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 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:41 pm

@Herr Nilsson:
Hi Marc,
sorry, I forgot to thank you for the info...... :oops:

Bye, Alberto
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jun 23, 2016 8:38 am

... Any thoughts on the Bismarck firing procedure versus Hood ?

It is very unclear to me if Bismarck actualy opened rapid fire against Hood. And if it did open rapid fire, when did that happen ?

British reports and the Baron's text are not directly comparable, as strange as it may seem... :shock:

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:35 pm

Hi Alec,
this is just my 2 cents opinion of course:
I don't know (and we will never possibly know) whether Schneider ever ordered a "rapid fire" just after his Gabellgruppe.

I trust Jasper official report, that says he did order "rapid fire" after the Gabellgruppe against PoW (the second one).
He also stated that PG could achieve a RoF of 27/28 seconds (2.18 spmpg). . However, during the whole battle, PG had an average RoF of 1,64 spmpg.
The theoretical RoF of the German 203mm is 4 to 5 shell per minute per gun, therefore PG achieved a max RoF that is half the theoretical one (but an average that is one third of it).
I have tried to fit the number of salvos as per Marc definition (5 to Hood, 8 to PoW, until PoW turn against PG, other 20 to PoW until 6:04:30 when turrets are wooded and other 20 to PoW until cease fire (20 are needed to order 184 shots with 2 turrets bearing only.....).
This fits with Jasper declared RoF of 27/28 seconds, uniformly distributed and fired almost "metronomically" after the second Gabellgruppe. I don't see much space for slowing down (or accelerate) this RoF based on the total number of shots fired (136 after the second Gabellgruppe), on the account of Jasper (he says Albrecht did continue to fire rapid salvos from 6:04:30 (end of first turn) until the cease fire (6:09)), and on the tactical situation (Jasper had no reason not to continue a rapid fire after his order).


The theoretical RoF of the Bismarck guns was 2 to 3 spmpg, and Bismarck achieved an average RoF of 0.93 spmpg, one third of the theoretical one, as it was the case for PG.
Based on that, assuming the same initial firing procedure (Vollsalve and Gabellgruppe with just a slight correction to switch target without repeating the procedure), I would conclude that Schneider could still have ordered rapid fire, but that the ship fired at a "practical" rate of fire.


Regarding the moment when Schnieder could have ordered the "rapid" fire, I tend to trust the Baron, even if a witness like F.O.Busch (in the main director with Jasper and writing his 1943 book much earlier than the Baron, wrote that Jasper ordered rapid fire against Hood.... :shock: . Possibly he was still looking at Hood through his binocular and he did confused the sequence of the events.....)


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by tommy303 » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:39 pm

I don't think Bismarck fired particularly fast after Schneider ordered fire for effect once the Gabelgruppe had been spotted. Hood and Bismarck were on a converging course which would have caused rapid changes in range from salvo to salvo; additionally, Hood's course was slightly curving due to Holland ordering several minor course corrections to keep Bismarck and Prinz Eugen from drawing too far ahead before the major turn to open up the firing arcs of the after turrets. The rapidly changing range and the minor course changes would have kept Schneider and his team busy and he might well have preferred to be sure each salvo was properly aimed.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:42 pm

Hi Tommy,
I agree. Based on what I said above, however, apparently the same was for PG. :think:

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by tommy303 » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:59 pm

Agreed. Besides, were there not several main armament problems on Prinz Eugen during the action? If I remember correctly B turret missed a salvo and then fired only one gun in the turret for the next 13 ordered salvos due to a technical problem, while operational errors caused A turret to miss four salvos and C and D turrets one salvo each.

There may well have been some problems on Bismarck as well, which might account for the odd number of shells fired, but of course any gunnery logs would have gone down with the ship.

thomas

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:40 am

... But that doesn't mean rapid fire in the way it is usualy understood - firing without waiting for fall of shot. It is just continous ranging firing.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:25 am

Tommy 303 wrote: "were there not several main armament problems on Prinz Eugen during the action ?"
Hi Tommy, yes that's true. Howveer the figures of RoF in my above post (just before the last one) are given based on shots ordered to fire (184 on PG, 108 assumed on Bismarck), not on shells actually fired (157 on PG, 93 on Bismarck), so all the considerations about the loss of output are just on top of these figures.

Alecsandros wrote: "that doesn't mean rapid fire in the way it is usually understood"
Hi Alec,
absolutely true, but as Tommy said, possibly there was no way to fire more quickly due to the continuous change of range and the "rapid fire" order just meant "fire for effect" without ranging ladders or ranging procedures, except the spotting.

I do trust Jasper, who said he ordered a "rapid fire" or perhaps "fire for effect" and I think the same was heard by Busch and by the Baron on Bismarck.


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:33 am

I understand your point,
But I do not understand the order (command) for rapid fire. Why utter those words if you aren't going to use that firing procedure at all ?

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:43 am

Hi Alec,
perhaps over-excitement ? Or willingness to motivate everybody in the gunnery dept telling them that the range had been successfully found ? Or just these words meant that the ranging procedure was over and that they could go now for "effect"....

We should ask to an expert of German firing procedures, of course.


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:45 am

I agree.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Steve Crandell » Sat Jun 25, 2016 5:22 am

I'm pretty sure "Good Rapid" meant that each turret group was fired as soon as the guns were ready.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:14 am

I think the same way.
Also, if the movie can be used to assess Bismarck's rate of fire , we see that the rof was about 20shots/minute for the duration of the film, at probable range of 15km.

If so, and if Schneider was on target from the 3rd semi-salvo, and if he ordered rapid fire, and if rapid fire was actualy used, then rate of fire between 5:57 and 6:00 should have been around 18 shots/minute (range 19 to 16km), with a total number of ordered shots against Hood of about 66 shots (12 ranging shots + 54 rapid fire shots in 3 minutes).

However, I don't know if Schneider ordered rapid fire, and if he did, if rapid fire was actualy employed , AND
I don't know how exact the salvo firing sequence on Bismarck was. For comparison, in US battleships , the artillery officers could see in real time how many guns are ready to fire (loaded) at a given time. They would wait to have a certain number of rounds loaded before ordering a salvo. In rapid fire mode, I don't think they needed to give orders anymore, and each turret could / would fire as soon as ready.
I don't know what order was used on Bismarck. If they would leave firing to the turrets (as soon as ready) , they would have a certain rate of fire. If they would leave firing to turret groups (A, B and C+D) , they would have a longer waiting time between shots, and so on.

BUT, even with turret groups (4 guns) waiting to be ready to fire, I have strong doubts rapid fire could go below 2 shots/minute/gun at such range... Thus leading to about 48 shots fired in rapid mode (6 broadsides and 12 semi-salvos), in addition to the 3 ranging semi-salvos, taking the total to 60.


This is just an exercise to present my uncertainties. I do not know and do not have a conclusion concerning the artillery situation on Bismarck.

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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:47 am

Hi all,
several unanswered questions here for sure.... :think:

However, if PG achieved a max RoF, when in "rapid fire" (or "fire for effect"), of 27/28 seconds (Jasper statement), I don't believe Bismarck could have achieved a RoF faster than 50 secs average when in her "rapid fire" mode....

I know, there is the film showing something different, but we don't know at which speed this film has been turned and at which speed it has been digitalized..... More, the film shows very few shots that can be part of a possible new ranging procedure to re-acquire the range that was lost after the turn of both BS and PoW, thus shots fired without waiting for the fall of shots.....


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Bismarck firing procedures at DS

Post by alecsandros » Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:03 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:Hi all,
several unanswered questions here for sure.... :think:

However, if PG achieved a max RoF, when in "rapid fire" (or "fire for effect"), of 27/28 seconds (Jasper statement), I don't believe Bismarck could have achieved a RoF faster than 50 secs average when in her "rapid fire" mode....
I thought about this as well.
But, the key IMHO is that Jaspers mentions an average rate of fire over the entire length of the battle time (14 minutes). For 14 minutes, Prinz Eugen obtained an average salvo interval of 27 to 28 seconds.
But as we discussed, the initial 4 minutes of the firing done by PE was slower (about 48 shots per 4 minutes, or 12 shots per minute, or one full salvo per 40 seconds - if we can speak about ful salvos in Jaspers proposition concerning rate of fire, which is not completely clear to me). I also think the final part of the battle (6:04 - 6:09) was done at a lower rate of fire, as the turnning of both adversaries (Prinz eugen and Prince of Wales), combined with the smoke put up by PRince of Wales and smoke from PRinz Eugen's funell made observation of shots difficult and thus required more attentive targeting and firings.
Thus, my opinion is that , for Prinz Eugen to obtain a salvo interval of 27 to 28 seconds, it needed to fire at about 20 seconds salvo intervals between 5:59:30 or so and 6:04 (or 6:03:30, or 6:04:30, meaning the start of the torpedo alarm and evasive manouvre). In numbers, I tend to think that Prinz Eugen had about 48 shots ordered until 5:59:30 (time of opening rapid fire against Prince of Wales) , then about 100-110 shots fired in rapid mode against PoW , until torpedo alarm, and then some more ~ 40 shots ordered until the final shots were fired at 6:09 or so.

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