Bismarck speed during last battle

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Ramius
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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by Ramius » Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:56 pm

lwd wrote:If she made it to Brest she would have been there for quite some time. Might even still be there today.
Yes, I know that. The battleship Bismarck was sunk off France and Spain after her rudder was hit by a lucky torpedo hit by Swordfish biplanes. Then the HMS King George V and HMS Rodney caught up and damaged her so badly that the remaining German crew scuttled her.

What I was saying was, BEFORE the hit that blew off one rudder and jammed the other, she COULD HAVE made it to occupied France with the remaining fuel, adding to my point that she could have been doing 20kn at her last stand...

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by dunmunro » Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:48 am

The KM had dispatched tugs to try and save Bismarck. However, if Bismarck ran out of fuel by steaming in circles at high speed then she would be lost for certain. I think Lutjens was trying to keep Bismarck on a steady course at the slowest possible speed, so that if he could defeat KGV and Rodney, he would still have a chance for survival. D&G indicate that on the morning of the 24th Bismarck had about 3300 tons of fuel remaining. By the morning of the 27th, Bismarck probably had less than 1000 tons remaining, and was nearing the point where she could not return to port with her remaining fuel, even if she could still steer. If a tug had been able to assist her, the tug could have pulled Bismarck's bow in the correct direction, but the tug would still need assistance from Bismarck's engines.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by lwd » Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:46 am

Ramius wrote:
lwd wrote:If she made it to Brest she would have been there for quite some time. Might even still be there today.
Yes, I know that. The battleship Bismarck was sunk off France and Spain after her rudder was hit by a lucky torpedo hit by Swordfish biplanes. Then the HMS King George V and HMS Rodney caught up and damaged her so badly that the remaining German crew scuttled her.

What I was saying was, BEFORE the hit that blew off one rudder and jammed the other, she COULD HAVE made it to occupied France with the remaining fuel, adding to my point that she could have been doing 20kn at her last stand...
And my point was that had she done so she probably would have ended up receiving a lot of attention there especially as she would have to stay long enough to repair her battle damage. Good chance she would have been sunk there much like Tirpitz so she would have been going even slower in her final battle. I'm still not quite sure what your point was.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by Ramius » Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:55 pm

Ramius wrote:If she had been going faster (firing her guns or not), and the jammed rudders caused her to swerve erradically (as they did), I see one of two things happening:

1. The British stay long enough to reduce her to the useless hulk of steel that she did become, causing them to either have to go at a crawl, or stop once the fuel ran out. Either one causing U-Boats to send the Atlantic branch of the Royal Navy and part of Force-H to the bottom (along with the scuttled Bismarck) :think:

2. The British leave at the fuel critical moment they did with half the hits the actually got and Dorsetshire would not get any hits since the secondaries might still be firing and Bismarck is still swerving. This leaves Bismarck still repairable and not scuttled, allowing German sea-going tugs to go and tow her back (assuming she didn't have fuel left for Breast). This leaves both navies with their ships, although Bismarck might be out for more than a few months :think:
:!: This is my point, if she had been going that speed, there would have been a much better chance of her not recieving as much damage (she survived in reality, but the crew scuttled her) to be considered a total loss...

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by lwd » Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:23 pm

Ramius wrote:... This is my point, if she had been going that speed, there would have been a much better chance of her not recieving as much damage (she survived in reality, but the crew scuttled her) to be considered a total loss...
She might not have recieved as much damage on the otherhand she may have reiceved more or what she did recieve may well still have been leathal. Bismark didn't survie in reality. She was going down whatever scuttling was done merely hastened the end.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by Ramius » Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:34 pm

1. :think: Yes, you are right, she may have been more damaged to lucky shots of high trajecteries, due to the British probably staying back as she was going faster and was circling. But I do not think any of us here has a fortune coin to flip to tell us what really could have happened in that predicament.

2. :negative: You are wrong. Explorations of the wreck show that all the torpedo bulkheads were intact, preserving the bouyancy of the ship. The ship sank not due to battle damage, but to scuttling. End of story.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by lwd » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:09 pm

Ramius wrote:1. :think: Yes, you are right, she may have been more damaged to lucky shots of high trajecteries, due to the British probably staying back as she was going faster and was circling. But I do not think any of us here has a fortune coin to flip to tell us what really could have happened in that predicament.
Extra damage could also have come from the speed itself or the British especially the lighter ships could have closed more to obtain torpedo hits. I think there were also a number of torpedo planes that could have participated if the surface vessels didn't do the job. As Bismark would have had little or no AA by the time they got there and little ability to dodge there's a very good chance of additional torpedo hits.
2. :negative: You are wrong. Explorations of the wreck show that all the torpedo bulkheads were intact, preserving the bouyancy of the ship. The ship sank not due to battle damage, but to scuttling. End of story.
Intact torpedo bulkheads do not equal boyancy preservation. Bismark was taking on water and settling. There were multliple holes that started out above the water line but weren't any more. The deeper she got the more water settled in. She was going down scuttling just hastened the end.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by tommy303 » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:41 pm

In fact, Ark Royal's planes were circling, but could not attack due to the intense bombardment of the target by the Home Fleet, and eventually returned to the carrier when it became obvious Tovey was not going to cease fire and let them make their torpedo runs.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by Bgile » Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:35 am

dunmunro wrote: If a tug had been able to assist her, the tug could have pulled Bismarck's bow in the correct direction, but the tug would still need assistance from Bismarck's engines.
Why? Much bigger ships than Bismarck have been towed by tugs.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by Ramius » Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:45 am

:think: I see the point of view on both sides here...

1. Bismarck could very well have been towed but tugs alone: :ok:

2. Bismarck helping with her engines if possible( and saying she has fuel at this point), probably making the trip a little faster: :ok:

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by dunmunro » Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:40 am

Bgile wrote:

Why? Much bigger ships than Bismarck have been towed by tugs.
The jammed rudder would make towing nearly impossible, unless Bismarck could assist, and without fuel, she loses her armament, electrical power, pumps, etc.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by José M. Rico » Sat Apr 12, 2008 4:11 am

dunmunro wrote:By the morning of the 27th, Bismarck probably had less than 1000 tons remaining, and was nearing the point where she could not return to port with her remaining fuel, even if she could still steer.
At 20 knots, 900 tons of fuel oil would have been more than enough to cover 600 nm and reach Brest.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by Bgile » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:13 am

Make it 15 kts. I just pulled 20 out of the air. You'd probably get a lot better economy at 15 than at 20. And of course you don't run the tanks dry. You have to have enough to run auxiliaries. At some point you'd have to slow down to the historical speed.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by tommy303 » Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:44 am

To get back to the original thrust of the discussion, steaming at 20 knots in a circle was only going to slightly prolong the inevitible. Tovey would simply have adopted a circular course himself to as to keep his guns on target and at a steady range and rate of change. The fire control tables, once updated with accurate information would have been capable of producing adequate solutions for the guns, and his ships' main guns could elevate to 40*, allowing less interference from heeling and rolling than Bismarck's main battery's 30*. Whlile the number of hits might have been less, her heeling in the prolonged turn would have favored the incoming British shells allowing plunging fire at closer ranges than had she had been on an even keel; and if one of Tovey's battleships was on the other side, there was a greater than normal chance for shells to strike below the armour belt and reach the vitals through the torpedo bulkhead. In either of those cases the battle might have ended sooner rather than later.

From the German point of view, Bismarck was cornered and unable to escape, and a turning fight as suggested would only make things more difficult for her own gunnery. Seven knots was about as fast as she could go without turning too fast in response to the jammed rudders. Crippled and unable to escape or evade the enemy, Bismarck's crew could only attempt to do their duty as German soldiers and fight to the last. Luetjens and Lindemann would have understood quite clearly that their duty was to attempt to inflict sufficient damage on the enemy to possibly allow whatever resources from the Uboat arm or Luftwaffe as might be on their way a chance to strike. It's what last stands are generally all about--try to make the enemy pay for his victory and give one's countrymen a source of pride to strengthen them in their fight. A low speed turn (and possibly using props to maintain some semblance of a base course) would at least give the gunners a chance to track the targets for a reasonable amount of time and hopefully aquire and hit the enemy. That the Bismarck was unable to inflict more than minor shock damage to the Rodney and land some splinters on KGV is irrelevant; she was simply overwhelmed once Tovey's ships found the range. Nevertheless the officers and men of the Bismarck had to at least try.

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Re: BS speed - last battle

Post by RF » Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:18 am

The question of speed might be more relevant if Bismarck had some direct support - such as the presence of a large force of Luftwaffe bombers to attack the British battleships - ie Bismarck had a realistic means of escape.
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