Scharnhorst Radar Set

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Scharnhorst Radar Set

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:32 am

Dave Saxton wrote: " However, at 4:00 in the afternoon what was obviously a passive radar transmission detection was made of Fraser's battle group, though. Was the system on Scharnhorst picking up metric transmissions (Type 286, Type 281) and not centimetric or decimetric transmissions? Probably"
Hi Dave,
thank you so much for your explanations.
If this was the situation at Cape North and Scharnhorst detected Fraser's group, how it happened in your opinion that after 16 o'clock, while the DoY was able to pick up the Scharnhorst with her metric radar, the German ship took no avoiding action and continued to South, getting into the trap ?


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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Dave Saxton
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Re: Scharnhorst Radar Set

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:06 pm

Passive radar can not tell you how far away the detected transmitter is. Or from what type of ship it is on. It can only indicate a general direction from which it came. We know from survivor testimony that the alarm was sounded and they were called back to battle stations at 16:00 based on radar contacts to the south west. At the time DoY was still over 80 km away. About 20 minutes later DoY detected Scharnhorst with its 10 cm Type 273Q at a distance of 42 km. Scharnhorst was being shadowed by Burnette. Scharnhorst was watching Burnette's forces with its remaining aft radar. (survivor testimony)

Bey probably thought the radar transmissions came from additional light forces. He was not aware that DoY was nearby. This information had not been forwarded to him. A German aircraft had detected and shadowed DoY for 90 minutes using airborne radar. The aircrew even suspected it was a battleship and a cruiser based on pip sizes and course and speed. When they landed and gave their report after 13:00, the Luftwaffe pilot was alarmed to discover that Luftwaffe and KM authorities ashore had declined to forward this Intel to Bey because it was not a confirmed visual sighting, but was based on radar. Fleet Commander Schniewind at Kiel at first thought the contacts were probably the German destroyers. The Luftwaffe informed the navy at 13:41 that the pilot was confident that the radar contacts were an enemy battle group containing a battleship. The acting Admiral Narvik, KzS Peters, was sure that Bey would have received the same message, so he did not forward the message or issue an alarm. It is obvious that Bey did not based on his inaction. The German destroyers did not receive the Luftwaffe warning based on their KTBs. It was only later that B -Dienst ashore confirmed, based on deciphered radio messages continually coming from Fraser, that the radar contact had the known call signs of HMS Duke of York and were detailed instructions given by the British admiral. By then it was too late for the Scharnhorst to take evasive action. Scharnhorst did not have a fleet B-Dienst team embarked. They were home in Germany on Christmas leave.
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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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: Scharnhorst Radar Set

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:53 am

@Dave Saxton:
many thanks Dave for your explanation.


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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