Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

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pg55555
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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by pg55555 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:13 am

.

This may have been covered elsewhere (if so apologies) but have you any details of the problems of the "shortened" training ?

Bismarck was launched and completed basically at the same time as KGV, but KGV was fully worked up well before Bismarck.

Now this may be because KGV got a lot of fully trained officers and men from other ships, whilst Bismarck had to train many from newly qualified seamen, but otherwise this seems odd.

.

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by alecsandros2 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:56 am

pg55555 wrote:.

This may have been covered elsewhere (if so apologies) but have you any details of the problems of the "shortened" training ?

.
Bismarck was scheduled to make training in the Baltic, but ice and bad weather delayed this several times.
When the weatehr was finally ok, it was mid-March 1941, and the ship only made some 10 days of training out of the 30 planned, as the order for Rheinubung arived on the 2nd of April.

In her captain's own words, the ship was "fully prepared" for "peacetime operations" at the time of her sortie in May 1941.

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by RF » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:20 pm

pg55555 wrote:.
Bismarck was launched and completed basically at the same time as KGV, but KGV was fully worked up well before Bismarck.
.
The performance of KGV's guns on 27 May 1941 suggests to me that KGV was very far from being ''worked up.''
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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by wadinga » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:04 pm

All,

The detail on the damage to Bismarck's rudders and the impossibility of repairing it with the resources available in the conditions prevailing is exhaustively detailed in viewtopic.php?f=2&t=629

Excuses about inadequate training or the wrong kind of diving gear are just that. Accounts say the divers could barely hang on in the flooded compartment whilst tons of seawater rushed in and out through the hole in the hull. It is clutching at straws to say self contained gear would have helped that much. The strenuous efforts would used the small tanks up in no time flat. Maybe with self-contained gear the hatch which made the water flow worse could have been locked down, impossible with hoses going through, but this is no guarantee of success.

Stories about welding the hangar door to the side of the ship and similar, are fantasies dreamt up by desperate men in desperate times and barely feasible in the calm of a basin in a fully equipped naval dockyard, let alone the wild conditions experienced that night. .

IMHO most of the impetus behind the Lutjens, Lindeman etc "gave up too soon" stuff comes from the the Baron's interpretation of the signal timing. In his book he attributes the 21:40 signal "Ship unable to maneuver. We will fight to the last round. Long live the Fuhrer." to that time, 21:40. He then goes on to comment "That last signal was sent only about half an hour after the hit that had jammed our rudder and long before we had tried every means of repairing the damage." My italics

However as we exploring in another thread, viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5605 the 21:40 is only the Time of Origin of the signal and it is actually logged much later. It seems likely to me that somebody started writing a signal, then held it, waiting for well over an hour whilst damage control crews worked feverishly, before lack of success prompted the completion of the signal, now bearing the erroneous TOO. On the other thread I am still hoping someone will be able to uncover the messages the highly respected German historian Werner Hahn says were sent to Lutjens, by Raeder, instructing him that even if Bismarck were crippled and unable to fight effectively, there should be no thoughts of premature scuttling or surrender.

Many Allied warships were scuttled when there was no hope of repair, and no hope of effective defence, and their crews safely transferred to other ships in the accompanying squadron. Unfortunately Bismarck was alone, and no such way out for her crew existed.

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by wadinga » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:20 pm

All,

Werner Rahn is a respected historian of the Wehrmacht, whereas Werner Hahn is something to do with the theatre :oops:

All the best

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by RF » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:22 am

wadinga wrote:
Many Allied warships were scuttled when there was no hope of repair, and no hope of effective defence, and their crews safely transferred to other ships in the accompanying squadron. Unfortunately Bismarck was alone, and no such way out for her crew existed.
In the case of the Bismarck that is certainly true of surface ships. But U-boats were around able to pick up some survivors and Raeder had contacted the Spanish naval authorities to send out a rescue ship.

Now while submarines are hardly rescue craft it should be noted that a submarine rescue operation was successfully carried out in the South Atlantic in December 1941 with the rescue of nearly 450 men from Python and Atlantis, using in part the larger Italian submarines, bringing them back to France. A much smaller number than Bismarck's total crew but still a substantial achievement.
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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by wadinga » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:26 pm

Hello RF and all,

The U-boats were hampered by the very bad weather and could hardly make any progress on the surface. These were the wild conditions in which Bismarck's crew was trying to effect repairs to the steering gear. Even given the Bismarck's slow progress, Kentrat in U-74 and also U-73 never got close until hours after the ship sank, but Dorsetshires's captain could hardly rely on that. The ether was alive with homing transmissions on the U-boat frequencies.

The U-boat rescue of the Laconia survivors, for instance, took place under flat calm conditions, and getting people out of the water onto a casing constantly awash, would be nearly impossible. The bad weather conditions depicted in "Das Boot" give us an idea how things would have been.

There were apparently several misleading reports given to Bismarck's crew that the jam had been cleared. However since the modern evidence suggests the port rudder was snapped off completely by the torpedo shock and the starboard may have been distorted so badly it hit a propeller at one stage, even if the divers had succeeded in connecting a manual system it might have not been able to improve anything. The German survivor reports include an attempt to limit the aft flooding with a "futhering sail" but the rough conditions made it impossible to deploy.

By the time of Lindemann's famous comment, "Ach,do as you like" all the very limited options had been exhausted, and he knew he and and his command were doomed.

Also, say it softly, the incredibly large metacentric height, which made the ship so initially stable, and a "wonderful gun platform",would have meant a wickedly rapid roll once it started wallowing beam on, and just a few of the crew might have been a bit, er, sea-sick........

For me the most heroic people on the Axis side were the crew of the tanker Ermland who were ordered ( and presumably would have obeyed) to sail out, pretty much unprotected, into the fury of the Home fleet plus Force H, in order to replenish Bismarck at sea. :shock:

All the best

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by tommy303 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:45 pm

Also, say it softly, the incredibly large metacentric height, which made the ship so initially stable, and a "wonderful gun platform",would have meant a wickedly rapid roll once it started wallowing beam on, and just a few of the crew might have been a bit, er, sea-sick........
Quite. Also, that rapid roll may have played a part in Bismarck's lack of hits on the enemy the next morning, as it would have made the gunner's tasks more difficult and may have exceeded the gyro-stabilization rate.

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by ede144 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:50 pm

@wadinga
I agree with you in behalf of Ermland.
However I question if a rudder hit a propeller. If so it would have caused damage to the prop and shaft. IT would not have possible to use this prop again. If I remember correctly, than the Baron mentioned the use of all screw combination to get Barack command of the ship

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by RF » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:06 pm

ede144 wrote: If I remember correctly, than the Baron mentioned the use of all screw combination to get Barack command of the ship
The screw combinations tried did initially point the ship in the right direction but the damage to the rudder combined with the rough swell quickly forced the ship back to heading north north east.

If it is possible to get screw combinations to briefly point the ship towards Spain/Biscay - is it not posible by trial and error to calculate a sequence of telegraph orders for the screws that keeps Bismarck pointing in approximately the desired direction? Or was it the case that the senior officers were too exhausted and demoralised to pursue this?
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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by ede144 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:40 pm

In my opinion it was not only exhaust of the senior officers, but from the people in the machine rooms. Each comand given from the bridge is hard work to open or close large valves manually. And the ma hine rooms are not a/c as today, they are hot and humid. And in addition one should be aware, that takes more than aminutetill a comand get into effect.
I have no eza t figures, ut it took more than 3 minutes to stop a prop and reverse it at the Titanic. I expect similar with Ww2 ships of this size

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by wadinga » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:30 pm

Hello RF,

We keep coming back to your point from early in the thread
she could steer ineffectively not in a straight line but in an erratic yaw.
This is incorrect. I have steered various vessels from a Topper dinghy to a 1400 ton research vessel and I can tell you this will not work. Like riding a bike, steering a steady course depends on forward movement. Waves on the hull and windage on the superstructure create their own turning moments which steering must counteract. Enough forward thrust from the screws to create steerage way would mean an inexorable continuous turn because of the jammed rudder. There is no "erratic" in the yaw because it is all one way until you come all the way round to a point where the wind pushing on the bow counteracts the turning motion and so Bismarck ended up heading northwest. Increasing thrust at this point would overcome the balance and send the ship around in another helpless circle.

Reversing one or more screws would only kill the continuous turn to port by killing the forward speed altogether resulting in the ship stopping and drifting downwind with her heading varying unpredictably. As Tiornu and others have pointed out, Bismarck might point at safety briefly, but not move toward safety. Lindemann spent several hours trying before realising it was hopeless, and no-one, not Kemp or Kennedy or anybody can second guess him because they weren't there , in those conditions, with that ship and that damage.

Interestingly, Kennedy has also spotted the 2 hour delay between Time Of Origin of the 21:40 signal and logging but ascribes it to bad radio conditions, however since signals before and afterwards take only half an hour for coding and transmission I prefer my explanation.

For Ede144: I referenced the other thread discussing the rudder damage because that has the expert opinion of Bill Jurens and Mr Gaske, trained naval engineers who have studied the wreck videos in detail. It is interesting to hear other opinions, but these gentlemen are experts. Please read and hopefully accept Bill Juren's confirmation there are definite signs the remaining rudder briefly impacted a screw.

All the best

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by ede144 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:52 pm

Attempts to vary the propeller rpms on the three shafts, ordered by the leader of the damage control team, Commander Hans Oels, failed to counter the effects of the jammed rudder

This is copied from a report of Mr Garzke and Mr Dullin at Navweaps. It is very clear to me. However it might not be contrary from the findings of the expeditions to BS, because nobody knows what happened when he hit the ground and traveled downhill until he found it's final rest

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by Vic Dale » Tue May 21, 2013 7:02 am

It is my contention that although Bismarck was badly damaged in the rudders and her speed was reduced, her command was able to exercise course control over the vessel. A quick look at the battle chart shows that she is making tactical course changes to disrupt enemy fire. Most of the damage incurred during her final battle was absorbed by the foremost parts of the ship, which is tactically good, since shells striking the after parts of the ship would have been de-capped after passing through soft forward structures. To my mind she was not out of control, though her speed was greatly reduced due to the state of her rudders.

I believe the course that the ship steered after losing her rudders was deliberate and designed to bring her into the heavy gale which was brewing to the west. This would prevent the enemy launching heavy aerial attacks under which slowly moving Bismarck might easily succumb. One major consideration taken care of.

Next we need to consider which ships were in the vicinity. Lutjens knew that British battleships were bearing down on him and that will have presented a tactical possibility to him. If the enemy were concentrating his battleships that might still give him the opportunity to score a victory over one or two of them. His Flagship would have limited impact on units of the Home Fleet, but his U-Boats might be able to inflict a bloody nose on the enemy, if he could delay long enough to get them into position. That is why I believe Bismarck was steaming towards the enemy. Her course was steady and she was moving slowly through the gale. Vian's destroyers had a very tough time that night trying to launch torpedo attacks, which I believe failed to register any hits.

Norfolk was forced to stop rescue operations after Bismarck sank on sighting a periscope and three survivors were indeed rescued by a U-Boat later that day. Had Bismarck succeeded in slowing one of her antagonists that morning with a well placed shot, it is entirely possible she would have later been lost to torpedoes from a U-Boat.

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Re: Reverse into Bay of Biscay?

Post by ede144 » Sun May 26, 2013 8:37 pm

You can speak of Lütjens battleships, because he was Chief of the Fleet. But not of his U-boots, bbecause they belonged to Dönitz. There was no plan to lure the enemy into a trapp

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