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Old 12-17-2013, 05:12 AM
 
Location: Utahn
4 posts, read 4,181 times
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There are no errors. The facts come straight out of the U.S. Navy History & Heritage Command archives. And volume of documented facts does equate to accuracy and authority (See Refs below).

The battleship alert of and warning order from Fifth Fleet Commander Spruance on April 7 was just that. There was no specific intent to engage the Yamato in ship to ship action. The battleships singled out were so old that they would have been throw-aways. The intent was always to destroye the Yamato with air strikes (See References).

Following up on intel from CINCPAC Adm. Spruance alerted a task force (TF 54) made up of aging battleships to stand by for possible surface action against the remnants of the Imperial Japanese Navy. That did not mean he intended to engage in a surface battle. The warning order was just in case they sneaked by TF 58 with its carriers and modern warships.

Authors Garzke and Dulin (1985) speculate that the likely outcome of a battle between these two surface forces would have been a victory for the Fifth Fleet, but at a serious cost due to the large margin of superiority Yamato held over the American battleships in firepower.

On 6 April 1945, Adm. Nimitz notified Adm Spruance, CO 5th Fleet off Okinawa that code breakers had discovered that the Imperial Japanese Navy had ordered the Yamato with the heavy cruiser Yahagi and the destroyers Iskaze, Hamakaze, Yukikaze, Asashimo, Kasumi, Hatsushimo, Fuyutsuki and Suzutsuki, to attack the landing forces at Okinawa in Operation Ten-Go. Approximately 100 aircraft, chiefly kamikazes also accompanied the Ten-Go force.

On 6 April 1945 Submarines USS Threadfin and Hackleback spotted the Japanese task force as it steamed through the Bungo Strait. They notified 5th Fleet, broadcasting in the clear, so all US commanders and the Japanese had no trouble understanding that the Japanese task force had been sighted. The submarines could not fire torpedoes because the task force was steaming at top speed and zig-zagging.

On 7 April Adm. Spruance ordered Bertram J. Rodgers, Commander of Task Force 54, which consisted of Battleship Div. 6, a group of aging, WWI vintage battleships, BB-43 Tennessee, BB-42 Idaho, BB-36 Nevada, BB-35 Texas, BB-34 New York, BB-33 Arkansas, to stand by for surface action in case Yamato and its escort vessels made it to the Okinawa AO. These aging relics from WWI were throw-aways, and Spruance knew it. He also knew that they could handle the Yahagi and the destroyers but wouldn't have a chance against the Yamato with their 12 and 14 inch guns. He counted on his fast carrier task force to deal with the Op Ten-Go ships.

Before Adm. Rogers could pull out of shore bombardment duty, Adm. Mitscher ordered Adm. J. J. "Jocko" Clark, commanding TG 58.1 and Carrier Div. 5 to intercept the Ten-Go ships. Then he notified Adm. Spruance that the carriers in TG 58.1 had launched their aircraft to attack the Yamato and its escort vessels.

Adm. Clark had the following carriers in the attack force: He ordered Battleship Division 8 under Adm. J. E. Shafroth, included BB-58 Indiana and BB-59 Massachusetts, both mounting 16" main batteries and equipped with greater AA capabilities, with the Light Cruiser Division 14 under Adm. F. E. M. Whiting, with CL-64 Vincennes, CL-89 Miami, CL-86 Vicksburg, CL-54 San Juan; Heavy Cruiser Division 10, under Adm. Lloyd J. Wiltse with CA-68 Baltimore and CA- Pittsburgh; and screened by Destroyer Squadron 61 with DD-727 De Haven, DD-728 Mansfield, DD-729 Lyman K. Swenson, DD-730 Collett, DD-731 Maddox, DD-744 Blue, DD-745 Brush, DD-746 Taussig and DD-747 Samuel N. Moore; Destroyer Division 106 wth DD-684 Wedderburn, DD-540 Twinning, DD-688 Stockham and Destroyer Squadron 25 with DD-574 John Rodgers, DD-573 Harrison, DD-575 McKee, DD-502 Sigsbee, DD-500 Kinggold, DD-501 Schroeder and DD-659 Dashiell.

Adm. Clark ordered the screening force of modern, fast battleships, 2 heavy and 4 light cruisers and 20 destroyers to proceed ahead of the carriers CV-12 Hornet, CV-20 Bennington, CV-18 Wasp, CVL-24 Belleau Wood, CVL- San Jacinto to provide antiaircraft protection. He ordered fighters from the carriers provided air cover for the screening force.

The Screening force consisted of the following: Battleship Division 8 under Adm. J. E. Shafroth, included BB-58 Indiana and BB-59 Massachusetts, both mounting 16" main batteries and equipped with greater AA capabilities, with the Light Cruiser Division 14 under Adm. F. E. M. Whiting, with CL-64 Vincennes, CL-89 Miami, CL-86 Vicksburg, CL-54 San Juan; Heavy Cruiser Division 10, under Adm. Lloyd J. Wiltse with CA-68 Baltimore and CA- Pittsburgh; and screened by Destroyer Squadron 61 with DD-727 De Haven, DD-728 Mansfield, DD-729 Lyman K. Swenson, DD-730 Collett, DD-731 Maddox, DD-744 Blue, DD-745 Brush, DD-746 Taussig and DD-747 Samuel N. Moore; Destroyer Division 106 wth DD-684 Wedderburn, DD-540 Twinning, DD-688 Stockham and Destroyer Squadron 25 with DD-574 John Rodgers, DD-573 Harrison, DD-575 McKee, DD-502 Sigsbee, DD-500 Kinggold, DD-501 Schroeder and DD-659 Dashiell.

So you see, even though Adm. Mitcher jumped the gun with TF 58, Adm. Spruance considered the probability of a surface battle between the Ten-Go force and his battleships would be remote. Adm. Spruance declined to issue the final op-order, and the carrier planes from TG 58.1 had sunk the Yamato before TF 54's battleships had time to pull off the line where they had been providing shore bombardment.

References

Turner Publishing. USS Massachusetts BB-59. USS Massachusetts (BB-59) - Turner Publishing Company (NA) - Google Buku

USS Baltimore (CA 68). USS Baltimore (CA 68)

Order of Battle - Final Sortie of the Imperial Japanese Navy - 7 April 1945. Order of Battle - Final Sortie of the Imperial Japanese Navy - 7 April 1945

Garzke, William H. and Robert O. Dulin. 1985. Battleships: Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. pp. 60-61. Battleships : axis and neutral battleships in World War II (Book, 1985) [WorldCat.org].

Ships Log. Indianapolis. Action Report April, 1945.Ships Log 5

Action Report Task Force 58 April 1945. Task Force 54

U.S. Navy History & Heritage Command. Histories Branch
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Old 12-17-2013, 06:01 AM
 
4,207 posts, read 2,284,547 times
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Morrison and Potter indicate otherwise regarding the interception and their works are more definitive than the ones indicated above. Deyo's Task Force was already northbound to intercept which is the main issue as you indicated the USN did not want to face the Yamato in battle which is false.

NB: Much of your text is filler dealing with the aerial component whereas the main issue is BB to BB combat and does not touch on the actual factors involved in a BB engagement- targeting capability, immunity zones, main battery ballistic performance, hit probabilities and speed.

Your comment regarding Yamato's radar fire control capability is counter to well read opinion where Yamato would relay on radar and optical targeting to 27000yards although visual targeting was capable to 32000-35000yards where the probability of a hit was minimal. Some of the old BBs in TF 54 had earlier made radar contact at 42000yards and achieved a firing solution a few months earlier at Surigao Street at 27000yards and obtained a hit on the Yamashiro with the first salvo. This as you must know was at night and the battleships were firing blind and able to use their radar to track shell splashes to correct targeting. Yamato would need to optically observe the fall of shot to correct which may be upset by the use of smoke by the USN.

Yamato earlier at Leyte Gulf made no hits at extreme range while firing at the admittedly much smaller CVEs.

Last edited by Felix C; 12-17-2013 at 07:20 AM..
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:09 AM
Status: "The Union forever! Down with the traitors." (set 19 days ago)
 
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Spruance was an old battleship commander. When he received the intelligence reports that Yamato was coming out to fight he gave clear orders to let it proceed south. At the same time he ordered Admiral Deyo's TF54 including his entire battleline to prepare to engage Yamato. Deyo has gone down in history so far as the last admiral to ever form a battleline for a surface engagement. Spruance intended to let the naval war end with a surface engagement.

At the same time Spruance ordered the decidedly "air power" Mitscher to "concentrate the offensive effort of Task Force 58 in combat air patrols to meet enemy air attacks." The spirit of the order from Spruance was for Mitscher to use the air arm of TF58 to sweep away any escorting planes and establish air dominance in the area. This would then allow Deyo's battleships to engage Yamato in a decisive surface engagement.

Mitscher saw this as classic "carrier vs. battleship" BS. The carriers had done the lions share of the work, but a carrier force using solely aircraft had never decisively defeated an entire surface force underway. Mitscher knew Spruance and he and his men found some leeway in his orders and sent the strike sorties out to find Yamato.

The above is paraphrased from this source:
Killing the Yamato

The article was published in WW2 Magazine and authored by Robert Gandt a former US naval officer and aviator. It was written as an excerpt from his book The Twilight Warriors published in 2010 which covers the entire Battle of Okinawa. His comments that Spruance's intent was to have Deyo engage Yamato with TF54 is the same I have heard from multiple other sources. The USN was NOT afraid of engaging Yamato in a surface action.

Overall Yamato was a very powerful warship, but it had some critical flaws...

Historically the biggest was proven to be her poorly designed and relatively light AA armament. Much was made in previous posts of the San Shiki aka "beehive" AA shells fired from the 18.1" guns. However, according to just about every naval aviator that saw them, they amounted to nothing more than fireworks. Japanese AA fire was always generally inaccurate throughout the war, because ALL of their AA fire was done visually. With hundreds of aircraft attacking in what amounted to a giant blob of aircraft and the entire Yamato task force blazing away for two hours, they only managed to destroy 10 planes which amounted to less than 3% casualties for the US while the entire task force was virtually destroyed with the exception of a couple of the destroyers.

There also seems to be some argument over what Yamato could do in a straight up surface battle against American ships. Again, the biggest issue here for Yamato is the fact that all of the firing must be done VISUALLY. Yamato had a very basic radar that was only good at detecting contacts and their orinetation to the ship (bearing, speed, distance). The radar could not feed the guns information and could not track splashes to adjust fire. In fact, Yamato even needed to rely on a spotter plane for much of their adjustments. The Yamato's guns had to be fired visually and this was a major handicap to its range and capabilities even with all of the awesome Nikon optics they carried. US ships could essentially fire blind using nothing but their radar and fire control computers.

What all of that means is that in a night engagement (which the US would certainly prefer) even the most ancient of US battlewagons would be absolutely peppering Yamato with endless fire from 15+ miles out before Yamato could even attempt to get a visual range solution and engage a single target. While all of that fire may not have been able to penetrate Yamato's turret and beltline armor it would have easily reduced the ships superstructure to a flaming wreck. See, you don't need to knock out the turrets to neuter a battleship. Take out the radars, take out the fire control stations, take out the bridge and they will be fighting blind. Lucky hits may even knock out the rudder, damage a propeller or even penetrate/explode under the water where the beltline armor ends and the ship is vulnerable (a major design flaw in the entire Yamato class). Sure, if Yamato managed to actually hit one of the American ships the hit would do massive damage, but Yamato had a very low chance to actually hit relative to the American ships.

This isn't even getting into the reality that Yamato would be outnumbered heavily and facing not just other battleships, but cruisers and destroyers as well. The latters torpedos being a massive threat to the Yamato. Assuming no air power involved on either side, I fully believe that Deyo's TF54 would have defeated the Ten-Go force and destroyed Yamato.

Also, as mentioned earlier, the lack of fire control is why I personally picked either Bismarck or Iowa in a theoretical duel. Yamato's one chance for victory against either of those ships is scoring a lucky hit at distance. However, Yamato has a very low chance of doing it relative to the other two. At the end of the day in a battleship engagement it all comes down to which ship neuters the other first by knocking out fire control, bridge, etc. The other ships have a much greater chance of doing that than Yamato.

Think of the duel as an actual duel. Our combatants face off starting a couple miles apart, so they can't really see each other with the naked eye. The Yamato duelist is decked out in full body armor and is carrying a Desert Eagle .50 cal handgun and a pair of binoculars. One shot will absolutely cripple, if not kill the other duelist. The other guy is wearing light body armor and is carrying a M16A4 MWS with full optics and laser sights. Who do you think would win?

The guy with the Desert Eagle just needs one hit, but getting that hit is really hard when he has to use his binoculars to sight the target and then try to hit it with regular iron sights on his handgun. He is putting shots downrange, but they are very inaccurate, he is relying totally on luck. The guy with the M16A4 meanwhile is absolutely peppering the other guy with shots. Now, his shots aren't able to punch through the armor, but all he needs is to find a weak point and while he may not kill the other guy outright with that shot; he will incapacitate him so that he can close the distance and finish him off.

Last edited by NJGOAT; 12-17-2013 at 10:19 AM..
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:46 AM
Status: "Many happy years" (set 29 days ago)
 
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
4,701 posts, read 2,326,243 times
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I have to agree with you. No radar fire control, no joy against the newest US battleships. Also, as you mention, too many US ships. Once Yamato had become blind and leaderless, her secondary armament destroyed, her main batteries would all have to be in local control. So much firepower when you add the cruisers. Nothing would be left of the superstructure. She could easily have been torpedoed by the DDs...so many fish in the water. Eventually, the hits would take their toll. Even under the best of circumstances, Yamato would have been done for, but it would probably have taken much longer.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:03 PM
 
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I think Yamato would win unless Bismarck fire a shell into into the 18.1 inch gun as there was no place the 15 inch gun can pen Yamato's armour.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:42 PM
 
Location: London
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It makes no difference. Both Bismarck and Yamato were sunk on their maiden voyages.
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Old 06-10-2014, 02:03 PM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
4,467 posts, read 5,130,482 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobjoerock View Post
I think Yamato would win unless Bismarck fire a shell into into the 18.1 inch gun as there was no place the 15 inch gun can pen Yamato's armour.
I agree with you. Or at the very least the Bismarck would be at a major disadvantage.
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Old 06-10-2014, 02:09 PM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
4,467 posts, read 5,130,482 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John-UK View Post
It makes no difference. Both Bismarck and Yamato were sunk on their maiden voyages.
The Yamato actually had several battles down in the Philippines in 1944. In one battle she fired her big guns at several American ships, helping to sink two destroyers and a escort carrier. She met her fate in 1945.

Japanese battleship Yamato - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:03 PM
 
Location: West Phoenix
611 posts, read 360,456 times
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You can compare the specs all you want, but the deciding factor can be the commander, one person can win or lose a battle.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:07 PM
 
340 posts, read 183,281 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LINative View Post
The Yamato actually had several battles down in the Philippines in 1944. In one battle she fired her big guns at several American ships, helping to sink two destroyers and a escort carrier. She met her fate in 1945.

Japanese battleship Yamato - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I would think your are refering to the Battle of Leyte Gulf. I thought I read the Yamato did not score and direct hits there ? Ron
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