Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
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Antonio Bonomi
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Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:40 am

Hello everybody,

on the British side the Denmark Strait battle " regrettable aftermath " has been clarified.

Now it is time to analyze a similar occurrence, ... with NO Board of Inquiry written request for the involved Officers battle conduct or a Court Martial threat, ... on the German side.

In particular, the event regarding the missing launch of the Prinz Eugen torpedoes against the HMS Prince of Wales.

Here the documents :

http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/pg003.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubert_Schmundt

http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/pg002.html

http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/pg005.html

http://www.kbismarck.com/torpedowaffe-pg.html

and the related maps :

http://hmshood.com/history/denmarkstrai ... rpedos.htm

Opinions welcome ... I like to see how many " hooligan/deniers " we will be able to collect here too, ... :wink:

Bye Antonio
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:31 pm

Hello everybody,

for the ones that have read the above documents, maybe it is interesting to realize who were Adm Otto Schniewind and Adm Rolf Carls.

Here they are too :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Schniewind

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolf_Carls

Those have been the High command Kriegsmarine Officers that after having received VizeAdm Hubert Schmundt ( responsible for the German Cruisers ) reports from Kpt zur See Helmut Brinkmann ( Prinz Eugen Captain ) and Lieutenant Sigurd Reimann ( Torpedo Officer Prinz Eugen ), ... as you can read above, ... provided their own way to read and evaluate the events occurred during the operation and provided the final solution for the matter.

NOTE :

I am sure that the most acute observer have noticed that on this document :

http://www.kbismarck.com/torpedowaffe-pg.html

One can read this detailed timing.


Berlin, den 3. Okt. 1941. - Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine T Wa Ib B. Nr. 2386/41 g.Kdos.

Hierzu Daten des KTB. :

05:47 - (DSZ)[deutsche Sommerzeit] Alarm
05:55 - Artillerie erwidert Feuer auf "Hood"
06:01 - "Bismarck" vernichtet "Hood"
06:02 - (nach T-Koppelblatt) Gegner "Prince of Wales" kommt in Torpedoreichentfernung
(nach telefonischer Meldung der Rechenstelle +- 0)
06:03 - "Prinz Eugen" weicht feindl. Torpedolaufbahnen aus, Beendigung des Gefechtes.

Bye. Antonio
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by dunmunro » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:23 pm

What is it that you are drawing our attention to?


The thing that becomes readily apparent is that there are major problems with PE's account of the battle.

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:44 pm

Hello everybody,

the only thing more than apparent lately is that somebody, ... mainly on one side taken of this story, ... has a lot of difficulties accepting the reality being written into the Official documents and reports.

Lucky us the documents are available and somebody else is able to find and present them to the readers, the final judges of this story as it must be.

Bye Antonio
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by José M. Rico » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:13 pm

Antonio,
What is actually the point of starting this thread? As the title suggests it should be to discuss the deployment of Prinz Eugen's torpedo battery during the engagement with Hood/PoW, right?

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:23 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Jose Rico,

your question is right on the money ... :wink:

In any Navy, once the warship got back in their friendly harbor, it was necessary to submit the operation report to their High Command ( superiors ).

We have already seen how on the British side this caused considerable problems especially in relation to the Denmark Strait battle, but not only, and we have deeply analyzed how they managed them from the board of inquiry request until the decorations for example.

What I wanted to explain opening this thread is that on the German side they were not immune about a similar scrutiny being performed by the Kriegsmarine High Command Officers, as we can read.

VizeAdm Hubert Schmundt was requiring to Kpt H. Brinkmann the explanation on why the Prinz Eugen torpedoes were not deployed against the HMS Prince of Wales when she came at the closest point to the German formation at 06:01 and theoretically inside the torpedo range limits.

We can read Kpt. Brinkmann and the Torpedo Officer S. Reimann written responses to this question with their written justifications.

Interesting is also to read the Kriegsmarine High Command official reports approval of the explanations and the corrective action implemented by adding a new rangefinder dedicated to the torpedo tubes.

I have underlined above also how those reports do provide another very important official confirmation about the battle timings from the German side, ... in line with Hunter-Terry and Jasper for example, ... in my opinion the best timing references about this battle, ... the milestones.

Last but not least the fact that the Prinz Eugen did evaluate the possibility to launch the torpedoes on her port side toward the Prince of Wales at 06:01, ... by itself means that there was no Bismarck on her port side for sure, ... but we know this already.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by alecsandros » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:26 am

Hello Antonio,
Hope you're doing well,

I'll try formulating a response to the questions above the following days. I have also considered some time ago some very serious problems on the German side, requiring if not court martials, at least very thorough examinations... My conclusions were that all of the principal decidents (that have taken those dubious decisions) were dead, and thus no further scrutiny on the thought processes - and decisions - was possible.

But I'll try to write a broader response as soon as possible.

Best Regards,

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:22 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Alecsandros,

nice to talk with you again my friend.

Sure, I think I imagine already what you wanted to talk about, … but I wait for your questions and explanations.

I have myself many personal opinions too about what happened on the German side during the battle, … and having personally spoken while interwieving 2 still alive ( not anymore RIP ) Prinz Eugen Officers on the last years, ... I had the unique possibility to verify my opinions.

Bye Antonio
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by alecsandros » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:52 pm

Hello Antonio,
IMHO, and briefly re-reading the documents that you have linked to in the first post,
the moral blame for the loss of the Bismarck , and overall failure of operation Rheinubung (which didn't attain the objective of disrupting enemy trade routes) falls on the shoulders of Admiral Raeder. He was the one that pressed Adm Luetjens into following an order that was, apparently, considered by Adm Luetjens as nearly suicidal.

Luetjens had previous North Atlantic experience on Operation Berlin (with Scharnhorst and Gneisenau), and he knew how difficult it was to breakout undetected, attack the enemy when and if he was NOT having heavy forces nearby, always mantaining the advantage of superior own speed, and very importantly, never have his ships damaged in any meaningfull way.
He also knew how crucial the training of the crews was.

As known, Op. Berlin was executed between January to March, winter months in which the weather and nightlengths greatly favored the attacker (the raiders).

The proposed Operation Rheinubung in the middle of the year (May 15th was the initial proposed date), with green crews (both Bismarck and P.E. were in their first mission), was very badly received by Luetjens.

===

As it was though, with Luetjens in command of the task force, I find him having a curiously offensive spirit, in spite of the growing evidence that the enemy was expecting him, if not outright waiting for him into an open trap:

- Luetjens departed Gottenfagen on May 18th, passed Kattegat on May 20th, and entered Bergen on May 21st. It was impossible for the 2 heavy ships + escorts NOT to have been seen - and reported - by enemy agents. Luetjens actualy sent a message to Group North on May 20th suggesting that he had been spotted. This was the first moment when Luetjens shoudl have considered he had lost the critical element of surprise.

- On May 21st in the afternoon, while still at anchor in Bergen, Bismarck received a radio message from Germany, containing the info that British aircraft had been sent to search for German heavy ships "heading north". This was the second moment when Luetjens must have known he lost the element of surprise.

What could 2 German heavy ships possibly be doing in Bergen ? There were no Russian convoys in May 1941, so they were either a) conducting exercises (improbable as the Baltic was a much safer and economical place for such actions), or b) preparing to sortie in the Atlantic trade routes, just as S/G did several months before, just as Scheer/Spee/etc did before them. If a), the Admiraltly had nothing to fear, but if b), the Admiralty should block the entry paths - just as they tried to do at the start of Op. berlin, when Luetjens was nearly caught by a large British task force, lead by Adm. Tovey.

As it was May 21st , and with British forces concentrated in Scapa, it goes without saying that the Admiralty had ample time to block the entries (before May 24th). What Luetjens didn't know was that the ships were also equipped with surface-search radars, that could also track at night and/or in bad weather.

Nonetheless, forcing the execution of the mission against clear indication that the enemy was expecting his sortie is an example of curiously offensive spirit, at least IMHO.

===

- After departing under the cover of darkenss, and then under the cover of fog and clouds, steaming at 24 to 27kts, Luetjens's task force "found" the enemy at 19:30 on May 23rd - first contact with Suffolk/Norfolk. Then and there , and especialy after 5 hours of attempting to shake off the cruisers - to no effect, despite practical zero visibility betwen the 2 task forces - Luetjens had complete information: the enemy knew of his deployment since May 20th; the enemy has surface search radar (or other precise range measuring instruments) mounted on his warships. Therefore, going deeper into the south would bring about enemy ships (directed by the 2 shadowing cruisers), and all convoys would be re-routed anyway based on intelligence provided by the 2 shadowers.

- My impression is that - then and there, at 01:00 on May 24th, Luetjens should have cancelled the mission, either by returning back north of the strait - and from there still to the north, as he did once with S/G, - or by adopting a clear defensive posture, hugging the Eastern shores of Greenland, manouvreing thorugh the icebergs, and keeping a maximum possible distance between him and Iceland. If he would have opted to go back north, the mission would probably, ultimately, get cancelled (as he would have had a hard time breaking off contact with Suffolk BEFORE Prinz Eugen ran out of fuel). If he woudl have opted to go south, he would have probably narrowly miss Hood , and, ultimately dettach Prinz Eugen on May 24th in the afternoon, while Bismarck continued on an ever Southernly course, followed by Suffolk until May 25th (when Suffolk went to Iceland to refuel). Afterwards , Bismarck would find a cargo to refuel on her own, maybe on the 26th or 27th, far in the South... Afterwards, he woudl have 1-2 weeks of roaming on the open ocean, with unknown results.

===

- As things went, with Prinz Eugen hitting an iceberg with a propeller, and having slightly reduced speed, Bismarck losing the main forward radar, and Suffolk still mantaining contact , and afterwards Prince of Wales striking Bismarck 3 times - causing flooding and oil loss (thus range loss), the mission was clearly a failure.

====

- By then (May 24th 7:00), Luetjens had the complete picture: The British detected him on the 20th, placed radar-patrols immediately in the entries of the Atlantic, and deployed heavy task forces to intercept. The battle with Hood and KGV were only a taste of what was to come - British Air Force, and the Royal Navy, were onto him and were permanently fed with updated info on speed and course, from Suffolk/Norfolk (later from Prince of Wales as well). The German BB was leaking oil, speed was reduced to 28kts, and Prinz Eugen had much to low fuel levels to continue the mission.

- Then and there, there was ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to continue to the South. The Bismarck should have steamed North, with Prinz Eugen, and force his way out of the Denmark Strait. The probable weight of enemies deployed to the NOrth was DEFINETELY lighter then the weight deployed to the SOUTH and EAST. The TIME required to get back to Bergen was MUCH smaller then to get to Brest: 2,5 days versus 4 days - that's an extra 36 hours that the enemy DIDN'T have to attack him.

====

- The only excuse I can find for Luetjens rest on the method/way in which Raeder had coerced him into this mission: who knows what sort of discussion they actualy had, and what sort of weight/threats Raeder issued to Luetjens, had the mission failed ?

- Nonentheless, the German KGM high command (and firstly Raeder) were the principal responsibles to the tragic loss of the Bismarck.

=====

- As for Prinz Eugen's lack of torpedo deployment, with a green crew and at 140hm distance, there was maybe 1 in a million chance to hit Prince of Wales (by then anyway withdrawing at an accute angle). I don't think that any fault sohuld be placed on them, especialy as all the 3 hits on Bismarck had already been scored, and the launching of torps wouldn;t have made any importance over the decisions of Capt. Leach, as the order to disengage had already been issued, Norfolk and Suffolk wouldn;t observe the launch, and there were no other ships in the area to be hit "by accident", by the torpedoes.

=====

- Those are my thoughts Antonio... Had Bismarck made it to Brest, Luetjens may have been reprehended - or not - depending on what Raeder's position would have been. As it was, Hitler simply became much more weary onto sending heavy ships in the Atlantic, and , in effect, restrained all German heavy ships operations to the Baltic and - later - to the Arctic Ocean...

Best Regards,

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:01 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Alecsandros,

I have read with a lot of interest all you wrote and I personally think that you are absolutely of my same opinion about what happened and about the balance between Adm Reader and Adm Lutjens.

It is known that AH was not satisfied at all about the surface warships war conduct on early 1941.

Op. Berlin by Adm Lutjens was a partial success, ... but AH wanted more from Adm Reader and his warships.

Op. Rheinubung was a big risk they took, ... and I think they shared the risk and Adm Lutjens was well aware of the really low possibilities of the operation success.

Once accepted he cannot abort it and run back home, ... he knew it.

The hope for a radar technology superiority soon disappeared, ... the rest of the story is well known.

The Prinz Eugen missed launch was just a detail of the battle, ... a due scrutiny once home for an order not executed, ... but at least it did provide us an additional set of timing and maps, ... reports and documents that we can use as a confirmation of the battle timing events on the crucial moment of the battle, ... between 06:00 and 06:04, ... confirming Jasper and McMullen timings and maps, ... :wink:


Nice to have you back ... :wink:

Bye Antonio
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by alecsandros » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:43 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:01 pm

The Prinz Eugen missed launch was just a detail of the battle, ... a due scrutiny once home for an order not executed, ... but at least it did provide us an additional set of timing and maps, ... reports and documents that we can use as a confirmation of the battle timing events on the crucial moment of the battle, ... between 06:00 and 06:04, ... confirming Jasper and McMullen timings and maps, ... :wink:
All should be quite clear now..... (IMHO it was clear a very , very long time ago........) Are there any publications happening in the near term ?

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:45 am

Hello everybody,

@ Alecsandros,

I am glad that all is clear now about this occurrence ... and mostly that it was clear even before, ... :wink:

There will be several books being published by me on the next period about the Bismarck, ... but not very soon, ... after me and Robert will be done with the Tirpitz 5th and last book ( November 2019 ) we will switch to the Bismarck series of 3 books ( 2020, 2021 and 2022 ) one book every year.

Of course the Denmark Strait battle and the whole Operation Rheinubung will be accurately explained, ... with many never published photos exactly like we are doing with the Tirpitz you can use as example of our book style :

http://bismarck-tirpitz.com/?lang=en

After that will be done, ... and having a lot more new material to be used, ... what I am thinking to do is to write " the book " about the Denmark Strait battle with Alberto Virtuani being my co-author, ... in dual language ( Italian/English ), ... and in that book really put all we have researched so far about this battle, ... it should be a very complete book full of maps, photos and text, ... so everybody can realize what occurred on both sides, ... before, during and after the battle.

A lot to come ... :wink:

Bye Antonio
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by alecsandros » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:34 pm

I'd be happy to read them, Antonio :)

Best regards and hope you have a robust health, as writing will be a most intense and complicated process.

Warmest wishes,

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:34 pm

Hello everybody,

@ Alecsandros,

that is what I hope as well, ... and I hope to have more time, ... being hopefully retired, ... meanwhile, ... :wink:

We will see, ... I have also a BIG scale 1/100 model of Tirpitz to be completed and delivered next June 2019 in Alta for the KaaFjord Tirpitz Museum of my friend Even Blomkvist, ... it is a completion of a model started by an old Norwegian friend unfortunately recently passed away ( R.I.P. ).

I promised him that his model was going to be completed by me and was going where he wanted it to be, into the Tirpitz Museum in KaaFjord.

After all this will be done, ... I can concentrate back on Bismarck, ... :wink:

Lot to do as you can see, ... :D

Bye Antonio
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Prinz Eugen torpedo missed launch at DS

Post by Paul L » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:13 pm

firstly this forum desperately needs a "like" button on peoples posts, Antonio & alecsandros response are worthy of recognition.

If in fact the range was 14km- the only way ultra long range torpedo launch would work would be massed torpedo launch before the enemy can detect or react to the threat.
"Eine mal is kein mal"

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