Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1680
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:22 am

Cag wrote: " The problem that I have is that both the 06.00 and the earlier timing for Hoods explosion have problems as regards their timings."

Hi Mr.Cag,
thanks for your words, I know very well that unfortunately both timelines have their unresolved inconsistencies.....
However, I would tend not to mix up the 5:55 turn with the Hood explosion time, as Paul Cadogan has correctly separated in two different threads, at least if nobody has an evidence correlating the 2 things, for me there is none, as a turn executed at 5:57 instead than at 5:55 due to a timing misalignment would simply imply Hood explosion at 6:02 (not at 5:58)....

So, speaking about the turn, we can discuss, and I think that there can be several explanations (from just mistakes in witnesses accounts, to a slow turn to avoid disrupt gunnery, to a simple precautionary delay due to the extreme bearing of Y turret.....).

Regarding the Hood explosion time, I agree that Paul theory explains several things but still I consider Jasper official report, Hunter-Terry precise timing (plus Brinkmann, Lutjens, Tovey, ecc. reports) as more reliable and simply impossible to ignore.


you wrote: "We need to collectively work together to try resolve all the issues to arrive at an answer."

I agree we should work together, to get the most plausible answers (I don't think we can get to a 100% correct one).
I wish everybody will be willing to work in an open way in this direction, sharing ideas, info and documents as most people (not everybody unfortunately) do in this forum.....



Paul Cadogan wrote: "we are dealing with a multitude of human beings on six ships, reporting quite honestly their perceptions of the same event."

Hi Paul, I totally agree and that's why I would tend to rely on official documents like GAR's and maps (possibly checked several times before submitting) than on declarations of witnesses, that, even honestly, may be mixing up the events sequence due to their own perceptions.

you wrote: "I have to say that I am quite comfortable with the German timetable of the opening of fire. An earlier opening by Bismarck still gives her way too slow a RoF....."

:ok:


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

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3073
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby dunmunro » Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:01 am

paulcadogan wrote:
I have to say that I am quite comfortable with the German timetable of the opening of fire. An earlier opening by Bismarck still gives her way too slow a RoF even for Hood's explosion time at 0558, much less 0600. And it knocks out PG's claim of scoring the boat deck hit with her 2nd salvo. There IS a PoW witness who describes more HE falls of shot around Hood. Will try to find that. But STILL I'm puzzled by the plethora of British witnesses who say Bismarck replied immediately. But there are still inconsistencies - some say Hood -> Bismarck -> PoW (incl. Leach), others say Hood -> PoW -> Bismarck (incl. Rowell) as the sequence. Again..the traumatic nature of the entire event for the British may have affected recall....



Just to address the issue of Bismarck's RoF.

PoW fired 18 salvos from 0553 to 0602.

Bismarck fired 93 rounds but probably requested ~104 rnds in 26 x 4 gun salvos.

If Bismarck fired at the same steady salvo rate from 0603 as PoW , 26 salvos would carry through to about 0607. However, Bismarck was not restricted to a time sector and could fire at a faster rate, for a short period of time probably up to four salvos/50 secs when she had a good FC solution. A key factor is that Bismarck used fore and aft groups of 4 guns (all guns per turret) rather than alternating guns per turret as in the RN, and 2 x 4 gun salvos could be fired very closely together and might appear as a single salvo to distant observers. The Baron stated, under interrogation, that Hood was sunk with 5 x 8 gun salvos.

If we assume that Bismarck opened fire at 0553 and fired, on average at the same rate as PoW, that means she would have fired 10 salvos quite easily up to 0558 and possibly up ~14 salvos, then a pause then ~10 more salvos at PoW up to 0603, with 4 to 6 more after 0603, fired more slowly due to poor FC solutions.

From the Blake Board (which only considered evidence from Hood, PoW and Norfolk):
Sequence of Events

The following sequence of events has been arrived at from the sifting of all the evidence available from HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Norfolk.

(a) Ships opened fire in the following order: Hood, Bismarck, Prince of Wales, all within one minute. Bismarck fired 4-gun salvos. Gun range: 23,000 yards (approx).
(b) Opening salvo from Bismarck fell ahead of Hood, as observed from Prince of Wales. It was therefore probably out for line and slightly short.
(c) Second salvo fell between Prince of Wales and Hood. It was therefore probably correct for line, but still short.
(d) Third salvo was a straddle and included at least one hit which apparently burst on the port side just before the mainmast.
(e) Fourth salvo was probably just over, as it appeared to be astern of Hood.
(f) Fifth salvo undoubtedly straddled and hit, and Hood blew up. Gun range: 16,500 yards.


Evidence from Suffolk would have only strengthened their conclusion that Bismarck opened fire shortly after Hood, nearly simultaneous to PoW.

From the RN Walker Board:

The action was fought between H.M.S.HOOD (Captain R. Kerr, C.B.E.,R.N.) wearing the Flag of Vice Admiral L.E. Holland, C.B., H.M.S.PRINCE OF WALES (Captain J.C.Leach, M.V.O., R.N.) and the German battleship BISMARCK in company with the German 8-inch cruiser PRINZ EUGEN. Tracings of the tracks of the British ships (inclusing H.M.S.NORFOLK (Captain A.J.L.Phillips R.N.) wearing the Flag of Rear Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker, C.B., O.B.E, and H.M.S.SUFFOLK (Captain R.M. Ellis R.N.) are attached. (Exhibits "A" and "B").
HOOD opened fire at approximately 0553 on May 24th, her course then being 300 degrees, range about 26500 yards. BISMARCK and PRINCE OF WALES opened fire very shortly afterwards. According to the statements from survivors of BISMARCK, PRINZ EUGEN also fired at HOOD over the BISMARCK (See C.B.4051(24) OF August 1941, page 14)
At 0555 V.A.C.B.S. executed a turn together of 20 degrees to port. It is clear that HOOD's forward turrets only would bear at the beginning of the action, but there is evidence that both X and Y fired after the turn. One or more of HOOD's turrets fired just before the explosion - almost concurrently with it - and the bulk of the evidence shows that it was A and/or B.
We consider it established that the third salvo from BISMARCK hit HOOD on the boat deck with at least one shell. Other shell just short from this salvo may have hit her below the water line.
The bulk of the evidence shows that HOOD was straddled by the fifth or sixth salvo from BISMARCK, one shell of this salvo apparently hitting her on the boat deck somewhere near the mainmast, and others may have hit her below the waterline. Some witnesses stated that they saw other hits on HOOD above the water line and splashes just short from salvoes just before or after the one referred to at the beginning of this paragraph; although this evidence may not be very reliable, the possibility of further hits cannot be ruled out.
There is no very definite evidence of the fall of shot from PRINZ EUGEN, though one salvo was described as falling astern of HOOD.
Very shortly after 0555 a fire was observed somewhere on the port after end of the boat deck of HOOD. We consider it established that this fire was caused by a hit from BISMARCK's third salvo. It burned with a clear flame and appeared to spread and then die down. Just before 0600 V.A.C.B.S. hoisted a signal for a further turn of 20 degrees to port together, (the range at the time being about 16300 yards) but it was never executed as at 0600 HOOD blew up and sank in just under 3 minutes.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1680
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:51 am

Hi Duncan,
Schmalenbach report: "Hood had fired 4 to 5 salvos by the time Bismarck and we had answered"

Jasper report: "I received "permission to fire" at 5:55"

Brinkmann report: "5:53: Hood and KGV open fire....... 5:55 PG and Bismarck return fire...

Plus we have the Baron very detailed account (I don't believe he could have "invented" everything) of the delay with which Bismarck opened fire, of the astonishment of his crew for this delay, of the enemy salvos falling well grouped during the interval, of the Schneider repeated requests to open fire, of the "seconds becoming minutes" and of 2 minutes passed before Lindemann words ("I will not......")..... then, after a while, the fire permission came to both German ships.....

Therefore ALL the 3 Gunnery Officers on German side plus a Commanding Officer are in total agreement about this point and, in the absence of any VERY strong evidence, I'm afraid that the open fire for the Germans remains fixed at 5:55.xx.

In this way the RoF is compatible with the whole battle one, while moving the open fire to 5:53 would mean that, after Hood sinking (5:58 as you want to assume....) Bismarck fired awfully slowly to PoW (far less than 1 full salvo per minute), that is not the case, as we know, from witnesses, from the PG film (salvos after 6:03) and from the photos available of several salvos at a later stage of the battle until 6:09.
I suggest to review this thread (http://www.kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5752&start=120)where there are the available photos of the Bismarck salvos to have a confirmation.

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

Cag
Senior Member
Posts: 450
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:53 am

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby Cag » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:43 pm

Hi All

I agree that all the witnesses must be considered and on both sides of the engagement.

The Baron states that Schneider said "Request permission to open fire, enemy has opened fire enemy salvos well grouped, request permission to open fire"

Therefore the initial request from Schneider for permission was prior to Hood opening fire. The Baron gives the enemy open fire time as 05.53. PoW GAR places her 1st salvo just after 05.53 which if accurate would mean Hood had already fired off her salvo pushing this back into the 05.52 time bracket.

Two minutes from the 05.52 bracket would be sometime in the 05.54 bracket, is this a possible scenario to allow both sides to be correct? Obviously time of flight of the shells must be taken into account and I'm still working on this.

Rowell states that after the boat deck hit Holland hoisted the 2 blue flag and it was executed 2 minutes later and the A arcs brought to bear. This could mean that it took 2 minutes to carry out the manoeuvre to give the guns a steady change rate and as we know from PoW GAR her A arcs opened just before 05.58 meaning a turn time start of around 05.56?

I realise this is conjecture but I'm trying to play devils advocate and work out a timetable acceptable to all. Mr Cadogans theory of a later turn seems to answer the boat deck hit and Y turret of PoW withholding fire until salvo 9 as she was still in this 2 minutes turn and Y turret still wooded. It also allows for a later time for opening fire for BC and PG and 05.54 is closer to 05.55 than 05.53 but allows for time discrepancies and evidences on both sides. It also does not effect too much the rof of Bismarck I hope and allows Hood to be hit prior to the turn.

It also gives a valid reason for Holland to turn, Hood was hit and he needed all his guns to bear to hit back?

It was just a thought, I'm sure I've got it wrong but it's the only compromise I can think of at the moment. I keep going back to Herr Nilssons words 'ask the right questions'. I realise this still has a knock on effect for Hoods fatal hit as some witnesses on both German and British sides have it just after this turn ended but I'm still working on that, sorry.

Best wishes
Cag.

Cag
Senior Member
Posts: 450
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:53 am

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby Cag » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:11 pm

Hi All
Thanks Alberto for pointing out the Bismarck gunnery thread. I may be being a little stupid here so could you explain something for me.

The first salvo fired by Bismarck was a Vollsalve, is that correct?

If so why have we the A and B turrets firing at 05.55 and the C and D turrets firing at 05.56?

Wouldn't they be fired only a few seconds apart in a full salvo?

Thanks in advance
Cag.

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3073
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby dunmunro » Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:59 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:Hi Duncan,
Schmalenbach report: "Hood had fired 4 to 5 salvos by the time Bismarck and we had answered"

Jasper report: "I received "permission to fire" at 5:55"

Brinkmann report: "5:53: Hood and KGV open fire....... 5:55 PG and Bismarck return fire...

Plus we have the Baron very detailed account (I don't believe he could have "invented" everything) of the delay with which Bismarck opened fire, of the astonishment of his crew for this delay, of the enemy salvos falling well grouped during the interval, of the Schneider repeated requests to open fire, of the "seconds becoming minutes" and of 2 minutes passed before Lindemann words ("I will not......")..... then, after a while, the fire permission came to both German ships.....

Therefore ALL the 3 Gunnery Officers on German side plus a Commanding Officer are in total agreement about this point and, in the absence of any VERY strong evidence, I'm afraid that the open fire for the Germans remains fixed at 5:55.xx.

In this way the RoF is compatible with the whole battle one, while moving the open fire to 5:53 would mean that, after Hood sinking (5:58 as you want to assume....) Bismarck fired awfully slowly to PoW (far less than 1 full salvo per minute), that is not the case, as we know, from witnesses, from the PG film (salvos after 6:03) and from the photos available of several salvos at a later stage of the battle until 6:09.
I suggest to review this thread (http://www.kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5752&start=120)where there are the available photos of the Bismarck salvos to have a confirmation.

Bye, Alberto


PE's gunnery team did delay opening fire, and there's no dispute about that:

Suffolk narrative:

18. 0550 (B). Suffolk's course 220°, 29 knots, following the enemy.

0553 (B). Heavy gun flashes bearing 185°. Half a minute later Bismarck opened fire to port.

0556½ (B). Prinz Eugen opened fire to port.

0559 (B). Hood blew up.


We have multiple independent accounts on the RN side stating when Bismarck opened fire. The only RN account that states that Bismarck delayed fire was Briggs from Hood, and they were firing on Prinz Eugen, which confirms what everyone states, which is that PE delayed fire. Brinkman was severely criticized by the KM for his action report and battlemap so even the KM had their concerns about his report while the Baron was actually not involved in the action, by his own admission.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1680
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:21 pm

Hi Duncan,
your interpretation is not in line with what the PG team said :
Schmalenbach report: "Hood had fired 4 to 5 salvos by the time Bismarck and we had answered"

Jasper report: "I received "permission to fire" at 5:55"

Brinkmann report: "5:53: Hood and KGV open fire....... 5:55 PG and Bismarck return fire...

Bismarck opened fire almost exactly at the same time as PG did. Even Jasper, not saying anything about an earlier shooting of Bismarck, indirectly confirms this.

The Baron account is quite long, detailed and precise . He reports the words of Schneider that he heard through the gunnery network. He also referred Lindemann words that he heard from other crew members. I don't think he "invented" and for sure he could not "copy" Schneider words from the PG KTB..... :negative:

All German accounts are in agreement that Bismarck AND Prinz Eugen delayed opening fire.

Trying to establish when Bismarck opened fire, I would not trust at all the British witnesses, that are even in contrast among themselves (see Leach and Rowell about the correct sequence of events).


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

Cag
Senior Member
Posts: 450
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:53 am

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby Cag » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:20 pm

Hi All

Just to ask again in case it was missed. The Vollsalve that Bismarck fired in his first salvo why would Anton and Bruno fire at 05.55 and Caesar and Dora at 05.56?

I would not think there would be a minutes delay in a Vollsalve would there? As far as I can gather there would only be a minimal delay as with PG opening Vollsalve fire?

Thanks in advance
Cag.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 1680
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:35 pm

Hi Mr.Cag,
sorry for not answering before, not sure I got the question, but yes you are right. After the vollsalve fall of shots observation, Schneider just needed to correct and fire A+B, then C+D in quick succession (due to a flight time of 35 secs, the guns would have been ready, but I'm not sure how spaced in time were the gabellgruppe semi-salvos)........


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

Cag
Senior Member
Posts: 450
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:53 am

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Postby Cag » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:47 pm

Hi All

Hi Alberto thank you for that I agree the first full salvo would be A+B with a small gap of about 5 sec then C+D.

The GabelGruppe is the bracketing salvo so that would require all the shells in the air at the same time which gives a max time of as you say 35 sec in which to fire A+B then C+D and finally A+B I presume (I would guess quicker than 35 sec so in as short as possible time frame that reloading A+B allow).

Then the good rapid fire for effect salvos 3 to 5 again with around 5 sec delay between fore and aft turrets.

Thank you
Best wishes
Cag


Return to “Bismarck General Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Antonio Bonomi and 2 guests