Bismarck firing procedures at DS

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:53 am

@Tommy303:
Hi Tommy, thanks a lot, it's perfectly clear, even if it leaves open the question why BS fired "quite" slowly (1shell per minute per gun) in average during the battle and even when (possibly) in "fire for effect" (from 5:57 till 6:00 and from 6:00:30 till 6:03) as if Schneider was spotting the fall of shots (for possible corrections) at each group, before firing the following one (therefore, not really in "fire for effect" mode).... :think:

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by tommy303 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:18 pm

I don't think there are too many mysteries in Bismarck's relatively low rate of fire. Because of the converging courses of the two squadrons, there was a fairly rapid rate of change taking place which would have to be checked and accounted for, and probably Schneider was taking his time to mark fall of shot to make sure the solutions from the Rechenstelle were still accurate. Add on several slight course changes by Holland, to keep the enemy from drawing a head or crossing his T, and one can see why Schneider was not firing more rapidly. Had the fight developed into a broadside to broadside engagement, with lower rates of change, I am sure Bismarck would have been firing more rapidly.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:55 pm

:ok:
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:38 am

Hello everybody,

@ Tommy 303,
I don't think there are too many mysteries in Bismarck's relatively low rate of fire. Because of the converging courses of the two squadrons, there was a fairly rapid rate of change taking place which would have to be checked and accounted for, and probably Schneider was taking his time to mark fall of shot to make sure the solutions from the Rechenstelle were still accurate. Add on several slight course changes by Holland, to keep the enemy from drawing a head or crossing his T, and one can see why Schneider was not firing more rapidly. Had the fight developed into a broadside to broadside engagement, with lower rates of change, I am sure Bismarck would have been firing more rapidly.
I agree with you, I will just add the concern about the ammunition expenditure to be kept in account on the whole analysis.

Here how the 3 hits received on PoW can be close correlated with the PoW run course around the sinking wreck of the HMS Hood.
PoW_3_received_hits_from_BS.jpg
PoW_3_received_hits_from_BS.jpg (51.74 KiB) Viewed 1373 times
... and with the reference Bismarck salvo table :
BS_DS_Firing_April_4_2016_correlation.jpg
BS_DS_Firing_April_4_2016_correlation.jpg (118.28 KiB) Viewed 1373 times
Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:39 am

Hello everybody,

from a " metronomic " perspective, here Lieutenant Commander Anthony Hunter-Terry, Royal Navy ( H.M.S. Prince of Wales ) witness description of the events and related timing to the Hood board of inquiry on 1941 :

At 06:00 there was a heavy explosion at the after end of the "Hood", no actual fall of shot was observed at that time.
A column of smoke rose above the ship and completely enveloped her. It formed into a mushroom at the top.
I thought she had blown up completely but shortly afterwards the smoke cleared sufficiently for me to see her. She was apparently still moving ahead and turning to port. She was down at the stern and listing heavily to port and the after part of the ship appeared to be a mass of twisted framework, as though the plates of the side had been blown out leaving only the frame.
The part of the ship which I saw was just forward of "X" turret.
At this time we were turning to port between the "Hood" and the enemy and I observed debris falling towards "Prince of Wales", in particular one large piece that looked like the main-mast or a derrick.
06:01, "Prince of Wales" was hit by a shell in the after funnel and this obstructed my attention. Shortly after this I observed "Hood's" bows sticking vertically out of the water and sinking rapidly, I think on an even keel.
This was about 06:03 and after that I saw nothing but black smoke hanging over the scene of the wreck.
The hit described above ( ref. B on my above scheme ) is the listed Number 3 on the PoW damage report, received on the crane-after funnel at around 06:01, ...

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6479

... after the one on the compass Platform ( ref. A on my above list/map and ref. nr. 1 on the PoW damage report ).

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6276

With this I think that the second part related to Bismarck firing at PoW after having changed target while still on course 220° following the Prinz Eugen can be considered done ... :think:

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Cag » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:10 am

Hi All,

Hi Antonio thanks for the updates, just to add a little information Hunter-Terry does state that according to his watch Hood opened fire at 0552. When we look at PoW salvo map we see that she opened fire a little after 0553 (0553.10-12 if we divide each minute of the salvo map into sixty equal sections) and if the British were firing in normal time sectors, which it appears they were, then Hood should have opened fire approx 0552.30 or so, meaning perhaps Hunter-Terry's watch was, as may be expected, a little out.
Hope this is of some help,
Best wishes,
Cag.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:26 pm

Hello everybody,

@ CAG,

I see your point and I agree with you.

On the British side, in my personal opinion, the most reliable timing are provided by Hunter-Terry and the PoW Gunnery map.

There are also other timing sources, ... like Rowell and Capt Leach for example, ... and in some cases , ... they are not 100 % aligned with the above timing.

The tolerance of +/- 30 seconds is already a great deal of precision, ... especially if we are able to achieve it with both sides alignement ... just as I am trying to do ... in some cases succesfully.

According to the Hood board of inquiry, Hunter-Terry was the most precise, ... and he was using a midshipman with a clock, ... so I assume it was a kind of very precise input.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:31 pm

Hello everybody,

so after the hits received by HMS Prince of Wales ... we have the turn away and the first salvo in local control while covering herself with the smoke screen ...

9 Battle of the Denmark Strait 0604.JPG
9 Battle of the Denmark Strait 0604.JPG (85.94 KiB) Viewed 1205 times
this is most likely the 16th salvo fired by Bismarck landing on PoW stern ... as the photo shows, ... probably the last salvo before Bismarck turned away from course 220° to course 270°.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:02 am

Hello everybody,

while PoW was under a very accurate fire from both Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, ... receiving several hits on a very short time, ... an unexpected help for the Royal Navy battleship was determined by a TORPEDO ALARM ! ... issued by the Prinz Eugen GHG room ... confirmed visually by Kpt Helmut Brinkmann direct observation from the bridge ... the FLAG signal issued from Prinz Eugen ended up with Kpt Ernst Lindemann to promptly turn Bismarck away from course 220° to course 270° to increase the distance from the suspected incoming torpedoes and placing his warship out of the torpedo range, ... on a safe course/distance ... scrambling his gunnery officer KvtKpt Adalbert Schneider ... that lost his target, ... the PoW, ... under his precise fire on that moment.
06_03_Denmark_Strait.jpg
06_03_Denmark_Strait.jpg (57.31 KiB) Viewed 1135 times
Here this situation reproduced on a paint from Paul Schmalenbach book :
BS turns away PG still engaging PoW.jpg
BS turns away PG still engaging PoW.jpg (71.84 KiB) Viewed 1136 times
After the Bismarck turn away we had the Bismarck salvos from 17 to 22 taken into the PG Rheinubung film, showing the last 2 PoW salvoes landing close to the Bismarck, ... while Prinz Eugen was turning from 220° to 270° course too, well visible on the film :

Here they are :
BS_DS_salvo_17_to_22_ver02.jpg
BS_DS_salvo_17_to_22_ver02.jpg (56.83 KiB) Viewed 1136 times
Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:33 am

It is a good analysis,
I still think it would be more accurate to number the salvos per battle segments. I.e. segment no 1 = destruction of HMS Hood
segment no 2 = duel with Prince of Wales. segment no 3 = retreat of both forces while continoing to fire.

The number of salvos and pictures and film can be admirably reconstructed for segment 2, not for segment 1 or 3.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun May 08, 2016 8:27 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Alecsandros,

you wrote :
It is a good analysis, I still think it would be more accurate to number the salvos per battle segments. I.e. segment no 1 = destruction of HMS Hood; segment no 2 = duel with Prince of Wales; segment no 3 = retreat of both forces while continoing to fire.

The number of salvos and pictures and film can be admirably reconstructed for segment 2, not for segment 1 or 3.
Thanks for your appreciation, ... and I see your point, ... so right now we have completed the segments 1 and 2, ... and everybody can count the event in the way he likes of course.

What count to me is the correct correlation of both sides with the battle timing kept within reasonable tolerances.

Now I will move on the salvoes after the 22nd, ... after the Bismarck second turn ... :wink:

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Mon May 09, 2016 6:24 am

... How is segment 1 correlated btween German and British accounts ? Except the Baron's suspicious "40 shells" number, there is no other data to show shells expended during battle with Hood.

"5 or 6 salvos" does correlate with British records, but that does not quantify shells in the salvos. They could be 3 semi-salvos and 2-3 full salvos. Or only 5 - 6 semisalvos.

---

The final key to grasp the big picture remains in Luetjens's message, "93 shells expended" - which is NOT supported by any other document, and which is placed inside a message which is (factualy) almost entirely wrong, proposition by proposition.

The 93 shells number, correlated with the film (which is NOT a complete film of segment 2), does not support 40 shells fired in segment 1.*

So to much quicksands, IMHO.

---
*The firing of main battery during the film is 90 seconds long. It shows 6 or 7 semisalvos fired (24 or 28 shots ordered). As Bismarck fired against Prince of Wales for more then 3 minutes before alarm was sounded, the total number of shots fired in segment 2 is higher than that. Probably substantialy higher !
Taking a very conservative estimate of 16 more shots ordered in segment 2, for a total of 40 to 48 shots per segment 2, and adding the Baron's "40 shots vs Hood", we get 80 to 88 shots expended in segment1+2. This leaves 20 to 28 shots for segment 3 (6 minutes of firing). Does this appear correct ?

My opinion is that Bismarck fired fewer shots vs Hood - probably between 30 to 36 ordered, and 26 to 30 actualy fired.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by nebfer » Wed May 25, 2016 9:46 pm

A quick question after reading all this, and seeing the film.

The film the engagement starts at about 5:40, and runs to about 6:43 This segment seems to take place at around 6:03 to 6:04 (engagement time), from 6:43 to 6:51 we have a short clip of what seems to be around 6:01, as PoW has not over taken what was left of Hood? From 6:51 till the end of the battle segment we switch back to be more contiguous with the earlier segment.

Would this be correct?

In effect just what are looking at time line wise?

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:35 am

Hello everybody,

@ Nebfer,

you are correct, the 8 seconds insertion of the PoW firing her 16th salvo, while overtaking Hood wreckage sinking ( around 06:01 ), has been " cut and paste " inside the Bismarck firing sequence taken a couple of minutes after ( around 06:03-06:04 ).

What we have is the propaganda version of the film, .... we need to find the original if still existing.

@ Alecsandros,

On British accounts we have Capt Leach and Ltnt Hunter Terry also mentioning 5 salvos by Bismarck ( I assume they were counting salvos of 8 shells each, ... not 4 ).

I see your doubts, ... but we have the Baron Mullenheim-Rechberg precise statement taken few months after the event reporting 40 shells expended to sink Hood, ... and that is what I am using currently.

93 shells is reported also on several Kriegsmarine official documents in my hands, ... probably the input is always Adm Lutjens message to SKL, ... but again, ... just as above for the 40 shells, ... that is what we have and it is another official source.

Keep in mind that the shells expenditure was a crucial information for SKL to plan the Bismarck replenishment either at sea with supply ships or at Brest.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:57 am

Antonio Bonomi wrote: On British accounts we have Capt Leach and Ltnt Hunter Terry also mentioning 5 salvos by Bismarck ( I assume they were counting salvos of 8 shells each, ... not 4 ).
... They did not know the firing procedure of Bismarck (volsalve, gabbelgruppen, etc, were unknown to them at the time of their depositions in June 1941). So what they reported was more likely the fall of shot of salvos as they observed them: first salvo - 4 guns - short; second salvo - 4 guns - long; third salvo - 4 guns - straddle with hit. 4th , 5th and 6th salvos may have been full salvos (8 guns).
I see your doubts, ... but we have the Baron Mullenheim-Rechberg precise statement taken few months after the event reporting 40 shells expended to sink Hood, ... and that is what I am using currently.
True, but 40 shots is exactly 5 full salvos. He writes "5 salvos" were required to sink Hood... Very precise ... 5 x 8 = 40... Only that Bismarck did not fire 5 x 8... He fired differently, first acquiring the target with 4-guns, then firing in rapid mode... So a question mark.
93 shells is reported also on several Kriegsmarine official documents in my hands, ... probably the input is always Adm Lutjens message to SKL, ... but again, ... just as above for the 40 shells, ... that is what we have and it is another official source.
Bismarck expended shells against HMS Norfolk on May 23rd , probably 18-20 shots (5 semi-salvos fired from the aft turret group).

I'm not saying Luetjens included them in the message sent on May 24th (and resent on May 25th); I'm saying I do not know what he reported.

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