Battleships... should they return to the USN?

May 5th, 2008  

Topic: Battleships... should they return to the USN?

I have been giving this subject much thought lately and was thinking of the pros and cons of returning battleships to US service. I wanted to know your thoughts on the topic.

As for me I don't think we should bring back the Iowa-class battleships but building new ones could be interesting....
May 5th, 2008  
With the technology of today, i don't see why not. We could basically make em a lot faster then their predecessors, with more armor and more fire power. But as u say their are a lot of pros and cons and some serious research and decision making has to be done before even planning one.
May 5th, 2008  
I think battleships have expired, especially those whose main armament is cannons. The main striking force of ANY great navy today is aircraft carriers, rocket cruisers and rocket subs. So the cannon-armed battleships are history.
May 5th, 2008  
Originally Posted by Supostat
I think battleships have expired, especially those whose main armament is cannons. The main striking force of ANY great navy today is aircraft carriers, rocket cruisers and rocket subs. So the cannon-armed battleships are history.
You could argue that even aircraft carriers are becoming outdated. Sadly, the battleship is dead and will stay that way, they are expensive, man power intensive, a massive target and a huge logistics drain. Battleships had seen the end of their heyday during WW2. Look at almost all the great battleships of the 2nd world war, they were almost all sunk by aircraft, or by other non-battleship means.

What is the mainstay, in my opinion, of an effective modern navy is frigates and destroyers of both conventional and guided missile type, effective conventional-submarines, and Landing Helicopter Dock type carriers (smaller, faster, cheaper).
May 5th, 2008  
Sure, the battleships are great but we don't need the big mofo cannons, now, we use the missiles rather than 12-inch guns, obviously.
May 5th, 2008  
Dead, dead, dead. Deader'n last weeks roast dinner.

Not to mention the huge capital investment and running costs.
May 5th, 2008  
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.
May 5th, 2008  
The reason why battleships were phased out of the USN a few years ago was because of how expensive they were to run (all that old machinery) and the high manpower requirements (it's getting harder and harder to recruit sailors). So no, those old battlewagons are permanently retired.

That said, the Navy and Marine Corps is still looking for a good gun platform for land bombardment. As others have said, a shell is cheaper than a missile and is immune to electronic counter measures. Currently, the Zumwalt class destroyers are supposed to fill this role, but I wouldn't be surprised if in the future a cheap, heavily automated gun platform with larger caliber rifles is introduced for surface bombardment.
May 5th, 2008  
I will say a few things...

1. The battleship era is finished, as is are large capital ships including large aircraft carriers. They are extremely expensive and they are extremely vulnerable to any type of modern anti-ship weapon.

A. The last Capital Ship sunk in war was the General Belgano in 1981
which was sunk by only 2 MK.8 torpedoes. The MK.8 was the standard Torpedo of the RN in WWII.

B. In 1987, the USS Stark was nearly blown out of the water by a single Exocet ASM.

C. USS Cole, was nearly sunk by a speed crammed with Torpex.

D. All of that in ancient history. Look what happens when single US MK.48 Torpedo does to this Decommissioned Norwegian Destroyer.

MK-48 Hit

Thats why I thing every surface vessal above modern destroyer size is obsolete.

That being said I do know that the Navy is developing a fast firing 5.24 gun firing precision ammunition for shore bombardment, as thw war Afganistan has demonstrated a need for it for use on destroyers.
May 5th, 2008  
I'm just being picky here, but that "Norwegian" destroyer was Ex-HMAS Torrens. Pennant 53

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