Washington

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Saltheart
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Re: Washington

Post by Saltheart » Wed May 02, 2012 11:59 am

alecsandros wrote:Indeed.

What is rather surprising is that in the real naval battles of the war, debilitating main turret hits were quite rare.
For example, in the Denmark Strait battle, out of the 15-17 hits obtained by both sides, not one was on a main turret or barbette.
Even during Bismarck's last battle, with the ship barely making 7kts, her main turrets were still pretty much intact at 9:20, even Anton and Bruno firing one last salvo at ~9:30.

In fact, now that I think about it, the only 2 cases when a heavy turret was destroyed by shell fire was Kirishima being blasted at 8km distance and Dunkerque taking a 15" shell hit from Hood at Mers-el-Kebir, distance ~15km, while at anchor.

And both those ships were actualy battlecruisers... not battleships... by WW2 standards... and their turrets were armored as such.
Gneisenau took a turret hit from Renown and the turret was silenced.
But luck does play a huge role. If you score a hit but just blast off an anchor chain or score a hit and disable a turret the distance between the two spots might be just 20 metres while you might be firing from 15,000 metres. So yes luck can decide the outcome of a battle. But to get serious or decisive hits you obviously want to be getting them from a generally large number of hits in the first place. If you score 25 hits 10 might be vital and silence the enemy so scoring continously and fingers crossed that some will be important is the name of the game. Bismarck scored 4 hits on POW but only one was important. If it could have kept going for just another 5 minutes scoring 2 or 3 hits a minute that's another 10 to 15 hits. If only 3 were serious like silencing turrets or entering boiler rooms then POW might have got into trouble. Which is why Captain leach was right to break off when he did.
Against Washington Bismarck would have twice the rate of fire, twice the chance of getting hits and twice the chance therefore of serious hits so I think it would have the advantage.

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Re: Washington

Post by Saltheart » Wed May 02, 2012 12:07 pm

Rick Rather wrote:In such a DS scenario, rather than Washington going it alone, I would assume that Norfolk & Suffolk would be ordered to join the fight.

I've actually played and refereed a Bismark vs. North Carolina scenario several times over the years, using a couple of different systems (Battlewagon and Command at Sea). It's my standard scenario for introducing new players to whichever system I'm using. Every time I've run it, it comes down to the same thing: The side that scores the first main turret hit on the other wins.

Whereas they start fairly equal - NC has one more barrel, Bismarck has a tighter pattern - NC losing a turret gives Bismarck a >30% advantage in firepower (8 barrels to 6), and Bismarck losing one gives NC a ~50% advantage (6 barrels to 9). This asymetry in both the probability to hit and the number of hits per unit time very quickly gets out of hand, and the unlucky ship must withdraw or die. In one run, both sides scored turret hits at the same time, giving them 6 barrels each. In that event, the next turret hit determined the winner (3 for NC vs 6 for Bismarck, or 4 to 6 Bismarck vs NC - I forget who got it).

History buffs & warship officianados love to discuss the differences and advantages of each nuance of gun & shell vs armor. As a gamer, I've learned that duels pretty much come down to dumb luck. Please refer any disagreement to Holland, Lütjens & Hintze.

Once you start throwing more ships and weapons into the mix - PE w/ torpedoes and possibly Norfolk & Suffolk, well then the tactics get interesting... :cool:
I agree Norfolk and Suffolk should join in such a fight but if they're trailing 20 to 25 thousand metres behind and Bismarck is doing 27 or 28 knots it's going to take a long time. But I guess if Hood broke down and Washington was going it alone Leach might just shadow Bismarck for hours and wait till the cruisers catch up. In fact I guess he might realistically do that. It would then be different with PE fighting to survive agaist two ships while Bismarck and Washington slugged it out.

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Re: Washington

Post by Djoser » Wed May 02, 2012 12:50 pm

Rick Rather wrote:In such a DS scenario, rather than Washington going it alone, I would assume that Norfolk & Suffolk would be ordered to join the fight.

I've actually played and refereed a Bismark vs. North Carolina scenario several times over the years, using a couple of different systems (Battlewagon and Command at Sea)...

...History buffs & warship officianados love to discuss the differences and advantages of each nuance of gun & shell vs armor. As a gamer, I've learned that duels pretty much come down to dumb luck. Please refer any disagreement to Holland, Lütjens & Hintze.
Rather well put.

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Re: Washington

Post by alecsandros » Wed May 02, 2012 2:18 pm

Saltheart wrote:
alecsandros wrote:Indeed.


Gneisenau took a turret hit from Renown and the turret was silenced.
The turret was out of action, not destroyed.
Scharnhorst's aft turret was also put out of action during her last battle, yet her crew brought it back to service 1 hour later.

South Dakota received a 14" shell hit on her barbette - no problem there.
Jean Bart received 2 x 16" shell hits, 1 in the barbette, 1 in a main turret. Both were deflected. One turret was jamed by debris from the shell, but the debris were removed in 2 hours or so and the turret was operational again.

So again, the lack of debilitating main turret hits is quite interesting.

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Re: Washington

Post by Saltheart » Wed May 02, 2012 3:06 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Saltheart wrote:
alecsandros wrote:Indeed.


Gneisenau took a turret hit from Renown and the turret was silenced.
The turret was out of action, not destroyed.
Scharnhorst's aft turret was also put out of action during her last battle, yet her crew brought it back to service 1 hour later.

South Dakota received a 14" shell hit on her barbette - no problem there.
Jean Bart received 2 x 16" shell hits, 1 in the barbette, 1 in a main turret. Both were deflected. One turret was jamed by debris from the shell, but the debris were removed in 2 hours or so and the turret was operational again.

So again, the lack of debilitating main turret hits is quite interesting.
I don't agree. I didn't say the turret was destroyed I said it was silenced meaning it was silent, it wasn't firing. If a turret is out of action then it's not firing and if you're in a fight to the death with the range closing as was for example developing between Bismarck and POW before POW broke off then the fact it's not firing is everything. If you can get it going again an hour or 2 hours later that's great if you've been fast enough to break off like Gneisenau or sitting in port like Jean Bart but if they can close and wreck you then it's not good enough. A ship with 3 silenced turrets all of which can be fixed given time is still a silenced ship that can now be torpedoed if there are enemy escorts around. When I think of a silenced turret I mean out of action if only for as long as it takes the enemy to knock out more turrets and then sink you.
South Dakota received a hit that impacted deck and barbette together with the force deflected downward by the barbette and it still experienced rotation problems with the turret above as a result. A direct hit by a more powerful gun would have caused more problems.

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Rick Rather
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Re: Washington

Post by Rick Rather » Wed May 02, 2012 3:49 pm

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"
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 » Wed May 02, 2012 3:53 pm

Saltheart wrote: A direct hit by a more powerful gun would have caused more problems.
Of course it would have.

But in reality those "more problems" failed to materialise.
Bismarck received a 14" shell hit from KGV around 9:15 from 11km. It shoud have gone clean through and explode inside, but it didn't - the shell glanced off, while the impact shock caused one of the guns to lose hydraulic pressure and depress.

Yes, it is quite unpleasant to have main turrets knocked out while in combat, but, if the ship is fast enough, it can break off combat until the damage to the turret is repaired. This is exactly what PoW did after DS.

Regardless, there are relatively few instances in which the main turrets were hit.

I would devote more attention to the fire control system, particularly the main directors and radars. If those go down, the firing will be much less effective.

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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed May 02, 2012 4:55 pm

Actually South Dakota's Number Three main battery turret was knocked out by the non- penetrating barbet hit. After the hit, the gun captain attempted to fire on local control but the shock of the hit had disabled electrical power to the firing circuits. Indeed the entire main battery was disabled from yet more electrical gremlins at this point. This alarming fact was glossed over in the official battle damage reports. As the 14" shell hit the 38mm upper deck before the barbet at a nearly flat trajectory it was de-capped. This was why it failed to penetrate. The dent it caused was huge and the entire barbet was distorted.

South Dakota was at this point in the battle was much in the same critical situation as was Bismarck about 15 minutes into Bismarck's last stand. All or some of the main battery turrets out of action, the foretop firecontrol station destroyed, the forward radars destroyed or out of action, cabling to the conning tower firecontrol station and radar severed, and key top side personal dead and wounded. If South Dakota had been alone it would have been sunk that night.
The turret was out of action, not destroyed.
Scharnhorst's aft turret was also put out of action during her last battle, yet her crew brought it back to service 1 hour later.


I havn't heard of Scharnhorst's Ceaser turret being put out of action during North Cape? At one point it was running low on AP ammunition, and during the lull, AP ammunition was transfered from the forward magazines aft to the after magazines. Turret Anton was put out of action by a barbet hit from an early Duke of York salvo. The shell probably passed through the side above the main belt. Unlike the South Dakota barbet hit it was not de-capped (the upper belt on SH was only 40mm Wh. --Had it been Tirpitz it would have been de-capped by the the upper KC belt).

I can't confirm Gneisenau's Ceaser Turret being put out of action by Renown. Indeed after turning away Gneisenau continued to fire Turret Ceaser alone for the some time in retiring:
The next phase of the battle lasted thirty six minutes from the German turn away...During this period Gneisenau fired her Caeser turret while Schanhorst occasionaly yawed to fire broadsides. (O'Hare)
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 RF » Wed May 02, 2012 5:17 pm

paul.mercer wrote: Gentlemen,
I would think that if Washington is getting a hard time on her upperworks from PE she would probably direct one of her turrets against her, a couple of 16" hits on PE would either disable her or make her back off out of range.
But there is an opportunity cost here - that turret isn't shooting at Bismarck so Bismarck is under less fire. Bismarck is still giving full available firepower on Washington so Washington isn't getting any respite there. Can Washington afford to do that?
Indeed as I said in a prior post is it practice for a US battleship engaging an enemy battleship plus heavy cruiser to switch some of its main armament fire to the cruiser? Especially if the enemy battleship is still on full firepower?
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RF
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Re: Washington

Post by RF » Wed May 02, 2012 5:28 pm

Saltheart wrote: I agree Norfolk and Suffolk should join in such a fight but if they're trailing 20 to 25 thousand metres behind and Bismarck is doing 27 or 28 knots it's going to take a long time. But I guess if Hood broke down and Washington was going it alone Leach might just shadow Bismarck for hours and wait till the cruisers catch up. In fact I guess he might realistically do that. It would then be different with PE fighting to survive agaist two ships while Bismarck and Washington slugged it out.
I agree that it would take a long time for Norfolk and Suffolk to get into range, by which time the Washington could be severely degraded, so I think that the Eugen would have considerable support from its big brother. The risk for Wake-Walker is that Norfolk and Suffolk are drawn in fairly close to Bismarck for torpedo attack - and the Germans turn on them both with fire from 15 inch, 8 inch and 5.9 inch guns. Both RN cruisers could be quickly sunk, especially if the 15 inch guns are on target. The worst case scenario then becomes more likely, with the Germans sinking all three ships.....
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Re: Washington

Post by alecsandros » Wed May 02, 2012 5:44 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Actually South Dakota's Number Three main battery turret was knocked out by the non- penetrating barbet hit. After the hit, the gun captain attempted to fire on local control but the shock of the hit had disabled electrical power to the firing circuits. Indeed the entire main battery was disabled from yet more electrical gremlins at this point.
I thought the entire ship was out of power at that time...
The photos of the hit don't show the damage to be that serious. After the battle, I understand the turret coudl be trained and guns elevated easily...
I havn't heard of Scharnhorst's Ceaser turret being put out of action during North Cape?
I thought it was a glancing blow from DoY main battery. I'll look it up tonight...

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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed May 02, 2012 5:58 pm

The main power outage was about 30-40 minutes before Kirishima took it under fire. This power outage had its roots in shock from its own guns firing and improper handling of the circuits by personal. Power had been restored for some time before the clash with Kondo's forces. Power was restored before SD advertized its position by setting its float planes on fire by firing over the stern (at an American destroyer as it turned out) as powrer came back on. But SD suffered several more localized power outages later on as the result of battle damage and severed cabling as well.

I have seen a photo of the barbet dent and its pretty big.
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 Dave Saxton » Wed May 02, 2012 6:08 pm

Indeed as I said in a prior post is it practice for a US battleship engaging an enemy battleship plus heavy cruiser to switch some of its main armament fire to the cruiser?
Historically US battleships and cruisers did not divide the firepower of the main battery among two or more targets. The only instance I can think of was San Francisco very breifly during Friday the 13th and that brought a command from the admiral to concentrate the fire on the "big ones". Lee and Murrey fired the secondary battery at different targets several times but not the main battery.
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 » Wed May 02, 2012 7:15 pm

alecsandros wrote:
I thought it was a glancing blow from DoY main battery. I'll look it up tonight...
It wasn't C, but B.

"Scharnhorst A turret was hit and put out of action permanently with her guns elevated against the enemy blocked on the starboard side unable to rotate, fire involved also turret B as well and the turret was flooded to avoid explosions, later restarted firing."

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Re: Washington

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed May 02, 2012 8:03 pm

alecsandros wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
I thought it was a glancing blow from DoY main battery. I'll look it up tonight...
It wasn't C, but B.

"Scharnhorst A turret was hit and put out of action permanently with her guns elevated against the enemy blocked on the starboard side unable to rotate, fire involved also turret B as well and the turret was flooded to avoid explosions, later restarted firing."

Yes, after the hit to Anton's barbet they flooded the forward magazine. This of course took Bruno out of the fight for awhile, leaving only Caeser.

Although it can never be known, I have long suspected that a similar scenario ocurred in the case of Bismarck with the probable early blow against Bruno or its barbet (not the later hit that reportly blew off Bruno's back plate). This would explain Anton being able to come back on line breifly later on, but who knowns? Of course Anton on Bismarck shooting successfully with local control was hardly likely.
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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