USS Iowa ships out under the Golden Gate Bridge on its way to Los Angeles | MassCops

USS Iowa ships out under the Golden Gate Bridge on its way to Los Angeles

Discussion in 'Military News' started by CJIS, May 27, 2012.

  1. CJIS

    CJIS MassCops Member

  2. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    At 50-plus years old when they were permanently retired, the Iowa-class battleships were definitely worn out, but I'm very disappointed there are no plans for successors. Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Gulf War proved the value of battleships for shore bombardment.
  3. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    There is absolutely no replacement for a 2,700lb high explosive shell fired from a 16-inch gun to wreak havoc on the enemy.....those things leave a crater the size of a football field. I used to work with a guy who was on the USS New Jersey when it was deployed to Lebanon and fired the main battery on a Druze militia artillery unit that was on a mountaintop, and made the mistake of firing on the New Jersey.

    In my co-worker's words "When the 16-inch turrets started turning, they all started running & falling down the mountain in a panic, because they knew what was coming next, and by the time we were done firing, that mountain was about 6 feet shorter".
    Marks72, frank and USMCMP5811 like this.
  4. LA Copper

    LA Copper Subscribing Member

    I'm just looking forward to doing the tour once it gets situated here in the LA Harbor.
  5. OCKS

    OCKS Guest

    They may be out dated but the battleships must of been awesome in their day. I visited the Massachusetts and the Missouri out in Hawaii beautiful ships.
  6. Killjoy

    Killjoy Zombie Hunter

    While the battleship was a incredible icon of power in its heyday, it was simply too big and expensive to keep in service. When the Japanese sunk the battleships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse with aircraft alone, it heralded the end of the big-gun capital ship. The 16 inch guns of the Iowa-class battleship can launch a 1900-2700 lb projectile 23 miles, which takes a highly-trained gun crew of over 100 men, per gun, to get off 2 rounds per minute. An F/A-18 can drop a GPS or laser-guided 2000 lb bomb with pinpoint accuracy with a crew of 1. With air-refueling it has a range of thousands of miles. A B-52 can loiter over a battlefield for hours, picking off targets with 500lb GPS bombs with impunity at the beck-and-call of the ground warfighter and hit with unerring accuracy. The naval gun bombardments of the first gulf war were a feint to conceal the main attack from the north, and the important targets hit by the battleships were done with its Tomahawk cruise missiles.

    While I watch the big Iowa-class ships retire with some pang of regret and nostalgia, I don't think that there really is much of a mission for them in this day and age.
  7. mpd61

    mpd61 Retired Fed, Active Special

    Nuke_TRT likes this.
  8. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    I disagree....aircraft are time & fuel-limited in terms of being able to stay on-station, are extremely vulnerable to surface-to-air missiles, and to a lesser extent, other aircraft, which endangers the lives of the crew as well as the multi-million dollar airplanes. With air and submarine cover and the Phalanx AAW system, surface ships are practically invulnerable to attack, can stay on the gun line far longer than any aircraft, and there is no bomb in the US arsenal short of a MOAB or a thermonuclear weapon that can inflict the damage of a 16-inch HE shell. There was nothing "feint" about the damage that the Missouri and Wisconsin did during the Gulf War, they destroyed artillery batteries, broke-up troop concentrations, and did untold damage to the psyche of the enemy.

    The Joint Chiefs recognized the value of the battleships to the point that part of the arrangement for the donation of the Wisconsin was that the Navy retains overall ownership, and that it be kept in a state where it can be re-activated within 6 months if necessary. They further proved the point with the Zumwalt-class destroyers, which are designed to be long-range bombardment ships, but they still pale in comparison to a real battleship.
    Marks72 likes this.
  9. mpd61

    mpd61 Retired Fed, Active Special

    Bruce! Right on the money as usual! F/A 18's, B-52's and high tech tom-foolery ain't so great after EMP knocks everything out!
  10. Killjoy

    Killjoy Zombie Hunter

    I respectfully disagree as well, a battleship, in addition to a massive 2000 man crew required an entire fleet to keep it safe. In WWII battleships were particularly vulnerable to torpedo attacks, and the anti-torpedo armor on the Iowa-class battleships was known to mediocre. Aircraft can, of course inflict tremendous damage on battleships, and even WWII-era aircraft were often able to inflict catastrophic damage on battleships unprotected by air cover. The US Navy sank the super-battleships Musashi and Yamato , which had even heavier armor and weapons than the Iowa-class battleships, with only naval aircraft. In today's terms, without a screening of more modern ships carrying Aegis radar systems, anti-submarine vessels, long range missile and aircraft defense systems, and most importantly, fighter cover, battleships would quickly be sunk.

    People like to talk about the power of 16" guns, and they were a wonder of technology for their era, but of course the big limiting factor was a 23 mile range. How would that help operations going deeper into country? How would a battleship have helped operations in Afghanistan or Iraq? Also, a well-prepared adversary could still build bunkers strong enough to withstand bombardment from them. Iwo Jima was bombarded by thousands of 16" inch shells from no less than 8 battleships, including the Iowa-class, but the bombardment had very little effect on the defenders and caused relatively little damage to their bunkers. I would also bet a GBU-28, with a 5000lb weight, can hit a defender with as much power as a 16" inch shell, and be more accurate. Anyways, the type of industrial warfare that required thousands of ship-launched shells is pretty much a thing of the past; the targets were always small and it used to take thousands of shells, or hundreds of bombers to get them, now one plane or one missile can hit one target with supreme accuracy. The era of the battleship was over long ago, and its only our nostalgia that wants to carry it on.
  11. CJIS

    CJIS MassCops Member

    Congress agreed with you in 2007 and under the NDAA of 2007 made it law that Iowa and Wisconsin must be maintained to a point where:

    1. Iowa and Wisconsin must not be altered in any way that would impair their military utility;
    2. The battleships must be preserved in their present condition through the continued use of cathodic protection, dehumidification systems, and any other preservation methods as needed;
    3. Spare parts and unique equipment such as the 16-inch (410 mm) gun barrels and projectiles be preserved in adequate numbers to support Iowa and Wisconsin, if reactivated;
    4. The Navy must prepare plans for the rapid reactivation of Iowa and Wisconsin should they be returned to the Navy in the event of a national emergency.[29
    Check this out for the argument about NGFS
    Delta784 likes this.
  12. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    The same could be said of the current Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, as well as the future Gerald Ford-class carriers. All of those ships, plus any battleship, are large ships in a big ocean. The huge flaw in your theory is that it isn't 1944 or 1945 anymore.....any US Navy task force today (which would include battleships) has incredible air & submarine cover, so your comparison to the sinkings of the Yamato and Musashi is comparing apples to moonrocks; the Yamato went out without any air cover in what was essentially a suicide mission. Today's ships, whatever their class, are infinitely more protected than any WWII surface ship.

    Any military operation is the most difficult at its onset, so the 23 mile range of battleship guns isn't really a big the time our forces are 23 miles into the enemy-held territory, we're either kicking ass, or we're incredibly lucky. As for airplanes, an airplane drops the GBU-28, and it misses. What then? I guess we have to either send that plane back to base to re-fuel and re-arm, or we send another plane into harm's way to drop a second bomb, thereby exposing another air crew to the dangers of being shot down & captured/killed. If a 16-inch shell misses, just fire more of them, with the crew far out of harm's way.

    As for the accuracy of the Iwo Jima and other campaigns, once again.....this isn't 1944 or 1945. That's like comparing the General Purpose 500lb "dumb" bomb of WWII to the laser-guided smart bombs of today. If you ever visit the USS Massachusetts, take a look at the fire directors on the main battery, which were state-of-the-art for 1945, but they're laughable compared to what's available now. With modern GPS and laser-guided fire directors, you could drop a 16-inch shell into your living room from 20 miles away.
  13. Nuke_TRT

    Nuke_TRT Stirrer of the Pot

    With todays CIWS I dont see much getting thry the screen to a larger capital ship.

  14. Goose

    Goose The list is long but distinguished. Staff Member

    CIWS is designed as a last resort defense system. If a missile or aircraft makes it within its engagement range, other defense measures have already failed. If it malfunctions or too many aircraft or missiles are inbound at the same time, it cannot defend against all of them.
    Nuke_TRT likes this.
  15. pahapoika

    pahapoika Subscribing Member

    in the book "Chickenhawk" ( viking press 1983 ) Huey pilot Robert Mason tells about calling in an air strike to an enemy location in Viet Nam.

    a short time later he described something like a "flying volkswagon' shaking his aircraft as it flew overhead and left a huge smoking crater where the enemy once stood.

    what the hell was that ? , he said. a voice came over the radio, just your friends from US NAVY :cool:

    some battleship had launched a huge shell and obliterated the enemy. would be happy to see my tax dollars keeping these behemoths on the coast line of any enemy shore

    disclaimer- i am not a military guy.
    frank likes this.
  16. mopar6972

    mopar6972 Subscribing Member

    I am a big believer in the power of the Iowa class battleships, but they have a significant weakness- their torpedo defense system is based off the south dakota class battleship ( internal armor belt) which was thought to be less than ideal if struck. The indiana was struck on manuevers by the USS Washington, and sustained significant damage to some of the frames within the armored citadel- Indiana might very well have sunk by the stern if any more damage had occured. I would be concerned about a diesel/battery sub getting into the inside perimeter of a battle group and getting a shot off.
  17. Killjoy

    Killjoy Zombie Hunter

    Yes, but those vessels provide support capabilities ranging in the thousands of miles, including fighter cover, air-to-ground (once again with a lot greater range), airborne warning and control capability, anti-submarine capabilities, search and rescue, and the ability to launch ground raids or attacks. The battleships provide very little of these capabilities, but cost nearly as much as carriers to operate and man, and would require a carrier group to protect it! The carriers and the submarine are the present and future, the battleship can essentially only provide offshore gunnery capability, which is of dubious utility, especially for the high cost of maintaining them, in this day and age. The Navy very wisely invested in upgrading four of the oldest Ohio-class submarines into SSGN's, with the ability to carry and deploy a SEAL platoon, can carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and is essentially invisible. Now that is modern firepower at its best!


    I was only trying to illustrate the vulnerabilities of the so-called "invincible" battleships, not make a blow-by-blow comparison with today's naval task forces. With WWII technology, it was entirely possible to sink these ships, and it would be even easier with today's technology. Yes, they would be protected by a carrier group, but then, what's the point of having them, beyond shore bombardment? You could man six destroyers for the same cost with significantly greater capabilities, beyond the massive guns, which probably wouldn't get much use nowadays anyways. I reiterate, what use would a battleship have been in the recent Iraq and Afghanistan campaign? Big gun battleships were built to fight other battleships. When we found we could sink battleships with much more numerous and cheaper aircraft or submarines, battleships were left without a job and they were regulated to shore bombardment duties. For the significant cost, specialized training, huge manpower drain, and requirement of special munitions, to have what essentially equates to only a coastal shelling platform, I think money is better spent in other avenues. The Navy realized this a long time ago when they retired them.

    Which you also easily do from thousands of miles away with an unmanned drone, a cruise missile, or a GPS or laser guided bomb from a stealth aircraft, and it wouldn't cost billions of dollars to operate and a huge crew of thousands to man. With 2000 men, you could entirely man an entire airbase with squadrons of aircraft that could do the same job, with global reach and be cheaper to operate.
  18. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    The Navy kept 6 battleships in reserve (the North Carolina and South Dakota classes which includes our very own Massachusetts) into the early 1960's because they recognized the value of big-gun ships in Korea and then Vietnam (the New Jersey was activated for Nam). There is simply no substitute in our arsenal for the destructive power of a 16-inch shell....why do you think that artillery is still an integral part of Army & Marine units? As for the SSGN's, they're certainly useful, but again, a Tomahawk missile doesn't carry the power of a 16-incher.

    I have no illusions of battleships being invincible; they're actually quite vulnerable without the proper cover, but the same can be said for any Navy surface ship.

    Again, drones and cruise missiles don't have the destructive power of a large-bore gun. A hardened bunker hit by a cruise missile would rattle the hell out of the occupants, but a 16-inch AP shell is going to blast right through it. Additionally, a ship isn't time or fuel limited and can stay on the gun line a lot longer than an aircraft would.
  19. mpd61

    mpd61 Retired Fed, Active Special

    KJ AND're both right on as usual, now both of you STFU and stand down before I REALLY Jump in here and bore the piss out of everybody with my EXPERT Naval knowledge and experience...
  20. Dan Stark

    Dan Stark Tears of a Clown

    Nah. Watching the Air Force and Army guys debate this is pretty awesome. The Marines havent chimed in yet because of.... Well... It's written in words.

    I kid. I kid.

    Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk 2
    Piper and GARDA like this.
  21. Killjoy

    Killjoy Zombie Hunter

    If only our enemies would be so kind as to build all their installations within 20 miles of the coast, then a couple of big-gun battlewagons would solve all our problems! ; )
  22. mopar6972

    mopar6972 Subscribing Member

    Ask the Marines what they would want supporting them during an amphibious assault.. I suspect they would still want 16" guns..
    Delta784 likes this.
  23. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    During the Gulf War, an amphibious assault into Kuwait was seriously considered (ultimately they faked one to draw the defenses to set them up for Schwarzkopf's left hook) and the Missouri and Wisconsin were in the theater for just that.

    I make no claims that having battleships again would solve all our problems, I just submit that there is still a place for them in the modern Navy. And we all know that when the alien invasion comes, the big guns of a battleship is the only thing that can defeat the alien's command ship.
    ShmitDiesel likes this.
  24. Goose

    Goose The list is long but distinguished. Staff Member

    I think they should test a CIWS on an incoming 16" 2200# AP shell.

    Now THAT would be cool.
  25. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    Other than possibly altering the trajectory, I don't think it would do much to an AP shell, but it might detonate a HE round.

    I love this picture of the USS Massachusetts firing a 16-inch broadside, and you can see the shells in-flight in the upper left corner;


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