No rudder torpedo hit

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alecsandros
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No rudder torpedo hit

Post by alecsandros » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:11 am

Hello,

I've been thinking about the cripling torpedo hit that Bismarck suffered. What if that hit wouldn't have come at all, but, say, 1-2 hits would have been made on the ship's sides.. ?

Would a 20-22kts tops Bismarck be able to reach Brest ?

Would Ark Royal launch another strike on the 26th of May, even in the adverse weather of that day ?

And, most importantly, would force H's Renown, Sheffield and 4-6 destroyers be sent to attempt to slow down Bismarck even more, even knowing the ships were not able to withstand 15" gunfire ?

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José M. Rico
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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by José M. Rico » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:20 pm

alecsandros wrote:I've been thinking about the cripling torpedo hit that Bismarck suffered. What if that hit wouldn't have come at all, but, say, 1-2 hits would have been made on the ship's sides.. ?
Bismarck would have taken on more seawater and her speed reduced a few more knots depending on the compartments affected.
alecsandros wrote:Would a 20-22kts tops Bismarck be able to reach Brest ?
Yes, most likely.
alecsandros wrote:Would Ark Royal launch another strike on the 26th of May, even in the adverse weather of that day ?
Not possible on the 26th, since the actual strike was made very late in the evening. They would have waited until the first light of the 27th.
alecsandros wrote:And, most importantly, would force H's Renown, Sheffield and 4-6 destroyers be sent to attempt to slow down Bismarck even more, even knowing the ships were not able to withstand 15" gunfire ?
The 4th Destroyer Flotilla was in fact sent against the Bismarck on the night of 26-27 May.
The difference in the scenario you propose is that by 0700 hours in the morning of the 27th, the Bismarck would be about 200 miles closer to the French coast and under Luftwaffe reach.

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Dave Saxton
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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:48 pm

With out the historical hit to the stern, the way it happened, and when it happened-the Bismarck makes port. I think we sometimes forget how much luck played a part. Very good luck for the British, and very bad luck for the Germans. Such a torpedo hit was pure luck in my opinion. How many times in 100 would it happen exactly that way again?
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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Rick Rather
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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by Rick Rather » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:56 am

Dave Saxton wrote:With out the historical hit to the stern, the way it happened, and when it happened-the Bismarck makes port. I think we sometimes forget how much luck played a part. Very good luck for the British, and very bad luck for the Germans. Such a torpedo hit was pure luck in my opinion. How many times in 100 would it happen exactly that way again?
Welcome to the world of naval wargaming. :)

--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.
-- R. Rather

alecsandros
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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by alecsandros » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:35 am

The 4th Destroyer Flotilla was in fact sent against the Bismarck on the night of 26-27 May.
The difference in the scenario you propose is that by 0700 hours in the morning of the 27th, the Bismarck would be about 200 miles closer to the French coast and under Luftwaffe reach.
200 miles closer... means 500 miles from land...

So attacks of He-111 and FW-200 COndors would be more frequent.

Do you think the British would risk sending Renown + Sheffield to slow Bismarck down even more ?

ANd, without the crippling hit, maybe the 4 destroyers would be far more aggresive, and take more risks, in order to deliver at least 1 more torpedo hit...

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paulcadogan
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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by paulcadogan » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:36 pm

alecsandros wrote:Do you think the British would risk sending Renown + Sheffield to slow Bismarck down even more ?
Left to Admiral Somerville alone, Force H may have attempted a coordinated attack:
All now rested on Force H whose ships were ideally positioned to catch the enemy. Somerville was therefore given the nice problem of how to go about it....should this be possible his staff set to work on the best way this could be done. The old Renown with her slender armour was obviously no match for the brand-new German leviathan in a straight slugging match; nonetheless she might well have no choice but to take her on.

Accordingly he signaled the Admiralty to that effect....
According to crewman Bill Kennedy:
Over the intercom came the following: "This is the captain speaking. I have signaled the Admiralty requesting permission to engage Bismarck. That is all."
Kennedy notes those around him were "very subdued" knowing what had happened to Hood, and when some time later the intercom crackled again:
"This is the captain speaking - In reply to my signal, the Admiralty has sent the following reply: "On no account is Renown to engage the Bismarck unless already engaged."
Kennedy notes the "cheers throughout the ship at that announcement"! They were brave, tough sailors and would have done their duty if called upon - but that doesn't mean they weren't pragmatic!

(Quotes from Peter C. Smith's HMS Renown book)

So, unless Somerville decided to be insubordinate, OR, if a desperate Churchill chose to override the Admiralty, Renown would have stood aside at let Bismarck pass...

Quite the reversal since just a few months earlier, Somerville had been raked over the coals for giving up pursuit of Vittorio Veneto and Guilio Cesare et al at Spartivento!
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by paul.mercer » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:00 pm

alecsandros wrote:Hello,

I've been thinking about the cripling torpedo hit that Bismarck suffered. What if that hit wouldn't have come at all, but, say, 1-2 hits would have been made on the ship's sides.. ?

Would a 20-22kts tops Bismarck be able to reach Brest ?

Would Ark Royal launch another strike on the 26th of May, even in the adverse weather of that day ?

And, most importantly, would force H's Renown, Sheffield and 4-6 destroyers be sent to attempt to slow down Bismarck even more, even knowing the ships were not able to withstand 15" gunfire ?
Just a thought, if that had been the case would she have run into Rodney?

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paulcadogan
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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by paulcadogan » Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:40 pm

paul.mercer wrote:Just a thought, if that had been the case would she have run into Rodney?
No Paul, Rodney and KGV would have had no hope of catching her without the Ark's torpedo hit - they were too far behind, pursuing from the north east. The only British capital ship that could have intercepted her was Renown.
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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by tommy303 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:48 pm

The only British capital ship that could have intercepted her was Renown.


And that might not have worked out well.

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They stood and Earth's foundations stay;
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paulcadogan
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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by paulcadogan » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:22 pm

tommy303 wrote:And that might not have worked out well.
I think Bill Kennedy was pretty clear on that!
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RF
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Re: No rudder torpedo hit

Post by RF » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:29 am

Without the hit on the rudder I think it is clear that Bismarck would have reached Brest.

One aspect of the fatal Swordfish attack that is almost completely overlooked is that there were two torpedo hits obtained on Bismarck. The first hit was amidships and this hit gets very little mention in the accounts of Bismarck as attention was focussed on the second hit, on the rudders. It would therefore appear that the midships hit did minimal damage and would not have impaired Bismark's speed.

With respects to the second hit, it would be interesting to speculate what would have happened if the point of impact was say five to ten metres further forward - would Bismarck have been crippled, or still have sufficient control to escape?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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