Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:45 pm

@Sean:
you are welcome, I have all the PoW plans as I was building a model some years ago........

However, perhaps I was not clear. The sentence you quoted means that the helm was manoeuvred from the conning tower before having cleaned the compass. It says nothing about where Leach went down and my understanding is that he went down one level, not two......
Am I wrong ? Perhaps my English is not good enough but does the word "conning" identify the location of the helmsman (or the one of the captain) ?

Anyway the conning is still very close to the compass.......

Bye, Alberto
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by paulcadogan » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:56 pm

I have to echo Wadinga....excellent again Alberto! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Not even Usain Bolt could have gotten to his feet, cleared his head (briefly knocked UNCONSCIOUS), negotiated that course and had the ship already starting to turn in 40 seconds!! :shock: :negative: Come on ..... GET REAL!!

I rest my case! :D
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by wadinga » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:48 pm

Hi Alberto,

Back in the days of the early ironclads, the Steering Wheel on the Upper deck might well be surrounded by an armoured redoubt, and the Captain expected to go in there with the helmsman. cf HMS Warrior. If you check your drawings of PoW I would expect you can find the actual location of the steering position several decks down behind heavy armour where the coxswain has a compass repeater and no external view. The vestigal "Conning Tower" in the KG V's was supposed to be where the Captain would "con" the ship, when in action, peering out through the tiny slits and giving instructions via voicepipes. In reality, he would take his chances with the other officers in unarmoured positions like the Compass Platform where he could see what was going on and the Conning tower would be so much dead weight.

Leach's sentence means he was conning from the Conning Tower until the Compass Platform was tidied up. Remember the plot one deck below was ruined by the quantity of blood coming down from the Compass Platform? Having been between 1 and 3 metres from an incoming heavy shell, I am not surprised he opted for the comparative security of the armoured Conning Tower for the rest of the fight.

I described in detail the standard steering orders and procedures in force at the time back on the megathread Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:10 pm The helmsman gets two kinds of instructions, for small adjustments from current heading-turn to course xxx degrees. For large changes apply XX degrees of rudder and keep it on until told otherwise.

Paul, I'll be waiting for Alberto's chum next time he visits the Belfast, with a couple of buckets of Butcher's offcuts, a very loud airhorn and a cricket bat, and we'll see how well he can move after he's received the "Leach Experience". :cool:

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:19 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Wadinga and Paul Cadogan,

respectful of your opinion and doubts, ... of your theories, ... you can put it the way you want it, ... but the elapsed time of all those events will NOT change.

At 06.00 and 10/20 seconds the Hood was mortally hit and exploded.
Esmond_Knight_as_Capt_Leach.gif
Esmond_Knight_as_Capt_Leach.gif (134.28 KiB) Viewed 1167 times
At 06.03 and 10 seconds the HMS Prince of Wales was already showing her stern having broke off the engagement, retreating from the battle disengaging, while opening fire with Y turret in local control during the turn away.

For the events sequence, the overall and intermediate timings, you can refer to Capt Leach, LtntCom W. Rowell, LtntCom Hunter-Terry and PoW gunnery report and plot.

Everything confirmed by : Hood board of Inquiry and Royal Navy British Admiralty on battle summary Nr. 5 of 1948.

In case of doubts on the British side, ... you can find exactly all same timings and events sequence on the opposite side too.

Of course everything with due tolerances ... keeping in mind that everything happened ... "almost immediately" ... very fast, one event after the other ... :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: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by paulcadogan » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:21 pm

Ah Antonio...I understand you have YOUR doubts, and you have made your decision to rely on time declarations by individuals because they are similar...
Antonio Bonomi wrote:but the elapsed time of all those events will NOT change.
That can NEVER change....only our understanding of what transpired can - and after this exercise I can say MY understanding is so much greater and so much more at ease with logical answers to many of my questions....and I was hoping to share that with everyone.

I remember this statement from your very first reply in this thread:
Antonio Bonomi wrote:...while I have to admit that a lot of the questions he raised have been on my mind for many years ... and some are still there ... :wink:
Keeping them unanswered is therefore your choice.
Antonio Bonomi wrote:For the events sequence, the overall and intermediate timings, you can refer to Capt Leach, LtntCom W. Rowell, LtntCom Hunter-Terry and PoW gunnery report and plot.
...and more....which is EXACTLY what I have done. But you still won't address the specific indicators I have shown in the gunnery report and plot - and show how they are mistimed or wrong.
Antonio Bonomi wrote:Everything confirmed by : Hood board of Inquiry and Royal Navy British Admiralty on battle summary Nr. 5 of 1948.
There are several things "confirmed" by these which you and others agree are not quite right and correctly so!
Antonio Bonomi wrote:Of course everything with due tolerances
OH yes....VERY due tolerances!

And BTW...that scene from "Sink the Bismarck!" - Leach does not leave the compass platform...and the elapsed time in the scene from shell hit to order to turn away....30 seconds! And that's just a movie....

@ Sean.....That would be a great idea for a re-enactment aboard Belfast! But I'd leave out the gory stuff! (See enough of that in my job!), Wish I could be there!!

Paul :D
Last edited by paulcadogan on Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by paulcadogan » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:50 pm

While I do understand the issues that come with eyewitnesses, here are a couple of eyewitness statements which I thought I'd throw in just for good measure:

Petty Officer Cyril Coates, HMS Prince of Wales:
I saw the "Hood" on our port bow and I saw several salvoes fall astern, just over and ahead. Then one salvo appeared to strike right amidships. I got the impression of a shower of sparks on the boat-deck not far abaft the after funnel about mid-ships. It was followed then by one roll of flame from the after screen which enveloped the after turrets. After that I did not see very much of the subsequent explosion because we had had a hit on the starboard crane which knocked me down. As I got up the "Hood" had disappeared from sight. I do not mean she was sunk, but was obscured by our superstructure. I did not see the explosion. All I saw was the reflection on our own ship. I saw the "Hood" again. I came down off the catapult control platform and we carried on steaming ahead of the "Hood", and all I recognised was the bows forepart. They appeared to be turned completely round.
Ordinary Signalman Ted Briggs, HMS Hood:
Several yards away I could see the stern of the Prince of Wales as she pressed on with her guns firing. She was being straddled by shells from the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, and I did not give much of a chance to her survival. As I watched her veer away, I began to wonder about my chances of survival too.
So Coates notes PoW "carried on steaming ahead" of the Hood, and Ted Briggs said he saw her stern as she "pressed on" before she veered away.

Which of these track charts is more compatible with these observations?
DS Battle Map PC - close up traditional.png
DS Battle Map PC - close up traditional.png (51.55 KiB) Viewed 1134 times
DS Battle Map PC - Close up.png
DS Battle Map PC - Close up.png (66.65 KiB) Viewed 1134 times
Still a short "press on" but enough time for Leach to make his move - still very quickly! :D
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:19 pm

Paul Cadogan wrote "Leach does not leave the compass platform...and the elapsed time in the scene from shell hit to order to turn away....30 seconds!"
Hi Paul, IMHO Capt. Leach (unhurt for his own admission) had all the time to leave the compass and to give the order for disengaging after descending to the admiral bridge (or to the conning).

However nobody can say whether he gave this order from the compass platform voice pipe (before leaving it) as the movie suggests..........

The boy sent by McMullen (when realising the ship was turning away after 6:01:30), found just the dead people in the compass and could not see the Captain. Can we assume a boy down a ladder is able to be there at 6:02 or 6:02:30 max ? If Leach gave the order for th disengagement from the compass at, let's say, 6:01:15 - 6:01:20 to allow the time to the ship to start the turn at 6:01:30, then he must have left the compass (BTW, crossing the same ladder that the boy went down from) at 6:01:30 maximum and it is curious the boy didn't see him at all descending the ladder......

Bye, Alberto
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:09 pm

Hello everybody,

some main references :

BRITISH side = 13 inputs

Hood First and Second Board of Inquiry = 06.00
Battle Summary Nr 5 – BR 1736(3) = 06.00 Royal Navy Admiralty 1948
Bob Tilburn = 06.00
Adm Tovey = 06.00 on ADM 234/509
Capt Leach = 06.00 on 3 radio messages and own narrative
LtntCdr Rowell = 06.00
LtntCdr Hunter-Terry = 06.00 the most reliable witness with time written during the battle
Ltnt Esmond Knight = 06.00
Capt Ellis = 05.59 on ADM 234/509
RearAdm Wake-Walker = 05.59 on ADM 234/509
Norfolk War Diary = 06.02
Suffolk War diary = 06.00
PoW War diary = 06.05 ( it is written as Hood hit and sunk )
GERMAN side = 11 inputs

Adm Lutjens = 06.00
Kpt Brinkmann = PoW turned toward PG from 06.01 until 06.02 -> letter to Schmundt
KptLtnt Jasper = time between : > 05.59 and < 06.01 own battle report
F.O. Busch on 1943 book = 05.59 Treffer, than 06.01 explosion and 06.03 sunk
Schmalenbach = 06.00 - as 07.00 (CET) 1971 - > 05.59 and < 06.01 on 1985
PG KTB = 06.00 and 20 seconds
Baron = 06.00 on C.B. 4051 Survivor Interrogation on 1941 - 06.01 book on 1970’s
BS re-constructed war diary = 06.01 and 20 sec ( input wrongly copied from PG KTB )
OKM document 15543 = 06.01 see above
Bundesarchiv RM 7-1448 KM document = 06.01 see above
Adm Reader to Adolf Hitler = 06.01 se above
Gaussian distribution of the 24 above listed inputs :

2 are 05.59 ( Ellis and Wake-Walker : their warships war diary tell 06.00 and 06.02 )
3 are between 05.59 and 06.01 --> we can assume 06.00 average
13 are 06.00
4 are 06.01 (Germans all copied by the same error on BS KTB; should be 06.00 )
1 is 06.02 ( Norfolk war diary; Wake-Walker declared 05.59 )
1 is 06.05 (PoW war diary; all others PoW evidences, witnesses, maps etc … tell 06.00 )
I assume that with the above evidences photo Nh 69724 is properly evaluated being taken at 06.00 and 10/20 seconds, ... given PoW gunnery plot inputs on Salvoes 13th, and 14th, both well visible on the photo as smoke drifting away from HMS Prince of Wales ... and Prinz Eugen official KTB entry with the seconds ( 20 seconds ) detail written after 06.00 on the time column that must be read top down.

If we assume correct PoW gunnery plot than it is : 06.00 and 10 seconds

If we assume correct Prinz Eugen KTB entry than it is : 06.00 and 20 seconds

My personal opinion is that PoW gunnery plot is a bit more precise than Prinz Eugen the KTB entry ... but with due tolerances I think we are pretty close with this evaluation.

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: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by wadinga » Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:26 pm

Hi Alberto,

If the communications from the Compass Platform were still working, there would be no need to transfer to the Conning Tower, would there? We know communications to/from McMullen weren't working for instance.

Leach needs the best possible view of the action, but he needs to be where he can talk to other stations. You know this 40 second dash is ridiculous considering in detail the route and given the starting condition........ ie unconscious.

The timetable is a based on a speculation for the hit timing ie 06:00:50 and figures from Rowell's map which is compromised because it leaves out turns that several other witnesses saw, and which he admits himself may be one or two minutes out.

Antonio, Paul is quite right that you are not addressing the witness accounts which derail Rowell's map and timing which are the fundamental basis of your "Leach Panics" scenario.

The statistical approach is meanlingless since each value is not an independent variable from the others. You do know what they say about "****, damn **** and Statistics"? :D

Also since you have spent the last six months denigrating the input and conclusions of the official British account, you cannot realistically say it supports your version.

Paul's points must be addressed seriously, for our understanding to go forward.

Why is Coates wrong, why is Hunter-Terry wrong, why is Brookes wrong and why is Busch wrong?

Stood next to a 14" practice projectile at the Royal Naval Museum Portsmouth yesterday, and the idea that something like that could pass through an enclosed space travelling at over 500m a second and within 3 metres leaving a man "unhurt" is crazy. Unhurt compared with being smashed to pulp, with having a leg nearly torn off perhaps but not really unhurt.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:01 pm

Wadinga wrote: "If the communications from the Compass Platform were still working, there would be no need to transfer to the Conning Tower, would there? We know communications to/from McMullen weren't working for instance. "
Hi Sean, I still think 40 seconds were more than enough to descend and to give the disengagement orders. In any case, the compass was used again to conduct the ship very few time after the battle. I doubt they could replace the voice pipes if they weren't still in place. The voice pipes are usually in the front of the compass and the front side was still ok except the right corner, so they were probably ok as well.

Please see PoW damage report that explains why control was transferred: "the extent of damage to the compass platform was uncertain and the ship was then controlled from the conning tower.........The port searclights sights were wrecked but damage to the port A.D.Os sights, both Captain's sights and other bridge instruments was comparatively slight".

McMullen couldn't communicate with the compass just because.......nobody was in it anymore after 6:01:30, when he realised that the ship was turning away and he, furious, tried to contact Leach.
Wadinga wrote: "The timetable is a based on a speculation for the hit timing ie 06:00:50 "
No, it's based on film and photos information crossed with the PoW gunnery report, PG KTB and the shell angle of impact..... :negative:

Bye, Alberto
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by paulcadogan » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:47 am

Well.....just when you thought I'd given up and gone away...... :wink:

Sorry....I tried....but I could not resist!! :oops:

Antonio my good friend, I'm sure you know EXACTLY what I'm coming with, because I know you don't miss ANYTHING! But anyways...here goes:

FRITZ OTTO BUSCH and his maps which Antonio posted in the compass platform thread:
Busch book first map1943.jpg
Busch book first map1943.jpg (209.33 KiB) Viewed 993 times
What does that specially marked annotation "Entsheidend treffer auf Hood" at 0459 (0559) translate to?? (According to Google translator) "Decisive strike on Hood", while showing the explosion (or smoke column) at 0501(0601)!! :clap: :dance:

And his later map and my reconstruction bear some similar features too - particularly PoW's course relative to the sinking Hood....Hmmmm! :think: .
Busch_later_map_01.jpg
Busch_later_map_01.jpg (91.24 KiB) Viewed 993 times
So thanks Antonio! I know you won't agree, but that's OK. I think I have more than demonstrated that there is room for flexibility in interpreting the timing of what happened WITHOUT affecting too much the sequence of events (maybe just the order of the first few hits received by PoW) as are evident in the historical record.

Once again I thank EVERYONE for your contributions in making this discussion thought provoking and challenging! :ok:
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:59 am

Hello everybody,

@ Paul Cadogan,

my good friend, I know how it feels when you think you are getting on something and need to find the truth which will satisfy your curiosity, …. That is part of the power that moves my research engine too … so do not worry about it … I was the first one to encourage you to go deep on your analysis and find the answers you were looking for, … and I reinforce my invitation to you : just do it !

I know perfectly that you, being a very fair and intelligent person, will be in condition to understand when your questions will be all responded and there is no more to search or look and what is in front of you is the answer. Sometimes is not complete or conclusive, like sometimes it is not what you initially thought it was going to be, sometimes you are fully satisfied with it.

This all history research job does have all those feelings, … and one must take them as they come with fairness and open mind, … and you do have all those characteristics my friend, … those are the rules of this research game.

Well, back on your last questions, … very clever since I had to respond to those too years ago.

Fritz Otto Busch did write several books, among them one on 1943 ( in German ) and one in 1958 ( in English ), ... about Prinz Eugen on his first battle into the Denmark Strait. We all know he was one of the key witnesses of it being into the Prinz Eugen vormars ( main rangefinder position ) with KptLtnt Paulus Jasper, the Prinz Eugen gunnery officer.

Here my considerations on his 2 proposed maps :

The 1943 map was done using KptLtnt S. Reimann ( Prinz Eugen Torpedo Officer ) latest redone map ( for Vize-Adm H. Schmundt ) showing the enemy tracks. This because the original Prinz Eugen battle map was evaluated by Schmundt in a very negative way to Brinkmann. So the German track is from Prinz Eugen original battle map, the British one is from Reimann. Timing taken from his personal notes, … 05.59 for the Hood hit is just what he wrote for it, … but it was not correct for the real fatal hit, … 06.01 for the explosion is a bit overstated, while 06.03 for Hood disappearing from the sea is in line with the real event.
I take the occasion here to underline to you and everybody that usually on German warships war diaries they never wrote the seconds, only hours and minutes.
The Hood explosion time into Prinz Eugen war diary is the only one were they put the entry on seconds between the minute 06.00 and 06.01. I have almost all the German warships war diaries for the entire war period, … so more than 50 warships for 4 years average, … and it is the only entry with seconds I recall having seen so far.

Lets move on Busch 1958 map. That is nothing else that Capt. Russell Grenfell battle map of his 1948 book used by Busch, with all the related errors on it.

Which errors ? Easy answer, …. Capt Russell Grenfell totally missed and confused the THIRD turn after the : “ Enemy in sight ! “ signal by PoW, made by Hood and PoW ( from course 300 to course 280 degrees at 05.55) with the planned FOURTH turn ( never executed ) at 06.00, the second 2 Blue Flag hoisted of 20 degrees ( from course 280 to course 260 degrees ).

05.37 : Enemy in Sight ! by PoW, … Holland squadron was on course 240 degrees.
05.37 : FIRST turn of Holland squadron from course 240 to course 280 degrees
05.50 : SECOND turn of Holland squadron from course 280 to course 300 degrees
05.55 : THIRD turn of Holland squadron from course 300 to course 280
06.00 : FOURTH planned and never executed turn ( at least by PoW --> Ref. Rowell and Leach ) from 280 to 260 degrees


So Grenfell mixed up the 2 last events above mentioned ( 05.55 with 06.00 ) and came out with a total confusion in his narrative ( page 42 ) as well as on his map.
Ludovic Kennedy of course copied his confused narrative too, … please double check it … and that started the legend of the PoW following Hood on the turn to port and after having to turn to starboard immediately after a port turn … it was because of this confusion by Grenfell book, … copied and proliferated by Ludovic Kennedy too on the Pursuit book, even if at least Kennedy added a small reference about the 05.55 turn, … but kept the last planned fourth turn at 06.00 main description made by Grenfell originally.
To be noted, both confuse the events description and not using the events reference timing and courses on their narrative, loose control and came out with mixing things.
The intention at that time for both was to justify the turns with the need to bring to bear the aft turrets, ... so they were describing things without mentioning timing, courses and blind aft turrets angles correct references, ... but only with the need to turn to bring the turrets to bear, ... and this was incorrect as we all well know today.

Busch, thinking Grenfell was right with his map from the British side tracks, … just copied it too and used the Grenfell map for the British side tracks on his 1958 book.
You can just put the 2 maps one close to the other and you will see they are the same tracks for PoW, ... both incorrectly showing an early Hood explosion at 05.56 ... and PoW sailing for few minutes toward the enemy, ... which never happened as we know from key witnesses and from the existing photos ( NH 69724 and than NH 69731 correlation ).

In reality the closest one for British timing was the 1943 original map by Busch, … not perfect, … but much better than the Grenfell 1948 one, … and Busch own 1958 one ... both absolutely incorrect.

It is only when you do realize all those things that you start understanding that from the German side the only valid reference is the Prinz Eugen battle map and only for Prinz Eugen track, ... than Bismarck you have to build on it using the available infos and photos. From the British side, .... you have 3 original PoW battle maps and the gunnery plot ( that does not show the starboard small turn made by Rowell to avoid Hood enlarging the distance for a short time ) ... and once you are able to correctly correlate the 2 maps and the timings with right milestone references ... like Hood explosion time at 06.00 and PoW retreating time firing Y turret at 06.03 ... than the rest is very easy.

Hope to have helped you with my explanations.

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: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:45 am

Hello everybody,

here the Grenfell page 42 as evidence of what I stated above.

I have Ludovic Kennedy book PURSUIT only in Italian language, ... so if anybody is so kind to post his English version of the event description, from the fire on Hood mainmast description until the PoW received hit on the Compass Platform ... than we can compare the 2 narratives in English language.
Grenfell_page_42.jpg
Grenfell_page_42.jpg (160.73 KiB) Viewed 983 times
... and the related incorrect map ...
Grenfell_map.jpg
Grenfell_map.jpg (41.21 KiB) Viewed 982 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: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by RNfanDan » Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:33 pm

Interesting is Kennedy's timeline: "At 5.55 a.m. the Vice-Admiral made the signal for a Blue Pendant turn of 20 degrees to port..."

And, more surprisingly..."By now, the Bismarck had obtained several straddles on the Hood..."

"Several straddles" would imply that, of the five salvoes fired by Bismarck (the last one of these the fatal blow), at least three---and possibly four---had already landed by 05.55; with even THREE fired, that meant only two more followed when Hood exploded...but at 06:00? Only two salvoes in five minutes? Even worse, by this timeline, is ONE salvo more, with Hood blowing up well-before 06:00 with #5 striking.

I never connected this before, as I have not read the book for many years. Where does Kennedy get his timings?
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Re: Hood's sinking: the timing of that fatal hit

Post by Gudbrandur » Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:50 pm

There is something about the fatal hit and the fire. Some suggest that the fire caused the explosion when that thing enterd into the feeding powder tube to the gunns from the powder cargo room in the center of the ship, the Hood. When She blew, She broke in two parts, stern and bow. How the fire started is of concern here.
Gudbrandur Jónsson

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