bismark-after torpedo hit

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Byron Angel
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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:55 am

Dunno, Sean.
I'm not sure what distinction you are seeing.

Scharnhorst fought until she sank, although the sudden nature of her sinking (sudden stability loss and capsize) and the fact that her consort Gneisenau was still temporarily in action may alter the assessment.

Gneisenau fought on alone to the very end, reduced to a blazing immobile wreck on the verge of capsize and out of ammunition. No surrender. Ship was scuttled and abandoned.

Bluecher ditto.

B

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by Herr Nilsson » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:24 am

After the scuttling of Graf Spee Reader issued a directive on December 22nd 1939:
The German warship has to fight with the full commitment of his crew until the last grenade, until it wins or goes down with a waving flag.
So Langsdorff made it virtually impossible for Lütjens to surrender.
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by wadinga » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:06 pm

Fellow Contributors,

Herr Nilsson is correct, I raised the matter of this directive before when I was trying to find out about mysterious hints by a senior German historian that there were radio messages to Lutjens reinforcing it, and not recorded in the KTB. None have yet come to light. However, notwithstanding repercussions for his family at home Lutjens could have made such a decision anyway, and said "So sue me!" to his masters in Berlin.

This "death before dishonour" stuff is personified by
"La garde meurt et ne se rend pas !"
When the hopelessly outnumbered Imperial Guard stood at bay at the end of the Battle of Waterloo. General Cambronne is said to have said it, somebody else said he just shouted
"Merde!"
Also the family of General Claude-Etienne Michel claimed he was responsible for the "more-heroic" response, not Cambronne at all.

Returning to the options of warships when disabled and unable to fight, at the Falklands Captain Ellerton of HMS Cornwall offered Leipzig quarter by signalling
"Am anxious to save life. Do you surrender?"
Leipzig continued to return fire with what guns could still do so despite the observations of one of her officers
"The Lyddite would burst in the middle of a group and strip them of their arms and legs- men would rush about with exposed bones, crazy from the effects of the shell"
By 19:00 Leipzig fired torpedoes but the ship stopped shortly after and seacocks were opened but the ensign still flew. The crew were given permission to jump into the freezing sea but surrender was not authorized. After a further cannonading, by 21:00 two green flares were fired which the British took to mean surrender, firing stopped and rescue boats were lowered. By delaying the inevitable until it was dark, Captain Haun who went down with his ship, ensured that the rescuers, working by searchlight saved only 18 of Leipzig's 300 crew.

Nurnberg, another of Von Spee's cruisers was brought to bay when her boilers blew up, and when in a severely damaged condition was closed by HMS Kent to see if she would surrender. Her ensign still flew and a single shot was fired , hitting the Kent. The latter responded with full broadsides and a few minutes later Nurnberg hauled down her flag. After repairing her shattered boats HMS Kent rescued just 12 survivors.

Dresden also hoisted the White flag whilst skulking and infringing Chilean neutrality and was taken under fire when anchored close inshore and out of fuel. The ship was scuttled while the crew watched from the shore, cheering just like the watching British crews as the demolition charges blew her magazines up. HMS Glasgow took Dresden's wounded to hospital in Valparaiso.

Lutjens had unpalatable options aboard his helpless flagship, but none would get him home.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:03 pm

Gentlemen,
We could also add to the list the US aircraft that bombed a U Boat even though it had a large red cross on its deck and was towing a number of Laconia's lifeboats, As Wadinga said, in wartime the RN also to leave survivors of sunken ships for fear of being torpedoed, so except in certain very rare circumstances it was impossible to pick up survivors without rising one's own ship.There was also a case off Cornwall where a Naval escort stopped after one of the ships it was escorting was sunk and promptly got sunk itself - I believe the captain was Court Martialed.
As for Capt Langsdorff, it was said that he scuttled Graf Spee because he knew another heavy cruiser (HMS Cumberland) has arrived and he was given false information about a supposed RN battlecruiser also on its way and considered the welfare of his men before the honour of the Kreigsmarine.
It is a pity that such an honourable man decided to shoot himself.

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by HMSVF » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:38 pm

wadinga wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:06 pm
Fellow Contributors,

Herr Nilsson is correct, I raised the matter of this directive before when I was trying to find out about mysterious hints by a senior German historian that there were radio messages to Lutjens reinforcing it, and not recorded in the KTB. None have yet come to light. However, notwithstanding repercussions for his family at home Lutjens could have made such a decision anyway, and said "So sue me!" to his masters in Berlin.

This "death before dishonour" stuff is personified by
"La garde meurt et ne se rend pas !"
When the hopelessly outnumbered Imperial Guard stood at bay at the end of the Battle of Waterloo. General Cambronne is said to have said it, somebody else said he just shouted
"Merde!"
Also the family of General Claude-Etienne Michel claimed he was responsible for the "more-heroic" response, not Cambronne at all.

Returning to the options of warships when disabled and unable to fight, at the Falklands Captain Ellerton of HMS Cornwall offered Leipzig quarter by signalling
"Am anxious to save life. Do you surrender?"
Leipzig continued to return fire with what guns could still do so despite the observations of one of her officers
"The Lyddite would burst in the middle of a group and strip them of their arms and legs- men would rush about with exposed bones, crazy from the effects of the shell"
By 19:00 Leipzig fired torpedoes but the ship stopped shortly after and seacocks were opened but the ensign still flew. The crew were given permission to jump into the freezing sea but surrender was not authorized. After a further cannonading, by 21:00 two green flares were fired which the British took to mean surrender, firing stopped and rescue boats were lowered. By delaying the inevitable until it was dark, Captain Haun who went down with his ship, ensured that the rescuers, working by searchlight saved only 18 of Leipzig's 300 crew.

Nurnberg, another of Von Spee's cruisers was brought to bay when her boilers blew up, and when in a severely damaged condition was closed by HMS Kent to see if she would surrender. Her ensign still flew and a single shot was fired , hitting the Kent. The latter responded with full broadsides and a few minutes later Nurnberg hauled down her flag. After repairing her shattered boats HMS Kent rescued just 12 survivors.

Dresden also hoisted the White flag whilst skulking and infringing Chilean neutrality and was taken under fire when anchored close inshore and out of fuel. The ship was scuttled while the crew watched from the shore, cheering just like the watching British crews as the demolition charges blew her magazines up. HMS Glasgow took Dresden's wounded to hospital in Valparaiso.

Lutjens had unpalatable options aboard his helpless flagship, but none would get him home.

All the best

wadinga


Kicking myself for asking such a dumb question especially as I was aware of the above !



So.


Was there a sea change in the rules of war after the sinking of the "live bait squadron" ? Was the idea of "no surrender" an extension of the Prussian military ideals?

As you pointed out Captain Martin would have been extremely nervous about being stationary in the middle of the Atlantic rescuing survivors with the possibility of a U-boat being around. I agree that had a U-boat been present the commander wouldn't have thought twice about sending HMS Dorsetshire to the bottom.In comparison just how many survivors of Glorious, Acasta and Ardent were rescued by Scharnhorst & Gneisenau...

When the survivors of the SMS Blucher were being picked up by the British didn't a zeppelin turn up and drop bombs in the vicinity of the rescuing vessels, causing them to retire?



Best wishes HMSVF

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by Reubs64 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:09 am

Hi, just a few lines I've been wishing to write in support of the action recently taken with regard to the 2 week ban imposed on one of the regular forum "contributors" . I would have contacted Mr Jurens privately by e-mail as preferred but did not have his contact details. Anyway, I would just like to say I have visited this site for over 10 years and have initially really enjoyed reading the wealth of knowledge shared by the many regulars and occasional visitors on here but the last few years I personally noticed a couple of users basically start to refuse to accept any criticism or dissention to their accusations of cowardice and a cover up in regard to the Denmark strait battle. One user subsequently quit (not forced out) which left the user who has recently been banned for 2 weeks. I personally would welcome a longer or total ban as I just can not see based on previous actions how this user will refrain from his borderline neurotic posts calling other users "loosers"sic , deniers etc etc , practically every post from this user was paranoic, bitter and just plain distasteful. We lost a few fantastic contributors due to the incessant whining and bullying posts from the "Dynamic Duo" and it would be a great shame if even more users dwindled away so for what it's worth I feel the forum would flourish without the recently omitted user. Kind regards to all other posters.

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by HMSVF » Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:42 pm

I was reading Friedman’s “British Battleships” last night and he made an interesting comment on Bismarck’s TDS.

To me it appears he said that it was a revision of a 20 year old scheme and had the FAA used magnetic pistols she could have been in real trouble,more so than allied battleship with a “sandwich” style oil/water/air system.

What are the other contributors thoughts? I thought all under keel torpedo strikes were potentially lethal as the collapsing bubble of the explosion puts enormous strain on the hull - or where the torpedoes of the 30’s and 40’s not that sophisticated?

Also, how different would Ark Royals initial strike have been had the torpedoes had worked? HMS Sheffield at the bottom?


Regards


HMSVF

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by Bill Jurens » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:47 pm

Under-bottom torpedo hits, if they can be arranged (now fairly easy, in the 1940's very difficult) are indeed, potentially lethal regardless of side protection.

Bismarck's side protection system was certainly not inept in concept, but it certainly wasn't perfect either. The biggest problem lie in the arrangement of the torpedo bulkhead, essentially the 9th longitudinal. At this point, essentially at the lower outboard boundary of the boiler-rooms, there is a small section, about a half-meter high where the holding bulkhead is to all intents and purposes the only thing between the engineering spaces and the ocean, i.e. one has (assuming automatic flooding of the outboard void) what amounts to a zero-layer thick protective system. Put your foot on the lower bulkhead at this point, and the Atlantic is directly on the other side...

This results in three problems. One is that at that point, there is no redundancy in the system at all. The second is that because the area in question is very low in the ship, it would be quickly covered by flood water should the side protection system fail at all; this renders access (and repair) almost impossible after the water reaches something approaching knee-deep level. The third is that the bulkhead in question, though undoubtedly quite robust, is at that point a considerable distance from the neutral axis of the ship, rendering it more highly susceptible to failure via longitudinal flexural distortion of the hull-girder.

Bill Jurens.

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by pgollin » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:29 am

.

The first RN magnetic pistol - Duplex Coil Rod (DCR) - (as used in the first Ark Royal attack on Bismarck) had very poor reliability and was too sensitive.

The second version - Compensated Coil Rod (CCR) - part operational in late 1942, fully operational from early 1943 was much more efficient and reliable pistol, but was space and maintenance hungry. The size of the pistol meant that they were not really suitable for 18-inch torpedoes, only 21-inch. Also the maintenance requirements meant that either the ship they were used on should have a maintenance flat or used only for a short time. In reality they were pulled and checked after each sub patrol. The CCR was regarded as reliable and caused much more damage than an ordinary contact pistol.

HOWEVER, it should be noted that these were still not as sensitive as modern ones and that the WW2 torpedoes were set to run just under the keels of targets, so the whole idea of bubbles forming is speculative. Having said that a review of the Vanguard design showed that a CCR torpedo would cause much more damage than a side contact one as it would open up flooding across most of the bottom rather than just at the side protection system.

.

.

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by RobertsonN » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:12 pm

Bill Jurens wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:47 pm
Under-bottom torpedo hits, if they can be arranged (now fairly easy, in the 1940's very difficult) are indeed, potentially lethal regardless of side protection.

Bismarck's side protection system was certainly not inept in concept, but it certainly wasn't perfect either. The biggest problem lie in the arrangement of the torpedo bulkhead, essentially the 9th longitudinal. At this point, essentially at the lower outboard boundary of the boiler-rooms, there is a small section, about a half-meter high where the holding bulkhead is to all intents and purposes the only thing between the engineering spaces and the ocean, i.e. one has (assuming automatic flooding of the outboard void) what amounts to a zero-layer thick protective system. Put your foot on the lower bulkhead at this point, and the Atlantic is directly on the other side...

This results in three problems. One is that at that point, there is no redundancy in the system at all. The second is that because the area in question is very low in the ship, it would be quickly covered by flood water should the side protection system fail at all; this renders access (and repair) almost impossible after the water reaches something approaching knee-deep level. The third is that the bulkhead in question, though undoubtedly quite robust, is at that point a considerable distance from the neutral axis of the ship, rendering it more highly susceptible to failure via longitudinal flexural distortion of the hull-girder.

Bill Jurens.
This system was tested with a 40 mm bulkhead in the midship area against a 300 kg S1 charge. The result was the torpedo bulkhead remained intact but there was slight leakage past the torpedo bulkhead. Subsequently, there was a test of the same layout with a 45 mm bulkhead and the same charge. This time there was no leakage. The discontinuity referred to here occurred at the depth of the bilge keel.

The main weakness of the system occurred near the ends of the citadel where, in these fast ships, the system depth was much reduced. Here the discontinuity was at a greater height above the ship's outer bottom. In the fore and aft parts of the citadel, outside the machinery spaces, there was an additional longitudinal bulkhead about a metre inboard of the torpedo bulkhead. This additional bulkhead was two decks deep, comprising the upper and middle platform decks. These continued command spaces and magazines. The bulkhead did not extend down to the lower platform deck, which contained mainly stores. The one-layer SPS section outside the torpedo bulkhead occurred at this level. My reading of it is that a low torpedo hit in this area would probably flood the lower platform deck but perhaps not the two levels above this.

The length of this protection against torpedoes was about 560 ft against a maximum of 464 ft in other late battleships designs.

Neil Robertson

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:32 am

Off-topic commentary deleted. (WJJ)

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:38 am

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by paul.mercer » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:57 am

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by wadinga » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:54 am

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Re: bismark-after torpedo hit

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:05 pm

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