1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

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wadinga
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by wadinga » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:08 pm

Hello Paul,

Well then we are both astonished. And so is Alberto. And we are all in agreement-for a bit . :shock:

I think Tovey's "Head On" attack dogma was considered too much like voluntarily having your T crossed for most people, and Bellairs thought putting this in front of Pound was a way of getting a discussion going, without himself appearing to criticize C in C Home Fleet.

As I said in my article, all the evidence from gunnery shoots was that accuracy for line was good, So Tovey's end-on approach so as to minimise the target's apparent width makes little sense.

Rowell's observation, "just where plotted" is interesting. Bismarck was considerably further away than the guesstimate of 17 miles at enemy in sight. And of course there is no mention of W-W communicating with Hood/PoW from 05:15 onwards telling Holland he had them in sight.

As I wrote in my article http://www.hmshood.com/history/denmarks ... olland.htm (which now needs some revision) with Holland relying on flag signals, spreading out to open order was tricky for co-ordination since Lutjens had superior speed. Rowell seems to have believed Hood could achieve original trials speed whereas his own ship, machinery still bedding in after building, would be left behind.

Rowell also refers to Bismarck "turning to open her A arcs" and "as the enemy had also turned towards". There is no indication anything like this happened, and shows how poor British estimations of Bismarck's inclination were at open fire.

Rowell says "the Admiral ordered 20 degree turn away , together thus opening the PoW's A arcs after the eighth salvo. the turn was never executed..........." Taken literally, this would say PoW's Y turret never bore and therefore never fired. So Rowell, who is the only source of detailed mapping for this stage of the action is missing vital evidence. The muddle over one or two turns is still unresolved. Rowell says here, contradicting his own map, no turn away was made before Hood blew up.

For my part, I believe there was the first turn, and a second turn was underway as Hood's wreck rudder shows, with Rowell's recollection incorrect. PoW was on collision course with the wreck, having already made the second turn herself, and needing to make a major turn back to starboard to avoid Hood as recorded by Geoffrey Brooke. Rowell account rejoins this speculation with "put the wheel over and turned away".

The last astonishment is that Rowell makes no actual mention of the Compass Platform hit which killed several of his shipmates and put him out of action temporarily.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by dunmunro » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:40 pm

Holland's tactics were designed to close the range rapidly and allow for proper coordination of Hood and PoW's salvos. KGV and Rodney used open order tactics and consequently KGV mistook Rodney's salvos for her own for ~5 minutes. The failure of Hood's FC team and/or Holland to immediately identify PE as the leading ship nullified much of Holland's plans for concentrated fire on Bismarck.

IMHO, Holland failed only in not placing PoW in the Van.

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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Byron Angel » Mon May 07, 2018 3:17 am

Wadinga wrote -
"I think Tovey's "Head On" attack dogma was considered too much like voluntarily having your T crossed for most people, and Bellairs thought putting this in front of Pound was a way of getting a discussion going, without himself appearing to criticize C in C Home Fleet.

As I said in my article, all the evidence from gunnery shoots was that accuracy for line was good, So Tovey's end-on approach so as to minimise the target's apparent width makes little sense."

- - -

Given that Holland chose to lead in Hood, he had two tactical options -

1 - Close gradually with A arcs kept open.
The down-side was that, by 15,000 yards (or immediately thereabouts), the chance of a deck hit was about the same as the chance of a side hit and the likelihood of a deck hit grew rapidly at ranges beyond 15,000 yards. Inasmuch as the greatest weakness in Hood's protection scheme lay in her horizontal armor, this was definitely (IMO) a "roll the dice" approach.

2 - Forego keeping Bismarck within the A arc and dash into close range.
The immediate apparent downside was a reduction of firepower at the start of the action, but the benefit was the achievement of a tactical position in which the liability of Hood's weak horizontal armor would be greatly reduced after a 10 or 15 minute high-speed approach. I myself would have chosen this option as the least inimical

Note - I concur with dunmunro's thinking that Holland should have placed PoW in the lead.

Regarding gunnery, it is broadly true that achieving the correct deflection was a good deal easier then getting the range in the case of a conventional broadside-to-broadside gunnery action. But in the case of an end-on approach, subtle rudder movements by the target ship will throw out the deflection, especially in the case of greater times of flight related to longer ranges. A deflection error of as little as fifty or a hundred yards will take the target ship entirely out of the fifty-percent zone of the salvo spread.

OTOH, the remaining unquantifiable factor is Bismarck's gunnery. Bismarck succeeded in sinking one battleship and driving a second battleship out of action in less than twenty minutes. Was it luck or efficiency?

FWIW.

B

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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by wadinga » Mon May 14, 2018 12:42 am

Hello All,

Rhys-Jones book has recently been quoted as in
However, the final proof, that allowed Antonio to understand everything bottom-up even before having entirely the above material available, is the intentional "embellishment" (or "sugar-coating", or "cover-up") of the facts in the reports presented after the battle to get to the final official version.
As Graham Rhys-Jones wisely said in his "The loss of the Bismarck": "it was Tovey's version which went to the printers".
The suggestion that Tovey's version differed from some other version is based on the mistaken reference in Rhys-Jones book regarding Rodney's movements.

He writes "Tovey had described her blocking position as extremely well chosen. Pound, who had gone through the records with extraordinary diligence, thought it very ill-judged (36)"

In the citation (36) he says this is from a letter from Pound to Tovey and then gives the ADM 199/1188 p25. However as you can see from the document I posted at the beginning of this thread, it is actually nothing of the sort, but an internal memo signed by Tom Phillips to Pound. We know from the other draft response to Tovey that Pound disagreed with and overrode Phillips' opinion, he agreed with Tovey's opinion and on this matter alone, it was correct that Tovey's version went to the printers. There was no contradictory version because Pound and Tovey agreed.

How Rhys-Jones got things muddled up who knows. There is nothing in Rhys-Jones book to suggest he thought there was any cover-up or conspiracy.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by wadinga » Mon May 14, 2018 3:36 pm

Hello All,

NEW INFORMATION

Now we move on to two new 1941 documents, a friendly letter to the First Sea Lord and his friendly reply including the phrase recently presented out of context. These documents are Crown copyright. Notice that there is not the slightest suggestion that the shadowing discussion was the result of a threat of disciplinary action of even the mildest sort.

Image

Image

Pound responds

Image

Image

As can be seen, Pound glibly suggests losing a County with its crew would have been a reasonable price to pay, as some here believe, but such callousness is possible only in hindsight and there is no guarantee that even after such a butcher's bill, contact would have been maintained anyway. Tovey says shadowing in such conditions was "complicated", unlike those who have presented their facile solutions elsewhere, and presume to judge Wake-Walker based on their own extensive experience of such activities.

NB Pound writes Barham when he clearly means Birmingham. Either his secretary had cloth ears or the old man was mumbling. The former rendered 828 squadron as 8 to 8 originally. :D

Who would like to discuss these documents based on 1941 circumstances, ie not with huge dollops of hindsight or an agenda of "making stuff up" with a view to personal aggrandisement/financial profit?

All the best

wadinga
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by dunmunro » Mon May 14, 2018 4:54 pm

Thanks for the above. Very interesting.

828 FAA squadron had ~18 Fairey Albacores and would have given Victorious a far superior strike and recon capability.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon May 14, 2018 5:20 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "Either his secretary had cloth ears or the old man was mumbling."
Back is Mr.Wadinga (in clear difficulty because Pound sentence is fully in line with what we were saying since years regarding the expendability of an 8" cruiser, in order to prevent Bismarck escape) insinuating that Pound was a poor old sailor, already stoned. :negative:

Mr.Wadinga should stop his shameful accusations (to all the ones not in line with his "fairy tale") to be demented !


Bye, Alberto
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Herr Nilsson » Tue May 15, 2018 6:57 am

@wadinga

Thank you very much. Another good example that snippets are worthless without context. :clap:
Regards

Marc

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue May 15, 2018 8:06 am

....and that low insinuations about mental sanity of people are useless without a supporting medical certification..... :lol:


Bye, Alberto
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Herr Nilsson » Tue May 15, 2018 8:27 am

I see no insinuations, but just a winkingly mention of typos.
Regards

Marc

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue May 15, 2018 9:13 am

Hi Marc,
I see a very low insinuation, as the other ones that these people has always tried to invent when cornered by a simple statement as the spendability of an 8" cruiser......They did it with Tovey ("demented", "inventing things"), Ellis ("poor old sailor") and Pound ("old man mumbling", "affected by a brain tumor")..... It's simply a shame....
Wadinga wrote: "Either his secretary had cloth ears or the old man was mumbling."

Bye, Alberto
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Herr Nilsson » Tue May 15, 2018 9:32 am

Alberto,

in my experience memories are changing over the years therefore Tovey's and Ellis' memories have to be treated with caution. Pound apparently was a person with a difficult personality regardless of his brain tumor.
Regards

Marc

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue May 15, 2018 9:48 am

Marc,
no doubt that any memory has to be treated with caution. Churchill had a very difficult personality as well.
However NOBODY is allowed to insinuate (without any proof) that Pound was saying nonsense because he was ill or because he was an old mumbling man. These people have done the same thing several times, when they are cornered by the evidences, and this shameful attitude has to be stopped.

Pound was the First Sea Lord in charge and, sticking to this specific case, in his view (that I personally fully share) an 8" cruiser was well expendable to prevent the loss of touch, that would have been investigated in case Bismarck had not been sunk, even if this statements clearly annoys Mr.Wadinga, in his stubborn crusade to defend Wake_Walker timid attitude.... :lol:


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: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Herr Nilsson » Tue May 15, 2018 10:27 am

Alberto,

I do not understand Pound's reasoning anyway. The loss of any of the cruisers would have provoke the loss of touch as well. There was no "best solution" but just "to the best of one's knowledge". Or the other way round Wake-Walker had the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Regards

Marc

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: 1941 Criticism of Royal Navy Officers' tactics

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue May 15, 2018 11:04 am

Hi Marc,
we can agree or disagree with Pound view, this is NOT the point about shameful and unfair insinuations (repeated several times already on this forum) regarding Pound (or others') "mental sanity" when people are cornered by evidences......

We have discussed at length Wake-Walker/Ellis tactics + pro's and con's of taking risks in this thread viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8244 already.


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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