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As many of us share a common interest in this subject, I thought it would be good to have a thread on it complete with photos and a little account of each vessel's history or most interesting qualities.

The only thing I'd recommend is not posting extremely large photos. If you see you've posted something that causes the viewing area to become grossly widened or distorted go back in and delete it. Find a smaller photo to replace that one. Very distorted space hogs might get this thing padlocked.

Looking forward to seeing a lot of great ships, their photos and their stories.

[ February 08, 2004, 05:20 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Front view of the German BB Bismarck, sister ship of the Tirpitz.

Armed with eight 15" guns and numerous smaller weapons, these ships were very fast at 30 knots and equiped with the most modern gunnery radar and electronics equipment.

More than a match for any other single BB when cleared for service early in 1941, both ships had fatal flaws, principally in the unprotected rudders and exposed electronics areas on the superstructure.

Bismarck set off in May 1941 on a fateful but questionable mission with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. It was originally planned that Tirpitz would also be part of the task force, but the second BB was still having shakedown problems and remained in the Baltic.

Lost in battle, perhaps better said as wasted in senseless battle, the Bismarck, despite sinking the British BC Hood with a magazine hit, provided a moral boos for the Royal Navy while shifting the naval balance significantly in Britain's favor.

Admiral Tirpitz, finally released for duty, never saw surface action against an enemy capital ship. As a North Sea menace she helped scatter a Murmansk convoy that was ultimately destroyed almost to a ship by aircraft and u-boats. Hit several times by aircraft, she was eventually sunk in her Norwegian fjiord anchorage.

All in all, the two behemoths were used very well by Germany.

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Imperial Japanese Navy BB Yamato, sister ship of Musashi, largest battleships ever built! Both were sunk by American carrier aircraft.


Lifted this, can't find an author but I think his name is Glen Wallace.

7 APRIL 1945

Ring side view . . .

Sink the Yamato

Our Air Group Commander, (CDR Utter), was coordinator for the attack. We flew on his wing at about 3000 feet while he called the shots. First calling in the F6F and F4U fighters to strafe, then the dive bombers and the torpedo planes. I saw one TBM drop his fish and it headed straight for the Yamato, but a Jap can got in its way. Blew the Jap destroyer completely in half. All the ships were firing, and the Yamato tried to hit us with those big 18-inch guns. We could look right down the barrels, and when they fired, it looked like red-hot molten metal coming out of the muzzles. They couldn't get enough elevation to hit us but it was an awesome sight.

The Japanese battleship Yamato under attack by U.S. Navy planes in the East China Sea on April 7, 1945. She sank after being hit by 10 torpedos and five bombs. (National Archives)

Editor's note: Yamato and her sister ship, Musashi were the biggest battleships ever built (the third hull, Shinano, was converted to an aircraft carrier while still under construction but was sunk on her maiden cruise.*) The battleships displaced 72,000 tons with 18.1-inch guns. By comparison, Germany's Bismark displaced 45,000 tons. Britain's King George class came in at 35,000 tons with 14-inch guns. The US Navy's North Carolina and Washington were 35,000 tonners with 16-inch guns. Even the mighty USS Missouri (Iowa Class) weighed in at 58,000 tons with 16-inch guns. There were four of these dreadnoughts: Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

*See World War II, November 2001 "First and Last Cruise of Shinano"

After all the planes had made their runs and left for home, we were the only four left in the area. Some of the ships were on their sides and some were sinking, so our leader had a bright idea: "Lets go in and get a hit on the Yamato before we leave," he said. We were all for it, so we headed in for the final blow, but since we were the only targets in sight, every ship opened up on us, even those on their sides.

It was a solid curtain of gunfire and almost certain curtains for us. Then our leader had another brilliant idea, "Lets do a 180 and get the hell out of here" — which we were most happy to do. We dropped our bombs and headed for the Ship. We landed aboard on fumes because we had been lugging those 1000 pounders for most of the hop.



[ February 08, 2004, 06:14 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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H.M.S. Hood

Similar in many ways to the ship that sank her, such as top speed of 30 knots and carrying eight 15" guns, the Hood was the only one of three planned sister ships commissioned as the First World War drew to a close. Like all British battlecruisers she had the fatal weakness of overly thin deck armor. During the twenties and thirties Hood was altered several times with the unintended effect of weakening her overall structure. By the time of her battle with Bismarck (also with the newly commisioned and still unfinished Prince of Wales with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen supporting Bismarck) there were rumors that Hood was not quite capable of handling heavy seas! Her forsection was said to be frequently awash in rough water due to all the added weight she'd taken on over the years.

Hood was sunk with nearly all hands soon after commencing battle at extended range, her worst possible course as it exposed her to arching fire. That her main powder magazine blew is a certainty, but whether it was from an 8" shell fired by Eugen, or a 15" shell fired by Bismarck remains uncertain. There are also theories that one of her own stored torpedoes came loose and detonated the ammunition.

Battlecruiser, post WW I design.

The Hood photographed from another British Battlecruiser, the H.M.S. Repulse.


[ February 08, 2004, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Nice thread JJ!

I'll have to check my books on the subject. Naval warfare is something I haven't gotten into yet.

Did you see those photo's on the net that were released recently, mostly by RAF pilots flying over concentration camps and D-day? If I remember correctly there was one spotting a German warship in the Norwegian fjords.

Here's that link. It was the Tirpitz and the Hipper.

[ February 08, 2004, 06:43 PM: Message edited by: kurt88 ]

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Great photos, thanks for the link and glad you're enjoying the Thread.

I've taken the bottom picture of Admiral Hipper being worked on. Fantastic detail.

Hipper was one of Prinz Eugen's sister ships. They were very similar in design to the much larger Bismarck and Tirpitz, and shared the same exposed rudder and electronics problems.

Sometimes we have hardcore naval buffs and I'm hopeful that we'll see some very interesting postings here.


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USS Indianapolis: nuclear weapon, subs & sharks


USS Indianapolis.org

What ship has such a story? Delivered death and destruction, just to suffer an nearly equal destiny on the way back home. Gruesome.

Excerpt from

Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopedia

(Nice link, but unfortunatly no pictures)

"The outbreak of World War II found Indianapolis in the Pacific. She was assigned to Task Force 11 and took part in operations in the waters around New Britain and New Guinea in early 1942. She saw action in the Aleutian Islands from August 1942 to the spring of 1943. Later in the year she flew Vice Admiral Raymond Spruance's flag in the Gilbert Islands (November 1943), the Marshalls (January 1944), Carolines (March and April), and Mariana Islands (through September). Later detailed to Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's fast-carrier attack force in operations against the Japanese Home Islands (March 31) off Okinawa, Indianapolis was hit by a kamikaze's bomb that exploded after passing through the bottom of the hull. She returned to San Francisco under her own power. With repairs complete, she was ordered to carry to Tinian Island the operative parts of the atom bomb destined for Hiroshima. Under Captain Charles B. McVay III, she sailed from Farallon Light to Diamond Head in a record 74½ hours. After stopping briefly for fuel and stores at Pearl Harbor, she reached Tinian on July 26. Her top-secret cargo discharged, she departed for Guam and Leyte. Shortly before midnight on the second day out, she was spotted by the Japanese submarine I-58, under Commander Machitsura Hashimoto. Hashimoto fired six torpedoes at 0015 on July 30. (Some reports suggest that manned midget submarines called kaitens were used.) One blew off the bow and the other hit just below the bridge. Indianapolis sank in about ten minutes in 12°02N, 134°48E, taking an estimated 400 of her crew with her; they were the lucky ones. A series of radio transmission errors resulted in there being no overdue message posted, and in the course of the next few days, 500 of the crew died, many of them eaten by sharks. Finally, on August 2, a patrol plane happened to notice groups of survivors drifting in the sea. Over the next six days, 316 men were rescued.

As if the "routine stupidity and unnecessary suffering," as Samuel Eliot Morison described it, of the Navy's second-greatest loss of life from a single ship were not enough (only USS Arizona had more casualties), the Navy proceeded to court-martial Captain McVay for failing to order a zigzag course (a fact he freely acknowledged) and for not abandoning ship sooner. Incredibly, among the prosecution's star witnesses was none other than I-58's Commander Hashimoto. McVay was found guilty of the first charge and acquitted of the second."


Excerpt from www.taxter.com

"Imagine though, you are one of the sailors from the Indianapolis. You are floating in the water, helpless. And beneath the water, where you can't see them, these teeth

shark3.jpg are coming for you and tear into you! Those poor sailors!"

[ February 08, 2004, 07:13 PM: Message edited by: xwormwood ]

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Terrific Post Mr X

The captain was shafted, the navy shafted a lot of it's officers starting with one time full Admiral Husband E. Killel. The sailors were shafted ...

At the Battle of Leyte Gulf three United States Fletcher Class destroyers counter attacked against the Yamato and several heavy cruisers when they were within spitting distance of wiping out the beachhead. Admiral Halsey, in one of his worst errors of judgement, was far to the north chasing empty aircraft carriers and hoping for a toe-toe Battleship fray. The beaches were all but undefended except for those destroyers and some escort carriers stocking depthcharges instead of bombs!

The destroyers and aircraft, dropping depth charges on armor, doing nothing but creating noise and smoke, attacked the exponentially more powerful Japanese Central Fleet with such determination that it's Admiral saw distant cruisers as battleships and escort carriers as their full-sized cousins. A miracle occurred, he turned and headed back to safety!

The downed pilots and shipwrecked sailors -- all the destroyers were sunk -- remained in the water for days. The fleet knew where they were, captains pleaded for permission to rescue them, and permission was denied for fear of submarines using them as bait. When the area was finally covered by an air umbrella ships were sent to fish out the last survivors.

Like their fellow sailors on the Indianappolis, those sailors had floated day and night watching their fellow crewmembers being eaten by sharks.

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Great film footage, thanks for the link.

I believe the aircraft carrier I was thinking of was the Franklin during the Okinawa Campaign, a couple of weeks before the landings. If so, she was also hit by at least one Kamikazee after mistaking the incoming aircraft for friendlies, despite warnings from the picket destroyers who were shooting at them.

"- The USS Franklin's devastated flight deck is seen in this color photo, as she sails proudly under her own power to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in late April 1945. Two bombs that hit her on March 19, 1945 ignited fires that resulted in the most damage received by any Essex-class carrier in the war. Total casualties were 802 killed and 265 wounded"


[ February 10, 2004, 12:31 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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I don’t usually post here, being one of those CMers that was lightly bashed in a thread here not too long ago. But I saw the title of WWII Warships pop up, and thought I’d take a look. I’ve three ships to share with the crowd. The first is my sentimental favorite. (note all pictures from www.hazegray.org, a great website)

The USS California. 32,300 tons. Main batteries 4 triple 14"/50cal, 14 single 5"/51cal. It actually had two torpedo tubes at one time or another.

USS California

Sunk at Pearl Harbor by two bombs and two torpedoes. Raised in 1942 and put back into full service after refit in January 1944. Got some revenge by kicking IJN ass at Surigao Strait, 25 October 1944.

Number 2 on the list is the reason the Germans got off easy fighting the Brits in 1941. Roughly contemporary with the Bismarck an Tirpitz, and disputing the claim that the Jerry BBs were “more than a match for any other single BB” are the South Dakota class.

37,970 tons and a main battery of 3 triple 16"/45cal would have easily given Hitler’s heavies a run for their money.

Massachusetts in wartime service

and today as a museum

And finally, the crown jewels of the battleship world, the Iowa class.

48,000 tons of fighting steel, with 9 16”/50 cal, guns, perhaps the best battleship guns ever mounted. Combined with top notch armor, 33 knot speed, great secondary armament, and the worlds best fire direction, quite simply the best BBs ever floated.

The Iowa in WWII trim and with its late 80’s finery.

OK, they don't permit direct linking to images, so the BB page is here

[ February 10, 2004, 12:52 AM: Message edited by: Marlow ]

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You're always welcome here and we're always bashing the General Forum, we bash a lot of things but don't mean it maliciously. :D

Great Stuff, thanks for the links.

Agree about the two classes of BB making an interesting match-up. Roughly the same size and speed, comparable gunnery radar, 9x16" American guns vs 8x15" German guns gives U. S. ships the edge but I think the Bismarck and Tirpitz might have been stronger in withstanding shell hits than the American ships. Bismarck took plenty of 16" & 14" shells before going under, but most of them were at a flat trajectory without going through the deck, so it isn't easy to determine. The more modern American 16s were said to have a comparable punch to the Japanese 18.1s on the Yamato and Musashi.

Really glad you chose the California as I was about to post the Arizona. Offhand I'm not sure if they were sister ships but if they weren't they were very similar.

Got into the Hazegray site and like it. The others give a page that says Forbidden Access! I'll try and find a way around that tomorrow.

Hope you'll post lots more here, forget the bashing, we've done it for years.

I've laid off the General Forum since Tiny_Tanker adapted that footer making it appear I'm dead, ... The one no one missed! It would be good if he URL'd a link to the Thread came from, but I suppose it's a form of immortality. :eek:

[ February 10, 2004, 01:40 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Linienschiff Schleswig-Holstein, WW1-veteran. At dawn of 1st September 1939, the „Schleswig-Holstein" opened fire at 4.45 hours (four 280 mm and ten 150 mm guns) in a surprise attack on the Polish post/Westerplatte, thus marking the beginning of the Second World War.


"BB" Schleswig-Holstein while starting second World War in 1939...


... and while starting to a world of scrap in 1946


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Mr. X.

Great shots (literally) of a grand old warhorse. I believe, Officially, this ship was a training vessel and probably stoked coal. It's main guns were probably either 11" or 12" inch. During WWI, British ships were generally more heavily armed while their German counterparts were more heavily armored, adding to the 1946 salvage profits.

I think Turkey still had such a ship, transferred to her from Imperial Germany in 1914, in active service during the sixties or even seventies.

And why not, the United States used the BB Texas throughout the war, and that was pre-WW I and is now a naval museum in, where else, Texas! ;)

USS Texas, BB 35, too old to either continue using or to salvage but perfect for a leisurely stroll with the kiddies.


[ February 10, 2004, 12:12 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Originally posted by JerseyJohn:

Mr. X.

I think Turkey still had such a ship, transferred to her from Imperial Germany in 1914, in active service during the sixties or even seventies.


That would have been the Goeben. She was scrapped in 1873 when the West Germans wouldn't buy her back.
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Goeben was an event in and of herself. The Germans were building her for the Turks when the war broke out. Instead of conficating ships built for foreign powers as the Brits did, the Germans led the RN on a merry chase thru the Med and got her to Istanbul. There, the crew put on fezs, ran up the Ottoman colors, sailed into the Black Sea to shell the Russian coast, thus bringing Turkey into the war as a de facto German ally.

BTW, the Brit officers who let her thru were cashiered wholesale. If you want to play this in a game, there's a great computer sim of it. Let me know.

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Originally posted by Jim Cobb:

The Germans were building her for the Turks when the war broke out.

Not true: the Brits were building ships for the Turks when the war broke out, not Germans.

Goeben & Breslau were regular ships serving in the Mediteranean (Mittelmeerdivision) when world war One started.

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HMS Campbeltown after she had run aground in St. Nazaire.


On the night of March 28, 1942 she was run aground just outside the gates of the 'Normandie locks', the only drydock along the Atlantic coast big enough to accomodate the Battleship Tirpitz. Deep inside her hull was 5 tons of high explosives in the form of 24 Mark VII depth charges, grouped togther in a steel tank then covered in concrete. A fuse with an 8 hour delay completed the package.

The Campbeltown ran aground at approximately 1:34am. Judging by the picture it is already dawn, so the fuses should be going off any second now.

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