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A Look at South Dakota's Battle Damage in World of Warships

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Phoenix_jz #1 Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:13 AM

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Often on the forums, we spend a lot of time debating what would happen, or how much damage, or would damage occur, and the like, to various warships with various guns. While that's all well and good, given that the Alabama is coming out as a premium soon, I thought it would be interesting to take a look a the damage her sister, the South Dakota, took at the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, and see just how that would translate into World of Warships.

 

 

 

Essentially, what would happen if we subjected Alabama to the same punishment as South Dakota, but in WoWs? Would she be wrecked? Would it be superficial? How much damage would actually be dealt?

 

For this, I used the following two damage reports;

 

This first is the original, from 1947, and is done by the Bureau of Ships. Link here.

 

The second is found on Navweaps, done in 2010 by Robert Lundgren. It's a revisitation done with many more sources, and seemingly more effort and attention to detail than the original 1947 done by BuShips. This is what I draw the majority of my information from, as it is considerably more accurate. Link here.

 

The story of South Dakota is fairly well known, during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, she was following the Washington (North Carolina-class) when she suffered massive electrical failures, immobilizing key functions such as main battery fire and many of the secondaries, as well as her radar and radios. She was blind, deaf, and in all practical terms, toothless.

 

She continued to follow the Washington, however, until they broke to avoid the burning wreckage of several American destroyers, Walke (Sims-class), Preston (Mahan-class), and the Benham (Benham-class), who was nearly rammed by South Dakota. In maneuvering to avoid the stricken destroyer, who's bow had been blown off by a Japanese torpedo, the still blind and deaf South Dakota was perfectly silhouetted between the burning tin cans... perfect for the gunners aboard the Japanese battleship Kirishima (Kongo-class), as well as the Takao-class sisters Takao and Atago (heavy cruisers), two light cruisers, Nagara and Sendai (both lead ships of their very similar classes, just imagine Kuma with Type 93 Long-Lance Torpedoes), and lastly several destroyers.

The ships opened fire with fury, lighting her up with their searchlights as they dumped torpedoes and doused her with their main battery guns and secondaries.

 

Though an incredible mix of luck, design, and decision, the South Dakota survived the barrage. She was struck twenty-seven times, six shells from Kirishima's 14" guns, seven from the 8" guns of the heavy cruisers, and fourteen-odd hits from the 5 to 6" guns of the destroyers, light cruisers, and Kirishima's secondary battery. She managed to avoid all of the 24 torpedoes fired at her, as well! Part of her relatively light handling at the hands of Kirishima's main battery was due to the Washington laying into the fragile Japanese battleship with her 16" guns at a mere 8.2 kilometers not long after South Dakota started being punished... but that's not what we're looking at here.

 

Here, we're going to look at exactly what hits she took, and how they would translate in-game.

 

First, some pictures for reference. This is her damage, according to BuShips;

 

 

Then, the hits according to Lundgren's analysis;

 

 

We'll go by caliber.

 

14" Hits (Hits #2, 11, 15, 21, 23, 26)

 

#2 - 14" Type 0 HE - Impacted on side of hull fore of the #1 turret. This shell did detonate, so it's safe to treat it like an HE detonation -  1900 damage 

 

#11 - 14" Type 0 HE - The only 14" Shell to impact the main belt, and did detonate, causing damage, but not to anything behind the belt -  1900 damage 

 

#15 - 14" Type 3 Incendiary AA - This 14" shell impacted high in the superstructure, and simply broke up. No detonation, no damage.

 

#21 - 14" Type 1 AP - Technically not a 'hit,' but this is the foundation of the myth that South Dakota bounced a 14" AP shell at 5 km. This was an impact on the belt... but not of a shell, per say. This 14" shell actually missed South Dakota, and broke up on the water. The cap was sent flying into the side of the battleship, causing a dent in the side of the hull. This was extremely lucky for South Dakota, as if the shell hadn't missed, and actually hit the belt, it would've likely penetrated, sending it's projectile right into the heart of the American battleship...and that would not have been pretty. Buuuuuuut, it didn't, so there's no damage from that hit either.

 

#23 - 14" Type 3 Incendiary AA - This 14" shell impacted high in the superstructure, and simply broke up. No detonation, no damage. Yep, same story as #15.

 

#26 - 14" Type 1 AP - The only true AP impact on South Dakota, and once again, she got quite lucky. The shell hit the single thickest piece of armor on the whole ship, the 440mm thick side of the #3 barbette. It hit, and it hit hard... but the barbette armor, 17.3" thick, held out, and although the blast did a lot of damage around the barbette, it did not damage it to the point where the turret could not be operated. Even if this didn't punch through the barbette, this definitely counts as a penetration -  3400 damage 

 

For those interested in reading about the damage from the shell impact, here's an excerpt from the BuShips report;
Spoiler

 

Total Damage from 14" Gunfire:  7200 damage 

 

8" Hits (Hits #4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 17, 25)

 
#4 - 8" Type 91 AP - This shell struck the main belt, penetrating the torpedo bulkhead, and detonated on the main belt. While this did not penetrate the belt, it still detonated and caused damage -  1551 Damage 

 

#5 - 8" Type 0 HE - This shell hit aft of the bridge and detonated, the only 8" HE hit South Dakota took -  1100 damage 

 

#6 - 8" Type 91 AP - This shell, another superstructure hit, over-penetrated the ship -  470 damage 

 

#9 - 8" Type 91 AP - Another over-penetration -  470 damage 

 

#10 - 8" Type 91 AP - Another over-penetration -  470 damage 

 

#17 - 8" Type 91 AP - This should've detonated in the superstructure, but the round failed to do so, from the odd impacts it faced going into the superstructure. There's a passage dedicated to this shell in Lundgren's analysis of South Dakota's damage that's a very interesting read, for those interested. Overall, it counts as an over-pen -  470 damage 

 

#25 - 8" Type 91 AP - This is an interesting hit, also hitting the 12.2" belt, and penetrated 7-8" into it before exploding, causing some damage, although not to anything within the ship's citadel. Thus, still a penetration, for the game's terms, but not a citadel -  1551 damage 

 

Total Damage from 8" Gunfire:  6082 damage 

 

6" Hits (Hits #1, 3, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 24)

 

#1 - 6" Type 4 CP - Over-penetrated the impacted area -  290 damage 

 

#3 - 6" Type 0 HE - A hit on the #1 turret, detonated, although little damage -  825 damage 

 

#13 - 6" Type 4 CP - A dud, no damage.

 

#14 - 6" Type 4 CP - Another dud, no damage.

 

#20 - 6" Type 4 CP - A small, penetrating hit above the belt -  957 damage 

 

#24 - 6" Type 0 HE - This shell struck a 5" turret and exploded, denting and causing fragmentation damage, but the 5" mount was not knocked out -  825 damage 

 

Total Damage from 6" Gunfire:  2897 damage 

 

5.5" Hits (Hits #7, 8, 12, 19)

 

#7 - 5.5" Capped CP - A penetrating hit on the superstructure -  891 damage 

 

#8 - 5.5" Capped CP - An overpen of the superstructure  -  270 damage  

 

#12 - 5.5" Capped CP - A dud, no damage

 

#19 - 5.5" Capped CP - Another overpen on the superstructure  -  270 damage  

 

Total Damage from 5.5" Gunfire:  1431 damage 

 
5" Hits (Hits #22, 27)
 

#22 - 5" Type 0 HE - A hit high up on the superstructure -  700 damage 

 

#27 - 5" Type 0 HE - A hit on the very top of the superstructure, damaging the radar -  700 damage  

 

Total Damage from 5.5" Gunfire:  1400 damage 

 

So what's all this added up?

 

Grand Total-

Total Damage from 14" Gunfire:  7200 damage 

Total Damage from 8" Gunfire:  6082 damage 
Total Damage from 6" Gunfire:  2897 damage 

Total Damage from 5.5" Gunfire:  1431 damage 

Total Damage from 5" Gunfire:  1400 damage 

 
*Grabs calculator*
 
*mumble mumble*
 
Our grand total adds up to 19010 damage, which, when taken out of Alabama's 63,300 hitpoints, is a solid 30% of the ship's health (.3003)!
 
So, what does this really mean? Well, I guess it puts into perspective the damage we unleash and also take in World of Warships. The beating South Dakota took at the hands of the Japanese force at Guadalcanal is often considered to be quite the punishment. In WoWs terms, it's not even a third of her health. Of course, there is the consideration of fires and their damage, but that's a bit too complicated to delve into...
 
Overall, though, the damage was at the same time superficial, and yet extensive. Most of the Japanese fire was directed into the superstructure of the ship, and despite the large amount of over-penetrations, the superstructure was shredded, dealing massive damage to many key systems. However, none of this compromised the ship's ability to stay afloat, and survive the battle. The ships's main battery and secondary armament all remained intact, as did her propulsion and steering.
The same cannot be said for Kirishima after Washington gave her the good news, but remember, no one was shooting at Washington as she unleashed her punishment, while Kirishima was being devastated by Washington while she tried to engage South Dakota
 
My overall view on this engagement is that, while it certainly highlighted a heightened durability of the South Dakota, she survived primarily due to luck. Had any of the torpedoes actually connected with South Dakota, it would have been crippling to a ship in her state, never mind the damage inflicted by gunfire, but the question of wether or not she could operate her pumps due to electrical failures. One cannot help but recall why Littorio had to be grounded because of the third torpedo hit at Taranto... and even though that was from 3 hits, they were aerial torpedoes... not much compared to the monsters that the Type 93's were. Two of those torpedoes hitting South Dakota could have easily been fatal in the condition she was in.
 
And all of this doesn't even consider the question of gunfire damage. What if Washington had not laid into Kirishima, but instead decided to blow Takao or Atago to kingdom come, for example? Such a turn of events would've allowed Kirishima to focus on ​South Dakota unmolested. South Dakota got lucky in that Kirishima's guns were loaded for airfield bombardment, and not for dealing with enemy ships. Because of this, the first hits she took were either High-Explosive (not much use against at battleship's belt), or Incendiary-AA rounds (which simply shattered on impact for negligible damage). Only the last two hits were AP shells.
 
Hit #11, for example, hit South Dakota squarely in the belt. It was a 14" HE shell. If it had been an AP round, at that range it should've easily penetrated, and would've likely detonated in South Dakota's machinery spaces. In WoWs, that would be considered a citadel (and for Kirishima's guns, one of those is 10200 damage).
 
Heck, if Washington hadn't been shooting up Kirishima, then perhaps Kirishima is able to land even more AP shells (after all, loosing two of your main battery turrets to 16" shells tends to hurt your gunnery) during the battle?
 
It's all a lot of What-If'ing, I realize... but hey, isn't that what this game is?
 
"What if Myoko faced off with Baltimore?"
 
"What if Dunkerque caught the Admiral Graf Spee?"
 
 
 
Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed reading this!
 
Good luck out there, and happy hunting!

 

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Pope_Shizzle #2 Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:22 AM

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Never seen something like this presented before.  Well done. +1 from me.

bassmasta76 #3 Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:32 AM

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Wow OP, well done!  Certainly not tl;dr material and I highly recommend that people read this, especially if you are a navy geek like me :).

 

It makes me want to read some of the books on that part of the Guadalcanal engagement.  I've read quite a bit from the DD perspective, but I know there are more comprehensive books that include more on the BBs and CA/CLs.

 

thanks!!  +1

 

b



RipNuN2 #4 Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:45 AM

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Nice work, crud im out of up votes.

 

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Doomlock #5 Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:47 AM

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Nice!

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BladedPheonix #6 Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:48 AM

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Given that BB X ( South Dakota) was technically different form all her sisters and was even scraped to prevent that said data from being leaked. we may never know the truth but, Rumor has it that she had better armor than her sisters did.:hmm:

 

Also+1 for your work!:coin:


Edited by BladedPheonix, 16 March 2017 - 02:49 AM.


Kitsunelegend #7 Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:51 AM

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Alright, THIS was a fun read. Many thanks OP! =D

 

Any chance on getting other ships done like this...? Just curious cause this was very interesting. :)

 

Have a special +1 on me! =3

 

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Edited by Kitsunelegend, 16 March 2017 - 02:53 AM.

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Skeem689 #8 Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:56 AM

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inb4 this thread becomes a lower the citadel of alabama saltstorm 

                     

                                                  


Viscount #9 Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:30 AM

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Yep that was an entertaining post to read, thank you for sharing.

renegadestatuz #10 Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:37 AM

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Great job!!! Make more of these :)
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ckupf #11 Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:43 AM

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Iowa fired 46 HE shells at Katori before she sunk. Remember that.

MrDeaf #12 Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:44 AM

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Type 3 beehive round isn't the same as an HE round.

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RightYouAreKen #13 Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:48 AM

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Nice post!  I'd love to see a similar post on how much "damage" Kirishima took in that battle as well.  There seem to be a few decent damage reports on her hits as well. 

Edited by RightYouAreKen, 16 March 2017 - 03:55 AM.


Zombie_Panda #14 Posted 16 March 2017 - 04:31 AM

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 Love the thought process.. great post.


Lampshade_M1A2 #15 Posted 16 March 2017 - 04:43 AM

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View Postckupf, on 15 March 2017 - 10:43 PM, said:

Iowa fired 46 HE shells at Katori before she sunk. Remember that.

 

Whats this have to do with South Dakota?

 

Anyway I would hardly say South Dakota survived due to good luck when bad luck left her in a paralyzed state to begin with.



dseehafer #16 Posted 16 March 2017 - 06:25 AM

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46 shells for 7 hits = 15.2% hit chance. Not bad at all when 3% hit chance was the norm hit chance in that era.

 

 

Edit: This was supposed to be a reply to comment #11 by ckupf but something went wrong with the "quote" process along the way I guess.


Edited by dseehafer, 16 March 2017 - 06:28 AM.

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Sock5 #17 Posted 16 March 2017 - 12:50 PM

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Fantastic post!

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DoomStomper #18 Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:15 PM

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Quality post, with an interesting format that I never would've thought of.

 

+1 :red_button:

 

View PostKitsunelegend, on 15 March 2017 - 09:51 PM, said:

Any chance on getting other ships done like this...? Just curious cause this was very interesting. :)

View Postrenegadestatuz, on 15 March 2017 - 10:37 PM, said:

Great job!!! Make more of these :)


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Phoenix_jz #19 Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:32 PM

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View Postbassmasta76, on 15 March 2017 - 09:32 PM, said:

Wow OP, well done!  Certainly not tl;dr material and I highly recommend that people read this, especially if you are a navy geek like me :).

 

It makes me want to read some of the books on that part of the Guadalcanal engagement.  I've read quite a bit from the DD perspective, but I know there are more comprehensive books that include more on the BBs and CA/CLs.

 

thanks!!  +1

 

b

 

Thanks! I would definitely recommend Neptune's Inferno, by James D, Hornfischer. It's a great look at the overall naval actions around Guadalcanal, even if it does miss a few things.

 

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Phoenix_jz #20 Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:41 PM

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Wow! Thanks for the positive reception!

 

I'll definitely look into making more of them (I was actually considering doing Kirishima next already, as she was central to this engagement). it's just a question of getting reliable information, with enough detail. 

 

It was pretty fun to write up, and it certainly put into perspective the power of naval guns, especially at such close ranges... although, this is nothing compared to what you'd see on Kirishima... I'm sure she'll be quite interesting to do!


 

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