Hello Bill Jurens
Firstly, may I say I am deeply honoured...……and you are too modest.
The quote: “However, he [Wadinga] should at least listen to someone more knowledgeable than himself [i.e. me]...” represents, I would suggest, overstatement at best, probably appropriate with regard to some issues, less appropriate with regard to others.
Often those who claim to be vastly more knowledgeable than others are found wanting. Your work in Warship International, on the Mearns expedition and elsewhere are strong testament for your capabilities.
My motive for not providing an alternative map has been impugned, but whilst partly because I lack the computer skills it mainly because, as has been suggested, by many independent parties there is insufficient reliable information
to do so. Certainly too little to create the second by second, metre by metre resolution verisimilitude claimed by A & A. The whole reason for creating this scenario from so little reliable evidence is solely to float contentious assertions.
Could I take small issue with the suggestion that:
Bismarck's track charts of the Denmark Strait action have, of course, not survived. Nor has that of Hood. The Prinz Eugen and Prince of Wales have survived, and probably serve as the best overall references.
The first two sentences yes.
My understanding is that PoW's action chart, generated at the time by the ARL automatic plotter was destroyed by blood and debris and those documents we have today are illustrative replacements. There are hand-drawn pencil recreations on tracing paper, available at the PRO in Kew, but like your observations on the gefechtsskizze it is "somewhat schematic in nature". The plotter would have taken input from gyro and speed log whereas these are hand drawn replacements made some time after with ruler and French Curves created from the most basic recorded information. Assumed speeds ie not allowing for lost speed through the water due to extreme manoeuvring and base course ordered, rather than what the helmsman actually achieved. From this the "Enclosure to PoW's report dated 4th June" was made. Subsequently two months later for the Hood enquiry the salvo plot was created. Notably the latter fails to show the hard turn to starboard to avoid Hood's wreck, witnessed by both British and distant German observers and thus more extreme than the slight turn shown on the action plan and enclosure and missing altogether on the salvo plot resulting in the projected salvo fall points being in the wrong place.
As has been observed several times, Rowell’s comments say the timings on the salvo plot may be as much as two minutes out, and this probably indicates they are taken from the clock time set on the AFCT which does not necessarily coincide with chronometer time. The best example of the same phenomenon is the erroneous timing for Norfolk’s measured ranges to Bismarck, conveniently dismissed by A & A as lies, fabrication or misprints, but merely with no time stamped logging of events in the pre-computer era the paper marks on a gunnery plot are the nearest thing, even if the time is incorrect by the chronometer.
These severely-flawed records are supposed to supply “irrefutable” evidence of Bismarck’s course and hence the calculated combined closing rate. The basis of this has yet to be explained since even McMullen had no idea which shots hit. Therefore the practise of joining up random pairs of dots is a worthless technique since even its supporters have realised choosing the right pair of dots can result in very different results to a different pair.
I have found a picture output from a very similar British gunnery plotting system in Peter Padfield’s Guns at Sea which may yet throw some light as to how rangefinder ranges and specified gun ranges recorded by pens on a chart recorder together with pin pricks made by spotters guessing how far over or short shots landed can be related to the salvo map created for the enquiry two and a half months after the event.
When it comes to the Gefechtskizze we have another redrawn rendition. I’m sure the Germans had their own automatic plotting system but this is not the output. No ship has ever steered the ruler-straight course depicted for Prinz Eugen and the two jinking pairs of starboard and port turns make little sense in the purported rationale of avoiding torpedoes. Staying on a new course for only one minute presumes a precision in seeing the passing of the threat surpassing 21st century capabilities. The third turn, the only one that stops Jasper tracking the target, depicted at 06:14 which actually is more than 90 degrees is the only one that looks like a manoeuvre to avoid imaginary torpedoes from the only enemy warships in sight. If fact the one-minute-on -course 50 degree zig-zags look far more like salvo dodging to throw out fire control. But how could this be? The only ship shooting at Prinz Eugen was gone at the time when the zig-zags are depicted. IMHO because the time on the Gefechtsskizze is colossally wrong, just like Norfolk’s gunnery record. I am currently experimenting with shifting the whole thing ten minutes, and evaluating the photos in regard to this new timescale.
Furthermore the Gefechtsskizze is an extremely flawed document with regard to German operations because it does not depict the Bismarck at all. At least the British documents make some attempt to show the relative position of friendly vessels, less successfully when they are out of sight. The luckless Reimann was forced to use the stylised straight line map to justify his own actions, but his shows PoW turning hard towards him after Hood is sunk. The same thing witnesses agree on.
I have seen an old posting by Antonio (before he created his Conspiracy Theory) where he confirmed the report written by Brinkmann including the useless and worthless Gefechtsskizze landed him in hot water for its many shortcomings. Yet this and the “irrefutable” salvo plot are the materials I am supposed to use to create an alternative “strawman” which A & A can assault so as to “prove” their imaginary construct superior and therefore justify their assertions of cowardice, conspiracy and cover-up.
No thanks. I will present my findings in my own good time. Who knows how much new evidence like the apocryphal Jasper to Raeder letter Alberto blabbed about will come to light? Maybe somebody will visit Freiberg and confirm whether Lagemann really wrote on those photos in 1941 that the shots came from Hood?
All the best