Victorious and its involvement

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
Vic Dale
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by Vic Dale » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:28 pm

Incidentally a look at the blown-up section of this photo, goes some way toward illustrating how easy it was for Ark Royal's Swordfish pilots to mistake Sheffield for Bismarck.
Bismarck or KGV.jpg
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jason spurr

Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by jason spurr » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:03 pm

This photo has been published as being the Bismarck so many times, taken by an aircraft from the Victorious. The copy I have is in very good condition and is clearly marked on the back as being the Bismarck..

I some what see where your coming from Vic, but there's only a handful of these photos left and they all say the same thing!!..

Vic Dale
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by Vic Dale » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:43 am

Ark Royal's pilots and observers attacked Sheffield which has a similar outline at this angle to a KGV. Sheffield, against whom they had exercised many times was a ship of their own Force H. Victorious' guys may easily have gotten identification wrong on this occasion too. Photo's are developed some time after the event and I believe this particular shot came from a postcard sold in ship's canteens throughout the Fleet. So there really is no direct connection with the operation. I believe it was first published in the HMSO publication "Coastal Command" which came out in early 1942, so the first time it would have been seen on a postcard will have been mid to late 1942. There were many claims made as to the times and dates of photos circulating in the fleet and many of them turned out to be wrong. It could even be the attack on Sheffield on the afternoon of the 26th.

HMSO operated much like the Propaganda Ministry in Nazi Germany during the war, in producing convincing though not always authentic material. A good photo will often have been selected for publication, to depict a particular event regardless of whether or not it actually belongs to that operation, simply because it is a striking shot. HMSO will have made it's selections from batches of photos released by the wartime censor. A great deal of money is made from the sale of photographs and great care must be taken before accepting any as truly authentic.

Bill Jurens
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by Bill Jurens » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:51 am

Mr. Spurr wrote:

"A number of experts have dived on the wreck and at 15 700 feet, obviously in a sub and not with a snorkel lwd. They all found no sign of the hull being penetrated below the waterline. You need to look up these reports, Dr A McLaren in the New York Times stated this, Dr Robert Ballard and James Cameron also said the same thing."

Regardless of what your sources might claim, I can assure you you are wrong. This doesn't mean they were lying, just that they were mistaken. Having visited the wreck myself, and done about five hours of personal observation, I can certify that there are indeed a number of penetrations of the hull, some of them rather spectacular. With the aid of an ROV, I was able to 'swim' up inside some of these myself in order to examine internal bulkheads for signs of damage. These holes cannot be associated with damage due to collision with the bottom, etc. They were caused by torpedoes. I don't wish to put words in Mr. Cameron's mouth, but insofar as he collected much of the relevant videotape in the first place, I'm 99.999% sure he would agree with me. Dr. Ballard's survey, which allowed only vertical views of the wreck, which was viewed from a camera 'sled' towed from above, could not usefully visualize the sides of the hull. Dr. McLaren, whomever he might be, was, so far as I know, not a direct participant in the wreck surveys, i.e. he is almost certainly speaking second hand.

I can recall very few instances of warships surrendering in combat during WWII, and very few instances of ships on the winning side giving any quarter even to an enemy that was obviously disabled. If you were afloat, they were shooting at you. The whole idea of 'striking the colors' or flying a flag of surrender seems to have essentially ended in the days of sail.

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RF
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by RF » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:43 am

Bill Jurens wrote:
I can recall very few instances of warships surrendering in combat during WWII, and very few instances of ships on the winning side giving any quarter even to an enemy that was obviously disabled. If you were afloat, they were shooting at you. The whole idea of 'striking the colors' or flying a flag of surrender seems to have essentially ended in the days of sail.
Bill Jurens
One instance from WW2 was the end of the engagement between the hilfskreuzer Thor and the British AMC HMS Voltaire. Captain Blackburn had a white flag hoisted after his ships guns were all disabled to get the Thor to cease fire while his slowly sinking ship was evacuated of the many severely wounded members of his crew. The ploy worked and the Voltaires' surviving crew including the captain were all rescued by Thor.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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RNfanDan
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by RNfanDan » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:03 am

RF wrote:Captain Blackburn had a white flag hoisted after his ships guns were all disabled to get the Thor to cease fire while his slowly sinking ship was evacuated of the many severely wounded members of his crew. The ploy worked and the Voltaires' surviving crew including the captain were all rescued by Thor.
The term "ploy" as used here, might be a stretch. It smacks of deceit, and Blackburn seems not to have intended that; after all, he lost the match and no attempt to gain the upper hand was possible.

My understanding of "ploy" can be summed up in one word: Kormoran....

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RF
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by RF » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:37 pm

I don't think the intention on the part of Captain Blackburn was deceit, neither would he particulary want to be seen as offering surrender. His intentions were to save his crew from an avoidable slaughter and in that he succeeded.

As for Captain Detmers on board Kormoran, the Dutch disguise as Straat Malakka was intended as a ploy to fool Captain Burnett into accepting the raider as an Allied ship and steam away. I think he almost succeeded in avoiding a battle; only at the last minute were suspicions aroused on HMAS Sydney causing the ''checkmate'' challenge to be made - with the Australian cruiser caught in a vulnerable position. Burnett could have opened the range again before making the challenge but didn't.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Vic Dale
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by Vic Dale » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:20 pm

Correction.
The photo previously mentioned did not appear in the HMSO publication "Coastal Command" but in another publication "Fleet Air Arm" which came out in 1943.

The photo held in Jason Spurr's album (the second of those shown below) is actually different to the one in the HMSO publication, as can be seen in the photo comparison's. The constant angle of view indicates similarity of position between the two shots and my guess is they were taken by the same aircraft.
Bis or KGV.jpg
Bis or KGV.jpg (65.65 KiB) Viewed 2977 times
Bis or KGV (1).jpg
Bis or KGV (1).jpg (15.43 KiB) Viewed 2977 times
Two Shots - KGV or Bismarck.JPG
Two Shots - KGV or Bismarck.JPG (3.07 KiB) Viewed 2977 times
I think it is necessary to briefly outline what happened during the Torpedo Bomber strike on the evening of the 24th.

During the detachment of Prinz Eugen, Bismarck turned northeast and attacked Suffolk and was in turn engaged by Prince of Wales at long range (30,000yds). Bismarck then hauled off to the west and maintained this heading towards midnight. The effect of this was to delay the time at which Victorious could launch her Swordfish strike. Captain Bovell was hoping to be within the 100 mile circle from Bismarck by 2100, but instead found himself to be 120 miles away. He decided he could wait no longer and launched the strike. Three sub-flights were launched, the first led by Lt Cdr Esmonde. His two other flight leaders will have been experienced, but other than that, most of the 9 pilots were inexperienced at deck landings, and very possibly sea-born air operations and ship recognition.

At about 2330 the aircraft with the help of their ASV radar located an unidentified vessel and breaking cloud saw a warship. They went back into cloud in order to close unseen, but on emerging could not see the target. The aircraft were however close to the British shadowing vessels. In Norfolk they noticed the aircraft were heading in the wrong direction and frantically signaled the aircraft giving Bismarck's bearings to the flight leader and each subsequent flight as they flew over.

Clearly the ship first spotted was not Bismarck and very possibly it was PoW out on the port wing of the squadron. The rather British lines of the ship in the two photos indicates a KGV class and if the two photos really were taken on that operation, then it probably is PoW.

As the observers got their first glimpse of what they thought was the enemy, they probably grabbed their cameras and took a quick shot. Once the strike got underway for real there would be little time for photography, though it seems that one observer did get a shot of Bismarck at deck level. There might be more photos of this event somewhere. Possibly they took the shot of the unidentified ship simply because it was unidentified.

A noticeable feature in Jason Spurr's photo, is the wake of the ship circling to starboard. During the period after contact with Bismarck was lost, long range air searches were sent out into the Atlantic and at 0120 n the 26th, the aircraft on the middle leg of the search spotted an unknown ship. KGV was some 50 miles to the southwest of this position and given the likelihood of a dead reckoning error in both KGV and the aircraft, it could very well be that this was KGV which the aircraft had spotted. The aircrew would have got on the radio and asked "What ship?" First it would be necessary to identify the ship to which they were speaking and the easiest way of doing this would be for the ship to alter course and ask if the change of heading could be seen. I have looked at KGV's log and there is no indication of such an exchange at that time, though it could be that this was considered a minor tactical event and not worth recording as part of the overall operation.

jason spurr

Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by jason spurr » Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:04 pm

I find it somewhat insulting that some of you are trying to discredit this photo in my collection. Maybe if you owned this photo yourself along with the rest i have your perception would be different. It might be of benefit to us all to discuss some of the other photos in my collection. Referring to my link found on page 5, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonspurr ... 163502290/

First can we look at photo 0005 ( A/C Ranged for attack on Bismarck ) If there is no one that can debate the description given to this well known photo then I would like to move onto 0007 ( First off for Bismarck ). Given the identical ocean conditions and the wet flight deck which coincide exactly with photo 0005, I see no reason to doubt this being the first Aircraft taking off Victorious on the night of the 24TH.

Photo 0010 has been discussed in previous posts and is probably the most valuable in my collection, ( Victorious Torpedo Hits Bismarck ) A number of you already seem to agree that this photo was taken during the attack on the night of the 24Th, but maybe there are some of you that would also like to share your views?

As for the two aerial shots of the Tirpitz, which are printed on photographic paper and not post card backings, I think there is no disputing that these were taken during operation Tungsten in April 1944..

jason spurr

Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by jason spurr » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:58 pm

I do think I may have been a bit misunderstood with my last post. I do appreciate everyones input with this tread and I can honestly say I have been overwhelmed with the extensive knowledge that everyone has shared. I myself believe that this is a great bunch of photographs that were collected by my grandfather during his service on Victorious. I would hope the majority of you agree.

I think the mystery surrounding this historic sea battle will never be solved and the differences of opinion will refuel debates for a long time yet. I believe, even with my profoundly limited knowledge on this topic, that the majority of human beings left in the water after Bismarck sank were wrong done by...

As for my decision with what to do with this collection, I am unsure! I know my grandfather would not want me to waste anymore of my life trying to speculate on what really happened during this event. So I think I will just sell this collection of mine and spend the money on my two boys, ultimately I'm sure this will bring me more joy...

Stefan7litre
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by Stefan7litre » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:23 am

A German survivor recalls that the order was given to scuttle the ship and set the charges to flood the hull. This was reported in the book ""The Discovery of the Bismarck" by Robert D. Ballard. The single engagement with the Victorious's aircraft did enough damage to buy time for the British forces to catch up, slowing down the Bismarck. Loosing fuel caused some anxiety for Captain Lindemann and the Admiral, so some rash decisions were made and valuable time wasted. The Bismarck was too far out for German aerial support.

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RF
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by RF » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:07 pm

Stefan7litre wrote: A German survivor recalls that the order was given to scuttle the ship and set the charges to flood the hull. This was reported in the book ""The Discovery of the Bismarck" by Robert D. Ballard.
Yes, and it is also evidenced in Kennedy's book sourced from interviews with survivors.
The single engagement with the Victorious's aircraft did enough damage to buy time for the British forces to catch up, slowing down the Bismarck. Loosing fuel caused some anxiety for Captain Lindemann and the Admiral, so some rash decisions were made and valuable time wasted.
I think this needs clarification. The single torpedo hit from Victorious' aircraft exploded right on Bismarck's waterline, causing no damage to Bismarck as the energy from the explosion was mostly mis-directed; however one petty officer was killed from the shock of the impact.
The slowing down of Bismarck and the loss of fuel was caused by the 14 inch fire of Prince of Wales, prior to any air attack.
The Bismarck was too far out for German aerial support.
Not quite. The Luftwaffe had aircraft in Brittany capable of reaching out into mid-Atlantic. The problem was more to do with flying conditions at the time.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

alecsandros
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by alecsandros » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:22 pm

RF wrote:

Not quite. The Luftwaffe had aircraft in Brittany capable of reaching out into mid-Atlantic. The problem was more to do with flying conditions at the time.
... And also with the number of available planes... only a few dozens FW-200 Condors were operational at the time...

Stefan7litre
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by Stefan7litre » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:33 pm

Agree flying conditions were not favorable at the time. FW-200s were limited as well.

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paulcadogan
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Re: Victorious and its involvement

Post by paulcadogan » Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:55 am

Came across this web page with a series of "postcard" photos also showing the captions written on the back:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... fleet.html

One of them I thought was interesting. It shows Victorious (you can just make out her camo scheme)steaming astern of another carrier which is identified as Ark Royal. Ahead of the "Ark" is a capital ship that looks to be Renown (from the broad aircraft hangar visible).

Image

This could not possibly have been taken during the Bismarck operation - so when did Victorious do anything in company with Renown & Ark Royal???? Did a little digging and it turns out she VERY much did!

In June 1941, Victorious was deployed with Force H to ferry Hurricanes to Malta - Operation Tracer - in company with Renown, Ark Royal and the escorts of Force H. 45 of the 48 Hurricanes launched made it safely to Malta.

http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono ... orious.htm

Very cool to see Bismarck's two carrier foes together in one photo...
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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