That 0555 turn....

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Cag
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Cag » Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:33 pm

Hi All

Hi Alberto hi Alecsandros hi Paul!

Using my builders plans I would say that the directing officers platform was well over 70 feet from Y turrets barrels and from witness testimony placing the Walrus pulled back to refuel/launch on the port side of the ship was probably well over 100 feet from them. Would this be a similar distance and direction of fire to the damage caused on the Littorio?

The witness testimony of those on the catapult deck don't mention blast effect from Y turret only the effects of the crane/funnel hit so I'm not sure as I don't think the crane funnel hit occurred prior to Y turret opening fire?

As I tried to suggest in the PoW hits thread Rowell states that the turn was executed 2 minutes after the 2 blue signal and A arcs became open. If this means that it took 2 minutes to turn to give the gunners a steady rate change we know A arcs became open just before 05.58 so that would suggest the turn began just before 05.56?
It would also explain why Y turret did not fire until salvo 9 as PoW would have still been in a turn and Y turret was still slightly wooded.

I've done a bit of study and the immediate effect of putting the rudder over is a slight swing in the opposite direction so the ships would have turned slightly to starboard before turning to port

I'm trying to work out a time frame that both sides think is possible, at the moment I'm trying to work out Bismarck Prinz Eugen and PoW salvo times, deflection ranges, flight times and fall of shot times to see what I can find but my I.Q. level is being pushed to its limit!

Best wishes
Cag

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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:35 pm

... Another reason why PoW may have held fire from her Y turret
was, possibly, that she was waiting on HMS Hood to fire from her aft turrets as well.

I'm thinking about this because Holland ordered the 2 ships to have a certain division of fire, and their salvos were (in theory) successive. Thus, firing the aft guns of Prince of Wales may have altered the firing order of Hood... :think:

Cag
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Cag » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:31 pm

Hi All

Hi Alecsandros, that's a thought but I think PoW Y turret could fire 45° forward of its beam position where as Hood could fire her X and Y turrets 60° forward of their beam position so theoretically Hood would have opened her A arcs prior to PoW.

I think as soon as the ships were able to fire their after turrets they would have irrespective of their sector times and it would not need any further order or be a case of 'after you'.

Best wishes
Cag.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:02 pm

Hi Alec, Mr.Cag, Paul,
of course Littorio's planes were awfully exposed to turret 3 fire as (lacking an hangar) they were stationed directly under and/or in front of the gun barrels at a distance from 30 to 60 feet (when trained aft). In any case, fire from turret 3 was not possible with anybody on the quarterdeck, even at 100+ feet from the barrels under these conditions.
Opening Y turret fire (when trained fully fore) with people not shielded and working without any protection on the boat deck (catapult control position) and even on the weather deck (plane and catapult) would have been IMO not possible on PoW as well.


While I agree with Paul that possibly the 20° turn was a "slow" process, I still don't see any valid reason why the salvo plot and Rowell maps should be in such a bad error depicting this turn when they perfectly fit with the cease fire (due to the emergency turn away of 160° started at 6:01:30) Please see here below:

PoW_maps_comparison_01.jpg
PoW_maps_comparison_01.jpg (124.95 KiB) Viewed 325 times

As you can easily check in the salvo plot (Nr.1 in the picture), McMullen was able to fire a last salvo under central control just before 6:02, with his guns already trained very slightly aft. The next possible salvo would have been fired at around 6:02:30, when the fore guns were already for sure wooded (and the director was obscured by the smoke screen) and this is clearly the case for ALL the maps: they are perfectly matching the guns and central direction limitations at 6:02.

Why should they be in error by almost more than 3 minutes at 5:54:45 (the time that the salvo plot indicates for the tun) compared to 5:57:45 (time that the salvo plot indicates for A-arcs open) ? :think:


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cag
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Cag » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:34 pm

Hi All

Hi Alberto, again I understand your point, but if Y turret fired causing damage to the 5.25 director crew without any problem I'm not sure why they would be worried about the catapult deck crew over a hundred feet away. Y turret continued time fire whilst they attempted to contain the PoW boat deck fire but I guess we will never know for sure.

Im also not sure but I think the time of the beginning of the action at 05.52:30 and the time of the last director salvos of PoW just after 06.02 or the local control salvos after 06.03 would not be changed by a slightly later turn at 05.55 or even an earlier explosion time of Hood on the track salvo maps would it?

I agree I don't know how these errors could be made, if they have been made at all, it is just like the witness testimony of a boat deck fire before the turn and I do agree with you that hopefully between us we could find an answer. All I know is simply trying to attempt a battle map has created a world of problems!

Best wishes
Cag.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:24 pm

Hi Mr. Cag,
I see what you mean and you can be right regarding the real"danger" of firing Y turret directly over the boat deck, while preparing a plane....

What I wanted to point out is that we cannot doubt of all the available maps: they just perfectly fit the cease fire time with the guns actual limitations, therefore IMHO it is not much probable that they are 3 minutes wrong for the 5:54:45 turn......

The explanation why McMullen considered to open fire with Y turret only at 5:58 may just be more trivial: precaution during the early stages of battle (not considered yet "vital" and when he was trying to get the range). The same seems to have been the case for Hood, whose aft turrets could already bear already since the beginning of the action but still were not immediately used.


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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paulcadogan
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby paulcadogan » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:03 am

Hi all,

Alberto, I must concede to your judgement that blast could affect PoW's catapult deck area. I recalled Renown's self inflicted damage off Norway in 1940, that her hangar doors were damaged by Y-turret firing on a forward bearing to starboard. Checking the details:

Both hangar doors were wrecked – that to Port hangar although still hanging was out of its guides and badly distorted; that to Starboard hangar was lying on the deck, and broken in several pieces The upright supports to doors were completely wrecked.

http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/off ... htm#renown

The distance between the turret and hangars is similar on the two ships, though PoW's aft superstructure was more of a shield than Renown's. Of course, Renown was in action for a lot longer to say the least, though her aft turret was wooded much of the time as she chased the fleeing Twins. I'm not sure what the extreme forward limit was for her - may have been similar to Hood's - so that may have been an exacerbating factor.

But on the other hand, the other fact is that PoW's aircraft was damaged by splinters from the crane-funnel hit and not from gun blast.

With regard to Hood's forward limit, I would suspect that had she fired as she was theoretically capable, she would probably have blasted a huge hole on her aft screens, destroying Admiral Holland's and Captain Kerr's cabins! Also, according to Bruce Taylor's book, she did have issues with at least Y-turret and its training ability due IIRC to the action of seawater over time. This was supposed to have been rectified though...

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

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:43 am

Alecsandros wrote: "Wasn't Littorio the one that set her floatplane in flames, during battle for Sirte ?"

Hi Alec,
yes, you are right.
I was traveling and I could check only now which Sirte battle was it. :oops:
It was the Second Sirte Battle (the one fought on 22/03/1942) when after 18:30, with the night coming, the fire of the IMAM RO 43 (stationed on the quarterdeck below the turret No.3 and ignited by the gun blasts firing against the very brave British destroyers :clap: ) induced the British to erroneously assume that the battleship had been hit.

Due to the lack of hangar and the proximity of the No.3 turret to their stationing positions, the Italian recognition planes on board the Littorio's were supposed to be launched in any case before fire was open. I guess in this case the problem that delayed the launch was the rough sea state (the IMAM RO was not particularly good at landing on rough seas.....).


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: That 0555 turn....

Postby alecsandros » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:33 am

Thanks Alberto, I forgot it...

Cag
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Cag » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:37 am

Hi All

Looking through the records we have evidence that perhaps no thought was given to damage caused by own fire

Adm 267/111

Damage caused by own fire
1. Numerous fractured ventilation trunks.
2. General damage to woodwork and electric light fittings.
3. Damage to aircraft & hangar fittings reported in detail in Appendix 1 to my 001A 5th June 1941.
4. After HA personnel suffered from effects of blast of Y turret.

Unfortunately I don't have the Appendix to see what detail was given as to what self inflicted damage was caused to the Walrus and hangar or whether this was Y turret blast or the bits of PoW that became splinters from the crane hit.

We know that McMullen was quite rightly focused solely on hitting Bismarck and in his IWM interview tells us he was unaware of the problems with Y turret so I'm not sure he would have been aware or concerned by any threat to crew on the catapult deck, boat deck or the HA directors.

Indeed if the hangar and the HA crews were affected as Adm 267/111 suggests it seems that fire must have been held for another reason as I'm sure both McMullen and Aylwin would have been itching to get Y turret in action. I don't think they would hold fire to protect the crew and then open fire and actually cause damage to them, it's not very logical.

There were safety stops on Y turret which would show that Y turret would not bear. This would be known to Aylwin, and via a communication number known to McMullen. I would guess McMullen would inform his crews of the move to port and they would follow the pointers as the director moved and as soon as Y turret was off its safety stop and crews pointers lined up the communication number would inform his Gunnery officer and that turret would fire, it was its 'raison de être'.

Best wishes
Cag.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:11 am

Hi Mr.Cag,
I see all your observations, and, with hindsight, I would be exactly of the same opinion and fire all I have, disregarding consequences, being the GO of a ship in such a short battle as DS.....

However, we know that Hood aft turrets were not "technically" wooded already at 5:52:30, and still they did not fire at the earliest phases of the battle. I guess the Hood GO (Moultrie) would not have been much interested in Adm.Holland cabin furniture as well, had he known that he only had 7 minutes and 30 seconds time to hit first or to die......

IMHO McMullen delay just confirms that all GO's involved were expecting a quite long engagement, not a very short one. Thus they were just cautionary (to avoid self-inflicted damages to their ships) until it was clear to them (due to distance reducing at a rate that actually surprised everybody) that the vital phase of the battle had already started since a while, and that they couldn't delay anymore using their full broadside weight, as it should have been made evident by the deck hit on Hood.


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

Cag
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Cag » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:55 am

Hi All

I tend to agree Alberto thanks, I wonder if Hoods after turrets could not bear due to her targeting the Prinz Eugen? I'll have to add that one to the ever growing list!

Perhaps if the timings are a little out and Rowell Leach Briggs and Tilburn were correct that the boat deck hit was just before the turn, this may have been the reason that they realised, as you say, that they needed to get all their guns into action and open the A arcs?

That is why I'm intrigued by Rowell's testimony that the turn was executed in 2 minutes as he would possibly be the only one left able to estimate the length of the time taken to complete the turn. I think you hit the nail on the head when you suggested that the turn was gradual to enable the gunners to have a predicted rate of change and still hold the line as opposed to a sudden change, and have to fire another set of deflection salvos to regain the line.

Thanks again
Best wishes
Cag.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:13 pm

Cag wrote: "I wonder if Hoods after turrets could not bear due to her targeting the Prinz Eugen? I'll have to add that one to the ever growing list!"

Hi Mr.Cag,
I don't think so: the bearing difference would have been minimum and I think some witnesses at the board (among them for sure SERGEANT TERENCE CHARLES FREDERICK BROOKS, ROYAL MARINES, stationed in the PoW P1 5.25" turret) said Hood fired the aft turrets before being hit on the boat deck...... :think:


you wrote: "That is why I'm intrigued by Rowell's testimony that the turn was executed in 2 minutes as he would possibly be the only one left able to estimate the length of the time taken to complete the turn. "

yes that's strange because if this was the case (a "soft" turn executed in quite more than 2 minutes time as it started at 5:54:40 according to the salvo plot), then why he drew it as a sharp turn in all his maps, while he was very careful in depicting as a very progressive turn the emergency avoiding maneuver as well as the turn away ?
Possibly as a matter of simplification, he considered irrelevant to draw a soft turn at that early stage of the battle and approximated it while he was more careful with the key ship movements after Hood explosion, but still.... :think:

I agree, we have more questions than answers......


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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paulcadogan
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby paulcadogan » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:41 pm

Hi Alberto and Cag,

Re; Rowell's statement about 2 minutes - be careful of your interpretation of an "order" versus the "execution" in Rowell's statement:

Immediately after being hit, the Vice-Admiral hoisted the signal for a turnaway together of 20 degrees. This was executed about two minutes later and the "A" arcs of "Hood" and "Prince of Wales" thus brought to bear.


What he is saying that the signal was hoisted for the turn but the execution came about 2 minutes later - that is the flags were hauled down and the 2 ships began the turn 2 minutes later. So if the order for the turn came at 0555, then the 2 ships began the turn at about 0557 and I think this fits perfectly with the opening of the a-arcs just before 0558.

Therefore it was NOT a gradual turn made over almost 3 minutes.

I strongly suspect that the confusion here lies in 2 factors:

1) Confusion of the time of the order with the time of execution in preparing the track chart.

2) Confusion of the relationship of the boat deck hit to both of the above times - i.e. it is presented as being before the order (before the flags were raised), when in fact it was before the execution (before the flags were hauled down).

In the various accounts, the confusion has led to the belief that Holland ordered the turn in response to Hood being hit - i.e. he realized his ships were being "hopelessly outgunned" and that he needed to turn. I believe Holland planned the turn anyway, briefly going to 300 degrees to drop the range a bit faster.

Again, if the turn was executed at 0555, and it was ordered 2 minutes earlier as Rowell stated, the flag would have had to have been hoisted for the turn at 0553! If the hit came before the order, then that means the Germans had to have opened fire at 0551-0552!!

We, trying to figure all this out now, are the victims of simple human error from all those years ago - faulty recall which, again, is absolutely normal in events such as this. To me, this solves the "problem".

Paul
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: That 0555 turn....

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:58 pm

Paul Cadogan wrote: "What he is saying that the signal was hoisted for the turn but the execution came about 2 minutes later - that is the flags were hauled down and the 2 ships began the turn 2 minutes later. So if the order for the turn came at 0555, then the 2 ships began the turn at about 0557 and I think this fits perfectly with the opening of the a-arcs just before 0558. "

Hi Paul,
I agree that this sequence would surely perfectly fit with a possible "controlled" turn executed from 5:57 till 5:58. :clap:

However, why did Rowell draw the turn exactly at 5:55 as a sharp turn instead of showing a "soft" course change from 5:57 till 5:58, as he certainly did at 6:00 with the emergency avoiding maneuver ? Is this just a simplification from Rowell (as for the turn at 5:50, the one at 6:10 etc.)? If yes, then it would be still at a wrong time, no doubt about it. Drawing a map I would show a turn at its execution time, not at its ordered time...... :think:

Also, Schmalenbach reported in his GAR the turn before Germans open fire (and German open fire, after 4 to 5 salvos fired by Hood), therefore he seems to confirm the Rowell maps and not the Rowell account..... :think:

I do agree with your conclusion:
"simple human error from all those years ago - faulty recall which, again, is absolutely normal in events such as this"

but just I would trust more the maps and the salvo plot than the accounts, when having to choose among conflicting evidences.......


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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