Footnotes for Best Battleship Page: Fire Control

1. The Germans (who had the opportunity to examine captured French equipment in great detail) doubted that the operation of French RPC could have been satisfactory. Campbell, p 281.

2. I infer the existence of Italian RPC from the mention of Ward-Leonard generators in the 15"/50 turrets. Campbell, p 321.

3. This radar set was capable of search, but not range determination, due to "the lack of display units and a plotter, and a broader radiated beam." At best, these sets were capable of radar-assisted gunnery (in conjunction with the ships' other optical systems), but were in no way capable of true blind-fire control. (Dulin & Garzke, p 290.)

4. Don't ask me why Iowa is a '10' and Yamato a '5'; this is inherently a very 'squishy,' subjective topic area. So it's probably best that Iowa's '10' not be taken to mean that her FC was 'twice as good' as Yamato. Instead, think of it as expressing a relationship wherein Iowa is simply 'much better' than Yamato.

5. The Final Adjusted Fire Control rating was arrived at as follows: the raw radar fire control score was used a the base, but I dinged everybody except Iowa and South Dakota because their stable verticals were much better than anyone else's. I then added back a point if the ship in question had excellent optics. Not surprisingly, this helps the Germans and Japanese out. I also subtracted a point for not having RPC. Bad RPC means that you end up using the 'follow-the-pointer' method of maintaining the turret's aim at a target, rather than having the guns slaved directly to the director. I also subtracted a point from the raw rating from King George V for the very small base length of her optical range-finder.

6. Yeah, I am well aware that Kirishima didn't have a prayer against Washington anyway. As far as fire-control is concerned, though, the facts are as follows: Washington fired seventy five 16" shells at Kirishima and hit her with between six and nine shells. At the same time, Kirishima was shooting at South Dakota (which was bathed in searchlights) and hit her once for sure, and maybe twice. If Kirishima shot back at Washington, she didn't hit her. In other words, radar turned in a much better hit percentage than optics, even when the optics were wielded by the best night fighters in the world at the time.

Incidentally, for a very interesting account of this fight (the Washington 's actual after-action report), surf here.

7. Cited in "The Evolution of Battleship Gunnery in the U.S. Navy, 1920-1945" by W.J. Jurens, Warship International, No. 3, 1991, p. 255.