If Bismarck had made it to France

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.

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HMSVF
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by HMSVF » Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:00 pm

Paul L wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:53 pm
wadinga wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:45 pm
Hello Paul L,

Peddle what stuff? That real human beings are killed and maimed in naval battles and that they are real events that happened, and that we are not talking about "annihilating" sprites in video games or playing with toys in the bath? :D

As for emphasising the bravery and sacrifice of men who sailed voyage after voyage in virtually unarmed merchant ships menaced by the Third Reich's selection of weapons, and whose massive contribution to Allied victory did make our comfortable 21st century lifestyle possible, I will make no apology. 36,749 seamen and women were lost by enemy action according to the Wikipedia entry. This includes Indians, Australians and Canadians and probably Chinese but not Americans, Norwegians, Greeks, Swedes or other nationalities. Maybe you should view Wikipedia British merchant seamen of World War II or better still the entry for Canadian Pacific SS Beaverford.

Propaganda? Would you like to live in a world where the Third Reich had won, I suspect not. They were not strong on democracy, freedom and free speech. Their marine personnel exhibited bravery and sacrifice too, and we acknowledge that here, but they were not fighting for freedom or democracy. This site is commendably apolitical but not amoral.

Actually it might be a better world today- 3/4 century after the war -if Germany won.

As for democracy, no leadership at the time wanted the fiasco that was democracy , and despite what you might think , we all knew we were fighting to save the empire and the wealth which would help us. Chants of fighting for FREEDOM & DEMOCRACY were salve for the masses to help them deal with the terror that was war.

As to the original post , The raider doctrine that was being formed emphasised attacking convoys to enhance U-Boat attacks, by eliminating escorts and scattering convoy, but running away from superior threats!!!! Key was to operate in bad weather to minimize Wallie detection of these raiders, giving their B-Dienst teams time to detect convoy passage.

AGS revealed these guideline may not be enough and maybe only engaging inferior convoy escort forces could be acceptable. Raeder blurred this whole distinction by building a small fleet of battleships instead of more raiders and encouraging battleship clashes.

By late 1941 B-Dienst , had uncovered the Wallie convoy system and perfected merchant code cracking of convoys so they could be reliably detected and wolf pacts vectored to attack such convoys. But there were never enough wolf pacts around. As it was- raiders were demonstrating that they too could duplicate Wolf Pact successes, and approached the tantalizing possibility of a combined Wolf Pact -Raider - LW Patrol Bomber attacks on such convoys.
Actually it might be a better world today- 3/4 century after the war -if Germany won
.


Wow.

Just.

Wow.

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:02 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: " On 1 November 1914, the ships destroyed a British force at the Battle of Coronel and inflicted upon the Royal Navy its first defeat since the Battle of Plattsburgh in 1814.
Von Spee's ships were only a few years newer than Cradock's"
In 1914 Coronel was the first defeat for the RN. On 1941 Denmark Strait became a much more humiliating one, due to the 2:1 numerical superiority in ships of the same class).
Good Hope had only 2 234 mm guns , Monmouth had none (only 150mm with much inferior range)
Von Spee ships had 16 210 mm, therefore a great superiority in firepower and range....


Thanks for confirming that, after July 1941, no serious damage was inflicted anymore to any German ship in Brest. Therefore Bismarck (had she made it to France) would have been hypothetically exposed to real danger only for 2 months. Has she survived in St.Nazaire, she could have gone at sea immediately after from a base apparently made much safer than before.


Paul L wrote: "we all knew we were fighting to save the empire and the wealth which would help us. Chants of fighting for FREEDOM & DEMOCRACY were salve for the masses to help them deal with the terror that was war."
Of course Paul is right above: all nations in all times (including Nazi Germany) were always fighting for material interests (not for ideological/idealistic beliefs), but propaganda must always tell to masses something different. Apparently someone is still blindly believing his side's "propaganda".

For my 2 cents opinion, I'm however very happy that Germany (and Italy and Japan) finally lost the war, even if the pre-WWII (and even the following) "democracy" has plenty of limits and problems: we are now at least (almost always...) allowed to express and defend our beliefs without risking our lives, despite a "mainstream" ideology that tends to force a "common view" and to demonize any different position.



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: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by northcape » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:26 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:02 pm
Paul L wrote: "we all knew we were fighting to save the empire and the wealth which would help us. Chants of fighting for FREEDOM & DEMOCRACY were salve for the masses to help them deal with the terror that was war."
Of course Paul is right above: all nations in all times (including Nazi Germany) were always fighting for material interests (not for ideological/idealistic beliefs), but propaganda must always tell to masses something different. Apparently someone is still blindly believing his side's "propaganda".

Bye, Alberto
I could not disagree any stronger. The rise of Nazi-Germany was only driven by a sick ideology, which claims racial superiority of the Arian race over all others, in partcular jews. All founded and/or channelized by Hitler. The inititaion of WWII by the Nazi-Regime was a means to live this ideology, and to pursue the material interests needed to fulfill this ideology. On another note in this thread, Doenitz was very much a believer and follower of this ideology, even after Hitler's cowardish suicide.
Churchill and Roosevelt on the other side, were very strong on opposing this ideology. To them, it represented a perversion of mankind and humanity. This does not mean that I consider them as holy spirits. Both were very much into strategic powerplay and pursuing interests for their nations, sacrifycing hundreds of thousands of lives as well. Churchill more before, and Roosevelt more after WWII.
But whoever is not able to see the singularity of the evilness of the Nazi-Regime, should reflect better their history view, in my opinion. Again, this does not mean there were and are other criminal and evil singularities as well (Stalin, ethnic cleansing in Ruanda, suppression of Palestine on a smaller scale,...). Nonetheless, to hold the view that all nations and regimes were and are equally good or bad, is just the comfortable position of the three blind, deaf, and silent monkeys. It allows one to avoid to have a fundamental moral opinion/viewpoint, and to fake to be an "unbiased" observer who is not influenced by "propaganda" of the "mass/systen media" - sounds familiar to these times, huh?

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:01 pm

Q.E.D.
Someone still lives in his blind “propaganda”...


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: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Bill Jurens » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:13 pm

OK. This is getting uncomfortable again.

I'd caution correspondents against divergence into more-or-less purely political discussions as, for a variety of reasons, these tend to drive knowledgeable participants -- who would otherwise be able to contribute material of considerable technical interest -- away from the forum. It has hurt us badly in the past, and -- should it continue -- will eventually likely destroy the utility of the forum entirely.

As I see it -- and I may well be wrong -- this particular platform is, as the description in the header makes clear, intended to discuss -- and I quote -- "Warships, naval battles, technology, weapons, navies of all eras, modeling etc."

Those who wish to discuss more purely political and philosophical discussions might wish to discuss these on other more appropriate forums.

Bill Jurens

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:05 pm

:clap:
Let's keep pure "propaganda" statements away and speak about Bismarck here.

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: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by wadinga » Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:35 pm

Hello Alberto,

Why waste bombs on ships that can't move? Let them suck resources away from Doenitz' U-Boats for several months and blast them just as they are ready to go sea. According to Pargeter's Hipper Class cruisers, PG never got out of dry dock until January 1942. The RAF were planning another major crippling strike when Cerberus occurred, and the ships retreated back to Germany, and in Gneisenau's case oblivion.

Scharnhorst was crippled and had to return to dock as soon as her trials started at La Pallice. Exactly the same could have happened to Bismarck. On arrival.

You have to accept, just as the Royal Navy did, that bases that close to enemy bomber bases are untenable for major surface ships. Just as Malta was abandoned for major vessels under aerial onslaught, Brest, La Pallice and St Nazaire were useless bases for capital ships which were all kept incapacitated for nearly a year. The Royal Navy had other places to use, but the Germans were caught in a rat-trap and were rendered completely ineffectual.

You keep equating a 20 year old unrebuilt veteran with the Kriegsmarine's new super weapon and have invented a fantasy fully operational PoW. Hood had a Jutland fire control in the radar age. The loss of Hood was an emotional blow, but not hugely significant, especially since half-time scores, as we have established don't matter.

I think WoW pretty much sums up the other opinion.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by pgollin » Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:13 pm

.

Bombing the twins (and also U-Boat pens, etc....) was always a dilemma for the Cabinet and RAF/Bomber Command due to the possibilities of killing many thousands of locals (this was even a factor in the "barge bashing" campaign of 1940).

As was stated there was a basic idea that raids should be kept to a minimum consistent with the ships being held in port. Later mining, near shore patrols by submarines, and a series of coastal patrols by radar equipped aircraft were MEANT to give sufficient warnings (also supplanted by resistance reports and code breaking).

Bomber Command were concerned that huge 1000 bomber raids would just kill thousands of innocent residents and had only a limited chance of sinking the ships. (Compare this with RAF and USAAF raids on German shipyards later in the war, where the dockyard workers were not judged to be innocent.) Their plans were drawn up on the basis of good visibility and choosing a flight path which HOPEFULLY minimised French civilian casualties, but the results were sometimes catastrophic.

It would have to be a wild guess as to what would have happened if Bismarck had got to France, but IF she were basically unharmed other than the Denmark Straits damage, I could envisage a "no hold barred" massive air raid. However, as most of the weapons would most likely be 500, 750 and 1000 pound HE bombs with at best a slight delay and no real armour-piercing ability, the damage is likely to be similar to that caused by the attack on Tirpitz by the FAA. What would have happened is the devastation both of the port facilities and the civilian population. The raid would be a massive PR opportunity for the Nazis, and a blow to British war aims to portray themselves as the civilised nation (particularly to the USA). The decision to launch such a raid would be one that people would be talking about today.

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:15 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "....bases that close to enemy bomber bases are untenable for major surface ships"
However no major damage was done after July 1941 to the twins despite bombing was going on and an especially violent bombing in December (17/18).
The twins sailed for Cerberus despite another RAF bombing happened shortly before, without any effect...

he wrote: "You keep equating a 20 year old unrebuilt veteran with the Kriegsmarine's new super weapon and have invented a fantasy fully operational PoW"
Hood and PoW (18 main guns) were considered able to deal with Bismarck (8 guns) by the Admiralty, not by me. Hood was known to be weakly armored (for decks only) but PoW was considered fully operational at the time she sailed against the "super-weapon": the "excuses" came only later to hide the shame of her retreat and they are now proven false..
Oh, sorry, I always forget that for Mr Wadinga (and others here) the Denmark Strait battle is "undetermined"...

For sure, the RN superiority at DS was so evident that the defeat was the worse one for the RN since centuries. Insignificant strategically (it's true), but humiliating as a single battle (when correctly analyzed).


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: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by wadinga » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:27 pm

Hello Alberto,
The twins sailed for Cerberus despite another RAF bombing
Immobilised up to and then from July through August, September, October, November, December and January. They even built a separate barracks for the crews away from the town.
Hood and PoW (18 main guns) were considered able to deal with Bismarck (8 guns)
Sorry I had quite forgotten about your qualifications in mathematics. However most posters here have considerably more than the elementary understanding of naval artillery that merely counting barrels is enough. AFCT MK 1 was fitted to HMS Nelson and Rodney in the early 1920s, battleships Warspite, Valiant, and Queen Elizabeth, and the battlecruiser Renown, received Mk VII tables in the late 1930s. Battleships of the King George V class received a Mk IX table, while Vanguard received the final variant, the Mk X.

Hood received none of these things, but instead the Dreyer table Mk V. A committee convened as below concluded this design was beyond any further development and required replacement with a new ground-up replacement- in 1918. See the excellent Dreadnought project for further education. These excerpts apply.
The final report sought to address another question from H.F. 242/543 of 18 October 1918, seeking to draft "recommendations as to the Fleet's requirements for the future development of Fire Control Tables generally.
For example :— A combination of all the good points of the Dreyer table, Ford clock, and Argo clock would undoubtedly produce a far more compact and efficient arrangement to meet requirements than our present fire control table. It is recommended that the designs of all these instruments should be reviewed with a view to producing the best obtainable machine.
Beatty's cover letter in forwarding this report appeared to emphasise the last point in the report, and directly suggested that a blue-sky committee of experts be convened to study a new design from the ground up,
Bismarck's highly sophisticated fire control system, explained in detail by experts on this website, contained the very latest developments of German engineering and science.
but PoW was considered fully operational at the time she sailed against the "super-weapon"
Yes it is perfectly normal to "Shanghai" civilian workers and sail them into war zone. You have read their reports yourself and know PoW's armament was not "fully operational", yet you persist with this misrepresentation.

An RAF directive to Bomber Command on 9th July 1941 redirected effort away from damaging French harbours and back to Germany for the reasons Mr Gollin so eloquently described. If a new, big fat target had appeared at the beginning of June, the effort would have been maintained until she too, was immobilised, like all the others. And another village would have had to be built for her crew to while away months of inactivity. Maybe Doenitz would have resigned when all his dockyard personnel where reassigned to repair the new cripple.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:14 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "PoW's armament was not "fully operational", yet you persist with this misrepresentation. "
the only "misinterpretation" is the attempt to diminish the PoW gunnery performance, after 7 weeks "terrific" gunnery training "night and day" (source: McMullen interview at IWM + J.Brooke in "Alarm Starboard" pag.49) and after the performance at DS...

I suggest everybody who doesn't like the mathematical demonstration of PoW rate of fire, to digest at least the correct judgement of Adm.Santarini re. PoW gunnery performance and their underestimation from British side vs the magnification of BS gunnery performances:
Santarini_pag.54_Bismarck_Performance.jpg
Santarini_pag.54_Bismarck_Performance.jpg (45.83 KiB) Viewed 402 times
Enjoy the reading and please stop to try to still sell the old fairy tale of a ship that was not ready for combat: she was ready as KGV was (and their performances simply confirm this, pointing just to a design that was not fully reliable under certain circumstances, like a 160° turn executed at full speed under full rudder).



In any case, had Bismarck made it to France, disregarding any hypothetical scenario about the ability of the RAF to immobilize 3 targets instead of 2, the scapegoat search after the Denmark Strait disaster would have surely involved not only Leach, WW and Ellis, but Tovey and possibly Pound himself.


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: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by wadinga » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:35 am

Hello Alberto,

As a response to repetition of Admiral Sanatarini's observation on the lucky effectiveness of the few shots PoW managed to get away, whilst refusing to acknowledge as he does, numerous times, the numerous breakdowns in firing of her main battery, here are some more facts from the Real World.
disregarding any hypothetical scenario about the ability of the RAF to immobilize 3 targets instead of 2
The RAF immobilised 3 targets already, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen. That is 1+1+1 =3. You must mean 4. Was that a "mathematical demonstration"?

From M J Whitley's German Cruisers of WW II, Prinz Eugen was only constrained in drydock until mid December 1941, Thence further alongside work was carried out, and she was only declared operational on 7th February 1942. Out of action July 1941 until February 1942.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Bill Jurens » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:47 pm

With the clear admission that bombing strategy and tactics are not really my area of expertise, I wonder whether actual British successes in bombing and/or otherwise disabling large German warships can be entirely driven by observation of results. In that regard, if one's intention is to inflict the maximum disruption upon the enemy, repairing damage from a series of smaller apparently less-successful raids might require the expenditure of more resources on the German side, both in repair and in defense, than simply sinking the targets straight off. Along similar lines, there would have probably been an advantage to the British to only bomb targets after the Germans had put a considerable amount of effort into their repair from the last previous raid, but just before they became fully operational threats again. Not often enough to make them 'give up' the repair sequences as hopeless, but just enough to ensure that they had put the maximum amount of effort into repairs before disabling the targets again.

So far as Denmark Strait is concerned, I don't really think there is much to be gleaned from over-analysis of detail, especially in secondary-sources where 'sea stories' tend to be common, and especially in long post-facto comments (including, I suppose this one) where no new information is being brought to bear, i.e. where only older information is being re-heated in a sort of dinner of left-overs. My overall view is that the action was so short that statistical probabilities -- read 'luck' -- probably over-rode, or were at least as important as differences in skill and equipment. It's a bit like trying to assess the overall odds of winning at Las Vegas based on three rolls of the dice. I've examined enough gunnery practices to know that hits on the target are indicative of skill, but that sometimes pure luck is a very important player at the table. One might, for example contrast Bismarck's relatively good shooting, i.e. lucky results, at Denmark strait with her relatively abysmal performance on May 27th.

The explosion of Hood undoubtedly had a dramatic effect on the Denmark Strait action. That being said, had Hood not exploded -- which I personally consider a somewhat 'out of the ordinary' circumstance -- I think the outcome of the Bismarck operation would have been essentially the same. A more lengthy action at Denmark Strait would have probably meant that Bismarck would have been more heavily damaged at the end of it, meaning only that it would have taken the British a somewhat shorter time to bring her to final action when she would have been sunk -- as she was anyway -- by gunfire and torpedoes from ships and aircraft. They probably would have got her a day or two earlier, though.

Bill Jurens.

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Re: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:08 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "The RAF immobilised 3 targets already, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen. That is 1+1+1 =3. You must mean 4."
Sure, thanks for correcting me :clap: . Therefore my statement becomes :
In any case, had Bismarck made it to France, disregarding any hypothetical scenario about the ability of the RAF to immobilize 4 targets instead of 3, the scapegoat search after the Denmark Strait disaster would have surely involved not only Leach, WW and Ellis, but Tovey and possibly Pound himself.



Wadinga wrote: "....Admiral Santarini's observation on the lucky effectiveness of the few shots PoW managed to get away, whilst refusing to acknowledge as he does, numerous times, the numerous breakdowns in firing of her main battery,...."
...and despite his repeated acknowledgement of the breakdowns, he considered that PoW gunnery performance was "excellent" (I remember to everybody that BS managed to get away 93 shells in 14 minutes while PoW managed to get away 55 shells in 8,5 minutes... and this was a mathematical demonstration that Mr.Wadinga cannot digest....), explaining at the same time why this is indigestible for him: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8469&start=75#p82143.



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: If Bismarck had made it to France

Post by Byron Angel » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:37 pm

Goodbye, Mr Virtuani. I have had my fill.

B

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