PoW readiness for active service

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

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dunmunro
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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by dunmunro » Sat May 04, 2019 10:37 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:28 pm
Hello everybody,

I would agree with Paul Mercer, however I see that someone insists in posting statements that are known to be incorrect, and I don't think this is a serious way to discuss in a forum:
Dunmunro wrote: "KGV would have had nearly 100% output (and probably full output from the 5.25in guns) and a functioning type 284 radar "
Speculation based on nothing. We know nothing of KGV output. No ship has 100% output when firing in action and firing fast: PoW was firing much faster than KGV on May 27 (1.9 vs 1.7 salvo per minute, despite the much longer range....). At best Bismarck had an 89% output (104 ordered shots), at worst 83% (112 shots). PoW had 75%: not brilliant, not so bad to justify any "retreat", as the "furious" McMullen judged too.
The 284 radar was functioning, it simply had no time to warm up, having been switched on only few minutes before the engagement due to radio silence (please read again and digest what Dave Saxton kindly explained viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8491&p=82290&hilit=warm+up#p82290). PoW 284 radar worked fine few hours later. KGV radar would have behaved in the same identical way.

Dunmunro wrote: "you keep trying to spin that PoW was fine prior to the turn, but the historical record states otherwise."
You keep trying to list incorrect things (already proven wrong several times...) just to justify Leach and I will not counter each of them again and again. The only "historical record" saying she was not fine is the intentionally incorrect point 19 of Adm.Tovey's despatches.
PoW was simply in better conditions than Bismarck when Leach decided to retreat, with no hit in the vitals and no fuel shortage (except the one due to her limited range of course...).
Damage was "superficial" or at least "not serious" (for his Captain admission in the transmitted report to his superior + as Adm.Santarini evaluated (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6728&p=79249&hilit= ... ial#p79249): who are we to say the contrary without having any solid argument ?).


Bye, Alberto
This post was in preparation prior to the moderator's statement.

The RN RoF was set, most likely (and yes I am speculating), by the seastate and visibility, which at Denmark Straits was relatively calm with good visibility, versus a Force 8-6 gale encountered by Tovey.

Are you really suggesting that our knowledge of KGV's and Bismarck's output is the same? We have KGV's GAR and consequently we know a lot about KGV's output. We also know that Rodney achieved 90% output for the first 30 minutes. Based upon the summary of Rodney's GAR published in Warship 28, I can only identify the loss of one round during the first 9 minutes of the action. OTOH, we do not have Bismarck's GAR and consequently we know nothing about her output except the number of rounds fired and you're simply pulling numbers out of thin air when you state an output of 89% for Bismarck. There is no evidence, whatsoever, about a loss of output save for the fact that she fired 93 rounds, when we might have expected 96, so the best guess would be that Bismarck had ~97% output.

It doesn't matter why Type 284 didn't work except that it didn't work. Please don't state speculation as fact as we have no idea when it was switched on and the warm-up times and performance during warm-up would have been well known to the operators while her GAR stated other probable reasons.

What in my list of damages to PoW was incorrect?

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by alecsandros » Sun May 05, 2019 6:49 am

dunmunro wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 10:37 pm
Are you really suggesting that our knowledge of KGV's and Bismarck's output is the same? We have KGV's GAR and consequently we know a lot about KGV's output. We also know that Rodney achieved 90% output for the first 30 minutes. Based upon the summary of Rodney's GAR published in Warship 28, I can only identify the loss of one round during the first 9 minutes of the action. OTOH, we do not have Bismarck's GAR and consequently we know nothing about her output except the number of rounds fired and you're simply pulling numbers out of thin air when you state an output of 89% for Bismarck. There is no evidence, whatsoever, about a loss of output save for the fact that she fired 93 rounds, when we might have expected 96, so the best guess would be that Bismarck had ~97% output.
Not directly related, but not far out either - Prinz Eugen fired during the same time frame as Bismarck did , obtaining an output of 85%.

Also , from my understanding so far, both King George Vth and Rodney were having longer intervals between own salvos being fired , on May 27th, then Prince of Wales and Bismarck were having on May 24th. Naturally, when salvo inteval is longer, the crew has more time to load the gun, and thus fewer misfires happen. [example viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6834 KGV fired first 18 salvos between 8:48 and 9:00, 18 salvos in 12 minutes. By comparison, Prince of Wales fired first 18 salvos in 9 minutes]

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun May 05, 2019 7:37 am

Hello everybody,

a pity that Mr.Dunmunro has not respected the moderator request for a voluntary "time-out". I suggest next time the rules are not "voluntary" but strictly imposed and blindly applied with immediate cancellation of all posts written out of time + admonishment to violators.

Dunmunro wrote: "we know a lot about KGV's output...the best guess would be that Bismarck had ~97% output....It doesn't matter why Type 284 didn't work except that it didn't work"
In addition to Alec correct observations above, there is no way to estimate KGV average RoF during the battle as her "GAR" is so poorly written (inconveniently for someone, PoW GAR is much better written) that we don't even know how many salvos were ordered... For Rodney we have the salvo plot, for KGV ...nothing... just an incomplete narrative... The peak RoF for KGV was just 1.7 salvos per minute during 20 minutes vs 1.9 of PoW during 9 minutes (and it was going faster at the end of the engagement, as distance diminished).
The speculation to say that KGV fired with almost perfect output until her "big problem" occurred is just... a speculation...because we don't know how many shots were missed during the first 30 minutes.

Mr.Dunmunro wants to believe that Bismarck ordered only 96 shots in 14 minutes fire action ? Definitive ? Is this his theory ?
Then, in his opinion, Bismarck RoF was ridiculously lower than PoW (1.6 salvos per minute vs 1.9 of PoW, justifying the better output with a slow firing methodology). However, we have photos showing at least 11 salvos (44 ordered shots) fired after 6:03, thus this leave too few shots (52 only fired at Hood and PoW during the crucial first 7 minutes of the battle, the initial ranging salvos account for 20 shots already, leaving... 32 shots (8 semi-salvos) for sinking Hood and "severely" (?) damaging PoW... in 6 minutes action...not much credible...).
96 ordered shot is not a "best guess", it's just another wrong speculation, while 104 to 112 is supported by photographic evidences, by logic and by a battle reconstruction (Antonio Bonomi's one) that Mr.Dunmunro has never been able to counter with a different credible version.


The PoW 284 radar worked fine few hours later, therefore it was functioning. It simply failed to provide initial range (reason are explained here viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8491&p=82290&hilit=warm+up#p82290) . This is a fact and Mr.Dunmunro should simply admit he has added other additional incorrect statements to Leach's justification, including the radar one, that not even Tovey, in his attempt to embellish the story at point 19 of his despatches, was able to invent...


These are the only significant damages listed in the final report of the operation by Tovey: half of them are incorrect and were added clearly to try to justify Leach behavior: 4 15" shells (they were just 3), Y turret jammed before the decision to disengage in addition to the wrong retreat time (6:13!). No mention of 5.25" battery being out of action (because it was a the temporarily impossibility to direct their fire centrally due to a 8" hit fore and splinters/smoke aft). No mention of radar failure, no mention of the minor funnel damage, no mention of any bad loss of output, of course (instead the statement that PoW started off well...).

Tovey_Point19.jpg
Tovey_Point19.jpg (53.51 KiB) Viewed 440 times

If Mr.Dunmunro wants to be more incorrect than Tovey and justify Leach more than Tovey did...his choice...




For the time being, back to the thread topic, these are the dates that demonstrates how PoW got more time and more training before being declared ready for active service (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8523&start=195#p83200), and I see nobody was able to counter what is written here.
Of course PoW was "unlucky" to have to face Bismarck 3 days after her "readiness" but this readiness was better than the one of KGV at the time the latter was declared ready, and PoW proved it on May 24, shooting in an "excellent" way (Santarini, pag.54 + download/file.php?id=3463).


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: PoW readiness for active service

Post by HMSVF » Sun May 05, 2019 9:18 am

Bill Jurens wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 10:00 pm
I think it important to take into account the times at which various assessments of damage, on either side, were made. We have -- at least in the case of PoW -- one set of assessments made during the action itself, being made in some haste in the heat of battle from incomplete and probably somewhat contradictory statements, vs a set of assessments made later 'after the smoke had cleared', and more thorough examination(s) could be made. It's important, at least in my opinion, not to intermingle the two.

The same probably applies to Bismarck's damage -- at the time of the action the hit in the bow probably appeared fairly inconsequential. Almost certainly it was only after some time had passed, i.e. well 'after action', that the true extent and significance of the damage to the bow could be appreciated.

The quality of various tactical decisions, etc., can probably only be fairly assessed by evaluating what was known at the time, not on what was, or may not, have only been known sometime thereafter.

I'd once again ask various correspondents to exercise some restraint in order to avoid, as we have seen too many times before, a slow and highly unpleasant escalation of contempt for opposing arguments and posters.

My plan would not to physically lock the thread at this stage -- although it has occurred to me -- but to ask posters to observe a voluntary 24 hour 'time out' in order to allow tempers to cool, and perhaps allow some more careful thinking to be done. This voluntary moratorium would last from 20:00 Winnipeg time, Saturday 4 April to 20:00 Winnipeg time Sunday 5 April.

Bill Jurens





I think it important to take into account the times at which various assessments of damage, on either side, were made. We have -- at least in the case of PoW -- one set of assessments made during the action itself, being made in some haste in the heat of battle from incomplete and probably somewhat contradictory statements, vs a set of assessments made later 'after the smoke had cleared', and more thorough examination(s) could be made. It's important, at least in my opinion, not to intermingle the two
.

Exactly.

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun May 05, 2019 11:19 am

Hello everybody,

Exactly, "superficial damages" assessed "from incomplete and probably somewhat contradictory statements" by Leach, just after the battle.

Light damages assessed after a "thorough examination" by Tovey in his point 19 (download/file.php?id=3507) after all detail reports were fully available to him (and partially ignored...).
Among the above damages, the most critical one (Y turret jam) is not a damage but it is a design problem happened after the retreat, astutely added to the list of damages to support Leach position. Also heavy hits are 4 instead of 3 and the HALA directors impaired are 3 out of 4 instead of 1 or 2 max...
Apparently the thorough examination did not outline any significant damage and some fantasy was requested from Tovey's part...


In no official report it is stated that PoW damages were heavy and/or impairing her fighting efficiency.
Especially the good actual gunnery performances of PoW are not listed anywhere as a reason for breaking off the engagement (not by Leach, not by McMullen, not by Tovey)... only here...why ?


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: PoW readiness for active service

Post by HMSVF » Sun May 05, 2019 11:40 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 11:19 am
Hello everybody,

exactly, "superficial damages" assessed "from incomplete and probably somewhat contradictory statements" by Leach, just after the battle.

Light damages assessed after a "thorough examination" by Tovey in his point 19 (download/file.php?id=3507) after all detail reports were fully available.
Among the above damages, the most critical one (Y turret jam) is not a damage but it is a design problem happened after the brek off and astutely added to the list of damages to support Leach position. Also heavy hits are 4 instead of 3 and the HALA directors impaired are 3 out of 4 instead of 1 or 2 max...
Apparently the thorough examination did not outline any significant damage and some fantasy was requested from Tovey...


In no official report is stated that PoW damages were heavy and/or impairing her fighting efficiency, especially actual guns performances are not listed anywhere as a reason for breaking off the engagement (not by Leach, not by McMullen, not by Tovey)... only here...why ?


Bye, Alberto

He hasn't got a "Star Trek" style damage control system though has he? So the ship is hit 8 times or so in a couple of minutes, his bridge has been smashed and god knows what else. Are we really expecting given WW2 on ship communications (relying on voice pipes etc )for him to receive accurate, fully assessed damage reports in the immediate aftermath, before the damage control parties have had chance to do their work?

Really?

If so, that is grossly unfair. I don't think any captain, in any navy, in those circumstances, could undertake what is being suggested.

The damage control reports may well have come back as superficial, but thats why the damage control parties do their job - to assess the damage after they have cleared the wreckage, moved the bodies and repaired what can be repaired. Unless Leach had extra sensory perception there is no way he could have had a concise damage report in the immediate aftermath and this is a chap who has in all likelihood suffered concussive injuries as a result of the hit to the compass that turned it into a charnel house.


Best wishes


HMSVF

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun May 05, 2019 11:48 am

Hello everybody,
HMSVF wrote: "If so, that is grossly unfair"
It was not me insisting on the difference between damages assessed in the heat of the action and after examination of detail reports. I guess (as in any RN ship at least since WWI) the damages were assessed by the Executive Officer and reported to Leach in order for him to report to his superior, Wake-Walker...

In any case, both initial and final assessment did not outline serious damages (impairing her fighting efficiency). Therefore the initial one was basically correct. The only incorrect statements are in Tovey's final report (download/file.php?id=3507) where he felt the need to give some "solidity" to the reasons for the disengagement.


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: PoW readiness for active service

Post by Bill Jurens » Sun May 05, 2019 4:32 pm

The diagrams, photographs, and descriptions of the damage as described in the official war damage reports certainly suggests more than 'superficial' damage to me. The point is that one will obtain different assessments of the damage depending upon the circumstance and timing of when the reports were prepared, and one can quite easily 'armchair' the assessments afterwards indicating how successive presentations were in error. The real problem, at least to me, lies in assuming or concluding that these successive errors and discrepancies were in some way deliberate as opposed to accidental. Justifying that sort of conclusion would require some sort of truly egregious situation where one could essentially reach no other reasonable conclusion than that the report (or reports) in question were deliberately falsified.

Although we have had some rather involved discussions revolving around evidence, so far as I know only Mssrs Bonomi and Virtuani support the outright accusation(s) that Leach acted inappropriately, and that there was some sort of grand scheme afterwards by which he was awarded various medals, etc. undeservedly. As Mr. Bonomi seems to have withdrawn from discussions, that would seem -- but only seem -- to leave only Mr. Virtuani in support of this hypothesis.

In that regard, I would encourage other correspondents who might also support the so-called "A&A hypothesis" regarding Leach's actions and a subsequent cover-up to make a post supporting that now, so that we may determine whether the arguments revolve around different groups reasonably evenly balanced, or by a much larger group opposing a single individual. If the latter proves to be the case, it may be more productive to close the topic entirely, although discussions relating to the action itself, independent of the 'cover-up' hypothesis can, of course, continue.

Bill Jurens

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by alecsandros » Sun May 05, 2019 5:47 pm

@Bill Jurens,

FWIW, my opinion is that , in the immediate aftermath of the battle of Denmark Strait , the situation looked bleak for the Royal Navy, which suffered (apparently) a great defeat, while not inflicting signficant damage (or no damage at all according to information immediately available) to the enemy. Therefore , the immediate "culprits" were probably V-Adm. Wake-Walker and Capt. Leach, as senior commanders , after the tragic loss of Adm. Holland. Threats of Court Martials would very likely be issued, given the circumstances - and very high stakes involved.

However, after the pursuit ended (3 days later) - with the loss of KM Bismarck - , the situation changed to the advantage of the Royal Navy, which had again the upper hand in the North Atlantic, after destroying the enemy's newest and most powerfull warship. During the pursuit, both V-adm Wake-Walker , and Capt. Leach , both pressed hard against the enemy, with their ships - HMS Norfolk actually scoring a significant hit during the final battle against the foretop of the enemy battleship, and HMS Prince of Wales re-engaging the German battleship two times.

Therefore, I think much rests on what happened in the days after the battle of Denmark Strait. In the actual day of the battle, threats and pressures were most likely done, but afterwards things must have been improved. And, as it was war, the propaganda machine needed to praise heroes , not to criticise command decisions. Thus the threats of the previous days were most likely quietly forgotten.

As for the actual manouvre to disengage performed by HMS Prince of Wales, my opinion is that a proper course of action would have been a disengagement out to 18-22km, and a settling on a parallel course with the Bismarck. From such a range, Prince of Wales's vitals would be invulnerable to 380mm gunfire , while the 356mm guns could deliver punches against the enemy. However, given the shock suffered by the ship's bridge, and the deteriorating state of the armament and of the fire control systems, along with the probable unknown extent of the underwater damage suffered, the decision to disengage further away was probably taken under the pressure of the moment.

Best,

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by pgollin » Sun May 05, 2019 8:30 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 5:47 pm
.

..... Threats of Court Martials would very likely be issued, given the circumstances - and very high stakes involved. .....

.


.

With all due respect - absolute rubbish, that was not the way the court martial system worked (or was used). Read up on the Kings Regulations.

.

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun May 05, 2019 8:51 pm

Hello everybody,
Bill Jurens wrote: " The real problem, at least to me, lies in assuming or concluding that these successive errors and discrepancies were in some way deliberate as opposed to accidental. Justifying that sort of conclusion would require some sort of truly egregious situation where one could essentially reach no other reasonable conclusion than that the report (or reports) in question were deliberately falsified."
Well, with respect, reading Tovey preliminary report from May 30 (that is almost correct):

Tovey_May30.jpg
Tovey_May30.jpg (23.65 KiB) Viewed 323 times

close to the final despatches version (download/file.php?id=3507),
I would say there is no other reasonable conclusion than that the report in question was deliberately falsified, with the intent to embellish an otherwise militarily very poor story.

1) 6:00 (Hood blows up) + 2 minutes = 6:02, as per May 30 report: however in the despatches it becomes... 6:13..?
2) no mention in May 30 report of the Y turret jamming: it becomes the main battle damage (and Leach justification) in the despatches...?
3) 2 HALA directors out of action on May 30 become...3 of them in the despatches..?

Now, having seen all the other reports in the meantime, Adm Tovey could have had a better view of what happened (correcting 6:02 in 6:01:30 as per PoW maps, and adding that 1 HALA director was definitely out of action, the second only temporarily (as per the PoW damage report) not a much worse one, depicting a battle that never happened.
He intentionally wrote an incorrect report. Why ? Because in the meantime he had understood what had been Churchill (and Pound) reactions and their obvious menace of a Court Martial: thus he needed to write a much better story to justify his Captain and he "forgot" what he had (correctly) written on May 30.

I'm sorry, there is no other logical way to read what Tovey intentionally changed between the two version of his report: I have seen several explanation like "typos", "innocent errors", etc, but please, let's try to be serious in this discussion.
I don't believes in fairy-tales but it looks like some people here still do...


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Sun May 05, 2019 9:28 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by dunmunro » Sun May 05, 2019 9:15 pm

We are straying far off topic.

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by Bill Jurens » Sun May 05, 2019 10:05 pm

This may be a repost, as I put something up about an hour ago which seems to have disappeared into cyber-space.

@Mr. Virtuani:

I am sorry, but I just don't see the discrepancies in the reports that you do. They both seem to be variants with essentially the same theme, although details and emphasis might vary a bit, as is the case in any situation where a complex event is being boiled down to five or six sentences.

Where exactly, are the falsifications to which you allude, and can these not be more easily explained by more simple assumptions?

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by Bill Jurens » Sun May 05, 2019 10:15 pm

To participants:

I would be interested in learning if there are any previously published accounts which support the hypotheses of Mssrs. Virtuani and Bonomi, or whether this particular issue -- which I read as revolving around the the alleged timidity of Leach coupled with a subsequent attempt at a cover-up -- is entirely their own. A LOT has been written and published over the years on the 'Bismarck Chase', and I wonder if any readers have stumbled upon any other independently generated accounts suggesting that the 'cover-up' hypothesis is be a credible one. In other words, other than on this forum, has the issue been discussed anywhere before?

Bill Jurens

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Re: PoW readiness for active service

Post by Byron Angel » Mon May 06, 2019 1:15 am

IMO no evidence convincingly demonstrates any sort of official court martial cover-up. What has been submitted is a pastiche of selected communications, comments and documents knit together by uniformly dark speculations about the underlying motives of the various involved parties. The scenario of an angry and politically fearful Churchill lashing out in an unguarded moment of frustrated rage, only to be reined in by cooler heads, far better fits the available evidence.

Frankly, this issue has become the tail wagging the dog of fifteen years of otherwise interesting research and study. Sad.

B

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