Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

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José M. Rico
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Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by José M. Rico » Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:00 pm

Hello all,

After going over several other threads discussing the battle of the Denmark Strait, I would like to know your opinion on a few things. The following are basically YES or NO questions, but you may elaborate your answers a little if you want. There is no need to get engaged with other forum participants at all (I will be the one formulating the questions this time). The only thing required is to provide an honest reply. Easy.

I know some of you think it is not possible to make an accurate "reconstruction" of the battle, but like it or not it has to be told in one way or the other. I hope this thread will at least let us know where everybody stands. I would really appreciate if as much people as possible could participate in this new thread.

Here is the first question. I will let a reasonable period of time (48 hours?) for everybody to answer before I present the second question.

********************************
Question #1.
Do you agree that the Prinz Eugen opened fire at 0555 hours?

Yes
No
Why? (Optional)

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by dunmunro » Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:53 pm

José M. Rico wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:00 pm


********************************
Question #1.
Do you agree that the Prinz Eugen opened fire at 0555 hours?

Yes
No
Why? (Optional)
First I have to preface my answer with statement that we don't have a reliable way of matching times taken by different observers, due to the lack of a universal time constant (such as GPS time today).

PE's War Diary notes a delay in opening fire and this is supported by Suffolk's narrative:

18. 0550 (B). Suffolk's course 220°, 29 knots, following the enemy.

0553 (B). Heavy gun flashes bearing 185°. Half a minute later Bismarck opened fire to port.

0556½ (B). Prinz Eugen opened fire to port.

0559 (B). Hood blew up.
So there is reasonable grounds to assume that PE opened fire at ~0555 relative to Hood's open fire at ~0552:30

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by northcape » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:01 pm

José M. Rico wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:00 pm

Question #1.
Do you agree that the Prinz Eugen opened fire at 0555 hours?

Yes
No
Why? (Optional)
5:55 in which clock system (german/british/which ship)?

I think it would be better to formulate that question in a timing context, e.g. if ship X fired at time Y, do you think that the relative time difference of PE opening fire was Z minutes (wheer Z can be either negative or positive)?

Otherwise, I'm afraid, the question is of little use except opening another row between forum members using old arguments.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by José M. Rico » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:10 pm

dunmunro wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:53 pm
So there is reasonable grounds to assume that PE opened fire at ~0555 relative to Hood's open fire at ~0552:30
OK, that will be taken as a YES.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by José M. Rico » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:15 pm

northcape wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:01 pm
I think it would be better to formulate that question in a timing context, e.g. if ship X fired at time Y, do you think that the relative time difference of PE opening fire was Z minutes (wheer Z can be either negative or positive)?
If you want to use Hood's open fire time at ~0552:30 as Dunmunro just did, that would be fine.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:47 pm

Hello everybody,

My answer is yes, because it is written in the PG War Diary, where British open fire is registered at 05:53 and this matches the Baron's account of the "delay".

However, I must point out that the minute 05:55 starts at 05:55:00 and ends at 05:55:59. Assuming Hood opened fire at exactly 05:52:30, then I would say that PG opened fire at around 05:55:15 - 05:55:20 (I can explain why, but I think we should try to stay as brief as we can).


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: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Bill Jurens » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:47 pm

Taken as it is, and out of context, the documentary evidence would suggest the 0555 figure might be said to represent a reasonable approximation, so I would be willing to say 'yes'.

Bill Jurens

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by northcape » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:12 am

José M. Rico wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:15 pm
northcape wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:01 pm
I think it would be better to formulate that question in a timing context, e.g. if ship X fired at time Y, do you think that the relative time difference of PE opening fire was Z minutes (wheer Z can be either negative or positive)?
If you want to use Hood's open fire time at ~0552:30 as Dunmunro just did, that would be fine.
I did not research these topics in detail as most of you did, so I don't have an opinion. As always, my comment was general in nature, but aiming to address a very specific, and in my view important, aspect: To keep this discussion rational and above all, directed and useful.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by José M. Rico » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:41 pm

northcape wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:12 am
I did not research these topics in detail as most of you did, so I don't have an opinion.
That's OK, participation is not mandatory.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Herr Nilsson » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:09 am

Taking into account a certain degree of uncertainty I tend to "yes".
Regards

Marc

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by alecsandros » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:39 am

Yes.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by pgollin » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:50 am

.

As an approximation of unknown accuracy - YES

As an exact, objective measure - NO

As a relative measure - then it depends upon which others you measure.

.

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Byron Angel » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:02 pm

I concur with the good Mr Gollin.

B

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by José M. Rico » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:14 pm

Thank you all for your replies and comments. Now, let's move on.

I'm attaching a photo below taken from the Prinz Eugen during the battle of the Denmark Strait where we can see that the Bismarck, in the background, has just fired a salvo. We can also see three cartridges from 20.3cm ammunition over the cruiser's deck which would indicate that PG has already fired at least one salvo with the after turrets.

Image

This photo belongs to the same group credited to PK-Lagemann. It was first published in the 1943 book "Prinz Eugen im ersten Gefecht" with the following caption:

"Schlachtschiff Bismarck feuert die erste Salve aus den Schlachtkreuzer Hood".
"Battleship Bismarck fires the first salvo at the battlecruiser Hood".

But whether or not that was in fact the first salvo from the Bismarck is not the question now.
My question to you all is:

Question #2.
Do you agree that in this photo the Prinz Eugen has already opened fire?
Yes
No

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Re: Some questions about the battle at the Denmark Strait

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:26 pm

Hello everybody,

my answer is yes.


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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