Portholes bow and stern

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30knots
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Portholes bow and stern

Post by 30knots » Thu May 15, 2008 11:50 pm

Bismarck had a few portholes each side at the bow and stern, outwith the armour belt. What was behind these ? Was it crew cabins ? For who ? Map rooms ? I'm just trying to think who, what or which functions would benefit from natural light.

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by RF » Fri May 16, 2008 8:06 am

Are they actually portholes?

I would have thought that the requirements for side armour protection would mean portholes on Bismarck would be strictly verboten....
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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by Tiornu » Fri May 16, 2008 9:07 am

You won't find many battleships without portholes. Even on battleships, people enjoy breathing, especially when there's some oxygen involved.
Yes, there were crew quarters and messes in those areas. You can get away with that on a large ship, I guess, though a smaller vessel should have crew spaces amidships if at all possible because the hull's movements are less pronounced there.

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by José M. Rico » Fri May 16, 2008 9:53 am

RF wrote:I would have thought that the requirements for side armour protection would mean portholes on Bismarck would be strictly verboten....
Well, Bismarck had no portholes inside the armored citadel (between frames 32 and 202.7), unlike the Scharnhorst that had portholes all along the hull.

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by 30knots » Fri May 16, 2008 12:19 pm

Here is a photo of the portholes at the bow:
http://tinyurl.com/5orzka

and at the stern:
http://tinyurl.com/5sjzs6

would anyone have any deck plans of the areas inside ?

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by Bgile » Fri May 16, 2008 2:02 pm

US wartime and post war construction seems to have eliminated portholes below the main deck, even in destroyers. I suspect they were considered a damage control liability.

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by Tiornu » Fri May 16, 2008 9:06 pm

would anyone have any deck plans of the areas inside ?
Yes, you can find a fairly complete layout in G&D. Also, if you have a good magnifying glass, you can try the Bismarck book from K&S.

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by 30knots » Fri May 16, 2008 9:38 pm

Yes, you can find a fairly complete layout in G&D
I'm not familiar with this. Grateful if you could expand on what is G&D

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by 30knots » Fri May 16, 2008 9:48 pm

Incidentally, that photo earlier of the stern portholes also quite neatly shows the 'propeller guards', as kindly pointed out to me by Terje Langoy in the post titled 'Bismarck turret installation photos'

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by Tiornu » Fri May 16, 2008 11:26 pm

G&D = Garzke and Dulin.

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by Terje Langoy » Sat May 17, 2008 12:09 am

30knots wrote:Here is a photo of the portholes at the bow:
http://tinyurl.com/5orzka
The upper row of portholes should be the Seamen's mess deck.
The lower row of portholes should be the NCO's mess deck.
30knots wrote:and at the stern:
http://tinyurl.com/5sjzs6
The upper row of portholes should be the Officer's cabins.
The lower row of portholes should be the NCO's cabins.

(These were listed in Jack Brower's Battleship Bismarck, Anatomy of the ship)

The above mentioned are compartments that can be regarded as more or less "expendable recreational quarters". I think that in the Scharnhorst's case, as Jose mentioned above, the other side of the portholes found within the citadel were more of the same "expendable" accomodations as well, such as the dentist's office or the tailor shop, just to name a few...
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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by RF » Mon May 19, 2008 12:57 pm

Are there any actual cases of enemy shells entering a battleship through a porthole and doing substantial damage as a result?
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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by lwd » Mon May 19, 2008 1:26 pm

I think I've read of shells entering through port holes. I'm not sure how much damage was done in these cases. Remember also that the port hole causes a weakening of the armor around it due to edge effect. Some of this may depend on what you call a Porthole as well. I believe the Hiei was severely inconvienianced by 40mm enterning her bridge area through the vision ports. Not sure if those count as port holes or not.

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by Tiornu » Mon May 19, 2008 4:26 pm

Portholes do not represent any significant vulnerability to shells but rather create a potential for reduced watertightness.
I believe it was machine gun fire that Laffey directed into Hiei's bridge. Rarely did two fleet opponents get that close.

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Re: Portholes bow and stern

Post by lwd » Mon May 19, 2008 4:52 pm

Are port holes even placed in armor? Mention was made of them in the citadels of ships where these were armored but was this in an unarmored portion or did they actually put the portal into the armor?

Looking at wiki pages on Laffey and Benson class DD's it list them as having 20mm and 12.7mm guns in addition to their 5" ordinance. So 40mm is the result of a spotty memory on my part (or perhaps the good memory of a bad source). She was defintily closer to the Heie than anyone expected her to be.

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