Washington

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RF
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Re: Washington

Post by RF » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:10 am

But even at that initial stage of the action the German commander will have to respond to the Americans' tactics - for example Tirpitz' gunners would be handicapped by Tirpitz having to dodge the US 16 inch salvoes and the risk is of losing the initiative.
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Re: Washington

Post by delcyros » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:42 pm

Dave Saxton wrote: Class B plates of such thickness did not make an ideal substitute. Homogenous plates of such thickness suffer from problems of the interior portions remaining too hot for too long during the cooling proccesses. The USN Research Lab found that the ballistic resistance of such plates was down about 20% from what it should be and there was no way around the problem. (16" x .80 = 12.8") Normally face hardened plates would be prefered to homogenous plates for this application, because they would work better using the slope of the face plate to deflect and breakup capped AP, but the Class A plates were so bad that using them was out of the question.
Dear Dave,

I was puzzled for a while as to what are the sources for this statement. A 20% drop in resistence of thick manufactured homogenious class B armour plate seems to be a very serious issue to me with regard to quality controll processes. The only reference I have been able to find about this problem is contained in the post war evaluation of US and german armour:
attacks with 1,140-lb 12” AP Mark 18 Mod 1 at 35 deg obliquity (ALASKA Class main projectiles, 1,002 lb body weight)
10.7” U.S. Class “B” Plate (“average plate” ref): 1,612 ft/sec (97.2% of 1,658 ft/sec NBL required for this attack)
10.7” U.S. Class “B” Plate (“best plate” ref): 1,724 ft/sec (104% of 1,658 ft/sec NBL required for this attack)

That appears to be a fine straddle above and below of 100%, indicating no drop in quality, though a variance of at least 7% between best quality and "average" quality class B (we don´t know how "poor quality" really behave from that alone).

attacks with 1,500-lb 14” AP Mark 16 Mod 8 at 30 deg obliquity (1,313 lb body weight)
12.0” U.S. Class “B” Plate (“average plate” ref): 1,551 ft/sec (94.7% of 1,638 ft/sec NBL)
13.2” U.S. Class “B” Plate (“best plate” ref): 1,747 ft/sec (99% of 1,765 ft/sec NBL)

17.5” U.S. Class “B” Plate (“average plate” ref): 2,066 ft/sec (91.6% of 2,256 ft/sec NBL)
17.5” U.S. Class “B” Plate (“best plate” ref): 2,090 ft/sec (95% of 2,256 ft/sec NBL)

The 12" to 13.2" thickness range seems to straddle around 96.7%, the drop in quality is in line with scaling due to using a bigger diameter projectile for this plate.
The 17.5" thickness range seems to straddle around 93.3%. Since it was engaged by the same 14" projectile, this drop in quality may qualify for a reduced resistence of the plate caused by manufacturing issues, though the difference between "best plate" of 13.2" and "average" 17.5" class B seems to be limited to only 8% variance and thus isn´t to far away from the variance encountered in thinner plates of class B homogenious armour.

Do I miss something?

thanks in advance,
delc

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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:47 pm

The source is a USN Research Lab study released in 1945. It studied the internal brittleness problem of 17" thick Class B plates. This study indicated a 20% decrease in ballistic resistance to standard. I believe the baseline for the standard is thin homogenous armour of 6-inch or less. So it's compared to 6" not 13" homogenous armour. The Germans also noted that the thicker the homogenous armour the lower the relative quality.
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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:06 pm

alecsandros wrote:... Which probably means that Tirpitz's captain would try to do exactly what he knew best: using his ship in the most advantageous position, so a battle between 15-20km. Initialy firing 4+4 salvos until range was accurately determined, and then starting rapid fire with all artillery. Probably making a barrage of SAP shells initialy, in order to take out radars/directors/spoting posts/various onboard sensors and then AP shells.
GkDos100 instructs German gunnery officers to open fire as soon as possible and at the longest range possible. This was the official German doctrine. The Kriegsmarine advocated long range gunnery. Historically, Lindemann probably held fire until 21 Km to perserve finite supplies of AP ammunition stocked for a raiding mission. The max ballistic range of the 38cm gun with the L/4.4 at 45* angle of departure was 42km. A higher % of hits starts to come at 50% the max ballistic range. So by withholding fire until 21km he was wasting less ammunition.
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 Saltheart » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:18 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
alecsandros wrote:... Which probably means that Tirpitz's captain would try to do exactly what he knew best: using his ship in the most advantageous position, so a battle between 15-20km. Initialy firing 4+4 salvos until range was accurately determined, and then starting rapid fire with all artillery. Probably making a barrage of SAP shells initialy, in order to take out radars/directors/spoting posts/various onboard sensors and then AP shells.
GkDos100 instructs German gunnery officers to open fire as soon as possible and at the longest range possible. This was the official German doctrine. The Kriegsmarine advocated long range gunnery. Historically, Lindemann probably held fire until 21 Km to perserve finite supplies of AP ammunition stocked for a raiding mission. The max ballistic range of the 38cm gun with the L/4.4 at 45* angle of departure was 42km. A higher % of hits starts to come at 50% the max ballistic range. So by withholding fire until 21km he was wasting less ammunition.
Sounds like if Tirpitz ran into a US battleship in the North Sea in 1942 she would fight at extreme range if the Americans did. It would take the first 16 inch hit and very serious damage (if it wasn't a magazine hit and they therefore survived) for them to realise they had to change things. So at leat initially the Germans would be at the disadvantage that the Americans would be hoping for.

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Re: Washington

Post by RF » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:40 pm

Dave Saxton wrote: GkDos100 instructs German gunnery officers to open fire as soon as possible and at the longest range possible. This was the official German doctrine. The Kriegsmarine advocated long range gunnery.
This I take to mean as an overall generalisation for use against any enemy. But is it saying keep the range open as opposed to the rapid closure of range for example used by Langsdorf?
Historically, Lindemann probably held fire until 21 Km to perserve finite supplies of AP ammunition stocked for a raiding mission. The max ballistic range of the 38cm gun with the L/4.4 at 45* angle of departure was 42km. A higher % of hits starts to come at 50% the max ballistic range. So by withholding fire until 21km he was wasting less ammunition.
But this delay allowed POW to find the range and scupper Rheinubung. Is the above quoted instruction not implicit that enemy tactics cannot be simply ignored? Lutjens/Lindemann failed to execute these instructions - along with Lutjens not also ordering Brinckmann to take Prinz Eugen out of line. I note that Admiral Schmundt commented on the latter but not the former.
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Re: Washington

Post by Saltheart » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:55 am

Well, lets say the US and UK have done a swap, the brand new Prince of Wales given to America in exchange for the brand new North Carolina given to Britain. It's May 1941 and the North Carolina has been in been in British hands since the previous autumn and is fully worked up. I know this pushes back the completion of these two ships by their respective countries by at least 6 months but that's how it is.
Bismarck and Prinz Eugen exit the Denmark Strait and notice two ships coming up from the south to port. They wonder if they're more cruisers or capital ships. Holland is in command of the Royal Navy forces but as he rushes in Hood suffers a catastropic failure with it's boiler rooms and it's speed collapses to 12 knots. It's out of the chase. Captain Leach on North Carolina is ordered to continue and attack Bismarck to stop it at all costs.
Would Bismarck's guns see it through such a fight?

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Re: Washington

Post by delcyros » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:12 am

NC isn't fast enough.

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Re: Washington

Post by delcyros » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:31 am

Dave Saxton wrote:The source is a USN Research Lab study released in 1945. It studied the internal brittleness problem of 17" thick Class B plates. This study indicated a 20% decrease in ballistic resistance to standard. I believe the baseline for the standard is thin homogenous armour of 6-inch or less. So it's compared to 6" not 13" homogenous armour. The Germans also noted that the thicker the homogenous armour the lower the relative quality.
Dave,
my I ask for the exact title of the study and where one might access it?

thanks in advance,
delc

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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:26 pm

A Study of Brittleness of 18-Inch Class B Armor Plates by High Speed Impact Tests....United States Naval Research Lab, Washington DC, June, 1945. It can be found in the National Archives at College Park, Md.
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Re: Washington

Post by alecsandros » Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:52 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
alecsandros wrote:... Which probably means that Tirpitz's captain would try to do exactly what he knew best: using his ship in the most advantageous position, so a battle between 15-20km. Initialy firing 4+4 salvos until range was accurately determined, and then starting rapid fire with all artillery. Probably making a barrage of SAP shells initialy, in order to take out radars/directors/spoting posts/various onboard sensors and then AP shells.
GkDos100 instructs German gunnery officers to open fire as soon as possible and at the longest range possible. This was the official German doctrine. The Kriegsmarine advocated long range gunnery. Historically, Lindemann probably held fire until 21 Km to perserve finite supplies of AP ammunition stocked for a raiding mission. The max ballistic range of the 38cm gun with the L/4.4 at 45* angle of departure was 42km. A higher % of hits starts to come at 50% the max ballistic range. So by withholding fire until 21km he was wasting less ammunition.
Also the wrong identification of Hood and |PoW as "cruisers" must have played a part in the delay of opening fire...

"Longest range possible is kind of vague"... I would tend to believe longest range possible in real terms is 22-25km at best, as identification issues would pose problems over that range. Until visual confirmation is possible, I doubt any commander would open fire based only on what his radar operator would be telling him...
And of course, visual confirmation is tricky, depending on weather and exactly how high the highest observation point on the ship is...

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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:17 am

In 1938 the reliable range of the early model Seetakt to another panzerschiff was established at 25km and this was considered "adequate for the ship's artillery". In the case of Tirpitz 5 years later, "long range based on sighting considerations" was defined as 30km (33,000 yards). The height of the observation post on Tirpitz was about 40 meters high. The American team on the Technical Mission Europe were surpized that the Germans openly talked about scoring hits first at long range out to the range of the guns in some tactical situations, and they were shocked by the range of the Tirpitz's guns as exceeding 36km (39,600 yards).
Until visual confirmation is possible, I doubt any commander would open fire based only on what his radar operator would be telling him...
The Americans held their fire to about 22,000 yards at Surigao partly because they were unsure if American light forces were clear (Allied radar IFF was an unreliable mess through the whole war), and to conserve AP ammunition.

The Germans had functional naval IFF from early 1942. After the Barents Sea IFF problems they buckled down and made their system fairly efficient. The main problem up to 1943 was education of senoir naval officers concerning how IFF worked.
I doubt any commander would open fire based only on what his radar operator would be telling him...


Lee and Murry did at GCII east of Savo, but it was a phantom target and was not repeated. Lee didn't know were SD was for sure west of Savo, and with held fire on at least two occasions until the Japanese indentified themselves by opening fire. One final time Lee with held fire because all it would do would give away his position to the radarless Japanese.
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 delcyros » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:25 am

Thanks Dave for going into the trouble of looking for the file.
I know the question doesn´t necessarely belong to an informal board though it was part of my interest on that issue.

best regards,
delc

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Re: Washington

Post by alecsandros » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:01 am

Dave Saxton wrote:
The Americans held their fire to about 22,000 yards at Surigao partly because they were unsure if American light forces were clear (Allied radar IFF was an unreliable mess through the whole war), and to conserve AP ammunition.
Yes, and stuff like that hinders long range engagements in realistic scenarios. Barents Sea that you mentioned is another good example, along with Guadalcanal engagements - Lutzow could have blasted some destroyers out of the water at 16km, yet it only fired against Obedient, which was straddled and suffered splinter damage. Why ? because Lutzow's captain was constantly in a state of tactical unawareness.
It's not only the friend/foe determination, it's also ship type. And this makes blindfire an even more theoretical pursuit - would either Tirpitz or Washington open fire without visual confirmation without knowing the type of ship they encounter ? After all, the large reflective surface appearing on the radar screen in front of them could have been a fleet carrier, a large merchant, a battleship... And this without radar jamming. If we take that into account, in a realistic engagement I doubt any kind of ship type identification could have been done...

There are only few types of engagement I see in which the 2 ships could freeely open long range fire. The most plausible I can think of would be Tirptiz sent in a raiding mission, somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. Tirpitz's floatplanes discover a convoy 200km away. The convoy is escorted by Washington and other smaller vessels.
Floatplanes from Washington discover Tirpitz several hours later. Both ships keep the other under observation. Tirpitz's captain would not risk open combat with a 16"battleshp, but some orders from central command would force him to do so. It should be a perfect clear day, with calm sea, somwhere near the tropic of cancer.

Tirpitz would engage while receiving intel from the circling arado 196. Washington will also open fire at long range, probably beyond visual range, directed by his own float planes. Tirpitz would probably stay around 25km distance, where his salvos are still tight enough to pose danger, while the escorting destroyers are far enough to pose a danger to her own. The captain would hope to lure Washington out from the battle line and deal with her one on one.

However, this was precisely the kind of range Washington was designed to fight at - and her captain would most likely suspect Tirpitz's intent.

So, a 10-15 minutes salvo battle would ensue, at 25km range. Washington\s salvos would be wider, around 350-400m wide, twice as wide as Tirpitz's.
given the range, high speed and tactical situation, I doubt either side would be able to obtain definitive firing solutions and commence rapid fire. Rate of fire would probably hover around 0.8-1 rpmpg for Washington and 1-1.2 rpmpg for Tirpitz. So for this battle, I would expect some 80-120 shells fired by Washington, and 80 - 135 fired by Tirpitz.

Tirpitz would probably score 4-5 hits at best, and Washington 3-4. That would be because of the higher danger space of the German shells, and because of the more accurate firing pattern.

All the shells from Tirpitz would not explode - 2 would pass through the bow/stern without encountering armor thick enough to fuze them, 1 would hit the con tower at a bad impact angle (the compounded obliquity would be to big to assure penetratino) and glance off, 1 would pass through the funnell, another would hit hte barbette of a main turret, and jam the turret at a given angle. Damage to Washington would be moderate - some shock damage inside the con tower, water through the holes in the unarmored sections, one turret jamed for several hours, the damaged funnel.

The acute falling angle of Washington shells would allmost certainly ensure perfortion of the upper deck, with some probable damage done to the 15cm or 10.5cm mounts.
However, the 0.033s fuze delay of the shells would let them fly over 15meters after holing the upper deck, which means they would also strike the panzer deck before explosion. The panzer deck would be broken in 1-2 places, but the shells would also be broken up, and there fuzes inert, not allowing an explosion.
Given the size of Tirpitz, most likely all the 16"shells would come to rest in non-important sections of the ship...
---
Seeing that Washington isn't giving chase, and doesn't appear to be damaged, while the supply of 15"shells is rapidly diminishing, Tirpitz would break off at maximum speed, leaving another naval battle unresolved.

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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:19 pm

It's not only the friend/foe determination, it's also ship type. And this makes blindfire an even more theoretical pursuit - would either Tirpitz or Washington open fire without visual confirmation without knowing the type of ship they encounter ? After all, the large reflective surface appearing on the radar screen in front of them could have been a fleet carrier, a large merchant, a battleship...
Exactly right Alex. Destroyers and battleships can and do usually appear the same on a radar scope. Radar doesn't usually distinguish the size of targets very accurately. (today digital computers can examine the radar signature of the returns and compare that to files of known radar signatures) During WWII the USN instructed operators to guess at the ship type based on the range it was first detected. For example, a small ship like a destroyer would not be detectable at 40km out by existing US radar. If the target wasn't detected until 20,000 yards then it was probably a small ship and not a large ship, which would likely be detected at greater range. But still it was only a guess and range of detection itself is highly variable.
- Lutzow could have blasted some destroyers out of the water at 16km, yet it only fired against Obedient, which was straddled and suffered splinter damage. Why ? because Lutzow's captain was constantly in a state of tactical unawareness
This view is a bit mixed up. Here's Stange's view of the battle based on the KTB and after action reports:

Luetzow is approaching the suspected location of the Convoy from the south while Hipper circles around to the north of the suspected position. Visibility is 300 meters. Radar is switched on every 10 minutes for 2 minutes to avoid giving away Luetzow’s position to the enemy through its own radar emissions, and thereby loosing the element of surprise. (Remember the battle plan was for the Hipper to draw away the close escort to the northward while forcing the convoy to turn into the Luetzow group to the southward.)

FuMB equipment detects radar emissions by PRF to the north with PRFs of 500 and 3000. (This is what threw Stange off because Seetakt's PRF was also 500.) Was this radar from the other German destroyers, or Hipper, or from the enemy escort?

When the signal strength of the detected radar reaches “Force 5”, Luetzow's FuMO27 is switched on and detects the individual ships of the convoy, the closest 5.6km distant. Stange holds fire because he's afraid of a friendly fire incident despite the pleas of his gunnery officers. The ships appear only as shadows to optics and can't be identified as to friend or foe, or as to type, visually.

Nearly 30 minutes later, Luetzow and Hipper exchange IFF signals identifying Hipper as a radar contact 25km away to the northwest. Stange now reverses course and prepares to attack the convoy, the closest now 16km away to the southwest.

Luetzow’s FuMO27 detects the approach of two radar contacts from the north, 29km from its own position. These were Sheffield and Jamaica. Stange declines to engage these targets with artillery because of the great range. Kummetz is not informed of this development.

Several minutes later, a steamer from the convoy comes into view and Luetzow opens fire on it instead. The range is ~16km. After two salvoes the steamer is hidden by a snow shower, but Luetzow continues to straddle the target under full radar control for six salvoes. The radar operator has some difficulty in spotting the fall of shot because the indication “jumps” every time the Luetzow fires another 28cm salvo. They decide to replace the offending vacuum tube and shut off the radar, thereby forcing the ship to cease fire as well.

After five minutes the radar is back up and working perfectly. It locates several targets and a radar contact 15.4 km distant is selected for engagement. The target turns out to be the destroyer Obdurate (Obedient was damaged by Hipper) and is straddled with the first salvo. Strikes are observed through the haze. Obdurate indeed suffers serious damage. Adm. Kummetz has received a message from Group North reminding him of Hitler’s standing order of “no unnecessary risks” so he orders Luetzow to break off action and follow him in retiring.

While returning to base the British follow and Luetzow monitors them on radar throughout. When the British get too close, Luetzow opens fire, straddling the targets, and forcing the British to back off.
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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