Yamato vs. the Bismark

who’d win when shooting on even terms?

The Yamato. Bigger guns, thicker armor. It’s also a later design.

Plus the Yamato can deploy its wave motion gun.

ummm… what can you guys say about either ship’s actual combat performance?

This right here.

Dr’s answer takes care of the thread title. but as far as actual performance is concerned, the bismark seems to have been ahead.

OK, so there you go.

i’m still not decided. :smiley:

Why? Because it sunk the Hood?

well, bismark fans claim their 1938 design had the best shooting record of all battleships in history: engaged three enemy BBs and found the range for each within 4 salvos (WARNING: getting the range w/in 4 salvos does not guarantee an enemy ship getting sunk.)

Google Search for “Bismark Specifications


Yamato Specifications

Does that help?

Discuss. :rolleyes:

thanks but specs won’t answer my life-or-death request for humble opinions. when charter members (of another forum) start discussing the topic, their revelations tend to change one’s religious beliefs. examples:

  1. speed - a BB going in excess of 30 knots sounds good for chasing slower ships (or running away from a faster one.) but if you’re a battleship, you’re there to fight, not run away. if you make the other guy run, then you’ve won.

  2. armor - similar to the bullet stopping power myth, according to them. a battleship’s armor is in fact overmatched by most battleship guns in existence at the time. this means the prince of wales and the uss new mexico (12 14-inch guns) can both smash the yamato. also take note that battlships have been damaged or their operating efficiency was reduced by secondary fire alone.

  3. radar - good for long range or night fighting (assuming you had GOOD radar.) but there isn’t any ww2 BB engagement that was won and lost past 20,000 meters just using radar. BBs will charge at each other and both will likely survive to fight at close range, invariably using visual sighting.

  4. number of guns and caliber - refer to #2

You forgot the wave gun.

cite please.

  1. Speed can allow you to maneuver to where the enemy is in silhouette or the like, and determine the range of engagement - battleships are generally built to be most effective at a particular range, Hood went down while trying to get inside plunging fire ranges. Bismarck was designed to be most effective at more direct fire ranges as it expected low visibility in the North Sea to result in shorter range combat.

  2. The latest evidence suggests the Bismarcks armoured citadel was never fully penetrated by gunfire. An 18 inch shell might have changed that somewhat and finished the fight far more quickly. This might be more about UK shells though, and perhaps less of an issue between Bismarck and Yamato,

  3. See 1 - if you can see your enemy and they cant, it allows a more favourable starting position, and a greater ability to fight in bad weather/poor visibility. Also higher quality radar allows for far more effective fire control.

  4. See 2, but fire control is an important factor in this. Fair chance Yamato would already be receiving hits before it achieved anything.


nice. technically, most people agree the bismark’s guns were most effective at close to line-of-sight shooting. it’s high velocity also means it had a bit of an advantage at slightly longer ranges viz: the yamato/missouri can heave more shell on the first salvo. but by the fourth salvo (assuming neither side has been crippled) the bismark may well have thrown more shells accurately.

armor performance is hard to guage considering that one-on-one BB engagements are very rare. 2 vs 1 is more like it in which case 1’s armor will just tell you how long it will stand before getting sunk. i’ll go on a line by saying there has not been a telling ww2 engagement concerning battleship armor.

radar, as relating to range, you have very few examples of decisive advantage. the only long-range radar-aided victory i can think of is surigao straight. but then, 4 radar-equiped american BBs in line formation against one old japanese BB emerging nose-first from the mouth of a strait is pretty much a done deal. each american battleship fired at least 75 main battery rounds against the lone japanese BB.

Rather than hash things out here, the OP might do well to take a look here at an attempt by the people behind the Nihon Kaigun site to determine a ranking between some of the more famous classes of battleships seeing service during WWII.

Battleship Comparison

The way they went through the comparisons considered armoring, speed, weapon power, weapon accuracy, damage control, cruising range and speed.

Some of the answers you find there may surprise you. While a look at their numbers does support the idea that a Yamato class ship would win over a Bismark class vessel, it may not have been nearly the blow-out that some posters here are suggesting.

One factor to consider that hasn’t been mentioned here - while the Yamato class vessels had the largest calibre weapons, the quality control on the shells was not very good, affecting both accuracy and the ability to effect damage when they hit.

saw that one, thanks. i admit i didn’t wade through the numbers as much as you might have. but as i mentioned earlier, some of the analyses fall short. for instance, giving the south dakota only .5 less firepower rating than the bismark based mainly of the fact that it had nine 16" compared to bismark’s 8 15" is only page 1 of the story.

other ratings (obsviously bismark fans) give the german a firepower rating well in excess of second placer new jersey’s (but the new jersey still won overall as the bismark scored almost last on all other categories.)

with serious machinery like battleships, one can’t disregard the numbers. but i say bismark had one ace and that is actual performance. i think in a one-on-one confrontation under ideal conditions, the bismark would knock yamato deaf, dumb and blind in 10 rounds … err… 10 salvos.

Battlecruiser operational.

They were both a waste of money and material that should have gone to aircraft carriers or submarines.