A Clash Between German and Japanese Battleships Would Have Been Mighty
War Is Boring
2110

I think Mr. Guhonter has it exactly right. The actual threat posed by the Bismarck has been greatly inflated with the passage of time and C. S. Forester. Indeed, her capabilities were over-estimated by the British Admiralty and Churchill at the time. Though the Germans called the Bismarck a battleship, she was far from the state-of-the-art at the time.

Indeed HMS Hood, equally well armed as the Bismarck and approximately the same length and weight, was commissioned in 1920 as a battlecruiser. So an argument can be made the Bismarck should never have been designated a battleship in the first place. By the late 1930s, at best she was obsolescent when she was commissioned except for the design of her watertight compartmentation.

The Yamato far outclassed her opponents in virtually every respect, so this scenario is not interesting. Has air attack been included, this scenario would have been even less interesting. The Japanese possessed modern aircraft carriers, the Germans did not. So, in reality, the Bismarck et al. would have been reduced to flaming junk before the surface battle was even joined.

More interesting would have been the Jutland Redux-type battle originally envisioned by both the US and Japanese at the beginning of the war. If such took place late in 1943 or early 1944, the outcome isn’t clear to me…if confined only to the surface combatants and submarines.

In reality, of course, a Jutland Redux could never have happened, because both sides would have been attacked by aircraft well before they got within gun range of one another.

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