How Hard Is It to Sink a Ship With Gunfire?

I have made a point of trying to illustrate how hard it is to sink a ship, even a small ship, with gunfire. My most popular post, “What Does It Take to Sink a Ship?,” takes a statistical look at the USN WWII combat losses, and I have published other posts that have looked at this question.

This was to show how inadequate the armament of Coast Guard cutters is, if they are ever called upon to forcibly stop a mediium or large vessel with a determined crew.

What we have, in the video above, is an illustration of the damage that was done to a very tough, but relatively small US Navy destroyer, with a determined crew, that fought agressively against Japanese destroyers, cruisers, and battleships including the Yamato with its 18″ guns which hit the little ship three times.

In this battle, despite very long odds, actually more than half of the small ships survived. Of the six escort carriers (CVEs), three destroyers (DDs), and four destroyer escorts (DEs), five CVEs, one DD, and three DEs survived the assault by four battleships, six heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and eleven destroyers.

For comparison, Fletcher class destroyers like USS Johnston typically had a full load displacement of 2,924 tons, less than two thirds the size of the NSCs and OPCs or about 50% larger than a 270.


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