Bismarck Speed

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Karl Heidenreich
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Bismarck Speed

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:52 am

Lutscha wrote:Even her speed was not that good.

A Messprotokoll from 29.10.40 gave the following results:

Water depth 65 m
payload 75%
port shaft 38753 shp at 251,7 rpm
middle shaft 38820 shp at 244,1 rpm
starbord shaft 39837 shp at 252,7 rpm
maximum speed for that day was 28,374 knots.

This is FAR away from 30+knots and the atlantic colour paint was not applied which caused more drag and made her even slower.
At full load she was never able to achieve 30knots the only official value of 30kn is mentioned in the Richelieu BS comparison according to Josef Kaiser.
The Germans estimated, that she could reach about 30kn but not at full load.

This puts her at the speed of KGV and NC.

Again I think she was mediocre but definitely not outclassed (except through Yamato and late war American FC)
From time to time there appears some biased conception regarding Bismarck as a mediocre evolution of the WWI Bayern-Baden Class. And those misconceptions spread in many ways: sometimes Bismarck gunnery was deficient; other times it´s her armour; her fire direction is often mentioned as inferior (tell that to the 14 hundred men in Hood who died when her ship ble skyhigh plus those in PoW who died before Lutjens forgived that BBs´life); now is Bismarck´s lousy design and construction awhich feed the arguments came from her powerplant and speed.
The problem, here, is that Baron Mullenheim-Rechberg (who by the way sailed in the Bismarck and knew what he was saying) mentioned in his book, chapter 2, page 25 (spanish version) that the Bismarck DID achieve more than 30 knots, putting her among the world fastest BBs.
José Rico´s book, another source, is plain clear:
(page 64) "The propulsion plant originally designed to reach 138,000 hp and 29 knots actually obtained 150,170 hp and 30,1 knots. This made of the Bismarck one of the fastest battleships in the world, and CLEARLY FASTER THAN ANY BATTLESHIP in the Royal Navy."
Another important source about the Bismarck´s speed came from Antonio Bonomi´s article about the Denmarck Strait Battle:
"The Prinz Eugen fired the twenty-third salvo (turrets C+D), the two German ships were now sailing a parallel course of 220· with the Bismarck faster -probably 30 knots against 27." (page 11)
Or:
" The Bismarck was increasing her speed to 30 knots, decreasing the distance with Prinz Eugen..." (page 5)
In that same article Antonio Bonomi clearly states that Bismarck reduced her speed to 28 knots after the engagement.
So, there is little doubt that Bismarck was very capable of reaching 29 and 30 knots as operational speeds. It is very clear, also, that Bismarck was one of the most modern and powerfull battleships of WWII, specially in 1941.
As one member of this forum´s had stated: the Tirpitz (a Bismarck class) was very succesfull in getting pinned a couple of US BBs plus what the British believe necessary in order to intecept her is she sailed out of Norway. The allies were outnumbering Tirpitz some 4 to 1 in order to engage her. Why? Only because it was the safe move? No, because Bismarck, with her lousy design, actually blew skyhigh the pride of the RN, Hood and almost did a double play by sinking PoW.
About Richelieu, I regard this ship highly, but in a combat against Bismarck my money is with the German ship. As a matter of fact a quadruple mount could give it´s own problems, as those in PoW did experienced, and we have the high dispersion those guns had. Dispersion Bismarck didn´t had.
I can continue, and if needed I will, but believe that for now it´s enough. Bismarck was not mediocre, she was... IS the most famous BB ever, because she was one of the greatest BBs of WWII, which is much more we can say about other ships.
Best regards.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Lutscha » Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:58 am

Well, I cite the official German document and you call me biased which is simply laughable...

I don´t care what the baron wrote, Bismarck did just achieve that speed and this is the OFFICIAL figure and she won´t get much faster with increased HP especially when she received the new paint and was fully loaded.
I don´t know if the authors did not know this official document any other figures are just estimates.

PG signaled BS that her 30kn don`t seem to be as fast as hers, as she decreased the range on BS continuously at 30kn.

According to Josef Kaiser the German engineers estimated the theoratical maximum speed of BS which B&V gives at 30.1kn (a common German practice) but she never reached this on her trials and there is no official value since no other trials were conducted. This is the speed José used, which was never achieved but only estimated.
If you would just mind to look at the values I gave and consider the drag increasing new paint she got, it is extremely unlikely that she could have reached 30kn+ at any higher load even if you increase her HP.

Mediocre does not mean lousy btw.
Karl Heindenreich wrote:As one member of this forum´s had stated: the Tirpitz (a Bismarck class) was very succesfull in getting pinned a couple of US BBs plus what the British believe necessary in order to intecept her is she sailed out of Norway. The allies were outnumbering Tirpitz some 4 to 1 in order to engage her. Why? Only because it was the safe move? No, because Bismarck, with her lousy design, actually blew skyhigh the pride of the RN, Hood and almost did a double play by sinking PoW.
This has nothing to to with what I have posted but I am wasting my time here, you just get angry and claim I´m biased and simply ignore the only primary source about her trials I gave you which clearly indicates, that a figure of 30kn at full load is highly unlikely. (But maybe they were biased...) Simply ignoring the primary source and discrediting me by calling me biased makes myself wonder if not someone else is biased...
With regard to her trials and PG´s message a speed of about 29kn seems more likely with increased hp and full load.

You have done this here in the past when you heard things about the evil B-Ship you did not like.

Ton for ton BS did not look good in comparison, she does not beat any of the modern BBs in a category by a great margin, but gets beaten by them in many categories. This is why I call her mediocre for her displacement which does not mean that she was not better than a KGV.

But I believe that I have wasted my time here trying to point out that there is no official speed of BS at more than 30kn.

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:00 pm

Amen.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Bgile » Fri Nov 17, 2006 9:38 pm

Lutscha wrote:But I believe that I have wasted my time here trying to point out that there is no official speed of BS at more than 30kn.
No, it was valuable info and it makes sense to me in view of the comparison to the Iowa class trials at 212,000 shp. I have always felt claims of Bismarck speed had to be a little bit overstated in view of the results for the Iowas.

I do wish it had been under another topic that would be easier to find at a later date. :)

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Dave Saxton » Fri Nov 17, 2006 10:31 pm

I don't think this means that Bismarck couldn't obtain 30 knots in a combat condition at all. This proves the 30 knot claim, rather than disproving it. 28.3 knots on about a 3/4 power run, is right in line with where it should be with a 30 knot max speed, considering it takes expotentially more and more power to gain more speed. This fits that type of power per speed curve perfectly.

Bismarck was certianly not running 75% of the potential full displacement, as that would be impossible. That would be less than the empty hull. "Payload" in this context would be the differential between the designed full load displacement, and the construction displacement of about 46,000 tons. Bismarck would have been within a few percentage points of total full load displacement. It's entirely probable that Bismarck had burned up some of the fuel payload in the days after it had topped off, and before this 3/4 power run took place. It's no big deal at all.

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by José M. Rico » Sat Nov 18, 2006 12:14 am

This is very interesting, and I am glad it came up as I discussed this same subject with Josef Kaiser and Ulrich a few months ago.

On 29 October 1940, the Bismarck had 6,285 m3 of fuel oil and 337 m3 of boiler feed water on her tanks (see KTB). That gives a total displacement of approximately 47-48,000 tons even if we consider that the ammunition supply and other stores were not complete. That being said, if on 29 October, Bismarck obtained 28,374 knots with an output of 117,410 hp at let's say 47,500 metric tons, I don't see why she couldn't have achieved 30 knots with a 150,000 hp output maintaining the same displacement (probably not at 51,000 tons full load displacement). In any case this is more or less in accordance with the designed speed of 29 knots at 138,000 hp.

By the way, the fact that only one official record exists (or has been found), doesn't mean that the speed trial carried out on 29 October 1940 was the only one. The first measured mile runs (Meilenfahrten) were done on 23 October and during the first 2 weeks of November a few more took place.

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Bgile » Sat Nov 18, 2006 12:59 am

The maximum speed of a ship is due to a lot of factors. The most changeable ones are displacement and hull condition. For example, I’ve seen the following figures for the Iowa class:

In Feb 1944, Iowa and New Jersey both achieved 32.5 kts in pursuit of IJN Nowaki, with “throttles wide open”. Displacement isn’t known, but design speed was 32.5 kts at 53,900 tons.

Before her Vietnam deployment the New Jersey obtained 35.2 knots at 207 RPM during machinery trials. There is no mention of what was the SHP or the displacement on that day, but it was probably somewhat less than designed max. I talked to a guy who was present, and he said the wake came up almost to the level of the main deck and the “rooster tail” was higher than the fantail. He said he could have surfed the wake.

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Lutscha » Sat Nov 18, 2006 12:51 pm

The 150k HP figure is also estimated for 30,1kn which may or may not have been able to achieve.

There are still the 2 points of the rougher paint and that BS was slightly down at the bow at full load which both reduce the max speed.
I don´t think she could make 30kn at full load.

Dave, what speed curves do you have for BS?

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Ulrich Rudofsky » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:50 pm

If I remember right, the Bismarck's speed trial was carried out in a hurry and the ship was pushed only to about 28 knots. The various over 30 knot speeds quoted for top speed are extrapolations. Josef Kaiser said this about Bismarck's speeds:

"Speed 28.374 knots.
Footnote 2.
Data from the protocol of the speed trials on 2 November 1940. The speed data are based on an average output of 39170 shaft HP (WPS =Wellenpferdestärke)) per screw and 249.5 RPM per screw at a load addition of 75% and a draft of approx. 8.50 m. Other documents are not available. (Authors note. The document does not say if this concerns "AK Fahrt" (Äußerste Kraft), i.e. extreme full-power speed. The source of the speeds of 30.4 kn, 30.6 kn or 30.8 kn given in the current literature, is puzzling. Blohm & Voss states 30.1 kn."
From: Schlachtschiff Bismarck: Das Original im Detail, Simon Frey Verlag, 2004, page 008.
Ulrich

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by José M. Rico » Sat Nov 18, 2006 3:53 pm

Ulrich Rudofsky wrote:Josef Kaiser said this about Bismarck's speeds:

"The speed data are based on an average output of 39170 shaft HP (WPS =Wellenpferdestärke)) per screw and 249.5 RPM per screw at a load addition of 75% and a draft of approx. 8.50 m.
This is somehow puzzling.
A 8.5-meter draft corresponds to a displacement of about 42,000 tons, but the day of the trial the Bismarck was anything but empty.

28 October: 6,660 m3 fuel oil, 326 m3 feed water.
29 October: 6,285 m3 fuel oil, 337 m3 feed water.
30 October: 6,180 m3 fuel oil, 382 m3 feed water.

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:26 pm

It's was not uncommon to run only partial or no speed trials during WWII. The Iowa class never ran any measured mile runs. (BTW, the 32.5 Kt value for the run around Truk is incorrect, according to other sources, but one must consider that there was probably some bottom fouling and the Iowas operated at almost 60,000 tons). The Iowa class being only marginally faster with a lot more power is to be expected, due to the type expotential power/speed curves that would apply.

28 knots on 117.4k HP and 30 knots at 150,000HP, for Bismarck, fit's the kind expotential curve we should find. 30 knots is entirely feasable.

Let's not quible over rather insignificant values for paint. The weights values are a matter of a few percentage points. A "load addition of 75%" refers to the supplimental loads over the construction displacement. That would mean a likely displacement of about 48,945 tons at the time of the run. This is a likely displacement in a wartime situation. That's 98% of the designed full load displacement of 49,947 metric tons (the 50,933 full load displacement value includes an additional, post design, war time fuel suppliment of 986 tons, that would be quickly burned off).

During the war, some battleships achieved greater than their designed max speeds on occasion. HMS Prince of Wales broke 30 knots on run to Malta in the fall of 1941, according to that ship's war log. The British clocked Scharnhorst at 32 knots on Dec, 26, 1943, and that was during a force 9 gale and high seas.

Arguments that 30 knots wasn't possible, at combat loads for Bismarck, just don't have any merit, IMO.

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Lutscha » Sat Nov 18, 2006 5:09 pm

If Josef Kaiser mentions it I don´t think the paint was insignificant though imo it would only mean a slight reduction.

I looked at the weight on Johns HP, BS weighted 39517 empty, 49406 at full load and 50405 at maximum load, so at 75% payload she should weight 46933 or 47683 (depends from were you take 75% payload).

150k HP were never achieved and are only a possibility.

At full load she was down 0,40m at the bow which reduced her speed by about 1-2kn and therefore the foward tanks had to be emptied first.

So at maximum load she could definitely not achieve 30kn, the question remains if she was able to develop 150k hp to reach 30kn at a lighter load.

This makes her hardly faster than a KGV and Richelieu is about 2kn ahead.

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:35 am

No, that's not the way they broke down their weights, but I can see no point in arguing the matter further.

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Bismarck speed

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:32 am

Ciao all,

I do not want to enter the discussion about HP, weight and so on in order to establish Bismarck exact speed possibilities.

The informations we have are well known and available to everybody.

But working on the Denmark Strait battle I had to face this parameter and I have tryied to establish the speed of Bismarck in that moment in a way that is not 'official' but I think it make sense.

So my intention is just to provide you a way to do it yourself and maybe obtain some sort of new inputs on your own.

I have used the Denmark Strait Prinz Eugen Rheinubung Film that is currently available.

After Bismarck turn to starboard, there is a sequence of 2 PoW single shells falling very close to Bismarck.

The first one is the 20th salvo of 1 gun from Y turret of the PoW and felt close to Bismarck stern aft.

Soon after we can observe the last, so the 21st salvo of PoW Y turret, again 1 shell only that felt long, well ahead of Bismarck bow.

This last shell water column splash is what I have used to calculate in my ' un-official ' way Bismarck speed.

If you have a good enough VCR or this film in a DVD, than you can advance the film image by image up until the moment the Bismarck distance from the water column ahead of his bow is exactly the same as Bismarck shadow lenght.

It is not difficult as it can be done with a common ruler on your TV screen.

At that point you know Bismarck is 250 meters from that point ( it is Bismarck length of course ).

Than restart at normal speed your VCR and measure the time Bismarck will take to reach that point, were the white splash remains well visible.

Do it few times just to make sure you are having a good enough average measurement.

Than it will be very simple, having time and distance to obtain the ship speed.

I made it and I was surprised :shock: .

Just my 2 cents,... if it can be of any help,... to your discussion.

Ciao Antonio :D

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Re: Bismarck Speed

Post by José M. Rico » Sun Nov 19, 2006 6:33 pm

Of course by the time the Bismarck arrived at the Denmark Strait on 24 May she had already burned a few thousand tons of fuel-oil since her departure from Gotenhafen, which translates in less overall displacement and more speed.

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