LOL, leave it to the WaPo to put this in the very first line of the article.
I wrote the same scenario and results here at FR about a year ago when we were discussing Iranian threats to an American fleet, whether in attack mode or not.
I wrote that the hundred/several hundred small Iranian PT-sized boats could overwhelm our missile-defense systems on the ships by sheer numbers and it only takes a single missile to knock out our smaller protective ships (remember the Elat, the Israeli small destroyer/frigate sunk by an Egyptian/Russian missile?)
The USS Cole was knocked out by a boat full of explosives. One of our destroyers took serious casualties from a French-made, Iraq-fired Exocet anti-ship missile. And something sunk the So. Korean boat a few weeks ago.
Add into the mix a launching of scores or hundreds of the Chinese made Silkworm missile with advanced electronics.
Then throw in some suicide fighter-bombers armed with anti-ship missiles.
Our fleet would have been crippled if not destroyed years ago, by the Iranians. The new 5” shell is a better defensive weapon by you will have to fire a lot of them in a short period of time to stop oncoming boats/planes.
However, if you enlarge this type of shell to a rocket’s warhead, and aim it out into space, you should be able to bring down any enemy missile, ICBM or even a SCUD, just by being able to throw thousands of steel pellets at it in a good shotgun spread.
The most effective US artillery shell in Vietnam in destroying a VC/NVA massed frontal attack was the 105mm sheel with thousands of steel flechets in them. Somewhat akin to shooting several thousand mini-pitchforks into an enemy concentration of ground troops.
Any Nam guys familiar with which battled they were used in, chime in her. I’m thinking of Khe Sanh, Con Thien and other firebases in I Corps.