USS Indianapolis vs Panzerschiff Admiral Graff Spee?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by USS_Ward, Apr 11, 2019.


USS Indianapolis VS Graf Spee (Round 1 only)

  1. Indianapolis

    42 vote(s)
  2. Graf Spee

    20 vote(s)
  1. USS_Ward Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    In a hypothetical battle situation who will win, USS Indianapolis (in her 1945 configuration) or the Graf Spee (respectively in her 1939 configuration)

    Round 1:
    Battle takes place in the North Atlantic,with optimal sea conditions (clear skies, calm seas etc). Both crews have already assumed battle stations after more or less detecting each other on radar.

    Round 2:
    Basically a alternate version of the Battle of the River Plate. Replace Exeter, Ajax and Achilles with Indianapolis and any two Brooklyn Class light cruisers (Brooklyn's are in 1945 configuration). Same location and conditions as the battle in OTL.

    Round 3:
    Graf Spee and her sister ship, Scheer stumble across USS Indianapolis and USS Alaska. Otherwise, same battle conditions and scenario as in Round 1.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  2. ScrewySqrl The Nutty One

    Mar 14, 2010
    Up a Tree
    Indianapolis solo? Graf Spee

    Indianapolis with 2 Brooklyns in support? Indy

    Given a 1945 configuration to the American ships just makes it completely unfair, very rapid firing 6-inch guns on the Brooklyns and the Indy's 8-inch guns with radar targetting will punch through Graf Spee. While Spee can cripple any of those ships, the sheer weight of fire of 3 cruisers will overwhelm it, just as in the original river Platte battle. Only even more so this time because of improved accuracy. The American ships have the gained knowledge of the most intense years of naval combat in the history of man (1942-1944)
  3. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

    May 14, 2017
    Mano-a-mano? Graf Spee destroys Indianapolis. With two Brooklyns along for the ride? Bye-bye Graf Spee. Hell, the two Brooklyns alone could probably take her, though they would suffer significant damage. With Alaska also present? The Germans would be well advised to just go ahead and strike their colors. 6x11" guns verses 9x12" plus 9x8"? And the 12" guns on Alaska are the probably the finest naval guns ever built, with better penetration and performance than the 14"/45 on the US Standards.
  4. USS_Ward Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    How badly damaged would Graf Spee be after her duel with Indy?
  5. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

    Jan 1, 2004
    Indianapolis could refuse action in the first scenario. I'm not certain that Graf Spee would win, though, if the battle took place. The radar fire control on the 1945 Indianapolis is first rate. One interesting variable: Floatplanes. Graf Spee had two, and Indianapolis has four--but the Arados are much more capable planes than either the Seagull or Kingfisher. Depending on who can get how many aloft, and the result of the air battle, one ship or the other might have the advantage of a spotting plane. Indianapolis also has 9 8" guns, compared to Essex's 6.

    In short, it would be a messy battle, and whoever is still floating will need a long time in drydock.

    As for # 2, each Brooklyn has almost as many guns as Ajax and Achilles combined. All of the American ships are also close to 10,000 tons, the comparable British ships were much smaller.
  6. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

    May 14, 2017
    Depends on a lot different factors. If Graf Spee gets in a hit or two first, she may only be minimally damaged, especially if she takes out Indy's fire control or lands a golden BB and penetrates a magazine. On the other hand, if Indy gets in a few licks first, GS could be nearly as badly damaged as Indianapolis after the fight.
  7. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

    Jan 1, 2004
    Indianapolis can penetrate Graf Spee's belt at up to 23000 yards or so, if the shell hits broadside. The deck can be penetrated at 26,000 yards or more. Graf Spee's turret face can be penetrated at about 17,000 yards or so. Data based on Wiki for armor, and Navweaps for guns.

    Graf Spee's guns can penetrate Indianapolis's belt and turret armor at effectively any range.
    jsb and James Ricker like this.
  8. Stephanus Meteu Active Member

    Sep 27, 2018
    Indianapolis is a Portland class heavy cruiser carrying 8" Mark 14 guns.

    Graf Speed had a 3.9" main armor belt and 2.8" max on deck.

    Indianapolis can penetrate the belt out to 23,600 yards, and deck will be penetrated at any range/angle beyond 26,000 yards. Graf Spee has no true immune zone.

    I don't read German, so someone else can look up the penetration charts on Graf Spee's guns at the bottom of this link:

    I think Graf Spee should be able to penetrate Indianapolis at any plausible ranges, too.

    Graff Spee only carries 600 shells, 200 each of HE nose fused, HE base fused, AP.

    Indianapolis carries 1300+ rounds and will have a rate of fire advantage.

    Indy is faster so will dictate the terms of the engagement.

    I like Indy's chances, particularly with 1945 upgrades and a veteran crew.

    The German "armoured ship" is really just another cruiser, but with poorer speed, and abnormally small number of very large guns. It is not deserving of the "pocket battleship" moniker.
    PhilKearny, HBsennah94, jsb and 2 others like this.
  9. ScrewySqrl The Nutty One

    Mar 14, 2010
    Up a Tree
    The odds that Graf Spee with 1940 fire directors gets a first hit against radar-directed guns on Indy or Brooklyn? Not likely at all. Given the performance of radar direction on 2nd Guadalcanal and Empress Augusta Bay, a first salvo hit on Graf Spee is pretty likely
  10. Jellico Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2017
    Any match-up that goes "X vs 1945 US tech" always seems like a setup.

    Conveniently Indianapolis is four years older than Graf Spee. Why not pick 1939? Or even 1941?

    That Alaska example is just cruel. Given that the Brooklyns are larger than Indianapolis... that is even worse. I mean you are comparing 30 ktons of 1945 USN cruisers vs 22 ktons of 1939 RN cruisers that managed the job.
  11. trurle bored blue collar worker

    Dec 12, 2013
    In all cases, USS Indianapolis have better speed and much better fire control, therefore surely to destroy Graf Spee from outside of his effective fire range. Only Round 2 have small chances (0.1% or so) for Graf Spee victory due coastline constricting Indianopolis and his consorts maneuvers.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  12. jammci Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2016
    Kinda an unfair comparison here OP, graf spee did not have the same sensor capability as a 1945 indinapolis, here's a thought though, a 1945 German sub is in the area then......
    trurle likes this.
  13. ScrewySqrl The Nutty One

    Mar 14, 2010
    Up a Tree

    We all know Indy was vulnerable to subs
  14. jammci Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2016
    And sharks don't forget sharks
    Puzzle and James Ricker like this.
  15. eltf177 Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2007
    Both have thin armor. GRAF SPEE has 11-inch guns but they must hit to do any good although even HE shells will do much damage. INDIANAPOLIS has nine 8-inch guns with a higher ROF and thus can put more shells in the air. If sensor suites and crew quality are equal my money's on INDIANAPOLIS...
    Barry Bull and James Ricker like this.
  16. James Ricker Own your mistakes

    Oct 29, 2016
    Boston Massachusetts
    The Indianapolis was vulnerable to torpedoes. Unfortunately the Graf Spee would have to get into torpedo range. Closing into torpedo range would allow the Indi's Superior rate of fire and fire control to shine before the torpedoes were launched.
  17. marathag Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Seagull looks better for speed and ceiling, the better Armament doesn't count for much for spotting
    Specifications (SC-1, float-equipped)
    • Crew: One pilot
    • Capacity: Facility for single stretcher patient
    • Length: 36 ft 4 1⁄2 in (11.08 m)
    • Wingspan: 41 ft 0 in (12.49 m)
    • Height: 16 ft 0 in [7] (4.87 m)
    • Wing area: 280 ft² (26.01 m²)
    • Empty weight: 6,320 lb (2,867 kg)
    • Loaded weight: 9,000 lb (4,082 kg)
    • Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-1820-62 Cyclone supercharged 9-cylinder radial engine, 1,350 hp (1,007 kW)
    • Maximum speed: 313 mph (272 knots, 504 km/h) at 28,600 ft (8,700 m)
    • Cruise speed: 125 mph (113 knots, 210 km/h)
    • Range: 625 mi (543 nmi, 1,006 km)
    • Service ceiling: 37,300 ft (11,370 m)
    • Rate of climb: 2,500 ft/min (12.7 m/s)
    Specifications (Ar 196 A-2)

    • Crew: two (pilot and observer)
    • Length: 11 m (36 ft 1 in)
    • Wingspan: 12.4 m (40 ft 8 in)
    • Height: 4.45 m (14 ft 7 in)
    • Wing area: 28.4 m2 (306 sq ft)
    • Empty weight: 2,990 kg (6,592 lb)
    • Max takeoff weight: 3,720 kg (8,201 lb)
    • Powerplant: 1 × BMW 132K 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 706 kW (947 hp)
    • Maximum speed: 311 km/h (193 mph; 168 kn)
    • Range: 1,080 km (671 mi; 583 nmi)
    • Service ceiling: 7,010 m (23,000 ft)
    • Rate of climb: 5 m/s (980 ft/min)
    • Wing loading: 98.2 kg/m2 (20.1 lb/sq ft)
    • Power/mass: 0.167 kW/kg ( 0.101 hp/lb)
    James Ricker, USS_Ward and trurle like this.
  18. USS_Ward Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    Do i sense a hypothetical observation float plane dogfight coming up?
    jammci likes this.
  19. bsmart Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    The SC-1 was the Seahawk. The Seagull (standard cruiser based seaplane) was the SOC, a biplane. The SC-1 didn't enter service until 1945 first seeing action in June.
    SsgtC likes this.
  20. marathag Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2013
    Seamews were mostly gone by 1945, and biplanes before that

    In anticipation of the invasion of Japan, Indianapolis received the most up-to-date equipment the Navy had available. The newest electronic equipment was installed, including new main-battery director radars, fire control radar on two 40 mm mounts near the after funnel, electronic countermeasure equipment and a new communications capability.

    The 20 mm battery was again changed, with eight twin 20mm mounts replacing the singles. The starboard catapult was removed, the aircraft crane beefed-up, and the old biplane SOCs were replaced by two new Curtiss Seahawks.