The explosives question

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30knots
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The explosives question

Post by 30knots » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:23 am

okay.

No way it might damage the propellers.

What kind of explosives were actually available ?

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Post by Ramius » Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:40 am

There was the 15in or secondary powder, but that would just end up like the HMS Interceptor on Pirates of the Carribean, where they blow up the ship with a trail of powder leading to the magazine. I see two possible things happening in that scenario.

1. The powder set and timed ,the crew close the door, a boom, and a trail of bubbles appear behind the ship like a giant beastly fart. :lol: :lol: :lol:

2. The whole stern is blown off the ship, the propeller shafts are bent, Bismarck is completely dead in the water, and there is a possibility of the rear 15in magazines incinerating the ship in a "Hood" repeat. :wink:

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Post by 30knots » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:31 pm

scuttling charges ?

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Post by Bgile » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:00 pm

They must have had something appropriate, because the Baron states that it was considered. IIRC the idea was rejected because they thought a charge big enough to separate a rudder would do too much collateral damage.

My question is what did they have to lose?

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Post by 30knots » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:15 pm

Sorry,

Wasn't trying to resurrect the why didn't they try it question, simply as i first put it:
What kind of explosives were actually available ?

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Post by Ramius » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:38 pm

I am assuming welding wasn't an option, the seas were too rough and the rudder is underwater. Did they have capable welding torches, out of curiosity? :think: :think: :think:

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Post by tommy303 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:20 am

hi 30knots,

in answer to your question the explosives available to the DC party trying to free the rudders was most likely a blend of TNT/hexanite; this was a standard German naval explosive for demolition work as well as the basis for torpedo warheads.

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Post by Ramius » Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:24 am

Hi Tommy,
You are saying that this stuff is what the scuttling scarges are made of? By the way, would the crew have been able to use the charges, were they in an acessable place?

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Post by tommy303 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:40 am

hi Raimus,

Yes, same explosive as used in scuttling charges. In fact the scuttling charges were kept under lock and key but were available to DC and engineering personnel should scuttling become necessary.

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Post by Ramius » Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:53 am

Do you know how much of a BOOM these things caused :think: (they didn't want the stern of their ship being blown off completely)

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Post by tommy303 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 6:36 am

TNT is a very, very powerful explosive and the problem would be measuring out enough to get the job done without causing more collateral damage to the ship's structure, particularly in an area that has already been weakened. Military high explosives are great for destroying things, but less good for what is in essence a surgical chore. I think one of the main worries was that if the charges were too strong, the stern might collapse onto the propellors rendering the ship completely immobile. This would require some very careful calculations by an explosives demolitions expert, and I doubt seriously if there happened to be one handy. The other problem was placing the charges in the right place, and it was nearly impossible to work inside the flooded steering compartment due to the ship's pitching. As Bismarck pitched towards the bow, the stern would rise and the water in the compartment would pour out, only to come rushing back in like a flood when the stern pitched down again. The other alternative, lowering a diver over the side to plant charges onto rudders was also ruled out due to the heavy seas.

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Post by Ramius » Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:13 pm

Thanks Tom, nice to have someone on here that knows this kind of stuff.

I am assuming because of the pitching that welding was out of the question. If the seas did die down, what welding torches did the Bismarck have :think:

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Post by tommy303 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:46 pm

The ship had both cutting and welding equipment on board, but I doubt that one could do much to repair the damage even in calm seas with the equipment and material at hand. The hole blasted in the steering compartment by the torpedo warhead was simply too large and covered too great an area. Perhaps if the weather had been calm, the rudders might have been uncoupled from the steering gear and moved to midships position providing the rudder shafting was not so distorted as to make even that impossible. It might have been possible using torches to cut the rudder shafting and jettison the rudders if divers could be put over the side and if time allowed. Under the conditions that prevailed that night, it was difficult to even assess the full extent of the damage, so we will probably never know for sure what might or might not have been possible.

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Post by 30knots » Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:52 pm

Given the gravity of the situation, even with water surging in and out of the torpedoed compartments, one has to wonder why blowing the thing off was not done.

The ship was destined Northward otherwise, by the seas, weather etc.

As was the case.

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Post by Ramius » Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:57 am

A more important question really, could the Bismarck steer without the rudder? I know she had difficulty steering with it locked in nuetral, but with no rudder :think:

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