Tirpitz shelling New York

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Rick Rather
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Rick Rather » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:47 am

Correct! A lucky hit with a .50 cal could reduce Tirpitz's vaunted fire control to scrap.

I do not disagree that the early-war fire control on the shore batteries would have made a hit at night improbable. However, if the proverbial lucky hit were achieved, there were enough critical facilities in unarmored areas to jeopardize her escape. Contrary to what ede said, I never argued that an old 12" is "as good or better than" a modern 14". However, the old 12" is adequate for damaging these unarmored facilities IF it can get the hit.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Saltheart » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:14 am

Rick Rather wrote:Correct! A lucky hit with a .50 cal could reduce Tirpitz's vaunted fire control to scrap.

I do not disagree that the early-war fire control on the shore batteries would have made a hit at night improbable. However, if the proverbial lucky hit were achieved, there were enough critical facilities in unarmored areas to jeopardize her escape. Contrary to what ede said, I never argued that an old 12" is "as good or better than" a modern 14". However, the old 12" is adequate for damaging these unarmored facilities IF it can get the hit.
What are the critical facilities in unarmored areas? Is that the radars and optical instruments?

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Rick Rather » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:27 am

Yes. As I mentioned in a previous post, the radar/FC (as was hit on Scharnhorst), the fuel manifold in the bow (ditto on Bismarck) are outside the main armor. Also, a near miss could have damaged a prop shaft, affecting speed & handling, along with possible flooding around the bearings.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Djoser » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:19 am

I wonder how well-trained the crews of those shore batteries were?

No doubt they put the best trained crews with the 16" guns and put the 'B Team' on the old 10" and 12" guns. Presuming they followed the logical best policy, which isn't always the case.

Even then, it takes a well-trained crew to hit a difficult target...

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Byron Angel » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:25 pm

Djoser wrote:I wonder how well-trained the crews of those shore batteries were?

No doubt they put the best trained crews with the 16" guns and put the 'B Team' on the old 10" and 12" guns. Presuming they followed the logical best policy, which isn't always the case.

Even then, it takes a well-trained crew to hit a difficult target...


..... Would they have been any better or worse than the gun crews of the El Hank battery at Casablanca, which did some excellent shooting under difficult conditions. Coastal batteries were quite accurate compared to a warship at sea.


B

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Djoser » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:26 pm

Well NYC was a pretty important location, so I would imagine that the more modern 16" guns, at least, could have had proficient crews. I wonder what kind of sources are available to determine the training level of the various shore batteries in the US? There were quite a few of them, including some right here in Key West (I am planning to do some illustrations of the fortifications here actually). I have a pretty decent book about coastal fortifications in the USA, but it concentrates more on the facilities and not so much on the crews.

I was aware that coastal batteries were easier to fire accurately from, due to the fact that only the target would be in motion.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:44 pm

search at DTIC.mil for "coast artillery"
or have a look at the
"DamageTables Seacoast Artillery against naval vessels 1942"
here
http://www.scribd.com/doc/33600187/Dama ... s-USA-1942

looking at page 3 of this document it seems that coastal projectiles had a problem penetrating face hardend armor of more than 0.5 cal thickness and more than 30d egrees obliquity.
as i have not looked deeper in that document it seem to me at first appearance, they were using uncapped AP projectiles for some unknown reason.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by muskeg13 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:03 am

Given that British intelligence kept such a close watch on all major KM combatants, even if Tirpitz managed to escape into the North Atlantic, both the USN and USAAF would have been on alert. It would have take a miracle for Tirpitz to have even made it into gunnery range. At best for the Germans, it would have been an insignificant suicide mission and a complete waste of scarce assets.

So far, numerous posts concern a potential engagement between the Tirpitz and the USS New Mexico BB 40. In Feb 42, in addition to the New Mexico, there were 5 other US BBs actively engaged in the North Atlantic to prevent just such a raid from being successful. Any of these ships, even the ancient Arkansas could have fouled the waters for the mighty Tirpitz.
BB 33 Arkansas, BB 34 New York, BB35 Texas (which may be sinking at dock today), BB55 North Carolina, and BB56 Washington.

Also don't forget the east coast USN heavy cruisers, CA 31 Augusta, CA 37 Tuscaloosa, CA 39 Quincy, CA 44 Vincennes, CA 45 Wichita, plus numerous light cruisers, destroyers and subs and don't forget the carriers CV 4 Ranger, CV 7 Wasp, and CV 8 Hornet.

and then there's the Army Air Force. The 2d Bomb Group at Langley Field, VA had pioneered the concept of long range interception as far back as 1938, when a flight of YB-17s intercepted the Italian liner Rex some 620 miles off of the east coast in heavy weather. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interception_of_the_Rex My uncle was in the lead plane as radio operator.

Shelling The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building or Brooklyn Navy Yard...wouldn't, couldn't, have happened.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by lwd » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:46 pm

Given all the naval and air traffic in and out of New York and the other East Coast cities (including Canada) is there any chance that Trirpitz can even approach New York undetected?
If she's detected more than a few hours out she's likely to face not just the ships and coastal defences of New York but anything in decent shape in either Norfolk or Philidelphia.

As far as vs New Mexico I suspect the US battleship would take a lot more damage than the German one would if they were dueling alone. On the otherhand being just off a freindly port with lots of support around New Mexico can aford to take the damage and Triptiz can't. There's also the question of what her shell load out is if she's on a bombardment mission.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by yellowtail3 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:04 am

lwd wrote:There's also the question of what her shell load out is if she's on a bombardment mission.
Don't think it would matter all that much... Tirpitz and her magical scarp are supposed to be immune to penetration anyhow, a bunch of 14" HE would do plenty of damage. But likely, the US ship would have a regular load of AP onboard... don't know that they were doing much NGFS work in early 1942...
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by lwd » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:04 pm

If Tirpitz has broken out US battleships in the area are likely to have an ammo loadout consistent with a potential ship on ship engagement. Tirpitz on the other hand is on a raiding mission. If it's combined with a shore bombardment mission then just what her loadout is may become signficant.

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by Rick Rather » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:36 am

I have enjoyed thinking about this scenario since it was first posted, and have done some research and a bit of gaming.

First, I took the raw setup: Tirpitz shelling New York. I stripped away the OP framework of coupling this operation to an Atlantic breakout. Simply put, running into the target and running out even faster will burn a lot of fuel. So would a North Atlantic breakout. Putting them together and looking at the range numbers in this thread makes the fuel situation pretty dubious.

Let's assume that Tirpitz is already in the Atlantic. What are the implications of this?

- If Tirpitz is in the Atlantic, then she (yes, I know) is not needed in Norway. That indicates there are no Murmansk convoys. Either Operation Barbarosa was successful and the Soviet Union has fallen, or Barbarosa was not launched (yet) and the USSR is still a de-facto ally with Germany. There is the threat of a British counter-invasion of Norway, but consider...

- If Tirpitz was sent into the Atlantic, the High Command felt confident that she would succeed in breaking-out. They could only feel this way if Operation Rhein was a success, so that means Bismarck also made it into the Atlantic (or Rhein was postponed until Tirpitz could go along, and both ships made it). Furthermore, since the HC is willing to risk Tirpitz in the Western Atlantic, they must not have suffered a major loss, so Bismarck is alive and well and giving Tommy hell. So, for that matter, are Scharnhorst & Gniesenau.

I think Karl just blew a load in his shorts.

- Two sets of twins in the Atlantic (three, if you count Prinz Eugen & Hipper) has to mean that the Royal Navy has been drastically weakened, somehow. I hypothesize that the Germans executed Operation Sea Lion. Even in a post chock-full of long-shot what-ifs, I find it hard to believe it would succeed. The Germans simply did not have the sealift capacity to move enough men & equipment across the channel and keep them supplied. So let's say they tried and failed, but the Luftwaffe badly mauled the Royal Navy. In turn, the Wehrmacht suffered such heavy losses that Barbarosa was postponed for a year.

- So far, everything I've written has favored the Kriegsmarine. However, we have already established in this thread that the three New Mexico-class BBs had, by February, 1942 already redeployed to the Pacific. If the Royal Navy had lost so many capital ships, I think it reasonable that the USN would have kept them in the Atlantic as heavy convoy escorts. This actually works in the scenario's favor: A battleship strike against the East Coast would create a public out-cry in the US that could cause the USN BBs to be kept closer to home - thus weakening the convoys.

To be continued...
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by alecsandros » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:08 am

Rick Rather wrote:I have enjoyed thinking about this scenario since it was first posted, and have done some research and a bit of gaming.
Hello, Rick,
Very nice scenario, I hope you don;t mind if I step in with some comments :)

First, I took the raw setup: Tirpitz shelling New York. I stripped away the OP framework of coupling this operation to an Atlantic breakout. Simply put, running into the target and running out even faster will burn a lot of fuel. So would a North Atlantic breakout. Putting them together and looking at the range numbers in this thread makes the fuel situation pretty dubious.
Yeap, it would need to ressuply somewhere... Maybe some supply ships, or perhaps Montevideo ?

- If Tirpitz is in the Atlantic, then she (yes, I know) is not needed in Norway. That indicates there are no Murmansk convoys. Either Operation Barbarosa was successful and the Soviet Union has fallen, or Barbarosa was not launched (yet) and the USSR is still a de-facto ally with Germany.
Or all the Russian harbors from the north-west (Murmansk, Arhanghelsk, etc) have already fallen, despite continued opposition around the Urals...
- If Tirpitz was sent into the Atlantic, the High Command felt confident that she would succeed in breaking-out. They could only feel this way if Operation Rhein was a success, so that means Bismarck also made it into the Atlantic (or Rhein was postponed until Tirpitz could go along, and both ships made it).
From S&G experiences, Bismarck would also have some good chances of being immobilized in a French harbor after repeated RAF bomb strikes...

[/quote]
- So far, everything I've written has favored the Kriegsmarine. However, we have already established in this thread that the three New Mexico-class BBs had, by February, 1942 already redeployed to the Pacific. If the Royal Navy had lost so many capital ships, I think it reasonable that the USN would have kept them in the Atlantic as heavy convoy escorts. This actually works in the scenario's favor: A battleship strike against the East Coast would create a public out-cry in the US that could cause the USN BBs to be kept closer to home - thus weakening the convoys.[/quote]
Yeap - it would be quite dramatic to see Bismarck and Tirpitz slugging it out with 3-4 old US battleships...
To be continued...
Looking forward to it!

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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by RF » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:20 am

The background scenario's here create too many variables to be able to even hypothesise such an operation. Even then precise purpose in shelling NY and the results achievable is vague.
An alternative scenario which would involve shelling shore targets would be a ''drumbeat'' type operation in conjunction with U-boats against coastal shipping and ports.

The background hypothesis are realistic however I do think Sea Lion, with proper planning and execution was feasible, and was certainly viewed seriously in Britain at the time. We are not talking about D Day in reverse here, which many US and other non-European members easily seem to think it is. A much smaller operation could have succeeded, particulary if done before Britain re-armed after evacuating France. What happens to the remaining RN forces is another unclear factor.
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Re: Tirpitz shelling New York

Post by RF » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:54 am

alecsandros wrote:
Yeap, it would need to ressuply somewhere... Maybe some supply ships, or perhaps Montevideo ?
!
It would have to be mid-Atlantic or perhaps the Davis Strait.

With the US at war with Germany, no Latin American state is going to openly assist the Germans, certainly not Uruguay.
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