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USS Iowa vs. IJN Yamato: Which would win?

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by robycop3, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    Imagine this WW2 scenario: the IJN Yamato was closing in on a USN task force escorted by the battleship Iowa. Their escorts all engaged one another, so that left the Iowa & Yamato to engage each other. They moved away from the other ships to have maneuvering room, so, let the battle begin.

    A look at each ship:
    Armor:
    The Yamato was the heavier ship, 65000 tons displacement to the Iowa's 45,000. She was also more-heavily-armored than the Iowa, but that made her top-heavy. But the Iowa's "vitals" were better-protected. Still, the Yamato has a slight armor advantage.

    Guns:
    The Yamato had nine 18" guns on 3 turrets of 3 guns each. She could fire a 3200-lb. shell a max of 26 miles, while Iowa's nine 16" guns, also mounted on 3 turrets of 3 guns each, which fired a 2400 lb. shell a max of 24 miles. However, hitting a moving ship from a moving ship at extreme ranges was a matter of luck!
    The Yamato's guns had accuracy issues which the IJN kept secret, while the Iowa's guns are of the highest quality & quite-accurate. Despite the Yamato's bigger shells & greater range, this makes them even in big guns alone.

    Fire Control:
    This is perhaps the Iowa's biggest advantage. She had radar ranging & aiming, while Yamato had only regular radar. Despite Japan's excellent optics, visible aiming is easily obscured by smoke or weather, while radar is not. Furthermore, the Iowa had a CIC (Combat Info Center) that included an early computer, which helped her crew aim & calculate the amount of gunpowder needed for a particular range. Also, the Iowa could fire more rounds faster than the Yamato.
    The biggest shell on earth is of no use if it isn't ACCURATE! Large advantage: Iowa !

    Damage Control:
    The USN's crews were meticulously trained in damage control for their particular ship & were familiar with the quirks & nuances of that ship. The Japanese did not thoroughly train their crews in damage control, & more than one of their ships that could've survived was lost due to poor damage control.
    When the Yamato was attacked by USN carrier planes & damaged, her crew resorted to counterflooding, slowing her down, reducing her maneuverability, & making her more vulnerable to subsequent attacks. This would doubtlessly have been the case in our imaginary scenario, while the Iowa would likely have been able to still fight effectively.
    Advantage: Iowa

    Speed/Maneuverability:
    The Iowa was six knots faster, a HUGE advantage in closing distance or escaping as needed. And the Yamato's top-heavy 65 K tons made her about as nimble as an elephant in a grocery store. The Iowa could turn & cut much/faster. It would be an elephant versus a rhino to reach a goal first. This would be the Iowa's second-largest advantage.
    Significant advantage: Iowa

    Crew Sharpness:
    The Iowa had been in several actions & had fired her guns at shore targets on several occasions, & her crew was at or near its peak of efficiency in all phases of seamanship. OTOH, the Yamato had not seen any action & her crew was badly out-of-practice, which showed up in her last battle. Both ships had competent captains.
    Advantage: Iowa

    The Battle:
    The Yamato was the older ship, started in 1937, completed in 1940. The Iowa was finished in 1942, built with the Yamato & her sister ship Musashi in mind. The Iowa was the most-modernized battleship in the world in WW2.
    Both ships would have maneuvered, trying to find an opening. The Japanese would've been more-cautious, & the faster Iowa would've engaged first, having likely used her speed advantage to have "crossed the T", aiming her broadside of 9 guns while facing the Yamato's bow or stern, thus enabling Yamato to only bring 3 guns to bear. The Iowa could likely have kept up this advantageous position much of the time.
    But the Yamato was very tough, & even repeated hits from 16" shells would not have put her down easily. However, she would likely not have been able to put Iowa out of action, unless she got very lucky at the beginning of the fight & scored some hits at extreme range.
    Most likely, in time, the Yamato would be too shot-up to fight back, even though she might still be afloat. If the Iowa exhausted her ammo & had to retire before the Yamato sank, the Yamato would likely be badly damaged & slowed-up, easy prey for torpedo-carrying destroyers, aircraft, or subbies. Again, it would've taken great good luck for the Yamato to have won!
    Winner: Iowa !
     
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  2. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
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    WW2 was the demise of the battleship. They could shell land targets and provide anti-aircraft fire against attacking planes, but our carriers and their planes were the backbone of our offensive forces in the Pacific.

    A nice fantasy scenario though. I agree with you, the Iowa would win.
     
  3. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    Right. The Japanese knew this before the war started, although they went ahead & built the Yamato & Musashi, the largest battleships ever. The US learned it as part of the lessons of Pearl harbor. The last major Ally to learn it was Britain, as they'd been battleship-happy since the days of Henry VII's Great Harry.

    Britain shoud've learned from their successful raid on the Italian naval base at Taranto where their 21 obsolete Faerie Swordfish biplanes from the carrier Illustrious destroyed or badly damaged several tough battleships with torpedoes, but it hadn't sunk completely in by 1941 when Churchill had talked First Sea Lord Sir Dudley Pound into sending the new battleship Prince of Wales & the battle cruiser Repulse to Singapore to bolster the british fleet there. Churchill chose Adm. Sir Tom Phillips, a thoroughly battleship-confidant officer, to command the 2-ship mission. The Japanese rapidly sank both ships with aircraft, killing Phillips in the process. Churchill later said the shock of their sinkings was the most-stunning news he heard during the entire war.

    Meanwhile, the US was busy building several Essex-class carriers , 27000 tons each, that were faster than any large Japanese ship & equipped with state-of-the-art radar & very sturdy construction. However, the Japanese had started the war with what was the best carrier plaine in the world, the A6M Zero. It took the US a coupla years to make planes that could best the Zero. But they did, with the Hellcat & Corsair.
     
  4. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    Japan had started a 3rd super-battleship, the Shinano, but after losing 4 carriers at Midway, the brass ordered she be made into a super-carrier. She was still not finished in 1944 when she was sent from Yokosuks to Kure naval base to deliver a load of Okha suicide rockets. However, she was spotted enroute by the USS Archerfish, which put 4 torpedoes into her. Her captain, Toshio Abe, was contemptuous of American torpedoes, but he didn't know the US now had excellent fish Besides, the Shinano had structural defects & some poor designs, & she was soon racked by internal explosions which sank her & killeed over 1400 sailors, including Capt. Abe. At 60000 tons displacement, she remains the largest ship ever sunk by a submarine.
     
  5. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    I believe the Yamato, with a sharp crew, would've been more than a match for any battleship ever, til the North Carolina, Missouri, & Iowa came along fairly-late in the war. They were the last USN battleships to be built.
     
  6. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
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    The IJN was really good in the early part of the war. They were the best at night fighting (this was before radar) and they took a toll on Allied ships. We had radar first and that then put the IJN at a disadvantage. I don't believe they got radar until late in 1944.

    I visited the North Carolina at her berth in Wilmington, NC several years ago. It was a great ship to visit. One of the things they did for visitors was to cut through one of the lower decks and put in a circular staircase so the engineering section could be visited. I was completely blown away at seeing the engines and all the associated gear - steam lines and such. It was an amazing engineering feat to put it all together and make it come alive.

    On the above decks, they had everything laid out just like it was 1945. The typewriters of the day, radio gear, furniture, sick bay, etc. - it was all really neat. if you ever get down that way, the USS North Carolina is a must see.
     
  7. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    The battle ships will return. Advancement in anti missle technology will usher in the necessity for battle ships with super guns.
     
  8. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
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    Ha! Ha! Ha!. Yeah, just like the smoothbore musket and horses pulling the artillery will return. Sorry my friend, this here is more like the future, not the "battleship". Guns and even missiles will go and be replaced with lasers. Littoral Ship.jpg
     
  9. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Wait and see. The electro magnetic Super guns are being miniaturized by the military. They just doing it to waste time?
     
  10. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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  11. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
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    This wouldn't be the first time the government has wasted tons of money - and time.
     
  12. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    They will arm the future destroyers and battleships.
    Lasers will not be the future weapon for attacking heavy armor. When weight is not a major issue, they can be shielded against.
    You do know that the ship you posted the pic of will have E.M. Cannons in its final version?
     
    #12 Reynolds, Jul 22, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  13. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
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    Yes. I posted it because it is a new type of ship, highly maneuverable, not the unwieldly battleship type of yesteryear.
     
  14. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    I didn't say they were going to be the battleships of yesteryear. I said they were going to be battleships with super guns. You laughed at me and acted like I am an idiot. If you study naval equipment, you will see the super guns are the future.
     
  15. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    The US' radar-assisted aiming system would've sealed the deal for the USN in any late-in-the-war battleship duels. While the Yamato's 18" guns were the largest battleship guns ever, they had accuracy problems. And the USN's 16" shells were nothing to sneeze at !

    One other weapon the Yamato had that proved all-but-useless in her last battle- the Sanshiki anti-aircraft shell. These were packed with both shrapnel & incendiary devices & were supposed to be fired at flights of enemy planes However, they failed to down one US plane, while disrupting the fire from the Yamato's standard anti-aircraft guns.

    The Sanshiki shells WERE used successfully by the battleships Kongo & Haruna to bombard Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, destroying 48 parked planes & destroying much of the fuel supply, as well as heavily damaging the airstrips. (However, the "miracle-working" Seabees quickly restored the fields to operation.) But later, when another force, led by the battleships Hiei& Kirishima set out to bombard Henderson again, it encountered a force of USN ships. The japanese fired first, but their gins were loaded with Sanshiki, & though they hit the cruiser San Francisco with them they did little damege. And, in both cases, the poorly-machined copper bands around those shells damaged the rifling of the guns that fired them. While the shells worked as designed, they didn't achieve their intended results; they proved to be mostly-ineffective against FLYING aircraft.
     
  16. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
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    I believe that Iowa vs Musashi woulda ended the same way.

    A little about the Musashi:

    It was named after Musashi Province, which was named after Myamoto Musashi, a 17th C. Samurai. It acquired the handle "The Palace" because of its sumptuous crew quarters & the fact it sat at anchor in Japan for so long.

    It was more-ruggedly constructed than Yamato & could've taken more punishment. However, it suffered from "Ponderitis", same as Yamato, which proved its undoing in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, being unable to elude torpedoes. It was hit by 19 torpedoes & at least 10 bombs, mostly thousand-pounders, Once the US fliers realized her port side was badly-damaged, the torpedo planes concentrated their attacks on that side. She finally succumbed to her damage, sinking some 4 hours later bow down. After sinking, she exploded. Her captain, Toshihira Inoguchi, chose to go down with his ship, but over half her crew was rescued. Like Yamato & Shinano, she had proven to be a white elephant.
     
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