After the battle, the sailors calculated: they needed to make 2876 shots with a main, medium and universal caliber, before the Bismarck turned into flaming ruins and completely lost its combat capability. Seeing his condition, the British cruisers got close and fired a torpedo salvo. From that moment on, the German battleship was no longer a tenant. The crew opened the Kingston, and the wounded "Bismarck" went to the bottom, and did not lower the flag in the face of the enemy.
“Whistles, and rattles, and rumbles around. The thunder of cannons, the hiss of shells ... "
Fortunately, naval battles involving large warships, with the exchange of powerful blows and with enormous destruction were very rare. Midway, the battle in Leyte Gulf or the aforementioned pursuit of Bismarck, which was preceded by a fleeting but bloody battle in the Danish Channel ... stories World War II will be typed only a few dozen of these "episodes".
As for large successful battles involving battleships, there are not so few such cases as is commonly believed. But not so much on the scale of the Second World War.
Fighting in Atlantic waters (battleships and their trophies):
- aircraft carrier Glories (sunk by fire of the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau battle cruisers, 08.06.40);
- French battleship "Brittany" - sunk, battleships "Dunkirk", "Provence" and the leader of the destroyers "Mogador" - damaged (the attack on the French fleet in Mars el Kebir in order not to allow him to pass into the hands of the Third Reich. In battle, distinguished themselves British battleship “Hood”, battleships “Barham” and “Resolution”, 03.07.40);
- Italian heavy cruisers “Zara” and “Fiume” (sunk by the fire of the LK “Barham”, “Veliyent” and “Worspite” in the battle at m. Matapan, 28.03.41 g.);
- the battle cruiser “Hood” (sunk by the fire of the LC “Bismarck”, 24.05.41);
- Bismarck battleship (sunk by the fire of the British battleships Rodney and King George V, with the participation of cruisers and deck aviation May 27.05.41, XNUMX);
- the battle cruiser "Scharnhorst" (heavily damaged by the fire of the LC "Duke of York", finished off with British torpedoes, 26.12.43, with torpedoes);
This may also include the exchange of fire in Calabria and the battle of the British battle cruiser Rinaun with the German Gneisenau — both times without serious consequences.
Another couple of cases of firing from the Main caliber: the American battleship Massachusetts shot an unfinished Jean Bar in Casablanca, another French battleship Richelieu was damaged by the fire of the British battleships Barham and Resolution in the attack on Dakar.
You can also calculate 24 transport and tanker that were captured or sunk during the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau raids into the North Atlantic. Here, perhaps, all the trophies of battleships in the Old World.
French Jean Bart outlived all his peers, was expelled fleet only in 1961
Fighting in the Pacific:
- liner cruiser “Kirisima” (destroyed by fire of the South Dakota and Washington DCs in a night battle at Guadalcanal, 14.11.42);
- battleship "Yamashiro" (sunk by fire of LC "West Virginia", "California", "Maryland", "Tennessee" and "Mississippi" with the participation of destroyers in the Surigao Strait, 25.10.44);
Also in battle at about. Samar was sunk by the escort aircraft carrier Gambier Bay and three destroyers, several more escort aircraft carriers were damaged by the fire of the Japanese squadron. On that day, the battleship Yamato first opened fire on the enemy. The specific results of his shooting remained unknown.
Agree, the number of victories is small.
In battle, the Italians! "Littorio" and "Vittorio"
Are the battleships outdated? Let's say.
But how can we explain that there were only six carrier-based duels in the vast Pacific Television (Coral Sea, Midway, Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz, the Battle of the Mariana Islands and Cape Engano). And that's it! Over the remaining four years, aircraft carriers smashed bases, attacked single ships and struck the coast.
The US Marines, supported by thousands of ships, stormed the Japanese defensive perimeter on the Pacific Islands. Submarines "cut" enemy communications. The destroyers intercepted the "Tokyo express trains" and covered the convoys. Battleships used to fight with each other, but most of the time they dealt with problems far from naval combat. North Carolyn, South Dakota and other monsters provided squadrons with air defense and shelled coastal fortifications, while their small Japanese rivals stood in bases, “licking” their wounds.
The war turned into an endless chain of short fights, in which aviation, submarines and anti-submarine / escort ships (destroyers, frigates, boats) played the decisive role. Large warships - aircraft carriers and battleships - were responsible for the overall situation in the theater of operations, by their very presence not allowing the enemy to use similar means to disrupt landing operations and disperse "small" ships.
Great standing of battleships
A similar situation was observed in European waters since 1942: Allied heavy artillery ships were regularly involved in assault assault fire, while few of the battleships and heavy cruisers of Germany and Italy remained idle in bases without any adequate missions or chances. for success if they go to sea. To go somewhere under the rule of the enemy at sea and in the air meant certain death. Poor on glory and orders, the British admirals will throw dozens of ships and combat aircraft to intercept such a “tasty” target. With obvious consequences.
British battle cruiser "Ripals" in the campaign
Best of all, under these conditions, the Germans played, turning the Tirpitz parking into a powerful bait, which for three years attracted the attention of the metropolitan fleet. Unsuccessful squadron attacks on the Alta Fjord, 700 air sorties, abandoned by the PQ-17 convoy, attacks of special operations forces using mini-submarines ... Tirpitz shook his nerves to us and our allies, and finally, 5- Tollboy ton bombs. Other, less shocking means, proved ineffective against him.
However, Tirpitz had a “protégé” in the form of his deceased brother — the meeting with Bismarck shook the British Admiralty so much that the rest of the war the British suffered a battleship phobia and shook at the thought: “What if Tirpitz goes to sea”?
In the "standing of battleships" there was another reason of an economic nature. Fuel consumption for the rise of vapors in the Tirpitz boilers was equivalent to the wolf pack march of submarines! Impermissible luxury for resource limited Germany.
Battleships against the shore
26 December The last battle of battleships died down in European waters: a British squadron led by the battleship Duke of York sank the German Sharhorst in a battle at Cape Norkup.
From this point on, the Axis countries' battleships were inactive. The battleships of the Royal Navy switched to routine tasks - covering the landing forces and firing on enemy fortifications on the coast.
Landing on Sicily (summer 1943) was largely done without the support of heavy naval guns: five British battleships only had to open fire on the coast. But all subsequent landings and coastal operations were carried out with the direct participation of the battleships.
The landing in Normandy was covered by British and American battleships 7 — Waspay, Rammils, Rodney, Nelson and their overseas counterparts — Texas, Arkansas and Nevada, supported by heavy cruisers and British monitors 15-inch guns!
Here are brief excerpts about their combat work:
Both the battleship and the monitor focused their fire on the hardened batteries of Willerville, Benerville and Houlgate. K 9 h. 30 min. the batteries were silent and did not open fire in the following days, although they were in very strong concrete fortifications. 6's “Worspite” June bombarded Willerville's battery six times, fired a 73 projectile, and made 9 direct hits.
7 June took action "Rodney". Worspite bombarded various targets, including the Benerville battery. From the beginning of the landing, he fired three hundred and fourteen 381-mm shells (133 armor-piercing and 181 high-explosive), and in the evening of the same day went to Portsmouth to replenish ammunition. Shelling of enemy targets was continued by Rodney and Nelson, and Ramilles was aimed at supporting the Allied landings in southern France.
Worspite returned on June 10 and was ordered to support the American bridgehead in the west of the landing area. The battleship fired 96 with 381-mm shells with four targets and received thanks from the American command.
“Worspite” came to the British sector at Arromanche. Here he used artillery to repel the enemy’s counterattack in the English 50 Division’s action lane. On the evening of the same day, the battleship returned to Portsmouth, and from there went to Rosyth to replace the worn gun barrels.
But the story from the cycle "Yankee against the coastal batteries of Cherbourg":
The battleship "Nevada" in 12 h 12 mines opened fire with 356 mm guns at a target located in 5 km southwest of Kerkeville. Shooting was corrected from the shore, and the shells lay exactly on the target. In 12 h 29 mines from the shore received a message: "You hit the target." After another 5 minutes, when Nevada fired 18 shots, they said from the shore: “Good fire. Your shells smoke them. ” 25 minutes after the start of the shelling, 12 h 37 min, received a new message: “They show a white shield, but we have learned not to pay any attention to it, keep on firing”.
The large-caliber guns of the battleships proved to be the only effective means against well-fortified coastal forts, armored bunkers and batteries. It was unreasonably difficult, expensive, and often impossible to call up bomber aircraft with concrete bombs and Tollboys each time.
40 years have passed, but "New Jersey" continues to beat out of guns and start "Tomahawks"
Shipboard artillery was distinguished by its mobility and short reaction time: within a few minutes after receiving the request, a point with the indicated coordinates was covered with a volley of heavy shells. The shots of the guns of the battleships gave confidence to the forces of the landing force and demoralized the personnel of the German units.
In the absence of an equal force at sea of the enemy, the British and US battleships proved to be excellent assault vehicles. Their guns “smeared” any target within the range of their fire, and the thick-skinned monsters themselves were less susceptible to the return fire of coastal batteries. They equated enemy positions with the ground, smashed bunkers and pillboxes, covered landing forces and mine-sweeping ships operating near the coast.
Bathroom in the admiral cabin of the battleship museum USS Iowa (BB-61)
In memory of the journey of FD Roosevelt aboard battleship across the Atlantic
In memory of the journey of FD Roosevelt aboard battleship across the Atlantic
On the high seas, they were used as powerful air defense platforms to cover squadrons and aircraft carrier formations, used as VIP transport for the highest officials of the state (Roosevelt’s journey aboard the Iowa battleship to the Tehran-43 conference) and similar tasks, where excellent security, killer artillery and monumental appearance.
Battleship - weapon winners
Battleships are ineffective in combat against an equal opponent. The farewell volleys at North Cape and in the Surigao Strait became the “swan song” of the battleship fleet. Together with the Scharnhorst and Yamashiro, all outdated concepts of sea battles developed in the first half of the twentieth century went into oblivion.
Situational awareness of the battleship compared to the aircraft is too small. And any submarine will repeatedly surpass the battleship in the secrecy and general rationality of the conduct of military operations at sea. By the end of the Second World War, the battleship was preserved only as a means of fire support. Extremely offensive means for destructive shelling of the coast.
It is to this that the failures of the Italian, German and Japanese battleships are largely explained. Under the circumstances, they could not reveal their potential and were of little use.
There is no sadder story in the world than the story of Yamato and Musashi
The largest non-aircraft ships in history could not cause significant damage to the enemy and were ineptly lost under the strikes of enemy aircraft.
“These ships resemble calligraphic religious scrolls that old men hang in their homes. They have not proven their worth. This is only a matter of faith, not reality ... the battleships will be useful to Japan in a future war just like a samurai sword. ”
Admiral Yamamoto was well aware that in the future war of Japan there would be no time for entertainment with shelling of coastal forts. The imperial fleet will have to sneak "Tokyo express trains" at night, and to flee during the day under the blows of superior enemy forces.
The century of battleships approached its sunset, and it was worth spending the money spent on the construction of Yamato and Musashi in a different, more rational way.
Of course, from the standpoint of our days, it is obvious: regardless of the prophetic phrases and ingenious strategic moves to Isorok Yamamoto, the war was lost at the very moment when the first bomb fell on Pearl Harbor. Reflections on the construction of new aircraft carriers instead of superlinkers are far from reality. Imagine for a moment that the Japanese built a pair of ships like the Litter instead of the Yamato ... And what would it give?
For aircraft carriers we need modern aircraft and experienced pilots - who could not be taken in sufficient quantities. Let us recall how the campaign went on in the Marianas Islands (summer 1944): the ratio of air losses was 1: 10, one of the Yankees pilots on this occasion dropped the sacramental phrase: “Damn, this is like a turkey hunt”!
The campaign in the Philippines was even brighter and more tragic - the Japanese managed to "scrape together" all 116 aircraft on the 4 aircraft carrier (moreover, the Japanese pilots did not have adequate experience, and their aircraft lost to American aircraft in all TTX). The once-proud Kido Butai was assigned the humiliating role ... bait for US aircraft carrier groups. Cruising forces and battleships had to strike the main blow.
On top of that, carrier ships had extremely low survivability and sometimes died from hitting just one bomb or torpedo - a critical flaw in terms of the numerical superiority of the enemy. In contrast to the protected cruisers and battleships, which could go for hours under the blows of the Americans (for example, Takeo Kurita squadron).
One way or another, Japanese superlinkors were built. Participated in the battle. Showed excellent vitality. The battleships and their crews kept to the last drop of blood, until the end of their duty.
The Japanese leadership is deservedly reproached for the incorrect use of these ships - they should have been thrown into battle earlier. For example, under Midway. But who knew that everything will turn out so sad for the Japanese ... pure coincidence.
Yamato and Musashi could play an important role in Guadalcanal. But human frugality intervened: the leadership of all the fleets were able to keep their most powerful, secret weapon for the “general battle” (which, of course, would never happen).
It was not worth it so classified unique ships, but it was necessary, on the contrary, to turn them into a powerful PR project to intimidate the enemy. Shocked by the main Yamato caliber (460 mm), the Americans would rush to build their superlinkers with the caliber of 508 mm guns - in general, it would be fun.
Alas, the battleships were thrown into battle too late, when there were no more tricks and tactical moves. And yet, the moral aspect of the military career of Yamato and Musashi surpassed all others, turning ships into legends.
The Japanese still cherish the memory of their Varyag, the battleship Yamato, which, in fact, alone went against eight aircraft carriers and six battleships of the US Navy's 58 operational connection. On such stories is built the spirit and pride of the nation.
Museum of Military Glory "Yamato" in Kure
Books: A. B. Shirokorad, Hitler's Atlantic Wall; Patients A. G., “Duels of aircraft carriers. The culmination of the Second World War! ”