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A Detailed Look At: USS Nevada

A Detailed Look At: USS Nevada

Figure 1 – Nevada sailing off of the US Atlantic coast (September 1944)

The Nevada class Battleships were the groundbreaking class of battleships that succeeded the New York class. Built from 1912 to 1916, the Nevadas were testbenches for several new technologies and designs which would mark all further battleships designed and built by the United States. The Nevadas were the first of the Standard type of battleships built by the US, first to have triple turrets, first to use completely oil-fired propulsion, first to use geared turbines and first to use the “All-or-Nothing” armour scheme.

The Nevadas were commissioned in 1916 and served in World War 1 as convoy escorts in Europe and since their inception were meant to fight at the extreme ranges that would soon become the norm. In fact, their armour scheme was so good that after the Battle of Jutland where many other navies had to revise their armour schemes, the Nevadas had set a bar that did not need altering.

During the inter-war period, the Nevadas were modernized which removed several of the secondary battery weapons, improved the possible elevation of the main battery weapons, improved the AA suite, improved the horizontal protection, changed the bridge to a tripod mast and added aircraft catapults for spotter aircraft. By this time, they were already the oldest of the main Battle Fleet units.

The Oklahoma and the Nevada were both bombed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. USS Oklahoma was sunk after receiving 5 torpedo hits in quick succession and the USS Nevada beached itself with light damage to prevent blocking the harbor entrance. The USS Nevada was salvaged, raised and modernized again during 1942, exchanging her old secondary battery for the new 5” DP guns used in the US Navy at the time.

The USS Nevada served in both the European and Pacific theaters, providing gunfire support for amphibious operations, shelling German shore batteries on D-Day, the battle to take Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She was refitted yet again in November 1944 to improve its AA suite. After the war, the Nevada was used as a target ship in nuclear bomb tests. It is testament to the great protection of the Nevada that even though she was hit by two nuclear bomb tests, it still remained afloat. She was finally sunk as a target ship on the 31st of July 1948. The USS Nevada left a long-lasting legacy on battleship design.

The Nevada class were the first American Super-Dreadnoughts, first of the Standard classes and would be quite odd battleships. I have done the following analysis assuming that the USS Nevada would be slotted in the game as a Tier 6 premium Battleship for the United States Navy. For reference, I have created this based on the USS Nevada as she appeared after her final refit in November 1944.

Weight

35,400 tonnes – 52,675 HP

This would make it the second lightest battleship at tier 6, only being heavier than the Bayern. Do bear in mind that there isn’t much of a difference between the lightest and heaviest battleship in tier 6 as the lightest is Bayern (34,720t) and the heaviest is the Arizona (39,224t). The closest battleship in weight would be the Dunkerque which weighs only 100t more and has 52,600hp. An HP pool of 52,500 (instead of the calculated 52,675hp) for the Nevada wouldn’t be out of place at the tier and might even be a touch on the light side.

Armour

Belt: 343-203mm

Bulkheads: 330-203mm

Deck: 127mm + 51-25mm splinter deck

Barbettes: 330mm

Turrets: 457mm (triple) or 406mm (double) face, 254-229mm sides and rear, 127mm roof

Conning tower: 406mm sides, 203mm roof

Underwater protection: 5.8m deep, 38mm longitudinal bulkhead (~22%)

The armour for the Nevada is quite good for the tier and is only slightly inferior to the New Mexico’s. In comparison to the New Mexico’s, it has barbettes with 10mm more armour but has weaker turret armour on the twin turrets, the bulkheads are 13mm thinner at its maximum, 13mm thinner deck armour and 19-45mm thinner splinter deck armour. The Nevada was the first battleship in the world to mount the All-or-Nothing armour scheme and as such doesn’t differ much from the Arizona’s or New Mexico’s. The Nevada does have a rather weak anti-torpedo protection, with bulkhead thickness being half that of the New Mexico’s and covering a smaller area. I would expect the torpedo damage reduction to be around the 22% mark based on what the New York, New Mexico and Arizona’s values. It is true that while the Nevada won’t have the best armour at the tier, it would certainly have a very good armour scheme anyways and the most important value might be the extremities armour value as that might determine what shells can or can’t overmatch the armour and cause citadel hits. It is worth noting that the Nevada had a ram bow, unlike the New Mexico.

Figure 2 – USS Nevada supporting the landings at Utah Beach (6 June 1944)

Main Battery

2×3 356mm/45 Mk 9 (14”) guns, 2×2 356mm/45 Mk 9 (14”) guns

The USS Nevada was the first US Navy battleship to mount triple turrets, having one triple turret on each end with another twin turret on a superfiring configuration over each of the triple turrets. The Nevada therefore had 5 guns on each end that could fire directly forward or backwards of the ship and 10 guns total that could all be fired on a broadside. These guns are the same guns used by the Arizona, as in EXACTLY the same guns from the Arizona. After the Arizona was sunk in Pearl Harbour, the guns from the Arizona’s second turret were salvaged and installed in the USS Nevada after being straightened and relined.

These guns would have the same performance as the Arizona’s in-game then, but with 2 fewer guns to fire. They fire a 578.34kg HE shell at 834m/s which deal 5,000 damage and have a 30% chance to start a fire or they fire a 680.4kg AP shell at 792m/s which deal 10,300 damage. The ROF for these guns was between 1.25 and 1.75 rounds/min which would give a reload time of 34.29 seconds at its best, most likely 35s just like the Arizona. The range would be between the Arizona’s and the New Mexico’s, so maybe 15.8km. Turret traverse speed would be 3 degrees/second which means it has a 60s time to turn 180 degrees just as the Arizona and New Mexico. Her accuracy could be buffed beyond the Arizona’s as she was noted to be “incredibly accurate” during her support of beleaguered troops during D-Day, hitting targets that were just 550 meters away from the front line.

With only 10 guns, it would seem like the Nevada would be better suited to tier 5 as they would be only slightly better than the New York’s guns individually. However, the big plus that the Nevada has is the gun’s arrangement which makes it far easier to fire all of them without exposing the broadside than the New York. Still undergunned at tier 6 though, but her accuracy could be a key factor.

Secondary Battery

8×2 127mm/38 Mk 12 (5”) DP guns

The Nevada has a meagre secondary battery of eight twin 5” DP guns, they are the same 5” guns that are present in all the later battleships of the US Navy. Good news is that these guns have a good ROF of 10 rounds per minute and fire HE shells that deal 1,800 damage but only have a 5% chance to start a fire. This battery is quite underwhelming, but in terms of DPS it is almost on par with the other tier 6 USN battleships (they are all quite underwhelming). Might get a slight range boost to 4.5km or 5km range instead of 4km as the 127mm/38 used by the Nevadas were more modern and placed higher on the hull than the batteries of the Arizona and New Mexico. Overall, appropriate for tier 6.

AA Battery

8×2 127mm/38 Mk 12 DP guns (120dps @5km), 10×4 40mm/56 Mk 2 Bofors autocannons (160dps @3.5km), 20×2 20mm/70 Oerlikon Mk 4 autocannons (122dps @2km), 5×1 20mm/70 Oerlikon Mk 4 autocannons (18dps @2km)

The AA for this ship is downright frightening at tier 6, with a total DPS of 420. This is only slightly worse than the DPS output from the North Carolina at tier 8 and the NorCal is known for its solid AA suite. This AA suite is particularly great because the DPS is spread across all ranges, with solid performances at long, medium and short range ensuring that whatever aircraft that come in against you will take solid losses before and after dropping their ordnance. This glorious AA suite is the result of the Nevada’s extraordinary refit on November 1944 and ensured that the Nevada could provide support as an AA battery in addition to performing shore bombardment and battleship duties.

Overall, the Nevada’s most powerful argument for its inclusion at tier 6 is this massive AA firepower. Whereas other AA-heavy ships have one particular AA range at which they excel, the Nevada is solid at all ranges and should serve it well to fight off enemies while en route to engage enemies. Enemy aircraft will learn to avoid the Nevada just like they avoid the Texas.

Figure 3 – Nevada at Pearl Harbour’s dry dock (c. 1935)

Speed

20.5 kts – 26,500hp

This is the slowest battleship at its tier, reaching a meagre 20.5kts when going at full steam. It is worth noting that the Nevada was the first US battleship to have all oil-based machinery and geared steam turbines for propulsion. The Nevada sounds really slow, but the New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado are all Standard battleships and as such only have a top speed of 21kts. The 0.5kts won’t make much of a difference, and since the Nevada is shorter and stubbier than both the New Mexico and the Arizona, it will have a slightly better turn radius (~620m).

Consumables

The USS Nevada would have the standard US Tier 6 battleship consumables of Damage Control Party (20s active), Repair Party and 3 charges of the Spotting Aircraft.

Conclusion

The Nevada deserves its inclusion in the game due to being one of the most important and influential ships for battleship design in modern times, some arguing that the raft of innovations that it brought is only second to the impact that HMS dreadnought had on battleship construction. The Nevada had many firsts, it was the first battleship to use the All-or-Nothing armour scheme, first US battleship to use geared turbines, first US battleship to use all oil fuel, first US battleship to mount triple turrets, first US super-dreadnought battleship and first of the Standard type battleships. Looking at the individual stats, the Nevada isn’t very far away from what’s already in the US Navy at tier 6. It has very similar armour to the Arizona and the New Mexico but with slightly fewer HP, slightly weaker armour and significantly worse torpedo protection. The Nevada has similar maneuverability and a mediocre secondary battery to the Arizona and the New Mexico, but where the big differences come are its main battery and its AA loadout. The guns used in the Nevada are the same as in the Arizona, but it has 2 fewer guns in total, so 15% fewer potential DPM both to the front and in a broadside. Additionally, the guns used by the Arizona are slightly weaker than those of the New Mexico’s and as such it will be hard to produce as much damage, although using the Arizona’s accuracy you will still be able to deal respectable damage. The AA battery would compensate for the weaker main battery guns and slightly weaker survivability by having a firepower fit for a tier 8 battleship. The AA battery would provide great protection from torpedo bombers which thus reduces slightly the importance of the weaker torpedo protection and from dive bombers which would take heavy losses to drop their ordnance.

Overall, the Nevada would be an important battleship to get into the game. It will not be an extremely powerful battleship, but it would offer an interesting counterpoint to the Arizona. Where the Arizona has great, numerous and accurate guns but very poor AA, the Nevada has the same great and accurate guns but fewer of them and an extremely powerful AA suite. The Nevada deserves to appear in the game, no other battleship has been so important in design terms since.

Pros

  • Very accurate guns
  • Solid armour scheme
  • Excellent AA suite
  • Small turning radius
  • Historically important

Cons

  • Very slow
  • Fewer guns than tier competitors
  • Slow weapon reload
  • Mediocre secondary battery
  • Weak torpedo protection

Figure 4 – Naval Intelligence identification sheet for USS Nevada after her 1942 repair and modernization

Figure 5 – USS Nevada beached and burning after damage sustained during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour

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