Battle of Denmark Strait hit rates revisited

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alecsandros
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Battle of Denmark Strait hit rates revisited

Postby alecsandros » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:22 pm

Hello,

While thinking about the battle between Bismarck/Hood, it occured to me how different the artillery of both sides fared.

Initialy, both Bismarck and Prince of Wales obtained roughly the same hit rate, but after Hood's destruction, the combination of terrible morale blow, and coming immediately after that, powerfull shell hits on board their ship, forced Capt Leach to disengage... and not to score more hits on the enemy. Bismarck capitalised on his rapid victory, and hit PoW several times from short range (hard to miss at 14km !). After that, with the smoke screen of PoW becoming effective, and torpedo noises (and bubbles !) reported by Prinz Eugen, Bismarck made a hard turn and no longer scored any hits.

The timings are not perfect, the salvo numbers/shots ordered are not perfect. I worked with approximations, and usualy I used Antonio's timings. Total number of shots ordered is the same as in his article...

Cheers,
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Battle of Denmark Strait hit rates revisited

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:39 pm

@Alecsandros:
Hi Alec, very interesting. After 6:00 however Bismarck only hit PoW 3 times and PG 4 (PoW damage report leave no space to any more 15" hit than the compass platform one, the crane one and the underwater one (recovered unexploded).

This does not change dramatically your conclusions of course.

One question: you assume 4 or 5 hits on Hood. The only sure ones are the "fatal" one and a PG hit on the boat deck. All others are not sure as they could be effect of the the explosion of the ready to use ammo. The most probable one is another one on the spotting top for which we have Ted Briggs witness........ Am I missing something ?

Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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alecsandros
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Re: Battle of Denmark Strait hit rates revisited

Postby alecsandros » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:46 pm

... One through the spotting top (probably perforating hit, so Bismarck - as seen by Tedd Briggs), one at the base of the main mast (high explosive, so Prinz Eugen - as reported by R. Tilburn and the Short Sunderland flying boat), and possibly one more in the final killing salvo.

... AFAIK, the original Prince of Wales damage report mentions 4 x 15" hits and 3 x 8" hits. But there is still disagreement over the caliber of the shell that passed through the funnell , that's why I left "3 or 4 hits" for either German ship...

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Battle of Denmark Strait hit rates revisited

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:52 pm

Alecsandros wrote: "the original Prince of Wales damage report mentions 4 x 15" hits and 3 x 8" hits"

Hi Alec,
the damage report states, in the summary page, 3 or 4 15" and 3 or 4 8" hits.

However, in the detail analysis the "ambiguous" hit (the one through the support of the HALA fore directors) is with certainty attributed to a 8" (or even a 6") as it bounced over the roof of the chart room (very thin metal.....) . It could not be a 15" that would not have been even slightly deflected by any structure present at that level. The report excludes the possibility of a 15" in this case.

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: Battle of Denmark Strait hit rates revisited

Postby alecsandros » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:57 pm

@Alberto
THanks, I fixed it :)

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: Battle of Denmark Strait hit rates revisited

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:30 pm

Hello everybody,

@Alecsandros,

interesting comparison based on my 2005 work.

If I can apply few corrections, I would suggest two things :

1) Bismarck shells to Hood instead of 48, ... maybe 44 is a better number ... it can be only 40, ... but 44 is the right compromise I suppose.
I do not think 48 shells with 2 more semi-salvoes of 4 shells fired at Hood was real.
The PoW was hit immediately after Hood exploded.
Reference the thread of Hood explosion time and the PoW Compass platform hit.

2) Hood firing, ... well on 2005 I used 48 shells ... now unfortunately I think it was probably an overstated number.
Reference Capt J.C. Leach first message at 08.00 that morning, ... and PoW gunnery map with " Hood out of action " statement.

My next battle version will contain those adjustments ... :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: Battle of Denmark Strait hit rates revisited

Postby alecsandros » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:52 pm

@Antonio

I understand what you're thinking,
However, there are arguments in favor of the numbers that you used back in 2005 (and for which you are quoted in the header of the table :D )...

For example, Prince of Wales did start a small evasive manouvre to avoid Hood's wreckage. So that order was given - necessarily before the hit on the compass platform arrived. Another order was to disengage - and that order came probably 15 - 20 seconds later, after clearing Hood's wreckage. In it's absence, Prince of Wales would have traveled in a straight line towards the enemy (because after the hit on the compass platform, at least 1-1.5 minutes past until Leach managed to give further orders - such as laying smoke)

So clearing Hood's wreckage + order to disengage = at least 30 seconds. Bismarck's artillery was firing in rapid firing mode... no way time between forward (A + B) and aft (C + D) turrets to be 30 secs or more.

As for Hood's number of shots - it depends if we include the final salvo fired while the ship was sinking...


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