Your Trivia for today.


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The greatest range at which one ship's guns have successfully hit another vessel is 24 km (15 miles), a feat that occurred twice during the second world war. On 8 June 1940 the German 'pocket battleship' Scharnhorst hit the British aircraft carrier Glorious at that range in the North Atlantic, while a month later on 9 July, during the battle of Calabria the British battleship HMS Warspite hit the Italian flagship Guilio Cesare at a similar distance. Both are remarkable feats of gunnery considering that in each case both vessels involved in the exchange were moving at high speed.


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And rolling with the waves. The fact they could hit anything at those ranges is amazing. They had some mechanical computers to aid them but nothing like would be used today.


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Both ships moving at high speed.....15 miles away from each other ...totally amazing to me !


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Having been under the guns of the New Jersey, and being able
a few days later, I have nothing but awe of the capacity of the
big old battle wagons.

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The time of flight is long enough that they need to allow for 'drift', the rotation of the earth. I believe that was built into the sighting system.


California's Central Coast Amid The Insanity
Yep, heard the New Jersey a few times at night. Don't know how far away she was, but those 16"ers had a sound all their own.


St Lawrence river valley, NY
All the older Marines I was "mentored" by back in the late 70's were Vietnam vets. They would talk of the 16" guns shells sounding like a freight train rumbling overhead. I believe max effective range was 22 miles. Anything within that area that was targeted was usually history unless it was something akin tot he caves and tunnels on Okinawa in WW2. Battle ships and other large naval guns were a Marines best friend back in the day!

There are/were several magazine articles floating around describing the old mechanical computers on ships of that era. IIRC when Reagan brought them back into service in the 80's, there was nothing at that time that was an improvement on the old computers. That's saying something. Of course there have been ancient mechanical computers dating from 2K years ago that predicted the positions of stars and planets just as well as most of what we have now, so I guess it's not surprising 1930/40's tech would work too.


West Central AR
I knew a guy that worked on the LORAN targeting computers on the Iowa's last gun refit . He told me that a good crew could by the end of WWII drop all 3 inside a modern football stadium at 25 miles land shelling . By the end of Korea they had rocket assisted shells and had stretched that to 55 miles .
The 16s got a rework , improved propellant , slicker projectiles and the electronic interface and targeting reduced the hit area down to the football field grid at 75 miles with a 1200# RDX RAP . Can you imagine shooting 1/2" or less 100 yd groups from a canoe ?


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My Brother Frank called in an airstrike on a hill they were hard involved with in Nam. Planes never showed but the USS NJ guns did the job! They just laid back and waited for daylight
Not much of that hill left in the morning from what he told me!


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For Kuwait, the last combat use of the 16 inch naval rifles, the BBs had small aircraft
drones which did the spotting, correcting the fall of the shells. Pretty soon, when the
drone flew overhead, the drone feed image was of Iraquis running out of their bunkers with hands
up, surrendering to the drone. They had learned what happens when the 16" shells
start arriving, just after that kind of drone scouted the area.

I am not sure of the range at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, southern portion in the Surigou
Strait, but at that one, the US old slow battlewagons sunk at Pearl Harbor , then refloated
and rebuilt, got their much deserved revenge.
They 'crossed the T' of the Japanese fleet, and using radar ranging at night, absolutely
slaughtered them in a few minutes of concentrated shellfire from BBs, CBs and some
from the DDs (destroyers) who were in range, on the sides. Witnesses said that the shells
caused a slight air glow with their passage at night and the shells, mostly invisible at the
start of their journeys started becoming a visible reverse fountain of glow, all diving down
into a small area as many ship's shells arrived on the same target area.

You really, really did not want to be there.

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