Author Topic: Bring Back The Battleship ?  (Read 5694 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Bring Back The Battleship ?
« on: May 18, 2017, 19:48:09 »
This is an interesting article about bringing back the 4 remaining WW2 era BB's. The alternative might be to build Kirov type battle cruisers. Something about the 4 old warhorses once again sailing the seas appeals to me.Bring em back Mr Trump.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/could-america-send-its-old-battleships-back-out-war-20708?page=2

Big ships still have some lethality advantages.  For example, bigger ships can carry larger magazines of missiles, which they can use for both offensive and defensive purposes.  Advances in gun technology (such as the 155mm Advanced Gun System to be mounted on the Zumwalt class destroyer) mean that large naval artillery can strike farther and more accurately than ever before.


Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2017, 23:19:13 »
Following the Russian lead? From the same web site:

Russia Is Set to Build 12 New Monster Warships Armed with 200 Missiles Each
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russia-set-build-12-new-monster-warships-armed-200-missiles-16427

and from wikipedia:
The Lider-class destroyer or Project 23560 (Shkval-class destroyer or Project 23560E for export version) is under consideration for construction for the Russian Navy as a nuclear powered combined guided missile destroyer, large antisubmarine warship and guided missile cruiser.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lider-class_destroyer

and ...
Russia is bringing back its 1980s battle cruisers ....emerged that Russia's largest ships are to be fitted with its newest missiles as part of an estimated 20trillion rouble (£245billion) naval overhaul.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3486674/Russia-bringing-1980s-battlecruisers-largest-surface-combat-ships-world-Putin-seeks-bolster-nation-s-military-machine.html#ixzz4hUSdscym

I dont subscribe to Janes anymore, so not sure what the real intel might be on these...The Kirov class are actually early 1970's designs, updated a few times with (i think) 2 ships actually launched in the 70's and 2  in the mid-late 80's. It may be that only 1 is currently in commission and in reasonable working order.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 23:29:23 by Cloud Cover »

Offline Colin P

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 10:21:11 »
You would need to gut the hulls and put in new machinery, that alone will reduce your crew size significantly. I don't think there are any spare barrels left and the USN recently let a contract to dispose of it's stock of 16" shells. Using the hulls you could build an arsenal ship with missiles, AAD and brand new large guns in the 8-14" range and/or electromagnetic guns. The biggest value of the ships is in their armoured hulls which are designed to take far more punishment than modern ships. Most of the top decks would be significantly different and the BB pushers might not like the final result. The current guns are manpower intensive and lot's can go wrong (quite a few BB blew themselves up) hence the reason go for a modern gun, not so large, apparently the Brit 14" were quite good and the maybe a upscaled version of the gun feed from UK Tiger/Lion Class cruisers, which also apparently was quite efficient. With 8-14" you could pack a lot of explosive, rocket and guidance stuff into each shell basically making them short range fast cruise missiles. 

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 10:28:49 »
I can only wish!   I agree, there is still a place for big gun ships.
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Online SeaKingTacco

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 11:05:40 »
I have toured USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor. She is in no condition to be an active warship. Her hull and plant are now nearing 75 years old. I am no naval architect, but the cost of a refit to modern standards would beggar the imagination.

It is time to move on.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 12:04:10 »
Can't be worse than the hulls of some active warships (or recently active). The plant is toast and few people now could run such a beast. The Japs completely gutted a few of their BB's and rebuilt them, cheaper than new even back then. The armour on these ships is actually fairly complex, I believe they have crush tubes in the torpedo belt and composites at certain areas. We could likely not afford to build such a hull, but if you gut it and start fresh on the inside you gain a lot of space for other stuff. Most of the existing superstructure would have to go. You could keep 2 of the main turret shells and gut the guns and mechanisms and then replace one turret with the Electrical gun and some vertical cells.   

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 13:11:37 »
Should national doctrine determine that naval gunfire support is required for amphibious operations, by US Marines and Army formations, then the battleship is a good idea. Especially if someplace like  the Korean theatre 'goes hot'.

Ironically, the Army may be the best advocate for the Navy in this regard :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_naval_gunfire_support_debate
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Online MilEME09

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 13:22:48 »
Given new technologies like the US navy's experimental rail guns, reviving the battleship style ship could be possible, for example a nuclear powered vessel containing 6 rail guns in three turrets, plus cruise missiles could provide a very powerful off shore fire base far inland. The biggest problems are any battleship would be a huge target, and the cost would also be enormous
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Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 15:03:23 »
Given new technologies like the US navy's experimental rail guns, reviving the battleship style ship could be possible, for example a nuclear powered vessel containing 6 rail guns in three turrets, plus cruise missiles could provide a very powerful off shore fire base far inland. The biggest problems are any battleship would be a huge target, and the cost would also be enormous
On the financial front, is the question basically whether it's cheaper to maintain a 21 C monitor fleet, or aviation assets capable of delivering the same NGFS-style (responsive to and integrated with land forces/those forces' needs) support?

Offline Colin P

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 16:02:10 »
Looking at the costs of the Zumlt class, I don't hold out hope that the US could design and build a totally modern BB without breaking a lot of piggy banks. If you decide to do this, survey the hulls, make repairs as required. Gut the innards and all new machinery, then add the new weapons. At least being forced to use the armoured hull and Citadels will keep them constrained from going full stupidity with bright eyed new ideas.   

Offline jmt18325

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 16:09:50 »
You guys sound like the people who are long for the days of new 3 and 4 engine jet liners.  The world and technology has moved on.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 17:06:40 »
Given new technologies like the US navy's experimental rail guns, reviving the battleship style ship could be possible, for example a nuclear powered vessel containing 6 rail guns in three turrets, plus cruise missiles could provide a very powerful off shore fire base far inland. The biggest problems are any battleship would be a huge target, and the cost would also be enormous

Trade you one battleship for 4 x F35s ;)
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Offline Underway

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2017, 18:55:22 »
Yes please.  More big targets for submarines and cruise missiles.  Really help the Chinese out with their area denial anti-ship ballistic missiles.  Smaller, manouverable ships that cost less, have less crew and networked systems will wreck one of those, and they will be cheaper as well.  The CVN's should be enough for the US.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 19:16:33 »
Yes please.  More big targets for submarines and cruise missiles.  Really help the Chinese out with their area denial anti-ship ballistic missiles.  Smaller, manouverable ships that cost less, have less crew and networked systems will wreck one of those, and they will be cheaper as well.  The CVN's should be enough for the US.

I might agree with you to a point but the USN also has the mission to conduct amphibious operations. Having the ability to provide fire support is critical. IMO in most cases frigates and destroyers can do that,but I also see the need for a big gun. If we brought out a couple of Iowa's armed with rail guns in addition to the full range of missiles we might have a short term solution.In short a true Arsenal ship.The theat to surface ships from a land based ballistic missile is overblown,unless it has a nuclear warhead.

Offline jollyjacktar

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 19:44:49 »
The theat to surface ships from a land based ballistic missile is overblown,unless it has a nuclear warhead.

Nevertheless, I still would be a tad nervous about facing any missile threats as I'm not 100% confident in the CIWS always getting anything thrown at me.  Throw enough crap, some may stick.
I'm just like the CAF, I seem to have retention issues.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2017, 21:34:58 »
Yes please.  More big targets for submarines and cruise missiles.  Really help the Chinese out with their area denial anti-ship ballistic missiles.  Smaller, manouverable ships that cost less, have less crew and networked systems will wreck one of those, and they will be cheaper as well.  The CVN's should be enough for the US.

An aircraft carrier is at least twice as large as a battleship And any battleship would likely not be deployed outside of air cover.

I think ....
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline NavyShooter

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2017, 08:58:23 »
Battleships provide big guns, and big armour.

Please explain why we need these in the modern sea battle environment?

Armour is defeated with a bigger warhead, and arguably, the bigger warheads are already out there.

Bigger guns?  Railguns/cruise-missiles fill that role quite nicely.

Battleships are huge, magnificent, and incredibly complex war machines.  The idea of having to raise the deck of the heads up from the armoured citadel so that there's space for the plumbing below it without penetrating the armour was something I'd never considered until I saw it in person. 

Could the old battleships be re-activated and brought back?  Yup.  At a huge cost.

Could new battleships be built?  Yup.  At an equally huge cost.

Why would we do it?  To be honest, I do not know.  I do not see what capability they really bring to the battlespace that doesn't exist within another class of ship already, with the exception of armour.
Insert disclaimer statement here....

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2017, 12:20:43 »
Why would we do it?  To be honest, I do not know.  I do not see what capability they really bring to the battlespace that doesn't exist within another class of ship already, with the exception of armour.

Because it's YUGE!!!!
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Offline Eaglelord17

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2017, 15:08:51 »
I have had the pleasure of being on the Wisconsin. It was still configured as it was in the Gulf War. It actually had a excellent showing of itself in that war, and the advantages that can come from a big ship like that (definitely worth a quick read through).

The costs involved in bringing up to speed and using one would be immense. I wouldn't necessarily say they are obsolete or unnecessary just that they are likely to expensive to be worth the cost. We have heard that argument for tanks (i.e. a LAV is more than sufficient) planes (i.e. missiles would make them obsolete, this was a 50s/60s argument and part of what cost us the Avro Arrow), and the .50 cal yet there is still a role and need for those items. For some of those items it took a real shooting war for us to see the value of them again.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2017, 10:42:20 »
Nevertheless, I still would be a tad nervous about facing any missile threats as I'm not 100% confident in the CIWS always getting anything thrown at me.  Throw enough crap, some may stick.

Keep in mind these ships were expected to be hit by shells weighing 2700lbs and survive and fight back, with modern self-defense systems, that becomes a serious target and would take a lot of resources to combat, not to mention they would not be alone, toss in a sub, Arleigh Burke and a few others, you have a potent force. The WWII Iowas could reach out to 32km, likely with modern guns they could throw out smaller but equally lethal shells to twice that distance and do it for days on end, before they would have to leave the theatre to resupply.
 

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2017, 11:43:57 »
Keep in mind these ships were expected to be hit by shells weighing 2700lbs and survive and fight back, with modern self-defense systems, that becomes a serious target and would take a lot of resources to combat, not to mention they would not be alone, toss in a sub, Arleigh Burke and a few others, you have a potent force. The WWII Iowas could reach out to 32km, likely with modern guns they could throw out smaller but equally lethal shells to twice that distance and do it for days on end, before they would have to leave the theatre to resupply.
 

And AFAIK that was their main purpose in supporting amphibious landings: providing sea based artillery support, in enough depth 24/7 in all weather, to protect the bridgehead forces while artillery could be transferred from ship to shore in enough quantities to take over.

I met a guy who was in 1st Abn Div at D Day that loved battleships. They were their salvation during the tough fights to stem the German counterattacks over the Orne etc. And this during a campaign where the Allies had pretty much complete air supremacy.

However, if we see ourselves never having to do those kind of operations again, you probably don't need battleships.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Colin P

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2017, 12:58:17 »
It was more the BB was to dominate the sea, allowing for such operations and commerce to take place, they found their secondary niche in Long range Shore bombardment when coupled with radios and spotting aircraft. Some people speculate that the UK would have failed to re-take the Falklands via Port Stanley had the Argentinians brought the Belgarno over early and secured her in the harbour to provide fire support.

Offline NavyShooter

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2017, 15:27:41 »
I've been onboard the Texas, the Missouri, the Wisconsin, the New Jersey, and the North Carolina.

Amazing ships.  Amazing construction, and incredible firepower. 

But.

As proven by the Belgrano in 1982, just a target to modern submarines from well beyond the horizon.

As proven by Billy Mitchell in Project B in 1921, the necessity of air-cover is critical.  With modern over the horizon missiles, the aircraft wouldn't even need to get close. 

The age of the battleship was really the First World War, and the failure of the main fleets to fully engage in Jutland was, truly, the last time that lines of battle would face off in that fashion.  Yes, there's Guadalcanal, Savo Island, etc, but the reality is, Jutland was the apex, and after that, battleships were on the descendant, while aircraft carriers have been on the ascendant.

What has changed today that would bring rise to the battleships again?  Add more armour....which can simply be battered by more explosives.  Look at the Yamato.  Put all the torpedos into one side and roll it over.

Survivability in a modern battlefield at sea is not linked to armour, but sensors to find the enemy before they threaten you, and weapons able to engage that enemy once found. 

Putting a ship back to sea with a fuk-ton of armour is not the solution on today's battlefield.  Besides, what would we have to pay Irving to build it?  First we'd have to create our own Bethlehem Steel plant in Dartmouth from scratch....and then barge the plates of armour over to their shipyard (which they'd have to expand again) to weld together into a ship. 

Nope, can't see it.  Battleships were done in 1921.  After that, they were mostly targets, or shore bombardment units.

We'd be better off putting a bunch of "Rods from God" in space than floating a battlewagon:

http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2004-06/

Space-based KEW's...basically a 'smart' crow-bar dropped from orbit with a guidance package.  Put enough of 'em up there and we'd be able to drop on demand in 15 minutes anywhere in the world.  Including through a battleship's armour.

NS
Insert disclaimer statement here....

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Offline Colin P

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2017, 15:36:21 »
As I recall the torpedo 21 inch Mark VIII is a updated 1925 design https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_21_inch_torpedo#21_inch_Mark_VIII

So Old tech, met old tech and old tech won (and lost).

From wiki:
One of the torpedoes struck 10 to 15 metres (33 to 49 ft) aft of the bow, outside the area protected by either the ship's side armour or the internal anti-torpedo bulge. This blew off the ship's bow, but the internal torpedo bulkheads held and the forward powder magazine for the 40 mm gun did not detonate. It is believed that none of the ship's company were in that part of the ship at the time of the explosion.[17]

The second torpedo struck about three-quarters of the way along the ship, just outside the rear limit of the side armour plating. The torpedo punched through the side of the ship before exploding in the aft machine room. The explosion tore upward through two messes and a relaxation area called "the Soda Fountain" before finally ripping a 20-metre-long hole in the main deck. Later reports put the number of deaths in the area around the explosion at 275 men. After the explosion, the ship rapidly filled with smoke.[18] The explosion also damaged General Belgrano's electrical power system, preventing her from putting out a radio distress call.[19] Though the forward bulkheads held, water was rushing in through the hole created by the second torpedo and could not be pumped out because of the electrical power failure.[20] In addition, although the ship should have been "at action stations", she was sailing with the water-tight doors open.

The ship began to list to port and to sink towards the bow. Twenty minutes after the attack, at 16:24, Captain Bonzo ordered the crew to abandon ship. Inflatable life rafts were deployed, and the evacuation began without panic.[21]

The two escort ships were unaware of what was happening to General Belgrano, as they were out of touch with her in the gloom and had not seen the distress rockets or lamp signals.[19] Adding to the confusion, the crew of Bouchard felt an impact that was possibly the third torpedo striking at the end of its run (an examination of the ship later showed an impact mark consistent with a torpedo). The two ships continued on their course westward and began dropping depth charges. By the time the ships realised that something had happened to General Belgrano, it was already dark and the weather had worsened, scattering the life rafts.[19]

Argentine and Chilean ships rescued 772 men in all from 3 to 5 May. In total, 323 were killed in the attack: 321 members of the crew and two civilians who were on board at the time.[


So the the real failure here is training, command and judgement. Had the General Belgrano been stationed in the harbour with some ASW defenses, she would have been untouchable and could stopped the Brit advance with her guns and prevented a successfully counter invasion. New tech or old tech, piss poor planning, lack of competent leadership will get you killed.

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Bring Back The Battleship ?
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2017, 08:40:20 »
As proven by the Belgrano in 1982, just a target to modern submarines from well beyond the horizon.

As proven by Billy Mitchell in Project B in 1921, the necessity of air-cover is critical.  With modern over the horizon missiles, the aircraft wouldn't even need to get close. 

Just a bit of nit picking here but the ARA General Belgrano was a WW2 era Brooklyn-Class Light Cruiser, manned by a conscript Navy and sunk at 37 years old.  She had no where near the capabilities of a BB. As well she was unescorted/unprotected and outside the "Total Exclusion Zone" when she was attacked an sunk. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARA_General_Belgranote

The Billy Mitchell lead Project B wasn't as conclusive as Billy would have liked it to be.  These Pre-dreadnaught and WW1 era BBs were unmanned, stationary targets who didn't/couldn't fight back, and they were alone.  If there was ever a set of criteria that will ensure the wished outcomes, this was it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Mitchell#Project_B:_Anti-ship_bombing_demonstration
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 08:46:19 by Halifax Tar »
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