Alberto Virtuani wrote:
I was expecting bearing measurement to be much less precise than an optical measurement (due to the width of the lobe) but I do trust your clarification of course.
The Seetakt radars after mid 1940 used a type of fine bearing indication called radattel peilung. It was a phased array scanning of only the return echo. This method allowed discrimination of signal strength from within the lobe. The exact bearing of the target could be determined via a minimum signal comparison, rather than a max signal method. The accuracy was more than 10 times better than the maximum signal method. And since it did not lobe switch the transmitted signal there was no degrading of the bearing resolution that accompanied conventional lobe switching methods.
Calculation of the width of the lobe produced by a phased array antenna is different from the more simple calculation of a conventional antenna. This was something that I did not know until further study. Crunching the numbers for the standard Seetakt antenna produces a much narrower lobe than is to be expected given the 80cm or 60cm wave lengths.
In any case, Bismarck had never opened fire without an optical sight of the enemy up to the evening of May 24, and I'm not even aware of how the Suffolk and the Norfolk were detected by Bismarck the previous evening when all the three sets were still operational. Was the detection a radar or an optical one? Also during the night shadowing it's unclear whether PG and BS were detecting Suffolk by radar.....
In my opinion, the disparity between the potential capabilities of the equipment and the actual performance had to do with the drill or the experience/training level of the crews. The Baron, despite, no need to keep things secret decades later, did not report that he had received any special training or instruction in radar fire control theory or procedure. What the Baron reported was that on Bismarck, the traditional optical methods were primary and radar was seen as a secondary method, or as aid to the optics; to be used only if necessary at night and/or in bad weather. Reliability and durability was also a problem. When they were forced by conditions to rely upon radar FC as primary, the performance was usually very good, however.
I have read somewhere, but I have not found confirmation, that on PG they were averaging the optical and radar range measurements. This would, of course, give a mean of the ranging errors of the optical and electronic instruments, and indicates that the crews were not ready to embrace radar technology, exclusively. The problem of training officers and men about radar and how to use it was becoming a serious problem by 1941 in the KM, and a problem they did not adequately address going forward.
Should W-W base his tactics on what the enemy may be able to potentially do, or should he base his decisions only on observed performance? What if the observed performance indicated that the enemy may be able to perform better than it actually had up to that point? Tovey was of the opinion, that the Germans had developed an exclusive, radar fire control capability. Was W-W privy to the same Intel information and did he reach similar conclusions?