U.S vs Japanese Battleships



  • I was looking at some Axis and Allies Navy Miniatures and came across the Haruna; no doubt the WWI remodeled battle-cruiser would lose to cream of the US battleship fleet. However how would the battle have played out with two Japanese 14’ gun capital ships?

    Your thoughts?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Battleships! Went for your they were already obsolete answer AB.

    Look forward to learning that I am wrong ….



  • Yeah right, tell KM Bismarck and HMS Hood they were obsolete, wouldn’t stop them from shelling each other. And explain how obsolete battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst could sink the brand new carrier HMS Glorious off the Norwegian coast in 1940, that should not be possible.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    I opted for one surviving Japanese ship.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The answer depends a lot on how the ships on each side would have been employed tactically, and on what their operational orders were at the time, but on paper the Missouri would have had all the advantages.  The Missouri was about 3 knots faster than the Japanese ships (33 vs 30 kt) , had main guns which could shoot about 5 kilometers further (40 vs 35 km) and which fired heavier shells, and had thicker armour (for example, twelve- inch belt vs eight-inch).  The obvious tactic for the Missouri would have been to use her superior speed to dictate the range of the engagement, and to use her longer-range main guns to demolish the Japanese ships from further away than they could shoot back.  Alternately, the Missouri could (once again) use her superior speed to dictate the range of the engagement, but this time opting for a closer range that fell within the Missouri’s immunity zone but outside the immunity zone of the Japanese ships.  This immunity zone would have been wider for the Missouri than for the Japanese battlecruisers because they had lighter armour and fired lighter shells.

    On the Japanese side, the only thing that would have helped would have been for the ships to try to operate separately, on opposite flanks of the Missouri, to divide her fire.  But since the Missouri was faster, she would have bee able to refuse an engagement under those circumstances



  • @Narvik:

    Yeah right, tell KM Bismarck and HMS Hood they were obsolete, wouldn’t stop them from shelling each other. And explain how obsolete battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst could sink the brand new carrier HMS Glorious off the Norwegian coast in 1940, that should not be possible.

    Very true, I have doubts about how much damage the Japanese shell could inflict on the Missouri. No ship is unsinkable, as I have heard many place the crown of unsinkable on the Iowa class.



  • The Missouri had better range than those two Japanese battleships and could fire further away.
    Assuming the Japanese ships don’t turn and run, the Missouri would have already hit those two ships before the Japanese would even get into firing range.  
    The Missouri also had better fire control and was newer than the Kongo and Haruna.

    The real question to be asked is how would a battle have gone if the Missouri and Iowa took on the Super-Battleships Yamato and Musashi.  
    As Samuel Eliot Morison, author of the History of US Naval Operations in World War II, once said…“What a brawl that would have been!”
    Even though the Yamato and Musashi had 18.1 inch guns compared to the 16 inch of the Iowa class, the Iowas were still faster and still had better range.  
    But who knows.  
    IMO it would have depended on the tactics and strategy of the captains in a great battle at that time.



  • @RJL518:

    The Missouri had better range than those two Japanese battleships and could fire further away.
    Assuming the Japanese ships don’t turn and run, the Missouri would have already hit those two ships before the Japanese would even get into firing range.  
    The Missouri also had better fire control and was newer than the Kongo and Haruna. Â

    The real question to be asked is how would a battle have gone if the Missouri and Iowa took on the Super-Battleships Yamato and Musashi.  
    As Samuel Eliot Morison, author of the History of US Naval Operations in World War II, once said…“What a brawl that would have been!”
    Even though the Yamato and Musashi had 18.1 inch guns compared to the 16 inch of the Iowa class, the Iowas were still faster and still had better range.  
    But who knows.  
    IMO it would have depended on the tactics and strategy of the captains in a great battle at that time.

    I was wondering when the Yamato Class would get brought up.  🙂



  • I can see tis battle ending similar to the Bismarck, Hood and Prince of Wales, except the Prince was a modern ship, compare to the Japanese ships.

    I was curious if the 2:1 ratio in ships the Japanese had would offset the better quality of the U.S battleship.



  • @ABWorsham:

    I was looking at some Axis and Allies Navy Miniatures and came across the Haruna; no doubt the WWI remodeled battle-cruiser would lose to cream of the US battleship fleet. However how would the battle have played out with two Japanese 14’ gun capital ships?

    Your thoughts?

    Although I would like to say Kongo as it was built in Cumbria, UK. I think that the Missouri would have the upper hand.

    However, the engagement at the Denmark trait (Bismarck & co) led to Bismarck’s radar being damaged.
    Perhaps in a situation where Missouri’s radar was damaged or in dense fog it may be a Japanese victory.
    Though i think they would have lost one ship.

    Not wanting to be over critical i think the term obsolete is harsh, perhaps “over use of resources”.
    After all Tirpitz was a fleet in being which tied up a lot of resources of the RN. I think it was Billy Mitchell
    that was critical of  Battleships given the opportunity cost that manufacturing planes would give instead.
    One battleship you could perhaps build 100s if not over 1000 planes and or tanks.
    equivalent of 1000 bombers.


  • 2017 2016 '13 '12

    @ABWorsham:

    I can see tis battle ending similar to the Bismarck, Hood and Prince of Wales, except the Prince was a modern ship, compare to the Japanese ships.

    I was curious if the 2:1 ratio in ships the Japanese had would offset the better quality of the U.S battleship.

    Definitely not…


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @RJL518:

    The real question to be asked is how would a battle have gone if the Missouri and Iowa took on the Super-Battleships Yamato and Musashi.  
    As Samuel Eliot Morison, author of the History of US Naval Operations in World War II, once said…“What a brawl that would have been!”
    Even though the Yamato and Musashi had 18.1 inch guns compared to the 16 inch of the Iowa class, the Iowas were still faster and still had better range.  
    But who knows.  
    IMO it would have depended on the tactics and strategy of the captains in a great battle at that time.

    And it was a match-up that nearly happened.  Yamato and two of the Iowa-class battleships, Iowa and New Jersey, missed each other by only a few hours in the area of the San Bernadino Straight during the closing stages of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.  And if Musashi hadn’d been sunk the previous day, there would have been the potential for a two-on-two fight.  I’d have given a lot to get tickets to watch a slugging match like that.

    One interesting technical difference is that even though the belt armour of the Yamatos was thicker than that of the Iowas, its performance might not have been better by comparison.  Japanese industry wasn’t capable of producing 16-inch armour as a single block, so the Yamato belt armour was in two layers rather than monolithic, which reduced its effectiveness.  Also, the Class-A armour components of the Iowa’s defenses were more advanced than the grade of armour used on the Yamatos, and thickness-for-thickness had better resistance to penetration.  On the offensive side, the 16-inch AP shells fired by the Iowas were heavyweight designs, with a greater weight relative to their diameter than the 18.1-inch AP shells fired by the Yamatos (2,700 lb vs. 3,219 lbs), and they were fired at nearly the same muzzle velocity (2,500 ft/s vs. 2,600 ft/s) because the Iowa guns had longer barrels relative to their bore (50 calibers vs. 45 calibers).


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