Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:49 pm

Hi Sean,
thanks for your contribution about the possible hit probability of Bismarck against Norfolk from the distance where Norfolk was at 05:41.
However, you try here to mix again everything to avoid any conclusion to be reached.... :negative:

We have spent years discussing the Suffolk position, speed and course with her bearings taken from the other ships that simply DOES NOT allow SF to be at 15 sm from the Germans at 04:47 (the last transmitted distance) and still at 15 sm at 05:41, due to their converging courses and to the "S" shape course of the German ships in between...... I will not come back to this point.

Antonio has proposed this set of (green) bearings, agreed by everybody as they are the most reliable ones, and based on these bearings he has built the battlemap, using the available tracks. You may say it's not precise enough: you simply have to respect the same bearings building an alternative one, else you will have to live with Antonio's one. :stop: Here we were simply discussing the opportunity of Norfolk opening fire based on this map.

Plot_redone_bearing_02.jpeg.jpg
Plot_redone_bearing_02.jpeg.jpg (71.44 KiB) Viewed 527 times


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:03 pm

Dave Saxton wrote: "Didn't BS straddle Norfolk consecutively previously? "

Hi Dave,
well, we know from Norfolk that some shells fell close enough to send some splinters on board. There is no evidence AFAIK that they were "straddles" (you remember that PoW splinters came on board PG at DS and were examined, even if PG was never straddled and even never fired at by PoW).
However, the salvos were fired against NF from 6 sm on May 23 at 20:30, before NF disappeared into the mist and her own smoke, after BS fired only 3 salvos. BS was apparently alerted by her radar as she opened fire immediately at NF, but fire was maintained only when in visibility.

For sure, conditions were better on May 24 morning, but we speak about a more than double distance, a distance at which no ship is likely to hit with the very first salvo, don't you think so ?

We are discussing here about the potential threat of Bismarck guns first salvos from 13.5 sm at 05:41, or from 12 sm at 5:55 (where Norfolk could have been without the "avoiding maneuver" done at 05:41, please see map above).
Of course there is always a risk, but Norfolk could make smoke and run away just after the very first salvo (had Lutjens been so stupid to waste ammunition against the cruiser, having already in sight BC1, charging directly on him with 2 battleships....). In this case I don't think Bismarck could get an easy firing solution from 13 sm with a cruiser maneuvering under smoke.

To do so, of course, Wake-Walker should have demonstrated some "initiative" instead of deciding that his role was just the shadower and flank-marker one.


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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Dave Saxton
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Re: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Dave Saxton » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:42 pm

Hipper hit a destroyer with its first salvo on two different occasions in the dark at ranges as great of about 18km with a cruiser caliber weapon, and with slightly inferior FC equipment. Surely BS has even greater potential. W-W has to deal with the possibilities. He can't know what the performance would actually be. He probably knows that his ship has the possibility using a cruiser caliber weapon as demonstrated on the 27th. He must assume that enemy has at least the same and probably greater potential.
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: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:07 pm

Hi Dave,
still I don't see many probabilities for Bismarck to hit Norfolk with her first salvo at 25 km (05:41) or even 22 km (05:55).
The longest range hits ever (after having found the range, not at the very first salvo anyway) were from around 23,8 Km (26.000 yards), against bigger ships than Norfolk.

One thing is to deal with possibilities, another is just deciding to take no risk at all in such a decisive situation, with BC1 already closing and very few probabilities that Lutjens can extravagantly decide to direct Bismarck fire against Norfolk.....


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: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby dunmunro » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:53 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:Hi Dave,
still I don't see many probabilities for Bismarck to hit Norfolk with her first salvo at 25 km (05:41) or even 22 km (05:55).
The longest range hits ever (after having found the range, not at the very first salvo anyway) were from around 23,8 Km (26.000 yards), against bigger ships than Norfolk.

One thing is to deal with possibilities, another is just deciding to take no risk at all in such a decisive situation, with BC1 already closing and very few probabilities that Lutjens can extravagantly decide to direct Bismarck fire against Norfolk.....


Bye, Alberto


We don't know Lutjens' mind and what his thought processes were on the morning of 24 May 1941. However we can be sure that he was constantly doing a risk assessment.

The great fear that Holland and W-W had was that Lutjens would evade the trap set for him, either by slipping past W-W and Holland, or by sighting Holland at long range and then doing a "Gefechtskehrtwendung" and evading Holland's planned engagement by turning north at high speed.

PE's war diary tells us that PE's FC team considered that she was engaging cruisers at DS. Lutjens may have formed a similar impression until it was too late for him to do anything but try and fight his way out. W-W's decision to remain outside effective 38cm range probably played a part in Lutjens' decision making process, and if so then that is exactly what Holland wanted, since he wanted to engage Bismarck at comparatively close range where his superiority in heavy guns could bring decisive results. Holland did not want a stern chase where he would have to engage in a long range gun duel that was unlikely to be successful. Consequently, W-W had problems in deciding how to position his cruisers. He needed to keep them positioned so that they could continue their shadowing duties, and he needed to keep them aft of Bismarck if she decided to turn and run since trying to gain bearing on Bismarck would be difficult especially if she decided to engage his tin clad cruisers with his 38cm guns as she headed north at full speed, and he needed to ensure that his actions didn't tip-off Lutjens that he was facing BC1 rather than another pair of cruisers.

Lutjens would have been considering all the likely scenarios that might unfold when he spotted BC1's smoke, probably around 0547. It is extremely unlikely that Lutjens would consider that he could defeat BC1 and if W-W had suddenly begun to boldly close the range, this may have caused Lutjens to suspect a trap and subsequently head north at full speed. If this had happened then W-W would now be criticized as the man who helped Bismarck escape sure destruction at the hands of Holland's BC1.

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Re: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:06 am

Hi Duncan,
while all your considerations may make sense, the fact is that both cruisers were in condition to engage at 05:41 and they decided not to do so, Ellis for the reasons he explained in his authobiography (very different from your proposed ones), W-W never said anything about his decisions, just contradicting himself about the distances....

What you say is however totally different from what Tovey wrote in his intentionally misleading point 17 of the despatches, where he suggested that the 2 cruiser could not engage because they were not aware of BC1 presence (false since 05:16 as per W-W admission), PG was ahead (true but irrelevant as 8" shells can be used against BS as well), Holland had not given orders (true but irrelevant as a flag officer should know his duty) and both cruisers were following enemy at around 15 sm at an undefined timing during the night (false and misleading as at 05:41 both were closer, 9.5sm for SF and 13.5sm for Norfolk).


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: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Dave Saxton » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:05 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote: as at 05:41 both were closer, 9.5sm for SF and 13.5sm for Norfolk


Still 27,000 yards for Norfolk. What would be the point in opening fire with 8" from that distance?
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: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:35 pm

Dave Saxton wrote: "Still 27,000 yards for Norfolk. What would be the point in opening fire with 8" from that distance?"

Hi Dave,
you should refer to the map posted at the top of this page.

Being at 13.5sm at 05:41, Norfolk actually ended at 12.3sm from Bismarck at 06:00, despite the maneuvers done in the meantime...
Keeping a 240° course, Norfolk could have been at around 12.5sm at 05:50, at slightly less than 12sm at 05:55 and at slightly more than 11sm at 06:00, thus adjusting her fire and being almost within effective gun range by the time Hood exploded.

As I already said this would have allowed Norfolk to fire just after BC1 did and to:
1) progressively adjusting her fire, starting from an extreme distance, while firing at a target that was on a perfectly steady course 220° and not being fired at because BC1 was engaging Bismarck.
2) induce Lutjens to order PG to switch her fire at Norfolk or even to order PG to maneuver, in order to engage Norfolk more closely, helping Holland and leaving Bismarck alone against BC1 ships
3) after 06:00, be of invaluable help to PoW in difficulty, being almost within effective range between 06:00 and 06:03.

We cannot know what the effect of Norfolk fire could have been, for sure it was worth to try, IMHO.


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: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby wadinga » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:54 pm

Hello Dave,

I expect that being familiar (as I know you are) with the optical rangefinder capabilities of WW II vessels I expect you might trust what was recorded at the time, rather than a highly speculative map generated 75 years later to "prove" a contentious theory.

So disregarding that the gunnery officer wrote that open fire was at 06.06 ( incorrect by any mean ) and assuming it was 05.53 as it was on reality, then we can assume we have 2 available distances between Norfolk and Bismarck, at 05.53 ( open fire ) and at 06.09 ( cease fire ) separated by 16 minutes as stated by the Norfolk gunnery officer.

The 2 distances are at 05.53 equal to 30.400 yards = 15,01 sea miles and at 06.09 equal to 27.200 yards = 13,43 sea miles.


There are still speculations masquerading as FACTS around here.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:18 pm

Wadinga wrote to Dave Saxton : "....being familiar (as I know you are) with the optical rangefinder capabilities of WW II vessels .... "

Hi Sean,
I do hope that at least Dave will be able to convince you that the Norfolk estimated distances using an old rangefinder, much smaller and less reliable than the PoW one, may easily be in error by more than 1,000 meters, the only way to correct them being....opening fire..... :negative:

PoW rangefinder was wrong by 1,000 - 1,500 meters (in excess) at open fire. At Gaudo (phase 1) the Italian rangefinders on board the heavy cruisers were wrong by 2,000 meters in underestimating the distance of Pridham-Whippel cruisers, while the latters overestimated the distance of the Vittorio Veneto by..... 4,500 meters :shock: (phase 2).


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: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby dunmunro » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:12 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:Hi Duncan,
while all your considerations may make sense, the fact is that both cruisers were in condition to engage at 05:41 and they decided not to do so, Ellis for the reasons he explained in his authobiography (very different from your proposed ones), W-W never said anything about his decisions, just contradicting himself about the distances....

What you say is however totally different from what Tovey wrote in his intentionally misleading point 17 of the despatches, where he suggested that the 2 cruiser could not engage because they were not aware of BC1 presence (false since 05:16 as per W-W admission), PG was ahead (true but irrelevant as 8" shells can be used against BS as well), Holland had not given orders (true but irrelevant as a flag officer should know his duty) and both cruisers were following enemy at around 15 sm at an undefined timing during the night (false and misleading as at 05:41 both were closer, 9.5sm for SF and 13.5sm for Norfolk).


Bye, Alberto


CS1 sighted BC1's smoke at 0516/24 and did not positively identify BC1 till later (note PE's much closer failure to identify BC1), but regardless, I was attempting to show how CS1's actions could lead to unexpected consequences. You and Antonio always consider the DS battle as a fixed and inexorable event that always leads to Hood being destroyed when that was a very unlikely outcome in the myriad of possibilities.
Last edited by dunmunro on Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby wadinga » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:14 pm

Hello Alberto,


PoW rangefinder was wrong by 1,000 - 1,500 meters (in excess) at open fire.


You will recall McMullen opened fire with a guessed range because his rangefinders didn't give him a solution at all.

much smaller and less reliable than the PoW one,


AFAIK both ships were equipped with 15ft rangefinders.

Are you now diverting away from the previously-held position that the Norfolk gunnery information specifically falsified as part of an enormous and comprehensive "Cover-Up" which has only recently been uncovered by dogged and painstaking detective work?

All the best

wadinga
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Re: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:01 pm

Dunmunro wrote: "CS1 sighted BC1's smoke at 0516/24 and did not positively identify BC1 till later"

Hi Dunacn,
NO ! Listen at his interview ! He "KNEW IT MUST BE BC1" (or he was a total stupid, that I don't want to think).

I assure you I don't think Hood had to explode. Had Hood been hit in another place, the early intervention of Norfolk would have been even more valuable, more and more as distance was decreasing and Norfolk could get below 20,000 yards.



Wadinga wrote: "AFAIK both ships were equipped with 15ft rangefinders"

Hi Sean,
PoW one was much newer (I hope....). I don't have data for Norfolk.
If what you say is correct, we can expect anyway the same error from the same distance, isn't it ?
I do hope Dave will clarify you the reliability of a 15 feet rangefinder (from 1928) at 13sm distance...... :negative:


I still think Norfolk gunnery report from May 24 is totally unreliable, starting from its absolute timing.
Of course it cannot be true as the NF track (both the Pinchin's and the Strategical Plot one) CANNOT explain why distance was decreasing slowly in 16 minutes, while it should decrease sharply in the first 8 minutes and then increasing again (sharply after 11 minutes).


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby wadinga » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:22 pm

Hello Alberto,

NO ! FALSE ! Read his log!


In the interview he had put two and two together retrospectively. A log exists to record things as they happen. Identifying BC1 happened at 05:50. As it says in the Log.

I don't follow all that "16 minute business", even Antonio said:


The 2 distances are at 05.53 equal to 30.400 yards = 15,01 sea miles and at 06.09 equal to 27.200 yards = 13,43 sea miles.


I still think Norfolk gunnery report from May 24 is totally unreliable


Of course you do, you really have to, otherwise you have to abandon all this speculation. Just say it's falsified, like Norfolk's Log and Wake-Walker's report, and Ellis's report, oh and his log and Tovey's Final Report and Leach's report and the Signal Log etc etc


All the best

wadinga
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Re: Wake-Walker : To engage or not to engage ?

Postby Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:30 pm

Wadinga wrote: "In the interview he had put two and two together retrospectively. "

Hi Sean,
please don't joke ! He said "we knew it must be BC1" as it would have been logical for everybody, except you......

You have to decide whether
1) he was a totally unreliable, disturbed person releasing FALSE information to this country or
2) he released an interview saying the truth and then CAREFULLY decided to write a report with a "caveat" , understanding what he had said without precaution as the report is following the interview........


Re. Norfolk gunnery, if you are unable to understand what I say (and we have discussed it several times already) , please post it here (I'm fed up of posting evidence due to your short memory) and read it carefully, you will see it's simply IMPOSSIBLE that it is telling us the truth, due to the courses of the ships and their relative distances. :negative:


Please, wait for Dave to explain you how WWII rangefinders work and their reliability. :stop:


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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