Friday, May 3, 2013

War? What's That?

It’s been so long since the Navy engaged in combat that they’ve forgotten what war really is.  Now, before any of you jump on me for forgetting about the Viet Nam war aviation strikes or Operation Praying Mantis or whatever your favorite example is, recognize that I’m talking about two-sided war where the enemy gets a vote and fights back – not the one-sided bombing exercises that have occasionally cropped up. 

Carriers parked off the coast of Viet Nam or Korea or launching sorties during Desert Storm does not constitute naval combat.  Again, before anyone jumps on me, I’m not demeaning the efforts of the naval pilots who risked, and sometimes gave, their lives.  I have nothing but respect and admiration for their courage and skill.  Objectively, though, those missions were performed in relatively benign environments other than the presence of surface-to-air missiles and AAA directly over the targets. 

Combat involving ships has not occurred for quite some time.  We have not had to fight our way into launch position for carriers, fight off enemy air or missile attacks, deal with capable enemy surface ships, operate in submarine infested waters, or conduct an opposed landing since WWII. 

The Navy has forgotten what combat is and it shows in the current ship and aircraft designs.  We’ve discussed the shortcomings in ship design – how ships are no longer designed and built to take damage and continue fighting.  The lack of armor, redundancy, and separation as well as inadequate manning show that the Navy has forgotten the reality of combat. 

What will combat be like?  Supposedly, we train for it all the time so we must know what it will like, right?  Wrong.  We’ve already discussed the nearly useless, setpiece exercises that pass for training today. 

Combat is going to be chaotic with poorly performing weapons (on both sides) which will lead to much closer combat than anyone anticipates.  Our anti-ship missiles are not going to sink ships with flawless ease.  Our Aegis/Standard system is not going to blot aircraft and missiles from the sky with deadly precision.  We’re not going to detect and destroy submarines a hundred miles from our carrier and amphibious groups.  Instead, we’ll find that aircraft will penetrate our defenses with surprising regularity.  Missile attacks will result in many leakers, revealing our inadequate point defense weapons.  Missile exchanges with opposing ships will prove to be mainly a waste of missiles and we’ll find ourselves closing to gun range and regretting our single 5” guns.  Submarines will pop up way too close and, more often than not, our first detection will be a torpedo in the water, inbound.



USS Vincennes - Every Advantage, Total Chaos
 Combat is going to be far more like the naval battles around Guadalcanal than it will be like Star Wars.  Oh come on, now.  How can you say that?  We have AEW, long range radars, satellites, GPS, UAVs, and more.  We’re not going to find ourselves engaged in up close, fumbling in the dark type engagements.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’re going to experience.  One of the major flaws in our training and thinking is the assumption that our communications, GPS, radar, and, for that matter, all of our electronics will remain magically unaffected during combat.  What we’re going to find is that we will fight in a heavy jamming environment, our GPS will be unreliable, radar detection ranges will be a fraction of what they are in peacetime, communications will be difficult, confused, and sporadic, and we’ll encounter lots of decoys and false targets.  All of this will leave us with no clear picture of our surroundings, the enemy positions, or even our own positions.  We’ll be unsure what targets are real, whether real targets are friendly or neutral forces, and where our own forces are and what they’re doing.  Because of the uncertainty, we’ll hold fire until we can get positive ID which will lead to engagements happening at far closer ranges than we now anticipate or even surprise engagements at very close range.

Don’t believe me?  Look at the few examples of combat or near-combat over the decades since WWII. 
Despite a vast network of AEW, scouting, air cover, and Aegis radar, the Vincennes incident showed a highly trained ship totally overtaken by chaos, confusion, and panic.  Enemy small boats penetrated to gun range and despite dozens or hundreds of 5” rounds fired, we hit none of the boats.  And, as you all know, we managed to shoot down a civilian airliner. 

The Stark was surprised despite the same advantages of unhindered peacetime detection and surveillance. 

The Port Royal and Guardian both grounded due to faulty navigation during peacetime.  It’s only going to be worse during combat when GPS is disrupted.

Our submarines seem to suffer from a tendency to collide with commercial ships.  And that’s without the confusion of combat!

The Gulf of Tonkin incident of 2, 4-Aug-1964 demonstrated a complete lack of situational awareness, especially on 4-Aug, with many false sightings and firings on non-existent targets.

There have been several incidents of Phalanx CIWS accidentally firing on friendly ships and aircraft.  Again, this is confusion and mistakes during peacetime.  Combat will only be far, far worse.

Desert Storm and the more recent Iraq war have had multiple examples of fatal friendly fire.  Will naval forces fare any better in combat?

The Air Force managed to shoot down two friendly helos while enforcing a no-fly zone despite the helos being fully authorized to be where they were.  Will we experience less confusion in combat?

Grenada was a debacle from start to finish.  Confusion was the main attribute of the operation.

There are some constants of naval combat (or combat in general) that transcend time and technology.  One of these is the absolute confusion and chaos of combat.  Another is the historically abysmal performance of weapons when first subjected to combat.  Linked to that is the historically poor performance of commanders when first exposed to combat.  We’ve talked about lessons learned and forgotten but the sad reality is that until the Navy receives a bloody nose, or worse, in combat, we’re not going to design, build, or train for combat.  We’re a peacetime Navy that has forgotten how to fight.

Pivot to the Pacific???  I’d like to see the Navy pivot to combat.


31 comments:

  1. Have to agree. Been out for a few years but I doubt if things have changed much for the better.

    Just look at our gun and missile shoots and even our sinkex’s. They are set up to maximize safety and weapons performance., not to test actual capabilities of ships, sensors, weapons or tactics

    We don’t do any shooting if the weather is bad or if its dark or if we have bad communications or a confused tactical situation or important equipment down. Nor do we have the shooting ship or targets being put into various EMCON setups.

    Our sinkex targets are dead in the water with no EW, or chaff or smoke. Even during the 1920’s and 1930’s they would have moving targets with radio control so they could shoot as something that is moving. These days it like shooting ducks in a barrel

    Prior to shooting we often have intense maintenance and adjustment of the weapon system often with outside assistance and even borrowing equipment from other ships to get things to work. In a real fight your not going to have a week in port with factory techs and borrowed parts to get ready for shooting.

    Either you practice for war using wartime situations or you learn your lessons much harder in actual war.

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    1. In many ways it seems the Navy has come to the point to where passing the Test is more important that actually being prepared for a real war. The peace time admirals and accountants have taken over the Navy.

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  2. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_naval_battles#Later_20th_century

    The Two in the yom kippur war are highly interesting, in which longer ranged weapons didnt trump better tactics and training. A good stick for beating the A2D crowd with.
    Its also intersting to note the boats were disabled by missile fire, but it took gunfire to cause enough structural damage to sink them.

    Perhaps Sheffield is a case of extreme bad luck?

    It does seem that peace time exercises would be a lot more realistic, if the winning side got promoted and the losing didnt.
    Send two identical fleets (with Carriers, Cruisers, destroyers, frigates, submarines) in to the pacific, they can fight a simulated war, and the losing fleets crew dont accrue promotion credit (cant remember its name) for a year.
    Not quite as good as training against the enemy, but training against a you determined to win is far better than what we have now.

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    1. Ships are generally harder to sink than most people realize. For most naval engagements, the goal is to disable a ship, not sink it, as actually sinking a ship generally takes more resources than it is worth.

      With a modern compartmentalized design, you pretty much have to flood every section to actually sink the vessel. You can look at the various US Navy SinkEx, Falklands battles, WWII battles, etc. Its pretty hard to actually sink a ship.

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    2. "... modern compartmentalized design..."

      Has the concept or design of ship compartmentalization changed since WWII? Is there something different about modern compartmentalization?

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    3. Only in that ship compartmentalization is the primary survival mechanisms of modern warships instead of armor.

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  3. SIR: From the way you're describing future naval battles, they are more like knife fights in a dark alley than the bloodless, stand off video games that all the services are pushing. Several upper atmosphere EMP nuclear detonations and we're back to 1942 with one - five inch cannon and no armor, no air cover and poor anti-submarine and anti-mine capabilities. What platform could exist to take the punishment and keep on hammering our enemies?

    More and more I see the need for a few very heavily armored, big gun platforms that are plenty fast enough for armored surface combat and loading with land attack cruise missiles and long range anti-ship missiles. I'm sure you know were I'm going with this comment. Museum ships or not, 'd bet for the cost of one Burke Flight II per BB we could rebuild the FOUR Iowas into powerful surface battle groups that can still "keep up with the carriers". But I see them operating either with the amphibious groups or independently with two destroyers as escorts and two supply ships. That increases your force projection battlegroups to ten with carriers and four with battleships. Talk about showing the flag.

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    1. Anon, you bring up one of the most unpleasant of possible scenarios. The use of EMP pulse weapons will mean that someone is flinging around nuclear weapons. At that point, the war has gone nuclear and an entirely different set of tactics and weapon requirements will prevail. I have little knowledge of naval combat in a nuclear environment and so have refrained from commenting on that aspect. Hopefully, our professional naval leaders are considering it and designing our equipment and developing tactics accordingly. Sadly, I fear not.

      Properly upgraded and utilized, battleships could be of immense value. However, the reality is that because they would threaten new construction carrier funding, the Navy will never bring them back.

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    2. If someone has gone nuclear EMP (about the only way you can get an EMP big enough that it actually matters for naval warfare), then all bets are off. Both sides are probably looking at subs being the only things left besides long range nuclear platforms, and at that point, a battleship really isn't going to do anything.

      As far as all the doomsday about closing to within 5" gun range, I'll believe it when I see it. Modern seekers are pretty good and hit jets moving at 10-15x the speeds that have active countermeasures.

      Now most ASW missile seekers might be long in the tooth, but that just means those that aren't will wipe the floor with the other guy.

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    3. Oh ats, do you not believe history at all? This post discussed and demonstrated with examples how confusion and chaos have been and will in the future be the norm for combat (and peacetime!). Previous posts have pointed out how almost every weapon system ever built has failed its initial test of combat. Despite all that you still want to believe that the next round of combat will be different? What is your faith based on since you're ignoring almost every historical example? You're not buying into manufacturer's claims, are you? I'm genuinely curious where your confidence comes from.

      Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

      I'm not trying to be mean, at all, but I can't let you get away with simply saying that all will be well (maybe I'm misunderstanding your comment?). Back it up with something factual and logical.

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    4. I simply don't believe that things will get within 5" gun range. That takes a widely pessimistic view of the weapons that have been developed over the past 20 years. Not that I necessarily think we'll be the ones doing the killing as we've largely left our ASMs wither into old age while our primary adversarial country has been upgrading, inventing, and testing designs left and right.

      If the battlefield is doing nuclear EMP pulsed, than any navy that isn't all subs is going to be effectively useless and its uselessness is going to be immaterial to the outcome of the fight. If it isn't being EMP'd then the both side just have to deal with electronic warfare which while can be effective, is easily tested against and has been tested against in both friendly and not so friendly situations over the years, to the counters and counter-counters are actually battle tested.

      As far as my confidence in modern multi-mode seeker based ASMs? Because the have been particularly effective in this use and largely work around both IR and anti-radiation EW technologies via optical terminal targeting.

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    5. ats, you're ignoring the database of anti-ship missile performance. I've cited it before but Hughes summary of all known anti-ship missile attacks against passively defended ships showed only a 26% success rate, if I recall correctly, and even that was against ships with only minimal and relatively weak passive defenses. That's 26% without any active defenses like Standard/Aegis, ESSM, CIWS, or RAM. That success rate is only going to get smaller with active defenses added.

      Now I'm guessing that you're the kind of person who says yeah, but modern missiles have improved and are now unstoppable. Well, that's probably true that missiles have improved but modern passive defenses have improved markedly, also.

      If, despite the fact that virtually every weapon system ever developed has proven to be largely a failure upon its initial exposure to combat, you still believe that this time will be different then you've either got to show some data or proof to support your contention or simply admit that you're basing your belief on blind faith and hope. If the latter is the case then I'll drop the issue since, by definition, there's no amount of data or logic that can change blind faith!

      So, show me what you've got in support!

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    6. The problem with constantly pointing to the Hughes data is that it is heavily skewed data with large amounts of early development data biasing the actual results. Modern ASM designs have demonstrated effectively 100% success rates against passively defended ships.

      Relying on the Hughes data as a basis point is equivalent to relying on early supersonic flight data to conclude that almost all supersonic planes crash.

      My only issue is that I think you are over reliant on the hughes data, that while nice in a historical context is none the less out dated with regards to modern capability. The vast majority of the designs cataloged were/are extremely primitive weapons with the massive benefit of modern electronics which have provided rather significant boosts in the ability to lock on to a target, discriminated against EC/EW systems, and hit the target.

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    7. I'm actually pointing to two sets of data: Hughes and the historical record that shows that almost every weapon system fails its inital test of combat. You seem to want to totally discount both despite the fact that every system was state of the art for its time. Somehow, in some unexplained way, you believe that this time will be different. You're missing the point that someday in the future, someone will look back on today's missiles and claim that they were primitive weapons and that's why they didn't work and why the future, state of art ones will. You're ignoring reality but so be it.

      You claim 100% success for modern anti-ship missiles. What is your data source? If you're going to make that claim, back it up.

      To say that I'm dubious about 100% claims is an understatement. Even the carefully staged missile exercises that are designed to assure success don't achieve 100% success. Heck, there's not a missile out there that can even achieve a 100% successful launch rate let alone 100% strike rate!

      Cite you data source!

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    8. C-802/3 so far has been 100% hit rate in actual combat fires. A key point about the C-80x is that it is one of the few ASMs designed after the electronics revolution. The only comparable production development to the C-80x is the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile which has similar flexibility in targeting and also high LO materials. The vast majority of the current arsenals of ASM are significantly older designs that were concepulized and built before the electronics revolution that significantly increased capabilities in the design phases of products but also allowed the design of seekers which much much greater capability.

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    9. ats, you're simply repeating your claim of 100% success. What is your data source? How many launches? Against what type of targets with what kind of defenses?

      I'll cite the only data point I'm aware of for the C80x family: the attack by Hezbollah on the Israeli INS Hanit in July 2006. In this report it is claimed that two C802s were fired at the Hanit and one hit (there goes the 100% success rate!). Further, the ship was reported to not have used passive or active defenses. Even further, other reports claim the hit would have been a near miss but the missile hit a wire or antenna and would otherwise have passed by the ship, though very closely.

      Setting aside the fact I've now proven that it's not 100%, either cite your data or stop claiming 100%success!

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    10. Actually that instance is 2 launches and 2 hits (one to the hanit and one to a nearby non-military ship, 2 launches, 2 hits, 100%). It was also the Gen 1 version of the missile.

      The missile hit near the waterline, and this is actually confirmed in the IDF reports.

      As for what defenses were actually active on the Hanit, we'll never really know, anyone doing a naval blockade against hostile forces without at least having passive systems active deserves a court martial though.

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    11. ats, missing the target and hitting a non-military boat over 40 km away is your definition of a hit??

      It's clear that there is no data on which to base your claim of 100% success for modern missiles. The Hanit is the only data point, as far as I know: two missiles, only one of which hit its target. Your belief is based purely on faith for reasons which elude me given the mountains of historical data. That's fine, though. You're entitled to your opinion.

      If you ever come across any data for whatever you consider modern missiles to be, let me know. I'm always interested in actual performance data.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    12. I'll freely admit that my data is not extensive as I would like, we don't even know if the second missile was targeted at the other boat or not.

      But likewise the hughes data is also fairly old and limited therefore to much older designs.

      Ideally the US Navy and associated allies would be doing more tests and ideally some of the results of these tests would be available.

      I'm rather interested in Norway's relatively new Naval Strike Missile, but details aren't readily available. NSM appears to be the most modern and advanced ASM is current production with what should be a rather hard to spoof hybrid seeker that include optical image recognition to counter EW countermeasures.

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    13. ats, take a look at this link for the best analysis of the Hanit incident that I've come across. It contains several good photos of the damage.

      The report mentions the possibility of a third C802 having been fired but exploding upon launch. Evidence for that is sketchy. The report concludes that the missile hit a railing and the ship's crane on the flight deck. The commonly stated hit at the waterline was just blackening from the ship's diesel exhaust (see LCS photos to see just how black this gets!) and photos prove there was no hole in the ship's hull. The ship was repaired in about 10 days which would not have been possible if the missile hit the waterline. The missile that missed the ship and eventually hit the fishing/cargo boat 40 km or so downrange apparently failed to achieve low level terminal flight and, hence, overshot the target.

      The report is excellent and well worth the read. Let me know what you think.

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    14. Nice report, good find. So it seems the takeaways are:

      Make sure you get shot at by an ASM launcher, near or at min range.

      Put lots of junk on deck that will be hit by and ASM and cause premature detonation.

      Make sure junk has large RCS.

      Would of been interesting if the ship was slightly farther out. But the Hanit seems to have been very lucky indeed.

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    15. ats, I'm afraid you're still misinterpreting things but, again, you're entitled to your opinion. I see the history of combat and weapon system failures (in the sense of far less performance than is claimed in peacetime) and conclude that there is no reason to believe that today's missiles will be any different. You can conclude that Hanit was lucky. I conclude that the missiles are simply performing as history has proven over and over again - far less performance than is claimed.

      Admittedly, two or three missile shots don't conclusively prove anything one way or the other but why would these missiles be different?

      Finally, if you want to credit modern missiles with vastly improved electronics and sophisticated software, you've got to also credit modern decoys and ECM with vastly improved electronics and sophisticated software. In other words, the improvements cancel out and, since the missile's task is much more difficult, the missiles will demonstrate far less performance than the manufacturer's claim.

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  4. "anyone doing a naval blockade against hostile forces without at least having passive systems active deserves a court martial though."
    Thats exactly what did happen...

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    1. We don't know for sure that is what happened. It is hard to decide what would be more embarrassing for the IDF: passive systems active but ineffective or passive systems inactive.

      That there was no public court martial though is disconcerting.

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  5. So, mate, you allege that the USN is unprepared for a war like World War Two. That our sensors and men are unused to combat, and that the Navy engages in tomfoolery exercises in lieu of simulated combat.

    And, you suggest that we're going to be going back to point-blank, "blast them with Gun 51" ranges of roughly 12 miles or closer, because our missiles either, 1) don't perform as they should, 2) are jacked up because of hellishly effective ECM and other devilishly complicated countermeasures, and 3) simple inexperience and foolish ship captains who do not know how to properly utilize their ships and weapon systems.

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  6. I tend to disagree with you. You seem to think that if America is ever involved in a war with, say, China, it's going to be like World War Two all over again. China will do amphibious invasions all over the Pacific, hit Japan with IRBM's and maybe San Francisco as well, turn Hawaii into a rapidly expanding dust cloud that ascends into the stratosphere, and outmaneuver and outguess our forces deployed forward into the South China Sea. It will be the biggest intelligence failure that makes Benghazi, the Boston Marathon, and 9/11 look like child's play, and our fighting sailors will be caught with their trousers down in the head.

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  7. Furthermore, you think that our potential enemies will devise countermeasures that make us dependent upon our eyes alone. That our ships are just floating accidents of steel, and that our vaunted Aegis Combat System is no better than the combat data systems aboard the first guided missile cruisers we built in the years immediately after the Second World War.

    I am disbelieving of this. For one, many of our intelligence efforts are pointed to the PRC, I believe. We likely possess the ability to hack into their systems, and we did design and still maintain our GPS constellation. If war were to break out, I wouldn't be surprised if we possess capabilities to secure and make the satellites much more resilient to enemies messing with it.

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  8. Additionally, you quite firmly believe our ships cannot take damage and still remain fighting. And underestimate the power of a carrier air wing. And the ability to integrate our many assets together and fight many different aircraft and ships as a homogeneous whole. You think that reactivating the battleships would be a smashing idea, and that they would give us an advantage with a few VERY MINOR deficiencies over our potential enemies.

    I am sorry, but the battleship is dead. Sure, they have 16" guns that can hit a target with impeccable accuracy over 20 miles away in only a few minutes, but a carrier air wing can do it better. Carriers have a few inherent advantages over battleships that you cannot deny, and that will allow them to trounce an armored gunship any day.

    First off, a battleship's guns, while its greatest strength, are also its greatest weakness. The shells they fire are fired on a ballistic trajectory, something that is immutable and governed by the principal of 9.8 m/s2. That's the gravitational pull of our earth. With even slightly inferior radars, and fire control computers, an enemy could trace the shells back down to their point of origin, and voila, you've got the location of the battleship. And Americans invented firepower, on the principal of "if you can see it, you can hit it, and if you can hit it, you can destroy it." Able to do only thirty knots, that battleship will be hard pressed to defend itself against a combined missile and air attack.

    But, you say, missiles perform quite poorly against ships. O course, I may quote the SS-N-2 Styx against the Eilat, but that is a poor example. Those missiles were going up against a target that had no defenses really to speak of, was old, and had nothing really going for it. And later on, the Styx was rendered useless by Israel ECM's, and could not perform well against alerted, defendable targets.

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  9. And the Harpoon, the USN's most high profile and much lambasted antiship missile since the Cold War and the 1980's. Not exactly the pinnacle of SSM technology, compared to, say, the SS-N-22 "Sunburn". Our ships only carry eight of them, something I wouldn't be very surprised if you have criticized before, or choose to do so at some undetermined point in the future.

    Ever since Pearl Harbor and that fateful day on December Seventh, Nineteen Forty One, aircraft carriers have been considered the heavy movers of the seas, if you understand my meaning. I really hope you do. But one very nice thing from being able to operate more carriers than the rest of the world combined is that we don't need ships to close with an enemy fleet to salvo missiles. We can use our well equipped, well armed air wings to blast them out of usefulness and out of our way. Sure, the Harpoon may have only enough explosives to compare to a World War Two torpedo, but we have laser guided bombs that destroy masts, radars, sensors, and kill officers in lightly armored superstructures that can be more crippling-and insulting-to entire squadrons of ships. I mean, your admiral is killed, your communications are either down or being jammed by F/A-18G Growlers, and you don't know where your enemy is, because those Amerikanski aircraft came in from one direction and left another way after leaving your ships swiss cheese'd and floating.
    You don't need to sink a ship to render it useless. You can even leave it able to move. You need to destroy or severely hamper its ability to find your forces and kill them, and there are many ways to do that.

    Radar was invented in the late 1930's and matured to become tactically viable during the early 1940's, finally culminating in the SG radar sets aboard Fletcher class destroyers. With radar, you can now determine the precise range to objects that are in sight of your sensors. Even better, you can detect the masts of a warships that are poking above the horizon, while the rest of it is still hidden.

    Armor was used to defend warships from lesser guns and, to a extent, the guns on the warship itself. In the example of the HMS Hood, it failed miserably; in the example of the Bismark, it failed to protect the vaunted battleship from a single torpedo that spoiled its rudders. In the example of Yamato, all armor did was prolong the agony. In the example of Taffy Three and Kurita's Center force, all armor did was inspire momentary fear in the destroyermen's hearts before they sent barrages of torpedoes into soft underbellies. In the example of Italian battleships at Taranto, armor was good for spending the Italian Navy's money. In the example of IJN Shinano, a converted battleship into an aircraft carrier, eight inches of armor didn't save her from a submarine's torpedoes.

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  10. Armor is dead. What is more important is finding your enemy, having the weapons to kill them, and the speed to get there. Gas turbines take care of speed, being able to respond faster to speed commands than boilers; it falls to technology to take care of the other two. Many ships designed to fight leviathans have fallen to men in tiny flying machines, and that is how strategy and modern naval thinking has gone. To continue to insist on armored ships is an attempt to regress into the past, when many heavily armored ships have fallen to needles instead of hammer blows. And why is that?

    Because armor is not a cure all. You cannot armor a ship fully. The ship must be able to float, and steam, and carry enough weapons to fight enemies. Armor belts were designed to stop opposing battleship's main guns and concentrated on shielding a ship's machinery, weapons, and command spaces. Referred to as "all-or-nothing protection", this became the norm. And then weapons became longer ranged, and more explosive, and better...

    So, now that pretty much every other nation has had its heavily armored gunships sunk, only the allies have them remaining. And technologies, like rockets, and jet engines, and radar, are new paradigms in warfare, and armored gunships are proving increasingly obsolete, thanks to experiences in the war.

    So, to keep them from being sunk, we instead go into research to keep weapons from even hitting our ships. That gives us the SM-3, SM-6, SM-2, and a lot more missiles than I could ever list here. And since we don't ever expect weapons to hit our ship, and technology is improving so much, we start cutting armor out from our ship designs. The end result is the Arleigh Burkes, as far as I can tell from my place in history. Quite powerful and beautiful destroyers, if you ask me.

    And you allege that our Navy is unprepared to fight a war. A "real" war, as if war is ever "real". Just ask the good man in the foxhole, or in the chair in front of a radar repeater, fighting against people who want to kill him if war is "real". Technology has come so far, you no longer need to lose horrendous amounts of men and equipment for a hard-won victory, when a pair of Tomahawks can turn a defended ridgeline into a cluster bomb madhouse.

    War has changed. We do not need armored gunships and large-caliber rifles to destroy our enemies on sea. And really, missiles are more accurate against ships than a battleship's main guns.

    http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_16-50_mk7.htm

    That is the link to a page on the 16"/50-cal mounted on the Iowa class BB's. 2/3rds down the page is an accuracy table on nine of these guns firing against the Bismarck. Fairly interesting reading, if you're for schematics and numbers.

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    1. Anon, wow! Most of what you attribute to me is completely false. You need to go back and read or reread the relevant posts. For example, I've never said that guns are superior to missiles. What I've said is that missiles will not perform as well as is claimed. One more example, I'm extremely tepid on the issue of battleships, have never called for their reactivation, and have only occasionally mentioned in passing that certain characteristics of battleships would be useful today (meaning armor).

      You're welcome to your opinion on the future of warfare. I'm clearly not going to change your mind so I won't even try. I only ask that you be very certain and specific about what you claim I've said.

      Ballistic missile attacks on San Francisco? Nuclear attacks on Hawaii???? That's all you, my friend. I've never suggested anything of the sort. Please don't make up words for me.

      Thank you.

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