A 100 lb. phosphorus bomb detonates on the crow’s nest of the battleship Alabama during bombing tests conducted by Army Air Service bombers in the Chesapeake Bay (1921).

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The issue with attack ships, and in particular battleships, is that WP bombs didnt usually have a strong armored piercing shell, and only cuased limited damage. WP burns and makes smoke, and could hurt exposed to it, burn parts of the ship, or blind spotters. But keep in mind that most crew went inside during an engagement, and most ships are made of steel and treated wood. They dont burn *that* easily, and generally fires only started when a fuel source was damaged. AP shells do much the same thing, and an explosion in a compartment could have catastrophic results. That explosive filler spreads the damage across a large area, in catastrophic fashion, and increase the chance that something vulnerable will be damaged. WP, even in an AP shell, would only have a limited effect after the shock of the initial penetration, unless of course the shell penetrated into a fuel tank, coal bunker, or ammunition magazine (the most protected areas of a battleship!)

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