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InterconKW

The US Navy vs The Imperial Japanese Navy

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I'm sure we have all heard the Yamato VS Montana/Iowa debate. However I have always wondered how more of the ships of the USN and IJN would fare against an equivalent vessel from the other side. Victory in a naval battle isn't all about ships, and many factors like the location or weather conditions or strategy can significantly affect the battle.

 

Comparing similar vessels of similar construction and design date, how about...

Lexington VS Akagi
Yorktown VS Hiryu
Fletcher VS Kagero, Yugumo or even Shimakaze
Pennsylvania or Nevada VS Fuso or Ise? 
Northampton or Portland VS Takao or Myoko?
Cleveland VS Agano?

 

Maybe even North Carolina VS Yamato as their construction dates are closer than Iowa-Yamato...


Etc. Etc. in straight up 1 VS 1 fights?

What conditions would have put what ships in an advantage, based entirely on the statistics of each vessel like gun performance, shell penetration, armor and survivability?

 

And in the end, did the US Navy win mostly due to superior vessels or other factors?

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Why US Navy won

 

Well, the US did outproduce Japan by 10:1, no surprises who will win.  I'd say the IJN did have superior cruisers and destroyers (not sure about battleships), and were winning surface engagements day and night (before the US learnt how to abuse Radar).  When you compare individual vessels, it all depends on situations doesn't it. 

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1 v 1 doesn't matter when you have the industrial might of the USofA of the times.

Good enough and easy to mass produce is what won the war, not having the best didn't matter in the end, having more of what was enough for the job was.

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1 v 1 doesn't matter when you have the industrial might of the USofA of the times.

Good enough and easy to mass produce is what won the war, not having the best didn't matter in the end, having more of what was enough for the job was.

 

i remember that's a quote from someone

Many "Good enough" weapon is better than Few "Perfect" weapon

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Very rarely did naval engagements come down to one-on-one engagements. Many factors helped play a role in the fight between the IJN and USN, such as tactics, strategy, and even luck (RNG). And even non-military ones, such as industrial capacity. Hearts of Iron has taught me that United States can fight a two-front war relatively easily by itself with all the industrial capacity and manpower that you could need so long as you don't allow your home territories be touched.

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I know the situations are unrealistic etc. etc, but I want to know how equivalent vessels of both navies would have matched up.

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Strictly speaking if you want to do one-on-one comparisons you must also specify the time period, because individual ships become modernized over the war, and that becomes important when taking into account the radar American ships got. Because if you are talking about 1v1 DD engagements at night in the early war, the IJN had the advantage, given what we can see from the Guadalcanal Campaign. However late-war would have been different as the IJN was unable to replace losses and crews as fast as they wanted to, and the technology difference became wider, so the same 1v1 engagement would be very different

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IJN has lots of problem with their outdated naval doctrine.

 

they should preserve the elite naval pilot to teach new pilot. instead of letting them do all the work until they get killed in battle. they realized it too late in the war.

i heard that their pilot don't even wear parachute because they fear being captured by enemy more than dying.

lots of their CV are faulty design too.

most of their AA guns are really ineffective too. specially 25mm guns.

IJN only added radar on their cv after the battle of midway. they only relies on optics or their carrier base scout plane sauin aka myrt.

 

 

but then again. are we going to consider that during the opening stages of war, IJN has Superior  carrier advantage. and with only 1vs1 between US and japan, if japan manage to zerg rush US before they can put their superior industrial power to work they might have chance.

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The Yamato vs North Carolina is.. well unfair, for 2 reasons.

1) If I recall correctly, from late 1943 the US had good radar assisted fire control. This plus good optics and there's a better chance that North Carolina (plus South Dakota and Iowa class, unsure if the WW1 dreadnoughts had the upgrade) will hit her targets more often than Yamato will.

2) North Carolina had limited protection against 16" shells. Her immunity zone against these was smaller than the South Dakota. South Dakota was armoured better to resist 16" shells and her immunity zone is greater. This was achieved on the similar tonnage to a North Carolina by shortening the hull, meaning thicker armour could be placed.

If North Carolina had faulty radar assisted fire control then i think it is a much better match as the optics on the Yamato was arguably the best in the world at the time.I would NOT want to be in a North Carolina receiving those monstrous 18" shells.

 

Overall though, technology trumps armour and broadside weight and shell size. Unfortunately.

 

Tee

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I've heard a few things about Yamato's shells having inconsistent penetration beyond 15km or something like that due to shell weight mechanics, but I'm no expert so I'm not sure. Does anyone know?

 

Also the American 16 inchers had pretty good accuracy apparently, did the Yamato perform similarly with that?

Edited by InterconKW

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[KGHSF]
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Fletcher could win some IJN DD's by another way because the guns but lost by torpedoes 

Shoot until you dies , Not die don't stop shooting

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Overall though, technology trumps armour and broadside weight and shell size. Unfortunately.

 

Not quite.

 

There is a comment out there on the Internet, where an admiral of the Soviet Navy remarked to his American counterpart that nothing in the Soviet arsenal could sink the Iowa-class battleships, short of nuking them.

 

You have to take note that the Iowas (for instance) were designed to take hits from 16-inch shells. Consider a Kirov-class battlecruiser against a current Iowa-class battleship. Each Kirov carried 20 enormous anti-ship missiles. In a 1v1 fight, the Kirov would engage the Iowa from 625 km away (the operational range of the missiles), launch all 20 of its missiles at the Iowa and run away. She has used up her entire complement of offensive weapons in a single salvo and has nothing substantial left to continue the fight with. While she still has a pair of 130-millimeter dual-purpose guns, it would be suicidal to get in close enough to use them, given Iowa’s overwhelming gun armament.

 

It’s impossible to say how many of the missiles would have gotten past Iowa’s AA system, but considering that each anti-ship missile warhead that the Kirov carries weighs 750 kg, compared to the famous 16-inch 'super-heavy' shells that weigh 1,225 kg, it is safe to assume that she would fare quite well against the missiles (in context, the 14-inch guns used by the King George V-class battleships fired shells that weighed around 720 kg).

 

Sure, after that, the Kirov is defenceless, but even so, Iowa is only half a knot faster than Kirov, and you're realistically not going to catch up to her.

 

In fact, the only range at which Iowa can really win a fight with Kirov is within 39 km, when the ship’s nine sixteen-inch guns can come into play. At that range, she is definitely dead meat. Still, as satisfying as such an engagement would be, it’s hard to see how she could get that close.

 

Anyways, the conclusion? The Iowa loses, limping away to fight another day.

 

Still, that’s not all exactly bad news for the Americans; in engaging Iowa, Kirov was forced to expend her missiles against a battleship that didn’t sink, and wasn’t able to fulfill its primary mission of sinking aircraft carriers or raiding NATO’s Atlantic convoys. Kirov returns to her home port to rearm, but thanks to the carriers that were saved, there may not be a port to go home to.

 

However, is the end nigh for the battleship? Probably not; while guns - at least conventional ones - simply do not have the reach of modern missiles, future technology, like including railgun weaponry and the long-range anti ship missiles could breathe new life into a battleship platform, but that is for another day.

Edited by Haku

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Not quite.

 

There is a comment out there on the Internet, where an admiral of the Soviet Navy remarked to his American counterpart that nothing in the Soviet arsenal could sink the Iowa-class battleships, short of nuking them.

 

You have to take note that the Iowas (for instance) were designed to take hits from 16-inch shells. Consider a Kirov-class battlecruiser against a current Iowa-class battleship. Each Kirov carried 20 enormous anti-ship missiles. In a 1v1 fight, the Kirov would engage the Iowa from 625 km away (the operational range of the missiles), launch all 20 of its missiles at the Iowa and run away. She has used up her entire complement of offensive weapons in a single salvo and has nothing substantial left to continue the fight with. While she still has a pair of 130-millimeter dual-purpose guns, it would be suicidal to get in close enough to use them, given Iowa’s overwhelming gun armament.

 

It’s impossible to say how many of the missiles would have gotten past Iowa’s AA system, but considering that each anti-ship missile warhead that the Kirov carries weighs 750 kg, compared to the famous 16-inch 'super-heavy' shells that weigh 1,225 kg, it is safe to assume that she would fare quite well against the missiles (in context, the 14-inch guns used by the King George V-class battleships fired shells that weighed around 720 kg).

 

Sure, after that, the Kirov is defenceless, but even so, Iowa is only half a knot faster than Kirov, and you're realistically not going to catch up to her.

 

In fact, the only range at which Iowa can really win a fight with Kirov is within 39 km, when the ship’s nine sixteen-inch guns can come into play. At that range, she is definitely dead meat. Still, as satisfying as such an engagement would be, it’s hard to see how she could get that close.

 

Anyways, the conclusion? The Iowa loses, limping away to fight another day.

 

Still, that’s not all exactly bad news for the Americans; in engaging Iowa, Kirov was forced to expend her missiles against a battleship that didn’t sink, and wasn’t able to fulfill its primary mission of sinking aircraft carriers or raiding NATO’s Atlantic convoys. Kirov returns to her home port to rearm, but thanks to the carriers that were saved, there may not be a port to go home to.

 

However, is the end nigh for the battleship? Probably not; while guns - at least conventional ones - simply do not have the reach of modern missiles, future technology, like including railgun weaponry and the long-range anti ship missiles could breathe new life into a battleship platform, but that is for another day.

 

Way off track here.

My reference to technology is an accurate one, about the radar assisted fire control vs optical.

Unless the advantages are negated, the North Carolina (and SoDak and Iowa) had a much better chance of landing hits on a Yamato than vice versa.

 

I was not talking about "technology" in general, and certainly not referencing a Soviet era missile armed battlecruiser vs an updated Iowa...

 

Choo choo - the off topic train has arrived.

 

Tee

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I think this video has a couple of nice opinions about how some of the battles would have turned out between the nations battleships and a nice comparison between them.

 

Iowa v Tirpitz starts at 5:42

Iowa v Yamato starts at 10:07

 

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When Yamato set sail for Okinawa, the American planned to intercept

 

Not quite.

 

There is a comment out there on the Internet, where an admiral of the Soviet Navy remarked to his American counterpart that nothing in the Soviet arsenal could sink the Iowa-class battleships, short of nuking them.

 

You have to take note that the Iowas (for instance) were designed to take hits from 16-inch shells. Consider a Kirov-class battlecruiser against a current Iowa-class battleship. Each Kirov carried 20 enormous anti-ship missiles. In a 1v1 fight, the Kirov would engage the Iowa from 625 km away (the operational range of the missiles), launch all 20 of its missiles at the Iowa and run away. She has used up her entire complement of offensive weapons in a single salvo and has nothing substantial left to continue the fight with. While she still has a pair of 130-millimeter dual-purpose guns, it would be suicidal to get in close enough to use them, given Iowa’s overwhelming gun armament.

 

It’s impossible to say how many of the missiles would have gotten past Iowa’s AA system, but considering that each anti-ship missile warhead that the Kirov carries weighs 750 kg, compared to the famous 16-inch 'super-heavy' shells that weigh 1,225 kg, it is safe to assume that she would fare quite well against the missiles (in context, the 14-inch guns used by the King George V-class battleships fired shells that weighed around 720 kg).

 

Sure, after that, the Kirov is defenceless, but even so, Iowa is only half a knot faster than Kirov, and you're realistically not going to catch up to her.

 

In fact, the only range at which Iowa can really win a fight with Kirov is within 39 km, when the ship’s nine sixteen-inch guns can come into play. At that range, she is definitely dead meat. Still, as satisfying as such an engagement would be, it’s hard to see how she could get that close.

 

Anyways, the conclusion? The Iowa loses, limping away to fight another day.

 

Still, that’s not all exactly bad news for the Americans; in engaging Iowa, Kirov was forced to expend her missiles against a battleship that didn’t sink, and wasn’t able to fulfill its primary mission of sinking aircraft carriers or raiding NATO’s Atlantic convoys. Kirov returns to her home port to rearm, but thanks to the carriers that were saved, there may not be a port to go home to.

 

However, is the end nigh for the battleship? Probably not; while guns - at least conventional ones - simply do not have the reach of modern missiles, future technology, like including railgun weaponry and the long-range anti ship missiles could breathe new life into a battleship platform, but that is for another day.

 

Missouri AA armament when it was reactivated in the 80s only consist of 4 Phalanx CIWS. If Kirov fired all it's missile at the Missouri, the latter will not be able to shot it all down. Of course, aside from the 16 inch guns, Missouri also has 32 tomahawks and 16 harpoons. So the Missouri can potentially engaged the Kirov from long range. The problem is, Kirov is equipped with state of the art multi layered air defence system. I bet that Kirov defences can even shot down a 16 inch shells in flight.

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When Yamato set sail for Okinawa, the American planned to intercept

 

Missouri AA armament when it was reactivated in the 80s only consist of 4 Phalanx CIWS. If Kirov fired all it's missile at the Missouri, the latter will not be able to shot it all down. Of course, aside from the 16 inch guns, Missouri also has 32 tomahawks and 16 harpoons. So the Missouri can potentially engaged the Kirov from long range. The problem is, Kirov is equipped with state of the art multi layered air defence system. I bet that Kirov defences can even shot down a 16 inch shells in flight.

 

If they use MK23 shell on Kirov? 

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Why would one compare the Kirov, which is a *****1970s***** design, to a 1930s design that is the Iowa Class?

 

These two are designed based on drastically different technology, with one being in the Missile Era and the other one in a Battleship Era.

These two are simply not comparable. I mean yes Iowas undergo dramatic change and modification, but still it is a Battleship after all. It is not designed to deal with modern combat.

 

In fact, many plans for the Iowas are not carried out - these babies are planned to have her 3rd gun turret removed and to have Missiles or Helicopters fitted on it, and there are even plans to just make it a "Missile Battleship" (Put loads of missiles on it and keep the armor). These are never carried out due to budget reasons.

 

Additionally, Kirov class in the 70s-90s are very very poorly maintenance-ed as USSR are in financial crisis. Really only 1 Kirov is in Active service, and the other one is not really in combat condition.

Meanwhile, the Americans had all 4 ready to fight - so even the Kirov engage one of the Iowas, she will be crushed as there are simply too much to deal with.

I mean yes Kirov may have an advantage as Haku said, but again, How many fights in history invovle "True" 1v1s?

 

 

Anyway, enough of these Kirov vs Iowa stuff, back on the IJN vs USN thingy - USN will won every single time.

 

Again, USN ships are never designed to fight a 1v1 vs anything - although they can - they rely on vast superiority in quantity while maintaining a good degree of quality to win a "War", but not only a "Battle".

Give all Super Yamato-Kai or heck even Super Yamato is built, the US still had the Montanas - which is an exceptional design.

With support from the 4 Iowas, the South Dakotas, the North Carolinas or hell even the older Colorados, the Japanese simply does not have the chance!

Resource of the US is simply un-matchable by any country in WWII - including USSR - meanwhile the Japanese don't even have enough resources and manpower to facilitate finishing Shinano!

 

So there you are, #USNMasterRace at it again. 

Edited by Alvin1020

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I honestly think that the Japanese battleships will win up to T8, as they are superior in range, health and gunpower. However, the United States battleships have better armour. This changes in T8, with the North Carolina, where they get the same speed, armour, range and gunpower.

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Japanese ships were specifically designed to beat their US counterparts 1 on 1 so in almost all cases they were better  more combat capable(at least on paper). Having said that, Japanese development basically came to a full stop in 1942 where as US development went into overdrive. 

 

Discounting wartime US technological leapfrogging, its hard to put IJN ships in the same class as their 'equivalents' - since they were quite often significantly larger. The Takaos were 15k tons vs, 10-12k for allied equivalents.  Yamato was 20K tons heavier than an Iowa i.e. in order to even get into the same weight class, you need to strap a Des Moin to the side of the Iowa. The idea that the Iowa could somehow trade with an Iowa is pretty much fantasy. South Dakota (which had exactly the same armour as the Iowas) took a decent beating from 14" Kirishima and CA gunfire - her armor worked, but there is no way either could hold up against 18" shells.  Musashi ate 8 torpedoes + multi bombs and was still able to make 20knots.  

So comparing US and IJN ships in the same specified class is like fighting boxers from different weight categories. The small guy might be better 99% of the time, but if you chuck them in a ropped ring - 9 times out of 10, the bigger guy is gonna win.

 

 

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I honestly think that the Japanese battleships will win up to T8, as they are superior in range, health and gunpower. However, the United States battleships have better armour. This changes in T8, with the North Carolina, where they get the same speed, armour, range and gunpower.

 

*Ahem*

 

Probably not. (The older) US Battleships are slow, as they are NOT intended to fight alone (which they never are either), but as packs. (And also due to their design philosophy, but that is not the main point here)

 

Also, please do note that comparable Japanese Battleships (Anything up to Nagato Class) do not have any significant advantage over any Battleships up to Colarado Class of the US, in terms of:

 

Firepower: The US had a boat load more 14 inch gun-equipped Battleships while offering similar gun performance the Japaneses, especially after undergoing modernization in the 1920-30s. Many of them are also well designed (Unlike *Cough*Fuso*Cough*) to make the overall package more desirable.

The thing about Gun range is - the US never intended to "Attack enemy Battleship" directly unlike the Japanese who constantly dreamt of having a "Jutland" like faceoff with the US, so it is rather unlikely to say how much of an effect Gun range will have. Then again, both are quite similar in terms of this.

 

Armor: The Japanese's armor had problems regarding quality and being too "Hard" (You need a degree of softness to allow the armor to move around when being hit, or else the armor will just "Breaks" despite theoretical toughness , if you know what I mean).

Meanwhile the US see armor as the most important thing in designing their Battleship. All US Battlehship (Except the Wyomings and the New York, I think as they have not adopted All-Or-Nothing) can take 14 inch AP easily in safe distance. South Dakota take that one step further to resisting Mk6 16 inch gun shells (The L/45 one, not the Iowa's L/50).

Also, it is worth noting that the Nagato's armor are pretty rubbish for it's time - it can only resist 12 inch gun shell, meaning even the older Battleships like the Neveda, New Mexico etc can take it on while having a lot of ships to spare (should it really come down to a 1 on 1).

 

Speed is something the Americans sacrifice for Firepower and armor, so nothing to argue there.

Edited by Alvin1020

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*Ahem*

 

Probably not. (The older) US Battleships are slow, as they are NOT intended to fight alone (which they never are either), but as packs. (And also due to their design philosophy, but that is not the main point here)

 

Also, please do note that comparable Japanese Battleships (Anything up to Nagato Class) do not have any significant advantage over any Battleships up to Colarado Class of the US, in terms of:

 

Firepower: The US had a boat load more 14 inch gun-equipped Battleships while offering similar gun performance the Japaneses, especially after undergoing modernization in the 1920-30s. Many of them are also well designed (Unlike *Cough*Fuso*Cough*) to make the overall package more desirable.

The thing about Gun range is - the US never intended to "Attack enemy Battleship" directly unlike the Japanese who constantly dreamt of having a "Jutland" like faceoff with the US, so it is rather unlikely to say how much of an effect Gun range will have. Then again, both are quite similar in terms of this.

 

Armor: The Japanese's armor had problems regarding quality and being too "Hard" (You need a degree of softness to allow the armor to move around when being hit, or else the armor will just "Breaks" despite theoretical toughness , if you know what I mean).

Meanwhile the US see armor as the most important thing in designing their Battleship. All US Battlehship (Except the Wyomings and the New York, I think as they have not adopted All-Or-Nothing) can take 14 inch AP easily in safe distance. South Dakota take that one step further to resisting Mk6 16 inch gun shells (The L/45 one, not the Iowa's L/50).

Also, it is worth noting that the Nagato's armor are pretty rubbish for it's time - it can only resist 12 inch gun shell, meaning even the older Battleships like the Neveda, New Mexico etc can take it on while having a lot of ships to spare (should it really come down to a 1 on 1).

 

Speed is something the Americans sacrifice for Firepower and armor, so nothing to argue there.

Sorry, I beg to differ here. Pre WWI, agree. However, until North Carolina all USN BBs had a design fault that made them pratically useless:  21knots. At this speed, the US standard battleships failed to be of any practical use. For this reason they were probably the least useful and therefore worst group of capital ships to serve during the era (RN BCs including the Japanese ones whilst strong contenders for this honor, at least proved a credible threat to the enemy). However theotically flawed the Fusos would have been more "desirable" to any WWI/II navy based on speed alone. 

 

As to he armor quality argument, there are many theories (probably from Navyweps) about this but in practicality, BB armor from all nations proved more than sufficient against any kind of surface fire encountered in both wars.  I could be mistaken, but I don't think any BB sank to surface fire in either war.  Perhaps you could count Bismark (with supposedly obsolete armor profile), but she (he) took a massive beating from a ridiculously superior force - no amount of addition armor would have saved her. Even after being pummeled by 14" & 16" she still had to be torpedoed before going under. 

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a design fault that made them pratically useless:  21knots. At this speed, the US standard battleships failed to be of any practical use. For this reason they were probably the least useful and therefore worst group of capital ships to serve during the era. 

 

"Era" - do you mean WW2 and/or the between wars years?

Note - this isn't a design fault. It was calculated, intended and not by accident that all the "standard" BB's were of the same/similar speeds:

 The Standard type, by specifying common tactical operational characteristics between classes, allowed battleships of different classes to operate together as a tactical unit (BatDiv) against enemy battleships. By contrast, other navies had fast and slow battleship classes that could not operate together unless limited to the performance of the ship with slowest speed and widest turning circle. Otherwise the battle line would be split into separate "fast" and "slow" wings. The Standard type was optimised for the battleship-centric naval strategy of the era of their design.

The next US battleship classes, beginning with the North Carolina class designed in the late 1930s and commissioned in 1941, marked a departure from the Standard type, introducing the fast battleships needed to escort the aircraft carriers that came to dominate naval strategy.

 In hindsight, it might have been nice to develop ships that were of equivalence to contemporary BB's, say 23-25 knots. However this would have gone against their "battle line" doctrine that the entire fleet was trained with. Also, BB's that could make 23-25 knots were still slower than cruisers and carriers, meaning these ships would have to slow down anyway to maintain formation. It's just the degrees of "how slow"...

 

Your commentary smacks of the "benefit of hindsight" and that's not a valid criticism by itself.

 

Tee

 

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"Era" - do you mean WW2 and/or the between wars years?

Note - this isn't a design fault. It was calculated, intended and not by accident that all the "standard" BB's were of the same/similar speeds:

 In hindsight, it might have been nice to develop ships that were of equivalence to contemporary BB's, say 23-25 knots. However this would have gone against their "battle line" doctrine that the entire fleet was trained with. Also, BB's that could make 23-25 knots were still slower than cruisers and carriers, meaning these ships would have to slow down anyway to maintain formation. It's just the degrees of "how slow"...

 

Your commentary smacks of the "benefit of hindsight" and that's not a valid criticism by itself.

 

Tee

 

 

OK. I used the wrong word. It was not a design 'fault'. With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that the USNs decision to keep to 21knots was a poor choice.  The logic behind this decision is easy to understand but proved to be mistaken.

Given that we are looking at history and not judging a particular person, the use of hindsight is entirely appropriate.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that by the time New Mexico was coming into service, the world had moved on to a 23~25 knot battle line. New Mexico, Tennesse & Colorado were all essentially built to an obsolete standard - thats 8 ships or enough to make  an independant battle line. 

As to how slow - when you are talking about the weeks involved in getting two battle fleets to meet and hours leading up to the actual battle - 2 knots is enormous advantage - and that is to match the "slow wing" of the era.  Contemporary fast battleships were making 25 knots and BCs 28. 

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