KGV sorties with POW

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Dave Saxton
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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by Dave Saxton » Thu May 22, 2014 1:27 pm

alecsandros wrote:
.... Why are they useless ?
..
Because they are nothing more than speculations themselves.
Letting the enemy fire unopposed from ~ 20-22km leads to 2 possibilities: 1) either the enemies gunfire at the moment was not considered a major threat to survivability or 2) some internal issues were experienced on the German ships - either the need to switch from HE to AP, conflincting range evaluations, etc.
Your presenting this in a way that assumes that these two possibilities are correct at the exclusion of other possibilities. We don't know. It could have been any number of reasons, and we have historical examples of Luetjens being very concerned about ammunition supplies in other actions. We can not assume cause and effect with such certainty. And this could lead us to assume other causes and effects based only on an assumed conclusion. Before we know it we could be way off base.

However, we have a well qualified witness that stated that the enemy was initially not properly identified, visually, because of visibility problems caused by sea spray and funnel smoke. We should stay grounded to that evidence as the mostly likely cause and effect.
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: KGV sorties with POW

Post by alecsandros » Thu May 22, 2014 4:03 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
alecsandros wrote:
.... Why are they useless ?
..
Because they are nothing more than speculations themselves.
What would be the source of this speculation then:

"5:37 B-Dienst meldet neue einheit. Vermutlich leichter kreuzer an Backbord".
[intelligence service reports new unit .Apparently light cruiser on port side]

Your presenting this in a way that assumes that these two possibilities are correct at the exclusion of other possibilities. We don't know. It could have been any number of reasons, and we have historical examples of Luetjens being very concerned about ammunition supplies in other actions. We can not assume cause and effect with such certainty. And this could lead us to assume other causes and effects based only on an assumed conclusion. Before we know it we could be way off base.

However, we have a well qualified witness that stated that the enemy was initially not properly identified, visually, because of visibility problems caused by sea spray and funnel smoke. We should stay grounded to that evidence as the mostly likely cause and effect.
No, that is what Jasper said he observed. Following Prinz Eugen's return to Brest, he and his observation skills were under scrutiny by the higher-ups. I'm sure they understood better than we do the importance of smoke and spray...
http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/pg003.html

" 8. Report of the 1st Artillery Officer.
The assumption by the 1st Artillery Officer [Korvettenkapitän Paulus Jasper] that he is facing heavy cruisers, is incomprehensible.
Particularly from an artillery officer who must answer the opponent effectively, an accurate identification of the opponent's types is a prerequisite, since the choice of shells, and in some cases for outcome of the battle itself, depends on his decision.
In the present case, no adversity resulted. The armor-piercing shell would not have been effective against heavily armored ships. In the present case, it was required to finish off as many superstructures and as much equipment as possible. Base fuze and point fuze shells were capable of this.
Therefore, there is now objection to the choice of the base fuze detonator shell.
According to the report of the commander, the shooting was exquisite. For this I proclaim my recognition to the 1st Artillery Officer as well as the participating artillery personnel
. "

===

remember Jasper may have had the excuse of spray and smoke at 5:50, but NOT at 5:52, when huge columns of water started to errupt from the water. It was pretty easy to discern 8" water spouts from 15" water spouts, yet he still thought they were cruisers - hence the initial load of HE shells in Prinz Eugens guns.

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by Dave Saxton » Thu May 22, 2014 10:44 pm

alecsandros wrote: What would be the source of this speculation then:

"5:37 B-Dienst meldet neue einheit. Vermutlich leichter kreuzer an Backbord".
[intelligence service reports new unit .Apparently light cruiser on port side
So you agree that it is speculation.
No, that is what Jasper said he observed. ............remember Jasper may have had the excuse of spray and smoke at 5:50, but NOT at 5:52, when huge columns of water started to errupt from the water. It was pretty easy to discern 8" water spouts from 15" water spouts, yet he still thought they were cruisers - hence the initial load of HE shells in Prinz Eugens guns.
But that's just Jasper. It has no bearing on the equipment capabilities or other gunnery officers opinions. How do you know the smoke and sea spray was no longer hampering identification of the enemy? Why would it not continue to hamper? Jasper would be looking through his director with a limited field of view and would not see the enemy shell splashes.
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: KGV sorties with POW

Post by alecsandros » Fri May 23, 2014 5:30 am

Dave Saxton wrote:
alecsandros wrote: What would be the source of this speculation then:

"5:37 B-Dienst meldet neue einheit. Vermutlich leichter kreuzer an Backbord".
[intelligence service reports new unit .Apparently light cruiser on port side
So you agree that it is speculation.
No I do not agree... I was asking to learn more about it.
But that's just Jasper. It has no bearing on the equipment capabilities or other gunnery officers opinions. How do you know the smoke and sea spray was no longer hampering identification of the enemy? Why would it not continue to hamper? Jasper would be looking through his director with a limited field of view and would not see the enemy shell splashes.
That's why I am focused a bit on the German post-action analysis which highlited "The assumption by the 1st Artillery Officer [Korvettenkapitän Paulus Jasper] that he is facing heavy cruisers, is incomprehensible." Prinz Eugen fired HE in the first salvos - an indication it was expecting light cruisers.

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by Byron Angel » Fri May 23, 2014 11:36 am

"Prinz Eugen fired HE in the first salvos - an indication it was expecting light cruisers."

..... I do not believe that is necessarily true. If the main battery guns cannot penetrate opponent's armor, then use of HE to maximize damage in unarmored areas of the target makes some sense.

B

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by alecsandros » Fri May 23, 2014 11:51 am

Byron Angel wrote:"Prinz Eugen fired HE in the first salvos - an indication it was expecting light cruisers."

..... I do not believe that is necessarily true. If the main battery guns cannot penetrate opponent's armor, then use of HE to maximize damage in unarmored areas of the target makes some sense.

B
... It certainly does. But the question arises: why did they switch to 8" AP shells later on ?

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by tommy303 » Fri May 23, 2014 3:49 pm

The initial two salvos at Hood were fired with nose fuzed HE because that was what the guns had been loaded with during the dash into the Denmark Straits. Once these were fired, the guns were loaded with base fuzed HE and it was that type that was fired by Prinz Eugen throughout the rest of the action. Prinz Eugen did not load APC against Hood or Prince of Wales.

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by alecsandros » Fri May 23, 2014 4:47 pm

tommy303 wrote:The initial two salvos at Hood were fired with nose fuzed HE because that was what the guns had been loaded with during the dash into the Denmark Straits. Once these were fired, the guns were loaded with base fuzed HE and it was that type that was fired by Prinz Eugen throughout the rest of the action. Prinz Eugen did not load APC against Hood or Prince of Wales.
well, the behavior of the 8" shells that struck Prince of Wales at least is somewhat peculiar in this case. For instancce, shouldn't the underwater hit explode on contact with the water ? And the shell that came to rest in a 5.25" shell handling room shouldn't have exploded much earlier ?

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by tommy303 » Fri May 23, 2014 5:24 pm

The shells which hit Prince of Wales were based fuzed HE, a semi-armour piercing or common piercing type shell. The base fuze was the Bd.Z 38 KV with a .015 second delay. Thus, the two underwater hits aft by 20,3cm shells behaved in a normal manner for their type of fuzing. One appears to have actually detonated in the water in extremely close proximity to the hull plating or in contact with it after a short underwater trajectory, while the other appears to have pentrated the plating before bursting. The dud, which wound up in a handling room should by rights have gone off sooner perhaps, but the cause for the fuze failure was never determined as the shell was jettisoned overboard during the action.

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by alecsandros » Fri May 23, 2014 7:56 pm

tommy303 wrote:The shells which hit Prince of Wales were based fuzed HE, a semi-armour piercing or common piercing type shell. The base fuze was the Bd.Z 38 KV with a .015 second delay. Thus, the two underwater hits aft by 20,3cm shells behaved in a normal manner for their type of fuzing. One appears to have actually detonated in the water in extremely close proximity to the hull plating or in contact with it after a short underwater trajectory, while the other appears to have pentrated the plating before bursting. The dud, which wound up in a handling room should by rights have gone off sooner perhaps, but the cause for the fuze failure was never determined as the shell was jettisoned overboard during the action.
Dear Thomas,
how would you explain the light cruisers identification from Bismarck's reconstructed log, and do you think the superior officers considered the 2 British capital ships as cruisers at 5:52 [on Prinz EUgen, on Bismark, or on both of them ] ?

And, in your opinion, what are the sources from which the reconstructed log was reconstructed ? Can the 290hm and 300hm figures for range at 5:52/5:53 be considered as "accurate", i.e. were those actual ranges estimated on board the Bismarck, or are they simple mistakes/typos in the log, or in it's reconstructed form ?

thank you very much,

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by tommy303 » Fri May 23, 2014 10:25 pm

how would you explain the light cruisers identification from Bismarck's reconstructed log, and do you think the superior officers considered the 2 British capital ships as cruisers at 5:52 [on Prinz EUgen, on Bismark, or on both of them ] ?
I think that the command staffs on both ships initially saw what they expected to see. German air recon and radio monitoring services had not detected any mobilization of major Home Fleet units, at least not early enough to reach the straits in time to intercept. The Germans were fully aware of cruiser patrols in the Iceland-Faroes passage, and the appearance of two more ships was unwelcome, but not unexpected, and it would have been logical to assume that the two newcomers were part of the patrols to the east of Iceland. The approach of the two ships was fairly acute, making initial identification difficult, but as range came down, observers on Bismarck, which had a slightly better view by being both higher up than their counterparts in Prinz Eugen, and as Bismarck was fairly far astern of Prinz Eugen, a slightly better view of the newcomer's silhouette were able to realize the two ships were capital ships and not cruisers before they actually opened fire.

As to the reconstruction of the war diary, quite a bit was extrapolated from Prinz Eugen's war diary up to the point where the two ships parted, augmented by radio messages to and from Bismarck, and some information obtained from survivors Matrosengefreiter Walter Lorenzen, and Matrosengefreiter Otto Maus who were picked up by the weathership Sachsenwald together with three more rescued by U-74. These five were able to give some details of what had been going on aboard the ship not included in radio signals.

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by alecsandros » Sat May 24, 2014 3:21 pm

... And do you think Luetjens would have given the permission to open fire at 5:52, IF the Hood and PoW would have been correctly identified earlier (5:45-5:50) ?

(My personal opinion is that he wouldn't... but that he SHOULD have... he was to warry and risked his ships to much...)

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by Tom17 » Tue May 27, 2014 2:20 pm

If Bismarck was initially loaded with HE, wouldn't the easiest course of action be to fire the loaded guns and then reload with AP rather than unload the HE and then reload with AP?
A hit (unlikely, but one never knows) on the opening salvo from a 15" HE shell would still cause damage and, even with differing ballistics (If there were any) between HE and AP shells, data would have been obtained.
Tom

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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by tameraire01 » Tue May 27, 2014 6:54 pm

Could we close the door before bismark breaks out
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Re: KGV sorties with POW

Post by tommy303 » Tue May 27, 2014 7:50 pm

.. And do you think Luetjens would have given the permission to open fire at 5:52, IF the Hood and PoW would have been correctly identified earlier (5:45-5:50) ?

(My personal opinion is that he wouldn't... but that he SHOULD have... he was to warry and risked his ships to much...)
It would appear that Luetjens hoisted the signal to prepare to open fire (JD) at about the same time as Admiral Holland ran up his preparatory signal to do the same, thereby giving his tacit permission to fire. Thereafter it was up to the captains to fire when they were ready. I think the question was less identification than it was determining intent. If light cruisers, his worry would have been more about torpedoes than gunfire. Once Luetjens hoisted JD, Lindemann on the bridge and Brinkmann on Prinz Eugen were responsible for judging the proper times for their ships to fire and it appears that fire was opened the moment the range came down to the more or less optimum distance at which hits could be expected once target acquisition was achieved. Within moments of JD being hoisted, ID of the two new enemy ships as capital ships was made, on Bismarck at least, and the delay waiting for range to come down to around 22--23,000 yards was properly used to change the ammunition in the supply train (hoists, ring cars, etc., to APC, although the guns themselves were committed to firing the rounds already loaded into the chambers). With their limited amount of APC on hand (supply was divided between APC, base fuzed HE, and nose fuzed HE) Lindemann and Luetjens would have been conscious of the need to use the proper type of ammo and to wait until range was optimum for best results.

"If Bismarck was initially loaded with HE, wouldn't the easiest course of action be to fire the loaded guns and then reload with AP rather than unload the HE and then reload with AP?
A hit (unlikely, but one never knows) on the opening salvo from a 15" HE shell would still cause damage and, even with differing ballistics (If there were any) between HE and AP shells, data would have been obtained.
Tom"

Bismarck was initially loaded with base fuzed HE, similar to common piercing or semi-armour piercing as used in the RN and USN. This was the ammunition type loaded in preparation for the attempted ambush on Wake-Walker's curisers. It would, as you suggest, be quicker and more expedient to fire off the rounds already loaded, and that was pretty much what was done on both German ships--Bismarck's initial salvos being base fuzed HE and Prinz Eugen's being nose fuzed HE. On Bismarck, once the guns were cleared of the base fuzed HE, proper APC was fired until the action ended. In Prinz Eugen, for unclear reasons, base fuzed HE was fired after the eight nose fuzed HE rounds were fired off.

As to the nature of the opening salvo, though often called a ranging salvo, these were more properly deflection salvos as guns with cold barrels will not shoot to the same ranges as later salvos when the barrels have heated up. Thus, the initial salvo is only loosely to find the range, but good for testing deflection.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
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