Richelieu vs KGV

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
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RF
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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by RF » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:29 am

Gary wrote:Richelieu Left France in June 1940 about 95% complete where as JB was barely 75% complete.
Also, at that time the only fast true battleships that Britain had were Hood and KGV.


Getting back to topic, maybe I'm just being patriotic but I think that KGV would probably have a better crew than Richelieu.
Gary, KGV wasn't commissioned until December 1940, followed by POW in March 1941.

Yes, a better crew than Richelieu, but I suspect only half a battleship and hardly any workable guns......
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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by Gary » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:05 pm

Here's a cracking photo of Duke of York at Iceland

The things you can find whilst trawling the web..... :clap:
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by boredatwork » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:41 pm

alecsandros wrote:Yes Michael, but we are talking about hypothetical WW2 naval battles (or at least I am :D )
That is, we have to draw a line somewhere between "what was the historical situation" and "how good could the improvements have been, if they were to happen". The French BBs were rebuilt in the US for several years (IIRC Richelieu 18 months, JB 4 years). Purely the amount of work involved hints to the fact that they were poorly constructed.
Yes but we don't have to agree where exactly to draw the line. You stated your bias in your opening post that you thought Richelieu was over-rated - so IMO it looks like you're trying to draw that line so that it favours your own conclusion.


Case and point, read your above statement. You do not recall correctly.

The Richelieu was in the US from February 1943 to October 1943 - that's 8-9 months not 18.

While in the US she underwent the following repairs: The hull was completely repaired where it had been damaged in 1940; The inner shaft, damaged in the same attack had to be completely replaced; Aircraft equipment and boats were removed; The Machinery was repaired and renewed; the 3 damaged guns of turret 2 were replaced with weapons taken from JB; the loading systems of the main turrets were finally finished; the Firecontrol and command systems were modernized.

The length of time involved hints, not that she was poorly constructed but rather she was not an American Battleship and as such you're not taking into account that even the simplest of repairs were complicated by the fact that everything from parts, to knowledgeable personnel, to plans, to even tools necessary for speedy repairs was in enemy occupied France and if she needed something it either had to be imported from Cassablanca (from her sister), replaced by a functionally equivalent American substitute, or built from scratch at great expense specifically for her (keeping in mind that most of the original plans which would have greatly simplified matters were now at German naval headquarters.) Even the nuts and bolts presented problems - being Metric - when virtually all of America's tools were orientated towards imperial.
Now, it is very difficult to assert that the same rebuilding work done in the US would have been done in pre-war France.
You're missing the point - all of this work wouldn't have had to be done in a non-occupied France - her machinery wouldn't have to be repaired to make it operational again - it was perfectly operational in her initial trials. Her Aircraft would likely have been removed and more AA added at some point but that's no different than the KGV class and their mid war refits. Improving her armament RoF might have taken some trial work but it would have been done by the people who designed and built her, not by people who had to take someone elses incomplete work, figure out how it is supposed to work then try and fix it making plans and tools and parts as they went along...

That the Americans managed to fix her at all - including setting up production lines specifically for french ammunition is a testament to the igenuity and resources of American shipyards.



As for Jean Bart she wasn't rebuilt in the US at all. There were 2 french projects to have the Americans finish her as a BBCV or a BBAA - in both cases with 4x340mm guns from the battleship Lorraine however the Americans were unwilling to divert resources for such conversions of limited value. She remained in Cassablanca until August 1945, when she returned to France. The subsequant length of her reconstruction - which was never truly finished - is not an indication of her poor original design or construction but rather the sheer volume of changes required to bring *any* pre-war ship up to post-war standards, coupled with the tremendous damage and disruption that 4 years of German occupation and subsequant liberation had caused to the French ship building industry. That she was completed at all is nothing short of a miracle - though undoubtably the resources would have been better spent elsewhere.

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by boredatwork » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:07 am

alecsandros wrote:- Jean Bart's defensive scheme was defeated by 4x227kg bombs though it was designed to resist 450kg bombs. Compare that to Tirpitz's attack in 1944, when the ship was hit by 16 bombs, 5x454kg and 11x227kg. Tirpitz received moderate damage, and was repaired in 3 months. Jean Bart was almost sunk.

Of course, the JB was not complete at the time of the attack, so the comparison should be done with a certain degree of caution. However, the armor scheme of the JB, from what I know, was completed by 1941...
1. Jean Bart was hit by: 1x500lb bomb aft on the catapult mounting; 1x1000lb bomb by the other catapult mounting; 1x1000lb bomb well forward of turret 1; plus another 500lb bomb hit the dock next to her. None hit her armored vitals, much less penetrated them, so I don't really see how her protective system could be considered "defeated".

2. The 2 1000lbs hits were spectacular in the structural damage caused but there is no evidence that she had fared any worse in that regard compared to any other modern AON ship. Even with the flooding exacerbated by being unfinished, undermanned, and undertrained the damage she received could have been easily repaired within the 3 months.*

(*repaired to her pre-torch state, not completed, assuming that the resources were made available, which unlike Tirpitz they weren't.)

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by alecsandros » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:22 am

boredatwork wrote:
Yes but we don't have to agree where exactly to draw the line. You stated your bias in your opening post that you thought Richelieu was over-rated - so IMO it looks like you're trying to draw that line so that it favours your own conclusion.
The bias you are refering to exists only in your interpretation. I have some info about the Richelieu class, coming from several books. The information describe several facts about the class. The facts as they are indicate poor armor quality, low rate of fire and excessive dispersion.
I have presented some of them in the post, but you seem to focus excessively on a few formal points, disregarding the essential ones.

Moreover, I find it peculiar that probably using the same books that I am, you are appreciating this BB class and dismiss the historical evidence as if the events wouldn't have happened. I will not repeat them, they are already presented above.

I'm not trying to say that I know a definitive and complete answer about the Richelieu class qualities (this is way beyond me). What I'm trying to say (and I can't understand why you failed to realize that) is that the historical evidence points out to several less than favorable conclusions about the quality of the ships in this class.
I have already listed several of them, which you mostly chose to ignore or re-interpret. For instance: the damage inflicted on JB. From G&D it seems pretty clear the ship was severely flooded and structural damage was severe.
boredatwork wrote: "Even with the flooding exacerbated by being unfinished, undermanned, and undertrained the damage she received could have been easily repaired within the 3 months.*"
Where have you come up with this? No realy?
boredatwork wrote:The Richelieu was in the US from February 1943 to October 1943 - that's 8-9 months not 18.
My bad.
In fact the Richelieu underwent about 3 years of repairs, though not only in the US:
1) in Dakar. (between Sep 1940 - Nov 1942, though the repairs were cumbersome due to lack of necessary material and facilities. Consequently they were not continous)
2) in the US (January 1943 - October 1943) - 8 months
3) in the UK (Nov 1943 - Jan 1944) - 3 months
TOTAL: ~ 2 years in Dakar + 11 months in US + UK.

From G&D Allied Battleships pg 97: "After her modernization in the US and subsequent changes in Great Britain to her radar and light AA, the Richelieu had much different characteristics than those she had when she left France in 1940".

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by boredatwork » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:44 pm

Wow... apparently the forum ate up my 3 page reply :(

As I don't want to waste this beautiful day retyping it in full the key points were:

- You seem to think I have a greater appreciation for the French BBs than is otherwise the case.
- I am confused by the intent of your original scenario - If you want to compare hypothetically a fully finished KGV versus a fully finished Richelieu then speculation is necessary because Richelieu was never finished in French yards. If on the otherhand your goal is to compare a finsished and worked up KGV with the Richelieu as she was historically, who hadn't even finished her builder's trials then yes I would agree with you that KGV is likely to win. In that case my comments still stand that you can't use what happened as your sole evidence of poor design without considering what was the result of her design versus what was the result of her being unfinished.
alecsandros wrote: I have already listed several of them, which you mostly chose to ignore or re-interpret. For instance: the damage inflicted on JB. From G&D it seems pretty clear the ship was severely flooded and structural damage was severe.


How is it ignoring and reinterpreting to point out that your statement:
Jean Bart's defensive scheme was defeated by 4x227kg bombs though it was designed to resist 450kg bombs.
was factually innacurate - 2 of the bombs were 454kg bombs and that you had implied 2 conclusions which I believe there is insufficient evidence to support - specifically a) that because she was damaged by the bombs her defensive scheme was "defeated" when none of the 4 bombs directly hit her defensive scheme much less penetrated it, and b) that she suffered substantially worse damage as a result of those hits than virtually any of her contemporaries (who had similarly soft ends) whould have IF they had been tested similarly.

My statement about 3 months to return her TO HER PRE-TORCH condition IF she had been given priority and IF reasonable resources were available is my own specualtion but based on Dumas' description of the damage together with what state her crew were able to repair her to with low priority, little resources, while simulataneously cannabilizing her for parts for her sister.

boredatwork wrote:The Richelieu was in the US from February 1943 to October 1943 - that's 8-9 months not 18.


My bad.
In fact the Richelieu underwent about 3 years of repairs, though not only in the US:
1) in Dakar. (between Sep 1940 - Nov 1942, though the repairs were cumbersome due to lack of necessary material and facilities. Consequently they were not continous)
2) in the US (January 1943 - October 1943) - 8 months
3) in the UK (Nov 1943 - Jan 1944) - 3 months
TOTAL: ~ 2 years in Dakar + 11 months in US + UK.


In the context of your statement "Purely the amount of work involved hints to the fact that they were poorly constructed" I don't see how 2 years to do improvised temporary repairs with virtually no facilities, trained personel, or material is particularly evidence of poor construction. I'm not a mechanic. If my car was involved in a colision - I could spend 2 years tinkering with it in my garage and not come remotely close to fixing it. That doesn't mean it's necessarily a poorly designed or built car.

As for the rest you're counting transit time, working up time, and rounding months off as "repair time," making it seem longer than it was. She left Africa on January 29 after a brief trial period to ensure her machinery was in operating order. Some equipement was landed at this time. She didn't arrive in New York until February 11, and didn't begin modernization until February 24 - unless you count removal of her upper director as "modernization". She began firing trials in late August and went through intensive working up and training for the last 4 weeks prior to her departure on Oct 14. After a stop over in Africa for provisions she went north to Scapa Flow, not arriving till mid November. After being inspected she underwent a period of 6 weeks of intensive working up, during which a British fire control radar was installed localy by her own crew - ie NOT in a shipyard. After which she was pronounced fully ready for combat.

Less than a year to not only repair a ship, but actually complete her, run trials, iron out kinks where possible, bring her up to 1943 technology and train her crew is IMO a very credible achievement especially considering it was done in a shipyard to which she was far more foreign than the British ships repaired previously. Back to the Car analogy it would be like me bringing a Renault or Citroën to a Ford dealership and having them repair it. Ford has 100+ years of automobile experience and I'm sure they probably could fix it. The fact it would take them alot longer than fixing an equivalent Ford when the tools are different, the manuals are in French, parts have to be imported from France or improvised, their experience is lacking is not in and of itself an indication that Renault or Citroën cars are high or low quality.

From G&D Allied Battleships pg 97: "After her modernization in the US and subsequent changes in Great Britain to her radar and light AA, the Richelieu had much different characteristics than those she had when she left France in 1940".


No one is disputing that. What I'm arguing is all of the changes were fairly standard for any battleship of that period regardless of nationality and would have been likely done by France had she not been occupied therefore I don't think singling out the Richelieu because of exceptional circumstances having them done all at once is really fair:

She left France with many systems, including her ammunition hoists unfinished - she was finished in the US - You're obviously not suggesting that if France hadn't fallen that they couldn't have finished her there?

She left France with a defficient AA armament - is that any different than her contemporaries? Tirpitz, KGV, Yamato, Littorio, North Carolina all had substantial upgrades to their AA during the war - if France had remained free there's no evidence that Richelieu wouldn't have had her AA batteries upgraded gradually to something approximating her 1943 fit.

She left France without fire control radar - How many pre-war Battleships were designed with Radar at all? With British assistance in 1939-1940 France was developing her own Radar systems - who is to say that if the full resources of France were available Richelieu wouldn't have been priority for the first sets in development. Certainly she would have been no worse in that respect than NC or Yamato.

Yes her armament suffered from dispersion but the fix was relatively simple - that it took so long to implement is easily explained by her service history - no time for trials in 1940 - no shells to spare in 1943 and a finite life of gun barrels which could not be replaced - and finally no money and lack of trained crew post war.

To finish off my car analogy driving around a half finsihed Renault or Citroën before taking it to Ford and asking them to "fill in the blanks" is not necessarily indicative of the design's quality compared to driving a car finished as intended by the people who designed it.

edit - damn... I wasted part of the beautiful day retyping it. :(

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by alecsandros » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:09 pm

Michael,
I'm sorry I can't give you a lengthy reply, which you deserve, considering the time and care you put into yours.

You are focusing on secondary points which are not of great concern to me. The scenario involved KGV vs Richelieu, both in fighting condition. So, of course teh Richelieu should have been finished, crew trained, etc, etc.
You have de-toured my entire scenario towards a fiting-out and re-working phase, without taking into consideration the main aspects of what such a BB duel would imply - quantity and quality of armor, type of guns, shells, precision, rate of fire, etc.
You have written several pages about how good the work of the US repair and rebuild team was, about how quickly the JB could have been repaired, and so on and so forth. Nothing about the essential problems of the class:
- Richelieu was nearly sunk by one torpedo (and it was 95% completed, not 77% as the JB)
- The upper and lower armor belts were constructed independently, and the connection between them was weak. This was proved very clearly by the massive damage suffered after the torpedo hit. (much the same as the structural weakness of the Yamato, exposed also after a torpedo hit)
- Jean Bart took a 406mm Mk6 shell through 150 + 40mm of deck armor at ~ 22km, meaning that the armor was 124mm proof at best
- loading the quad mounts was a herculean task and consequently the Richelieu achieved a 1.33 rounds/minute average during firing trials 1940.

You have written instead about the damage suffered by JB at Casablanca - via bombs. I don't know which photos of the damage you've seen or what damage analysis you've read, but from G&D Allied BBs I have a completely different picture than you do: the ship's armor was severely torn, extensive flooding was noted:

"One bomb hit the starboard shell plating near its juncture with the
forecastle deck. The bomb immediately exploded within the compartment. The starboard
shell plating between the main and forecastle deck was curled away from the
ship, leaving a large hole approximately 5 meters deep and 20 meters in length. The
forecastle deck in way of the explosion was bulged up and tom. The port shell plating
and the forecastle deck were also pulled apart at their juncture
"

"The second bomb struck an area already devastated by a previous bomb and a
406·mm shell hit. Its explosion on the starboard side of the quarterdeck forward of the
catapult in compartment Q demolished a 30-meter-Iong section of the main deck on
the starboard side from the after termination of the superstructure to the starboard
catapult turntable housing
"

"The flooding eventually led to the grounding of the ship by the stern"

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by Bgile » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:53 pm

alecsandros wrote: You have written instead about the damage suffered by JB at Casablanca - via bombs. I don't know which photos of the damage you've seen or what damage analysis you've read, but from G&D Allied BBs I have a completely different picture than you do: the ship's armor was severely torn, extensive flooding was noted:

"One bomb hit the starboard shell plating near its juncture with the
forecastle deck. The bomb immediately exploded within the compartment. The starboard
shell plating between the main and forecastle deck was curled away from the
ship, leaving a large hole approximately 5 meters deep and 20 meters in length. The
forecastle deck in way of the explosion was bulged up and tom. The port shell plating
and the forecastle deck were also pulled apart at their juncture
"

"The second bomb struck an area already devastated by a previous bomb and a
406·mm shell hit. Its explosion on the starboard side of the quarterdeck forward of the
catapult in compartment Q demolished a 30-meter-Iong section of the main deck on
the starboard side from the after termination of the superstructure to the starboard
catapult turntable housing
"I don't know for s

"The flooding eventually led to the grounding of the ship by the stern"
That was indeed a lot of damage, but it was outside of the ship's citadel and it isn't obvious to me that other modern battleships would have been less affected with the same type of hits. I suppose it's possible that these areas were weaker than normal, but do we have similar hits on other classes for comparison?

With respect to the armor junction between upper and lower belt armor, Yamato was obviously highly resistant to torpedo hits even with that defect, so that in itself isn't necessarily a sign of doom.

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by boredatwork » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:30 am

alecsandros wrote:You are focusing on secondary points which are not of great concern to me. The scenario involved KGV vs Richelieu, both in fighting condition. So, of course teh Richelieu should have been finished, crew trained, etc, etc.
Ok now that we've established we're talking about a finished ship -
You have written instead about the damage suffered by JB at Casablanca - via bombs. I don't know which photos of the damage you've seen or what damage analysis you've read, but from G&D Allied BBs I have a completely different picture than you do: the ship's armor was severely torn, extensive flooding was noted:
I've discussed bomb damage at Cassablanca because you've used it as evidence of poor quality of armor. Regretably my access to Allied BBs is from the local library so I can't fully comment at the moment - however I do own Dumas' French Battleships book and their description is more or less inline with what you posted. Notice that in all the text you quote not once do G&D mention *armor* instead they reffer to "shell plating" - ie the (relatively) thin unarmored steel that makes up the outside shape of the ship. If I had immediate access to a scanner I'd post the armor diagram of the Richelieu class but according to Dumas the first bomb:

"hit the forecastle near the capstan; it obliterated the capstan itself, lifted the forecastle deckand started a fire. There were large breaches in the hull above the main deck between frames 195 and 226 to starboard and frames 217 and 224 to port."

The battleship's primary protection ended at frame 182 and in common with all All Or Nothing ships her ends were soft and vulnerable to HE shell and bomb hits.

Image

Note in this well known shot the damage is centered at the forecastle breakwater and forward - her armored deck on the other hand ends not even half the barrel length in front of the Turrets.


Again from Dumas "The other bomb hit the quarter deck just forward of the starboard catapult pivot and caused damage so extensive that the official inquiry was convinced that 2 bombs had hit the same area. Although the 100mm inclined deck over the shafts was not breached, a large section of hull platingabove this level was completely destroyed (frames 25-55) and the upper deck was lifted and bent back over the quarter deck; it looked to all intents and purposes as if the stern of the ship had been opened with a giant can opener. There were also deformations in the after part of the shelter deck abeam the hanger."

Again the hit happened around the catapult mount which was in the vincinty of frame 26 while the main portion of the armored deck ended at frame 51.

Image

Notice in the other well known image of the damage it largely ends aft of the secondary barbette and despite the spectacular visual effect does not penetrate past the main armored deck or bulkhead just forward and below the hole.

In otherwords it's not, as you implied that french armor is defective but rather that the ends of AoN ships are deliberately left "soft" and hence vulnerable to HE shells and bombs.
You have written several pages about how good the work of the US repair and rebuild team was, about how quickly the JB could have been repaired, and so on and so forth. Nothing about the essential problems of the class
Likewise I only commented at length because you had tried to use the length that repairs took as evidence of poor design.
- Richelieu was nearly sunk by one torpedo (and it was 95% completed, not 77% as the JB)
95% finished does not mean 95% of opperational capability - she was undermanned and her crew was untrainned - she only used 1 turret at a time for example at Dakar due to the lack of personel.
Regardless "nearly sunk by one Torpedo" is a selective statement of the facts. More accurate would be "'nearly sunk' by one Torpedo to the shafts in shallow water." Some defects were indeed exposed by the damage - including the poor quality of some welds - though I've been back and forth over Dumas and cannot find any reference to either the upper or lower belts being damaged at all - the torpedo having hit AFT of the armored portion of the hull. What was considered more serious was the faulty design of the cable glands which let the flooding spread farther than it should, the shortage of pumping capacity (though the same can be said of many of her contemporaries and in her case the situation was greatly exacerbated by the fact they needed to be kept going not for days until she reached port but rather months until repairs could be improvised. Also the rigid mounted machinery was vulnerable to shock damage - though again she was no worse than her foreign contemporaries in that regard (look at HMS Belfast for example after she was mined).

I don't think any of her contemporaries would have faired much better in similar circumstances - indeed PoW was fatally wounded by a single torpedo in a similar location (albeit with the shaft in motion which accounts for the difference.)
- Jean Bart took a 406mm Mk6 shell through 150 + 40mm of deck armor at ~ 22km, meaning that the armor was 124mm proof at best
I'm not sure what their source is but Dumas & Jordan show a 33 degree angle of penetration which, hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I can comment on but certainly looks like from the navweaps site as being within the realm of possibility for a 16"45 gun?

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by alecsandros » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:35 am

Bgile wrote: That was indeed a lot of damage, but it was outside of the ship's citadel and it isn't obvious to me that other modern battleships would have been less affected with the same type of hits. I suppose it's possible that these areas were weaker than normal, but do we have similar hits on other classes for comparison?

With respect to the armor junction between upper and lower belt armor, Yamato was obviously highly resistant to torpedo hits even with that defect, so that in itself isn't necessarily a sign of doom.
Hi Steve,
For AoN battleships, I'm thinking about:
- California hit by 2x250kg bombs during Pearl Harbor
- Nevada hit by 5 bombs during Pearl Harbor
- Pennsylvania hit by 1 bomb durign Pearl Harbor
- the 250kg bomb that hit South Dakota on the 26th October 1943.

[I don't have any more info about the damage and times of repair. Anyway, from the picture I see, even the Nevada damage seems far less devastating than the one Jean Bart exhibited]

For space-arrayed Battleships, I remember:
- Tirpitz hit by 16 bombs during an attack in 1944 (and repaired in 2,5 months)

2) Before operation Ten-Go, Yamato was struck by one torpedo which tore a 4x25 meters gap in her side. It was only after repairs that she reinforced her linkage between the 2 belts.

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by alecsandros » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:36 am

@Michael
- Nice quotes from Dumas. Indeed, they cover in more detail than G&D the type of damage JB sustained. For further info, please see my above reply to Bgile.
- About the torpedo that hit Richelieu: there are several theories described in G&D to explain the amount of damage she suffered. However, none of them can be verified, the only fact that we have being that a torpedo exploded directly against her keel or right beneath it. Without bringing up the flooding again, the amount of structural damage suffered was very serious:
"The keel was severely twisted for a distance of 25 meters. The bottom and side
shell on the starboard side were severely deformed to the tum of the bilge.
• The outboard edge of the top of a fuel-oil tank was buckled in way of the explosion and over the length of the damage described. The width of transverse huckling was approximately 9 meters by 5 meters.
• There was some strUctural deformation in an intermediate longitudinal bulkhead in Section P. By 10 July 1940 this had pennitted the seepage of oil intO a crew living space and a 37-m.m magazine on the third deck. Some oil seeped into the starboard shaft alley in section 0 through a damaged bulkhead stuffing gland. Oil also leaked into wireways, the pon 152-mm magazine insection 0, and the aft turbogenerator compartment.
• There was a severe misalignment of the inner starboard shaft due to the displacement of the shaft tube, and a fracture in the stem casting.
There was a transverse and longitudinal failure of the supporting structure for the stem casting of the aft shaft.
• There were some tears and buckling of plates in the side shell, and these caused minor flooding in some side compartments aft of the annored citadel. In the vicinity of the torpedo detonation, the side plating was tom open and bent inward
> There was some structural deformation in the barbettes of the wing 152-mm
triple turret s,
• The motors supplying the 460V electrical current to the main turrets were put out of action.
• The steering-gear motors were inoperable.
• The main fire-control director on top of the bridge tower and two directors for the 152-mm guns were out of action.
• The main turbine clearances were affected, necessitating a realignment and thorough overhaul
• Ventilator mountings were broken, and the fan units shifted off their foundations Damage and flooding were severe. The starboard inner shaft was completely immobilized; the outer shaft could be turned only with great difficulty. Deformation of
several main watertight bulkheads caused some spaces in main watertight compartments a and P to flood in varying degrees with a combination of fuel oil and salt water; the ship trimmed by the stem by 0.6 meters


(G&D Allied BBs pages 88-91)

Although teh PoW suffered a similar blow, that doesn't mean that any contemporaries woudl have suffered the same. Take for instance, the unfortunate case of the Bismarck, which had plenty of power and flotability after that crippling torpedo. Or the Scharnhorst, which, although hit by 4 torpedoes, was still making 22kts. Or the Lutzow, a much smaller ship, torpedoed at the stern on April 11th 1940: she still managed to make 15-16 kts and get back to port on her own.

As for the 406mm shell which hit the Jean Bart: the angle of incidence was not measured in any way. It was deduced from statistical charts, as the lowest possible angle under which a 406mm Mk6 shell could possibly have pierced 150+40mm of H-deck armour. The 33 degrees angle would imply, however, one of the following:
a) the Massachussets would be firing a lower-muzzle velocity shell, which would imply a bigger angle of shooting and consequently a bigger angle of incidence (unsuported by evidence)
b) the JB had a 9 degrees inclination of the bow at the time of the impact (unsuported by evidence)
c) the Mass was firing at 27km+ from the JB (believed to be accurate for some time. Further research showed that it was not the case, and that the salvo was fired at 20-22km away)

So, the most plausible description available is: Massachussets fired at ~ 22km, the angle of incidence was ~ 24 degrees, the 406mm shell should have pierced a maximum of 124mm H-armour of standard quality. However, the thickness of the armor was 150mm + 40mm homogenous. So, the most plausible explanation is that the armor was of inferior quality.

=================

Anyway, don't you think it is unusual that every time JB/Rich were attacked they suffered so severely that we have to write pages after pages of explanations?

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by boredatwork » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:53 pm

alecsandros wrote:@Michael
- Nice quotes from Dumas. Indeed, they cover in more detail than G&D the type of damage JB sustained. For further info, please see my above reply to Bgile.
- About the torpedo that hit Richelieu:
[...]
Although teh PoW suffered a similar blow, that doesn't mean that any contemporaries woudl have suffered the same. Take for instance, the unfortunate case of the Bismarck, which had plenty of power and flotability after that crippling torpedo. Or the Scharnhorst, which, although hit by 4 torpedoes, was still making 22kts. Or the Lutzow, a much smaller ship, torpedoed at the stern on April 11th 1940: she still managed to make 15-16 kts and get back to port on her own.
The difference between Richelieu's hit and the others you list is the depth of the water in which the hit happened. I have no real knowledge of hydrodynamics but my understanding is that shallow water explosions result in more violent shock action than would be the case in open ocean. Again compare the damage to HMS Belfast mined in shallow water and you'll find RN ships similarly suceptible to such damage - or the midget sub attack on the Tirpitz where extensive damage was caused through shock.

Also, as far as I know at least in the case of Lutzow and Bismarck the hit happened aft the props hence the shafts remained undamamged. Is it known if the Scharnhorst stuck on the actual shafts themselves or just on the torpedo bulkheads? For comparison you might want to check the damage she suffered when hit by a single torpedo by HMS Acasta in 1940.

I believe Lutzow was torpedoed aft of her shafts, not on them. Her stern failed a nearly fell off completely. Her engines were still functional and her shafts undamaged but the she hardly managed to get back to port on her own - she was towed by 3 auxiliary minesweepers at 4.5 knots (albeit in a gale) relieved by 4 tugs. Ammunition was jettisoned from B turret and all non-essential personal were evacuated from the ship. You might be thinking of Prinz Eugen who lost her stern, aft of the props but managed to steam home on her own after repairs and a jury rigged rudder were made in a Norwegian Fjord.

Richilieu was still capable of at least 12 knots immediately after the explosion and could have - if steering was repaired - have returned to France for repairs if that had been an option.

As for the 406mm shell which hit the Jean Bart: the angle of incidence was not measured in any way. It was deduced from statistical charts, as the lowest possible angle under which a 406mm Mk6 shell could possibly have pierced 150+40mm of H-deck armour.
My understanding is even back in 1943 the Americans stated the fall of the shot as 25 degrees where as the French stated the angle of impact as 33-34? Presumably the french just "connected the dots" of the 5 holes through 5 decks and measured from that?

There are 2 diagrams in French BBs - one in elevation, one in plan that show the relative positions of the 5 holes through 5 seperate decks. The question is what source did D&J use - if they started with the assumption of a 33 degree angle and the drew the holes on the plan to fit then I would agree with you. However it seems rather superfluous given the quality of the rest of their work that they would create such a detailed illustration for a deduced angle.
a) the Massachussets would be firing a lower-muzzle velocity shell, which would imply a bigger angle of shooting and consequently a bigger angle of incidence (unsuported by evidence)
Agreed unlikely.
b) the JB had a 9 degrees inclination of the bow at the time of the impact (unsuported by evidence)
The first bomb hit aft 7 minutes before the 16" shell hit in question which resulted in some flooding aft. She was also in an unfinished and unprovisioned state - which potentially could have added another degree. (unlikely any more than that as pre- torch photos show her close to level). 9 degrees unlikely, but then I don't think it's established that 9 degrees was required.
Anyway, don't you think it is unusual that every time JB/Rich were attacked they suffered so severely that we have to write pages after pages of explanations?
How many pages of explanations have we written about Bismarck's and PoW damage at DS or the damage SD suffered at Guadalcanal? =P
Last edited by boredatwork on Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

boredatwork
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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by boredatwork » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:07 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Bgile wrote:
alecsandros wrote:This is hardly good shooting, and, in any case, it can't be an argument FOR the corection of the initial problem.
From lwd's earlier post. Augusta seems to have been impressed. :wink:

http://kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.ph ... 084#p33672
Steve, JB only fired five 2-gun salvos throughout the battle, a total of 10 shells. I can't understand how it could have made "several straddles" against Augusta without radar and without a few first-salvos, for corrections and heating up the guns.
Belated response

Her fire control wasn't finished, nor was her armament, nor was her crew trained. On the other hand she was stationary did not have to compensate for her own movement, roll, pitch, or yaw and as lwd speculated she had a system of 2 off ship spotting positions (in addition to her own foretop) and so accurate ranging was a relatively simple excercise in trigonometry.

I don't think her Torch performance is in anyway applicable to how good or bad she might have performed in a real sea battle.

alecsandros
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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by alecsandros » Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:20 am

boredatwork wrote:...
Michael, today we celebrate the Pass-Over, so I'm not going to argue with anyone on the forum :)
I'll reply tomorrow.

For all of you Orthodox and Catholics Happy Holidays!

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Re: Richelieu vs KGV

Post by alecsandros » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:11 pm

Hello Michael,
Sorry for taking so long,
I focused on other, less difficult parts of the forum :)

I've read your above posts 3 times until now. I hope I understood it properly, so that we won;t be arguning over terms we both agree.

My suspicion concerning French BBs is mantained by our discussion.
You were refering to refraction effects when talking about Richelieu. Though I'm not a hydrodinamics engineer either, it seems logical that a refracted wave-length, coupled with the initial explosion, would generate massive damage.
However, the extent of that damage is very important to determine. In fact, G&D present as one of the theories for the near-sinking of Richelieu this idea: that the explosion refracted against the bottom, so there were 2, not 1 shockwaves in the hull.

I used to like physics classes, and especialy harmonics and oscillations. I remember that an egg would crack if certain vibrations would be exerted upon it. Similarly, a house would be shattered by several harmonic waves, if they attain a certain resonance frequency. That means that the time interval between to shocks is of such length that the structure being hit will respond to it most badly. Each structure has its own resonance frequency, and I know cases here in Romania when barns or bridges have colapsed because of them. One barn fell when a jet fighter broke the sound barrier about 1km above it. The pressure wave traveled to it, hit it on the roof, and also impacted upon the ground, being partialy refracted. The barn vibrated and collapsed. Bridges can fall when people are walking across them at a certain pace. (this was showed also in Mythbusters, IIRC :D )

Back to our problem: I find it probable that the force of the blast was multiplied by the bottom.
However the scale of the explosion is very important: British aerial torpedoes of the period carried 180kg TNT warheads. Let's compare this to the 8 tons of Anatol (an explosive mixture far more powerfull than TNT) placed underneath Tirpitz's hull during operation Source.

From what I've read, the amount of damage was similar... And that despite the fact that Tirpitz suffered a blow 44 times the size of the one Richelieu had suffered

So, I still believe teh Richelieu had severe structural problems.

As for Jean Bart's decks, I am pretty sure the hit came at 24-25 degrees angle of incidence. If the ship wasn't bow heavy (and I can't find any mentions that it was) and consequently at least 8-9 degrees down by the "nose", the shell couldn't have penetrated so much homogenous horizontal armour (the angle needed to pierce 150+40mm of armour with that shell fired from that gun is about 34 degrees).

Also about JB: the damage suffered after 2x454kg bombs was much worse than the one suffered by Hiei in Nov 1942 after receiving at least 7 x 227kg bombs, and still worse than Nevada, who suffered 5 hits at Pearl Harbour.

These three suspicions, coupled with the low rate of fire (for a modern BB), munition problems, over-concentration of the main battery (which would allow a single shell to take out 50% of the ship's fighting capacity) lead me to believe that in a one-on-one duel with either of the post-WW1 Battleships, the Richelieu would be badly beaten.

Regards,
Alex

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