alecsandros wrote:In this final post, I will try to present what is, in my opinion, the only plausible ship class that could be reasonably expected to pass trought the same problems Bismarck encountered, and survive them...
I think it is only the Iowa class, with the first in comission being the BB-61. In December 1943 - contemporary to the battle of North Cape, I think the USS Iowa was sufficiently completed and tested to be teleported back in time and space, in Kiel, in early May 1941, and start embarking fuel , supplies, ammo and men.
With range@24kts@56500tons given at 16700km, the ship would have no problem navigating into the Denmark Strait.
When detected by the cruisers Norfolk and Suffolk, an initial blindfire skirmish could be attempted, using SAP shells - to destroy enemy radars and aerials. In the same circumstances as Bismarck vs Norfolk encountered, I think it is probable that Norfolk will be hit from 13 or 14km range , and badly damaged. Concussion of shock may damage the forward Mark8 radar, with fire control being switched to Spot2, having lower range.
Suffolk may be shelled as well by SAP shells through the fog.
I doubt both cruisers could be stopped by this method.
So shadowing may continue.
Thus Iowa with Prinz Eugen accelerate to 32kts and mantain speed , as Suffolk struggles to keep up.
There were no radar jammers on board Iowa in Dec 1943 that I know off, so radar contact may be kept for some time, as Suffolk attempts to keep track, while permanently sending reports to Holland.
Rate of distancing is 3km/h, and with initial range ~ 15km, Iowa with Prinz Eugen would be at 24km within 3 hours (around 00:00), still picking up radar emissions - but those radar emissions are no longer received back to Suffolk, as the strength of the reflected signal isn't powerfull enough for that.
So Iowa keeps running at 32kts. Prinz Eugen reports some machinery and propeller trouble, and speed drops to 31kts, then 30kts. Iowa slowly approaches the cruiser (which is in the lead by 1500meters).
At 3:00, speed on Prinz Eugen is 29kts, while Iowa mantains 31kts, and is now in the lead by 1000meters.
Suffolk is 33km in their wake, no longer visible on the radar screens of either Iowa or Prinz Eugen.
Still, the radar beam is still felt on board Iowa, making Luetjens believe he is still followed from long range by enemy superior radars.
Speed is mantained for 3 more hours. Prinz Eugen drops to 27kts, Iowa to 30.5kts, and consumption is considerable for both ships. However, only Prinz Eugen has problems with oil fuel, as Iowa's bunkerage is sufficient to mantain 30kts for several days (allthough the machinery would be unlikely to be able to keep up with the temperature and pressure for so long).
It is now 06:00 hours. Smoke is sighted in the horizon to the east. It is Hood coming hard at 29kts. However, because the 2 German ships kept big speed from 00:00 to 6:00, they are in another position then Bismarck was , historically at 6:00. That position would probably be around 15-18km more to the south of the historical position, meaning Hood's rapid attack would fall , slowly, behind Iowa with Prinz Eugen.
Smoke woudl be made by both German ships for 15 minutes, as Hood closes to 23-25km, and fires 2 salvos, which fall short.
Then range slowly increases.
Prinz Eugen increases speed to 29, then 30kts. Iowa to 31kts.
Distance between Prinz and Iowa at 6:30 becomes 5000meters. Both ships emit thick smoke through their funnels.
Holland is to the north-east of them, at 28km range, out of effective gun range. Suffolk is nearly 40km to the north of them - radar emissions are still picked up on Iowa.
Thus no battle for Denmark Strait is made at all.
Prinz Eugen manifests engine trouble again, and is low on fuel, having ~ 1100 tons of fuel at 8:00, of which 800 burnable.
PRinz Eugen is dettached at 9:00, free of the enemy, to proceed on another course and speed (more to the south-weest) then Iowa.
Iowa continues the search for enemy convoys.
At 9:00, she still has in her bunkers 5800 tons of fuel (5400 burnable). She proceeds on a S-E course at reduced speed of 22kts, with active spot2 radar searching the horizon out to 24km.
There is no hope for Holland or Tovey to re-aquire contact. Also, no hope for the historical Catalina to shadow the ship.
The closest convoy woudl be HX126, which at May 24th 12:00 woudl be no more then 600 km south of the Denmark Strait - aroudn the time and place where Iowa would be in this scenario.
The convoy was protected by 1 armed merchant cruiser, 3 DDs and 1 corvette, and totalled 32 cargoships, going at 9kts...
I thnk the convoy will be scattered, with the escorts sacrificing themselves to save as may merchants as possible.
With the bad weather coming, it's possible the 3 DDs could hold Iowa out long enough - with torpedoes - to let the cargoes escape.
Then Iowa will be able to hunt for 2-3 months , if properly ressuplied with food, ammo and fuel, and if only attacking poorly or un-defended convoys.
Then it will be August 1941. Scharnhorst out of action until Dec 1941, Gneisenau the same... Prinz Eugen the same (considering she will abort the mission as historical due to machinery trouble) There will be little reason to go to Brest. So probably Iowa, still alone, will go back through D.S. in mid-August, lose the patrols at 32.5kts, and reach Tromso quickly.
If dring this second pass through the strait the BB is attacked by a/c, she could devastate them quicklyt and efficiently with the 80 x 40mm Bofors, 20x127mm DP and 49x20mm Oerlikon on board... Probably no torp-bobmer will be able to make a proper torpedo run.
Iowa goes back to Norway and is taken for an overhaul, lasting until Nov 1941. In January, she is joined by Tirpitz, and they form the core of the German Northern fleet - soon to become the only fleet.
paul.mercer wrote:Then 617 arrive with 6 ton 'Tallboys' and sinks both of them!
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