Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

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

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed May 15, 2019 7:34 am

Hello everybody,

the "purpose" of this discussion has become the evident attempt (by everyone here) to support at any cost the fabrication of additional hits from Bismarck to Hood (making fitting what doesn't fit...), due to the comparison between PoW gunnery performances vs Bismarck's ones (download/file.php?id=3461), that shows how good PoW's performance have been during the engagement.


Bye, Alberto


P.S. Reference to his own posted words should not need any explanation to their author....I'm sure everybody else has understood very well.
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Herr Nilsson » Wed May 15, 2019 8:35 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:34 am
Hello everybody,

the "purpose" of this discussion has become the evident attempt (by everyone here) to support at any cost the fabrication of additional hits from Bismarck to Hood (making fitting what doesn't fit...), due to the comparison between PoW gunnery performances vs Bismarck's ones (download/file.php?id=3461), that shows how good PoW's performance have been during the engagement.


Bye, Alberto
Well, we don't know exactly with which salvo the ships hit each other, but according to most (all?) witnesses Bismarck straddled Hood not later than salvo number 3. Hunter-Terry, whose account is considered authoritative by some members, even says that Bismarck straddled Hood with the very first salvo. PoW first straddle was at salvo 6. So what? Who cares? Again we have just a top trumps game.
It's just striking that McMullen needed some much time to arrive at what the Germans call "good side". His corrections were simply too small.
Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:34 am
P.S. Reference to his own posted words should not need any explanation to their author....I'm sure everybody else has understood very well.
I still don't understand what it means in this context.
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Marc

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by paul.mercer » Wed May 15, 2019 9:12 am

Gentlemen,
I'm a little puzzled, As far as I can tell it appears that it has been suggested that PE was not using AP shells and so may not have been capable of penetrating Hood's armour, if that is the case surely the flash seen on Hood's deck would suggest that it was actually an 8" shell from PE, as a 15" AP from Bismarck would almost certainly have penetrated far enough for little or nothing to be seen after the impact?
Or am I at cross purposes with the debate!!

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed May 15, 2019 10:07 am

Hello everybody,
"It's just striking that McMullen needed some much time to arrive at what the Germans call "good side""
It's not at all, keeping into account that :
1) PoW had no radar assisted initial range (we can suppose, although not sure, that Bismarck had one), thus the needed adjustments.
2) Bismarck fired 1 Vollsalve (= 2 semi-salvos) + 3 Gabellgruppe salvos (how were they counted by British? 1 or 3 semi-salvos ?) + other salvos of 4+4 guns fired in rapid succession.... In the best case, BS straddled at 4th, in the worst case at 6th semi-salvo vs 6th of PoW.... In no way before 05:57 (I would say 5:57:30, confusing British observations of the real hitting salvo from PG HE shell). For sure from 5:55 till 6:00 Bismarck fired at least 5 full salvos, not semi-salvos, but not many more as per the low total number of shells fired (93).
3) PoW straddled from a larger distance than Bismarck in any case (min 1 minute before, max 2.5 minutes)

I would say a very remarkable performance (as concluded by Adm.Santarini, an expert gunnery officer with scientific approach, not a novelist who wanted to sell a comfortable story to justify Leach).


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed May 15, 2019 10:29 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed May 15, 2019 10:17 am

Paul Mercer wrote: "...surely the flash seen on Hood's deck would suggest that it was actually an 8" shell from PE, as a 15" AP from Bismarck would almost certainly have penetrated far enough for little or nothing to be seen after the impact? "
Hi Paul,
of course you are right in you logic. This is confirmed by probabilities, by Schmalenbach, (negatively) confirmed by Germans (not having claimed the hit for Bismarck), and further by all serious authors who wrote about the battle, starting from Grenfell till Santarini.


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed May 15, 2019 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Herr Nilsson » Wed May 15, 2019 10:33 am

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:07 am
Hello everybody,
"It's just striking that McMullen needed some much time to arrive at what the Germans call "good side""
It's not at all, keeping into account that :
1) PoW had no radar assisted initial range (we can suppose, although not sure, that Bismarck had one), thus the needed adjustments.
2) Bismarck fired 1 Vollsalve (= 2 semi-salvos) + 3 Gabellgruppe salvos (how were they counted by British? 1 or 3 semi-salvos ?) + other salvos of 4+4 guns fired in rapid succession.... In the best case, BS straddled at 4th, in the worst case at 6th semi-salvo as counted by "witnesses".... In no way before 05:57 (I would say 5:57:30, confusing British observations of the real hitting salvo from PG HE shell). For sure from 5:55 till 6:00 Bismarck fired at least 5 full salvos, not semi-salvos, but not many more as per the low total number of shells fired (93).
3) PoW straddled from a larger distance than Bismarck in any case (min 1 minute before, max 2.5 minutes)

I would say a very remarkable performance (as concluded by Adm.Santarini, an expert gunnery officer, not a novelist who wanted to sell a comfortable story to justify Leach).


Bye, Alberto
No, it's simply bad shooting. It's much better to have the point of impacts in direction of the movement of the opponent.
Regards

Marc

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed May 15, 2019 10:38 am

Hello everybody,
[commentary redacted by moderator WJJ]

Adm.Santarini [commentary redacted WJJ} concluded very differently, defining McMullen performance at the start of battle as "superb" (pag.42).

If BS straddles only at 4th semi-salvo (possibly with radar range and from a shorter distance), I would say straddling at 6th (without radar range and from a longer distance) is more than remarkable (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8552&p=83561#p83558).

McMullen fired 2 semi-salvos to adjust for line, then he had to adjust only for the range (point 6 of the PoW GAR narrative http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/off ... 09guns.htm) and the only way to do this was to keep the target exactly between PoW and the fall of shots, as per basic gunnery principles (http://www.kbismarck.com/controltiri.html)...


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Herr Nilsson » Wed May 15, 2019 11:55 am

[Commentary redacted WJJ]

Imagine there is a counter that counts down from 30 to 20. One has to estimate the current number. The current number is decremented each time.

What McMullen did was to say:

30 -> far over (25=current number)
28 -> far over (24)
26 -> far over (23)
24 -> far over (22)
22 -> over (21)
20 -> straddle

This would have been better:
30 -> far over (25)
20 -> very short (24)
22 -> short (23)
22* -> straddle (22)
*not 23 or even 24, because one knows the number is moving into the right direction
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Marc

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed May 15, 2019 12:51 pm

[Commentary redacted WJJ]

Is Mr.Nilsson aware of BC1 squadron firing methodology : I mean that they were firing "double-salvos" alternatively from Hood and PoW ? [Commentary redacted WJJ]

Better for him, instead of posting his "counters", to read again PoW GAR (http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/off ... 09guns.htm) and understand that salvo 2 was fired before salvo 1 landed, as part of a double salvo... thus no way to correct anything before salvo 2 lands...The same for 3,4 and for 5,6.
To do as Mr.Nilsson proposes, McMullen should have fired salvo 1, wait 48 seconds (14" flight time at 26500 yards), spot the fall of shots, input corrections, wait for his own firing interval and then fire salvo 2. The loss of time to do so 4 times would have more than compensated for the 6 "quickly fired" semi-salvos....

If you have no range you have to guess and, without a crystal ball, McMullen could not fire his second double-salvo much shorter than he actually did (even if he actually enlarged the "separation" between the 2 semi-salvos in the following doubles...). He had no way to know exactly how much over salvo 1 and 2 were, not having a radar... What if salvo 2 was actually over by 200 yards only ?

2 corrections only were enough to straddle, thus "McMullen's superb performance" as per Santarini (pag.42) correct evaluation . Any other "suggestion" to improve over McMullen approach... is just possible with hindsight (knowing the actual range of the enemy), not respecting the British firing methodology...


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Bill Jurens » Wed May 15, 2019 3:46 pm

For what it's worth, I would strongly agree with Herr Nilsson's commentary about Prince of Wales' gunnery. This sort of problem is so common that it actually has a name -- 'nibbling at the spot', and is usually indicative of an inexperienced or poorly-trained gunnery team. Herr Nilsson explains it in somewhat different terms, but the gist of the issue is the same. In earlier posts, I stated that -- at least at target practice -- any USN gunnery officer that had 'gotten on' as badly as PoW did at Denmark Strait would have had a lot of explaining to do in the wash-up afterwards. Might end up on anchor-duty...

That being said, in fairness, the gunnery team on Prince of Wales was facing some sub-optimal conditions during the shoot and have blamed their problems on poor weather and visibility. And they may be right, although it's difficult to see why in fairly similar conditions PoW did so badly and Bismarck apparently did so well. Again, one must keep in mind that it's a very small sample and that sometimes in individual cases pure luck has a lot to do with it. The quality of gunnery can usually only be properly assessed, particularly in relative terms, after a fair number of comparative tests have been run.

Although I respect his opinions, I do not agree with Adm. Santarini's assessment that Prince of Wales' gunnery was in any way exceptional or even very good at Denmarck Strait.

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed May 15, 2019 4:55 pm

Hello everybody,

instead of redacting to protect his side, can Mr.Jurens explain (in case he still agrees with Mr.Nilsson wrong suggestions...) how should have McMullen corrected for range in a better way than he did (as I have explained viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8552&start=75#p83563, with arguments and data , as well as Mr.Nilsson has tried to do without success, and not only with generic statements), given the British firing methodology ?

Any US Navy GO could well have been asked to explain afterward, but AFAIK (I'm not an expert) no US Navy GO ever faced Bismarck (or Yamato) in such a one to one "balanced" day encounter....
Tovey himself (albeit he was trying to find any kind of excuse to justify Leach when writing his report) admitted that PoW "had started off well" and nobody ever criticized McMullen gunnery in the RN... If you have any evidence please post them.

We have to admit that US Navy was far superior to RN and Kriegsmarine for straddling within 3 minutes with such a complex geometry, without radar range, from 21150 yards...


In any case, Adm.Santarini judgement is far above all our opinions here and he judged that McMullen gave a "superb performance" that day.


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed May 15, 2019 6:17 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by dunmunro » Wed May 15, 2019 4:56 pm

paul.mercer wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:12 am
Gentlemen,
I'm a little puzzled, As far as I can tell it appears that it has been suggested that PE was not using AP shells and so may not have been capable of penetrating Hood's armour, if that is the case surely the flash seen on Hood's deck would suggest that it was actually an 8" shell from PE, as a 15" AP from Bismarck would almost certainly have penetrated far enough for little or nothing to be seen after the impact?
Or am I at cross purposes with the debate!!
A 38cm hit on PoW, struck a crane, and detonated in mid air just abaft the after funnel, causing extensive splinter damage and fire. Bismarck's 38cm shell's had a very flat trajectory and could easily have done something similar on Hood.

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed May 15, 2019 5:05 pm

Hello everybody,
"...could easily have done something similar on Hood"
Statistically two hits on a heavy, tall enough obstacle at descent angle of 15-20° to cause twice in 4 minutes an explosion is ridiculously low.


Bye, Alberto
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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by dunmunro » Wed May 15, 2019 5:11 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:51 pm
[Commentary redacted WJJ]

Is Mr.Nilsson aware of BC1 squadron firing methodology : I mean that they were firing "double-salvos" alternatively from Hood and PoW ? [Commentary redacted WJJ]

Better for him, instead of posting his "counters", to read again PoW GAR (http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/off ... 09guns.htm) and understand that salvo 2 was fired before salvo 1 landed, as part of a double salvo... thus no way to correct anything before salvo 2 lands...The same for 3,4 and for 5,6.
To do as Mr.Nilsson proposes, McMullen should have fired salvo 1, wait 48 seconds (14" flight time at 26500 yards), spot the fall of shots, input corrections, wait for his own firing interval and then fire salvo 2. The loss of time to do so 4 times would have more than compensated for the 6 "quickly fired" semi-salvos....

If you have no range you have to guess and, without a crystal ball, McMullen could not fire his second double-salvo much shorter than he actually did (even if he actually enlarged the "separation" between the 2 semi-salvos in the following doubles...). He had no way to know exactly how much over salvo 1 and 2 were, not having a radar... What if salvo 2 was actually over by 200 yards only ?

2 corrections only were enough to straddle, thus "McMullen's superb performance" as per Santarini (pag.42) correct evaluation . Any other "suggestion" to improve over McMullen approach... is just possible with hindsight (knowing the actual range of the enemy), not respecting the British firing methodology...


Bye, Alberto
Yes, PoW and Hood had to respect the time sector allotted to them as both ships were supposed to engage Bismarck.

We see the severe disadvantage imposed upon PoW due to the lack of a FC radar. If her type 284 had been functioning, PoW could straddled by the 3rd salvo or earlier. An additional tragedy is that even if Hood had passed radar ranges via the FC radio link, they have would been incorrect because she ranged and fired on PE.

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Re: Message Traffic heard by RODNEY 24 May 1941

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed May 15, 2019 5:42 pm

Hello everybody,

thanks to Mr.Dunmunro for fairly confirming what I said above.

However, despite all the above "tragedies", PoW was able to straddle as early as at 6th salvo (3 minutes only after open fire), getting Tovey's approval and Santarini's recent correct recognition. No criticism whatsoever against McMullen in the RN ever.

AFAIK, no range data was passed to PoW by Hood (nor vice-versa) http://www.hmshood.com/history/denmarks ... letter.htm .


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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