Hood v Vittorio Veneto

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RF
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Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:34 am

Both of these vessels were involved in the Med in early WW2, so this confrontation could have happened within the first year of Italy being in WW2.

So what do you think would have happened if these two ships had met in combat in the open Med say early 1941? No other forces involved.

On paper the VV could look more dangerous to Hood than Bismarck, having an extra 15 inch gun. However it is the Italians the Hood would be up against and not the Germans. What do you think the outcome would be?
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:59 pm

RF wrote:Both of these vessels were involved in the Med in early WW2, so this confrontation could have happened within the first year of Italy being in WW2.

So what do you think would have happened if these two ships had met in combat in the open Med say early 1941? No other forces involved.

On paper the VV could look more dangerous to Hood than Bismarck, having an extra 15 inch gun. However it is the Italians the Hood would be up against and not the Germans. What do you think the outcome would be?
Hard to say.
Hood's shooting was usualy good to very good (with the sole exception being the one that brought her destruction), while Veneto did not hit anything in the war (it's true though that her shooting was at 20km or more). Italian battery produced huge scatter of projectiles, with 3-shot salvos falling in a 350 to 500meters long triangle. British battery was much more tight, with 4-gun shots falling in a 200-250 meters long rectangle.

Given the reality of the war, with British crew and officers very well trained, and with Italian equipment prone to jamming and failure at critical moments, I'd give the edge to HMS Hood, even if her armor array was significantly weaker than Veneto's...

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Iranon » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:30 pm

I know it's a nitpick, but people keep pointing out that 9 is more than 8. Four twins were considered more effective than three triples - practical RoF (coordination and hoist arrangements), turret whip, in-flight interference, disturbance by blast and smoke, desired salvo distribution and so on. None of these considerations is quite as convincing and obvious as 9>8, but they add up.

This opinion was commonly held even in navies that opted for three triples (chosen because it saved weight in their design practice).

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Steve Crandell » Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:18 am

Iranon wrote:I know it's a nitpick, but people keep pointing out that 9 is more than 8. Four twins were considered more effective than three triples - practical RoF (coordination and hoist arrangements), turret whip, in-flight interference, disturbance by blast and smoke, desired salvo distribution and so on. None of these considerations is quite as convincing and obvious as 9>8, but they add up.

This opinion was commonly held even in navies that opted for three triples (chosen because it saved weight in their design practice).
I've read enough to think that your statement is not universally true. I believe that nine guns are always better than 8. Coordination and hoist arrangements were not a problem with any of the US Fast Battleships. "Turret whip" is potentially worse in a two gun turret than a three gun turret. There is no significant difference in "disturbance by blast and smoke" (where did that idea come from?). Desired salvo distribution for US ships was full nine gun salvos. I don't see why full eight gun salvos would be better, but I can see how they could be worse.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:39 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:
Iranon wrote:I know it's a nitpick, but people keep pointing out that 9 is more than 8. Four twins were considered more effective than three triples - practical RoF (coordination and hoist arrangements), turret whip, in-flight interference, disturbance by blast and smoke, desired salvo distribution and so on. None of these considerations is quite as convincing and obvious as 9>8, but they add up.

This opinion was commonly held even in navies that opted for three triples (chosen because it saved weight in their design practice).
I've read enough to think that your statement is not universally true. I believe that nine guns are always better than 8. Coordination and hoist arrangements were not a problem with any of the US Fast Battleships. "Turret whip" is potentially worse in a two gun turret than a three gun turret. There is no significant difference in "disturbance by blast and smoke" (where did that idea come from?). Desired salvo distribution for US ships was full nine gun salvos. I don't see why full eight gun salvos would be better, but I can see how they could be worse.
... As we know, firing 3 guns is trickier than firing 2. Turret dispersion is much more in 3 gun shots. The USN worked hard to correct that , and succeeded after years of experiments, ending with delay coils to the middle gun. Those did not exist, AFAIK, in the Italian Navy.

Same case for blast and smoke - the heavy recoil and shock on own ship of a simultaneos 3 gun shot is much larger than a 2 gun shot.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by Steve Crandell » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:59 pm

alecsandros wrote:
Steve Crandell wrote:
Iranon wrote:I know it's a nitpick, but people keep pointing out that 9 is more than 8. Four twins were considered more effective than three triples - practical RoF (coordination and hoist arrangements), turret whip, in-flight interference, disturbance by blast and smoke, desired salvo distribution and so on. None of these considerations is quite as convincing and obvious as 9>8, but they add up.

This opinion was commonly held even in navies that opted for three triples (chosen because it saved weight in their design practice).
I've read enough to think that your statement is not universally true. I believe that nine guns are always better than 8. Coordination and hoist arrangements were not a problem with any of the US Fast Battleships. "Turret whip" is potentially worse in a two gun turret than a three gun turret. There is no significant difference in "disturbance by blast and smoke" (where did that idea come from?). Desired salvo distribution for US ships was full nine gun salvos. I don't see why full eight gun salvos would be better, but I can see how they could be worse.
... As we know, firing 3 guns is trickier than firing 2. Turret dispersion is much more in 3 gun shots. The USN worked hard to correct that , and succeeded after years of experiments, ending with delay coils to the middle gun. Those did not exist, AFAIK, in the Italian Navy.

Same case for blast and smoke - the heavy recoil and shock on own ship of a simultaneos 3 gun shot is much larger than a 2 gun shot.
Actually the USN fast battleships fired the three guns in sequence. If you look at high speed photography you will see that all three are at different distances from the ship. Also, each gun was in it's own compartment in the turret. The gun crews couldn't even see what the others were doing, and the shell and powder hoists were all separate for each gun.

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:15 am

... I think the Italians fired them all together... HEnce massive turret whip and shell interference...

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alkiap » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:30 pm

Hello,
for the Littorio class doctrine was to fire in rapid succession 3 gun salvos. Each turret was assigned to a firing group;no more than 2 groups would fire at the same time (thus 6 guns); 9 gun salvos were never contemplated.
According to Bagnasco, dispersion problems were mostly solved over time; it should not be forgotten that Vittorio Veneto and Littorio entered service after Italy entered the war: defects and issues which otherwise would have been discovered during trials and workup were actually noted only during actual operations (such as dispersion, bad compartment sealing in Littorio due to rushed construction, etc)
I believe delay coils were installed; a large part of the issue was, anyways, due to defects in manufacturing the shells (or powder charges?). In testing, with pre-selected ammunition, the guns demonstrated great accuracy; not so in operational conditions, at least in 1940-1941.
Littorio at Second Sirte seemed to have fired with good accuracy, considering the sea state. IIRC Cunningham himself recognized good gunnery by the italians, in his book

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by paulcadogan » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:22 am

In this scenario, the British considerations would have been similar to those faced by VAdm Whitworth in April 1941 when Hood was on patrol solo off Iceland (with destroyers though) on guard against an expected sortie by Bismarck. With due concern for Hood's horizontal protection deficiencies, and believing her vertical to be adequate, Whitworth planned to close Bismarck end-on before turning to bring broadsides to bear when the optimal range was reached.

Vs. Vittorio Veneto I think the same tactics would have been used.

Provided Hood had her Type 284 radar, and sufficient work up so her GO's could deal with the quirks of her DFCT, she could have been a dangerous opponent for VV, especially if the latter's shooting was not up to par because of salvo spread. Based on what is shown in the Mers-el-Kebir video, and the DS photo of her salvo landing near PG, I would say Hood was capable of very narrow spreads and so a hit was very likely in any straddling salvo.

How well VV would stand up to British 15-inch shells is the question. It goes without saying that Hood would have been terribly vulnerable to VV's 15-inch..

Another factor would be secondary fire - if Hood came in close enough, she'd have been subject to VV's 6-inch to which she could not reply, unless her 4-inch were in range (at which point VV could also use her 4.7's!).

All in all, ship for ship, the advantage lies with VV if she can get her guns on target. After all, Hood would be facing a ship "20 years more modern than herself".

Best option for the British....catch the VV after dark!! :think:

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:01 am

Well, first of all, it's a subject of debate weather Holland moved closer due to his perceived horizontal-deck armor vulnerability, OR because of contemporary British battleship/battlecruiser fighting doctrine, which called for "decisive action" between 12 and 18km.

Second of all, Veneto's guns had terrible scatter issues, with 3-gun salvos being so wide they could encompass 2 x Yamatos without actualy hitting them. Actual rate of fire was very poor, around 1 round/minute at best, versus the expected (designed) 2 rounds per minute.

Add continous trouble with Italian-made RPC, radars and defficient training... And the balance shifts towards HMS Hood. Provided that a shell doesn't reach her magazines, of course...

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:02 am

alecsandros wrote: Provided that a shell doesn't reach her magazines, of course...
Given the second paragraph in your post, that would seem to be almost the proverbial ''one chance in a million'' scenario.....

It really does pose the question - why did the Reggia Marina put up with battleships so unfit for combat with other battleships, was there no incentive to sort these gunnery problems out?
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:11 am

RF wrote:
alecsandros wrote: Provided that a shell doesn't reach her magazines, of course...
Given the second paragraph in your post, that would seem to be almost the proverbial ''one chance in a million'' scenario.....

It really does pose the question - why did the Reggia Marina put up with battleships so unfit for combat with other battleships, was there no incentive to sort these gunnery problems out?
I discussed this many times with friends and naval enthusiasts. I don't know for sure. It would seem that a short answer would be "no". The corruption level in the administration and military order were of such type and intensity that actual long-term improvements in quality were difficult (impossible?) to obtain.
Bagnasco, I think, mentions that Littorio fired different projectiles during tests than in actual combat... The projectiles for tests were carefully screened for quality (and manufacturing consistency between shell to shell). Tests went ok... For actual combat, the ship was equipped with a full provision (about 900 rounds) , with much less attention to consistency and quality.
Thus some salvos were niecely grouped , but others were incredibly erratic. There was no consistency between salvos, and thus range was very difficult to asses... etc.

As Littorio never actualy fought against enemy battleships, the trouble with it's ammo and equipment did not become so obvious, until post-war* when analysis and comparisons could be made...

* Again, from memory, I think it was Bagnasco again that made reference to Adm. Iachino's troubles experienced during second battle of Sirte. Iachino made an ample and very incisive written proposal to his higher-ups, adressing Littorio's extremely poor shooting capabilities. If I remember correctly, his written proposal was read , and afterwards was quietly forgotten...

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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by paulcadogan » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:13 pm

alecsandros wrote:Well, first of all, it's a subject of debate weather Holland moved closer due to his perceived horizontal-deck armor vulnerability, OR because of contemporary British battleship/battlecruiser fighting doctrine, which called for "decisive action" between 12 and 18km.
I would suspect both were factors - after all, concerns about Hood's deck protection in a possible confrontation with Bismarck was a topic of discussion among her crew. Here's a quote from Bruce Taylor's book:
...AB Len Williams remembers the tenor of mess deck discussions.....

"As an ex-member of Hood's crew I can recall numerous discussions we had in our mess about a possible meeting with either Bismarck or her sister Tirpitz. We were not at all happy with such a prospect. We knew our weakness and the risks of not having an armoured deck. We had the speed, yes, and we had the gun power, but we did not have our armour in the right place."

By the end of April few in the Hood could have had much doubt as to the vulnerability of their ship in the event of a confrontation with the Bismarck. On the 19th, following reports that Bismarck had sailed from Kiel towards the North Sea, Vice-Admiral William Whitworth issued his battle orders should contact be made. Sub-Lt. R.G. Robertson RNVR,.......recalls....:

"Next day Admiral Whitworth made known his plans if an enemy report was received; our escorts, the cruiser Kenya and three destroyers, would act as a searching force, and if Bismarck were encountered we would close on the enemy at speed in order to bring the guns of Hood into effective range. If possible we would make the approach end-on so as to present the minimum target."
We know that was the approach favoured by Tovey and used by KGV & Rodney in the final assault - so it was probably both considerations for Hood.
alecsandros wrote:Second of all, Veneto's guns had terrible scatter issues, with 3-gun salvos being so wide they could encompass 2 x Yamatos without actualy hitting them. Actual rate of fire was very poor, around 1 round/minute at best, versus the expected (designed) 2 rounds per minute.

Add continous trouble with Italian-made RPC, radars and defficient training... And the balance shifts towards HMS Hood. Provided that a shell doesn't reach her magazines, of course...
Understood. As I said - IF VV could get her guns on target - if Hood straddled first and quickly, firing 4-gun salvo pairs, VV would be in trouble. BUT, Hood also had her issues with her main armament efficiency, though these may have been addressed somewhat before the DS. Again from Bruce Taylor, commenting on her period under Somerville in Force H:
Practice shoots with the main armament were characterized by ineffectual drill, control failures and poor accuracy, though by early August it was obvious that the inner lining of the port gun of "A" turret was in need of replacement. Even so, efficiency in this area remained poor for some time.
Wonder what that "some time" was, as she didn't have that much time left, and was almost constantly on patrol after she returned to the Home Fleet until the end of 1940. In her bio, one sortie is noted for "tactical exercises" with Nelson, Repulse, 4 cruisers plus destroyers on 18-20 December. Then in mid-January she went in for refit until March, then it was right back to work, with Tovey signalling on the 22nd that she had many new crewmen and had not had a chance to work up. Those new crew members included a new GO (Moultrie) who was serving in a capital ship for the first time.... (as I noted in the Tirpitz thread).

But, I do accept your suggestion, that given the issues with VV's gunnery and efficiency - plus the "moral ascendancy" of the RN over the RM, the balance shifts in Hood's favour - even though ship for ship (armament and armour) it should be the other way around. Heck, it even shifts in Renown's favour!
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by RF » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:31 pm

paulcadogan wrote:
We know that was the approach favoured by Tovey and used by KGV & Rodney in the final assault - so it was probably both considerations for Hood.
That poses an interesting proposition - what if Tovey and Holland had swopped commands, with Tovey on Hood at DS and Holland held back at Scapa Flow with KGV....
Given the tactical situation at 5.40 AM 24 May I wonder what tactical decisions Tovey would have made....
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Post by alecsandros » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:43 pm

@Paul
Many thanks for the info on Hood's crew !

I did not know how concerned the men on board were of Hood's decks...

As for Hood's combat merits - she shot well and Mers-el-Kebir, apparently hiting Bretagne (which blew up) on salvo nr 3, from 17000 meters.

Dunkerque received at least 2, if not 3 direct hits from HMS Hood, which crippled her (she settled on the bottom)

Strasbourg was apparently near-missed several times by Hood's artillery during her escape out of the harbor.

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