H-44: "the Super Bismarck"

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hellomartin
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H-44: "the Super Bismarck"

Post by hellomartin » Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:26 am

Does anyone have any insights into the H-Class German battleships that were to be successor to the Bismarck/Tirpitz but never got completed?

I hadn't realised that two of the six planned got so far as being laid down. The H-39 design were similar to Bismarck but significantly larger, about 50' longer with two smoke stacks, 16' guns and improved armour, yet still capable of 30 knots. In 1943, Hitler dreamt up an even bigger monster, the H-44, which was to have 20' guns!!! The steel for this was even ordered and assembled, but then used to construct U-boats instead. Any idea what the H-44 would have looked like?

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Re: H-44: "the Super Bismarck"

Post by Tiornu » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:36 am

H-44 would have looked broad and flat...that is, a large sheet of paper. H-44 was not designed to be built but simply as an exercise. Nothing after H-41 was considered a viable project.
Aside from the obvious size differences, "H" differed from Bismarck in her diesel propulsion. And the submerged torpedo tubes, which I have never understood.

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Post by hellomartin » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:08 am

I was doing a bit of rooting around on the H-39 (I believe the numbers of the H class refer to the year of design). Although the keels of several of the six were laid down, but then abandoned, several of their big 40cm guns turrets were built and then diverted to be used as coastal batteries. One of them is still around. I guess it is our best chance to get up close and personal to a piece of Bismarck, or in this case, one of her big sisters....

http://www.bunkertours.se/mh/harstad.html

Tiornu, what was your question over the torpedos....why they should have been submerged, or why have them on a battleship at all?

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Post by RF » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:29 pm

hellomartin,

I notice that the turret shown is for a single barrel, the H classe turrets were designed for two guns I believe. Is this a modified turret or one actually designed for coastal use as opposed to being mounted on a battleship?
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Post by RF » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:40 pm

Tiornu,

I was wondering how submerged torpedo tubes on a battleship would work. Without being too knowledgeable on marine engineering would I be right in thinking that some sort of compromise in below waterline armour protection be needed as such tubes presumably would have to be loaded and reloaded?
I believe that Rodney had below water line torpedo tubes and fired them in action against Bismarck. The only other info I have seen on this subject was the experience of various hilfskreuzer, including Atlantis nearly torpedoing itself when the submerged launch of a torpedo caused it to malfunction, and the comments of Theodor Detmers, a torpedo specialist, who in his book The Raider Kormoran expressed the view that underwater torpedo tubes, without extension sleeves, were worse than useless and could only be safely fired when Kormoran was stationary.
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Post by Tiornu » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:46 pm

Almost all the early dreadnoughts had submerged tubes, which perhaps may have made sense when torpedo ranges were on the increase and battle ranges near 10,000 yards were expected. The torpedo flats represented a flooding hazard, and Lutzow would probably have survived Jutland but for her torpedo flat.

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Post by Gerard Heimann » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:20 pm

RF, when you say that the torpedoes could only be fired by Kormoran while stationary, is the implication that the pressure of the inflowing water would cause flooding or that the incoming water would impede the torpedo's accuracy?

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Post by Bgile » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:32 pm

Gerard Heimann wrote:RF, when you say that the torpedoes could only be fired by Kormoran while stationary, is the implication that the pressure of the inflowing water would cause flooding or that the incoming water would impede the torpedo's accuracy?

Gerard
I don't know this, but I've always wondered why a submerged tube in the side of the ship wouldn't cause torpedoes to jam as they left the tube due to the lateral force of water.

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Post by RNfanDan » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:02 pm

Bgile wrote: ...I've always wondered why a submerged tube in the side of the ship wouldn't cause torpedoes to jam as they left the tube due to the lateral force of water.
Maybe they fired banana-shaped torpedoes.....? :lol:

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Post by hellomartin » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:25 pm

RF, my understanding is that the H-39 gun turrets were assembled before the project was abandoned. The guns, as opposed to the turrets, were then dispersed to a number of locations, with some on the coast of France lobbing shells at Kent. This gun in Norway, I believe, is the only one remaining of the entire German WWII battleship project

I was amused to discover that the trigger of this monster was pulled by a piece of string.

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Post by Tiornu » Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:36 pm

RF, when you say that the torpedoes could only be fired by Kormoran while stationary, is the implication that the pressure of the inflowing water would cause flooding or that the incoming water would impede the torpedo's accuracy?
As I recall, Oscar Parkes described Agincourt's torpedo flats as thoroughly sloshy.

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Post by RF » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:45 pm

Gerard Heimann wrote:RF, when you say that the torpedoes could only be fired by Kormoran while stationary, is the implication that the pressure of the inflowing water would cause flooding or that the incoming water would impede the torpedo's accuracy?

Gerard
Detmers was not completely clear on this, but he does say in his book that he had a fear that a submerged launched torpedo ''would go off course with a real possibility of it running round and hitting the ship'' which I take to mean the possibility of Kormoran torpedoing itself.
From that I infer that the lack of an extension sleeve combined with the forward motion of the ship and lateral force of water could on launching affect the torpedoes gyroes and affect it as per the incident in which a British cruiser in the Barents Sea torpedoed itself, although in that latter case the torpedo went haywire for different reasons.

According to the log of Bernhard Rogge a submerged launch of a torpedo by Atlantis went wrong and the torpedo boomeranged back and narrowly missed Atlantis.
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Post by hellomartin » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:17 pm

I don't have any specialist knowledge of this subject, but one would have thought that logically there would be no reason why a surface ship could not have bow and stern torpedo tubes, just like a submarine. It would then merely have to point itself at the target, which would not be much of a problem if the target were an unarmed freighter. But then, why have submerged torpedo tubes, rather than deck-launched or even launched from the hull, but a little way above the water-line? Then again, why even bother with torpedos at all?

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Post by lwd » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:28 pm

Subs tend to be moving quite slow when they launch. Surface ships don't. There was a point in time when BB vs BB actions were likely to be fought at 10,000 yards or less. At such ranges torpedos can be effective.

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Post by RF » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:28 pm

hellomartin wrote:.... but one would have thought that logically there would be no reason why a surface ship could not have bow and stern torpedo tubes, just like a submarine. It would then merely have to point itself at the target, which would not be much of a problem if the target were an unarmed freighter.
I believe that the Deutschland classe ''pocket battleships'' did have racks of torpedo tubes mounted on the stern immediately aft of Bruno turret - as evident on various stern photo's of Graf Spee. These racks were mounted on a turntable apparatus so the torpedoes could be launched across a wide arc.

If torpedoes are to be considered useful in a gunnery action then I would assume that one condition for the launching of them is that they do not substantially interfere with the gunnery. Having to point the ship to fire obviously would interfere with gunnery.

And if the target is a merchant ship why use torpedoes instead of scuttling charges?
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