View Full Version : WW2 battleship vs battleship battles


YNCS
Jun 17, 2006, 12:39 AM
While air power was overwhelming in World War II naval battles, there were nine instances of battleship to battleship battles:

* North Sea (9 April 1940). The undergunned German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst engaged the old British battlecruiser Renown in an indecisive action off southern Norway.

* Mers El Kébir (3 July 1940). The old British battleships Resolution and Valiant, with the battlecruiser Hood and some other ships, attacked the French fleet near Oran, Algeria, destroying the old battleship Bretagne, severely damaging her sister Provence, and less seriously damaging the new battleship Dunkerque, while the latter's sister Strasbourg managed to escape unscathed.

* Calabria (9 July 1940). An Italian squadron including the reconstructed old battleships Giulo Cesare and Conte di Cavour was intercepted by a British squadron including the older battleships Warspite, Royal Sovereign and Malaya, resulting in an indecisive but often intense action lasting about 50 minutes.

* Denmark Strait (24 May 1941). In a brief morning encounter in the Denmark Strait (between Iceland and Greenland), the new German battleship Bismarck took several hits while sinking the British battlecruiser Hood and damaging the very new (still had shipyard workers aboard) battleship Prince of Wales. Later that afternoon Bismarck and Prince of Wales briefly clashed again, without ill effects to either.

* North Atlantic (27 May 1941). After a wide-ranging chase across the Atlantic, Bismarck, slowed by several aerial-torpedo hits, was pounded to pieces by the new British battleship King George V and the older Rodney, reducing the German ship to a burning wreck which was finished off by several torpedoes.

* Casablanca (8 November 1942). The new USS Massachusetts exchanged several hundred rounds of heavy shells with the partially completed French Jean Bart, which was tied up to a dock. Jean Bart, which had only half her main guns mounted, was heavily damaged.

* The Second (Naval) Battle of Guadalcanal (14-15 November 1942). In a wild action which began shortly before midnight, a Japanese squadron including the battlecruiser Kirishima engaged the new Washington and South Dakota. The latter suffered considerable damage, while Washington pounded Kirishima so badly (nine 16" hits in the first few minutes) that she had to be scuttled the next day.

* North Cape (26 December 1943). Off the northernmost point of Europe, a British squadron including the new battleship Duke of York encountered the German Scharnhorst, resulting in the latter's sinking after a protracted slugfest.

* Surigao Strait (24-25 October 1944). The old U.S. battleships Mississippi, West Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, California and Pennsylvania (all but the first veterans of Pearl Harbor), supported by numerous smaller warships, ambushed a Japanese force including the old battleships Fuso and Yamashiro, which were annihilated in an action so one-sided that Pennsylvania never got to fire. This was the last time battleships ever fired on each other.

Adler17
Jun 17, 2006, 12:54 AM
Erm, a remark: Bismarck was scuttled.

Adler

privatehudson
Jun 17, 2006, 01:49 AM
She wasn't going anywhere, couldn't fire by then, hadn't hit a single thing* in the entire engagement with her main guns and was about to have three torpedoes slammed into her. I hardly think her being scuttled is that relevant.

*Well that's not true I suppose, she hit lots of water... :mischief:

YNCS
Jun 17, 2006, 06:59 AM
Erm, a remark: Bismarck was scuttled.

Adler
Erm, another remark. Bismarck was also hit by three torpedoes fired from the cruiser Dorsetshire. Two hits were at 1020 and the third at 1036. Bismarck sank at 1039. While scuttling charges went off, the torpedo hits also played a role in her sinking.

Adler17
Jun 17, 2006, 09:07 AM
Well according to new investigations on the wreck by thie "Titanic" director the torpedoes were adjusted too hight. They may have fastened the sinking, but not causing it. The ship was still floatable and was still not in danger to sink. From other damages I did not speak.

Adler

Adler17
Jun 17, 2006, 09:16 AM
From Wikipedia:

The documentary film Expedition: Bismarck (2002), directed by James Cameron, reconstructs the events leading to the sinking of Bismarck. During the programme, one of the issues that James Cameron sets out to investigate is the cause of the sinking of the Bismarck. His findings were there were not enough damage below the waterline of the ship to confirm that she was actually sunk by shells and torpedoes. In fact upon close inspection of the wreckage, it was confirmed that none of the torpedoes or shells penetrated the 2nd layer of the inner hull. Hence the Germans' story of having scuttled their own ship is supported in this light.

Adler

YNCS
Jun 17, 2006, 09:20 AM
It's not a major point. Besides, Alder, I've noticed that you have an anti-British attitude, so I doubt I'll be able to argue the matter with you.

privatehudson
Jun 17, 2006, 10:13 AM
Perhaps its worth finding out how many torpedoes Dorsetshire had before you presume that she couldn't have sunk Bismarck without the scuttling actions. She only fired three because it was obvious to her captain that for whatever reason only three were needed.

And lets face it, its not like Lindemann had any choice in the matter, she was dead in the water, outside of Luftwaffe support range and completely unable to damage anything that was attacking her. Whether it was the torpedoes or the scuttling misses the point, the RN didn't care how she went to Davy Jones' locker, just so long as she went there without taking out another British ship.

Adler17
Jun 17, 2006, 11:34 AM
At first, I do not have an anti British attitude. I do have a similar attitude in some specific questions about history than it is seen (mostly) in Britain (Jutland, sinking of the Bismarck, Dresden).
However you can argue with me very well. However if I am convinced of something it is indeed difficult to change my opinion. Only good arguments which are better than mine can convince me.
Nevertheless it is in the sinking of the Bismarck a point, what was the last cause of sinking.
The HMS Devonshire shot her 4 last torpedoes on the Bismarck of which 3 hit. Indeed there was no other torpedo carrier any more there. After he Bismarck was sunk, the HMS Devonshire claimed to finish her off, while the German sirvivors said, Lindemann scuttled the ship.
There was a long debate who is right and finally Mr. Cameroon dived to the wreck. He found that no shell nor torpedo damaged her so badly causing her to sink. So the scuttling of the ship is much more propable.
PH, you are absolutely right, however you missed here the point, as it was a small discussion what was the reason for the sinking, not more or less.

Adler

YNCS
Jun 17, 2006, 12:17 PM
Adler,

In the Jutland/Skagerrak (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=4109277&postcount=4) thread you wrote:
The German fleet did never fight against the British fleet again. True, but the British did not accept the contest. That’s why you can’t say Jutland was a German victory. Indeed in 1916 alone there were three other attempts to fight again. But the British did not accept but retreated whenever German capital ships appeared. [emphasis added]
Essentially, you accuse the British of cowardice. As I pointed out in post 16 of that thread (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=4121498&postcount=16), on 18 August 1916 the Germans left harbor for the Sunderland Raid and the British, knowing about the raid, left harbor before the Germans. Since you obviously knew enough about the raid to correct me when I attributed the sinking of HMS Falmouth to the wrong U-boat, then it's obvious to me that you knew that the Grand Fleet did not retreat when the High Seas Fleet was at sea. The cowardice you assign to the British I can only ascribe to anti-British prejudice.

privatehudson
Jun 17, 2006, 12:41 PM
I'm not missing your point at all Alder, I have not disputed the scuttling claim in the slightest since I've heard about it before. I just don't see it as a very relevant point due to the reasons I laid out. If Lindemann didn't scuttle her then Devonshire or other RN assets would have sunk her, and it was the RN that blasted her into a scrap, so it is a rather moot point who delievered the final blow so to speak.

Saying she scuttled herself sounds to me too much like trying to imply she was invincible which she very obviously wasn't.

FriendlyFire
Jun 17, 2006, 05:55 PM
* The Second (Naval) Battle of Guadalcanal (14-15 November 1942). In a wild action which began shortly before midnight, a Japanese squadron including the battlecruiser Kirishima engaged the new Washington and South Dakota. The latter suffered considerable damage, while Washington pounded Kirishima so badly (nine 16" hits in the first few minutes) that she had to be scuttled the next day.

All six naval night battles were excellent reads.
The Japanese using older, designs though highly trainned managed to beat the green Americans in many of the engagements.

My fav was the Japanese observing US ships communicating and then copying the recognition code.
They then used it to get close to us ships.

Adler17
Jun 18, 2006, 03:16 AM
At first YNCS I did not know much details about that. Also my sources about that occasion seemed to lead in this direction. However all what was said in this time was, that it nearly came to a battle, and the British fleet returned before meeting Scheer. That was all. Only the thing with the correct Uboat was also given. I only knew all the facts not before you posted the rest, so here I was wrong indeed. Nevertheless the British were avoiding a battle with the Hochseeflotte. At first they did seldomly operate far out of their waters and when they did, I only know the 2nd battle of Helgoland 1917, they indeed retreated after a minor fight with German light cruisers and before the heavy German ships appeared. So the mistake was made that they did it also at the nearly battle of 1916. Or the second German sortie in October 1916, where, although they knew it, the British fleet did not leave the port.
I did not say it was cowardice, that was you. It was a tactical decision by the Admiralty not to risk the fleet any more. They mostly needed every single ship, so they did not risk them. The Germans were also avoiding a battle if it was against the whole Royal Navy, too, as they knew, they could not win a battle against the whole Home Fleet as well. Jutland was in so far, as I said, of both sides not planned, just as fight to weaken the enemy. But that's another point.
PH, perhaps we are both missing the point of eachother. My intention was to say the British were able to cripple the Bismarck but not to sink her. So forcing a ship to be scuttled is indeed a victory. The Bismarck was not invincible as well as any other ship built or ever will be built.

Adler

YNCS
Jun 18, 2006, 07:30 AM
I'm sorry, Adler, I missunderstood.

BTW, I used to live on Alder Lane. Every time I write your screen name, I want to write Alder instead of Adler.

privatehudson
Jun 18, 2006, 11:50 AM
My intention was to say the British were able to cripple the Bismarck but not to sink he

I don't possibly see how you can come to that conclusion since we'll never know if devonshire might have fired more torpedoes into her without Lindemann's actions.

Simon Darkshade
Jun 18, 2006, 12:00 PM
She was utterly mission killed by KGV and Rodney; the rest are little footnotes. The only reason they did not stay on until she was no more was the fuel situation.

The argument has been raised before at other boards and sites, even the Warships Discussions Forum and other excellent sites, and is typically a last resort of Bismarck supporters. Such is life.

Good article. YNCS, summarizes the major capital ship surface engagements most precisely, like the summary over at Warships1.

Air power was definitely the dominant player in the Pacific, but on the Atlantic, and to a slightly lesser extent the Med (Tarranto, Barham, Alexandria being the exceptions), the old girls could still show their quality.

FriendlyFire
Jun 20, 2006, 08:09 AM
I don't possibly see how you can come to that conclusion since we'll never know if devonshire might have fired more torpedoes into her without Lindemann's actions.

That reminds me Who remembers the name of this german ship ?
I recall that the british had fough her to a standstill and she was in a hopeless position. The british halted their relentless attacks and offered the german captain a chance to surrender. He refused so the British literally decimated the German ship and only a few survived her sinking. Those lucky suriviours told how after they had refused to surrender and the British resumed the battle a short time later they attempted to fly their colors (symbol for surrender) But couldnt because the ship was literally a wreck. They spoke of how they literally huddled together helpless as the british tore her apart with no way of surrendering

me = that german caption = :rolleyes:

Cheezy the Wiz
Jun 20, 2006, 09:31 AM
if im not mistken ( though im sure that i am) it is the Pocket Battleship Admiral Graf Spee

Simon Darkshade
Jun 20, 2006, 10:20 AM
No, you are mistaken. She blew her guts out in Montevideo harbour when fooled by an RN ruse into believing capital ships were poised for her outside.

Cheezy the Wiz
Jun 20, 2006, 04:56 PM
ah yes, now i remember. im clueless then

Nobody
Jun 21, 2006, 08:08 PM
I don't know maybe a little thing called ...... The Battle of the River Plate. New Zealands greatest Naval Victory!!!!

tarheelbadger
Jul 17, 2010, 11:26 PM
I know of a 10th BB vs BB: HMS RESOLUTION vs French BB Richelieu 23-25 September 1940 at Dakar Source THE WORLD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BATTLESHIPS by Peter Hore (2005) c Arness Publishing LTD

ZeletDude
Jul 17, 2010, 11:54 PM
You Bumped a 4 Year old thread for.. that?

Link
Jul 18, 2010, 08:39 AM
http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g180/likearock4x4/Thread%20Pics/HolyNecropostingBatman.jpg

vogtmurr
Jul 21, 2010, 12:27 AM
who cares - battleships are cool.
and someone finally corrected this mistake.

MilesGregarius
Jul 21, 2010, 02:27 AM
Didn't both sides have BBs at Matapan?

vogtmurr
Jul 21, 2010, 09:00 AM
I'm not sure but i think this thread is extremely narrowly defined in that battleships had to have engaged battleships. The Italian Vittorio Venento was involved against british cruisers and heavily damaged by torpedo bombers - but it ended up being three italian heavy cruisers that went to the bottom to naval gunfire brom british battleships.

GoodGame
Jul 21, 2010, 11:06 AM
Erm, a remark: Bismarck was scuttled.

Adler

Isn't that just what the German sailors (~100 survivors) side of the story?

I think the British weren't officially convinced that it wasn't due to their action (not sure, just the impression I get from the one summarization that I have read).

EDIT: nevermind, read the rest of the thread.

say1988
Jul 21, 2010, 11:22 AM
I would say that the statement "the British sank the Bismarck" can be considered correct since they were the direct cause of the scuttling. But that it was finished off by torpedoes is incorrect. Not that it matters or makes any difference, though.

ZeletDude
Jul 21, 2010, 07:39 PM
I'm not sure but i think this thread is extremely narrowly defined in that battleships had to have engaged battleships. The Italian Vittorio Venento was involved against british cruisers and heavily damaged by torpedo bombers - but it ended up being three italian heavy cruisers that went to the bottom to naval gunfire brom british battleships.

It does say Battleship VS Battleship battles :mischief:. Not Battleship VS Cruisers :rolleyes:.

vogtmurr
Jul 22, 2010, 12:08 AM
It does say Battleship VS Battleship battles :mischief:. Not Battleship VS Cruisers :rolleyes:.

ha. thanks:D
so have we got em all covered then ?