This map, modified from Antonio and Alberto’s magazine submission shows what I believe to be a more correct relationship between the tracks of PoW and Norfolk, and I have moved Suffolk as well on a more speculative basis, to match the only documented bearing at 06:20 from her to Norfolk.
The tracks have been moved bodily and they each represent A & A’s work for which I claim no credit whatsoever. I still have issue with the detail of PoW’s turn away. Other minor changes may be necessary. Norfolk’s track has been moved and the old version erased. Suffolk’s new line location is shown in purple and the old one left for comparison.
Having so moved the tracks we then confirm validity with bearings and distances compared against those recorded.
I assume the distance between Bismarck track and PoW is correct with minimum range 15,400 yds or 7.7 miles at 06:02. The bearing is 326.4 and reciprocal.
There is only one “Tie point” available between PoW and Norfolk’s tracks, clearly documented in PoW’s log, where she circles NE to allow her new flagship to pass, before she takes station 1.5 miles astern. Since we know Norfolk’s course at the time we can position PoW’s track accurately, and as might be expected she is now on the same course as her flagship. Shortly afterwards, Wake-Walker as Senior Officer decides he wants PoW to open out to port and the ships diverge.
The distance from Norfolk to PoW at 05:41 is 32,500 yds or 16.3 miles bearing 208T degrees.
The distance from Norfolk to Bismarck at 05:41 is 31,000 yds or 15.5 miles bearing 280T. (“At 05:41 Norfolk sighted the enemy at 16 miles. Wake-Walker’s report. “05:41 Enemy in sight 276T” Norfolk’s ship’s log)
The distance from Norfolk to PoW at 05:50 is 27,100 yds or 13.5 miles on 221 degrees (“Hood and PoW in sight 220T 14 miles.” Norfolk’s Ship’s log)
The distance from Norfolk to Bismarck at 05:50 is 30,000yds or 15 miles on 280.3T degrees
The distance from Norfolk to Bismarck at 06:00 is 28,300 yds or 14.1 miles on 274.5 degrees. This is the minimum range since both Bismarck and Norfolk turn away from each other. (This conforms with range estimates from Norfolk’s DCT.)
The distance from Norfolk to Hood at 06:00 is 24,300 yds or 12.1 miles on 237T. (“At 05:59 Hood blew up. She was bearing 230T 15 miles from Norfolk.” Wake-Walker’s report)
The distance from PoW to Bismarck at 05:37 is 37,300 yds or 18.7 miles on 336T. “Enemy in sight 17 miles [34,000 yds] on 334T” PoW sighting report)
Suffolk’s track has been moved along her mean line of advance so that she bears 335T from Norfolk at 06:20 when her gun flashes were seen. There may need to be adjustment orthogonal to this.
The distance from Norfolk to Suffolk at 06:20 is 37,200 yds or 18.6 miles on 328.5T
The distance from Suffolk to Bismarck at 05:42 is 23,800 yds or 11.9 miles on 200T (before the circle).
The distance from Suffolk to Hood at 05:53 is 50,400 yds or 25.2 miles on 185T. (0553 (B). Heavy gun flashes bearing 185°. Half a minute later Bismarck opened fire to port.)
The distance from Suffolk to Bismarck at 06:00 is 35,800 yds or 17.9 miles on 209T (“0600 (B). Enemy bore 208°.” Suffolk Narrative)
I consider the correlations to be so good that this a more realistic representation of the Denmark Straits action. When Pinchin produced his plan for the second Hood enquiry, he had no access to Bismarck’s track and little knowledge of how inaccurate Suffolk’s navigation was. There was no requirement to produce an accurate plan for the Hood Loss Enquiry.
There was little academic enthusiasm to produce an accurate plan in 1941-42.
I am greatly indebted to Antonio and Alberto for giving me permission to adjust their plan. Their excellent rescaling of the various plots has made this current scenario possible. Unfortunately, they made decisions which resulted in them positioning the tracks to support their tendentious argument of cowardice and cover-up instead of using the “Tie point” in the Ship’s Log already pointed out to them. By using the “Tie point” most reported bearing information is closely respected and some range anomalies clarified.
Norfolk was never in effective gun range of the enemy and could not have been given minimal speed advantage if any.
Suffolk was never in effective gun range of the enemy and could not have been given minimal speed advantage if any.
Norfolk was approximately 24,300 yds from the sinking Hood. With no rangefinder information, only a guess was available to Wake-Walker. The actual distance was irrelevant to the Enquiry.
PoW underestimated first sighting range to Bismarck by about 3,300yds which is why mapping the minimum range has provided difficulties.
I would welcome the comments of other interested parties.
All the best