Bismarck Steering Gear

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
bob cornford
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Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby bob cornford » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:55 pm

Good Evening,
I'm very new on here. I'm a Marine Engineer, so have a reasonable understanding of Naval Architecture and Ship Contruction. What I am interested in is to find out what type of steering gear was fitted to the ship. Were both rudders linked? Is it an electro hydraulic design? I did wonder whether the electric motors drove through a worm and pinion, which would require the input shafts to be free to rotate, otherwise the rudder would remain locked. Were the divers going into the steering flat in order to move a coupling? In terms of blowing the rudder off - I can't see how this could be done with any certainty of not destroying the propeller. I have seen some threads where there was talk of removing the rudder stock by undoing the nut and pushing the stock down. Having removed these from 30,000tonne ferries in drydock.....believe me....it's not something you would do in the Atlantic, let alone in a flooded steering flat. Where did the information come from about the starboard steering coupling being disconnected? Similarly the talk about the Port rudder being absent. Surely if the Port rudder was blown off, the engineering staff would have worked that out? If it were so, the Starboard rudder would have worked, albeit manually. I realise that any manual operation would have meant low speed manoeuvring. However, once on a heading and in the 'midships' position, speed could be brought back up. Surely the steering flat and emergency con position would not be below the waterline?
On a slightly different tack. The results on some vessels going astern...with everything in working order, are nowhere near as predictable as many people seem to think. The realities of manouevring a very large vessel are somewhat different when it comes to trying to ascertain why the stern flies up into the wind on one occasion and yet...next time runs dead straight.
I'm sorry if this has been covered....I have read a lot on here, but still not seen any answers.
Bob

Bill Jurens
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Re: Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby Bill Jurens » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:12 pm

You have a lot of questions there, but it's possible to tackle them all, albeit briefly. I'll insert brief answers -- recovered from memory -- into your text between asterisks, so please read on..

Were both rudders linked?
***Yes, but they could be worked independently as well.***

Is it an electro hydraulic design?
***Electric motors running a worm and pinion type of arrangement, fairly standard for the period.***

Were the divers going into the steering flat in order to move a coupling?
*** little firm information in surviving narratives***

In terms of blowing the rudder off - I can't see how this could be done with any certainty of not destroying the propeller.
*** A very unlikely process for either rudder in my opinion.***

I have seen some threads where there was talk of removing the rudder stock by undoing the nut and pushing the stock down. Having removed these from 30,000tonne ferries in drydock.....believe me....it's not something you would do in the Atlantic, let alone in a flooded steering flat.
*** Totally agree, and totally useless. Starboard rudder hopelessly distorted and wouldn't move anyway, port rudder gone. ***

Where did the information come from about the starboard steering coupling being disconnected?
*** Don't know. It would have been a good approach to try in any case.***

Similarly the talk about the Port rudder being absent. Surely if the Port rudder was blown off, the engineering staff would have worked that out?
***We don't know how much the crew knew about the damage around the bottom. It's my belief that the port rudder separated from the torpedo explosion, though it may have come off as the ship hit bottom and/or during the slide afterwards. I consider these latter possibilities much less probable. The nature of the break suggests that there would have been little indication inside the ship that the rudder was actually gone.

If it were so, the Starboard rudder would have worked, albeit manually.
*** Not a chance. The starboard rudder was hopelessly wrecked, and wouldn't have turned in any case. The entire mechanism was displaced.***

I realise that any manual operation would have meant low speed manoeuvring. However, once on a heading and in the 'midships' position, speed could be brought back up. Surely the steering flat and emergency con position would not be below the waterline?
On a slightly different tack. The results on some vessels going astern...with everything in working order, are nowhere near as predictable as many people seem to think. The realities of manouevring a very large vessel are somewhat different when it comes to trying to ascertain why the stern flies up into the wind on one occasion and yet...next time runs dead straight.
*** With one rudder gone and the other completely jammed, no steering at all was possible. I concur with your assessments of attempting to steer otherwise, or only with engines.***

I'm sorry if this has been covered....I have read a lot on here, but still not seen any answers.
*** Hopefully this helps a bit ***

Bill Jurens.

bob cornford
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby bob cornford » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:40 pm

Thanks for that Bill. One of my colleagues on the ship was trying to find a drawing of the worm wheel steering, which is what we suspected she was fitted with. However you look at it, they were very unlucky.
Regards
Bob

bob cornford
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby bob cornford » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:00 pm

Does anyone know of any drawings or photos of the steering gear of the ship? Any other relevent information please.
Kind Regards
Bob

Bill Jurens
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Re: Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby Bill Jurens » Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:14 am

I was surprised to find how scarce copies of these sorts of drawings are on the internet and in various secondary sources, particularly when one considers how critical the steering arrangements turned out to be in the sinking of Bismarck. That being said, drawings ARE indeed available.

A 1:10 scale drawing of the rudder (and its installation details) for Bismarck is shown on drawing RM 25/3-385 "Ruder". Similarly, a 1:10 scale drawing of the entire steering apparatus including all of the operating components etc. is shown on drawing RM 25/3-379 "Gesamtanordnung der Steuereinrichtung". A more general view of the steering arrangements of these ships, at 1:100 scale, is shown on the General Arrangement plans for Tirpitz. You would probably want the "Langsschnitt" (profile) drawing RM 25/4-13 and the "Oberes Plattformdeck" RM 25/4-51 at least, plus possibly the after cross sections, "Hintere-Querschnitte" RM 25/4-16 as well.

Copies of all of these drawings are available via the German national archives. I haven't purchased anything there in a while, but copies are unlikely to be cheap.

I have, incidentally, recently finished a set of page-size drawings of the steering arrangements for publication in an upcoming book. Simplified versions of the steering arrangements were also published in other papers I've written or illustrated, but I can no longer recall exactly where.

Bill Jurens.

dunmunro
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Re: Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby dunmunro » Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:38 am


Thorsten Wahl
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Re: Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:01 am

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6767
José M. Rico wrote:Uploaded a new technical article in German to the website, where retired Kapitän zur See Alfred Schulze-Hinrichs, an expert in the field of seamanship wonders whether the battleship Bismarck could have reached St. Nazaire by contrarotating her three propellers.

principal scheme steering geer
http://www.kbismarck.com/bismarck-seemannschaft.html

Image

scalable
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipO ... NJ4-mCAKX6
Last edited by Thorsten Wahl on Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
Meine Herren, es kann ein siebenjähriger, es kann ein dreißigjähriger Krieg werden – und wehe dem, der zuerst die Lunte in das Pulverfaß schleudert!

Bill Jurens
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Re: Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby Bill Jurens » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:05 am

Finally remembered one source, which includes a plan, at least of the after part of the steering gear, on page 26.

https://www.google.ca/search?q=Garzke+B ... -AG7qYOwDw

Bill Jurens

Bill Jurens
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Re: (more on) Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby Bill Jurens » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:10 am

Further to my previous link, if that doesn't work, GOOGLE "The Wreck of DKM Bismarck − A Marine Forensics Analysis". It's downloadable in .pdf format and includes several diagrams that might be useful.

Bill Jurens

bob cornford
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Re: Bismarck Steering Gear

Postby bob cornford » Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:32 pm

I must admit I hadn't realised that Gerhard Junack had survived. Surely he was a key person to provide information on the efforts made to overcome the rudder / steering gear problems? Is there any transcriptions of his information? Am I wrong in thinking Bill G had some talks with him?
Regards
Bob


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