KGV Class Battleships

Warship design and construction, terminology, navigation, hydrodynamics, stability, armor schemes, damage control, etc.
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paulcadogan
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby paulcadogan » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:15 am

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HMS26 wrote:This is my very first post in this forum and I thought where better to place it then in the thread dealing with my all-time WWII favorite ship: the KGV BB class! Lots and lots of first-time info I found thanks to the postings of this thread, especially the ones resulted from the “broadside” exchange between dunmunro and alecsandros. Although – after all the straddles and direct hits - damn me if I understood: did KGV have an automatic firing solution relaying system or it was done manually? I somehow feel that the issue remained without a general/majority acceptance.Note: here I would like to point out that at least for me, reading the comments on the Rodney – KGV as the better firing platform issue made me smile. I thought: “how funny is that KGV’s firing accuracy is so much debated (as well as KGV as a class) while the “cock” of the RN at that time – HMS Hood – didn’t manage a single hit - not one - on DKM Prinz Eugen at the Battle of the Denmark Strait, not to mention that she fired at the wrong target for the whole time!”


Hi HMS26 and welcome!

You mention Hood's gunnery in the DS so I thought I'd point you to a possible explanation of what may have happened - in summary good shooting initially, stymied by the limitations of her outdated Dreyer FC table and the devastating German counterattack:

http://www.hmshood.org.uk/forum/phpBB3/ ... 927ec5d522


neil hilton wrote:The current in the Denmark Strait goes north easterly along the coast of Greenland (The North Atlantic Drift). Hood and KGV were steaming north westerly across the current (at least initially to shorten the range to avoid plunging fire) and Bizmarck and Prinz Eugen were to the north steaming south.


More specifically - Hood & PoW were on 300 deg at 0552 - roughly WNW, still across the current. The Germans were steaming south west against it (which you can see in the Rheinubung film).
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RF
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby RF » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:16 am

HMS26 wrote:
I see the decision of Cpt. John Leach to withdraw as the only option. But something tells me that if there was only Bismarck, PoW would have fought on and who knows with what results?


Karl Heidenreich was of the view that a continued action would have resulted in the certainty of POW being sunk. I don't regard that as a certainty, especially without the Prinz Eugen and its torpedoes, but it is more likely than Bismarck being sunk.
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby RF » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:20 am

HMS26 wrote:..... she basically did nothing. And that coming from the “pride” of Royal Navy… Quite sad. I always thought that Hood was – and in some circles still is – grossly overestimated.


I don't think it is the case that Hood ''did nothing.'' Neither do I see the ship as being overestimated, any more in fact than was the Bismarck or for that matter Prinz Eugen.
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby HMS26 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:16 pm

You mention Hood's gunnery in the DS so I thought I'd point you to a possible explanation of what may have happened - in summary good shooting initially, stymied by the limitations of her outdated Dreyer FC table and the devastating German counterattack:… - paulcadogan


Thanks for the link.

Still. For me it just doesn’t cut it. It was a blunder from Hood’s crew any way you look at it. She was close to PoW. Radio contact was possible between the two British ships. Hood had all the means in the world to make sure that she shot at the right target. There was even visual contact with the German ships.
The fact that she was not only failing to acquire the right target but not being even able to hit it, only adds to the shame RN must have felt at the cost of such facts coming from its “pride”. And this leads to the intended reply to RF:

I don't think it is the case that Hood ''did nothing.'' Neither do I see the ship as being overestimated, any more in fact than was the Bismarck or for that matter Prinz Eugen. - RF


At the Denmark Strait Battle, it’s exactly what Hood did. Overestimated she was indeed. For starters, to call your Navy’s “pride ship” a ship that was clearly inferior to KGV (for example) or put it differently – to call a battle cruiser which was faster (agreed) but less protected, with inadequate FC systems (outdated Dreyer FC table?), with an almost mediocre service in which, aside flag-waving and convoy escorting/commerce raiders hunting sorties, the only significant stunt was destroying a confused French Fleet at anchor at Mers-el-Kebir, is an overestimation for me. By 1939, advances in naval gunnery improved considerably and Hood badly needed an overhaul/rebuild. It never happened. How else can trust, hopes and pride be put in such a ship without the use of overconfidence?

As with regards to German overconfidence in Bismarck?
Totally acceptable and legitimate. That ship was the most advanced and powerful warship ever designed and built by Germany. I’m afraid she still is to be honest.

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neil hilton
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby neil hilton » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:51 pm

This is the wrong assumption regarding the status of the RNs 'pride' ship. It has nothing to do with the specific ships power or how advanced its design is. The Royal Navy has fought most of its wars with ships inferior to its enemies, it doesn't care who has the better ships. The Tradition of the RN is that it is the training and morale of its men that counts not the spec of the ship.
It is right about the overestimation of the Hoods capabilities but there was no shame regarding confusion in the middle of battle. Battle is chaotic and confusion is inevitable, only armchair generals think otherwise.
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HMS26
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby HMS26 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:26 pm

The Tradition of the RN is that it is the training and morale of its men …but there was no shame regarding confusion in the middle of battle - neil Hilton


It may be so. But in my book, to base a `pride` status on such a training and moral so easily confused in the middle of a battle is shameful. :(

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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby lwd » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:41 pm

HMS26 wrote: .... It was a blunder from Hood’s crew any way you look at it. She was close to PoW. Radio contact was possible between the two British ships. Hood had all the means in the world to make sure that she shot at the right target. There was even visual contact with the German ships.
The fact that she was not only failing to acquire the right target but not being even able to hit it, only adds to the shame RN must have felt at the cost of such facts coming from its “pride”. And this leads to the intended reply to RF:...

The fact is that it is non trivial to id ships at sea in those conditions. As further proof note that the Germans ID'd the British battleships as cruisers until they opened fire. Hood also came very close to hitting Eugen at least once.

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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby RF » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:52 am

HMS26 wrote:. There was even visual contact with the German ships.
.


That is entirely correct, missing out the key factor in the initial visual sighting. The fact that the two German ships were sufficiently far apart that they could not be viewed together in the British binoculars. Only when the German ships opened fire could it be possible, in the conditions, to be sure which ship was Bismarck. Then the order to shift fire was given.
Last edited by RF on Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby RF » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:18 am

HMS26 wrote:
At the Denmark Strait Battle, it’s exactly what Hood did. Overestimated she was indeed.


This statement is borne of shallow thinking and a certain degree of the type of journalistic prejudice which often features in the ''angle'' of the story that the tabloid press likes to focus on. Particulary the bit about not letting the facts get in the way of a good story. I take the view that no ship is ever perfect or at 100% efficiency, not even Bismarck.

Hood didn't do nothing at the DS battle. The more correct description is that it opened fire on the wrong ship and then had insufficient time to shift fire effectively. What did happen was that as the lead ship Hood drew Bismarck's fire whilst POW was able to inflict the one hit on Bismarck that fundamentally altered Rheinubung, a hit that otherwise would almost certainly would not have happened.

The Germans at DS made a double mis-identification of the RN ships. Not only did they identify them initially as cruisers, but once they had identified Hood correctly plus one KGV, they then assumed the KGV was the Home Fleet flagship KGV itself. Had Holland placed POW in front of Hood as lead ship the Bismarck would again have opened fire on the lead ship, with the crucial difference that Hood would have had more time to range on the correct target.

The combination of Hood/POW was, on paper strong enough to stop Bismarck. Hood/POW opened fire first. Hood's shooting at its actual target wasn't that bad prior to the fire control system being degraded by battle damage at the point that the target shift was ordered. I am inclined to think that had Hood opened fire on the right hand target, given the delayed response of Lutjens, it is possible that Hood could have landed one or two heavy hits on Bismarck before Bismarck found the range of Hood, which would have altered the course of that battle. Whether that would have been the case will forever be a matter of conjecture, but I am of the view that Toveys' decision to send out Hood/POW as a blocking force to intercept Bismarck was not unreasonable.

It can be argued that in the strategic circumstances at the time - about where Bismarck would break out - it was something of a panic measure, but it wasn't in terms of tactical planning as bad as sending the force commanded by Craddock in 1914 to oppose Von Spee off the coast of Chile. The diaster at Corenel should have been foreseeable; whereas Hood/POW would be expected to use superior combined firepower to get the better of Bismarck in an open fight.
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby paulcadogan » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:45 pm

This is skewing off topic here, but I think that we need to look at Hood in two ways...her public image, built by almost two decades of being the largest warship afloat, with little information on her many weaknesses - leading to her over-rated status, and the then very private RN knowledge of her deficiencies and need for major reconstruction.

The RN knew the risks, but in May 1941 what were they to do? They only had 2 KGV class battleships in commission, one only just and technically still ironing out problems, Nelson and Rodney were far too slow, the latter on her way for a major overhaul. Hood was what they had and in the tradition of the RN, she would face the odds and face the enemy. She was the only ship other than the 2 KGV's that could at least compete with the Bismarck in both speed and firepower. As RF said - the 2 versus 1 superiority (including cruisers), even with the PoW's newness should have been enough. In another time or place it might have been, but this time it wasn't.

One could easily say the Bismarck "did nothing" in her final battle - not one hit....not even one - despite her earlier demonstated gunnery skills. But she fought valiantly - a credit to the men who crewed her - stopped by enemy action. So did Hood for those few minutes.

Hood is the only capital ship to have sunk another with her very first salvo fired in anger - at any time any place. Incredible luck maybe, but it happened. It was a capital ship from her era and hence it indicates her lethality for that time. In 1941 versus the newest capital ships it would not be a walkover and her defensive features would be put to the test.

Now to sort of get back on topic, there's Prince of Wales - steeped in controversy - yes....she scored the hits that doomed Rheinubung, but wasn't it "shameful" for the RN to send an ill-prepared ship to meet a potent and well-drilled enemy? The most modern RN battleship flees in the face of the enemy - pepper poured into the wound of shame caused by Hood's loss. They had to trump up the myth that she was "badly" damaged to explain it and in some ironic way save face. As with Hood, she was what they had and they had to use her.
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neil hilton
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby neil hilton » Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:38 am

HMS26 wrote:But in my book, to base a `pride` status on such a training and moral so easily confused in the middle of a battle is shameful. :(


I take it from this comment you have never been in battle.
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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby alecsandros » Mon May 14, 2012 11:06 am

A little bit of grave digging here:

Looking at the kGV armor scheme, magazine placement and draft, I don't see any likely shell trajectory that would be capable of reaching the magazines.
The best chance would be that of a 16"/L45 at 34*, 26km distance, or of a 460mm/L45 falling at 31.5*, 29km distance.
But at those distances the vertical penetration is not enough to break the belt, while the trajectory through the deck is not steep enough to actualy get to the magazines, even if the shell goes exactly near the outer edge of the belt

-At lower distances, the belt may be brkoken, but again, the trajectory would be to flat to ensure a magazine hit.
-At higher distances, steeper angles of fall may be obtained, but the probability of a hit beyond 26km with a 16"/L45 gun, and beyond 29km with a 18"/L45 gun is exceptionaly low.

The only, (theoretical) possibility would be type91 diving shell, which was designed to do exactly that. However, I have much doubts this would be a plausible event during WW2.

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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby paul.mercer » Mon May 14, 2012 8:24 pm

Gentlemen,
When Hood and PoW were sent out to tackle Bismarck, where was KGV at the time and if she was available why was she not deployed?

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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby José M. Rico » Mon May 14, 2012 8:43 pm

Paul,
The KGV was in Scapa Flow and sailed with Victorious + light cruisers at 2000 hours on the 22th May, only after Towey received confirmation that Bismarck and PG left Bergen.
Hood and PoW had left Scapa the night before upon receipt of the first enemy sightings.

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Re: KGV Class Battleships

Postby RF » Tue May 15, 2012 8:18 am

paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen,
When Hood and PoW were sent out to tackle Bismarck, where was KGV at the time and if she was available why was she not deployed?


Further to Jose's reply I would add that KGV was not deployed with Hood/POW because Holland's force was covering only two of the four possible entry routes Lutjens had into the open Atlantic, specifically the Denmark Strait and south east Iceland. KGV at Scapa would cover the other two passages between the Faroes and the north top of Scotland, which for Lutjens would have been the shortest and quickest entry into the open Atlantic, particulary under cover of bad weather. While the Germans tended to avoid those routes for their surface ships because of the proximity to the British base, the possibility of a bold German command doing just that couldn't be discounted. Indeed if I was German fleet commander I would have been tempted to use the Faroes/Shetland gap if only because of the likelihood of the Home Fleet being away from Scapa guarding the Iceland passages.

But there again if it was me I would probably have gone for the fifth route - but suggesting that at that time would probably have given Raeder a heart attack, especially as he would have known that the Fuhrer would have approved such a move - Bismarck going through the Straits of Dover in broad daylight, through the Manche and probably lobbing a few shells in the direction of Weymouth and the Scillies.......
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