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A Battleships Best Move: Firing Its Massive Guns at Point Blank Range

Robert Farley

Robert Farley

Security,

Japan hated it. 

A Battleships Best Move: Firing Its Massive Guns at Point Blank Range

The U.S. Navy force was superior on paper, but the Japanese had considerable skill at night fighting and had better torpedoes. In a confused night action, all four U.S. destroyers were crippled or sunk, and South Dakota managed to wander into the searchlights of the Japanese heavy ships.

The London Naval Treaty of 1936 was intended to preserve the battleship size limitation at thirty-five thousand tons and to restrict the size of battleship guns to fourteen inches. With memory of the Anglo-German and the Anglo-American-Japanese naval races fresh in their minds, the architects of the treaty wanted to limit the most obvious source of escalation. The United States designed its first generation of London Treaty battleships to carry twelve fourteen-inch guns in three quadruple turrets, a formidable armament equal to that of the “Big Five,” the last five American battleships built before the treaty.

(This first appeared several years ago.)

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