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The missing Iowas and the Montanas


RETAC21
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Someone is likely to know why, there were going to be 6 Iowa class battleships, so Kentucky (BB-65) was laid down in March 1942, being worked on until June, and then work stopped for 30 months or so, when it re-started running until 1947 when it was cancelled at 72% completion. Illinois was laid down in January 1945 and cancelled in August when 22% complete.

On the other hand, the Montanas were cancelled outright in 1943.

So what was The Navy thinking to decide in 1945 that it wanted 2 more battleships??? it should have been evident that the war would end before they were ready, and after Leyte, the Japanese were out of ships and oil.

 

 

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It may have been thinking in terms of the potential for loss of an Iowa-class or two in action off the Home Islands, and the prestige ramifications in the post-war era of having no replacements for them.

I am actually impressed they were canceled at all, considering bureaucratic momentum. Had the atomic bombs fizzled, I don't think they would have been.

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Regarding Kentucky, there might have been a consideration that when and if USN wanted to employ a battleship in some crazy new role (various ideas were proposed, most notably missile battleship), it would have been more economical to redesign an incomplete battleship, rather than reconstruct an existing ship.

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One factor was the performance of the Fast BBs in the Solomons, where they proved to be unexpectedly effective AAA platforms.  Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz pretty much doomed the fast BBs to the role of CV escorts, and, when the Divine Wind began to blow, such capabilities were very much in demand.

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On 9/6/2021 at 3:48 PM, RETAC21 said:

So what was The Navy thinking to decide in 1945 that it wanted 2 more battleships??? it should have been evident that the war would end before they were ready, and after Leyte, the Japanese were out of ships and oil

Could be some good old fashioned Congressional District pork barrelling?

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The USN likely wanted to replace the fifteen old 1910s and'20s vintage battleships with which they started the war.  They had completed ten new ones and two more would bring that up to twelve.  As time went in and budgets shrank, they seem to have decided they could make do with ten, especially as the Soviets had only one useful dreadnought in service.

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1 hour ago, Nobu said:

The USN may have had an eye on the number of dreadnoughts in service with the Royal Navy.

In 1945, The RN had five modern battleships in service or building  The French Navy had two.  The Turks had a pre WW1 ex German battle cruiser.

Italy had two new battleships, but they were scheduled to be handed over to the US and UK for scrapping.

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4 hours ago, Burncycle360 said:

We had over 100 carriers in various guises (fleet and escort) by the end of the war, so that was covered. I think the rest is lingering sentiment and institutional inertia.

Over simplification, I think:  enough of them remembered San Bernadino Strait and Taffy 3.

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Up until the late fifties, gun armed ships had an advantage over carriers that their major weapons systems worked nearly as well at night or in bad weather as in day light and good weather.

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1 hour ago, R011 said:

In 1945, The RN had five modern battleships in service or building  The French Navy had two.  The Turks had a pre WW1 ex German battle cruiser.

Italy had two new battleships, but they were scheduled to be handed over to the US and UK for scrapping.

Interesting. Six modern USN battleships ruling the waves in both the Pacific and Atlantic fleets would mean never having to cede superiority or joint command to the RN, in any hemisphere.

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27 minutes ago, TrustMe said:

I wonder if a modern day anti-ship missile would be able to penetrate a several inch's think armour plating of a WW2 era battleship?

Russian ones have huge EFP for a warhead, so yes.

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With an accurate enough missile one could select the angle and the point of impact. Vertically on a main artillery tower's roof, for instance. See the sinking of Regia Marina's Roma by Luftwaffe's FX-1400. The doctrine on immune zones got obsolete from one day to another.

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2 hours ago, Nobu said:

Interesting. Six modern USN battleships ruling the waves in both the Pacific and Atlantic fleets would mean never having to cede superiority or joint command to the RN, in any hemisphere.

Ten modern battleships.  Two North Carolinas, four South Dakotas, and four Iowas all with nine 16 inch guns compared to four King George V with ten 14 inch guns and one Vanguard with eight 15 inch guns.

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1 hour ago, MiloMorai said:

Both the Yamato and Musashi were sunk by air attack.

Yes.  In daylight and clear weather.  The North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans tend to be more difficult environments for 1950s aircraft than the Pacific.

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On 9/8/2021 at 4:39 PM, MiloMorai said:

Both the Yamato and Musashi were sunk by air attack.

As mentioned before the vast majority of BB's on the move were sunk by land based aircraft, not by CV based.

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1 hour ago, Colin said:

As mentioned before the vast majority of BB's on the move were sunk by land based aircraft, not by CV based.

In WW2 only three capital ships were sunk underway by land based air.  Four others were sunk in port.  Four capital ships were sunk underway by carrier air with six more in port.

 

Five more were sunk mostly by gunfire at sea.

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On 9/9/2021 at 8:55 AM, R011 said:

Ten modern battleships.  Two North Carolinas, four South Dakotas, and four Iowas all with nine 16 inch guns compared to four King George V with ten 14 inch guns and one Vanguard with eight 15 inch guns.

But only eight years older than the North Carolinas.... You forgot the Rodney and the Nelson, both with arguably better armour than the North Carolinas or the South Dakotas, and with nine 16in guns each.  Yes they needed major work by 1944, but if needs must that could have been carried out to extend their useful service lives.

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2 minutes ago, DougRichards said:

But only eight years older than the North Carolinas.... You forgot the Rodney and the Nelson, both with arguably better armour than the North Carolinas or the South Dakotas, and with nine 16in guns each.  Yes they needed major work by 1944, but if needs must that could have been carried out to extend their useful service lives.

North Carolina commissioned fourteen years after Rodney.  King George V thirteen years.  A great deal of progress had been made in that time.  On nearly the same tonnage the new ships were as well protected but several knots faster. The Nelsons by 1945 were too slow to keep up with more modern battleships and carriers, let alone Soviet cruisers.

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8 hours ago, R011 said:

North Carolina commissioned fourteen years after Rodney.  King George V thirteen years.  A great deal of progress had been made in that time.  On nearly the same tonnage the new ships were as well protected but several knots faster. The Nelsons by 1945 were too slow to keep up with more modern battleships and carriers, let alone Soviet cruisers.

Note that only the Iowas were considered by the USN to keep up with the carriers (according to Friedman's book), but in the late 40s the older battleships in reserve (North Carolina et al) were still being updated.

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8 hours ago, R011 said:

North Carolina commissioned fourteen years after Rodney.  King George V thirteen years.  A great deal of progress had been made in that time.  On nearly the same tonnage the new ships were as well protected but several knots faster. The Nelsons by 1945 were too slow to keep up with more modern battleships and carriers, let alone Soviet cruisers.

The Nelsons also had a hard time going in a straight line, more like a drunk walking down the street.

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A friend of mine related a wonderful story of HMS Nelson when she was stuck on the putty in Plymouth If I remember rightly. They tried revving the engines, that didnt work. So on a rising tide, they got the entire crew (or at least the ones not at the wheel or in the engine room) to run up and down on the main deck, back and forth. And amazingly it worked perfectly, seemingly broke the suction on the bottom of the hull.

There are some things you have to regret were never committed to film. But maybe it wasnt very eddifying for the RN's image....

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