We can only know the probability.
Only a case is a complete master.
Of all the scenarios possible
He presents us alone.
“The Legend of the Failing to Come”
The era of capital ships came to an end with the advent of aviation and “plywood shelves”.
In the evening of May 26, 1941 of the fifteen torpedo bombers from the Arc Royal made a second attack on Bismarck, having achieved two (according to other sources - three) hits. One of them had decisive consequences. Trying to evade the torpedo, the Bismarck turned left, and the torpedo instead of the armor belt on the starboard side hit the stern, damaging the steering gear and jamming the steering wheels in the extreme position. The battleship turned into a sedentary target and was easily finished off by the English ships.
During the fight, Rodney released 380 406-mm and 716 152-mm shells, King George V - 339 356-mm and 660 133-mm, heavy cruisers "Dorsetshir" and "Norfolk" - 254 and 527 203, respectively mm shells. Torpedo consumption consisted of: “Rodney” - 2 (one hit), “Dorsetshir” - 3 (two hits).
And “Bismarck” settled under the water of the Mont Blanc of melted steel ...
If a “plywood shelf” drowns a floating fortress with one click, then why do we need a fleet? It is enough to have a squadron of "shelves".
The harsh truth was that the “shelf” did not always stoke the battleships. Moreover, she often could not catch up with them!
In March 1942, two Albacor squadrons (817 and 832 squadron) from the Victories aircraft carrier attempted to attack a single Tirpitz. The attack was made on the aft corners, as the least dangerous from the point of view of anti-aircraft fire, as a result, the speed of convergence of the “shelves” with the battleship was only 30 nodes - less than the torpedo boats! Under the heavy anti-aircraft fire, the British could not attack such a high-speed maneuvering ship. All 24 fired torpedoes missed the target. Two Albacores were shot down by return fire, and the planes returning from the mission had dead and wounded. The battle is over. “Tirpitz”, going on 29 nodes against the wind, dissolved in fog and snow charges.
It must be admitted, “whatnot” great luck. The air defense system of the German battleships was organized as if it was done not by Aryans, but by Untersmen. Two land commandoherats that operated anti-aircraft fire on the aft corners without any stabilization and anti-shatter booking. As a result, the Nazis paid for their greed to the fullest.
Be in place of the Bismarck American battleship (where every Bofors had his own gyro-stabilized guidance post with an analog computer, and five-inch anti-aircraft shells were equipped with built-in mini-radar) ... Comments are superfluous.
Torpedo jammed steering wheels - a rare coincidence. Here are just a few examples of damage to battleships without any fatal consequences:
“Vittorio Veneto” (March 1941). Hitting a torpedo in the area of the right propeller screw, complicated by a series of close gaps bombs. The battleship took 3500 tons of water. Two hours later, emergency parties localized the flow of water, was given a small move. An hour later, managed to bring the move to 16 bonds. The battleship returned to the base independently, the repair took 4 a month.
Torpedoing “Littorio” (June 1942). 1600 tons of water + 350 tons of counter-flooding for leveling roll and trim. Returned to the base under its own power. After a month 1,5 returned to service.
Re-torpedoing “Vittorio Veneto” (December 1941). Hit 533 mm torpedoes from the submarine "Urge" in the area of the aft tower GK. Adopted 2032 tons of water. The battleship returned to the base on its own, repairing the 4 of the month.
Torpedoing “North Caroline” (August 1942). The Yankees described the events of that day in detail. They claim that they did not like it at all. The course fell to the 18 nodes, the 5 of the sailors died, the cellars of the main turrets were flooded, three armor plates were damaged, 528 tons of oil (8%) spilled into the ocean. It is worth noting that the combat part of the torpedo of the Japanese submarine (400 kg) was twice as powerful as the aviation torpedoes of the “shelves”.
Emergency batches straightened roll in 6 minutes. The battleship went to the atoll of Tongatabu (somewhere on the edge of the world), where a two-day ersatz repair took place. From there it moved across the ocean in the direction of Pearl Harbor, the main repair took 2 a month.
Battleship "Maryland", damaged by a torpedo at Saipan
Next - torpedoing “Yamato” Submarine Skate (December 1943). 3000 tons of water were received, the artillery cellar of the GK aft tower was flooded. The battleship returned across the ocean to Japan under its own power. Renovated: January – March 1944.
Here is such an interesting statistic.
Of course, someone with undisguised malevolence will remember “Barham” and “Royal Oak”, as well as the quick death of LC “Prince of Wells”. Well, all skeptics should read history these ships, paying particular attention to the dates of their bookmarks. The first two are the dreadnoughts of the First World War. They were built in an era when the threat from under the water was considered negligible, and nobody even thought about PTZ.
“Prince of Wales” (like all King George V-type LCs) - Royal’s interim fleet. Discounted economy class battleships, objectively considered the worst among all capital ships of the late period. They had many shortcomings, one of which was a weak PTZ. On average, the width of their anti-torpedo protection was 2 meters less than that of the German Bismarck.
And, of course, fatal accident. One of the six hits had to the propeller shaft on the left side. Continuing to rotate, the deformed shaft “turned” the entire underwater part of the hull, which led to fatal consequences.
An inconsistent example is the sinking of the Shinano supercarrier (LC of the Yamato type with a rebuilt upper deck). The ship was killed, demonstrating amazing vitality. He, as if nothing had happened, seven hours went under its own power, having received four torpedoes, and all in one side! Then he stopped and sank. Why did the Shinano sink? Because it was not completed, and its watertight bulkheads were not sealed. The rapid death of a lot contributed to the actions of the Shinano team. However, there is nothing to blame the sailors for. They stepped on the deck of a secret aircraft carrier just a couple of days before going to sea, and they didn’t even know the plan for the compartments!
Amazing unsinkability and military resistance demonstrated “Yamato” and “Musashi”. According to the chronicle of their last battles, the testimony of American pilots and surviving crew members, the battleships withstood six torpedo hits, maintaining the course, power supply and partial combat capability. The exact limit of their durability has not been established: in “Musashi” it hit the 20 torpedoes In “Yamato” - 11, not counting the numerous breaks of aerial bombs.
Statistics show the following.
Single torpedo hits could not pose a mortal threat to the cruisers and battleships of the Second World War. There have been cases of the return of ships with a fractured board and a completely severed nasal tip (“New Orleans”). As for the fatal coincidences and damaged steering - the likelihood of such an event was an order of magnitude lower than is commonly believed by modern fans of military history.
The cruiser "New Orleans" is not going to give up
Chapter number two. Bombs
Experienced experts know the real state of affairs. As they enter the discussion, they meaningfully say: “Ninth September 1943 of the year”.
On that day, German bombers put an end to the eternal confrontation of projectile and armor. Seemed unsinkable, the newest Italian LC “Roma” was destroyed with the help of guided bombs.
The first Fritz-X hit the deck of the forecastle between 100 and 108 frames, passed through the compartments of the constructive underwater protection and exploded in the water under the ship's hull. The explosion led to a huge destruction of the underwater part of the battleship, and sea water began to flow there. In a matter of minutes, she flooded the aft engine room, the third power station, the seventh and eighth boiler rooms. Damage to the cables caused numerous short circuits and electrical fires in the stern. The ship left the formation of the compound, sharply slowing down.
In 16: 02, the second Fritz finished off the battleship: a bomb hit him on the forecastle deck on the starboard side between the 123 and 136 frames, went through all the decks and exploded in the nose compartment. The fire started, which led to the detonation of the bow group of artillery cellars.
At this story “Roma” is over.
And another story began.
Simultaneously with the “Roma” two guided bombs hit the same type LC “Littorio”. The first blow fell on the forecastle deck in the 162 area of the frame. The bomb pierced the ship and stepped through the side, detonating in the water. 190 apt. Has been damaged. meters plating in the underwater part of the hull. Water intake amounted to 830 tons (another 400 was taken to align roll and trim). The next bomb hit the water near the battleship, causing a partial depressurization of the skin on the port side.
“Littorio” came under its own power to Malta, from where he went to the Suez Canal area, where he was interned (18.09.1943).
The Germans fiddled in earnest. In the same month, the British “Worspite” came under attack from the guided bombs. A veteran of both world wars clearly did not expect such a gift of fate. The bomb broke through the battleship through a 6-meter hole in its bottom, through which 5000 tons of seawater flowed in. The close break of another Fritz damaged the anti-torpedo protection of the battleship, the third bomb exploded at a distance, without causing Worspite harm. Despite heavy damage, the losses among the crew of the “Worspite” were small: a total of 9 dead and 14 injured.
The lost battleship was evacuated to Malta, from where he was transferred to England. Six months later, “Worspayt” was returned to combat capability. 6 June 1944, the ship first opened fire on the German fortifications in Normandy.
The conclusion is obvious: even the use of guided bombs did not guarantee victory in a naval battle. Why managed? This made it possible to drop bombs from enormous heights (up to 6000 m), so that their speed at the time of the meeting with the goal reached the speed of sound. Special-purpose super-ammunition (an array of hardened steel) weight 1380 kg. Not every bomber could lift and sift “Fritz-X” sightingly!
И что же?
The larger and more modern “Littorio” got off with moderate damage, without loss of progress and combat worthiness. The honored old man “Worspite” suffered more, but even he stayed afloat, and his crew did not suffer any noticeable losses.
In unison, the story of the damage to “Vittorio Veneto” will sound.
5 June 1943, during the strongest bombardment of Spice, two 908-kg armor-piercing bombs dropped by the American B-24 got into the moored battleship. The first blow fell in the area of the first 381-mm tower (159-th frame). The bomb broke through all the decks, the cylinders of the underwater protection and, without exploding, went to the bottom. The second hit had serious consequences: the strike fell on the left side near the spiers, in the 197 area of the frame. The bomb went through all the ship structures and exploded under the bottom.
Vittorio Veneto immediately exploded and sank.
Hell no! “Vittorio Veneto” went under its own power to Genoa. Repair took one month.
Based on the above facts, strict statistics are born:
As a result of four attacks and nine dropped bombs (seven “Fritz” and a pair of 2000 armored-piercing guns), only one battleship ("Roma").
And this is the result of the impact of mighty ammunition dropped from great heights and intended directly to combat highly protected objects!
Critical damage was achieved only in the case of a direct hit to the cellar area of the ammunition (the most dangerous part of the combat ship). However, in practice, the probability of hitting the “Fritz” in the battleship did not exceed 0,5. For unguided bombs, this value was two orders of magnitude lower: high-altitude bombing of moving ships was a waste of ammunition.
What can we say about the usual "mines" and attempts to bomb the battleships from low altitudes! Highly secure ships of the WWII era sneezed on such threats.
In April, 1944, during the raid of British aircraft carriers to Kaa-fjord, nine bombs fell into the battleship Tirpitz. The British used the entire spectrum of aviation weapons: 500-pound “mines”, semi-armor bombs, powerful 726-kg “penetrators” and even 600-fnl. depth charges.
Bombardment did not add beauty, but the battleship was not going to sink, did not explode, did not burn, and even retained some of the combat capability. None of the bombs could not penetrate the main armored decks. The main problems were caused not so much by the bombs as by the old wounds opened by shaking - the consequences of the previous mini-submarine attack. The servants of anti-aircraft guns, who were on the upper deck, were badly hit by shards.
The next 42 raid “Barracudas”, accompanied by 40 fighters (Operation Talisman), ended without result. Aces of the Royal Air Force achieved 0% of hits in a fixed battleship. With the same result, the August raid of four aircraft carriers to the Tirpitz site (Operation Goodwood) ended.
Surely someone will ask the obvious question: if the battleship is weakly vulnerable to strikes on the surface of the hull, why did the British not use torpedoes?
Because the Germans, unlike the “macaroni” (Taranto) and American yachtsmen and golf lovers (Pearl Harbor), did not forget to install an anti-torpedo network.
Since it sounded about Pearl Harbor, you can remember the old “Arizona”. 1915 rusty bucket built, with horizontal protection according to Perov world standards (main armored 76 mm). The unfortunate ship was hit by an 800-kilogram bomb, converted from an 356-mm armor-piercing projectile.
From the same series the story of the Soviet “Marat”. In the context of the current conversation, this example does not make sense.
Late battleships were not “absolute weapons". Moreover, in a certain period (before the appearance of anti-aircraft missiles), the probability of their death from the impact of high-tech aircraft munitions increased. But it was just PROBABILITY. All the legends about the "Fritz" and "plywood shelves", allegedly changed the balance of power at sea and devalued the capital ships - the slogans of the "sofa experts" who are too lazy to open the book and get acquainted with the statistics of combat damage of WWII ships.
In fact, even the use of the most powerful super ammunition did not guarantee victory over floating fortresses. Moreover, probability theory has always been on the side of the battleships. Given their considerable size and continuous evolution, the chance of their survival in battle has continuously increased. A brilliant example is the British LC “Vanguard” (1940-46), which absorbed the experience of both world wars. To get is not to punch. And if you break through - not the fact that you disable. 3000 tons of splinterproof bulkheads. Eight electric generators dispersed in isolated compartments along the entire length of the ship. The alternation of boiler and turbine units in a “checkerboard pattern”. Spread the lines of the propeller shafts on 15 meters. Developed a system of pumping and counter-flooding, six independent posts of the struggle for survivability. Remote control of steam line valves - Vanguard turbines could work in fully flooded compartments! And all this splendor was reinforced by the highest possible structural protection with the 350-mm belt and the 150-mm citadel deck.
You torment such a stoke.
Launch of "Vanguard" on the water