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  • #46
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    The US did that on the basis, at the time of installation, that air attack was unlikely on their batteries and that one like the 16" shown was relatively invulnerable to damage short of a direct hit. The US 16" coast defense gun outranged any naval gun up to 1939 and then only the Japanese 18" could barely shoot further.
    In the case of a counter bombardment, the US crews were expected to shelter and wait for the fire to cease then resume action, which they did on Corregidor for weeks.
    Look around...there is no "shelter anywhere near that weapon. As I said, the Panama guns were entirely out in the open.

    The assumption was that they would engage - and fight - before the enemy came into range to return fire. That's a very stupid assumption.

    At Corregidor, the massive mortars were set into concrete pits in the ground, housing four mortars per pit. SA hit into the put would magnify the effects of blast and destroy the entire battery at once. Again, very poor "assumptions" on the part of America.

    One of Murphy's Laws of Warfare clearly states: "If the enemy is in range, so are you."


    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
      Look around...there is no "shelter anywhere near that weapon. As I said, the Panama guns were entirely out in the open.

      The assumption was that they would engage - and fight - before the enemy came into range to return fire. That's a very stupid assumption.

      At Corregidor, the massive mortars were set into concrete pits in the ground, housing four mortars per pit. SA hit into the put would magnify the effects of blast and destroy the entire battery at once. Again, very poor "assumptions" on the part of America.

      One of Murphy's Laws of Warfare clearly states: "If the enemy is in range, so are you."


      Rather a lack of understanding of the issues of ships taking on forts on your part I think. Warships guns fire on a fairly flat trajectory and have difficulty delivering the plunging fire needed to take out forts' artillery in pits etc. This became particularly evident in the Dardanelles and attempts were even made to mount heavy howitzers on ships, without much success. The issue was long known however and had been evident in some of the actions during the Crimean war. Warships moreover are usually firing from below the level of the top of the fort which adds to their difficulties..

      The Murphy's quote assumes that everyone has guns with identical capabilities which is patently wrong.
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #48
        Originally posted by MarkV View Post
        Rather a lack of understanding of the issues of ships taking on forts on your part I think. Warships guns fire on a fairly flat trajectory and have difficulty delivering the plunging fire needed to take out forts' artillery in pits etc. This became particularly evident in the Dardanelles and attempts were even made to mount heavy howitzers on ships, without much success. The issue was long known however and had been evident in some of the actions during the Crimean war. Warships moreover are usually firing from below the level of the top of the fort which adds to their difficulties..

        The Murphy's quote assumes that everyone has guns with identical capabilities which is patently wrong.
        The US Endicott system forts were designed in the 1890's for fighting ships that would be typical in WW 1. Against that technology, the design was virtually immune to counter fire of any sort available at the time.

        When aircraft were introduced, there was a push to begin covering coast defense batteries with over head protection. Much of that never occurred due to a combination of cost and the WNT.

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        • #49
          Not to mention that the long base rangefinders on land were much more precise than rangefinders on a ship. Also, like TAG mentioned, the land guns outranged naval guns. Add to that, the ships were entirely visible, while the land forts weren't from the sea. Of course, much of that changed when airpower became dominant.

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          • #50
            And naval heavy ordinance was not designed for air burst, it was intended for a hit, a penetration and an explosion. AFAIK you couldn't set a time fuse for a very heavy naval round; so unless you could guarantee a direct hit from over the horizon (and because you were lower your horizon was less than the fort's) forget it. Actually for the period under question air power was on the side of the land, aircraft from contemporary carriers couldn't do much against concrete emplacements but land based aircraft , in larger numbers, could eliminate ships.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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            • #51
              The dispersion of the fall of shot of long range guns is always large. The chance of a direct hit on a 'flat' target such as a coast battery would be fairly small, of course their chances would improve if the range was shorter, but the coast guns had the advantage, not least because the ships had a 'useful' vertical component as a target. In 'ship vs coast bty' the advantage was well into the coast bty's court.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                Not to mention that the long base rangefinders on land were much more precise than rangefinders on a ship. Also, like TAG mentioned, the land guns outranged naval guns. Add to that, the ships were entirely visible, while the land forts weren't from the sea. Of course, much of that changed when airpower became dominant.
                Actually, the US used a Depression Position Finder. This was in essence a telescopic sight that used elevation and depression to determine range to a target. It could be used because the height of the instrument above sea level could be accurately determined.

                Normally, two or three sighting positions would fix a target so the precision of the range and position of the target was very accurately known. These would feed to the battery control who could track a target with great accuracy.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depres...osition_finder

                Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 24 Jan 16, 16:28.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Soothesayer View Post
                  The dispersion of the fall of shot of long range guns is always large. The chance of a direct hit on a 'flat' target such as a coast battery would be fairly small, of course their chances would improve if the range was shorter, but the coast guns had the advantage, not least because the ships had a 'useful' vertical component as a target. In 'ship vs coast bty' the advantage was well into the coast bty's court.
                  Yes, as was found to an extent with the Normandy landings a considerable amount of 'Near misses'. Fortunately with the German Coastal guns many were not ready for 'action' as such. Which was extremely fortunate for the 'Landies'. One which was not complete 'lay' directly along the beach. lcm 1
                  'By Horse by Tram'.


                  I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                  " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    Actually, the US used a Depression Position Finder. This was in essence a telescopic sight that used elevation and depression to determine range to a target. It could be used because the height of the instrument above sea level could be accurately determined.

                    Normally, two or three sighting positions would fix a target so the precision of the range and position of the target was very accurately known. These would feed to the battery control who could track a target with great accuracy.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depres...osition_finder

                    'Ships? I see no ships'!! Sorry mate, couldn't resist. lcm1
                    'By Horse by Tram'.


                    I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                    " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                      Rather a lack of understanding of the issues of ships taking on forts on your part I think. Warships guns fire on a fairly flat trajectory and have difficulty delivering the plunging fire needed to take out forts' artillery in pits etc. This became particularly evident in the Dardanelles and attempts were even made to mount heavy howitzers on ships, without much success. The issue was long known however and had been evident in some of the actions during the Crimean war. Warships moreover are usually firing from below the level of the top of the fort which adds to their difficulties..

                      The Murphy's quote assumes that everyone has guns with identical capabilities which is patently wrong.
                      Warships could carry out 'Drop shots' if the target was at sea by 'closing' with the target and extreme elevation of the guns. This was usually not possible of course if the target was land based due to the shallowing of the water preventing closure.No skipper wants to run aground at a time like that! lcm1
                      'By Horse by Tram'.


                      I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                      " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                        Warships could carry out 'Drop shots' if the target was at sea by 'closing' with the target and extreme elevation of the guns. This was usually not possible of course if the target was land based due to the shallowing of the water preventing closure.No skipper wants to run aground at a time like that! lcm1
                        Extreme elevation of the bigger naval guns was quite limited. Thus the WW2 British BL 15 inch Mk I naval gun on most ships was limited to 20 degrees maximum elevation making "drop shots" at close range nigh impossible. It also limited range so that on almost all British battleships (Vanguard being the sole exception) even with super charges max range was 29,930 yards. The same gun on a coastal mounting which had greater elevation had a max range of 44,150 yards giving the land based fort over 8 miles advantage in being able to hit without being hit. Similar figures etc will apply to American naval weapons. One reason why the big gun under discussion is not under overhead cover is so as not to limit elevation and loose such an advantage. Its also somewhat difficult to see how mortars could be fired other than from open topped pits.

                        It should also be remembered that was normal practice to protect forts with mine fields thus making it difficult for the ships to close to a range where they could hit the fort.
                        Last edited by MarkV; 24 Jan 16, 08:17.
                        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                        • #57
                          Depression range finding was the norm for 9.2 inch coast btys around the world, not sure about the others, particularly the mobile coast btys.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                            Extreme elevation of the bigger naval guns was quite limited. Thus the WW2 British BL 15 inch Mk I naval gun on most ships was limited to 20 degrees maximum elevation making "drop shots" at close range nigh impossible. It also limited range so that on almost all British battleships (Vanguard being the sole exception) even with super charges max range was 29,930 yards. The same gun on a coastal mounting which had greater elevation had a max range of 44,150 yards giving the land based fort over 8 miles advantage in being able to hit without being hit. Similar figures etc will apply to American naval weapons. One reason why the big gun under discussion is not under overhead cover is so as not to limit elevation and loose such an advantage. Its also somewhat difficult to see how mortars could be fired other than from open topped pits.

                            It should also be remembered that was normal practice to protect forts with mine fields thus making it difficult for the ships to close to a range where they could hit the fort.
                            The general opinion of the Hood was a drop shot that went down through the deck and appreciating the limitations of elevation to the guns on ships could that have been so with a shell that was at its limit of distance therefore automatically falling ? I do not mean dropping like a stone but coming in at a much sharper angle because of the lessening of speed. P.S. I may have been in the Marines but I know little about Warships in general. lcm1
                            'By Horse by Tram'.


                            I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                            " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                              The general opinion of the Hood was a drop shot that went down through the deck and appreciating the limitations of elevation to the guns on ships could that have been so with a shell that was at its limit of distance therefore automatically falling ? I do not mean dropping like a stone but coming in at a much sharper angle because of the lessening of speed. P.S. I may have been in the Marines but I know little about Warships in general. lcm1
                              Bismark and Tirpitz differed in design from many (most?) Allied battleships in having turrets that allowed elevations of 30 degrees (same as was adopted for Vanguard). This had the advantage of allowing a longer range to be achieved but the disadvantage that the guns had to be lowered fully down for reloading. Hood shared the common disadvantage of other battle-cruisers of having thin deck armour to save weight and allow faster speeds to be achieved, if you combine this with a shell fired from the steeper trajectory possible by Bismark then I think this answers the question.

                              A further limitation of battleships when attacking modern coastal forts was the lack of time fuzes. The big armour piercing shells had to hit something before exploding. If the fort has heavy mortars in pits surrounded by concrete the ship has to score a direct hit on the pit rather than rely on the general spread of splinters etc from an air burst to discommode the gun crew. Not easy from a moving platform from a distance of ten or more miles. Tirpitz for example only had time fuzed shells for her main armament late in the war - this was to allow the big guns to put up an AA barrage.
                              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                                Bismark and Tirpitz differed in design from many (most?) Allied battleships in having turrets that allowed elevations of 30 degrees (same as was adopted for Vanguard). This had the advantage of allowing a longer range to be achieved but the disadvantage that the guns had to be lowered fully down for reloading. Hood shared the common disadvantage of other battle-cruisers of having thin deck armour to save weight and allow faster speeds to be achieved, if you combine this with a shell fired from the steeper trajectory possible by Bismark then I think this answers the question.
                                The best theory I've seen on the Bismarck - Hood battle is that Bismarck had a 15" shell strike the Hood's armor deck aft at an oblique angle causing an overmatch penetration. That is, it simply smashed a big gouge of hot fragments in it. The fragments sprayed the magazines just below the armor deck starting a fire. The round itself carried through the ship and didn't detonate nor did it physically penetrate the deck.
                                The magazines vented initially forward into the 4" magazines and engine rooms as the vertical bulkheads are weaker than the armor deck. From there it is observed that the fire followed by the magazine explosion start on the boat deck.


                                A further limitation of battleships when attacking modern coastal forts was the lack of time fuzes. The big armour piercing shells had to hit something before exploding. If the fort has heavy mortars in pits surrounded by concrete the ship has to score a direct hit on the pit rather than rely on the general spread of splinters etc from an air burst to discommode the gun crew. Not easy from a moving platform from a distance of ten or more miles. Tirpitz for example only had time fuzed shells for her main armament late in the war - this was to allow the big guns to put up an AA barrage.
                                A big disadvantage is that unless you almost physically hit a coast defense gun it isn't going to be put permanently out of action. Simply shelling the fort might drive the defenders to shelter but the second you stop they can come back out, man the undamaged guns, and resume fire.
                                The US mortars are virtually immune to counter fire from ships most batteries are located in reverse slope type positions. Even if a ship had a 30 to 45 degree elevation of their battery they couldn't hit these positions. Complicating that is trying to aim fire at a target you can't see.
                                The US coast defenses are also mostly larger sized guns of 10" and up. They match attacking battleships in terms of shell size and weight of fire. Britain used mostly 9.2" and 6" guns for their main coast defenses.

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