KGV and PoW GAR during Op. Rheinubung

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: KGV and PoW GAR during Op. Rheinubung

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:49 pm

Hi Mr.Cag, thanks for the explanation.

I think there are 3 major questions still open, after having merged the official GAR info (McMullen) and the Vickers notes (Wilkinson/Barben):

1) Did PoW fire 55 (McMullen) or 56 (Barben) shots under director control at DS ? I would say that the total number of 105 shells expended during the whole operation is reliable (both reports concur on it). The question is the split between the three engagements.

2) Is it possible that "Y" turret No. 4 gun was fired three times consecutively at salvo 16, 17 and 18, or should we assume that the 6 shells shot by this gun are a mistake from Barben ? Here, personally, missing the input from someone really expert of British firing methodology that could confirm the "consecutive" firing as an "established" practice (under exceptional circumstances), I would tend to say that Barben made a mistake in the count......

3) As the "B" turret problem arose when it was needed to re-feed the shell ring, I would assume it happened at salvo 11 (after having fired the 2 shells loaded in the guns + the 8 shells of the ring), however it should affect before the gun No.1, while it is the No.2 missing 2 shots. Here there is another question for an expert: we have assumed up to now that the first guns fired were the odd ones (1 and 3 of each turret). Could it be that the even are fired first, at least in "B" turret ?

Bye. Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

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Re: KGV and PoW GAR during Op. Rheinubung

Postby Cag » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:03 pm

Hi All

Hi Alberto, I would say that 105 rounds fired in the three engagements would be about right.

1) This is unknown at the moment, it all depends on Barbens 6 rounds for Y turret. Interestingly according to the other Archive letter by Barben there was a Vickers man in A turret with PoW Lt Cawthra, Barben and another Vickers employee in B turret and PoW Lt Lancaster was alone in Y turret. According to McMullens report a Vickers employee was in every turret, this could be a mistake by McMullen so both may be liable to error.

Y turret No 3 gun had no cordite supplied in the main cage and caused the gun to miss salvos 15 to 20 whilst this was resolved, gun No 2 loading cage failed so no loading could take place from salvo 14 on. What would happen to No2 central hoist position? I assume there would be no more shells or cordite rammed or delivered but what would happen to the shells and charges already in the main cage I'm not sure.

Y turret No1 gun missed due to unknown reason, would this mean that guns would be firing out of sequence ie 2 gun salvos but using guns 1 and 4 together or would we have guns continuing to fire in salvo order ie gun 1 followed by gun 4 in the next salvo? I would suggest the latter to enable the continuous salvo firing without loss of Y turrets contribution to continue and the nos2 and 3 guns would need to be rectified if possible.

2) Again this depends on who got it right, I would be cautious and say that it would be more likely that perhaps Barben is mistaken, but we do not know for sure. On looking at the supply it would be difficult for a double firing in the 20 second gap between salvos even if other shells were available.

3) B turret is a problem either way we look at it. As for the issues the turret had, on the 23rd the central ammo hoist arrestor failed due to the axis pin. It was removed and could not be re installed.

The forward shell room hinge trays fouled the shell ring locking bolt, this put both these trays out of action, they were removed just a few minutes after action stations. These hinge trays allow the shells from the shell room waiting trays to be rammed across to the shell ring trays. I assume that if the forward shell room could no longer pass shells another set of shell rooms could load this area of the ring?

McMullen reports no mechanical defect in B turret, but Barben mentions a staff induced defect, if we assume Barben is correct we have 3 losses accounted for. If we assume McMullen is correct then we have 3 losses to find in either A or Y turret to make up the correct total number of losses.

Best wishes

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