Washington

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
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Terje Langoy
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Post by Terje Langoy » Sat May 05, 2012 10:07 am

G´day all
Saltheart wrote: All those bombs that hit Sharnhorst and went right through her in Brest did great damage.
I have read only one account of serious bomb damage to Scharnhorst while in France, this on June 24th while she was conducting trials with a recently overhauled machinery north of La Pallice. A stick of five bombs was landed on her. The majority of damage was not of structural nature, it was the damaged and severed cabling which required eight months to be replaced
Saltheart wrote: Gneisenau took a turret hit from Renown and the turret was silenced.
During the duel with the Galloper turret Caesar aboard Gneisenau performed loud and clear from start to end, there is no official record of this turret being silenced
The Admiralty report mentioned a “hit at the base of the superstructure forward” whereupon Gneisenau “immediately stopped firing”
This not because a 114 mm projectile struck turret Anton but because the foretop fire director and radar suddenly went offline
It should be mentioned turret Anton reported out of action about half an hour into the stern chase. Scharnhorst, whom had not been hit, also reported turret Anton out of action

Out of action due to poor waterproof turret integrity ...

Forgive me for challenging your posts here time and again, Saltheart. It is an interesting thread and I enjoyed reading it

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Re:

Post by Saltheart » Sat May 05, 2012 11:00 am

Terje Langoy wrote:G´day all
Saltheart wrote: All those bombs that hit Sharnhorst and went right through her in Brest did great damage.
I have read only one account of serious bomb damage to Scharnhorst while in France, this on June 24th while she was conducting trials with a recently overhauled machinery north of La Pallice. A stick of five bombs was landed on her. The majority of damage was not of structural nature, it was the damaged and severed cabling which required eight months to be replaced
Saltheart wrote: Gneisenau took a turret hit from Renown and the turret was silenced.
During the duel with the Galloper turret Caesar aboard Gneisenau performed loud and clear from start to end, there is no official record of this turret being silenced
The Admiralty report mentioned a “hit at the base of the superstructure forward” whereupon Gneisenau “immediately stopped firing”
This not because a 114 mm projectile struck turret Anton but because the foretop fire director and radar suddenly went offline
It should be mentioned turret Anton reported out of action about half an hour into the stern chase. Scharnhorst, whom had not been hit, also reported turret Anton out of action

Out of action due to poor waterproof turret integrity ...

Forgive me for challenging your posts here time and again, Saltheart. It is an interesting thread and I enjoyed reading it
No problem, I don't mind people querying what I say. I'm certainly no expert, just an enthusiast.
When I said Scharnhorst was badly damaged by bombs I was thinking of precisely that stick of 5 bombs dropped by a B-17 in British service that hit her. I don't know about structural damage but I know one at least went through the bottom of the ship. And if they had to repair her for 8 months then whatever type of damage they were fixing there was a lot of it. But all I was really thinking about is that they didn't explode and wondered if the deck arrangement damaged the bombs and turned them into duds.
As for the Gneisenau turret issue the water damage was to the forward turrets on the ships, it was a 381mm glancing hit that disabled Gneisenau's rear turret.
I know Wikipedia is a source anyone can add too and so it might not be reliable but this is what it says on the fight.... "Gneisenau scored two hits on Renown; the first failed to explode and the second exploded on her upper deck and damaged the radio equipment. Gneisenau and Scharnhorst then turned to disengage.[14] Almost simultaneously, two of Renown's 15 in (38.1 cm) shells struck Gneisenau. One shell hit the director tower and passed through it without exploding; regardless, it cut several cables and killed one officer and five enlisted men. The second shell disabled the rear turret. This prompted Gneisenau to cease firing and increase speed in order to break away from Renown. Marschall feared that the destroyers escorting Renown could be used to make torpedo attacks against his unescorted battleships.[12] In the course of the action, Gneisenau fired sixty 28 cm and eight 15 cm rounds. During the high-speed escape, both Gneisenau and Scharnhorst were flooded by significant quantities of water over their bows, which caused problems in both of their forward gun turrets.[15]"

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Terje Langoy
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Post by Terje Langoy » Sat May 05, 2012 12:09 pm

G´day all

@ Saltheart

True, Wikipedia is not always the most reliable of sources. I made a thread some years ago regarding the Renown vs Twins duel. It can be found in the naval section (1922 - 1945) of this forum named "The Battle of Stromvaer"

There are multiple sources listed therein and could hopefully provide you a more accurate picture on the course of events back then.

Kind regards

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Rick Rather
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Re: Washington

Post by Rick Rather » Sun May 06, 2012 1:11 pm

Saltheart wrote:
Rick Rather wrote:
Saltheart wrote: If a turret is out of action then it's not firing and if you're in a fight to the death ... then the fact it's not firing is everything.
Word!

I never liked those quad turrets on Richelieu & Dunkerque. They were big targets, and one reasonably lucky hit and half their firpower is gone.
Saltheart wrote: Against Washington Bismarck would have twice the rate of fire...
That's interesting. What are the hard numbers on that, and why such a huge difference?

-- Rick "Rather be Lucky than Good"
I can't remember my exact numbers but I think Washington could fire every 35 seconds and Bismarck every 18.
Thanks for the answer.

I found a reference to Bismarck's RoF in Battleships: Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II as 1 per 18 seconds "under optimal circumstances" I'm pretty sure that any sentence that includes the phrases "naval battle" and "optimal circumstances" must be gramatically incorrect. :wink: This site contains the following:
At 2.5 seconds into the battle film, one of the Bismarck's forward turrets fired a salvo characterized by two separate flashes with a total flash time of 1.4 seconds. This indicates that there was a slight delay of about 0.5 second between the firing of the individual guns of that turret.

At 12.5 seconds into the battle film, the Bismarck fired a salvo from her other forward turret. This time, there was a single flash with a duration of 0.7 seconds, indicating that both guns of that turret fired in unison. At 27,5 seconds, one of the Bismarck's forward turrets fired another salvo with a flash duration of 0.7 seconds, and at 40.0 seconds, the other forward turret fired a salvo with a flash duration of 0.9 seconds.

The separation of 25.0 seconds between the first and third salvos and the separation of 27.5 seconds between the second and fourth salvos from the Bismarck's forward turrets is consistent with the established rate of fire for her guns. Under ideal conditions, the guns of the Bismarck could fire a round every 20 seconds, but under sustained combat conditions, some slight delays for various reasons can be expected.
Meanwhile, Navweps gives the 16"/45 an RoF of 2/min (1 per 30 seconds). However, in practice (referring to 2nd Guadalcanal)...
Washington fired 42 rounds in approximately 3 minutes (precise time not available) or 1.56 rpmpg. During the second phase Washington fired 75 rounds in 5 minutes 24 seconds, or 1.54 rpmpg.
...which is ~ 1 per 38.5 seconds.

So call it 25 seconds for Bismarck and 38 seconds for Washington, or ~50% faster fire for the kraut.
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Re: Washington

Post by alecsandros » Sun May 06, 2012 3:21 pm

Rick Rather wrote: So call it 25 seconds for Bismarck and 38 seconds for Washington, or ~50% faster fire for the kraut.
NO.

The movie you mentinoed above is a footage from Prinz Eugen during the battle of DS.
IT is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPmkOtSveXY

The movie depicts Bismarck shooting against PoW, so after Hood's sinking, at ~15-16km distance from the GErman ship.

At 15-16km, the time of flight of the 38cm shell was 22-24 seconds.

After the flight, the shell lands in the water and creates splashes, which are observed by the GErman crew.
Based on the position of the splashes relative to the enemy ship, teh firing solution is uptadted or not. This takes several seconds.

Thus, comparing the time of flight (22-24 seconds) with the salvo sequence (25 seconds apart) and fire solution update/confirmation, the only reasonable explanation is that the forward guns were allready loaded several seconds before the splashes were observed.

Thus, the main rate of fire constraint would be the time of flight of the shells.

---

Of course, after rapid fire was ordered, there weren't any salvo-by-salvo adjustments in range/bearing. The guns blasted away at the plotted enemy position at maximum rof without waiting for confirmation.

BUT, Bismarck did not opened rapid fire against PoW . It was about to do so, just when the torpedo alarm aboard PE was sounded, and both German raiders made 50* course alterations, losing their firing solutions. Later on, Bismarck did not open rapid fire on PoW either

So, in conclusion, the 25sec interval is to be taken into consideration only for the initial stages of a battle, when range is aquired. After that, if the range is found consistently, rapid fire is ordered, which for Bismarck was 3 shots/gun/minute for shots up to 20km away.

[ This is supported by the AVKS-700 document, which mentions Bismarck's main elevators carried 23-24 heavy rounds/minute from the magazines to the main turrets. 24 shells/minute with 4 elevators is 6 shells/minute/elevator. And each elevator served 1 turret... with 2 guns... ]

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Rick Rather
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Re: Washington

Post by Rick Rather » Mon May 07, 2012 2:00 am

alecsandros wrote: the only reasonable explanation is that the forward guns were allready loaded several seconds before the splashes were observed.
NO.

That is not the "only" reasonable explanation.

Experience shows that in the real world, things can take longer than they do in an ideal training environment. This is also a reasonable explanation.

I do not mean to be obtuse or unnecessarily contentious (and I do realize I am making an arguement from incredulity), but I am deeply suspicious of the claim that optimum performance could be achieved in their first battle, especially when the same crew and equipment could not score a single hit three days later.
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: Washington

Post by alecsandros » Mon May 07, 2012 5:38 am

Rick Rather wrote:
NO.

That is not the "only" reasonable explanation.

Experience shows that in the real world, things can take longer than they do in an ideal training environment. This is also a reasonable explanation.

I do not mean to be obtuse or unnecessarily contentious (and I do realize I am making an arguement from incredulity), but I am deeply suspicious of the claim that optimum performance could be achieved in their first battle, especially when the same crew and equipment could not score a single hit three days later.
Shell time of flight: 22-24 seconds

Observation of fall of shot and updating firing solution: a few seconds

Interval between firings: 25 seconds.

With this data, I realy don't know what other explanations you can find...

---

"especially when the same crew and equipment could not score a single hit three days later."

The crew was exhausted, ship unmanouvreable, seas heavy. Nevertheless, the Bismarck straddled both Rodney and KGV with 4-gun salvos. Good shooting gives you straddles, but only God gives you hits...
The Rodney and KGV themselves, allthough undamaged, took quite a long time before hiting the Bismarck. This shows how difficult the shooting conditions were.

On board Bismarck central fire control tower were destroyed, main director destroyed in the first 20 minutes (8:47 - 9:08). How could they straddle and hit anything after that ?

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Re: Washington

Post by Rick Rather » Mon May 07, 2012 6:51 am

Perhaps. As I said, mine is purely an arguement from incredulity, based not upon facts but on my own experience with the military definition of "friction". We are, after all, talking about a difference of only 6-7 seconds of an antiquated battle-drill on a ship that sank 71 years ago. Pax.
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Re: Washington

Post by Saltheart » Tue May 08, 2012 12:48 pm

If a 16 inch/45 shell weighing 2700 pounds fired from 15000 metres hit a Bismarck gun turret, what would happen? Would the shell penetrate clean through the face and detonate inside the turret completely detroying it or would it be rendered a dud but still obviously knock the turret completely out of action. If it hit the sloping roof sides at that range would it punch through? I'm interested in the damage Washington would do to Bismarck's main turrets at the range Bismarck engaged POW.

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Re: Washington

Post by alecsandros » Tue May 08, 2012 1:25 pm

At a similar range, KGV struck Bismarck twice on the main turrets. Both shots were deflected, but both turrets taken out.
Theoreticaly, the 14"/L45 was more than capable of perforating the 340mm maximum armor, but real world obliquity thinks otherwise :)

The 16"/L45 would allmost certainly destroy the turret in practical terms - either perforating and exploding inside, or through shock force alone, that would cause spalling, and destruction of all sensitive equipment inside. And of course, elimination of the entire crew inside...
Perforation would depend on real world obliquity - on all the 3 axes.

The impact would be at 510m/s or so, making the impact energy a devastating 160 MJ.

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Re: Washington

Post by Saltheart » Tue May 08, 2012 1:34 pm

alecsandros wrote:At a similar range, KGV struck Bismarck twice on the main turrets. Both shots were deflected, but both turrets taken out.
Theoreticaly, the 14"/L45 was more than capable of perforating the 340mm maximum armor, but real world obliquity thinks otherwise :)

The 16"/L45 would allmost certainly destroy the turret in practical terms - either perforating and exploding inside, or through shock force alone, that would cause spalling, and destruction of all sensitive equipment inside. And of course, elimination of the entire crew inside...
Perforation would depend on real world obliquity - on all the 3 axes.

The impact would be at 510m/s or so, making the impact energy a devastating 160 MJ.
Right, so they'd need major anti-flash protection for the turrets. I know Rodney put a shell through a turret face at about 3000 metres that blew off the back of it but it didn't result in a flash to the magazines. Maybe though they'd already been flooded as a precaution when the turrets were originally silenced.

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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue May 08, 2012 3:21 pm

Saltheart wrote:If a 16 inch/45 shell weighing 2700 pounds fired from 15000 metres hit a Bismarck gun turret,.
This an unrealistic range to expect protection from any major caliber hit. The specifications laid down by the KM for the Bismarck class IZ was 20km to 30km-not 20km to 10km. It's impractical to attempt to protect turrets against major caliber hits at ranges of 15km and less. How do you get enough armour? And even if you could how do you support the weight of that armour and what is the quality of that armour? Your well past the point of diminishing returns in terms armour quality and thickness of plates. A spaced array is impractical for a turret in terms of space and weight. Severely laying -back the angle of the face plate 30* or so helps some against shells that don't perform well at acute striking angles, but what about those that do?

Providing some protection at less than 20km range, especially against smaller high velocity calibers which may be fired by cruisers and destroyers, partly explains the "angled facet" 180mm homogenous plates on the Bismarck class main turrets. The angle it's laid -back is 65* from the normal from flat trajectory fire. This would explain deflections of 14" heavy shells at such ranges. Even against more powerful guns it provides protection below 20km battle range. A trade off is long range fire striking it at a more favorable angle. Here the probability of the angle facet getting hit by long range fire must be weighed against the benefits of the angled facet vs flat trajectory fire and the weight savings it creates. Trade offs.

Another factor when dealing with the problem of protecting turrets at less than medium ranges is dispersion of the assets. This means using more turrets with less guns per turret rather than "putting all your eggs in one (or two) baskets."
Theoreticaly, the 14"/L45 was more than capable of perforating the 340mm maximum armor


It was 360mm KC sloped back 11* and curved. Although at 15km..... It's more likely that the severely angled facet above will be hit instead, however. That would be more like a deck hit on a 7" deck from medium range, hence the use of Wh instead of KC.
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Re: Washington

Post by Saltheart » Tue May 08, 2012 3:38 pm

In reply to Dave Saxton.

Yes I agree, I wouldn't expect a turret to survive heavy fire at 15km but that's what I was wondering about. I was wondering just how severe the damage would be and how badly it would affect Bismarck. It's one thing having a turret silenced it's another to have it smashed by a shell detonating inside it. So I was wondering how profoundly the 16 inch shells would actually damage it.
The Americans packed masses of armor on their turrets and barbettes I expect to avoid catastrophic damage while I suppose accepting that the turrets could still be silenced by impacts. I am a bit surprised that the Germans didn't also go for 16 inch turret faces to reduce the chance of complete penetration and destruction of a turret.

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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue May 08, 2012 3:57 pm

Well the problem with 16" plates is the quality declining with increased thickness, or the resistance to penetration doesn't increase porportionally with increased thickness. The American ~15" homogenous plate thickness (its the main plate plus a backing plate) isn't providing much more resistance to penetration than the German 14.2" (No laminate) Krupp's Cemented other than the angle of slope, and its a lot less efficient in terms of weight expended for protection provided. Lets look at how the British approached the problem with KGV.

The turret faces on KGV were 324mm thick cemented armour (laminated onto a backing plate). A laminate performs less in terms of effective thickness than if the plates are spaced so it was about 330mm effective. The turret faces are sloped back- not much at all- they were actually declined slightly adding to the total obliquity. Against its own 14" gun they provide protection beyond 20km. The British were obviously writing off major caliber hits inside of 20km completely and designing for an IZ extending from 20km to 30km, based on their own gun.
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: Washington

Post by alecsandros » Tue May 08, 2012 4:05 pm

It's not only about surviving impacts, it's also about the total weight of the turret, rate of train and electrical power needed to train it.

Because the KGM opted for 4 x 2 gun turrets for all major battleship classes (Bismarck, H class), the combined weight increase for 4 turrets and 4 barbettes woudl have been in the order of at least 1500 tons (if not 2000). This would pose political difficulties, as well as practical ones, because of the increase of the draft and more problematic navigation through shallow waters.
Moreover, producing good quality plates in the thickenss required to stop BB caliber shells traveling at 510-550m/s was extremely problematic (I would think at 600mm or more - the kind Yamato possessed). Krupp production of FH plate was at it's best at around 320-340mm, falling gradualy in resistance terms past that point, because of the extreme production difficulties encountered in casting and cooling such a thick steel plate.

@David: I thought it was 360mm face plate only for Tirpitz, with 340mm on Bismarck ?

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