construction time

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Pandora
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construction time

Post by Pandora » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:38 pm

Hello
bismarck building contract was placed on 16 November 1935 but the keel was laid down on 1 July 1936.
why did it take so long (7 months in between) to start contruction? Maybe get the shipyard ready, gather materials...?

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RF
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Re: construction time

Post by RF » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:56 am

The issues of shipyard construction times, organization and availability of skilled labour and materials, of labour productivity have been raised by me many times on this forum, as it was not simply the length of time taken to construct Bismarck. Production schedules for the building of some U-boats and destroyers took an incredible amount of time for the vessels to be launched, let alone be commissioned and then be fully worked up.

No real explanation has ever been forthcoming, but I could make some informed guesses. The crisis in armaments production in 1941/1942 leading to the appointment of Albert Speer as Armaments Minister evidences that Nazi Germany was a disorganised bureaucracy operating around the personal rule of the Fuhrer and NSDAP Gauleiters, party politicians not really any good at anything except political infighting. Maintaining their position was their real priority. Hence the stifling bureaucracy that inhibited entrepreneurs and small business, along with crippling personal taxation, together with big business combines that colluded and benefitted from using slave labour and the smashing of true unionism. Like most dictatorships there is no encouragement or reward for private initiative. Free thinking and expression often leads to opposition to the regime.
The Heer and KM were to some extent outside this pervading influence but clearly suffered from its effects. The military truimphs of the Heer 1939 to 1941 had little to do with the nazies per se, that was down more to the Prussian military tradition and ethos within the Heer, with high quality training of the junior officers and NCO's, and the brilliance of individual officers such as Guderian, Manstein, Rommel and Marcks. All Hitler did was to tell them to invade which countries when.

Fascist Italy, where Mussolini had been in power a decade longer than Hitler, offers an even better and far more stark example of the inertia, corruption and other corrosive effects of dictatorships, where there is no constitutional opposition calling the rulers to account.

Why didn't Hitler demand to know why it took so long to build Bismarck? Why didn't he do something about it? Because he didn't know there was a problem, he wouldn't have been interested if he was, and it was only complaints from the OKW that they didn't have enough tanks and guns on the Russian front that threatened Hitler's plans that the Fuhrer appointed Speer.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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RF
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Re: construction time

Post by RF » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:03 am

As an additional observation, I read a copy of H J Brennecke's book ''Ghost Cruiser HK 33'' the story of the hilfskreuzer Pinguin quite some years ago.
In the Indian Ocean Kruder captured intact the Norwegian tanker Storstad. He ordered that vessel to be converted into a minelayer to mine the ports of south-eastern Australia. The Pinguins' chief engineer said that he could do the job in two to three days, but if it was left to a shipyard in Germany the job would take about three weeks.
The job was done at sea in two days, in three the mines were all aboard.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Pandora
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Re: construction time

Post by Pandora » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:46 pm

Hello
I dont think this is about the nazi state at all. the usn battleship Iowa was ordered on 1 July 1939 but keel was laid down 27 June 1940, a year later! and I think this is about the same for all other battleships. I would like to know more about why takes so long to start construction once a ship is ordered. what is the process? Is this correct: a naval architect designs the ship make drawings ready, then the design is approved, and the ship ordered, what is the next step after the ship is ordered? Thanks

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Re: construction time

Post by lwd » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:20 pm

Well they also have to have a slip available and the construction crew and materials. The Montana's for instance got delayed as priorities were given to the Iowa's and Essex's. I think the constraint there was the slips.

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Re: construction time

Post by Mostlyharmless » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:06 pm

If we compare the construction of KM Bismarck and USS Iowa, we find that the time between the contract and the laying down was shorter for Bismarck than Iowa (16th November 1935 to 1st July 1936 versus 1st July 1939 to 27th June 1940). The time on the ways was comparable with 30 months for Bismarck versus 26 months for Iowa (1st July 1936 to 14th February 1939 versus 27th June 1940 to 27th August 1942). Then the builders seem to have forgotten about Bismarck, which was commissioned on 24th August 1940 and first left the wharf on 15th September 1940. By contrast, Iowa was commissioned on 22nd February 1943 and two days later departed on a shakedown cruise.
Thus Bismarck first sailed (incomplete) 19 months after being launched compared to Iowa sailing 6 months after being launched. Iowa sailed on its first war patrol on 27th August 1943 exactly a year after being launched while Bismarck sailed on its one and only war patrol on 16th May 1941 or two years and three months after launch.

One obvious factor slowing Bismarck's completion after launch was that its external belt was fitted after launch while Iowa's internal belt was presumably installed before the launch. There was also some delay due to a blocked Kiel Canal and ice. However, it does seem that there was some scope for improvement at Blohm & Voss.

For another comparison, Yamato was launched on 8th August 1940 and commissioned after sea trials on 16th December 1941 but apparently there were problems with the main armament delaying the IJN accepting that Yamato was fit for combat until May 1942.

ede144
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Re: construction time

Post by ede144 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:05 pm

In general, the lay out drawings from Km design department need to be converted into detail drawings and part lists. With this part drawings you need to write work orders and purchase orders. All this will be done at the yard after they got the order. Additionally some decisions like which type of machinery, turbo electrical or geared turbines were taken finally on June 6 1936. Consequently a lot of parts need redisgning because the KM wanted to distribute the weight savings in the into the armor.

regards
ede

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