Best Battleship: Guns

Main Armament1 Yamato Iowa Bismarck Richelieu King George V Vittorio Veneto South Dakota
Gun Type 18.1"/45 cal. 16"/50 cal. 15"/47 cal. 15"/45 cal. 14"/45 cal. 15"/50 cal. 16"/45 cal.
AP Projectile Weight 3219 lbs. 2700 lbs. 1764 lbs. 1949 lbs. 1590 lbs. 1951 lbs. 2700 lbs.
Total Weight of Broadside2 28,971 lbs. 24,300 lbs. 14,112 lbs. 15,592 lbs. 15,900 lbs. 17,559 lbs. 24,300 lbs.
Muzzle Velocity 2559 ft/s 2500 ft/s 2690 ft/s 2723 ft/s 2483 ft/s 2854 ft/s3 2300 ft/s
Max. Range 45,960 yards 42,345 yards 38,880 yards 45,600 yards 36,216 yards 38,560 yards 36,900 yards
Nominal Firing Cycle4 30 sec. 30 sec. 20 sec.5 25-40 sec. 30 sec. 45 sec. 30 sec.
Overall Rating 6 10 10 9 9 8 7.5 8.5

GENERAL COMMENTS: The Japanese 18.1"/45 reigned supreme as the most destructive piece of naval ordnance ever mounted afloat. However, its ballistic performance was not particularly inspiring, and the performance of its Type 91 shells was inferior to the norm, partly because they were optimized for underwater trajectories 7. Immediately below it in terms of power is the US 16"/50. Good ballistics, and superb shells, give this gun a tremendous whallop, and in combat terms I rate it as the equal of the Japanese weapon, largely because of its shells. Below that, in an upset, comes Richelieu's 15"/45, as the best all-around 15" gun, and feel the most useful in an actual combat situation. The Italian 15"/50 was an enormously potent weapon from a raw power perspective, but it sacrificed a lot in order to achieve that performance, and had decidedly inferior shells. I should note, though, that I am still investigating this particular gun and her shells in more detail; the information available on her shells is rather spotty. Bismarck's 15"/47 shell is 10% lighter than the French and Italian, although her cyclic rate is attractive, and her guns were very accurate. At the bottom of the spectrum, King George V's 14" gun clearly doesn't have nearly the oomph necessary to compete with the rest of these guys.

Back to the Best Battleship Page