Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

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RF
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby RF » Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:18 pm

The correct classification for such a vessel should be as a battle cruiser.
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:07 pm

Guest wrote:I would say the U.S. Alaska class heavy cruiser which at 34,000 tons full load and 9 12' guns is by far the most powerful heavy gun cruiser ever built

btw
Strasbourg,Dunkerque, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau should be cruisers too.
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Garyt » Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:49 am

Myself I am a fan of the Mogami's.

With 10x8" Guns and 12 long lance torpedo tubes they packed a wallop.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Tom17 » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:45 pm

Dunnunro wrote:

The fact that Scharnhorst went to action stations doesn't mean much because she had already encountered RN forces a few hours previously, and was moving back towards the slow moving convoy so another engagement was likely. The problem is that I can't find confirmation of when Scharnhorst opened fire, but I do know that Norfolk fired at least a dozen salvos before taking any hits. If Burnett had waited for another 2 -3 minutes before opening fire, then the 36th destroyer division with 4 DDs would have been perfectly placed to torpedo Scharnhorst, as would Burnett's cruisers; in short, Scharnhorst was heading directly into a trap which doesn't suggest that she had a useful WS radar system, and Norfolk's gun flashes would have provided a good aiming point for Scharnhorst after Norfolk opened fire. If Scharnhorst had advanced radar, it failed to give her any tactical advantages.

If the British were nearly in a position to initiate a torpedo attack, doesn't this imply that they were some way in front, and to one side, of the Scharnhorst?
Then how did the Scharnhorst's radar (forward set destroyed in the first action) pick them up?

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:24 pm

Tom17 wrote:
If the British were nearly in a position to initiate a torpedo attack, doesn't this imply that they were some way in front, and to one side, of the Scharnhorst?
Then how did the Scharnhorst's radar (forward set destroyed in the first action) pick them up?


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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Garyt » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:44 pm

btw
Strasbourg,Dunkerque, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau should be cruisers too.


Throw in the Hood, Repulse class, possibly even the Kongo class

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Dave Saxton » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:16 am

Tom17 wrote:If the British were nearly in a position to initiate a torpedo attack, doesn't this imply that they were some way in front, and to one side, of the Scharnhorst?
Then how did the Scharnhorst's radar (forward set destroyed in the first action) pick them up?


Yes the Scharnhorst's aft radar could not see directly ahead, and the forward set was completely destroyed by the 0930 hours hit. According to the German accounts, the Scharnhorst picked up Burnett on radar at about 11:30 hours. This was about an hour before the second engagement. At that time Burnett was about 27km off the Scharnhorst's beam on a roughly parallel course. British radar also briefly tracked the Scharnhorst at that time.

Burnett was on a 045* course at 12:10 hours, when they once again began tracking Scharnhorst on radar, and came around to a east course. Scharnhorst also turned on to westerly course at about that time to close on the convoy. It had to do it to get at the convoy. The two forces were approaching almost head on after that. The Scharnhorst could not see them on radar at that time, that is correct. However, the Germans had a pretty good idea of the situation leading up to the 2nd engagement. Because the order of opening fire was:

* Belfast firing starshell
* Scharnhorst opening fire on Norfolk
*Followed by Norfolk opening fire on Scharnhorst
*After hits were observed on Norfolk, Scharnhorst shifted fire to Sheffield.

On the track charts of the second engagement the British were passing ahead off the Scharnhorst's starboard bows. The Scharnhorst altered course toward the southwest right after opening fire, which put Burnett's cruisers off the Scharnhorst's starboard beam.

Thorsten posted the track charts of the situation leading up the when the Duke of York opened fire at 16:50 hours bringing about the third engagement. In this case the Duke of York approached from the Scharnhorst's southwest. Scharnhorst's remaining aft radar could not have seen it coming in time.
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Paul L » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:30 am

Bey was a destroyer flotilla leader and was not in command of large capital ships before. In fact he was appointed Scharnhorst skipper the previous month because Kummetz was ill. Kummetz took his staff with him and Bey never had chance to even train with his crew before the mission. He pleaded with Donitz to postpone the mission since he knew the Scharnhorst would end up alone since the Destroyers could not keep up.

His previous battle performance at Narvik in 1940 was poor and he was just OK later that year fighting out gunned against a British cruiser/destroyer group. He did well in 1939 ambushing a couple of RN DD and again in 1940 against Mountbatten . Its hard to see the out come any different, unless Donitz had put off the mission until Kummetz returned.

BTW the Germans distrusted radar since they believed it would be much more likely to give the warships position away rather than help detecting them. In the role of the surface raider they had good reason to be concerned since an enemy radar warship sweeping for targets are 4 times as effective if they are working from some direction finding equipment.

They had to develop passive surveillance tools and got something of a coupe in the GHG passive sonar. It was a ultra long range ultra low frequency sonar that appears to exploit convergence zone effects, although that would take some kind of skilled operator. From slow submerged Uboats convoy detections on the order of 50km were normal and in some cases up to 3 times that distance ( Convergence Zone ).

The same passive sonar was operated successfully on some surface warships like the Prince Eugen at Denmark straits and in ``the Tunnel`` battle by Franz kohlauf . In both cases detections were on the order of 20-30km.

The Sea conditions at North Cape were bad so I`m not sure if GHG sonar would have helped.
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Steve Crandell » Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:07 pm

The sonar on PE was the cause of the false torpedo attack and radical turn away by the Germans at DS. While such a sonar can give good results at times, it is extremely unreliable on a noisy surface ship and can give unreliable and misleading results. We used one on the submarines I served on, and even with all the modern transducer arrays and signal processing equipment we had it sometimes required other sonars to validate contacts and determine range and whether it was a convergence zone contact. The latter could be hundreds of miles away in our case, and therefore pretty much useless tactically.

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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Dave Saxton » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:24 pm

Paul L wrote:
BTW the Germans distrusted radar since they believed it would be much more likely to give the warships position away rather than help detecting them. In the role of the surface raider they had good reason to be concerned since an enemy radar warship sweeping for targets are 4 times as effective if they are working from some direction finding equipment.

.


Brinckmann (CO of the Prinz Eugen) was the first to express such concerns in his KTB during the Bismarck operation. Previously the High Command encouraged the use of active radar as much as possible. Brinckmann recommended that radar not be used during periods of unlimited visibility. Why run any risk of your own radars giving yourself away if they are not needed? During periods of more limited visibility, and at night, he recommended that the active radars be switched on for two minutes every ten minutes.

The above was exactly what Stange did on Luetzow as he approached the battle arena on Dec 31 1942. The visibilty was 300 meters. The Luetzow's radar was switched on every 10 minutes for two minutes. Stange also used passive radar detectors which detected the British active radars two hours before his arrival. Once the signal strength from the British radars was measured at force 5, Stange ordered the active radar switched on continuously. It was a perfect intercept. Stange then fumbled the ball by not using his radar IFF equipment. :stubborn:

There was a set of recommendations for the use of radar called Taktischer Befehl Number 10. It recommended the use of active radar continuously if the visibility was less than 18km.

When Kummetz lead the raid on Spitzbergen he ordered all radar devices switched off, but the visibility was unlimited, 24 hours a day. Bey simply re-issued the Operational Orders from the Spitzbergen raid despite the vastly different conditions. He was actually not in compliance with KM "doctrine" as set by previous experience and Taktischer Befehl Number 10's recommendations.

By March 1944 all U-boats equipped with Hohentwiel radar were Ordered to always operate Hohentwiel active radar when on the surface.
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: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Dave Saxton » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:55 pm

Paul L wrote:Bey never had chance to even train with his crew before the mission.

He never created a chance or took the chance. Scharnhorst and the 5th Z undertook several training exercises (including radar directed shoots) after Bey's arrival and Bey did not participate. Bey took the unmobile Tirpitz as his flag ship.

In fact he was appointed Scharnhorst skipper the previous month because Kummetz was ill
.

There's actually some controversay within German naval circles about this. Rolf Johannesson expressed opinions that this was a repeat of putting Adm Boehm on the beach and received a sharp rebuke from Schniewind as the result. Admiral Krancke later revealed that he (and likely Doenitz and Meisel as well) suspected Kummetz of KTB manipulation after Barents Sea. Bey was slated to relieve Kummetz as battle group commander as early as Aug 1943 according to SKL records.
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: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Paul L » Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:04 am

GHG was not really intended as a tactical sensor , but more of an operational one. According to Friedman BdU could reliably detect an enemy convoy 1/3 of the time but placed it within 120,000nm^2 area to be swept . Failing that the rate of convoy traffic was known to be about 7 per week up until 1942 and 4 per week after that. There would always be another convoy to hunt if the raiders had sufficient patience and fuel.

To have any chance of sweeping for such a target you needed a long range sensors or aircraft. Seaplanes were only useful some of the time because the waves were mostly too intense , so most of the time it was HF/DF or anything from the GHG to cue the direction of sweep.

With luck you had a second raider and maybe a Dithmarschen tanker to all sweep with Radars in line. That approach was as effective as a 10 U-boat Wolf Pack, which apparently had a 50-50 chance of locating such a convoy after two days of sweeping.
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Paul L » Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:08 am

Dave Saxton wrote:
Paul L wrote:Bey never had chance to even train with his crew before the mission.

He never created a chance or took the chance. Scharnhorst and the 5th Z undertook several training exercises (including radar directed shoots) after Bey's arrival and Bey did not participate. Bey took the unmobile Tirpitz as his flag ship.

In fact he was appointed Scharnhorst skipper the previous month because Kummetz was ill
.

There's actually some controversay within German naval circles about this. Rolf Johannesson expressed opinions that this was a repeat of putting Adm Boehm on the beach and received a sharp rebuke from Schniewind as the result. Admiral Krancke later revealed that he (and likely Doenitz and Meisel as well) suspected Kummetz of KTB manipulation after Barents Sea. Bey was slated to relieve Kummetz as battle group commander as early as Aug 1943 according to SKL records.



Just can't wrap my brain around replacing Kummetz with Bey. KM must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel.

There is word floating around that you have written a book , is that true?
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Re: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:16 pm

In his memoirs Doenitz states that it was thought that Bey would make a fine battle group commander since the tip of the spear so to speak was actually the destroyers. Doenitz had originally decided to go with Kummetz because Kummetz had the necessary experience operating big ships in the Artic. Doenitz especially mentions Kummetz's greater understanding and experience of/with radar, but this was also with the benifit of hindsight when Doenitz wrote these comments.

Hitler remembered Bey from when he awarded Bey the Knights Cross and had always liked him. Apparently the push to get rid of Kummetz and replace him with Bey came from Hitler.

The refusal to cancell Operation Ostfront was also rooted with Hitler in my opinion. Schniewind came to the conclusion by the late morning of the 25th, that the window of opprotunity had closed when Scharnhorst could fall on the convoy and get back with out running excessive risks, and that the storm had essentially neutralized the German destroyers. He concurred with Bey that the operation should be cancelled. However, Doenitz was in the air flying back from spending Christmas Eve with U-boat command in France. Only after he landed and conferred with Hitler did he render a verdict: The operation must go on no matter what.

There is word floating around that you have written a book , is that true?


Yes, it is true. I'm working with the publisher now.
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: Best WW2 heavy cruiser = Prinz Eugen ?

Postby Paul L » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:54 am

I've never liked Donitz and people put far to much faith in his concepts etc. Before the war Donitz organised a war-game to show that a large wolf-pack of Uboats could attack and sink a convoy. While this did seem to work a post war-game critique from Captain Furbringer pointed out that these wolf pack tactics are all well and good until the enemy deploys sufficient numbers of ASW assets to drive these Uboats below the surface....which would make them useless. Even though that was exactly what happened, nothing proactive was planned for this eventuality. Instead it seemed like every one was just dodging Hitler's latest demands.

Furbringer argued that only a multi dimensional threat with Uboats and Airpower at the heart ; had any chance of waging a successful naval war against the UK/Allies.


Hey Dave keep us posted about your book. Any clues as to its content?
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