Bismarck construction flaws

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby lwd » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:05 pm

Got a reply to just what was filmed on the Kirishima from:
http://www.j-aircraft.org/smf/index.php ... icseen#new
from Sander Kingsepp
In fact, only one side (stb) was examined in a severely limited visibility, during a single pass.

Djoser
Senior Member
Posts: 382
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:45 am
Location: Key West Florida USA

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Djoser » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:36 am

Thanks for the link, lwd!

Jagdboot
Junior Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Jagdboot » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:09 am

Weak stern, Not enough armour on the hull, Should have been equipped with more AA guns. The Tirpitz had more of them. Not much you can do about the jammed rudder from the torpedoattack.

Jagdboot

Thorsten Wahl
Senior Member
Posts: 645
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:05 pm

Jagdboot wrote:a)Weak stern,
b)Not enough armour on the hull,
c)Should have been equipped with more AA guns. The Tirpitz had more of them.
d)Not much you can do about the jammed rudder from the torpedoattack.

Jagdboot


would be nice to hear somwhat more substance to get an basis for discussion. :think:
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:37 am

Weak stern, Not enough armour on the hull, Should have been equipped with more AA guns. The Tirpitz had more of them. Not much you can do about the jammed rudder from the torpedoattack.


Not enough armor on the hull? What makes that the rest of battleships with the sole exception of Yamato? More AA guns? By spring 1941 it was pretty much what all battleships had. Weak stern or jammed rudder? I imagine that was not a flaw in Prince of Wales or Musashi? At least the Bismarck didn't run away from her enemies as more than year and a half after the South Dakota did from an aging "battlecruiser" armed with shore bombardment shells...
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

User avatar
Dave Saxton
Supporter
Posts: 2899
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains USA

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:51 pm

Weak stern,


It doesn't really matter if it was too weak or not, because it only manifested itself after the ship sank. Previous to that event it was strong enough to withstand a torpedo explosion underneath and an observed Rodney 16" direct hit without structural failure.

Should have been equipped with more AA guns


It could have had more certainly. But Bismarck in 1941 was actually better equipped in this regard than her contemporaries. For example, Dunkerque was equipped only with 16 x 13cm dual purpose that didn't work against aircraft very well (too slow), only 8 x 38mm, and 32 x .50 cal light machine guns. North Carolina's only automatic flak was only four of the terrible 1.1-inch (28mm) quad mountings.

What makes the rest of battleships (have more hull protection) with the sole exception of Yamato?


I dare say that the over all belt protection of Bismarck was probably better than Yamato's. Moreover, the protected length was also better than all others.

Not much you can do about the jammed rudder from the torpedoattack



True, although given a bit more time, and without having to contend with the very stormy wind and seas, and Vian's destroyers, Lindemann may have been able to come up with a solution.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

Jagdboot
Junior Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Jagdboot » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:32 am

Thorsten Wahl wrote:
Jagdboot wrote:a)Weak stern,
b)Not enough armour on the hull,
c)Should have been equipped with more AA guns. The Tirpitz had more of them.
d)Not much you can do about the jammed rudder from the torpedoattack.

Jagdboot


would be nice to hear somwhat more substance to get an basis for discussion. :think:


I think all the above played the contributing factor that brought Bismarck to its demise during the latter part of the Operation Rheinübung. One can speculate on the facts, but I think in terms of its design the protection belt was somewhat sufficient, but more armour on the bow would probably have hindered the PoW to get that scoring hit which cost the vessel so much fuel, also the increased intake of water slowed it down. The rudder was in perfect condition before being sabotaged by the torpedo hit. It was only unfortunate that nothing could be done with it at the time. As with most ships. The rudder is like an achilles heel. More AA guns. The more junk you toss in the air, the more you hit. Everything is up for discussion, which is why we are here.

User avatar
RF
Senior Member
Posts: 7506
Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm
Location: Wolverhampton, ENGLAND

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby RF » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:32 am

Yes it is speculation. What has to be recognised is that it was the hit adjacent to the rudder that was fatal.

The hit obtained by POW was relatively minor, in that on its own it did little to impair Bismarcks' combat efficiency. Even the loss of fuel wasn't serious if the ship was able to reach port, which it was capable of.
The true significance of the POW'S hits were that they caused Rheinubung to be abandoned by Lutjens heading for a French port. However without those hits it is likely that Lutjens would have come to the same decision, especially if Bismarck continues to be shadowdoed. That I think was the ultimate crucial factor; the battle damage made that decision an immediate one rather than being decided later.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Thorsten Wahl
Senior Member
Posts: 645
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:19 am

regarding hit in the bow
projectile enters ships in height of 2nd deck (Batteriedeck) perforates 2nd deck as well as the transversale bulkhead between compartments XX and XXI and leaves the ship above the Panzerdeck (3rd deck)(above the water line)

There are only trim tanks in the area below the upper platformdeck (4th deck wich could be used as reserve fuel tanks) wich was armored, but these tanks wer not used for carrying fuel during operations, except in emergency and also the 3rd and 4th decks were not impaired by the impact as they wer exposed to any damage and cause a undesirable bow trim if filled completely. If they were filled at Gotnhafen the fuel should be used first for the above reason.

The resulting flooding for the area above the Panzerdeck was approximately 900 tons.
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

User avatar
Dave Saxton
Supporter
Posts: 2899
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains USA

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Dave Saxton » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:32 pm

but more armour on the bow would probably have hindered the PoW to get that scoring hit which cost the vessel so much fuel,


The amount of armour required in this case would be prohibitive. It would need to be of full belt thickness and this can't be applied to the bows. Heavy armour weights must be concentrated to protect the vital compartments such as turbine rooms and magazines, and the main turrets and barbets. Only splinter level protection should be employed outside of these vital areas. Bismarck did have homogenous armour worked into the outer shell fore and aft of the citadel to protect the water plane from being riddled by splinters, but armour capable for rejecting a battleship caliber shell wasn't practical.

More or less internal splinter armour wasn't a factor against this non exploding, passing through and through shell as we see from Thorsten's post. The fuel lost was from the wing tanks adjacent to compartment XIV.

The Germans themselves recoginized that the main belt could have extended deeper below the waterline. Later H class designs featured belts that extended further below the waterline. Perhaps had Bismarck had a deeper belt, the hit to the wing tanks and, the perforation by heavy splinters of the longitudal bulkhead when the 14 shell exploded against it, may not of happened? Or perhaps not?

The historical hit to the wing tanks was very deep-deep enough to damage double bottom tanks- so probably no protective measure would have helped.

Normally to reach this deep, the projectile would need to traverse too much water; dissapating all or most of the projectile's energy, and perhaps even turning it backwards. Therefore, the more likely explaination is that the projectile entered in the adjacent wave trough created by the ship moving at high speed.
Last edited by Dave Saxton on Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

Djoser
Senior Member
Posts: 382
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:45 am
Location: Key West Florida USA

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Djoser » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:38 pm

Great, thanks for posting Dave, Thorsten, and RF--glad we could clear up the misunderstanding that Bismarck was somehow flawed in relation to his contemporaries in terms of hull armor, armor on the bow, weak stern, and AA.

No doubt the AA would have been beefed up considerably had Bismarck survived May '41.

paul.mercer
Senior Member
Posts: 585
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:25 pm

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby paul.mercer » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:25 pm

Gentlemen,
I believe that the hit on the Bow from PoW went straight through without exploding, any thoughts on what would have happened if it had?

yellowtail3
Senior Member
Posts: 408
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:50 pm
Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby yellowtail3 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:52 pm

paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen,
I believe that the hit on the Bow from PoW went straight through without exploding, any thoughts on what would have happened if it had?


Bigger/more exit holes in hull, prob a few more in overheard (& deck below) where shell detonates, harder to fix... Bismarck will be in even worse straits.
Shift Colors... underway.

User avatar
Rick Rather
Member
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:15 am
Location: Dallas, Texas USA

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Rick Rather » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:45 am

That hit passed through a fuel manifold, didn't it?
References I've found are not quite clear to me.
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
-- R. Rather

User avatar
Bernd Willmer
Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:56 pm
Location: Vaihingen/Enz, Germany
Contact:

Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Bernd Willmer » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:15 am

Hi,

AP ammunition has a time delayed fuse. The bow is too slender for this delay. Bye!
Bye,

Bernd.


Return to “Bismarck General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest