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Nazi Germany's Battleship Bismarck vs. America's Iowa Class: Who Wins?

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  • Nazi Germany's Battleship Bismarck vs. America's Iowa Class: Who Wins?

    Despite the vast scope of the Second World War, the navies of the United States and Nazi Germany fought few, if any, direct surface engagements. By the time of Americaís entry into the war the Royal Navy had already sunk or neutralized the lionís share of Hitlerís Kriegsmarine, with only Hitlerís U-boats remaining a substantial German threat.

    But what if the UKís Royal Navy hadnít been as successful as it was, and the U.S. was forced to hunt down the German Navyís major surface combatants? What if the Iowa-class fast battleships had been sortied into the Atlantic to square off against their counterparts, the Bismarck-class battleships?

    The Bismarck-class battleships were the largest surface ships built by Germany before and during the Second World War. Germany had been prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles to build warships over 10,000 tons, but the Anglo-German Naval Treaty of 1935 implicitly allowed themóthough the German Navy was not to exceed thirty five percent the size of the Royal Navy.
    The National Interest - Full Article

    An interesting article that fit the scope of this forum pretty well.

  • #2
    NO, NO contest. on any level. That is ZERO.

    http://www.combinedfleet.com/baddest.htm


    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    youíre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

    Comment


    • #3
      It's like comparing apples and oranges though.

      The first comment under the article sums it up for me. Technology progressed at an incredible rate as the war went on and the Bismarck was long sunk when the Iowa was launched.

      IOWA
      http://www.pacificbattleship.com/page/world_war_2
      Launched 27th August 1942
      Commissioned 2nd February 1943

      BISMARCK
      http://www.kbismarck.com/genedata.html
      Launched 14th February 1939
      Commissioned 24th August 1940
      Sunk 26th May 1941
      "COOMMAAAAAAANNNNDOOOO!!!!!"
      - Mad Jack Churchill.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Tuck's Luck View Post
        It's like comparing apples and oranges though.

        The first comment under the article sums it up for me. Technology progressed at an incredible rate as the war went on and the Bismarck was long sunk when the Iowa was launched.

        IOWA
        http://www.pacificbattleship.com/page/world_war_2
        Launched 27th August 1942
        Commissioned 2nd February 1943

        BISMARCK
        http://www.kbismarck.com/genedata.html
        Launched 14th February 1939
        Commissioned 24th August 1940
        Sunk 26th May 1941
        Indeed, its like comparing a Panzer II to a IS-2 in so many ways.

        Comment


        • #5
          Easy victory for Iowa. Even the Washington could comfortably beat the Bismark and would have been a more likely match up.
          "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Surrey View Post
            Easy victory for Iowa. Even the Washington could comfortably beat the Bismark and would have been a more likely match up.
            Indeed, I imagine the biggest difference would be strategic rather than tactical: would the shifting of American BB assets to the Atlantic to counter the Bismark(s) have impacted the Pacific War?

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, seeing as how Rodney did most of the damage in the final battle, what an Iowa would do is fairly obvious...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Daemon of Decay View Post
                Indeed, I imagine the biggest difference would be strategic rather than tactical: would the shifting of American BB assets to the Atlantic to counter the Bismark(s) have impacted the Pacific War?
                It would have only taken 2-4 BB's in the Atlantic. I would imagine that even the North Carolinas or South Dakotas would have sufficed. I'm sure that Terry will chime in shortly.

                I just thought of something ironic. Combining WW1 & WW2, and the thinking that the Bismarck was scuttled and the Graf Spee, the Germans sank far more of their capital ships than the Allies ever did...
                Last edited by johns624; 29 Jul 16, 11:03.

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                • #9
                  Iowa by a lot.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I some times wonder if this forum ought in fact to be sub divided into Counter factuals (where believable alternatives are discussed), Fantasy and/or SF. and total nonsense. I fear that this would fall (or be thrown) into the last category
                    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)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                      It would have only taken 2-4 BB's in the Atlantic. I would imagine that even the North Carolinas or South Dakotas would have sufficed. I'm sure that Terry will chime in shortly.

                      I just thought of something ironic. Combining WW1 & WW2, and the thinking that the Bismarck was scuttled and the Graf Spee, the Germans sank far more of their capital ships than the Allies ever did...
                      Check my link above. The SD's would have had a field day against the the Bismark
                      "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                      Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                      youíre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It's comparing a sniper rifle to a musket. The Iowa would be on target first and that's the end of Bismarck. After say, 5 to 10 solid hits Bismarck is finished. The second her primary fire control spotting top is put out of commission (a virtual certainty), she's done. Bismarck won't even get a hit other than by sheer luck. In local control the turrets can't hit anything beyond about 5,000 yards at most.

                        The Mk 13 fire control radar alone ensures Iowa gets a straddle on the first salvo. That means hits on Bismarck within the first two minutes of engagement. It's all down hill from there for the Germans...

                        Put another way, the US fire control radar is about 20 times more accurate at 15,000 to 20,000 yards than German optical control or the 54cm Seetakt set is. The Iowa can get a range accurate to a few yards and bearing that is within .001 degree.
                        The Bismarck is at very best 1/10th as accurate. The US fire control computer is better too along with a better system going to the turrets.

                        http://www.combinedfleet.com/b_fire.htm
                        Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 29 Jul 16, 12:35.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                          It would have only taken 2-4 BB's in the Atlantic. I would imagine that even the North Carolinas or South Dakotas would have sufficed. I'm sure that Terry will chime in shortly.

                          I just thought of something ironic. Combining WW1 & WW2, and the thinking that the Bismarck was scuttled and the Graf Spee, the Germans sank far more of their capital ships than the Allies ever did...
                          I wonder if that would apply to just total tonnage as well...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wait a minute here!

                            Now I don't claim that Bismarck was the last word in BB design but she did face down two British heavy units, destroying one utterly and damaging the other sufficiently for her commander to break off the engagement, an act which is not looked upon very kindly at the Admiralty.

                            I don't profess to be an expert on all of the various FCS's present on BBs but what I do know is that her fire whatever the explanation was extraordinarily accurate.
                            She saw off a BC and a BB in 21 minutes , if that isn't impressive I don't know what is.

                            An Iowa may well have seen her off, I just don't think that that is a conclusion I am as willing to jump to as freely as some here are.

                            It seems that great store is put on Iowa destroying Bismarck's FCS quickly, what if the opposite happened, what if she landed big hits on Iowa in the first 8 minutes as she did against the Hood, what if one of those hits took down the presumably fragile radar of the Iowa?

                            I'm not trying to be antagonistic here, I just don't think that thinking along the lines of Iowa wins because America, is a sensible way to go about it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A couple of points--
                              An Iowa would be hitting the Bismarck before they even knew that they were around.
                              The PoW was still having machinery problems, since she was brand new. It wasn't so much enemy fire as internal problems that made her retreat.
                              The Hood was a 20 year old ship designed before the advent of long range plunging gunnery.

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