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In 1935, the British built Battlecruiser Kongo was dry docked to be uparmored.  With the reconstruction complete in 1937, the Kongo was reclassified as a "Fast Battleship".  But were the Kongos even worthy of that classification?

She had a main armor belt of 203mm, and turret armor of 254mm and barbette armor of 229mm.

T6nI8Y8.jpg

For comparison, the Dunkerque, which as conceived as a Battlecruiser in concept (meant to counter the Panzerschiff) seemingly had thicker armor.

 The Dunkerque had a main armor belt of 225mm, turret armor of 330mm, and barbette armor of 340mm.  And it has been said that the Dunkerque could not even resist the 11" guns the Scharnhorst or Gneisenau.  The Dunkerque was officially classified as "navires de ligne" but given what she was designed to do, and what her armor could and could not resist, it would be fair to term her a Battlecruiser.  

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But...if the Dunkerque has thicker armor then the Kongo, and the Dunkerque can't even resist the smallest of post-dread Battleship main-battery guns, then can the Kongos truly be considered "Fast Battleships?  Was this just propaganda?  Is there more to the armor scheme of the Kongo's then general armor thickness?  Just what kind of guns could the "Fast Battleship" Kongos even resist? 

Edited by Royeaux

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The Kongos were all battlecruisers rebuilt into fast battleships. Dunk was built and remained a true battlecruiser. That's the accepted doctrine, one I agree with. There's way more to armor than just general thickness. Where is the armor, all the armor, on the ship? What is it made out of, and who made it? What is the layering scheme of the armor? Etc, etc.

 

I also point to the amount of damage the Kongo's could take from 16 inch guns, something neither they nor the Dunk's were built or rebuilt to handle. Washington unleashed holy hell, and it still took a while, and a huge amount of lots, to do the job. I guarantee you Dunk would have been obliterated on the open seas under those circumstances. The armor and armor schemes the French used in their designs and builds just wasn't as good or as effective as what the IJN used. Don't quote me on this, because I'm not 100% sure, but I think the Kongos, as rebuilt, had better TDS than the Dunks had, as well. Those absorb more damage than just from torpedoes.

 

Not knocking your post, it's a rather good intellectual exercise, I enjoy those.

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10 minutes ago, Th3KrimzonD3mon said:

I think the Kongos, as rebuilt, had better TDS than the Dunks had, as well.

Well the Kongo herself was sunk by 2 torpedoes by USS Sealion, which doesn't strike me as example of an impressive TDS.

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20 minutes ago, Royeaux said:

Well the Kongo herself was sunk by 2 torpedoes by USS Sealion, which doesn't strike me as example of an impressive TDS.

Where did they hit though?  A TDS doesnt do mich if its not hit, we almost lost the Pennsylvania due to that fact.

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23 minutes ago, Royeaux said:

Well the Kongo herself was sunk by 2 torpedoes by USS Sealion, which doesn't strike me as example of an impressive TDS.

@Hatework has the right of it. The TDS didn't extend from stem to stern. More, how big were the warheads, at what angle did they strike? Etc, etc.

 

And I never said it was impressive, I said it was better. I was also speaking in terms of how the TDS could help mitigate shellfire, I said nothing about stopping/reducing torpedo damage.

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16 minutes ago, Hatework said:

Where did they hit though?  A TDS doesnt do mich if its not hit, we almost lost the Pennsylvania due to that fact.

I'm not sure.  Wikipedia just says the torpedoes struck the port side and flooded two of Kongo's boiler rooms.

 

Balao class subs have 10 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes.

Edited by Royeaux
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Ironic that all the Battleships sunk only by submarine torpedoes in WW2 were built in Britain...

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At the end of the day the country can pick whatever name they want for it. The only ships I consider fast Battleships are the US BB's but that is just my view. 

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10 minutes ago, AVR_Project said:

Ironic that all the Battleships sunk only by submarine torpedoes in WW2 were built in Britain...

But it was there only 2 and other UK built BBs got sunk other ways , all US built BB got sunk by planes.

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52 minutes ago, AVR_Project said:

Ironic that all the Battleships sunk only by submarine torpedoes in WW2 were built in Britain...

Great Britain never did really solve their issues with torpedo damage/mine damage.

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8 minutes ago, Th3KrimzonD3mon said:

Great Britain never did really solve their issues with torpedo damage/mine damage.

The 'Lucky' hit on the Kongo, was in the chain locker on the bow.  Because they had everything else all settled, they continued high speed, leading to a cascade failure of the bow compartments over a couple hours.

Water gets in around the bulkheads, hits like a jack-hammer, and the next wall keeps cracking open.

I know it was air-dropped, but another 'lucky' hit in the stern on the Prince of Wales led to a full investigation and major retrofits of the KG5 class.

Like so many losses in WW2:  Lexington, Tiaho, Ark Royal, Shinano, and California (Pearl Harbor), better Damage Control would have saved these ships.

http://www.combinedfleet.com/eclipkong.html

 

Kongo started out being called an 'Armored Cruiser' of all things..  Then again..  The JSDF calls this a 'Helicopter Carrying Destroyer'...   hmmm  What's in a name?

 

Hyuga_DD.jpg

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1 hour ago, Patton3rdarmy13 said:

 all US built BB got sunk by planes.

wasn't there some debate on if an IJN Mini-Sub was present and put a couple of torpedoes into the Oklahoma?

 

Also the US only lost 3 BBs during WW2: Arizona, Oklahoma, and Utah (training ship but technically a BB). The rest were recovered.

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The Kongo class as rebuilt, does not begin the approach the levels of protection afforded by proper fast battleships. Although a great deal of improvement was afforded to her protection during her mid-late 1930s construction, it did very little to correct the deficiency of her vertical (belt) armor scheme. Most of the increases in armor during this time was focused entirely on the horizontal (deck) armor in order to protect from plunging fire at longer ranges, as well as armor piercing bombs. While the decks were increased in thickness to between 3.2” (80 mm in several layers) over the machinery and 4.7” (120 mm in several layers) over the magazines, the belt remained the as-built thickness of 7.9” (199 mm VC on 50 mm of Teak backing and a 16 mm NS holding plate). The belt itself was too narrow to entirely protect the machinery spaces, and the upper 5.9” (149 mm + 50 mm Teak and either 16 mm NS or 2x 12 mm NS) belts covering the upper side and casemates were merely intended to afford as much armored freeboard as possible against high explosive fire, and activate older shells which would explode before getting too deep, not reject any sort of Battleship caliber shells. This is also why a sloped internal deck was included, although it too proved incapable of really standing up to any modern shells. Indeed, this armor scheme was incapable of stopping even 8” shells from relatively intermediate ranges (below around 14 kilometers or so). The shallowness of the main belt also meant that shells which struck close to the ship could easily pass beneath it and enter the machinery and magazine spaces. The story with the barbettes and turrets is not much better. Some improvement in protection was made (some sources indicate 254 mm barbettes being increased to 305 mm with appliqué armor), but that was essentially it.

Although her side protection system was strengthened by bulging and the addition of a torpedo bulkhead, it remained ineffective for its deceptively deep appearance. In reality, the system only has three layers, and with a claimed design resistance of 200 kilograms TNT (taken with a grain of salt, given the performance of other Japanese SPS) is incapable of effectively dealing with the damage incurred by most modern torpedoes. This is a problem exacerbated by her older construction, which has a smaller number of large compartments (especially above the waterline, where some larger areas run unobstructed from one side of the ship to the other), and less advanced watertight subdivision than what is seen in later Japanese designs.

Although gunfire from Washingtons 16” rifles was what doomed Kirishima, it by no means demonstrates that it required 16” guns to perform the act. Any deep penetrating modern Battleship shell could have caused the same catastrophic damage, be it 12” or 18”. Her internals were utterly obliterated, and the flooding from subsurface penetrations combined with her large compartments (and the fact that shrapnel from the shells bursting could easily pierce the internal ‘armor’) meant that she was doomed from the moment the hits below the water started coming. Her damage control teams only stretched her suffering out with their counterflooding, until the point that her stability was so precarious that a slight shift in the distribution of water caused her to suddenly capsize. 

 

The Japanese classifications for the period had almost entirely abandoned the usage of the word ‘battlecruiser’, and most of the new speedy designs of the early to mid 1920s were classified simply as fast battleships. To my knowledge, this includes the Tosas, the Kiis, the Amagis. . . The fact of the matter is that the Kongos never ceased being battlecruisers in reality. Calling a Battlecruiser a fast Battleship, does not a fast Battleship make.

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3 hours ago, Th3KrimzonD3mon said:

The Kongos were all battlecruisers rebuilt into fast battleships. Dunk was built and remained a true battlecruiser. That's the accepted doctrine, one I agree with. There's way more to armor than just general thickness. Where is the armor, all the armor, on the ship? What is it made out of, and who made it? What is the layering scheme of the armor? Etc, etc.

 

I also point to the amount of damage the Kongo's could take from 16 inch guns, something neither they nor the Dunk's were built or rebuilt to handle. Washington unleashed holy hell, and it still took a while, and a huge amount of lots, to do the job. I guarantee you Dunk would have been obliterated on the open seas under those circumstances. The armor and armor schemes the French used in their designs and builds just wasn't as good or as effective as what the IJN used. Don't quote me on this, because I'm not 100% sure, but I think the Kongos, as rebuilt, had better TDS than the Dunks had, as well. Those absorb more damage than just from torpedoes.

 

Not knocking your post, it's a rather good intellectual exercise, I enjoy those.

The armor scheme of the Kongos even post refit, was largely inferior to that of the Dunkerques, particularly Strasbourg. The French ships have a thicker belt with a significant incline, combined with a more modern SPS. Dunkerque had a 9” (225 mm) belt sloped at 11 degrees from vertical. Strasbourg was significantly improved, with an 11” (283 mm) belt at the same slope. Behind this was a second 2” (50 mm) sloped deck. Barbettes were 12.1” (310 mm) on Dunkerque, and 13.5 “ (340 mm) on Strasbourg. Turret faces were 13” (330 mm) and 14.1” (360 mm) respectively. Machinery spaces had a 4.5” (115 mm) deck, with 5” (130 mm) over the magazines, in a single layer. Below that was an additional 1.6” (40 mm) splinter deck.

The side protection system for the Dunkerques was in a league all of its own at the time, being 7 meters deep with alternating liquid and air loading (as well as a form of rubberized water excluding material to control flooding). This system was one of the best ever put on a ship, with a designed resistance equivalent to 150% of the Kongos claimed 200 kg resistance, capable of stopping a 300 kg charge. A modified version of this system would also be used on the Richelieus, and by all accounts it is a front runner among all modern battleships SPS.

By almost every metric, the Dunkerques were heads and shoulders above the Kongos in terms of protection of vital areas. Neither was capable of resisting 16” shell fire, but the French ships are infinitely better equipped for dealing with heavy cruiser and small caliber Battleship weapons.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Big_Spud said:

<snip>

By almost every metric, the Dunkerques were heads and shoulders above the Kongos in terms of protection of vital areas. Neither was capable of resisting 16” shell fire, but the French ships are infinitely better equipped for dealing with heavy cruiser and small caliber Battleship weapons.

I wasn't speaking of smaller caliber weapons, I was speaking of BB main battery guns, and how each could deal with it, or couldn't, rather.

 

More, Kongo against Dunkerque would have been vastly in favor of Kongo, in my opinion.

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1 minute ago, Th3KrimzonD3mon said:

I wasn't speaking of smaller caliber weapons, I was speaking of BB main battery guns, and how each could deal with it, or couldn't, rather.

 

More, Kongo against Dunkerque would have been vastly in favor of Kongo, in my opinion.

 

Let me rephrase this then:

Kongo has no immunity zone against the Dunkerques. Dunkerque and Kongo can both hurt each other at most ranges, although the French ship has improved protection from most approaches and angles. Strasbourg actually manages to have a decent immunity zone against the Japanese 14” gun firing the Type 91 shell, starting at 19 kilometers, and extending to around 30 kilometers. The French gun is much more powerful than the Japanese gun, and can penetrate any part of the Kongos vertical armor at any realistic range. This is assuming the lowest possible quality for the French armor.

There is no indication that the Kongo has any real degree of superiority over the French ship, with the possible exception of the relatively large dispersion patterns of the quad turrets.

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While I really can't add anything to the technical notes Big_Spud gave for either Kongo or Dunkerque, at least as far as doctrine and use goes I can help.

To put it Kongo in relatively simple and brief terms;

The Kongo-class was redesigned from battlecruiser to battleship only because the battlecruiser category was abolished from the IJN. This change in designation did not change their role in Japanese doctrine (directly supporting the heavy night action groups in breaking the USN screen during the 'decisive battle'), or the view of the Japanese Admiralty as to their expendability. They were not considered the equal to any battleships, even if arguably they were far superior combatants to the Fuso and Ise-classes.

In effect, they still were battlecruisers, and little about that role changed.

 

Dunkerque is a little more wordy.

What is described above is very much different to the Dunkerque-class battleships. Although easily their most famous design point was to field a battleship capable of hunting down and killing the Deutschland-class cruisers, this was far from their only role. One must not forget that the designs they had been developed from were small, fast battleships intended to catch and kill the faster and better armored (compared to French cruisers) Italian heavy cruisers, and also be superior to the 305mm-gunned Italian battleships should they run into them.

When the Dunkerque-class was designed, this very much still figured into their design and intended use. In the event of a war with Germany, they were to be the ultimate weapon against the Deutschland-class - but likewise, in a war against Italy they would give France a major advantage, as they were fast enough to operate with French cruisers, armored enough to resist any guns in the Italian fleet (this was before the Littorio's were built, and before the WWI battleships were modernized - so the biggest 'sticks' the Italians had was the 305mm/46 M1909), and their guns easily capable of penetrating the armor of the elderly Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio-class dreadnoughts from long range. 

This role remained the same against the German fleet, who was in an even worse position than the Italians - and even when they responded with the Scharnhorst-class, the French felt more than comfortable with just the Dunkerque and Strasbourg, as they were adequately armored against the German 28.3cm guns. They very much were 'battleships' compared to what their enemies had at the time, and it was only after the development of 381mm/15" battleships in Europe that they took the back seat. Thus, they still were very much 'battleships' in their time.

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30 minutes ago, Phoenix_jz said:

-snip-

Suppose we could also potentially factor in the RPC for the Dunkerques. Even a non-satisfactory RPC is better than no RPC.

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Dunkerque held up poorly to the 15in shellfire she received at Mers el Kebir. In all Dunkerque was struck 4 times at about 17,000 yards range. Based on O'Hara's account:

  • One hit on B turret roof knocked out the 2 starboard guns.
  • One hit overpenetrated the hangar without exploding.
  • Two hits penetrated the main belt, one failed to explode in a secondary turret shell handling room, the second exploded in 'B' boiler room, knocking out electrical power and causing the ship to be beached just 12 minutes later
  • Dunkerque suffered 210 killed

 

I don't think a direct comparison with Kirishima's damage is that useful however. Both demonstrated a pretty poor resistance to heavy shell fire, in the case of Kirishima the range and number of hits played a part, but 'overkill' seems a reasonable statement, despite being hit about 20 times by 16in rounds per the Lundgren analysis I'd read between the lines that just 2 or 3 of the hits could have been fatal, the rest were secondary. Hit No. 6 penetrating the main belt below the waterline plus a couple of Hits 2, 3, 4 and 5 that devastated the casemate and allowed massive following flooding would doom the ship. The damage was largely received at 0100-0105, and she sank at 0323, just over 2 hours later.

Two hours is a pretty fast sinking for a capital ship struck by shellfire and not suffering a catastrophic magazine detonation. It's a relatively narrow field but the Lutzow took about 6 hours, the Bismarck took over 2 hours despite more hits, torpedo hits and the use of scuttling charges, Yamashiro sank quickly but was hit by 4-6 torpedoes. On the plus side, that does mean that Kirishima was fortunate, or solid enough not to detonate.

 

In general I can't consider the rebuilt Kongo class to be fast battleships. The armor scheme is just not up to it.

There was a general trend from WWI to WWII not to increase belt thickness that greatly, and instead to go for more deck armor, which was greater emphasized in Kongo's rebuild - as examples the British QE as built had a 330mm belt and 76mm main deck but the KGV had a 381/356mm belt and 152/127mm deck - a far greater proportional increase in deck thickness than belt thickness. Nonetheless I think Kongo's scheme is overall just too deficient in both belt and deck armor. Kongo's 80-120mm rebuilt deck still doesn't compare favorably to Dunkerque's 115-130mm. Aside from brute thicknesses Kongo is just miles more vulnerable. You can draw plenty of paths through pretty thin armor to 'somewhere shells should not explode'. Dunkerque generally protects her vitals better, with higher minimum armor thicknesses and a useful armor slope, and goes with an all-or-nothing design which may reduce damage - hits in the location of her casemate might have overpenetrated.

On an armor basis I'd make more of a case for Dunkerque as a fast battleship of some type, though I don't think it's particularly strong for either.

 

34 minutes ago, Phoenix_jz said:

What is described above is very much different to the Dunkerque-class battleships. Although easily their most famous design point was to field a battleship capable of hunting down and killing the Deutschland-class cruisers, this was far from their only role. One must not forget that the designs they had been developed from were small, fast battleships intended to catch and kill the faster and better armored (compared to French cruisers) Italian heavy cruisers, and also be superior to the 305mm-gunned Italian battleships should they run into them.

I certainly think that fast battleships can be on a spectrum from faster, lighter armored variants to heavier slower ones.

However I think the core definition of a fast battleship, as unfortunately espoused by wikipedia is 'a battleship which emphasized speed without – in concept – undue compromise of either armor or armament'.

Ultimately, although designed to hunt Deutschlands and cruisers they're not very 'future proofed' against an Italian battleship threat, or one from absolutely anyone else at all. France did after all have interests in the Far East. If Dunkerque's superior to the old 305mm gunned Italian battleships, well I'd say the mid-20's modernized Renown or Kongo probably would be as well, I'm not sure that that makes either battleships.

The Dunkerque is relatively small but not tiny, they're about the same displacement as the QE class. On the same tonnage in order to get your extra 7kt or so you give up 100mm of belt armor and carry only 13in guns (even if great ones) instead of 15in rifles. That's fairly compromised on armor and firepower in exchange for the high speed. The 'concept' of being a suitable battleship for a very specific conflict with unmodernized Italian battleships and cruisers might work, but so would being a battlecruiser.

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Also worth noting that in the case of Dunkerques damage from 15" shellfire, the British 15"/42 is heads and shoulders above the Japanese 14"/45 in terms of not only raw penetrative power, but also post-penetration effect and deck penetration. Neither ship was designed with taking that sort of damage in mind, although the French ship probably has a better chance of actually surviving it in some circumstances. 

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8 hours ago, Royeaux said:

Well the Kongo herself was sunk by 2 torpedoes by USS Sealion, which doesn't strike me as example of an impressive TDS.

 

7 hours ago, Hatework said:

Where did they hit though?  A TDS doesnt do mich if its not hit, we almost lost the Pennsylvania due to that fact.

Exactly, and even in game this is the case just as in real life it was. Like my Yamato took all 15 Torps from a Shima at close range to my my Yamato torpedo belt/ bulges and survived, granted I sank from the flooding close to a minute later because of my damage control on cool down, but sill counts as far as I am concerned. How every last night took Gearing Toros to my bow and sank because the hits were mostly not on the torp belt so it flooded me out.

I know this is a game and some liberties are taken for the sake of gameplay, but there are enough real world physics still in the game to use it as an example. Since as best as I can tell the Torpedo belts in game and those in real life would probably act pretty similar. Sort of like a double hull on some modern ships. Where if the outer hull is breached by debris, icebergs, or rocks there will be a little water between the hull sections in relatively small section of the hull, but flooding inside the ship often will not occur or very minimally inside the ship itself.far different than if the actual hull that is the only thing separating main interior sections of the ship and the outside water is breached by large hole or holes. This can be made worse if the hits occurred in vital areas of the ship.

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2 hours ago, mofton said:

The Dunkerque is relatively small but not tiny, they're about the same displacement as the QE class. On the same tonnage in order to get your extra 7kt or so you give up 100mm of belt armor and carry only 13in guns (even if great ones) instead of 15in rifles. That's fairly compromised on armor and firepower in exchange for the high speed. The 'concept' of being a suitable battleship for a very specific conflict with unmodernized Italian battleships and cruisers might work, but so would being a battlecruiser.

The French didn't design 15 inch guns until 1935, her 13 inch guns were newly designed in 1931. Strasbourg was the most heavily armored ship the French had built to date, and they were first class of battleship the French had actually completed since 1916. The Dunkerque's were also the largest battleships the French actually finished up to that point as well. The French might very well have been unable to build a QE style battleship if they had wanted to.

It looks a lot like the French were building the biggest and best in every category they could while gaining experience and upgrading facilities to build the Richelieu. The French didn't really make any compromises, they just couldn't make anything else and have it useful. Also, no sane person could have predicted how the Italians upgraded their older battleships, much less the French with their "special" track record of ship design.

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At least one of Kongos torpedo hits was abreast her machinery spaces by Mark 18-1 torpedos with a 270 kg Torpex warhead, the other being the port bow chain locker. This would be abreast of the deepest part of her side protection system, the torpedoes running at a depth of 8 feet. Apparently this flooded the entirety of the No. 6-8 boiler rooms (some of the largest compartments on the entire ship), and progressive flooding due to poor sea state and sustained high speeds exacerbated what was at first manageable damage, and caused a 15 (later 20) degree list. Combined with the increasing self-harm inflicted with her continued sailing battering her bulkheads to pieces, she eventually began a death roll, before the fore magazines exploded without warning.

 

Most battleships ingame do not simply roll over and explode after two torpedo hits if they keep sailing forward. Kongos death was also assisted by the fact that she was the oldest capital ship in the fleet. Her subdivision was not up to par with newer vessels (also evidenced by the flooding of the Kirishima and Hiei), and her fewer large compartments were more vulnerable to the free-surface effect. 

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11 hours ago, Th3KrimzonD3mon said:

Great Britain never did really solve their issues with torpedo damage/mine damage.

The problem the RN had with torpedo defenses had to do with the limitations of their dry docks.  This limited the beam of their ships which in turn limited the depth of the torpedo defense systems they could install on them.  The KGV had the shallowest and least effective torpedo defense system of late WNT / LNT battleships and this was a major reason for the ease with which the Japanese crippled PoW, in the one case were a KGV's torpedo defense system was actually tested.

As for the Kongo class...  They suffered a problem common to all Japanese larger warships in terms of torpedo defense.  The Japanese engineers that designed these ships had limited experience and data on underwater explosions and their effects to do on compared to the US or Britain.  Both had actual cases along with multiple tests and more engineering experience.

So, Japanese warships tended to be poorly subdivided.  The Japanese also never stopped using watertight hatches and doors below the waterline like the US did in the 30's, a failing that Britain shared with the Japanese.  What the US did was adopt "up and over" for moving between watertight bulkheads below the third, later second, deck on their ships.  This meant there was no possibility of a hatch springing or being left open to allow progressive flooding.

The US also had studied damage control as a problem more than Japan had and eliminated as a first method to correct a list, counter flooding.  Most other nations practiced this as a accepted and normal means to correct lists from flooding.  The problem was it was in itself more flooding, even if controlled.  For the USN, shifting liquid loads like fuel or feed water was acceptable, and their ships got more pumping both installed and portable to control flooding.  Larger USN ships used a combination of steam and electrical pumps for water removal.

In the case of Kirishima, counter flooding was a serious contributor to the ship's loss.  Yes, the S. Dakota wrecked her, but the extensive use of counter flooding led to loss of hull height above the normal waterline and allowed progressive flooding over the top of the armored deck and into the hull.  Between the two, the ship began to settle and there was really no way to stop her sinking once that happened.

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4 hours ago, SgtBeltfed said:

The French didn't design 15 inch guns until 1935, her 13 inch guns were newly designed in 1931. Strasbourg was the most heavily armored ship the French had built to date, and they were first class of battleship the French had actually completed since 1916. The Dunkerque's were also the largest battleships the French actually finished up to that point as well. The French might very well have been unable to build a QE style battleship if they had wanted to.

It looks a lot like the French were building the biggest and best in every category they could while gaining experience and upgrading facilities to build the Richelieu. The French didn't really make any compromises, they just couldn't make anything else and have it useful. Also, no sane person could have predicted how the Italians upgraded their older battleships, much less the French with their "special" track record of ship design.

It's true that the French were somewhat behind the curve, but does it matter?

Firstly, if you aim to build something (a fast battleship) but end up with something else that resembles more of a battlecruiser then does the intent matter that much? If I try to build a lunar lander but build a firework, it's a firework.

Secondly, although Strasbourg is more heavily armored than the Bretagne class, Dunkerque has a thinner belt on an overall far better scheme. Neither of them are at all well armored for a 1930's ship, especially compared to the later superdreadnought designs. In the case of Dunkerque specifically I'd say the French could have manufactured a thicker belt, they just chose not to, and to spend tonnage elsewhere. The guns are similar, although a new design France had already built the slightly larger 13.4in gun. The British had never designed a 15in gun, until they did - based in part on up-scaling the 13.5in. I would be amazed if it were not within the capabilities of the French designers, especially as a 15in option was mooted for the Lyon design of 1912, and there was at least movement and detailed gun and shell drawings on a 450mm/45 Mle. 1920 (17.7in) rifle. As they were going to a new design either way, I'd say the option of going larger was on the table.

I think France could have built a more traditional, more heavily armed and armored battleship for Dunkerque's size, they didn't, ending up with a relatively lightly armored, relatively lightly armed but exceptionally fast battleship, designed with hunting cruisers very much in mind - that sounds very battlecruiser-esque.

3 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

The KGV had the shallowest and least effective torpedo defense system of late WNT / LNT battleships and this was a major reason for the ease with which the Japanese crippled PoW, in the one case were a KGV's torpedo defense system was actually tested.

Whatever the shortcomings of the TDS on the KGV's, the sinking of PoW is a poor example of it in practice. The fatal hit exploded aft of where the port outer propeller shaft emerges from its tube. The damage was less about local destruction, which altogether was fairly minor and more about the damage done along the length of the attached shaft and the flooding that caused directly into Engine Room B.

The TDS does not cover the propeller shafts where they emerge from the hull, it cannot. That single hit, not only allowing progressive flooding of the engine room, knocking out power and exposing too many otherwise tight compartments to flooding doomed the ship alone.

The 3 torpedo hits to the starboard side included one near the extreme bow, outside the TDS. One abreast B turret caused heavy damage, at least in part because the TDS void spaces had been counter flooded, reducing their effectiveness (though reinforcing your point on counterlfooding). The last, was fairly far aft again, directly in line with the starboard outer propeller which it knocked out - that one landed fairly high in the ship due to prior flooding.

Of the 4 torpedoes, 3 impacted very near the ends of the ship, 2 directly in line with the propellers and 1 in the forward bow. Only one of them impacted and badly damaged an already counter-flooded TDS protected section, where it inflicted heavy damage against a compromised defense. I wouldn't much blame the TDS.

Edited by mofton

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