Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:08 pm

@Dave
Because the seminal document is the ship's log, and the officers went at great lengths to keep it as accurate as possible, for obvious reasons.
I would expect the notes to be additions to the log (makign it more detailed, not contradicting it. if so, the time given in the log is further detailed by the notes).
The KTB is strictly speaking a secondary document. The Watch Officer's personal log would be primary to the KTB. I learned this principle while doing research work under a professor several years ago. The work was a study of confirmed kills by 8th Airforce Fighters and the Battle of Britain over claiming. It was pointed out that action reports and such are to be considered secondary documents because they are made after the fact based on the input of witnesses and gun camara film and so forth. The KTB action report and other action reports are also similar. Input is taken from witness testimony and in some cases from the records of different officers. Where we have conflicting data we must weigh them and make a judgement. We can not just dismiss one or the other.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:30 pm

having a GHG contact before a visual contact that morning means visibility was probably less than 30km
At least 30-31km for heavy cruisers. This can be established since this was the range that PG began ranging Hollands force with optics. This would be 16.7 nm, or pretty close to 17nm. It might be a bit more for the battleships. 16nm was the estimated range from 0520 (0515?) Norfolk W/T report. That's not bad visibility; at least ~17nm.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:14 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
having a GHG contact before a visual contact that morning means visibility was probably less than 30km
At least 30-31km for heavy cruisers. This can be established since this was the range that PG began ranging Hollands force with optics. This would be 16.7 nm, or pretty close to 17nm. It might be a bit more for the battleships. 16nm was the estimated range from 0520 (0515?) Norfolk W/T report. That's not bad visibility; at least ~17nm.
... Let's consider Prinz Eugen ranging the Hood with her GHG at , say , 32km (17.27 sm).
We know that only after a few minutes the Prinz Eugen started to spot the ships and their funnel smoke.
Given the rate of approach, a few minutes means a few kilometers. 2 minutes at the minimum would mean 1.8km; 5 minutes would be 4km.
Let's take 2 minutes: with GHG ranging starting at 32km, early spotting would be made at 30.2km (16.03 sm), with men on both the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen not having a clue about the enemies identities. Spotting would imply first spotting the enemies top superstructures, and then, in time, gradualy moving down and seeing more of their hulls.

A key point is the altitude at which the observations were made. It's one thing to spot the enemy if you're standing on the weather deck, and another to spot it from the foretop dome, 31m high.
According to the info on HMS Hood site, maximum spotting distance between Prince of Wales crow's nest (44m high) and Prinz Eugen's foretop dome (31.5m high) would be 44km.

Now, if maximum spotting between PE and PoW could have been done at 44km, but it was achieved at , say, 30km, THEN this is quite clearly a proof that visibility was far from ideal, at about 66% of maximum.

Thus, if Prinz Eugen started to spot Prince of Wales at 30km, then it is extremely unlikely that the Norfolk could spot the Bismarck more effectively at 5:41, at the same distance, and confirm it was a "battleship " (and not a heavy cruiser).

===
So 2 points derive from my many words above:
1) Maximum visibility between Prinz Eugen and Hood/Prince of Wales was no more than 30km, and that coming from observation posts positioned very high within the ship(s).

2) Norfolk's 16sm range estimate at 5:41 was probably inaccurate, as were many, many, many other ranges produced during the battle and the chase.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Dave Saxton » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:25 pm

Alex, 30km is 16.2nm. Tracking BS optically from 15nm by the cruisers was quite feasable during this time frame. They may or may not have been at that distance but they could have been.
with men on both the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen not having a clue about the enemies identities.
We don't know if men on Bismarck could not identify the enemy. Albrecht from the lower conning tower station identified them as battleships all along. It is stated that men on PG could not identify the enemy because of their own smoke and sea spray, not overall visibility limitations.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by wadinga » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:30 pm

Hi Antonio,

I'm interested to hear you will redraw your map to put Hood and Bismarck closer together for the fatal hit
Hello everybody,

just to be correct Hood and PoW at 06.00 were at 16.200 - 16.300 yards more or less so around 14.820 - 14.900 meters.

PoW had Bismarck on bearing 330 degrees.

My map needs to be corrected as I have them more distant at 06.00. Consequently the 19 sea miles at 05.35 will be reduced.

It is part of the modifications I am doing on a larger scale map, ... more accurate.
Since Bill Jurens' new analysis in 1987 thought 18,100m was more likely see http://www.warship.org/new_page_1.htm#46

QUOTING Bill's footnote to part 2
46 Other values are 16,500 yards [15,087 meters] quoted in both Roberts and Bradford, and 21,130 yards [19,300 meters] scaled from a track chart in Grenfell. Whitley [German Cruisers of World War II, U.S. Naval Institute, 1985] gives the ranges from Prinz Eugen to Prince of Wales as 24,500 meters at 0553 and 16,000-17,000 meters at 0559. Dulin and Garzke [Battleships - Axis and Neutral Battleships of World War II, U.S. Naval Institute, 1985] give the range from Bismarck as decreasing to 18,300 meters after the fatal shells had been fired, which implies the range was higher before that time. A track chart in Schmalenbach yields a range of c. 18,000 meters at the time of the blast. The official British track chart gives the range as 16,300 yards, i.e., 14,900 meters.
I see you've selected the British Track chart distance. :cool:

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:02 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Alex, 30km is 16.2nm. Tracking BS optically from 15nm by the cruisers was quite feasable during this time frame. They may or may not have been at that distance but they could have been.
... We know Prinz Eugen spotted the British ships first, and we also know she spotted them several mintues after the GHG contact was made. This makes the case for beginning of the spotting by Prinz Eugen at ~ 30km maximum.

Now, Prinz Eugen was a tall ship, and the observations were probably made from a height of 31.5meters. And even so, it would take some good time before the enemy ships could be properly seen (slowly showing their masts, superstructures, hulls, waterlines).
Norfolk was a smaller ship, and observations were probably done from ~ 20m height from the waterplane.

Let's put these 2 together: if a 31.5m ship can barely see the enemy at 30km, identifying them as light cruisers, how can a 20m ship see and distinguish the "battleship" from 30km distance ?
We don't know if men on Bismarck could not identify the enemy. Albrecht from the lower conning tower station identified them as battleships all along. It is stated that men on PG could not identify the enemy because of their own smoke and sea spray, not overall visibility limitations.
Well, we have the log entry for "new enemy - light cruiser" on Bismarck's log. We also have the 3 minutes pause between Hood opening fire (5:52:30) and Bismarck returning fire (5:55:30), suggesting, as Tommy has nicely explained, they took their time to change the ammo supply, from HE (intended to counter the expected cruisers) to APC (to fight capital ships).

We also have the Baron's account "It must have been around 0545, the rising sun having already lit
up the horizon, when the smoke plumes of two ships and then the tips of their masts came into
view on our port beam
. General quarters was sounded on the Bismarck. Through my director, I
watched as the masts in the distance grew higher and higher, reached their full length, and the
silhouettes of the ships below them became visible
"

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Visibility ranges

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:44 pm

from war diary Admiral Graf Spee
During clear weather in the South Atlantik Graf Spee could visually detect ships using the 10 m RuM
with magnification of 50
visibility (average near equator) Vormars 35 km
billows of smoke (coal) 40 km, maximum 44 km
billows of smoke (oil burning) considerabel lesser
chimneys and pylons 34 km
otherwise
excellent sight day >30 km
good sight day 18-28 km
rain 4- 6 km
excellent visibility night 21 km
excellent with full moon 28 km
average visibility night approximately 10 km
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:00 pm

... And what was the height of the Vormars ?

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by wadinga » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:58 pm

Hi Alecsandros,

Let's not theorise about who could see what, let's ask the men who were there.
Lieutenant-Commander C.T. Collett, Royal Navy.

Witness called and cautioned

240. Are you Lieutenant-Commander C.T. Collett, Royal Navy, of H.M.S. "SUFFOLK?"

Yes.
241. Can you tell us what the visibility and colour of the background on the morning of the action between the "HOOD" and the "BISMARCK?"

The visibility was extreme. As to the background I could not swear as to what colour it was.
242. Where were you during this action?

I was in the Air Defence Position.
243. did you watch the "HOOD" through glasses or with the naked eye?

With the naked eye.
And


420. Are you Captain R.M. Ellis, Royal Navy, Commanding Officer of H.M.S. "SUFFOLK?"
425. Have you anything yourself that you want to tell us? Do you wish to tell us anything further?

No, I do not think I can give you anything further that would be useful. It was a very difficult morning, marker refraction, rapidly changing visibility, and this occasion is the first time I have seen my own and the "NORFOLK's" plots put together and it is a surprisingly greater distance than I thought it was.
426. Did you at any time owing to refraction see any portion of the "HOOD?"

I thought I saw the tops of her masts and funnels.
Midshipman M.R.A. Rao, Royal Indian Navy

Witness called and cautioned

350. Are you Midshipman M.R.A. Rao, Royal Indian Navy, of H.M.S. "SUFFOLK?"

Yes.
351. Are your impressions of the action between "HOOD" and "BISMARCK" still quite clear in your mind?

Yes.
352. Where were you during this action?

I was on top of the hanger deck with the Commander.
353. Will you tell us what you saw of the sinking of "HOOD" as briefly as you can.

I saw the "HOOD" coming along on an opposite course to "BISMARCK." I could just faintly see the silhouette. Then the "BISMARCK" opened fire and I counted four salvos of the "BISMARCK." The fourth salvo was a hit on the "HOOD" with sparks coming out from this hit and then a blaze.
All these Suffolk witnesses could see Hood, over a greater distance why would those in Norfolk not be able to see Bismarck at 19 miles?

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by alecsandros » Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:08 am

What is the source for the 19 sm claim ?

The only mentions of rnge caome from hood pow and norfolk at 16 to 17 miles.

Norfolk was significntly shorter than prinz eugen, so unless domebody explains how a shorter ship can see farther than a much taller one, her 16 miles SPOTTING range is inaccurate.

By the way, the Baron was also there and you can read his account about the early spotting ofvHood, which I have enclosed above. :)
Why do you think he wrote 5:45 for initial spotting of Hoods masts... ?

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Wordy » Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:06 pm

At this point in the thread I am struggling to see what else can be achieved by analysing every second in such minute detail. It would seem that hours’ worth of research is being thrown at every minute of the battle and that far too much thought, criticism and unfortunately bias is being directed at decisions that needed to be made quickly under the extreme stress of Naval battle.
The men making these decisions were responsible for 1,000’s of lives, and not afforded the luxury of pouring over plots in air conditioned offices and making fancy drawings to make sure they were not thought of as cowards 70+ years later. While they were deciding what to, do tons of metal and explosives were flying through the air and men were being killed and injured. To suggest that any of the participants of the Battle of the Denmark Straight acted in any other manner than what was expected of them is an insult to those men who displayed more bravery and bore more responsibility than any of us will ever have to.
Last edited by Wordy on Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Dave Saxton » Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:07 pm

The Baron only uses general time frames, in this case: "It must have been around 0545.." In other words he didn't know or remember the exact times. Since Bismarck's KTB and Bismarck's top side command with the exception of the Baron was lost with the ship we can not know exactly when they first strarted spotting Hood and POW. It may have been before BS received word from PG or even before PG did. The Baron did recall that Albrecht positively identified the approaching enemy as battleships and not cruisers all along from the guns phone chatter.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:55 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Alecsandros,

the 19 sea miles is the measure PoW is having on my map currently at 05.35. Among the 2 measured 17 sea miles distances ( Hood at 05.43 and PoW at 05.37 ) I think that Hood was the most reliable one by looking at the tracks once re-constructed precisely on a fairly detailed map.

@ Wadinga,

YES, I am using PoW Gunnery plot distances ( 13th salvo hit Bismarck ) and Rowell ADM116/4352 Exhibit B at 06.00.

@ Wordy,

if everybody acted as expected as you are stating, why they modified the data and the timings ? Why they created "The Plot" for the Hood Second Board of Inquiry that way ?

There were a lot of more accurate and reliable information already available to declare the events as they occurred, and they are NOT in line with the Official dispatches written on 1941 by Adm Tovey. Unfortunately the official original information have been released ( de-secreted ) only after 1972, ... and here we are 72 years after.

I remind you that those incorrect dispatches have been used to make every book since 1941, ... until the recent ones on 2012/2013.

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: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Wordy » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:15 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,
@ Wordy,

if everybody acted as expected as you are stating, why they modified the data and the timings ? Why they created "The Plot" for the Hood Second Board of Inquiry that way ?
Bye Antonio :D
Well I'm pretty confident it wasn't done to cover up cowardice.
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Re: Denmark Strait and RN Articles of War

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:38 pm

Hello everybody,
Wordy wrote:
Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,
@ Wordy,

if everybody acted as expected as you are stating, why they modified the data and the timings ? Why they created "The Plot" for the Hood Second Board of Inquiry that way ?
Bye Antonio :D
Well I'm pretty confident it wasn't done to cover up cowardice.
You may have noticed, by reading backwards all the pages, that I have never used such a definition neither that I intend to reach the point to judge anybody since I wrote it already several times.

Neither I intend to realize precisely why and how they did it ( reasons, persons involved, responsibilities and exact timing ).

My only intent was to demonstrate that they did it ( and this has been already done ) ... and to determine what the reality was ... and I am in process of doing it now.

Not a hard job at the end, since everything was well preserved and available, it has been enough to have the time and knowledge to find it and to read it on the proper way.

I think that the truth should not offend nor hurt anybody, ... despite the time needed to find it at the end ... and the incorrect version written for 72 years.

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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