Warships that should never been built?

Not really. If anything it was behind the U.S. and RN overall. As an example they had a REALLY screwy perspective on anti-aircraft defense, while the American and British escorts were a critical part of the defenses of the task force, the IJN didn't do things that way. The carriers were seen as being their own best defense, using their own AAA mounts (which were markedly inferior to the U.S. 5"/38).

What the IJN was able to do, which the U.S. and UK couldn't, was concentrate all their carriers into a single striking force, the Kido Butai. That gave them the six decks needed to perform the Pearl Harbor operation. The Japanese could do that because they only had to cover half the Pacific. The USN had two Full Oceans and a Sea/Gulf to deal with, the RN , three Oceans and a Sea.
I agree, the Japanese are overrated. They were only able to perform the rampage they did OTL because they destroyed the US and British Pacific fleets.
 

CalBear

Moderator
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I agree, the Japanese are overrated. They were only able to perform the rampage they did OTL because they destroyed the US and British Pacific fleets.
The British didn't really HAVE a Pacific Fleet by the end of 1941, they had a "force" consisting of an old BC, a new BB, and a few destroyers along with a couple "on station" ships in the colonies.

The Japanese managed to get their six months (actually close to five) of success because they managed to, very professionally, spring the Queen Mother of Surprise Attacks and largely engaged older warships that the British and U.S. had assigned to "Asia" in more or less "show the flag" conditions.
 
The British didn't really HAVE a Pacific Fleet by the end of 1941, they had a "force" consisting of an old BC, a new BB, and a few destroyers along with a couple "on station" ships in the colonies.

The Japanese managed to get their six months (actually close to five) of success because they managed to, very professionally, spring the Queen Mother of Surprise Attacks and largely engaged older warships that the British and U.S. had assigned to "Asia" in more or less "show the flag" conditions.
Royal Australian, Royal New Zealand, and Royal Indian Navies?
 
What?

Most modern as in still thinking in 1945 that the best possible AA weapon for a ship was the same old 25mm autocannon and "beehive" rounds for 18.1 guns?
Now, that's not quite fair. The Japanese knew the 25mm was crap... they just didn't have anything they could practically replace it with. In an effort to compensate for that, they tried to cram on as many 25mms as they could, hoping that the sheer number would make up for its shortcomings a bit. They were wrong, and badly wrong, but that wasn't because they were ignorant of the problem.
 
Militarily they needed subs. Politically they needed a Balanced fleet. In this they were not a waste, a balanced fleet helped convince Britain to support the appeasement train as long as it held up, therefore the Twins, Bismarcks, Hippers and GZ were not a waste, though work on large ships after them was as by that point jig was up. Building huge loads of subs in '35 is not conducive to getting the UK to agree to Munich
That post covers the key reason the ships exist. A fleet exists to make the policies of its nation work. Part of making the policies work is, when things go bad, shooting. But the other part is making the policies work in peacetime. To me, the Panserschiffe, Twins, and Hippers were vital to the policies of Germany. Bismarcks--perhaps, and Graf Zeppelin, probably not as much. (Though if peace continued, Bismarcks would have filled the same role as a steady building of a reasonable fleet.) Laying anything down after Bismarck seems silly--unless there's still peace when Tirpitz is complete.

The mechanical reliability issues can hurt in both peace and war, since a ship that won't steam is an embarassment.
 
At the end of 1941, not much of anything, especially in terms of naval forces.
Later on the Royal Navy recovered from their early blunders built up a real fleet later in the war, and played a significant role into helping the Americans defeat Japan. The British, Aussies, Kiwis, and Dutch really were a great help to us.
 
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If the Germans dont lay down BBs, etc while going hog wild on U Boats what does UK do? AGNA 35 & 37 brought the Germans valuable diplomatic cover.

No dispute that the Hipper class was a waste along with Graf Zeppelin. Bismarck had one voyage and Tirpitz hid in Norway her whole life. Twins did good service first two years but was down hill after. This said the AGNA opened door to repudiation of ToV, Rhineland, Austria, etc. If Germany builds a fleet targeted on British what changes?

Michael
More importantly, consider the war record; the mere threat of Tirpitz sorting led to the PQ-17 disaster, which in turn led to the closure of the Northern Route for Lend Lease during the summer months until 1944.
 
More importantly, consider the war record; the mere threat of Tirpitz sorting led to the PQ-17 disaster, which in turn led to the closure of the Northern Route for Lend Lease during the summer months until 1944.
Battleships were NOT obsolete in World War 2, not at all. They played an invaluable role in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters, in the Atlantic they were useful for convoy escorts and fleet in being, in the Pacific they were essential for the escorts of carriers, packed a punch for AA, and for shore bombardment. I wonder how many Marines owe their lives to those battleships.
 
Battleships were NOT obsolete in World War 2, not at all. They played an invaluable role in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters, in the Atlantic they were useful for convoy escorts and fleet in being, in the Pacific they were essential for the escorts of carriers, packed a punch for AA, and for shore bombardment. I wonder how many Marines owe their lives to those battleships.
I think there's a difference between obsolete and reduced/changed role; I think it's beyond debate that the Battleship was no longer the main striking arm of fleets in WWII. Still, as you note, they had a wide variety of niches which they could and did fill quite effectively.
 
Lots to unpack, and a lot to explain that might have escaped notice.

HMS Captain was a tragedy, but a likely part of the evolution of a new technology, and almost inevitable--not the particular ship, but some BAD (in hindsight) designs. Some should have been anticipated, but it is new tech.

USS Katahdin was pretty thoroughly useless.
a. Metacentric height and freeboard were "rules of thumb". With the coming of ironclads, the rules that applied to "wooden sail ships" went out the window.
b. Katahdin taught the USN a lot about heat burden and how to build submarines. She was designed with a ballast tank system.

The Freedom and Independence classes. The LCS is an expensive ship that's so lightly built and poorly armed it can't been risked in the littorals. You know, the very area of ocean it was supposedly designed to operate in. Not to mention that it's horribly unreliable to the point that the Navy can't risk them on long deployments.
The unreliable part (too few men to run routine maintenance on too many systems) is what damns them in my eyes.

I believe the USN has waffled back and forth on that littoral role from the get-go til now. Would they have been better off tweaking some of the USCG cutter designs for the role, or just writing off the whole idea?
No. They need a real frigate. Something that can actually fight and take an enemy destroyer with her.

While American super dreadnoughts and World War 2 era battleships are good, early American battleships were hunks of shit. The USS South Carolina was so bad her engine broke down in World War 1.

From Wikipedia : On 16 September, the three battleships left the convoy in the Atlantic and steamed back to the United States, while other escorts brought the convoy into port. On the 17th, South Carolina lost her starboard propeller, which forced her to reduce speed to 11 kn (20 km/h; 13 mph) using only the port shaft. On 20 September, the port engine stopped after a throttle valve broke down. She got underway temporarily using an auxiliary throttle before severe vibration forced her to stop for six hours while the main throttle was fixed. Four days later, the ships reached the United States and South Carolinamade her way to Philadelphia for repairs.
The Charles de Gaul aircraft carrier suffered an engine casualty and a PTO issue that cost her a screw and put her into drydock for half a year. YET, she is a fine piece of engineering and once repaired and fitted with proper screws was more than mission capable. The SOUTH CAROLINA would have made mincemeat out of her European opposites, except for Dreadnaught and I would lay even money that Dreadnaught with her crap armor would have been a shoot-ex, too.

That's really not that unusual for any ship of that era. Even today it's not unheard of for a ship to throw a prop. Neither was it uncommon for a throttle valve to go bad.

Considering the congressionally imposed limits on their size, the South Carolinas were amazing ships. They were both well armed and well armored. They managed a broadside equal to any ship then afloat on several thousand tons less displacement. They were superior ships to Dreadnaught in all respects except speed.
Especially the protection scheme. Wing turrets are a disaster and an exploit.

I mean early American battleships were still garbage. The US began building battleships inspired by European designs as a response to Brazil’s Rischuelo. The USS Maine took 9 years to build, so expensive, and when completed was already obsolete. Their subsequent battleships also sucked (and ugly).
The Maine took so long because of the arguments about end-on fire and single ship duels versus fleet line of battle. This was also the ramp up era of the US steel industry. Armor plate like Harvey steel alloy, which the US PIONEERED in this era of compound armor[steel plate backed by cast iron] was new and difficult to figure out. US mono-block gun technology for breech loaders was in its infancy. Pneumatic drills and hammers, designs for complete barbettes, electrical and hydraulic systems for ships. All of this was part of the NEW NAVY, so pardon the Americans for building a fairly reliable slow armored cruiser and taking 10 years to figure it all out.

The loss of Maine I blame on her captain who did not follow safety protocols to check bunkers for coal dust and heat buildup. he should have stood a courts martial.

USS Wasp CV-7 should have never been built as she was(ie a relatively slow poorly protected death trap)if only because the US literally only needed to wait eight more months to build her as a full sized Yorktown class ship. Mind you she was rather impressive in how many aircraft she could carry and she introduced the deck edge elevator (why this wasn't included in Hornet I have no idea).
Wasp had a plane and cargo lift, not a true deck edge elevator. Her loss can be attributed to misuse and misunderstanding of the threat environment. The IJN submarine arm was fairly good at finding and sinking large warships that cut holes in the water and did not dodge and move about. In the Mediterranean the Wasp ran the Axis gauntlet twice to Malta and was successfully used in a very intense air threat environment. That alone was worth sliding her down the weighs. She should have been better used in the Pacific War.

How good were later American battleships anyway?
Guns were average, fire control decent and depending on class, protection and survivability versus their contemporaries was average to outstanding. Speed was an issue, tactical maneuver (turning circle) excellent, torpedo defense always GOOD.

I heard the Wyomings were pretty bad battleships
at

Compared to what? The USN did not like them because the armor protection was a hull stress issue. They wanted short length citadels to prevent "hogging" and to thicken the armor. As was, they gave excellent service for the taxpayer money lasting 37 years from slide down the weigh to eventual razor blades. Probably the last decent ships Cramp and Sons built for the USN.

Then there is this Commie Shit Rebuild of a Dreadnought, which though in their original configuration looked fine, but with their rebuilds in the 1930s, look very ugly. These ships also had no real purpose within the Soviet Fleet during WWII other than a glorified artillery platform.
And the Germans cursed them for it.

I know nothing about the specific ships, but "under armed for their displacement "is a continual refrain throughout history. Usually from people who don't understand things like blast radius, magnetic interference, stability, hogging, behind the scenes stuff like that. Again, I know nothing about these specific ships, but usually there is a point to looking under armed.

Apparently there was a bit of a learning curve going on behind the skin with American pre-Dreadnoughts. One example I can remember was the main guns one of the classes wasn't balanced within the turret so training to the side would cause the ship to list. A std feature on RN ships at the time. The USN tended to over arm, causing the problems I mentioned above. Institutional knowledge takes a while to build up. It makes it an interesting time period before industrial dominance takes all the fun out of it.
a. Probably the most critical item is the volume of the float bubble defined as reserve buoyancy. To take a Spanish American War example, the captains of the Indianas were frightened of the Infanta Maria Teresas because they believed (incorrectly) that Spanish Schneider Canet 28 cm guns would shoot holes in their low freeboard ships with miscalculated reserve buoyancy and the American battleships would turn turtle and SINK. The Spanish armored cruisers were well designed as open ocean steamers with huge reserve buoyancy. The American 33.0 cm guns were black powder, not smokeless; so their shells would smash Cruesot steel at about 450 m/s at the expected battle ranges while the Spanish shell was expected to hit American plate at 600 m/s or better.

b. Iowa was America's first attempt to match the freeboard and gunpower of the Europeans' seagoing pre-dreadnoughts. She did not quite close the gap, because her 30.6 cm guns were still underperforming by British or French standards, but she did reach parity in protection and seagoing qualities.

“Rapidly changing technology”

That’s why early American battleships are shit, they paled behind European designs and were already obsolete when commissioned
Hunh? By whose standards? See above my comments about the Indianas and Iowas of the Spanish American War. Turns out that US armor plate was a lot better than expected and that US gunners were too, despite the unbalanced turrets and the slow firing ordnance. (5 minutes between shots for 33, 30.6 cm) , (1 minute between shots for 20.3 cm and 15.2 cm). American SHELLS were STEEL, and not cast iron as was common European practice of that era. Result? Shatter gap and the enemy shot high. Americans did not have that "problem". Just that their ships leaned and they had to adjust elevation and get in close.

There ya' go.

380'+ long, 3,000+ ton warship with ONE 57mm gun, 2x1 30mm Bushmasters 4x1 M2 .50 cal and a CIWS.

As a comparison the IDF's Sa'ar 6 will carry a 76mm gun, two remote operated 30mm guns, a 32 cell VLS for SAM, 16 Gabriel III/IV anti-ship missiles, and two 324mm torpedo launchers, with an SH-60 helo on 295 feet and 1,900 tons full load.

Of course you can also go a bit old school and compare them to the second flight Spruance class ships that the Navy just sort of sank for shits and giggles because they lacked AGEIS.

Things are total wastes of time and money.
The LCS was supposed to be a mother ship for launch and recover drone weapons and effectors. Guess the program managers lost sight of that architecture and that is why they made a hash of the platform. The platform was not supposed to do the work, the drones were. When the drones were not funded, then the LCS does not make any sense.

Stupid thing is I have an (unbuilt) plastic model of the trimaran type and its got a full VCS. Assuming they designed the kit off of original plans why leave out the weapon that would actually make it semi effective?
Because VCS did not work and never could.

Their originally planned vertical launch missile system, the NLOS, was cancelled by the Army, leaving the Navy in a lurch. After that, the Surface Warfare Module substituted racks for 8 Hellfire missiles. Not exactly in the same category. There have been a few experiments with mounting Harpoon canisters though.
Norwegian naval strike missile. It works. Needs a helicopter (drone or manned) for midcourse guidance or to launch the missile itself, though.
WASP gets a lot of grief on this forum for being a death trap but the fact is we don't know how she would have handled "normal" damage - say a couple of bombs and an air dropped torpedo while buttoned up and prepared to receive damage. Remember, she took three heavy weight submarine torpedoes at the worst possible time, while conducting flight operations with fuel lines full of AVGAS. IMWO no WWII carrier is going to survive that torpedo salvo at that moment.
She could have survived two and a bomb. The third fish was one too many. How did Ark Royal do? Got to keep things in perspective.

True enough I suppose...if only Wasp hasn't been detached to refuel just before the Battle of the Eastern Solomons occurred and/or she and her task force had zigged rather than zagged and not been hit by I-19.
You can wish for other options. You have to deal with what happened and see if there was a different decision that might have helped.

Concur with the Alaskas: they should have been canceled when it became clear that the ships they were meant to counter weren't being built. What to do with the hulls? Convert them to carriers; there were studies, and there was also a proposal if memory serves to convert the last two Iowa hulls (Illinois and Kentucky) to carriers. If the war had gone on longer, I can see that.
Use the Illinois and Kentucky as designed. the Alaskas were too fine a cruiser hull line to provide flotation under a hanger and flight deck. If you want to know what I mean, take a look at HMS Furious for why a continuous length flight deck from bow spite to fantail was impossible on her.

The thing that folks tend to overlook is that the entire Yorktown class, including the Wasp as a sub group, were terribly vulnerable to torpedo damage. Hit them with a bomb or bombs and you did was piss them off, as both Yorktown And Enterprise demonstrated more than once. Unfortunately, probably due to the Treaty tonnage issues, their underwater protection was, by comparison to protection from bombs, below the Mendoza Line.
Compared to what? British and Japanese aircraft carriers? Those flattops were even more vulnerable than the Yorktowns and the Wasp. The compromised compartmentation meant a golden bb hit in the boiler rooms was a dangerous hit to the Yorktowns. Hence the Essex unit machinery.

That's the REAL tragedy and stupidity of the scenario. They didn't need to convert them. They were not even laid down until after Pearl Harbor. Their materials and dock space could easily have been converted over to Independence class CVL construction (the yard that built the CBs was also the sole contractor for the CVL classes, both the Independence and Saipan class were built there).
I HATE the Independence class deathtraps with a passion. Talk about a one bomb one torpedo guaranteed kill-me-now exercise in lunacy.

Yep. Nothing like a $350 million dollar 45 knot minesweeper, with a metal hull and the inability to manage shock damage from nearby explosions from things like, well, mines. Great choice to replace/support the Avenger class mine countermeasure ships ($350M will buy three, fully fitted out, including the unmanned undersea vehicles, Avengers).

Fleet is getting max value for the taxpayers there.
The idea of using a ship to clear modern mines is insane. Send out a drone submersible, a trained dolphin or a helo towing a discharger. Keep the ship well clear as the launch platform and control node. Like the LCS was supposed to be in the first place.

Any PoDs you can think of to get them cancelled and allowed for the earlier building of Independence class ships?
I'd rather turn the Alaskas into marginal aircraft carriers than any Independence deathtraps.

Speaking of how badly armored the Lexington class battle cruisers as designed were I wonder what the USN could have added in terms of armor had it been prepared to add a thousand tons to the ships' design and cut their top speed to a more reasonable 31 knots and then laid down a pair of them in say early 1918(and done the same for the 3 ships of the Colorado class not laid down until 1919 otl)It sure would have made the Washington Naval Treaty negotiations interesting. Then again the USN having acouple Battlecruisers that have probably been fairly recently modernized(probably between 1937-1940)would have proved very useful indeed in 1942
I can see fitting the Colorados with a bow plug and a midship extender to crank another 2 m/s out of them at the cost of their turning circles (about 25 meters radius added at 12 m/s) for better gunships than the 1923 SoDaks, but why turn hulls screaming to be turned into floating airbases, into Hoods? DECK ARMOR?

Nick Sumner figured a Lexington hull bulged to 50,000 tons standard could handle QE levels of armor and still do 30 to 31 knots with the original powerplant. The bulges are wider than the Panama Canal locks, which has been an issue for any American warship over 40,000 tons.
Again, why?

Once again I enternally question why the USN didn't made the Panama Canal locks 10 feet wider. Although I will say that the Lexington definitely had a better armor distribution(but definitely not in thickness than the QEs due to it being all or nothing. Hmm as for how to cut down the weight of the engines in particular ditch the turbo electric drive and use the same turbines as Hood(which after all were designed by Curtis) and license decent reduction gears from the UK.
Because Turbo electric cuts out the backing engines and is more mechanically efficient and allows BETTER COMPARTMENTATION. If the USN had diesels powerful enough (10,000 kW each is the minimum.), I would opt for that solution on fuel economy and engine start up time. Turbines take hours because the boilers have to be brought up slowly.
To be fair here they were never hit with anything larger than a 250kg bomb.

If they had been hit by a 500kilo, or larger, Luftwaffe present in the Atlantic, or one of the 800kg specials used at Pearl Harbor things might well have been very different.
Shokaku survived as many at least 3, and possibly 6, Dauntless delivered 1000lbers at Santa Cruz, none of the Yorktowns ever survived anything close.

900 shells; 5 US and 4 Japanese HEAVYWEIGHT torpedoes. USS Hornet hung on for hours as a hulk. A Yorktown would have shrugged off a 800 kg special. Shōkaku was mission killed by 2, count them 2 x 454 kg bombs which were not even square hits at Coral Sea and was out a year. Enterprise shrugged off those kinds of hits at Santa Cruz and came back within 3 months. USS Cavalla murdered Shōkaku with 3 torpedoes, 2 confirmed as hitting.
I have never really understood why the USN was, after the Lexingtons were cancelled, absolutely allergic to the term "battle cruiser", but it was (the example being the Alaska class being called CB ( Cruiser, Big), which was, frankly not even good grammar much less a proper descriptive instead of the closer to the truth BC).
Shrug. Doctrine is funny. A captain in a cruiser, big is not going to go hunting Yamatos. Witness how tank destroyers were used?

The USN made an opposite mistake, but one that has similar tragic results, with the Juneau class AA cruisers. They named them Light Cruiser, Anti-Aircraft instead of something more in keeping with their design, even destroyer leader anti-aircraft would have been a better designation. Instead they started with CL, so they were used in a similar way to light cruisers. Bad idea. A truely descriptive name would have been Big Destroyer with a shit-ton of ammunition, surface combat contra-indicated since there effectively overstuffed 5"/38 magazines with engines.
Well... AAA aircraft carrier bodyguard ship would have been what the Russians would have nomenclatured an Atlanta. VERY PRACTICAL people, the Russians. They tend to describe warships by their intended mission/function instead by archaic 19th century terminology. Calling an Atlanta a big destroyer with lots of ammunition would have stuck the ship into a surface action group. Not the intended role... ever. Not even as destroyer leader which is how they were sold to Congress as Omaha replacements. In any event, they gave a fierce account for themselves in the cruiser destroyer brawls in Ironbottom Sound and when used as intended, showed they were EXCELLENT bodyguard ships, even if the waist 5/38s were a bit unmanageable.

It’s only obvious with the hindsight we have with the internet. Nobody expected carriers to overtake battleships. As late as 1945, some American admirals such as Admiral Spruance believed battleships were still the backbone of a navy.
Incorrect. Spruance applied lessons he learned, which was that aircraft carrier forces tended to mission kill each other, and whatever naval power was left was the surface action group BACKED BY SHORE BASED AIRPOWER. (RIKKOS). Battleships as gun platforms in 1945 were still viable provided friendly air was nearby.

The LCS tried to do everything in one because it was predicted that they would only get budget for one class of small ship in the 00's. Ergo they felt there was no choice but to build a do everything ship. If you told them that Congress would fund more than one anyways, well you would have probably gotten a Light Frigate, a Minesweeper/Patrol Ship and a new Gunboat
And once again, the program managers who botched the LCS did not even understand the nature of a mother ship which was supposed to be a control node to lots of robots.
Without the maturity of airpower as we transition from 1000 to 2000 HP power, the Montana-class would be the necessary capstone to fight the decisive fleet battle. Minus WW2 they would be our last BB and swiftly overtaken in the next decade. I think the unfortunate Alaska was an unfortunate dead end on the way to a BC with Cruiser roots, and oddly in contradiction to the weak protection issue I propose killed Lexington. But as distant hunter transitioning to CV escort, a role better taken by Iowa, it is not wholly illogical. On the dark side of alternatives the Alaskas might have crowded out the Iowas. My logic is that without the G3 line being built, the USN is not pressed for speed, Alaska fits the bill "cheaper", is NOT a BB, and fills a niche with the Montana pushed forward to create a new standard battle line and so on. And I know such butterflying annoys you, so I do not offer the notion lightly. This time after Treaties, as air power matures and absent the motivator of PH leaves me with a murky set of dead ends and carry forwards that fight the last war in philosophy. Now I backtrack to unravel that muck. Part of me wants to tank the WNT and let the Lexingtons show the way to Iowa, the other BBs growing towards Montana from the 1920 SoDaks, a far better line by late 1930s even if some dogs are built in between but aging out.
a. Agree about the 750 kW to 1500 kW aero-engine threshold being decisive (1942)
b. I hate the 1923 SoDaks with a passion.
c. Since the Iowas were a waste of taxpayer's money, what would that make the Montanas?

Sure but for the Formidable you already have the design ready for a VLS section, surely it would be easier/cheaper to replace the Aster with the Mk 41 for the ESSM's rather than have to modify the La Fayette to have a VLS compartment? And I'd presume either the French or Singaporean design would get a change to US radar systems and the like rather than the Formidabl'e systems? And again the 76mm conversion work is done already.

But basically yeah something along those lines would have made more sense I would have thought than what we see in the LCS, I often wonder what the sailors of both the LCS's and Formidable's have thought of each others designs when the LCS hulls were in Singapore?
The French Sylver VLS was DESIGNED for the Lafayettes' type framing, plumbing, electrical leads, control runs, load bearing and hull subdivision. The Mark 41 VLS will not work in that hull. Neither will US sensors without RADICAL redesign of the platform.

The LaFayette is already fitted for but not with a VLS section, so technically you wouldn't need to modify it (the hull at least, fitting a Mk41 VLS may be a issue otoh). Granted at the end, the USN version would probably be unique in its own way, such as how the Formidable is derivative of that of the LaFayette.
See previous comments. You would have to change the ship from the keel up.

Atlanta and Juneau were both lost in the Solomons to torpedo hits, REALLY unlucky ships. Atlanta took a crippling torpedo hit in the first Naval Battle Of Guadalcanal that more or less gutted her engineering, then she was hit by part of three broadsides from the San Francisco in a textbook blue-on-blue. She made it back a temporary anchorage but was deemed beyond salvage and was scuttled.

Juneau took a torpedo in the same engagement, but survived and was capable of maneuvering at 15 knots. She, along with San Francisco and Helena, both of which were also badly damaged, were withdrawing back to Espiritu Santo when they ran across the track of a Japanese I-boat. It took a shot at the San Francisco, but misjudged the speed of the column, as a result Juneau took another hit on the same side as the first torpedo. That was quite enough for her, she broke in half and sank in under half a minute. The other two U.S. ships took one look at the fireball and figured, not unreasonably, that she was lost with all hands. Wrong. About 100 survivors went into the water. By the time they were located, starting EIGHT DAYS after the sinking, only ten men were rescued. Juneau was the ship where the five "Sullivan Brothers" were assigned, three of them made it into the water, none of them survived.

Neither ship had any business being in a surface action.
Disagree. Both ships dealt out a lot of damage before they were torped. Not ideal for a gun action, but then destroyers are not ideal for BB actions either and what did Coward do to Nishimura and what did Evans do to Kurita? Just depends.

The Atlantas were actually intended as AA cruisers for carrier escort, which they were well suited for, but were pressed into service as surface combatants due to being some of the few ships available at that moment. In other circumstances they could have been quite useful; they would have completely outmatched any Japanese destroyer or light cruiser they faced in a daylight engagement.
Agreed. The IJN cadet cruisers, like NAGARA were the ones that were jokes. An Atlanta had teeth.

About 8,000 tonne cruisers
That's highly doubtful. While the British wanted the smaller cruisers, neither the US nor Japan did. AIUI, it was the existence of the Hawkins class that convinced the USN and IJN to agree to a 10,000 ton and 8" weight limit when they both wanted larger cruisers
It was more likely a question of endurance under weigh. Both the IJN and the USN had to operate in the Pacific Ocean where bases were few, fueling at sea was a PITA, and the enemy (before radar) was likely to surprise you at the most inconvenient time. Large with lots of fuel and float reserve = survival.

Heck Lexington almost survived as her captain smelled the fumes and ordered her vented two minutes before the first explosion. Had the explosion not happened within fifteen minutes of that order it wouldn't have happened and Lexington probably would have been back in action by the time of Santa Cruz. And the lessons still would have been learned. As for Yorktown surviving all that was required was for her screening destroyers not falling asleep and letting I-168 through or you know sinking her or for her to dodge one more torpedo from Hiryu which would have resulted in her not being prematurely abandoned which probably means she's either been towed by a cruiser a fair distance and/or got her engines back online to some degree and thus is long gone by the time I-168 shows up
Depends on the fires. Rule of thumb, was if the ship burned for eight hours or got hot enough to generally raise the hull metal over 1/4 her keel length to 800 degrees Celsius, she was non-repairable as her annealing had failed and should be scuttled. Otherwise the IJN would have tried to tow their own mission kills out.

Germans and subs.

Militarily they needed subs. Politically they needed a Balanced fleet. In this they were not a waste, a balanced fleet helped convince Britain to support the appeasement train as long as it held up, therefore the Twins, Bismarcks, Hippers and GZ were not a waste, though work on large ships after them was as by that point jig was up. Building huge loads of subs in '35 is not conducive to getting the UK to agree to Munich
Except, before 1941 they could build neither, because the German naval staff was as incompetent as the German army staff at industrial mobilization and management. They did not know how to plan for industrial logistics in a civilian economy.

Losing with a handicap is still losing.

edit: you wouldn't call the M11/39 a good tank just because it was Italy's first experience developing a "medium" tank, would you?
Hmm. It did not mechanically break down and it actually shot holes through British cruiser tanks, which also mechanically did break down at the time. I think that makes it a "qualified" success.

French, Italian and Japanese warships were the most modern of the war. Japan probably was THE most modern navy of the war.
I have to point out that compared to the French this is not true. The IJN actually lifted their battle doctrine for surface warfare from... the French, who thought the torpedo would be the most decisive weapon in the naval meeting engagement. The decrease and attrition phase that preceded IJN decisive battle doctrine is almost word for word Jeune Ecole 1920s version. Too bad that the Type 93 torpedo which was supposed to make it work actually turned out to be no better statistically at hit to kill than the US Mark XV destroyer torpedo and at the same exact launch offsets (about 7400 meters or for the metrically challenged about 4 nautical miles.). Once PACFLT got its act together and applied USN preferred brawling knife fighting tactics to the Japanese, the statistics evened out and it was the USN that practiced decrease and attrite.

The problem is that a much larger investment in U boats pre war just makes the Brits panic more so then OTL and invest much heavier in ASW assets prewar.

Once the war starts then yeah continuing to build heavy cruisers and BB's is a huge mistake.

Though I also think the Germans would have been smarter to more thoroughly plan out the usage of Armed Commerce Cruisers/ auxiliary cruisers in the early war. The Germans used 10 in the early period and wasted a lot of time in the very early war when the Allies weren't using convoying at all. Even with those small number of vessels and late start the German AMC's wracked up a phenomenal kill total of something like a million tons of Allied shipping. If the Germans had more thoroughly covertly planned for using AMC's prewar they might have had a even larger effect. Obviously making preparations for hundreds of them is going to set off alarms and provoke an early response. But if the Germans had made preparations to outfit say 20 or 30 suitable vessels to be outfitted in the last days of peace to be used almost immediately after the outbreak of war. Before the Brits can really set up their blockade surge these vessels to sea and then have them scatter across the globe wreaking havoc.

The vessels should have the following characteristics.

1) At least 5,000 tonnage weight (smaller vessels could be used for shorter range operations say in the North Sea before the Brits begin convoying).
2) Able to be modified to carry a catapult and facilities to launch, operate, and maintain a small float plane (Probably a Arado-196) for recon.
3) Very long range with large amounts of storage room for food, spare parts, ammo, POWs, and the like.
4) Be able to mount say half a dozen old cruiser guns. Further armament of several similar caliber AA guns, a large number of machine guns and auto cannon, a couple torpedo tubes for close range dispatch of captured vessels.
5) A small marine complement to do boarding and scuttling operations.
6) The ability to have aspects of the ship at least superficially rapidly changed to disguise their identity.
7) The ability to refuel other AMCs or U-boats at sea. If possible the ability to pump fuel out of captured vessels to prolong the AMC's range.
8) Light armor over critical sections (not enough to stop a six or eight inch shell but hopefully prevent a 20mm auto cannon from ripping the ship apart.

It's obviously not going to be enough to make the Germans win the war but it would be very costly for the Allies and force the allies to beef up their coastal artillery and protection forces around the globe draining their strength. Also would force the RN to at least temporarily divert large numbers of naval vessels and aircraft around the world and do expensive convoying across the globe.
How do you disguise it? An AMC with an aircraft catapult is going to immediately be gunned down. Cruiser rules be damned.

To be fair, the US PT boats and Destroyers torpedoed several ships, prior to the old Standards delivering the Coup d'Gras. We remember the Battleships part, as a peer-to-peer fight and that whole Pearl Harbor survivors Karma aspect.
Well, Coward, left Yamashiro as a burning aim marker for the shoot-ex so the old BBs could feel like they earned their pay.

Even ignoring that, Washington utterly wrecked Kirishima in something like 20 minutes, at night. Massachusetts knocked the Jean Bart out in about the same amount of time (granted, the French ship was incomplete, so it's not apples to apples, but it still counts).
Jean Bart held up better. Kiri had a LOUSY crew and a captain who must have been a protégé of Takeo Takagi. Muffed the fight with South Dakota when she was on the ropes AND DID NOT SEE A FRAKING 250 METER LONG SHIP READY TO KILL HER LESS THAN 7,000 meters away. 129 shells fired. After counting holes in the sunken wreck, recently it appears Washington swiss cheesed Kirishima with at least 40 hits! I don't care what navy you come from, at night 32% PH is good shooting.

Depends on the context and era you are viewing. At the start of the World War 2 Pacific theater, then yes Japan was indeed THE most modern navy in the world. However, Japanese industry couldn't keep up with American industry and therefore was unable to make improvements or make new designs while the Americans with the vast industry and resources churned out superior models like as if they were making cars. The American battleships at Leyte Gulf not only outnumbered the Japanese, they were also significantly modernized into practically new ships.

As for the Italians...
Having a modern navy doesn't represent competence.
Not even close. In 1942 we have metrics.

Surface action

1. Japanese
2. British
3. Americans
4. French (yes; the French)
5. Italians

ASW

1. British
2. Italians
3. Canadians
4. Americans (despite DRUMBEAT the Americans eke out the French.)
5. French

Convoy

1. Italians (Maintained a lifeline and SLOC to North Africa against the freaking Royal Navy? Of course they get first place.)
2. British
3. Americans
4. Germans
5. French

Special operations

1. Italians (Same again. Alexandria was as bad in its way as Pearl Harbor or Taranto.)
2. British
3. Americans
4. Japanese
5. Russians

Amphibious

1. Americans (TORCH and WATCHTOWER)
2. Germans (Some of their Black Sea shenanigans with no lift is just incredible. Norway and the Aegean equally ballsy.)
3. Russians (Same as Germans. Operations around Crimea are INCREDIBLE.)
4. British
5. Italians

Submarine warfare overall

1. British
2. Americans (yes, that includes the torpedo crisis)
3. Germans (quantity has a quality of its own as the there are a lot of them, but boat for boat, they are not that good.)
4. DUTCH (small force, large effects and influence.)
5. French and or Italians

Aircraft carrier warfare

1. Americans 3 and 1 by end of the year. (the loss is Santa Cruz which NEVER should have happened.)
2. Japanese 3-2 and 1 by end of the year. (includes Pearl Harbor)
3. British 1-1 by end of the year. (Includes Taranto, a remarkable operation.)

Overall naval operational art?

1. Americans
2. British
3. Italians
4. Japanese
5. French

At Leyte Gulf where it mattered off SAMAR, there was not an American battleship to be seen. There is where the IJN showed its lack of mettle after decrease and attrite had been applied to them.

The Germans did their best. Ultimately, their designs weren't that really good due to a lack of experience and I think Japanese and Italian warships were better. The same could be said about their tanks, where they were inferior to British, French, American and Soviet models. The British, French, and Americans had 20 years of experience when Germany had no experience. Sure Stalin purged his armies but they weren't raped like Germany after World War 1 so they had some experience to make good tanks. Ultimately a lack of experience, German obsession with craftsmanship, overengineering, and the Nazi's own ideology contributed to the German tank's flaws
Not on topic. Let us just note that myths about German military competency have been measured. German U-boats sank 2,779 targets. 779 of the U-boats were confirmed sunk.
3.5 targets per U-boat killed. USN performance in a WORSE ASW environment is 1078 targets killed for 52 boats lost. 21 ships sunk per US sub lost.

2 caveats. First: the Germans were up against 3 professional navies that learned post March 1943 how to ASW with a vengeance. I mean the Canadians and the British had the makings but when the Americans added sheer weight of numbers and combine that with the second most incompetent admiral on Earth after any fill in the blank Japanese operator (Doenitz), you have a recipe for German naval disaster on a monumental scale.

Second: the Japanese did not start trying ASW in earnest until AFTER the torpedo crisis was solved by late 1943. By then the Americans had learned flow strategy, convoy traffic analysis and had killed enough Japanese destroyers to finito the Japanese in the murder year of 1944. Too little too late, the IJN adopted the interlocking convoy and shore based ASW air patrols they should have used in the very beginning.

A lot of the Italian incompetence and general nonsense was down to some of the Admirals being appointed because of political reasons, and having terrible quality control for shells.

The Littorios has good guns. When they had good shells.

When they didn't you had shell dispersion you could put an island between.

When you had decent Italian admirals and a lucky batch of shells you were dangerous.

Not to mention italian frogmen put two british ships low in Alexandria, had arguably the best midget submarine of ww2 and the highest killing ww2 sub outside the kreigsmarine.

Italians are given a hard time, but the British had two of their best admirals in the Med fighting them
The Regia Marina NEVER lost the fight on the SLOCs when they could put to sea. They had to be struck down in their home ports via Husky, Baytown, and Avalanche. People should remember that it was a fuel shortage that crippled them.

The Italian ships got completely rebuilt. At Guadalcanal, it was two American battleships vs 1 Japanese battlecruiser. Japan also had a fleet of new heavy cruisers. Japan also had the best naval aviation service at the beginning.
Already discussed 2nd Guadalcanal. How did Hei die again? Oh, that is right, the USS Juneau and the USS San Francisco in a brawl shot the hello out of her and forced her to limp off to be killed by an American RIKKO the following morning.

About the only real "edge" the IJN had was one specific aircraft, the A6M Zero, even in that case it was an advantage that was fleeting, with the F4F actually having a positive win:lose ratio vs. the Zero, and the F6F, F4U, and F8F operating on an entirely different plane of existence. The B5N had good range, but Ralphie could shoot it down with his Red Ryder air rifle (has a compass in the stock) and the D3A was massively inferior to the SBD. IJN torpedoes were very good, although the decision to use oxygen fueled engines was, at best, questionable; two Japanese heavy cruisers were lost off Samar when their Type 93 torpedoes exploded due to damage to their oxygen flasks.
To depth charges dropped on their torpedo flats; no less.

You mean aside from the part where they didn't give a flying f--- if they got their highly trained experienced aircrew back at the end of a mission, or go looking to rescue any that were shot down?
The logic was that it was all offense all the time. When the Japanese could they WOULD rescue airplane and ship crews and even their stranded troops. It was just that the Americans and the ANZACs had a decided say of NO in the matter.

Operational art (naval; specifically aircraft carrier warfare.)

In a topic about naval ships that should never have been built, no less. We want to stick to that topic.

That’s one of the reasons why I said they were the most modern
Choosing the wrong kind of ships to build for the war you intend to fight kind of means you don't know what you are doing.

The Japanese had the advantage of only having to operate in one ocean and were able to concentrate their carriers accordingly. The USN and in particular the RN had to spread themselves a lot thinner.
Good point. Naval geography was a weak point with many navies. And I do mean the Japanese among them.

As for warships, Japanese torpedoes were the GOLD standard. The Mitsubishi Zero absolutely ripped up those Buffaloes and Gladiators. Japanese destroyers were also very good.
Japanese destroyers were top-heavy flimsy pieces of JUNK and that is by top-heavy American destroyer standards.

The Japanese still couldn’t take Sri Lanka, as Churchill had worried. It would have been the Japanese equivalent of Operation Sealion.
Hmm. 3 division lift? Take? Most certainly since Singapore gives them the tactical radius. Keep? NACIH. Burma is too important to divert the manpower and the lift.

Air defense of fleet at sea.

Not really. If anything it was behind the U.S. and RN overall. As an example they had a REALLY screwy perspective on anti-aircraft defense, while the American and British escorts were a critical part of the defenses of the task force, the IJN didn't do things that way. The carriers were seen as being their own best defense, using their own AAA mounts (which were markedly inferior to the U.S. 5"/38).

What the IJN was able to do, which the U.S. and UK couldn't, was concentrate all their carriers into a single striking force, the Kido Butai. That gave them the six decks needed to perform the Pearl Harbor operation. The Japanese could do that because they only had to cover half the Pacific. The USN had two Full Oceans and a Sea/Gulf to deal with, the RN , three Oceans and a Sea.
a. USN has to cover the whole PACIFIC so that is equivalent to three full oceans and a gulf. British had Atlantic, Med and Indian. Toss in the Arctic and that is 2 oceans and 2 seas.
b. USN had the crappy 1.1 for close in work for the first 2 years of the war. AAA USN style is a late 1943 thing. Doctrine was based on find them first and mission kill their aircraft carriers. Midway shows what happens when you don't.
c. The Japanese knew AAA was not going to save anybody; so they played the %s and relied on maneuver to throw off aim. That is why their ships cut crazy S curls in the water, to foil dive bombers and torpedo planes.
d. The Americans relied on hiding inside weather fronts and only poked out to launch and recover.
e. The British had RADAR and fighter directors so they were first with the CAP defense. They tried it in the Indian Ocean and failed. Americans had a go at it at Coral Sea and it sort of worked. Mixed results (mostly negative) at Midway. Better at Eastern Solomons. DISASTER at Santa Cruz. Finally worked at Philippine Sea.
f. Cruise missile attacks (kamikazes) finally restored the pre-war situation where nobody's AAA really worked. It was CAP defense or ships were going to be hit. (OKINAWA).

The British didn't really HAVE a Pacific Fleet by the end of 1941, they had a "force" consisting of an old BC, a new BB, and a few destroyers along with a couple "on station" ships in the colonies.

The Japanese managed to get their six months (actually close to five) of success because they managed to, very professionally, spring the Queen Mother of Surprise Attacks and largely engaged older warships that the British and U.S. had assigned to "Asia" in more or less "show the flag" conditions.
The Japanese Pearl Harbored everybody, especially PACFLT. The Allied commanders of the era were also bloody AWFUL. That includes especially Douglas MacArthur and his air general, Brereton.

More fleet air defense.

Now, that's not quite fair. The Japanese knew the 25mm was crap... they just didn't have anything they could practically replace it with. In an effort to compensate for that, they tried to cram on as many 25mms as they could, hoping that the sheer number would make up for its shortcomings a bit. They were wrong, and badly wrong, but that wasn't because they were ignorant of the problem.
Goes to building wrong for the war you expect to fight.
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Wrong. (^^^)

https://www.the-blueprints.com/blueprints-depot/ships/ships-japan/ijn-akizuki-1942-destroyer-2.png

(^^^) Right.

That is an Akizuki (1942), an anti-aircraft artillery bodyguard ship for Kido Butai, built AFTER Midway. The Fubuki above her was built to work with Yamato in a Pacific Tsushima. The Fubuki was part of the decrease and attrite nonsense the IJN still delusionally sought as late as Leyte Gulf.

A starker more blatant material example of naval INCOMPETENCE in the Pacific War is harder to find.
 

Attachments

@McPearson

Convoy

1. Italians (Maintained a lifeline and SLOC to North Africa against the freaking Royal Navy? Of course they get first place.)
2. British
3. Americans
4. Germans
5. French


Uh what?

The British ultimately won their Convoy battles - Italy did not

By all means admire what the Italians achieved - but the British winning in the Atlantic (3 times) and their Arctic convoys with special mention to the epic Malta convoy battles allowed WW2 to be won.

I cannot conceive of a single Metric where the Italians come out on top

Ultimately they lost the battle 'in their Sea'

Amphibious

1. Americans (TORCH and WATCHTOWER)
2. Germans (Some of their Black Sea shenanigans with no lift is just incredible. Norway and the Aegean equally ballsy.)
3. Russians (Same as Germans. Operations around Crimea are INCREDIBLE.)
4. British
5. Italians


Again ah what?

US certainly gets top billing here but Britain's ability to deploy and sustain a corps sized force across an open defended beach in a single day and an Army within a week or 2 is 2nd only to the US Navys ultimate ability. Germany and Russia do not even come close. I would argue that the Japanese were ballsier than both the Germans and Russians - and while they certainly had sea lift - it was no were near that of the UK and USA but look at what they managed to achieve on multiple occasions early (Pac) war and over such a huge area.

Regarding your general point re: Japanese navy not being the most advanced in WW2 - I fully agree with you
 
Then you might like this.

From pages 98 and 99 of Modern Combat Ships 5 - Type 21 by Captain John Lippiett, RN.
There is a line drawing of the Seawolf Type 21 at the top of Page 98 and below that is the artists impression of the ship that was also on the lid of Seastrike.

Excellent! Thanks for sharing that!!

Regards,
 
There was supposed to be a lightweight 4 cell Seawolf launcher that was intended to be a drop in for older systems like Sea Cat and allow vessels such as Type 42 to have a Point defense Missile system.

As well as being lighter than the standard GWS25 Seawolf system the below deck fire control and tracking systems had been reduced from 13.5 tons with the 910 system to 5 tons with the 911 system

But penny pinching again!

I wonder how many ships might have been saved from damage or total loss?
 
@McPearson

Convoy

1. Italians (Maintained a lifeline and SLOC to North Africa against the freaking Royal Navy? Of course they get first place.)
2. British
3. Americans
4. Germans
5. French


Uh what?

The British ultimately won their Convoy battles - Italy did not

By all means admire what the Italians achieved - but the British winning in the Atlantic (3 times) and their Arctic convoys with special mention to the epic Malta convoy battles allowed WW2 to be won.

I cannot conceive of a single Metric where the Italians come out on top

Ultimately they lost the battle 'in their Sea'

Amphibious

1. Americans (TORCH and WATCHTOWER)
2. Germans (Some of their Black Sea shenanigans with no lift is just incredible. Norway and the Aegean equally ballsy.)
3. Russians (Same as Germans. Operations around Crimea are INCREDIBLE.)
4. British
5. Italians


Again ah what?

US certainly gets top billing here but Britain's ability to deploy and sustain a corps sized force across an open defended beach in a single day and an Army within a week or 2 is 2nd only to the US Navys ultimate ability. Germany and Russia do not even come close. I would argue that the Japanese were ballsier than both the Germans and Russians - and while they certainly had sea lift - it was no were near that of the UK and USA but look at what they managed to achieve on multiple occasions early (Pac) war and over such a huge area.

Regarding your general point re: Japanese navy not being the most advanced in WW2 - I fully agree with you
Counterpoint:

1. The Italians, saddled with the Germans and the Moose, had to figure out how to move supply past Malta and past the Royal Navy to a lunatic who had no clue about logistics all the way off there in Egypt. Of course they lost (TORCH and 8th Army) but it was on land. Not at sea.

2. Britain had lift which it criminally squandered in nonsensical operations (Crete, Andaman Islands, Rhodes, Kos, other Dedocanese tomfoolery and a questionable Dakar White Feather and don't bring up Madagascar, please.)

3. I think Pelilieu might be the major US bolo to compare and contrast for sheer colossal unnecessary waste and idiocy, but all in all based on some of the insane stuff the Russians and Germans pulled on each other around Sevastopol, I'm happy with those rankings, CH. YMMV and it should. It is subject to interpretation and PoV.

4. The Japanese are just not too good. Example WAKE ISLAND. If the landing attempt had been made at Midway, you would have an RTL example of just how lousy they were at storming a defended beach, much less planning an amphib op. The SNLF would have snuffed it before the first Daihatsu grounded.

But to tie this into building ships that make no sense?

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Those are F-Lighters. Favorite meal for these guys...
 
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