POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

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RF
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by RF » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:03 pm

alecsandros wrote: Initialy, PoW and Hood should have sunk Bismarck, but after the unfortunate turn of events, the more rational decision was to shadow the enemy while waiting for stronger forces to tighten the loop...
This was exactly the intention of Wake-Walker and Leach after the former assumed command over the POW. Their expectations were that by the morning of the following day Tovey with KGV and Repulse would arrive on the scene, so that KGV/POW/Repulse could engage Bismarck. For that to happen it was essential that Bismarck was shadowed and not lost. Hence the primary task of POW until Tovey arrived was to cover the two British heavy cruisers as they followed Bismarck.
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by Wordy » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:08 pm

paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen,
An interesting senario. If Pow had got all her guns fully fuctional after a few minutes I really cannot see a British battleship refusing to re-engage to have done so would almost certainly have ended in a court martial for her captain. Churchill wanted to do this even after knowing about the problems with the guns, to run away with all guns available would have been unthinkable and totally out of keeping with RN tradition.
That is what I assumed would've happened, just was unsure of what the results would be.
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by RF » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:45 pm

If POW had all its guns fully functional from the start then there is the possibility of Hood not being sunk - because heavy fire from POW would force an immediate switch of targets on Schneider, leaving PE to fire on Hood. Logically for a long action that should be the strategy for Lutjens if he cannot disengage - get Bismarck to fire on the more heavily armoured enemy (as PE fire here wouldn't be capable of stopping POW) while leaving PE to fire on the less heavily armoured ship, where it could cause (and indeed did in the actual battle) substantial damage and loss of life.

Concentrating fire on Hood and disposing of her quickly in retrospect can be seen as a gamble that worked and indeed the gamble worked in part to the POW's guns being unfit for battle. But if Hood wasn't disposed of quickly the advantage swings to Holland - the more so if the POW is worked up.
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by paulcadogan » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:46 pm

RF wrote:Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:45 pm

If POW had all its guns fully functional from the start then there is the possibility of Hood not being sunk - because heavy fire from POW would force an immediate switch of targets on Schneider, leaving PE to fire on Hood. Logically for a long action that should be the strategy for Lutjens if he cannot disengage - get Bismarck to fire on the more heavily armoured enemy (as PE fire here wouldn't be capable of stopping POW) while leaving PE to fire on the less heavily armoured ship, where it could cause (and indeed did in the actual battle) substantial damage and loss of life.

Concentrating fire on Hood and disposing of her quickly in retrospect can be seen as a gamble that worked and indeed the gamble worked in part to the POW's guns being unfit for battle. But if Hood wasn't disposed of quickly the advantage swings to Holland - the more so if the POW is worked up.
RF, I can't say that the effect of PoW's fire would have been as you said, though it might be logical. PoW's fire WAS effective and her loss of output during the battle up to the point of Hood's sinking was not all that bad - she fired 55 rounds out of a possible total of 74, scoring 3 hits (see the table on P2 of the thread I linked in my first post). That's 19 missed rounds out of 18 salvoes - approximately 1 round lost per salvo. So even if her output had been flawless, the difference would have been small - i.e. the damage inflicted on Bismarck would probably have been no different. In any case, the actual result was not Bismarck shifting fire to her, but Lutjens ordering Prinz Eugen to switch fire and Hood remained Bismarck's target. Not logical based on your statement, but in the end...it worked.
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by tommy303 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:17 am

In any case, the actual result was not Bismarck shifting fire to her, but Lutjens ordering Prinz Eugen to switch fire and Hood remained Bismarck's target. Not logical based on your statement, but in the end...it worked.
It was also in keeping, right or wrong, with German gunnery doctrine of having the ship with the heaviest guns engage the enemy with the heaviest guns. While Prinz Eugen could not mortally hurt Prince of Wales, she could distract her and could damage unarmoured or lightly protected places such as secondary turrets, fire control, radars, the bridge, etc. in much the same way as she could with Hood. In truth, she could not decisively hurt either one mortally, but if she hits often enough and in sensitive enough places, she could degrade the performance of her target.

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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by RF » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:09 am

I think there would be a significant differential in the damage that PE could inflict on Hood as opposed to POW - as indeed was the case in the actual battle; the two hits on Hood we know about were far more significant than the three on POW.

It has also previously been suggested on another thread, some time ago, that it was PE that scored the fatal hit on Hood. That has been disproved on the basis that PE had switched fire to POW when Hood blew up - but the very fact that such a proposition would be seriously considered on this forum indicates that a Hipper class cruiser was a more effective gunnery weapon against Hood than against a heavily armoured battleship such as the KGV's.
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by alecsandros » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:32 am

RF wrote:I think there would be a significant differential in the damage that PE could inflict on Hood as opposed to POW - as indeed was the case in the actual battle; the two hits on Hood we know about were far more significant than the three on POW.

It has also previously been suggested on another thread, some time ago, that it was PE that scored the fatal hit on Hood. That has been disproved on the basis that PE had switched fire to POW when Hood blew up - but the very fact that such a proposition would be seriously considered on this forum indicates that a Hipper class cruiser was a more effective gunnery weapon against Hood than against a heavily armoured battleship such as the KGV's.
With all due respect, RF,
PoW topside was completely vulnerable to 8" gunfire, except the main turrets...

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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by RF » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:57 pm

Even so that vulnerability would be replicated on Hood, together with the much thinner main armour belt. Note that I didn't say that PE would be totally ineffective against a heavily armoured battleship, the consideration I am thinking of is that there would be little chance of armour penetration whereas with a lightly armoured battlecruiser there is some scope for more serious internal damage. I am well aware for example of the Norfolk hit on Bismarck around the start of the final battle, which is believed to have knocked out Schneiders' gunnery control position.
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by paulcadogan » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:22 pm

But the Prinz was firing base-fused HE shells - expected to do damage to superficial structures rather than penetrate armour. The only one that pentrated anywhere on PoW (i .e. the shell-handling room of the port #3 5.25 inch mount) was a dud - the other two blew holes in her hull just below the waterline aft - no armour there.

So I would think any penetration of Hood's armoured areas (even her 5-inch upper belt - please correct me if I'm wrong) was unlikely as well.
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by tommy303 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:00 pm

So I would think any penetration of Hood's armoured areas (even her 5-inch upper belt - please correct me if I'm wrong) was unlikely as well.
Agreed. According to the war diary, base fuzed HE was fired throughout during the action except for the first eight shells which nose-fuzed HE and been loaded in anticipation of the previous evening's attempts to ambush Wake-Walker's cruisers. Hood might have been only marginally protected against battleship-sized guns, but she was fairly safe from mortal damage from an 8-incher.

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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by ede144 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:35 am

It might nitpicking, but PE is AMC Pelikan were as Prinz Eugen is PG

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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by alecsandros » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:27 pm

tommy303 wrote:
So I would think any penetration of Hood's armoured areas (even her 5-inch upper belt - please correct me if I'm wrong) was unlikely as well.
Agreed. According to the war diary, base fuzed HE was fired throughout during the action except for the first eight shells which nose-fuzed HE and been loaded in anticipation of the previous evening's attempts to ambush Wake-Walker's cruisers. Hood might have been only marginally protected against battleship-sized guns, but she was fairly safe from mortal damage from an 8-incher.
...
Also, Hood's control tower was much more heavily armored than Prince of Wales's... I would expect Hood's control tower to resist 8" gunfire, but Prince of Wales's would be vulnerable to that.

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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by Wordy » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:10 pm

Slightly altering the scenario now, what would've happened if in the evening exchange POW scored a lucky hit that disabled the Bismarck's rudder like the swordfish attack? Would POW, Norfolk & Suffolk engage straight away or stand off until more ships and/or aircraft arrived?
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by RF » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:54 pm

POW would engage straightaway, because Wake-Walker and Leach wouldn't know the full extent of the damage to the Bismarck's steering and therefore couldn't be sure that it was permanent damage as opposed to temporary damage repairable by shipboard damage control. The danger in their eyes is of letting Bismarck escape, and Churchills' atitude if Bismarck did. Their aim would be to damage Bismarck further to make it less likely that it would escape, they wouldn't expect to sink her.

POW and Norfolk would stake out Bismarck, drawing her fire, until Tovey and Vian arrived. Suffolk would be held back, to keep a radar fix on Bismarck.
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Re: POW Gets Her Turrets Working Again

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:43 pm

alecsandros wrote:
paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen,
An interesting senario. If Pow had got all her guns fully fuctional after a few minutes I really cannot see a British battleship refusing to re-engage to have done so would almost certainly have ended in a court martial for her captain. Churchill wanted to do this even after knowing about the problems with the guns, to run away with all guns available would have been unthinkable and totally out of keeping with RN tradition.
Why didn't capt Leech press harder in the evening then ? He had 9/10 guns operational and 2 CA escorts...
My guess is that following Hood's demise, the PoW was ordered to shadow the Germans, without risking direct attack... But it's just an assumption....
Paul Cadogan is quite correct, PoW was ORDERED to shadow, what I meant is that if PoW had got all her guns working again Capt Leach would have undoubtably re-engaged, not to do so would be totally against RN tradition and would probably end in a Court Martial.

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