AHC: The largest warship which could be realistically sunk by single shot of shoulder-fired missile?

OP

trurle

Banned
Propose exactly the largest warship (in gross tonnage) which can be sunk in single shot by a single soldier using SFM (shoulder-fired missile)?

Following limitations apply:
1) No support for SAM bearer - i.e. shots from helicopter or boat with crew other than SAM bearer are not allowed
2) Must be repeatable - First shots of war, shots from inside of target vessel, or point-blank shots are not allowed
3) Historical plausibility - both naval vessel and SFM must coexist in the same period
4) Alternate warheads to SFM launchers are allowed, but nuclear warheads are not.
5) Target must be an purpose-built warship - not the converted civillian
6) No lucky shot - targetting of parts smaller than SFM dispersion is not allowed (this disallows attacks down the smoke stack, for example). Targeting windows is allowed, but windows are presumed to be closed.

It is obvious something like 100-tons river gunboat or torpedo boat can be sunk with anti-tank shoulder-fired missile like Panzerfaust, M67 or Carl Gustav (simply by breaking vessel in halves). Anybody proposing a bolder target/SFM pair?
 
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Deleted member 97083

"The target area is only two meters wide. It's a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port. The shaft leads directly to the reactor system."

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trurle

Banned
"The target area is only two meters wide. It's a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port. The shaft leads directly to the reactor system."
This is forbidden by clause (6) - "No lucky shot". Also, i ask for encounter in historical, not imaginary universe.
 
@trurle is it WW2 tech only? First battle of Wake a Japanese destroyer was sunk when US planes set off the depth charges. Post WW2 the range is good enough you can hope for a repeat of sorts (and the armor is thinner as a bonus). But if WW2 only, kinda hard to get a target in range. Otherwise this seems your best bet- know you said no surprise strikes, but would in response to a surprise strike be OK? Maybe the German destroyers at Narvik could be close enough to target.
 

Archibald

Banned
Didn't British soldiers badly damaged an Argentinian Navy warship with a missile during the Falklands (think it was during the South Georgia invasion in April 1982)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_South_Georgia

ARA Guerrico
The corvette then carried out her second thrust into the cove, and at 11:55 opened fire. To her commander's disappointment, the 20 mm guns jammed after the first shot, and the 40 mm mounting after firing just six rounds. The 100 mm gun became useless after the first shot. Completely exposed, the warship had no other choice but to go ahead in order to put about. At 11:59, the corvette was hit by small arms fire and 84 mm Carl Gustav anti-tank shells.[26]

According to Mills, his party opened fire from a distance of 550 metres. The shooting killed one seaman and injured five others, damaging electrical cables, the 40 mm gun, one Exocet launcher and the 100 mm mounting. All Argentine sources acknowledge that more than 200 small arms rounds hit the corvette.[27] In the meantime, Lt Busson's Alouette had been ferrying more Argentine Marines ashore, out of range of the British weapons.[5
 
Didn't British soldiers badly damaged an Argentinian Navy warship with a missile during the Falklands (think it was during the South Georgia invasion in April 1982)

Yes, the ARA Guerrico was hit by a Carl Gustav in the exocet rocket launcher and was only saved because the missile was a dud. Sinking the ship by setting off all the exocets might violate the "no lucky shot" prohibition in the OP though.
 
Yes, the ARA Guerrico was hit by a Carl Gustav in the exocet rocket launcher and was only saved because the missile was a dud. Sinking the ship by setting off all the exocets might violate the "no lucky shot" prohibition in the OP though.

IDK, happened to Mikuma, USS Franklin, Hood, Wasp, Kisaragi, and many more. If a magazine/depth charges/ etc is hit, can get really dicey. Less a lucky shot IMO since at the short ranges of WW2, the shooter can aim the first few shots.
 

trurle

Banned
@trurle is it WW2 tech only? First battle of Wake a Japanese destroyer was sunk when US planes set off the depth charges. Post WW2 the range is good enough you can hope for a repeat of sorts (and the armor is thinner as a bonus). But if WW2 only, kinda hard to get a target in range. Otherwise this seems your best bet- know you said no surprise strikes, but would in response to a surprise strike be OK? Maybe the German destroyers at Narvik could be close enough to target.
Tech up to modern is allowed, as well the response to the first strike.
Yes, i am aware some early WWI or even early WWII vessels can be sunk by detonating ammunition, as sensitive dynamite and melinite/shimose was still used.
TNT is typically can not be detonated by stray shock, needing direct impact by round (which trigger "no lucky shot" clause).
Unfortunately, a.f.a.i.k., the development of man-portable recoilless rifles has happened then the sensitive explosives already become a rarity.


Regarding battle of Narvik, German destroyers are unlikely to be vulnerable to uncontrolled detonations, because (unlike for Japanese) most of their stocks of sensitive high explosive were either confiscated or destroyed at the end of WWI. Also, British/Norway in battle of Narvik in 1940 still did have only No. 68 AT grenade as the most potent weapon which can be called "Shoulder-Fired Missile". The Japanese naval vessels, with their large pre-war stock of shimose, may be more plausible target for successful SFM attack, so possible case is something like..Japanese destroyer ambushed by British rifleman with No. 68 AT grenade while anchored off the coast of Malaya. Although given the political situation in 1940-1941, all No. 68s were likely retained for the defence of Britain. Japanese sources do not mention anything about it. And by the time PIAT would be available in late 1942, Japanese vessels will expend a lot of old ammunition and would be much less vulnerable to detonation.

Yes, the ARA Guerrico was hit by a Carl Gustav in the exocet rocket launcher and was only saved because the missile was a dud. Sinking the ship by setting off all the exocets might violate the "no lucky shot" prohibition in the OP though.
Yes, i doubt the unguided Carl Gustav grenade can target specifically Exocet launcher at distance 550 meters. So it probably falls under "lucky shot" definition. Any data on dispersion of Carl Gustav shots?
 
A shoulder fired weapon like the Charlie G uses a 84mm HEAT warhead which will punch a relatively small hole in the side of a ship and in the case of the ARA Guerrico in South Georgia I understand that the ‘round’ dropped short (with said Royal getting lots of abuse from his comrades for ‘missing a ship’) and torpedoed the Corvette below the water line (with said Royal now a hero).

They also riddled it with hundreds of rounds of 7.62 NATO from L7 GPMG and L1 SLRs

The Charlie G is a relatively accurate weapon designed to hit a moving tank at 300 meters – so I would think that a skilled ‘gunner’ picking out a particular spot on a slow moving warship at 500 meters is not impossible.

That all being said that particular Corvette was reactivated for the war in the middle of a refit and was in a poor material condition – all of her guns (100mm, 40mm and 20mm) failed after only a handful of shot’s IIRC – the 100mm gun after a single round.

So to answer the Ops question I think that a shoulder launched AT weapon is not going to seriously impact a warship unless it somehow manages to hit a volatile munition or something.

It could damage a component, kill crew, set something on fire – but any crew with any sort of training is going to be able to deal with it through even the most basic damage control methods (such as having all water tight doors ‘double dogged’ and the ships pumps are working).

Personally I think that a shoulder fired ATW is ‘not’ going to pose a significant threat to anything other than a very small vessel – I’m talking civilian style finishing boat, launch, whaler etc and even then it would depend where it hit etc.

Even an MTB, LCT or patrol boat would IMO shrug off such a hit
 
...the largest warship (in gross tonnage) which can be sunk in single shot by a single soldier using SFM (shoulder-fired missile)?
Are there are examples of sinkings 5(Target must be an purpose-built warship) that are not violated by 2 and 6? ie first short from close range from concealment and getting lucky and hitting something on board that explodes?
 
Yes, the ARA Guerrico was hit by a Carl Gustav in the exocet rocket launcher and was only saved because the missile was a dud. Sinking the ship by setting off all the exocets might violate the "no lucky shot" prohibition in the OP though.
Not that lucky. The CG is quite accurate and an aimed shot to a deck mounted missile launcher isn't unreasonable. Maybe a larger target, like an ASROC Mk16? Which could have held a rocket with a nuclear warhead...
 
The rare Charlie G HESH round just below the waterline would have done no good at all to ARA Guerrico without invoking exploding on board munitions but a shoulder fired weapon will still need at leat some of the stars to line up to sink anything larger than a gunboat. Now a Wombat duelling with an Argentinian warship would be another thing........
 
Is there an Israeli shoulder launched demolition weapon with a large warhead, and FAE warheads for RPG7s?

I don't really believe the 'lucky shot' clause, warships of all sizes have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by various weapons; the 4000t HMS Sheffield was sunk by a single Exocet whose warhead didn't explode whereas the 1100t Sahand ate 3 harpoons, 2 1000lb lgbs and 2 cluster bombs. If there are several places on a warship that being hit will cause it to explode or whatever then hitting them strikes me as making your own luck,
 

trurle

Banned
The rare Charlie G HESH round just below the waterline would have done no good at all to ARA Guerrico without invoking exploding on board munitions but a shoulder fired weapon will still need at leat some of the stars to line up to sink anything larger than a gunboat. Now a Wombat duelling with an Argentinian warship would be another thing........
Yes, i remember 80kg filling weight mines were routinely crippling or sinking 1000-ton escort vessels. The 0.6kg explosive filling of Carl Gustav round may be enough just for 10-ton boat. By the way, i never heard about HESH for C.G. How much filling weight does it have?

Also, HEAT/HESH filling destrictive power may be multiplied by 2? Because directed explosion may tend to pierce at least one internal bulkhead and result in more flooding / fire spread?
 
Is there an Israeli shoulder launched demolition weapon with a large warhead, and FAE warheads for RPG7s?

I don't really believe the 'lucky shot' clause, warships of all sizes have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by various weapons; the 4000t HMS Sheffield was sunk by a single Exocet whose warhead didn't explode whereas the 1100t Sahand ate 3 harpoons, 2 1000lb lgbs and 2 cluster bombs. If there are several places on a warship that being hit will cause it to explode or whatever then hitting them strikes me as making your own luck,


You make it sound like the Sahand did a better job of not being sunk!

Sahand was totally overwhelmed (in that it’s likely that a single one of the weapons that hit her would have sufficed) and sunk within hours of being hit after her magazine blew up.

Sheffield suffered serious fire damage (which was eventually controlled) and was in the process of being towed to South Georgia when she sunk in very heavy seas (the weather conditions making it difficult to patch her up).

Had the damage occurred in the English Channel in calm weather rather than 8 thousand miles from a Friendly Port in heavy weather she would likely have survived and made it back.

Just saying like.
 
Not that lucky. The CG is quite accurate and an aimed shot to a deck mounted missile launcher isn't unreasonable. Maybe a larger target, like an ASROC Mk16? Which could have held a rocket with a nuclear warhead...

Having hit a helicopter in flight with one, I can confirm that hitting a specific part of a warship isn't that unreasonable.

Then again, there's a bit of a difference between sinking and mission killing a target. Put a significant hole into a submarine, and you can kind of stop in sinking under its own volition, which rather takes it out of the game, which is all one actually cares about.
 
I remember an old comic in which someone disabled a warship by tossing a grenade down its funnel. I doubt if that would work IRL.
 
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