why did lutjens break radio silence

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navalhforums7365
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why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby navalhforums7365 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:59 pm

I've read various views on why lutjens break radio silence, none of them really make any sense, the sheer number of messages sent and there length, some have said he thought he was still being shadowed but that doesn't hold up as Naval HQ confirmed the British had lost contact. One theory suggested he was close to a breakdown another that he was concerned to put his case for not sinking POW before
Lindemann had a chance to. I find it unfathomable that after successfully getting out of the Denmark Strait then losing his chasers that he could make such a blunder.
Sorry if this has been chewed over before.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:44 am

Hi,
the most probable explanation is quite simpler and it underlines the "danger" of fully relying on too modern equipment, without a solid wartime experience about their functioning.....

AFAIK, Lutjens was convinced that he was shadowed (despite British had lost contact for sure) because of the newly installed, very sensitive, Bismarck "passive radar"(FuMb Metox) that was possibly still getting the signal from the British ships, even if this signal was so low that it could not be returned to their emitters. Thus he believed (consider he had a very competent staff too) that he was shadowed when he was not, and therefore he was not concerned about sending long messages......


Re. his breakdown, I do think it's just a novel invention, like the one on his "Nazi" sympathies.... :negative:, while his fears to return to Germany are totally unfounded as he had clear orders ("not to engage battleships except in case they were escorting convoys") and, in addition, to follow PoW (as wrongly suggested by Lindemann) could have potentially carried Bismarck towards other British forces (he was not aware that Tovey was very far yet). :clap:

IMHO, his serious mistake re.messages was generated by over-confidence on his electronic equipment.

Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby alecsandros » Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:05 am

I'm strongly favoring the psychological collapse theory. He was in a pessimistic mood from early April when he was informed of the mission, and confided to a friend that he did not expect to return from the voyage.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:59 am

Hi Alec,
I would say he was in realistic rather than pessimistic mood, knowing the strength of the RN......

As a soldier, he could have considered that Bismarck had few chances, while he had anyway to obey orders, but in any case this is not "justifying" a suicidal attitude, also considering that he had very competent staff people around on board.
However, I agree that pessimism may have played a role in his opinion to be still under British radar tracking (and thus not concerned about sending messages), even if we will never know for sure, of course.


Bye, Alberto
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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby alecsandros » Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:45 am

...Rheinubung was the first and last Kriegmarine operation done in time of near-perpetual daylight. Luetjens knew that without night and bad weather, his ships stood good chances of being detected.

This is what Wiki has on the subject:


"Lütjens sought advice from several colleagues and friends. First, he spoke with Kurt Fricke, Raeder's chief of operations. When Fricke inquired as to what he would do if approached by overwhelming force: Lütjens replied he would run for home. As far as the Naval Command was concerned, this was his policy. He sought out his friend, Patzig, who had commanded Admiral Graf Spee, and a man he had known since 1907. Patzig argued he should remain in port. He remarked that it was folly to risk the chief of the fleet in a limited operation with a single capital ship. Lütjens agreed, but feared being labelled a coward if he turned down the command.[61] His parting words to Patzig were fatalistic:


Given the uneven relation of forces I am of the opinion that I should have to sacrifice myself sooner of later. I have closed out my private life and am determined to carry out the assignment given to me honourably, one way or another.[61]

Following this meeting, Lütjens confided to Vizeadmiral Hans-Erich Voss, then working at Raeder's headquarters, that "survival was improbable", and bade him farewell.[61][c]

Lastly he met with his former commanding officer in Norway, Marschall. He advised Lütjens not to follow Raeder's orders too closely since the situation in the Atlantic could change at any moment. Lütjens would not hear of it. He refused to diverge from his standing orders. He reminded Marschall that two fleet commanders had already been removed from command—Marschall being one of them—and that he would follow the orders given him.[62] What depressed Lütjens's already darkened mood was the fact that Ernst Lindemann, Bismarck's captain, was told by Karl Topp of the Marineamt, that he had run several war games to see if Tirpitz could reach the Atlantic undetected and that at every turn and under every circumstance, the ship was discovered. Lindemann certainly would have passed this information to Lütjens.[63]

"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnt ... .C3.BCbung

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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby navalhforums7365 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:49 pm

So Lutjens thinks the British still have radar contact even though as i understand it his own radar operators were not detecting a British radar contact, German naval intelligence had told him that the shadowing ships had not send signals updating the supposed contact with Bismarck for some hours.
At best would Lutjens not be unsure about wether he had lost his shadower's, presumably even if he firmly believed that the British still had contact he would be wanting to lose them. In which case the messages - one of 45 minutes ? is that correct ? - would run totally contrary to accepted practise.
It would make more sense if he had been convinced that the British had lost contact.

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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby tommy303 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:01 pm

The 'long message' was sent over a period of 45 or so minutes, but was broken down into three segments of about 200 words each as per Enigma protocols. Each of these segments could be sent by an average telegraphist in about four minutes, with a long enough pause in between each segment for an acknowledgement the message was received and to give those on the other end time to decrypt. The total transmission time was therefore 12 minutes or less.

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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby navalhforums7365 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:16 pm

tommy303 wrote:The 'long message' was sent over a period of 45 or so minutes, but was broken down into three segments of about 200 words each as per Enigma protocols. Each of these segments could be sent by an average telegraphist in about four minutes, with a long enough pause in between each segment for an acknowledgement the message was received and to give those on the other end time to decrypt. The total transmission time was therefore 12 minutes or less.


Thank you
Do you see any mystery in Lutjens behaviour or is too much made of it.You see what with his hesitation in opening fire on Hood
- he had orders not to engage enemy battleships but he was already under fire -
i see a puzzle about him i don't understand, there are mistakes made by commanders which are explainable - Yamamoto and the whole Midway planning as an example explainable by his belief, available intelligence .... but then Lutjens behaviour cant be put down to a failure of command but rather just makes no sense at all.

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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:37 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
AFAIK, Lutjens was convinced that he was shadowed (despite British had lost contact for sure) because of the newly installed, very sensitive, Bismarck "passive radar"(FuMb Metox)



The best source we have on this is Helmut Giessler. Giessler reported that a custom radar detector (not a Metox) was built by Group West for Bismarck prior to the mission. However as Marc has pointed out, Giessler did not know for certain that it was actually embarked. Therefore we don't know and can't know for certain either. This detector reportedly used PRF (pulse repetition frequency) instead of wavelength to detect, so it could detect below 60cm wavelength.

I think it is likely that it was embarked aboard the flagship. This explains many of Luetjen's actions and reports. It is a matter of record that Luetjens reported that the British were shadowing him with radar.

Furthermore, he reported that it was effective to 35km. In this he was wrong because British radar was only effective to about 20km at that time. Why did he assume it was effective to 35km? Radar detectors can not measure range, but since this was such new (and secret) technology at the time it is unlikely that there was a great understanding of capabilities and limitations by naval officers in general. An understanding that pulses can be picked up from radar transmitters tens and hundreds of miles distant, but the echoes pulses not received by the associated radar may not have been known by Luetjens.

The signals officer on the Prinz Eugen has also reported that the flagship had a radar detector.
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: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby tommy303 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:26 pm

Do you see any mystery in Lutjens behaviour or is too much made of it.You see what with his hesitation in opening fire on Hood
- he had orders not to engage enemy battleships but he was already under fire -


I think perhaps a little too much is made of Bismarck's delay in opening fire on Holland's squadron. It would appear that Luetjens hoisted the flag signal JD (to open fire) just about the same time as Holland hoisted his own signal to open fire, which would indicate that the chief of fleet had accepted battle. Thereafter, Luetjens would have informed Lindemann, but would have left it to Lindemann to fight his own ship and order his gunnery officer to fire when ready. Lindemann, after all, was a gunnery expert and could be trusted to make the best use of his ship's armament. Any delays in opening fire, should probably be attributed to Lindemann instead of Luetjens, and he might well have had good reasons--i.e., to close the range a little bit more so Prinz Eugen could open fire at an effective range and perhaps so his own gunnery department could switch ammunition types. One should remember that the guns were already loaded with base fuzed HE, but it would have been imperative that any similar shells in the supply train be switched out for AP so the salvos following the initial deflection shoot would have the correct types.

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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby navalhforums7365 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:35 pm

To the last 2 posters thank you, you have in very clear words answered the 2 questions i did not understand about the Bismarck sortie.

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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:43 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Tommy303,

I agree with your latest statements about Adm Lutjens vs Kpt Lindemann open fire delay analysis, ... not to forget that once the JD flags were hoisted after Adm Lutjens order to do it, ... it was Prinz Eugen the first ship to open fire, .... not Bismarck, ... so what was Lindemann waiting for at that point ?

@ Dave Saxton,

your analysis on the radar detector on board the Bismarck is correct of course, ... and that was probably the main reason why Adm Lutjens needed to communicate to SKL in Berlin what he was realizing at sea on that moment using it, ... right or wrong that is what probably happened.

@ Alecsandros,

I think Adm Lutjens was just conscious about his problems and challenges, ... but that is logic given his intelligence and knowledge of the naval warfare on the situation he was into. Surely he was not a " stupid arrogant nazi " like somebody tried to depict him.

@ Alberto,

I agree with you, ... but since we spoke about all those topics several times, ... this was easy.

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: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby Herr Nilsson » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:03 am

@Antonio

Antonio Bonomi wrote: ... it was Prinz Eugen the first ship to open fire, .... not Bismarck, ..


Are you sure? :wink:

@Dave

In the comprehensive correspondence after Rheinübung it was discussed by the SKL, what devices could have been used by the British for shadowing at extreme range (ASDIC, radar, detection of a powered VHF-transmitter and detection of German radar). They even discussed, why it was unlikely the British used radar. They also seemed to be sure that Bismarck used her own radar to detect the shadowing forces on May 25th. A passive radar detection isn't even considered in this context. I assure you, it's unlikely that Bismarck had a radar detection device.
Regards

Marc

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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby Dave Saxton » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:08 pm

Herr Nilsson wrote:
@Dave

In the comprehensive correspondence after Rheinübung it was discussed by the SKL, what devices could have been used by the British for shadowing at extreme range (ASDIC, radar, detection of a powered VHF-transmitter and detection of German radar). They even discussed, why it was unlikely the British used radar. They also seemed to be sure that Bismarck used her own radar to detect the shadowing forces on May 25th. A passive radar detection isn't even considered in this context. I assure you, it's unlikely that Bismarck had a radar detection device.



I have thought about the possibility that Luetjens knew there were two different radars being used by the enemy, and he got his mistaken 35km effective range of enemy radar, from onboard B-dienst intercepts of the enemy's shadow reports. On the other hand Group West seemed to assume that their custom built detector was embarked. We don't know for sure one way or the other.
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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Antonio Bonomi
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Re: why did lutjens break radio silence

Postby Antonio Bonomi » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:08 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Herr Nilsson,

you asked :

@Antonio,

Antonio Bonomi wrote : ... it was Prinz Eugen the first ship to open fire, .... not Bismarck, ..

Are you sure? :wink:


YES Marc, I am sure based on the photo Nh 69722, showing the first salvo of both Bismarck as well as the Prinz Eugen one, ... and the Prinz Eugen main guns smoke we see on that photo is already falling behind the heavy cruiser while the Bismarck one has just been fired and the smoke is still close to Bismarck.

Consequently Bismarck fired after Prinz Eugen did.

By the way, F.O. Busch stated that Jasper was very fast on opening fire after Brinkmann order ... so on Prinz Eugen they have been faster than Lindemann / Schneider, ... once the JD ( Jot Dora ) flag was hoisted on Bismarck mainmast soon after Adm Lutjens order to open fire when ready to both warships.

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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