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Subject: ww2 Yamato vs Iowa class
capt soap    9/17/2005 12:55:11 PM
How would this fight turn out? the Iowa's 16 inch guns against the Yamato 18 guns? The iowa had radar,which one would sink the other 1 on 1.
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Herald1234       10/5/2007 7:04:04 PM

Arbalest: Japense gunners were high quality...probably better than us gunners-and with the exception of radar aided battles, they usually proved it...
The Yamato's guns had a range of 41000 yrs-far more than the Iowa's if spotter planes gave the alert, or subs, etc, the Yamato's guns could have easily found the range before they were in range, and 1" of the 'decapping armout' is not going to withstand a 3800/4100lb 18.1" shell at any range-think of it..1" extra.

I thought this was an honorable mano a mano (shippo a shippo? ) duel to the death thing?

Japanese 46L45
US 40.6L50
The Japanese shell was 1460 kg @ 780 mps (muzzle)11.3 Mjoules SMASH at optimum MER=approximately 7 Mjoules
The American shell was 1227 kg @ 762 mps (muzzle) 9.3 Mjoules SMASH at optimum MER=approximately 6.12 Mjoules 
The Iowa OUTRANGED the Yamato by about 3000 meters and its controlled fall of shot was effective to the full reach of its guns-about 38,000 meters+. The Yamato's fire control failed at 33,000 meters.
Add to that that the Armor Citadel on the Yamato while thick was of inferior steel and poorly thought out, and you can see why I dismiss a a pair of Yamotos' chances against a four ship line of Iowas. That and the fact that the US guns could pump twice the volume of sustained fire into the air as well as theIowa's being better air bubbles and better armor schemed. Two hits? That would be the Yamato's problem. Especially when one examines her superstructyure protection scheme, her communications like that of Bismarck was shoickingly poorly protected as was her buoyancy envelope.
I would rather take my chances aboard an Iowa.
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ens. jack    Been there done that.   10/23/2007 1:03:45 PM
I didnt read the whole thing, but the website has a pretty good analysis of several ww2 heavyweights going at it. They rated Iowas as superior, followed by yamato and the bismarcks.
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scotty       10/24/2007 6:40:17 AM
I would say Iowa. Back when the battleships were reactivated they decided to update the firecontrol "computer" on the battleships. After testing with new modern computers it was decided to keep the original "computers" Why? Because they were more accurate
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Crazyhorse       10/24/2007 3:35:30 PM

I would rate the Bismarck far below most of the new US, British, and Japanese battleships. Her max shell weight was only 1760lbs. While it is true they had a high velocity when you compare it to the 2700lbs ap shells of the American Iowa, South Dakota, North Carolina classes she comes out short. From what I have read the Bismarck?s armor protection scheme was also inefficient and poorly planned. The Bismarck was a huge ship nearly as big as the Iowa but she didn?t have a chance against any of the American battleships.


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quasi1    Iowa v Yamato   6/8/2009 4:23:22 AM

A lot of the battles at sea depended on luck of hit, but here are some facts that may help.

The Americans did not know that the Yamato had 18inch guns until after the war. Any American Captain, would have assumed that they were facing a 16" gun and would have closed as quickly as possible(to protect deck armour). The Yamato was dangerious from 40 thousand yards and the iowa could not hurt the Yamato until within 20 thousand yards. The Yamato did have radar( not as good as the Americans) and had very good optics, also they had a firing system that would bring the Iowa's under fire very quickly.

The American 16"  shell was not as good as the Yamatos until the end of the war.

Please get over the hipe that the Iowa's were so great. If you research them they were little more than a battle cruiser and never proved themselves against an equal foe. their great size came from their clipper bow and not their weight of armour. The Iowa's fire control system was good, but had to get close enough to do damage to the Yamato. Remembering the amount of damage sustained to the masushi and the yamato by bombs and torpedos and take into account the bismark, battleship fire could not sink it, then the chances are that the an Iowa could sink the yamato by gunfire alone is unlikely.

Historicly the Americans were lucky to beat The Japanese and maybe we should trust in god this.

We can debate this for years. what if, what if, what if. The Yamato was designed to take on mulitiple battleships. Iowa could not penetrate Yamatos magazines until very close ranges ( please forget the controled test's on shinano armour). In a straight slug fest, ( hold your American ego) the Yamato delivered more weight of damage and recieved less damage in comparison. Please read other battles.

Yamato was the ultimate design in Battle ships. Even when battleships had been supersided by the air craft carrier.

If Yamato and Masushi had been at the Battle of Guadacanal a very different result may have been the result. 




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Charles99       6/8/2009 7:34:28 AM

Historicly the Americans were lucky to beat The Japanese and maybe we should trust in god this.

Yamato was the ultimate design in Battle ships. Even when battleships had been supersided by the air craft carrier.

  The Yamato was a poorly designed ship, using techniques that had been phased out in more advanced (IE, US) navies.  For example, the presence of the 6 inch cannon, originally in four turrets, with two removed was a throw back to the extremely ineffecient mixed batteries found in older warships, as opposed to the US design of a larger number of faster firing and more effective secondary guns. 
  It was a BIG ship and designed to the limits of Japanese ship building technology, but it was slower, had less effective fire control and had some horrible damage control and armor problems.  It could have hurt the New Jersey class, but the superior speed and fire control would have turned the tide.
Also, I strongly suggest you crack a history book.  You see, it is unfortunate to inform you of this-- the Americans were not lucky to defeat the  Japanese-- their loss was insured the moment the first aircraft attacked Pearl.  A quite simple comparison, easily achieved by even the most limited intellect will find that the United States funded a war effort in two theaters, each one equal (and superior to) the FULL effort of their opponent in that theater, in addition to providing extensive material support to every other allied power, AND in addition to maintaining projects such as the Atomic Bomb project.  By the end of the War The United States navy had produced 17 Essex class carriers (that had been commissoined by the end of the war) and about 14 of those had participated in combat operations.  The Japanese navy hadn't been able to build as many fleet carriers of any class-- not that it mattered because by 1944, the Japanese had no pilots to put on those carriers and they ended their days as little more than floating targets.  
Note this is just one class of carrier.  I'm not going to include ships such as the Casablanca class of CVE's which far exceeded the entire productoin of  Japanese carriers, including CVE's, or the submarines, which helped starve the home islands.
 (and oh, for the Japenese empire, this is another example of just how outclassed they were by the United States in terms of strategy and tactics.  When you live on an island.... convoy's and anti-submarine patrols are your friend.  Witness the fate of the Japanese Merchant Marine, as opposed to the British Merchant marine).
  And of course we won't even mention the fact that while all this was going on, the united states was also able to fund, develop and produce B-29's  like most other nations were producing cars...and the rather...negative impact they had on Japan. 
  No, the war was pretty much a rather long, drawn out process of suicide by Japan, one that could only have been avoided by a decision on the part of the United States not to pursue the conflict.

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JFKY    Well said Charles...   6/8/2009 8:40:52 AM
For those geekish enough to debate this, please wander over to  (Ed. Note:I have no editorial or financial interest in this site).  It asks this question, or rather, "Which is the best battleship of WWII?"  It compares the Iowas, the South Dakotas, the KGV's, the Richelieu, the Bismarck, and an Italian Class BB.  On the basis of armour, fire power, secondary armament, seaworthiness, and at least one other category.  It provides "winners" in each category, and a winner in several combined categories, IIRC such as "light battleship"...and an overall "winner."
The Iowa Class are the overall winners, with the South Dakota's coming in second in most other categories.  The Yamato's don't score that well, neither does the Bismarck....mostly because their armour packages and fire control and fire power are less than their opponents.  For you Bismarck Fanboi's the Bismarck didn't have the greatest fire control, relatively speaking, yes Germany had a great OPTICS industry, but by WWII it was RADAR not optics that ruled Fire Control...the same applies to the Yamato.  (And the vaunted 40k yard range...NO ONE fires and hits at that range.  It's like claiming you have a plane that flies Mach 2.3, who cares?  What matters is the max. USABLE speed, or in this case the max USABLE range which is generally less than 30K yards).  IIRC both Bismarck and Yamato had sub-standard armour packages and designs, not bad, just not as good as the Iowas.
Bottom-Line: 1:1 the Iowas win, all other factors-captain, crew, tactical situation-being equal.  And this ignores the fact that sea fights AREN'T 1:1, but rather that 1-2 Yamatos would have been facing 2-6 Iowas and South Dakotas. 
Lanchester Equations would suggest that a 3:1 (6 Iowa/South Dakota v. 2 Yamato) or a 2:1 (4 Iowa/South Dakota v. 2 Yamato) confrontation, would RAPIDLY have seen the Japanese vessels destroyed, with FAR less US damage.  Not strictly true, but 3:1 becomes 9:1 in combat effectiveness and probably sees 2 Yamatos sunk for very little return damage.  Combat of 2:1 becomes 4:1 and sees 2 Yamatos sunk for moderate damage to the US force.  In the 3:1 fight the Japanese lose the cream of their surface force and the US suffers little damage to it's core surface force, probably allowing continued cruising and combat.  Even in the 2:1 on scenario the US loses ships to refit, which it can afford to with a larger force and can reasonably expect the refitted vessels to return to the "gun line"-assuming the war lasts long enough, whereas the Japanese lose their best Surface Units PERMANENTLY with NO possibility of replacement.  Were I "Ching" Lee I'd relish the chance to engage the Yamato class with my mixed force of South Dakotas and Iowas.  At the end of the day, he's a hero and the Japanese Admiral is swimming.
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bartrat    game it out...   6/8/2009 5:01:27 PM
Has anyone thought of gaming it out? Many different wargame systems exist for WW2 naval combat. Some are even PC based. The problem is to run the same battle over and over again (to get a trend) to rule out luck (chance).
I have to admit that even this idea is not perfect. Games/simulations are only as good as data/assumptions they are based on. But I believe they might "help" to answer the question.
My best guess (and it is a guess) is that under some conditions Iowa wins (RADAR helps), Yamato wins under others (optics are more important under those conditions).
It would be interesting to try.... maybe at a wargame Origins...
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quasi1    So uppity   6/9/2009 7:26:06 AM

My comment about the japanese winning, when taken in context with what was written, is aimed at battles between Japanese and Amirican fleets. Not the over all War. I will atempt to be clearer in the future.

I am always amused by people who try to show their superior inteligence with comments that try to belittle others.

I have read my history books and not just the ones that glorify the greatness of the Americans.

I dont have the time tonight to go into great detail. So I will simplify this as much as possible. Gun fire alone dones not sink battleships, hence my reference to the Bismark.

The Yamato was dangerous to the Iowa from 40 thousand yards even if it had trouble hitting it at that range, the Iowas magazines could be penetrate by the Yamato well befor the Iowa could get into range to penetrate the Yamatos if possible.

The Yamato was designed to fight other battleships and not to fight off aircraft( bombs) and the main armour problem was where the main belt joined the lower belt, a problem that showed up against "Torpedos".

I like the idea of a computer simulation that pits the two together, but it would need to be written by someone less patriotic than yourself.

Battleship to Battleship, The Iowa would have to get close enough to inflict a "lot" of Damage will taking damage itself. So in a staight "slug fest" you would have to consider the ship whose magazines are better protected, is the ship that is going to last the longest.

Tactically, Yes the Iowa has the speed and the fire control. But (again) The Iowa captain would believe that he was facing 16inch guns and would charge in at full speed. The Yamato only has to get a couple of shots to hit Iowa and the 18inch would do a lot of damage. Now we get into what if, what if.

Speculate all you like and huff and puff all you like about the great Iowa. Forget about the Montana, it never happened. By definition, a Battleship is a vessel that can with stand its own fire power.  The Iowa was a well built battle cruiser and the Yamato was a true battleship. Battle cruisers never won fights against Battleships.


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WarNerd       6/9/2009 7:30:11 AM
Radar also provides a critical edge in long range gunnery under any conditions.  The accuracy of optical range finders is inverse proportional to the range, leading to large errors at long range.  Radar's range finding capability is unaffected by range.
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