

    By RICHARD HALLORAN (NYT); Foreign Desk
    February 15, 1984, Wednesday
    Late City Final Edition, Section A, Page 8, Column 1, 738 words

    The Secretary of the Navy, John F. Lehman Jr., said today that United States naval guns had been firing into Lebanon to support Lebanese forces, but he was immediately contradicted by the chief White House and Pentagon spokesmen. Mr. Lehman, in a meeting with reporters, said: ''There very definitely ...

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    Mr. Lehman provided fresh details on how the New Jersey and other ships were firing at their targets. He said an Army unit equipped with new radar devices and computers at the Beirut airport was able to spot incoming projectiles, to plot their trajectories and to compute the point from which they were fired. The information from the Army's Target Acquisition Battery was then sent to the New Jersey several miles offshore and fed into computers to direct the fire of the ship's 16-inch guns.
    Asked about casualties, Mr. Lehman said that ''we had intelligence reports that there was a Syrian general killed, but we cannot confirm that.'' He said the United States had tried to avoid civilian casualties in picking targets but could not guarantee that.
    He said clouds over Lebanon had prevented aerial reconnaissance. Weather reports from the Beirut region showed that the two days after the firing were cloudy, the third was clear, the next two rainy and the next day clear. Defense Department spokesmen have been unable to say flights went out on clear days.

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    NAVY LIMITS ITS GUNFIRE ON BEIRUT TO RETALIATION

    By RICHARD HALLORAN (NYT); Foreign Desk
    February 27, 1984, Monday
    Late City Final Edition, Section A, Page 8, Column 1, 872 words

    Spokesmen for the Department of Defense said today that, under the rules of engagement governing United States naval gunfire and air strikes in Lebanon, attacks were limited to firing back after hostile fire had been aimed at Americans. But the spokesmen acknowledged that the source of almost any fire ...

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    Other officials have said that shelling in Lebanon from the New Jersey's 16-inch guns, the largest naval artillery in the world, had been ineffective, largely because no spotters had been available on the ground or in the air to direct fire.

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    Barrel Wear

    The Iowa Class Battleships: Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri & Wisconsin by Malcolm Muir :

    Page 123 : Of the 36 [16-inch guns] aboard the battleships, a 1981 survey showed their wear to average 42 percent.

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    Barrel Wear

    United States Battleships, 1935-92 by William Garzke and Robert Dulin (revised edition) :

    Page 139 : During her Vietnam service, the battleship [USS New Jersey] fired some 6,222 rounds of 16-inch ammunition, both full and reduced charges at both low and high rates of fire. Despite this unprecedented firing for such heavy guns, it was calculated that approximately 55 percent of the barrel life remained, eloquent testimony indeed to the effectiveness of the [Swedish] additive in reducing bore wear

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    Sample shots from main battery of USS New Jersey in Vietnam

    Source is CINCPACFLT Analysis Staff Study 3-69 entitled "Main battery missions of the USS New Jersey (BB-62) and two 8" cruisers between September 1968 and February 1969" (31 July 1969) :

    4 Dec. 1968 : 5 salvos from Center Gun, Turret #1

    * Target Range : 29,900 yards
    * Std Dev IV : 31.2 fps
    * Delta IV (Max vs. Min) : 76 fps
    * Shell-to-shell range dispersion (average) : 571 yards
    * Shell-to-shell range dispersion (max.) : 1,391 yards
    24 Dec. 1968 : 17 salvos from Right Gun, Turret #3

    * Target Range : 35,000 yards
    * Std Dev IV : 29.2 fps
    * Delta IV (Max vs. Min) : 111 fps
    * Shell-to-shell range dispersion (average) : 642 yards
    * Shell-to-shell range dispersion (max.) : 2,442 yards
    24 Dec. 1968 : 6 salvos from Right Gun, Turret #3

    * Target Range : 35,600 yards
    * Std Dev IV : 31.8 fps
    * Delta IV (Max vs. Min) : 86 fps
    * Shell-to-shell range dispersion (average) : 719 yards
    * Shell-to-shell range dispersion (max.) : 1,943 yards
    27 Dec. 1968 : 17 salvos from Center Gun, Turret #1

    * Target Range : 29,900 yards
    * Std Dev IV : 29.4 fps
    * Delta IV (Max vs. Min) : 89 fps
    * Shell-to-shell range dispersion (average) : 538 yards
    * Shell-to-shell range dispersion (max.) : 1,629 yards
    IV = Initial Velocity

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    THE NAVAL INSTITUTE GUIDE TO WORLD NAVAL WEAPONS SYSTEMS by Norman Friedman :

    page 285 : When the [16-inch] guns were brought back into service, there were initial problems with powder, i.e. with the consistency of fire on a round-to-round basis. The problem is reflected in variations in muzzle velocity. Powder of the WW2 era was expected to produce a variation of no more than plus or minus 10 ft/sec; service figures were plus or minus 5 ft/sec. During the Korean War, typical figures were plus or minus 14 ft/sec, and during operations off Lebanon, this deteriorated to plus or minus 32 ft/sec. The reworking program restores the powder to the original standard of plus or minus 10 ft/sec. Existing powder supplies were reblended during 1986 to improve the gun's accuracy.
    Last edited by Shipwreck; 23 Mar 08, at 19:44.

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    Iowa Class Battleships: Their Design, Weapons and Equipment by Robert Sumrall :

    Page 79 : The deterioration affects the muzzle velocity of the projectile, producing erratic range and dispersion of the shot. For example, when the D839 was first produced in the 1940s, the original acceptance standards were +/- 10 ft/sec deviation in initial velocity. The actual variation was less than +/- 5ft/sec with the 2,700-pound projectile. During the Korean War, it was about +/- 14 ft/sec with the 1,900-pound projectile. The New Jersey's Vietnam deployment recorded about +/- 23 ft/sec with the 1,900-pound shell and on station off of Lebanon during 1984, it was about +/- 32 ft/sec using the 1,900-pound shell.

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    United States Battleships, 1935-92 by William Garzke and Robert Dulin (revised edition) :

    Page 247 : The necessity for reliable propellant performance becomes obvious with 'bad lot' velocity variations of 32 fps (1 sigma), as compared with 'good lot' variations of less than 5 fps, although specifications permits up to 1 sigma.

    Footnote : Sigma, a statistical concept, measures the likelihood of varying values being encountered, relative to their overall average. One sigma means 68.27 percent of all outcomes will be encountered within that range, plus or minus, from an average. In this case, 68.27 percent of all shots will occur within 32 fps, plus or minus, of the nominal muzzle velocity. Two sigma, whatever the value, defines the range of velocities accounting for 95.5 percent of all shots

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    On 8 February 1984, ranges for the 16-inch gunfire missions were comprised between 18,000 and 35,000 yards.

    At 18,000 yards, with the 1,900-lb HC, a standard deviation of 32 fps in IV produces an average pattern size of ~1,080 yards for an 8-gun salvo.

    At 35,000 yards, with the 1,900-lb HC, a standard deviation of 32 fps in IV produces an average pattern size of ~2,100 yards for an 8-gun salvo.
    Last edited by Shipwreck; 23 Mar 08, at 19:55.

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    Dear Shipwreck

    I have read both the Iowa thread and this thread. Can you summarize the primary points of discussion (pros and cons if possible) as I am completely lost after reading everything over the last weeks. Many thanks.

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