May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

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Herr Nilsson
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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Herr Nilsson » Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:46 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:Hello everybody,

@ Herr Nilsson,

as usual you are making a very interesting question now ... :wink:

In fact that 02.29 is one of the " KEY " time checkpoints of that night, and also the German warships got something on that area, since immediately after they altered course more to west, ... due to " ... a cruiser astern ... ".

Now please explain me better what you mean with your question above ... do you think that contact the German had was related to Norfolk ... or it should be associated to one of the 4 Royal Navy destroyers sailing north while spreading themselves after 02.15, ... and passing in between the Norfolk sailing south and the Germans sailing south in parallel ... but at some like 30 sea miles west of Norfolk on that moment ?

I like your as well as everybody else opinion here of course ...

Bye Antonio :D
I see no reason why Norfolk should be categorically ruled out. On the other side it would be an amazing coincidence that Prinz Eugen and Norfolk were spotting a destroyer at the very same time.
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by paulcadogan » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:17 pm

Hi Antonio,
In the other hand Norfolk did nothing of that level and the radar difference cannot be used as a justification for such a poor overall performance for the Squadron leading cruiser. Wake-Walker duty was to stay closer and monitor Suffolk work while controlling the overall shadowing effort versus the enemy making sure the most precise information possible were coming out from CS1 cruisers to the BC1 warships and the Admiralty war room managing the whole area ( and the convoys under risk ), and this did not happen at all. To rely only on Suffolk work was a negligence that was going to cost very much to the Royal Navy. With the enemy lost 2 hours before and having had a spotted vessel on the " danger area " from his warship, ... and having done nothing there is another clear military negligence that could have costed the complete loss of the enemy. Having understood some time later ( his report words :shock: ) the geographical plotting problems between his warship and the Suffolk and having done nothing once again as well, ... here I let you and everybody else to evaluate the attitude and the behavior of this Officer ( obviously from a pure Military stand point only ).
There is no doubt that Suffolk was the key ship in maintaining contact with the Germans during that phase. Norfolk had the lesser role. But let us dissect the above statement.
In the other hand Norfolk did nothing of that level and the radar difference cannot be used as a justification for such a poor overall performance for the Squadron leading cruiser.
Why not?? What would have happened if Suffolk had not been equipped with her 284 radar? The Germans would have escaped. Would we then be here criticizing both cruisers for negligence by not ensuring they maintained visual contact in visibility that sometimes came down to one mile because they had convoys to protect? Has anyone criticized the radarless Naiad for losing S&G in February 1941, with them subsequently escaping into the Atlantic to sink 115,000 tons of shipping?
Wake-Walker duty was to stay closer and monitor Suffolk work while controlling the overall shadowing effort versus the enemy making sure the most precise information possible were coming out from CS1 cruisers to the BC1 warships and the Admiralty war room managing the whole area ( and the convoys under risk ), and this did not happen at all.
How exactly do you propose this would have been done differently? Staying closer to whom? Suffolk? How would that have helped Suffolk give any more precise information than she did? How could he have "monitored" her more closely? Should he have stopped both ships and transferred his flag?

The enemy? How could he know, without a practical radar apparatus, how close he was in variable visibility? The only way would be to maintain visual contact and risk being blown out of the water as he almost was in his first actual contact. Suffolk had her radar to stay in touch in poor visibility and indicate any enemy movements in her direction so she could get out of harm's way in a timely manner (as she did when she though they had turned). When visibility was good she could drop back and maintain safe distance. Norfolk had extremely limited capability in that area.
To rely only on Suffolk work was a negligence that was going to cost very much to the Royal Navy. With the enemy lost 2 hours before and having had a spotted vessel on the " danger area " from his warship, ... and having done nothing there is another clear military negligence that could have costed the complete loss of the enemy.
Suffolk was the ONLY one of the two cruisers capable of maintaining contact under those conditions. He duly reported his sighting of the "unknown vessel" which was seen for such a short time, it precluded identification, course and speed determination and gave his position. What should he have done otherwise? Gone charging into the fog when the starting range had been estimated to be a lethal 8 miles to try to identify? Did he turn away at that point? No he didn't. And it did not cause the loss of the enemy because the ship with the technical competence regained contact.
Having understood some time later ( his report words :shock: ) the geographical plotting problems between his warship and the Suffolk and having done nothing once again as well,
How was he to correct the navigational errors in conditions in which his navigators on both ships could not get a fix? Can you explain?

Sorry Antonio, I respectfully submit that unless you can provide specific and plausible explanations to the above, I'm afraid your condemnation of Wake-Walker is unjustified.

Paul
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:27 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Herr Nilsson,

I see, so you think that Norfolk can be still a possibility for that contact occurred almost simultaneously on both sides, ... by Prinz Eugen ( 02.28 ) as well as by Norfolk ( 02.29 ).

Obviously now since you correctly are not yet willing to have " categorically ruled out " this possibility, ... we need to check this deeply enough to have a common understand on what could have happened on that moment involving not only the Norfolk and Hood/PoW as we were doing until now, ... but bringing into this scenario the German warships and the Suffolk tracks too.

Please keep in mind that as we have realized lately ( allow me to thank Alecsandros here for having highlighted the destroyers role on all this situation ) there were 4 destroyers ( not 6 and thanks Wadinga for the clarification here ) passing exactly between Norfolk and Prinz Eugen on that moment, ... being released by Holland to sail a north ( or a north-east :think: ) course spreading themselves at 02.15 from a southern position compared to Norfolk and Prinz Eugen sailing a south west course almost in parallel.

Well, this is basically our fun and passion here, ... so lets do it, ... the key inputs here are the Suffolk Strategical map as well as the PoW original map bearings to Norfolk and Suffolk from 02.29 until 03.21 ( another KEY time checkpoint ) ... plus obviously the Prinz Eugen original track ... to be connected to the Suffolk position thru her messages and bearings to the German warships on that time period.

@ Paul Cadogan,

I see your points here.

Let me try to answer to you from a Military leadership stand point of course, ... as I have nothing in particular against anybody on any side.

There were 2 cruisers there and one Squadron Commander on board one of them. One of the 2 cruisers was equipped with a better radar, the other one not. I will not judge the initial selection of which cruiser I was going to sail with, ... if I was to make a choice ( my personal opinion ) you can be sure I was going to be in the Suffolk and control the shadowing from the best and more critical position at sea ( the one Capt Ellis very well managed that night ) . But lets evaluate the situation as it really materialized.

After the first encounter, when I was targeted by the enemy, I was going to follow thru at a much closer eastward distance from Suffolk, while keeping it at 315°-320° true bearing from me ( as they correctly did ) ... but never loosing the direct visual contact with both enemy and Suffolk when direct visibility was available, ... and reinforcing the night control via communications, course and relative position very frequent checkpoints ( every 5 minutes at the most ), ... making a grid of checkpoints on my tactical plot controlling course, speed and distances, ... and this was not done.

When at 00.28 it was becoming clear that Suffolk had lost contact I was going progressively to close to west ... keeping Suffolk checked position as reference ... while searching myself for the direct contact with the enemy ... using my ship in zig-zag mode and my radar ahead of my bow with a coverage of 8/9 sea miles ( not much less than the Suffolk one ) and closing in the enemy known course, ... in order to re-establish the contact and restart the shadowing from eastward since I was south of Suffolk just for this purpose just as I have been declaring at the beginning of this effort, ... a more risk to be run by me compared to Suffolk, I know, but at this point it was necessary given the situation and Suffolk having lost the contact, ... it was my responsibility to do it, ... and this was not done for 2 hours.

The crucial point being at 02.29, ... when I got a real contact ... and not being the Suffolk as I should have immediately realized with my plot grid, ... it was most likely the enemy but needed to be checked, confirmed and promptly communicated to BC1 and the Admiralty, ... and also this was not done.

Having finally surely understood it was not the Suffolk ( at 02.56 ) and her geographical position being a long way incorrect compared to my one, ... there was a need to get closer once again, ... find out the real situation in place, ... amend the geographical positions for everybody knowledge, ... and it was not done as well, ... in the opposite I sailed away SE for 15 minutes ... to come back after having realized my evaluation mistakes only at 03.20 ( :shock: ) ... and it took me more than 2 hours to get back in contact with the enemy ( from 03.20 until 05.41 = 2 hours and 21 minutes ) .

Really not a great leadership performance as you can see, ... but those of course are just my personal military leadership evaluations, ... looking at what happened.

@ Alberto Virtuani,
Especially the temper of Capt.Ellis (end of reel2), the sight of Bismarck, the radar operations (at the beginning of reel4), and..... the fact that this midshipman was told just after 5:10 am on May 24 that "at 6:00 they should see the Hood and the PoW"........(reel 4 at around minute 3:30)..... :shock:
It is a great interview, ... providing the real flavor of what was really happening between Capt Ellis and his radar and plot room, ... which is exactly what it should have happened in Norfolk too ... with a " very clear " situation monitoring input every 5 minutes at the most, ... and an " high risk " taking effort, ... well described by Plummer being done by Capt Ellis, ... to which for this go my personal applause from a Military standpoint ... :clap:

www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80023294

The midshipman knowing early on about the Hood and PoW planned encounter ... just confirms what we already well know occurred on Suffolk and on Norfolk that morning ... it is not a surprise for us now ... :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: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:27 pm

Paul Cadogan wrote: "What would have happened if Suffolk had not been equipped with her 284 radar?"
Hi Paul,
would the RN have given up any attempt to shadow the enemy ? Would Ellis have retired without attempting to keep contact ? I don't think so, even if I agree that Bismarck would have most probably succeeded in escaping during the night, when visual contacts were impossible and 286 was not as performing as the 284.

W-W had given up any attempt to visually contact the enemy already at 20:32, after the first "close" encounter, when light and visibility were still allowing visual contacts (taking considerable risks, I agree).

To support what I'm saying, I have taken the freedom to use Antonio's messages list (I hope you will not mind, Antonio....) where I have marked in green those messages with enemy information that were sent by the cruisers after a direct visual contact of the enemy (source is the Suffolk Strategical Plot where colors are used the distinguish between visual and radar contacts):
Total_Suffolk_Norfolk_messages_03.jpg
Total_Suffolk_Norfolk_messages_03.jpg (48.34 KiB) Viewed 921 times
As you see, until almost midnight it was possible to see the enemy, as well as it was after 3 in the morning (logical at that latitudes)......but W-W was sailing to open the range beyond the visibility limit both at 20:32 and at 3:05 in the morning......

IMHO, poor leadership in handling his squadron (as Antonio has correctly explained in his above post) but also very poor determination, with total delegation of the full shadowing responsibility to Suffolk.


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Herr Nilsson » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:36 pm

Antonio, there is no reliable German track at all and the British aren't reliable as well.
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Herr Nilsson » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:46 pm

Alberto, shadowing without visual contact caused much more confusion on the German side. Strategically it was brilliant.
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:31 pm

@Herr Nilsson:
Hi Marc, yes I agree with you, but I seriously doubt it was done intentionally by W-W....... :wink:

Bye; Alberto
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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:07 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Herr Nilsson,

you wrote :
Antonio, there is no reliable German track at all and the British aren't reliable as well.
I agree with you about it, but it is to easy to agree on a statement like this one given the level of precision we can reach today as far as a reliable set of information.

This is the third complete naval battle I am working on, ... and by far the most complicated once you have to add on it the 2 Royal Navy heavy cruiser tracks ... and like on the one's before this one, ... we just have to play with the data we have.

Enlarging it to the night before and backwards until the first sighting at 19.22 was an addittional challenge I took on me after the trip to Kew-PRO in London.

It was necessary to sustain what happened after during the battle, ... and demonstrate the correct early relative positioning of all the warships in the battle scenario.

The existence of " The Plot " obviously did not make the work easy, ... as you well know.
I had back on July 2003 similar problems with the Prinz Eugen torpedo map by Kpt Ltnt Sigurd Reimann, ... until I realized why it was made.

Now everything is more clear, ... and with all I have collected, ... the work is more easy and the result can reach a suffucient level of precision, ... with the usual due tolerances.

Surely, a work like this one has never been done before, ... and for this I have to thank you all.

Currently the level of detail reached is by far much higher than the Plan 3 of the Battle Summary Nr 5 kindly provided to us by Dunmunro.

Bye Antonio :D
Last edited by Antonio Bonomi on Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Cag » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:08 pm

Hi All

Just to give a little clarity on the subject I think 00.19hrs is put down on the list posted by Dunmonro as Norfolk with a question mark next to it and when read references an earlier Suffolk message so is perhaps in actual fact from Suffolk.

Norfolk's 20.32 gives a position reference of the ship and a sighting reference of the enemy.
Norfolk's 22.30 gives a position and course reference of the ship.
Norfolk's 23.11 gives a course reference of the ship.
Norfolk's 00.17 gives a position reference of the ship and adds no enemy in sight.
Norfolk's 01.45 gives a position reference of the ship and estimates the enemies position to be 269° 18nm distance.
Norfolk's 02.20 gives a course reference of the ship.
Norfolk's 02.29 gives a position reference of the ship.
Norfolk's 02.55 references the 02.29 report.
Norfolk's 04.50 asks if touch with the enemy has been lost.
Norfolk's 05.41 gives a position reference of the ship and a sighting reference of the enemy.

Obviously none of the above was of any use neither to Holland or the Admiralty and I think we should add to the list of charges Wake-Walker must face the deliberate and willful broadcasting of one of his majesties ships of war position to the enemy without justification.

Best wishes
Cag.

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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Steve Crandell » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:46 pm

I admit to having become somewhat numb to this court marshal drum beat.

I believe that half the naval officers of every navy in the world would have been subject to condemnation had they been under the kind of minute to minute scrutiny of their comments, actions, and messages that is being done to W-W in this forum.

My gosh, you are actually arguing over the definition of the word "shadowing". I find all this somewhat amazing.

Some valuable information has been presented for sure, but I tire of the character assassination.

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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:54 pm

@ Mr.Cag:
if definitely not shadowing, at least picket-boating.....In this sense the messages were marginally "useful", as they said to BC1 that a practically blind ship (definition is not mine...) could not see the enemy in a given position at a given time.

@Steve Crandell:
so sorry you get tired....Being Italian, I'm perhaps more accustomed to the Italian admirals character assassinations during naval discussions. :wink:
Speaking of W-W however, I feel more a character suicide than assassination.....


Bye, Alberto
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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:31 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Steve Crandell,

in one of the battle reconstruction I have worked in the past, ... the sinking of the HMS Glorious, ... I think something similar was necessary to be done to realize what Captain d'Oyly-Hughes did ... and why he did that.

Here the work and the analysis I have made :
http://www.scharnhorst-class.dk/scharnh ... njuno.html

Now in order to add to this battle analysis the PoW retreat and the 2 county class heavy cruisers participation, ... it was necessary to realize what Capt J.C. Leach, RearAdm Wake-Walker and Capt Ellis did during those hours, ... again from a pure Military stand point.

I do not find anything strange about it, what I find strange is the " over protective reaction " I see here now ... :think:

For 75 years the actions and the decisions of both ViceAdm Lancelot Holland and Admiral Gunther Lutjens have been carefully scrutinized and judged in any possible way, ... mostly unfairly and based on incorrect information as far as I am concerned, ...

... but nobody stand up defending them in this way ... :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: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Cag » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:14 am

Hi All

Dear Mr Crandell firstly I feel I must apologise if I have spoilt your enjoyment of the forum and if this is due to the nature of the way in which the thread has gone. Again the initial thread subject of night shadowing and interception was of great interest but was once more seems to have been 'turned' into another Wake-Walker bashing/defence exercise.

I agree that the character assassination of Leach Wake-Walker and Tovey has become synonymous with every thread and is frustrating to say the least and detracts from the threads initial apparent aim. Inflammatory remarks do divert the thread and the constant sudden switch from the initial subject matter into character bashing ruins the original purpose so I must apologise for allowing myself to be drawn in once again.

Dear Alberto during my time with my uncle he had nothing but praise for the tactics and bravery of the Italians he had to fight against. I have been researching the actions he fought in and can give you examples of the bravery of those from Italy that deserve recognition today for their acts. I do believe that we should respect the bravery and commitment to duty of all fighting men and women of all nationalities and that you should be proud of your fellow officers from that period as any other person of any other nation as they deserve all our respect.

Dear Antonio I share your enthusiasm to understand the events that happened and to see what was understood at the time and what we can understand now (I am working through maps signals and logs at the moment). The problem begins when that initial apparent purpose is subverted into a Wake-Walker Leach or Tovey bashing exercise. If you read through the forum subjects there is a, if I may borrow a phrase from Mr Crandell, drum beat of constant character assassination of these three officers. Maybe the 'over protective reaction' you find strange is just that, a reaction to the equally strange constant subversion of threads to become a witch hunt of those three men?

I have read Mr Waddinghams Mr Cadogans Mr Jurens and your work and see that Vice Admiral Holland is treated with the respect he deserves and understand the success of his interception of the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen and the credit for that which is long overdue. But I think the destruction of others reputations in an attempt to restore that of Lancelot Holland is as bad as those that may not have given Holland his due in the first place and that is a crime that neither Leach nor Wake-Walker can be accused of.

I am always willing to give help to anyone who needs or asks for it and will continue to do so

As always best wishes
Cag.

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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:34 am

Cag wrote: "Dear Alberto during my time with my uncle he had nothing but praise for the tactics and bravery of the Italians he had to fight against."
Hi Mr.Cag,
many thanks for reporting your uncle's appreciations! My father was serving in the Regia Marina as a cadet from 1941 till 1943, appointed as a midshipman during the last war months in 1943, therefore it's doubly appreciated, of course.

I was referring to the (sometimes well deserved but) sometimes over-severe accusations that the RM admirals had to face during and after the war (lasting until today....) for weaknesses that were mostly due to a dominant ancient conception of war at sea and to technical /intelligence deficiencies more than to their personal limitations....


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: May 23/24 night shadowing and interception approach CS1/BC1

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:05 am

Hello everybody,

@ CAG,

the evaluation of the Officer involved on this scenario, started after having realized that the 02.55 message from Norfolk was referred to the 02.29 one, ... with all related consequences we have long discussed including all the messages from both cruisers.

Now that all the above situation has been clearly defined enabling the correct positioning of the Norfolk track from 02.29 until 05.41, hopefully with everybody satisfaction, ... we can move forward just as I am doing.

Now we can analyze better the 02.29 checkpoint, with the 4 Royal Navy destroyers passing in between the Norfolk and the Prinz Eugen/Bismarck in that moment while sailing north, ... with the German warships reaction turning west, probably caused by the destroyer sailing more westward ... while the more eastward one was probably the " large vessel " spotted by Norfolk at 02.29.

Ironically, ... the destroyers sailing north and causing those 2 contacts, ... causing the German warships course change to west have been the cause of Suffolk getting back the radar contact at 02.47 ... so it seems that ViceAdm L. Holland move of the destroyers to north, gave him back the enemy contact anyway ... indirectly thru Suffolk, ... apparently ... :think:

Now lets forget the Officer Military attitude evaluations and move forward on this tracks analysis ... :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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