The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by wadinga » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:17 am

Hello Alberto,

Yup, hindsight especially 30 year hindsight is 20/20 vision. Especially when you don't even publish it, so no-one can point this out. :D

All the best

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:35 am

Hi Sean,
it's published (and already constructively and productively discussed with Paul and Dave) here (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8244#p77033), at my expenses, if you don't mind reading before posting your nonsense...... :negative:

Everybody should be able to read about the serious errors, timidity and delays with which Wake-Walker managed the shadowing and the loss of contact, as clearly described in Ellis words. Of course everybody is free to trust him or not.


Your problem is that you are just trolling also this thread by now, not discussing anymore, and it is very sad to see a knowledgeable person to waste his and other people time, just to deny every evidence "a priori". :stop:


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

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by wadinga » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:08 pm

Hello Alberto,

But it was never published by the author and never subject to peer review. Or to being challenged whilst he could still explain himself.

He had nearly thirty years to come up with excuses and "might have beens" but Paul has it right.
Ellis is being a bit disingenuous - he was given freedom to maneuver to get the best use of his radar with the other two ships conforming to his movements. So...having Norfolk and PoW trailing him was "cramping his style"? How?
He was made guide of the fleet and it was the other ships' responsibility to conform to him. What was all the that twaddle about being silhouetted, anyway? Irrelevant.

It is interesting to speculate that if, as we suspect, Bismarck had a radar detector, did Lutjens know when the Type 284 was rested? :shock:

With 75 years of hindsight, lots of people may have other ideas, but the people who were there did their best under very trying circumstances. Charging blindly after a 50,000 ton behemoth in low visibility takes guts. These ship commanders had 700 plus men's lives in their hands when they made their decisions.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:41 pm

Wadinga wrote: "It is interesting to speculate that if, as we suspect, Bismarck had a radar detector, did Lutjens know when the Type 284 was rested?"
Hi Sean,
yes, this time I agree with you: possibly Lutjens chose the time for the evasive maneuver based on the fact that the 284 was rested at times.....


however,
you wrote: "people who were there did their best under very trying circumstances"
while I think W-W and Ellis were logically both very tired, under stress, slow in their reactions and prone to make mistakes when required of immediate decisions, I still concur with Ellis judgement about the shadowing disposition of Wake-Walker due to the:
1) manifest error in keeping together on the wrong side of the enemy his units until night, leaving Suffolk free to move to Bismarck quarter only when in total darkness.
2) blatant timidity in keeping PoW in close support to both SF and NF just considering the "security" (let's call it this way "for reasons of tact"), instead of spreading them in different positions vs.Bismarck and reducing Lutjens' chances to escape
3) huge loss of precious time in reacting to 0401/25 message from SF. No signal was made by W-W until 05:52, allowing Lutjens to be far away by that time.....(possibly, using W-W own words in a very famous BBC interview :wink: (https://www.amazon.com/War-at-Sea-1939- ... war+at+sea), Lutjens decided to evade "at a most inconvenient timing, as I was having my doze").


You wrote: "it was never published by the author and never subject to peer review"
Don't worry about this aspect, we will ensure Ellis autobiography will be published, known and discussed (at least for what concerns the Bismarck Episode, as it contains many interesting points, not only re. the loss of contact..... :wink: ).


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

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:36 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:Hi Sean,
it's published (and already constructively and productively discussed with Paul and Dave) here (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8244#p77033), at my expenses, if you don't mind reading before posting your nonsense...... :negative:

Everybody should be able to read about the serious errors, timidity and delays with which Wake-Walker managed the shadowing and the loss of contact, as clearly described in Ellis words. Of course everybody is free to trust him or not.


Your problem is that you are just trolling also this thread by now, not discussing anymore, and it is very sad to see a knowledgeable person to waste his and other people time, just to deny every evidence "a priori". :stop:


Bye, Alberto
Hi Alberto,
Just had a look at the link that you provided, in it Ellis states that he executed a 'Vignots curve', what is that?

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:38 pm

Hi Paul,
I'm afraid I have no clue about the details of the maneuver itself.... :oops:

The only reference I could find is this one, related to anti-submarine search operations in the US navy (http://www.ijnhonline.org/wp-content/up ... -Jones.pdf see text and footnote 25):
".....initially to sweep through the diving position and continue to the north-west before starting a clockwise Vignot Search on reaching the U-boat’s furthest-on circle.....The Vignot Curve consisted of a spiral search which intercepted the expanding furthest-on positions of the U-boat. It was typical of the philosophy applied to USN “retiring” search plans."
If this is applicable to the Royal Navy too (maybe with a different name.....we have to understand that Ellis moved to the US just after the war and wrote his autobiography in the US) it would make sense to search on a spiral curve to take into account the "time lost" and the progresses of the enemy in the meantime.

I wonder if it can be correlated also to Ellis sentence in his official report that says:
Ellis_Curve.jpg
Ellis_Curve.jpg (6.4 KiB) Viewed 2402 times
Bye, Alberto
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"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by wadinga » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:34 pm

Hello Alberto,

Trolls post outrageous and unsupportable theories in order to plague decent folk and force them to respond. Judge not yet ye be judged A & A!! :lol:

Ellis really is quite naughty- second guessing with thirty years' hindsight. He had the freedom to go astern of Bismarck or wherever his radar would work best, which only he could know. He didn't position himself well and came up with a bunch of weak excuses why not. Linking Wake-Walker's "intentions" of 17:58 saying PoW wasn't up to a fight, as an reason not to manoeuvre himself with his hangers-on in case PoW was seen??? No wonder this self-exculpating stuff never made to the publishers.
leaving Suffolk free to move to Bismarck quarter only when in total darkness.
as the order to act independently came from W-W at 01:41/25
Oops we've forgotten about zone B haven't we? :D

PoW was engaging the enemy visually at 01:25B Ellis said "was not yet dark" It was still daylight, Alberto :cool:

Ellis discounts the ability to shadow visually "I discounted my ability to shadow visually" and then continues "Anyhow we know now...." about Bismarck's radar. I think the RN was well aware the Germans had Seetakt, they had crawled over its remains at the River Plate. And if Suffolk couldn't shadow visually under pain of a whipping from Bismarck how could the other two- both without Type 284 when the night visibility was only 12,000 yds?? Talk about being wise after the event, in a private document, where nobody could challenge these failures of logic.

Then there is the sarcastic comment about an order "from an office block a thousand miles away". Again W-W gave Suffolk freedom to zig-zag independently. It was for Ellis to choose a zig-zag plan to minimise the threat to his shadowing function. He had complete freedom of action, messed up through enemy guile, back luck and tiredness and decides thirty years later it was all somebody else's fault.

And capped it all by being wrong about remembering his distance from Bismarck.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:11 pm

Wadinga wrote: "Trolls post outrageous and unsupportable theories in order to plague decent folk and force them to respond. "
Sean,
decent folk ? Who please ? :kaput:


Coming to more serious stuff then provocation (the only option for you now, it seems :lol: )
you wrote : "He had the freedom to go astern of Bismarck or wherever his radar would work best....the order to act independently came from W-W at 01:41/25......PoW was engaging the enemy visually at 01:25B Ellis said "was not yet dark" It was still daylight"
At 0100 Ellis says (in the autobiography) that "dusk was coming on".
Do you know that 01:41 is AFTER 01:25 (btw where Ellis says "was not yet dark", please ?) ? More importantly, do you remember that on board Norfolk it was taking from 30 minutes to 1 hours to receive and decipher messages ? At 2 o'clock (when at best Ellis received his "freedom") it was too dark and positioning himself at best was too dangerous, according to him.


Ellis had his responsibilities for loosing the contact (as you said correctly the choice of zig-zag distances and radar resting timing), but Wake-Walker had his ones: he did the severe error to keep his ships on the wrong side of the enemy, acted timidly keeping PoW in close protection of the cruisers (3 ships together), retarded unjustifiably the re-deployment of his ships to regain contact.


If the clear and precise account of Ellis, implicitly "accusing" his superior is "plaguing" you.... it's your problem ONLY ! :lol:
At least now everybody can read it and making up his own opinion on the "loss of contact", thanks to the ones that have spent their time and money to get the information out of the archives and shared it on this forum, that, by now, contains by far the most interesting findings about the Bismarck Operation.....


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

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by wadinga » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:02 am

Hello Alberto,

PoW was shooting visually at Bismarck at 01:30 did blackness suddenly descend?

"The Prince of Wales 01:30 am performance on the 25th, whilst not yet dark, had been unimpressive".

Besides Ellis himself says " in view of the lightness of the night" and "the night visibility was about 6 miles". Plenty of visibility for the other ships to take station on him, when he had freedom of action reading the deciphered signal at 02:05.
according to him.
30 years later.

You and your co-author have claimed this poorly researched, unpublished autobiography with its "second guessings" and thinly veiled criticism of Wake-Walker overturns Ellis account written at the time. Pointing out its inaccuracies, shortcomings and the irrelevant excuses for errors made under stress at the time is hardly provocation.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:24 pm

Wadinga wrote: "did blackness suddenly descend?"
Hi Sean,
possibly, do you know ? Between 1:30 and 2:00 light may have passed from dusk (as Ellis stated at 1:00 dusk was coming) to night. Visibility resulted to be not bad anyway(6 miles) but still Ellis considered that complex maneuvers were to be avoided while shadowing by R D/F with an increasing darkness, also in light of the Modoc "incident"....

Again, I have never said that Ellis decisions were 100% correct and even in his biography it's clear he tries to justify himself. His major errors were (IMHO) the execution of the zig-zag at a distance that was too far from Bismarck and the resting of the 284 on the delicate opening leg. In addition to his decision (after hesitation) to stay on the port side of Bismarck, instead to get to her quarter after the late "freedom" given by Wake-Walker.

However, Wake-Walker did much worse :
1) his disposition on the wrong side of the enemy was the main error since the afternoon. As Paul Cadogan has clearly explained you, the starboard side should have been closely surveyed instead.
2) his "security" (or timidity) driven disposition of PoW in close support of the cruisers was totally wrong. Suffolk was able to shadow on 23/24 night without any support.... In case he was unwilling to take any risk, he could keep PoW close to Norfolk, covering anyway another direction
3) his delay in taking any decision, while sleeping, about the re-deployment of the squadron to locate enemy after the loss of touch was criminal, as Bismarck in the meantime got away from any of his ships.


Re. Ellis autobiography in general, after it proved (after 76 years) to be fully correct already about the distance of Suffolk from Bismarck before the DS battle, it has provided now a new light over the loss of contact, largely using Ellis original official report (not contradicting it like for the morning distance when the official report was clearly neglected by Ellis), integrating it with some more valuable info and observations without being compelled by "reasons of tact" as in his report to Wake-Walker.


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

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by wadinga » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:49 pm

Hello Alberto,
his disposition on the wrong side of the enemy was the main error
The main error was Ellis'. W-W told him to position himself where he liked. He didn't. He only thought of a better place and an excuse for not going there thirty years later. He was guide of the fleet not W-W.
Suffolk was able to shadow on 23/24 night without any support.
There was no support available. Even Wake-Waler could not support her since he didn't know where she was. A poor bearing is not a position. There was a better solution later ie two protectors.
while sleeping, about the re-deployment of the squadron to locate enemy after the loss of touch was criminal
Suffolk had "lost" contact several times during the night, and regained it. If it was too dark to manoevre at 02:00 how dark was it at 04:30? The only ship capable of finding Bismarck in the dark without blundering into her was Suffolk.
to be fully correct already about the distance of Suffolk from Bismarck before the DS battle
Antonio's maps are speculative at best, based as they are on PoW's navigator's guesswork about Suffolk's whereabouts and contradicted by the Baron, and Suffolk's crew statements at the Enquiry. They were a long way from Bismarck and got further due to a circle. This is in line with Ellis' comprehensive report written at the time, whilst the details were fresh in his memory.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:41 pm

Wadinga wrote: "W-W told him to position himself where he liked......He was guide of the fleet not W-W."
Hi Sean,
Ellis received this signal ONLY after 1:41, possibly around 2:00 in the night. W-W had all the afternoon and the evening to change the shadowing disposition. During these hours Ellis had to conform to Wake-Walker movements, as per his official report to W-W written at the very time (see below), he was free to zig-zag independently only.... :negative:
Ellis_W_W_1900-1.jpg
Ellis_W_W_1900-1.jpg (18.67 KiB) Viewed 2336 times
The responsibility for the shadowing disposition was with W-W not with Ellis at least until 01:41/25 was received. Ellis made a mistake not taking the opportunity to get rid of W-W but the main responsibible for the error was W-W.


you wrote: "There was a better solution later ie two protectors"
The better solution was to deploy his ships around Bismarck quarters, guarding especially the starboard side of the enemy and regulating the other ships on Suffolk transmitted position via d/f bearings (that were "of utmost utility" the night before to help W-W to keep Norfolk safely out of touch from Bismarck, sorry "to prevent a possible escape to the eastward" according to W-W himself: why he did not the same this night ? )..... :negative:
The solution adopted was only good for security purposes (if this was really needed, as the night before Suffolk was not menaced, after the initial attempt, even when getting as close as 8 sm), surely it was not for the shadowing, keeping the three ships close together !


you wrote: "The only ship capable of finding Bismarck in the dark without blundering into her was Suffolk"
Sure, some risks were to be taken to locate the flying enemy :think: ....and they should have been taken instead of leaving Bismarck free in Atlantic..... but W-W was not inclined to take any risk since the day before... :oops:


you wrote: "Antonio's maps are speculative at best"
Only for you, who refused to accept the agreed bearings based on which Antonio reconstruction is built. His one is by far the best reconstruction and Ellis autobiography simply confirmed a distance of around 18.000 yards, that cannot be much different in order to respect these bearings. The same distance was confirmed also by Busch (176 hectometers): to call Antonio's work "highly speculative" is simply refusing to see the truth..... :negative:


Bye, Alberto
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"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by wadinga » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:39 pm

Hello Alberto,

Please stop misquoting Busch, he did not see a three funnelled 10,000 ton cruiser at only 9 miles, he saw "a mast". The Baron who had access to rangefinder data said neither cruiser was closer than 12-15 miles.

Can you preface "truths" like:
The better solution was to deploy his ships around Bismarck quarters
with "IMHO" then we can better assess the value of the opinion. :D

All the best

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:48 pm

Hi Sean,
irony instead of admitting you were wrong, is not much dignifying but of course I can easily say:

IMHO the better solution (for shadowing Bismarck having 3 ships available) was to deploy the ships around Bismarck quarters.

Apparently IYEO (in your extravagant opinion) the better solution was to keep the 3 available ships in line, at short distance, on the WRONG side of the enemy and once lost the contact, just doing nothing for more than 1 hour.......actually this way "we can better assess the value of the opinion" :lol: :lol: :lol:


Bye, Alberto
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"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The loss of contact (May 24 / 25)

Post by wadinga » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:09 pm

Hello Alberto,

Kind of you to describe my opinion for me, but incorrect.

I think Ellis should have done what he was given freedom to do and move Suffolk to a position directly astern of Bismarck allowing him to zig-zag and yet keep the target within the traverse of the DCT. I think he should have concentrated on the task in hand and left formating on him to the officers aboard Norfolk and PoW, where their reassuring firepower would enable him to continue to shadow without being attacked as he had been previously when isolated.

There would be no point in having ships steaming blindly along "somewhere" on the quarters incapable of seeing Bismarck until they were surprised by the arrival of the first salvoes. Oh yes
transmitted position via d/f bearings
once again

A bearing is not a positions.



That's what I think, but then what I think (with hindsight) is not important compared with what was concluded at the time.


All the best
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