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T4, R1, Prng 171: Nevada Class (USA) vs Ise Class (Japan)

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  • T4, R1, Prng 171: Nevada Class (USA) vs Ise Class (Japan)

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    214: Nevada Class

    The Nevada class comprised two battleships; Nevada and Oklahoma. They were laid down in October-November 1912 and entered commission between March and May 1916, having been preceded in service by the New York class. Arguably, the most significant feature of the Nevadas was their adoption of a so-called "all or nothing" armor scheme. This departed from generally accepted practice because it placed even heavier armor over the most vital areas of a ship, at the cost of very little or no protection in less critical areas. The USA pioneered the concept, intended to offer a more effective solution especially in longer-range engagements.
    The Nevadas' overall length was 583ft (177.7m), with a beam of 95ft 2.5in (29m). Draft was 27ft 7.6in (8.4m) at normal displacement and 29ft 6in (9m) at full load. Displacement ranged between 27,500 long tons as designed and 28,400 long tons fully laden. At commencement of service, a standard crew was 55 officers and 809 enlisted men, for a total complement of 864.

    The two ships were powered differently: Nevada had a pair of direct-drive Curtis turbines driving two shafts, with steam provided by 12 Yarrow oil-fired boilers. She was the first US capital ship to use turbines with reduction geared cruising, which could be clutched into the high-pressure turbines to improve fuel economy at low speeds. Oklahoma received two vertical triple-expansion reciprocating engines, also driving two shafts, and 12 Babcock & Wilcox boilers. The boilers were oil fired on both ships and they were ducted into a single midships funnel.
    Although Nevada's engines were rated for somewhat higher power output than those of Oklahoma, the designed top speed for both ships was 20.5 knots. However, Nevada reached 20.9 knots in trials. Designed endurance was 8,000nmi at 10 knots. Under service conditions, she managed 5,195nmi at 12 knots, falling to 1,980nmi at 20 knots. However, with a freshly cleaned hull this was improved to 6,494 and 2,475nmi respectively.

    Main armament was 10 x 14in /45 caliber Mark III guns, mounted in two twin and two triple-gun turrets. Trials with the triple turret revealed excessive dispersion caused by interference between the projectiles while in flight, so a system was adopted to fire each gun individually, separated by a tenth of a second apiece. At maximum elevation, these guns had a range of about 21,140yd (19,330m).
    The secondary battery was mainly for use against destroyers and torpedo boats. It consisted of 21 x 5in /51 caliber Mark VIII guns in individual mounts; 18 in casemates, 2 in open mounts either side of the conning tower and 1 directly in the stern. Most of the positions proved to be excessively wet in heavy seas to the point of being unusable, so by 1918 the number of guns was reduced to 12.
    Supplementary armament was 2 x 3in (76mm) /50 caliber AA guns (increased to 8 guns in 1925). Both vessels were fitted with 2 x 21in (533mm) submerged torpedo tubes; one each broadside.

    The armor belt was 13.5in (343mm) maximum thickness and it covered 400ft of the ships' 575ft waterline length. (The entire midships portion; extended some way in front of the 1st turret to some way behind the 4th.) It was 17ft 4.6in (5.3m) high, 8ft 6in (2.59m) being below waterline at standard displacement. To save weight, the lower edge reduced to 8in (203mm). Transverse bulkheads between 8-13in (203-330mm) thick closed off the ends of the central citadel. Bow and stern sides were unarmored.
    There was 3in (76mm) of deck armor connecting the tops of the belts. Aft of this, 6.25in (159mm) covered the propeller shafts. One deck below these was another layer or armor 1.5in (38mm) thick, intended to contain splinters from shells or bombs hitting the upper deck. Its sloping sides were 2in (51mm) thick, connecting to the belt's lower edge. A 13in thick mantlet protected the uptakes from the boilers to the funnel.
    The triple-gun turrets had faces 18in (457mm) thick, with 10in (254mm) sides and 5in (127mm) roofs, while the twin-gun turrets were given 16in (406mm) fronts and 9in (229mm) sides. All turrets had 9in rears and their barbettes were armored up to 13in (330mm). The conning tower had a maximum of 16in with an 8in (203mm) roof. Overall, the armor was 40% of design displacement.

    Nevada as seen in 1925; probably taken during her visit to Australia


    On entering service in 1916, both ships were assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, their first action being convoy escorts near the end of WW1. Between the World Wars they were kept up to scratch with regular training operations, along with occasional goodwill cruises. They were extensively modernized in the late 1920s. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Oklahoma was sunk but Nevada, although damaged, survived to be repaired and modernized, serving to the end of WW2.

    Having served as escorts in 1918, the ships were present for President Wilson's arrival in France to participate in the Versailles Conference. After this, they spent most of the 1920's and 30's with the Pacific Fleet. Between 1927 and 1930, both were extensively modernized. This included new boilers, strengthening of some armor areas and improvements to secondary/supplementary armament.

    Following the Pearl Harbor attack, of the two ships only Nevada was considered salvageable. In conjunction with her extensive repairs, she was further modernized and by mid 1943 had joined the Aleutian Islands campaign.
    Her next major commitment was to support the Normandy landings in June 1944. This was followed by similar action during Operation Dragoon in August.
    Nevada returned to the Pacific in time to assist at the Battle of Iwo Jima in February 1945, followed by further action for the Battle of Okinawa from March to June. Having rendered such service, she was used for atomic testing in 1946. Nevada survived the blasts and was sunk with conventional weapons, off Hawaii in 1948.
    The wreck of Oklahoma had been raised from Pearl Harbor in 1943, partially dismantled in 1944 and sold for scrap in 1946. Ironically, in May 1947 - while under tow to San Francisco - she became separated from the towing vessel and foundered!

    Oklahoma at gunnery practice, about 1930


    Drawing of Oklahoma (top) as she appeared in December 1941.
    Nevada as she appeared in 1945 is shown below.


    Aside from the lower portion of the main belt, which was good, further underwater protection of any kind for the Nevada class battleships was minimal and this would come to be seen as a major weakness. However, that flaw aside they were extremely well designed and stoutly built. In particular, their pioneering of the "all or nothing" armor concept was duly noted and adopted - to varying degrees - by other leading navies. Indeed, taken overall their balance of attributes has come to be seen as a true benchmark of warship design progress. Among present-day historians, they have been described as "revolutionary" and "as radical as Dreadnought was in her day".

    General characteristics (at time of service entry)

    Displacement – 27,500 long tons (designed); 28,400 (fully laden)
    Length – 583ft (177.7m) (overall)
    Beam – 95ft 2.5in (29m)
    Draft – 27ft 7.6in (8.4m) (normal); 29ft 6in (9m) (full load)
    Propulsion (engines) – 2 x turbines (Nevada); 2 x reciprocating (Oklahoma)
    2 shafts & 12 oil-fired boilers (both ships)
    Maximum speed:
    20.5 knots (official - Nevada slightly faster)
    Range at 12 knots:
    5,195 - 6,494nmi with full load of oil
    Primary – 10 x 14in /45cal Mark III guns
    Secondary – 21 x 5in /51cal Mark VIII guns (initially)
    Supplementary – 2 - 8 x 3in (76mm) /50cal AA guns
    Torpedo tubes - 2 x 21in (533mm) submerged
    Belt – 13.5in (343mm) (max)
    Deck (main) – 3in (76mm); small portion 6.25in (159mm)
    Turret faces - 16-18in (406-457mm)
    Turret sides - 9-10in (229-254mm)
    Barbettes - 13in (330mm) (max)
    Conning tower – 16in (406mm) (max)
    Bulkheads – 8-13in (203-330mm)
    Complement – 55 officers & 809 enlisted, total 864 (initial only)

    199: Ise Class

    The two ships of the Ise class - Ise and Hyuga - were laid down in May 1915, being completed in December 1917 and April 1918 respectively. The preceding Fuso class had turned out to be rather less than satisfactory, so a revision of design was called for. The most compelling issue had been the layout of the Fusos' midships turrets, which led to complications with protection of their magazines and positioning of the boilers. On the Ise class, these two turrets were re-positioned for wider arcs of fire, at the same time allowing for a more efficient layout of the boilers.
    There was also a desire for more speed, to stay competitive with the newer battleships of other nations as well as to improve armor protection in key areas. Weight-saving measures included shortening the forecastle deck to reduce the height of the lower midships gun turret. However, this also reduced the space available for crew accommodation, making their quarters more cramped.
    The Ise class ships were 208.2m (683ft) long overall, with a beam of 28.65m (94ft) and draft of 8.93m (29ft 4in) at deep load. They displaced 31,260 long tons (31,760t) at normal load and 36,500 long tons (37,100t) at deep load. This was approximately 650 long tons (660t) more than the Fuso class. They had a complement of 1,360 officers and enlisted men.

    The Ise class had two sets of direct-drive steam turbines, each powering two shafts with 3.43m (11ft 3in) diameter screws. The outer shafts were driven by the high-pressure turbines; the low-pressure units driving the inner ones. Steam was provided by 24 water-tube boilers, these being coal and oil fed. The ships had stowage capacity for 4,607 long tons of coal and 1,411 of fuel oil. This allowed a range of up to 9,690nmi at 14 knots. Designed maximum speed was 23 knots, both ships exceeding this by up to one full knot during trials.

    Main armament consisted of 12 x 45-caliber 35.6cm (14in) Type 41 guns, mounted in three pairs of twin-gun superfiring turrets, numbered 1 thru 6 from front to rear. The guns had a rate of fire of 1.5 - 2 rounds per minute and could be loaded at any angle between −3 and +20 degrees.
    Secondary armament was 20 x 50-caliber 14cm (5.5in) Type 3 guns. Of these, 18 were mounted in casemates in the forecastle and superstructure; the remaining two on the deck above, protected by gun shields.
    For anti-aircraft defence, 4 x 40-caliber 3rd Year Type 8cm (76mm) guns in single mounts were provided initially, with capacity to fit up to 16 if required.
    There were 6 x 53.3cm (21in) torpedo tubes; three per broadside.

    Protection included a waterline armored belt with a maximum thickness of 300mm (11.8in) of Krupp cemented armor amidships, below which was an additional strake 100mm (3.9in) thick.
    The upper armored deck consisted of two layers of HT (high-tensile) steel, 55mm (2.2in) thick, with a lower deck of the same material 30mm (1.2in) thick. The sides of this deck sloped downwards to meet the lower strake of belt armor. Both ends of the belts were closed off by bulkheads ranging from 102 - 203mm (4 - 8in) thick. The turrets were given 254mm (10in) on their faces and 76mm (3in) roofs; their barbettes receiving 300mm (11.8in). Casemate armor was 149mm (5.9in) thick. Maximum armor for the conning tower was 305mm (12in).
    To enhance protection below the waterline, the double bottom was increased to 3.58m (11ft 9in) under the barbettes and magazines. In addition, there were 660 watertight compartments to preserve buoyancy in the event of battle damage.

    Aerial view of Hyuga in 1927


    When commissioned towards the end of WW1, Ise and Hyuga were assigned to the 1st Battleship Division of the 1st Fleet. Most of their early years were spent in training exercises, with occasional VIP visits and miscellaneous tasks. They were to be modernized during the 1930's and refitted again in late 1940, in preparation for conflict. They would see a fair bit of action during WW2.

    Modernization was comprehensive. Machinery was completely replaced, with oil-fired boilers and more powerful turbines. This increased official top speed to 24.5 knots which was, again, exceeded in trials. Also, torpedo bulkheads were installed. Externally, torpedo bulges were fitted and turret roof armor increased to 152mm (6in). Deck armor was increased over machinery and magazines.
    At the start of hostilities with the USA in December 1941, Ise and Hyuga - along with four other battleships and a light carrier - provided distant cover for the fleet attacking Pearl Harbor. By this time, they were in the 2nd Battleship Division. Early 1942 saw no direct enemy contact but Hyuga had a serious accident in May, when a premature detonation in her #5 turret killed 51 crewmen.
    Both ships missed the Battle of Midway (4-7 June 1942) when they set sail with the Aleutian Support Group on 28 May. Returning home in mid June, the sisters were on standby for conversion to carry aircraft, to help compensate for the Midway carrier losses. Ise's conversion was finished by September 1943 and Hyuga's the following November. The flight decks were only 230ft (70.1m) long and positioned at the ships' stern. This required removal of turrets 5 & 6. Aircraft were launched by catapult and could not return to their ship for landing. Pilots were expected to land on a conventional carrier or recover ashore. Up to 22 planes could be carried; 2 in the catapults, 11 on the flight deck and 9 in the hangar below, with an elevator to raise them to the deck when required. Both ships went through a "working up" process for their new role and by August 1944 had been assigned to the reformed Fourth Carrier Division.

    In October 1944, as the Americans moved to take the Philippine islands, Ise and Hyuga were committed to battle. However, due to recent heavy losses of aircraft they had no planes embarked. Between October 23-26, along with numerous other Japanese ships they came under intense American air attack in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The Japanese lost 4 carriers but Ise and Hyuga survived with some damages. Afterwards, they also managed to avoid being hit by torpedoes from submarine attacks and made it back to Japan.
    Following repairs and replenishment, the two ships departed for Singapore, arriving on January 1, 1945. They were loaded with drums of oil and other strategic materials to be taken back to Japan, arriving home by February 20. After this, lack of fuel prevented them from undertaking further operations as such. They continued in service as floating anti-aircraft batteries in the Kure area. In this capacity, between March and July they were subjected to a series of attacks from American carrier planes. On July 24, Hyuga was overwhelmed by several bomb hits and numerous near misses, suffering flooding that forced her crew to run her aground. Ise met her end four days later, with an estimated 18 hits, sinking by the bow in shallow water.

    Drawings of Ise class; before and after conversion


    Ise undergoing trials after her August 1943 reconstruction


    Ise and Hyuga were modified more than any other class of IJN battleships. Having started as "super-dreadnoughts" near the end of WW1, during WW2 they would become the World's only "battleship / aircraft carriers". However, following their conversion there were no reasonable opportunities to properly test the concept as such. Although we can deduce that a vessel of war trying to be both battleship AND aircraft carrier could not have been up to scratch in either role, I somehow find it tantalizing to imagine exactly what would have happened if a half decent chance had come up.

    General characteristics

    Displacement – 31,260 long tons (normal); 36,500 long tons (deep load)
    Length – 208.2m (683ft) overall
    Beam – 28.65m (94ft)
    Draft – 8.93m (29ft 4in) (deep load)
    Propulsion – 2 sets of steam turbines, 4 shafts, 24 boilers
    Maximum speed:
    23 knots (initially)
    Range at 14 knots:
    9,690nmi with 4,607 long tons of coal & 1,411 of fuel oil
    Primary – 12 x 45-caliber 35.6cm (14in) Type 41 guns
    Secondary – 20 x 50-caliber 14cm (5.5in) Type 3 guns
    Supplementary – 4 x 40-caliber 3rd Year Type 8cm (76mm) guns
    Torpedo tubes - 6 x 53.3cm (21in) torpedo tubes; three per broadside
    Belt – 300mm (11.8in)
    Decks – 55mm (2.2in) (upper); 30mm (1.2in) (lower)
    Turret faces - 254mm (10in)
    Turret roofs - 76mm (3in)
    Barbettes - 300mm (11.8in)
    Casemates – 149mm (5.9in)
    Conning tower – 305mm (12in)
    Bulkheads – 102 - 203mm (4 - 8in)
    Complement – 1,360 officers and enlisted men,_Hiroshima

    Two quite noteworthy classes of battleships here;
    Both very interesting in their own way ....
    But, which of them should progress to the next round?

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?
    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).
    214: Nevada class (USA)
    199: Ise class (Japan)
    Last edited by panther3485; 07 Aug 20, 10:54.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    Uncle Paul was part of the Marine detachment on OKLAHOMA during WW2.
    ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th


    • #3
      When I used to play the Japanese I used to buy three Yamatos and one Hyuga so I could put a couple more aircraft units on it. It was a good return on my investment. Be that as it may, I went with full size Aircraft Carriers when I played the Americans (a mix of Lexington and Hornets). In a game here, I got to play with the Nevada!

      I have to go with Nevada.

      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"


      • #4
        USS Nevada: I've always liked the "birdcages"
        "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
        Samuel Johnson.


        • #5
          The Nevada class represents a revolution in battleship design with the adoption of the "All or nothing" armor scheme. The Ise class is typical of British super-dreadnought design like say the Iron Duke class or beyond.

          The compact design of the Nevada is definitely superior to the larger Ise with the two amidships turrets with limited firing arcs. From the beginning, the Nevada's also had a much superior torpedo defense system to the Ise class. The Nevada's also have slightly heavier armor, particularly deck armor and are much better protected against plunging fire than the Ise's.

          After the Nevada's got their inter-war rebuilds, they were definitely better than the Ise class. This got rid of the hull casemate guns, a weakness compared to having them a deck higher where they are less wet and have better firing arcs. Other than buldging the Ise's, Japan focused on improving their ship's speed rather than on protection or fire controls. This was in large part a mistake.

          As rebuilt after Pearl Harbor, the Nevada (and Oklahoma would have been the same if repaired) had a clear superiority over the Ise's.

          Nevada wins.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jose50 View Post
            Uncle Paul was part of the Marine detachment on OKLAHOMA during WW2.
            Do you mean at Pearl Harbor?


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