Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2547
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:41 am

Herr Nilsson wrote: "I came to a very similar conclusion like Paul Cadogan."
Hi Marc,
you are welcome. As you see, it was not impossible to destroy Carthage.....


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: 577
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:53 am

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by Cag » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:21 pm

Hi All

May I ask a question just to make sure I have all the facts correct.

At 05.50 Hood and PoW were on course 300° and PoW had been stationed on a compass bearing of 080° (ie the 260° compass bearing from PoW noted by Rowell on his map) from Hood this bearing taken from the compass platform on PoW to the compass platform of Hood.

The distance between the ships on this bearing of 080°/260° dependant on which ship you were on, was 900 yds as also noted by Rowell which would be approximately 27000 ft or just over 822m. Therefore the distance between the two ships tracks would be approximately 1690 ft or just over 563yds or just over 514m at 05.50 and this would change to 940ft or just over 313yds or just over 286m at 05.58 when on a steady 280° after the 20° turn to port.

Thanks also to Herr Nilsson as what you said about asking the right questions germinated an idea, although I've been down the idea road many times only to find out it was either a dead end, a Cul de Sac, or cliff!

Best wishes
Cag.
Last edited by Cag on Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Cag
Senior Member
Posts: 577
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:53 am

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by Cag » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:23 pm

Hi All

Here is another eye witness testimony of a fire prior to a turn

Lt Commander C G Lawson RN

"I was at the emergency conning position of A turret. I had been watching the Bismarck fire at the commencement of the action and then I trained my periscope on the Hood and was very surprised to see that she was on fire between the after funnel and X turret. It appeared to me that she was very heavily on fire. Another point that much impressed me was that dense volumes of smoke were pouring out of the superstructure the entire length of the boat deck. I then turned to watch the Bismarck fire, I knew we were altering course and I turned my periscope to try and view the Hood but could see nothing of her anywhere until I saw on the water an enormous patch of oil with a few flames flickering on it."

Obviously again from a British viewpoint and we are unsure as to which turn was being initiated or under way, but if we cannot ignore the evidence given by those on Prinz Eugen and Bismarck we cannot ignore the evidence given by those on Hood and PoW. There must be common ground somewhere.

Best wishes
Cag

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3509
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by dunmunro » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:02 pm

I should have caught this earlier, as Paul did:
Phase 0550 (B) to 0851 (B)

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.

0600 (B). Enemy bore 208°.
(Suffolk/Ellis narrative)

If we correct the timing to match PoW's salvo chart we get:

0552:30 Hood opens fire
0553 Bismarck open fire
0556 PE opens fire
0558:30 Hood blows up.

User avatar
paulcadogan
Senior Member
Posts: 1100
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:03 am
Location: Kingston, Jamaica

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by paulcadogan » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:13 pm

Hi all,

Duncan, Cag, Wadinga, Herr Nilsson.....Guys...you have made my day! My week even! :D

I know opinions are divided on the matter of the time frame for Hood's demise and I accepted that and moved on.

But seeing it raised again in relation to this hit on PoW, I have to once again reiterate that IMHO the key in determining reliable times is to use the most objective measure. The personnel in PoW's transmitting station, working with the AFCT, with a precise record of salvo times, bearings coupled with the surrounding events that were noted, concentrating on their task with NO distractions of shells falling around and the horryfying images of Hood blowing up, to me provide the most reliable and telling evidence.

That concussion felt at salvo 12 - the TS personnel knew when the guns were firing, whether 14-inch or 5.25, so it was not the guns. There was nothing else to create the concussive effect that set off the pointers than a hit. The only PG hit that could have come in close to that time was the HACS (and I believe it did come in near that time, as McMullen reported) but this would in no way have been felt in the TS. The ONLY thing is that 15-inch shell from Bismarck - entering from 10 degrees off the bow. I would certainly think that if it was coming from 50 to 60 degrees off the bow, underwater deviations could not have been that much for it to curve left to 10 degrees. But we know that PoW turned towards Bismarck to avoid Hood's wreck site and a heavy hit was felt almost immediately - so the hit came in sharply off her bow. It fits.

And don't forget the large line spread that appeared in salvos 11 and 12, just as 17 and 18 were "ragged" when the ship was under helm also affecting the pointers, suggesting that for 11 and 12...the ship was turning.

And if PoW was under fire from Bismarck when she fired salvo 12, Hood was in her death throes at salvo 12.

2 + 2 = 4. It fits. Mr. Spock....it is logical.

Paul
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2547
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:55 am

Hi Paul,
you know very well that your theory about Hood explosion at an earlier stage always intrigued me, since the beginning.

However, this theory is in contrast with several official reports (e.g. Lutjens), with the count of shells of the Baron and, most of all, with the best British side witness (by the official board admission) Hunter-Terry (stating that Hood exploded at 6:00) and with Jasper quite precise gunnery report, that tells us he saw the first heavy salvo from Bismarck around PoW falling at 6:01 (the CP hit one).......

More, the photo NH69724, showing the initial explosion phase (there is still the vertical pillar of smoke well visible, shows PoW at 800 meters from Hood and the PG film shows PoW CP hit and salvo 16 (fired at 6:00:50) at a distance that is NOT compatible with an explosion of Hood 3 minutes before: at that time PoW would have been well ahead of Hood, according to your theory.

I'm afraid that to solve some inconsistencies,the theory is creating others..... :think:


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

User avatar
Herr Nilsson
Senior Member
Posts: 1213
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Germany

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by Herr Nilsson » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:39 pm

:oops: Once again I missed the moment when opinion (about salvo 16) has become fact. Can you give me a clue?
Regards

Marc

"Thank God we blow up and sink more easily." (unknown officer from HMS Norfolk)

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2547
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:02 pm

Hi MArc,
ok, agree. I just remember now that you don't accept Antonio's reconsturction of the PoW salvos......

So this salvo is, in your opinion, No. ?


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

User avatar
paulcadogan
Senior Member
Posts: 1100
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:03 am
Location: Kingston, Jamaica

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by paulcadogan » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:11 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:More, the photo NH69724, showing the initial explosion phase (there is still the vertical pillar of smoke well visible, shows PoW at 800 meters from Hood and the PG film shows PoW CP hit and salvo 16 (fired at 6:00:50) at a distance that is NOT compatible with an explosion of Hood 3 minutes before: at that time PoW would have been well ahead of Hood, according to your theory.
Hi Alberto,

I know you were intrigued by my theory and I really appreciate how you evaluated it and handled your eventual disagreement.

First...how can you possibly see the CP hit in the PG film? The Germans certainly never saw it, looking through their high powered lenses....

Second, As Herr Nilsson just intimated...Why does the PG film have to be showing salvo 16? My theory puts that salvo as 14. And again it still fits.

Based on the discussion we are having now, and the evidence of the GAR, my suspicion is that the sequence of hits on PoW was as follows:

Hit 1 : Underwater hit from Bismarck - felt almost immediately as the ship turned to avoid Hood's wreck. Note that no damage reports stemmed from that hit other than the note in the TS.

Hit 2: The HACS hit, knocking out the forward directors after the 5.25's fired 3 salvos, causing transfer of control aft. (Would not have been felt in the TS, but may have been felt on the CP.)

Hit 3: The crane-funnel hit, upsetting further the aft directors (already affected by Y-turret) and preventing further involvement of the 5.25's.

Hit 4: The CP hit, the concussion of which exacerbated the damage already caused by the HACS hit, releasing the flood of hot water from the tanks in the HACS support structure (thereby making the British damage assessors think the HACS hit was from the same salvo - prior to any scrutiny of the gunnery report.)

There is indeed the possibility, IMHO, the the C-F and CP hits could have been from the same salvo, but I tend to think not.

Have to head out to work now, but suffice to say that inconsistencies are almost inevitable given that we rely on human recall for so many things. Some things may never be figured out for sure.

Paul
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2547
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:22 pm

Hi Paul,
I see your proposed sequence: it would be theoretically possible with Hood fatally hit at 5:58 even if 1) the crane hit looks a bit after the CP one, with the ship already starting the turn away and 2) the UW hit should have been deviated in direction by more than 30° traveling underwater (extremely unlikely...), see your posted drawing above http://www.hmshood.com/history/denmarks ... damage.gif :think: .

The main problem however is always with Hood explosion. :think:

You have not yet explained why Hunter Terry (in his precise timing) said 6:00 as well as why Jasper was unable to see any Bismarck heavy salvo around PoW before 6:01...... apart from Lutjens, Rowell etc, all clearly stating 6:00.


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: 3509
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by dunmunro » Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:11 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:Hi Paul,
you know very well that your theory about Hood explosion at an earlier stage always intrigued me, since the beginning.

However, this theory is in contrast with several official reports (e.g. Lutjens), with the count of shells of the Baron and, most of all, with the best British side witness (by the official board admission) Hunter-Terry (stating that Hood exploded at 6:00) and with Jasper quite precise gunnery report, that tells us he saw the first heavy salvo from Bismarck around PoW falling at 6:01 (the CP hit one).......

More, the photo NH69724, showing the initial explosion phase (there is still the vertical pillar of smoke well visible, shows PoW at 800 meters from Hood and the PG film shows PoW CP hit and salvo 16 (fired at 6:00:50) at a distance that is NOT compatible with an explosion of Hood 3 minutes before: at that time PoW would have been well ahead of Hood, according to your theory.

I'm afraid that to solve some inconsistencies,the theory is creating others..... :think:


Bye, Alberto
Terry-Hunter:
53. Will you describe what you saw of the action particularly with reference to the "Hood", from the time "Hood" opened fire?

"Hood" opened fire with foremost turrets, that is "A" and "B", at 0552. "Prince of Wales" opened fire with "A" and "B" turrets shortly afterwards. "Bismarck's" first salvo straddled the "Hood", apparently no hits. One or two more salvos fell close to the "Hood". One salvo which fell astern of "Hood" I took to be 8" H.E. The splashes were considerably smaller than the previous ones and apparently burst on striking the water. There was a flash and black smoke when it burst.
At 0557 "Hood" was hit amidships by "Bismarck's third or fourth salvo. A big fire started just before the main-mast and a lot of black smoke was given off. The fire appeared to die down slowly and then increase again, flames were a dull red colour. The flames did not reach high but appeared but appeared (sic) to be burning just forward, around the foot of the main-mast. "Hood" continued to fire and fired one salvo from the after group on the foremost bearing. At 0600 there was a heavy explosion at the after end of the "Hood", no actual fall of shot was observed at that time. A column of smoke rose above the ship and completely enveloped her. It formed into a mushroom at the top. I thought she had blown up completely but shortly afterwards the smoke cleared sufficiently for me to see her. She was apparently still moving ahead and turning to port. She was down at the stern and listing heavily to port and the after part of the ship appeared to be a mass of twisted framework, as though the plates of the side had been blown out leaving only the frame. The part of the ship which I saw was just forward of "X" turret. At this time we were turning to port between the "Hood" and the enemy and I observed debris falling towards "Prince of Wales", in particular one large piece that looked like the main-mast or a derrick. 0601, "Prince of Wales" was hit by a shell in the after funnel and this obstructed my attention. Shortly after this I observed "Hood's" bows sticking vertically out of the water and sinking rapidly, I think on an even keel. This was about 0603 and after that I saw nothing but black smoke hanging over the scene of the wreck.
T-H's timing are only approximate since we know when Hood opened fire, and he could easily be in error by a whole minute or more since there is never any reference to fractions of a minute. He is confused about the number of salvos that landed around Hood. There is, however, no mention of a two or three minute delay before Bismarck opens fire and he specifically mentions that Bismarck's salvos landed before PEs.

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3509
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by dunmunro » Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:32 pm

I've gone over all the testimony carefully, and there's just no mention of a 2 or 3 minute delay between Hood and Bismarck opening fire and we have the narrative from Ellis that Bismarck opened fire shorty after Hood, and that it was PE that delayed opening fire.

The idea that Bismarck delayed opening fire for two minutes is just not supported by the evidence available. It seems to have been derived from a mistaken interpretation of PE's war diary and from the Baron who seems to have been influenced by it. Yet when we compare the Baron's story with Brooke's (they were doing analogous jobs in the rear director of each ship) we can see that the Baron really has little to say about the action because his attention was focused elsewhere.

This is a particularly clear account from Norfolk:


44. Are you Paymaster Commander R. Bailey, R.N.?

Yes.
45. Will you tell the Board from the model what the inclination of "HOOD" was?

Witness indicated from the model an inclination of about 45 to the right.
46. What was your impression of the visibility and colour of the horizon?

The visibility was clear, the colour of the horizon, I think the sky was grey down on the horizon, but clear and a good background, for the "HOOD" and "PRINCE OF WALES", as I saw them they were still silhouetted against the sky and they both appeared as small black silhouettes. The horizon was light grey.
47. Where were you?

At the after end of the Compass Platform of "NORFOLK."
48. Were you watching through binoculars or with the naked eye?

Through binoculars at times.
49. Are your impressions of the action clear or not?

Yes, quite clear.
50. Will you describe what you saw of the action with "BISMARCK," salvo by salvo?

I cannot describe it salvo by salvo. I watched the "HOOD" and "PRINCE OF WALES" approaching and saw them open fire, "HOOD" opening fire first. I noted the time she opened fire in my notebook, which was 0553. From then on I was shifting my sight from "HOOD" and "PRINCE OF WALES" across to "BISMARCK" and back, to see the effect of the sire from both sides. I noted in my notebook that "HOOD" was on fire two minutes after she first opened fire, and that she blew up four minutes after that. I cannot say how many salvoes she fired, nor at that range was I able to detect hits on either ship.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 2547
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:54 pm

Hi Duncan,
thanks a lot for posting Hunter-Terry again here :clap:
you wrote: "T-H's timing are only approximate"
I'm afraid this was not the advise of the officers present at the Hood board of inquiry that rated him as the best one. :negative:
His timing is simply perfect, with 3 minutes between the deck hit and the fatal hit (it also match Briggs description of what happened on Hood). Also the crane hit on PoW is perfectly timed.
His salvo count may be just incomplete, not imprecise at all. The elapsed time (as described) between open fire (5:55) and Hood deck hit is exactly what can be expected.
I don't see any major error, except he thought it was BS to hit the deck of Hood.....
you wrote: "The idea that Bismarck delayed opening fire for two minutes is just not supported by the evidence available.
In addition to Brinkmann (PG KTB), "just" :wink: by Jasper precise account (please don't try to "interpret" it at your convenience....) and by the Baron account, that is by the 2 most relevant witnesses, being the GO of PG and the third officer (the only survivor) of the gunnery department in BS......Nobody else can say better than them what happened, for sure not a "paymaster" on board of Norfolk. :negative

More, if Bismarck opened fire at 5:53, as you try to say, than we have to admit that she was firing in an indecently slow way during the whole battle, not having to cope with any GIC procedure and having a theoretical RoF better than the British ships....... :negative:


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: 577
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:53 am

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by Cag » Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:37 am

Hi All

Hi Alberto, I know you are a fair man, so I hope you can help. The problem that I have is that both the 06.00 and the earlier timing for Hoods explosion have problems as regards their timings.

The testimony of Jasper, the Baron, Hunter-Terry etc must not be ignored. But I do feel that if we are to offer this courtesy to those individuals then we must do the same for Leach Rowell Briggs Tilburn and to Mr Bailey be they Gunnery officers or paymasters and no one's evidence should be dismissed.

The reason I have been working hard on this is because of the number of inconsistencies I've found in the 06.00 timeline that also need to be resolved. If either timeline is to be used by all, the problems that both timeliness have need to be resolved, therefore the issues that the 06.00 timeline also have cannot just be ignored.

Tovey gives the explosion time as 06.00 iirc but gives the boat hit on Hood prior to the turn, why?

If that is the accepted view of the C in C it must have been the accepted view of the 1st and 2nd Boards, why?

No one at the 2nd Board said Leach or Rowell or Briggs or Tilburn were 'unreliable' witnesses yet they give a boat deck hit prior to a turn, why?

This question as well as others have not been satisfactorily answered as of yet and Mr Cadogans paper does resolve some of these questions and yes it also raises others. We need to collectively work together to try resolve all the issues to arrive at an answer, as Herr Nilsson suggests we need to ask the right questions.

As always
best wishes
Cag.

User avatar
paulcadogan
Senior Member
Posts: 1100
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:03 am
Location: Kingston, Jamaica

Re: Denmark Strait hits on HMS PoW

Post by paulcadogan » Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:56 am

Hi all,

@ Alberto

Hunter-Terry places the C-F hit at about a minute after Hood blew up. My scenario puts it at about that plus a little. Remember too that the British (Leach's report) put the CP hit at 0602:30 - long after it really happened and after the C-F hit. And.. Hunter-Terry says Bismarck's first salvo straddled the Hood!

The thing is the C-P hit is linked to the firing of the 5.25's via the sequence involving the HACS hit as described in the GAR.

The entry angle for the underwater hit shown on the Hood website diagram is not consistent with the description given in the report:
During the early morning action on May 24th a heavy hit was felt abreast the Starboard Diesel Room. ........The angle of entry was 10º from forward and the angle of descent (measured from the ship’s perpendicular) was from 2º to 4º.
http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/off ... htm#pofwds

...unless of course 10 degrees from forward means forward of the beam.... :think: Does it?

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....

There is so much confusion here - all because we are dealing with a multitude of human beings on six ships, reporting quite honestly their perceptions of the same event. Some stories will match, others will conflict. We have given ourselves the unenviable task of trying to sort it all out and....... yet look at it - all our own perceptions are still causing us to agree on some aspects, yet disagree on others - look at the heated discussions that have dragged on for many months! It is very true that no theory adds up perfectly - whether 0553 or 0555, 0558 or 0600, whether 15 miles or 12 miles, conspiracy or no conspiracy. :stubborn: :stubborn:

Anyway, Cag, keep doing what you're doing and keep asking questions. We may not get all the answers, but we may understand things a little better.

One more thing I just noticed....on the salvo plot and the Rowell track chart....both show the 20 degree turn being executed BEFORE 0555 - at about 0554:30!!

Paul
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

Post Reply