Battleships... should they return to the USN? - Page 2

May 5th, 2008  
Originally Posted by 84RFK
Battleships in their old role (going out to sink another battleship) are in any means obsolete.
But as a threat to any oponent without air-superiority or naval capacity they would perform well.
Acting as a massive artillery platform they could be placed off the coast and be able to launch their 12" shells with reasonable accuracy over the target, and as a sailor on a US battleship once told me, you can shoot down a missile, the cruise-missiles are easy targets compared to a 12" shell.
Nothing can stop a 12" shell from reaching the target once it's launched.

But it would require a whole new doctrine to do it.

So the return of the battleship is a far fetched idea.
There wouldn't need to be a new doctrine.

Firstly, most modern armies are inter-operable with naval gunfire support. Australian frigates have fired in support of British soldiers in Iraq for example. It is a similar system to calling any other indirect fire, just that the naval shell travels at a much flatter trajectory, and you'll probably find that the relevant army member who could do the job would have a title along the lines of NGSLO or RANLO for example.

The modern frigate/destroyer usually has about a rapid firing 5 inch gun, and that is more than enough to support any infantry operation.

To say that they would perform well against a foe without a naval capacity or air superiority is redundant. If there is no naval capacity then the job could be done by a single frigate, or even an offshore patrol boat. No enemy ships = no need for a powerful ship.
May 5th, 2008  
Originally Posted by senojekips
I'm just being picky here, but that "Norwegian" destroyer was Ex-HMAS Torrens. Pennant 53
She was laid down as HMAS Torrens, but she was sold and finished her career as Norwegian KNM Stavanger. She was sunk by HMAS Fancomb.
May 6th, 2008  
To return battleships or not?

That is the question. I have given the idea much thought since finding this thread. I have weighed both the pros and cons of returning battleships to service. If the USN brought them back I am sure they would come in very useful at some point but do the costs outweigh the benefits? BBs like any capital ship suck up a lot of manpower, raw materials and money. The choice to return the battleship to service is a big step in military thought. What kind of things could we do to make this happen? Lets explore our opinions…

Pull out the designs for the Montana-class BBs and design a new class of BBs from there. These monsters would be mounted with 12x16 inch naval artillery along with the traditional secondary armament of the 20x5 inch batteries. The 16 inch main batteries would make the long distance shoots against enemy ships and provide fire support for marines and/or soldiers making landings on the beachhead the secondary armament would fire on enemy vessels (like speed boats closing in) that are too close for the 16 inchers to fire or when the main batteries simply cannot put down the desired rate of fire. The secondary batteries don’t have nearly as much power as the 16 inch naval artillery they still pack a nice little punch and will “smart” whatever it hits (assuming it isn’t destroyed completely of course) and brings much needed additional firepower to bare. 40mm and 20mm AA (Anti-Aircraft) guns should be erased from the design to be replaced by modern surface to air defense systems. These capital ships would weigh 60,000 to 70,000 tons would require some ship as well as fighter escort they should also be fitted with nuclear power as not to suck up fossil fuels and cost a whole shitload of money and resources. We would do well to replace old recon planes with UAV to make the fire from the batteries more accurate. Most people don’t know it but believe it or not dumb munitions can be very effective sometimes more so than smart munitions if used properly. Most cruise missiles are not nearly as powerful as the 2,700 lb shells fired by the Mark 7 naval artillery during a salvo they are also much more expensive than the 2,700 lb shells. Firing off many salvos is probably cheaper than a single tomahawk missile. The thing is you have to know the enemy’s exact location in order to use smart weapons effectively not so with dumb weapons. For example much of the enemy will feel much better knowing that if the enemy didn’t know their exact location they are safe. With dumb munitions you don’t need to know exactly where they are just their general location. The scary thing is you never know when or where these monsters are gonna land. If your within 26 miles (which could probably be added onto with todays technology) you could very well end up dust as the salvos fired by the main batteries are so random which is what makes it so horrifying the gunners may not know your exact location but that won’t matter as long as they know your general location – in which case your serious trouble. The problem is that these shells are so powerful and dumb at the same time. Could you even imagine what could happen if even one of these 2,700 lb rounds fell short? You would probably have a huge amount of losses due to friendly fire and that is something none of us wanna see. They are also big raw material eaters, some might argue that we would be better served building more destroyers or crusiers. One of these BBs would be equal to about 6 or 7 Ticonderoga class cruisers for example if we lost one of these BBs that’s it. But if we lose one Ticonderoga class cruiser we still got the others. But a lot of us in the US believe in quality over quanity. But we need to think about which would be more effective: one really awesome ship or 7 average ships. These battleships would probably not fit well at all into the current naval doctrine, so we must ask ourselves: is the problem the battleships or the doctrine? But if ever we should find ourselves in a ship to ship engagement, it would be very hard to lose with these things on our side. They will be heavily armored so as to be able to take a massive punishment from enemy fire along with many water-tight compartments, thus making the new battleships floating super-fortresses.

The second idea is a to build what is basically a “super-guided missile cruiser” make it around the size of a Iowa-class battle – without the traditional main and secondary armament pretty much not battleship as we know them but really just a massive missile launching platform rather than huge ships firing off salvos in the past. These things would be around 50,000 tons and able to launch a massive volley of missile of all types. This would probably fit much better into the doctrine than a ship based on the designs for the Montana-class. They would be mighty ships capable of delivering a massive amount of accurate fire onto any target. They would be armed with a wild amount of weapons systems including pretty much every conventional missile used by the United States military. They would have things normal ships couldn’t carry like ICBMs. In a sense becoming the backbone of our naval guided missile launch capabilities. This would require us to edit the current naval warfare doctrine. The USN would basically field two capital ships the supercarriers and the guided missile battleships. These 50,000 toners would like the Nimitz-class supercarriers be fitted with nuclear power. They would probably be magnets for sunburn missiles and fighter aircraft so they would need some escort and good AA defense systems. This is probably the most likely idea (not necessarily the best) to be put into place and it gives everyone who likes high tech stuff a hard on, But the more high-tech something is the more likely something can go wrong, radar can be jammed and computers can be given hacked and given viruses. If anything goes wrong with these highly advanced warships these things would be pretty much useless until the problem is fixed, not so with the Mark 7 naval artillery which can fire with or without computers to help it, same things with the 5 inchers, no impressive salvos here, just high-tech gizmos. The huge mass of these warships would make them rather hard to sink and could keep firing volley after volley of missiles. Although the same principle of “putting all your eggs in one basket” still does apply, we might be better off building more cruisers and destroyers rather than single but massive battleships. They would probably but the cruisers and destroyers back into there more old-school role of supporting the capital ships (carriers and battleships) rather than the primary warship to warship/warship to land stuff they have been doing in resent times. Becoming the secondary rather than primary tool of delivering missiles.

Another theory is to build smaller battleships. Anyone who has studied the battleships of any nation knows that pretty much without fail the next battleship class is bigger than the last. This class of BBs would be around say 30,000 to 40,000 tons and armed with the traditional 16 inch main batteries. If your sole reason for building new battleships this is the way to go. If you do go this route you will have battlecruisers rather than true battleships. They won’t be able to withstand a salvo from there own main armament but they will do a awesome job with fire support for landing troops although they will be able to move faster they won’t have a lot of armor and it may not take many hits to sink one. And the thin deck armor would provide little protection against a missile hitting the deck and getting into the magazines of the big guns…. In which case the result would be a fireworks show on the sea before the ship quickly became a artificial reef. I would probably go with a modernized Montana-class BB in a ship to ship fight. But if they are limited to fire support for landing troops only. Then there is little call for the heavy armor, additional tonnage and extra main battery of the Montana-class. These ships would be also fitted with modern AA systems as with the other two ideas. They would be somewhat venerable because of the fact they would BATTLECRUISERS rather than true BATTLESHIPS. They would also be useful in escorting the supercarriers. You might have to resort to using diesel fuel rather than nuclear power because of there much smaller size.

To sum it all up there are many things that we need to look into before we decide to bring battleships back or not. Battleships eat up a lot of resources and cost a lot to keep up to date, these new battleships will be no different the question we must ask ourselves is if and how can we make these ships worth the money and resources we put into them. I have weighed the pros and cons of battleships in the modern world and I hope you find my post interesting and helpful. The days of battleships being the primary warship of the worlds navies is gone the aircraft carriers are the key now. But the use for battleships may not be completely gone. And I personally think we need a “plan B” in the event our mighty supercarriers become mighty artificial reefs…. After all no ship is unsinkable!

Now that I feel like I just wrote a novel, I hope have brought some interesting and thought provoking ideas to the table.
May 6th, 2008  
Originally Posted by mmarsh
She was laid down as HMAS Torrens, but she was sold and finished her career as Norwegian KNM Stavanger. She was sunk by HMAS Fancomb.
Two completely different vessels

HMAS Torrens was sunk by Farncomb,

KMN Stavanger was sunk by an un disclosed Ula Class Submarine.

Note the hull shapes.
May 6th, 2008  

I knew I shouldn't have doubted you.

You are indeed correct. Both Ships were sunk as targets by the Submarines..

I Thank You for the Correction...

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