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Thread: How necessary were BB's in WWII?

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    In Memoriam/Battleship Enthusiast Defense Professional USSWisconsin's Avatar
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    How necessary were BB's in WWII?

    Would the US have been able to achieve the same results without battleships in WWII? Suppose the new WWII battleships weren't built and the old ones weren't refitted or repaired after Pearl Harbor, these resources went to heavy cruisers and carriers instead, with some big British type monitors built to use those older guns for shore bombardment. What effect would this have had on the outcome in the Pacific? What do you think?
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    Senior Contributor BenRoethig's Avatar
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    Leyte might have been lost.
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    Would not have had the AA firepower to defend the landing forces and carriers.
    With the number of battleships that were available, shore bombardment would not have been as effective with the result of more causalities and a possibility of loosing an entire landing force in the Pacific and in Europe.

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    Ask any guy thats ever hit a hot beach. Without the BBs to soften up the defenses, it would have been a much harder, longer fight.

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    But isn't it also true that a lot of the time the Naval artillery was on way too flat a trajectory to efficiently take out the Japanese defenses?
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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post
    Leyte might have been lost.
    How so? Battleships became an escort rather than the main striking force due to the perfection of carrier aviation and tactics. Equal number of fleet carriers instead of battleships at Leyte Gulf would have led to the same result.
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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    How so? Battleships became an escort rather than the main striking force due to the perfection of carrier aviation and tactics. Equal number of fleet carriers instead of battleships at Leyte Gulf would have led to the same result.
    Ah, but Leyte Gulf and battles like Savo Island were fought at night time. Carrier Ops were no good for that since you wouldnt be able to tell Japanese ships from American ships in the pitch dark on moonless nights.

    Its also well known that the CV's or CVE's as history has shown couldnt hold up to Japanese BB guns. And one must remember that the USN as well as all other services had limited resources in ships and planes for some time so send in the ships that were expendable, the BB's included and save the Carrier for major fleet actions such as Midway etc.

    US BB's went on well after WWII to provide the very same service the CV's couldnt do and cheaper at that. The right tool for the right job and BB's actions in most cases were also not dependant on weather as aerial operations were.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 21 Jul 10, at 23:45.
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    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    *Now that I think about it, you can tecnically add the Battle of the North Sea to that list as well, and tecnically the Sharnhorst was a battlecruiser.)

    IMO, The Brits could have also finished off Bismark as well at night, instead waiting till first light the next day.
    Last edited by Dreadnought; 23 Jul 10, at 05:38.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnought View Post
    Ah, but Leyte Gulf and battles like Savo Island were fought at night time. Carrier Ops were no good for that since you wouldn't be able to tell Japanese ships from American ships in the pitch dark on moonless nights.

    And how many Battleships took part in the Battle of Salvo Island?

    Both the Battle of Salvo Island (9 Aug 42) and Cape Esperance (11- 12 Oct 42) were Cruiser and Destroyer battles. Didn't have or need BBs for them.

    Surigao Straits saw the DD force inflict the most damage, Not the BB line.

    And the Guadalcanal battle on 14-15 Oct Hiei was damaged by CA/DD then destroyed by aircraft.

    Kirishima is the only ship that was hurt bad by BB fire. Causing her skipper the scuttle her. But not before she hurt the SD.

    The proof that they were not needed, or more precisely that no more were needed was the US canceling the Montana class and the last 2 Iowas. Along with delaying the building of the Mo and Whisky for more important priorities. Essex Carriers

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7thsfsniper View Post
    Ask any guy thats ever hit a hot beach. Without the BBs to soften up the defenses, it would have been a much harder, longer fight.
    Didn't need them after Iwo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by USSWisconsin View Post
    Would the US have been able to achieve the same results without battleships in WWII? Suppose the new WWII battleships weren't built and the old ones weren't refitted or repaired after Pearl Harbor, these resources went to heavy cruisers and carriers instead, with some big British type monitors built to use those older guns for shore bombardment. What effect would this have had on the outcome in the Pacific? What do you think?
    They would have achieved the same results but it was quicker to repair the Pearl BBs. And those ships didn't take up spaces in shipyards that the new builds would have.

    Notice that we did cancel all additional BBs after Midway. Focused on Essex carriers. The "New" WW2 Battleships had all been laid down prior to the US realizing that the era of Battleships was over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigross86 View Post
    But isn't it also true that a lot of the time the Naval artillery was on way too flat a trajectory to efficiently take out the Japanese defenses?
    They did that at Tarawa but learned from that error in future landings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow01 View Post
    They did that at Tarawa but learned from that error in future landings.


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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow01 View Post
    They did that at Tarawa but learned from that error in future landings.
    But how do you fix that? The guns only have a certain elevation they can reach. The only way to fix it that I would see is to have them shoot at really high elevations from 30+ miles away or so. That would give it a plenty steep trajectory.

    IIRC, even the 5-inchers were too flat...?
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    Greater stand off range.

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