KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

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northcape
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KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby northcape » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:59 pm

We know that this requirement by the Admiralty led to bad seakeeping qualities of these ships.
I wonder what was the motivation behind this tech spec. With the initial design of 2 fore quadruple turrets, should it enable superior firepower at short distance after the quickest possible approach ? Do you think it was a useless and bad design?

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby dunmunro » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:17 am

The KGV class had excellent seakeeping capabilities which were certainly the best of any treaty limited battleship. If this wasn't the case, then how did DoY run down and sink Scharnhorst in a raging gale? IIRC, the requirement for zero angle firing across the bow was to allow KGV to engage close range targets and during WW2 there was a surprising number of these.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby northcape » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:38 am

It is really hard to get the right impression. I read many times that due to the flat bow deck, there was a lot of water washing over the bow and also draining the "A" turret. Reading about Vanguard, it is always said that she had "much better seakeeping qualities than KGV". Only Burt cites the designer of the ship, who attended the high-speed trials and stated "it is a very dry ship forward". (But in my view, Burt is overall too "friendly" when evaluating the British BBs, and the designer of the ship maybe is not the most critical person to ask).
Don't get me wrong, this is not KGV bashing. They really are my favourite ships, and I admire their magnificent wartime service. Having said this, I still think that, summing all up, their design was not the best one among the treaty ships, and I'm really wondering if the zero-elevation constraint for "A" turret was a good or bad idea.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby dunmunro » Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:14 pm

Vanguard was unrestrained by treaty limitations and in consequence a much larger ship than KGV. The 35K ton treaty battleships were incredibly tightly designed with no room for frills. Whether or not KGV was the best overall design is debatable but KGV certainly had the best seakeeping of the lot, and there no room for debate on that. KGV was designed with generally higher free-board then the other treaty designs and KGV's bow design ensured that she had more flotation forward to enable the bow to rise with oncoming seas rather than plowing through them. Yes, KGV was wet forward (most battleships were) but this never caused any mission failures, even though the KGVs were engaged in several combats in severe weather and regularly pushed through hurricane force weather in the North Atlantic. The fact is that RN battleship turrets were engineered to cope with wet conditions. The USN's 35K ton treaty designs were much wetter forward and elsewhere and compared very poorly to KGV in seakeeping ability:

http://www.researcheratlarge.com/Ships/ ... amage.html

Imagine the above USN battleship trying to tackle Scharnhorst at North Cape while steaming at full speed!

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby Paul L » Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:34 am

dunmunro wrote:The KGV class had excellent seakeeping capabilities which were certainly the best of any treaty limited battleship. If this wasn't the case, then how did DoY run down and sink Scharnhorst in a raging gale? IIRC, the requirement for zero angle firing across the bow was to allow KGV to engage close range targets and during WW2 there was a surprising number of these.



Since Scharnhorst was escaping I don't see how DoY 'ran her down'...that usually means you out run them. The Burnett dispatches a signal reporting as much at 10 30. Again Bey stumbled into Frazer's force again and the battle continued , however Scharnhorst again pulled away from DoY only stalling at 6;20pm [hit causing shock damage to boilers etc] cutting speed to 10 knots. While it took minutes to get back to top speed - this- did allow destroyers to close and launch 28 torpedo's from a few km of which 4 hit the Scharnhorst slowing her to 10 knots. Just enough for DoY to close to 4,000 yards .... Within 10 minutes Scharnhorst was listing and she was finished off with Torps from a cruiser.

Took a combined team of cruisers destroyer's and the DoY to find halt and sink Scharnhorst. I doubt DoY could have done that alone.
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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby dunmunro » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:48 am

Scharnhorst was inherently ~3 knots faster than DoY, but the key point is that DoY was able to maintain sufficient speed, despite the weather, that Scharnhorst was only able to gain about 10k yards in ~90 minutes, or about what we'd expect even if the weather had been perfect. The obvious conclusion is that DoY's speed and gunnery were not impaired by KGV's bow design.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby northcape » Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:57 pm

I agree that both from Denmark street and north cape battles, it is evident that the KGVs presented a very good combination of stable gun platforms and excellent fire control.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:55 am

northcape wrote:I agree that both from Denmark street and north cape battles, it is evident that the KGVs presented a very good combination of stable gun platforms and excellent fire control.

... At Denmark Strait Prince of Wales obtained 3 hits from 55 shots fired (74 ordered), on clear day and calm sea.
... At North Cape, Duke of York obtained 4 or 5 hits in the pursuit phase (90 minutes pursuit), in a heavy storm.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:57 pm

alecsandros wrote:
northcape wrote:I agree that both from Denmark street and north cape battles, it is evident that the KGVs presented a very good combination of stable gun platforms and excellent fire control.

... At Denmark Strait Prince of Wales obtained 3 hits from 55 shots fired (74 ordered), on clear day and calm sea.
... At North Cape, Duke of York obtained 4 or 5 hits in the pursuit phase (90 minutes pursuit), in a heavy storm.


Calm Sea at DS? The photographs show a fairly large swell, and there are reports that the spray coming over the bows on POW was limiting the use of the in turret range finders.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:21 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
northcape wrote:I agree that both from Denmark street and north cape battles, it is evident that the KGVs presented a very good combination of stable gun platforms and excellent fire control.

... At Denmark Strait Prince of Wales obtained 3 hits from 55 shots fired (74 ordered), on clear day and calm sea.
... At North Cape, Duke of York obtained 4 or 5 hits in the pursuit phase (90 minutes pursuit), in a heavy storm.


Calm Sea at DS? The photographs show a fairly large swell, and there are reports that the spray coming over the bows on POW was limiting the use of the in turret range finders.

... from what I understand, there was a moderate breeze of 10m/s, which created swells here and there. The wind was blowing to the west, thus hindering Prince of WAles and Hood's optical rangefinders.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:45 pm

alecsandros wrote:... from what I understand, there was a moderate breeze of 10m/s, which created swells here and there. The wind was blowing to the west, thus hindering Prince of WAles and Hood's optical rangefinders.


But even the Prinz Eugen reported that sea spray made identifying the enemy warships difficult.

10 m/s is a 20 knot wind.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby northcape » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:55 pm

alecsandros wrote:
northcape wrote:I agree that both from Denmark street and north cape battles, it is evident that the KGVs presented a very good combination of stable gun platforms and excellent fire control.

... At Denmark Strait Prince of Wales obtained 3 hits from 55 shots fired (74 ordered), on clear day and calm sea.
... At North Cape, Duke of York obtained 4 or 5 hits in the pursuit phase (90 minutes pursuit), in a heavy storm.


And what should us tell this? I don't get your point. Do you expect every shot to be a hit?

In DS, PoW had an extremely unfavorable approach, the spray was covering the range finders, the light conditions were bad, Holland did not allow independent manoevering, the ship was new and untried (now please don't get this discussion started again).
With the same arguments (hit rate only) one would say that Scharnhorst and Bismarck during their last battles were poor gun platforms, which definitely is not the case either.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:36 pm

northcape wrote:And what should us tell this? I don't get your point. Do you expect every shot to be a hit?


There is no moral to the story,
those are amongst the few actual battle gunfires KGV class performed. I don't know how other ships would have done in similar conditions.

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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby paulcadogan » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:06 am

Dave Saxton wrote:But even the Prinz Eugen reported that sea spray made identifying the enemy warships difficult.


Where was this reported? Can't find it in the KTB. The only time spray affected Prinz Eugen was when the splash from Hood's nearest shell collapsed over the ship putting the decks awash (reported in the KTB by Jasper) and I think it was Busch who described the RF/spotting lenses having to be wiped off in the aftermath of that.

The wind direction was responsible for the spray fogging Hood & PoW's optics. That same wind would have blow any spray away from BS & PG, so it would not have fogged theirs.

BTW - remember we have video footage of KGV ships in heavy seas: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=6708
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Re: KGV class: firing at 0 degree elevation across the bow

Postby alecsandros » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:35 am

paulcadogan wrote:
Dave Saxton wrote:But even the Prinz Eugen reported that sea spray made identifying the enemy warships difficult.


Where was this reported? Can't find it in the KTB. The only time spray affected Prinz Eugen was when the splash from Hood's nearest shell collapsed over the ship putting the decks awash (reported in the KTB by Jasper) and I think it was Busch who described the RF/spotting lenses having to be wiped off in the aftermath of that.

The wind direction was responsible for the spray fogging Hood & PoW's optics. That same wind would have blow any spray away from BS & PG, so it would not have fogged theirs.

BTW - remember we have video footage of KGV ships in heavy seas: http://www.kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=6708

I believe David is reffering to the trouble Prinz Eugen's own smoke was causing her, obscuring the visual instruments.
It was driven by the S-E wind towards Hood/Prince of WAles, and probably made initial identitication of the targets more difficult...


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