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Washington vs Kirishima battle article and report

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Hey all, this came across my news feed and thought I would share.

It is about the action where the Washington fought the Kirishima.

Which is fairly short but it contains a link to a damage study of the Kirishima that is fairly in depth as to damage taken and why it sunk.

Enjoy!

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/why-imperial-japan-feared-battleship-uss-washington-35182

Kirishima_Damage_Analysis.pdf

Edited by _cthulhu_
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The action was a knife fight in a telephone booth where the Washington brought a gun and was the real world equivalent to the games Solo Warrior achievement. The action showed that the Kongo's really had no business in the battle line as the South Dakota survived a similar fusillade.

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/w/war-damage-reports/uss-south-dakota-bb57-war-damage-report-no57.html

http://www.navweaps.com/index_lundgren/South_Dakota_Damage_Analysis_Summary.pdf

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2 hours ago, BrushWolf said:

The action was a knife fight in a telephone booth where the Washington brought a gun and was the real world equivalent to the games Solo Warrior achievement. The action showed that the Kongo's really had no business in the battle line as the South Dakota survived a similar fusillade.

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/w/war-damage-reports/uss-south-dakota-bb57-war-damage-report-no57.html

http://www.navweaps.com/index_lundgren/South_Dakota_Damage_Analysis_Summary.pdf

I don't know why you got downvoted.  It's the simple truth that the Kongo-class were the least fit of the IJN BBs to do this kind of fighting.  The oldest ones in service of all the IJN Battleships at the time, yet Yamamoto threw them in while his precious Fuso, Ise, Nagato-classes and Yamato did nothing.

 

Kongo-class was in over its head, but I give credit to the class for at least fighting as a Battleship when the war was still really on the line.  All while the newer Japanese Battleships were wasting fuel doing nothing but circles in the ocean or soaking up all the sake at port.

 

On a leadership perspective, I have always thought it amusing that Yamamoto, the gambler behind the daring Pearl Harbor strike and the series of brilliant IJN offensives at the start of the war, was extremely tentative in Guadalcanal until his death.  It's like another man suddenly took over as Commander of Combined Fleet.  The Japanese may have lost 4 CVs in Midway, the Shokaku-class would suffer losses, damage fighting for Guadalcanal, but he still had lots of BBs and CAs.  There was no shortage of Big Guns for the IJN.  Yet for most part, they did nothing.  Except for Kongo-class.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway
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2 hours ago, BrushWolf said:

The action was a knife fight in a telephone booth where the Washington brought a gun and was the real world equivalent to the games Solo Warrior achievement. The action showed that the Kongo's really had no business in the battle line as the South Dakota survived a similar fusillade.

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/w/war-damage-reports/uss-south-dakota-bb57-war-damage-report-no57.html

http://www.navweaps.com/index_lundgren/South_Dakota_Damage_Analysis_Summary.pdf

Even at shot distances of 8k the radar controlled gunfire of the Washington was the decisive factor. The Washington scored 20 hits in less than 6 minutes Kirishima landed one 14 inch hit. 

Edited by Belthorian
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11 minutes ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

I don't know why you got downvoted.  It's the simple truth that the Kongo-class were the least fit of the IJN BBs to do this kind of fighting.  The oldest ones in service of all the IJN Battleships at the time, yet Yamamoto threw them in while his precious Fuso, Ise, Nagato-classes and Yamato did nothing.

 

Kongo-class was in over its head, but I give credit to the class for at least fighting as a Battleship when the war was still really on the line.  All while the newer Japanese Battleships were wasting fuel doing nothing but circles in the ocean or soaking up all the sake at port.

 

On a leadership perspective, I have always thought it amusing that Yamamoto, the gambler behind the daring Pearl Harbor strike and the series of brilliant IJN offensives at the start of the war, was extremely tentative in Guadalcanal until his death.  It's like another man suddenly took over as Commander of Combined Fleet.  The Japanese may have lost 4 CVs in Midway, the Shokaku-class would suffer losses, damage fighting for Guadalcanal, but he still had lots of BBs and CAs.  There was no shortage of Big Guns for the IJN.  Yet for most part, they did nothing.  Except for Kongo-class.

I think he had mentally given up, he had seen our production capabilities and he knew our countries psychology and that once we recovered from Pearl Harbor that he would not be able to stop us. It isn't uncommon when you look through history where a really good leader just loses the ability to make decisions. You see it most often when someone is advanced to a higher position, Hooker, a brilliant division commander, at Chancellorsville where he became afraid to make decisions, but you also see it when the stress of command finally gets to them which is what I think happened to Yamamoto.

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4 minutes ago, Belthorian said:

Even at shot distances of 8k the radar controlled gunfire of the Washington was the decisive factor. The Washington scored 20 hits in less than 4 minutes Kirishima landed one 14 inch hit. 

IJN cruisers and destroyers didn't suffer from a lack of radar, but that was because they were trained extensively in night fighting. The "decisive battle" doctrine was that the battleships would only be required to clean up a thoroughly reduced enemy fleet, so their training was all long range and during daylight hours.

Send them down The Slot at night with the cruisers, and you get what the IJN got: lousy gunnery from untrained crews. 

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The description of the fight is not accurate anyway. The Kirishima did notice the Washington; but she was there for shore bombardment and had HE in the breech, and was in the process of changing to AP when the Washington opened up. 

Now why it took 3-5 minutes to reload who knows, but it did. 

Kongo class wasn't suited to brawling in narrow straits anyway. In the open sea where she could use her speed, she would dictate the terms of engagement with the dog slow Washington. Wrong tool for this job.

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27 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

I think he had mentally given up, he had seen our production capabilities and he knew our countries psychology and that once we recovered from Pearl Harbor that he would not be able to stop us. It isn't uncommon when you look through history where a really good leader just loses the ability to make decisions. You see it most often when someone is advanced to a higher position, Hooker, a brilliant division commander, at Chancellorsville where he became afraid to make decisions, but you also see it when the stress of command finally gets to them which is what I think happened to Yamamoto.

I think on a certain level he had (given up).  After Midway, and the early Guadalcanal battles, he had gone from trying to win the battle to trying to husband limited resources.  That is never a good place to be when having to make decisions.

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35 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

I think he had mentally given up, he had seen our production capabilities and he knew our countries psychology and that once we recovered from Pearl Harbor that he would not be able to stop us. It isn't uncommon when you look through history where a really good leader just loses the ability to make decisions. You see it most often when someone is advanced to a higher position, Hooker, a brilliant division commander, at Chancellorsville where he became afraid to make decisions, but you also see it when the stress of command finally gets to them which is what I think happened to Yamamoto.

I hear ya.  Capt Hara Tameichi makes mention of Yamamoto's greatly differing decision making in "Japanese Destroyer Captain" also.  Even going so far as a lot of indecision on Yamamoto's part when news arrived that the Americans were landing and have seized the airfield at Guadalcanal.  They were stunned the US offensive was this early and expected a push much later.  Even after this, it's nothing but a series of piecemeal commitments on Yamamoto's part.

 

Another simplified summary of the engagement between Kirishima and Washington, and the other players involved.  The USN DDs got absolutely rekt in this fight, but they did their part as screens.

http://combinedfleet.com/battles/Guadalcanal_Campaign#Second_Guadalcanal

7 minutes of gunfire time Washington had against Kirishima and it was over.  The ship that was supposed to smash the airfield at Guadalcanal was out of the picture and the Japanese mission was a failure.  Numerically, the US suffered more ships lost as the DD screen was rekt, but South Dakota was never in danger, Washington and SoDak disengaged safely.  But let's be honest here.  Navies treat Destroyers as fodder to poke around and act as screens for valuable ships.  Japan loses 1 DD, but more importantly Kirishima was going to die at sea.  Both Japanese losses are pretty big, even the DD.  Japan will show a poor ability to replace even Destroyers, much less a Battleship.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway
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39 minutes ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

I hear ya.  Capt Hara Tameichi makes mention of Yamamoto's greatly differing decision making in "Japanese Destroyer Captain" also.  Even going so far as a lot of indecision on Yamamoto's part when news arrived that the Americans were landing and have seized the airfield at Guadalcanal.  They were stunned the US offensive was this early and expected a push much later.  Even after this, it's nothing but a series of piecemeal commitments on Yamamoto's part.

 

Another simplified summary of the engagement between Kirishima and Washington, and the other players involved.  The USN DDs got absolutely rekt in this fight, but they did their part as screens.

http://combinedfleet.com/battles/Guadalcanal_Campaign#Second_Guadalcanal

7 minutes of gunfire time Washington had against Kirishima and it was over.  The ship that was supposed to smash the airfield at Guadalcanal was out of the picture and the Japanese mission was a failure.  Numerically, the US suffered more ships lost as the DD screen was rekt, but South Dakota was never in danger, Washington and SoDak disengaged safely.  But let's be honest here.  Navies treat Destroyers as fodder to poke around and act as screens for valuable ships.  Japan loses 1 DD, but more importantly Kirishima was going to die at sea.  Both Japanese losses are pretty big, even the DD.  Japan will show a poor ability to replace even Destroyers, much less a Battleship.

The Japanese shipyard capabilities both build and repair were pretty dismal and they knew it. After Coral Sea from their estimate of the damage, which was pretty accurate, to the Yorktown they figured it would be out of action for at least 6 months based on their capabilities yet we cobbled it back together for Midway although she really needed another month or two for proper repairs.

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2 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

The Japanese shipyard capabilities both build and repair were pretty dismal and they knew it. After Coral Sea from their estimate of the damage, which was pretty accurate, to the Yorktown they figured it would be out of action for at least 6 months based on their capabilities yet we cobbled it back together for Midway although she really needed another month or two for proper repairs.

They were floored wondering where the hell the US got a 3rd CV for Midway :Smile_glasses:

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3 hours ago, BrushWolf said:

The action was a knife fight in a telephone booth where the Washington brought a gun and was the real world equivalent to the games Solo Warrior achievement. The action showed that the Kongo's really had no business in the battle line as the South Dakota survived a similar fusillade.

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/w/war-damage-reports/uss-south-dakota-bb57-war-damage-report-no57.html

http://www.navweaps.com/index_lundgren/South_Dakota_Damage_Analysis_Summary.pdf

Sorry, what is the connection with the Kirishima?

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3 minutes ago, _cthulhu_ said:

Sorry, what is the connection with the Kirishima?

That the Kongo-class's power couldn't even put a South Dakota-class Battleship in danger despite the SoDak having catastrophic electrical problems that left her defenseless and blind.

 

The Japanese task force to include Kirishima all shot up South Dakota, yet she was never in any danger to sink.

 

In Video Game terms, SoDak Tanked while Washington Spanked.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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1 hour ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

I don't know why you got downvoted.  It's the simple truth that the Kongo-class were the least fit of the IJN BBs to do this kind of fighting.  The oldest ones in service of all the IJN Battleships at the time, yet Yamamoto threw them in while his precious Fuso, Ise, Nagato-classes and Yamato did nothing.

 

Kongo-class was in over its head, but I give credit to the class for at least fighting as a Battleship when the war was still really on the line.  All while the newer Japanese Battleships were wasting fuel doing nothing but circles in the ocean or soaking up all the sake at port.

 

On a leadership perspective, I have always thought it amusing that Yamamoto, the gambler behind the daring Pearl Harbor strike and the series of brilliant IJN offensives at the start of the war, was extremely tentative in Guadalcanal until his death.  It's like another man suddenly took over as Commander of Combined Fleet.  The Japanese may have lost 4 CVs in Midway, the Shokaku-class would suffer losses, damage fighting for Guadalcanal, but he still had lots of BBs and CAs.  There was no shortage of Big Guns for the IJN.  Yet for most part, they did nothing.  Except for Kongo-class.

Eh, I'd honestly consider the Kongo-class to be more potent surface combatants than the Fuso or Ise-class, given their lower speeds and inefficient turret layouts, not to mention quality issues (especially in regards to the Fuso sisters).

That being said, the reason the Kongo's were used was because they were the heaviest ships the Japanese had that could go down the slot under cover of night, bombard Henderson field, and then get back out of range of American aircraft by the time daybreak rolled around. Likewise, the Japanese also viewed them as expendable compared to the rest of their battleships. Personally speaking, I think had they actually launched a powerful enough surface group - say, a Yamato and the Nagato sisters - and bombarded the field, they might not have had to keep doing so repeatedly, and wouldn't have to worry about American aircraft as a threat on withdrawal.

Yamamoto may have been bold when it came to involving Japan in the war and its opening actions, but beyond that point, he still exemplified all the flaws of Japanese high-level command - to enslaved to the doctrine of decisive battle, and too prone to develop overly-complicated plans that relied on the enemy performing exactly as you plan them too.

With the benefit of hindsight - Japan had a major advantage right after Pearl Harbor, and that was that they had heavy guns to play with, and the Americans did not. However, the Japanese did not exploit this advantage. The Kongo's was a decent use of their heavy guns, but had they used something as powerful as the Nagato's... well, it would've been a major edge.

 

1 hour ago, Belthorian said:

Even at shot distances of 8k the radar controlled gunfire of the Washington was the decisive factor. The Washington scored 20 hits in less than 6 minutes Kirishima landed one 14 inch hit. 

Kirishima landed five 14" hits on South Dakota, not one - although only one was APC.

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22 minutes ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

That the Kongo-class's power couldn't even put a South Dakota-class Battleship in danger despite the SoDak having catastrophic electrical problems that left her defenseless and blind.

 

The Japanese task force to include Kirishima all shot up South Dakota, yet she was never in any danger to sink.

 

In Video Game terms, SoDak Tanked while Washington Spanked.

To be fair to the Japanese - this had more to do with the surprise factor of American battleships showing up than their armor. Kirishima had Type 3 and Type 0 HE rounds on hand, not Type 91 APC, when she opened fire on South Dakota. If she had APC loaded from the get-go, things would've turned out substantially worse for the South Dakota, as her armor could not resist 14" APC at such a range and her would've suffered a penetration into her machinery spaces if we assume hit locations are the same.

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28 minutes ago, _cthulhu_ said:

Sorry, what is the connection with the Kirishima?

 

27 minutes ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

That the Kongo-class's power couldn't even put a South Dakota-class Battleship in danger despite the SoDak having catastrophic electrical problems that left her defenseless and blind.

 

The Japanese task force to include Kirishima all shot up South Dakota, yet she was never in any danger to sink.

 

In Video Game terms, SoDak Tanked while Washington Spanked.

Haze covered it pretty well.

5 minutes ago, Phoenix_jz said:

Eh, I'd honestly consider the Kongo-class to be more potent surface combatants than the Fuso or Ise-class, given their lower speeds and inefficient turret layouts, not to mention quality issues (especially in regards to the Fuso sisters).

That being said, the reason the Kongo's were used was because they were the heaviest ships the Japanese had that could go down the slot under cover of night, bombard Henderson field, and then get back out of range of American aircraft by the time daybreak rolled around. Likewise, the Japanese also viewed them as expendable compared to the rest of their battleships. Personally speaking, I think had they actually launched a powerful enough surface group - say, a Yamato and the Nagato sisters - and bombarded the field, they might not have had to keep doing so repeatedly, and wouldn't have to worry about American aircraft as a threat on withdrawal.

Yamamoto may have been bold when it came to involving Japan in the war and its opening actions, but beyond that point, he still exemplified all the flaws of Japanese high-level command - to enslaved to the doctrine of decisive battle, and too prone to develop overly-complicated plans that relied on the enemy performing exactly as you plan them too.

With the benefit of hindsight - Japan had a major advantage right after Pearl Harbor, and that was that they had heavy guns to play with, and the Americans did not. However, the Japanese did not exploit this advantage. The Kongo's was a decent use of their heavy guns, but had they used something as powerful as the Nagato's... well, it would've been a major edge.

 

Kirishima landed five 14" hits on South Dakota, not one - although only one was APC.

Other than the speed the Fuso and the Ise had a lot of firepower because unlike in the game bow tanking was the fast path to defeat.

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1 hour ago, Wombatmetal said:

The description of the fight is not accurate anyway. The Kirishima did notice the Washington; but she was there for shore bombardment and had HE in the breech, and was in the process of changing to AP when the Washington opened up. 

Now why it took 3-5 minutes to reload who knows, but it did. 

Kongo class wasn't suited to brawling in narrow straits anyway. In the open sea where she could use her speed, she would dictate the terms of engagement with the dog slow Washington. Wrong tool for this job.

Eh the North Carolinas and South Dakotas weren't that much slower than the Kongo sisters. And while they had the speed advantage, I would definitely favor the US fast battleships in firepower (nine 16" guns vs 8 14"), accuracy (they had modern fire control systems), and armor (the armor scheme of the fast battleships was specifically designed for the expected long-range duels of the Pacific theatre).

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6 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

Other than the speed the Fuso and the Ise had a lot of firepower because unlike in the game bow tanking was the fast path to defeat.

A lot of broadside firepower, but that's firepower that can easily become obscured depending on the angle of approach (which was a considerable issue on the Ise's due to the orientation of their turrets - all but the fore pair were facing aft). Also - as I mentioned, quality issues were also present. The Fuso's couldn't fire two guns in a turret at the same time without breaking themselves, for example - so while they may have had similar broadside weight to the Nagato's, it was far from this in practice. 

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1 minute ago, Phoenix_jz said:

A lot of broadside firepower, but that's firepower that can easily become obscured depending on the angle of approach (which was a considerable issue on the Ise's due to the orientation of their turrets - all but the fore pair were facing aft). Also - as I mentioned, quality issues were also present. The Fuso's couldn't fire two guns in a turret at the same time without breaking themselves, for example - so while they may have had similar broadside weight to the Nagato's, it was far from this in practice. 

True and the real reason the Kongo's, Fuso, and Ise were used so much was their range which was much greater than the Nagato by quite a bit.

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5 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

True and the real reason the Kongo's, Fuso, and Ise were used so much was their range which was much greater than the Nagato by quite a bit.

Everything I've read at this point concluded the choice was made by the time constraints of the cover of darkness to avoid air strikes.  Major Japanese installations were not far from Henderson Field, and the IJN still had plenty of oil flowing from the South Pacific to run their fleet at this time.

I would be interested in reading where you got that information.  Has something new been discovered?

 

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1 minute ago, Destroyer_KuroshioKai said:

Everything I've read at this point concluded the choice was made by the time constraints of the cover of darkness to avoid air strikes.  Major Japanese installations were not far from Henderson Field, and the IJN still had plenty of oil flowing from the South Pacific to run their fleet at this time.

I would be interested in reading where you got that information.  Has something new been discovered?

 

It wasn't about their range within that region, those ships had much more range than the other IJN BB's which were mostly kept in home waters.

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30 minutes ago, Phoenix_jz said:

To be fair to the Japanese - this had more to do with the surprise factor of American battleships showing up than their armor. Kirishima had Type 3 and Type 0 HE rounds on hand, not Type 91 APC, when she opened fire on South Dakota. If she had APC loaded from the get-go, things would've turned out substantially worse for the South Dakota, as her armor could not resist 14" APC at such a range and her would've suffered a penetration into her machinery spaces if we assume hit locations are the same.

This shouldn't have been a surprise.  Scouts reported American Battleships in the area well before.  The problem with the Japanese was they ASSumed (we all know what assuming does, right?) that the US BBs would stick to escorting the Carriers.  

 

The Japanese came for a bombardment mission, prepared for it, and paid the price when Big Boys actually showed up.

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40 minutes ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

This shouldn't have been a surprise.  Scouts reported American Battleships in the area well before.  The problem with the Japanese was they ASSumed (we all know what assuming does, right?) that the US BBs would stick to escorting the Carriers.  

 

The Japanese came for a bombardment mission, prepared for it, and paid the price when Big Boys actually showed up.

While the Japanese army was far worse it was a Japanese trait to stick with the plan even when it has obviously been blown.

The first battle would have been very different if Lee had been the admiral in charge. He would have placed his radar where it would have provided early warning allowing him to avoid the bar room brawl that happened historically.

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2 hours ago, BrushWolf said:

Haze covered it pretty well.

Other than the speed the Fuso and the Ise had a lot of firepower because unlike in the game bow tanking was the fast path to defeat.

The OP is about the Kirishima and Washington, you probably missed that.

It was also about the damage done to the Kirishima, where/how much and why it sank.

I was just wondering where the cognitive failure occured.

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