Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:05 pm

Hello everybody,

thanks for those answers.

So, if I get the data right it should be assumed that PoW was commissioned on January 19th, 1941 and declared " completed " on March 31st, 1941.

Now it is interesting to know what was the reason for those 2 different date and situation.

What was done on the warship between those 2 dates ?

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: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:48 am

Hello everybody,

here some data :
January 1941

19th - COMMISSIONED , incomplete, and with only half her crew, for trials. CO Captain Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton RN.
(The Luftwaffe raids were continuing on Liverpool so the decision was taken to move the PRINCE OF WALES to Rosyth to complete her fitting out. When she sailed from Birkenhead she had embarked workers from Cammell Laird and Vickers Armstrong who were working on her main armament turrets)

28th - At 1200 hours the PRINCE OF WALES sailed from the Mersey. In Liverpool Bay she was joined by the light cruiser CURACOA and the destroyer HIGHLANDER and course was set northerly.

En route she carried out gun trials.

29th - At 1300 hours off Cape Wrath the PRINCE OF WALES, CURACOA and HIGHLANDER were joined by the light cruiser NIGERIA and destroyers INGLEFIELD, MAORI and NIZAM joined from Scapa Flow.

Gun trials were carried out off Cape Wrath.

30th - At 1445 the PRINCE OF WALES, CURACOA, NIGERIA and destroyers INGLEFIELD, MAORI, NIZAM and HIGHLANDER arrived off Rosyth.

The PRINCE OF WALES entered ROSYTH for completion of fitting out.

February 1941

1st to 28th - Fitting-out at Rosyth.

(Note: Fit of radar Type 281 for aircraft warning and limited fire-control use, together with radar Type 284 for fire-control of forward main armament, and four Type 285 for fire-control of 5.25in armament was completed)

15th - The PRINCE OF WALES new CO Captain John Catterall Leach MVO RN took command.

March 1941

1st to 23rd - Fitting-out at Rosyth

24th - The PRINCE OF WALES, with workers from Cammell Laird and Vickers Armstrong still embarked, escorted by destroyers QUANTOCK, LIDDESDALE and AVON VALE sailed from Rosyth for Scapa.

25th - The PRINCE OF WALES, QUANTOCK, LIDDESDALE and AVON VALE arrived at Scapa.

26th - The PRINCE OF WALES commenced working up exercisers.

31st - The PRINCE OF WALES was officially classified as COMPLETED .
The 'completion' was achieved by waiving various vital tests and before her armament was fully operational.

(The Admiralty was desperate to have the PRINCE OF WALES operational to join the KING GEORGE V as a credible deterrent against the BISMARCK and TIRPITZ. The PRINCE OF WALES was late completing; the problem had started with the bomb damage whilst in the fitting out basin. The repairs had taken priority over various tests and because of Admiralty pressure many important tests were not carried out; including watertight compartment air tests, tests on fuel oil systems, full power trials et al. Also the quadruple 14in turrets were not fully operational which why Vickers Armstrong staff were still embarked)

April 1941

1st to 26th - The PRINCE OF WALES was at Scapa Flow carrying out working up exercises. Gunnery exercises were severely curtailed due to the continuing problems with the quadruple 14in turrets. The work up included checking radar performance and the calibration of air warning and fire control equipment.

27th - It was on this day that the last of her three turrets was accepted from Vickers Armstrong and practice drills with all her armament could commence.

(The PRINCE OF WALES went to sea with HACS IVGB, with full radar ranging systems, and no less than nine AA fire control radars: four Type 285 Radars, one on each High Angle Director Tower and four Type 282 Radars, one on each Mk IV pom-pom director, and a long range Type 281 Radar which also had precision ranging panels for aerial and surface targets. This placed the PRINCE OF WALES in the forefront of naval HA AA fire control systems at the time)

May 1941

8th - Carried out Full Power Trials.

21st - Ship reported to CinC Home Fleet as ready for Fleet service.

(The PRINCE OF WALES had had less than two months working up, which was completely inadequate considering all the new systems and the fact that 80% of her crew were Hostilities Only and had never been on a ship before. Further she still had major problems with her main armament and 100 Vickers Armstrong staff were embarked attempting to fix the problems. The BISMARCK in contrast had worked up over a period of five months and was fully operational and efficient)
Extracted from here :

http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono ... _Wales.htm

Now you can compare those data with the HMS King George V ones :

http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-01BB-KGV.htm

Where from commissioning to completion : PoW was 72 days and KGV was 71 days.
The problems left were all the same on both warships : the quadruple turrets.

Difference was that when KGV was declared " completed ", simultaneously she joined the Home Fleet, while for the PoW from the " completion " declaration until the date she joined the Home Fleet it took another 51 days of working up.

Now why PoW was a " Green ship ", with " Teething troubles " in May 1941 while the KGV has never been declared the same and started being used for service ?

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: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Cag » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:30 pm

Hi All,
Sorry for the absence in posting for a while but have had some serious health problems in the family which are unfortunately still on going but thankfully there is a light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully the worst is over! I have all PoW log books from January to October 1941 which obviously includes all her movements including her gunnery exercises, I think I did post the exact number of gunnery trials etc on another thread but due to her turret problems her actual main armament full calibre full and half charge and reduced calibre firing exercises were only counted in hours (IIRC about 8). HMS King George V arrived at Scapa on December 2nd 1940 I think and therefore could begin her working up exercises at this time, whilst HMS PoW was still in Birkenhead under construction. PoW was commissioned as a Royal Navy ship at noon on the 19th January 1941 under the command of Rear Admiral 'Turtle' Hamilton DSO. During the attempt to move the ship from the Cammell Laird basin into the Mersey she was pulled onto bomb craters in the basin floor caused by the German Blitz on Birkenhead that had caused damage to PoW putting her construction back due to repair. Her condensers were clogged but after clearing and surveying the basin her crew lightened the ship enough to enable her draught to clear the obstruction and as has been stated she sailed for Rosyth for completion with two of her screws lashed to the quarterdeck (Due no doubt to Churchills insistance that these two ships were commissioned as quickly as possible) and suffering a shaft shut down due to 'hot bearings' en-route. She remained at Rosyth until 1202hrs on the 27th March 1941 (During which time she was completed, UP launchers, RDF etc) when she was sailed into the stream and conducted De-Gausing and storing and then sailed for Scapa still with Cammell Laird and of course Vickers Armstrong workers on board conducting engine and gun trials en-route arriving at Scapa at 2003hrs on the 28th March 1941 (Thus meaning that on 31st March 1941 apart from mechanical defects and her working up she was 'completed'). I think that we can see that this gives the KG V a good three months lead on PoW in working up time (Although KG V didn't have a interuption free working up herself!) and with Pow's Y turret not being released by Vickers Armstrong until late April 1941 it's easy to see why PoW was considered a 'Green ship' (She sailed on the BC operation with three Vickers workers taking charge of maintenance of the three turrets with crew working under instruction). HMS KG V on the other hand had been working up from December 1940 to May 1941 as opposed to PoW from March 1941 to May 1941 and therfore could be considered as a little more 'worked up' than PoW. Hope this as always helps,
Cag.

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Re: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by wadinga » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:59 pm

Hello Antonio,

You say:
Where from commissioning to completion : PoW was 72 days and KGV was 71 days.
The problems left were all the same on both warships : the quadruple turrets.

Difference was that when KGV was declared " completed ", simultaneously she joined the Home Fleet, while for the PoW from the " completion " declaration until the date she joined the Home Fleet it took another 51 days of working up.
Tarrant says KG V was completed and commissioned on the same day, 1st October 1940, but it was only on December 11th she was ready to undertake full power trials.

Tarrant says "On 1st April 1941 KG V having worked up to reasonable state of fighting efficiency, became flagship of the Home Fleet......"

Her working up had been delayed by by a diplomatic mission to the States and various covering missions, but this observation and the multiple failures of her armament when actually engaged with Bismarck, showed that even October to May was insufficient to iron out all the problems. PoW was not even in a position to undertake full power trials until 8th May, just over a month since completion barely two weeks before the enthusiastic but surely premature Leach declared her ready for service.

That service would not be Milk Runs like trundling the the new Ambassador to the States, or popping off a few salvoes of 5.25 whilst covering convoys, but a toe-to-toe main armament slugging match with Bismarck. :shock:

Tarrant observes: ".........Tirpitz completed (Feb 1941) a mere one month before PoW. Fortunately for the British, Grand Admiral Raeder, C in C of the German Navy, sacrificed the small lead by insisting on working-up trials for the two battleships that were as protracted and thorough as a peacetime programme. It was 8 months after completion that Bismarck finally became fully operational, in April 1941 , while Tirpitz was not declared operational until September 1941."

The British brutally cut corners, but those were desperate times. Just as young pilots clutching their Pilot's Notes on Spitfires or Hurricanes had been thrown unready into action the previous Summer, so PoW and Victorious must be in Spring 1941. Just a few minutes after 06.00 on the 24th May, Leach had a realistic understanding of what his vessel and crew might achieve and realised a temporary retreat was the only choice.

All the best- especially to Cag and family and thaks for your contribution in difficult times.

wadinga
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Re: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:10 pm

Tirpitz failed its first set of gunnery trials in June 1941. It was then sent back to the yard to have more work done to the fire control and radar equipment. During this first set of trial shoots it was still without its full set of fire control equipment as well. It was not until after August that it was prepared to pass its shooting trials.

One of the delaying factors with Bismarck was the especially harsh winter, with Bismarck actually locked up in ice for period if I recall correctly. Bismarck was still awaiting the installation of all the fire control and radar equipment by March 1941. The AVKS report indicates that Bismarck's crew was still pretty green circa early May, with they being not very proficient in the operation of the fire control systems, gunnery systems, and radar equipment.

I think Bismarck's problems caused them to put more effort in preparing Tirpitz through the summer 1941.
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: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:39 pm

Hello everybody,

@ CAG,

first of all thanks for the inputs and I whish the best for your family to recover as soon as possible.

@ Wadinga,

now that we have some data to play with, ... lets see who was " completed " and when.

After we can start evaluating how long the training rested for everybody either on the " incomplete/partial completed " status as well as in the " completed " status.

Do I have to consider that when I read " completed " on PoW or KGV, that means that all the parts on the warship have been installed ?

Assuming I am correct on my assumptions, this mean that Kriegsmarine and Royal Navy were similar on bringing the warships to full readiness.

They both commissioned " partial complete / incomplete " warships

They " completed " the warships while into the initial training period until the full readiness.

@ Dave Saxton,

can you tell us when Bismarck received the radars and the forward rangefinder ? Thanks

Of course you can add the same data for the Tirpitz as well.

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: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Jan 03, 2016 4:34 pm

Bismarck had a foretop range finder with a radar by early December 1940. However, it was a case of removing it and reinstalling it a few times. As late as March 1941 it still lacked both the conning tower and aft range finders and radars. Bismarck did not receive equipment at all main fire control stations until as late as late March or April. By early May. according to photographic evidence, it had received rangefinders and radar at these additional locations.

The AKVS was not happy with the aft installation. The traversing gear was too tight at first and the installation could not be traversed smoothly or in fine increments. Adjustments were made but it was an over -correction. At the time Bismarck's AVKS trails were cut short, it was still considered unservicable.

Tirpitz had a foretop range finder with radar, and a rangefinder with radar at the conning tower location, at the time of its first failed set of gunnery trials during June 1941. The aft location just a had tiny, about 2 meter range finder, installed on a tripod. When it was sent back to the yard though the summer these installations were revised, with the foretop location receiving a "DeTe Haus", and the aft position finally receiving a proper rangefinder and radar. When Tirpitz returned from the yard work in late August, it also had its full FuMB suite that it had until Sept 1943, in addition to the three FuMO27 active radars.

Tirpitz finally passed gunnery trials by September 20th 1941. It sailed on its first operation on September 26th 1941 to the Aland Islands in company with the Scheer, Nuernburg, Koeln, and escorting DDs.
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: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by pgollin » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:40 pm

.

Dave,

Do you know the dates when the German navy decided ;

1: That radar was sufficiently reliable to be depended upon as an ASSISTANT to optical range-finders ?

2: That radar was sufficiently mature that it would be the main input for range-finding ?

I ASSUME that radar was the preferred method for range taking at night and very poor weather from the time it was regarded as reliable - is that correct ????

Thanks.

.

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Re: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:57 pm

pgollin wrote:.

Dave,

Do you know the dates when the German navy decided ;

1: That radar was sufficiently reliable to be depended upon as an ASSISTANT to optical range-finders ?

2: That radar was sufficiently mature that it would be the main input for range-finding ?

I ASSUME that radar was the preferred method for range taking at night and very poor weather from the time it was regarded as reliable - is that correct ????

Thanks.

.
Phil,

As far as Naval Ordnance was concerned, right from the beginning- Sept 1936. Fleet Command was another matter though. The Kriegesmarine's bureaucracy was organized into two main divisions; the NWA or Naval Waffen Authority (Naval Ordnance) and Fleet Command. Fleet Command included B-dienst, as a part of Naval Intel, and the MND (signals). The NWA which consisted of the various ordnance and testing commands such as the AVKS, the TVA, the NVA,..ect... was responsible for the research and development of weapons systems. Fleet on the other hand, was responsible for systems application and officer training. Communication between the bureaus was poor.
(circa 1936) Fleet had their own ideas. They had wide ranging thoughts and put considerable importance on naval tactics. By providing a way to see in the dark, radar forced all previous classical concepts of naval warfare to be rethought. For tactics on a large scale, ships had to be detected all the way to the horizon, a requirement that did not require great accuracy for bearing. Determination of range with the (precision ranging panel) to 100 meters was satisfactory.

But Naval Ordnance held opinions that were not in agreement with those of Fleet Command. They wanted above all to see radar made into a method of fire control for various weapons. They recognized in the demonstrations (of the Seetakt prototype) of the accurate determination of direction and range that it was within the domain of the possible not only to equal the accuracy of optical aiming systems but to even exceed them. The advantage of being able to aim independently of visibility spoke loudly for radar. Given a requirement for a universal method of fire control for artillery and torpedoes the range achieved so far of 20-40km was completely satisfactory. Naval ordnance pressed for a requirement of a directional accuracyof 0.2* (the prototype had already achieved an accuracy of 0.1*) and range accuracy of 50 meters.. (von Kroge)


Fleet won the argument and lobe switching was left dormant on the early sets. Thus it was named Seetakt (Sea tactical instead of Seeart (Sea Artillery). Naval Ordnance did not give a recommendation to employ radars for fire control because it lacked the accuracy in their opinion.

However, in practice radar was used for fire control ranging from the beginning. For example, Graf Spee used radar ranging up until it was knocked out by the 6" hit to the foretop during River Plate. Likewise, Gneisenau's use of radar ranging allowed it to accurately return fire with Renown, until the 15" hit through the foretop knocked it out. Scheer used radar for ranging and in one case blind fire against HX84. The documents read that although it was at one point knocked out by shock, it could be reset and used for additional shooting during Nov, 5, 1940, night action.

By May 1940 the radar design had advanced to the point that 50 meters range accuracy and a new lobing method was available. However, there is little evidence that this was recognized by Fleet or that gunnery officers were aware of these advanced capabilities. However, severe secrecy policies may play a role in that.

With Bismarck, the AVKS simply had the radar data stream hard wired directly to the fire control computers. So Bismarck practiced radar ranging by default.

At Barents Sea, an SKL report reads that the cable connection (on Hipper) inputting the data directly to the fire control computer became faulty, forcing the radar operators to use the telephones to rely data to the fire control computer rooms. So it was standard practice by then.

But Fleet really dropped the ball in terms of providing training or directions to officers for the best applications of the radar systems provided. Right after the loss of Bismarck, a division of the Signals Establishment (MND) was set aside to develop radar application and officer training. But they were given no authority to issue instructions to officers until late 41. Then it got bogged down in bureaucratic red tape throughout 1942, and little if any instructions had been given by the Battle of Barents Sea. Official Instructions were finally issued by the fall of 1943, but Bey departed for Norway having received no training.

On edit: that was Nov 5 1940, not May 5 1940.
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: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by pgollin » Tue Jan 05, 2016 12:08 pm

.

Thanks Dave, very interesting.

It is strange that "Fleet" thought radar so important for tactical use and yet the IMPRESSION given is that the Germans failed to develop search radar and instead concentrated on gunnery radar.

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Re: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:43 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Dave Saxton,

many thanks for your precious inputs on the German warships completion status timetable.

@ all,

now, referencing the above available data, anybody can make his own mind about those 2 statements often used on current books :

1) Bismarck : " ... a warship on the peek of her efficiency ... "

2) Prince of Wales : " ... a non fully worked out warship, suffering for lack of training and teething problems ... "

Opinions are welcome ...

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: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Cag » Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:50 pm

HI All,
Thank you very much for your best wishes it's very kind of you all and is very much appreciated. I tend to agree that as far as the Germans were concerned Tirpitz was not considered as operationally ready to sail with Bismarck, maybe part of the question could be was the Seekriegsleitung correct to want their ships worked up to a more satisfactory standard before any operation, as opposed to the rather rushed way that the powers that be (Pushed a great deal by Churchill whilst First Lord and PM and of course sheer neccessity) at the Admiralty dealt with both KG V and PoW and to a lesser extent DoY (Churchill again wanting her sent to the Far East instead of PoW). An obvious difference would be the operational requirements of the two navies, the German strategy of ships raiding to create a 'localised control' of areas which could, as more units came on stream, be extended stretching the Royal Navy to breaking point, and the British need to defend at all costs their home lifelines, the trade routes, and and of course to a lesser extent defend their 'Empire'. I also tend to agree with Antonio as regards the state of readiness of Bismarck and Prince of Wales (Bismarck at a higher peek of efficiency and Prince of Wales not fully worked up), however I would still regard the vast majority of the crew of Bismarck as somewhat inexperienced, although far more 'worked up' than Prince of Wales for Bismarck Rheinuebung was still an operational debut in terms of both the ship and crew.
Cag.

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Re: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:45 pm

1) Bismarck : " ... a warship on the peek of her efficiency ... "
This statement has to be refused.
Bismarck stood at the beginning of the learning curve. They had no full caliber battery shootings with complete fc-equipment.
they didnt know if the equipment and crew stoods the harder war conditions. The crew had been drilled and were mainly "green".

But drill doesnt replace experience.
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Re: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by Steve Crandell » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:11 pm

We also know that Bismarck's AA capability was horribly deficient, both materially and in training.

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Re: Tirpitz sails on part of Rheinubung

Post by RF » Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:06 am

Thorsten Wahl wrote:
1) Bismarck : " ... a warship on the peek of her efficiency ... "
This statement has to be refused.
.
This does need qualification - Bismarck was far better prepared than was POW for battle. And Tirpitz was held back because the ship wasn't worked up.
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