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  #1  
Old 02-14-2009, 02:42 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Bring back the battleships?

From an earlier friendly PM discussion between What Exit? and me, posted here with his consent:

Elendil's Heir
An interesting idea... what do you think?
http://kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=584

What Exit?
An old subject that came up often while I was serving. The basic reasoning was Battleships have little real purpose other than Flag Waving and Beach support. They require a huge crew which is a bigger problem than the fuel needs. Basically there was no need for Nuclear powered BBs and little need for the ones we had back in service. They were cool and fun and I would have loved to serve on the USS New Jersey but they had little real value to the USN. They were not worth the expense of the massive retrofit.

That said, a Nuke BB would be very cool.

There is a silly little but fun book I read when I was in the Navy where the put Nukes on the USS Texas and high powered particle guns and used the Texas to fight of commy invaders. I remember it being a fun read but highly illogical. Google has failed me in finding the name of the book or author.

Wow, through a convoluted Amazon search I found it.
THE AYES OF TEXAS (Paperback) by Daniel Da Cruz (Author)

Elendil's Heir
Now you have to post a review!

I'm a big battleship fan. IMHO, bringing back the battleships was the best thing Reagan did in eight years. Even with their high operating costs, there's no better way, ton for ton, to have that kind of both firepower and survivability. Hell, I think we should build a new class of battleships - and the first should be the USS Monitor!

Also, see the "In fiction" subheading here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_California_(CGN-36)

What Exit?
I don't remember the book well enough to review it. I think you would enjoy it but I would not say it was a good book. Just a fun read.

What does the fire power do for us? Ship to Ship combat is extremely rare. The beach bombardment it very useful when we need it but I am not convinced that justifies the cost of the crew. If you could build a new crew efficient one that had some 16" guns, missiles and effectively Aegis electronics it might make an excellent multi-purpose flag ship. However, there just aren't any real Navies to fight* and the main purpose of ships now is to protect the carriers. So the armor & size seems like a luxury that is not justified. I love them, don't get me wrong. I just don't see the cost justification for them in these days. I would guess you could build a carrier for the same cost.

The key to the CGN success and use is that the crew is roughly ¼ that of the BBs. All they lack are big guns and armor. They actually have a lot of fire power though in their missiles.

* I think we could put out to see 3-4 fleets at any one time that are more powerful than the next best Navy. I might be underestimating the USN in saying that.

Elendil's Heir
"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." - George Washington, 1790

"...only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed." - John F. Kennedy, 1961

I like having a navy of unquestioned dominance. So did Great Britain, for more than a century.

The Marines are on record, not surprisingly, in favor of a robust shore-bombardment capability; you can never tell when you might need it. And shipkiller missiles have only grown deadlier since the Falklands War and the USS Stark incident, so armor is a definite plus. I strongly believe there's still a place for battleships in our mix of naval forces (we don't have CGNs anymore, either, alas).

Greater efficiency and smaller crews through smart, cost-effective automation would certainly be a good idea, though.

What Exit?
Wait, the CGNs are gone? Holy Cow, I had no idea. I see they've been gone for a while now.

I thought the only purpose of the Cruiser in today's Navy was to carry the Aegis combat control systems. They stopped being combat ships long ago. Basically missile platforms. As they now build smaller, better and more advanced Aegis systems on Destroyers, the Cruiser is probably dying off. Beside those Arleigh Burkes are as big or bigger than most of the past Cruisers.

The Zumwalt-class destroyer will look almost like your Monitor and be heavier than the CGNs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zumwalt_class

I guess my only concern with Cruisers were the fact that the Aegis one kept me safe on the Ranger.

Destroyers generally do everything a Cruiser use to do.

Elendil's Heir
Feh. According to that Wiki article, we're going to have two or three Zumwalt-class destroyers, at most. Congress, not for the first time in naval funding, is being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

What Exit?
I actually sent that before reading the article. I had no idea the order had been dropped to 2-3 Zumwalts.

It still seems like the Cruiser need is simply being replaced by large Destroyers.

I agree we need the ability to rapidly deployed a beach softening ship. The answer there has always been BB and we still have nothing better though if you can get a flight of B52s** nearby they were nearly as good.

What are the current plans for a beach invasion? Just don't bother? Use Copters? Smart Bombs from Carrier Jets?

** The Air Force is planning to keep the B52s flying until 2040. The B52H are now approved to fly on FT jet fuel.

Elendil's Heir
Air Force jets are going to be subject to flak and SAMs, and the Marines are historically leery of relying on anyone other than the Navy to supply their needs (transport, medical, etc.). I don't think that's the answer.

Amazing that B-52s are going to be aloft for so long. It'll far and away be the longest-serving active-inventory U.S. warplane, I'd guess.

What Exit?
True on both counts.

* * * * *

So now we throw the topic open for GD Dopers. What do you think?

Last edited by tomndebb; 04-24-2012 at 02:21 PM.. Reason: This ZOMBIE thread from March, 2009, was revived in Post #218, in April, 2012.
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2009, 02:51 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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There is no conceivable realistic situation in which we would have to invade a country with marines landing on a beach. I vote we build a government-funded university with free tuition for 10 thousand kids a year rather than build and maintain a lumbering monstrous floating behemoth just because it's scary and looks cool. Almost anything we could do with that money would be better than building giant slabs of metal with no greater purpose than launching a bunch of shit really far.
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  #3  
Old 02-14-2009, 02:54 PM
mswas mswas is offline
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How about Marines in power armor instead?
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  #4  
Old 02-14-2009, 03:00 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is offline
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Originally Posted by Mosier View Post
There is no conceivable realistic situation in which we would have to invade a country with marines landing on a beach.
Not strictly true. However, I agree that it's a low-probability scenario. Why should we spend billions on dollars on a massive weapon platform that's only good for one relatively uncommon thing?
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:02 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Elendil's Heir
"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." - George Washington, 1790

"...only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed." - John F. Kennedy, 1961

I like having a navy of unquestioned dominance. So did Great Britain, for more than a century.

The Marines are on record, not surprisingly, in favor of a robust shore-bombardment capability; you can never tell when you might need it. And shipkiller missiles have only grown deadlier since the Falklands War and the USS Stark incident, so armor is a definite plus. I strongly believe there's still a place for battleships in our mix of naval forces (we don't have CGNs anymore, either, alas).

...

What do you think?
Battleships are a complete waste of money. So is the rest of the U. S. Navy. so is most of the U. S. military. As for President Washington's quote there, he 's wrong. Preparing for war does not preserve peace. It preserves war.

Consider this for a moment. Suppose that America spent $500,000,000,000 dollars a year on its military, and that military just sat around year after year without doing anything. What would happen? Obviously the American taxpayers would wonder why they were spending so much money on an institution that accomplished nothing. They would would demand that the military budget be cut.

There are powerful interests who are interested in maintaining a large military. Those would include the actual soldiers, the commanders, companies that contract with the military, and politicians who want to brag about how much they spend on the military. Since these people don't want budget cuts, the result is obvious: war. We'll go to war for the purpose of justifying our large military. Indeed, since the creation of a standing army in the 1840's, America has been going to war with remarkable regularity. Sometimes the war came to us, but that hasn't happened since 1945. Since that time, it's always been us going out of our way to start the war.

Of course I do not mean to suggest that everyone who supports any war does so just to justify a large military. I merely mean that for some people, including some powerful people, a large military provides an incentive to lean in that direction. Shrink the military, and you'll get fewer wars.

Consider the Second Iraq War. Having a large military was a necessary condition for starting that war. If our military was a more reasonable size, we wouldn't have gone to war, and a million lives would have been saved.

Personally, I think that the U. S. military could be reduced by ninety percent. This would also have another obvious advantage: it would save money. We've agonized over the $400,000,000,000 deficits for the past few years, but few people realize that we could have had balanced budgets if we weren't spending all that money on the military. Even in our current crisis, trimming the military could take us half the distance to a balanced budget.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:03 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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Originally Posted by Pochacco View Post
Not strictly true. However, I agree that it's a low-probability scenario. Why should we spend billions on dollars on a massive weapon platform that's only good for one relatively uncommon thing?
I know you're agreeing with me, but I'm curious to know what scenario you were thinking of when you said "low-probability". I'm wracking my brain trying to think of one that's even remotely possible, and I can't do it. Are we talking about far-fetched ideas like having to invade Japan, Australia, or England?
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:05 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
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I'm also in agreement with Mosier about battleships being useless. It amazes me how many people still think that WWII is going on, or could flare back up again at any moment. In reality, it's been more than fifty years since the last time armies clashed in the field for control of territory. Modern warfare is guerilla warfare. There is no exception. There is zero possibility of the United States ever having to make an amphibious landing under fire.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:08 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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The Confederacy firing on Ft. Sumter, or the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, or the 9-11 Al Qaeda attacks were all equally far-fetched, almost impossible even, a decade before they happened. We cannot know what the future holds.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:10 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
The Confederacy firing on Ft. Sumter, or the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, or the 9-11 Al Qaeda attacks were all equally far-fetched, almost impossible even, a decade before they happened. We cannot know what the future holds.
Fat lot of good the battleships did us in those scenarios, huh.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:11 PM
Algher Algher is online now
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I was temporarily attached to a Marine unit on the New Jersey - awesome experience.

I wonder if the Battleships would be of help in some of the Middle East / Africa patrolling? As foreign nations buy old ships, would a Battleship help in keeping things safe?

For beach assaults, that was part of Iraq. I could see needing it in Iran for a second front. We went ashore in Somalia, but that was a photo op. The question of a beach assault is really a question of how we will use our military in the years to come.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:15 PM
abel29a abel29a is offline
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I can think of one possible scenario where a beach invasion might make sense. If the US did end up in an armed conflict with North Korea, I'd think a invasion well north of the DMZ might make sense to avoid a long and costly fight throught the North Korean DMZ defences...

But as others have stated earlier - BBs are far to expensive, and the idea of a battle ship has been obsolete since the Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese aircraft in 1942. You'd have to pour way to much resources into a platform that can be taken out through low cost means, particulaily today with the plethora of very good anti-ship missiles. Apart from carriers, no ships today has any reason to be bigger than a destroyer/frigate class.

As for shore bombardment - why not bring back some sort of gunboat. A small vessel with one large gun - a fleet of eight of these would be equal in firepower to a battle ship, and they would be very cheap and the Navy could easily afford the cost of loosing a few.. (In terms of monies, not man power)
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:20 PM
appleciders appleciders is offline
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It's not insane to think that in the next twenty years or so, US Marines would make landings in Somalia, Pakistan, or Iran. I would rate that as a "low probability" scenario. That said, couldn't that sort of beach support fire come from a small group of smaller ships designed to do the same thing?
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:26 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
The Confederacy firing on Ft. Sumter, or the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, or the 9-11 Al Qaeda attacks were all equally far-fetched, almost impossible even, a decade before they happened.
Actually in all three of those cases, somebody in the United States military or intelligence community did predict the event some years before it happened. However, that's missing the main point. WWII is over and so is the style of fighting that it involved. Armies don't clash in the field because it would be suicidal to do so. An army taking up a position can be bombarded by airplanes or missiles with impunity. That's why modern warfare is guerilla warfare. The dominant power is always the one that holds air supremacy. Anyone who opposes that dominant power must live in hiding, striking with guerilla attacks, terrorism, IEDs, assassinations, and so forth. It was true in Vietnam. It was true in Algeria. It is true in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's not going to change. That we'll someday have an amphibious landing in hostile territory is as impossible as going back to war with swords and spears.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:27 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Originally Posted by appleciders View Post
It's not insane to think that in the next twenty years or so, US Marines would make landings in Somalia, Pakistan, or Iran. I would rate that as a "low probability" scenario. That said, couldn't that sort of beach support fire come from a small group of smaller ships designed to do the same thing?
Small boats currently don't have the ability to do a good job of beach support but between heavy bomb loads from bombers, smart bombs and missile strikes we might have new and more accurate options. There is also talk of rocket assisted shells so you can send a 5" shell 40-60 miles instead of 12-13 miles. These are/were under development. I think the money is better spent on these new systems than the glorious Battleships.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:33 PM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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You know what can also soften a beach? Aircraft. A flight of Apaches can support a beach landing just as well as a floating artillary battery.

And if you really want ships bombarding the shore, stick an MLRS on a frigate. You'll have all the fire support you'll need.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:47 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Yes, battleships are good for softening up a beach for a landing, but you could also do that job with missiles or planes. The usual objection to this is that 16" shells are cheaper than missiles, and that's true, if you get to the point of actually using them. But given that the expected probability of needing a beach assault is low, we have to figure that into the cost-benefit analysis. Battleships are great for beach assaults, but a waste of money if we don't, but the same planes and missiles that could be used for landings could also be used for other purposes.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:57 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Originally Posted by ITR champion View Post
Battleships are a complete waste of money.
We start off by agreeing. I love those old battleships, but they make no sense in the modern navy. Shore bombardment is the only conceivable scenario in which they are useful, but there are replacements even in that role. With B-2's being able to fly all the way to most engagement sites and back again.

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So is the rest of the U. S. Navy. so is most of the U. S. military. As for President Washington's quote there, he 's wrong. Preparing for war does not preserve peace. It preserves war.
This is absolutely wrong. The U.S. downgraded so much of its military after WWII that it barely had the men to send to Korea. That didn't seem to usher in an era of peace, did it?

The only times of relative peace in modern history were during the Pax Brittania and the Pax Americana, when a relatively benign government had overwhelming military strength. The existence of the U.S. carrier fleet acts as a curb on violence around the world. The knowledge that the U.S. will intervene in conflicts keeps a lot of them from starting.

"If you wish for peace, prepare for war."

Countries aren't attacked because they are too strong - they are attacked because they are weak.

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Of course I do not mean to suggest that everyone who supports any war does so just to justify a large military. I merely mean that for some people, including some powerful people, a large military provides an incentive to lean in that direction. Shrink the military, and you'll get fewer wars.
You'll maybe get fewer wars that the U.S. starts. You'll get a lot more that other countries start. Why did Saddam invade Kuwait? Because he became convinced that the U.S. would not come to Kuwait's aid. This fundamental question of "Will the United States stop me?" keeps an awful lot of aggression in check around the world.

Quote:
Consider the Second Iraq War. Having a large military was a necessary condition for starting that war. If our military was a more reasonable size, we wouldn't have gone to war, and a million lives would have been saved.
The only thing I want to say here is that nowhere NEAR one million people died in the Iraq war. Even the grossly flawed Lancet study came up with around 600,000. The true number is likely half of that or less.

Quote:
Personally, I think that the U. S. military could be reduced by ninety percent. This would also have another obvious advantage: it would save money. We've agonized over the $400,000,000,000 deficits for the past few years, but few people realize that we could have had balanced budgets if we weren't spending all that money on the military. Even in our current crisis, trimming the military could take us half the distance to a balanced budget.
And I think that if the U.S. military was 1/10 its size, conflict would erupt around the world.
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Old 02-14-2009, 04:07 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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Originally Posted by Mosier View Post
I know you're agreeing with me, but I'm curious to know what scenario you were thinking of when you said "low-probability". I'm wracking my brain trying to think of one that's even remotely possible, and I can't do it. Are we talking about far-fetched ideas like having to invade Japan, Australia, or England?
China? Pakistan?
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Old 02-14-2009, 04:14 PM
John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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Now, there has been talk of a completely new class of battleships which use railguns which can fire finned (guided) projectiles from hundreds of miles away with huge kinetic energies.
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Old 02-14-2009, 04:35 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is online now
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Also, forgive me if I'm misremembering, but going back to the WW2 archetype, didn't a lot of pre-invasion "softening" bombardment (both naval and air) in various fronts of that war turn up to not "soften" the defenses quite as much as expected? Then again, that may have come from a lack of precision munitions, wherein a majority of your shells/bombs would not even come close to an actual enemy position and just blew sand in the air ...

Nevertheless, one does understand the conceptual attractiveness of a shore-bombardment system that does not require a crew to actually overfly the hot zone (bomber) and where you can have a large amount of less-expensive warheads on a fast-reloading launch device. As suggested by the concepts brought up by both abel29a and Alessan, THAT could be addressed instead through the creation of an actual Naval Fire Support Bombardment System, either on a dedicated vessel or as a module that takes the place of part of the weapons suite on a multipurpose platform. You'd probably get away with putting that on something Cruiser-class, or even on something LSD-class (which ISTM the Marines would love); going the whole Battleship megillah would be an inefficient use of resources for this type of contingency. IMO battleships, in their day, were huge and mighty and awesome because they had to be to pack the kind of shell-and-powder-based weapons suite and armor to be able to take on ANY other major surface vessel, while on high seas deployments, and as a bonus provide shore bombardment support in the kind of quantities that older carrier-based bombers could not deliver. Under current naval doctrine, though, there is no call for a vessel that would be expected to be able to slug it out against all comers.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:30 PM
3acresandatruck 3acresandatruck is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Now you have to post a review!
About The Ayes of Texas:

SPOILER:

Basically, a wealthy Texan industrialist thinks the US is headed the wrong way and is giving in to the dirty Russian commies. The Soviet fleet is coming to Houston as part of a 'showing the flag' tour. Our hero pays for and directs the restoration of the Texas, where it sits in the Houston Ship Channel. Under cover provided by this project, he actually establishes a secret project to re-engine and re-arm the Texas as a supermodern, superfast nuclear powered battleship cum hydrofoil armed with energy weapons.

In the end,
SPOILER:

The Texas takes on and destroys the Soviet fleet in a battle in the ship channel which includes the explosion of the Texas's reactors.

There was a sequel (not involving the Texas, but including some of the characters from the first book) called Texas on the Rocks. That one has some cool Flettner sail action.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:36 PM
Quartz Quartz is online now
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Would it be better to say that battleships as mounts for big guns are a waste of money?

BBs have two big weaknesses: above and below. WW2 showed that they were vulnerable to air attack and WW2 and the Falklands War demonstrated how effective torpedoes were against them. However, the same could be said about aircraft carriers.

So, what if we put them in the centre of the battle group with the carrier and re-cast them as a platform for large weapons? Weapons too large to be carried on smaller ships. Are there such weapons? Nuclear missiles come to mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosier
There is no conceivable realistic situation in which we would have to invade a country with marines landing on a beach
Umm... Normandy? Korea?
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  #23  
Old 02-14-2009, 07:50 PM
DeptfordX DeptfordX is offline
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This isn't '44 or '51. Aircraft with precision attack munitions flatten all defences.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:51 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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You know what can also soften a beach? Aircraft. A flight of Apaches can support a beach landing just as well as a floating artillary battery....
Don't be so sure. We didn't use Apaches in Kosovo in 1999 because we were so concerned about their vulnerability to ground fire.
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:32 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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This argument goes on and on.

It is simply impossible to restore an old BB to operation. Such a ship would require too many expensive sailors. Darn shame, but that is that.

A new ship designed to do shore bombardment would be way cool, but would not be a battleship. No acreage of armor. No vast secondary batteries. No anti-air guns.
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  #26  
Old 02-14-2009, 09:36 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Don't be so sure. We didn't use Apaches in Kosovo in 1999 because we were so concerned about their vulnerability to ground fire.
But you still need to justify a BB over all the other inexpensive alternatives like the rocket assisted shells, missile and high altitude bombing with smart bombs and even FAE. Alessan brought up MLRS on a small ship. Another good solution.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:34 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I don't think so. It couldn't hurl nearly the amount or weight of ordnance that a battleship could, nor would it be armored as a battleship would be.

Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 02-14-2009 at 10:35 PM..
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Old 02-14-2009, 11:29 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
Umm... Normandy? Korea?
The "softening up" naval fire on D-Day was largely ineffective. The most USEFUL naval fire was from destroyers with crappy, little 5-inch guns.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:23 AM
Quartz Quartz is online now
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This isn't '44 or '51. Aircraft with precision attack munitions flatten all defences.
Assuming they get through. Just the same as with an aircraft carrier.
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  #30  
Old 02-15-2009, 03:21 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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It's a moot point - no-one would ever perform a landing without air supremacy anyway.
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  #31  
Old 02-15-2009, 04:11 AM
Dissonance Dissonance is online now
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I've got a lot of nostalgia for battlewagons myself, but their day came and went. They had their heyday as the queens of the sea before carriers began to replace them. They were once the epitome of technology, a heavily armored warship able to fire the largest of caliber shells further than any other ship could reach with a pretty good accuracy for the day.

Much as there is a conventional wisdom that battleships were obsolete in WW2, they were anything but. They were no longer the queen of the seas, that mantle was passed to aircraft carriers, but there were a lot of surface engagements that occurred, particularly during nighttime. For example 4 of the 10 battleships lost by Japan during WW2 were lost to nighttime surface engagements. These were days when aircraft were pretty much neutered at night. Even without that, the days of the battleship were clearly numbered; nobody built battleships after WW2 ended. Post WW2, the entirety of their reason for existing became shore bombardment.

While nothing can beat the crap out of shore targets like a battleship can, it’s become a very niche role. The cost of maintaining a battleship for service is very high, in large part due to their age and manning requirements. No doubt a purposely designed battleship from the ground up today would require far less crew, and maintenance might be lower, but it would require a huge investment, and the only return would be shore bombardment. Again, it’s a very niche role in the modern world for a very large cost

Much as I get nostalgic about battlewagons, even the reactivation of the Iowas during the Reagan administration was probably anachronistic and a huge waste of money in the end. Their only real combat use after reactivation was to bombard Kuwaiti shores as a diversion, no amphibious assault was planned.

Battleships no longer control the seas, they are very expensive to maintain, and the only thing that they can do better than any other naval ship is shore bombardment - though with the advances in technology, it's far too close of a game with carrier aircraft that now can operate at night and in all weather conditions and can drop ordinance far, far more accurately than in WW2. For the very ,very few countries that can afford to build carriers or battleships, what would be the more logical choice for the investment - a battleship which can only beat a carrier (possibly) at shore bombardment or an aircraft carrier which is extremely versatile and very good at pretty much anything it can do - which cover a lot of ground, from sea denial to sea control to tactical air strikes to strategic air strikes far, far out of range of a battleship’s guns.

From pure nostalgia for all that they did at one time, I'd love to see a role for battleships in the modern world, but frankly there isn't one.
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  #32  
Old 02-15-2009, 04:33 AM
I Love Me, Vol. I I Love Me, Vol. I is offline
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Originally Posted by abel29a View Post
As for shore bombardment - why not bring back some sort of gunboat. A small vessel with one large gun - a fleet of eight of these would be equal in firepower to a battle ship, and they would be very cheap and the Navy could easily afford the cost of loosing a few..
While the Navy might be able to afford loosing a few against an enemy, losing a few might prove more costly.

Sorry, I just can't let the abomination of the constant misspelling of "lose" and "loosing" go by without comment. It is a far greater threat to the USA than any anti-ship missile. Please stop this NOW (everyone-- not just you abel29a).
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  #33  
Old 02-15-2009, 05:46 AM
sailor sailor is offline
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Sorry, I just can't let the abomination of the constant misspelling of "lose" and "loosing" go by without comment.
There was a cartoon online which I cannot find now and said, more or less:
Quote:
I often get feedback from readers who disagree with me and tell me I am a "looser". For those who fail to see the humor in that let me offer a device in remembering the difference between "looser" and "loser". "Looser" refers to the state of your mother's vagina after giving birth to you, the loser.
Maybe someone can find it.
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  #34  
Old 02-15-2009, 05:53 AM
abel29a abel29a is offline
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Originally Posted by I Love Me, Vol. I View Post
While the Navy might be able to afford loosing a few against an enemy, losing a few might prove more costly.

Sorry, I just can't let the abomination of the constant misspelling of "lose" and "loosing" go by without comment. It is a far greater threat to the USA than any anti-ship missile. Please stop this NOW (everyone-- not just you abel29a).
Bah, I blame the 'o' key of my keyboard - it must have gotten some jam on it or something and gotten semi-stuck (Plus, it's become such a prevalent error to make, how can you expect a poor non-english speaking foreigner to keep tabs on what is the correct word in that situation )
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  #35  
Old 02-15-2009, 07:19 AM
Dissonance Dissonance is online now
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"If you wish for peace, prepare for war."
While I am in agreement with you on the issue of battleships, and I don't think dissolving the military down to nothing will cause peace - or even less warfare, it always irks me to see this one Roman quote tossed about unchallanged.

"To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they (Rome) call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace. " - Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
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  #36  
Old 02-15-2009, 07:49 AM
BJMoose BJMoose is offline
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There is no conceivable realistic situation in which we would have to invade a country with marines landing on a beach. . . .
Quite true. But that didn't keep us from doing an old-fashioned beach storming during the Clinton administration (Somalia, wasn't it?). As I recall, the leathernecks bitched about all the television lights on the beach. Seriously.
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  #37  
Old 02-15-2009, 08:02 AM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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Deleted; too much of a hijack

Last edited by Der Trihs; 02-15-2009 at 08:05 AM..
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  #38  
Old 02-15-2009, 08:14 AM
3acresandatruck 3acresandatruck is offline
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Quite true. But that didn't keep us from doing an old-fashioned beach storming during the Clinton administration (Somalia, wasn't it?). As I recall, the leathernecks bitched about all the television lights on the beach. Seriously.
Well, we went into Somalia in December 1992, during the waning days of the Bush I presidency. I don't really remember if it was there or a beach assault during the Iraq-Kuwait thingy that the tv crews filmed the Marines coming in.
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  #39  
Old 02-15-2009, 08:23 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Revive the battleship? It would be stupid beyond belief. There is no role for these things anymore, and they are vulnerable to cruise misiles. The battleship was obsolete by 1930. So are most surface ships (except for carriers). We ought to reduce the surface fleet to carriers and destroyers and some fast gunboats (like the Swedish navy has done). There will NEVER be another fleet-fleet slugfest on the high seas, because no other navy has them (unless you count the UK and France, who are unlikly to be enemies).
As for getting involved in 3rd-world civil wars, you WOULD THINK we might have learned a few lessons from Somalia, iraq, Afghanistan...
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  #40  
Old 02-15-2009, 08:31 AM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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I've got a lot of nostalgia for battlewagons myself, but their day came and went. They had their heyday as the queens of the sea before carriers began to replace them. They were once the epitome of technology, a heavily armored warship able to fire the largest of caliber shells further than any other ship could reach with a pretty good accuracy for the day.

Much as there is a conventional wisdom that battleships were obsolete in WW2, they were anything but. They were no longer the queen of the seas, that mantle was passed to aircraft carriers, but there were a lot of surface engagements that occurred, particularly during nighttime. For example 4 of the 10 battleships lost by Japan during WW2 were lost to nighttime surface engagements. These were days when aircraft were pretty much neutered at night. Even without that, the days of the battleship were clearly numbered; nobody built battleships after WW2 ended. Post WW2, the entirety of their reason for existing became shore bombardment.

While nothing can beat the crap out of shore targets like a battleship can, it’s become a very niche role. The cost of maintaining a battleship for service is very high, in large part due to their age and manning requirements. No doubt a purposely designed battleship from the ground up today would require far less crew, and maintenance might be lower, but it would require a huge investment, and the only return would be shore bombardment. Again, it’s a very niche role in the modern world for a very large cost

Much as I get nostalgic about battlewagons, even the reactivation of the Iowas during the Reagan administration was probably anachronistic and a huge waste of money in the end. Their only real combat use after reactivation was to bombard Kuwaiti shores as a diversion, no amphibious assault was planned.

Battleships no longer control the seas, they are very expensive to maintain, and the only thing that they can do better than any other naval ship is shore bombardment - though with the advances in technology, it's far too close of a game with carrier aircraft that now can operate at night and in all weather conditions and can drop ordinance far, far more accurately than in WW2. For the very ,very few countries that can afford to build carriers or battleships, what would be the more logical choice for the investment - a battleship which can only beat a carrier (possibly) at shore bombardment or an aircraft carrier which is extremely versatile and very good at pretty much anything it can do - which cover a lot of ground, from sea denial to sea control to tactical air strikes to strategic air strikes far, far out of range of a battleship’s guns.

From pure nostalgia for all that they did at one time, I'd love to see a role for battleships in the modern world, but frankly there isn't one.
Great Post but as to Reagan's reactivation.

This was discussed while I was serving and was fairly well known in the service and I thought outside of it by those interested in the military. The BBs were brought back primarily as big impressive flag-waving flag ships. It was much the idea of the "Great White Fleet". It was meant to impress and awe. The cost to bring them back was actually cheaper than building a state-of-the-art Cruiser of the time though of course operational expenses were huge.

The other part was the the Iowa's class armor was much greater than that of any other ship floating in the 80s except for some of our carriers. What I recall and it might be off, is very few of the nations that were not our allies had Torps and Missile that could disable or sink an Iowa class. Maybe this was hype or pure scuttlebutt but the idea was the BBs were for 3rd world nations and never the USSR or China.
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  #41  
Old 02-15-2009, 08:49 AM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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Battleships have been sunk by very primitive ASM's

By Torpedos from Submarines

By frogmen

Why do you want 2000+ casulties for free?
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  #42  
Old 02-15-2009, 08:52 AM
puppygod puppygod is offline
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Hmm. Let's see...

Pros:
- firepower
- armor might increase survivability (though I'd like to see how thick it needs to be to survive direct hit from Mach 2.5 anti-ship missile)
- big platform allows for variable equipment and armament

Cons:
- cost
- huge operation cost means you need to keep it safe at home rather than risk loosing it to terrorist explosive-laden boat somewhere at the shores of Somalia
OR
- needs battle-ship group akin to carrier group for it defense, which further restricts possible mission scenarios and increase operation costs
- huge signature means it can be detected and targeted from very far
- probably rather slow, even with nuclear power
- no or very limited stand-off capability
- lack of precision bombardment capability (though it can be eventually solved through development of guided 16inch munition)

So, we would need to throw A LOT of money at something that we wouldn't use anyway. I'm not convinced.
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  #43  
Old 02-15-2009, 09:00 AM
Revenant Threshold Revenant Threshold is online now
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
I like having a navy of unquestioned dominance. So did Great Britain, for more than a century.
I don't have the knowledge to be able to debate battleships, but I did want to point this out; having a navy of unquestioned dominance didn't stop us from getting into wars.
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  #44  
Old 02-15-2009, 09:11 AM
Grumman Grumman is online now
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Originally Posted by puppygod View Post
- huge signature means it can be detected and targeted from very far
Huge compared to what?

Quote:
- probably rather slow, even with nuclear power
The non-nuclear Iowa has a speed of 33 knots, which compares favourably with other ships, including nuclear-powered supercarriers and frigates 1/10th its weight.
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  #45  
Old 02-15-2009, 10:03 AM
puppygod puppygod is offline
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Originally Posted by Grumman View Post
Huge compared to what?
To ships with smaller displacement, fewer sticking-out bits and less power output.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumman View Post
The non-nuclear Iowa has a speed of 33 knots, which compares favourably with other ships, including nuclear-powered supercarriers and frigates 1/10th its weight.
I stand corrected.
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  #46  
Old 02-15-2009, 10:19 AM
sailor sailor is offline
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Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold View Post
I don't have the knowledge to be able to debate battleships, but I did want to point this out; having a navy of unquestioned dominance didn't stop us from getting into wars.
I agree. Military dominance *may* deter some enemy aggression (some will just be done unconventional means where conventional military power is useless) while greatly increasing the likelihood of military aggression from the dominant side.

A multilateral equilibrium is probably better for peace. A multilateral equilibrium with treaties agreeing that anybody who starts shit gets knocked down by everybody else would be best but that is still some ways off.
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  #47  
Old 02-15-2009, 10:21 AM
Spiny Norman Spiny Norman is offline
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I don't think so. It couldn't hurl nearly the amount or weight of ordnance that a battleship could, nor would it be armored as a battleship would be.
Armor is a losing proposition against guided anti-ship missiles. Battleships were armored to be able to engage smaller surface combatants with impunity. They could do that, because a smaller ship could only carry a smaller gun, with a smaller warhead. Missiles changed that - a frigate can now deliver a ship-killing missile. Also, missiles move the engagement range out to 100+ miles easily - no enemy ships are going to be stupid enough to blunder within gun range. And while a battleship may survive more missile hits and keep floating, superstructure elements like antennas etc. will be gone. It'll be floating, but it's questionable whether it'll be fighting. WWII technology killed battleships.

(Besides, if the enemy is able to project ship-killing munitions out to battleship gun range, your invasion fleet with its thin-skinned landing craft is doomed.)

As for weight of shell, easily available data (Wikipedia, natch) says that a 12-round MLRS launcher salvo firing the M31 rocket (actually, I guess, missile) puts 2400 pounds of HE on target, guided, with a 20-mile range. Decent enough, compared to the 2700 pound free-flight shell and 23-mile range of the battleship gun. But then the gun and breech alone weigh 120+ tons, not counting the turret and gunlaying mechanism etc. It is a beast of a weapons system to drag around.

An entire MLRS vehicle weighs 28 tons. We can probably strip off the tracks and engines for shipboard use, and use some of the weight for a better reloading system, the high reload time being a bit af an Achilles' heel for the MLRS.

The only thing the battleship gun delivers that can't be matched otherwise is the pure weight of the 2700 pound shell - but if I was the one needing super-heavy fire support, I'd take a 2000 pound JDAM or LJDAM with its much higher precision. If I didn't have a target that explicitly needed a 2700 pound warhead, I'd much rather have the ability to engage 12 targets with 200 pounds each.

If you were to sit down in 2009 and design a coast bombardment ship, you wouldn't end up with a battleship.
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  #48  
Old 02-15-2009, 02:00 PM
smithsb smithsb is offline
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All the armor of a battleship is in the wrong location. It was designed to fight other ships armed with naval rifles - low trajectory high speed shells so armor was concentrated on the sides. Teak decks. Modern anti-ship missiles and guided bombs have top attack trajectories (similiar to anti-tank missiles which attack the thinner top armor). Relatively easy to penetrate into the depths of the ship to deliver a lethal blow.

Torpedoes used to impact the side of ships below the water line hence battleships had thicker belts of armor placed below the water line. Current torpedoes (and underwater mines) destroy the ships by detonating below the keel breaking the back of the ships. Other torpedoes have multi-stage shaped charges to penetrate conventional armor and then produce additional after-armor effects.

Backers say we can add all kinds of anti-missile missiles, self-defense guns but the this entire makeover drives costs completely out of the ballpark and doesn't address below water attacks.

New projectiles would need to be developed. The only current projectile is the MK19 Mod 0 which has grenades same as the MLRS (rocket/unguided is correct). 400 total for an explosive weight of "ta da" nineteen pounds out of a total shell weight of 1880 lb. Former Navy depots like Crane, Hawthorne, and McAlester might find some old common, AP, or HC (high capacity) rounds rusting away that haven't been destroyed yet but the explosive weight is actually less than 10% of the round's total weight. Range is 36km.

Couple of other notes. the guided version of the MLRS called the GMLRS has two warheads with the biggest bang being a <200 lb explosive weight unitary warhead. It also has a reduced grenade warhead with 400 grenades. Range is approx 70km max.
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  #49  
Old 02-15-2009, 04:42 PM
I Love Me, Vol. I I Love Me, Vol. I is offline
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Originally Posted by abel29a View Post
Bah, I blame the 'o' key of my keyboard - it must have gotten some jam on it or something and gotten semi-stuck (Plus, it's become such a prevalent error to make, how can you expect a poor non-english speaking foreigner to keep tabs on what is the correct word in that situation )
I didn't realize that English was not your first language. And it's exactly because it's become so prevalent that I made the comment. It is truly a abomination and I like to draw attention to it when I see it in hopes of curbing it before we start getting all of those "English is a living language! This is just a natural change!" comments. I only started seeing this is the last 2 or 3 years.

I understand how fads start--people see other people wearing huge sunglasses (or some such) and think: "Hey that's cool! I want to be just like them!". I don't understand people seeing a misspelling and thinking: "Wow! Using "loose" when the writer really meant "lose" is pretty hip! I think I'll start spelling it that way!"

Rant concluded.
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  #50  
Old 02-15-2009, 05:01 PM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
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I rather favor the railgun variety. 290 miles, mach speed, time on target in minutes. Still faster than airplanes, especially in cases of multiple targets. Fire, change target, fire, change target, fire...

The 1940s Battleship is dead. The 2009 one is just being reborn.
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