Bismarck ammunition before last battle

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Monitor
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Bismarck ammunition before last battle

Post by Monitor » Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:17 am

Did the Bismarck have enough ammunition left to fight the last battle against Rodney and King George V? Both turrets Anton and Bruno went out of action early in the battle but has anyone considered that perhaps the Bismarck just run out of ammo and couldn't fire back anymore? :think:

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Post by Burner » Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:02 pm

Intresting..............That properbly vill depend on witch eyewitnes rapport you shoes to be the right one...Mullenheim.....or Herzog..Höntzsch first rapport.

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30knots
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Post by 30knots » Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:27 am

okay here goes,

Bismarck as far as i know had approx. capacity of 1000 shells of various types.

40 or thereabouts were expended in the Denmark Strait.

All the best

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paulcadogan
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Post by paulcadogan » Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:42 am

Remember Bismarck's fired her big guns several times both before and after the DS battle:

1)At least three salvos at Norfolk on the evening of the 23rd May

2) In the DS - more than 40 shells I'm sure - she was firing at Hood from 5:55 to 6:00 and at PoW from 6:01 to 6:09 - 14 minutes.

3) At the separation from Prinz Eugen (6:14 pm, May 24)- she fired first at Suffolk and then had a 12 minute duel with PoW

4) During Victorious' Swordfish attack - big guns reportedly fired to produce splashes that might interfere with or down the aircraft.

5) Another brief exchange with PoW in the twilight shortly after Victorious' air attack at about 30,000 yards range.

6) Possibly during Ark Royal's Swordfish attack (as for first air attack)

7) At the attacking destroyers overnight (26th-27th)

So it's hard to say how much was expended prior to the final assault, but I don't think her silencing was due to lack of ammo. Her guns, turrets and directors were simply wiped out in the British cannonade - Anton & Bruno being taken out by Rodney just after 9 AM and Caesar and Dora being the last to be silenced. Had the British fire not been so telling, I'm sure both KGV and Rodney would have tasted her sting as the battle raged on.

Paul
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Post by Burner » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:06 am

clock 10.12...25may...lutjen sent a radio message saying he just up 93 armorpercing rounds in the first battel??
93 shells /14 minits..........6.6 shells/60s?

Some eyewittnes report say that it tok 1 hour into the battel before the brittish landed the first hit???

Some eyewittnes report say that 3 turets was still fiering after 2 hours into the battel??

4turets for one hour =396 shells
3 turrets two hours =594 shells

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RF
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Post by RF » Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:30 pm

Burner,

Can you specify who these eye-witnesses are?

For example the claim that turrets were firing two hours into the battle - this is rather difficult to believe as Bismarck had already foundered by nearly half an hour....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Post by paulcadogan » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:11 pm

Burner,

I don't think your "eyewitnesses" have any credibility!

The first hit on Bismarck took place at 9:02 - 15 minutes after Rodney opened fire (kind of a long time compared to the "untrained" Prince of Wales 3 hits in 8 minutes in the DS!).

As for the final salvo, just read senior survivor and 4th Gunnery Officer Baron von Mullenheim Rechberg's account of the battle:

"At 0927, one of our fore turrets, either Anton or Bruno, fired one more salvo, but the firing became irregular and finally petered out. Shell damage brought the end nearer and nearer. First turret Caesar and then Dora fell silent. At 0931 the Bismarck's main battery fired its last salvo."

The Bismarck was silenced after 44 minutes and the British ships kept pouring shells into her for another 44 minutes, ceasing fire at 10:15.

Paul
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Post by Burner » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:39 pm

I'm using this excellent forum online archive... Herbert Manthly, Otto Maus perhaps my limited English made me misinterpret the two hours??????

Monitor whats your thought about the ammunition situation? Have you tryed to make any calculations? If so please tell us your results.

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Post by tommy303 » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:41 pm

clock 10.12...25may...lutjen sent a radio message saying he just up 93 armorpercing rounds in the first battel??
I believe Luetjens merely states expenditure was 93 rounds from the main battery, but not what kind. While the majority would have been armour piercing against Hood and Prince of Wales, the first eight shells were semi-armour piercing, as that is what had been loaded the day before when Luetjens tried to engage Wake-Walker's cruisers.

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They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.

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Post by Burner » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:08 pm

tommy303 Thanks for correcting me. Do you no how many armorpercing rounds bismarck had from the begining?

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paulcadogan
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Post by paulcadogan » Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:24 pm

Ok Burner, maybe my "judgement" was too hasty! I'm sure for the men of Bismarck, that battle went on for ages as if the end would never come.


What I'd say to that is that for men under the stress of battle a lot of honest errors can be made in their interpretation of what they are witnessing and many factors and pieces of evidence have to be taken into account.

And it also depends on who they are talking to!


Example: In the British Boards of Inquiry into the loss of Hood, Bismarck's survivors - including the Baron - reportedly stated that Hood's gunnery against them was very impressive and she had found Bismarck's range. They felt if she had been able to get off another salvo Bismarck might have recieved heavy damage!! We know now that Hood's shells probably never got anywhere near Bismarck.... unless they were talking of PoW....

Paul
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Post by tommy303 » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:25 pm

I believe the load out was divided fairly equally between AP, base-detonating HE (SAP), and point-detonating HE. I have seen the inventory numbers before, and the division was not exactly equal, but close, so about 42 rounds per gun of each type--roughly 336 AP total. Unfortunately I do not remember quite the exact numbers. The expenditure of 85 rounds AP against Holland's squadron represented approximately 25% of her total outfit of that type. Assuming she fired another 68 rounds of various types against Norfolk, PoW during the pursuit, against the Swordfish, and against Vians destroyers, she might have gone into her final action with about 106 rounds per gun left of all types.

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They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
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And saved the sum of things for pay.

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30knots
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Post by 30knots » Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:59 am

As per usual top notch reply from tommy303

So total 106 x 4 (guns) left (approx) = 424 rounds

Assuming 1 salvo is A+B or C+D = 4 per salvo

106 salvos can be fired

1 salvo every 30 secs and its gone inside one hour

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Post by paulcadogan » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:02 am

Makes the cry "We shall fight to the last shell!" all the more meaningful.

But... Bismarck was not firing four-gun salvos every thirty seconds during the final battle. Once she started taking hits it became irregular and her turrets were one by one put out of action, some temporarily and eventually all permanently. I doubt she fired enough to expend what 30knots calculated, even in 44 minutes.

Paul
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Post by RF » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:26 pm

paulcadogan wrote:
Example: In the British Boards of Inquiry into the loss of Hood, Bismarck's survivors - including the Baron - reportedly stated that Hood's gunnery against them was very impressive and she had found Bismarck's range. They felt if she had been able to get off another salvo Bismarck might have recieved heavy damage!! We know now that Hood's shells probably never got anywhere near Bismarck.... unless they were talking of PoW....
Paul
This Board of Inquiry was I understand held in 1941 and for German prisoners, as with any other POW's its name, rank and number only, per the Geneva Convention. So any evidence from them is likely to be disinformation.

The Board did however come to conclude that Hood was firing on Prinz Eugen.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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